Battered Indian baby dies in hospital

By Sapa-DPA Time of article published Apr 11, 2012

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New Delhi - A three-month-old baby girl who was allegedly badly beaten by her father died after a cardiac arrest in a Bangalore hospital Wednesday, doctors said.

Afreen was on life support at the state-run Vani Vilas hospital where she was admitted with brain haemorrhage, burn marks and a dislocated neck on Sunday.

Police arrested her 25-year-old father, Umar Farooq, who relatives alleged tortured the child as he was upset at having a daughter instead of a son.

"We are really sad to announce this. Baby Afreen had a cardiac arrest in the morning, we tried resuscitation but we couldn't save her," Prem Latha, a hospital paediatrician told reporters.

She said chances of Afreen's survival were bleak as she had slipped into a semi-comatose state.

Afreen's death follows the death in New Delhi last month of another battered toddler, Falak, who was taken to hospital with human bite marks on her body.

Afreen's case has cast the spotlight once again on the rampant discrimination and violence toward female children in India and led to a national outcry.

In some sections of Indian society, girls are seen as burdens, whereas sons are considered breadwinners who look after their parents in old age.

Selective abortion of female foetuses is rampant in the South Asian country, despite a ban introduced 15 years ago on foetal sex determination. Cases of female infanticide are also reported every year.

According to a 2011 census, there are just 914 girls for every 1 000 boys aged between 0 and 6 years across India, compared with a natural discrepancy birth rate of 950 girls for every 1 000 boys. - Sapa-DPA

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