FirstPost – Hyderabad man kidnapped, killed by in-laws over caste; 14 people, including wife’s parents, arrested

According to police, the woman’s relatives kidnapped the couple, who got married against the wishes of her family three months ago, and then strangled the 28-year-old man.

Hyderabad – Andhra Pradesh/Telangana – India, 26 September 2020. A 28-year-old man was allegedly kidnapped and killed by his wife’s family members who belong to another caste, with the help of hired goons, police said on Friday.

The Cyberabad police arrested 14 people, including the parents of the woman, in connection with the crime and are on the lookout for four more people.

According to Cyberabad Police, relatives of C Avanthi Reddy kidnapped her and her husband Y Hemanth Kumar, who got married against the wishes of her family (about three months ago), on Thursday and killed the man by strangulation the same night.

The couple got suspicious when the car took a different direction and they managed to alight from the vehicle.

However, Hemanth was taken away in another vehicle and killed at the outskirts of Kistaigudem village, in neighbouring Sangareddy district, the police said in a press release.

The press release added that en route Avanthi got down and escaped, whereas Hemanth was taken by Guduru Yugender Reddy and three others and was strangled to death at about 7.30 pm, the release said.

“We received a complaint at around 6.30 pm from the man’s father on Thursday and immediately alerted all check posts and toll gates…,” a police official said in the morning dismissing reports that they acted slow after they received the information about the abduction.

“My cousins and my uncle took me and my husband forcibly in a vehicle and I managed to escape from the vehicle. I immediately alerted my in-laws and police,” she told reporters.

According to police, Hemanths father after receiving the information that his son was kidnapped informed the police.

Avanthi said she and Hemanth were in love for the past several years and got married in June. Earlier the couple and the parents were counselled by Chandanagar Police.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/hyderabad-man-kidnapped-killed-by-in-laws-over-caste-14-people-including-wifes-parents-arrested-8852461.html

FirstPost – Centre tells Parliament nearly 1,200 detained under stringent NSA by police in 2017-2018; 563 still in custody

According to the 2018 NCRB report, Madhya Pradesh detained the highest number of people under the NSA in 2017 and 2018 among all states followed by UP

New Delhi – India, 21 September 2020. Nearly 1,200 people across the country were detained under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) by police in 2017 and 2018, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said on Monday. Of these, 563 are still in custody, the minister said in the Rajya Sabha.

According to the latest published report of 2018 of the , Madhya Pradesh detained the highest number of people under the NSA in 2017 and 2018 among all states followed by Uttar Pradesh, the minister said in a written reply to a question in the Upper House,

A total of 501 people were detained in different parts of the country under the stringent law in 2017. Of these, 229 were released by review boards and 272 are under custody, he said.

In 2018, 697 people were detained under the NSA across the country and 406 were released by review boards while 291 are under custody, Reddy added.

In Madhya Pradesh, 795 people were detained under the NSA in 2017 and 2018; 466 were released by review boards and 329 are under custody.

In Uttar Pradesh, of the 338 people detained under the NSA in 2017 and 2018, 150 were released by review boards and 188 are under detention, the minister said.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/centre-tells-parliament-nearly-1200-detained-under-stringent-nsa-by-police-in-2017-2018-563-still-in-custody-8836141.html

FirstPost – International Day of Democracy 2020: Global leaders stress on ‘need to listen’, promote equality before law amid pandemic

With nations adopting emergency measures to address COVID-19 crisis, the UN calls on nations to uphold the rule of law, protect and respect international standards and basic principles of legality and the right to access justice, remedies and due process.

New Delhi – India, 15 September 2020. On International Day of Democracy, leaders from across the world stressed on the need to strengthen the foundations of democracy, how every voice matters and how it allows people to have a say in decisions affecting their lives.

Reiterating his message urging governments to listen to people, UN Secretary General António Guterres on Tuesday said that before COVID-19 pandemic the trust in governments was falling and that “governments must to do more to listen to people demanding change” and “seize this moment to build a more equal and inclusive world, with full respect for human rights”.

In a message released on International Democracy Day, the United Nations said, the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in major social, political and legal challenges globally.

Countries around the world have adopted emergency measures to address the crisis, and therefore, it is more important than ever to uphold the rule of law, protect and respect international standards and basic principles of legality and the right to access justice, remedies and due process.

Some of the concerns highlighted by the United Nations in terms of COVID-19 include, measures to control the flow of information and crackdown on freedom of expression and press freedom against an existing background of shrinking space.

Arrest, detention, prosecution or persecution of political opponents, journalists, doctors and others for allegedly spreading “fake news”; aggressive cyber-policing and increased online surveillance as well as postponement of elections leading to a possibility of tensions.

The United Nations on its Twitter said that democracy contributes to peaceful and stable societies and allows people to have a say in decisions affecting their lives. UNESCO, on its part, highlighted than every voice and opinions matter.

In a message on Twitter, Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu Tuesday appealed to everybody to strengthen the foundations of Indian democracy and make it more vibrant.

Chief Ministers of Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh, stressed on upholding the democratic values amid the COVID-19 pandemic and asked people to be well aware of their duties towards the country, government and citizens while exercising their democratic rights respectively.

“As the world faces this unprecedented #COVID19 challenge, upholding democratic values like participatory decision making and empowering people at grassroots are essential.

On #InternationalDayOfDemocracy, reaffirm pledge to keep people at core of our strategy to fight the pandemic,” tweeted Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “Democracy is the best system of governance, accountability, checks and balance.”

Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said that democracy is the fundamental building block for sustainable development and human rights and people should reaffirm to uphold democratic values and traditions.

US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo too highlighted that democracy has always been and will remain the greatest aspiration of people around the world who long to be free.

Chief Minister of Tripura, on his part, said people should not forget their responsibilities and appreciate the democratic rights for the betterment of the society.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/on-international-day-of-democracy-global-leaders-stress-on-need-to-strengthen-democracy-listen-to-people-amid-pandemic-8818081.html

FirstPost – ‘Excellent discussions,’ says MEA as S Jaishankar meets Russia counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow

Bilateral economic issues, cooperation in development of the Far East region of Russia, cooperation in nuclear and space sectors were also discussed, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

Moscow – Russian Federation, 11 September 2020. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov have discussed bilateral economic issues, cooperation in nuclear and space sectors during their first in person meeting here since the COVID-19 outbreak, a senior Indian official said on Thursday.

Jaishankar and Lavrov met on Wednesday on the sidelines of the meeting of foreign ministers of the eight-member Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the Russian capital.

Bilateral economic issues, cooperation in development of the Far East region of Russia, cooperation in nuclear and space sectors were also discussed, Spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said in a readout of the meeting between Jaishankar and Lavrov.

The two ministers followed up on outcomes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vladivostok for the fifth edition of Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) which was held in September last year, he said at the online briefing.

The two ministers agreed to work closely in the UN Security Council during India’s forthcoming tenure as a Non-Permanent Member, Srivastava said in New Delhi during an online briefing.

In June, India was elected as a non-permanent member of the powerful UN Security Council for a two-year term, winning 184 votes in the 193-member General Assembly. India will sit in the most powerful UN organ, for two years beginning on 1 January.

“Pleasure to meet FM Sergey Lavrov, this time in person. Excellent talks that reflect our Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. Value our exchanges on the international situation,” Jaishankar tweeted on Wednesday after his talks with Lavrov.

On his part, Lavrov said, “It is a very good, and almost forgotten, feeling to meet in person.

We appreciate this opportunity to discuss prospects for developing our strategic partnership in all areas: bilateral relations and cooperation within the SCO, BRICS, the UN and via other international platforms.”

This was the first physical meeting between the two leaders after the COVID-19 situation and there was excellent discussion on bilateral matters, regional developments and international issues of concern, Srivastava said.

The SCO meeting could not be held earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

India and Russia have a special and privileged strategic partnership and this year marks the 20 years of their strategic partnership.

Last week, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met with his Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoigu in Moscow during which he appreciated the steadfast support provided by Russia in response to the country’s defence and security needs.

Singh, who was on a three-day visit to Russia to attend a crucial meeting of the SCO, pressed for expediting supply of a number of weapons systems, ammunition and spares to India by Russia under contracts which were concluded earlier.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/excellent-discussions-says-mea-as-s-jaishankar-meets-russia-counterpart-sergey-lavrov-in-moscow-8804851.html

FirstPost – Delhi Metro resumes services after 169-day hiatus due to COVID-19; Yellow Line begins limited operations

Delhi Metro services had been closed since 22 March due to the pandemic. The DMRC has appealed to people to use the rapid transport only if urgently needed

New Delhi – India, 07 September 2020. The Delhi Metro resumed services with curtailed operation of the Yellow Line on Monday after being closed for over five months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Yellow Line connects Samaypur Badli in Delhi to the HUDA City Centre in Gurgaon.

The Home Ministry had recently issued guidelines allowing metro services in the country to resume operations in a graded manner, following which the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said it would be done in three stages from 7-12 September.

Under stage one, Yellow Line or Line 2 and Rapid Metro were made operational with restricted service hours, a DMRC official said.

Trains will operate in batches of four-hour each from 7-11 am in the morning and 4-8 pm in the evening in the first stage, officials said.

Metro services in the National Capital Region were closed since 22 March due to the pandemic. The DMRC has appealed to people to use the rapid transport only if urgently needed.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/delhi-metro-resumes-services-after-169-day-hiatus-due-to-covid-19-yellow-line-begins-limited-operations-8790581.html

FirstPost – ‘Enough evidence to prove Facebook’s bias towards BJP’: TMC MP Derek O’Brien writes to Mark Zuckerberg

Earlier, the Congress party had written to Zuckerberg, demanding a probe into the alleged bias and interference by Facebook India in the country’s electoral democracy

New Delhi – India, 02 September 2020. The Trinamool Congress has written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg raising the issue of alleged bias of the social media giant towards the BJP, and claimed that there is enough evidence in the public domain to substantiate this charge.

Party MP Derek O’Brien, who has written the letter to Zuckerberg, also makes a reference to an earlier meeting between the two, where some of these concerns were raised.

“We, the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), India”s second-largest opposition party, have had serious concerns about Facebook’s role during the 2014 and 2019 general elections in India,” O’Brien wrote in the letter dated 31 August, accessed by PTI.

“With the elections in the Indian state of West Bengal just months away, your company’s recent blocking of Facebook pages and accounts in Bengal also points to the link between Facebook and the BJP.

There is enough material now in the public domain, including internal memos of senior Facebook management, to substantiate the bias,” he wrote.

The Rajya Sabha MP also informed the CEO of Facebook that the matter was raised by the party in Parliament in June last year.

“This was done during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address. We are enclosing the relevant portion (video) of that Parliamentary speech, along with this letter.

“We were optimistic that the issues and concerns we raised on the floor of Parliament 14 months ago would empower other political parties and the media to also address this substantive issue, he said in the letter, adding, “The recent series of articles that appeared in the BBC, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Time Magazine and others, vindicates our stand.”

O’Brien also states that he had met Zuckerberg a few years ago and expressed his concerns over some of these issues and urged him “in the interest of transparency, to investigate these serious charges against Facebook’s senior management in India”.

“Please do all it takes to urgently work towards maintaining the integrity of your platform in the Indian electoral process,” the letter states.

Earlier, the Congress party had written to Zuckerberg, demanding a probe into the alleged bias and interference of the social media giant’s India leadership team in the country’s electoral democracy, even as the BJP had taken a swipe at the opposition party, saying any organisation that does not work to its liking is accused of acting under BJP-RSS pressure.

A massive political row broke out after a report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) last week alleged that senior Facebook executives had opposed applying hate speech rules to posts by certain BJP leaders.

Last month, a Facebook spokesperson had said, “We prohibit hate speech and content that incites violence and we enforce these policies globally without regard to anyone’s political position or party affiliation.

While we know there is more to do, we’re making progress on enforcement and conduct regular audits of our process to ensure fairness and accuracy.”

https://www.firstpost.com/india/enough-evidence-to-prove-facebooks-bias-towards-bjp-tmc-mp-derek-obrien-writes-to-mark-zuckerberg-8777431.html

FirstPost – Situation in Ladakh ‘most serious’ since 1962 conflict, says S Jaishankar on India-China border row

The MEA said a solution to the border row with China must be predicated on honouring all agreements and understandings without attempting to alter the status quo unilaterally

New Delhi – India, 27 August 2020. A solution to the border row with China must be predicated on honouring all agreements and understandings without attempting to alter the status quo unilaterally, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said, in a clear assertion of India’s position on the issue.

Jaishankar called the situation in Ladakh the “most serious” after the 1962 conflict, adding the quantum of forces currently deployed by both sides at the Line of Actual Control(LAC) is also “unprecedented”.

At the same time, he noted that all border situations were resolved through diplomacy.

“As you know, we are talking to the Chinese both through military channels and diplomatic ones.

In fact, they work in tandem,” the external affairs minister told Rediff.com in an interview ahead of the release of his book ”The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World”.

“But when it comes to finding a solution, this must be predicated on honouring all agreements and understandings. And not attempting to alter the status quo unilaterally,” he said.

India has been insisting that the border standoff with China must be resolved in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols for border management between the two countries.

Asked how he envisaged the future of India-China ties in the book that was written before the border row erupted, the external affairs minister said it is “an extremely consequential relationship for both and it requires a strategy and a vision”.

“What I have said is that the ability of India and China to work together could determine the Asian century. But their difficulties in doing so may well undermine it.

So, this is an extremely consequential relationship for both. It has its fair share of problems and I have been forthright in acknowledging them,” Jaishankar said.

“We need honest conversations on this, among Indians and between India and China. That is why this relationship requires both a strategy and a vision,” he noted.

Referring to the impact of the border row on the rest of the relationship, Jaishankar said India has conveyed to the Chinese side “clearly” that peace and tranquility in the border areas are the basis for the relationship.

“If we look back at the last three decades, this is quite self-evident. Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a tense standoff in eastern Ladakh for over three-and-half-month despite multiple rounds of diplomatic and military talks.

The tension escalated after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley clash in which Chinese military also suffered casualties.

“This is surely the most serious situation after 1962. In fact, after 45 years, we have had military casualties on this border. The quantum of forces currently deployed by both sides at the LAC is also unprecedented,” Jaishankar said.

The external affairs minister also referred to previous episodes of border tensions with China including in Doklam, affirming that India will do what it takes to secure its borders.

“If you look back over the last decade, there have been a number of border situations, Depsang, Chumar and Doklam. In a sense, each one was different. This one surely is. But what is also common is that all border situations were resolved through diplomacy,” he said.

“I am not minimising either the seriousness or the complex nature of the current situation. Naturally, we have to do what it takes to secure our borders,” Jaishankar added.

In the course of the interview, the external affairs minister touched upon a wide range of issues including India”s ties with the US and Russia, relevance of Jawaharlal Nehru”s non-alignment approach, major burdens from the past and historic global events that influenced India”s diplomacy since 1977 when he joined the Indian Foreign Service.

Asked about Indian thinking in achieving its strategic goals in the 21st century, Jaishankar said, with a billion-plus civilisational society, the country is poised to occupy a much more prominent place in the world.

“That puts us in a pretty unique position. Only China can claim something similar,” he said.

On the impact of an inward looking approach of the US and its ‘America First’ policy, Jaishankar said India should take a “clinical view” of its own interests and not get entangled in the debates of others.

“We have a broad spectrum of support in the US. These relations have progressed through multiple administrations. And that tells us that the convergences are getting deeper and broader by the day,” he said.

“Like everybody else, both India and the US are coming to terms with the changing world and are obviously discovering the merits of doing more together,” he added.

On ties with Russia, he said the relationship has been remarkably consistent even though the world has seen dramatic changes over the last three decades and that the convergences are “very strong” in many areas.

“But popular sentiment and leadership efforts have also given these ties an exceptional character. Its growing economic content and cooperation in Russia”s Far East are new facets that have strengthened it recently,” he added.

Asked about the burden from the past, he identified the result of Partition, a 15-year gap in ushering in economic reforms compared to China and stretching of the nuclear option.

“Whatever the causes, the result of Partition was a reduction in India’s geo-political significance and global standing. As for the economic reforms, I would compare our moment of change with that of China. There is a 15-year gap, which has huge implications,” he said.

Jaishankar further said: “As for stretching the nuclear option, that we finally concluded in 1998, it unnecessarily prolonged the hyphenation with Pakistan.”

“People may debate the compulsions and merits of each of these factors. But no one can deny that they had a serious impact on our strategic prospects,” he added.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/situation-in-ladakh-most-serious-since-1962-conflict-says-s-jaishankar-on-india-china-border-row-8760401.html

FirstPost – ‘Tablighis made scapegoats’: Bombay HC’s stinging remarks on FIRs against foreign attendees

A division bench of Justices T V Nalawade and M G Sewlikar made the observations while quashing the FIRs filed against 29 foreigners, who had attended the event in Delhi

Mumbai – Maharashtra – India, 22 August 2020. Punching several holes in the narrative that Tablighi Jamaat attendees were responsible for spreading COVID-19 in India, a division bench of the Bombay High Court has struck down criminal cases registered against 29 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members, media reports said.

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has said that the foreign nationals, who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event held in Delhi in March this year, are victims of political compulsions and were made “scapegoats” following an “unwarranted propaganda” against them.

A division bench of Justices T V Nalawade and M G Sewlikar noted that while the Maharashtra police acted mechanically in the case, the state government acted under “political compulsion”.

The 29 foreign nationals were booked under various provisions of the IPC, the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act and Foreigner’s Act for allegedly violating their tourist visa conditions by attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation held at a Nizamuddin markaz (centre) in the National Capital.

The bench in its order noted that there was a big propaganda against the foreigners who had come to the markaz in Delhi.

“A political government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them a scapegoat,” the court said in its order.

“There was big propaganda in print media and electronic media against the foreigners who had come to Markaz Delhi and an attempt was made to create a picture that these foreigners were responsible for spreading covid-19 virus in India.

There was virtually persecution against these foreigners. The propaganda against the so-called religious activity (Tablighi Jamaat) was unwarranted. The activity was going on for more than 50 years and it is there throughout the year,” the bench was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench.

It said that the circumstances and the latest figures of COVID-19 infection in India show that such action against the petitioners should not have been taken.

“It is now high time for the concerned to repent about this action taken against the foreigners and to take some positive steps to repair the damage done by such action,” the court said.

In its order, the bench noted that many Muslims from across the world come to India and visit the Nizamuddin markaz (also a mosque) in Delhi as they are attracted to the reform movement of the Tablighi Jamat.

“It is a continuous process and it appears that there are arrangements of stay also made by the Muslims at (the) markaz Delhi,” it said. The bench added that the visits of these foreigners to Masjids in India were not prohibited and there is nothing on record to show that this activity is prohibited permanently by the government.

“The activity of Tablighi Jamat got stalled only after the declaration of lock-down in Delhi and till then it was going on,” the court said.

The bench further questioned as to whether the people in India are really acting as per the country’s great tradition and culture of welcoming guests.

“During the situation created by COVID-19 pandemic, we need to show more tolerance and need to be more sensitive towards our guests, particularly like the present petitioners.

Instead of helping them, we lodged them in jails by making allegations that they were responsible for violation of travel documents and that they are responsible for spreading the coronavirus,” the court said.

The bench noted that the Maharashtra Police acted mechanically in the matter and the state government acted under “political compulsion”.

Slamming the authorities for the propaganda driven action, the court said: “The government cannot give different treatment to citizens of different religions of different countries.”

It also noted that the action was unequivocally directed against Muslims alone.

“The record of this matter and the submissions made show that action of Central Government was taken mainly against Muslim persons who had come to Markaz Delhi for Tabligh Jamamat.

Similar action was not taken against other foreigners belonging to other religions. Due to these circumstances, the background of the action and what is achieved needs to be considered by the Court.”

Apart from the foreign nationals, the Maharashtra Police had also booked six Indian nationals and trustees of masjids which offered shelter to the petitioners.

The bench was hearing three separate petitions filed by the accused foreign nationals, who belong to countries like Ghana, Tanzania, Benin and Indonesia.

At the end of the judgement, Justice Sewlikar said that while he agrees with the quashing part of the order, he has differing views on a few observations made by Justice Nalawade. However, he did not specify which observations.

Durign the hearing, the petitioners claimed that they came to India on valid visa in February 2020 and before 10 March, 2020 to experience Indian culture, tradition, hospitality and Indian food.

They claimed that when they arrived in India, they were screened and were let to leave the airport only after they did not show any symptoms of COVID-19. The petitioners further claimed that they were visiting several places in India to observe the religious practices of Muslims.

They claimed that due to lockdown imposed across the country in March, the petitioners, who were in Ahmednagar district at the time, were accommodated in masjids as most lodges and hotels were closed.

They further claimed that while granting visa, there was no prohibition to visit religious places like masjids.

The police, while opposing the pleas, said that post-lockdown, announcements were made at public places, asking persons who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event to come forward voluntarily for testing, but the petitioners did not do so, and created a threat of spreading the coronavirus.

The prosecution further argued that the accused persons were propagating Islam religion among public. The court, however, refused to accept this argument and said there is nothing on record to show that the foreigners (accused persons) were spreading Islam religion by converting persons of other religions to Islam.

The bench further held that no orders were issued by any authority preventing Indians from accommodating persons in masjids or supplying meals to persons, including foreigners.

The Centre had issued individual orders on a case-to-case basis for cancellation of visas and blacklisting of over 2,500 foreign nationals, who had taken part in the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area.

In a sweeping action, at least 205 FIRs were lodged against the foreign Tablighi Jamaat members by 11 states and 2,765 such foreigners were blacklisted from visiting India again. The Supreme Court, however, had allowed them to challange their blacklisting in various high courts.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/tablighis-made-scapegoats-bombay-hcs-stinging-remarks-on-firs-against-foreign-attendees-8741751.html

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FirstPost – Who qualifies as ‘Assamese’? A look at confidential report on Clause 6 of Assam Accord released by AASU

The AASU, which was a part of the high-level committee on Clause 6 of Assam Accord, released the confidential report, saying that the public has the right to know the contents

First Post Staff

Guwahati – Assam – India, 13 August 2020. On 25 February, a high-level committee formed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), had submitted its recommendations for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, so that it could be handed over to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

This confidential report was made public on Tuesday (11 August), by the All Assam Students Union (AASU).

According to PTI, AASU said that the public has the right to know of the contents of the report on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, a key provision that has been contentious for decades as it debates over who can be defined as ‘“Assamese people”.

This report on Clause 6 defines “Assamese people” as all persons residing in the territory of Assam on or before 1 January, 1951, and their descendants. It has selected 1951 as being selected as a cut-off year, has left minority groups worried.

The AASU and another committee member Nilay Dutta, who is the advocate general of Arunachal Pradesh, addressed a press conference, saying that they were releasing it only because the “government is just sitting idle”.

“It has been more than five months since we submitted the report but there is simply no action from the government.

People are asking us daily what happened to it. We have finally decided to release it as the people have the right to know,” AASU chief advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya said.

So what is Clause 6 of the Assam Accord?

As per Clause 6, Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the culture, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

The bone of contention since the signing of the pact on 13 August 1985, has been the definition of Assamese people, which the committee tried to fix as the tribal, indigenous and all other Indian citizens residing within the territory of Assam as per the First Schedule of the Constitution on or before 1 January 1951 along with their descendants.

The signing of the accord in 1985 ended a six-year-long, violent anti-immigrant movement, sparked by anxiety by the migration into Assam from Bangladesh in the aftermath of the Bangladesh War of 1971.

According to Scroll.in, using the war as the cut-off, the Accord defined anyone who came before midnight on 24 March, 1971 as an Indian citizen in Assam. But the accord did not define who falls under the ambit of “Assamese people”.

On 25 February, the high-level committee on the implementation of Clause 6, headed by Justice (Retired) B K Sharma, had submitted the report to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for handing it over to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The chairman of the committee had submitted the report to the chief minister in the presence of the entire state cabinet, top government officials, and journalists.

Who qualifies as Assamese A look at confidential report on Clause 6 of Assam Accord released by AASU

So what does this confidential report say?

The ‘confidential’ report released by ASSU sought to implement the Assam Accord in letter and spirit and has also asked the government for prompt measures to seal the India-Bangladesh border.

It also suggested reservation of 80-100 percent in Parliament seats from the state, while recommended creation of an Upper House in Assam.

Who is defined as ‘Assamese’?

According to The Print, AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath during the press conference said that the committee had recommended five specific categories to define the ‘Assamese’ keeping in mind the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

These categories were – Assamese communities residing in the territory of Assam on or before 1 January, 1951, any indigenous tribal community residing in the territory of Assam on or before 1 January, 1951, any other indigenous community residing in the territory of Assam on or before 1 January, 1951, all other citizens of India residing in the territory of Assam on or before 1 January, 1951 and descendants of the above categories.

Reservation in Parliament

It also suggested reservation of 80-100 percent in Parliament seats from Assam should be reserved for the “Assamese people” as defined above. The report further suggested a similar percentage of posts in the Central government, Central public sector units, and private sector companies operating in Assam should be reserved for the “Assamese people”.

Creation of an Upper House in Assam

The report has also suggested the creation of an Upper House of the Assam legislature, in which all seats would be reserved for “Assamese people”. “The composition of the House shall be from among the SC [Scheduled Castes], ST [Scheduled Tribes] and the tribes/communities of the State,” the report said.

Assamese language to remain official language in the state

The high-level committee in its report has also said that the Assamese language should continue to be the official language of the state with appropriate provisions for use of local languages in Barak Valley, Hill Districts and the BTAD (Bodoland Territorial Area Districts).

The committee also suggested a mandatory provision of an Assamese language paper for recruitment in state government services with alternatives for Barak Valley districts, BTAD and Hills Districts.

Land Rights

The committee in its report recommended that land rights in Assam be confined to those defined as the “Assamese”. “Unless the land rights of the “Assamese People” are protected along with the political rights, it will be a futile exercise to adopt measures for full implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord in its true spirit,” it said.

‘Not acceptable for government to neglect report’

“We do not know where the report is. Is it in the chief minister’s almirah or somewhere? Has it been sent to Delhi? It is not acceptable to neglect the report this way,” Bhattacharya said during the press conference on Tuesday.

When asked if there will be any legal implication for making the report public, senior advocate Dutta said it will not have any repercussions.

According to The Telegraph, the ASSU also noted that the BJP’s state unit president Ranjeet Kumar Dass’s recent observation that several recommendations in the report would be difficult to implement had forced their hands.

“It is clear that the report is out in some quarters. Let there be debate and discussion on what it is not implementable,” AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said.

Unfortunate that report was made public, says CM

Soon after the report was made public, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal termed it as “unfortunate” that the AASU made the report public.

Assuring that the state government is committed to implementing the said provision of the 1985 agreement, Sonowal in a statement said, the BJP-led government will not do anything that will harm the interests of the people.

The Union Home Ministry had in January last year formed the committee headed by retired Union Secretary P Bezbaruah, but six of the nine members declined to be part of it, following which the panel was reconstituted on 16 July, 2019 with 14 members and Justice Sharma as its chairman.

With inputs from agencies

https://www.firstpost.com/india/who-qualifies-as-assamese-a-look-at-confidential-report-on-clause-6-of-assam-accord-released-by-aasu-8703641.html

FirstPost – Two Madhya Pradesh policemen suspended after video of cops attacking two Sikhs goes viral

Barwani district S P Nimish Agrawal said a probe by a sub-divisional officer police has been ordered into the incident

Barwani – Madhya Pradesh – India, 08 August 2020. Two Sikhs were allegedly assaulted by policemen in Madhya Pradesh, prompting the BJP-led state government to suspend two cops in this connection.

Those assaulted include a granthi (caretaker of a gurdwara and reader of Guru Granth Sahib, the central religious scripture of Sikhism), an official said.

The government said assistant sub-inspector Sitaram Bhatnagar and head constable Mohan Jamre have been suspended for not following due procedure while detaining the Sikhs.

Barwani district Superintendent of Police Nimish Agrawal said a probe by a sub-divisional officer police has been ordered into the incident, which took place on Thursday.

The incident took place in Rajpur tehsil of Barwani district after an argument between the family of Giani Prem Singh Granthi, who was among those assaulted, and the police over setting up a stall in the area.

A viral video of the incident shows Prem Singh being dragged by policemen in full public view and a cop pulling him by his hair. It also shows another policeman push a turbaned man, who comes to save Singh.

State Congress spokesperson Narendra Saluja tweeted the video and criticised the police.

“The granthi has long been running a lock-keys shop near the Pulsood police outpost. He was beaten, his turban desecrated and then he was pulled through hair on the road in full public view by cops.

This amounts to insulting religious sentiments of the Sikh community,” Saluja tweeted.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal took to Twitter to condemn the incident.

“Too shocking for words! The barbaric and humiliating attack on Giani Prem Singh Granthi and other Sikhs in Madhya Pradesh is utterly inhuman and unacceptable.

I urge CM @ChouhanShivraj to set an example of punitive action against those who treat the sword of the nation with such contempt,” Badal tweeted.

“Beastly attack on Giani Prem Singh Granthi & other Sikhs in MP is an outrage against humanity. Utterly reprehensible & unacceptable! #Sikhs all over the world are deeply shocked.

I urge CM @ChouhanShivraj to take imm & examplary action against all those guilty of this brutality,” Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal tweeted.

Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath tweeted, “This atrocity and anti-social act is disrespect to the holy Sikh religion. Such incidents cannot be tolerated. I demand from the government to immediately take strong action against those responsible for it and justice for the victims.”

https://www.firstpost.com/india/two-madhya-pradesh-policemen-suspended-after-video-of-cops-attacking-two-sikhs-goes-viral-8685921.html