Delhi resident Dr Mitu Khurana says her husband, also a doctor, wanted her to abort twin girls after an illegal sex determination test
NEW DELHI: Sixty-one years after Independence, girls in our country are still fighting for the freedom to be born and the freedom to live. Dr Mitu Khurana is the mother of two lovely twins. But the real reason we are talking about her is that she chose to fight her husband and his parents rather than let them force her into an abortion. She is also the first woman in Delhi to have filed a case against her husband and his parents under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act after they fraudulently obtained information about the sex of the babies she was carrying and pressurised her to abort the foetuses.
“After I came to know that my husband, also a doctor, had managed to get a sex-determination test done, I knew what was going to happen. They desperately wanted a male child. There was immense pressure on me to go in for an abortion. But instead of giving in to them, I chose to escape and am proud to say that I have given birth to two lovely daughters,” says Dr Mitu. She has lodged a complaint against her husband, Dr Kamal Khurana, his parents and also wants action against the doctors who helped them conduct the illegal sex determination test.
THREATS AND BRIBES
Though determined in her objective, she is a little disheartened by the authorities’ attitude. It has been four months since she filed her complaint but little has been done in the name of investigation. “Though the government claims it is doing its bit to protect the girl child, nothing is being done in my case. All I have faced since filing the complaint have been threats, pressure to withdraw the case and mental harassment,” she says.
She has gone to the Delhi Commission for Women, the CDMO, Northwest Delhi, Core Monitoring Committee of PNDT, written to the Prime Minister and has now decided to write to the health minister seeking justice. She has also filed an application under the Right To Information Act on June 3 to know the status of her case. “Before filing the case I had met Dr Puneet Bedi, a member of the Core Monitoring Committee. He did not take me seriously. Also, he warned me that if I file a case, the concerned hospital, where the sex determination was done without my knowledge, would threaten and offer me bribes and I would be forced to settle the case with my husband and close it,” she said.
Dr Mitu was however bold enough and did not pay heed to Dr Bedi’s warnings. She fought her battle alone. “I was advised by the authorities to stop and think about my actions and not do anything in haste as I would have to repent later. I was also told that I should try to reconcile with my husband, and the wish for a son was not something I could not fulfil as I could always get pregnant again,” she said.
But when no one called her regarding the case, she filed an RTI to know the status of her complaint. Then a raid was conducted on the hospital. “I got the answer that the Central PNDT department has conducted a raid, and there was again silence. Finally, I received a registered letter dated July 16 from CDMO, Northwest Delhi that during the raid no Form F was found, which was filled for the Ultra Sonography done in the hospital. This is a violation of the PNDT Act, but still no action has been taken against my husband,” says Dr Mitu.
SUPPORT FROM NGO
Bijaya Laxmi Nanda, campaign co-ordinator, Campaign Against Female Foeticide, said: “I appreciate Mitu for launching the fight. She is the first one from Delhi to launch the fight. In her case her husband, in-laws and the concerned doctor were hand in glove.
“Her in-laws wanted a boy child while the doctors wanted money. Here, I think the doctors’ fraternity is also in question which is why no action was taken against the doctor, who determined her babies’ sex and also Mitu’s husband, who is also a doctor.”
Dr Mitu’s husband Dr Kamal Khurana, however, said: “Her allegations are false. I can’t make any comment until the matter is resolved.” Dr A K Jaina, director of Family Welfare Directorate (PNDT comes under the directorate), said: “This case is under investigation by appropriate authorities. So far, we do not have any report.”
Dr Mitu Khurana with her twin daughters