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Archives for : September2017

Protests in Tripura on Journalist Shantanu Bhowmick’s Brutal Murder

GUWAHATI: Journalists’ forums and individuals besides political parties have demanded a high level inquiry on the assassination of yet another journalist in Tripura.

Twenty eight year old Santanu Bhowmik who worked for Deen Raat, a local news channel, was abducted and hacked to death while he was covering a political clash between Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) and CPM’s tribal wing Tripura Rajaer Upajati Ganamukti Parishad (TRUGP) at Mandwai, some 25 kilomtre from state capital Agartala on Wednesday.

Seriously injured Bhowmik was taken to a government hospital, but the attending doctors declared him brought dead.

The IPFT has long been demanding for a separate state — Tipraland for the indigenous Tripuris. The ruling Left front has, however, opposed this demand. There have been a number of bloody clashes in the past on the issue.

Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was promulgated in more than 10 places of West Tripura and Khowai districts from Tuesday after clashes broke between the supporters of the two organizations.

Deputy Inspector General of Poloce Arindam Nath told media that four IPFT members were arrested from the spot on Wednesday itself.

Journalists in Tripura staged protests and demanded strict action from the state government so that such incidents are not repeated in the future.

Expressing shock at the brutal murder of the young scribe, the Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) demanded a high level probe into the incident and urged the Manik Sarkar led Left government at Agartala to book the culprits under the law.

The forum also reiterated its old demand for a special protection law for scribes on duty.

Shantanu Bhowmik becomes the seventh Indian victim-journalist this year after the murder of Bangalore based editor-journalist and social activist Gauri Lankesh (55) on September 5. Prior to her, Haryana based television journalist Surender Singh Rana (35) was shot dead on July 29.

The other victims include Kamlesh Jain (42) of Madhya Pradesh (killed on May 31), Shyam Sharma (40) also of Madhya Pradesh (killed on May 15), Brajesh Kumar Singh (28) of Bihar (killed on January 3) and Hari Prakash (31) of Jharkhand (killed on January 2).

India lost six journalists to assailants in 2016, which was preceded by five cases in 2015. The populous country witnessed murders of two scribes in 2014, but the year 2013 reported as many as 11 journalists’ murders, where three northeastern media employees also also killed.

The killing of Sujit Bhattacharya (proof reader), Ranjit Chowdhury (manager) and Balaram Ghosh (driver) inside the office premises of Dainik Ganadoot in Agartala created a sensation as it was unprecedented at the time with Tripura having no recent record of journalist-murders.

“Tripura thus repeated its shameful record on journo-murder after three years. Shantanu’s killing on duty hours also reminds the challenge and risks faced by the working journalists of northeast India. We also extend moral supports to the agitating journalists of Tripura for their endeavor to justice,” said a statement issued by JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria.

National Union of Journalists India (NUJI). The Journalists Association of Assam (JAA) and its Tripura state affiliate strongly condemned the brutal murder of the journalist and demanded strict action against te culprits.

Condemning the killing NUJI president Ras Bihari and secretary East Zone Bhupen Goswami termed it as a failure of the administration to grant protection to the media persons.

NUJI also reiterated its demand for a Journalists Protection Act to ensure safety and end impunity for attacks on journalists.

NUJI secretary general Ratan Dixit said, “We demand adequate compensation to the murdered journalist and appeal to the state authorities to ensure that such incidents should not occur in future. In addition, we also demand immediate arrest of the culprits”.

Prasanta Chakraborty, Tripura state general secretary of the NUJI unit said the killing is a most brutal act on the part of any political group in the state.

CPIM official twitter handle alleged that ( ) BJP directly supports IPFT who murdered Santanu Bhowmik after accusing him of being A CPI(M) supporter!

It also said that Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has directed the DGP to investigate the matter with utmost priority and take stern action against the perpetrators.

The Editors Guild of India strongly condemns the killing of Santanu Bhowmik,  a reporter of a local TV channel in Tripura. He was brutally attacked by a mob and killed in Mandai about 35 kilometres from Agartala even though, it is reported, that police were present at the scene. The Guild demands that the Tripura Chief Minister Mr Manik Sarkar have the assailants swiftly brought to justice. Also to take adequate precautions to ensure that such attacks on journalists do not occur in future in the state.

Unfortunately, Bhowmik’s killing is not an isolated incident. Only on September 5, Gauri Lankesh, Editor of Gauri Lankesh Patrika, was brutally murdered in front of her house in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Meanwhile, there are frequent reports of journalists receiving threat letters or being trolled viciously.  There is a growing pattern to these attacks and journalists are increasingly becoming easy targets because of lax law enforcement agencies.

The Guild demands that the Central Government take cognisance of the series of attacks on journalists and ask all state governments to take steps to provide adequate protection to journalists across the country.

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India – When will institutional brutality end?

Will it end at all or should we do away with mental institutions?

By- Anjali Mental Health Rights Organization


“It was all about a bed. A new bed.The girl who sleeps next to me has been allotted a new one. Mine is an old one. I felt envious. Why would she get a new one and not me? I kept thinking. I could feel anger boiling within me. I went for my bath and sudden surge of anger overwhelmed me. I ran out of the bathroom and dashed towards the nursing station. I did not realise at the time that I was not wearing any clothes. The woman, sweeper or a security staff beat me up severely because I was naked. I hurled abuses at the nurses because I was enraged. That’s when the older nurse beat me with a wooden scale again and the younger one twisted my arms through the iron grilles of the nursing station
Doctor came and gave me injections. 

Next day, the nurses forced me to sign on a ‘letter’ which read that the nurses love me, care for me and the reason of black and blue bruises on my arm and wrist was because of the scuffle that I had got into.They did not beat me. It was my fault.
The woman sitting outside could have told me to wear my clothes. Why did she have to beat me up so badly? Why did the nurses beat me up? I have been living here for the last 15 years or so. I don’t like it here.” ~ a woman aged 30 with psychosocial disability living in a mental hospital in Calcutta.

In 2017, in post UNCRPD era, with Mental Health Care Act in place this kind of patient narrative from a mental hospital situated right in the middle of the city makes us wonder about the role of caregivers i e nursing staff. Not only are they untrained in psychiatry, deep seated prejudices about mental illness makes them inhumane and cruel. What about the nurses’ anger and aggression? Who will address that?

Time to think about dismantling oppressive structures and the long term goal of ending institutional stigma.
How is this brutality any different from what happened to Utera Bibi a poor woman with psycho-social disability who was lynched at a remote village in Murshidabad?

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India – Tripura reporter , Santanu Bhowmick beaten to death #WTFnews

No outrage, no debate; Was Santanu Bhowmick any different from Gauri Lankesh?

Indian journalists at a road blockade set up over the killing of journalist Shantanu Bhowmick in Agartala.


 Journalist Shantanu Bhowmik killed by IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura), a tribal party in the state. 4 people arrested.

A reporter covering political unrest in India’s north-east was beaten to death during violent clashes, officials have said, two weeks after the high-profile murder of another prominent journalist.

Shantanu Bhowmick was set upon with sticks as he reported on violence on Wednesday between warring political factions and police outside Agartala, the capital of remote Tripura state.

On Thursday, the state police superintendent Abhijit Saptarshi said more than a dozen officers had also been injured in the fracas and tensions remained high in the troubled region. “We later found the journalist’s body at the site of the clashes,” he told AFP from Tripura.

No arrests have yet been made in connection with the reporter’s death, but four people were detained on separate charges related to the political violence, Saptarshi said.

Bhowmick’s death brings the number of reporters killed in India since the early 1990s to 29, according to figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

It comes just a fortnight after the murder of Gauri Lankesh, a newspaper editor and outspoken critic of the ruling Hindu nationalist party, whose death sparked an outpouring of anger.

The 55-year-old was shot dead by three unknown gunmen as she entered her home in the southern city of Bangalore in Karnataka state on 5 September. No one has yet been identified or arrested in connection with the killing.

In 2015 India was ranked the deadliest country in Asia for journalists by Reporters Without Borders – although most deaths occur in remote rural areas away from the major urban centres. In April, the press freedom group ranked the country 136th of 180 countries in its world press freedom ratings, blaming “Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate”.

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India on the mat at Geneva human rights meet #UPR3India

Al Hussein has been in the news recently over his frank criticism of India, ranging from Delhi’s threat to deport its Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar where it is facing ethnic cleansing, to the “broader rise of intolerance” towards religious and other minorities as well as “worrying developments” in Kashmir.

 by Jyoti Malhotra | New Delhi |

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein. (AP/File Photo) 

As India prepares to respond to as many as 340 recommendations made by the international community at the Human Rights Council’s third Universal Periodic Review in Geneva today (September 21), it has emerged that a highly critical letter of India’s human rights record, written by UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in April, took as long as four months to reach the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for action.

Al Hussein has been in the news recently over his frank criticism of India, ranging from Delhi’s threat to deport its Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar where it is facing ethnic cleansing, to the “broader rise of intolerance” towards religious and other minorities as well as “worrying developments” in Kashmir.

“The current wave of violent, and often lethal, mob attacks against people under the pretext of protecting the lives of cows is alarming,” the High Commissioner for Human Rights had said as he inaugurated the 36th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 11.

But Zeid Al Hussein, who is married into the Jordanian royal family, has been watching India’s human rights record for some time. On April 12 he wrote to Sushma Swaraj, recommending that the NHRC’s powers be expanded to “cover all relevant cases involving the paramilitary forces and the army, including in Jammu & Kashmir state,” as well as empowering it to “inquire into alleged human rights violations and abuses by the armed forces of India.”

The letter, which is essentially an intermediate response to NHRC’s application for reaccreditation to the ranking Global Alliance for Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), has several other suggestions on what India can do to strengthen the NHRC.

It seems that GANHRI’s sub-committee for accreditation had last November warned India that the NHRC must be much more diverse and representative in its make-up, so as to suo moto credibly deal with the country’s human rights record.

Zeid Al Hussein’s suggestions include, establishing an open, transparent and merit-based selection process” for the NHRC’s governing body; appointing an advisory council, drawn from the NGO community and civil society, to its governing body, albeit without voting rights; empowering the NHRC to issue its own rules of procedure and guidelines; and establishing NHRC offices in the east, west and south of India and providing it funds to carry out its mandate.

But as Chennai-based human rights activist Henri Tiphagne found through two RTI applications, to the MEA and to the NHRC in July, Zeid Al Hussein’s letter to Sushma Swaraj – with copies to then vice-president and Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Home minister Rajnath Singh and NHRC chairman H L Dattu – took as long as four months to reach from South Block, which houses the MEA, to all these offices just down the road.

In an RTI application to the NHRC on July 8, Tiphagne asked about the contents of Al Hussein’s letter, when it had reached and what action the NHRC was taking in this regard. Within ten days, the NHRC had replied saying it had received no such letter from the MEA.

A day earlier, on July 7, Tiphagne had filed a similar RTI with the MEA, with the same questions. Six weeks later, on August 22, he finally received a reply from the MEA, enclosing a copy of the letter.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, it turned out, had written his letter to Sushma Swaraj on April 12 and sent it to India’s mission in Geneva, which in turn had forwarded it to Delhi.

At the Human Rights Council meeting today, where India’s case will come up, NHRC member J S Koccher will be present on behalf of his organization, along with MEA officials from Delhi as well as Rajiv Chander, India’s representative at its mission in Geneva.

Old-timers recall the time in 1993, in the wake of the Babri Masjid demolition, when then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao had sent then leader of the opposition Atal Behari Vajpayee to lead India’s delegation at the Human Rights committee meetings in Geneva.

This time around, with big powers like the US themselves under considerable international scrutiny on their own rights record, Delhi believes it can brazen it out. The day after the Al Hussein’s criticism of India in Geneva on September 11, Rajiv Chander responded by quoting prime minister Modi’s “sabka saath/sabka vikas” slogan to the Human Rights Council.

Then he added : “It is surprising that individual incidents are being extrapolated…India is proud of its independent judiciary, freedom of press, vibrant civil society and respect for rule of law and human rights. A more informed view would have not only recognized this but also noted, for example, that the Prime Minister himself publicly condemned violence in the name of cow protection.”

Of the 340 recommendations made by the human rights community to India, several deal with revising the AFSPA (Switzerland, Pakistan), enforced disappearances and impunity of security officials (Japan, Kazakshtan, Greece), equality to same-sex minorities (Ireland), anti-conversion laws (Vatican, Italy), freedom of religion and belief (Pakistan, Germany, Canada, Korea), refugees and stateless people (Kenya, Slovakia), protection of migrant workers (Guatemala, Uruguay), etc.

Interestingly, the need to amend the FCRA so as to allow freedom of association as well as the attendant rights of freedom of speech and expression have been brought up by several countries – Germany, US, Korea, Norway, Czevh Republic and Switzerland.

India’s refusal to ratify the convention against torture, even after two decades, troubles several others — including Portugal, Germany, Botswana, Norway, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Australia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Israel, Chile, Burkina Faso, Russia, Denmark, Indonesia, Estonia.

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Babuji Dheere Chalna actress Shakila dies of cardiac arrest #RIP

Yesteryear Actress Shakila Passes Away At 82

Shakila, known for her roles in CID, Aar Paar and Hatim Tai, passed away at 82.

View image on Twitter

Shakila passed away on September 20 in the evening at the age of 82


Shakila acted in films such as Aaar Paar and CIDShakila acted in films such as Aaar Paar and CID

Shakila, who won millions of hearts with her ravishing smile and innocence with the song Babuji Dheere Chalna, is no more. She died of cardiac arrest on September 20, at the age of 82.

Born as Badshah Begum on January 1, 1935, Shakila was introduced to cinema by her aunt, who went on to manage the acting careers of Shakila and her sisters, Noor and Nasreen. Shakila has acted in films such as Guru Dutt‘ s Aar Paar (1956) and CID (1956).She was also known for featuring in songs such as Baar Baar Dekho, with Shammi Kapoor,and Ae Mere Dil Hai Nadaan.

After appearing in more than 50 films in a career that spanned 14 years, she married and decided to move to the United Kingdom.She had a daughter called Meenaz, who died in 1991.

Shakila’s nephew, Nasirr Khan, shared the news on his Facebook page. He wrote, “With a heavy heart I have to inform you all that my maternal aunt (my moms older sister) Shakila Aunty has passed away. She was a star in her own right in the 50s and 60s. Babuji dheere chalna, pyaar mein zara samhalna. Please keep her in your prayers. May Allah grant her Jannat. Aameen. (sic)”

The actress, who has featured in films including Aar Paar and CID, is remembered for her songs Baar Baar Dekho and Babuji Dheere Chalna among others.

Her nephew Nasirr Khan took to Facebook to share the sad news and wrote, “With a heavy heart i have 2 inform u all dat my maternal aunt (my moms older sister) Shakila Aunty has passed away. She was a star in her own right in the 50’s n 60’s. Babuji dheere chalna, pyaar mein zara samhalna…Please keep her in ur prayers. May Allah grant her Jannat. Aameen.”

Veteran actress Wahida Rehman also took to Twitter and wrote, “Distressing to hear the demise of Shakila ji. Sad.”

Some of Shakila’s other works include Duniya, Dastan, Shehenshah, Lal Pari, Hatim Tai and China Town.

She was a very jovial person, and because she and my dad worked together in Aar Par, they would talk a lot about cinema. On the film’s set my dad met her younger sister Noorjahan, and the two got married. Shakila aunty was very happy with the work she did, and was a content person. We will miss her much.

Nasirr Khan, Actor (as reported by Indian Express)

Shakila is also fondly remembered for her performance in melodious numbers like Babuji Dheere ChalnaNeend Na Mujhko Aaye and Ae Mere Dil Hai Nadaan.

Some of her other popular films include Shriman SatyawadiChina TownPost Box 999DastaanSindbad the SailorShahenshahAlibaba Aur Chaalis Chor, Hatim Tai and Al-Hilal.

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Rajasthan- Case Against self styled ‘Godman’ for sexual assault #Vaw

In her complaint, the woman had alleged that the 70-year-old Kaushlendra Prapanacharya Phalahari Maharaj sexually exploited her at his ashram in Rajasthan’s Alwar on August 7

A woman from Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh has accused Phalahari baba of Alwar in Rajasthan of raping her on August 7.

Rajasthan godman Phalahari baba booked for raping a woman.


  • Chhattisgarh woman accuses Rajasthan godman of rape.
  • Alwar’s Phalahari baba booked for raping 21-year-old
  • Phalahari baba raped the woman on August 7.

    AIPUR: A self-styled godman in Rajasthan was on Wednesday booked for alleged sexual exploitation of a 21-year-old woman from Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, police said.

    In her complaint, the woman had alleged that the 70-year-old Kaushlendra Prapanacharya Phalahari Maharaj sexually exploited her at his ashram in Rajasthan’s Alwar on August 7.

    “Bilaspur police have sent the complaint here. We have registered a case of sexual exploitation and initiated investigation,” SHO Aravali police station, Hemraj Meena, said.

    He said that they visited the ashram of the accused from where it was found that he was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Alwar.

    He will be interrogated after permission from doctors, Mr Meena said.


    According to the police, the accused ‘Godman’ had been visiting the woman’s residence for quite some time.

    According to preliminary investigation, the woman had got an internship after completing her law studies. She visited the the ashram on August 7 to donate some money following which he allegedly sexually exploited her.

    “Her family is a disciple of Phalahari baba so they told her to give it to baba. When she went to meet him he told her to wait and then raped and threatened her. The parents came to us after the woman told them everything and we registered a case,” Archana Jha, DSP, Bilaspur said.

    The ‘Godman’ apparently has a sprawling ashram and several domestic and international devotees revere him, police said.

According to reports, when the police reached his ashram, Phalahari baba got himself admitted to a private hospital complaining of ill health. A police team is currently stationed outside the hospital to take him away for questioning.



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HC notice to RSS, Nagpur Municipal Corporation over building wall, roads at Smruti Mandir

Vaibhav Ganjapure| TNN |

Representative imageRepresentative image
NAGPUR: Taking cognisance of Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) decision to build a compound wall and internal cement roads for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) Smruti Mandir at Reshimbagh, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued notices to both organizations along with the Maharashtra government.

The HC was hearing a PIL filed by social activist Janardhan Moon through his NGO Nagari Hakka Saurakshan Manch, challenging NMC’s decision to spend Rs1.37 crore on Dr Hedgewar Smruti Mandir premises. Moon had contended RSS wasn’t even registered as an organization with the charity commissioner’s office here. The civic body is allegedly going out of its way to construct a compound wall and internal roads at Sangh headquarters in Reshimbagh.

A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Arun Upadhye asked the respondents, including RSS general secretary, NMC commissioner Ashwin Mudgal and NMC standing committee chairman Sandeep Jadhav, and state General Administration Department to respond before October 3.

Earlier, senior counsel Sunil Manohar, appearing for RSS, informed that the petitioner had wrongly named RSS Sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat as respondent in the PIL. He clarified that since RSS is a private organization, it’s constitution gives its general secretary the statutory authority in hierarchy. Accordingly, the court modified its order and issued notice to RSS secretary, in concurrence with the petitioner.

Citing media reports, petitioner’s counsel Ashwin Ingole started proceedings contending that RSS is an unregistered organization, yet the civic body is extending undue favours to them at taxpayers’ expense. The judges then asked the counsel what investigations he had done, instead of relying only on media reports. He replied they had obtained some information under the RTI Act from NMC.

In a series of reports, TOI had exposed how sycophants in the civic body were trying to please their leaders in the RSS. There have also been allegations of NMC leaders lobbying for tickets for assembly, Parliament and other seats. It is reported that though the rules do not allow NMC to spend on private premises, an exception can be made for notified tourist sites or pilgrim places like Deekshabhoomi, while the RSS headquarter is neither of these.

The proposal in this regard was first moved by ruling party leader Sandip Joshi and former mayor Pravin Datke in NMC. The Standing Panel under Jadhav later cleared it on September 12 with majority votes, even as Congress corporators opposed the move. Leader of opposition Tanaji Wanwe too had demanded immediate withdrawal of the order while citing NMC’s financial ill-health. Manoj Sangole, Harish Gwalbansi and Ansari Sayeeda Begum of Congress, and Jitendra Ghodeshwar of BSP registered their protest during the meeting.

The petitioner argued that the BJP-ruled corporation always cites financial crunch for not doing even mandatory works like maintaining roads, potholes and gutter lines.

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Telangana: Crackdown by forest officials on Gothi Koya tribals draws protests

The forest authorities plan to file criminal cases against the tribals, who are accused of cultivating crops in Pasra forest – which has been declared as a wildlife sanctuary – in violation of prevalent laws.

Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
A policeman attached to the Telangana forest department restrains a tribal woman in Jalagalancha.
A policeman attached to the Telangana forest department restrains a tribal woman in Jalagalancha. (HT Photo)

A recent crackdown by forest officials on Gothi Koya tribals to evict them from Jalagalancha in Telangana’s Pasra forest has triggered a political controversy.

The forest authorities plan to file criminal cases against the tribals, who are accused of cultivating crops in Pasra forest – which has been declared as a wildlife sanctuary – in violation of prevalent laws. However, the tribals claim podu (shifting cultivation) of millets and pulses on forest land is their sole means of sustainance, and they would not be able to survive on the plains.

Source said over 200 forest department officials swooped down on the Jalagalancha tribal hamlet with tractors and bulldozers on Saturday, and began demolishing the abodes of about 36 Gothi Koya families. “They ransacked their huts, throwing out food items, clothes, cots and utensils, before razing them to the ground. They also destroyed the standing crops in their fields. The tribals resisted the action, resulting in a clash. When the womenfolk tried to waylay the tractors, lathi-wielding female constables belonging to the forest department dragged them away,” Sarath Kumar, a witness, told HT.

While the tribal women were herded under a tree, their male counterparts were forced to dump their belongings into the tractors. “It took the fores officials two hours to shift them all to Tadwai, situated about 20 km away,” Kumar said.

The Gothi Koya tribals migrated to the forests of Warangal, Bhoopalpalli and Khammam districts from Chhattisgarh about ten years ago. Frequent gunbattles between security forces and ultras in the Maoist-infested state had spurred their exodus.

A policeman raises his lathi to restrain a tribal protester at Jalagalancha. (HT Photo)

“They settled in the woods, eking out a livelihood through podu. The district authorities even acknowledged their hamlets, giving them Aadhaar cards a couple of years ago and laying an approach road to their hamlet,” Ramana, a resident of the area, said.

The incident triggered protests by political parties as well as Adivasi groups. Agitators blocked the nearby Hyderabad-Bhupalapatnam national highway to demand justice for the victims on Sunday.

All India Adivasi Congress leader Bellaiah Naik Tejavath said tribals have the right to depend on forests for subsistence, and decried their eviction as unconstitutional. He has demanded monetary compensation for the affected tribals.

Pasra forest range officer J Shireesha, who carried out the evacuation, said the Gothi Koya tribals had to be shifted because they were cultivating crops in the wildlife sanctuary in violation of the law. “We served notices and tried to counsel them on three occasions since May. Though there was an initial agreement to leave the place, they decided against it in the eleventh hour. In the end, we had no option but to follow orders and evacuate them by force,” she told HT.

Shireesha alleged that some of the tribals who clashed with the officials were drunk. “We used mild force after they turned violent,” she said. “We don’t mind providing them with others means of livelihood and an alternative place to live, but the law will take its course if they attempt returning to the forest.”

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BJP Mahila Morcha leader slaps, shames girl in public over inter-faith ‘affair’ #WTFnews

Anuja Jaiswal| TNN | 

A screenshot of the video which shows Varshney slapping the girl.

BJP Mahila Morcha leader slaps, shames girl in public over inter-faith 'affair'

AGRA: In an apparent case of moral policing and enforcement of the anti-love jihad campaign, Sangeeta Varshney, the Aligarh president of the BJP‘s Mahila Morcha, has been caught in a video that has gone viral slapping and shaming a Hindu girl “seen in public” with a man from another community in Aligarh on Tuesday. Not stopping at that, she later called the father of the girl to the spot and ordered him to slap the girl some more.

The couple was first cornered by members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, who roughed them up and later dragged the two to a police station.

The incident at Naurangabad area of the city comes just four months after Hindu Yuva Vahini activists in Meerut barged into a house in April, dragged out an inter-religious couple and paraded them to a police station through a crowded street, seeking action against the man for “love jihad”.

In the video, the girl is clearly heard telling her tormentors that she is an adult and that the man she was seen with, Mohd Faizan, 32, is her boyfriend. She then reveals that she has been in a relationship with him for the last couple of years.

What apparently infuriated Varshney and others was the girl’s admission that her family did not know about their relationship. Varshney, who also claimed to be Uttar Pradesh head of the Hindu Sena’s women’s wing, said the girl used to frequently come to Naurangabad to meet the man without informing her parents. However,
BJP media in-charge in Aligarh, Shailendra Gupta, said Varshney was “earlier the city president of the Mahila Morcha, but not at present”.

On Tuesday, Varshney confronted the girl and after an argument insisted that the latter’s parents be called to the spot. During the argument, Varshney can be seen slapping the girl multiple times for refusing to call her parents.

Varshney admitted to TOI that she had slapped the girl as she was with a man from a particular community. “They are not to be trusted,” she said. “Everyone knows the consequences of such relations.”

Deepak Sharma, general secretary of Hindu Yuva Vahini, Naurangabad, who spotted the couple first, told TOI that he had been noticing them for the past three months and when he inquired about them, he got to know that the man was from a different faith while the girl was a Hindu. “We questioned them on Tuesday, when we caught them doing wrong things in public. Then we took them to the police station,” Sharma added.

Aligarh senior superintendent of police Rajesh Pandey said, “The girl’s father did not want to take action against anyone, and took his daughter away. However, a case has been registered under section 294 (indulging in obscene act at a public place) of the IPC against Faizan, who was detained by police on Tuesday.”

The girl’s father, who works at a lock-manufacturing unit, said, “I am a very poor person and I don’t want to get involved in any kind of controversy. I have already apologized to everyone and don’t want to pursue the matter. I was not aware of my daughter’s relationship with the man.”

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