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Imbalance In Gender Ratio Addressed By Religious Leaders

Several religious luminaries have expressed concern for the launch of a movement against sex selection that has resulted in a sharp decline in girl population in many parts of the country. The movement is believed to put an end to the practice of gender discrimination//.

The brainchild of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the all-religious party meet was organized in the capital by the Art of Living Foundation spiritual head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to send out a message that there can be no greater sin than killing a girl child.

A campaign is being planned to spread the message across the Indian villages and reinforce religious values. The killing of one girl child is regarded equivalent to killing one million cows according to religious leaders. Religion aside, the well being of women is intrinsic to the prosperity and economic development of the family and nation as a whole.

A common sentiment expressed by leaders of all religions - Sikh, Jain, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and sects like Brahma Kumaris among others was that misuse of new techniques to have a male child rather than a healthy child amounts to murder and insult to a mother who is revered in Indian tradition as being next only to god.

Pre-conceptual sex selection, female infanticide and foeticide have contributed to the sex ratio declining in some parts of the country to 800 girls for every 1,000 boys. Punjab and Haryana have emerged as places where the ratio of girls is the lowest in the country.

NGOs and film luminaries like Nandita Das and Hema Malini among others to spread awareness about the adverse impact of this trend. There have been numerous instances where Indian women have brought glory in diverse areas such as sports, medicine, science, law and order, space and so on.

Alahaj Sayed Kiberia of Dargah Ajmer Sharif condemned the "misuse of science to snuff out the life of a girl child in the womb. We need to fight this practi ce wherein the woman who gives birth to another life is being killed in infancy or shown disrespect."

In short, the take home message is that the harmony of the delicate balance between nature and science should never be disturbed.

Source: Indo-Asian News Service

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