AN INDIAN mother whose child was kidnapped and illegally adopted in Australia has accused the girl's adoptive parents and officials here of blocking the now teenager from having contact with her and of making no effort to try to repatriate the girl.
Fatima, who uses only one name, will travel to New Delhi on Tuesday to try to meet with officials and hold a media conference as part of a bid to be reunited with her daughter, Zabeen, who was kidnapped by professional child-stealers near the family home in the slums of Chennai in 1998.
The then two-year-old was sold to a corrupt adoption agency which forged records to make it appear she had been abandoned. She and another younger child were then fraudulently represented as siblings and adopted to a family in Queensland.
Indian police uncovered the scam in 2005 and arrested and jailed the child stealers who provided details of children that were stolen. Their information was matched with adoption agency records and photo identification that confirmed Zabeen's situation, prompting police to alert Australian authorities who said they would investigate.
Fatima and her husband, Salya, who have three other children, say that since then almost all their efforts to be reunited with the girl have been rebuffed by Australian authorities and the girl's adoptive family, while Indian authorities appear powerless to lobby for the girl's return.
The couple's only contact with their daughter was a short Skype conversation in September last year and an exchange of photos via email, a communication arranged by European NGO Against Child Trafficking, which traces trafficked Indian children.
Fatima and Salya's Indian lawyer, Selvi Palani, this week said the family wanted ''steps taken to ensure the child is sent back to them''.
''The family wants nothing except the girl. They say no amount of money can compensate the loss,'' she said.
''All they want is for pictures to be sent to them and for them to be kept informed about what she is doing. They will be happy if the girl visits them as they want to know that she is alright.''
Ms Palani said she wants the girl to give a DNA sample.
She said the parents had been ecstatic after first seeing the girl during the Skype chat in 2012, but had been concerned by photos of the girl in a bikini as they are a conservative Muslim family.
Fairfax yesterday tracked down the Australian adoptive parents, who said they had been willing to allow contact between their adoptive daughter and the Indian family on the grounds there would be no attempt to forcibly repatriate the girl to India.
But the adoptive father, who cannot be named under Queensland law, said the biological parents had not agreed to the deal.
''We want to do something … but we are not going to do anything unless there is an agreement that they would not try and repatriate the girl against her and our will,'' he said.
"We got a lawyer to write a letter to their lawyer seeking this agreement but we never got a reply.''
The adoptive father said he would not approve a DNA test as he feared it would be grounds for repatriation under international law.
''That's what I'm frightened of. I'm simply not going to do that. We are simply doing what's best for the children,'' he said.
The adoptive father said the adopted girls had both been told of the situation and both did not seem ''that interested".
He said his other adopted daughter was also likely to have been trafficked.
Fatima will join other parents whose children were illegally adopted to other countries, in New Delhi to protest about the lack of assistance from governments to return their children and also seek meetings with key Australian officials.
A spokesman for the Attorney-General's Department said if the family approached officials from the Australian High Commission to discuss their situation, they would be happy to arrange a meeting.
All new adoption applications between India and Australia were put on hold in 2010.