The discovery of five foetuses in the city and its suburbs over the past two weeks - the latest being in Ulhasnagar on Tuesday - has spurred a massive police investigation covering hundreds of women, and several sonography and abortion centres.With the State closely monitoring the cases, cops have undertaken an improbable task: identifying the pregnant women who underwent abortions and the doctors who carried out the illegal procedures.
The probe comes in the midst of public outrage over illegal sex determination tests and female infanticide in Beed, where a doctor couple has been arrested for carrying out illegal abortions.The series of shocking discoveries in Mumbai began on June 7 when two foetuses - a four-month-old female and a two-month old male - were found in a garbage bin at Vinoba Bhave Nagar, Kurla.
Two days later, a five-month-old male foetus was pulled out of a drain in Kandivali. Another male foetus was found in a drain at Khotwadi, Santa Cruz (West), on Monday.The Kurla incidents are currently the main focus of the investigation.The Vinoba Bhave Nagar police have drawn up profiles of more than 500 pregnant women from the area by using patients’ data from 48 sonography centres and two abortion clinics.
“All those women who underwent obstetrics ultrasound tests in Kurla West in the past three weeks are on our list,” Dhananjay Kulkarni, the deputy commissioner of police for Zone 5, told Mirror. “We have started asking the women about their pregnancy status.”He added that the next step would be to whittle down the list to women suspected of aborting their children.
“We will then call them for questioning. This is an extremely sensitive issue, and we are doing everything possible to identify the culprits. Even doctors are being questioned,” Kulkarni said.Cops are also independently verifying pregnancy status of the women with “local contacts”. Apart from the foetuses, the discovery of a dead baby girl from Khar Danda, Santa Cruz, on June 7 is also being probed.
The cases were given top priority following a prod by the State, alarmed by increasing instances of female infanticide and skewed sex ratio. “All police stations where such cases have been registered are tackling them on priority,” said a spokesperson of the Mumbai police, Nisar Tamboli.Female foetus found in Ulhasnagar. Even as cops step up their efforts, a female foetus was found in a bin in government-run Central Hospital’s compound, Ulhasnagar - the first such case at a public hospital. A senior doctor who examined the foetus said that it was 24 to 28 weeks old. “It is a surgical abortion. It is not possible otherwise to get rid of a baby in such an advanced stage of pregnancy,” the doctor, who didn’t wish to be identified, said.
The hospital administration said that no pregnant woman with complications that lead to abortion had been admitted there. “No woman has undergone the procedure here. It is possible that someone dumped it in our compound,” said Dr JR Nimbore, the hospital in-charge.
Assistant Inspector Mohammed Iqbal Shikalkar of the Central police station said that the foetus had been sent to JJ for a post-mortem. “The Central Hospital’s staff could be involved,” said another officer. Activist Varsha Deshpande of NGO Lek Ladki Adbhiyan, which has conducted sting operations on clinics that conduct illegal sex determination tests, that arrests in such cases was the only way to curb the practice.
Jignesh Thakker, the secretary of Indian Radiological & Imaging Association (IRIA), said that authorities and investigators should stop focusing only on radiologists.“The entire focus of the girl child campaign has been on radiologists so far. With so many foetuses being found, doctors who perform medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) should also be questioned,” he said.
June 07 Two foetuses - a four-month-old female and a two-month-old male - are found in a garbage bin at Vinoba Bhave Nagar, Kurla.
June 09 A five-month-old male foetus is found in a drain in Kandivali.
June 18 A five-month-old male foetus is discovered in a drain at Khotwadi, Santacruz (West).
June 19 A female foetus, believed to be 24 weeks old, is found in a trash bin in government-run Central
Hospital’s compound, Ulhasnagar.