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SC moved for implementing law panel report against hate speech

The commission on March 23, 2017, submitted the report, which the petitioner pointed is yet to be implemented.

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Supreme Court

New Delhi, Feb 27 : A plea in the Supreme Court has sought implementation of the 267th Report of the Law Commission of India to curtail hate speech during election campaigns as “offensive speech has real and devastating effects on people’s lives and risks their health and safety”.

“It is harmful and divisive for communities and hampers social progress,” said the petitioner, BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in the plea.

In the petition, he contended not only in Parliament and Assembly elections, but even in local body elections, hate speech is made to support a particular party and candidate, “which is against the basic dictum of a ‘sovereign socialist secular democratic republic'” as per the Indian Constitution.

Upadhyay contended that hate speech severely affect fraternity, dignity of individuals, unity and national integration and also offends the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution’s Articles 19 and 21.

He also contended that hate speech has “potential of provoking individuals to commit acts of terrorism, genocide, ethnic cleansing etc. Such speech is considered outside the realm of protective discourse. Offensive speech has real and devastating effects on people’s lives and risks their health and safety”.

In 2014, the apex court observed that the existing set of laws would solve the problem of hate speech to a limited extent and asked the Law Commission to make recommendations to the Parliament to strengthen the Election Commission “to curb the menace of ‘hate speeches’ irrespective of, wherever made”.

The commission on March 23, 2017, submitted the report, which the petitioner pointed is yet to be implemented.

The petition said: “Political speeches often assume a divisive tone in order to exploit social prejudices for electoral gains. However, this discourse must take place in an environment that does not foster abusive or hateful sentiments.”

Citing the harmful and divisive nature of hate speech for communities, the petition said there is no provision to challenge the corrupt practice of candidates, who lost the election. “Thus, the appeal on the grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language etc. and promotions of feelings of enmity between different classes cannot be questioned even by way of election petition,” said the petition, seeking the the apex court issue direction to the Centre to implement the Law Commission report.

India

2 terrorists killed in Kashmir encounter: Police

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Jammu and Kashmir Shopian Indian Army

Srinagar, May 25 (IANS) Two terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces at Damhal Hanjipora in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district early Monday morning, police said.

Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar told IANS that the encounter began when a Cordon and Search Operation was launched by a joint team of police and Army following specific inputs about the presence of terrorists in the area.

During the search operation, the terrorists fired at the security forces. After a brief exchange of fire, both terrorists were gunned down, he said.

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India

Kovind, Modi, Rahul greet people on Eid

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Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday greeted people on Eid-ul-Fitr.

The President tweeted: “Eid Mubarak! This festival is an expression of love, fraternity, peace, and harmony. Eid reaffirms our belief in sharing with and caring for the vulnerable and needy. Let us carry the spirit of giving (zakaat) on this Eid and follow social distancing norms to contain coronavirus spread.”

The Prime Minister said that the special occasion furthers the spirit of compassion.

“Eid Mubarak! Greetings on Eid-ul-Fitr. May this special occasion further the spirit of compassion, brotherhood and harmony. May everyone be healthy and prosperous,” Modi tweeted.

Rahul Gandhi also took to Twitter: “Eid Mubarak to each and every one of you.”

Eid is being celebrated in most part of the country on Monday, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

On Sunday, prominent Muslim clerics in Delhi had appealed to people to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on Monday while adhering to social distancing and lockdown norms in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

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India

Odisha reports 103 new corona cases

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Coronavirus

Bhubaneswar, May 25 (IANS) The total coronavirus cases in Odisha climbed to 1,438 as 103 new cases were detected in the eastern state on Monday.

The Health Department said that of these 103 cases, 96 were reported in quarantine centres and seven from local contacts.

Deogarh reported the highest 22 cases, followed by Kendrapara (15), Jagatsinghpur (10), Malkangiri (9), Bhadrak (8), Bolangir (8), Gajapati (6), Koraput (6), Balasore (5), Khurda (5) and Ganjam (4).

Jajpur, Kandhamal, Dhenkanal, Mayurbhanj, and Keonjhar reported one case each.

There are 881 active cases in Odisha, with 550 recoveries. Seven persons have died of the disease.

With the increase in the number of corona cases, the state government on Sunday changed its quarantine policy. People returning to villages will now have to undergo 14 days of institutional quarantine.

The people returning to cities will have to undergo 14 days of home quarantine.

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