New lease of life for former trafficking victims

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Thirteen rescued women underwent a one-month skill-training programme under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.

Thirteen rescued women underwent a one-month skill-training programme under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Trained to perform the role of unarmed security guards

Thirteen former victims of trafficking who were rescued in New Delhi have been trained to perform the role of unarmed security guards, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) announced on Monday.

Special project

The rescued women underwent a one-month skill-training programme as part of a special project under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the corporation added.

The 13 women were rescued from G.B. Road, the Capital’s infamous red light area, by the Delhi Police’s Special Police Unit for Women and Children (SPUWAC), an NSDC official said.

Viable professions

Juvenile Justice Committee Chairperson Justice Mukta Gupta said the objective of the special project was to provide support and skill-training to disadvantaged women and find viable professions for them.

Positive development

Human trafficking is serious issue. We believe the NSDC’s special projects will encourage other victims to come forward and find opportunities for better livelihood. Through this transformational programme, we seek to achieve substantial impact on the lives of these women,” Justice Gupta added.

After they were rescued, the 13 women were provided shelter at Nirmal Chhaya complex, a home for the destitute, where they were counselled to manage their aggression and seek the path towards positive development. The women were later shifted to a home in Dwarka for their protection and away from threats from their former agents.

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Policy dive: All you need to know about Trafficking of Persons Bill, 2017

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Policy Dive picks a policy issue, traces the debate around it, the different schools of thought and the choices involved.
More than 300,000 children went missing in the country between 2012 and 2017.

More than 300,000 children went missing in the country between 2012 and 2017.(Shutterstock/Representative image )

The government had listed the bill aimed at protecting trafficked persons, especially young girls and women, for introduction in the Lok Sabha in the just-concluded budget session. But continued disruptions, which virtually wiped out the second part of the session, prevented the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2017 from being introduced.

Here is all you need to know about the proposed law

Issue

More than 300,000 children went missing in the country between 2012 and 2017, government data shows. Around 100,000 are yet to be traced and it is feared that many of them could have been trafficked.

In 2016, for instance, 111,569 children were reported missing. Of these, 55,944 children were traced but only 8,132 trafficking cases were reported.

Many of these children are victims of modern slavery — forced into prostitution, labour or domestic work.

They are also used as drug mules and even given up for adoption illegally. Poverty and lack of opportunity also pushes a lot of young women, especially from the interior parts of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand, into prostitution.

Despite the enormity of the problem, India lacks a single comprehensive law for human trafficking. At present, trafficking is covered under half-a-dozen laws resulting in confusion and poor enforcement.

Significance

For the first time, a standalone law to address the problem has been proposed that will treat a trafficked person as a victim and not an offender. It not only prescribes stringent punishment but also addresses the crucial issue of rehabilitation of victims, many of whom are lured by traffickers on the promise of a better life and jobs.

The rehabilitation is not contingent on criminal proceedings. A special rehabilitation fund has been proposed for immediate protection of rescued persons. The punishment for traffickers varies from 10 years rigorous imprisonment to life sentence and Rs 1 lakh fine in cases of aggravated crimes.

Also in a first, a national anti-trafficking bureau run by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) has been proposed to coordinate with other countries, as many times the victims, mostly women, are smuggled out of the country.

The proposed law also makes registration of placement agencies that recruit or supply domestic helps mandatory.

Debate

The bill has been debated intensely, within the government and also among activists and organisations. When the bill was being drawn up, the ministry of external affairs said the law should address trafficking of persons within India as well as overseas.

The women and child development ministry (WCD), which is piloting the bill, had countered, saying the bill already covered the movement of trafficked person from one place to another within the country and also overseas.

Activists and non-government organisations such as Lawyers Collective have criticised the proposed law, saying it has nothing new to offer and all its provisions are already covered under existing laws. The new law will only end up “complicating the legal framework and its enforcement”.

The government says because the laws dealing with trafficking were not consolidated, the issue could not be tackled effectively. Hence, the need for a comprehensive standalone law.

Activists have also said no substantial research has gone into the bill, an argument rejected by the WCD ministry.

Lawyers’ Collective has pointed out that the provision to charge a person who encourages another person to “migrate illegally into India or Indians to some other country” with aggravated form of trafficking punishable with 10-year imprisonment could have serious implications for cross-border movement of people, including refugees.

The WCD ministry has said the argument does not hold.

Nepal girls trafficked into India up by 500% in last 5 years: SSB report

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • The study by Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) claims the number of victims brought illegally into India has gone up by 500% since 2013
  • SSB says they are then forced into prostitution or pushed to into domestic help or other forms of exploitative labour

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A study conducted by border guarding force Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) on “Human Trafficking on Indo-Nepal border” claims the number of victims brought illegally into the country has gone up by 500% since 2013 with girls trafficked from villages and Terai region of Nepal sold to brothel owners in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other cities for up to Rs 50,000.

In 2013, 108 girls/children were rescued at Indo-Nepal border, while 607 such victims were rescued in 2017.

Calling Nepal the “source” country for most of the trafficking of children and women to India, SSB says they are then forced into prostitution or pushed to into domestic help or other forms of exploitative labour, and in a few cases their organs are illegally harvested.

Quoting statistics of Nepal’s women and social welfare ministry, according to which 26 of Nepal’s 75 districts are trafficking prone, SSB says that most women/children at risk are from the hills and of schedule castes, but members of higher castes are also trafficked into India.

The traffickers, men (often called ‘dalals’) and women (‘didis,’ who are sex workers themselves), bring the girls aged 9 to 16 – to border towns before they are brought to India by bus. Near the border, professional agents who lure the girls for selling in the brothels are paid up to Rs 6,000 for every child. Apart from the ‘didis,’ SSB says, sometimes family members also act as traffickers. The girls are coached to conceal their true age in case they are stopped and questioned by the police.

Discussing the routes taken by traffickers, SSB says Nepalese girls from villages are first taken to Kathmandu, either to the guest houses or carpet factories, or from there to border towns in Nepal, where they are sold to “brokers.”

“The brokers then travel by bus or by train to Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi or even to smaller cities and sell these girls to a brothel owner or madam (referring to female agents in India) for up to Rs 50,000. Most brokers travel by local buses to Delhi, and then Mumbai by train,” says the SSB research, exclusively accessed by TOI.

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Some of the brothel owners, SSB says, are politically connected and hence, are not convicted.

 SSB says peak trafficking months in Nepal are between June and late August or early September when ‘didis’ return to their villages and recruit girls to bring to Indian cities. “At this time of the year (June to August), every mountain village of Nepal suffers from more than the usual level of poverty, while they wait for new harvests,” says SSB.

Quoting a recent Indian government survey, SSB says 60% of women/children working as commercial sex workers do so out of poverty or economic compulsion.

 

Anti-human trafficking bill: Centre’s move to assign understaffed NIA as nodal agency is counter-productive

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Look at the statistics. The NIA was set up in December 2008 following the Mumbai terror attack and its mandate was that the government needed a central counter-terrorism investigative body to look into serious offences related to the sovereignty, security and integrity of the country.

It presently has a strength of 650 people. Their annual budget is around Rs 100 crore per annum. Almost a decade later, they have registered and investigated around 160 cases for which decisions have been given in 27 cases.

Can such an understaffed organisation, which is already tackling the gigantic footprint of terrorism across the subcontinent, be in a position to take on and investigate cases of human trafficking? Especially given that more people are being trafficked today than ever before in history, according to the Global Report on Trafficking.

The scale of human trafficking is mind-boggling. There are 27 million adults and 13 million children who are victims of trafficking. India, with its burgeoning population, is regarded as one of the main hubs of the trafficking trade. Statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau state that over 20,000 women and children were victims of trafficking in 2016 but most NGOs believe this figure is just the tip of the iceberg.

Last month, the cabinet went ahead and cleared the draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill. The bill was introduced in Parliament earlier this month but many parliamentarians feel it should first be referred to a parliamentary standing committee for a detailed discussion.

Regarding the amendment to the National Investigation Act 2008, which will empower the NIA to investigate cases of trafficking, officials of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) point out that it will require a separate amendment by the Parliament. The NIA is presently in the process of looking into these changes and is expected to give its recommendations shortly.

According to MWCD officials, with the NIA brass complaining of a shortage of funds to undertake their present investigation, funds from the Nirbhaya Fund for the safety of women will be transferred to NIA in order to set up a cell for investigating human trafficking.

Dr Ajay Sahni, executive director of Institute for Conflict Management, has strong views on whether the NIA is in a position to investigative a problem of this magnitude. “The government is looking for shortcuts especially since prostitution and human trafficking are giving India a bad reputation. Policing is a state issue. The Centre can play a coordinating role. What the Centre needs to do is set up a central authority which can investigate cases on their own. The only other body which could have taken up cases in this manner is the CBI but they already have their hands full,” Sahni said.

He also expressed surprise at how the NIA is being sucked into this ambit especially since, during the present NDA regime, the NIA is being expected to investigate ‘love jihad’ cases in the south.

“During the last two years, the NIA has been asked to look into love jihad cases which are linked to Hindutva. If this is not an abuse of an institution then what is?” Sahni said.

IG of police (NIA) Anil Shukla, who is also wearing the hat of CVO, pointed out that it was too early to give his assessment of whether the NIA could handle this additional work. “The law is under consideration. So, it is too early for me to make a comment on it,” Shukla said.

Enakshi Ganguly, co-director of HAQs: Centre for Child Rights feels, “it is the local police who need to be trained and empowered because most of the trafficking is taking place in small towns. From the start, we have been saying that we need to have a strong protective mechanism in place to take care of the children. This mechanism can operate as Village Level Child Protection Committees and can provide a safety net for the kids.”

Ganguly suspects that linking terrorism and trafficking will only serve to dilute the seriousness of the existing situation which is loaded against women and children. “Linking the two together, which seems to be an attempt by the present government, will do injustice to both these complex and multi-layered issues,” said Ganguly

Rishi Kant, who runs the NGO Shakti Vahini, believes the MWCD move to allow NIA to look into trafficking and prostitution cases is a welcome step.

Kant has helped train the police and BSF personnel in West Bengal and Jharkhand to help combat trafficking. “Our training and inputs have really helped the state police of these states to crack down on traffickers and that reflects on the graph in these states, which are showing a downward trend. If the NIA is brought into this ambit, with proper training, we can create a crack force to track down traffickers in a big way,” Kant said.

On 16 March, 2018, Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi sought to introduce the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2018 ( commonly called the Anti-Trafficking Bill). The new bill does not redefine trafficking but incorporates the existing definition under section 370 IPC.

Advocate Tripti Tandon, deputy director of Lawyers Collective, has come out strongly against this new bill which she points out has simply created a new category of ‘aggravated’ forms of trafficking, which carry a minimum sentence of ten years that may extend to life imprisonment.

Some of the aggravated forms of trafficking that have been introduced in the new Bill are: Trafficking for the purposes of forced labour, begging, marriage and childbearing. But, these are already criminalised under Section 370 of IPC. In fact, according to the National Crime Record Bureau in 2016, the police registered 10,357 cases of trafficking for forced labour, 349 cases of trafficking for forced marriage and 71 cases of trafficking for begging.

So, the new bill divides various offences into “trafficking” and “aggravated trafficking”. The former category of crimes would carry a jail term of seven to 10 years and the latter would carry a punishment of at least 10 years in jail, which can be extended to life imprisonment. Aggravated offences will include forced labour, bonded labour, forced surrogacy, use of narcotics to induce forced labour, trafficking in the garb of marriage and those that lead to a pregnancy or grave illness such as HIV/AIDS.

The bill also moots three years in jail for abetting, promoting and assisting trafficking. The law recommends a national anti-trafficking relief and rehabilitation committee to be headed by secretary WCDM. It also suggests setting up of a rehabilitation fund and prescribes a process to be followed for repatriation of trafficked persons.

Tandon asserts that to claim that these are ‘new’ forms of trafficking that are not addressed under existing laws is totally baseless. She cites the example of one so-called ‘new offence’ of administering hormones or committing trafficking by administering alcohol or drugs but adds that this has already been incorporated in section 328 of the IPC.

The existing response is patchy and scattered across different laws, which approach trafficking from varied, and sometimes, inconsistent objectives.

For example, while the new law focuses on removing and evicting sex workers from their occupation, the Bonded Labour Act protects the worker who was held in bondage from being evicted from the place where the individual has been working.

Tandon believes the need was for a comprehensive law that was expected to harmonise different approaches and integrate existing laws into one. The new Anti-Trafficking Bill does not do that. All it does is add yet another legislation to the already fragmented landscape of laws on human trafficking, further complicating the legal framework and its enforcement.

Activists point to how in the past, proposals to reform anti-trafficking laws were preceded by a great deal of research. To cite one example, in 2002-2003, the National Human Rights Commission had conducted a countrywide study of the problem and produced two voluminous reports on “Trafficking in Women and Children in India”. Findings of the NHRC report prompted the MWCD to move the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) (Amendment) Bill, 2006.

Similarly, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, which led to the enactment of Sections 370 and 370A of the IPC against trafficking and exploitation of a trafficked person respectively, were based on the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee Report, 2013, in relation to laws on sexual offences.

The Anti-Trafficking Bill has not been preceded by any substantial research or analysis. The same ad hoc approach has been applied to get the NIA to start the whole process of investigation on trafficking and prostitution.

Although this is not part of the present Anti-Trafficking Bill, there is no doubt this move has also not been thought through thoroughly.

Instead of focusing on better policing and inter-state co-ordination to stop trafficking, getting an understaffed NIA to investigate these crimes will only serve to muddy the water further.

Hyd police rescues 26 child labourers, human trafficking accused held.

The Asian Age

Women and Child Welfare Department, Labour Department, and others along with police conducted the rescue operation.

Police are collecting the useful data from the children, who will be shifted to Saidabad children home. (Photo: ANI)

Police are collecting the useful data from the children, who will be shifted to Saidabad children home.

The Hyderabad police rescued 26 children, allegedly working as “bonded labourers” and nabbed a person, who was involved in trafficking these minors.

Speaking to ANI, Hyderabad’s District Child Protection officer, Md Imtiaz Raheem said, “We have a received a information from an NGO that some employers are bringing 200 child labours in Dhanapur express train.”

Women and Child Welfare Department, Labour Department, and others along with police conducted the rescue operation.

According to the police, most of the rescued children were from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

Police are collecting the useful data from the children, who will be shifted to Saidabad children home.

Investigation in the matter is underway.

Society needs to unite to eradicate human trafficking

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New Delhi, Mar 8 (PTI) President Ram Nath Kovind today met survivors of human trafficking on the occasion of International Womens Day and said it was a crime against humanity and the society must unite for its eradication.

People should also be encouraged to urge the survivors of human trafficking into the mainstream of society and help them overcome their problems, Kovind said after meeting the survivors at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

“We need to create an appropriate eco-system for the survivors,” he said.

“We are in that period of communication revolution in which social evils are discussed openly. People are discussing the social evils among themselves which is eventually leading to solutions of these problems,” the president said.

But some problems were still not being discussed much and human trafficking was one of them, he said.

“It is a curse not only for the country but for the whole humanity,” Kovind said, although human trafficking adversely affects both boys and girls but its impact is more frightening on minor girls.

It becomes really difficult for the girls to come out from the grasp of this social evil, he said.

The human traffickers especially target weaker sections who do not have resources to fight them, he said.

It may appear that only an individual or just a family was getting affected by human trafficking but in reality it affects everyone directly or indirectly, the president said.

There has been an increase of over 39 per cent in human trafficking in the last three years and more than four crore people have been affected by it around the globe, he said.

“But the irony is there is lack of awareness about human trafficking,” he said, adding there was a need to give attention to this social evil.

“In such circumstances, I am happy to learn that the Union Cabinet has approved the trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 in which there is a provision for a jail term of up to 10 years for a person convicted for human trafficking,” Kovind said.

Under the bill, it was provisioned to provide relief to victims within 60 days and establishing special courts at district level to handle human trafficking cases, he said.

A special fund will also be developed under this bill for running welfare programmes for the victims, Kovind said.

He exuded confidence that passing of this Bill will strengthen people and organisations working against human trafficking.

The president hailed NGO Justice and Care, which has rehabilitated more than 4,500 human trafficking victims in the last 10 years, for its fight against this social evil.

He said four survivors of human trafficking, who have pledged to fight the social evil, may also be called as “champions of change” and all should work to increase the number of such champions.

He said many schemes of the Centre like Skill India, Start-up India, Stand-up India and Mudra would be helpful in rehabilitation and providing employment to the victims.

The survivors of human trafficking will be able to survive well only when an appropriate eco-sytem was developed for them, the president added.

यहां हर दूसरे दिन एक बच्चा हो रहा तस्करी का शिकार, दिल्ली-मुंबई में बिक रहा बचपन

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यहां हर दूसरे दिन एक बच्चा हो रहा तस्करी का शिकार, दिल्ली-मुंबई में बिक रहा बचपन

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चाईबासा, [मोहम्मद तकी]। झारखंड का पश्चिम सिंहभूम जिला मानव तस्करी का केंद्र बन चुका है। इस जिले से हर माह 10 से 20 बच्चों की तस्करी हो रही है। किसी माह यह आंकड़ा 30 के भी पार पहुंच जाता है। इसकी खास वजह यहां व्‍याप्‍त गरीबी और अशिक्षा है। पैसों के लोभ में लोग अपने बच्चों को तस्करों के हाथों बेच देते हैं। इसके बदले तस्कर उन्हें मामूली रकम ही देते हैं।

80 फीसद मामलों में बच्चों को तस्करों के हाथ में देने वाले परिवार के जानकार ही होते हैं, जो परिवार के मुखिया को लालच देकर नाबालिग को काम के लिए दिल्ली, मुंबई, चेन्नई समेत अन्य बड़े शहरों में भेजते हैं। वहां से उनका रैकेट इस कार्य को करता है। जरूरत की जगहों पर बच्चों का दाम तय कर उन्हें काम पर लगाया जाता है। एक साल के अंदर मानव तस्करी के 205 मामले बाल संरक्षण विभाग के पास आए हैं। इस प्रकार देखा जाए तो हर माह 17 से भी अधिक बच्चे मानव तस्करी के शिकार हो रहे हैं। यानी हर दो दिन में एक मासूम जिंदगी को दल-दल में धकेल दिया जाता है।

पश्चिम सिंहभूम जिले के चक्रधरपुर, गोईलकेरा, सोनुवा, मनोहरपुर, गुदड़ी व आनंदपुर प्रखंड में सबसे ज्यादा मानव तस्करी के मामले सामने आ रहे हैं। इसकी एक वजह इन्हीं प्रखंडों के आसपास से गुजरने वाली मुख्य रेल लाइन भी है। मुंबई, दिल्ली समेत देशभर के लिए इसी मार्ग से लंबी दूरी की ट्रेनें गुजरती हैं। इससे तस्कर गरीब बच्चों को आसानी से दूसरी जगहों पर लेकर चले जाते हैं।

बाल संरक्षण विभाग दिखा रहा सही राह

साल 2017 में छुड़ाकर लाए गए 200 से अधिक बच्चों में जिला बाल संरक्षण विभाग की ओर से विशेष आवासीय बालक विद्यालय मनोहरपुर में 15 बालकों का नामांकन कराया गया है। जबकि 10 बच्चों का नामांकन इसी मार्च के महीने में कराया जाना है। इसी तरह जिले के विशेष आवासीय बालिका विद्यालय में 9 बच्चियों के नामांकन के लिए सूची भेजी गई है। दो बच्चियों को कस्तूरबा आवासीय विद्यालय और दो बच्चियों का एकलव्य विद्यालय में नामांकन कराने की तैयारी चल रही है। इस माह के अंत तक इन मासूमों का नामांकन हो जाएगा।

कागज पर चल रहा काम

झारखंड में 14 जुलाई 2011 को चार थानों को एंटी ह्यूमन ट्रैफिकिंग यूनिट के रूप में अधिसूचित किया गया था। इनमें गुमला, सिमडेगा, दुमका और खूंटी जिले के नगर थाने शामिल थे। बाद में रांची, पश्चिम सिंहभूम, लोहरदगा और पलामू को भी इसमें शामिल कर लिया गया। पश्चिम सिंहभूम जिले की स्थिति यह है कि ह्यूमन ट्रैफिकिंग यूनिट बस नाम के लिए काम कर रही है। यहां पीड़ित बच्‍चों का न तो ठीक तरह से डाटा उपलब्‍ध है और न ही मानव तस्‍करों की कोई सूची या रिकॉर्ड। थाने का चक्‍कर न लगाना पड़ जाए, यह सोचकर कई बार मानव तस्‍करी के शिकार परिवार मामला तक दर्ज नहीं कराते हैं।

एंटी ह्यूमन ट्रैफिकिंग यूनिट को करना है यह काम

इस यूनिट का गठन बच्चों, युवतियों और महिलाओं की तस्‍करी रोकने के लिए किया गया था। यूनिट को जिले में मानव तस्करों का डाटाबेस तैयार करना था। इसे स्‍वतंत्र इकाई घोषित किया गया था। एक यूनिट में 12 पुलिस अधिकारी के पद सृजित किए गए थे। वाहन और कैमरे आदि देने की बात कही गई थी। लेकिन पश्चिम सिंहभूम जिले में यह पूरी तरह जमीन पर नहीं उतर पाया है।

चाईबासा के उपायुक्त अरवा राजकमल कहते हैं, मानव तस्करी की जानकारी होने के बाद तत्काल पुलिस कार्रवाई करती है। इसके लिए लोगों को जागरुक करने का कार्य भी किया जा रहा है। किसी प्रकार की कोई घटना से जुड़ी जानकारी हो तो तुरंत 100 नंबर पर कॉल कर जानकारी दे सकते हैं। इसके अलावा इसे रोकने के लिए भी विशेष तैयारी जिला प्रशासन की ओर से की जा रही है।

मानव तस्‍करी से झारखंड के ये जिले हैं प्रभावित

पश्चिम सिंहभूम, खूंटी, गुमला, रांची, गढ़वा, साहेबगंज, सिमडेगा, गोड्डा, लातेहार और लोहरदगा। इन जिलों से आए दिन तस्‍कर गरीब युवतियों और बच्‍चों को रोजगार दिलाने के नाम पर ले जाते हैं।

मानव तस्करी से जुड़ी प्रमुख बातें

– पश्चिम सिंहभूम जिले में वर्ष 2014 से 2016 के बीच मानव तस्करी के कुल 309 मामले सामने आए।

पश्चिम सिंहभूम का मानव तस्करी के मामले में राज्य में दूसरा स्थान है।

– सुप्रीम कोर्ट के आदेशानुसार भूले हुए बच्चे हों अथवा मानव तस्करी के शिकार बच्चे, सभी की प्राथमिकी मानव तस्करी एक्ट के तहत दर्ज करनी है।

– पश्चिम सिंहभूम में मानव तस्करी रोकने के लिए एक इकाई भी गठित की गई है। यहां मामले दर्ज होते हैं।