Thank God this doesn’t happen in India

by Ritwik on July 19, 2009

Its common to say – “this only happens in India”. Perversely, a lot of Indians have even begun saying this with a degree of affection for the chaos prevalent in this country.

To balance this perspective somewhat, and also as a concerned “citizen of the world”, I present to you a deeply unsettling development that hasn’t happened in India (yet):

The British Government has drawn up new guidelines “to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults.” A new body called the Independent Safeguaring Authority has been established which is responsible for issuing licenses to anybody who wants to work or volunteer with the aforementioned vulnerable sections of society.

I’ll just say it again: anybody intending to work or volunteer with kids, even an author who wants to read out pages from a book, will need to be certified as safe by a quasi-government body.

This is so incredible that I cannot find words to express my outrage. So I leave that to a professional writer:

It seems to be fuelled by a combination of prurience, sexual fear and cold political calculation, when you go into a school as an author or an illustrator you talk to a class at a time or else to the whole school. How on earth — how on earth — how in the world is anybody going to rape or assault a child in those circumstances? It’s preposterous.”
-Phillip Pullman

I would like to add that this move seems to have resulted from an absurd kind of political correctness, one that runs like “kids should be protected at all costs, even at the cost of social sanity”.

This really has brought home to me the sheer extent to which governments have started entering people’s life. What the f*** happened to the counter culture? Where is the universal declaration of human rights? How is this even possible under a democratic regime?

Charlie’s Diary talks about the considerable ill effects of such a move, and the very real danger of false positives.

But beyond that,  this sucks also because it makes the system extremely unforgiving. There is simply no scope for an offender to reform. Commit one offence, or even be doubted of an offence and the government can bar you from working in a school, or in a day care centre, or as a school bus driver, presumably even as a traffic warden.

I can only hope and pray that common sense will prevail and the ISA will be dismantled.


There are many opportunistic individuals who target the elderly we all have read about instances of household helps turning into owners of vast properties left behind by the old owner they were serving.

countless number of undocumented cases of child molestations are there in our country like any other.Also research shows that child molesters,pedophiles are known to actively seek employment which brings them in close proximity to children

In India 95% of activities in the service sector or the allied service sector are unregulated,that is not the case in the U.K
The particular legislation is supposed to protect the elderly and the young,of course like any other protective measure,puts pressure of inconveniences on authors like you or the innocent,ex. security check at airport;

In India validation or documentation like servent verification is very crucial as it has potential to put an end to many a crime.

Also if any degree of professionality comes into the service all sorts of documentations are checked many a times by a quasi govt body for ex. physio nurses,creche assisstants

So in all thank God it also Happens in India for safety with a little degree of hypocrisy

by Lingraj on July 19, 2009 at 4:34 am. #

You may spea of counter culture or rights but they are only useful to people like us who understand them and more importantly can use them

Its the duty of an elected govt to protect its citizen
a small child doesnt understand rights in its entirety

infirm older deestitute person cannot fully exercise it

The govt may not have the right enter our lives,but surely has a duty to uphold it

by Lingraj on July 19, 2009 at 4:39 am. #

There may be some utility of such a programme. In RARE cases. Vetting authors who speak in a classroom environment makes no sense at all.

The next step would be stopping a Nabakov or a Burgess from speaking to kids ‘cos they write about sex and violence.

This sort of thing also makes kids extremely dependent … instead of mollycoddling them entirely, they should be allowed to make use of their own judgement about right or wrong, to some extent.

Government has a duty to uphold rights, but not at the cost of unreasonable restriction of other’s rights. This move in my view comes under the category of unreasonable restriction, at least in its present sweeping state, and it will invite only opprobrium and ridicule as a result, thus defeating its very purpose.

by Ritwik Agrawal on July 19, 2009 at 4:51 am. #

Also, mostly “oppurtunistic” individuals who hurt the elderly or kids are first time offenders. How will this system stop them in any way? What this system accomplishes is that common people think that the government is doing “something”. Whether that something makes sense or not is conveniently forgotten.

by Ritwik Agrawal on July 19, 2009 at 4:52 am. #

Well said

by Raman Sinha on July 19, 2009 at 7:48 pm. #

Thankfully, this is being reviewed by the British Government:

by Ritwik Agrawal on September 15, 2009 at 5:34 am. #

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