'Country witnessed one crore female foeticides in a decade'

More than 10 million female foetuses had been illegally aborted in the country over the last decade, according to a member of the Legislative Council.

Dr S R Leela, citing a report prepared by the Women and Child Department, said the country had witnessed such large-scale abortions between 2001 and 2011.
She was speaking at the International Women’s Day celebrations at the Vidhana Soudha on Saturday.

“This is worse than what Adolf Hitler did to the Jews,” she said, blaming the prenatal diagnostic techniques, which reveal the sex of the foetus, for aggravating foeticide. “One should not blame only men for this,” she added.

“A disturbing trend has been that elderly women in families are fiercely opposed to having a girl child, which leads us to wonder if conscience is dead among those who believe in such ideas,” she said.

Leela called upon women to unite and take an oath to oppose female foeticide. Observers, however, noted that this was only a partial solution to the issue.

Storyteller and academician, Geetha Ramanujam, said that such crimes cannot be tackled until there are appropriate punishments. “Any positive shift towards women empowerment can be brought only if there is a change from within,” she said.

L Byrappa, president of the State Government Employees’ Association, which had organised the celebrations, called for a separate commission along the lines of the State Women’s Commission to be established for working women in the State.

“Working women, be it in the government or in the private sector, have specific problems which are always in need of special attention,” he explained.

Women members of the Association demanded that fast-track courts be set up for the speedy disposal of cases related to crimes against women.

They also called upon top-level officials in government departments to respond quickly and positively whenever a woman colleague approaches them with a problem or complaint.

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