Manoj Chaurasia, Patna and Hugh Tomlinson for The Times write:
A mother has been burnt alive with her two young daughters by relatives in eastern India after she failed to bear her husband a son.
Bihar is one of India’s poorest states and discrimination against girls remains rampant. The gender balance averages 916 women for every 1,000 men, according to official records. In some districts, the figure for women slips below 900.
Determining the sex of a foetus was banned across India in 1994 to halt the widespread practice of aborting females, but it is still a thriving covert business and improvements in prenatal technology have made it easier to break the law. A United Nations report in 2013 detailed a steady decline in India’s gender balance, to 919 girls for every 1,000 boys. Some states have been caught inflating female birth rates to disguise their ratios.
Elsewhere in Bihar, a newborn girl was buried alive by her parents this week but found and saved by villagers after several hours in the shallow grave. Others have not been so lucky; there has been a spate of murders of baby girls in recent months.
Sachindra Narayan, a social scientist, said: “This shows the deep-rooted social bias. In a patriarchal society like Bihar, boys are still considered superior to girls as they are known as natural inheritors of family property.”