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Karnataka Health Minister Unveils Stringent Measures To Tackle Female Foeticide

Karnataka's Health Minister, Dinesh Gundu Rao, announced a comprehensive strategy in the state assembly to combat female foeticide.

Karnataka health minister Dinesh Gundu Rao
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In a significant development, Karnataka's Health Minister, Dinesh Gundu Rao, addressed the state assembly on Friday, unveiling a multifaceted strategy to combat the pressing issue of female foeticide. The comprehensive measures include amendments to legislation, the formulation of a new policy, the establishment of a state-level task force, and the initiation of a CID probe to investigate such incidents, according to media reports. 

Minister Rao underscored the necessity of collaborative efforts between the health and police departments to effectively curb female foeticide. He outlined plans to create sub-division-level monitoring committees and deploy officers for enhanced coordination, particularly in handling cases related to female foeticide.

Expressing deep concern over the declining gender ratio in the state, Rao revealed the alarming statistics, stating, "If you look at civil registration data, last year it was 947 females for 1,000 men, this year it is 929. It has come down." This revelation comes in response to concerns raised by several MLAs, including Leader of Opposition R Ashoka, regarding the escalating cases of female foeticide.

As part of the comprehensive strategy, the state government intends to reactivate the health department's call center, introduce legislative amendments in consultation with relevant departments, and ensure more effective measures against female foeticide.

Minister Rao emphasized the importance of intelligence gathering through the involvement of ASHA and anganwadi workers, as well as local leaders, highlighting that normal inspections or spot visits might not yield substantial results. District health officers (DHOs) and family welfare officers have been instructed to conduct decoy operations every three months in their jurisdictions to identify hospitals involved in female foeticides.

In response to a recent revelation about a female foeticide racket in Thirumalashettyhalli, Bengaluru Rural police have mobilized a special team to apprehend Dr. Srinivasa, the owner of SPG Hospital and Diagnostic Center, identified as the primary suspect in the case. Seven hospital staff members have been arrested, and efforts are underway to locate Dr. Srinivasa, who is currently evading authorities. Surveillance footage captured his escape from the hospital just before health officials conducted raids.

The police have recovered registers from the hospital and are scrutinizing them to understand the nature of treatments sought by patients. Bengaluru Rural SP, Mallikarjuna Baladandi, emphasized that appropriate action would be taken against pregnant women who underwent illegal abortions at the hospital.

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