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2G Scam Verdict: Scary And Disappointing For Common Citizens Like Us

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A very clumsy rant has started from the Congress party from the time the special CBI court has given its judgement. All its leaders are jumping into the debate and trying to justify the incorrectness of the theory of loss of revenue caused to the treasury of India, because they have got the ‘license’ to do so and to be honest, for me it is all hazy. Neither I am convinced with the rant coming from the accused nor the logic being given from the prosecution’s side.

Its reason is very simple: both sides are merely giving statements to contain their vote shares, and both the sides have hollow claims.

Let’s understand it by dividing it into three subsections. Let’s first start from the accused side. Why were A. Raja and the others not able to justify their stand initially in court? After all, only because the court thought that the accused was indeed guilty, did it send them to jail. Why could they not justify their policies for spectrum bidding and allocation in parliament or public? Why could the warriors of the DMK and the Congress not justify the bidding and allocation? Why were they never ready to discuss the issue in the parliament? They were only saying that it should be left on the court to decide whether it was correct or not, because they had a full trust on their ability to subvert the judiciary and the ineffectiveness of the system.

When the Congress found that it was getting impossible for the parliament to function, they just took the ministry from Raja’s hand, but they never elaborated in any convincing manner that there was no loss. They only said that there was no loss, but logic they provided was hollow.

The ruckus that was created by the then Opposition deserved the white paper with clarifications on all the raised concerns. Let’s say at that time, they were not ready to succumb to the demands of the opposition due to obvious reasons, what is stopping them from bringing the white paper now?

It will be more convenient also, as it may expose the “false claim” by the prosecution in public and re-establish their trust. We can clearly see that the accused side is only relying on the judgement of the court. The lack of trust of the common man in the court is not because the courts are giving incorrect judgements. This trust deficit is mounting due to the failure of the concerned agency and the lack of moral value in their officers for some possible materialistic favour, in putting the evidence in court. The court gives its judgement only on the facts and evidence brought to their notice and the correspondence of the court. After seeing the statements, it can easily be estimated that almost no evidence has been given in court.

Now lets come to the prosecution side. If the prosecution was on its feet and was so convinced with the scam, then what have they done after making the allegations to ensure that the accused are behind bars and given the highest possible punishments? How did the country benefit by stalling one full session of parliament? It is correct that there should be absolutely no comment if a matter is sub-judice, but what about now?

The judgement has come and both the sides should come forward and explain their stand. At least we, as countrymen, should also be informed about what has happened on the ground. Which side was or is wrong?

We are witnessing for a while, how the judiciary is being subverted. If a person comes in public with an open heart and mind, with readiness and willingness to answer all questions and concerns or is ready to take the responsibility of any incidence or happening, we have been entrusting him, and rightly so, we should continue to the same in future too. The willingness and capacity to take responsibility must be admired in the bigger picture.

The world has witnessed that even after huge media criticism, how people stood by the side of government’s decision of demonetization. I am saying this even after acknowledging that many question marks still exist on those decisions. But here, I am talking about the stand and expectation of a common citizen.

The people who highlighted the scam, have been in power for the past three and a half years. What have they done to ensure the punishments for the accused?

In the first look, it seems that the prosecution side was less interested in ensuring punishments and more interesting in making the case weaker. In our country, if you’re a loan defaulter, the bank will not let you live in peace. You also cannot shun yourself from police enquiry. But in the same country, if a scam has happened, the well trained and specialised agencies dedicated to the investigation cannot even collect minimum evidence.

It is not the incompetence of our agencies or its officers, but it is the ineffectiveness of the system that is there to distinguish between an accused and innocent. It is the lobby working on offering and withdrawing the meagre materialistic facility easily.

Now coming to the perception and its takeaways from the recent development in the 2G case. We are not sure what will happen with the case next or when the CBI and the ED will appeal in the higher courts.

But we do feel sad looking back at how the parliament was stalled. After almost seven years of hearing, the court says that the scam never took place. It is scary to see a case as closely followed as this being goofed up. I wonder what the state of a common man would be. Can media channels not have a responsible debate with financial experts and assess the same on behalf of the masses?

The judgement may a bring smile on the face of few or may bring wrinkles to other few. It may uplift the politics of few while fading the politics of others, but as far as common people are concerned, it is scary and disappointing for us.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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