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UN calls for international inquiry into Kashmir rights violations

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Kashmir

United Nations, June 14 : It is up to the members of the UN Human Rights Council to follow up the recommendation of Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and set up an international commission to investigate the human rights situation in Kashmir, a spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday.

Asked by reporters if Guterres supports setting up the inquiry body, his deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said: “This, as you know, is a question for the member states of the human rights council. Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has made that proposal to the Human Rights Council and we will see and evaluate what the response will be.”

“As with all question regarding mandates by member states, it’s up to the member states to determine the sort of mandates that the United Nations will have,” he said in reply to a question about the prospects of a UN probe given the rejection of the report by India and acceptance by Pakistan.

He added: “What the High Commissioner has done and what the Human Rights Office has done is provide with the best information that they have available even though they lacked the sort of access that they needed to either of the areas of Kashmir. At this stage they now have the report in the hands of the members of the Human Rights Council (and they) can determine whether any other steps are needed.”

India’s term as a member of the Human Rights Council ended last year, while Pakistan is currently a member.

About the Kashmir dispute, Haq said, “The parties need to resolve the situation in Kashmir through their own relations.”

The 49-page report issued on Thursday by the Office of the Human Rights High Commissioner said there was a “situation of chronic impunity for violations committed by security forces” and listed human rights violations on both sides of the Line of Control.

India rejected the report asserting that it “is overtly prejudiced and seeks to build a false narrative”.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar dismissed it as “a selective compilation of largely unverified information.”

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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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India

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). 

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.

WeForNews 

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India

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.

WeForNews 

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