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Indian designers wish to see Britain’s couple in Indian attire

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 New Delhi: Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton are set for their maiden visit to India on April 10, and Indian designers are hoping that they add an Indian element to their classy dressing style.

Whether it is about using any indigenous crafts of India, choosing traditional saris or even dresses in Indian weaves, designers would like to see the uber stylish Duchess of Cambridge in something close to the country’s heritage.

In fact, she seemed to have made quite a ‘diplomatically’ impressive decision when she chose to wear an India-born designer’s creation when she had to welcome Indian and Bhutanese expats who live, work and study in Britain to Kensington Palace in London.

British royal couple to attend Bollywood gala in Mumbai

As for Prince William, Indian designers feel he would carry off a tussar tuxedo or a Nehru jacket with panache.

Ace designer Ritu Beri, who was among the first Indians to storm the catwalks of Paris over two decades ago, feels the good looking couple that they are, “she’d love to give them a modern flavour with an Indian touch” in clothes.

“I would definitely dress up Kate in a bright colour but without embroidery. To Prince William, I would give a Nehru jacket,” Beri told IANS.

Rahul Mishra, another name in the Indian fashion Industry who is doing wonders globally and is a regular on the Paris runway, wants to pick some pieces from his recent showcasing in Paris for Kate Middleton.

“I would like to dress the Duchess of Cambridge in beautiful bandhini in the form of western deconstructed kurta kind of look from my recent Paris show,” Mishra told IANS, adding that the idea behind choosing bandhini is because she is coming to India and it’s a very Indian craft”.

Mishra considers Kate “a breath of fresh air as a style icon”.

Designer Samant Chauhan, who works extensively with Bhagalpuri silk in his creations, would like the royal couple to add some silk to their wardrobe in India.

“I would suggest Kate Middleton a Bhagalpuri silk sari with nice jacket style blouse as I feel she is very classy and her personality oozes elegance. For Prince William, a tuxedo in tussar silk fabric in dark brown shade with plain white shirt and nice pocket square will work really well,” Chauhan told IANS.

A long and slim skirt in an ivory or cream with tone on tone hand embroidery can also look great on Kate, says designer Payal Jain.

“This could be highlighted with precious detailing like pearls and shells. It will be subtle and delicate. It can be teamed with a structured silk jacket, just covering the waist. The neck could be diving to allow for a simple pearl strand but, devoid of any embroidery,” she told IANS.

For Prince William, a taste of the local culture would be appropriate, Jain said, adding: “I would dress him in a black cashmere herringbone bandhgala suit. The fabric itself is exquisite and rich and does not need any embellishment. The lining could be vibrant, inspired by the age-old pashmina shawls of India.”

After flying to Mumbai on April 10, the royal couple will travel to New Delhi on April 11. They will be in Assam on April 12 and 13 to visit the Kaziranga National Park and pay tribute to the rural traditions of the communities who live around the park.

The royal couple will travel on April 14 to the neighboring Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and return on April 16 to Agra for a visit to the Taj Mahal, a Unesco World Heritage monument, at the conclusion of their two-nation tour. (IANS)

 

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Across Asia’s Borders, Survivors Of Human Trafficking, Dial in for Justice

The trial has been ongoing since 2013

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Tara Khokon Miya is seen in her village home in Shipur, Bangladesh, Feb. 26, 2018. She is helping to prepare her 27-year-old daughter to testify via videoconferencing technology against the men who trafficked her to India.
Tara Khokon Miya is seen in her village home in Shipur, Bangladesh, Feb. 26, 2018. She is helping to prepare her 27-year-old daughter to testify via videoconferencing technology against the men who trafficked her to India. VOA

When Neha Maldar testified against the traffickers who enslaved her as a sex worker in India, she spoke from the safety of her own country, Bangladesh, via videoconferencing, a technology that could revolutionize the pursuit of justice in such cases.

The men in the western city of Mumbai appeared via video link more than 2,000 km (1,243 miles) west of Maldar as she sat in a government office in Jessore, a major regional hub for sex trafficking, 50 km from Bangladesh’s border with India.

“I saw the people who had trafficked me on the screen and I wasn’t scared to identify them,” Maldar, who now runs a beauty parlor from her home near Jessore, told Reuters. “I was determined to see them behind bars.”

“I told them how I was beaten for refusing to work in the brothel in the beginning and how the money I made was taken away,” she said, adding that she had lied to Indian authorities about her situation after being rescued, out of fear.

Thousands of people from Bangladesh and Nepal — mainly poor, rural women

and children — are lured to India each year by traffickers who promise good jobs but sell them into prostitution or domestic servitude, anti-slavery activists say.

Activists hope the safe, convenient technology could boost convictions. A Bangladeshi sex trafficker was jailed for the first time in 2016 on the strength of a victim’s testimony to a court in Mumbai via video link from Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital.

Convictions for cross-border trafficking in the region are rare as most victims choose not to pursue cases that have traditionally required them to testify in Indian courts, which meant staying in a shelter for the duration of the trial.

“They have always wanted to go back home, to their families,” said Shiny Padiyara, a legal counsel at the Indian charity Rescue Foundation that has facilitated videoconferencing cases and runs shelters for trafficking victims. “And most never return to testify.”

But videoconferencing is making it easier to pursue justice. Survivors have given statements, identified their traffickers, and been cross examined in at least 10 other ongoing international cases in Bangladesh, advocates said.

“Enabling victims to testify via video conference will lead to a possible decrease in acquittal rates for want of prime witnesses,” said Adrian Phillips of Justice and Care, a charity that supports the use of video testimony to help secure justice.

Even then, it is tough. During Maldar’s three-hour deposition, she withstood a tough cross-examination, showed identity documents to prove her age and countered allegations by the defense lawyer that she was lying about her identity.

Students Combat Human Trafficking
Students Combat Human Trafficking, flickr

‘Unpardonable’

Tara Khokon Miya is preparing her 27-year-old daughter to testify against the men who trafficked her to India from Dhaka, where she had been working in a garment factory.

“I almost lost my daughter forever,” she said, sitting in her home in Magura, less than 50 km from Jessore, describing how she disappeared after work and was taken to a brothel in India, and raped and beaten for almost a year before being rescued.

“What the traffickers did to my daughter was unpardonable,” Miya said, wiping her tears. “We seek justice. I nurtured her in my womb and can’t describe what it felt like to not know about her whereabouts.”

The trial has been ongoing since 2013 when the young woman, who declined to be named, was repatriated. The charity Rights Jessore is helping the family through the process, by providing counseling and rehearsing cross-examination.

“The best thing is her father will be by her side when she talks in court,” Miya said, finally breaking into a smile.

India signed a bilateral agreement with Bangladesh in 2015 to ensure faster trafficking investigations and prosecutions, and with Nepal in 2017, and laid down basic procedures to encourage the use of videoconferencing in court proceedings.

“The procedure is very transparent,” said judge K M Mamun Uzzaman at Jessore courthouse, which often converts its conference hall into a courtroom for videoconferencing cases to protect survivors’ privacy.

“I’m usually present and victims are able to testify confidently … it is easy and cost effective for us,” he said. “But the biggest beneficiaries are the survivors.”

Silencing Victims
Silencing Victims, pixabay

The future

Videoconferencing in Bangladesh has been plagued by technical glitches such as power cuts and poor connections.

“Sometimes the internet connection is weak or it gets disconnected during the testimony,” said Binoy Krishna Mallick head of Rights Jessore, a pioneer in using this technology to encourage trafficking survivors to pursue justice. “But these are just teething troubles.”

The bigger challenge, activists say, is to ensure survivors remain committed to the trial despite delays caused by a backlog of cases and witnesses’ failure to appear to testify.

Swati Chauhan, one of the first judges to experiment with video testimony in 2010, is convinced that technology can eliminate many of these hurdles.

Also read: Imagining Panun Kashmir: Dissent And Detente in South Asia

“Victims go through a lot of trauma, so it is natural that they don’t want to confront their trafficker in a court — but that doesn’t mean they don’t want the trafficker to be punished,” she said. “A videoconference requires meticulous planning and it is not easy coordinating between departments and countries. But it is the future for many seeking justice.” (VOA)