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Graveyard of unborn daughters
Over 100 female foetuses dug out of well near Patiala
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patran (Patiala), August 9
A mass grave of female foetus was detected today in a vacant plot owned by quacks Pritam Singh, an ex-serviceman and his wife Amarjit Kaur of this town, by a high-level team of state health authorities after it raided the premises of the local Sahib Hospital run by these quacks. They had been allegedly involved in illegal abortions for the past many years.

Residents of this town bordering Haryana, who were quite shocked, took out a march in the city to lodge protest against the anti-social activities of the quack couple. They also demanded that the couple should be given exemplary punishment. They also alleged that though health authorities were aware about illegal happenings that were taking place in the Sahib Hospital for the past many years, but no action was taken by them for the reasons best known to them.

Dr Varinder Singh Mohi, Civil Surgeon, Patiala, who led the raiding team, said it was difficult to tell the exact number of female foetus and placentas recovered from a deep and narrow well, which had been turned into a graveyard for female foetus by the accused, as the remains of placentas and foetus were extremely decomposed. Unconfirmed reports said that their number could cross over hundred.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that district health authorities had been trying to find out the exact number of female foetus, which had been dumped by the quack couple into the well, located in a vacant plot adjacent to their clinic, in the past many years after performing illegal abortions in their triple-storey clinic on the Patiala-Patran main road.

Dr Mohi, while confirming the registration of a criminal case under MTP Act against the quack couple and their subsequent arrest, said that as per a statement by two woman workers of that clinic made before the raiding team, the husband-wife duo had carried out about 35 illegal abortions and subsequently dumped 35 female foetus in that deep well in the past three months.

Not only this, acting swiftly on the situation, the district health authorities, with the help of district administration, also sealed an ultrasound centre located in Samana town, which was carrying out the pre-natal sex determination tests and subsequently sending pregnant women carrying females to Sahib clinic for illegal abortions.

Some instruments, used for carrying out abortions, were also recovered from that centre. A case against the owner of the centre had been registered. Another team had been sent to another ultrasound centre of Dirba town of Sangrur district, which was also allegedly involved in the similar activities.

Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, Deputy Commissioner, who gave all help to the raiding team, said that the case against the quack couple was being made fool-proof so that it could be taken to logical end.

Information revealed that one of the female workers, who was working in the hospital, spilled the beans after she developed some differences with the quack couple over payment of her salary. She disclosed everything to some prominent citizens, who then reported the matter to the district administration and health authorities.

When a raid was conducted at the clinic, the raiding team came to know that a well located in the vacant plot situated adjacent to the clinic was being used as a dumping ground for the female foetus.

Mr Munish Kumar, SDM, who coordinated the operation, said at first some poisonous gases were removed from the deep and narrow well. Then a trained man was sent inside the well. After about four to five hours, the man, who had gone inside the well, managed to bring some remains of placentas and foetus. Some glass jars, suspected to be containing some material connected with abortions, were also recovered. He added that the Civil Surgeon, Patiala, would be taking appropriate action in this regard.

A woman worker of Sahib hospital identified as Pooja, while talking to TNS said that illegal abortions were being performed on married women only. She added that quack couple had been charging Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000 per case from the persons concerned.

Meanwhile, the remains of placentas and foetus, which had been dug from the well, had been sent to the pathology laboratory at Rajindra Medical College for histopathological examinations to know their exact status.

Official figures revealed that so far the district health authorities had sealed about 12 ultrasound centres for their alleged involvement in conducting the sex determination test of foetus and five clinics, which were involved in carrying out illegal termination of pregnancy in the current year.




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