Haryana's sex ratio improves to 20-year high, Ministry attributes it to success of Phogat sisters, Sakshi Malik
Who said sport can't improve the standard of society? The curious case of Haryana where sport became a tool for change.
What's the story?
In February 2015, then newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ambitious 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' campaign to reduce female foeticide across the country. Within two years of its inception, the north Indian state of Haryana has reached a sex ratio of 1000:900 for the first time in 20 years.
This historic piece of data was revealed by Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, during the ongoing Pravasi Haryana Diwas celebrations today. Apart from a strong crackdown on illegal sex determination in rural areas, a senior official associated with B3P attributed the success of the campaign to sport.
He told Sportskeeda, “The massive success of the Phogat sisters, and I'm going all the way back to 2011 here to Sakshi and Deepa Malik now, a lot of rural families, who would kill the girl child, now look at them as a potential Olympic medal winner. If you travel with me some day to the areas where B3P has been a massive success, you will notice a higher participation of women in sport as well.
“In fact, the CM himself realised this within the first month of its implementation and began erecting sports infrastructure especially akhadas in these villages. Now children aged 6-7 are getting into this. So I would say, first our state-wise crackdown on illegal sex determination, where we closed as many as 400 odd 'clinics,' and then the success of sporting heroes have been the success,” said the senior official.
According to the official, the popularity of Dangal within the state is helping even more. He added, “It's similar to nationalistic fervour during the Olympics, when your state is being depicted in such strong light on the main screen, its bound to help and influence. This is one minor factor, along with this we plan on spreading the programme in terms of grassroots level implementation across several villages. We expect the number to touch 935, by the end of 2017.”
In case you didn't know...
Haryana was ranked 30 out of 35 states/Union Territories list at the beginning of 2015. Now, they will officially overtake neighbours Punjab in the 27th position.
According to data procured by Sportskeeda, as many as 411 female foeticide complaints were registered since February 2015, which resulted in the arrest of 1021 offenders. In the case of cities such as Karnal, even political leaders were arrested for their involvement in these illegal practices. As many as 223 doctors and paramedics were also convicted for their involvement in illegal sex determination.
The heart of the matter
Our source added, “We began our crackdown in May 2015 on a large scale level, by December itself we touched 900. However, there was a massive nexus within our system that was fuelling this entire practice. Hence, it took us longer than usual to actually figure that plot out. Now we are back on track. In fact, In January itself we have already made 10 successful arrests.”
However, where there is a will and intention, there is a way. According to the official, illegal ultrasound centres have started emerging in the Delhi/Haryana border. He added, “That is something we are discussing with the Delhi Police, we have passed on all the required information and they have already made a few arrests. Some of the perpetrators even go to Uttar Pradesh, when they feel there is too much danger.”
Despite these accusations, sport seems to be the catalyst for change in a state which was infamous for female foeticide and sexual harassment. Now, only time will tell if these inspiring athletes can push the sex ratio envelope even further.