Death Before Birth, The Bitter Truth

Earlier this week, the mutilated body of a baby girl was found near a dustbin in Pavagada. Tumakuru police have since registered a case of foeticide. Express takes a look at how bad the sex ratio in Karnataka is and how, shockingly, it is still better than the national average

Published: 10th December 2015 05:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th December 2015 05:20 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: The killing of female foetuses and babies is rampant across Karnataka, and is showing no signs of abating.

According to the 2011 Census, the state has just 943 girls for 1,000 boys. Cases are often reported from districts like Tumakuru, Mandya, Mysuru, Belagavi and Raichur. A good number of cases go unreported.

Poor families and unwed mothers abandon girl children, especially in cities like Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Mysuru.

Death.JPGSo why is the sex ratio so skewed? An obvious answer is the misuse of modern medical science. Although banned, sex determination tests continue without check, especially in cities like Bengaluru.

The implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Sex Determination (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1994 is dismal. Also, women from the border districts go across to neighbouring states to undergo such tests.

A women’s rights activist said, “In Karnataka, the killing of girl children — foeticide and infanticide — continues unabated across caste, class and community.”

A combination of factors has contributed to the problem, and gains made by the women’s movement over the years are at stake. “If the killing of foetuses and girls is not arrested, it will lead to serious social problems,”  she said.

A major fallout of the declining sex ratio is the increase in rapes and sex-related violence against women. During 1953-2007, the number of rape cases reported in the country increased by a whopping 733 per cent, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.


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