MUMBAI: Indian police said on Monday they had found 19 aborted female foetuses dumped in a sewer in the western state of Maharashtra, highlighting the country’s problem of female foeticide.
Prenatal sex tests are illegal in India, a policy designed to stop unborn girls being aborted by parents desperate for a boy. But the tests are still thought to be common, particularly in poor rural areas, and sex ratios are skewed towards males across India.
“We have recovered 19 foetuses and are trying to arrest the doctor, who is absconding,” said Dattatray Shinde, a police superintendent in Maharasthra’s Sangli district. He said the foetuses were found late on Sunday wrapped in blue plastic bags in a sewer next to a clinic run by doctor Babasaheb Khidrapure in the village of Mhaisal.
Officers made the discovery after a 26-year-old woman died during a failed abortion attempt at the surgery, Shinde said. “We have arrested the victim’s husband Praveen Jamdade for pressuring her into an abortion,” he said.
Parents and doctors can be jailed for up to five years for requesting or conducting a pre-natal sex test.
A 2011 study in the British medical journal The Lancet found that up to 12 million girls had been aborted in the last three decades in India. India had 940 females for every 1,000 males, according to the last official census published in 2011, up from 933 in 2001.
In Sangli, where the foetuses were found, there are just 867 girls per 1,000 boys, the figures show. -AFP