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Home for reptiles: 70 snakes found from an apartment in Pune

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 70 snakes mostly deadly Russell’s vipers and cobras illegally kept for extracting venom have been seized from a residential apartment in Pune where a man was living with his wife and children. Ranjit Kharage (37) was arrested along with his alleged accomplice, identified as Dhananjay Belkute (30), for allegedly keeping the snakes in wooden boxes and gunny bags for extracting and selling venom, police said on Tuesday.The seizure was made on Monday from the rented apartment of Kharage, where he was living with his family. “We recovered 41 Russell’s vipers and 31 cobras from one of the rooms in the flat and investigations have revealed that the duo allegedly extracted venom from these reptiles and used to sell or smuggle it,” said a police inspector, attached to Chakan Police station.A case has been registered against the duo under relevant sections of Wildlife Protection Act, he said. According to police, they received a tip off on Sunday that snakes had been kept in a flat in the outskirts of Chakan, following which a team of police raided the place. “When we went there, Kharage was not at home. However, his wife and children were present. We found that the snakes were kept in wooden boxes and gunny bags in the flat and even children knew about it,” said the police officer.Since it was dark, the search team evicted the occupants, locked the house and the next morning all snakes were seized. “Investigations revealed that the duo used to get snakes from jungles and even from snake catchers in the area for venom extraction and smuggling,” he said.Police also found some venom stored in small bottles in the possession of the two. All the seized snakes would be handed over to forest officials, police added.

Gujarat: Minor girl repeatedly raped for three weeks by teenager, eight including accused jailed

Ahmedabad: In a shocking incident, a 15-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped and forcibly confined in a farm pit for over three weeks in November and raped repeatedly by a teenager at Kotda Nayani village of Morbi district in Gujarat before she was freed earlier this month, police said on Tuesday.

According to a police official of Wankaner taluka police station, a case of rape, kidnapping and illegal confinement was registered against 19-year-old Naresh Solanki, while seven others belonging to his family were booked under charges of kidnapping and illegal confinement.

The motive of the crime allegedly was forced marriage. The family of the accused wanted the family of the victim to marry her to Naresh as they both belong to the same caste of ‘Devipujaks’. When the latter refused, they planned the kidnapping of the girl, police said.

Representational picture. Reuters

Representational picture. Reuters

The victim was kidnapped on 11 November and taken to a farmland some two kilometres from the village. There she was forced to live in a 8×8 feet pit covered on top with wooden plank so as to avoid her detection.

The victim was taken out to be raped repeatedly for over three weeks before she was freed by her father and others in the village on 4 December.

The girl, in her statement to police, said that she was kidnapped by eight persons late night on November 11 and taken to a farmland in an autorickshaw where she was forced to live in a 8×8 feet pit dug in the farm.

As per the girl’s statement, she was confined in the pit and was taken out only to be raped by accused Naresh.

The girl’s father lodged a case of kidnapping against unknown persons on 25 November.

After intense search, the girl was finally found on 4 December, the official said, adding that based on her statement, police lodged a case against the eight accused who were subsequently arrested.

The eight persons include Naresh, his brother Haresh, father Janantbhai Solanki and his grandfather Chaturbhai Solanki, who are currently lodged in Rajkot central jail, they said.

Other than sections 363 (kidnapping) and 366 (abduction of woman to compel her into marriage) of the Indian Penal Code registered against unknown accused in the 25 November FIR, police have also added sections 376 (rape) against Naresh along with relevant sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 17:21 IST

Birdsong replaces boom of guns at Indo-Pak border

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The boom of guns has given way to more soothing sounds along the Indo-Pak international border after winged guests kept their date with the famous Gharana wetland in the RS Pora sector of Jammu division.Earlier the shelling from across the border would scare the birds away. Now that the guns have fallen silent, the birds have stayed for the winter. “Fifteen days ago a shell landed near my quarter smashing its window panes. Since the arrival of birds there is no incident of shelling. If there is shelling again there will be effects on birds, they will flee to some other place,” Amit Kumar Sharma, Wildlife Warden, Jammu, told DNA.More than 1,300 migratory birds from different countries have arrived in the Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve. Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife Protection Department officials are expecting more than 3,000 birds to arrive in the wetland this fall.“More than 750 bar-headed geese, which is our special feature, have so far arrived in the Gharana wetland. Other species which have arrived so far include pintail, common teal, mallard, black-headed ibis etc,” Sharma, Wildlife Warden said.The arrival of five pairs of majestic black-headed ibis at the wetland has rejuvenated enthusiasm among local bird watchers who await the arrival of their guests every year. “Last year, only one black-headed ibis had arrived at the wetland. This year, five black- headed ibis have arrived so far. This bird has a black head with curved beak,” said Sharma.Spread over 1,600 kanals (20 kanal equals one hectare) of land, the Gharana wetland has been notified as a Wetland Conservation Reserve. Falling under the North West Himalayan bio-geographical zone with sub-tropical climate, the major source of precipitation in the area is monsoon rains.This year, the birds which had earlier been fitted with tracking collars also arrived at the reserve, helping wildlife authorities monitor their migratory patterns and to map their routes. “Two bar-headed geese with neck collars have also arrived. For example, data from one neck collar reveal that the bird was first spotted at Pong Dam from which it has taken a flight to Gharana,” said Sharma.Jammu and Kashmir government has gone on an overdrive to promote the Gharana wetland as an eco-tourism paradise in the state. Every year before the arrival of the migratory birds, the authorities de-weed and de-silt the area to ensure the birds are comfortable in their winter homes. “Lots of bird watchers also visit this site,” said Sharma.

Green Tribunal dismisses plea to ban Christmas tree, Santa Claus costumes

New Delhi: Communal issues cannot be raised in the garb of environmental concerns, the National Green Tribunal has said while junking a plea for banning the use of Christmas trees and prohibiting the making of Santa Claus costumes.

The green panel, however, asked the Delhi government to ensure that there is no violation of environment laws and no pollution is caused due to the festivities.

Representational image. Getty images

“We do not see any dispute arising about the relevant provisions of Environment (Protection) Act. Law is the same for everyone without any discrimination on basis of caste, creed or religion.

“However, communal colour is being given in the name of schedule-I Act to the apparent grievances raised in the present application. We hope and trust Delhi government shall ensure implementation of Schedule I of National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. Hence, dismissed,” a bench headed by Justice UD Salvi said.

The order came on a plea filed by a religious group Ojasvi Party seeking directions to the Delhi government to prohibit the use of Christmas trees to save the environment from degradation claiming it involved plastic. It had sought a ban on the making of Santa Claus dresses to save wool and cotton from being wasted.

The petition had also sought prohibition on noise pollution which may be caused due to bursting of crackers on the eve of New Year and the use of loudspeakers after 10 pm.

A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer like pine or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 19:41 IST

Govt hopes Consumer Protection Bill to pass in Budget session

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government on Friday said it is hopeful that the new Consumer Protection Bill 2015, that aims to impose harsh penalties on endorsement of misleading ads among others, will be passed in the forthcoming Budget session of Parliament.In August this year, the Centre had introduced the Consumer Protection Bill 2015 in Lok Sabha, to repeal the 30-year-old Consumer Protection Act. A Parliamentary Standing Committee had also submitted its recommendations in April.The Consumer Affairs Ministry has accepted some of the recommendations of the panel and finalised the draft Bill, which has also been vetted by the Group of Ministers, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. “We were expecting the passage of the Consumer Protection Bill in Winter Session but that did not happen. We are hopeful that it will be passed in the Budget session of Parliament,” Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters.The Minister said that the government has made sweeping changes in the Bill as it now provides huge penalties on celebrities endorsing misleading advertisements and ban such offenders for up to three years. It also seeks to create a Consumer Protection Authority to fast-track grievance redressal of consumers on the lines of US and European countries. The Bill has a provision for product liability and penalties in certain cases of food poisoning.Highlighting the major achievements of his ministry in 2016, Paswan said that it came out with direct selling guidelines for the Rs 80 billion industry and companies have been asked to submit their declarations by January 24, 2017. That apart, the government has revised the Legal Metrology (Packaged commodities) Rules, 2011 to enable the competent authority under the Essential Commodities Act 1955 to fix standard quantities and retail sale prices of essential items.On pulses, the Minsiter said that the government has created a buffer stock of 7 lakh tonnes so far, both through imports and domestic procurement. The pulses from the buffer are being released to states and agencies for direct distribution to public at reasonable rates. So far, 55,000 tonnes of pulses have been released from the buffer, he said.Paswan said that the national food security law, under which highly subsidised foodgrains are distributed to the poor, has been implemented in all states this year.He said that significant reforms have been undertaken in Public Distribution System (PDS) to make it more transparent and leak proof and better targeting of food subsidy.

Cake and sympathy – beaten women forget pain of domestic abuse in Chennai cafe | Reuters

By Anuradha Nagaraj

CHENNAI, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Measuring flour, whisking eggs and folding batter, K. Asma forgets the deep scars that run down her face and neck as she bakes cupcakes in an upscale cafe in the Indian port city of Chennai.Four years ago, Asma poured kerosene on herself and lit a match, after reaching breaking point in an abusive marriage. By setting herself on fire, Asma had meant to scare her husband into stopping the violence. “I was thinking a small burn mark, some ointment and back to work as a sweeper cleaning the city roads after a day,” Asma told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.”I didn’t think the fire would consume me and my life would become a living hell.” The 29-year-old is one of seven victims of domestic abuse hired by Writers’ Cafe in a pilot project to help them regain their self-esteem while learning new skills that could provide some financial independence.India first recognised domestic violence as a criminal offence in 1983 and amended the penal code to include cruelty by a husband or his family against a married woman as a crime.Last year, there were a reported 327,394 crimes against women in India, 35 percent of which were classified as “cruelty by husband or relatives”, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.The overall crime rate was down by 3.1 percent compared to 2014, but data showed an 8 percent increase in cases brought under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. In 2015, 461 cases were registered against 426 in 2014. SUICIDE BID
Hiding bruises and staying quiet, many women in India, especially in rural areas, accept violence as a normal part of life.

Many envisage suicide as the only way out with hanging, poisoning and self-immolation common causes of death.Like Asma, Parimala Gopi is also part of the Writers’ Cafe pilot project, and had also tried to set herself alight after enduring years of domestic violence. “I could see the horror in the face of my children when they saw me,” Gopi, 35, said. “I could deal with my pain but seeing theirs broke my spirit.”At Chennai’s Kilpauk Medical College burns ward, one of the largest in southern India, doctors treat up to 100 women a month for burns from kerosene and alcohol. Often the injuries are self-inflicted.Counsellors at the hospital said that 60 percent of the cases have third-degree burns that prove fatal.”Among those who survive, we found that many were dying after discharge from the hospital,” said Prasanna Gettu of International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care, a support agency for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

“They did not have enough money to take care of their diet or the medication they needed to heal. Families were not being supportive and many were just withering away. They needed jobs.”HAPPINESS
At Writers’ Cafe, Swiss baker Silke Stadler and chef Karan Manavalan, who are training the women to bake cakes, said their aim is to create a positive workplace where the women are not judged for past actions.”It is a good space to make things right for them,” Stadler said.

Aniruddha Sen, the chief executive of CC Fine Foods South India Private Limited, which opened Writers’ Cafe, said his company planned to open similar cafes in 2017.”We want them (the women) to have permanent livelihood through this venture,” he said.Projects like this and Sheroes’ Hangout, a cafe run by survivors of acid attacks in the western city of Agra, are helping women find their place in society, campaigners say.”It has been a long journey for these women to simply say yes to a job,” Gettu said.”They have battled stigma and their own insecurities before stepping out of their homes, boarding a bus, ignoring the stares and getting to work.”Asma does not mind that many people on the bus choose not to sit next to her during her daily commute to work. “I just think about the work and the 10,000 rupees ($147) I earn every month,” she said.”Baking that cake makes me forget everything, even my gnarled hands and scarred face. I find a little bit of happiness,” Asma said. (Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj, Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 00:05 IST

Gujarat: Three arrested with 219 fake currency notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In two separate incidents, police have arrested three persons in Surat and Kutch with 219 fake currency notes having a total face value of Rs 1,09,500. In Surat, police nabbed a person with fake currency notes of scrapped Rs 500 tender, having face value of Rs 50,000 during routine check at Surat Railway station on Wednesday morning.Railway police have found 100 fake notes of Rs 500 denomination from one Burhanuddin Sajjad(45), a resident of Mumbai. Sajjad came under suspicion of Railway Protection Force (RPF) jawans when he was loitering on platform No-1 of Surat railway station after arriving there from Mumbai, said Police Sub Inspector with Government Railway Police(GRP), Surat, MR Malek. “After his arrival at Surat railway station, Sajjad’s movements raised suspicion among RPF. When RPF jawans checked, these notes turned out to be the copies of old Rs 500 note. We have arrested Sajjad after he was handed over to us,” said Malek. Further investigations are on to find out the source of the notes.Meanwhile, Kutch police nabbed two persons with 119 fake currency notes of the new Rs 500 bill, which they had allegedly printed at their office in Madhapar village on the outskirts of Bhuj town and intended to circulate in the market. Based on a tip off, Local Crime Branch (LCB) raided the office of a Company at Madhapar late last night and unravelled a racket of printing fake currency notes of new legal tender of Rs 500, said a release by Kutch-West LCB.
ALSO READ Rs 33 lakh in new Rs 2000 notes seized, 5 detained While searching the office, police found 119 fake notes of Rs 500 having total face value of Rs 59,500. Investigation by the police revealed that the duo had printed these notes using a colour printer at their office and wanted to circulate these notes, the release said.

Child born out of rape entitled to compensation: Delhi HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A child born out of rape is entitled to compensation, independent of any such relief granted to the mother, the Delhi High Court has ruled.The verdict to this effect, in which a man has been sent to jail for his entire “natural life” for raping his minor step-daughter, was delivered after the court noted that there was no such provision under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act or under the Delhi government’s victim compensation scheme. Ironically, the high court, which had earlier laid down a law in this regard, reduced the amount of compensation to the rape victim from Rs 15 lakh awarded by the trial court to Rs 7.5 lakh, saying the higher amount went against the 2011 compensation scheme formulated by the Delhi government.It also faulted the trial court by giving a go-by to the guidelines for maintaining confidentiality of the rape victim. However, a bench of Justices Gita Mittal and R K Gauba said a child born out of rape, either of a minor or a woman who is an adult, “is clearly a victim of the act of the offender and entitled to compensation independent of the amount of compensation paid to his/her mother”. This “vacuum” in the law came to the court’s attention when it was hearing the appeal of a man convicted and awarded life term for raping his minor step-daughter who, as a result of the crime, gave birth at the tender age of 14 years.Noting the “sordid scenario” in the instant case, where “the trust and confidence reposed in the man by his wife and step-daughter, was abused by him to bring about, out of sheer lust, untold miseries on the body, mind and psyche of the prosecutrix child leaving scars which would not ever heal”, the court upheld his conviction and sentence. It also clarified that the man shall remain behind bars for the remainder of his natural life, saying “we see no scope for any ruth (pity) in the matter of punishment”.While upholding the sentence, the bench also expressed displeasure over the manner in which the trial court “gave a go-by” to the precaution mandated under POCSO to keep the minor victim’s identity confidential. The high court also reiterated its earlier direction to all trial courts not to disclose the identity of minor victims in POCSO cases. Apart from the lack of provisions under the POCSO Rules and the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme 2011 for children born out of rape, the court noted the absence of any provision in the scheme for child victims of sexual offences.It also observed that no victim compensation fund has been set up under the 2011 scheme despite directions in this regard by the high court in a PIL. The high court noted this while examining how the trial court awarded a compensation of Rs 15 lakh to the victim. The bench said under the existing scheme, the maximum compensation that can be paid was Rs three lakh and under the proposed new scheme of 2015, it would be enhanced to Rs 7.5 lakh.Setting aside the compensation awarded by the trial court, the bench awarded a total amount of Rs 7.5 lakh to the victim, saying “given the nature of loss, pain and suffering which she undoubtedly would have undergone, we find this to be a fit case where the state must pay compensation for the minimum sum of Rs 7.5 lakh (which would be the compensation awardable under the proposed scheme of 2015, as and when brought in force)”.

Manipur already soaked in election colours

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As one moves through the central part of the state capital, colours of an impending Assembly polls dart its streets, seamlessly merging into the olive green of Army which stands guard across the city. Being a north eastern state, it is easy to assume that Imphal would be away from the boisterous, vociferous and pompous trappings of elections till you find huge billboards of BJP chief Amit Shah cheek by jowl with other advertisements. Saffron is all across the city, giving an impression that the anti-incumbency wave is firmly sweeping the voters, till one comes across late PA Sangma smiling from one of the posters of National People’s Party, sharing space with his son and MP Conrad Sangma.Manipur goes to polls in February, riding on age old key agendas of employment, infrastructure and repealing of Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA). The Congress which has been reigning for the last 15 years will face a direct battle for 60 seats with arch rival BJP that has been non-existent here till 2014. These elections also hold a special interest among Manipuris as Irom Sharmila will field herself for the first time, a decision which has not gone down well with a lot of natives. “We want to see her as a social worker, not a politician. People here have still not forgiven her for ending the fast as they feel betrayed. Besides, since she does not possess qualities of a good leader, she won’t be of much help to the AFSPA cause even if she wins,” T Neina, a local feels.Other than a clear mandate on Sharmila, it is difficult to gauge which way the wind is blowing.

Chhattisgarh: Naxal hotbed Kanker turning into custard apple production hub

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district, which has been infamous for Naxal violence, is turning out to be a custard apple production hub thereby transforming lives of villagers, particularly tribals, of the region.Located in northern part of Bastar division, Kanker, around 150 kms away from here, has recorded a huge production of roughly 6,000 tonnes of custard apple (popularly known in Hindi as ‘sitaphal’) this year, as per local officials. “Although, thousands of farmers in the district have been traditionally involved in the collection and sale of Sitafal, but it was in an unorganised manner and therefore they failed to reap profit from the fruit,” says Kanker Collector Shammi Abidi. In a unique initiative by the district administration that could well serve as a model for villages across the country, the village womenfolk, traditionally involved in collection and selling of Sitaphal fruit, were brought together in an organised manner and trained in efficient collection and effective marketing so that they could get the best possible returns on the produce without being exploited at the hands of middlemen.More than 900 members of Forest Protection Committees (​FPC) and Self Help Groups​ (SHGs) are intensely involved in the project and about 4,000 farmers are directly benefited through this initiative. As on October 30, 2016, 20,278 boxes (each containing 1.5 kg) of custard apple were sold at the average selling rate of Rs 60 per box, earning a profit of Rs 30 per box, the collector said.Besides, pulp extraction and its preservation through anti-browning technology is also being done by setting up 10 pulping centres in the district. So far, 3,165 kilograms of pulp has been extracted by producer groups which is priced at Rs 200 per kg, leading to a profit of Rs 140 per kg, she said.At least 155 farmers are involved in direct marketing of fruits in Raipur and Durg/Bhilai, she pointed out.Giving details on how the project was conceived, Abidi said earlier, the tribals who collect custard apples – a highly perishable fruit with low shelf life – sold it at a throwaway price of Rs 4 per kg to the ‘kochias’ (middle men) or at the local markets.Subsequently, the district administration took up the project last year on experimental basis to mobilise the farmers and assist them in scientific upkeep of trees bearing this fruit and better marketing. They were made aware of different avenues of the fruit marketing and, over and above, establishing a brand in the name of ‘Kanker Valley Fresh’ custard apple, she said.

Kerala Vigilance chief Jacob Thomas seeks whistleblowers’ protection for self

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an unusual action, Kerala Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau chief and DGP Jacob Thomas, who has taken a tough stand against corrupt politicians including ex-ministers and bureaucrats, has sought whistleblowers protection for himself from the Centre.Thomas has sent a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Chief Secretary SM Vijayanand requesting them to urge the Centre “to grant him adequate protection from being harassed and put under any kind of pressure while exposing departmental corruption and irregularities by public functionaries,” official sources said.According to Whistleblowers Protection Act 2011, the “Central government shall ensure that no person or a public servant who has made a disclosure under this Act is victimised by initiation of any proceedings or otherwise merely on the ground that such person or a public servant had made a disclosure or rendered assistance in inquiry under this Act.” The Act, which received Presidential assent on May 9, 2014, also states that if any person was being victimised or likely to be victimised for making disclosures or rendered assistance under the Act, he may, file an application before the Competent Authority seeking redress in the matter.”And such authority shall take such action, as deemed fit and may give suitable directions to the concerned public servant or the public authority, as the case may be, to protect such person from being victimised or avoid his victimisation,” it says.The demand of the senior most IPS officer in the state assumes significance in the wake of a series of inquiries launched by the anti-corruption watchdog, including those against some top bureaucrats.Interestingly, Thomas was the first IPS officer in the state to get whistleblowers protection from the Union government in 2005 after he brought to light corruption in the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation while serving as its managing director.Advocate DB Binu, a state-based RTI activist, said even two years after the much-awaited Whistleblowers Protection Act came into existence, it was yet to be fully operational in the country. “There is no concrete system to protect whistleblowers in our country right now. If a person gets threat and harassment for whistleblowing a corruption, will anybody else be ready to follow his footsteps?” he said.”Whistleblowers play a significant role in anti-corruption drives. They face lot of threats and harassment while exposing corruption. This is much high in the case if an insider, who whistleblows about the corruption of a system by standing within it,” he said.

Pakistan stops import of cotton from India amid border tension

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has suspended the import of cotton and other agriculture commodities, including vegetables, from India due to rising tensions between the two countries along the LoC, a media report here said.Officials of Department of Plant Protection (DPP) said that import of agri items from India through the Wagah border crossing and Karachi port and issuing permits for future imports has been halted, the Dawn reported.Cotton importers and customs clearing agents claimed that the department had stopped the import of agriculture commodities from India without a warning or written order because of increase in tensions across the LoC.Imran Shami, chief of DPP which is a subordinate department of the national food security and research ministry, however sought to dispel the impression. “We have stopped import of tomatoes and other fresh vegetables in order to protect our farmers. We have enough tomato and other vegetables stocks, which we import from India only in case of shortages in the domestic market,” he said.The reason behind the “suspension” of cotton imports from India was, nevertheless, different, he said. “No. We have not stopped cotton imports from India. It has just been halted over reports that the Indian exporters are not meeting our bio-security conditions. We’re looking into these reports and will lift restriction on cotton imports if our apprehensions are proved wrong,” Shami said.He said only those cotton consignments would be allowed to enter Pakistan through surface or sea routes where importers had already secured permits from his department and carried phyto-sanitary certificates.”Our cotton consignments are not being allowed to enter Pakistan through Wagah and Karachi for reasons known to the ministry but cheaper, subsidised Indian yarn is being brought in without any let or hindrance. At least 11 trucks of Indian yarn entered Pakistan on Thursday when the department stopped cotton consignments from coming to this side of the border,” a textile factory owner told Dawn.He said the suspension of cotton import from India would create a huge problem for the textile exporters as the truncated domestic crop target of 11.25 million bales for this year appeared difficult if not impossible to meet.”The industry requires 14 million bales. We will still be short by three million bales of cotton even if the crop target is achieved,” he said.He said cotton shortages after the ban on Indian imports would make domestic prices shoot up at the expense of exports.Pakistan had imported 2.7 million bales of cotton (1 bale is 170 kgs) – about 40 per cent of India’s total cotton exports in 2015-16 – due to crop failure that wiped off 0.5 per cent of GDP growth. The industry is expecting to import 2 million bales this year.

Amid tension, Pakistan stops import of cotton from India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has suspended the import of cotton and other agriculture commodities, including vegetables, from India due to rising tensions between the two countries along the LoC, a media report here said. Officials of Department of Plant Protection (DPP) said that import of agri items from India through the Wagah border crossing and Karachi port and issuing permits for future imports has been halted, the Dawn reported.Cotton importers and customs clearing agents claimed that the department had stopped the import of agriculture commodities from India without a warning or written order because of increase in tensions across the LoC. Imran Shami, chief of DPP which is a subordinate department of the national food security and research ministry, however sought to dispel the impression. “We have stopped import of tomatoes and other fresh vegetables in order to protect our farmers. We have enough tomato and other vegetables stocks, which we import from India only in case of shortages in the domestic market,” he said. The reason behind the “suspension” of cotton imports from India was, nevertheless, different, he said.”No. We have not stopped cotton imports from India. It has just been halted over reports that the Indian exporters are not meeting our bio-security conditions. We’re looking into these reports and will lift restriction on cotton imports if our apprehensions are proved wrong,” Shami said.He said only those cotton consignments would be allowed to enter Pakistan through surface or sea routes where importers had already secured permits from his department and carried phyto-sanitary certificates. “Our cotton consignments are not being allowed to enter Pakistan through Wagah and Karachi for reasons known to the ministry but cheaper, subsidised Indian yarn is being brought in without any let or hindrance. At least 11 trucks of Indian yarn entered Pakistan on Thursday when the department stopped cotton consignments from coming to this side of the border,” a textile factory owner told Dawn.He said the suspension of cotton import from India would create a huge problem for the textile exporters as the truncated domestic crop target of 11.25 million bales for this year appeared difficult if not impossible to meet. “The industry requires 14 million bales. We will still be short by three million bales of cotton even if the crop target is achieved,” he said. He said cotton shortages after the ban on Indian imports would make domestic prices shoot up at the expense of exports.Pakistan had imported 2.7 million bales of cotton (1 bale is 170 kgs) – about 40% of India’s total cotton exports in 2015-16 – due to crop failure that wiped off 0.5% of GDP growth. The industry is expecting to import 2 million bales this year.

Eight years after 26/11, wait for RPF commando centre continues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight years after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, which exposed the limited fighting abilities of the Railway Protection Force, the wait for a specialised commando training centre for the RPF continues to be trapped in the files. The latest plan, to build one at RPF’s Chink Hill facility near Solapur, requires a little over Rs4 crore to create the all-important ‘baffle’ walls. These walls ensure stray bullets don’t hit civilians while the force practices firing.Baffle walls are made up of reinforced cement concrete and steel-fibre infiltrated concrete which give the structure the strength to trap bullets from pistols to assault rifles, said officials.”The plan is to convert the Chink Hill facility into a Specialised Arms Training Centre where up to 60 RPF personnel can be trained in all kinds of firearms as part of their commando training,” explained Rambhau Pawar, Deputy Chief Security Commissioner of the RPF Zonal Training Centre, which oversees the Chink Hill facility.Messages sent to RPF director-general SK Bhagat on when the money for the baffle walls would be sanctioned or what would be the time frame for the completion of the commando training facility project elicited no response.The need for a commando training facility was felt after the nation was subjected to painful images of helplessness of RPF personnel during the 26/11 terror raid on Mumbai in 2008. RPF constables, armed with British-vintage .303 rifles, first tried to ward off the two terrorists at CST that day. But when most of the British-vintage .303 rifles jammed, these personnel had little choice but to duck for cover from the assault rifle fire from the terrorists.The preliminary planning for such a centre took almost two years and on December 9, 2010, the then railway minister of state KH Muniyappa told Parliament that a commando training facility for the RPF would be set up at Canning in the South Parganas district in West Bengal. A sum of Rs26.70 crore was sanctioned and railway construction firm Ircon was given the task of creating a blueprint. By 2013, the plan had to be dropped due to hassles in land acquisition, said officials.”The RPF plans to have a total of 22 commando companies raised from its present personnel and another 12 companies from each battalion of the Railway Protection Special Force. The hallmark of any good commando unit is training day in day out and for that a training facility is essential. Currently, RPF commandos are being trained at facilities as varied as Force One in Mumbai, the Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare Centre in Kanker in Chattisgarh among others. These centres have a long waiting period now,” explained an official.

Kerala: LDF govt cancels order for Aranmula airport project

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Kerala government cancelled all orders related to the proposed Aranmula airport project on Wednesday, including the grant of in-principle sanction.A decision in this regard was taken at a cabinet meeting here, an official release said. The project, promoted by KGS Group, had run into trouble after it was mooted nearly seven years ago with environment groups and people in the area holding that it would cause environmental hazards. The CPI(M)-led LDF government in an affidavit filed in the Kerala High Court in a connected case in August had said that it had decided to take immediate steps to cancel its decision to notify approximately 500 acres of land in Aranmula as an industrial area. The government had also stated that it was found that the proposed project area constitutes large extent of paddy and wetland which cannot be legally converted for the purpose of a private company in view of existing legal provisions.The project, opposed by BJP in the state, came back to focus afresh after the Expert Appraisal Committee under the Environment Ministry had permitted KGS Group to conduct an environment study at a meeting on July 29.The National Green Tribunal had in 2014 set aside the environmental clearance given by the UPA government to the project and directed KGS Aranmula International Airport Ltd, the promoters, to stop construction at the site. The tribunal passed the order on a petition filed by the Aranmula Heritage Village Protection Action Council.The project also faced stiff resistance from devotees of Sri Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple, who said that the airport would cause structural damage to the temple.

Rape videos on Whatsapp: SC raps govt for not filing reply in 11 months

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the government for failing to file its response in a case relating to the posting of rape videos on social networking sites like WhatsApp for 11 months.”What have you done in past eleven months? You have done nothing. Don’t you think it is a public interest and something needs to be done,” a bench of Justices M B Lokur and U U Lalit asked after it was informed that the concerned officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs were busy in Parliament. Advocate Bala Subramanium, appearing for Centre, sought a weeks time to file the reply and said he needed to seek instructions from the officials who were busy in Parliament.”If the concerned officials are busy in Parliament, then what are we doing here? Do you think that we are sitting here for nothing. It can’t go like this,” the bench said while refraining from imposing cost.It also pulled up the government for not framing schemes to conduct probe in cyber crime cases and directed the government to file an affidavit within a week. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.The court was hearing a letter sent to then Chief Justice of India H L Dattu by Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala along with two rape videos in a pen drive. It had taken suo motu note of the letter on posting of these videos on ‘WhatsApp’ and had asked CBI to launch a probe forthwith to nab the culprits.Earlier, the apex court had asked the Information Technology Ministry to respond on how to block videos of rape cases, circulating on social network websites, under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The ministry’s reply was sought after social activist Sunitha Krishnan had submitted that there should be a particular place where one could report the circulation of such rape videos and seek their blocking.Krishnan, the co-founder of NGO Prajwala which is engaged in rescue and rehabilitation of victims of sex trafficking, said apart from the nine complaints which CBI was probing, she had another 90 cases but there was no single authority before whom she could lodge a complaint for blocking of such videos. The apex court had earlier sought responses of the Centre and the governments of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Delhi and Telangana.The NGO had said that one video, which was 4.5 minutes long, showed a man raping a girl while another person was filming the heinous act. The other video, spanning 8.5 minutes, related to the gangrape of a girl by five culprits who have been shown smiling, cracking jokes, making a video and taking photos while they went about sexually assaulting the victim, it had said.The court had issued notices to the union ministries of Home Affairs and Information Technology and asked the MHA Secretary to “forward the pen drive/DVD” to the CBI Director “forthwith” for the investigation. It had taken cognisance of the letter referred to it by the CJI and ordered that a proper petition be filed later. The NGO’s letter had also suggested that a task force be set up to look into sexual offences and a mechanism be evolved to ensure that citizens’ report such crimes in a “fearless” manner and their identity be protected.It had mooted the idea of maintaining a National Sex Offenders’ Register which should contain details of persons convicted for offences like eve-teasing, stalking, molestation and other sexual assaults. The NGO had also suggested that the MHA should have a tie-up with ‘YouTube’ and ‘WhatsApp’ to ensure that such offensive videos are not uploaded and the culprits are punished as well.

Hyderabad: Minor girl raped, impregnated; accused lawyer, his son absconding

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 14-year-old girl, who worked as domestic help for six months, was allegedly raped and impregnated by a lawyer and his son reported Deccan Chronicle.According to the report, the victim was working at Advocate M Sudhakar Reddy’s office and home at Chaitanyapuri in Green Hills Colony. The victim, who hails from Suryapet, alleged that she was beaten up several times by the rapists and the family when she tried to resist their sexual assault. She was rescued by child rights activists.“I was sodomised by the father often and his son repeatedly raped me. When I tried to complain, other members of the family beat me up,” the girl said.A case has been registered under Section 376 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, Chaitanyapuri inspector G Guru Raghavendra informed. Reddy and his son Bharath Kumar are both absconding and the police have launched a manhunt to find and arrest them. Child rights group Balala Hakkula Sangham has demanded that the girl’s pregnancy be medically terminated to save her future.

A marathon celebration for children’s cause

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was an eventful Monday morning for 15-year-old Poornima who was among the 5,000 children that participated in ‘Run for less & under privileged children’ to mark Children’s Day. “It’s our day today,” the girl says as she tries to catch her breath.Organised by the NGO ‘Prayas’, the run was an initiative to create awareness about children rights. Besides school children there were at least 1,000 under-privileged children and homeless people.10-year-old Kumkum, an orphan, has been living with Prayas since last six years. “She came to us when she was just a kid and now she is running for the rights of children like her. I am glad that she has matured well and now think of others needs as well,” says her mentor at the NGO.Several other children like Kumkum on Monday gathered at the Central Secretariat ground in south Delhi’s Panchari Puri area to celebrate Children’s Day. The marathon was followed by some colourful performance by the underprivileged children.”We danced on different Bollywood numbers. I’m so excited as this is my first public performance,” says eight-year-old Iram, another orphan living with the NGO.Reshma, 12, was another enthusiast who participated and enjoyed every moment of it. “I love dancing, so, I decided why not just give my best dance performance today. I love freestyle dance, which I have learnt it watching on television,” she said with sparkling eyes. Reshma is another marginalised child living with Prayas.”As we celebrate Children’s Day on 14th November we thought marathon is a wonderful way to celebrate such a beautiful day. We wanted everyone from all walks of life to participate in this cause of ours, and create awareness about basic rights of children,” said Amod K Kanth, General Secretary of the NGO and former Chairman of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights.At Prayas, as many as 50,000 marginalised children, youth and women addressing multiple issues are living and learning multiple skills to change their lives, he added.Besides, volunteers from corporate sector also ran with the marginalised children and performed in an effort to make them feel special”I voluntarily came here to run with these children and had a wonderful day with them here,” says Nitish Gulati, a corporate employee.Several prominent personalities including Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Bollywood actors Randeep Hooda and Adil Hussain and Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma were present at the event to encourage the children.”There is a need to start national awareness campaign for child rights and events like this helps to motivate people to work for the cause,” Sisodia said during the event.

Winter Session of Parliament: Surrogacy regulation and GST related bills to be introduced

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as nine new bills, including three related to GST, and surrogacy regulation will be introduced in Parliament in upcoming Winter Session.The three GST related bills are — Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, Goods and Services Tax (Compensation for Loss of Revenue) Bill will be introduced in the session.Winter Session of Parliament will begin from November 16. Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill will be introduced to constitute national surrogacy board, state surrogacy boards and appointment of appropriate authorities for regulation of the practice and process of surrogacy and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.Besides these, six other bills will be introduced including IIM bill to confer Indian Institutes of Managements (IIM) statutory status and the competence to award degrees. While HIV AIDS Prevention and Control bill, Mental Health Care bill, Maternity Benefit Amendment bill, Prevention of Corruption (amendment) bill and Consumer Protection bill will be taken up for consideration and passing as these bills have already been introduced in the Parliament.Mental Health Care bill, Maternity Benefit Amendment bill were passed by Rajya Sabha and are pending in Lok Sabha.While, Consumer Protection bill, and HIV, AIDS Prevention and Control bill were referred to the standing committees and Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) bill was referred to the select committee, according to Lok Sabha bulletin.

Tribal minor girl student raped at knifepoint for six months

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Panic, shock and anger surround the families of the tribal girls who were allegedly raped by their school staffers in Buldhana, Maharashtra, as the police continue their probe. On Friday, DNA had reported that 12 girls, aged between 12 and 14 years, had been allegedly raped in their boarding school in Hivarkheda village. The rape accused include peons, teachers, and even two headmasters. In fact, one of them was allegedly raped for six months at knifepoint.A Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the incident, said that it is likely that the number of victims may increase. Currently, there are 10 accused in the incident, out of which eight have been arrested. Two are absconding.The probe has also revealed that the main culprit, a peon, was not even on the roster of the school and was being paid by the school peon to work in his place.The accused are Etusingh Pawar (Assistant), BV Lahudkar (Headmaster for primary school), DR Kharat (Headmaster for secondary school), SB Lakhe (Assistant), ND Ambhare (Superintendent), Deepak Kokare (Kitchen Staffer), Ms MG Vajire (Superintendent), Vijay Kokare (Clerk), Mrs Manta Kokare (Kitchen Staffer) and Mrs Raut (Assistant). Lahudkar and Kokare are absconding.SD Baviskar, Superintendent of Police, Buldhana, said that they have booked the accused under IPC Section 376 (rape) and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO).Recounting the incident, the mother of one of the victims, said that Etusingh Pawar (an assistant) had told her daughter that during the night, the bedroom door should be kept open. “When my daughter questioned him, he threatened to kill her if she did not do so. My daughter got scared and kept the door open. Etusingh came at midnight and forcefully pulled her into the next room. He was carrying a knife. This became routine for him and he raped the girl for six months at knifepoint. One by one, other school staffers also started exploiting the girls.”Another parent said that when his daughter complained about a similar incident to the headmaster, he threatened to thrown her out of the school. A senior police officer said that despite the incident coming to light, some parents and girls were not complaining or undergoing medical tests. “No one wants the stigma. This could affect the probe,” he said.Maharashtra Tribal Minister Vishnu Savara said that they are taking the statements of the victims and sending them for medical examinations. “The medical report (of the examined girls) are still being awaited.” However, a source said that the report has confirmed rape of the first girl.On justice for the victims, Savara said that within a month, the charge sheet would be filed. “We have asked the authorities to fast-track the case.”Securing child rightsThe National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has written to the Superintendent of Police and the Buldhana District Collector to submit a report on the rape incident with 10 days. “We have sought a copy of the FIR, the medico-legal report and the recorded statements under Section 13(1)(j) of the CPCR Act, 2005. We have also demanded from the district administration a report on the steps they taken,” said Yashwant Jain, member, NCPCR. The NCPCR has also demanded that the girls be given adequate medical and psychological help.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan launches paddy cultivation in land set apart for airport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that the proposed airport here cannot be allowed in view of environmental concerns, the CPI-M led LDF government in Kerala on Saturday launched sowing operations in about 56 hectares of land acquired for the project, promoted by KGS Group. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan kick-started the sowing operations as locals and farmers cheered.The LDF government was not against airports, he said. “We only said the airport cannot be allowed here as it will mean destroying nature and environment. We do not want an airport here. There will be no change in this decision,” Vijayan said. The LDF government was keen on comprehensive development of the state, he added.Agriculture Minister, V S Sunil Kumar and Water Resources Minister Mathew P Thomas were among those present on the occasion. The land where sowing operations were launched today has been lying fallow for about two decades due to waterlogging. About 700 acres of land had been acquired for the project, which has faced protests from environmentalists and local people.The National Green Tribunal had in 2014 set aside the environmental clearance given by the then UPA government to the project and directed KGS Aranmula International Airport Ltd, the promoters, to stop construction at the site. The tribunal had passed the order on a petition filed by the Aranmula Heritage Village Protection Action Council.The project also faced stiff resistance from devotees of Sri Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple, who have said that the airport would cause structural damage to the temple. In an affidavit filed in Kerala High Court in August last, the state government had said it would examine whether a government order granting in-principle sanction to the airport project could be cancelled. It had also stated that the proposed project area constitutes large extent of paddy and wetland which cannot be legally converted for the purpose of a private company in view of existing legal provisions.

Sexual favours sought from me, says model; police deny claim

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police on Thursday dismissed as an “afterthought” the allegations levelled by a Mumbai-based model that some of their personnel had sought “sexual favours and money” from her during a raid on a hotel in Pune recently. The model, who had made sensational claims about her relationship with a Pakistani cricketer earlier, was rescued from a hotel which was raided by sleuths of Social Security cell of police on Monday night on tip-off that a flesh trade racket was operated from there. Police had also arrested Vipul Dahal under Protection of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA).The model was shifted to a shelter home in city. However, she escaped from the facility a day after, police had said.The model had reportedly said she had gone to Pune to meet her friend and stayed in the hotel, when police came and demanded money and sexual favours and when she refused, they sent her to the rescue home. She reportedly said the staff at the rescue home in Pune tried to take away her belongings and that a woman constable posted there abused her and asked her to get out of the facility.In a press release issued on Thursday, Pune Police said, “All these allegations levelled by the model are actually an afterthought and she had done this after consultation with her family and friends to avoid legal action.”It stated that police have adequate evidences in the forms of recordings of phone conversation between Dahal and the woman, “which corroborates that they were there (in hotel) for prostitution.”Social Security Cell senior police inspector, Sanjay Patil said the cops had sent a decoy customer to the hotel before raiding the room. “During the raid, the model tried to rough up cops and we have all the video shooting of entire episode of how she misbehaved and tried to create scene,” he said.Patil said police had recovered two UID cards, two pan cards and one driving license from the model.”However, on all the identity proofs, the birth date is different and since there is a discrepancy, there is a need to cross check the details with concerned authorities,” the officer added.A case under relevant sections of IPC was registered against the model for allegedly fleeing from the rescue home.

Chennai: Monitor lizards tortured to death for their blood

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an extremely disturbing video of animal cruelty going viral all across Chennai as well as other places since Tuesday, some people are seen drinking blood dripping from a monitor lizards throat that has been slit open.The 1.18 minutes video that has animal activists shocked and up in arms has Forest department officials from Chennai initiating a search for the offenders. The monitor lizard is protected under Schedule I of the wildlife Protection Act, however it is regularly killed for its meat, blood and oil as its said to contain aphrodisiac properties as well as cure to several ailments, which has been rubbished by medical professionals.”I received the clip from social media on Monday that also specified the location of the incident as KK Nagar in Chennai where these gypsies were selling the blood. One can see that the red colour liquid is nothing but blood of a helpless monitor lizard whose neck has been slit,” shared animal activist Anthony Rubin from Chennai.”Since a lot of faces can be easily identified from the video we are hopeful that forest department who is already chasing the offenders will be able to nab them as well as those consuming the blood,” said Rubin.Another activist said the footage that has gone viral has the forest rangers looking for these people who belong to a tribe and are known to hunt monitor lizards and sell its meat and blood. “The practise is extremely cruel as the neck of a live monitor lizard is first slit and the blood is gradually collected as its also believed that drinking fresh blood has even more effects,” said the activist. According to wildlife experts, consuming the cooked flesh of the lizard or drinking its blood cures arthritis, muscular pains and is also considered an aphrodisiac.Dr Vaishali Lokhande of Apollo Hospital claimed that, “The blood being consumed raw may lead to GI tract infection and of course the medicinal values of the flesh and blood was questionable,” adding that people consuming it could also be affected by toxins in case some gland is cut and mixed with blood.

Madhya Pradesh: Kanha Tiger Reserve cracks tiger poaching case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Forest officials from Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh managed to not only crack a tiger poaching case within a span of two days, but also arrested all the six accused involved.According to forest officials, on October 22 they received information about a tiger carcass being found in the buffer zone of Khatia range with all its paws missing.“When we reached the spot, we saw that all the canines of the carcass were intact. We realised that it was not the work of a professional poaching group and suspected locals to be involved. Without touching the tiger or disturbing the site around, the dog squad led us to Banjar river and we understood that the people must have entered water to escape,” informed Sanjay Shukla, Field Director of Kanha Tiger Reserve.Back on the site, the forest officials soon saw that there was an electric line and the post mortem also showed that the tiger was killed by electrocution. “We started gathering intel and soon rounded up people for questioning from Manegaon village, which is close to the site from where the tiger was found. After several rounds of questioning, we managed to crack the case on October 24 by arresting six accused who accepted killing the tiger by mistake,” Shukla said.“All the accused had met in the market on October 19 and planned to kill a wild pig or Chital for meat and laid out a naked wire near Manegaon forest village. At night they realised that unfortunately a Tiger had got electrocuted,” shared Shukla informing that the scared accused dragged the dead tiger in the bushes and hid it. But two of the accused Devi Singh and Chhotelal then planned to cut the legs with an idea to earn some money by selling it.However, with news of dog squads being employed by the forest department, they feared being caught and to destroy the evidence they took the tiger’s paws to an isolated place near Banjar river and set it on fire.Later, Devi Singh took the forest department officials to the place were they had burnt the tigers paws and the remains were seized along with the electric wires from the home of another accused.The forest department has booked all the six accused under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Meanwhile, wildlife activists praised the quick action taken by the forest officials in cracking the case.Tiger reserves across Madhya Pradesh have been under scanner with the rising number of tigers being found dead.

A not so ‘Happy Diwali’ for owls in Delhi!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Diwali around the corner, people in the city are busy buying sweets, gifts, but some are also making beelines for owls. The illegal trade is thriving at Delhi’s Kabootar Bazaar’ in Chandni chowk, a ground investigation by DNA revealed.Based on a centuries-old tradition, owls make way to the Indian bird markets during Diwali to be slaughtered to make the goddess happy. Some believe that sacrificing this nocturnal bird, which is the ‘vaahan’ of Goddess Lakshmi, known to be the goddess of wealth and prosperity, makes her stay for an entire year.All the 32 species of Indian owls are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Under the Act, any killing or trading of owls is strictly prohibited and has serious risks/penalties. The bird has a varied reputation across cultures — some believe that they bring wealth and prosperity as it is associated with Goddess Lakshmi. In some cultures, it is considered to bring bad omen as well.Rameshwar Yadav, a doctor at the charity bird hospital run by the Digambar Jain community, located merely 500 metres away from the Kabootar Bazar, says that the wounded owls are often brought for medical aid. “Ahead of Diwali, the numbers go up. Three or four owls are brought every week. We hand them over to the wildlife department after treatment,”he said.After passing a few bird shops in the dingy lanes of Kabootar Bazaar, there is a shop where a young bearded man speaks about the owl trade. He confidently reveals,”Owls bring good fortune to people (and bad luck to their rivals) and thus amulets made of owl bones or nails are very high in demand in the market. I can get one to show you, but you will have to shell some big money for the trader as they come from outside the city.”On being probed, he confirmed the price, a small owl costs anywhere between Rs 4,000-7,000 and the price of a bigger one would land between Rs 11,000-14,000.Despite full awareness of the consequences, the traders are not discouraged to deal in the bird, especially during Diwali time. While every bird seller seemed reluctant to speak about it, he admitted, that they are being sold, but he doesn’t know who sells them.After further inquiry, one of the shopkeepers confirmed that this is the peak season of owl selling and if paid in advance, he can show us one.Traders from outside Delhi, mainly Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut and parts of Uttarakhand (Nainital and Haldwani) come to this market to deal in Owls. Since ‘forest owl’ is the highest in demand, it fears the most threat. Abrar Ahmed, an ornithologist, in his report on this topic for the wildlife protection organisation TRAFFIC and WWF India in 2010, writes that there are probably at least 50 active wild-bird selling points/localities in India. Twenty-one of these are major bird markets with an estimated annual turnover of between 20,000 and 50,000 wild birds, including a trade in owls.In 2006, a case widely reported in the media stated that an owl weighing 3 kg was allegedly sold for Rs 3 million. Four wealthy people, assisted by a claim to be from Ahmedabad (Gujarat), visited well-known bird markets in northern and eastern India seeking a large owl. It is unclear how the weight of an owl is related to its magical properties, even amongst black magic practitioners, although one in Delhi suggested that the heavier the owl, the older and therefore wiser it was.

Parents approach HRD over school fee hike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The growing number of fee hike issue every year in the city and different states have forced parents’ community to raise voice against schools. While some parents are taking help of child rights commission to get justice, some have started online petition to submit the ministry on websites like change.org.Despite the fee regulation act according to which, the schools have to decide their fees once in every two years, the schools have been increasing the fees every year, which has forced many parents to fight against it. Many parents have even approached the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR). Some parents from Pune have started an online petition to present it to the central government.A recent petition against fee hike has been put up on change.org by one parent named Makarand Gurjar from Pune, and it has got more then 200 signatures till now. The petition states that private schools are increasing their fees every year at an average rate of 10-15 per cent. The reason given by the schools on fee hike to parents are inflation and teachers’ salary. The petition states that whenever parents ask schools about PTA list and how their fee hike has been approved by PTA, the schools refuse to share those details with parents. According to the petition, private schools don’t follow any fee regulation acts. In the petition, In the petition, its has been alleged that the schools don’t listen to parents as well as the education departments. In the petition, Gurjar has urged the government to either take over private institutions or close them as they are making profits. The petition will be submitted to the Human Resource Department, Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of all states.One of the parent Prasad Tulaskar, who is fighting against fee hike issue with his child’s school management said, “The schools have started thinking of themselves as the government and whatever they say is the rule. This needs to be stopped somewhere and there should be government pressure on them. The privatization in schools needs to be stopped so that every class can afford the education, then only our country will progress. Many students fail to take education because they cannot afford it. When the situation will change where everyone can afford education, then only achche din will come.””Most of the parents don’t know whether to file a complaint or not when schools increase fees every year. According to the fee regulation act, schools are not suppose to increase fees every year but they do so and give reasons like they are private institution and government rules are not applicable on them. The government should come out with some strict rules for such schools,” said Jayant Jain, President of Forum for Fairness in Education.Recently, the deputy director of school education has also issued a circular for all schools as a reminder that they need to put up the information on their notice board about fee regulation act. According to the act, it’s mandatory for schools to form Parent Teacher Association (PTA). The schools have been asked to send details to the education department like date of PTA formation in their school, members of PTA, video shooting of the PTA should be done etc.”This is an old rule and schools know about it. But since they don’t follow the rule we have to issue this circular to remind them about the act and that they have to inform the parents about the it,” said BB Chauhan, deputy director of school education.

Rajasthan govt requests SC for urgent hearing against Salman Khan’s acquittal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rajasthan Government on Thursday requested the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing against Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s acquittal after moving the apex court on Wednesday challenging the Rajasthan High Court’s verdict in the twin Chinkara poaching cases.The Rajasthan High Court on July 25 had acquitted Salman of all charges in the two cases related to poaching of Chinkaras in Jodhpur in 1998 while holding that the pellets recovered from the Chinkaras were not fired from Khan’s licensed gun.The High Court’s decision were countering two trial court’s verdict convicting the Bollywood actor and handing him one and five years of imprisonment, following which the superstar had to spend 13 days in jail.Salman was convicted by a lower court in 2006 in the two chinkara cases, but this was overturned by the High Court in its judgment Monday.One of the animals was killed at Bhawad on the outskirts of Jodhpur on September 26, 1998, and the other at Ghoda Farms on September 28, 1998.At that time, they were shooting for film ‘Hum Sath Sath Hain’.Chinkara is an endangered animal accorded the highest protection under the Wildlife Protection Act.

Former world billiards champion Ferreira arrested by Hyderabad police in QNet fraud

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Hyderabad police has arrested former world billiards champion and Padma Bhushan recipient Michael Ferreira and three others in connection with a case of Rs 400- crore fraud involving the multi-level marketing company QNet.Police brought Ferreira, Magaral Balaji, Srinivas Vanka and Malcolm Desai to Hyderabad on a Prisoner Transit (PT) warrant from Mumbai on Tuesday night, reported Times of India.Earlier this month, a court had given Economic Offences Wing of Mumbai police the custody of Ferreira till October 13. Co-accused Srinivas Rao Vanka and Magaral Veervalli Balaji, both directors of Vihaan Direct Selling Pvt Ltd, and Malcolm Nozer Desai too had surrendered and were remanded to EOW custody till October 13.QNet and its franchisee firms allegedly sold products such as magnetic disks with `healing’ properties, herbal medicines and holiday schemes. QNet is accused of using the banned `binary pyramid’ model in its marketing schemes, apart from duping the investors.The FIR was registered in August 2013 under the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 and Maharashtra Protection Of Interest Of Depositors Act.EOW has so far arrested 17 people. The bank accounts of QNet, its representatives and associates have been frozen, with assets worth Rs 110 crore.

8 Indians arrested for trying to enter US illegally through Puerto Rico

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight Indian men along with three others have been arrested by officials of the US Customs department for allegedly trying to illegally enter American territory of Puerto Rico. The arrests were made on Thursday by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) along with local law enforcement agencies from Dominican Republic.These 11 undocumented migrants from India and Dominican Republic made landfall Wednesday in the islands’ western coast, CBP said in a statement. “Migrants that make an extremely long travel from India should be aware of the perils of coming all the way to the Caribbean to enter the United States,” said Ramiro Cerrillo, Ramey Sector Chief Patrol Agent for the Ramey Sector in Aguadilla. “Crossing the Mona Passage is a treacherous voyage filled with many dangers that pose a huge risk to migrants,” he said.The undocumented people were transported to the Ramey Border Patrol station for further investigation and processing.On September 29, Border Patrol Agents apprehended 20 migrants, 13 claiming to be citizens of the Dominican Republic (12 males and 1 female) and seven claiming to be Indian nationals (six males and one female). On February 1, four undocumented migrants from Pakistan and India were apprehended while wandering in the western side of the island. In October last year, Border Patrol also apprehended 13 undocumented migrants from India.

Kabul dogs roped in to help secure BRICS summit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Part of ‘Mission Kabul’ these ferocious canines from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force’s (ITBP) K9 unit have been serving in Indian missions in conflict hit Afghanistan for a while now.Battling terror threats daily, these brave dogs have now been pressed into action to secure the BRICS summit being held in Goa from October 15-16.This is in the wake of intelligence inputs about a possible terror attack. As a result, the contingent comprising German shepherds, labradors and Belgian Melenois have been sent from Kabul to Goa to aid security forces.These dogs were deployed at the Indian Embassy in Kabul for over three years and have experienced all sorts of threats and situations. Calling them “battle scarred veterans” an ITBP official says they had a high success rate when used in anti-terror missions against the Taliban.Sources told DNA that the decision to deploy the dogs serving in Kabul was taken amid several intelligence inputs regarding terrorists using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to blow up the venue.”We got an SOS call to secure and sanitise the venues and hotels where delegates will be staying in the wake of the heightened security alert,” said an ITBP official.According to intelligence inputs, Pakistani-based terrorist groups could conduct terror strikes in Goa near the venue between October 12 and 14 with an aim to disrupt the Summit. The is especially important as meetings of important dignitaries from BRICS countries will begun from October 12.Sources also say that the terror attacks are being planned as retaliation to the “surgical strikes” by the Indian Army destroying terror launchpads across the Line of Control (LoC).”Since these dogs are experts at sniffing explosives and also detect suspicious movements it was decided to send them,” said an official.There have been several terror attacks on Indian missions in Afghanistan in the last few years including the Embassy in Kabul.ITBP’s dog squad have also been serving in Maoist hit states and play a pivotal role in securing high target installations like the Parliament.Dogs from the force are also part of the Special Protection Group (SPG) guarding the Prime Minister. These dogs have also thwarted several terror attacks in the country over the last year when they were part of several operations.Over the years, dog training modules have also been modified to keep pace with growing threat perceptions. Most of the dogs are not just used for sniffing but have also become experts at assault and reconnaissance missions.They go through a 24 week training programme before being pressed into action.

NGT puts brakes on DDA’s unified by-laws for Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The chairperson bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has put brakes on the implementation of the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) ‘Unified Building Bye-Laws’ that sought to merge green clearances for constructions in 20,000 sq.m to 1,50,000 sq.m with building approvals. The bye-laws were brought out on the basis of a notification of the union ministry for environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) that exempted building projects in 20,000 sq.m to 1,50,000 from green clearance for ‘ease of business’.DDA’s bye-laws were notified with the prior concurrence of the MoEFCC and even before the ministry’s draft notification the basis of DDA’s bye-laws had come into effect. The environment ministry’s notification and DDA’s subsequent bye-laws had drawn severe criticism from environmentalists, who accused the authorities of diluting environmental processes.The unified bye-laws were challenged before the NGT by non-profit organisation Society for Protection of Environment and Biodiversity on grounds that the DDA’s bye-laws and environment ministry’s notification were in contravention to the Environment Impact Assessment notification, 2006.The petitioner had also contended that urban local bodies do not possess the technical expertise or knowledge to evaluate environmental impact caused due to the building and construction activities. After hearing the matter from April, the NGT disposed the application in an order that was made public last week. It asked the union environment ministry to consider objections of the applicant. Whereas, the DDA informed NGT that though the unified building bye-laws have been notified, the chapter on environment conditions for sanctioning building plans would not be put into practice till the union environment ministry give its approval and concurrence.DDA’s counsel Rajiv Bansal told DNA, “The unified bye-laws will not be made effective till modalities to implement them are approved by the union environment ministry.”As per the EIA notification, 2006, building and construction projects between 20,000 sq.m to 1,50,000 sq.m are appraised by the State Expert Appraisal Committees, that comprise of technical experts, independent experts and environmental experts. One of the key contentions of the applicant was that union environment ministry had failed to fulfill its statutory responsibilities and was in fact, transferring powers to urban local bodies. This, the petitioner said, creates a situation of conflict of interest as all the powers have been vested with the same authority right from grant of approval to monitoring the compliance.The application also highlighted that the urban bye-laws had not addressed the issues of clearance to constructions that would be situated in sites with endangered ecology and endemic flora and fauna. For instance, in the bye-laws, there is no specific consideration for projects situated in ecologically sensitive areas like national parks, sanctuaries, forests and other protected areas.

Nashik rape case: Mobile internet services suspended for two days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nashik police on Monday ordered suspension of mobile internet and bulk messaging services for two days to maintain peace and check the spread of rumours and provocative messages in the city, which saw violent protests after the alleged rape attempt by a teenage boy on a 5-year-old girl. The Maharashtra government, meanwhile, said a chargesheet will be filed in the case in 15 days.A day after violent protests at several places in Nashik against the alleged rape attempt by the 16-year-old boy on the minor girl at Talegaon village near Trimbakeshwar on Saturday, the situation in the district is under control as no untoward incident was reported today, police said. The boy had been taken into custody and an FIR registered against him under relevant sections of the IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).Nashik Commissioner of Police Ravindra Singhal issued orders to all network operators asking them to suspend their mobile internet service and bulk messaging services in the city limits for two days – today and tomorrow – to maintain peace and prevent circulation of wrong and provocative messages in social media or other networks by anti-social elements, an official release from the district information office said. Those violating the order will be liable for punishment under IPC section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), it said.Earlier, police had said some persons were detained in connection with the protests. Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s Minister of State for Home (rural) Deepak Kesarkar said police are organising meetings of peace committees to maintain social harmony. He said he visited the victim’s family today and forwarded their concerns to the district collector and IG.”Financial assistance and other needs regarding the victim’s health will be immediately provided. I will visit the family again so that the members are assured that the government is with them in the hour of crisis.”I also took a review of the law and order situation in the district. The situation is returning to normal. The bandhs and morchas organised in some parts are reported to be peaceful. Additional police force is being deployed to protect life and property,” the minister added.

Nashik: Teen taken into police custody after allegedly raping five-year-old girl, villagers protest

Nashik: A five-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a teenage boy at Trimbakeshwar near here which led to tension as angry villagers protested at several places in the district demanding his immediate arrest, police said on Sunday.

The boy has been taken into custody, they said.

In view of the situation, Nashik Police Commissioner Ravindra Singhal has appealed people to maintain peace.

The 16-year-old boy allegedly raped the girl at an isolated place at Talegaon village under Trimbakeshwar taluka in the district on Saturday, Trimbakeshwar police station in-charge Mukund Deshmukh said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

As soon as the news spread, tension gripped Talegoan as locals gathered at the police station last night demanding that the boy be booked and arrested.

The villagers also staged ‘rasta roko’ in Wadovhare, Ghoti and Anjaneri-phata areas. Some people set tyres on fire, and also damaged a tractor in Talegaon.

A group of people also protested at Nashik Civil Hospital last night and demanded that the victim be examined by a woman doctor, Deshmukh said.

According to the rural control room, some people staged rasta-rokos at Talwade village on Nashik-Trimbakeshwar road, Girnare village, which is about 10 km from Nashik district headquarters, and near Mohadi on the busy Mumbai-Agra National Highway this morning against the incident.

Police had to rush to the sites and clear the roads. Meanwhile, the boy has been booked under IPC section 376 (rape) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Nashik Police Commissioner Singhal has appealed to people to maintain peace and assured that proper action would be taken against the guilty.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan, who is also the Guardian Minister of Nashik, today visited Talegaon and met the victim’s family members.

He assured the girl’s family that stern action will be taken by police against the culprit.

The minister also asked people to remain calm. “The girl has been examined at Nashik Civil Hospital by lady doctors, and it was clear that only an attempt of rape was made by the boy,” he told reporters.

Special Inspector General of Police, Nashik Range, Vinaykumar Choube also visited Talegaon this morning even as some people threw stones on his car, a rural control room official said, adding that Superintendent of Police (rural) Ankush Shinde was keeping a close watch on the situation.

The situation was under control but tense, the official said.

Taking precautionary measures, the city as well as rural police, have beefed up security.

Women, non-adults can now be tried under Domestic Violence Act, rules Supreme Court

New Delhi: In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court has widened the scope of the Domestic Violence Act by ordering the deletion of the words “adult male” from it, paving the way for prosecution of women and even non-adults for subjecting a woman relative to violence and harassment.

The apex court has ordered striking down of the two words from section 2(q) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which deals with respondents who can be sued and prosecuted under the Act for harassing a married woman in her matrimonial home.

A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and RF Nariman ordered the deletion of the words

A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and RF Nariman ordered the deletion of the words “adult male” from the statute book saying it violated right to equality under the Constitution. AFP

Referring to earlier verdicts, the apex court said, “The microscopic difference between male and female, adult and non-adult, regard being had to the object sought to be achieved by the 2005 Act, is neither real or substantial nor does it have any rational relation to the object of the legislation.”

Section 2(q) of the Act reads: “‘respondent’ means any adult male person who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom the aggrieved person has sought any relief under DV Act.”

A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and RF Nariman paved way for prosecution of any person irrespective of gender or age under the DV Act, ordered the deletion of the words “adult male” from the statute book saying it violated right to equality under the Constitution.

The bench said that the words “adult male person” were contrary to the object of affording protection to women who have suffered from domestic violence “of any kind”.

“We, therefore, strike down the words ‘adult male’ before the word ‘person’ in Section 2(q), as these words discriminate between persons similarly situated, and far from being in tune with, are contrary to the object sought to be achieved by the 2005 Act,” it said.

The major verdict came on an appeal against the Bombay High Court judgement, which had resorted to the literal construction of the term ‘adult male’ and discharged four persons, including two girls, a woman and a minor boy, of a family from a domestic violence case on the ground that they were not “adult male” and hence cannot be prosecuted under the DV Act.

The bench, in its 56-page judgement, said the remaining part of the legislation has been kept untouched and would be operative.

“We, therefore, set aside the impugned judgment of the Bombay High Court and declare that the words ‘adult male’ in Section 2(q) of the 2005 Act will stand deleted since these words do not square with Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

“Consequently, the proviso to Section 2(q), being rendered otiose (superfluous), also stands deleted. We may only add that the impugned judgment has ultimately held, in paragraph 27, that the two complaints of 2010, in which the three female respondents were discharged finally, were purported to be revived, despite there being no prayer in Writ Petition…for the same,” the court said.

Dealing with the term ‘adult’, the bench said “it is not difficult to conceive of a non-adult 16 or 17-year-old member of a household who can aid or abet the commission of acts of domestic violence, or who can evict or help in evicting or excluding from a shared household an aggrieved person.

“Also, a residence order which may be passed under Section 19(1)(c) can get stultified if a 16 or 17-year-old relative enters the portion of the shared household in which the aggrieved person resides after a restraint order is passed against the respondent and any of his adult relatives…”.

The bench said that the term “adult male” contained in the Act was “discriminatory”.

India, Canada committed to deepen economic and financial ties: Arun Jaitley

Toronto: India and Canada are committed to deepen the economic and financial relationship and enhance strategic partnership, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said as he invited Canadian investment in India’s infrastructure sector.

“Both countries are committed to strengthen economic ties as there is a positive environment. Negotiators from both countries will meet soon to resolve sticking points,” he said.

On Monday Jaitley met his Canadian counterpart Bill Morneau and Canada’s International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and reviewed progress in India Canada relationship including proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and Foreign Investment and Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).

“Both countries are very keen to finalise both the proposed agreements,” Jaitley said.

He said that the two countries have also agreed to enhance strategic partnership.

A file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTIA file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTI

A file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTI

The minister also held a series of meetings with Canadian pension funds, bankers, financial sector companies.

“Foreign Direct Investment by Canadian Investors was about 12 billion dollar in India in the past 24 months. This does not include portfolio investment by Canadian investors,” he said.

“India has a good story to tell and is moving much faster than rest of the world. The likely return on investments in India is much higher and the risk is much less than other nations,” he said.

Canadian Finance Minister Morneau in a statement said, “I am pleased to build on Canada’s longstanding relationship with India by exploring ways to deepen our economic and financial ties. It is important that Canada continues to engage with the world to create more opportunities and prosperity for the middle class.”

The two ministers will travel to the US later this week to attend the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group as well as a G20 meeting.

As co-chairs of the working group responsible for G20 growth strategies, both ministers are expected to highlight the importance of seizing the opportunity to invest in people and infrastructure to build a strong and prosperous global economy.

Canada and India have longstanding bilateral relations, built upon shared traditions of democracy, pluralism and strong interpersonal connections with an Indian diaspora of more than one million in Canada, Morneau said.

Building on this strong relationship, Morneau highlighted the Canada-India Finance Ministers Dialogue as an important initiative to deepen the economic and financial relationship between the two countries.

Mumbai: Case registered against police constable for possessing disproportionate assets worth Rs 2.77 crore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has registered a case against a police constable and his wife for possessing disproportionate assets worth Rs 2.77 crore.ACB had received a complaint of corruption against police constable Nitin Shrirang Gaikwad (40) after which it started an inquiry.Gaikwad had been posted in the Protection and Security branch of police here from January 2008 to November 2014.Probe revealed that Gaikwad’s assets were 883% more than his income from legitimate sources during this period.Gaikwad was found to have purchased flats, jewellery, and held substantial amounts in mutliple bank accounts in his and his wife’s name.His wife Manisha (40) too has been named in the case for abetment. Further probe is on.

Konkan Railway nabs liquor worth Rs 3.28 lakh in 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Konkan Railway, despite having lesser number of Railway Protection Force (RPF) staff than the standard, is manfully fighting the liquor menace in its network. Statistics provided to dna by KR authorities show that in 2016, KR staff and RPF personnel patrolling trains, confiscated 4427 bottles of liquor worth Rs 3.28 lakhs and arrested 27 bootleggers against 12 bootleggers and 3936 bottles of liquor worth Rs 2.68 lakhs in 2015.”It is very clear that KRCL and RPF are trying their best to curb this menace,” said KR chief spokesperson KL Verma. KR officials who spoke to dna however maintained that, the primary responsibility of curbing liquor smuggling is with the state excise department and the police, both of which are state government organisations.”The responsibility of the RPF is to look into passenger security, especially since KR is the connector between Mumbai and some tourist-heavy destinations like Goa and Kerala. Therefore chances of thefts of passengers’ belongings from trains is fairly high and the RPF has to be fully geared to thwart it. However, as far as liquor smuggling is concerned, the RPF does carry out regular checks at stations and also inside trains to ensure that these activities are curbed. The provision of CCTV at 17 KR stations will greatly reduce these activities in future,” said a senior KR official.As reported by dna in its September 18 edition, the KR route is spread over 740 kilometre and has about hardly 80 RPF personnel at disposal, due to the large number of vacancies in their sanctioned strength of 129 personnel. Everyday, KR operates 42 pairs of express trains, 9 passenger trains and 17 freight trains, topped by a large number of holiday specials that run to cater to the passenger rush in festive seasons.

Cauvery row: Karnataka on high alert after panel asks to release 3k cusecs water per day to Tamil Nadu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Karnataka government has heightened the security at many sensitive areas of Bengaluru and the districts of Mandya, Mysuru, Hassan and Chikkamaglur on Monday when the Cauvery Supervisory committee ordered Karnataka to to release 3,000 cusecs of water per day from September 21 to September 30, to Tamil Nadu.The decision came a day ahead of the crucial Supreme Court hearing on the Cauvery water dispute on Tuesday.Karnataka has already released 1,50,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu as per the Supreme Court verdict, according to the official figures.Sources say that despite Karnataka Chief Secretary, Arun Jhadav informing the committee that the state is not in a capacity to release further water, the panel decided that the water should be released for next 10 days.Meanwhile, wary of the tension and violent protests that rocked Karnataka last week, the authorities have deployed over 4,000 police personnel and teams of rapid action forces, CAR police across the state.The Bengaluru City police also warned protestors against calling for shutdown on September 20.The Bengaluru Police Commissioner, NS Megharik who convened an urgent meeting on Monday said that all the liquor shops in the state capital have been asked to remain shut from 6 am on Tuesday to 1 am on Wednesday to prevent riots and violence in the city.The police has cautioned the netizens to not post any updates that may incite the passions of people. It further asked the public to share the pictures and photos of rioters with the police.The police arrested Vatal Nagaraj, President, Federation of Karnataka organisations who has been spearheading the Cauvery agitation at Atibelle on Karnataka Tamil Nadu border on Monday morning. The protestors were trying to block the Karnataka Tamil Nadu highway.In the tense Mandya town, a farmer’s protest led by Cauvery Protection group president, Made Gowda said that the Karnataka government should immediately release compensation to the affected community and demanded a compensation of Rs 25,000 per acre of land for each farmer.Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah and his several colleagues were meanwhile busy in offering prayers for a favourable decision on Cauvery water dispute.

dna Exclusive: RPF to desist from posing with rescued children

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The days of security agencies posing for the media with runaway children rescued from railway premises- as well other places- will soon be a thing of the past. Responding to a DNA query on whether such publicity was harmful and stigmatising for the child, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has replied that it was.Stuti Kacker, chairperson of the NCPCR said that identification of a runaway child is stigmatising for the child. “As far as possible we must respect the privacy of such children. I will certainly direct the concerned stakeholders not to release pictures of rescued child once it is reunited with the parents,” said Kacker.The NCPCR is the custodian of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that agencies like the Railway Protection Force (RPF) as well as the railway police have to follow when it comes to the rescue of runaway as well as trafficked children found on trains and railway premises. The SOP, finalised between the railways, the Union Ministry of Women and Child Welfare and NCPCR, was issued on March 5 last year.Of late the Railway Protection Force (RPF), while doing a fine job with rescuing children in larger numbers than ever before, have also got into the habit of releasing these pictures as part of their good work on social media and other platforms like print and television media.”It does create an issue for the runaway child. Very often running away from home is an impulsive decision in which the child doesn’t give a deep thought at all. To punish him this way by releasing his pictures on social media where it has a perennial life is unfair on the child. It is indeed stigmatising if even after the child grows into a normal well-thinking adult who has completely understood the sheer stupidity of running away from home, the pictures of his rescue by security agencies are still floating on the internet,” said a psychiatrist.In 2013, the RPF rescued 4658 minors, in 2014 the numbers stood at 4448 minors while in 2015 the number of children rescued was a high of 7044.

Facing the music: Playing loud music can set you back by Rs 1 lakh and put you behind bars for 5 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Playing loud music is no sound business. It can land you in trouble – in fact, deep troubIe. As per Section 15 (1) of the Environment Protection Act, it can set you back by Rs 1 lakh and even land you in jail for five years. It doesn’t matter whether you are doing so during daytime or at your own place.Ask Santa Cruz residents Chhaya Ojha (60) and Veena Upadhyay (68). When the Meera Baug colony residents decided to have some fun recently, it was not music to the ears of all and sundry.A complaint was filed against the two, and, soon, cops were at the senior citizens’ doors. Their music system was seized.However, it didn’t deter the music-loving duo. “Even after the police seized the music system, the accused continued playing music. When the police measured the noise level, it came up to 92.5 decibels. Hence, a criminal case was registered against the two women,” says the complainant copy.The two have now approached the sessions court seeking anticipatory bail. The court is yet to decide on the case.Dr Mahesh Bedekar, activist, who has filed a PIL against noise pollution, welcomed the move and claimed that this could be the first-of-its-kind. “There are when several cases have been registered against many organisations for causing noise pollution during festival season, but registering a case against specific individuals could be for the first time. We need to understand that every one has a right to live in peace and disturbing your society and environment, at large, is something which is criminal.”Not that I am against celebrations, but one can do it just to soothe oneself and not to disturb others. This act of police might make others think twice before blowing off others’ ears,” he said.Anti-noise pollution activist Sumaira Abdulali agreed that it is a rare case. “Earlier, when people were charged under the Bombay Police Act, it was easy to walk away from the police station after paying a fine. But this action is going to be a strong deterrent,” she said.Shantanu Pawar, senior police inspector, Santa Cruz police station, said: “We received a complaint and we initially visited the place and seized the music system. But we registered a criminal case when they continued playing music.”

Rajasthan: Woman gangraped and tattooed with abuses for dowry

In a shocking incident, a 30-year-old woman was allegedly gang raped by her husband and his two brothers who tattooed expletives on her forehead and hand after her family could not fulfill their dowry demand in Alwar district, police said on Monday.The victim was married to Jagannath in Reni village. She alleged that since her marriage in January last year, her husband and in-laws used to beat her up and demand dowry of Rs 51,000, they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Her husband and brothers-in-law allegedly raped her and tattooed profanities on her forehead which her parents later made an attempt to get removed,” a police official said. Parents of the victim claim that the 28-year old was sedated via some drug in her drinks and was tattooed on, reports NDTV.The victim says a tattoo on her hands reads “My father is a thief.”She has been living with her parents since then, Mahila police station SHO Abdul Wahid said, adding the woman has still marks on her forehead and hand.An FIR has been registered under sections of 498-A (Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act), 376 (punishment for rape)and 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) of IPC and an investigation in the case has been initiated, he said.The police are yet to make any arrests.(With PTI inputs)

Hyderabad: Child Welfare Committee member booked for sexually assaulting teenager

A member of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Ranga Reddy district in Telangana was on Friday booked for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old orphan boy, police said.Krishna, the accused member of the CWC, was given the responsibility of shifting the boy, who had been rescued and put up at Saidabad children’s home, to Kukatpally in Hyderabad a few days ago, they said.”However, instead of taking the boy to Kukatpally children’s home here, he took him to some other place and sexually assaulted the teen,” KPHB police station Inspector Ch Kushalkar said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A case under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act has been registered against Krishna and a hunt has been launched to nab him, as he is absconding, the inspector said.CWC is a quasi-judicial body appointed by the Women and Child Welfare Department under the Juvenile Justice Act. Further investigation into the case is on.

Bombay HC to decide on rehab of 500 exotic birds, animals rescued by police

The conservator of forest (wildlife) has urged the Bombay High Court to decided on the fate of around 500 exotic birds and animals rescued by the police. Earlier, conservator MM Kulkarni was asked by the court to give a report on two NGOs that have the required facilities to rehabilitate birds/animals.In his affidavit filed before the high court, Kulkarni stated that a team of experts visited two NGOs – Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Katraj and Myvets Charitable Trust and Research Centre in Panvel – and checked their facilities, which were found to be good enough to house the rescued birds and animals.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even though both the facilities were found to be good, the affidavit stated that Myvet’s was close to the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, which could make it easier for forest officials to visit the facility frequently.The affidavit, filed through government pleader Bharat Mehta, also said that veterinary doctors were available at both the NGOs to provide proper treatment to injured birds and animals. However, it stated that the court should pass suitable orders for making provisions for rehabilitation of exotic birds and animals.In March, the court had asked the government to provide particulars of two NGOs, one in Katraj and the other in Panvel, that would assist in keeping exotic animals rescued by the police and/or those that visited Mumbai and stayed back. The court had given the direction while hearing a petition filed by Viniyog Parivar Trust, which claimed that no natural habitat was available to these exotic birds and animals. Earlier, the court had suggested the names of Sanjay Gandhi National Park and the Karnala Bird Sanctuary but the forest department turned down the suggestion, saying both of them could not be natural habitats for the animals in view of the fact that there were other wildlife animals already present there.Further, the government had also suggested Byculla Zoo as a place where they could be kept but the court shot down the suggestion, saying the place was in bad shape and no proper facilities were available there.In 1997, the trust had approached the court by filing a public interest litigation. The court had constituted a 14-member committee to suggest ways and means to ensure compliance with the provisions of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.Exotic birds, animalsExotic birds and animals include different varieties of munias, parakeets, peacocks, weaver birds, koel, mynahs, owls and star tortoises, which are commonly sold.

Don’t take selfie with lions: Gujarat forest dept tells tourists

Gujarat forest department has advised tourists and locals against taking “selfie with lions” to discourage them from getting dangerously close to the wild animal and putting their lives at risk, an official said. “The forest department has found growing trend of people risking their lives by taking selfie with lions in forest areas. They do so out of excitement to share these photos on social media platforms to garner praise,” Chief Conservator of Forest, wildlife crime, S P Sisodia, said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Considering this increasing trend, we have advised tourists and locals to refrain from doing so and if they are caught doing so, they will be punished as per the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1971, he said. “To take a selfie, you will have to go close to the lion, which is dangerous. Apart from posing a risk, it is also against the legal provisions and can attract punitive action from the department. We are only reinterpreting the law looking at the latest trend,” he said.The forest department has recently come across several instances in which villagers were killed or injured by lions. As per the census conducted by the forest department last year, the population of lions in Gir has seen a rise.The census put the total number of the felines in the state at 523, up from 411 lions counted in 2010. They are found in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, a major tourist attraction. Recently, three persons, including a 14-year-old boy, and a woman, were killed by lions in separate incidents.

Bihar: Charges framed against suspended RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav in rape case

A district court on Monday framed charges against suspended RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav and other accused persons in connection with the rape case of a minor girl in February last.Additional District and Sessions Judge (I) Shashi Bhushan Prasad Singh framed charges against Yadav under various sections of IPC that includes 376 for raping a girl besides Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012, Special Public Prosecutor Shyameshwar Dayal said. Charges have also been framed against the other five accused persons under Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The other five accused persons are Sulekha Devi, Radha Devi, Tusi Devi, Chhoti Kumari and Sandeep. Sulekha Devi and her kin, named in the charge sheet, were accused of supplying girls to the RJD MLA and were arrested.
ALSO READ Minor girl rape case: Fugitive RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav surrenders in courtThe Nalanda Police had on April 22 filed a charge sheet against the suspended RJD MLA and other accused in the case. The 205-page charge sheet was filed by women’s police station in-charge Mridula Kumari in the court of additional district judge Rashmi Shikha with the RJD MLA listed as the main accused. Police said they have appealed to the court for speedy trial. The RJD MLA had surrendered before a local court on March 10 fearing confiscation of his properties at several places in the state as he was evading arrest for about a month after registration of FIR against him for allegedly raping the minor girl at his residence in Biharsharif on February 6.
ALSO READ Bihar police seize property of rape accused RJD MLA Raj Ballabh YadavYadav, who won from Nawada seat on RJD ticket in 2015 Assembly polls and a former minister in the RJD government, was suspended by the party on February 14 after the rape charge.

Bihar minor rape case: Charges framed against suspended RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav

Biharsharif: A district court on Monday framed charges against suspended RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav and other accused persons in connection with the rape case of a minor girl in February last.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (I) Shashi Bhushan Prasad Singh framed charges against Yadav under various sections of IPC that includes 376 for raping a girl besides Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012, Special Public Prosecutor Shyameshwar Dayal said.

Charges have also been framed against the other five accused persons under Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.

The other five accused persons are Sulekha Devi, Radha Devi, Tusi Devi, Chhoti Kumari and Sandeep.

Representational Image. ReutersRepresentational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

Sulekha Devi and her kin, named in the charge sheet, were accused of supplying girls to the RJD MLA and were arrested.

The Nalanda Police had on 22 April filed a charge sheet against the suspended RJD MLA and other accused in the case.

The 205-page charge sheet was filed by women’s police station in-charge Mridula Kumari in the court of additional district judge Rashmi Shikha with the RJD MLA listed as the main accused.

Police said they have appealed to the court for speedy trial.

The RJD MLA had surrendered before a local court on 10 March fearing confiscation of his properties at several places in the state as he was evading arrest for about a month after registration of FIR against him for allegedly raping the minor girl at his residence in Biharsharif on 6 February.

Yadav, who won from Nawada seat on RJD ticket in 2015 Assembly polls and a former minister in the RJD government, was suspended by the party on 14 February after the rape charge.

Mercedes hit-and-run: Juvenile Justice board permits minor to be tried as an adult

New Delhi: In the first prosecution under the amended Juvenile Justice Act, a minor accused in the Mercedes hit-and-run case in which a 33-year-old Delhi business consultant was killed in April 2016 will be tried as an adult.

The Juvenile Justice board’s order came while allowing the plea of Delhi Police seeking to try the offender — who was 17 at the time — as an adult, as the offence came under the definition of heinous crime.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The juvenile had turned a major — 18 years old — just four days after the Mercedes he was driving at high-speed mowed down Siddharth Sharma in Civil Lines in North Delhi late evening on 4 April.

The juvenile would have been tried as a minor if the act had not been amended.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2015 allows for juveniles 16 years or older to be tried as adults for heinous offences like rape and murder. The Act was amended following public outrage after one of the offenders in the 16 December, 2012 gang rape case escaped being tried in the court as he was a few months short of turning 18.

In this case, police, in its chargesheet filed on 26 May, had charged the juvenile with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, which entails a maximum of 10 years in jail.

According to sources, the juvenile board said that minor offender was able to understand the consequences of the offence on the date of incident and he was not lacking any mental and physical capacity to commit the alleged offence.

“He drove very fast and dangerously despite warning of his friends, who were co-occupant of his car at the time of incident,” the board said, adding that neither he helped the victim nor did he stop the car after causing the incident.

The board observed that he fled from the spot to avoid getting caught for his misdeed.

His conduct before and after the accident clearly reflect that he understood of the alleged offence against him, it said.

The sources further added that the board, in its order, said: “The circumstances collectively indicate that he was indifferent towards life and safety of other users of the road but mature enough to think of ways to escape from lawful punishment of the offence.”

Police apprehended the minor on 5 April, a day after he allegedly fatally knocked down Sharma, who was crossing the road to buy eatables.

The minor was then freed on bail as he was booked under section 304-A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code. Later police charged him with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

In the final investigation report, police charged the juvenile for offences under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 279 (driving on a public way so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life) and 337 (causing hurt by an act which endangers human life).

The juvenile’s father was arrested under Section 304 (abetting culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC for letting his minor son drive despite knowing that he had caused an accident earlier. He was later released on bail.

Police earlier told the court that CCTV footage showed that the teenager was driving his car at a high speed in a residential area.

Police told the board that the teenager was a repeat offender and that he had a history of traffic violations which included over-speeding and he was booked for it on June 17, 2015.

He was also booked for driving in violation of traffic regulations on 25 February, 2014 and for not wearing a seat belt on 19 September, 2014.

On 16 February, 2016, he was involved in a minor traffic accident at Maurice Nagar area in north Delhi, which was settled but he put a forged signature on the settlement papers to avoid detection, the police had said.

India unveils first-ever comprehensive draft law on human trafficking

India’s minister for women and children unveiled a draft of the country’s first-ever comprehensive anti-human trafficking law, which would treat survivors as victims in need of assistance and protection rather than as criminals.South Asia, with India at its centre, is the fastest-growing and second-largest region for human trafficking in the world, after East Asia, says the UN Office for Drugs and Crime.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There are no accurate figures on the number of people trafficked within South Asia, but activists say thousands of mostly women and children are trafficked within India as well as from its poorer neighbours Nepal and Bangladesh.Many are sold into forced marriage or bonded labour to work in middle class homes as domestic servants, in small shops and hotels or confined to brothels where they are repeatedly raped.Women’s Minister Maneka Gandhi said the draft bill aims to unify existing anti-trafficking laws, prioritise survivors’ needs, and prevent victims such as those found in brothel raids from being arrested and jailed like traffickers.”The bill shows far more compassion and makes a very clear distinction between the trafficked and the trafficker, which is a nuance that should have been made 60 years ago,” Gandhi said on Monday as she unveiled the draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016.The draft legislation provides for special courts to expedite trafficking cases, more shelters and a rehabilitation fund to help victims rebuild their lives.It also provides for anti-trafficking committees – at district, state and central levels – that will oversee prevention, protection and victim rehabilitation.According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there were 5,466 human trafficking cases registered in 2014, an increase of 90 percent over the past five years, though activists say this is a gross underestimate.Thousands of Indians – largely poor, rural women and children – are lured to big cities each year by traffickers who promise good jobs but sell them into domestic or sex work or to industries such as textile workshops.In many cases, they are unpaid or held in debt bondage. Some go missing, and their families cannot trace them.Gandhi said the draft bill would strengthen prosecutions and boost the number of convictions by setting up a special investigative agency to coordinate work between states and collect intelligence on trafficking offences.There is also a provision for the recovery of fines from the convicted in the draft bill, officials said, and victims who are not paid wages while in servitude will be reimbursed.The draft bill makes providing narcotic drugs or alcohol for the purpose of trafficking, and using chemical substances or hormones for purposes of exploitation offences.Gandhi said her ministry would be accepting suggestions until June 30 on how to further improve the proposed bill.It would then go to all the ministries for their feedback. The final bill could be brought before the Indian parliament by the end of the year, she added.

Thane: Man posts obscene messages on fake profile of minor, later molests her; 3 booked

A 27-year-old man allegedly molested a minor girl and blackmailed her by creating a fake Facebook account in her name to post obscene messages and pictures, police said on Sunday. Three persons, including the youth and two of his woman friends, have been booked in this connection, they said.The man, who is a close relative of the 16-year-old victim’s father, allegedly created the fake account on Facebook last year. He then purportedly sent obscene pictures and messages from the fake account to a female friend of his, who is also an acquaintance of the victim, said Senior Police Inspector Gajanan Kabdule of Naupada police station, based on a complaint filed by the victim’s mother.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In August last year, the man sent screenshots of certain messages sent from the fake account to the victim on her mobile messenger WhatsApp and allegedly blackmailed her. He also called her to a place in Thane’s Naupada locality where he allegedly molested and beat her up, police said.The man later got the obscene messages deleted from his female friend’s account. He then asked the victim to send him all screenshot messages he sent earlier, on his WhatsApp to resolve the matter. However, after the victim sent him the messages, the man, on May 26 this year, posted the same on another woman friend’s Facebook page, as per the complaint.After this, he allegedly threatened the victim and her mother saying he would post the obscene messages and pictures on their relatives’ Facebook accounts and defame them, the complaint mentioned.Police registered offences in the wee hours today against three persons – the man and his two woman friends – under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 292, 500 (defamation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and also relevant sections of the IT Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, police said.No arrest has been made so far in this connection, they added.

New Delhi: Man sentenced to three years for possessing two leopard skins

A man has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for possessing two leopard skins by a Delhi court, which said such cases need to be dealt with strictly to curb wildlife offences.The court said, “Some of the rare species have already been wiped out” while “others have reached danger mark predicting total extinction unless expeditious protective measures are adopted”. It also observed that wildlife offences are not coming down despite efforts put in by governments of various nations across the globe.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Wason, while awarding three-year jail term and a fine of Rs 10,000 on Vimal Kishore, observed that Parliament, in bringing a new legislation for protection of wildlife, was inspired by the urge to preserve what little is left of wildlife. “Rapid decline of India’s animal wealth, one of the richest in the world once upon a time, would have caused concern not only to the Zoologists and Ornithologists but to all others who know the consequences of deforestation,” the court said.
ALSO READ Amazon agrees to remove items in ‘animal specimen’ category: Wildlife bodyIt allowed Kishore’s plea to suspend the sentence and granted him bail for one month to enable him to file appeal against the judgement. The prosecutor had argued that the 38-year-old man was found in possession of two leopard skins in 2012 and his offence was covered under the Wildlife (Protection) Act.The man’s counsel, however sought a lenient view in sentence, saying he was physically handicapped and he has to support his family including two minor children and was facing trial for past four years.

Sikkim CM Chamling regrets rape of Kolkata girl, calls for curbing crime

Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today asked the police to strictly monitor and curb crimes against women following the rape of a Kolkata girl by a taxi driver in north Sikkim on the night of May 15.Expressing deep regret over the incident which is rare in the tourist-friendly state, the chief minister said, “The rapist who sexually assaulted the tourist from Kolkata must be punished and the police should expose him openly in society.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The girl, aged 16 years, was on a tour to Sikkim along with her two friends after the end of the class X board examinations in West Bengal, the police said. They hired a taxi in Gangtok driven by Prem Rai for sightseeing. They reached Tashi View Point, 5 kms from Gangtok towards north Sikkim, where the driver, aged 22 years, offered them snack and water suspectedly laced.The police said that sometime after this the three felt drowsy. Taking advantage of their condition, the driver started molesting a student who was seated beside him. When the other two girls tried to stop him, they were hit by a heavy object.The two girls got down and screamed for help while running towards Phodong and also called their parents and relatives. They reported the matter with the Gangtok Sadar Thana. A search for the girl and the vehicle was launched sloon after. The police spotted the the car speeding along the North highway and stopped it. The girl was found on the back seat of the car in unconscious condition.The police said that the car, an Alto bearing the number plate SK 01 T 1985, was seized. The driver was later arrested. The victim bearing injury marks on her body was admitted to a hospital in Gangtok for a medical test, where the rape was confirmed.The cab driver has been charged under Section 376 (Rape) of the IPC. He was produced in a court which sent him to seven days in judicial remand. A case under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 has also been registered against the driver, SDPO Mangan, Palden Bhutia said.

Goa MLA rape case: Court reserves order on Atanasio Monserratte’s bail plea till May 18

A local court on Monday extended by two days the police custody of Goa legislator Atanasio Monserratte who has been accused of buying and raping a minor girl and reserved until Wednesday its order on his bail application. In his bail plea, the expelled Congress MLA said the charge of rape against him is a “fertile imagination of investigating officer”.Principal District and Sessions judge Pramod Kamat, who heard the arguments from defence and prosecution through the day in a packed courtroom, reserved the order on the bail plea for May 18. Goa police is investigating the case against Monserratte who has been booked for buying the girl for Rs 50 lakh and raping her in March.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was booked under IPC sections 376 (rape), 328 (poisoning), 342 (wrongful confinement), 370 (A) (trafficking), provisions of Goa Children Act and Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The MLA’s counsel Rajiv Gomes argued against slapping of section 370 of IPC and section 8(2) of Goa Children’s Act in the FIR against the MLA. Referring to the statement recorded by the girl, Gomes said there was no sexual assault in this case as the girl never claimed or disclosed about it in her complaint. “The investigation officer should have had facts on record before applying the section of rape against the accused. The application of such a grave section shows the fertile imagination of investigating officer,” Gomes told the court.He also challenged the arrest of Monserratte on May 5, the day he appeared before police, by an officer who was not investigating the case. Gomes said the arrest was executed by police inspector Dattaguru Sawant though the case was investigated by Sawant’s colleague Sudiksha Naik. The investigation was conducted at the behest of political opponents of the accused, he stated. The defence counsel further said that by charging the MLA with rape, police were making the girl as a “rape victim” and are “tarnishing her image”.”The girl has mentioned in the complaint that she was offered spiked drink by a maid servant but the police have accused Monserratte of drugging her, which contradicts the girl’s statement,” the counsel said. Advocate Damodar Dhond, representing the mother of the girl and another accused Rosy Ferros who have also sought bail, claimed discrepancies in the statements of the girl recorded before the Child Welfare Committee.

Government likely to enact law on passive euthanasia, invites suggestions from citizens

India will soon decide whether or not to pass a law to legalise passive euthanasia as the Union Health Ministry has prepared a draft bill and invited public suggestions before the formation of the law. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has posted a draft Bill – Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) on its website and opened up the issue for public debate. In a circular, the Ministry has asked citizens to submit their views by mail to [email protected] by 19 June, 2016.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Government of India has decided to solicit public opinion/comments before formulation of Law on Passive Euthanasia.The draft bill as given by Law Commission in its 241st Report is being uploaded for soliciting public opinion/comments on the same.” the circular said.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu: Transgenders plead for mercy killing upset over their plightEarlier in 2006, the Health Ministry had examined the matter of formulating regulatory provisions for euthanasia based on the 196th Report of the Law Commission of India on ‘The Medical Treatment of Terminally-ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill 2006’ in consultation with a committee of experts. However, the Ministry had opted not to make any law on euthanasia at that time. Subsequently, the Supreme Court in its judgment on March 7, 2011 in the Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug vs UoI and Others, laid down comprehensive guidelines to process ‘passive euthanasia’ in the case of incompetent patients and stated that the said procedure should be followed all over India until the Parliament makes a legislation on the subject.
ALSO READ Why did Supreme Court refuse the mercy killing of Aruna Shanbaug in 2011?What is Passive EuthanasiaPassive euthanasia, or ‘negative euthanasia’, involves withholding of medical treatment or withholding life support system for continuance of life e.g., withholding of antibiotic where without doing it, the patient is likely to die or removing the heart—lung machine from a patient in coma. Passive euthanasia is legal even without legislation, provided certain conditions and safeguards are maintained.
ALSO READ A year on, KEM hospital nurses remember Aruna ShanbaugRead the Draft Bill hereThe Ministry said that active euthanasia (which involves taking specific steps such as injecting a terminally-ill patient with a lethal substance to end suffering) is not being considered “as it is likely to be used by unscrupulous individuals to attain their ulterior motives.

SAIEVAC meeting historic, collective action to promote child rights: Maneka Gandhi

Union Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD), Maneka Gandhi said that the 4th SAARC ministerial meeting is notable and in a way historic since it is the first where South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) takes stock of 5 years of work by national governments working in official partnership for the safety and security of children of the region.The WCD Minister hoped that the meeting will not only take the next step of assessing the challenges of our present time, and adopting decisions that will guide our next five years, but will also become an instrument of change.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gandhi highlighted the important new initiatives of the Indian Government as a part of affirmative action for protection of children like the ‘Beti bachao beti Padhao’ Scheme, Juvenile Justice (care and protection) Act, 2015, launch of ‘Khoya-Paya’; a Citizen based ICT platform to report missing and found children, extension of Childline to 402 locations across the country, Unique initiative with railways for runaway/trafficked children, inspection of Child Care Institutions, adoption reforms, introduction of Foster care among others.Gandhi also outlined the steps taken under the important ongoing schemes/initiatives and by institutions like POCSO, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, New National Policy for Children, Integrated Child Protection Scheme, Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, and efforts to check child labour, efforts to prevent child marriages among others.She specially highlighted the new ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, launched under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which has now become one of the flagship programs of the Government.The program was launched to ensure survival, protection, education and empowerment of girl child and has become extremely successful, the Minister explained. She further added that it is an excellent example of how it is possible to achieve behavior change in a short period of time through concerted, collective and determined effort of various stakeholders.Today?s Ministerial Meeting of SAIEVAC was preceded by a two-day technical session and was attended by Ministers of Child/Social Affair Departments of concerned countries, Secretaries of concerned departments, senior officials and Civil Society Organizations of various SAARC Countries.The meeting saw a discussion on ways and means to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, review of progress of ten years of SAIEVAC and five-year work plan (2011-16), formulation of draft recommendations by the 6th Governing Board Meeting and Adoption of Agenda for the next five years. The SAIEVAC meeting was hosted by WCD Ministry of Government of India.

‘Unwell’ Rahul Gandhi cancels Puducherry trip after receiving death threat

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi has cancelled his two-day visit to Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which was to commence on Tuesday, as he is suffering from high fever.

Gandhi tweeted:

On Monday, top Congress leaders had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking adequate security to the party Vice President following an anonymous letter threatening to attack Gandhi and former union minister V Narayanasamy at an election meeting in Puducherry.

AICC General Secretary Narayanasamy had said in Puducherry that he had received an “unsigned letter” threatening to attack him and Gandhi.

The Special Protection Group and the Intelligence Bureau were on Monday ordered by the Government to take maximum precautions for Rahul Gandhi‘s security in the wake of the threat letter.

Rahul was scheduled to address a rally of the Congress-DMK alliance on Tuesday at Karaikal in Puducherry.

Acting swiftly, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi directed the SPG, responsible for the protection of the Congress Vice President, and the IB to take all necessary precautionary measures in this regard.

Mehrishi’s missive to the two agencies came soon after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked him to take up the issue seriously and ensure protection to Rahul, official sources said.

Assembly Elections 2016: Rahul Gandhi cancels visit to Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & Kerala citing health reasons

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday cancelled his visits to Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, citing health reasons.Gandhi apologised for cancelling the visits, saying that he had been running high fever since Sunday and has been advised rest by doctors for the next two days.He was scheduled to tour Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where elections will be held on May 16.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Unfortunately I have been down with high fever since Sunday and the Doctor has advised rest for the next two days,” he tweeted.”Shall keep everyone updated about the rescheduled visits,” he added.The campaigning ends in these states on May 14.The government yesterday cleared additional security for Gandhi after his party met Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the assassination threats.Singh issued extra caution for both the Intelligence Bureau and the elite force that guards politicians considered to be at high risk.The Puducherry Police too had made special preparations for Gandhi’s speech.The Home Minister had decided that Gandhi would get more commandos from the Special Protection Group (SPG), which handles the security of top leaders including the Prime Minister.

Don’t issue ownership certificates to elephant owners: Supreme Court to Kerala govt

The Supreme Court has restrained Kerala government from issuing ownership certificates to elephant owners.A bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and SK Singh also directed that people in possession of elephants do not transfer the pachyderms outside the state.The apex court made it clear that if any ownership certificate has been issued, “the same shall be withdrawn subject to the final verdict of the Supreme Court.” “We think it apt to direct that the state government shall not issue any ownership certificate to any of the persons in possession of elephants. That apart, the persons who are in possession of elephants shall not transfer the elephants outside the state nor shall they part with the elephants by way of transfer in any manner,” the bench said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The direction came on two applications moved on a PIL, filed by six organisations and individuals including Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, which said the number of captive elephants kept by people and religious institutions stood at over 3,000. The two applications alleged that the elephants, used for religious processions or rides, were chained and ill-treated in violation of the statutory provisions and sought quashing of a Kerala government notification dated February 26 which offered an amnesty period for those keeping 289 captive elephants without valid ownership certificates.During the hearing, advocate Aparna Bhat, appearing for Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, said the state government under the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 has no authority to issue such a notification. The counsel for the Kerala government referred to Section 40(4) of the Act to highlight that the state government can make a declaration subject to certain conditions and it has jurisdiction to issue an amnesty scheme. Taking note of the submissions, the bench said it would deal with the issues raised in the application at the final stage of hearing.
ALSO READ Captive elephants ownership: PETA sends legal notice to Kerala govtEarlier, the apex court had asked the Centre and several states including Kerala and Goa to apprise it on whether a person can keep an elephant in his custody as the owner under the wildlife protection laws. The direction came after Animal Welfare Board submitted a report regarding the upkeep of three elephants and alleged violation of Wild Life (Protection) Act by two resorts in Goa.Senior advocate C A Sundaram appearing for Animal Welfare Board in its report had mentioned 10 aspects pertaining to apparent violation of animal protection laws and guidelines and made recommendations for the upkeep of elephants. On December 8, the apex court had sought reply from the Centre, Rajasthan and Goa on pleas alleging that cruelty was being meted out to elephants used for such rides in these states. The court had taken note of pleas alleging cruelty meted out to captive elephants in Kerala, particularly in temples, and directed the top wildlife officer to undertake a head count of all of them and act against those keeping them without the requisite permission.
ALSO READ Roopkali begs as devotees pray elephant-headed godKerala had informed the court that there are total 599 privately-owned elephants in the state, out of which 289 have no declared owners under the Wildlife Act. The court had directed the Chief Wildlife Warden to ensure that all captive elephants in Kerala are counted and registered. Elephants are used to participate in religious festivals and processions in Kerala and also to carry the deities.

Now, minor girl in Bengaluru accuses dance teacher of sexual assault

A four-year-old girl was sexually assaulted allegedly by her summer camp dance teacher in Bengaluru, according to The New Indian Express. Cops have arrested the 22-year-old dance teacher who, according to the complaint, repeatedly assaulted the minor girl in several areas of a private school.

The incident came to light when her father noticed her bruises and the girl stated that her dance teacher had inflicted them, reported Bangalore Mirror. Her parents took her to a private hospital because she revealed that she was in pain. They later took her to the Baptist Hospital in Hebbal. Realising the seriousness of the incident, doctors alerted the police. Samples have been sent to a forensic laboratory, the victim’s father told Bangalore Mirror.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Bengaluru incident is the latest in a series of incidents this week being reported from across the country where dance instructors are assaulting minor girls.

A nine-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by her dance teacher in a school in Kanpur’s Naubasta area, police said on Wednesday.

According to the complaint filed by the victim’s father, one Kishan Singh Rathore sexually assaulted the minor on Tuesday after calling her to his room on the pretext of teaching dance, they said.

An FIR was registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 following the complaint and the erring teacher has been arrested, police said, adding, the victim is undergoing medical examination.

The father had also complained to the director of the school after he got to know about the incident.

Police is interrogating the director of the school along with other staff members and investigation is on in the case.

In Puducherry, police arrested a 20-year-old youth for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl over seven months, according to The New Indian Express. The accused, identified as Kumaresan alias Mohan, was conducting dance classes in Irumbai. The victim and her 14-year-old brother used to attend the classes. Mohan allegedly first assaulted the victim when he visited her Govindasalai home when she was alone. She told her mother and brother about it but they refused to believe her and her brother forcibly took her to the accused’s house for continuing their classes. There Mohan allegedly assaulted her again.

The Times of India reported that the incidents came to light when a neighbour noticed cigarette burns on the victim’s hand. The victim revealed all to the neighbor who contacted the Child Welfare Committee. The CWC then approached the Grand Bazaar police who arrested him under the POCSO Act and also questioned her brother.

With inputs from PTI

Lawmaker in Goa charged with buying, drugging and raping teen girl | Reuters

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A lawmaker in Goa has been charged with buying, drugging and raping a 16-year-old girl in a case which will be closely watched by anti-slavery activists as the country moves to crackdown on human trafficking.

Atanasio Monserrate, an independent legislator in Goa’s assembly, was detained on Thursday after the teenager told police she was sold to him by her mother and another woman.

The former Goa education minister may be one of the first Indian lawmakers to be charged under recently enacted human trafficking legislation, said police on Friday.

“We have charged him with various offences. These include drugging, sexual assault of a minor and trafficking,” a police officer involved in the investigation told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Panaji, Goa’s capital.

“I don’t have the figures, but yes, this could be one of the first MLAs (Member of the Legislative Assembly) charged under Section 370 which deals with human trafficking.”

The crime branch officer, who did not wish to be named, said Monserrate, a former member of main opposition Congress Party, has denied the charges and says conspiracy against him has been hatched by his political opponents.

The girl, who is from St Cruz – the constituency which Monserrate represents – told police her mother sold her to work for him, but that he kept her confined, gave her drinks laced with drugs and raped her several times.

Police did not disclose the amount she was sold for, but local media reported the teenager had cited a figure of five million rupees ($75,000) in her statement to police.

Her mother has also been charged under the human trafficking law and is currently being questioned and a search is on for the second woman, said police.

PALM-FRINGED BEACHES

India is home to more than 14 of the world’s 36 million victims of slavery, ranging from bonded labour to prostitution, according to the 2014 Global Slavery Index.

Activists in Goa estimate thousands of women and children from Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand and from other Indian states are duped by traffickers into the western coastal state, famed for its palm-fringed beaches and night life.

Many end up being exploited in brothels fronted by hotels, beauty salons, spas and bars or used in forced labour such as domestic work or in the hospitality industry.

Section 370, which was enacted after the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus in December 2012, broadens the definition of trafficking to include the buying or selling of a person as a slave and carries a jail term of up to 7 years.

National Crime Records Bureau data shows that in its first year, 720 cases out of a total of 5,466 human trafficking-related cases were registered under Section 370 in 2014.

But activists say this is a gross under-estimation of the scale of the problem and have welcomed government moves to draft more comprehensive legislation by the end of the year.

This will not only unify several existing laws including Section 370, but also raise penalties for offenders and provide victims with rehabilitation and compensation.

The legislation also provides for the establishment of a central investigative anti-trafficking agency to coordinate and work between states as well as special courts to hear cases.

Activists said they would closely follow this case.

“Certainly this case is a test case because the person is a powerful politician. The investigation should be very precise and rely more on scientific and circumstantial evidence,” said Ravi Kant from Shakti Vahini, a Delhi-based anti-trafficking charity.

“Protection to witnesses in this case will be a big challenge for the prosecution. It has been seen that in cases involving powerful people, the victim and other witnesses can turn hostile.” 

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Rape case against Goa MLA: Victim says she was ‘sold’ to the MLA for Rs 50 lakh

The minor girl who has accused the former Goa education minister and expelled Congress MLA Atanasio Monserratte of rape has told police that her stepmother and another man ‘sold’ her to the MLA for Rs 50 lakh.Monserratte on Thursday appeared before the Crime Branch in Goa, a day after the Goa police registered an FIR against him and was subsequently arrested. The complaint, filed with Panaji police station and later transferred to the Women Police Station, says the accused hatched a conspiracy and allegedly sold the girl to Monserratte in March this year for sexual exploitation. Monserratte kept her in confinement, administered some stupefying substance and had sexual intercourse with her several times without her consent, it says.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Monserratte returned to Goa on Thursday and appeared before the crime branch, accompanied by his wife Jeniffer, who is the MLA from Taleigao constituency.Police have registered a case against him under sections 376 (rape), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison), 342 (wrongful confinement), 370 (A) (exploitation of trafficked person) of the Indian Penal Code, the provisions of Goa Children Act and also the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Monserratte claimed it was a political conspiracy.”I have not done anything wrong. The complaint is totally false and bogus. This is just to frame me,” he told the reporters.According to the MLA, he had hired the girl to work at the Hallmark showroom owned by him after meeting her parents, who are the registered voters from his constituency, but later sacked her for stealing.Police today also conducted searches at various places, including an apartment owned by Monserratte.