Unlucky 11/11 snatches baby from burnt mother's womb

Published: 14 November, 2011 09:25 IST | Shiva Devnath |

She suffered 90 per cent burns when her husband set her ablaze on Tuesday; stillborn infant delivered on Friday after being exposed to unbearably high temperatures

She suffered 90 per cent burns when her husband set her ablaze on Tuesday; stillborn infant delivered on Friday after being exposed to unbearably high temperatures

As astrologers and soothsayers deliberated upon the possible numerological significance of the rare date 11/11/11, and believers waited with bated breath for that promised stroke of luck, a 26-year-old woman -- who had been set on fire by her own husband -- lost the baby she had carried almost to full term in her belly ('Call centre peon sets pregnant wife on fire', November 10, MiD  DAY).

Black FRiday: After being set on fire by her husband on Tuesday,
Sadhna Sonawane's doctors found that her foetus had stopped moving.
They operated upon her and found that the baby had died

As devotees flocked to temples and gamblers tried their luck in casinos, Sadhna Sonawane's life hung in the balance at Bhagwati hospital. The woman -- who was eight-month pregnant -- was undergoing treatment for 90 per cent burns which she had sustained when Sunil, her 35-year-old husband, had set her on fire on Tuesday.

It was truly a Black Friday for Sadhna's loved ones, as tragedy struck again. Doctors, who had been constantly monitoring Sadhna, noticed that the foetus in her womb had stopped moving. They decided to operate on her, to eliminate chances of infecting the foetus.

Sadhna was operated upon, and then came the crushing news: the baby girl salvaged from her charred womb had been delivered dead. 

Doctors revealed that the foetus died inside Sadhna's womb, as it could not bear the intense heat it had been exposed to.

"It is the saddest day of my life. My sister is battling for her life, and she delivered a baby that is dead. What else can go wrong for a family?" said Babasaheb Kakde, Sadhna's brother.

"I would have agreed that 11/11/11 was an auspicious date, had the baby been born alive," added Kakde.

Kakde has withheld the truth about her stillborn from Sadhna. "Doctors have been telling us that Sadhna still breathes because she believes her baby is safe. I am at a loss for words with which to describe this tragedy," he added. Sadhna's condition is still critical, doctors said.

The case
Two years ago, Sadhna had married Sunil (35), who works as a peon in a Malad-based call centre. Sunil had reportedly taken to a depraved lifestyle ever since he started working for the firm. He would spend beyond his means, blowing off all his money on alcohol, nights out in pubs and discotheques, and illicit affairs. He had even stopped contributing from his salary for household expenses. Sunil would doubt her fidelity, and physically abuse her on a regular basis. He came home in an inebriated condition on Tuesday night, and picked a fight with Sadhna. In a fit of rage, he poured kerosene over her, set her on fire, and left her and his unborn child to be savaged by the angry flames.

The Malwani police has launched a manhunt for Sunil, after having registered murder charges against him. "We had registered attempt to murder charges, but now we have booked him for murder as well. Three teams have been formed to nab the accused," said Abdul Rauf Sheikh, senior police inspector at Malwani police station.

Sunil's mobile phone has been traced to his native town of Aurangabad. "He had left the place before our team
reached. But we will arrest him soon," added Shaikh.

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