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Delhi Acers owner Sanjay Govil desires to have cricket in US

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Washington: Mixing business with pleasure, Sanjay Govil bought an Indian badminton team, The Delhi Acers, which ended up being crowned the champion of India’s Premier Badminton League.

Now the Indian-American entrepreneur, who hails from Delhi, would like to translate his success mantra to bring cricket to America in a big way.

“It would be really amazing to see players here in the US compared to the greats of the sport across the world,” said Govil, chairman of Infinite, a Silicon Valley computer solutions company he founded with only a $1,000 investment in 1999.

Govil, a “big fan of cricket” who has “played this game my whole life”, joined a recreational cricket league in the American capital forming a team called the Infinite Eagles.

“Cricket has an interesting history in the United States, elbowed out by baseball, but there is a rich cultural history that I’d love to see a start again,” Govil told agencies in an email interview.

“Sports is a great unifier and equalizer,” said Govil, when asked why a successful businessman like him delves into sports.

Working on a team together to accomplish the same goals transcends “race, religion, experience and gender”, he said.

“The idea to merge my passion for sports with business was definitely a mixing of business with pleasure, but I anticipated that it would be a good business decision as well,” said Govil.

He decided to purchase Delhi Acers because he “grew up in Delhi and there is always the sentiment of home team pride”. More importantly, “badminton is rapidly growing to be one of the most popular sports in the global arena.

“Even in a cricket loving nation like India, badminton has gained national interest ever since the badminton league was launched a couple of years back.”

With such growing popularity of the game, Govil “saw it as the perfect chance to put Infinite on a global platform that is outside of the sphere of business.

“This partnership with the league has allowed Infinite to be a part of an international community of sports-loving individuals and has even inspired our employees to adopt a more active and healthy lifestyle.”

As of now, Govil is “completely dedicated to building the legacy of the Delhi Acers team, who are on a roll after having finished in first place in the last season of the Indian Badminton League.

“However, if and when an opportunity like Delhi Acers presents itself, I will certainly be open to the possibility,” he said when asked about his plans for further involvement in sports in India.

“Being involved in the local scene has helped me to connect with my employees in DC in a way that I would not be able to do as quickly in a meeting room.”

Turning to business, Govil said for its Indian clients Infinitely focusses on its “smart and highly integrated” messaging suite of products and platforms that enable “communities to connect across states – at a complete level than what was possible before”.

Another USP of Infinite is its healthcare platform, he said.

“Healthcare is changing and evolving in India – as awareness around health grows our patient centred healthcare platform has remained an important part of the business for our India-based customers.”

Govil said his company was also helping clients bridge the gap between their customers with a faster and more secure background system.

“We are a collaboration tool,” he said. “By having faster go to market speeds, we are able to help our customers stay competitive in over-saturated industries.”

Credits: 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)