Hitesh Kumar Sirohi, a trader from the Bareilly district in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, was digging a grave to bury his stillborn daughter when something shockingly unexpected happened. Just as the grieving father was putting down his daughter and preparing to say his goodbyes, he heard the faint sound of an infant crying. Assuming it to be his daughter, the man began to dig furiously, but what he found has left everyone shaken.
Just three feet below his daughter’s grave, he stumbled upon an earthen pot that contained a newborn baby girl who had been buried alive, but had managed to survive. Along with his relatives present at the scene, he quickly rescued the baby and contacted the police and an ambulance after feeding her some milk.
“A very inhumane incident came to light under the limits of Subhash Nagar police station in Maninath cremation ground in which a newborn girl was buried by unknown people inside an earthen pot,” Superintendent of Police (SP) City, Abhinandan Singh told ANI "The baby was found by members of a family who had gone to bury their daughter who died following premature birth.”
The baby has been put under hospital care and named Sita by the staff. While they aren’t sure how long she was buried for, the baby is expected to make a full recovery. Police are currently on the hunt for her birth parents and are looking to punish the people responsible for this latest incident of attempted female infanticide, a major issue in India. A similar incident took place in January, in which a newborn baby girl was found buried alive in another district of Uttar Pradesh, while another spine-chilling incident involved 19 foetuses found dumped in a sewer in Maharashtra in 2017.
The state of Uttar Pradesh has one of the lowest sex ratios in the country (862 women to 1,000 men, according to the 2017 census), with patriarchal gender and social norms continuing to perpetuate an environment throughout the country where cases of violence against girls and women are increasing. While sons are seen as desirable and deserving of love, girls are seen as a liability. Many policies and laws have been put in place to support female children, but the wide disparity between the two genders continues to exist.
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This article originally appeared on VICE IN.