Staff Reporter

In Haryana, it is 1,000: 550 in some villages

States in the south showing disturbing trends

Bangalore: The State’s most affluent districts — Mandya and Belgaum — have the dubious distinction of having the lowest sex ratio.

Manjunath Adde, journalist and author of the book Odala Thudithakke Kedu, said the economic redundancy of women in a mechanised agricultural set up was one of the reasons for this trend.

The book, based on work on sex selection in Mandya by women’s rights group Vimochana, was released here on Monday. Prem Chowdhry, former fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, spoke on the consequences of masculinisation of sex ratios in Haryana, a State where sex ratio was 550 women for 1,000 men in some villages.

In some villages in Haryana, 36 to 44 per cent of men between the ages of 16 to 44 were unmarried. “While the reason for this has not been officially accepted, it is acknowledged at the local level and by the media as being the result of sex selection.”

As a consequence of this skewed ratio, “selling women had become a viable business”. Girls brought in by touts from poor homes from other States to “marry” men felt an acute sense of alienation. To make matters worse, their marriage status always remained ambiguous as no formal wedding took place, Prof. Chowdhry said. “The use of technology to facilitate sex selective abortion is becoming more available and sophisticated,” she said.

Worryingly, ‘home sex determination kits’ were growing in popularity among the rich, and it was a matter of time before they became affordable, he added.

“However, the academic assumption that the country’s northern States had lower sex ratios than the southern ones has been proved wrong. States in south India are showing some disturbing trends too,” she said.

Despite the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, the problem of female foeticide was only growing.