KOLKATA -- A newborn baby, who was allegedly abducted by an unidentified woman from a government hospital here on Tuesday, was 'rescued' nine hours later, police said.
A baby, said to be the one abducted, was 'rescued' nine hours later from the Bagmari area in north Kolkata. However, police said the identity of the baby could be established only after a DNA test as the woman suspected of having abducted it, also claimed that she was the mother of the newborn. .
The incident -- which took place at Kolkata Medical College and Hospital, the second oldest medical school to teach European medicine in Asia -- triggered protests, including a road blockade in the city's heart.
The baby boy of Saraswati Naskar, who was admitted in the maternity ward on the second floor of the Eden Hospital building, was allegedly taken away by an unidentified woman on the pretext of a check-up around 12.30 p.m. on Tuesday.
An inconsolable Naskar said a woman wearing a green saree approached her and said the doctor wanted to see her baby. "I accompanied her. She carried the baby. When we neared a glass door, she asked me to go inside and check whether the doctor was there. When I came out, I found no trace of the woman and my child."
When the family could not find the baby, they got in touch with the authorities, who said the closed circuit cameras were non-functional.
Naskar, who gave birth to the baby boy on 10 March, was to be discharged on Thursday.
Within hours, the police released a footage of the woman suspect carrying a baby inside a Metro station. The footage was repeatedly aired on television channels and also shared on the social media.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Vishal Garg announced a reward of ₹1 lakh for anyone providing information about the woman. All Metro stations and police stations were placed on high alert.
Around 9 p.m., residents of the Bagmari areas found resemblance of the suspect shown on television with a woman of the locality. Led by the local councillor, locals went to the house of the woman and found a baby. When the baby was taken to the Kolkata Medical College and Hospital, Naskar and her husband identified him as their offspring.
The suspect, from whose house the baby was found, is being interrogated along with her husband and the baby was sent back to the hospital. However, she claimed she was the mother of the child.
Some media reports said the baby had breathing problems and fever. it has been kept at the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU).
Earlier, as the news of abduction spread, relatives of the family as also Bharatiya Janata Party activists arrived in strength at the hospital. They staged a demonstration and demanded the authorities rescue the baby.
Left Front legislature party leader Sujon Chakraborty also reached the spot and spoke to the family.
Things became volatile in the evening as protesters put up a blockade on the arterial Central Avenue with bricks and bamboo poles. "We won't lift the blockade until and unless the baby is found," said a youth.
State Health Director B.R. Satpathy said the law would take its course if there was a security lapse.
"We are looking into how the baby was stolen from a government hospital. If there is a security lapse, we will take action. Law will take its course," Satpathy said.
In November last year, the West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department had unearthed an inter-state trafficking racket of newborns by two private clinics in Baduria in North-24 Parganas district.
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