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Union Govt Seeks Moosewala’s Mother’s IVF Report; Family Alleges Harassment By Punjab Govt

| Updated: March 21, 2024 13:38

The Union health ministry cited the ART (Regulation) Act of 2021 and sought a report from the Punjab government after Sidhu Moosewala’s 58-year-old mother gave birth to a baby boy on March 17.

Jalandhar: A letter issued to the Punjab government by the Union health ministry seeking an action taken report over the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment undergone by Charan Kaur, who is renowned Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala’s mother, has invited sharp reactions from millions of his fans and well-wishers from across the globe.

In the letter, which was issued by the assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy division of the health ministry’s Department of Health Research, the ministry’s director asked the Punjab government to ‘look into the matter’ and submit an action taken report.

As Charan Kaur was 58 years old, the Union government cited section 21(g)(i) of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, 2021 and mentioned that the age limit prescribed for a woman undergoing ART services was between 21 to 50 years.

However, it did not set a deadline for submitting the report.

Charan Kaur and Moosewala’s father Balkaur Singh gave birth to a baby boy through IVF treatment on Sunday (March 17) at a private hospital in Bathinda district.

The couple named the baby Shubhdeep Singh – which is Moosewala’s original name – evoking an emotional response among his fans that Moosewala’s legacy would continue.

Incidentally, the Union government’s letter was issued on March 14 while the baby was born on March 17.

Balkaur Singh with the newly born Shubhdeep. Photo: X/@iBalkaurSidhu.

The ART law came into effect in January 2023. IVF treatment is meant for couples who face infertility issues.

Ever since this news spread, renowned Punjabi singers, actors, and villagers at the Moosa village have been joining the family in their hour of joy.

The past four days also saw many reels and videos on Sidhu Moosewala’s songs as well as celebrations at his house.

Moosewala was shot dead by unidentified assailants on May 29, 2022 at Jawaharke village in Mansa district after his security cover was reduced by the Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab. He was 28.

Moosewala’s father blames AAP government for harassing him

This issue came to light late on March 19, when Balkaur Singh released a video on social media alleging that the Punjab government, through the local district administration and the Punjab police, was harassing him to furnish details of their IVF treatment.

In the video shared by Singh on Instagram, he said that the administration was asking him to furnish the baby’s documents and prove that the child was legal.

“Two days ago, by the blessings of the almighty and your prayers, we got our Shubhdeep Singh back”, he said.

“From today morning, the administration has been asking questions and harassing me to provide documents of the baby and prove that the child is legal. It is my request to ‘CM sahib’ to let the treatment be completed first. My wife is still at the hospital,” he said.

“I hail from this place and would come whenever you call me.”

A visibly distraught Singh also gave a strongly worded message to chief minister Mann and said: “I am deeply pained … I want to tell you in strong words that you have a habit of taking ‘U-turns’. Your advisors give you such advice, but I am an ex-soldier and I am not among those who would take U-turns. I will provide all the documents.”

He also said that if he has violated the law, then the government can send him behind bars.

“If I am wrong, you can lodge an FIR, put me in jail and hold an investigation against me. But I will not run away”, he said.

Mansa deputy commissioner denies allegations

The Wire reached out to Mansa district deputy commissioner (DC) Paramvir Singh, who denied having sent any officials from the district administration to seek documents of the couple’s IVF treatment.

The DC said that the baby was delivered at a private hospital in Bathinda district, whereas the family was based in Mansa district.

He said: “We received a letter from the Union government through the state government to check any violation of the ART Act, 2021, but whatever development has taken place, it was between the Union and the state government.”

“The Union government’s letter was addressed to the Punjab government. We have not taken any action against Moosewala’s family,” he added.

What do doctors say?

Speaking to The Wire, vice president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Navjot Dahiya, who is also a Congress leader from Jalandhar, said that as per the 2021 ART (Regulation) Act, the prescribed age for a woman going under ART services is between 21 and 50 years.

“As Charan Kaur was 58 years old, the notice was issued, but it is an open secret why the central [Union] government was questioning them. Every day we receive more than 10 IVF cases in Jalandhar alone.

“If the government was concerned about the legality of the IVF treatment taken by Balkaur Singh and his wife Charan Kaur, then they should question everybody. Why are they singling them out? It is sheer politicisation and harassment of the family, who have been through such trauma,” he said.

Dahiya said that ideally, the government should question the medical practitioner who conducted the IVF treatment.

“As per law too, a patient is considered innocent and ignorant, as they are not aware of the medical treatment involved. It is the doctor who conducts the treatment, who should be held liable if a lapse has taken place.

“If the government wants, they can seek a discharge slip and medical treatment bills from Balkaur Singh, but harassing them is acutely shameful”, he said.

However, he said that if the couple took IVF treatment outside India, then the Union government should approach the concerned embassy to check the legality of the treatment.

“There is absolutely no point in questioning the parents of the newly born child. Moreover, sex determination is banned in India, but in foreign countries, they generally do sex selection in IVF treatment and inform the parents”, he reiterated.

Congress, SAD lash out at AAP

Reacting strongly against the AAP government, the Congress’s Punjab chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said in a statement: “Shame on you CM Saab, your government is asking for IVF treatment certificates from the parents of Sidhu Moosewala?

“Firstly no one should go and inquire about them. You want to disturb them in their moments of joy? Even if you want to, atleast give them some time. He is an ex-fauji [soldier] who has served the country at the border. He will not speak lies and will provide all the documents when needed.

“What wrong has he done, if has been speaking against the BJP and the AAP for justice in his son’s killing? This does not mean that you will harass him like this.”

Warring asserted that the AAP government should not stoop so low and humiliate the family at this moment.

Punjab’s opposition politicians have accused the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government of ‘harassing’ Moosewala’s family. Photo: X/@BhagwantMann.

“Such a tragedy can happen with anybody. Sidhu Moosewala’s parents have gone through a huge trauma. I want to reiterate that if the family was harassed, we will not tolerate it. We stand by Sidhu Moosewala’s family”, he added.

Leader of the opposition in the Punjab assembly, Partap Singh Bajwa, also posted on X: “There should be some limit to shamelessness! You and your government are not able to bear the happiness of the baby, whose birth was being celebrated across Punjab and the world.

“What kind of fear do you have from a newborn child that you were harassing Balkaur Singh and his family?”

A vocal critic of AAP and the BJP government, Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira also released a video on Facebook and said, “Thousands of children are born through IVF, but I never saw police or administration seeking documents from the parents or harassing them on such a personal matter.

“Ideally, CM Bhagwant Mann should have congratulated Sidhu Moosewala’s parents on this occasion, but it is a pity that he was harassing his family.”

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) also lambasted the AAP government.

SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema, who is a doctor by profession, shared on X: “It is a highly shameful and criminal act which has exposed the ugly face of the AAP government in Punjab. While the government should ensure proper treatment for [the] mother and the new born baby, they are instead resorting to such arm-twisting methods to harass the grief-stricken parents of Sidhu Moosewala with false allegations.

“Such actions undermine trust in the government’s ability to prioritise the well-being of its citizens. It is high time that [the] people of Punjab should teach them a lesson.”

AAP’s crisis management: Punjab health minister speaks

In its defence, the AAP government said on X that the demand for the IVF treatment report was made by the BJP-led Union government.

“CM Bhagwant Mann respects the sentiments of Punjabis, but these documents were sought by the Union government. We urge Punjabis and Sidhu Moosewala’s fans to stay away from rumours. We are sharing the letter issued by the Union government.”

Earlier, while speaking to the media, Punjab health minister Balbir Singh congratulated Sidhu Moosewala’s parents and claimed that there was no harassment by the AAP government.

“It is the Union government’s letter. They plan cunning moves. This is the pathetic thinking of the Union government. Rest assured, we would not harass them in any way”, he said.

This article is originally published on The Wire on March 21, 2024.

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