All government employees in Samba district of Jammu & Kashmir have been directed to download the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” ringtone on their Jio mobile numbers. The order came from the office of Deputy Commissioner Sheetal Nanda on February 23, who demanded that a compliance report be filed within 24 hours.The government is in talks with Airtel and Vodafone for similar ringtones but the memo mentions only one service provider. According to Ms. Nanda, the decision was taken make sure the campaign message is widespread, and to “put a thrust on having a girl child. In local language“A ringtone was prepared when the campaign was launched. We made a folk singer to sing it in Dogri, a local language. The ringtone was already available on the BSNL members. We got in touch with the Jio company too for the ringtone, which they agreed to,” Ms. Nanda told The Hindu. She had issued fresh directions to all the departments, including school staff, using the Jio numbers to download the ringtone, also used by the Deputy Commissioner herself. “I will ensure 100% compliance,” she said.Responding to the directive, Srinagar-based gynecologist and women rights activist Samina Maqbool said, “Making ringtones mandatory have hardly resulted in change of mindset when it comes to gender justice.”Addressing root causes“The male-female ratio is alarming but at the same time it points at two areas where the government’s intervention is required now. One, high mortality rate among women in Jammu and Kashmir due to poor access to the healthcare and healthy food intake. Two, growing incidences of female foeticide and poor mechanism to stop sex determination in advance,” Dr Maqbool said.While downloading ringtones may help in sensitisation to some extent, “The real solution lies by working on the causes leading to the skewed male-female ratio,” Dr Maqbool said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched “Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao” (Save girl child-Educate girl child) campaign in January 2015 to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) in India. As per the 2011 census, the adult sex ratio in India is 940 females for every 1000 males. The child sex ratio (of children between the ages 0 and 6 years) is far worse at 914 females for every 1000 males. Figures for Jammu and Kashmir are well below the national average with only 883 females for every 1000 males.
Meghalaya-based insurgent group Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has been banned by the Central government for its increased activities of violence and other subversive acts. In a notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the HNLC, along with all its factions, wings and frontal organisations, has been openly declaring as its objective the secession of the State’s areas, which are largely inhabited by Khasi and Jaintia tribals, from the Indian Union. The group continues to intimidate and bully civilians to extort funds, maintains links with other insurgent groups of the Northeast to carry out acts of extortion and intimidation, and maintains camps in Bangladesh to give sanctuary and training to its cadre, it said. The Central government is also of the opinion that HNLC’s activities are detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India. If these are not immediately curbed and controlled, the HNLC will regroup and rearm itself, expand its cadre base, procure sophisticated weapons, cause loss of lives of civilians and security forces, and accelerate its anti-national activities, the MHA said. “Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), (hereinafter referred to as the said Act), the Central government hereby declares the HNLC, along with all its factions, wings and front organisations, as unlawful association,” the notification said. The Ministry also listed the violence perpetrated by the HNLC in recent past that include four incidents involving killing of one civilian, during the period from January 1, 2015, to July 31, 2019, arrest of 16 of its cadres, recovery of four weapons, surrender of 14 of its cadres and kidnapping of four persons. Earlier, the HNLC was declared a banned organisation on November 16, 2000 but the ban was later lifted.