India, March 30: On World Bipolar Day, an organisation called Bipolar India celebrated the event by raising awareness about the condition and sharing latest development about the treatment and diagnosis of the condition. The event was attended by health experts as well as patients all who shared their experience of dealing with the condition.
The initiative was taken forward by Vijay Nallawala, whose Bipolar India knits the community together to aid people with the condition and raise awareness about the same.
On the occasion of World Bipolar Day, Nallawala also introduced a new platform which will help the bipolar disorder patient to earn money. The online website, which will be created by Nallawala, will help the Bipolar patients to get a freelance job of their choice and will also help them to showcase their talent.
Nallawala said, “I have experienced myself how the career of Bipolar disorder person suffers. Many patients even now are struggling to balance their career while they are suffering from this disorder. The trust issues between the person who is hiring and the Bipolar person tends to suffers. So to help them earn their livelihood, an online platform will be created which will be like a demand and supply platform. On freelance basis, people can hire the Bipolar person to do a particular job and on the other side the Bipolar person can choose what job he or she will like to do. Through this they can also showcase their talent like playing guitar, writing, making jiggles, photography, dancing, singing, any other talent which the person has and can earn money by using their talent.”
World Bipolar Day celebrated on the birth anniversary of artist Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed with the disorder, is celebrated on March 30. The disorder runs in families and leads to unusual mood shifts.
According to Nallawala, the internet has played a major role to raise awareness about the disorder in the country.
Around 15 million people in the country are suffering from the Bipolar Disorder. But it has not been spoken out in public at large.
“The social media has helped people to come together and communicate with each other about the issue. In India not many people come forward to talk about it. When I started with the Bipolar India, I majorly got responses from the developed countries. But after reading about the blogs, soon many people from India got in touch to share their experiences, talk about the issues they suffer. This is the first time we are celebrating World Bipolar Day to raise awareness about the issue and give a simple solution to one of the issue the Bipolar person suffers,” said, Nallawala.
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.
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.”
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.
“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)