With several State governments on a frenzied tubectomy drive to meet sterilisation targets, activists point out how young women are forcibly sterilised under unhygienic conditions to conform to the two-child norm
On April 8, Bala Devi (35), mother of four, of Hudia village of Rajasthan’s Nagaur district died during a sterilisation operation in the Manana public health centre where a sterilisation camp was organised. Her death was a small news item in the Nagaur edition of Dainik Bhaskar. Investigations by a Bundi-based organisation working on women and adolescent health issues showed that Bala Devi had not been counselled about the possible side effects as mandated by the Central government rules nor was her health status checked. She was just one more case to boost the government’s sterilisation targets. The doctor said she had died of a heart attack while being operated. In fact, the government guidelines mention intra-operative emergency complications like vasovagal attack and cardio respiratory arrest that necessitate preliminary tests before the operation.
Cut to Madhya Pradesh, where the population control mania has led to a frenzied drive to attain a ‘voluntary’ sterilisation target which even in 2010 was as high as seven lakh and the late Sanjay Gandhi is showcased as a hero who tried to bring family planning to people’s doorsteps during the Emergency. The District Collectors were issuing notices to government employees including tehsildars, naib tehsildars, patwaris, and anganwadi workers to meet the targets.