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Numbers from 1990 present ‘formidable reasons’

The Supreme Court on Monday found the government’s statistics of thousands of instances of death, terror and violence in Jammu and Kashmir from 1990 as “formidable reasons” for the August 5, 2019, lockdown that followed the withdrawal of the special rights and privileges of Kashmiri people with the reading down of Article 370.

Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal reeled out numbers to prove that the restrictions stopped the bloodshed in the Valley, and there was no dearth of facilities for ordinary Kashmiris.

He told a Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, that since 1990, 41,866 persons had lost their lives in 71,038 terror incidents. They included 14,038 civilians, 5,292 security personnel and 22,536 terrorists.

“A terrible state of affairs... These are formidable reasons [for the lockdown]... These are security matters,” Justice S.A. Bobde, on the Bench, said.

‘No bullets fired’

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that “not a bullet has been fired after August 5”.

The court directed the Union of India and the Jammu and Kashmir government to file their responses to petitions, like the one filed by Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin, against the lockdown.

The court urged the J&K government to make “all endeavours”, keeping in mind national and internal security, to ensure that “normal life is restored in Kashmir, people have access to healthcare facilities and schools, colleges and other educational institutions and public transport function and operate normally”.

Supplies to India will not be affected, Saudi Aramco officials tell oil companies

Drone attacks last week on Saudi Arabia’s crude processing facility, the largest in the world, have impacted half of the country’s crude oil production and about 5% of the world supply. Following the attacks, on Monday, Global Brent crude futures shot up more than 20% to $66.91 per barrel.

However, allaying Indian fears, Saudi Aramco officials told oil companies that the attacks would not result in a shortage of supplies, the Ministry of Petroleum has said.

Ratings agencies, however, said India would see a rise in prices due to the increase in the risk premium.

“Yesterday [September 15], Saudi ARAMCO officials informed the Indian refiners that there would be no shortage of supplies to them,” the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) said in a statement. “MoPNG is closely monitoring the situation in consultation with Indian refiners and Saudi ARAMCO.”

MEA condemns attacks

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, in a statement, condemned the drone attacks.“We reiterate our resolve to oppose terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” the statement said.

Saudi Arabia is a major source of oil imports for India, accounting for nearly 18% of the 226 million tonnes of crude the country imported during 2018-19, according to data with the Ministry of Commerce.

India, which imports more than 80% of its crude oil requirement, is particularly vulnerable to geopolitical risks arising out of the oil producing countries.

“While the oil markets await further updates on the resumption of supplies from Saudi Arabia, they will nevertheless be nervous as any retaliatory measures by Saudi Arabia and its allies will keep the market on tenterhooks,” said K. Ravichandran, senior vice-president and group head, Corporate Ratings, ICRA.

“As a result, oil prices should factor in sizeable geopolitical risk premium, which will be negative for Indian consumers,” he added. “Nevertheless, this impact is likely to be short-lived as the market will rebalance swiftly once the tensions abate.”

Move comes ahead of Vaiko’s plea in Supreme Court against his detention

Under cover: Security men standing guard outside the house of NC leader Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar on Monday. PTIPTI

Hours before the Supreme Court was to hear a petition by Rajya Sabha member Vaiko against the detention of National Conference leader and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department issued orders to detain the Srinagar Member of Parliament under the Public Safety Act (PSA) for 12 days on Sunday night.

As per the latest order under the PSA, his residence has been declared a subsidiary jail.

A senior government official told The Hindu that Dr. Abdullah would be detained initially for 12 days, but the period could be extended for a maximum of three months. Any detention beyond three months will have to be ratified by the PSA Advisory Board. The maximum detention period under the PSA, enacted in 1978, is two years.

Mr. Vaiko last week moved a habeas corpus petition in the court to have the State government produce the former Chief Minister in court and set him free.

The court heard the petition on Monday and issued notice to the Centre and scheduled the hearing for September 30. When the Bench, led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, turned to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for a response, he questioned the locus standi of Mr. Vaiko to file a habeas corpus petition for Dr. Abdullah. This petition was reserved for family members alone, the law officer said.

Former Speaker of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly Kodela Siva Prasada Rao was found dead under suspicious circumstances at his residence here on Monday.

Joint Commissioner of Police (West Zone) A.R. Srinivas said the 72-year-old politician was suspected to have committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan at his residence in Banjara Hills.

He was taken to Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital, where doctors declared him dead.

“After attending on him for more than an hour, doctors pronounced Rao dead,” Mr. Srinivas said, adding that there was a ligature mark around his neck.

Preliminary inquiries revealed that Mr. Rao’s daughter, Vijaya Lakshmi, found him hanging in his bedroom on the first floor of the house. Based on her complaint, the Banjara Hills police registered a case under Section 174 (suspicious death) of the Cr. PC.

“Around 11 a.m., when Vijaya Lakshmi went to the first floor to inform Rao that she was taking her mother, Kodela Sasikala, to hospital, she found the doors bolted from inside. She opened the window to find him hanging,” the Joint Commissioner said.

Likely that altercation could have led to incident, say police

Victim of attack: Taufeeq Khan suffered an injury on the forehead and is admitted to hospital.Manoj Aligadi Manoj Aligadi

Four members of a Muslim family were injured when a mob of around a dozen unidentified people attacked them at the Aligarh railway station on Sunday afternoon, allegedly because of their religious identity.

According to an FIR registered by the Government Railway Police (GRP), Sahim Khan, a resident of a village near Kannauj, and his family had just alighted from the Kanpur-Anand Vihar Express at Aligarh at 4.30 p.m. when the group attacked them on the platform. Mr. Khan’s nephew, Taufeeq Khan, suffered an injury on the forehead. Their wives were also beaten.

Station House Officer Yashpal Singh said an FIR was registered against unidentified people. “CCTV footage is being looked into to identify the culprits. Prima facie, it seems like a case of altercation leading to an attack.”

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