Karnataka: Bajrang Dal men barge into auditorium, halt drama for not demonising Muslims

News Network
July 4, 2022

Shivamogga, July 4: A group of men from Bajrang Dal led by their local leader Sridhar Achar barged into Veerashaiva convention hall at Aanavatti in Sorab taluk last night and halted the enactment of drama titled 'Jotegiruvanu Chandira' alleging that Muslims are being portrayed as good.

They argued that Hindus in the country are fighting against inhuman acts of Muslims. Under such circumstance, it is not fair to portray Muslims as good, they claimed.

Denying the allegations, the organisers of the event said there was no such scenes in the drama. It was aimed at highlighting unity in diversity. 

Spectators were forced to move out of the hall during the interruption. 

Ranga Belaku organised the drama enactment programme under the direction of Kotrappa Hiremagadi.

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News Network
August 3,2022

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Bengaluru, Aug 3: A prominent swamiji at a Lingayat seminary in Karnataka today predicted that Rahul Gandhi will be Prime Minister, until the head seer intervened and added a caveat to the blessing. 

The Congress leader was meeting the seers at Sri Murugarajendra Mutt in Chitradurga when one of them, Haveri Hosamutt Swami, said in his address, "Rahul Gandhi will become the PM", as per sources. At this, Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, president of the institution, is learnt to have interrupted and added, "Whoever visits our mutt, they be blessed."

The Lingayats, about 17 per cent of Karnataka's population, are known for their political power. With Mr Gandhi's visit to the poll-bound state, the Congress is hoping to broaden its appeal and project unity within the party too. The elections have to be held by May next year.

After being in power from 2013 to 2018, the Congress briefly formed a government after the 2018 polls, in partnership with the Janata Dal (Secular). That government -- led by JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy -- collapsed in just over a year after several MLAs from the coalition resigned, reducing it to a minority, after which the BJP came to rule to the state again. 

The BJP initially made BS Yediyurappa, from the Lingayat community, the Chief Minister. Last year it replaced him with Basavaraj Bommai, who is also from the same community.

The Congress is struggling with a rift within. Legislature party leader Siddaramaiah and state unit chief DK Shivakumar are both contenders for the CM's post if the party comes to power. 

Rahul Gandhi sought to address this at a meeting of the state unit's political affairs committee on Tuesday night, where he urged the leaders to work together and not speak out publicly, as per a news agency.

Party general secretary KC Venugopal later told reporters, "There is no leadership issue at all. Individual opinion is also not acceptable. The party's new MLAs and the high command will decide on the leader after winning."

"The committee will meet frequently and take collective decisions in the interest of the party. Rahul Gandhi appealed to leaders of the party to go aggressively and unitedly against the misrule of the BJP in Karnataka and at the Centre," he said. adding that it's been unanimously decided not to speak about internal matters in public. "Unknowingly or knowingly some statements are made here and there before the media. Don't fall for that trap... party leaders should not speak in different voices inside or outside," he said.

It was the first meeting of the committee since it was formed on July 9. Besides Mr Gandhi and Mr Venugopal, in attendance were Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar, besides the party's campaign committee chief MB Patil, Leader of Opposition in the legislative council BK Hariprasad, and senior leaders such as HK Patil, Dinesh Gundu Rao, M Veerappa Moily and G Parameshwara.

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News Network
August 6,2022

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Gaza City, Aug 6: Israel hit Gaza with deadly air strikes on Saturday and a Palestinian group retaliated with a barrage of rocket fire, in the territory's worst escalation of violence since a war last year.

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

Health authorities in Gaza, a Palestinian enclave controlled by the Islamist group Hamas, said a five-year-old girl was among 12 people killed by the Israeli bombardment. More than 80 others have been wounded.

The Israeli military warned Saturday it was "preparing for the operation to last a week," while the sole power station in Gaza ground to a halt due to a lack of fuel after Israel closed border crossings.

Israel and Islamic Jihad have both confirmed the killing of Taysir al-Jabari, a key leader of Islamic Jihad, in a Friday strike on a building in the west of Gaza city.

Islamic Jihad is aligned with Hamas, but often acts independently. It said the initial Israeli bombardment amounted to a "declaration of war" and unleashed a barrage of rockets towards Israel.

Sources within the group ruled out a ceasefire soon, with one saying: "for the movement the focus is on the battlefield," while an Israeli military spokesman told AFP that the army is "not currently holding ceasefire negotiations".

The rocket fire and Israeli strikes were continuing on Saturday, risking a repeat of an 11-day conflict in May 2021 that devastated Gaza and forced countless Israelis to rush to bomb shelters.

Daily life in the Palestinian enclave has come to a standstill, with streets largely deserted and most shops closed.

Israel's closure of a key goods crossing four days ago resulted in Gaza's power plant shutting down on Saturday, due to a "fuel shortage," a spokesman for the enclave's electricity distributor said.

Diesel for the plant is usually trucked in from Egypt or Israel, which closed its two border crossings with Gaza on Tuesday citing security concerns.

"Israel isn't interested in a wider conflict in Gaza, but will not shy away from one either," Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a nationally televised address on Friday.

Air raid sirens sounded across southern Israel on Saturday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

Officials in border areas urged people to stay close to shelters, which have also been opened in the coastal city of Tel Aviv.

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

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad are considered terrorist organisations by much of the West.

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 episode.

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.

Mohammed Abu Salameh, the director of Shifa, Gaza City's main hospital, said medics are facing "acute shortages of medical supplies".

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

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.

Israeli military spokesman Richard Hecht said Friday "we are assuming about 15 killed in action" in Gaza, referring to Palestinian combatants.

Israeli tanks were lined up along the border, after the military said Thursday it was reinforcing its troops.

The measures followed the arrest in the occupied West Bank of two senior members of Islamic Jihad, including Bassem al-Saadi, who Israel accuses of orchestrating recent attacks.

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

Israel has conducted a near relentless wave of often deadly raids inside the West Bank since mid-March in response to lethal attacks on Israeli citizens.

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News Network
July 30,2022

London, July 30: Rishi Sunak’s campaign to be elected the Conservative Party leader and the next British Prime Minister suffered a blow on Saturday as a former candidate endorsed his rival Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Tom Tugendhat, the Tory backbencher and chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee who was in the initial shortlist before being knocked out of the race earlier this month, said he preferred Truss’ campaign pitch with its promise of immediate tax cuts.

The former soldier in the British Army said that after watching the candidates go head-to-head in live TV debates, "only one has convinced me she's ready".

 “Liz has always stood up for British values at home, and abroad. With her at the helm, I have no doubt that we will move with determination to make this country safer and more secure,” he writes in The Times newspaper.

He said both contenders have "huge qualities and many talents" but Truss has an advantage on the world stage because of her Cabinet position.

“As foreign secretary, Liz is starting with a huge advantage. She can make our voice count,” he writes.

It follows the endorsement of another Tory heavyweight Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who also threw his support behind Truss — describing her as "authentic, honest and experienced".

Sunak was initially the frontrunner in the race in the ballots of his party colleagues, winning the most support from MPs in the first few rounds of voting. But since then, polling among the Tory membership that will vote for the winner has shown Truss is more popular.

According to another report in The Times, even Sunak’s former boss is feeling sorry for him.

He told friends he did not think that Sunak, the man he blames for his downfall, was going to make it.

“He almost feels sorry for him,” a friend of Johnson’s was quoted as saying.

“[Rishi] got in with a crowd of malcontents who used him as part of their vendetta against Boris. What future is there for him now?” it said.

The two finalists are next scheduled to go head-to-head in the TV debate on Thursday, when the first postal ballot papers will start landing at Tory members’ addresses.

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