In what can only be termed as gruesome and heart-wrenching, an 11-year-old schoolgirl in Rajkot, who was repeatedly raped for over 8 months by six of her neighbours, gave birth to a girl child. The little girl, whose name has not been disclosed to protect her identity, gave birth to the baby with spina bifida – a congenital disorder caused by an underdeveloped spine and spinal cord.The horrific crime came to light on 8 March this year, when the 11-year-old complained of a stomach ache after her belly swelled abnormally. The girl’s mother – who works as domestic help – took the child to a doctor, who insisted on conducting a sonography, which revealed that the child was around 8 months pregnant.Blind, Deaf and Minor Accused of RapeAn FIR was lodged on 13 March and five of the six accused have been sent to judicial custody.Their names are: Manji Javiya (67), Aravind Kubavat (52), Vijanand Maiyad (47), Vipul Chavda (40) and Govind Sakariya (60). According to police sources, one of the accused has a hearing impairment while another is 75% blind. The sixth accused, a 17-year-old, has been sent to a juvenile detention facility.The girl went into labour on 17 March at Rajkot Civil Hospital and gave birth to a baby weighing one-and-a-half kgs but paralysed from waist down and fighting for her life.Ahmedabad Civil Hospital Advises Against SurgeryThe child along with her newborn were rushed to Asarwa Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad on 17 March. A committee was formed at the civil hospital to take a decision by March 20 on whether surgery could be done. However, after admitting both the newborn and the mother for three days, the hospital decided not to conduct a surgery on the newborn child and sent the duo back to Rajkot.The Quint spoke to Paediatric Surgeon Dr Rakesh Joshi who said, “She was diagnosed with open spina bifida or meningomyelocele where the unfused portion of the spinal column allows the spinal cord to protrude through an opening. The meningeal membranes that cover the spinal cord also protrude through the opening. Her case was made complicated due to a neurological deficit which cannot be cured through surgery as her legs are already paralysed. To top it off, she is a newborn and surgery at such a stage will only complicate things further.‘We Insist on No Surgery in Such Cases’Joshi further elaborated, “In this spinal disorder, all the previous cases that we have operated upon, especially in the neonatal stage, have not shown any positive results. In fact, we have had many parents who had insisted on surgery when the child was born only to come 10 years later and rue over the surgery, as it simply doesn’t help the child. To top it off, this child needs to be looked after for the rest of her life; she had two constables looking after her and her own mother and her family are not willing to accept her. Who will take responsibility of the child?”Even if they were to take responsibility of the child we would have insisted on not conducting the surgery and take the child home.Dr Rakesh Joshi, Paediatric Surgeon, Asarwa Civil Hospital, AhmedabadAbout discharging the child and sending her back to Rajkot, he said, “Rajkot Medical College is equally well-equipped to handle such cases. It’s just that the case was referred to us to determine if surgery is possible or not and we concluded that surgery will not help the case at all. Thus, she was sent back to Rajkot Medical College again for further care.”Compassionate CopsThe newborn was escorted to Ahmedabad by two women constables from Rajkot – Sonal Ranjit (23) and Sejal Parmar (22).The Quint spoke Sonal Ranjit, one the women constables who escorted the child and the newborn to Ahmedabad, “We are disappointed because the newborn cannot be saved through surgery. When she was born, I and Sejal were the first ones to pick her up and hold her. The mother is so young and in so much of pain that she couldn’t even nurse the child at her teat. We stayed there in Ahmedabad for three days hoping against hope that the child will make it.”If I show you the child’s pictures, you’d be amazed how cute and pink she looks. On our way back to Rajkot we even bought a cute little pink frock for her. All we hoped and prayed for was that, the surgery should help the little girl live long and healthy, so that she could be sent to an orphanage where a loving family could adopt. But I don’t think she will last long.Sonal Ranjit, Rajkot Police Constable We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.