Connect with us


Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana to Appeal Conviction

Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, who was sentenced to 14 years in jail for providing material support to Pakistan-based LeT and for backing a plot to attack a Danish newspaper, would appeal against his conviction.



Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, who was sentenced to 14 years in jail for providing material support to Pakistan-based LeT and for backing a plot to attack a Danish newspaper, would appeal against his conviction.

"I am sure he is pleased that the judge decided not to include the terrorism enhancement. We would appeal the conviction, certainly and we would discuss this with Mr Rana," Peter Blegan, attorney for Rana said after a Chicago court on Thursday sentenced Rana, 52, for 14 years in jail followed by five years of supervised release.

"The next step is to appeal. That is to challenge the conviction on evidentiary grounds whether there were errors during the trial," Blegan told a news agency, adding he has 14 days to file the appeal.

"We will discuss with Mr Rana whether we would try to reduce the sentence, but would certainly be attacking the fact that he was convicted," Blegan said.

The US District Judge Harry D Leinenweber sentenced Rana after hearing from both the government attorney and those of Rana, during which the two argued on the length of imprisonment.

The last minute arguments lasted for more than an hour and half before the judge noted "This certainly was a dastardly plot". Blegan said he respects the court's decision.

"My reaction is the judge made the right decision. We had asked for slightly below guideline sentence (135 months). We got a high end (168 months) of the guideline sentence, but I have a lot of respect for Judge Harry Leinenweber and he has been doing this for a long time," Blegan said.

"He took into account what he considered was the serious nature of the offence and that is why he gave the high end of the guideline," Blegan added.

But, "We will, of course, appeal the conviction. The Government has the right to appeal the sentencing. So they may choose to appeal the sentencing as well," said Charles Swift, another attorney for Rana.

The two attorneys had not got a chance to talk to Rana after the verdict. There was no immediate comment from the federal prosecutors in this regard.

"The jury found Mr Rana guilty on the Denmark plot and not guilty on Mumbai. The government attempted to have Mr Rana sentenced as if he had been convicted of both. Judge Leinenweber simply sentenced him on Denmark," Swift said.

 "There was no comment on the Mumbai plot, he put the Mumbai plot aside," Swift added.

Responding to questions, Blegan said Rana is "almost certainly" going to be deported. "He is a Canadian citizen. We expect that he would be deported after serving his sentence," he said.

"Supervised release for somebody being deported is clearly a non-issue. If for some reason he does not get deported, he serves five years of supervised release like parole, probation, which he probably not going to do because he would be deported," the attorney said.

Given the fact that Rana has already served three years behind bars after his arrest in October 2009, Blegan said this would be included in his 14 years of sentencing. He hoped that the possible good behaviour shown by Rana inside the prison could result in further reduction of his jail term.

Blegan exuded confidence that Rana could be set free after serving another 10 years in jail. Blegan said he is hoping that Rana could be a free man by 62 years.

As Rana is most likely to be deported, the five years of supervised release as directed by the court might not be enforced, Blegan noted.

However, some legal experts said Rana might face an uncertain future and could land up in no man's land after he completes his sentencing in a US prison maximum of 14 years.

Chances are that Canada might revoke his citizenship and in that case would refuse to accept him.

In such a scenario, he would have to go to Pakistan, his original country. However, during the trial and the transcripts of his conversation, Rana was quoted as saying that he had problem in visiting Pakistan as he left the Pakistani Army without any notice.

League Internal Affairs Desk

Continue Reading


Security Forces Notching up Great Success Against Maoists/Naxals

Elimination of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) cadres has increased by 88.6% while surrenders have increased by 92.2% in the last three years.



Elimination of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) cadres has increased by 88.6% while surrenders have increased by 92.2% in the last three years (2015-17) as compared to the preceding three years   (2012-2014).

In 2017, the 35 most affected districts accounted for 88.5% (804 out of 908) of LWE related violent incidents. Just 20 districts accounted for 80% of the violence. LWE violent incidents were reported from only 58 districts across the country in 2017.

There is no plan to involve the Army in the fight against Left Wing Extremism except for the ongoing training assistance. Helicopters made available for LWE affected States are used only for logistic purposes.

The Government has a multi-pronged strategy to deal with Left Wing Extremism which involves security-related measures, developmental interventions and ensuring rights & entitlements of local communities etc.

The strategy has resulted in an overall improvement of the security situation both in terms of reduction in violence and geographical spread of Left Wing Extremism thereby creating conditions that are conducive to speedy development work.

Other measures taken to ensure faster execution of development work include simplification of forest clearance procedures. In addition, regular coordination meetings and reviews are undertaken at the level of the Home Minister, Cabinet Secretary and Home Secretary with line ministries and the States to ensure removal of any hurdles in the execution of projects. All these measures have contributed towards the speedier execution of development schemes.

This was stated by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in a written reply to questions in the Lok Sabha today.

Continue Reading


Karnataka’s Cong Government Seeks Separate Religion Status for Lingayats

Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has decided to recognise Lingayats as an independent religion and seek approval from the Centre for the same. 



Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has decided to recognise Lingayats as an independent religion (from Hinduism) and seek approval from the Centre for the same. The decision was taken after a cabinet meeting and consultation with Lingayat seers.

The Cabinet took the decision to accept recommendations of the Justice Nagamohan Das Committee, which had asked the state to accord a separate religion tag to the Lingayats.

If recognised as a minority religion, the Lingayats will be able to avail of benefits under Section 25, 28, 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

What makes the timing of the move particularly suspicious is that Karnataka is just about two months away from elections and Lingayats, who currently form 17% of Karnataka’s population, is a major vote bank for political parties.

In the recent decades, the Lingayats have emerged as strong supporters of the BJP. Experts suggest that if a separate religious status is granted to the community, the BJP will have a tough time explaining its ideological stance based on Hindu solidarity. Former Chief Minister and current CM candidate of the BJP, BS Yeddyurappa, is also from the Lingayat community.

The Congress, predictably, hopes to gain much from the desired branching.

The agitation is not a new one – and has forever revolved around a single core question viz., who are the Lingayats and what precisely is their religious identity?

Who are the Lingayats:

The tradition of Lingayatism is known to have been founded by social reformer and philosopher Basavanna in 12th century Karnataka. While there exists a debate around whether Basavanna founded the sect or if he merely reformed an existing order, there can be no doubt that under him the community acquired the form of a well-organised, structured mass movement. Followers of the sect continue to revere him as the founder and prime philosopher of their religion.

Social reformer and philosopher Basavanna (Wikimedia Commons)

Basava grew up in a Brahmin family with a tradition of Shaivism. As a leader, he developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or “ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva”. This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shaiva Nayanars traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century.

Basavanna’s vision of a societal order was one based on human freedom, equality, rationality, and brotherhood. He and his followers spread their ideas through vachanas (prose-lyrics) and their prime target was the caste hierarchy which they rejected with full force. In one of his vachanas, Basavanna asserts that “the birthless has no caste distinctions, no ritual pollution.”

Lingayat sect first emerged within the larger trend of Bhakti movements that had swept across South India from the 8th century AD onwards.

The Bhakti tradition was a social reform movement that took birth within Hinduism but strove to rectify what the followers saw as the unjust practices within the tradition.

But, historians like K Ishrawaran say that while the conventional Bhakti movements remained adjacent to the Hindu system, Lingayatism challenged the system in its most basic form and became a highly structured movement.

Other historians say that the most striking feature of this institutionalisation was that unlike other Bhakti movements, Lingayat status was hereditary in nature!

The desired differences aside, however, the one aspect that indicates the association of Lingayatism with Hinduism is the former’s relationship with Veerashaivism.

Veerashaivism is also a Shaiva sect within Hinduism and is predominantly located in Karnataka. It’s supporters claim that Basavanna was not the founder of the Lingayat tradition, but rather a reformer of an already existing religious tradition called Veerashaivism.

The Veerashaivas accept the Vedic texts and almost all Hindu practices.

Moreover, despite insisting upon the contrary, Lingayatism, quite like Jainism, does assimilate many aspects of Hinduism that are influenced by or drawn from the Upanishads and the Vedic traditions.

The close associations that the Lingayat followers share with Hinduism, both sociologically and historically, thus make it a complicated case of to be or not be Hindu.

Continue Reading


NIA Files Charge Sheet Against ISI Agent for Blackmailing Indian Army Lady Officer



Today (12th of March 2018) NIA filed a charge sheet before the NIA Special Court, Patiala House, New Delhi against accused Mohd Parvez in case no. RC-21/2017/NIA/DLI.

The allegations are that accused had sent obscene and morphed WhatsApp images and messages from a mobile phone and Facebook ID with a veiled threat to circulate them on social media, to the complainant (a woman), thereby causing mental harassment to her as well as threatening to ruin her reputation.

The woman, a colonel in the Indian Army posted in Delhi, complained to the Delhi Police. The case was handed over to the NIA.

This was done in pursuance of a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by Pakistani Intelligence officials and the arrested accused with a view to compromise an officer of the Indian Army into divulging national security secrets.

The incident was reported in mid-September. By the end of the year, the case came to the NIA. In less than three months, the charge sheet has been filed. The woman officer told investigators that the man approached her with the alias Ikta Sharma.

Parvez, who lived in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, was known to frequent Pakistan and had multiple SIM cards.

The charge sheet has been filed against accused MOHD PARVEZ, 43 years, a resident of 1867,
Gali Patte Wali, Sui Walan, Chandni Mahal, Delhi-110006 under section 120B read with sections 123, 354D, 417, 418, 420, 468, 471, 506 and 507 of IPC and sections 66E and section 67 of IT Act and substantive offences under sections 123, 354D, 417, 418, 420, 468, 471, 506 and 507 of IPC, sections 66E and 67 of IT Act 2000 and section 18 of UA(P) Act 1967.

Continue Reading

Also In The News