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Human Trafficking Suspected In Baby Falak Case

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New Delhi: A human trafficking and prostitution angle was being suspected in battered baby Falak’s case as more sordid details emerged Monday with the arrest of two more people. One of them was a woman who allegedly forced the child’s biological mother to re-marry and was responsible for the disappearance of Falak’s siblings.
The biological mother of Falak has been identified as Munni Khatoon. Police traced her and brought her to Delhi Sunday from Jhunjhnu district in Rajasthan. According to police, two of her children are untraceable. Falak is fighting for life in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). 
Munni told police that she was married off to another man but was not allowed to keep her three children. Following her disclosure, police Monday arrested Laxmi, who had taken Rs.2.7 lakh from Munni’s second husband for the marriage. Laxmi appears to have had a central role in the suspected sale of her two other children – a boy and a girl, police said.
Police also arrested Kanta Choudhary, who is believed to have convinced Munni to leave her first husband, Mohammed Shah Hussain, a criminal, to marry again. Munni is originally from Muzzafarpur in Bihar.
With the latest arrests, police have so far nabbed six people in the case. As investigators tried to string together the sequence of events in the case, sources said police are probing a likely human trafficking and prostitution racket in the case.
The story hit headlines after Falak was admitted to AIIMS Trauma Centre Jan 18 by a teenager, who claimed to be her mother. Falak was in a critical condition as her head was smashed and she had human bite marks all over her body.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Chhaya Sharma told reporters that 22-year old Munni will have to undergo DNA test to prove that she is the biological mother of Falak.
Piecing together the events, the police officer said Munni has three children – a five-year-old boy, a three-and-a-half year old daughter and Falak – from her first husband. She got married in 2006 when she was barely 16 years old.
During questioning, Munni told police her son had been bitten by a dog last year and she was taking him to a doctor when she met a person identified as Shankar. 
On some pretext Shankar took her phone number and started calling her. He also got to know that her husband has a criminal background and tried to convince her to leave him and to re-marry. Munni after a while decided to leave her husband, but she distrusted Shankar.
Shankar then made her speak to Laxmi, who lives in Uttam Nagar in west Delhi.
Laxmi managed to convince Munni to re-marry. She told her that she also hails from Muzaffarpur and told Munni to visit her family to reassure herself. Munni met her family and was convinced. Laxmi also told her that she could take her three children along.
Munni came to Delhi with her kids in tow in August, the police official said. “In Delhi, she stayed with Laxmi, who got her a job as a domestic help,” Sharma said.
The story did not end here. According to Deputy Commissioner of Police Chhaya Sharma, Laxmi then contacted Saroj, who had helped in fixing one of her relative’s marriage. Saroj contacted another woman, Choudhary. 
Choudhary, who is from Rajasthan, got Munni married to a 25-year-old man, whose name is yet to be revealed. Sharma said the man paid money to Laxmi for the marriage. It is unclear whether money was distributed among others.
The marriage took place on Sep 1 last year. Munni was forced to leave her children with Laxmi, Sharma said. Falak is battling for life at AIIMS while the fate of her siblings is not known.
Police had earlier said that Laxmi through someone had got in touch with Rajkumar alias Dilshad, a taxi driver, to adopt Falak. Rajkumar, who was already married and has kids, left the two-year-old child with a teenager, whom he sexually exploited. He is on the run.
The teenager allegedly beat the child and later admitted Falak to the hospital.
-IANS

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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