Where are the girls for Navratri ‘kanya bhoj’?

April 17th, 2008 - 2:17 pm ICT by admin  

Bhopal, April 17 (IANS) The just-ended Navratri festival has brought home Madhya Pradesh’s ugly reality: the disappearing girl child. As the festival came to a closes, Hindu families were left complaining that many residential areas were without young girls for the traditional ‘kanya bhoj’.

“I have stopped arranging ‘kanya bhoj’ at my home since I do not find many girls in my colony. I have instead started donating food and money to the temple,” said Pushpa Tiwari, a Bhopal resident.

Tiwari lives in the posh Char Imli locality where many ministers and bureaucrats live. But the story is no different in other areas of the city.

“It is nothing but a fallout of female foeticide. A preference for boys has always existed. What has made things worse is the advent of medical technology that makes it possible to tell the sex of an unborn baby,” she said.

“Though more than 100 families live here, it is difficult to find nine unmarried girls for the feast on Durga Ashtmi,” rued Anita Singh, a resident of a middle class neighbourhood called Sanjay Complex.

“This indicates that sex selective abortion is rampant. The government needs to do something about it,” she said.

The sex ratio in Madhya Pradesh stands at 920 girls for 1,000 boys in the 0-6 age group, against the national average of 933.

Of the 48 districts in the state, 26 have a sex ratio lower than the national average, according to government figures.

In 14 districts, the sex ratio is below 900. They are Hoshangabad (897), Bhopal (895), Sheopur (893), Tikamgarh (886), Guna (885), Sagar (884), Raisen (880), Vidisha (875), Chhatarpur (869), Datia (858), Shivpuri (857), Gwalior (847), Bhind (829) and Morena (821).

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