A friend of mine in a village in Haryana’s Rohtak district was single. He travelled over 2,000 km to find himself a bride and change his status. He was the one among 121 people who don’t find a girl in Haryana to marry them.
The state of Haryana has only 879 girls for 1000 boys while the sex ratio in India is 940 females for 1000 males. The girls in Haryana and other parts of the country have not vanished overnight. It took decades of female foeticide and sex determination tests that have changed India’s gender geography.
According to a UNICEF report, “the decline in child sex ratio in India is evident by comparing the census figures. In 1991, the figure was 947 girls to 1000 boys. Ten years later it had fallen to 927 girls for 1000 boys.”
Since 1991, the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana have recorded over 50 point decline in child sex ratio in this period.
The women are killed all over the world, but in India, they are being brutally murdered even before they born. In this part of the world, women don’t just face inequality but they are also denied their right to be born.
The reports of infant girls found in the dustbins, train toilets, dump yards are very common in India, rapes happen later if they survived.
However, there are laws in Indian constitution that prevent this brutal form of killing if executed seriously.
Laws that give women right to be born:
Two laws that prohibit the sex selection of a fetus in India are the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP), as amended in 2002, and the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 (PNDT), as amended in 2002.
The MTP Act prohibits illegal abortions while the PNDT Act prohibits sex determination tests of a fetus with views towards aborting it.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP) Act makes abortion illegal even if caused by the pregnant women herself. Under the Section 312 to 316 of the Penal Code, anyone found guilty of performing illegal abortion shall be sentenced to imprisonment up to seven years and fine.
However, the MTP Act allows termination of pregnancy on certain conditions and health grounds. If there is a danger to the life of the women, she can be allowed to terminate the pregnancy. Also on some humanitarian grounds, if the pregnancy arose from rape, women are allowed to abort after court’s permission.
Under the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act, those found guilty of sex determination including doctors who perform the test shall be fined up to Rs 5 lakh and a jail term from 5 to 7 years.
However, the poor implementation of the Acts has been the biggest failing of India’s campaign against sex selection. According to a UNICEF data, till May 2006, 22 out of 35 states in India have not even reported a single case of violation of PNDT Act since it came into force.
We at News Nation are running a special “Beti Bachao” (save our daughters) campaign to throw light on the growing atrocities against women across different sections, age groups and social classes in the country.
Our campaign sends out a telling message to the society that the upliftment and betterment of women shall auger for a better India in the near future.