Death of patient reveals female foeticide racket in Maharashtra
An abortion that went wrong and killed the patient opened a can of worms. Investigation into the death led to the discovery of yet another female foeticide racket in Maharashtra's Sangli district. The police have so far recovered the remains of 19 infants, buried in the ground adjacent to the hospital where the patient died.
Here's what happened...
According to some reports, Pravin Jamdade and his wife Swati were expecting a child. The couple from Sangli's Manerajuri village wanted a baby boy, and visited Dr Babasaheb Khidrapure on 1 March. His hospital at Mhaisal, near Miraj, has facilities for sonography.
During the check up, the doctor allegedly performed a sex-determination test on the foetus. When it was revealed to be a girl child, Pravin decided to get it aborted.He was assured by the doctor of secrecy. Swati, however, died on the operating table.
When Swati's relatives came to know about her death they gathered at the hospital. Suspecting foul play, they demanded a post-mortem and took the body to Sangli Civil Hospital. They refused to cremate the body unless they got the 'truth'.
The matter was reported to the Miraj police, who booked Pravin and some family members. Swati Jamdade was cremated on 2 March.
During interrogation, Pravin revealed that Swati died during the abortion. Following this an offence was registered against Dr Khidrapure as well. Getting wind of the possible arrest, Dr Khidrapure fled the village. The police have raided the hospital and have recovered various documents which indicate that illegal abortions were rampant at the hospital.
“We suspect that Dr Khidrapure was running an illegal abortion racket and female foeticide was regular at the hospital. He fled the village before we could arrest him. However, various teams have been fanned out in his pursuit,” said PSI Bharat Sinde, the investigating officer of the case.
A special team of doctors and other officers from Miraj Rural Health Centre accompanied the police during the raid on the hospital.
“Interestingly, Dr Khidrapure is not qualified to perform abortions. We are now investigating further to zero in on his accomplices,” Shinde added.
Sources said that Khidrapure is a homoeopathy doctor and illegally performed the abortions. The fact that, despite being a homoeopath, Khidrapure had built a well-equipped operation theatre indicating that he was involved in the illegal business for a long time.
Investigations into the matter revealed that Khidrapure would bury the remains of the infants in the open ground adjacent to his hospital. Police have recovered remains of 19 infants buried there.
“Preliminary investigations indicate that Dr Khidrapure ran a well-oiled illegal abortion racket in the area. There are possibilities of thousands of such abortions having been performed in that hospital,” Shinde said.
But this is not the only incident of its kind in Maharashtra. A similar incident – a female foeticide racket run by Dr Sudam and Dr Saraswati Munde – was exposed at Parali tehsil of Beed district three years ago.
Munde ran a hospital at Parali, from where he operated the racket and allegedly had performed millions of illegal female foeticides. The investigations had revealed that Munde had two hunting dogs as pets. He would feed the remains of the foetus to the dogs.