The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dogs, not humans, want girl child

Calcutta, Oct. 6: One more unwanted girl child today succumbed to the malaise of female infanticide, this time in the heart of the city, but not before street dogs had tried to sink their teeth into her tender flesh.

Unidentified persons had dumped the newborn this morning under an ambulance at Medical College and Hospital after wrapping her in layers of polythene. She was still alive at 10.30 when junior doctors passing the ambulance parked near Eden ward were drawn to an 'object' that seemed to be moving, with the dogs trying to pull it out.

'The baby was hardly moving but it was still alive,' said a hospital employee.

She was rushed to the emergency ward, but it was too late. 'Instead of reviving her, we had to send the body for post-mortem,' said deputy superintendent Amarendra Biswas.

'Someone from outside dumped the baby,' Biswas added. 'We checked our records and found this does not relate to any person admitted in the labour ward.'

This is not the first time an incident like this has happened at the hospital. A few months ago, a newborn girl was dumped inside the main gate.

Hours before the newborn was dumped this morning, a mother threw her one-day-old daughter from the terrace of the Behala house where she worked as a domestic help. Sumitra Biswas, 40, a divorcee for the past 10 years, gave birth last evening. At 11.36, she hurled her baby into a tree. 'We suspect Biswas killed the baby since it was illegitimate,' SP (South 24-Parganas) S.. Gupta said.

City doctors say female infanticide is common in Calcutta and even among educated families. They say 15 out of every 100 women do not want to take a girl child back home.

The latest census is proof of the gender bias. Calcutta, where sex-determination tests are catching on despite a ban, has a lower sex ratio than the state. The city has 828 females, compared to Bengal's 934, for every 1,000 males.

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