Father and uncle ‘buried baby girl alive to protect family’s children from serious illnesses’ in India0 Comments Published June 3rd, 2012 in Family, India
By Chris Hanlon published 12 May 2012
The father of a six-week-old baby girl has been arrested, along with the child’s uncle, on suspicion of attempted murder after allegedly trying to bury her alive in the belief it would protect his other children from illness.
A worker at a burial ground in Pilkhuwa, 100km south-west of New Delhi, alerted police after he saw two men attempting to bury baby Radhika in a shallow grave.
Dinesh Kumar, the parent, and his brother claim a local guru instructed them to carry out the shocking act as a means off warding off further bad luck after the family lost another child to an incurable disease last year.
Radhika, now two months old, is in hospital recovering from dehydration and malnutrition.
In what could be the third such case in the last month, a local journalist has blamed poverty and illiteracy for the persistence of superstitions.
Radhika’s mother Bharati Rani, who denies any involvement, said: ‘Tell me which mother would want to kill her own child,’ according to the BBC.
But graveyard caretaker Sriram Kore said: ‘There, you can still see the signs,’ indicating a half-dug grave.
He said he found Radhika’s father and uncle digging the grave beside ritual offerings.
‘They had a little bundle with them – a dead girl they said they wanted to bury. But I could see she was alive. So I called the police immediately,’ Mr Kore added.
The father and uncle had allegedly left ‘offerings’ next to the half-dug grave on the advice of a guru.
Police have so far not been able to trace the guru allegedly involved.
In India, female children are often regarded as a burden because tradition requires large dowry fees to be paid to the other family when they are married.
The country has among the highest female infant mortality rates in the world.
The ratio in the 2011 census was 914 girls for every 1,000 boys, in comparison to 950 girls for every 1,000 boys worldwide.
Local journalist Mohammad Naseem says he has covered dozens of similar stories, including three in the past month alone.