A brave lady who fights female foeticide

There are many real life heroes who do not receive the kind of recognition and support they should.  Advocate Varsha Deshpande is one such lady. Below is a compilation of extracts from various newspapers.

From The National 
On most days, Varsha Deshpande is a small-town lawyer, practising in the state of Maharashtra. On others, she leads crusades against female foeticide, organizing sting operations across the state, hunting for clinics that offer illegal gender-selection abortions.
In every town she visits, Ms Deshpande first goes to the office of the local civil surgeon or the municipal corporation's medical officer to announce what she is going to do. It is, very often, redundant.
"Really, these people know exactly what's happening in their area," she said.
Ms Deshpande then finds the nearest women's self-help group and asks: "Where would I go to abort a girl foetus?"
The women always know which clinic has an ultrasound - what they call a ladka-ladki dekhne wala machine, which means a device that tells male and female foetuses apart.
She sends a pregnant woman with witnesses into the clinic. Sometimes they even bring hidden audio- or video-recording equipment. Ms Deshpande tries to catch doctors breaking the law against sex-selective abortions. "Some doctors write 16 or 19 on the patient's form," she said with a grim laugh, "because 16 can look like '1b,' indicating one boy, and 19 can look like '1g,' indicating one girl".
Ms Deshpande and her investigators don't request or insist on a sex-selection procedure. "The doctors offer it themselves," she said, "and we turn the evidence over to the authorities".
Ms Deshpande has conducted 33 sting operations. One has resulted in a conviction and imprisonment, while the others are at various stages of the legal process.

How did she become known recently?
Here is an extract from an India Today article
Some doctors in Beed are disposing of female foetuses by feeding them to dogs in order to destroy evidence of female foeticide. The shocking revelation was made by Varsha Deshpande of Lek Ladki Abhiyan, an NGO working against the practice.
Maharashtra's Public Health Minister Suresh Shetty also admitted he had heard of foetuses thrown to the dogs in Beed. Deshpande's allegation is significant as Beed in Marathwada has the worst child sex ratio - 801 girls being born per 1,000 boys (2011 census) - in Maharashtra. The low percentage of females is attributed to rampant female infanticide in the area.

Last Friday, Vijaymala Patekar (28), was admitted to Dr Sudam Munde's abortion clinic in Beed when she was six months pregnant. She had four daughters and did not want another. But while her pregnancy was being terminated, she died. The police have arrested Munde and his wife, but Deshpande said the couple were held earlier too for the same offence and will go scot-free again because of their money power and influence."We don't want this case to be tried in Beed or Marathwada. Let the case be tried somewhere outside as they wield too much influence for the trial to be fair," she said.

Deshpande claimed her organisation had conducted a sting operation on the doctor in 2010, in which he openly talked about how he was aborting female foetuses and feeding them to his five dogs.

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