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Navya Shastra Expresses Concern Over India’s Female Feticide Epidemic

Organization cites Hindu funeral practices as leading driver of bias against girls

May 6, 2008—Troy, Michigan—Navya Shastra, the international Hindu reform organization has voiced concern over the declining female-to male sex ratio in India. It calls Indian feminist leaders to address the causes for this deplorable situation and to urge their government to take more effective action to curb and put an end to this sad and disgraceful situation in the country. It is ironic that the epidemic continues to worsen, despite a burgeoning economy and rising literacy levels.

The bias against girls has existed for a long time across the socioeconomic spectrum. Navya Shastra notes that even in the wealthiest areas of the nation’s metros, abortions of the girl-child based upon prenatal ultrasound technology continue to rise, though there seems to be a growing awareness of the problem. “Clearly a cultural preference for boys in Indian society is the driving force behind the rise in female feticide,” says Rahul Saxena, a Navya Shastra member from Bareilly, UP , “technology in this case is simply serving an ancient prejudice.”

Navya Shastra also called on the Hindu community and its organizations to allow daughters to impart final rites at the funerals of their parents. “One religious reason why boys are favored among Hindus is because of the anachronistic belief that only a son can formally conduct this ceremony, so a girl is totally worthless in this regard,” said Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Chairman.