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‘Not Even 10 When I Was First Sexually Abused’: Barkha Dutt




I was not even 10 when I was sexually assaulted. An older relative who had come to stay with us for a short period of time. Like many Punjabi households, ours was an open house, always welcoming to cousins and their friends, Today, decades later, I cannot even recall the precise connection of this man to my family. But, to a child’s eye, he was avuncular and affectionate and, in any case, I just assumed I was

safe in my own home.Little did I imagine that this much-older, family figure could be such a monster.

Worse still, as a child unable to figure out of what had happened—I was the one who felt grotesque and dirty. The concept of teaching your child to distinguish between ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ had not yet become the enlightened norm.

But after the first few times I had innocently followed him to ‘play’ with him in his room, I was overcome by panic and disgust.I finally told my mother that something terrible had happened. My assaulter was

immediately thrown out of the house and I buried the awfulness of the memory in a deep, As I grew older, what stayed with me, strangely enough, was the rancid smell of hair-oil; even years later, anything that smelt faintly similar made me nauseous. In my growing years, I blocked out the man’s face, his name, in fact the very incident was banished to the recesses of my consciousness; but from that

moment onwards, sexual abuse had an odour In 2007, the first ever government survey of child sexual abuse uncovered that more than half the children spoken to (53 per cent) said they had experienced

some form of sexual abuse. Twenty per cent of those interviewed said they had been subjected to severe abuse, which the report defined as ‘sexual assault, making the child fondle private parts, making the child exhibit private body parts and being photographed in the nude’. Yet, the silence of young victims and the misplaced shame they felt shielded the perpetrators. These were men deeply embedded in

the family structure, it made it that much more difficult to call them out. The report found that 31 per cent of the sexual assaults were by an uncle or neighbour. So it wasn’t surprising that over 70 per cent of children had never spoken to anyone of what was done to them.

The toughest discovery for me was to find that feminism offered no shield against the vulnerability, confusion, guilt and rage you felt when you were abused. As a young adult who experienced violence in a personal relationship for the very first time as a postgraduate student at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University, my response was less confused but no easier to act on.

By now I was a self-aware young woman with strong opinions. I thought I was difficult to intimidate. I believed I would know exactly what to do if a man I was dating ever hit me. Of course I would take him to the cops, I would say with confidence when we sat around discussing how unfriendly the legal system was towards women. I thought I was never going to stand for anything like domestic abuse. It went against every book I had read, every principle I held as sacred and every bit of my self-image. Until it happened.

wefornews bureau


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Power engineers ensure India sails through ‘9 min lights off’

Right at 9 p.m., Indians switched off lights and lit candles or flashed mobile torches for nine minutes to express solidarity with “Corona warriors”.




Power Grid Failure Nine Minutes

New Delhi, April 5 : As people across the country switched off the lights of their homes at 9 p.m. on Sunday on the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, power engineers across the country ensured that the 9 minutes of blackout does not lead to a collapse of the power grid across the country.

Staff at power companies including PowerGrid, NTPC, NHPC among others said that they worked overtime to see that the power did not go out of control.

According to a Power Ministry official, adequate arrangements and protocol were in place to handle the power demand variation.

The All India Power Engineers Federation has congratulated power engineers and its employees for secure and reliable operation of power grid.

AIPEF Chairman Shailendra Dubey said that that in Uttar Pradesh, the load-crash was 4,384 MW and at national level, it was about 31,000 MW which is “unprecedented”.

National level generation before 9 p.m. was 1,17,000 MW which came down to 86,000 MW while in UP, it came down from 13,288 MW to 9,100 MW, he added.

Dubey noted that the whole credit goes to system engineers and employees.

Further, power producers reduced the generation much ahead of the event and reduced load on the grid that was to reduce power demand drastically. Load despatch centres had informed scheduling of power much ahead to prevent a voltage surge when all of sudden demand falls.

All state governments’ load despatch centres were kept in the loop so that there was proper management of the grid, said people in the know.

Senior power generation companies’ officials said that the collective effort and planning ensured that grid frequency was maintained.

Initially, there was a scare and it kept power officials busy during the weekend.

A BSES statement said: “Following Hon’ble PM’s appeal, an estimated 17 million residents in BSES area switched-off their lights for 9 minutes, There was a reduction of 473 MW in BSES areas (Delhi 726 MW). We coordinated the mega event with other stakeholders at both the Central and State levels and successfully managed the event in our license area of 950 square KM in Delhi.”

It said Delhi’s demand reduced by 726 MW from 1,968 MW to 1,242 MW, while BSES’ demand reduced from 1305 MW to 832 MW, a reduction of 473 MW, adding that it was “a hugely successful event in BSES areas”.

In Tamil Nadu the crash was 2,200 MW. It was earlier expected to be 1,200 MW, but the grid is normal, said officials.

Union Power Minister R.K. Singh also monitored the power grid operations from the National Power Monitoring Centre here, along with other senior officers.

The minister said there was huge response to Prime Minister’a call as power demand went down from 117 GW to 85.3 GW within a span of 4-5 minutes.

He noted that this was handled “very very well by engineers across all levels”. He congratulated all of them and said that ramp-up was also done “very smoothly” as demand and supply was back to 110 GW.

Singh also congratulated engineers at the NLDC, RLDCs, SLDCs for their professional handling, adding that the response to the event was much beyond expectation.

Complementing power gencos like NTPC, NHPC, THDC, he said they stood up to the task.

Right at 9 p.m., Indians switched off lights and lit candles or flashed mobile torches for nine minutes to express solidarity with “Corona warriors”.

From metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai to tier two cities like Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior or Karnataka’s Mysuru, people rose above their political inclination to respond to PM Modi’s call and project a united front against the coronavirus pandemic.

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Covid-19 cases rise in capital but Delhi sets off fireworks

Many were left questioning the reason for celebration when India, and the world, is struggling to contain the pandemic.




coronavirus Darkness Nine Minutes

New Delhi, April 5 : As the nation came together to show solidarity and unity by switching off lights and lighting candles and diyas for nine minutes at 9 p.m. on Sunday, many places in Delhi NCR also saw crackers being burst even as the capital saw another death and cases rise to above 500.

Many were left questioning the reason for celebration when India, and the world, is struggling to contain the pandemic.

On Twitter, Dr Monika Singh asked “what is the celebration for…”

Congress’ south Delhi councillor Abhishek Dutt tweeted video of firecrackers and said that pollution level should be checked now.

Many on the social media wondered how the people got firecrackers amid the lockdown.

Congress leader Rajiv Shukla tweeted: “Nobody was suppose to burst crackers PM never said that .Actually today’s event was not a celebration @PMOIndia @INCIndia”

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Odisha sees coronavirus cases rise to 39




Naveen Patnaik

Bhubaneswar, April 6 : Eighteen more coronavirus cases were reported in Odisha on Sunday, taking the state’s total cases to 39, officials said.

All the cases were detected from capital city Bhubaneswar.

While two cases were reported earlier in the day, 16 cases were confirmed in the evening.

Out of 18 cases, 15 new cases detected belong to Bomikhal, said Bhubaneswar Municipal Commissioner (BMC) Prem Chandra Chaudhary.

Three siblings had tested Covid-19 positive in Bomikhal area earlier. The area has been sealed.

“About 15 of the new cases detected today belong to Bomikhal which has been sealed. Cluster containment has been put in place and house to house survey is going on. All suspects and contacts shall be isolated and tested. Citizens are urged not to panic and stay indoors,” the Health Department said in a tweet.

With this, Bhubaneswar has reported 32 positive cases.

The department said all possible contacts of the COVID positive cases shall be traced, isolated and tested as that is the only way to contain further transmission.

Every citizen can break the chain by staying indoors, it said.

Following the development, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) requested the people not to panic and informed that the new cases are from a contained area with known contact.

“People need not panic. It’s in a contained area of Bhubaneswar with known contact. Sincere appeal – please don’t venture out and respect lockdown. Police will take very tough action on violators,” tweeted the CMO.

“There will be zero tolerance on violation of social distancing. Any violation of social distancing will attract criminal action. The concerned shop/market will be sealed. Earnest request to cooperate in our fight against #CoronaVirus,” it said.

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