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SC allows open court hearing of Red Fort attack convict’s review plea

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Mohammad Arif

The Supreme Court on Tuesday permitted Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Mohammad Arif alias Ashfaq’s plea for an open court hearing of his petition seeking review of its August 10, 2011 verdict upholding his death sentence in the December 22, 2000 Red Fort attack case.

Making exception to its September 2, 2014 verdict limited to the case of Arif, the constitution bench of Chief Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman gave him a month’s time to file fresh review plea that would be heard in the open court.

The court also permitted Arif to raise additional grounds supporting his plea for the review of the 2011 verdict.

The apex court by its September 2, 2014 verdict had said that in the cases where the death sentence has been upheld by it, the convict will have a right that his petition seeking review of this verdict would be heard by a three judges bench in open court.

In the case of pending death row convicts, the court had said that in cases where the review plea have been already rejected but curative petition has not been moved or decided, the death row convicts can, within one month, move afresh for an open court hearing of their review plea.

The court bhad said that the window of an open court hearing of the review plea would not be available to those death row convicts in whose case both review plea and curative petition have been declined.

Seeking the recall of the September 2, 2014 order, Arif had contended that he was the only death row convict who was denied the opportunity of an open court hearing as he came in the category where even the curative petition too had been rejected.

Taking on record the contention by Arif’s counsel and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation, the court made an exception to Arif’s case noting that his was the solitary case where on account of September 2, 2014 verdict, he could not get an open court hearing of his plea.

Around 9 p.m. on December 22, some armed intruders entered the Red Fort and started indiscriminate firing, killing three soldiers of the Rajputana Rifles, deployed in the Red Fort for its protection.

A Quick Reaction Team returned the fire but none of the attackers was hit, and they were successful in escaping by scaling over the rear side boundary wall of the fort.

While upholding the death sentence of Arif, the apex court by its August 10, 2011 verdict had said that “this is a unique case where there is one most aggravating circumstance that it was a direct attack on the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India by foreigners. Thus, it was an attack on Mother India. This is apart from the fact that as many as three persons had lost their lives.”

Holding that the death sentence was the only sentence that could be awarded to Arif, the court had said that Arif had “built up a conspiracy by practicing deceit and committing various other offences in furtherance of the conspiracy to wage war against India as also to commit murders by launching an unprovoked attack on the soldiers of Indian Army”.

Cities

26 die in fresh lightning strikes across Bihar

The Meteorological Department on Wednesday had issued an alert for heavy rain and thunderstorms in the next 48 hours.

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Lightning

Patna, July 2 : In Bihar, more people were killed by lightning strikes in a week than due to coronavirus. On Thursday, 26 more people died in fresh lightning strikes across the state.

An official of the Disaster Management Department said, according to information received from the districts, 26 people died due to lightning strikes on Thursday in the state – six in Patna, four in East Champaran, seven in Samastipur, three in Katihar, two each in Shivhar and Madhepura and one each in Purnia and West Champaran districts.

The Meteorological Department on Wednesday had issued an alert for heavy rain and thunderstorms in the next 48 hours in Bihar.

On Tuesday, 11 people had died by lightning in various districts of Bihar, while on June 26, at least 96 people died across Bihar in lightning strikes.

So far more than 78 people have died due to Covid-19 in Bihar in more than three months since the first case was detected in the state and more than 10,000 are infected with the virus, while more than 125 people were killed by lightning strikes in the state in just a week.

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Door-to-door COVID-19 survey underway in Taj city

The death toll in Agra stands at 88. The total number of cases till Thursday morning was 1,241. The recovery rate is 83.07 per cent. The number of hotspots now is 52.

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Wuhan China

Agra, July 2 : The Agra district administration has begun an extensive exercise for door-to-door survey in all areas to check the further spread of COVID-19. Two days ago, the state government had announced that all areas will be thoroughly screened to ensure the infection from the coronavirus was effectively stopped.

The survey began on Wednesday in the city and will cover the whole district by July 5.

Teams of health workers will visit homes and conduct surveys, thermal screening and look for people with respiratory ailments. This exercise is considered necessary to reach out to people not only in the hotspots, but also in remote areas of the district, who might be in the need of medical attention.

In the last 24 hours 14 fresh corona cases were reported in Agra and 17 from Mathura.

The death toll in Agra stands at 88. The total number of cases till Thursday morning was 1,241. The recovery rate is 83.07 per cent. The number of hotspots now is 52.

District Magistrate P.N. Singh said the markets would be permitted to remain open for an additional one hour in the evening.

In Mathura, the district administration has sealed the borders and deployed additional personnel to ensure no one entered the district for the annual Mudiya Poonau fair at Goverdhan. The five-day fair, which was supposed to begin from July 1 this year has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Lucknow officials begin anti-CAA property attachment process

Congress leader Shahnawaz Alam, also an accused in the anti-CAA protests, was arrested form his residence on Monday night.

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lucknow womens protest

Lucknow, July 1 : The Lucknow administration has restarted the process of attaching properties of the accused who vandalised public property during the anti-CAA riots in December last year.

The district administration attached a garment and a junk store in Hasanganj area.

“The FIRs were registered in four police stations and notices were served to 54 persons for recovery of damages. Two properties in Hasanganj locality have been attached and the process will continue in the coming days,” said Shambhu Sharan Singh, a district official.

The junk shop belongs to one Mahenoor Chaudhary while the garment shop is owned by Dharamvir Singh. Both are accused in the anti-CAA riots.

The attachment of property was done as per the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private property ordinance-2020 and the orders for the same were passed by Additional District Magistrate Vishwa Bhushan Mishra.

The protests against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) witnessed a violence in the city on December 19.

It may be recalled that the Yogi Adityanath government had assessed losses to the tune of crores during the riots and administration had sent recovery notices worth about Rs 1.55 crores to over 50 people responsible for the damages.

In March, the district administration had displayed photographs and addresses of protesters on hoarding in the state capital.

The matter was taken to court but after the Corona spread, the Lucknow administration, on March 20, called off all coercive including attachment of property and arrest of the accused.

Congress leader Shahnawaz Alam, also an accused in the anti-CAA protests, was arrested form his residence on Monday night.

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