Kolar couple almost 'lose' daughter

Arshiya Tabasum

Four days ago, the girl, Arshiya Tabasum, was claimed to be their own by Ramanjaneya and Shobhavati. Shockingly, the local police inspector supported the Hindu couple’s claim and justified it too.

The helpless parents arrived in the City on Saturday to claim their child by seeking the help of the State Human Rights Commission. Ramanjaneya, a government school headmaster, and his wife Shobhavati, had insisted on bearing the educational expenses of Arshiya when she was admitted to an elite school six years ago. “Elaborating on their childless state, Ramanjaneya reminded us we had four other children to look after,” said Gulnaz.

Khalil, a petty shop owner, agreed to it, thanks to his poor financial condition. “The fact that we both are uneducated, and that Ramanjaneya was a headmaster made us assume that he would be of help to Arshiya in her studies,” he said.
Without her parents’ knowledge, Ramanjaneya changed Arshiya’s name to Arshita in the admission form submitted at Santhi Pani Public School, besides claiming himself to be her father.

The report cards and payment of fees were made by him for ‘Arshita’. Incidentally, the biological parents did not bother much about her academic affairs. “They were as close to us as relatives and really took good care of her. So we did not bother much,” said Khalil.
However, the relationship got strained as Shobhavati prevented Arshiya from attending Quran classes for three months. “She would keep telling us that the girl was sick, and that she had to study and would give all sorts of excuses,” said Gulnaz. As Ramanjaneya had suffered two heart attacks and his wife was an epileptic, they would repeatedly show us their health certificates and tell us that Arshiya’s presence was a great relief for them, she added.

Khalil got the shock of his life during the recent Ganesh Chaturti festival when he spotted his child taking part in the festivities sporting a bindi. “I took her home, and we did not let her meet the neighbours during the entire Ramzan festival.” However, the Hindu couple approached the local police and made an oral complaint that Khalil and his wife had kidnapped “their daughter Arshita”, and that they were refusing to part with her.
Police summoned Khalil and detained him for a day. “The Sub Inspector (Law and Order), Bangarpet, Shivaswamy, asked me to give up the child, failing which he threatened to book a kidnap case against me and my wife,” Khalil said.

The next day, the couple brought Arshiya to the police station and handed her over to Ramanjeya. The girl was given a chance to speak out. “At first, she expressed the wish to be with ammee and abba,” said Khalil. “The inspector sent us out and talked to her in private. When we returned, she said she wanted to be with “mummy” and “daddy” (the neighbours),” he said.

Armed with her birth certificate, which says that the girl was born in Vaniyambadi taluk in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu on 02/02/2000, and some other documents, Khalil and Gulnaz are now pleading their case.

Sub inspector Shivaswamy said the Hindu couple had spent much for the girl during the last decade. “All records say that Ramanjeya is her father. So, I believe the child belongs to them,” he said. The Muslim couple have very few documents.  “After all, they have four children,” he added.

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