Social media terror: One more student arrested in ‘Bulli Bai’ app case

News Network
January 5, 2022

Mumbai cyber police have arrested one more student from Uttarakhand in connection with the 'Bulli Bai' app case, an official said on Wednesday.

The student, identified as Mayank Rawal (21), was nabbed from the northern state in the early hours of Wednesday, the official said.

The cyber cell of Mumbai police had earlier arrested Shweta Singh (19), alleged to be the main culprit, from Uttarakhand, and engineering student Vishal Kumar Jha (21) from Bengaluru in connection with the case.

The Mumbai police had registered a First Information Report (FIR) against unidentified persons following complaints that doctored photographs of hundreds of Muslim women were uploaded for ‘auction' on the app called `Bulli Bai', hosted on the open-source software platform GitHub.

While there was no actual `auction' or `sale', the purpose of the app seemed to be to humiliate and intimidate the targeted women, many of whom are active social media users.

The Mumbai cyber police station has also registered a case against the app's unidentified developers and Twitter handles which promoted it.

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News Network
June 26,2022

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Chandigarh: The Aam Aadmi Party faced a huge setback in the Punjab by-elections on Sunday with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate Simranjit Singh Mann defeating the ruling party's candidate on a Lok Sabha seat held last by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

Simranjit Singh Mann beat his AAP rival Gurmail Singh by a margin of over 5,800 votes from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, after a close fight between the two.

Simranjit Singh Mann, 77, is a former MP and the president of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) - not related to the larger Shiromani Akali Dal.

Congress candidate Dalvir Singh Goldy, BJP's Kewal Dhillon and the Akali Dal's Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana were at the third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

Counting of votes began at 8 am on Sunday amid tight security arrangements.

Sixteen candidates had appeared for the contest on June 23.

The bypoll to Sangrur Lok Sabha seat had witnessed a low turnout of 45.30 per cent as against 72.44 per cent polling in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and 76.71 per cent in 2014 polls.

There were 15.69 lakh eligible voters this time.

The bypoll was necessitated due to the resignation of Bhagwant Mann from the Lok Sabha seat after he was elected as an MLA in the state assembly elections earlier this year.

Bhagwant Mann, who is the state's chief minister now, had won the Sangrur seat in the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections.

The bypoll was the first major electoral battle after the Aam Aadmi Party's resounding victory in the state assembly polls in March this year.

For the ruling AAP, the bypoll was seen as a battle of prestige for retaining its bastion, while for opposition parties Congress, BJP and SAD were looking to register a victory after being decimated in the assembly polls.

The AAP fielded Singh, 38, who is the party's Sangrur district in-charge, while the Congress placed its bet on former Dhuri MLA Goldy.

The BJP fielded former Barnala MLA Dhillon who joined the party early this month.

Sangrur parliamentary constituency is considered the bastion of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which won all the nine assembly segments -- Lehra, Dirba, Barnala, Sunam, Bhadaur, Mehal Kalan, Malerkotla, Dhuri and Sangrur in the 2022 assembly elections.

Bhagwant Mann had won the Sangrur seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls after defeating SAD candidate Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa with a margin of 2.11 lakh votes.

Mr Mann again contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Sangrur and won it by a margin of 1.10 lakh votes after defeating Congress party's Kewal Dhillon.

While the opposition parties -- Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP - assailed the AAP for an alleged deteriorating law and order situation, murder of popular singer Sidhu Moosewala and "unfulfilled" poll promises, the ruling party focused on its promises of eradicating corruption, creating jobs, improving the condition of schools and hospitals, and paving the way for a "Rangla (vibrant) Punjab" again.

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News Network
July 1,2022

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New Delhi, July 1: The Supreme Court on Friday came down heavily on suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma for her abusive comments against the Prophet, saying her "loose tongue" has "set the entire country on fire" and asked her to immediately apologise to the nation for her remarks. 

Refusing to entertain Sharma's plea for clubbing of FIRs lodged in various states against her for the remark, the bench held that the comment was made either for cheap publicity, political agenda or some nefarious activities.

"She actually has a loose tongue and has made all kinds of irresponsible statements on TV and set the entire country on fire. Yet, she claims to be a lawyer of 10 years standing... She should have immediately apologised for her comments to the whole country," the court said.

Sharma's remark against the Prophet, made during a TV debate, triggered protests across the country and invited sharp reactions from many Gulf countries. The BJP subsequently suspended her from the party. 

"These remarks are very disturbing and smack of arrogance. What is her business to make such remarks? These remarks have led to unfortunate incidents in the country...These people are not religious. They do not have respect for other religions. These remarks were made for cheap publicity or political agenda or some other nefarious activities”, the bench said. 

While refusing to entertain Sharma's plea for clubbing of FIRs, a vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala allowed her to withdraw the plea. 

"She has a threat or she has become a security threat? The way she has ignited emotions across the country… this lady is single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country," the bench said when Sharma's lawyer Maninder Singh pointed out that she was facing threats to life. 

The bench further said," the way she ignited emotions across the country has led to unfortunate incidents. This lady is single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country. We saw the debate". The court's observations against the suspended BJP leader come in the backdrop of the brutal murder of a tailor in Udaipur by two men, who had posted videos online, claiming that they were avenging an insult to Islam.

Senior advocate Singh, appearing for Sharma, said she had apologised for her remarks. The bench said,"her apology came too late and that too conditionally saying if religious sentiments are hurt and so on. She should have been on TV immediately and apologised to the nation". The court said her petition smacks of arrogance and that she thinks that the magistrate of the country is too small for her. Singh said Sharma was a spokesperson of a political party and her unintentional comments were in relation to a debate.  

"If you are a spokesperson of a party, it is not a license to say things like this", the bench said, adding, "if there was a misuse of the debate, the first thing she should have done was to file an FIR against the anchor". Singh said she had reacted to the debate initiated by other debators and pointed to the transcript of the debate. The bench said, "what was the TV debate for? Was it to fan an agenda and why did they choose a sub-judice topic?" Referring to various apex court verdicts, Singh said there cannot be a second FIR on the same cause of action. 

Justice Kant said she has remedy before the high court and can very well approach it, if there is a second FIR. Singh then referred to the Arnab Goswami case, and said the law has been laid down by the apex court. The bench said,"the case of a journalist expressing his right on a particular issue is on a different pedestal from a spokesperson of a political party who is lambasting others with irresponsible statements without thinking of the consequences". 

Singh said she has joined the investigation being conducted by the Delhi Police and not running away. The bench said, "What has happened in the investigation so far? What has Delhi Police done so far? Don’t make us open our mouths? They must have put a red carpet for you."After the hearing for nearly 30 minutes, the bench said it is not convinced with her bonafide and refused to entertain the petition.

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News Network
June 27,2022

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Mumbai, June 27: There was jubilation in the rebel Shiv Sena legislators' camp after the Supreme Court proceedings on Monday while hectic politicking started in the Bharatiya Janata Party and the mood turned sombre in the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadig.

Rebel leader Minister Eknath Shinde tweeted, "This is the victory of Hindu HridaySamrat Balasaheb Thackeray's Hindutva and the ideology of Dharmveer Anand Dighe."

The faction - currently in a Guwahati hotel - erupted into joy and celebrations after the apex court ruling and also expressed gratitude to the Centre for providing security to the rebel MLAs and their families.

Shinde is reported to have initiated the process to finalise and send a letter to the Maharashtra Governor that they have withdrawn support to the MVA government of Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress.

On the Opposition side, the BJP's core committee meeting got under way with top leaders present to finalise their strategy to form the next government in the state, possibly with the help of the rebel group.

Shinde has claimed the support of 39 Sena MLAs, and 11 independents or other parties, totalling to 48, and the group is likely to extend its sojourn in Assam by a few more days.

Several leaders joining the meeting were seen beaming in anticipation and some flashed the 'V' sign, indicating an upbeat mood.

Hitting out again, MVA Minister Aditya Thackeray alleged that many of the MLAs were misled or abducted to join the rebel group and the party is ready to take them back.

"If the rebels had courage, they would have first resigned and faced the electorate instead of all this," said Thackeray Jr.

Sena chief spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut said that "this a legal battle and will continue" and said the party will fight it out.

Court Relief For Rebel Sena MLAs

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday virtually kept the disqualification proceedings initiated against 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde in abeyance, by extending the time for them to file their response to the notice issued by the Deputy Speaker, till July 12.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala said the status quo needs to be maintained in the matter, in order to decide the competing claims. The 16 MLAs were given time to file their response by 5:30 pm Tuesday.

"We have to decide very competence of the Deputy Speaker if he is entitled to proceed with the matter. Today, we have to ensure that the matter does not become infructuous," the bench said.

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