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Women opting for foeticide are murderers, says Indian Congress chief

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Summary of story from the Times of India, July 13, 2011

A senior Indian Congress leader has laid the blame for the widespread practice of female foeticide on women, calling them ‘murderers’.

Anita Verma, president of All India Mahila Congress, said foeticide was the ‘biggest crime’.

Women’s rights activists have reacted sharply to the statement, saying that it was even more damaging since it came from a woman political leader.

India has been battling a declining sex ratio, as sex-selective abortions increase, despite strict laws forbidding the practice (see WVoN story).

When asked if women were responsible for female foeticide, Verma said: ‘Women are completely responsible. If she believes people and kills a girl baby, isse bada murder kya ho sakta hai [what can be a bigger crime that that]?’

Brinda Karat, a left-wing member of parliament, said: ‘Such statements are damaging to the campaign for preventing sex selection. There is total lack of appreciation of societal pressures on a woman.’

Centre for Social Research’s Ranjana Kumari said it was ‘unfortunate’ that a political leader had made such comments. ‘Women do not have control over their own bodies and these decisions are made for them.

‘They are at risk of losing their status within the family and often their marriage if they do not comply. This just shows lack of understanding of how our society works,’ she said.

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