Father Sentenced to Life for Cutting Open Pregnant Wife’s Womb to Check Baby’s Gender

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In a deeply tragic and shocking case, Panna Lal, a 46-year-old father of five daughters, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for a brutal attack on his eight-month-pregnant wife, Anita Devi.

The attack, driven by Lal’s obsession with having a male heir, resulted in the death of their unborn baby boy and left Anita with severe injuries.

Panna Lal, a resident of Badaun’s Civil Lines in Uttar Pradesh, had been married to Anita for 25 years. Despite their long marriage, their relationship was marked by frequent disputes, primarily due to Lal’s desperate desire for a son. The couple had five daughters, and Lal’s obsession grew increasingly toxic over time.

Family members were aware of the couple’s tumultuous relationship and made numerous attempts to intervene, urging Lal to cease his abusive behaviour. Despite their efforts, he continued to threaten Anita, even saying he would divorce her and marry another woman.

The fateful day occurred in September 2020, when a heated argument about the gender of their unborn child erupted once again. In a fit of rage, Lal threatened to cut open Anita’s stomach to determine if she was carrying a boy or a girl. Terrified, Anita fought back, but Lal’s fury only intensified. He grabbed a sickle and attacked her viciously.

The cut was deep and brutal, leaving Anita’s intestines hanging from her stomach. Desperate and in excruciating pain, she ran out into the street, screaming for help. Her brother, Ravi Singh, who worked at a nearby shop, heard her cries and rushed to her aid. As he approached, Lal fled the scene, leaving Anita bleeding and traumatized.

Anita was immediately taken to the hospital. While doctors managed to save her life, the trauma of the attack resulted in the loss of her unborn baby boy.

On May 23, 2024, the fast-track court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Saurabh Saxena sentenced Panna Lal to life imprisonment.

In court, Lal claimed that Anita had inflicted the wounds on herself to frame him due to a property dispute with her brothers. However, the court found his arguments unconvincing, and the evidence overwhelmingly pointed to his guilt.

Anita’s brother, Ravi Singh, expressed relief at the sentencing but lamented the lasting impact on his sister’s life.

“When Anita was pregnant for the sixth time, Panna wanted her to abort, convinced by a village priest that she was expecting another girl,” Ravi recalled. “But Anita was determined to keep the child. He often beat Anita, but we never thought he would take such an extreme step. We are happy he got this punishment, but sadly, my sister is still not able to live a normal life.”

This tragic case highlights the severe consequences of gender-based violence and the enduring struggle for justice faced by many women in similar situations.

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