According to The Times of India, the man identified as Pannalal, 43, attacked his wife Anita Devi on Saturday night, September 19, at their home in Budaun in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The severely injured woman who had been six to seven months pregnant was reportedly rushed to a Bareilly hospital where doctors were able to save her life but the BBC reports that she later gave birth to a stillborn son.

Although Pannalal admitted that he threw the sickle at his pregnant wife, he claimed that it was not his intention to hurt her.

The Civil Lines Police Station SHO, Sudhakar Pandey confirmed the incident to newsmen, saying: "A priest had predicted that their sixth child would also be a girl. Pannalal then attacked Anita with a sickle on her abdomen to kill the fetus after she refused to have an abortion."

Woman loses baby after hubby cut open her belly to ascertain the child’s gender
Woman loses baby after hubby cut open her belly to ascertain the child’s gender

Anita Devi’s brother, Ravi Kumar Singh, told The Times of India that Pannalal is fond of physically abusing his sister for always giving birth to female children.

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“My brother-in-law often used to beat my sister for giving birth to five daughters. Our parents had intervened on several occasions. But no one imagined that he would take such a cruel step."

Meanwhile, Sudhakar Pandey said that Pannalal is in the custody of the police assisting with the investigation, while they wait for a written complaint from the woman's family to register a case against him.

"We have detained the accused and he is being questioned.”