Friday, 2 March 2018

Anti-Human Trafficking Bill - Chinks in it's Armour?

Two days before, the Central Cabinet passed the anti-Human Trafficking Bill aiming to curb human trafficking. A laudable effort. As I understand, this bill aims at punishing the offenders and rehabilitate the victims. It will cover everything – setting up of constitutional bodies, setting up of protection houses, punishment for the rule breakers. But, still, I have some open questions.
The biggest question I have got regarding this is, if there is a need for a temporary rehabilitation, where will that be? Will it be in a government maintained entity or a private one? This raises very serious questions after what happened near Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu. A certain St Joseph Hospice is facing serious charges as we speak when an ambulance of theirs was intercepted after an old woman in it screamed for help. When the van was opened, it was found out that the lady was being forcibly taken against her will along with another old man, a dead body and vegetables.
Below is an account of the same, given by @Ethirajans  on twitter –
Suspected organ trade! St. Joseph Hospices's ambulance held with an elderly woman's dead-body, locals complain that said hospices allegedly kidnap orphaned elders n kill them for organs! Hospices administration claims no foul play, dead-body in their "Fake" Ambulance along with an elderly man was very much co-incidental! But why did the driver abandon the vehicle upon being stopped by villagers? The elderly man & woman rescued by the villagers from St. Joseph Hospices's FAKE ambulance claim to have been held captive by the home for days, and was locked inside the ambulance with dead bodies. St Joseph Hospice shocker! Govt officials find more than 50 rooms with cold storage facilities, elders are brought from various parts, being tortured, killed, bones extracted, improper disposal of human-body remains causes health issues, locals complain! As per reports, over 3000 bodies improperly disposed, most of them were North Indians, Hospice does not admit locals and those who have relatives, nor locals are employed! Dead bodies are kept in concrete coffins with sieve like setup, which are attached to a tunnel, fluids from decomposed bodies reach the tunnel, bone remains are removed by hospice for trade! With 1500+ age old "sick" inmates, #StJoseph hospice does not have a single resident Doctor! A massive scale of organ loot is on for years, how did our State/Central Intel agencies give a miss to this for these many years? As per @PTTVOnlineNews report, inmates say they were forcibly brought to hospice and confined there against their will, what is the need? Why were they forcibly brought? What kind of motive/hatred do you think they have against #StJoseph hospice?
Very serious allegations indeed. What sort of checks and balances are we going to have to ensure that these sort of things don’t happen? And in spite of that, if these things happen, who will be held accountable? And will the organization be shut down or that particular branch?
Next thing is, what happens to cross-border infiltration, which, technically is also human trafficking? Take the case of the Bangladeshis and Rohingya who are given a chance to move into India in the hope of a better life. Are they getting it, who knows? There are two categories of this, again – human trafficking and illegal migrations. Most of those who enter India get their papers made before they enter India.
It was Mohammad Ehsan (name changed), a Bangladeshi national, who was apprehended by BSF personnel late in the evening for crossing the border. He had fake documents which had been prepared by a tout from Bangladesh. Ehsan told me that he was from Satkhira district in Bangladesh and had entered Gojadanga with help from the same tout, to seek medical treatment for his chronic back pain. He didn’t seem ill going by his inconsistent statements and robust appearance.
In the lure of a better life, they are entering India. It’s impossible to distinguish between both the categories. How exactly are we going to deal with these people? Will these people come under the purview of this bill? Can it be argued that deportation, which actually is the policy, should be superseded by providing rehabilitation to these illegal entrants, there by legalizing their entry? And who would want a repatriation back to their native country after this happens? The biggest set of such people with which India is facing problems today are Bangladeshi and Rohingya. Technically, no Rohingya entered India – all those entered India, entered through Bangladesh. And without papers, how do you decide that they are not illegal Bangladeshi, but Rohingya?
Both of them can become very powerful tools for those vested interests. May be, such sort of issues (illegal migrants and cross border smugglers, erring private rehabilitation homes, to be more specific), which will be devastating to the national psyche should be addressed first, before bringing in such a law?

Saturday, 17 February 2018

JNU Mandatory Attendance Circular Protests - An Attempt to Find Sense in Them

Suddenly, I came across a tweet which says offices of JNU being held under siege by students, put in by a staff member of the University who is literaly pleading the students he is sick and needs assistance. 
We too protested, but we never ensured that some’s life is at stake. Trawling through the comments, it is surprising to see the level of abuse against the staff members. Is it a norm today? Or is it an exception to see that level of hate? May be I am too old for this, because we ran our show in colleges with Orkut and GPRS connections, not superfast wifi. And what offended me the most is the hashtag #NotOurVC. Is that the respect you give to your teachers? 
At one point I jumped into the debate. I was not happy the way debate was going on. Actually, it seems, there are two grouses - 
1. Mandatory attendance
2. Closing of dhabas in the university campus by 11 PM while as the reading goes, it used to be round the clock.
The argument plainly put forward was, 
"Dikkat ye h ki koi bhi university of  social science courses keliye wo bhi PhD tk attendence compulsory ni h wo hi 75%.  Ye sab circulars isiliye nikal warhe taaki; jnu ka debate and discussions culture khtm hojaaega.Govt. Is using its propaganda through v.c”
"Yahan dhabas 4 baje tk khulte the.. saare dhabas. Dhaba tha hmara venue to speak and generate awareness; or discuss; till late night.  Ab dhabas 11 baje band hone lga h. Social studies mai class se sirf 40% education milthi h. Baaki class ke bahar se”
For propreity, I am not going to mask the names of all the participants.
But, this is how the debate went in the general direction.
JNU Student: When we are attending classes, what’s the problem in making it mandatory?
Myself: When you are already attending, what’s the problem in formalizing it?
JNU Student: Problem is, they are making it mandatory that too for people till PHD level. This will kill the debate and discussion culture.
Another person: How is attendance and debating culture interlinked?
JNU Student: Dhabas in the campus used to be open till 4 AM. Dhabas used to be our venues to speak and generate awareness. Now, orders are given to shut them by 11 PM. We get only 40% education in Social Studies. Rest is outside.
Myself: Why can’t the same debates be conducted in class rooms after college hours? Which teacher is going to oppose it? 
No answer but a shift in goal post.
JNU Student: You can go and check how many Social Sciences Universities have 75% attendance for MPhil and PhD. JNU is the only college in the country which opposes any repressive government policy. 
Another person: I see only selective protests - against Govt, Army, RSS but I am not seeing any protests against ISIS, Triple Talaq or some other social evils. There was not even a protest when one of your collegemate was issued rape threats but you protested loudly in favour of the one who told Pakistan didn’t kill my father, war did. 
JNU Student: Protesting against ISIS in JNU, what good will it do? There are a thousand evils in the world and we won’t be protesting against all of them. The most important thing today is fascist threat against all non upper class Hindus and minorities, and mysterious disappearance of people.
Myself: Let's see. Protesting for Kashmir or Bastar in the urban coziness of Delhi, how does it help then? When your answer is pressurize govt, you can pressurize the same govt to create a united front against ISIS. As to the other allegation, do you have stats?
JNU Student: No muslim organisations in india ever supported the bloody attacks of isis. They have only clearly stated that they are not muslims. highest no. Of victims of ISIS  are also muslims. But RSS is killing with state impunity here and BJP leaders publicly support
Myself: You are a college student. How did the debate degrade to Hindu vs Muslim? Shall we talk about your college, which is the only thing needed?
Another person: There will be fascist threat only if the current demography of India changes. The current facsist threat is just imagination of you people. 
Myself: Interesting to see you don't have an answer for even one of the questions posed. Let me compile them.
1. Which Univs don't have mandatory attendance?
2. Why is protesting against ISIS useless but protesting against Kashmir is?
3. Why didn't you protest in favour of Shelha Rashid?
4. How is debating in classes different from debating in canteens and hotels?
These should suffice for the time being.
The usual answer.
JNU Student: m not paid by anyone to attack people using fake accounts nor endowed with 'much time' as u people are. So; the 4. Questions u raised can be easily found properly from internet. But if u are a sanghi; thrs no point in me debating.
This turned out to be the usual tone of the debate. I am completely flummoxed. Can any student be this irresponsible and callous? They are risking lives simply because dhabas are closed and late risers are herded into class rooms. And when they are asked why they are protesting selectively(forget everything. When their collegemate is abused online, they all stood silent) or a list of colleges which don’t enforce mandatory attendance, they don’t have any answers 

and the only options available with them are shifting goalposts and blocking(yes. I got that badge of honour as well), 

that too when their Vice Chancellor, Department Heads and other seniors in the administration are part of the discussion. An added thing here is blind hate towards the Indic ecosystem which is currently identified with the word Sanghi. Is this the level of general discipline in the college, I don’t see any reason why the university or the concerned department should be kept open. It should be completely fumigated to make it a more saner place.

The VC may agree or disagree or can have a better solution than me, but the reality is, the current state of things cannot continue.