New Delhi (Sputnik) — A poverty-stricken Indian woman says she sold her 15-day old son to a stranger in order to gather money to fund her bed-ridden husband's medical treatment. Sanju Maurya, 30, from India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh told a local news agency that she gave away the infant, her third child, to a stranger in exchange for 45,000 Indian rupees or $660 dollars.
"We did not have enough money to afford the treatment," Sanju told the ANI.
Though this incident is indeed shocking, it is not the first time that the sale of children by their parents has come to light in India. A fortnight ago, six persons were arrested for allegedly selling a newborn baby girl with her parents' consent, for $2,385 to a "childless couple" in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The young couple said they wanted to sell their newborn as they did not have the means to raise the child. Similarly, on December 15 in the eastern state of Odisha, the state's child welfare department rescued a three-month-old baby from peddlers who were on the lookout for customers. The infant was one among four children sold by a mother who claimed she was unable to fend for them.
"Despite several appeals to the authorities to change my status, I only have an APL (above poverty line) ration card. Because of this, I did not even get the benefit of housing provided free of cost to the BPL (below poverty line) card holders. But I am very poor and find it very difficult to feed my family by selling straw and bamboo," Debbarma added.
According to an official estimate, over 230 million Indians live below what is called the "extreme poverty level," with a daily income of less than $1.90, while 680 million survive at just $3.10 a day, in terms of purchasing power parity. Drowning rural income, rising prices, and corruption-marred social security schemes have been aggravating poverty across the country.