VELLORE: Barely hours after a girl child was born, she was smothered to death by her grandmother at the Gudiyattam Government Hospital in the early hours of Friday.
Ambika, wife of Dhananchezhian, a farmer, was admitted to the government hospital around 3 am on Friday with labour pain. She gave birth to a female child within an hour and both the child and mother were shifted to the post-natal ward, as it was a delivery without any complications. The baby’s weight was also normal and it also cried when checked by doctors.
Around 6.30 am, Ambika’s mother Sagunthala (50), who was attending on her daughter, informed the duty nurse that the child was still and not breathing. The nurse immediately alerted duty doctor S Manjunatha, who checked the child and found that it was dead.
Growing suspicious over the child’s death, he reported the case to medical officer S Amuthamani, who was also a senior gynaecologist. “The woman gave birth to the child at 4 am. It was a normal delivery and the child weighed 2.8 kg at the time of birth. The baby was healthy. It cried and was breast-fed,” Dr Amuthamani told Express.
The doctors grew suspicious over the child’s death as there were no medical complications.
“The child’s grandparents and father showed no signs of grief over the child’s death. We suspected foul play. The duty doctor gave a report regarding the incident and based on it, I filed a police complaint,” said the medical officer.
Acting on the complaint, police filed a case and launched an investigation. Preliminary inquiry confirmed that it was a case of female infanticide. “The inquiry revealed that Sagunthala smothered her granddaughter to death. She confessed to the crime,” said a police officer privy to the investigation. The infant’s body was shifted to the Government Vellore Medical College and Hospital for post-mortem.
Police are investigating to ascertain whether the crime was committed with the consent of the child’s father and other family members. “We are also probing if the family had decided to kill the child if it was a girl,” said the official. The couple already have a three-year-old daughter.
Police have picked up Dhananchezian and grandparents Sagunthala and Mani of Velleri village for further inquiry.