Friday, January 29, 2016

Crime, Reformation and Society.

Reformed Criminal Unwanted in Society.
The case of Ms. Shireen Taj from Mysore makes a sad and disturbing reading. She was convicted and sentenced for life ( 14 years ) for having murdered her husband. She was released from jail on the Republic Day after having completed 14 years term along with other 42 with a certificate of good conduct during their term in the jail. When she rushed to meet her children and family there was none to receive or accept her. She was already estranged from her husband's family immediately after the murder and had to stay with her parents family during the trial for five years. Now, even there she was unwanted: either there was none available at home or even the one she met ( her brother ) was not inclined to recognise her. She went back to the jail and requested the authority there to keep her again in the jail till her death. As there is no provision to keep in jail who were discharged from it, they did the best thing available: sent her to an orphanage - Shaktidama. One salute to those jail authorities who showed her a way although it is not mandatory on their part to do so.
Cases like Shireen Taj need to be handled with better planning and a thoroughly professional approach by the jail authorities. In fact, there is an academic discipline who can offer help to such cases, the profession of Social Work, an MSW, a Master of Social Work degree holder, who has been trained to integrate such and similar cases back in the society. The effort should start well before the discharge, say an year in advance. The social worker would interact with the people concerned in the society for the case on hand, counsel them on the reformation undergone in the case, change the attitude of the people, which is usually harsh and negative, on the ex-convicts, and with proper communication and understanding make the people accept the case into their fold.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tragic death of Chakravarti Rohit Vemula

Communalism, Politics and Suicide in the Centre of Higher Learning.
Chakravarti Rohit Vemula (26), a PhD student, a Dalit, along with other Dalit students takes a lead in staging a play 'Muzaffarnagar Abhi Baaqi Hain' about six months ago in the Campus of Hyderabad Central University, Hyderabad, Telangana. ABVP - Unit of HCU leader Sushil Kumar objects/demonstrates to the show stating it is anti national and would cause communal disturbances. Ambedkar Students Association staged a demonstration agains ABVP on 3rd August 2015. On 4th August ABVP leader complains that he has been attacked by Dalits, the Enquiry Committee odered by the then VC did not find any evidence of physical attack. Subsequently, Dalit group has been complaining of harassment by the ABVP group and the ABVP group insisting on taking action against Dalit group for the "attack" on their leader. Rohit even met former UGC Chairman,Sukhdev Thorat, a Dalit, seeking help, the latter in turn met Central Social Welfare Minister Ghelot, who in turn wrote to Telangana CM, for a report.
Now, the new Vice Chancellor, Professor Podile Appa Rao takes over. ABVP puts pressure on the new VC to take action against the "attackers". The Union Minister hailing from the region, Bandaru Dattatreya writes to HRD Minister to take action on the "attackers", the letter was forwarded to the University. VC, without conducting any further enquiry, and although earlier enquiry did not find any evidence of physical attack, takes the matter to the highest decision making Body, Executive Council of the University, which resolved to suspend the five Dalit students including Rohit prohibiting them to enter Hostel, to participate in Student Elections and to enter Common places such as Administrative Offices. !2 days later Rohit committed suicide by hanging in his friend's room. HRD Minister, Smriti Irani has ordered a probe whose report is expected any time now.
However, in the suicide note written by Rohit just before death makes no mention of any of the above events. In fact, the death note is more a philosophical and intensely psychological with literary infuse than anything else of the campus events. He wrote about his experience of vacuum, silence, meaninglessness and his forlornness childhood.Yet, we cannot rule out the impact of campus events on his death: he fought, complained and perhaps realised the futility of it all, and more particularly,the experience of helplessness and hopelessness against things around over which he has no control. The man who could experience consciously such an existential crisis is indeed a great human fund of creativity with an ability to reach the higher reaches of human endeavour. It is indeed a great tragedy that we lost him.
University authorities must be extremely cautious while taking drastic action on young students in the campus. They should be free from partisan attitude and political involvement and any drastic action against growing youth must be
based on verifiable evidence and objective consideration. Otherwise, we would
be causing irreparable damage for the rest of the student's life.