The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Wife of 16 years, daughters killed for son

Patna, Nov. 8: The craving for a male child has led to a mother and two of her children being poisoned to death in Samastipur’s Bishanpur village, about 80 km from here.

Sunil Thakur, 45, a medicine wholesaler who owns 30 acres of farmland, decided he had had enough when his wife had a fifth daughter recently.

When Usha Devi, 37, his wife of 16 years, became pregnant in December last year, Sunil had thought his luck may change, but his hopes were soon dashed.

He angrily refused to go to the hospital to bring Usha home and took to drinking heavily.

The wholesaler soon began to pick up fights with his wife regularly.

On Thursday night, Sunil decided to put an end to “this trick of god on him”.

Seeing that Usha was about to serve dinner, he went to his storeroom, picked up a pesticide and mixed it with the food.

Usha, a two-year-old child and their one-and-a-half-month old infant were found dead the next morning.

A three-year-old daughter escaped death as she had fallen asleep before the food was served.

Two daughters — aged 12 and 11 — who stay with Usha’s parents in Halaiopi in the Kaunachowk police station area, escaped.

A case has been registered against Sunil and a manhunt launched.

Tulsia Devi, a chowkidar at Bishanpur village, said: “… Usha’s husband, who always wanted a son from his wife, cursed god for burdening him with five children before going underground.”

She added: “The couple would have been made for each other and looked happiest in their early (married) life. But the bitterness and frequent brawls started ever since Usha Devi bore female children year after year.”

.. Trivedi, a police inspector in charge of the investigations, confirmed that only three daughters stayed with Usha and Sunil.

A voluntary organisation, Aditi, which has been bringing cases of female infanticide to light, says the desire to have more male hands at work and the greed for dowry which only a male child can bring, has led to girl children being killed.

In one report, Aditi says 1,200 girl children are killed every year in Bihar’s Katihar district with the help of midwives. It adds that the practice is prevalent in other north Bihar districts too.

The Samastipur killings are the latest indication of the diseased attitude that men have towards girl children, an Aditi volunteer said.

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