Mumbai (AsiaNews) - With nearly 2,500 cases of female foeticide or
female infanticide a day, the state of Rajasthan is one of worst places to be a
girl in India. Selective sex tests, which are illegal, lead to selective
abortions; however, now some people who want to get rid of baby girls found
another way of getting around the law: water and food deprivation.
Since early June, the authorities in Jaisalmer District (one of the
worst) have recorded five suspicious deaths of baby girls.
Last Friday, police in the village of Sangad (Jaisalmer) arrested Dileep
Singh, after his daughter died under suspicious circumstances two days earlier.
According to Superintendent of Police Mamta Vishnoi, the accused deprived
his daughter of necessary medical treatment after her birth. At present, her
body is undergoing autopsy. The father will remain in custody for 15 days.
In the villages of Tejmalta and Mandi, three other baby girls died from
unknown causes. One, born on 8 June in full health according to the doctors,
was found dead a day later in a state of malnutrition. In another case, the
family of the dead baby disappeared. Police is searching for them.
"To escape the law, these people are using inhuman methods," Jaisalmer District
Collector Shuchi Tyagi said. "After leaving the newborn to die, they pour salt
or other chemical agents on the body to accelerate the process of decomposition.
At that point, no autopsy can determine the cause of death."
Following these incidents, Tyagi gave the order that all the births of
baby girls had to be communicated to any district authority, health, police or
Speaking to AsiaNews, Dr Pascoal
Carvalho, member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said, "Our country
considers human life sacred, always. Ahimsa
(non-violence) is one of India's most precious value. Yet, respect for life
is gradually being eroded, and a culture of death is spreading."
"The last national census (2011) shows that Rajasthan has 883 females
under the age of six per 1,000 males of the same age. In 2001, they were 909
(girls) per 1,000 (boys). This imbalance reflects a
serious social malaise."
India, the doctor noted, "is a patriarchal society. Discrimination against
women expresses itself in a very destructive fashion with female infanticides
and foeticides; this, despite the government's efforts to raise awareness in
the population." What is more, in Rajasthan, "the districts of Jaisalmer,
Brmer, Pali, Chittorgarh, Ganganagar and Jhunjhunu are notorious for killing
"Religious leaders, NGOs and government institutions must work together
to promote the value and dignity of girls," Carvalho said. For the "Catholic
Church, the sacredness of human life begins at conception," and "Many of its
hospitals are already teaching and promoting a culture of life, among patients."