Protecting our unborn daughters

THE whole episode of Patran quacks running a full-fledged hospital and doing unchecked abortions right under the nose of the district and health authorities brings to the fore the same old question: the authorities’ failure to crack the whip on the quacks in spite of the High Court orders. (Editorial, “Shame of Patran”, Aug 11).

That the quack couple was doing these abortions for years together is deplorable. Had it not been for the fight with a staff member over a few hundred rupees, these abortions would have gone unchecked.

There is need for a probe at the highest level. Female foeticide is a social problem. Unless we tackle it at the grassroot level, we cannot eliminate this evil. Merely by raiding the ultrasound centres and enacting laws won’t do. People must be educated on the girl child’s rights and we need to improve women’s status in society to check this menace. As long as there are people to kill their unborn daughters, ways would be found to circumvent the law.

Dr H.S. BAKSHI, Secretary, (PNDT Cell) Indian Medical Association, Bathinda


The fact that this unqualified couple was indulging in a criminal activity with impunity and dumping the female foetuses in their backyard suggests that there was official patronage and connivance in this heinous crime. That the authorities have failed to discharge their duties is a sad reflection on the state of affairs.

The government should now ensure that the guilty do not go unpunished.  Society needs to change its mindset. Son-fixation or the couples’ preference for male child is another deplorable aspect of the problem which needs to be tackled to arrest the dwindling sex ratio.

Dr M.K. BAJAJ, Gurgaon


Admittedly, the Patiala incident is only a tip of the iceberg. Had one of the lady staff of the clinic been obliged by the quack, the matter would have been buried and the train of killings continued.

The couple involved in this ghastly crime should be tried and given severe punishment. All others who might be conniving with the homicidal quack should also come out. The onus also lies on the administration. How could it shut its eyes towards this abominable practice?

The Punjab government should check the records of all such clinics. The PNDT Act must be enforced strictly and those who violate the law must be treated as criminals and dealt with accordingly.

Dr VINOD K. CHOPRA, Hamirpur


The incident has indeed brought shame to the people of the region. Those involved in this crime should be given exemplary punishment. Only this will instill some fear in the minds of parents opting for killing their unborn daughters.

It is in sharp contrast to a situation depicted in Shiv Puran in which King Himalya and his wife Mena undertake rigorous worship, so that God may bless them with a daughter, who was later named Parvati. Only women can help eliminate this crime effectively. The mother who is forced to abort the female foetus should openly revolt against it and the government must provide all protection to her.

V.K. SHARMA, Shimla


Sadly, the enforcement of the PNDT Act is faulty and skewed. It has a provision that improper records and non-observance of certain formalities is punishable. In the past five years, over 90 per cent of the show-cause notices and suspension of licences have been done on this account.

Instead of punishing the culprits, the authorities seem to be worried about perfect record keeping and the dress code of the doctors. Their infatuation with the records is so mindless and uncharitable that it looks more like an exercise in witch-hunting. The authorities keep the honest doctors terrified and apprehensive while the real culprits go scot-free.

Dr MANOJ LAMBA, Kurukshetra

Accountability, US style

A firefighter from Plainfield near Indianapolis, US, had to resign recently from his $43,000-a-year-job after being accused of removing a soda can from the refrigerator of a burning home and drinking the beverage. He went there with his crew to extinguish the fire.

The Fire Chief said, “He (firefighter) removed what was described as a soft drink but regardless of whatever the item is, it is a violation. It is actually a theft. According to their service rules, items in a home are supposed to be hands off.

The US is not a perfect place, but this is what makes it great. Public servants are held accountable for what and how they do their jobs.



Global colonialism

Presumably to set itself apart from the continent, Britain and Ireland, from where its founders had come, the US chose to partly reverse the date-month-year format and create its own month-date-year one. It does not ever seem to have been troubled by the illogic of putting the smallest unit in the middle rather than at the start — or at the end, as in the ISO standard, YYYY-MM-DD, which is logical and which makes computations simple. Now, of course, it has given itself the divine right to take the world where it pleases.

September 9, the day of the attack on the World Trade Center, automatically became “9/11”. As that was the shorthand which the US used, the rest of the world used it too, never mind that in most countries the number of a month in a year follows that of a day in a month.

How do we explain the fact that the shorthand used for the Mumbai train blasts is “7/11”? We were a British colony, so we mostly use the DD-MM-YY format to express Gregorian and other dates. Is “9/11” a part of the canon which all countries in a world now ruled by the US will always follow, a mark of global colonialism?




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