There are claims that the preference for male children in India is resulting in cases of young girls being surgically altered to “become” boys.

The Indian media recently reported that in the town of Indore alone up to 300 girls were operated on in order to ‘turn them into boys’.

It is claimed that parents paid up £2,000 for the procedure which also allegedly includes hormone therapy, reports The Telegraph.

Doctors implicated in the scandal inisted that the children involved either had abnormalities of their genitals or were born with both male and female genitals and were only being “surgically corrected”.

India’s National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights has ordered an investigation into the claims and paediatric bodies have condemned the alleged procedures.

India is known to have a dramatic imbalance between the numbers of men and women in its population, in large part due to the abortion of female foetuses by families that fear having to pay for dowries when their daughters get married.

In April, Farooq Abdullah, the minister for new and renewable energy, expressed his concern that “the day is not far when there will be no girls to marry and we’ll all become gays”.

While there were 927 female children aged under the age of six for every 1,000 male children of the same age in 2001 this has dropped to 914 females for every 1,000 males in 2011.

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