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New Book Gives Gruesome Account of India Girl Killings

had no choice.

"What do you want from me? What power do you think I have over my womb? None. Do I have the right to decide if I can keep the child if it is a girl? No," said another.

The author provides an equally grim account of how the practice has led to a cycle of abuse.

In some regions, an acute shortage of women has resulted in men buying brides and sharing them with their brothers. The book tells of Tripala Kumari, 18, whose husband killed her because she refused to have sex with his brothers.

Instances came to light of male foetuses dumped in dustbins by doctors who aborted them to make money after lying to parents that the child was a girl.

"Female infanticide is akin to serial killing. But female foeticide was more like a Holocaust. A whole gender is getting exterminated. It is a silent and smoothly executed crime which leaves no waves in its wake," Aravamudan writes.

The author said it was not an easy subject to tackle.

"Some of the communities had very militant people. There was a lot of hostility. They thought an outsider like me didn't have any right to question what for them is an accepted thing," Aravamudan said.

"There was total secrecy, a blank wall. I needed a lot of patience, you can't just go to someone and ask 'did you kill your girl?'," she said of the research which took her a year.

The solutions, Aravamudan said, are not easy.

In 1994, India introduced tough laws against tests to determine foetal gender for non-medical reasons, but rules are widely flouted by doctors in what activists say is a multi-million-dollar business.

The tests are done secretly and are often hard to prove. Doctors are widely viewed as pillars of the community, and authorities took 12 years to get their first conviction.

"Our laws against dowry and foeticide are excellent, but only on paper," the writer
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