The Hindu – L’affaire Jacob Zuma: How the Guptas became Zuptas in South Africa

The family from Saharanpur is at the centre of the most outrageous political scandal to hit the African National Congress.

Josy Joseph

Johannesburg-Transvaal-Suid Afrika, 16 February 2018. When Atul Gupta, hailing from the nondescript, dusty Rani Bazar in Saharanpur, landed in South Africa in 1993 that country was still shaking off racial apartheid, and recently freed Nelson Mandela was still a few months away from becoming the first black President.

A quarter of a century later, with a sprawling business empire under its wings and several family members now South African citizens, the Gupta family is at the centre of the most outrageous political scandal to shake up post-apartheid South Africa.

The scandal claimed its biggest victim on Wednesday evening: President Jacob Zuma was forced to resign after members of his own party, African National Congress, threatened to vote in favour of the Opposition’s no-confidence motion in Parliament.

While South Africa turned out to be their El Dorado, the Guptas were not kind enough to their host country.

Building deep contacts within its politics, especially with the Zuma faction, the Guptas carried out what local media calls the “state capture”, where they dictated senior level appointments, manipulated state-controlled companies, received kickbacks, distributed expensive gifts including houses to the Zuma family, and finally when their shenanigans began to unravel, they hired a PR firm to unleash a campaign that tried to deepen racial divisions in South Africa.

The first scent

The three Gupta brothers, Ajay, Atul and Rajesh, grew up watching, and later working with their father Shiv Kumar Gupta, who ran ration shops, and distributed soapstone powder used in talcum powder. Besides, the senior Gupta also imported spices from Madagascar and Zanzibar, which probably gave the family their early exposure to Africa and its possibilities.

On his father’s advice Atul landed in South Africa in 1993, after his elder brother Ajay failed to break into the China market. With some money advanced by his family, Atul started Correct Marketing in 1994, and in 1997, as the business began to flourish, they changed the company name to Sahara Computers.

Meanwhile, one after the other, the rest of the Gupta family began to join Atul in South Africa.

Sprawling empire

The Sahara turnover zoomed from just over a million Rand in 1994 to almost 100 million Rand by 1997, and by 2016 Atul Gupta was listed the seventh richest South African with a personal wealth valued at Rand 10 billion (over $700 million).

His place should be seen against the larger reality of South Africa: Atul Gupta is today the richest person of colour, and the list of the richest South Africans is still predominantly white.

Sahara is today a sprawling business empire, not just a computer firm. In the mining sector, it has a string of companies and has interests in uranium, coal, diamonds and gold. It also runs companies for steel fabrication for mining, engineering and manufacturing parts for armoured vehicles.

As their ambitions grew and links to the Zuma regime deepened, the Guptas got into the media in a big way. Their newspaper The New Age, launched in 2010, is unabashedly pro-Zuma. In 2013, they launched a news channel, ANN7, which too has the same political slant.

The Guptas today live in the sprawling Sahara Estate in Saxonwold, Johannesburg with at least four mansions, and also have houses in Cape Town, Dubai, and elsewhere. They also have extensive interests in Switzerland and other tax havens.

They carefully cultivated the Zuma family as they began to grow in business, from their first meeting with the then vice-president Zuma in 2003. The Guptas extended support to Zuma in his power struggle with the then president Thabo Mbeki.

Zuma’s wife, son and daughter have worked for the Gupta family at various times. And son Duduzane Zuma became a business partner too.

In 2016, details began to spill out about the Gupta family’s business benefits from the Zuma ties. Some called in the “shadow government”, others called it the “state capture.”

The story was simple, the Gupta family had virtually taken over key functions of the State, manipulating government contracts, appointing senior functionaries, distributing kickbacks, showering gifts on the President and others.

In all these, the Guptas never forgot India. In the summer of 2013, they put up a grand show, lining up several Indian VVIPs for a wedding in the family.

A Jet Airways Airbus A330 landed on April 30, 2013 in a South African Air Force base, scandalising the country and showing off the influence of these smalltime traders from Saharanpur in the nascent democracy.

Whenever they could, the Guptas flaunted their friendship with politicians, film stars, cricket legends, and other who’s who of Indian public life.

They also virtually captured the Bank of Baroda’s operations in South Africa to turn into a virtual private entity with no due diligence.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/laffaire-jacob-zuma-how-the-guptas-became-zuptas-in-south-africa/article22764679.ece?homepage=true

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The Hindu – One arrest so far in Uttar Pradesh student’s murder

He was beaten to death at a restaurant

Omar Rashid

Lucknow-UP-India, 12 February 2018. One person was arrested on Sunday in connection with the murder of a Dalit law student who was beaten to death by three persons after a minor argument at a restaurant in Allahabad.

The matter came to light after a video of the incident was circulated on social media. The victim was identified as Dileep Saroj, a second-year LLB student in Allahabad Degree College.

The incident took place on Friday night when Dileep had gone to a restaurant in Katra Bazaar for dinner with three friends. Police said Dileep had an argument with three persons who thrashed him.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Allahabad) Akash Kulhary in his report said Dileep received “serious injuries to his head” and died in the ICU of a hospital on Sunday. Police have identified Vijay Shankar Singh of Sultanpur as the main accused in the case. He is posted as a TTE in the Indian Railways.

Police have arrested Munna Singh Chauhan, a waiter at the hotel, based on CCTV footage. Many others are being questioned, while three constables have been suspended for dereliction to duty.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati described the incident as “brutal” and said the entire Dalit community was hurt and worried by the murder.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/one-arrest-so-far-in-up-students-murder/article22733465.ece

The Hindu – Oust Tripura’s Left government, says Shah

Mohanpur-Tripura-India, 12 February 2018. BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday asked the people of Tripura to oust the Lal bhai government, as he accused the Left cadres of pocketing public funds meant for development.

He promised to make the State a model if his party were to be voted to power.

Mr. Shah led an eight-km roadshow and addressed meetings in which he sought votes for the State’s “transformation”.

Without naming Rahul Gandhi, he alleged that the Congress chief had put up candidates as ‘vote-katva’ (cutting into others’ votes) to help the CPI(M) government headed by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar to come back to power.

The Congress was the main Opposition party until the last Assembly polls, but has seen a serious depletion in its ranks with many of its leaders, including MLAs, joining the BJP.

“The government of ‘Lal bhai’ and its cadres have looted Tripura for 25 years in the name of development… A BJP government is bound to come. It won’t be merely a change of MLAs or government but will usher in its transformation,” Mr Shah said.

The Left government, he said, was made in the name of the poor but poverty increased in its 25 years of rule and the number of unemployed youths rose to 7.33 lakh from 25,000 during the period.

A BJP government will give employment to every household, he said.

Taking on Mr Sarkar for his charge that the Centre had not done much for the State’s development, the BJP chief reeled out the names of a number of central schemes and noted that it had released Rs 25,396 crore to Tripura under the 14th Finance Commission against Rs 7,283 crore it had got under the 13th Finance Commission.

“Where has all this extra Rs 18,000 crore gone? It has gone into pockets of Communist cadres. I dare Sarkar to give an account of this money in his public meeting,” Mr. Shah said at the rally.

Raising the party’s slogan, Chalo Paltai (Let’s change the government), Mr. Shah sought the Left’s ouster from the State.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/oust-left-government-says-shah/article22723542.ece

The Hindu – Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu top NITI Aayog’s health index report

Special Correspondent

New Delhi-India, 09 February 2018. Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu were the top rankers in NITI Aayog’s latest Health Index report which has, for the first time, attempted to establish an annual systematic tool to measure and understand the heterogeneity and complexity of the nation’s performance in the health sector.

The document, developed by NITI Aayog with technical assistance from the World Bank and in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, indicates that Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh showed the maximum improvement in indicators such as Neonatal Mortality Rate, Under-five Mortality Rate, full immunisation coverage, institutional deliveries, and People Living with HIV (PLHIV) on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART).

The report was released on Friday by Amitabh Kant (CEO of NITI Aayog), Preeti Sudan (secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) and Junaid Ahmad (country director, World Bank). The next report will be released in June this year and district hospitals too would be ranked.

“We would rank 730 district hospitals based on their performance. We want to encourage the good performers and name and shame those who aren’t,” said Mr. Kant.

Manipur registered maximum incremental progress in indicators such as PLHIV on ART, first trimester antenatal care registration, grading quality parameters of Community Health Centres, average occupancy of key state-level officers and good reporting on the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).

Lakshadweep showed the highest improvement in indicators such as institutional deliveries, TB treatment success rate, and transfer of National Health Mission funds from the state treasury to implementation agency.

“Kerala ranks on top in terms of overall performance but sees the least incremental change as it had already achieved low levels of Neonatal Mortality Rate, Under-five Mortality Rate and replacement level fertility, leaving limited space for any further improvement,” noted the report.

“Common challenges for most States and Union Territories include the need to focus on addressing vacancies in key staff, establishment of functional district cardiac care units, quality accreditation of public health facilities and institutionalisation of human resources management information system.

Additionally, almost all larger states need to focus on improving the Sex Ratio at Birth,” explained Mr. Kant.

“This Index is expected to nudge states towards further achieving a rapid transformation of their health systems and population health outcomes.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala-punjab-tn-top-niti-aayogs-health-index-report/article22707013.ece

The Hindu – Punjab farmers demand total loan waiver

Vikas Vasudeva

Chandigarh-Panjab-India, 8 February 2018. Hundreds of farmers belonging to seven unions in Punjab on Wednesday staged a State-wide protest blocking national and state highways demanding a complete loan waiver.

Annoyed with the debt waiver scheme announced last month by the Congress government, the farmers accused the  Chief Minister Capt. Amrinder Singh of going back on his poll promise of a complete loan waiver. The blockade lasted for about two hours.

“State farmers are committing suicide because of debt. What government has announced is only a partial waiver, which will not serve the purpose,” Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta, said.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/farmers-demand-total-loan-waiver/article22682099.ece

The Hindu – When two people get into wedlock, no one should interfere, says Supreme Court

Chief Justice Dipak Misra says no third party has the right to harass a couple, in reference to honour killings

Krishnadas Rajagopal

New Delhi-India, 6 February 2018. Two adults are free to marry and “no third party” has a right to harass or cause harm to them, said Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, speaking against honour killings on Monday.

“When two people get into wedlock, no one should interfere. Neither parents, society, khap or panchayat… no one at all,” said Chief Justice Misra, leading a three-judge Bench that upheld the fundamental right of two people who wish to marry and live peacefully.

‘Honour killing’

When activist Madhu Kishwar brought up the issue of Ankit Saxena, a young man who was allegedly murdered by his lover’s parents, the Chief Justice said, “We are not into that. That is not before us”.

Ms Kishwar said “honour killing” was “too soft a word” for such crimes against young people. “They should be called hate crimes”, she submitted.

But the Chief Justice repeated that no one has any individual, group or collective right to harass a couple.

A senior counsel, who represented the khap panchayats, objected to them being portrayed as “inciters” of honour killings.

“Just don’t be,” the Chief Justice replied.

The counsel said such panchayats were age-old traditions and they did encourage inter-caste marriages now. He argued that the objection of khaps to marriages between people from the same gotra was upheld in Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955.

The Section said, “Sapinda should be removed by five degrees from the father’s side and by three degrees from the mother’s side.” He said only 3% of honour killings were linked to gotra. The remaining 97% were due to religion and other reasons.

Marriage within the same gotra led to genetic deformity in children, the counsel argued.

“We encourage inter-caste marriages. In Haryana, because of the skewed gender ratio, we get women from other States,” the counsel said.

Freedom of adults

But the Chief Justice said the court was not concerned about khap panchayats either. “We are not writing an essay here on traditions, lineages, etc. We are only concerned with the freedom of adults to marry and live together without facing harassment,” he said.

The counsel for khaps agreed that “custom is not above human lives”.

The court is hearing a petition filed by Shakti Vahini, an NGO, to make honour killing a specific crime.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/when-two-people-get-into-wedlock-no-one-should-interfere-says-supreme-court/article22657426.ece

The Hindu – Tattooed ‘blue-skinned’ Hindu Pashtuns look back at their roots

Former President Hamid Karzai meets the small, forgotten Afghan ‘Sheen Khalai’ community in India on whom a film is being made

Suhasini Haidar

Jaipur-Rajastan-India, 03 February 2018. As they walk through the corridors of the exhibition, looking at photographs of themselves in traditional clothes, the women begin to sing first. At first, the tune is tentative.

Then, as more and more join in, it becomes a roaring chorus, and they clap to words of the song, ‘Sheen Khalai’, and dance the ‘Attan’ folk dance in the way they were taught seven decades ago.

‘Sheen Khalai’ (blue skin) is not just a name for these women and men, many of them well over 90 years old, it is the story of their identity, one that brings forth tears even today. They fled with their families from the tribal areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Partition in 1947.

The women are part of a community of Pashtun Hindus that lived in the Baloch areas of Quetta, Loralai, Bori and Maikhter, and belong to the Kakari tribes still living there. 1947 was a second partition for their villages, as the British-imposed Durand Line in 1893 had already given their villages to Pakistan, despite the people’s Pashtun lineage.

In 1947, they were forced out of their homes overnight. “The government told us to leave quickly and go to India. We didn’t even look back at our homes, just ran,” says Lakshmi Devi, who can’t remember her age now, but says she was a teenager then.

Like many other Hindu families from Sindh and Balochistan, Lakshmi Devi, her father and siblings were sent to resettle in the village of Unniara in Rajasthan, about 130 km south of Jaipur. But once they reached, they realised that while being Hindu brought them shelter, it didn’t bring them acceptance, given their ‘Sheen Khalai’.

“It was their blue skin, the colour of the face tattoos that women in tribal areas have, that set them apart from their neighbours, and even from the Hindu women of Pakistan,” explains Shilpi Batra Advani, a documentary filmmaker from a Pashtun Hindu family.

Ms. Advani is completing a film on the Sheen Khalai. “My own grandmother started to cover her face, and was shy around outsiders, because she feared being shunned for the tribal tattoos that were looked down upon,” she adds.

Some had trouble renting a home, others were viewed with suspicion by neighbours. “We tried to scrub and scrub, but the tattoos wouldn’t fade away,” says 103-year old Pyari Devi in Ms Advani’s film.

As a result, most found it easier to assimilate as Pakistani-Hindu women not as Pashtuns, dressed in saris and salwar suits, and spoke the local language publicly while teaching their children Pashto.

Mining memories

In her quest for information about their past, Shilpi Advani, with her mother Yashoda’s help, began work on the film about the roughly 500-600 Hindu Pushtun community members in India.

She interviewed elders for their memories, and coaxed women into pulling out old traditional tribal clothes from the bottom of their suitcases, like the ‘kakari kameez’ they would have worn in their villages. Most were frayed at the edges, but still rich with embroidery, mirror work and colourful tassels, which Ms. Advani restored.

During the course of her research, Ms. Advani spent a year and a half in Kabul and spoke to journalists about her family’s villages in Balochistan across the line.

One day, she received a video over a social media site: it was an interview with an old villager in Balochistan’s Maikhter who remembered his neighbour Prakash and his two daughters had left for India one hurried night.

The name rang a bell and Ms Advani traced back the family in Rajasthan for her film. The audience watching the interviews claps with joy at a glimpse of the village.

But the biggest joy comes from a special visitor who inaugurates the exhibition and speaks to them: former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

Ms Advani reached out to him in Kabul five years ago. “Hearing women singing these old songs is a very special experience. This was them asserting their identity, asserting that no force, or separation or partition can destroy this,” Mr Karzai told The Hindu.

The Pashtun leader, who was himself once an exile during the 1980s in Shimla, tells his listeners that he met Sikhs from the Frontier area of Mardaan. Among them was his mentor Ajaib Singh, who was equally fierce about his heritage, he says.

When asked about the status of minorities in Afghanistan today, after they were attacked and driven out by the Taliban regime in the 1990s, Mr Karzai says the Taliban was under “Pakistani influence” and doesn’t represent Afghan sentiments.

“The Afghan people want them back. Even just after I took over as President [in 2002], one of my oldest teachers told me our Hindus and Sikhs have suffered more than the Muslims of Afghanistan. He wanted me to bring them back. We had an Ambassador to Canada, and my economic advisor, from the minorities,” he says.

Ms Advani says her project is for the official recognition of her community. “This is about validation, about giving us a name after all these years of hiding our identity,” she explains.

One by one, the women and men of the Pushtun Hindu community step up to tell their stories, of how they preserved their heritage despite all the odds. “We have changed our clothes (pahnava),” nonagenarian Shanti Devi says in fluent Pashto. “But our hearts and tongues remain Pushtun.”

“We have always wondered what we are, since no one owned us,” says Leelaram, who is in his late eighties. “Are we Afghan, or Pakistani or Indian or Hindu or Pushtun?” he asks, and then to answer his own question, he adds, “Today, we have become Pushtuns again.”

They all cheer and break into another song, a happy wedding song about ‘beautiful Laila’ that they learnt when they were very young.

Here, just for this moment in the aptly named Frontier Colony in Jaipur, borders have blended, the subcontinent is not so divided and history is not so unkind to this tiny community of ‘Sheen Khalai’, as they sing these words:

Tora shpa da tora khun, sheenkhalai na da Maloom/ Tora Shpa ba khudai runya ki, sheenkhalai ba khudai paida ki

(It’s a dark night and in a dark room,/ Your Sheen Khalai has disappeared./ But the dawn will break and light will start to enter the room./ Sheen Khalai will start to glow again.)

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tattooed-blue-skinned-hindu-pushtuns-look-back-at-their-roots/article22645932.ece

The Hindu – Highest-ever allocation to fast-forward Railway plans

Rs 148.528 crore earmarked to boost track conversion and capacity addition

Lalatendu Mishra

New Delhi-India, 2 February 2018. In the highest-ever allocation, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced a capital expenditure of Rs 148528 crore for the Railway Ministry for the year 2018-19.

A large part of these funds will be utilised for capacity addition. The government has decided to double 18,000 km of tracks and to work on third and fourth lines in several sectors.

“Five thousand kilometres of gauge conversion would augment capacity and transform almost the entire network into broad gauge,” the Finance Minister said. Mr Jaitley also said 4000 km of the railway network will be commissioned for electrification during 2017-18.

Freight corridors

The budget has also made provision for acquisition of 12000 wagons, 5160 coaches and approximately 700 locomotives during 2018-19. The Finance Minister said work on the eastern and western dedicated freight corridors was in full swing.

While Rs 51000 crore has been allocated for strengthening the Mumbai suburban network, the budget has allocated Rs 17000 crore to add 160 km of suburban network in Bengaluru to cater to the growth of the metropolis.

Responding to the allocations, Vishwas Udgirkar, partner, Deloitte India, said: “Measures announced on Railways investment is laudable, with focus on capacity creation, passenger safety, doubling of lines, and electrification. Specific mention of improving suburban train system in Mumbai is heartening announcement.”

Sudhir Rao, managing director, India, Bombardier Transportation, said going by the Budget announcement, the Railway Ministry has a vision to create a world-class, environmentally sustainable, energy efficient rail transportation in India.

“Our rail vehicles from commuter trains to metros, monorails to locomotives, high-speed trains to light rail vehicles provide sustainable mobility across cities globally moving millions daily. We are pleased with the intent for procurement of rolling stock by Indian Railways,” Mr Rao said.

“As a leading supplier of rail systems and products, we welcome the priority given to execution of projects. Capital expenditure of Rs 148 lakh crore was announced and most of this money will be spent on capacity expansion which represents huge business opportunities for rail suppliers,” he added.

“Modernising the railways riding on technology offers the appropriate ecosystem for the development of smart cities. This will help attract more business and increased employment opportunities for the local populace,” said Keshav R Murugesh, Group CEO, WNS Global Services.

Tech solutions

Rajaji Meshram, director, Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare Services, KPMG in India said, “The focus of investment is on safety, electrification, track doubling/tripling and rolling stock such as train sets, wagons, coaches and locomotives.”

http://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/budget-2018-highest-ever-allocation-to-fast-forward-railway-plans/article22624140.ece?homepage=true

The Hindu – India’s ‘unwanted’ girls: Economic Survey highlights how preference for sons is hurting daughters

K Deepalakshmi

New Delhi-India, 30 January 2018. While an average Indian family prefers to have two children, there are instances where families have more than five children if the last child is not a male.

The Economic Survey has mentioned that the desire for a male child has created 21 million “unwanted” girls in India between 0 and 25 years.

Chapter Seven of the Survey, tabled in Parliament on Monday, deals with gender equality. While India has shown improvement in several parameters related to women’s empowerment, the preference for a son has not diminished.

“In some sense, once born, the lives of women are improving but society still appears to want fewer of them to be born,” the Survey stated.

The Survey has taken note of the behavioural pattern of Indian parents who prefer to have children “until the desired number of sons are born.”

Calling this the “son meta-preference,” the Survey has found that while an average Indian family prefers to have two children, there are instances where families have more than five children if the last child is not a male.

The biologically determined natural sex ratio at birth is 1050 males per 1000 females. After sex selection was declared illegal in India in 1994, the sex ratio at birth (SRB) began to stabilise. In 1970, the SRB was 1060 males per 1000 females. In 2014, this rose to 1108, contrary to the belief that development would mend the skewed sex ratio.

The Survey pointed out the missing link by analysing the sex ratio of last child (SRLC). The SRLC in India is biased against females and is lower by 9.5 percentage points in 2015-16 in comparison with other countries.

The sex ratio among families with one child stood at 1.82 i.e., 1820 males per 1000 females. This drops to 1.55 for families with two children and rises to 1.65 for three, and drops to 1.51 and 1.45 for four and five children, respectively.

Comparing it with the sex ratio of families where the last child is not a male, it stands at 1.07, 0.86, 0.85, 0.84, 0.88 respectively. This shows the Indian families tend to “stop” having children after a son is born.

The Survey pointed out several reasons behind preferring a male child such as compulsion of a woman to move to her husband’s house post marriage, inheritance of property, rituals performed by sons, and dowry, among others.

Male child preference lowest in Meghalaya

The male child preference is highest in Punjab and Haryana and lowest in Meghalaya. More than 2 million women go missing across age groups every year either due to sex-selective abortion, disease, neglect, or inadequate nutrition, according to the National Family and Health Survey (NFHS).

While more women are educated, employed and earning than 10 years ago, they still do not have control over their earnings and childbirth. Quoting the NFHS, the Survey pointed out that more women tend to quit their employment after marriage or childbirth.

The Survey recommended that the nation must confront the societal preference for male offspring.

Noting that schemes such as Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samridhi Yojana, enhanced maternity leave and mandatory creches in workplaces are steps in the right direction, the Survey called for a stronger commitment on the gender front similar to the government’s push for Ease of Doing Business.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indias-unwanted-girls-economic-survey-highlights-how-preference-for-sons-is-hurting-daughters/article22592533.ece?homepage=true

The Hindu – SIT formed to investigate Kasganj communal clash

Rapid Action Force and Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel have intensified vigil in the district

Staff Reporter

Meerut-UP-India, 27 January 2018. Uttar Pradesh police have arrested 49 people and constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the communal clash that led to the death of one person and injured two others on Friday.

Though the curfew-bound town remained tense, the situation was largely in control.

No entry to town

Minutes after the last rites of the deceased Chandan Gupta were completed on Saturday morning, a rioting mob burnt shops and buses. Senior police and administrative officers camping in Kasganj were reportedly angry with local police personnel for failing to control the rioting mob.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Sadhvi Prachi tried to attend the funeral of the victim, but she was stopped before she could enter the town. The police had by then sealed all the the entry points to Kasganj.

Out of 49 people who were arrested, 10 have been booked on charges of murder and rioting. The remaining 39 were arrested on charges of disrupting law and order and burning buses and shops.

Kasganj District Magistrate R P Singh told The Hindu that two cases had been registered in the Kasganj Kotwali police Station. All Internet services have been suspended from 5 pm on 27th January to 10 pm on 28th January, he said.

“An FIR was filed by Inspector Ripudaman Singh, Station House Office (SHO) of Kotwali, against six named people under IPC Sections 147, 148, 149, 307, 336, 436, 295, 427, 323 and 504, and Section 7 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.

Another FIR was filed by Chandan Gupta’s father Sunil Gupta against 20 men, including three named under various sections of IPC,” he said.

Considering the gravity of the situation, the Chief Minister’s Office sent Commissioner of Police-Aligarh Subhash Chandra Sharma and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Aligarh Sanjeev Gupta to Kasganj to take stock of the situation.

An SIT has been constituted to further probe and arrest perpetrators of the violence. Along with the local police personnel, five companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary and one company of the Rapid Action Force had been deployed in the town, which has been under curfew since Friday afternoon.

The force took out a flag march in the affected areas of Kasganj.

Additional Director General of Police-Law and Order Anand Kumar told the media on Saturday evening that the curfew-bound town remained peaceful and no fresh incidents of violence were reported.

Some people torched a bus and a hut on Saturday morning, but the situation was immediately brought under control.

CM monitoring situation

“A huge police force has been stationed in Kasganj. We are hopeful that the town will get back to normalcy very soon,” Mr. Kumar said.

Principal Secretary-Home Arvind Kumar told the media, “A few incidents of arson were reported on Saturday on the outskirts, but there was no violence. The Chief Minister is also monitoring the situation.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/shops-bus-torched-in-fresh-violence-in-uttar-pradeshs-kasganj/article22536527.ece