British MPs to hear about female foeticide in India


London : Claims about rising incidence of female foeticide in India are to be presented to British MPs.

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A report by the international charity ActionAid and the International Development Research Council (IDRC) of Canada claims female foeticide is so common that in Punjab only 300 girls survive for every 1,000 boys among high-caste families.

The report, titled ‘Disappearing Daughters’, is to be presented to MPs belonging to Britain’s all-party group on population, development and reproductive health Monday.

The group, which has 75 members from both the upper and lower chambers of parliament, is run by a committee of 11 MPs, including the Indian-origin Baroness Shreela Flather, whose roots lie in Rajasthan.

The report says that even in Rajasthan, the only state where the number of surviving girls is not actually falling when compared with boys, fewer than 950 girls live for every 1,000 boys.

The report studied 6,000 households in five states – Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

Laura Turquet of ActionAid said: “The real horror of the situation is that for women, avoiding having daughters is a rational choice. But for wider society, it’s creating an appalling and desperate state of affairs.

“In the long term, cultural attitudes need to change. India must address economic and social barriers including property rights, marriage dowries and gender roles that condemn girls before they are even born,” she added.