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Sufi conference in J&K’s Bandipora hosts a sizeable gathering

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 A regional level Sufi conference was organised on Saturday at Baba Shukur Din RA at Watlab Sopore by Voice for Peace and Justice with an intent to laid the emphasis on Peace, communal harmony, brotherhood and tolerance.

The event was attended by hundreds of people from different nook and corners of the valley.

During the conference, a number of Sufiyana music segments were performed by the Kashmiri singers of the valley which attracted a good audience including writers, poets, authors and other intellectuals.

While speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Minhaj, general secretary of the Voice for Peace and Justice, said that extremist groups are attempting to destroy Kashmir’s cultural traditions and that Sufism is the only way to restore peace, communal harmony, and brotherhood. The Voice for Peace and Justice is committed to assisting Kashmir in reviving Sufism, he added.

While Bashir Ahmad, Administrator of J&K Waqf Board for Baba Shukur ud Din RA Shrine, emphasised that Sufi saints travelled tremendous distances to unite people of all creeds, castes, and religions, he also stated that in order to restore the atmosphere in Kashmir, Sufism must be promoted and practised.

He said: “Thanking Voice for Peace and Justice for their steadfast efforts to bring back Sufism in Jammu and Kashmir.”

In his speech, Haji Mohammad Abdullah Dar, a renowned social activist from Sopore brought attention to Baba Shukur Din RA’s teachings and highlighted his contributions to the wellbeing of the people of Kashmir.

He continued by saying that we must continue the legacy of the Sufi saints because they left their comfort zones only to guide people down the right path.

Their contributions to world peace and religious harmony will be revered and remembered forever, he said. He also expressed his gratitude to the Voice for Peace and Justice for occasionally hosting such seminars.

The president of Voice for Peace and Justice, Farooq Ganderbali, a well-known social activist, stated in his address that although radical and divisive forces in Kashmir are free to label us traitors or whatever else they choose, it is a bitter truth that religious extremism is converting playgrounds into cemeteries.

While the prominent members of the extremist groups are happily settled, the mothers of the poorer members, who were used as cannon fodder for their own personal mileage, are still wailing and waiting for their return.

In order to live in peace in Kashmir, it is imperative that Sufism be revived. The Voice for Peace and Justice is determined to reviving Kashmir’s Sufi culture, he added.

While refreshments were provided to the participants, mementos were awarded to individuals who had made outstanding contributions to the resurgence of Sufism in Kashmir.

Ghulam Mohd, Molvi Mohd Youns Khan, President Utthaan Mission Trust, Zeeshan Farooq Dar, Editor in Chief Daily Asian Express Ajaz Kawoosi, Abdul Salam Kashmiri poet, Managing Director of Dar Industries, Ghulam Nabi Dar, President Jammu & Kashmir Youth Development Forum Shehreyar Dar, Mullahas, Sufi poets and different other renowned personalities were also present on the occasion.

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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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