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Nithari killings: SC issues notice to Koli

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Nithari killings’ convict Surender Koli on an Uttar Pradesh government plea seeking restoration of death sentence in Rimpa Haldar case – one of the 14 cases of rape and killings in the village in Noida bordering Delhi.

A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Amitava Roy issued notice to Koli and others on the state government plea challenging an Allahabad High Court verdict commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment in Rimpa Haldar case on the grounds of delay in deciding his mercy petition by the president.

The Uttar Pradesh government contended that the offenses committed by Koli were heinous in the extreme.

A bench of Chief Justice Dattu, Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice S.A. Bobde, had on October 28, while rejecting Koli’s plea seeking recall of the apex court verdict upholding his death sentence in Rimpa Haldar case, said that “we are fully satisfied that this court has not committed any error that may persuade us to review the order” upholding his death sentence.

Incidentally this was the first case of the open court hearing by a bench of three judges of review petition seeking revisiting of the verdict upholding the death sentence.

A view of the Indian Supreme Court building is seen in New DelhiThe apex court had on July 24 last year rejected Koli’s plea seeking the recall of its February 15, 2011 order upholding his death sentence in one of the 14 cases of rape and killing being faced by him.

However, the court again heard his plea following a September 2 constitution bench decision allowing an open court hearing of the review petition by a bench of three judges.

The constitution bench had said: “It (the decision of open court hearing of review petitions) will also apply where a review petition is already dismissed but the death sentence is not executed so far. In such cases, the petitioners can apply for the reopening of their review petition within one month from the date of this judgment.”

The execution of Koli’s death sentence that was to take place on September 8, 2014, was stayed hours before in a post mid-night hearing. Subsequently it was further stayed till October 29 by the court on September 12 as it decided to hold the open court hearing on October 28.

The bench of (then) Justice Dattu and Justice Dave on July 24 had rejected the review plea holding that it was moved long after his death sentence was upheld by the apex court.

President Pranab Mukherjee in July 2014 had also rejected Koli’s mercy plea.

The Nithari killings came to light after the horrific discovery in December 2009 of body parts in a drain behind businessman M.S. Pandher’s bungalow and found to be of the 19 young women and children from Nithari village allegedly raped and killed by Koli, who served Pandher, in the bungalow. (IANS)

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New caste group surfaces to counter Patels in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad: To counter liquor addiction in dry Gujarat, a group of OBCs, SCs and STs  held a show of strength under the banner of OSS Ekta Manch, telling the Gujarat government that it had not done enough for socially and economically backward people caught under the whip of illicit liquor and deprivation.

Starting as a trickle, the Vyasan Mukti rally grew into a huge gathering at the sprawling GMDC Grounds at here, with its spearhead Alpesh Thakore, who is his in 30s, claiming it was not a political show but one that aimed at bringing together deprived sections of Gujarat on a single platform for their rights.

“This is a rally to fight addiction indeed, but also for empowerment and unity of people neglected in Gujarat. Though dispersed without a support structure, the OBCs are aggressive here, and if the Thakore community opens a third eye, it could be lethal,” said Thakore, whose Thakore Ekta Sena has been quietly working in rural Gujarat for years.

Interestingly, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel wished well to the rally, as did Hardik Patel, the convenor of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti which is demanding reservation for high caste Patels in jobs and education under the OBC category.

The rally had a conglomeration of other backward classes with a majority of Thakore and Kshatriya communities joined by Dalits and tribals.

“We are not with the BJP or the Congress, but wish progress for the OBCs,” declared Thakore, a few months after a similar claim by Hardik Patel, whose father Bharat Patel is a BJP worker.

In his speech that lasted about half an hour, Thakore read out a pledge for the audience to fight addiction and come together to create a social and economic muscle that no one can ignore – like successive rulers have so far have.

“Social space, strong health and educational growth will be the result of de-addiction. If we have this no political party in Gujarat can give us the short shrift that we have been getting,” he said.

“This is the clarion call to you and this is my message to the political class in Gujarat,” he said to widespread applause.

Coming exactly four months after a massive caste rally at the same location by the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti demanding reservation for high caste Patels in jobs and education under the OBC category disrupted the political firmament, the OSS Ekta Manch gave out a strong message that they also intend to become a force in state politics.

With Patel and now Thakore, a new socio-political order is seen to be emerging in Gujarat with voices that political parties would ignore at their peril.

Political analysts like Vidyut Joshi and Achyut Yagnik say the major reason for this is that neither Patel nor Thakore are believed to have personal political ambitions, and so their support bases see them as genuine.

The new grouping can emerge as the counter to the Patel community, the youth of which has got together under the leadership of Patel, 23, over the past months – and sent the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party into a panic.

After nearly three decades, the BJP faced an unexpected debacle in the local self-government bodies, with a major role in this outcome of the Patel community, which had otherwise been the backbone of the party’s political strength in the state.(IANS)

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