AFP Photo/PHILIPPE HUGUEN
Villagers in eastern India rescued a newborn baby girl who was found buried alive, officials said Monday, the latest case in the country highlighting the problem of female infanticide.
The girl — believed to no more than six hours old — was left to die in a shallow sand pit in a field when a passerby spotted her feet poking through the ground on Saturday.
The baby, found in Jajpur district in impoverished Odisha state, was rushed to hospital where she is under observation, officials said.
“She is doing fine and all her parameters are normal. She is a full term baby, weighing around 2.5 kg,” chief medical officer Jajpur district Fanindra Kumar Panigrahi told AFP.
“Her umbilical cord was intact and body was still covered with vernix.” he said.
Hospital Staff have named the girl Dharitri, a Sanskrit word meaning “the earth”.
The girl will be handed over to the state-run child welfare committee after she is discharged from the hospital.
Police told AFP that they suspect the newborn was either abandoned by her parents because of her gender or the mother had been an unmarried woman.
“We are trying to track the parents of the girl. Chances are it was a case of female foeticide and it is clear that the accused wanted to kill her,” local police officer Jyoti Prakash Panda said.
India is struggling to bridge the sex ratio gap with tough laws as the country fares badly with 940 females for every 1,000 males, according to the last official census in 2011.
Earlier this month police recovered 19 female foetuses from a sewer in western Maharashtra state and accused a doctor of illegally aborting them for parents desperate for a boy.
On Monday a female foetus was found buried near a sewer in New Delhi after dogs were spotted digging the earth around it.
India banned prenatal sex determination to stop its misuse, although the tests are still thought to be common, particularly in poor rural areas.
A 2011 study in the British medical journal The Lancet found that up to 12 million girls had been aborted in the last three decades in India.