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MeToo: MJ Akbar files criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani

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MJ Akbar

Delhi, Oct 15: Union Minister MJ Akbar on Monday filed a criminal defamation case in Patiala House Court against journalist Priya Ramani, who had accused him of sexual harassment.

Besides Ramani, Akbar has been accused of sexual harassment by several women journalists who had worked with him.

However, he has refuted the charges calling them “false, wild and baseless”.

Akbar has demanded Ramani’s prosecution under Section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code.

He alleged that Ramani wilfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously defamed him by making a completely false and frivolous statement which has harmed his goodwill and reputation within the political fraternity, media, friends, family, colleagues and society at large.

“That the scandalous allegations leveled by the accused against the complainant (Akbar) herein, by their very tone and tenor, are ex facie defamatory and have not only damaged the goodwill and reputation of the complainant, in his social circles and on the political stage, established after years of toil and hard work, but have also affected the personal reputation of the complainant in the community, friends, family and colleagues, thereby causing him irreparable loss and tremendous distress,” said the complaint filed by advocate Sandeep Kapur.

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Lok Sabha passes three crucial Bills on labour laws, with Opposition absent

The Opposition parties had boycotted the House before the Bill was moved in the House for its passage.

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Lok Sabha

New Delhi, Sep 22 : The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed three crucial labour law bills with voice vote in the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s labour reform initiatives.

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020; the Industrial Relations Code, 2020; and the Code on Social Security, 2020 were passed when the Opposition was not present in the House as part of its protest against the government’s two farm Bills passed on Sunday amid widespread protest in various state by farmers.

The Opposition parties had boycotted the House before the Bill was moved in the House for its passage.

Minister of State with independent charge in the Ministry of Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar had introduced these Bills on September 19 with substantive changes after withdrawing the three codes tabled in the Parliament in 2019.

In his concluding remark following debate on these code Bills, Gangwar said various changes have been done in the labour court as well as in the preamble, and that 174 out of 233 or 74 per cent of the recommendations of the standing committee on labour across three codes have been included.

The codes will give powers to state governments on rules related to hiring, retrenchment and fixing work hours in their factories and establishments while restricting powers of the workers to form unions. Besides, it will ensure the government extends social security to all, including the unorganised and gig workers in a phased manner.

The union labour ministry has consolidated and amalgamated 29 labour laws into four codes to significantly improve the ease of compliance and hiring and firing of workers while keeping the labour welfare under consideration. The government had earlier notified the Code on Wages which provides for national level floor wage for all workers.

The Code, is however, yet to be implemented.The code on occupational safety, health and working conditions (OSH&WC Code) and the industrial relations code will give autonomy to states to amend labour laws to suit their industrial needs and attract investments through labour reforms without seeking the Centre’s permission.

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NIA raids at multiple locations in Kashmir in Davinder Singh case

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DSP Davinder Singh

Srinagar/New Delhi, Sep 22 : Tightening its noose in the case of suspended J&K Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Davinder Singh and Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Naveed Babu, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday carried out searches at several locations in Jammu & Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

An NIA official privy to the development told IANS, “NIA is conducting raids in different parts of Baramulla in Hizb commander Naveed Babu-Davinder Singh DSP case.” He said that multiple teams of the NIA conducted searches at multiple locations in Baramulla-Uri and one location in Srinagar in connection with Naveed Babu and cross-border trade case.

The spokesperson said that in Hizbul Mujahideen case, houses of Azad Ahmad Pir in Uri and Hallema Begum in Baramulla, Shaheen Lone also a resident of Baramulla and working as an inspector in Power Development Department, along with Lone’s father-in-law’s house at Waza Mohalla, Palhalan in Baramulla, Tariq Mir’s wife Shareen Bibi and Tafazul Parimoo a resident of Budgam, were also searched by the NIA.

They are close associates of accused Tariq Mir, who was arrested by NIA on April 29 this year for his role in smuggling and supply of weapons to Hizb terrorists. During the searches several incriminating documents and digital devices have been seized from their residences. The NIA has named Naveed Mushtaq alias Naveed Babu, Irfan Shafi Mir, Rafi Rather, Tanveer Ahmad Wani, and Syed Irfan in its chargesheet, besides Davinder Singh.

The suspended police officer is lodged in Kathua jail at Hiranagar in the Jammu division. He was arrested by the police on January 11 on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway while transporting two Hizb terrorists — Naveed Babu and Rafi Ahmad Rather — and a law school dropout Irfan Shafi Mir to Jammu.

Naveed’s brother Irfan was arrested on January 23 for his ‘role’ in the conspiracy while Wani came under the scanner for allegedly giving money to Naveed, a former Special Police Officer of J&K who had joined the terrorist ranks. After the arrest of Singh, initial investigations were done by the J&K Police before the case was handed over to the NIA. Police had said that the two terrorists and the lawyer had planned to travel to Pakistan.

The NIA had earlier claimed that its probe revealed that the accused were part of a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by the Hizb and Pakistan to commit violent acts and to wage war against India. “The investigation has revealed that Pakistan-based leadership of the Hizb, namely Syed Salahuddin, Amir Khan, Khursheed Alam, Nazar Mehmood, and others, along with the Pakistani establishment is extending support to the cadres and commanders of the terror outfit based in Jammu & Kashmir.”

“The probe also revealed that accused Irfan Shafi Mir alias ‘Advocate’ not only met Hizb leadership in Pakistan but also met Umar Cheema, Ahshan Chaudhary, Sohail Abbas, and others of the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan. He was tasked to identify and activate the new ‘hawala’ channels for the transfer of money to sustain terror activities in the Kashmir Valley,” a NIA spokesperson had earlier said.

The NIA had also claimed that its investigation revealed that certain officials of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi were in constant touch with Mir alias Advocate, who was provided with funds to organise seminars in J&K to mobilise the masses against the government of India. Mir allegedly used to receive instructions and money from the Pakistan High Commission, and he facilitated the visa applications of a number of Kashmiris for their Pakistan visits.

Even Davinder Singh was said to be in touch with certain Pakistan High Commission officials through secure social media platforms. Investigation revealed that he was “being groomed by the Pakistani officials for obtaining sensitive information”. Singh was posted with the anti-hijacking wing of the Jammu & Kashmir Police in Srinagar, and was part of the security staff that had received a group of foreign diplomats who visited Kashmir.

On June 19, a Delhi court had granted bail to Davinder Singh in a terror case after the Delhi Police failed to file a chargesheet against him and co-accused within the stipulated time. The NIA spokesperson further said that in the illegalities in the LoC trade case, the agency carried out raids at the premises of Peer Arshid Iqbal alias Ashu in Baramulla, who is currently lodged in Kathua jail in Jammu in a narcotics case, Tariq Ahmad Sheikh also a resident of Baramulla and proprietor of Sheikh Brothers and Hamid Brothers, Baramulla, also currently lodged in Baramulla jail in a narcotics case, Bashir Ahmad Sofi, a district level Hurriyat Leader and Abdul Hamid Lone, a resident of Sopore and his Asha Traders.

During searches at their premises, the NIA team recovered several incriminating documents and digital devices.

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University of Hyderabad VC’s tenure extended by a year

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Professor Appa Rao Podile

Hyderabad, Sep 22 : The Union Ministry of Education has extended the tenure of Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad, Professor Appa Rao Podile for one year.

The ministry on Tuesday conveyed to the University Registrar that the President of India in his capacity as Visitor of University of Hyderabad has extended the tenure of Appa Rao for a further period of one year or till the time the new Vice-Chancellor is appointed, whichever is earlier.

Appa Rao was appointed the Vice Chancellor in 2015 and his term was to end on September 22.

A few months after his appointment, the central university was rocked by the massive protests over the death of a Dalit PhD scholar.

Rohith Vemula died by suicide on January 24, 2016 after he and four other students were suspended following a clash with some members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The incident had triggered protests in campuses across the country.

On a complaint by a section of students, police had booked a case against then union minister Bandaru Dattatreya, Appa Rao and three others in connection with Vemula’s suicide.

Amid growing demands for his resignation, Appa Rao had gone on leave.

He resumed office on March 23 but massive protests broke out in the campus with protestors ransacking his official residence

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