Pune: While there’s no denying that the BJP tsunami in the municipal corporations of western Maharashtra washed away hopes of any resurgence of other political players, a look at the vote shares of the important Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) elections show that the party’s vote-share is not as impressive as its thumping win. Despite the BJP winning an unprecedented 98 of the 162 seats in the PMC poll, it secured only around 37% of the total number of votes cast. The party put up candidates on 159 seats.According to data released by the election department, a total of 58,04, 635 votes were cast to elect 162 corporators across 41 panels. Despite nearly 27 lakh registered voters, voter turnout in the PMC poll was disappointing at 55.56%, as compared to the turnout witnessed in the PCMC poll (67%).Of this, the BJP secured 21,28,452 votes.Sena impressiveIn contrast, the Shiv Sena, secured more than 14% of the total votes, despite winning a mere 10 seats. The Sena polled 8,23,744 votes, fielding 149 candidates.While the BJP’s win may have comprehensively routed Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in both the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies, the NCP in fact managed to take a decent share of the total votes cast.The party secured 39 seats and polled 12,73,524 votes, which constitutes around 22% of the total votes cast. The NCP had contested only 129 of the total seats in the PMC, leaving the rest to the Congress with whom it had struck an eleventh-hour alliance before the PMC poll. The Congress, which only won 11 seats, polled a little more than 5 lakh votes (8.63% of the total vote share).MNS routedThe Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which had notched up an impressive performance in the last PMC poll securing the second spot, was humbled this time around, managing barely two seats.It secured 3,73,645 votes from the 116 seats the party contested on, forming 6.44% of the total vote share.The Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which cornered the Congress’ and NCP’s minority votes, polled nearly 74,000 votes (1.26 % of the total vote share) despite winning only one seat.Furthermore, the party contested only 21 seats in the PMC poll. According to AIMIM state co-ordinator Anjum Inamdar, the party’s performance in the polls to the 10 municipal corporations far outshone that of the MNS.The AIMIM secured a total 26 seats in elections to these civic bodies, as compared to the MNS, which managed to win a bare 15 seats.Deposits lostData also reveals that as many as 640 of the total 1,090 candidates (a whopping 59%) in the PMC election fray forfeited their deposits, failing to secure even the mandatory one-eighth of the total votes cast in their respective wards.The maximum number of candidates who lost their deposits (as many as 86) were from the MNS, followed, surprisingly, by the Shiv Sena (69). 40 Congress and 16 NCP candidates lost theirs, while only five BJP candidates forfeited deposits.Except the Solapur Municipal Corporation, where it narrowly missed securing a total majority, the BJP scored landslide wins in the municipal corporations of Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nashik in western Maharashtra.
BJP MLA from Sankhalim in north Goa, Pramod Sawant, was elected Speaker of the seventh Goa legislative assembly on Wednesday. When the session began, Mr. Sawant (44), a two-time MLA of BJP was nominated by BJP MLA Glenn Ticlo. He defeated the Congress nominee for the Speaker’s post Aleixo Reginaldo, by a margin of 20-15 in the election conducted on the first day of the Goa Assembly Budget session.Pro-tem Speaker Sidharth Kunkolienkar, a BJP MLA was in the chair. After assuming office, Mr. Sawant said that he would be impartial in his conduct as Speaker. “I will be impartial. All will be given equal opportunity. Training classes for old and new MLAs will be conducted. MLAs will be trained to present issues and ask questions,” Mr. Sawant said.NCP MLA Churchill Aleimao who is facing a NCP show-cause notice for supporting the BJP-led government over the confidence vote last week did not participate in the voting. One each of the Congress and BJP MLAs could not reach in time for the voting, it was clarified by the respective parties.Congress candidate for Speaker’s post Reginaldo Lawrenco could not reach for the voting in the House due to traffic jam, Opposition leader Babu Kavlekar said.On the ruling benches, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar explained in the House that BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral could not make it to the election as he too was caught in a traffic jam.
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Chhattisgarh police on Monday registered a complaint against Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee president Bhupesh Baghel in an alleged case of land grabbing.Mr. Baghel and his family members have been accused of illegally acquiring 12 plots in Bhilai area of the State and booked under Sections 13(1) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act by the EOW. The case dates back to 1995 and a complaint was filed by Anand Kumar Sahu in 2008 after which the State ordered an inquiry, which was completed in 2015.“It is not a question of my plots or property. This shows political anxiety of Chief Minister Raman Singh and [former Congress leader] Ajit Jogi,” Mr.Baghel told reporters. “This is an attempt to divert attention from the Chief Minister and the government’s corruption scandals. The CM has openly talked of ‘commission raj’ in Chhattisgarh. We are raising these issues and to divert attention such acts are being committed.”
Towards the end of the monsoon, Maharashtra will welcome the festival season with the Gokulashtami and Ganesh celebrations. For the last few years, the police have been strictly enforcing noise pollution regulations, ensuring that loudspeakers volumes are cut, and that they are tuned off after 10 p.m. The Bombay High Court has also taken cognisance of Ganesh mandals encroaching upon the public roads, increasing traffic congestion.On Wednesday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray took an adversarial stance on the issue. Speaking at the inauguration of his party’s new office, Mr. Thackeray alleged discrimination against Hindus and said that his party would celebrate the festivals with vigour and enthusiasm, and no interference from the authorities would be tolerated. Mr. Thackeray said: “Every year, when Ganesh festival, Navratri approaches, the government issues red alert or threat from terrorists. Why do only Hindu festivals face the threat?”
BJP chief Amit Shah, Union Minister Smriti Irani and newly inducted former Congress MLA Balwantsinh Rajput, who resigned on Thursday and joined the saffron party, filed their nomination papers for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls on Friday. While Mr. Shah and Ms. Irani were nominated by the central leadership a few days ago, Mr. Rajput, who was Congress’ chief whip in the Assembly, was declared the BJP’s third candidate shortly after he quit both from the House and the party.Patel’s rivalMr. Rajput is pitted against senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who has been renominated for the August 8 Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat. Of the total 11 Rajya Sabha members from the State, the term of three — Ms. Irani and Dilipbhai Pandya (both BJP) and Ahmed Patel — is ending on August 18. The Congress nominee can sail through if he musters the support of 47 MLAs. In the 182-member Assembly, the strength of the Congress has gone down to 51, as six of its MLAs have resigned. While three MLAs, including Mr. Rajput quit on Thursday and joined the ruling party, as many resigned on Friday.
PANAJI: The Goa Bachav Abhiyan (GBA), environmental activists and the Congress have criticised the Central government’s decision to change the jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Petitions from Goa will now have to be filed at the principal bench in Delhi instead of the western zone bench in Pune.The activists have called the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) notification to this effect, issued on August 10, “atrocious and arbitrary”. The ministry had demarcated the NGT’s jurisdiction into north, south, east and west zones, along with principal and regional benches on August 11, 2011.Goan activists, led by Siddarth Karapurkar, said the jurisdictional change was a “clear attempt to discourage us from taking up environmental matters”. Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Shantaram Naik, asked if the MoEF had sought consent of the State government ahead of its notification. “If not, the State must demand that the notification, which is against the interest of Goan environment protection and people of Goa, is withdrawn,” Mr. Naik said during a press conference at the Congress headquarters on Sunday.Sabina Martins of the GBA, which spearheads the cause of appropriate land planning in the State, said, “The ramifications of this mischievous move are serious and unconstitutional. It deliberately places the environmental tribunals beyond the reach of citizens. It can be imagined as if the High Court were taken out of Goa and moved to Delhi, with no reasoning behind it.”GBA secretary Reboni Saha urged citizens to make their displeasure known to the MoEF and let their local elected representatives clearly know that this change was unacceptable.“Inequity and environmental degradation are proven indicators of social unrest. The move to weaken environmental safeguards is something that should worry every citizen and the government, if it had the future of India in mind. Evidently not,” Ms. Saha said.Activist-lawyer Aires Rodrigues, too, strongly condemned the notification as mala fide and irrational. Mr. Rodrigues said that while the Supreme Court’s thrust was on making justice more accessible to people, the Centre had burdened Goan citizens, who will have to travel all the way to Delhi to approach the NGT. He alleged that it was a clear attempt to deny justice to the common man and allow the State to ignore or even participate in environmental violations. Mr. Rodrigues has appealed to the High Court Bar Association and other lawyers’ associations in the State to intervene against the government’s decision.
Panaji: Media organisations, political parties and civil society groups in Goa on Wednesday expressed deep outrage over the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh and demanded that the Karnataka government nab the culprits immediately.The Goa Union of Journalists (GUJ), an association of working journalists in the State, held a public meeting at Azad Maidan in the city, where journalists and civil society members paid tribute to the journalist.GUJ secretary Gerard D’souza said in a press release, “The GUJ believes that the murder, and the manner in which it has been carried out, is a deliberate attempt to silence journalists and others who have been speaking up, questioning dominant narratives, and [shining] an uncomfortable light on the activities of fundamentalists, extremists and others who question the freedoms we all espouse.”The GUJ demanded that the authorities act swiftly and arrest the culprits.The Communist Party of India (CPI) Goa State Council suspected the murder to be an act of right-wing intimidation. “Though, the assailants are unidentified, the murder falls in the pattern that establishes links with the assassination of rationalist and thinkers Narendra Dabholkar, M.M. Kalburgi and Govind Pansare,” said Christopher Fonseca, general secretary of CPI, Goa, in a statement.
In what could be seen as an embarrassment for Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, a candidate backed by the Congress and NCP on Tuesday wrested the seat of sarpanch (village head) from the Bharatiya Janata Party. Fetri, in Nagpur district, is the adopted village of the Chief Minister.The BJP managed to win five out of total 10 seats of the Fetri Gram Panchayat but failed to win the post of sarpanch.The Congress-NCP supported Dhanashri Mukesh Dhomne defeated the BJP’s Jyoti Bhimrao Raut by 85 votes.‘Victory of local people’“This is the local people’s win. The BJP representatives and the former BJP sarpanch were behaving authoritatively after the CM adopted the village. Today’s verdict was against the feudalistic set-up of the ruling party in the village,” Ms. Dhomne told The Hindu.When asked if the verdict was the “anger” of the people of the village against the CM, Ms. Dhomne said that the villagers were happy that the CM had adopted their village.“The CM released the funds and gave many schemes to the village, however, the local BJP people here did not let it reflect on the ground. Most of the development in the village was focused on the BJP candidate and the sarpanch’s ward which is why the people of Fetri have defeated the party candidate. I will make sure that there is no disparity in the development of any particular ward. I will develop the overall village,” she added.“The BJP used all its strength and money power to win this seat. It was a direct fight between the Congress-NCP and the BJP. We fought democratically and with modest means. They even tried to defame the husband of our sarpanch candidate by spreading lies about him; but in the end, truth prevailed. It was a victory of the truth,” Rahul Shashtri, a villager and a Congress supporter said.Another villager Vakil Dongre said the village had not seen the expected development after the CM adopted it.Earlier this year, The Hindu had done a detailed story on how the village lacked even in basic amenities despite being the CM’s adopted village.The husband of the defeated BJP candidate Bhimrao Raut claimed that his wife gave a tough fight to the Congress-NCP alliance candidate.“There was 100 % development of the village. The CM gave everything to the village. We lost because the Congress and NCP united to defeat us,” Mr. Raut claimed.The BJP also lost the seat of sarpanch in the State energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule’s adopted village Suradevi.
The authorities on Friday imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar and Shopian to foil separatists’ call for a march towards Shopian, in the wake of killings of three civilians in the Army firing last week.Locals said all lanes leading to the Shopian grand mosque have been sealed by the security forces. A spokesman of separatists Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) said its chief Yasin Malik had camped inside the mosque to lead a march after the Friday prayers.“The Jamia Masjid Shopian has been sealed from all sides by the police and the CRPF. All lanes have been sealed, and barricaded. Yasin sahib is inside the mosque and will lead a protest (after the Friday prayers),” said a JKLF spokesman.In Srinagar, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was arrested when he tried to step out from his Nigeen residence, where he was placed under house arrest in the morning. All train services have been suspended from Banihal to Baramulla “for security reasons”.The areas under six police stations in Srinagar have been placed under security restrictions “as a precautionary measure”. Concertina wires have been placed on the main roads to seal off different parts of the old city. A fresh wave of protests erupted in Kashmir valley after three civilians died in Army firing on January 27. The Army said it fired on stone-throwing protesters “in self defense”. It said the protesters tried to set Army vehicles to fire and injured nine soldiers with stones. An inquiry is on in the case.
Pune: A Shiv Sena legislator from Aurangabad on Thursday demanded probe into the actions of the district police after footage emerged allegedly showing officers pelting stones at residents and their houses following clashes over dumping of garbage in Padegaon-Mitmita.Sanjay Shirsat, the MLA from Aurangabad West, said, “The CCTV footage and video clips that have emerged in the aftermath of the Padegaon clashes are shocking … They show the police deliberately wreaking havoc on residents in retaliation to the stone-pelting on part of villagers. I can understand the anger of the people, but the authorities have no right to misuse their power.” He said he would file a calling-attention motion in the Assembly on Monday. Mr. Shirsat alleged that the police beat up residents, including women, after the clashes that left a number of policemen injured. The city has been reeling from a garbage problem for three weeks, which snowballed into a clash on Wednesday when residents gathered to stop municipal trucks from offloading garbage, hurling stones at the police and torching and damaging police vans, garbage trucks, and State transport and private buses. Tear gas shells were lobbed at the mob. More than 20 policemen were injured and the Aurangabad-Mumbai highway was blocked for several hours. Earlier this week, the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court prohibited the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) from dumping garbage at Naregaon, the landfill site for forty years, after residents complained of air and water pollution due to the garbage. This prompted the AMC to seek alternative dumping zones like Padegaon-Mitmita, leading to protests from residents there.
The Supreme Court on Thursday rapped the Himachal Pradesh government for the “non-implementation” of law which led to the daylight murder of a government official heading an apex court-ordered demolition drive at Kasauli in the State.A Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur, which had ordered the demolition and on Wednesday took suo motu cognisance of the murder, said the State could not encourage people to break the law.Shail Bala Sharma, an assistant town planning officer, was shot dead by a Kasauli hotel owner in broad daylight amidst dozens of police personnel who were there to ensure the safety of officials like her.The Bench said it viewed the Kasauli incident as a “huge problem” for the future.The Bench asked the State government to file a status report in the case and ensure that steps are taken against unauthorised constructions.“The death is not a result of the court’s order. It is a result of non-implementation of the law. The incident is very unfortunate,” Justice Lokur observed.The Bench asked counsel to brief it about the steps taken against those who had made illegal constructions in other parts of the State. It observed that “newspaper reports say he [accused] was working in the electricity department. From where did he get the money to have this property? There may be a Prevention of Corruption Act case also. Look at it and find it out.” (With PTI inputs)
Mumbai: The Shiv Sena has decided to form an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the biennial elections to six Legislative Council seats on May 21. Both Sena and BJP will contest three seats each, while the opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) too have reached an agreement to contest three seats each. The elections to the six local authorities seats were necessitated as three members from NCP, two from BJP, and one Congress MLC are retiring on June 21. These MLCs will be elected by local civic body members. The six seats going for polls are Konkan (Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg), Nasik, Latur-Beed-Osmanabad, Amaravati, Parbhani-Hingoli and Wardha-Chandrapur-Gadchiroli. Aniket Tatkare, son of former NCP state unit chief Sunil Tatkare, will be the NCP candidate from Konkan. While the BJP is not contesting this seat as Shiv Sena’s Rajeev Sable is the candidate. Despite speculations, Narayan Rane’s Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha (MSP) will not contest the seat, and is likely to support Mr. Tatkare.With NCP fielding Ramesh Karad, who left the BJP to join this party on Wednesday, from Latur-Osmanabad-Beed, the BJP has chosen former NCP leader Suresh Dhas for this crucial seat. The NCP is likely to work hard for the victory of Mr. Karad as Mr. Dhas was responsible for the party losing power in Beed Zilla Parishad. In Nashik, Shivaji Sahane, who was expelled by the Shiv Sena, was declared as the NCP candidate in place of sitwting MLC Jayant Jadhav. Mr. Shahane is pitted against Sena’s Narendra Darade. Parbhani-Hingoli, which was earlier with the NCP, will this time have a Congress candidate Suresh Deshmukh, former MLA. BJP’s state unit secretary Ramdas Ambatkar filed his nomination from Wardha-Chandrapur- Gadchiroli seat and is pitted against Indrakumar Saraf (Congress). The Minister of State for Industries and BJP candidate Pravin Pote-Patil will take on Congress’ Anil Madhogadia at Amravati.Lok Sabha bypollNCP spokesperson Nawab Malik on Thursday announced that they have reached a consensus with Congress on the by-elections to the Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha seat. “NCP will contest from Bhandara-Gondia, while Congress will put up a candidate from Palghar. Congress will also contest for the Assembly bypoll in Palus-Kadegaon, Sangli,” he said. In an unexpected turn of events, family members of the late BJP MP from Palghar, Chintaman Wanaga met with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday, and alleged that the BJP had ignored them.“We had sought time from CM Devendra Fadnavis and BJP Maharashtra chief Raosaheb Danve after the death of my husband, but we did not get any response,” said Jayashree Wanaga, wife of the former MP. His sons Shrinivas and Praful said they have no political pressure but are contemplating joining the Sena. Sena denies alliance Refuting allegations that Sena and BJP have entered into an alliance for the Council polls, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said late on Thursday night, “We are not into any form of alliance. Sena is contesting seats which it thinks will win for sure. This is not an alliance,” said Mr. Thackeray. He said the family of Wanaga is welcome in Sena and a decision to contest Lok Sabha bypolls from both Palghar and Bhandara-Gondia seats will be taken within a few days. The Palghar bypoll is likely to be interesting as the Sena has said previously that it would not put up a candidate if any family member contests. Congress and CPM have already announced their decision to contest the byelection.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Friday released a footage showing assailants attacking Rahul Phatangale, the 28-year-old who lost his life during the Bhima-Koregaon clashes in January this year.According to sources, the video shows a man believed to be Phatangale, being beaten by sticks and stones by some persons.Based on this footage, the agency has released pictures of four more suspects said to be responsible for the crime, with a helpline number for those who want to give information on their whereabouts.Three held earlierRecently, three suspects were picked up by the authorities from Shrigonda in Ahmednagar in connection with the crime.The CID took over the investigation in this case from the local police on February 5 this year.Phatangale, who ran a garage and lived with his family in Sanaswadi, had stepped out to buy vegetables at the Shikrapur market when he was accosted and brutally done to death, according to eye-witnesses.A case under Sections 302 (murder), 143, 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting with a deadly weapon) and 149, among other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was later registered at the Shikrapur police station against unidentified persons in connection with the murder.The Bhima-Koregaon riots also resulted in destruction of private property worth several hundreds of crores, besides exacerbating social tensions across Maharashtra.Following his death, the Sakal Maratha Kranti Morcha had demanded a compensation of ₹25 lakh for Mr. Phatangale’s family.
A New Delhi-bound IndiGo flight from Jaipur International Airport was delayed by nearly 40 minutes after a passenger raised a hoax bomb threat following an altercation with the airline staffers on Sunday, an official said.The accused JP Chaudhary, a resident of Jaipur, allegedly ran into an altercation with the employees of the private airline during security checking and raised a fake alarm that he had a bomb inside his luggage, CISF commandant YP Singh said.Mr. Singh said Mr., Chaudhary’s luggage was checked and nothing was found. The plane, flight 6E 203, which had to take off at 10.40 am, flew at 11.23 am, he said.The accused was not allowed to board the plane and was handed over to Jawahar Circle police station for further investigation, he added.IndiGo said in a statement that the passenger “irresponsibly used the term ‘bomb’.“IndiGo has filed the FIR with local police and followed the normal security protocol,” the airline said in a statement.
Catching a Royal Bengal Tiger is tough. Catching an intelligent tigress “addicted” to livestock is tougher, forest officials and veterinarians in Assam are finding out.F03, the tigress that strayed out of the 78.81 sq. km. Orang National Park in November 2017, has given her potential captors the slip at least a dozen times since. Officials said she could even be out-thinking their moves.Nothing worksNothing that the officials have tried — from building an isolated cattle shed with live food inside to using baits in a camouflaged cage — has worked so far. To make things worse, one of the veterinarians on the job fractured his leg on Sunday morning after falling from the back of an elephant startled by the presence of the tigress nearby.As the patience of people in seven villages covering a 6 sq. km. area wears thin, wildlife experts fear the tigress could be too smart for her own safety.“A tiger that took the same route as the tigress to prey on livestock of farmers last year, was poisoned. We need to do something fast for the safety of the tigress as well as the villagers, but she seems to be always a step ahead of us,” Orang’s Divisional Forest Officer Ramesh Gogoi said.F03 is one of 24 striped cats estimated as part of Orang National Park’s 2017 tiger census.Park officials said she has made a cluster of villages 3 km upstream of National Highway 52 on the northern edge of Orang her hunting ground.“For a park that has the highest density of tigers in the country, space is hard to come by. This could be a reason why she has ventured out for easier kills,” Mr. Gogoi said.“We put up cameras along the route the tigress kept using. The image from one of the cameras last Friday night confirmed the tigress to be F03.”“She was captured from near where a pig was tied as a bait not far from one of three machans (treetop platform to keep a watch on animals below) in her prowling area. But she avoided the pig, travelled 2 km to a village beyond the Dhansiri river to eat another pig,” the Assam Forest Department’s Dhansiri division DFO Madhurjya K. Sarma told The Hindu.Tigers in the wild hunt during the day. But F03, officials said, has taken a nocturnal turn preferring to prey on animals when the villagers are asleep.
Nineteen children, including eight girls, have been rescued from an unregistered orphanage in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district during a raid, officials said on Saturday. The civil administration and police conducted the raid on Friday after some children complained that they were being “harassed and tortured” at the facility run by a pastor from Kerala. Antony Thomas has been arrested and booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in this connection, they said. Mr. Thomas, however, has denied all charges of any wrongdoing at the centre. A total of 21 children are staying at the asylum. Two of them have gone to their native place — Pathankot (Punjab) — to attend a marriage, he told reporters before being whisked away by police. The children, aged 5 to 16, have been shifted to government-run Bal Ashram and Nari Neketan, the officials said, adding they belong to different parts of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu. Senior Superintendent of Police, Kathua, Shridhar Patil said, “The rescue operation was conducted based on a complaint and further investigation is on.” He said the orphanage was operating for several years. It was linked to an NGO which, however, de-linked it a few days ago. Officials seized some items from the orphanage. The rescued children are being given medical treatment and counselling, he said. Assistant Commissioner Revenue, Kathua, Jitender Mishra, who led the joint raid, said it was conducted on the directions of the Kathua deputy commissioner after he received several complaints alleging the children were being “harassed and tortured” at the orphanage. Family members of the children are being contacted, he added. Mr. Thomas failed to produce any document for running the centre, Mr. Mishra said, adding the motive behind operating the facility is under investigation. Meanwhile, a group of Rashtriya Bajrang Dal activists on Saturday protested outside the Press Club in Jammu, seeking severe punishment to the accused. They also set ablaze an effigy of the pastor.
The Supreme Court has asked the Rajasthan government to explain as to how some videos of hate speech were uploaded on the Internet from Jodhpur jail premises by Shambhu Lal Raigar, who is accused of hacking and burning alive a Muslim labourer from West Bengal. The top court also sought response from Raigar as to why he should not be transferred to Delhi’s Tihar jail or any other jail out of Rajasthan. “Issue notice to the newly added respondent (Raigar), returnable on January 21, 2019. In the meantime, the State of Rajasthan shall file its counter affidavit to these proceedings. The State shall, in particular, explain whether a video was uploaded from within the jail premises by the newly added respondent and, if so, how that was possible,” said a Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah. Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Gulbahar Bibi, wife of the victim who was allegedly killed by Raigar in on December 6 last year, said that the accused has been continuously uploading videos of hate speech on the Internet and should be transferred to Tihar jail or any other prison outside the state. Counsel appearing for Rajasthan said she has recently checked and found that such videos have been taken down by Internet service providers.Ms. Jaising however refuted the claims and said that videos were very much available on the Net. The Bench then asked the counsel for Rajasthan to verify whether the videos uploaded by Raigar from the jail were still available on the Internet and posted the matter for further hearing on January 21. The apex court had on April 2 sought response from the CBI and the Rajasthan government on a plea seeking transfer of Raigar to Tihar jail.Gulbahar Bibi said the prime accused had recently uploaded videos on social networking sites.Independent probe The apex court had on February 16 directed the CBI to seek instructions on a plea of the widow seeking an independent probe into the murder. It had asked the lawyer appearing for the agency to take appropriate instructions on conducting the probe and providing of adequate compensation sought by the petitioner.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Odisha Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police over the State’s alleged inaction to prevent witch-hunt incidents which often result in murders.The NHRC has asked the two top officers to submit a report within four weeks. Radhakanta Tripathy, a human rights lawyer, had drawn the attention of the NHRC over the recent murder of five persons, including a mother and her four children, in the Koida block of Sundargarh district.The rights panel has warned that it would invoke coercive process under Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, for personal appearance of the concerned authority if the report was not submitted within the stipulated time.Mr. Tripathy had moved the NHRC in 2013, pointing out that three women and one elderly man were paraded naked by villagers, branding them black magicians in Amapada village in Sundargarh district. Despite the NHRC recommendations, the situation has not improved in the district, he said.According to him, over 500 persons have been killed on suspicion of practising witchcraft in Odisha during the last 14 years.“Of these, 274 murders have taken place in the last five years alone. It suggests that the incidents of witch-hunting have not come down despite increase in access to education,” he said.
Goa’s mother-to-child HIV transmission rates have reduced as the last case detected was in 2017, which is a big achievement for the Goa State Aids Control Society (GSACS), said Dr. Jose D’Sa, Project Director, GSACS on Friday.“We have started viral load testing in Goa and aim to get a higher viral load suppression outcome,” he said. At a community conversation organised by the Human Touch Foundation (HTF) and GSACS on Zero Discrimination Day on Friday, Dr. D’Sa spoke about the national plan for HIV and its three zeros — zero new infections, zero HIV-related deaths and zero discrimination. Knowledge, he said, is needed to empower people and reduce discrimination. Peter F. Borges, Founder of HTF called for action to change discriminatory laws and practices — a significant barrier to persons with HIV/AIDS seeking access to health services, and make positive changes to ensure equality, inclusion and protection.Moderating the session, he called on the Goa government to adopt structural interventions to prevent HIV among the most at-risk population and combat social and cultural attitudes leading to discrimination. HTF is actively working with GSACS to eliminate such stigma and discrimination.The community conversation explored specific actions that individuals, civil society organisations and the government can take. Fr. Allan Tavares, Administrator, Fr. Agnel College, Pilar, Goa touched upon stigma and faith and said that what is considered normal need not be so. “Discrimination is a result of the fear of the unknown and ignorance. How we tackle it depends on our education, we need to educate ourselves with knowledge,” he said. Monika S. Kshatriya, journalist and gender rights activist said that the Transgender Bill which was passed without consulting transpeople was derogatory to them. “The law itself is discriminating,” she said.Dr. Shradha Mulgaonkar Patil, obstetrician and gynecologist, spoke about the committment to zero discrimination in healthcare. She said that the preoperative testing and precautions could be seen as discriminatory in certain circumstances. “We live in a society that panics very fast. We always teach our students to take precautions, but we also have to now counsel them about discrimination and how to tackle it,” she said.Senior lawyer and women’s activist Albertina Almeida said there are laws against discrimination but they are not implemented. “The law states that anyone who is discriminated against can approach an ombudsman but are there any people appointed for the post? Discrimination on HIV-related grounds have a penalty but it is rarely initiated,” she said.Dr. Adlina Braganza, Associate Professor and HOD of Psychology at Carmel College, Goa, said that the educational system is afraid of answering questions regarding sexual identity and orientation, and that it needs to bridge the gap between what the youth want to learn and what is taught to them.Celina D’Costa, volunteer at IMAX Cooperative, shared her own experience of discovering she had HIV and ill-treatment by her family. She said that she was well established now, but that “there are different levels of discrimination faced in every sphere of life”.
Bihar is known for its “bahubali (strongmen)-turned-politicians” calling the shots during polls. The 2019 Lok Sabha election seems no different.Even though some of the Bahubalis are in jail, and those outside are facing several criminals charges, they are still active in the poll battle through their wives and close relatives who have been fielded by all most all major parties in the State.Pending casesTopping the list is the Congress which has fielded Neelam Devi, wife of dreaded don-turned-politician Anant Singh, from Munger Lok Sabha constituency. Ms. Devi is pitted against NDA candidate Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh (JD-U). Mr. Anant Singh, former JD(U) MLA from Mokama, has 16 criminal cases pending against him. He wanted to contest the poll himself, but the Congress decided to field his wife as there was no case against her. Mr. Anant Singh is also known as Chhote Sarkar in his areas of suzerainty —Barh, Mokama, Lakhisarai and Munger. “My wife [Neelam Devi] will win the election come what may. The people of Munger have so much love and respect for me,” Mr. Anant Singh recently said.Ranjeet Ranjan, wife of another don-turned-politician Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, is the Congress candidate from Supaul seat. Ms. Ranjan had won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from the same constituency. In the 1990s, Pappu Yadav was a terror in Kosi areas of north-east Bihar and had served jail for several years in connection with the murder case of CPI(M) leader Ajit Sarkar of Purnea district.Third on the list is Heena Sahab, wife of former Siwan MP Mohd. Shahabuddin, who has been fielded by the Rashtriya Janata Dal. Mr. Shahabuddin is currently lodged in Tihar jail in Delhi in connection with a double murder case. Known as the “Sultan of Siwan”, Mr. Shahabuddin has been a four-time RJD MP from Siwan and his name still spells terror among the residents of the district. Ms. Sahab had been defeated in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by BJP candidate Om Prakash Yadav. This time, the NDA has given the Siwan ticket to Kavita Singh (JD-U), wife of another strongman-turned-politician Ajay Singh, whose rivalry with Mr. Shahabuddin is a long-drawn-out story. The RJD has also given ticket to Veebha Devi, wife of suspended party MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav, from Nawada. Mr. Yadav, a criminal-turned-politician, is currently lodged in Nawada jail in connection with an alleged rape case. He is also accused of illegal sand and stone mining in the area. Recently, Rabri Devi, RJD leader and wife of party chief Lalu Prasad, had campaigned for Ms. Veebha Devi in Nawada.Independent candidateLovely Anand, wife of another don-turned-politician Anand Mohan Singh, too, has decided to contest the election from Sheohar as an Independent candidate. Mr. Anand Mohan is lodged in Saharsa jail in connection with the murder of a district magistrate. Ms. Anand had recently joined the Congress hoping to get a ticket from the constituency but under the mahagathbandhan seat-sharing pact, Sheohar went into the RJD kitty. Some of the bahubali-turned-politicians have also fielded their brothers and sons in the poll ring. The RJD has given ticket to Randhir Singh, son of former MP Prabhunath Singh, from Maharajganj. Mr. Prabhunath Singh was convicted in 2017 in a 22-year-old murder case and is currently lodged in Hazaribagh jail in Jharkhand. He was a terror in the areas of Maharajganj, Saran and Siwan. Similarly, the Lok Janshakti Party has fielded Chandan Kumar Singh, brother of criminal-turned-politician Surajbhan Singh, from Nawada seat. Mr. Surajbhan’s wife Veena Devi had won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Munger. “Bahubalis have been synonymous with Bihar politics. When they get convicted, they field their wives or other family members to win the poll by proxy and enjoy the privileges of an MP. Sadly, no mainstream parties are averse to giving them tickets during polls,” said political analyst Ajay Kumar.