Indian police investigated over killings of rape suspects

SHADNAGAR: A top Indian rights group launched an investigation on Saturday (Dec 7) into a police shooting of four rape-murder suspects, after accusations they were gunned down to assuage public anger.

News of the investigation came as the country reeled after the death on Friday of a woman who had been set on fire on her way to a sexual assault hearing.

Police said that they shot the four suspects, who had been in custody for a week, early Friday after they snatched officers’ guns during a re-enactment at the crime scene organised by detectives.

Their deaths prompted celebrations, with hundreds heading to the scene and showering officers with flower petals, as politicians, celebrities and sports stars congratulated police on social media.

On Saturday morning, police were still at the scene outside Hyderabad in southern India as motorists stopped their cars on the busy highway to look and take photos with their phones. Others have expressed horror however, with one Supreme Court lawyer calling it “murder in cold blood” and Amnesty International saying the “alleged extrajudicial execution” should be investigated.

The operation was overseen by a police officer involved in two similar incidents including when three acid attack suspects were killed in a forest in 2008, the Indian Express daily reported Saturday.

Late on Friday the High Court in the southern state of Telangana where the incident happened ordered that the bodies be preserved until Monday evening and that their autopsies be filmed.

A team from the National Human Rights Commission was expected at the scene later Saturday.

The Commission said that it was concerned that the killings would “send a wrong message to society.”

“If, the arrested persons were actually guilty, they were to be punished as per law pursuant to the directions of the competent court,” a statement said.

The four men had, according to police, confessed during interrogation to gang-raping and murdering on November 27 the 27-year-old vet before setting fire to her body under a bridge.

The case prompted nationwide protests and calls for swift — and tough — justice from a slow and overburdened legal system that campaigners say all too often fails to convict rapists. India’s last execution was in 2015.

After the men were arrested last Friday, hundreds of people laid siege to the police station where they were being held. One lawmaker called in parliament for the suspects to be “lynched”.

After they were killed on Friday, the pregnant 17-year-old wife of one of them told Indian media: “Take me to the same place and kill me too.”

The father of another called the deaths a “cold-blooded killing… Why did they punish them even before completing the legal process?”

But the murdered woman’s father said “justice was done”.

Separately on Friday, a woman who had been set on fire on Thursday by men she had accused of raping her succumbed to her injuries in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The victim, who suffered 90% burns, had told police that she was attacked by two men who had raped her and three others on her way to a court hearing.

“Despite our best efforts, she did not survive,” said Shalab Kumar, head of burn and plastic surgery at the Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, according to the PTI newswire.

All five suspects have been arrested and are being questioned, senior policeman Suvendra Kumar Bhagat told AFP.

The victim’s brother told local media that said she would get justice when all those who killed her go to the place “where she has gone”. – Agencies/ANN

Sahabat Alam Malaysia: About 20ha of former forest reserve land near Ipoh cleared

IPOH: Approximately 20ha of what was once forest reserve land near Bukit Kledang here has been cleared for an unknown project, says Sahabat Alam Malaysia field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman.

He said that he noticed the condition of the hills on Friday (Dec 6)

“The clearing is part of the 500.2 ha of land that was de-gazetted from its forest reserve status. However, the land is located in the Kinta Geopark Valley and clearing it will affect the flora and fauna in the area,” he said on Saturday (Dec 7).

In February, about 9.95ha of hills at Kledang Saiong was also cleared for an unknown project.

In March, the Perak government said they would continue to push for the 400ha forest replanting project involving forests in Kledang Saiong near Batu Gajah and Bukit Kinta in Gopeng and at Piah near Gerik.

Meor Razak said although the land was de-gazetted by the previous administration, the current government needed to consider all aspects before going ahead with the clearing.

“It puzzled us why it was cleared in the first place. If clearing for development, wouldn’t it contradict the state’s decision to protect the Kinta Geopark valley?” asked Meor Razak.

He added that he saw logs taken from the clearing, saying that this goes against the practice of logging older and bigger trees.

He said that based on the license board found at the site, the approved clearing started on Dec 1 for 151.49ha of land.

“We wonder when this project received its Environmental Impact Assessment (report).

“As the area is near a residential area, we are afraid that such clearing will affect the nearby community,” he said.

Man seen arguing with cop in Ipoh arrested

IPOH: A 33-year-old man has been arrested by the police after a video of his altercation with a cop went viral.

Ipoh OCPD Asst Comm A. Asmadi Abdul Aziz said the man was arrested on Friday (Dec 6) at about 3pm at his house in Taman Keledang Emas, a day after the incident.

ACP Asmadi said the suspect has nine traffic offences since 2003, including four arrest warrants issued for him.

The offences include not possessing a driver’s license, failing to produce a licence and vehicle insurance as well as not wearing a safety helmet.

“He also has four previous records involving robbery, as well as other drug-related and minor offences,” he told a press conference at the Ipoh Police District Headquarters here.

On the incident that led to the arrest,he said that it occurred on Thursday (Dec 5) along the Pasir Putih-Lahat road at about 9.45am after Lahat police station chief, Sub-Inspector Zulkifli Md Asid, stopped the lorry for ferrying a car skeleton in a dangerous manner.

The officer was driving a police vehicle alone and was on his way back to the station after attending a meeting in Ipoh.

In the two-minute, 38-second video, the suspect’s wife recorded the video when the couple started arguing with the officer as the suspect could not produce his driving license.

The suspect then got out of the vehicle, gave his MyKad to the officer and told him to issue the summons as he had no time to waste.

The wife also accused the officer for demanding a bribe, which Sub Insp Zulkifli denied.

ACP Asmadi said the suspect later lodged a police report at the Bercham police station against the officer for seeking a bribe as well as keeping his MyKad.

The wife was released on police bail and the suspect has been remanded until Dec 9 for further investigation.

“The case is being investigated under Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing a policeman from carrying out his duty,” he added.

ACP Asmadi commended Sub-Insp Zulkifli, who was also present at the press conference for handling the situation in a calm manner.

“He (Zulkifli) will be retiring in March, and due to his 39 years of experience in the force he handled the situation well,” he added.

'Delhi Crime' Wins big at Asian Academy Creative Awards

SINGAPORE: Richie Mehta’s harrowing Netflix series “Delhi Crime” was the big winner at the 2nd annual Asian Academy Creative Awards in Singapore.

Representing the show, lead actress Shefali Shah was rushed off her feet as she repeatedly had to return to the stage.

“Delhi Crime” earned her best actress in a leading role, best drama series and best direction, and fiction, for Mehta. Earlier, the series also won best original program by a streamer/OTT on the first night of the two-day awards.

Shah was also on stage, at Singapore’s beautifully restored historical Victoria theatre to present the inaugural award for best feature film, that went to her compatriot Zoya Akhtar’s Indian Oscar submission “Gully Boy.” Indian animated show, “Lamput,” produced for Cartoon Network was also among the winners.

Indonesian Oka Antara won best actor in a leading role for Hooq’s “Brata,” while Jamie Aditya won best supporting actor for Indonesia-set HBO Asia show “Grisse.”

The loudest cheers of the evening were reserved for 10-year-old Pyae Pyae who won best supporting actress in Myanmar’s “The Only Mom.”

The theatre went ‘aaww’ as the child sobbed her way through her acceptance speech, but recovered sufficiently enough to declare, “I will try to be the best actress in my future.”

The evening got off to a rousing start when Loren Allred, the original singer of “Never Enough” from the hit musical “The Greatest Showman,” provided a full-throated rendition of the number, fresh off her flight from New York.

The standup routine from Malaysian comedian Kevin Jay also proved extremely popular with the capacity audience.

The Asian Academy Creative Awards Winners:

Best Actor in a Leading Role Oka Antara in “Brata” by HOOQ and Telkomsel (Indonesia)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role Jamie Aditya in “Grisse” by HBO Pacific Partners V.O.F (Indonesia)

Best Actress in a Leading Role Shefali Shah in “Delhi Crime” by Golden Karavan Productions/Ivanhoe Pictures (India)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role Pyae Pyae in “The Only Mom” by Brave Empire Entertainment (Myanmar)

Best Adaptation of an Existing Format “Designated Survivor: 60 Days” by CJ ENM / Studio Dragon/Netflix, (Original format by Entertainment One & ABC Studios) (South Korea)

Best Cinematography Mark Wareham for “Mystery Road,” Bunya Productions for ABC Australia, in association with all3media International (Australia)

Best Comedy Performance Jihan Musa in “Keluarga Baha Don” by Viu (Vuclip Malaysia Sdn Bhd) (Malaysia)

Best Comedy Programme “Keluarga Baha Don” by Viu (Vuclip Malaysia Sdn Bhd) (Malaysia)

Best Direction (Fiction) Richie Mehta for “Delhi Crime” by Golden Karavan Productions/ Ivanhoe Pictures (India)

Best Drama Series “Delhi Crime” by Golden Karavan Productions/ Ivanhoe Pictures (India)

Best Feature Film “Gully Boy” by Excel Entertainment & Tiger Baby (India)

Best General Entertainment, Game or Quiz Program “CNY Countdown Gala 2019” by MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems, Astro AEC (Malaysia)

Best Infotainment Program “Why It Matters S2 – Bad Pho-mance” by Channel NewsAsia, Mediacorp (Singapore)

Best Lifestyle Program “Destination Tohoku” by CNN (Japan)

Best Lifestyle, Entertainment Presenter/Host Yung Raja for “Yo! MTV Raps – Asia” by Viacom International Media Networks (MTV Asia) (Singapore)

Best Music or Dance Program “300: War of United Voices” by CJ ENM (South Korea)

Best Non Scripted Entertainment “World’s Got Talent” by Hunan TV (China)

Best Original Screenplay Shih Yuan Lu for “The World Between Us” by PTS Taiwan in association with HBO Asia & Catchplay (Taiwan)

Best Telenovela/Soap Opera “Story of Yanxi Palace” by Huanyu Entertainment (China)

Best Theme Song “Beijing to Moscow” – “Dengdai” by Misi Ke & Koffkoff, August Pictures (Singapore). – Asian News Network

Outriders helped to clear the path for ambulance, says Khalid's office

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The office of the Federal Territories Minister has denied the minister’s convoy blocked an ambulance responding to an emergency at Jalan Istana here last Wednesday, as shown in a video clip that went viral on social media.

It said the issue was misreported, adding that the convoy was actually “clearing a path” for the ambulance during traffic congestion in the 9.15am incident.

“The DBKL (Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur) outriders that were escorting the minister’s (Khalid Abdul Samad) vehicle had intercepted the ambulance to ‘clear a path’ so that both the ambulance and minister could pass through heavy congestion,” it said in a statement late Friday (Dec 6).

It also included video footage from the Integrated Transport Information System (Itis) DBKL, which shows the ambulance following the minister’s convoy to get through the congested road. – Bernama

Pearl Harbour veteran to be interred on sunken ship

Los Angeles: It was an attack that shaped history, leaving more than 2,400 Americans dead and forcing the United States to enter a war it had been reluctant to join.

On Sunday (Dec 8 – 3am Malaysian time), the 78th anniversary of the 1941 sneak attack by Japan on Pearl Harbour, the remains of one of the survivors of the assault will be interred on his sunken ship, the USS Arizona.

Lauren Bruner, who was among the last sailors rescued from the Arizona as it exploded into flames and sank, died in September at age 98.

He had expressed in years past his wish to be buried alongside fellow sailors who died on that fateful day.

“It’s a historical event and this is the last surviving crewman of the USS Arizona being returned to his ship and his shipmates,” said Pearl Harbor National Memorial spokesman Jay Blount.

Bruner will be the 44th USS Arizona survivor interred on the ship. The remaining three living sailors who survived the attack have asked to be laid to rest with their families.

One of them, 98-year-old Lou Conter, will be attending the memorial at the USS Arizona Memorial Park in Hawaii, alongside some 120 members of Bruner’s family.

Following the late-afternoon ceremony, National Park Service and military divers will take the urn containing Bruner’s ashes and lower it to his final resting place in the hull of the ship’s wreckage, Blount said.

Bruner was among six men who had gathered at the back of the doomed battleship on Dec 7, 1941 as Japanese warplanes bombed the ship, when a sailor on board a nearby vessel threw them a line.

The 21-year-old, who was badly burned and had been shot twice in the leg, managed to grab the rope that pulled him and his comrades to safety.

At the time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt described the surprise attack on the US Navy base near Honolulu as “a date which will live in infamy.”

A total of 1,177 sailors and Marines on board the USS Arizona were killed and more than 900 could not be recovered from the ship, according to the National Park Service.

Bruner went on to fight after recovering from his injuries, taking part in battles in the Aleutian Islands and in the South Pacific. He retired from the Navy in 1947.

He explained his decision to have the urn containing his cremated remains interred in the sunken ship during a 2014 news conference.

“Well, I studied it for a long time,” Stars and Stripes quoted him as saying. “All my family and friends have been buried in various places, cemeteries.

“But it seems like after a while, nobody pays attention to them anymore after about five years. I hope that a lot of people will still be coming to the Arizona. I would be glad to see them.”

The ceremony will take place three days after a disgruntled sailor at a Pearl Harbour navy base shot dead two people before killing himself.

Another shooter — a Saudi military trainee — on Friday opened fire at a navy base in Florida, killing three people before he was gunned down.

Officials said security will be beefed up during the ceremony to mark the Pearl Harbor attack’s anniversary. – AFP