KEY POINTS

  • The mother took the baby from the ward and killed her
  • Preliminary autopsy report suggested strangulation to be the cause of death
  • The police also blamed the negligence of the hospital staff

Parents of a newborn baby girl were arrested for allegedly strangling the child to death in a hospital.

The incident took place in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and police identified the accused as Anju Rawat and Shailendra Rawat.

"Anju gave birth to a girl four days ago in Morena district hospital. The baby was admitted to a Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of the hospital. On Wednesday afternoon, Anju took the baby out of the SNCU ward to feed her. But when she did not return after an hour, the staff nurse called the father of the baby. Shailendra said they would not return as the baby has died," the Hindustan Times quoted a police officer as saying.  

The doctor in-charge sent the newborn baby's body for an autopsy and preliminary report suggested strangulation to be the cause of death. It was not clear from where in the hospital the baby's body was found after she was taken by her mother.

The child's parents were questioned about the death and were arrested Thursday. 

The couple was booked under Section 302 (murder) for female infanticide of Indian Penal Code. The police also blamed the hospital staff for negligence in the incident. 

In a recent incident, a newborn baby died after her mother allegedly fed her milk laced with poison in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

The poverty-stricken and debt-ridden mother already had two children. The child died Aug. 27, but the cause of death was revealed only after the autopsy results were out last month.

Police said the 29-year-old unidentified woman was arrested and the court sent her to jail after she confessed to killing her newborn.

Every 50 seconds a girl-child is killed in India. The United Nations Population Fund released the State of World Population report titled “Against My Will – Defying The Practices That Harm Women And Girls” on June 30, which emphasized some people's preference for a son over a daughter in certain parts of India. Female infanticide in the country has increased due this preference and women face immense pressure to give birth to a male child, not only in rural but also in certain urban parts of the country.

The 2020 State of World Population Report indicated more than 140 million females were considered missing as a consequence of gender-biased sex selection and also postnatal sex selection.

newborn Representational image. Photo: Getty Images/Christopher Furlong