Tourists, pilgrims told to exit J&K amid security concerns- Peerzada Ashiq #GS3 #Security
Tourists and the Amarnath pilgrims were directed to “curtail their stay in Jammu & Kashmir”, as the Army said the Pakistani Army and terrorists were “planning to upscale violence” and tried to “target the yatra recently.”
Meanwhile, several civilian installations were evacuated in the Valley for troop accommodation, sparking a fresh wave of panic. Latest intelligence inputs received suggest specific threat to the yatra.
Earlier in the day, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 15 Corps, Lt. Gen. K.J.S. Dhillon, revealed that an anti-personnel landmine was found during the searches on the twin routes to the Amarnath shrine, “following specific intelligence inputs.”
The landmine bore the marks of a Pakistan ordnance factory. A US (M-24) sniper rifle was also in the cache of arms recovered. The Pakistan Army and terrorists are desperate to disrupt peace in J&K. Searches on the trek routes and the highways are going on.
The Army officer warned Pakistan of “serious action” in case it resorted to ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) or infiltration bids in J&K.
Launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) are full and bids are being made to push infiltrators.
The Army gave a fitting reply in Kupwara sector recently. We will retaliate very hard in such a situation.
The Army officer said Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) attacks were emerging as “pronounced threat” of late; as 10 such attacks were reported since the Pulwama attack in February. One such blast was triggered in Shopian on Thursday but failed to inflict any damage on the Army, the officials said.
Lt. Gen. Dhillon warned local youth against resorting to stone pelting and appealed to mothers to rein in their wards. “83% local terrorists killed this year were once stone pelters. If your son is throwing stones today for Rs. 500, then he is tomorrow’s terrorist. Sixty four percent local militants get killed within a year of their joining,” he added.
On fresh mobilisation of around 25,000 personnel, Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said the numbers were “exaggerated”. The National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar, has suspended classwork till further orders.
Fresh inputs suggest militants will upscale violence. The counter insurgency grid and the law and order components were being strengthened. Besides, the troop induction will relieve those who have been serving in J&K in the past nine months without a rest, and were busy conducting urban local bodies, panchayat and parliament elections.
Meanwhile, police sources said several civilian installations like a drug de-addiction centre in Srinagar, premises of the polytechnics and J&K Cements building were asked to keep their structures on standby for troop stay.
These measures triggered a fresh wave of panic in Kashmir. People were busy stocking essentials. medicine and petrol all day. Most ATM machines were closed early today after unprecedented cash withdrawal, a bank official said.
Officials said the Centre was working on a “significant measure” in J&K that may likely have a fallout on the law and order situation. As the BJP in its manifesto had pledged to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A in J&K, speculations in the Valley are the Centre may be working in this direction.
Lt. Gen. Dhillon, said that improvised explosive device (IED) attacks were emerging as “pronounced threat” in Kashmir of late.
Lt. Gen. Dhillon warned local youth against resorting to stone throwing, and appealed to mothers to rein in their wards. “83% of local terrorists killed this year were once stone-pelters. If your son is throwing stones today for ₹500, then he is tomorrow’s terrorist; 64% local militants get killed within a year of joining militancy,” he added.
Police sources said civilian installations such as a drug de-addiction centre here, polytechnics and the J&K Cements building were asked to keep their premises on standby for the stay of the forces. Meanwhile, the National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, has suspended classwork till further orders.
No plan yet for NRC non-applicants #GS2 #Governance
What will Assam do with the 3.9 lakh people who had opted out or not applied for inclusion in the National Register of Citizens (NRC)?
They don’t seem to be in the current scheme of things, at least while the exercise is on to publish the final list of citizens by August 31, a date fixed by the Supreme Court.
The draft NRC published on July 30, 2018, had excluded 4,007,707 people out of a total of 32,991,284 applicants. Another 102,462 were filtered out of those who made it to the draft NRC, and put in a list of rejected persons on June 26.
Officials handling the NRC exercise said 3,612,019 out of the 40.07 lakh in the first exclusion list had reapplied. There is no data on how many of the rejected persons in the second list have reapplied.
The State government indicated a plan would be worked out for the non-applicants once the NRC dust settles.
“The State Coordinator for NRC is yet to share the details [about those who did not apply],” said Ashutosh Agnihotri, Assam’s Home Commissioner and Secretary.
Studies have revealed that majority of poor tribal people do not possess or have not preserved legacy data — sets of documents that include the 1951 NRC and electoral rolls up to the midnight of March 24, 1971 — to prove their citizenship, despite being descendants of the indigenous peoples of Assam
Census 2021 may skip caste count- Vijaita Singh #GS2 #Governance
Census 2021 is unlikely to collect “caste wise” data as a similar exercise conducted in 2011 by another ministry threw up about 40 lakh caste names that were difficult to tabulate. The decennial exercise would involve 31 lakh trained enumerators, with data collected digitally using Android based mobile phones.
The Census data would be available by the year 2024-25 as the entire process would be conducted digitally and data crunching would be quicker, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The 2011 caste data, collected as part of the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), is yet to be released by the Centre. As per the National Commission for Backward Classes, there are 2,479 entries in the Central list of the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
The caste data is difficult to enumerate as last time when it was collected, we got as many as 40 lakh names of castes,” said the official. “For example, a person belonging to the Yadav caste wrote Yadu, Yaduvanshi, etc. in the form; there is no standardisation. People sometimes confuse caste with gotra.
The Census would restrict itself to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes data.
The official said that last time, the Census was recorded on paper, with the information then scanned and later fed into the database, leading to the publication of various datasets. The dataset on migration, culled out from the 2011 Census, was published last week.
The digitisation will ensure there is not much delay and most parameters will be available by 2024-25. In many countries, census is collected in one day.
Giving voice sample to police does not violate privacy, rules top court-Krishnadas Rajagopal #GS2 #Governance
In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court held that a judicial magistrate is empowered to order a person to give a sample of his voice for the purpose of investigation. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, said directing a person to part with his voice sample to police was not a violation of his fundamental right to privacy.
The judgment authored by Chief Justice Gogoi said “the fundamental right to privacy cannot be construed as absolute and must bow down to compelling public interest”.
The Bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, held that giving voice sample to an investigating agency was not a violation of the fundamental right against self-incrimination. Article 20
- of the Constitution mandated that “no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself”.
Chief Justice Gogoi, writing for the Bench, said giving voice sample by a person did not amount to furnishing of evidence against oneself. He reasoned that a voice sample was given for the reason of comparison with other voices in order to see if they matched and were of the same person. A voice sample by itself is not incriminating evidence.
The Chief Justice compared a voice sample with other impressions like specimen handwriting, or impressions of his fingers, palm or foot collected by police during investigation. By themselves, these impressions or the handwriting do not incriminate the accused person, or even tend to do so.
Thus, the court said a voice sample by itself did not incriminate a person, and hence, a judicial order to give a such a sample did not infringe the fundamental rights to privacy or against self-incrimination.
The 87th Report of the Law Commission of India in 1980 describes a voice print as a “visual recording of voice”. Voiceprints resemble fingerprints, in that each person has a distinctive voice with characteristic features dictated by vocal cavities and articulates.
The court dismissed an argument that the making of such far-reaching interpretations in the Criminal Procedure Code – which is silent on whether a court can order a person to give voice sample to police – should be best left to the legislature.
“Constitutional courts must be guided by contemporaneous realities/existing realities on the ground. Judicial power should not be allowed to be entrapped within inflexible parameters or guided by rigid principles,” the court justified its verdict.
The judgment came in an appeal filed by Ritesh Sinha against a 2010 order of a magistrate court in Uttar Pradesh allowing police to get his voice sample. The police wanted to compare the voice sample with his alleged telephone conversations with his co-accused.
New law on instant Triple Talaq challenged in Supreme Court #GS2 #Governance
Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama, one of the biggest religious organisations of the Sunni Muslim scholars and clerics in Kerala, on August 2 moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the triple talaq law, saying its only objective is “to punish Muslim husbands”.
The Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act of 2019 makes instant triple talaq a penal offence. It imposes a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment when a Muslim husband pronounces instant triple talaq. The offence is cognizable and non-bailable.
If the motive was to protect a Muslim wife in an unhappy marriage, no reasonable person can believe that the means to ensure it is by putting an errant husband in jail for three years and create a non-bailable offence for merely saying ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’. Further, the offence is confined only to Muslim husbands.
It is absurd that for an utterance which has no legal effect, whether spoken by Muslim, Hindu or Christian, it is only the Muslim husband who is penalised with a three-year sentence. Protection of wives cannot be achieved by incarceration of husbands.
It urged the court to stay the operation of the ordinance while questioning the haste with which the government promulgated it.
The petition contends that the Supreme Court has already declared the utterance of triple talaq “null and void”. The marriage continues despite the utterance of triple talaq. If triple talaq has thus no legal effect, why should the government go ahead and make it an offence now?
The petition argued that a truly welfare-oriented legislation would promote amicable resolution of matrimonial disputes, regardless of community.
UAPA Bill gets Rajya Sabha nod #GS2 #Governance
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 that empowers the Union Home Ministry to designate individuals as terrorists was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Friday with Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supporting the legislation.
In the 240-member House, 147 members voted in favour while 42 voted against the Bill. Parties like the Trinamool Congress, CPI(M), CPI, DMK, TDP, SP, AAP and RJD opposed the Bill.
It was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 24. With the Rajya Sabha giving its assent, it will soon be notified as a law. Home Minister Amit Shah said gathering evidence against terrorists was a complex process and the law will help security agencies remain two steps ahead of them.
He said the Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Dargah blasts in which former Rashtriya Swayamsevak (RSS) member Aseemanand and others were acquitted recently were registered due to “political vendetta” and there was an attempt to link it to a particular religion.
“The Samjhauta charge sheet was filed in 2012 and 2013. We only argued the case. Judge did not find anything, so the accused were acquitted. Who brought political agenda here,” Mr. Shah said.
This is the third contentious legislation that has been cleared in the Rajya Sabha despite the ruling party not having a majority. Mr. Shah said it was important to identify terrorists and not just organisations.
Attacking the Congress, he said the Opposition party should not talk about misuse and it should look into its past when Opposition leaders were jailed during the Emergency.
Responding to concerns over the law being misused, he assured no one’s human rights would be violated as a four-stage scrutiny with provision for appeals has been prescribed when individuals are declared terrorists.
Mr. Shah said all countries have laws to designate individuals as terrorists, noting that United States, European Union and the United Nations, besides countries like China, Pakistan and Israel also have such a law.
Elaborating on the track record of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), he said out of 278 terror cases registered by the agency, charge sheet has been filed in 204. Of the 54 cases where judgments have come, conviction has been there in 48. He said 221 persons were convicted and 92 acquitted by the courts. A total of 131 charge sheets have been filed from June 1, 2014 to July 2019.
Mir Mohammad Fayaz of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said such laws were misused most in Jammu and Kashmir. Our jails are filled with Kashmiris arrested in terror cases. Recently four Kashmiris were acquitted after 23 years,” Mr. Fayaz said.
Congress leader P. Chidambaram said his party was not against the law but was opposed to some amendments. He said the issue was that of liberty of an individual and if the law was passed, it would be struck down by courts.
Mr. Chidambaram asked why an individual should be named a terrorist when the organisation he belongs to has already been banned.
Lok Sabha passes Dam Safety Bill #GS2 #Governance
The Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Dam Safety Bill, 2019 by a voice vote. The Bill seeks to provide for institutional mechanism for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of specified dams across the country.
Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the Centre had no intention of taking over the powers of States through the draft law.
Centre confirms augmenting of forces #GS2 #Governance
The Union Home Ministry has confirmed that it issued orders for deployment of 10,000 additional paramilitary personnel in Jammu and Kashmir “about a week ago”, but insisted that it had “never been the practice” to discuss deployment details in public.
In all, around 25,000 additional central armed police forces are being inducted in the Kashmir Valley. The Ministry’s clarification came following reports that an additional 25,000 Central paramilitary personnel were being sent to Kashmir.
Nearly 32,000 Central armed police forces deployed for securing Amarnath Yatra that was “curtailed” on Friday following terror threats from Pakistan would continue to be deployed in the Valley for security-related duties, an official said.
The ‘yatra’ was to conclude on August 15. There are another 50,000 Central forces deployed there, apart from the Army and the State police. This is the first time in two decades that the ‘yatra’ is being curtailed for security reasons.
Asked about the Jammu and Kashmir order asking tourists and the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims to leave the Valley, a top government official said, “It is not an ordinary advisory.”
According to the Home Ministry, the deployment of 10,000 Central forces last week apparently led to speculation about the dispatch of additional security forces to the Valley.
Based on [the] assessment of the internal situation, training requirements, the need for paramilitary troops to be rotated for rest and recuperation, induction and de-induction of Central forces is a continuous and dynamic process.
There has been considerable concern in the Valley about the additional deployment of Central forces as the Union government is publicly committed to annulling Article 35-A and Article 370 of the Constitution, which confer special status on the State.
Earlier, Mir Mohammad Fayaz of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while participating in a debate in the Rajya Sabha, said people in Kashmir were terrified after 25,000 troops moved there.
India again rejects Trump’s Kashmir mediation offer #GS2 #Governance
India again rejected President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate its dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. India’s foreign minister said he told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that any discussion of the disputed Himalayan region would be between India and Pakistan only.
The two men met on Friday on the sidelines of an Asian security forum in Bangkok. India has long refused outside attempts to resolve the conflict while Pakistan has sought international help.
In a brief statement about the meeting, the State Department did not mention Kashmir or the mediation offer. It said Pompeo and Jaishankar “discussed our shared commitment to upholding the rule of law, freedom of navigation, and democratic values in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Trump said last month that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently asked him whether he would like to be a mediator or arbitrator on Kashmir, which has been the cause of two wars between India and Pakistan, something New Delhi has denied.
India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, the Himalayan territory they both claim and which is divided between them. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents who have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with Pakistan. Islamabad denies the charge. About 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian crackdown.
India snapped official dialogue with Pakistan on outstanding issues after Modi’s government came to power in 2014 demanding that Pakistan first end cross-border terrorism.
Kashmir parties warn against plan to remove Article 35A #GS2 #Governance
J&K parties on Friday warned the Centre against any dilution in the constitutional status of J&K, and sought the government’s clarification on the current “hysteria” in Parliament.
India has finally failed to win over the love of J&K, which rejected divisions on religious grounds and chose secular India. The gloves are finally off, and India has chosen territory over people.
She said the PDP always believed that any concession or a final solution on J&K had to come from India. “But today, the same country seems to be preparing to rob J&K of whatever little is left to protect its unique identity.
Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the removal of Article 35A was to change the demography of the State. “The provision was negotiated by the regional electoral parties and is an article of faith, which should not be breached. Such measures will not change the reality that Kashmir is an issue and has to be resolved. The word is asking India and Pakistan to resolve it and there are also offers to mediate,”
After meeting leaders of the parties, Mr. Malik informed the delegation that there were serious and credible inputs regarding terrorist attacks on the Amarnath Yatra.
“It is the responsibility of the state to provide security to all its citizens. Unnecessary panic is being created by linking this to all kinds of other issues. A pure security measure is being mixed up with issues with which it has no connection. The political leaders should ask their supporters to maintain calm.
U.S. formally withdraws from INF arms treaty #GS2 #IR
The U.S. and Russia ripped up a Cold War-era missile pact on Friday in a move that raised the spectre of an arms race between the global superpowers. The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty limited the use of medium-range missiles, both conventional and nuclear.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington’s formal withdrawal in a prepared statement at the ASEAN meet in Bangkok, minutes after Russia pronounced the treaty to be “dead”.
Both sides had signalled their intention to pull out of the treaty for months, trading accusations of breaking the terms of the deal.
Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise. Shortly before Pompeo’s announcement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry in Moscow said the deal had been terminated at the “at the initiative of the U.S.”. But deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov also urged the U.S. to implement a moratorium on deploying intermediate-range nuclear missiles after leaving the INF.
Washington has for years accused Russia of developing a new type of missile, the 9M729, which it says violates the treaty — claims that NATO has backed up. The missile has a range of about 1,500 kilometres according to NATO, though Moscow says it can only travel 480 kilometres. The INF treaty limits the use of missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.
Russia failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its noncompliant missile system,” Pompeo said, referring to the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile.
The 29-country transatlantic NATO alliance rallied behind Washington on Friday, blaming Russia for the treaty’s demise and vowing to respond.
Elected directors in PSBs will be appointed by board: RBI #GS3 #Economy
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has mandated that the elected directors of public sector banks (PSBs) are to be appointed by the nomination and remuneration committee of the board of the respective banks.
The RBI has come out with guidelines on ‘fit and proper’ criteria of elected directors in PSBs and said all these banks were required to constitute a nomination and remuneration committee consisting of a minimum of three non-executive directors from the board, out of which not less than one-half will be independent directors and should include at least one member from the risk management committee of the board.
The non-executive chairperson of the bank may be appointed as a member of the committee but shall not chair such a committee.
On the tenure, the RBI said an elected director can be appointed for three years and could be re-elected but cannot hold office for than six years. “The candidate should not be holding the position of a Member of Parliament or State Legislature or municipal corporation or municipality or other local bodies,
Candidates engaged in stock broking, or a member of any other board of a bank or financial institution, connected with hire purchase, financing, money lending, investment, leasing and other para banking activities cannot be considered for the appointment.
Moreover, the RBI said the candidate should not be acting as a partner of a chartered accountant’s firm which is currently engaged as a statutory central auditor of any nationalised bank or the State Bank of India.
U.S.-China trade war — India missed its chances #GS2 #IR #GS3 #Economy
India has failed to capitalise on opportunities arising from the U.S.-China trade war, according Larsen and Toubro (L&T) chairman A.M. Naik.
“For two years, the U.S. President was talking about moving industries out of China. How many have come to India? We were busy with elections, and we did not do anything, but we should do something now.
On the slowing economy, Mr. Naik said: “Growth is going to be not more than 6.5% this year. My feeling is that though they claim it is 7%-plus, if we can maintain 6.5%, we will be lucky. I think the government knows the economy is slowing.” It would take a year or a year-and-a-half before accelerated spending for development comes.
On ballooning debts of India Inc., Mr. Naik said: “The private sector is in challenging times in terms of investment; only one-third is able to keep what they have. A number of companies now need to sell what they have, to repay debt.”
Judicial magistrate can order anyone to give voice sample for criminal probe: SC #GS2 #Governance
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered that a judicial magistrate will have the power to ask a person to give his or her voice sample for the purpose of investigation of a crime.
A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna called upon the Parliament to make requisite changes in the law to provide for it, adding that till this happens, the magistrate will have the power to order the same.
“In light of the above discussions, we unhesitatingly take the view that until explicit provisions are engrafted in the Code of Criminal Procedure by Parliament, a Judicial Magistrate must be conceded the power to order a person to give a sample of his voice for the purpose of investigation of a crime.
Such power has to be conferred on a Magistrate by a process of judicial interpretation and in exercise of jurisdiction vested in this Court under Article 142 of the Constitution of India,” the bench court ruled, deciding a reference made to it following a split decision by a two-judge bench on an appeal against a 2010 decision of the Allahabad High Court.
On the question whether this would violate the fundamental right to privacy under Article 20(3) of the Constitution, which says that no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself or herself, the bench said though this point was not canvassed before it, in view of the judgement in the Aadhaar and other cases, “it will suffice to note that… the fundamental right to privacy cannot be construed as absolute and but must bow down to compelling public interest.”
The case which led to the appeal pertained to the arrest of one Dhoom Singh by the Electronic Cell of Uttar Pradesh Police in December 2009. Singh and one Ritesh Sinha allegedly collected money from people by promising them jobs in the police.
The investigating authority wanted to verify whether a recorded conversation recovered from Singh was between him and Sinha. They filed an application before the jurisdictional Chief Judicial Magistrate, requesting it to ask him to give his voice sample. The court allowed the plea.
Sinha challenged this before the High Court, which upheld the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, following which Sinha approached the Supreme Court.