ASIA NEWS REPORT:
by Nirmala Carvalho
families leave their baby daughters to die of hunger and thirst to get around
the law. In Jaisalmer District (one of the worst), five suspicious cases are
recorded this month. Its state has one of the worst female-to-male ratios
(883-1,000). For doctor with the Pontifical Academy for Life, "Religious
leaders, NGOs and government institutions must work together" against this
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
"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 baby
"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."
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