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Woman gang-raped, looted in Delhi by taxi driver and his associate


New Delhi: A woman has alleged she was kidnapped by a cab driver and his associate from south Delhi before being gangraped and looted in Greater Noida, police said.

Police on Thursday said the incident occurred on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday when the victim had taken a cab from a place near Ansal Plaza to go to her residence in Rohini.

When the woman was waiting for autorickshaw, the accused cab driver, finding her alone, offered her a lift to drop her residence in Rohini. He drove to Dhaula Kaun area from where his associate boarded the car and both began misbehaving with her.
“They threatened her and forcibly took her to a deserted place in Greater Noida and allegedly took turns to rape her on gun point,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Chinmoy Biswal said.

“They raped her for over five hours before dropping her on Wednesday morning near Greater Noida,” the police officer said.

The accused also took away her gold ornaments, ‘mangal sutra’, cell phone and Rs 12,000 in cash, Biswal said.

A case has been registered in Hauz Khas police station and investigation is underway to identify the accused cab driver and his associate, he added.




Gujarat Election 2017: 'Red X mark' in few Muslim societies triggers panic


                                                   Image Courtesy: SabrangIndia

Ahmedabad: Panic gripped Muslim families in some pockets of a Hindu-dominated area here after they found red “cross marks” on the main gates of their societies on Sunday morning.
The alarmed residents of Delight Flats, also targeted during the 2002 riots, have sought police protection.

The residents wrote a letter to the Election Commission and the city’s police commissioner, urging them to inquire the matter.
Such marks have left many Muslims in shock and fear as it seems to be done by someone to identify Muslim-living area,” states the letter.
“Gujarat elections have already been declared and such activities marking buildings of particular community is causing insecurity among dwellers and increases chances of communal clash,” the letter states.

The mysterious ‘X’ mark in red colour were also spotted on the main gates of Aman Colony,Tagore Flats Nasheman Apartment and Ashiyana Apartment, and outside the Takshshila colony.
However, the residents who wrote the letter to EC, alleged that such markings might be an attempt to disturb the peace in the area ahead of the polls.

“Such activities of marking buildings of a particular community and highlighting their religious identity before the election is causing insecurity among the dwellers and increases chances of communal clash which might destroy peace of Paldi…take immediate action and investigate the reasons,” reads the letter penned by members of the society.

Noteworthy, Juhapura is the mammoth Muslim ghetto had a population of about 1,00,000 before the 2002 Gujarat genocidal pogrom.

After the pogrom, the population has grown to close to 6,00,000.

According to Uvesh Sareshwala, who lives in the building, there was fear and panic among Muslims when they found red marks on the main gates.

“For now, the issue is resolved, as some policemen are also deployed in our area after the incident. Our only contention was that the AMC should have informed us in advance that they are doing it,” he said.

“Due to such misunderstandings, miscreants get a chance to disturb the peace. Our only concern was our security, nothing else,” Sareshwala added.

According to PTI, the city police swung into action and an investigation revealed that the marks were painted for the implementation of the waste collection project by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) staff.

However, an AMC official that DNA talked to rubbish the claims. “To begin with, whenever AMC wants to identify a society for any particular reason, it puts up a sticker. Moreover, the practice of putting marks on society gates was long discarded. It seems to be the handiwork of someone keen to create mischief,” said the official.

PTI inputs




Iran Iraq earthquake kills 430 in Iranian border region rebuilt after war


Tehran: Rescuers dug with their bare hands Monday through the debris of buildings felled by an earthquake that killed more than 430 people in the border region of Iran and Iraq, with nearly all the casualties occurring in an area rebuilt after their ruinous 1980s war.

The magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck Sunday at 9:48 p.m. Iran time, just as people were going to bed. The worst damage appeared to be in the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide the two countries.

Residents fled without time to grab their possessions as apartment complexes collapsed into rubble. Outside walls of some buildings were sheared off, power and water lines were severed, and telephone service was disrupted.
Residents dug frantically through wrecked buildings for survivors as they wailed. Firefighters from Tehran joined other rescuers in the desperate search, using dogs to inspect the rubble.

The hospital in Sarpol-e-Zahab was heavily damaged, and the army set up field hospitals, although many of the injured were moved to other cities, including Tehran. The quake also damaged an army garrison and buildings in the border city and killed an unspecified number of soldiers, according to reports.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei immediately dispatched all government and military forces to aid those affected. Many of the heavily damaged complexes in Sarpol-e-Zahab were part of construction projects under former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The newly homeless slept outside in cold, huddled around makeshift fires for warmth, wrapped in blankets as were the dead.

The quake killed 430 people in Iran and injured 7,156, the state-run IRNA news agency reported Tuesday. Most of the injuries were minor with fewer than 1,000 still hospitalized, Iran’s crisis management headquarters spokesman Behnam Saeedi told state TV.

The official death toll came from provincial forensic authorities based on death certificates issued. Some reports said unauthorized burials without certification could mean the death toll was actually higher.

The quake was centered about 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the US Geological Survey, and struck 14.4 miles (23.2 kilometers) below the surface, a somewhat shallow depth that can cause broader damage.

The quake caused Dubai’s skyscrapers to sway and could be felt 1,060 kilometers (660 miles) away on the Mediterranean coast. Seven deaths occurred in Iraq and 535 people were injured, all in the country’s northern, semiautonomous Kurdish region, according to its Interior Ministry.

The disparity in casualty tolls immediately drew questions from Iranians, especially because so much of the town was new. Kokab Fard, a 49-year-old housewife in Sarpol-e-Zahab, said she could only flee empty-handed when her apartment complex collapsed. “Immediately after I managed to get out, the building collapsed,” Fard said. “I have no access to my belongings.” Reza Mohammadi, 51, said he and his family ran into the alley following the first shock.

“I tried to get back to pick some stuff, but it totally collapsed in the second wave,” Mohammadi said. Khamenei offered his condolences as President Hassan Rouhani’s office said Iran’s elected leader would tour the damaged areas Tuesday, which was declared a national day of mourning. Authorities also set up relief camps and hundreds lined up to donate blood in Tehran, though some on state TV complained about the slowness of aid coming.

Sarpol-e-Zahab fell to the troops of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during his 1980 invasion of Iran, which sparked the eight-year war between the two countries that killed 1 million people. Though clawed back by Iran seven months later, the area remained a war zone that suffered through Saddam’s missile attacks and chemical weapons. After the war, Iran began rebuilding the town. It also was part of Ahmadinejad’s low-income housing project, which aided the Holocaust-questioning hard-liner’s populist credentials but also saw cheap construction.

Under the plan dubbed as Mehr or “kindness” in Farsi, some 2 million units were built in Iran, including hundreds in Sarpol-e Zahab. Many criticized the plan, warning that the low-quality construction could lead to a disaster.

“Before its 10-year anniversary, Mehr buildings have turned into coffins for its inhabitants,” the reformist Fararu news website wrote Monday. Seismologist Abdul-Karim Abdullah Taqi, who runs the earthquake monitoring group at Iraq’s Meteorological Department, said the main reason for the lower casualty figure in Iraq was the angle and direction of the fault line in this particular quake, as well as the nature of the Iraqi geological formations that could better absorb the shocks.

University of Colorado geological scientist Roger Bilham said earthquakes in the Zagros range, where there are more than 20 different faults, have killed more than 100,000 people in the last 1,000 years.




3 Pakistani fishermen apprehended in Kutch


Ahmedabad, The Border Security Force (BSF) has apprehended three Pakistani fishermen and seized five boats from the Harami Nala creek area along the Indo-Pak border in Gujarat’s Kutch district.

A patrol party of the BSF’s 79th battalion, deployed to guard the Indo-Pak border, apprehended the three fishermen yesterday from the “vertical area of the Harami Nala creek”, a senior official said.

The men have been be handed over to the local police, the official said. The incident comes at a time when a high-level delegation of Pakistani Rangers is in India for the bi-annual talks with the BSF.
Several fishing boats and Pakistani fishermen have been caught in the past while fishing in the Indian side of the creek area. Given the sensitive nature of the area, even Indian fishermen are barred from fishing in the creek.

However, Pakistani fishermen often venture into Indian waters for a catch.




Religion and the quest for peace


This year marks the 500th year of the Reformation in Christianity. It was a major change that caused a split within the ranks of Christianity. The origins lie in the ninety-five theses that a priest named Martin Luther nailed to the church doors. Each of them asked the Papal authorities to explain the divergences between what the priests spoke of and what the Bible itself said.

Almost coincidentally, the moveable type printing press of John Gutenberg was introduced to the world.  The first book to be printed was the Bible.  Luther’s charges gained currency, and the church split.

To date, one of the basic differences between the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church is the latter’s belief that anyone who has been baptised has a direct connect with God, and does not need the intercession of a priest. The highest authority for Protestants is the word of Jesus as found in the Bible, not the Papal structure of the Catholic church.

 

 

The tensions between Catholics and Protestants are most mort visible in Germany (and in the UK where Catholic Ireland insists of being a separate entity from the rest of Anglican Protestant UK).

It is therefore heartening to see the German government actually coming out in October 2017 with a publication titled “Working for Peace – How religions can contribute to resolving conflicts” (https://www.deutschland.de/en/500-years-of-reformation). Its contents are based on the first Conference on the Responsibility of Religions for Peace, organised by the Federal Office, Germany. According to the book, “the discussions with the representatives of different religions are therefore soon to be continued and the insights gained will flow into political work”.

The discussions have a lesson for India.  India has a religious majority community that should be a lot more confident about itself. Instead, it sometimes becomes shrill and intolerant. It should actually be holding out a hand for furthering peace on the sub-continent.  Germany, on the other has only 27% of its population which is Protestant, and 29% which is Catholic.

Together, they account for 46% of the population (see chart). That should make Germans edgy, but it has been contained.

One seldom hears of religious strife in Germany, while it is always round the corner in India. Germany has opted for dialogue (https://www.deutschland.de/en/topic/life/society-integration/500th-anniversary-of-the-reformation-in-germany-a-belief-in-dialogue). India on the other hand tends to justify vigilantism.

The reason why Indians have not been able to foster harmony among religions is on account of many factors:

  1. Politicians in India love to play the divisive role to create vote banks.  It always begins with playing the role of the protector, and invariably moves to identifying others as “not us”.  The dividing line is invariably religion, which is exploited to polarise people into vote banks.
  2. The inability of the courts to step in and immediately prosecute individuals for anything that is akin to hate speech.  To do this, the courts must first start hauling up police personnel who fail to report hate speech, and then take up the prosecution of such people on a war-footing.  Nothing in society can as as corrosive as bad blood between two religious groups. Unfortunately, the courts have seldom taken action against errant politicians.  Its nadir was struck recently, when it failed to order suo moto the conviction of an elected representative who not only beat up a public servant, but even brazenly declared before media and live television cameras that he had beat him 12 times and had broken his spectacles.  When the courts fail to champion basic rights, politicians are bound to exploit them.
  3. The government’s own willingness to meddle with religions.  Look at the way it has taken over the richest Hindu temple trusts (http://www.asiaconverge.com/2017/09/gurmeet-ram-rahim-singh-convicted-rape-haryana-government-protecting-dera-chief-secure-vote-bank/). Without financial authority, the leaders of mainstream Hinduism get emasculated.  The vacuum is filled up by godmen who enjoy political patronage.  With the majority religion losing its most sagacious voices, it is not surprising that much of the rank and file of Hindus get lumpenised.
  4. India has seen more killings in religious riots than most other countries (see chart). That is why, it is necessary for the government to stay out of religion, and focus on enforcing laws that guarantee peace and amity. It must learn to work through dialogue (https://www.deutschland.de/en/topic/life/society-integration/500th-anniversary-of-the-reformation-in-germany-a-belief-in-dialogue), towards bringing religious leaders together, just as Germany has done.
  5. Lastly, all religions have the freedom to worship. But that worship must not be allowed to interfere with the normal lives of people.  You cannot have religious processions blocking roads, violating noise pollution laws and even other environmental laws. In fact it is worth remembering the advice Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1856-1915) gave to Bal Gangadhar Lokmanya Tilak (1856 –1920) when the latter sought to take Ganpati processions and turn them into political rallies.  He warned him not to let religion come out of homes and on to the streets.

Once out, he cautioned, it would be difficult to put it back. The consequences are there for everyone to see.  Yet, unheedful of the lessons of history, the government continues to permit more outpouring on to the streets.  This does not bode well for peace.

The German initiative must be lauded. It must find reflection in India as well. If there was one kind of reformation movement in Germany in the 16th century, India needs a second type of reformation today – a more sagacious approach towards religion and civil courtesies.

 

The author is consulting editor with FPJ.




Subramanian Swamy calls Tipu Sultan an "opportunist" gives reason


Belagavi: Subramanian Swamy once commented against Mysuru King, Tipu Sultan.
According to the news published in DC, he called Tipu Sultan an “opportunist”. Giving the reason, he said that Mysuru fought against British as he was paid by French to do so.
He also rejected that Tipu Sultan was a warrior and fought for the independence of India.
Delivering a lecture in Belagavi at an event organized by Prabudha Bharat, he condemned Kamal Haasan’s Hindu terror remark.
He further said that Congress president, Sonia Gandhi and vice-president, Rahul Gandhi would land into jail in National Herald case. Former Finance Minister, P Chidambaram and his son will also join them, he added.

Subramanian Swamy also expressed confidence about building Ram temple at Ayodhya.

siasat.com




Delhi woke up today to a choking blanket of smog, as air pollution reaches dangerous level


New Delhi: Delhi woke up to ‘severe’ air quality today under a blanket of thick haze, as pollution levels breached the permissible standards by multiple times.

The rapid fall in air quality and visibility began last evening itself as moisture combined with pollutants shrouded the city in a thick cover of haze. By 10 am today, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded ‘severe’ air quality, meaning the intensity of pollution was extreme.

In light of the sudden dip, measures under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) such as a four times hike in parking fees may be rolled out by the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority. If the situation deteriorates further and persists for at least 48 hours, the task force under the GRAP will mull shutting schools and enforcing the odd-even car rationing scheme.
The last time air had turned ‘severe’ was on October 20, a day after Diwali festivities, when firecrackers were set off. Since then, the pollution monitors have been recording ‘very poor’ air quality, which is comparatively better than ‘severe’ but alarming according to global standards.

A ‘very poor’ AQI comes with the warning that people may develop respiratory illness on prolonged exposure while exposure to ‘severe’ air affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing respiratory or cardiovascular diseases. The CPCB has said high moisture level in the air has trapped emission from local sources and hanging low over the city in the absence of wind.

“Total calm conditions, marked by the complete absence of wind has led to the situation. The moisture has trapped emissions from ground level sources,” Dipankar Saha, CPCB’s air lab chief, said.

According to private weather forecasting agency Skymet, wind from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, where paddy stubble burning is in full swing, has started entering the city during the afternoon hours.

The CPCB also recorded ‘severe’ air quality in the neighbouring Noida and Ghaziabad.

The real-time pollution monitors displayed alarmingly high concentration of PM2.5 and PM10, which are ultrafine particulates having the ability to enter the respiratory system and subsequently the bloodstream of humans and animals, causing harm.




Jeweller planted ‘hijack’ threat for ‘lady love’ on Jet Airways: Cops


Ahmedabad: Jeweller Birju Kishore Salla, who allegedly planted a note about hijackers and a bomb in the toilet of a Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight, was arrested on Tuesday under the stringent Anti-Hijacking Act, a senior official said.
This is the first arrest under the Act which came into force in July 2017, replacing the 1982 vintage law, according to which an accused can face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment till death and his properties can be confiscated, police said.

“We have arrested him under the Anti-Hijacking Act sections. This is the first arrest under the Act after it came into force,” Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) J K Bhatt said.
“We are in contact with the National Investigation Agency. The case may be handed over to the NIA if the Centre wants,” he said.
“Salla is a multi-millionaire jeweller, having a flat in a posh locality of Mumbai. He is originally from Dedan village of Amreli district,” the police official said.

“The accused had planted the note with an intention to close down Jet Airways so that his girlfriend working in the Delhi-based office of the airline would leave her job and come to stay with him in Mumbai,” Bhatt said.

He said the accused had earlier complained of finding a cockroach in the food served on Jet Airways flight.

“We are investigating if he is in contact with any other anti-social groups. We have not found any other offence against him,” Bhatt said.

The Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight, with 115 passengers and seven crew members on board, had on Monday made an emergency landing after a note stating that there were hijackers and a bomb on board was found in the plane’s washroom.

The Boeing 737-900 plane was parked at a remote bay and all 122 people on board safely deplaned.

The note, allegedly placed by Salla, stated that there were hijackers and a bomb in the cargo area, officials had earlier said.

It was a printed note in Urdu and English, asking that the plane be flown straight to PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). It ended with the words, “Allah is Great”.

The reference to PoK made investigators suspicious because Pakistan-based terrorists call the area ‘Azad Kashmir’, an official earlier said.




Love Jihad: State Women Commission directs police to inquire Hadiya’s present condition


Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Women’s Commission on Saturday directed Kottayam Superintendent of Police (SP) to inquire and submit a report immediately on the present condition of Hadiya in Kerala love Jihad case.
The fresh orders came in view of reports hat Hadiya’s life was under threat.
A video on Thursday was surfaced where Hadiya was heard saying,”Get me out of here. Today or tomorrow, I am going to die.”
“I am sure about this. My father is getting angry, I can make out. He pushes me, stamps at me,” Hadiya had claimed in the video which was reportedly recorded in August by activist Rahul Eashwar.
On October 10, the Kerala High Court while hearing the Hadiya case observed that ‘all inter-religious marriages cannot be termed love jihad‘.
A native of Vaikom, Hadiya (24), a Hindu woman, was allegedly forced to convert to Islam and marry a Muslim man.
Earlier on October 7, the Kerala government told the Supreme Court that an investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was not needed in the case as the state police was efficient enough to carry out the inquiry.

The government, however, had earlier said that it has no problem with the NIA probe.

Last month, a group of people had submitted a petition to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and demanded a probe into the alleged unlawful incarceration of Hadiya.

Four months ago, the Kerala High Court had sent Hadiya with her parents K M Asokan and Ponnamma after annulling her marriage with Shafin Jahan.

The case is under consideration of the Apex Court now, which had ordered the NIA investigation into it.

Jahan, on September 16, had filed a plea in the apex court and requested to call off the NIA probe alleging that the agency ‘is not being fair.’

Hadiya, formerly Akhila Ashokan, converted to Islam and married Jahan in 2016.

In May, the High Court had annulled the marriage acting on a petition filed by Hadiya’s father, who claimed that Muslim organisations were planning to take her abroad and make her join the IS group.




Anti-people laws are a blot on democracy


Laws must be enacted for the welfare of a republic—and so it seems they are. Until a closer scrutiny of these laws show them to be anti-people and anti-democracy with the aim of making ministers and all their lackeys, rich. These anti-people laws are drafted by clever IAS officers who state a laudable aim in the preamble when in fact, they want to achieve something despicable.

The most recent example is that enacted by the Rajasthan government called the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance-2017. An ordinance is issued in an emergency when the house is not in session but often misused by ruling parties to pass anti-democratic laws to thwart discussion. These ordinances must be ratified within six weeks of the next session of the house. Otherwise they automatically lapse.

This Rajasthan amendment prevents citizens from approaching the police or courts directly to probe corrupt public servants without sanction from the government. At one stroke, freedom of the judiciary, the press and the people to complain against corrupt or negligent public servants was taken away. This law has been challenged in the high court.


Added to the existing section 197 of the criminal procedure code which requires prior sanction, this makes government employees or public servants more powerful than God. Bluntly put, make as much money as you want, so long as you remain our private servants. This was the message sent by the ruling BJP to all public servants in Rajasthan.

But more horrific was the fact that through another gag order, the media could not report on any alleged corrupt public servant in Rajasthan without prior sanction of the government. This reduced the fundamental right of freedom of speech and a free press guaranteed in Article 19 (1) (a) to a charade because this anti-people law would be justified under one or other of the eight vague grounds legalising suppression of a free media.  The Rajasthan ordinance nullified the Supreme Court verdict in 2015 that prior sanction under Section 197 of the CrPC is not mandatory in all complaints against public servants. The apex court clarified that the question of sanction has to be determined at a certain stage of the proceedings and not prior to complaining against a public servant. But the Vasundhara Raje government has usurped the powers of the judiciary and the media to decide whether a public servant is corrupt or not. To illustrate, on April 1, 2017, the Rajasthan C.I.D gave a clean chit to six gau rakshaks who assaulted and killed one Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer from Mewat in Haryan, who was returning from a cattle fair in Jaipur. In his dying declaration, Pehlu Khan named six of his assailants who brutally assaulted him. But the C.I.D refused to book the six so that the All India Kisan Sabha called the probe a “hogwash and motivated.” The C.I.D comes under the chief minister who holds the home portfolio and so the media would have been prevented from reporting the murder or complaining against the C.I.D.

Another example of an anti-people law is the “Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act,2013” or the LARR bill. Although this law was drafted ostensibly for the “public purpose,” it simplified land acquisition for the BJP government by promoting the interests of big builders while diluting the definition of “public purpose.”

In 2015, the Narendra Modi government succumbed to industry groups by trying to amend the LARR bill   — again via the ordinance route and later by introducing the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement |(Amendment) Bill, 2015. But as the BJP did not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha, these amendments were stalled.

And so, the Modi government issued a diktat to all BJP-ruled states to enact investor-friendly land laws so that Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajashtan and Goa have all passed these laws to make it very easy for their governments to acquire land for “public purpose” and hand them to big builders through a state agency. All these laws have harmed the farmers, pushing them to suicide.    But legislatures apart, the judiciary also declares laws, sometimes with a patriarchal mindset. For example, in May 2017, the Kerala high court annulled the marriage of an adult woman and granted custody to her parents, simply because she had converted to Islam to marry the man of her choice.  So also, in the case of Goolrukh Contractor Gupta, a  Parsi-Zoroastrian, married a Marwari under the Special Marriage Act, (SPA) 1954. Although she chose to remain a Parsi, the court held that the religious identity of a woman merges with her husband thereby departing from the aim of the SPA which is to enable a man and woman from different faiths to marry without renouncing their own religion or community.

The purpose of replacing the Special Marriage Act of 1872 with that of 1954 was to allow both spouses to follow their own religions. While a Parsi man who marries a non-Parsi is allowed inside the fire temple, a non-Parsi woman who is married to a Parsi man is barred from entry, making a mockery of gender equality.

And so these personal laws make a mockery of the right to freedom of religion guaranteed from Articles 25 to 28 of the Constitution. The so-called “Freedom of Religion” laws have been passed with the ulterior motive of preventing  people from converting to Christianity although the ostensible aim is to protect freedom of religion.

 

The author holds a Ph.D in media law and is a practicing

journalist-cum-lawyer of the Bombay high court.




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