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Dr. Mitu Khurana: the defender of India’s baby girls

by Alanna Gomez
In India and China, everyday more than 7000-10,000 girls are killed before they are born. The reason for this mindless killing is - THAT IT`S A GIRL. Female Foeticide in India and China has killed more unborn girls than the number of people killed in all Genocides of the world taken collectively.
In both the countries , the government is silent on the issues. The laws if present are hardly implemented. The law enforcers belong to the same patriachial mindset.

It is only the international pressure on the government to implement the laws strictly to end the GENDERCIDE taking place in India and China , which can stop the Gendercide.

One of the most remarkable stories shared in the new documentary “It’s a Girl” ( is that of Dr. Mitu Khurana and her daughters. Their story is shocking and distressing, exposing how the prejudice against female children permeates all levels of Indian society, while also being a testimony to the great love that a mother has for her children and how she can rise above her own fears to protect them.

In the fall of 2004, Dr. Khurana, a pediatrician, was married to Dr. Kamal Khurana, an orthopedic surgeon in Delhi, India. Shortly after, her in-laws started making demands for additions to her dowry - a new car, more jewelry, an apartment. They abused her when these demands weren’t met by Mitu’s parents.

In January of 2005, Mitu became pregnant. Upon hearing the news, her husband was initially very happy. That is, until her mother-in-law started demanding that a sex determination test be done. Mitu discovered she was carrying twins in February. If they were girls, her in-laws were determined that she should have an abortion of at least one but preferably both babies.

In an attempt to limit the high rate of sex-selective abortions committed against girls in India, the government has outlawed the sex determination test. Mitu refused to have the tests done and was severely persecuted by her husband and in-laws for her stubbornness. Finally, they locked her in a room and 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.

At the hospital, she was admitted to the labor room, even though she was only 16 weeks pregnant. The doctor who saw her ordered a series of tests, including ultrasound scans of her kidneys. They sedated Mitu and brought her to the ultrasound room where the doctor ended up doing a full fetal scan - revealing that she was carrying two baby girls.

Shortly after, she was discharged and sent home. The pressure was on for Mitu to consent to have an abortion. Mitu had been put on bed rest but her sister-in-law repeatedly made her clean the floors, in hopes of inducing a miscarriage. During an argument, her husband pushed her down a flight of stairs, then locked her in a room. 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.

Mitu was in and out of the hospital for the next couple months, while her in-laws refused to be in contact with her. When she gave birth, two months premature, Mitu was determined to help her in-laws find at least some love for her two innocent little girls, wanting the girls to have a father. She moved back in to her husband’s home.

Things didn’t improve. 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 be married, the dowry harassment began again as Mitu’s in-laws demanded more from her parents, who refused to pay. After the wedding, it only took two months before Mitu’s sister-in-law was back home, filing dowry harassment and domestic abuse against her husband. 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 (PC&PNDT Act) against her husband as well as the doctors and the hospital that preformed 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. Its purpose is to regulate and prevent the mis-use of diagnostic tests. 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 this day, no charges have actually been laid.

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.

Mitu continues to fight for her daughters and raises them in her parent’s home. Her father has taken on twice the number of hours at work to support them. She is now a prominent activist against female gendercide in India, attempting to bring these horrific practices to an end. Her daughters are blessed to have a such courageous mother who loves them so deeply- not because they are girls, or despite that fact that they are girls, but because they are her children.


This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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flora1's picture

Mitukhurana, Thank you for


Thank you for sharing this article. I clicked on the link and was relieved to see Mitu and her babies, so beautiful and strong. I know it is an old photo but seeing her face felt good. She is every one of us who is disrespected by the society in which we only want to love and make families.

I hope Mitu is successful in her mission and that her daughters have a wonderful life. Mitu's father sounds like a wonderful man and his sacrifice and tenderness is a beautiful example of how kind and loving men can be.

I know we can change the plight of women in India, if enough people hear the stories and cruelty can no longer happen in secret.

Be well.


topieopolot's picture


hello i have heard of the stories about girl child abortion though i thought it was a practice in only china... how sad that a parent can want to terminate their baby girls, with no qualms at all, how sad indeed! and i must say how hard it is indeed for all women there1
back to dr mitu, it is good that she finally got the courage to stand up and live for that was no environment to live in.
i wonder how much and is there a difference in terms of salary payment for civil servants in india?
why did Dr mitu put up with all that, knowing she is a doctor, could she not have been able to provide for her self and the babies.
pardon me for asking this, i don't know much about cultural politics in my home for instance, its been drummed in to us by our elders that the reason we were/are taken and given the opportunity to study was/is so
1. we can be able to support our selves for today parents are there, the next day they may not.
2. get a job and not only support you but your parents, relatives and others unfortunate that you can be able to reach.
3. when you do finally get to marry, which is not mandatory, be independent financially and should things ever not work out and you feel that you can not talk it, pack up, either go back home cause its open or start up your own after all you are empowered!
I my self, am a beneficiary of the person who preached what we have come to call at home principles of Dr Tom. i came from a very impoverished home but Dr. tom who happens to be my maternal uncle pulled me and many others out of this condition. And to day i am proud to say that i am who i am because of him and his family and many of us owe our lives to them.
India is far a way from uganda but i wish and hope that you learn and take up arms to be independent and let no inlaws or men decide for you...after all its your life.
Unless there is a thing or law against women staying on their own? As for Dr. Mitu i commend you for getting out and you have a long way for now you got to champion all other women.
thank you for writing

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