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Gender Discrimination and child abuse

The recent deaths of babies facing cruelty at the hands of relatives have shocked the country. But it is true that gender discrimination is not confined to one particular economic class or section or a community. It is widespread and even the states that top the literacy chart like Kerala has a skewed child sex ratio.

The 2001 and 2011 Indian census reports show a significant decrease in the number of girls compared to boys in the 0-6 categories.

State health society report reveals that child sex ratio has fallen in 9 out of 14 districts in past 10 years. This we are talking about where the population is highly educated and fairly well off compared to other states.

According to sociologists the problem is acute because mothers are often unable to speak up for their children. They have limited rights within the family and practically no decision-making powers.

There is an urgent need to change the mindset of the communities while strengthening the laws within the country. There is no dearth of laws but the implementation needs to be tightened.

The Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act and Rules is in place for years and is fairly a stringent law but then female feticide is rampant across the cities and villages.

The need of the hour is to implement the laws more strictly with heavy punishments as deterrents. Another measure could be to introduce fast track courts to look at the cases that involve the rights of minors.

A 2007 report of the ministry for women and child development revealed that more than 53% of children in India been sexually abused and many have never shared the fact of this abuse with anyone.

They need speedy justice to move on and leave the past behind. The institutions involved in child protection should be given more teeth so that they can take some effective measures against child abuse.

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