Gender Sensitive Reporting: ‘Not Even One Conviction in PCPNDT Related Cases in J&K’

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

Advocate Faisal Qadri speaking in the workshop.
Advocate Faisal Qadri speaking in the workshop.

The second day of a two-day workshop on ‘Media and Gender’ commenced in Kashmir University’s Gandhi Bhawan Auditorium.

Supported by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the workshop on Tuesday witnessed legal, journalism and business professionals share their ideas and experiences related to gender sensitivity in their respective fields.

In the morning session, Faisal Qadri, a prominent High Court Lawyer, pointed out the non-implementation of 2002 enacted Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test (PCPNDT) Act in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to him, there was zero conviction in J&K in cases related to PCPNDT even though the child-sex ratio had worsened if one compared 2001 and 2011 census.

“In 2001, the child-sex ratio in J&K was 862 which further went down to 823 in 2011 census. This happened even after we had an act like PCPNDT implemented in the state in 2002. Even though pre-birth sex determination is a cognizable, non-bailable offence, we have zero conviction rate in J&K,” Faisal said.

He suggested that media should dig deep by filing RTIs to know how many diagnostic centres in the state are actually following the rules laid as per the PCPNDT Act and the role of authorities concerned in implementing the law properly.

“I am sure no government officials would even know who the Nodal Officer is for PCPNDT Act in J&K even though some official is being additionally paid to carry the responsibility and he does not care,” added Faisal.

Journalist Riyaz Masroor (2nd from right) speaking on 'Media and Gender' issue in the workshop.
Journalist Riyaz Masroor (3rd from right) speaking on ‘Media and Gender’ issue in the workshop.

Director Population First Dr A L Sharda said that her NGO surveyed 40 diagnostic centres and clinics in Mumbai back in 2008 and found out that “39 of them were violating PCPNDT Act”.

“Our campaign made a huge impact as media was after the authorities to implement the law and check on the discrepancies. As a result, there have been 108 convictions in such cases in Maharashtra, the highest in the country,” Dr Sharda said.

The workshop participants were creatively engaged by Manjul Bhardwaj, a prominent theatre artist and a member of Population First. He encouraged the participants to bring forth their gender sensitivity and workshop inputs in the form of skits, an exercise which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

On the occasion, Riyaz Masroor, a noted journalist who covers Kashmir for BBC London, discussed gender sensitive media reporting from Kashmir.

“Unlike other places, Kashmir as a society has never ever hurt the progress of women and it is a fertile ground to nurture the debate of gender sensitive reporting. Lad Ded challenged male-chauvinism decades back in Kashmir,” Masroor said.

He added that there is a need to sensitize the society at large and “one cannot always expect a moral judgement from a journalist”.

Gazalla Amin at MERC Seminar
Noted lady entrepreneur, Gazalla Amin, speaking in the workshop while MERC coordinator, Faruq Masudi and Prof Elizabeth Maryam look on.

In one of the sessions, Dr Gazalla Amin, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) Executive member and a leading lady entrepreneur said that gender sensitisation was “all about creating a balance in the society”. Gazalla inspired the audience as she narrated her journey as how she rose to become first female office bearer of KCCI since 1934.

Elizabeth Maryam, Assistant professor Department of Economics, University of Kashmir, discussed four key areas: Gender, Health, Education and Economic Empowerment using a multi-media presentation.

The workshop was organized by University’s Media Education Research Centre (MERC) in collaboration with Population First, a Mumbai based NGO.

(The reportage and photographs have been contributed by MERC students who were part of the workshop.)

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