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Any Consequences of Living in Tall Buildings? ‘Bigger the Building, Bigger the Criminal’ Adage Goes in UP

The bungalows were mostly owned and occupied by elderly couples whose children had settled abroad

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criminals, tall buildings
The New Hyderabad and the Mahanagar localities in Lucknow are perfect examples of how this nexus works. Flickr

Behind every tall building, there is a taller criminal and the bigger the building, the bigger the criminal, goes the popular Uttar Pradesh adage. The nexus between real estate and criminals in Uttar Pradesh has become so strong that the lines have been almost completely blurred. It is difficult to say who the real owner of a particular building is.

In this nexus, the politician merges perfectly as he lies somewhere in between the real estate owner and the criminal. The modus operandi is simple. The real estate owner identifies the land, the criminal helps in getting the possession — legally or otherwise — and the politician takes care of government permissions. The money — black or grey — is pumped in by the “netas” and the “bahubalis” and the real estate owner gets a fair share, too.

The New Hyderabad and the Mahanagar localities in Lucknow are perfect examples of how this nexus works. These centrally located areas in trans-Gomti region were once marked by palatial bungalows, most of them in a semi-dilapidated condition.

criminals, tall buildings
The nexus between real estate and criminals in Uttar Pradesh has become so strong that the lines have been almost completely blurred. Flickr

The bungalows were mostly owned and occupied by elderly couples whose children had settled abroad. Similar cases have been found in other cities like Allahabad and Kanpur, but the nexus blocks any action against this set-up.

In the early nineties, the bungalows began vanishing, their occupants went missing and high rise buildings started coming up. The neighbours spoke in hushed tones about how the occupants vanished overnight. The police turned a blind eye because no one filed a complaint. Police officers and bureaucrats were also given flats in these buildings and the business flourished.

The Yogi Adityanath government began cracking the whip on this and the first victim was Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Sharda Pratap Shukla whose “illegal” constructions in Sarojini Nagar were the first to be demolished.

tall buildings, criminal
In this nexus, the politician merges perfectly as he lies somewhere in between the real estate owner and the criminal. Flickr

Another SP leader, Bhukkal Nawab, sensed the gravity of the situation and promptly joined the BJP to escape action. But the demolition threat continues over his illegal holdings since Adityanath is unrelenting. A criminal-turned-politician explained how the nexus is no longer as strong as it used to be.

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“First demonetisation brought a slump in the market and then the compulsion of Aadhaar and PAN card in all transactions put off the buyers. Earlier, people used to invest their black money in property, but now they opt for gold and diamonds. Besides, you never know when Adityanath cracks the whip. We are all lying low till the next elections,” he disclosed.

A senior bureaucrat also echoed similar sentiments and said that his brother-in-law, who is a builder, had gifted a flat to him. “And I had a tough time explaining this to the Income Tax people who are apparently on an overdrive at the moment,” he said. (IANS)

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Global Judicial Executions Fell By One-Third In 2018, Reaching Lowest in A Decade

One case it highlighted was the execution of Zeinab Sekaanvand, who reported being a victim of domestic and sexual violence at the age of 17 in West Azerbaijan Province during her "grossly unfair trial" in West Azerbaijan Province.

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Hanging
Nooses are prepared ahead of a public hanging in Mashhad, Iran. RFERL

The number of known judicial executions around the world declined by nearly one-third in 2018 compared to 2017, reaching the lowest level in at least a decade, Amnesty International says in its annual report on death sentences and executions.

Belarus was among a handful of countries that defied the trend, the human rights group said in the report released on April 10: The only European state that carries out executions put at least four people to death in 2018, it said, twice as many as in 2017.

Although Iran remains “a country where the use of the death penalty is rife,” a change in Iran’s drug laws led to a reduction of executions by “a staggering 50 percent,” Amnesty International said.

Still, the rights group said, executions in Iran often “were carried out after unfair trials.”

It said Pakistan, Iraq, and Somalia also showed “a significant reduction in the number they carried out,” helping to push down the number of global state executions from at least 993 in 2017 to at least 690 in 2018.

“The dramatic global fall in executions proves that even the most unlikely countries are starting to change their ways and realize the death penalty is not the answer,””Amnesty International Secretary-General Kumi Naidoo said.

Arrest
The trend does not include figures from China,”the world’s leading executioner” where “figures thought to be in their thousands remain classified as a state secret,” Amnesty International said. RFERL

‘World’s Leading Executioner’

The trend does not include figures from China,”the world’s leading executioner” where “figures thought to be in their thousands remain classified as a state secret,” Amnesty International said.

The rights group said it recorded 253 court-ordered executions in Iran, the lowest number there since 2010.

It said 160 of the people executed in Iran — 155 men and five women — were convicted of murder.

Eighteen people executed by authorities in Iran in 2018 were convicted on charges of moharebeh, or “enmity against God,” including six cases related to “political activities.”

Among the “enmity” cases were the executions of ethnic Kurdish prisoners who received “grossly unfair trials” and were “denied access to their lawyers after being arrested” and claiming they had been tortured into making false confessions.

Another 14 people executed in Iran were convicted of “spreading corruption on earth,” the rights group said, noting that some of those cases involved “consensual same-sex sexual conduct.”

It said 28 executions in Iran involved rape cases, 25 were for drug trafficking, and one was for robbery. Five people were executed in Iran on charges that Amnesty could not confirm.

‘Public Hangings’

Unlike previous years, none of the executions in Iran were carried out in public by stoning. But at least 13 executions were public hangings, the report says.

One case it highlighted was the execution of Zeinab Sekaanvand, who reported being a victim of domestic and sexual violence at the age of 17 in West Azerbaijan Province during her “grossly unfair trial” in West Azerbaijan Province.

Amnesty said Sekaanvand was 17 when she was arrested for murdering her husband and had been “tortured by male police officers through beatings all over her body” for 20 days when she “confessed” to stabbing him in 2014.

Zeinab Sekaanvand
Zeinab Sekaanvand. RFERL

She later retracted her confession in court, saying that her husband’s brother had killed him and raped her. But Amnesty said the court failed to investigate her statements and relied, instead, on the “confessions” she had been forced to make under torture.

In Pakistan, Amnesty said, 14 men were known to have been executed by authorities in 2018, including one who was convicted by an antiterrorism court.

That represents a decline of 77 percent compared to 2017 and 86 percent compared to 2016, the report said.

At least four executions were recorded in Belarus in 2018, according to Amnesty International. It said that before two executions in Belarus in 2017, the last time another European country carried out executions was in 2005.

Two people executed in Belarus in 2018 were convicted murderers Alyaksey Mikhalenya and Viktar Liotau, who a fellow death-row inmate said were taken from their cells one night in May “and never returned,” according to the report.

The other two were Ihar Hershaskou and Syamyon Berazhnoy, who it said were executed “without prior notification” in November after being sentenced to death in July 2017 following convictions for murder, kidnapping, and other charges.

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Another 14 people executed in Iran were convicted of “spreading corruption on earth,” the rights group said, noting that some of those cases involved “consensual same-sex sexual conduct.” Pixabay

Amnesty said their cases were unique because the Belarusian Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of reviewing their trials following an appeal that cited alleged procedural violations, but upheld their death sentences in July 2018.

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Amnesty International also noted that the number of judicial executions in the United States increased from 23 in 2017 to 25 in 2018.

It said 13 of the executions carried out in the United States in 2018 were in the state of Texas. (RFERL)