Abuses, threats can’t silence Kashmir’s only girl band #Vaw

Valley’s all-girl rock band after online slur still detremined
Azhar Qadri
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 1
The musical journey of Kashmir’s first and only all-girl rock band has come to an abrupt end after an online hate buzz.

The brainchild of three teenagers from the Valley, ‘Pragaash’ — a Kashmiri word meaning ‘from darkness to light’ — arrived on the music scene like a whiff of fresh air in a state plagued by violence for the last two decades. The 16-years-old made their first and last public performance at the ‘Battle of Bands’ here last December where they gave bands that mostly comprise of boys a run for their money.

But days after their debut, the band decided to call it quits. The reason: a vile barrage of abuses and hate messages about them and their families on the Internet, strong enough to force the young teen into hiding and abandoning their dream.

One of the girls, who talked to The Tribune on the condition that she would not be named, said the band had “ended”, but was reluctant to give reasons for the decision. “We have closed. It just ended… we had to hear so much from society that is why… I don’t want to tell anyone the reason,” she said.

The girl’s mother said she cried through the night after reading comments about the band on a social networking site. “The girls’ pictures were uploaded on a Facebook page and opinions were sought on whether making a band was wrong or right for our girls.

Some people wrote that the girls’ families had no food, which is why they were out to earn. After reading the comments, my daughter got very upset and cried all night. She decided not to do it again,” said the girl’s mother, adding that the family tried to talk her out of her decision. According to the girl’s mother, some posts appreciated the band; others didn’t. “Our religion does not allow this, our society doesn’t allow this,” she said.

‘Pragaash’ was a milestone in Kashmir’s music history for being the first rock band where the guitarist, drummer and vocalist were all girls. Women have enjoyed success in Kashmir singing folk songs, mystic poetry and romantic songs, but what set ‘Pragaash’ apart was its genre.

Band guitarist Aneeka Khalid, however, said the band had not been disbanded.

I rubbish the claims which have been made by some people quoting us that we will quit because of the threats ‘Pragaash‘ has received.

#Kerala to track school kids with #Aadhaar card , seriously #WTFnews #UID

Aditi Tandon/TNS

New Delhi, December 16
The Kerala Government has decided to track schoolchildren by issuing them Aadhaar cards much to the concern of rights activists who believe the move would jeopardise children’s privacy and subject them to needless discrimination.

The apex body monitoring child rights — National Commission for Protection of Child Rights — agrees with these fears and has put the state on notice over the issue asking it to explain “what measures it would be taking to safeguard children’s right to privacy and dignity in the use of Unique Identification (UID)”.

“We have not yet heard from the state,” Chairperson of the commission Shanta Sinha told The Tribune, disagreeing with the use of Aadhaar cards for schoolchildren.

The state, however, is clear about what it wants to do. In a circular detailing the issuance of Aadhaar cards to schoolchildren, the state government directed its Public Education Department to deploy online school management software called Sampoorna in schools across Kerala and to bring the same in line with UID.

Issued by Director, Public Education, Kerala, the circular states, “We have been tasked with providing Central Government’s UID to school students. Hence, schools should provide mechanisms to implement UID and Sampoorna in conjunction.

“Details of all the students in the school should be collected in the forms on the basis of their class and division. Headmasters should ensure that all students have filled in these forms. Education officers are directed to monitor these explicitly. Details of monetary compensation for teachers who conduct UID verification would be notified separately.”

The Aadhaar cards are sought to be issued to as many as 60 lakh students from Class I to XII spanning close to 15,000 schools in the state.

“When all schoolchildren have UIDs, their movements in educational institutions can be tracked so also their academic performance. The circular is coercive and violates the privacy of children,” said Usha Ramanathan, a Delhi-based lawyer who has complained to NCPCR against Kerala.

The concerns stem from the challenges of UID verification in case of children. Collecting and de-duplicating the biometrics of children is a challenge, admits Unique Identification Authority of India’s own “Working paper on UID and iris”.

“Children’s face and fingerprints are not stable until the age of 16 years. The lack of de-duplication of a child’s biometrics would require that a child’s UID be linked to the parents’ UID in the database and the child’s ID is not issued on the basis of de-duplication of his own biometrics. This increases the risk of fakes among UIDs for children,” Ramanathan told The Tribune.

Activists further argue that UIDs don’t have parliamentary mandate as the UID Bill has not been passed by the House. “There are no protocols about who can access UID information, how UID number may be used, what will happen if there is identity loss and theft. There is no protection against tracking and profiling,” the complaint to NCPCR says.

Experts say that iris presents a potential means to issue the majority of children a unique number linked to their biometrics because the iris stabilises at a very young age. “But the limitation on iris capture is the child’s inability to follow instructions to keep eyes open before the camera. Normally, children understand such instructions after the age of four. Moreover, what is the purpose in tracking kids?” Ramanathan said.



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