`Female foeticide on the rise in State'

KOCHI, FEB. 26. Female foeticide in Kerala is on the rise, said the former member of the State Women's Commission, Monamma Kokkad. The latest census of girls and boys is enough proof of this, she told a seminar on Violence Against Women organised here on Thursday by the YWCA.

Prof. Kokkad claimed that there had been nearly 35,000 female foeticide cases in Kerala over the last several years.

In 2000, out of the 7,000 complaints received by the Women's Commission, 1,080 were on harassment while there were 2,000 cases of physical harassment. About 100 rapes, 26 murders and 10 dowry deaths were also registered. There were about 200 cases of harassment related to dowry and about 50 cases of men deserting their partners after pregnancy.

Enlisting the different types of harassment faced by women, Prof. Kokkad said that wife-beating by alcoholics and dowry related harassments topped the list. Marital rape, rape inside homes and female foeticide were only some examples of domestic violence.

She said that violence is not just physical and sexual abuse but what causes pain psychologically too. In spite of women achieving equality in white collar jobs there is no equality of work at home. Men continue to consider their wives as their "property given in marriage", Prof. Kokkad said.

Economic independence of women is a myth even in the modern society, she opined.