India: Neither caste, colour, region or religion barriers to abortion of females in Jammu-Kashmir Print E-mail
 Saturday February 23 2008

Sex ratio in J&K disturbing

Staff Reporter

Situation worst in Kathua district

‘Figures in some pockets are simply alarming’

No positive response from people

JAMMU: Experts at a two-day workshop organised by the Post Graduate Department of Community Medicine (P&SM) under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) at the Government Medical College here expressed concern over the disturbing sex ratio in some parts of the State.

Data compiled by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics of the State government shows that the population of female child is fast deteriorating. In Kathua district, the latest ratio is 796 girls to 1,000 boys in the urban side and 847 females to 1,000 boys in the rural part.

The trend in Jammu district, which includes Jammu city, is no different. It is 820 girls to 1,000 boys in Jammu district (urban-rural combine). Udhampur with 873 girls, Rajouri with 901, Poonch with 906, Kupwara with 953, Budgam with 931, Baramulla with 927 and Leh with 934 girls present a grim scenario.

Dr. Sabu George, one of the participants in the meet, said: “The latest figures in some pockets of the State are simply alarming, and a cause of concern for the progressive society of the State as well the whole country.”

He traced the origin of the malice to the machines used for sex determination.

Dr. Yogeshwar, nodal officer, National Rural Health Mission, J&K, however, rued the lack of people’s support for the cause. “Though we did start a helpline and issued advertisements in both electronic and print media, seeking the support of people to register complaints against the offenders, no positive response has been received so far,” he said.

In the late 90s, just few 100 ultra-sound machines were sold across the country but now around 5,000 such machines are sold every year.

Experts also exploded the myth that that the incidence of female-foeticide and abortion of female foetuses after pre-natal sex determination occurred mainly in the rural areas and among the illiterate population.

Preference for boy
The phenomenon is evenly spread in all sections of society irrespective of caste, colour, region and religion. Shockingly, the preference for a boy is stronger and deep entrenched in the elite, educated, prosperous and urban sections. Hence, the incidents are more frequent in these sections, the experts said, quoting various studies.

Dr. Rakesh Behl detailed the J&K Preconception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 2002. The Act was still in its infancy and so far only two cases were registered against two unregistered clinics.