THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l saturday l September 30, 2023 l `9.00 l PAGES 16 l late city EDITION Twin suicide blasts in mosques kill 58 worshippers in Pakistan Scores injured, some in critical condition The explosion at Balochistan occurred near Madina Mosque on Al Falah Road in the Mastung district when people had gathered in large numbers to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed. The suicide bomber blew himself up as rallies from neighbourhood mosques converged at a meeting point. Scores were injured and a few are said to be in critical condition | P9 A powerful blast ripped through a Balochistan mosque, killing 54; hours later, 4 persons died in an explosion at a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa mosque 500 Roof of mosque collapses in 2nd attack ■ A second suicide attack by two men at a mosque hundreds of kms away in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province led to a roof collapse that killed four persons ■ No terror group operating in the region has taken responsibility for the twin attacks, though security officials suspect the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (the Pakistani Taliban) or the Islamic State group may be behind the explosions People had gathered in Mastung when the suicide bomber blew himself up CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Tinker not with consent age, amend POCSO Act: Law panel Suggests limited discretion on sentencing to spl court if there is tacit consent S hru t i K akkar @ New Delhi The Law Commission of India on Friday advised the government not to reduce the existing age of consent from 18 to 16 years under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, saying else it could provide a safe harbour to coerce minors into subjugation, marital rape and other forms of abuse, including trafficking. The Act criminalises all sexual activity for those under the age of 18 years regardless of mutual consent. To address the problem, the panel suggested giving limited discretion on sentencing to special courts in cases of mutual consent. Carving out a limited judicial discretion at the stage of sentencing by a special court is more reasonable if consent is established, the panel said. “It has to be further ensured that such a discretionary power is provided in such a manner that it is well guided and insulated from any potential misuse as far as possible. In this context, as to when such a discretion will come into play and who will determine if at all it applies, becomes relevant,” the Commission said in its Report No. 283 titled “Age of Consent under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.” Only a judicially trained mind can appropriately determine whether the consent was indeed free from coercion, deception, fraud or undue influence. This would require proper investigation and evidence being adduced so as to determine if any reduction in sentence is warranted, the report said. The panel headed by retired Karnataka high court chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi said lowering the age of consent would reduce the POCSO Act to a paper law. “The consent of a child is no consent and reading the same would be deeply problematic... The very real possibility of young girls being easily seduced in love traps and then sold off in trafficking cannot and should not be ignored. Any element of consent can be misused and may lead to children being at the mercy of adult abusers,” it said. The report recommended amending provisions dealing with punishment for penetrative sexual assault and sexual assault under the POCSO Act (Section 4 and 8) by adding provisions empowering a special court to impose lesser sentence in cases of tacit consensual sex by taking into consideration related factors. Unstoppable Nikhat This was inevitable. Boxer Nikhat Zareen, a twotime world champion, achieved her longstanding dream of competing in the Olympics as she secured Paris quota with a dominant performance on Friday More on p11 Empower spl courts Amendments suggested include allowing special courts to impose a lesser sentence than the minimum prescribed under subsection (1) of the POCSO Act. The decision would be based on a thorough evaluation of the facts and circumstances of each case Sex education Comprehensive and ageappropriate sex education should be made a mandatory part of school curriculum. Children must be made aware of their body & physiological & psychological changes they experience while growing Commission for calibrated eFIR rollout S hru t i K akkar @ New Delhi The Law Commission of India on Friday recommended for putting in motion the process for registration of online FIRs (eFIRs) in a phased manner saying that clinging on to an archaic system of lodging FIRs does not augur well for criminal reforms. It suggested eFIRs for all cognisable offences where the accused is not known. In case the accused is known, it recommended permission for eFIRs for cognisable offences where the punishment is up to three years in jail. This would not only protect the accused from arrest but also mandate the police to adhere to the guidelines regarding arrest laid down in various Supreme Court rulings, the panel said. In case its recommendations are effective, the Law Commission suggested that states can expand the list of offences for which e-FIR may be registered in future. However, permitting the filing of eFIRs in all cases at present would cause extremely high investigative burden on police, the panel reasoned. Paris Quota, record haul It was a notable day for India at the ongoing Asiad at Hangzhou with athletes from many disciplines stepping up. A look... Bang on target Indian shooters kept up their rich run with five medals, including two gold. Palak was the standout as she topped the 10m air pistol women’s final, finishing ahead of Esha Singh. The men’s 50m rifle 3 positions team also won a gold with Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar going on to bag a silver medal. Shooters have amassed a total of 18 medals (a record) in the ongoing Asiad First athletics medal Kiran Baliyan won bronze in the women’s shot put event on Day 1 of the athletics competitions. She hurled the iron ball to a distance of 17.36m in her third attempt Canada figures in India-US discussions Y E S H I s E L I @ New Delhi island of solitude Babu, a vagabond who’s made the Ernakulam KSRTC bus stand premises his home, is perched atop a waiting bench to escape the floodwaters on Friday. Despite lakhs spent to improve facilities, the bus stand continues to paint a sorry picture after every downpour | A Sanesh ‘7 shots from close range’: Family feud turns fatal for elder brother A R U N M @ Aluva A long-running family feud finally culminated in murder in Edayappuram, near Aluva, on Thursday night. Thomas T J, 46, an employee of the High Court, was arrested for killing his elder brother Paulson T J. The 48-year-old was shot multiple times with an air gun following an altercation over parking. The duo were living with their father, 80-year-old Joseph, a retired railway employee, in his house on Sub Canal Road. Paulson sustained bullet injuries to the neck, chest, forehead and back from close range. Thomas fired seven rounds from the gun owned by Joseph, said police officers, who later recovered the weapon from the house. Local residents were in the dark about the incident until Friday morning, when Thomas, who had informed officers of the crime, was taken into custody. The siblings squabbled on Thursday over Thomas parking his motorcycle in front of the house, said neighbours. ● More on P4 EXTERNAL Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is on a fiveday visit to the US, said on Friday that India’s diplomatic row with Canada came up during discussions with his US counterpart Antony Blinken a day earlier. On Thursday, Jaishankar met Blinken and discussed a full range of issues including the key outcomes of India’s G20 presidency and the potential of the India-Middle EastEurope Economic Corridor. Blinken and Jaishankar “emphasised the continued importance of cooperation ahead of the upcoming 2+2 Dialogue, in particular in the areas of defence, space, and clean energy”, US Department of Space spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement. While the official statement issued by the US Department of State was mum on the controversy over the killing of a Canada-based terrorist, Jaishankar later confirmed that he discussed the issue with Blinken and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Jaishankar said the US side shared its assessments on the situation and he explained at length about India’s concerns. welfare pension Nod for consortium of coop societies to provide `2k-cr loan K S S ree j i t h @T’Puram As part of its efforts to break the impasse on timely distribution of welfare pensions, the state government has accorded sanction to form a consortium of primary cooperative societies (PCS) and other credit societies to mobilise funds to the tune of `2,000 crore for providing loan to Kerala Social S e c u r i t y Pe n s i o n L t d (KSSP). Loan to KSSP The government has asMadayi sured cooperative and credCooperative Rural it societies that it will stand Bank Ltd, Kannur, guarantee for the amount designated as fund borrowed. The credit sociemanager of the social ties include primary agrisecurity pension cultural cooperative societies and employee Interest rate on cooperative societies. The loan fixed at 8.8% per annum on a government has also decidmonthly basis ed to designate Madayi Cooperative Rural Bank Ltd, Govt promises Kannur, as the fund manthat it will stand ager of the social security guarantee for the pension. The rate of interamount borrowed est on loan has been fixed at 8.8% per annum on a monthly basis. A government order in this regard was issued on Wednesday . The decision comes after the finance principal secretary requested the government to mobilise funds worth `2,000 crore. KSSP has been constituted under the provision of the Companies Act to ensure uninterrupted disbursal of social security ● More on P4 pension. express read Yellow alert in 10 districts today T’Puram: A low pressure trough over the eastern Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal resulted in heavy rain across the state on Friday. No casualties were reported. The IMD issued yellow alerts for all districts, except Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam, on Saturday and cautioned fishermen against venturing out into sea. P4 Bank scam: ED grills M K Kannan Kochi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing the Karuvannur Bank case interrogated CPM state committee member and Kerala Bank vice-president M K Kannan for the second time on Friday. ED officials said Kannan’s interrogation could not be completed as he was physically down. Following this, it was decided to question him another day. P4 16 pages, including 4 pages of THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Express
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