In a suspected case of attempted female infanticide, a three-month-old is battling for life at Vani Vilas Hospital here after having been beaten up allegedly by her father.
Afreen was brought to the hospital with severe head injury as well as deep bite marks on the thigh and buttocks. She is in a coma state.
The infant's mother, Reshma Bhanu (19), has accused her husband, Umar Farook (25), of causing the injuries.
The father confessed to the police on interrogation that he tried to kill the child because he “wanted a boy and not a girl.”
Farook (25), who was arrested on Sunday evening, after the condition of his daughter hit the headlines, also confessed to having attempted to murder her on several occasions before, said the police.
Afreen continues to be in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit.
“The child is on ventilator and life support medicines. She is having convulsions and is being treated for it under sedation round-the-clock,” said Gangadhar Belvadi, Professor and Head of the Department of Paediatrics at Vani Vilas. Ophthalmological tests also revealed a bilateral retinal haemorrhage, he added.
The gruesome case is reminiscent of the torture and abandonment of baby Falak in Delhi recently.
The police dismissed reports that questioned the mental state of Farook.
A police official in the K.G. Halli police station, where Farook is lodged, said he was “mentally stable” and had made up his mind to kill his daughter since her birth. He had tried to suffocate her by forcing a cloth down her throat.
Ms. Bhanu said the child and herself suffered abuse at the hands of Farook. He had been assaulting the child for the past three months.
Speaking to The Hindu, Ms. Bhanu said that the family had spent over Rs. 30,000 on the child's treatment and was fast running out of money. “I don't know what to do if more money is required. We have pawned the gold we had kept aside for my sister also,” she said. The arrest of her husband is no solace to her at the moment. “Right now, I want my child to survive.”
Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson Nina P. Nayak visited the baby on Monday.