German national hopes to find her biological mother

April 2, 2013 | Jayna Kothari

Police asked to help her, she suspects she was a child trafficking’s victim


Chaya Maria Schupp is a 36-year-old resident of Dieburg, 30km from Frankfurt in southern Germany, was adopted by a German couple when she was about 6 years old under suspicious circumstances.


Since 1999, she has made around 25 trips to India, and spent around 25.000 EU ( r.s 18 Lakh) to trace her biological mother and unearth details of her past.Chaya is currently working on a PhD  on sex workers in Mumbai as part of an exchange programme between the University of Kassel, Germany and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.


Chaya’s search for her biological mother met a dead-end in 2009 when authorities at the welfare centre refused to show her the relevant records. The centre had a licence for inter-country adoptions but it did not renew this licence. Chaya has asserted she was at this centre when she was adopted and fears that she might have even been kidnapped. Thus she has movedthe Hingh Court.


The support of her lawyer, Jayna Kothary of CLPR, friends, and her adoptive mother, Ingrid Shupp, has kept her going. 


Though Chaya says she was born a Hindu in Ullal, there’s a certificate of baptism issued by St Sebastian’s Church, Permannur (Ullal) which states she was baptized on January 15, 1980. When Chaya went there, the parish priest said there were no records about her baptism. Chaya said the baptism may have been done because the German couple who adopted her wanted a Christian child.


Chaya smelt something was amiss and even alleged she may have been kidnapped. “I still feel I may have been a victim of child trafficking. If it was a legal adoption, why are the centre’s authorities blocking my attempts to find my mother?” she asked.

How did they come to adopt her? “We thought she was an orphan and adopted her,” said Ingrid. The couple had three children of their own and also took another child into foster care.

The then Ullal inspector Ganapathy had told: “Though Chaya has complained of kidnapping, there was no evidence of this. The incident happened almost two decades ago and there was no complaint from her mother that her daughter was missing or kidnapped. In these circumstances, we cannot register a case of kidnapping,” he had said. Also, he said that Chaya herself mentions she’d been left at the centre.
Sr Veera, superior of the Nirmala Convent, told: “Let the police come and inquire. We have nothing to hide. Earlier when they (Chaya and police) came, we showed all the documents we had. They were not satisfied. We have maintained up-to-date documents from 1984. She was adopted at Madurai and the only proof she was here is the baptismal certificate at St Sebastian’s Church, Permannur, Ullal. We have nothing more to say on this issue.”Now, the Karnataka HC tells government to provide Chaya her assistance to find her biological mother. A division Bench comprising Justice K.L Manjunath and Ravi Malimath passed the order while setting aside the 2009 order of a singl.e judge bench, which had refused to order a probe against the Society for Sisters of Charity, Nirmala Social, Welfare Centre, Ullal, Mangalore. 
The Court said that it is the duty of the police to investigate whenever a complaint is lodged. Meanwhile, the Court directed Ms.Shupp and the centre to assist the police in investigation by providing details or information that they have in connection with the case.
Ms.Shupp’s mother sounds bewildered about the High Court decision, . “I’m very exited” says Maria Chaya on the phone from Germany.

Jayna Kothari

Executive Director

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