Skip to main content
CNN EditionWorld
The Web     
Powered by
powered by Yahoo!

State adopts infants' cause

Story Tools

In the second of a two-part report on infanticide in India, CNN's Satinder Bindra takes a look at efforts to find new homes for little girls surrendered by their parents to the state.

There are high hopes that education and law enforcement can put an end to female infanticide in India.
There are high hopes that education and law enforcement can put an end to female infanticide in India.
more video VIDEO
In India each year, parents kill thousands of female babies because they believe girls are an economic drain. CNN's Satinder Bindra explains (July 7)
premium content

SALEM, India (CNN) -- Eighteen-month-old Hema's biological parents abandoned her within hours of birth.

Now she has been adopted by the Somasundram family.

"Imagine a blind man suddenly getting the gift of sight. There's as much joy when a childless couple can adopt a child,'' says the child's new father.

The Somasundram's live in southern India's Salem district -- an area where prejudice against girls runs so deep officials say every year about 100 girls are murdered by their own parents.

It's a practice that shames and embarrasses the Somasundrams.

"Instead of killing children, if these people only dropped off the girls at state adoption centers thousands of people like us can get tremendous happiness,'' says the father of the Somasundrams household.

Officials are now encouraging mothers who do not want to keep baby girls to surrender them to the state. Government agencies then arrange for their adoption.

Officials are also taking other steps to curb female infanticide.

It is now mandatory for all pregnant women in the Salem area to register at the local hospital. Here many receive their first lessons in gender equity and are counseled not to kill or abandon female children.''

Such counseling appears to be working. One expectant mother, Jayalakshmi, says she is looking forward to giving birth to a baby girl.

"Those who kill baby girls discard them like trash," she says. "Do they have such low regard for women? Can't that girl become a civil servant a doctor lawyer? Why do they kill them?''

Local women volunteers called "motorcycle messiahs" travel door-to-door spreading just such a message.

In the areas they work in, fewer girls are now being killed.

The messiahs, though, admit they have not been able to stem the number of babies being handed over to the state and social agencies.

But the social workers are not worried. They have a long list of childless couples that want to give these female children their right to life.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.