M A I N   N E W S

Foeticide goes unrecorded in Haryana
Gender ratio ‘improvement’ claims false, says inquiry report
Vandana Shukla/TNS

Chandigarh, July 16
There may be little veracity to claims of improvement in gender ratio in Haryana. For, while data may reflect number of pregnancies and deliveries to be the same, a lot happens in between. Claims of improvement in gender ratio in Rabra and Joli villages of Sonepat district were found to be false when an inquiry was conducted by a Ministry of Panchayati Raj representative.

The claims were made to get financial incentives offered by the government for districts that show improvement in gender ratio.

Despite an apparently perfect alibi recorded on paper that eliminates figures of female foeticide, two ground realities cannot be overlooked. One, girls are still missing in large numbers despite well-meaning acts and laws and numerous schemes like Ladli Yojna, Balika Samriddhi Yojna and Apni Beti Apna Dhan, launched in the state to encourage birth of girl child.

Two, despite a well-managed coordination between Ministry of Women and Child Development, gram panchayats and social bodies like khaps, all the well-meaning agencies are not able to break the code that works for elimination of girls before their birth.

Registers maintained by anganwadi workers for recording pregnancies in village panchayats record pregnancies only in the fourth month. The government directive says pregnancy should be registered as soon as it is confirmed, while it makes the registration mandatory for the second trimester. Interested parties take advantage of this lacunae because the gender of the foetus is determined by end of the first trimester.

Hence, birth rate of male babies remains higher. This modus operandi eliminates figures related to abortions. What remains evident is that number of girls born is depleting. It is certainly not a natural phenomenon. In Bibipur, where a mahapanchayat was held on Saturday against female foeticide, and a Mahila Chaupal was established a few months back, number of girls born has depleted drastically in the last two years.

Insiders say solution to the problem is simple. “Government needs to intensify services of MCWs (maternity care workers) in villages and ANMs (auxiliary nurse and midwife) in urban areas to keep track of all pregnancies, right from the time when pregnancy is established. If they are sensitised and given incentives for keeping a tab on pregnancies instead of guiding women towards sex determination or abortion, the problem could be solved. This is better than investing in active trackers for ultrasound machines, as is done in Jhajjar district, where gender ratio is the lowest,” says Dr BS Dahiya, former DG, Government Health Services, Haryana. “Women should be made to understand legal implications of aborting female foetus; they don’t like to be shamed in public. We have suggested that any pregnancy that is registered in the fourth month should be talked about in the gram sabha to shame the woman,” says Uma Iyer, who has been involved with the working of gram sabhas as a representative of Ministry of Panchayati Raj.




honour killings
Crack down on khaps, SC urged
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 16
A report on honour killings and other human rights violations against women today recommended to the Supreme Court a series of preventive, remedial and punitive steps as part of the measures to crack down on khap panchayats and effectively deal with such heinous crimes.

“In cases of khap panchayat, it is very necessary for the police to take timely steps so as to prevent any physical harm to the couple involved in inter-caste marriages against the wishes of the parents and society, said the report prepared by senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, appointed as amicus curiae to help the SC in disposing of a PIL for the protection of the rights of women and children.

“Any gathering which instigates commission of an illegal act is an illegal gathering. It amounts to instigation to commit a crime which may result in death of an individual. The state/police officials have to take preventive or remedial action” for protecting the fundamental rights of such couples, the report said.

The amicus suggested that the SC issue a seven-point directive to states for ensuring fundamental rights of women. States should be directed to immediately identify districts, sub-divisions and villages which had witnessed instances of honour killing or assembly of khap panchayat in the past one year.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |