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Parliament clears Arms Amendment Bill, 2019



Arms Amendment Bill

New Delhi, Dec 10 : The Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was cleared from Upper House on Tuesday after deliberation for two hours wherein most of the members supported the proposed legislation while making several suggestions. The Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy said that the bill proposes stringent punishment for illegal weapons and ammunition traffickers.

“Though the Bill is small, it is very important,” said the minister adding that the proposed legislation would help government control proliferation of illegal arms and ammunition in the country.

“Small families are living in apartments. It would not be possible to keep three guns for them to manage,” said the minister.

Talking about heritage guns, the minister said: “If you want to keep heritage gun, you can, but it should not have the capacity to fire. I want to bring to your notice that only one percent of people having gun licence hold three guns, a total of 6.2 percent people holding gun licences have two guns.”

The security forces this year, seized 438 illegal guns and 30,480 ammunition, said the minister adding that in coming years the government will add provision to give licence in form of smart card and will do away with the licence book. “We will have details of every bullet purchased and sold in coming years,” said Reddy.

“I have seen stone pelters beating security forces and running away with guns. I have also seen armed terrorists attacking police stations and stealing guns. So I am bringing the bill to ensure such terrorists should be put behind the bars,” said the minister adding that he urged every member to support the Bill.

However, BJP member Roopa Ganguly was unhappy with the government withdrawing provision of having three licence guns limiting it to two. She however welcomed the move.

N. Chandrasekaran of AIADMK, in his maiden speech in the House, said that he and his party support the bill. “The Bill defines organised crime syndicate. My suggestion is that central government should also keep track on arms manufacturer and sellers,” he said.

“I welcome the move to increase the licence renewal tenure. It will definitely reduce corruption as people used to face harassments for renewal,” said SP member Sukhram Singh Yadav adding that the weapons should be banned during marriage ceremony. “It is a great move by the government,” the member said. Supporting the Bill, the BJD member Prasanna Acharya said, “Gun should not be a symbol of aristocracy.”

BPF member Biswajit Daimary said: “Gun behaviour culture is very bad. Want to know what government’s policy is on arms fights carried out by the militants. For 30 years, these armed militants are blackmailing the government. What is the government doing on this?”

“These are people who were militants and are now members of Parliament. He came from gun culture. Please clarify. Has government anything to say over this?” said Daimary that in the northeast the militants openly carry sophisticated guns and government is dealing with them. That is not correct, he said.

Congress member Digvijaya Singh said: “I welcome giving privilege to sports persons. If you want to stop illegal weapons, go to Dimapur market (in Nagaland)… you have given more powers to police who plant country made pistols to frame innocent people.”

“Why can’t you extend the renewal for life time,” urged Singh recommending the Bill to be sent to select committee. “He has not deactivated heritage guns,” says Singh.

The minister further pointed out that the Act was amended 31 years ago. “Now there is a need to revisit the Act and make changes according to the challenges we are facing,” he said adding that there is spurt in illegal arms smuggling and it is a major concern.

RJD member Manoj Kumar Jha said that 2.8 percent crime is from licence guns and rest by illegal firing. “We welcome the Bill but the government must bring more stringent punishment for celebratory firing,” he said.

Introducing the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Upper House, Reddy said that the legislation proposes stringent punishment for illegal weapon and ammunition traffickers.

Before introduction of the Bill, the Congress member Madhusudan Mistry objected before the chair that the Bill was circulated at 12 noon and it is a matter of concern as they did not get enough time to go through it. He said, “it is becoming a trend that bills passed in the Lok Sabha are introduced in the Rajya Sabha without giving adequate time to the members to prepare for it.”

The Bill which seeks to amend the six-decade-old Arms Act, 1959 to effectively curb crimes committed by using illegal firearms, was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 9.

The Bill bans the manufacture, sale, use, transfer, conversion, testing or proofing of firearms without a license.

As per the amendment, even the punishment for offences under the act has been increased between seven years and life imprisonment, and a fine. Previously, the punishment for offences under the act was between three to seven years, along with a fine.

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Now Mumbai gets it own ‘Shaheen Bagh’




Shaheen Bagh
Shaheen Bagh Jamia Nagar Protest Site Picture.

Mumbai, Jan 27 : Inspired by the Shaheen Bagh protests in New Delhi, a large group of women have launched a similar style of protests from January 26-27 midnight in south Mumbai early on Monday.

Terming it a ‘Mumbai Bagh’, they are silently protesting against the CAA-NRC-NPR and by morning the crowds swelled even as Mumbai Police rushed to make tight security arrangements at the site at Morland Road-Thandi Sadak.

The protesters are mainly Muslim women from minority-dominated areas of Madanpur, Byculla, Agripada, Jhoola Maidan and surroundings who are staging a sit-in agitation, off the Arabia Hotel, near Mumbai Central station.

Senior Police Inspector Shalini Sharma told mediapersons that the protesters were asked to take prior permission but they refused to move from the site and continued to occupy the road.

Initially, surrounding the protesters around 3 a.m., by dawn the police stepped aside and the peaceful protests continued with raising of slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government, placards and posters opposing CAA-NRC-NPR, reading of the Preamble of the Constitution, singing patriotic songs and poems, and waving of the tricolour.

The protesters also sent messages to people providing regular updates and asking them to join them from their Twitter handle ‘Mumbai Against CAB’.

Besides, activists in Kalyan town in adjoining Thane district have announced a five-day Shaheen Bagh-type agitation at the Babasaheb Ambedkar Garden starting February 1.

Some of the messages today read: “URGENT. More people are needed at #MumbaiBagh right now. #IndiaAgainstCAA_NPR_NRC is for everyone and we all share equal responsibility towards sustaining this fight. The unjust & discriminatory forces unleashed by this govt must be defeated! Please join and spread the word.”

Similarly, Twitter handle ‘CAA/NRC Protest Info’, posted: “Need people to come to #MumbaiBagh or we will be detained … Please do come ASAP. Location: Mumbai Central, Next to Arabia Hotel, Opposite City Centre.”

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Kapil Sibal threatens to sue news channels making baseless allegations…….



Kapil Sibal Speech

New Delhi, Jan 27: Amid nationwide protest over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has identified an organisation named Rehab Foundation of India (RFI), which has funded over Rs 120 crore for the protest.

The ED also alleged that the payments were made to senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, senior advocates Indira Jaising, Dushyant Dave and a person named Abdul Samad, who is also named in National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Kapil Sibal slams link up with PFI to CAA stir. Sibal says, he received payment for Hadiya case between 2017 and 2018 only for professional services.

Senior advocates Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising have also denied receiving any funds from the Popular Front of India in relation to protests against the newly-enacted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Dave, who is also President, Supreme Court Bar Association, said “I have appeared in the Hadiya case, the 25-year-old woman whose marriage after conversion to Islam was first annulled by the High Court and later restored by the Supreme Court. I have no connection with Popular Front of India (PFI) in the anti-CAA protests.”

He also cited the statement by PFI, released on March 28 2018, that the organisation spent a total of Rs 99.52 lakh on fighting the case dubbed as the ‘Love Jihad’ case for Hadiya’s husband Shefin Jahan for 10 months. PFI had paid Rs 93,85 lakh as lawyer fees including to four senior lawyers – Kapil Sibal, Dave, Jaising and Marzook Bafaki – who had appeared in the apex court for Jahan.

Sibal had appeared seven times, while Jaising and Dave appeared four and three times, respectively, in the matter. Citing the Hadiya case, Dave said “It was a sad commentary on judiciary that a love marriage was given intense judicial and police scrutiny merely because the two were from different religions.”

Jaising in a statement said, “I completely and vehemently deny having received any money from PFI at any point of time, or receiving any money from any person or organisation in relation to anti-CAA protests.”

She insisted that the note showing details of transactions from the PFI account alleged to her does not contain any signature or date nor does it contain the name of the agency from where it has originated, and therefore it is wholly unreliable.

“Any motive attributed to scandalise my reputation will lead to serious civil as well as criminal legal action against such persons and media platforms,” she added in her statement.

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Plea against magisterial order in Nirbhaya case dismissed




Judiciary Court

New Delhi: A Delhi sessions court on Monday dismissed the application challenging recent magisterial order that rejected the plea questioning the credibility of the sole witness in the Nirbhaya gangrape and fatal assault case, claiming he was tutored and his statement was not credible.

Additional Sessions Judge A.K. Jain pronounced the order on the plea filed on Thursday by Heera Lal Gupta, father of Nirbhaya death-row convict Pawan Gupta.

On January 6, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sudhir Kumar Sirohi had dismissed the application of the convict’s father questioning the credibility of the sole eyewitness in the case.

The complaint cited some recent media reports that alleged the witness charged money to appear for interviews on news channels, advocate A.P. Singh said.

The eyewitness, a friend of 23-year-old victim, was accompanying her in the bus when the incident took place. He had also sustained injuries.

“This calls for an independent investigation into the perjury that appears to have been committed by him (witness), as being the sole witness his testimony has strongly influenced the outcome of the case leading to death penalty,” the complaint said.

While citing the media reports, the advocate said, “On the basis of said facts and circumstances, it’s clear his testimony was false and fabricated. This goes to the root of his testimony. If established, it would show that the testimony is false.”

The victim was gangraped and tortured on December 16, 2012, which led to her death. All the six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused, a minor, appeared before a juvenile justice court, while another committed suicide in Tihar Jail.

Four convicts were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013. The verdict was confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2017, which also dismissed their review petition in July 2018.

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