India evacuates diplomats from Kandahar as Taliban captures new areas

News Network
July 11, 2021

New Delhi, July 11: India has pulled out around 50 diplomats and security personnel from its consulate in Kandahar in Afghanistan in view of the deteriorating security situation and the Taliban gaining control of new areas around the southern Afghan city, people familiar with the development said on Sunday.

A special aircraft of the Indian Air Force was sent on Saturday to bring back the Indian diplomats, officials and other staff members including a group of Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel, they said.

India's move to temporarily shut the consulate in Kandahar came in view of Taliban fighters rapidly seizing control of a number of key areas in the region as well as in western Afghanistan triggering huge security concerns.

On Tuesday, the Indian embassy in Kabul said there was no plan to close the embassy and the consulates in Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif.  

Two days back, the Ministry of External said India was carefully monitoring the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and its implications on the safety and security of Indian nationals.

"Our response will be calibrated accordingly," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing on Thursday.

Afghanistan witnessed a series of terror attacks in the last few weeks as the US looked to complete the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by August-end, ending a nearly two-decade of its military presence in the war-ravaged country.

There were reports that at least two foreign missions in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, have closed their operation in view of escalating violence in the region.

Amid growing concerns in India over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, Afghan Ambassador Farid Mamundzay on Tuesday briefed Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on the situation in Afghanistan.

The Indian embassy last week asked all Indians visiting, staying and working in Afghanistan to exercise the utmost caution with regard to their security and avoid all types of non-essential travel in view of rising incidents of violence in various parts of the country.

In an advisory, the embassy said the security situation in Afghanistan remains "dangerous" and that terror groups have carried out a series of complex attacks including targeting civilians, adding Indian nationals additionally face a "serious threat" of kidnapping.

India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested nearly USD three billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.

India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

In March, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar visited India during which Jaishankar conveyed to him India's long-term commitment towards a peaceful, sovereign and stable Afghanistan. 

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News Network
September 21,2021

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Three disciples of top seer and All India Akhara Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri, who died allegedly by 'suicide' on Monday evening, were booked on charges of abetment of suicide and were taken into custody by the police.

Narendra Giri was found hanging in his room at Baghamabri Mutt in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj town, about 200 kilometres from Lucknow. An alleged eight-page ''suicide note'' was recovered from his room, according to police sources.

A senior police official said in Prayagraj that the Mahant had accused three disciples of his of 'harassing' him. ''I have lived my life with dignity but now I am being harassed and forced to life of humiliation,'' he reportedly wrote in the alleged suicide note.

Sources said that Narendra Giri mentioned the names of the disciples, who, he said, had been harassing him. One of the disciples, identified as Anand Giri was detained in Haridwar town in Uttarakhand while two others, identified as Adya Tewari and Sandeep Tewari, were taken into custody from Prayagraj. All three were booked under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (abetment of suicide).

Sources said that Narendra Giri and his disciple Anand Giri had been having some dispute and that Anand Giri had been expelled from the Baghambari Mutt recently. Anand Giri, however, claimed that he had tendered an apology to the Akhara Parishad president and the issue had been resolved.

Narendra Giri enjoyed considerable clout among the seers and politicians, especially from the BJP, including ministers, used to make a bee line before his Mutt to meet him and receive his blessings.

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News Network
September 17,2021

As farmers protest a year of the contentious farm laws, Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the Centre is indifferent to the farmers' needs.

"A number of farmers have died and many are still sitting at the state borders but this government (Centre) is indifferent. We will continue our fight until the three farm laws are repealed," he said.

The Delhi Traffic Police on Friday alerted commuters about the closure of specific roads and suggested diversions to avoid any inconvenience due to the protests.

Taking to Twitter, the Delhi Traffic Police informed about closure of roads at Jharoda Kalan border and suggested commuters to refrain from using these routes in view of the farmers' movement.

A senior police officer said, "Members of Shiromani Akali Dal have gathered at Gurudwara Rakab Ganj on Friday morning in view of a protest march organised by them against the farm laws."

The SAD under the leadership of its President Sukhbir Singh Badal had given a call to take out a march starting from Gurdwara Talab Ganj Sahib to Parliament House against the "anti-farmer" laws passed by the Central government.

Due to a demonstration call by farmers to assemble at Gurudwara Rakab Ganj, police pickets have been placed in precaution at different areas in the national capital while traffic is being released after vehicles have been checked, a senior traffic police officer said.

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News Network
September 13,2021

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Bengaluru, Sept 13: Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah, State Congress president D K Shivakumar along with other party leaders arrived at Legislative Assembly on bullock carts, in protest against inflation, to participate in the Monsoon Session of the state legislature.

The 10-day-long session will be held from September 13 to 24 at Vidhana Soudha. 

The Congress, which recently held its legislature party meeting, chaired by its leader Siddaramaiah, to discuss the party's strategy during the session, has said it will raise the issues of price rise, deteriorating law and order situation and distressing financial position of the state, among others.

This is the first session of the Karnataka legislature after Basavaraj Bommai took charge as the Chief Minister and his new cabinet assumed office, following the exit of state BJP strong man B S Yediyurappa.

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