On Sunday, a police investigation team found nineteen female foetuses dumped near a stream at a village in Western Maharashtra’s Sangli district.The matter came to light when a death of the 26-year-old woman was reported on 28 February which unveiled a racket of female foeticide in the village.
A couple Pravin and Swati from Manerajuri village in Sangli were pregnant with a child. They both wanted a baby boy and visited Dr Babasaheb Khidrapure on 1 March for sonography (medical ultrasound used to see internal body structures).
The doctor allegedly performed a sex-determination test, and it was revealed that it was a girl child. Pravin decided to get the foetus aborted and was also assured by the doctors of secrecy. Pravin’s wife Swati died on the operation table. After getting the news of Swati’s demise, her relatives gathered at the hospital and took the body for autopsy to Sangli Civil Hospital suspecting foul play. The relatives also refused to cremate the body unless the truth was revealed. She was finally cremated on 2 March.
The same matter was also reported to the Miraj police, who arrested Pravin and some of his family members.
Pravin was interrogated on the matter, and he revealed that his wife Swati died during the abortion. A complaint was also registered against the doctor who fled from the hospital.The police raided the hospital.
It was found that the doctor was not qualified to perform abortions as he is a homoeopathy doctor. It was also revealed that the doctor would illegally perform abortions and had a well-equipped operation theater.
Dr Khidrapure would bury these infants in the open ground adjacent to the hospital premises. After a thorough investigation, Police recovered remains of 19 infants who were buried there. The Sangli police have arrested Dr. Babasaheb Khidrapure, the homeopath.
The Logical Indian take
Female foeticide is the practice of terminating the foetus if it is known that the future baby born will be a girl. This is the result of a deep-seated cultural preference for boys. A preference which is skewing India’s sex ratio. It is one of the most rampant social evils in the country. In most conservative and traditional families, a girl child is considered a liability due to the frequent demands of the huge sums of money in the form of dowry at the time of their wedding.
According to the data provided by the Women and Child Development Department, the child sex ratio was 10:0 in 1995 for number of girls for every ten boys, 10:2 in 2001 and jumped to 10:7 in 2011.
This incident is one of the many instances of killing of female foeticide. We cannot call ourselves modern if we let this happen. Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, most of us will talk about how women are important and about equality, but when it comes to practice, we are not that proactive. We appeal to everyone to defy the thinking of the patriarchal society and be gender inclusive.