The Pioneer – Two arrested for raping minor in J&K’s Kathua

Jammu City – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 18 July 2019. Two main accused involved in the alleged rape case of a minor girl, resident of Lohai Malhar area of Billawar in Kathua district, were arrested by the district police on Wednesday, almost 10 days after the complaint was registered by the parents, facing death threats.

Due to inaction of the local police authorities, anger was simmering in the area for last couple of days. On Tuesday, several organisations joined hands together and disrupted traffic in the area to register their strong protest.

On Wednesday, Kathua district police issued a written statement claiming, “Police Station Malhar has arrested two accused for committing rape with a minor girl”.

According to police, “both the accused are identified as Mohd Iqbal and Babu din, both resident of Sadrota, Lohai Malhar”.

Police had earlier registered a case FIR 07/2019 u/s 452, 376 and Section 4 POCSO Act in Police Station Malhar and also initiated investigation in the case. Police statement said, “After conducting medical examinations and other required procedures IO has also recorded the statement of victim u/s 164 CrPC before magistrate”.

According to local reports, the incident was reported in the first week of July, when the parents of the girl had gone to the Basantgarh area of Udhampur.

As per the complaint, “Two locals reportedly barged into the house of the victim during night and raped the minor girl”

To cool down tempers of local residents in the area, Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Billawar, was rushed to the spot to pacify the protesters on Tuesday.

What is it with Kathua, first Hindus rape a minor girl, now Muslims want to prove they can do it too ?
Man in Blue—s-kathua.html

The Tribune – Two communities lock horns over waterlogging

Dalits seek security from administration

Ravi Dhaliwal, Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur – Panjab – India, 16 July 2019. Even as the district administration is trying to find a solution to the vexed problem of waterlogging in the streets of Khojepur village, the 1,600 odd villagers, a majority of whom belong to Scheduled Castes, are demanding security fearing a backlash by the half a dozen Jat Sikh families.

Today, a JCB machine reached the village but pressure from these families meant drainage work could not commence. The Jat Sikhs are controlling all the water outlets and following their refusal to let the villagers use the water has been stagnating in the narrow alleys for the last several years.

Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujwal held a meeting of more than 25 officers belonging to half a dozen departments two days ago. After that he dispatched ADC (General) Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu as his trouble-shooter to the area.

Sandhu, after taking a round of the affected areas along with senior officers, said water was accumulating because of an assortment of reasons, including the difference in the level of the streets.

“Since water flows from a higher level to a lower level it tends to accumulate in streets which have been constructed at low-lying areas. We are making arrangements to first clear the pools of stagnant water after which we will ensure the streets are brought to the same level. A plan has been drawn up with the help of the Water Supply and Sanitation Department.

There is no upper caste-lower caste divide as was being made out by certain vested interests. Moreover, in order to arrive at a permanent solution, we have sent a proposal to the Rural Development Ministry asking it to sanction Rs 44 lakh. We will be constructing a proper drainage system once the money is sanctioned,” said ADC Sandhu.

An official revealed that a JCB machine to clear huge heaps of soil would also be pressed into service once the administration gave the green signal. These mounds were acting as an impediment in the free flow of water.

The Jat Sikhs, who owed tracts of agriculture land, were objecting that water should not enter their fields. Jyoti Bala, Congress sarpanch, claimed that she would not let work start till adequate security was provided.

“In February, some influential Jat Sikh families attacked us. Cross FIRs were registered at the Dinanagar police station. We again fear that there may be a backlash. I have moved a resolution in the gram panchayat demanding police protection,” she said.

Officials, however, denied that the Scheduled Castes were threatened by the Jat Sikhs. “Political contours are unnecessarily being given to the issue. The problem is how to drain out the water. I fail to understand why the affected villagers are politicising the issue,” said an officer present in the village to find a solution.

Meanwhile, the administration has promised to commence work tomorrow after providing security.

Gent Voormuide – Sassekaai

Terminus of Tram 4
10 July 2019

Tram 4 on its temporary terminus

Tram 4 seen from the Muidebrug

10 July 2019

The new tracks almost reached Voormuide !

Muidebrug tramstop

I was not supposed to go beyond the red and white lint

Where I was not supposed to go

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue – Rapper Hard Kaur supports Khalistani group, says ‘minorities fed up of Indian government’

On July 10, the Centre had banned the Sikhs for Justice group for its alleged anti-national activities.

New Delhi – India, 18 July 2019. Rapper Taran Kaur Dhillon, famously known as Hard Kaur, has joined a secessionist and pro-Khalistani campaign for a separate land for the Sikhs. In a series of videos posted on her social media, Kaur advocated for Sikh fundamentalist organisation Sikhs For Justice and its “Referendum 2020” campaign.

On July 10, the Union Home Ministry banned the Sikhs for Justice group for its alleged anti-national activities. Its founder Avtar Singh Pannu was seen shouting slogans and wearing a T-shirt that said “Khalistan Zindabad, Referendum 2020” at the India-New Zealand cricket match recently.

On Wednesday, Kaur shared three videos on “Khalistan Freedom movement” with the caption: “Every minority state is fed up of Indian government & the racist Hindus. No one wants to live with you because you are the most dirty minded people in the world…Indians hate the truth.”

In videos posted earlier, she urged people to vote for Khalistan. “Ladies and gentlemen, make sure you sign Referendum 2020. Khalistan Zindabad,” she said in the video. The rapper also wore a “Punjab Referendum 2020 Khalistan” T-shirt. She also shared songs sung by traditional Sikh singer Tarsem Singh Moranwali that praised militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

Kaur tagged Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal in her posts. Singh had welcomed the Centre’s decision to declare Sikhs for Justice an “unlawful association”.

She is a vocal critic of the ruling government and often criticises them in her posts on social media. In June, Kaur was charged under various IPC sections such as sedition and defamation for her social media posts against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat.

She had called called Adityanath “Orange rapeman” and Bhagwat a “racist murderer”.

Kaur was born in India and now lives in the United Kingdom. She is known for her Punjabi rap renditions and has featured in many Bollywood songs.

The Hindu – Takeaways from the Kulbhushan Jadhav case ruling

India’s more successful legal journey to the ICJ must now reshape New Delhi’s approach to potentially difficult situations

Arjun Subramaniam

New Delhi – India, 18 July 2019. Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy officer, who was allegedly abducted by Pakistani intelligence from Iran and sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terrorism by a farcical military court in Pakistan, has been given a glimmer of hope by the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Responding to a petition by India that sought an annulment of his death sentence because Pakistan had violated numerous international treaties and extracted irregular confessions under coercion, the ICJ, on July 17, 2019, ruled with a decisive vote (15-1) that Mr. Jadhav cannot be executed by Pakistan, and that he must be given adequate consular access and a fair trial.

The ruling also urged Pakistan to review his conviction. This constitutes a major diplomatic and legal victory for India, with Pakistan accusing India of ‘ambushing’ it at The Hague.

Focussed strategy

Given its rather lukewarm record in the past of securing the release of Indian detainees in Pakistan through bilateral negotiations, India’s strategy in this case has been to exploit increasing international acceptance that Pakistan was an emerging ‘rogue’ state.

Laying stress on Pakistan’s scant regard for Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, it deals with the arrest, detention and trial of a foreign citizen, India’s counsel, Harish Salve, highlighted two compelling arguments. First was the arrest process, which was not accompanied by an immediate notification to Indian consular officials in Islamabad.

There was a delay of over three weeks before India was informed, and it was during this period, according to reliable sources from within Pakistan, that Mr Jadhav was subjected to all means of coercion and forced to sign a ‘confession taken under custody’ without adequate legal representation.

Second was the two-way denial of access and communication by any means between Mr. Jadhav and consular officials and a failure to inform him of the rights he enjoyed under the convention.

The legitimacy of military courts has always been controversial within the international legal system that emerged in the post-World War II era as a fast-track system of delivering skewed justice by authoritarian regimes and military dictatorships.

Purportedly set up in Pakistan in 2015 as a counter-terrorist and anti-corruption initiative, Mr Jadhav’s sentencing in April 2017 was based on confessions taken in captivity and is part of several arbitrary sentences by Pakistan’s Military Court.

Violation of rights

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) recognises the right to an effective defence against criminal charges, and to a fair and impartial trial, in which the accused is represented by a lawyer of his choice.

By denying consular access, Pakistan has stood in gross violation of both the Vienna Convention and the ICCPR. Had due process been followed, and then had Mr. Jadhav been charged with espionage, India may not have had the necessary room to take the matter to the ICJ.

By attempting to circumvent the ‘due diligence’ process, Pakistan has exposed serious chinks in its legal environment and jeopardised its standing in the comity of nations. The Jadhav case has also revealed Pakistan’s desperation in its search for ‘proxies’ as drivers of the internal unrest in Balochistan.

Reliable sources within India’s intelligence agencies hint at the possibility of Mr Jadhav having been abducted by armed groups operating on the border between Iran and Balochistan.

Pakistan is known to have used proxy Sunni groups such as the Jaish al-Adl against Iran, and Iranian officials have often spoken to their Indian counterparts about Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorist activities along the Iran-Pakistan border.

A testimony to the growing menace of this group is its recent designation as a front of Jundullah, which is a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’.

India has shown both intent and resilience in attempting to secure the release of Mr. Jadhav despite the many hiccups along the way. Following a synergised approach steered by the National Security Adviser and the External Affairs Minister, India fought the kidnapping of Mr. Jadhav, an Indian national who was legitimately residing in Iran after retirement from the Indian Navy.

Realising, in 2017, following his death sentence that the overall deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan had closed the door on any bilateral way of securing his release, India rightly chose to go the ‘international way’ by fielding a formidable legal team led by the jurist, Harish Salve.

Sparing no efforts on the human aspects of the case too, India managed to get Mr Jadhav to meet his mother and wife after the death sentence was pronounced. The first success achieved by the Indian legal team was on May 9, 2017 when the ICJ sent an urgent message to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, urging him to stay the execution till India’s case was heard fully and the ICJ arrived at a verdict.

Moving slowly but surely through the legal battle for over two years, India, has been demonstrating significant synergy between various stakeholders in the case.

The final verdict will, hopefully, galvanise the Indian establishment to step on the pedal and exert pressure on Pakistan to rescind the death sentence and allow Mr Jadhav consular access and legitimate legal platform to mount his defence.

While it would be wishful thinking to assume that Mr Jadhav would return to India soon, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon that the Indian strategic establishment would do well to exploit.

Having deftly navigated the legal and diplomatic channels and restrained the Pakistan military by securing manoeuvring space following the ICJ verdict, a leading power such as India must demonstrate its intent and capacity to extract desirable outcomes out of potentially difficult, or seemingly impossible situations. Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case is one such challenge.

Arjun Subramaniam is a strategic commentator and Visiting Professor at Ashoka University

This is an Indian reaction to the ruling of the International Court of Justice
I will look today for an article that reflects the Pakistani view
Man in Blue