It was a learning experience for the two teachers namely Mr. Showkat Ahmad Ganai and Ms. Asmat Chowdhary of DPS, Srinagar. During their visit to Bangladesh they had an opportunity to interact with various NGOs and distinguished personalities and heads of different public departments. The main focus of the tour and the interaction was the contemporary legal studies and human rights issues of South Asia in general and Bangladesh in particular.
A brief account of their activities follows as under:
Day 1, 03.02.2011: The two teachers took off from Delhi at 8:00 pm IST, and were received by SAILS in Dhaka at 11:00 pm, BST. Arrangement of a comfortable accommodation for them was made in the SEL Nibash Hotel, Dhaka.
Day 2, 04.02.2011: At 11:00 am they had a meeting with the Deputy Director SAILS, Dr. Uttam Kumar Das at the reception of SEL Nibash. He briefed them about the two week long program in Bangladesh. Since it was a weekend day they were shown the Bashundra City Market by the afternoon.
Day 3, 05.02.2011: It was another weekend day, therefore, they were taken for a visit to various important places across Dhaka. They visited the Lal Bagh Fort, Lalbagh which is a Mugal monument and heritage of Bangladesh. They were shown the Fort museum which is full of 15th and 17th century antics.
They were taken for a visit to Grand Canon at Usmani Udyan Park. They visited the Ahsan Manzil which is a relic of the life style of the Nawabs. They also took an opportunity to visit the National Museum of Bangladesh besides they took a cursory look of the Army Museum of Bangladesh.
Day 4, 06.02.2011: They reached the SAILS office at 10:00 am where the Deputy Director Dr. Uttam Kumar Das formally welcomed them. He also displayed a presentation regarding the functioning of SAILS. The second presentation related to the human rights situation in Bangladesh was made by Cecile Insinger, a Dutch research fellow and consultant at SAILS. At the end of the day Mr. Emdadul Haque, faculty Department of Law and Justice South East University, Bangladesh had a presentation on “Contemporary Social, Legal and Human Rights in Bangladesh”.
Day 5, 07.02.2011: Due to the strike in the country they could not be taken to any institute up to 3:00 pm. At 3:00 pm they were taken to Nagorik Uddyog (Citizen’s Initiative), and NGO working for legal aid and human rights. They met the chief executive of the NGO, Mr. Zakir Hussain who briefed them about the activities of the organization.
Day 6, 08.02.2011: They were taken to the BRAC Regional Office, Nogapara Gazipur. There they met the communication officer Human Rights Legal Aid Service Program BRAC, Arefeen Ahmad. They were taken to Chapulia village to see the legal aid class of BRAC. They also visited BRAC legal aid clinic and had an opportunity to study a few cases there.
Day 7, 09.02.2011: the teachers were given time to prepare a presentation.
Day 8, 10.02.2011: At 10:00 am they discussed their presentation with the Deputy Director of SAILS. In the afternoon they were taken to an NGO called Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights. They met the chairperson of the organization Mrs. Sigma Huda, lawyer at Supreme Court of Bangladesh and former UN special rapporteur on human trafficking.
Day 9, 11.02.2011: They were shown the new market of Dhaka where they did some shopping.
Day 10, 12.02.2011: They attended a public lecture on “Public Interest Litigation and Securing Economic and Social Justice” delivered by senior lawyer of the Indian Supreme Court, Mr. Colin Gansolves. The lecture was organized by SAILS, BLAST and Nogorik Uddyog in the CIRDP Auditorium Topkhan Road Dhaka. Mr. Gansolves highlighted the development and achievements of the Indian Constitution regarding human rights from time to time.
Day 11, 13.02.2011: They were taken to another human rights service centre, The Centre for Law and Mediation. They had a meeting with the Deputy Director of the organization, Mr. Abu Obaidur Rahman, Advocate Supreme Court of Bangladesh. At 4:oo pm they had an opportunity to meet the Human Rights Commission Chairman, Professor Mizanur Rahman who discussed the present tasks and the future plans of the commission. In the evening they had an interaction with Mr. Manik and Ms. Cajole, the editor journalists of the Daily Star and the Forum, respectively.
Day 12, 14.02.2011: They were taken to the project area Bangladesh Legal Aid Service Trust (BLAST). There they met to the program coordinator Masuda Rehana Begum in the Gopibag Legal Aid Clinic. At 2:00 pm they had a meeting with the chairperson of the Law Commission of Bangladesh, Professor M. Shah Alam. At 4:00 pm they also met the Registrar International Crime Tribunal, Mr. Md. Shahinur Islam.
Day 13, 15.02.2011: On this day, they got an opportunity to visit SOS Hermann Gmeirner College, Mirpur Dhaka. There they interacted with the staff as well as the students of the school. At 4:00 pm they attended a meeting with Meena Sonea Hewett associate director, Harvard University South Asia initiative at SAILS office.
Day 14, 16.02.2011: they displayed their presentation on the topic “Human Rights Situation in India” at SAILS office.
Day 15, 17.02.2011: At 12:00noon they departed from the SEL Nibash Hotel and took off at 4:30 pm from Dhaka. At 7:30 they landed in back in Delhi.
The tour was a great success and was a learning experience for the two teachers who got a chance to learn from the rich experience of different experts and organizations.
The legal clinics and the interaction BRAC and BLAST held for the slum dwellers is what could be taken up in India, since there is no such activity held in Kashmir in particular.
The marriage registration certificate for women by BRAC and BLAST is a great step taken towards women empowerment .The widow remarriage for young Hindu women is an area which needs attention as suggested by our teacher Mrs .Asmat Chowdhary to SAILS Deputy Director Dr.Uttam Kumar Das. The organizations make legal system easily accessible to the poor and marginalized downtrodden community .The free legal assistance provided to the poor and the needy by various NGOS in collaboration with SAF is highly appreciable .This could also taken up in Kashmir.
The constant work towards Constitutional awareness and enforcement is a common feature of all NGOS and Government Organisations.