The Asian Age – Editor, TV channel head arrested over defamatory content against Adityanath

During a debate on the channel on June 6, a woman had allegedly made defamatory statements against Adityanath, the police said.

Noida – UP – India, 09 June 2019, The head of a private television news channel and its editor were arrested here Saturday for allegedly broadcasting defamatory content against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, police said.

During a debate on the channel on 06 June, a woman had allegedly made defamatory statements against Adityanath, the police said.

Workers affiliated to a political party had approached the police with a complaint against the news channel for broadcasting the claims of the woman without verifying facts, a senior official said.

“This could have led to a possible law and order situation,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Vaibhav Krishna said. During probe it was also found that the channel did not have any requisite licence to operate, he said.

An additional complaint over the illegal operation of the channel was made by district additional director, information, at Phase 3 police station following which an FIR under IPC sections 420 (fraud), 467 (forgery of documents) and related offences was registered, the officer said.

“They have been arrested on both counts for the defamatory content as well as illegal operation of the channel,” Krishna told PTI. The channel’s version was not immediately available.

Dawn – India bans BJP state chief minister from campaign after anti-Muslim comment

New Delhi – India, 15 April 2019. India’s election commission on Monday banned a Hindu state chief minister from campaigning for three days after anti-Muslim comments in an election that will end next month.

The saffron-clad Yogi Adityanath, a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party, had been warned this month about his campaign speeches, the election commission said.

The commission said Adityanath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, had spoken about a “green virus” in a speech last week in reference to Muslim voters who he said were being wooed by opposition parties.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been playing to its nationalist base and painting its rivals as soft on terrorism and eager to appease Muslims, who make up about 14 percent of India’s 1.3 billion population.

A BJP spokesman said the party was inclusive towards all communities. “The party believes in all-together development for all, and we don’t believe in any polarization,” spokesman Harish Srivastava said.

The election commission also imposed a ban on the leader of the Dalits, people at the bottom of the Hindu caste structure, saying she had violated a code of conduct by asking Muslims to vote en bloc for opposition candidates.

The ban on Dalit leader Mayawati would run for two days, it said.

A spokesman for Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which is in an alliance with another regional party in Uttar Pradesh, could not be reached for comment.

The commission on Monday also banned Azam Khan, a leader from the Samajwadi Party (SP), an ally of the BSP, and minister Maneka Gandhi from campaigning for violating the code of conduct.

Khan was banned for three days, while Gandhi was banned for two days.

Staggered voting in the general election began last Thursday and will end on May 19.

Although jobs, nationalism and conditions for farmers are the main issues, religion is an important and sensitive topic.

The BJP repeated in its manifesto a commitment to build a Hindu temple in the northern town of Ayodhya at a site disputed by Muslims, seeking to gain the support of majority Hindus.

Last week, BJP president Amit Shah referred to illegal Muslim immigrants as termites and vowed to throw them into the sea.

Surveys suggest Modi’s ruling alliance looks set to win a majority smaller than in the last election in 2014, when it secured a commanding win on a promise to turn India into an economic and military power.

BBC News – Congress manifesto: India opposition pledges to review armed forces act

India has entered full election mode: voting is due to begin on 11 April, with the final ballot cast more than five weeks later on 19 May. Every day, the BBC will be bringing you all the latest updates on the twists and turns of the world’s largest democracy.

Congress promises to review a controversial anti-insurgent law

What is happening?

India’s main opposition party Congress has promised to review the Armed Forces Special Powers Acts (AFSPA) if elected, according to its election manifesto.

The law allows troops to shoot to kill suspected militants or arrest them without a warrant.

It also protects soldiers who may kill a civilian by mistake or in unavoidable circumstances during an operation.

AFSPA has been blamed for “fake killings” in Indian-administered Kashmir and the north-eastern state of Manipur and campaigners say it is often misused.

The party has also promised to scrap a contentious colonial-era law on sedition if it comes to power.

Why does this matter?

Critics, including human rights campaigners, have argued that AFSPA is undemocratic and has given the armed forces carte blanche power.

The law has always been seen as controversial, but it hasn’t really been an election issue in years. In 2011, P Chidambaram, who was the home minister at the time, said he would review the law, sparking outrage from the opposition.

To some extent, it is a risky strategic move from the Congress, the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already criticised them, calling the idea “positively dangerous”.

The announcement to amend the law comes as analysts say that the BJP has begun to treat national security as an election issue after a suicide attack in Indian-administered Kashmir in which 40 Indian paramilitary were killed.

The manifesto also gives more details on the party’s most ambitious welfare proposal, a basic income scheme that promises 72,000 rupees ($1050) yearly to India’s poorest households.

Economists have told the BBC that funding the scheme will require scrapping existing government subsidies on food and fertilisers, and removing certain tax incentives.

‘Narendra Modi’s army’

What is happening?

The chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, has drawn fire from the opposition for referring to India’s army as “Narendra Modi’s army”.

Yogi Adityanath, known for his fiery and controversial rhetoric, repeated a common accusation from the governing BJP party that the opposition Congress “used to serve terrorists biryani [a rice dish]”, an allegation stemming from rumours that 2008 Mumbai attacks gunman Mohammad Qasab was served biryani on Ramadan while he was in Indian custody.

He continued: “Modi ji’s sena [army] gives them only ‘golis’ [bullets] and ‘golas’ [bombs]”.

Why does it matter?

Mr Modi and the BJP are making national security their number one campaign issue ahead of the vote, continuously accusing the Congress of being weak on terrorism.

Various opposition leaders from across party lines called this comment from Mr Adityanath “an insult to our armed forces” and called on him to apologise.

A former Army Chief General, Shankar Roychowdhury, told NDTV that the Indian military serves “the government of the day, not a political party”.

The comments from Mr Adityanath came a day after he was embroiled in another controversy. He travelled to a village where a Muslim man was lynched for allegedly eating beef, and addressed a rally where one of those accused of the murder was seated in the front row of the audience.

Mr Adityanath also indirectly referred to the incident, accusing the previous state government of “curbing the passion of Hindus” and adding that he had taken immediate steps to shut down slaughterhouses.

Hindus consider cows sacred and killing them is illegal in several states including Uttar Pradesh.

BBC News – Uttar Pradesh: Campaigning takes communal tone in crucial India state

The battle for UP gets ugly

What happened?

Today is the last day for political parties to hand in their nominations for the first phase of voting that will begin on 11 April. And campaigning has started in earnest, warts and all.

In the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, the chief minister, firebrand Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath, referred to one of the opposition Congress party candidates – a Muslim named Imran Masood – as the “son-in-law” of militant Masood Azhar.

Azhar is the Pakistani-based founder of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, which in February carried out a suicide attack in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed 40 troops and sparked tit-for-tat strikes between India and Pakistan.

Why does this matter?

Mr Adityanath’s comments indicate what tone the campaigning is going to take in the days leading up to voting in Uttar Pradesh, which sends the most number of MPs to parliament.

However, Imran Masood is also a controversial figure. He was arrested in 2014 after a speech in which he threatened Mr Modi, saying he would “cut him into pieces”.

“Saharanpur [constituency] also has the son-in-law of Azhar Masood, who speaks in his language. You have to decide whether you will elect a person who speaks in Azhar Masood’s language or Modi-ji’s lieutenant in Raghav Lakhanpal, who will ensure development for all,” Yogi Adityanath said at a rally on Sunday.

In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), of which Mr Adityanath is a member, swept Uttar Pradesh with what political commentators described as a clever mix of communal division and promises of development.

Mr Adityanath seems to be following a similar formula this time around.

In the wake of the Kashmir suicide attack a tough stance on Pakistan has become a major theme of the BJP’s campaign. On Sunday India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had a Twitter spat with Pakistan’s information minister over a news report that two Hindu girls had been abducted and forcibly married off in Pakistan.

The Deccan Chronicle – UP government forms SIT to investigate 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur

About 2,800 Sikhs were killed across India during the pogrom that broke out after Indira Gandhi’s assassination on 31 October 1984.

Lucknow – Uttar Pradesh – India, 06 February 2019. A four-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh to investigate the circumstances that led to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur following the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Headed by retired Uttar Pradesh director general of police, Atul, the team includes retired additional director (prosecution) Yogeshwar Krishna Srivastava and retired district judge Subhash Chandra Agarwal. It will also include a senior-level officer from the Uttar Pradesh police.

The SIT has been asked to submit its report in six months, an official statement said on Tuesday.

According to official records, about 2,800 Sikhs were killed across India, including 2,100 in Delhi, during the pogrom that broke out after Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards on 31 October 1984.

The Tribune – Yogi ‘misled’ Sikhs over ’84 Kanpur riots probe

Tribune News Service

Lucknow – UP – India, 28 December 2018. The All-India Riot Victims Relief Committee (AIRVRC) on Friday accused CM Yogi Adityanath of misleading the Sikh community on the issue of setting up a special investigating team (SIT) to probe the 1984 riots in Kanpur.

At a press conference here, committee head Kuldip Singh Bhogal said while the CM at a Sikh meet in Lucknow on October 28 had claimed to have set up a SIT to probe the matter, his government had repeatedly failed to submit a report with the Supreme Court as sought by the latter.

Bhogal said the life sentence awarded to former Union Minister Sajjan Kumar had motivated them to step up efforts to bring the Kanpur culprits to book. “Three years ago, we learnt through an RTI query that 127 members of the community were killed in Kanpur.

A committee delegation visited various police stations and found that most of the records against the rioters were missing. None had been chargesheeted, leave alone punished.”

Subsequently, the committee filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, seeking a CBI probe and a SIT. The apex court asked the Union Home Ministry to file an affidavit in this regard.

“It has been more than a year, but no affidavit has been filed. Nor has a SIT report been sent to the court,” Bhogal said. The case is listed for hearing on January 2.

The committee presented cheques for Rs 11,000 each to 1984 riot widows Parkash Kaur and Kuldeep Kaur on behalf of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (DSGMC).