India is the most dangerous place in the world to be a girl, a new United Nations report confirms as the country wrings its hands over the fates of an abused toddler and a 14-year-old girl sold into prostitution.
According to newly-released data by the United Nations, a girl child aged between 1-5 years is 75 per cent more likely to die than a boy of the same age, News24Online reports. And China and India were the only two countries in the world where female infant mortality was higher than male infant mortality in the 2000s.
But a dark story that has captivated Indian readers for the past two weeks suggests life doesn't always get better as girls get older, either.
Following the discovery of what appeared to be human bite marks and other signs of abuse on a baby brought to New Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), a police investigation into the 14-year-old girl who brought the two-year-old to the hospital has revealed a disturbing picture of what life can be like for the daughters of India's poorest people.
Police have arrested several people, including the teenager's father, in connection with cases of rape, sexual abuse, and forcing her into prostitution, even as the unwanted infant that was thrust upon her languishes on life support.
According to CNN/IBN, the teenager was raped by several men before being forced into prostitution and then forced to marry an older man.
The Hindustan Times writes that the toddler, christened Falak, remains in critical condition following two life saving surgeries.
She was brought to the hospital on January 18 with a severe head injury, both her arms broken, bite marks all over her body and her cheeks branded with hot iron, according to the paper.
The teenage girl, who brought her there claiming to be her mother, said that the injuries had resulted when the baby fell out of bed. It has not been clearly established whether Falak was abandoned by her parents or kidnapped, but police said Monday that a man with whom the abused 14-year-old had eloped after escaping her husband may have stolen the baby from her parents, according to India Today.