India Insight

Anti-rape bill goes easy on first-time stalkers, but only if innocent

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

Women have become increasingly worried about their safety in New Delhi after the gang rape and torture of a young woman aboard a moving bus last December. Not for nothing do people call the city India’s rape capital. Beyond the leers and the crass words that men often direct at women walking on the street, fresh fears have arisen over stalkers.

The Lok Sabha passed a bill to toughen penalties on rape and sexual assault on Tuesday, and among its penalties, it would make stalking punishable by jail time. But first-time offenders will be able to avoid being detained till investigation is complete, as the offence is bailable.

That, of course, disappointed many people. “1st time stalkers get bail, so they get out and harass, and maybe attack the woman they were stalking?,” journalist Padmaja Joshi wrote on Twitter. ‏@Neilima wrote, “1st time stalker getting bail will probably lead on a second attack. Only, it’ll be a lot worse than just stalking her.”

But what happens if someone falsely accuses someone of stalking? If the offence is non-bailable, police have the right to arrest or detain the accused stalker before they begin investigating the case, said Vijay Kumar, a lawyer who argues cases before the Supreme Court.

Making a case for tougher anti-stalking laws

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

Should any well meaning law proposed in a democratic parliament be shelved because it risks being misused in some form?

Unless we go into specifics, it is hard to generalize the question, but the eighteenth-century English scholar William Blackstone made a strong argument: “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

Vote Stalin? In India, you can

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

History has it that Stalin and Napoleon were born a hundred years apart but in India, you will find the two working together – at least on paper.

Stalin and Napoleon (no relation to the Soviet dictator or the French emperor) are leaders in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a political party in Tamil Nadu that hogged headlines on Tuesday for withdrawing support to the ruling Congress-led coalition.

Fashion Week: The one to watch out for

#gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } A model shows an Aneeth Arora creation on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur A model shows an Aneeth Arora creation on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur
Models show Aneeth Arora creations on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur Models showcase Aneeth Arora creations on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur
A model shows an Aneeth Arora creation on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur A model shows a creation by Aneeth Arora on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur

 

Beautiful clothes aside, designer Aneeth Arora’s show was remarkable for its models — they seemed to be having fun on the runway. It almost seemed like Arora’s creations let them be their usual selves.

Fashionable comfort is perhaps what makes Arora’s designs stand out. Hers are the kind of clothes that don’t require you to tuck your tummy in, or sit in a certain posture and not slouch or worry about clothes getting dirty — all this while being fashionable. Alas! The kind of clothes you don’t find easily on the runway.

Fashion Week: The traditional, the androgynous and the ultra feminine

The phrase ‘richness of Indian culture and tradition’ is used so often that it almost loses its meaning. Unless there is a close encounter with it. Mine was a sartorial one.

Indian textiles, fabrics, weaves and embroideries have been used in clothing in India and outside for hundreds of years, and exported to numerous counties but have still not lost their charm. Designers have reinvented them over and over again to suit contemporary clothing.

There are few Indian designers who do not use at least one traditional element in their garments. On the third day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, designers took up some traditional weaves and embroideries and interpreted it for the ramp. Manish Malhotra did a spectacular job of it.

Indian startup aims for the moon – and $30 million

Rahul Narayan, who describes himself as a serial entrepreneur, is the founder of Team Indus. It is the only Indian team in a race to the moon by privately funded groups competing for the largest international incentive prize of all time – the Google Lunar X Prize.

Google is offering $30 million in prizes to the first privately funded teams to safely land a robot on the Moon, including a grand prize and other bonus prizes.

In a conversation with Reuters, Narayan talks about Team Indus’ prospects, timing, his struggle to be taken seriously by investors and why he would not be too disappointed if someone else wins.

Fashion Week: A splash of Kumbh on the runway

While millions washed away a lifetime of sins in the Ganges, some people brought back interesting things from the largest religious congregation on earth – the Maha Kumbh Mela. Designer Tarun Tahiliani brought back ideas for his latest collection.

More than 2,000 years old, the festival is a meeting point for Hindu sadhus, some of whom live in the forest or in Himalayan caves. The sadhus at the Kumbh can be quite a spectacle – some are ash-smeared, some naked, sporting dreadlocks and beads, while some wrap themselves in saffron clothing.

On the second day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, Tahiliani showcased his “Coombhack Collection”, an interpretation of sadhu wear. Tahiliani gave the traditional drapes a modern and structured outlook in contemporary clothing.

Taxing times for reporters on the Chidambaram beat

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s drive to shore up government coffers is not just giving businessmen sleepless nights.

Just when reporters were taking a breather after filing stories based on inflation data on Thursday, the finance ministry sent them text messages about a press briefing. The recipients were supposed to rush to Chidambaram’s office in 15 minutes to cover what appeared to be a major policy announcement. After all, the finance minister doesn’t call on such short notice for chitchat.

Indian IT finds promise in Europe as continent looks at offshoring

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

Europe’s reluctance to send information technology and other business processing work to India might be changing, based on recent financial results from companies that specialize in handling “IT and business process outsourcing” work. It looks like this is a trend that will last more than a quarter.

Many European companies have shied away from sending work overseas, unlike American firms that jumped in feet first, seeking to cut IT costs by as much as 70 percent despite the barrier between two kinds of English. Add to that countries such as Germany and France, where the divide is between two languages altogether, and outsourcing faces a larger challenge.

Fashion Week: When in doubt, wear a sari

Just when you think that there is nothing more that you can do with a sari, someone will prove you wrong. On the first day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi, we saw saris with lipstick prints and telephone booth imprints, a sari wrapped around a bikini top and hot pants, and Peter Pan collars on sari blouses.

“It’s sexy, it’s a sari, it’s comfortable, but it is hot.” said designer Anupama Dayal, who brought her collection “Ishq-e-Dilli” (“Delhi Passion”) to the show.

The sari, said to be 5,000 years old and wearable in more than 80 ways, has found favour with Indian designers for a long time, and now young designers are taking a fancy to it.

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