As the Indian government continues its efforts to combat the country’s declining child gender ratio, the degree of pressure women face to bear male children was thrust into the spotlight after a woman in Agra alleged in a written complaint to police that her husband and in-laws had shaved her head and physically abused her for giving birth to a second baby girl. The news came in the midst of India’s ‘Beti bachao beti padhao’ campaign, which had sought to combat male child preference in parents — in India, boys are born at a rate nine percent higher than that of girls.
The victim, Nannu, said that she already had a four-year-old daughter with her husband, Rashid, but that the real trouble began when she had her second girl earlier this month. “Since the birth of second girl, my husband and in-laws have been mentally and physically torturing and assaulting me. They even shaved off my head,” said Nannu, in her complaint letter to police.
According to the victim’s sister-in-law (her brother’s wife), Praveen Banu, Nannu fled to her parent’s homes after “Rashid shaved off the head of Nannu and threw her out of home.”
“Her 13-day-old baby girl kept on crying for milk but the family did not let the woman meet her child,” said Bannu. “The seven-year long marriage of Nannu has made her emotionally weak and mentally unstable due to continued harassment and assault by in-laws and husband. Currently, she is suffering from anemia and needs four units of blood.”
Sources said that police detained Rashid and four of his family members to warn them against further abuse of the victim. According to police, Nannu’s family has since withdrawn its complaint “as they want the couple to live together and take care of the two daughters.”
Read the full story at The Times of India.