The South Asia Channel
Hundreds of Indians Evacuated from Yemen; Senior MQM Official Arrested in London; Fighting Intensifies in Sangin
India Indians evacuated from Yemen The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said that approximately 349 Indian nationals were rescued from Yemen’s Aden city, according to news reports on Wednesday (Indian Express, Economic Times, BBC). In response to the security concerns in Yemen, and after Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against the Houthi rebels, the Indian Navy ...
Indians evacuated from Yemen
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said that approximately 349 Indian nationals were rescued from Yemen’s Aden city, according to news reports on Wednesday (Indian Express, Economic Times, BBC). In response to the security concerns in Yemen, and after Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against the Houthi rebels, the Indian Navy took the rescued nationals to the neighboring territory of Djibouti, from where they will be flown to India. The rescued group includes more than 100 women and 25 children. According to reports, two more Navy ships are expected to reach Yemen on Thursday to rescue around 4,000 Indians still stranded there.
India reduces cost of urea supplies to farmers
The Indian cabinet approved a measure to supply gas for urea production to fertilizer plants at a uniform price through a pooling mechanism, according to news reports on Tuesday (Indian Express, Reuters, Livemint). The uniform pricing is expected to lower costs and boost the production of fertilizers in India. It will also result in savings of $250 million due to the reduction in imports. Although India produces 22 million tons of urea annually, it still imports 8 million tons to meet the domestic demand. The cabinet also approved the revival of two fertilizer plants that were lying defunct for years to increase domestic production.
Police take mugshots of cows after beef ban
The police in the city of Malegaon, located in the western state of Maharashtra, asked farmers to take mugshots of all of their cows to enforce the beef ban in the state, according to news reports on Tuesday (BBC). Earlier this year, Maharashtra imposed a ban on the slaughter of cows, and the sale and consumption of beef. Sunil Kadasane, a senior police officer, said: “This is being done by seven police stations across the city. All the bullocks and cows will be photographed. Animals are being checked and we will maintain a register with details of the animals” (NDTV). Mahesh Sawai, the deputy superintendent of police in Malegaon, further said that farmers should provide specific details of their cattle like “one horn missing” or “half tail lost” (WSJ). India’s majority Hindu population reveres cows and many states ban or restrict the sale and consumption of beef. India is second-largest exporter of beef in the world and fifth-biggest consumer.
Senior MQM leader arrested in London
Mohammad Anwar, a senior leader in Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), was arrested in London on Wednesday in connection with a money laundering case (Dawn, ET). While the London Metropolitan police confirmed that they had arrested a 64-year-old man on suspicion of money laundering, British authorities did not disclose his identity. However, Haider Abbas Rizvi, another MQM leader, told Pakistani media outlets that Anwar was the man in custody and that a legal team was with him. Anwar’s arrest comes less than a year after MQM chief Altaf Hussain was also arrested in London during an investigation related to money laundering.
Report: Pakistan is the eighth-most dangerous country in the world
A new study released by the Washington, D.C.-based company IntelCenter says that Pakistan is the eighth-most dangerous country in the world due to high levels of terrorist and rebel activity (ET). According to reports, the study is based on IntelCenter’s Country Threat Index (CTI), which measures the volume of terrorist and rebel alerts, messaging traffic, videos, photos, incidents, and the number of people killed and injured over the past month. The study, however, states that CTI should not be the sole measure of risk in a country, but merely taken into consideration.
According to the report, Afghanistan is the fifth-most dangerous country in the world. The other countries rounding out the Top 10 are Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine, and Egypt (RFE/RL).
Over 200 IDPs return to North Waziristan
Pakistan’s Express Tribune reported on Wednesday that more than 200 internally displaced people (IDPs) returned to their homes in North Waziristan on the first day of the repatriation process from Bannu (ET). According to the report, the people came from 62 different families and were all from the Shameeri section of the tribal region. Along with their belongings, they carried ATM cards entitling them to Rs. 35,000 ($344) to cover their transportation and repatriation costs. The repatriation in North Waziristan began one day after 630 families were repatriated back to South Waziristan, ending a process that began in 2004.
Fighting intensifies in Sangin district
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement released on Tuesday that at least 33 Taliban insurgents had been killed and seven others were wounded in a 24-hour period in the Sangin district in Helmand province (TOLO News). According to the statement, the activity was part of the Zulfiqar operation that has been ongoing in the province for the past two months.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the fighting in Sangin is a sign that the Afghan conflict is getting bloodier (WSJ). The Journal’s Margherita Stancati says that more than 460 people were admitted to a hospital in Lashkar Gah in February and March this year, a 30 percent increase over 2014. Dimitra Giannakopoulou, the medical coordinator for the hospital, which is run by an Italian NGO, told Stancati: “People are getting caught in the crossfire, on a much bigger scale than before. These are not normal numbers for the place and it’s never been peaceful.” The report comes as Afghan security forces prepare for a difficult spring as coalition troops have retreated from the front line.
Afghan company launches first digital service
The Afghanistan Broadcast System (ABS), an Afghan-owned media company based in Kabul, celebrated the launch of the country’s first digital television service on Wednesday (Pajhwok). The service, named Oqaab (“eagle” in Dari), will include a weekly digital programming guide, as well as the option to subscribe to a pre-paid service with international news, documentary, and entertainment channels. It will also enable viewers to watch television with a “clear, crisp picture and sound quality, free from the static disruptions and poor quality of the existing analogue television transmissions.” After this initial launch in Kabul, ABS is planning on launching Oqaab in 20 provincial capitals across Afghanistan within the next three years.
Edited by Peter Bergen.
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