death doctors and their killing fields!
By Maxwell Pereira IPS retd.
UNFPA Consultant (Law Enforcement), Min of Heath & Family
is one kind of killing, rampant in Delhi, which no one is concerned
about. Shocking murders of innocents, committed in the nation’s
capital that’s home to the most powerful woman in India,
where we have also a woman chief minister – at a rate considered
heinous killings are for extermination of the girl child in the
form of female foeticide. Delhi ranks among the four worst affected
states in the country with a child sex ratio of only 814 girls
born to every 1000 boys.
adverse sex ratio in India is most pronounced in the states of
Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, where practice of sex selection became
popular from the late 1970s and where private ultrasound clinics
were first established. Child sex ratio for the age group of 0-6
years in 2001 was 927 girls against 945 recorded in the 1991 Census.
The Census 2001 revealed this ratio to be comparatively lower
in the affluent regions like Punjab (798), Haryana (819), Chandigarh
(845), Delhi (868), Gujarat (883) and Himachal Pradesh (896).
per MCD data the child sex ratio at birth for Delhi declined in
2004 to 819 (which further declined to 814 in 2005) – the
educated and prosperous south Delhi recording a mere 762, followed
by 784 for Rohini in northwest and 792 for Najafgarh in southwest
the reasons attributed for this sorry state are the cruel economic
and social forces that give a low status for women in society.
Obsession for son preference in a patriarchal social framework
(to carry the family name forward, support in old age and for
performing last rites); neglect of the girl child resulting in
higher mortality at younger age; and exploitation later by market
forces of the survivor. As also the economic consideration arising
out of the tag on daughters as a liability translating into the
curse of dowry; and the utter inability of society to guard its
daughters from predators and wanton violence. Prejudices, under
bizarre conditions conspiring to promote female foeticide by medical
entrepreneurs for self-gain!
rampant use of ultrasound to determine the sex of the foetus for
eliminating it if found to be female, and easy access to this
facility since early 80s, is seen to be the single dominant factor
contributing to the rapid decline in the child sex ratio. Reportedly
there are about 28,565 ultrasound clinics currently in our country.
check female foeticide, and prevent the misuse of pre-natal diagnostic
tests like amniocentesis for sex selection, the Government enacted
anti sex selection laws in 1994 – later made more comprehensive
in 2003 as the "Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques
(Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994". The first conviction
under this in the country came only in March this year, with a
few more reported since in Punjab and Haryana. Delhi stands out
for its apathy and lack of effort for action under this Act.
foul on the Act, social activists decry the fact that doctors
cannot police doctors – as the Act provides for launching
of prosecution against errant doctors only by District Appropriate
Authorities – the Chief District Medical Officers.
State Appropriate Authority is under fire for not complying with
the directives given in 2003 following a Supreme Court intervention.
Ultrasound clinics are required to fill form ‘F’ provided
in the Act for every test they do – giving details of the
patient, including previous pregnancies and conceptions, age and
sex of the previous child, reason for doing ultrasound and name
of doctor who advised the test. To prevent an effective and meaningful
audit of the prescribed data, clinics seldom fill this form; and
when they do, they deliberately leave out vital details.
Adverse child sex ratio can severely impact the delicate equilibrium
of nature and destroy our moral and social fabric. This could
lead to increased violence against women, rape, abduction, trafficking
(…isn’t Delhi already infamous as most unsafe for
women?) and the onset of practices of forced polyandry increasingly
getting common in parts of the country now. And round the corner
looms large the spectre of PGD – Pre-implantation Genetic
Diagnosis facility lately being publicized in the USA, the implications
of which, for India, one is yet to study.
is good the Delhi Commission for Women has resolved to set up
a monitoring centre to keep vigil on ultrasound clinics in Delhi.
Even so, the hypocrisy of our attitude towards this malady is
reflected in a strange spectacle witnessed at the recent meeting
of the Central Supervisory Board over-seeing the implementation
of the PCPNDT Act. One of the participating Members of Parliament
there happened to be none other than the worthy whose doctor son’s
alleged sex selection operation in Delhi’s Kailash Hills
was exposed by a television channel in a sting operation.
Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002.
You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and email@example.com
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