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Supreme Court seeks update from UP govt on protection of family, witnesses in Hathras case


The apex court while hiring the petition called the Hathras case as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘shocking’.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Uttar Pradesh government regarding the protection of the family and witnesses in the alleged gang rape of a 20-year-old Dalit girl from Hathras.

The court also asked whether the family has access to a lawyer or not.

The apex court while hiring the petition called the Hathras case as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘shocking’. The petition filed by social activist Satyama Dubey and others that has sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the Hathras case.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian has asked the UP government to file its response on witness protection plan and access to lawyer by victim’s family by Wednesday.

The petitioners have called for a ‘fair’ investigation and have pointed out UP Police role in handling of the case and ‘dead-of-night’ cremation that has resulted in the massive protests nationwide.

Lawyer Kriti Singh for the petitioners said that they wanted the case to be transferred, which is currently pending in Allahabad High Court, to which Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said, “The Allahabad High Court is hearing the case…  we can have the views of the High Court… If the High Court commits error, then we are here”.

The apex court has assured them it would ensure a “smooth investigation” in the case.

The bench has also sought suggestions from all parties on the scope of proceedings before the Allahabad High Court, and what it could do to expand it. The court said, “We want to know from all of you on what is the present scope of the Allahabad High Court’s proceedings,”

The Uttar Pradesh government in its affidavit has said that the cremation post midnight was meant to “to avoid large-scale violence” the next morning.

The Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath government has been attacked by opposition and protest from all over due to the hurried cremation and alleged ‘cover up’ charges made by opposition.




Prakash Javadekar releases SOP for film exhibition


Releasing the SOP, the Minister said that as per decision of Ministry of Home Affairs, cinema halls will reopen from 15 October and to that end Ministry of I&B has prepared this SOP.

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar released the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)for film exhibition here today. The SOP on preventive measures for the exhibition of films has been prepared in consultation with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Releasing the SOP, the Minister said that as per the decision of Ministry of Home Affairs, cinema halls will reopen from 15 October and to that end Ministry of I&B has prepared this SOP.

The highlights of the guiding principles include the general principles which have been given by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare including thermal screening of all visitors/ staffs, adequate physical distancing, use of face covers/ masks, frequent hand washing, provision of hand sanitizers etc. and respiratory etiquettes specifically with regard to the exhibition of films.

The Ministry has formulated the general SOPs taking into consideration international practices notified in the sector including physical distancing, entry and exit with designated queue markers, sanitization, safety of staff, contact minimization. The seating arrangements shall be restricted to 50 percent of the seating capacity. Multiplex show timings shall be staggered, so as to not have overlap of show timings. Temperature setting shall be in the range of 24°- 30°c.

The Guiding principle and SOP may be used by all States and other stakeholders and State Governments while resuming exhibition of films.

Exhibition of films is a major economic activity that has contributed immensely to the GDP of our country. Given the current COVID – 19 Pandemic, it is crucial that various stakeholders involved in activities of the exhibition of films take suitable measures to restrict the transmission of the pandemic, while at the same time resuming/ conduction their operations and activities.

Ministry of Home Affairs, vide order dated 30 September, has inter alia issued guidelines for reopening of cinemas/ theatres/ multiplex with up to 50% of their seating capacity, in areas outside the containment zones only with effect from 15 October.

The detailed release can be found at the below link: https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/SOP%20for%20exhibition%20of%20films.pdf




Late night cremation ‘to avoid large-scale violence’: UP government in SC on Hathras incident


UP government also justified the 2.30 am cremation saying there was a high alert in the district because of the Babri mosque verdict a day later.

The Uttar Pradesh government in the Supreme Court over the dead-of-night cremation of Hathras alleged gang rape victim told that the body was cremated in the middle of the night “to avoid large-scale violence” the next morning.

As reported by NDTV, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court, the UP government also justified the 2.30 am cremation saying there was a high alert in the district because of the Babri mosque verdict a day later.

“The district administration at Hathras had been receiving several intelligence inputs since morning of September 29 of the manner in which the dharna had taken place at Safdarjung hospital and the whole issue was being exploited and a caste/communal colour was being given”, it said.

It further said that it had received specific inputs that lakhs of protesters “of both communities/castes” along with supporters of political parties and the media would assemble the next morning at the village, “which is likely to turn violent and will lead to major law and order problems.”

“There was also an alert because of the Babri mosque verdict and coronavirus safety rules,” said the affidavit.

“In such extraordinary and severe circumstances, the district administration took the decision to convince the parents of the deceased to cremate her with all religious rites at night to avoid large scale violence in the morning to cremate the body of the victim that was lying for almost more than 20 hours after her death and post-mortem,” it added.

The UP government told the apex court that once the post-mortem had been done, there cannot be any bad intention to speed up the cremation except to obviate the potential violent situation resulting from the planned caste divide by certain vested interests.

In a separate development, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the alleged gang rape and torture of the 20-year-old Dalit woman has reached Hathras this morning and began the probe.

As per the reports, the SIT will submit its final report over the case to the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath tomorrow.

The team is headed by UP Home Secretary Bhagwan Swaroop, Deputy Inspector General of Police Chandraprakash and IPS officer Poonam.

The 20-year-old girl had succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday night as Safdarjung hospital and her dead-of-night cremation has sparked nation wide protest.




Late night cremation ‘to avoid large-scale violence’: UP government in SC on Hathras incident


The Uttar Pradesh government in the Supreme Court over the dead-of-night cremation of Hathras alleged gang rape victim told that the body was cremated in the middle of the night “to avoid large-scale violence” the next morning.

As reported by NDTV, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court, the UP government also justified the 2.30 am cremation saying there was a high alert in the district because of the Babri mosque verdict a day later.

“The district administration at Hathras had been receiving several intelligence inputs since morning of September 29 of the manner in which the dharna had taken place at Safdarjung hospital and the whole issue was being exploited and a caste/communal colour was being given”, it said.

It further said that it had received specific inputs that lakhs of protesters “of both communities/castes” along with supporters of political parties and the media would assemble the next morning at the village, “which is likely to turn violent and will lead to major law and order problems.”

“There was also an alert because of the Babri mosque verdict and coronavirus safety rules,” said the affidavit.

“In such extraordinary and severe circumstances, the district administration took the decision to convince the parents of the deceased to cremate her with all religious rites at night to avoid large scale violence in the morning to cremate the body of the victim that was lying for almost more than 20 hours after her death and post-mortem,” it added.

The UP government told the apex court that once the post-mortem had been done, there cannot be any bad intention to speed up the cremation except to obviate the potential violent situation resulting from the planned caste divide by certain vested interests.

In a separate development, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the alleged gang rape and torture of the 20-year-old Dalit woman has reached Hathras this morning and began the probe.

As per the reports, the SIT will submit its final report over the case to the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath tomorrow.

The team is headed by UP Home Secretary Bhagwan Swaroop, Deputy Inspector General of Police Chandraprakash and IPS officer Poonam.

The 20-year-old girl had succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday night as Safdarjung hospital and her dead-of-night cremation has sparked nation wide protest.




SIT probing alleged gang rape and murder case reaches Hathras, likely to submit report to CM tomorrow


The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the alleged gang rape and torture of the 20-year-old Dalit woman has reached Hathras this morning and began the probe.

As per the reports, the SIT will submit its final report over the case to the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath tomorrow.

UP CM has set up the three-member panel amid immense criticism over its handling of the case.

The team is headed by UP Home Secretary Bhagwan Swaroop, Deputy Inspector General of Police Chandraprakash and IPS officer Poonam.

Last week, after the nationwide outrage over the gang rape and death of the woman, the UP government had suspended five policemen, including the Superintendent of Police.

The Special Investigation Team probing the incident in its initial report called for their suspension over allegations of mismanagement.

It has also asked for a narco-analysis, also known as lie-detector tests, of all those involved including the arrested suspects and the family of the victim.

Yesterday, an FIR has been filed by the Uttar Pradesh police that lists sedition an “international conspiracy” and promoting religious hatred among 19 charges.

As per the initial reports, the charges listed on the FIR are sedition, conspiracy, inciting caste divides, religious discrimination, doctoring electronic evidence, a conspiracy against the state and defamation.

The development comes hours after UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claimed that those upset about his state’s progress were using the Hathras incident to conspire against it.

The 20-year-old girl had succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday night as Safdarjung hospital and her dead-of-night cremation has sparked nation wide protest.

Many opposition parties including Congress led by Rahul and Priyanka went to meet the family of the victim.

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien was pushed to the ground in a confrontation with police while on his way to Hathras to meet the voctim’s family.

He and three other party leaders tried to enter the village to meet the family of the 20-year-old Dalit girl who died at Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital two weeks after being gang raped by a group of four upper-class men.

The victim had suffered from multiple fracture, paralysis and had difficulties in breathing by a neck injury in the assault. The police have also said that there was a gash in her tongue as she had bitten it when then four assaulters tried to strangle her.

The incident has triggered public anger and the Yogi Adityanath led UP government has come under attack from the opposition over recent crimes against women.




‘Don’t be afraid of Covid’: Trump returns to White House, removes mask


President Donald Trump checked out of hospital on Monday after four days of emergency treatment for Covid-19, pulling off his mask the moment he reached the White House and vowing to quickly get back on the campaign trail.

Shortly beforehand, Trump had tweeted that Americans, who have lost nearly 210,000 people to the virus, have nothing to fear.

A series of made-for-TV moments allowed Trump to squeeze the maximum from his medical discharge, starting by exiting alone from the large gold-colored front doors of the Walter Reed military hospital just outside Washington.

Live on television, he then walked in a mask to a limousine, giving the thumb’s up, before boarding the nearby Marine One helicopter for the quick flight to the White House — which he left on Friday after falling ill.

Landing, he walked up the steps onto the South Portico’s stately balcony and demonstratively removed his mask, saluting the departing Marine One.

With less than a month until November 3 election day, polls show Trump behind Democrat Joe Biden and left scrambling even harder by his hospitalization to catch up.

The return to the White House was minutely stage managed to show he is physically fit, while a series of striking tweets demonstrated Trump’s coming angle of political attack — that he personally beat Covid and will now lead the country to its own comeback.

“Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!” he said in one tweet.

“Don’t be afraid of Covid,” he said in another, claiming to be feeling rejuvenated after his illness.

But the 74-year-old Republican’s display of bravado came the same day as his own chief spokeswoman tested positive for the virus — the latest in an outbreak raging within the White House.

And despite his claims to be in good health again, a combination of White House secrecy, conflicting information from officials and the viral spread among his own circle, damaged his credibility.

In a briefing from the hospital, presidential physician Sean Conley said Trump is “back” but also said he would not be “entirely out of the woods” for another week.

It wasn’t clear how free Trump will be to move about in the White House’s crowded corridors and small office spaces. The facility, however, has a medical team of its own which will monitor the president in case of relapse.

Sickness around Trump

Despite Trump’s characteristic claim that Covid-19 should not be of major concern, polls show it is a huge worry for Americans. His widely panned handling of the crisis this year is also reckoned to be the main reason Biden, 77, is surging in polls.

The United States has the biggest reported toll of any country in the global pandemic.

Illustrating the divide between the reality described by health experts and the Trump White House’s defiance, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany became the latest to announce a positive test result on Monday.

Other positive cases close to Trump now include his wife Melania, his close aide Hope Hicks, his campaign manager Bill Stepien, two of McEnany’s assistants according to US media, and more than half a dozen others from the president’s circle both inside and outside the White House.

Trump singlehandedly ‘defeats’ Covid?

Beset by revelations that he avoids paying almost any income tax and a slew of other scandals, Trump was already behind Biden when he fell ill.

But the biggest liability in his scramble for a second term was always his handling of the pandemic.

For months, Trump has given the appearance of trying to wish away the catastrophe and get back to his reelection narrative of a strong economy.

Trump now looks poised to try and claim that in getting quickly out of hospital he has personally vanquished the virus — and will go on to do the same for the rest of the country.

An unofficial White House themed gift shop announced Monday it will sell a commemorative coin titled “President Donald J. Trump Defeats COVID” for $100.

And in the New York Post, a supportive columnist described Trump as an “invincible hero, who not only survived every dirty trick the Democrats threw at him, but the Chinese virus as well.”

Trump retweeted the comments.

Biden gets advantage

For all of Trump’s determination to reassert himself, he has already lost several precious days of a campaign that revolves heavily around his large-scale rallies and image of personal strength.

On the day he announced his positive test he had been due to hold a rally in Florida. The next day he was to have flown to another important battleground, Wisconsin, ignoring the fact he was to gather crowds in one of the worst coronavirus hotspots in the country.

Biden meanwhile has maintained his slow-but-steady campaign which has always emphasized health precautions — a pared-back style that Trump calls weakness and mocked as recently as last week. The Democrat was in Florida on Monday.

The upheaval has led to unusual interest in this Wednesday’s televised debate between the vice presidential candidates — Republican Mike Pence and Biden’s pick, Kamala Harris — who will be separated by a plexiglass barrier for the event.




PM Modi, Xi Jinping to come face-to-face at BRICS annual summit for first time since Ladakh standoff


For the first time since the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to come face-to-face virtually at the BRICS annual summit to be held on November 17.

Russia, the chair of the five-nation BRICS, announced on Monday that the annual summit of the bloc will be held on November 17 via video conference.

The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) is known as an influential bloc that represents over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world’s population.

The BRICS countries have a combined GDP of USD 16.6 trillion.

“The theme of the meeting of the leaders of BRICS countries is ”BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth”,” the Russian government said in a statement.

Both Prime Minister Modi and President Xi have attended all summit meetings of the BRICS in the last few years.

PM Modi and Chinese President Xi are attending the virtual summit, said a diplomat, involved in the arrangements for the multilateral event.

Last year, the BRICS summit had taken place in Brazilia, the capital city of Brazil. PM Modi and Chinese PresidentXi also held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit.

India and China are locked in a bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh since early May that has significantly strained the bilateral ties.

Both sides have held a series of diplomatic and military talks to resolve the row. However, no breakthrough has been achieved to end the standoff.

The Russian statement also said, “this year the five countries have continued close strategic partnership on all the three major pillars: peace and security, economy and finance, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.”

Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said despite the current global situation due to the spread of the coronavirus infection, the activities under Russia’s BRICS chairmanship were consistent.

“Since January, more than 60 events have been organized, including via videoconferencing. The BRICS Summit will be the jewel-in-the-crown event of the Russian BRICS chairmanship, which will provide impetus for further strengthening cooperation together with our partners to ensure the well-being of BRICS countries,” Mr Kobyakov said.




Naga rebel group says it wrote to PM Modi offering to hold talks ‘abroad’


The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (IM) revealed on Monday that it had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February and had offered to hold talks abroad if its “stay in India is no more welcome”.

As per the reports, the group had also pressed for its demands of having separate Naga flag and constitution. The outfit claims it hasn’t received a response from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Seven (7) months back, Muivah (general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah) dispatched a letter to the Prime Minister of India. We deliberately withheld the letter from releasing to the media for public consumption as we waited with all confidence that the Prime Minister of India will respond positively. Today, NSCN(IM) being accountable to the Naga people hereby released the letter to inform of the delay and the lack of response from the office of the Indian Prime Minister to our people,” an NSCN(IM) statement read.

“Today, we bring to your notice matters of serious concern regarding the activities of the ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and its agencies including NIA and Assam Rifles. As you are well aware, 22 years of political negotiation had started at the highest, i.e Prime minister-level talks without precondition and talks outside India in third countries. We had come to India on the invitation of the Government of India. We are totally shocked and surprised that even after more than two decades of political negotiation, the MHA and its agencies have become obnoxious,” Thuingaleng Muivah had written, reported NDTV.

“The latest episode of the MHA, which through a missive to the Nagaland government, questioned our presence in Dimapur. We are in Nagaland to meet our own people vis –a vis peace process…if our stay in India is no more welcome, all necessary arrangements must be made for us to leave India and the political talks be resumed in a third country,” he had added.

Last month, the Nagaland’s armed rebel group which is involved in the peace talks, said in a meeting that without a separate flag and constitution, the peace deal with the central government will not lead to an honourable solution.

A meeting was held at the central headquarters in Hebron near Dimapur in Nagaland deliberated on the historical and political rights of the Naga people and how the Indo-Naga political talks reached this far.

The hardened stand of the NSCN-IM comes at a time when the peace talks have been hit a deadlock because of differences between the group and the interlocutor RN Ravi, the governor of Nagaland

“The house had unanimously adopted the resolution to reiterate the stand of NSCN-IM that the ‘Naga national flag and Yehzabo (constitution) must form a part of the Indo-Naga political solution in order to qualify the Naga deal as honourable and acceptable,” NSCN-IM said in a press note.




CM Mamata Banerjee ignored my 10:47 pm ‘urgent call’ over death of BJP leader: Jagdeep Dhankhar


West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday accused the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of ignoring his late night message to “speak urgently” over the death of a BJP leader at Barrackpore.

Last evening, BJP leader Manish Shukla was shot dead at Barrackpore, about 20 km from Kolkata. As per the initial reports, he was speaking with some locals and party workers near a police station when the incident happened.

“Alarming nosediving law and order scenario @MamataOfficial. Targeted political killings in spite of alert by Constitutional Head. Neither ACS (Additional Chief Secretary) Home nor DGP Bengal Police responded. To CM (Chief Minister) at 10.47 PM “Would like to speak to you urgently!” Only silence that speaks volumes,” Dhankhar tweeted.

Later the governor in a tweet said, “Conveyed my concern of the present alarming scenario @MamataOfficial to the new Chief Secretary. Am sure Chief Minister would be indicated all these critical aspects that run down democratic governance and lawlessness. Political violence and targeted killings must stop.”

Last evening, Manish Shukla a member of the BJP’s Barrackpore organisational district committee was shot by men on bikes.

Senior BJP leaders in the state accused Mamata Banerjee’s TMC of a role in the attack and called for a 12-hour bandh today.

The Trinamool Congress has rubbished the charges and alleged that the killing was a result of the party’s internal dispute.

There have been many such incidents of clashes between the members of the two parties have been reported in last few months.




CBI raids Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar’s premises in alleged corruption case


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday morning raided the Bangalore house of Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar in connection with an alleged corruption case.

As reported by news agency ANI, apart from Bengaluru, raids are being carried out at 15 locations including Mumbai.

The alleged corruption case was registered by the CBI based on the inputs shared by the Enforcement Directorate over a money-laundering probe linked to the tax evasion proceedings by the Income Tax Department, NDTV reported citing its sources.

Last year in September, the Enforcement Directorate had arrested the Karanataka Congress chief based on a chargesheet filed by the Income Tax Department against him.

Former Karnataka chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah slammed the government for the raids on Sivakumar’s house by calling it an attempt to ‘mislead public’.

“@BJP4India has always tried to indulge in vindictive politics & mislead public attention,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.

“The latest CBI raid on @KPCCPresident @DKShivakumar’s house is another attempt to derail our preparation for bypolls,” he added.

 

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also attacked on the government over the raids saying, “The insidious game of intimidation & machinations of Modi-Yeddyurappa duo being executed by a puppet CBI by raiding @DKShivakumar won’t deter us. CBI should be unearthing the layers of corruption in Yeddyurappa Govt. But, ‘Raid Raj’ is their only ‘Machiavellian Move’!”

“Let Modi & Yeddyurappa Govts & BJP’s frontal organizations i.e CBI-ED-Income Tax know that Congress workers & leaders will not be cowed down nor bow down before such devious attempts. Our resolve to fight for people & expose BJP’s maladministration only becomes stronger,” he added.

Back in September 2018, the ED had registered a case against Shivakumar and his associates on the basis of the I-T investigations, and complaint to the court of tax evasion and criminal conspiracy to evade tax under Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code.

 





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