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    » 07/27/2013, 00.00

    INDIA

    Gujarat: 12,000 baby girls killed in the state's cities

    Nirmala Carvalho

    In urban areas, the number of deaths for girls under one year of age is 12,325 against 8,076 for boys. In rural areas, the gap is more balanced. For the director of a Jesuit centre for human rights, this is due to a patriarchal outlook, which continues to prefer sons over daughters and favours selective abortions and female infanticide.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Girls under one year of age are the most vulnerable social group in Gujarat's cities, this according to the Indian state's demographic statistics. In the last three years, urban areas have registered the death of 12,325 girls under the age of one against 8,076 boys. In rural Gujarat, 2,739 boys died before their first birthday compared to 2,246 girls.

    Gujarat is one of India's richest and most advanced states. According to the latest national census (2011), its urban population is around 20.7 million people, whilst more than 30 million people live in the countryside.

    According to some analysts, these figures show that there is no practical reasons-poor health facilities, poverty, illiteracy-that can justify a greater number of deaths of baby girls in urban areas than in rural areas. The problem is cultural-women are discriminated.

    "Gujarat is a deeply patriarchal society," said Fr Cedric Prakash. Speaking to AsiaNews, the clergyman, who heads Prashant, a Jesuit centre for human rights, justice and peace, said that "this situation is reflected in the prevailing social ethics. Girls are not wanted and women's inferiority is taken for granted. Throughout Gujarat, women are condemned to a life of hard work and only a very small percentage become professionals or reach important positions." The same is true in politics, where "only two women are ministers."

    This has an impact on families, where boys are still preferred to girls even if it means relying on sex-selective abortions and female infanticide.

    "A case in point," the priest noted, "is that of Amisha Yagnik, Ahmedabad. Her husband and his family forced her to undergo sex determination tests (which are illegal in India) every time she was pregnant and abort when the foetus was a baby girl. After several years, she managed to escape to her mother's home to give birth to her first and only daughter, Kamya, who is now 9 years old."

    If the state government really wants to tackle the problem, it should "close down several of the illegal abortion clinics that have sprouted in the urban areas of Gujarat," he said. "Only when there is a joint and focused effort from every section of society, will we really stop killing our girls."

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    See also

    26/11/2014 INDIA
    Indian Supreme Court calls for special incentives for families who give birth to baby girls
    The country's highest court calls for an end to the scourge of selective abortion and female foeticide, product of a patriarchal mind-set. Judges want stronger policies to stop the declining female birth rate. In some states, the sex ratio can be as low as 800-900 baby girls per 1,000 baby boys.

    28/01/2013 INDIA
    Karnataka, 20 fetuses found under a bridge, they were all girls
    Found in the district of Belgaum, where, the imbalance between males and females under the age of 6 is 931 girls per 1000 boys. Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life: selective abortions and female feticide are the worst form of violence against women.

    20/06/2012 INDIA
    Rajasthan: girls denied, 2,500 female foeticides and infanticides a day
    Some families leave their baby daughters to die of hunger and thirst to get around the law. In Jaisalmer District (one of the worst), five suspicious cases are recorded this month. Its state has one of the worst female-to-male ratios (883-1,000). For doctor with the Pontifical Academy for Life, "Religious leaders, NGOs and government institutions must work together" against this social malaise.

    21/06/2012 INDIA
    Stop female foeticide, reject abortion, says Mgr Gracias
    The auxiliary bishop of Mumbai speaks about a case in Beed District (Maharashtra), where police discovered aborted female foetuses, including one in the eighth month of pregnancy. Similar cases have been reported across the state. Now police is investigating hundreds of women and targeting shady clinics.

    26/03/2012 INDIA
    Day for Life in India: woman burnt alive by her husband for giving birth to two girls
    It happened yesterday in West Bengal. Meanwhile in Mumbai, 400 people attended a rally to celebrate the event. Bishop Agnelo Gracias, President of the Diocesan Commission for human life: "It is in giving that we receive. Jesus died on the cross to give us life. "



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