M A I N   N E W S

Infant girl’s mauled body found at Metro station
Aditi Tandon/TNS

Capital Shame

n Two-day-old was abandoned right after birth
n FIR section prescribes maximum 2-year jail for infanticide
n Police suspect dogs attacked the infant; find no witnesses

New Delhi, May 20
On a day when the Prime Minister’s Office convened a high-level ministerial meeting to discuss the declining child sex ratio in India, the Capital bared its ugly anti-girl child face, with the recovery of a mauled body of a two-day-old girl from a Metro station in West Delhi.

Dumped in a blood-soaked gunny bag, the body caught the eye of passersby at the Ranjit Nagar Metro Station. Though the station sees heavy passenger rush throughout the day, no witness of the dumping act was available.

From the state of the body — it had severe injuries on the neck and one leg and hand were half-severed -- it was evident that the newborn had been abandoned right after birth. Strangely, police investigating the matter hastened to conclude that the injuries were caused by dog bites. Their claims are yet to be corroborated by a postmortem.

The case is not an isolated one though the ACP in-charge of the area, BR Mann, today admitted that it was one of the most shocking in terms of injuries to the child. As happens in most cases involving abandonment of newborns, mostly girls, FIR in the current case has been registered under Section 318 of the IPC, which deals with infanticide and concealment of birth by secret disposal of a newborn’s body.

Ironically, this Section makes a mockery of the victim by providing for a painfully meager penalty. The offence under it is bailable and, if proved, punishable only with a maximum imprisonment of two years and a fine or both. That explains why child rights activists want the disposal of a newborn’s body under Section 318 to be treated at par with murder in terms of punishment and Section 302 of the IPC to be attached along with.

“Though we have a very strict law -- the Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostics Techniques Act — to prevent foeticide, we have none to curb infanticide. Because there is no fear of punishment, parents choose to abandon girl children and get away. Section 318 needs an urgent amendment so that the disposal of a child’s body can be equated to murder,” Bharti Ali of HAQ, a centre for child rights, told The Tribune. She admitted there was tremendous underreporting of abandonment cases because the police lodge FIRs only in those few where they think they can find the culprits.





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