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BJP faces a new challenger from within: The Hindutva fringe

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Karnataka is witnessing a new development — Hindutva activists and organisations posing an open challenge to the ruling BJP.

The trend which has gathered steam after the murders of Bajrang Dal activist Harsha in Shivamogga and BJP Yuva Morcha member Praveen Kumar Nettare in Dakshina Kannada.

The state’s ruling BJP is facing a hate campaign and social media trials after videos and screenshots surfaced of the accused in Harsha’s murder case found chatting with their family and friends from prison.

The matter worsened with state Home Minister Araga Jnanendra allegedly turning a blind eye to Harsha’s sister, who had approached him with a complaint against luxury treatment being given to her brother’s alleged killers.

The saffron party which rejoiced the developments following the hijab crisis and boycott calls on Muslim traders leading to the young generation being lured towards Hindutva ideology, is now on a damage control mode after the young cadres started a movement to quit across the state.

Amrith Shenoy, a former AICC Member from Udupi, told IANS: “BJP leaders have politicised every murder that took place during the tenure of the Siddaramaiah government. If the accused were Hindus they did not bother and if they were Muslims they made it a big issue. The same trend has continued in the Harsha murder case as well.”

“The BJP cadres and young party workers are thinking why Hindu leaders were being killed during the rule of the BJP? The violent mob had almost attacked BJP State President Nalin Kumar Kateel who had gone to Nettare’s funeral. Ministers V. Sunil Kumar and Araga Jnanendra had to take protection from people.”

Gradually, BJP supporters are realising that the the party’s Hindutva is bogus, Shenoy said and claimed that the party does not even worship Lord Ram.

“Karnataka, especially the coastal region, was a Congress bastion till 2000. In the beginning, Hindu leaders such as Praveen Togadia and Pramod Muthalik started organising Hindu samajotsava and invited everyone. They claimed that the programmes were apolitical,” he stated.

The claims however, turned out to be fake, as they spoke against the Congress and Hindus being threatened and projected the BJP as the champion of Hindus, Shenoy says.

Gradually, the young generation from oppressed classes were drawn to their fold. and were encouraged to carry out moral policing, wield swords and pelt stones, he added.

Pramod Muthalik, founder of the Sri Rama Sena, explained that his organisation won’t support the BJP in next year’s Assembly elections.

“We have asked the BJP to change. The dissatisfaction towards BJP is very much there. The party is corrupt and it is not sensitive towards the needs of Hindu community. It has digressed from its objectives,” he said/

Dharmendra, state General Secretary of the Akhila Bharata Hindu Mahasabha, said that his organisation is much more powerful now than earlier.

He maintained that Mahasabha will change the political scenario in the state following the 2023 polls and claimed that the “BJP’s prospectus would be harmed to a great extent across Karnataka”.

Dharmendra further says that the people have seen how the ruling BJP leaders have amassed wealth and also caused tremendous pain and suffering to Hindu activists.

BJP insiders explain that the party leaders are hoping to recover from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the coastal town of Mangaluru in Dakshina Kannada district on September 2, where he will address a public rally.

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SBI Govandi suburban branch in Mumbai changes weekly off to Friday

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 In a move that has raised eyebrows in some quarters, the public sector State Bank of India’s Govandi Branch is understood to have changed its weekly off from Sundays to Fridays, with effect from December 1.

A notice to the effect went up outside the branch premises this week and the move is purportedly intended to facilitate the local minority population living in and around Govandi, a north-eastern suburb.

Despite repeated attempts, top SBI officials were not available for their comments on the potentially controversial decision, ostensibly taken at the local levels.

As per the notice, come December 1, the SBI Govandi Branch will remain shut on all Fridays, and the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.

From Sunday to Thursday, the business hours will be normal — from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily — as stated in the notice.

Apprehensions were expressed in some quarters that even the SBI Millenium Branch in Dadar would follow suit, but branch officials on Tuesday outright dismissed the claims.

Incidentally, branches of certain other banks in the city and some other parts of the country also provide a Sunday half-day working — which is compensated by all Saturdays off, in view of local people’s convenience.

The Govandi SBI Branch move has elicited strong reactions on social media with objections to the Friday closure to cater to “the demands of the local demographics”, and called for regional coordination for uniformity in the concerned areas.

Banking circles pointed out that in the digital era, when most banking functions are conducted online, “there’s little meaning to weekly offs or public holidays” as the bank operations continue irrespective of the calendar dates.

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ED attaches shares of Gardens Galleria in PMLA case

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 The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached 40 per cent share of the Hotel Project (1,40,000 Sq. Ft. FSI Space) within the Commercial Centre, Gardens Galleria, Noida.

The ED said that the attached asset was owned by Unitech Ranchero Services Limited, Cyprus which was an alleged benami overseas company of Chandras, Promoter of Unitech Group and the value of attached asset Rs 65.32 crore.

“Investigation by ED revealed that Unitech Group had invested the Proceeds of Crime to the tune of USD 8 million through a benami company Ranchero Services Limited, Cyprus into Unitech Hotels Private Limited in the year 2007- 2008. Investigation revealed that Ranchero Services Limited, Cyprus is owned by Chandras and was being managed through an overseas trust on their behalf,” the central agency said.

During investigation, the ED had arrested five individuals — Sanjay Chandra, Ajay Chandra, Ramesh Chandra, Preeti Chandra and Rajesh Malik.

As of now, the ED has filed two charge sheets in the matter. The special PMLA court has taken cognisance in both the matters.

“Various domestic and overseas assets having a total value of Rs 1132.55 crore have been attached in the matter,” said the official.

It includes the attachment of assets of Carnoustie Group, Shivalik Group, Trikar Group and the assets of Shell, Benami and personal companies of Chandras etc. Total proceeds of crime of more than Rs 6,500 crore has been detected till now in this case.

Further investigation in the matter is on.

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‘Violates right to privacy, invasive to physical autonomy’, SC on DNA testing of two children

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The Supreme Court recently set aside the Telangana High Court order permitting DNA testing to determine the paternity of two children in a matrimonial dispute, holding such a direction would be invasive to the physical autonomy of a person and also violate the right to privacy.

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath said: “The trial court as also the revisional court had completely ignored the said factor and proceeded as if the children were material objects who could be sent for forensic analysis.”

It noted that the substance of the complaint was not related to paternity of the children of the mother, who claimed she had been forced to cohabit and develop a physical relationship with her brother-in-law, in a dowry harassment case with her husband and his brother.

The woman had lodged a complaint against her husband and his brother under Sections 498A, 323, and 354 and other ancillary provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The top court noted that the trial court allowed the woman’s application mechanically, on the premise that the DNA fingerprint test is permissible under the law. It said that both the trial and the high court ignored that the paternity of the children was not in question in the subject-proceedings.

It further added that merely because something is permissible under the law cannot be directed as a matter of course to be performed particularly when a direction to that effect would be invasive to the physical autonomy of a person.

The bench said: “The consequence thereof would not be confined to the question as to whether such an order would result in testimonial compulsion, but encompasses right to privacy as well. Such direction would violate the privacy right of the persons subjected to such tests and could be prejudicial to the future of the two children who were also sought to be brought within the ambit of the trial court’s direction.”

In February 2017, the high court had ordered a DNA test on the claim made by the mother of two children. The woman had filed an application under Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act with the appeal seeking direction to obtain an expert opinion for the DNA fingerprint test comparing blood samples of her two daughters. The trial court allowed her plea, which was challenged by her husband and his brother before the high court. The high court held that such a DNA fingerprint test was permitted under Sections 53, 53A and 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).A

Setting aside the high court order, the top court said: “The judgment under appeal, blood sampling of the children was directed, who were not parties to the proceeding nor were their status required to be examined in the complaint of the respondent no.2. This raised doubt on their legitimacy of being borne to legally wedded parents and such directions, if carried out, have the potential of exposing them to inheritance related complication.”

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