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All 5 accused in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case acquitted

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Swami Aseemanand and other accused in the 2007 Makkah Masjid bomb blast case, walks out of court premises in Hyderabad on April 16, 2018.

Hyderabad, April 16: Eleven years after a powerful explosion killed nine people and injured over 50 during Friday prayers near the iconic Charminar here, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Monday acquitted all five accused in the Makkah Masjid case.

A lawyer for one of the accused told reporters outside the Nampally criminal court complex that the court held that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges.

Hindu right-wing group Abhinav Bharat members Nabakumar Sarkar alias Swamy Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajender Chowdhary, who were charged by the NIA, were all acquitted.

The explosion ripped through the mosque on May 18, 2007. Two live IEDs were also recovered by police and defused. Later, five more people were killed in subsequent police firing on a crowd outside the mosque.

There were a total of eight accused in the case. One, Sunil Joshi, a RSS pracharak, was murdered during the course of investigation. Two other accused, Sandeep V. Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra, both RSS activists, still elude the investigators.

Monday’s judgement was about five accused who were chargesheeted by NIA.

A total of three chargesheets were filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the NIA in the sensational case that took many twists and turns.

The city police, which initially took up investigation, blamed Harkatul Jihad Islami and rounded up about 100 Muslim youths. All those arrested and jailed were acquitted in 2008 and the subsequent investigations by the CBI in 2010 revealed that the blast was the handiwork of Hindu rightwing group Abhinav Bharat. The case was handed over to NIA on April 4, 2011.

The fact-finding committee of the National Minorities Commission found that the innocent youth were arrested on charges of terrorism and police kept them in illegal confinement and tortured them.

In 2012, the government of then united Andhra Pradesh paid a compensation of Rs.3 lakh each to 26 people who were acquitted and Rs 20,000 each to 50 people others were let off the police after questioning.

According to the chargesheet, the accused were “angered by terrorist attacks committed on Hindus and their temples” and conspired to “avenge” such acts with attacks on Muslim places of worship and places densely populated by Muslims.

The chargesheet also mentioned that Aseemanand made a confessional statement before a metropolitan magistrate in Delhi.

He had allegedly disclosed the conspiracy behind the bomb blasts in different places, including Makkah Masjid. Aseemanand allegedly retracted the statement later.

Aseemanand was first arrested by the CBI in 2010 but was granted conditional bail in 2017 in the case. He was earlier acquitted in Ajmer Dargah blast case and also got bail in the Samjhauta Express blast case of 2014.

IANS

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Tamil Nadu: Police constable commits suicide in Kovaipudur

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Tamil Nadu police

Chennai, July 23: Personnel of Police Force 4th Battalion allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree inside the Battalion campus, in Kovaipudur, last night.

The body has been sent for postmortem.

More details awaited. 

WeForNews 

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Shariat believers should go to Pakistan, says Sakshi Maharaj

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Lucknow, July 23: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sakshi Maharaj has managed to be in news again by advising “Shariat believers” ” to go to Pakistan if they want to impose  Shariat in the country”.

Sakshi Maharaj, BJP MP from Unnao constituency in Uttar Pradesh made this controversial remarks on the issue that  some organisations were seeking ‘Shariat courts’ to resolve the personal disputes of Muslims.

“India is the world’s largest democracy. Indian Constitution is very strong. Those who need ‘Shariat’ should go to Pakistan. India will be governed only according to its Constitution and not as per any Shariat,” Maharaj said.

The BJP MP said those who do not have faith in the Constitution of India, “have no right” to stay in the country.

“We would be happy bidding them farewell,” he added.

Maharaj has often stoked controversies.

He has made several statements since the BJP-led NDA government came into power at the center.

Earlier, Sakshi Mahraj urged Hindu women to produce at least 4 children to protect the Hindu religion. He even took a dig at the Muslim community saying “The concept of four wives and forty children just won’t work in India,”.

Last year, he had defended self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was convicted of rape, describing him as a “simple person”.

In another remark that led to an outrage, Maharaj had said couples displaying affection in public should be put behind bars “before anything wrong occurs”.

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PM Narendra Modi begins Africa tour

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New Delhi, July 23: To strengthen India’s relations with the African continent,Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his five-day trip to three African countries, namely Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa.

T.S. Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry, said that Modi will be in Rwanda on July 23-24, in Uganda on July 24-25 and in South Africa from July 25 to 27.

The Prime Minister will first arrive at Rwanda, marking the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister, a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

“The visit to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa will further strengthen our relations with the African continent,” the External Affairs Ministry said.

In Rwanda, the Prime Minister will visit the Genocide Memorial and participate in an event on “Girinka” (one cow per family), a national social protection scheme of Rwanda, which is personally initiated by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Over the last few years, there has been significant engagement in various fields with African countries. There have been 23 outgoing visits to Africa by the President, Vice President and Prime Minister in the last four years.

“Africa has been the top priority of India’s foreign policy,” the statement said.

Thereafter, Prime Minister Modi will proceed to Uganda, where he will undertake engagements from July 24 to 25. The visit will mark the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the country in over 20 years.
In Uganda, Prime Minister Modi will deliver a keynote address at the Parliament of Uganda, a first for any Indian Prime Minister.
In South Africa, Prime Minister Modi will have a bilateral meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and will attend the BRICS summit and other BRICS-related meetings.

Finally, Prime Minister Modi will pay a visit to South Africa from July 25 to 27 to attend the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit.

Also, bilateral meetings with participating countries on the sidelines of BRICS meetings are planned, the statement continued.
Various issues such as – inclusive growth, health and vaccines, peacekeeping, and sustainable development will be the core agenda during the BRICS summit.
The MEA statement said, “India shares close, warm and friendly relations with Africa which are cemented by robust development partnership and a large presence of the Indian diaspora. A number of agreements and MoUs in the areas of defence, trade, culture, agriculture and dairy cooperation are scheduled to be signed during the visit.”
“Africa has been the top priority of India’s Foreign Policy. The visit of the Prime Minister to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa will further strengthen our relations with the African continent,” it added.

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