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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Heart of India? MP district is finishing off the girl child

Ritesh Mishra, Hindustan Times  Bhopal, September 06, 2013
First Published: 10:23 IST(6/9/2013) | Last Updated: 12:35 IST(6/9/2013)

Kharauwa, a tiny hamlet 35 km northwest of Bhind district headquarters, looks like any other village in the country from the outside.

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But look deeper and the difference is apparent: very few female kids play in its lanes and bylanes.

Dig deeper and the reason is not very difficult to fathom: Female infanticide and foeticide is rampant in this part of Madhya Pradesh and Bhind is notorious for its skewed sex ratio: 837 girls to 1,000 boys.

And in Kharauwa and its adjacent villages, this figure is even more shocking: 595 girls to 1,000 boys.

“Despite efforts of the government, female infanticide is going on in Kharauwa and other neighbouring villages unabated. Since the family of a pregnant woman is never reported to the rural health workers, there is no way the government will get the correct picture,” said a villager who did not wish to be named.

Last year, a case of the killing of a girl baby was reported from Kharauwa village to the police. Since infanticide is never brought to the notice of the police, the authorities felt that mindsets were changing.

In fact, as many as 29 baby girls were rescued by the police soon after.

“Seeing the police, the villagers were scared for some time, but it is back to square one,” said another villager on condition of anonymity.

This practice of eliminating baby girls has been going on in villages like Dangchhekuri, Banipura, Chore Dabra, Haripura, Katwah Gurjar, Ansoli and Jatpura. All are dominated by the Gurjar community.

Even though a trained anganwadi worker said that the practice was under control, her sister told HT: “Jiske do ladki hain wo marega nahin to kya karega. Hum itni ladkiyon ka kya karenge (Someone who has two girls will kill the third. What will we do with so many girls?).”

Anganwadi workers who are against the blatant murders expressed their helplessness to stop the practice.

“Pregnancies are not reported to us. The elderly in the village keeps vigil over the pregnant woman. Only is a baby boy is born that we come to know about it,” said an anganwadi worker.

“Most of these killings take place due to pressure of the elderly of the village,” said a villager.

Female infanticide is not confined to the Gujar community. Others like Yadavs and Barbars have been influenced by the practice.

“Female infanticide is rampant in those areas. As per reports, a girl child is killed every day in these villages,” Dev Singh, a social worker of the region, told HT.

“After the police registered a case last year, the killings have come down,” said Rama Devi Jatav, project officer, woman and child department of Gohad thensil.

Anganwadi workers who are against the blatant murders expressed their helplessness to stop the practice.

“Pregnancies are not reported to us. The elderly in the village keeps vigil over the pregnant woman. Only is a baby boy is born that we come to know about it,” said an anganwadi worker.

“Most of these killings take place due to pressure of the elderly of the village,” said a villager.


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