#Bangalore- Dial 100, even for eve-teasing

By Sangeeta Bora – BANGALORE

10th December 2012 , IE

  • The Bangalore City Police Facebook page is a big hit with Bangaloreans. Police are urging the public to share their grievances online and promise to take action.
  • The Bangalore City Police Facebook page is a big hit with Bangaloreans. Police are urging the public to share their grievances online and promise to take action.

The Supreme Court, in its new direction to the state governments and Union Territories, has asked to establish Women’s Helpline in various cities and towns. In light of frequent eve-teasing cases in the city and country, City Express inquired about a possible helpline dedicated for this malaise alone in Bangalore.

The Joint Commissioner of Crime, East, B Dayananda said, “We do not have any separate number dedicated to eve-teasing issues. But people can definitely make use of the number 100 to report such cases.”

Explaining the effectiveness of 100, Dayananda says, “The best option for anyone is to call this number and you will get immediate response. These numbers are also manned by women police personnel and they have access to the movements of the police on Cheetahs in the city. They can immediately alert them and send help where ever needed.”

The police commissioner, Jyothiprakash Mirji have also opened up new avenues like anonymous letters or SMS options for women in Bangalore who are not keen on revealing their identity. Similarly, in a conference, Joint Commissioner of Police Crime (West Division) Pranab Mohanty had reminded about the Facebook page of Bangalore police where any affected woman can upload any complain. He had also highlighted the presence of women desks in all the police stations and the online system of filing complaints. But when City Express enquired about the SMS facility with the Joint Commissioner of crime west, Pranab Mohanty, he stated his ignorance and referred the matter to the control room (100). Suma, an employee in police control room said, “The SMS facility is still on the process. It will be activated in a month or two.”


Real War on Women -Saudi Arabia implements electronic tracking system for women

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, November 22, 2012 10:54 EST, Thde raw story
RIYADH — Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements.
Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.
Manal al-Sherif, who became the symbol of a campaign launched last year urging Saudi women to defy a driving ban, began spreading the information on Twitter, after she was alerted by a couple.

The husband, who was travelling with his wife, received a text message from the immigration authorities informing him that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh.
“The authorities are using technology to monitor women,” said columnist Badriya al-Bishr, who criticised the “state of slavery under which women are held” in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
Women are not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission from their male guardian, who must give his consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.
The move by the Saudi authorities was swiftly condemned on social network Twitter — a rare bubble of freedom for millions in the kingdom — with critics mocking the decision.
“Hello Taliban, herewith some tips from the Saudi e-government!” read one post.
“Why don’t you cuff your women with tracking ankle bracelets too?” wrote Israa.
“Why don’t we just install a microchip into our women to track them around?” joked another.
“If I need an SMS to let me know my wife is leaving Saudi Arabia, then I’m either married to the wrong woman or need a psychiatrist,” tweeted Hisham.

“This is technology used to serve backwardness in order to keep women imprisoned,” said Bishr, the columnist.
“It would have been better for the government to busy itself with finding a solution for women subjected to domestic violence” than track their movements into and out of the country.
Saudi Arabia applies a strict interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law, and is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.
In June 2011, female activists launched a campaign to defy the ban, with many arrested for doing so and forced to sign a pledge they will never drive again.
No law specifically forbids women in Saudi Arabia from driving, but the interior minister formally banned them after 47 women were arrested and punished after demonstrating in cars in November 1990.
Last year, King Abdullah — a cautious reformer — granted women the right to vote and run in the 2015 municipal elections, a historic first for the country.
In January, the 89-year-old monarch appointed Sheikh Abdullatif Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh, a moderate, to head the notorious religious police commission, which enforces the kingdom’s severe version of sharia law.
Following his appointment, Sheikh banned members of the commission from harassing Saudi women over their behaviour and attire, raising hopes a more lenient force will ease draconian social constraints in the country.
But the kingdom’s “religious establishment” is still to blame for the discrimination of women in Saudi Arabia, says liberal activist Suad Shemmari.
“Saudi women are treated as minors throughout their lives even if they hold high positions,” said Shemmari, who believes “there can never be reform in the kingdom without changing the status of women and treating them” as equals to men.
But that seems a very long way off.
The kingdom enforces strict rules governing mixing between the sexes, while women are forced to wear a veil and a black cloak, or abaya, that covers them from head to toe except for their hands and faces.
The many restrictions on women have led to high rates of female unemployment, officially estimated at around 30 percent.
In October, local media published a justice ministry directive allowing all women lawyers who have a law degree and who have spent at least three years working in a lawyer’s office to plead cases in court.
But the ruling, which was to take effect this month, has not been implemented.


WHIPLASH: 2 paise as the worth of one’s privacy


PUBLISHED: 20:28 GMT, 1 November 2012 | UPDATED: 21:56 GMT, 1 November 2012

Union Minister Kapil Sibal leaves after attending a meeting Union Minister Kapil Sibal leaves after attending a meeting

Two paise may not have any significance for the financial institutions guiding our economy, but it wields tremendous influence on the lives of ordinary citizens.

Two paise is the price at which a human being goes on auction in the information market.

From your name and age to gender, profession, salary and of course mobile number nearly everything can be bought for 2 paise from a phone number broker.

Incidentally, 2 paise is also what Hindi speakers use to take a reality check on life.

Haven’t you heard of the phrase do paise ki aukaat (stature worth 2 paise)? Crude as it may sound, the phrase holds a literal meaning in the virtual world.

The ease with which brokers put up our personal information – bank account, car details, loan amount etc – on sale for companies, makes it clear that the privacy we so vehemently protect is nothing but a sham.

And no matter how much we fool ourselves with the security claims of the government, we are exposed to threats of all kind for a price of 2 paise.

Talking of Hindi phrases, consider do paise ki akal nahin hai (mind not even worth 2 paise).

It perhaps explains the authorities’ ineptitude in dealing with phone brokers and bulk SMS providers.

The government will do well to apply do paise ki akal and use the database of the brokers for its various population registration programmes such as census, UID and NPR.

The brokers seem to have more accurate data than government agencies. As for our harried telecom minister Kapil Sibal, here’s some muft ki rai (free advice): Please don’t waste your time reporting pesky SMS texts to TRAI‘s ‘do not disturb’ facility.

An SMS forwarded to 1909 will only start a new series of texts – No keyword found. The pesky messages are any day more interesting than such replies.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2226448/2-paise-worth-ones-privacy.html#ixzz2B6jWtpTC

Aamir Khan specially screens Satyamev Jayate in villages

Aamir Khan‘s much awaited TV debut Satyamev Jayate premieres today. The show will be telecast in over 100 countries around the world, but sadly, not in Karnataka.
After months of hype and curiosity, D-day has finally arrived for Aamir Khan’s first TV show, Satyamev Jayate. The first episode of the non-fiction talk show will air today at 11 am across eight channels on the Star TV network, including four regional language channels which will feature dubbed versions. It will also be aired on national broadcaster Doordarshan.To make sure the show reaches people in remote areas who don’t own TV sets, the actor will hold special public screenings of the first episode for them on community TV sets in their villages. Bhingara and Kahupatta in Maharashtra, Jhunkar in Madhya Pradesh and Khannapurwa, Lalpur Sarauta and Maaniram in Uttar Pradesh are some of the chosen villages.

“It is a relevant show for the whole country and we are making sure that it reaches out to all Indians, even in places with limited or no TV connectivity,” says Gayatri Yadav, marketing and communications, Star India. Based on the response to the first episode, Star will consider screening subsequent episodes of the show in this manner as well.

Telecom brand Airtel, Satyamev Jayate’s sponsor, has reduced the cost of SMS responses to the show from Rs. 3 to Rs. 1. Also, reports say that the revenue collected via SMS and from caller tunes of the show’s title track will be donated to charity.

Aamir’s dream to reach out to every Indian might hit a roadblock however. Recent news reports have said that Karnataka has banned the show from being aired because of a state policy that disallows dubbed versions of non-Kannada serials on regional channels. At the time of goin to print, Star TV officials were trying to work out a solution.

Mamata gags the Dodhichi newsletter #FOE #Censorship

Now, it is the turn of the alternative media in West Bengal to be at the receiving end of governmental intolerance. There is a clampdown on a unique mobile alert service in Kolkata, writes RANJIT SUR, in The Hoot

 Friday, May 04 09:39:52, 2012

The Mamata Banerjee Government in West Bengal is trying its best to gag the language media. It is not news anymore. To some extent she is exposed in this regard, and people are protesting against such a move. But gagging a small but very important alternative media centre remained out of sight of the people. It is mainly because the big press or the corporate media have not shown any interest over it. Moreover, most of the media persons even do not understand what alternative media could be. So the news of gagging of  the Dodhichi Newsletter did not find any place in any major publication in Kolkata, in print or on TV media, barring a line or two in a couple of news media.
What is the Dodhichi Newsletter? According to its director, Dr Shyamal Roy, “Dodhichi Newsletter is a Kolkata-based cellphone text messaging service disseminating information, news, and views not appearing in the mainstream media.” It is in operation running since 2010. In a letter addressed to Home Secretary, Government of India, Dr Ray said: “ Our service provides a platform to hundreds of freelance news-gatherers, social and cultural activists, and NGOs and reaches out to a select list of thousands of message receivers, among them MPS, MLAs, Ministers, political leaders as well as eminent personalities in various fields.“
This writer himself is a message receiver and sender listed with Dodhichi. It’s a unique service, at least in Kolkata. There is no other service of this kind here. During the last two and a quarter years it has provided wonderful service to all the mass organisations and their activists.
Whenever an organisation calls for a demonstration or rally, or any State crackdown occurs on any mass organisation, a single text message (SMS) sent to Dodhichi was enough to inform and mobilise all the activists. Through the Dodhichi mobile newsletter the SMS containing the information reached hundreds of interested persons within seconds. Within a short time, the activists could decide on their duty or they could assemble at the place of demonstration or at the site of the happenings.
During the last months of Budhadeb Bhattacharjee government Mamata Banerjee got the benefit of this service, as it was the time of anti- government and anti-establishment mass movements. Dodhichi was very active in sending news of these movements to its subscriber activists and supporters. But within months of Mamata’s coming to power she began expressing her displeasure publicly against this SMS service. In several public outbursts she publicly criticised this service and Facebook  and Twitter. The first direct attack occurred about six months ago during the Chief Minister’s outbursts against APDR, a rights organisation. The Government of West Bengal cancelled permission to APDR to hold a public meeting in Kolkata, and many intellectuals including Mahasweta Devi and Sankha Ghosh critisised the Chief Minister for this attack on democracy. As Dodhichi was actively sending SMS containing all condemnations and about all protest programmes, one morning policemen in plain clothes went to Dodhichi’s office located on the outskirts of Kolkata. As informed by Dr Ray, the policemen introduced themselves as journalists and entered his office. But within minutes they started collecting mobiles phones, computers, and data base registers. Dr Ray and his family members protested vigorously, and the policemen slipped away.
This time, the Mamata government did not make the same mistake for fear of public resistance. It went the other way round to stop Dodhichi Mobile Newsletter. As Dr Shyamal Ray complained to the Central Government, “on 9 April we discovered that most of our SIM cards (57 of them) had suddenly been deactivated, causing us to suspend our service and of a great deal of inconvenience to those availing of it. The service-provider (Docomo) when contacted, could not give us a credible explanation.” It was at the height of Nonadanga anti-eviction movement when a series of rallies and processions and demonstrations was going on in the City against the Mamata government’s eviction drive and throttling of democracy in the State. And alas, without Dodhichi’s mobile SMS service.
Why did this happen to Dodhichi? Dr Ray wrote to the Government of India: “Next day, Khabar 365 din, a Bengali daily published from Kolkata, presented a front-page story suggesting that Dodhichi Newsletter had been disbanded by orders from the State Home Department.” This writer has gone through the concerned front-page report. The report said that the reason for the Home ministry’s action, as usual, was “anti-state campaign” by Dodhichi through SMS service. Dodhichi’s Dr Shyamal Ray, on enquiry by this writer, expressed his anger and raised the question: “what is anti-state campaign and who decides it?” He explained: “Dodhichi only sends news and views related to legal and constitutional activities and mass movements. What is anti-government does not necessarily mean anti-state. Everyone has the right to criticise or support the government’s policy and send news and views of the movements for or against the government’s policies. This is constitutionally guaranteed”. So, he wrote to the government: “…we are still in the dark about why our service has been abruptly terminated in this manner, without stating any reason and without notice. And if the story published in the Bengali daily is true, then it certainly is tantamount to ‘censorship’, a violation of our constitutionally guaranteed free speech”. He urged the Central Government, to “clarify the matter immediately and instruct the service provider to re-activate the SIM cards so that our service is resumed at the soonest.” The letter was written on April 11. Even as of April 22 he had not received any reply from any quarter. The copy of the letter has been endorsed to the Home Secretary, Government of West Bengal too. However, the 57 SIM cards remain in-operative, and a severe hate campaign is going on against Dodhichi and against its subscribers and contributors in some pro-government newspapers branding them as anti-state and members of “urban Mao-network”.
It is clear that it is a coordinated move of the government and the ruling party to silence this mobile newsletter. The design is to stop spreading of news of the government’s anti-people activities and to cause as much hindrance as possible to anti-government mass movements.
Dodhichi Mobile newsletter has not stopped fully. The spirit of Dr Shyamal Ray, a super-annuated physician, is indomitable. Dodhichi is still running the service, though in a small way, with SIMs from a different service provider which has a number of restrictions and do’s and don’ts.
According to Dr Shyamal Ray, he has a data base of 500300 subscribers who send to and receive SMS from him on various issues. He has divided these numbers in groups according to their areas of interest. The group interested in rights movement and other mass-political activity has 550 subscribers. There are cultural groups interested in music or drama and there are group of MPs and MLAs, doctors and so on. Dodhichi’s service is free of cost. All the subscribers need to do is register their mobile number, name and address with him along with their area of interest. How does he run this service? Where does money come from? Dr Ray says that initially he had to spend Rs. 2.5 lakh procuring good quality mobile phones and a computer. The money was from his superannuation benefits.
Now his monthly expenditure is Rs. 2000 which he gets from his headmistress wife, daughter, and son-in-law. He receives no money from any other source. He himself runs his office along with his family members. He works for 12 hours a day.
Dodhichi is insignificant so far as the number of its subscribers is concerned. Yet the rulers seem to be bent on crushing it. Is the government afraid of alternative thought? Not only that Dodhichi’s services should be allowed to continue without any governmental intervention, but more such vibrant services should flourish in different parts of the country.

(The author is a secretariat member, Association for Protection of Democratic Rights, and contributes to newspapers and websites in Bengali and English)

Combatting Sexual Assault on Campus: There’s an App for That


May 3, 2012 , NEW YORK CITY — Appropriately enough, Circle of 6 was born on Twitter.

Nancy Schwartzman, a longtime advocate against sexual violence, first heard about it when her friends and followers started pinging her about a challenge issued by the White House to create an “App Against Abuse.” She called reproductive rights advocate Deb Levine of Internet Sexuality Information Services (ISIS), and over the course of a few phone calls, they dreamed up Circle of 6, an award-winning iPhone app that helps prevent sexual violence and dating abuse and has been downloaded 28,000 times to date. It’s targeted at students, one in five of whom have reported experiencing sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during their time at college, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Circle of 6 works by leveraging the close circles of friends maintained by college students to create a safety net for girls who find themselves in unsafe or undesirable situations. After a user downloads the app, she’ll choose six close friends to be in her circle.

“The circle concept mirrors the tight circles that college students have, where your friends are your family,” said Ms. Schwartzman.

Having six friends on call also serves a practical purpose, said Ms. Levine, if you need immediate assistance. For example, a woman’s date is starting to make her feel uncomfortable at dinner. She can press a button asking her friends to call and interrupt the date, giving her an excuse to leave.

“Nowadays, everyone’s really busy, so if you put together a circle of six close friends, likely one or two will be free to get you out of that situation,” she said.

Ms. Schwartzman noted that the process of selecting and adding friends opens up important conversations about sexual violence and abuse prevention. A friend who is selected will receive an SMS text message alerting her or him that she’s been chosen to be in the circle.

“For example, my friends would get a text that says ‘You’ve been chosen to be in Nancy’s circle with a link to the site,” said Ms. Schwartzman. “So they’ve already had these conversations, and we provide resources for them about sexual assault and dating abuse prevention.”

The pair knew each other from their long experience in advocacy around similar issues. An independent filmmaker and the founder and Executive Director of The Line Campaign, Ms. Schwartzman uses an approach she calls “transmedia,” which engages multiple channels: storytelling, video, social media, and now mobile. Ms. Levine’s group ISIS promotes sexual and reproductive health by reaching underserved communities through online and mobile outreach. They teamed up with developer Christine Corbett Moran and graphic designer Thomas Cabus, working remotely to create the app over the course of a few weeks.

From their experience working with young people, the group came up with common scenarios that their audience would likely face.

“We brainstormed different commands that we thought would be useful, that really came from stories I’ve heard from students. What they could have used, what did they need?” said Ms. Schwartzman. “The philosophy was to prevent it before it happens. Say you stay out late at a party, and then all of a sudden it’s 3 am and there are hard choices about how to get home. Do I walk home by myself at night? Do I stay here with people I don’t really know? Or do I let someone bring me home who I also don’t know that well? None of those are particularly good options.”

While rape, sexual assault and dating abuse are fraught topics, Ms. Schwartzman is particularly proud that unlike some of the other submissions to the contest, Circle of 6 isn’t motivated by fear or paranoia.

“Using your phone to prevent rape could be very fear-based,” she said. “We didn’t want to base the app on fear, but rather on harnessing what’s really positive in young peoples’ lives, which are these tight knit friendships and connectivity. It should be easy for people to access people they know and trust.”

The app’s focus on violence prevention also represents an evolution in thinking about the issue, said Ms. Levine.

“With the passage and renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, there was a lot of focus on setting up shelters, crisis centers and crisis hotline,” said Ms. Levine. What’s different now, in 2012, is that we’re focusing on prevention. I think everyone at this point recognizes there’s a problem, and we’re taking care of those who are affected, but now it’s time, culturally and societally, for this to stop.”

Ms. Schwartzman, who has lectured on over 80 college campuses about sexuality and consent, said the response from students has been overwhelming.

“It’s really hard to talk about sexual assault all the time. People get really bugged out about it,” she said. “But when I show the video about this app, it gets a full round of applause. The students are so excited that people cared enough to think this through, and create something that prevents violence.”

Anna Louie Sussman is a writer and editor for the Women in the World Foundation website, and a frequent contributor to major U.S. magazines and newspapers.

‘Coriander’ has Aadhaar number/UID #thisisnotajoke

J B S Umanadh, Hyderabad, April 12 2012, DHNS:

Nandan Nilekani, the Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, (UIDAI) hopes that Aadhaar card and rural mobile telephony will bring transformation in rural India, but the cards being issued at times spot some real gaffe.

Here is one case. A coriander plant in rural Andhra Pradesh received its unique identification number and of course a card for itself with the photo of a mobile phone.

An Aadhaar card with number : 4991 1866 5246 was issued in the name of Mr Kothimeer (Coriander), Son of Mr Palav (Biryani), Mamidikaya Vuru (Village Raw Mango), of Jambuladinne in Anantapur district. As the card displayed the photo of a mobile phone, officials have no clue of the address where the card has to be delivered.

“We have completed all formalities, got ourselves photographed almost an year ago after standing in the long lines for days but haven’t received the card so far. The Kothimeer is lucky,” said an old man at the Jambuladinne Panchayat office.

“It’s probably the work of a young man who wanted to tell us how routine the process of data collection was in villages. The private agencies entrusted with the job have no understanding of the job in hand,” fumed Payyavula Keshav, a TDP MLA from Anantapur district.

However, revenue officials said they would trace out the agency that completed the enumeration work in Jambuladinne to pinpoint the responsibility of issuing a card to a mobile phone named Coriander.

Considering the delay in issuing Aadhar cards and other discrepancies, the UIDAI announced recently that it would soon send the Aadhaar numbers through SMS. The authority hopes that villagers could go ahead and avail social benefits before the actual card reaches their households.

WTF Jaipur – Paraplegic woman arrested for ‘kidnap’ and ‘sexual abuse’

Jaipur: In a shocking and bizarre incident in Jaipur, the police have arrested a 21-year-old paraplegic woman over charges of abuse. The police claim the woman is involved in the kidnapping and sexual abuse of another woman.

What is shocking is that the 21-year old herself is allegedly a victim of sexual abuse by three Rajasthan policemen.

Her parents alleged that she was being falsely implicated in another case so that the three arrested policemen could walk free.

She lost both her legs after she jumped in front of a train in January 2011, upset over allegedly being beaten and sexually humiliated by the policemen.

The woman is now at Jaipur’s SMS Hospital after being sent to judicial custody. Her father, who is a police constable himself, claimed she needed constant help and attention.

But police have said that they responded to the Rajasthan High Court‘s order seeking arrest of all accused in the other woman’s sexual abuse case.

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