Baby girl tortured by father, this time in Bangalore (Second Lead)

April 9th, 2012 - 8:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore/New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) She has a severe head injury, bite marks all over her body and is on life support in a Bangalore hospital. The shocking case of three-month-old Afreen - allegedly battered by her own father as he wanted a male child - came to light Monday.

Afreen, who was allegedly tortured Thursday, has suffered brain haemorrhage, doctors attending to her at the government-run Vani Vilas Hospital in Bangalore told reporters.

The baby’s father Umar Farook, 25, was arrested late Sunday on a complaint from his 19-year-old wife Reshma Bhanu, police said.

This is perhaps the first such case reported in recent years in Bangalore. But in a country with a lopsided sex ratio of 914 females per 1,000 males - as per the provisional data of the 2011 Census - it added another shameful chapter to the history of abandoned, battered and unwanted girl children.

The case comes close on the heels of battered baby Falak, who died late last month at the reputed All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi after battling for life for nearly two months.

Police said Afreen’s mother Reshma told them that Farook, who works in a shop in the busy Shivajinagar area of Bangalore’s central business district, had been frequently torturing the baby to kill her as he wanted a son.

Police said besides severe head injury, leading to haemorrhage, there were bite marks on several parts of the baby’s body. The baby is on ventilator and doctors said only after 48 hours of observation could they comment on her chances of recovery.

Farook, however, told a TV channel that he has not tortured the baby. Asked why then his wife was asserting that he had done so, he said in Hindi, “I don’t know.”

Reshma and Farook were married in December 2010, police said.

The incident came to light after doctors at the Vani Vilas Hospital informed the state Child Welfare Committee about the admission of a tortured baby. The committee in turn alerted police.

In New Delhi, Shanta Sinha, chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), described the incident as “shocking” and said an inquiry will be conducted.

“Really it’s shocking, alarming…the man has to be booked for attempting to murder the child,” Sinha said. “We will certainly call for an inquiry… but I think somewhere the government has to keep a watch on every girl born.”

Referring to an incident in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, where a newborn baby girl was abandoned by two couples fighting over a baby boy last month, Sinha said “…some are denying they had a girl…There is an all pervasive atmosphere that does not welcome a girl’s arrival”.

According to a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report, although a marginal increase in general sex ratio at the national level was observed between 1981 and 2001, the child sex ratio continued to decline over five decades.

Earlier this month, two baby girls were found abandoned - one on the roadside, another in hospital - in two separate incidents in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

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