Sunday December 17, 2017

Here is why no-one offers helping hand in India if you meet with an accident

In a 2013 survey, the SaveLIFE foundation found that around 74% of Indians were unlikely to help an accident victim, whether alone or with other bystanders

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A car accident in Rabindra Sadan Area, Kolkata. Image source: Wikipedia
  • Supreme Court named road accidents a ‘National Emergency’
  • Onlookers are hesitant to help victims due to fear of wrongful police custody of hefty medical fees
  • SaveLIFE, founded by Piyush Tewari, is a pioneering organisation to address the issue of road rage

In a country with the world’s most densely populated roads and notorious rash driving, road accidents are not too uncommon. In conditions like these, it falls upon pedestrians and bystanders to help the victims of road accidents with utter promptness and empathy.

Even as people bleed to death on the roads crying desperately for help, onlookers show sheer apathy in not helping them. In some cases, they gather around and then continue looking, but that does not help any better. When interviewed, the foremost reason most of these people mention is that they don’t want to involve themselves in unwanted criminal cases. The policemen more, more often than not, assume people help road victims out of guilt. Apart from this, there are concerns that they may be trapped as potential victims in court cases, or the hospital may force them to pay hefty medical fees to save the victim.

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Road rage is becoming a growing worriment in India, especially with a fast growing population and cut throat traffic on the streets.

  • 1 million lives have been lost on roads in India in the past decade
  • 20 children lose their lives everyday, thanks to road accidents
  • 15 people are killed every day owing to road accidents in India
  • 5 million people have been seriously injured in the last decade
  • 3 percent of its annual GDP is lost by India on road accidents
road accidents
SLF model for SaveLIFE

SaveLIFE foundation is a powerful non-governmental organization committed to improving road safety and emergency care services across India. Piyush Tewari, a social activist who founded this organization, was deeply moved by his 17 year old cousin’s death 10 years ago. An immense research commenced following this incident, which finally ended up in the setup of SaveLIFE.

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In a 2013 survey, the foundation found that around 74% of Indians were unlikely to help an accident victim, whether alone or with other bystanders. This number is staggeringly high, and to encourage people to begin reaching out to authorities in road cases, The Supreme Court was approached. In 2013, The Supreme Court labeled road rage as a ‘National Emergency’.

Today, these bystanders, who want to help the victims of road accidents but are reluctant to do so on grounds of undue involvement, have legal protection from the Supreme Court. A few guidelines were issued such as:

  • allowing those who call for emergency services about a road crash to retain anonymity
  • forbidding hospitals from demanding payment from an onlooker who takes an injured person to hospital
  • providing them with protection from criminal liability

Piyush Tewari’s actions have helped lots of road rage cases, but like the apex court said, this is indeed a National Emergency, and until we start targeting the general mentalities of people towards social help, little can be changed through legal help.

-by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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  • devika todi

    i have heard of many such accidents myself, where the onlookers do nothing to help. when an accident occurs, the first few hours are critical. help should be provided by all. it can lead to the difference between life and death.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This happens because the onlookers are then troubled by the police later while investigating

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    However, it is first duty to help someone in need. Spread awareness for kindness sake!

  • devika todi

    i have heard of many such accidents myself, where the onlookers do nothing to help. when an accident occurs, the first few hours are critical. help should be provided by all. it can lead to the difference between life and death.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This happens because the onlookers are then troubled by the police later while investigating

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    However, it is first duty to help someone in need. Spread awareness for kindness sake!

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Triple Talaq Ban in India: Union Cabinet Passes Bill Making the Practice a Criminal Offence

The BMMA celebrates its victory over the much-debated practice of instant divorce

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Muslim women are often victims of triple talaq, in spite of the ban
Muslim women are often victims of triple talaq, in spite of the ban, VOA News
  • Supreme court had ruled that the practice of triple talaq as illegal in August 2017.
  • On December 15, the Union Cabinet passed a bill which would make it a criminal offence
  • .The bill recommends a sentence of imprisonment for three years in case of a violation.
  • The bill also makes provisions for “subsistence allowance” for the women divorced through triple talaq.

On December 15, the Union Cabinet of India cleared a draft legislation, which would make the controversial practice of triple talaq a criminal offence in India, a violation of which may result in imprisonment for a period of three years for the husband. The recently approved bill, deemed as the ‘Muslim Women’s Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’, was framed by a group of ministers including the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and the Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, and was headed by the Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

What is triple talaq

The practice of triple talaq, or talaq-e-biddat, is a Islamic ritual through which a man might divorce his wife by uttering the word ‘talaq’, that is, the Arabic word for ‘divorce’, three times. The controversial practice, which dates back to Islamic scriptures of the 8th century AD, was a common one among the Muslim population in India, often enacted through letters, emails, text messages, Skype and Whatsapp.

The Supreme Court of India bans the practice of triple talaq
The practice of triple talaq still continues, in spite of the ban, VOA News

Triple Talaq Ban

On August 22, 2017, the Supreme Court of India had banned the archaic practice of triple talaq, after a long and hard legal battle fought by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), also known as the Indian Muslim Women’s Movement. “Triple talaq is against the basic tenets of the Holy Quran and consequently, it violates Shariat … What is held to be bad in the Holy Quran cannot be good in Shariat and, in that sense, what is bad in theology is bad in law as well,” they had declared, making India the 23rd nation to ban the practice of unilateral divorce, after Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Many non-governmental Islamic organizations, along with certain clerics had opposed the verdict, on the grounds that it was an infringement of their right to religion, which is ensured by Article 25 of the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court, however, had decided to uphold Article 14 of the Constitution, which grants every citizen equality before the law. The verdict had met with mixed reactions among the people of India, attracting applause as well as apprehension all over the country.

The Supreme Court of India bans the practice of triple talaq
Women can now demand subsistence allowance for themselves and minor children, VOA News

However, in spite of the Supreme Court verdict, there have been reports of instant divorces performed through the process of oral declaration, as many continued to ignore the various advisories issued by the government.
The new bill approved by the government also makes provisions for Muslim Women to demand “subsistence allowance” for herself and her minor children from her husband, in case she feels victimised by the now illegal practice of triple talaq.

 

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Veerappan: India’s most wanted

Veerappan was hunted by the police for over four decades, making it the longest man-hunt in India

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Veerappan was a smuggler, poacher, murderer and extortionist who was killed in Operation Cocoon
Veerappan in his heyday, He was killed via Operation Cocoon
  • Veerappan was a smuggler of ivory and sandalwood in the southern states of India.
  • He killed government officials and civilians alike when they tried to stop his illegal activities.
  • He died in October 2004 during ‘Operation Cocoon’, which was carried out by a Special Task Force.

Poaching, smuggling, extortion, smuggling, brigandry, murder — these are some of the few charges against Koose Munisamy Veerappan Gounder, popularly known as Veerappan, for whom was constituted India’s largest manhunt, on which the government spent around 1.5 million Rupees. From his childhood, narratives about the elusive dacoit were laced with fiction, as he became an object of myth when he was only ten years old, and had infamously shot his first tusker elephant for ivory. His notoriety became a national concern when the government banned ivory trade in India, and he began felling trees for precious sandalwood, thus beginning a period marred by Veerappan killing government officials and locals alike when they became an obstacle.

Veerappan unleashed a reign of terror on the southern states of India from the early 1980s till his death in 2004; during which Veerappan killing police officers and civilians alike caused a nationwide uproar. In 1990, the notorious smuggler had beheaded a forest officer K. Srinivas, which wasn’t recovered until three years later. In 2000, he had kidnapped the Kannada actor K. Rajkumar, whose release was negotiated through Nakkeeran editor Gopal, to whom the infamous poacher admitted to murdering as many as 120 people. Matters came to a head when   abducted the former Karnataka minister H. Nagappa in 2002, and killed him when his demands were not met.

Operation Cocoon:

Veerappan leading his gang in moily forest,
Veerappan leading his gang in Moily forest. Wikimedia

A Special Task Force or STF was constituted for the capture of Veerappan in 1991, which, headed by K. Vijay Kumar, launched Operation Cocoon in 2004, which finally resulted in Veerappan’s death. Kumar, aided by his previous experience with Veerappan, based Operation Cocoon on human intelligence and interaction, during which multiple STF personnel blended in with the locals in areas frequented by Veerappan. The initial stages of Operation Cocoon consisted of gaining the trust of Veerappan’s associates, till they started divulging details about his failing health. In the years before his death, the elusive outlaw seemed to have lost much of his vigour and vitality, as he suffered from diabetes, and a cataract had almost blinded him in one eye.
On 18th October, 2004, the police lured Veerappan out of familiar terrains in an ambulance, and apprehended him at a roadblock, where he was killed in the crossfire between his team and the STF, via three bullets. The photographs after Veerappan’s demise show him in a pathetic light, bereft of his signature handlebar moustache, and the agility which had facilitated his escape for over four decades.

There have been a lot of controversies regarding his death, as many media houses and activists have claimed that Operation Cocoon has derived Veerappan of a fair trial by law. Some have even claimed that he was tortured to death in police custody. The facts regarding the elusive sandalwood smuggler remain inconclusive even after a decade of his death, due to the lack of concrete evidence.

 

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Rise of PM Modi and roar of subversive forces

To counter PM Modi opposition leaders are desperately getting aligned with anti-India forces

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Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Wikimedia commons)

– By Salil Gewali

If your son makes friendship with the difficult and longtime enemies of your own family/clan then how do you describe him and how do you feel about your future? Will it not be likely to open the door to countless tragedies? But in India, such thing is now being openly celebrated. For past couple of years or more the political leaders of certain parties have been taking the wrong step forward in having closed-door meetings with the leaders of Pakistan/China. What transpires among themselves is obviously against the present government and the nation’s fundamental ethos. Those leaders have often been heard to be sympathetic towards the terrorists or those who “roar against the nation” or against its patriotic values. Yes, those leaders jump forward to defend them who wreak havoc with the “peaceful citizens”.   Some leaders are apologetic that certain NGOs/media/religious bodies should not be harassed in the name of fighting the terrorists and ISIS. This is how country’s leaders defend the dangerous postures of dangerous outfits. Will this trend not invite greater troubles to the nation in future?

One wonders how the apex judiciary of the country just allow the political parties to pour out their pent-up anger before the leaders of neighbouring countries who are always aggressively in the combative mood. Why is the Supreme Court silent on such blatant subversive activities?

Very recently, one senior leader of the national party even scoffed at Prime Minister Modi by calling him a depraved being “Neech”. What are the criteria for one being morally low? Has PM Modi fallen short any standards of the integrity since he works sincerely hard and formulates innovative plans and schemes for the greater welfare of the nation? Well, has he not been constitutionally elected by the people of this country? Why the media is less aggressive and more defensive for those “transgressors” who wield daggers behind the cloak.

Whatsoever be the political dispensation at the center, such open rebellion against the government will not augur well for the nation and its 1.25 billion citizens.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter Handle @SGewali