New Delhi, May 10, 2017: In a bid to curb online child sexual abuse material, the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Tuesday asked all internet service providers (ISPs) to prevent the distribution and transmission of such content into India by adopting and implementing Internet Watch Foundation Resources on or before July 31.
The ministry instructed ISPs having cable landing station gateways or international long distance licenses in India to observe the existing due diligence requirements prescribed by the Central Government under the Information Technology Act, 2000.
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In December 2016, the central government had constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to recommend specific solutions to address the issue of such material online.
“The IMC observed that most of such online CSAM is being hosted outside India and the websites/URLs containing such content are dynamic in nature and frequently changing, making it difficult to identify and block such content. No centralized mechanism exists in India to monitor online CSAM,” the ministry said in a statement.
Globally, there are only a few major resources that provide a dynamic list of websites/URLs identifying such online material, it added.
The committee recommended that till such time a centralised mechanism is built in India to dynamically monitor websites/URLs containing such online materials, the relevant ISP’s in India should adopt and disable/remove the online CSAM dynamically based on the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) list.
IWF has been adopted by many countries and is already being implemented by leading online service providers in other jurisdictions. (IANS)
8th Nov, 2017, Jharkhand:Armed with just water bottles and sticks, a group of poor tribal women in Muturkham village of Purbi Singhbhum district of Jharkhandtrekked miles to the sal forest that surrounded their habitat. Their mission: To save the forest from being plundered and denuded by the “forest mafia”.
Accompanied by just a dog for their safety, these determined women made frequent forays into the deep forest — with which they shared a symbiotic relationship — and have been able, over the years, to successfully conserve 50 hectares of forest land and its flora and fauna deep in the heart of a territory that has also been a battle zone between government forces and left-wing extremists.
This group was brought together by Jamuna Tudu, 37, who has spent the last two decades of her life fighting against deforestation. It was in 1998, after her marriage, that Jamuna took up this challenge of preserving the forest by making villagers develop a stake in it.
Today, her Van Suraksha Samiti (Forest Protection Group) has about 60 active women members who patrol the jungle in shifts thrice a day: Morning, noon and evening. And sometimes even at night, as the mafia set fire to the forests in random acts of vandalism and vengeance.
Jamuna’s fight has not gone unnoticed. The President of India has honoured her conservation efforts.
“Few days after my marriage, when my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and a few other women from the village took me to the forest to cut wood and get it to cook food, I felt that if we keep cutting the trees this way, all our forests will be wiped out,” Jamuna recalled to IANS in an interview.
In her quest, she had to battle against the mafia that was chopping down trees for their precious sal timber with complete disregard for the law or the tribal tradition that prohibits cutting of the trees.
Realising that she would get little help from authorities, who may well have been hand in glove with the mafia, she took matters in her own hands. She spoke to a few women of the village who were quite aghast at the task she had taken on. We won’t do it; this will require us to fight the men in the village, they told her.
But Jamuna, who has studied up to Class X, foresaw a bleak green-less future for herself and her community with no trees and forests to sustain or protect them.
‘Jungle nahi rahega toh paryavaran kaise bachega (how will we protect the environment if the forest is destroyed)?’ she asked.
Jamuna’s clear understanding of the issue soon trickled down to the other women and even men in her village.
“I was brought up with a love and respect for nature. My father used to plant numerous trees in our farms in Odisha. That’s where I learnt the importance of the environment,” she said.
Pointing out how the mafia was exploiting the wood from Muturkham to fund their alcohol needs, she said she was bewildered by the passive response of the community at their habitat being slowly destroyed.
“I went on to speak to a few women in the village. I held a meeting with them several times to be able to convince them that we needed to protect our beautiful forests,” she said.
Gradually, she mobilised a group of 25 women from the village and armed them with bows and arrows, bamboo sticks and spears, they marched into the forest to take on the forest predators.
With time, many men also became part of the campaign against deforestation, but most of the effort has continued to be from women, said Jamuna.
There are many daunting challenges that came their way, but their single-minded dedication towards their cause kept them going.
“There were too many altercations with the village people initially.. many scuffles with the mafia… and I told those women that in this journey, we would come across both good and bad times, but we have to struggle to keep the forest,” said Jamuna.
The group convinced the railway authorities to bar the plundered wood from being exported.
“Some time in 2008-09, we were brutally attacked by the mafia,” she said.
“They pelted stones at us while we were coming back from the railway station after speaking to the station master. Everybody got injured,” she added.
For obvious reasons, Jamuna, the woman whose initiatives were hampering their business, was their main target. She and her husband suffered most in the assault.
“My husband got hit on his head as he tried to save me. It was dark and we somehow managed to run away. We narrowly escaped death that day.” But she did not give up.
Over 15 years of many fierce encounters with the mafia and relentless sensitisation of the community, Jamuna, and the Van Suraksha Samiti that she formed, have succeeded in protecting and conserving the 50 hectares of forest land not just surrounding her village, but around many others as well.
Tribal communities cannot survive without wood. They need it for various things — mostly to cook food. But they ensure that their requirements remain within sustainable limits.
“We don’t cut trees on purpose any more and use the fallen trees and branches for all our needs,” Jamuna said. “The amount we are able to save up during the rains is sufficient for the whole year.”
The Forest Department has “adopted” her village, which has led to Muturkham getting a water connection and a school.
In 2013, Jamuna was conferred with the Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award in the ‘Acts of Social Courage’ category and this year in August, she was awarded with Women Transforming India Award by the NITI Aayog.
Today, she runs awareness campaigns through various forest committees in Kolhan Division. Around 150 committees formed by Jamuna, comprising more than 6,000 members, have joined her movement to save the forests.
She wants to do a lot more. “I wish to do a lot… to make a lot more difference, but I am bound by limited resources. I can’t in many ways afford to go beyond the villages in my state.”
But if I get more support, many more forests like ours can be saved, she declared.
(This feature is part of a special series that seeks to bring unique and extraordinary stories of ordinary people, groups and communities from across a diverse, plural and inclusive India, and has been made possible by a collaboration between IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation. Mudita Girotra can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Around 53 per cent children in India face sexual abuse. In India, at least 10 children are sexually abused daily. Thus there is an urgent need to address the problem. This is what the Safe Childhood Safe India campaign is all about.
October 2, 2017: Sexual Exploitation of Children is one of the leading concerns for authorities in India. Around 53 per cent children in India face sexual abuse. In India, at least 10 children are sexually abused daily. Thus there is an urgent need to address the problem. This is what the Safe Childhood Safe India campaign is all about.
A national level walkathon has been organized in Indore in order to bring to light the devastating situation in our country relating to sexual abuse of Children. This walk has been termed as the “Bharat Yatra” undertaken with the initiative ‘Bachpan Surakshit, Bharat Surakshit’ (Safe Childhood, Safe India) and is taking place on October 3, 2017. The rally organized by the crucial partner for the event, ‘Young Indians (Yi)’ will commence from Khandawa Road, DAVV Campus at 9:30 pm and will end at Holkar Science College. Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Prize Winner for Peace will address the crowd after the rally has concluded. It is his foundation which has launched the safety walk.
Young Indians (Yi) is a part of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) which is non-government, not for profit organization which has played an integral role in the development of India. It was developed in 2002 with a vision to help the young people of India to realize and develop their potential.
As told by Pooja Bhatt of Yi, “As a part of their 100 million campaign activities in India, the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) has launched the “Bharat Yatra” in order to promote the concept of safe childhood for a safe nation. She furthered explained the objective of the campaign which was to break the silence that surrounded the sexual exploitation of the children and to urge the authorities to protect the children all over the country. This walk also provides support to the already exploited children and spreads awareness that they are not alone and encourages them to lead a normal life. This march was started off on September 11 and is to be continued until October 16. It is primarily being led by Kailash Satyarthi and is spread across 22 states and union territories of the country. The reach out level of this really is more than 10 million people and this includes the government officials and decision makers at it topmost level.
Some of Yi’s other work in the field of prevention of sexual exploitation of children include the launching of project MASOOM. This project was launched by Kailash Satyarthi nationally on 12th March 2017. This project involved spreading awareness about child sexual abuse among the teachers and parents by conducting various workshops and seminars. Yi also visited various schools to educate the children about safe and unsafe touch. They organized various public rallies and campaigns to make the general public aware as well.
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’.
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”.
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.
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.