“All children deserve to be safe"
India is experiencing a Covid-19 crisis unlike anything seen elsewhere in the world.
Due to the country’s rampant second wave of the virus, hundreds of thousands of new cases are reported every day, as well as huge numbers of fatalities.
Families are being torn apart by Covid-19, and the second wave has caused many children across India to lose their parents.
To date, more than 200,000 people have died from the virus, leaving thousands of Indian children orphaned.
As a result, the Twitter hashtag #CovidOrphans is seeing significant traffic from concerned users.
Independent journalist Anuradha Sharma has taken to Twitter to warn of the horrors of Covid-19 orphan stories.
She also highlighted the story of a newborn baby losing multiple family members to the second wave, including both of her parents.
A newborn lost both her parents & grandparents from the father's side to #covid. The baby was positive too, but survived. Grandparents from mother's side have reportedly *reluctantly* taken her with them, after police insisted. Stories of #CovidOrphans will haunt big time.
— anuradha sharma (@NuraRadha) May 2, 2021
In a tweet from Sunday, May 2, 2021, Sharma said:
“A newborn lost both her parents & grandparents from the father’s side to #covid. The baby was positive too but survived.
“Grandparents from mother’s side have reportedly *reluctantly* taken her with them after police insisted. Stories of #CovidOrphans will haunt big time.”
Comments flooded Sharma’s tweet with offers of support for the child, as well as anger towards the grandparents for their reluctance to take her.
One user said: “Pls let us know. We will be more than eager to add her in our family.”
Another wrote: “Now can nana/nani be reluctant to take last nishani of their daughter?”
A third said: “What a horrible tragedy.”
Twitter users are also encouraging people to speak up on the issue of Covid orphans, and are sharing child rescue helplines to support Indian children.
Come on India, let's get our children to a safe space! ??
Our first priority will be to get right authorities to physically rescue kids from any vulnerable situation.
— Akancha Srivastava (@AkanchaS) May 3, 2021
On Monday, May 3, 2021, one user shared the details of the helpline Akancha Against Harassment, saying:
“Come on India, let’s get our children to a safe space!
Our first priority will be to get the right authorities to physically rescue kids from any vulnerable situation.
“All children deserve to be safe and esp after such terrible tragedy #COVIDEmergency #AAHChildRescue”
Many people are taking to social media to seek help for Covid orphans.
They are also urging people to report cases of orphaned children, or children struggling to support themselves.
However, some are also turning to social media for adoption requests, which the child rights body Delhi Commission for Protection of Childs Rights (DCPCR) is advising against.
The body is calling for people to not fall for misinformation on social media, and are advising families interested in adoption to follow the legal process.
Do NOT believe anyone who says he/she can give you the child for adoption. They are either lying or misleading or simply involved in illegal practices.
Do reach out to your lawyer friends for advices. I hope more lawyers come forward to guide such well-intentional individuals.
— Anurag Kundu (@AnuragKunduAK) May 1, 2021
Taking to Twitter on Saturday, May 1, 2021, Commission chairperson Anurag Kundu said:
“I see a lot of posts floating around about children’s adoption. Several people have reached out to me and expressed their intent to adopt a child.
“I really appreciate their intent. I believe we need more and more citizens coming forward to adopt children.
“However, doesn’t matter how good the intention, adoption can be done only through a legal approach involving background verifications and checks.
“No individual is authorised to just hand over the child. Check Central Adoption Resource Authority’ website.”
“Do NOT believe anyone who says he/she can give you the child for adoption.
“They are either lying or misleading or simply involved in illegal practices.”
“Do reach out to your lawyer friends for advice. I hope more lawyers come forward to guide such well-intentional individuals.”
Kundu also reminded people that adopting a child is a lifelong decision that must be carefully considered.
Children being offered for adoption on social media, and adopted using the same method, is illegal.
Since his tweet, Anurag Kundu has written to the Commissioner of Delhi Police to intervene.