Tuesday, 30 July 2019 - Imphal Times

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Imphal, July 30,

Some influential persons are making all attempts to occupy a portion of land measuring 33.78 acres inside the premises of Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) Imphal.

The matter came to light after one Imphal-based newspaper reported about the presence of a pond inside RIMS complex. When a team of Imphal Times grill the matter as follow-up story, almost all the report seems true except the fact that it was not the RIMS authority that has been digging the pond, but a group of influential persons who are members of an NGO called The Popular Pisciculture Association that has been trying to occupy the land belonging to RIMS.

On the morning of July 23, the Director of RIMS along with all the Head of Departments met Chief Minister N. Biren Singh to discuss over the issue.

Some members of the PPA were also present on the occasion the source from the Chief Minister’s office added.

The details of the conversation that took place in the presence of the Chief Minister could not be known.

However, as per source, the members of the PPA drew the attention of the Chief Minister and tried to convince him that the 33.78 acres of land inside the RIMS belong to them by showing some documents and presenting a slide show.

But then the Director of RIMS flatly rejected the claim saying that the state government had allotted 108.384 acres of land already in the occupation of RIMS and another 93.46 acres of state land (including 65.64 acres of Pattaland of Mechanised Farm) in favour of the Director RIMS for upgradation to the status of AIIMS, New Delhi in 2007.

The Chief Minister and other officials of the government departments seem to understand the problem with the issue raised by the RIMS team.

RIMS, at present,  is under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and no land can be acquired without proper order from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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Imphal July 30,

In order to clear the doubt of the people, JAC along with the police revisited the spot to reconstruct the events leading to the death of Babysana at the hostel of Standard Robarth School. JAC demanded the visit to the site. IGP Clay Khongsai, Imphal West SP K. Meghachandra, Special Investigation Team, Forensics and JAC visited the school.

Meghachandra, SP Imphal West said that they consider the death as an unnatural one and there is negligence from the part of school authorities who are taking care of the children in the hostel. In relation to the matter, SP Meghachandra said that Special investigation team has picked up Pheiroijam Robinson, son of the founder of Standard Robarth School. Robinson was remanded to police custody for 7 days.

SP Imphal West said that “several theories have come out in the social media but most of them have been found to be completely baseless but police has incorporated many theories in the investigation making all the option open and the investigation free, fair and transparent as much as possible.” He urged the people not to create rumours and added that people can come to them and clear their doubt.  More people were also examined by the police as a part of the investigation, he added.

A man and a woman were also picked up by the police and examined for posting inciting comments on social media in relation to the case of Babysana. Meghachandra added that people who can be the witness should come forward and help the police in the investigation.

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Imphal, July 30,

Expressing apprehension that the case of Babysana , the 12 years old minor girl who was found death in mysterious condition could have been carpeted by the authority, MLA Joykishan today said that there seems to be a powerful force that can shut the mouth of the government.

Speaking to media persons at his Thangmeiband residence, Joykishan said that the authority had put under-carpet the case of Manipuri student Pravish Chanam by not handing over the case to the CBI on time and the similar thing is happening in the case of Babysana. Justice is still not delivered to Pravish Chanam and likewise the justice will be kept pending for a longer time until people forget the case of Babysana.

The MLA said that after the JAC urged the government to hand over the case to CBI, they have stated that the case has been handed over to the CBI. But they only sent proposal to take up the case with the CBI and that too by taking up an FIR under section 305 of the IPC. Later again on the pressure of the learned advocate who are among the members of the JAC, Section 302 of the IPC was inserted again, Joykishan added and said that how could the government sent proposal for investigation again and again under different sections.

“The case has not been handed over to the CBI and I appeal the government not to cheat the people of the State”, Joykishan said.

The MLA also lauded the AMSU and other students’ bodies as all as civil society organisations for struggling to deliver justice to Babysana. 

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Imphal, July 30:
Ravi Singh was part of one of the teams that rescued 128 people just before they were about to be trafficked to Myanmar en route Moreh, a dusty border town in Manipur. Having been part of quite a few anti-trafficking operations before, Singh is well aware of the menace that has gripped this tiny north-eastern state and converted it into an easy transit point for cross-border flesh trade.
In a bid to understand how the police in Manipur have been battling trafficking and how much do they really understand it, CRY- Child Rights and You and Manipur Alliance for Child Rights spoke to around 110 men and women in uniform from 14 stations, spread across eight  districts in the state. An analysis of their responses provides us insights into how the police now view the phenomenon of trafficking in comprehensive totality, a perspective that has helped them to crack down harder on the traffickers.
Numbers tell a tale
Data available from a trafficking study done by the Women and Child Development department, Government of India, says that from 2008 to 2013 (August), there were 39 cases reported, involving 486 children. From November 2013 to June 2016, five cases were reported, involving 80 children. Around 530 children have been rescued, repatriated and rehabilitated into the mainstream. , says a government report on child trafficking.
Rescue operations that have taken place over the last 3 years, since 2016, indicate that the police have raised the ante against trafficking.
In February 2016, 29 children from Churchandpur, Ukhrul and Imphal were rescued from Meghalaya. Only two months later, 17 children from Thoubal district were intercepted by Sekmai police along the National Highway 102 (Imphal-Dimapur road), on their way to Tamil Nadu. In June, another 12 hailing from Churachandpur district, were rescued from Tamil Nadu.   
In September 2017, eight girls, also from Churachandpur district, were rescued from the clutches of traffickers in Myanmar.  
Earlier this year, 128 people were rescued in raids across Moreh town and Imphal following a tip-off from Nepal about a group being trafficked across the border. In all, 310 cases of trafficking of trafficking have been reported in the first seven months of this year and there have been 179 rescues.
What can we infer?
The number of rescues steadily on the rise can perhaps be linked with the understanding of the police about the different nuances of trafficking, which has also come to the fore in the responses of the police to the questionnaire shared with them.  The responses also provide us insights into the root causes of trafficking and why it has spurted in a state like Manipur over the years.
While 53 per cent of the respondents have said they understand trafficking and why it happens, an astonishingly high 45 per cent said that for them, trafficking is synonymous with cross-border smuggling. The parallel drawn here can probably be considered unique for a state like Manipur, which, by virtue of its geographical location (a state with international borders), has always been a hotbed of smuggling in items like contraband, arms and others.
The problem of rampant trafficking in strife-torn Manipur cannot but be seen as one in isolation. Most of the population is here below the poverty line; there is lack of infrastructure for education, economic equality and basic facilities of sustenance. Incidence of HIV-AIDS is very high and contraband smuggling, over the years, has affected the psycho-social well-being of the youth in a big way. The prolonged armed conflict in the state has left the population in a vulnerable condition.
This vulnerability of the populace – families, adolescents, victims of domestic violence, single-parent families et all – has left them as sitting ducks for traffickers to lure them to “greener” pastures, with consent, force, threat or otherwise. This is a phenomenon so stark and apparent that it resonates itself in the findings of the survey. Asked what is trafficking, 42 per cent of the police have said that rampant trafficking is often a result of abuse of power in situations of extreme vulnerability. Around 38 per cent see the use of threat or coercion on socially and economically vulnerable communities, as the most important factor that sustains trafficking as a viable “trade”.
While poor socio-economic condition and protracted political armed conflicts have played a significant role in spurting trafficking in Manipur, the pattern has changed to a certain extent.  As per government and media reports, the traditional “destinations” of trafficking have changed.
In the incidence of child trafficking in the state, from 2008 to 2016, children have been trafficked in the name of free education, free accommodation and job placement, mostly to other states in the country.  Now, as details emerge about the recent anti-trafficking rescue operation in Moreh and Imphal in February, the state has been turned into a safe conduit for trafficking across the Myanmar border.      
With a subtle shift in “destinations”, the profile of the trafficked victims, however, remains the same. Around 62 per cent of the police, by virtue of their experiences on the ground and knowledge of the socio-economic scenario, have said that adolescent girls, in the age-bracket of 14-17 years, remain the desired prey of traffickers, who send them to other states, and indeed, South East Asian countries, to work in spa centres and massage parlours and even as domestic helps. Majority of these girls end up in brothels and red-light areas.       
“By virtue of its location on the border with Myanmar, Manipur has become an easy corridor to reach countries in South East Asia and Middle East countries, mostly for sexual exploitation,” says Dr. S. Ibomcha Singh, MPS Superintendent of police, Thoubal. Dr Singh played an active role in the recent drive to rescue the Nepalese victims at Moreh town. At the time, he was the SP of Tengnoubpal district.
According to the police, as reflected in their responses, lucrative job offers remain the top pretext for traffickers. A staggering 82 per cent of the police feel that recruiters still pick up their targets by offering them “lucrative jobs” in faraway lands, often in south-east Asia. Unemployment and bleak earning prospects at home makes it easy bait for unsuspecting victims.  
Mr Yumnam Kheda Singh, a retired SI, who was the in charge of the anti-Human Trafficking Police Unit, Imphal West, mentions poverty as one of the root causes of trafficking. “Poverty is a crucial factor. The helpless parents are easily lured by the trafficking agents with the promise of free education, lucrative jobs and placement for their children and young people”. 
Across the table
One factor that perhaps explains the heightened awareness among the police about trafficking is the sensitization and training workshops conducted by CRY, its alliance and partners with the police. Around 24 such sessions have been held over the past three years for around 1280 police personnel, educating them about the nuances of trafficking and also other child rights issues. Discussions focused POCSO and the Juvenile Justice Act have not only broadened their understanding of the subjects, but also prompted them to master their knowledge of relevant acts in the Indian Penal Code, that can come handy in nabbing and prosecuting traffickers – a finding that has come to the fore in the responses of the police personnel we spoke to.  
Awards for police officers on such a prestigious platform have also helped motivate the rank and force to step up their fight against trafficking.       
Mr N. Ingocha Singh, inspector, has played a major role in many rescue operations in Imphal city and Imphal airport. “The border state needs relevant regulations specifically to combat human trafficking. Multi-ethnic population along the border areas and lack of well-equipped check posts along the highways and international border have made it easy for traffickers to continue their operations and slip out of the radar,” he says.
Summing it up
Trina Chakrabarti, Regional Director, CRY, feels trafficking needs to be viewed from a composite lens in order to be able to curb it and nip it in the bud. “Trafficking as a phenomenon cannot be viewed in isolation. There are different aspects to it and the police need to be aware of them thoroughly. Our awareness workshops with the police have been aimed at boosting this understanding,” she says.  
The police brass in Manipur is aware of the task that lies ahead. Going ahead, an anti-trafficking unit in place in each and every district is definitely a good start.  Inspector Singh mentioned that the police are trying hard to ensure that FIRs are filed immediately in suspected trafficking cases. It is also necessary to coordinate with other departments and establish a good rapport with the general public to ensure a complete crackdown on traffickers.

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Imphal July 30,

Maoist Communist Party Manipur has imposed a shut down of Standard Robarth School since 22nd of July. The decision of the outfit to shut down the school came after the death of Babysana in the school hostel on the 18th of July. The outfit in a statement released today said that it was during this time investigating the matter. The question that the party was looking into is whether it is a case of suicide or it is a murder. If it is a case of murder then there must be reason behind her murder. If it is a case of suicide then there needs to a reason behind her suicide, the statement of Manipur Maoist added.  The party also stated that they are facing difficulties in their investigation given the presence of security forces. Moreover, the girls who were staying in the hostel with Babysana are mostly below 16 years. Given this in mind, the outfit said it has to deal with them very sensitively. “Police and Women Against Crime have investigated the matter and interrogated these young girls who were staying with Babysana. The manner in which they interrogated the children has violated the acceptable norms with which we deal with children in such context and has affected the lives of these children. There act shows that they were not applying their minds on the matter,” Manipur Maoist said. Manipur Maoist, however, is in touch with the relatives of the children so that they can get the truth from the children with sensitivity, the statement added. The outfit appeals that guardians of the children that they must help to find out the truth of the matter soon given that children are involved in this case and if this case drags on then it will severely affect the emotional well being of the children. So the outfit appeals the parents that they must find out the truth soon and inform the JAC about it.
The party stated that till now the outfit is able to find out that she came back from summer vacation and was happily staying in the hostels. After returning from the vacation on July 16, she had a verbal fight with a school authority which the students living with Babysana are aware of. The fight was due to some personal matter, according to the children in the hostel. After two days of this fight Babysana died. On that day, the hostellers saw Babysana for the last time in the dining hall and no one is aware when she returned and slept in her room. There is unclarity on when she went to sleep that day. The question remains on where she died, whether she died in the room or outside her hostel room. On the top of that, no CCTV footages of what went on outside the hostel were available, the outfit claims.
The outfit has decided to extend the shutdown of this school till August 4 and it will see the situation till August 4 and will decide whether it will continue the shutdown of the school or not, according to the statement of Manipur Maoist.

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Imphal, July 30

Front Line Defender, an international body formed for protecting human rights defenders at risk based in Dublin (Ireland) has expressed serious concern to the series of threats to Imphal base Rights activist Sobita Mangsatabam , and calls on the government of India to Guarantee all human rights defenders in Manipur and India a safe and enabling environment in which to carry out their peaceful work.

On 24 July 2019, an off duty police officer brandishing a firearm, visited the office of Women’s Action for Development (WAD), a women’s rights organisation based in Imphal City, Manipur, and inquired about the whereabouts of its secretary, Sobita Mangsatabam. The same police officer had visited the WAD office on 21 July at around 8.30 pm, but failed to gain entry to the compound. It is believed that the threats against Sobita Mangsatabam and WAD are linked to their intervention in a domestic violence complaint filed against the said police officer by his wife in June 2019.

Sobita Mangsatabam is a human rights defender in Manipur who has been working for the rights of women and girls in Manipur for over two decades. Her organisation, Women’s Action for Development aims to promote and protect the rights of women and girls, especially survivors of violence, including sexual violence. Sobita Mangsatabam is also the Convenor of the District Women Committee (DWC) of United NGOs Mission Manipur (UNMM). Sobita Mangsatabam is a strong advocate for accountability and justice for crimes of violence against women and girls. She provides support and protection for survivors and their families and has been vocal in her call for criminal justice reform to end impunity for violence against women.

On 24 July 2019, the police officer entered the compound in civilian clothes. He pulled out his firearm, held it close to his waist and questioned the caretaker about Sobita Mangsatabam’s whereabouts.

The office was closed that day due to a ‘bandh’ or shut down in the city, and Sobita Mangsatabam and her staff had not reported to work. The officer remained in the area for around 15 minutes after he spoke to the caretaker. The same officer had tried and failed to enter the compound on the night of 21 July 2019. The officer has been subsequently identified as Laimayum Bishwanath Sharma, a serving officer of the Manipur Police, who has been assigned as security to the local Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The RSS is a right wing nationalist organisation with strong links to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Sobita Mangsatabam has since been informed by the police that officer Sharma has been arrested and suspended from service with immediate effect in connection to the threats her. The officer was produced before the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Imphal East and released on bail.

The threatening incident on 24 July 2019 is believed to be linked to the support provided by Sobita Mangsatabam and WAD to the victim of a domestic violence. The wife of the police officer had filed a complaint against him in June 2019 detailing threats and domestic violence including death threats against her and their children. Since June, Sobita Mangsatabam and her staff had been in contact with the police officer and his family in an attempt to resolve the matter. However, as the threats escalated, on 15 July 2019, Sobita Mangsatabam and WAD supported the wife and children to leave the house and move to a temporary shelter.

The incident on 24 July is the second threat on Sobita Mangsatabam and her family this month. On 4 July 2019, a group of unidentified men traveling in a four-wheel drive fired shots at her daughter, Urikhimbam Thoibi. The men had trailed Urikhimbam Thoibi for some distance, and shot at her and two other relatives including a minor child, as they ran into her residence. Front Line Defenders has previously issued an urgent appeal expressing its concern against the incident and calling for an immediate and credible inquiry by the Manipur police.

Sobita Mangsatabam and her organisation have been targeted previously due to her human rights work. In April 2017, following the gang rape of two minor girls, she filed a complaint regarding the incident under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act 2012. Together with several other women’s human rights defenders and organisations, she monitored the case and advocated for an effective inquiry and prosecution. Following the charge sheet being filed against the accused in this case, five armed men visited the WAD office and asked about her whereabouts. A group of men claiming to be from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) also visited the UNMM office and inquired about Sobita Mangsatabam. Although Sobita Mangsatabam and her staff were unharmed in that instance, there was grave concern for her safety against reprisals and also due to the failure of the police to ensure support and protection to the WHRD.

The Front Line Defenders while expressing strong condemnation to the threats against Sobita Mangsatabam calls on the Indian government to ensure that the officer involved in the incident on 24 July is being held accountable and carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attack on Sobita Mangsatabam’s daughter on 4 July with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards; It also urged the GoI to take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Sobita Mangsatabam and her family in consultation with them.

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Tuesday, 30 July 2019 17:05

Babysana’s death and its questions

Babysana’s death has raised a lot of question, not just on how she died but also on how things are in the hostels and private schools of Manipur. When it comes to the investigation of the case, another post mortem has been done and JAC formed on this matter is still demanding the state for concrete action. JAC has said that the government should hand over the case to CBI as soon as possible. The demand to hand over the case to CBI points to the fact that nobody has faith in the state police to work honestly in this matter or any other matter. Given the controversies on how the case was handled initially, the allegation that the family of the deceased and police were informed later, the mistrust of the authorities in the state on this matter seems justified. However, the demand for handling the case to CBI is not entirely free from issues. We have seen many cases which were given to CBI and were dumped into oblivion after the movement turns cold with time. These are the immediate matter concerning the death of the child and what we must do regarding the case.
The questions that we must pursue other than how she died are on how children of this society are doing in these private schools and hostels. These questions have to do with the implementation of Acts and regulations that have to do with private schools and hostels. When it comes to the regulations of hostels in the state, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has released a guideline for the regulation of these residential spaces for the safety and security of our children. Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights said years ago that it will also frame state specific guidelines on the matter based on the national one. However, neither the national guidelines were implemented nor the state specific one which MCPRC promised came out.  
To make the matter worse, the state does not have a regulation on private schools also. An act called Manipur Private School Act was passed in 2017 but the act has not been implemented. It is said that private school owners have opposed the implementation. According to Manipur Private School Act 2017, all the private schools must possess the registration certificate. In order for the registration to take place, the registering authority must ensure criteria lay down in section 2 of this act. Some of the criteria laid down are:
“There is adequate financial provision for continued and efficient maintenance of such institutions as prescribed by the competent authority.” This clause means that the institution applying for registration must show that they have enough money for sustaining the school. The clause also say that “the site for the building, playground and garden proposed to be provided and the building in which the institution is proposed to be housed conform to the rules prescribed.”  The school building and premises action to Section 2 must have “adequate facilities with due regard, safety and hygiene.”  Do these schools who are members of All Manipur Recognized Private Schools’ Welfare Association fulfill these criteria? Furthermore, the section also says that “the teachers, tutors and non—teaching staff are qualified, adequate and adequately paid according to the standards and norms prescribed by rules under this Act” and “ the fees to be charged is not disproportionate to the facilities provided and does not exceed limits prescribed by rules under this Act.” The act provides space for the government to interfere in how much the school management is paying the school teachers and staff and there is also a cap on the amount that the school takes from children as fees.  It is only after these criteria and many more according to Manipur Private School Act 2017 are fulfilled, the registering authority must give the registration certificate.
It is quite logical for the private schools to oppose this act. However, we must not be concerned of what the shopkeepers of education are saying. The question is about the children in our society. Now a young girl has turned up in a school premises in mysterious circumstances, couple of years ago a school boy was beaten to death because his father was unable to pay the fees.  There are many cases of corporal punishment surfacing in social and mainstream media in these schools. Given these, Manipur Private School Act 2017 and NCPCR guidelines for hostels must be implemented.

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Tuesday, 30 July 2019 17:03

Kashmir and Its Colonialism

By -Inamul Haq

Colonialism is a relation between two or more groups of unequal power in which one controls and rules the other and tries to impose its cultural order to the subordinate groups.  In a narrow sense, the colonialism stands as formal political control of a territory and population by special administrative apparatus and with an ideology justifying such control. The ideology includes the dominated population as different and divides them in an idiom of race. It is initiated by military force and the subordinate group often resists with violence (McBride, 2016). Similarly, in 1947, when India and Pakistan were separated, the question of Kashmir emerged. The choice of Kashmir was colonized, and both the countries fought on table as well in ground to claim Kashmir as their part. Without going into detail, everyone knows that what was the choice given to the people of Kashmir. Along with choice, it was also recommended to keep in the mind the geography as well as demography. However, the choice remained in documents rather than practice. It is also remarkable that Kashmiri people mostly politicians also contributed in its colonization. As Frantz Fanon clearly states in his book “The Wretched Earth” that a native of colonized is responsible for bringing a colonizer into existence first and later on starts agitating his existence. Relating Fanon to Kashmir, the natives are also responsible for the colonization. The politicians of Kashmir are changing their colour after every interval. In Kashmir they keep one narrative and outside Kashmir, they have another. colonial world is divided into two parts: one is comfort zone, which is reserved for those, who are helping in the process, they remain mere puppets, who are working and acting on the signals of their master. The another one is the diving line and its frontiers are covered by barracks and soldiers. In this situation, the policeman/army man are the officials, instituted go-between, the spokesman of the settler. Such forces are more powerful than anyone and they are present everywhere and are also frequent in their actions in order to maintain contact with the natives. Besides that, they are creating a fear by their weaponry and behaviour. These agents of the state are speaking the language of pure force.
Fanon further argues that a man in colonial rule is always desirous and the colonizer knows it well. While applying it to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The picture is visible and society had witnessed that middle class person are becoming elite class in a short spam of time. There are thousand of individuals who do not earn but having luxurious life. Where does the money comes from? While on the other side, the colonizer make mass relationship with the colonized  in which force is being used to show off exhibitionist. His occupation reminds the individual that I am slave forever. In this relationship, the colonizer keeps the anger alive in their subjects by depriving them from basic rights and trapped him in the chains of colonialism. From 1990’s, the Kashmir valley witnessed the more violence in the form of killings, torture, detention, disappearance and so on. All these methods are common in the colonialism and such laws are implemented that keeps legal system salient. These laws were termed as emergency laws and these are amended from time to time according the condition of the people. The recent approach of India towards Kashmir is the sign of colonial rule. The highway ban, militarisation, internet ban, detention of political opponents are the visible signs through which colonial rules are imposed on the people, so that to break their will. Besides, the violations are being justified on the name of emergency by citing different article from international humanitarian laws.

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By: Raju Vernekar

Now the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, which seeks to ban hiring of womb by infertile couples, has been introduced in the Lok Sabha once again and will go through usual rigmarole by the time it is converted into the act.
The government had prohibited surrogacy for international citizens in 2015. Then the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 21 November 2016. It was referred to Parliamentary standing committee on 12 January 2017 and the committee submitted its report on 10 August 2017. But the bill could not get the nod.
In fact the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had issued guidelines to regulate surrogacy arrangements in 2005. The guidelines specified that the surrogate mother cannot donate her own egg for the surrogacy and that she must relinquish all parental rights related to the surrogate child.  Subsequently the ICMR had prepared a draft Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill in 2008. However it did not see the light of day in Parliament.
In the intervening period several Bollywood personalities went ahead and had children through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and surrogacy. However most of the cases relate to the period before the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2018, was passed.
The list of Indian celebrity couples include: Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao (December 2011), Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan(May 2013), Farah Khan and Shirish Kunder(On February 11, 2008)  and Sohail and Seema Khan (June 2011) who took the route of surrogacy. A miscarriage and uterine complications were some of the reasons advanced. In the recent past, Sunny Leone and Daniel Weber gave birth to twins through surrogacy and named them Asher Singh Weber and Noah Singh.
The latest to join the list is Tusshar Kapoor and Karan Johar. The unmarried Tusshar Kapoor became father of a boy on Jun 28, 2016, through surrogacy using IVF. Karan Johar became father of twins born from surrogacy on 9 March, 2017. Ekta Kapoor became a mother on January 27, 2019, when Ravie Kapoor was born through surrogacy. All the while a broken law existed and there had also been no follow up from the authorities.
All these years, low costs for medical treatment and easy availability of women willing to rent their wombs had made it convenient to anybody, to have a child through surrogacy. Not withstanding an attempt to bring in regulation, the industry is thriving and the number of clinics offering these services, which was nearly 59 in 2001, has shot up by over 700 by now.
Now the proposed bill provides for constitution of surrogacy boards at national and state levels. Besides the intending couples should not abandon such a child under any condition. The commercial surrogacy is banned and only close relatives are permitted to act as surrogates to infertile couples for “ethical altruistic” reasons.
Only Indian couples who have been legally married for at least five years would be allowed to opt for surrogacy. The bill seeks to “allow ethical altruistic surrogacy to the intending infertile Indian married couple between the age of 23-50 years and 26-55 years for female and male, respectively. A woman will be allowed to act as a surrogate mother only once and should be a close relative of the intending couple and should be an ever-married woman having a child of her own. Altruitstic surrogacy refers to an arrangement in which a woman volunteers to carry a pregnancy for intended parents without receiving any monetary compensation in return.
The offences  and penalties under the bill include: (i) undertaking or advertising commercial surrogacy; (ii) exploiting the surrogate mother; (iii) abandoning, exploiting or disowning a surrogate child and (iv) selling or importing human embryo or gametes for surrogacy.  The penalty for such offences is imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine up to 10 lakh rupees.  The Bill specifies a range of offences and penalties for other contraventions of the provisions of the Bill.
Those who have adopted the solution of surrogacy in the international arena include: Ricky Martin (the Puerto Rican singer), the late pop star Michael Jackson, actress Nicole Kidman, Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, actress Sarah Jessica Parker, Singer Sir Elton John, Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro and actress Lisa Ray.
The different laws to control surrogacy prevail in different countries. While commercial surrogacy is prohibited in India, Netherlands, UK, South Africa and Greece, it is allowed in Russia.  By and large there is a provision of to pay medical expenses, provide insurance cover and give compensation for any loss to surrogate mother exists in India, Netherlands, UK, South Africa and Greece. In Russia there is no limit on such compensation.
The intending couple is a legal guardian of the surrogate child in India, South Africa and Greece. In Netherlands and UK, surrogate is the legal guardian and guardianship can be transferred through adoption. In Russia, the surrogate is a legal guardian if it is her egg otherwise intending parents are the legal guardians.
In India commercial surrogacy attracts 10 years imprisonment. The situation elsewhere is:
 Netherlands-Maximum one year, UK-Maximum three months, South Africa-maximum 10 years, Greece-Maximum two years. In Russia there is no provision for punishment.
Eligibility criteria for commissioning parents:
 Eligibility criteria for commissioning parents: India (couple must prove infertility),, Netherlands (absence or uterus or any other condition), UK (no requirement), South Africa(if intending mother is unable to give birth to a child and if is such condition is permanent), Greece(inability to give birth to a child. Russia ( If gestation and birth of a child is impossible due to medical reasons).
Eligibility criteria for surrogate mother:
Eligibility criteria for surrogate mother: India-close relative, age 25-35 years, Netherlands-No condition of close relation, age limit up to 44 years, In UK, South Africa and Greece, there is no condition that surrogate should be a close relation and there is no specification of age. In Russia too there is no condition of close relation. However 20 to 35 years is the age specified for surrogate mother.
Marital status of surrogate mother:
India- surrogate mother should be married. However no such condition exists in Netherlands, UK, South Africa, Greece and Russia and single woman allowed to lend her womb for surrogacy.
Requirement of Children:
In India, Netherlands, South Africa and Russia, the surrogate mother should have at least one child. However there is no such requirement in UK and Greece.
No of times one can be a surrogate mother:
In India one can be surrogate mother only once. However there is no such restriction in Netherlands, UK, South Africa, Greece and Russia.
Consent of the partner:
Consent of the partner: India- No provision. While no consent of partner is required in Netherlands and UK, the consent is required in South Africa, Greece and Russia.

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By a Correspondent
Guwahati, July 30,

The ever-rising popularity of badminton in India and consistent results of Indian shuttlers on the global stage have propelled a staggering 2518 entries from 1415 players at the Yonex-Sunrise All India Sub Junior (U-15 & U-17) Ranking Badminton Tournament 2019 that got underway here in Assam on July 29.
The Assam Badminton Association while hosting the tournament witnessed a record-breaking 1088 players in the Boys’ Singles U-17 category, further underlining the passion for the shuttle sport in the country.
Domestic tournaments have been seeing a rapid rise in the number of entries of late like the All India Sub-junior ranking event in Hyderabad last year which received 2841 entries from 1596 players while a Nagpur tournament had 2528 entries from 1405 players.
Spread over 28 draws across 10 events, the Guwahati tournament that will continue till August 4, will be seeing the participation of the country’s top players in the respective categories at the RG Baurah Sports Complex. Pranav Rao Gandham, India’s No. 1 ranked U-17 boys’ singles shuttler, leads the charge while the India No. 2 Taneesha Singh will be heading the U-17 girls’ singles draw.
West Bengal’s Ankit Mondal, India’s best in U-15 Boys’ Singles, will be looking to do justice to his top billing while Gujarat’s Tasnim Mir is the top seed in Girls’ Singles U-15 being India’s current best in that category.
With such enthusiasm at the junior level and their determination to fight it out with the very best in the country, India’s future in badminton surely looks very bright.

Published in Sports

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