Tamil Nadu: Female foeticide on massive scale detected

Over 1.000 female foeticides are suspected to have been done by a woman doctor at this temple town over the last few months.

Tiruvannamalai: Over 1.000 female foeticides are suspected to have been done by a woman doctor at this temple town over the last few months, an investigating team from the Union health ministry has found in what could well be the biggest public health scam in recent times.

Dr Selvambal running the clinic with a scan centre appended to it has gone underground following the probe team’s arrival here on Tuesday. “We will soon nab her”, said district collector K.S.Kandasamy, visibly upset over the massive scale of female foeticides happening in the region despite the government campaign to educate the people on the virtues of having a girl child and the stringent punishment for those indulging in the heinous crime.

The Central team led by deputy director Ajay Kumar arrived at Tiruvannamalai on Tuesday following an alert sent by a member of the public about the mushrooming of scan centres in the town and surroundings and their indulging in the illegal sex-identification tests.

Invariably, the women found to be pregnant with female foeticide opted for abortion and clinics such as the one run by Dr Selvambal were carrying out brisk business for many years.

The Central team, helped by the district administration and the state medical officials, raided some scan centres and clinics in Tiruvannamalai. They sealed Dr Selvambal’s clinic as well as a couple of other scan centres. The team left late Thursday evening.

“We found 1,200 slips relating to the last about six months in Dr Selvambal's clinic. We suspect that these slips represented female foeticide cases. There could have even more since we have not been able to go through the old records at the clinic. The doctor ran the scan centre as well”, said the collector, adding that the doctor could have been running the clinic for the last three or four years-she was a graduate from the Madras Medical College.

Despite all the state campaign on the virtues of girl child, cases of female foeticide continue to be on the rise in several parts of Tamil Nadu, with Tiruvannamalai seeming to be the worst affected. The ‘still-birth’ rate in Tiruvannamalai is a shocking 10.4 per thousand whereas the state average is two.

The maternal mortality rate is also pretty high due to the illegal abortions, at times done by unqualified quacks.

“Twelve quacks were arrested during raids done by the district administration a couple of months back”, said collector Kandasamy, adding, "We are conducting intensive campaign across the district to educate people against female foeticide and also against going to quacks".

The district administration at Tiruvannamalai-just as elsewhere in the state-appears hamstrung by the 'soft' and 'ineffective' justice delivery system while handling the scourge of female foeticide, abortion clinics and quacks.

“Those arrested manage to come out on bail rather quickly and easily”, rued collector Kandasamy.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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