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Lawyers of India rape suspect to meet Hollande

An Indian mother whose daughter was allegedly raped by her French father has asked France's Foreign Ministry to explain why their diplomats are providing support for him but not the little girl.

Lawyers of India rape suspect to meet Hollande
Indian activists call for the arrest of Pascal Mazurier in Bangalore on June 18, 2012. Photo: Manjunath Kiran/AFP

In a case threatening to overshadow President Francois Hollande's scheduled visit to India next week, lawyers acting for Suja Jones Mazurier have asked the ministry to investigate the conduct of senior officials at the the French Consulate in Bangalore.

The father, Pascal Mazurier, who worked at the consulate, was charged in June 2012 with the rape of his three-year-old daughter. He was released on bail in October but continues to face the rape charge and has been forced to surrender his passport.

Two days after he was imprisoned, Mazurier transferred 250,000 rupees (€3,472) to an account in the name of Vincent Caumontat, the deputy consul in the southern city regarded as the hub of India's burgeoning IT industry, according to bank records submitted to the French Foreign Ministry.

Lawyers for the mother have asked Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to investigate why the money was apparently transferred to a consulate official and what it was used for.

The lawyers have also asked Fabius to explain why the father has received what they described as excessively active consular support while the interests of the daughter, now 4, and her brothers, 2 and 7, who are all French citizens, have allegedly been ignored.

Their complaint suggests that Dominique Causse, the Consul at the time of Mazurier's arrest, attempted to pervert the course of justice by suggesting to the Indian police that Mazurier was subject to diplomatic immunity, "whilst knowing perfectly well he was not at a level to be accorded a diplomatic passport."

Confusion over that issue led to Mazurier, who was arrested on June 14, not being formally charged until June 19, a day after France's ambassador in New Delhi clarified his status.

Lawyers for Suja Jones urged Fabius to appoint an official from the Delhi embassy to ensure that the interests of the children were being defended as actively as those of Mazurier.

There was no immediate reaction from the Foreign Ministry to the complaint filed by Suja Jones's lawyers on Tuesday afternoon.

Officials at Hollande's official residence, the Elysee Palace, were equally tight-lipped about an audience granted to Pascal Mazurier's lawyers on Monday.

The lawyers confirmed the meeting to AFP on Tuesday but Hollande aides refused point-blank to confirm or deny that it had taken place, in what was seen as a sign of the how sensitive the issue is.

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INDIA

Where to celebrate Diwali in France in 2019

France’s Indian community will be hosting a number of Diwali events across the country in the last days of October.

Where to celebrate Diwali in France in 2019
Photo: AFP

If you’re looking to add a bit of spice and colour to an otherwise grey October in France, maybe a dose of Diwali is what you need. 

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a four to five day-long festival of lights which is celebrated mainly by Hindus every autumn, but also by Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists.

This year it is estimated around a billion revellers across the globe will light candles outside their homes and at festivals to symbolise the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.

In France, where around 20,000 Indian citizens are officially registered, there will be a number of events in the final days of October to mark the occasion.

Nantes, Friday October 25th: More than 1,000 people are expected to take part in a Diwali celebration in the Loire-Atlantique city which will include concerts, talks and group meditation. The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and the city’s Sahaj Yoga meditation centre are organising the event.

Rennes, Saturday October 26th: Brittany will hold a multi-faceted Diwali celebration organised by its local Namasté Breizh association.

It will take place in the Rennes commune of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande (10 Rue Francois Mitterrand), starting at 5pm on Saturday with a concert by legendary bansuri (Indian flute) player Harsh Wardhan and then followed by classical and Bollywood dance routines, an organic vegetarian dinner for guests and a Indian dance party to cap it all off.

More info on tickets here.

Montpellier, Saturday October 26th and Sunday October 27th: The southern French city will hold a two-day Diwali music and dance festival with performances by more than 15 internationally renowned artists, kalbeliya and bhangra dance workshops, a dance competition and much more.

Find out more from organisers Natyamandir here

Paris, Saturday October 26th: Paris’s India House (Fondation Maison de l’Inde) has an interesting Diwali programme planned for the weekend.

Starting at 5pm on Saturday it will include a magic show, a Rajasthani Gypsy music and dance concert by the Anwar Khan Group, a fireworks display and a special Diwali dinner.

Paris, Wednesday, October 30th: If you missed earlier Diwali celebrations in the French capital, you can still head to the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) on Wednesday for a grand event being organised by the Indian Embassy in Paris and GOPIO.

Visitors can expect a show of traditional Indian songs, music and dance, candlelit dinners and appetizers, and of course, fireworks.

READ MORE: In which parts of France do Indians live?


 

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