Female feticide has become a common feature in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh that at least 7,500 feticides are carried out every year on an average, with the gender ratio falling to be the lowest in the country. The shocking factor is that despite such unchecked prevalence of feticides only one case has been convicted so far.
The hill state of Himachal Pradesh registers an estimated 7,500 female feticides every year, taking its gender ratio among the lowest in the country. Even more shocking is the fact that there has been only one case of conviction for the crime.
"Around 7,500 female feticides are carried out in the state every year which has a total population of only six million people," said Jiyanand Sharma, joint secretary of the Himachal Gyan Vigyan Samiti (HGVS), citing the latest available figures of the countrywide sample registration system (SRS) of the national census department.
"According to the latest findings of the SRS, the female ratio in Himachal Pradesh has dropped to 803 females per 1,000 males in 2003 as compared to 896 in 2001 and a healthy 951 in 1991," he said.
"What is even more alarming is that the female ratio had dropped to less than 800 in 41 percent of villages across the state," Sharma told IANS.
The more affected districts are Kangra, Bilaspur, Hamirpur and Una in the lower hills of the state. Kangra, the state's most populous district, is the worst affected.
Activists allege that illegal sex determination tests and female feticides are carried out by many clinics, hospitals, and mobile healthcare vans that roam the Himachal Pradesh countryside.
"It is laughable that the authorities have booked just one case in the entire state for carrying out this unlawful activity," Sharma said.
"According to the survey, the neighbouring state of Punjab has the worst gender ratio with 776 females per 1,000 males, followed by Himachal Pradesh with 803 females and Haryana with 807 females," he said.
The HGVS, an NGO promoting knowledge and scientific temper, this week launched a year-long awareness campaign against feticides and the imbalance it has brought to the demography of the state.
"Our women activists will stage protests outside clinics and health centres carrying out sex determination tests and abortions," said HGVS chief Kuldeep Singh Tanwar.
"In the next one year we will educate village councils, health officials and the general public to stem this scourge."