Haridwar hate speech case: SC notice to Uttarakhand govt, no stay on upcoming events

The petitioners in the Haridwar Dharam Sansad hearing said no nodal officer had been appointed in the case and that the Supreme Court’s orders were not being followed. Hence, the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Uttarakhand government.

The SC has issued a notice to the Uttarakhand government in the Haridwar hate speech case.

The petitioners in the case pointed out that orders had been passed in earlier judgments to appoint nodal officers to take action against such gatherings. In this case, the petitioners said, no nodal officer has been appointed. They said that the Supreme Court’s orders were not being followed.

At the gathering, Yati Narsinghanand reportedly said that “arming the Hindu brigade with bigger and better weapons” would be the “solution” against the “threat of Muslims.

As many as 76 lawyers of the Supreme Court had earlier written to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana to seek suo motu cognizance to be taken of the ‘hate speech and calls for ‘ethnic cleansing’ at two religious events held recently in Delhi and Haridwar.

Sibal on Wednesday told the court: “This matter needs to be heard urgently. More Dharam Sansads have been announced in Una, Dasna, Aligarh at a time when the elections are going on in the state. This will vitiate the atmosphere. This is incitement of violence.”

“Preventive detention law is there to prevent exactly such a thing,” he added.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli heard the matter as public interest litigation (PIL), demanding an investigation into the hate speeches targeting Muslims at the Haridwar Dharam Sansad.

Novak Djokovic admits meeting journalist when he had Covid, submitting a false declaration to Australian govt

Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic on Wednesday admitted meeting a journalist when he knew he had Covid-19, describing it as an “error of judgment”.

Djokovic also conceded he submitted a false declaration to the Australian government about his travel history between flying to Melbourne, though he blamed it on his agent.

The comments were in a statement posted to Instagram aimed at addressing the controversies surrounding his efforts to play at the Australian Open while being unvaccinated.

Despite the admissions, Djokovic insisted other reports about him appearing in public following his positive test for Covid-19 as “misinformation.

He said the reports of his public appearances after his claimed infection were “very hurtful” to his family.

The 34-year-old world number one entered Australia last week with a vaccine exemption due to a positive test for Covid-19 on December 16.

The following day, however, he appeared without a mask at the launch of a Serbian stamp bearing his image and at an event in Belgrade for young tennis players.

Djokovic said he only received the positive results of the PCR test for Covid-19 infection on December 17, after the youth tennis event.

He made no mention of the stamp ceremony.

The player said he had a negative rapid antigen test on December 16 and then had the PCR test out of an “abundance of caution”.

The following day, he took a second rapid antigen test, which was also negative, before going to the children’s tennis event.

“I was asymptomatic and felt good, and I had not received the notification of a positive PCR test until after that event,” he said.

But Djokovic admitted that he also went ahead with an interview and photoshoot with French sports newspaper L’Equipe on December 18.

“I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L’Equipe interview as I didn’t want to let the journalist down, but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken,” he said.

“On reflection, this was an error of judgment and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment.”

Australian media have also focused heavily on the accuracy of Djokovic’s travel declaration, reportedly filled out before he flew in from Spain.

A copy of his declaration showed a tick in the box to confirm he had not and would not travel in the 14 days before landing in Australia on January 5.

But the player had reportedly been in Serbia before Spain.

“On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf,” Djokovic said on Instagram.

“My agent sincerely apologizes for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia.

“This was a human error and certainly not deliberate.“

European Parliament president Sassoli dies at age 65

BRUSSELS: David Sassoli, an Italian journalist who worked his way up in politics while defending the downtrodden and repressed to become president of the European Unions parliament, died at a hospital in Italy early on Tuesday. He was 65.

European Council President Charles Michel called Sassoli a sincere and passionate European. We already miss his human warmth, his generosity, his friendliness and his smile.

Sassoli, a socialist, had been hospitalized since Dec 26 because of abnormal functioning of his immune system, Cuillo said in a statement released the day before Sassoli’s death.

Sassoli had been struggling for months with poor health after he suffered pneumonia caused by the legionella bacteria in September. His health steadily declined afterward and he was forced to miss several important legislative meetings. Yet, as much as possible, he stayed on the job, where his vigor and easy smile had always been a trademark. He was at his strongest when he took up the cause of migrants who died crossing the Mediterranean or dissidents such as Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is taking on the Kremlin from a jail cell.

Everyone loved his smile and his kindness, yet he knew how to fight for what he believed in, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, reminiscing how a much younger Sassoli had traveled to Germany to see the infamous Berlin Wall come down well over three decades ago.

European unity was his benchmark, just as much as justice among all Europeans was.

Our Union has lost at the same time an Italian patriot, a great European and a tireless humanist, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

Over the past few months, he improved enough to preside over a European Parliament session in December to give the EUs main human rights award, the Sakharov Prize, to Navalny’s daughter. High in symbolism, it showed him at his best. A few weeks later, his wishes for the new year became his political testament as an optimist with great expectations.

We can be that hope when we don’t ignore those in need. When we don’t build walls on our borders. When we fight all forms of injustice. Here’s to us, here’s to hope, he said in the address.

He is survived by his wife, Alessandra Vittorini, and his children, Livia and Giulio. Flags flew half-staff and the European Parliament opened a condolences register. The European Commission will hold a minute of silence when it meets on Wednesday.

Pope Francis, who received Sassoli in audience last year, sent an unusually heartfelt telegram of condolences to Sassoli’s wife, paying tribute to him as an animated believer of hope and charity … who, in a peaceful and respectful way, worked for the common good with a generous commitment.

A lifelong fan of Fiorentina football club, he emulated the refined style of the team where Gabriel Batistuta and Roberto Baggio thrived.

Security reviewed in commanders conference

ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over operational preparedness of the army’s formations.

He made these remarks while chairing the 246th Corps Commanders’ Conference at the General Headquarters. The participants of the conference reviewed the security situation with particular focus on border management and internal security.

Bajwa satisfied with operational preparedness of army’s formations

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, Gen Bajwa emphasised continued mission-oriented training for the formations to ensure combat readiness in view of the emerging threats and challenges.

The participants were also apprised of the progress and achievements of operation Radd-ul-Fasaad.

The ISPR said the army chief appreciated the efforts of the formations involved in relief operations to mitigate challenges of the people affected due to snowstorm in Murree and heavy rainfalls in Balochistan.