Indians in KSA rejoice at Modi’s defeat in Delhi

Indians in KSA rejoice at Modi’s defeat in Delhi
Updated 11 February 2015

Indians in KSA rejoice at Modi’s defeat in Delhi

Indians in KSA rejoice at Modi’s defeat in Delhi

Many Indian expatriates here are rejoicing after the sweeping victory of a little-known Indian political party over the ruling rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Delhi state elections.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), or Common Man’s Party, led by anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal, who was ridiculed by Modi during electioneering, won 67 out of 70 Delhi Assembly seats during the polls last week. The results were declared on Tuesday morning.
The BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi was among the losers. Muslims overwhelmingly voted for the secular AAP. Four community representatives contesting on AAP tickets won with comfortable margins. They were Amanatullah Khan (Okhla), Imran Hussain (Ballimaran), Asim Ahmad Khan (Matia Mahal) and Mohammed Ishraque (Seelampur).
The verdict, coming just nine months after Modi won an overwhelming national vote, indicated that the maverick prime minister has lost considerable appeal.
“This is the defeat caused by arrogance,” said Dr. M.S. Karimuddin, a well-known Jeddah-based Indian community elder. “The attacks on churches, the campaign of calumny against Muslims, and the carte blanche given to big corporations resulted in this massive defeat for Modi and his BJP.”
Narasimhan Venkat from Hafr Al-Baten said any leader who tries to play with the Indian ethos of pluralism and inclusiveness would pay a heavy price. “Indians voted in large numbers for Modi in the last general elections because he talked of development,” he said.
“Nine months later, he was presiding over a country that seemed divided and scared,” said Venkat. “This is the reason why Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs came together to pull the country back from the brink of sectarian disaster,” he added.
Longtime Indian expat Nafis Tarin was elated at the results. “The AAP has restored our faith in democracy and secularism,” he told Arab News. “This is the beginning of a new era. The people of Delhi deserve to be given their weight in gold for scripting this spectacular victory for the AAP and puncturing the huge egos of Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.”
Expatriates said communal parties should have no place in India’s democracy. “Indians of all hues have rejected parochial parties,” said Mohammed Azeemuddin from Riyadh. “Muslims were especially angry with Ahmad Bukhari, the self-styled imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid who came out in support of the AAP.”
“I am very happy that the AAP rejected his offer. These are communal people and Muslims have rejected them. Muslims needed a viable alternative. In the absence of one, they voted begrudgingly for Congress. But now that they had the option they exercised it to the fullest and so the AAP won,” said Azeemuddin.
Dr. Saleem Mehkri from Madinah said: “Hopefully this trend continues in all the other states and both the fascist BJP and the hidden devil Congress make way for a balanced non-corrupt secular party.”
Arif Shah from Riyadh said it was “spectacular,” while Zahyr Siddiqi, from Jeddah, said that India is “changing for good.”
Abdulla Umerkhan from Jubail said all Indians “should salute the people of Delhi. No caste, no creed, no color, no community, no vote bank — this is a message to the world from the people of the Indian capital, that we Indians are one ... no force can drive a wedge between us.”
“This was the battle between the storm and the candle. The candle has won,” said Yogendra Yadav, a senior member of the AAP. “How could we even think of fighting such big political parties with so much money? But the people have carried us on their shoulders today.”
In the last local elections in December 2013, the BJP won 31 seats in the legislature. In May 2014, Modi helped the party take all seven of Delhi’s national parliamentary seats. Observers say the scale of the BJP’s reversal is stunning because voters have unquestionably grown impatient waiting for the “achche din” (good days) that Modi promised them.
Modi may regret having raised expectations so high during his candidacy. He promised new jobs, revived growth, lower inflation and an end to corruption and cronyism. His record on all fronts has been patchy, say expatriates.
One television news station called the outcome a “tectonic shift in Indian politics.”


Saudi Arabia records 11 COVID-19 deaths, 842 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 11 COVID-19 deaths, 842 new cases
Updated 5 min 18 sec ago

Saudi Arabia records 11 COVID-19 deaths, 842 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 11 COVID-19 deaths, 842 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 706 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • 18 mosques have been closed after 18 worshippers tested positive for COVID-19

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 11 new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 6,765.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 842 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 399,277 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 8,485 remain active and 950 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 365, followed by Makkah with 150, the Eastern Province with 147, Asir recorded 34 and Hail confirmed 32 cases.

The ministry also announced that 706 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 384,027.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the jab, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
It also launched a priority rapid vaccination service for citizens and residents aged 75 and over, without the need to register or make an appointment.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs temporarily closed 18 mosques in eight regions on Monday after 18 worshipers tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of mosques closed to 570 within 64 days, 542 of which have been reopened after being sterilized.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 136 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 2.94 million.


Saudia airline getting ready to operate on May 17

Saudia airline getting ready to operate on May 17
Saudi Arabia’s flagship carrier is getting ready to fly on May 17. (SPA)
Updated 12 April 2021

Saudia airline getting ready to operate on May 17

Saudia airline getting ready to operate on May 17
  • Saudia was ranked among the top 10 airlines worldwide for its health and safety measures and received the highest certification by APEX Health Safety in January

JEDDAH: The Kingdom’s flagship carrier is preparing for full-capacity operations ahead of the lift of the travel ban next month, with Saudis eager to safely return to traveling during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Saudi Minister of Transport Saleh Al-Jasser chaired a meeting with the Saudia airline board of directors to discuss preparations for the return of international flights on May 17.
The date will mark the end of the suspension of international travel for Saudi citizens by land, air, and sea.
The minister expressed his thanks for the efforts made to safely continue domestic flights by limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Saudia was ranked among the top 10 airlines worldwide for its health and safety measures and received the highest certification by APEX Health Safety in January.
Saudis are feeling more comfortable with the idea of traveling abroad again.
Ismail Ayoub, 30, said he will travel as soon as the opportunity strikes, with Dubai being his first choice due to their high safety standards. “Safety is one factor, another reason is I have good contacts in Dubai and in the region, so this is an opportunity to reconnect with them,” Ayoub told Arab News.
“The closeness of Dubai to the Kingdom makes it very convenient as well,” he added.
Ayoub said he will travel to countries where tourism offerings follow the strict COVID-19 safety guidelines. “I would avoid countries with unmanaged crowds. I want to enjoy my trip while staying safe.”

Saudis are feeling more comfortable with the idea of traveling abroad again. (SPA)

Software engineer Alia Al-Sadat, 27, said she is glad to have the option to travel but would rather postpone her international flight plans until the global cases drop.
“I feel very safe in the Kingdom. I’m happy to simply travel between Jeddah and Riyadh, or even go and explore AlUla,” Al-Sadat told Arab News.
She highlighted that the travel restrictions were a good opportunity to explore the Kingdom.
“Many people do not know it, but Saudi Arabia has some spectacular destinations. This year made me want to explore places like Abha, Taif and of course Umluj,” she added.


Saudi authorities urge public to follow precautions to ensure safe Ramadan

Saudi authorities urge public to follow precautions to ensure safe Ramadan
Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly. (SPA)
Updated 12 April 2021

Saudi authorities urge public to follow precautions to ensure safe Ramadan

Saudi authorities urge public to follow precautions to ensure safe Ramadan
  • There are 8,360 active cases, 915 of them are critical

JEDDAH: With a few days to go before the start of Ramadan, Saudi health authorities are warning the Kingdom’s residents to remain vigilant and stick to safety precautions put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
During a press conference on Sunday, Ministry of Health (MoH) spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly reminded residents of the importance of following the precautions.
“Last year’s Ramadan was unlike any other Ramadan that we have experienced,” he said, adding that visitors to mosques would need to follow set guidelines, such as bringing their own prayer mats, attending prayer on time, socially distancing and staying clear of overcrowding.
He also highlighted the importance of following precautions during family gatherings. “We are used to family gatherings during Ramadan — they are special and bring the family together — but we must limit the number of visitors in gatherings.”
On Saturday, the MoH announced it would be postponing second doses of COVID-19 vaccines in order to ensure more people receive their first dose.
“The challenges are a race against time. We want to ensure that the most vulnerable are prioritized and receive their first vaccine to gain immunity,” Al-Abd Al-Aly said, adding that cancelled slots would be rearranged automatically.
“The second dose acts as a booster to the immunity one develops after the first dose,” he said.

INNUMBERS

398,435 Total cases

383,321 Recoveries

6,754 Deaths

8,360 Active cases

A total of 799 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the Kingdom on Sunday, meaning 398,435 people in Saudi Arabia have now contracted the disease.
There are 8,360 active cases, 915 of them are critical.
In addition, 548 new recovered cases were announced, taking the total number of recoveries to 383,321. The Kingdom’s recovery rate is holding steady at 96.2 percent.
Seven new COVID-19 related deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 6,754.
Saudi Arabia has administered more than 6.25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses so far. A total of 58,897 PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, raising the total number of tests conducted in the Kingdom to 15,797,442.
Elsewhere, 30,054 violations of precautionary and preventive measures were reported over the past week. The highest numbers of violations were in Riyadh (11,162), Makkah (5,883), and the Eastern Province (4,183). Jazan (155) and Najran (132) had the lowest number of reported violations.
The Ministry of Interior stressed that citizens and residents must continue to adhere to the preventive measures and instructions issued by the authorities for their own safety and the safety of fellow citizens and residents.


Hajj Ministry announce Ramadan guidelines for Umrah and prayers

Hajj Ministry announce Ramadan guidelines for Umrah and prayers
The ministry reminded people for the need to follow the preventive measures to ensure the safety, health and security of those visiting the two holy mosques. (SPA)
Updated 12 April 2021

Hajj Ministry announce Ramadan guidelines for Umrah and prayers

Hajj Ministry announce Ramadan guidelines for Umrah and prayers
  • Taraweeh, Qiyam prayers should not exceed 30 minutes in all mosques

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has set guidelines and protocols for issuing Umrah and prayer permits for the month of Ramadan. 
Vaccinations are at the top of the priority list as no worshippers are allowed into either Makkah’s Grand Mosque or Madinah’s Prophet’s Mosque without having received at least one dose of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.
Permits will only be allowed through the Tawakkalna and Eatmarna apps, and will not be provided for unvaccinated individuals, as the latest Tawkkalna update has designated each category with a color code and barcode specific to their health status.
Unauthorized vehicles will not be allowed in the central region around Makkah, and visitors must arrive on time or risk losing their time slot.
Children will not be allowed to enter either mosques, nor the courtyards around the mosques.

HIGHLIGHT

Permits will only be allowed through the Tawakkalna and Eatmarna apps, and will not be provided for unvaccinated individuals, as the latest Tawkkalna update has designated each category with a color code and barcode specific to their health status.

The Ministry of Interior issued a warning that a SR10,000 ($26,671) fine will be issued to pilgrims wishing to perform Umrah without permits, and a SR1,000 fine for worshippers trying to enter the mosques without one.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance issued a statement saying that Taraweeh and Qiyam prayers should not exceed 30 minutes in all mosques in the Kingdom. This comes after King Salman issued a decision to permit Taraweeh prayers in the two holy mosques and reduce them to five tasleemat.
The ministry reminded people for the need to follow the preventive measures to ensure the safety, health and security of those visiting the two holy mosques.


Saudi rights body to support sexual harassment victims

Saudi rights body to support sexual harassment victims
Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad. (SPA)
Updated 11 April 2021

Saudi rights body to support sexual harassment victims

Saudi rights body to support sexual harassment victims
  • Psychological, educational, and legal consultations are provided to the beneficiaries in cooperation with a number of specialists at the HRC

JEDDAH: Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC), has launched a specialized group to support victims of sexual harassment and their families with psychological counseling and educational, social, and legal guidance with strict confidentiality.
The group will enhance protection for victims of harassment and raise awareness about its impact on individuals and society.
Al-Awwad said the launch is part of the measures and regulations that the Kingdom has adopted to protect and support victims of harassment, including the anti-harassment law, child protection system, and law on protection from abuse.
The group will address these effects to help victims overcome trauma, to ensure it does not occur again, and to inform families and the relevant authorities in the event of a new exposure to harassment.
The group is supervised by HRC board member Dr. Sarah bint Omar Al-Abdulkarim, in cooperation with consultant psychiatrist Dr. Meshal Al-Aqeel and Dr. Amal Bannunah, a professional adviser in protection and sex education expert. Psychological, educational, and legal consultations are provided to the beneficiaries in cooperation with a number of specialists at the HRC.