India Insight

Elsewhere in India: girls, mobile phones and slapping your tormentors

November 11, 2012

Here’s a short roundup of regional news in India that attracted our interest this weekend. Any opinions expressed by the author are no doubt ill informed and ridiculous. Aditya Yogi Kalra contributed to this post.

Another politician, another reference to women being the root of all man’s troubles. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh blamed “girlfriends, bikes and  mobile phones” for the rising number of road accidents in the state.  ”It’s a common sight to see youngsters driving two-wheelers while talking on cellphones which often leads to accidents. Youths should avoid such habits,” Singh said. (PTI via CNBC-TV18)

Shivakumar of Uliyakovil, Kollam, was arrested after promising to marry a woman, but demanding that she sell one of her kidneys first. “The victim was identified as Manju (alias Chinchu). Police said Manju had lodged a complaint in 2009. The operation to remove her kidney was conducted at KIMS Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.” Shivakumar reportedly abandoned Manju, and took the kidney, which he sold for 1 million rupees, or $18,289. (TNN)

Slap happy: Three allegedly drunk men aged 21 to 25 groped a woman in Mumbai while she was on her way to work at a call centre at King’s Circle. When she shouted at them, and a fight ensued, at which during one point one of the men slapped her. A crowd beat up the men, but urged the woman not to summon the police. She did so anyway, and the cops took the men to the Antop Hill police station. The woman “refused to leave, saying the two men had ‘manhandled her and slapped her and that it was only fair that she is allowed to slap them’. “The police agreed. I slapped the men and told them that the next time they think about touching a woman, the sound of my slap will ring in their ears.’” (Times of India)

LinkedIn is “dabbling” with the idea of allowing members in India to pay with local currency rather than with credit cards. “Everything needs to be in place because where money is concerned, you need to be doubly sure,” said a spokesperson for the site, refusing to give a time frame. There reportedly are 15 million Indian users as of May, accounting for more than 9 percent of its users. (Mint)

“Caste Hindus” torched as many as 268 Dalit dwellings near Naikkankottai in western Tamil Nadu earlier this week after a man killed himself because his daughter married a Dalit man. The Dalit man, Ilavarasan, and his new wife N. Divya sought police protection nearly a month after they got married. When the daughter’s father, Nagarajan, tried to take her back to her family, she refused. He then committed suicide, which reportedly sparked the riot. Dalits have historically been known as “untouchables,” a status forbidden by the Indian Constitution. (The Hindu)

A mob attacked Muslim woman Deeba Algani, 23, after going on a shopping trip in the city of Mangalore, because she was driving in a car with a realtor named Dharma. “The mob waylaid our car, pushed us out and assaulted us. They asked me why I was travelling with a Hindu.” Algani’s mother Zubeida said that the mob robbed her daughter of her mobile phone and more than 300,000 rupees. Zubeida is a member of a local gram panchayat, or a local self-government organization. (TNN)

PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has enlisted 96-year-old vegetarian Ramajit Raghav of Kharkhoda in the state of Haryana, to promote its campaign of vegetarianism. Raghav distinguished himself by becoming the oldest man to father a child. His wife is 53. Whether his status as a teetotaler has anything to do with his longevity is unknown. (TNN)

The Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists and the Arunachal Press Club will shut newspaper and electronic media offices for two days starting Monday after 10 people attacked Tapan Kumar Das, associate editor of English-language newspaper Echo of Arunachal. This was the fourth attack this year on journalists in the northeastern state, which borders on Bhutan, China and Myanmar. (PTI via The Assam Tribune)

Meanwhile, a journalist and two media information technology workers were arrested for trying to extort 500,000 rupees from a Unani doctor after they caught him on camera prescribing “allopathic” medicine. In other words, a natural healer was caught on camera prescribing conventional medicine. (PTI via CNBC-TV18)

Fifteen tea estate workers in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, asked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the right to die because they can’t handle their finances after the tea estate on which they worked closed. Most are nearly 60 years old and not eligible for unemployment payments that they could otherwise get under a lockout plan. One applicant, Sima Oraon, is 17.  “After the garden was closed down, her mother died of malnutrition. With two younger brothers to look after, Sima and her father now work at the riverbeds to earn their livelihood. ‘It has been more than 10 years that our garden is closed and little has been done to resume operations. If the other closed gardens can reopen, why can’t ours? We have been left foodless, literally. In such a condition how can we live? This has driven us to write to the CM seeking permission to die,’ she said.” (Times of India)

(A driver speaks on his mobile phone as he takes a break in his Premier Padmini taxi during the afternoon in Mumbai October 1, 2012. Reuters photo: Vivek Prakash)

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