Enquiry sought into Bastar fake encounters

first_imgThe alleged fake encounter deaths of two tribals in the restive Bastar region of south Chhattisgarh has snowballed into a political issue in the State as all the Opposition parties have threatened a protest if an impartial inquiry is not conducted into the case.Chhattisgarh Police claimed to have killed “two Maoists” in an alleged encounter in the Purungal-Dokapara area near the Dantewada-Bijapur district border on January 29.The alleged Maoists were identified as Bhima Kadati and Sukmati Hemla. The police also claimed to have recovered a rifle and some other weapons from them.However, local villagers alleged that both the deceased were “common civilians”.The villagers approached the tribal activist and Aam Aadmi Party leader Soni Sori and other political parties for support and refused to bury the bodies.“Sukmati was Bhima’s sister-in-law. Both of them went to meet Bhima’s brother Baman Kadati in Kirandul (a town in Dantewada) on January 28, and on the way back they were picked up by the security forces. They were killed on January 29. The villagers told me that both of them had no connection with the Maoists. Both the bodies are yet to be buried. The condition of Sukmati’s body suggests that she may have been raped before being killed,” Ms. Sori told The Hindu.The Congress party, led by Dantewada MLA Devati Karma, also jumped into the villagers’ protest and appointed an inquiry team to probe the matter.Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi’s led a protest march by the Chhattisgarh Janata Congress to Chief Minister Raman Singh’s residence in Raipur on Saturday.last_img read more

Nagaland CM Shurhozelie Liezietsu fails to turn up to face floor test

first_imgNagaland’s political turmoil explained Nagaland Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu on Wednesday failed to turn up to face floor test in Assembly. The House was adjourned sine die.A special session of the State Assembly had to be convened on Wednesday after the Gauhati High Court on Tuesday dismissed Mr. Liezietsu plea to stay the Governor’s directive to him to seek a trust vote.Former Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang, leader of the rebel NPF MLAs, was present in the House along with his followers.The motion to prove the majority of the chief minister could not be taken up as he was not present and the House was adjourned sine die, Speaker Imtiwapang said.The Speaker said, he will report the proceedings of the House to the Governor.Efforts to contact legislators of the Liezietsu camp turned futile as they did not take calls.Governor P.B. Acharya on July 18 directed Speaker Imtiwapang to summon an emergent special session of the State Assembly at 9.30 a.m. for the Chief Minister, who is facing a rebellion from his party MLAs, to seek the confidence vote.  Mr. Acharya on July 11 and July 13 directed Mr. Liezietsu, who is facing rebellion by 43 ruling Naga Peoples Front MLAs led by former Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang demanding change of leadership in the present house of 59, to seek vote of confidence on or before July 15.Mr. Zeliang, who was forced out of office in February following large scale protests over holding of urban local bodies election with 33% reservation for women, had staked claim to form the government saying he had majority support in the House.Four BJP legislators and Nagaland BJP president Visasolie Lhoungu on Tuesday called on the Governor and submitted a letter supporting Mr. Zeliang.BJP is an alliance partner of the NPF and a constituent of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government in the State. The Liezietsu faction, however, has severed ties with BJP. (With inputs from PTI)last_img read more

Report on desecrations untrue: CM

first_imgChief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday that a church-backed fact-finding report into serial desecrations in Goa was part of a conspiracy hatched against him ahead of the bypolls. On August 21, the Council for Social Justice and Peace, an NGO affiliated to the Goa Catholic Church, had released the report on a series of cases of alleged desecration of Christian and Hindu religious symbols in South Goa.Mr. Parrikar said, “All methods were tried — legal, media, social media and scurrilous publicity. Even to the extent that two days before elections, some organisation released an untrue fact-finding report. I am calling it untrue, you will realise why in the coming days after details of the police investigation.”The report, co-authored by the Mumbai-based Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, has demanded a court-monitored probe into the cases of desecration. It has accused the Goa police of colluding with the State administration in covering up the investigation into the cases and so far arresting only one person. Earlier, a Church-run magazine had severely criticised the BJP governments at the State and Centre. The article compared contemporary India to Nazi Germany and implored Catholics to vote against communalism.last_img read more

Ambala gets ready to host Rafale jets

first_imgThe Indian Air Force has initiated a major infrastructure upgrade at its frontline base here for the deployment of the first squadron of Rafale jets, which will start arriving in September 2019.The government has sanctioned ₹220 crore to set up 14 shelters, hangars and maintenance facilities at the 78-year-old base for the fighter jets, a senior IAF official said.The Rafales will give India greater “potency” to fight Pakistan as they can carry nuclear and other missiles. The strategically located Ambala base is just 220 km from the border. “We are creating facilities keeping in mind the infrastructure requirement for the Rafale jets for the next 40 to 50 years,” the official said on condition of anonymity.Currently, the base has two fighter squadrons of Jaguar and and one of the MiG-21 Bison.Several teams from Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer of Rafale, have visited the base and finalised the requirement for the first squadron.The IAF is carrying out an infrastructure upgrade at its Hasimara base in West Bengal, which will house the second squadron, the official said.In September last year, India signed a €7.87-billion (approx ₹59,000- crore) deal with the French government for buying 36 Rafale jets in flyaway condition. Half of them will go to Ambala and the rest to Hasimara.“We are planning to put in place all required infrastructure for Rafale squadron by the end of next year,” the IAF official said.Training under wayThe two bases will have simulator-based training facilities for the air crew. The IAF has selected a batch of pilots to fly the jets and they are being trained by Dassault Aviation in France.The Rafale squadron to be deployed in Ambala will be known as Golden Arrows, which was originally based in Bhatinda and disbanded two years ago.last_img read more

De-radicalised 86 people in last two years, Maharashtra anti-terror squad

first_imgThe Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) de-radicalised 86 people in the last two years as part of its efforts to wean away misguided youth from the path of extremism in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, a senior official said on Sunday.Those who had strayed in the name of ‘jihad’ and brought into the mainstream include well-educated people like an aeronautical engineer and an IT professional, he said.Radicalised onlineHe said all these people, including eight women, had come in contact with their handlers via social networking sites and were radicalised online.They were on the verge of joining the IS or planning to work for it, but the law-enforcement agencies monitored their activities and successfully brought them back to the normal life, he said.The ATS approached the family members of these people and also roped in their community’s spiritual leaders and counsellors. After continuous efforts, all these people had been brought back into the mainstream, he said.The ATS, with the help of the government, offered training for suitable jobs and small loans through banks to start their own business, the official said.“It is our duty to bring them on the right track by counselling and all other efforts of de-radicalisation,” Maharashtra’s ATS chief Atulchandra Kulkarni said.last_img read more

Assam scribe threatened for exposing moral policing incident

first_imgA freelance journalist in Assam has been threatened for exposing a case of moral policing that saw a couple being forced to marry after a trial by a kangaroo court for an “immoral” act.Monowar Hussain, who freelances for a news portal, a TV channel and an Assamese daily, filed an FIR with the Rangjuli police station on Saturday saying he had been threatened with dire consequences.Rangjuli, about 95 km west of Guwahati, is in Goalpara district. People of Kheropara village near Rangjuli had on June 17 tried a married man and a divorcee woman for alleged illicit relationship, caned them in public and made them marry two days later.Mr. Hussain had shot the video of the kangaroo court’s trial and uploaded it on social media that local TV channels picked up.The journalist said he stopped venturing out of his house after receiving the threat from one Abdul Qader of the village. “I filed a case as I fear for my life. I was present when the couple was being tried by the villagers. The organisers had warned everyone against filming the trial, but I thought taking a video was my duty as a journalist,” Mr. Hussain.Bhabesh Biswas, the officer in-charge of Rangjuli police station, confirmed the threat that the journalist received. “We are looking for Qader, the accused who deals in tractors,” he said.The police have so far arrested three people in the moral policing case. They include Kurban Ali, who was the “judge” of the trial court.last_img read more

Maharashtra to set up cyber varsity

first_imgThe Maharashtra Government has taken the first step towards setting up a varsity dedicated to mitigating cyber threats. It has set aside ₹80 crore for the first round of its funding and the proposal for the project will be tabled in the State cabinet’s consideration in the first week of October, sources said.The new Cyber University will train 3,000 professionals to fight online space cyber attacks, internet crimes, and conduct cyber forensics. It will also impart training in 15 other Internet of Things (IoT) areas such as Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). A team of senior government officials recently visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), which monitors cyber attacks in real time, to acquire technical knowhow. CSAIL’s latest system correctly predicts about 85% of the world’s cyber attacks using machine learning and AI. “At the lab we saw in real time that the majority of the world’s cyber attacks are directed towards Russia, Japan and India,” an official said.Cost of coursesThe varsity, officials said, will provide for and prepare internet professionals on the lines of the Microsoft Certified Professional Program. The courses will cost less than ₹5 lakh for courses in data analytics, cloud computing, blockchain, AI, cyber forensics and cyber investigations.Skill gap“The current supply of cyber professionals in the country is about a lakh while the demand hovers around 30 lakh. A cyber attack is taking place every 10 minutes as opposed to 12 minutes previously. The varsity will remedy this,” an official said. The government will provide different levels of training and enable affiliated colleges to impart certification for the 15 courses. The State will also supply infrastructure for training and education. A 2015 skill gap analysis for Maharashtra by the consultancy firm KPMG had pointed to a gap of 1.5 crore professionals in 10 sectors. “Of these, there was a greater shortfall in the IoT and Cyber Forensics sectors. The new varsity will bridge this skill gap,” the official said. Maharashtra is already in the process of setting up its version of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team to ward off external cyber threats. In 2016, the State had even appointed a consortium of M/s C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) and Railtel Corporation of India for the ₹838-crore project. The consortium in its analysis used the same technology as GARUDA, India’s national grid computing initiative, and the Graphics and Intelligence Based Script Technology, officials said.last_img read more

HC indicts Goa govt. over failure to set up District Mineral Foundations

first_imgThe Bombay High Court at Goa this week slammed the Goa government over its failure to register the District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) as trusts and failure to change the rules to operate funds of the DMFs in consonance with section 9B of the Mines and Minerals(Regulation and ) Act.It also criticised the State government for failing to bring this lapse to its notice.In its interim order on a Public Interest Litigation filed by Goa Foundation, a Goa-based environmental NGO, the High Court indicted the State government for failure to put in place and make operational a website of the DMF. It directed that the website be made functional within two months from the date of this order. The order said the website should contain all necessary details relatable to the task of the district. In any district Section 9B of the Act thus mandates the State Government to establish a trust, as a non-profit body, to be called the District Mineral Foundation(DMF) to work for the district affected by mining.The object of the DMF shall be to work for the interest and benefit of persons, and areas affected by mining-related operations in such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government.The Goa Advocate General gave an undertaking to the Court that the State is in process of amending/ framing the rules governing the constitution and functioning of the DMF to bring it in consonance with the MMRD Act, 1957 and to form a Trust.The court observed that it was clear that the present DMFs established for North and South Goa districts cannot be said to be in consonance with the rules framed by the State itself as well as Section 9-B which contemplates the establishment of trust. “Admittedly there is no such Trust. Such ad hoc assemblage put together by the State of Goa, under the banner of DMF, hardly has any legal sanctity. To make matters worse, the entire corpus of ₹180 crores is handed over in custody of such assemblage,” the court order said.The court further noted that it was concerned about the credentials of these two groups as the petitioner had made a grievance that the ‘Foundations’ have far too much representation from the mining industry in the State which is hampering the rehabilitation work. “We are shown the bio-datas received from the members of the North Goa Foundation. Perusal of the bio-data placed before us shows that this apprehension cannot be said to be unwarranted,” said the court, adding, “ It is clear that these randomly put together groups, operating without legal sanctity, cannot be entrusted with the public funds of ₹180 crore.”The High Court directed the District Collectors of both North and South Goa to forthwith take charge of the funds of the DMFs in their respective jurisdictions and directed that till further orders it will be the task of both Collectors to supervise the work of the Mineral Foundations. Further, it said that the Secretaries of the DMFs, who are ex-officio members of the State government, will co-ordinate with the District Collectors to achieve the objects of the foundations laid down in the Rules of 2016 and as contemplated in MMDR Act, 1957 and to spend the amounts available with the District Mineral Foundations. The High Court deferred the hearing till October 31.last_img read more

Children in slums most vulnerable to abuse: study

first_imgAt an advocacy on child rights earlier this week by Children’s Rights in Goa (CRG) and Arz, an organisation working for victims of trafficking, presented a study of four slums that identified children and adolescents residing in these areas as most vulnerable to sexual abuse.Advocate Sushma Mandrekar alias Chodankar, Chairperson, Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR) on Friday said that the organisation has taken note of the study presented by director of Arz, Arun Pandey, and she will take appropriate action after consulting various stakeholders. She said that many of the issues will be addressed once their State Action Plan of was implemented in the near future.She said that GSCPCR was mandated to look into all children’s issues. “As per the Goa Children’s Act, we need to work with every department related to children, it cannot be only be Directorate of Women and Child Development.”Ms. Mandrekar further said,“My first task when I joined the Commission was activation of village child committees but most of them did not respond.”Mr. Pandey said that they conducted the study in the port taluk of Marmugao in south Goa. Through questionnaires, focus and group discussions, they researched sexual abuse of children in the age group 10 to 18 years and develop skills and suggestions to address it. They found that boys were sexually abused in jungles and houses when their parents were not there and girls were molested and eve teased.It also found that child marriage still existed among migrants who have settled in Goa for many years. In Baina girls are married as early as 12 years, Mangoor 14 to 17 years, Birla 14-15 years and Zarre 13 to 14 years.These children were not aware of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. They were only aware about penetrative sex and nothing else. Mr. Pandey identified some unsafe places such as in Baina, burial grounds, toilets, railway stations, Vasco bridge, and named certain bars and hotels. In Mangoor, the jungle, construction sites, toilets, and named a school, bars and hotels and a prayer place. In Birla, it was paan shops, a public hotel and some bars, hotels; for Zuari, public toilets, laundry, narrow lanes, and four slums areas.Arz said that suggestions from the children in these areas included police patrolling near bus stops, installing CCTV cameras, taking away license from bars, separate entry for toilets, government constructed toilets inside the house, proper street lights, setting up an outpost, a women’s helpline and sensitisation programmes with the police. Arz shared the suggestions with various authorities in Vasco, Verna, BDO, Chief Officer and Mormugao Municipality but no change was seen. He said that the State must play a pro-active role in safeguarding children by providing timely human resources and infrastructure.Father Maverick Fernandes, member of GSCPCR, said that from June a Child Help Desk was set up on Margao Railway Station by Childline in south Goa, where child and human trafficking used to take place.Children are most vulnerabe to drugs, he said. Because of the cost, the children even sniff whiteners. Authorities are aware of this but are helpless as the law is not stringent enough for children and are often misused. In north Goa beaches, children were found selling blowing objects late at night. Teenage pregnancies in schools are also on the rise.Snehal Salgaonkar from CRG said that they conducted a survey of children in Kharaswaddo and Calangute and found problems of corporal punishment, truancy, Balika Manch not functioning, inadequate toilets, no provision to throw sanitary pads, loud music and eve teasing.last_img read more

Congress united under Rahul Gandhi leadership: Ashok Gehlot

first_imgThe Congress is united under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said on Thursday adding that the party’s fight against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not personal, but ideological.“[Congress President] Rahul Gandhi’s message to the people of India is clear: the fight against the BJP is not personal, it is ideological and based on differences in policies. We do not want the BJP to stop existing,” he said. The newly-elected Rajasthan Chief Minister was speaking in Nanded district where he was invited by the State Congress unit led by MP and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan to inaugurate the statues of trail-blazing reformers Savitribai Phule and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule to mark Savitribai’s 188th birth anniversary.“There is no place in democracy for hatred and violence. Politics based on hate is not permissible,” he said. This was his first public programme since assuming office as Chief Minister of Rajasthan after the Congress victory in the November Assembly elections..“Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule have become immortal through their work and both Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi respected them. The social revolution that they brought about, from ensuring women’s education to working against child marriage, needs to be carried forward by us,” said Mr. Gehlot, adding that the respect towards these legendary reformers was palpable across Maharashtra where there was an educational institute named after them in every town and village.Earlier, Mr. Gehlot was welcomed at Nanded airport by Mr. Chavan. Praising Mr. Chavan’s leadership in Nanded, Mr. Gehlot said that the Congress’ victory, winning 73 of the 81 seats in the Nanded Municipal Corporation in October 2017, was a clear sign of the public’s yearning and acceptance of his leadership.last_img read more