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Labels: Consequences of Female Foeticide
A BRITISH couple abandoned their newborn IVF girl twins at a hospital – because they wanted boys. The mum aged 59 and dad, 72, conceived in India with fertility treatment and returned to England for the birth. They told horrified
medics they did not want the “wrong sex” babies immediately after the Caesarean section in Wolverhampton.
The husband then asked how soon it would be before his wife was fit enough to fly out again for further IVF in the hope of getting a boy to continue the family name.
Female babies are often abandoned in India for being the wrong sex – but it is the first time here. It will send shockwaves of revulsion through multi-cultural Britain.
The parents were born in India but are British citizens living in Birmingham.
They had fertility treatment in India as it is illegal here at at such an advanced age. (link)
NHS West Midlands, the strategic health authority involved, disputed the report.
In a statement it confirmed the details of the twins' birth and the fact that they had been transferred to a Birmingham hospital closer to their parents' home.
"The parents are visiting their daughters whilst they are being cared for in hospital and are attentive to their needs," the statement said.
"For patient confidentiality reasons, the identity of the family and the babies are
not being disclosed. The identity of the hospital is also not being disclosed.
"We are not aware of a referral to social services." (link)
The killing of newborn girls has long been common in rural India, where aAs I was watching Zee News Punjabi with my grandmum this morning, there was news of girls being sold into marriage now due to a stark shortage of girls in Punjab and Haryana. This led us (me and grandma) to talk about the prevalent female abortions that are very much a part of our society now. She gave me a few names of family members who had got their daughters aborted not just once but multiple times. I couldn't believe her words. I know these people. I would've never known that they were also guilty of killing their daughters had my grandmum not imparted that information to me! I am so proud of my grandmum though for saying (before giving me a hug) towards the end of our conversation that she feels sorry for all of them for they lost such precious gifts. I am sure she wouldn't have said that a few years ago, but today, when she is realizing that her granddaughters care for her as much as her grandson, she has changed with times. I only hope for such change to prevail within our society on a massive scale.
daughter is perceived as a financial burden because her family has to pay a hefty dowry when she is married.
Boys, by contrast, are regarded as future breadwinners and heirs who will look after their parents in their old age.
Since the advent of ultrasound technology, abortion of female foetuses has also become increasingly prevalent, not only in rural communities but also among city-dwellers.
An international team of researchers estimated in 2006 that 10 million girls had been aborted in India over the past two decades. The Indian Medical Association says that five million are aborted annually. (link)
Labels: Abandoned girlchildren
It was still the early chapters of The Pelican Brief. Strange how some irrelevant associations endure and they usually point to books I was reading when something significant was happening in my life. But that Thursday night, I was reading it and reading it rather desultorily.
Without any prejudice to the writer or the plot, let me explain why it was so. There was a growing unease within me which was extremely discomfiting, unlike anything I had ever felt before, induced both by my own body and exaggerated by the slooow Syntocinon drip on my right arm, which produced syncope-like feelings. In addition were the gut-wrenching moans and wails from the invisible woman in the next cubicle, a primi who had to undergo the labours of ejecting a piece of tissue which had grown in her for eight months before quitting spontaneously. Far more disturbing than all these was the low but clear tones of a discussion that two people were clinically having in that unreal endless night- the burden of the conversation and an extremely heavy burden it was, was how the two women wished they did not ever have daughters as girls would have to undergo all the travails of child bearing which they were exposed to as Ob-Gyns day and night.
What disturbed me was not the fact that these were not merely trained educated doctors speaking but that they were real women and yet did not feel the joys of being a woman. All through my pregnancy I had fervently hoped for a daughter and I could not believe my ears that here were women (women who participate in the birthing process, no less) who wished that their own progeny did not participate in the most visible celebration of life!
A dear friend of mine, one of my 'anchors', is from the cultural (and very political) holy city from the banks of the Ganga whose guavas are as sweet as the language and fine sensibilities of its people.
Now constrained by physical distance, we talk over the phone about this and that and all the rest that goes into our lives- about birds in the bird bath, crows having a parliament and such important matters. During the course of one such invigorating session, she asked me to listen to both the versions of this song- this and that. She knows just how much I appreciate these songs so I presumed that the newer version of Umrao Jaan would, if any, be better - with songs to match.
Alas, more fool me - the lyrics of Shahryar and the music of Khayyam with even a gem of Khusro, how could they be matched by a 'politically correct' poet who receives such public proclaim and is even proclaimed by his enlightened wife of having re-written history.
When I was pregnant with my second child, I had to, for some obscure reasons, undergo five ultrasound scans- four of them with a self-proclaimed expert radiologist who never picked up the congenital defect my baby was born with but invariably harped on whether I wanted to know whether I'd have a cricketer or a cheerleader. No, I did not take him to court, which he deserved to be especially given his acclaimed academic background, though some may pig-headedly disagree.
At the end, if I were to do things again, I'd say agle janam mohe bitiya hi kijo. Now to talk to my friend...
Is this really happening?? Yet another case of a teenager raping children. In this case, the victims are two little girls below the age of 5. It's about time that rapes of minors be punished with death sentence. So, so depressing. I cannot even imagine what the parents must be going through. Please do write to the editors of your local newspapers protesting against this steady rise of crime against children.
Mumbai, May 22: A 19-year-old zari worker was arrested on Tuesday for raping two minor sisters aged three and five. The police said he has confessed to his crime and has been sent to prison.
At around 10 am on Tuesday, the two girls were playing outside their home in the Sangam Nagar slum at Antop Hill. Spotting them unattended, zari worker Atiqul Mohammed Matihur Rehman lured the children into his workshop where he committed the crime.
Shortly after 6.30 pm, the elder daughter described the incident to her mother who approached the police. "We picked up Rehman from the zari unit and he confessed his act," said PSI Janardan Tarde of the Wadala Truck Terminus police station.A case has been registered and the accused has been sent to prison.
Labels: Views from the Blogworld
Labels: violence against women
In yet another sad commentary on female foeticide practised in Punjab, an infant girl thrown away in a Ludhiana locality was eaten up by stray dogs Tuesday. Locals on Tibba road saw the dogs around a gunny bag. By the time help could reach the infant, the dogs had already eaten the head and one hand.
The residents informed the police who took away the body. Police officials said they were investigating who could have thrown the infant. The dead infant appeared to be just two days old. The police were checking the births in nursing homes and hospitals to find out about the parents.
Punjab has one of the worst sex ratios in the country with just around 800 females per 1,000 males.
Can it get any more heart-breaking? May her parents live in a perpetual state of unhappiness, guilt and misery for the rest of their lives. May her soul rest in peace.
I have nothing more to add.Related Reading:
Labels: Abandoned girlchildren
Dowries are the main reason behind sex-selective abortions, said Marceau. The average dowry, she said, is about five times the average annual salary in India. In Canada, a comparable dowry would cost $300,000.
India's economic miracle is making the dowry problem worse. As society becomes richer, the demands increase. Poor families are crippled by the debts they have to undertake to find husbands for their daughter.
What are missing in India are public pensions, old-age security, fully subsidized health care and education, the speakers said. Without these public supports, the son remains his parents' sole means of long-term support. Without public supports, raising a daughter is, as an Indian proverb puts it, like watering the neighbour's garden - to no point. With pressure increasing on Indian families to have only two children, too many families want only boys.
That's the recurring thought process that we keep hearing of, isn't it? Daughters being the 'paraaya dhan' (someone else's wealth) don't deserve to be wasted money on. Therefore, it's better that they are not even born.
I wouldn't say that dowry is the ONLY culprit but it most definitely is one of the main culprits. Dowry needs to be done away with but, obviously, it's only getting worse. Ostentatiousness is only increasing manifold with the increase of wealth inflow. I recently had a conversation about dowry with a well educated young man from a small town in Bihar (India) who is now settled in UK. His younger sister, 23, is betrothed to be married soon. Therefore, he is in the process of saving money to help his parents pay dowry for his post-graduate sister. "Shouldn't you be speaking up against it?", I asked him. He responded with a shrug, "That's just the way it is. Never thought of debating it." Owing to his nonchalant response, we had a detailed conversation about the gravity of the situation. He agreed with everything negative I had to say about the dowry system but he still wouldn't be bothered to do anything about it. That's just the way it is for him and that might just the way it will be for his children too. Having said that, I must mention that he's a great guy. Just the kind you would want as a friend, a brother or even a father.
Given such attitude from even the educated and 'good' people goes to show that dowry is to stay. Anti-dowry laws were introduced in 1960s and they have had no effect. Dowry is still going and going strong. As Janet writes, an average of 15,000 Indian women a year are killed over their dowry. Most are burned to death in their kitchens, a method of killing which can be disguised as an accident. My naive assumption based on these facts is that dowry is here to stay for a while at least. With dowry, commodification of women stays too. With commodification, daughters being considered a financial burden is also a must. Why not try and ease this financial burden on parents by not only giving them financial incentives that government has offered to parents with girl children in the past but also introduce a workable social security system which includes 'public pensions, old-age security, fully subsidized health care and education'?
Perhaps that could work as a solution in combination with changing mindset and implementing laws as suggested in the previous post. What do you say?
Sources said the government was planning to produce movies against foeticide and screen them specifically in multiplexes, visited primarily by the more affluent in urban India.
The initiative is part of broader plans to target better-off Indians, the sources said.
“The aim of these films will be to sensitise multiplex audiences, which are very different in character and in their choice of films from the rest of India,” a senior official in the women and child development ministry said.
The ministry has already initiated talks with the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).
At a meeting with FTII officials scheduled for this weekend, minister Renuka Chowdhury is expected to outline how the government plans to go about the project.
After the meeting, the government, the sources said, would shortlist a few filmmakers to direct the movies. Upcoming director Meghna Gulzar is among the names being discussed, they said. The movies might also involve FTII faculty members and alumni, officials at the institute said.
Speaking to The Telegraph a week ago, the women and child development minister had expressed fears of a “girl squeeze” in Indian society.
“There is an increasing girl squeeze in our society. If things continue the way they are at present, soon there may be entire areas where boys don’t have enough girls to marry,” she had said.
The decision to screen movies indicates growing acceptance within the government that while education and financial stability might help overcome many socio-economic hurdles, foeticide continues to plague the better-off sections in India.
Prosperous states like Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat, and Delhi have among the lowest sex ratios in the country (see chart below).
Within Delhi, well-to-do localities — like Defence Colony, Preet Vihar and Punjabi Bagh — have among the lowest sex ratios.
Traditionally, not enough has been done to spread awareness among the elite, ministry sources said. But gynaecologist Puneet Bedi accused the government of indulging in “page three talk, based on little understanding of the problem”.
“If I drive a fancy car, I will not switch to a bicycle after watching a movie. The killers of Nithari wouldn’t have stopped killing girls because of a film they saw. Initiatives like these are an insult to the seven million dead Indian girls,” Bedi fumed.
Bedi said the government needed to make serious efforts to enforce the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prevention) Act, instead of spending money simply on awareness.
“In India, the law was introduced precisely because it became clear that awareness alone had failed. Female foeticide cannot be treated as a social evil which awareness can eliminate. It is a crime,” he said.
Bedi also questioned the government’s decision to selectively target the urban rich.
“It is true that the rich have been guilty more often. But that is only because they can afford it. As the charges for sex determination fall, the poor will also engage in the crime,” he said.
Courtesy : The Telegraph, Calcutta
NEW DELHI: The government has cleared a path-breaking package to lessen the agony of rape victims. Completing trial of rape cases in two months, having women judges hear rape cases “as far as practicable”, and recording statements of victims at places of their choice are some of the bold changes to the criminal procedure code (CrPC) approved by the Union Cabinet on Thursday.
The proposals are part of the larger bouquet of changes in the CrPC (Amendment) Bill, which is to be re-introduced in Parliament after having been vetted by the standing committee.... Read further here.
In another significant change approved by the Cabinet, victims can appeal against acquittals. This provision can act as a deterrent against frequent instances of collusion between the prosecution and the accused. Put simply, those of the sort who allegedly tried to help the accused in the Priyadarshini Mattoo case may have to contend with the alert relatives of victims tracking their conduct.
The Cabinet also decided to commute capital punishment of a pregnant convict to life imprisonment, in keeping with the principle that helped Nalini, convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, escape the noose.
Though officials are not sure whether the bill would be tabled in Parliament during the ongoing Budget session, both home and law ministries are keen that the proposed legislation be taken up during the monsoon session.
The changes related to rape seek to provide protection to victims, many of whom don’t dare step forward to complain, or, in the case of the brave ones who defy the stigma to report the crime, to endure police investigations and trial proceedings.
If the proposed legislation gets Parliament's nod, investigation of rape cases will be conducted at the residence of the victim and "so far as practicable, by a woman police officer". It also makes provision for a victim to be questioned in the presence of her parents or a social worker of the locality. These provisions will spare the victims of the agony of visiting police stations and answering inconvenient — obscene in many cases — questions in the presence of unknown persons.
The suggestion for the presence of women trial judges will also cushion against the insensitive inquisition by the defence counsel which can scar the victim with the feeling of being violated a second time.
Changes have also been approved for quick disposal of rape cases without leaving scope for postponement or adjournment of proceedings.
Labels: Progress towards solutions
Labels: Woman's worth
Coming back to the mother in Delhi, the story reported becomes a little fuller in the days following her confession. Because she was already seriously ill, her husband and in-laws had spent a great deal on her treatment and had sold some land in order to send her to Delhi. All this was done in the expectation that the baby would be a boy. Else, she had been told, her husband would divorce her. She was already the mother of two boys, and only another boy would be welcome. They had spent enough on her; the mother quailed at the thought of further expenses, of education and of dowry, on behalf of an unwanted girl. The baby was a bad omen in every way.
The mother in Chennai, who seems to have disappeared from the national media without a trace after her arrest, remains silent to us on the specific causes of her decision. But her apparent heartlessness towards her own child is matched by a kind of protectiveness towards her husband. If she was persuaded that his business was badly affected by this undesirable birth, she was anxious to point out that she had become ill too. The reference to an other-worldly causality that helped her — and possibly everyone else — ignore the real causes of her own ill health, must have also helped her execute her nightmarish act.
But nightmares cannot be reproduced in the news. “Superstitious mother kills baby,” said one headline. And when the woman in Delhi was being taken away to Tihar jail, the police were clear about one thing: her husband “was not a party to the crime”. Of course not, he didn’t strangle the baby. The husband of a 22-year-old woman in a hospital in Chandigarh was shattered when he heard that his wife had strangled their newborn girl. He had accepted the baby “as a gift of God”. Then he is probably in a minority in a region where female foeticide and infanticide have caused a frightening imbalance in the sex ratio.
Society’s judgments are quick and harsh on a mother who kills her own children. Particularly so, when she not only survives but also tries to hide the fact that she is a murderer. She is perceived as monstrous, and no amount of data about the pressures on a woman to produce a son can alter this perception. Motherhood is a “holy” state. Everyone else can desecrate it, drive a mother crazy before and after having borne a girl, but she is a criminal, an unnatural woman, the moment she is seen to have killed her baby.
But it must be clear that she has done the killing with her own hands, without help, and has then dared to live on. All that she says subsequently will be examined in the light of society’s assumptions. When Seema Sai, from Cha village in Burdwan, finally admitted to having killed both her daughters by drowning them in a tank at Belur Math (and neither was newborn), the police expressed surprise that she should have complained to her father of torture in her in-laws’ home. “Girls confide in their mothers,” was the understanding — the implication being, of course, that she was lying.
Would these mothers have earned the collective, if not always expressed, sympathy of society that fathers do when they commit suicide after killing their children because of poverty, depression or the “debt burden”? These are somehow acceptable causes, and a father who has failed in his duty to feed his family is an object of pity and commiseration. Seema said she wanted to die too, but failed to do so. Not only that, her actions after drowning her daughters speak of an apparently well-thought-out desire to escape punishment. She lied, again and again.
The point is that the murdering mother has to be caught out doing the killing on her own. Once the institutions of society have turned their scrutiny on this lonely act, it is a hideous crime. Some studies in the late Nineties put the number of baby girls killed every year in villages by mothers, midwives and close female relatives far over a few thousand. And this is without including the possible numbers of sex-selective abortions. But we do not find thousands of mothers’ faces splashed all over the media as Seema Sai’s has been. Granted, her crime seems particularly terrible, and her efforts to escape responsibility well planned, but would she have been a little more tenderly handled had she a supportive husband by her side?
Tamil Nadu had become known for its high rates of female infanticide from the mid-Eighties. A mother in the Kallar community there, who had just killed her baby daughter, said that she and her husband had decided it was better to let the baby suffer for a few moments than to let her live a miserable life in a landless labourer’s family. They already had a daughter. The husband, who had got the poisonous herbs to kill the baby, said that he could not dream of marrying off two daughters with the required dowry. But Seema’s husband was not a party to the crime, the police said. Does that make Seema a more “unnatural” mother than the Kallar woman? Can “natural” motherhood be constructed out of fear, ignorance, neglect and inherited guilt?
When a mother kills her child, it raises questions about the nature of will and agency, and the relationship between the two. She acts, but how does that action come about? How does premeditation function here, and what does it mean, say, in a case like Seema’s? Such questions may assume an unchanging emotion called mother-love. What form does this emotion take in a woman who has no right to decide when she will or will not have children, and who may believe, as many do, that producing a girl has something to do with her, that it is her failure, her fault?
Seema’s face is now a familiar one in West Bengal, the state with one of the highest rates of female foeticide. It is worthwhile to look into that face, to try and catch those eyes empty of everything except an unnameable terror, to gaze at that thin, racked body, and imagine a procession of thousands of such faces and bodies. Her crime — can her act be given another name? — is gruesome, her instinct for survival raw and pitiful. Social scientists and activists argue that the mother who kills her daughter is as much a victim as her child; they are both subject to the same forces of a cruelly gender-biased society. The counter-argument comes from others: no one can violate a girl’s right to live. Is it possible to make a special law for mothers who kill their baby girls? How would such a law be formulated? All other things remaining the same, can one imagine the horrors that would then ensue?
All other things remaining the same. That, ultimately, is the moral of the story. It is not the individual mother who violates the right of a girl to her life, but all those other things that have not only remained the same, but have even grown worse over the years. Greater inequality of means, opportunity and education; narrowing resources; a heightening demand for material goods; a proportional increase in frustration, impatience, insecurity and violence; harsher demands for dowry; minor marriages; the neglect of women’s education and health; the desperate need to cling on more fiercely to the old tyrannies in a rapidly changing world. All these, and more, add up to an inexpressible condition of misery that drives a woman to kill the one thing that could have given her happiness, a fleeting sense of ownership, and a sense of being needed. Can the “abnormal” mother who has killed her child have anything that can be called a “normal” life?
Borrowed from Timesonline.co.uk:
The big fat Indian wedding has been told to slim down. Leaders of Delhi’s Sikh community have called for an end to lavish wedding celebrations featuring meat and alcohol on the grounds that they encourage the dowry system and female foeticide.
The Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, the city’s top Sikh body, has told the capital’s one million Sikhs to boycott weddings that are not teetotal, vegetarian and over by noon. Similar measures are being considered in other Indian cities.
Sikhs are supposed to avoid unnecessary expenditure, but their weddings have become increasingly ostentatious in recent years. Many last several days, beginning with the groom’s procession to the bride’s home and culminating in a banquet featuring tandoori chicken, beer and whisky and dancing into the night.
One of the most extravagant on record was that of Vikram Chatwal, a New York-based hotelier, and Priya Sachdev, an Indian model. Their ceremony last year involved twenty-five parties, held over ten nights in three cities. The committee has ordered Delhi’s 350 gurdwaras (Sikh temples) not to issue wedding certificates to families who ignore its guidelines. Those who hold wedding processions in the evening will not be allowed to marry in a gurdwara.
“Our fight is against the exploitation by those who pose demands on the girl’s family to organise elaborate weddings,” Paramjit Singh Sarna, the committee president, said. “It is this splurge of wealth on ceremonies which is promoting dowry and practices like female foeticide.”
Although it is technically illegal to demand a dowry, most Indians ignore the ban. The bride’s family is expected to pay for a sumptuous wedding and give the groom’s family cash and other gifts. As a result, daughters are traditionally seen as a financial burden and many Indians kill newborn girls or abort female foetuses.
The Indian Medical Association says that five million female foetuses are terminated every year. The issue was highlighted last week when the wife of an Indian millionaire accused him of forcing her to abort two girls.
Sardar Ram Singh, another Sikh leader in Delhi, said that the committee’s new guidelines would soon be taken up elsewhere. “I am confident that over 95 per cent Sikhs will positively respond to our appeal,” he said.
Similar calls have fallen on deaf ears on the past. “There might be a show of restraint, but at the end of the day, Sikhs like to party,” one 31-year-old Sikh man who is about to get married said. “I don’t think we’ll be changing our plans.”
Labels: Action against Female Foeticide
One cause of this barren blooming [is] a false system of education, gathered from the books written on [women] by men who, considering females rather as women than human creatures, have been more anxious to make them alluring mistresses than affectionate wives and rational mothers. (Wollstonecraft 1792: 289)Before I discuss the text with you in further detail, I would like to share an example with you from the Calgary Herald from March 30, 2006. It is a news story about a doctor who got arrested for conducting sex-selective abortions in a clinic in India. Sex-selective abortions and infanticide strictly pertaining to female children in India is not a new phenomenon but what’s striking about this issue is that it is not restricted to just the lower strata of the society. It is widespread through all social and economic levels including the educated classes. Calgary Herald states:
Female infanticide has been widespread for centuries, particularly in northern India, where girls were considered a financial liability because they were unable to do manual labour and required an expensive dowry. In modern times, infanticide has been largely replaced by feticide because of the availability of legalized abortion and affordable ultrasound clinics. In the village of Jahkoli, for instance, after an ultrasound machine was installed […], the birth register showed that of 61 deliveries, only […] 22 percent were girls. (Foster 2006:A10)
Women are told from their infancy, and taught by the example of their mothers, that a little knowledge of human weakness, justly termed cunning, softness of temper, outward obedience, and a scrupulous attention to a puerile kind of propriety, will obtain for them the protection of man; and should they be beautiful, everything else is needless, for at least, twenty years of their lives … (Wollstonecraft 1792: 290)
How can laws work?
At a small village near Madhugiri in Tumkur district, there are several doctors who offer to determine the sex of an unborn child for Rs 10,000. Though the child welfare department has received many complaints from this area, the authorities have not been able to take action as doctors use unique methods to convey the sex to parents.
"They write ‘+’ for a male child and ‘-’ for a female on the scanning report. The ultrasound clinics in that area are always filled with couples from Bangalore who go all the way to get the tests done," a women and child welfare department official explained. It is not just Madhugiri which is known for such practices. There are scanning clinics in the city too. According to sources, many doctors do it secretly and at home. They have methods like writing the scan report in "green" ink for a baby boy and "red" for a girl. Sometimes, it’s mixture for baby girl and sweet for a boy.
Dr Girijamma, a gynaecologist, says there is an alarming increase in foeticide with doctors adopting different methods to find the sex. "This definitely needs to be stopped. Parents expecting a child should be advised by their doctors not to go to a clinic for this," he said. The big demand for the test and easy money are obviously the reasons for the jump in foeticide. Project director at the department Mohan Raj said: "There is so much demand from parents to know the sex [of the foetus]. Doctors naturally find it lucrative."
Against common expectations, female feticide is not a crime of India's backward masses. Instead, it is most common among India's elite, who can afford multiple trips to an ultrasound clinic, and the hushed-up abortion of an unwanted girl. In the prosperous farming district of Kurukshetra, for instance, there are only 770 girl babies for every 1,000 boys. In the high-rent Southwest neighborhoods of New Delhi, the number of girl babies is 845 per 1,000 boys.3. More news of Women Trafficking as a result of sex ratio imbalance: Girl, Interrupted
The repercussions on a society where there are far more men than women have begun to show. Women are being married off to men who don?t speak their language or eat their food. All over Punjab and Haryana, areas that the just-released census report says have far fewer women than men, brides are being bought and brought from the poorer regions of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam, where there is no shortage of women.How can we ignore this suffering indeed?
Till recently, son preference was the phrase used to describe the tendency to treat a daughter as a liability. Now, AIDWA general secretary Brinda Karat refers to it as a daughter dis-preference. Agnihotri describes it ? for want of a better word, he says ? as daughter dislike.
But daughter dislike, some argue, leads to a situation where daughters are in short supply, and therefore much in demand. A school of thought once led by the late academic, Dharma Kumar, suggests that an inverse sex ratio ends up benefiting women.
Over two decades ago, in an article in The Economic and Political Weekly, Kumar had maintained that there will be a growing demand for women as their numbers lessen, thereby raising their status in society.
The activists maintain that far from improving their social status, the scarcity of women leads to increased violence against women as the situation in Haryana and Punjab indicates. "There is no study in India on this, but I would expect an increased crime rate in areas where there are a lot more men than women," Agnihotri stresses.[...]
Agnihotri adds to the list of dos. One of the first steps, he holds, is to improve the law-and-order situation in a place where female foeticide is a problem. And second, he believes that women have to be drawn into self-help groups. "Give them economic muscle, and give them somebody to turn to", he says. And another strong antidote, he maintains, is government policy that treats both sons and daughters as equals.
If steps are taken now, the next census may show a small improvement in the sex ratio. But if all factors remain the same, the child sex ratio, the experts warn, may fall by 10 to 15 points by the next census.