The Statesman – 1984 anti-Sikh riots: Supreme Court notice to CBI on Sajjan Kumar’s plea challenging Delhi H C order

The Delhi High Court on December 17 convicted Sajjan Kumar and sentenced him to life imprisonment in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

New Delhi – India, 14 January 2019. The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on an appeal filed by former Congress leader, Sajjan Kumar challenging the Delhi High Court verdict convicting and sentencing him to life imprisonment for criminal conspiracy to commit murder in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjay Krishan Kaul sought a response from the probe agency and posted the matter for hearing after six weeks.

Sajjan Kumar had on December 31 surrendered in Delhi’s Karkardooma Court and was sent to the Mandoli jail in east Delhi.

Earlier on December 21, the high court had dismissed Sajjan Kumar’s plea which sought more time to surrender. Kumar had moved an application before the Delhi High Court seeking 30 days to surrender, saying he had to settle family affairs.

The Delhi High Court on December 17 convicted Sajjan Kumar and sentenced him to life imprisonment in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, describing the mass killings as “crimes against humanity”.

The case relates to the killing of five Sikhs in Raj Nagar part-I area in Palam Colony in South West Delhi on November 1-2, 1984, and burning down of a Gurudwara in Raj Nagar part II during that period.

Reversing the acquittal order of the trial court, the high court held him guilty of the crime and ordered him to surrender.

Besides Kumar, Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal and former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar were also sentenced to life imprisonment. Kishan Khokkar and former legislator Mahender Yadav were sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The 1984 riots followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards on 31 October 1984. Hundreds of innocent Sikhs were killed, mainly in Delhi.

According to reports, over 3000 people were killed in the riots in and outside Delhi.


The Statesman – Supreme Court reinstates Alok Verma as CBI Director, without full powers

Apex court says any further decision against Verma will be taken by the high-powered committee that selects and appoints CBI Director.

New Delhi – India, 08 January 2019. The Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated Alok Verma as CBI Director, setting aside the Centre’s decision to divest him of his powers as the head of the premier investigating agency and sending him on leave.

The judgment comes days before Verma’s two-year tenure as CBI Director ends on January 31.

Pronouncing the judgment on a petition filed by Verma and NGO Common Cause challenging the government’s decision taken on the intervening night of October 23 and 24, the apex court, however, said the officer would “cease and desist” from taking from taking any “major policy” decision until the Central Vigilance Commission inquiry into corruption charges against him was over.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S K Kaul and Justice K M Joseph also said any further decision against Verma would be taken by the high-powered committee that selects and appoints CBI Director. Justice Kaul said the selection committee would meet within seven days from Tuesday.

The selection committee comprises the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India.

The court also set aside the Centre’s decision appointing M Nageswara Rao, who was the CBI joint director, as its interim chief.

Rao was appointed the interim chief after Verma was sent on leave after being divested of his powers as CBI chief. The decision had come after the CBI registered an FIR against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, accusing him and DySP Devender Kumar of extortion and corruption. Devender Kumar had been arrested.

The feud between Verma and Asthana had become public as they levelled allegations of corruption against each other.

Tuesday’s judgment, penned by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, was read out by Justice Kaul and Justice Joseph as the CJI did not attend the court.

The Statesman – Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) refugees demand relief on par with Kashmiri Pandit migrants

PoK refugees are demanding implementation of the cash package of Rs 25 lakh for each refugee family that had been approved by the then National Conference-Congress coalition government in 2014

Jammu – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 02 January 2019. The indefinite chain strike of refugees from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) demanding relief on par with Kashmiri Pandit migrants entered 7th day here on Wednesday. The sit-in strike has been organised by the SOS International, an organisation of PoK refugees.

Rajiv Chuni, President of the SOS International, said the BJP government at the Centre and the J&K government were treating the PoK refugees as children of lesser gods while Kashmiri Pandit migrants and their children were being provided cash incentives and reservation in professional institutions.

Chuni regretted that the government was discriminating against the PoK refugees vis-a-vis the Kashmiri Pandits. He said the current agitation was in support of the demand for implementing the cash package of Rs 25 lakh for each refugee family that was approved by the National Conference-Congress coalition government in 2014.

The Narendra Modi government cut the package to Rs 5.5 lakh, and there had been discrepancies in payment during the past nearly five years, he said.

Chuni demanded that the nearly 5,300 families of PoK refugees who had been settled in other states should also be registered as refugees as they had illegally been deleted from the list. He also demanded that the 8 500 posts reserved in government departments for PoK refugees by the then NC-Congress government should be filled up by giving employment to their wards.

The refugees were also demanding that at least eight seats out of the 24 reserved for PoK in the state Assembly should be earmarked for the PoK refugees who migrated here 71 years ago. The SOS International has also sent a representation to the election commission in this regard.

They are also demanding that the money left behind in the accounts of the refugees in the J&K Bank branch at Mirpur in PoK should be paid to them by the bank.

The Statesman – It is time for renaissance for Muslim community in India, says former AMU V-C

He said modern secular school education for the community is a must for its development.

Patna – Bihar – India, 21 December 2018. It is time for renaissance for the country’s Muslim community to develop itself and the nation, said Lt General (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, who was also Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, on Wednesday at a discussion on empowering young Muslims.

“I have been repeatedly requesting all to join us for the renaissance in the Muslim community,” said Shah in his keynote address at a day-long workshop on ‘Strategies and Approaches for Empowering Young Muslims, building Resilience, strengthening nation’ in Patna.

He said children belonging to the community must be given best school education and for this, the community should build schools with modern outlook with Islamic ethos on the lines of Christian missionaries-run institutions.

“We have set up a modern school in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. It is named Sir Syed National School. AMU students have donated Rs 51 lakh to build this school,” he said. “We hope to set up another similar school in Saharanpur”.

He said he was surprised when 40 Muslim families in Uttar Pradesh came forward to offer 2 acre each for setting up such schools in the state. “Government funds and other forms of assistance may come, but Muslims have to set up world-class schools for children. Other communities have done so,” he said.

Shah said the condition of the Muslim community today is similar to what it was in 1857. “The community is marginalised, impoverished, victimised and at the bottom of development indicators,” he said.

“But fault for this pathetic situation of the community lies with us. We have neglected the importance of education, particularly modern education.”

Others prominent people who addressed the workshop included Venkatesh Srinivasan of UNFP, Sadur Rahman of UNICEF, Amir Subhani, principal secretary Minority Welfare, Bihar, and Dr A S Nakdar, founder of American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin.

The Statesman – Kamal Nath to take oath as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister on 17 December 2018.

Governor Anandiben Patel invites Kamal Nath to form government in Madhya Pradesh, acknowledging the support secured by the Congress from SP, BSP and Independents to prove majority in the 230-member House

New Delhi – India, 14 December 2018. Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel on Friday invited Congress Legislature Party leader Kamal Nath to form government in the state, appointing him the Chief Minister of the state.

The party won the recently concluded Assembly elections, bagging 114 of the 230 seats, and had staked claim to form government showing support of seven more MLAs to prove majority.

Kamal Nath said he would take oath on 17 December.

Congratulating Kamal Nath for having been elected as the CLP leader and securing support of the seven Samajwadi Party, BSP and Independent MLAs, Patel said she was appointing him the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh under Article 164 of the Constitution.

Earlier in the day, Kamal Nath met Governor Anandiben Patel at the Raj Bhavan in Bhopal and informed her about his election as the CLP leader. He was accompanied by senior Congress leaders Digvijay Singh, Vivek Tankha and others.

The meeting lasted for nearly 50 minutes, following which the Governor invited him to take oath.

The swearing-in ceremony will take place at Lal Parade Ground in Bhopal around 1.30 pm, Nath told reporters outside Raj Bhavan.

Akali Dal warns Rahul Gandhi against making Kamal Nath Chief Minister

Having won 114 seats in the 230-member House in the Assembly polls, the results of which were declared on December 11, the Congress was two seats short of majority. It, however, secured support of one SP, two BSP and four Independents to take the total strength to 121.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which had been ruling the state for 15 years, got 109 seats.

The Congress named Kamal Nath as the next CM of Madhya Pradesh late Thursday night after marathon meetings at party chief Rahul Gandhi’s residence in New Delhi. Soon after that, the 72-year-old senior leader flew down to Bhopal and was formally chosen as the leader of the state Congress Legislature Party.

Will the Congress ever learn ?
Man in Blue

The Statesman – Military Literature Festival 2018 begins with tribute to Indian soldiers of WWI

Open for all, the three-day MLF is being attended by military historians from India and abroad, authors, and serving as well as retired military personnel.

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 07 December 2018. The second edition of Military Literature Festival kicked started on Friday with sessions by noted military historians, experts, and defence strategists during various panel discussions on topical subjects related to military history and literature.

Open for all, the three-day MLF is being attended by military historians from India and abroad, authors, and serving as well as retired military personnel.

The Festival is a joint initiative of distinguished military historian and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore, with full support extended by the Western Command, Indian Army.

Besides panel discussions and shows related to various wars and military, the MLF will also include martial dances, weapons display, medallion gallery, artists’ corner, cultural activities and exhibitions, food and cuisine, book fair, children’s Saragarhi Samvadh.

Inaugurating the MLF at the Lake Club Chandigarh, Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore dedicated it to the valour of the over 74,000 Indians who had laid their lives in the First World War.

He termed the MLF as a befitting tribute to the unknown martyrs, to mark centenary year of the Great War.

Recalling the unparalleled sacrifice of the Indian soldiers in the two World Wars, the Governor said, “This year also marks the centenary of the Great War of 1914-1918, a time for remembrance of the 74,000 Indians who fell and 67, 000 others who were severely wounded, many of whom never recovered, and they lie in, or their ashes are interred in foreign fields”.

Badnore said that it was a matter of great pride for the country that sent 1.3 million soldiers in these expeditions. The Indian soldiers proved their mettle in these missions by winning 11 Victoria Crosses and significantly six more were won by British officers leading Indian troops, he added.

The Governor expressed satisfaction that during the festival, many important speakers would also focus on the known and unknown facets of these wars to make the younger generation aware of the unique role of Indian soldiers in these expeditions.

He appreciated the fact that the MLF was not confined to the World Wars but will also focus on the heroism and unparalleled courage of the great Maharana Pratap, Shivaji, and many other such warriors who have always been a great source of inspiration.

The MLF is also going to have deliberations on Mahabharata, the world’s longest epic, which was set in this very region, he noted.

Describing Punjab as the Sword Arm of the nation and the Tricity of Chandigarh as the retirement hub of military stalwarts, the Governor said that on assuming charge of Administrator UT, he found that approximately 90 Lieutenant Generals and 133 Major Generals were living in the City Beautiful after retirement.

“I found that no other city that I know of can boast of so many senior and distinguished retired and serving officers staying in one city,” he said.

The Statesman – Jammu University bars professor from teaching for calling Bhagat Singh a terrorist

The Jammu University (JU) on Friday barred Professor Mohammad Tajuddin from teaching work till further orders after he referred to freedom fighter Bhagat Singh as a terrorist.

Jammu – J&K – India, 30 November 2018. he Jammu University (JU) on Friday barred Professor Mohammad Tajuddin from teaching work till further orders after he referred to freedom fighter Bhagat Singh as a terrorist.

A top JU functionary said that Professor Mohammad Tajuddin, head of the political science department, has been “disassociated” from teaching work till further orders.

A six-member team has been constituted to look into the matter as the teacher claimed that he did not intend to hurt feelings of anyone.

The incident came to light after a video-clip of the episode recorded by a student when the professor was taking the class went viral on social media.

Students came out in large numbers on the campus raising slogans against the professor and demanded his termination from JU.

Sensing the mood of the students, the Vice-Chancellor, Manoj Dhar, disassociated him from teaching job till further orders. Students were demanding that he should be suspended for making “derogatory” remarks against the great freedom fighter.

Another group of students came out in support of the teacher.

Tajuddin, in a post on social media, tried to clarify the matter by claiming, “I also consider Bhagat Singh a revolutionary. He is one of those who sacrificed their lives for freedom of the country”.

He said that he was teaching Lenin (Russian revolutionary) and made the comment in that context. He said that the state calls any violence against it “terrorism”.

The Statesman – What triggered Thupstan Chhewang resignation? Many blame BJP failure to ensure UT status for Ladakh

Resignations of Thupstan Chhewang, as also LAHDC chief executive councilor Dorjay Motup, are likely to cause enormous loss to the BJP in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections in Ladakh where it was wiped out in the recent elections civic elections.

S P Sharma

Jammu – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 16 November 2018. Failure of the Bharatiya Janata Party to implement its promise of granting union territory status to Ladakh and ministerial berth at the Centre to Thupstan Chhewang, who was the first ever BJP member of Lok Sabha from Ladakh, has rattled the party in the cold desert region.

Chhewang has resigned from his seat and also the primary membership of the party.

The MP took everyone by surprise when he shot a letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker and also state BJP chief Ravinder Raina on Thursday evening, saying he was quitting his seat and also primary membership of the party with immediate effect on “health grounds”.

A few days ago, Dorjay Motup, chief executive councilor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, had also resigned from the post on health grounds.

Resignation of both leaders is likely to cause enormous loss to the BJP in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections in Ladakh where it has virtually been wiped out in the recent elections for the Kargil’s LAHDC and the municipal council of Leh.

The Congress won all 13 seats of the Leh’s municipal council and the BJP could secure only one of the 26 seats of the LAHDC of Kargil.

It was for the first time that the BJP in 2014 won the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat as Thupstan Chhewang, who was an influential member of the Congress resigned and joined BJP to contest the election. He was reportedly promised a ministerial berth at the Centre if he won the seat.

However, he was not feeling comfortable in the BJP that failed to fulfill any of the electoral promises, sources close to Chhewang said. Moreover, he had been marginalised soon after winning the election.

Reacting to Chhewang’s resignation, former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted: “2 of the 6 Lok Sabha seats from J&K will now be vacant till the general elections. Anantnag has been vacant for more than 2 years now & Ladakh falls vacant once this resignation is accepted”.

Rigzin Zora, Congress MLA from Ladakh, said the BJP had already been wiped out of Ladakh during the recent LAHDC, Kargil and municipal elections.

There were reports that Thuptsan Chhewang and Motup were humiliated by certain junior level BJP leaders of Jammu and New Delhi following the party’s rout in the municipal elections as a result of which both decided to quit.

In a letter to Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina, Chhewang said: “I have to inform you that I am resigning from primary membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party on health grounds with immediate effect.”

He added: “I am also writing separately to the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha resigning as MP from Ladakh Parliamentary constituency.”

Raina confirmed that Chhewang had resigned from the party but claimed that he had for the past some time been saying he wanted to go towards spirituality and shun politics. He said the party had asked him to be in active politics till the 2019 elections.

Efforts to contact Thupstan Chhewang remained futile as his phones had been switched off since Thursday.

The Statesman – CBI Director Alok Verma appears before Central Vigilance Commission

New Delhi – India, 09 November 2018. CBI Director Alok Verma met Central Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary on Friday in connection with an inquiry into the corruption charges levelled against him by his deputy Rakesh Asthana, officials said.

Verma appeared before the panel headed by Chowdary and comprising Vigilance Commissioners Sharad Kumar and T M Bhasin among others, added the officials who did not divulge other details regarding the meeting.

Verma had met Chowdary and Kumar on Thursday also in connection with the inquiry. He reportedly presented his side over the allegations of bribery raised against him on Thursday.

The officials had on Thursday said the Commission had recently examined some of the CBI officials who were part of the team probing crucial cases that figured in Asthana’s complaint against Verma.

On Tuesday, Verma refuted all allegations of corruption against him and said his actions were in the interest of the probe against Asthana.

In his reply to the CVC, Verma has responded to all the eight allegations levelled against him by Asthana.

On August 24, Asthana in his complaint to the Cabinet Secretary had alleged that Satish Babu Sana, an accused in the Moin Qureshi case had paid a bribe of Rs 2 crore to Verma.

On October 24, in a dramatic midnight action, Verma was divested of his powers.

On October 26, the Supreme Court directed the CVC to complete its inquiry into the allegations against Verma, who has challenged the government’s decision divesting him of his duties and sending him on leave, and appointed one agency’s former judges, Justice A.K. Patnaik to supervise the probe, to be concluded in two weeks’ time.

The war in the country’s premier investigating agency came to the fore after lodging of a FIR against Asthana and others on the statement of Hyderabad-based businessman Sana.

The CBI had on October 15 registered a case against Asthana for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs 2 crore from Sana which was given through two middlemen Manoj Prasad and Somesh Prasad to sabotage the probe against meat exporter Moin Qureshi.