LUCKNOW (India) • A man digging a grave in northern India found a newborn girl buried alive, police said on Monday, in the latest case to shine a spotlight on female infanticide in the country.
Mr Hitesh Sirohi had gone to bury his own daughter, who had died a few minutes after birth, when his spade hit an earthen pot, local police in Uttar Pradesh state told Agence France-Presse.
"When he noticed a newborn girl inside it, he immediately rescued her and dialled... for help," said the police.
Mr Sirohi told The Times of India that he found the baby wrapped in cloth and crying, saying: "At one point, I thought that my daughter had come alive. But the voice was actually coming from the pot."
The newborn baby was taken to hospital, police said, adding that a local politician was paying for her expenses.
India has long struggled with female infanticide, which has become widespread because of parents' preference for sons - who are viewed as investments and heirs - while girls are seen as a liability.
The country is trying to bridge the sex-ratio gap with tough laws, as the country is faring badly with 940 females for every 1,000 males, according to the 2011 census.
Prenatal sex determination was outlawed in 1994, but families still use illegal methods or devices to discover the gender of foetuses and terminate pregnancies for unwanted girls.
Up to this number of girls had been aborted over three decades in India, according to a 2011 study in British medical journal The Lancet.
A 2011 study in British medical journal The Lancet found that up to 12 million girls had been aborted in the previous three decades in India.
In January this year, a three-week-old baby girl was found buried alive in Rajasthan state after locals heard her crying from a shallow grave, but she died after a few weeks in hospital.
In 2017, police in western Maharashtra state recovered 19 female foetuses from a sewer near a clinic. A doctor was arrested and charged with illegally aborting female foetuses for parents desperate for a boy.