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Send Sarabjit to a third country for treatment: India to Pak

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern at death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh's deteriorating condition, India has proposed to Pakistan to send him to a third country for "proper treatment" and said "every endeavour" should be made to save his life.

"We are concerned at the condition of Shri Sarabjit Singh indicated by reports made available by doctors treating him in Jinnah Hospital," said a statement issued here by the External Affairs Ministry.

"Our High Commissioner has met the Pakistan foreign secretary and urged the Government of Pakistan to immediately release Shri Sarabjit Singh on humanitarian and sympathetic grounds so that he can benefit from the best available treatment in India," it said.

"Alternatively, we have also proposed that Shri Sarabjit Singh should be sent to a third country for proper medical treatment," the statement added.

"This is not the time for invoking legal and bureaucratic reasons for not taking the right steps to save a human life. We believe that every endeavour should be made to save his life," the statement said.

Sarabjit, 49, had suffered critical head injuries in and unprovoked and sudden assault by four to five prisoners in a Lahore jail on April 26. He has been in a coma and on ventilator life support since. IANSBack








Sajjan Kumar acquittal: Angry protests erupt in Delhi, Jammu

NEW DELHI/JAMMU: Angry protests erupted in Delhi and Jammu over the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in an anti-Sikh riots case with protesters blocking Jammu-Kashmir Highway and Metro services in the Capital.

Shouting slogans and carrying placards like ‘Hang 1984 Culprits’ and ‘Give us Justice’, the protesters marched to Tilak Nagar Police Station in west Delhi and blocked traffic in the area.

A group of protesters entered the Subhash Nagar Metro Station in west Delhi and sat on tracks at around 12:45 pm disrupting the services.

As a precautionary measure, the Metro stations at Subhash Nagar and Tilak Nagar, where there is a considerable population of Sikhs, were closed for the public.

“After 30 years we are yet to get justice. The government should feel ashamed. We will never forget and forgive who allowed culprits get scot free. We want justice,” one of the protesters said.

Kumar, a former Congress MP, was acquitted by a court here yesterday in one of the cases of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

On Tuesday, a large number of people had gathered at the court complex and one of them had even thrown a shoe at the judge after the pronouncement of the verdict.

Sikh groups in Jammu held protests over the acquittal of Kumar and blocked the Jammu-Kashmir Highway.

Activists of several Sikh organisations led by Harjeet Singh sat on a dharna and took out demonstrations at Digiana on the outskirts of the city.

Raising anti-government slogans, the protesters termed the acquittal of the Congress leader as an “injustice” to the Sikh community in the country.

“Injustice has been done to us — the judgement has shown that Sikhs are second class citizens of the country”, Singh told reporters here.

“3,000 Sikhs were killed on the roads of Delhi — they were brutally murdered — their houses were burnt down,” he said, adding the judgement has shocked the entire Sikh community, who were hoping for justice.

“We will fight back. We want justice. We don’t have any faith in the Congress government”, he said.

In Talab Tiloo area of Jammu, a group of Sikh youth held demonstrations against the acquittal of Kumar.

“Hearts of all Sikhs are weeping over the judgement,” Charanjeet Singh, a protester, said. — PTIBack








SC commutes death penalty of murder convict

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence awarded to murder convict M.N. Das, whose mercy petition was rejected by then President Pratibha Patil.

A Bench headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi allowed the plea of Das who had approached the apex court for commutation of his death sentence on the ground that the President had taken eleven years to decide his mercy plea.

The apex court, which had refused to grant a similar relief to Khalistani terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar on the ground of delay in deciding mercy plea, however, commuted death sentence of Das to life imprisonment.

Das, while out on bail in another case, had beheaded one Harakanta Das at Fancy Bazaar in Assam and surrendered with the victim's head on April 24, 1996, and in 1997 the sessions court there had sentenced him to death.

His conviction and sentence was subsequently upheld by the Gauhati High Court in 1998 and the Supreme Court in 1999.

He had moved in 1999 a mercy plea, which remained pending for eleven years before the President and was rejected in 2011.

Das had then filed a writ petition in the apex court pleading for commuting the death sentence to life imprisonment since he had already spent about 14 years in jail during the disposal of his petition seeking presidential clemency.

He is currently lodged in Jorhat Central Jail in Assam. — PTIBack







5.8 quake jolts North, tremors in J&K, HP, Punjab, Delhi

NEW DELHI: Tremors were felt in the Indian Capital and large parts of North India, including Srinagar, Shimla and Chandigarh, following a 5.8-magnitude quake centred around the Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh border on Wednesday. There were no immediate reports of casualties or loss to property.

"The quake happened at 12.27 pm and measured 5.8 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was somewhere around the Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh border," said R.S. Dattatreya, Director, Department of Seismology, India Meteorological Department, in New Delhi.

The tremors, felt across most parts of Haryana and Punjab, lasted six to seven seconds. It caused panic in some places, particularly in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Reports of the tremors were received from Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ambala and other places. — IANSBack








US asks India, Pak to restrain nuclear, missile programmes

WASHINGTON: Expressing concern over the continuing buildup of nuclear weapons in South Asia, the US has asked India and Pakistan to restrain their atomic and missile programmes and play a positive role in the global non-proliferation community.

"The United States remains deeply concerned by the dangers posed by the continuing buildup of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems in South Asia," Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman said in his address to the 2015 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons in Geneva on Monday.

"Consistent with our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons, the United States has repeatedly called on India and Pakistan to restrain their nuclear and missile programmes; end the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons; and support the commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty," he said.

"In that regard, it is with concern and deep disappointment that we note Pakistan's reluctance to support the start of such negotiations," the US official said.

"We would welcome meaningful trust and confidence-building between these nuclear-armed states; we must find ways to reduce regional tensions and diminish the risk that nuclear weapons could be used, either intentionally or accidentally, in a crisis," he said.

The United States, he said continues to encourage both India and Pakistan to play a positive role in the global non-proliferation community and take steps to prevent proliferation, including bringing their strategic trade controls in line with the guidelines of the multilateral supplier regimes.

"We support, in a phased manner, India's goal of joining the four multilateral export control regimes," he said, adding that the US remains cognizant of its non-proliferation commitments and objectives when considering how to conduct its bilateral relations with any country.

"Our activities with both India and Pakistan continue to be consistent with our NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty) obligations and with our commitment as members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group," Countryman said according to a copy of the speech provided here. — PTIBack




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