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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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India

HAL-built light combat helicopter completes weapon trials

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HAL , Light Combat Helicopter; Image : ANI , Sanjay Simha

Bengaluru, Jan 17: The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) developed by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has successfully carried out air to air missile firing on a moving aerial target and is ready for operational induction, the defence behemoth said on Thursday.

Other weapons on the LCH include a 20mm Turret gun and 70 mm Rockets, the firing trials of which have already been completed last year.

“During the tests conducted at integrated test range, Chandipur Odisha recently, Wg Cdr Subash P John, VM (Retd), test pilot, Col Ranjit Chitale, (Retd), Flight Test Engineer from HAL and Gp Capt Rajeev Dubey, test pilot from the IAF, executed a flawless mission and achieved a direct hit on the aerial target, destroying it completely,” said HAL spokesperson Gopal Sutar in a press statement.

According to the HAL, LCH is the only attack copter in the world which is capable of operating at altitudes as high as Siachen glacier.

The helicopter is equipped with helmet mounted sight and a forward looking infrared sighting system, allowing its pilots to detect and attack any target on ground or in the air.

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President Ram Nath Kovind offers prayer at Kumbh

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President Kovind

Prayagraj, Jan 17: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday offered prayers at ongoing Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Ram Naik were also present.

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Supreme Court allows Mumbai dance bars to reopen with restrictions

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Mumbai dance bars
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Mumbai, Jan 17: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed dance bars to reopen in Mumbai but imposed regulations such as barring CCTV surveillance.

It said there was no need for CCTV surveillance inside dance bars as it violates privacy.

The apex court said that the performers could be tipped, but showering of cash and coins will not be allowed inside the bars.

The court added that Maharashtra cannot ban dance bars by taking recourse to regulating them, noting that since 2005 no licence has been issued.

“Since 2005 till date, no licence has been issued. There may be regulation but that does not amount to total prohibition,” said a bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan.

Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Sikri said that there could be no segregation of dance stage and that of drinking and eating space as it struck down the provision for “mandatory” installing of CCTV cameras in the dance bars holding that it violates privacy.

The court upheld the definition of obscenity given in the State law saying that it was not vague.

Holding that those visiting the dance bar could give tips, the court said no to the showering of money during dance performances.

The court held as “unreasonable” the provision that says that a dance bar should be one kilometre away from religious places, hospitals and educational institutions.

However, it left it to the state legislature to take a call on the issue.

Striking down the provision that said that the owner of the dance bar should have a “good character” and no “criminal antecedents”, the court said: “There is no precise definition of what amounts to good character and criminal antecedents.”

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