The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 19-03-2023 | 12:45 pm
Amid its crackdown on self-proclaimed Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh and his associates, the Punjab Government on Sunday extended the suspension of mobile internet services across the state for another 24 hours. The radical leader is currently on the run.As per an official order from the state home department, all mobile internet services (2G/3G/4G/5G/CDMA/GPRS), all SMS services (excluding banking and mobile recharge) and all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except voice calls, in the territorial jurisdiction of Punjab shall be further suspended from Sunday noon to Monday noon in continuation of Friday’s order. The initial order suspended the services from Saturday noon to Sunday noon.“Whereas, Director General of Police, Punjab has brought to my notice that certain sections of society are likely to threaten public order by incitement to violence as also resorting to widespread violence with an aim to stoke and cause communal tension, obstruction or injury to persons, danger to human life and property, disturbance of public peace and tranquillity thereby threatening public safety and public order in the State of Punjab,” read the order.It added, “Whereas, Director General of Police, Punjab has further brought to my notice that these sections of society widely use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp etc and also Short Message Service (SMS) for spreading of inflammatory material and false rumours, to provoke mobilization of mobs of agitators and demonstrators, mobilize their own manpower and resources for their anti-national activities.”“There is a clear continuation of potential of threat to public safety, disruption of public utilities, damage to public assets and amenities and disturbance of public law and order in the state of Punjab on account of misuse of mobile internet services, SMS services and other dongle services.” It also flagged the “imminent need to curb the spread of misinformation and rumours through social media platforms” which could “provoke mobilisation of mobs of agitators”.
Days before Nepal put fugitive Amritpal Singh on its surveillance list, intelligence agencies have found that he was in Delhi. According to sources, a second-year Delhi University student purportedly provided shelter to him and his associate Papalpreet at her rented flat in East Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar.A senior officer from the Delhi Police has confirmed the same. Intelligence agencies, along with Punjab Police, are now questioning the woman.Amritpal has been on the run since March 18 when Punjab Police launched a crackdown on him and his outfit, Waris Punjab De.Intelligence agencies have also found CCTV footage from March 21, from Sai Chowk in Madhu Vihar, that purportedly shows Amritpal and his aide walking on the streets after leaving her house. In the footage, a man who is purportedly Amritpal is seen sporting a different look — his hair hanging loose, with no turban and his face covered with a mask. The man is wearing a jacket and glasses and is walking ahead of another man who is wearing a turban, glasses and mask.Sources told The Indian Express that the woman allegedly met Papalpreet during the farmers’ protest in Delhi and he had visited her house twice earlier. They said she is from an area near his village.“The woman told police during her questioning that on March 20, around 8.20 pm, the two men, in disguise, reached her house. She had never met Amritpal before, and Papalpreet requested her to provide them shelter for a night. She offered them food and they slept at her house,” a source said.Officers said they left after lunch on March 21. “Intelligence agencies got to know about this input, and they have verified the same after coordinating with the Delhi Police. Punjab police were also informed; they are questioning the woman before taking legal action against her,” a source said.Meanwhile, the Punjab government Tuesday informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that they were coordinating with several agencies and were close to catching Amritpal, the assertion coming after the pro-Khalistan preacher’s counsel claimed he was being held in illegal custody. The HC took up for hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Advocate Imaan Singh Khara, which claimed that Amritpal was in “illegal custody” of Punjab Police.Punjab Advocate General Vinod Ghai, however, told the court that Amritpal has not been arrested yet and they were coordinating with multiple agencies to nab him. Upon this, the bench of Justice NS Shekhawat asked Khara to file an affidavit to produce evidence that Amritpal was in police custody and pointed out that the state’s stand was that the preacher had not been arrested. If provided evidence, Justice Shekhawat said, the court would direct the relevant officials to conduct a raid and provide relief to the petitioner.The court, while fixing March 29 as the next date of hearing in the case, directed the Punjab government to file an affidavit, through the Inspector General of Police concerned.
The Mehsana district and sessions court on Wednesday acquitted Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani and nine others in a case related to a rally they held from Mehsana town in July 2017 without police permission. The court termed the prosecution’s case “baseless” after a magistrate court had sentenced the 10 accused to three months imprisonment and Rs 1,000 fine each for unlawful assembly.Among those acquitted is former NCP member and now AAP Gujarat spokesperson Reshma Patel.Additional District Judge C M Pawar pronounced the verdict endorsing the right to deliberate discuss and debate in a democracy. Two appeals were filed at the district and sessions court after the magisterial court’s verdict convicting Mevani and 9 others in May 2022. One appeal was filed by the state seeking enhancement of punishment and another appeal was filed by the 10 accused who were held guilty, challenging their conviction.The court of ADJ Pawar held that no harm was caused, no police were harmed and no Section 144 under CrPC was in force at the time of the said offence.On July 12, 2017, to mark one year of the infamous public flogging of some Dalits in Una that had led to a large-scale agitation in the state, Mevani and his associates had led an ‘Azadi Kooch’ from Mehsana to Dhanera of neighbouring Banaskantha district.One of Mevani’s associates, Kaushik Parmar, had sought permission for the rally under the banner of Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, an organisation founded by Mevani, from the Mehsana executive magistrate. Initially, the permission was granted but it was subsequently revoked by the authority. The rally was still carried out by the organisers.
Nearly a fortnight after a couple was found axed to death outside their residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr, the police on Tuesday detained their 15-year-old daughter who confessed to the double murder, officials said.The couple was found dead on March 15. The teenager told the police that she hated the atmosphere at home and “was fed up with the violent behaviour” of her parents towards her. She said that her mother would frequently beat her up and also had an illicit relationship with a man.“On questioning, the girl confessed to murdering her parents with an axe after lacing their food with a heavy dose of sleeping pills,” said Shlok Kumar, Bulandshahr SSP.The police have also arrested the youth who arranged the pills and the shop owner, who sold the pills, under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.“It was a difficult case to crack as there were no clues. While checking the mobile phone of a family member, we could find that the minor girl had a communication with a man in December asking him to arrange sleeping pills and he refused,” the officer said.The police said that two days prior to the double murder, she had arranged a pack of 20 sleeping pills. “The girl mixed five tablets in the tea she prepared for her mother and 10 tablets in the milk for her 50-year-old father. The couple used to sleep outside their house while the accused and her younger sister had their beds inside the house,” said the officer.The police said that on the fateful night, the teen girl scaled the roof of a neighbour with the help of a ladder and came to the front of her house where she killed her parents by repeatedly hitting the axe on their heads. They died on the spot and she went back to bed, they said.The girl was sent to the juvenile home in Bulandshahr, while the two men were sent to jail after being produced in a local court. “We have also recovered the axe used for the killings. The weapon was hidden in the heap of fodder in the house,” said the SSP.She told the police that her mother had illicit relations with a man who, according to her, would instigate her mother to beat her regularly so that she either goes out or leaves the house forever.She also told the police that her father’s brother had killed his wife and two daughters in 2021 by hitting them with an axe on their head which, she claimed “gave her the clue” as to how to get rid of her parents.
Israel has been seeing an intense and large-scale people’s resistance for the last three months over the issue of how independent the judiciary should remain in a democracy. Lakhs of Israelis have been protesting against the Netanyahu government every week in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and in over a hundred other cities. Israel is a small country with just nine million (90 lakh) people – yet, it is experiencing one of the most well-sustained and peacefully-organised protests in the name of democracy in recent memory. The issue of judicial reform concerns not only the political class but also much broader sections of society. Independent women’s organisations, academicians and universities, lawyers, doctors, industrialists, and entrepreneurs, tech companies, intelligence and national security heads, soldiers and high-ranking officials of the Israeli army have all taken part in debating whether Israel’s democracy is threatened by legal excesses or political intrusions into the judicial system. This debate is relevant to India, too.Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed the government with a clear majority in December last year and in the very first month of the new administration, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin, introduced a judicial reform bill in parliament. The bill proposed to balance the power between the executive and judiciary so that the democratically-elected government is not constrained by the courts. People’s will would be expressed through the elected legislature and courts would not intervene in law-making by striking down laws passed by the legislature. The most contentious element of the reform would overhaul the selection committee which appoints judges — the existing system has a nine-member committee made up of judges, ministers, and members of the bar association. Netanyahu’s legal team proposed a new committee, that would give more powers to the government in selecting the judges. The key thrust of the reform is that judges shall not appoint judges.Keeping in mind the inevitable political as well as legal resistance to the proposed bill, the government chose “shock and awe” — a military strategy with no room for moderation, debate or discussion — and moved it in the legislature with breakneck speed. Netanyahu had a very strong base and the government was confident that it could do a historical realignment of the wheels of state, restructuring the political system, as Israel marks its 75th anniversary this year.The major bill regarding the appointment of judges was to pass on March 27. Netanyahu had weathered the protests for over three months while his traditional allies in the Israeli security establishment and industries and even staunch supporters in the US asked for negotiation with the opposition. The tipping point was when he fired his defence minister, Yoav Gallant, who had called for an immediate halt to the judicial bill in a national address. Netanyahu was seen by many as risking national security and Gallant emerged as a national hero. What followed was an unprecedented and spontaneous protest in support of the former defence minister and a nationwide strike by the national labour union (Histadrut), which shut down Israel’s only international airport within hours.For a full day, Israel was on the edge and Netanyahu had to suspend the reform bill till this summer. There is supposed to be a dialogue and debate over the contentious bill until then. The opposition parties have agreed to talk, while the protesting groups will continue with the weekly public protests since the bill has not been nixed, merely suspended for some time. Israelis are about to celebrate Pesach (Passover) and Independence Day in April. The chags (celebrations) this time will see lavish Mediterranean food coupled with more protests, songs of resistance and civil society mobilisation. There is a much bigger worry for many in the country beyond the fate of judicial reforms — the political and socio-cultural divide among the Jews of Israel: Religious and secular Jews or conservative and reform-minded communities have grown too far apart — some days ago, President Isaac Herzog said that the “abyss” of civil war was “within touching distance”.The last three months of internal upheaval have brought Israel to a diplomatic standstill. Its relations with the US are under tremendous stress due to failing democratic values and irresponsible unilateral policies with regard to the Palestinians. Friendly Arab states like Jordan, Egypt and the UAE have been concerned about the escalation of violence in the Palestinian territories, combined with some excessive statements by ministers in the Netanyahu government against Palestinians. Israel is not going to be in a position to attend to any of these pressing foreign policy matters, if its house is not in order.The writer is associate professor & director, Jindal Centre for Israel Studies, Jindal School of International Affairs, O P Jindal Global University
Mr Fadnavis and his family were in Mumbai when the call was made.Nagpur: Angered by a power cut at his house, a man allegedly made a hoax call that a bomb was planted at Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' house in Maharashtra's Nagpur on Tuesday, police said.The police traced the 30-year-old caller to Kanhan town, around 30 km from the city, and have detained him, Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar said.The Nagpur police's control room received a call around 2 am from a man claiming that a bomb had been planted outside Mr Fadnavis' house. However, the caller abruptly disconnected the call, he said.A police team with a bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) and dog squad were rushed to the deputy chief minister's house near Trikoni Park in Dharampeth and a thorough check was carried out inside and outside the premises, but no explosives were found, the senior official said.Mr Fadnavis and his family are currently in Mumbai, he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe caller was allegedly facing power cut at his house and had made the hoax call in a fit of rage to mislead the police, the senior police officer said.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)