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.''