- WorldThe Telegraph
A pregnant woman whose belly was allegedly cut open by her husband with a sickle in India has given birth to a stillborn baby boy, according to police. The 35-year old woman, named locally as Anita Devi, was about seven months pregnant when her husband sliced her stomach in order to check the baby’s gender, according to the woman’s family. The couple have five daughters and the husband was allegedly pressuring his wife to deliver him a son. According to Ms Devi’s brother, the couple used to fight regularly over having a son. Speaking to the Times of India, the brother said: “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.” “When I reached there, I saw blood everywhere. Anita’s stomach was slit, and she told me that her husband did this.” The 43-year old man, named locally as Pannalal, has been arrested on charges of attempted murder. He has denied intentionally hurting his wife, claiming it was an accident. He told local media that he threw the sickle at his wife during an argument, but had no idea that she would be injured so gravely. "I have five daughters, one of my sons is dead. I know that children are the gift of God. Now whatever is to happen, will happen," he said The incident occured in the Badaun region of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. Ms Devi was taken to Delhi on advice of her doctor on Sunday, where she remains in a critical condition. According to claims reported in the Times of India, Pannalal took the drastic step after being convinced by a local priest that his wife was having another girl. He initially tried to get Ms Devi to have an abortion, but when she refused, he took extreme action. There is a historical cultural norm in India that favours sons over daughters, which has resulted in a skewed gender ratio in the country. According to a report from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), approximately 46 million girls have gone missing in India in the past 50 years. 460,000 girls are killed every year through abortion after gender-based sex selection and excess female mortality due to deliberate neglect of girls after birth.
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