Female foeticide and dwindling sex ratio in Jammu and Kashmir

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Students protesting against female foeticide in Kashmir.

By Mehnaz Rather

The obsession for son is a strong structural and cultural affliction of our society. the preference of a male child is son predominant in our society that people are ready to sacrifice their ethics and morals without any anxiety. the conditions of women of various communities in the pre-colonial and colonial eras had been devastating. The community was deprived of equality in every field. Ill-treatment, abuse, physical and mental trauma has been the common features of this section of society. To measure the extent of prevailing equity between males and females at a given point of time, the sex ratio is an important social indicator. an alteration in sex ratio largely reveals the elementary socio-economic and cultural patterns of society in diverse ways. The girl child in our society faces elimination and discrimination in their very right to live .generally daughters are underestimated compared to sons. In most cases girl child is discriminated against since the time she sees the light of the day.  Because the sex of the child is identified before the birth and selectively abortion is the way out, if the female found. Misuse of technology, it is and it’s happening in spite of umpteen legal regulations banning the same. There are most barbaric acts against the fairer sex , starting form dowry death to female infanticide  and female feticide.

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Female foeticide

Female foeticide is the termination of a female foetus from the womb of a mother through abortion in an illegal manner for some assumed cultural reasons. It is the elimination of a girl child after sex determination test from the womb. The girl child is killed before birth just to full fill the wishes of old members in the family of getting boy baby first. female foeticide is an unethical act has been practiced from old age due to some cultural norms and socioeconomic policies/ According to statistics, it is found that male to female sex ratio is 102.4 male /100 female in 1961, 104.1males /100 in 2011. It shows that the number of male per female is increasing regularly. Female foeticide was almost started in the early 1990s on the coming of affordable ultrasound technology in India.

It’s Impact:-

“The immediate impacts of female foeticide the unbalanced sex  ratio. The child sex ratio for the age group of 0-6 years has currently 927 per 1000 boys. Punjab has 798 girls, Haryana 819, Delhi 868 and Gujarat 883 per 1000 boys. It is found that there is a gradual decline in the sex ratio from 1901 to 1941 due to infanticide and foeticide and there is a fluctuation in the sex ratio between 1941 and 2001. Here one thing is attracting our attention that though there is a substantial increase in the overall sex ratio in India from I991-2001. There is a drastic decline in the child sex ratio (CSR). The overall sex ratio increased from 929 to 933 during 1991 and 2001, but the CSR fall from 945 to 927 during that period.  This fall in CSR indicates that during the 1991-2001 there may substantial female foeticide. As the sex CSR declines, in the near future overall sex ratio will do the same. This decline in the sex ratio will badly hamper the social structure and the development process.  This imbalance would have serious repercussions for Indian society in the future.  Especially on the status of women , leading to increased sexual violence including prostitution, trafficking and the reduced mobility of women. Recent reports in local media said young men in Punjab and Haryana were finding it hard to find brides. Indira Gandhi, Mother Teresa. Kalpana Chawla all these special names  have one thing in common,  “they were all women “, Basically  Killing the girl child by making pre-birth the investigation is the social sin destroying the roots of our society.

Dwindling Sex ratio in Jammu and Kashmir:-

Jammu and Kashmir is a patriarchal society in which a cultural bias against women has contributed to frequent cases of female infanticide with an unfortunate and dismaying trend from the last decade. Sex ratio is an important (indicator of socio-economic health of every society, and It is, worrisome to see an increase in the skewed sex ratio of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In child sex ratio jk  was healthier with 963 females in l 981. 1t steadily dropped to 941 females in 2001. plunging further to 862 females in 2011.

Unfortunately, the reality is that some of our doctors have sold the nobility of their profession just for the sake of earning some extra money. In the rural part of JK, where access to modern technology is limited. Female infanticide is shockingly even more common. When the parents find that a girl child is born. Inhumane and monstrous means are adapted to kill her, ranging from strangulation to drowning, and in case the life of the girl child is spared, she is often being neglected and forced to be a simple domestic help, crushing her childhood and all her dreams. What is disturbing is that female infanticide is not considered a big crime and rarely do culprits get convicted. Despite state’s own “Jk Pre-conception and Prenatal Sex Selection determination (Prohibition and  Regulation) Act 2002 “, and irrespective Of Strict laws against the sex determination, a huge mafia runs the show behind the scene.

As per the census of 2011: In J&K all the 22 districts have witnessed a decrease in the number of female children. Pulwama tops the list with the loss of 217 female children per thousand. Budgam follows with the significant fall of 172. While as Pulwama (829) and budgam (832) hove fared as the worst, these two districts were ironically on the top of the best performing districts with 1046 and 1004 respectively in 2001.
Seven out of ten districts in Kashmir have lost more’ than a hundred females every thousand. Even as Baramulla has lost 98 female children per thousand, followed  by Bandipora (-75) and Srinagar (-63), the Valley’s rural districts of Pulwama (-2 I 7), Budgam (-172), Ganderbal (-151), Kupwara (-I42) , Anantnag (- 136), Shopian (-133) and Kulgam (-118) have topped the list of dubious distinction.

Legal initiative to curb the female foeticide 

To check female foeticide, The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 was enacted. The Act came into force in 1996. By itself, it is comprehensive legislation in which the use of the prenatal diagnostic technique is prohibited as also where it is regulated. It has provision for establishing mechanisms responsible for policy making under the Act and also responsible for the implementation of the Act. The penalties for various offenses are also elaborated. The supremecourt had laid down the amendment to the PNDT Act and the amendment came into force from Feb14, 2003. Its main purpose has been to ban the use of sex selection technique before or after conception as well as the misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex-selective abortions and to regulate such techniques.

Tailpiece:-

Given the skewed sex the ratio of the state, there will be undesirable social consequences like rising in rape cases, molestations, growth of homosexuality, inbound female trafficking, sex trade, late marriages, etc. Not only this, if trend continues, we are not far from the state of polyandry. The implications are very tragic, grave, painful and disastrous to even contemplate.  In nutshell the author feels saving a girl the child should be utmost priority and there should be a coordinated action plan that uses all above discussed methodology financial social and legal is the best way to ensure that our society becomes a safe harbour for the girl child otherwise the lackadaisical attitude towards this disease will be disastrous.

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The author is a Law (B.A.LLB) Student of Kashmir university.Can be reached at mehnazrather42@gmail.com

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Quran 7.31. Do not kill your children for fear of poverty; it is We Who provide for them as well as for you. Killing them is surely a grave sin.
    وَلاَ تَقْتُلُواْ أَوْلادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلاقٍ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُم إنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْءاً كَبِيراً

    You are only partners to EVIL if you have done so. No place for you in Jannah,
    Abdullah.

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