Monika Gunjan Arya
Founder, Convenor & Editor-in-Chief
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PaaLoNaa is a social awareness drive run by Ashrayani Foundation and is trying very hard to bring the un-noticed crime of murder of unwanted newborns (Infanticide) into notice. The drive has been collection data on abandoned infants and cases of infanticide since January, 2015. Simultaneously since 2015 Team PaaLoNaa has been deeply engaged in filing RTI (Under Right To Infaormation Act, 2005) from the various government agencies and departments. Social factors have been contributing to the rise of cases of infanticide in India. So Team PaaLoNaa has been raising awareness through social media since July 2016 via Twitter and Facebook by updating the masses on daily oucrrances of cases of abandonment and Infanticide.
In most cases, these abandoned infants die even before any possible help could even reach them. Nature of killing clearly proves it to be a cold blooded murder. To raise awareness in the society Ashrayani Foundation has till date organised 4 massive Art & Photo Exhibitions along with Nukkad Nataks. Over dozens of meetings with government bodies were organised to help raise awareness among the them. PaaLoNaa is striving to bring cases of infanticide to the notice of the society and authorities because ignorance is a bliss.
(1) Consider, register and investigate these cases separately under IPC. Charge of murder or attempt to murder should be framed accordingly.
(2) Secondly, a strict law along with effective enforcement is needed against Infanticide just as feticide. As well as declaring infanticide as a non-bailable offence.
(3) Spreading the awareness about this crime and punishment with a solution or option.
(4) Offer an option in the form of PALNAA or ADOPTION (Semi- Open/Open/close) SCHEME to the parents, who want to disown their infants because of circumstances or other reasons.
Initiation of Palnaa Scheme - Placement of customized baby cribs (palnaa) in prominent places of the city. These baby cribs (palnaa) will be linked up electronically with the nearby police stations / hospitals / orphanages / child lines. This plan is executed worldwide including Indiana, Czech Republic, South Korea, China, Europe, Germany, Russia etc. Even some parts of India also has a similar scheme to address this particular issue. Though, UN does not approve of such measures.
Adoption Scheme - If some parents do not want to own their infants, state can offer them option to step in the process of open or close adoption.
a) Semi-Open Adoption - Refers to an adoption in which the adopters and birthparents meet once or twice and on a first-name-only basis. In addition, they may agree to exchange pictures and letters on an annual or fairly infrequent basis through the adoption arranger. (If your adoption arranger advocates a semi-open adoption, be sure to ask for an exact definition of her terms.) Sometimes a semi-open adoption later becomes an open adoption, if both parties decide that they want it that way.
b) Open Adoption - Open adoption is a form of adoption in which the biological and adoptive families have access to varying degrees of each other's personal information and have an option of contact. In Open Adoption, the adoptive parents hold all the rights as the legal parents, yet the individuals of the biological and adoptive families may exercise the option to open the contact in varying forms: sending mail and/or photos, conversation and visits at their choice between birth and adoptive families.
c) Closed Adoption - (also called "confidential" adoption and sometimes "secret" adoption) is a process by which an infant is adopted by another family, and the record of the biological parent(s) is kept sealed.. This used to be the most traditional and popular type of adoption. The International Association of Adopted People does not support any form of closed adoption as it is detrimental to the psychological well-being of the adopted child. However, the emergence of non-profit organizations and private companies to assist individuals with their sealed records has been effective in helping people who want to connect with biological relatives to do so.
(5) A "No Question Asked Policy" should be in-place for parents who are unwilling to raise their infant.
(6) First Right to up-bring the abandoned infant should go to the finder and saver of the abandoned infant, if he/she is willing to adopt.
(7) Recognition and Reward Policy should be launched to appreciate the efforts of such Life savers of infants.
(8) Persuade the government make an umbrella of all the related government, non-government and private agencies working on newborn infant issues like NGOs, Child Lines, orphanages, media, police, psychiatrists, gynecologists and pediatricians etc. These all the agencies of Public and Private Sector can do the collective effort to curb this problem.
(9) Initiate a debate in the society in the form of literature or art work or through some other medium.
(10) Help the unwilling and economically incapable parents to cremate their infants as well as the abandoned infants.
We must recognize that infanticide is a crime of murder and punishment should be entitled to the parents, especially the mother. Team PaaLoNaa desires to see a better and safe world for infants & that it is not so much of a legal problem as it is a social disease. We need to truly get rid of this ill mentality and understand that our lives would be just as fulfilling, if not more, if our children were to have the right to live. This is not to say that the law can play no role. We must all work together to ensure that each and every infant is given their due.
To achieve and visualize it, awareness is the key. Focus on the humanist, as well as scientific and rational approach along with sensitization of the society and of the concerned authorities is a must. Team PaaLoNaa envisions a society free of the heinous crime and sick mentality. PaaLoNaa recognizes it's vision statement as a mission
"To stop abandonment and ensure the safety of every unwanted newborn baby at its own place."
The typically hierarchical arrangement of lines of authority, communications, rights and duties of an organization is followed by Team PaaloNaa. Our organizational structure determines how the roles, power and responsibilities are assigned, controlled, and coordinated, and how information flows between the different levels of management. Team PaaLoNaa has a tightly held organization under Ashrayani Foundation where Mrs. Monika Gunjan Arya (Chairperson & Founder Trustee) holds supreme authority and define the structure on which depends the organization's objectives and strategy. She holds the decision making power and has absolute control over various divisions of decision making. The decision making power is distributed and the departments and divisions may have varying different degrees of independence.
Every member of Team PaaLoNaa contributes to the best of their abilities & potential. The status of the members has been described in the constitution and Bylaws of Ashrayani Foundation. It defines not only the members's relationship with other members & volunteers, but also, in a sense, our relationship with the public in our society. This organizational structure has helped us tackle the hurdles while executing our program in an effective manner.
Team PaaLoNaa has been supported by various sections of the society through their endeavors. Most societies agree that the drive to protect and nurture one's infant is a basic human trait. In contrast to the humanist view infanticide - the killing of an infant at the hands of a parent-has been an accepted practice for disposing of unwanted or deformed children since prehistoric times. Despite human repugnance for the act, most societies, both ancient and contemporary, have practiced infanticide. The drive PaaLoNaa has been thriving upon the good from the society and has been gaining strength to ward off this menace. The civil society in Ranchi has registered its protest against infanticide and has ever since been an active participant in the current drive. Non-Government Organizations have been actively supporting our drive.
PaaLoNaa, the social awareness drive run by Ashrayani Foundation has been gaining supports from government departments as well. But still a much larger support is needed from Government of Jharkhand to run a co-operative social awareness campaign throughout The state.
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