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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK
Baby survives being buried alive
Indian baby's hand
The practice of female infanticide still occurs in rural areas
A two-day-old baby girl in India has survived after being buried alive in a field by her maternal grandfather in the south of the country.

The baby, who had apparently never been fed, was discovered by a farmer near a village some 150km south of Hyderabad.

He said he only spotted her because her tiny hand was sticking out of the soil.

Police say they have arrested the baby's grandfather, 52-year-old Abdul Rahman, after he confessed to trying to kill the newborn by burying her alive.

"I am yet to marry off four daughters and cannot take responsibility for a fifth one, even when she is only a granddaughter," Mr Rahman was quoted as telling police.

It was not immediately clear whether Mr Rahman's daughter, the mother of the baby, had given her consent for her child to be taken away.

The baby, who has not yet been named and weighs just 1.7kg, is being treated in a nearby hospital.

The practice of female foeticide and female infanticide does occur in some rural areas.

A girl child is often viewed as inferior to a boy and a bride's dowry can also cripple a family financially.

Government figures suggest that around 10 million girls have been killed by their parents - either in the womb or immediately after birth - over the past two decades.

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