Updated: January 18, 2022 7:56:29 am
The police in Arvi city of Wardha district, while conducting a search at a hospital for allegedly carrying out an abortion on a 13-year-old girl recently, found 12 skulls and 54 bones of foetuses buried in the hospital premises. The police have arrested two gynaecologists – a couple – at the family-run Kadam hospital.
What is the incident in which two doctors were arrested by the Wardha police?
On January 9, an FIR was registered based on the complaint by a 13-year-old girl’s mother that Dr Rekha Kadam carried out an abortion on the girl who was five months pregnant. The police arrested her and later while conducting a search of the Kadam hospital premises, they found 12 skulls and 54 bones of foetuses dug up there. Later the police arrested Rekha’s husband Dr Niraj as well. Niraj’s father owns the Kadam hospital and his mother too is a gynaecologist.
What have the accused told the police so far?
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The two doctors have told the police that due to some issue the bio-medical waste disposal agency had not been coming to the hospital since the past few months, and hence they had disposed of the foetuses from legal abortions conducted at the hospital there. The police are verifying these claims and are also trying to find out if it has anything to do with illegal abortions or female foeticide. The police are relying heavily on the DNA tests to answer some of their queries.
How will forensic testing help the case?
A team from the Nagpur forensic laboratory visited the hospital and retrieved the bones and skulls from the spot which was handed over to the police. The police will now be sending them back to the forensic laboratory where DNA tests will be conducted on the skulls.
An official said that the DNA tests will be able to determine the sex of the skulls and bones that have been retrieved. If all the skulls are found to be those of girls, it may point towards female foeticide, an official said.
Apart from this, the police are likely to take DNA samples of women who got abortions done at the hospital as per the register maintained there in the past few months. They will then check those with the DNA samples found from the skulls to identify them.
This will help police verify if it was just a case of not disposing of biomedical waste as per procedure in abortions carried out legally.
Won’t the fact that these are skulls and bones of foetuses complicate the forensic process?
Dr Mukesh Agarwal, head of paediatrics at KEM hospital, said that after 12 weeks bones are developed following which it increases in size and ossifies (hardens) further. Former director of Maharashtra Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) Krishna Kulkarni said that after three to four weeks, the bones are developed and it is possible to extract DNA samples from the bones developed at the foetal level. He said that DNA tests would help identify the sex and the identity of the parents.
In fact, the age of the foetus can be determined at anatomy departments by looking at bones like the wrist bone which develop with age and is a good indicator for determining the age.
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As per law, what is the procedure for disposing of biomedical waste after abortion?
A doctor in Mumbai said that the BMC has a tie-up with an agency that collects biomedical waste from all hospitals and disposes it by using incineration. Even at the Kadam hospital, the arrested doctors told the police that an agency collects biomedical waste from the hospital every alternate day. A doctor said that these procedures came in place after the amendments brought in by the Bio-Medical Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2019.
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