On Oct. 10, Hitesh Kumar and his wife, Vaishali, of Bareilly, India, experienced a tragic loss when their little girl was born dead.
They took their daughter to be buried, but as the grave was dug they discovered something horrifying: a tiny baby girl buried alive in a clay pot or pitcher.
At first, the parents thought the sounds they heard had come from their own daughter, but they soon realized the truth.
“At one point I thought that my daughter had come alive,” Hitesh Kumar told the Times of India. “But the voice was actually coming from inside the pot.”
“When the pot was opened, a baby girl was kept inside,” he continued. “I immediately called ambulance and informed police to ensure that her life was saved.”
Help arrived and the young babe was whisked away to the Maharana Pratap District Hospital, where she was placed in the Special Newborn Care unit.
“They immediately called the cemetery guard, who said that he saw the parents there earlier,” the unnamed police officer said, according to the New York Post. “It seems to be a case of female infanticide.”
While illegal, aborting female babies or killing them shortly after birth is a common practice in India, where girls are seen as a financial drain and require families to build up dowries.
Many couples prefer boys, but the practice of killing off their female young means that women are incredibly outnumbered in India, according to BBC.
Authorities guessed that the small size of the baby probably helped her stay alive — if she were larger, it’s more likely she would have suffocated by the time she was found.
A search is underway to find those responsible for this abandonment.
“We are trying to find the parents of the baby and we suspect that this must have happened with their consent,” Abhinandan Singh, the police chief, said.
“We are trying to identify the person who had buried the baby girl alive,” Harishchandra Joshi, who is with the Subhashnagar police, told the Times of India. “We are checking the CCTV footage of the cremation ground An FIR would be registered soon.”
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