Monday, 11 December 2017

Working with Wires: Electricity employees risk lives, sans safety gear

It is quite a common scene in most towns.

The power department employees are seen sitting on electricity poles, disentangling the wires and ensuring that power reaches our homes.

Mostly, they are not having even the basic security gear--the gloves, the vests, the hoods.

Many of whom are irregular employees, who are either on contract or on daily wages who are paid by the contractor.

No wonder, there are mishaps, so often. The photo was taken by Bhupesh Kesharwani.

This photograph was taken on a road in Byron Bazaar in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Expressing Dissent: Effigy burning, the most common political activity on Indian streets

Effigy burning or 'Putla Jalana' is the most common form of expressing dissent in India.

Political parties, their youth and students' wings, the activists go for it.

For citizens upset with establishment, that's the ultimate form of resistance and expression of anger.

The 'putla' may cost anything ranging from Rs 200 to 1,000 at the local 'putla-maker's place.

The effigy may even symbolise a Pakistani leader or even WTO.

But it's not that you are free to burn anyone's 'Putla'. There are risks too.

If it is CM or a top leader, the policemen try their best to snatch it, before the effigy is burnt.

That's a scene you should witness--when cops run away with the 'putla' before it has caught fire. It appears that its their main job for which they are paid--to stop the effigy from getting burnt.

Cops may book you, depending on 'local sensitivities' or situations in different states.

Media-newspapers give it less coverage these days. But local politicians--NSUI, ABVP, Youth Congress, Bajrang Dal, Sena, Manchs and professional Putla Jalao walas, continue to burn effigies. 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Crime against Women: How to stop sexual crimes, rapes with minors in India?

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi 

How to stop rapes, especially, horrible sexual crimes against minors, even small children in India?

That's the big question. Madhya Pradesh is the rape capital of India.

It records nearly 4,500 rapes annually and thousands of cases of sexual harassment though many more are not reported.

The government has decided to hang those who are convicted for raping girls below the age of 12 years. But will it stop rapes? Seems, it doesn't.

It is felt that the fear of capital punishment would stop rapes. The fact is that harsh laws have had no impact. Even policemen, police officials are involved in sexual harassment, though they are supposed to be most 'sensitised'.

We have to understand this huge problem and all aspects of it, which we don't discuss generally in public. Rapes, gang-rapes continue despite speedy trials in fast track courts, harsh punishments. The problem is something else.

The society still doesn't want to accept the problems in it, discuss the real reason why this has become unstoppable. You say something & they'll hound because we're 'Sanskari'.

There is extreme sexual deprivation in country due to variety of reasons ranging from late marriages to lack of girl friend or female acquaintances, many others living away from wives for years in cities.

There are very complex issues, people of different social backgrounds. Not proper to mention all things in public, too crude, too shocking. Often people misconstrue it as Urban vs Rural or Poor vs Moneyed issue, accusing 'labourers-outsiders'. No. It needs care, serious discussion before getting deep into the problem.

People don't have idea how much incest, kids' exploitation going on. Go to shelter homes for children, rehab centres, talk to people working with helplines or community workers, you'd find that it's become an epidemic. Porn, adult websites in vernacular languages, have exacerbated it.

Perhaps, if prostitution legalised--we accept that this society, this huge population of sexually deprived males, whether we like it or not, needs release or some outlet, to stop the monstrous behaviour & many turning on kids, incest. Think about it, talk about it.  #Rape #India

Others who have urges, biological urges heightened by drugs-liquor, loneliness, but no avenue. Have strange feelings about girls who hang out with boys, hate due to their inability to get them--lack of money, looks, background. Accept that society has issues. After all, children as young as 2-3 yr old are being raped. Kids soft target, can't resist, don't know what's happening, can't complain or can be 'silenced' easily. SCARY!

This could be controversial but just watch these young guys, men who live alone in cities, watching weirdest porn clips on cell phones, looking at upwardly mobile youth 'having fun', stand at a pan shop or talk to a person of different background, their views, complex, very scary.


'Sir isko daal dein kya is case mein', cops ask their superior.
--'Karo andar, niptaao, case khatm karo', that's the response. So common.

The more poor a person, the less chance of family to fight case, file appeals, take on system.
It is felt that a person accused of rape is convicted and hanged, there will be a strong message.

Intent that this would deter, stop such crimes. But on ground, cops generally pick up poor men to 'solve case', get pressure off them.

Labourers, conductors, 'those not like us', who don't get middle class' sympathy framed. This is what happened in the case of Ryan School case, where a child was murdered by elder student but a conductor was beaten, tortured, given shocks in custody and made to confess.

Lucky, he was that the case reached SC and CBI probe found that he was innocent. Otherwise so easy to brand a poor as criminal and hang them! Is that justice?

Problem is cops arrest innocents (poor) to readily 'solve case'. In a gang-rape with PSC aspirant in Bhopal, one guy was beaten, made to confess. Was lucky that his innocence was proved. Bar councils refuse to fight poor's case, public opinion too against.

The same Bar Councils won't pass resolution when a lawyer's son is accused in the case. That's the problem. The focus is not on investigation, to nab the culprit, but to 'close the case' fast by picking up someone--poor who is less likely to get vocal middle-class' sympathies, and who the TV-papers would believe is the rapist, and whose family can't fight for him.

It's just a few aspects. We need to discuss it with an open mind--all issues, social, economical, judicial, law-and-order related, when we talk about rapes. It's a big problem and it needs serious thinking at the national level.

[On the issue of sexual crimes, it was a series of my tweets on a particular day, which I later expanded here].

Media war in Bhopal: Dainik Bhaskar Vs People's Group, Vyapam to Sanskaar Valley School

Everyone knows that Sanskaar Valley, the boarding school of Bhaskar group, has been built in forestland, violating all norms.

But no major media group published the news, ever. Dainik Bhaskar is India's biggest group and can arm-twist governments, so why take it head on!

Also, all business groups have their own weak points and hence avoid attacking other group.

Big groups need media to put pressure on state government and administration, get things done--legally or otherwise.

So, there is an unwritten code--no group would target the other.

But when this code is breached--one paper (Bhaskar) published news of owner of the other group (People's) involvement in Vyapam scam, the other group too decided to break it, come out publicly against them, starts series on Bhaskar group's school.

People's group too has newspaper, so they can do it. Now People's Samachar has started a series, targeting the School project. It seems the fight will be long and dirty linen would be washed.

Good for readers, citizens though as the 'dirty practices' will be in open. That's why the 'biz groups' need papers, media arms, channels--either national-state or local-cable.