On January 30, 2020, a man brandished a gun and opened fire at students protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act at Jamia University premises. The attacker was reportedly shouting “Yeh lo azaadi” during his venture with a country-made .315 bore pistol.
Delhi Police detained the man and later identified him as 19-year old Ram Bhagat Gopal Sharma, resident of Jewar area of Gautam Buddha Nagar district, Delhi. Sharma calls himself as ‘Rambhakt’ and has put up several Facebook posts stating that he would ‘end the protests’ at Shaheen Bagh by January 31, 2020.
Agitated people crowded the university following this attack, broke barricades, clashed with police personnel to portray their absolute outrage. However, according to his Aadhar Card and board exam mark sheet, he turned out to be a minor born on April 8, 2002. Shadab Farooq, the student who sustained a bullet in his arm during the attack, was admitted in AIIMS Trauma Centre.
The close-up images of the ‘desi katta’ (country-made pistol) reveal that the firearm was not one of those that are licensed for civil trade from the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) facilities near Kolkata, clearly violating the Arms Act. Civilians can be permitted to purchase and possess pistols and revolvers usually only from an ordnance factory near Kolkata.
Possessing any other firearms is regarded to be illegal and can only be acquired through unlawful underground networks.
Sources report, “Thursday’s violence near Jamia has hallmarks of a sophisticated network at play. Networks that produce and supply illegal firearms. Networks that feed into and are in turn fed by a language of discrimination that public institutions condone. The making and supply of illegal firearms, especially in cities, particularly in the national capital, is impossible without such underground networks. New Delhi in 2020 is not the Chambal of the 1980s. Or so we must presume.”
The boy’s grandfather also commented “We do not know what made him take such a step and how he got a gun. There is no licensed or any unauthorized firearm at our house”.
An FIR was lodged against the boy under the Arms Act along with a case of attempt to murder.
The Arms (Amendment) Bill was passed in December 2019 by the two houses of Parliament. The bill proposes strict punishment to those who possess illegal weapons and indulge in rash or ‘negligent celebratory gunfire’, hampering life and safety of others.
Offences such as possession, acquisition, carrying, manufacture, use of illegal arms are to met by a fine and maximum punishment of lifelong imprisonment.
Is Delhi Police Incompetent?
As a series of such mishaps occur regularly, the role of the Delhi Police has become a constant subject of questioning as they continue to showcase their incompetent nature during the incident.
A series of questions were raised against them after their action against students inside Jamia University campus on December 15, 2019, and inaction against the outsiders who attacked the students of JNU on January 5, 2020.
Video footage shows that the police were standing passively at a safe distance when the attacker brandished the pistol and only after he open fired that they overpowered him.
“Cops just watched as man brandished a pistol and shot our student, the incident has shook our faith in police”, says Jamia VC Najma Akhtar.
Eyewitnesses report that the police did not pay any attention to their shouts for help, did not let the ambulance cross the barricades, and the victim had to jump over the barricades to reach it.
Special CP Intelligence Praveer Ranjan, in defence of the police, has stated, “By the time police could react, the person had already fired. Everything happened in seconds.”
Experts claim that the police was supposed to take up the standard line of action of immobilising the attacker using stun guns, as practised in many countries. However, instead, the police stood as “mute spectators” to the incident.
The incompetence and lethargy of the police can also be pointed at the fact that an armed person could walk up a barricaded street among unarmed protestors in the presence and full-view of the force.
The shooter has been called ‘mentally deranged’—that he had been radicalised, brainwashed and he was showing erratic behaviour in the past few days.
His social media posts bring out hatred towards a specific community, as he writes, “I’m about to bring them azaadi”; “You may have heard of tandav, now you will see…”; “Chandan bhai, ye badla aap ke liye” (referring to Kasganj youth Chandan Gupta who was shot dead in a communal riot on Republic Day, 2018 in Uttar Pradesh).
Later, Facebook took his account down.
Political Blame Game
Following the incident, political parties engaged in hurling blames at one another.
“We are giving pens to children, they are giving guns”, said Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. He advised Amit Shah to take care of law and order in the capital and demanded Shah’s resignation after which Shah tweeted about asking Delhi Police to take “strongest action”. Shah has also been termed as the “most incompetent Home Minister India has ever had” by AAP.
Rahul Gandhi, Congress leader, asked who paid the attacker. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari also said, “The manner in which an unknown person opened fire at Jamia Millia Islamia University is a result of this hatred, the atmosphere that’s been created in this country in the last one month.”
CPI(M) has stated, “Hate speech, call to violence by ministers and BJP leaders, and silence of PM has led to this shameful outcome”, the party’s general secretary D. Raja believes the incident to be a “direct result” of derogatory comments made by BJP leaders during their assembly poll campaigns.
Bajrang Dal has denied the shooter to be its member, condemning the violence. The blame-game and slogan politics continue.
Jamia Teachers’ Association has laid the blame on Union Minister Anurag Thakur for the shooting. The minister’s “Shoot the traitors” slogan on January 27, allegation that anti-Indian activities were taking place at the epicentre of anti-CAA protests, Shaheen Bagh, has resulted in his banning from the campaign by the Election Commission for 72 hours.
Thakur had raised the slogan, “Desh ke gaddaron ko” eliciting the crowd to respond as “Goli maaro saalo ko”. A day later BJP MP for West Delhi Parvesh Verma said, “These people will enter your house, will abduct your sisters and mothers, rape them, kill them, that’s why today is the moment… Modi ji won’t come to save you tomorrow, Amit Shahji won’t come… Today is the time, if people of Delhi wake up, it will be good for them.”
These provocative speeches have caused mass affront and have been held responsible for the shooting incident.
On February 1, 2020, another incident was reported where a man fired in the air during anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh while he said, “Humaare desh mein aur kisiki nahi chalegi, sirf Hinduon ki chalegi”.
The minor who had fired on January 30, 2020, has been sent on preventive custody for 14 days and he has confessed about buying the pistol for Rs.10,000 a day before the incident.
The following course of action and updates are much awaited as the anti-CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh continue before Delhi elections.
All You Need To Know About National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021
On July 26, 2021, Lok Sabha passed a bill under the ministry of Food Processing Industry. The bill is titled as National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021. The main motive of this bill is to address issues with the Food Processing Industry, Entrepreneurship and one Institution for National Importance. With the passing of this bill, the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) and National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) is now merged as Institutions of National Importance, and it aims at providing various research and advancement in learning about the Food Industry and its associated branches. The bill was first introduced in the house in February 2019 but was pending due to protest by the opposition.
Significance of Institutions of National Importance (INI)
With the passing of this bill, the institutions enjoy greater autonomy through which they can carry out various courses, research attracting skilled faculties and students from all over the country and overseas. Good standards in education will be adopted to improve the present and future of education in this branch and sector, overcoming the technological gap in the country. This law aims to improve and introduce new changes in food, bio-nanotechnology, cold chain technology etc. The desired efforts will be taken in terms of human resources and infrastructure developments, labs for research etc. Liberty to open centres anywhere in India is also granted to INI and include courses regarding food technology certification and improving the workforce of the country.
Some other important features of this act are the Institution has been authorized with the Board of Government, Senate and other acting Authorities. The Council of Board will include 16 members from different branches from the same field. The Head will be Chairperson, who will be a skilled person from the Food Industry, the Director, Dean and Registrar. Members appointed from Centre and State Governments, Members from FSSAI and Council of Agriculture Research, as mentioned in the bill. The 16 members of the board will carry out work of taking administrative decisions, creating annual budgets and paths for institution progress as an organization, establishing departments, their appointment terms of services, faculties etc. The Board of Council also holds power to grant Honorary Degrees and Diplomas. The Senate shall be the principal academic body of the Institute, consisting of the people such as Director as the Chairperson; Registrar; Full-time skilled level Professor; and Three academically skilled Individuals nominated by the board from the field.
The Union Minister of Food Processing Industry, Mr Pashupati Kumar Paras, expressed his gratitude to PM Modi for this landmark step in this industry from his Twitter handle, indicating new opportunities in Food Technology Industries. Therefore, this Act looks promising on paper with new opportunities and in Educational Development. Amidst the Pegasus Spyware and repeal of the farm laws, this looks positive from the Modi Government.
लोकसभा में आज, राष्ट्रीय खाद्य प्रौद्योगिकी, उद्यमिता और प्रबंध संस्थान विधेयक, 2021 (निफ्टेम विधेयक, 2021) को पारित किया गया।
इस विधेयक के पारित होने पर इससे जुड़े हर व्यक्ति को बधाई देता हूँ और साथ ही खाद्य प्रसंस्करण से जुड़े छात्रों को भी बधाई देता हूँ। @MOFPI_GOI
— Pashupati Kumar Paras (@PashupatiParas) July 26, 2021
Fake News: Accountability Of News Organisations
Fake news is false news stories or hoaxes, which are deliberately released to misinform and to create chaos in society or among readers. Fake news is one of the main reasons behind the disruption of peace in society and it becomes more dangerous in volatile places. Fake news is generally shared with propaganda to mislead the audience by hiding or twisting the truth. However fake news isn’t new to the web, it recently became an enormous problem in today’s digital world. Fake news mostly comes from sites that are bogus or have sensationalized stories.
Most of the users do not check the facts before sharing the information on their social media, which can be a reason for widespread fake news. So, it is important to differentiate between fake news and authentic news to maintain harmony in society and to avoid false news and its repercussions.
Fake News Stories
- On 2nd April, a team of doctors, health workers, and revenue officials were attacked by the family members of a 65-year-old man who died of COVID-19 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh because of the fake video which claimed that healthy Muslims were being injected with the virus, reiterating the risks and physical manifestations of misinformation.
- On March 22, 2020, Mr. Modi’s new term ‘Janta curfew’ has sparked a buzz on the Internet. Social media users started interpreting PM Modi’s concept of ‘Janta curfew’ in their own ways. Social media was flooded with a certain ‘scientific explanation’ behind the curfew as to how it will break the chain of transmissions of the deadly coronavirus infection. The claim was found out to be misleading. PM Modi, while announcing the curfew, didn’t mention this particular ‘scientific’ logic behind it.
- Rumours were circulated on WhatsApp groups about a kidnapping gang operating in India’s western state of Maharashtra in 2018. The rumors eventually cause a mob lynching, that killed five migrant workers because they were suspected of being kidnappers.
- On November 13, 2016, when the government of India has demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and planned to replace them with new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes, rumors were spreading about Rs 2000 notes. Rumors claimed the new higher denomination currency comes with a Nano-GPS chip which acts as a reflector, giving precise location coordinates of the currency to permit every note to be tracked. However, the RBI officials had dismissed these as false and said the new Rs 2000 note does not have a Nano-GPS chip as is being claimed on social media, WhatsApp.
- In the pandemic situation, where vaccination has become crucial, in a series of viral videos it was seen that people are claiming that magnet was attracted to the arms of alleged COVID-19 vaccinated recipients. This kind of fake news can create misconceptions about vaccines and people may not take their jab of vaccines. The Centre has declined the claims that Covid-19 vaccines can make people ‘magnetic’. It has also dismissed theories about microchips in coronavirus vaccines.
Need of Accountability
False information on social media can cause huge problems. It is often done to influence political processes. Need for Accountability increases in such situations because the false information provided by certain news organizations can create a ruckus in society. Before publishing the news, it is necessary to check the facts.
If the news organizations, shared misinformation unintentionally they must remove the content right away and they should apologize to the readers. If fake news is spread with propaganda to create chaos in society, then the news organization should be punished under the law. The information must be checked before sharing it with other people.
Curious Case Of Pegasus: Explained
Pegasus is a spyware that can hack the victims’ mobile phones and read their SMS messages and emails. The Pegasus spyware is owned by an Israeli software company named NSO Group. According to the various reports, this company has targeted more than 50,000 phone numbers at the Global level, of which 300 are in India for surveillance.
The news broke out after the 17 media partners investigated. This investigation brought into the picture information about a leaked database of mobile telephone numbers of Indian Ministers, Opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, business people, government officials, scientists, activists and many influential personalities of the nation.
Pegasus Spyware and India
According to the report by the agency, the Israeli company which sells Pegasus around the world says that its clients are confined to ‘vetted governments”, believed to number 36. The NSO Group also says that ‘the target list in India is not ours, never was.’ Their refusal of the leaked database has created a loophole in understanding this case.
This whole case has violated the integrity of democratic institutions. According to the report by the agencies, after the mobile phones of the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and various other leaders were hacked under the Pegasus spyware surveillance. Multiple tweets were made against the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government in India. This whole case has become one of the major threats in the political arena and the Indian Democracy.
Though at the start, it was used for national security purposes. The explosive expansion of surveillance technology vendors has become a vast human rights and a global security issue. If such surveillance technologies increase, it might cause a lot of problems to countries around the globe. Hence, as a precaution, all these countries need to work on regulating this technology.
According to the reports by the agency, one of the targeted phones by the Pegasus spyware was of the former election commissioner of India, Ashok Lavasa. Various such people and such opposition leaders were somehow against the BJP government having their phones hacked with the NSO-owned spyware. All these instances and the names in the leaked list have pointed figures towards the Modi Government.
The Modi government’s stand on this case was put forward in Lok Sabha by two serving ministers, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel. These two leaders were also featured in the leaked database. The recent Information Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw defended the BJP government in the parliament by saying, “the expose was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.” She even said, ‘any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with the checks and balances in our laws and robust institutions.’
This case has adjourned the parliament proceedings due to the protests inside and outside the house of parliament by the opposition party.
Pegasus Spyware and World.
In the statement given to the agency, Access Now, an organisation defending the digital rights of global users, said it was outraged that products sold by NSO were allegedly “used to hack and invade the private communications” of thousands of people across the globe.
At a global level, France’s Emmanuel Macron was targeted in the Pegasus spyware case. As the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron was hacked, the investigation was carried out and later on was published which was directed by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden. After this case came in front of the whole world, the Pegasus spyware surveillance came into the picture.
If this continues for some more time, it will ruin India’s Democratic values at a global level. As well as this might become a huge technological threat between the different nations around the globe.
Project Zaraat by Enactus DCAC
Retake 2022 is on its way!
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