India Catches Man With 14,000 Abortion Pills in Luggage

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 1, 2011   |   6:20PM   |   Mumbai, India

Officials in India have apprehended a man with 14,000 abortion pills in his luggage carefully place in food containers meant to conceal the pills.

Customers officers found the abortion drugs after searching the luggage of Yusuf Masalawala, 54, who was arrested afterwards.

“At first glance, the packets could have passed off as a box of biscuits or eatables,” an officer said, according to the DNA news service. Masalawala is a Bandra resident who was returning from Singapore when he was found to be possessing the 14,000 Misoprostol. Assistant commissioner Sameer Wankhede searched him on Monday after he was detain ed on entry back into India.

“He cannot carry any medicines without prescription and 14,000 tablets cannot possibly be for personal use. The case may take a serious turn if it’s confirmed that these pills are adulterated,” Wankhede told the news service.

“We arrested him and produced him in the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court. He was granted bail on a surety of Rs1 lakh. Though we recorded his statement and he confessed, it will not be right to share the details as of now, as it may alert his allies,” added additional commissioner, AIU, Mahendra Pal.

Officials are now conducing a probe to find out whether Masalawala planned to sell the drug, which is part of the two-drug process used to kill an unborn child in a chemical abortion, to pharmacies or stores in India.

DNA indicates Masalawala allegedly confessed to the crime and said he was paid with two airline tickets in exchange for attempting to import the abortion drugs to the Asian nation, where abortion is legal. He reportedly has a history of smuggling electronic goods and other items through airports — which is what tipped officials off to the possibility that his luggage may have contraband.

Abortions are reportedly dropping in India even though they are frequently done for sex-selection purposes.

Last September, a new governmental report showed the number of abortions in India on the decline, but it said more than 6 million abortions are still done annually in the Asian nation. Family Welfare Statistics showed 6.41 million abortions done at 12,510 different institutions in 2008. That’s an improvement over the 7.25 million abortions estimated in 2005, the 7.21 million abortions in 2006, and the 6.82 million abortions in 2007.

The high abortion totals for Indiana regions include Uttar Pradesh, which saw 89,194 abortions in 2008 followed by the 63,875 abortions done in Tamil Nadu, according to figures from the Times of India. The Indian states of Orissa, Assam and Maharashtra rounded out the top five.