Police arrested two sisters from Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura district on Monday for allegedly stealing a newborn from a government hospital in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur, but they left the baby on a roadside with a note and a feeding bottle three days later.
The suspects, identified as Shivani Devi and Priyanka Devi, aged 23 and 20, said before officers they wanted to gift a baby boy to their mother who was suffering from depression as their father was planning to remarry after their 12-year-old brother died two years ago.
The women stole the baby on January 10, but were overcome by fear after reading in newspapers about police trying to catch the culprits. They abandoned the boy on January 13 near Rarah village with a handwritten appeal that whoever found him should inform police that this is the baby stolen on January 10.
Bharatpur superintendent of police Anil Kumar Tank said investigators identified the siblings through CCTV camera footage from the hospital. The two women were seen in the video riding a scooter, while a man at the bicycle and motorbike parking lot of the hospital remembered the vehicle’s registration number.
We arrested the sisters from their native village, Swarupa Naugaon, in Mathura under Section 363 (kidnapping) of the IPC and charged them with stealing a baby,” the district police chief said.
The women allegedly did a recce in Bharatpur and targeted the son of 30-year-old Manish, whose wife had delivered the baby around 4am on January 10 at a community health centre in nearby Pahari town and was shifted to the government women’s hospital under Mathura Gate police station for better care. They took away the boy around 2. 30pm when the mother was sleeping. But the hospital surveillance video revealed the culprits and Manish’s father-in-law, Saddique Mev, registered a complaint.
Police superintendent Tank said the two women told police that they initially tried to adopt a boy to stop father Laxman Singh from taking another wife for a son, underscoring a largely patriarchal society’s obsession with a male heir.
Also, they approached nurses in hospitals to know if they could buy a baby from a poor family. But the sisters gave up because of the long legal process for adoption, and strict laws and punishment against any distress sale of babies.
Shivani is a teacher at a private school, married and lives with her husband at Pali Kheda in Mathura. Priyanka is married too, lives in Agra and studying for her graduation in arts.