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June 13, 2012 : India: Maharashtra’s Vanishing Girls

Maharashtra’s Vanishing Girls

For some time now, Maharashtra has straddled the line between being the first state to introduce 50 per cent reservation for women in local bodies and continuing a tradition in some parts to christen the fourth or fifth daughter “Nakushi”, Marathi for “unwanted”. Now a spate of discoveries of aborted foetuses, coming close on the heels of the death of a woman in a hospital in Beed district while she was undergoing an abortion, has brought back into sharp focus the persisting problem of female foeticide in one of the country’s most advanced states.
On May 18, Vijaymala Patekar, 30, was allegedly undergoing an illegal abortion at a hospital run by Dr Sudam Munde and his wife Dr Saraswati Munde, now on the run, in Parli in Beed. Around 9 pm, Patekar died due to severe bleeding. A postmortem at Ambejogai Medical College found the abortion had been done between weeks 18 and 20 of pregnancy, indicative of possible sex selection.
Police have charged the doctor couple, absconding for nearly a month, with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and causing death with an act done with the intent to cause miscarriage. Police reports indicate the Mundes own 170 acres of land and assets worth crores of rupees.
The couple have four previous cases against them, three of these involving female foetuses allegedly found on their premises. Amid an outcry against the government to arrest the couple, even officials have admitted that such doctors thrive because of a nexus with health officials and the support of political groups.

Reference: Indian Express