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The recent events in Gujarat are tattering to an Indian’s heart. It’s not just the Tehelka tapes that have come out in the open; the banning of TV news channels in Gujarat, disgusting comments by the Press and politicians are all a consequence of it which further saddens me.
Mirza in an wonderful read pens down the responses,
BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said “This sting has rendered Tehelka as the investigative wing of the Congress”. BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said “Definitely the sting operation and its content are suspect, because we are aware for sometime that there are detractors against Modi in Gujarat and there is the Congress party, which has lost all ground in the state.” They talk about everything but not about the inhuman brutality. Vir Sanghvi wrote very aptly regarding this in 2002 “I was not surprised when the political establishment scrambled to look for conspiracies: the CIA was behind it, the ISI sponsored Tehelka…My point then, as now, was simple enough: let us first deal with the revelations and then worry about Tarun’s so-called backers.”
Today Chandan Mitra, the editor of the 143 year old newspaper Pioneer and a BJP supported Rajya Sabha MP, invoked the third and the fifth point; Modi has won various elections and why do you take out dead issues now. This is the editor of one of the oldest national newspapers of India! In which moral system and when was justice decided by the street? If someone wins elections does it exonerate them? Mr. Mitra, is the state of journalism going down to this level in India? And since when did we start forgetting about injustices on the pretext of moving ahead? Should we have said the same to the Sikhs who were hounded in 1984? Should we have said the same to the utterly vulnerable Jews who were brutalized and killed in millions by the Nazis? That it will be all decided in the court of law and forget about it in the social aspect.
When I myself went to Ahmedabad last december, I was shocked to learn about and see the ghettoization of the Muslims; rich and the poor in the officially put ‘world class city’. But the other issue was, whoever I met (hindus only), were sort of equating Modi to Gabriel as a messenger of god.
And what about free speech? The governments decision to ban all the TV channels that showed the news clip is now a rider to the free speech clause in the Constitution. Hah! gone are the days when Article 19 1(a) was the ultimate sword for the press. If my readers are interested, I’d request you to read Express Newspapers v. Union of India; an amazing case that exposed the link between Gov action and free speech in 1985 and the Delhi riots. (A related article here)
A few days ago there were allegations of retail giant GAP violating child labour laws in many of its outsourced suppliers factories all over the world. 31 of these factories are located in India.
These events gave GAP the image as if it was being run as a sweat shop operation.
A 10-year-old boy was filmed making clothes for Gap shops in the US and Europe as part of an investigation by the UK’s Observer newspaper. The boy told the Observer he had been sold to a factory owner by his family. Gap, which has made commitments not to use child labour, said that only one item – a girl’s smock blouse – was involved. The boy said he had been working for four months without pay and would not be allowed to leave the job until the fee his family had received was repaid.
Another boy of 12 said children were beaten if bosses thought they were not working hard enough
What stands out however is that action that GAP is taking to clear its image. The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) code lays down strict norms for factory compliances and child labour prevention. GAP has today announced the following measures,
1 ) GAP said it cancelled supply deals with 136 plants last year because of various violations. Contracts were terminated with 42 plants in China, another 42 in south-east Asia, 31 on the Indian subcontinent and nine in Europe.
2) Free education to the children involved. After they come of age, GAP shall have a separate policy to recruit them based on their skill.
3) A separate fund to stop such projects all over the world.
This is but a classic example of corporate social responsibility. The Indian gov passed a child labour law last year according to which it extended child labour violations to domestic workplaces. This law draw huge flak as no measure had been taken to ensure the welfare of the children, i.e. education, housing etc…
What the Indian gov couldnt do, GAP is doing in India. With more than 60% of Indians children not getting good education and millions of them involved in Child labour, immediate action is necessary but not being taken. But the good part is that now atleast 3000 odd of them would benefit from this policy. Wish others would do so too.