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Govt treating HR bodies like ‘criminal enterprises’: Amnesty

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New Delhi, Oct 26: Amnesty International India on Friday expressed serious concern over an Enforcement Directorate (ED) raid on its headquarters in Bengaluru, saying the Indian government was “treating” human rights groups like “criminal enterprises”.

“We could not agree more with the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) when he says that periods of repression, like during the Emergency, have left a stain on India’s history. Sadly, those dark days are now casting a shadow over India again,” the rights group said in a statement.

“Government authorities are increasingly treating human rights organisations like criminal enterprises,” Amnesty India Director Aakar Patel said.

The ED on Thursday searched Amnesty India’s headquarters and Patel’s residence in Bengaluru for allegedly receiving Rs 36 crore foreign funds from overseas in violation of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) guidelines.

According to Patel, the group of ED officers entered the office premises at around 1.30 p.m., and locked the gates.

“They ordered the staff to remain in office, shut their laptops, and told them not use their mobile phones,” he added.

The Amnesty statement added: “Over 40 lakh Indians have supported Amnesty India’s work over the last six years and around one lakh Indians have made a financial contribution.”

The organisation said that the ED also froze their bank accounts.

“Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month,” the statement added.


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Sniper attacks on border: ‘Pakistan shall be punished’

Press Trust of India

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Udhampur, Nov 16: The Army’s Northern Command chief, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, said Friday Pakistan shall be “punished” if it carries out activities detrimental to India and asserted that befitting replies were given to the neighbouring nation for violating ceasefire.
The Army commander’s comments come in the wake of fatalities in sniping incidents along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Jammu region in the last few days.
“The message is very clear for the troops on the ground that should Pakistan not stop from carrying out activities, which are detrimental to our national interest along the LoC, they (Pakistan) shall be punished accordingly,” Lt Gen Singh told PTI on the sidelines of a function here to felicitate teachers of Army Goodwill schools.
Three Army soldiers and a porter were killed and four others were injured in sniping incidents along the LoC in Jammu’s Rajouri and Poonch district last week.
“There has been regular sniping incidents from an area along the LoC and we have regularly (lodged) protests with our Pakistani counterparts on their sniping activities. If they have carried out any ceasefire violation, we have given them a befitting reply,” Singh said.
The lieutenant general also said that “as far as infiltration attempts from across the LoC are concerned, Pakistan has continued with its efforts to give impetus to infiltration.”
The Indian Army is deployed all along the LoC and “we have been able to thwart all attempts by Pakistan to push in militants toward our side”, he said, adding the security situation in the state’s hinterland is stable, but remains fragile.
Goodwill schools were started in 1998 and currently, the Northern Command runs 45 such schools under Project Sadbhavana.
Twenty-four teachers received awards from Lt Gen Singh for their innovative skills in teaching.
The project provides education to 15,000 students and employs 1,000 teaching and non-teaching staff.

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Rights Commission seeks admission details from schools

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Nov 16: State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has asked the Directorate of School Education Kashmir and private schools in the valley to share within two weeks their admission procedures with respect to the quota for poor.
Chairman SHRC, Justice (Retd) Bilal Nazki, issued the order in response to a petition filed by the International Forum for Justice and Human Rights Muhammad, Ahsan Untoo.
The petition urges the commission to inspect the “shoddy procedures” adopted by the private schools in giving admissions.
“The poor section people are deprived of all the opportunities for improving their fate and are left with no option other than to admit in local schools,” reads the petition, urging the commission to see whether the downtrodden sections of the society were provided their “due share in the admissions as per the Supreme Court guidelines”.
The petitioner also seeks transparency in the schools’ admission procedure.
“There are reports that brokers manage admission against hefty sums,” the petition reads.
The petition claims that the schools have been charging parents for heating arrangements but not keeping the facility available to the students.
Private Secretary SHRC, Khazir Mohammad Shah, told The Kashmir Monitor that following the petition, notice would be sent to the Directorate and all leading private schools of the valley on Monday.

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Div Com Jmu asks DCs: ‘Identify state land for security forces’

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Jammu, Nov 16: Divisional Commissioner, Sanjeev Verma, Friday convened a meeting with Deputy Commissioners of Jammu division and officers of Security forces regarding identification of land for Police/ CRPF/BSF.
The meeting was attended by IGP Jammu Dr. S D Singh, DIG CRPF North Jammu, P C Jha, DIG CRPF Jammu sector, M P Bahuguna, DIG BSF Jammu, Indraj Singh, Deputy Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner Samba, Sushma Chouhan and senior functionaries of JDA besides all Deputy Commissioners of Jammu Division attended the meeting through video conferencing.
Senior officers of security forces apprised the Div Com of their requirement of land in various districts of Jammu division.
The DCs apprised the Div Com about the availability of land in their respective districts.
The Div Com asked the DCs to hand over the land identified by them in their respective districts to the security forces at the earliest.

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