The release of 11 men convicted in the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her 5-year-old daughter and 13 other people during the Gujarat riots in 2002 shocked an IAS officer from the Telangana cadre. As a woman and a government servant, Smita Sabharwal, also known as The People’s Officer, stated that upon learning of the discharge of the defendants in the Bilkis Bano case, she sat in shock.
“As a woman and a civil servant, I sit in disbelief, on reading the news on the #BilkisBanoCase,” the 2001-batch IAS officer tweeted. “We cannot snuff out her Right to breathe free without fear, again and call ourselves a free nation.”
Additionally, Bilkis Bano’s attorney made a statement on the survivor’s behalf in which she said that the release of the defendants had destroyed her confidence in the legal system and left her feeling numb.
“On August 15, 2022, the trauma of the past 20 years washed over me again when I heard that the 11 convicted men who devastated my family and my life and took from me my three-year-old daughter had walked free,” she said in a statement released by her lawyer Sobha. “I was bereft of words. I am still numb.”
She has pleaded with the Gujarati government to “correct this harm” and restore her right to “live without fear and in peace.”
There has been a widespread outcry about the release of the convicts under the previous 1992 remission regime, and many people are demanding the Supreme Court to get involved. Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and Jairam Ramesh, among other senior Congress leaders, criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), claiming that the choice would not have been made without the approval of the national government.
After a BJP MLA who served on the state government panel that recommended the release said that some of the prisoners were “Brahmins” with good “sanskaar,” or morals, the argument heated up. The Godhra-based BJP MLA, C K Raulji, claimed to be unaware of the inmates’ possible involvement in the crime.
“We took the decision on the basis of a Supreme Court order. We were asked to look at their (convicts’) behaviour and decide (on their early release),” Raulji told MoJo, a news portal. “We asked the jailer and learnt that their behaviour was good in the prison…also, some of the convicts) are Brahmins. They have good ‘sanskaar’ (values),” he added.
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Women unite in Lucknow to create non-violent economy
To take part in a 12-day campaign for a violent-free economy, more than ten thousand women have assembled on the outskirts of Lucknow. October 2 will mark the end of the campaign, which got under way on September 21.
On Friday, a program was held in Madiaon for women to speak out for a non-violent life and economy as part of this campaign, which was organised by Red Brigade Lucknow (an organisation that aims to protect women).
Students, social workers from four states, as well as representatives from Lucknow’s villages, mohallas, and schools, were present in the program.
Renuka Tandon, founder of Amren Foundation, presided over the event, while the chief guest for the event was renowned social worker Jill Ben. Ben said that increasing violence in society deeply affects women, and therefore, it is their responsibility to raise a voice to further build a non-violent economy. Tandon appreciated the efforts made by the Red Brigade, saying that it is a good step in the direction of achieving a non-violent economy.
The founder of Red Brigade, Usha Vishwakarma, emphasised the significance of women working on and enhancing their self-defence and self-image when she said that a non-violent economy is only possible when there is a humane relationship between man, woman, and nature.
10-year-old raped by friends passes away in Delhi’s hospital
A 10-year-old boy who was viciously attacked and raped on September 18 by three friends, including a cousin, all of whom were between the ages of 10 and 12, died early on Saturday due to complications from his injuries at the Lok Nayak Hospital run by the Delhi government.
The boy’s family reported on Saturday that he had a high fever all night and abruptly started losing vitals this morning.
“We were with him and then a few doctors came in and said that his heart had stopped beating. They asked to wait outside and after a few minutes said he was no more,” the boy’s mother said.
She said, “They had told us initially that we would be able to take him home next week. How can he suddenly die?”
A formal version from the hospital is awaited.
A senior police officer who wished to remain anonymous claimed that although they have been “informally” told that the boy has passed away, they have not yet received a formal statement from the hospital.
The child has died, according to Sanjay Kumar Sain, deputy commissioner of police (north east).
The boy was assaulted and raped by three juveniles on September 18 in East Delhi, and on September 22 he was taken to Lok Nayak Hospital.
On Friday, doctors said the boy’s wounds were so gruesome, they were reminded of the December 16, 2012 gang rape victim. Doctors confirmed that sharp objects had been inserted in his private parts and he was also badly beaten up.
The boy’s family, who dwell in Seelampur in east Delhi, said that he was called by a few neighbourhood boys on the evening of September 18 under the pretence of playing cricket. Since his return, they felt “something was off” but did not know the seriousness of the situation.
Ajay Devgn receives best actor honour for ‘Tanhaji’
Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn on Friday was conferred with the National Award for Best Actor and Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment for ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’ at the 68th National Film Awards.
For the award ceremony, the actor donned a black suit as he received the award from President Droupadi Murmu. ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’ was directed by Om Raut and released on 10 January 2020. This film was the 100th film in Devgn’s career spanning 30 years.
The movie also features Saif Ali Khan, Kajol and Sharad Kelkar. It collected over Rs 368 crore worldwide at the box office and was declared the highest grosser of the year.
The film involved Ajay in the role of Maratha warrior Taanaji Malusare, fighting for the principle of ‘Bhagwa’ (saffron) flag, ‘Swaraj’ (home-rule) and ‘Satya’ (truth).
Kajol essayed the role of the wife of Tanhaji — Savitribai Malusare — a strong character, who accompanied him in taking firm decisions. Saif played the antagonist, Uday Bhan, a Rajput official who works for Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
This win marks Ajay’s third National award after ‘Zakhm’ in 1998 and ‘The Legend of Bhagat Singh’ in 2020. Along with the ‘Golmaal’ actor, South star Suriya also won the Best Actor honour for ‘Soorarai Pottru’.
The 68th National Film Awards were announced by a jury back in July 2022 at the National Media Centre in New Delhi. The jury comprised eminent filmmakers and film personalities from across Indian cinema.
Tharoor’s blunder, shows distorted map of India
Congress presidential candidate Shashi Tharoor has landed in a controversy on Friday as the manifesto shared by him for the election shows a “distorted map of India” in which he has omitted parts of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
He shared the distorted map of India, where he talked about ‘decentralization of the organization’. The goof-up by Tharoor, who is running for the president’s post of the country’s oldest party does not show good precedent. Later, Tharoor rectified the blunder by replacing it with the correct map of India in his election manifesto.
This is not the first time the Lok Sabha MP has shared a distorted map of India. Earlier in 2019, Tharoor shared a ‘distorted’ map of India on Twitter. The northernmost territory of the country was missing from the map shared by the Congress leader.
In December 2019, he shared the cover of a booklet about the Kerala Congress’s protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). He later deleted the tweet and rectified his mistake.
Later, Tharoor issued a clarification over the map blunder in his manifesto stating that “no one does such things on purpose” and added that team of volunteers had committed a mistake.
RBI hikes repo rate by 50 bps, inflation pegged at 6.7%
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday hiked repo rate by 50 basis points to 5.90 per cent in order to control the rising inflation, keeping in line with the aggressive policies of central banks and the volatile markets prevalent across economies. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das announced this here.
In the meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) that started on Wednesday, five of the members of the MPC voted to hike the key lending rate, repo rate, by 50-basis points (bps).
The rates for the standing deposit facility (SDF) and the marginal standing facility (MGF) were also raised by 50 basis points to 5.65 per cent and 6.15 per cent, respectively.
The central bank had already hiked the key policy rate by 140 bps since May to 5.4 per cent to cool off domestic retail inflation that has stayed above the RBI’s upper tolerance limit of 6 per cent each month this year.
The MPC is responsible for fixing the benchmark interest rate in India.
PFI office bearers involved in bogus cash donations: ED
After seven days of custodial interrogation of the office bearers of the Popular Front of India (PFI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday informed the court that the “investigation into the accused persons has revealed that they have played an active role in bogus cash donations on behalf of PFI and in claiming and projecting PFI’s unaccounted cash raised through unknown and suspicious sources as untainted and legitimate.”
ED also stated that the PMLA investigation has revealed that as a part of a criminal conspiracy hatched by PFI office bearers over the past many years, suspicious funds from within the country and abroad have been raised by PFI and related entities and have been clandestinely remitted to India in a concealed manner and deposited in their bank accounts over the years.
These funds have been raised as a part of the scheduled offence of criminal conspiracy. The funds so raised/collected by PFI are thus nothing but proceeds of crime which they have layered, placed and integrated through their numerous bank accounts as well as those of their members/sympathizers. Thus PFI and its related entities have been involved in the continuous offence of money laundering over the years, the ED said.
The Enforcement Directorate through Advocate Naveen Kumar Matta, while seeking judicial custody of the accused stated that the investigation in the case is still continuing and requires the gathering of additional evidence and examination and confrontation of voluminous data extracted from digital devices which is still under progress.
Hence, the judicial custody of the accused i.e. Perwez Ahmed, Md. Iliyas and Abdul Muqeet during the period of investigation are warranted to ensure that they do not influence the witnesses and do not tamper with or destroy the material evidence related to the case. After taking note of the submissions of ED, the Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Shailender Malik decided to send all three accused to Judicial Custody for 14 days after ED didn’t seek further custodial remand of them.
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