QBullet: JNU Panel to Probe Attack; SC Verdict on J&K Restrictions
Top headlines of the day on The Quint.
1. VC ‘Loyalists’ on JNU Panel to Probe Attack
The five faculty members appointed by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration to inquire into Sunday’s mob attack are all members of a breakaway faction of teachers that dissociated from the elected teachers’ body, JNUTA, last November, alleging that the association and students agitating against a proposed fee hike were “hand in glove”.
The appointment of the committee was criticised by both the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) and the elected JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) on the grounds that the panel’s members were “too closely associated with the administration” and would therefore not be able to conduct a “free and fair inquiry”.
2. Supreme Court Verdict Today on Pleas Against J&K Curbs
The Supreme Court will on Friday deliver its judgment on petitions challenging the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of amendments made to Article 370 of the Constitution.
A bench of Justices N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai had reserved its decision in the matter on 27 November 2019.
The court will decide petitions, including those by Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin.
3. Envoys From 15 Nations Begin Two-Day J&K Tour
A group of 15 envoys and diplomats on Thursday interacted with security officials, politicians and civil society representatives in Srinagar as part of the first such visit organised by the government since Jammu & Kashmir’s special status was revoked on 5 August 2019, restrictions on movement and communication imposed, and many political leaders detained.
The group, which is making a two-day visit to Jammu & Kashmir to assess the ground situation, includes US ambassador Kenneth Juster, South Korean envoy Shin Bong-kil and Norwegian envoy Hans Jacob Frydenlund. The diplomats had “frank interactions” during their meetings, ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in New Delhi.
Soon after their arrival, the diplomats went to 15 Corps headquarters, where security officials and army commanders briefed them on the situation in Kashmir after Article 370 of the Constitution was nullified last August, and the challenges in maintaining security, including the threat of terrorism and the situation along the Line of Control (LoC).
(Source: Hindustan Times)
4. 106 Ex-Bureaucrats Write Against New Law on Citizenship
A group of around 100 retired civil servants released an open letter on Thursday, asking people to insist that the government withdraw recent amendments to the Citizenship Act and scrap the plan to build an all-India National Register of Citizens.
The retired civil servants, who have come together under the aegis of the Constitutional Conduct Group, also countered the government’s latest effort to delink the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the ongoing National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC).
“The three issues are linked,” it said in the open letter designed to “acquaint people with the facts” and “emphasise why these measures need to be resolutely opposed”.
5. 15 Men Held For Daryaganj Violence Get Bail
We, the people of India, have given to ourselves the Constitution and agreed to disagree, a court said on Thursday while granting bail to 15 men arrested in connection with the Daryaganj incident during the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) on 20 December.
Additional sessions judge Kamini Lau observed that in a democratic set-up, the people had a fundamental right to a peaceful protest guaranteed by the Constitution and it couldn’t be curtailed by the state. “However, at the same time, our Constitution strikes a fine balance between the rights and the duties. While exercising our right of peaceful protest, it is our duty to ensure that no corresponding right of another is violated. Violence or destruction of property is totally unacceptable,” it added.
(Source: The Times of India)
6. Death Row Convict Files Curative Plea
One of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape-cum-murder case given the death sentence moved a curative petition, the last remedy available in a court of law, in the Supreme Court on Thursday. The four are to be hanged on 22 January.
Pleading for mercy, Vinay Kumar Sharma said in his petition that death sentence did not act as a deterrent and contended that in most cases, only the poor were given the extreme punishment while well-off people got away with lighter punishment. He said there was a fundamental divide in the criminal justice system where the poor and the weak always suffered the worst punishment. Sharma said he was the sole earner of his family and should be given a chance to reform.
7. 5 More JNU Suspects Identified, No Arrests
The Crime Branch of Delhi Police has been able to identify five suspects involved in the attack on students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University on 5 January in addition to the three earlier identified. However, no arrests have been made as the cops claimed they were trying to locate the whereabouts of the eight. Raids were conducted to nab them in Delhi, UP and Uttarakhand on Thursday, and police team has been stationed in Dehradun.
A source in Delhi Police said that at least four of the suspects are students of Delhi University, while one is a former student of JNU. Though there was no official confirmation of this, the source added that four of the suspects are members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the RSS-affiliated student organisation, and three are associated with the Left groups.
A top police officer told TOI on Thursday that arrests were likely in the next 48 hours. “We will have clarity and details on the suspects by Saturday,” he said.
8. US Officials: ‘Highly Likely’ Iran Downed Ukrainian Jetliner With 176 Onboard
Two US officials said Thursday it is “highly likely” that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile brought down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing all 176 onboard.
US President Donald Trump said the deadly crash of a Ukrainian plane could have been a mistake, adding that he had a terrible feeling about the downed airliner. “I have my suspicions,” Trump said. “It was flying in a pretty rough neighbourhood and somebody could have made a mistake.”
9. Who’s Accountable, Asks Hit-And-Run Victim’s Sister
Shilpa Mittal, the sister of Siddharth Sharma, a business consultant who was mowed down by a speeding Mercedes being driven by a teenager near Civil Lines in April 2016, is disappointed by the Supreme Court verdict that ordered the accused to be treated as a juvenile in conflict with law.
Speaking to TOI, Mittal rued that she now has to go back to Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) for trial. “It is a failure of our justice system when the apex court agrees that there is a loophole in the law, but cannot do anything about it. Because your system is flawed and incapable, you are accepting this. All you can say is sorry, but sorry doesn’t bring a dead man alive,” she said.
Mittal said that such a decision coming from Supreme Court was totally unacceptable. “If a person commits a crime, the system grants justice to the victim. When you know the law is faulty and let the culprit go away, who should be held accountable then?” she questioned.
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