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Archives for : September2018

“There Is No Justice In India”: VL Solanki Discusses The Sohrabuddin Trial Ahead Of His Court Date


The case into the fake-encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh has seen the CBI special court in Mumbai discharge 16 accused individuals. Among them are senior officers of the Indian Police Services, such as the former deputy inspector general of police in Gujarat, DG Vanzara, the former superintendent of Rajasthan police, Dinesh MN, and the former superintendent of Gujarat police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad, Rajkumar Pandiyan. Since the trial began, in November 2017, over 90 witnesses have turned hostile. On 21 September this year, the court has summoned a key witness to depose—VL Solanki, a retired police inspector who played a central role in the investigation that led to the arrest of these senior police officials.

Solanki was an investigating officer in the Sohrabuddin case, who conducted a preliminary enquiry, whichdetermined that Sohrabuddin’s death was staged. On the basis of Solanki’s enquiry, the Gujarat Police filed the first chargesheet of the case in January 2007. Three years later, acting on a petition that Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin had moved six days after the police filed its chargesheet, the Supreme Court transferred the investigation to the CBI. In July 2010, the CBI filed a chargesheet, which accused, in addition to the senior police officials, the then minister of state in the Gujarat home ministry and the current BJP national president, Amit Shah. Shah, too, was subsequently discharged in December 2014, by MB Gosavi, who took over as the presiding judge of the CBI special court after the death of the judge BH Loya. Gosavi passed the discharge order in Shah’s favour in the same month that he began hearing the case.

According to the CBI’s chargesheet, on the night of 22 November 2005, Sohrabuddin, his wife Kauser Bi and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati were travelling by a luxury bus from Hyderabad to Sangli, in Maharashtra, when their journey was intercepted by Gujarat and Rajasthan police officials. All three were then taken to Valsad, in Gujarat. While Prajapati was then taken to Udaipur by the Rajasthan police, where he was kept in custody for five days, Sohrabuddin and Kauser Bi were taken to Disha farm-house, near Ahmedabad. On the night of 25 November, Sohrabuddin was shot dead. The next morning, his wife, Kauser Bi, too, was shot and her body was burnt, and in December 2006, Prajapati was killed as well. Solanki’s investigation was crucial in establishing the chain of events—for instance, he identified key witnesses such as Sharad Apte, a passenger in the bus, who confirmed that Sohrabuddin and Kauser Bi were travelling in it.

In July this year, after the Gujarat police withdrew the protection that had been granted to Solanki and his family, the retired inspector wrote a letter to the Ahmedabad police commissioner expressing fear for their lives and safety, and requesting him to reinstate the security. Solanki also copied the letter to, among others, the director general of police of Gujarat, the director general of Gujarat Police’s Criminal Investigation Department, the Gujarat government and the CBI special court adjudicating the Sohrabuddin case. He asks in the letter, “Should we now believe that the security cover has been lifted to mentally pressurise me and my family with the intention of making us hostile witnesses?” On the eve of his date to appear in court, Solanki spoke to Sagar, a staff writer at The Caravan, about the investigation and findings in the Sohrabuddin case, and the impact the case has had on his life.

Sagar: You have written a letter to the Gujarat police that you and your family’s lives are under threat because you are a prime witness in the Soharabuddin case. What kind of pressure are you going through?
VL Solanki: They had initially given me police protection on their own. On 18 July 2018, they withdrew the police protection. After two days, I made an application to all the agencies—DGP, Gujarat; DG of CID Gujarat; home secretary [of the] Gujarat state home department; Supreme Court of India; Gujarat High Court; DG of CBI; and the judge of the Mumbai session court. But till today, no action has been taken on my application. Second thing is that now I’ve received the summons for attending the court. I’m the prime witness of this case. I’ve made preliminary enquiry. After the completion of my preliminary enquiry, the case was registered. And it was proved on the paper that it is a false encounter. During the course of the investigation, I had investigated the important aspects of the case. At present, I’m not even in a capacity to attend the court due to this withdrawal of my police protection. I can’t attend the Honorable court at cost of my life. This is my situation. And you people—[journalists]—almost all the guys who know the credibility of this case, they know that people [involved] are all criminals, they can do anything at any time.

S: You question in your letter whether the police protection is being withdrawn so that you turn hostile. On whose behalf do you think Gujarat police is acting?
The thing is, I cannot admit these [things.] But you people can very well understand. You know the reason. Why should I expose myself? You people are smart enough to make an assessment according to my situation.

S: During the time you led the enquiry, did Amit Shah ever figure in your investigation, or did you find out whether the then chief minister Narendra Modi was in the know?
The thing that you want to know is a matter of investigation. I can’t say that.

S: According to the CBI chargesheet, the origin of Sohrabuddin’s encounter lies in an extortion racket that politicians ran in collusion with police officers and criminals. Did you anything find similar in your investigation?
We can’t do anything about it, can we? Yes, Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati, they used to do vasooli—extortion. But I can’t comment on politicians.

S: The CBI chargesheet says the racket was being run by Amit Shah.
No, I can’t say that. You people know these things. Ab usme main jayeda hoshiyari dikhaun ye thik nahi hai [Now if I act too clever, that would not be right]. 
In short, I’ll tell you that I have suspicion that a conspiracy might have been hatched to do something to harm me or my family since my protection cover has been withdrawn. That’s the only reason why I’m insisting on my police protection. So if anything happens to me tomorrow, they [the conspirators] should be held responsible.

SCould you discuss how you were brought to the investigation and how you unravelled the conspiracy behind the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin?
 At the first stage, actually, this enquiry went to one DSP-ACP [deputy superintendent-assistant commissioner of police]. But the ACP denied and somehow neglected that enquiry, and ultimately I was asked to make a detailed investigation. So during the course of my enquiry I had visited Madhya Pradesh, and the village of Sohrabuddin. Before going to MP, I had been to Hyderabad.

For ten days, I made a detailed enquiry. I was able to locate the travel agency bus in which Sohrabuddin and his wife were traveling. I came to know from the travel agency people. That luxury bus was met with [by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police officials] near Tandola village, which falls within the boundary of Karnataka, on the Bombay-Hyderabad road. Then after that I made detailed enquiry and got [details of co-passengers] from the travel agency. I was able to ascertain the mobile number and residence of Apte’s family. In the next stage I went to this town Sangli, where I went to the family’s home. I spoke with them politely, and then I took their statements. In their statements also, they told me Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi were traveling together. “Rao ka dhaba”—there is one dhaba, hotel type dhaba on the highway, almost 10–15 kilometres before Tandola village—at around 12–12.30 am, the luxury bus stopped near that dhaba for dinner. The Apte family who had sat near them saw Sohrabuddin and Kauser Bi also.

Then at around 1–1.30, the bus started and near Tandola, and within two–three kilometres, the Gujarat police’s car intercepted the bus and brought it to a standstill.  They also pulled over one car behind the bus. They made Sohrabuddin come down. When Sohrabuddin alighted, his wife also followed saying, “Mere shauhar ko tum le ja rahe ho, main bhi sath aati hun”—[You are taking away my husband, I’ll also come with you.] They [police officers] came under pressure ki saala yahan pe kuch karenge toh sabpassenger bhi alert ho jayega—[If we do anything here, all the passengers will become alert.] So they took both Sohrabuddin and Kauser Bi with them.

S: Was Tulsiram Prajapati not with them at that point of time?
I can’t say that. Actually, Tulsiram Prajapati was shadow of Sohrabuddin. Wherever [Sohrabuddin] went, he would go too. They were partners in crime. There was a third person. To identify the third person also I did extensive investigation. During that time, I sent a report to my additional director-general that, “I may be allowed to go to Udaipur Central Jail for the enquiry of this Prajapati, as Tulsiram Prajapati is the most important witness in this case.”  But woh toh phir sab hawa mein chal gaya. Jo report tha sab nikal gaya.—[All those requests later disappeared in thin air, the report to the ADG also got destroyed].

Tulsi Prajapati was also met with an encounter. Second important thing is I also found the place where Sohrabuddin and Kauser Bi were kept when they were brought to Ahmedabad. They were kept in the Disha Farm. Then, Sohrabuddin was encountered. The next day of the encounter of Sohrabuddin, Kauser Bi was shifted to Arham farmhouse in Gandhinagar. So this is what happened.

S: Do you think that you were not promoted and retired as a police inspector because you led the investigation in the Sohrabuddin case in a fair manner?
It’s a fact. You see one thing, whenever there is even a small disciplinary enquiry going on or any complaint against a public servant, his promotion is kept in abeyance forever. This is a general government procedure. On the other hand, you have a case where senior IPS officers have been accused of murder and chargesheeted in the same—they have been given promotion and reinstated to their job. This is our India.

S:  What made you stand your ground? Did you have backing from anyone?
It was my sole responsibility. If you are not partial in your investigation, and not working outside the purview of the constitution, then there is no need for you to be scared of anything.

S: I would like to ask you again if there was any pressure on you while you were leading the investigation. The then additional DGP GC Raiger had stated before the CBI that Amit Shah had called a meeting between Geeta Johri, the former inspector general of Gujarat Police’s CID, PC Pande, the director general of police, and Raiger in December 2006. Raiger said that Shah “scolded us for not being able to tame Solanki, who wanted to drag the matter further in his enquiry by way of examining Tulsiram Prajapati for which he had sought permission. He told us to wrap up the matter.” Could you tell us what Geeta Johri had told you?
That’s the truth. Whatever is there on the paper is all true. I would like to say that these things are known to everyone.

S: Then how did you manage to do your investigation?
VLS: You know very well what is not possible in those situations. All these have already come in the newspaper as well. There is no meaning to say that again. It’s an open story.

S: What is your hope from the outcome of the ongoing trial?
There is no justice in India.

This interview has been edited and condensed.


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When Brecht speak as Ambedkar

Citing literary sources, turning to parables, prose, plays, poetry is the wherewithal of political discourse

Policemen and policewomen are not mindless digits in khaki. They have all been to school. Many of them are MAs, some PhDs. And they have families, friends just like anyone else who has not been clad in hide-tough uniforms the whole day. When at end of duty hours they return home, get back to home-clothes, settle down to a tired day’s evening, like anyone else, they talk of all they went through during the day, good and bad, honest and wicked, how they had to respond to political orders, ‘high’ influence, low intrigue. They laugh then at the ways of the cunning world of which they have become part, and feel sometimes proud of what they did and sometimes not. And then turn on their television sets to watch not news — of which they have had enough and more — but, to lighten their minds, old and new cinema, hear Lata Mangeshkar singing through the lips of Meena Kumari, or Asha Bhosle through those of Madhubala. In States like West Bengal and Maharashtra, with their strong traditions of theatre and musical arts, they can well go to see a play, ‘with family’, based on old epics or written by bold new playwrights staged in theatre-houses invariably named after Tagore, in his grey-flowing beard or the great Chhatrapati Shivaji in his sharp-pointed black one.

Brecht at Bhima-Koregaon

Yet, Bertolt Brecht’s is not a name all policemen on duty in Maharashtra’s Bhima-Koregaon village on January 1, 2018 are likely to have known. The great German playwright is, sadly, ‘niche’. Why sadly? Because he is bound to have amused, inspired, delighted, enthralled the non-kitabi, the not-a-bookworm-at-all as much as the bespectacled ‘intel’. And because Brecht speaks the truth and doesn’t care a hoot whether his truth is seen as the truth or is not. And Brecht’s truth, rather like truth itself, is non-denominational, non-sectarian. The Marathi translation of his timeless play The Good Person of Szechwan is more than likely to have passed by the police force on duty at the village celebrating, as it has done for decades, on that day the great Dalit-Mahar battalion’s vanquishing – disputed by some – of the much stronger army of the Peshwa order known for its rough-handling of Dalits. Only, this year the celebration was the more celebratory, being the centenary year of that 1818 victory. And since one group’s celebration is seen as another group’s lamentation, ‘law and order’ was a concern. And rightly so. Violence and counter-violence saw ‘the law’ swing into action, ‘order’ asserting itself. And months later, arrests are still being made. Has all this been without ‘fear or favour’? The courts will, without doubt, tell us.

Those who know Brecht’s play laugh at lines in it like these:

“I am afraid of making enemies of other mighty men if I favour one of them in particular. Few people can help us, you see, but almost everyone can hurt us.”

“Stomachs rumble even on the emperor’s birthday.”

“The First God: Do people have a hard time here? Wang the water-seller: Good people do.”

“The First God to Shen Te the prostitute: Above all, be good, Shen Te, Farewell!”

“Shen Te: But I am not sure of myself, Illustrious Ones! How can I be good when everything is so expensive?”

“The Second God: We can’t do anything about that. We mustn’t meddle with economics!”

And they would have understood, with a sigh, the line: “No one can be good for long when goodness is not in demand.”

The same play, one of the funniest, wittiest, most profoundly thoughtful and mind-rinsingly disturbing in that genre, has the woman prostitute-protagonist burst out with the words: “Unhappy men! Your brother is assaulted and you shut your eyes! He is hit and assaulted and you are silent!… What sort of a city is this? What sort of people are you? When injustice is done there should be a revolt in the city. And if there is no revolt, it were better that the city should perish in fire before the night falls…”

In Ambedkar’s words

In words that powerfully echo Brecht’s, the architect of our Constitution, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, said in the Constituent Assembly: “How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up.”


Here is a great, perhaps the greatest, German writer of our times, using a Chinese parable to give the world a touch of truth about the human condition, the human propensity for domination and the human impulse for freedom, justice. And when on January 1, 2018, in the Bhima-Koregaon event these lines with a timeless and location-free message were recited in their Marathi rendering, they were seen as “an incitement to violence”. If, instead of Brecht’s the reciter had cited Babasaheb’s words, would he have been charged with incitement to violence? Today, who can tell?

Mohandas Gandhi was charged, likewise, in the spring of 1922 “for inciting disaffection towards His Majesty’s government” for articles by him published in Young India. In one of them, titled ‘Shaking the Manes’, he used a phrase from then current political discourse and ‘shook’ the Raj. The accused said in his famous trial: “I have no personal ill-will against any single administrator, much less can I have any disaffection towards the King’s person. But I hold it to be a virtue to be disaffected towards a government which in its totality has done more harm to India than any previous system.”

We have our own Brechts.

Just before the declaration of the national emergency in 1975, Jayaprakash Narayan had, before a massive rally in Delhi, quoted the great Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s lines: “Singhasan khali karo ki janata aati hai (vacate your throne, here come the people).” We know what happened thereafter to JP, to India. Also, what happened subsequently to the system that imprisoned him.

We shall see

Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poem Hum Dekhenge (We Shall See) is a classic in the same vein, quoted time and again as a call against oppression.

Citing literary sources, turning to parables, prose, plays, poetry is the wherewithal of political discourse. Our Prime Minister has in a Dinkar commemoration cited the same line with pride.

Just as policemen on duty are only human beings in uniform, so are lawyers in black silk. They know true from false, fact from fiction.

India, the theatre from time immemorial of a hundred injustices, a thousand oppressions is also the site of a million awakenings. Therein lies its strength.

Kuchh bat hai (there is that something), as Iqbal sang, about Hindustan that cannot let its self-hood fade.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, a former Governor of West Bengal, is distinguished professor of history and politics, Ashoka University

Source- The Hindu

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Human rights activists’ arrest: Will this be another case of justice delayed?


Human rights activists' arrest: Will this be another case of justice delayed?
Human rights activists’ arrest: Will this be another case of justice delayed?


A number of severe laws have been existing in the annals of Indian politics and society. We often fail to assess them.


For example, the British mandated a new law in 1942, which came to be known as the Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance, 1942. This law was promulgated to crush the Quit India movement.
Later, it became a feared Act — the Armed Forces Special Powers Act — used by the Army to crush insurgency.

Then, the Indian state promulgated a host of anti-terror laws.

These included (not necessarily in that order) the MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act), POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act), and, of course, the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act), among others.

This has strongly influenced the Army and police in their fight against terrorism.
But have the five activists jailed in the “urban Naxal” case been violating any of these laws?
There were three sets of lawyers involved:

Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta tried to prove the five activists — Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha — guilty.
He took the bench through the allegedly recovered documents, including pen drives, laptops and hard discs.

Justice DY Chandrachud clearly stated, “We cannot sacrifice liberty at the altar of conjectures.”
When Mehta persisted that the judges should look at the evidence at length and not at a “few pages”, Justice Chandrachud stated, “Of course we will take a holistic view after going through the entire set of documents that would be shown to us. We will look at the evidence, but with a hawk eye.”

Justice Chandrachud also said, “We must differentiate between armed struggle against the government and expression of dissent by a section of people because of generations of suppression. Please keep this distinction in mind while presenting evidence. The shoulders of all, be it the government or the Supreme Court, should be broad enough to take criticism and dissent.”

When Tushar Mehta intervened, advocate Prashant Bhushan interjected and claimed that the letters and documents being cited were “fabricated” evidence.

To this, CJI Dipak Misra bluntly said, “We cannot deal with your allegation… We are at the preliminary stage of finding whether the evidence makes up a prima facie case for police to arrest the petitioners.”
The activists, through counsels AM Singhvi, Anand Grover, Ashwani Kumar, Rajeev Dhavan and Prashant Bhushan, vigorously argued that they were targeted for dissent against the ideology and practices of BJP-led governments and were arrested to muzzle criticism.

They argued that systematically unverified reports were leaked to the press by the Pune Police in an attempt to tarnish their reputation through a “media trial”.

Expectedly, Mehta denied this. He claimed, “The arrests are not remotely connected to their dissent against the government. But if some persons are energising a machinery for planned activities to cause widespread law and order problem in the country, we must look at these with a little more seriousness.”
There lies the paradox.

On the one hand, Mehta was dismissing the allegation that the arrests were connected to the activists’ dissent; on the other hand, he was talking of “energising a machinery”.

If these arrests “are not remotely connected to their dissent against the government”, then why are the five activists accused of wanting to “widespread law and order problem in the country…”?

Senior advocate Ashwini Kumar, who appeared for the petitioners, submitted, “Action against citizens under penal statutes, such as the UAPA, must pass the test of reasonableness, rationality and procedural fairness as mandated under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.”

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi contested the Pune police’s claim that a comrade named Prakash, who was identified as Saibaba, had written to these five activists. Singhvi raised questions over the possibility of this as Saibaba has been in jail since March 2017.
He also questioned the process of the Maharashtra police using witnesses from Pune to make arrests in Faridabad.

“What business do the Pune Municipal Corporation employees have in Faridabad?” Singhvi asked as he contended that the five activists were arrested because “they had been writing strongly against the other arrests made in June”.

Senior advocate Anand Grover, who appeared for those arrested in June, said that the Pune police had lodged two FIRs on the Bhima Koregaon violence. The second FIR cannot be used for starting a fresh investigation, when the first FIR is pending, he argued. He also pointed out that the police had not complied with any procedure while making the arrests. It was a fit case for being sent for an independent investigation, he said.

Seeking an independent inquiry, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan also said that the unfairness began with the police going to the media with evidence.
The accused were “five respectable people who had been writing for a long time,” he said, adding that the case “is nothing more than a relentless pursuit of some people.”
“You target liberal and Left people,” he said, remarking, “(the) court will have to see if Pune police have targeted these people again and again and again.”

These are very serious issues here.
Why was the “evidence” shown to the media?

This would mean that the media could prejudge the later proceedings.
The very “contradiction” underlying Tushar Mehta’s argument; “falsely” linking Saibaba to the activists — all these take us to a much larger debate.

The Romans would say reductio ad absurdum — reducing an untenable charge to the absurd.
The trial is not over yet.

But those who follow it will see for themselves how the police apparently often create their own evidence.


Or, they delay it.

As the dictum goes, justice delayed is justice denied.

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Madhya Pradesh-Deaf and mute woman raped in hostel; foetus aborted, burnt #Vaw

Deaf and mute girl raped, fetus aborted and burnt in Gwalior, doctor who ran the shelter home among six arrested

The primary probe revealed that the 24-year-old speech and hearing impaired girl was raped by the chowkidar inside the shelter home premises over three months back.

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: A horrific case of a young speech and hearing impaired girl being allegedly raped, forced to abort and the fetus then being burnt – all in a shelter home has been reported in Gwalior district of Madhya Pradesh.

Six persons, including Dr VK Sharma, the director of the shelter home ‘Snehalaya,’ his trustee wife and four male staff of the shelter home have been arrested on Friday. Three more persons accused in the case, including Sahib Singh, the chowkidar, who allegedly raped the hapless girl and two women who were part of entire sequence of entire crime are still at large.

This is the third such case in Madhya Pradesh, after the alleged rape and molestation of four speech and hearing impaired tribal girls in a private hostel by the hostel director Ashwini Sharma in Bhopal in August and the recent revelation of two deaf and mute girls and four speech and hearing impaired boys about having been sexually abused by the ex-army man-turned-septuagenarian director and his aides at centers in Hoshangabad and Bhopal since 2010.

The latest case has been reported from Snehalaya, a shelter home run by one Dr VK Sharma on Jhansi Road highway in Gwalior district.

The Gwalior district program officer recently received a call from a female inmate of the shelter home about a 24-year-old speech and hearing impaired girl being forced to abort pregnancy and the resultant three-months-old fetus being burnt in the same shelter home.

A team of women and child development department was sent to the concerned shelter home, which after primary probe based on recording statements of the inmates, including the alleged rape survivor speech and hearing impaired girl, found the complaint made to the district program officer prima facie true.

The primary probe revealed that the 24-year-old speech and hearing impaired girl was raped by the chowkidar inside the shelter home premises over three months back. On coming to know that she became pregnant due to the sexual abuse, she was forced to abort on September 19 and the resultant fetus (possibly around three-months-old) was wrapped in a polythene bag and burnt to destroy the evidence of the alleged crime.

While confirming the arrest of six persons out of the nine accused, the Bilauva police station in-charge Amit Bhadauria said efforts are being made to arrest the remaining three accused in the case.

The district child protection officer Sandeep Jayant who along with his team conducted the probe before reporting it to Bilauva police station on Thursday night said experts will soon be sent to the concerned shelter home to counsel other girls, record their statements and if necessary conduct their medical check-ups also.

The arrested head of the shelter home, 55-year-old Dr VK Sharma, his wife and other aides, however, denied the allegations.

Importantly, the concerned shelter home is linked to donors from other nations, including England, US and Australia. Volunteers from these nations also visit the home and work there at regular intervals.

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Three months after plaint, bishop held in Kerala nun rape case #Vaw

First Arrest Of Senior Church Official In India


Almost three months after he was formally accused of rape by a nun, Bishop Franco Mulakkal was finally arrested here late on Friday. It is the first arrest of such a high-ranking Church official in India, made possible by a courageous nun daring to speak up, and also by the unprecedented support from other nuns, priests and laypeople involved with the ongoing Save Our Sisters campaign.

The bishop was arrested after three days of intense questioning by police that reportedly exposed his alibis and carefully constructed counter-argument about the complainant’s alleged motives. “We have concluded that the complaints against the bishop are reasonably true. The interrogation is over. It has been found that the bishop has committed the offence,” Kottayam SP Hari Sankar, who is overseeing the investigation, said.

Bishop Mulakkal, who was stripped of his powers by Pope Francis on Thursday but remains titular head of Jalandhar diocese, will be lodged at Kottayam police club for the night, and on Saturday morning will be taken to Pala magistrate court where police will seek his custody for three days. The remand report is expected to focus on existing cases that involves attempt to influence witnesses, which the prosecution will cite, especially when the bishop’s anticipatory bail plea comes up before Kerala high court on September 25.

Sources said that the bishop is likely to face charges under IPC sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 376 (2k) (rape on a woman incapable of giving consent), 376 (2n) (cause grievous bodily harm during rape), 377 (unnatural offence) and 506

(1) (criminal intimidation).

“Our protest forced government to take action against the bishop. The survivor nun had approached various authorities and did not get justice. This forced us to take to the streets and demand justice for her,” said Sister Anupama, one of the nuns at the forefront of the twoweek-long protests at Vanchi Square in Kochi.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal is taken for a medical examination after his arrest on Friday evening in Kochi. After three days of questioning, police said they found that the complaints against the priest are “reasonably true”

‘Asked hundreds of questions & prima facie we felt he committed the crime’

No survivor should be forced to seek justice in this manner. We’ve been forced to do so due to the laxity by those meant to protect us and the government. If a nun speaks of abuse at the hands of priests before higher officials, they will try to hush up the matter and silence her. It should not happen again,” the survivor’s sister said. There are as many as 81 witnesses and 34 documents already in connection with the case.

“It is an unprecedented preliminary investigation where 24 hours of interrogation happened over three days. Hundreds of questions were asked and we were able to get clarity on many contradictions. Prima facie we felt he committed the crime,” Kochi Range IG Vijay Sakhare said.

The marathon interrogation was led by K Subhash, DSP, Vaikom, and Kottayam SP Hari Sankar. The DSP first interrogated the bishop for over nine hours in Jalandhar on August 13. The case against the bishop was registered after the nun met the Kerala police chief with a complaint that the bishop had raped her multiple times at Kuravilangad Mission Home between May 2014 and September 2016.

The interrogation resumed on Friday at the special interrogation centre at Tripunithura around 10.45 am. On Thursday night, three police teams were sent out to various undisclosed places to verify details revealed by the bishop during the course of the investigation.

Official confirmation of the arrest came at around 7.45 pm when the Kottayam SP announced it. “The Kerala police must be given its due. Women’s Commission extends all support to the nuns who continue the protest for justice,” Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson M C Josephine told TOI.

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India – #Aadhaar Details on Google Search? Data of Thousands Kept Public

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How many steps does it take to get access to thousands of Aadhaar numbers of citizens?

Step 1: Google ‘aadhar.jpg’

That’s it.

In a major breach of privacy and data protection, private entities of various kinds, educational, non-profit or commercial, that demand Aadhaar numbers as proof of identity, have kept their entire directories open and publicly searchable on Google. Scanned copies of Aadhaar cards are peppered in the search results that come up when one Googles “aadhar.jpg” or “aadhaar.jpg”.

Shocking Negligence

These images show up on Google because they have been stored in directories that have been kept public and searchable. A security lapse like this, breathtaking in its negligence, reflects a general lack of seriousness among institutions towards sensitive data of citizens as well as a failure to grasp the most basic security protocols.

So, why is Google throwing up images of Aadhaar cards?

The answer is simple. When an individual types in keywords to search for something, Google, based on its algorithm, crawls the web and returns relevant search results from the part of websites that are publicly accessible. Organisations need to keep only the relevant information publicly available on the client side of their website, not the complete database of sensitive information, such as sensitive user documents.

Apart from Aadhaar numbers, the list of openly available documents includes scanned copies PAN cards, voter IDs, passports, driver’s licence, and school leaving mark sheets. Most of the open directories that The Quint found through the search belonged to educational institutions. One of the open directories also contains scanned passport copies of foreign nationals.

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A screenshot of Google images throwing up several scanned images Aadhaar cards leaked from open directories.

The Quint came across seven open directories in its scroll through the first fifty rows of photographs. Apart from educational institutions, other sources of directories of hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of people, include an NGO that runs an orphanage, an aviation academy and a trade conglomerate. All these institutions have collected Aadhaar and other identifying documents as part of its records but appear oblivious to the fact that the directory is stored directly on the server itself and not behind a login wall.Also Read: UP Hospital’s Server Gives Free Access to Patients’ Aadhaar Info

At a time when reports of Aadhaar leaks have been reported with increasing regularity, this appears to be the easiest among all the ways that the Aadhaar numbers of citizens have been leaked.

This serious lapse in providing the most elementary protection was detected a month after the Aadhaar-issuing body – UIDAI – explicitly directed people and organisations to never make Aadhaar numbers public. In a thread nine tweets long, UIDAI, firefighting TRAI Chairman RS Sharma’s controversial ‘Aadhaar Challenge’, asked citizens to “refrain from publicly putting their Aadhaar numbers on internet and social media”.

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