A man in northern India allegedly slashed his pregnant wife’s stomach to check their baby’s gender.
The attack, which later killed their unborn son, reportedly took place at the family’s home in Budaun district, Uttar Pradesh state on Saturday.
The suspect, identified as Pannalal, 43, used a sickle to slit open his wife Anita’s belly, according to the victim’s family members.
“He attacked her with a sickle and ripped her stomach saying that he wanted to check the gender of the unborn child,” Anita’s brother, Golu Singh, told Reuters.
The couple already has five daughters and Pannalal had been wanting a son.
After hearing from a village priest that they were having another daughter, he started forcing his wife to abort her pregnancy.
However, Anita was determined to keep her baby.
“My brother-in-law often used to beat my sister for giving birth to five daughters. Our parents had intervened on several occasions. But no one imagined that he would take such a cruel step,” Ravi Kumar Singh, another brother of Anita, told the Times of India.
India is struggling with gender inequality as a result of a preference for sons over daughters. At present, the country has 107 males for every 100 females — one of the most skewed sex ratios in the world, according to CNN.
This preference for males is partially influenced by cultural practices such as the dowry culture, which requires the bride’s family to offer cash, properties and other goods to the groom’s family as a condition of marriage. While the practice has been outlawed since 1961, it has evolved and persisted to date, leading to daughters being viewed as economic burdens.
Anita was rushed to a local hospital before being transferred to a facility in New Delhi. Police said that she was six to seven months pregnant, according to the Hindustan Times.
Pannalal, on the other hand, was booked under section 307 (attempt to murder) and other sections of the Indian Penal Code.
The abortion of female fetuses is illegal in India. Doctors and health workers are also banned from disclosing an unborn child’s sex or carrying out tests to determine it, Al Jazeera noted.
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