In a shocking incident that questions the Beti Bachao campaign spearheaded by Gujarat, a prematurely-born female baby was found buried in a farm in Sabarkantha, Thursday. The new-born was alive when she was “excavated” from the pit where she was buried.
Jitendrasinh Manharsinh Dabhi was on his usual morning round at his farm in Gambhoi village, Himmatnagar Taluka in Sabarkantha district when, something writhing “within the mud,” caught his attention. He asked the farm help, Jasubhai Parmar, to inspect closely. On raking the mud with his hands, Parmar saw tiny human feet. Soon, there was a commotion and employees from the adjacent electricity office came in to help out.
Careful not to use a shovel or any other tool, the gathering gently dug into the layers. “We were apprehensive that it could be a creepy crawly that usually lie in wait during monsoons. However, when we heard that infantile wail, we were determined to get the baby out,” shared Dabhi.
The group soon dug out mud with their bare hands and saw the little girl, about a kilo, with her umbilical cord attached. She was rushed to the Himmatnagar Civil Hospital. According to the resident medical officer, Dr N.H. Shah: “She is a premature baby, out at seven months. The ghastly burial must have taken about three-hours prior to her rescue. We estimate the deed took place anytime between 4 am and 8 am Thursday morning.”
A 108 Emergency Service team rushed to the spot on receiving the call. Shortly afterwards, supervisor Jaimin Patel arranged for emergency medical technicians (EMT) to resuscitate the infant while on her way to the local hospital. EMT Prakash Vankar and ambulance pilot Arakha Tirgar, under the guidance of a doctor in the control room, used a suction pump to clear the baby’s airways. A Bag Valve Mask (BVM) was used for temporary ventilation enroute the GMERS Himmatnagar MCH.
A complaint has been filed in the Gambhoi police station. All CCTV footage is being examined and efforts are afoot to trace the “offending parents,” shared sub-inspector, EF Thakor, adding that an FIR has been registered under Sec 307 (attempt to murder).
The matter was also reported to Sabarkantha district’s Superintendent of Police Vishalkumar Vaghela, who, confirmed that, when found, the girl “was miraculously still breathing.” He added that an investigation is on also to nab the doctor who delivered the baby. “We have identified one suspicious person so far,” he added.
Placed under Dr Geet Gunjan, HoD Paediatrics, the baby is reportedly doing well. “She is about half the weight of a healthy full-term baby. Her airways were temporarily cleaned, but we cleaned her with water again before putting her on a ventilator in the NICU,” briefed Dr Gunjan.
Abandoned New-borns a Norm in Gujarat?
Gujarat ranks a shocking third in the country where it comes to new-borns being abandoned, according to a report by National Crime Records Bureau. As many as 660 new-borns were abandoned between 2007 and 2011. Only Maharashtra with 1,232 cases and Rajasthan with 674 cases are ahead of the state. Experts believe that the number of girls abandoned is disproportionately high in Gujarat.
As per the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report, India accounts for almost one-third (32.1 percent) of the total 142.6 million missing females in the world and is the second highest contributor.
In 2011, Gujarat saw 105 incidents of new-borns being abandoned with Ahmedabad and Surat reporting 18 cases each. The numbers were much lower in Vadodara (6) and Rajkot (1). In all, 1,131 crimes were reported against children in 2011, making up 3.4 percent of all IPC cases registered in the state.