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Balochistan Violence: 13-year-old boy dies after Hindu man arrested for ‘Blasphemy’ charges in Pakistan

Blasphemy, which carries the death penalty, is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, with allegations often prompting mob violence

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FILE -(representational image) Pakistani villagers living at the Line of Control between Pakistan-Indian Kashmir, Chakoti, build concrete house in Pakistan, Nov. 21, 2016. VOA
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Balochistan, May 4, 2017: A 13-year-old boy died in aerial firing by police on Thursday after an angry mob in Pakistan’s Balochistan demanded they hand over a Hindu man arrested on blasphemy charges.

Prakash Kumar, 35, was arrested from Hub on Wednesday after locals complained he allegedly sent blasphemous content via WhatsApp, police was quoted as saying by local media.

Police said they had lodged a case against the accused while a cellphone, from which the suspect allegedly shared blasphemous content, has been seized. A local court has sent the suspect to jail for further interrogation in the case.

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A mob soon gathered outside the Hub city police station demanding that Kumar be handed over to them so they could “punish” him. When law enforcement refused, the crowd turned violent.

The police managed to disperse the crowd using tear gas shelling and aerial firing, and also took scores of protesters into custody.

According to police, a teenager died in the violence. The boy was a resident of Pathan Colony and became a victim of aerial firing during the clash which took place near Gaddani bus stop in Hub.

Blasphemy, which carries the death penalty, is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, with allegations often prompting mob violence.

Vigilantes have murdered 65 people over blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to research compiled by the Centre for Research and Security Studies think-tank. (IANS)

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New Australia Bill Gives Police Power to Spy on WhatsApp Messages

The spying powers are limited to only "serious offences" such as preventing terrorism and tackling organised crime in Australia, dailymail.co.uk reported

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New Australia bill gives police power to spy on WhatsApp messages.

Australia is mulling a strict law that gives enforcement agencies power to track messages on platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram that offer end-to-end encryption and also to force users to open their smartphones when demanded, a media report said.

The controversial encryption bill comes at a time amid allegations of encrypted platforms facilitating spread of rumours, hate speech and even criminal activities like child trafficking and drugs businesses.

In countries like India messages circulated in WhatsApp have been linked to several lynching cases, forcing the government to ask platform to take suitable preventive action.

But the new Australia bill also raises privacy concerns as under the proposed legislation, the Australian government agencies could compel companies to build spyware.

The proposed laws could force companies to remove electronic protections, assist government agencies in accessing material from a suspect’s device, and in getting technical information such as design specifications to help in an investigation, News.com.au reported on Wednesday.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Critics have slammed the bill for being broad in scope, vague and potentially damaging to the security of the global digital economy, the report said, adding that a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has been scrutinising the bill.

The laws will help security agencies nab terrorists, child sex offenders and other serious criminals, Australia’s Attorney-General Christian Porter was quoted as saying.

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About 95 per cent of people currently being surveilled by security agencies are using encrypted messages, he added.

The spying powers are limited to only “serious offences” such as preventing terrorism and tackling organised crime in Australia, dailymail.co.uk reported. (IANS)