Discrimination against girls through abortion and infanticide is rampant in India.
This week, the India Times reported another horrifying abuse case where a newborn baby girl allegedly was buried alive by her parents, likely because she was a girl. According to the report, the family already had five older daughters.
Someone rescued the baby girl on Saturday in the Jajpur district of Odisha, India after seeing her feet move above the ground, according to the report. Authorities said the newborn girl immediately was taken to the hospital; her umbilical cord still was attached. None of the reports indicate if charges have been filed against the parents.
Here’s more from The Indian Express:
“An ASHA worker of Anjira panchayat came to the CHC with the rescued baby girl. The newborn is believed to be between 04 and 06 hours old. The girl was in a critical condition. We immediately started her treatment and stabilised her condition,” said Chintamani Mishra, Medical officer of Dharmasala CHC.
“The baby was buried upside down. She was wrapped in a cloth. We found two small feet above the ground and believed that the baby was alive,” said Alok Ranjan Rout, who rescued the infant.
In the past few years, other reports of girls being buried alive by their families also have surfaced in India. In 2012, the BBC reported the father and uncle of a newborn girl were arrested after they allegedly tried to bury the girl alive in Pilkhua, India. In that case, a graveyard caretaker rescued the girl.
Experts estimate millions of girls are missing in India due to sex-selection abortions and infanticide. Culturally, girls often are viewed as financial burdens because of dowries and other practices.
The 2011 India census data shows there are 914 girls for every 1,000 boys under age 7 – the most unbalanced gender ratios in the world, according to the BBC. In some parts of the country, the problem is even worse. For example, in the Indian state of Tiruvannamalai, men outnumber women at a ratio of 1,000 to 878.
Discrimination against girls has become such a huge problem in India that doctors are prohibited from telling parents the sex of their unborn baby. However, the practice still occurs.
Some research suggests that wealth, not poverty, may be linked to gender discrimination. A 2016 analysis of the data by India Spend found that the per capita income in India rose nearly 10 times at the same time as the ratio of boys to girls dropped.
The analysis found that the wealthiest states in India tended to have the most disproportionate ratios of boys to girls. For example, Delhi has the second highest per capita income but its ratio of boys to girls is 1,000 to 896, according to the report.
According to the report, one explanation could be that wealthier families can afford ultrasounds and tests to determine whether the unborn baby is a boy or girl.