More than 100 Activists condemn PAC recommendation of compulsory sex determination tests


 PAC REPORT

Mumbai – We the undersigned representatives of women’s and health rights organizations strongly condemn the recommendations of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly making pre-natal sex determination and tracking of pregnant women mandatory to prevent  sex selection.

These recommendations are grossly violative of the PcPNDT Act itself, and will impinge upon the MTP Act as well. It is ironical that such a recommendation is being made in Maharashtra, which pioneered the law to curb sex selection after a long campaign by women and health activists that linked the use of sex-selection and sex-detection technologies to gender based discrimination and thereafter to  the declining child sex ratio in India .

It is shocking that the proposal is being mooted at a time when yet another racket of sex selection has recently come to light in Mhaisal, Sangli, which clearly exposes the nexus between unscrupulous medical professionals and corrupt government health officials in allowing illegal sex determination to proliferate in the state.

It is quite clear that such a proposal is intended to absolve doctors and to shift the burden to the shoulders of pregnant women. The 2003 amendments to the 1994 PcPNDT Act recognized the lack of autonomy faced by women and had specifically kept the pregnant woman out of the ambit of the Act. This new proposal will only result in a twenty-four hour surveillance of pregnant women both within the family and by the state authorities. It will unnecessarily target every woman bearing a female foetus, and will link any abortion that such a woman has (for any reason) to sex selection. This will adversely impact women’s already poor access to safe abortion.  It will fuel a proliferation of illegal facilities for getting rid of unwanted female foetuses.

PAC suggestions of  surveillance is violation of our fundamental right to privacy and victimization of the woman when the focus of surveillance should be providers who are the key link to practice of sex determination and sex selection.

We demand that the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly rejects the recommendations of the PAC. We also demand stringent implementation of the present Act, which has clearly acted as a deterrent wherever it has been used effectively.

गर्भलिंग चाचणी सक्तीचे करण्याची अजब शिफारस करणाऱ्या लोकलेखा समितीचा कडक निषेध

लोकलेखा समितीने महाराष्ट्र विधान सभेला सादर केलेल्या आपल्या अहवालात राज्यात लिंग निदान रोखण्यासाठी गर्भलिंग चाचणी सक्तीची करून सर्व गरोदर महिलांवर पाळत ठेवण्याची अजब शिफारस केली आहे, त्याचा आम्ही खाली सही करणाऱ्या महिला व आरोग्य हक्क संघटना तीव्र निषेध करीत आहोत.

मुळात अशी शिफारस लिंग निदान प्रतिबंधक (पी.सी.पी.एन.डी.टी.) कायद्याचे घोर उल्लंघन करणारी असून, गर्भपाताशी संबंधित एम.टी.पी. कायद्यावर देखील त्याचे विपरीत परिणाम होतील. स्त्रियांशी टोकाचा भेदभाव करणारी लिंगनिदानाची पद्धत आणि त्यासाठी वापरण्यात येणाऱ्या तंत्रज्ञानामुळे भारतात ०-६ वर्ष वयोगटातील मुलींचे प्रमाण कसे घटत आहे, ह्या गंभीर मुद्द्याकडे प्रथम महाराष्ट्रातील महिला आणि आरोग्य हक्क कार्यकर्त्यांनी लक्ष वेधले. त्यांनी दीर्घ काळ चालवलेल्या मोहिमेचा परिणाम म्हणून महाराष्ट्रात प्रथम लिंग-निवड प्रतिबंधात्मक कायदा मंजूर झाला, ह्याचा विसर लोकलेख समितीला पडलेला दिसतो.

म्हैसाळ (सांगली) आणि नाशिक शहरात अलीकडेच उजेडास आलेल्या बेकायदेशीर लिंग निदानाच्या प्रकरणातून अप्रामाणिक वैदकीय व्यावसायिक आणि भ्रष्ट सरकारी अधिकारी ह्यांच्यातल्या संगनमताने राज्यात बेकायदेशीर लिंगचाचणीची केंद्र कशीं फोफावली आहेत, हे समोर आलेले असताना, अशी शिफारस करणे अधिक धक्कादायक आहे.

प्रत्यक्षात लिंग निदान करणाऱ्या डॉक्टरांना सुट देऊन, गरोदर स्त्रीवर सर्व जबाबदारी टाकण्याचा हा निषेधार्य प्रकार आहे. १९९४च्या लिंग निवड प्रतिबंधक कायद्यात २००३ मध्ये सुधारणा करताना स्त्रियांना निर्णय स्वातंत्र्य नसल्याची वस्तुस्थिती लक्षात घेऊन, गरोदर स्त्रीला कायद्याच्या कक्षेतून काढले होते. ह्या नव्या प्रस्तावामुळे गरोदर स्त्री वर कुटुंबांतर्गत आणि शासकीय पातळीवरची चोवीस तासांची पाळत सहन करावी लागेल. स्त्री-गर्भ असलेल्या प्रत्येक गरोदर महिलेला विनाकारण लक्ष्य बनवून, तिने कोणत्याही कारणास्तव गर्भपात करून घेतला तरी त्याचा संबंध लिंग निदानाशी जोडला जाईल. स्त्रियांना अगोदरच सुरक्षित गर्भपाताची सेवा मिळणे अवघड झाले असताना, नको असलेले स्त्री गर्भ नष्ट करणारी एक बेकायदेशीर यंत्रणाच ह्यामुळे फोफावणार आहे.

अशा पद्धतीने स्त्रियांवर पाळत ठेवण्याची ही लोकलेखा समितीची शिफारस स्त्रियांच्या खाजगी आयुष्यात हस्तक्षेप करणारी आणि मुलभूत अधिकारांवर घाला घालणारी आहे. उलट बेकायदेशीर  पद्धतीने लिंग निदान आणि लिंग निवड करणारी केंद्र चालवणाऱ्यांवर सरकारने पाळत ठेवून त्यांचे उच्चाटन करण्याची आवश्यकता आहे.

महाराष्ट्र विधान सभेने लोकलेखा समितीच्या ह्या शिफारशीला स्पष्ट नकार द्यावा अशी  मागणी आम्ही करीत आहोत. जिथे पी.सी.पी.एन.डी.टी. कायद्याचा प्रभावी उपयोग केला गेला, तिथे लिंग निदान रोखण्यासाठी मदत झाली असा आजपर्यंतचा अनुभव असून, कायद्याची महाराष्ट्रात कडक अंमलबजावणी करावी अशी मागणी आम्ही करीत आहोत.

Endorsed

Organziations 

Forum Against Sex Selection (FASS)

Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana (AIDWA)

Mahila Sarvgrameen Utkarsh Mandal (MASUM)

Forum for Medical Ethics Society

Forum Against Oppression of Women  (FAOW)

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan- Mumbai

National Allaince of Materal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR)

Nazariya: A Queer Feminist Resource Group

LABIA –  A Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Bombay

Maharashtra Mahila Arogya Hakka Parishad

 National Alliance of People’s Movements– (NAPM)
Point of View, Mumbai

SAMYAK, Pune

CEHAT, Mumbai

Sruti Disability Rights Centee

Saheli Women’s Resource Centre

Individuals

  1. Kamayani Bali Mahabal,  (FASS)
  2. Kiran Moghe , (AIDWA)
  3. Sonya Gill, (AIDWA)
  4. Ravi Duggal, Health activist
  5. Manisha Gupte ,  Women and Health activist
  6. Adv Indira Jaising, Lawyers Collective
  7. Lakshmi Menon . Womens Health Movement
  8. Brinelle D’souza – Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  9. Farah Naqvi, Writer & Activist, Delhi
  10. Dr B Ekbal ,  Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Kerala
  11. Dr. Nizara Hazarika , Associate Professor, Sonapur College,Assam
  12. Gabriele Dietrich, Pennurimai Iyakkam, TN
  13. Sunita Bandewar, FMES and IJME
  14. Amulya Nidhi , .Health Activist Madhya Pradesh
  15. Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, Public health doctor and researcher
  16. Saswati Ghosh, Associate Professor and hod, Economics, City College (under Calcutta University)
  17. Nisha Biswas
  18. Abha Bhaiya
  19. Nivedita Menon, JNU
  20. Dyuti
  21. Johanna Lokhande
  22. Madhu Mehra, Partners for Law in Development
  23. Ulka Mahajan,  Social activist
  24. Mary E. John, Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS)
  25. Virginia Saldanha, Indian Christian Women’s Movement,
    Manak Matiyani (Executive Director)- YP Foundation
  26. Vinita Sahasranaman (Director of Programs and Advocacy)- YP Foundation
  27. Souvik Pyne (Advocacy Officer)m YP foundation
  28. Nandita Shah, Akshara
  29. Jyoti Mhapsekar, Stree Mukti Sanghathana
  30. Dr Kamaxi Bhate, FASS
  31. Adv Manisha Tulpule
  32. Rashmi Divekar
  33. Urmila Salunkhe, Akshara
  34. Prasanna Invally, Pune
  35. Kalpana mehta. Manasi Swasthya Sansthan, Indore
  36. Chayanika Shah- LABIA
  37. Anagha Sarpotdar
  38. Chhaya Datar
  39. Bishakha Dutta , Point of View
  40. Meena Seshu, Sangram
  41. Hema Pisal, MASUM
  42. Anand Pawar, SAMYAK
  43. Ravindra R P – Member, Drafting Committees (Mah. PNDT Act, PNDT Act, PCPNDT Act)
  44. Jaya Menon, Women Networking
  45. Sanober Keshwaar
  46. Vijay Hiremath
  47. Shalini Mahajan, LABIA
  48. Rohini Hensman, writer and activist
  49. Lubna Duggal , Forum for Medical Ethics Society
  50. Narendra  Gupta, Prayas
  51. Aapurv Jain, Gender rights activist
  52. Burnad Fatima- SRED
  53.  Sandhya Gautam, NAMHHR
  54. Jashodhara Dasgupta – Sahayog
  55. Sarojini – Sama
  56. Leni Chaudhuri, JSA
  57. Anuradha Pati
  58. Anita Ghai –  Feminsit  and Disbaility Rights Activist
  59. Ritambhara, Nazariya
  60. Preet Manjusha, SAMYAK
  61. Neeraj Malik
  62. Sejal Dand, ANANDI
  63. E.Premadas- CHSJ
  64. Suhas Kolhekar- NAPM
  65. Sitaram Shelar
  66. Sneha Giridhari, SWISSAID, India
  67. Sapana, BGVS
  68. Brinda Bose, JNU
  69. Reena Martins, Mumbai
  70. Hasina Khan, Bebaak Collective
  71. Pouru Wadia, SNEHA
  72. Vibhuti Patel, SNDT
  73. Kajal Jain,MASUM,Pune
  74. Mohan Rao, JNU
  75. Suneeta Dhar, activist
  76. Vasavi Kiro
  77. Abhijit Das,CHSJ
  78. Vivekanand Ojha
  79. Jaya Sagade , activist
  80. Ujwala kadrekar
  81. Uma V Chandru, WSS
  82. Archana More ,Karve Institute of Social Work
  83. Pradnya Shende
  84. Shakuntala Bhalerao, JSA
  85. Shubhangi Deshpande
  86. Vrinda Grover
  87. Subhash Mendhapurkar, SUTRA
  88. Manmohan Sharma,  health activist
  89. Noorjehan  Safia Niaz, BMMA
  90. Dolphy D’souza, Convenor, Police Reforms Watch
  91. Adv Vijay Hiremath
  92.  Nita Shirali, activist
  93. Saumya Uma
  94. Sugandhi Francis
  95. Snehal
  96. Kranti
  97. Yasmeen, awwaze- niswan
  98. Aruna Burte
  99. Shobha, Stree Mukti Sanghathana
  100. Mukta Srivastava, NAPM
  101. Milind Ranade
  102. Prof. Ujwala Masdekar, faculty of Karve Institute of social service
  103. Panchali Ray. Jadavpur University. Kolkata.
  104. Sonal Shukla, Vacha
  105. Naureen, SNEHA
  106. Richa Minocha , Simla
  107. Jeevika Shiv, ANANDI
  108. Radhika Desai, Hyderabad
  109. Seema Kulkarni, SOPPECOM
  110. Rimple Mehta
  111. Ayesha Kidwai
  112. Runu Roy

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)

 

Maharashtra – 17 including 5 doctors, to be tried for murder in Beed #PCPNDT


 

Syed Rizwanullah, TNN Jun 20, 2013, 

AURANGABAD: Around 16 people, including five doctors, involved in cases of  sex selection  in Maharashtra’s Beed district in 2012 will now be tried for murder instead of culpable homicide.

The accused include five medical practitioners, hospital staffers, the women who gave birth to the female fetuses and their male relatives.

 

 

The Beed court framed the charges in the case on Tuesday. In all, 17 people had been booked.

On June 2, 2012, two female foetuses were found abandoned on the Bindusara river bank on the outskirts of Beed city. Another foetus was recovered from a village in Beed district, where the relatives had allegedly buried it. All the foetues had been aborted at Beed’s Sanap Hospital.

Shivaji Sanap, the medical practitioner who was arrested on June 2, 2012, for illegally aborting the fetues, is still in judicial custody. The others have been granted bail, the government pleader said. The hospital premises is owned by Sanap’s father-in-law Shrihari Lahane, a senior medical practitioner, who is among the 16 people charged.

The medical practitioners involved in the case expressed shock over the court’s move. “It has shocked us but we cannot make any comment on the court’s move as it is a part of the judicial process,” they said.

“We will consult legal experts and our lawyers to explore the possibility of challenging the order. We are waiting for a full text of the court’s move,” the added.

 

 

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

 

Fewer daughters for India’s doctors, suggests shocking report


Written by Tejas Mehta |

Fewer daughters for India's doctors, suggests shocking report

(Representational pic)

MumbaiIt is a well-established fact that many doctors across the country have been caught promoting and pushing for gender-selection in favour of the male child. A lucrative, illegal and unethical business. But are they also practising this in their personal lives?A new study published in the American Journal “Demography” and titled “Skewed Sex Ratios in India: Physician Heal Thyself” seems to suggest so. The survey was conducted by collecting data from 946 nuclear families with 1,624 children. Either one or both parents were doctors and students at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur between 1980 and 1985.

The survey revealed the following:

  • Child sex ratio amongst these families was 907 girls per 1,000 boys
  • This is below the national average of 914
  • Much lower than the regional (Vidarbha) average of 954
  • If the family had only one child, this figure dropped even further to 900
  • If the family had two children and the first one was girl, the ratio dropped to a shameful 519 – chances of the second child being female dropped by 38%

The analysis – done by a team of four doctors in Nagpur – clearly points out that “the heavily skewed ratios in the families of physicians are indicative of a deeply rooted social malady that could pose a critical challenge in correcting sex ratios in India.”

One of the study’s authors, Dr Archana Patel,  says that the idea was to go beyond earlier findings which have shown that though gender selection takes place across most socio-economic groups,  the sex ratio is more skewed amongst the rich than the poor. “I don’t think such disproportionate figures can be achieved without any human interference. The numbers do suggest that doctors too are reflecting the mindset of the society at large,” she told NDTV.

The report also cautions that the study has its limitations given the small sample size taken into consideration and it also does not account for childhood mortality rates.  However, it mentions that the figures are “distressing” and “warrants a closer look at the psyche behind sex-selection practices” and if they pervade across the medical fraternity.

When informed about these startling figures, Maharashtra’s Health Minister Suresh Shetty agreed the data was indicative of the rot having gone much too far. “We will have to examine this report as this is quite serious.  However, when we started taking this issue very seriously two years ago, we faced stiff resistance from doctors and all those who were running sonography centres as they opposed the implementation of the law,” he claimed.

Maharashtra has been grappling with the scourge of sex-determination and female foeticide for years. The epicenter of the malpractice is at Beed, a 7 hour drive from Mumbai, where Dr Sudam Munde and his wife Dr Saraswati allegedly ran a sophisticated abortion racket for several years.  In May 2012, the death of a woman who came to the couple for an abortion spot-lit the magnitude of their activities and led to their arrest.

Both are now facing charges under the Pre-Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act. If convicted they could face a maximum of three years in jail. Mrs Munde is out on bail but Mr Munde’s plea was rejected by the Supreme Court last November. The court directed him to apply for bail after six months.

 

Census 2011: Abstract- Primary Data Released


English: A sticker pasted at a house to mark i...

 

Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde, Union Home Minister released the Primary Census Abstract-Data Highlights of Census 2011 in a function organized by the Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India here today.

 

On this occasion Union Home Minister congratulated all stake holders for completing the 2011 Census and said that the results of efforts to improve the quality by new methods of training, data collection, data processing and data dissemination are there before all of us. The provisional data was published within 3 weeks of the completion of Census and the final housing Census data was brought out within 1 year of the provisional release. Today, the final results of the Population Enumeration are being released again a year ahead of schedule.

 

Shri Shinde also expressed his happiness that the growth rate of population has come down during the last decade and literacy has increased significantly, particularly the female literacy. He further said that all this information would go a long way in assessing the ongoing schemes and planning appropriate interventions in rural and urban areas.

 

On the occasion, Union Home Minister distributed Census Medals to Shri G. K. Pillai, former Union Home Secretary and the officers of the Census Organization in recognition to the outstanding services rendered by them during Census 2011.

 

Some of the salient features of the data released are as below:-

 

Total population of the country is 1.21 billion showing an increase of 181.96 million persons in absolute numbers of population in India during the decade 2001-2011. During this decade, population of India grew by 17.7% as against 21.5% in the previous decade.

 

As per Census 2011, 833.5 million persons live in rural areas and 377.1 million persons lives in urban areas. Thus, more than 2/3rd of total population of India lives in rural areas.

 

Density of population as per current Census is 382 persons per sq.km. against 325 persons per sq.km. in 2001.

 

Child population in the age group 0-6 years in 2011 Census is 164.5 million as against 163.8 million showing an increase of 0.4% in the last decade.

 

Sex ratio in Census 2011 is 943 females per 1000 males as against 933 in 2001 Census.

 

Population of Scheduled Castes in this Census is 201.4 million as against 166.6 million in 2001 registering an increase of 20.8% whereas Scheduled Tribes population increased to 104.3 million in 2011 from 84.3 million in 2001.

 

As per Census 2011, number of literates is 763.5 million as against 560.7 million in 2001.

 

 

 

 

Nashik – Relatives stomp on Pregnant woman leading to abortion


Press Trust of India | Updated: April 16, 2013 15:18 IST

Nashik, MaharashtraIn-laws of 20-year-old pregnant woman here have been charged with murdering an unborn girl child after they allegedly stomped on her stomach and beat her, killing the two-month-old foetus, police said today.
The incident took place in the Mhasrul locality where victim Suvarna Gaikwad was being harassed mentally and physically for dowry since her marriage to Khanderao Gaikwad in June last year, they said.The young woman was being tortured to bring a dowry of Rs. 1.5 lakh for building a house. Later, when her in-laws came to know that she was pregnant, they took her to a ‘godman’ Shyambaba Shinde at Niphad, who told them that she was carrying a girl, police said.Suvarna was told to abort the girl child but when she refused to do so, she was allegedly roughed up by her husband, and family, including the mother-in-law killing the foetus on April 4.The matter was brought to light by Mahendra Datrange, President of Nashik unit of Blindfaith Eradicating organisation following which the husband, his brother Vijay Gaikwad, maternal father-in-law Dilip Suryavanshi and one of his kins Jalinder Suryavanshi was arrested yesterday, police said.

Offences have been registered against them under different sections of IPC at panchavati police station yesterday, police said.

Suvarna’s family, which alleged murder of the girl, is demanding the arrest of her mother-in-law Bibabai, Shinde and others involved in the killing

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