5-yr-old boy dies as family forces him to take Ganga dip to ‘cure’ cancer

News Network
January 25, 2024

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Superstition and blind belief on claims of saints led to the murder of a five-old boy in Uttarakhand's Haridwar. The boy was suffering from blood cancer, and his parents believed that the river Ganga would cure him. In the cruel winter in north India, the boy was submerged in the freezing river for several minutes, which resulted in his death. 

The family, which lived in Delhi, left for Haridwar around 9 am on January 24. The cab driver said the child was accompanied by his parents and another woman relative. Some reports have identified her as the boy's aunt. The cab driver said the boy looked extremely unwell and the family had told him that he was suffering from cancer and doctors in Delhi had given up.

A disturbing video shows the parents of the boy chanting Hindu prayers while his aunt submerged him under the water. Some bystanders noticed that the boy was underwater for too long and started asking the family to stop. 

When they did not, those gathered at the spot forcefully brought the boy out. The video shows the aunt responding aggressively and even trying to attack those pulling the boy out. The child was rushed to a hospital, where doctors declared him dead.

Another video shows the boy's aunt sitting next to the body and saying that she was sure that the child would come back to life.

Haridwar city police chief Swantantra Kumar said the family had told them that the boy was undergoing cancer treatment in a top Delhi hospital. The doctors had eventually given up and told them that their child could not be saved. The family believed that river Ganga can heal the boy. 

"We are getting the reports from the Delhi hospital. But at this point, it appears that they brought the boy here because they believed that Ganga snan would cure him," he said.

The boy's parents and his aunt have been taken into custody for questioning, police said.

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News Network
February 24,2024

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Ahead of introducing an Uttarakhand-like bill on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), the Assam government has decided to repeal the Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act of 1935.

The State Cabinet, which met late on Friday night, approved the Assam Repealing Ordinance, 2024, for repealing the British-era marriage and divorce Act specific to Muslims.

Tourism Minister and government spokesperson, Jayanta Malla Baruah told journalists after the meeting that the decision to repeal the Act was made as the State is heading towards the UCC.

“The Chief Minister (Himanta Biswa Sarma) has been clear about the UCC. So, we took the very important decision to repeal Muslim Marriage and Divorce Registration Act, 1935,” he said.

“Muslim marriages and divorces will no longer be registered under this Act. We want all marriages to be registered under the Special Marriage Act,” Mr. Baruah said, adding the Act was being misused for marriages of minors.

“We felt it was an obsolete pre-Independence Act that has lost its relevance today and we believe its repeal will be a big step against child marriage,” he said.

The minister said district commissioners and district registrars will be authorised to take custody of registration records currently in the custody of 94 Muslim marriage registrars on the repeal of the legislation under the overall supervision, guidance, and control of the State’s Inspector General of Registration.

“A one-time compensation of ₹2 lakh will be provided to each Muslim marriage registrar for their rehabilitation after the Act is repealed,” Mr. Baruah said.

Posting the Cabinet decisions on X, the Chief Minister said the provisions of the Muslim Marriages Act offer “scope for registering marriages of intended persons below 21 years (for males) and 18 years (for females) and there is hardly any monitoring for implementation of the Act”.

Among the other decisions made by the Cabinet was on protecting the land rights of the indigenous communities.

“For the protection of land rights of the indigenous communities, Ahom, Koch-Rajbongshi, and Gurkha communities are to be included in the list of protected classes of persons in the Balipara (north-central Assam) Tribal Belt who have been occupying the land prior to 2011,” the minutes of the meeting said.

“This will protect land rights of the indigenous communities who are bona fide Indian citizens,” it said.

The opposition Congress and the minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) criticised the State’s BJP-led government for targeting Muslims through the “unconstitutional step” of repealing the Act.

Congress MLA Abdur Rashid Mandal said the Cabinet nod for repealing the Act dealing with marriages and divorces of Muslims was a deliberate attempt to cater to Hindu sentiments at the expense of the Muslim community.

“The Assam government could not bring in any Bill on polygamy or the UCC. So, they have targeted this Act although the Cabinet does not have the right to repeal or amend a constitutional right,” AIUDF legislator Rafiqul Islam said.

“This is a policy to target Muslims ahead of the Lok Sabha elections,” he added.

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News Network
February 22,2024

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The Manipur High Court has deleted a paragraph from its controversial March 27, 2023 order that directed the state government to send a recommendation on Scheduled Tribe status for the Meitei community.

The order had led to massive ethnic violence in Manipur, with the tribal Kuki community opposing the court's direction.

A bench of Justice Golmei Gaiphulshillu stated that the judgment was passed in a "misconception of law" as the "petitioners failed to assist the court properly at the time of hearing of the said writ petition due to his misconception of fact and law".

Justice Gaiphulshillu noted that the order was contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision in the State of Maharashtra vs Milind & Ors, in which the top court had observed that courts cannot modify, amend or alter the ST list.

"Accordingly, the direction given at Para No. 17(iii) needs to be deleted and is ordered accordingly for deletion," the High Court directed in its judgment delivered on Wednesday.

The now-deleted para in the judgment stated: "The first respondent shall consider the case of the petitioners for inclusion of the Meetei/Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list, expeditiously, preferably within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order in terms of the averments set out in the writ petition and in the line of the order passed in W.P.(C) No. 4281 of 2002 dated 26.05.2003 by the Gauhati High Court."

In October last year, the High Court allowed tribal organisations in Manipur to file an appeal against the March 27 order. Following this, an appeal was moved by All Manipur Tribal Union.

On January 20 this year, the Manipur High Court admitted a review petition seeking to modify its March 27 order and issued notices to the Centre and the state government, seeking their response.

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News Network
February 22,2024

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Condemnations have poured in from world countries after the United States once again vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s months-long genocidal war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Algeria-drafted resolution called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and the "unconditional" release of prisoners, with representatives of 13 countries at the 15-member Security Council voting in favour of the resolution and Britain abstaining.

Israel has killed more than 29,000 people, mostly women and children, and injured some 70,000 others in Gaza since the regime launched its US-backed onslaught on October 7, 2023.

The veto, which marks the third time Washington has opposed such a resolution, drew criticism from many countries including China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and even close US allies, France and Slovenia.

'More dangerous situation'

China warned on Wednesday that Washington’s decision to veto the UNSC resolution pushed the war in Gaza into an "even more dangerous" situation.

"China voted in favor of the draft resolution," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular briefing in Beijing. "The United States has once again single-handedly vetoed it, pushing the situation in Gaza into an even more dangerous situation, in which all parties concerned... have expressed their strong disappointment and dissatisfaction.”

Expressing serious concerns about the situation in Gaza, the Chinese official described as a “moral obligation” the halt to the Israeli aggression on the besieged Palestinian territory.

"The humanitarian situation in Gaza is becoming extremely serious, and regional peace and stability have been severely impacted," Mao said, adding, "The Security Council must take action as quickly as possible to bring a halt to hostilities. This is a moral obligation that cannot be put off.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson stressed that, "We will continue to work with all parties in the international community to push the Security Council to take further responsible and meaningful actions, and make unremitting efforts to quell the war in Gaza at an early date.”

'Another black page'

Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzia said the US veto marked “another black page in the history of the Security Council.”

Nebenzia said the US was trying to play for time so that Israel could complete its “inhumane plans” for Gaza, namely to squeeze the Palestinians out of the territory and completely “cleanse” the enclave.

The Russian envoy added that no matter how bitter the “aftertaste” of the vote may be, “we are not in the mood to give up.”

'A regret'

France’s UN envoy Nicolas de Riviere expressed regret that the resolution “could not be adopted, given the disastrous situation” in Gaza.

De Riviere underlined that France, which voted for the resolution, would continue to work towards all captives being released and for a ceasefire to be “implemented immediately.”

'Profound consequences for West Asia'

Amar Bendjama, Algeria’s UN envoy, said the UNSC “failed once again” and warned the move could have profound consequences for the West Asia region as a whole.

“The international community should respond to the calls for ending the killing of Palestinians by calling for an immediate ceasefire. All those impeding such calls should review their policies and their calculations because wrong decisions today will have a cost on our region and our world tomorrow. And this cost will be violence and instability,” Bendjama said.

“So ask yourselves, examine your conscience. What will your decisions today cause? How will history judge you?”

Qatar’s UN Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al Thani also said she regretted the UNSC’s failure to adopt the Algeria-drafted resolution and pledged to continue facilitating efforts to secure a truce in Gaza.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry expressed “regret” at the veto and stressed the “need now more than ever to reform the Security Council to carry out its responsibilities in maintaining peace and security with credibility and without double standards.”

Meanwhile, Norway’s mission to the UN said it “regrets” that the council was not able to adopt a resolution on an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

“It is imperative to end the horror in Gaza,” it added.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez also blasted the US, saying its veto made Washington complicit in Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.

“The US has just vetoed again the UN Security Council resolution that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the forced displacement of the Palestinian population,” Bermudez said in a social media post.

“They are accomplices of this genocide of Israel against Palestine.”

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