Mumbai: Torn apart by police, foster family now reunited with girls
Two months back, the girls were cruelly separated from their foster parents after a woman turned up claiming she was their real mother; the High Court returned the girls to the family on Wednesday
The Bombay High Court brought cheer to a family in Nagpada by hearing, and accepting, their plea to be reunited with the two foster daughters they had found in a garbage dump 11 years ago. The family was torn apart two months ago, after a woman turned up to claim the girls as her own.
Rubina Sheikh is ecstatic to be reunited with the girls nearly two months after they were taken away by the cops. The girls are relieved to be home as well, and hope they never have to leave again
On Wednesday, the Bombay High Court not only instructed that the girls be returned to the custody of the foster family, but it also came down hard on the police, questioning how the cops could take the girls away without even conducting a DNA test to confirm the woman’s claims that she was their biological mother.
mid-day had reported earlier that Rubina Sheikh (53) and her husband Rafiq (63) had found the two girls one aged six months old and the other 1.5 years old in a dumpster 11 years ago (‘11 years after dumping girls in bin, mother turns up to claim them’, April 4. Read the full story here). Although they already had four kids, the couple brought up the girls as their own.
On March 25, the police took the girls Kaisar (now 11) and Kausar (13) away, saying the real mother wanted them back. The sisters were taken to the Dongri remand home to await the authorities’ decision on who should have their custody. “The children are in Std V; their exams were going on when they were picked up by the police.
We submitted an application to the Nagpada police and the Child Welfare Committee that the girls should be allowed to appear for their exams, which the authorities permitted,” said Rafiq, adding that the family had been distressed and anxious since the girls were sent to the remand home.
The Sheikhs then filed a habeas corpus writ at the Bombay High Court, where a total of five hearings took place none of which were attended by the woman claiming to be the girls’ mother. Finally, on Wednesday, the court ordered the immediate release of both the girls and gave their custody to the family. The bench also raised questions over how the police took action without first ascertaining whether the woman was actually their mother or not.
The court took an undertaking that the elderly couple will take care of the sisters and produce them in court as and when required. The Sheikhs, who took the girls home at 9 pm that day, are thrilled to be reunited with their daughters. Speaking to mid-day, Rubina said, “I don’t know much about law; I am not literate, but I know these are my daughters.
I will take care of them. Even if they want to go to their real mother, I will give the custody if she takes proper care of them.” “I wonder how my two daughters must have lived in the remand home for two months. It is not at all a good place. We were grieving for the last two months, but now it is time to celebrate their return,” she added.
No place like home
Speaking to mid-day, the girls, Kaisar and Kausar, said, “We are very happy. They (Rubina and Rafiq) are our parents. Please don’t take us away from them. We want to be with them forever. We love them more than anything.”