WASHINGTON (BP)--A successful clothier has committed some of his fortune to saving girl babies in his home village in India, and census figures show he is succeeding.

A decade ago, Kulwant Singh Dhaliwal returned from England to Bir Rarke, a village of about 3,000 people in the Indian state of Punjab, to discover 70 percent of the children in the community were boys. He was sickened to learn sex-selection abortion was the reason, according a BBC News report.

Parents commonly were aborting their unborn babies when ultrasounds at doctors' offices showed they were females. Many parents said they could not afford a dowry to have girls married, the BBC reported March 29.

Dhaliwal adopted the village in which he was born when he retired after selling his 16 fashion shops in metro Manchester, England. He established a charity and urged parents in Bir Rarke not to abort their daughters.

"I told them all I would look after your daughters, I would pay for the education and health care, I would ensure that they had jobs and when the time came I would get them married off," Dhaliwal told the BBC.

Now, according to a recent census, 108 girls were being born for every 100 boys.

A new study by Sonia Balhotra of the University of Bristol in Great Britain, meanwhile, has reported that sex-selection abortion in India claims about 500,000 girls' lives each year, the BBC reported.

Compiled by Baptist Press Washington bureau chief Tom Strode.

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