The 'genocide' of India's daughters

We ask if the patriarchal mindset that runs
across castes and class can be changed to
 prevent foeticide and infanticide.
Supreme Court judges in India have
 summoned the health secretaries in seven
 states over a worrying fall in the number of
 young girls in India.
 They are demanding details about clinics
 flouting the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal
 Diagnostic Techniques Act – to determine the
 sex of unborn babies – with potentially fatal
 The judges are blaming what they call
 rampant foeticide and infanticide, and they
 say the mindset of parents and society need
 to change.
 The UN children's charity UNICEF says the
 culture of favouring males in India is costing
 the lives of millions of young girls.
 The agency says more than 2,000 illegal
 abortions are being carried out every single
 day, and it is dramatically altering the
 balance of the population.
 It warns: "Decades of sex determination tests
 and female foeticide that has acquired
 proportions are finally catching up with
 states in India. This is only the tip if the
 demographic and social problems confronting
 India in the coming years."
 Speaking in April 2011, Manmohan Singh, the
 Indian prime minister, called for a crusade
 against the widespread practice of foeticide
 and infanticide.
 "The falling child sex ratio is an indictment of
 our social values. Our girls and women have
 done us proud in classrooms, in boardrooms
 and on the sports field. It is a national shame
 for us that despite this, female foeticide and
 infanticide continues."
 The 1991 Indian census showed there were
 945 girls for every 1,000 boys, aged up to
 six. Ten years later, it dipped even further to
 just 914 girls for every 1,000 boys.
 But that is just the average. The figures are
 far worse in some states.
 The 2011 census found there were 830 girls
 for every 1,000 boys in the northern state of
 Haryana. It was 846 in neighbouring Punjab
 state. And in the national capital territory of
 Delhi the figure was 866.
 India has very strict abortion laws. Until
 1971, terminating pregnancies was only
 allowed if the mother's life was at risk. Other
 exceptions were then allowed: for fetuses
 with potential birth defects; for babies
 conceived through rape; and for pregnancies
 in unmarried girls below 18.
 In 1994 the government passed a new law
 making it illegal to use ultrasound scans to
 determine the sex of the baby – a crime
 carrying a jail term of up to three years.
 So what needs to be done to change the
 centuries-old mindset of favouring boys?
 Joining the Inside Story discussion with
 presenter Shiulie Ghosh are guests: Mitu
 Khurana, a pediatrician and a women's rights
 activist; Suhas Chakma, the director of the
 Asian Centre for Human Rights; Sadanand
 Dhume, a journalist/writer and a resident
 fellow of the American Enterprise Institute.
 "The root cause is the dowry system where a
 girl who is born is seen as a burden for the
 family … the question is how does one
 enforce the law. The Medical Council of India
 is supposed to supervise the work done by
 the doctors [but] it has not suspended anyone
 to date for violations of ethical guidelines."
 Suhas Chakma, the director of the Asian
 Centre for Human Rights
 The fate of female children in India:
 Female infanticide is the act of deliberately
 killing bay girls
 Determining the sex of unborn babies is
 illegal in India
 Financial reasons are often behind female
 An estimated 500,000 female fetuses are
 aborted every year, according to the Lancet
 ActionAid says the law to determine the sex
 of an unborn child is not being enforced, and
 that not enough was being done to change
 the culture favouring boys
 The UN estimates that 2,000 female foetuses
 are being aborted every day
source -

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