Many children among 32 killed as Israel extends Gaza bombardment; over 215 wounded

News Network
August 7, 2022

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Tell Aviv, Aug 27: The death toll from escalating violence in Gaza had risen to 32 on Sunday, including six children, as Israel extended its bombardment on Palestinians amidst mild retaliation with a barrage of rockets by Gaza freedom fighters.

The updated count from health authorities in the Hamas Islamist-run territory said six children were among those killed since the start of the "Israeli aggression" on Friday, in addition to 215 people injured.

But Israel claimed that a stray rocket from Islamic Jihad had been responsible for the death of multiple children in Jabalia, northern Gaza, on Saturday.

It was not immediately clear how many children were killed in the incident in Jabalia. A photographer saw six dead bodies at an area hospital, including three minors.

Israel's military has warned its aerial and artillery campaign against Islamic Jihad could last a week, but Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Cairo is talking "around the clock" with both sides to ease the violence.

Israel has said it was necessary to launch a "pre-emptive" operation against Islamic Jihad, as the group was planning an imminent attack following days of tensions along the border with Gaza.

Civilians meanwhile took refuge in air raid shelters on the Israeli side, with journalists hearing sirens warning of incoming fire in the Tel Aviv area on Saturday evening.

In Rafah, on Gaza's border with Egypt, women and children were trapped under rubble following an Israeli strike, the strip's civil defence unit said.

Rescue workers were digging through the site where a top Islamic Jihad commander, Khaled Mansour, was reportedly targeted by an Israeli strike on Saturday.

There was no specific confirmation of Mansour's death, but the head of the Israeli army's operations directorate, Oded Basiok, said in a statement that the entire "senior leadership of the military wing of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza has been neutralised".

Daily life in the strip has come to a standstill, while the electricity distributor said the sole power station shut down due to a lack of fuel after Israel closed its border crossings.

Gaza's health ministry said the next few hours will be "crucial and difficult", warning it risked suspending vital services within 72 hours as a result of the lack of electricity.

In Gaza City, resident Dounia Ismail said Palestinians have become accustomed to preparing a "survival bag" of items such as money and medicine.

"This latest escalation brings back images of fear, anxiety, and the feeling that we are all alone," she said.

On the Israeli side of the frontier, the Magen David Adom emergency service said two people were hospitalised with shrapnel wounds and 13 others were lightly hurt while running for safety.

In Kibbutz Nahal Oz, an Israeli community beside the Gaza border, resident Nadav Peretz said he has been "in the bomb shelter or around it" since Friday.

"We recognise that on the other side too there is an uninvolved civilian population, and on both sides children deserve to enjoy their summer vacation," the 40-year-old said.

Islamic Jihad is aligned with Hamas, but often acts independently. Both are blacklisted as terrorist organisations by much of the West, which openly supports Israeli terrorism.

Hamas has fought four wars with Israel since seizing control of Gaza in 2007, including the conflict last May.

A flare-up with Islamic Jihad came in 2019, following Israel's killing of Baha Abu al-Ata, Jabari's predecessor. Hamas did not join the fray in that conflict.

Hamas's moves now could prove crucial, with the group facing pressure from some to restore calm in order to improve economic conditions in Gaza.

The UN humanitarian chief for the occupied Palestinian territories, Lynn Hastings, urged the warring sides to allow "fuel, food, and medical supplies" to be delivered to Gaza amid the worsening crisis.

On Friday, the health ministry reported "a five-year-old girl" was among those killed by Israeli fire.

The girl, Alaa Kaddum, had a pink bow in her hair and a wound on her forehead, as her body was carried by her father at her funeral.

The Gaza strikes follow the arrest in the occupied West Bank of two senior members of Islamic Jihad, including Bassem al-Saadi, whom Israel accuses of orchestrating recent attacks.

Israel on Saturday broadened its operation against Islamic Jihad, announcing the arrest of 19 people in the West Bank it said were members of the group.

Israel has conducted a wave of often deadly raids in the West Bank since mid-March in response to lethal attacks on Israelis.

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News Network
September 22,2022

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New Delhi, Sept 22: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat met with Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, the chief cleric of the All India Imam Organization, at a mosque in the heart of Delhi on Thursday. 

This is the RSS chief's second meeting with Muslim intellectuals in over a month. Earlier, Mohan Bhagwat had met five Muslim intellectuals for "strengthening communal harmony".

RSS spokesperson Sunil Ambekar said that the meeting was part of the continuous discussion process.

"RSS Sarsanghachalak meets people from all walks of life. It is part of the continuous general Samvad process," the RSS spokesperson said.

The closed-door meeting between Mohan Bhagwat and the Imam at Kasturba Gandhi Marg mosque lasted for more than an hour. Senior Sangh functionaries were also present at the meeting. Bhagwat was accompanied by senior Sangh functionaries Krishna Gopal, Ram Lal, and Indresh Kumar.

Earlier, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat held a closed-door meeting with prominent Muslim intellectuals, former Delhi LG Najeeb Jung, and former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi.

A meeting was sought by these prominent Muslim intellectuals with Mohan Bhagwat after the Nupur Sharma hate speech controversy erupted. Hate speech, the Gyanvapi Masjid issue, and hate crimes resulting from hate speech were discussed, a member who attended the meeting told India Today.

In the meeting, which Quraishi called cordial, the RSS chief had recalled that his statement "Why look for a Shivling in every mosque?" must be taken forward to bridge the divide between Hindus and Muslims today. The RSS chief said that both communities must work together to bridge this divide.

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News Network
October 1,2022

Bengaluru, Oct 1: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy rainfall in 12 districts of Karnataka for the next two days.

On Saturday morning, residents of Bengaluru woke up to a cloudy weather and the forecast has already created panic among people in the wake of the recent floods.

The incessant downpour has thrown life out of gear in the city's Mahadevapura and Bommanahalli areas which house major IT and BT companies and shelter a major chunk of techies from all across the country.

A yellow alert has been issued for Bagalkot, Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Raichur, Vijayapura districts in north Karnataka.

Rain will also lash Bengaluru Rural, Bengaluru City, Chamarajanagar, Chikkaballapur, Kolar, Ramnagar and Tumakuru districts of south Karnataka.

Chitradurga and Davangere districts of central Karnataka were also under the yellow alert.

The coastal region, which witnessed heavy rainfall recently, is also likely to receive light showers.

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News Network
September 21,2022

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New Delhi, Sept 21: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government as to why it was standing as a "mute spectator" to hate speeches while also expressing displeasure over mainstream television channels for running such shows and programmes.

The court asked where the country is heading to, as it put a poser to the Union government as to why it was treating the issue as trivial one.

"Hate speech poisons the very fabric of our country, it can't be permitted. Political parties will come and go but the nation and institution of free press will endure. We should have true freedom, and the government should come forward to take a stand," a bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said.

Without naming TV channels, the court said freedom of press is important, "but we should know where to draw the line". Nowadays, anchors don't allow their guests to speak, run them down, mute them and become discourteous too, the bench said.

"All this is going in the name of freedom of speech. It is sad if nobody making them accountable," the bench said, adding the free speech also included the right of the viewers.

"Until institutional mechanism is put in place, people will continue like this. We should have a proper legal framework," the bench added.

The bench specifically asked the Centre if it is contemplating any legislation to control hate speech in terms of the Law Commission of India's 267 th report which suggested amendment to the IPC and Criminal Procedure Code.

The court was hearing a batch of PILs including by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay for framing a law to control hate speech and rumour mongering.

Deliberating upon the role of media including the Television Channels, the court referred to previous SC judgements in Vishakha and Tehseen Poonawalla cases to saying some guidelines could be framed after considering the Centre's response.

Citing the role of media, the court said, it is not to take orders from anyone if it is truly independent.

"You (media) should foster constitutional values, everybody is part of this republic. Everybody belongs to this one nation," the court said, adding hate speech can take place in various forms like running a slow campaign against a community.

The bench said the Union government should not take up the matter as adversarial and take it up as an opportunity to bring out some legislation.

After hearing Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj and advocate Sanjay Tyagi for the Union government and senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, and others, the court asked the Centre to file a response within two week.

The court asked Hegde to assist it by collating points from writ petitions filed in the matter.

The Centre, on its part, said following the top court's order of July 21, it had received response from only 14 states on the issue.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on November 23.

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