Grandmother held for female infanticide

Parents under inquiry for death of their third girl child

Two days after the police registered a case of suspicious death of an infant — the third girl child of a couple — post-mortem conducted on Friday confirmed that the infant had been murdered. The child’s grandmother has been arrested in connection with the crime.

The police said that C. Sivapriya, 28, of K. Paraipatti brought the infant to the government hospital in Usilampatti around 9.20 p.m.

When the doctor declared that the 7-day-old infant had been brought dead, the woman head constable on night duty, Dhanalakshmi, lodged a complaint at the Uthapanaickanoor police station, registering a case of suspicious death as a nail mark was found on the infant’s face. Additional Superintendent of Police (Crime against Women and Children) S. Vanitha, along with district child welfare committee member B. Pandiaraja, conducted an inquiry in the village on Thursday.

The infant was the third girl child of Ms. Sivapriya and Chinnasamy. The eldest daughter, who is seven, is affected by polio and the second is aged two. The woman had given birth to the third child in Palani.

The woman said that after the girl was fed milk on Wednesday afternoon, she became motionless. After alerting her husband, she took the child to the hospital at night, she said.

However, since Ms. Vanitha found contradictions in the statements of the couple, the body was sent for post-mortem to Government Rajaji Hospital.

“It seems the infant was smothered to death. During interrogation, Chinnasamy’s mother confessed to the crime. The parents are being interrogated to ascertain if they had any role in it,” Ms. Vanitha said.

Mr. Pandiaraja said after two incidents of female infanticide in the district in 2020, the district administration had taken up a campaign against the practice, giving the parents an option to surrender children under the cradle baby scheme. “The district administration has appealed to the people against killing infants. If parents cannot raise the children, they have been asked to surrender them to the Child Welfare Committee, which will take care of the infants and give them for adoption to childless couples,” Mr. Pandiaraja said.

He stated that a total of 27 infants, including seven boys, were surrendered to the committe in 2020 and two specialised adoption centres in the district were taking care of them.

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