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Former Delhi CJ warns against anti-national, sedition charges to hammer free voice

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A P Shah

New Delhi, April 20: Former chief justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah on Wednesday widely spoke against forces that are trying to “instill a feeling within one of a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism.” 

Shah was delivering a lecture on ‘free speech, nationalism and sedition’ for M N Roy memorial lecture. He questioned the government’s “acceptable view” of “nationalism” that forced one to “stand for the national anthem at a movie theatre.” He spoke against rising cult of nationalism where anyone holding a view different from the dubbed is termed as “anti-national” today.

He said nationalism is not prescribing what you can eat, see, and speak. Speaking for M N Roy memorial lecture, Shah paralleled the current discourse on “nationalism” with what eminent thinker and nationalist M N Roy said in 1942, “A parochial, selfish, narrow minded nationalism has caused so much misfortune and misery to the world. A mad and exaggerated form of this cult of nationalism is today running rampant.”

Shah said, “Unfortunately, our institutions of learning are under attack today and there is a concerted attempt to destroy any independent thought. Today, sadly, in this country I love, if anyone holds a view that is different from the government’s acceptable view, they are immediately dubbed as anti-national or desh-drohi.”

He further said the title of “anti-national” is being used to beat the voices of dissent and criticism, followed by slapping criminal charges of sedition.

Disagreeing with Supreme Court’s order regarding national anthem and said, “It is important to remember that the right to free speech and expression also includes the right not to speak or express ourselves. However, under the guise of law, the court has now stepped in and restricted our fundamental rights.”

Justice Shah cautioned against the perils of such muzzling up at university campuses and said, “We have a 21-year-old university student who is subject to severe online hate, abuse and threats only because she dared express her views.”

Shah informed the audience that his maternal grandfather was president of the Hindu Mahasabha in the 1940s and questioned RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call for bringing up a national law against cow slaughter. “We must be wary of forcing a single ideology or way of living on the entire country, especially a country as diverse as India, where states such as Kerala, or the various states in the north-east, consider beef a staple part of their diet.”

Taking on to crackdown on slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh, Shah said targeted action at Muslim butchers is not only bringing a havoc of fear to lakhs of people but it is also risking the stable employment of these people.

The other eminent personalities present were Law Commission chairman Justice B S Chauhan, third senior-most judge of the SC Justice J Chelameswar and other former and sitting judges of the apex court.

Justice Chelameswar related with Shah’s views and noted that bound by his constitutional obligation, he could not enjoy the same freedom of speech as Shah.

“In a democracy, freedom of speech rings hollow if the government cannot ensure the same,” said the chairman of the 20th Law Commission. He said it’s time to change the draconian Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which deals with sedition.

Wefornews Bureau

India

Second defence industrial corridor to come up in UP: PM

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UP investor summit
Yogi Adityanath and PM Modi in UP Investor summit

Lucknow, Feb 21: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that the government would establish a defence industrial production corridor in Uttar Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore that would also generate 250,000 jobs.

“I am making an important announcement. In this year’s budget, we had announced that we will establish two defence industrial production corridors. One of them will be in Uttar Pradesh,” Modi said addressing the ‘Investors Meet’ here.

The event organised by the Yogi Adityanath government is aimed to showcase the investment opportunities in the state. Corporate honchos are attending the summit.

The Prime Minister said the decision was taken keeping in mind the developmental requirements of Bundelkhand region.

The corridor will link Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi and Chitrakoot, he said.

The government had earlier announced that it would develop two such corridors. The first of the two runs between Chennai and Bengaluru – connecting Kattupalli port, Chennai, Tiruchi, Coimbatore and Hosur.

Modi also praised the Uttar Pradesh government for curbing red tape and rolling out a red carpet for investors and taking decisions that have linked industrial development with employment generation.

“There is no dearth of resources and opportunities in Uttar Pradesh where you find ‘Lucknowi chikankari’, ‘Banarsi zardosi’, brassware of Moradabad and glassware industries of Firozabad,” Modi said.

He also asked the Uttar Pradesh government to compete with Maharashtra in achieving a target of one trillion dollar economy.

“I set this challenge before Uttar Pradesh to compete with Maharashtra and let us see who will become the first trillion dollar economy,” he said.

He said Uttar Pradesh today was the number one state in the production of grains, wheat, sugarcane, milk and potatoes in the whole country.

It is also the second largest producer of fruits and third largest producer of vegetables in the country.

IANS

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Canadian PM visits Golden Temple in Amritsar

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Trudeau in Golden Temple
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau visits Golden Temple (Photo-ANI)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accompanied by his wife and two children, offered prayers at the Golden Temple on Wednesday, underlining the significance of the large Sikh and Punjabi community settled in Canada.

Trudeau and his family landed at the Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport here from Mumbai and headed straight for the shrine to offer prayers.

Wearing an off-white kurta-pyjama and head covered with a “kesari” (saffron) headscarf, Trudeau entered the Golden Temple complex with wife Sophie, who was wearing a turquoise kurta, and their children, who were also wearing traditional Indian outfits.

Trudeau’s family members had their heads covered. Slogans of “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal” were heard as the Canadian Prime Minister and others entered the complex housing Sikhism’s holiest shrine.

Trudeau and his family members first went to to the “Langar Hall”, where thousands of devotees partake langar (community food) and also do “sewa” (voluntary service). The Golden Temple’s Langar Hall is the biggest community kitchen in the world.

Trudeau and his family sat down on small stools inside the Langar Hall to knead flour and roll chapatis.

The Canadian Prime Minister also did “parikarma” before entering the sun-soaked and glittering all-gold sanctum sanctorum. The family bowed before the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book that is considered as a living guru.

The Trudeaus touched their foreheads on the ground inside the sanctum sanctorum. They were given “Siropa” (traditional robe of honour) by the head priest inside the shrine.

Trudeau’s visit holds political and social significance in Canada as the country has a substantial Indian diaspora, a majority of them from Punjab.

Trudeau, who was accompanied by Canadian federal ministers Harjit Singh Sajjan and Amarjit Bains, had asked local authorities to let him and his family enjoy the spirituality of the Golden Temple during their visit.

He was received at the Golden Temple entrance by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Gobind Singh Longowal, along with Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

The leader is also expected to meet the Punjab Chief Minister,Prakash Singh Badal today.

Earlier, Trudeau was received at the airport by Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri and Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Tight security was in place in and around Amritsar for Trudeau’s visit. Government security agencies and SGPC volunteers formed a tight security ring around the Canadian Prime Minister and his entourage inside the shrine complex.

Hundreds of personnel of Punjab Police and other security agencies were stationed at the airport and on the road from the airport to the Golden Temple complex.

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India 7th most targeted nation for Web Application Attacks: Report

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Web cyber attack

Bengaluru, Feb 21: Nearly 40 per cent of over 53,000 cyber attacks in India occurred in the financial services sector during 2017, placing it at the seventh spot in the list of targeted countries for Web Application Attacks (WAA), a new report said on Wednesday.

Security incidents like phishing, website intrusions and defacements, virus and ransomware targeted the rapidly growing of the Banking, Financial services and Insurance (BFSI) sector in India, warranting a robust infrastructure and planned roadmap for cybersecurity, said the report from content delivery network services Akamai Technologies.

“A key motive of attackers has always been financial profit. In the past few years, we have seen adversaries move to more direct methods to achieve that goal such as ransomware,” noted Martin McKeay, Senior Security Advocate at Akamai.

“Crypto-mining offers attackers the most direct avenue to monetise efforts by putting money immediately into their cryptowallets,” McKeay added.

The report, titled “Akamai State of the Internet Security Q4 2017,” also stated that the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack frequency in the BFSI sector increased by 50 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 over the last quarter.

It also placed India seventh in the list of the top source countries for WAA.

“While India maintained the same position in the third quarter last year, it is interesting to note that the attacks sourced have seen a drop of approximately four million in number as compared to last quarter,” the report said.

The newly-released data that analysed more than 7.3 trillion bot requests per month found a sharp increase in the threat of credential abuse, with more than 40 per cent of login attempts being malicious.

This indicates that DDoS attacks remain a consistent threat and the Mirai botnet is still capable of strong bursts of activity.

Akamai’s findings also confirmed that the total number of DDoS attacks last quarter increased 14 per cent from the same time last year.

“The hospitality industry suffered as the biggest target of fraudulent credential attacks, with 82 per cent of their login attempts being from malicious botnets, the report said.

The financial industry saw a sharp increase in the number of DDoS attacks, experiencing 298 DDoS attacks against 37 distinct organisations last quarter.

There was a 31 per cent increase in DDoS attacks sourcing from the US last quarter compared to the same timeframe in 2017, the report said.

With Inputs from IANS

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