India

India battered toddler: DNA tests to confirm mother

Toddler in Delhi hospital. Pic: Hindustan Times.
Image caption Police have arrested two men and two women in connection with the case

DNA tests have been taken on a 22-year-old from Rajasthan to determine whether she is the mother of a battered toddler whose case has gripped India.

The woman, called Munni, says she wants custody of the child, who has been named as Baby Falak.

Police said this would be determined by child welfare services.

The girl was admitted to hospital three weeks ago with serious injuries, including human bite marks all over her, and remains in critical condition.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Chhaya Sharma said that Munni, who is believed to be the mother of the toddler, "wants her custody but she will be given custody only after [the baby] recovers and with the approval of the child welfare committee".

Neurosurgeon Deepak Agrawal told the IANS news agency that Baby Falak was still critical.

"There has been no major decline or significant improvement in her condition. We are continuously administering antibiotics and waiting for the culture report."

Police have so far arrested six people in connection with the case.

Police say they suspect the baby was handed on a number of times before a teenage girl brought the child to a hospital in the capital.

Munni has reportedly told police her husband had forced her into prostitution, so she had run away from him.

The main suspect in the case, a man called Rajkumar, who is not Munni's husband, is still at large. He is believed to have handed the baby to the teenage girl.

Baby Falak was brought to hospital on 18 January with broken arms and a partially smashed head

The teenage girl said she was the mother and that the toddler had fallen from her bed.

Police say their interrogation revealed that the teenager had been abandoned by her father and abused by a couple who pressed her into prostitution.

The teenager's father is among those arrested.

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