Karnataka’s sex ratio drops to 929 girls, Min proposes steps to tackle female foeticide

The Karnataka government announced a series of measures including amending legislation, formulating a new policy, and establishing a state-level task force, to address the issue of female foeticides in the state.
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Citing government records, Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao revealed on Thursday, December 14 that the sex ratio in the state has significantly declined — dropping to 929 girls against 1,000 boys compared to last year’s 947 girls to 1,000 boys. He said the reason could be attributed to the increasing cases of female foeticide orchestrated by organised rackets involving doctors, lab technicians, nurses, and hospital management. To address this alarming issue, the Karnataka government on December 14 announced a series of measures including amending legislation to enhance its effectiveness, formulating a new policy, and establishing a state-level task force.

“We are going to amend the existing Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) laws to make them more strict against female foeticide. We will also include the police department to tackle the issue. In some cases, we have found that the foeticide is carried out by doctors who are not certified and we will put our efforts to curb it,” Minister Dinesh Gundu said. 

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister HK Patil said that proposed amendments prohibiting illegal termination of pregnancy would be introduced in the next legislative session.

Dinesh also suggested the creation of a state-level task force to promptly address violations, and proposed the establishment of sub-division level monitoring committees. Additionally, he said he was considering deploying an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) to exclusively handle cases of female foeticide. District Health Officers (DHOs) have also been instructed to conduct decoy operations every three months to identify hospitals engaged in female foeticides, he said.

The matter was taken up in the Assembly session in Belagavi, after Leader of Opposition R Ashoka urged the government to form a special investigation team (SIT) to expedite the investigation into illegal sex detection and foeticide rings. Ashoka said there was a need to send a strong message to society, advocating for stringent punishments, including the death penalty, for those involved in female foeticide. In reference to the government's decision to initiate a CID probe, he said that such an investigation would be time-consuming and urged for the case to be transferred to a SIT for a quicker investigation. He also spoke of the health risks for mothers undergoing such procedures due to the unhygienic conditions in which female foeticides were taking place in places like jaggery crushing units in Mandya by non-medical experts.

Several instances of female foeticide were frequently reported in Karnataka recently. On December 13, a female foetus was discovered dumped in a dustbin in the operation theatre of a private hospital located in Hoskote, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The foetus, estimated to be between 16 to 20 weeks old, was found wrapped in a black polythene cover. The police took several employees including three nurses into custody. The hospital owner, D Srinivas, who is a radiologist and the main accused in the case, is currently absconding.

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Illegally aborted female foetus found in hospital dustbin in Bengaluru rural

In November, a massive foetus sex detection and abortion racket was busted by the Bengaluru police. Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayanand had said that the accused had carried out 3,000 abortions so far and in the last three months alone, 242 female foetuses were killed. More than 11 arrests have been made so far in the operation that spanned from Bengaluru to Chennai. The case is currently under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

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A sex detection and abortion racket spanning Chennai to Mysuru busted by Bengaluru cops

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