Special Reports

Campaign against female foeticide

Goa: The Girls Islamic Organization of India (GIO) Goa Chapter in association with Women’s Wing of Jamaat-e Islami Hind (JIH) Goa organized a week long statewide campaign against female foeticide in Goa during 9-16 January. The campaign was an effort to create awareness among the masses to the silent genocide of female population. The campaign was also an effort to educate the masses about the causes of female foeticide in the country. The insensitiveness of the society towards this practice was stated to be one of the reasons for the increase in female foeticide.

Towards achieving this goal GIO (Goa) arranged public meetings on the topic in all the major cities of Goa. At the inaugural function in the capital city of Goa a book" Female Foeticide: Problems and Solutions " was released by Mrs. Athiya Siddiqua, All India Organizer of Women’s Wing of JIH. Speaking at the inaugural function she said the sudden drop in the ratio of male-female population in Goa from 1066 females in 1960 to 960 females per thousand males in 2001 was an area of great concern that needs to be addressed before it goes out of control. She said that until and unless the dignity of women is restored to its original standards as bestowed by the Creator himself it would be difficult to arrest the rise in female foeticide.  Shanthi Fonseca, speaking at a public function in the city of Mapusa, said that inspite of developments in the field of education and economic prosperity the practice of female foeticide is prevalent among educated and urbanized people.

At the public meeting in Vasco da Gama Dr. Uday L Nagarsekar asked public not to blame the developments in the field of medical science and the new technology as such he said medical science is a boon to the society to diagonise many ailments.

The GIO also organized lectures for students at differrent institutions of Goa. Lectures were arranged at BITS PILANI Goa Campus, Nirmala Institute of Education ( Altinho ) and also for students training to be priests at Pilar Seminary. Dr. M. Taha Matteen (Bangaluru) addressing the students at BITS PILANI said one should not only consider the tangible value of an action but should also take into consideration intangible values and consequences of ones actions before arriving at any conclusion. Professor Syed Abdullah S. M addressing the students of Nirmala Institute Of Education quoted extensively from the religious scriptures to state that Female Foeticide is prohibited and considered as a major sin in all the faiths. An essay writing competition on the issue was also held for the college students.

During the week long campaign workers of GIO and women’s Wing of JIH visited doctors, sonography centres and called upon the school and college principals impressing upon them the critical situation faced by the society due to the practice of female foeticide prevalent in our country.

As part of the campaign GIO Goa organized a massive public meeting at Lohia Maidan Margao. Shri Swami Laxmishankaracharya speaking at the meeting said dowry, expensive weddings and insufficient punishment are reasons for the practice of Female Foeticide. He said other communities should take a cue from their Muslim brothers as Muslim weddings are inexpensive and in place of the burden of dowry they have meher where the bridegroom pays a dower to the bride. Secondly, he said the strong belief in accountability before the Creator on the Day of Judgement among the Muslims is the reason why Female Foeticide is almost absent among Muslims. Fr. Valerian Vaz Director Caritas-Goa speaking at the meeting said that the women have been oppressed by men from the womb to the tomb. Maulanna Mohammed Iqbal Mulla, Secretary Jamaat e Isalmi Hind, stressed the need to change the mind set of the people to deal with not only female foeticide but all other problems of the society. He said all sections of the society need to come together to stop Female Foeticide as only one organization or community alone cannot on its own stop Female Foeticide . He emphasized the need for strict implementation of the laws to prevent Female Foeticide.

Addressing the gathering of social activists, NGOs, writers and prominent citizens of Goa at the concluding programme at Hotel Palacio de Goa-Panjim, both the speakers HH Shri Swami Laxmishankaracharya and Maulana Mohammed Iqbal Mulla stressed the need to start a movement to stop the female foeticide. The campaign was well supported and reported by both print and electronic media in Goa. (Asif Hussain)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 February 2010 on page no. 17

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