Activists Oppose Decision to Lift Ban on Doctors Promoting Foeticide

by VR Sreeraman on Nov 15 2007 6:38 PM

Activists Oppose Decision to Lift Ban on Doctors Promoting Foeticide
Rights groups are opposing the Rajasthan Medical Council's decision to lift a ban on 30 doctors who had been caught on camera convincing and encouraging people to commit female foeticide in 2006.
The council had banned the doctors from working after a sting operation by a private TV channel in May 2006 showing the doctors promoting female foeticide.

The sting operation had exposed increasing female foeticide in four states -- Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The operation had showed various doctors in different parts of these states convincing and encouraging people to opt for female foeticide.

"We had travelled over 13,000 km by road and showed over 100 doctors practising foeticide and among them 64 were from Rajasthan alone," Shripal Shaktawat, the TV journalist who conducted the sting operation, told IANS.

After the expose, the state government came down heavily on these doctors and started investigations.

"There was no substantial evidence against 30 doctors. Court cases against some of the doctors are continuing," Digambar Singh, Rajasthan's health minister, said Wednesday.

The ban on these doctors was lifted last week. However, civil rights organisations are not happy with the state medical council's decision and are planning to take up the matter with the Indian Medical Council.

"It seems the government is trying to save these doctors. A move like this would encourage offenders in the future. We would not allow this to happen, we will take up this matter with the Indian Medical Council," Pawan Surana, ex-chairperson of the state women's commission, said.

The Citizens Association for Rights, an NGO, has also written a letter to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje requesting her to overturn the medical council's decision.

"When the government knows that female foeticide is a big problem in the state, then why is it taking decisions like these? The doctors who indulged in female foeticide and violated the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act deserve severe punishment," Sunyana Singh, a Jaipur-based activist, said.

As per the 2001 census, the sex ratio in the state is 922 females for 1,000 males.


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