SrinagarReflecting a deeply ingrained social bias against girl children, five newborn girls were abandoned at the Lal Ded Hospital in Srinagar in the past 25 days, authorities said.
The latest incident occurred this Friday when a woman and her family left a baby girl at the hospital named after a Kashmiri saint and poetess who is one of the most power symbols of Kashmirs civilizational ethos.
The high incidence of abandoning baby girls just after birth is appalling and alarming for a society claiming to be deeply rooted in a faith that accords a special and respected position to the gentler gender and had equipped it with revolutionary legal privileges and protection.
Incomprehensibly, the abominable practice seems to be picking up when society claims to be marching under the enlightening influences of modern movements and widely publicized campaigns for gender equality and justice.
Clearly shocked by the practice, authorities at the Lal Ded Hospital are trying every means at their disposal to take care of the abandoned babies and tracking down the families they belonged to.
According to the hospitals medical superintendent, Dr. Shabir Siddique, the five babies abandoned over the past 25 days included twins.
The families leave the hospital on one pretext or the other, the doctor says.
It should not happen. We have already taken CCTV footage and have filed FIR in all four incidents (incidents being four because one case involves twins).
At the same time, there is some silver lining also. Three of the abandoned babies have been already adopted by issueless couples.
There is positive sign also that some people come forward. Three out of the five babies have been already adopted after completing legal formalities. The adoption process goes through the courts, the doctor says.
The hospital does not cater to Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, only but to the entire Valley. It is the only exclusive maternity hospital in entire Kashmir. The abandoned girls are being taken care by the hospital.
In the recent past, Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim majority state, has seen disturbing trends when it comes to the fairer gender. The latest census indicated an alarmingly low sex ratio as a drastic decrease of 79 females per thousand of children was noticed in the basic age group of 0 to 6 years. In each unit of 2,000 children, there were 941 females and 1059 males in 2001. The ratio has been found to have fallen to 862 females: 1138 males in 2011.
The phenomenal decline has brought J&K down to the bottom of the list among all Indian states with just Haryana and Punjab behind it.
The fall was not restricted to any particular region but all the 22 districts have witnessed decrease in the number of female children.
South Kashmirs Pulwama topped the list with the loss of 217 female children per thousand. Central Kashmirs Budgam follows with the significant fall of 172. Ironically, both districts had been ranked as best performers in 2001 in so far as the sex ratio is concerned with figures of 1046 and 1004.
Census details say that seven out of ten districts in Kashmir have lost more than a hundred females for every thousand males. -inputs from GNS
Where Have We Buried Our Conscience, Asks Mirwaiz
Chairman of his faction of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expressed shock over the dumping of a newborn whose body was found near a park in Nowhatta area of Srinagar's downtown on Friday.
Lost for words and shocked! murder of a newborn and the body dumped in a park! where are we heading to as humans and as a society?, Mirwiaz said in a tweet. How will our prayers bear fruit when such become our deeds!where have we buried our conscience!!
The abandoned baby was found near Bahuddin Ganj Baksh Park at Nowhatta. Police took body into its custody and took it to JLNM hospital. A medico-legal formalities, it handed the baby to local Auqaf Committee for burial.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.