Open letter to Shahrukh and Gauri Khan #surrogacy #sexselection


Dated- June 18.2013

Dear Shahrukh and Gauri Khan

Media reports allege that you are having a third child through surrogacy and that you are aware it’s a baby boy. We cannot comment on the authenticity of the news reports.  But in response to these reports, the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association has demanded the Maharashtra State Health Department initiate an inquiry . The BMC officials had visited your house but were not given any information.

FASS is a network with over 50 member including Ngos, and individual activits, lawyers and teachers . Apart from improving the sex ratio, the main thrust of the FASS campaign is to strengthen the overall position of women in our State and to enable women to live with dignity, in a non-discriminatory environment.

We want to inform you that the PCPNDT Act prohibits the use of all technologies for the purpose of sex selection, which would also include the new chromosome separation techniques. There is a blanket ban under sections 3, 4 and 5 of the PCPNDT Act.

Although you have neither denied nor accepted this statement, we would like to remind you that early this year you issued a statement which said:

Being a public figure makes me open to any kind of questioning, adjectives good and bad and or sometimes makes me an object of controversy  as people  use my name and statements to attach any positive or negative sentiment to it. I accept all the above because this is the life I chose and will stand by it. full statement here

We as FASS members demand the truth and want you come out with a public statement regarding the issue. If it is denial, then there  is no issue, but if its true, then  you have completely violated the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act and like any other citizen of India you will be charged under the PCPNDT Act for violation of law and it will take it own legal recourse.

Kamayani Bali Mahabal and Jyoti Mhapsekar

On behalf of Forum Against Sex Selection (FASS)­­­

Fass Secretariat

c/o Stree Mukti Sanghatana

31, Shramik , Royal Crest, 1st Floor,
Lokamanya Tilak Vasahat Road No. 3,
Dadar (East), Mumbai – 400 014,
Maharashtra, India.
Tele-Fax: +91 22 24174381

Email: fassindia2011@gmail.com

 

Eight wards shame Mumbai with skewed sex ratio at birth


Child sex ratio in India

 

 

By | Feb 20, 2013, 06.57 AM IST

 

MUMBAI: While the civic administration’s statistics show that the sex ratio at birth for Mumbai has improved slightly in the last one year, experts are not too impressed. They say that the administration has to sustain such results over a decade before there is any significant change in the city’s or even India‘s skewed sex ratio.

 

A senior civic official, however, insisted that any increase, however small, is a step in the right direction.

Both Maharashtra and Mumbai, in particular, have shown an anti-girl bias in the last two census.

Civic figures show that the sex ratio at birth – the number of girls born per 1,000 boys – for 2012 was 922:1,000, up from 917 in 2011. But a closer look at the ward-wise break-up shows that eight wards have registered a dip in sex ratio at birth.

In south Mumbai’s Pydhonie area, for instance, only 860 girls were born for every 1,000 boys last year.

In 2011, the locality was placed better at 981 girls per 1,000 boys. In fact, the Pydhonie-Byculla-Parel belt of the island city, the prosperous Goregaon-Malad-Kandivli belt of the western suburbs and the populous belt from Bhandup to Ghatkopar in the eastern suburbs have all shown a dip in sex ratio at birth.

A L Sharada from the NGO, Population First, said it would be premature to think that such marginal increase is of any significance. She added that easy access to medical tools such as ultrasound machines, which can illegally be used to find the sex of the unborn child, was responsible for the skewed sex ratio.

“The cost of living in Mumbai is high. People want small families and still have a great desire for a male child. This is true in both the slums as well as non-slum pockets of the city,” she said.

Sharada added that the BMC should now study why certain areas, such as Parel in south central Mumbai, have consistently registered a lower-than-city-average sex ratio.

Her NGO had earlier conducted a survey to underline poor adherence among ultrasound clinics of the rules laid down under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act.

“Until there is stringent conviction for offenders and better gender sensitivity among the population, the problem of skewed sex ratio at birth cannot be solved,” said Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Forum Against Sex Selection.

 

 

 

 

BMC to beef up vigilance in wards with dismal sex ratio


By, TNN | Feb 19, 2013,  IST

MUMBAI: Fifteen of the BMC‘s 24 wards across the city improved their sex ratio at birth in 2012 from 2011.

The B Ward of Bhendi Bazaar and Masjid Bunder recorded the highest sex ratio at birth of 996 girl children born per 1,000 boys.

Areas such as Malabar Hill came a close second; it recorded 979 deliveries of girl children per 1,000 boys in 2012, up from 915 girls in 2011. Borivli, too, registered 979 girl births in 2012, up from 914 in 2011.

These figures are based on the data compiled by the BMC, which issues birth certificates in the city.

Demographics and gender studies experts have attributed the improvement in the sex ratio to awareness drives as well as stringent regulation of maternity and sonography clinics, and sustained crackdown on illegal sex determination.

The largest dip in sex ratio, on the other hand, has been recorded in the C Ward of Bhuleshwar, Pydhonie and Sandhurst Road. The number has dropped from 981 girls per 1,000 boys in 2011 to a shockingly low 860 girls in 2012. The other areas that have witnessed a drastic dip include Kandivli. It recorded 882 births of girls per 1,000 boys in 2012 against 907 in 2011. Dahisar, too, registered a lower figure of 891 girls against 893 in 2011.

Dr Arokya Swamy, demographer at the Indian Institute of Population Studies (IIPS), said theBMC should now focus on localities that have shown a dip and strengthen their vigilance to curb female foeticide.

The BMC, on its part, has already lined up a programme for specific areas where the sex ratio is low or has fallen drastically. The civic body has asked its primary health staff to increase surveillance and immediately report any illegal activity in their areas. “We will also dissect the data so that the reason for the dip can be understood. Effective steps will be taken to improve the situation,” said a senior health officer.

Experts added the drop in certain areas could be attributed to the fact that young couples these days opt for a single child and may choose a male over a female child.

They further said that this data does not pinpoint to any trend, though, as there are cases where a mother may have delivered a female child in some ward and acquired her birth certificate from another.

“There is also a chance that the expectant mother has gone to her mother’s residence for delivery and got a birth certificate from the ward where she lives. Such cases may be few, but cannot be neglected,” said Dr Swamy.

 

Sex Selection -Illegal ads on #Google in contravention PCPNDT ACT


To

Corporate communication

Google, India

2 November 2012

Complaint—Regarding illegal ads on Google in contravention PCPNDT ACT

The Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act has banned the promotion or advertisement of services that allows one to choose the sex of one’s baby. Yet, Google is carrying advertisements of  the link of IVF that leads to websites that offer these services. Each time a person clicks on the ad, these companies makes money.

The Indian law against sex selection is comprehensive.   Section 22 defines advertisement and Section 26 states the penalties for violation by Companies.  They are given below:

Section 22:  Prohibition of advertisement relating to pre-natal determination of sex and punishment for contravention.

1.    No person, organization, Genetic Counseling Centre, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic Clinic, including clinic, laboratory or centre having ultrasound machine or imaging machine or scanner or any other technology capable of undertaking determination of sex of foetus or sex selection shall issue, publish, distribute, communicate or cause to be issued, published, distributed or communicated any advertisement, in any form, including Internet, regarding facilities of pre-natal determination of sex or sex selection before conception available at such centre, laboratory, clinic or at any other place.
2.    No person or organization including Genetic Counselling Centre, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic Clinic shall issue, publish, distribute, communicate or cause to be issued, published, distributed or communicated any advertisement in any manner regarding pre-natal determination or preconception selection of sex by any means whatsoever, scientific or otherwise.
3.    Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, “advertisement” includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper or any other document including advertisement through Internet or any other media in electronic or print form and also includes any visible representation made by means of any hoarding, wall-painting, signal, light, sound, smoke or gas.

26. Offences by companies.

(1) Where any offence, punishable under this Act has been committed  by a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly: Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where any offence punishable under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. Explanation.–For the purposes of this section,– (a) “company” means anybody corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals, and

(b) “director”, in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.

The Indian Parliament enacted a special law because the medical community was not self-regulating these serious violations of medical ethics. The practice of sex selection is prohibited while foetal sex determination is regulated.

The PCPNDT Act applies to advertisements and content that advertises sex selection or foetal sex determination  methods/procedures/techniques.  Any form of advertising in India that promotes techniques, products or procedures of sex selection, sex determination is a violation of the law.

In 2008, theSupreme Court of India had served notices to you,  yet  violations of the law continue with impunity and  in response Google had issued a statement saying  “The Google advertising program is managed by a set of policies which we develop based on several factors, including legal requirements and user experience. In India, we do not allow ads for the promotion of prenatal gender determination or preconception sex selection. We take local laws extremely seriously and will review the petition carefully.”

But once again sex selection ads are mushrooming in your search engine in India  and the   continued violation in the Indian Internet space by  your company is  shocking.

Although the google policy when you click here http://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176072

India

Product Allowed? Details
Dowryrequests  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads or landing pages that promote dowry requests or the offering or sale of dowry. “Dowry” means any property or valuable security given by the bride to the groom for marriage.
Doctor, lawyer, or accountant services  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads for services offered by doctors, lawyers, or accountants.
Gender or sex selection  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads or landing pages that promote the pre-natal determination of the gender of a child, or pre-conception selection of sex.
Infant food, milk substitutes, feeding bottles  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads or landing pages that promote or encourage the use of infant food, milk substitutes, or feeding bottles.

When  you  search of gender selection or sex selection on your search engine  you  get a sponsored ad

wherein you can also order the gender selection kit online

I demand you immediately remove gender /sex selection ads from google search engine in India

Adv Kamayani Bali Mahabal, for Forum against Sex Selection (FASS) Mumbai

cc 1) Director, PNDT Division, New Delhi

2) Cybercrime cell, Mumbai

 

#India- #Punjab – Discarded daughter has emerged as ‘ray of sunshine’


Sarita Skagnes has no birth certificate for a chillingly pragmatic reason: She was to be killed as a baby for the crime of being born a girl.

But her father’s attempt to smother her at 8 weeks old was unsuccessful. She lived to endure a devastating childhood, abandoned by her parents at 3, forced to work as an indentured servant, raped by two family members and plagued by hunger and loneliness.

Yet Skagnes triumphed, never to be smothered again.

Now 43, happily married and an international advocate for children’s rights, Skagnes is in the Twin Cities this week to speak about her life — more accurately, her two lives — and her best-selling book, “Just A Daughter,” newly translated into English.

“I came to this earth as Satwant Kaur of the Shimbe caste,” Skagnes writes. “I was just a daughter — good for nothing, just like many other daughters.”

Skagnes was born in 1969 in Punjab, India, her parents’ third girl. During the pregnancy, her mother sought out priests and gurus who blessed her stomach and promised her a son.

“When I came to the world,” Skagnes said, “I was a catastrophe.”

At 3, her family moved to Oslo, Norway, leaving her behind with an aunt and uncle who, she believed, were her parents. In exchange, her biological parents took their nephew with them to raise as their long-awaited son.

“He would have a good life, a rich life, a good education,” Skagnes said.

She would have nothing of the sort. At 4, she began mopping floors and washing dishes. She slept on the kitchen floor and waited until after her family ate to consume the scraps.

For five years, she was sexually abused by an older cousin. Her aunt was enraged to learn of it, telling Skagnes it was her fault.

She attended school sporadically but felt out of place with her “shabby clothes.”

When she was 9, “the couple from Norway” visited India with their newborn son (conceived after Skagnes’ mother aborted two or three female fetuses). Skagnes remembers the joyful party held for them, with rare sweets. And she remembers being told that the Norwegian couple were actually her parents. She was stunned, and hopeful.

“I thought they lived like a king and queen,” she said. “I thought that if I was a good girl, doing my job properly, maybe they would take me to Norway.” She served them tea, hoping they would notice her. “But they were so busy with this stupid baby boy.” (She laughs at the comment, emphasizing that she loves her younger brother “very much.”)

Her father finally came for her when she was 16. First, he raped her. She ran away. He promised to never touch her again, and he didn’t. She moved to Norway and began school again, full time. Life was comfortable. She had a bed, food and clothes.

Cleaning a house at 19, she noticed that the homeowner’s son, Alex Skagnes, often stuck around when she arrived. They became friends, then more. He told her that she was beautiful, “a ray of sunshine.” When her father found a photograph of his daughter and Alex, he beat her up and quickly arranged for her marriage to a man in India. She ran away again, cut her hair, changed her name and, in 1990, married Alex.

She hasn’t had contact with her parents in more than 20 years.

In 2004, Skagnes reconnected with one of her sisters, who was in a psychiatric hospital. The sister encouraged Skagnes to write a book about her life. Skagnes wrote 1,000 pages in eight months. Then her sister committed suicide, and a devastated Skagnes lost her desire for the project. A few years later she realized “this was not about me or my sister.”

This was about what could be for other girls.

The book, “Bare en Datter” (Just a Daughter), was published in Norway in 2007, becoming a best-seller soon re-published in Finland and Sweden. Skagnes found herself speaking at Parliament and being stopped on the street for her autograph.

But celebrity doesn’t drive her. Baby girls still are being killed in India, she said, mostly in poorer villages. Many girls have no chance at an education. For 25 years, Skagnes has sponsored girls in India so they can stay in school. Among them, one is now a doctor, another an engineer.

She donates book royalties to her nonprofit, Higher Education for Girls in India (www.saritaskagnes.com).

“This is something she needed to do,” said Sonja Johnston, minister of music at the Minnesota Valley Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship in Bloomington. Johnston, a popular Twin Cities pianist and singer, is Alex Skagnes’ second cousin. She spent two years translating Skagnes’ book into English. An immensely grateful Skagnes calls Johnston “Mom.”

“I was so tested, but I didn’t fail,” Skagnes said. “All the bad things were not my fault. That took me 30 years to figure out.”

 

 

FASS protests Maharashtra govt’s plans to slap murder charges for sex selection


We, the undersigned women’s organizations, strongly protest the statement made by the Health Minister, Mr Suresh Shetty who wants to recommend to the Central Government the application of section 302 (murder charges) against woman, husband, relatives and the doctors for cases of “sex selection”.

According to the PCPNDT Act, sex selection (the correct legal term) itself is a crime and the doctors involved should be punished as per the provisions under the act. The pregnant woman on whom sex selection is performed or undertaken is not an offender according to the act. This should be upheld in Maharashtra.

We have always demanded the continuous and strict monitoring of sonography centers, hospitals and nursing homes and strict action against all unlicensed centers. Instead of concentrating on this issue and doctors who misuse medical technology, the discussion in the assembly focused on abortions. According to the MTP Act, abortions are a women’s right. We fear that applying section 302 (IPC) would curtail women’s access to safe abortion services.

We demand that the law deals strictly with those who perform the crime of sex selection. The political protection to erring doctors is a serious problem in Maharashtra and the government should take steps to put an end to political interference in implementation of PCPNDT Act.

AIDWA
Akshara
Committed Communities Development Trust Population First
Population first
Stree Mukti Sanghthana

Savitribai Phule Gender Resource Centre
Forum Against Sex Selection

FASS submits Memorandum to the CM Maharashtra regarding actions on sex selection


contact–fassindia2011@gmail.com

 

 

7th  June, 2012

To,
Honourable  Shri. Prithviraj Chavan,

Chief Minister ,Maharashtra  State

Mantralay Mumbai
Subject : Appropriate actions about sex selection.

Respected Sir,

Forum against Sex Selection (FASS) is a network with over 50  Ngo’s and individual members . FASS has conducted interactive workshops to discuss its perspective and plan strategies to take the FASS campaign forward and to understand challenges to implementing the PCPNDT Act. Apart from improving the sex ratio, the main thrust of the FASS campaign is to strengthen the overall position of women in our State and to enable women to live with dignity, in a non-discriminatory environment.

We appreciate your efforts to stop the violations of PCPNDT Act and the brazenness of the doctors conducting sex determination tests and subsequent illegal abortions.

We are deeply concerned & apprehensive of the dwindling sex ratio all over Maharashtra and demand serious attention of the Government in protecting the girl child and all the women related health issues.

As you are aware  the women’s organizations have been trying to draw your attention  to female feticide practices in various districts of Maharashtra, in some districts such as Beed, Parbhani, Kolhapur etc. the sex selection  has reached to disproportionate  heights resulting in alarming discrimination of the girl child. In the light of the heinous crimes being committed against women and the girl child we make following demands and suggestions and request you to give priority to this issue.

a ) We demand that utmost care be taken to implement the PCPNDT Act & punish the guilty persons causing, committing , assisting  ins ex selection  ; however care should be taken to not punish the victim women.

b ) The Government must carefully examine the registration of  sonography machines and the records thereof. The doctors or the hospitals or clinics violating the provisions  of PCPNDT act be brought to the Book &  due legal action be taken immediately.

c ) The medical shops be directed to not to sell drugs & injections related to abortions & contraception without prescription of authorized doctors.

d) Immediate action against erring be taken. The  doctors and clinics whose sonography  machines are once sealed may not be allowed to use the same till their cases are over.

e ) More facilities be made available in Govt. and municipal hospitals for pregnant women including  sonography,  contraceptives, abortions and other medical issues.

f ) The women activists and organizations committed to the cause of prevention of sex selection and reproductive  rights of women be included in the committees under PCPNDT Act.

g ) We demand that under no circumstances the right to abortion as stipulated in the MTP Act be curtailed.

h ) We draw your attention to the recent  directive issued by State Chief Secretary Jayantkumar Banthia dated 4 June 2012 to curb sex selection cases. We demand that proper discussion be made with women activists and organizations before implementing the same.

I) Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1972. Safe abortion within the provisions of the MTP Act is the right of every woman. Access to safe abortion services has remained a challenge in India. An estimated 6.7 million abortions per year are performed in institutions not recognized by the government  India continues to have among the highest maternal mortality rates in the world (254 per 100,000 live births per year). Up to 13% of these are caused by unsafe abortions, which is the third leading cause of maternal deaths

j ) There is also a need to monitor the functioning of Appropriate Authorities and ensure their proper functioning in coordination with  the women organizations working on the issue of gender discrimination.

Limiting access to safe abortion methods only pushes women towards unsafe methods, thereby endangering their health and survival. Monitoring women buying pills from pharmacies is regressive as it undermines the confidentiality aspect of abortion and can lead to harassment of women at the hands of officials. Such regulations are discriminatory and curtail autonomy of women over their own body, right to dignity and right to benefit from advances of science, medicine and technology.

Sex selection is  a phenomenon which emerges from gender discrimination and socio-economic bias. All efforts to prevent  sex selection must seek to address issues of gender discrimination, but not further constrain women’s access to safe abortion services.

We urge the  Government to focus on better implementation of the PCPNDT Act with diligent monitoring and supervision of technologies that have the potential to be misused.

We hope you will pay attention to those very urgent  demands & take appropriate steps.
Yours sincerely,

ForumAgainst Sex Selection (FASS), Mumbai
Core Group members

Dr. Kamakshi Bhate, Savitribai Phule GenderResource Centre (SPGRC)
Dr. A.L. Sharada, Population First
Dr. Nandita Shah, Akshara
Jyoti Mhapsekar, Stree Mukti Sanghatana
Adv Kamayani  Bali Mahabal,  Human Rights  Lawyer and  Activist
Lakshmi Menon, Women Networking
Pramod Nigudkar, Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT)
Sneha Khandekar, SPGRC
Vaijayanti Bagwe, CCDT

Copy to :

Shri. Suresh Shetty
Honorable Minister of Public Health and
Family Welfare
Maharashtra State Government, Mumbai.

Our family never longed for male child- Really ?


TOI Speaks To Neelabai Patekar, Mother-In-Law Of Vijaymala, Whose Death Exposed Illegal Abortions In Beed

Sumitra Deb Roy | TNN

Vijaymala Patekar (23), whose death while undergoing termination of pregnancy exposed the thriving market of illegal abortions in Beed district, was pregnant for the sixth time. Local health reports showed she had aborted a child two years back but this time she was not as ‘lucky’.
Her daughters Rohini (11), Tejaswini (10), Rutuja (9) and Rama (2) are staring at a bleak future now. With their mother gone and father in jail for pushing their mother to abort the foetus, the girls are all but “orphaned”. Vijaymala’s death took place at Munde hospital in Parli.
When TOI visited the Patekars on Wednesday at their village Bhopa, around 100 km from Beed town, the family looked dazed about the turn of events and refused to acknowledge that she had aborted another child in 2009. Reports said she had attempted two abortions before.
This was confirmed by reports maintained by the local anganwadi.
“She had stopped coming to the anganwadi for her quota of food after her fourth month of pregnancy. This was in April 2009, when she would not even turn up for vaccination. When we asked her about this, she said she had a miscarriage. Most women say that after they get an abortion done, but it would be unfair to blame them,” said anganwadi sevika Ranerasha Vitthal Rao, who has been running the anganwadi
in the area since 1994.
Vijaymala’s mother-in-law Neelabai (67) showed discomfort when asked about the abortion that killed her daughter-in-law. “We know nothing about it. My son and his wife left for the hospital on the morning of May 18 for a ‘check-up’ for backache. We then got a call from my son saying she was no more,” she said.
Neelabai said the family never longed for a male child.
“We are happy with our girls. Of course, we have no avenues to raise these children,” she said.
Vijaymala and husband Mahadev used to migrate to Karnataka for sugarcane cutting for six months every year and got a measly amount of Rs 25,000-30,000. Mahadev’s parents, both above 65, said they did not have resources to fight for their son’s release. The Parli police complained how the Patekars have not lodged any complaint against Dr Sudam Munde.
DOCTOR’S REGISTRATION
CANCELLED OVER TESTS
June 5: Teams of government officials and police, while conducting raid on hospitals, find Dr Madhav Sanap of Bhagwan hospital carrying out sex selection tests
Sanap’s registration cancelled for five years by Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) six months ago as he was illegally running it under the name of his anesthetist, Dr A Dahiphalkar
Both doctors absconding
FOCUS ON BEED
Three incidents in Beed and one of its talukas, Parli, have highlighted the flourishing industry of illegal abortions and female foeticide DOC COUPLE GETS COURT NOTICE
May 18: Vijaymala Patekar (22) dies of bleeding while undergoing illegal abortion in sixth month of gestation at Munde hospital
Dr Sudam Munde and doctor wife Saraswati claim patient died of excessive bleeding but absconded after details of female infanticide surface
Police investigations reveal 40 bank accounts, 120 acres of land and deposits of over Rs 1 crore
Parli court issues notice directing doctor couple to surrender before July 3 or else property will be sealed 2 BOOKED FOR DUMPING FOETUSES
June 3: Two female foetuses found in dry basin of Bindusara river Administration and cops trace back foetuses to Sanap hospital run by Dr Shivaji Sanap
Police say foetuses belonged to unmarried girl from Pune and married woman from Georai tehsil. Both abortions illegal as they were performed beyond five months
Mangal Masu Dhighe (29) and Manisha Vilas Javle (28), ayahs at Dr Sanap’s hospital, booked for dumping foetuses
Police find another unmarried girl in hospital whose foetus was also aborted at Sanap hospital
Aborted female foetus taken to Kakad-Hira village of Patoda tehsil by the girl’s parents. Police recover foetus and bring it for post-mortem
Dr Sanap remanded to police custody till June 12.
Police arrest father-inlaw Dr Srihari Lahane on June 6 (With inputs from Atul Kulkarni)


The reports coming from Beed indicate a strong nexus between the sex determinationabortion industry and the administration. The Mundes’ hospital seems to have fed on this nexus and prospered. How else does one explain the administration not knowing what seems to have been common knowledge in the entire belt? And how else does one explain the doctors’ burgeoning practice despite being under the scanner? The state and local administration appear to be equal partners in this crime with the doctors.

Sex determination tests happen not only in India but also in West with sizable Indian population


English: Young women looking at the Bay of Ben...

English: Young women looking at the Bay of Bengal at Puducherry, India Français : Jeunes femmes regardant le golfe du Bengale à Pondichéry, Inde (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3 JUN, 2012, SAIRA KURUP,TNN

In mid-April, a reproductive clinic’s ad appeared in a newspaper for the Indo-Canadian community in British Columbia, inviting readers to “create the family you want, boy or girl, for family balancing” with the help of pre-conception sex selection. The two children in the ad wore ethnic Indian clothes.

The newspaper withdrew the ad following public outrage, while the clinic was accused of targeting cultural attitudes that perpetuate discrimination against girls. But the writing was on the wall.

For long, sex selection has been an  issue identified with countries like India and China where the usual rationales given include dowry, patriliny (descent or inheritance by the male line), one-child policy or dependence on kids’ support in old age. But now, studies in Canada, Norway, US and UK show the persistence of this cultural attitude within the diaspora too.

Dr Shiv Pande, a Liverpool-based general practitioner and a former treasurer of the General Medical Council in Britain, says: “As they say, Indians, wherever they go, carry their curry, customs and cultural baggage. Sex selection of the foetus is quite common among British Indians, though not known widely.”

In 2007, two Oxford academics, Sylvie Dubuc and David Coleman, carried out a study of the sex ratio, using the annual birth registrations in England and Wales between 1969 and 2005, and found that there was “indirect quantitative evidence of prenatal sex selection against females performed by a small minority of India-born women in England and Wales”. Interestingly, the study found no such evidence regarding Pakistan-born and Bangladesh-born women living in England and Wales.

Says Sylvie, “Based on numbers from my previous work, I estimated the number of missing baby girls for the period 1990-2005 to be about 1500. Note that these figures relate to immigrant (i.e. India-born ) women only (and not UK-born women of Indian origin).”

In February 2012, an investigation by the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper discovered that some clinics were prepared to carry out such abortions with few, if any, questions asked. Likewise, the British Columbia newspaper ad came just days after a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAG) analyzed 766,688 births in Ontario and found mothers born in South Korea and India were more likely to have boys for their second child.

When it came to having a third child, the male-to-female ratio grew even more skewed for India-born mothers, who had 136 boys for every 100 girls (the world average ratio is 105:100).

Lead researcher of the study and scientist at St Michael’s hospital in Toronto, Joel G Ray, says, “Women from India and South Korea who had previous children were significantly more likely to give birth to males. For India-born women with more than one prior child, the male-female ratios were even more pronounced.”
Ray, however, cautions that “we (or anyone else) do not have direct evidence this is due to foetal sex selection.” But Mahvish Parvez of the Indo-Canadian Women’s Association in Edmonton, says, “There is a strong suggestion that the skewed ratio is due to sex-selective abortion. We know that son preference strongly persists in immigrant communities.”

 

Many western nations have banned sex selection for non-medical purposes – the US is a notable exception. It is a profitable business there, with gender determination technologies easily available, both online and offline, and clients flying in from the UK, Australia and probably India too.

In 2006, two professors from Columbia University, Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund, examined the year 2000 US Census data and found that while more boys than girls are born by a ratio of 1.05 to 1 among families of Chinese, Korean and Indian descent, the ratio increased if the first child was a girl. If the first two children are girls, the ratio was 50% greater in favour of boys.

It’s no surprise to community activists. Maneesha Kelkar, women’s rights activist and former executive director of Manavi, a New Jersey-based organization, remembers taking a call from a woman who said she was sitting on the operating table in an abortion clinic and was being forced to have an abortion.

“She didn’t tell me if the foetus was a girl, or why she was being told to have the abortion. When I asked what was preventing her from walking out, she said, ‘My in-laws are in the waiting room’ .”

Following such alarming reports of immigrant cultural behaviour, US Congressman Trent Franks had introduced a bill to ban sex-selective abortions (the Congress rejected it on Thursday). Kelkar feels the language around the Bill was “extremely anti-immigrant, anti-women”.

It “was going to target the immigrant community and add to the already anti-immigrant feeling in the US. It is unlikely to prevent Indian families from aborting female foetuses. You cannot legislate away a social issue.”

The negative publicity for the Indian community is one reason why some researchers caution against jumping the gun. Prabhat Jha, founding director of the Centre for Global Health Research, Toronto, says, “We need more evidence to confirm what is a suggestive pattern.

The Ontario estimates suggested selective abortion is still uncommon – about 1% of all births to South Asian-born women. Even in India, selective abortion is about 2% of all births. We need to be careful about stigma – do we want the 99% of South Asian families who don’t chose selective abortion in Ontario (if true, and that is not certain) to have a label as such?” He also warns that “we need to be very careful about putting any barriers that prevent women, especially newly migrant women who have low use of health care, from accessing good technologies (like ultrasound).”

The problem is that many immigrants live within their own social enclaves and may face the same social pressures as they would in India. Kelkar says, “I have heard so many women say, “Let my first child be a boy, then I won’t worry about the next.” It’s all about undervaluing the girl child, whether it is Surat, Southall or San Francisco.

(With inputs from Vrushali Haldipur in New York and Ashis Ray in London)

#India – Child sex ratio worsening faster among STs: census report


Author(s): Jitendra
Date:Nov 4, 2013, Down to Earth

Data also shows higher marginationalisation of the country’s Scheduled Tribes

Life on the margins (Photo by M Suchitra)Life on the margins (Photo by M Suchitra)

The latest data released by the Census of India shows that the child sex ratio (number of girls per 1,000 boys) among Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the country has declined faster than in other categories of the population between 2001 and 2011. But the number of girls born per 1,000 boys is still higher in the ST category than in the general population. The data also shows higher marginalisation of India’s Scheduled Tribes; the rate at which people are giving up cultivation is also higher in this category. But more number of Scheduled Tribe women participate in the work force than women in any other category of the population.

The census report data, released on October 28, shows a declining trend in child sex ratio across all categories. The national average has dipped to 919 in 2011 from 927 in 2001. The decline in child sex ratio of STs is higher—it has declined from 973 to 957, but the child gender ratio among STs is still better than the national average. The child sex ratio of STs is the best in Chhattisgarh at 993 and Odisha at 980.

The population growth rate of STs is more than the average population growth of the country, reveals the Primary Census Abstract SC & ST report of Census of India 2011. The growth rate of general population of country is 17.7 per cent whereas STs are growing at 23.7 per cent. Even in urban areas, the growth rate of ST population is more—the growth rate of STs is 49.7 per cent whereas the general population grew by 31.7 per cent.

The data shows another trend. The proportion of child population (0-6 years) of STs has been decreasing. The proportion of child population is overall 13.6 of total population. But the schedule caste child population and tribal child population is decreasing at faster rate in comparison to general child population.

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Overall sex ratio better

The census data shows overall improvement in sex ratio (adults and children combined) in all categories, including that of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes between 2001 and 2011. This improvement is more visible in urban areas. The sex ratio among STs is better than that of all categories. The ST sex ratio has improved to 990 from 978 per 1,000 males, whereas the national average has increased to 943 from 933. The census data shows ST sex ratio has increased to 980 from 944 in urban areas. On the other hand, sex ratio of general population in urban areas improved to 929 from 900. The national sex ratio of rural population is improving slowly in comparison to rural population of STs.

Odisha and Jharkhand, two of India’s poorest states with sizeable tribal population, are the best performing states when it comes to improved sex ratio of STs when compared to states like Rajasthan (948), Uttar Pradesh (952), Jammu and Kashmir (924) and Bihar (958), which also have tribal people. Goa tops the list when it comes to sex ratio of tribal population with 1,046 females per 1,000 males; it is followed by Kerala (1,035), Arunachal Pardesh (1,032), Odisha (1,029) and Chhattisgarh (1,020).

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There is minuscule increase in work participation rate (WPR) of Scheduled Tribes in the country. The rate of WPR is high in urban areas. Work participation rate of SCs and STs in rural areas is declining but increasing urban areas, the census report states.

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Work participation of ST women is the highest in the country and the participation of men is even better. Work participation rate of ST women is 43.5, whereas national average (for general population) is 25.5. Though the overall work participation rate decreased from 25.6 to 25.5, it is increased in urban areas.

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Fewer work days

The census data clearly reflects increasing marginalisation of workers. There is declining trend in percentage of “main workers” (those who are engaged in any economically productive activity for 183 days/six months or more during the year) and increasing trend of “marginal workers” (those who work less than 183 days/six months a year). But the rate of decline of “main workers” belonging to ST category is faster in comparison to the national average. This trend is there in rural areas as well.

STs are the most marginalised group in the country. The growth rate of marginal workers almost doubled in comparison to the national rate. Among STs, rate of marginalisation is greater in rural areas in comparison to urban areas.

As per data, the number as well as the percentage of cultivators is declining. The percentage of decline again is more among STs but they still constitute the highest percentage of cultivators. In rural areas, the decline in number of cultivators is more than 10 per cent whereas the national average is about seven per cent.

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As per data, there is increasing trend of people becoming agricultural labourers. Though Scheduled Castes, who by tradition constitute highest percentage of agricultural labourers seems to remain stagnant, but they still contitute highest percentage among all categories, followed by STs. The percentage increase of agricultural labourers is higher for ST population. Their rate increased by around eight per cent, whereas national average of growth in agricultural labour was four per cent. In rural areas, SC sconstitute highest number of agricultural labourers. But the rate of increase is highest among STs.

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The number of household industry (HHI) workers is increasing but their percentage is decreasing, says census data. The decline is across all sections. HHI is a non-registered industry, run by only family members.

The number as well as percentage of “other workers” has been increasing across all sections. More SCs are joining this category than any other section of the population.

 

Maharashtra- Women Activists ask govt not to mix sex selection and abortion


PUNE: Activists have demanded that the state government and social originations working in save girl child campaign should not insist on an amendment to the existing anti-sex selection laws and invoke murder charges against persons involved in sex selection.

The demand is gaining momentum in parts of the state and activists fear worse consequences of the same.

The Indian MTP Act allows abortion by a registered medical practitioner, where the duration of the pregnancy does not exceed 12 weeks or 20 weeks (the latter if not less than two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion that continuance of the pregnancy would risk the pregnant woman‘s life or may cause a grave injury to her physical or mental health; or there is a substantial risk to her health if the child were born).

“This will deprive women of their right to abortion, which is unacceptable. There should be continuous and strict monitoring of sonography centres, hospitals and nursing homes and strict action against all unlicensed centres. But this does not mean that safe abortion should not be allowed” said activists working in western Maharashtra region.

“According to the Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, sex selection itself is a crime and the doctors involved should be punished as per the provisions of the act. The pregnant woman on whom sex selection is performed or undertaken is not an offender according to the act. This should be upheld in Maharashtra,” said a protest letter signed by organizations such as stree mukti sanghatana, Forum against sex election, akshara, All India Democratic Women’s Association,  among others.

Activists say that by mooting murder charges against people found involved in sex selection , the state seems to be mixing issues relating to sex-selection (Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act) and abortion ( Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act)

 

#India – 116 convictions for violating sex determination law:


About 288 cases of violation of sex determination test were reported last year and 116 resulted in convictions, union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Tuesday.

 

Speaking at the 21st meeting of the Central Supervisory Board (CSB) on Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act, Azad said his ministry has increased its engagement with the states to identify and address challenges in the implementation of law.

“Out of 288 cases filed last year, 116 convictions have been secured under the Act and licenses of 53 doctors have been suspended by state medical councils,” he said.

Azad said new challenges keep emerging with each passing day.

“Blood tests that disclose the sex of a foetus are available on the internet or abroad including ultrasound procedures on mobile phones,” he said.

“For this reason, all stakeholders should act in partnership with government to counter the unethical practice of gender biased sex selection through misuse of rapidly evolving technologies,” he said.

Quoting the Annual Health Survey 2011, Azadsaid sex ratio at birth in urban areas is lower than the rural areas except Rajasthan.

“But there is still preference of son and discrimination against the girl child in our country. Against the backdrop of son preference, the mushrooming of ultrasound diagnostic facilities has compounded implementation of the law,” he said.

“To deal with the challenging socio-cultural attitudes, a comprehensive and innovative and information, education and communication (IEC) strategy has been put in place to promote positive attitudes for ensuring survival and protection of girl child,” he added.

–Indo-Asian News Service ric/vd

 

( 270 Words)

2013-07-23-22:02:10 (IANS)

#India- (Un)wanted women #Vaw


Ashok Kumar, The Hindu

Sex Selection  is a major factor resulting in trafficking of women from across the country to Haryana for forced marriages and the situation has only been worsened by widespread unemployment and the low status accorded to women in the State, says the first-ever UN commissioned report on human trafficking in Haryana.

Most of the women brought to Haryana for forced marriages are from Assam and West Bengal and the districts of Karnal, Mewat, Rewari, Kurukshetra, Jind, Yamuna Nagar and Hisar in Haryana are the major destinations for these trafficked women, says the report titled ‘Current Status of Victim Service Providers and Criminal Justice Actors in India on Anti-Human Trafficking’, adding that the process of bridal migration was gaining momentum in the State and the sale and trafficking aspects of it needed immediate attention. In Mewat, there are many women who are being brought from States like Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh and are forced to get married against their will. These girls are popularly known as “Paro”.

According to a 2004 report by non-government organisation Shakti Vahini, 100s of young girls and women are lured and sold into involuntary marriages in North India, says the report on human trafficking. They are bartered at prices that vary depending on their age, beauty and virginity and exploited under conditions that amount to a modern form of slavery. Although trafficking of women and girls has become a lucrative and expanding trade in these regions, it routinely escapes effective administrative and social sanctions and the general response is to deny the existence of any such problem.

A large number of women are also trafficked to Haryana from Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh for domestic work and are forced to work under bonded labour like conditions, according to the report. Gurgaon and Faridabad are the major destinations for the girls and women trafficked to Haryana for domestic work and a large number of them even become victims of sexual exploitation, says the report.The trafficked domestic helps, mostly minor girls, are supplied in Haryana by the placement agencies operating in Delhi and once these children land up in their employer’s house they end up in slavery. In many cases, these children become the victims of sexual exploitation at the hands of either the placement agency owner or the employer themselves. The placement agencies illegally run their business and have good links in the source areas. The agency owners bring girls from the source states with the help of their organised network and employ them as bonded labour.

Most of the victims are trafficked through railway routes and they are transited via Delhi. These women and girls are also sent to the border areas of Rajasthan from Haryana.

According to the report, the Haryana Government has initiated various schemes for the care and protection of trafficked victims and children. However, there is an absence of monitoring mechanism and minimum standards of victim care and protection and it was highlighted when the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights team detected cases of selling of infants and sexual exploitation of girls at a State-supported “Swadhar” Home in Rohtak recently.

Sounding the warning bells, the report says it may take Haryana more than 50 years to reach its natural sex ratio even if the Government ensures that not a single sex determination takes place in the State. The demand for marriageable age girls will be much more intense in the coming years and the demand met by inter-State marriages. The challenge before the State of Haryana as well as regions of Western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan is to ensure that the bride demand is not catered to through human trafficking. The governments in these regions should ensure legislations which protect the rights of women and children, says the report.

Save the girl child: PMC nod to fixed deposit scheme


Express news service : Pune, Sat Jul 13 2013,

To check sex selection,  the women and child welfare committee of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Friday approved a proposal seeking financial assistance to every girl child born in a poor family under the civic jurisdiction from April this year.As per the proposal, the civic body would make a fixed deposit of Rs 30,000 in the name of the girl child born in a family having income less than Rs 1 lakh. The girl can withdraw the money which will amount to Rs 2.4 lakh after interest, when she is 18 and provided she is unmarried.

The civic body will contribute Rs 20,000 while the parents will have to give Rs 10,000 to avail the scheme. The scheme would be eligible for citizens under the civic jurisdiction and up to two child per family.

“The committee will also contribute Rs 40,000 for a girl child if her parents decide to have only one child. In such cases, the parents need not contribute Rs 10,000 to avail the scheme,” said Varsha Marathe, chairperson of women and child welfare committee.

As many as 50,000 births take place every year in PMC. There are 938 female births for every 1,000 male births. This means 24,200 female births a year take place in the city.

If the civic body decides to include all of them in the scheme then the civic body would need a whopping Rs 48.27 crore. The scheme has a provision of merely Rs 5 crore and can be availed by beneficiaries who fulfill the criteria.

Civic body proposes to double scholarship of sportsmen

The PMC administration has proposed to double the scholarship given to sportsmen representing at district, state, national and international level. After the sports policy was approved last year, the civic body had made provision of Rs 25,000 for sportsmen from city representing at national and international level and Rs 15,000 for sportsmen representing the district.

PMC mounts vigil to keep monsoon diseases at bay

With the city having buckled under a volley of diseases during the last monsoon, particularly dengue, the civic authorities this year are mounting vigilance in advance to keep monsoon-related diseases at bay. Though swine flu claimed several lives, dengue and malaria attacked people with twin viral.

According to Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) monthly communicable disease report, 148 dengue cases, including five deaths, have been reported since January this year. Around 15 cases were reported in May and 36 in June, the report said.

As many as 66 cases of malaria and 184 cases of swine flu have been reported since January. While majority of swine flu cases were reported in February (44), March (64) and April (45), there were only two case in June. Around 98 snake bite cases have been registered since January, with 19 in June.

As per the PMC records, cases of viral hepatitis are on the rise, with a total of 682 cases reported since January. June alone reported 89 such cases.

In Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), officials said there were 47 cases of malaria since January.

The sentinnel surveillance centre set up by the PCMC to test dengue cases registered only two cases

 

J&K: Man kills 4-year-old daughter to get government compensation #Vaw #WTFnews


CNN-IBN | Updated Jun 30, 2013

SrinagarIn a shocking incident in Kashmir, a man allegedly choked and slit the throat of his 4-year-old daughter, in order to get government compensation. The accused Altaf Ahmad from Rafiabad has been arrested.

Police are saying his main motive was to claim she was killed by militants and seek compensation from the government. Altaf’s wife is the village sarpanch and he was hoping the police would believe his story considering the recent militant attacks on sarpanches and their families. On the day of the incident, Altaf allegedly sent his wife and son to the doctor and in their absence murdered the young girl.

“We believe that the motive could have been that his wife is the village sarpanch. He might have tried to pass the murder off as a militant act to claim compensation from the government,” DIG north Kashmir JP Singh said.

 

#India – No girl child in 72 hamlets of Madhya Pradesh #Vaw #Sexselection


, TNN | Jun 28, 2013,

BHOPAL: Shivani, 7, a class II student of government primary school in Tinchha village ofIndore, has only one girl in her class, Muskan, to play with-courtesy child sex ratio of just 571 (females) compared to 1,000 (male).

But it is not an isolated village without girls. Going by Census 2011 figures, only 5 or less girls were born in past six years in 1,675 villages in the state!

There are 72 hamlets in the state where there is no girl, but only boys below the age of six years.

Krishna Verma, aanganwadi worker at Tinncha village in Indore, said, “Both Shivani and Muskan have been promoted to class II this year. In class I of village school, there are just three girl students.”

“In all, 28 boys and 16 girls below 6 years of age are registered at the centre,” Verma said.

It was because only 16 girls were borne against 28 boys in the past six years, she added.

Tinncha is a small village in Indore district of the state with a population of 422.

There are at least half a dozen villages in almost all districts of the state as per census 2011 figures.

In Kagnikheda village under Khilchipur tehsil of Rajgarh district-Sapna, 6, and Manisha, 6, are the only girl classmates in standard I of the government primary school.

“The names of Sapna and Manisha were removed from the register of aanganwadi center as they were enrolled in class I of government primary school this year. They are the only girls in 0 to 6 years of age group in our village,” Sajjan Bai, aanganwadi worker at Kagnikheda told TOI.

Kagnikheda with a population of 425 has a child sex ratio (0 to 6 yrs) of just 433 as per Census 2011. There are only 13 girls compared to 30 boys in the same age group.

Same is the story at Sarekha Khurd village, (population 631) in Seoni district, which has a child sex ratio of just 515, Gunjhar village (total population 492) of Gwalior district having child sex ratio of 410, Atrar village

(population 530) of Tikamgarh district which has a child sex ratio of just 456, Pali Sujam village (population 327) having child sex ratio of just 352 and other such villages of the state.

 

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