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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 August, 2004, 12:35 GMT 13:35 UK
Indian man seeks to 'kill' daughter

By Narayan Bareth
BBC correspondent in Rajasthan

Shalini, three, who is at the centre of the row
An Indian man has threatened to kill his youngest daughter after an operation on his wife failed to stop her getting pregnant.

Chhagan Singh Rathod, who lives in the northern state of Rajasthan, says he cannot afford to support his third child, Shalini, who is now three.

She was born despite his wife, Anasuya, having had an operation to block her fallopian tubes. The couple had already had two daughters.

Mr Rathod has filed a case against the doctors in the state's High Court and wants compensation from the hospital, which denies wrongdoing.

If I was keen on a son, then I would have not advised my wife to go in for an operation after giving birth to two children
Chhagan Singh Rathod

He recently sent an e-mail to Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, saying that if something was not done about his case soon he would kill Shalini - although he later withdrew the threat.

The district authorities in Jaisalmer, where Mr Rathod works in a hotel, have warned him not to hurt her under any circumstances.

"We have warned this man against taking the law into his own hands and killing his daughter," senior police official Kalyan Singh told the BBC.


Female infanticide is rife in Rajasthan, where the birth of a daughter is considered a curse while the birth of a son is celebrated.

Chaggan Singh Rathod
Mr Rathod wants to know why the operation failed

The state has a gender imbalance, with just 922 females for every 1,000 males.

Mr Rathod says that although he sent the e-mail, he has no intention of killing Shalini.

He says he wrote to the chief minister because he wants the authorities to move quickly on his case.

However, while his first two daughters are being educated in an English-language school, Shalini has been admitted to a less prestigious Hindi-language school.

His wife disapproves of his decision to send their youngest daughter to a different school, but Mr Rathod says that is where she will stay unless the governments pays for her education.

He denies that he would have been happier had his third child been a boy.

"If I was keen on a son, then I would have not advised my wife to go in for an operation after giving birth to two children."

No compensation

He says he wants an inquiry into the reasons for the operation being unsuccessful.

The chief medical health officer of the state-run Jawahar Hospital, Jai Singh Rathod, told the BBC they had already submitted a report to the authorities when the case was first filed in court.

He said they had pointed out that although the operation is mostly successful, there is sometimes a chance of it failing and proving ineffective in birth control.

The hospital authorities have sent a letter to Mr Rathod, offering to perform a second operation free of charge should he opt for it.

But they said they could not offer any compensation.

The child in the middle of all the fuss, Shalini, is oblivious to the controversy surrounding her birth and continues to live happily in her own world.

Her father is still waiting to hear from the chief minister.

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06 Nov 03  |  Education
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18 Jul 03  |  South Asia
India's lost girls
04 Feb 03  |  South Asia

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