A newborn baby girl has been found alive floating down the River Ganges in wooden box.
Boatman Gullu Chaudhary was travelling down the river in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state when he heard cries from the child.
After following the cries, he found the tiny girl, 21 days old, wrapped in a red scarf and placed inside a box decorated with images of Hindu deities.
Mr Chaudhary told local reporters that when others on river bank heard the baby girl’s cries, no one stepped forward to help.
He said: “But I rushed to rescue her. When I opened the wooden box, I found her.”
The newborn has been taken to hospital and her health is being monitored.
She will later be sent to a shelter home.
Police said the box she had been placed in also contained a horoscope card which had the time and date of her birth, and mentioned her name as Ganga – the Hindi name for river Ganges.
The state said it would cover costs of the baby’s care, reports the BBC.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the heroic boatman would be rewarded with government benefits.
The reward, which includes a house, is for showing a “matchless example of humanity”, he said.
Officials in Ghazipur district, where the baby was rescued, told reporters that District Magistrate MP Singh had checked on the baby and that officials were also sent to meet the boatman.
An investigation into how the baby ended up in the river has been launched.
There is no confirmation as to the suspected abandonment being gender -related, but India’s gender balance is poor.
Women and girls can seen as a financial burden, particularly among poor communities.