The ongoing battle between ‘saus’ and ‘bahow’ (mother in law and daughter in law) is something I’ll probably never get, but this was interesting.
Bullying mother-in-law must pay £35,000
Tuesday July 25, 2006
A woman who subjected her daughter-in-law to a four-month campaign of bullying and humiliation was yesterday ordered to pay her £35,000 in compensation, after a landmark court case.Gina Satvir Singh, 26, used the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act – normally employed to deter noisy neighbours or stalkers – to take her mother-in-law, Dalbir Kaur Bhakar, to court. It is believed to be the first time the act has been used in such a way.
Nottingham county court heard how Ms Singh’s life fell apart four years ago after her arranged marriage to Hardeep Bhakar, now 29. After having left school at 16 and started working in her family’s clothing and fashion businesses, she had risen to a managerial position. By the time of her marriage, Ms Singh had what was described to the court as “considerable experience of the wider world”.But the hearing was told that everything changed when she moved from Bunny in Nottinghamshire to Ilford in Essex, to live with her new husband and his mother at their family home. A devout Sikh who entered into the marriage willingly, Ms Singh said she had accepted she would live with her husband’s family – but her mother-in-law’s campaign of torment led to serious health problems and the breakdown of the marriage in March 2003.She was forced to do menial housework for hours and was kept a virtual prisoner in the house, beginning her domestic duties at 6.30am. Ms Singh told the court her mother-in-law called her a “poodle” and contrived a work routine – including cleaning toilets without a brush – designed to “exhaust and humiliate” her.
Ms Singh claimed that she was not allowed to visit the local Sikh temple, and was allowed only four short visits home to her parents in the weeks after her wedding. She said her telephone use was limited and her calls monitored.
The court also heard that Mrs Bhakar forced her daughter-in-law to have her hair cut to shoulder length, despite knowing her religious beliefs forbade it.
Ms Singh said she was not allowed to register with a local GP, and that a hand infection, the result of the excessive cleaning she was forced to do, went untreated.
Mrs Bhakar, 52, denied the allegations, but her claims of innocence were rejected. Within four months the marriage had fallen apart and Ms Singh had moved out and returned to Nottinghamshire. The couple have since divorced.
Recorder Timothy Scott awarded Ms Singh £35,000 after accepting her claim that she had endured “misery and humiliation”. He said: “She was utterly miserable and wretched during those months and was suffering from what was for her an incomprehensible personal attack.”
After the case, Ms Singh’s solicitor, John Rosley, said: “This case has exposed a problem that is common but not often talked about. This very difficult case was brought by a brave young woman who is now rebuilding her life.
“There must be many who could bring such a case but do not. My client has had the strength to do so only due to the support of her family and her faith. She did so for all young women in a similar situation.
“We now hope that the publicity generated by this successful action will persuade other women who have suffered similarly to come forward.”
Mrs Bhakar’s barrister, Colin Anderson, said that she and her family were “disappointed” and were planning to appeal against the level of damages.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 covers a variety of behaviours, including religious or racially motivated harassment. It can also be used to prosecute people who play loud music or carry out noisy house repairs, if their behaviour is considered to amount to harassment.
A person can be convicted of criminal harassment if it is proved that they knowingly pursued a course of conduct which resulted in the harassment of another individual.
A separate blog has been set up here.
There is another vigil tonight.
By Ramzi Kassem
Lebanon has come under Israeli attack countless times before. But, for the first time, I am not there with my mother, grandmother, and loved ones as the steel and fire rain down. With no safe way into or out of the country, all I can do is write.
The cause of the crisis is plain. Operating under an outdated set of assumptions, Hizballah failed to recognize that capturing Israeli soldiers at this juncture offered Israel an opportunity to further strategic objectives beyond the return of those prisoners. Instead of the customary limited cross-border reprisal raids and heated rhetoric followed by back-channel negotiations and prisoner exchanges, Israel launched its cynical collective punishment campaign against mostly civilian targets in Lebanon, prompting Hizballah to launch rockets on Israeli towns. Hundreds of Lebanese civilian deaths later, Israel’s gambit appears to be that its siege will bring internal and international pressure on Hizballah to disarm or withdraw from the border. Hizballah, of course, will seek to survive as Lebanon’s only credible deterrent against lasting Israeli occupation.
Israel is presently attempting to accomplish through indirect means what it failed to do through direct military confrontation with the Hizballah guerrilla during its twenty year occupation of southern Lebanon. Because the Israeli military was powerless against the resistance, they decided to exploit Lebanon’s impotence against the lethal combination of Israeli military might and unconditional U.S. diplomatic cover. The U.S. government’s role in greenlighting this unrestrained onslaught, offering Israel effective impunity as it targets civilian infrastructure, killing innocent men, women, and children, is not lost on people in the Middle East and beyond. The incalculable damage to America’s already severely depleted credibility as a result of Israel’s actions in Lebanon and Gaza will be hard to compensate.
But for America and Israel — as indeed for all those who enjoy absolute power — credibility is expendable and they would sooner dispense with building good will than delay asserting total hegemony. What illustrates this abysmal chasm in power and military capability separating Israel from its neighbors far more than the morbid statistics reflecting the greater loss in blood and treasure on the Lebanese and Palestinian sides is a simple object carrying radically different meanings for the powerful and the powerless: the candle. Sitting here in New York today, I see the candle much as you do: a quaint, ceremonial object, an obsolete, sometimes-fragrant luxury. But in the back of my mind it still carries an altogether different significance, a remnant of days and nights spent in stuffy, dank cellars serving as makeshift bombshelters. The year was 1982 and I was a child huddled with other unarmed and frightened civilians — not unlike the people of Lebanon and Gaza today — trying to survive the Israeli siege and the war raging outside. With scarce provisions, no electricity and no light, the candle was our precarious, flickering rampart against darkness and death.
That lone, lit candle represents the helplessness and subjugation of the Lebanese and Palestinian civilians who are paying the ultimate price. Those of us privileged enough to live far from harm’s way should light a candle in solidarity with the powerless and to reject the Bush administration’s unquestioning support for the Israeli war machine. As for the powerful of this world, they should pray that these isolated flames never grow into a fire.
Ramzi Kassem was born in Beirut and practices law out of New York City, focusing on litigation relating to police misconduct and wrongful conviction cases. He is also an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School.
I was floored. Thanks, Tahir, for sending it.
“After revealing detailed information about the movement of Israeli troops, a Fox News crew has been shot at on live television”
I was even further floored by the comments at the end by the newscasters.
News anchor 1: “: ‘bad guys shoot at anything’
News anchor 2: ‘but it is israel’
News anchor 3: ‘but we dont know for sure who is shooting at them. the other guys there are trying to protect themselves’
Unilateral Support…*sigh* … baffling