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Archives for : June2018

RSF calls for end to legal proceedings against India’s Cobrapost

 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the withdrawal of the legal actions that many Indian media outlets have brought against Cobrapost, an investigative news website whose undercover reporting has shown that most of India’s leading media groups would take money from the ruling party in return for favourable coverage. RSF also urges all of these media groups to respect their staff’s editorial independence.

Cobrapost named its undercover investigation Operation 136 in reference to India’s ranking in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. And what it found could explain why this country, the cradle of an exceptionally dynamic press, has fallen so low.

Cobrapost posted an initial series of videos in March and a second series, “Part II,” on 25 May. They show Cobrapost reporter Pushp Sharma posing as a right-wing Hindu nationalist activist meeting the owners of 27 leading media groups while carrying a hidden camera.

He offered each of them significant sums of money – to be paid in cash if necessary – in return for favourable coverage of the activities of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the run-up to the 2019 general election. Almost all of these media bosses accepted the offer and most of them promised to set up special teams for this purpose.

After the latest series of Operation 136 videos were released, three of the targeted media groups sent legal notices to Cobrapost and to other independent media outlets, such as The Wire and The Quint, that published stories about the Cobrapost sting on their own websites.

On the eve of Part II’s release, the Dainik Bhaskar group managed to get an injunction blocking the publication of any material referring to its directors. The Suvarna News group obtained a similar court order after the release.

“These are temporary injunctions, not takedown orders,” Cobraposteditor Aniruddha Bahal told RSF. “We don’t get intimidated. It is they who have to worry. Not us.” The legal battle is continuing.

“The press groups that have brought legal proceedings against Cobrapost must abandon them at once,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “Trying to kill the messenger instead of addressing the problems he reported is a terrible admission of weakness, if not guilt. The editorial independence of journalistic staff is one of the pillars of respect for press freedom.”

Bastard added: Cobrapost’s revelations say a lot about the practices of those who run most of India’s leading media groups, and about the pressure they put on their journalists. With a year to go to the next general election, it is high time to allow India’s journalists to again enjoy the freedom they used to have, so that they can provide the public with more impartial news coverage.”

“Self-censorship”

In the Operation 136 videos, Sharma is seen offering media bosses tens of million rupees in exchange for three things: praise of Hindutva, the fundamentalist Hindu ideology that spawned the BJP; coverage discrediting opposition leaders who could pose a threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi; and promotion of views liable to polarize voters, for example, by exploiting hatred of Muslims.

Only two media groups clearly rejected the offer on ethical grounds. They were Bartaman Patrika and Dainik Sambad, which are both based in West Bengal. All the others agreed readily.

“This is dismal,” said Bahal, who launched Cobrapost in 2003. “There is a lot of carrot and stick from the government and a lot of self-censorship as a result. For those who want to expose and investigate, there are just a handful of organizations that would support their endeavour. That is sad.”

Open Magazine is the only targeted media that has so far taken measures against those who agreed to the offer of Cobrapost’s undercover reporter. Two Open Magazine executives have been sanctioned by its management.

Between the release of the first batch of Operation 136 videos in March and the release of the second batch a few days ago, India fell another two places in the RSF World Press Freedom Index, and is now ranked 138th out of 180 countries.

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Jignesh Mevani receives death threat for second day, says caller warned him of ‘consequence’ on phone

Jignes Mevani said that his team has informed the police that he travels across the nation that there have been a threat to his life on various platforms but the Gujarat police have not taken any action.

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Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani |Photo Credit: BCCL

New Delhi: Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani yesterday claimed a threat to his life and said that he received a phone call on his number and the caller told him that he would shoot him and kill him. Mevani on Thursday again reiterated the claims and said that he has again received a call from the same number where the caller warned him of consequences.

Mevani today said on Twitter, “Today again, on the same number I received a call from the person who threatened to shoot me. Today, the same man called and threatended – ‘what do you think, we are useless, wait for consequence.'” Mevani yesterday, on Twitter, said that a certain Ranvir Mishra has called on his registered number and his friend and colleague answered the call.

 

 

He said that the person on the other end of the call and said that if he was talking to Mevani then he will be shot dead. “7255932433 from This number i have received a call on my number 9724379940 saying he will shoot me. “My colleague Kaushik Parmar(who is having my number these days) just informed me – ” koi Ranvir Mishra ka phone tha aur bola ki tum Jignesh levani ho to tumhe goli mar dunga” (some Ranvir Mishra had called and said ‘if you are Jignesh Mevani, then I will shoot you’), he tweeted.

“Few months ago, in 10-15 districts of Gujarat Dalit groups have submitted memorandums to provide me adequate or ‘Y’ category security. During Una struggle and my election campaigns, ppl attacked my car. Threat calls have been issued on my facebook and twitter. Bt no action is taken (sic),” Mevani said in another tweet.

He also claimed that the Gujarat police is not taking any actions on the complaints filed by him neither giving him protection as “they also want him dead”. He said that his team has informed the police that he travels across the nation that there have been a threat to his life on various platforms but the Gujarat police have not taken any action. “I think Gujarat police wants me to get killed, and for this purpose, they are not providing me protection,” he said.

Mevani’s name was mentioned after the arrests of five Dalit leaders and activists yesterday in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case for allegedly inciting violence by inflammatory and provocative speeches on December 31, 2017, at Elgar Parishad in Pune.

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“Release Them Now”: Lawyers, Activists Flay Arrests by Maharashtra Govt as Attack on Dalits

Use of draconian laws flayed


 NEW DELHI: The Indian Association of Peoples Lawyers held a press conference in Delhi today to condem the arrest of five activists including advocate and its secretary general Surendra Gadling from his residence in Nagpur. They demanded the immediate release of the all the five including Gadling, general secretary, Indian Association of People’s Lawyers from Nagpur, Professor Shoma Sen, Head of Department (HoD) of English, Nagpur University, Sudhir Dhawale, editor of the Marathi magazine Vidrohi from Mumbai, Rona Wilson, public relations secretary, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) and Mahesh Raut, anti-displacement activist from Bharat Jan Andolan and former Fellow at Prime Minister’s Rural Development for Gadchiroli District.

These arrests have ostensibly taken place in connection with an FIR registered in January 2018 alleging that dalits had been incited to violence. Whereas actually violence had been incited and unleashed on the dalits by Samabhji Bhinde, leader of Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan and Milind Ekbote of Hindu Ekta Aghadi, in response to the dalit assertion during Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan. Milind Ekbote was arrested for few days and later released on bail, where as Sambhaji Bhinde is yet to be arrested. However, the above named democratic rights activists, professors and lawyers were arrested without any mention in the original FIR.

 

Adv. Sudha Bhardwaj, condemning the arrest of Adv. Surendra Gadling, National Secretary, Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), said “The arrest of Advocate Surendra Gadling is another example of the intensifying attacks on People’s Lawyers. Recently Advocate Upendra Nayak of Odisha, Advocate Murugan of Tamil Nadu, Advocate Satyendra Chaubey of Chhattisgarh have all been implicated in the cases of their own clients, which is absolutely unacceptable as per United Nations principles on the Role of Lawyers.

 

Advocate Surendra Gadling was an iconic example to many dalit lawyers defending their oppressed communities. Particularly after the Maharashtra Bandh and the 2nd April Bharat Bandh by dalit communities all over India, hundreds of poor dalit youth have been picked up and incarcerated in patently false cases. Many groups of dalit lawyers started getting together to defend them, even free of cost. No doubt this must have caused great unease for the vindictive state apparatus. The bias of the State is all the more obvious when the leaders of Hindutva organisations named in many complaints and FIRs as instigators of the Bhima Koregaon violence – Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide – whose anticipatory bail applications have been refused by even the Supreme Court, still roam free.”

Drawing the parallel from Advocate and founder of Bhim Army, Chandrashekar Azad ‘Ravan’‘s arrest, Senior Advocate Ravikiran Jain, who represented him, spoke about unfair use of National Security Act (NSA) and other draconian laws, such as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which are used to incriminate activists, Dalit and other minority group for standing up to their rights and speaking up against their oppression. He also said that UAPA goes beyond the provisions that were used for mass arrest during emergency.

 

Addressing the press, Senior Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, Supreme Court of India, condemned arbitrary arrest and draconian UAPA, which was used in arresting the above-named activists and lawyers. Adv. Ramakrishnan said, “Under UAPA the central government has full freedom to declare any organization as a terrorist organization where membership per say makes it an offence. What the process has become now is merely the presence of Maoist literature has become enough to declare someone as a Maoist which is clearly against the provision of UAPA which already is a draconian act. Automatically a person is charge-sheeted as Maoists. In Binayak Sen’s case, Supreme Court had said, if someone is in possession of Gandhian literature, does that make that person Gandhian?”

 

Advocate Poonam drawing the pattern across the country said, “what is happening in Saharanpur, Nagpur and people who are fighting for the Dalits and minorities are being attacked.” She also pointed out the ‘dirty game’ of the prosecution, where Advocate Surendra Gadling was also stripped of his basic fundamental rights during arrest and he was produced at Judge’s residence and not in the open court, which is against the procedure laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. Advocate ND Pancholi remarked that in the Emergency people were detained under provisions of CrPC and MISA, but presently the situation is worse than that of an undeclared Emergency.

 

IAPL strongly condemns the arrest of Advocate Surendra Gadling and others and demands for their immediate release. IAPL also welcomes the support of all civil right organizations which have come together to demonstrate their support against the State which crushing all voice of dissent.

These arrests were purportedly made under an FIR registered on January 8, 2018 at Vishram Baug Police Station, Pune with regard to the Elgar Parishad organised by Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan, a coalition of 260 mass organisations.

The mass meeting was addressed at the time by prominent speakers including Justice P B Sawant, retired Supreme Court judge, Prakash Ambedkar, leader of the Bahujan Republican Party (Bharipa), Justice Kolse Patil, former judge with the Mumbai High Court, Jignesh Mevani, MLA from Gujarat, and other Dalit activists.

While the Elgar Parishad was underway, Hindutva groups had reportedly unleashed attacks on the Dalits who were on their way to the meeting. This resulted in a riot-like situation wherein Dalit and Maratha groups clashed at several places in Pune district, in which, one Dalit was killed and hundreds of people were injured.

On January 3, an FIR was registered at Pimpri police station, Pune, in which two pro-Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote of Samast Hindu Aghadi, and Sambhaji Bhide of Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan were charged for orchestrating violence during and aftermath of the Elgar Parishad.

Reportedly, Ekbote and Bhide along with others, on December 29, had desecrated the Samadhi of Dalit icon Govind Gaikwad in Wadhu village, near Koregaon village, instigating violence between Dalits and Marathas in the district. Of the two accused Hindutva leaders, only Ekbote was arrested (who was later released on bail), while Bhide, who claims to be a close aid of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was never questioned by the Maharashtra Police in this regard.

Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), in a statement, has condemned the arrests as “open show of State terror and complete bypassing of the Rule of Law by the BJP government” and demanded immediate release of the activists.

“These arrests are in the face of the mass demand of several political parties and human rights organizations and activists and the Prerna Abhiyan in particular to arrest the leaders of Sangh Parivar organizations, Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, who were responsible for the violence on 1st January, 2018 at Bhima-Koregaon. The Fadnavis government, which has been protecting these actual perpetrators of the violence, has been attempting to create a false narrative that the violence at Bhima Koregaon was caused by the Elgar Parishad and that banned Maoist organizations are behind the Prerna Abhiyan,” the CPDR statement read.

The press conference today was convened by Sudha Bahradwaj, Vice President of IAPL, N.D. Pancholi, Senior Advocate in Supreme Court, Ravi Kiran, President of People’s Union of Civil Liberty, Nitya Ramakrishnan, Senior Advocate (Sr. Adv.) in Supreme Court, Advocate (Adv.) Poonam, General Secretary of Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan and Advocate Pankaj Tyagi, Senior Executive of IAPL who also moderated the press conference.

The speakers noted that Gadling’s case is being linked with communal disharmony that occurred at the Elgaar Parishad programme held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31. Gadling’s house was also raided by police on April 17, 2018. Though the original FIR did not have his name, police confiscated all possible CDs, hard disks, computer systems – including his family’s personal devices. There has been no news as to whether there was anything substantial connecting him to the Maoists.

The speakers demanded that all arrested be released. Ravi Kiran added that UAPA is similar to Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and Maintaince of Internal Security Act (MISA) and these types of draconian laws were not even implemented during the emergency. He said that while implementing and regulating these laws the police and judiciary work on the same type of mindset. He also mentioned the case of Seema Azad, who was arrested on the grounds of keeping some Maoist literature and her case made to look like a crime just by association.

Advocate Poonam said that all the five accused needed to be released immediately. It was reported that Gadling was presented at the Magistrate’s house, not at the court and he was without a lawyer. She asked whether the government was trying to make a joke out of the legal procedures. She also said that the arrest was a direct attack on the backward castes and the people representing them by the BJP government.

She recalled the case of Bhim Army’s Chief, Chandrashekhar Azad who was arrested after caste related violence broke in Saharanpur in May 2017 under National Security Act (NSA) using which the state can place any citizen under preventive detention without legal recourse. She said that by arresting these activists under such draconian laws the government is trying to suppress the voice of Dalits and other backward castes.

All of them also criticised the mainstream media for over sensationalising and dramatising the issue instead of giving an unbiased account. They urged the media to report the facts so as to ensure early release of the five arrested.

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India – Killer Private Hospitals – Narrative of the brother of a patient who died #mustshare

Patient Emmanuel was diagnosed with a tumour in May 2016 and was operated at Aster hospital.  He went back again in July 2016 and spinal cord fluid was removed. The total cost of treatment was Rs. 1 lakh 70 thousand. Since then he complained of frequent back pain.

In 2017, the patient the back pain worsened, so they first went to a tertiary hospital in Solapur. The neurologist said that since the patient had been treated earlier at Aster they would have to go back there itself. They went to NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences) which is a government hospital. The hospital said that the neurologist Dr. Sampath was not available and no other doctor could treat the patient. They refused to admit the patient inspite of several requests. They said that since the patient had already been treated at Aster, he should be taken back to the same hospital. The family were not happy with Aster so they went to Columbia Asia where their older brother had been treated but the technician there asked them to go to Aster. After they went to Aster, a stent was inserted. Following that the patient was unable to move both his legs. A surgery was done the very next day. The patient did not show any signs of recovery. The hospital said that the cost of surgery had been Rs. 1.5 lakhs and that they would not continue treatment till this bill was settled.

Inspite of no treatment being given the family was being billed for bed charges, nursing charges, consultant fees and feeding the patient through the Ryle’s tube as the patient had undergone tracheostomy and was being fed through the tube. The patient was only given pain killers. The hospital said they would not treat the patient till bills were settled. The family said they would shift the patient to a government hospital but the hospital said that could not be done till the bill amount of 1.5 lakhs was settled. However when the family managed to make up the money over  a week, the hospital said that the bill had gone up to 14 lakhs. This went on from March 17th to June 19th.

The patient was on tracheostomy and could not communicate verbally with the doctors. He repeatedly wrote letters saying he was a government employee and would be able to pay back all their bills.

The hospital was very rude to the family. They would not let the family meet the patient. Most of the time the patient would be all by himself and the family was not allowed to meet him. When the family used to request for treatment they were made to wait for often two hours at a time before anyone spoke to them. The nursing staff did not know what to do with the patient but they had not been given orders by the doctors. Nothing was explained to family about condition of the patient during the time the family did not pay the bills.

Patient’s urinary catheter which was inserted on February 14th was only removed when the patient died.

Christanand says ‘they did not try to make him better’.

Food that was given by the Ryles tube used to come out of the tracheostomy site. The tracheostomy doctor would say ‘your surgeon has asked me not to come and see the patient’ this went on for 15 days.  A few days after tracheostomy tube was changed, the patient died.

The neurosurgeon said he was a hospital employee and that the management dictates what he should do. The doctor was ready to do the surgery, but the hospital management refused.

“Around June 17th the shifted him to ICU and said that if I did not pay they would remove the ventilator. They hit me on my head. They took my card and told me to disclose my PIN number saying they would immediately disconnect the ventilator. They took 50 thousand rupees from my account.” Christanand

‘The hospital owner, Dr. Azad Mootel is based in Dubai. He has a facebook page. I got in touch with him.  They have a Mootel foundation. He asked me to get in touch with the Public Relations Officer, but they didn’t respond at all.’

The government of Karnataka has a Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) which empanels and reimburses private hospitals. The Aster hospital was empanelled. The family had a BPL card and were eligible for the scheme. ‘The hospital told us that they were empanelled only for heart surgeries. We got in touch with SAST and they said the same thing to us. But I came to know through a doctor in SAST that even neurosurgery is covered, but both the hospital and SAST lied to us. ‘

The National Human Rights Commission responded by writing to the Principal Secretary but she didn’t do anything.

“I phoned and emailed the health minister but I got no reply. I wrote to the Principal Secretary Shalini Rajneesh, she said she could not do anything. She said you are at fault – who asked you to go to the private hospital. She also promised to get us the Chief Minister relief fund sanctioned but nothing happened.”

We spoke to some lawyers. They had come to the hospital to get my brother released. Police refused to file complaints. This was covered by TV9. The local MLA Rajashekhar Patel did not do anything about this. When all this was happening, my brother died. When the patient died, they asked us to pay Rs. 10 lakh to release the body. We said we don’t have any money.

The TV channel were ready to pay for the body to be released but I asked them why they should give money to the hospital now when they didn’t even treat my brother.  The Principal Secretary Shalini said that she would pay from her personal money to release the body. I told her ‘ You didn’t do anything when my brother was alive. Why are you paying now to release his body.’ We didn’t let her pay the hospital any money.

I had written to the Centre and State government. I wrote to Rashtrapathi Bhavan. I got a response from Rashtrapathi Bhavan (central Governors office) but it was of no use. I was ready to sell my kidney to make up some money. I searched online but they said I have to register with the Naitonal Kidney foundation.

My brother Emmanuel knows the MLC of RT Nagar very well and we are from the same Church. His son in law is a cardiologist in Aster. We approached him also but they did not help even one bit. WE are Methodists. Even the Bishop did not help us.

Even before coming here we sold our cows, goats, bike to make enough money for his treatment.

Now my parents don’t cry in front of me and I don’t cry in front of them.

The DHO refers all patients to the same hospital. Government doctors from Gulbarga refer patients to Aster. This has happened to many patients. They have tie ups and SAST is ready to reimburse them.

There should be a service mind for doctors. They told me clearly ‘ we have taken permission and built this hospital only to make money’. Why does the government empanel such hospitals? They don’t use these hospitals for people at all

We don’t have a doctor in the PHCs in our area.

The hospital owner has got a Padmashree (award) and the brand ambassador for the hospital is Sachin Tendulkar (cricket player) who has also got awards. How can they endorse such hospitals?

My brother went walking into the hospital and came out a dead body.

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Sudhir Dhawale a Dalit activist, not a Naxal: Republican Panthers

He and four others were held from different places in the country for their role in inciting people that led to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon in January

Dalit activists associated with the 'yalgar parishad' holding a protest placard at Sudhir Dhawale’s office in Govandi after the Mumbai police arrested him there.
Dalit activists associated with the ‘yalgar parishad’ holding a protest placard at Sudhir Dhawale’s office in Govandi after the Mumbai police arrested him there.(HT Photo)

Sudhir Dhawale, who was arrested from Govandi for alleged Maoist links, is an “activist fighting against Dalit atrocities” and “innocent”, claimed the members of his group, Republican Panthers Caste Annihilation Movement.

Neighbours and supporters of dalit activist-editor Sudhir Dhawale protested his arrest by the police Wednesday morning. They said that they had been at the receiving end ever since the Elgar Parishad meeting in Pune on December 31 last year and the violence that erupted at Bhima-Koregaon on January 1, 2018. They said that the arrest was nothing but an addition to their existing misery.

Supporters of Mr Dhawale thronged outside the Deonar police station, demanding answers and the release of Mr Dhawale. They claimed that he had been wrongly arrested and that the main culprits were still out and about. The supporters said that injustice had been done to Mr Dhawale as he had done nothing wrong.

One of Mr Dhawale’s supporters, Kishan More (58), told The Asian Age, “This is all planning and plotting against the backward classes of society, and these arrests are aimed at further demeaning the lower castes. The Bhim Nagar area has been under constant scrutiny and the people are under the radar, making us feel like criminals.”

During Mr Dhawale’s interrogation inside the Deonar police station, his supporters and neighbours stood outside in groups, blocking entry and exit.

When the police politely asked them to make way, they maintained, “We are all law-abiding citizens, and have never broken a law. However when it comes to us, we are conveniently sidelined. Does a different rule apply to us?”

Mr Dhawale’s well-wishers flocked to his Bhim Nagar residence-cum-office, too. One of the neighbours said, “It was completely unethical and immoral, and we strongly condemn this abrupt arrest of one of our people

“Dhawale has been actively participating in protests since Rohith Vemula’s death and against the atrocities meted out against Dalits. He has been framed to save the real perpetrators behind the Bhima-Koregaon violence,” Sharad Gaikwad, president of the movement told HT from Govandi, where Dhawale was picked up at 6am by a team from the Pune police.

Dhawale and four others were held from different places in the country for their role in inciting people that led to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon in January after a first information report was lodged against them at Pune’s Vishram Baug police station.

Dhawale was earlier booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2011. “He was jailed for 40 months from January 2, 2011 till May 15, 2014 when a sessions court released him,” said Gaikwad.

A day before the violence, a ‘yalgar parishad’ was held in the historic Shaniwar Wada area of Pune to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Koregaon in which the army of Peshwa Bajirao II was defeated by the East India Company, whose regiment comprised of a large number of Mahar Dalits.

The conference saw power-packed speeches by several prominent personalities, including newly-elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid and Radhika Vemula.

“It was at this parishad when we pledged to not vote for the BJP,” said Gaikwad. “They have now made a story (of his Naxal links). He was innocent during his arrest in 2011 and he is innocent now as well. He has penned down books and notes of our movement which is now being portrayed as Naxal material.”

Gaikwad also said people’s attention was being diverted from the Bhima-Koregaon probe to Dhawale’s arrest. “A fear is being created in people’s minds against Dhawale by branding him a Naxal.”

HT

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Punjab and Haryana HC – Inciting People On Social Media Might Also Amount To Attempting To Wage War Against The Government

 Punjab &Hariyan HC –Order

 JUNE 7, 2018…

“Collecting Men” On Social Media Akin To “Collecting Arms” For Waging War Against Government, said HC Refusing to grant bail to an alleged member of terror group Babbar Khalsa International, the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently observed that inciting people on social media might also amount to mounting an attempt at waging war against the government.

Taking note of the social media posts of the accused, Arvinder Singh, and the responses received on such posts,

 Justice Sudip Ahluwalia observed, “…here the incitement is on Social Media directly accessible all over the World simultaneously, and not just in a limited crowded place, such as the one in which the Slogans were shouted…

 It can therefore, be safely held that the Petitioner by way of collecting ‘men’, with the intention of either waging or being prepared to wage war against the Government of India, would be liable under section 122 of the IPC, which is punishable at par with section 121-A of IPC itself, for which he is already facing trial.

The punishment in such event can extend to imprisonment for life.” The Court was hearing an Application for regular bail filed under Section 439 of the Cr.P.C. by Singh, a resident of Pallian Khurd in Nawanshahr, who was arrested in May, 2016. He had been charged inter alia with the offence under Section 121 (waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India) of the Indian Penal Code, along with provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.

 Singh had now asserted that sharing of the alleged seditious/communally sensitive or hateful posts on social media does not disclose any ingredients to establish the offence under Section 121.

 He had further contended that the acts of receiving money from abroad or distributing Pamphlets or sending Booklets abroad meant to convey the objective of securing “purity” or “non-servility” of the ‘Sikh Panth’ cannot render him liable for offences under the UAPA as well.

 

 The State, on the other hand, had contended that even collecting men, and not necessarily arms and ammunition, would amount to attempting to wage a war against the Government.

 It submitted that this would make an offence under Section 122 (collecting arms, etc., with intention of waging war against the Government of India) of the Code, which Singh can be convicted of if the material so indicates.

The Court agreed with the State and noted that posts from Singh’s social media account “undoubtedly reveal overt incitement to violence for the purpose of establishing the State of “Khalistan”.

 

Opining that the posts did indicate incitement, it further observed, “It is also seen from some of the colored printouts of the Screen Shots of the alleged FaceBook Account that several persons are active on the Social Media with the same objective simultaneously.

 Perusal of the material highlighted by the State from the Plethora of documents drawn up by way of Cyber Tracking of Petitioner’s alleged communication with the head of Terrorist Organization indisputably indicates positive incitement for resorting to violence meant for achieving the aforesaid objective of creating the State of “Khalistan”.”

The Court also noted that a total of 24 challaned witnesses had already been examined, with the remaining witnesses having been summoned on 7 July.

Thereafter, observing that the completion of the trial doesn’t seem far, it then dismissed the bail application, directing the Trial Court to complete the pending trial as expeditiously as possible, preferably within three months.

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