Adoption agency gives HIV+ baby

Date: 2006-06-21
Source: IBN Live

Pune : Adoption agencies are under obligation to declare the medical condition of a child to a prospective family. Preet Mandir does quite the opposite.

CNN IBN's Special Investigation Team obtained testimonies from families that nails Preet Mandir's culpability.

Janet (name changed), adopted a child four years ago from Preet Mandir. The child was just five-months-old then and a victim of gross neglect.

Janet gave us this testimony in London. "She had received absolutely no special care. She was listless and had no muscle-tone. She couldn't hold her neck up, seemed quite traumatised and was covered in scabies."

The baby had been with the agency for over four months by then.

"The baby was filthy when I got to her. She looked as if she had been lying on the side of road for all the five months of her life. She had parasites in her stomach. It was just sheer neglect. In fact the neglect was so bad that you could call it abuse," says Janet.

Because they are undernourished, uncared for and unloved, many children at Preet Mandir do not survive.

In the year 2004-05, 33 children died at Preet Mandir. Other agencies report no more than three to four deaths a year.

Letters written by anguished families show what has almost become a pattern with Preet Mandir.

This is what Zeeba Powri, who adopted a girl from Preet Mandir writes.

Thousands of dollars were given as donations for her care, but instead she was nothing but skin and bones and covered from scabies from head to toe, with warts all over her face and body. When I saw my daughter for the first time, she was half dead.

Here's the letter that Sharan Kaur wrote. Preet Mandir had given a Sharan an HIV positive baby.

The very first child referred to us was three months old. We immediately accepted her referral and asked for a copy of her medical report. However, we were utterly shocked to learn that the baby was HIV positive.

"J S Bhasin, the owner of Preet Mandir runs this place like a business, neglecting the children. It was not for the good of the children. It was for the good of himself," says Janet.

What's even more shocking is that Bhasin actually offers a discount on sick children.

HIV positive children, babies suffering from Hepatitis B at $1000 less than the market rate.

This is what a letter, written by Bhasin to a Swedish adoption agency, contained.

We never change the cost but as a special request from your side we can reduce $1000 for these two children. However, for the other children you will have to pay $6000.

What matters to Bhasin is getting the babies cheap and then selling them at a premium. The mounting death-rate is of no concern.

HIV positive babies, babies with hepatitis and scabies, babies with retarded growth - nothing comes in the way of business. Preet Mandir finds a way of selling them all.

(With inputs from Karma Wangdi in London, Parul Malik in Delhi, Anjita Roychaudhury and Aditya Mehta in Pune)

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