Gender

In Aligarh, BJP MLAs Prevent Arrest of Doctors Allegedly Caught Conducting Sex Determination Test

BJP MLAs Sanjeev Raja and Anil Parashar refused to allow Rajasthan officials to even seize the ultrasound machine at the facility.

Representative image. Credit: Reuters

Representative image. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Two MLAs of the Bhartiya Janata Party allegedly intervened in the arrest of a doctor couple in Aligarh who were caught conducting pre-natal sex determination on a pregnant woman – an illegal practice in the country.

According to an Indian Express report, the woman on whom the test was being conducted was asked to be there by the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) cell of the Rajasthan government as part of an operation.

Dr Jayant Sharma and his wife of Jeevan Nursing Home were caught conducting the test late on Monday evening. While Sharma’s wife escaped from the facility, he was brought to the Kwarsi police station by the officials who also seized the ultrasound machine.

Officials from the Rajasthan government – including the Aligarh district magistrate – were stopped by Sanjeev Raja and Anil Parashar from seizing the machine from the nursing home or taking the doctors into custody. The BJP MLAs left the local police station only after Sharma was allowed to leave.

Sources told Indian Express that the MLAs prevented the officials from doing their job, following them to the police station and staying there until about 2 am.

Rishikesh Bhaskar Yashod, the Aligarh district magistrate, confirmed to the Indian Express that the doctor couple had been caught “red handed”, adding, “We apprised senior officers in the government regarding the local public representatives interfering in the legal matter. We tried to convince the MLAs to allow the legal procedure but they refused to listen.”

Sharma, on his part, has denied the allegations, saying that “nothing illegal happened” and that the officials barged into the facility and “sealed” the ultrasound machine along with the digital video recorder.

“I was let go from the police station around 2 am and no action was initiated against me,” he said. “I am a surgeon and the owner of the hospital while my wife is a gynecologist.”

Naveen Jain of the PCPNDT confirmed to the Indian Express that that officials had been asked to go to Aligarh to conduct the operation. The team – led by a circle inspector of police and a coordinator from the cell – was, however, unable to complete the assigned task due to the “trouble” created.

Jain said that his team would procure an arrest warrant against the two doctors and that three middlemen – including two from Aligarh who allegedly played a role in getting the test done – had been arrested and will be produced in court.

Parashar said that he along with Raja had arrived at the facility in order to ensure that Sharma, whose “father was a teacher and also a top leader of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh as well,” was not “framed in a false case.”

“The Rajasthan team already had sealed the ultrasound machine and the DVR and they should have first probed if the test was conducted. How could they arrest the doctor?” Parashar said.

Raja denied that sex-determination was being conducted, adding that “we won’t allow such thing [to] happen here. Now only the court will decide the action.”

In 1994, the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act – which penalises those involved in the process of sex-determination – was enacted to address the address the declining sex ratio in the country. The Act, however, remains poorly implemented.

A government study in April projected that sex ratio in the country will decline from 939 in 2011 to 898 girls for 1,000 boys in 2031.