NAGAUR, Rajasthan — A newborn baby seen in a viral video as she was left lying in the dirt at a garbage dump in India has tragically died in the hospital just weeks after a filmmaking couple declared that they wanted to adopt the child as their own daughter.
“She fought, fought & fought. But at last, could not survive. Your little angel Pihu is no more,” wrote Vinod Kapri in an update on July 7. “Yesterday, I met her in Jaipur. She was very critical, but [I] never thought it would be our last meeting. This world was not meant for you. Rest in peace, my baby.”
Kapri and his wife, Sakshi Joshi, are now asking for an investigation into the 25-day-old child’s death as they have many questions surrounding her care.
The couple penned an open letter about the matter, published in The Quint this week, in which they outlined that on June 23, it was noticed that the baby was not keeping down milk. Days later, they were told by doctors that her hemoglobin level had also dropped and that she needed a blood transfusion.
Kapri and Joshi were later informed that the infant had an infection in her intestines. She was supposed to have surgery to help correct the issue, but her platelet count had fallen too low and the operation had to consequently be delayed. She died hours later.
“[T]he date of surgery in Jaipur was set for July 7, but by then her condition had worsened so much that surgery was impossible. Who is responsible for this deadly delay? Doctor of Nagaur? CWC of Nagaur? Government of Rajasthan? CARA of Delhi? Or people sitting in the center? Or parents like us who have accepted the child by heart but can not do anything legally?” the couple wrote.
“Where was the government and where is the government to give protection to this child?” they asked. “[I]f we can not save such a child, then we should understand that the system of this country has been badly eroded …”
As previously reported, the couple saw the footage of the crying abandoned newborn last month on Twitter and were moved to action, traveling many hours to be with the baby when it was learned that she had been hospitalized.
“[I] can’t bear to hear this child’s cries anymore,” Kapri wrote in re-sharing the video. “Does anyone have any information? We would like to make her a part of our lives.”
According to CNN, others began to chime in with tips and it was soon discovered that the baby was in Rajasthan. Kapri then asked his friend, Rahul Choudhry, to help him locate the child. He learned that she had been admitted to Jawaharlal Nehru Government Hospital in Nagaur.
Choudhry sent the couple video footage of the infant in the hospital.
“She is safe now and recovering. Please keep praying for her,” Kapri tweeted. “Thanks a million to the doctors of JLN Hospital, Nagaur, Rajasthan. We are checking [the] adoption process. Thanks to all of you for being part of this special journey.”
The couple phoned the hospital, speaking to the doctors about her condition and the desire to make the child their own. As they were invited to come see the baby, they made the eight-hour trip to Nagaur and decided to name the little girl Pihu after one of the films Joshi directed.
A video shared to Twitter showed Kapri holding the baby as his wife looked on.
On Father’s Day, Joshi tweeted, “The whole Kapri family is dying to have her in the family. We will try our best to adopt her as per rules and guidelines. Thanks a lot for all your love and support. #HappyFathersDay.”
The couple met with the Nagaur District Collector to learn how to go about adopting the child and were intent on making Pihu their own. Now, they want answers as to why it took so long to diagnose and treat the newborn’s condition.
As previously reported, according to a report from Thought Co., thousands of newborn girls are abandoned or killed in India each year. The reason?
“According to Hindu tradition, women are lower incarnations than men of the same caste. A woman cannot obtain release (moksha) from the cycle of death and rebirth. On a more practical day-to-day level, women traditionally could not inherit property or carry on the family name,” the outlet reports.
“Sons were expected to take care of their elderly parents in return for inheriting the family farm or shop. Daughters drained the family of resources because they had to have an expensive dowry to get married; a son, of course, would bring dowry wealth into the family,” it explains.
“As a result of these beliefs, parents had a strong preference for sons. A baby girl was seen as a ‘robber,’ who would cost the family money to raise, and who then would take her dowry and go to a new family when she got married.”
According to the site “Unwanted: The Ongoing War Against Daughters in India,” second-born daughters are more commonly killed or abandoned as families can only afford one dowry.