October 19, 2010

Hindustan Times

UP cops target HT for report on minor’s rape

Instead of arresting the alleged rapist of a nine-year-old girl in her school premises where she bled to death, the Kanpur police unleashed its fury on Hindustan Times and its sister publication, Hindi daily Hindustan on Friday night for their unrelenting campaign for justice for Divya Bhadoria.

Divya was allegedly sodomised by the son of the manager of Bharti Gyansthali School on September 27. School authorities did not even take her to a hospital while she bled. They just dropped her dead body at her home.

The police, apparently keen to shield manager Chandrapal Verma's son Piyush Verma, a postgraduate science student, took no action for the 18 days that Hindustan Times and Hindustan reported intensively on the case and generated a public outrage.
But the sustained campaign by the two dailies and mounting public pressure seemed to have compelled the police to finally arrest Piyush Verma for sodomy and murder and send his father to jail for criminal negligence.

But the matter did not end there. Hours after arresting Piyush on Friday, the police descended on the offices of HT and Hindustan.

A police jeep rolled into the premises of the two dailies at 11 pm, followed by policemen from a nearby police station. They detained editorial and non-editorial staff, intimidating them and accusing them of using stolen vehicles.

The posse of 14 policemen, who stayed on till 2.30 am, sealed the premises, preventing distribution of the newspapers.

Mumbai Mirror

HC sets up watchdog for children’s homes

Dr Asha Bajpai to head panel to ensure there is no repeat of what happened at the Kavdas orphanage recently
The court asked Dr Bajpai to choose five members to assist her and, on the suggestion of the state, added that Women and Child Development secretary Vandna Krishna will help her in the selection.

The committee will examine ground realities and working of these homes. It will also form sub-committees to regularly inspect the homes, so that a repeat of what happened at Kavdas does not occur.

In an important development that emerged as an off shoot in the case after the two sexually abused girls were shifted to KEM, the court endorsed a suggestion from Dr Bajpai that paediatric wards of general hospitals should reserve beds for mentally deficient children, and that such children should not be accommodated in the general psychiatric ward.
At last Thursday’s hearing, Dr Bajpai pointed out that it was important to have separate beds for children who suffered trauma and that they should not be kept with adults in the psychiatric ward as it could result in more trauma.

The court considered the suggestion and passed directions on Saturday. The state also submitted that other facilities like Child Protection Units, district welfare officers and other issues will be dealt with within three months.

The division bench of Justice Mohit Shah and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked the Child Welfare Committee and the DWCD about the condition of the other 28 homes. “This is one case that has come to light, but if there are 29 homes across the state, what is the state in the other homes, have you inspected them?” asked the judges.

Interestingly, when questioned about the recommendation given to the Kavdas orphanage, advocate Nitin Pradhan who represents CWC said it was given on an informal letter. “It is important that three committee members visit a home before recommendation is given, but in this case only one member went there and the letter was given innocently. It was not even a proper formal letter,” he said.

Shocked by the response, the court asked how the home even came into being. “There were shops and galas where the children were kept - how can that be done?” asked Justice Chandrachud.

Dr Bajpai further said that the blame game between the nodal agencies should stop, their roles should be clearly defined, and in cases such as Kavdas, they should come together to address the issue.

The CWC-DWCD tiff is evident, as on minor issues like ID cards, the agencies blame each other.
This was clear when it was submitted by the KEM counsel, that if CWC members want to visit girls kept there, they should carry their cards. But CWC members said that the state had not given them ID cards. The state in response said “members have not given their photographs”.

The court has now instructed CWC to find suitable homes for the girls with the help of the amicus curiae and DWCD.
The court also called for the criminal investigation to be speeded up and, more importantly, a women officer be appointed as IO and, if possible, a lady judge should hear the case.

The next hearing is on October 26.

Sunday Times

No virgin territory!

Youngsters these days are under greater pressure to be sexually active very early, says psychiatrist Anjali Chhabria

Teenage sex has become a trend of the new generation as girls and boys have the desire to explore their sexuality at a younger age now-a-days. It could be out of curiosity or because of exposure of western television shows. The general thought pattern of a teen is: I'm a teenager, what's the harm in exploring. Along with there new-found independence, premarital sex is no longer seen as a taboo.

This makes sex education in schools compulsory. Teenagers are aware of masturbation and tools of sexual pleasure before entering college. Because they have access to pornography, sex is treated as a means for gratification rather than an expression of love. That often makes them comfortable with having one-night stands and blind sex dates.

Teenage years are marked with insecurities of the future and teens are critical about themselves and face issues of low self-esteem and low confidence and they are more likely to feel the urge to move out of their homes. It's only as a person matures that he/she looks at bonding, and the need for physical intimacy increases as there is pressured to behave in a 'manly/ womanly' manner.

As a case in point, let's look at a 17-year-old boy who was depressed and claimed that he already had two sexual encounters with girls of his age. His depression resulted from the fact that his present girlfriend had to undergo an abortion. This weakened their relationship and they couldn't even relate to each other any more.

Cases like this highlight the need to address the issue in a mature manner. Teenagers should be taught to act in a more responsible way. And, parents need to be friends with their children at this age rather than taking an authoritative or passive approach. One needs to discuss the pros and cons of irresponsible sexual behaviour.

Parents should teach their children to be assertive and say 'no' to peers, especially when it involves sex, drugs and alcohol. If youngsters are taught that sex should not be viewed as a means of revenge or to prove a point to one's peers, it will help them develop a healthy attitude towards the opposite sex.

Youngsters should be taught that their behaviour should be out of their own will rather than to compete for attention or to be accepted by a peer group.

Parents should assist their teenage children by helping them find appropriate social groups.
Getting teenagers involved in activities that they are passionate about, like reading, music, sports, etc, their energy can be channelise in a more productive manner.

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