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http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/a...ed~in~Punjab’

‘Female foeticide widely practised in Punjab’

Punjab seems to be heading for a catastrophe, thanks to the gross distortion in the sex ratio of its population.

CHANDIGARH, UNI:

Punjab, which has an abysmally low child sex ratio, is headed for catastrophe if it does not check female foeticide that is widely practised across the state, experts said. All 17 districts of Punjab are among the country's 35 districts with the lowest sex ratio with Fatehgarh Sahib recording a figure as low as 754.

At a state-level workshop on the issue of female foeticide, organised by Delhi-based Population Foundation of India (PFI) and the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Thursday evening, representatives of various NGOs and government officials expressed the need to take immediate and stringent measures to control female foeticide in Punjab.

In his presentation, state Census Operations Director Inderjit Singh pointed out that ten out of 17 districts in Punjab recorded a child sex ratio of below 800 girls to 1000 boys. He said the gross distortion in the ratio has created an explosive situation which was likely to have catastrophic consequences in times to come.

These districts are Fatehgarh Sahib (754), Patiala (770), Kapurthala (775), Gurdaspur (775), Mansa (779), Bathinda (779), Amritsar (783), Sangrur (784), Ropar (791) and Jalandhar (797).

According to Ms Reena Singh of the Population Research Centre, a Chandigarh-based organisation, the domination of males and low status of women were the two important factors that led to the preference for the male child. Social practices like dowry, neglect of girl child and atrocities on women should be curbed first, she said.

Dr Deepak Grover, also from the Population Research Centre, said there was a need to empower women, especially in rural areas. He said foeticide should be considered a crime equivalent to murder and people indulging in this crime be severely punished. The PNDT (Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technology) Act, he pointed out, was not serving its purpose as people hardly came forward with complaints against those who practise foeticide. A violation of provisions of the Act can fetch imprisonment upto three years. There was a need to change the mindset of the people through the media, he added.

Dr I Goyal, Director of the State Health and Family Welfare department, said the government had taken several steps to propagate the message against female foeticide through ad campaigns and documentaries and was also organising several workshops on girl child activities. Population Foundation of India executive director A R Nanda emphasised the need for advocacy on the issue of female foeticide and commitment to the cause.

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bhand jammee-ai bhand nimmee-ai bhand mangan vee-aahu

From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married

bhandahu hovai dostee bhandahu chalai raahu

Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come

bhand mu-aa bhand bhaalee-ai bhand hovai banDhaan

When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound

so ki-o mandaa aakhee-ai jit jameh raajaan

So why call her bad? From her, kings are born

bhandahu hee bhand oopjai bhandai baajh na ko-ay

From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all

naanak bhandai baahraa ayko sachaa so-ay

O Nanak, only the True Lord is without a woman - SGGS (473)

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