We the undersigned organizations working for women’s and health rights regret that the sonologists and radiologists in Maharashtra have once again decided to go on indefinite strike, putting at risk several patients in urgent need of these services.

The fact of the matter is that the primary reason for their strike, i.e. certain amendments to the PcPNDT Act and its Rules are actually within the jurisdiction of the Central government. There is no point holding the Pune Municipal Corporation and the Maharashtra Government to ransom for these demands which cannot be fulfilled at these levels. Neither can they intervene in the particular case about which the MSIRIA is so agitated, since a case has already been filed in the court, and the matter is subjudice.

It therefore appears that the main purpose of the strike is to target the Appropriate Authority who has taken action against erring doctors. Actions taken by the Appropriate Authority as per the PcPNDT Act and its Rules, after consulting higher authorities cannot be arbitrarily termed as “harassment”   simply because they are inconvenient to those doctors who are contravening the Act. We expect the PMC and the State Government to stand by such officers who are implementing the Act in letter and spirit.

The PcPNDT Act came into existence because of our efforts, after consecutive Census data revealed a huge decline in sex ratios as a result of sex determination by some members of the medical profession who cash in on existing son preference and daughter aversion in our society. Sex determination and elimination of the girl child are extreme forms of discrimination and violence against women which need a multi-pronged strategy. Along with awareness creation and measures to support the girl child, stringent implementation of the law is equally necessary. We appeal to the medical profession and the authorities to join us in an effective campaign to stop sex selection.

Manisha Gupte (MASUM), Anand Pawar (Samyak), Achut Borgavkar (Tathapi), Dr. Shekhar Bendre and Dr. Sanjay Dabhade (Jan Arogya Manch), Sister Julie George (Streevani), Sonya Gill (Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana), Sadhana Dadhich (Nari Samata Manch), Shanta Ranade and Lata Bhise (Bhartiya Mahila Federation), Dr Manda Mune (Green Tara Foundation), Assunta Pardhe (Chetna Mahila Vikas Manch), Kajal Jain (Maharashtra Mahila Arogya Hakk Parishad), Sneha Gole (Researcher), Dr. Jaya Sagade (Womens Studies Centre, ILS Law College), Seema Kulkarni (SOPPECOM), Forum against Sex Selection (FASS)