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What the rest of India can learn from Gadchiroli

July 17, 2012 13:07 IST

Notwithstanding the tag of being a Naxal hotbed, tribals in this east Maharashtra district have shown the way to the rest by treating girls with love and dignity and not resorting to unethical practises like female foeticide.

Even as the instances of female foeticide and conducting sex determination tests are rampant in some parts of the state, Gadchiroli is by and large an exception.

As is evident in the 2011 Census figures, the sex ratio of the district stood at 956 (between the age group of 0 to 6 years) in contrast to the state's dismal average of 883.

According to the district authorities, tribals usually do not indulge in unethical practises like sex determination and female foeticide and the reasons are rooted in their culture.

"Tribals do not indulge in sex-selective abortions and go by their own natural way. Some elite class in the urban and semi-urban areas might be doing this sort of abortions which has affected the ratio over the years," district civil surgeon Dr R S Faruqi told PTI.

Echoing his views, noted social worker Dr Prakash Amte said that he had not come across even a single such instance among tribals in the last four decades.

"The main reason lies in the tribal culture. They treat the girl child with dignity. Leave aside regretting, they celebrate birth of the girl child. The instances like female foeticide and alike are evident in so-called civilised society only," he told PTI over phone from Bhamragarh where he runs the Lok Biradai project.

However, there is a minor aberration to this otherwise positive scenario. In 2001, the sex ratio in Gadchiroli was 966 against the current average of 956.

On a slump in the sex ratio from its previous level, Faruqui said it was not a cause to worry and would be rectified by undertaking corrective measures.

"The health department is periodically conducting checks on sonography centres as a result of which not a single case of misuse or prenatal sex determination is detected nor was there any complaint from general public in this regard," the civil surgeon said.

Referring to Census 2011 data, Gadchiroli district health officer Dr Fulchand Meshram said the instances of female foeticide in the district are near nil which also reflects in the overall male-to-female ratio at 976 in the district.

He said the district administration was extra-cautious post the incidents of female foeticide came to light in Beed district and is keeping a "hawk's eye" on the sonography centers.

Special squads, comprising officials from the department of revenue, police and health, are constituted to carry out surprise checks at sonography centres, Dr Faruqi said.

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