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SC grants 5-day interim bail to jailed Kerala scribe Siddique Kappan to meet mother

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New Delhi [India], February 15 (ANI): Taking a humanitarian approach, Supreme Court on Monday granted five-day interim bail, with conditions, to Siddique Kappan, the Kerala journalist who was arrested on his way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh where a Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped. The bail was granted to Kappan to visit his 90-year-old mother, who is seriously ill.
The apex court permitted Kappan to go to Kerala and said that during his visit he won’t give any interviews to any media including to social media, and shall not meet members of the public except his family members and relatives.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian passed the order today.
The CJI in its order said that the Uttar Pradesh police will take him to his mother’s house and Kerala Police shall guard the house but not remain present when Kappan meets his ailing mother.
“We are of the view that the interest of justice would be sufficed if appropriate conditions would be imposed on him (S Kappan) for appropriate safeguards of Kappan,” the CJI said.
Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) had earlier pleaded the Court for the release of its secretary and journalist Siddique Kappan, who was detained along with some others on October 5 while on their way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, where a Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped by four men.
“We accordingly permit Siddique Kappan to visit Kerala for five days only, with the purpose of seeing his mother. During this visit, he (S Kappan) shall not give any interviews to any media (including social media). He shall not meet members of the public except his relatives,” the CJI Bobde while pronouncing the order said.
The Supreme Court also made it clear that he (Kappan) shall be escorted by a team of officers from Uttar Pradesh police. The Kerala police shall cooperate with the Uttar Pradesh Police in the matter.
“It shall be the responsibility of the Uttar Pradesh Police to ensure detenue travels to and from mothers house. The police in Kerala shall guard the house and not remain present when detenue meets his mother,” the CJI said and granted give day interim bail to S Kappan.
An FIR had been registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the case against Kappan by the UP police.
The UP police had said it has arrested four people, including Kappan, having alleged links with the PFI in Mathura and identified the arrested persons as Siddique from Malappuram, Atiq-ur Rehman from Muzaffarnagar, Masood Ahmed from Bahraich and Alam from Rampur.
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Kappan, submitted to the Apex Court that he was informed that she (Kappan’s mother) may not survive more than three to four days while quoting the doctors report.
Pleading for mercy for five-day interim bail, Sibal said that Kappan’s mother couldn’t talk, the doctors, are now saying, she is going to survive for the next three to four days.
During the course of the hearing, the CJI wanted to know from Sibal, as to where his mother is, to which, he replied, she is in Kerala.
“Please allow us to visit, for five days only,” Sibal pleaded to the CJI led bench.
To this, the Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of UP, objected to it and said, mother’s ground, can not be the ground, for seeking such kind of relief.
“What is this, last time, someone wants to see his mother,” the CJI said, making a scathing attack on Mehta.
Mehta also went on to argue that my instructions were, she is unable to even recognize now her son, even, that is the case.
“Can we have it tomorrow,” Mehta said, but the CJI refused and passed the interim order.
“In these circumstances, we consider it appropriate that the prisoner shall visit his mother only and return to the prison at the end of the fifth day after he allows to travel,” the CJI said.
The CJI also asked the SG Mehta that if she (Kappan’s mother) will die, what you will do?
Mehta also argued that for the last three years, the newspaper or (media) organisation in which, Kappan was working, has been closed.
“He is a successor of some Hazi or something,” the SG Mehta said.
“We are taking it and passing orders on the face value of Kapil Sibal,” the CJI said and granted interim bail to Kappan.
We will ensure that he only, goes to his house in Kerala and meet his seriously ailing mother, and close family members only, and no interviews would be given by him to anybody, the CJI said.
“This is a very well thought of this case to get relief in such kind of fashion,” the SG Mehta said.
Again, the CJI objected to the arguments of Mehta and observed if you find him guilty, you can take him into a task, and added that this is nothing to deal with the merits of the case.
The Apex Court was hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by KUWJ (Kerala Union of Working Journalists) seeking its direction to release its Delhi unit Secretary, and senior journalist, Siddique Kappan, from the illegal arrest and detention from Uttar Pradesh police.
Siddique Kappan was arrested at a Toll plaza near Hathras, while on his way to Hathras in connection with his reporting assignment to cover the brutal gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old girl. (ANI)

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69th Senior National Volleyball C’ship kickstarts in Bhubaneswar

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Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], March 6 (ANI): The 69th Senior National Volleyball Championship has kick-started at the Biju Patnaik Indoor Stadium in KIIT Deemed to be University here in which for the first time, players from union territory Ladakh are participating in the championships.
Over 1200 volleyball players — both men and women — are participating in the tournament slated which started on Friday and will continue till March 11.
Speaking to ANI, Rigzin Lhamo, women captain of Ladakh said, “Our team is participating for the first time. Earlier we were selected in the Jammu and Kashmir team in which the preference was given to the players of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh was neglected. This time we have got an opportunity to represent ourselves.”
Mohammad Javed, captain of Ladakh men’s team, said that for the first time after Ladakh was declared a union territory, both the 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams have participated in the tournament.
“Earlier we used to play with Jammu and Kashmir, so we couldn’t get enough chances. For the first time after Ladakh was declared a union territory, both the 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams have participated in the tournament. This is the first experience for us and we have learned a lot from this. After returning from this place, we will develop our game further and improve our team,” he said.
Baqir Ali, coach of the men team from Ladakh, said that an indoor stadium at Ladakh will help them to develop their game further. “There is a talent but there is a lack of exposure and coaching. If we develop these, then the players can represent India.”
Anil Choudhury, Secretary-General, Volleyball Federation of India (VFI), told ANI that a total of 30 men’s teams and 20 women’s teams are participating in the tournament.
The selection of the Indian volleyball team for the Asian Championships and other international tournaments will be conducted based on performance in the senior nationals. The selection committee of both men’s and women’s teams is present for the duration of the tournament.
The championships are being held under the aegis of VFI. In a first for volleyball, Odisha is hosting two consecutive senior nationals as the previous edition was also held here. (ANI)

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Interstate arms racket busted in Delhi, 24 firearms seized, 3 held

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Three interstate arms suppliers have been apprehended by Delhi Police with 24 illegal firearms in Rohini area on Thursday night.
The accused identified as Bhuvanesh Kumar, Roukesh Kumar and Chanderveer Singh have been booked under section 411 of the Indian Penal Code and 25 of Arms Act.
A consignment of 24 illegal weapons along with the mobile phone, SIM card and a stolen car being used in supply of illegal arms has been recovered from them.
A strategic trap was laid acting on specific information about two arms suppliers of Uttar Pradesh who are regular supplier of arms and ammunition to different gangs in Delhi will come near Helipad area, Rohini for supply of large consignment of illegal arms.
“At about 10:25 PM, a white colour car stopped at the T-Point near Helipad on the road towards Karala. Two persons got off from the car, one with black shoulder bag and another with a white carry bag. Both were identified by the secret informer and were warned to surrender before the police team but they did not bother to follow the instructions and rather tried to escape. However, the proactive police team immediately cornered and apprehended them,” police said.
14 illegal pistols were recovered from Bhuvnesh Kumar and 10 illegal pistols were recovered from Roukesh Kumar.
The car was being driven by their accomplice Chanderveer Singh whom they used to pay handsome money for every trip/transportation of illegal weapons, police said. (ANI)

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ATS to probe into explosive-laden vehicle outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence after Mansukh Hiren’s death

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 6 (ANI): After the owner of the explosives-laden vehicle found outside Reliance group chairman Mukesh Ambani’s residence died by suicide on Friday, the case has been transferred to Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), said Maharashtra Home Minister.
“Today, the body of Mansukh Hiren has been found in Mumbra. The cause of death will be ascertained through postmortem. It will be done by a technical team. We have given the responsibility of this investigation to ATS,” Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh told media persons on Friday.
“Post-mortem of Mansukh Hiren has been done. We will share the details after getting the report,” Avinash Ambure, DCP Zone-1, Thane told reporters.
Maharashtra Police on Friday said an unknown male corpse was found in Retibunder Creek on Retibunder road in Mumbra (w). Later the corpse was identified as Mansukh Hiran, a resident of Thane whose vehicle with gelatin sticks was found parked on Carmichael Road near Mukesh Ambani’s residence Antilia. Police said prima facie it appears that Hiran died by suicide.
According to sources, a handwritten “threat letter” in “broken English” addressed to Mukesh Ambani and his wife Neeta Ambani was also found in the vehicle with explosives.
The suspect who parked the car (near Mukesh Ambani’s house) was seen in CCTV footage but has not been identified as he was wearing a face mask and his head was covered with a hoodie, said Mumbai Police.
Mumbai Police has deployed its personnel outside Ambani’s house after explosive materials were found. (ANI)

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Dalai Lama get first COVID-19 shot in Dharamshala

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Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh) [India], March 6 (ANI): Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Saturday received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Dharamshala.
He received the dose at Zonal Hospital here at 7:10 am. He was kept under observation for about half an hour.
The 86-year-old was undergoing self-quarantine since January last year and he came out of his residence on Saturday after over a year.
The Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA) had requested the state and central government to make arrangements for the spiritual leader’s vaccination nearly two months ago, Palden, the Health Secretary of the CTA told ANI on Wednesday.
There are currently 589 active COVID-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh, as per the union health ministry. As many as 57,428 recoveries and 997 deaths have been reported in the state so far.
The second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus commenced on March 1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi got himself vaccinated at the All India Institue of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi, on Monday.
Several prominent political leaders in the country, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, have already taken the first jab of the vaccine against coronavirus. (ANI)

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Women officers in Indian army– source of inspiration to many

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The women officers in the Indian Army, who continue to serve the nation in various roles, are passionate about motivating young girls to join the Armed forces.
The women officers who maintain a balance between personal and professional life, are the perfect example of Women’s empowerment. They are also a source of inspiration for many who want to join the forces.
While speaking to ANI, many of the women officers who are in the major rank of the Army, feel that they will be certainly deployed in combat roles in the future. They said that there is no gender discrimination in the environment and conduct of the Army.
A major in the Indian Army is responsible for various strategic roles. The major commands and directs a military unit and every soldier in his/her unit follow his/her order.
Indian Army’s Major Euthica, who hails from Patna, said that she was motivated to join the forces from a serial called ‘Aarohan’ where actor Pallavi Joshi had played the role of the naval cadet. She has been in the service for 13.5 years.

“I decided to join the forces when I was in class 6. I had a passion to be in uniform. I am here now, it gives me much more push to myself to perform better and prove myself better every day from the previous day. I have put 13.5 years in the service. I have been posted in the valley of Jammu and Kashmir and insurgency affected areas of Nagaland, Manipur and Assam. I am presently posted in the Ladakh region. It has been a great journey, challenges have been there, but it also gives confidence,” she said.
“It would take time to be in combat roles for women officers. The way this organization has been accepting us in all facets, gradually all opportunities will be opened. I am sure we are going to go ahead in all roles. The moment women will be allowed in combat roles, I look forward to all the opportunities where women will be there at par with males,” she added.
Major Anjali Prasad said that the environment of the Indian Army is always women-friendly and it has given equal opportunities to women to perform at par with men.
“I have been posted to various terrains. There is no gender discrimination when it comes to operational things. I have also been utilised as an architect in the army and also in other roles. It gives me satisfaction that being in this role, you can inspire the younger generation. We are empowered in the Army. We have been accepted in all roles,” she said.
Major Suchitra Chellappan said that she has been serving the nation being in the Indian Army uniform for the past 15 years.
“The challenges that emerge in our work acts as motivation. Army facilitates your requirement both professionally and in personal life too. We did not feel any regret,” she said.
When asked how long will it take to see women in the combat roles, Chellappan said, “Don’t think operation part happens at war front only. Lady officers are also posted in high-altitude and other difficult areas including Naxalite areas.”
In February, Minister of State for Defence, Shripad Naik told Rajya Sabha that a total of 9,118 women are serving as officers in the three defence forces while the approval has been granted for inducting 1,700 females as jawans in the corps of military police.

In addition to the provision of Permanent Commission to Women Officers in Judge Advocate General and Army Education Corps, the Government of India has recently announced a grant of Permanent Commission to Women Officers in all other Arms/ Services in which they are eligible for commission. Further, the Government has sanctioned 1,700 women in the Military Police Corps in a phased manner.
The Indian Air Force undertakes various induction publicity measures to encourage youth including women to join IAF. Modules like direct contact programme, print and electronic media are extensively used to create awareness about IAF and educate students about the various mode of entries.
Women are employed as officers in the Indian Navy since 1992 wherein only three avenues were available to Women viz. Law, Education and Logistics. However, over a period of time, the number of other avenues has been opened for women induction. (ANI)

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India registers 18,327 new COVID-19 cases, 108 deaths in last 24 hours

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): As many as 18,327 new COVID-19 cases and 108 deaths were reported in India in the last 24 hours, the union health ministry informed on Saturday.
The country’s overall COVID-19 cases tally has reached 1,11,92,088, including 1,80,304 active cases while the death toll has mounted to 1,57,656.
A total of 22,06,92,677 samples have been tested for COVID-19 up to March 5, 2021, of these, 7,51,935 samples were tested on Friday, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
According to the health ministry, a total of 1,94,97,704 people have been vaccinated against coronavirus so far.
India commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1. (ANI)

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