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India: man kills wife who was pregnant with a female child

Catholic World News - May 23, 2011

An Indian man beat his wife to death in the southern Andhra Pradesh state, after learning that she was pregnant with a female baby. Prakash Chari beat and strangled his wife Surekha, who was six months pregnant. Chari was outraged after his wife, who had already borne a girl child a few years earlier, was determined to continue her pregnancy after learning that the 2nd child was also female.

The couple had apparently returned from a private clinic, where Surekha had undergone an illegal sex-determination test, when the husband became enraged and assaulted her. Police arrested Prakash Chari, and are now also pressing charges against the clinic where the tests were done.

India outlawed sex-determination tests in a bid to cut down on the common practice of aborting girl babies. At least 5 million girls are estimated “missing” in India during the past decade as a result of sex-selection abortions. India now has a heavily skewed ratio of young boys to girls, reflecting an ancient cultural bias against female children. The gender bias can be traced to the Hindu belief that a man cannot attain moksha (salvation) unless a son performs his last rites. This religious sanction has rendered girl children unwanted. Heavy demands for dowries for brides have made girls an economic liability for their families, aggravating the problem.

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