Where girl child is considered a curse …

Where girl child is considered a curse …
Highlights

Across the State, if there is one district where gender discrimination has been taking a heavy toll year after year, with little or no scope for correction, it surely is Nalgonda.

Nalgonda: Across the State, if there is one district where gender discrimination has been taking a heavy toll year after year, with little or no scope for correction, it surely is Nalgonda.

Gender discrimination is widespread in the district. Over the years, inveterate bias against the girl child has reached such proportions that the very birth of a girl child in the family is considered a curse.

Apathy of officials connected with the Women and Child Welfare Department has complicated the issue. The weak official machinery has made it almost impossible to implement some of regulatory measures intended to protect and nurture the girl child. The situation is worsening not just in tribal thandas and villages, but also in areas contiguous to the State capital.

All of this makes a mockery of the slogan ‘Beti Bacho, Beti Padao’, considering that there is no guarantee whatsoever for the girl child in most parts of the district. A girl child is neither saved nor educated; she dies before birth in the womb or of sheer neglect upon birth.

The question of educating her arises only if she survives against the odds, which is rare. Noticeably, the Devarakonda division has become a byword for brazen gender discrimination, with rampant cases of abandoned babies and reports of sale of baby girls.

The sex ratio in 14 mandals of the district is askew due to unchecked gender discrimination, rampant infanticide, secret selling of baby girls and superstitions. As per the 2001 census, the sex ratio i.e. the ratio of males to females in the district was 1000: 950, whereas in 2011 it was 1000: 921.

In Devarakonda,Chandampeta,Chinthapally, Dindi and Halia mandals, the sex ratio in 2001 was 1000: 951, but that came down to 1000: 915 in 2011. Observers say, over just the past 10 years the very existence of the girl child has become a question mark across the district.

Even in stray cases where the girl child survives against odds and torture within the family, the larger question is: what are the authorities doing to protect and nurture vulnerable girl children in a milieu where people with girl children feel accursed.

Cases of people behaving cruelly towards the girl child and taunting day in and day out as a ‘burden’ to the family are common. The common denominator is the preponderant desire to have a male child. This mindset can be seen among educated semi-urban families,

let alone uneducated villagers. Even with regard to the high infant mortality rate in the district, figures suggest that the craze for male child has palpable influence.

So, a healthy baby is invariably a boy, because baby girls, if they survive at all, are neglected from the beginning. According to official information, in 2015-16 as many as 595 infants died, with 70 percent of them being baby girls. Need we say more?

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