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27% decrease in award of death penalty in 2017, says law varsity report

Monitor News Bureau

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New Delhi:The year 2017 saw a significant drop of nearly 27 per cent in award of death penalty by sessions courts but showed an increase in number of convicts sent to gallows for murders involving sexual violence, a report published by the National Law University (NLU) said.
The report titled ‘Death Penalty in India, Annual Statistics for the year 2017’ said that in 2016, 149 people were sentenced to death, while only 109 convicts were awarded capital punishment in 2017.
Of the 109 death punishments awarded by sessions courts last year, the high courts commuted 53 cases and acquitted 35 people, it said.
However, the report also showed an increase in number of convicts sent to gallows for murders involving sexual violence in 2017.
It said 43 convicts were awarded death for murders involving sexual violence in 2017, which is 19 more than the year before.
Among the states, Maharashtra tops the list with 67 prisoners on death row. The state had 47 death row prisoners in 2016, the report said.
However, the death row population in Karnataka reduced from 27 in 2016 to 12 in 2017, owing to various commutations and acquittals by the high court.
The report also revealed that as on December 31, 2017, a total of 371 prisoners were on death row across the country.


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Major shift in govt’s way of handling ‘terrorism’: IAF chief on Balakot

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New Delhi: The strategic relevance of Balakot air strikes is the resolve of the political leadership to punish the perpetrators of terrorism, Air Chief RKS Bhadauria said on Tuesday.

In his Air Force Day message, the Air Chief said, “The strategic relevance of this (Balakot air strikes) is the resolve of the political leadership to punish the perpetrators of terrorism. There is a major shift in the government’s way of handling militant attacks.”

Stressing that the present security environment in the neighbourhood is a case of serious concern, the Air Chief said Pulwama attack is a stark reminder of the persistent threat to defence installations.

 

Earlier, the Chiefs of three services paid floral tributes at the national war memorial on the occasion of 87th Air Force Day.

“On February 26 this year, the IAF successfully struck camps located at Balakot. On the next day, the IAF successfully thwarted Pakistan Air Force’s attempts to attack our military establishments. In the aerial engagement that followed we shot down a PAF F-16 fighter aircraft and lost a MiG-21,” the IAF chief said in his remarks during Air Force Day press conference on October 4.

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RSS chief says lynching a ‘western construct’ being used to defame India

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Nagpur: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Tuesday said lynching is a “western construct” and should not be used in the Indian context to defame the country.

Addressing the Vijayadashmi function of the RSS at Reshimbagh ground in Maharashtra’s Nagpur city, he said the word ‘lynching’ does not originate from Indian ethos but comes from a separate religious text, and such terms should not be imposed on Indians.

He also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the government’s move to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, but said some vested interests do not want the country to be strong and vibrant.

 

Voicing his displeasure over several incidents of mob violence in the country, he said, “Lynching is not the word from Indian ethos, its origin is from a story in a separate religious text. We Indians trust in brotherhood. Don’t impose such terms on Indians.”

“Lynching itself is a western construct and one shouldn’t use it in the Indian context to defame the country,” he said.

Bhagwat urged citizens to create harmony, and that everyone should live within confines of law. “Swayamsevaks are brought up with that sanskar,” he said.

He said in the past few years, there has been transformation in “direction of thought process of Bharat”.

“There are many people in the world and in Bharat as well, who don’t want this. A developed Bharat creates fear in the minds of vested interests…such forces will also not want Bharat to be strong and vibrant,” the RSS chief said.

Even well-meaning policies, statements from persons in government and administration were being misused to benefit nefarious designs by vested interests, he rued.

“We must be alert in identifying these plots and counter them on intellectual and social levels,” he said.

Bhagwat said the world was eager to know if the 2019 elections in such a huge country will be conducted smoothly.

“Democracy in India is not something imported from any country, but a practice which has been prevalent here since centuries,” Bhagwat said.

He said India’s borders were now safer than ever, and more focus was needed on coastal security.

“The number of guards and check-posts on land borders and surveillance along the maritime border, especially on islands, have to be increased,” he said.

On concerns over the economic sector, he said the slowing down of world economy has left its impact everywhere.

“The government has taken initiatives to tide over the situation in the last one-and-a-half months. Our society is entrepreneurial and will overcome these challenges,” he added.

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Singh declines Kartarpur invite

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New Delhi, Oct 1: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will not accept Pakistan’s invitation for the inauguration of Kartarpur corridor, media reports said on Tuesday.

Earlier, the Pakistan government had on Monday extended an invitation to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the inauguration of Kartarpur corridor that is scheduled to be held on November 9.

“We would like to extend an invitation to former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the inauguration function of Kartarpur Corridor. He also represents the Sikh community. We will also send him a formal invitation,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

 

The inauguration ceremony will take place three days before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

India has asked Pakistan to “reconsider” its decision to charge USD 20 as service charge from pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan.

Initially, 5,000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit daily from India but later 10,000 pilgrims will be allowed per day, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian side of the border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur up to the border is being built by India.

The four-lane highway connecting the Zero Point of the corridor up to National Highway-354 is being constructed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Besides, a passenger terminal is also under construction.

The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.

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