Deaths and destruction as cyclone Shaheen approaches Oman; flights affected

News Network
October 3, 2021

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Dubai, Oct 3: Tropical Cyclone Shaheen bore down on Oman on Sunday, killing at least three people, and authorities urged residents to evacuate coastal areas and delayed flights to and from the capital, Muscat.

A child who had been swept away by water was found dead, the state news agency said, and another person was missing. Two Asian workers were killed when a hill collapsed on their housing area in an industrial zone as a result of the cyclone, the state news agency reported.

The eye of the storm was about 60 km (40 miles) from Muscat and it was carrying top winds of 120 kph (75 mph) or more, a joint statement by the country's hazard, weather and civil aviation agencies said.

The storm's centre was expected to hit land during the late afternoon and evening, bringing very high winds and heavy rainfall, but the outer bands of the system were already being felt.

The national emergency committee said the power supply would be cut in al-Qurm, east of the capital, to avoid accidents. More than 2,700 people were put up in emergency shelters.

Most of the oil-exporting country's five million people live in and around Muscat. Roads in the capital would be open only to vehicles on emergency and humanitarian journeys until the storm dies down, authorities said. 

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News Network
October 28,2021

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor has said that the Bharatiya Janata Party 'is not going anywhere for many decades and the problem with Rahul Gandhi is that he thinks that the BJP will be overthrown by people'.

Kishor said this in Goa on Wednesday and a clip of his Q and A session has been shared on social media.

The statement comes at a time when the Trinamool is spreading itself outside Bengal, and is also proof that the talks of Kishor's entry into the Congress have ended.

He said that the BJP will be at the centre of Indian politics for years, it wins or loses, much like the Congress in the first 40 years after Independence.

"BJP is going to be the centre of Indian polity, whether they win, whether they lose, like it was for the first 40 years for Congress. BJP is going nowhere. Once you secure 30 per cent plus votes at the national level you are not going away in a hurry. So do not ever get into this trap that people are getting angry and they will throw away (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi," he said.

"Maybe they will throw away Modi, but BJP is not going anywhere. They are going to be here, they are to fight it out for the next many decades. It is not going in a hurry," Kishor answered when asked.

He added: "Unless you examine, understand and take cognizance of strength, you will never be able to put a counter to defeat him (BJP & Modi's strength)".

He said the problem with Rahul Gandhi is he does not realise this but thinks people will overthrow the BJP.

Earlier, he had said that the Congress party's fortunes in Uttar Pradesh, which goes to the polls next year, would not be revived despite all the "hype" generated around the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, and the subsequent arrest of party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

"People looking for a quick, spontaneous revival of GOP led opposition based on #LakhimpurKheri incident are setting themselves up for a big disappointment. Unfortunately there are no quick fix solutions to the deep-rooted problems and structural weakness of GOP," Kishor, who played an instrumental role in propelling Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress back to power in the West Bengal Assembly polls held in March-April this year, wrote on Twitter.

The remarks have come amid "strong speculation" that Kishor would join the Congress and the party was deliberating on the issues raised by him.

Even as no one in the party is averse to the idea of Kishor joining the Congress, the party leaders have said that he should not be given sweeping powers regarding elections.The Congress is preparing for the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh along with a few other states which are going to polls next year.

In the politically crucial north Indian state, the Congress is pitted against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

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News Network
October 28,2021

Belagavi, Oct 28: A fact-finding report on the coldblooded murder of Arbaz Aftab Mulla in Belagavi has accused the Superintendent of Police (SP) Laxman Nimbargi of trying to shift the blame from the accused Sri Ram Sene (Hindustan) to make the murder look like a contract killing.

Mulla, aged 25, was murdered on September 28 allegedly over his relationship with a Hindu girl. A seven-member team comprising persons from the All India Lawyers' Association for Justice, All India People's Forum and other associations as well as an independent researcher visited Belagavi last month.

It said the targeted violence is the result of years of "deliberate and neatly orchestrated" communal politics dividing the society. Despite the arrest of 10 people on October 8, ten days after the murder, justice remains a long shot.

"Our findings suggest that while the girl's parents might have had a role to play in the murder, the SP's allegation that the girl's parents had hired contract killers could also be a ploy to shift the bulk of the blame from the SRS(H) to the family, thereby making the murder appear to be a contract/supari killing and not a communal honour killing," the report said.

Mulla's mother Najeema Shaikh, a teacher at a local Urdu medium school, told the team that the Hindu girl's mother had threatened that "she was ready to kill or even die" in order to prevent the girl's marriage with mulla.

"While parental objections to a romantic relationship is not unusual, what struck us was the language in which it was articulated," the team said. Expressing concerns over the 'complete invisibilisation' of the voice of the woman with whom Mulla was in a relationship, it said her individual identity has been nullified.

It warned that the 'saffron sphere of influence' in north Karnataka was a grave threat to minorities all over the state and appealed to all citizens to come together to ensure justice for Mulla. It said a broad-based campaign was required to ensure justice to all minority communities and work towards rebuilding social harmony.

"Those we spoke to in Belagavi, unanimously pointed out the systemic impunity of members of organisations like SRS (H) from facing the consequences of crimes committed by them," it said citing allegations that the members of the pro-Hindutva group were given VIP treatment inside the prison.

The report further said thwarted aspirations of integration with Maharashtra have contributed to Hindu nationalism's hold over the region. "This morphing of linguistic politics into religious politics in the region holds important lessons for secular, democratic forces. It shows how the weakness of alternative political frameworks and lack of citizen alertness against Hindu nationalist groups can decisively alter the social and cultural fabric of a nation," it said.

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October 18,2021

Bengaluru, Oct 18: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday said schools will reopen for students of classes 1 to 5 in the state and the government will soon make an announcement in this regard.

"Already the experts committee has given the report, we will issue the order. Regarding, from when (to start the classes) and all those details, the Chief Secretary will hold a meeting with the education department," Bommai said. Speaking to reporters here, he said after the discussions, a decision on reopening schools for students from classes one to five will be taken.

With Covid-19 cases declining, the government had reopened schools for students of classes 6 to 8 from September 6, and for students of classes 9 to 12 from August 23. 

Earlier in the day, Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh said that the schools will be reopened for students of class 1 to 5 on the basis of the recommendation of the state's Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19.

"If they say from October 21, we will start; if they say a week later, we will start a week later." 

Noting that the government wants to start classes from one to five in one go, he said, "but our plan is to have half-a-day classes during the initial one week or so, and thereafter full day classes, once students get used to it," he said. The Minister, however, said no decision has been taken regarding reopening schools for LKG (Lower Kindergarten) and UKG (Upper Kindergarten) children.

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