The body of a new-born baby girl was found near the Navjeevan Society residential complex, Mumbai, next to trash bins, her body bitten by rats.
For Mgr Dominic Savio Fernandes, auxiliary bishop of Mumbai, "It is
shocking that humankind can still commit such heinous crimes. It is time
for humans to learn from animals, who take care of their puppies and
protect them from any adversity. No one has ever heard of an animal that
throws its offspring into the garbage. Only humans do."
Speaking AsiaNews, the bishop, who heads the Commission on
the family in the western region of the Indian Bishops' Conference, went
on to say that "Today, children are the most endangered species in the
world, especially girls. They are killed in the womb, where, ironically,
they should be safe; or those who escape abortion are abandoned in
garbage bins or left to die on the streets. Many children are deprived
of the fundamental right to life”.
The prelate is distraught by the story of the baby girl, who was
found by police after it received a tip from a passer-by. The autopsy
shows that in addition to rat bites, the body showed numerous wounds to
the head and chest. According to the pathologist, this is consistent
with the body being thrown from a considerable distance, as if the
authors had thrown her from a moving car.
According to the Catholic Church, the bishop noted, “Human life is
sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God
and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who
is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until
its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right
directly to destroy an innocent human being" (Catechism of the Catholic
Church CCC, n. 2258).
“Human life,” he added, “must be respected and protected absolutely
from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a
human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among
which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life” (CCC n.
The archdiocese is committed to the protection of girls. It does so
through a series of programmes, explained, Mgr Fernandes, who is also
ecclesiastical adviser to the Diocesan Human Life Commission on (DHLC).
This includes raising awareness on gender issues in schools, as well as
education to respect human beings, especially women, who deserve dignity
and equality. "These initiatives are designed to make people aware of
these crimes, so that they can become agents of change."
The bishop stressed that the demand for more discussion on these
issues comes from the grassroots, from parishes, who would like to
organise more meetings on the subject of women and violence prevention.
"Raising awareness in everyone, irrespective of religion, caste, class
or gender, is an emerging need."
According to Mgr Fernandes, the focus must be on the family. "The
family is the basic unit of society. Everything that takes place within
the confines of the family is reflected more broadly in society.
Therefore, it is at the level of the family that values like respect,
dignity, honesty and morality must be inculcated."
"Experience,” he said, “teaches us that mothers are the ones who pass
on these values, but both parents have a vital role to play. If they
teach that boys are worth more than girls, the disparity will make its
way into society. Parents need to be instruments of change."