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Sex racketeer sunil meher taken on 4-day remand

India, April 24, 2016 – Daily Pioner

The Commissionerate Police on Saturday took sex racket kingpin Sunil Meher on a four-day remand for further interrogation.

Even though the cops had sought a five-day remand, the Bhubaneswar Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM) Court had on Friday allowed a four-day custody to the police for investigation. Meanwhile, Meher refuted the allegations of running sex trade in the Odisha.

Meher while being taken by cops for interrogation told reporters, “The allegations are baseless. I have left this business since I am residing outside Odisha since last one year. I am now doing textile business.”

“I have no links with the foreign girl arrested recently from Bhubaneswar. They are taking my name just to escape from police vigil,” added Meher.

Sources said Meher was grilled at the Nayapalli police station on Saturday. The cops are trying to extract truths from him about his connections with inter-State sex trade and how he managed to bring in sex workers of foreign origin.

The investigators would also try to find out his connections with influential persons, including politicians, bureaucrats, police officials and journalists, which is also another important angle, the sources added. Notably, the Quick Action Team (QAT) of the Commissionerate Police arrested Meher in Kolkata on Thursday. He is wanted in nine cases and has been arrested six times earlier.


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Rise in death penalty in India’s neighbourhood

Pakitstan, SEPTEMBER 12, 2016 – The Hindu

Hangings in Pakistan and Bangladesh are inevitably followed by more violence

It seems to be hanging season on India’s western and eastern borders. If Pakistan is hanging militants and terrorists responsible for the upsurge in violence in recent years, Bangladesh is going after the war criminals behind the mass atrocities in the lead-up to the liberation of the country in 1971.

The reasons are clearly different, but in both Pakistan and Bangladesh each execution is often followed by attacks on civilians. If, in Pakistan, terrorists often zero in on random targets, in Bangladesh, secular bloggers are now under the militant radar.

In Bangladesh, the latest to be hanged was former Agriculture Minister Motiur Rahman Nizami, chief of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami. He was hanged on May 11 after being convicted by a war crimes tribunal for his role in the mass killing of civilians in 1971.

With Nizami’s execution, four top Jamaat leaders have been sent to the gallows by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’a government, while the fifth, Salahuddin Quader Chaudhry, belonged to the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) of Begum Khaleda Zia.

Given that these five were pillars of the political establishment till yesterday despite their widely known role in the 1971 killings, the hangings have shaken up Bangladesh’s politics like never before.

On May 12, Pakistani Army Chief Raheel Sharif confirmed the death sentence on Saad Aziz, Tahir Hussain Minhas, Asad ur Rehman, Hafiz Nasir and Muhammad Azhar Ishrat for the May 2015 bus attack on minority Shias and the April 2015 assassination of human rights’ activist Sabeen Mahmud in Karachi.

Of the five convicted by a Pakistani military court, there has been considerable focus on Aziz, who has a BBA degree from the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi and is known to have personally shot Sabeen Mahmud dead. He did his O-levels from Beaconhouse in Karachi, one of Pakistan’s best-known schools.

A graphic account in the Dawn newspaper reveals that Aziz was “inspired” by the sectarian conflict in Yemen and got to know a Jamaat-e-Islami activist linked to al-Qaeda while doing an internship in Unilever.

It’s of some interest that Aziz came into contact with the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, which has been umbilically linked to the Jamaat in Bangladesh, of which Nizami was the Amir or chief.

Again, today Dawn reported that five officers of the Pakistan Navy linked to Islamic State (IS) have been sentenced to death by a naval tribunal for their role in the September 2014 Karachi naval dockyard attack in which one sailor and two terrorists were killed.

The Jamaat and its youth wings, both in Pakistan and Bangladesh, are known to try and impose a harsh Islamist order in the public sphere with special focus on how women should dress and behave.

The hangings of Jamaat leaders by Bangladesh has led to howls of protest from Islamabad — diplomats have been summoned and then counter-summoned by both sides — revealing that the Pakistan-Bangladesh relationship remains tenuous.

A press release issued by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry on Nizami’s hanging said, “Pakistan is deeply saddened over the hanging… His only sin was upholding the constitution and laws of Pakistan.”

In a direct response to Nizami’s role in furthering the cause of Pakistan as Bangladeshis fought their war of liberation, Dhaka said in a statement, by “repeatedly taking the side of those Bangladesh nationals who are convicted of crimes against humanity and genocide, Pakistan has once again acknowledged its direct involvement and complicity with the mass atrocity crimes committed during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.”

“It is a matter of great regret that Pakistan continues to comment in the misguided defence of this convicted criminal. These uncalled reactions amount to direct interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country, which is totally unacceptable…” the statement added.

One can’t think of an uglier exchange — Pakistan argues that Nizami was upholding its “constitution” while Bangladesh reiterates that Pakistan was complicit in the 1971 war crimes. In point of fact, Pakistan was under martial law at this point of time and no constitution was in force.

It is evident that the fault-lines in Pakistan-Bangladesh relations have deepened after the hangings of Jamaat leaders by Dhaka. Given that this is for the first time the 1971 criminals are being brought to justice, some years after the mass killings, this acrimony was perhaps inevitable.

Though Islamabad has had good relations when the BNP and the Jamaat have been in power, it has been unable to address the fundamental issue — that its troops aided by collaborators — were responsible for the deaths of lakhs of Bangladeshis.

Even as they differ and bicker very publicly, both countries have resorted to the drastic and irreversible punishment of the death penalty in an effort to give justice and bring closure to victims.

In Pakistan, 332 persons have been executed in 2014-15, with the death sentences being handed down by military courts and being confirmed by the Army Chief, who has made the battle against some terrorists a very personal battle.

In Bangladesh, as many as 197 persons were sentenced to death in 2015, Amnesty International reported. The parallel processes of hanging in Bangladesh and Pakistan have different, contending motivations.

The real question, of course, is this: will it help in healing the wounds or just open fresh ones?


360 degree: Why capital punishment must stay

India, Mar 26, 2017 – Asian Age

When delivered scrupulously, the death penalty can uphold our moral conscience.

In 1980, the Supreme Court in the Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab abolished the mandatory death penalty in cases of murder and propounded the “rarest of rare” doctrine, allowing courts to impose death penalty in cases such as murder, terrorism, treason, espionage. Rape resulting in death or a permanent vegetative state of the victim was introduced in 2013. According to the Supreme Court, “Death penalty should be imposed when collective conscience of the society is so shocked that it will expect the holders of the judicial power centre to inflict death penalty irrespective of their opinion about desirability of otherwise of retaining death penalty.”

Although India is an ardent follower of the reformatory theory, special exceptions have been made to ensure that offenders committing heinous crimes are punished.

Capital punishment should be retained for extreme crimes that shock society or those that affect national security. Punishment should be awarded considering factors such as gravity of crime, manner of commission of the crime, the motive, anti-social or the abhorrent nature of the crime.

The International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights in Article 6, recognises a nation’s right to award death as long as due process of law is followed. In 1967, the Commission in its 35th report had supported continuation of the death penalty citing the size of the country and diversity of its population across which law and order had to be maintained. In 2015, the Union home ministry rejected the Law Commission’s recommendation for abolition of death penalty saying the time was not ripe to remove it completely from the statute book keeping in mind the threat from terrorism. There are limited crimes in which you can be subjected to death penalty in India. In the past 10 years, India has sentenced over 1,000 people to death but only four have been hung till death.

In addition, once the death penalty is sentenced, convicts all requisite procedural safeguards, the right to appeal to higher courts and eventually to the President for clemency. We have a fairly rigid system of due processes to prevent wrongful convictions. Capital punishment, when delivered scrupulously after examining facts, can aid in protection of the moral conscience of society.

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