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Parents can't identify missing wards

Staff Reporter

No resemblance to photos in adoption agency's album

CHENNAI: Amaruddin became Gafur and Pandiarajan, Subramani. But more than the `new' names `given' by Malaysian Social Service, the adoption agency under probe in the child abduction racket, what confused D. Ravichandran and Vanalakshmi was the `unfamiliar look' of their son, Pandiarajan.

Mr. Ravichandran and his wife were among the six families that rushed to the Central Crime Branch office here on Saturday after authorities published photographs of their son and other children from the agency's album in newspapers last week.

Only four families were able to confirm that the photographs, especially the ones sent to the agency by the adopted parents, were those of their missing children.

"The photo which was published in the newspaper looked like my son, Pandiarajan. But in the one taken after adoption, he doesn't resemble me or my husband," says Ms. Vanalakshmi from Adambakkam, whose four-and-a-half-year-old son went missing in 1992. Habibur and Sabina from Kalpakkam also found it difficult to identify from the photographs their son, Amaruddin, who went missing in 1998.

The police said the confusion is because the adoption agency did not take pictures of the children when they took them in. And wherever they did, the children are seen with persons who are now in police custody, facing kidnap charges.

"We are scrutinising documents recovered from the agency and explaining to parents who come with cases of children missing after 2004, that we are only looking into the operations of the agency between 1991 and 2002," says CCB Assistant Commissioner of Police Augustine Daniel.

The priority for the police is to prevent a repeat of such incidents. He says that for nearly 11 years the agency had been accepting children (some of whom were found to have been abducted) and facilitating their adoption. People will now definitely ask adoption agencies whether they have accepted children brought in through such means," he says.

The Human Rights cell of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee has sought a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the kidnapping incidents, stating that complaints of children being kidnapped remained unsolved for years.

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