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‘Not seen in any CCTV footage’: Court grants bail to riots accused

On February 24, communal clashes had broken out in the national capital after violence between citizenship law amendment’s supporters and protesters spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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Delhi Violence

New Delhi, Jul 24 : A Delhi court on Friday granted bail to an accused in a case related to violence in the city’s northeast parts in February, observing that he was not seen rioting in any CCTV footage or viral video during the violence.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav directed Suhel to furnish a personal bond of Rs 20,000 with surety of like amount, not tamper with evidence or influence any witnesses.

He has also been asked to attend future court proceedings, share his contact number with the police and install Aarogya Setu application on his phone as a part of the conditions for granting bail.

While letting him off on bail, the court observed: “He is not seen in any CCTV footage or viral video. The investigating agency has recorded statements of various persons regarding the damage caused to their vehicles and properties, but no person has named or identified the applicant.”

Seeking dismissal of the bail application, Special Public Prosecutor Rajiv Kishan Sharma argued that Suhel had a scuffle with Assistant Sub-Inspector Ved Pal on the main Bhajanpura Road where the rioters vandalised the vehicles.

“On the basis of that scuffle, the applicant had taken active part in rioting and chanting slogans against the other community,” the Special Public Prosecutor added.

The court, however, turned down the argument, noting that Ved Pal did not report the matter to the police station on the day of the incident. He further did not even get any DD entry recorded about the incident.

“The applicant was not even arrested at the spot. I agree with the learned counsel for the applicant that the trial in the matter is likely to take long and no useful purpose would be served by keeping the applicant in detention,” the judge said.

On February 24, communal clashes had broken out in the national capital after violence between citizenship law amendment’s supporters and protesters spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

Cities

One dead, 22 fall sick after consuming ‘local alcohol’ in Andhra

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Local Alcohal

Visakhapatnam, Sep 18 : One person died and 22 others fell sick after consuming suspected ‘local alcohol’ in three villages of Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district.

“There were 22 cases reported. The complaint basically is swelling in the leg, pain in the stomach, and reddishness in the eyes. There was no other symptom. By the time this came to us, one person died,” Visakhapatnam District Collector V. Vinay Chand told IANS.

Chinaraba, Kotaparthy and Kakaravalasa are the three villages where the sickness afflicted the unsuspecting tribals.

Chinaraba has a population of 248, Koaparthy 95 and Kakaravalasa 125. Most of the ailing tribals are in their 30s and 40s.

Kakaravalasa is 52 km north west of Vishakhapatnam.

All the 22 who fell sick, were shifted to the King George Hospital (KGH) in Visakhapatnam for treatment.

Though the health department conducted a medical camp in the tribal village, they did not improve, necessitating them to be shifted to KGH.

“The condition of all of them is stable and they are being continuously monitored. They have all been tested for Covid, they have all turned negative,” said Chand.

The health department has collected more blood samples from the tribals for further testing, those results are expected in a day.

Chand said the tribals were also diagnosed with malnourishment.

Though the reason for the tribals’ ailment hasn’t been established, officials are suspecting the consumption of local alcohol.

“It is suspected that there was some consumption of liquor. The tribals normally consume locally available liquor. However, this is yet to be confirmed,” the Collector clarified.

According to Chand, tribals were known to be consuming various types of locally available alcohol, however, he said if that liquor was contaminated or illicit is not clear.

“There are a lot of stories going around, I’m not really sure until we get more information and I cannot confirm or negate anything. Probable reason was any consumption of locally available toddy, but that is also subject to confirmation,” the officer observed.

The medical camp will continue for the next 7 – 10 days in the tribal villages. Medical staff are educating the tribals on personal hygiene, washing hands and drinking warm water.

They were also advised on coronavirus, told to refrain from consuming stored meat and also explained the adverse effects of alcohol.

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Liquor mafia operating in Punjab, Centre should probe: Congress MP

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New Delhi, Sep 18 : Charging that a liquor mafia was operating in Punjab under political patronage, a Congress MP from the state on Friday demanded the Centre”s intervention and probe into the matter through the CBI or independent agencies.

Congress MP Shamsher Singh Dullo raised the matter during the Zero Hour in the Upper House of Parliament, saying “no action” has been taken in the matter despite 136 people losing their life in the state recently after consuming spurious liquor.

Dullo said, in the recent hooch tragedy in the state, 150 people were hospitalised in addition to 136 deaths.

While several people have turned blind after drinking spurious liquor, kidneys of many have been impacted but no action has been taken against the perpetrators of the crime, he said, demanding compensation for the family of those killed and impacted.

He charged that the “liquor mafia in the state was operating under political patronage” and there was a police nexus.

Nine illegal distilleries were being run and supplying liquor to neighbouring Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh among other states, the MP said.

He said neighbouring countries were involved in it and demanded the Centre”s intervention to probe the issue through the CBI a retired high court judge or any independent agency so that culprits could be booked.

Dullo said he met the governor of the state but no action has been taken and that the matter pertains to inter-state illegal racket and theft of taxes.

Raising another issue during the Zero Hour, Tiruchi Siva (DMK) demanded 90 per cent representation in jobs to residents of the state in local enterprises, saying at present there is an unequal representation of states in Central government jobs.

In the recently conducted exams in the state for various central government undertakings including Chennai Petrol, the percentage of locals was minimum, he said.

In Tamil Nadu alone, 84 lakh people have registered themselves with employment exchanges and the percentage of unemployment was 7.6 per cent despite the youth there being qualified and securing top ranks in the UPSC, he said.

He also noted that highly qualified people had applied for the post of sanitary workers due to high unemployment in the state.

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Cities

DJ Halli violence: CSOs appeal Bengaluru police to widen probe

The Bengaluru City police are probing the incident and the violence that took place then at the streets of East Bengaluru on August 11, in which four were killed during police firing and several were injured.

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protect temple Bengaluru riots

Bangalore: Alleging inaction by Facebook and the City Police, a fact-finding committee formed by several Bengaluru based civil society organisations (CSOs) appealed to the Bengaluru City Police to widen the scope of investigation against the alleged Facebook post believed to have led to the same.

The Bengaluru City police are probing the incident and the violence that took place then at the streets of East Bengaluru on August 11, in which four were killed during police firing and several were injured.

“The intelligence failure to predict and prevent the violence must be investigated,” the committee has strongly demanded in its report on the violence that ensued on the night of August 11th, 2020 titled ‘Communalising Violence in DJ Halli’.

“This report brings out several truths. This report is not the end, on its authority, we must inquire into the truth and find out who is behind the violence, and who all failed to act. There are people who profit from the riot as well. We must find out those who are responsible. We must further tolerance,” said (Retd.) Justice H.N. Nagmohan Das.

Adding to this, senior journalist Indudhara Honnapura said, “There was an opportunity to stop this, but Police failed to do so. Everyone, including the police, knew this is a sensitive area. There are many good officers, but I do not understand why they did not send sufficient police force to control the incident. Why didn’t the government provide information to the police?”

“Facebook has failed to act against Naveen’s post which amounts to hate speech. Besides the local police too showed laxity in handling the situation as a result of this, situation went out of their (Police) control,” the report alleged.

The committee further stated that there was an intelligence failure in the state machinery’s reaction to the incident, the police were responsible for a delayed response in registering the FIR against Naveen, which resulted in a discontent crowd swelling at the stations.

Denying allegations that the mob was communal or political in nature, the team comprising CSOs claimed that lack of substantial evidence to suggest that the mob violence was communal in nature, in that it specifically targeted the Hindu community or that it was premeditated and pre-planned.

“This is a local and spontaneous incident that has been taken advantage of by different political parties for immediate political gains which included the upcoming corporator elections in the state,” the committee observed.

“The police have carried out several arbitrary arrests in the middle of the night, which has created an atmosphere of fear in the areas. The families of those arrested have not been informed of the arrest or whereabouts of their loved ones,” the report stated.

The committee claimed that a larger agenda of total criminalisation and demonisation of the entire community has also been noted.

Besides this, the report also came down heavily on the several sections of media which have misportrayed the incident in a communal light by spinning conspiracy theories and targeting the Muslim community.

The fact-finding committee claimed that it inferred several facts on the incident, after a thorough inquiry into the incident, documenting several testimonies, and gathering evidence from all those involved across the spectrum.

Key findings by the committee:

1.) The Facebook post uploaded by accused P. Naveen, nephew of Pulkeshi Nagar MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy crosses the constitutional protection encompassing free-speech, and amounts to hate speech against the Muslim community, the committee noted.

2.) Further, it accused the police and the media of not sufficiently probing the intent and motive behind the post but focussing on the violence that followed the same instead.

3.) The mob violence appears to be not directed by any visible leadership. However, the role of the mob in attacking Devarajeevanahalli (D. J. Halli) and Kadugodanahalli (K. G. Halli) police stations and MLA Murthy’s residence in Kaval Byrasandra destroying public and private property is undeniable and unjustifiable.

Alleging police inaction, the committee observed that the cops failed to act swiftly and effectively on the post when small delegations approached the police station and to intervene in effective ways to prevent the violence from escalating in the areas.

The report added that the perceived delay in lodging the FIR, and the failure to assure firm legal action and the perception that this was due to the MLA’s intervention cannot be ignored.

The imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 (of the Code of Criminal Procedure) has been termed a ubiquitous punishment to those in the areas, who allegedly met with verbal and physical abuse when they attempted to leave their homes.

The fact-finding team was comprised former chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Nina Nayak, independent journalist Cynthia Stephen and 21 others including lawyers, civic activists, representatives of various CSOs and policy researchers a” has urged the state government to form peace committees including all communities to restore peace in the areas.

Earlier about two weeks ago another fact finding report was submitted by ‘Citizens for Democracy’, a platform of responsible citizens – which reportedly has a backing of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh claims to be committed to democratic values, safety and security of the citizens of India – had termed that the riots were pre-planned and organised and it was undoubtedly communally motivated.

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