Battered Baby Girl Dies in India

Posted April 11th, 2012 at 1:30 pm (UTC-5)
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A three-month-old baby who police say was beaten by her father for being a girl has died from her injuries in southern India.

Doctors in the city of Bangalore said Neha Afreen suffered cardiac arrest early Wednesday after numerous convulsions.

Afreen was hospitalized on Sunday with head trauma, burns and bite marks.

Her father, Umar Farooq, was arrested Monday and charged with attempted murder. He told police that he beat the baby because he wanted a son.

The baby's mother, Reshma Banu, confirmed the abuse to reporters.

The case is the latest in a series of incidents highlighting the preference many Indians have for sons over daughters.

Afreen's death follows that of a two-year-old abandoned girl last month. The baby, named Falak by the media, was hospitalized in the Indian capital, New Delhi, with a fractured skull, broken limbs and human bite marks covering her body.

And just last week, a newborn baby girl was rejected by her parents after the hospital handed them a baby boy by mistake. The parents insisted the girl was not their child and only accepted her after a DNA test.

A 2011 census report found that India's gender ratio was 914 females for every 1,000 males, the lowest since the country gained independence from Britain.

The gender imbalance is driven by societal pressures such as the high costs associated with marrying off girls.

India has implemented laws banning the determination of a baby's sex prior to birth, in order to discourage abortions.