In search of roots, Dutch woman smells a 'racket'

By Mayura Janwalkar

June 17, 2010 / dnaindia.com

Mumbai: Daksha Van Dijck, 34, made trips to Mumbai from the Netherlands in 2001 and 2007 to touch base with her roots. Adopted in 1975 by Dutch national Johan Van Dijck and raised in the Netherlands, the clinical psychologist wanted to meet her biological parents. Now, she believes she might have been kidnapped as a baby and given away in adoption.

Van Dijck has moved the Bombay high court, seeking a direction to the commissioner of police, Mumbai, and the senior inspector of the Matunga police station to register an FIR against a Matunga-based orphanage-cum-adoption centre. Anjali Pawar-Kate of the international NGO Against Child Trafficking is co-petitioner.

In her petition, Van Dijck has stated she first visited India in 2001 “to fill in the void in her life in the absence of knowing her own biography, to trace her roots and seek details of her biological parents”. In 2007, she returned with her husband and visited the organisation to make more inquiries about her adoption, but the office-bearers refused to co-operate.

Wereldkinderen, the Dutch adoption agency that processed Van Dijck’s adoption, also aided her in tracing her roots and making contact with the orphanage. Pauline Hillen, an official of the agency, visited India in 2008 and made attempts to meet the director of the institution. However, according to the petition, she was led to the institution’s lawyer, who handed over a “pre-formulated letter” to Hillen stating that Van Dijck will not make any attempts in the future to locate her biological parents.

Smelling a rat, Van Dijck lodged a complaint against the organisation on February 9, 2009, stating that they should have maintained her confidential information files as mandated by the Supreme Court. She has stated that there was no reason for the institution to keep this information from her unless she was kidnapped and illegally given in an inter-country adoption. She has stated that there is also no police record to show that she was an abandoned child.

The adoption centre’s action seeking the undertaking from her is nothing short of “extortion or blackmail” she has contented. Van Dijck’s lawyer Pradeep Havnur said that the court will hear her case further after two weeks.

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