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Khurram Parvez arrest: Rights bodies protest Kashmiri activist’s detention, call for immediate release

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Khurram Parvez

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday evening arrested prominent Kashmiri rights activist Khurram Parvez from Srinagar in connection with a terror funding case. The agency, however, did not confirm the reason for his arrest but family sources said he was taken for questioning by officials who claimed to be from the NIA.

Parvez was arrested after an hours-long raid at his residence in Srinagar, his wife Samina said. They also seized Parvez’s mobile, laptop, some books, along with her cell phone, Samina said.

The family said the NIA had also raided Khurram’s residence during the intervening night of October 28 and 29 last year in cases where they claimed his involvement in separatist activities.

NIA’s move to arrest Parvez elicited sharp reactions from rights bodies and activists, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur.

The United Nations said it was disturbed by the reports of Khurram’s arrest. Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, tweeted that he is not a terrorist, he’s a Human Rights Defender.  

David Kaye, a former UN Special Rapporteur, said Khurram’s arrest under terrorism charges was yet another extraordinary abuse in Kashmir.

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), a Geneva-based non-profit organization that works with groups across the world to fight for human rights, said it is deeply concerned about the high risk of torture while in custody. In its tweet, the organization called for his immediate release.

What are the charges against Parvez?

Parvez has been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and other multiple charges. The Indian Penal Code sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (attempt to wage war) and 121A (conspiracy to commit offenses) have been invoked against Parvez.

He was also charged under Section 17 (funding a terrorist act), Section 18 (conspiracy), Section 18B (recruitment for the commission of a terrorist act), Section 30 (membership of a terrorist organization) and Section 40 (offences for raising funds for a terrorist organization) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The arrest has been made under the supervision of G. Siva Vikram, Superintendent of Police (SP) NIA. The witnesses during the arrest include Suhail Ahmad Mir, Patwari Assistant Commissioner Nazool and Patwari Deputy Commissioner Nazool office.

Who is Khurram Parvez?

Parvez, 42, is the program coordinator of the widely respected rights group of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), and chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD).

Khurram is one of the most well-known rights defenders from the Valley who lost his leg to a militant IED in the early 2000s. He is a recipient of the Reebok Human Rights Award 2006. He is a vocal critic of the government and was arrested for two and a half months in 2016 by the Mehbooba Mufti-led government.

Two days before his arrest, the immigration authorities in the country had refused to let him board a flight to Geneva where he was scheduled to address the United Nations Human Rights Council about India’s human rights record.

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JKCCS has published some of the most damning reports on human rights violations in Kashmir, the latest titled “Kashmir’s Internet Siege” on mass detentions and the justice system amid Internet restrictions following the abrogation of the state’s special status on August 5, 2019.

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Gujarat Jain couple donate Rs 200 crore wealth, renounce world

The Bhandari couple was accompanied by 35 individuals in February and led a 4 km procession during which they donated all their belongings, from mobile phones to air conditioners.

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A Gujarat-based businessman and his wife have donated their lifetime earnings of Rs 200 crore and have taken the decision to renounce all materialistic desires to become Jain monks. In February this year, Bhavesh Bhandari and his wife donated all their wealth during a ceremony. The Bhandari family, which hails from Himmatnagar, has been in the construction business. The family decided to follow in the footsteps of their 16-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter, who adopted monkhood in 2022.

Bhavesh Bhandari, who belongs to a Jain family, had been a part of construction business in Ahmedabad and Sabarkantha and was accustomed to a life of luxury and prosperity from a young age. The Bhandari couple was accompanied by 35 individuals in February and led a 4 km procession during which they donated all their belongings, from mobile phones to air conditioners. A short video clip from the event shows the couple wearing regal attire on top of a chariot and making donations. Adorned in rich attire and jewellery, they stood atop a truck adorned to resemble a chariot, tossing garments and banknotes to the people standing below,

After the couple made their pledge on April 22 to adopt monkhood, the couple is going to break all familial relations and renounce any material possessions and desires. Afterwards, they will begin a barefoot journey across India and will sustain themselves solely on alms.

According to reports the couple will be allowed to own two white garments, an alms bowl, and a rajoharan, a white broom used by Jain monks to clear insects from an area before sitting — a symbol of the non-violent path which they follow. In a similar incident in January, the 8-year-old daughter of a Gujarati diamond merchant renounced material comforts and worldly desires to embrace monkhood. Devanshi Sanghv had participated in a grand procession with camels, elephants, horses and great fanfare before embracing a life of monkhood.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Lok Sabha elections 2024: BJP releases 12th list of candidates, Udayanraje Bhonsle to contest from Satara

The BJP on Tuesday released its 12th list of seven candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections

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The 12th list of seven candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, which are scheduled to start on Friday, was announced by the BJP on Tuesday. Among the seven candidates is Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale, the 13th descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who will contest from Satara, Maharashtra, and Abhijit Das Bobby, who represents Diamond Harbour in West Bengal.

The current MP for the Trinamool Congress, Abhishek Banerjee, has been paired against Abhijit Das Bobby, who contested unsuccessfully for the Diamond Harbour seat in the general elections of 2009 and 2014.

Abhishek Banerjee won in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections with 40.31 percent of the vote, while Abhijit Das secured 15.92 percent of the vote to finish third. Dr. Abul Hasnat of CPI(M), who received 34.66% of the vote, came in second.

With 7,91,127 votes, the leader of the Trinamool Congress party was able to hold onto the seat in 2019. Nilanjan Roy of the BJP received 4,70,533 votes, while Fuad Halim of the CPI(M) secured third place with 93,941 votes.

The 13th descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale, is another prominent figure on the list. He is contesting for the Satara Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra as a member of the BJP.

In the 2019 by-election, Bhosale—a former leader of the NCP who joined the BJP in 2022—lost the seat. There has been a back-and-forth in the seat on the Lok Sabha election candidate between the BJP and NCP.

Shashikant Shinde has received his ticket from the NCP (SP).

Shashank Mani Tripathi from Deoria and Thakur Vishwadeep Singh from Firozabad are the final candidates on the BJP’s 12th list.

In Uttar Pradesh, there are two seats.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Som Prakash’s wife Anita Som Prakash, who is a resident of Punjab, will contest for the Hoshiarpur seat in lieu of her husband.

Manjeet Singh Manna Miawind from Khadoor Sahib and Parampal Kaur Sidhu from Bathinda are the other two candidates, both of whom are from Punjab.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says RJD is responsible for destroying Bihar, slams Lalu’s party over various corruption cases

The prime minister made a scathing attack at the opposition and said Ghamandia Gathbandhan has no vision or trust. He said when INDIA bloc alliance goes out asking for votes, then they do so on the basis of the work done by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that India and Bihar are moving forward to return to their ancient glory and added the upcoming Lok Sabha elections is an election to take a resolve for developed India and developed Bihar. PM Modi was addressing an election rally in Bihar’s Gaya, where he said that the public support that has gathered on the land of Gaya clearly shows enthusiasm of the people once again for the Modi government.

The prime minister spoke on BJP’s manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and said that it is for the first time that a Sankalp Patra of any party is being called a guarantee card as in the last 10 years, people have seen Modi’s guarantee for fulfillment of a guarantee.

PM Modi said for the next five years, Modi’s guarantee card has been updated. He promised 3 crore houses will be made for the poor, the poor will get free ration for the next 5 years and those above 70 years of age will receive free treatment upto Rs 5 lakhs He said the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi yojana will be continued and all of these are Modi’s guarantees.

The prime minister made a scathing attack at the opposition and said Ghamandia Gathbandhan has no vision or trust. He said when INDIA bloc alliance goes out asking for votes, then they do so on the basis of the work done by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PM Modi said the people of Bihar know why they try and take credit for the work done by Nitish and the central government.

The prime minister said RJD is responsible for destroying Bihar and slammed Lalu’s party over various corruption cases including land for jobs scam, fodder scam. Speaking about BJP’s manifesto PM Modi said, there is a roadmap for every section and sector of the society.

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