#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.


Haryana – lowest child sex ratio in 0-6 yr age group in India

Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Disinterest of Haryana in the girl child is very pronounced and the Census data, released today, vouches for its ‘notoriety’. The child sex ratio in the age group of 0-6 years has been pegged at 834 girls for 1,000 boys in the state, the lowest in the country despite an increase over the last Census. Haryana is followed by Punjab (846) and Jammu and Kashmir (862) in this category.

Though the sex ratio in the 0 to 6 years category in 2011 has shown an improvement over the 2001 data, going up from 819 to 834, it is a way below compared to that of the country with a sex-ratio of 919 girls for 1,000 boys. In rural areas, it has increased to 835 from 823 and in urban from 808 to 832.

In this category, the sex ratio is lowest in Mahendergarh (775), followed closely by Rewari (782), Gurgaon (787) and Sonepat (798). Mewat with 906 has the highest sex ratio in the state though it fares rather badly on the literacy front and more so when it comes to female literacy.

Haryana Directorate of Census Operation Vinod Babbar said the sex ratio had increased from 861 in the 2001 Census to 879 in 2011. In rural, sex ratio had increased to 882 from 866 and in urban from 847 to 873. The overall sex ratio of India stood at 943.

However, though the sex ratio has gone up, the results are nothing to write home about. Barring Mewat and Fatehabad where the sex ratio is 907 and 902 respectively, it is below 880 in 10 of the 22 districts in the state. The sex ratio is lowest at 854 in Gurgaon, which scores highly when it comes to literacy. Sonepat is a close second at 856 and Jhajjar with 862 is in the third spot.

According to the data, the literacy rate has increased to 75.6 per cent in 2011 from 67.9 of 2001. The female literacy increased to 65.9 per cent from 55.7 per cent. In rural areas, female literacy increased to 60 per cent from 49.3 per cent and in urban area to 76.9 per cent from 71.3 per cent.

Gurgaon scores top position with 84.7 per cent, Mewat has the lowest literacy rate in the state with 54.1 per cent. When it comes to female literacy, the two districts maintain their position, with Gurgaon and Mewat having a literacy rate of 78 and 36.6 per cent respectively.

Babbar said the work participation rate had decreased from 39.6 per cent in 2001 to 35.2 per cent in 2011. In rural, it had decreased from 42.9 per cent in 2001 to 36.4 per cent. However, in urban it had increased to 32.9 per cent from 31.5 per cent. The cultivators had decreased from 36 per cent in 2001 to 27.8 per cent in 2011. As per the 2011 Census, the final population of Haryana is 2,53,51,462 persons consisting of 1,34,94,734 males and 1,18,56,728, registering a decadal growth of 19.9 per cent.

The density of population has increased from 478 persons per sq. km in 2001 to 573 persons per sq. km in 2011. The proportion of urban population has increased to 34.9 per cent from 28.9 per cent of the 2001 census. The urban area of the state is only 4.46 per cent of its total area, he said.

He said the Scheduled Castes population had increased to 51,13,615 from 40,91,110 in 2001.


India: Money Is Plenty But Girls Are Scarce in Haryana

Published February 21, 2013


The highway to Mewat, a district in the Indian state of Haryana, is smooth and plastered with roadkill. Dogs, mostly, at least one flattened carcass every mile. Behind us is Gurgaon, a newly erected city of almost a million, where multi-nationals have found a home in glitzy high-rise buildings but no supply of running water (it’s brought in with trucks from Delhi).

Ahead of us is farmland dotted with property developments. Oxcarts next to SUVs, veiled women evading the gaze of my camera, men smoking gigantic hookahs while punching their smartphones.

This is Haryana, where villages flush with money are ruled by councils that command honor killings and where 14 is a suitable age to marry when you are a girl. That is, of course, if you were lucky enough to be born.

Because Haryana also has one of the most skewed sex ratios in India: the recent 2011 census counted 830 girls born for every 1,000 boys. In other words: tens of thousands of baby girls are aborted every year because families here (as in much of the rest of India) strongly prefer boys.

“There are many reasons for this,” says Shafiq ur Rahman Khan, an activist who heads an NGO called Empower People and who has come with us to Haryana. It’s the son who inherits the wealth of a family; it’s the husband’s parents who are looked after in old age by the bride (not her own parents). And there is the dowry system, where huge sums have to be paid by the bride’s family to the future husband.

A case in point is the pile of fridges and air conditioners, flat-screen TVs, sofas and armchairs in the hallway of the building where Empower People have their Mewat office: excess dowry belonging to the recently married landlord that he could not fit into his new home.

We have come here to look at the social consequences of the skewed sex ratio: what does it mean for a society if it lacks a significant amount of women? Shafiq has been working in the area since 2006 and has established contacts with many villages in the region. He believes that the disregard for the rights of women is at the root of many problems that plague the region, from sexual violence to bride trafficking and child marriages.

Through Shafiq and his local co-workers we hope to get access to some of these villages. It won’t be an easy task, especially after the Delhi rape case that awoke a whole nation to the widespread problem of violence against women. But Shafiq is confident that through his network we will be able to speak to some women about their situation.


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.


NHRC still awaiting States’ report on pre-natal sex selection

NEW DELHI, October 25, 2012


Recognising pre-natal sex selection as an unacceptable form of gender discrimination, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had asked key States across the country to submit a report on implementation of the Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques (PCPNDT) Regulations and Prevention of Misuse Act (Amendments in 2004) based on a set of recommendations issued by the NHRC. A reporting format was also sent to all stakeholders.

But over a year after the exercise was undertaken, the NHRC has now been forced to issue reminders stating that “required information and action taken information is still awaited from various States and Union Territories”.

The NHRC had undertaken a research project titled “Research and Review to strengthen PCPNDT (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act’s implementation across key States”. The main objective of the study was to identify impediments in implementation of the Act in the States. The Commission had considered the report and directed that the report be sent to Central/State governments for action on its recommendations.

An NHRC letter dated September 14, 2011, noted that it had sent a copy of the national report to State governments for taking necessary action and keeping the Commission informed. “We have not received any response from the States and have now issued instructions so that the action taken report on the recommendations contained in the national report in the specified format in consolidated form for the entire State/ Union Territories is sent to NHRC at the earliest,” noted an NHRC letter dated October 9.

The highlights of the recommendation include ensuring effective implementation of the Act related activities, organising workshops/meetings for proper record maintenance of clinics and courts, encouraging authorities to undertake decoy operations and train them to execute the operations, creating special cell consisting of magistrate and lawyers who are well conversant with the Act and looking into bringing in harsher penalties as deterrent punishment commensurate with the nature of the crime.


India’s first OLYMPIAN WOMAN WRESTLER- Geeta, Babita and the great sister act

Siddharth Saxena | August 4, 2012

FIRST OF A KIND: Geeta Phogat is the first Indian woman wrestler at the Olympics


FIRST OF A KIND: Geeta Phogat is the first Indian woman wrestler at the Olympics

This is a story of how a father braved village elders to make his daughters wrestlers. Being pummelled by the girls is now family tradition for the Phogats.

A group of men play cards in one corner of the Phogat courtyard. A hookah quietly does the rounds – even those stopping by to watch the dealing, the hand and the arguments, distractedly mouth the bronze pipe to take a drag. An elderly patriarch – his crisp starch whites in complete contrast to the dishevelled, rough-mouthed lot – sits nearby, overlooking this all-male daily afternoon ritual.

Whoops of joy and shouts of disagreement from the card game punctuate the air. Nearby, two buffalos with glistening black hides look on. They have no names. Haryana has no room for such sentimentality. Even the pet, a young German shepherd, probably has none. The cattle are tended to by Geeta Phogat’s mother Daya Kaur, who was sweeping the path outside their house road when we arrived. She is tirelessly preparing the ‘formula’ for the buffalos when she is not ferrying water to the animals.

Daya Kaur is also the sarpanch of Balali village. You’d never know it as she goes about the day’s chores of the average Haryanvi village woman. You wouldn’t know she is the sarpanch if her husband Mahaveer Phogat hadn’t announced it. Proudly. “Jan seva. Jan seva kar rahi hai, ” he says of his wife.

Balali is a tiny village in Haryana’s Bhiwani district. Only 500 houses, a population of just over 5, 000. There are more men than women here too. Haryana’s sex ratio is dismal and female foeticide rampant. According to the 2011 Census, it has the country’s worst child sex ratio – 830 girls for every 1, 000 boys as compared to the national average of 914. Bhiwani is no better at 831.

But there’s a kind of revolution inside this courtyard guarded by an un-named German Shepherd.

A group of ‘boys’ – sturdy, stolid, closecropped hair and male in a back-slappy way – is training. Look closer and you’ll find they are actually teenaged wrestler girls training under the eagle eye of their father, the sometimes grumpy, sometimes strangely-affectionate Mahaveer.

A mission undertaken a decade ago – spurred by the promise of a Rs 2 crore bait announced by the then CM of the state – is finally yielding dividend, in the form of his eldest daughter Geeta, India’s first female wrestler at the Olympics.

It is a unique victory for one man’s tireless single-mindedness in the face of local resistance in a state known for its historically step-motherly attitude towards women. Four of his daughters, and two adopted ones, are today the pride and joy of the village. The boys step aside when the bunch go on their warm-up run on Balali’s dusty, brick-laden tracks each morning.

But, ask the local men whether they will continue their card-game even on the day of Geeta Phogat’s opening bout in London (August 9), and they distractedly reply, “Nahin, uss din TV dekhenge, ” and promptly return to their daily ritual.

Bluntness in Haryana is a virtue, albeit a downright un-endearing and far from charming one.

The subject of their minor distraction for the coming week, 23-year-old Geeta, is currently in the finalminute training camp in Belarus. She is accompanied by her sister Babita, 21, who is there as her sparring partner.
Both head an impressive line of talented siblings pushing and shoving their way to be the best. There’s Ritu, so tiny and shy that you are scared to speak to her lest she doesn’t know how to handle your sudden intrusion. But she packs a punch, her cauliflowered wrestler’s ears bear testimony to her already much-travelled resume.

Her father does not say it in as many words, but he believes she is the most talented. Four international medals – in the world and Asian junior and cadet categories – is a record unequalled by any Indian wrestler, he claims.

Then there’s Sangeeta, younger to Ritu’s 17 by three years but heavier in weight to her 48 kilos. Twelve-year-old son Dushyant completes the line-up. In typical Jat-boy style, he is already a champ at the wheel of their rickety SUV and is currently eyeing the swanky Maruti SX4 that Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda gifted his eldest sibling.

When not doing that, he doesn’t mind being flung around the mat by Sangeeta. Being pummelled by the girls is now acquired family tradition for the Phogats.

The striking Vinesh, 17, serious Priyanka, 18, and Seema, 15, are the cousins in the tightly-knit sibling melee. Mahaveer, self-styled coach and disciplinarian, asserts there’s no discrimination when training the lot. “That’s the only way you can become a top wrestler, and get a medal in the Olympics, ” he states. An old Englishspeaking associate vouches for it. “He would make me sit and watch him train. Apart from imparting techniques, he’d brandish a slipper at his waist, ready to wield it when his instructions were not met. I couldn’t sit through it. Just got up and left, calling him mad and obsessed, ” says the friend.
For Mahaveer, it is not new. Being alone in his strange pursuit is now an everyday passion for the man who zealously took it up with zeal a decade ago. The trigger may have been a Rs 2 crore purse, but somewhere along the way it became his calling.

“Ladkiyon ko kuch banana tha, so woh kiya, ” he says, slouched in his wicker easy chair, feet up and with a satisfied resignation that comes with a job well done. He has scarce regard for the all-male poker club, and the father in him is ever-vigilant as he keeps an eye from a distance when we speak to his daughters.

He is the male mother hen to his brood. He tells us of how he spurned any advice – even threat – from the village elders as he trained his daughters. “Pehle bahut virodh tha. Gaon ke bade buzurgon ne bada aitraaz kiya tha. Mujhe bula kar bolte, ‘Besharam ho, apni ladki se kya kara rahe ho?! Inke haath pair tooth jayenge, toh shaadi kaun karega?’

“Par manne bhi nahi suni. Jab meri ladkiyan Geeta aur Babita Commonwealth Games mein gold aur silver le aaye, toh sab ne kahi, ‘Pehelwan, bada achcha kaam kiya hai. Agar aisi ladki jo hamari hoti, toh hum bhi aisi hi karte. ‘ Aaj bada pyaar, bada samaan mil raha hai. . . ”

You could argue there is a twisted chauvinism to Mahaveer’s ways. Like all sporting parents, he can be obsessive and controls things. Like any normal teenager, the girls too secretly yearn to grow their hair or pierce their ears, but they seem to realise there is only the hard way to achieve anything. “Jo Papa bolte hain, ” they chorus happily, till one of them chirps up, “I have a Facebook account, but please don’t tell him. . . ”

Over 350 private sonography clinics stop operation in Jaipur


Press Trust of India / Jaipur May 22,


Nearly 350 private sonography clinics in the district today stopped operation in protest against “arbitrary attitude” of Rajasthan health department while carrying out crackdown against female foeticide.

Clinics in Jaipur did not conduct tests on pregnant women today whereas sonography centres in other districts would join them tomorrow.

“It is not a strike nor agitation, but a painful decision we are bound to take due to arbitrary attitude of the government which in the name of violation of PCPNDT act is targeting innocent doctors,” Vijay Kapoor, secretary of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Society said in a press conference here today.

“In the last few months, the department has taken action against several innocent doctors in the name of violation of the act, Pre conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex selection) 1994,” he said.

Expressing support on the need to stop female foeticide, Kapoor said those found guilty should be suspended, however, the government should be impartial in its approach.

“We are also against sex determination and all the doctors are not involved in this illegal practice. Those who are not indulged in this are also being targeted by the department unnecessarily which is objectionable so we have no option but to stop functioning sonography machines,” he said.

Sanjay Arya, president of the society said private sonography centres in other districts will not conduct test from tomorrow for indefinite period.

“We are getting confirmation from private doctors in other districts and they will join us from tomorrow,” he said.

Doctors are being targeted even for a clerical mistake. It is not justified,” he said.

When contacted, an official of health department denied the charge saying that checking of sonography centres, wherever it took place, was impartial.

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