Close on heels of the abandoned pre-term baby found buried in a farm in Sabarkantha district Thursday, the police, traced her parents a day later. The new-born was alive when she was “excavated” from the pit where she was buried.
“It was heart wrenching to bury her alive,” narrated a sobbing Manjuben Bajadia. The couple are OBC members with a bare livelihood as farm labourers. She recounted the struggle of daily existence in absence of a job during the past six months. “We have a four-year old son also to take care of. How would we feed our girl? We ultimately left her in Earth’s pit,” she added inconsolably.
The couple, Manjulaben and her husband Shailesh Bajadia, were arrested by Gujarat Police on Friday. Ever since the baby was rescued, the police were on trail and closely gathered all available CCTV footage in the vicinity. After the deed, while Manjulaben returned to Madsa village, her husband left for Sarsai village.
Confirming the arrest, Sabarkantha district DSP, Vishal Kumar Vaghela, told Vo!: “They have been charged with abandonment and attempt to murder the new-born. During interrogation, the parents confessed that the baby was born prematurely. While the father kept guard, the mother owned up to burying the baby girl.” The case was cracked by joint efforts of the Local Crime Branch (LCB), Special Operations Group (SOG) and Gambhoi Police.
Vaghela added that the parents will be taken into judicial custody and after legal and medical deliberations, a decision will be taken on whom to hand over the child.
It may be recalled that VO! earlier reported how Jitendrasinh Manharsinh Dabhi on his usual morning round at his farm in Gambhoi village, Himmatnagar Taluka in Sabarkantha district came upon something writhing “within the mud.” 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.
Dr Geet Gunjan, who is supervising the child at the hospital, said “Her airways were temporarily cleaned, but we did it again and cleaned her with water. She is now on ventilator at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). All precautions are being taken to ensure full recovery of the child.”
Unemployment in Gujarat
This incident also raises concerns over unemployment in Gujarat. According to the state’s Employment Exchange Department, there are four lakh unemployed people registered as of March 2021. Of them 3,85,506 are literate and just five percent are semi-skilled. The highest number of unemployed youths, 26,921, were registered in the Vadodara district, followed by Ahmedabad (26,628), Anand (22,515), and Rajkot (18,997), Kheda (16,163).
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