Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Genocide in India

It was 1991. I held gingerly the bundle of joy, my little daughter born less than an hour ago. The doctor congratulated me on becoming a father and added I was lucky for having a girl child because by the time she grows up some 25 years later, there will be dearth of women due to the skewed sex ratio and I might even get dowry in reverse. I laughed out aloud.
Just 16 years later, it is no more a laughing matter. The belief that women will attain a better status because of their scarcity has been proved a myth. Far from the shortage of women increasing their worth and standing in society, as people like me and the good doctor have imagined, the result is just the opposite. Women are now being trafficked in increasing numbers to some Indian states like Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh from Southern states.. Some are sold into marriage. Others are forced to engage in polyandry – becoming wife to more than one man, often brothers. Those that fail to produce sons are often abandoned, sometimes killed. This further perpetuates the cycle of prejudice and injustice, ensuring many women themselves prefer to give birth to a son to ensure no child of theirs suffers a similar fate.
Unicef recently concluded that the alarming decline in the childsex-ratio in India is likely to result in more girls being married at a younger age, more girls dropping out of education, increased mortality as a result of early child-bearing and an associated increase in acts of violence against girls and women such as rape,abduction, trafficking and forced polyandry.
Although sex-selection tests have been illegal in India since 1994, unwanted female babies are now being aborted on such a staggering scale that it is estimated India has lost 6 to 10 million girls in the past 20 years.. While abortions have long been legal in India, choosing to terminate pregnancy because of the child’s sex is not. One recent Unicef report estimated that currently 7,000 fewer girls are born in India every day because of sex-selective abortion amounting to more than 2 million “missing girls” a year.”
Female foeticide is the result of the deadly alliance between the traditional preference for sons and the modern medical technology, the increasing greed of doctors, the rising demand for dowry that makes daughters financial burdens and the ineffectiveness of PNDT Act in fighting these problems. Female infanticides in most places have been replaced by female foeticide.
Dr Puneet Bedi, a respected obstetrician specialising in foetal medicine and advisor to the Indian government says,“Just as throughout history euphemisms have been used to mask mass killings, terms like ‘female foeticide’, ‘son preference’ and ‘sex selection’ are now being used to cover up what amount to illegal contract killings on a massive scale, with the contracts being between parents and doctors somehow justified as a form of consumer choice,”
This is Genocide against women and this must be urgently arrested. The government has to focus on this by encouraging birth of girl children. A hundred thousand rupees in fixed deposit for 21 years in the name of every girl child born for the next five years, free school education with high scholarship amounts for college education, shoot the doctor and the father for any violation of Pre-Natal Determination Test Act can to a large extent arrest this disturbing trend.
We are nearing a dangerous phase where testosterone-charged males will be running amok.

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