By Debraj Deb
With the advent of easily accessible technology and purchasable service, female foeticide and female infanticide has started to take toll on the tiny frontier state of Tripura. A score of unscrupulous medicos and the sheltering private funded health research centres, better known as nursing homes have facilitated the induction of abortion in a terribly high scale. However, the consent of mothers in foeticide at such a huge rate has caused many to develop creases on their foreheads. TNT-The Northeast Today correspondent Debraj Deb takes a dig at figuring out the root of the crisis.
While a group of quack doctors started abortion around a decade back, few ill-famed private nursing homes of Agartala gave it its institutional shape. More than three bodies of new-born infants were found floating in the filthy waters of the drainage network of Agartala Municipal Council during last twelve months. While the dead body of the infant of the picture was found in a drain near Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital complex here on August 04, 2010, one was found few weeks before near Colonel Chowmuhani here. A similar infant body was discovered at Dharmanagar sub-division in North Tripura district around a year back, subjected to wrestling among street dogs for food.
Female foeticide and female infanticide has become one of the major social problems among many women related issues in India. While Tripura has topped the record of crimes on women across the country according to reports update till December, 2011, conviction rate has dropped down to 14 percent. Pre-natal sex distinction and reckless destruction of these babylets have only added to the woes of females.
Hostels of several educational institutes of the state located in Agartala, the capital city and its suburbs, have developed a culture of developing paedophile porn movies, which is hyped by a section of racketeers. The trend has even surpassed the indigenous porn industry set in the state in early 1990s to support militant groups. Filming porn to fund terror has been replaced by developing it for a well organized industry, often monitored from outside the state. The business mostly runs in the technical institutes, many of which came to light in the local media lately. However, the enlightenment has proved to be not enough and often foetuses are found lying in the drains or dustbins of the capital. Universalization of the small family concept also added a bit to the situation.
Sex selective abortions began in early 1980s with technologies such as amniocentesis, which permitted determination of sex of the foetus. However with arrival of ultrasound technologies, determination of sex of the foetus became much easier and non invasive. This has led to proliferation of female foeticide cases from early 1990 to 2000, despite enactment of law, the Pre Natal Diagnostic Test (PNDT) Act against female foeticide in 1994 which was later amended in 2003.
According to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India’s population as a result of systematic gender discrimination in India. The disastrous impact of consumerist culture which has come about as a by-product of globalization that has been widely held to account by social scientists for the spread of infanticide in India.
Female foeticide is very widely prevalent, despite laws against it. On an India level almost 5% of female fetuses are illegally aborted. However, this masks the fact that female foeticide in some states such as Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan are close to 10% or higher than 10%. As the percentage based estimate of missing female births from 2001 till 2008 keeps revealing, it has been found out that 4.8 percent of female births were lost in this period alone. Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act has been in force since 1971 that prohibits all sex selective abortion attempts. The population of the state has already got a deficit of 72 thousand seven hundred and two females compared to the male population and still increasing despite the huge awareness generated in every nook and corner. Besides, the flourishing of a few parlours in the townships have facilitated the spreading of the free sex culture. Two parlours were busted in Dharmanagar recently and two others were exposed in Agartala, thanks to the activity of the cops after DGP K Saleem Ali came in charge.
The ratio of females per 1000 males in the country dropped down from 927 to 933 from 1991 census to 2001, it further reduced to 914 in 2011. 0-6 years sex ratio in the state has been recorded at 953, a straight drop from 966 in the previous census. Speaking to TNT, Ms. Tapati Chakraborty, Chairperson of the Tripura Commission for Women voiced her concern over the issue saying, “This is a very dangerous aspect. This is the lowest sex ratio recorded ever since 1908 in the nation. The state is no exception”. “Accept it nor not, female foetuses are being destroyed in the state. If there is something to do about it, it is to act. And we all are to initiate it”, added she. It has been learnt that over 10 million female foetuses have been aborted in the country during past two decades. Poverty has come up as the main cause of all the trouble as children are either killer before being born or they die after birth from malnutrition. Infant mortality rate tends to go higher in most tribal hamlets of the state, especially during the seasonal epidemics, mostly caused by acute crisis of safe drinking water. Gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, anaemia, malaria are most common in the hard accessible hilly terrains and most live children have become immune to the diseases which is another threat to the ones born in a healthy environment. Rural healthcare is simply insufficient, if possible to say, something more than that here-an ill state with a poor wallet!