Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It pains. It pains to face the reality. The fun element of a metro reader vanishes when the reality of a suburban fringe comes to the fore. A supreme court women judge listing two daughters among 'liabilities' may raise eyebrows. The reason cited : "two daughters to be married". One may question whether a Delhi based SC judge who belong to an enlightened strata of the society should feel that way. But we are never wise enough to know the ground realities. This reality makes a bright class XI girl from a poor farmer family give private tutions to support her study and stand on her own feet. Yes, local residents adored this teen for her determination to 'stay in school in spite of the odds'.

Yesterday, on her way home after giving tution she was abducted, raped and then murdered.

Let not simply a pal of gloom, or feelings of helplessness sink in us. Let us ask ourselves :Are we, who can, doing enough to change such realities? Do we have a desire to do something? Or do we consider it is a liability on our 'over-burdened' lives to take note of such realities that may take our attention away and we may miss a few career milestones?

Schoolgirl raped, killed


Barasat: A 17-year-old schoolgirl was raped and murdered at Dadpur, some 45km from Kolkata, on Monday night. The victim, who used to give tuitions to manage her school fees, was abducted on her way home, raped in a field and strangled.
The body was found at 6.30am on Tuesday. When police arrived at the spot, they were gheraoed by a mob. Local residents, who were very fond of the girl for her determination to stay in school in spite of the odds, accused police of not acting tough on criminals and allowing goons a free run.

The victim was a Class XI student of Dadpur Girl’s High School and regularly gave tuitions to support the family. She left home around 6pm on Monday. When she did not return by 10pm, her parents got

worried. Her cellphone was switched off. The family lodged a missing person’s complaint.
“Preliminary investigation says she was raped and strangled. We will track down the culprits,” a police officer said.
Her father, a farmer, is shattered. “She was the light of our lives. She was a very good student and we had
struggled very hard to keep he in school,” he said.

SC woman judge lists daughters as ‘liabilities’


New Delhi: It is a line that even Bollywood has banished for a while now. But while declaring her assets and liabilities, sitting Supreme Court judge Gyan Sudha Mishra has listed the marriage of her two daughters in the “liabilities” column, apparently without considering anything to be much amiss.
The Supreme Court’s official website in its assets of sitting judges column gives Justice
Mishra’s declaration in which she lists “two daughters to be married” in the liabilities column. This might be a sentiment still shared by a section of the middle class, but could be regarded as politically incorrect, especially on the part of India’s senior-most woman judge.
Other entries in the liabilities column are “guarantor for education loan of my daughter” and residential house to be built post-retirement. The view that daughters are a “liability”
(often because of the high cost of their marriage), or a burden of some sort, is a notion the government is fighting to eradicate through campaigns. The declaration is likely to attract comment as it is does not seem in sync with the Supreme Court’s otherwise progressive image on social issues in general and women’s rights in particular.
It could be seen to be betraying a thinking on which the Supreme Court is often called to deliberate while handling
sensitive gender parity cases.
The assets of Justice Mishra, who formerly headed the Chhattisgarh high court, has declared are not out of the ordinary. “Stridhan” of one gold set and “few gold rings and a pair of bangles” are listed under jewellery. There are no shares or mutual funds and fixed deposits total just 5 lakh.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

CSR : Percentage Debate

Neither voluntary, nor mandatory, somewhere in between! We are in a battle of brains. The debate is turning interesting. While Govt. clearly wants Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) be in place in letter and spirit, it is giving space to corporate houses to align itself to new realities. Minister of Corporate Affairs is categorical in his statement, “There can be business without charity. There can be charity without business. But there can be no business without orporate social responsibility.” He removes the fuzziness about CSR in saying, "To say that you will protect your labour force with proper equipment and proper clothing is not CSR, but giving people of the area similar equipment because they are living in an inherently dangerous area may be corporate social responsibility."

Now comes the percentage debate. The reaction from corporate bodies are interesting. Reproducing it from today's ET.

Govt won’t set CSR floor for India Inc

Firms Won’t Need To Spend 2% Of Profit

Souvik Sanyal & Deepshikha Sikarwar

THE government has watered down its proposal on corporate social responsibility (CSR) by not including a provision in the Companies Bill that would have mandated firms to spend 2% of their profit on social causes.
The final proposal only requires a company to have a policy that targets to spend 2% of its profit on CSR. The bill, however, seeks to make it compulsory for a company to give details of the money it has spent on CSR in its annual report.
“Companies will have to have a policy as to how they will spend 2% of their profit on CSR and there must be a disclosure if the money has been spent,” Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told ET. “You can say it is not entirely vol
untary, might say it is not mandatory. It is in between somewhere.”
The proposal is a dilution of the government’s stance before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance that it was considering making the CSR spend mandatory.
The government had suggested that it could ask companies having a minimum net worth of 500 crore, or an annual turnover of 1,000 crore, or a net profit of 5 crore in a year to spend at least 2% of their average net profit during the three preceding fiscals on CSR.
While the general view is that companies would welcome a dilution in the government’s stance, some in the corporate world say there is actually no dilution.“This is mandating a 2% CSR spend without actually mandating it,” the representative of an industry body said.
CII for voluntary CSR spend
“How can a company declare in its annual report it has not spent on corporate social responsibility?”
In a presentation to the government, the Confederation of Indian Industry had demanded that the new law should not specify an amount to be spent on CSR, and that a decision on the actual spend be left to company boards. The industry body had suggested that CSR should be voluntary and backed by a system of state recognition and honour. Khurshid said the government could give incentives to companies at some stage.
“There are no built-in incentives... But let’s see, in future we may look at some incentives,” he said adding that his ministry was still working on the idea of CSR credits and their trading.
The actual spend of most companies on CSR is well below the 2% threshold, and much of it would not be considered if a strict definition is applied.

But central public sector enterprises have a policy that requires them to spend 0.5-5% of their net profit on CSR activities.
The minister said he was not in favour of linking CSR to a company’s area of operation. “To say that you will protect your labour force with proper equipment and proper clothing is not CSR,” he said.
“But giving people of the area similar equipment because they are living in an inherently dangerous area may be orporate social responsibility.”
“You have to draw a line between charity, philanthropy and CSR,” Khurshid said. “There can be business without charity. There can be charity without business. But there can be no business without orporate social responsibility.”

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Majorana Returns

This was the title of a Nature article in describing renewed interest in the work of Ettore Majorana, a prodigy who made a sudden disappearance when he was only 32 years old. In Fermi's team he pocketed all the prize money whenever a bet was fixed on solution to a scientific problem. However, paper writing, publishing appeared unexciting to him and at least two of his ideas won Nobel prizes later and he was not credited with. B. R. Holstein in his review writes,

"Majorana was a reluctant author. Once he discovered something he considered his own work to be banal. Once a problem was solved Majorana was very reluctant to write anything up on it. An example was the discovery of the neutron. Work by Joliot and Curie in France discovered a neutral particle that can enter matter and expel a proton. their conclusion was that it must be a photon, because at the time it was the only know particle with no charge. Majorana saw immediately that it must be a particle with a mass near that of the proton, in order to move something as heavy as the proton. When he heard this, Fermi urged him to write it up immediately, but nothing happened and soon thereafter Chadwick was given the credit for discovery of the neutron for his work in berylium."

The much talked about neutrino paper would not have seen the day, at least Majorana as author had not he needed a publication list for a position to support his application. This is the famous paper on Neutrino work by Majorana, but was written by Fermi. There are only 9 publications against his name.

In the words of Fermi, "There are many categories of scientists, people of second and third rank, who do their best, but do not go very far. There are also people of first class, who make great discoveries, which are of capital importance for the development of science. But then there are the geniuses, like Galileo and Newton. Well, Ettore was one of these. Majorana had greater gifts than anyone else in the world; unfortunately he lacked one quality which other men generally have: plain common sense."

His disappearance is linked to many theories : spiritual quest, reluctance to be a part of nuclear weapon making group, suicide etc. On March 25, 1938 this is what he wrote to Director of his institute where he leaves a hint of this exit plan.

Dear Carrelli,
I made a decision that has become unavoidable. There isn't a bit of selfishness in it, but I realize what trouble my sudden disappearance will cause you and the students. For this as well, I beg your forgiveness, but especially for betraying the trust, the sincere friendship and the sympathy you gave me over the past months. I ask you to remind me to all those I learned to know and appreciate in your Institute, especially Sciuti: I will keep a fond memory of them all at least until 11 pm tonight, possibly later too.
E. Majorana

Some of the links related to Mjorana are:


I read an article on Majorana yesterday where the author quotes following lines of William Blake paying tribute to this genius.
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Useful USB

Not everyone reads Economic Times or 3-4 newspaper every morning. They may not be reading these posts either :-) However, newspaper articles have a short life cycle. Feel like sharing this from today's ET. Tech. geeks may be already aware of them but not commoners like me.

10 Best Uses Of A USB Drive

Have any old USB drives lying around? You can use them for more than just data transfer. Hitesh Raj Bhagat outlines ten ways how you can put that drive to good use

THE humble pen drive has been around for a long time. Prices have never been cheaper, and larger capacities are easily available too. If you're a computer user, you probably have several of them. Apart from using them to just transport your data, there are a myriad other uses for one, as long as you have a one with a decent capacity and speed. For most of these uses, a 2GB drive (prices start at 250) is more than sufficient, though as is always the case with digital storage, more the merrier!
Run PortableApps
PortableApps is a Windows launcher that can run entirely from your USB drive. What this means is that you can carry a suite of all your favorite applications like Firefox, Chrome, VLC Media Player, Foxit Reader, 7-Zip and more, all on the drive. Plug it into any remote computer and you’ll have all your favorite applications with you. All you have to do is head to the website and download the PortableApps program. There are even preselected app bundles available for download.
Get it from www.portableapps.com
Computer maintenance & troubleshooting
A USB drive can play host to various applications that can help fix, maintain or troubleshoot a computer in need. First, you can start with Trend Micro’s HouseCall or Kaspersky’s virus removal tool. Glary Utilities can be run to do a complete maintenance check (registry clean, removal of temporary files, manage startup programs). Finally, Ultimate Defrag can be used organise the files for better speed and reliability.
Get all the apps from
Run an alternate operating system
Linux and various versions of it are available for free. But some special versions of Linux like Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux and Xubuntu are small and light enough to be run completely from a USB drive. This means that you can run and check out Linux for yourself on any existing Windows computer, without making any changes to it! The added advantages of these ‘Live’ builds of Linux is that they have very minimal hardware requirements, which makes them blazing fast, even on older machines.
Get them from www.puppylinux.org, www.damnsmalllinux.org, www.xubuntu.org
Automated backup of selected folders
You may have a 500GB hard drive in your computer, but the most important data to you on that drive will be lesser. It could be a folder of your photographs, videos, songs or important documents. Rather than take a complete backup of the drive which is a time-consuming process, you can use Microsoft's SyncToy to selectively backup and synchronise certain folders between the hard drive and an external USB flash drive. Once configured, all you have to do is plug the drive in to backup the folder.
Get it from: http://goo.gl/Zz77V
Run a complete media player
XBMC (Xbox Media Center) started out as media center for the Microsoft Xbox, but is now versatile software for PCs to playback
multiple formats of multimedia files in a slick interface. XBMC Live is a special version, designed to run from USB drives and it can be used to run a pre-configured version of XBMC on any machine for demo purposes. Pretty much anyone who sees the Live version gets the full version instantly.
Get it from: http://xbmc.org/download
Encrypted Data with self-destruct feature
If you're paranoid about someone stealing data from your USB drive, you can secure the data with USB SafeGuard. It encrypts data on the drive with advanced AES 256-bit encryption. You can assign a password to selected folders or to the entire drive. And there’s a setting that can erase the entire contents of the drive if someone enters a wrong password too many times.
Get it from
Work securely on a remote computer
Democrakey offers a suite of handy applications that you can store and run from your USB drive. When you are away from your own PC and want to use the Internet on an unknown PC, Democrakey can keep your data and information safe. It includes the Tor Browser (for anonymous web browsing), Clamwin (to check the PC for viruses), AbiWord (to read Word documents) Thunderbird Portable (with pre-installed add-ons to send anonymous email) and TrueCrypt (for file encryption).
Get it from www.democrakey.com
Increase performance with Ready Boost
With Windows Vista and Windows 7, if you have a fast enough USB flash drive, you can use it for Ready Boost. Ready Boost is a feature that uses the space on your USB drive as extra RAM, instantly boosting the overall speed of your Windows system and programs. Not all USB drives are fast enough to be used for Ready Boost. To check, right click on the drive's icon in My Computer, click Tools and then the Ready Boost tab.
For more information: http://goo.gl/JztRI
Use it as a ‘key’ to access several PCs
You might have seen this before in the movies; a USB drive is inserted into a computer and it immediately springs to life. A free application called Predator can be used for exactly the same thing. Download and install Predator, and pair a USB drive with it. With the USB drive plugged in, you can continue to work, but as soon as it is removed, the screen darkens, the computer locks, and keyboard/mouse input is disabled. Plug it back in, and normal usage is restored.
Get it from: www.montpellierinformatique.com/predator
Make a “life-backup”
This can literally be a life saver. Many of us may have not stopped to think about what would happen if we lost all our belongings in a fire, flood or natural calamity. The size and portability of a USB flash drive is actually ideal to store digital copies of all your important documents like bank information, credit card details, birth certificates, legal papers, insurance papers and anything else that ties into yours or your family’s life. Be sure to keep one away at in a locker or at a friend's place in another city for extra peace of mind.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Also Happens

Don't know how to interpret it or the underlying dynamics. It need not be a comic aberration. There may be much much more than what the article tells.

Beggar’s election as gram pradhan sparks debate

Arvind Singh Bisht | TNN Dec. 19, 2010

Lucknow: Can a beggar hold a public office? The question hangs thick after Narayan Nat, a 50-year-old beggar, has been elected as gram pradhan of Sahawar Shah of Badaun district in the just concluded panchayat polls in UP.
The issue has come under scrutiny as law prohibits begging. It is a declared offence and deemed a social evil, both under the Central and the UP Acts meant to discourage begging. This is thus argued that begging is contrary to the morality, which is the essence of democracy.
A debate over the issue holds views both in favour and against Nat’s election. While the development is hailed by radicals as a warning against corrupt politicians, traditionalist and jurists disagree with this. They feel the issue needs to be given a serious
thought, as legitimising the malice of begging will only give way to similar other immoral activities like immoral trafficking and gambling in the public domain.
When asked to comment on the issue, DM, Banda, Amit Gupta said: “Nat stands to be disqualified, if he does not give up begging after assuming his post.” Section 92 of the
UP Panchayat Act empowers DM to disqualify gram pradhan for any post-electoral misconduct.
However, another side of the issue is that the election of Nat is seen as a rare feat and a warning to the corrupt politicians. As put by UP Congress legislature party leader, Pramod Tiwari: “Technically, Nat’s victory may be incorrect because begging is punishable under the law, but otherwise, his rise reflects the public mind and anger against corruption, practised today by almost all the politicians.”
Reacting sharply to this, C B Pandey, a retired judge and former advisor to the UP governor, said that in spite of everything, begging couldn’t be legitimised. He said that Nat should be disqualified. All the more reason for this, he said, was that Nat in his public position had proudly announced to continue begging.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Step Mother?

The NGO Shakti Vahini helped with crucial leads. “Two of our girls even posed as decoys and intercepted Tahira,” said Rishikant, a social activist heading the operations of the NGO. Valiant effort! And the role of a Step Mother ...

First, today's The Telegraph : The perseverance of an unlettered stepmother, the helping hand of a lawyer’s clerk and the caring instincts of a judge and the insistence of the court jolted Bengal police to launch a hunt that took them to the girl who was sold for Rs 5,000 by a trafficker.

A CID team from Calcutta, with the help of Delhi police, rescued a “traumatised” Yasmin Khatun (name changed), now 16, from a hideout in west Delhi’s Begumpur today.

“The girl was rescued from a house in a raid carried out jointly by our team and Bengal police early today. She had been kidnapped and kept in a house in Begumpur,” Ashok Chand, deputy commissioner (crime branch) of Delhi police, said.

Nishan Pervez, special superintendent of police, CID, said his team had confirmed that the girl was the same person reported missing from Kakdwip in South 24-Parganas.

P. Nirajnayan, IG, Bengal CID, said the girl was “traumatised” and had been sent for medical examination.

Plucked away by a gang of traffickers, Yasmin’s story is testimony to the free run gangs of traffickers enjoy in Bengal’s poverty-ridden villages.

Yasmin would have remained another piece of the cold statistics that say 2,500 teenaged girls disappear from Bengal every year but for the combined efforts of an unlikely group of people brought together by the persistence of her stepmother Johora Bibi.

‘I knew our daughter would come back’

Sumati Yengkhom | TNN Dec. 17, 2010

Kolkata: On April 15, 2009, Tahira Khatun had gone to a village fair — barely 200 metres from her home at Balikhal in Kakdwip, South 24-Parganas — never to return. Her sisterin-law, Jasmira Biwi, returned home late in the evening and told the family that she could not locate Tahira in the crowd.
The family launched a manhunt in the village that very night. A few locals, such as Mohiuddin Biwi, told the family that they had seen Tahira getting into a Maruti Omni around 10.30pm. They also spotted one Kaus Mir and Anwar Bhangi (all from the locality) bundling her into the vehicle, along with one Kashmira Biwi who is allegedly involved in the flesh trade racket.

Suspecting that Tahira would be pushed into flesh trade, the girl’s father, Khater Visti, filed a diary the next day with the Dholahat police and lodged a complaint against six local residents, accusing them of kidnapping the girl.
When police failed to fetch any information on Tahira for about two months, the family moved the Kakdwip ACJM court with a writ petition in June. As no one in the family is lit
erate, they were being assisted by Rafique Ahmed Darjee, a lawyer’s clerk. At the same time, the family knocked on the doors of senior police officers, including the Kakdiwp SDPO and the district SP. They even went to the state women’s commission.
The agony at not finding her daughter hit her mother Samira Biwi very
hard. Samira was already suffering from mental illness. Her condition deteriorated after Tahira went missing. Samira had stopped communicating with anyone. She occasionally asked when her daughter would come back home. Moved by her plight, Tahira’s step-mother Johra Biwi (Khater’s second wife) stepped in and moved Calcutta high court in July 2009.
“I could not bear to see Tahira’s mother suffering silently. Moreover, I brought up Tahira myself due to her mother’s mental condition. She was just a few months old when I got married. She was very attached to me,” Johra said.
Though some of the accused were arrested, police failed to trace the girl, adding to the family’s agony.
The matter was finally transferred to the court of the chief justice in April this year and was subsequently treated as a PIL In September. In a landmark judgment, the high court directed the director general of police (DGP) to trace and produce the girl by November 12.
Tahira was finally traced in Delhi on Thursday. State ADG (law and order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha said a team from the state CID and the Delhi Police had been able to trace the girl.

A Follow-up : First, from today's (18th Dec.) The Telegraph and then ToI

Girl recoils at fear of ostracism in Bengal
- ‘Tortured, humiliated and brainwashed’

New Delhi, Dec. 17: Kidnapped and sold last year and rescued from Delhi yesterday, 16-year-old Bengal girl Yasmin Khatun says she doesn’t want to return home for fear of ostracism.

Consumed with shame and misplaced guilt at the “different” life she has led for the past year and a half, Yasmin (name changed) has told police and social workers she has “grave doubts” about ever being accepted by the people of her South 24-Parganas village, Balikhali.

“She is both traumatised and humiliated,” said Bengal CID inspector Sarbari Bhattacharya, the leader of the police team that came to Delhi to rescue the Kakdwip girl who was abducted in April last year.

“She told me she doesn’t want to go back to Bengal because she is unsure how she would be received. She wants to remain in Delhi. The traffickers who brought her to Delhi have brainwashed her into thinking that she would be humiliated and taunted by her own people if she ever returns home.”

Tomorrow, the Delhi government’s child welfare committee (CWC) will counsel Yasmin and try to dispel her fears. At some point of time, Yasmin may have to travel at least to Calcutta, whose high court has asked the police to produce her.

CWC chairperson Neera Mallick, however, said: “The girl needs counselling at least for the next six months before she is exposed to the world.”

Inspector Bhattacharya said the traffickers would torture Yasmin every time she said she wanted to return home, and had brainwashed her into thinking that after her life in Delhi, she would be an “untouchable” back in Bengal.

“She is confused,” Bhattacharya said. “Sometimes she smiles and sometimes she suddenly starts crying.”

Over a period of time, the officer said, Yasmin began believing she would never be able to leave and began accepting her life in Delhi. Her tormentors then started tutoring her in etiquette and the social graces, and bought her expensive dresses, to transform the rustic girl into a “lady of society”.

“I was surprised last night when, while having dinner, she suddenly asked for a napkin,” Bhattacharya said. “I never expected that from a village girl. But I quickly realised that the traffickers had been grooming her. The room we rescued her from had an air-conditioner.”

Rashi Aditi Ghosh, of the NGO Shakti Vahini, who had accompanied the police on the raid to rescue the girl, too said that Yasmin had told her she didn’t want to “go back to her baba and maa”.

“She said she was disgusted with her father’s foul behaviour. She seemed confused and may not be telling the whole truth.”

It’s not clear what Yasmin has against her 61-year-old father Khater Bhisti, a fish seller, but she owes her freedom to her unlettered stepmother Johora Bibi who, faced with initial police apathy, fought a lone crusade to take the battle to the high court.

Ghosh said her NGO had helped rescue many trafficked girls and that she did not find Yasmin’s behaviour unusual. Having accepted their new life, especially the “material comforts” that come with it, many of the girls are reluctant to return home.

“Yasmin is ashamed of the life she has been forced to lead but, at the same time, she has grown used to the comforts. In this confused state she may be trying to find excuses not to return home,” Ghosh said.

“Many girls we have rescued have behaved in this way, but she needs counselling and someone she can open her heart to.”

For now, Yasmin is staying at Nirmal Chhaya, a home for girls run by the Delhi government’s social welfare department.

Rescued girl doesn’t want to go home

Alleges Sexual Abuse By Kin; NGO Says Story Could’ve Been Fabricated To Avoid Poverty

Sumati Yengkhom & Dwaipayan Ghosh | TNN

Kolkata/New Delhi: For more than a year, Johura Biwi fought relentlessly to get her step-daughter home. In fact, it was the grit and determination of this illiterate-but-feisty village woman that led to Tahira Khatun (16) being finally traced. Otherwise, the minor girl from this nondescript village called Balikhal in Kakdwip subdivision of South 24-Parganas, would have remained untraced like scores of girls who go missing from the state every year. Tahira, who was trafficked and sold in Delhi, was rescued on Thursday during a joint raid by Delhi Police and a CID team from the state.
When Tahira went missing on Aprli 15 last year, her father Khater Vishti had filed a missing complaint with Dholahat police station. But in a few weeks, the fisherman, in his 60s, got busy with work as he has to feed the family. And since Tahira’s mother Samira Biwi suffers from mental disorder, it was left to Johura, in her late 30s, to take up the fight.
“From kitchen to court, it has been a long journey. I had hardly ventured out of the village till I dragged
myself out as I knew I had to find our daughter back. Going to the police station was frightening initially. Then I got going with the support of the family,” said Johura who is Khater Vishti’s second wife.
The news that Tahira has been traced has brought a lot of relief to the family. They are now waiting for Tahira to come back home. Her mother Samira Biwi specially is getting impatience.
But Tahira has reportedly expressed that she does not want to go back home. In a startling revelation, the girl is believed to have told her counsellor Rashi Aditi Ghosh in Delhi that a close relative had tried to exploit her sexually earlier. Though she admitted that she was sold off by the accused in Delhi, she is apparently not comfortable with the idea of going back home.
However, there is a high probability of Tahira cooking up stories of this sexual exploitation to avoid going back to poverty. According to Delhi-based NGO Shaktivahini that had provided the counsellors for Tahira, the girl who reportedly is stunningly beautiful, apparently has been making good money. Though she did not operate from red light areas, Kadir,
who bought her, possibly had been supplying her to high-profile clients.
“Easy and good money seems to have gone into her head. And it is quite natural for a girl of her age, who is yet to be mature enough to understand what’s good for her and
what is not. There is a high chance of the girl fabricating the story of some relatives trying to sexually exploit her so that she is not sent back home. The girl needs counselling,” said Rishi Kant of Shativahini.
The girl, who could not even get a square meal back home, now reportedly wears branded clothes and accessories. In two years, the gullible village girl has reportedly transformed into a big city girl who lives life on the fast lane.
According to what Tahira has told Ghosh, she had willingly accompanied her sister-in-law Jasmina on April 15, 2009, when the latter promised her to take her to the fair. “At the fair, she met Kalam — a resident of Park Street in Kolkata — and followed him as he promised her security from her abusive relative. On the way to Kolkata, Kalam allegedly offered her a soft drink laced with sedatives. The next thing she remembers is that she was on a train to Delhi. She was sold off to Azhar for Rs 6,000,” said Ghosh.
Delhi crime branch officers said later, Kadir and Azhar fell out over the share of money. “Kadir was demanding more money for the girl and Azhar sold her for the second time
to avoid a confrontation with Kadir,” said the investigating officer.
Cops said the “lead” in their search for Tahira had come after they managed to arrest Kalam from Park Street. They nabbed Azhar after forcing Kalam to call him up and tell him that he had brought “two beautiful girls” from Bengal and wanted to sell them. “Two woman members of the NGO acted as decoys and we arrested him as soon as he tried to escape,” said a senior officer.
Cops said Azhar was a “rich” man who holds several bank accounts on fake identities. Police are now probing whether Azhar’s two wives – one in Hyderabad and the other in Meerut — too were involved in the all-India trafficking racket. “We are also looking into possible links of Azhar in bringing 53 girls from Jharkhand, Bengal and Bihar to the Capital for prostitution just before the Commonwealth Games,” added a crime branch officer.
Azar left Delhi for Kolkata by Rajdhanai Express on a two-day transit remand on Friday evening. However, it might take a couple of days for Tahira to be brought to Kolkata. The Child Welfare board in Delhi is expected to finalise the date on Saturday.

The Telegraph keeps following up.

New Delhi, Dec. 18: Yasmin, the Bengal girl rescued here on Thursday, today said she preferred her “new life” to the poverty and hunger that awaited her back home, shining a light on causes that underpin trafficking and the challenges ahead of rehabilitation agencies.

Yasmin (name changed), 16, also confirmed that her relative Kashmira Bibi had handed her over to traffickers.

Ghar jaane se achchha hai yahan pe mar jana (better to die here than return home),” the girl, kidnapped from Kakdwip in April last year, told The Telegraph in fluent Hindi.

Yasmin said she had grown used to the comforts of her life in Delhi’s “party circuit”, learnt Hindi and forgotten to speak Bengali in these 20 months, and now called the couple who had bought her “Papa” and “Mummy”.

In her village of Balikhali in South 24-Parganas, “hunger stares one in the face”, she said. “I will die of starvation there. I’ve got used to a life of comfort after sacrificing a lot; there’s no point going back.”

She is also afraid of stigma: “People will laugh at me and make up stories about me…. Now I hate my village and its people.”

Yasmin will, however, have to board the Rajdhani Express tomorrow with Bengal CID officers and will be reaching Calcutta on Monday morning to be presented before the high court. She spoke to this newspaper at Banga Bhavan shortly after counselling by the Delhi government’s child welfare committee (CWC), which cleared her journey to Bengal.

CWC chairperson Neera Mallick said a traumatised Yasmin needed counselling and “a lot of care and affection” for six months before she could be rehabilitated.

“It now depends on the Bengal government how they provide counselling and other facilities to help her return to normal life. If they fail to do so, the girl could return to the world her tormentors had thrown her into.”

Yasmin said her sister-in-law’s sibling Kashmira had handed her over to a man called Kalam, who brought her to Delhi, sexually abused her in a hotel and sold her to Azhar.

She was finally sold to a couple whom she addressed as “Papa” and “Mummy”. The husband, Pappu, groomed her in manners and etiquette, showered her with gifts and gave her a new name: Julie.

“There were five other girls. A woman gave us Hindi lessons. We were given expensive clothes and good food. I loved my air-conditioned room; I drank only mineral water. I would go to a lot of parties and have been to big hotels too. After a few months, I accepted the new life like the other girls,” she said.

“They (Pappu and his wife) have given me a lot and I want to go back to them.”

Pappu went into hiding after Thursday’s police raid netted Azhar and rescued Yasmin.

Yasmin said she had recently met a man from Moradabad, who had promised to marry her after two years. “He owns a mutton shop. I want a happy life, not a life like the girls at my village have.”

She said her father Khater Bhisti, a 61-year-old fish seller, was a harsh man and had pulled her out of school after Class III, fearing she might run away with somebody. “I wanted to continue studying....”

Did she miss her village? “I have a very close friend, Mohitan, there... but she would have been married off by now.”

One day last year, after her father had behaved particularly badly with her, Kashmira had promised to find her a job outside Bengal.

“She told me my father and stepmother hated me,” said Yasmin, who has been rescued thanks to her illiterate stepmother’s unyielding crusade against police apathy.

On April 15, 2009, Yasmin was returning home after watching a circus when Kashmira introduced her to Kalam, who was waiting on a motorcycle, and asked her to go with him, Yasmin said. “I didn’t know he would sell me off.”

Kalam, a 32-year-old Calcuttan, rode straight to Howrah station and boarded a train with her, saying he would find her a job. In Delhi, he took her to a hotel, spiked her soft drinks and assaulted her, Yasmin said. “I wept a lot that day.”

The next day, she was sold off to Azhar. “They (Azhar and his associates) tortured me. When I wanted to go back to my village, they threatened to kill me.”

Kalam, arrested in November on trafficking charges, had helped the police arrest Azhar here on Thursday. Both reached Calcutta today with a CID team. Azhar will be produced in Kakdwip court tomorrow.

Azhar, who wore Versace woollens and Nike sneakers, has allegedly told the police he had contacts across Bengal who would traffic girls to him.