Mumbai (AsiaNews) – A man has been accused of beating to death his six-month pregnant wife after finding out she was carrying another girl. The crime took place in Shankarmut, C Bellagal Mandal, in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh.
The couple already had two daughters. After tests revealed she would have another one, Prakash Chari told his wife last Tuesday to have an abortion. When she refused, he beat her.
Neighbours rushed the seriously injured woman to a nearby hospital, but she died of her injuries the next day.
The two were married six years ago, police said. A first information report has been filed and an investigation is underway. Prakash has been arrested, but he denies ever approaching a hospital to determine the sex of the foetus.
“This is very disturbing and is a matter of grave concern,” Dr Pascoal Carvalho, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told AsiaNews.
“Despite a ban on ultra-sounds for the sole purpose of determining a foetus’ sex, in India the problem is spreading,” he explained. “The deep-rooted social evil of gender prejudice in India leaves 600,000 Indian girls missing every year,” if a normal sex ratio prevailed.
For Dr Carvalho, who is also a member of the Diocesan Human Life Committee, “Women have been under tremendous pressure to produce male heirs,” because boys “are seen as wage-earners and future family leaders and traditional inheritor, while the threat of the infamous dowry system adds to the belief that baby girls are a financial burden.”
“In the 2011 census, statistics reveal that among children six and under, there are only 914 girls counted for every 1,000 boys. The gender imbalance is at its highest level since they started keeping records at the time of the country’s independence in 1947.”