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  FEMALE FOETICIDE  IN JAIN SOCIETY

 Dr Sharda Jain in her  keynote address on "Female Foeticide Continues Unabated: Something Urgent Needs to be Done" at the regional workshop on "Female Foeticide /Infanticide" jointly organised by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and UNICEF. Estimates suggest at least 50 lakh female foeticide operations are conducted every year in the country as against an official assessment of 20 lakhs cases, Dr Jain said warning that this would severely upset the gender ratio. It is common knowledge that foetal sexing is widely done in India, particularly in the Hindi-speaking belt. Apprehending misuse of sex determination tests, Indian parliament had passed a law forbidding pre-natal diagnosis for determining the sex of the unborn child.  But effective implementation of this law is woefully wanting. 
  Girls and women face inequity and inequality everywhere. Even many families do not wish their womenfolk to deliver baby daughters. The record shows that what is called the sex ratio, or the number of females for a thousand males, fell to 927 according to the 1991 census, as compared to 972 per 1,000 in the 1961 census. 2001 census shows the sex ratio as 933, a marginal improvement. Bare figures eloquently tell us a ghastly and gory story of the mysterious disappearance of millions of women ( 40-50 million). in 1901 to be precise, the sex ratio was 1,072 women for every 1,000 men. What should sadden us even further is that in certain states the scenario is startling. In states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana , Punjab and Rajasthan the sex ratio has plummeted to around 850 women for every 1,000 men. In specific communities of Bihar and Rajasthan the ratio is a mere 600 females for 1,000 males. The sex ratio of 933 to 1000 shown by the 2001 census in India is among the lowest in the whole world. The figures are not only lower than those of the developed countries, but are also way below those of Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.
   We Jains have also become a part of this shameful and ignoble system. Some of us are in fact actively promote the son-obsession  of this sick society of ours by knowing the sex of the unborn child and selectively aborting female foetuses.  Jain community is making valuable contributions to the cause of promoting the great ideals and values cherished by our jain tirthankara Lord Rashabdev to Lord Mahavira. As a devotees of ahimsa the  Jain Samaj,  are always against to female foeticide and infanticide. Then why Jain samaj is in forefront of this crime?.  The low female sex ratio among the Jain community as shown in the census 2001 indicates clearly that female foeticide is second highest  among Jains community in India. 
  The Supreme Court of India has issued notices to the Indian government and the states and union territories on a petition seeking stricter implementation of laws that ban pre-natal 
sex-selection tests and sex-selective abortions in India. A concerned Supreme Court observed that the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act 1994 (PCPNDT) that is meant to prevent female foeticide in India, has failed. 
  On August 18, 2006, a two-judge bench of Justices K G Balakrishnan and D K Jain issued notices on a petition by a civil society organisation, Voluntary Health Association of Punjab. Notices were also issued to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Women and Child Development on the petitioners claim that though the act was amended in 2003, pursuant to a direction by the apex court, there was need for guidelines for proper and full implementation of the act. This imbalance would have serious repercussions for Indian society in future, especially on the status of women, the petitioner said, leading to increased sexual violence, trafficking and the reduced mobility of women.
  In a show of unity, several religious leaders  pledged to launch a nationwide movement for the abolition of female foeticide. Condemning the increasing ``inhuman and shameful'' practice of female foeticide, they said: ``At this national convention of religious leaders, we all take oath that we would use all resources at our command to propagate to the masses to shun the atrocious act of female foeticide in our country.'' 

The National Convention of Religious Leaders on Abolition of Female Foeticide and Infanticide was organised by the Indian Medical Association, the UNICEF and the National Commission for Women in the context of the alarming decline of female population, as indicated in the latest Census. 
Prominent religious leaders at the convention included the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Sri Jayendra Saraswati; Imam Maulana Abdul Aziz Jafar from New Delhi; the Jain leader, Upadhyay Guptisagarji; the Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri Masjid, Maulana Mufti Mukarram; Ramakrishna Mission's Swami Jitatmananda, the Arya Samaj leader, Swami Agnivesh; the head priest of Delhi Parsi Anjuman, Ervad Cawas Daraius Bagli; the vice-president of Bahai faith, Dr. A. K. Merchant, and Sadhvi Ritambara. 
 
They said female foeticide was responsible for the lowest existing sex ratio of 933 females per 1,000 males. Among the various reasons attributed to female foeticide was the dowry system. ``There should be social  awakening against dowry system.''
 

 
                                                                                                                                                                       

  

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