States Current Affairs – 2018

Punjab Assembly passes bills to make desecration of religious texts punishable with life term

Punjab Legislative Assembly has unanimously passed Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 and Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 to make sacrilege of all religious texts punishable with life imprisonment. This comes week after State Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Arminder Singh approved the amendments. Besides, Justice (retired) Ranjit Singh Commission report on incidents of desecration of religious texts was also tabled in the assembly.

Key Highlights

These Bills amends Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to add necessary provisions. IPC (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 inserts section 295AA to IPC which says that whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to holy religious texts with intention to hurt religious feelings of people, will be punished with imprisonment for life. The main objective of making sacrilege of religious texts punishable offence with life imprisonment is to preserve communal harmony in the society.

Background

Previously Punjab assembly in 2016, when the previous SAD-BJP government was in power, had also passed Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2016 and Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2016. The amendments at that time were approved to seek life imprisonment for desecration of Guru Granth Sahib, holy book of Sikhs which is considered as a living guru in Sikhism. President had refused to grant assent after Centre had raised objections to these Bills. Centre had raised objection, saying punishment of life imprisonment could not be limited to desecration of holy book of just one religion and should instead be for all religions. Both of these earlier bills now stand withdrawn with passage of new Bills.

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Rahi Sarnobat becomes first Indian woman shooter to win gold medal at 2018 Asian Games

Rahi Sarnobat became first Indian woman to win shooting gold medal at Jakarta-Palembang 2018 Asian Games in 25m pistol event. She shot score of 34 in final to tie with Thailand’s Naphaswan Yangpaiboon who won silver medal and Kim Minjung of South Korea won bronze with score of 29. It was Rahi’s biggest medal of her shooting career.

Rahi Sarnobat

She hails from Kolhapur, Maharashtra. She was first Indian pistol shooter to win gold medal in Shooting World Cup (25m pistol event in the ISSF World cup in Changwon, China). She had won her first gold medal at 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India. She was first Indian shooter to qualify for 25 meters sports pistol event in the Olympics (London Olympics in 2012).

Medals won

Gold: 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games (women’s 25-metre pistol).

Bronze: 2014 Incheon Asian Games (25-metre pistol team event). She had teamed with Anisa Sayyed and Heena Sidhu.

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