A newborn baby girl has been discovered buried alive in northern India, a local police chief has revealed.
Abhinandan Singh told reporters the baby was found by a villager who was burying his own daughter, who had died minutes after birth.
The baby girl, who had been placed inside an earthen pot about 3ft (90cm) below the ground, was rushed to hospital, where she is recovering.
Police have now launched an investigation into the incident.
“We are trying to find the parents of the baby and we suspect that this must have happened with their consent,” Mr Singh told reporters in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
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According to the police chief, the villager found the girl by accident as he dug a grave in a burial ground for his own daughter.
“As they were digging a grave for her, at a depth of three feet, the spade hit an earthen pot, which was pulled out. There was a baby lying in it,” Mr Singh explained.
“The police took the baby to the city hospital where she is getting treatment.”
India’s gender ratio is one of the worst in the world. Women are often discriminated against socially and girls are seen as a financial burden, particularly among poor communities.
Campaigners say a traditional preference for sons has meant millions of female children lost to foeticide and infanticide over the years.
Although most unwanted female foetuses are aborted with help from illegal sex determination clinics, cases of baby girls being killed after birth are not uncommon either.