Hi, I thought Id bring up something thats been at the back of my mind for the last few days. With offline activities increasing in the last couple of months, it is a good sign for the project overall in India. However, we sometimes tend to unintentionally ruffle a few feathers (or people wanting to take advantage of the situation pretend that we have). This got me thinking of what sort of backup we Wikipedians can expect if they get into trouble whiles taking part in volunteer activities? I dont mean getting caught doing something illegal, I mean any trouble whiles taking part in or organising routine activities. I dont mean to scare people, this is something that is the result of recent happenings. In Mumbai, Wikipedians have had to visit the Police Station twice in the last 3 months.
First time we had a battery of people including Chapter Secretary Naveen Francis, WMF Deputy Director Erik Moeller (who literally got off a flight and walked into the cop station), our Legal brain Gautam John, WMF Trustee Bishakha Dutta and WMF Advisor Achal Prabhala among others go down to the police station as a political party threatened to stage a protest at our event in November 2011. Last month, we had another visit to the police station during the photowalk because a corporate house was paranoid when we took photographs of their headquarters. Hisham, Gautam and Achal were all unavailable, thankfully Bishakha was and she was able to get a legal opinion from some lawyer friends that what we were doing was totally legal as it was not a prohibited area. We cannot expect to fall back on such people all the time, after all they are here as volunteers as well (well, except for Erik and Hisham). Reiterating, that though we were on the right side of the law, we were dragged to the police. I am worried what the case would be if a formal complaint or a case is filed against a Wikipedian (though Im hoping this will never happen) to trouble or scare him, what assurance does he have from the organisation? As most Wikipedians are doing volunteer-work in their spare time, I think its highly important that there is some sort of assurance that they will not be left to fend for themselves if something unforeseen leaves them personally in a spot of bother. Could someone from India Programs or WM-IN please advice the community of what sort of back-up and legal support/insurance the community can expect in the event of such eventualities? Kind Regards,
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