Woman Denied a Break to Feed Six-Month-Old Baby, He Dies

The child had been heard crying for hours out of hunger.


A feeding bottle left by a mother near a three-foot grave in Telangana's Medak district tells the story of a six-month-old baby who allegedly starved to death on February 7.

Malleshwari, 30-year-old construction worker, says her baby died because she was not allowed to take a break to breastfeed him.

When she got back to her shack near the construction site after work, she found her son dead.

The child had been heard crying for hours out of hunger.

Malleshwari says when she asked for a break to nurse her son, the contractor accused her of trying to avoid work.

"Because of this company, I lost my baby. They made us work very hard, day and night.  But he cried of hunger and then went silent. I don't even know when he died. I found him dead when I returned," Malleshwari said.

The baby was buried at a spot 60 km from Hyderabad, in a district represented by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

Malleshwari had been working for the contractors for the last 10 years. Last month, she moved with her four small children to Medak, where a new unit was being built.

The police have registered a case of death due to negligence against the Asian Chennai Engineering Company that brought her to the construction site. The baby's body will be exhumed tomorrow for a post-mortem examination.

"It is a very unfortunate incident. We don't want this to repeat ever. We will take stringent action against the contractor responsible for this," said Mohd Mahmood Ali, the deputy Chief Minister of Telangana.

The case highlights the vulnerability of migrant labourers, especially women workers at brick kilns and construction sites and their children. There are no healthcare or daycare facilities.