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Kashmir Times Editor moves SC for hearing on Valley curbs

The petitioner said that such restrictions were curbing the rights of journalists under Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution and the right to know the condition of residents of the Kashmir Valley.

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Kashmir Times Anuradha Bhasin

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) The Executive Editor of the Kashmir Times, Anuradha Bhasin, on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking early hearing on her plea seeking relaxation of curbs on movement to media personnel and photojournalists to cover news in the Kashmir Valley.

The top court directed Bhasin’s lawyers to give details of the petition to the Registrar.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Bhasin seeking directions to ensure that an enabling environment be created for journalists and all media personnel in Jammu and Kashmir to practise their profession.

It also sought that the debilitating restrictions imposed through the complete shutdown on Internet and telecommunication services and severe curbs on the movement of photojournalists and reporters be immediately relaxed in order to ensure the freedom of the press.

The petitioner’s counsel, Vrinda Grover, Soutik Banerjee, Ratna Appnender and Sumita Hazarika, sought directions to the Jammu and Kashmir government to relax restrictions and to allow journalists to report freely from the Valley after the clampdown in the state.

The plea was filed by Hazarika, who said that Bhasin had not been able to print and publish the Kashmir edition of the Kashmir Times due to the stifling restrictions on all communication services and movement, leading to a blockade on media activities.

The petitioner said that such restrictions were curbing the rights of journalists under Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution and the right to know the condition of residents of the Kashmir Valley.

The petitioner said the absolute Internet and telecommunication shutdown, severe curbs on mobility and sweeping curtailment on information sharing in the Kashmir valley, at a time when significant political and constitutional changes were being undertaken on the status of Jammu and Kashmir, was fuelling anxiety, panic, alarm, insecurity and fear in the state.

The government has revoked Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and has broken up the state into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. These were accompanied by, among others, curbs on the media.

The petitioner called it an information blackout and said that it was a grave violation of the right of the people as the media cannot report on the ongoing developments and neither can the opinions of the residents of Kashmir be reported about.

“From August 4, mobile phone networks, Internet services and landline phone connectivity were all discontinued and shut down, leaving Kashmir and some districts in Jammu completely isolated and cut off from all possible modes of communication and information,” the petitioner said.

“The communication blockade and strict restrictions on movement of journalists resulted in a virtual blackout, and media reporting and publishing is grievously impacted.”

India

Military officers, bureaucrats move SC over Article 370

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jammu and kashmir ladakh

New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) Six retired military officers and bureaucrats have filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the decision to revoke Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The petitioners include Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Kapil Kak, Major General (Retd) Ashok Kumar Mehta, former IAS officers Hindal Haidar Tyabji, Amitabha Pande and Gopal Pillai, and former member of the Home Ministry’s group of interlocutors for J&K, Radha Kumar.

The petitioners said that the method of altering Article 370 by purporting to apply Article 367 with modifications to the state of Jammu and Kashmir is nothing but a fraud on the Constitution.

The petitioners have sought quashing of the Presidential Order as well as the Jammu & Kashmir (Reorganisation) Act, 2019.

This is the seventh petition filed in the Supreme Court challenging the abrogation of Article 370.

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Cities

Major fire in AIIMS, Emergency wing closed

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New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) A major fire broke out on a second floor of a building in the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) complex on Saturday evening. No casualty was reported but as a precautionary measure, the adjacent Emergency department has been closed and patients shifted elsewhere even as efforts to douse the blaze are on.

The fire broke out in the PC building, which is a teaching block and mainly comprises research labs. However, the Microbiology Department’s Virology unit was completely gutted while several samples and medical reports were destroyed.

Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is currently undergoing treatment at AIIMS, is admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the cardio-neuro centre, housed in a different building in the complex.

According to Atul Garg, Chief Fire Officer of Delhi Fire Services, a call regarding the fire was received at around 4.50 p.m. following which 34 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.


“The fire broke on the second floor in the PC building which does not have patients but is situated near the Emergency block. The fire was brought under control at around 6.30 p.m.,” said Garg adding that no casualty was reported.

Another fire official said the exact reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained, though initial investigation suggests a short circuit.

As panic spread among people, authorities closed some nearby buildings housing the Emergency and other facilities and shifted the patients to other wards.

“As a precautionary measure, authorities closed the Emergency department which is adjacent to the building that caught fire,” a source in the hospital said, adding that B block, ward AB1, and super specialty OPD area of AIIMS have also been shut down.

“Patients were shifted to other wards from the Emergency department soon after the building caught fire,” the source added.

Sources in the Fire Department said that the blaze spread to the Emergency Lab in the department of Lab Medicine, where electricity work was going on for some time and cable and wire being used were kept.

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Man held for duping over 20 women on matrimonial sites

He used to target middle-aged unmarried/widowed/divorced women on matrimonial and dating sites and after befriending them on the pretext of marriage, he used to take money from them.

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New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) A 46-year-old man has been arrested from Meerut for allegedly defrauding over 20 women through matrimonial and dating sites, police said on Saturday.

The accused Gaurav Dhamija, a car spare parts dealer, mostly targeted widowed or divorced women and projected his virtual identity as a handsome, successful entrepreneur earning Rs 25-30 lakhs per annum.

“We had received a complaint at the Cyber Crime Unit/CyPAD, in which the complainant alleged that she has been defrauded by a fraudster who tricked her into depositing money after she showed interest in his very impressive profile on a matrimonial site. The fraudster, Dhamija, trapped her through a volley of emotional tricks such as calling the victim ‘Mrs Dhamija’ and promising to buy expensive gifts for her,” said Anyesh Roy, DCP (Cyber cell).

Police said that once the victim was emotionally trapped, he started asking for money on various pretexts such as parents’ treatment, business investment and other.

“The accused started with small sums and gradually escalated his demands. He kept asking for money but always avoided coming forward in real life. The victims kept paying him due to escalation of their commitment. It was only when the fraudster’s act became too brazen that they started demanding their money back, only to be threatened with dire consequences,” said Roy.

On the basis of the complaint, a case under suitable sections was registered and investigation was taken up, police said.

“During the course of investigation, technical details, including the digital footprints were collected. The accused, who is a resident of Nihal Vihar, Delhi, kept changing his location to evade arrest. His movements were tracked to Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and western UP. Finally, with the help of technical data and field inputs, the fraudster was arrested from Meerut,” said Roy.

During interrogation, he disclosed that he used to target middle-aged unmarried/widowed/divorced women on matrimonial and dating sites and after befriending them on the pretext of marriage, he used to take money from them.

“When they demanded the money back, he used to threaten them with dire consequences. It was also revealed that he also used to cheat some of these women by promising to get them jobs in schools and municipal bodies and used to take huge sums from them,” said Roy.

Police said they have found names of more than 20 victims disclosed by the accused who have been cheated by him. The victims are being identified and contacted to join the investigation.

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