HYDERABAD, India – A newborn baby girl was buried alive by her family in southern India on Thursday but was rescued when a farmer saw the baby's hand sticking out of the ground, officials said.
The two-day old baby, who had apparently never been fed, was recovering in a hospital in the Mahbubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh, said Charu Sinha, district superintendent of police.
Indian society has long favored boys, who do not require the enormous dowry payments that bankrupt many poor families when their daughters marry.
The baby was buried by her maternal grandfather, Abdul Raheem, and his brother, Abdul Rasheed, with the consent of the baby's mother, Mehrunnisa, near Otkur village, about 150 kilometers south of the state capital of Hyderabad, Sinha said.
The police arrested the two men and will charge them with attempted murder, Sinha added. Mehrunnisa, who only goes by one name, will be charged as an accomplice. Her husband, Abdul Ghani, had gone to the neighboring state of Maharashtra in search of work.
Raheem has seven daughters and "he feared that he will not be able to bear the burden of the eight females in the family," said Sinha.
The baby was rescued when a farmer, Ram Kumar, saw her hand while he was driving to his fields on a tractor. Kumar and other villagers rushed the baby to a nearby hospital. The unnamed baby weighs only 1.7 kilograms and is expected to be taken to Hyderabad on Friday.