A woman described as a 22-year-old "unmarried medical student" (other reports say 25) returning home to India after studying abroad, apparently gave birth mid-flight, then attempted to flush the baby down the toilet of the Amritsar-bound Turkmenistan Airlines plane.
The infant was found stuck in the toilet after the plane landed, and had to be taken to Amritsar's Fortis Escorts hospital still attached to the bowl; doctors used a saw to free its head. The baby is listed in critical condition.
The mother, meanwhile, was arrested in another part of the airport soon after the baby was discovered. Her condition was described by a doctor as "stable." Police say they will question her once she is declared medically - and, one hopes, psychologically - fit. Abandoning newborns is an offense punishable in India by up to seven years in jail; the penalty will obviously be more severe should the infant die; rising infanticide rates in India have led to more public scrutiny and a heightened response to such crimes. (Even if the motivations were different.)
While it's impossible to know anything about this young woman's mind-set - beyond obvious panic - the tragedy immediately suggests context: although India's top court recently ruled that live-in relationships between adult couples are not a crime, pre-marital sex is still largely taboo and "virginity tests" not uncommon. Even divorced single mothers are ostracized and at a steep disadvantage; an unmarried mother faces unimaginable pressures.