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.
The District Rural Police on Wednesday arrested Milind Ekbote, the prime accused in the Bhima-Koregaon violence of January 1 this year. The Supreme Court had on Wednesday cancelled his interim bail relief. Ekbote was picked up from his home in Pune’s Shivajinagar area Thursday morning.Two FIRs were lodged against Ekbote, who is the executive president of Samasta Hindu Aghadi outfit, for allegedly orchestrating the riots which left one person dead. The apex court quashed any further extensions of Ekbote’s bail relief after the State prosecutor submitted that he had not cooperated with the probe agencies, and had refused to hand over the mobile phone, claiming that he had apparently “lost” the phone.He is to be produced before the Pune Sessions Court later in the day.Police sources further said that Ekbote had been summoned at least five times for interrogation, but had not cooperated after one session with the investigating authorities on February 23.Earlier on January 22, his anticipatory bail application was rejected by the Pune Sessions court and again by the Bombay High Court on February 2.On February 6, the Pune sessions court issued an arrest warrant for Ekbote, who then moved the Supreme Court for interim bail the next day which was granted to him.The Pune Rural police had booked him under Sections 307, 143, 148, 149, and 295 of the IPC, and the Prevention of Atrocities Act, based on complaints filed at various police stations on January 1.Last month, while extending his bail relief, the Supreme Court had rapped the State government and probe agencies for their tardy progress in their probe against Ekbote, questioning the agencies’ claims that he was allegedly ‘untraceable’.