MUSLIM SHRINE PAINTED SAFFRON IN MP DISTRICT

Unidentified people vandalised and painted saffron a Muslim shrine close to Madhya Pradesh’s Narmadapuram city early on March 13 – the second such case in the district in the last two months.

The shrine is 50 years old and is around 40 km from the district headquarters of Narmadapuram, Indian Express has reported. The caretaker of the shrine, Abdul Sattar, is quoted as having said that he was informed by locals at 6 am on Sunday that the shrine’s minaret, tomb and entrance had been painted saffron, its wooden doors broken and dumped in the Maru river and a handpump on the compound, uprooted. Villagers complained to police but allegedly did not receive a response until they blocked traffic on the State Highway 22. Later, police registered an FIR under section 295 (A) (for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code. Work to restore the shrine, including repainting it, has begun with the help of two fire brigade vehicles.

UP COURT ALLOWS SEDITION CHARGES IN BULANDSHAHR VIOLENCE CASE

A local court has allowed the filing of sedition charge against 36 accused in the 2018 Syana mob violence case in Bulandshahr district in which two people, including a police officer, were killed, officials said on March 17. Police Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a local resident Sumit had died of bullet injuries in the violence triggered after cattle carcasses were found outside Chingrawathi village in Bulandshahr. The police had filed two reports in connection with the case. The first report pertained to inciting the mob to cause violence and causing damage to government property. They had then booked 27 people, including Yogesh Raj, and about 60 unidentified people. The second report was filed against those involved in cow slaughter. In June 2019, the government had allowed the police to also include sedition charge on the accused. Now, the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge has allowed the police to book the accused under Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code.

AAP MOVES SC OVER DEFERRING DELHI MUNICIPAL POLLS

Days after the State Election Commission (SEC) indefinitely deferred the municipal elections in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on March 17, moved the Supreme Court, seeking directions to the SEC to conduct municipal elections without any interference from the Centre. While the SEC had been preparing to conduct the municipal elections by way of multiple notices indicating that the same would be conducted in April 2022, on March 9 – the day it was to announce the dates for Delhi’s three civic body polls – it cited an unofficial communication from Lt Governor Anil Baijal as the reason behind the deferment. Meanwhile, the postponement has been termed as “murder of democracy” by AAP leader Manish Sisodia, while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has accused the election commission of buckling under Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) pressure.

RIGHTS ACTIVIST SONI SORI ACQUITTED IN 2011 SEDITION CASE

A Dantewada court has acquitted Adivasi rights activist Soni Sori in 2011 sedition case filed against her, a report said on March 16. Sori and three others were charged with supplying money to Maoists, and Sori had been arrested in the case in 2011 from Delhi. Special judge Vinod Kumar Dewangan found Sori, her aide Lingaram Kodopi, contractor B.K. Lala and Essar official D.V.C.S. Varma not guilty in the case. The police case had claimed that Lala paid Sori and Kodopi Rs 15 lakh on behalf of Essar, to hand over to Maoists. “The prosecution has not been able to prove the charges against the accused beyond any objectionable doubt,” the order read. The order was passed on March 14 and made available on March 15.

BAIL DENIED TO GULFISHA FATIMA, TASLEEM AHMED CHARGED

A Delhi court on March 16 rejected the bail pleas of Gulfisha Fatima and Tasleem Ahmed in connection with a case alleging conspiracy behind the Delhi riots of 2020, involving charges under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat pronounced the order after hearing Advocate Mehmood Pracha appearing for both the applicants, while Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad appeared for the State. While Fatima was arrested on 11 April 2020, Ahmed was arrested on 24 June in the same year. Fatima is an Urdu master’s student of Delhi University, an MBA graduate and a radio jockey. She was slapped with four cases, but has been granted bail in all except FIR 59.

Fatima was arrested on the basis of an FIR on the Jaffrabad sit-in protest on 9 April 2020 and slapped with the anti-terror law UAPA on 18 April 2020, along with Jamia students Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar.

CHRISTIAN YOUTH ASSAULTED, POLICE ARREST SURVIVOR

A group of Hindutva activists belonging to Bajrang Dal assaulted a Christian youth for distributing booklets related to Christianity in a college campus in Karnataka’s Hassan on March 17. The video clip of the assault has gone viral on social media. Though police didn’t take action against Hindutva activists, a case has been registered against the hate crime survivor on the charge of intending to outrage religious feelings (Section 295 of IPC) based on a complaint by Police Sub-Inspector Sathish Kumar. The video clip showed a saffron activist slapping Christian youth Manu while the assailants were scolding him. He was carrying a few copies of a booklet on “Yesu Swamy”, both in Kannada and Urdu. Manu, who suffered injuries, is reportedly undergoing treatment in a hospital.

INVESTIGATE WITHOUT INFLUENCE OR FEAR, HC TELLS POLICE

The Delhi High Court on March 15 asked the Delhi police why it has not filed a chargesheet in the case concerning the death of a 23-year-old man who was forced to sing the national anthem during the 2020 northeast Delhi riots and asked it to conduct its investigation without influence or fear. Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, who was hearing a petition filed by Kismatun, the mother of Faizan, seeking a speedy and proper investigation, said that the case was to be taken seriously and asked the investigating agency to take into account the suggestions by the petitioner in her plea. The incident relates to a video that had gone viral during the February 2020 riots in which Faizan and others, apparently injured, were beaten by policemen and forced to sing the national anthem and ‘Vande Mataram’. Kismatun has sought an SIT probe into the death of her son. She has claimed that the police illegally detained her son and denied him critical health care due to which he succumbed to the injuries on February 26, 2020.

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