PATIALA – They are Punjabi-Canadian NRI wedding planners who while arranging marriages go an extra mile to ensure that no girl child is killed in the womb. Meet four young girls who have waged a war against female feticide in Canada.
For the past three years, Sumit Gill, Kiran Rai, Neeli Grewal and Swapanpreet have been driving home their message among Canada’s South Asian communities through their group ‘Nach Balliye’. They urge newly-married couples to pledge to protect “the unborn daughters”.
Now the four girls – born and brought up in Canada with roots in Punjab – have decided to celebrate “Lohri Kudiyan di” in Brampton in Ontario province next month to mobilize public against female foeticide.
“The motive behind organizing Lohri for girls is to promote gender equality,” said Sumit Gill, founder member of ‘Nach Balliye’.
The group members are contacting NRI families and have launched a special campaign to get in touch with the students of Canadian universities. They would honour the parents of newly-born girls during the Lohri function.
“We are also dancers and will sing Punjabi songs and perform Giddha during Lohri besides presenting critical analysis on the dwindling number of girls against boys among Canada’s South Asian communities,” said Sumit.
There has been a rise in cases of female feticide among these communities, especially the ones settled in Brampton.
South Asians are in a majority in Brampton. Dr Harshinder Kaur, a Patiala-based doctor who has been helping the girls in their campaign, said the ratio of girls to boys in Brampton is lower than Punjab. “The ratio of girls to boys in Brampton is 868:1,000 which is lower than Punjab where the ratio is 874:1,000,” said Dr Kaur.
“Various studies have proved that female feticide is growing among South Asians in Canada and it’s time the government there took measures,” added Kaur, who will also participate in the special Lohri function.