Remove stigma around unwed mothers

Yesterday, this paper carried a report about three women being arrested for murdering a baby girl who was born out of wedlock. The Sahar police used a medical receipt and good detective skills to crack the case wide open in just 24 hours.

Some residents alerted the police about the body of a baby floating in a nullah near the Sahar International Airport. Investigations led to the killers. The mother of the woman who had the baby and the woman’s sister had killed the seven-day old. The woman who delivered the baby is not married and had become pregnant because she was in a physical relationship with her neighbour, who is a vegetable vendor. Her mother and sister were against her having the baby. They took an auto, killed the baby on the way, and threw her body into the nullah. All three women were arrested, produced in holiday court and remanded in police custody. While the sheer brutality and heartlessness is enough to chill, it is important to note the motive behind the murder, the shame and stigma associated with having a baby out of wedlock.

While one can understand that the family has to pay the price, especially in a certain socio-economic strata, where they will face barbs and unbearable criticism from people, killing a baby is not the solution. Maybe they could have explored giving the child up for adoption, or putting her into a home. We need more infrastructure, too, to absorb children born out of wedlock, cast away by parents who are unable to look after them socially or are pressurised to give away the child. It is shocking that, in 2014, people are so scared about how they would be judged that they can actually kill an innocent baby born out of wedlock.

There must be a change in our attitude towards this, and society as a whole needs to be more accepting of these children. Targeting a family or the woman who has become pregnant out of wedlock, imposing moral values on somebody and then actually branding her in some way is heinous and leads to actions like these. Let there be a better, more humane way to deal with such situations, instead of despicable, extreme methods like actually snuffing out a life.

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