18 injured as Buddhists, Hindus spar in UP

At least 18 people, including three policemen, were injured in clashes involving people belonging to two communities during a religious procession in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, police said on Friday.

The trouble began when a group of Buddhists, taking out a Dham Yatra (religious procession) at the Buddhist pilgrimage centre of Sankisa, raised objectionable slogans, which provoked the Sanatan Dharmis (Hindus), the police said.

Mild force was used to disperse the crowd, which indulged in heavy stone pelting, the police said, adding someone from the crowd also fired in the air.

No arrests were made, the police said. Buddhists and Sanatan Dharmis have always been at loggerheads over the issue of the possession of Bisari Devi temple.

During the past three years, the tussle has often assumed violent overtones.

HC issues notice to State govt on reservation
DH News Service

The Karnataka High Court today ordered issue of notices to the State government and other respondents on a public interest writ petition filed complaining that the Government has failed to maintain 18 per cent reservation of wards to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes in the forthcoming election to the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike.

A division bench of Justice G C Bharuka and Justice K Sridhara Rao passed the above direction on a public interest writ petition filed by B M Muniraju of J C Nagar here. The High Court also directed the government to file statement of objection on the contentions raised in the petition.

The petitioner pointed out that of total 100 wards, 13 wards are reserved for SCs and one ward is reserved for ST (total only 14 per cent) and this is against 18 per cent reservation guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and Section 352(3) of the Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964.

'Problem of terrorism cannot be solved by laws'
NHRC upset over not receiving POTO text

Amidst the controversy over the Prevention Of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed its "displeasure" over not receiving any official text on the ordinance even after it is being issued by the President over a week ago.

"It is regrettable that the Commission has not received any copy of POTO. The Commission received the contents of the ordinance from a journalist who approached it for its comments," NHRC Chairman J S Verma told PTI. NHRC, which has been vehemently opposing any new legislation on terrorism, had asked the Centre for a copy of the POTO immediately after the proposal was passed by the Union Cabinet on October 16.

The Commission, which had opposed such a measure earlier and criticised the government for bringing the new ordinance, has been maintaining that there were enough anti-terrorism laws in the country and feared that any more laws could lead to human rights violation.

"What we need is strict implementation of the existing anti-terrorism laws in the country and not a new legislation," Mr Verma said adding "the Commission stand has not changed and there was no reason also to modify the same."

Earlier, in an obvious reference to the controversial Prevention Of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO), Mr Verma said the problem of terrorism "cannot be solved by enacting laws that do away with the legal safeguards designed to prevent innocent people from being prosecuted and punished." "The problem cannot be solved by providing for a different and more drastic procedure for prosecution of certain crimes by making confession to the police admissible in evidence, contrary to provisions in the Evidence Act, for raising the presumption of guilt as set out in the Bill," the NHRC chairman said. He was delivering the keynote address at All India Criminology Conference here on Thursday. Mr Verma said while tackling terrorism, the government should adopt strategies which balance the dignity of individuals and national security.

"Any law enacted to tackle terrorism must be very closely scrutinised and must muster the strict approval of Constitutional validity. Legislature must see whether there is at all any need for such a law...," he said adding "new laws will be effective only if supplementing existing laws are not enough." Elaborating on the different facets of modern day crimes such as narco-terrorism, hijacking and cyber crimes, Mr Verma said "it is not deficiency in the law and competence of people that is a hurdle in tackling these problems, it was more due to lack of government's will and awareness of civil society."

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Published on: November 02, 2001
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