Crimes against newborns and the unborn: India
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
The main crimes committed
The Times of India, Sep 03 2016
Maharashtra is among the first three states when it comes to crimes against newborns and the unborn, according to the latest round of data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
When it comes to abandonment of newborns, it is number one (1,093 cases during 2011-2015), and in infanticide and foeticide, number two (39 and 69 cases), as per the NCRB's 2015 report. On an average, each year sees 219 cases of abandonment, eight cases of infanticide and 14 cases of foeticide in Maharashtra.
In abandonment, the state is followed by Rajasthan (851 cases during 2011-2015), Madhya Pradesh (641), Gujarat (445) and Karnataka (323). In infanticide, Madhya Pradesh leads with 77 cases, followed by Rajasthan (65), Maharashtra, Karnataka (26) and Gujarat (2). In foeticide, again, Madhya Pradesh leads (228 cases), followed by Rajasthan (121), Maharashtra, Gujarat (10) and Karnataka (5).
The maximum punishment for infanticide and foeticide is 10 years and fine. For abandonment, it is seven years and fine. Investigators say abandonment is found in ru ral areas mainly because of poverty and also because girls are unwanted.
MUMBAI: Delhi recorded the highest number of infants abandoned in any Indian city between 2015 and 2020, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s 2020 report. Among states, Maharashtra saw the highest number of abandoned babies, foeticides and infanticides combined across the country within the same period, accounting for 18.3% of the national tally of 6,459.
While Maharashtra topped the list with 1,184 cases, Madhya Pradesh was second with 1,168 cases, followed by Rajasthan (814), Karnataka (771), and Gujarat (650).
Among cities, Delhi tops the list with 221 cases, followed by Bengaluru (156), Mumbai, Ahmedabad (75), and Indore (65). A senior IPS officer said, “The cases and reasons vary in urban and rural areas. In urban areas, they could be socio-economic. While in rural areas, it could be the girl child issue. These cases are given top priority in investigation.”
In police parlance, abandonment is registered under three categories: infanticide, foeticide, and finally exposure and abandonment of a child.
Investigators said infanticide and foeticide mainly occurs in the context of poverty, and female foeticide is perceived as an economic choice. Other reasons include the dowry system, deformed infants, famine, lack of support services and postpartum depression.
Following the Covid outbreak, which affected the total number of births, Maharashtra also witnessed a dip in the number of newborns abandoned. According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s 2020 report, 143 cases occurred in Maharashtra in 2020, as against 184 in the previous year.
In most cases, on being tracked down by the police, the person who abandoned the infant doesn’t want the child back due to social stigma, said cops. As recently as December 23, the Meghwadi police found a day-old boy on the roadside in Jogeshwari. “We immediately admitted the newborn to hospital. We are searching for the person who abandoned the child. Normally, the team tries to locate the person and counsel them, and tries to understand their reason for taking such an extreme step,” said Sanjay Pimple, senior inspector at Meghwadi police station.
On November 14, another newborn was dumped in a nullah in Ghatkopar. “The baby girl was handed over to a Chembur-based NGO. We are trying to find the baby’s mother. On finding her, counselling sessions will be held,” said constable Sheetal Sonawane.