Modi govt grants e-visas to over 100 Sikhs, Hindus in Afghanistan on priority

News Network
June 19, 2022

In the wake of the attack on a gurudwara in Kabul, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of Narendra Modi led government of India has granted e-visas to over 100 Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan on priority, news agency ANI reported. India strongly condemned the "cowardly attack" on the Sikh place of worship.

"Our first and foremost concern is for the welfare of the community," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said.

Several blasts tore through a gurdwara in Kabul on Saturday, killing two persons, including a Sikh, and injuring seven others, while Afghan security personnel thwarted a bigger tragedy by stopping an explosive-laden vehicle from reaching the place of worship of the minority community in the war-torn country.

In the latest targeted assault on a place of worship of the Sikh community in Afghanistan, Gurdwara Karte Parwan in Kabul's Bagh-e Bala neighbourhood was attacked early Saturday morning and a gun battle lasting several hours between the terrorists and Taliban fighters ensued, said Abdul Nafi Takor, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry.

Three attackers were killed by the Taliban forces, the Pajhwok news agency reported.

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Agencies
August 12,2022

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New York, Aug 12: Controversial author Salman Rushdie was stabbed in the neck at an event in New York, US, on Friday. Details were scarce about his condition and the attacker, who has been detained. The 75-year-old author's writings have in the past led to threats.

The New York State Police confirmed the stabbing and said he was taken to an area hospital by helicopter. The attacker is in custody, police said. Social media posts showed people rushing to his aid on stage at Chautauqua Institution, about 100 km from the city. A person interviewing him suffered minor head injuries in the attack. 

Mr Rushdie fell to the floor immediately after the attack, and the attacker was restrained. A small group of people surrounded the author, holding up his legs, presumably to send more blood to his chest, AP reported. Hundreds of people in the audience gasped at the sight of the attack and were then evacuated.

Rabbi Charles Savenor, who was in the audience, told AP: "This guy ran on to platform and started pounding on Mr Rushdie. At first you're like, ‘What's going on?' And then it became abundantly clear in a few seconds that he was being beaten." He said the attack lasted about 20 seconds. 

The attack happened around 11 am local time (8.30 pm IST) as Mr Rushdie was being introduced before he was to speak. The Chautauqua Institution, located in a rural part of New York, is known for its summertime lecture series. Mr Rushdie has spoken there before.

Delhi-based British writer William Dalrymple was among the first to react, hoping that Mr Rushdie wasn't hurt. "A terrible day for literature, for freedom of speech and for authors everywhere. Poor poor Salman: I pray he's not hurt and recovers quickly," he tweeted.

Mr Rushdie, 75, faced threats particularly in the late 1980s over his book, The Satanic Verses, which is banned in Iran since 1988 as it is alleged to be blasphemous towards Islam. There was also a reward out on his head by the Iranian top leader, though by 1998 the Iranian government said it wasn't seeking to enforce that 'fatwa' or edict. It wasn't clear if the attack is linked to that.

A British citizen of Indian origin, Mr Rushdie has lived in the US for the past 20 years. After the controversy over his fourth book, The Satanic Verses (1988), he remained out of the public eye, mostly living in the UK. Despite the threats, he produced several novels throughout the 1990s.

His first novel came out in 1975, but one of his seminal works is about modern India, Midnight's Children (1981), for which he won the Booker Prize. 

In 2007, he was knighted — given the ceremonial title of 'Sir' — by Queen Elizabeth II for services to literature. He has produced over a dozen works, including non-fiction.

In 2012, after an Iranian religious outfit renewed the bounty on him, he dismissed that threat, saying there was "no evidence" of people being interested in the reward, said the AP report. That year, he published a memoir, Joseph Anton, about the fatwa. The title came from the pseudonym he had used while in hiding.

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News Network
August 10,2022

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Bengaluru, Aug 10: The Bharatiya Janata Party state unit president Nalin Kumar Kateel in Karnataka said that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will continue for the full term and the upcoming polls will take place under the guidance of BS Yediyurappa.

“There has been no discussion regarding the change of Chief Minister in the BJP-led government. Basavaraja Bommai will continue as Chief Minister for the full term. The upcoming Vidhan Sabha election will be held Under the guidance of BS Yediyurappa, we are going to face it under the leadership of Bommai,” Nalin Kumar Kateel said.

Reacting to the Congress’s tweet about Bommai’s ouster, he highlighted that Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were facing investigation by the Enforcement Directorate and recently KPCC president D.K.Shivakumar has gotten bail from the court. Kateel alleged that Congress was creating confusion like this to hide it all.

“Congress has tweeted this to save the party by hiding its scandals that have come out, the confusion about the chief ministerial candidate is going on in the Congress, they are discussing to make a Dalit the chief minister of the state,” he said.

“After the Siddaramaotsava, there has been a lot of internal fighting in Congress. Senior politicians like KB Koliwada have created a situation where Siddaramaiah was scolded. The debate about who will be the next Chief Minister is increasing. Congress tweeted that he will become the third chief minister in the state government to cover its internal conflicts, street fights and confusions of the party,” Kateel said.

Asserting that the Congress’ status will be witnessed after the results of the Vidhan Sabha elections, he further said, “Congress will not play the game of creating confusion. Let it resolve its internal confusion first and face the elections together.”

Earlier, Referring to the current political developments in the State and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress in a series of tweets took jibes at the government and said that the state appears set to see a third Chief Minister after Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Bengaluru last week.

The Congress said that the Bommai government, which has not been able to conduct its first-anniversary “Janotsva”, will soon see its end.

The Congress had said that it looks like Bommai is counting the hours to leave the chair and asked Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, “Dear Bommai, the ‘sword fight’ for the CM has been started. What is the reason for the change of CM, is it your administrative failure, a fight between leaders, or is it B.S. Yediyurappa’s anger?”

These comments from Congress came a day after former BJP MLA B. Suresh Gowda claimed that the party’s top leadership was considering replacing Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. He had said, “The Chief Minister might get replaced before Independence Day. There have been talks in the party.”

The Opposition Congress, taking a dig at Bommai, tweeted, “40% government is likely to see a third Chief Minister.” In another tweet, the party said that “the puppet CM Bommai is on his way out.”

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News Network
August 11,2022

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Lucknow, Aug 11: Apparently stung by conviction of one of its ministers and issuance of NBW against another, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is contemplating withdrawal of criminal cases against the ministers and ruling party legislators.

According to the sources, the process of withdrawal of criminal cases could soon be initiated after consultation with the law department. ''Only politically motivated cases will be withdrawn... serious cases will not be withdrawn... many of the cases against the ministers and party legislators were lodged during the governments of the opposition parties,'' said a senior BJP leader was quoted as saying by local news papers.

The leader claimed that a majority of cases were ''politically motivated'' and there was nothing wrong in withdrawing them.

Of the 52 ministers in the UP cabinet, as many as 22 had criminal cases pending against them. A majority of them faced criminal cases in which they could get five-year prison terms if convicted. More than half of the 403 MLAs in the state assembly faced criminal cases. The ministers who faced criminal cases included deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, Yogendra Upadhyaya, Dharmpal Singh Nand Gopal Nandy and some others.

The state government had faced attacks from the opposition parties over the conviction of minister for micro, small and medium enterprises Rakesh Sachan under Arms Act by a Kanpur court and the issuance of NBW against minister and BJP's alliance partner Nishad Party's president Sanjay Nishad.

The SP and the Congress demanded immediate sacking of the ministers. 

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