Online news channel!

Tag: press

Government corks booze hologram row, ropes in CNP Nasik

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The liquor bottles that will be sold in the state will have holograms printed at the government-owned Currency Notes Press (CNP), Nasik, and not that of any private printing press.According to senior officials, the state government, in order to eliminate duplicate and spurious liquor from the market, had asked the Excise department to make it mandatory for all liquor bottles to carry a hologram and barcode—with embedded covert and overt features. The barcode will enable the consumer to know when and where the liquor was manufactured and when it was sent from the distillery to the wholesaler and further to the retailer and if it is an original or a fake.”There were controversies over allotting the hologram printing contract to a private firm. Besides, there were no guarantee that the hologram printed by the private firms will not be tampered with. Therefore, we decided to print the hologram at CNP, Nasik,” said the official requesting anonymity.”We visited many states and studied their model. Most of them are printing the hologram at the government currency printing presses. So why should we allot the tender to private firms,” he asked.When contacted, Excise Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankude was not available for comments.Stressing that the government’s intention is to bring in foolproof security features to end adulteration, the official said: “We will ensure that the hologram printed at CNP will have security features more advanced than those on currency notes.””To check whether the liquor is genuine or fake, all one will need is to scan the barcode on the bottle with a mobile phone,” the official said.He said the vehicles carrying the raw materials for the liquor distilleries will also be fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) and will be tracked round the clock. “The move will also fetch the government more revenue,” he said.What’s special about hologram?Security holograms are replicated from a master hologram—which requires expensive, specialized and technologically advanced equipment—and are difficult to forge. They are used widely in high denomination banknotes and are also used in passports, credit cards and other quality products.

Demonetisation effect: Army to help officials print notes in Madhya Pradesh

Dewas, Madhya Pradesh: The Army has pitched in to help out the Bank Note Press in Dewas, which is working round the clock to deal with the cash crunch across the country following demonetisation, officials said on Monday.

The Army’s help will also be taken for distribution of the notes around the country, said Bank Note Press (BNP) sources.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

According to the sources, 200 men of the Grenadier Regiment arrived here from Gwalior on Sunday to help out at the press.

The press, which has a daily capacity of two crore notes, is at this time solely engaged in printing the new Rs 500 notes, with all other denominations stopped.

According to the sources, even retired personnel have been asked to help out at the press which is working around the clock, and the Army’s help was sought due to shortage of personnel to man the press round the clock.

The press at Dewas is among the four in the country where bank notes and currency notes are printed. The others are at Nashik (Maharashtra), Salboni (West Bengal) and Mysuru (Karnataka).

The presses at Dewas and at Nashik are owned by the central government through the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd, and their yearly currency printing capacity is around 40 per cent of the total in the country.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 17:28 IST

Media uninvited to RBI Governor Urjit Patel’s press meet cries foul

Mumbai: Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel’s second media meet on Wednesday created a controversy with a section of the Mumbai media corps complaining they were either not invited or deliberately kept out of the briefing.

RBI Governor Urjit Patel. PTI

RBI Governor Urjit Patel. PTI

Some even took to the social media networks to vent their grouse over being ignored for the much-anticipated event here on Wednesday afternoon.

Among those media persons denied entry to the venue and aggrieved by it was The Economist‘s correspondent Stanley Pignal who tweeted: “Amazing stuff. The Economist US no longer invited to the RBI policy meeting press conferences. Won’t let me in. Sad day for transparency.”

Even the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, BBC and certain other global agencies/television channels were allegedly not invited or kept out.

At least one news agency, which has always been invited barring this time, is understood to have formally raised the matter with the RBI.

Mincing no words, Pignal said: “I’ve been critical of the new Governor not speaking to the press, did not expect RBI to freeze us out of press conference. It’s their call obviously.”

He quoted a RBI spokeswoman as saying that the decision to exclude him had nothing to do with The Economist‘s critical coverage of demonetisation.

Pignal added it was amazing that from being granted interviews of the (former) RBI Governor in June, it came down to being excluded from press conferences in November without warning or explanation.

Despite repeated attempts by IANS, members of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s official team of spokespersons were not available to give their version of the incident.

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 08:48 IST

Pakistan promoting religious tourism amidst tensions, issues visas to 81 Hindu pilgrims

Mon, 21 Nov 2016-09:45pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan High Commission in Delhi has issued visas to as many as 81 Hindu pilgrims to visit shrines in Pakistan for the 308th birthday celebrations of Shiv Avtari Satguru Sant Shadaram Saheb.In line with Pakistan’s efforts to encourage people to people contacts and promote religious tourism, the High Commission has issued visas to pilgrims under the 1974 bilateral protocol, said Manzoor Ali Memon, Counsellor (Press) in the Pakistan mission.Taking “note of the sentiments and devotion of the various communities in the two countries for the historic and sacred shrines in the other”, India and Pakistan have agreed on a set of principles for facilitating visits to such shrines.As per the protocol, such visits from one country to the other shall be allowed without discrimination as to religion or sect and every effort should continue to be made to ensure that places of religious worship mentioned in the agreed list are properly maintained and their sanctity preserved.

19 million Rs 100 denomination dispatched

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the announcement of demonetization 19 million notes of Rs100 denomination were dispatched from the Currency Note Press (CNP) in Nashik late on Wednesday.The Currency Note Press in Nashik pressed to meet the increasing demand of the currency, the staff at press is working in two shifts to produce currency notes.A consignment of 19 million notes of Rs 100 denomination was sent to RBI in Mumbai on Wednesday.Earlier on Monday and Tuesday consignments of 37 million pieces on each day were dispatched. These included notes of denomination of Rs 500, Rs 100 and Rs 20.A total of 74 millionwere sent to Mumbai in the these two days and included 13 million pieces of Rs 500 denomination, 31 million pieces of Rs 100 deomination and 30 million pieces of Rs 20 million.Earlier to this till Sunday, 10 million new design notes of Rs 500 denomination were dispatched.The currency Note Press in Nashik is working relentlessly to meet the short fall of notes.

SC to hear NDTV India’s plea against government ban today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will hear NDTV’s appeal against the government’s one-day ban of its Hindi channel NDTV India on Tuesday​. NDTV India has been ordered off-air on Wednesday with the government accusing it of broadcasting sensitive details of January’s terror attack on the air force base in Pathankot. NDTV has refuted the allegations and pointed out that other channels and newspapers reported the same information.The ban has been widely condemned by journalists and editors with all press councils drawing parallels to the Emergency of the 1970s when basic constitutional rights including the freedom of the press were blatantly violated. After a large protest held by journalists from every major media organisation in Delhi, the Press Council of India said the government’s action amounts to “uncalled for censorship” at a time when “press freedom is already under increasing threat in the country.” Last week, when the ban was announced, The Editors’ Guild of India said the order was unprecedented and that the centre appears to have given itself the power “to intervene in the functioning of the media and take arbitrary punitive action as and when it does not agree with the coverage.” The organisation, a grouping of the editors of all major newspapers and magazines in the country, said if the government finds any media coverage objectionable, it can approach the courts.Defending the ban, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu has said that it is “in the interest of the country’s security” and that the barrage of criticism confronted by the government appears “politically inspired.”

Freedom of press should be used in the nation’s interest: Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> With opposition and media slamming action against NDTV India, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the NDA government is committed to freedom of press but media should use it keeping in mind the interests of the nation and the people. The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister also said the well-being of the country and society should be kept in mind before broadcasting or publishing any news, and stressed that news and views should not be mixed. “A big discussion is going on in the country that there should be freedom of press. It should compulsorily be there and the government is committed to this. But, there is a need to think. We are citizens first and then the journalists. That’s my view,” he said. “Our government believes in freedom of press and wants the media to truly appreciate the value of such freedom so that it is best used in the interest of the country and the people,” Naidu said addressing a programme for Urdu journalists here.He said while giving/broadcasting news, oen should keep in mind the interests of society and nation first. “The news you are giving should not promote clashes between groups, religions or create unrest in society. The news should not cause harm to the nation’s interests. There should be self-restraint (in following rules),” Naidu said.Journalists should remember that freedom of expression is best utilised only when the value of such freedom is fully appreciated, he said, adding that when this freedom is not exercised judiciously, our existing laws provide for necessary interventions. He advised that journalists must always look for information, but must run the news only after confirmation. “Be nearer to truth and keep away from sensationalism. But what is happening in the electronic media is sensationalism,” he said.Stating that there are some regulations that media should not preach, something which is anti-national; not propagate against the interest of the country aspects like obscenity, vulgarity, encouraging violence, Venkaiah asked electronic media and cinema should seriously think about how to avoid vulgarity, obscenity and violence. He said, “The important thing in media is credibility… which is very important…but now credibility is missing in most of the media, which is unfortunate. We must always work for credibility.” Emphasising that news and views should never be combined, Naidu said “But it is now happening in the country. People are trying to combine news and views, which should never be mixed.”The minister further said information along with confirmation is the “best ammunition”. “Information can fight corruption, inequality, discrimination, oppression. Information can give you entitlement. Through information people will be empowered,” he said. “First give the news and then have the debate. but what is happening is, even TV debates try to mix both the things and then they argue and try to teach us also,” he said.The Union Minister also urged journalists to first focus on truth and then focus on pro-people, rural people, weaker section, women and their views should be heard.”You (journalists) have to reflect the reality of the social combination of the society so that you will be doing justice,” he said, adding that journalists must upgrade their skills and try to become “ideal” journalists.”Urdu is a sweet language and it has also enriched Indian culture over the centuries, but unfortunately some people have linked it with religion in between. Time has come we have to encourage our regional languages…as a language Urdu should also be encouraged,” he said. The minister also said that plans were afoot to increase the time of Urdu bulletin aired on Doordarshan.

Photojournalists roughed up at Tata HQ: Press Club asks for termination of security agency’s services

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Mumbai Press Club has asked the Tata Group to dispense with services of the security agency which supplies guards to the company in the backdrop of the roughing up of newspersons at the group’s headquarters Bombay House here.Three photojournalists from the Times of India, Mid-Day and the Hindustan Times were beaten by the guards on Friday last following a scuffle when ousted Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry had arrived to chair the board meeting of Indian Hotels, that runs the group’s Taj brand of hotels, to approve the second quarter earnings.The Mumbai Press Club, along with some other organisations, has decided to lead a protest march on Tuesday from the Mumbai Press Club to Bombay House if the Tata Group fails to remove the guards by tomorrow noon, a release here said.Two persons were earlier arrested in connection with the alleged attack on photojournalists and sent to judicial custody till November 11, Mumbai Police spokesperson Ashok Dudhe had yesterday said.The scuffle had started as soon as Mistry, who is the chairman of IHCL, arrived at the Tata Group headquarters to chair the board meeting, and standing photographers went beyond the cordoned off area to click his pictures.The Mumbai Press Club had earlier condemned the attack and demanded arrest of the guards involved in the scuffle.A Tata Group spokesperson had apologised for the incident saying, “Whatever happened, should not have happened.”

NDTV India ban: Electronic media urgently needs a watchdog to preserve its freedom

In the late hours of Thursday evening, we learnt that the information and broadcasting ministry had prohibited the retransmission of NDTV India, the Hindi Language 24×7 news channel of the NDTV group for 24 hours starting on 00:01 Hours on 9 November 2016 to 00:01 Hours on 10 November 2016 for allegedly revealing “strategically sensitive” details during its coverage of the Pathankot attacks this January.

Under scanner. Image courtesy NDTV IndiaUnder scanner. Image courtesy NDTV India

Under scanner. Image courtesy NDTV India

Obviously, the Editors’ Guild of India is up in arms about it and have rightly called it an attack on media freedom and the independence of the media. The problem that arises though is this, how does the government go about issuing a ban on its own accord without actually having to take NDTV to court?

If NDTV were a newspaper that had allegedly breached any standard of journalistic ethics then the government would actually have no power to go after NDTV at all, this is because the Press Council Act of 1978 creates the Press Council of India as the apex body for the regulation of the Press in India. This statutory body enjoys independence from the government and acts as the regulator that prescribes and enforces professional standards for the print media in India. The council, not the government gets to decide when a print journalist has crossed the line.

When it comes to cable TV news, though, the situation is slightly different, the regime under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1994 treats NDTV on par with Cartoon Network in terms of the powers it gives the government to regulate. This is why the government has the ability to even pass such an order. No doubt, NDTV and their lawyers must be examining their legal options right now to challenge such an order and it would be premature at this point to comment on the merits of such an order passed by the government.

But the very fact that the government is the one that passes such an order, does open the larger debate of whether it is time to start regulating television news as news rather than as merely television content as any order passed by any government anywhere against a news channel will always be one that is seen as a colourable order. The UK has an independent media watchdog by way of Ofcom short for the Office of Communications which is an independent media watchdog that is recognised by statute and has enforcement powers to enforce the regulations.

There are always going to be cases where media channels are accused of breaching journalistic ethics or compromising national security. However, the process by which they are judged or these charges are adjudicated must be a transparent one and must be one that has the appearance of fairness. The government must take its case to a third party rather than make it a finding of fact on its own and issue a punishment. This will always put the government at odds with the rest of the press and the public. It’s time to establish an independent television media watchdog on the lines of the Press Council of India to ensure the freedom of the televised press. It is also essential that this protection is extended to journalists who work on online platforms. Other protections such as those afforded under the Working Journalists Act should also be extended to ensure that any governmental action taken against the press or journalists doesn’t smell of bias or targeting.

The importance of a free press can be best summed up by this famous quote: “A free press is the last defence against the tyranny of stupidity.” This was said not by one of the great heroes of free speech or but funnily enough from Clayton Harding, Jeff Bridges’s character from the 2008 film How to Lose Friends and Alienate People; something this government is of late becoming rather an expert at.

Bad journalism makes a lot more noise: Raj Kamal Jha’s speech at Ramnath Goenka Awards

At the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards organised by The Indian Express, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi honoured 37 journalists from across the country, Chief Editor Raj Kamal Jha sent a strong message to those in power and in the media: “Criticism from a government is wonderful news for journalism”.

This comes at a time when NDTV India is facing a one-day ban on 9 November on the recommendation of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. This penalty is for allegedly revealing “strategically sensitive” details during the coverage of the Pathankot terrorist attack in January 2016.

Chief Editor of The Indian Express, Raj Kamal Jha. Courtesy Twitter/@rajkamaljhaChief Editor of The Indian Express, Raj Kamal Jha. Courtesy Twitter/@rajkamaljha

Chief Editor of The Indian Express, Raj Kamal Jha. Courtesy Twitter/@rajkamaljha

The awards function also caused discomfort to some journalists such as Akshaya Mukul who refused to accept the award (and further boycotted the event) from Modi. Mukul was awarded the prize in the category of Books (non-fiction) for Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India, which looks into the making of Gita Press and its critical role in the formation of “Hindu political consciousness“. This ironically clashes with the Prime Minister’s politics (BJP and RSS, which finds its base in Hindutva).

In his speech, Jha thanked Modi for the latter’s strong message on maintaining credibility in journalism and mentioned that it was the most important thing journalists can take away from his speech. He added that good journalism was, in fact, not dying but that “bad journalism makes lot more noise than it used to do five years ago”.

Below is Raj Kamal Jha’s speech in text:

“Thank you for your speech, Sir. Your being here is a very strong message. We hope that good journalism should be defined by the work we celebrate this evening, done by reporters who report and by editors who edit and not by the selfie journalists we see a lot these days, who are always obsessed by what they think, by their face, by their views, who keep the camera turned towards them, the only thing that matters to them is their own voice and their own face. All the rest is backdrop or silly background noise.

In this selfie journalism, if you don’t have the facts, it doesn’t matter. You just put a flag in the frame and you hide behind it. Thank you very much sir for your speech, for your wonderful underlining of the importance of credibility, I think that’s the most important thing that we journalists can take away from your speech.

You said some wonderful things about journalists which makes us a little nervous. You may not find it in Wikipedia but Shri Ramnath Goenka, and it’s a fact and I can say that as the editor of the Indian Express, he did sack a journalist when he heard a CM of a state telling him, “Aapka reporter bahot accha kaam kar raha hai”.

That’s very, very important, especially in this age, and I turn 50 this year and I can say that when we have a generation of journalists who are growing up in an age of “retweets” and “likes” and they do not know that criticism from a government is a badge of honour.

So just like what they do in smoking scenes in cinema, I think we should have a tape running in mind when we hear praise of a journalist, that criticism from a government is wonderful news for journalism. I think that’s very important.

Thank you sir, for your speech. You made some wonderful points. I think the most important point was credibility. We cannot blame the government for that. That is our job, we need to look within and we will surely reflect on your remarks.

This year for Ramnath Goenka Award, we got 562 applications. This is the highest ever and this is very important to me to underline this number because this is the reply to those who say that good journalism is dying, that journalists have been bought over by the government.

Good journalism is not dying; it is getting better and bigger. It’s just bad journalism makes lot more noise than it used to do five years ago. And that is why I think the remote control should get the R&G award for excellence in journalism.”

Mumbai Press Club condemns one-day ban on NDTV India

An Inter-ministerial committee of the Information and Broadcasting ministry had recommended on Thursday that a leading Hindi news channel be taken off air for a day after it concluded that the broadcaster had revealed “strategically-sensitive” details while covering the Pathankot terrorist attack.

Representational image. Twitter @ndtv

Representational image. Twitter @ndtv

The ministry has asked the channel NDTV India to be taken off air for a day on 9 November. The Committee felt that such srucial information, which was revealed by the channel, could have been picked up by terrorist handlers.

The committee, in its order, observed that the channel “appeared to give out the exact location of the remaining terrorists with regard to the sensitive assets in their vicinity” when they telecast in real time.

The channel, while confirming the receipt of the order, said that its “coverage was particularly balanced”.

The Editors Guild of India condemned the government’s move and said that the I&B Ministry’s decision is “a direct violation of the freedom of the media and therefore the citizens of India and amounts to harsh censorship imposed by the government reminiscent of the Emergency.”

Now, even the Mumbai Press Club has condemned the ban and demanded that the ban be withdrawn.

Here is the full statement by the Mumbai Press Club:

The Mumbai Press club which represents over 2,500 journalists, strongly and unequivocally condemns the ban by the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) on the Hindi news channel NDTV India for purportedly airing “sensitive information” in respect of the Pathankot attack by terror groups near the border. The Club also demands that the ban, imposed for one day on 9 November, should be withdrawn forthwith.

NDTV India in its response to a show cause by the government has said that channel did not report anything which other channels and newspapers had not covered simultaneously. It is therefore mischievous to singles out a particular channel for such penal action.

Though there are various legal options available for the government in the Indian Court of Law for any irresponsible media coverage, the I&B ministry action of banning against a specific TV channel that has been critical of the government, and has done serious ground reporting on the views of the common man, does not augur well for freedom of expression of the country.

The I&B ministry’s order imposing the ban is vague and also does not disclose what specific clips or information can be termed ‘sensitive’ and ‘useful to the enemy’.

Any penal actions like the ban of NDTV India that infringes on media operating and reporting freely will be stoutly resisted by media persons everywhere.

Dharmendra Jore
Secretary
Mumbai Press Club

Justice Markandey Katju issued notice by Allahabad court over ‘objectionable’ beef-related comments

Allahabad: A court here has issued notice to retired Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju on a petition accusing him of having made “objectionable” remarks with regard to consumption of beef in his blog posts.

File photo of Markandey Katju. PTI

File photo of Markandey Katju. PTI

Additional Sessions Judge Shuchi Srivastava passed the order on the review petition of advocate Rakesh Nath Pandey, who alleged that Justice Katju has hurt the sentiments of a major section of the society by attacking the Hindu belief that the cow was sacred and seeking repeal of the laws whereby slaughtering cow has been banned in many states.

The ADJ has asked Justice Katju to file his reply by the next date of hearing on 18 November.

The petition was filed by Pandey challenging an order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate whereby his prayer for directing the police to lodge an FIR against Justice Katju was turned down.

Justice Katju, who is also a former Chairman of the Press Council of India, has made a series of controversial statements on the communally sensitive issue of cow slaughter and beef ever since possession and sale of beef were made punishable with fine and five years in jail in Maharashtra in January last year.

In the wake of the Dadri lynching case of September last year wherein a 50-year-old man was beaten to death near Noida by a mob suspecting him of having slaughtered a cow and consumed its meat, Justice Katju came up with an outpouring of a number of scathing remarks.

Recently, in a Facebook post, Justice Katju wrote that he had a “danda” (stick) with which he wished to hit those who made a fuss over the issue of cow slaughter and beef.

Notice to Justice Katju on petition against his comments on beef

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A court in Allahabad has issued notice to retired Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju on a petition accusing him of having made “objectionable” remarks with regard to consumption of beef in his blog posts.Additional Sessions Judge Shuchi Srivastava passed the order on the review petition of advocate Rakesh Nath Pandey, who alleged that Justice Katju has hurt the sentiments of a major section of the society by attacking the Hindu belief that the cow was sacred and seeking repeal of the laws whereby slaughtering cow has been banned in many states.The ADJ has asked Justice Katju to file his reply by the next date of hearing on November 18.The petition was filed by Pandey challenging an order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate whereby his prayer for directing the police to lodge an FIR against Justice Katju was turned down.Justice Katju, who is also a former Chairman of the Press Council of India, has made a series of controversial statements on the communally sensitive issue of cow slaughter and beef ever since possession and sale of beef were made punishable with fine and five years in jail in Maharashtra in January last year.In the wake of the Dadri lynching case of September last year wherein a 50-year-old man was beaten to death near Noida by a mob suspecting him of having slaughtered a cow and consumed its meat, Justice Katju came up with an outpouring of a number of scathing remarks.Recently, in a Facebook post, Justice Katju wrote that he had a “danda” (stick) with which he wished to hit those who made a fuss over the issue of cow slaughter and beef.

Delhi High Court ruling – Right of access to education must trump copyright

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“Affordability” should never be an impediment to access knowledge and information, but that is a reality in India. A lot of attention and effort is being spent on primary education, but in so far as higher education is concerned, concerted efforts are conspicuous by their absence. And the problem is exacerbated by the prohibitive prices of books – because publishing behemoths like Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Lexis- Nexis and others are intransigently insistent upon exercising their copyright to the academic works. There is also the problem of college and university libraries reeling under a severe paucity of books that leaves many students hapless. However, the Delhi Court’s Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw by his 16 September judgement has ensured that students would not have to remain bereft of the latest information and access to knowledge. In a ruling that will have far-reaching consequences on the interpretation of copyright laws in India, Justice Endlaw has dealt a big blow to the mercenary attitude of academic publishing houses.
ALSO READ #dnaEdit: Right to photocopy The petitioners in the present case had moved court about Delhi University allowing a local photocopy shop to provide copies of certain chapters of those books which have been prescribed in the university syllabus. The companies cried foul, claiming that the university’s actions amounted to allowing of copying (an offence under the Copyright Act). The university retorted that its actions were protected by the “fair use” clause in the Copyright Act, which permits the copying of certain portions of books, and sometimes even entire books altogether, so long as the copies are being used for educational, academic instructional, and non-commercial purposes.The most significant part of the court’s ruling is in paragraphs 57 and 58, which draws a critical distinction between the terms “publication” and “reproduction”. Section 52 (1) (h) of the Copyright Act prohibits the public dissemination of published work by ways of “further editions” or “re-prints” and Section 52 (1) (i) allows “reproduction” of publications (which includes photocopying and scanning) and is a permissible exception. Hence, neither the university nor the photocopy shop personnel had broken the law. Opinions regarding the court’s ruling have been sharply polarised. While those who have taken on an activist role to facilitate and improve access to education have come out in fulsome praise of the ruling, the other camp- which wants India’s Intellectual Property Rights laws to be harmonised with global conventions (which are very strict on copyright and patents) have bitterly criticised Justice Endlaw’s reasoning. The latter group claims the ruling is bound to backfire because publishers would not only raise the prices of books and pass on the burden to purchasers, but also that it would discourage academics from getting their works published, because they won’t have any incentive to do so.But it is precisely here that the opponents of the ruling are erring. First and foremost, the ruling deals with academic publishing only; it does not address the issue of literary publishing at all. Till date, no author of literary works has come out in opposition of the judgement.As of now, the educational publishing giants have not commented upon the ruling or decided if to move the Supreme Court on appeal. Nonetheless, nothing should stop one from celebrating a glorious victory in the war against lack of access to education. But here’s a ‘spoiler alert’. Unwilling to lose upon a money-making exercise, the publishers’ cabal approached a Division Bench comprising Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Pratibha Rani​, and contended that Justice Endlaw’s “flawed” ruling must be reversed.The division bench, in its wisdom, decided to not order a stay on Justice Endlaw’s ruling, and have posted the next hearing on 29 of November.It does not take a genius to figure out that the publishers would not pull any punches in getting their way. This post in the SpicyIP blog outlines and explains how the publishing houses are facing retaliation for their relentless pursuit of extreme profiteering.So till 29 November, students and academicians should optimally use Justice Endlaw’s ruling, and stack up their bookshelves!

NDTV versus Kashmir Reader: Are we able to see through the smokescreen?

On 2 October, the Jammu and Kashmir government banned the publication of the Srinagar-based English daily, Kashmir Reader, to prevent “disturbance of public tranquillity”. Now, The Editors Guild of India, an informal journalist body comprising of over 200 members from the media, has asked the state’s chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, to look into the newspaper’s complaint and reconsider the ban.

On 6 October, the news channel NDTV ran a graphic during its primetime. Titled, “India above politics”, it said that “national security cannot be compromised by politics” and that “the current political debate threatens to do so.” It further said, “NDTV will not air any remarks that risk security for political advantage”. The graphic was aired following an internal mail by NDTV’s editorial director, Sonia Singh, explaining the channel’s new editorial policy.

The same morning, NDTV had run excerpts of an interview with the former Union Home Minister and senior Congress leader, P Chidambaram, conducted by the channel’s anchor, Barkha Dutt. In the excerpt, Chidambaram is seen criticising statements made by Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, in the aftermath of the 29 September surgical strikes. But instead of airing the full interview like it had promised, NDTV ran the graphic statement and later even the excerpt was pulled off its website.

The graphic by NDTV that played on the 9 pm. Courtesy: Twitter/@ndtv

The graphic by NDTV that played on the 9 pm. Courtesy: Twitter/@ndtv

In a subsequent statement, NDTV said that it ran interviews “based on their relevance and newsworthiness in a continuum of developments”. It further said that “on matters of wild and unsubstantiated allegations, of which there is no shortage today in the country’s politics, we will not report them without the accuser offering proof that has been verified by us and found to be news-worthy.”

The channel did not clarify even after being asked by Chidambaram himself which part of his interview “contained remarks that risked security for political advantage.” It also did not specify what “wild and unsubstantiated allegations” Chidambaram had made, if any, or if the channel thought that an interview with a former Home Minister on a hot topic was not relevant or newsworthy.

Let’s for a minute try and go with NDTV’s decision. Let us say the channel thought it had genuine reasons (which have not been specified) for deciding to not air Chidambaram’s interview. Based on this judgment, the channel took a call and decided to cull the interview.

But how are these things supposed to work? A news channel and its editors can take a call on not airing a particular interview because it supposedly compromises national security, but an elected government cannot take a decision to ban a newspaper on the same principle?

Look at some of the reports Kashmir Reader chose to publish before its ban. On 12 August, it published a threat issued by pro-Pakistan groups, warning that those who defy them will be “treated as traitors and will be dealt [with] accordingly”. In another item, it openly carried a diktat by the United Jihad Council chief, Syed Salahuddin, asking pro-India politicians to resign and join them or else “the nation won’t spare them later”.

In yet another instance the newspaper carried a report of “rebel organisation Lashkar-e-Toyyaba [sic]” seeking permission from the separatist leadership to “eliminate Indian agents” in the state “who don’t mend their ways despite warned time and again”. The newspaper also chose to carry the full “protest calendar” issued by the separatist leadership allowing no relaxation to the Kashmiris.  In a blog post, a few years ago, one of the newspaper’s editors termed the exiled minority Hindus as “intestinal parasites.”

The call for lifting ban on the newspaper by champions of Press freedom prompted researcher and blogger, Vinayak Razdan, to write a post, citing the example of the 1966 agitation (to press for the ban on cow slaughter), in which hundreds of thousands of sadhus descended upon Delhi, attacking several government buildings, including the parliament. In the ensuing violence, several sadhus lost their lives while many were arrested.

Razdan writes:

Imagine if [the] Jan Sangh in response to the event had issued a diktat asking all Hindu state employees to choose between secular India or Hindu India… appealed them to join their movement…. imagine if all Hindu employees who chose Secular India were told to be ready for the “natural consequences

“… Imagine if this diktat was published in [the] Hindustan Times or [the] Times of India as a paid advertisement. The ad would have been inserted in stories about the pious life of dead sadhus and images of their dead gory faces. Imagine the consequences. What kind of publishing house [read: newspaper] would have carried such an ad and what kind of editors would have allowed such stories?”

On the guild’s website (which has not been updated to reflect its current office bearers), “upholding the freedom of the Press and striving for improvement of professional standards, safeguarding the editorial independence and taking appropriate steps to implement and further these aims” are listed as its main objectives. But while the guild has chosen to speak for a newspaper, we haven’t heard anything about the curious case of NDTV, especially when the guild’s website lists Barkha Dutt herself as one of the executive committee members (at least in 2014-15). What are we supposed to make of this silence? What is the criteria for intervention, or non-intervention, for that matter?

While these developments are unfolding, there is hope from Pakistan. The editor of the English daily Dawn, whose reporter has been barred from leaving the country (after he wrote a controversial story), has issued a strong statement, standing by both the story and by the “sacred oath to its (Dawn’s) readers to pursue its reporting fairly, independently and, above all, accurately.”

Sometime in 2004, a senior Bush administrator told a New York Times Magazine reporter, “We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you [journalists], will be left to just study what we do.” The problem with Indian journalism is that many of us falsely think of ourselves as history’s actors but might be ultimately left to study history made by editors of a neighbouring country.

India-Pakistan tension: Jingoists suffer from ‘attitude disorder’, so do ‘anti-nationals’

We don’t want to fight,

But by Jingo! if we do,

We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men,

We’ve got the money too.

This was part of a popular song in Britain in 1878 among the aggressive nationalists who were itching for a war with Russia. ‘By Jingo’ was an exclamatory phrase, something like ‘Oh Jesus’.

The Daily News dubbed the warmongers as “Jingoes”. Many writers still prefer the word Jingoes to Jingoists. Jingoism came from it. The term also refers to chauvinists who believe in the ultimate supremacy of their nation, not necessarily those screaming for war. But we’re now talking about a warlike situation.

Etymology apart, jingoism is a worrisome thing, though there is enough sanity left in the world to fight it.

At the height of the 1991 Iraq war, I was pleasantly surprised to see a communication that editors of the Associated Press sent to their correspondents around the world. I forget the exact words, but it said something to this effect: Bush has started off this war, not the Associated Press.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had warned the motormouths that they must not indulge in unwarranted jingoism over the Army's surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had warned the motormouths that they must not indulge in unwarranted jingoism over the Army’s surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. PTI

Around the same time, I heard of editors of other reputed American organisations who were hitting the delete button, whenever they found adjectives like “triumphant” and “bold” that preceded “US soldiers” and saw metaphors that made war look like a game of Super Mario Bros.

In other words, what responsible American editors were telling their reporters: forget jingoism, get on with the story.

These days, I squirm in the chair when I hear “valiant” Indian army or “martyred” soldiers and the like on some channels. Often I hear worse. In the kind of news writing, I did even for the Indian papers, “our” could never take the place of “India’s”. Just as the rules of war have changed, so have the tenets of journalism. And talking to the editors of these channels about this problem would be just as useful as talking to air.

But is this a problem?

Studies in social psychology show that a sense of patriotism primarily stems from an individual’s craving for attaching himself or herself to groups – the nation being one such group. Such attachments fill them with a feeling of security and pride. Patriotism just means loyalty to a nation, but its relatively headier version, nationalism, includes hostility to other countries as well. And an even more aggressive form of nationalism has come to be known as jingoism, though we have no Jingometer to check where the former ends and the latter begins.

Patriotism and nationalism have existed ever since humans evolved from apes and put up fences around their demarcated territories in jungles; so has the madness of jingoism, though the word itself was coined only in the nineteenth century.

According to several psychologists, patriotism and nationalism are relatively normal human traits. But jingoism isn’t. All three forms exist across the globe in differing degrees. Clearly, the group that can cause human misery are the jingoists, whose hatred for others and war cries usually fail to conform to logic and reasoning.

In the present context of India-Pakistan tension, let’s get these things right:

  1. Not all Indians are jingoists.
  2. Not every supporter of PM Narendra Modi (“Hindu nationalist leader” as the Western media would call him) is a jingoist. Modi himself is not one. He is weighing options against Pakistan.
  3. Conversely, not every jingoist is a Modi supporter.
  4. Jingoists cut across all party lines

Jingoism is worse when it invades newsrooms, as you can see it on some channels almost every night.

The reverse-jingoists

And then we also have reverse-jingoists (from the phrase ‘jingoism in reverse’ used by the British journalist Henry Fairlie in a 1975 essay on “anti-American Americans”).

But who are India’s reverse-jingoists now? The exact opposite of jingoists? Not really, though jingoists might call them “anti-Indian Indians”. As for the India-Pakistan conflict, India now has two types of reverse-jingoists:

  1. Some who are authentic peace-lovers and refuse to accept war with Pakistan as a solution.
  2. Some who deride any action against Pakistan, if PM Narendra Modi is the one who is taking it because of their pathological animosity towards the man. Some of them may be supporters of either the Congress or the Left or a non-BJP party or may even be apolitical.

Like everybody who supports Modi is not a jingoist, everybody who doesn’t is also not a reverse-jingoist.

It’s the breed of anti-Modi reverse-jingoists who, along with jingoists, fall into the realm of abnormal psychology. Both groups suffer from “deficit in normal behaviour” or an “attitude disorder”, though only a small number of them may have crossed the limits, calling for psychiatric intervention.

In normal circumstances, reverse-jingoism denotes cynicism of citizens over their own country, like that of the “anti-American Americans”, many of whom I met during the Gulf war. In the case of the anti-Modi reverse-jingoists, cynicism is replaced by prejudice.

“Prejudice is an inappropriate generalisation,” say psychologists CI Howarth and WEC Gillham in The Structure of Psychology.

That’s what makes this bunch of reverse-jingoists conclude: because Modi did something in the past which they believe to be wrong, whatever he is doing now must be wrong. And that’s why Howarth and Gillham say that prejudice can be due to “inappropriate application of what we have learned” in the past.

Sadly, both jingoists and the reverse ones find it hard to believe that there are a vast number of Indians who belong to neither group

As for Pakistan, those in this middle group take stand on issues, based on logic and rationale. If some of them believe that Pakistan is not a country like any other but only a terror factory and India must act in some manner — not necessarily by going to war but with some action like the surgical strikes or diplomatic offensive — it’s based on information, rational thinking, and possible consequences.  They might wholeheartedly back one action of Modi today and vehemently oppose another tomorrow.

The anti-Modi counter-jingoists want nothing to do with him. They even refuse to believe that the surgical strikes must be at least partly true, despite the stories done by Praveen Swami of The Indian Express and CNN-News18. Their questioning attitude is adorable, but when their disbelief comes from animosity toward one politician, it becomes a case of what psychologists call “loss of contact with reality”.

Forget jingoism or the antithesis of it. Both Modi’s staunch supporters and arch opponents refuse to acknowledge the fact that not all the 17.2 crore voters, who voted for the BJP — 31.3 percent vote share, excluding those who voted for other NDA allies — in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, are Hindu “fundamentalists” or “nationalists”.

It’s this larger middle group that anointed Modi as the Prime Minister in the hope of good governance and they are watching him. They watch what he is doing about Pakistan — and a host of other things — with no baggage. Modi knows it.

Author tweets @sprasadindia

Publication of Kashmir Reader stopped, accused of disturbing public peace

It has been observed that the contents published in the Kashmir Reader newspaper is of such nature that can easily cause incitement of acts of violence and disturbance of public tranquillity in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Srinagar district in particular, the order issued by the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Authorities on Sunday stopped publication of a local English language newspaper, Kashmir Reader, accusing it of carrying content which tends to incite violence and disturbs public peace and tranquillity.The Editor-in-Chief and owner of Kashmir Reader, Haji Hayat Mohammad Bhat, said a two-page letter was delivered at his office by Police this evening asking him to stop publication of the newspaper. It has been observed that the contents published in the above newspaper is of such nature that can easily cause incitement of acts of violence and disturbance of public tranquillity in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Srinagar district in particular, the order issued by the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar said.The order said it had become expedient in the interest of prevention of this anticipated breach of public tranquillity to forthwith take necessary precautionary measures. There are sufficient reasons to invoke the powers vested in me by Section 144 CrPC read with Section 3 of News Papers Incitement of offences Act, 1971 and Section 10 of Press and Publication Act, 1989 and proceed further in the matter by passing a conditional order of stopping the printing and publishing of News Paper namely Kashmir Reader through printing presses mentioned above, the order reads.

Peace, stability of united Nepal is in India’s interest: President Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Long-term peace and stability of a united Nepal is in India’s interest and New Delhi will work with it to achieve this goal, President Pranab Mukherjee has said.He made these comments when Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of Nepal Bimalendra Nidhi called on him at Rashtrapati Bhavan yesterday.”The President said long-term peace and stability of a united Nepal is in India’s interest. India will work with Nepal towards this common goal,” a statement from Press Secretary to the President Venu Rajamony said.It said the President conveyed to the visiting dignitary that India attaches highest priority to its relations with Nepal and remains strongly committed to further strengthening this age-old relationship.”India-Nepal relations are firmly embedded in shared geography, history, culture, civilisation and close people-to-people ties,” he said.The statement said the President congratulated Nidhi on his appointment as the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of Nepal.”He wished Mr Nidhi every success in promoting national cohesion and reconciliation in Nepal,” it said.

FDI reform: Why single brand retail may not see a single dollar of fresh money

The devil has always been in the detail. And it was no different in the case of liberal FDI norms, which the government announced with much fanfare across nine sectors last week.

A government press release promised the moon that Monday afternoon but now, when the changes have been notified, the picture does not seem quite as rosy. The notified changes fall short of what was actually promised.

For India’s airlines, initial euphoria over 100% foreign investment permission has been tempered by the revelation that such airlines may not be able to fly overseas at all. Basically, the reforms at least for airline ownership have been merely on paper. Now, it seems the single brand retail reform is also being panned as experts question several clauses in the explanatory Press Note 5, which notified the new FDI regime over the weekend.

dollarbounddollarbound

The changes notified by the govt fall short of what was promised

For one, though the government seems confident of its meaning, the industry has largely been left confused over what exactly is meant by “state of the art / cutting edge technology” companies.

“There is no definition of state-of-the-art/cutting edge technology. These terms anyway cannot be defined, leaving any such proposals for investment from foreign players subject to different interpretations,” says Arvind Singhal of Technopak.

This means opening up single brand retail store by Apple, for example, may not happen despite the new FDI norms. Lack of clarity on simple terms which are crucial to avail relaxed sourcing norms, could be the undoing of this policy.

Kartick Maheshwari, Partner at Khaitan & Co, points out that the press release which was issued by the government on June 20 and the Press Note which notified these changes later give out different interpretations.

“There is no 3-year blanket waiver from local sourcing norms (as promised in Monday’s press release). The sourcing exemption for single brand retailers whose product line-up is ‘state of the art / cutting edge technology’ and where local sourcing is not possible has been reflected as 3 years (not 5 years as promised in the press release). As such, the press note undoes the significant relaxations announced for this sector by the Union Government.”

He says the implementation of the initial announcement needs to be revisited or there will be little improvement in investments in the single brand retail sector. The confusion over whether the earlier, mandatory local sourcing for single brand retail firms has been relaxed for all, those which fall under the cutting-edge/state-of-the-art category only or none prevails. Doubts also remain over the extent of this exemption.

Not just definition of which brands fall under these relaxed norms, the interpretation of how relaxed the norms are also vary. Anil Talreja, Partner at Deloitte in India says a definition of what is state-of-the-art/cutting edge is there in the Press Note. He also interprets the note to mean that such companies will now be exempt from 30% local sourcing norms for three years after they set up their first store. And they can subsequently comply with this norm for the next five years by sticking to it through cumulative sourcing instead of complying with an annual sourcing amount.

“The government has recognised difficulties being faced by foreign investors due to sourcing requirements… This is not a big bang change though. The government will have to see the effects of these baby steps before making further changes,” he said.

A third point which has created confusion among the industry watchers is about total opening up of the food retail sector on which multiple restrictions on multi-brand retail also apply.

A BigBasket or any other food retailer also sells FMCG, other non-food products. To get FDI, what should such retailers do now?

“While 100% FDI is permitted in food products sector, most of the retailers trading food products also sell non-food household items; thus leading to challenges in implementation,” said Subrata Ray and Kinjal Shah of rating agency ICRA noted this in their report.

Non-food retail entails a host of conditions for FDI which include retailing only in one million-plus cities, mandatory investment size, 30% sourcing from micros and SMEs etc. To bypass these restrictions, will food retailers then separate their food and non-food businesses, set up separate arms and further complicate matters?

One industry expert pointed out that with these confused signals, not a single dollar of foreign investment may actually arrive in India’s single brand retail stores.

According to an analysis in the Business Standard, the sectors that saw liberalisation in FDI last week account for a small share of overall FDI inflows into India.

Trading (including retail) and pharmaceuticals together account for just 4% share of total overseas equity inflows in the last 16 years. With the complete dissonance between what the government promises and what it delivers, the share of retail trade in overall FDI inflow is unlikely to rise anytime soon.

Allahabad HC declines to entertain PIL to restrain electronic and print media of Kairana incident

Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court has declined to entertain a PIL seeking a direction to restrain the electronic and print media from alleged glorification of the Kairana incident which may disturb communal harmony.

However, the court left it open to the authorities concerned to take appropriate action or the aggrieved person to approach the appropriate forum, if any such action was required be taken under the law.

A division bench of justices Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Shamsher Bahadur Singh passed this order on June 23 on a PIL filed by a journalist impleading major political parties and news channels as well as the Press Council of India (PCI).

Representational imageRepresentational image

Representational image

“We have considered the submissions raised and we find that in absence of statutory obligations, the nature of the advisory or administrative direction as sought may not be possible at this stage on the material placed on record but in the event any such publication of views, ideas or news either by electronic or print media is likely to cause communal disharmony, then it would be appropriate for respective central and the state governments through their authorities as well as the PCI to issue such necessary instructions that may be required for the purpose of containing any such situation that is being apprehended,” the court said.

The petition had alleged that the entire atmosphere which had been created in connection to a particular incident at Kairana amounts to a clear violation of ethical principles pronounced by PCI and also leads to a situation, which may precipitate communal tensions.

The allegations were about the alleged exodus of certain members of a particular community from Kairana that were being “glorified” and were being “politically utilised” to the detriment of the public at large in order to disturb communal harmony.

Hope Obama’s successor takes India-US ties further: White House

Washington: The White House hopes that the outgoing US President Barack Obama’s successor would understand the significance of India-US ties and take it further.

“Hopefully, the President’s successor in the oval office will be somebody who recognises how important it is to build on the strong US-India relationship that’s been established under the leadership of President Obama and Prime Minister Modi,” the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.

Representational image. News 18

Representational image. News 18

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, was just at the White House a couple of weeks ago.

“That gave both leaders an opportunity to spend time together and to, not just deepen their personal relationship, but actually strengthen the relationship between our two countries,” he said in response to a question.

“In the seven months that the President has remaining in office, I’m confident that he will continue to work closely with Prime Minister Modi to advance our shared goals,” he said.

Earnest said there is a shared commitment between India and the US to fight against terrorism.

“There is a shared commitment to the idea that using violence or threat to accomplish a political goal, goes against everything that we believe in,” he said.

“It goes against everything that we stand for and it is a testament to the world’s two largest democracies that we are committed to resolving our differences — our political differences through a political process, that something is messy, that sometimes is less than efficient, that sometimes takes longer than it should,” he noted.

“But a commitment to resolve our differences peacefully and in the context of an established political process and the rule of law, is something that binds the United States and India as the commitment to these principles is important,” Earnest said.

“That is why the United States and India have been able to work effectively to combat terrorism and we obviously value that a counter-terrorism relationship between our two countries and our cooperation on those issues has been enhanced under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and as a result of the effective working relationship between Prime Minister Modi and President Obama,” the White House Press Secretary said.

TN man claims he killed Sadiq Batcha

In a sensational disclosure, a day before counting begins in Tamil Nadu, 24-year-old K Prabhakaran confessed to killing Sadiq Batcha, a close aide of former telecom minister A Raja, in March 2011.Reacting to this brazen confession, CBI officials have taken note of the situation. “We are looking into the situation and further action will be taken as per the law,” CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a press conference held at the Trichy Press Club, Prabhakaran told media persons that he committed the crime along with former state intelligence chief Jhawar Sait and Paramesh Kumar, Raja’s kin. “We killed Sadiq Batcha at the office of Green House Promoters in the late hours on 16 March 2011,” said Prabhakaran.The alleged accused further stated that Batcha was killed because he gave information to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials against Raja in the 2G scam. At the press conference, Prabhakaran said that he was a poor man and his life was in danger, hence he came forward to reveal his role in the murder. “I know they will not let me live long. That’s why I am revealing the real story so the accused are put behind bars before anything bad happens to me,” he said. “I was asked to participate in the killing as Kumar promised me money in return,” Prabhakaran said. “I have not yet been paid and hence I am coming forward,” he added.Recreating the night of the crime, Prabhakaran said: “Jhawar strangulated Batcha with a towel as I held the waist and Kumar held his legs pushed him down, put his foot on the neck and strangled him.”Implicating the state intelligence chief, Prabhakaran said, “A lot of a Raja’s unaccounted money was allegedly with Jhawar and they did not want CBI to block this.”Prabhakaran’s revelation opens a can of worms as several top leadership in Tamil Nadu’s political spectrum have been implication in this alleged plot. In March 2011, Batcha death was investigation by the CBI and ruled as a suicide. A case was registered by the CBI in 2011, and in August 2012, a disclosure report was submitted in court which was accepted in October the same year.Sadiq Batcha was a close aide of former telecom minister A Raja and the Managing Director of real estate firm Green House Promoters. Batcha allegedly committed suicide under suspicious circumstances. Batcha’s complicity and role in the 2G scam was widely speculated upon and his proximity to Raja placed him as one of the key conspirators in the scam.Raja along with DMK MP Kanimozhi and 15 others have been charged by the CBI with distributing spectrum licenses to favoured companies without going through the competitive bidding process.

Relationship with India, Pakistan not a ‘zero-sum game’: Pentagon

Washington: The United States views its relationships with India and Pakistan individually and not as a “zero-sum game”, the Pentagon has said.

“The United States views the relationship with Pakistan as not a zero-sum game with regard to India. We look at these relationships individually,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters at a news conference on Monday.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The issue was clarified by US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter during his trip to India last month, Cook said.

“We have an interest and Pakistan has an interest in going after terrorist groups in that country. We’ve talked about it at length, and that is the focus of that security relationship with Pakistan,” he said.

“At the same time, we have security interests with India that stand alone and stand apart,” he said adding that Carter feels very strongly that the relationship can be enhanced further.

“We have made significant strides in the last few years with regard to that, last few months, even. And he sees that continuing to build, and he does not see those two issues, if you will, not getting in the way of each other,” Cook said.

Press Club of India condemns killing of two journalists, demands strict action against culprits

New Delhi: The Press Club of India and the entire journalist community on Saturday condemned the brutal murder of two media persons in Bihar and Jharkhand and demanded action against the culprits by both the Centre and state governments.

Rajdeo Ranjan, the Siwan bureau chief of Hindi newspaper Hindustan, which is part of the HT Media, was shot dead at a busy market near Station Road in the district on Friday night. Four suspects have been detained in connection with his killing.

In the other incident, Indradeo Yadav, also known as Akhilesh Pratap, was gunned down in Jharkhand’s Chatra district on Thursday night. He worked as a correspondent for a local TV channel.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“Both, the murders of Rajdeo Ranjan in Bihar and Akhil Prasad Singh in Jharkhand were targeted killings and form a part of attempts on part the mafia to muzzle the independent voice of the media,” said Press Club of India president Rahul Jalali.

“It is with increasing dismay we also note the increase in attempts to target the press throughout the country, by denigrating them and if nothing else works by eliminating them as has happened in these two cases,” he said.

Nadeem Ahmad Kazmi, secretary general of Press Club of India, said: “It is in this context we demand from the government, both at the centre and states, to come down heavily on the culprits and also create an atmosphere conducive to the free and fair functioning of the media in the country.”

“We also appeal to all media organizations in the country to come together and deliberate on how to resist increasing attacks on press freedom. In this context, we offer our forum for every media outfit to come together to strategise on the action plan for our battles ahead,” he added.

No procedural delay in appointing Judges, says Law Minister Sadanand Gowda

After the Chief Justice of India made an impassioned plea to the government to help address shortage of judges, Union Law Minister Sadananda Gowda today said there was no procedural delay from the government’s side in appointing judges and it was “exclusively” in the hands of the judiciary.”Appointment of judges is exclusively in the hands of the judiciary. Now their appointments are through collegium. The High Court collegium is there for the High Court. (They) refer the matter to the Supreme Court, then they refer the matter to the Ministry of Law and Justice only for processing, he said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gowda was responding to a question on Chief Justice of India Justice T S Thakur turning emotional on the issue recently and lamenting the government’s “inaction” in raising the number of judges from 21,000 to 40,000 to handle mounting cases.”In my office, I have not kept files (on appointment of judges) for more than 15 days,” the law minister told a Meet-the-Press programme organised by Ernakulam Press Club here.”I don’t want to make any comment or anything about the judiciary and all that. Central government so far has not delayed even a single file in processing. And we are taking care of the judiciary,” he said. “Nothing moves”, Thakur had said, recalling a 1987 Law Commission recommendation to increase the number of judges per 10 lakh people from 10 to 50.”Then comes inaction by the government as the increase (in strength of judges) does not take place,” he had said while addressing the inaugural session of the joint conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts. Gowda noted that Parliament had unanimously passed the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill (NJAC Bill), but it was rejected by the Supreme Court. “100 per cent members of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, supported the bill. But that bill has been struck down by the Supreme Court,” the Minister said.In October last year, the Supreme Court had rejected the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and the 99th Constitutional Amendment which sought to give politicians and civil society a final say in the appointment of judges to the highest courts.

Jagendra Singh, deceased UP-based journalist, gets Press Club award for bravery in journalism

Mumbai: Uttar Pradesh-based journalist Jagendra Singh, who was killed allegedly for his exposes on illegal sand mining and other misdemeanours, was on Tuesday honoured posthumously with “RedInk Veer Patrakar Puraskar” by Mumbai Press Club in Mumbai.

Jagendra Singh. Image courtesy: Jagendra Singh's Facebook page

Jagendra Singh. Image courtesy: Jagendra Singh’s Facebook page

Singh’s daughter Diksha Singh received the award on behalf of her father.

Singh used to run a Facebook page, Shahjahanpur Samachar, wherein he exposed the “corrupt” practices of an Uttar Pradesh minister. One of the issues taken up was illegal sand mining.

He was allegedly set on fire on 1 June last year by some local policemen and criminals for the expose. Singh had worked for Hindi language media for 15 years.

The UP government has claimed that the journalist had set himself on fire. A writ petition was filed by journalist Mudit Mathur from Lucknow, which is pending before the Supreme Court.

Besides Singh, 25 other journalists were awarded for their commendable work at the function.

TN Ninan, Chairman and Editorial Director of Business Standard, was bestowed upon the Lifetime Achievement award while NDTV India’s senior Executive Editor Ravish Kumar got the ‘journalist of the year’ award.

The others winners included Gunjan Sharma (The Week), Pallava Bagla (NDTV), Aniruddha Ghosal (Indian Express) and Meher Ali (The Wire).

The Mumbai Press Club for the first time had included the ‘start-up of the year’ category. The award was won by thewire.in.

Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao was the chief guest on the occasion while Union minister Piyush Goyal the guest of honour.

A number of journalists and personalities from various fields attended the event.

Press Council, government at loggerheads over media body’s powers

The Press Council of India(PCI) and the Government were at loggerheads over the issue of the media body’s powers after it decided to serve a bailable arrest warrant against Union I and B Ministry Secretary Sunil Arora for failing to appear before it following summons.Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources said today that the PCI has “limited powers” and cannot decide everything unlike the judiciary, which is an independent institution recognised by the Constitution, days after the Council took a decision to issue the arrest warrant.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PCI Chairman Justice(retd) C K Prasad, however, said that the Council was of the “prima facie” view that it does have the powers to issue such a warrant.At the same time, he said the Council is willing to listen to I and B Ministry’s contention in this regard.The unanimous decision to secure Arora’s attendance before the Council at its next scheduled meeting here on April 22 was taken by its members at their meeting on April 11 under the Chairmanship of Prasad.The PCI on March 17 had decided to institute a suo motu inquiry into the “continued apathy” of the I and B Ministry towards the activities of the Council particularly at its efforts to preserve the freedom of the press and its mandate under the Press Council Act and directed its Secretary to appear before it on April 11. Arora is due to retire on April 30.Prasad said the ministry had in its initial response questioned the Council’s powers but in another communication on Wednesday said the I and B Secretary would come.A request was also made to the Council to consider a change in the date for the Secretary’s appearance.Regarding the request, Prasad said a decision would be taken after seeking views of all the Council members amid suggestions by a few that the direction for issuing the warrant be kept in abeyance.Prasad on Wednesday said the Council received a communication from the ministry on that day in which it was said the Secretary was not present here to receive the notices as he was out of the country and that he would appear before it.I and B Ministry sources said that under the Press Council Act, the Council has been given powers to summon attendance of persons and examine them on oath, only for two purposes — for carrying out its functions and for holding an enquiry.The financial and legislative proposals of PCI are examined in the Ministry and legislature respectively, the sources said.The sources also said that the proposals of PCI for enhancement of their powers and expansion of their mandate required wide consultations with all the concerned stakeholders before firming up the legislative proposal for amendment in the Press Council Act, 1978.The sources said that it is also important to note that under section 25 of Press Council Act, the power to make rules for enhancement of allowance of fees to the members of PCI lies with the Central Government.The sources said the recommendation from PCI for enhancement of levy fee to be collected from newspapers is already under government’s consideration.The PCI through a resolution passed at its meeting held on March 17 had decided to summon Arora on April 11 to explain the government’s position on powers to the Council, proposals to make it self sufficient like enhancing the levy fee and enhancing sitting fee of non-official members to Rs 4,000 from the current Rs 1,000 to enable them to “fulfil their mandate” effectively.A PCI member said since Arora did not turn up on April 11, the members present unanimously brought out a resolution that a bailable warrant may be issued and the authorities concerned be informed.The Council has addressed several communications to the I and B Ministry on various issues concerning the functioning of the Council but received no satisfactory response, several PCI members said.Prasad said several issues had to be discussed and the Council had issued notices to the Secretary on this matter as is the practice.He said there were several matters concerning the powers of the Council, the autonomy and the sitting fee to the executive members which required redressal.Prasad said that to reduce the Council s dependency on the government it had proposed increasing the levy fee on newspapers. The levy fee is paid by newspapers depending on their size and circulation to avail themselves of the services of the Council.

West Bengal Elections 2016: Mamata has 48 hours to reply to EC’s show-cause notice

Sources in the Election Commission said that Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will have to reply to the show cause notice by April 16. Since, 56 constituencies goes for the polls on April 17, the commission has decided to seek Banerjee’s reply a day before the second phase of polls.However on the other hand, the ruling Trinamool Congress reacted strongly to the notice issued by the Election Commission of India. Party Spokesperson Derek O’Brien said, “Before issuing a show cause notice to no less a person than the Chief Minister of the State (and one of India’s most popular political icons), we only wish some very basic due diligence was done. We learnt through the Press Conference that the EC has show caused Mamata Banerjee for her comments made at a rally in Asansol. The apparent reason for the show cause is that she had promised to make Asansol into a new district which was against the EC model code of conduct.” <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“The decision to make Asansol, Kalimpong, Basirhat, Sunderbans and Jhargram into different districts was taken up in the West Bengal Cabinet in December 2015, four months ago. It was also discussed in the Assembly. This information is in the public domain and is common knowledge. The people who registered the complaint don’t have their facts right. They have little or no knowledge of Bengal. They speak without knowing. We are not surprised.The political bias is obvious. A lot of this is cooked up by the Delhi babus. Now that they have given wrong facts shouldn’t the EC ask them to clarify? Or apologise?” added O’Brien.

Three-member committee to monitor content of govt ads

The Centre has formed a three-member committee, headed by former Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon, to check violations of the Supreme Court guidelines with regard to content in government advertising.Apart from Tandon, the other two members of the committee are Editor-in-Chief of India TV Rajat Sharma and Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman South Asia, Ogilvy and Mather, an official statement said on Monday. The Committee would also recommend corrective action to the Ministry or Department.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Information and Broadcasting ministry, in the statement, said in compliance with Supreme Court directions dated May 13, 2015, it has constituted the committee to address issues related to content regulation in government advertising.The Supreme Court had in its May 13, 2015 order laid down criteria as per which government advertisements can only carry pictures of certain dignitaries like the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India. Subsequently, modifying its earlier order, the apex court allowed that Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, Governors and State Ministers can now appear in government advertisements.Tenure of the members would be initially for a period of two years which shall be extendable by one year at a time, but overall extension should not be more than two times. The committee would be operational from Delhi and Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity would facilitate day-to-day its functioning, it added.The names were chosen by a selection panel headed by Chairman of Press Council of India Justice (Retd) Chandramauli Kumar Prasad.As per the Terms of Reference, the Committee would, inter-alia, address complaints from the general public of violation of the guidelines set out by the Supreme Court, the statement said.The Committee may recommend suitable changes to the Supreme Court guidelines to deal with new circumstances and situations that may arise from time-to-time, without making major policy changes within the policy direction of Supreme Court, the statement said.The Committee shall not be bound by any legal rules of evidence and may follow such procedure as appears to it to be fair and proper for swift settlement of grievances. For all decisions of the Committee, the view of majority would prevail, the statement said.

Press Club row: Delhi court denies SAR Gilani’s plea to hand him his phone back

A Delhi court has denied a plea of former Delhi University lecturer SAR Gilani for handing him back his mobile phone, seized by city police in connection with a sedition case.LIVE England vs West Indies final T20, ICC World T20Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh dismissed the application moved by Gilani’s counsel, after police submitted that the mobile phone has been sent to Forensic Science Laboratory for examination. The court, however, directed the city police to release Gilani’s car and other articles seized in the case.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A court had granted bail to Gilani on March 19 in the case on furnishing of a personal bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety of the like amount. Earlier on February 19, a magisterial court had dismissed the bail plea of Gilani, who was arrested on February 16 after the police had alleged that “hatred” was being generated against the government.According to police, an event was held on February 10 in the Press Club in which banners were placed showing Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat as martyrs. It had also said the hall in the Press Club was booked by Gilani, through his associate Ali Javed by using his credit card and another man Mudassar was also involved.At the event, a group had allegedly shouted slogans hailing Guru, following which the police had lodged a case under sections 124A (sedition), 120B(criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC against Gilani and other unnamed persons.The police had registered the FIR taking suo motu cognisance of media clips of the incident.Following registration of the FIR, the police questioned DU professor Javed for two days. Gilani was arrested in connection with the 2001 Parliament attack case but was acquitted for “need of evidence” by Delhi High Court in October 2003, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in August 2005.

2 years of Modi govt: I&B Ministry working on publicity drive to highlight achievements

With the Narendra Modi government set to complete two years in office on May 26, the Information and Broadcasting ministry has begun consultations with other ministries to chalk out a strategy for highlighting its achievements.The ministry has already written to the other departments seeking details of initiatives undertaken by them in the past 18 months so that a plan for their publicity across various platforms may be prepared.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The government’s first year in office was marked by the tagline ‘Saal Ek Shuruat Anek’. Now, consultations are on so that a detailed communication plan can be formulated involving the Press Information Bureau, Doordarshan, AIR and other publicity units and ministries,” an official said.Earlier this month, Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore held a meeting in which it was emphasised that the flow of information from the ministries and departments to the publicity officers should be made smoother.I&B Secretary Sunil Arora has also written to his counterparts in other departments asking them to share information about their key programmes and initiatives.All media units under the I&B ministry like PIB, the field publicity department. have been asked to share their action plans while department publicity officers have been asked to outline five major policy decisions or initiatives taken by their ministries in last two years.Public broadcaster Doordarshan has also been asked to outline a comprehensive strategy for its regional and national network, including Kisan TV channel, officials said.The ministry may also consider taking the assistance of industry professionals to ensure that a crisp and clear communication strategy is put in place, they said.

Pakistan has made serious effort in Pathankot terror attack probe: Amit Shah

With Centre under attack over allowing a Pakistani probe team access to Pathankot air base, BJP chief Amit Shah on Tuesday said Pakistan has for the first time made “serious efforts” towards investigating a terror case.”First let me make clear one thing, that the Pakistan team which has come related to the probe, has a limited access to periphery. They will not enter the air base nor will they interact with the officials of the Army. They will investigate other things,” Shah said here. “I agree that for the first time Pakistan has made serious efforts towards investigation. The results will be known after the investigation gets over,” Shah said during a media interaction at Press Club.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A five-member Pakistani Joint Investigation Team, including an ISI official, today visited the IAF base at Pathankot in connection with the January 2 attack amid intensified protests by opposition Congress and Aam Aadmi Party.Congress said that according an almost “red carpet welcome” to JIT raised serious questions on procedural propriety in relation to compromise on national security and likened it to an accused investigating himself.AAP said instead of allowing Pakistan’s investigation team to visit India to probe Pathankot attack, Indian security agencies should have been sent to Pakistan to investigate the role of masterminds “enjoying hospitality of Pakistan Government not only in Pathankot attack but in Mumbai attacks too”.

Sedition row: SAR Gilani granted bail by Delhi court

Former Delhi University lecturer SAR Gilani was on Saturday granted bail by a Delhi court in a sedition case related to an event conducted at the Press Club here last month.Additional Sessions Judge Deepak Garg granted the relief to Gilani on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety of the like amount.Gilani’s counsel, Satish Tamta sought bail for him, claiming there is nothing on record that Gilani shouted anti-India slogans or asked others to do so.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was a meeting of intellectuals to discuss the Kashmir issue, he said.”There was nothing in the event which led to any violence as there was nothing that could be called incitement,” Tamta said, adding that as per the Supreme Court order, shouting slogans merely doesn’t amount to offence under section 124-A(Sedition) of IPC.However, Delhi Police had opposed the bail plea saying the event was “an attack on the soul of India” and it was “contempt of court.””The incident was in the continuation of what had happened in JNU a day earlier. As per the statements of Press Club of India officials, anti-India slogans were shouted and Gilani was also involved in it. Gilani had violated the law of the land and the offence was grave,” the prosecution added.Earlier on February 19, a magisterial court had dismissed the bail plea of Gilani, who was arrested on February 16, after the police had alleged that “hatred” was being generated against the government.Police had told the court that an event was held on February 10 in which banners were placed showing Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat as martyrs.It had also said the hall in the Press Club was booked by Gilani, through his associate Ali Javed by using his credit card and another man Mudassar was also involved.At the Press Club event, a group had allegedly shouted slogans hailing Afzal Guru, following which the police had lodged a case under sections 124A (sedition), 120B(criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC against Gilani and other unnamed persons.The police had claimed to have registered the FIR taking suo motu cognizance of media clips of the incident.Following registration of the FIR, the police questioned DU professor Javed, a Press Club member, who had booked the hall for the event, for two days.Gilani was arrested in connection with the 2001 Parliament attack case but was acquitted for “need of evidence” by Delhi High Court in October 2003, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in August 2005.

Press club event: Court reserves order on Gilani’s bail plea

Delhi Police on Saturday opposed the bail plea of ex-Delhi University lecturer SAR Gilani, arrested under sedition charges in connection with a Press Club event here, saying the event was “an attack on the soul of India” and it was “contempt of court.” Additional Sessions Judge reserved the order for today itself after the arguments in which Gilani’s counsel said that there were no evidences against him that he raised the alleged anti-Indian slogans, adding that criticising Supreme Court judgement was not contempt of court.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Kashmir is an integral part of the nation. But they were celebrating the persons, Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, who were convicted by Supreme Court. They were terming them as martyrs which was affecting the people and it was contempt of court.”If he had not liked the SC judgement, he could have thought in his mind and within the four walls of his house. But he had assembled people for the meeting in the heart of the Capital for that purpose which was an attack on the soul of India,” police said while opposing the bail plea.Gilani’s counsel, however, sought bail for him, claiming that as per the FIR itself, the people raising slogans there were stopped by office bearers of the Press Club of India and asked to leave the venue to which they agreed to.”There is nothing on record that Gilani shouted anti-India slogans or asked others to do so. It was a meeting of intellectuals to discuss the Kashmir issue. I had organised the event as I am Vice President of one of the committees for demanding release of the political prisoners.”There was nothing in the event which led to any violence as there was nothing that could be called incitement. The prosecution has not pointed out that I was the one raising slogans or asked others to do so. And even if I did so, that doesn’t come under 124A as it did not create any violence or incitement for the violence,” the counsel for Gilani said, adding that as per the SC orders itself, shouting slogans merely doesn’t consist 124-A.He further said that Gilani is already in jail for last around one month and not required for the probe any further.”His presence can also not influence any person and he is not capable to influence the investigation,” the counsel said.While opposing the bail plea, the prosecution said the event was contempt of court and was held with an intention to create hatred towards the government and the law needs to be brought in to maintain public order.”The incident was in the continuation of what had happened in JNU one day earlier. As per the statements of Press Club of India officials, anti-India slogans were shouted and Gilani was also involved in it. Gilani had violated the law of the land and the offence was grave,” the prosecution added.Earlier on February 19, a magisterial court had dismissed the bail plea of Gilani, who was arrested on February 16, after the police had alleged that “hatred” was being generated against the government.Police had told the court that an event was held on February 10 in which banners were placed showing Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat as martyrs.It had also said the hall in the Press Club was booked by Gilani, through his associate Ali Javed by using his credit card and another man Mudassar was also involved.At the Press Club event, a group had allegedly shouted slogans hailing Afzal Guru, following which the police had lodged a case under sections 124A (sedition), 120B(criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC against Gilani and other unnamed persons.The police had claimed to have registered the FIR taking suo motu cognizance of media clips of the incident.Following registration of the FIR, the police questioned DU professor Javed, a Press Club member who had booked the hall for the event, for two days.Gilani was arrested in connection with the 2001 Parliament attack case but was acquitted for “need of evidence” by Delhi High Court in October 2003, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in August 2005.

Press Club event: SAR Gilani’s remarks against the country, Delhi police tells court

Allegations against ex-Delhi University (DU) lecturer SAR Geelani, arrested under sedition charges in connection with a Press Club event in New Delhi, are “grievous” and whatever he has purportedly said is against the country, police said on Friday. The public prosecutor, representing Delhi police, told Additional Sessions Judge Deepak Garg that he was not in a position to argue the matter today as he has not received the copy of Geelani’s bail plea yet.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I am not in a position to argue today. There are grievous allegations (against Geelani) and (whatever he has purportedly stated) are against the country,” the prosecutor told the judge.As the hearing commenced, the prosecutor told the court that Geelani’s bail petition was not supplied to him but the entire case emanates from the video footage of the event organised at the Press Club in New Delhi. To this, the judge told the investigating officer (IO), “What are you doing? These are small things and I need not remind you about this.”Advocate Satish Tamta, who appeared for Geelani, said that even on Thursday arguments on bail plea were deferred for Friday. The judge, however, said, “let it (bail plea) be taken up tomorrow morning as the first matter.”During the brief hearing, the prosecutor asked the IO to bring video footage of the event and a laptop in the court. Earlier on February 19, a magisterial court had dismissed the bail plea of Geelani, who was arrested on February 16, after the police had alleged that “hatred” was being generated against the government.Police had told the court that an event was held on February 10 in which banners were placed showing Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat as martyrs. It had also said the hall in the Press Club was booked by Geelani, who is presently in judicial custody, through his associate Ali Javed by using his credit card and another man Mudassar was also involved.At the Press Club event, a group had allegedly shouted slogans hailing Afzal Guru, following which the police had lodged a case under sections 124A (sedition), 120B(criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC against Geelani and other unnamed persons. The police had claimed to have registered the FIR taking suo motu cognisance of media clips of the incident.Following registration of the FIR, the police questioned DU professor Ali Javed, a Press Club member who had booked the hall for the event, for two days.Geelani was arrested in connection with the 2001 Parliament attack case but was acquitted for “need of evidence” by Delhi High Court in October 2003, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in August 2005.

Saudi-led coalition: Major combat in Yemen coming to an end

Cairo: A spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition says that major combat operations in Yemen are coming to an end, after which the coalition will work on “long-term” plans to bring stability to the country.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri told The Associated Press today that the coalition will continue to provide air support to Yemeni forces battling Shiite Houthi rebels and Islamic militants on the ground.

The yearlong air campaign and ground assault was intended to roll back the Houthis, who seized the capital, Sanaa, in 2014 and still control it.

Al-Asiri says the coalition is investigating reports of mass killings in northern Yemen after two Saudi-led airstrikes hit a market on Tuesday.

The Houthi-controlled state news agency, SABA, said at least 65 people were killed and 55 wounded.

AP

Arun Jaitely calls upon the conventional media to ‘stand up’

Calling upon the conventional media to “stand up”, Arun Jaitley said the danger of proliferation of multiple avenues of media was of the “desire” to hog the limelight by doing or saying something “controversial”.He contended that in a robust democracy, the width of the media is so large that almost every viewpoint finds its mention in some place of the media. “But one obvious danger of this is its impact on institutions. It’s that the desire to be before the floodlights become so large that the tendency to do something or say something which is controversial, which is out of the ordinary increases,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To make his point, the minister cited cases of hardworking legislators who find no reflection of their work in the media, while someone who says something “outlandish” generates buzz.”For somebody who has done something sensational or said something outlandish obviously it has greater charm on the media because that adds to creating a controversy that the media itself would generate,” he said.On the occasion, M Shajil Kumar of Malayala Manorama was conferred the award for his outstanding work on “endangered tribal communities” who live on the slopes of Western Ghats in Kerala. The award comprises a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh, a trophy and a citation.The jury, which was headed by former Chief Justice of India A S Anand, unanimously selected Kumar’s exclusive report, out of several entries. The jury included N Ravi, Chairman IPI India chapter and Director, The Hindu; MK Razdan, Editor-in-Chief, the Press Trust of India; and Riyad Mathew, Senior Assistant Editor Malayala Manorama.Importantly, Jaitley noted that there would be many others like him who “enjoy what happens in the evening” (TV shows) but “I think it is also taking its toll and therefore it is time for conventional media to stand up and strike”.”In campaign journalism it is very difficult to remain a detached third party because now TRPs depend on campaign journalism and not on objective reporting… who participates on which channel depends on the nature of the campaign,” he said. Jaitley observed that conventional definition of news “no longer holds true” and that what makes news is “predominantly what is captured in the camera”.

Attack on scribes at Patiala House terrible exception: Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday termed the attack on journalists at Patiala House Courts as a “terrible exception” and decried the presence of crowds inside court premises which he said creates an “oppressive environment”. He said the courts must remain “detached” and should not be carried by issues or trends of the moment as anything on the contrary would be a threat to free speech and a fair trial. “It was a terrible exception what happened. Normally people in the public place find media as their natural ally. The whole idea of getting the media dragged into contemporaneous controversy and then attacking it physically is absolutely unacceptable, anywhere, in courts so more particularly,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley, who also holds the Information and Broadcasting portfolio, was speaking at the International Press Institute (IPI) India Award For Excellence in Journalism award here. He stressed that more serious the offence, “stronger” must be the avenues of defence while underlining that “exceptions” like the Patiala House court incident would act as a reminder to keep the media as a detached third party. “I think the idea of crowds in court is itself not acceptable. The more serious the offence the stronger must be the avenues of defence. And if protests within court premises create an oppressive environment in which bar associations sometimes pass resolution that we won’t appear for so and so accused. “It is not merely a threat to free speech but it also becomes a threat to a free and fair trial because an oppressive environment is created in judicial institutions.Courts must remain detached. Courts can’t be carried by issues of the moment. Courts can’t be carried by the trends itself,” he said.

Shoot Kanhaiya Kumar for Rs 11 lakh: Purvanchal Sena’s Adarsh Sharma arrested for provocative posters

New Delhi: Delhi Police on Monday arrested Adarsh Sharma, the man who claims to be president of Purvanchal Sena which had announced through posters a reward of Rs 11 lakh for anyone who “shoots” JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar.

“Sharma has been arrested under charges of defacement of public property, abetment of offence punishable with imprisonment, public mischief, criminal intimidation and forgery,” a senior police official said, adding investigation is underway and more charges can be added in the case.

Kanhaiya Kumar in a file photo. PTIKanhaiya Kumar in a file photo. PTI

Kanhaiya Kumar in a file photo. PTI

Earlier in the day, Delhi Police had detained Sharma for questioning at a police station in New Delhi district. On Saturday, posters announcing Rs 11 lakh reward for shooting dead Kumar were seen stuck on a wall near Press Club of India and bus stops and metro stations in New Delhi district.

The poster said “whosoever shoots JNU Students’ Union president and seditionist Kanhaiya will be rewarded Rs 11 lakh on the behalf of Purvanchal Sena”.

The posters carried the mobile number and name of Sharma. On the same day, the police registered a case of defacement of property and questioned one person, who was allegedly involved in sticking the posters on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday. The other sections were added later in the FIR.

PTI

Delhi Police arrests Adarsh Sharma, who offered Rs 11 lakh to kill Kanhaiya

Delhi Police on Monday questioned and later arrested Adarsh Sharma, who claimed to be the president of ‘Purvanchal Sena’, in connection with the case registered over sticking posters in the city announcing a reward of Rs 11 lakh for anyone who “shoots dead” JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar.Earlier, Sharma was questioned at a police station in New Delhi district, a senior police official confirmed without divulging further details. On Saturday, posters announcing Rs 11 lakh reward for shooting dead Kumar were seen stuck on a wall near Press Club of India and bus stops and metro stations in New Delhi district.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The poster said “whosoever shoots JNU Students’ Union president and seditionist Kanhaiya will be rewarded Rs 11 lakh on the behalf of Purvanchal Sena.” The posters carried the mobile number and name of Adarsh Sharma, president of one Purvanchal Sena. On the same day, the police registered a case of defacement of property in connection with the matter and questioned one person, who was allegedly involved in sticking the posters on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.

We stand with JNU students but will they stand with Gilani, asks aggrieved family

There are many, including us, who are party to the agitation against booking of JNU students in a sedition case over an event against hanging of Afzal Guru but will JNU stand for SAR Gilani who has been charged with the same offence, asks his brother Bismillah.Gilani was arrested in the wee hours of February 15, barely three days after the arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar. While six JNU students have been charged with sedition over an event on campus, Geelani is facing the charges over an event at the Press Club on the same issue. His family, however, feels the way the chorus for Kanhaiya’s release grew among students supported by academicians and others, Geelani has been given a “differential” treatment by JNU.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The event was the same, the charges are the same. Police had been claiming that they had evidence against Kanhaiya which is also under question now but no such claims of proof have been made against Geelani. But why is the public discourse silent on him, why the differential treatment,” Bismillah told PTI. “JNU is known for making everybody’s headache its own, for standing in support of many but why are they silent on Gilani. There was a massive campaign demanding Kanhaiya’s release and now the clamour has shifted to Umar and Anirban but not one is talking of Gilani,” he added.
ALSO READ Supreme Court to hear contempt plea against Kanhaiya Kumar, SAR Gilani tomorrowThe ghost of 2001Gilani, who holds a doctorate in Arabic and teaches at Zakir Hussain College (Evening) in Delhi, has been questioning Afzal Guru’s hanging ever since Delhi Police accused him of being involved in the 2001 Parliament attack and failed to win a conviction. “My brother has been teaching at DU since years but not even once the college authorities have tried to reach out to us since his arrest. When my brother was arrested in 2001, the Delhi police had projected him as the mastermind behind the Parliament attack.”Though his acquittal came as a relief to us, the two years that he spent in jail and the time after it still haunts us. He has two grown up children who have to justify to people that he is not a criminal,” he said. Bismillah, who has written a book, Manufacturing Terrorism: Kashmiri encounters with the Media and Law, where he tells his brother’s story, said, “I agree that it is important to defend students, they are future of the country but people who have been supporting JNU should not have two different approaches over the same issue.” At the Press Club event, a group had allegedly shouted slogans hailing Guru, following which the police had lodged a case under sections 124A (sedition), 120B(criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC against Gilani and other unnamed persons.The police had claimed to have registered the FIR taking suo motu cognisance of media clips of the incident. A Delhi Court had sent him to judicial custody till March 16. Though Kanhaiya Kumar walked out of Tihar last week after he was granted a bail in the case, two more students – Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya – are still in custody.Kanhaiya, after his release, has joined the ongoing movement at varsity demanding the duo’s release.

Kill Kanhaiya Kumar poster: Delhi police register case against unknown persons

Delhi Police registered a case in connection with posters announcing a “reward” of Rs 11 lakh for anyone who “shoots down” JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar. One person was caught while he was sticking the posters on the behalf of outfit ‘Purvanchal Sena’ on the wall of Press Club while others accompanying him managed to flee. The matter was reported to the police. “A case has been registered under relevant sections of law at the Parliament Street police station,” said a senior police officer. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The person fixing the posters was questioned at the police station and we are tracking others who got the posters published,” he said. “No person has been arrested so far in this connection,” said Taj Hasan, Special Commissioner (Crime) and chief spokesperson of Delhi Police, without divulging any further information.The development came on a day BJP Yuva Morcha leader Kuldeep Varshnay, who had announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for cutting off JNU Students union leader Kanhaiya Kumar’s tongue, was expelled from primary membership of the party for six years.The posters in Hindi read, “Whoever shoots JNUSU president and traitor Kanhaiya Kumar will be rewarded Rs 11 lakh from the Poorvanchal Sena.” The poster is signed Adarsh Sharma, ‘Son of Poorvanchal, President, Poorvanchal Sena and his mobile number.Don’t misuse freedom of speech: Yogi Adityanath to KanhaiyaCondemning the 9 February event that took place at the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Yogi Adityanath on Saturday advised the JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar to refrain from using freedom of speech and expression to hail terrorists like Afzal Guru, who attacked the Parliament in 2001.”Whatever is happening inside the JNU is condemnable. What is more condemnable is the fact that the teachers of the university are also involved in these activities. It is very shameful,” Adityanath said. “The BJP is not against any individual. But the students should refrain from hailing people like Afzal Guru, who had targeted the Parliament, on the name of freedom of speech and expression,” he said. (Read more…)With agency inputs

Press Club event: Ex-DU lecturer SAR Geelani’s judicial custody extended

A Delhi court on Thursday extended till March 16 the judicial custody of former Delhi University lecturer SAR Geelani, arrested on sedition charges. The hearing was conducted through video conference as Geelani was not produced before the court due to the security reasons.Geelani, who was arrested on February 16 in connection with an event at the Press Club of India in New Delhi where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, was earlier sent to judicial custody on February 18.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police had earlier told the court that an event was held on February 10 in which banners were placed showing Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat as martyrs and anti-national slogans along with slogans demanding independence for Kashmir were raised. It had also said the hall in the club was booked by Geelani through one Ali Javed by using his credit card and another person Mudassar was also involved.Geelani’s counsel, however, had said he was only the convenor and the event was open for all.Geelani’s arrest has come amid the raging row over the arrest of JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar over sedition charges in connection with an event on February 9 at the varsity campus to commemorate the hanging of Guru.At the Press Club event, a group had allegedly shouted slogans hailing Guru, following which the police had lodged a case under sections 124A (sedition), 120B(criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC against Geelani and other unnamed persons.The police had claimed to have registered the FIR taking suo motu cognisance of media clips of the incident. Following registration of the FIR, the police questioned for two consecutive days DU professor Javed, a Press Club member who had booked the hall for the event.Geelani was arrested in connection with the 2001 Parliament attack case but was acquitted for “need of evidence” by the Delhi High Court in October 2003, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in August 2005.

SAR Geelani remanded to 14-day judicial custody

Former Delhi University professor SAR Geelani was produced in a make shift court in the office of the Diplomatic Security Force in Chanakyapuri and was remanded to 14 days judicial custody.In lieu of the violence that has rocked Patiala House Court since Monday, the state submitted an application in front of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Sumit Das requesting for a change of venue. The request was granted and Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh went to Chanakyapuri Police Station, almost seven kilometres away from the Patiala House District Court complex, to conduct the remand proceedings. “We were waiting in the MM’s court room at Patiala House when we were given intimation about the change in venue,” Tamta stated. He was also told not to disclose this information to anybody.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here, the police stated that Geelani was no longer required for custodial interrogation and that he should be remanded to judicial custody. Tamta moved a bail application on behalf of his client and the hearing will be taken up on Friday at noon. Tamta has also requested that his client be housed in a high security ward since he fears for his life inside the jail.After a failed assassination attempt in 2005, Geelani has been granted Y class security and 2 Personal Security Officials (PSO) are assigned to him for protection.Geelani was apprehended by the Delhi Police on Monday night outside the Zakir Hussain College and was formally arrested at 3 am the same night. He has been charged with sedition in connection with an event held at the Press Club of India, Delhi, where Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt were portrayed as martyrs, anti-national slogans were raised and a demand for Kashmir’s independence was touched upon.

Press Club row: Former DU lecturer SAR Geelani sent to 14-day judicial custody

Taking no chances after two days of violence in the Patiala House Courts complex, Delhi Police on Thursday presented former Delhi University lecturer SAR Geelani, arrested on sedition charges, before a magistrate in a police station for remand proceedings.The remand proceedings passed of peacefully far from the Patiala House Courts which was the scene of violence on Monday and Wednesday when a group of lawyers had thrashed journalists and JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar in brazen defiance of Supreme Court order.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Geelani, who was arrested in connection with an event at the Press Club of India here where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised last week, was remanded to judicial custody till March 3 by the magistrate. He also moved a bail application which will come up for hearing before Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh on Friday.Earlier in the day, not wanting to take any risk, the police approached the magistrate and requested that the remand proceedings be held in a police station away from Patiala House Courts complex. The violence had triggered nationwide outrage and the Delhi Police had come under criticism for its alleged inaction.A magistrate then went to Chanakyapuri Police Station, about 7 kms away from Patiala House Court, for the hearing when police said Geelani was not required for any further custodial interrogation so he be remanded to judicial custody.Advocate Satish Tamta, who represented Geelani, moved a bail application on behalf of his client and the magistrate fixed it for hearing tomorrow. On February 16, the court had sent Geelani to two-day police custody after the agency had said they required his custodial interrogation to identify those involved in raising anti-India slogans. Police had earlier told the court that an event was held on February 10 in which banners were placed showing Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat as martyrs and anti-national slogans along with slogans demanding independence for Kashmir were raised. It had also said the hall in the club was booked by Geelani through one Ali Javed by using his credit card and another person Mudassar was also involved.Geelani’s counsel, however, had said he was only the convenor and the event was open for all. Geelani’s arrest has come amid the raging row over the arrest of JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar over sedition charges in connection with an event at the varsity campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 9.At the Press Club event, a group had allegedly shouted slogans hailing Guru, following which the police had lodged a case under sections 124A (sedition), 120B(criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC against Geelani and other unnamed persons. The police had claimed to have registered the FIR taking suo motu cognisance of media clips of the incident.Following registration of the FIR, the police questioned for two consecutive days DU professor Ali Javed, a Press Club member who had booked the hall for the event. Geelani was arrested in connection with the 2001 Parliament attack case but was acquitted for “need of evidence” by the Delhi High Court in October 2003, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in August 2005.

#SeditionDebate: India grapples with the violent and virulent siege within

Has India got in some kind of a war within? Break in India seems to have overtaken the Make in India program.

The visuals for the past few days — voices of “Barbaadi barbaadi, Bharat ki barbaadi tak, Kashmir ki aazadi tak jung karenge jung karenge“, “Afzal hum sharminda hain tere kaatil abhi zinda hain”, “Kitne Afzal maroge, har ghar se Afzal niklega, “Afzal tere khoon se inquilab aayega” in JNU and similar incidents taking place at Press Club of India in New Delhi, then a group of students shouting slogans in Jadavpur University in Kolkata, “Afzal maange azadi, Geelani maange azadi, Manipur maange azadi, Kashmir maange azadi“. And then, a group of self-proclaimed “nationalist” lawyers beating up journalists, JNU students and teachers in Patiala House Court while BJP MLA OP Sharma indulged in violence against a CPI(M) worker in the Capital. Meanwhile, journalists on a protest march from Press Club to the Supreme Court, while a group of lawyers again turned violent inside and outside Patiala House Court premises, mercilessly beating a lawyer professed to a different ideological stream and assaulting a humble journalist, Tarique Anwar of Firstpost — certainly makes one feel that way.

It was only incidental that the “Make in India” program dais in Mumbai was gutted in a fire this very week.

Lawyers clash among themselves at Patiala House Courts on Wednesday. PTI

Lawyers clash among themselves at Patiala House Courts on Wednesday. PTI

JNU, which was till the other day considered to be most premier postgraduate institution in the country, is now taken to be a breeding ground for secessionists and Naxalites. The name of another premier institution in the capital Jamia Milia Islamia too is being taken for similar reasons, albeit in private conversation. Jamia though had been in the news lately for different reasons — whether or not it should have recognition of a minority institution — but now there is a whole lot of talk (nothing official yet) as to whether some of the miscreants who shouted anti-national slogans came from the institution or were somehow connected to it.

The lawyers — who are supposed to protect the law and help the aggrieved seek justice from the court of law — have turned thugs and are behaving like street-side goondas, that too in the heart of the National Capital.

The journalists, considered the Fourth Estate of democracy — whose job is to report freely and fearlessly — are being intimidated not just through words or tough gestures but by physical assault by some, simply because they don’t toe a line of their liking. My colleague at Firstpost, Tarique was beaten up, had his glasses broken, his nose and head bruised just because he tried to take a photograph — of one group of lawyers beating another lawyer — to send a report to our organisation for publication. He was not taking any sides, he was just doing his job.

The police, standing nearby, was duty-bound to protect him and book the culprit, but none of the cops came to his rescue.  They turned a blind eye. Thankfully, neither Tarique nor any fellow journalists from other media organisations — as is ingrained in the DNA of journalism — in any way obliged those bullies and thugs.

The students organisations of various hues in government universities are allowed to flourish and propagate their ideology in order to give a vent to conflicting opinions and keep the basic ethos of dissent alive on campus. But then, a group of students and student organisations chose to cross that thin line and chant anti-national slogans including those that called for the destruction of the nation and eulogised terrorists hanged after the conclusion of a multi-tiered process of trial and due process. Anti-national activities are given an ideological garb and the virus spreads from JNU to Jadavpur University.

It’s true that the state couldn’t be a mute spectator and consider kid-glove treatment when blatant anti-national acts are committed in the Capital, but when it clamped down, it picked up the wrong person — JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar — against whom there is nothing serious, at least in the public domain. Meanwhile, the real culprits are allowed to free. Kanhaiya is booked for sedition, but the real culprits are at still large. So much for the might of state and the intelligence of the Delhi Police. Thankfully, the JNU Teachers Association withdrew its strike call only a day after it was called.

The incidents also saw some most bizarre developments — Hafiz Saeed issuing a contradiction to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh‘s statement. And BJP MLA Sharma, generally known for his sweet tongue and proximity to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, indulging in physical violence and vowing to pick up a gun and shoot anyone who he thinks insults Bharat Mata.

From professed nation-building, maintenance of the nation has become priority.

Swacch Bharat can happen — it seems for the powers that be — only with some ideological cleansing from either side.

Patiala House court attack: Supreme Court to hear PIL today

Following the attack on students and scribes outside the Patiala House court, the Supreme Court is set to hear the PIL on the case on Wednesday, after journalists moved the apex court on Tuesday.In a memorandum, the journalists told the apex court to punish those responsible for the violence outside the Delhi court.Journalists from different organisations marched to the Supreme Court on Tuesday in protest against the mob violence outside the Patiala House court where lawyers and politicians were seen beating up scribes and students.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Marching from the Press Club here, the journalists chanted slogans against Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi.”When we were reporting from the site, around 15 people ganged up on us asking us to leave. We called the police for help but they said that they could not do anything. After they saw me recording the footage of them beating up others, they threatened me saying that if I don’t leave they will break my bones. Despite all this, if Bassi calls it a minor scuffle then it’s incredible. I’m just doing my job here, they don’t want to hear the truth,” an NDTV reporter told ANI.

SAR Geelani remanded to two-day police custody

A Delhi trial court remanded former Delhi University professor SAR Geelani to two days police custody on Tuesday. Police officials apprehended Geelani at 8:30 pm on Monday and he was formally arrested at 3am the same night after several rounds of questioning.Geelani has been charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy in connection with an event held at the Press Club of India in the capital where anti-India sloganeering took place. “Police investigation is integral part of investigation and the accused has said that he can identify those who raised anti-India slogans. Since he (Geelani) was the convener of the meeting, therefore, the case of grant of police custody is made out,” Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh stated.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In its application, the police stated that an event was organised at the press club where Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt’s photos were posted and banner claiming them as martyrs were placed. Apparently anti-national slogans demanding the independence of Kashmir were also raised. The FIR was filed by the SHO of the Parliament Street police station taking suo moto notice by watching media clips of the event.According to police officials, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Parliament Street Police station saw a clipping of an event on a news channel after which cognizance was taken and an officer was sent to investigate.According to the initial probe, police officials concluded that Geelani, though the convenor of the event, had no hand in the actual logistics behind organising it. This they believe was done through associates of Geelani whom they wish to identify and locate.However, advocate Satish Tamta appearing for Geelani stated that his client had been apprehended at 8:30 pm the previous day and arrested in the middle of the night; hence, the officials had already interrogated enough.He also went on to state that the event though convened by Geelani was an open event that could be attended by anybody.Geelani’s arrest comes amid the furore over the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, president of the student union of Jawarharlal Nehru University (JNU). Kumar was booked under charges of sedition for apparently raising anti-national slogans at an event held at the JNU campus on February 9.The furore over the arrest led to a violent clash where lawyers attacked and rampaged against JNU students, teachers and media persons at the Patiala House Court on Monday. In lieu of this, the security at the trial court complex was beefed up and close to two companies of police officials stood guard around the perimeter. In apprehension of a repeat of yesterday’s clashes, police officials tried to stop this reporter and a few others from entering the court complex saying “permission to enter the court complex has been denied to reporters by the higher ups.”

After #JNURow, it’s Jadavpur University as students raise slogans praising Afzal Guru

Kolkata: Amid the row over anti-India slogans at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, slogans eulogising parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru and demands for “azadi” echoed in Jadavpur University here on Tuesday.

Protests at JNU. AFPProtests at JNU. AFP

Protests at JNU. AFP

Slogans like “Afzal bole azadi, jab tum na doge azadi, to cheen lenge azadi, arey cheen ke lenge azadi” were heard during a torchlight procession brought out at Jadavpur University in protest against the “atrocities” perpetrated on JNU students by the Narendra Modi government.

They also raised slogans chanting the names of S.A.R. Geelani, a former professor of Delhi University who was arrested on Tuesday for raising anti-India slogans at the Press Club in Delhi.

The rally, convened by students unions of the three faculties — science, arts and engineering — of Jadavpur University in the campus, was well attended.

The students also spoke out against the arrest of JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, and the “ill-treatment” meted out to Hyderabad University Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula that “forced him to take his own life”.

All India Students Association (AISA) leader Anumita Mitra justified the slogans saying these only questioned the lack of transparency in Afzal’s trial and his subsequent death penalty.

“The slogans demand azadi from making Indian laws like khap panchayat.

“If slogans protesting against the branding of scholars like Rohith Vemula as anti-national and terrorist by the Modi government for challenging cast exploitation are anti-national, then we are all anti-nationals,” said Mitra, a third year student.

IANS

JNU row: Delhi HC rejects NIA probe into Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest

Update: The Delhi HC has rejected a probe. The court observed that the NIA probe into JNU incident, Delhi HC termed it ‘premature’. Delhi HC said that incident happened on 9th February, so ‘can’t assume that Delhi Police is not investigating’. The Delhi High Court on Tuesday will hear the plea seeking a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the sedition case against Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The plea has been mentioned before a bench of Justices B D Ahmed and R K Gauba. It has also sought a judicial inquiry in the entire case, soon after a group of men in lawyers’ robes were seen thrashing students and journalists in the nearby Patiala House court complex yesterday. The petition alleged that Delhi Police was not investigating the case properly and the matter should be transferred to the NIA. The bench yesterday posted the matter for hearing today. It also observed that the Delhi Police was already conducting a probe and would take the case to its logical conclusion.
ALSO READ Sorry ‘patriots’, Ratan Tata never made any statement about not hiring JNU studentsNew video show Kumar part of crowdA new video of the February 9 event on JNU campus surfaced on Monday which shows the varsity’s students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar as a part of a crowd in which some people are purportedly raising anti- India slogans. At one point, Kanhaiya is also seen standing close to some police officials and checking identity cards of some youths who were apparently trying to join the event held against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. However, the video does not show Kanhaiya raising any anti -India slogans.A police source said the video is one of the three clips being probed by them. Another one, which also has Kanhaiya in it, was earlier played in a courtroom the day he was arrested. In the seven-minute video which surfaced on Monday, a youth with his half face covered with a handkerchief is seen raising slogans purportedly seeking ‘azaad Kashmir’. His identity is yet to be established. In the initial part of the latest video, which is slightly blurred, some youths are seen telling police officials to leave the campus. (Read more)
ALSO READ Lawyers beat up JNU students, journalists outside Delhi courtFormer DU professor arrestedAmid the state of furore at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Delhi Police on Tuesday morning arrested former Delhi University lecturer S.A.R. Geelani on sedition charges over allegedly organising an event at the Press Club of India in Delhi. Geelani was taken to RML Hospital for medical test in early morning hours and he will be produced before a Delhi court later in the day. Geelani was earlier called for questioning and asked about the anti-India slogans raised by participants at an event where he was the speaker following which he was detained by the police.Geelani was allegedly roughed up by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on Wednesday night where he had arrived there to deliver a lecture on Kashmir. At the Press Club event on February 10, a group allegedly shouted slogans hailing Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, following which the police had registered a case under sections 124A (sedition), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC against Geelani and other unnamed persons. The police claim that that Geelani is presumed to be the “main organiser” of the event.