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Archives for : August2018

Mumbai: ATS confiscates explosives from Sanatan Sansthan worker Vaibhav Raut’s home

Sanathan Sanstha raid: The explosives have been handed over to the Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain its nature.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |

Sanathan sanstha, mumbai blasts, gauri lankesh murder, mumbai news, Sanathan sanstha arrest,

An ATS team raided the home of Vaibhav Raut in the wee hours of Friday.The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has recovered at least eight country-made bombs along with other explosives and literature from the residence of a Sanatan Sanstha sympathiser while conducting raids at his residence in Palghar.

An ATS team under the supervision of a senior IPS-rank officer raided the home of Vaibhav Raut in the wee hours of Friday and searches continued till early morning. Raut, who has been taken into custody for questioning, is likely to be placed under arrest and produced before a local court, sources said.

The explosives have been handed over to the Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain its nature. “We want to know source of these explosives and how Raut intended to use them and therefore his custodial interrogation is necessary,” said an official requesting anonymity.

While the right-wing terror outfit denied Raut being an active member, Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjeev Punelikar told the press that Raut was acquainted to its member. “Raut had been externed by the Palghar police in connection with a beef ban case. While he is a hindutva worker, he isn’t our member. However I doubt the ATS claim of he hoarding explosives,” he said. Punelikar added that the outfit will provide Raut legal aid.

Sanatan Santhan was founded in 1999 by Jayant Balaji Athavale. Persons owing allegiance to Sanatan Sanstha have been arrested in four bombings

This is not the first time, a Sanatan Sanstha activist has been picked up. The role of Sanatan Sanstha activists have come to light in explosions in Vashi, Thane, Panvel (all in 2007) and Goa (in 2009).

However, in December 2015 Minister of State for Home informed in Rajya Sabha that, no links could be found among the murders of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi. Dabholkar’s family is claiming the link between the three murders and requesting court to club the cases. However, Central Bureau of Investigation have informed High Court that it is waiting for the ballistic report from Scotland Yard to link all three cases.

People linked to Sanatan Sanstha were also probed for the sensational murders of murders rationalists- Narendra Dabholkar (2013), Communist leader Govind Pansare and writer MM Kalburgi (both in 2015) and journalist Gauri Lankesh (2017).

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These digital IDs have cost people their privacy — and their lives #Aadhaar

A man’s retina is scanned as he enrolls in Aadhaar, India’s national identification system, in Kolkata, India. (Bikas Das/AP)
August 9 at 1:45 PM

Reetika Khera is a development economist.

AHMEDABAD, India — Until recently, India’s national identification system, Aadhaar, was heralded both nationally and internationally as a game changer. Headlines in India routinely described it as such. And in a 2011 profile of its founder, Nandan Nilekani, The New Yorker detailed his mission to use the technology — which involves biometric data and the provision of a unique 12-digit number — to fix corruption and “bring about a change in the relationship between the state and the poor.”

But as my colleagues and I discovered, much of Aadhaar’s branding as a transformational solution to India’s welfare problems relied on incorrect data. Gradually, beginning in 2016, even those who helped build consensus for the project among India’s elite reportedly began to recognize its dangers. Today, India is embroiled in “Aadhaargate,” as it has become clear that Aadhaar constitutes one of the most brazen breaches of the right to privacy and the right to live initiated by the government of a democratic country.

In our increasingly digitized lives, sensitive personal information is available in various data silos: travel, banking, insurance, health records, education, social security, mobile phones and so on. Data mining businesses use this information to profile us and facilitate targeted advertising, for example. But an important safeguard of our privacy is that each of these data silos remains unconnected. This prevents companies from seeing an individual’s complete profile.

In India, both the government and businesses are pushing people to submit their unique number for nearly every aspect of their lives — to receive welfare benefits such as pension payments, to file taxes and register marriages, as well as to access mobile phone services and bank accounts. This turns Aadhaar into a dangerous bridge between these previously isolated silos. With each new data silo that gets linked, an important protection against 360-degree profiling gets weakened, leaving Indians vulnerable to data mining and identity theft.

In fact, there have been over one hundred reported incidents of Aadhaar-related fraud already. Forged Aadhaar cards were allegedly used to open bank accounts and take out loans. In some cases, Aadhaar-linked mobile payment apps were used to steal money. Aadhaar has become a textbook case of the damage that can be done when bad technology falls into the wrong hands.

In 2012, Indians began approaching the courts to protect their privacy rights. During the final hearings in early 2018, India’s Supreme Court granted temporary reprieve from the compulsory linking of Aadhaar for basic services. But the government appears to be implementing the directive only half-heartedly. Both the state and businesses alike continue to push residents to submit Aadhaar numbers for many services. And because Aadhaar numbers are required for obtaining life-sustaining welfare, poorer residents have no choice but to hand over their Aadhaar numbers to the state.

Aadhaar not only violates Indians’ fundamental right to privacy, it also violates their right to live. Since the system breaks down the various data silos and funnels the biometric and demographic data of over a billion people into one centralized database, this bulky mechanism creates numerous opportunities for error — some of them deadly. Over the past year or so, at least 15 deaths were reported after people were denied basic resources when their identities could not be verified due to Aadhaar system errors. Seven occurred because people were denied subsidized grain (a legal entitlement under the National Food Security Act of 2013) on account of Aadhaar-related glitches.

Last October, a man reportedly died of starvation in Jharkhand because thumbprint authentication failed for family members who went to purchase subsidized rations. In the previous month, Santoshi Kumari, an 11-year-old girl, also starved to death because her family’s ration card was canceled when they missed the deadline for linking their ration cards with their Aadhaar numbers. And in December, a woman and an 11-month-old infant were refused treatment at hospitals due to lack of an Aadhaar card and subsequently died.

Indians gather at an assembly in New Delhi to discuss how authentication problems with the  biometric ID system are preventing them from getting food rations. March 15, 2018. (Vidhi Doshi/The Washington Post)

Technical glitches in integrating Aadhaar with India’s banking system is also wreaking havoc with welfare payments to its most vulnerable citizens. Aadhaar servers return error codes that few people are able to decipher, let alone fix. Wage payments from a national rural employment guarantee scheme are often delayed or go “missing.” The list goes on.

India’s inefficient, unsecured centralized data system offers a cautionary tale for the rest of the world. Electronic records for citizens can, in theory, improve public services and reduce administrative costs. But centralized electronic records do so at the cost of its citizens’ basic rights.

Smart cards are a better alternative. Smart cards contain a microchip that securely stores needed information about a person without requiring biometrics. Rather, the card is inserted into a reader, which accesses the information stored on the microchip but does not transfer the files off the card and does not require the Internet. It can thus avoid, on several levels, the many failures of Aadhaar authentication.

The Aadhaar project, even before its ambitions have been fully realized, has caused deaths, data breaches, banking fraud and hardship. A project that is increasingly violating Indians’ right to life and privacy must be dismantled.

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No dance bar in Maharashtra, SC says total moral policing going on in state

Restrictions on dance bars moral policing: SC to Maharashtra govt

The oral remarks by a bench of justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan came while it was hearing pleas of hotel and restaurant owners challenging the Maharashtra government’s new rules on the functioning of dance bars.


  • Supreme Court on Thursday said there was “total moral policing” in Maharashtra
  • The apex court also questioned the state government for presuming that all performances by bar girls were obscene

NEW DELHI: Noting that not even one dance bar was allowed to operate in Mumbai on the pretext of controlling obscenity, the Supreme Court on Thursday said there was “total moral policing” in Maharashtra and questioned the state government for presuming that all performances by bar girls were obscene.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said the concept and perception of obscenity had changed with time and referred to how filmmakers earlier desisted from showing lovemaking and kissing scenes on screen and shots of birds and flowers were used to convey the message. It said the state had a right to regulate dance bars but if authorities acted with the mindset that dance performances were obscene, then no bar would be allowed to operate.

The bench said it would have been reasonable had the state granted approval for some bars but it was not the case and not a single dance bar had been given permission. “So, you have rejected all applications of dance bars for licence. So, it is total moral policing going on in the state. Under the pretext of obscene dance, you are not giving licence to anyone,” the bench said.

Justifying the stringent conditions to get dance bar licence which included ban on serving liquor and installing CCTV cameras, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade and Maharashtra’s standing counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar said the law was framed to prevent obscenity. They added that no family with traditional values would allow their members to visit such places.

They argued that obscenity had to be judged based on society’s perception. The bench, however, said perception changed with time. It said live-in relationships were recognised nowadays and even parents accepted such arrangements. Referring to the Domestic Violence Act, the bench said even the law now recognised live-in relationships.

The court was hearing a plea of dance bar owners challenging the validity of Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women Act, 2016, which set stringent conditions for the business.

As per the new law, liquor would not be served in the area where bar girls danced. The bars would be allowed to operate only between 6.30 pm and 11.30 pm. Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan and Nikhil Nayyar, appearing for the bar owners, said the restrictions were imposed to prevent them from carrying out their business.

They said the new rules violated the SC judgement which held that it was a fundamental right of bar owners and bar girls to operate and work in such establishments. In its affidavit, the state government said dance bars were being used to run prostitution rackets in many cases and it was duty bound to stop such activities.

One of the provisions of the 2016 notified Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working therein) Act, 2016 says that licenses would not be approved if the dances were derogatory to the dignity of women and were likely to deprave, corrupt or injure public morality. This, bar owners, say is subject to misuse by authorities.

The judge agreed with Naphade the term obscenity has not been defined, but said the contours of what would be depraved and corrupt have changed.


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