Indian authorities are investigating if illegal abortions and illicit sex-selection methods led to a lack of female births over the last three months in 132 villages, several outlets reported this week.
News outlets identified the location of the lack of female births as Uttarkashi district of Uttrakhand state in northern India.
“It is shocking to have a zero girl child birth rate in 132 villages of the district, as we have rarely heard of (or) seen any incident of female foeticide in the hills,” Gopal Rawat, an Indian lawmaker, proclaimed, the Independent reported Tuesday.
Authorities suspect the selective killing of female fetuses in the Uttarkashi district, the Special Broadcasting Services (SBS) in Australia reported Tuesday.
“I have asked the district magistrate to once again ascertain this [births] report, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat reportedly said, adding, “If for incidents of female feticide have occurred here, we will get to the bottom of it.”
Kalpana Thakur, identified as a social worker, contended that the lack of female births points to the potential mass killing of unborn girls.
“No girl child was born for three months in these villages. It cannot just be a coincidence,” she said, according to India’s NDTV. “This clearly indicated female foeticide is taking place in the district. The government and the administration are not doing anything.”
Ashish Chauhan, the magistrate of the affected district, also noted that not one girl had been born in 16 of the 132 villages since the beginning of the year nearly seven months ago.
“A total of 65 children were born there during the period [since the beginning of 2019], out of which none was a girl,” Chauhan declared, according to Press Trust India (PTI).
Chauhan reportedly vowed to hold parents guilty of selective killing of unborn children accountable.
Authorities in India are investigating whether illegal sex determination tests and abortions had been carried out after it came to light that not a single girl child was born in 132 villages during the last three months.
According to official figures, during the last three months, a total of 216 children were born in 132 villages of Uttarkashi district of the hill state of Uttrakhand in northern India, but not a single girl was among them.
Authorities tasked district officials with conducting a survey in the 132 villages to determine, within a week, if “illegal sex determination tests and abortions were being carried out in the area.”
Historically, India’s patriarchal society prefers boys over girls, seeing males as an investment and females as a liability given the required marriage dowries for brides. As a result, India is facing a shortage of girls despite being the second-most populous country in the world.
Citing the latest Census, SBS noted that the sex ratio stands at at107 males per 100 females.
“Amid a dwindling girl child ratio, the Indian government banned prenatal sex determination tests and sex-selective abortions in 1996 in order to ameliorate the gender imbalance,” the Australian outlet pointed out.
“The law allows abortions only in case of pregnancies under 12 weeks, which involve a risk to the life of the woman or that the child would be born with physical or mental abnormalities,” SBS added.
Many couples still prefer a son and have no qualms accessing illegal means to have a boy.