A Catholic priest in Gujarat has appealed religious leaders to help people protect girl children following the news of a father scarifying his own newborn girl to propitiate family deity. “Religious leaders, be it Christian, Muslim, Hindu or others,” must provide their followers “with the necessary attitude and courage to save and celebrate the girl child,” says Jesuit right activist Father Cedric Prakash. His appeal came after news reports said police on Sept. 7 arrested a man in Gujarat for scarifying his newborn girl to propitiate his family deity.
Reports said Narottam Devipujak, a vegetable vender in a slum near Gandhidham, had vowed that he would offer a male goat to his family deity if a son was born to him, but would sacrifice the child, if a girl was born. On Sept. 2, a day after the child was born, he took the sleeping child and threw her in a gutter close to the temple of the deity.
“This is surely not a one-off incident to highlight the negative attitude that exists in society towards the girl child,” said the e-mail appeal of the priest based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s commercial capital. He said child sex ratio in Gujarat is 883 for 1000 males against the national ratio of 920 for 1000 and the news “did raise alarm bells in the state.”
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