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SC issues notice on bail plea of Kerala journalist Sidhique Kappan

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on a bail plea filed by Kerala journalist Sidhique Kappan, who along with others were arrested on October 5, 2020 by Uttar Pradesh police under the Illicit Activities Prevention Law (UAPA). Kappan and others were on their way to Hathras after the rape and murder of a Dalit girl.

Lead lawyer Kapil Sibal, representing Kappan, submitted to a court headed by Chief Justice UU Lalit that the heart of the allegation is that PFI put Rs 45,000 cash in their client’s account for the activities , however, there is no evidence, only accusations.

Sibal said: “PFI is not a terrorist organization. PFI is not a prohibited organization. I am a journalist. He was going to Hathras to cover the case. He further added that his client in the past had worked for a newspaper, which had an association with PFI, and no longer works with that organization.

The Uttar Pradesh government lawyer objected to Kappan’s bail request in court, adding that some of the defendants in the matter are also accused in the Delhi riots case. Sibal said Kappan is not a defendant in the Delhi riots case. After hearing arguments, the court, also composed of Judge S. Ravindra Bhat, asked UP’s lawyer to object to the matter and issued a notice of Kappan’s guilty plea. The high court has scheduled the matter for final disposition next week.

Earlier this month, the Lucknow tribunal of the Allahabad High Court had rejected Kappan’s bail application.

Kappan’s statement to the high court read: “As a result of the rejection of the application, the petitioner, a journalist with 12 years of experience, who also served as secretary of the Delhi chapter of the Kerala Journalists at Work Union continues to be imprisoned. Petitioner has currently spent nearly two years behind bars, on the basis of trumped-up charges, solely because he tried to fulfill his professional duty to report on the infamous Hathras rape/murder case.”

The guilty plea argued that the guilty plea raises fundamental issues related to the right to liberty, as well as the freedom of expression and speech conferred on independent media under the auspices of the Constitution.

The court had granted bail to the driver of the vehicle in which he was traveling. Kappan’s statement said that she currently works at ‘Azhimukham’ newspaper and she is also a member of the Press Club of India and Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ).

“The petitioner is an individual with a clean record, and has never broken the law. He is the sole breadwinner for his family, and his incarceration since October 2020 has caused untold financial and mental hardship on his family and friends,” the statement added.

The guilty plea argued that he was arrested on a false claim that there was a breach of the peace apprehension. The UP government has claimed that he has been found associated with the Popular Front of India, which is a “reincarnation” of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). It was also alleged that Kappan worked for the ‘Tejas’ newspaper, which closed in December 2018, and was a spokesperson for PFI.

(IANS)


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R.I.P. true friend of India Dominique Lapierre, you will be missed

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New Delhi: French author Dominique Lapierre (91), who had a special bond with India and was known for his iconic book on Kolkata, ‘City of Joy’, has died due to age-related ailments.

Lapierre’s wife, Dominique Conchon-Lapierre, confirmed the news to the French newspaper Var-matin on Monday.

Lapierre received the country’s third highest civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan, was fluent in Bengali and wrote the iconic “City of Joy,” the inspiring story of an American doctor who experienced a spiritual renaissance in an impoverished section of Calcutta, plus of collaborating with American writer Larry Collins on such seminal works as “Freedom At Midnight” and “Is Paris Burning.”

Adapted for film by Roland Joffe and starring Patrick Swayze, “City of Joy” is about the unsung heroes of Kolkata’s Pilkhana slum. Lapierre donated half of the royalties he earned from this book to support various humanitarian projects in Kolkata, including shelters for children with leprosy and polio, clinics, schools, rehabilitation workshops, educational programmes, health actions and hospital ships.

Calcutta, now Kolkata, has been nicknamed ‘City of Joy’ after the novel.

To process and channel the charity funds, Lapierre founded an association called Action Aid for Calcutta Lepers’ Children (registered in France under the official name Action pour les enfants des l preux de Calcutta). Aware of the corruption in India, he arranged all of his fund transfers to India in such a way as to ensure that the money reached the right person for the right purpose. His wife since 1980, Dominique Conchon-Lapierre was his partner in the City of Joy Foundation.

His other Indian classic (with Larry Collins), “Freedom At Midnight,” is a detailed account of the final year of the British Raj, the princely states’ reactions to independence, including descriptions of the extravagant lifestyles of Indian princes. , the partition of the subcontinent and the bloodshed that followed.

The events leading up to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and the lives of the motives of Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah are also described in detail.

There is a third book on India, “Five Past Midnight in Bhopal: The Epic Story of the World’s Deadliest Industrial Disaster” which Lapierre wrote in collaboration with Javier Moro based on the 1984 Bhopal disaster which the authors investigated by living in the city for three years.

Royalties from the book go to the Sambhava clinic in Bhopal, which provides free medical treatment to victims of the disaster. Lapierre also financed a primary school in Oriya Basti, one of the settlements described in the book.

Born on July 30, 1931, in Chatelaillon, Charte-Maritime in France, Lapierre was 18 years old when he received a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. A car fanatic from the start, he bought a 1937 Chrysler convertible and fell in love with a fashion editor.

They were married in New York City Hall on her 21st birthday and flew to Mexico in the old Chrysler for their honeymoon. With just $300 in their pockets, they had enough to buy gas, sandwiches, and cheap motel rooms for truckers. In Los Angeles, they won another $300 on a radio game show for Campbell Soup. The prize included a box of soup, which was her only food for three weeks.

Lapierre sold the Chrysler for $400 in San Francisco and bought two tickets on the SS President Cleveland to Japan. The honeymoon lasted a year. They made their way through Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, India, Iran, Turkey, and Lebanon. When they returned to France, Lapierre wrote his second book, “Honeymoon around the Earth.”

On his return to Paris after his honeymoon, he was conscripted into the French army. After a year in a tank regiment, he was transferred to SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) headquarters to serve as an interpreter. One day in the cafeteria he met a young American corporal, Larry Collins, a Yale graduate and recruit and they became instant friends.

When Collins was discharged, he was offered a job at Procter & Gamble. Two days before he reported for the new job, United Press offered him a job as a subheading editor in their Paris office, for much less money than Procter & Gamble offered. Collins accepted the United Press offer, and Newsweek soon tapped him to be its Middle East correspondent.

When Lapierre was discharged, he found a job as a reporter for Paris Match magazine. Collins became godfather to the Lapierres’ first daughter, Alexandra. On several occasions, Collins and Lapierre met while on assignment. Despite their friendship, they had to compete with each other for stories. But they decided to join forces to tell a great story that would appeal to both French and Anglophone audiences.

His first best-seller “Is Paris Burning?” it sold close to 10 million copies in 30 languages ​​by mixing the modern technique of investigative journalism with the classical methods of historical investigation. It was also made into a movie.

After that, they spent four years in Jerusalem to reconstruct the birth of Israel for the book “Oh Jerusalem!” Lapierre was proud that, after spending so much time in Jerusalem, he was intimately familiar with every alley, square, street, and building in the Holy City.

Lapierre and Collins wrote several other books together, notably “The Fifth Horseman”, the last being “Is New York Burning” before Collins’ death in 2005.

RIP true friend from India Dominique Lapierre. You will be greatly missed.

(IANOS)


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33 persons killed in Colombia landslide

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Bogota: At least 33 people died from a landslide that buried vehicles along a highway in Colombia, Interior Minister Alfonso Prada said.

The landslide that occurred on Sunday buried a bus carrying passengers from Cali to Condoto, along with a car and a motorcycle on the Pereira-Quibdó highway, in the central-western department of Risaralda, the Xinhua news agency reports.

“We have identified 33 deceased people, including three minors. We have rescued nine people, four of them are currently in critical condition,” Prada said Monday.

Personnel from Colombia’s Risk Management Unit and the Transportation Ministry’s Transit and Transport Directorate, as well as the police department and the army, rushed to the rescue, he said.

Following the landslide, authorities plan to declare a nationwide high alert to prepare for weather-related disasters amid a cold snap that is expected to continue for several more months, Prada said.

President Gustavo Petro ordered the installation of a Unified National Command Post in the capital Bogotá by Tuesday at the latest to determine the state of the roads in adverse weather conditions, he said.

Risaralda Governor Víctor Manuel Tamayo told reporters that the road where the accident occurred is in poor condition, complicating efforts to find survivors and recover the bodies of the victims.

(IANOS)


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At 6, Indian-origin boy is youngest S’porean to trek to Everest Base Camp

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Singapore: A six-year-old boy of Indian origin has become the youngest Singaporean to reach Everest Base Camp in Nepal at an altitude of 5,364 metres.

Om Madan Garg walked for 10 days in October together with his parents, covering an elevation gain of around 2,500m from Lukla village at 2,860m to the base at 5,364m, according to the Singapore Book of Records.

Om, a Kindergarten 2 student at Canossaville Preschool, “managed well despite bad weather, flight cancellations, lack of amenities, hot days and cold nights.”

The Garg family reached Lukla, which is the starting point and also the gateway of the base camp trek on September 28, and arrived at the base on October 7.

They were accompanied by a licensed guide and two porters.

From Lukla, they walked to Phakding and continued until they reached Namche Bazaar, the commercial center of the Everest region.

From Namche Bazaar the trail goes to Tengboche and eventually to Everest Base Camp at 5364m.

“I threw my hat into the sky and caught it and we climbed to the top of the rock at Mount Everest Base Camp and took a photo. “We flew the Singapore flag,” he told Channel News Asia in an interview.

The preschool student received a certificate from the Singapore Book of Records.

Their entire stay has been documented in a seven-part series on the family’s YouTube channel, The Brave Tourist.

Three-year-old Heyansh Kumar from India is the youngest person to reach Mount Everest Base Camp.

Kumar was three years, seven months and 27 days old when he achieved the milestone.

(IANOS)


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