GUWAHATI, Jan 22 � Babies and minors being abandoned in various parts of Assam has emerged as a matter of concern in recent times. According to those acquainted with the scenario, the number of children left to fend for themselves could be as high as 200 last year.
In Guwahati, Dibrugarh, and other places several cases have been recorded, in which babies less than a month old were abandoned. The number of cases is higher than those recorded in previous years.
Among the reasons cited for abandonment of babies are � unwanted pregnancy and economic reasons.
According to Father Lukose Cheruvalel of Snehalalaya, a care home for children, the issue of abandoned children is becoming more critical with the numbers increasing every year. In Guwahati alone, around 30 children were found abandoned in 2011. With many cases going unreported across the state, the number would be much higher.
The incidence of abandoned children is not restricted to remote or rural areas. Increasingly, urban areas and settlements with high literacy rates are witnessing children being deserted. In Guwahati some cases have been observed in the GMCH in which mothers have walked away after giving birth, a trend that is disturbing and unusual.
Not just very young children, but adolescents too have been abandoned in a number of cases. Father Lukose and others who are familiar with the situation point out that quite often physically and mentally challenged minors have been found in derelict condition. Among such children are some suffering from multiple disabilities and others who have some type of serious physical weakness.
According to Father Lukose, in case an abandoned child is found, a call should be made to Childline (toll free number 1098) or an NGO like Snehalaya or Indian Council for Child Welfare, or one of the Specialized Adoption Agencies. The nearest police station can also be contacted as the second OC of every police station has been appointed as the Child Welfare Officer, who is duty-bound to help the child concerned.