Bangalore: She is named Afreen, meaning "special" or "unique." The three-month-old has been bestowed so far with vindictive extra-ordinariness. She lies hooked up to a ventilator at a government hospital, the third that she has been to since Thursday. Her father, Umar Farooq, has been arrested for abusing her.
Because of an assault last week, she has swelling and bleeding in her brain. She sometimes has convulsions.
"After the baby girl was born, he started giving trouble. It is an innocent child. How could he find it in his heart to do this?" asks Afreen's maternal grandmother, Majboor Bi.
Afreen is being treated at the Vani Vilas government hospital in Bangalore.The doctors attending to the baby say they cannot tell if her injuries will result in permanent damage. As yet, they don't know what caused the marks all over her body. But they believe she has been battered regularly, and that an attempt was made recently to smother her. Afreen's mother says that may be a misinterpretation of the facts. "When I got up at night the baby was covered by a blanket and there was cloth in her mouth. And a pillow was on top of her. I asked my husband, 'What happened?' He said 'I put a blanket on her, put the pillow beside her. She might have moved the cloth into her mouth.' " (Post your comments)
But Reshma's mother says that Farooq had earlier harassed her family for dowry, and his resentment expanded considerably when his wife delivered a girl instead of the son he wanted.
In January this year, India met Baby Falak, a baby in Delhi's AIIMS hospital who had been relentlessly abused, allegedly by her teenaged care-giver. Falak had been separated from her mother, and passed around in a circle of adults who were linked to a prostitution racket.
Falak had been abused so badly that she had three heart attacks in hospital. The two-year -old died, after showing signs of recovery, in March this year.