FIR against BJP leaders for holding Bengal rally without nod

first_imgThe West Bengal police on Saturday filed an FIR against senior BJP leaders for allegedly holding a public meeting in the Cooch Behar district on Friday without obtaining permission.The leaders named in the FIR are State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, party’s general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, national secretary Rahul Sinha and State general secretary Raju Banerjee. The charges include unlawful assembly, disobedience of an order promulgated by public servant, threat of injury to public servant and criminal intimidation. BJP president Amit Shah was scheduled to flag off a rath yatra from Cooch Behar on October 7, but it was postponed after the issue went to the High Court. The BJP, however, held a public rally at the venue.BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the case demonstrated how the ruling Trinamool Congress government was using the police for its political ends.Meanwhile, during the day, Trinamool workers performed a purification drive at the spot where the rally was held.last_img read more

Gunning for Guns

first_imgLast month, the Amritsar Police rushed to the scene of what they believed was the kidnapping of a bank executive. The victim, Pawan Sharma, was allegedly dragged away by unidentified persons in the early hours. The caper was unravelled the same day when it was discovered that Sharma had staged,Last month, the Amritsar Police rushed to the scene of what they believed was the kidnapping of a bank executive. The victim, Pawan Sharma, was allegedly dragged away by unidentified persons in the early hours. The caper was unravelled the same day when it was discovered that Sharma had staged his kidnapping to obtain an arms licence. Recent executive orders from the Union Home Ministry specify gun licences can be handed out only to “persons who may face or perceive grave and imminent threat to their lives”. You could be a coffee planter in Coorg trying to protect your estate from marauding wild boars or a trader in Kanpur worried about the spurt in kidnappings, but you will get a new arms licence only if you can prove an imminent threat to your life, which has to be verified by the police.Chidambaram feels that proliferation of arms is disturbing law and order.The new directives follow a proposal by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram to undertake the most radical modification of the Indian Arms Act since it was enacted in 1959. From an obligation to give out an arms licence, it has now become entirely discretionary. If it was earlier only difficult to obtain an arms licence, it will now be virtually impossible for the aam admi to own a gun. The proposed Arms (Amendment) Bill 2010 which has been circulated in Parliament only talks about making police verification mandatory. But the executive orders issued by the Home Ministry to state home secretaries on March 31 push for far stringent restrictions like arms applications only for those able to prove an imminent threat to their lives. This modification in the arms policy has incensed a small but influential group of pro-gun lobbyists, the National Association for Gun Rights India (NAGRI), which has coalesced around senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, and is pushing for a status quo. They are in favour of police verification but argue that the stealthy executive orders are an infringement of personal liberty and creates a new caste system of elite gun owners. A view that is not shared by NGOs like the Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI) who support stricter gun laws. Digvijay, who recently took on the home minister for treating the Naxal problem as a law and order issue, has once again crossed swords with him as the chief patron of a lobby that espouses the right to bear arms. The reason may not be too far to see.Gun ownership is an emotive issue, especially in north India where these are flaunted as status symbols and fired at weddings. Districts in Madhya Pradesh have promised to fast-track gun licences as an incentive for vasectomy. Guns are a substitute for a non-existent rule of law: armed villagers in Bihar’s Kaimur district used their licenced rifles to rout a group of Naxals after a 26-hour firefight.advertisement”We are not a healthy democracy. Rules are bent with impunity and politicians twist the law to hand out arms licence to their stooges,” says Prakash Singh, former DGP, Uttar Pradesh, welcoming the modifications. “It is a draconian law which seeks to dilute constitutional privileges of right to life and property. Why should only MPs and Government officials be eligible for licences, why not the common man?” asks BJP MP S.S. Ahluwalia.”The changes are essential. Existing rules are bent with impunity by politicians to hand out arms licences to their stooges.”Prakash Singh, Former DGP, Uttar Pradesh”It is a draconian Bill. Why are only MPs and Government officials eligible for licences, why not the common man?”S.S. Ahluwalia, BJP MP The debate has begun reverberating within the corridors of Parliament. At least a dozen MPs from the Congress and the BJP, including Digvijay, Jaswant Singh, Naveen Jindal and S.S. Ahluwalia, recently met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to protest against the Bill. Manmohan is believed to have shrugged and said that the Home Minister had some persuasive arguments to limit gun licences. The gun lobby says that the tightening of the provisions of the Arms Act of 1959, which made it obligatory for the Government to provide arms licences if the citizens met all the requisite criteria, comes at a time when the home minister has admitted to India having among the lowest police-to-population ratios in the world. The Bill is silent on sports shooters who have brought international fame to the country. “There has to be a different set of rules for sportspersons otherwise the sport will die,” says former Indian shooting ace Moraad Ali Khan and now government observer (shooting).advertisementChidambaram has trained his guns on the Arms Act ostensibly because he believes State Governments may be issuing arms licences liberally. “Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district has just 500 gun licences whereas Gurgaon, which is the size of just one of its tehsils, has over 10,000 arms licences,” says a district magistrate in Haryana, welcoming the modifications. The Bill mentions the proliferation of arms and ammunition disrupting social order and “proliferation of arms, whether licenced or illegal, vitiating the law and order situation, and holding of sophisticated arms by the conflicting parties directly contributes towards lethality of violent acts”.The arms lobby says the Bill is fundamentally flawed and the Home Ministry has not conducted any research to prove any of these conclusions. “The new Act violates the basic principle of the citizen’s right to self-defence. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures say that licenced firearms are used in less than 2 per cent of all murders,” says Rahoul Rai, president, NAGRI. The grouping also takes exception to licenced owners being lumped with those holding illicit arms. There are no estimates as to the total number of licenced and unlicenced firearms in the country (the executive orders seek to establish a central database of legal arms) but then India is a haven for illicit arms, particularly the North and North-east. CAFI estimates say that since 1990, security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-eastern states have seized over 40,000 illicit firearms.The Bill is among a series of Government moves since the introduction of the Arms Act that makes it progressively difficult for citizens to obtain arms. This, when you can still purchase an AK-47 in Kashmir for Rs 10,000. Gun owners say the new law will only encourage corruption. “A majority of crimes are committed using illegal arms. Criminals and anti-national elements do not bother to apply for arms licences,” says Abhijeet Singh of NAGRI. “Instead of cracking down on the underground arms market, the Home Ministry is going after soft targets-the licenced owners,” he adds. The last round has not been fired yet.CONCEALED ARMSThe Home Ministry’s executive orders are far stricter than the BillARMS ACT 1959ARMS (AMENDMENT) BILL 2010MORE POWER TO LICENSING AUTHORITYPolice verification optional. Section 13 (2A) says that the licensing authority can grant a licence if the police does not submit its verification on time.TIGHTENING OF POLICE VERIFICATIONSection 13 (2A) being deleted. Police verification mandatory.ARMS LICENCES FOR NON-PROHIBITED BORE (NPB) WEAPONS CAN BE GIVENProhibited Bores are used only by police and military. The Government shall give arms licenses for NPB under Section 13 for protection, sport or bonafide crop protection.EXECUTIVE ORDERS, MARCH 31, 2010ARMS LICENCES ONLY IN EXCEPTIONAL CASES LIKE THREATTO LIFEApplications only from persons who may face or perceive grave or imminent threat to their lives, for which the licensing authorities will obtain from the police an assessment of the threat faced by the personQUANTITY OF AMMUNITIONDifferent numbers of cartridges issued by various states.QUANTITY OF AMMUNITIONOnly 50 cartridges per year. Licencees have to prove where they used ammo.ALL-INDIA LICENCECurrently handled by local licensing authority and state home departmentsALL-INDIA LICENCEAIL only for sitting Union Ministers/MPs, military, paramilitary, officers of all-India services, sports persons. All others to be directly approved by the Union Home Ministry.advertisementlast_img read more

Beloved Vancouver theatre one step closer to being saved after mortgage approval

first_imgVANCOUVER – The operators of one of Vancouver’s last independent movie theatres say they’re a step closer to saving the property from development after being approved for a mortgage to buy the beloved cinema.Corrine Lea said she’s optimistic about the Rio Theatre’s future after receiving the news from Vancity credit union earlier this week.“It’s a huge relief to be able to give everyone the good news and say that the mortgage has been approved,” she said.Zoning changes in the area attracted developers who wanted to tear down the 80-year-old east Vancouver theatre for a new project, Lea said previously.In February, she announced that the cinema’s operators had put in a multi-million-dollar offer to purchase the Rio, a venue beloved for running independent films and hosting burlesque, comedy, improv and variety shows.A months-long fundrasing campaign has already brought in more than $500,000 for a deposit on the property and garnered support from a variety of entertainers, including filmmaker Kevin Smith, actor Ryan Reynolds and Vancouver-born Finn Wolfhard, the 15-year-old star of “Stranger Things” and “It.”The exact purchase price has never been revealed, but Lea has said it’s above the property’s $4.3-million assessed value.Lea said on Saturday that she’s been working on securing the mortgage for about a month and the final approval comes just before a May 7 deadline for finalizing the sale.“Basically, I was really biting my nails in the last couple of days because if they turned us down and said no, I would have had very little time to find another option,” she said, adding that she was cautious about the cinema’s future until the mortgage was approved.“This is the closest that we’ve been to reaching our goal. And I can see the finish line. And it feels really good.”On Monday, Lea is set to remove subjects on the deal. Then she and her business partner will have 60 days to come up with the $3-million deposit.Lea said investors have vowed to contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to the deposit, but the operators are still looking to raise about $800,000.A new campaign is in the works that will allow people who aren’t accredited investors to purchase shares in the theatre, she said.“This has been such a huge, amazing community team effort. So I think it’ll be such a huge opportunity,” Lea said.“We’ve all seen so many stories about another beloved Vancouver space gone, another business shut down. And so to just realize that we can make a difference and that this is a good news story, everyone was really wanting to see that happen.”last_img read more

March is Reading Month

first_img Categories: News 26Mar March is Reading Month! State Rep. Nancy Jenkins talked with local kids about the importance of reading during March is Reading Month. Jenkins is pictured reading to students at Michener Elementary Schools in Adrian. Jenkins also read at the Adrian Public Library.last_img

Michigan State University granted an extension to comply with House inquiry into

first_img Categories: Kesto News,LaSata News,News 09Feb Michigan State University granted an extension to comply with House inquiry into Nassar failings The Michigan House of Representatives today did not receive information from Michigan State University in response to the official request made on January 25, 2018.  The university had been given a deadline of February 9, 2018 to turn over the information.Michigan State University instead requested a short extension to collect and provide all requested information.  State Reps. Klint Kesto and Kim LaSata have granted that extension in order to receive full disclosure.  Michigan State University will turn over all records regarding allegations made against Larry Nassar in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 by Wednesday, February 14, 2018.State Rep. Klint Kesto, chairman of the Law and Justice Committee, and state Rep. Kim LaSata, chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, today released the following statement:“This information is important to our ability to improve state law and build a better, safer system for crime victims and students.  We look forward to reviewing this information, finding points of failure in the university’s process and beginning work on important reforms that can ensure these mistakes will never be made again.“We fully anticipate all requested information being turned over by Wednesday. If it is not, our committees will meet shortly to discuss the next steps in compelling the university to do the right thing.”#####last_img read more