Number of NRIs killed in Kuwait building fire rises to 45; emir vows prompt probe

News Network
June 13, 2024

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Kuwaiti authorities have identified the bodies of 45 Indians and three Filipino nationals killed in the tragic fire incident in a building housing foreign workers in the Gulf Kingdom, a top official said on Thursday. Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah was quoted as saying by Arab Times that efforts are still underway to determine the identity of one remaining body.

According to the Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs of State of Kerala, the number of people from Kerala who died in the Kuwait fire tragedy has risen to 24. 

The blaze, which started in the kitchen, erupted around 4 am on Wednesday while most of the 195 migrant workers were asleep. The fire incident in southern Kuwait’s Mangaf area claimed 49 lives and injured 50 others.

Meanwhile, an Indian Air Force aircraft is on standby to bring back the mortal remains of Indians killed in the incident. Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya assured full support to the Indians affected in the fire and vowed to promptly investigate the tragedy, hours after meeting Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh.

Kerala govt to provide Rs 5 lakh

The Kerala government said it will provide Rs 5 lakh financial assistance to the families of the people from the state who died in the Kuwait fire tragedy that claimed 49 lives and left 50 others injured.
The decision was taken at an emergency Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the morning, a statement issued by his office said. The cabinet also decided to provide Rs 1 lakh financial assistance to those injured in the incident, it said.
The statement also said prominent businessmen M A Yusuff Ali and Ravi Pillai have informed the CM that they will provide Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively, to each of the families of the Keralites who died in the fire.

Probe ordered

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has ordered a probe into the fire incident at the apartment building, which housed foreign workers with mostly Indians. At least 49 people have died, and the Emir has instructed the officials to investigate the cause of the fire and hold those responsible in the incident as accountable for it.

PM holds meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the fire incident as "saddening" and held a meeting with external affairs minister S Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, and Principal Secretary to the PM PK Mishra to review the situation. 

The fire in the Al-Mangaf building was reported to authorities in Al-Ahmadi governorate at 4:30 am yesterday, with most of the deaths attributed to smoke inhalation. Kuwaiti media reported that the fire started in a kitchen. Kuwait's interior ministry confirmed that the death toll had reached 49.

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News Network
July 15,2024

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Udupi: A suo moto case has been registered against a city-based doctor for making an inflammatory comment on a microblogging platform.

Dr. Keerthan Upadhya from Mahesh Hospital in Brahmavara, Udupi, has been booked for allegedly making a hate-filled comment against the Muslim community on the social media platform 'X' (formerly Twitter). Dr. Upadhya, a specialist in laparoscopic surgery, reportedly operated an account under the name ‘@LonelyStranger_’.

On July 13, a user with the handle ‘Abhi and Niyu’ posed the question, “If you could remove one thing from this world, what would it be?” To this, Dr. Upadhya allegedly replied “Muslim community” from his ‘Lonely Stranger’ account. This response went viral, causing significant controversy.

The Social Media Monitoring Cell at the Udupi District Police Office, under the supervision of Wireless Sub-Inspector Ajmal Ibrahim E.A., filed a complaint leading to the registration of the case at the Udupi City Police Station. The complaint states that Dr. Upadhya’s comment was derogatory and provocative, aimed at inciting hatred between different communities and disrupting communal harmony. It seeks appropriate legal action against Dr. Upadhya for his attempt to create discord among communities.

Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checking organization Alt News, pointed out that Dr. Upadhya had deleted the controversial tweet and locked his Twitter profile, preventing access to his account and tweets.

In a subsequent post, Dr. Upadhya claimed that his account had been hacked and that the offending tweet was made by someone who had gained unauthorized access to his account. Netizens also claimed that Dr. Upadhya had earlier made similar Islamophobic tweets and shared screenshots of similar posts degrading Islam made from the same handle.

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News Network
July 6,2024

Mangaluru: An unsuspecting woman, who fell prey to online fraud, lost Rs 18.1 lakh. The complainant, who works from home, received a call on July 1 from an unknown person claiming to be from FedEx, informing her that a parcel had been registered in her name. 

Eager to find out more, she was instructed to press 1. After doing so, a person identifying himself as Anurag Tomar, with an employee ID, briefly introduced himself before ending the call.

Anurag Tomar called her back and alleged that the parcel contained contraband items, including a passport, four credit cards, 25 strips of LSD, and some clothes.

He told her she would be connected to the Mumbai Crime Branch and instructed her to download the Skype app for a video call.

Following these instructions, she spoke with an individual claiming to be an officer from the Mumbai Crime Branch. This person obtained her Aadhaar card and bank account details, and instructed her to add a beneficiary to her account. 

Over the course of the conversation, Rs 15 lakh was transferred from her account, followed by an additional Rs 3.1 lakh, after adding another beneficiary. The scammers stayed in touch with her until about 7.30 pm.

When the complainant attempted to reconnect with the same number, she was unable to reach anyone. She informed her family and realised that she had been defrauded. From 1.30 pm to 7.30 pm, the scammers made her believe they were from the Mumbai Crime Branch, threatening her with a case involving the alleged LSD found in the parcel. In total, she was cheated out of Rs 18.1 lakh, she alleged.

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News Network
July 16,2024

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More than 9,000 students have been killed and more than 15,000 others wounded in the ongoing Israeli war on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, reports the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

The official Palestinian Wafa news agency, citing the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, reported on Tuesday that a total of 9,241 students had been killed and 15,182 injured since the start of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on October 7, 2023.

The Ministry reported that over 9,138 students were killed in the Gaza Strip, while 14,671 others were injured there.

With Gaza's education system decimated, some 620,000 school-age Palestinians are out of school and more than 88,000 students are unable to enroll in universities, according to the ministry.

In West Bank, 103 students were killed, 505 injured and around 357 students were detained during the nine months of war.

The report also indicated that a total of 497 teachers and administrators have been reported killed, with 3,426 others injured in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

In the Gaza Strip, a total of 353 educational institutions, including government schools, universities, university buildings, and 65 belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees (UNRWA), were targeted in bombings and acts of vandalism.

Out of these buildings, 139 suffered severe damage, 93 were completely destroyed, and 133 government schools in the Gaza Strip were repurposed as shelter centers, according to the report.

In the West Bank, 69 schools and five universities have been attacked and vandalized.

The bloodshed in Gaza’s schools-turned-shelters, which Israel alleges are used by Palestinian resistance movement Hamas as hiding spots, has been a recurring scene throughout the war.

Only in the past 10 days, five UN-run schools have been hit by Israel forces, UNRWA posted on social X platform.

UNRWA in its recent report said that its facilities in Gaza had been attacked by Israel 453 times since the war began last October, and that more than 500 people sheltering in its buildings had been killed. The UN has also said that 80 percent of schools in the territory have been destroyed or damaged.

UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, has recently described the number of wounded children as “staggering” in Gaza.

Israel’s war has killed at least 38,713 people, including nearly 16,000 children, in Gaza since early October last year. Tens of thousands have also been wounded.

Some 21,000 children are also missing while 17,000 have been orphaned. 

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