raising awareness regarding female feticide among school children and college students.

Hello friends,

I am new in this community, but am really warmed by the welcome I have got here. I am a doctor by profession. When I was pregnant with twins, my in laws and husband fraudantly got a sex determination test done, and on knowing that I am carrying twin daughters, started forcing me to abort them.

However unlike many other families , my parents stood by me, brought me back to my parents house, and here I gave birth to my twin darlings, who are the source of constant inspiration to me.

I filed a complaint under the P.C-P.N.D.T act, which bans sex determination during pregnancy. I was shocked to know that even after 16 years of the act being passed, and even though U.N.I.C.E.F had given in an report that India is losing 7000 daughters daily due to female feticide, no woman had dared till date to come forward and lodge a complaint under this act.

Very soon the reason became clear. I was pressurized by authorities, police and even Judiciary to withdraw my complaints. I started receiving threats. I even lost my job, because I refused to withdraw my complaints.

In the meantime I realized that despite the fact that I have very supportive parents, it is very difficult for a woman in India to fight against the Patriarchal mindset.

I along with Mrs. Bijayalakshmi Nanda, who is running a Campaign against Pre Birth Elimination of Females, organized an interschool Poster making competition on the issue of female feticide in the month of February-March 2010. This was a way to increase awareness amongst the youth regarding the issue. On 8th March 2010, a global march was held, protesting against this practice due to which millions of girls had lost their lives before even they took birth, because their parents wanted a son. The Photographs of the March held on the event of International women`s day are here.

A small documentary has been made by a group by the name of Petals in the dust. The link to documentary on youtube is here.

However the pressure on me to withdraw my cases continued. One of the female judges openly threatened me that if I do not withdraw my cases, I will be forced to bring my 5 year old daughters to the court on every hearing. By this time I had joined a management institute by the name of IIHMR. Dr Ash Pachauri was teaching us there. I shared my problem with him. He encouraged me to share my problem with 120 of my classmates. That day 120 students stood by me, and offered all their support to me. There started a signature campaign, where students went to all states and collected 11,000 signatures against female feticide. I was happy not only because they were helping me, but because these students were going to be the parents of tomorrow. They were not only enlightened, and had started feeling for the cause, but each one of them went to different schools and colleges and raised awareness on the issue. The photographs of Signature campaign are given here.

The details of my case and struggle are given here.

We do plan to take the campaign further. I would really love to know how we can raise more and more awareness on the issue so that we can handover a better world to our coming generations.

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Comment by Dr Mitu Khurana on January 24, 2011 at 7:09pm
Dear Friends, thanks a lot for joining this group and also extending your support in my fight against female feticide. It is a very difficult fight and is turning more and more difficult with each passing date in the court.
For one I am standing against big and powerful people who have hired multiple senior lawyers to defend themselves. They belong to a rich corporate hospital, who can afford the money required in the fight.
Secondly Government is doing everything possible to protect the accused. The Hospital has appealed against the case in high court. The state is the complainant in that case, still more than 1 year has passed, and the state has not even come forward to oppose the application for quashing of the case. The hospital authorities managed a bail with minimum opposition from the state, and the state has not even bothered to appeal against the bail in Higher court. The state has done everything to harm the case, from even conducting a false inquiry to giving every accused a clean chit and to forcing me to resign from my job because I was hell bent upon fighting the case.
Dear friends, it is the support of my parents and love which I have got from you all which is encouraging me to go on. It is the knowledge that if i withdraw at this stage it would be worse than had I never started the fight in the first place. But it is also a fact that with each passing date in the court I am losing any hope of getting any justice.
I wonder how a poor women , whose parents do not stand by her, can even hope for justice in this scenario- can even hope to save her daughters. I wonder what choice does she have. DEAR FRIENDS WHAT DO I DO.... and WHAT CAN WE DO TO CHANGE THE SITUATION.
Comment by Laurence Gilliot on December 6, 2010 at 5:01pm
You are a source of inspiration and strength for me, Mitu. You are facing challenges in life and you are responding to them with strength and energy.

What is the reason behind all this killing? Is it because of the amount that needs to be paid by the parents of a woman when she gets married? What is the reason for paying this money? What is the symbolic behind?
What I learned from my Thai friends is to go deeper to understand why we are in this situation. What are the root causes? What can we do to act on these causes so that everyone's needs get met?

Laurence
Comment by Dr Mitu Khurana on December 3, 2010 at 9:50pm
More than 7000 girls in India lose their right to live, right to smile, right to study, and THE RIGHT TO BE , JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE FEMALES
Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 TO CHECK Pre birth elimination of women was passed in 1994 (i.e. 16 years ago)
The act has failed miserably in saving our daughters. Sex Ratios continue to decline …
ON MAY 2008, DR MITU KHURANA became the first woman in India to FILE A COMPLAINT UNDER P.C-P.N.D.T ACT against her husband and in laws for deceitfully getting a sex determination test done on her and forcing her to abort her daughters Guddu and Pari. Click here for more details of the case
ON 21ST OCTOBER 2009, COGNIZANCE WAS TAKEN against the hospital, where sex determination was done.
On 26th October 2009, (4 years after daughters were born, and 5 days after court took cognizance) her husband in order to save himself from clutches of law filed for custody and access to the daughters…
Dr Mitu has struggled to save her daughters from death since they were conceived. She still continues to struggle to save Guddu and Pari from being killed by their own father who desperately wanted a son.
Any danger to the children, may turn out to be the force which will compel a mother to withdraw her cases in order to save her daughters.
Any such action/orders which will put the lives of Guddu and Pari in danger, will give message to all women that our government and Judiciary are not with you.
That the government and Judiciary will not safeguard you, if you stand up against this society to save your daughters.
WE CONCERNED CITIZENS, REQUEST THE GOVERNMENT AND THE JUDICIARY, TO SUPPORT THE MOTHER WHO HAS BEEN FIGHTING A LONE BATTLE TO SAVE HER DAUGHTERS.
WE REQUEST THE GOVERNMENT AND THE JUDICIARY, NOT TO TAKE ANY ACTION, WHICH WILL PUT GUDDU AND PARI IN DANGER
We request the government and the judiciary to ensure the safety of Guddu and Pari, so that more Mitu s can come forward and stand up against female feticide.
We all Support A MOTHER`s FIGHT...JUST TO SEE HER DAUGHTERS LIVE and SMILE
Here is a non-Facebook petition you can sign:
www.my-cause.com/support_a_mothers_fight_for_her_daughters_lives
www.my-cause.com/cause/right_for_girl_children_to_live_1
www.indianvoice.org/help-the-mother-to-fight-petition.html
www.indianvoice.org/stop-female-foeticide-petition.html
And if on Facebook, consider joining the cause, Let's save Guddu- Pari...Help a Mother Save Her Daughters
http://www.causes.com/causes/532706?recruiter_id=14236808
Please forward this to your family and friends and ask them to keep forwarding this to people they know.
Having public support will greatly help Mitu have the strength to fight for the safety of her daughters, as well as for justice for herself and untold millions of women in similar situations, but with no way out.
The Indian judiciary system needs to know the world is watching.
“All women friendly laws are there, but it is an unsaid rule in our judiciary, society, and all other stakeholders, they should be used only after the women are killed. If a woman is alive and talking about the torture she faced, then she is assumed by the society to be misusing the laws.” - Dr. Mitu Khurana
Dear friends we need maximum possible signatures on this petition to help Dr Mitu in her struggle to save her daughters… the government has been totally unsupportive and we need to highlight her case so as to ensure justice and safety for her and her daughters… Please sign the petition and also get your friends and family members to do so. Here are the photos of the campaign till date - http://picasaweb.google.com/mitukhurana/Campaign?authkey=Gv1sRgCImw...
Comment by Dr Mitu Khurana on December 3, 2010 at 9:37pm
Thats wonderful. Simply wonderful. the more the pressure from international communities. the goverment of India will be forced to take notice and stop this Henious practice. I and my friends did a analysis of the actions taken against clinics commiting offence under the act which prohibits sex determination , and found that in last 2 years , the authorities took action against only 4 % of the estabilishments which were indulging in the crime in New Delhi. I was being forced to and am still being harassed to withdraw my complaints.
So the more the pressure on the goverment to stop this genocide, the more they are likely to take notice. I will really by very happy to provide all knowledge and support if the march and signature campaigs can be done against this henious crime.
Honestly , it is beyond my understanding, why should any child be killed because of something so fundamental as its sex. I do not want my daughters to face any such discrimination and tortures when they grow up. This is the reason I am trying my best to bring about a change. If a doctor like me could face this , than what is the security a parent can give to their daughter, to prevent her from this trauma. We need to bring about this change so as to hand over a better , more peaceful and loving world to the next generation.
Thanks a lot. I am sending the material which we used for our campaign in a subsequent post. you are welcome to use the material as it is, or make changes as you deem fit, for the signature campaign.
Thanks Again.
Mitu
Comment by Joao Arnaldo Vembane on December 3, 2010 at 7:00pm
Oh, that is wonderful Mitu,

Any support you may need from this side (Mozambique) I'm keen to contribute. As you mentioned a global march (if that is something we could consider in other countries (as it is not only affecting India), for sure there are many other countries experiencing the kind of challenges and, however, missing of a human life is already a huge damage to the only one world that we are leaving and enjoying in.

I'd like to hear other colleagues ideas on what could be done together. Like I said we could start with an international (internet) signatures collection campaign. I'm ready to contribute.

Thanks and regards,
Joao
Comment by Dr Mitu Khurana on December 1, 2010 at 1:56am
Thanks Joao Arnaldo Vembane. At present we have been adviced legally to lie low for sometime only. We will restart the campaign in January , and then will be displaying the signatures and handing them over to the authorities on saturday after International Womens Day. There will be a global march around that day against female feticide, which is being organized by the team which is making a documentary on India`s Missing girls. The name of the documentary is Petals In the Dust....
will inform everyone further and post all the links soon.
till than

Lots of love

take care.
Comment by Joao Arnaldo Vembane on November 30, 2010 at 12:38pm
Dear Mitu,

Your experience is so deep touching. You are very strong, and you inspire people to act. I mean, as Rituu said we've experienced many challenges and we just looked it as only our own either problem (accepting) or concern (acting to change), and when the it looked like in trying to solve there were other challenges coming in we gave up. But you story has no end... you keep acting and sharing. You act like the water force (smooth, liquid but strong enough to penetrate and brake the stone). You don't keep you story with you, but you expand it to put other like me aware.

Should we find a space in this website to continue with the signature campaign?

Thanks and regards
Comment by Dr Mitu Khurana on November 30, 2010 at 6:57am
@Dearest Rituu, Thanks for your encouraging words. I am trying my best that this henious crime is stopped. I need the support of people like you , because as you might be knowing this son preferance and daughter hatered is so deeply ingrained , that it is very difficult to change it. Even the people in authority have been telling me "so what if your husband wants a son- you can get pregnant again". I am sure together we can and together we will bring about a change.
@ Gaston- Thanks for the wonderful suggestion. We are doing this as a part of Camapign Against Pre-Birth Elimination of Females. We do go to groups of people, esp groups of young students in different college , and after a brief introduction do try to bring in a discussion. However the problem is so deeply ingrained that we stand out. Preferance for son, and hatered for daughters is so deeply ingrained, that women themselves feel it is their sacred duty to provide their husband and in laws a son and minimum no of daughters. We are trying to raise the consiousness and the awareness , but it has to be a mindset change at the very basic level. even Authorities who are sitting to check sex determination and female feticide , do not believe in what they are doing and are just doing their job, without believing in it. I am being seen as a trouble maker-a criminal for raking up trouble, and am being treated as one....
Comment by Gaston on November 30, 2010 at 2:17am
Dear Mitu,

Thank you for sharing so beautifully your story and how a 'local response' by students can achieve great things. As with many issues, the key to progress is discussing it in a group/ community. Only then, action can be taken based on strengths.

Based on my experience on difficult community-related issues, we should go beyond raising awareness. We should facilitate discussions around the topic on a community level. Have communities assess themselves in terms of their Life Competence. If this issue is a concern for some women in the community, the right facilitation should bring it up and carefully facilitate a discussion around it, while remaining neutral. Only when there is true ownership on this issue and a profound discussion, there will be community-level action towards your dream.
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on November 30, 2010 at 1:29am
Dear Mitu,

Your experience inspires me, inspires because many people face major challenges in life, deal with them and move on. But you did not stop at that. you have stimulated a movement to ensure that others don't have a similar situation to face. I salute your inner strength and remarkable courage, salute your parents who brought up a brave woman like you.

I quote a message from a poem by Donna Levine-
There is inside you
all of the potential
to be whatever you want to be,
all of the energy
to do whatever you want to do.


Rituu

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