HC NOTICE TO GUJARAT AS PIL SEEKS BAN ON LOUDSPEAKERS AT MOSQUES

The Gujarat High Court on February 15 issued a notice to the state government on public interest litigation seeking a ban on loudspeakers at mosques across the state owing to their high volume. The government has to file its reply by March 10. The PIL, moved by Gandhinagar-based doctor Dharmendra Prajapati, states that in Sector 5C where he resides, “persons of Muslim community were coming for prayer at different time… and they use loudspeakers that cause great inconvenience and disturbance to nearby residents”. Advocate Dharmesh Gurjar, on behalf of Prajapati, submitted before the division bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice AJ Shastri that the PIL is seeking a ban in accordance with Supreme Court-issued guidelines on limiting the volume of loudspeakers.

KARNATAKA GOVT COLLECTING DATA ON MUSLIM STUDENTS

The Karnataka government has begun a process of collecting data on Muslim students enrolled in private and government educational institutions, reports Deccan Herald. The newspaper has quoted administrative heads of private colleges and government officials in its report on the state government’s effort to gather data on students belonging to the minority community, especially those studying in classes 1 to 10. Primary and Secondary Education Minister of Karnataka B.C. Nagesh told the paper that the data is being collected to counter daily media reports with correct numbers.

MYSURU COLLEGE CANCELS UNIFORM RULE, ALLOWS MUSLIM STUDENTS

A private college in Mysuru city has cancelled its uniform rule to allow Muslim students to attend classes with the hijab after the students refused to remove their hijab, said The Times of India. “Four students refused to attend classes without the hijab and were protesting, Deputy Director of Pre University, Mysuru, DK Srinivasa Murthy was cited as saying. “Some organisations extended support to them. I visited the college today and held discussions with all. Meanwhile, the college announced that it is cancelling its uniform rule to allow the students to attend classes,” he added. Meanwhile, Karnataka police registered cases against 15 Muslim girls of a government pre-university college in Tumakuru on charges of violating the prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of IPC. The FIR was registered after the principal filed a complaint with the police.

Image with caption: Umar Khalid was produced before a Karkadhooma court in handcuffs

DELHI POLICE PRODUCES UMAR KHALID IN COURT IN HANDCUFFS

Former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid was on February 17 produced before a Karkadhooma court in handcuffs, despite a recent court order saying that he should be produced without “using handcuffs or fetters.” Moreover, a Delhi court had, last year, dismissed pleas by the Delhi police for producing Khalid and another accused activist, Khalid Saifi, in handcuffs and asked for an explanation from the concerned Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) for moving such an application. Khalid was being presented before the court in the case relating to the Delhi riots FIR No. 59 from 2020. Reacting to the move, Khalid’s counsels issued a statement saying that he was produced in handcuffs in the courtroom of Judge Amitabh Rawat. Since Judge Rawat was on leave, the reader of the court noted the presence of counsels and accused persons and that there was no production before the Link Judge (Naveen Gupta) or any other judicial officer. Later in the day, on an application moved by Khalid seeking a departmental probe into his illegal production in handcuffs, the court of ASJ Amitabh Rawat issued a notice to Director General of Police, Prisons to explain why the “extreme steps” were taken.

CHRISTIANS ‘FORCED’ TO RECONVERT TO HINDUISM

Forty members of the Shalom Kalashya Church in Phuldavidi village located in Jhabua district in India were forced to convert back to Hinduism after they were threatened by radical Hindu nationalists, Christian Daily reported on February 16. They were warned of dire consequences if they refused to reconvert back to Hinduism. This campaign was part of the reconversion efforts of right-wing groups such as the VHP and Bajrangdal, which hoped to make the Jhabua district conversion-free. According to International Christian Concern (ICC), local sources said that the leaders of the right-wing groups VHP and Bajrangdal organized a Ghar Wapsi or re-conversion ceremony at a temple located in the village. Here, 40 Christians were forced to perform the ritual of breaking the coconut and eating food or Prasad offered to deities. Meanwhile, a mob of Hindu extremists attacked two Christian pastors, accusing them of luring people to Christianity with money before beating them both until they were unconscious. Then, they set one man’s Bible on fire. The incident occurred on Jan. 28 in the Anand Nagar area of Haryana state’s Ambala Cantonment.

Image with caption: The Supreme Court has declined to entertain a plea seeking urgent listing of petitions in Sulli Deals app case

SC DECLINES TO ENTERTAIN SULLI DEALS APP ACCUSED

The Supreme Court on February 18 declined to entertain a plea seeking urgent listing of petitions seeking clubbing of various FIRs across the country in connection with offences related to the Sulli Deals app in which scores of Muslim women were put on “sale” by right-wing Hindus. A plea before a bench, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, submitted that multiple FIRs have been filed against accused and sought urgent listing of the plea. At this, the Chief Justice said: “If you have committed a crime. You’ll have to face it. Covered or uncovered will be decided at the date of hearing.” The petitioner, Aumkareshwar Thakur, is accused in 3 FIRs registered in New Delhi, Noida, and Mumbai. Police have claimed that Thakur joined a group on Twitter by the name of Tradmahasabha in January 2020 using the handle @gangescion and the members had discussed about trolling and targeting Muslim women. Thakur had developed the Islamophobic application on Github.

UP PHASE 4 POLL: 27% CANDIDATES FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES

A total of 27 per cent of candidates contesting the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections are facing criminal cases, while 37 per cent have declared assets valued at more than Rs 1 crore, as per the new ADR report. The Uttar Pradesh Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 621 candidates out of 624, who are contesting in the fourth phase elections in 59 constituencies. Three candidates were not analysed as their affidavits were either badly scanned or complete affidavits were not uploaded on the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) website. “Out of 621 candidates analysed, 167 (27 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves. 129 (21 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves,” the report said. Nearly half, 29, constituencies are red alert constituencies – where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

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