NEW DELHI, July 19, 2007 (AFP) – India’s unwanted baby girls have been drowned in milk, burned alive in sealed mud pots or fed milk laced with poisonous seeds, but these days it is much easier to kill them in the womb. These are some of the chilling anecdotes in a new book on how a traditional preference for sons in India has resulted in the extermination of generations of females.
India has only 927 females for every 1,000 males — far lower than the worldwide average of 1,050 females — and last year a report by Unicef said India continued to lose almost 7,000 girls every day through abortions.
The British medical journal The Lancet has put the loss of females at 10 million over the past two decades.
“With technology making it easier to find out the gender of a foetus in earlier stages of pregnancy, these numbers will only increase,” said journalist Gita Aravamudan, author of “Disappearing Daughters”.
Aravamudan’s new book is trying to give “a face to the issue” — stories of women forced to endure successive pregnancies to produce male children, and of others forced to have up to four abortions in five years.
“One of the most disturbing revelations came from a midwife who said she had killed