Delhi Court Convicts Two In 2013 Gudiya Rape Case

A Delhi court on Saturday convicted two men in the 2013 kidnapping and brutal rape case of a five-year-old girl, who came to be known as Gudiya.

Manoj Kumar and Pradeep were convicted after the trial for brutally raping the minor girl at their rented accommodation in East Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar area in April 2013.

The gang-rape survivor was found with candles and plastic bottles inside her body. The minor was held captive by the convicts who raped and tortured her.

The court has convicted them under Section 363 (kidnapping), 342 (wrongful confinement), 307 (attempt to murder), 201 (destruction of evidence), 376 (rape) and 377 (unnatural sex) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and other offences.

Additional Sessions Judge Naresh Kumar Malhotra said that the court will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence on January 30.

“In our society minor girls are worshipped as Goddess but in the present case the victim child, who was aged about five years at the time of the incident, experienced exceptional depravity and extreme brutality,” the court said in the order.

It further observed that the crime against the rape survivor was committed in a “most grotesque and revolting manner”, adding that it shook the “collective conscience of the community”.

The case came to the fore after the girl was reported missing on April 15, 2013. The minor victim stayed in the same building where the accused were residing.

She was rescued on April 17 morning from the ground floor of the same building. The girl was later rescued and admitted to a hospital where three surgeries had to be conducted.

A case under charges of kidnapping, rape and attempt to murder was registered against both them for confining her to a room for two days.

One accused Manoj Kumar was apprehended from his in-law’s residence in Chiknouta village in Bihar while the accused was arrested later. Both the accused are currently in Tihar jail.

The family members and lawyer, who represented the minor, welcomed the judgment of the court.

“This matter has overwhelming DNA evidence and circumstantial evidence. Even then it has taken such a long time. We are grateful that finally justice has been done. It is a miracle that she is still alive,” advocate Prabh Sahay Kaur told ANI.

Meanwhile, a woman journalist from an English news channel was allegedly assaulted by one of the convicts as he came out from the court.

She was slapped following which a complaint was filed by her. The court has now sought an action-taken-report from the concerned police station on the incident.


Aditya Thackeray Denies Rift In Sena-Congress Ties

In the wake of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s veiled jibe at Congress over conferring Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar, another party leader Aaditya Thackeray on Saturday asserted that their alliance with Congress is strong despite having a different stance on certain issues.

“Sanjay Raut mentioned in what context he spoke. Shiv Sena-Congress alliance is strong and we came together for the development of the state. We may have different views on certain issues but this is what democracy is,” Thackeray told the media persons here.

His remarks came hours after Raut retorted strongly to those opposing Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar and said that such people should be put in jail for two days.

Several leaders across the political spectrum have pushed for Bharat Ratna award to be accorded to Savarkar.

Congress, on the other hand, has time and again sparked controversy on Sarvarkar’s name. Recently, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi refused to apologise for his “rape in India” comment saying that his surname was Gandhi, not Savarkar.

The Congress party had also come under attack over its booklet which claimed that Nathuram Godse and Savarkar had a physical relationship.

“Those who oppose Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar should be put for two days in Andaman’s cellular jail where Savarkar was lodged. It is only then that they will realize his sacrifice and contribution to the nation,” Raut had said earlier today.

Reacting on this, Thackeray urged people to talk about current issues like plummeting GDP and unemployment instead of history. “We should learn from history and move forward,” he added.


Lucknow POCSO Court Awards Death To Rapist

Lucknow Police Commissioner, Sujeet Pandey, on Saturday lauded the role of department officials in the death penalty awarded, in four months, to an accused in the rape case of a minor.

Pandey, in a video shared by the official handle of Lucknow police, said that the officials had done commendable work in ensuring justice was delivered in a timely manner and added that the officials had kept a close watch even when the trials were underway.

“The incident dates back to September 15, 2019, when a six-year-old was reported missing. Subsequently, her body was recovered from a house, the accused was arrested within 24 hours and the charge sheet was filed within six days and afterward, NSA was also applied,” Pandey said.

“Scientific evidence, including DNA samples, were taken during the investigation and the case was presented very strongly in the courts. Due to this, the court appreciated everything we produced and awarded a death sentence in four months to the accused,” he added.

Earlier on Friday, the POCSO court had awarded death sentence to the accused and also imposed a fine on him.

During the entire investigation and trial process, all officials including the DGP of Uttar Pradesh monitored it very closely.


Punjab Chief Minister

Punjab Goes Kerala Way, Passes Resolution Against CAA

A resolution which was moved by the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has been passed in the state assembly today.

People have been protesting against the Act ever since it received the Presidential assent.

The agitation had resulted in clashes in various cities across the nation and also allegedly led to the death of several people.

The CAA grants grant Indian citizenship to refugees from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi communities fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.


Nirbhaya Convicts To Hang On February 1 Now

A Delhi court on Friday issued a fresh death warrant against the four death-row convicts in a Nirbhaya rape case who will now be executed on February 1 at 6 am.

Earlier, they were to be hanged on February 22 at 7 am.

This came after the public prosecutor representing the Tihar jail authorities requested the court to issue fresh date and time of execution.

Four convicts, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan and Mukesh were convicted and sentenced to death for raping a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in the national capital on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012.

The victim, who was later given the name Nirbhaya, had succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Singapore where she had been airlifted for medical treatment.


India To Invite Imran Khan For Upcoming SCO Meet

India will extend invitations to all members of SCO including Pakistan as well as to the observer states for 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) heads of government meeting later this year, said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Thursday.

“It is now a public knowledge that India will be hosting the SCO council of heads of government meeting later this year. The meeting is held annually at the Prime Minister’s level and it discusses the SCO’s program and multilateral economic and trade co-operation. As per the established practice and procedure within SCO all eight members of SCO, as well as four observer states and other international dialogue partners will be invited to attend the meeting,” said Kumar when asked whether Pakistan will be invited for the meeting.

India for the first time will host the next meeting of the SCO members states’ heads of government. Kumar, while addressing a weekly briefing, said that all heads of the government of member states including Prime Minister Imran Khan will be invited as per the standard procedure.

The announcement by the MEA comes a day after Pakistan with the help of China tried to raise the Kashmir issue in the United Nations Security Council.

SCO is an intergovernmental organisation founded in Shanghai.

The SCO currently comprises eight Member States — China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership — Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia — and six “Dialogue Partners” — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey.

In June 2019, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Imran Khan attended SCO summit in Bishkek. During the summit, Modi made a veiled attack on Pakistan while addressing the plenary session, stating that the countries which support and finance terrorism must be held accountable.


CDS Gen Rawat Calls For De-radicalisation Of Youth

Programs aimed at counter-radicalisation of youth should be started for saving them while there is still time, said Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, on Thursday.

“We should start counter-radicalisation programs while identifying who are the people to have been radicalised and to what degree. Then look at them who are completely radicalised and then look towards the future. What we are seeing in Kashmir, young boys and girls as young as 10 years old have been radicalised, but they can still be isolated from radicalisation in a gradual manner,” Gen Rawat said at the panel discussion during Raisina Dialogue 2020.

Asserting there is a need to counter the radicalisation programs, the CDS said that the sources of radicalisation need to be found out and treated.

“Radicalisation can be countered, anything which has started can end. You need to see where it is starting. It is starting from schools, universities, from some other sources. We get the nerve of the whole things from where the radicalisation is coming, we have to start isolation of these people through deradicalisation camp,” Rawat said.

“We have such deradicalisation camps going in our country and so does Pakistan… ideology and radicalisation are the issues which have to be addressed on priority,” he added. (ANI)

India China Relations

China Isolated As It Raises Kashmir At UNSC Forum

China yet again managed to hold an informal closed-door consultation on Kashmir in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in New York earlier on Wednesday, almost five months after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 in August.

The UNSC’s closed-door meeting was called to discuss an issue relating to an African country. China made a request to deliberate on the Kashmir issue under the agenda of “Any Other Business Points.”

No other UNSC member, barring China, commented on the meeting after it ended given that it was an informal consultation.

China’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, warned against further escalation between India and Pakistan’s over Kashmir and hoped that the Security Council meeting would encourage both countries to seek a solution through dialogue.

He told reporters after the closed-door meeting that China remains “concerned about the situation on the ground” in Kashmir.

“I’m sure the meeting will help both parties to understand the risk of further escalation and encourage them to approach each other and to have dialogue and to seek means to seek solutions through dialogue,” Zhang said.

Members of the UNSC speaking on condition of anonymity said that China wanted a review of the UN observer mission in Kashmir. But an overwhelming number in the 15-member council urged for de-escalation of tension and said that the dispute is bilateral and should be resolved by India and Pakistan.

It should be noted that this is China’s second attempt to get the Kashmir issue on the agenda for consultations at the United Nations. However, it was thwarted by other members led by the United States and France.

India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin took to his official Twitter handle to post a picture of the Indian flag fluttering among those of other countries at the United Nations headquarters.

“Today @UN…our flag is flying high. Those that launched a “False Flag” effort got a stinging response from our many friends…,” he posted.

Meanwhile, French diplomatic sources told ANI that their country’s position remains “unchanged” and the matter must be settled bilaterally between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Earlier in the day, the Pakistan media had reported that the UNSC will meet on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Kashmir.

“France has noted the request of a UNSC member to raise Kashmir issue again in this body. France’s position is unchanged — Kashmir issue must be settled bilaterally as we have stated on several occasions and will continue to reiterate to our partners on UNSC,” sources said.

In December last year, France had vetoed the move to convene a meeting on Kashmir. That meeting had been called by China after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in a letter to the UNSC on December 12, had expressed concern over a possible further escalation of tension between New Delhi and Islamabad after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

The UNSC had met on Kashmir in August last year, the first such meeting in decades after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

China, in the meeting, had strongly criticised the move to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.


Separate Ethnic Identity: Sikhs Hail US Govt Decision

The Sikh community in the United States on Wednesday described as a “historic milestone” their identification as a separate ethnic group and said the procedure will help in recording an accurate number of their people in the decennial US Census report.

The US Census board has included Sikhs as a separate Ethnic Group. For the first time, this minority group will be counted and coded in the decennial US Census.

“A separate code recognises the unique identity of Sikhs and gives us an opportunity to have an accurate count of Sikhs in the United States to better serve the community’s needs,” said US Census Deputy Director Ron Jarmin.

Advocated by United Sikhs, a non-profit organisation based in the US for more than two decades, this development will also be instrumental in addressing major Sikh issues which included bias, racism, xenophobia, and hate crimes against the community.

“This historic announcement is the result of decades of advocacy by the United Sikhs group at the national level on behalf of the Sikh community. Being involved in this civic engagement will help ensure an accurate count of Sikhs in the United States. Census data will help in tracking and measuring hate crimes against the community. It will also ensure an equal and accurate representation of Sikhs. This is useful in providing access to members of Congress and other essential government services for the needs of the community,” said Jasmit Singh, Advocacy Director of the United Sikhs.

Jasdeep Singh, another prominent voice of the community and the founder of ‘Sikhs of America,’ welcomed the US Census Board’s decision, saying, “A lot of hate crimes after 9/11 were attributed to the Sikh community, and there were no boxes to check. As Sikhs, we were lumped in as south Asian, Middle Eastern, so we could never get our voice heard. This would give a number and identity to the Sikh community.”

“A long-awaited demand of the Sikh community has been met. The main category in the census is the country of origin and for many of us, that will always be Asian Indian. But when it comes to religion or ethnicity the new Sikh identity will come in place,” he told ANI.

One of the many formal partners of the US Census Bureau, the Sikh Coalition — a US-based think tank — also raised census awareness and participation of the Sikh community as a separate group.

“The Sikh Coalition is partnering with the Census Bureau because Sikhs have traditionally been a ‘hard to count’ population in the United States,” said Satjeet Kaur, Sikh Coalition Executive Director.

“Our community matters and we want to make sure that Sikh families are appropriately counted and accurately resourced wherever they are across the United States,” Kaur added.

In the lead-up to the mid-March mailing of initial census forms, the Sikh Coalition will recruit and train volunteers at Gurdwaras across the country who will help community members submit their census information online in a safe and supportive environment.


Execution Of Convicts In Nirbhaya Case Postponed

Standing Counsel for Tihar Jail authorities Advocate Rahul Mehra on Wednesday said that the execution of convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case will not take place on January 22.

He further stated that the fate of a death convict comes to finality only after his mercy plea is rejected by the President

“It can only take place 14 days after the mercy plea is rejected as we are bound by the rule which says that a notice of 14 days must be provided to the convicts after the rejection of mercy plea,” he added.

Mukesh Singh, one of the four convicts in the gang-rape and murder of paramedic student in 2012, has informed the Delhi High Court that his mercy petition is pending before the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and the President of India and he should be given a minimum 14 days notice between the rejection of his mercy petition and scheduled date of execution.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court has refused to set aside the trial court order which issued death warrant.

Delhi High Court had asked convict Mukesh’s counsel to approach trial court and apprise the court about the pending mercy plea.

The Supreme Court had already dismissed curative petitions of the two death row convicts, including Mukesh Singh, in 2012 gang-rape case.

Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh had moved the curative petitions in the top court after a Delhi court issued death warrants in their names for their hanging on January 22.

Besides them, two other convicts named Pawan and Akshay are also slated to be executed on the same day at 7 am in Delhi’s Tihar Jail premises.

They were convicted and sentenced to death for raping a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in the national capital on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012.

The victim, who was later given the name Nirbhaya, had succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Singapore where she had been airlifted for medical treatment. (ANI)