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Exclusive: An Indian Daughter Sold to Sheikh for 2.5 Lakh in Dubai Evacuates

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Heena was threatened that her hands and feets would be chopped off and be thrown away to an untraceable location if she tried to run away from the place

– by Naina Mishra

Chandigarh, May 10, 2017: Every young girl in India fancies of traveling overseas in the wake of fulfilling her hopes. It takes only a passage of deceived time for the travel agents to thwart someone’s coveted dream into the worst nightmare. Human Trafficking is the common sight in India. It is the third largest crime after drugs and arms trade across the globe.

The majority of the trafficking victims are those from the most disadvantaged social strata. And as we take women and girls into the account, the victims are especially the ones from excluded group thus making them vulnerable to the traffickers.If you are born into a poor family, you have a fair chance of being sold and if you are a girl which is born into a poor family then the risk of getting sold increases a thousand folds.

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Every now and then, young naive girls from India are streamed overseas to solicit the Arab clientele. On the similar grounds, such is a story of the brave Heena, 20 from Jalandhar, Punjab who was sold to Sheikh for 2.5 Lakhs. Just like an ordinary lower class girl, she dreamt of a well-appointed life for herself and her family.

Heena broke the silence in front of the public on May 09 in a press conference arranged by the Helping Hapless, an NGO which seeks to evacuate the victims of Human Trafficking from the Arab countries.

Heena is the sole daughter of her parents and was sent to Dubai through a Travel Agent from Jalandhar who took 2.5 lakh from the girl’s parents. She was promised the job of a Dental Assistant in Dubai. However, on reaching Dubai she was shockingly introduced to the hard-hitting truth of trafficking. Heena was kept locked in a room for days by the harbourers and was later sent to the home of Mohammed Abdullah as a domestic helper. She was mauled several times whenever she requested for a break. Heena has bruises all over the skin of the torment she had to face during her stay to the spiteful place.

“I was given the leftover food to eat. They made me work for twenty hours a day and there were times when I used to ask them to give me rest and was beaten straightaway. I was burnt with the electric press every time I asked them for any favor. They told me to pay 2.5 lakhs If I want to be released.” said Heena.

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Heena was threatened that her hands and feets would be chopped off and be thrown away to an untraceable location if she tried to run away from the place. Wretched with circumstances, Heena withdrew all her hopes to see her family ever again in life. One day Heena got her hands on WhatsApp and she then tried to contact her father. She sent all the pictures of her bruises as a proof to let her father know of the miserable condition she has succumbed to at the cost of earning more. Heena’s father then approached to Ms Amanjot Roomawalia, President of NGO Helping Hapless to solicit for help.

Ms. Roomawalia on March 27 wrote to the Indian High Commissioner, Mr Navdeep Suri to help her bring India’s daughter back to her country. Finally, on 28th April, Dubai Police brought Heena back from the clutch of her employer Mohammed Abdullah.

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“There are nearly about 4-5 cases of Human Trafficking being reported every month. And it takes 2-6 months to evacuate the victims.” told the President of NGO to Newsgram.

The situation of Human Trafficking in India is startling and frightful. Thousands of Indians both Men and Women are sold in Arab Countries and are made to live a life of slavery.

Parents think that sending their kids to middle east means a better life in terms of high salary and employment opportunities. However, such is not the case and many fall prey to the traps of false well-acquainted life.

What should be expected from the government is to build tight grounds against the traffickers. A mere justice to the victims take years which is again a question on the hollow system of law and order of the country.

– Reported by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Myanmar Woman May Khine Oo Shares Her Story of Human Trafficking to Prevent other Women from falling into the same trap

The United Nations has described Myanmar as a source country for human trafficking

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Human trafficking in Myanmar
May Khine Oo, 30, stands in front of her family's grocery store in Mon state, Myanmar, July 20, 2017. VOA
  • May Khine Oo was trafficked to China, where she was forced to get married twice
  • She wishes to share her story of human trafficking in a hope to protect other women
  • The International Rescue Committee charity gives her a small daily stipend for living expenses, and a village clinic is providing free checkups for her pregnancy.

Myanmar, August 24, 2017: The nightmare for May Khine Oo started on a trip home to Myanmar but lasted almost 13 years.

After visiting her grandmother in southern Mon state in the country’s southeast, May Khine Oo, 17 at the time, boarded a train for the state capital, Mawlamyine, to return to her parents in Mudon township.

On the train she met a couple who offered her a job, which she refused. She did, however, accept their offer of water, and next thing she knew she had fallen asleep and missed her stop, with no money to get back.

The couple suggested they could find her work to raise the funds needed to pay for a new ticket.

“I decided to accept their job for travel expenses to return home,” May Khine Oo told Myanmar Now, an independent website supported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding that she now thinks the water had been drugged.

The couple took her to a local restaurant where she worked for three months, but instead of taking her back to her parents as promised, they then took her to a broker and she was sent to China.

May Khine Oo said over the next 13 years she was forced to marry twice. She had two children with her first husband and was pregnant from her second marriage when she fled after contacting a student group through the Chinese messaging service WeChat.

“I tried to flee many times, for many years,” she said. “But the foreignness of the communities made it difficult to do so and I was also afraid that my situation would get much worse elsewhere.”

While May Khine Oo’s ordeal is not uncommon, what is unusual is her determination to go public with her story to stop other young girls from falling into the same trap.

Forced to marry

The United Nations has described Myanmar as a source country for human trafficking. Police statistics show that 3,489 victims were rescued from 2006 to 2016, most of whom had been trafficked into marriages.

Also read: Pope Francis: Human trafficking is a Modern Form of Slavery and a True Crime Against Humanity

Prostitution accounted for the second-highest number of cases, followed by forced labor.

Police records show the top destination for trafficking victims from Myanmar is China, although the trade also exists in other countries in Southeast Asia, such as Thailand and Malaysia, and within Myanmar itself.

Myanmar was upgraded in June in the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report to its Tier 2 watch list, which indicated that the country was making significant efforts to comply with U.S. standards to combat human trafficking.

Human rights groups, however, called the move premature, saying not enough was being done to stop this illegal trade.

Human trafficking story of Myanmar woman
May Khine Oo, 30, is pictured in front of her family’s grocery store in Mon state, Myanmar, July 20, 2017. VOA

“Preventive measures against trafficking in persons must be carried out systematically,” he said. “This crime is also happening in this country. But only serious cases are known to the public.”

Myanmar’s government passed a landmark Anti-Trafficking Law in 2005, which laid out hefty sentences for offenders. Cases that proceed to court are rare but have happened.

Myo Aung, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population, said one challenge is providing a strong alternative to the lucrative offers made by brokers.

“Potential victims do not heed education programs about trafficking,” he said. “Instead, they believe the enticements of illegal traffickers. As a result they cannot find help after becoming victims.”

Cautionary tale

On the local level, the fight is often about raising awareness.

Police Major Khin Maung Latt of Yangon’s Pazundaung township recommends a more aggressive approach to the information battle.

He said his officers cooperate with nongovernmental organizations to disseminate pamphlets, using a “door-to-door system.”

“It is more effective than formal educative talks,” he said, adding that residents should inform police if they are approached by brokers. “It is a preventive measure against liars. Prevention is better than the cure.”

Also read: Nepali Woman scales Mt Everest with the message to fight against human trafficking

After her case was reported, May Khine Oo was found by Chinese authorities and handed over to the Myanmar Police Force’s Anti-Trafficking unit in Ruili in China’s Yunnan province.

She moved back to her parents in Mudon, leaving her two children in China, and started to rebuild her life, receiving a grant from the Social Welfare Department to set up a grocery store.

The International Rescue Committee charity gives her a small daily stipend for living expenses, and a village clinic is providing free checkups for her pregnancy.

She has also filed a complaint with the police in the hope that they can find the couple who duped her on the train, and is spreading her own story locally as a cautionary tale.

“I would like to suggest to all parents not to allow their children to travel without close adult family members,” she said. “Using my experience as an example, I tell the girls not to blindly trust others.” (VOA)

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Why are the Arab countries Cutting ties with Qatar?

The ban on Qatar is the result of retribution by Saudi so that Qatari government works on the lines similar to that of Saudis

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Arab Countries
Map of 6 Countries- Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates
  • Four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates– severed their relations with Qatar
  • Saudi wanted to lead the group of six Arab countries, however, Qatar did not support the rationale of the Saudis
  • Qatar publicly disagreed with the US and Saudi in a statement

By Naina Mishra

June 10, 2017:

Background

Four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates– severed their relations with Qatar on Monday over its alleged support of terrorism. The Saudis, the UAE, and Bahrain have given the Qataris two weeks to leave, and only 48 hours for its diplomats to quit. This has resulted in fall of the stock market by 7.2 percent. Qatar is energy-rich country, however, it remains heavily reliant on Saudi Arabia for food and other commodities that are traded across borders.

Last month in May, US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and censured Iran – adversary of Saudi Arabia. An impulsive reaction from a Qatari leader Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani came forward where he questioned U.S. hostility toward Iran and claimed tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The quote from the leader spread widely and induced anger among the Saudis.

Past: Saudi and Qatar Relationship

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which insinuates that the relations were in the mild phase previously. The two countries also share several common geopolitical interests as well. In Syria, both the countries support the rebel groups who want to overthrow Bashar-al- Assad government.

The Bone of Contention: Why was Saudi Arabia fumed at Qatar since 2011?

Rise of Muslim Brotherhood

Saudi Arabia did not support the “Rise of Muslim Brotherhood” which initiated with the ‘Arab Spring’ and fall of Egypt leader back in 2011. Saudi primarily prefers political stability in the Arab nations so that it can use it against Iran. Saudi wanted to lead the group of six Arab countries, however Qatar, unlike UAE and Bahrain, did not support the rationale of the Saudis. Qatar conversely has always supported the rise of Muslim Brotherhood. In 2013, Qatar supported the fall of the draconian regime of Egypt brazenly which infuriated Saudi Arabia and as a result of which the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi cut the diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Gas reserves: Iran and Qatar Relations

There is a great demand for Gas reserves in the present world. Qatar is known to have massive gas reserves. The South Pars/North Dome field is a natural gas condensate field located in the Persian Gulf, which is the world’s largest natural gas field shared between Iran and Qatar. Qatar thus maintains a cordial relation with Iran to extract natural gas under the Iran’s premises.

Animosity Sprouts: Qatar – the world’s Richest Nation

The wealth that followed after export of Natural Gas turned Qatar into the world’s richest nation and the largest LNG exporter. The rising wealth of Qatar envied the neighbouring nations of the country. Qatar began to form their own foreign policies, build warm relations with Iran and support Hezbollah in Israel.  Recently, Qatar invested $2bn in Russia’s state-run oil giant Rosneft. The recent development by the Qatari government maddened Saudi Arabia even more.

ALSO READ: Gulf Countries assure welfare of Large Indian Diaspora amid Qatar Crisis

Donald Trump Effect on the New Development

During the U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, he called on “all nations of conscience” to isolate Iran. Iran is expected to run a nuclear program which is not welcomed by Israel, an ally of US. On the other side, Qatar publicly disagreed with the US and Saudi in a statement which the government later said was a result of hacking.

The ban on Qatar is the result of retribution by Saudi so that Qatari government works on the lines similar to that of Saudis.


–  by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: @Nainamishr94