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With 2 missing Indians ‘killed’, is Kenya safe?



 The report on two Indians missing in Kenya for more than 90 days, and their subsequent “killing”, as claimed by the Kenyan President’s aide last week, has raised questions on the safety of Indians living in and travelling to the East African nation.

Mohammad Zaid Sami Kidwai and Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan, who went to Kenya in April to help with President William Ruto’s social media campaign, were killed by the DCI (Directorate of Criminal Investigations) unit, Ruto’s aide Dennis Itumbi said in a Facebook post.

The now-disbanded Special Service Unit was alleged to have been behind several cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of both citizens and foreign nationals.

India has described as “very disturbing” the events surrounding the abduction of its nationals in Kenya and the subsequent lack of information in the case.

“I’ve spent one year and seven months in Nairobi and from that, I can say Nairobi is pretty much safe for Indians. However, always have a local Kenyan person to accompany you and keep your car windows shut,” Atul Jha, who lived in Nairobi from 2016 to 2018, said.

“Kenya has a big community of Indians. It is safe for Indians or any other expatriate to live and work here,” Om Sharma, who keeps travelling to Kenya for work, told IANS.

In a 2017 incident that led to widespread outrage in Kenya, a 32-year-old businessman of Indian origin Bunty Shah was shot dead by the police inside his home in a case of mistaken identity. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

Bunty Shah belonged to a Gujarati family that owns Bobmil Industries Ltd, a mattress manufacturing company in Nairobi.

In a similar case recently, Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif was shot dead in a “case of mistaken identity”.

But what shook the Indian community was a 2013 terrorist attack on Westgate centre in Kenya by al-Shabab militants, which killed three Indians, including an eight-year-old boy, and left many others injured.

One of the victims, 40-year-old Sridhar Natarajan was working with a pharma firm, the boy Paramshu Jain was the son of a manager of the local Bank of Baroda branch. The third victim, Sudharshan B. Nagaraj, was from Bengaluru.

In the 2008 violence that erupted after former President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the presidential election, looting of Indian shops were reported in Kenya.

As such, there is no official travel advisory from the Indian side and hundreds of Indians are doing business and jobs in Kenya.

However, a US government advisory released this month says that crime is high in Kenya, and incidents of armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping and muggings are seen in Nairobi and Mombasa.

“Local police are willing but often lack the capability to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents and terrorist attacks,” the advisory noted.

An Australian travel advisory updated today said: “Don’t walk around after dark. If you live in Kenya, invest in strong personal security measures… Attacks could occur at any time and with little or no warning”.

Close to a lakh people living in Kenya are Indians, and they wield considerable political and economic power. The Indians also make up the 44th tribe in Kenya.

The tourism board in Kenya wants a 40 per cent increase in Indian tourists to Kenya, and wants Bollywood filmmakers to shoot in the African country.

During the last 10 years, the Indian market has grown to be the third largest tourism source market for Kenya representing a market share of 7.3 per cent of total tourist arrivals into Kenya.

Records show that 31,983 Indian workers came to Kenya in the early 19th centrury as indentured labourers.

They worked as traders and farmers on the railway system that the British were building in east Africa.

The majority of Indians trace their ancestry to the regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Punjab. There are also large numbers who originate from Maharashtra, Odisha, Goa and Tamil Nadu.

Most are found in the major urban areas of Nairobi and Mombasa, and are mainly engaged in construction, metal and retail businesses. Some work in banks. They also own vast tracts of farmland in the countryside.

International News

Israeli PM sacks Defence Minister who urged a halt to judicial overhaul




Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fired Defence Minister Yoav Gallant after the latter called on the government to halt its contentious judiciary overhaul plan.

Netanyahu’s office issued a short statement late Sunday saying he decided to remove Gallant from his position, without citing any reasons, reports Xinhua news agency.

The move was largely seen as an indication that the Prime Minister’s coalition tries to push through key reform bills that are expected to be brought to parliamentary votes later this week.

Gallant responded in a tweet that Israel’s security “has always been and will always remain the mission of my life”.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israeli national security minister and a staunch supporter of the reforms, welcomed the dismissal of Gallant.

Opposition leader and Chairman of the centrist Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid criticised Netanyahu for firing Gallant, warning swift moves to overhaul judicial system are a threat to Israel’s security.

In a televised speech on Saturday, Gallant called for dialogue with opposition parties, and postponement of government efforts of pushing ahead with the plan until the Knesset reconvenes from its Passover holiday on April 30.

He was the first minister in Netanyahu’s far-right cabinet to break ranks and call for a freeze of the divisive plan to weaken the Supreme Court.

Gallant, a senior minister with Netanyahu’s Likud party, said that the overhaul plan has triggered turmoil in the Israeli society and military that poses a threat to national security.

Gallant was followed by two other Likud lawmakers and a minister, who issued similar calls to freeze the controversial plan.

The plan has sparked massive protests across Israel, and growing discontent in the Israeli military, with thousands of reservists with elite units, including combat pilots, intelligence officers, and cyber experts, announcing in open letters over the past weeks that they will not show up for duty if the reforms are passed in Parliament.

Netanyahu says the overhaul is needed in order to curb the “overly activist” Supreme Court.

Critics of the overhaul plan worry that the reform would undermine checks and balances within Israel’s political system, and that the Prime Minister, who is on trial for fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes, is in a conflict of interests.

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Atif Aslam, wife Sara welcome baby girl in holy month of Ramzan




 Pakistani playback singer Atif Aslam, who is known for chartbusters such as ‘Aadat’, ‘Bakhuda’, ‘Jeena Jeena’, ‘Jaane De’ and several others, has become a proud faher as he and his wife Sara Bharwana welcome a baby girl.

The ‘Tajdar-e-Haram’ hitmaker took to his Instagram on Thursday to share the news of his baby’s arrival with his fans. He posted a picture of his daughter wrapped up in pink colour baby sleepwear.

The baby is named Halima.

He wrote in the caption: “Finally the wait is over. The new queen of my heart has arrived.”

“Both baby and Sarah are fine Alhamdulilah. Please do remember us in your prayers. Ramadan Mubarak from Halima Atif Aslam 23/03/2023.”

He also added #Ramadan in the caption.

Atif has sung many songs in Bollywood films including ‘Tere Sang Yaara’ from ‘Rustom’, ‘Tu Jaane Na’ and ‘Tera Hone Laga Hoon’ from ‘Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani’ and ‘Tere Bin’ from ‘Bas Ek Pal’.

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International News





JERUSALEM: The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, Mohammad Hussein, declared that Thursday, March 23, will be the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

RIYADH: The crescent moon was not sighted on Tuesday evening in Saudi Arabia and Thursday, March 23, will be the start of the holy month of Ramadan, the Kingdom’s Supreme Court has said. 

The court called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to look for the Ramadan crescent on Tuesday evening that corresponds to Shaban 29, 1444.

The Ministry of Justice announced it has launched an electronic system for crescent sighting “with the aim of automating and governing the moon sighting processes, and unifying work procedures between the courts of first instance and the Supreme Court.” 

The service aims to unify the data source of the observatory through a robust electronic system that provides speed and integration with the relevant authorities, raising the quality of the observatory operations, and speeding up the issuance of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding new moon sightings.

More than 1.9 billion Muslims around the world will mark the holy month, during which believers abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn until sunset.

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