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Ranchi man killed his infant daughter because he didn’t want a daughter. How is this still happening in 2020?
As a nation, we like to deify our daughters and publicise schemes that are supposed to benefit them. However, the reality is far from the rosy picture the government tries to paint. Our girls are killed as foetuses and as infants, as a family in Ranchi recently saw.
On 27th December, according to a report in the Indian Express, Gautam Prasad Mahato strangulated his eighteen-month-old daughter for crying. According to the report, the mother tried to save her daughter but was unable to fight off Mahato who eventually killed their daughter. Mahato also has a history of alcoholism, violence and domestic abuse.
In her police complaint, the mother, Babita Devi, mentioned that the sole reason for the act of violence was that Mahato did not want a girl child. She further said he had been misbehaving towards both the mother and the daughter since the infant’s birth.
This violent act is just one more addition to the long history of violence and discrimination against the girl child.
According to the United Nations Population Fund State of The World Report 2020, 4.6 lakh girl children have been killed in India in the last 50 years. This figure includes both pre-and post-natal gender-biased sex-selective practices.
From Jharkhand to Telangana to Andhra Pradesh, this year saw a number of such violent death of daughters. And as always, only a minuscule percentage of the incidents make it to the news. The statistics are just the tip of the ice-berg.
According to the 2011 census, the child sex ratio is alarmingly dismal. We only have 919 female children per 1000 male children. The ratio had decreased from the 2001 count, which found 927 girls per 1000 boys. This paints a terrifying picture.
Despite the concentrated efforts of women’s rights groups, NGOs and even several government schemes, the reality of the girl child still hasn’t improved.
Ironically, this incident happens in the same week that India saw its youngest ever female Mayor of a City Corporation. With more young women in positions of power, there is hope for a better future someday.
However, even with female and feminist representatives in the electoral political arena and an intersectional feminist discourse, concentrated efforts still need to be put in. The class and caste divide, the oppression of gender and sexual minorities and regional differences have all got to be looked into vigorously.
‘As Maya Angelou said, “The truth is, none of us can be free until everybody is free.”
Picture credits: Pexels
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An undergraduate student of Political Science at Presidency University, Kolkata. Describes herself as an intersectional
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