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Delhi women protest gender based sex selection

Jan 02, 2013

India has lost over one crore girls since 2007 and there is a dramatic decline in the sex-ratio, ironically in the richest states of India, according to a report.

In order to garner awareness and mobilize people on the issue of gender based sex-selection, Centre for Social Research (CSR), organised a string of silent demonstrations and rallies across the Indian capital city of Delhi. The project, supported by the German Embassy in New Delhi aims to create awareness among the people against the social malpractice of aborting female foetuses by using sex-determination methods.

According to a latest report by UNICEF, India has lost over one crore girls since 2007 and there is a dramatic decline in the sex-ratio ironically in the richest states of India. Lesser women are available for marriages particularly in Haryana state where more than 4,50,000 girls have been trafficked from Jharkhand for marriage (UNFPA, New Delhi, 2007).

Serious consequences of this practice include increased sexual violence against women, endangering women’s social and economic independence and increased cases of child abuse and incest.

“While sex-selective abortions are illegal in India, the practice ceases to stop owing to various social and cultural reasons. These rallies were instrumental in spreading awareness and mobilising the people to curb this social menace of sex selection starting from their own locality. People were inspired and promised to take a stand against these practices within their homes and also within their communities at large,” says Dr Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research.

The silent demonstrations are part of the CSR’s ongoing Meri Shakti Meri Beti (My daughter, my strength) project. The project has seen an active participation of students, men and women, Resident Welfare Associations and cooperative societies which have extended their support to the campaign against sex-selection. The demonstrations, rallies and workshops are aimed at educating people on gender issues and in recruiting a wider circle of citizens into adopting gender friendly behaviour.

The protests also involved a professional street theatre group (Mehak) to present a play on gender based sex selection called ‘Pukar’. The play displayed why people are going for sex-selective abortions and highlighted the misuse of ultrasound machines and government regulations to curb this social menace through PC-PNDT Act (Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques) of 1994. It also brought to light the hazardous consequences of sex selection in terms of poor sex-ratio, health issues, devaluation and objectification of women, social and economic status of women in India.

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