Shocking mobile phone footage depicts Indian police officers confronting a man holding a swaddled baby while an accomplice hastily digs a hole in the ground nearby in which to bury her.
Police quickly ascertained that the man holding the infant was her grandfather. He and his accomplice, the baby’s uncle, were attempting to dispose of the baby girl on a patch of wasteland in Hyderabad on the morning of Oct. 31, 2019.
The footage has since gone viral on social media, horrifying netizens worldwide.
Monstrous. They were trying to bury her on a wasteland
“This morning, an auto driver at the Jubilee bus stand ground noticed two persons with a bag in their hand,” one of the police officers, remaining unidentified, told NDTV. “They were digging a pit in the ground,” he said. “The auto driver immediately reported the incident to police.”
The Jubilee bus stand, described as “quite a crowded area” by Indian news anchors, was the site of a bus strike that day. The two men had chosen the location for its relative seclusion but were spotted nonetheless.
“After it came to our notice, we immediately went to the location and found a baby in the bag,” Constable S. Venkata Ramakrishna told India Today.
The two men, both from the Karimnagar district of Telangana, claimed that the baby had died and that they were instructed by other family members not to bring the body home from the hospital.
The baby’s body would not be allowed on public transport, they explained, so they decided to bury her on the wasteland. When the police officers arrived, the baby girl’s uncle was shifting the dirt with his bare hands.
The baby, wrapped tightly in a pink-and-orange blanket, was still and quiet enough not to arouse suspicion as the officers approached. It wasn’t long, however, that the police noticed the newborn infant moving beneath the blanket and proceeded to detain the two men for questioning.
It later transpired that the baby girl had a bladder disorder that required surgery, as per NDTV. It was speculated that the family was perhaps either unwilling or unable to seek the necessary treatment.
The baby girl was taken to Gandhi Hospital by the authorities for immediate assessment and medical care. The grandfather and uncle were questioned but later released.
This case is the latest in an alarming succession of female babies and children whose infanticide, or attempted infanticide, represents India’s overwhelming preference for sons over daughters. The number of females in India has been declining for decades.
An Indian government survey released in July 2019 showed that the number of females per 1,000 males in India at large was 896 in the period of 2015 to 2017. Comparatively, there were 943 females per 1,000 males in the last census of 2011.
The killing of baby girls is most prominent in Gujarat and the north Indian states, which have the lowest recorded rates of female infants.
Baby girls have long been viewed by some in India as a financial burden. The dowry tradition requires the family of a bride to gift a large sum of money, or valuable goods, to the groom and his family. The Dowry Prohibition Act formally outlawed the practice in 1961, but it continues to be deeply rooted in Indian culture.
An update from The Indian Express on Nov. 7, 2019, explained that the baby girl rescued from a devastating fate in Hyderabad was “dehydrated, but doing well at the hospital.” It is unclear whether or not her grandfather and uncle have been further questioned or charged for their alleged attempt to bury her alive.
The police officers who saved the baby girl in the nick of time said they were “just happy” that she was rescued.
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Author: Louise Bevan