The Tiruvannamalai district police on Saturday, exhumed the body of a two-day-old girl child, over suspicions of infanticide. The local government hospital is conducting a post mortem to find the cause of death even as the police interrogate the child's family.
The girl was the third child of 30-year-old Davamoorthy and 24-year-old Priya who reside in Kalasamuthiaram. They already have a 5-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. The deceased girl child was born on Wednesday, May 19, at the Kalasamudram primary health care centre (PHC). The medical officer present there, Akshitha, had recorded that the child was healthy and was monitoring both mother and child for two days after the birth.
"But suddenly, two days later, on May 21, we found the child to be very drowsy and inactive. She was also having breathing difficulties," Akshitha tells TNM. "When we inquired with the parents, they claimed that some relatives had come and given the child cow's milk. We then called for an ambulance to shift the child to Vellore Government Medical College hospital for further treatment but she died on the way," she adds.
The PHC officer said she found it suspicious that the parents would allow anyone to feed the child anything other than the prescribed breast milk. She immediately reported the incident to the Kannamangalam police who registered a case under Section 174 (unnatural death) of the CrPC and the body of the child was exhumed in the presence of revenue officials.
After the postmortem, the body was buried again.
"We don't see this as a case of infanticide," says Vijaykumar, the inspector of the Kannamagalam police station, though the postmortem report has not come yet. "They already have a girl child. Why would they try to kill another one? The report will take 1-2 weeks to come," he adds.
The PHC staff are, however, unperturbed by these claims.
"Till two years ago, there were many such cases of infanticide in this region. We can't take any risks. It is good if nobody is guilty," says Akshitha. "But even if there is the slightest chance of foul play, we want to ensure that action is taken."