No girls born in 132 Indian villages

Reports suggesting no girls have been born in 132 villages in the small Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in the last three months are being investigated.

About 400,000 people live in the state’s 550 villages and five towns.

Some say the reason for the gender imbalance is clear.

“No girl child was born for three months in these villages. It cannot be just a coincidence. This clearly indicates female foeticide is taking place in the district. The government and the administration are not doing anything,” a social worker says.

The region’s district magistrate, Ashish Chauhan, says the matter is “suspicious, and has highlighted female foeticide.”

“We have identified areas where the number of girl childbirths is zero or in single-digit numbers. We are monitoring these areas to find out what is affecting the ratio. A detailed survey and study will be conducted to identify the reason behind it,” Chauhan says.

He says health workers in the area have been told to be vigilant.

Whether girl babies have been particularly targeted in the region is not yet clear.

Reports also say while 216 boys and no girls were born in the 132 villages between April and June, officials found 180 girls and no boys were born during the same period in 129 different villages.

Furthermore, 88 girls and 78 boys were born in another 166 villages in the region.

Overall 961 live births were recorded in Uttarkashi between April and June.

A total of 479 were girls, while 468 were boys (the rest were possibly stillborn).

This, officials say, corresponds with the district’s favourable sex ratio of 1,024 women for 1,000 men, higher than the national average of 933 women per 1,000 men.

Officials say the media possibly cherry-picked the birth data collected by volunteer health workers.

“I feel media reports about the no-girl villages have been misinterpreted. Also, there is not enough understanding of the context. We’ve ordered an investigation anyway,” senior district official Ashish Chauhan says.

A team of 26 officials is currently visiting 82 villages to check the veracity of the data and to find out whether something is wrong.


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News category: World.