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Saturday, 11 August, 2001, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Sikh priests condemn female foeticide

Dozens of Sikh priests in the district of Fatehgarh Sahib in the northern Indian state of Punjab joined forces with aid agencies and non-governmental organisations today, to start a campaign against the practice of aborting female foetuses.

Clerics representing some 450 villages in the Fatehgarh Sahib district listened to health workers and senior priests describe the dangers of imbalanced sex ratios in the population.

The district has the lowest ratio of female-to-male births in India.

A senior Sikh clergyman, Jathedar Manjit Singh, told the conference that aborting a female foetus was prohibited in Sikhism, and issued a call to socially boycott families that were known to have done such a thing.

The head of the Akal Takht - Sikhism's highest religious body - had issued an edict last April condemning the practice.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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