Hyderabad: While children across the world are preparing to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, a few fathers in Hyderabad are fighting to simply meet their children.
Fathers who are victims of dowry harassment and maintenance cases and who want a hand in raising their children, allege that their wives do not even allow them to meet their children despite crystal clear court orders that support meetings.
Our society, which responds immediately when a woman faces trouble from her husband, turns a blind eye on such husbands, who are deprived of their basic right to meet their children at least once a week — which is crucial if the fathers want to develop a bond with their children.
Around 50 fathers under Share-A-Childhood foundation staged a two-hour-long protest at Basheerbagh on Saturday. The members said that parental alienation had become a big concern as more than 1,000 divorce cases were being filed in city courts every month.
In most of these cases, women approach the police to threaten the husbands or to claim their property, or to get away from the responsibility of taking care of their spouse’s parents. The court, which orders the men to pay maintenance to their wives, also allows the father to visit the child weekly or every month.
“Just a few hours is not enough to develop the father-child bond and many times the wives do not even comply with the court orders. As a result, children are facing troubles and often tend to take extreme decisions during childhood,” said Share-A-Child founder Y. Narendra.
The fathers at the protest requested the government to intervene and ensure that wives complied with the visitation orders. “We just want to be a part of the holistic growth of our children and make them better persons. We do not want the differences between us to have an impact on their childhood or their future,” another member added.
The fathers also demanded proper infrastructure and facilities to be provided for visitations, not in court premises or temples or other locations, and the setting up of a proper monitoring authority and system to oversee the visitation process.
The members of the foundation will be celebrating Father’s Day with the inmates of the State Home at Yousufguda on Sunday.
‘I saw my child a year ago’
“The last time I saw my daughter was a year ago, when she waved to me while riding pillion behind her mother on a bike near her school. I had gone to pay her school fees,” recollects Rajashekar (name changed), a research scientist working for a central organisation in the city.
The trouble started when he refused to register his flat on his wife’s name. She filed for divorce and threw him and his old parents out of his house. His wife, an engineering graduate and working for an industrial organisation in the city, now receives around Rs 30,000 from him towards maintenance, but never allows him to meet his daughter.
Rajashekar, a native of Maharashtra, has been working as a scientist in the city for the past 12 years. He got married to Shalini (name changed) nearly 14 years ago and they were living in Nacharam, along with their daughter and his 85-year-old father and 78-year-old mother.
Two year ago, after a fight, the wife asked him to register the flat in her name but since it was under mortgage, he could not do so. “I faced allegations of dowry harassment and I was thrown out of my own home,” says Mr Rajashekar.
The court had granted him monthly visitation rights but his wife has never turned up, in a year. “She claims my property but denies access to my daughter,” he says, adding that the truth will come out someday and he will meet his daughter....