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 4,2021

Srinagar, Sept 4: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said the Centre's claim that people of Jammu and Kashmir now enjoy equal rights is a "barefaced lie" and the ease with which it imposes a "complete siege" in the valley every time it anticipates a reaction is distressing and deeply insensitive.

Her remarks come after authorities snapped mobile telephone services, except on BSNL's postpaid, and internet services, except on BSNL's Broadband and Fiber, on Wednesday night immediately after the death of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

"GOI's dubious claims that people of J&K now enjoy equal rights is a barefaced lie as truth is that even their basic human rights dead or alive are suspended with pervasive impunity (sic)," Mehbooba said on Twitter.

The former chief minister of the erstwhile state said the ease with which the Government of India imposes a "complete siege", including communications blackout, in Kashmir every time it anticipates a reaction from people is distressing and deeply insensitive.

"Their misadventure of creating fear and suppression to eliminate a sentiment is counter productive since feelings and emotions don't dissipate or vanish into thin air. These feelings of betrayal, subjugation and anger are absorbed and passed on from one generation to the next," she tweeted.

The PDP chief claimed that instead of reaching out, every successive policy is undertaken to humiliate and collectively punish Jammu and Kashmir.

"These punitive actions compound this sense of betrayal and rage," she added.

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News Network
September 6,2021

Bengaluru, Sept 6: If the third wave of covid-19 strikes the country, seven times more children may be affected compared to the second wave, according to the scientists.

The scientists estimated that a third wave could be averted if the rate of vaccination is doubled along with strict compliance to the behavioural norms such as mobility restriction, masking and physical distancing mandates, and crowd control measures.

Under certain special circumstances, the daily confirmed cases of children (age 0-11 and 12-17 years) at peak could be on an average seven times more than the corresponding daily confirmed cases at the peak of the second wave, they reported in a new study, noting that such findings could help shape public health strategies in the coming months.

For instance, the state can set up registries to track the kids who may develop MISC (multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children) due to Covid-19 or make arrangements for adequate paediatric ICU beds.

"The study is not to scare but to prepare. Even if they develop Covid-19 infection, most of the kids would not require a hospital stay. The seven times more estimate is on average, and it could range between three and ten,” Giridhara Babu, an epidemiologist at the Indian Institute of Public Health and one of the co-authors said.

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science and IIPH conducted the modelling exercise following an ensemble-forecast approach using 972 models and Karnataka specific data to find that a new wave would be inevitable if compliance to the Covid-appropriate behaviour was partial.

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News Network
September 2,2021

Chikkamgaluru, Sept 2: The Criminal Investigating Department (CID) sleuths probing the sensational case of Dalit youth allegedly forced to drink urine while in custody have arrested the prime accused sub-inspector Arjun, police sources said on Thursday.

Arjun, a former sub-inspector at the Gonibeedu police station in Chikkamagalur district was arrested by the team headed by Superintendent of Police Ravi D. Channannavar on Wednesday night in Bengaluru, sources said.

The police in Gonibeedu had picked up Punith K.L. on May 10 in connection with an elopement case probed by SI Arjun. Arjun allegedly tortured Punith and asked another youth to urinate on his face. It has also been charged that Punith was asked to lick the urine on the floor.

The matter came to light when Punith wrote a letter to the police department and the Human Rights Commission. An FIR was registered in this connection against the accused police officer Arjun on May 22. Following the backlash, the accused police officer was kept under suspension.

Meanwhile, a rape case was lodged against Punith and his relatives but he had obtained bail in the case. Both the cases are being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The Karnataka High Court has turned down the plea of accused sub-inspector Arjun to quash the charges against him in the case in July. He had withdrawn the application seeking quashing of the case. The court had also directed the police not to take any coercive measure and file a charge sheet in the case.

Various organisations in the state have planned a massive protest this week demanding the arrest of the accused sub-inspector.

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