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Frontline Workers Clueless About Uttarkashi’s Female Infanticide Issue

Uttarkashi Female foeticide

A recent report showing zero girl children born in Uttarkashi region of Uttarakhand has got the government puzzled. A report released by the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) workers points out that in Uttarkashi’s 132 villages, a total of 216 children were born of which none is a girl child in the last three months. This makes it a point of worry for the state government as the central government prides on its flagship Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan, focusing primarily on improving the sex ratio at birth across the country.

In the last six months, 16 villages show a result of no girl born out of the total of 65 children born in the villages. These villages belong to Bhatwari, Dunda and Chinyalisaur blocks of the Uttarkashi district. The report also reveals that the number of girls born in 66 other villages is a terribly low number in comparison with boys, the District Magistrate Ashish Chouhan said. A total of 82 villages have been declared as ‘Red Zone’ areas. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat found this data ‘shocking and said, “Officials have been asked to find out the truth. It goes against our Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign.”

On the other hand, Chouhan has formed a team of district-level officials to conduct a survey in villages to find if doctors are involved in illegal activities like sex determination and female foeticide leading to upsetting results.

State president of ASHA workers in Uttarakhand, Shiva Dubey, spoke to SheThePeople.TV about the issue and said that there are two villages also where only girls have been born and no boys. On asking which are these two villages, she replied that she couldn’t disclose the names of those villages as they haven’t been declared yet. She said. “It’s a matter of concern. This doesn’t happen normally. We have 13 districts in Uttarakhand and this kind of stark report has never surfaced in the state ever before. Of course, there have been ups and downs in the ratio but this is the lowest it has dipped in my time working as an ASHA worker.”

Uttarakhand Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Usha Negi believes that it is ‘global warming’ that is making such drastic changes in sex ratio. “We are not going on numbers. We want the record of a whole year. There are 129 villages also in Uttarkashi where only girls have been born, 187 in totality. I believe that geographic and climate change has affected the sex ratio. We are with the team to find out the reasons behind these shocking numbers and when the data comes, we’d be able to better decide our next course of action,” she claimed.

“We are not going on numbers. We want the record of a whole year. There are also 129 villages in Uttarkashi where only girls have been born, 187 in totality. I believe that geographic and climate change has affected the sex ratio.”

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However, it is the patriarchal mind-set that governs how the society functions and the ground reality is that we are killing our daughters, said Dr Afshan Mallik, member of Uttarakhand State Commission for Women. “Due to lack of awareness we don’t do justice to our girls. And the ground reality is that nobody wants a daughter and in Uttarakhand it is now clear because we now know how many boys and girls are born. We have witnessed this reality in our own communities at a very small level but now with this report everything has come to light and we are getting to know how large scale it is, and it is a worrying statistics.”

“Female foeticide is an unfortunate reality which is why the numbers have come down to a zero. Now that the CMO has constituted a team to find out the reasons, I wonder which family is going to agree to it and which doctor will accept that they are involved in illegal activities? We need social awareness at a much larger scale and we need to work at it aggressively to achieve a better sex ratio,” she added.