Indian Couple in US Arrested for ‘Child Negligence’ Now Released

An Indian-origin couple in the United States, who was arrested for allegedly neglecting and abusing their six-month-old daughter, was granted bail on 13 September, NDTV reported.

Prakash Settu and Mala Paneerselvam, who hail from Tamil Nadu, were arrested on 7 September after they took their daughter, Himisha to a hospital in Florida with a swollen left arm, according to the report.

On seeing the condition of her arm and the couple’s hesitation on running 'expensive' tests, the hospital authorities suspected child abuse and subsequently, informed Child Protective Services.

Himisha, and her twin brother were kept in the custody of US Child Protective Services. Despite the couple’s bail, the governmental agency will continue to keep the six-month-old babies, with no parental access, NDTV added.

Friends & Family Deny Allegation

Following their arrest, a close friend of the couple told NDTV that the duo had enquired about the cost of medical tests at each stage as the duo could not afford them.

"Their insurance did not cover all of them. This was misconstrued as neglect." - Unnamed friend of the couple

Denying allegations of child abuse, the family of the couple demanded that the babies be handed over to the relatives.

"Separating newborn twins from biological parents is a sin. Let them hand over them to me. As a grandmother, I would take care of them." - Malika, Mala Paneerselvam’s mother told NDTV

The relatives have also started an online fundraiser to fight a legal battle against the US authorities, according to NDTV.

Hospital’s Response

Speaking to NDTV, authorities of Florida Health Children's Medical Services said that the couple had denied the staffers to conduct a ‘skeletal survey’ and tried to flee away with the daughter without running proper tests.

The Ministry of External Affairs has also taken cognisance of the case and has got in touch with the US authorities regarding the matter, reported NDTV.

(With inputs from NDTV)

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