Doctor sought over illegal scans
A top Indian gynaecologist has had her licence to practise suspended after a BBC report into female foeticide.Dr Mangala Telang was filmed offering an illegal ultrasound scan, although she denied any wrongdoing.
Indian health officials have now shut two Delhi clinics run by Dr Telang while they investigate the allegations.
Medically-assisted sex selection is illegal in the UK and in India, where an estimated seven million girls have gone missing over the past 25 years.
It is thought most were aborted because they were the wrong sex.
Getting rid of baby girls is a practice that is so widespread in some parts of India that it has dramatically skewed the ratio of males to females.
Indians often view a girl child as inferior to a boy. A bride’s dowry can also cripple a family financially.
India’s Department of Health has ordered both of Dr Telang’s clinics in Delhi to be shut.
Senior health official Kal Singh told the BBC that Dr Telang’s licence had been suspended under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques act.
“I’ve instructed officials to file a case in court – which will take one or two days,” he said.
“We went to her premises but found the clinic locked – so we sealed it and gave notice for Dr Telang to report to us within 2-3 days in order to give her explanation.
“We will need more evidence, and to examine the records kept in the clinics.”
The BBC Asian Network investigation was intended to test anecdotal reports that a number of British Indians had travelled to India in order to have selective abortions.
A recent study by researchers at Oxford University suggested that as many as 1,500 girls were “missing” from the birth statistics in England and Wales from 1990 to 2005.
The BBC sent a British couple to one of Dr Telang’s clinics in Delhi after hearing that her clinic would offer ultrasound scans to determine the sex of a baby.
It is illegal to offer such scans in India – but the law is regularly flouted
In the BBC film, Dr Telang was caught agreeing to perform the scan to determine whether the woman’s unborn child was a boy or a girl – even though a sign in the waiting room clearly said the practice was illegal.
She warned the couple not to tell anyone about what they were doing as it was illegal.
Dr Telang told the BBC team she could recommend someone to carry out an abortion if the foetus was female.
In the ultrasound room, another doctor told the couple the “good” news that it was a boy. Both doctors had broken several laws.
When the BBC told the doctors about the evidence, they denied doing anything wrong.
Dr Telang said she was not in the room when the scan was carried out. But she is clearly seen in the room congratulating the couple.
The BBC’s Damian Grammaticus in Delhi says Dr Telang, one of the capital’s best known gynaecologists, has vanished.
Despite India’s strict laws to prevent female foeticide, prosecutions remain rare, our correspondent says.
Britain’s Missing Girls, an Asian Network Report, was broadcast on BBC Asian Network digital radio at 18.30 on Monday 3 December.