With 36 sting operations and 17 convictions of doctors in illegal sex selection cases to her credit,advocate Varsha Deshpande is getting ready for more action. She says she cannot rest,not when female foetuses are being aborted and fed to dogs.
The crusader against illegal sex selection,who was in the city to interact with state health officials at the family welfare bureau says How can I sit back?
Its because of Varsha that doctor couple Sudam and Saraswati Munde of Beed district,slapped with a series of cases related to sex selection are in police custody till June 30. The law catching up with doctor couple,who had been in magisterial custody for a few days in 2011 before they got bail,is because of Varsha and her committed team of 20.
Varsha,also a member of the National Inspection and Monitoring Committee to implement the Pre-Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act had conducted the first sting in 2005,and in 2007 set up the Lekh Laadki Abhiyaan to save the girl child.
Sadly,the judiciary seems to be still not sensitive to the issue and the doctors get away with bail, says Satara-based Varsha,who keeps travelling to various districts and other states as part of her duty as NIMC member. She is now planning to file a writ in the Bombay HC seeking a transfer of cases filed against 14 doctors under the PC-PNDT Act in Marathwada region to Satara.
She recalls the sting at Munde hospital at Parli in 2010. We had to travel 500 km from Satara to Parli with a pregnant woman as decoy to trap the notorious Mundes. The Mundes had a strategy. No vehicles were allowed to park opposite their hospital. They were told to park near the temple to show that the patients had come to seek blessings. More than 90 pregnant women from various parts of the state were waiting in the hospital. Five women were checked at a time,in the waiting room where Dr Saraswati Munde conducted the ultrasound examination and identified the sex of the foetus. Number 16 meant a boy and 19,a girl. Dr Sudam Munde demanded Rs 2,000 for detecting a female foetus and Rs 500 for a male,says Varsha,who had launched a sustained crusade against the Mundes after female foetuses were found in Beed over the past two years.
The conversation between Munde and the decoy was recorded by Varsha. The decoy had hidden a mobile phone and pressed the call button,and Varsha recorded the conversation three kilometres away. It took them eight months to get the case registered against Munde. Cases were filed under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and Munde was kept in magisterial custody in 2011. However,they got bail as the public prosecutor remained absent at Ambejogai court. Undeterred,Varsha kept encouraging pregnant women to pose as decoys
The Mundes,who had been absconding for 26 days and had used as many as 19 mobile phones and 40 SIM cards before being arrested,are now in police custody. Varsha,meanwhile goes about with her work,planning her next sting and doing her bit to save the girl child.
FDA CRACKDOWN IN BEED
The Food and Drug Administration,as part of their inspection in Beed after several female foetuses were unearthed in the district have lodged an FIR against five chemists for sale of Vecredil injection that can be used by doctors to terminate pregnancy after after three months of pregnancy. Showcause notices have been issued to 25 chemists for irregular sale of abortion pills.