Save a Girl Child...

Introduction

Brutal Killing of just born Girl Child at Tandas around Devarakonda, Nalgonda Dist, AP.

Tribes surrounding Devarakonda, Andhra Pradesh(India), have been practicing Neonaticide, Femicide and Honor killings from years now. This was bought to SCF's notice.
We decided to go and check out the situation; hence the visit to Devarakonda - Sep 04, 2011.

What we found is absolutely shocking and bone chilling. Word of mouth from few sensible locals of the village, who have been trying to stop this madness (We fortunately came across them):

  • After the 1994 ban, when the local village hospital stopped access to prenatal sex determination, people had become savages.
  • They started killing their own just born girl child. Methods include:
  • Forcing the infant to consume some kind of a poisonous seed.
  • Drowning them in container of milk.
  • Burying them alive.
  • Smashing them to death with rocks, until the little life stopped twitching.

The Government tried to bring some order into the situation, trails were run, few people were convicted.
Few/most people understood that they would land into trouble if they killed infants. So what did they do then?
They started throwing the just born infants in the sewage, abandoning them at the bus stops, leaving them on the roads, in the fields, on the rocks that burn hot in the sun or in some cases selling them!
The Government then extended Sishu Vihar programme (run by ICDS ), where in the local hospital put up an open-cradle for infants to be left there instead of killing or abandoning them wherever they can. The infants would be then moved to a local Sishu Vihar branch, where they are taken care of and given for adoption.
This programme is running from last 5 months here and 82 babies have been dropped at the open-cradle till now; some are directly left at the local sishu vihar branch ( smart tribals? they have learnt where the babies go from the cradle )
Unfortunately, these so called smart asses are not smart enough in their decisions on the life of a girl child.
A girl child is looked upon to be a burden, a liability, a debt, a dishonor, a material, an object and what not!

Some of incidents that we came to know about through Local Contacts:

  • There is a couple in one of the tribes who have 13 children now. First 11 were girls and the 12 the delivery brought them male twins.
  • In another case, a man argued during his trail in the court that he had sent his wife 10,000 rupees every month during her labor so that she can give birth to a male child. Now that she has wronged him by delivering a girl child, he does not want her or the child!
  • Another pregnant women was brutally killed after having an argument with her husband. When his own village people came to know about this incident, keeping in view there so called village ethics, went back to the graveyard and from the dead body of the women removed the developing baby, killed it and then put back the body again..! These are the Ethics they follow..!
  • General Misconception among the Tribals:A Mother is responsible for the birth of a girl child..! So she is the culprit and she has to face the consequences of domestic violence..!

The Government, their welfare bodies, the doctors, have all tried telling them that this is wrong, but I guess it just does not get to their ears.

This is where Saayam Cheddam Foundation plans to do something. We have realized that the key to this is education ( these tribals do not even know that producing a girl child is not mother's doing). And not just plain education, but something in visual, something that they can relate with, something that won't be given a deaf ear, something that should present case studies in visual format that says "Girls can and already do equal boys in earning livelihood. They are not liability."

SCF Action Plan

  • As of now SCF is putting efforts in to understand the real cenario
  • Trying to approch proper channel which allows us to get in to tanda(campaign), in figuring out their mindsets and situations
  • Meeting people who have better information, who are working/worked on this

Once this gets done, only then we plan further.

Better Hands for a Better Society...