Sunday, July 8, 2007

HYDERABAD, India (Agence France-Presse) — A baby girl buried alive by her grandfather in southern India was rescued and yesterday was reported in good condition, hospital officials said.

The child’s grandfather and mother were arrested for attempted murder following the baby’s rescue in Mahbubnagar district, 100 miles south of Hyderabad, capital of Andhra Pradesh state.

“The baby is doing well,” said Dr. Madhav Rao at Niloufer government hospital. “She’s quite active and all vital organs are functioning well.”

The baby was only 2 days old when she was saved Thursday by passers-by who saw stray dogs digging up a graveyard pit that had a child’s hand sticking out, police said.

They “dug open the pit and found the baby girl alive and crying,” police official Mohan Rao said.

The rescuers called police, who took the baby to a hospital, he said.

“After she stabilizes, we will shift her to the government-run facility for abandoned and orphaned children in Hyderabad,” he said.

The child was born Tuesday to Mariam Bee, 21, who had been abandoned by her husband.

Mrs. Bee’s father, a small-time scrap dealer identified only as Rahman, decided to get rid of the child as he “felt it would be a burden for him to take care of the baby” because he already had seven daughters, the police officer said.

Early Thursday, Rahman, 40, and another relative buried the baby in the graveyard, police said. The grandfather, the infant’s mother and another relative face charges of attempted murder and other charges.

Female feticide and infanticide are not uncommon in India despite being outlawed. India has 927 girls for every 1,000 boys under age 6 as opposed to a worldwide average of 1,050 girls.

Hundreds of thousands of unborn girls are killed each year in India, where families prize sons who are typically seen as breadwinners and are also needed to light their parents’ funeral pyres according to Hindu rituals.

Girls are often viewed as a burden because of hefty matrimonial dowries demanded by grooms’ families.

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