Wanting desperately to have a son was the reason given by Pannalal after he sliced open his wife's abdomen. Anita Devi of Uttar Pradesh, India was attacked by her husband on Saturday, September 19. Incited by a priest, the man reportedly wanted to check the gender of the unborn child. The four-month pregnant woman survived the attack and the child was reportedly unhurt. Police arrested the unfit father and charged him with attempted murder.

Pannalal and Anita are expecting their sixth child together. They are already parents to five daughters but the man wanted to have a son. In India, it is illegal to reveal the gender of a baby before its birth due to widespread female foeticide. So, the father had no way of knowing the gender of his sixth child before its birth.

He decided to seek the help of a local priest. The priest reportedly predicted that the child was going to be born a girl. This angered the man and he wanted to find out the gender before the child was born.

With a sickle, Pannalal attacked Anita in their home in Budaun district, Uttar Pradesh. She was left bleeding profusely after the 43-year-old man sliced open her abdomen. The woman's family intervened and took her to a hospital where she received emergency care.

Speaking to the Times of India, Anita's brother Ravi Kumar Singh revealed that his sister was often beaten by her husband for not giving birth to a son. Even though her family had intervened multiple times they could not prevent the sinister attack.

Anita was first taken to a district hospital in Bareilly. Her condition worsened so the family tried to admit her to a private hospital. The hospital demanded more money than the family could afford. Finally, she was taken to Safdarjung hospital in Delhi where doctors operated on her to save both the child and the mother's lives.

The man had not been able to damage to the womb so the unborn child was unharmed.

Police arrested Pannalal and charged him with attempted murder as well as other offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). He remains in police custody as the incident continues to be investigated.

Pregnant woman holding stomach
Man cut open pregnant wife's belly to know gender of unborn child. (representational image) Ian Waldie/Getty Images