Baby found buried alive highlights India’s battle to protect girls

In 2017, police found nearly 20 aborted fetuses dumped in plastic bags in the western state of Maharashtra. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 14 October 2019

Baby found buried alive highlights India’s battle to protect girls

  • A couple discovered the youngster inside an earthen pot buried several feet deep
  • India has seen a dwindling number of girls as illegal abortions of female fetuses continue

NEW DELHI: A baby girl found buried alive in India was a suspected case of female infanticide, police said on Monday, the latest to highlight the preference for sons in a country where the number of girls has been declining.
A couple, who went to bury their newborn at a grave after she died in hospital, discovered the youngster inside an earthen pot buried several feet deep, said a police officer in Bareilly city in northern Uttar Pradesh state.
“Their spade hit the pot and they heard a baby’s cries coming from it,” the officer told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.
“They immediately called the cemetery guard, who said that he saw the parents there earlier. It seems to be a case of female infanticide,” he said, adding that the baby was about five days old.
The baby was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she is recovering, he said. Police are looking for the parents.
India has seen a dwindling number of girls, according to a government survey released in July, suggesting that illegal abortions of female fetuses continue despite a ban and government efforts to save girl children.
It showed that India’s gender ratio, or the number of females per 1,000 males, was 896 in the period of 2015-17, down from 898 in 2014-16 and 900 in 2013-15. The number was 943 in the last census of 2011.
Indian laws ban doctors and health workers from sharing an unborn child’s sex with the parents, or carrying out tests to determine the child’s gender. Only registered medical practitioners are allowed to perform abortions.
Yet female feticide is common in parts of India. Daughters are often seen as a burden, with families having to pay dowries when they marry, while sons are prized as breadwinners who can inherit property and continue the family name.
In 2017, police found nearly 20 aborted fetuses dumped in plastic bags in the western state of Maharashtra.


Spain set for money laundering trial against uncle of Syria’s Assad

Updated 22 November 2019

Spain set for money laundering trial against uncle of Syria’s Assad

  • Rifaat Assad turned against the government in 1984 after a power struggle over who would succeed his older brother, Hafez
  • Rifaat Assad is also facing trial in France for allegedly acquiring millions of euros worth of French property assets

MADRID: Spain is heading toward a money laundering trial against an uncle of Syrian president Bashar Assad, the High Court said on Friday, after an investigating judge finished his probe.
The prosecuting office has ten days to comment on the judge’s recommendation that the case goes ahead, which is considered a formality, after which a trial start date will be set, the court said.
Two years ago, the High Court confiscated over €600 million ($663.24 million) of assets thought to be linked to Rifaat Assad.
He is a former military commander, widely held responsible for crushing an uprising in 1982 against then-president Hafez Assad, Bashar’s father. Many thousands were killed.
Rifaat Assad turned against the government in 1984 after a power struggle over who would succeed his older brother, Hafez. He now lives in exile between France and Britain.
He is also facing trial in France for allegedly acquiring millions of euros worth of French property assets.