GUWAHATI, Aug 9 - Rise in infertility rate, coupled with time-consuming adoption process, has given birth to a disturbing criminal trend in Assam.
Ten cases of illegal adoption by childless couples are what police and activists have stumbled upon in the last six years, raising fears that a well-oiled racket might be facilitating such acts and the available statistics could just be the tip of the iceberg.
Worse however is the fact that five cases of biological parents selling off their children have also come to the fore in Lakhimpur, Golaghat, Darrang and Kamrup (Metro) districts.
�A third party involvement is invariably found in all the illegal adoption cases. Stealing of babies is not new although they rarely get the due attention,� an official of the social welfare department told this reporter.
�Hospitals are often seen as the hunting ground for such rackets. As far as parents selling off their babies is concerned, poor economic background is what the middlemen tries to cash in on. It appears to be a part of a greater nexus,� he said.
Information accessed from the agencies concerned by The Assam Tribune also suggest that the government also ordered closure of four adoption centres during the last five years for violating laid down guidelines vis-�-vis child adoption. The closed down adoption centres were located in Dibrugarh, Barpeta, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts.
In the last 10 years or so, a total of 439 children were adopted from the specialized adoption agencies in the State, of which 26 were inter-country adoption. Significantly, although there are still nearly 250 parents waiting in the wings for adoption, the number of children available for adoption is somewhere near 100.