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Indian baby's case opens doors into a dark world

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Indian baby's case opens doors into a dark world

Post  Panda on Mon 13 Feb - 3:22

Indian baby's case opens doors into a dark world

By Moni Basu, CNN
February 11, 2012 -- Updated 1451 GMT (2251 HKT)


  • Baby Falak is fighting for her life in a New Delhi hospital
  • A teenage girl brought her there with severe injuries
  • A police probe is unearthing a possible human trafficking ring
  • 10 people have been arrested in a case that could be huge

(CNN) -- In a New Delhi hospital, a two-year-old
girl is fighting for her life after a teenager brought her there three
weeks ago, unconscious with severe head injuries and bruises, fractured
arms and human bite marks covering her tiny body.

All of India began following her ordeal through newspapers and
television. Doctors operated on the toddler, opened up her airways and
placed her on a ventilator. They named her Falak, which means sky.

Her condition remains critical, said Dr. Sumit Sinha of the India
Institute of Medical Sciences. No one knows whether she will survive or
if she does, whether she will live with permanent brain damage.

But that's just the tip of the story. With each day, it becomes more sordid.

Once police began investigating Baby Falak's back story, they
unearthed a suspected ring of human trafficking. The details sparked new
outrage among authorities and the public alike, who say the case raises
a host of questions about child abandonment, exploitation and the poor
treatment of girls and women in the world's second most populous nation.

"This has turned out to be one of the biggest sex rackets involving
minors and child prostitution and sale of women for marriage," said Raaj
Mangal Prasad, head of India's Child Welfare Committee. "This shows
this is a classic case where the magnitude of trafficking has come to

Indians came to know of Baby Falak after a distraught teenage girl,
only 14, brought the baby to the hospital, claiming to be her mother.

On the night of January 17, the baby just kept crying and crying, the
teenager told the Child Welfare Committee in New Delhi. Angered by the
tantrum, the girl slapped the baby three or four times -- and bit her.

A while later, she said, the baby slipped on a wet bathroom floor and
fell on her face. The girl tied a bandage around the baby's head but
the wound began to swell. The next day, when the baby did not wake up,
the girl took her to the hospital.

The doctors said Baby Falak was bruised the color of eggplant and
beets. She was in a coma. They did not believe the girl's story. Nor
that she was Falak's biological mother.

"My personal opinion would be that it doesn't look like a simple case
of falling down," said Dr. Deepak Agarwal, a neurosurgeon at the

She was referred to a juvenile center for counseling and police launched an investigation.

South Delhi deputy Police Commissioner Chhaya Sharma formed five
teams to fan out across India to track down Falak's real family.

What police learned in the subsequent weeks was shocking.

The teenage girl ran away from home last June to escape abuse from
her alcoholic father. The father failed to pay rent, his landlady told
CNN's sister network CNN-IBN. A neighbor described him beating his
daughter so hard that her red welts were readily visible.

"I have seen with my own eyes how her father used to beat her up with a stick," Vikram told CNN-IBN.

But her escape led the teenager to more trouble.

She told authorities two people, Sandeep and Arti, forced her into a
life of prostitution; that Sandeep allegedly raped her first for three
days before he found her customers, according CNN-IBN. Months later, the
girl met a man named Rajkumar and the two began living together in a
New Delhi slum. Police suspect he, too, was sexually abusing the girl.

The girl told authorities that Rajkumar brought Baby Falak home in
November. It's unclear whether the baby was abused then but on that
January night, Falak almost died.

"Once victim hurting another victim because there is no sense of
hope, sense of survival they can see for themselves," psychiatrist Achal
Bhagat told CNN-IBN.

In the western state of Rajasthan, police eventually tracked down
Munni, 22, the woman believed to be Falak's biological mother. She had
been abandoned by her first husband and sold off in marriage when she
was 16 to a young man from a Rajasthani village, Sharma said. She was
valued at $6,000, according to The Times of India.

Munni left her three children behind.

"The family life was very disturbed," Sharma said. "She was convinced that she would not be able to raise Falak on her own."

While Munni's youngest fought for her life in the hospital, police
found her other daughter in the state of Bihar, many miles from Delhi
and Rajasthan. Her son's whereabouts are still not known.

Police scored a breakthrough in the case Friday when they were able
to nab Rajkumar, the man they believe is central to the possible
trafficking ring. He was caught absconding at the New Delhi train
station, Sharma said at a news conference.

In all, police have arrested 10 people so far who are believed to have profited greatly from their crimes.

They are still probing. No one knows how many babies were abandoned,
how many women were married off for a price or how many girls were
forced to sell their bodies.

The case prompted India's home ministry to review police reports and
consider action and reignited national debate on a serious problem in

A 2011 TrustLaw danger poll ranked India as the fourth most dangerous
place on earth for women, behind Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of
Congo and neighboring Pakistan.

The survey said 100 million women and girls are involved in
prostitution and 50 million are "missing" in the last century because of
female feticide and infanticide. Almost 45% of girls are married off
before they reach adulthood.

Prasad of the Child Welfare Committee called the problem "huge." He
said India needs more comprehensive laws on the books and stronger

This sort of thing happens all too often, Prasad said, and sadly,
flies under the radar of a majority of India's 1.2 billion people.

But now, a hapless child fighting very publicly for her life has
thrust an ugly side of Indian society into the national spotlight.

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Re: Indian baby's case opens doors into a dark world

Post  AnnaEsse on Mon 13 Feb - 10:38

..because of
female feticide and infanticide. Almost 45% of girls are married off
before they reach adulthood.

There is already a shortage of marriageable girls in India because of the above.


April 14, 2011

India's latest census revealed a disturbing trend: There are far fewer girls born each year than boys.

Activists say the disparity is deliberate.

Much of Indian culture regards boys as assets to families and girls as liabilities. Some families are using ultrasound technology to determine the gender of fetuses and then aborting the females.

The process has been going on for decades, leading to a shortage of marriageable girls that is beginning to make itself felt all over India.

The district with the worst gender ratio in the entire country is Jhajjar, in the fertile farm country of Haryana state, not far from New Delhi.

The disparity is apparent at Sarvodya School, which serves about 2,200 students from throughout the district. Principal Punit Sharma says only about 30 percent of his students are girls.

He says some rural families are reluctant to educate their girls, but the disparity is mainly because of the low ratio of girls in the population.

"Primarily it is a male-dominated society. That's the main reason [for] not having girls as students," Sharma says.

He adds that it is now very difficult for young men in the district to find young women to marry.

Sharma says young women are brought to Haryana from other states for marriage, but that brings still more social problems.

Satyarthi of Global March says women from other Indian states are cut off from their families and often don't speak the local language or understand local customs. Sometimes, he says, the marriage is just a cover for sexual exploitation.

"That girl is used by other male folk in the families for sexual exploitation, so she is married to one man, but other brothers or relatives of that man use the girl for sexual purposes. And sometimes, one girl is married to several [men]," Satyarthi says.

"You can run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Sooner or later God'll cut you down." (Johnny Cash)

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Re: Indian baby's case opens doors into a dark world

Post  Panda on Mon 13 Feb - 11:52

Thanks AnnaEsse,

It's incomprehensible to us how other Countries can treat children in this way, life is considered so cheap. With a population of 1.2 Billion , it really is to the credit of the Police that they tracked the Mother down and the "Pimp".Poor Poor baby.
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