Four suspected cases of female infanticide in Jaisalmer this month

In a severe blow to the Rajasthan government’s campaign to save the girl child, four suspected cases of female infanticide have come up in Jaisalmer district since early this month. The shocking cases involve newborn girls either being starved to death or left to die without medical treatment during sickness.

According to police sources, the suspicious cases have been recorded in different areas after the parents of baby girls allegedly left them to die of hunger and thirst. Three newborns were found buried in the backyard of their houses and the condition of the corpses suggested that severe malnutrition was the cause of death. Jaisalmer district has a child sex ratio of 825 girls for every 1,000 boys as against the State’s average of 863 girls of up to six years of age, according to the 2011 Census projections.

Police have arrested one Dileep Singh in Sangad village on charges of deliberately denying treatment to his infant daughter after the Fatehgarh sub-divisional officer submitted a report in this regard. A special team has recovered the baby’s body for autopsy, while the accused has been remanded in judicial custody for 15 days.

“Dileep Singh’s interrogation revealed that he had completely neglected his daughter during [her] illness and left her to die,” said Jaisalmer SP Mamta Bishnoi said on Thursday.

Three other baby girls have died of unknown causes during the past few days in Tejmalta and Mandai villages. A girl, born on June 8 in full health, was brought to the Jhinjhinyali primary health centre in a serious condition the next day. She died of malnutrition.

Ms. Bishnoi said the death of another baby girl was reported the same day, after which her entire family has been missing. Police are still trying to trace the family.

In Mandai village, police exhumed the body of an infant girl from a grave in the backyard of a house after getting a tip-off about her death in suspicious circumstances. Though the girl was born to one Guddi Kanwari through normal delivery, the family said it was a case of premature delivery and the infant did not survive.

A case has been registered against the girl’s family members under Section 315 (act done with intent to prevent child being born alive or to cause it to die after birth) of Indian Penal Code and an investigation is in progress. The Forensic Science Laboratory is also assisting the probe.

The district administration, pushed into action after a series of these incidents, has issued general instructions that all the cases of newborn girls’ deaths have to be communicated compulsorily to any of the authorities, such as the revenue officer, municipal officer, panchayat functionary or the police station.

The administration is also reportedly peeved at the “inhuman methods” adopted by the people to dispose of the bodies in order to escape the law. They pour salt or other chemical agents on the corpses to accelerate the process of decomposition, which hampers the post-mortem process.