The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Girl-child graveyard in capital’s cradle of rich

New Delhi, Oct. 20: The higher your income goes, the more likely are you to kill your girl child.

The startling revelation has been made by a health ministry booklet mapping the skewed sex ratio in many parts of India.

This time around, it’s the capital’s rich and the well heeled who have come in for fire. And it’s South West Delhi — which includes such areas as Vasant Kunj, Vasant Vihar, Santiniketan and West End — that has taken the brunt of it.

According to the booklet published by the registrar general of Census and UN Population Fund, there are less than 900 girls for every 1,000 boys in most districts of Delhi . But in South West Delhi — the area where ironically most of the diplomats stay — the ratio stands at 845:1000.

This is way down from the 904 girls per 1000 boys figure thrown up by the 1991 census. It is also a pointer to the fact that Delhi is fast catching up with Punjab and Haryana, the two states in which female foeticide is most rampant.

Women activists say it is well established that there is a direct connection between income and female foeticide. The more money one has, the easier it is to access an ultrasound clinic, and the more likely therefore that one will get a sex determination test done.

“Also, the prejudices of a small family are very much there. The rich people in the cities want small families but do not want to practise gender equality. So girls are killed while boys survive,” an activist, working for foeticide prevention, said.

After the 2001 census was published — between 1991 and 2001, the number of girls per 1,000 boys fell from 945 to 927 — the Supreme Court had directed all states to register clinics using ultrasound machines. But most states have not bothered to implement the directive.

“According to reports, 30 per cent of the clinics using ultrasound machines in Delhi are not registered,” said Sabu George, a Delhi activist.

“In Delhi, the situation is bad because there has been no monitoring of the Supreme Court guidelines. We have reached a situation where one in every eight girls is being eliminated. You can walk into any clinic and see doctors brazenly doing amniocentesis.

“The Indian Medical Association (IMA) is protecting the doctors who are organised to the hilt. They receive political patronage either from the BJP or the Congress,” he said.

But IMA general secretary Sanjeev Malik has denied this. “We are not protecting anyone. I have said at every seminar that I personally will initiate action against any doctor found guilty of the practice.”

Union health minister Sushma Swaraj, who released the booklet today, said merely making new laws wasn’t enough to protect the girl child.

“Mere amendments to laws are not going to bring about a change in mindset. What we need to do is jolt the people out of their mindset. We have to use every section of the population in this — religious heads, social workers and celebrities,” she said.

The practice also exists in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh Maharashtra and Gujarat but is believed to be less rampant in the eastern states.

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