MAHARASHTRA, INDIA, June 8, 2012, ( – Two doctors and numerous accomplices have been arrested in the Beed district of Maharashtra, India, on charges of doing sex-selective abortions on baby girls up to the ninth month of pregnancy, according to reports in the local and national media.

Dr. Shivaji Sanap, a private clinician, has been arrested for killing two unborn girls, whose bodies were found dumped in a dry riverbed last Saturday. One was estimated to be over eight months gestation, and the other over five months.

He has been charged with violating India’s Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) act, which prohibits determining the sex of a child before birth. He has also been charged with performing an abortion after-five months, which is prohibited in India.

In addition to Dr. Sanap, his father-in-law, who also works at the clinic, has been arrested, along with two women who are believed to be the mothers and are suspected of having dumped the bodies. A 17-year-old girl and her parents, also suspected of having procured an illegal abortion at the same facility, were also taken into custody, making a total of seven arrests in the case.

The Beed district is seen by Indian authorities as one of the worst violators of India’s laws against sex-selective abortions, a crime that has ended the lives of millions of unborn girls in India and has caused a massive and growing imbalance in the population’s sex ratio.

“Beed District is notorious for foeticide and female infanticide,” Dr Pascoal Carvalho of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Life, told the Catholic news service AsiaNews. “It also has one of the most skewed male-female ratios for children under six: 801 to 1,000.”

He added that the country’s 2011 census confirms that the problem extends throughout the country.

As a result of this process of “gendercide,” which Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls “a national shame,” some towns have a ratio as low as three males to every one female. Many men say they are unable to find a wife, and the imbalance has reportedly resulted in increased trafficking in women.

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India getting serious about sex-selective abortion?

The arrests may indicate a new willingness on the part of Indian government officials to crack down on the lucrative sex-selective abortion industry, which until recently has operated with impunity in many parts of the country, despite the laws in place against it.

Two days ago, Beed area authorities followed up the arrest of Dr. Sanap and his accomplices with a raid of seven pharmacies accused of selling illegal abortion drugs, the Times of India reports. Authorities are also seeking a Beed-area physician couple, Sudam Munde and wife Saraswati Munde, which was booked in 2011 after female fetuses connected to the couple’s abortion practice were discovered, and a non-governmental organization accused their clinic of doing sex-determination tests for patients, according to the same publication.

The Times reports that activists are criticizing government officials for not doing more to stop the sale of illegal abortifacients, but that the country’s Food and Drug Administration says that it is understaffed and unable to keep up with the massive black market in such drugs.