REPORT ON PAGES 10 & 11
Abhishek, Ranbir and other celebrities thrill
Jalan Besar Stadium crowd with deft football skills
and go home winners
T H E H E A R T B E A T O F T H E I N D I A N C O M M U N I T Y
PAGES 6 & 7
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
Mukesh Ambani features in
Fortune Greatest Leaders list
THREE Indians, including Reliance
Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani
(right) and human rights lawyer Indira
Jaising, have been featured in Fortune
magazine’s 2018 list of 50 Greatest
Ranking Mr Ambani, who turned
61 on April 19, at 24th place, Fortune
said that he had “in less than two
years, brought mobile data to the
masses and completely upended the
country’s telecom market”.
It added: “Since Ambani, chief of
the $47 billion conglomerate Reliance
Industries, launched Jio – the first
mobile network in the world to be
entirely IP based – in September 2016,
the company has signed up a
staggering 168 million subscribers.”
Renuka Chowdhary: Parliament
not immune to casting couch
SENIOR Congress leader Renuka
Chowdhary has raised many eyebrows
by saying that “not just film industry
and other work spaces, but even
Parliament is not immune to the
She also attacked Prime Minister
Narendra Modi for criticising her by
indirectly referring to her as
“Surpnakha” (a demoness character)
in Parliament when she had laughed at
one of his statements previously.
Ms Chaudhary’s remark came after
veteran Bollywood choreographer
Saroj Khan said that the casting couch
was prevalent in all sectors, and not
just in the film industry where it
“provides livelihood at least”.
Kerala woman confesses to
poisoning parents, daughter
A WOMAN was arrested in Kannur,
Kerala, on April 24 after she confessed
to killing her parents and her
nine-year-old daughter by poisoning
them within four months this year.
The police cracked the case after
questioning her for 13 hours.
Soumya, 28, was questioned at a
state-run hospital after being admitted
for nausea and indigestion –
incidentally the same symptoms that
her parents and her elder daughter
suffered before they died.
Her mother died on March 7, her
father passed away on April 13 and her
daughter died on Jan 31.
According to the police, Soumya,
however, denied any role in the death
of another daughter, who died in 2012
India fourth-most tolerant
country, according to survey
INDIA is the fourth-most tolerant
country after Canada, followed by
China and Malaysia, according to a
The survey for the BBC, conducted
by market research-organisation Ipsos
MORI, was carried out earlier this year
in 27 countries.
About 20,000 people were
interviewed for the study that
highlights the extent to which citizens
think their society is divided.
According to the survey, 63 per
cent of Indians think that people in
their country are tolerant of each
other when it comes to people with
different backgrounds, cultures or
points of view.
The survey also found that in India,
49 per cent of the people think that
differences in political views cause
tension, followed by different religions
(48 per cent) and socio-economic gaps
(37 per cent).
Controversial guru Asaram Bapu
given life term in rape case
FIVE years after charges of rape were
levelled against Asaram Bapu, an
Indian spiritual guru who claims to
have millions of followers worldwide,
a court in the northern city of Jodhpur
has found him guilty. He has been
given a life term.
The judgement in the case for
raping a 16-year-old, was pronounced
by Judge Madhusudan Sharma inside
the Jodhpur Central Jail, where the
77-year-old is being held.
He has been convicted under
Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code
and the Protection of Children from
Sexual Offences (POCSO) act.
The guru, who has 400 ashrams
worldwide where he teaches
meditation and yoga, is facing trial in
another sexual assault case in Gujarat.
Toddy cat strays into Agra airport
AGRA’S Kheria airport had a strange
guest on April 20 who could not be
welcomed by the terminal staff for
want of expertise.
The Asian Palm Civet, also called a
toddy cat, caused quite a stir until help
arrived from Wildlife SOS.
The SOS team said the animal had
wandered from a neighbouring forest
into the airport and sought refuge in
the corner of a washroom.
It took the team members almost
30 minutes to carry out a rescue
operation as they had to be careful not
to cause the scared animal any further
stress. The animal is currently under
veterinary observation to ensure that
it is in good health.
‘golden temple’ in Hyderabad
INDIA’S Vice-President M. Venkaiah
Naidu inaugurated the Sri Lakshmi
Narasimha Swamy temple in
Hyderabad, Telangana, on April 22 .
It is said to be the first “golden
temple” in the state.
The temple, which is built on
190,792 sq ft of land in Banjara Hills,
is dedicated to Srila Prabhupada, the
founder-acharya of the International
Society for Krishna Consciousness.
The temple’s main “Vimana
Gopuram” and “Upalaya Gopurams”
are decorated with hand-crafted gold
plating by master craftsmen.
Device developed in Uttarkhand
to prevent drink driving
RESEARCHERS in Uttarakhand have
developed a new technology that will
prevent vehicles from starting if the
driver is drunk.
A team comprising Mr R.P. Joshi,
Mr Akash Pandey and Mr Kuldeep
Patel has developed a prototype that
will be based on graphene generated
from waste products and wild grasses
as one of the components.
The driver has to blow the graphene
sensor on the device to start the
vehicle. This will immediately activate
the sensor that will analyse and
estimate the liquor content present in
The engine will not start in case the
presence of liquor is more than the
In case the driver feels sleepy while
driving, the object and imaging
module of the sensor will analyse his
eye movements and will alert the
co-passengers. The imaging technique
will also send an alert in case the
driver is talking on his mobile phone.
The team has sent the device to the
Uttarakhand State Council for Science
and Technology, Dehradun for patent.
arrive in India on trial run
TWO buses on a trial run from Dhaka
arrived at Phulbari in India on April 24
on its way to Kathmandu.
The new service improves
connectivity among three
neighbouring cities – Dhaka, Siliguri
West Bengal government officials
and members of the public presented
bouquets to the 45 passengers – all but
two of them bureaucrats and
diplomats from the three nations – at
the India-Bangladesh border.
The biggest benefit of the service is
that tourists can make trips to all three
countries with a single visa.
UP Sainik School admits female
students for the first time
FOR the first time in 57 years, 15 girls
have been admitted to Class 9 of
Lucknow’s Captain Manoj Kumar
Pandey Uttar Pradesh Sainik School.
They were up against 2,500 others
who were aspiring to be enrolled in the
According to a Press Trust of India
report, school principal Amit
Chatterjee said the female students
will undergo a strenuous routine
beginning with physical training at
6am everyday and then get ready for
assembly prayers at 8.15am.
“After classes, they will return to
their hostel and, after a brief rest,
participate in sporting events, before
doing their homework at 7pm,” said
Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
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BOUT 90 per cent of child rape
cases were pending trial in In-
dia in 2016, no more than 28
per cent of such cases ended in convic-
tion and there is a 20-year backlog in
bringing cases to trial, the latest avail-
able national crime data shows.
The data indicates the government
move to prioritise a change to legisla-
tion that allows courts to grant the
death penalty to rapists of children
younger than 12 will not bring quicker
or better justice because there is no
plan to address conviction failures and
On April 21 President Ram Nath
Kovind approved an ordinance to pro-
vide the death penalty to those con-
victed of raping girls below 12 years.
The new ordinance also adds a mini-
mum punishment of 20 years to any-
one who rapes a woman below 16.
Of 39,068 rape victims – including
women and girls – in 2016, 43 per cent
(16,863) of the girls raped were minor,
below the age of 18, while, five per cent
(2,116) were less than 12 years old, ac-
cording to National Crime Records Bu-
reau (NCRB) data.
The Union cabinet on April 21 ap-
proved an ordinance to the Indian Pe-
nal Code (IPC), Indian Evidence Act,
Code of Criminal Procedure and the
Protection of Children from Sexual Of-
fences Act (POCSO), allowing for
harsher punishments to those commit-
ting sexual crimes against women and
The amendments, known as the
Criminal Law Ordinance 2018, come
during a period of national uproar.
This month, the high-profile rape
cases of an eight-year-old in Jammu
and Kashmir’s Kathua district and the
alleged rape of a minor in Unnao, Uttar
Pradesh, allegedly by a Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) legislator, domi-
nated the national media and fuelled
much politicised debate along religious
and ethnic lines.
There were 19,765 reported child
rapes in India in 2016, or 54 every day,
under section 376 of the IPC and sec-
tion 4 and 6 of the POCSO Act – an in-
crease of almost six per cent compared
to 2014 when 18,661 cases were re-
Child rape cases in 2016 were
recorded under section 376 of the IPC
and section 4 and 6 of the POCSO Act.
In 2014 and 2015, these cases were
recorded separately under IPC crimes
and POCSO Act.
Cases reported in 2012 and 2013
were only under section 376 of the IPC.
Madhya Pradesh reported the most
13 per cent (2,467) child rapes nation-
wide in 2016, followed by Maharashtra
(12 per cent, 2,292 cases) and Uttar
Pradesh (11 per cent, 2,115 cases).
Sikkim reported the highest rate of
rape, 32.5 rapes per 100,000 children,
followed by Mizoram (26.7) and Delhi
(14.5), as against the national average
of 4.4 child rapes.
About 20 per cent of child rapes oc-
cur in the family and 50 per cent in an in-
stitutionalised setting, according to a
2013 paper published in the journal
Offenders were known to the vic-
tims – including both women and girls –
in 94 per cent of the rape cases reported
in 2016, NCRB data shows. Most of
them (29 per cent) were neighbours, fol-
lowed by “known persons on promise
to marry the victim” (27 per cent) and
relatives (six per cent); 30 per cent
were other known people.
But the introduction of the death
penalty for those accused of raping a
child under 12 years could have a nega-
tive effect on reporting, as families fear
ostracisation and legal consequences
for family members.
“The introduction of the death
penalty is not a great move. In the fam-
ily these cases will not be reported, so
many of these things happen by known
people, so the community will protect
them,” Ms Flavia Agnes, a women’s
rights lawyer and co-founder of MA-
JLIS, a Mumbai-based organisation
that provides legal initiatives for
women, told IndiaSpend.
“Reporting rates were definitely in-
creasing, but now I believe more peo-
ple will not report (rapes) for fear of the
Up to 90 per cent of rape cases re-
ported were pending trial at the end of
2016. The conviction rate for child rape
was 28 per cent in 2016, compared to
34 per cent in the previous year and 41
per cent and 32 per cent under section
4 and 6 of the POCSO act in 2015.
“Expedited trials are just not hap-
pening in India, it will take 20-30 years
to improve the system,” said Agnes.
“Just one or two special courts is not
enough; this is why so many cases are
pending. Plus trials take too long.”
Six fast-track courts were set up in
Delhi in 2013 after the gang rape of
23-year-old paramedic student “Nirb-
haya”, to address the high rate of unfin-
ished investigations and encourage
However, in 2012, regular courts re-
solved 500 cases compared to 400 in
fast track courts, which failed to serve
their inherent purpose.
The last person to receive capital
punishment in India for reasons other
than terrorism was Dhananjoy Chatter-
jee who raped and murdered a 14-year-
old schoolgirl. Chatterjee was hanged
in August 2004.
Indo-Asian News Service in
arrangement with IndiaSpend.org, a
data-driven, non-profit, public interest
National uproar... Delhi Commission for
Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal on
hunger strike demanding the government
act seriously against those who sexually
assault young girls. She ended her nine-day
fast after President Ram Nath Kovind
approved an ordinance to provide the
death penalty to those convicted of raping
girls below 12 years.
Swifter justice unlikely
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