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Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit’s letter reveals the horrors of his arrest

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A letter written by Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, has revealed the horrific truth of Indian prisons. According to the letter, the army officer was beaten, abused and tortured while he was in custody of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

A news source has managed to gain access of the 24-page letter in which Lt Col Purohit reveals the horror he had to face a few years back. Even though Lt Col Purohit was granted bail in the 2008 Malegaon blast case in August last year by the Supreme Court, his experience is enough to account for a lifetime of nightmares.

In the letter written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) by Lt Col Purohit in December 2013 from the Navi Mumbai jail, Lt Col Purohit claimed that he was beaten mercilessly and threatened in order to own up to a crime he never was guilty of. The Army officer also alleged that he was held in illegal detention.

Notably, the claim by Lt Col Purohit was investigated by the NHRC. Officers who have been named in the letter have already responded and given their explanations to the human rights panel. However, it is the first time that the original copy of the letter is under public scrutiny.

A complaint has been sent to the Prime Minister’s office by an activist named Neeraj Gunde, who has sought a probe into the matter.

Meanwhile, speaking to a news source, Lt Col Purohit stood by his claims and confirmed all the allegations he has made, “It’s there in the letter,” he said.

On August 17, last year, Purohit had told the Supreme Court that he had been rotting away in jail for nine years after being caught in a “political crossfire”. The apex court had granted him bail, even though the Bombay High Court did not stand by this decision.

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Muscular security policy will not work in J-K: Mehbooba Mufti says after her resignation

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PDP chief and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti raised the bogey of Article 370 and unilateral ceasefire on Tuesday, saying the muscular security policy will not work in the state and reconciliation is the key.

“I am not shocked as this alliance was never for power. PDP never believes in power politics and we worked for the people,” she told reporters after an hour-long meeting with her ministers and party workers at her residence.

Mehbooba maintained that Jammu and Kashmir was not an enemy territory as being perceived by few. “We had always said muscular security policy will not work in J-K, reconciliation is key,” she said.

She began her press conference by raising Article 370, under which the state enjoys a special status, and said “…we have safeguarded Article 370 and 35-A (of the Constitution) and we will continue to do that”.

“We have been able to withdraw 11,000 cases against the stone pelters,” she said while listing her side of the story after the BJP pulled out of its alliance with the PDP in the state.

She also mentioned about the unilateral ceasefire during Ramazan announced by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lahore in 2015.

Mehbooba, who submitted her resignation to the governor this evening , said her party will continue to strive for dialogue and reconciliation in the state.

“I have told the governor we will not go into any other alliance,” she said.

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Pavements shouldn’t be obstructed by encroachments: Delhi High Court

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Observing that pavements should not be obstructed by encroachments as it could lead to traffic hazards as well as imperil life of pedestrians, the Delhi High Court has directed the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to remove a temple built illegally on a footpath near C R Park here.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar told the corporation that while bringing the pavement in question to its original condition, the deities in the temple be shifted to another place without damaging them.

It directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East) to ensure that adequate police protection is made available to the SDMC for implementing the court’s order in which the bench also asked the corporation to file a status report within eight weeks regarding the steps taken by it.

The direction by the court came while disposing of a PIL against encroachments on the pavement at Govind Puri Extension opposite F-Block of C R Park.

While disposing of the matter, the bench said, “Pavements have to be maintained as pavements and no obstruction thereon can be permitted. The same results not only in traffic hazards but imperils the life of pedestrians who have no place to walk.

“In view of the above, the SDMC shall forthwith take steps to remove the entire unauthorized temple opposite F-Block, C R Park, Govind Puri Extension, Kalkaji and ensure that the pavement is brought to its original condition and maintained as such. Needless to say, the SDMC shall take care to ensure the deities are shifted to any other place and that no damage is caused thereto.”

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8,000 Indian journalists to be trained by Google

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To guard journalists against falling prey to false news stories, Google India on Tuesday said it will provide training to 8,000 journalists in English and six other Indian languages in the next one year.

Google News Initiative India Training Network will select 200 journalists from different parts of India. These journalists will improve their skills during a five-day “train-the-trainer” boot camps organised by Google.

This network of certified instructors will then train more journalists at two-day, one-day and half-day workshops organised by the Network giant. Training workshops will be conducted in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Kannada in cities across India, Google India said in a statement.

The aim of the training is to master Indian journalists in fact-checking, verification and maintaining digital hygiene using information built by experts from First Draft, Storyful, AltNews, BoomLive, Factchecker.in and DataLeads.

“Supporting trusted, authoritative media sources is a top priority for Google, which is why we are proud to collaborate with Internews, DataLeads and BoomLive to support journalists in their fight against misinformation in India,” said Irene Jay Liu, Google News Lab Lead, Asia-Pacific.

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