April 18th, 2012
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More girl child deaths from Punjab and Haryana

girl-childNew Delhi: In Amritsar a father strangled his wife for giving birth to a third girl child. 35-year-old Paramjit Kaur’s husband, Nishan Singh, had been very upset over having two daughters. Desperate to have a boy, the birth of a girl again angered him so much that he reportedly tortured and killed his wife in a fit of rage.

“They had fought several times before…members of the panchayat had tried to explain to them several times. He wanted a male child…a baby girl is gift of god, a boy being born is also in the hands of the Almighty. He never understood this and strangled my sister to death. We have taken up the matter with the police and let the law take its course,” Surjit Singh, the victim’s brother said. Police have arrested the accused and filed a case against his family. Paramjit and Nishan were married for 10 years. Nishan who had two daughters was always suspicious.

Punjab has a skewed sex ratio of 893 females per 1,000 males, one of the lowest among the states. The preference for a male child among people is dominant in the state.

In another incident in Haryana’s Jhajjar, a father brutally beat up his three young girls because he was angry that his wife had left him to take care of them while she visited her parents’ home. The children were rushed to the hospital by the accused Mukesh’s father but the youngest, a 3-year-old, succumbed to her injuries.

As per a study by National Commission for Women (NCW) Delhi, Punjab and Haryana may be economically progressive but have a skewed sex ratio compared to other states. Even after  immense struggles against gender discrimination a huge gender deficit continues to persist. In the report, “Understanding Gender Equality in India 2012″, a joint initiative of NCW and the UN very thought provoking interesting facts were brought out. As per the study, interestingly, Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana have an adverse ratio though these states are economically quite progressive. As per capita Net State Domestic Product (NSDP), Haryana has a per capita NSDP of Rs 78781 while Delhi and Punjab have per capita NSDP of Rs 116886 and Rs 62153 respectively, it said.

The report also noted that the difference between the number of men and women is lesser in rural areas than in urban India, with the former being pegged at 919 women for every 1000 men and the latter 902 per 1000. The worst hit district is Haryana’s Jhajjar with a ratio of 774 to 1000 and next is Mahendragarh with a sex ratio of 778 females to 1000 males.”It is a national emergency,” NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma had said, while releasing the report. “Everyone says India is a developing nation, but how can we say this when the discrimination against women is so stark, so open,” she asked.

As per the provisional report generated by the Census of India, Ministry of Home Affairs  the states and Union Territories showing a negative trend in Census 2011 are Jammu & Kashmir (1.01 %) Daman and Diu (4.56 %)  and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (12.96 %). The Census 2011 report even reflects that some of the major parts of India are at an alarming position. This includes one state and four union territories which are Haryana (877/1000), NCT of Delhi (866/1000), Chandigarh (818/1000), Dadra & Nagar Haveli (775/1000), Daman in Daman & Diu (618/1000). The report was published based on the available data till 0:00 hours of 31st March, 2011 in India.

India is the most dangerous place in the world for a girl child to be born. As per the most current data released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs ( UN-DESA) data for 150 countries over 40 years shows that India and China are the only two countries in the world where female infant mortality is higher than male infant mortality in the 2000s. The data shows that an Indian girl child aged 1-5 years is 75% more likely to die than an Indian boy, making this the worst gender differential in child mortality for any country in the world.

The UN report is clear that high girl child mortality is explained by socio-cultural values. So strong is the biological advantage for girls in early childhood that higher mortality among girls should be seen as “a powerful warning that differential treatment or access to resources is putting girls at a disadvantage”, the report says.

“Higher female mortality from age 1 onwards clearly indicated sustained discrimination,” says P Arokiasamy, professor of development studies at Mumbai’s International Institute for Population Studies, who has studied gender differentials in child mortality in India. “Such neglect and discrimination can be in three areas: food and nutrition, healthcare and emotional wellbeing. Of these, neglect of the healthcare of the girl child is the most direct determinant of mortality,” says Arokisamy.




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