Their lives were snuffed out — before they could take their first breaths, before they could partake of the myriad ecstasies and agonies that life offers — only because they were not born as males.
Delhi, the Capital of India that claims to be one of the most developed cities in the country, stood a silent witness to the deaths of nearly 100 newborn baby girls, in the year gone by.
Some of them were killed in the wombs of their mothers, while they were still foetuses.
In the past one year, the city saw as many as 97 newborn baby deaths.
And their killers adopted many ‘ingenious’ methods to get rid of the very gender that gives birth to them.
So, while some infants were left to die in drains, others were thrown into public toilets and garbage dumps.
Most heinously, the unluckiest of them all, were abandoned in the wild and left for animals to feed on.
In the last month itself, three infants have been abandoned in the city, out of whom, one died.
While two newborns were left with hospital workers, a seven-year-old girl was abandoned at south Delhi’s Ansal Plaza mall.
Similarly, on January 19, a newborn girl’s body was found floating in a sewage rain near north Delhi’s Sarai Rohilla.
Police said she was only a few hours old when she was thrown into the ditch.
Also, in a recent incident, the two couples who abandoned their newborn daughters at the city’s Kalawati Saran and Bara Hindu Rao hospitals, reportedly did so with the consent of hospital authorities.
Cases on the rise in Capital’s rural belt:
According to the police, a number of cases of female infanticide have been reported from the rural belt in west, northwest and outer Delhi.
But south and New Delhi areas have also been witness to female infanticide.
Last year, the head of a newborn baby girl, who was allegedly eaten up by dogs, was found in the Maurya Enclave area of northwest Delhi.
According to the police, passersby discovered the head when they noticed a strong stench emanating from an isolated field in C-D Block of the area.
The police believed that the girl was thrown away in the nearby dumpster by her parents, as she was born a girl.
Police helpless in curbing infanticide:
Even after making consistent efforts, the police have not been able to do much to curb the practice.
“It is a social evil. When we find the body of a newborn baby, we send it for post-mortem and in some cases, even send samples for DNA analysis,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to
“But hardly do those who dump these hapless babies are caught. Most such deliveries take place in private hospitals and even at homes in rural areas,” the officer added.
“We are not able to get records in most cases.”
Clearly, if this does not serve as a wake-up call for Delhi, nothing else can.