More than 200 baby boys have been born in 132 villages in the Uttarkashi region of India in the past three months, but not a single baby girl. Authorities suspect sex-selective abortion is to blame.
A strong son preference leads parents to abort their daughters in many parts of the world. In Uttarkashi, authorities have launched an investigation into what appears to be systematic use of the practice to eliminate girls.
“It cannot be just a coincidence. This clearly indicates female feticide is taking place in the district,” social worker Kalpana Thakur told NDTV. “The government and administration are not doing anything.”
District magistrate Ashish Chauhan also told the news outlet his office was monitoring areas with zero or single-digit girl births to “identify the reason behind it.”
The Virginia-based Population Research Institute (PRI) released a report last week showing that in India, an estimated 15.8 million women and girls aren’t alive today because of sex-selective abortion since 1990. A U.K. study earlier this year found that 23.1 million baby girls are missing from around the world, primarily in India and China, because of son preference and female feticide.
“Sex-selective abortion is one of the most pressing demographic and human rights issues facing India today,” PRI researcher Jonathan Abbamonte said. He warned that the sex imbalance could lead to greater numbers of child marriage and sex trafficking. —S.G.