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Jharkhand: Mother dead, baby given up for money, family to get 'help'

Jharkhand: Mother dead, baby given up for money, family to get help

Standing in front of her kuchcha house in Champanagar village in Jharkhand's Gumla district, 15-year-old Sulekha Oraon speaks impassively about her mother's death. Jhibal Tirkey, 40, died on August 26, having given birth at home to her eighth child just a couple of days earlier. Sulekha says they didn't have money to take her to a hospital, and villagers put together money for her cremation.

It's what happened to the eighth child that has now brought the tribal family's story to government attention. The infant girl was handed over by Tirkey to a family allegedly for Rs 10,000, as she needed the money for her treatment and for her ailing husband's.

After the news broke on Saturday, the baby was taken into its care by the Gumla Child Welfare Committee (CWC). Police haven't identified the couple who took her. Meanwhile, the Rs 10,000 is almost all gone, spent on treatment, to pay off some old debt, and for the rituals following Tirkey's death, claimed family members and neighbors. Some also feigned ignorance of where the money was used.

Tirkey had been working till the morning of her delivery at a local grocery store, where she did odd jobs as a helper. Sulekha, who studies in Class 10, says they don't have a ration card, and lived hand to mouth. Tirkey's husband Charva Oraon, a rickshaw puller, has been bedridden for the past few months due to a stomach ailment, and the Rs 200 she made daily was the family's only source of income. Since Tirkey's death, Charva has been in hospital.

(Inputs from The Indian Express)

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