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Sinister trend skews sex ratio

ARE THEY just stray incidents or indicative of an ominous trend of preference for the male child that is leading to some families abandoning female babies?

india Updated: Sep 20, 2006 14:25 IST

ARE THEY just stray incidents or indicative of an ominous trend of preference for the male child that is leading to some families abandoning female babies?

Most newborns abandoned soon after birth and found dead recently in the State capital are girls. Though a few spotted early have been saved and sent to child care homes, most infants are unable to survive the harsh weather in open immediately after birth.

And that is not all. Even aborted foetuses that are recovered are mostly females like the recent incident when twin girls’ foetuses were found thrown near Shahjehanabad. Apparently after illegal sex determination, the foetuses were aborted and abandoned. Seven out of the ten recent incidents of abandoned babies in the State capital were that of girls, according to police.

The sex ratio of Bhopal, at 896, is already dismal in the State that has an overall ratio of 920 as per recent census. The child sex ratio of the State has also seen a decline from 941 (census 1991) to 929 (census 2001).

The police generally register cases under Sections 317 (abandoning child) and 318 (concealment of birth by secret disposal of dead body) of the IPC, but rarely are the parents who throw away babies (or private nursing homes involved in the illegal act) caught.

“Most of the abandoned children who are alive are also girls,” says Archana Sahay, Director of Child Line. “As much as 90 per cent of infants we send to SOS Village are girls,” says Sahay, and adds that the trend has existed for quite some time. “There are families who don’t even want to keep elder girls and force them out,” she laments.

“It’s tough to catch persons who abandon their child because they leave the child immediately after childbirth on the home way from hospital, and lack of evidence makes it very difficult to nab them,” says a police official who did not wish to be named.