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No honour in murder

22 May

AMMU JOSEPH IN THE HINDU

Youngsters in certain parts of India today cannot choose their partners. If they still do and the choice violates arbitrary, extra-legal norms set down by caste panchayats, the consequence can be death. Isn’t it time we built a popular movement against the medieval practice of honour killings.

KHAP PANCHAYAT AND HONOR KILLINGS

KHAP PANCHAYAT AND HONOR KILLINGS

A newly-wed bride and her mother-in-law were killed and the groom seriously injured by the girl’s relatives in the Tarn Taran district of Punjab on May 11. According to the police, 19-year-old Gurleen Kaur’s naked body had deep cuts in the neck area, and her shoulder and fingers had been mutilated. Her father, brothers and uncles obviously thought this was fit punishment for her crime: marrying 25-year-old Amarpreet Singh against their wishes.

Around the same time, an 18-year-old girl, Rajni Sahu, was murdered by her family in Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) after they discovered she was pregnant. Although her death was initially sought to be passed off as a suicide, her elder brother subsequently confessed that she was killed because she was determined to marry a neighbourhood boy despite her family’s disapproval. He told the media that he killed her “to safeguard the honour of our family.”

These are among the latest in the series of gruesome murders in the name of honour that have been reported from various parts of the country in recent months.

Will such so-called “honour killings” stop if the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is amended to prohibit marriages within the same gotra? Unlikely. That may be the most publicised of the demands and threats issued by the Khap Mahapanchayat — a congregation of caste Panchayats from Jat strongholds in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan — in Kurukshetra on April 13, and subsequently elsewhere. But it was not the only one. They have also reportedly called for a ban on marriages within the same village and contiguous villages, as well as de-recognition of temple weddings uniting runaway couples.

Landmark judgment

The mythical gotra factor may have come to the fore because the Kurukshetra gathering was clearly triggered by the recent landmark judgment delivered by District and Sessions Judge Vani Gopal Sharma in Karnal (Haryana) in the case of Manoj and Babli Banwala, a young couple belonging to the same caste and gotra, who were murdered in 2007 because they dared to marry each other.

But, as scholar and activist Jagmati Sangwan has pointed out, not all honour killings even within Haryana involve same-gotra couples. According to her, the majority of the marriages condemned by Khap Panchayats are of couples who do not share a gotra.

Besides, even in a small state like Haryana, there are apparently areas and castes that permit intra-village and intra-gotra marriages, and do not have caste or Khap Panchayats. So the self-styled Khap Mahapanchayat cannot legitimately claim to represent all Hindu communities in Haryana, let alone the rest of India.

Most victims of “honour killings” reported from various parts of the country are young people who choose to love or marry outside their caste, sub-caste or religion. Not surprisingly, the socially and economically dominant castes are usually responsible for acts of reprisal against inter-caste relationships.

The bottom line is that, even today, many young lovers are punished — often with death — for having the temerity to fall in love across boundaries of caste or religion. Many caste groups, communities and families in several parts of the country still seem violently opposed to the right of young adults to choose a life partner (even though courts have upheld citizens’ right to select their significant other, including a same-sex partner). In the name of preserving “social order” and saving the “honour” of the community, caste or family, all kinds of justifications are pressed into service. If the same village or gotra obstacle does not apply, there is always something else: a man was killed in Haryana last year for violating the “customary” proscription of marriage between residents of neighbouring villages.

Against individual choice

Opposition to matrimonial autonomy is so endemic in certain areas that in June 2008 Justice K.S. Ahluwalia of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana called for State intervention. While simultaneously hearing several cases relating to couples in the 18-21 age group he observed that the court was “flooded with petitions” seeking judicial confirmation of “the right of life and liberty of married couples,” while the State remained “a mute spectator”. “When shall the State awake from its slumber [and] for how long can Courts provide solace and balm by disposing of such cases?” he asked.

The recent spate of deaths attributed to “honour killing” and the aggressive, unrepentant posturing of Khap leaders seem to have pushed at least some in the government into taking a more decisive stand on the issue than was common in the past (under any political dispensation). However, it is no secret that these caste-based, extra-legal bodies enjoy at least tacit support from a number of political leaders, civil servants, police officers, lawyers and even judges. Already two politicians from Haryana — one supposedly enlightened, the other definitely old school — have publicly sought to make peace with the increasingly combative Khaps, albeit with riders (which ring rather hollow).

Sangwan’s statement that “A legislature with little political will and a pliant executive will have to be made responsive under pressure of a mass movement” brings to mind a recent book by the woman who was largely responsible for catalysing a popular movement against honour killings in Jordan, one of the many countries where a life — especially a woman’s life — appears to be worth less than “honour.”

Award-winning Jordanian journalist Rana Husseini’s Murder in the Name of Honouris a passionate, powerful, provocative but remarkably positive and eminently readable book about the struggle against “honour killings” in her West Asian nation and the prevalence of the crime in several other countries, including the U.S., the U.K. and Europe. Drawing on her personal and professional experience, it vividly tells the fascinating story of her engagement with the subject from the day she followed up on a four-line report about a 16-year-old girl killed by her brother in one of Amman’s poorer areas. Like the “kitchen accident” briefs in the Indian press in the 1970s that turned out to be about dowry-related murders, such reports were common in the Arabic press. As a cub crime reporter with The Jordan Times, Husseini felt the need to further investigate such deaths.

Relentless coverage

Each terrible tale she uncovered (described in chilling detail in the book) strengthened her determination to become the voice of women murdered by their own relatives and to make so-called honour killings into a national issue. Her relentless reporting of every case she came across from mid-1994 onwards attracted public support as well as opposition — even threats of violence. In 1998 she received the Reebok Human Rights Award for her reporting and activism on the issue. The international spotlight generated a national debate which, in turn, led to a citizens’ movement aiming to not only raise local awareness about the horror of “honour crimes” but also demand changes in the law as well as tougher punishment for perpetrators.

Of the many interesting and inspiring aspects of the Jordanian struggle against “honour killings,” the one that impressed me most was the organisers’ attempts to involve different sections of society, including the economically and educationally disadvantaged in both urban and rural areas, in the effort to eliminate such crimes.

According to Husseini, “We used every method we could think of to collect as many signatures as possible — the Internet, faxes, free and paid ads in newspapers, as well as TV and radio interviews. It was tremendously exciting; we carried the petitions with us wherever we went and whatever we did, and we always caused a stir… I frequently went with my friends…to restaurants where we approached diners…and many gladly signed as we chatted. Then we asked the waiters, waitresses, cooks, cleaners and managers. Outside one restaurant I bumped into a garbage collector who asked me what I was doing. Once I explained, he said, ‘Of course I will sign. This is against our religion’.” Husseini’s mother, a librarian, asked everyone she came across wherever she went to sign the petition. In less than six months, the campaigners managed to collect 15,300 signatures from the general public (55 per cent male, 45 per cent female).

Of course, as she points out, the struggle against “honour killings” has to be home-grown because the nature and manifestation of the crime, the social, cultural, political and economic factors involved, and the legal context, are often distinct in the various places where it occurs, calling for different approaches in different societies. For example, in Jordan — and many other countries — “honour killings” are almost invariably crimes against women and girls. In India, although women are the primary targets, young men who ‘ dare’ to transgress prescribed social boundaries are often not spared either.

Striking similarities

But there are similarities, too. According to Husseini, some influential and powerful people in Jordan, such as parliamentarians, judges, lawyers and policemen, believe that perpetrators of “honour killings” deserve leniency because everyone has the right to protect their family’s honour. In India, Sushma (Tiwari) Nochil has had to seek a review of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to commute to life imprisonment the death penalty awarded to her brother and his associates, who had murdered her husband and most members of his family. The judgment seemed to suggest that the patriarchal and casteist factors motivating the killers could be considered mitigating circumstances.

Likewise, if we have the Khap Mahapanchayat, they have the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan. If they have their conservative deputies, we have our regressive members of Parliament and, unfortunately, we both face “a great deal of apathy and laissez-faire from various parliamentarians.”

But here’s an advantage they have that we don’t. According to Husseini, several members of the Jordanian royal family signed the campaign petition; King Abdullah and Queen Raina have spoken out against so-called crimes of honour; Queen Noor has consistently fought to end violence against women in general and honour crimes in particular; the late King Hussein made a passionate plea in Parliament for an end to violence against women, besides pushing for changes in the laws offering leniency to perpetrators of honour killings; his brother, Prince Hassan, was one of the first royals to address the issue in the mid-1990s; two days after the legislative battle was lost in Parliament in 1999, Prince Ali (King Abdullah’s brother) called for a public march to Parliament in protest against the deputies’ decision to vote against the proposed amendments — and led it himself.

Monarchy may be passé in India but we have no dearth of modern-day royals in a number of fields such as politics, cinema, sports and business. Will they step up and speak out on an issue like murder in the name of honour?

Horrifying numbers

Honour killing is a somewhat misleading term for a ritualised form of murder precipitated by the aggressor’s perceived loss of “honour.” The perpetrators are generally male and the victims most often female. Some sections of society consider such crimes understandable, if not justifiable.

There is no nationwide data on the prevalence of honour killing in India; the National Crime Records Bureau does not collect separate data on the crime since it is not yet separately classified under Indian law. However, according to the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) there were 103 cases of honour killings in Haryana alone within a period of four months in 2007. If that figure can be extrapolated to assume that the annual toll in the state is about 300, the total across the three states reporting the largest number of cases at the time (Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh) would be 900 per annum. If another 100-300 are added for the rest of the country, the figure for India would be about the same as estimates for Pakistan, which some researchers suggest has the highest per capita incidence of honour killings in the world.

Global phenomenon

This form of violence is a global phenomenon, prevalent in a number of countries. Ten years ago the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimated the annual world-wide number of “honour killing” victims at 5,000. But that is probably an underestimate since many cases go unreported, while many more are disguised as suicides, accidents and disappearances. Between 2000 and 2004 the UN General Assembly adopted three resolutions reflecting international commitment to working towards the elimination of crimes against women committed in the name of honour, with the third acknowledging that girls, too, are victims of such crimes.

Ancient claims

Gotra is a term applied to a clan, a group of families, or a lineage — exogamous and patrilineal — whose members trace their descent from a common male ancestor, usually a sage of ancient times. Believed to have begun to consolidate around 10-8 Century B.C., the present-day gotra classification is supposed to have been created from a core of eight rishis. Same-gotra marriages were declared legally valid by the Bombay High Court as far back as in 1945 in the Madhavrao vs. Raghavendrarao case involving a Deshastha Brahmin couple. Two reputed judges — Harilal Kania (who became the first Chief Justice of independent India) and P.B. Gajendragadkar (who went on to become the Chief Justice of India in the 1960s) — examined several court verdicts, consulted the writings of leading experts and quoted from Hindu scriptures in their ruling on whether a ‘sagotra’ (same-gotra) marriage was valid under Hindu law/custom. They concluded that it was.

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Outside the law

18 May

T.K. RAJALAKSHMI IN THE FRONTLINE

Khap panchayats want the Hindu Marriage Act amended to prevent same-gotra marriages.

ON May 9, Naveen Jindal, the young and highly educated Member of Parliament from Kurukshetra in Haryana, was in a dilemma over having to take a stand on the issue of same- gotra marriages after khap panchayats, or caste councils, threatened to lay siege to his residence. The next day, in order to avoid an impending political embarrassment, he attended a meeting of the sarva khap panchayat at Kaithal district as if to extend support to their demands. That ruffled a few feathers.

Of late, khap panchayats have been demanding an amendment to certain sections of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, in order to prohibit same- gotra marriages. The immediate context is the March 30 verdict in the sensational two-and-a-half-year-old Manoj-Babli murder case in which a Karnal court awarded the death sentence to five persons. The court also sentenced to life imprisonment two others, one of whom was a khap panchayat leader of the Barwala gotra. Manoj and Babli, both Jats, had apparently violated the norms of village and gotra exogamy and were brutally done to death. A dominant khap in the area had ordered that the couple be killed.

Ever since the judgment, khap panchayats have been on the offensive, perhaps fearing similar verdicts in other cases of honour killing. On April 13, representatives of over 20 khaps met at Kurukshetra and demanded a ban on same- gotra marriages.

Section 29 of the Hindu Marriage Act validates same- gotra marriages. The section, titled “Savings”, says that “a marriage solemnised between Hindus before the commencement of this Act, which is otherwise valid, shall not be deemed to be invalid or ever to have been invalid by reason only of the fact that the parties thereto belonged to the same gotra or pravara or belonged to different religions, castes or subdivisions of the same caste”. Though the Act lists degrees of prohibited relationships, it accepts that under customary law certain marriages are valid. For instance, in certain parts of South India, marriages between cousins (children of a brother and sister) and between a man and his sister’s daughter are common and valid by custom.

Also, recognising the plurality of customs in the country, Section 5 (Sub-section 4) of the Act says that a marriage between two Hindus can be solemnised if the parties are not sapindas (meaning, of the same body) of each other, unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two. The sapinda relationship with reference to any person extends as far as the third generation in the line of ascent through the mother and fifth in the line of ascent through the father. Khap panchayats want the Act to be amended to disallow same- gotra marriages and it is in this context that they met their elected representative.

A cornered Jindal, in a letter to the khap representatives, acknowledged the existence of khap panchayats since the time of rulers such as Asoka and Harshavardhana and said they had always given a “new direction” to society. He declared his support to them by saying that the panchayats had been rendering yeoman service to society by resolving people’s problems even before the present-day legal system came into existence. As if to balance his unqualified support of their undemocratic diktats, he urged them to take up issues such as female foeticide and dowry.

The young MP made certain pronouncements that indirectly supported the actions of such panchayats. What is shocking in the entire episode is that while khap panchayats have been known to impose their cruel writ on young couples going for inter-caste, inter- gotra or even inter-religious marriages, enforce social and economic boycotts and humiliate families – more so if they happened to be poor as well – this was the first time that an elected representative was bulldozed into taking a position on same- gotra marriages.

Significantly, no one in the Congress party to which Jindal belongs condemned or protested when the khap panchayats threatened to lay siege to his house. It was as if Jindal had to fight his own battle.

However, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda broke his silence a few days later, clarifying that khaps would not be allowed to take the law into their own hands. But he remained non-committal on the issue of same- gotra marriages.

The central leadership of the Congress took a more radical view of the matter and broke its silence when confronted with Jindal’s stance. It claimed that his statements were an “expression of opinion by an honourable Member of Parliament” and that there was no change in the party’s stand on the matter, which, according to party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, was that “no customary law or practice can be excused or condoned in any manner if it involves killing of any kind in the name of honour, tradition or heritage”.

The Union Law Ministry has refrained from taking a head-on position regarding the banning of khap panchayats. But, in what seems to a progressive move, in line with what women’s organisations have been demanding for long, the Ministry appears to be seriously contemplating to do away with the 30-day notice period required to register marriages, including inter-caste, inter-community and inter-religious ones, solemnised under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

The one-month time was often used to track down and harass couples. Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily has overruled the question of making any change to the Hindu Marriage Act, and indicated that a strong deterrent against khaps issuing death diktats would be set in place. However, khap panchayats have been aggressive in their demand to amend the Act. The representatives of 20 khaps who met at Kurukshetra on April 13 challenged the Karnal court judgment and declared that they would collect money on behalf of those who had been sentenced to death and life imprisonment.

Observers feel that the forthcoming panchayat and municipal elections are one reason for the sudden caste-based mobilisation. On May 2, khap panchayats, in a meeting held at Pai in Kaithal district, gave all elected representatives in the State a month’s notice to support their demand.

On May 4, Satbir Chahal, the organiser of the Akhil Bharatiya Jat Swabhimaan Sangathan and the Sarvajatiya Committee (all-caste committee), said that if the demand to amend the Act was not met, tough decisions would be taken at the all-caste panchayat meeting at Jind on May 23. He also announced that the panchayat would not allow the hanging of those who had been sentenced to death in the Manoj-Babli case. According to newspaper reports, representatives from 84 khaps attended the meeting.

The organisation also expressed annoyance with the Congress leadership for labelling Jindal’s views as personal. It has asked the Congress to clarify its position on same- gotra marriages.

Not surprisingly, former Chief Minister and Indian National Lok Dal leader Om Prakash Chautala has taken up the issue. He not only supported the demand for amendments to the Hindu Marriage Act but opined that such marriages were not right “medically or scientifically”. His stand is surprising as his own village, Chautala, has witnessed such marriages.

Om Prakash Chautala also said that he would bring up a proposal in the Assembly regarding the same. He has found an ally in Congress Rajya Sabha member Shadilal Batra, who has supported the demand for an amendment to the Act.

That leaders of the two mainstream parties in the State have taken a stand favouring khap panchayats is a matter of concern. This will have repercussions in neighbouring States such as Rajasthan and Punjab and in western Uttar Pradesh, where Jats as a caste group are dominant.

“It is ridiculous. If couples in love are willing to give up their lives to get married, they will find ways of marrying one way or the other, including outside the Hindu Marriage Act. I don’t know what these groups and political parties are trying to prove,” said Inderjit Singh, State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), adding that the current trajectory of caste identity politics was worrisome.

Parallel system

It maybe recalled that soon after the infamous Mirchpur incident on April 21, where 18 Dalit homes were torched and a physically challenged girl and her father killed, khaps rallied in support of those arrested in the arson. Many quarters view with concern the attempt to create a parallel law and order system that goes beyond honour killings.

“After a long history of struggles, the Special Marriage Act was amended to allow for inter-caste, inter-religious and inter-community marriages. Under the Hindu Marriage Act too, the consent of a person to get married became essential and gotra marriages were not included within the degrees of relationships that were prohibited. It was recognised that a gotra involved a large number of people – their numbers running into lakhs – who were not necessarily direct or indirect relations of each other. Section 29 of the Act specifically provided that marriages between persons of the same gotra or pravara would not be invalidated,” said Kirti Singh, senior lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.

Formerly a member of the Law Commission of India, Kirti Singh said that the issues at stake included the rights of young people to get married according to their choice and to decide when they should get married. Khaps, she said, wanted the Act amended in order to justify their violent acts against young couples in the name of protecting custom and tradition.

http://www.flonnet.com/stories/20100604271111800.htm

They slog and slave, yet get a pittance

5 May

They slog and slave, yet get a pittance

They slog and slave, yet get a pittance

MEERA RAMESH IN THE HINDU

We have a housemaid. She is less than 45 years of age. But she is already a grandmother. She would be barely reaching five feet at her highest and tipping the scale at maybe 50 kg. She lives in a single-room tenement on the fifth floor of one of the apartment complexes constructed by the previous governments with so much fanfare, but now sadly lacking in maintenance and is a source of worry for all the inhabitants as to when suddenly the whole structure might come down.

Lifts are unheard of in tenements, so she has to climb up and down the five flights of stairs at least three or four times a day. She was married once. But her husband turned out to be a great devotee of liquor shops, where he blew the family income. She left him. Her daughter and her granddaughter stay with her. Her son-in-law followed in his father-in-law’s footsteps and turned out to be another ardent devotee of liquor. She rises at 4.30 in the morning so that she can supply milk sachets to about 30 households. This is an everyday chore whether it rains or shines or she feels sick. Excuses could mean her losing a client and income. She manages to earn about Rs 1,500 a month on this enterprise. When she completes the delivery of milk, she will have some time to have her morning meal of rice soaked in water along with salt, chillies, onion and, maybe, coconut chutney. If she is lucky, she would have something a little more nutritious, depending on the generosity of the women in whose households she works.

She works in four households where she has to sweep and swab the floor, and wash dirty dishes and used clothes. In the mornings and quite often in the evenings too. It does not leave her with much time to eat in peace or rest. Or do any of her own chores. She manages to earn about Rs. 3,000 from these jobs as a maid. In the present day and age, a sum of Rs. 4,500 is not enough to make both ends meet. So irrespective of how tired she is, to supplement her income, she visits the wholesale market for flowers to supply households and make some extra cash.

She has no leave. No holidays. No medical benefits. No PF or gratuity. She ekes out a living as long as she has good health. But this woman brings comfort to four households and makes a qualitative difference to them. They are spick and span. They escape the drudgery of menial chores. They have time to do their own work. To be neat and tidy, and to enjoy themselves. All because of one overworked, underfed and underpaid woman! There are thousands and thousands of such persons bringing comfort and ease to millions of households. In the evenings, I watch the IPL matches with my husband. It is a battle between the ball and the bat. The ball is a white, round leather object. And the bat is a piece of wood with a handle. The wielders of the bat and the ball are paid humungous amounts of money. For a pursuit, an exercise which in no way has any qualitative impact on the lives of me or the other millions of households. Apart from being a spectacle, it has no relevance to or impact on our day-to-day life. My question is why a person like my maidservant, or an auto driver, a bus driver, conductor, and many others who bring comfort to us and make our lives so much easier get such meagre earnings. While a useless pursuit like throwing around a leather object or hitting the object with a wooden implement should be rewarded so exorbitantly. Mind you, if there is no IPL it would make no difference to our lives, But without the maid and the others I mentioned, life would be miserable. Is this injustice god-made or man-made? If it is god-made, then god has a weird sense of justice. If man-made, then it is time something is done about it. Is it any wonder that radical philosophies have so many takers?

http://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/article419466.ece

Entertainers or sex slaves? DISTURBING TRENDS FROM PUNJAB

14 Mar

Many young Punjabi girls are being forced into prostitution in the garb of working as dancers or entertainers, reports Riva IN THE TRIBUNE CHANDIGARH

Her dark gloomy eyes reflect her shadowy past, unable to hide her shame and pain. Sitting in a corner of a dark room, Rashmi (name changed) prefers this darkness of a dingy room to bright neon lights and posh hotel rooms. At the young age of 17, Rashmi has already experienced the seamier side of life that lies behind this glam world. Her nightmarish journey into this murky world began in cultured, air-conditioned rooms of five-star hotels and culminated into this innocent teenager becoming as a prostitute.

Women’s trafficking in Punjab is not unheard of. While many young girls from other parts are sneaked into the state to be employed as sex slaves, a large number of Punjabi girls, in the garb of working as performers, are being herded across the borders to do the same job in metropolitan cities of India and Gulf countries like Dubai.

Investigations revealed that many of the musical groups operational in Punjab act as mediators in whisking off young women to Arab countries and other Indian cities for dancing, a euphuism for prostitution.

Trafficking on the rise in Punjab

Trafficking on the rise in Punjab

More than one lakh women are a part of around 5,000 orchestra groups operating in Punjab, though all of them are not involved in prostitution (The faces of the girls have been blurred to protect their identities)

“I had joined a musical group a year back and was promised Rs 500 per show. We performed at music shows, at marriages and other parties, mostly during late evenings. Two months into the job, my employer started asking me to stay back at her house to help her with household chores. Then came a time when I was prohibited to go out or meet my parents without her or her husband’s permission.

“Show or no show, I couldn’t go home. They always had an excuse. One day, they asked me to join them on a three-month tour to Bangalore for a series of Punjabi cultural shows. They offered Rs 15,000 per month for the job. Forced by poor financial circumstances, my parents agreed and I, too, went reluctantly. Only after reaching there did I realise what was my actual work. I was hired by a hotel on Bangalore’s posh MG Road for pleasing its customers for a period of three months. They had signed a contract to this effect with my employer. I was in trouble in a strange land not knowing its language,” narrates Rashmi, while giving details of her harrowing tale.

Rashmi, a good-looking girl of 17, is a resident of Basti Danishmandan in Jalandhar. She left studies after completing Class X and started working with a musical group in the city to supplement her family’s income. After joining the group, she was forced to do menial jobs at the house of her employer and was frequently subjected to torture and abuse for not giving in to their unjust demands. She was also underpaid on the pretext that money had been spent on buying make-up and dress material for her.

Trafficking on the rise in Punjab

Trafficking on the rise in Punjab

But her real nightmare began once she landed in Bangalore. She found herself one among the 50 women present there to pander to the demands of the male customers of the hotel. “The guests, as we called them, would take us out for a movie or shopping They would give us gifts and in return expected to be treated like boyfriends. They could talk anything and we were not supposed to spoil their mood, whatever the provocation,” discloses Rashmi. The 50 women in the hotel had come from different parts of the country and even from as far as Nepal.

Though she hesitates to speak clearly, Rashmi confesses that she was pressurised to do what she obliquely refers to as ‘wrong things’. “We were five girls in that hotel from Jalandhar and I learnt that many more from the city were into the same business in other hotels of Bangalore. In fact, Hindi-speaking girls were at a premium there,” she adds. Anjali Sinha, an activist with NGO Stree Adhikar Sangathan, reveals that there is an inter-state nexus between such ‘gangs’ that recruit innocent girls under the garb of dancing and later push them into prostitution.

“India is in the process of widespread economic and social restructuring because of capitalisation and globalisation, which have changed the social fabric of our society. Everything today is driven by capital. Women and children are increasingly becoming commodities to be bought, sold and consumed by tourists, military personnel, organised crime rings, traffickers, and men seeking sexual entertainment without responsibility,” adds Anjali Sinha.

Though Rashmi has since quit the troupe, many of her friends are still into it and are doing a tour of Dubai at present. When The Tribune spoke to one such girl in Dubai, she confessed that they were actually working as sex slaves, providing entertainment to their ‘guests’ for money and material goods.

“I dance in a hotel bar. In three months, I earn about Rs 2.5 lakh. I dance for about six hours a day, from 6 pm to 12 am. During this time, forget eating, I cannot even drink water without my customer’s permission. If he wants me to drink while dancing, I have to do it`85 I had an inkling about the nature of work here while I was in Bangalore, but still went ahead`85 due to certain compulsions,” discloses Alisha.

Alisha has signed a three-month contract with the hotel. She cannot step out unless her customer pays a stipulated amount to the hotel management. “It is like being literally enslaved`85 trapped in this vicious circle of prostitution and moral degeneration`85 I cannot escape since I am the only bread-winner for my family, back in India`85” she sobs.

“Once trapped in the quagmire of flesh trade, escape is very unlikely. It’s like a never-ending, widening gyre whose stigma lives with you like a ghost…” she adds.

But, why join such professions in the first place? “At 16, I married against my parents’ wishes. The guy turned out to be a drug-addict. After three years of marriage and two children to feed, I walked out of this abusive relationship. But my parents refused to help me. So, I got a job as a domestic helper with an NRI family in Deep Singh Nagar, Bathinda. I was given a room, too. But the owner started demanding sexual favours and I decided to quit the job to work in an orchestra, run by a neighbour’s relative. Good looks were my passport to the job. But, I soon realised that it was not all about dancing,” confides Madhu (name changed).

“Penury, betrayal, illiteracy and abuse are classic ingredients of our lives. Everybody talks about izzat, but izzat isn’t going to feed my family, is it? You need money to survive, and I had no other options,” adds Madhu. In August last year, the Bathinda police had rounded up several girls who were involved in flesh trade in the guise of orchestra business.

According to a report by the Central Bureau of Investigation reports, the global human trafficking industry affects an estimated six to eight million people annually and is worth $ 9 billion. A survey conducted by the National Commission for Women estimates that 378 districts (62 per cent) of India are affected by trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation.

“Women, the world over, are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, especially, when they are migrants or refugees and when they are suffering from poverty or affected by racism and caste structure. Women and children are forced into the industry by violence, lack of economic alternatives, deception, debt bondage and financial enslavement. It is a human rights disaster. It is high time the government seriously tackled the menace that has assumed alarming proportions,” says Jai Singh, who runs the Volunteers for Social Justice, an NGO.

Most of the girls are either forced into the profession by parents, or are victims of poverty and unemployment. Minal (34), a resident of Guru Nanakpura, Bathinda, has been dancing since she was 17, earning anything between Rs 8,000 and Rs 12,000 a month. After she failed in Class X, her widowed mother married her off. But as luck would have it, her moments of joy were short-lived. Just three months into the marriage, her drunkard husband started forcing her to sleep with other men to earn some money.

“I was young and good looking. One day, a customer asked me to join a western orchestra group then operational in the town. Sometimes you need to pay with your soul to earn a livelihood. I then started to work as a prostitute, disguised as a dancer,” she sobs. “I have been to Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore on ‘business’ tours,” she adds. There are around 5,000 orchestra groups in Punjab, involving more than one lakh women.

Although common, such cases don’t usually come to the notice of the police. “Rarely do we come across such cases. Given our society’s attitude towards the victim, girls and their families prefer to keep mum. The police, society and the politicians should work in tandem to curb this menace,” says Manjeet Kaur, in-charge, Women’s Cell, Jalandhar.

President of the Lok Bhalai Party, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, says that while his party had not received any written or formal complaint hitherto, such incidents are quite common in Punjab. “Faced with unemployment and compelling family needs, young beautiful girls, sometimes even well-educated ones, are forced into this dirty business for the want of money. They do not choose it by preference, but out of sheer necessity, often after broken marriages or being disowned by families,” he adds. But president of the Punjab Orchestra Association Vijay Sahota dubs these reports as false, saying: “Though incidents of pushing dancers or orchestra singers into prostitution had come to light in Bathinda in the late 1990s, after our association was formed in 2000, no such case has been reported.” “Artistes are poor, not immoral. If the organisers play foul, the girls should complain to us. Our association will definitely come to their rescue and help them get due respect,” he concludes.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100313/saturday/main1.htm

KHAP PANCHAYATS IN HARYANA

7 Feb

Khap panchayat decision ‘abhorrent’, says Haryana caste body president

INDIAN EXPRESS  FEB  07 2010

A 22-year-old woman in Haryana has thrown the gauntlet at the powerful Jat khap panchayat (village caste council), refusing to follow its diktat to start living with her husband of three years as “brother and sister”. The president of the larger body of khap panchayats has now denounced the diktat as “abhorrent”.

The defiance of Kavita — whose marriage to Satish was summarily declared annulled by the khap panchayat in Rohtak’s Meham Kheri village on January 30 because husband and wife belonged to the same gotra — was reported by The Indian Express on February 6.“I will never agree to their decision,” Kavita, who has a 10-month-old baby and is one of only three women in her village who have a diploma in teacher’s training, had said.

Today, Randhir Singh, chief of the Meham Chaubisi, the umbrella body of khap panchayats in whose jurisdiction the panchayat of Kavita’s village lies, said he strongly disapproved of the diktat.“Let me be very categorical. The manner in which punishment was meted out to the family was abhorrent,” said Singh. “In our view, the marriage was wrong, but the way the Kheri panchayat went about administering its justice was doubly wrong. This is why I have called a meeting on Tuesday (February 9). We want to avoid any sort of violence or unrest.”The area has been tense since Kavita complained to the Rohtak SSP against the khap panchayat’s order, and an FIR was registered against 21 people. The family is now living under police protection.Meham Chaubisi is the most powerful khap panchayat body in Haryana, with influence over 3.5 lakh people. In the early 1990s, Meham Chaubisi had famously and violently stood up to former Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala. Singh, who is in his sixties, is aware of the significance of the decision taken by a Meham Chaubisi panchayat in a state where khap panchayats annulled over 40 marriages in 2009 alone.

“I know the girl well,” said Singh. “She is a very docile and polite child. All the (strong) utterances she has been making are under the influence of the media and some relatives. However, the whole issue should make us ponder over an ill which has been ignored for a long time now.”Singh was referring to the social ill of female infanticide, which, he said, had shrunk the number of women available for marriage, and contributed to the rising number of weddings between the “prohibited sets of gotras”.“Haryana has the one of the worst sex ratios in India. I think this is a collective failure of our society. Today there are villages, where there simply aren’t enough girls. Considering their far reaching influence, it is high time that panchayats took a lead in this direction.”Satish and Kavita belong to the Berwal and Beniwal communities respectively, who are, as per local custom, bound by consanguinity and hence barred from marrying each other.

“This is not irrational,” Singh said. “Even some of our greatest social reformers have warned against the dangers of marrying within the same family. For example, Swami Dayanand Saraswati specifically said that there should be a gap of at least seven steps between two families. It is a practice that is being followed since time immemorial.”Despite his arguments in favour of the separation of gotras, Singh, a former officer in the state government, wants to do everything to avoid violence.“Contrary to projections in the media, we are not like the Taliban. We are simply upholding our customs. The main purpose of the meeting on 9th is to avert bloodshed. We don’t want lives to be lost.”

He has some idea of the possible “solution”: “I think if we can convince the couple to leave the village and allow the parents to live in their home with dignity, the solution can be sorted out.”However, this is a solution that both Kavita and Satish have already rejected. At Satish’s home, 50 km away from Kavita’s, Satish’s 20-year-old brother Ravinder put forth a condition: “My brother and sister-in-law may leave the village only if the man who made my father go around the village with a shoe in his mouth is made to do the same. He is a powerful local politician, but he cannot treat people like this.”

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/khap-panchayat-decision-abhorrent-says-haryana-caste-body-president/576576/0

This Haryana caste panchayat story has a twist: a woman stands up to fight back

Holding her 10-month-old son, Kavita, 22, repeats just one line: “I will never agree to their decision.” Overnight, the khap panchayat (caste council) in Maham Kheri village, annulled Kavita’s 3-year-old marriage. The Jat caste panchayat declared that Kavita and her husband Satish were of the same gotra and cannot live as couple. The panchayat announced that they had to treat each other as siblings.Not an unusual story in Haryana’s Jat heartland but this one has a twist: Kavita, one of the three women from the village with a diploma in teacher’s training, has refused to buckle. She is fighting back.

“How can they decide one fine morning that I should treat my husband as my brother? All of them attended our wedding, they even sat during the pheras when the gotras of both the bridegroom and the bride were announced. Then nobody raised a question, so why now?” she speaks out as the other women of the house remain huddled on the kitchen floor and as two constables, posted for their security, watch.Kavita went with her family to the Rohtak SSP’s office to lodge a complaint against the khap panchayat early this week. An FIR was registered against the 21 members of the panchayat and forced the council to call a review meeting. In a meeting held on Friday, the khap panchayat apologised to Satish’s father for parading him with a shoe in his mouth. The members decided that in case Kavita and Statish wanted to live together, they would have to leave the village. But for Kavita, that’s not an option. “Why should I?” she says.

“We have registered an FIR based on Kavita’s complaint and we are investigating the case. Based on the findings, we will take appropriate action against the persons found guilty,” says SP Rohtak, Anil Kumar Rao. An assistant sub-inspector posted in Hissar was also part of the khap panchayat. “We have reported his involvement to his superiors in Hissar who will take departmental action against him,” Rao adds.Even as Kavita is running from pillar to post against the panchayat’s ruling, her husband stays inside his house, 50 km away. Its courtyard is full of relatives. Three police constables, who have been posted for the family’s security, pass on the hookka and take part in the discussions.The only person who is not involved in the talks is Satish, a temporary worker in a milk plant in Rohtak. Since the khap panchayat order, he has not even stepped outside the house, fearing backlash.“I do not know why they targeted us. The local numberdar wants to fight for panchayat elections as sarpanch. Maybe he just wanted to rake up some issue,” Satish says.

“On January 30, the khap panchayat started at 12:00 pm. Instead of having it in an open chaupal, they held it behind closed doors. They came out at 4:00 pm to announce the decision,” Kavita says.The panchayat then forced a shoe in mouth of Kavita’s father-in-law Azad Singh and paraded him in the village. His wife Laxmi fainted. Kavita’s brother immediately took her home. “I did not have time to pack and why should I pack? I am not abiding by this decision. I will go back soon to my husband,” Kavita says.The drama began when Hawa Singh Pradhan, who retired from the Haryana State Electricity Board, went to a neighbourhood village, Charkhi, to visit his relatives. While leaving, as per tradition, he was distributing money among the women of the family. During the brief interaction, an old woman who belonged to the Beniwal gotra told him that one of her granddaughters was married in his village.

Within hours, the news had spread across Maham Kheri village that Kavita and Satish were from the same gotra. Within three days, a 21-member committee was formed and a decision taken. “The marriage stands annulled and they should live as brother and sister,” Pradhan says. “The village is volatile because of this issue. We have taken this decision to calm down the villagers.” Kavita is waiting for February 9 when the khap panchayat of 24 villages will be held. “I will not leave my village. I have done no wrong,” she says.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/this-haryana-caste-panchayat-story-has-a-twist-a-woman-stands-up-to-fight-back/576346/0

Victim of khap panchayat order files complaint with Rohtak police

INDIAN EXPRESS

The controversy over a same-gotra marriage in Rohtak district of Haryana has taken a new turn after its victim filed a formal complaint seeking registration of a case against the Benewal khap panchayat. Kavita, who was forced to leave her in-laws’ house on January 31 following a diktat issued by the khap panchayat, met Rohtak Senior Superintendent of Police Anil Kumar Rai on Wednesday, seeking action against the panchayat for issuing an “unconstitutional” order declaring her marriage null and void. She also sought reunion with her husband Satish of Kheri Meham village.

Rai said her written complaint had been forwarded to the station house officer (SHO) of Meham for necessary action. In her complaint, Kavita has alleged that it was a pre-planned conspiracy to disrupt her marriage and action must be initiated against the panchayat so that it was not repeated again. Meanwhile, the mahapanchayat of Meham Chaubisi is scheduled to meet on February 9 to resolve the issue. —C B Singh

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/victim-of-khap-panchayat-order-files-complai/575231/

Woman, baby forced to leave in-laws’ home on khap order

INDIAN EXPRESS

Following the orders of a khap panchayat, a resident of Kheri Meham village in Rohtak, Haryana, was forced to leave the house of her in-laws with her nine-month-old son on Sunday. On Saturday, the Kheri Meham khap panchayat had declared the marriage of Kavita Beharwal with Satish Benewal illegal, and ordered her to leave the village. Kavita of Bagi village in Jhajjar had got married to Satish in November 2007. After remaining silent for two years, on Saturday the Kheri Meham panchayat ruled their marriage invalid as they were of the same gotra and, even though they had been living together for two years, were like siblings.Meanwhile, parents of Kavita met representatives of the Meham Chaubisi and informed them about the undemocratic decision of the Kheri panchayat.

Satpal Sings, PRO of SSP office Rohtak, said: “We have not received any complaint from the girl’s or the boy’s parents. We will act once we receive the complaint.” On Sunday, a Mahapanchayat of nearby villages was summoned to review the directions issued by the Kheri Meham panchayat, but its members did not turn up. The issue has now been referred to the Meham Chaubisi, the panchayat representing 24 villages of the area, who will soon meet to take a final decision on the marriage.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/woman-baby-forced-to-leave-inlaws-home-on-khap-order/573841/

Khap panchayats are not above Constitution, says Punjab CJ

INDIAN EXPRESS

Making it clear that khap panchayats are not above the law, Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal on Friday expressed serious concern over the diktats issued by such bodies.“Are you trying to say that khap panchayats are above the Constitution? This is not Afghanistan, this is India. Talibani courts cannot be allowed here,” said Justice Mudgal. He was hearing a case related to a PIL filed by an NGO, Lawyers for Human Rights International.

In an intervening application, advocate Pirthi Singh Chauhan had stated that khap panchayats were not doing anything illegal. “Khap panchayats are complimenting customary law and it is the right of khap panchayats, rather their fundamental duty as well, to abide by the customs,” said the plea. Referring to a case in which a person, Ved Pal, was lynched by a mob in a village for marrying within the same gotra, Chauhan stated: “The acts of Ved Pal and his wife amounted to public nuisance, affecting other members of the religion.”

Saying that the victim had not conformed to the “conditions of a valid Hindu marriage,” he added: “Marriage between same gotra is strictly prohibited. The actions of khap panchayats are not inconsistent or derogatory to the Constitution. Any restrictions imposed by the khap are valid.” Chauhan further stated that “If khap panchayats do not impose restrictions, then violators will destroy the society and create chaos. Ved Pal wanted to destabilise the society and administration”.Reacting sharply to the application, the Chief Justice made it clear that nobody is above the Constitution.Appearing for the NGO, advocate Navkiran Singh argued that khap panchayats are an affront to the establishment of judicial system. “The diktats of these panchayats cannot be allowed in a democratic set-up,” he said.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/khap-panchayats-are-not-above-constitution-says-punjab-cj/553290/0

Inclusive growth: the missing ingredient in Bihar’s success story

4 Feb

Shireen Vakil Miller in THE HINDU FEBRUARY 4, 2010

Despite staggering economic growth, Bihar has one of the highest rates of child mortality in India.

Bihar has been in the news recently for recording an average growth rate of 11.3 per cent for the period between 2004 and 2009. Much has been written about the quality of governance and the improved state of roads. This is indeed commendable, and no mean achievement, for a State that had virtually become a “development outcast”. I was pleasantly surprised to note on a recent trip to Bihar the great improvement made in providing more schools and notably, a huge effort to tackle the complex issue of child labour.

The script for Bihar’s success story is incomplete, however. The State has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest rates of child mortality in India. Out of every 1,000 children born in Bihar, 85 will not live to see their fifth birthday (according to the third National Family Health Survey). The deaths of a third of these children are associated with malnutrition. In fact, the Citizen’s Alliance against Malnutrition states that over 58 per cent of children in Bihar are malnourished. And the State, despite spending crores of rupees on improving the state of the roads, has failed to utilise the funds allotted to it under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) which is mandated with tackling under-nutrition among children under six years of age.

MALNUTRITION AND CHILD MORTALITY

MALNUTRITION AND CHILD MORTALITY

(The anomaly between impressive economic growth and appalling rates of malnourishment is not peculiar to Bihar.The country as a whole records malnourishment rates that do not reflect the economic growth. A scene in Madhya Pradesh.)

The anomaly between impressive economic growth and the appalling rates of child mortality and underweight children is not peculiar to Bihar. The country as a whole has recorded an impressive economic growth (real GDP per capita grew by 3.95 per cent per year between 1980 and 2005). Yet, the percentage of underweight children under 3 went down by just six per cent from 52 per cent in 1992-93 to 46 per cent in 2005-06. Evidence suggests that for every 3-4 per cent increase in per capita income, underweight rate should decline by one per cent. This has not been the case in India.

At the present rate of progress, India will reach the Millennium Development Goal 1 target on eradicating extreme hunger only by 2043.

As we move to greater economic growth rates, the challenge we face is to make this growth more inclusive, ensuring that all of us, especially the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups benefit from this economic growth. Children especially must see the benefits of this growth now if we are to sustain economic growth in the future.

The reality in 2010 is that almost 50 per cent of India’s children are malnourished. In the nation’s capital alone, 42.2 per cent of children under five are stunted and a shocking 26.1 per cent are underweight.

Malnutrition stunts physical, mental and cognitive growth and makes children more susceptible to respiratory and diarrhoeal illnesses. Malnourished children are more likely to die as a result of common and easily preventable childhood diseases than those who are adequately nourished. According to a UNICEF report, 1.95 million children below the age of five die annually in India mainly from preventable causes that are directly or indirectly attributable to malnutrition. The children who survive the ravages of malnutrition are more vulnerable to infection, do not reach their full height potential and experience impaired cognitive development. This means they do less well in school, earn less as adults and contribute less to the economy.

While we have impressive policies and schemes such as the ICDS, these have not made a significant impact. The ICDS needs to reach the poorest and most excluded groups who need it the most, both in rural and urban areas. This is not the case however. Only 28.4 pc of children under six are able to access services provided by an anganwadi centre. Just in Delhi alone, for example, only 8.4 per cent of children under six have accessed an anganwadi centre.

India spends less than five per cent of the annual budget on children. The 2009-10 Union Budget earmarked 4.15 per cent on children! This, in a country where 447 million people are aged 18 and below! Of the total budgetary allocation on children, a mere 11.1 per cent is for child health schemes.

It is the poorest children in the poorest communities who experience much more malnutrition than their better-off counterparts. And yet, existing national nutrition plans barely tackle the socio-economic causes of the problem.

There is an assumption that economic growth will solve the problem of malnutrition but, in fact, economic growth often fails to reduce poverty. The economic causes of malnutrition are set to deepen: food prices remain high and are expected to stay high, the economic downturn is pushing millions more into poverty and climate change is causing an increasing number of extreme climatic events that devastate livelihoods and lead to destitution.

We have good policies and schemes in place. The time has come to implement these and more importantly, monitor their implementation. A task group on nutrition was set up by the Prime Minister’s Office in October 2008 but it appears that it has not yet met. We know which districts are hardest hit, we need to reach those districts and build the capacities of local health and nutrition workers to deliver effective services. We need to ensure greater convergence between the ministries that have responsibility for tackling malnutrition so that we have integrated plans at the district and panchayat levels to reach the communities that need it the most.

In the third century BC, Patna was the greatest city in India; the seat of the Maurya dynasty with Emperor Ashoka at the helm. Ashoka was arguably one of our greatest and most forward thinking leaders, who believed in inclusive development. If Bihar pays attention to social development ensuring that its economic growth benefits its most excluded groups and minorities, it may yet again lead the way for other States.

(Shireen Vakil Miller is Director of Advocacy with Save the Children)

http://www.hindu.com/2010/02/04/stories/2010020455120900.htm

Farm suicides: a 12-year saga

25 Jan

P. Sainath IN THE HINDU

In 2006-08, Maharashtra saw 12, 493 farm suicides. That is 85 per cent higher than the 6,745 suicides it recorded during 1997-1999. And the worst three-year period for any State, any time.

FARM SUICIDE DATA - A BLOT ON OUR DEVELOPMENTAL POLICIES

FARM SUICIDE DATA - A BLOT ON OUR DEVELOPMENTAL POLICIES

The loan waiver year of 2008 saw 16,196 farm suicides in the country, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. Compared to 2007, that’s a fall of just 436. As economist Professor K. Nagaraj who has worked in-depth on farm suicide data says, “the numbers leave little room for comfort and none at all for self-congratulation.” There were no major changes in the trend that set in from the late 1990s and worsened after 2002. The dismal truth is that very high numbers of farm suicides still occur within a fast decreasing farm population.

Between just the Census of 1991 and that of 2001, nearly 8 million cultivators quit farming. A year from now, the 2011 Census will tell us how many more quit in this decade. It is not likely to be less. It could even dwarf that 8 million figure as the exodus from farming probably intensified after 2001. The State-wise farm suicide ratios — number of farmers committing suicide per 100,000 farmers — are still pegged on the outdated 2001 figures. So the 2011 Census, with more authentic counts of how many farmers there really are, might provide an unhappy update on what is going on.

Focussing on farm suicides as a share of total suicides in India misleads. That way, it’s “aha! the percentage is coming down.” That’s silly. For one thing, the total number of suicides (all groups, not just farmers) is increasing — in a growing population. Farm suicides are rising within a declining farm population. Two, an all-India picture disguises the intensity. The devastation lies in the Big 5 States (Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh). These account for two-thirds of all farm suicides during 2003-08. Take just the Big 5 — their percentage of all farm suicides has gone up. Worse, even their percentage of total all-India suicides (all categories) has risen. Poor States like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are doing very badly for some years now.

In the period 1997-2002, farm suicides in the Big 5 States accounted for roughly one out of every 12 of all suicides in the country. In 2003-08, they accounted for nearly one out of every 10.

The NCRB now has farm suicide data for 12 years. Actually, farm data appear in its records from 1995 onwards, but some States failed to report for the first two years. Hence 1997, from when all States are reporting their farm suicide data, is a more reliable base year. The NCRB has also made access much easier by placing all past years of “Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India” reports on its website.

The 12-year period allows us to compare farm suicide numbers for 1997-2002, with how they turned out in the next 6-year period of 2003-2008. All 12 years were pretty bad, but the latter six were decidedly worse.

Reading a ‘trend’ into a single year’s dip or rise is misleading. Better to look at 3-year or 6-year periods within 1997-2008. For instance, Maharashtra saw a decline in farm suicide numbers in 2005, but the very next year proved to be its worst ever. Since 2006, the State has been the focus of many initiatives. Manmohan Singh’s visit to Vidharbha that year brought the “Prime Minister’s Relief Package” of Rs.3,750 crore for six crisis-ridden districts of the region. This came atop Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s Rs.1,075 crore “CM’s relief package.” Then followed the nearly Rs.9,000 crore that was Maharashtra’s share of the Rs.70,000-crore Central loan waiver for farmers. To which the State government added Rs.6,200 crore for those farmers not covered by the waiver. The State added Rs.500 crore for a one-time settlement (OTS) for poor farmers who had been excluded from the waiver altogether because they owned over five acres of land.

In all, the amounts committed to fighting the agrarian crisis in Maharashtra exceeded Rs. 20,000 crore across 2006, 2007 and 2008. (And that’s not counting huge handouts to the sugar barons.) Yet, that proved to be the worst three-year period ever for any State at any time since the recording of farm data began. In 2006-08, Maharashtra saw 12, 493 farm suicides. That is nearly 600 more than the previous worst of 2002-2005 and 85 per cent higher than the 6,745 suicides recorded in the three-year period of 1997-1999. The same government was in power, incidentally, in the worst six years. Besides, these higher numbers are emerging within a shrinking farm population. By 2001, 42 per cent of Maharashtra’s population was already urban. Its farmer base has certainly not grown.

So was the loan waiver useless? The idea of a waiver was not a bad thing. And it was right to intervene. More that the specific actions were misguided and bungled. Yet it could also be argued that but for the relief the waiver brought to some farmers at least, the suicide numbers of 2008 could have been a lot worse. The waiver was a welcome step for farmers, but its architecture was flawed. A point strongly made in this journal (Oh! What a lovely waiver, March 10, 2008). It dealt only with bank credit and ignored moneylender debt. So only those farmers with access to institutional credit would benefit. Tenant farmers in Andhra Pradesh and poor farmers in Vidharbha and elsewhere get their loans mainly from moneylenders. So, in fact, farmers in Kerala, where everyone has a bank account, were more likely to gain. (Kerala was also the one State to address the issue of moneylender debt.)

The 2008 waiver also excluded those holding over five acres, making no distinction between irrigated and unirrigated land. This devastated many struggling farmers with eight or 10 acres of poor, dry land. On the other hand, West Bengal’s farmers, giant numbers of small holders below the 5-acre limit, stood to gain far more.

Every suicide has a multiplicity of causes. But when you have nearly 200,000 of them, it makes sense to seek broad common factors within that group. Within those reasons. As Dr. Nagaraj has repeatedly pointed out, the suicides appear concentrated in regions of high commercialisation of agriculture and very high peasant debt. Cash crop farmers seemed far more vulnerable to suicide than those growing food crops. Yet the basic underlying causes of the crisis remained untouched. The predatory commercialisation of the countryside; a massive decline in investment in agriculture; the withdrawal of bank credit at a time of soaring input prices; the crash in farm incomes combined with an explosion of cultivation costs; the shifting of millions from food crop to cash crop cultivation with all its risks; the corporate hijack of every major sector of agriculture including, and especially, seed; growing water stress and moves towards privatisation of that resource. The government was trying to beat the crisis — leaving in place all its causes — with a one-off waiver.

In late 2007, The Hindu carried (Nov. 12-15) the sorry result emerging from Dr. Nagaraj’s study of NCRB data: that nearly 1.5 lakh peasants had ended their lives in despair between 1997 and 2005. Just days later, Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar confirmed those figures in Parliament (Rajya Sabha Starred Question No. 238, Nov. 30, 2007) citing the same NCRB data. It’s tragic that 27 months later, the paper had to run a headline saying that the number had climbed to nearly 2 lakh. The crisis is very much with us. Mocking its victims, heckling its critics. And cosmetic changes won’t make it go away.

http://www.hindu.com/2010/01/25/stories/2010012555530800.htm

Death by drought and more

26 Dec

ANJALI LAL GUPTA IN THE HINDU

In drought-hit Bundelkhand, corruption is not just a tired cliché from a bad Bollywood movie, it is a life-threatening human rights emergency.

Corruption exacerbates poverty in Bundelkhand…the money earmarked for NREGA is being cleverly pocketed by village council leaders and unscrupulous officials.

Sesame shoots in the fields of Bundelkhand make it seem there is no drought. But the crops are stunted and useless.

Bundelkhand, which comprises six districts in Madhya Pradesh and seven in Uttar Pradesh, has had a drought for seven years except the last one. At the peak of farming season this year, rains were half of normal.

In between Mahoba and Chhattarpur districts lies Khajuraho airport. Swanky roads and five-star hotels dot the tourist destination and belie the silent human catastrophe unfolding just kilometres away. Drought may have ravaged the fields but State apathy and the brazenly corrupt officials are more brutal.

Multitudes throng us in every village we visited. Willing to clutch at straws in their desperation, their voices would go: “Have you written about my mentally challenged son?”… “I applied for old age pension long back.” … “I have been anxiously waiting for my widow pension card.” “They haven’t paid my NREGA wages.”

Inaccessible healthcare

Eighty-five-year old Motiya, slumped on a cot, gives out a heartrending cry as we step into his dingy hut. His wife sleeps nearby. Both have had fever for four days. Motiya has bed sores and can barely move. Villagers say that often worms crawl out of his mouth. “The other day my father defecated in bed. I cleaned him up. Where is the money to get them medicines?” asks Motiya’s son Chaniya, a daily-wage labourer in Seelaun village of Chhattarpur. The government hospital is 25 km away, and rarely stocks medicines.

Cattle, abandoned on highways, and the old are among the causalities of this drought as families flee a disaster. In village after village, elders have in vain applied for pension that provides Rs. 275 a month. Often the local officials demand bribes from penniless petitioners. Also, families who own more than five acres of land are not classified as being Below Poverty Line or BPL. It does not bother the officials that the drought has rendered income from land inadequate.

Dalit woman Jhharokhan Paswan in Chandauli village of Mahoba could not complete the last rites of her husband who died of grinding hunger last year. “My blind husband died a slow painful death,” she says. A tattered sari covers her old body. Had the grain bank supported by ActionAid partner organisation Kriti Shodh Sansthan not given her 40 kg of wheat, she would have had to go on begging. Last month, she threw a dried-up chapatti on the district collector’s table. He promised to mark her as BPL. And she is still waiting.

Against the wall

Despair is all too common in Bundelkhand. Rani’s husband Priti Pal Singh jumped into a well in Chandauli three months back. Their three acre land had stopped yielding, and he couldn’t repay a loan of Rs. 80,000 he took for his daughter’s wedding. Rani has asked for a job but the sarpanch argues over how an upper caste woman can go to work! Though only slightly better-off, villagers have been generous enough to offer food. “I dread to think what will happen if they stop. Sometimes I too feel like jumping into the well,” her voice falters. Nights spent listening to her children crying out of hunger are still fresh in her memory.

Corruption exacerbates poverty in Bundelkhand. The running of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or NREGA is an example. The scheme that promises 100 days’ work could have been a lifeline for rural families. But the money earmarked for it is being cleverly pocketed by formidable village council leaders and unscrupulous officials.

NREGA wages have not been paid to 200 people of Akauna village in Chhattarpur for eight months. Officials have yet to answer queries posed in March under the Right to Information Act on how many villagers got jobs in Akauna. Eighty villagers in Seelaun are yet to get remuneration. In village after village, inhabitants underline that those who are close to the panchayat leaders get NREGA work or a BPL tag.

Village council heads often refuse to accept written applications. Hence, little evidence remains of how many rural folk sought jobs and how many got them. The Afforestation Mega Campaign in Uttar Pradesh — a scheme worth Rs. 1582 million — was launched last year to boost the NREGA in drought-prone Bundelkhand. Mahoba was supposed to get 10 million saplings. “Only 40 per cent of the saplings have been sown, the rest are on paper,” reveals Manoj Kumar of Kriti Shodh Samsthan.

Six rivers have gone waterless in Mahoba. So, without food, water and jobs, people have no choice but to migrate to metropolises. Chhattarpur Collector E. Ramesh Kumar was quoted in The Hindudated September 5, “This is not distress migration.” He attributed the movement to seeking better opportunities.

“In Delhi we live in plastic huts next to roads. At times we fall from high rises doing construction work. Does that sound like a better opportunity?” asks Ramlal.

Ramesh Kumar, in a telephonic exchange, says he is only a few months old in Chhattarpur. And that “some shortcomings” perhaps do affect some villages.

Great divide

The distance between Bundelkhand’s poor and their political leaders is huge. Asked whether elected representatives have visited them ever since the polls, there are laughs all around in Chandauli.

Even as Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said the country has enough food stored to prevent high inflation, hunger is widespread in Bundelkhand.

Those who are entitled to subsidised grains in Seelaun assert the full quota of 35 kg hardly ever reaches them. Numerous people across villages wryly confess that their meals consist of chapattis and salt. Bangle seller Ramesh Lakhera says, “I remember the taste of dal.” Lakhera’s earnings have plunged, and lentils cost a steep Rs. 90 per kg.

“Nearly 65 per cent of families are malnourished in 500 villages of Mahoba,” says Manoj Kumar.

In Banda district, 48 per cent of the children aged three or less are underfed. Government records reveal there are 130,000 malnourished children in Chhattarpur and 600 in Tikamgarh district. However grim these statistics may be, there’s more.

“We have discovered 40 undernourished children in Kandva village of Tikamgarh who have not been mentioned in anganwadi registers. Ten are severely malnourished,” says Narendra Sharma of ActionAid. Government-supported anganwadis supposedly provide nutritious food to toddlers and pregnant women.

In Mahoba, 165 anganwadis don’t function at all.

Denied rights

Rural families in Bundelkhand are routinely denied their right to health and life as they are often unable to access lifesaving treatment. The health system is seldom held to account. “Lately we rushed a young man bitten by a snake to the nearest health centre. They sent us away. He died on the way to a bigger hospital,” says Lallu Khan of Mahoba. Last year five children died of diarrhoea in Seelaun. Ramkali Ahirwar from Pratappura says bitterly, “We go to doctors when we are about to collapse. We die at home everyday.”

Asked whether the Uttar Pradesh government headed by a Dalit leader has made any difference to their lives, Phulia Rani, a Dalit woman in Chandauli, says “No.”

Meanwhile, the state website proudly announces “the historic decisions including increase in the budget for the welfare of Dalits and tribals by 41per cent”.

The author is a development journalist based in New Delhi and Hyderabad.

http://www.hindu.com/mag/2009/12/27/stories/2009122750130400.htm

Child undernutrition in India is a human rights issue

10 Dec

Karin Hulshof  IN  THE HINDU

Despite a booming economy, nutrition deprivation among India’s children remains widespread.

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” So begins the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established 60 years ago and celebrated today around the globe. This year’s theme is non-discrimination. When it comes to nutrition, all of India’s children are not equal. According to India’s third National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) of 2005-06, 20 per cent of Indian children under five-years-old are wasted due to acute undernutrition and 48 per cent are stunted due to chronic undernutrition. Seventy per cent of children between six months and 59 months are anaemic. Despite a booming economy, nutrition deprivation among India’s children remains widespread.

MALNORISHMENT

MALNORISHMENT

In absolute numbers, an average 25 million children are wasted and 61 million are stunted. The state of child undernutrition in India is — first and foremost — a major threat to the survival, growth, and development and of great importance for India as a global player. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has referred to undernutrition as ‘a matter of national shame.’

Children who are undernourished have substantially lower chances of survival than children who are well-nourished. Undernourished children are much more likely to suffer from serious infections and to die from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, and measles. More than a third of all deaths in children aged five years or younger can be attributable to undernutrition. Children who survive undernutrition do not perform as well in school as their well-nourished peers and as adults they are less productive.

Good nutrition early in life is a key input for human capital formation, a fundamental factor for sustainable and equitable economic growth. Widespread undernutrition impedes socio-economic development and poverty reduction. With persistently high levels of child undernutrition, vital opportunities to save millions of lives are being lost, and many more children are not growing to their full potential.

There is a critical window of opportunity to intervene when mothers are pregnant and during children’s first two years of life. After that age, the window closes and the opportunity for the child is lost forever. We know what works — ten proven, high-impact interventions can dramatically reduce undernutrition in young children if delivered nationally:

Timely initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth

Exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life

Timely introduction of complementary foods at six months

Age-appropriate foods for children six months to two years

Hygienic complementary feeding practices

Immunisation and bi-annual Vitamin A supplementation with deworming

Appropriate feeding for children during and after illness

Therapeutic feeding for children with severe acute malnutrition

Adequate nutrition and support for adolescent girls to prevent anemia

Adequate nutrition and support for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers

These 10 essential interventions could halve the proportion of undernourished children over the next 10 years.

A number of emerging economies have encountered nutrition challenges similar to those currently facing India. For example, China reduced child undernutrition by more than half (from 25 per cent to 8 per cent) between 1990 and 2002; Brazil reduced child undernutrition by 60 per cent (from 18 per cent to 7 per cent) from 1975 to 1989; Thailand reduced child undernutrition by half (from 50 per cent to 25 per cent) in less than a decade (1982-1986); and Viet Nam reduced child undernutrition by 40 per cent (from 45 per cent to 27 per cent) between 1990 and 2006.

Four lessons can be learned from these countries’ experiences: 1) Leadership at the highest level to ensure that priority is given to child nutrition outcomes across sectors and states, with large investments in nutrition interventions and successful poverty alleviation strategies. 2) Targeted nutrition interventions to prevent mild and moderate undernutrition and treat severe undernutrition as part of a continuum of care for children, particularly among the most vulnerable children: the youngest, the poorest, and the socially-excluded; 3) Reliance on community-based primary health care to ensure high coverage through community-based frontline workers; 4) Strong supervision, monitoring, evaluation, and knowledge management to provide the evidence base for timely and effective policy, programme and budgetary action.

The universal delivery of this package of ten evidence-based, high impact essential nutrition interventions will lead to an unprecedented reduction in child undernutrition. India has the resources — financial and human — to address, once and for all, the challenge of child undernutrition. The prevention and treatment of child undernutrition in the first two years of life needs to be a national development priority.

India’s leadership is recognised globally and its economy is growing at an enviable rate. That strength and leadership can be channelled to ensure survival of India’s most precious asset — its children — to thrive and survive. The nutrition targets set forth by the government in its Eleventh Five-Year Plan are ambitious, more ambitious than the international commitments set forth in the Millennium Development Goals. In the government’s own words, “it is better to aim high, than to fail low.”

Now is the time to combine the existing technical knowledge with the political will to change the lives of millions to guarantee the human rights, dignity and rights of all of India’s children. Now is the time to combine the existing technical knowledge with the political will to change the lives of millions to guarantee the human rights and dignity of all of India’s children.

This is a ‘make or break’ time to emerge as global leader in the fight against undernutrition… 61 million children are waiting.

(Dr. Karin Hulshof is UNICEF India Representative.)

— Courtesy: U.N. Information Centre for India and Bhutan.

http://www.hindu.com/2009/12/10/stories/2009121051270900.htm

HOME MINISTRY DIRECTIVE TO STATE POLICE DEPARTMENTS ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

20 Sep

The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Ajay Maken today said that the Government of India in close co-ordination with the various State and UT Governments had intensified measures against Human Trafficking and Crime against women. Shri Maken also informed that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) along with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), will be organizing a workshop for training of trainers of all stake holders against Human Trafficking by the end of this year. The Conference will be inaugurated by the Home Minister, Shri P Chidambaram, he said. After this workshop, the MHA also intends to organize similar workshops for stake holders from SAARC countries in line with Government of India’s offer of conducting training programmes for Capacity building for implementation of the SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children, he elaborated.

In this regard the Ministry had convened a meeting of the Nodal Officers for Human Trafficking of various States and UTs on August 28, 2009 and had pushed forward the agenda of co-ordinated and intensive efforts against trafficking, Shri Maken informed.

While the meeting resolved to strengthen the respective Nodal Officers and Offices at the Centre and in the States, it also deliberated upon certain common operating procedures and practices, following which MHA has issued the following two advisories to the State Governments and UT administrations to issue suitable directions to all concerned to check crime against women and Human Trafficking;

Advisory regarding Measures needed to curb Crime against Women issued on September 4, 2009.

Advisory on Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking in India issued on September 9, 2009.

Main Points of advisory on checking crime against women

The advisory  has detailed measures that are needed to curb crime against this vulnerable section of the society.  The States and UTs have also been asked to convey the status on the measures to the Centre within a month. The Government of India have been advising the State Governments from time to time regarding the steps that need to be taken to afford a greater measure of protection to the women and in particular to prevent incidence of crimes against them.  Through the advisories, the State Governments were also requested to undertake a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the machinery in tackling the problem of women and to take appropriate measures aimed at increasing the responsiveness of the law and order machinery.

Some State Governments, no doubt, have taken some measures in this regard. However, the inputs regarding crime against women available with this Ministry indicate that these measures need to be strengthened further. Despite several steps being taken by the State Governments, picture still is very grim and disappointing. Complaints are still being received regarding non-registration of FIRs and unsympathetic attitude of police personnel towards rape victims and victims of violence.

The National Commission for Women has been undertaking visits to various States to review the status of women and has been making available findings of their inquiry to the concerned State Governments as well as to the MHA.  The reports of the inquiries conducted by the Commission in specific incidents indicate that the level of sensitiveness and care with which crime against women should be handled is not up to the desired level.

The Government of India is deeply concerned with these trends and ground situation and has re-emphasized that urgent action should be taken on the following:-

  • Vigorously enforce the existing legislation relating to Crime against Women and Children, i.e.,  Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 and Violence against Women (Prevention) Act, 2005, Section 67 of the IT Act, 2000, the display of lascivious photographs/films on computer through internet, etc.
  • Government must ensure proper enforcement of law and convictions in women related crimes.  Enforcement agencies should be instructed in unambiguous terms that enforcement of the rights of the weaker and vulnerable sections including women and children should not be downplayed for fear of further disturbances or retribution and adequate preparation should be made to face any such eventuality.
  • The administration and police should play a more proactive role in detection and investigation of crime against women and ensuring that there is no under reporting.
  • Increasing the overall representation of women in police forces.  The representation of women in police at all levels should be increased through affirmative action so that they constitute about 33% of the police.
  • Sensitizing the law enforcement machinery towards crime against women by way of well structured training programmes, meetings and seminars etc., for police personnel at all levels as well as other functionaries of the criminal justice system.
  • Government must take concrete steps to increase awareness in the administration and among the police in particular, regarding crime against women, and take steps not only to tackle such crimes but also deal sensitively with the ensuing trauma.

For improving general awareness on legislations, mechanisms in place for safety and protection of women, the concerned department of the State Government must, inter-alia, take following steps:

  1. Create awareness through print and electronic media;
  2. Develop a community monitoring system to check cases of violence, abuse and exploitation and take necessary steps to curb the same;
  3. Involving the Community at large in creating and spreading such awareness; and
  4. Organize legal literacy and legal awareness camps.
  5. Explore the possibility of associating NGOs working in the area of combating crime against women. Citizens groups and NGOs should be encouraged to increase awareness about gender issues in society and help bring to light violence against women and also assist the police in the investigation of crime against women.  Close coordination between the police and the NGOs dealing with the interests of women may be ensured.
  6. There should be no delay whatsoever in registration of FIR in all cases of crime against women.
  7. All out efforts should be made to apprehend all the accused named in the FIR   immediately so as to generate confidence in the victims and their family members;
  8. Cases should be thoroughly investigated and charge sheets against the accused persons should be filed within three months from the date of occurrence, without compromising on the quality of investigation.   Speedy investigation should be conducted in heinous crimes like rape. The medical examination of rape victims should be conducted without delay.
  9. Ensure proper supervisions at appropriate level of cases of crime against women from the recording of FIR to the disposal of the case by the competent court.
  10. Help-line numbers of the crime against women cells – should be exhibited prominently in hospitals/schools/colleges premises, and in other suitable places.
  11. Set up exclusive ‘Crime Against Women and Children’ desk in each police station and the Special Women police cells in the police stations and all women police thana as needed.
  12. Concerned departments of the State Governments could handle rape victims at all stages from filing a complaint in a police station to undergoing forensic examination and in providing all possible assistance including counseling, legal assistance and rehabilitation.  Preferably these victims may be handled by women so as to provide a certain comfort level to the rape victims.
  13. The specialized Sexual Assault Treatment Units could be developed in government hospitals having a large maternity section.
  14. The Health department of the State Govts., should set up ‘Rape Crisis Centres’  (RCCs) and specialized ‘Sexual Assault Treatment Units’ (SATUs), at appropriate places. RCCs could act as an interface between the victims and other agencies involved.
  15. The administration should also focus on rehabilitation of the victims and provide all required support.  The police should consider empanelling professional counselors and the counseling should not be done by the police.
  16. For improving the safety conditions on road, the concerned departments of the State Government must take suitable steps to:
  17. Increase the number of  beat constables, especially on the sensitive roads;
  18. Increase the number of police help booth/kiosks, especially in remote and lonely stretches;
  19. Increase police patrolling, especially during the night;
  20. Increase the number of women police officers in the mobile police vans;
  21. Set-up telephone booths for easy access to police;
  22. Install people friendly street lights on all roads, lonely stretches and alleys; and
  23. Ensure street lights are properly and efficiently working on all roads, lonely stretches and alleys.
  24. The local police should arrange for patrolling in the affected areas and more especially in the locality of the weaker sections of the society.  Periodic visits by DM & SP will create a sense of safety and security among these sections of the people.
  25. Special steps to be taken for security of women working in night shifts of call centers.
  26. Crime prone areas should be identified and a mechanism be put in place to monitor infractions in schools/colleges for ensuring safety and security of female students. Women police officers in adequate number fully equipped with policing infrastructure may be posted in such areas.
  27. Action should be taken at the State level to set up of Fast Track Courts and Family Courts.
  28. Dowry related cases must be adjudicated expeditiously to avoid further harassment of the women.
  29. Appointment Dowry Prohibition Officers and notify the Rules under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
  30. All police stations may be advised to display the name and other details of Protection Officers of the area appointed under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
  31. Police personnel should be trained adequately in special laws dealing with atrocities against women. Enforcement aspect should be emphasized adequately so as to streamline it.
  32. Special steps may also be taken by the police in collaboration with the Health and Family Welfare Department of the State to prevent female foeticide.
  33. Special steps should also be taken to curb the ‘Violation of Women’s Rights by so called Honour Killings, to prevent forced marriage in some northern States, and other forms of Violence’.
  34. Ensure follow up of reports of cases of atrocities against women received from various sources, including NCW & SCW, with concerned authorities in the State Governments.

The advisories issued by MHA, inter-alia, include gender sensitization of the police personnel, adopting appropriate measures for swift and salutary punishment to public servants found guilty of custodial violence against women, minimizing delays in investigations of murder, rape and torture of women and improving its quality, setting up a ‘crime against women cell’ in districts where they do not exist, providing adequate counseling centers and shelter homes for women who have been victimized etc.

Main points of advisory on preventing and combating human trafficking in India

The key points include implementation of legal provisions in the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1956; Juvenile Justice Act 2000; Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006; capacity building of the State machinery; prevention of trafficking; investigation and prosecution and rescue and rehabilitation measures. The states and UTs have also been asked to convey to the Centre the present status within one month. The key points have been worked out in collaboration with the related Ministries of Women & Child Development, Labour & Employment and Health & Family Welfare.

To facilitate matters in this regard, MHA has already established an Anti Trafficking Cell (ATC) which deals with the following major subject matters:

  • All matters pertaining to the criminal aspect of trafficking in human beings especially of women and children, which is the fastest growing organized crime and an area of concern.
  • To act as the Nodal cell for dealing with the criminal aspect of Human Trafficking in India, hold regular meetings of all States and UTs, communicating various decisions and follow up on action taken by the State Governments.
  • To interface with other Ministries like Women & Child Development, Social Justice &Empowerment, External Affairs, Overseas Indian Affairs, Labour & Employment, Law, and NCRB regarding the criminal aspect of human trafficking.

The Anti Trafficking Nodal Cell of MHA has developed an MIS proforma for the monitoring of the action taken by various State Governments regarding the criminal aspect of human trafficking as well as crime against women.  The State Governments are required to send quarterly information.

http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=52750&kwd=

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