Page last updated at 12:32 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009

Probe into baby 'lent to beggars'

By Habib Beary
BBC News, Bangalore


Child welfare officials are investigating the case of a baby who was reportedly rented out to beggars in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

A state child protection panel says it will file a police complaint once it gets more information from the parents.

The nanny reportedly told the parents she would "rent" the baby for 100 rupees ($2) a day to beggars who attract more sympathy with an infant.

She was found out when the mother came home early to find her child missing

The parents of the seven-month-old child are reportedly reluctant to press charges.

"The parents are shaken. They don't want to talk about it. We are trying to persuade them," Neena Nayak, head of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, told the BBC.

Ms Nayak added that the parents were worried about the stigma that could be attached to the infant if a case were to be pursued by the authorities.

Police say they will track down the "horror nanny" - as she is being described in the local media - if the parents file a complaint.

"If they file a complaint we will definitely take action," said Bangalore's top police officer, Alok Kumar.

But he added that it would be difficult to pursue the case without co-operation from the parents. The nanny has been dismissed from their service.

Unconfirmed reports say the child was sedated and dressed in rags. The practice is said to have gone on for several weeks.

The child's mother works as a consultant in a multinational company.

Nanny 'checks'

"This is an unusual case. We have come across many cases of poor children being forced to beg, sometimes by their own parents," Ms Nayak said.

Child welfare organisations have called for proper guidelines and regulations on hiring nannies following the uproar surrounding the incident.

"Background checks must be made before nannies are hired," said Father Edward Thomas of Bosco, a social service group.

"We have not heard of such a case before. Most of the children we have rescued from begging are poor.

"In some cases slum-dwellers have maimed their own kids for begging," he said.

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