New Delhi: Gender identification of an unborn baby is frowned upon in India, compelling authorities to set up strict laws forbidding it.
Since it leads to female foeticide, a practice that involves aborting the baby, the process of gender identification has been long since prohibited.
However, the results of a new research have surfaced, which claim that people of Indian-origin living in Canada, mostly from Punjabi and Hindi-speaking communities, may be practicing sex selective abortions due to their preference for sons.
The research published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada has found that among all Indian immigrant women with two previous daughters, male female ratios were higher than expected, particularly among those whose mother tongue was Punjabi and Hindi.
The research also found that the ratios did not diminish with longer duration in Canada.
"Population-based studies have demonstrated son-biased male to female ratios at higher birth orders among Indian immigrants in Canada. Son-bias appears to strengthen with previous abortions, pointing to sex selective practices," the research said.
"Son-biased sex ratios among Indian immigrants have been identified in a number of immigrant-receiving countries. Research has suggested that family building practices in these communities may be influenced by son preference and female discrimination," it said.
Analyzing 46,834 birth/delivery records to Indian-born mothers who delivered up to 3 consecutive singleton live births in Ontario hospitals between April 1993 and March 2014 and immigrated to Canada between 1985 and 2012, the researchers found that, mothers who gave birth to twins or triplets or did not have all their singleton births in Ontario were excluded, along with all their children.
The research stated that among Indian immigrant mothers with two previous daughters, longer duration of residence in Canada did not lead to more balanced male female ratios at the third birth.
"This finding chiefly applies to mothers whose first language was Punjabi or Hindi," it said.
"In our analysis, we found that son-biased male female ratios at birth among Indian immigrant mothers were mostly driven by Punjabi-speaking women, and to a lesser extent, those whose first language was Hindi," the report said.
"These results are consistent with nationally representative data from India where highly skewed male female ratios were found in predominately northern and some eastern states, where Punjabi is one of the top languages spoken," it said.
The study was funded by a grant of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
(With PTI inputs)