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Archives for : May2018

Under Modi Government, VIP Hate Speech Skyrockets – By 500%

NDTV scanned nearly 1,300 articles and cross-referenced this with databases. We went through 1,000 recent tweets of politicians and public figures.

The hate speech data was collated from public record, the internet, and our reporters’ network.



  1. Data collated from public record, internet, network of reporters
  2. Scanned 1,300 articles, and cross-referenced with databases
  3. 124 instances of VIP hate speech by 45 politicians found

The use of hateful and divisive language by high-ranking politicians has increased almost 500% in the past four years, an NDTV data collection exercise has found.

The premise of the exercise was simple: it seems not a day, or a week goes by without some senior politician – a member of Parliament, minister, MLA or even Chief Minister making a hateful comment, be it in the language of bigotry or calling for violence. The rise in use of social media by politicians has only amplified this disturbing trend.

Our aim was to establish, as accurately as possible, whether this is ‘business as usual,’ or if the practice of ‘VIP hate speech,’ which has a long and troubled history in this country, witnessed an unusual rise in the recent past.

The methodology is as follows: we defined hate speech as statements that are clearly communal, casteist, or calls to violence. Some of these instances could invoke action under laws that cover hate speech – laws like Section 295A (outraging religious feeling), Section 153 (promoting enmity between groups) or Section 505 (making statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code. However, experience shows that these laws are infrequently used, especially when it comes to political leaders.

We also included comments that may not directly be communal, but are clearly “dog whistling” – loaded against a community or religion in an indirect or coded way.

We did not include crude or sexist remarks that are derogatory to women.

We selected two time periods for our analysis – the four years from 2014 until now of the Modi government, and the five years from 2009 to 2014, under the second Congress-led United Progressive Alliance.

We concentrated on elected representatives – members of parliament, members of legislative assemblies, chief ministers – as well as those holding high offices, like party leaders and governors.

The data was collated from public record and the internet, as well as using our network of reporters.

We scanned nearly 1,300 articles, and cross-referenced this information with databases such as the Documentation of the Oppressed and Amnesty International’s Halt the Hate Tracker.

We also went through the 1,000 most-recent tweets (ending with April 2018) of top politicians and public figures.

We also looked up what action, if any, was taken against the leaders making hate speech.

To be clear: this is far from a perfect record, and in no way are we claiming this to be comprehensive. Readers (and viewers) are welcome to submit any omissions that meet our criteria.

Based on what we found, from May 2014 to the present, there have been 124 instances of VIP hate speech by 45 politicians, compared to 21 instances under UPA 2, an increase of 490%.

hate speech data 1 ndtv
upa nda hate speech gfx ndtv

90% of hateful comments made during the NDA’s current terms are by BJP politicians.

During the NDA period, a total of 45 political leaders made hateful comments. Of them, 35 politicians, or 78%, are from the BJP. 10 leaders, or 22% of the offenders, are from other political parties, including the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal.

During UPA-2, 21 political leaders made hateful comments, of which 3 or 14 % were from the Congress, which anchored the coalition. From the opposition, politicians from the BJP took the lead, recording seven instances of hate speech.

The remaining 11 instances of hate speech from 11 political leaders under UPA-2 include politicians from the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, and the Shiv Sena.


Of the 45 leaders responsible for hate speech since the Modi government came to power, we could only find six cases (only 5% of all instances) of evidence of a politician being reprimanded or cautioned, or issuing a public apology. 95% of the time, the ‘VIP hater’ faced no consequence.

Cases were registered only against 11 of the 45 politicians. In a separate investigation, NDTV had reported on how cases of hate speech against political leaders show little or no progress.


In at least two cases, hate speech appears to have paid off.

Yogi Adityanath, the current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, was a member of parliament from Uttar Pradesh when, in November 2015, he said “There is no difference between the language of Shah Rukh Khan and that of Hafiz Saeed.”

In September 2014, he ascribed the rise in riots in Western UP to the population growth of a minority community. “In places where there are 10 to 20% minorities, stray communal incidents take place,” he said. “Where there are 20 to 35% of them, serious communal riots take place and where they are more than 35%, there is no place for non-Muslims.”

In all, there are six such instances of hate speech by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. All were made before he was promoted to his current office.

yogi adityanath pti

Yogi Adityanath, in ascribed the rise in riots in Western UP to the population growth of a minority community

Anant Kumar Hegde was a BJP member of parliament from Karnataka when, in March 2016, he said, “As long as we have Islam in the world, there will be no end to terrorism. If we are unable to end Islam, we won’t be able to end terrorism.”

In September 2017, he was promoted as Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Since 2014, Mr Hegde has made seven such hate speeches. Three months after being made union minister, in December 2017, Mr Hegde declared that the party would remove the term “secular” from the Constitution, saying “These people who call themselves secularists are like people without parentage or who don’t know their bloodline.”


Mr Hegde is one of three serial ‘VIP haters’ in poll-bound Karnataka.

Shobha Karandlaje, a member of parliament from Karnataka and the general secretary of the Karnataka BJP, has posted at least nine hateful tweets since June last year. These include tweets like the one below.

Shobha Karandlaje


Siddaramaiah govt withdrawing the cases of jihadis.He wants to create communal tension in the state at the cost ofHindu life’s # Save Hindus

Shobha Karandlaje


CM Siddaramaiah why ur not withdrawing the cases of innocent Hindu youths ? Why only Minorities ?

Shobha Karandlaje


Will continue my fight against Jihadi elements.There is no way I’ll succumb to the pressure of @siddaramaiah Govt.

Pratap Simha, another member of parliament from Karnataka, has also posted four hateful tweets since September last year. These include Tweets like:

Pratap Simha


Dear @SPmysuru Ravi Channannavar prior to Eid Milad, over night you allowed Muslims to erect illegal green arch on govt road, but stopped us from putting Hanuman Posters! From last two years u are distrusting Hanuman Jayanti! What a policing!!

Mr Simha has since been appointed by the government as a member of the Press Council of India.


In further proof that hate has no consequence on the careers of political leaders, we found that at least 21 political leaders (or 48%) had recorded more than one instance of hate speech. They were not reprimanded for their hateful comments, nor did they issue apologies.

Prominent amongst them is T Raja Singh, a BJP MLA from Telangana, who has repeatedly made public speeches inciting violence. In November last year, he threatened to burn down theatres screening “Padmavat.”

Reacting to the communal violence in Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh, in January 2018, he said, “Every Hindu should carry weapons like lathis and attack other communities’ members if they said anything wrong.

Since December 2015, Mr Singh has made at least ten hateful comments.

Other prominent repeat offenders include former BJP member of parliament Vinay Katiyar, and Governor of Tripura Tathagata Roy.

Mr Katiyar, who finished his Rajya Sabha term just this month, has made at least four communal speeches since December 2017. In February this year, he said Muslims have no business being in India, and should go to Pakistan or Bangladesh.

“The cremation ground inside the Taj will be destroyed,” he said in another speech in February, claiming that the Taj Mahal was in fact, a temple. “Only our temple will exist and only the pillars that exist around it will stand.”

Mr Roy has repeatedly taken to Twitter to make communal comments. Since March 2015, he has made at least 12 such comments, like the ones below:

Tathagata Roy@tathagata2

Intelligence shd keep a tab on all (expt relatives & close friends) who assembled bfr Yakub Memon’s corpse. Many are potential terrorists

Tathagata Roy@tathagata2

@tani_sana One exception was Gujarat,2002. I’m glad you appreciate what the Hindus did then @AdityaRajKaul


A significant number of instances of hate speech invoke the rhetoric of cow protection, a subject that has gained currency under this government. Elected leaders, including MPs, MLAs and even Chief Ministers have used the language of vigilantes while calling for violence against those who kill cows.

“There is no such thing (cow slaughter) happening in the state. It hasn’t happened in the state in the last 15 years. Has it? We will hang those who kill cows,” said Raman Singh, the Chief Minister of Chattisgarh, in April 2017.

“I had promised that I will break the hands and legs of those who do not consider cows their mother and kill them,” Vikram Saini, a BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh, said last year.

“I will say it straight out, if you smuggle and slaughter cows, then you will be killed. The cow is our mother,” Gyan Dev Ahuja, a BJP MLA from Rajasthan, said in December last year.

The rise in political vitriol over cow protection in the past four years appears to correlate with a rise in cow-related vigilantism. The fact-checking site India Spend reported that 97% of gau raksha attacks since 2010 occurred under the current government. They counted 76 attacks from May 2014 to December 2017, compared to only two instances in the earlier period (from 2010 to May 2014).


Another popular theme in hate speech by political leaders was repeated attempts to delegitimise the Muslim faith, urging Muslims to accept their Hindu ancestry, or inciting fears of a Muslim takeover by playing on fears of an increasing Muslim population.

Like Surendra Singh, a BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh, who said in January this year, “Muslims who assimilate into our culture will stay in India. Those who will not are free to take asylum in any other country.”

BJP member of Parliament Sakshi Maharaj has also made hateful speeches along this theme. In June last year, he exhorted every Hindu woman to have four children to “protect the religion.” “If problems are arising in the country due to population, Hindus are not responsible for that,” said Maharaj. “Responsible are those who talk of four wives and forty children.” An FIR with charges of inciteful and divisive speech was filed against Maharaj for this speech.

BJP member of parliament Subramanian Swamy has repeatedly written hateful tweets against Muslims, posting at least 17 of these since September 2017:

Subramanian Swamy


: He knows that I am not anti Hindustani Muslim i.e., those Muslims who acknowledge their ancestors as Hindus.

Subramanian Swamy


Hindus wake up! Muslims leaders are refusing to give up on a masjid,that is shiftable,to restore the holiest temple on the birthplace of Ram

Choudhary Babulal, a BJP member of parliament from Rajasthan, issued an open threat to anyone “insulting the [Hindu] community” after the death of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader in February 2016. “We do not want unrest at any cost, but if you want to test Hindus, then let’s decide a date and take on Muslims,” said Mr Babulal.


The past four years have also seen political leaders threatening the administration with violence for taking action against members of their own party, religion or their ideological fraternity.

For instance, in February 2016, Arun Kumar Mauhar, a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, was shot dead on his way back from a temple in Mandola, Uttar Pradesh. Five people from the minority community were arrested for the murder.

While his family cited personal enmity, political leaders from the BJP and the VHP called a condolence meeting three days later, where several hate speeches were made.

At the meeting, Ram Shankar Katheria, a BJP MP and the then Minister of State for Human Resources Development (now the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes) threatened to kill those who attacked Mr Mauhar.

“Today we have lost one Arun, tomorrow it could be another Arun…the killers should be killed,” said Mr Katheria.

Three BJP leaders were booked for making hate speeches at the meeting. Though Mr Katheria was not named, three weeks after the meeting, he said, “”If cases against the BJP and VHP leaders are not withdrawn within 15 days, if the administration continues to ignore our demand, then a different kind of Holi would be played after 15 days.”

Sangeet Som, an MLA from UP who was re-elected in the 2017 elections, reacted to the media coverage and the arrests of nine men accused of the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri in 2015 by saying, “If action is taken against innocent, we have given a befitting reply earlier and can do so again.”

sangeet som

On the Dadri lynching, MLA Sangeet Som said, “If action is taken against innocent, we have given a befitting reply earlier and can do so again.” (File)


The reluctance of the current ruling party to crack down on its hate speech ‘offenders’ may partly be explained by the fact that the top leadership of the party does not seem averse to playing the communal card, albeit using veiled language.

Prominent amongst such instances are speeches by BJP party president Amit Shah, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.

“If there is a cemetery in the village, there should be a crematorium as well; if there is electricity on Ramzan, it should be there on Diwali as well; there shouldn’t be any discrimination,” Mr Modi had said in February 2017, during an election rally in Fatehpur, UP, in the run-up to the assembly elections that his party swept.

Ahead of the Bihar election in 2015, at a speech in Buxar in October that year, Mr Modi said, “Nitish and Lalu have conspired to take away the 5% reservation for OBCs, EBCs and Dalitsand give it to the minorities. I swear I will die protecting the rights of the OBCs, EBCs and Dalits.”

During the same campaign, Amit Shah sparked controversy with this comment:  “If by any mistake, BJP loses, the victory and defeat may be in Bihar but fire crackers will go off in Pakistan.”


In the instances of hate speech in the past four years by prominent leaders of the opposition, threats of violence against Prime Minister Modi feature more than once.

In October 2017, Bihar MLA and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tej Pratap Yadav said “A conspiracy is being hatched to kill Lalu-ji. We will not stay silent. We will skin Narendra Modi.”

Just a week before this threat, Rabri Devi, Tej Pratap’s mother and a former Chief Minister of the state, reacted  to a comment by BJP MP Nityanand Rai saying he would cut off any fingers or any hand raised against PM Modi.

I dare them to cut (hands), there are many people who can cut the hands and neck of PM Modi,” she said.

Earlier this month, Dinesh Gundu Rao, a Congress MLA from Karnataka, declared UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath unfit to step into the state.  “If Yogi Adityanath comes again to Karnataka, we should show chappals to him and make sure that he is sent back,” said Mr Rao. “If a person like him comes to Karnataka, then our mother land will become impure.” Mr Rao later apologised for the comment.


Under the previous government, there were at least 21 instances of hate speech recorded across party lines. Amongst the prominent instances: in the lead up to the 2014 general elections, Rahul Gandhi, then a member of parliament, said, “If the BJP comes to power, 22,000 people will be killed.”

Also in the run-up to  the general elections, Congress candidate Imran Masood said, “If Modi tries to turn Uttar Pradesh into Gujarat, then we will chop him into tiny pieces.” 

Akbaruddin Owaisi, the leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and then an MLA in Andhra Pradesh, had issued a violent threat against Hindus in December 2012. “Remove the police for 15 mins, we will finish off 100 crore Hindus,” he had said during a speech. He spent 40 days in jail on charges of hate speech before getting bail.

The Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan, at the time an MLA in Uttar Pradesh, was campaigning for the 2014 general elections when he said the country cannot be “given in the hands of a murderer,” referring to Mr Modi, who was  then the Gujarat Chief minister.


“When Narendra Modi had been asked about 2002 Gujarat riots, he said that if a dog comes under the wheel of a car, he is very upset,” said Mr Khan. “The murderers of Muzaffarnagar should be avenged by pressing the button.”

hate speech by politicians ndtv

The article above states the number of instances of hate speech as of April 17, 2018, the day the database was released. We will be adding new instances of hate speech to the spreadsheet below, and updating the latest figures in the image below.

hate speech apr 19


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J Dey murder case: Chhota Rajan, 8 others get life imprisonment; journalist Jigna Vora acquitted

Rebecca Samervel and Swati Deshpande| TNN |


  • Rajan was held guilty of conspiracy and murder and under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
  • He attended the court via a video conferencing facility from Delhi.

J Dey murder case: Chhota Rajan, 8 others get life imprisonment; journalist Jigna Vora acquitted

MUMBAI: A special MCOCA court on Wednesday sentenced gangster Chhota Rajanand eight others to life imprisonment for the murder of journalist J Dey in June 2011. The court acquitted journalist Jigna Vora and Paulson Joseph, who had been a SIM card provider. All accused except Deepak Sisodia will also pay a fine of Rs 26 lakh each.

Rajan was earlier held guilty of conspiracy and murder and under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). He attended the court via a video conferencing facility from Delhi.

The prosecutor Pradeep Gharat did not seek death sentence for the convicts. He left it to the discretion of the court keeping in mind the seriousness of the crime as it was an attack on the fourth pillar of democracy. The contractors were hired for execution of conspiracy and the victim had a mother and a completely dependent sister. Dey’s mother already died and the court should consider grant of compensation for sister.

Dey (51) was gunned down in Powai, allegedly at the behest of don Chhota Rajan.

Besides Rajan, who was extradited to India in December 2015, 10 others faced trial in the case. Journalist Jigna Vora, one of the accused, was suspected of having passed on Dey’s information to the gangster.

Special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat said 155 witnesses deposed, of which seven were declared hostile after they did not support the prosecution’s case. Key witnesses, Gharat said, were journalists to whom Rajan spoke after the murder. Gharat termed them “extra judicial confessions” and said Rajan had expressed to a journalist his regret about the murder. “The confessions of three accused—Arun Dake, Deepak Sisodia and Joseph Paulson—before the DCP were also important pieces of evidence,” he added.

Referring to the technical evidence, Gharat said call data records showed the assailants had kept a watch on Dey near his house and were at the murder spot when he was shot. “Scientific reports showed the bullets recovered from Dey’s body and shells recovered from the spot matched with the weapon seized from a chawl in Amboli. Accused Satish Kalia guided the police to the chawl,” he said. Another important witness, the prosecutor said, was analyst Edward Burns from a US forensic laboratory, who deposed via video-conferencing. Burns said the bike that the assailants came on was same as the one found by cops during the course of investigation.

With respect to Rajan, Gharat said his voice samples taken in Tihar jail, where he is lodged, matched with the recordings of conversations he had with a journalist after the murder. During the arguments that concluded on Tuesday, Rajan’s defence advocates Anshuman Sinha and Hasnain Kazi picked holes in the manner in which the voice samples were collected and the testimony of the expert who deposed on the samples. They said that the expert’s report says the voice is “probably” that of Rajan’s.

The advocates placed on record several judgments on procedures for voice recognition. They argued that one cannot merely rely on a witness’s statement that the person at the other end of the call was indeed Rajan. He said the prosecution should have given that witness several voice samples, including Rajan’s, and asked him/her to identify. Pointing out that psychology plays a role, the advocates said prior to receiving the calls, the police held a press conference on June 27, 2011 wherein Rajan was named the main accused. The defence said this could have created a bias.

A timeline of the events:

MAY 22, 2011

Rajan allegedly calls up aide Satish Kalya and asks him to make arrangements to carry out a hit on Dey. Kalya allegedly forms a 7-member team, asks them to arrange vehicles, and gets a .32-bore revolver and 25 cartridges from Deepak Sisodia in Nainital.

JUNE 6-9

The gang allegedly conducts a reconnaissance of the Powai residence.


The gang allegedly follows Dey on motorbikes and an SUV as he runs errands near his residence. Kalya allegedly pumps five bullets into Dey’s back.


A few TV channels claim Rajan called them up in which he purportedly admits to getting Dey killed. In these conversations, Rajan is quoted as saying that Dey was involved with Dawood and the ISI, and that a woman journalist “instigated” him (Rajan). He is further quoted as saying that Dey “had crossed his limit”.

DEC 11

Police file 3,055-page charge sheet for murder, conspiracy and carrying arms and explosives against the accused except Vora. In a subsequent charge sheet, the police said Vora had provided Dey’s address and vehicle registration details to Rajan.



Vora gets bail on the grounds that she had a child to look after as a single parent, and that her detention was not required since the investigation was over.



Vinod Asrani alias Vinod Chembur, who was allegedly the main co-conspirator and financer of the hit, dies of natural causes. He had allegedly “pointed out” Dey to Kalya and his team a few days before the murder.


Special MCOCA court frames charges against 10, including Vora.


Rajan arrested in Bali and deported to India.



MCOCA court frames charges against Rajan for murder and criminal conspiracy.



A witness identifies Rajan’s voice from a conversation between the gangster and a real estate broker. In the clip, Rajan purportedly makes inferences to Dey without naming him; also names Vora


JAN 30

Rajan denies calling any of the witnesses after the killing or that he took Dey’s licence plate number from Vora.


Defence claims the method of collection of Rajan’s voice samples faulty, asks that the tapes not be admissible as evidence


Court fixes May 2 as judgment day


Chhota Rajan and eight others get life imprisonment

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Uttar Pradesh: BJP minister in soup over halwai-cooked meal at Dalit home

Another BJP minister has landed himself in a controversy. 

Uttar Pradesh: BJP minister in soup over halwai-cooked meal at Dalit home

Aligarh: Another Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister has landed himself in a controversy. This time, it’s Suresh Rana – a cabinet member of Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government.

Rana was caught on camera eating food cooked by a halwai (caterer), instead of sharing a homemade meal cooked by the Dalit family.

The incident took place in Aligarh’s Lohagadh on Monday night after the minister landed up on the doorsteps of a Dalit family for a ‘surprise visit’. The visit was in line with patry’s Dalit outreach programme initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While the minister is seen enjoying his meal with the family, later footage shows him eating food pre-cooked by halwai and not by the Dalit family. The clip has gone viral on social media.

“I didn’t even know they are coming for dinner. They came suddenly. All food, water and cutlery they had arranged from outside,” said Rajnish Kumar, Dalit man at whose house the UP Minister had dinner.

Many other BJP leaders were also filmed eating the restaurant food.

The elaborate meal spread consisted of paneer items, dal makhnipulao, tandoori roti and gulab jamun. Mineral water bottles and water pouches were also seen on tables.

Later, villagers confirmed to Zee News that the food was ordered by the minister’s team from village halwai beforehand.

Rana reportedly denied the allegations and claimed that the family was aware of his visit.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb were recently caught in the line of fire past over remarks made by them.

Rupani had equated Google with Hindu mythological character Narada Muni who “never gave information that would harm humanity.”

The Tripura CM on Tuesday said that anyone poking at his government’s functioning style will get their nails cut. He earlier claimed that only civil engineers should become civil servants. In another statement, he said that Aishwarya Rai represents Indian beauty, not former Miss World Diana Hayden.


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Supreme Court “Shocked”, Hits Out At Centre Over “Exploitation Of Poor”

“This is too much. This is exploitation of the poor,” the bench said while asking the government what it has done with the huge amount of money meant for the welfare of construction workers.

The strong observations of the Supreme Court came on International Labour Day

NEW DELHI:  “This is too much. This is exploitation of the poor,” a “shocked” Supreme Court today told the government when it said it has set up a committee to fix a timeline to comply with its directions on a matter relating to the welfare of construction workers.

“Is this the attitude of the Government of India towards poor people,” the top court asked the counsel appearing for the centre while expressing grief over the submission.

“For fixing a timeline, you have set up a committee? What is this going on? According to us, you are sitting on (Rupees) 20,000 crore to 25,000 crore. Is this the attitude of the Government of India towards poor people of the country,” a bench, comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, said.

“This is too much. This is exploitation of the poor,” the bench said while asking the government what it has done with the huge amount of money meant for the welfare of construction workers. Incidentally, the strong observations of the top court came on International Labour Day.

The top court also directed the Secretary of Ministry of Labour to remain present before it on May 7 to explain what was happening regarding the implementation of its order and two laws enacted by Parliament on the matter.

When the counsel representing some states told the bench that they have complied with the directions passed by the top court, the bench shot back, “what have you done except buying washing machines and laptops”.

“This is shocking. Is this a joke? These (construction workers) are people who have no education, no money and builders are exploiting them and the Government of India is saying that they will not do anything,” an angry bench observed.

Earlier, an affidavit filed in the court by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had said that a chunk of funds meant for construction workers’ welfare had been spent to buy laptops and washing machines and less than ten per cent was spent for the actual purpose.

The court had on March 19 asked the centre to frame a model scheme before September 30 to address the issues of education, health, social security and pension for construction workers.

It had said that more than Rs. 37,400 crore had been collected for the benefit of these workers, but ostensibly only about Rs. 9,500 crores wasutilised for their benefit.

It had also questioned why millions of construction workers across the country were being denied the benefit of remaining Rs. 28,000 crore.

The top court had also directed the state governments and union territories to constitute an expert committee and bring out statutory rules within six months.
It had said that its directions given from time to time for implementation of two laws have been “flouted with impunity”.

These laws were the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 (BOCW Act) and the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996, (Cess Act).


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Witch Hunting: Brutal, Heinous Murder That Targets Innocent Women #Vaw

The politics of ‘witch killing’ in India

 The national dailies on April 25 carried an incredibly brutal news report. A 60-year-old tribal man and his elder sister were clubbed to death on Monday in Bengal’s East Burdwan district allegedly by their nephew, Bishu Mandi, and some local villagers. Mandi allegedly told the villagers that a witch doctor had told him that his uncle Mangal Mandi, 60, and his sister Maku Baskey, 65, were witches and responsible for his wife’s prolonged illness.

The incident took place at Neor village in the Arui area in East Burdwan district, about 130 km away from Kolkata. The village comes under the jurisdiction of Madhadihi police station. After police and local administration came to know of incident on Tuesday, Bishu Mandi and his associates burnt the bodies on the banks of the Damodar river. They even stopped a police team from entering the village by shooting arrows.

This incident underscores two different aspects of witch-killing. One is that the victims were adivasis and the killers were also adivasis. The second is that a man is a victim along with a woman that is an anomaly in our common knowledge about witch-killing. Where does this place the entire world of witch-hunting and witch-killing in India which is almost always associated with women, often Dalits, widows, lonely women and women who own plots of land? So men are rarely accused of witchcraft, often used as a politically diabolical measure to get rid of women who are considered ‘superfluous’ within the society that they inhabit.

In May 2016, a 45-year-old woman was lynched in West Bengal’s West Medinapore district after villagers accused her of witchcraft, following which seven people were arrested .Holding her responsible for a woman’s death around a month back, residents of Debra village dragged Sambari Tudu out of her house on Monday night, tonsured her head and beat her to death. In the same month, a day before this news appeared, , a court in Ghatal in the district awarded the death penalty to seven people, including a woman, and life imprisonment to six others for the lynching of Phulmani Singh (70), her daughter Sambari (40) and daughter-in-law also named Sambari (40) after they were branded as witches.

The practice of witchcraft and visiting witch doctors goes back a few centuries in the tribal belts scattered across Bengal’s western districts and parts of Jharkhand. There have been numerous summary killings and punishments by kangaroo courts. However, in recent years, many of these killings have resulted out of disputes over property. In the incident described above, the locals explained that Rekha Mandi, wife of Bishu Mandi, was unwell for some time. On Monday, Bishu claimed to have taken his wife to a witch doctor known as janguru in the Jamalpur area in the same district. Some villagers accompanied them.

But there is always a different story hidden behind the targeting of women – and sometimes men – as witches and then putting them to a brutal death. Sociologists suggest that the old practice is being resorted to in a big way to grab land which has gained in value with development work in the countryside. Money plays an important role in the entire operation because none of the victims are more impoverished than the others in the village. The get a woman to be branded a witch needs the services of a witch-doctor called the janguru in Bengal. His touts scout around for probable candidates in tribal pockets. Those who want to eliminate a candidate with land to be confiscated, approach the janguru through these touts. The janguru agrees to do the needful in exchange for fees depending directly on the kind of benefit the ‘witch-hunting’ will bring to the his client.

In other words, the janguru is an agent who is used to point out any random person or persons as fictitious targets who are practicing witches. The ‘randomness’ however, mostly has a hidden agenda such as long-standing personal enmity, dispute within the family over tracts of land or property, old age of a widow who refuses to die, any woman suspected of casting a ‘curse’, an ‘evil eye’ on someone to hurt / injure / kill / maim and so on. The ‘target’ is not given any opportunity to defend herself or even ask why she is being targeted. Often, the attack on the target is entirely sudden where the target has no inkling of what is going to happen to her and more importantly, why.

In West Bengal, the menace is becoming stronger in districts like Malda, Midnapore and Bankura where some tribal women are forced to live under police protection. In most cases, state intervention is necessitated by raids on their homes during which other family members are killed. There is a carefully planned programme of creating suspicion about the women among people in the village pointing out to some common and peculiar happening which is read as a ‘sign’ of witchcraft by the witch-doctor. He performs his entire role and function without a hitch because in tribal and illiterate societies, everything evil and negative is almost automatically linked to a woman. Thus, one victim being a man in the current case raised questions about the gender specificity of the crime.

When a village has been sufficiently aroused in anger and revenge against the woman concerned, the janguru pronounces the death sentence. Resistance is either nil or very negligible because the victim is ignorant, illiterate, poor and has almost no protection from the law. Local authorities too, seem hardly bothered to tackle the issue and thus save the poor women from their bitter fate. Political forces within and around the village dare not try to interfere for fear of being accused of tampering with tribal culture and of trying to corrupt it from outside. The problem of witch-hunting therefore, not only goes on, but seems to be gathering strength in the face of no opposition or resistance to the evil practise of killing women.

In Women, Land Rights and Forests, Gobind Kelkar and Dev Nathan reveal a detailed study of changes sweeping across Adivasi communities in Eastern India with special reference to the adivasi communities of Jharkhand. Jharkhand spreads right acorss Bemgal, Bihar and Odisha and some portions of Madhya Pradesh. The study traces the shift in the economy from hunting-gathering to agriculture which brought a corresponding change in the status of women from one of dominance and power to one of subordination and weakness.

Originally say Kelkar and Nathan, unmarried daughters, wives and widows enjoyed two kinds of land rights. One was a life-interest in the land which covered the right to manage land and its produce. The other was the right to share the produce of the land which included a maintenance right. In other words, this implied that the woman had the right to a share necessary for her own maintenance and upkeep.

The unmarried daughter enjoyed the additional right to share produce greater than her maintenance needs. This included amount needed to buy ornaments, utensils or even to sell it and lend out the money if she so wished. This became too much for the men to bear after they discovered that land was also a source of accumulation of individual property when economic lifestyle underwent changes. But they spared the rights of the unmarried daughter and the wife whose husband was alive. They directed their attack at the rights of the widow when she would stand to inherit her husband’s land upon his death.

Men did not care for land rights enjoyed by widows. They had never questioned these rights earlier because since hunting-gathering was the only means of living, there was hardly any land to be inherited or owned. The widow enjoyed land rights that asserted her position within the family both in economic and social terms. When her husband died, the woman inherited the right to become the substitute father. She became head of household even if she had major sons. If the sons were minors at the time of their father’s death, the widow inherited both the land as well as the immovable property. She managed the household and supervised land cultivation.

When the son/s grew up, the property could be partitioned off between/among them if they so wished. But even when this happened, the widow could not be excluded from her rightful share. ‘Rightful share’ did not just imply maintenance share but ‘a real life interest in the land’ which included the right to mortgage the land. There were two conditions under which these rights could be enjoyed: one, she should be a continuous resident in the village and two, she should not have remarried.

The men did not like this. Their argument was that such land rights vested in widows would shake those adivasi structures where patriliny saw that ancestry passed down from a common male ancestor who determined the lineage. They therefore set about demolishing these rights one by one. First, they restricted the right of the widow to mortgage the land. Then, they decided that the widow would retain the right to that small piece of land that would ensure her survival needs or maintenance only. Finally, these rights were systematically broken down. Today, the tribal widow in adivasi pockets of West Bengal is no better in terms of land-rights than any average widow under the Hindu law. She no longer retains individual access to land. Her survival now depends on whether her husband’s male heirs support her or not.

But there were a few pockets where it was extremely difficult to implement this three-phased strategy because of strong resistance from women and from women’s organisations. In these pockets, killing off the widows by labelling them ‘witches’ provided an easy solution. The study, which is purely a sociological one, the legal aspects of these ‘witch’-murders have been left untouched. Nathan and Kelkar conclude that witch-hunting is based on economics, closely related to the destruction of woman’s traditional land rights in adivasi communities covering the Jharkhand regions. Over the past 30 years of witch-killing, 42 out of 46 witches killed were women and most of them were widows with land of their own.

Witch-hunting is also a political weapon in areas where men with political ambitons arranged the murders of women they had had liasons with and also had these murders labelled ‘witch-killing’ in order to root out the possibility of a sex scandal in the face of a forthcoming election. Such killings included the killing of pregnant women and young widows because they were more vulnerable to such liasons. Sometimes, they were even pressurised into such liasons with political bigwigs. The labelling of women as witches therefore, according to these researchers is an essential part of the process of establishing authority of men in a culture where authority was originally shared between men and women.

The adivasis, blinded by superstition and superstitious beliefs go by an ancient mythical tale. The story goes that in ancient times, when tribal men were annoyed by talkative, questioning and disobedient women (the adjectives strictly defined by the men themselves), they prayed to the Forest God to teach them how to control these women. When the women got wise to this, they tricked the Forest God to teach them some incantations that would empower them to ‘eat’ men. But the Forest God, realising that he had been tricked, taught men to hunt these ‘witches’ out.

The economics of witch-hunting in the eastern parts of the country reveals the custom as cold-blooded and designed. It is never an act of impulse carried out in the heat of the moment. The reason why convictions are conspicuous by their absence is that there is a hand-in-glove arrangement between the local police and the ojhas (faith healers) who are reportedly paid Rs.425 per witch and each ojha bags a contract of attending to 10 to 15 witches at a time. The police is rewarded with a handsome commission to look the other way.

Academic scholars and researchers of witchcraft have gone on to state that witchcraft-related homicides of women have been more frequent in the tribal populations of India than in other groups and nations. Barman, M. in Persecution of women: Widows and witches. Calcutta, India: Indian Anthropological Society, 2002, claims that witch hunts are a form of persecution of widows. Her analysis, based on a case study of the Malda district in West Bengal, confirms the findings of previous studies of the subject, that is, that witch hunts in India are mainly caused by struggles among widows and husbands’ kin over property.

In sum, witch-burning is a brutal and heinous crime that takes a helpless, vulnerable, illiterate woman, picks her almost at random, and murders her for a crime she never committed. Most of the time, she does not know what is happening to her, much less, why.

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Kathua again: College student stabbed to death, 2 arrested

The accused — Abhishek and Honey — were arrested following a complaint by victim’s sister Nishant Kouser

The deceased has been identified as Liyakat Ali, a resident of Dher mohalla in Billawar town.

by Arun Sharma | Jammu |

Kathua murderThe deceased has been identified as Liyakat Ali, a resident of Dher mohalla in Billawar town.

A government degree college student was stabbed to death by three people in full public view in Billawar town of Kathua district on Monday afternoon. The deceased has been identified as Liyakat Ali, a resident of Dher mohalla in Billawar town. He was rushed to the Government Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival.


The three accused, two of them have been identified as Abhishek Sharma and Honey Khajuria, according to SHO Billawar Amit Sangra. Kahjuria is the brother-in-law of Sharma and is posted as a medical assistant at Nashedi near Billawar. The latter is a student of a private para Medical College in Kathua.

Sources said Abhishek asked his brother-in-law’s help to settle a dispute between him and his neighbour Ali. CCTV footage from the area showed the accused arriving in a Maruti Swift car. On spotting the accused, the victim, who was standing outside a shop, fled from the spot. As the accused gave chase, a few people from the locality including women were seen rushing behind them. However, before anybody could come to the rescue of the deceased, the accused stabbed him and fled. Their car has been seized.

The murder has led to tension in an area which is already divided over the rape and death of a minor girl. Mobile internet services have been suspended in the area as a precautionary measure. Billawar is predominantly a Hindu inhabited area, but Muslims constitute 25 per cent of the population. Accusing the J&K crime branch of framing “innocent people” in the rape and murder case, villagers from various villages from Kathua have formed a Hindu Ekta Manch and have been demanding the case to be transferred to the CBI.

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With over 30 million households yet to be electrified, Saubhagya Yojna way behind the target

To achieve the target under Saubhagya scheme, the government has to electrify 130, 802 houses each day till December 31, 2018

                    Saubhagya scheme was launched to achieve the goal of giving every household the access to electricity by December 31, 2018. Credit: Jonas Hamberg
 Saubhagya scheme was launched to achieve the goal of giving every household the access to electricity by December 31, 2018. Credit: Jonas Hamberg

Only 46,83,000 households across the country have been electrified, according to data provided by the power ministry on Saubhagya Yojana as on April 23, 2018. Jharkhand is the slowest state to catch up where over 52 per cent of the households have not been electrified, followed by Uttar Pradesh, which has a backlog of close to 44 per cent.

Lack of skilled manpower has been affecting progress of this scheme, according to the Union Minister of State (IC) for Power and New and Renewable Energy, R K Singh. Hence, the power ministry decided to collaborate with the skill development ministry. This collaborative venture, announced on March 28, 2018, is being undertaken as a special project under the government’s Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana in six states: Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.

What is Saubhagya Scheme?

PM Narendra Modi launched the Rs16,320-crore Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana or Saubhagya scheme on September 25, 2017 to ensure last-mile connectivity to willing households to help achieve the goal of giving every household the access to electricity by December 31, 2018. It had a target to complete the electrification of 36,991,617 unelectrified houses by Dec 2018.

Source: Official website of Saubhagya Yojna
Source: Official website of Saubhagya Yojna

A village is declared electrified if 10 per cent of the households are given electricity along with public places such as schools, panchayat office, health centres, dispensaries and community centres. However, the focus shifted towards ensuring electricity coverage of households as opposed to villages. This is where the Saubhagya scheme comes into play.

Also Read: Current Distress

As per data available on the official website of Saubhagya Yojna, on an average 22,300 households are electrified per day. But to achieve its target, the government has to electrify 130, 802 houses each day till December 31, 2018.

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India – No Country For The Disabled

Why hasn’t India, despite its growth, not succeeded in providing the disabled with employment?

 NEW DELHI: Of the 121 crore people in India, 2.68 crore are disabled, accounting for 2.21% of the total population. Amongst them, 56% are males and 44% are females, and a majority of the disabled population belong to the rural areas (Census 2011).

India celebrates itself as the world’s largest democracy and amongst its fastest growing economies — so a question worth asking is where India’s disabled population fit in in this growth story.

Everytime you stop at a traffic signal, count the number of times a handicapped young man comes to you asking for money; how many times does a blind man approach you for a few rupees. This is a common occurrence anywhere in the country. Be it a station or a temple or a traffic signal or just a busy footpath.

This brings us to the question “Why?” Why, being the world’s largest democracy and on the verge of becoming the third largest economy, have we still not succeeded in trying to provide the disabled with proper employment opportunities? Why haven’t we managed to include the physically disabled in the job providing sector?

The National Policy recognizes the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) as necessary assets to the country. It also aims to provide the PWD with a comfortable atmosphere along with the basic constitutional rights and equal opportunities so that their rights are protected and they are an active participant of the society.

On December 16, 2016, the Lok Sabha passed the “Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill” which replaced the previously existing “Person with Disabilities Act” of 1995. The Bill met the criteria of the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The Bill recognized Disability as an evolving and dynamic concept. Also, the types of disabilities have been increased from former seven to 21.

The New Act aimed to enhance the Rights and Entitlements of “Divyangjan” and also provide effective mechanism for ensuring their empowerment and inclusion in the society.

The Bill was an important and much needed move in terms of inclusion of the PWD in the society but has it been effective regarding provision of employment and job opportunities? Has the government provided them with any concessions or benefits that will help them be self-sufficient? How many government-funded organizations work towards providing them with basic amenities like food, shelter and most of all, jobs? What has the government done to ensure the inclusion of the PWD in the society as a whole?

The Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 3% reservations for persons with disabilities is allocated in identified Government establishments. Under the Scheme of Incentives to the Private Sector for Employment of Physically Challenged Persons, the Government provides the employer’s contribution for Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees State Insurance (ESI) for 3 years, for employees with disabilities including visually impaired persons employed in the private sector on or after 01.04.2008, with a monthly salary upto Rs.25, 000.

Even the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) guarantees employment to rural household adults including persons with disabilities. Under National Rural Livelihood Mission(NRLM), a provision of 3% of the total beneficiaries has been made for persons with disabilities.

Also working alongside these government schemes are NGOs that help the PWDs in becoming self sufficient and work towards their inclusion in the job sector. One such organization is Samarthanam Foundation in New Delhi.

Talking about their work, the Founder and Chairman, Mahantesh GK, said, “Since its inception, the foundation is working on the major programmes like Education, skilling, employment, environment, Cricket for Blind and other programmes for PWDs.”

Asked about whether the organization itself provides these people with employment opportunities, he answered, “40% workforce in Samarthanam out of 550 employees are PWDs. We also encourage and support PWDs to become self-employed.”

The current scenario regarding job opportunities for the disabled, even with the existing schemes, is still disheartening. There is a need for stronger implementation of these schemes and more incentives to encourage the PWDs to become self-sufficient and not resort to the streets as their only option.

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One medicine, five chemists, five price tags, from Rs 1,550 to Rs 255 — all at one hospital

The pharmacies are crowded, and customers usually accept the brand that those manning the counters hand out to them. At all the shops, queries about other brands are met with: “Only this one is available with us”.

by Adil Akhzer | Chandigarh |

PGIMERThere are also two government-run Janaushadhi outlets at PGIMER. Here, only generic medicines are sold under the salt name. One is in New OPD block, and the other at Gol Market.At the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), a patient has the choice to get fleeced or save herself from open wallet surgery. But it all depends on the patient and how well she knows the sprawling campus.

An investigation carried out by Chandigarh Newsline over the last month has revealed that the cost of a medicine can vary widely on the campus, sometimes in a range of Rs 1,500, but the hospital provides no information on or directions to the chemists who charge the least. The two most expensive outlets are located at the Emergency and Trauma centres, where patients and their attenders are at their most vulnerable as the patient needs urgent attention and time is of the essence.

These two outlets are also the most crowded because of the heavy rush of patients arriving in critical condition at Emergency and Trauma Centre. Chandigarh Newsline purchased four different medicines widely prescribed by doctors at the hospital from five chemist outlets located inside the campus, and found a huge discrepancy in the costs. Each chemist stocked a different brand of the identical medicine, that is, the same salt.


The medicines are known by the following salt names: Meropenem 1 gm (antibiotic injection); Labetalol injection 4 ml (for treating high blood pressure); Amoxicillin and Clavulanate Potassium tablets (antibiotic); and Atorvastatin tablets (to improve cholesterol levels). The highest total bill for these four medicines together was Rs 1,954 at the chemist at Nehru Emergency, and the lowest was Rs 400 for the four medicines at Jan Aushadi in OPD block. The two outlets are in two different buildings located at a 10-minute walking distance from each other, but a newcomer to the hospital would not know that. Each of the five outlets sold a different brand of the same medicine, and declared they did not have any other brand.

At the Nehru Emergency, there is only one private chemist. It was at this shop that the bill amount for the four medicines totalled Rs 1,954. The patients here have diverse health problems that need to be attended to immediately, but accident, assault and burn cases are treated separately at the Advanced Trauma Centre located in the same building. PGI’s Nehru emergency remains packed round the clock. When doctors hand over a list of medicines needed for the treatment, the first chemist shop that the family members/attenders see and head towards is this private outlet.

There is no signage or any other information device to tell patients and their families that there are two other chemists in the same building — a second private chemist on the ground floor below the Trauma Centre; and the inexpensive Amrit outlet near the reception at the main entrance of the building, which is, however, not used by either emergency or trauma patients. Only internal patients use this main entrance.

Of the four medicines billed at the private chemist at Nehru Emergency, the highest priced was M-Penem 1 gm injection (Meropenem) at Rs 1,550, that too after a discount of 45 per cent. The MRP for this injection at this shop was Rs 2,850. The total bill amount was Rs 3,348, and after a discount of Rs 1394 on the total bill, it became Rs 1,954. On the ground floor below the Advance Trauma Centre, is the second private outlet. At this shop, the same four medicines came to Rs 905. Here again, it was Meropenem that was the most expensive of the four medicines. But here, the brand name is Acupenem 1 gm injection, priced at Rs 646 (MRP), and after a 15 per cent discount, Rs 549.

In the main block of the same building is the government-controlled Amrit outlet (Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment). Even an increased quantity of the same four medicines cost only Rs 638 altogether. Here too, the most expensive was Meropenem, sold under the brand Meroplan. The MRP was Rs 3,248, but the outlet gave a 93 per cent discount, which brought down the price to just Rs 221.76, including taxes. Based on MRPs of the four medicines, the total bill was Rs 4,030, but after the discount, got slashed to under 16 per cent of that.

There are also two government-run Janaushadhi outlets at PGIMER. Here, only generic medicines are sold under the salt name. One is in New OPD block, and the other at Gol Market. At the OPD Block, this pharmacy had only three of the four medicines, and the total bill of the three was Rs 316. Meropenem, the most expensive of the four medicines, was available for Rs 255.41.

Right next to this is a private outlet at new OPD, where these four medicines together cost Rs 2,607, but after a discount, came to Rs 985. Here, Meropenem was available as Megmacer 1 gm injection, with an MRP of Rs 2,100, but after a discount of 73 per cent, the billed price was Rs 553.35.

The pharmacies are crowded, and customers usually accept the brand that those manning the counters hand out to them. At all the shops, queries about other brands are met with: “Only this one is available with us”.

One medicine, five chemists, five price tags, from Rs 1,550 to Rs 255 — all at one hospital


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CBI Paper Trail Reveals How Karnataka’s Reddy Brothers Were Let Off Hook

Two of the Reddy brothers are BJP candidates from the Ballary area. The third, Janardhan Reddy, is campaigning for the party.

CBI Paper Trail Reveals How Karnataka's Reddy Brothers Were Let Off Hook

Janardhan Reddy is out on bail after spending three years in jail for an illegal mining case



  1. CBI was handed over the illegal mining cases in 2013
  2. The powerful Reddy brothers of Ballari were among the accused
  3. 5 years on, CBI has closed several cases citing different reasons

In 2013, the Karnataka government handed over cases of illegal export of iron ore mined from its state to the CBI. Among the accused were the powerful Reddy brothers of Ballari, candidates and top campaigners for the BJP. The charges pertained to the illegal export of ore worth Rs12,000 crore from 9 ports spread across 4 states. Four years later, as the Karnataka elections neared, the CBI began to close the cases in state after state, citing technical reasons, documents reviewed by NDTV reveal.

Today, two of the brothers are BJP candidates from the Ballary area in the elections that will be held on May 12. The third, Janardhan Reddy, is campaigning for the party. The BJP says they are needed if the election in the area has to be won.

In June 2017, the CBI’s Goa branch, in a letter to the Karnataka government, said they had to close the preliminary inquiry because the “government of Goa permitted CBI to investigate into the iron ore originating from Karnataka only, which was only exported from Goa and Mormugao (port)”.

The letter also said since the iron ore from Karnataka was blended with Goan ore, there was no way to segregate the data.

Another reason for the closure, the agency said, was the “absence of any authentication of the data by government agency.”

In a letter dated November 8, 2017, the CBI branches from Chennai and Bengaluru described the reasons for closing the probe in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The CBI’s Bengaluru office simply said the preliminary inquiries, related to illicit iron ore export from Karwar and New Mangalore ports of Karnataka, “have not been converted into regular complaints.”

The CBI’s Chennai branch said: “No case regarding illegal iron ore exports has been registered by the Anti-Corruption Branch, CBI, Chennai, because they couldn’t receive notification from the Centre giving them “consent”.

In response, the Karnataka government, headed by the Congress, passed an unusual notification withdrawing its cases from the CBI, handing them over to a state-level Special Investigation Team.

The irregularities found in the 3 ports of Andhra Pradesh are still being investigated by CBI.

Justice Santosh Hegde, the former head of Karnataka’s Lokayukta which first investigated the illegal mining scandal, told NDTV, ” In our report along with annexures supported by documents we clearly showed how law was being violated, these documents were collected from the offices, computers of these traders and we clearly showed there was no mining permit, no transportation permit, no export permit but they have still exported huge quantity of iron ore.”

The Lokayukta report alleged that 45 lakh MT and 21 lakh MT of iron ore was illegally exported from Goa and Chennai respectively. The report had directly named firms belonging to G Janardhan Reddy and said that the companies, which exported iron ore in huge quantities, lacked permits to export

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