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Study Records That Over 200,000 Girls in India Are Killed Each Year As a Result of Gender Bias

Apart from the rising number of female foeticide cases in India, more than 200,000 girls under the age of five die each year in the country, finds a Lancet study led by an Indian-origin researcher.

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Child marriage
Child bride Krishna, 12, stands at a doorway into her compound in a village near Baran, in India's Rajasthan state. Despite a law banning girls from marrying before they turn 18, the practice is deeply rooted in tradition and widely accepted in Indian society. (VOA)
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Apart from the rising number of female foeticide cases in India, more than 200,000 girls under the age of five die each year in the country, finds a Lancet study led by an Indian-origin researcher.

The study, published in the journal Lancet Global Health, has found that there is on an average 239,000 excess deaths each year of girls under the age of five owing to neglect due to gender discrimination.

The numbers which are particularly higher in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, are mostly due to unwanted child bearing and subsequent neglect.

For too long, the focus has been only on prenatal sex selection, said co-researcher Christophe Guilmoto from the Universite Paris Descartes in France.

“Gender-based discrimination towards girls doesn’t simply prevent them from being born, it may also precipitate the death of those who are born,” he said.

The figures which are around 2.4 million in a decade can only be checked with stress on female literacy and employment in modern industries, the researchers noted.

Rohingya Children
Representational Image. VOA

“Regional estimates of excess deaths of girls shows any intervention in the food and health care allocation should particularly target Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where poverty, low social development, and patriarchal institutions persist and investments on girls are limited,” said Nandita Saikia postdoctoral research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria.

Excess female child mortality is also found in 90 per cent of the districts in the country.

In all, 29 out of 35 states in India had overall excess mortality in girls under five, and all states and territories bar two had at least one district with excess mortality.

The problem is most pronounced in northern India, — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh — which account for two-thirds of the total excess deaths.

In Uttar Pradesh excess female mortality was calculated at 30.5 per cent, while in Bihar the rate is 28.5, in Rajasthan 25.4, and in Madhya Pradesh 22.1.

In parts of western Rajasthan and northern Bihar, excess mortality as a result of gender bias accounts for 30-50 per cent of the mortality rate of females under five.

Also Read: Does Social Media Make Young Girls Unhappy?

Saikia noted that if there were no excess female deaths in India, the country could have achieved its Millennium Development Goal target on child mortality, of 42 deaths per 1,000 births, very easily.

The study “reinforces the need to address directly the issue of gender discrimination in addition to encouraging social and economic development for its benefits on Indian women,” she said. (IANS)

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India Gets Its Sex Offender Registry

The latest statistics from India's National Crime Records Bureau show the number of sexual crimes rose 12 percent between 2015 and 2016.

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People hold placards at a rally condemning the rapes of two girls, aged 8 and 11, in Ahmedabad, India
People hold placards at a rally condemning the rapes of two girls, aged 8 and 11, in Ahmedabad, India. VOA

India has launched a sex offender registry. The establishment of the database comes as the country is experiencing a daily wave of sexual crimes.

The information in the registry, however, will only be available to law enforcement officials. In contrast, in the United States, the public has access to information in sex offender registries.

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Indian women participate in a candle light vigil at a bus stop where the victim of a deadly gang rape in a moving bus had boarded the bus two years ago, in New Delhi, India. VOA

A home ministry statement said the 440,000 names in the Indian database includes people convicted of rape, gang rape, child sex crimes and sexual harassment. The registry also includes photos of the offenders, plus their addresses and fingerprints.

The latest statistics from India’s National Crime Records Bureau show the number of sexual crimes rose 12 percent between 2015 and 2016. The figures for 2016 show there were more than 100 reported rape cases in India every day. (VOA)

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