India: New born girl dumped, buried alive in Odisha, police suspects female infanticide
Reuters (Representational Image)

A new born girl was rescued, who was buried alive, was rescued by villagers in eastern India, officials said on Monday. This is the latest case in the country highlighting the problem of female infanticide.

Reports said the girl, believed to no more than six hours old, was left to die in a shallow sand pit in a field in Jajpur district in impoverished Odisha state. A passerby spotted her feet poking through the ground on Saturday. The officials said the baby was rushed to the hospital where she is under observation.

"She is doing fine and all her parameters are normal. She is a full term baby, weighing around 2.5 kg," Fanindra Kumar Panigrahi, chief medical officer of Jajpur district told AFP. "Her umbilical cord was intact and body was still covered with vernix." he said.

The hospital staff have named the girl Dharitri, a Sanskrit word meaning "the earth". After getting discharged from the hospital, the baby girl will be handed over to the state-run child welfare committee.

The police suspect that the newborn was abandoned either by her parents because of her gender or the mother had been an unmarried woman. "We are trying to track the parents of the girl. Chances are it was a case of female feticide and it is clear that the accused wanted to kill her," local police officer Jyoti Prakash Panda said.

The police recovered at least 19 female fetuses were recovered from a sewer in western Maharashtra state, earlier this month. They accused a doctor of illegally aborting them for parents desperate for a boy. Meanwhile, a female foetus was found buried near a sewer in New Delhi on Monday. A few dogs were spotted digging the earth around it.

According to the last official census in 2011, India is struggling to bridge the sex ratio gap with tough laws as the country fares badly with 940 females for every 1,000 males. Although, India has banned prenatal sex determination to stop its misuse, but the tests are still thought to be common, particularly in poor rural areas.

The Lancet, the British medical journal published a 2011 study that found up to 12 million girls had been aborted in the last three decades in India.