A June 26 report in Hindustan Times on sex surgeries in Indore has evoked diverse reactions from the government, the medical fraternity, readers and a section of the media.
The principal criticism has been that the news report has created confusion and controversy over genitoplasty, a lesser-known medical procedure, which is used to correct genital and sexual ambiguities.
We have also been accused of trying to sensationalise a non-issue.
Much of this confusion and criticism has stemmed from the headline - "Docs turn scores of baby girls into boys" - which was irrelevant to the story. We regret this.
We, however, had no intention to sensationalise. The rationale behind the story was to draw attention to a practice that concerns serious national issues such as choice of gender and parental bias for a boy child.
Nowhere in our stories did we say that healthy little girls were being converted into boys. We have repeatedly said that these surgeries were done "under the pretext or on the premise" of correcting children with gender ambiguity.
We've done more than our share of due diligence in carrying the Indore doctors' version.
Main parts of the doctors' letter and press release were carried in our editions from Indore and Bhopal on June 28 on Page 1 under 'What Doctors Say' and again on June 29 on Page 4 as 'The Other Side'.
All of these, and the larger issues that we have raised, have been overlooked by a rival newspaper that called our reportage "false and misleading."
Curiously, that newspaper quoted an Aiims study saying "gender assignment takes into account the prevalent social factors in a community and the parent's desire.
This could well mean that in some cases, the desire of Indian parents for a boy could be influencing the doctor's assignment of sexual identity."
Precisely our point.