Jailed girl child shifted to childcare home

Kendrapara: A four-year-old baby girl, who was confined to a prison cell for two years, has finally been shifted to a childcare home following intervention by local prison authorities.

The girl child, Poonam, has been set free from the jail and shifted to child-friendly environs of a short stay home for children, Jail Superintendent Biren Sahu said.

“The girl’s parents, Bijoy Ketan Pattnaik and Rina Pattnaik, were jailed in connection with a murder case in 2012. The child was hardly 18-month-old when her parents were were lodged in Kendrapara jail as undertrial prisoners. Since then, she spent her infancy in a women cell of the jail with her mother,” he said.

The prison walls had hindered the movement of playful Poonam. The baby, who should have been provided shelter in a childcare home, was forced to stay in the jail due to legal wrangles.

The girl was lodged with her mother in the jail as per court orders. Kendrapada jail has no school for children.

Besides the jail environment was not conducive to the child, said the jail superintendent.

Her prisoner mother was deeply upset as the stay in jail adversely affected the physical and mental development of her child.

“Her parents had given written consent to shift the baby to childcare home. The child had gone restive during her stay in prison. With the signed grievance petition of parents, we prayed the additional district and sessions judge court to discharge the child.

“After the court accepted the plea, the child was sent to the childcare home last week. Though pained by separation, the parents were equally happy as their child could get a temporary home,” Sahu said.

The Supreme Court guidelines specified that children be kept away from the barracks where their mothers are lodged.

Besides the jail manual stipulates a child would have be shifted from jail after he or she attains 6 year age.

President of the childcare home – Pallishree Kanyashram – Srikant Nayak said the baby girl is slowly adapting herself to the new environs.