2 held after recovering children's bones in MP | india | Hindustan Times
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2 held after recovering children's bones in MP

Two people including a hospital superintendent were detained on Sunday, a day after police found 390 pieces of bones of newly born babies or foetuses in central India, officials said.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2007 20:32 IST

Two people including a hospital superintendent were detained on Sunday, a day after police found 390 pieces of bones of newly born babies or foetuses in central India, officials said.

The grisly recovery was made Saturday from a pit near a Christian missionary hospital, said JL Malpani, a local administrator of Ratlam district, some 230 kilometres (143 miles) west of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh state.

Ratlam police chief Satish Saxena said police conducted the search after a tip-off about illegal abortions being carried out at the hospital and the subsequent dumping of foetuses near it.

"Christian hospital superintendent P. Williams and sweeper Jairam have been detained for interrogations while the skulls and bones have been sent for forensic tests," said Saxena.

Police were probing whether this was a case of possible female foeticide, infanticide or illegal abortions, he said.

Despite laws banning sex determination tests, the killing of female foetuses is still common in India where there is a strong preference for boys.

Sons are seen as future breadwinners, while daughters are often considered a liability as parents have to pay costly dowries at the time of their marriages.

According to a census in 2001, India has only 933 females to 1,000 males.

"Though the skeletons are not intact, they appear to be of newborns or of aborted foetuses. It is difficult to ascertain their numbers or ages," Saxena said.

The discovery of skulls and bones in such large quantity has shocked the state. It comes some two months after the gruesome killings of about 21 children and women came to light in Noida.