Reports stemming from northern India Thursday indicate that doctors have become so desperate to hide their practice of illegal sex-selection abortions that they are feeding female fetuses to dogs to avoid having evidence.
According to India Today, Varsha Deshpande discovered doctors partaking in the practice in Beed, located in the Maharashtra state of India. Deshpande is a part of Lek Ladki Abhiyan, an NGO working to put an end to female feticide.
While reports indicate that many authorities in the area's Marathwada region have heard rumors of this practice and an eyewitness claims to have seen a doctor feeding a fetus to one of his dogs, they have no real evidence.
Deshpande, however, tells India Today that she has been operating a two-year-long sting investigation on one doctor, Dr. Sudam Munde, who runs an abortion clinic in Beed.
Munde was initially arrested in 2010 after Deshpande claimed she and her organization recorded him admitting to disposing of female fetuses by feeding them to his five dogs. He was arrested temporarily, and then set free.
Munde was arrested a second time last Friday, when Vijaymala Patekar, 28, died at his hands while aborting her daughter, who would have been her fifth child.
Deshpande told the newspaper that Munde's influence and wealth in Beed and the surrounding Marathwada region provide him immunity from the law. The activist insisted that Dr. Munde should be arrested and tried in a different Indian state where an impartial verdict would be possible.
"A person even saw a foetus being fed to the animals. This is known to everyone in Beed, but the police are not taking action as Munde is influential," she told India Today.
The state of Maharashta has the worst child sex ratio in all of India, with 801 girls being born for every 1,000 boys, according to the country's 2011 census figures.
Cases of female feticide continues to be prevalent in Asia. "Some of the worst gender ratios, indicating gross violation of women's rights, are found in South and East Asian countries such as India and China," according to the International Humanist and Ethical Union, an umbrella organization composed of several humanist organizations worldwide.