On Friday morning, sanitation workers who arrived in Korattur to sweep the roads were in for a shock when they found a trash cover floating along an open sewer in Padaiveetamman Koil street. Nestled among several bags of trash in the cover, was a new born covered in dirt.
The worker immediately called the 108 emergency ambulance service in an effort to save the infant but they were too late. According to the police, the infant was only a day old and they suspect that it was yet another case of female infanticide. Korattur police have filed a case under section 318 of the Indian Penal Code (Concealment of birth by secret disposal of dead body) and are currently examining surveillance footage to find the culprits responsible. Despite several efforts by the state government including the cradle baby scheme to prevent the killing of girl children, infanticide continues in parts of Tamil Nadu including Chennai.
"The body was found in a middle class area and we are investigating in the neighbourhood to check if anyone who was pregnant has lost a child. We will get to the bottom of this," says an investigating officer.
Only last month, a 25-year-old woman allegedly killed her newborn girl by banging its head on the floor of her home in Kasimedu. This after, her husband chastised her for giving birth to a girl child for the second time. According to reports, the woman feared that her husband would desert her as he had been picking up fights with her following the birth of the child.
And while the mother claimed that child had died due to breathlessness, the post mortem report revealed that the child had died due to injuries to the head.
In 1992, widespread female infanticide in Madurai had prompted the then CM J Jayalalithaa-led government to introduce the Cradle Baby Scheme. Families that did not want a girl child could leave them in cradles placed in hospitals. They were then handed over to specialised adoption agencies through the child welfare committees. The state has, at present, ten reception centers in various districts that act as reception centres. Tamil Nadu governmentâ€™s flagship Cradle Baby Scheme has saved 5,128 infants, including 4,111 girls so far.