UN Security Council asked to hear from UN mission on Myanmar atrocities
United Nations: The United States and eight other countries on Tuesday requested a UN Security Council meeting on Myanmar to hear from a UN fact-finding mission that has accused the country’s military of atrocities against Muslim Rohingyas.
The request is likely to run into opposition from China, which has friendly ties with Myanmar’s military and has sought to shield Myanmar from action by the Security Council.
In a joint letter seen by AFP, the nine countries said the mission’s chairperson should brief the council to allow it to “receive further information on this situation and its implications for international peace and security.”
The UN fact-finding mission released an explosive report last month that called on the council to refer the Myanmar situation to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, or to create an ad hoc international criminal tribunal, as was done with the former Yugoslavia.
The fact-finding mission said that Myanmar’s top generals, including Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing must be investigated and prosecuted for genocide in Rakhine State.
Myanmar has rejected accusations that its military committed atrocities in the crackdown last year that forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee over the border to Bangladesh.
– Myanmar objects –
In a separate letter to the council, Myanmar’s Ambassador Hau Do Suan said his government “strongly objects” to the request to hear the fact-finding mission.
The ambassador repeated Myanmar’s complaints that the report was “one-sided”, based on “narratives and not on hard evidence”.
“Putting accountability above all else without regard to other positive developments is a dangerous attempt that will face utter failure,” he warned in the letter obtained by AFP.
Britain, France, Peru, Sweden, Ivory Coast, the Netherlands, Poland and Kuwait jointed the United States in requesting the meeting to be held during the month of October.
Support from the nine countries for the request means that China would likely fail to block a meeting through a procedural vote. Nine votes are required at the 15-member council to approve an agenda item and vetoes do not apply.
Myanmar maintains that the violence in Rakhine was triggered by Rohingya extremists who attacked border posts in August 2017.
But the fact-finding mission said there were reasonable grounds to believe that the atrocities were committed with the intention of destroying the Rohingya, warranting the charges of “genocide.”
The report found that the military’s tactics had been “consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats”, and said that estimates that some 10,000 people were killed in the crackdown was likely a conservative figure.
SOURCE: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor may not want but nation wants Ram temple in Ayodhya: BJP
New Delhi: The BJP Monday accused the Congress of using its leaders to build a momentum against the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, asserting that “the temple will be built at the Ram’s birthplace”. Union minister Prakash Javadekar attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi and its leader Shashi Tharoor for his reported comments that no good Hindu would have wanted to see the temple built by demolishing a place of worship, a reference to razing down of the Babri mosque in December 1992.
“Ram is the ethos of the nation. People want and have fought for a Ram temple for 500 years after it was destroyed. What Shashi Tharoor is saying must be the view of Rahul Gandhi and his that they do not want the temple at the Ram’s birthplace,” he told PTI. He said it was astonishing and shocking to hear from Tharoor that a “real Hindu” would not wish temple at the Babri mosque site.
“Ram temple will be built only at Ram’s birthplace. It is so natural. It was Ram temple which was destroyed and all proofs are before the Supreme Court. BJP wants a magnificent temple at the site,” he said. The BJP, he added, has already said that it has to happen either through a court verdict, which it is sure will be favourable, or with an agreement between the two parties.
The whole nation wants the Ram temple as it is not about the BJP or something political, he said. From north-east to north to south to east and west, everywhere you find Ram as Ram is the ethos of the nation, he said. Earlier at a press conference on Monday, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao too accused the Congress of using its leaders to build a momentum against the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and wondered if Gandhi is a Hindu or not.
He said his party wants an early verdict from the Supreme Court on the Ram temple case but the Congress is trying everything to delay it. Congress leaders had earlier filed plea in the court to delay the matter, he alleged, adding that Tharoor is the latest to join the bandwagon by linking construction of a temple with the “demolition of disputed structure” that happened decades back.
“You (Congress) are conspiring to ensure that there is no verdict from the court,” he said. The Congress is doing “vote bank politics”, he said, alleging that Gandhi had earlier claimed that his party was a “Muslims party”. Rahul Gandhi wears his “Shiv bhakti” (devotion to Lord Shiv) on his sleeve but he should answer whether he is a Hindu or not, Rao said.
Speaking at an event in Chennai, Tharoor had said as a Hindu he was very conscious that a vast majority of his fellow Hindus believe that this (the site in Ayodhya) was the specific birth place of Lord Ram.
“And for that reason most good Hindus would want to see a Ram temple at the site where Ram was supposed to be born. But I also believe that no good Hindu would have wanted to see that temple built by demolishing somebody else’s place of worship,” the Kerala MP said. At the press conference, Rao also accused the Congress of following a double-pronged strategy of showing its love for Pakistan and and “working to break India” as part of Gandhi’s “divisive mindset”.
He cited Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s reported comments that he can relate to Pakistan more than south India to hit out at the opposition party. He demanded that Sidhu must be sacked as a minister in the Punjab government in a week or the BJP would carry out protests. Sidhu’s remarks are also a reflection on the opposition party’s and its ruling Gandhi family’s “hatred for south India”, Rao alleged as he cited its “ill-treatment” of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.
It was due to support from south India that the Congress came to power, he said in a reference to its win in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, claiming that “otherwise Sonia and Rahul Gandhi would have fled to Italy”.
The Congress president should apologise for the alleged poor treatment meted out to Narasimha Rao, he said. “If you have any shame, at least use his (Narasimha Rao’s) picture in Telangana,” he said. Telangana is among the five states where assembly elections are being held.
Firefighting good but not enough
The Narendra Modi government is in firefighting mode as the economy slides in the wake of the rising current account deficit (CAD) with the abnormally high petroleum product import prices and the precipitous fall in the value of the rupee. The heavy dip in stock prices is also a cause of concern though it is the international outlook that contributes heavily to this. With elections in some State assemblies round the corner followed by the Lok Sabha polls next year, the government knows only too well that it needs to get its act together hastily lest the wrath of the electorate reflects itself through the ballot box.
The virtual directive to BJP State governments to cut petrol and diesel prices reflects pro-active intervention to ward off that wrath. That the price cut has eased the burden somewhat for the aggrieved middle class is happy augury for the beleaguered BJP which is fighting the build-up to an anti-establishment mood. The BJP is also helped by the fact that the Opposition lacks a programme of action to present as a credible alternative to its economic policies. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s irresponsible utterances calling the prime minister corrupt without grounds to support that pitch is also proving a dampener to the Opposition’s efforts to displace the NDA government. Thursday’s hiking of import duties on certain communications items close on the heels of the hike in duties on 19 non-essential items, including air conditioners, household refrigerators and washing machines (less than 10 kg) would contribute to a realistic lowering of the CAD and in partially restoring the value of the rupee.
The CAD had widened to 2.4 per cent of the GDP in the first quarter of 2018-19 while the rupee touched a record low of 74.50 to a dollar in intra-day trade on Thursday, before closing at 74.12. The rupee has depreciated by over 13 per cent since the beginning of 2018. In the latest round, import duty on populated, loaded or stuffed printed circuit boards of all goods other than mobile phones, base station and optical transport equipments has been raised. It is yet too early to know the impact of the measures taken to retrieve the situation but it is clear that more will need to be done to satisfy the consumer.
Myanmar ‘unwilling’ to probe Rohingya abuse, UN must act: rights envoy
Yangon: Myanmar is “unable and unwilling” to investigate its abuses against Rohingya Muslims, a UN rights envoy has said, bolstering calls for the country’s generals to be hauled before an international court.
A UN fact-finding mission has called for Myanmar’s top brass to be investigated for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes over a brutal crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state that forced more than 720,000 of the beleaguered minority to flee the country to Bangladesh.
Myanmar has dismissed the allegations, slamming the UN body as biased, and the government has set up its own committee to investigate the crimes.
But UN special rapporteur to Myanmar Yanghee Lee — who has been barred from entering the country since December — said the government has shown little capacity for an unbiased probe into the violence, saying it has taken “limited and insufficient steps”.
“[Myanmar] is unable and unwilling to discharge its obligation to conduct credible, prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations and prosecutions,” Lee said in a report she published via her Twitter account on Monday.
Given Myanmar’s refusal to hold itself accountable, she added, it was up to international courts to seek justice.
“The onus is on the international community to take action,” she warned. “Any delay in instituting justice will only result in more violations.”
In her conclusions she recommended the UN should “refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court immediately”.
The northern part of Rakhine has been on lockdown since the violence broke out last August, with journalists and observers only allowed to visit on short, chaperoned trips.
UN investigators — who authored the explosive fact-finding report — were not allowed into the country while Lee has been barred from entering Myanmar since December for her sharp criticisms of the government’s treatment of the Rohingya.
Lee said she had asked India for permission to meet Rohingya refugees there but received no response from Delhi.
Myanmar’s de facto leader Suu Kyi — once lionised by the international community as a democracy icon — has seen a sharp fall from grace following her refusal to speak out against the military.
The UN fact-finding mission has pointed out that her government’s attempts to whitewash facts had worsened the situation for the embattled Rohingya.
Lee also raised alarm over declining press freedom in Myanmar after Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were jailed for seven years each after reporting on the military’s role in the massacre of 10 Rohingya men in Inn Din village in northern Rakhine.
Describing their prosecution as “spurious”, she called for the pair to be released immediately.
The military has denied almost all accusations of genocide levelled against it, insisting that “clearance operations” were necessary to fight Rohingya militants.
The International Criminal Court has ruled that an investigation will go ahead as Bangladesh — which has received the Rohingya refugees fleeing across the border — is a signatory of the Rome statute that created the court.
Myanmar has not signed the statute, and a minister told the UN General Assembly that his government rejected the “dubious intervention”.
SOURCE: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
BSP-Congress rift: A blow to Oppn unity
The Bahujan Samaj Party’s decision not to tie up with the Congress in the upcoming Assembly elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh is a blow to the Opposition’s plans to pose an effective challenge to the BJP-led NDA first in the Assembly polls and then in the Lok Sabha elections next year. Though nothing conclusive has been said on the latter, it appears inconceivable that the two parties would enter into an alliance solely for the Lok Sabha polls. While the wily BSP supremo Mayawati has praised Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi to keep her options open, she has distanced herself from the Congress with a pointed snub for Digvijay Singh.
If Mayawati is to be believed, in MP the Congress offered her a mere 15 to 20 seats of the total 230 while in Chhatisgarh the offer was for five out of 90. The figure for Rajasthan was not spelt out. Clearly, the crafty ‘behenji’ expects more and reckons that for the hold that she exercises especially among the scheduled castes and tribes this is poor compensation at a time when the BJP’s stock is on the decline due to the anti-incumbency sentiment. Now, it would be interesting to see whether the BSP tie-up with the Samajwadi Party in UP actually comes through.
Another jolt to grand alliance
BSP chief Mayawati is known to hold her cards close to her chest. That is her strength, keeping everyone guessing about her next move, nay, her real objective. In the past, she has sprung many a surprise on her allies and foes alike by overnight changing committed positions, breaking alliances or striking new ones. Recently, when there was much talk of a Mahagathbandhan, with all the parties set to come together against the BJP, she jolted the votaries of wider opposition unity by stitching up an alliance with the Congress rebel, Ajit Jogi, who now boasts of a party of his own in the poll-bound Chhattisgarh. The alliance could cut into the Congress vote which was hoping to wrest power from the BJP after remaining in opposition for fifteen years.
Chief Minister Raman Singh may get yet another five-year term if the Jogi-Mayawati partnership sufficiently erodes the Congress vote, not an unlikely prospect. Indeed, Mayawati’s alliance in Chhattisgarh would automatically jeopardise her proposed alliance with the Samajwadi Party in UP since its main pillar was to defeat BJP. Anyway, in the immediate course, Mayawati’s alliance with Jogi undermines the credibility of the so-called Mahagathbandhan as and when it might come into existence, if at all. However, on Wednesday the BSP Supremo administered another shock to the votaries of the so-called grand alliance against the BJP when she announced the decision to go it alone in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh as well. She told a news agency that the Congress leaders were arrogant and untrustworthy, particularly targeting former MP chief minister Digvijay Singh. She would press ahead and field her own candidates in both these States.
Blaming the Congress leaders for taking her for granted, she claimed that the BSP had sizable pockets of strength in both these States and was determined to contest the poll on its own. Indeed, in Madhya Pradesh the BSP has already declared its candidates in 22 seats. However, a section of the Congress leadership feels that Mayawati might be bargaining for more seats and the announcement about her going alone was a mere ploy. Meanwhile, in Madhya Pradesh the Congress has sought to bring together smaller, caste-specific groups under its wing in order to prevent the splitting of the anti-BJP vote. Groups like the Samajawadi Party, Bahujan Sangharsh Dal, Gondwana Gantantra Party, Rashtriya Samata Dal, Prajatantrik Samadhan Party, etc are said to have agreed to join the Congress-led alliance.The two Communist parties, however, were reluctant to join on the ground that the Congress was pursuing ‘soft Hindutva’ as opposed to ‘hard Hindutva’ being espoused by the BJP. There are two prerequisites for all such alliances and both seem to be missing. One, a relatively tall leader is needed around when all the parties can come together; and, two, a common objective to bind them together. In the absence of both these preconditions, the Congress-led alliance is bound to prove a non-starter.
Supreme Court expands frontiers of democratic rights
The Supreme Court representing the highest judiciary of the country played a glorious role last month in expanding the frontiers of democratic and human rights and also facilitating the process of taking further forward looking measures for ensuring justice accessible to the poor and the marginalized sections of the Indian society. Justice Ranjan Gogoi who took over as the new CJI on October 3 has aroused great expectations amongst the civil society and the legal community about imparting a new edge to the liberal spirit of the Indian constitution and making the process of justice more peoples friendly. The base has already been built by the outgoing CJI Dipak Misra in his judgments given in the last two months and his observations along with the dissent notes given by Justice D Y Chandrachud opens up big possibilities for furthering the cause of liberty and freedom of expression in the Indian society by effectively tapping the potential enshrined in the spirit of Constitution.
CJI Gogoi has already been quoted as saying that the country should not mind having noisy judges like noisy journalists. The CJI has been active for one year in rendering free legal service to the poor and needy through the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and now, with his new position, he is expected to catalyse the process so that the legal system can not be taken advantage of by the rich through their money power. Presently, there are 2.78 crore pending cases in lower courts, 32.4 lakh cases in High Court and about 50,000 cases in the Supreme Court. The CJI is committed to find out ways to reduce drastically the number of pending cases. The CJI himself has said before take over that he has a plan on this and he will soon unfold it.
The people and the poor whose cases are pending in the courts will be grateful to the new CJI if he can unfold his plan of action within a short period and start implementing the same. Time is running out for him as he has only a tenure of 13 months and he has to show that he means business. In January this year, the present CJI was a part of four senior judges who spoke against the then CJI and aired their grievances on a number of issues relating to the functioning of the then CJI Dipak Misra. Justice Gogoi was quite candid at that time that they we re not happy with the way the CJI had formed the bench to hear the petition relating to the unusual death of the former judge B H Loya. The Bombay Lawyers Association sought a probe by SIT into Judge Loya’s death but on April 19 this year, the three judge bench headed by the then CJI Dipak Misra gave the verdict that the death was natural and there was no reason for SIT probe. Justice Chandrachud wrote the verdict on behalf of the bench and he named some of the leading lawyers for defaming the judges.
It is expected that the CJI will now agree to a new petition for reopening the issue of Loya’s death and if Justice Chandrachud is included in the bench, he will give a relook at his April 19 verdict and his observations in the light of his recent judgments. As the history of the verdicts given by the Supreme Court shows that the yesterday’s minority opinion becomes the majority opinion of the present in the light of the emergence of new facts and new interpretations. The Loya case is a fit one to be reopened and both CJI and Justice Chandrachud have respective moral responsibility to dissect the issue in its totality.
For the Supreme Court as a whole, and especially for CJI Ranjan Gogoi, the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act is still open for review as the minority opinion of Justice Chandrachud is very strong and it has kept ample scope for a review of the majority judgment given last month. The case can be similar to what happened in the case of the latest apex Court’s unanimous decision of making section 377 invalid. In the present case, Justice Chandrachud held that the passage of the Aadhaar Bill as a money bill not requiring the approval of the Rajya Sabha under article 110 of the Constitution, was a fraud on the Constitution and the debasement of the Constitutional institution. He then struck down the Aadhaar Act for failing to meet the necessary requirements to have been certified as a money bill.
This observation of Justice Chandrachud can be ignored only at the peril of the Indian Constitution. CJI Ranjan Gogoi was not a member of the bench to decide on Aadhaar Act. He can now dispassionately go into the Constitutional implications by admitting any fresh petition for a review of the judgment. Similarly, there is scope for a review of the majority verdict rejecting the plea for the setting up of SIT to probe the charges against the human rights activists who are now under house arrest. Justice Chandrachud has supported this SIT in his minority dissent note and what he has said is the essence of the spirit of the Indian constitution.
CJI Ranjan Gogoi who is an erudite scholar in jurisprudence should recall the observation made by the great jurist Charles Evans Hughes, former CJ of the US Supreme court “a dissent in a court is an appeal to the brooding spirit of law, to the intelligence of a future day when a later decision may possibly correct the error into which the dissenting judge believes the court to have been betrayed”. For the CJI, he has to prove his mettle in the next 13 months by correcting the great distortions that took place in three verdicts — Loya, Aadhaar Act and the arrest of the activists. History will remember him then as a great game changer in Indian judiciary.
Nitya Chakraborty is a freelance journalist. Views are personal.
Nirav Modi and his wife Ami are allegedly getting a divorce.
The fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, a key accused in the multi-billion PNB fraud case, seems to be still making the headlines, but this time it’s not related to the scam but it’s about his wife and him. Now, a report has emerged in which it is said that Nirav Modi and his wife Ami are allegedly getting a divorce.
According to Mumbai Mirror, Nirav Modi is said to have severed marital ties just to protect Ami from culpability, and he will also pay her a hefty alimony which ensures much of his money stays with her and their kids. The leading daily also reached out to Nirav Modi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal, who said that he has instructions from his client not to comment.
Ami Modi, the wife of billionaire diamond merchant and jeweller Nirav Modi, is now under the scanner after the alleged scam of Rs 11,400 crore involving her husband came to light. Nirav Modi and Ami have three children, son Rohin and two daughters Apasha and Ananya. The official website of the Nirav Modi Foundation lists Ami as the trustee along with Tushar Agarwal. She was involved in setting up the “Nirav Modi Scholarship for Excellence” that helps and support 250 exceptionally talented students every year.
FPJ IN PUT
Supreme Court said, Lawyers Elected As Lawmakers Can Practice In Courts
New Delhi : A plea seeking a ban on lawmakers from practising as advocates was dismissed by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The Bar Council of India rules do not prohibit legislators from practising as lawyers, said a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
The top court’s statement came during the hearing of a PIL seeking to bar lawyer-lawmakers (MPs, MLAs, MLCs) from practising in courts during their tenure in legislature. The plea was filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay.
Nepal to block pornographic content amid rising rape statistics
Kathmandu: The Government of Nepal on Friday said it would block the publication and dissemination of pornographic content in the nation, citing an increase in incidents of rape.
The Ministry for Information and Communication issued a release citing pornographic content to be the reason for rape.
“The Criminal Code 2071 article 121 and other prevalent laws prohibit the production and dissemination of sexually obscene contents. In order to prevent the access of such content through electronic media, the need of pulling down such websites inside Nepal has become necessary,” the release from the ministry stated.
Nepal has witnessed a sharp rise in the number of rape cases over the past weeks.
The decision of the Nepal government to ban pornographic content comes amid the rising rage against the government’s failure to identify the perpetrators who allegedly raped and murdered a schoolgirl in Southern Plain of Nepal recently.
in put ANI