Separatists on Tuesday used the lowest-ever poll percentage of 7.14 in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-polls to claim “a victory of their stand” in Jammu and Kashmir.In a joint statement, separatists leaders — Hurriyat chairmen Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Mohamad Yasin Malik — hailed people “for complete and unprecedented poll boycott” on April 9.“People’s verdict is loud and clear. It showed commitment to achieving their fundamental political right. It is a victory and the deferment of polls vindicates that State rulers and pro-Indian parties have virtually accepted defeat,” said the joint statement. They said the Government of India’s own index of treating elections as a gauge of people’s faith in Indian democracy “stands completely exposed”. They urged people to boycott re-polling on April 13, too.“Election boycott is a significant part of our movement and people will boycott these elections,” said a Hurriyat spokesman. He said elections to Parliament, Assembly, Panchayats or municipalities, “will not serve any purpose”.The Hurriyat said it is ridiculous to blame Pakistan. “Neither an encounter occurred nor any militant from Pakistan was there. However, the Forces killed eight unarmed and innocent youth and injured over 150,” he said.Separatists are planning joint Friday prayers in Budgam, which witnessed widespread violence during the polls and saw the death of eight civilians.
The Yogi Adityanath government on Wednesday gave its nod to a new law against organised crime in Uttar Pradesh along the lines of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). At a meeting presided by the Chief Minister, the State cabinet approved the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Act, 2017.The BJP government is expected to introduce the proposed legislation in the Winter Session of the State Assembly, which commences from Thursday. The government said the UPCOCA was brought to check and curb acts of oganised crime and mafia, including land grabs, illegal mining, sale of illegal medicine and illicit liquor, wildlife smuggling, extortion, abduction syndicates as well as white-collared criminals. The draft of the proposed law, which could be tabled in the Assembly soon, was prepared in consultation with the State Law Department and after an “intensive study” of MCOCA, Cabinet Minister Shrikant Sharma said. A similar law was passed by the Uttar Pradesh government in 2007-08 when Mayawati was in power but it had to be withdrawn after then President Pratibha Patil refused to give it assent. Shrikant Sharma, U.P. Cabinet Minister, said it was the BJP government’s “priority” to make the State “free from injustice, crime and fear, and establish the rule of law.”Under the UPCOCA, the State would be empowered to seize the property of those implicated by the law during the period of investigation and properties acquired by people through illegal activities and organised crime would also be seized. State security would also be withdrawn from persons booked under the the law. Special courts would be set up for the trial of cases under UPCOCA for speedy conclusion. “Criminals will not be able to roam free for too long,” said Mr. Sharma.The government is introducing the UPCOCA when it already has a stringent law to check crime syndicates, the Gangsters Act. However, the UPCOCA would have 28 provisions in addition to the Gangsters Act.S.R Darapuri, retired IPS officer, was critical of the UPCOCA. He said the present laws were sufficient to deal with crimes in UP and there was no need for a special Act. Mr. Darapuri also said that the general experience was that “all such laws were misused against the weeker sections of the society,” in particular Dalits and Muslims.”These Special Acts do not help much in controlling crime. The need is for the existing laws to be implemented uniformly. There is a tendency to add more laws to cover up failure of the state in implementing existing laws,” Mr. Darapuri told The Hindu.
Australian Nick Kyrgios shrugged off injury concerns and kept his emotions in check to outclass Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-6 6-3 on Tuesday and book his spot in the second round of the French Open.The 18th seed, who fired a total of 20 aces, including six in the first set alone, which he raced though in 30 minutes.A mini-break in the tie break was enough to hand him the second set as Kohlschreiber struggled with the Australian’s whipped groundstrokes and repeated audacious dropshots.Kyrgios, notorious for his periodic bad temper and sulks on court, sealed his victory on his first match point.