Fear of family shame drove newborn’s killing in US

In response to incident, the US-based Sikh Coalition noted that it was devastated by the news coming out of Bakersfield, California

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A gruesome murder of a newborn baby in the US has shocked the Sikh community and Bakersfield neighbourhood in the US.

The details of the incident were captured by a local newspaper, Bakersfield.com:

“Behind a locked bathroom door, a 15-year-old gave birth to a baby in November in her family’s southwest Bakersfield home. Moments later, the door was unlocked and opened by her 23-year-old male cousin who took the crying newborn from her.

“The infant was handed to the teenager’s mother, who drowned the baby and wrapped it in a garbage bag. A hole was dug in a flower bed, the child’s body inside and covered with salt and then dirt.

“All in an attempt to shield the family from shame.

“That was the scenario laid out in court documents filed Thursday after police dug up the baby’s body earlier this week. The teen’s mother, Beant Kaur Dhillon, 43, told police she drowned the baby to prevent family shame, the documents said.”

In response to the incident, the US-based Sikh Coalition noted that it was devastated by the news coming out of Bakersfield, California.

“This tragedy is unequivocally unacceptable and we all have a responsibility to speak up against violence within our homes and communities.

“States across the US have Safe Haven laws where you can safely surrender your child at a hospital with staff or other designated Safe Haven locations. If you or someone you know is dealing with a family crisis and needs a confidential resource, please reach out to Sikh Family Center,” it said on its social media platforms.

In a comment on the Sikh Coalition’s Facebook page, Bobbie Singh-Allen noted the need for outlets for safe and open communication.

She added: “It is very challenging for Sikhs growing up in America. As an immigrant who moved here at the age of four, you are often lost as I was. You want to assimilate but are expected to live as though you are still in Punjab. Young women have little or no resources of support.

“I can’t help to wonder how many more horror stories exist but not reported? I feel heartbroken for the young lady who felt she had no options or hope. I don’t know how long this family has lived here to think this was acceptable or an only option.

“There is much work to do in our community. Kudos to those that have created culturally relative support groups and organizations. Heartbreaking.”

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Asia. How to reach us: Facebook message or WhatsApp +6017-335-1399. Our email: editor@asiasamachar.com. For obituary announcements, click here]

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