The tragic end of three-month-old Neha Afreen, who was allegedly battered by her father, is a blot on the collective conscience of society and governments across India. It is a sad commentary on the so-called NGOs and women's organisations which pay lip service to the cause of the girl child.

The dismal child sex ratio and female literacy rate across India bear testimony to this. The situation is compounded by weak laws and dilatory judicial procedures.

H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana,

Mysore

The death of battered Afreen is a slap in the face of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. The father who committed a heinous crime against his own child should be given exemplary punishment.

There seems to be no end to gender discrimination in our country. Girls are seen as an economic burden, in both poor and rich families. Government apathy towards child rights continues, despite its hollow rhetoric which fails to translate into reality.

Janga Bahadur Sunuwar,

Jalpaiguri

It is unfortunate that even after 65 years of Independence, we have not been able to give women equality and the freedom to live. It is clear that the organisations which fight for the rights of women and the girl child are not doing enough.

Our politicians, too, are not ready to address the issue because they want women to remain ignorant and backward. Fortunately, Tamil Nadu has the cradle baby scheme for girl children unwanted by their parents.

E. Rajakumar Arulanandham,

Palayamkottai

While the cases of Afreen and Falak have come to the attention of the media and the public, there are many similar incidents taking place across India. We have well established NGOs, government departments and agencies ‘ working' for the welfare of women and children. But they remain dormant unless cases like those of Afreen create ripples.

The government should wake up to the reality before another Afreen dies. A girl child should be given incentives such as free education, free bus pass, and preference in government employment. Parents view girls as a burden as they have to spend on their marriage even after educating them. Society must be made aware that many customs are outdated. A day must come when the birth of a girl child brings cheers.

M.V.N. Raj,

Bangalore

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