Tuesday, November 20, 2007

10 lakh girls missing ?

Punjab, India: Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Minister for Health of the state said that around 10 lakh persons were killed during the partition of the country but after the partition of country over 10 lakh woman were killed in female foeticide.

While presiding over state level seminar of IMA at BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib,Punjab Chawla said that due to trend of female foeticide, which in encouraging trading of women. He said that in other states woman are selling for only Rs 5,000 while is buffalo is selling in Rs 25,000. She said that under ‘Asha’ scheme of the government 15,000 health workers will be recruited.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gurdwaras to adopt unwanted girls

18 Nov 2007,Balwant Garg,TNN

BATHINDA: It's god and gurdwara now for Punjab's unwanted girl child. Agonized by the state's dipping sex ratio and terror tales of girls, both born and unborn, being killed or left to die, Sikhism's highest temporal body, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC), has announced that it will henceforth step in to adopt the abandoned baby girls.

In its urgent effort to erase Punjab's darkest gender blot, SGPC will soon ask important gurdwaras in Punjab to place cradles at their entrances and exhort unhappy parents obsessed with boys to leave "those innocent children at god's door, not death's".

"We will bear the expenses for bringing up these children. Don't kill them," SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar told a gathering at the Takth Damdama Sahib late Friday evening.

He said the decision had to be taken because of the spurt in cases of abandonment of girls, many of them just born, in public parks, railway compartments, and even garbage heaps.

That men in the state can't find Punjabi women to marry, and are scouting for partners in different cultures and distant places — Tripura, Assam, Jharkhand, Kerala, Orissa and Bengal — has not really deterred Punjabis from doing away with girls as the sex ratio dips to a shocking 793 females to 1,000 males. In Fatehgarh Sahib district, it is an abysmal 754:1000.

Social activist Pam Rajput welcomed the SGPC initiative. "It's a laudable step, though I do feel that SGPC should go beyond it and launch a campaign against female foeticide and issue directions to all gurdwaras to outcast people who kill their infant girls."

Other women activists too cheered the SGPC. Murti Devi, a volunteer who's taken seven abandoned girls under her care, said, "I hope this will lessen incidents of parents deserting innocent babies."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Female foeticide a serious matter, says Renuka

VIJAYAWADA: The number of female children is coming down alarmingly and the present male-female ratio stands at 1000:800 in some northern states including Haryana, Punjab and South Delhi, according to Union Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdary.

Expressing concern over increase in female foeticides, she said that it was a serious matter. She said an action plan would be formulated to launch a campaign from next month to change the mindset of people and to promote female child birth rate.

The Minister said the Government was encouraging projects with private-public partnership to improve medicare and health programmes for the benefit of the poor. She said a medical team from Padua of Italy would visit the Care and Share home at Budhavaram, near here, and perform surgeries free of cost from December 2 to 12.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tribals no strangers to female foeticide

The Hindu special correspondent reports this story.

NEW DELHI: Even as education and technology reach the far-off tribal belts of the country, the practice of female foeticide is also fast making inroads there.

Tribal youth are now going to cities or making use of portable ultrasound machines that provide sex determination ‘services’ at a nominal price.

The practice of sex determination and female foeticide was alien to these communities till recently.

Elders’ fear

Now elders in tribal villages fear that urbanisation will hit tribal villages as youngsters will fall prey to this “style” very soon, says a study conducted by the Pune-based Centre for Youth Development and Activities (CYDA), with support from the United Nations Population Fund.

This fear was expressed by villagers of Badi in Rajasthan, who said that as the educational level went up among their youngsters they tended to adopt certain lifestyles followed by city dwellers.

Quoting a social worker intervening in this area, the study says: “It is being increasingly felt that the issue of female foeticide is entering into the village settings dominated by tribals. Although in the programme area where we work there exist no ultrasound labs, our tribal youth are seen indulging in sex selective practices by going to the cities.”

There are also indications that in rural and tribal areas, where the sex determination technology is not locally accessible, people seek the help of quacks and dais (midwifes) who prescribe herbs/medicines claiming that these will change the sex of the child.

Quoting another social worker in the area, the CYDA study says, “People also use traditional herbs and other medicine to have a male child or to change the sex of the foetus from female to male.”

Performing districts

India’s 10 best performing districts, where the ratio of girls is higher than boys, are mostly dominated by tribal communities, while the 10 worst performing districts are in Punjab and Haryana. The best performing districts are South Sikkim, Upper Siang and East Kameng in Arunachal Pradesh; Bastar and Dantewada in Chhattisgarh; Pulwama, Kupwara and Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir; Senapati in Manipur and Mokukchung in Nagaland.

The access to information, means and technology, and the impact of the pro-sex determination perspective of the urban educated economically well-off sections have influenced some migrant populations of rural India also, a chunk of which are tribal. Technology inroads into semi-urban/rural areas have resulted in an increasing number of people there going in for sex selection. In Maharashtra’s Akluj gram panchayat, a well developed semi-urban area with a population of 40,000, many unqualified people are using portable machines and travelling to interior villages to offer sex determination services on the doorstep for a nominal fee. According to a Tamil Nadu organisation, Rural Rehabilitation Centre, access to technology has led certain communities such as the Kallars in Madurai district, who were traditionally practising female infanticide, to gradually shift to sex determination tests and sex-selective abortions.

Marathi actors join hands to battle female foeticide

Kishore Sharma - Televisionpoint.com | Mumbai

When celebrated names from the Marathi film and television industry like Surekha Punekar, Ashwini Bhave, Kishori Godbole, Resham Tipnis and Varsha Usgaonkar take to the stage for a social cause, one is compelled to sit up and watch.

Making use of their popular show 'Marathi Taraka', 22 actors from the Marathi film and television fraternity have taken up the objective of saving the girl child through a special fiveminute dance ballet. The ballet, based on the theme of female foeticide, has been written by director Mahesh Tilekar, who was instrumental in starting 'Marathi Taraka'.

"The alarming sex ratios in states like Rajasthan and Punjab compelled us to do our bit so that Maharashtra does not reach a situation like that. Since the show ('Marathi Taraka') is being performed in small towns, other than in big cities, we thought of adding this ballet," said Tilekar.

The first show of the ballet, in Kolhapur received a positive response from the 15,000 strong audience, he said. The ballet, to be performed at the end of every show of 'Marathi Taraka', talks about the importance of women in society and the tragic trend of killing the girl child either at birth or as a foetus. With references to women achievers like Rani Laxmibai, Kalpana Chawla and various goddesses, the producers hope to make the people pay heed.

Actor Varsha Usgaonkar, who is part of the initiative, said the actors were more than happy to lend their names to this noble cause. "The sex ratio in India is alarming, and the root cause obviously is female foeticide. Since entertainment is common to all people, we thought that using this mode to spread the message for the girl child would be ideal. It is very sad that even educated people show a high preference for a male child," she stressed.

Tilekar said there would soon be a play based on the same theme. "We are, for the first time, going to have 20 leading actors and 20 actresses from the Marathi film industry perform on the same stage in Pune on November 1, at the Ganesh Kala Krida Rangmanch," said Tilekar.

Actors like Nilu Phule, Bharat Jadhav, Kuldip Pawar, Ramesh Bhatkar, Avinash Nadkar and Tushar Dalvi will perform at the show.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Suneeta Rao's album on Female Foeticide

Suneeta Rao’s new music video for her latest single Sun Zara has the words When you know things are getting real rough – you’ve got to be tough enough. Produced in association with the UNFPA – The United Nations Population Fund, this video has been made for the Girl Child, to address the issue of Sex Selection and to help stop female foeticide.

Directed by Rachel Reuben, shot by ace cinematographer Jason West and produced by Rain Forest Productions, the video has been shot on location in Mumbai. It features Suneeta as an angel on a mission to save a pregnant woman, played by Suchitra Pillai, from eliminating her girl child before she is born under family pressure. The song, Sun Zara has been written and composed by her, with music by Nexus, featuring Gino Banks, Sangeet Haldipur and Sheldon D’Silva.

The video was launched at the Asia Pacific Conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health in Hyderabad on October 30 Suneeta hopes that this will help spread her message to women to assert themselves and not be pushed around or forced into selecting the gender of their child. As a spokesperson for LAADLI, the Girl Child Initiative of the NGO Population First, Suneeta considers this an extension of her efforts towards the cause.

Source - Screen Weekly

Sharp decline in child sex ratio in India: UNFPA

Hyderabad, India - There has been a rapid decline in the male-female child ratio in India during the last two decades due to increasing practice of sex selection and female foeticide, a study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said.

The ratio of girls per 1,000 boys in the age group 0-6 years declined from 945 in 1991 to 927 during 2001 while in some parts of the country there are less than 800 girls per 1000 boys, an UNFPA report presented at the fourth Asia Pacific conference on reproductive and sexual health which opened here on Monday.

The study covered four Asian countries India, China, Nepal and Vietnam where sex ratio imbalances were alarming.

If Asian continent's overall sex ratio was the same as elsewhere in the world, in 2005 Asia's population would have included almost 163 million more women and girls, the report titled "Sex Ratio Imbalance in Asia" said.

As a consequence of the skewed ratio due discrimination against girl child, the region is likely to witness increased gender-based violence, trafficking, discrimination and general vulnerability of women and girls, the study warned.

The use of technology to determine the sex of the foetus and easy access to it since the early 1980s has contributed to the rapid decline in the child sex ratio, it said.

The states like Pubjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Gujarat and union territory of Chandigarh, have witnessed the ratio decline to less than 900 girls per 1000 boys.

As many as 70 districts in 16 states and union territories have recorded a more than 50 point decline in child sex ratio during the decade 1991-2001.

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