CRISP Press coverage of Father’s Day – 2011
1. Right to fatherhood
On Father’s Day (June 19), like every year, a group of men will gather in Bangalore to draw attention to the plight of single dads who are denied access to their children and the joys of shared parenting.
Desperate emails and phone calls from fathers who have been denied access to their children pour in each week for Kumar Jahgirdar, president of Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP). He replies to all the mails promptly, but with Father’s Day (June 19) just round the corner, his plate is full. He is making plans, like every year, to organise a rally in Bangalore to highlight the grievances of single fathers, some of whom haven’t seen their children in years.
Jahgirdar says Indian courts hearing child custody cases tend to be biased towards the mothers even when they may not be the more suitable parent. He says the adversarial approach to divorce law turns children into the spoils of marriage and there is too much focus on a father’s responsibility to make alimony payments and not enough on his right to visit his child.
Bangalore-based NGO CRISP was founded around five years ago as a forum to support and fight on behalf of single dads. The organisation wants divorced/ separated parents to be granted equal access to their children, and punishment for those who misuse the anti-dowry law (Section 498A IPC) and the Domestic Violence Act to deny fathers access to their kids.
Jahgirdar shares several heartrending tales of hapless fathers. He mentions a dad for whom the only contact with his daughter is watching her from behind the school gates. Then there is Sunil*, who talks of the “emotional desolation” after his wife moved out of the family home with their two children, aged five and two, in February last year.
“It was really dreadful. The worst thing, practically, was finding the house so quiet because it was always so full of laughter and rampaging and stampeding,” he adds. “There were many times when I felt suicidal.”
“It’s important to emphasise that family breakdown is a nightmare for everyone. Mothers suffer, and so do grandparents and even close friends. Most crucially, the children suffer. Not only are they deprived of having two parents living in the same house, quite often they will lose a parent altogether,” says Jahgirdar. This, in effect, amounts to, as singer Bob Geldof once put it, “a form of child abuse”.
Many fathers lose all contact with their children when they are separated from their partner or after divorce. “This is often put down to the indifference of the father, but it’s actually about the barriers that are put in the way of contact. They are erected by the courts or the mother, or both,” says Vijay*, a SIFF (Save Indian Family Foundation) activist.
Vijay last met his two children, a boy aged 12 and a girl aged six, nearly 18 months ago. His wife had suddenly decided two years ago that she didn’t want him in her life, but neither did she want a divorce. She threw him out of his own home, along with his belongings, and threatened him saying he could do nothing as the laws of the land favoured women where marital disputes were concerned. A despondent Vijay, who has all along been supporting his wife and children financially, sought a divorce. His wife responded by invoking the draconian Domestic Violence Act against him and his father. As the legal tangles take time to straighten out, Vijay’s children have been unfairly deprived of their father’s company.
CRISP has more than 1,000 members across India and is adding more each day. It holds weekly meetings, and has established several centres in the country to counsel fathers, provide support and educate them on the laws of the land. Its Web site, http://www.crisp-india.org, receives hundreds of visitors who access the information posted there. Jahgirdar and the other members of CRISP are determined to carry on, with greater vigour than ever, the struggle to ensure a fair deal for dads and guarantee that no child is unfairly deprived of his/ her father’s love.
CRISP, which is part of the Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), favours educating couples going through a divorce on the benefits of shared parenting, and setting up special courts to speedily deal with child custody cases in a just and sensitive manner.
Its demands include
settling all child custody cases within three months from the date of filing;
an end to the practice of interviewing very young children, especially when they haven’t had adequate access to the non-custodial parent;
punishment for parents who don’t comply with court orders;
a separate ministry for children that is delinked from the present Ministry for Women and Child Development;
setting up evening courts so that litigants are not forced to take leave from work to attend the proceedings;
employing mediators who have been trained by child psychologists.
* Names changed to protect identity.
BANGALORE: To mark Father’s Day, non-governmental organisation Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), is organising a rally on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Town Hall on J.C. Road.
Speaking to presspersons here on Wednesday, secretary of CRISP Lokesh Reddy M.N. said a large number of fathers who are facing trauma owing to alienation of their children caused by separation and divorce will participate in the rally. On the occasion, the members will demand that the government revise laws related to family and highlight the grievances of fathers who are deprived of access to their children.
Impact on children
Avinash Kumar, child rights activist, said CRISP is concerned with the growing custody battles between parents and the ill-effects on children due to parents’ separation.
Mr. Kumar said, “We speak for the rights of the innocent children who are deprived of love and affection from their natural parent. Shared parenting is the only alternative arrangement to spend quality time with children.”
3. New-age nanny dads – Tribune
ALL too often, fathers get the fuzzy end of the lollipop — slaves to their jobs, chauffeurs to their children and incidental to their wives. This Father’s Day, fathers and many father figures will be honoured. Many men will get gifts, ranging from pens to mugs that say ‘World’s Greatest Father’ or ‘I Love My Dad’. However, the day will also bring pain and sorrow to many households, which have divorced or separated fathers.But there is a ray of hope for such fathers. These men, some of whom are often denied access to their children for months and years, can now turn to the Children’s Rights Initiatives for Shared Parenting (CRISP), which takes up cudgels on behalf of harassed fathers. CRISP is part of the Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), an organisation that primarily supports men trapped in false cases lodged against them by their wives.Bangalore-based NGO CRISP was formed around five years ago, when some citizens came together to fight for the rights of single fathers and ensure that children did not lose touch with their dads if their parents divorced. “The courts are so geared to the mother that the father gets no justice and that means the kids don’t get justice, too. So many people have lost contact with their children that it was inevitable something like CRISP would emerge,” says Kumar Jahgirdar, one of the founders of CRISP.CRISP activists receive calls from hundreds of aggrieved fathers each year, many of whom are ‘falsely’ charged by their wives with taking dowry. There are others who are unjustly booked under the draconian Domestic Violence Act. Their lives are in tatters when they approach CRISP. On the one hand, there are the mounting court cases and, on the other hand, there is total alienation from their children. The insensitive Indian courts take ages to hand out verdicts. The hapless fathers have no choice but to put their lives on hold and pray for divine intervention.Anil (name changed to protect identity), a SIFF activist, has had to put his life on hold for the past few years ever since his wife told him she wanted to have nothing to do with him but that she was not willing to go in for a divorce either. After exhausting all means for a reconciliation, Anil suggested to his wife that they divorce. However, she responded by filing a false case under the Domestic Violence Act against Anil and his father. `A0Anil has not stopped paying for her upkeep or for their two children even for a single day. Unfortunately, he has not met his children for the past two years or set foot in his own house, which his estranged wife is currently occupying with their children after throwing him out along with his belongings.“It comes down to the simple fact that we face a Herculean struggle. The politicians are not dealing with this with the degree of urgency this matter deserves. Fathers are forced to support children`A0even when mothers are not being forced to allow those fathers access,” says Jahgirdar. He wants fathers and grandparents to be given a legal right to see their children and grandchildren.According to the members of CRISP, couples contemplating divorce should be counselled on the benefits of shared parenting. This will eliminate unnecessary child custody battles, stress caused to both the parents and the children and save the precious time of the already overburdened courts. `A0Jahgirdar wants the law changed so that equal parenting is presumed, whereas at present the pendulum swings in favour of the mother. “All we want is equality between the genders, equality of treatment,” he adds.
4Estranged fathers demand better access to their children
Estranged fathers demand better access to their children
Demanding a change in the existing legal provisions which control a divorced father’s engagements with his children and to increase the frequency and quality of these interactions, Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP) began a four-day hunger strike at Dharna Chowk, Indira Park on Sunday.
The NGO aims to highlight the plight of estranged fathers in their effort to reconnect with their children. It also advocates the removal of the gender bias in the divorce laws to bring back qualitative parental engagement with their children.
Shah Ali, a CRISP activist participating in the hunger strike, said that in any divorce, children are the worst sufferers as they harbour the feelings of guilt, and the effects of parental alienation and resulting trauma can be long-lasting.
He says that only shared parenting can heal these children’s emotional scars.
5. Are dads dispensable commodities?
Are dads dispensable commodities?
All alone, or in twos/The ones who really love you/Walk up and down outside the wall/Some hand in hand/Some gathering together in bands/The bleeding hearts and the artists/Make their stand/And when they’ve given you their all/Some stagger and fall after all it’s not easy/Banging your heart against the Wall
— Roger Waters from
It is said that simple questions are the most difficult to answer. As a matter of fact, it’s impossible to answer if that “simple” question is asked by a child. My five-year-old son the other day whispered into my ears, “Daddy, can we go to Daddy House?” For most, it might seem to be the simplest question with a one-word answer. But my response was one of hollowed look and silence. Welcome to the world of Divorced fathers – the Throwaway Dads!
Today, many Indian families are plagued by marital discord and divorce — once a social stigma but now an unremarkable passing event. What was once considered the very defining elements of family life are now subject to re-examination. Gender roles within the family are no longer enforced.
A successful working woman is seen as a role model in society. But the concept of childhood and parenthood has remained stable and is still considered the foundation and pillars of our culture. Yet, in the murky events of divorce and child custody, there is an undeniable conflict between biological, legal and social conceptions of parenthood.
In a typical divorce and child custody case, the father ends up as a non-custodial parent (save for a handful of instances over the past few decades). Ostracised from active parenting, his role is now limited to being a “paying visitor” for a few hours a month. These few hours cannot be a substitute for an involved parental relationship. What sin has the child done to be cut off from his father, who till the other day was his playmate, coach and guard? Overnight, there is no recipient for one of the most said words of the child — “Daddy.”
The principle used in child custody cases is the doctrine of “best interest of the child.” In theory, the law is gender neutral — it neither says that the mother has to be the custodial parent nor does it mandate that only one of the parents can have custody. Therefore, in theory, both mother and father can be joint custodians. So, why this madness? The answer lies in its interpretation and adoption — an unwritten method of determining the best interests by selection. Here a warm thought of motherhood tilts the balance.
The overwhelming feeling towards the father and his role seem applicable only in reel-life. I’ve seen many a woman shed tears when the father and son have their last breakfast together in the movie, Kramer vs Kramer. Even for an animation movie Finding Nemo, tears are shed for Marlin, the daddy fish. But when it comes to real life, it is all swept clean from memory — convenience and egos take precedence over conscience and welfare.
Granted, the mother’s role is indispensable in the child’s life. The same applies to the father’s role too — certain roles can be fulfilled only by a father. Studies done on single-parent children show that the loss of paternal care and stability is the cause of most of their social aberrations.
Divorce being a new-age phenomenon in India, it is time we learnt from the lost generation of those countries and took some preventive measures. The law should broaden the idea of parenthood and dilute the traditional interpretations and beliefs. First and foremost should be the shift from the “winner takes all” custody framework to a presumptive shared parenting framework. Joint and equal custody must be the interpretation of the best interest of the child principle.
Australia, France, Denmark, Belgium and some States in the U.S. have already brought in legislative changes towards shared parenting. Results of studies conducted on shared parenting have been positive — it showed more parental involvement, a higher happiness index in child and reduced inter-parental conflicts.
For a child, every day should be Mother’s day and Father’s day — separation of mom and dad should not make any difference. Await the day.
“From the first moments of life, the bond forged between a father and a child is sacred. Whether patching scraped knees or helping with homework, dads bring joy, instil values, and introduce wonders into the lives of their children. Fathers are our first teachers and coaches, mentors and role models. When fathers are not present, their children and families cope with an absence government cannot fill.” — Barack Obama in his Father’s Day proclamation of 2010.
(The writer is Member, Children’s Right Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP). His email is: email@example.com)
6. Papas out in pursuit of happiness
|Publication: The Times Of India Bangalore;||Date: Jun 19, 2011;||Section: Times City;||Page: 4|
Papas out in pursuit of happiness
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Bangalore: For every daddy, the little one is an apple of his eye. Distanced from their heart-throbs on the eve of Fathers’ Day it was only natural for them to vent out their anguish. Separated from their
wives, woebegone fathers came together under the umbrella of Crisp (Children’s Rights Initiative For Shared Parenting), an NGO that focuses on furthering rights of children to remain connected withboth parents,even after a couple’sseparation.
Daddy dears demanded family law reforms, immediate halt to abuse of Section 498A(dowry harassment) and more accesstotheir kids.
“ Conflict between parents will reduce and the mental and emotional health of children will improve when divorcing parents can be assured of equal and meaningful contact. They should also stop wasting precious time in the court,” said Kumar Jaghirdar, president Crisp. Stressing on equal rights for both parents, Jaghirdar observed that in divorce and separation cases, often one of the parents deprive the child of the love and care of theother.
“This is one of the worst forms of child abuse, as the kidsuffersfrompsychological damage resulting in disorders like parental alienation syndrome and reactive associative disorders that warp a child’s development,” said Kesava Vishwanathan, a design engineer who’s a single parent.
For them, Father’s Day has no relevance
|For them, Father’s Day has no relevance|
|Shimla, June 19 (IANS)|
|Sunday, June 19, 2011|
|For them, International Father’s Day has no relevance. They are a group of ”harassed” men who have been denied their parenting rights. These are divorced fathers who have been demanding equal access to their children.|
|These fathers are keen to take care of their children as a practice and to make this law mandatory through legislation.”This Father’s Day (June 19), we are seeking parenting rights and joint custody of children in case of divorce or separation,” Shimla-based software engineer Atul Sood (name changed) told IANS.Sood, who has been facing a divorce case, said: “Despite a court order, my wife and her family is not allowing me to meet my kid. For more than three years, I have not met her and even not seen her.”Added Ramandeep Bajwa of Chandigarh, “In spite of the court giving me the permission to meet my child, the mother tutors the kid not to speak to me when the meeting takes place. So when I go to meet my child, she doesn’t speak to me at all.””It’s really shameful that I have fathered the child but I can’t speak to her,” he added.
Bangalore-based NGO Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), with more than 2,500 members across the country, said shared parenting and joint custody of children should be implemented as a rule in divorce or separation cases.”On Father’s Day, we demand the basic rights of children to access both biological parents. For this, there is a need for implementing shared parenting and joint custody as a rule in separation and divorce cases,” CRISP Founder and President Kumar V. Jahgirdar told IANS on phone from Bangalore.”It’s not fair on the part of the court to interview the child for selecting a parent (in divorce case). There should be no interview of the child up to the age of 12,” he said.
CRISP, with its regional chapters in Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Lucknow, has been fighting to set up special courts to deal with child custody cases.
“We are demanding special courts to deal with child custody cases and address the problems faced by the parents who have been deprived of the joint custody,” said Jahgirdar, who is fighting for shared parenting of his daughter with his ex-wife.
“Moreover, all child custody cases should be settled within three months of application in the family courts,” he added.Bajwa said the courts have a more favourable approach towards mothers.
“Indian matrimonial and child custody laws are biased against men,” he added.
CRISP is demanding punishment for people who misuse the Indian Penal Code as a tool to deprive the father and his family members of access to their children.
S.P. Sidhu, a leading lawyer based in Chandigarh, said: “As per law, a child below the age of five always remains in the custody of the mother and the father doesn’t have the right to bring him or her up.””Even if the child is more than five years old, the court generally favours the mother for custody. However, only in exceptional cases the court gives custody to a father, that too after he convinces the court that the mother is not taking care of the child well,” he said.
Delhi-based child counsellor Ekta Singh said: “For a child, both the parents are equally important and isolation of one of them in most cases leads to mental distress and trauma in the child.”
According to CRISP, during 2008, 9,000 divorce cases were filed in Delhi, 7,500 in Mumbai and 5,000 in Bangalore. The figures were collected from family courts in the three cities
Child abduction by parents among Indian diaspora raises concern
NEW DELHI: Increasing number of child abductions by parents among the Indian diaspora has become a cause of concern as India is yet to join the international convention on the issue, a British minister has said.
“The cases where a parent abducts their child and takes it away to India are problematic because India does not have laws to deal with parental child abduction,” British Minister for Equalities Lynne Featherstone said here.
The minister urged the Indian governmentto accede to the UN Conventionon the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
The British minister was here on a three-day visit to India June 15-17 to seek greater collaboration between the two countries on the issue of violence against women and gender equality issues.
According to Featherstone, the UK governmentreceives at least one complaint per month of alleged abduction of a child by a parent of Indian origin. There are about eight such cases currently being investigated, the minister said.
The children were abducted by one of the parents and brought to India in order to gain the advantage in matrimonial and child custody disputes.
Child abduction cases by parents are high in countries which have a large population of people of Indian origin such as the UK, the USand Canada.
About 70 children were abducted by parents of Indian origin in the UK in the past eight years, according to a report.
The US State Department’s Office of Child Issues, which helps in child abduction cases, is currently working on more than 100 cases of children taken to India without the consent of the parent left behind. The State Departmenthas said that there are few remedies if a child is abducted to India.
There are more unresolved cases of parental child abduction from the US to India than any other country with the exception of Mexico.
About 85 countries have ratified the 1980 Hague Convention on Parental Child Abduction. Under the convention, member countries undertake to return children abducted by a parent to their homes under the jurisdiction of the courts in the home country.
Parental child abduction has become one of the many issues that have been added to the agenda for inter-governmental discussions with visiting delegations from the US, Britainand Canada.
Several NGOs and activists in India and abroad have urged the government to accede to the Hague Convention.
On the occasion of Father’s Day (June 20), a Bangalore-based non-governmental organisation, Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), has demanded that India ratify the Hague Convention and reform family law in India.
California-based Rakshak Foundationhas also appealed to the union government to safeguard children’s rights and make parental abduction a cognizable, non-bailable crime.
Abduction of a child by one parent violates the child’s right to live in the security of the familiar home and prevents access to both parents. More and more child custody and abduction cases are landing in Indian courts relating to foreign citizens as well as non resident Indians (NRIs).
The Supreme Courthas ruled recently that Indian courts have jurisprudence on child custody cases even if the child is a citizen of a foreign country. The courts apply the principle of best interest of the child, taking a foreign court decree as only one of the factors for deciding on the custodial dispute.
There have been occasions when the father had taken away the child from the country of residence, gone to India and left the child with his grandparents while he flew to work in a third country.
At other times, it is the woman who took the child on the pretext of visiting India.
Many abducted children are told that the other parent is dead or has gone away. Often one parent tries to poison the child’s mind to the other parent, which often causes psychological and emotional problems for the child.
“Children in such cases are voiceless victims and their right to be connected to both biological parents needs to be protected,” according to the Rakshak Foundation.
Often child custody cases lead to the child being deprived of the love, affection and care of one parent.
” Jointcustody and shared parenting are the best solutions for normal development of the child,” the foundation said.
Bangalore’s ‘deprived dads’ to rally for parenting rights
Bangalore’s ‘deprived dads’ to rally for parenting rights
posted 2 yrs ago – by sulekha news | 60 Views | View Source: Maitreyee Boruah
Bangalore, June 19 (IANS) Many Bangalore men who are separated from their wives but pine for their children are set to mark Father’s Day by taking out a rally here. Kids should get the love of both parents, they stress, even as divorce cases are going up in India.
Along with others, Saturday’s rally will see these men asserting their right to be in touch with their children. June 21 is Father’s Day.
It is the brainchild of Children’s Rights Initiative For Shared Parenting (CRISP), a city-based NGO, fighting for shared parenting rights, in association with Save the Indian Family Foundation (SIFF).
‘Not every child is lucky enough to have the love and care of both father and mother, even when both the parents are alive during their growing up days. Due to a rise in divorce cases in the country, most children of separated parents are deprived of both their parents’ affection,’ Kumar Jahgirdar, president of CRISP, told IANS.
‘On the occasion of Father’s Day, CRISP members will have a rally in the morning near Mahatma Gandhi statue at M.G. Road to create awareness on the importance of the father in the life of a child,’ added Kumar.
He himself has been battling for the custody of his daughter for almost a decade.
Formed in May 2008 in Bangalore, CRISP today has 1,000 members across the country. On Saturday, around 500 members of CRISP are likely to take part in the rally.
Explaining on CRISP’s work, the president said, the organisation has fathers, mothers and grandparents as its members.
‘I want to clarify one thing. The members are not only fathers who are fighting for the rights of their children’s custody. We have both fathers, mothers and grandparents, who are fighting for justice and equality in child custody laws of our country and who believe in shared parenting when the parents are either separated or divorced,’ said Kumar.
‘The idea of our organisation is to give every child their right to be raised equally by both parents, to get an equal amount of love and affection from both parents,’ added Kumar.
According to the figures available with CRISP, around 13,000 cases of divorce are pending in various family courts in Bangalore.
‘In the process of parents getting divorced, it is ultimately the children who suffer the most. Thus we want equal rights for both the parents over their children,’ said Lokesh Reddy, a member of CRISP.
‘We want a change in Indian family law which in most cases is tilted towards the mother when it comes to a child’s custody,’ he added.
According to CRISP, parents contemplating divorce should be given mandatory counselling on ‘shared parenting’ and its benefits by a panel of experts supervised by the family courts.
‘This will eliminate unnecessary child custody battles, stress to the parents and children and waste of the precious time of the courts,’ said Jayant, another member of CRISP.
‘It is always better to have the care and love of both mother and father while growing up. I too support the concept of shared parenting. Differences between parents should not affect children in their growing up days,’ said Sharada Patil, a Bangalore-based teacher.
(Maitreyee Boruah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)