The attack left the mother seriously injured and caused her to miscarry the fetus, police and relatives told Reuters. She was in stable condition on Monday, BBC News reports.
The woman was four to seven months pregnant, according to local media.
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The suspect attacked the woman with a sickle on Saturday, authorities said. He has been identified as Pannalal in Indian media.
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The couple had five daughters together and the husband wanted to know the gender of their future sixth child, according to Golu Singh, the victim’s brother.
“He attacked her with a sickle and tore her stomach, saying he wanted to check the sex of the unborn child,” Singh told Reuters.
The victim’s sister said the couple had often argued over their children, with the husband eager to have a son.
The husband was convinced by a village priest that his wife was carrying a sixth daughter, police told The Times of India. The child would have been a boy.
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The suspect told local media that he did not intentionally injure his wife. He says he threw the sickle at her but didn’t expect it to hurt her so badly, according to BBC News.
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“I have five daughters. One of my sons died, ”he said. “I know that children are the gift of God. Now whatever has to happen will happen.
Many parents in India prefer to have sons rather than daughters, and the country as a whole is significantly skewed in terms of the ratio. Government data shows just over 900 women born per 1,000 men since 2005.
Sons are generally seen as future employees and heirs to the family’s wealth, while daughters are treated as a liability and a future dowry, despite a push by international human rights groups to change this outlook.
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Around 46 million girls are believed to have disappeared in India over the past 50 years, according to a report by the United Nations Population Fund. This estimate comes just behind the 72 million missing girls in China.
India has banned abortions for female fetuses in recent years to combat sex selection. The country also prohibits health workers from verifying or sharing details of a child’s gender before birth.
The suspect was arrested for attempted murder. The investigation is ongoing.
– With files from Reuters
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