Indian mother, daughter evacuated from war-torn Gaza through Rafah border crossing

News Network
November 14, 2023

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Jerusalem, Nov 14: An Indian woman from Kashmir who had sought immediate evacuation from the war-torn Hamas-ruled Gaza has safely reached Egypt with the help of Indian missions in the region, according to her husband.

Lubna Nazir Shaboo and her daughter Karima, crossed the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza on Monday evening.

"They are in al-Arish (a city in Egypt). Tomorrow morning (Tuesday) they will move to Cairo," Lubna's husband Nedal Toman said in a text message sent to PTI from Gaza.

The only exit route from Gaza, the Rafah crossing with Egypt, has been infrequently opened the past few weeks to let humanitarian supplies enter Gaza and also let some foreign nationals and wounded people cross over to the other side.

In a telephone call to PTI on Sunday, Lubna confirmed that her name was among the people who could leave Gaza and thanked profusely the Indian missions in the region -- in Ramallah, Tel Aviv and Cairo -- for making this possible.

On October 10, Lubna had reached out to PTI over the phone seeking help for evacuation.

"We are facing a brutal war here and everything is being destroyed and bombarded in a matter of seconds," she had told PTI.

Following the unprecedented attacks by Hamas on October 7, Israel declared war and launched a genocide campaign.   

"The sounds of bombardment are too scary and the whole house shakes. It is a very, very scary situation," Lubna had told PTI before moving with her family to the southern part of Gaza where she spent several days with acquaintances before being evacuated.

She had mentioned that their "water supply was officially cut off" in the middle of the night of October 9 and they were without electricity, which made them decide to move to the south and seek help in evacuation.

Lubna had also said that she hadn't seen anything like this before and had two families living with them who had to run away after bombardment in the bordering areas of Gaza.

"We are not able to go anywhere because there is no safe place for us anywhere and the Gaza Strip is too small and it is closed from every side. There are no exit points over here," she said.

"I have already asked for help from the Representative office of India in Ramallah to help me get to a safer place along with my husband and my daughter," she had said in a video message.

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Agencies
June 16,2024

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Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday said that some irregularities have come to light regarding the NEET examinations while speaking to news agency ANI.

Pradhan told the publication, "On the recommendations of Supreme Court, the order has been given for re-test of 1,563 candidates," further adding, "Some irregularities have come to light in two places. I assure students and parents that the government has taken this seriously."

Pradhan admitted in the interview that a lot of improvement is required in the National Testing Agency (NTA), the autonomous body tasked with conducting nationwide competitive examinations.

"Even if the big officials of the NTA are found guilty, they will not be spared," Pradhan said while adding, "The government is concerned about this, no culprit will be spared, they will get the harshest punishment."

The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (UG), or NEET, was held on May 5 across 4,750 centres with around 24 lakh candidates appearing for it. The results were expected to be declared on June 14 but were announced on June 4 -- the day the general election results were announced -- apparently because the evaluation of the answer sheets was completed earlier.

There have been allegations of question paper leaks in states like Bihar and other irregularities in the pan-India exam.

The Centre and the National Testing Agency on Thursday told the Supreme Court they had cancelled the grace marks given to 1,563 candidates who took the examination for admission to MBBS and other such courses.

They will have the option to either take a re-test or forgo the compensatory marks awarded to them for loss of time, the Centre said.

The Congress had on Friday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "silence" on the matter and asserted that only a Supreme Court-monitored forensic probe could safeguard the future of lakhs of young students.

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News Network
June 13,2024

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Kuwaiti authorities have identified the bodies of 45 Indians and three Filipino nationals killed in the tragic fire incident in a building housing foreign workers in the Gulf Kingdom, a top official said on Thursday. Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah was quoted as saying by Arab Times that efforts are still underway to determine the identity of one remaining body.

According to the Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs of State of Kerala, the number of people from Kerala who died in the Kuwait fire tragedy has risen to 24. 

The blaze, which started in the kitchen, erupted around 4 am on Wednesday while most of the 195 migrant workers were asleep. The fire incident in southern Kuwait’s Mangaf area claimed 49 lives and injured 50 others.

Meanwhile, an Indian Air Force aircraft is on standby to bring back the mortal remains of Indians killed in the incident. Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya assured full support to the Indians affected in the fire and vowed to promptly investigate the tragedy, hours after meeting Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh.

Kerala govt to provide Rs 5 lakh

The Kerala government said it will provide Rs 5 lakh financial assistance to the families of the people from the state who died in the Kuwait fire tragedy that claimed 49 lives and left 50 others injured.
The decision was taken at an emergency Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the morning, a statement issued by his office said. The cabinet also decided to provide Rs 1 lakh financial assistance to those injured in the incident, it said.
The statement also said prominent businessmen M A Yusuff Ali and Ravi Pillai have informed the CM that they will provide Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively, to each of the families of the Keralites who died in the fire.

Probe ordered

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has ordered a probe into the fire incident at the apartment building, which housed foreign workers with mostly Indians. At least 49 people have died, and the Emir has instructed the officials to investigate the cause of the fire and hold those responsible in the incident as accountable for it.

PM holds meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the fire incident as "saddening" and held a meeting with external affairs minister S Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, and Principal Secretary to the PM PK Mishra to review the situation. 

The fire in the Al-Mangaf building was reported to authorities in Al-Ahmadi governorate at 4:30 am yesterday, with most of the deaths attributed to smoke inhalation. Kuwaiti media reported that the fire started in a kitchen. Kuwait's interior ministry confirmed that the death toll had reached 49.

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News Network
June 3,2024

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Nagpur: The Nagpur district court on Monday handed life imprisonment to former BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd engineer Nishant Agarwal under the Official Secrets Act for spying for Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI.

Agarwal will also have to undergo rigorous imprisonment (RI) for 14 years and was also fined ₹ 3,000.

Additional sessions court judge MV Deshpande stated in the order that Agarwal was convicted under section 235 of the Criminal Procedure Code for an offence punishable under section 66 (f) of the IT Act and various sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

"The court sentenced Agarwal to life imprisonment and RI for 14 years under the Official Secrets Act and fined him ₹ 3,000," said Special Public Prosecutor Jyoti Vajani.

Agarwal, employed in the technical research section of the company's missile centre in Nagpur, was arrested in a joint operation by the military intelligence and Anti-terrorism squads (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra in 2018.

The former BrahMos Aerospace engineer was booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the stringent OSA.

He had worked at the Brahmos facility for four years and was accused of leaking sensitive technical information to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the military Industrial Consortium (NPO Mashinostroyenia) of Russia.

Agarwal was granted bail by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court last April.

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