Rebel boss Eknath Shinde takes oath as Maha CM; Devendra Fadnavis his Deputy

News Network
June 30, 2022

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Mumbai: Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde took oath as Maharashtra Chief Minister and Devendra Fadnavis his deputy on Thursday, as the BJP capped the coup that unseated Uddhav Thackeray a day ago with back-to-back curveballs.

Here are latest developments:

>> "I will stay out of the government and ensure it runs smoothly," Mr Fadnavis said at a news briefing around 4:30 pm, announcing that only Mr Shinde will be sworn in later in the evening.

>> However, barely three hours later, he was seen taking oath as Mr Shinde's deputy after BJP chief JP Nadda said, "He must be Deputy Chief Minister... I will personally request him."

>> Eknath Shinde thanked PM Modi, Mr Fadnavis and other BJP leaders. "It's their magnanimity. They had a bigger mandate, yet they made me the Chief Minister. Who does that?" he said.

>> Devendra Fadnavis and Eknath Shinde met with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and staked claim to power earlier in the afternoon.

>> Uddhav Thackeray quit as Maharashtra Chief Minister yesterday, shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that he must prove his majority.

>> The Shiv Sena chief was left with only 13 MLAs after the revolt that played out in three BJP-ruled states. Eknath Shinde and a group of rebels first moved to Gujarat's Surat in luxury buses. They were flown to Assam's Guwahati in chartered flights. They landed in Goa last evening to prepare for a possible test of strength.

>> Deepak Kesarkar, the spokesperson for the Sena rebels, stressed that it was ideology, and not greed for better posts, that drove them to switch sides and go with the BJP.

>> He also said the rebels did not betray Uddhav Thackeray and still have love and respect for him. "Nobody in Shiv Sena is against the Thackeray family," he said.

>> He asserted that the rebel faction is the Shiv Sena now, since Uddhav Thackeray is in a minority in the party. "It's not a question of who is the real Shiv Sena. We have the legal majority and thus ours is the legislature party," he said.

>> Despite evidence of its protection and facilitation of the rebels, the BJP denied any role in the Shiv Sena coup. Devendra Fadnavis held two meetings with the leadership during the crisis. A third meeting saw Eknath Shinde being flown from Guwahati to Vadodara for discussions with Mr Fadnavis and Home Minister Amit Shah, the BJP's chief strategist.

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News Network
August 11,2022

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Mangaluru, Aug 11: An international passenger was arrested Mangaluru International Airport after customs officials found him smuggling gold inside sandals on Wednesday, August 10. 

The passenger, who arrived from Dubai, had reportedly hidden gold with mixture of gum inside the sandals he was wearing. He is a native of Kasargod.

The confiscated gold is weighing 332 gram of 24 carat purity and is worth Rs 17.43 lac in the market.

The passenger was taken into custody by the customs officials then handed over to the police. 

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News Network
August 5,2022

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Lucknow, Aug 5: A BJP leader allegedly beheaded his friend, a bullion trader and also a worker of the saffron party, in Uttar Pradesh's Agra town, about 350 kilometres from here.

According to the police sources here, Tinku Bhargava, who was an office bearer of the district unit of the BJP, allegedly beheaded the victim, identified as Naveen Verma, before shooting him dead on Thursday night.

Bhargava was caught by the cops in the wee hours of Friday while he, with the help of a friend of his, was looking for a place to dump the severed head and the body near the forested Sikandra Arsena area on the outskirts of the town, sources said.

Police officials in Agra said that the severed head and the body were recovered from the car of Bhargava, who, during questioning, confessed to perpetrating the crime.

Police said that Bhargava, who knew Verma well, called the latter on Thursday evening to join a liquor party. He later shot him dead and then allegedly severed his head. ''The assailants severed the victim's head and also stripped him to prevent his identification,'' said a senior police official in Agra on Friday.

The motive behind the gruesome killing was yet to be ascertained though sources said that the assailant had been having an affair with the victim's wife and wanted to eliminate him.

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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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