NEW DELHI - Indian police are hunting two men posing as doctors who killed a newborn by severing his genitals in a bid to convince the mother she had given birth to a girl, officials said on Friday (April 27).
The pair said the eight-month pregnant woman would have a girl after staging a sham ultrasound at an illegal clinic in the Chatra district of eastern Jharkhand state, according to Chatra's top medical officer.
They said urgent surgery was needed to deliver the baby, Satinder Prasad Singh added.
But on seeing the child was a boy when he was born on Tuesday (April 24), the two cut off the genitals to pass him off as a girl with a deformity, Mr Singh told AFP.
The baby died almost immediately through blood loss, according to an autopsy.
"They were illegally running the clinic and conducting tests and other medical procedures. They do not possess any medical degree and were fleecing gullible patients," Mr Singh said.
A murder and fraud case has been filed against the men, who have been on the run since Wednesday (April 25) when the family went to police.
The pregnant woman had been for several check-ups at the clinic, which had been operating for several months, conducting illegal prenatal sex tests.
Prenatal sex tests are banned in India as part of efforts to stop unborn girls being aborted by parents desperate for a boy. The tests are still widespread.
Unqualified medical practitioners are also common in India, particularly in rural areas, where formal healthcare is scarce and private hospitals are expensive.
India has an estimated 840,000 medical doctors - one for every 1,674 people. The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum one per 1,000 people.