Karnataka’s Belagavi district woke up to a shock Friday after seven aborted embryos were found inside five canisters floating in a drain near a bus stop in Mudalgi. While the state health and family welfare department and the police have launched a probe, a maternity clinic was sealed after its staff admitted to have played a role in the illegal abortions.
Speaking to The Indian Express, District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Mahesh Kone said, “Venkatesh Maternity and Infertility Centre in Mudalgi admitted that they carried out the abortions as the embryos were under developed. We have sent the embryos for post-mortem and only after that will we be able to ascertain the real cause.”
A foetus is called an embryo from the time of conception until the eighth week of development.
The canisters were found near a bus stop on the outskirts of the town. Kone, who visited the spot, told the media that the foetuses were about five to seven months old and it is suspected that a sex determination of the foetuses may have been carried out but the same has to be investigated. “There is a possibility of an active female foeticide racket in the district,” Kone said.
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Although sex determination before delivery is banned in India, some gangs in collusion with hospitals ascertain the sex of a child and in some cases, that leads to illegal abortions. Local MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi described the incident as a “matter of shame and a heinous act”. He said, “I have already directed the police officials to take serious action against those who are involved in such acts.”
The district health office is yet to disclose the gender of the foetuses. A total of five canisters were found from a drain and there were seven foetuses inside them.
This is not the first time Belagavi district has reported such an incident. In 2013, at least 13 foetuses were found on the banks of the Hiranyakeshi river in Belagavi. Police sources said they will launch a drive to scan all health centres, nursing homes and medical colleges in the district. The Mudalgi police have filed a case and are investigating the matter.
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