Birth statistics in one district in India have left local officials "baffled," per NDTV, but others have a sneaking suspicion on just what's driving the oddity. The Independent reports government data shows that, over the past three months, all 216 newborns in 132 villages across Uttarkashi in the state of Uttarakhand have been boys, raising renewed fears of female fetuses being aborted en masse, a not-uncommon occurrence in a country that still favors boys over girls, despite such selective abortions being outlawed there 25 years ago. "It cannot be just a coincidence," one social worker tells NDTV of the unambiguously lopsided birth rates. "This clearly indicates female feticide is taking place in the district. The government and the administration are not doing anything."
Ashish Chauhan, the district's magistrate, concedes the numbers are "suspicious," per the Independent, and the dozens of villages implicated in this report have now been marked as a "red zone," meaning health officials are going to be keeping a very close eye on those sites to ensure female feticide isn't taking place. In India, males are still coveted over females because of patriarchal stereotypes that place them in the roles of moneymakers and caregivers, while parents are still ponying up dowries for their daughters upon marriage—also an illegal but still common practice in India. In comments cited by the TNN news agency, Chauhan says any parent found to be involved in female feticide during the investigation will face legal repercussions. (Read more India stories.)