It’s a Girl, Dr. Mitu Khurana: A Mother’s fight to save her daughters

In the world where Goddess Durga and Mother Mary are worshipped as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called Gendercide. In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they girls. Even if girl survives her infancy is subjected to neglect, extreme violence which eventually leads to brutal death.

Source: The Quint

The activists in many parts play a vital role to protect those girls who are either abandoned or miserably treated. One most of the defender of Girls is India’s, Dr. Mitu Khurana. Dr. Mitu Khurana’s story is shocking, distressing and exposing the mind-sets of the people how people cannot welcome the female child in their family. After the in-laws of Dr. Mitu abandoned her and her twin daughters she raised her daughters on her own.

Khurana, a proud mother of twin girls, was the first woman to file a case under the PNDT Act for being subjected to pre-natal sex determination test while, she claims, being heavily sedated and without her consent.

Dr. Mitu Khurana is a pediatrician, she was married to Dr. Kamal Khurana, an orthopedic surgeon in Delhi. After the marriage, she was pressurized for more dowry. They wanted a new car, more jewelry, an apartment. They harassed her when these demands were not met.

In January 2005, Mitu became pregnant. Her husband was initially happy with her pregnancy news. That is until her mother-in-law started demanding that a sex determination test to be done. Mitu discovered she was carrying twins in February. The in-laws wanted that atleast one of them must be a male-child.

India enacted the law to stop female foeticide. Mitu refused to have sex-determination test done. She persecuted by her husband and in-laws for her stubbornness.  They confined her in a room a devised a plan. Mitu is allergic to eggs, so they baked a cake and told her it was egg-free, forcing her to eat it. That evening, she developed severe allergic symptoms but was denied medical aid until the next morning when she was brought to the hospital.

She was admitted to the labor room even though she was just 16 weeks pregnant. She was made unconscious when she was brought to ultrasound room when the doctor ended up doing a full scan revealing that she was carrying two baby girls. After that, she was discharged and brought to home back. She was advised for bed-rest.

Although Mitu was advised bed rest she was forced by her sister-in-law to mop the floor to induce the miscarriage. She pushed down from the staircase by her husband. Bruised and bleeding, she managed to call her father. Mitu told him that he had given her to death rather than marriage. He picked her up and brought her home the next morning.

She was in and out her entire pregnancy despite that her in-laws refused to contact her.  She gave birth to two months premature girls. After the birth of her girls, she moved back to her husband’s place thinking that they may accept her and little innocent girls. But the things did not change. When the babies were four months old, one was thrown down a flight of stairs. Fortunately, Mitu was close by and caught her before there was serious harm done. The abuse continued for two more years as it became clear that Mitu’s in-laws were not willing to accept the girls.

When Mitu’s sister-in-law was about to get married, they again started to harass her for dowry as her sister-in-laws wanted more dowry. Mitu’s parents refused to pay. After two months of the Mitu’s sister-in-law’s marriage, she came back home and filed a case against her husband and in-laws for dowry and domestic abuse. She got a divorce.

At this point, Mitu was no longer welcome in her husband’s home. He hacked into her e-mail account and sent fake love letters to her brother-in-law to defame her, wanting a divorce so he could re-marry and have a son. His mother insisted on keeping all Mitu’s dowry jewelry, which Mitu handed over, considering it a small price to pay for her daughters to have a stable home. Her husband took separate accommodations and Mitu was thrown out into the night.

Mitu filed a complaint under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (PC&PNDT Act) against her husband as well as the doctors and the hospital that performed the illegal sex-determination test. She was the first woman to do so in Delhi, more than 10 years after the Act was first passed. The purpose of the Act is to regulate and prevent the misuse of diagnostic tests. Instead of appreciating her for her stand, Mitu was told by the official on the case that she should “stop wasting her life and give her husband a son if he wanted one.”

To pressure her, her husband filed a custody claim against her, having an apparent sudden change of heart about wanting the girls. Mitu lost her job and is still being harassed because she filed a suit against a big hospital. Most people feel she was in the wrong and her in-laws were justified in their desire for a boy.

A year after a Delhi trial court struck a blow to Dr Mitu Khurana’s hopes, the Supreme Court dismissed her case. In 2008, Dr Khurana filed a case against her husband Dr Kamal Khurana, her mother-in-law and another member of his family, for allegedly colluding with a hospital official to determine the gender of her foetuses while she was pregnant in 2005. Khurana was then pressurised into undergoing an abortion once it was determined she was carrying girls.

On September 16, the Supreme Court dismissed Dr Khurana’s petition against the Delhi high court judgement that ruled against her, reportedly after a five-minute hearing, bringing an end to Khurana’s almost 11-year struggle for justice.

According to dna reports from last year, Khurana, in her petition, alleged that her in-laws “pressured her continually” to determine the sex of the foetuses. When she resisted, they allegedly “tricked her” into being admitted to Jaipur Golden Hospital in Delhi, where they allegedly conspired with doctors to get a sex determination test done.

In her complaint, Khurana said her in-laws fed her cake with egg, which she is allergic to, making her ill.

According to lawyer Anu Narula, who interacted with the media along with Khurana on Tuesday, the high court judgement, which was upheld by the Supreme Court, is “erroneous and full of oversight”. Narula told dna the high court dismissed Khurana’s case on two counts. It was barred by limitation as according to law, a case has to be filed under the PCPNDT Act either three years from the date of offence or from that of knowledge.

Khurana found out about the ultrasound in March 2008 after she stumbled on hospital papers. Mitu wrote to the national commission for women, who referred her to the union health ministry, which directed her to complain to the district appellate authority – a process Khurana followed up on. Also, the judgement says Khurana did not give mandatory 15-day notice to the DAA before approaching the court. “The notice is part of the pile of court papers and has been overlooked by the judge,” said Narula.

“She has been dismissed as a cantankerous petitioner who picks fights with her husband, her in-laws and the doctors,” added Narula.

Mitu has now become an against female gendercide in India, attempting to bring these horrific practices to an end.  Mitu’s father now works twice the number of hours to support her and her daughters. It is really important that the mentality of regarding the girl child in society must be changed and more people like Dr. Mitu Khurana must come forward to make “it’s a girl”, three most beautiful words in the world.