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Kashmiri journalist shot dead, Cops releases CCTV footage of suspected killers

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Image: Kashmir Observer

Srinagar, June 15: Jammu and Kashmir Police released a CCTV footage of suspected killers of Senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of English daily “Rising Kashmir” Shujat Bhukhari. 

Bhukhari was shot dead by militants outside his office on Thursday.

Following this, in an official statement, the police said, “In connection with the today’s attack at Srinagar’s Press enclave, police requests the general public to identify the suspects for the purpose of the police investigation.”

“Any information pertaining to the suspects in the photographs should be submitted to Police Station Kothibagh on 9596770623 or PCR Srinagar on 9596222550, 9596222551, 01942477568 or Police Control Room Kashmir on ‘100’,” the statement added.

State police chief S.P.Vaid said that it was around 7.15 p.m., the Iftar time, that Bukhari came out of his office in Press Enclave and was boarding his car when he was attacked by militants.

“Three motorcycle-borne militants came and fired at Bukhari and his guards. Bukhari and one guard were killed and another security guard critically injured,” he stated.

The murder drew wide condemnation from politicians across India and media organisations.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said: “Shocked & deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family.”

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in a tweet, recited the Muslim prayer on hearing about a Muslim’s death, and said: “Shocked beyond words. May Shujaat find place in Jannat & May his loved ones find strength at this difficult time.”

The Congress said it was anguished, with party President Rahul Gandhi terming Bukhari “a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace”.

“He was a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu and Kashmir. My condolences to his family. He will be missed,” Gandhi tweeted.

Several journalist bodies condemned the killing and demanded swift action against the forces responsible for his killing.

Condemning what it called a “dastardly attack”, the Editors Guild of India said that Bukhari was “a voice of moderation and a courageous, big-hearted editor who mentored a large cadre of young journalists from Kashmir”.

“The guild calls upon the government of Jammu and Kashmir to take urgent steps to bring to book the culprits and ensure safety and security for the media in the state,” it said in a statement.

It added that an attack on a journalist challenges the very foundations of a free press and vibrant democracy and more so in a state like Jammu and Kashmir that is going through militancy, and called upon the state and Central government to enhance security for all journalists in the state.

“Recent weeks have also seen threats of violence against many journalists in different parts of the country,” it added.

The Press Club of India also “strongly condemned” the killing in the holy month of Ramzan and said that “forces inimical to restoring peace in Kashmir Valley had silenced a voice of reason, logic and peace”.

“Press Club of India deeply mourns the loss of Shujaat Bukhari’s life and extends its condolences to the bereaved family in this hour of crisis,” it said in a statement.

It added that the “terror attack” showcased that lives of journalists were not safe.

“Press Club of India has time and again underlined the threat to the lives of journalists working under difficult and challenging circumstances and demanded protection for them,” it stated.

Bukhari stepped into media as a young reporter with Kashmir Times and he was associated with The Hindu in the 1990s. Later, he established his own English daily Rising Kashmir.

WeForNews 

Cities

Shaikh Akleem is ‘Sita’, Afzal Ansari is ‘Lord Shiva’ in this Bihar Ramlila

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Bihar Ramlila
The stage is set for the Ramlila — the dramatic re-enactment of the life of Hindu god Lord Ram performed in the run-up to Dussehra — in this small Bihar village, with Muslims plentiful among the performers, organisers and the audience. (Credit-HT Photo)

Sato Awanti (Bihar), Oct 17: For nearly four decades, Muslims in this Bihar village have been helping Hindus celebrate Dussehra and playing mythical characters in the Ramlila — a dramatic representation of the life of Lord Rama. The village is an example of India’s composite culture and the communal harmony lived through Dussehra.

For 10 days, Shaikh Akleem is Goddess Sita, Guddu Tiwari is Lord Rama while Afzal Ansari is Lord Shiva and Amit Singh becomes Hanuman, enthralling people from far and near with their get-up and performances in Sato Awanti, a village in Kaimur district, about 200 km off Patna.

Shaikh Akleem (19) is thrilled playing the role of Sita, with Tiwari as “Maryada Purushottam Ram”.

“I am lucky to play Sita, loved and respected by all. It is a matter of pride for me,” Akleem said.

Guddu Tiwari, playing the role of Rama, said that Ramlila here was unique because it was played and organised with the help of Muslims. “Both Muslims and Hindus treat Ramlila as their own, it is special for us.”

This is a part of decades-old tradition started by a group of Muslims with the support of Hindus in Sato Awanti. Both the communities enthusiastically participate in Ramlila in the village.

“It all started 36 years ago, in 1982, when a few Muslims, including Jamaluddin Ansari and Nurul Ansari, decided to organise Ramlila. Over the years, this village has become popular for it,” said Shaikh Mumtaz Ali, the Director of Ramlila in the village.

In the first Ramlila organised in the village, Khurshid Alam played the role of Lord Rama and Jamaluddin Ansari acted out Kumbhakaran, the younger brother of Ravana. Sharfuddin Ansari, a martial expert, has been helping the troupe depict war scenes.

Shaikh Mumtaz Ali, the father of Akleem, said that “we have successfully managed the Ramlila show for the last six days, and hope to do so for the remaining three days”.

The response of the people has been overwhelming, Shaikh Mumtaz Ali said.

During the evening show, loud chants of “Siyavar Ram Chandra Ki Jai” by the audience that has several Muslims can be heard.

“Not just Hindus, but several Muslims from the neighbouring villages and some from far-off villages come to watch our rare show,” said Shaikh Mumtaz Ali.

According to Suresh Singh, the patron of Ramlila in the village, both Muslims and Hindus donate money and work together to ensure the success of the show.

“In our village, more than religious, it is a social event with participation from all. It’s a positive sign,” Suresh Singh said.

This year, Tauqeer Ansari is playing the role of Kumbhakaran. Dozens of children, both Hindu and Muslim, form the “Vanar Sena” of Lord Rama, he said.

The spirit of conviviality can be gauged from the fact that Hindus help Muslims take out the Muharram procession in the village.

“We are proud that Muslims help us, support us to celebrate Durga Puja. They have set an example of harmony. This is unheard of anywhere else,” Guddu Tiwari said.

Mahesh Prasad, a villager, said: “We can’t think of celebrating the festival in such a big way without the support of Muslims.”

IANS

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Rampal gets life imprisonment in second murder case

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rampal

Hisar, Oct 17: A Hisar court on Wednesday awarded life imprisonment to self-styled godman Rampal in the November 2014 murder case (FIR number 430). 

Thirteen others were also awarded the same punishment.

The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge D.R. Chalia, who convicted them on October 11, awarded the life sentence.

This comes a day after, Rampal and 14 others were sentenced life imprisonment in another case, connected to the death of four women and a child, who lost their lives due to suffocation and illness during the impasse at his Ashram.

Last week, the court had convicted Rampal and others under Sections 302 (murder), 343 (wrongful confinement) and 120 B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The two murder cases against him relate to the murder of six people during violent clashes between his supporters and Haryana Police at his Satlok Ashram near Barwala town in Hisar district.

Since their arrest in November 2014, Rampal and his aides have been lodged in the jail.

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Sabarimala Temple opening: Police detain protesters

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Pamba, Oct 17: The Police on Wednesday detained people protesting against the entry of women in the age group of 10-50 to Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple.

Some of the devotees had been staging a sit-in chanting Ayyappa mantra in protest near Pamba base camp against the Supreme Court verdict permitting women to enter the shrine.

In another incident, strong protests by Sabarimala traditionalists reportedly forced a 40-year-old Andhra woman, named Madhvi and her family to abandon their trip to the Lord Ayyappa temple.

Today is crucial for the Kerala government as it pitches to implement the September 28 Apex Court judgement.

The doors of the temple that would be opened at 5 p.m. would remain open till October 22. This is the first time that the shrine would be opening after the apex court’s verdict.

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