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SRINAGAR: Demanding his “immediate release”, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the arrest of Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan. In a statement issued today, the IFJ said Indian police arrested and detained the assistant editor of the ‘Kashmir Narrator’ over alleged militancy crimes and held him for six days without charge. “The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Indian Journalist Union (IJU) in condemning the arrest and detention of Aasif Sultan and demands his immediate release,” the IFJ statement said. 

The IFJ said Sultan is not the first journalist in Kashmir to be arrested for ‘dubious charges of militancy’ involvement. “Photojournalist Kamran Yousuf was detained for more than six months before finally being released on bail in March, 2018. Kashmir Observer daily’s Aqib Javed Hakim was also summoned to New Delhi and interrogated on July 14 and 15 this year over an interview with a separatist leader,” IFJ said. 

The IFJ said the situation for journalists in Kashmir remains grim with media on the edge, particularly following the June 14 assassination of Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of Rising Kashmir daily, outside his office by unidentified gunmen. IFJ General secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “The arrest and charge against Asif Sultan for his reporting is deplorable and unacceptable. We demand his immediate release and urge the Indian to critically address the deteriorating situation for media workers in Kashmir who are increasingly being targeted for doing their job.” 

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NEW DELHI: Election Commission of India presided over by the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr. Om Prakash Rawat held its historic session today in which 07 national parties and 51 state recognized political parties participated with equal participation expressing their views on Fidelity of Electoral Rolls, Women Participation in Election, Election Expenditure Profile, Election Campaign Period, Conduct of Election, Alternative Modes of Voting, Migrant Voters as well as on the use of Electronic Voting Machines.

The Chief Election Commissioner, Mr .Om Prakash Rawat presided over the historic session and almost all national and state parties (only recognized) participated. The Chief Election Commissioner in his inaugural address expressed full confidence in the leadership of the political parties and assured that all positive contributions shall be honoured by the Commission.

J&K National Panthers Party was represented by Prof.Bhim Singh & Shri Harsh Dev Singh. The JKNPP made impressive representation pressing for the alternative to the present Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which were not reliable and could not be trusted for many reasons. Shri Harsh Dev Singh in his presentation urged to replace the voting machines because the voters have no confidence in this process. He also urged the Election Commission to use this office to gear the ruthless power enjoyed by authoritarian district officer heading the districts. He also presented a document to the Chief Election Commissioner on the unfortunate, of course, undesirable incident that was prompted by the district administration at Udhampur.

Prof.Bhim Singh in his interaction strongly pleaded for the abolition of EVM system which empowers the local administration under the command of State Govt. to rig the polls and bring results in  favour of the ruling parties. He said that J&K is one of those states where the ruling parties have been manipulating the elections by using the EVMs and other corrupt means and methods. He strongly favoured the proposition to abolish EVM from the system and revert back in the interest of democracy and rule of law which are feeling suffocated under the present system. Dictatorial government and ruthless EVM system causing havoc to democracy particularly in a state like J&K where more than 60% voters are illiterate even today in spite of the fact that the state has free education from primary to post graduation. More than 60% voters are kept illiterate.

Prof.Bhim Singh demanded that Chapter on Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution shall have to be extended to the State of J&K so that the Indian citizens (voters) in the State of J&K shall also enjoy the freedom enshrined in the Constitution of India. He said that Article 35(A) which has deprived the citizens of India residing in J&K of all their Fundamental Rights enshrined in Article 14, 16, 19 & all other rights by inserting Article 35(A) in 1954 through Presidential Order which he said was absolutely horrifying, draconian and against the interest of the people. Prof.Bhim Singh said that neither President nor any other power has any constitutional right to take away the freedom and fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of India. He said that introduction of Article 35(A) has been, improper, unconstitutional and has been misused to deprive the voters of J&K of the freedoms enshrined in Article 19 and equal status under Article 14.

He said that the President of India could issue an Ordinance may it be called Presidential Order that could last for only six months not beyond. He said that Article 35(A) has been used by the rulers of J&K against the citizens of India residing in J&K under a wrong and deceptive pretext. The ruling governments in J&K have been using Article 35(A) like a sword against the innocent people of J&K. He further said that Article 35(A) could not have been pronounced as a sword to take away the Fundamental Rights, freedoms enshrined in Chapter-III of the Indian Constitution. He regretted that the ruling parties of J&K since 1950 have been using Article 35(A) of the Indian Constitution to govern the State under their dictatorial laws the state has been framing under the pretext of Article 35(A) though Article 35(A) has never permitted the State Govt. of J&K to interfere or curve the freedom of speech  or expression or any other fundamental right of the citizens of India residing in J&K. Article 35(A) had allowed the state, could be valid for six months only relating to defining classes of  persons, Permanent Residents, imposing special rights or privileges (the state has been using it to take away special rights and privileges though), employment, matters relating to property, settlement in the state, scholarship etc.

Prof.Bhim Singh said that the ruling parties in J&K nor its legislature was empowered to take away the fundamental rights which was guaranteed the residents of J&K in Chapter-III of the Indian Constitution. Article 35(A) has been used as a sword by the ruling parties to deprive the residents of J&K of fundamental rights. Public Safety Act imposed by Govt. of J&K in 1978 was used/has  been used as a sword which is drawn from the dark shade of Article 35(A). He said that this matter did not cover the arena of the Election Commission of India though, it is urgent he said to let the media of the country also know the basic tragedies faced by the India citizens.

 

Prof.Bhim Singh expressed shock on the media reports like the one made today by India TV News Desk, New Delhi projecting that, “Presidential Order, 1954, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of J&K and denies property right to a woman who marries the person from outside the state. Another surprise story floated that 35(A) also bars people from rest of the country from buying, owning the immovable property in the state, settle permanently or get state government jobs.” This has been attributed to “we the citizens who files a writ petition before the Supreme Court”. He said that this is a share propaganda clothed with lies. Article 35(A) has nothing to do with the right to property, woman marriage or transfer of property or settlement or resettlement in J&K.

All the basic and fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of India were incorporated by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1927 in the Constitution of J&K and the Constituent Assembly had made it clear that all the laws which were applicable to J&K before 1950 shall remain unchanged. This guarantee has been given in the Constitution of India. Article 12 & 13 of the Constitution of India make it clear that the laws made prior to 1950 in any stage unless they have been declared otherwise, shall not be removed or dropped. This clearly means that laws made by the ruler of J&K shall continue to be enforced if they have not been touched by the Constituent Assembly of India. So the laws made in respect of State Subjects (Permanent Residents) by any authority before 1950 are not changeable.

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  • Evolve best practices, policies and procedures in policing to combat emerging new age National Security threats;
  • Addresses 48th Foundation Day of Bureau of Police Research & Development

NEW DELHI: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that the era of New Age cyber warfare, and the new enemy can be combated only through the power of knowledge. He was addressing the gathering on the occasion of 48th Foundation Day of Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), here today. The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju and other dignitaries were present on the occasion. 

The Vice President cautioned against the cyber attacks by hackers working over the Internet thousands of miles away and asked police to be equipped to handle attacks that jeopardize national security. He further asked the BPR&D to evolve best practices, policies and procedures in policing to combat emerging new age National Security threats.  The Vice President said that knowledge and competence of our police forces and the ability to innovate, improvise and implement will be critical in strengthening national security. We need a “Surakshit Bharat” as much as a “Samruddh Bharat” and we cannot have a “Surakshit Bharat” without a “Saksham Bharat”, he added. 

The Vice President said that Indian Government has taken various measures to prevent cyber attacks and stressed on the need to augment police response capacities. He further said that the set up for combating the new enemy in Cyber Space can no longer be housed within the walls of a seemingly secure single government agency. The Vice President called for a reorientation of the existing paradigm and said that all security agencies must work in close coordination and also with the private sector manning to establish a foolproof ecosystem. 

The Vice President said that the Government & private sector must establish joint mechanisms to protect the police a force against the future challenges, including, the threats of modern warfare. All police forces of the country have to equip themselves with the cyber forensic techniques and knowledge to counter a cyber-attack or investigate a cyber-crime, he added. 

Following is the text of Vice President’s address: 

“I am happy to attend the Foundation Day Function of Bureau of Police Research and Development, a national body under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which integrates all State Police Forces, Central Police Armed Forces and Central Police Organizations and Correctional Administrative set up of the country. 

I am aware that the Bureau is responsible for undertaking systemic studies of police and prison problems with the objective to improve the quality of delivery of police and correctional services throughout the country. The Bureau also conducts regular training programmes to improve the professionalism of the police force in the country and ensure that it is well-equipped to respond effectively to the changing social situations. 

I am sure that BPR&D, as the national think tank on policing, will constantly come up with concrete suggestions to improve and bring policing in India on par with global standards by adopting the best practices. 

With the Bureau focusing on National Police Mission Projects, it must open new vistas of knowledge for the police forces. Methods and techniques adopted by the police must be scientific. I am told that as part of improving the methods and techniques of policing, the BPR&D actively engages scholars, professionals, businessmen, industrialists, NGOs and various social justice organisations in its work. This collaboration between experts in various domains and the police forces is important in the present era of knowledge based society. Moreover, today, without a single shot fired or a drop of blood spilled, an entire country can be crippled. 

This is the era of New Age Warfare, the cyber warfare, and the new enemy can be combated only through the power of knowledge. Unlike the spies of the Cold War era, when collaborators would provide access to secret documents to physically copy and photograph documents, the new age spies do not need any physical access. Working over the Internet thousands of miles away, the hackers can suck out thousands of secret documents, jeopardising national security. 

I will cite just two examples of the most debilitating attacks in modern times in which no shots were fired and no tanks rolled. 

In 2006, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme of US military, claimed to be producing one the world’s most advanced combat aircraft, had been compromised. In 2007, anonymous hackers, suspected to be operating from Russia, launched a massive cyber-attack on information systems of Estonia. For three days, this country faced chaos. Systems refused to re-start and ATMs refused to dispense cash, as the financial architecture, based on millions of lines of code, had crashed. Hackers brought critical infrastructure sectors such as banking and power to a grinding halt. 

These two examples illustrate the vulnerability of the systems that operate in some of the most critical sectors of a country. From defence to energy, power, aviation and law enforcement, every sector today depends on computer networks that would need to be always protected and strengthened by a slew of measures against future threats. In fact, cyber attackers strike at places where such an attack is least expected. 

The Indian Government has taken various measures to prevent cyber attacks. The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) was created and placed under the technical intelligence agency, the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), to roll out counter-measures in cooperation with other security agencies and private corporate entities that man critical sectors. However, any new threat has to be countered by augmenting police response capacities. The set up for combating the new enemy in cyber space, can no longer be housed within the walls of a seemingly secure single government agency. All police forces of the country have to equip themselves with the cyber forensic techniques and knowledge to counter a cyber-attack or investigate a cyber-crime. 

BPR&D has a huge responsibility in evolving the best practices, policies and procedures in policing. 

I am glad that the Central Detective Training Institute at Hyderabad under BPR&D has emerged as a Centre of Excellence for Cyber Crime and Cyber Security. I am told that the BPR&D Headquarters is also creating virtual classroom facility to train police forces across the country in various issues such as Cyber Crime, Gender Justice Issues and policing Smart Cities. I am informed that the Bureau has identified 45 citizen based services related to policing. The objective of any such activity must be to bring transparency, accountability and improve efficiency of police. 

I am told that the Bureau has already implemented Victim Protection Scheme, successfully launched Student Police Cadet Programme and collated Safe City Parameters. I am also told that it is working on the first ever Crime Victimisation Survey, modernisation Impact Analysis Survey and on projects such as Tourism Policing, Lean and Flat Structure of Policing, Prison Technologies and best Prison Practices. I am sure that all these projects shall go a long way in establishing a safe and secure social milieu. 

Ideally, the government and private sector should come together and establish joint mechanisms to protect the police forces against the future challenges, including, the threats of modern warfare. However, this requires a reorientation of the existing paradigm. It takes a great deal of understanding to evolve and work together by building trust and joint mechanisms to protect each other. 

I am told that at a recent police expo organised at the BPR&D Head Quarters, young SPs from all over the country got an opportunity to learn the fundamentals and techniques of Predictive Policing, Crime Analytics, Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Geospatial Technologies, among others. As many as 70 Business Houses displayed their equipment and gadgets that will have an application of these new techniques of policing and which may act as force multipliers.

 

Over a period of 48 years since its inception, BPR&D has expanded its role, performance and leadership in policing in a very significant manner. I am happy to learn that the agency has also commenced work with NITI Aayog on modernisation of police forces. The research force has a platform called NCIS, which actively collaborates with IIT-Mumbai. It is planning a national technology platform, with members of IIT-Delhi to come up with simple technological solutions for India's police. It also has plans to partner with ISRO on communication technology issues and look for automation solutions for ensuring a hassle free policing.

 

In India, all security agencies need to work in close coordination and also with the private sector manning to establish a foolproof ecosystem. This will mean working together to conduct joint exercises, map vulnerabilities, and build counter-measures. BPR&D must also prepare an index for ranking of states on their preparedness to counter crime, terrorism and focus on upgradation of the knowledge and competence. 

For a nation that seeks to achieve the vision of ‘Digital India’, ‘Make in India’, and an “Incredible India”, BPR&D must play a more pro-active role in making our country a safe place. 

We need a “Surakshit Bharat” as much as a “Samruddh Bharat”. And we cannot have a “Surakshit Bharat” without a “Saksham Bharat”. The knowledge and competence of our police forces and the ability to innovate, improvise and implement will be critical in strengthening national security.

I am sure that various initiatives taken by you will help achieve this goal. 

My best wishes to the Director General and his entire team for all future endeavours! 

JAI HIND!”