Archive for January, 2008

On Wednesday, Jan 30, 2008. CNNIBN reported about the news about the dowry

” In a shocking case of dowry harassment, a Chennai-based woman was forced to flee from US and take refuge with her family in Tamil Nadu. Muthumari Bhadrinath says she escaped her husband’s torture after eight years of marriage.

Finally in the safety of her family, the 38-year-old has now filed a complaint with the Chennai police.

“He abused me physically, beat me for 15-20 minutes daily. He bit me on my hands. When I requested him to take me to a doctor, he took me there and told the doctor it was a bee bite,” she says.

With no help in America, she flew back to Chennai, leaving her four-year-old daughter behind. She says her daughter suffers from a heart disease.

Now, with the help of Congress leader Jayanthi Natarajan, Muthumari is beginning her fight to get her daughter back.

“I’m going to definitely move that embassies of all countries should have a hotline number where women of Indian origin can contact them if they’re in trouble and seek help,” says Natarajan.

The Chennai police say say they have contacted Muthumari’s husband in the United States and will file an FIR.”

 Even tolerating for eight years was too much. Such cases should be reported immediately.


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Is India a safe place for foreigners?

On Jan 23, 2008, in New Delhi, The Times of India newspaper reported about the news below:

” ‘Incredible India’, which saw over 5 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2007, seems to have become a scary place for women travellers due to a “spate” of sexual attack cases.

But tour operators and other players in this booming sector say the “complete story” is very different. Tourism secretaries of all states would be meeting here on Thursday to discuss the “problem.”

Signals from Pushkar in Rajasthan, which reported two of these recent rapes, however, indicate the ‘holy hamlet’ is in the midst of an “excellent” season this year with the monthly foreign arrivals hovering between 7,000 and 8,000.

“In the first incident, the American woman has withdrawn the (rape) case. The second is confounding as the foreigner filed a rape case eight days after the incident. She went for a trip to Bikaner from Pushkar and, curiously, her Canadian companion was present in the hotel room when the rape was committed,” said a Rajasthan tourism official.

His contention was that many foreigners, including women, stay on in Pushkar for months and often get friendly with the locals, so much so that some even marry Indians.

Similar marriages have been reported from Bodh Gaya in Bihar, another favourite destination of foreigners. “Most of these are not clear-cut sexual assault cases. Each incident should be thoroughly probed. In many cases, consent is involved. Pushkar has nearly 150 small and medium hotels. Very often, local social dynamics plays a role,” he argued.

A Delhi tour operator said an overwhelming majority of tourists from abroad arrive on a shoestring or economy package, and only some opt for five-star hospitality. Drinking and socializing is common and the more enterprising enjoy the easy availability of contraband drugs in India. “

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On Jan 11, 2008, The Statesman reported about a housewife who was molested by a doctor.

” A housewife, Mrs Shilpi Dhali, brought molestation and harassment charges against a doctor here today. The alleged victim has registered a complaint with the Human Rights Commission seeking and has also informed the Islampur SDO, Mr Jagdish Meena, and the superintendent of Islampur sub-division hospital, Dr Prakash Barui. Mrs Dhali of Sahapur under the Goalpokhar police station area of North Dinajpur district developed breast tumour and was in consultation with Dr Bidyut Biswas. He advised her to meet him in his house. When she visited him,                               Dr Biswas molested her. “

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On Jan 11, 2008, in Kolkata, The Yahoo news reported about the new below:

” India (Reuters) – Authorities in eastern India have teamed up with prostitutes as the officials accelerate a drive against the trafficking of girls into the trade.

A rehabilitated sex worker cleans her son in front of her one room house in the red light district of Kalighat in Kolkata January 4, 2008. Authorities in eastern India have teamed up with prostitutes as the officials accelerate a drive against the trafficking of girls into the trade. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal  

It is a rare display of official approval for the efforts of prostitutes in West Bengal’s Sonagachhi area, one of Asia’s largest red-light districts.In the past year alone a prostitutes’ organization has rescued more than 550 women and girls from brothels and from traffickers, the state’s social welfare department officials said.

“The state government had no choice but to join hands with the sex workers as they seem to be doing a better job in tackling trafficking,” said Samarajit Jana, an official from India‘s AIDS control program, which helps run the project.

Younger girls are usually helped to get back to their home village. Adults are usually given housing and job training.

“I was kidnapped and forced to entertain old men, but now all that is past as I am trying to make a new beginning in life,” said Anjali, a 16-year-old girl who was rescued last month by prostitutes from one of the brothels crammed into Sonagacchi’s crowded maze of alleyways.

Anjali is among hundreds of poor girls shifted to one of six new government-sponsored rescue centers across the state. They learn embroidery and sewing among other crafts.

This has been possible after the government formed an alliance last month with the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya (DMSC), an organization founded in 1995 that now represents 65,000 sex workers in West Bengal.

DMSC focuses its rescue efforts on minors entering the trade and those who were deceived into joining it.

“We have realized that we are the most effective weapon against this social evil that forces minor girls into sex trade,” said Bharati Dey, a former prostitute, who leads the campaign.

At least 20,000 women and girls are kidnapped and forced into prostitution in India every year, the government said.

Many pass through West Bengal on their way to Mumbai, Delhi and other cities in India, as well as the United Arab Emirates, police said.

Most of these girls are from India’s northeast and neighboring Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, they said.

In India, trafficking and profiting by selling a person for sex is illegal, but paying for sex with an adult prostitute is not.

India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development wants to change the laws to allow police take stern action against clients, but critics have stalled the plan.

Prostitutes and groups working with them fear such a move would force the trade deeper into the shadows.

The DMSC now plans to spread its campaign across the state and elsewhere in India. ”

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 On Jan 12, 2008, in New Delhi, ExpressIndia reported the news about the school principal held for attempt to rape an eight year old girl.

” The principal of a private school in Maujpur in North-east Delhi was arrested on Saturday for attempting rape on an eight-year-old student. Police said that the accused, Chandra Kethu Nirala (60), however, denied the charge.

Police officials said that Nirala was arrested after the victim’s father registered a complaint with Bhajanpura Police. The victim Sheela (name changed) is a third standard student at Hi Tech Model Public School.

“After coming back from school on Friday evening, the girl told her mother that the principal called her to his room after lunch hour. He made her sit on his lap and touched her private parts,” a senior police official said.

Sheela’s mother told her husband about the incident the next morning, who, alongwith some men barged into the school, pulled the principal out and beat him up before handing him to the police. “A case of attempt to rape and outraging the modesty of a girl has been registered against the principal and he has been arrested. We are investigating the matter,” DCP, NorthEast, Jaspal Singh told Newsline. Nirala will be produced in court on Sunday morning.

A police officer said that Nirala worked with BSES till a few years ago, but was terminated on charges of corruption. He later started the school, the officer added. ”

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Woman dies because of dowry

On Jan 13, 2008, The Times of India reported about the death of woman because of dowry.

”  A 24-year-old woman was allegedly killed by her in-laws for not fulfilling their demand of dowry. The incident was reported in Ghazipur police circle in the state capital on Friday.

The police claimed that the victim was identified as Rita. According to the report lodged by the police in the matter, the father of deceased Rita, Krishna Kumar accused his daughter’s father-in-law Natha Ram, husband Mukesh Kumar, brother-in-laws Manoj Kumar and his wife Manju, Vijay Kumar and his wife Puja and Mohit Kumar for killing his daughter Rita as she was not able to meet their demand of a car and one lakh rupees as dowry.

The report lodged with the police states that the victim was being tortured by her in-laws after her marriage on January 29 last year. The police have lodged a complaint in the matter against all the accused and are conducting investigations into the matter.

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 On Jan 05, 2008, The NewYork Times reported the news about the outsourcing the wombs:

“The legal issues in the United States are complicated, having to do with that the surrogate mother still has legal rights to that child until they sign over their parental rights at the time of the delivery. Of course, and there’s the factor of costs. For some couples in the United States surrogacy can reach up to $80,000.”

This was “Julie,” an American thirtysomething who’d come to India to pay a poor village woman to bear her baby. She went on:

“You have no idea if your surrogate mother is smoking, drinking alcohol, doing drugs. You don’t know what she’s doing. You have a third-party agency as a mediator between the two of you, but there’s no one policing her in the sense that you don’t know what’s going on.”

Would you want this woman owning your womb?

” The Indian surrogate mothers quoted along with Julie in a report on American Public Media’s “Marketplace” on NPR last week didn’t much appear troubled by that kind of thought. After all, the money they were earning for their services — $6,000 to $10,000 – might have been a pittance compared to what surrogates in the United States might earn, but it was still, for their families, the equivalent of 10 to 15 years of normal income.

They couldn’t hear Julie speaking in her awful, entitled tone. And if they had, would they have cared? “From the money I earn as a surrogate mother, I can buy a house,” said Nandani Patel, via a translator. “It’s not possible for my husband to earn more as he’s not educated and only earns $50 a month.”

We, however, can hear the imperious tone, so much more audible in radio than in the troubling print reports that have surfaced lately on Indian surrogate mothers’ “wombs for rent.” And we should care about how things sound.

Because what’s going on in India – where surrogacy is estimated now to be a $445-million-a-year business — feels like a step toward the kind of insane dehumanization that filled the dystopic fantasies of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale.” (One “medical tourism” website, PlanetHospital.com, refers to the Indian surrogate mother as a mere “host.”) Images of pregnant women lying in rows, or sitting lined up, belly after belly, for medical exams look like industrial outsourcing pushed to a nightmarish extreme. 

I say “feels like” and “look like” because I can’t quite bring myself to the point of saying “is.” And in this, I think, I am right in the mainstream of American thought on the topic of surrogate motherhood.

Unlike in France, where commercial surrogacy is banned, or in Italy, where almost every form of assisted reproduction is now illegal, laws in the United States are highly ambivalent on this most drastic use of reproductive technology. Commercial surrogacy is legal in some states, illegal in others and regulated differently everywhere, and little that’s clear and conclusive about where a birth mother’s rights to a baby end and where the fee-paying mother’s rights begin.

Perhaps that’s all as it should be – murky, ambiguous and confused. The confusion, at least, acknowledges that there is more to the process of carrying a baby and giving birth to it than being an incubator on legs. It acknowledges that there are physiological and psychological factors that bind a mother and baby together at birth and a violence — perhaps temporary, perhaps not — that is done to each of them if you sever that unique bond.

“The human body is not lent out, is not rented out, is not sold,” France’s highest court ruled back in 1991, when it outlawed surrogate motherhood. In the United States, lip service has long been paid to the notion that women can’t be instrumentalized as baby-making machines. Indeed, one of the ways that surrogacy survives here is under cover of the fiction that the women who bear other women’s babies do so not for the money – which would be degrading – but because they “love to be pregnant.”

But our rules of decency seem to differ when the women in question are living in abject poverty, half a world away. Then, selling one’s body for money is not degrading but empowering. And the transaction is not outsourcing of the basest nature – not modern-day wet-nursing taken to the nth degree – but a good deal for everyone concerned. “There’s nothing wrong in this,” Priyanka Sharma, another surrogate, concluded the Marketplace segment. “We give them a baby and they give us much-needed money. It’s good for them and for us.”

In its perverse way, surrogacy does seem to bring a measure of empowerment to the poor Indian women who take part in it. Dr. Nayna Patel, the director of a popular clinic that draws dozens of poor rural women as surrogates every year, houses them and provides them with constant monitoring and medical care, told Marie Claire magazine last summer that she takes steps to ensure that each woman who contracts with her as a surrogate keeps control of her money afterwards. “If she wants to buy a house, we’ll hold her money for her until she’s ready. Or if she wants to put it in an account for her children, we’ll go with her to the bank to set up the account in her name,” she said.

Which brings us back to the fertile question of the “feels like” rather than the “is.” In an awful world, where many women are in awful circumstances, how do you single out for condemnation an awful-seeming transaction that yields so much life betterment?

Being infertile when you deeply desire a baby is one of those heartbreaking, life-altering trials that an outsider to the experience cannot begin to appreciate; I appreciate that. Adoption is complicated; just how fatally complicated some of the cases of children adopted from orphanages in Russia and Eastern Europe turned out to be was chronicled, devastatingly, last month in Newsweek. And poor Indian women don’t have an awful lot of choices so far as real money-making – to pay for school, to pay for a home – is concerned.

Maybe when greater steps are taken toward improving international adoption procedures, maybe when more substantive steps are taken to improve the health, status and education of women world-wide, it’ll be easier to say with a clear conscience that what feels like callous exploitation really is just that. “

This is a debatable issue. Not all women are fortunate to experience the most beautiful creation on earth that is Motherhood, there is always a difference between having own child and adopting someone else’s child. People have different preferences. In our opinion, there is no harm in helping someone have their own child but there are other subtle problems involved in this. The child although has the genes from its own mother but if the surrogate mother is diseased then the baby is more susceptible to that and it might be dangerous to the baby. If these issues are addressed then there should be any problem.


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