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RAPE

DNA will clear official in India rape case: lawyer

Lawyers for a French consular official in southern India accused of raping his three-year-old daughter said Saturday DNA samples prove his client was innocent of any crime.

"There is no criminal evidence against our client," said Clemence Witt, a prominent France-based lawyer who is part of the defence team for Pascal Mazurier.

"All the DNA evidence shows extremely clearly that he has not committed any crime," Witt told AFP on a visit to Bangalore where Mazurier was based.

"We are now waiting for a decision on our discharge application," she said in an interview, adding: "We have faith in Indian justice."

A initial police report last July showed DNA found on the child did not match that of Mazurier, his lawyers said in a statement.

The lawyers also said a final police report showed DNA samples given by his wife, Suja Jones Mazurier, to investigators to support her accusations did not match those of the child.

Both sides have publicly discussed contested evidence which would normally be regarded as sub judice.

There was no immediate comment Saturday from his wife, who also has two boys aged eight and two.

But her lawyers have previously alleged intimidation of doctors who testified the girl was raped and suggested evidence may have been tampered.

The mother and women's rights groups have also accused France of supporting the husband at the expense of the interests of the alleged victim and her two siblings, who are all French nationals.

France's foreign ministry has declined to comment on whether it is paying the husband's legal bills.

Mazurier, who was arrested in June 2012 on a complaint filed by his wife, spent four months last year in jail before being bailed.

Bangalore's Family Court has rejected a request for Mazurier to have access to his children as he is charged with raping one of them.

The case was supposed to be heard by a fast-track court but the judge has been transferred and a new judge now must be appointed, Witt said.

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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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