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Kathua case defence counsel appointed AAG: Mehbooba, Omar criticise decision

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Srinagar, July 18: The Jammu and Kashmir government has appointed Aseem Sawhney, one of the defence lawyers in the Kathua rape and murder case, as an additional advocate general of the state, drawing criticism from former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah.

In an order issued on Tuesday, the state government appointed 31 advocates as additional advocates general, deputy advocates general and government advocates, with 15 in the Kashmir wing of the high court and 16 in the Jammu wing.

One the 16 names of law officers for the Jammu wing is Aseem Sawhney — one of the defence lawyers in the rape and murder case of an eight-year-old nomad girl in Kathua.

 

Sawhney has been appointed as an additional advocate general.

The appointment has raised eyebrows. PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti called it a “shocking violation” of the spirit of justice and alleged that it will encourage “rape culture”.

She also voiced hope that the Governor will intervene in the issue.

NC leader Omar Abdullah said the decision was both inexplicable and worrisome.

“Ironic that a day after celebrating World Day for International Justice, the defence counsel in the horrific rape & (and) murder Kathua case has been appointed as Additional Advocate General,” Mehbooba wrote on Twitter.

“Rewarding those who defend alleged murderers & rapists is abhorrent & a shocking violation of the spirit of justice. Such a move will only serve to encourage the rape culture rampant in our society. Expect the @jandkgovernor to intervene,” she said in another tweet.

Reacting to the issue, Abdullah tweeted: “The decision is both inexplicable & worrisome but if the victim’s lawyer is not unduly concerned by this development the rest of us should just let her get on with the job of ensuring justice for the young victim.”

The brutal rape and murder of the girl belonging to a minority nomadic community, in a village close to Kathua in Jammu region had sparked outrage in the country. She had disappeared on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later.

According to the charge sheet, the victim was held in captivity at a small village temple where she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before she was bludgeoned to death.

The trial in the case began on May 31 with the seven accused being produced before the district and sessions judge after the Supreme Court transferred the case from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab for a fair trial following a plea by the victim’s family.

While transferring the case from Kathua to Pathankot, about 30 km away, the apex court directed day-to-day in-camera trial in the case.

 


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Danish billionaire’s 3 kids among killed

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Copenhagen, Apr 22: Denmark’s richest man Anders Holch Povlsen and his wife lost three of their four children in the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, a spokesman for Povlsen’s fashion firm said on Monday.
The spokesman declined to give any further details but Danish media said the family had been on holiday in Sri Lanka.
A string of bombings at churches and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka killed 290 people and wounded about 500 in Sunday’s attacks. A senior investigator said on Monday that seven suicide bombers had taken part in the attacks.
Povlsen is the owner of fashion firm Bestseller, which includes brands like Vero Moda and Jack & Jones, and is the majority stakeholder in online retailer Asos while also holding a big stake in Zalando.
He owns more than 1 percent of all the land in Scotland, according to Forbes.

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We took bold steps to counter ‘terror’, Congress response timid: Modi

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Pimpalgaon (Maharashtra): Targeting the UPA regime on national security issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said his government took bold steps to counter ‘terror’, compared to the timid approach adopted by the Congress-led regime.

Modi’s remarks at a poll rally here in Nashik district of Maharashtra came a day after a terror attack in Sri Lanka killed 290 people in a series of eight blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in the island country.

The prime minister said that due to the bold approach adopted by his government, ‘terrorism’ has been curbed in India and is confined only to some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Under attack from the Congress for not letting the Rafale contract go to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Modi accused the opposition party of destroying the state-run enterprise.

The HAL has a unit in Nashik.

The prime minister said his government has increased defence production under the ‘Make in India’ programme.

Campaigning for BJP-Shiv Sena alliance candidates from Nashik, Dindori and Dhule Lok Sabha constituencies, Modi said the Lanka blasts took place on Easter when people were sharing the message of peace.

“What was the condition in India before 2014? Bomb explosions would take place in corners of the country every now and then in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kashi (Varanasi), Ayodhya, Jammu,” Modi said.

“What did the then Congress-NCP government do? Held condolence meeting, expressed grief. They went about crying in the world, saying Pakistan did this and that in our country,” he said.

“But what did your chowkidar do? Your chowkidar changed this timid approach of the Congress-NCP government,” Modi said.

In an apparent reference to the 2016 surgical strike and Balakot air strike carried out in February this year, Modi said the security forces barged into the “factory of terror and cleaned everything without any discrimination”.

Modi said every “terrorist” is aware that “Modi would trace him even if he is hiding in the netherworld.”

Without naming any leader from the opposition, Modi said “some” experience electric current the moment I talk about dynasty and national security.

He said the opposition was restless given the response the BJP got in the first two phases of the Lok Sabha polls across the country.

Addressing the rally in a region known for onion production, Modi said his government is trying to increase onion storage capacity and reduce tax on their transportation.

He claimed that the Congress tweaked crop prices to benefit middlemen.

“I have fought a battle against these middlemen,” he added.

“Our government working to end the rule of middlemen,” Modi said.

Speaking at a poll rally at Nandurbar later, Modi said accused the opposition parties of spreading rumours that reservations will modified if he returns to power.

Modi said he will ensure that the quota quantum is not disturbed.

“Till Modi is here, nobody can touch reservations, given to us by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,” he said.

Modi also assured people in the tribal dominated constituencies in north Maharashtra that his government will ensure they would not face eviction from their land.

“As long as Modi is there, reservation for adivasis will not be removed. No one can lay hand on your agricultural land you are cultivating now,” he said.

The adivasis are currently struggling to keep their land with themselves as some provisions of the Forest Rights Act are being challenged.

“In Maharashtra alone, 1.25 crore farmers’ families are benefiting from Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Yojana. If voted to power again, we will remove the upper land holding limit of five acre,” Modi said.

“My government is also going to introduce a pension scheme for farmers in coming years,” he said.

North Maharashtra produces sugarcane which can be used for ethanol production, Modi said.

It will create jobs for locals but the Congress-NCP leaders never allowed it to happen, he said.

“These leaders used to get kickbacks for importing fuel.

If fuel imports are reduced due to ethanol blending, they fear of losing their income,” Modi said.

Recalling that it was in Nandurbar that the Aadhar scheme was launched in 2010, Modi said his government ensured its wider impact.

“But and now the Congress has approached the Supreme Court against Aadhar card,” he said.

Funds meant for pregnant women and children were “looted” by Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh and were seized from residences of some of their leaders, he said.

“They (Congress) are unrelenting in abusing me as I targeted their corruption,” Modi said.

The prime minister also attacked Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy for his alleged remark that those who don’t get a square meal join the army and become jawans. Modi said that according to Kumaraswamy, people who guard our borders are not children of the rich and join the armed forces because they don’t have food to eat.

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JK Cong rings Delhi even for minor decisions: Omar

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Srinagar, Apr 21: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah Sunday said Congress leaders from Jammu and Kashmir are not allowed to take decisions on their own.
“When we were in an alliance with Congress, I noticed it myself that even for minor decisions they have to seek permission from party leadership in New Delhi,” Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a party function in South Kashmir.
However, Omar said, NC candidates for Parliamentary Elections if elected will not have to take “dictation” from New Delhi.
“Not only New Delhi but even National Conference top leadership. Our Parliamentarians will just have to represent the voice of people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Omar said people should come out to vote as boycotting elections will only help the BJP and RSS.
He said it was unfortunate that Election Commision of India was ignoring repeated violations of Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendara Modi and top BJP leadership.

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