30 drown as boat with Hindu worshippers capsizes in India

A devotee carries an idol of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha for immersing in the waters on the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India. (AP)
Updated 13 September 2019

30 drown as boat with Hindu worshippers capsizes in India

  • This week marks the end of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi

NEW DELHI: More than 30 Hindu worshippers have drowned in swollen rivers and in a lake in India as thousands participated in religious ceremonies in which figures of a Hindu god are immersed in water, officials and news reports said Friday.
At least 11 people drowned when their boat capsized early Friday on a lake in central India, rescuers said.
Six people were able to swim ashore in the lake in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh state, and a search was on for one missing person, said National Disaster Response Force spokesman Krishan Kumar. Kumar said 11 bodies were recovered from the lake.
The boat tilted and capsized as the worshippers were immersing a large idol of the Hindu god Ganesh in the lake, police said.
The Press Trust of India news agency said 18 other people drowned when they were swept away by flooded rivers in a half dozen towns in western Maharashtra state on Thursday and Friday. Four other worshippers drowned in Yamuna river in New Delhi during religious ceremonies.
Hindus are celebrating the birthday of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. Ganesh is the symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Boats in India are often overloaded, which leads to frequent accidents. Most boats operating in rural areas have no life jackets.


Pakistan seeks extradition of Daesh leader from Afghanistan

Updated 4 min 20 sec ago

Pakistan seeks extradition of Daesh leader from Afghanistan

  • Aslam Farooqi is a Pakistani national wanted in connection with attacks claimed by Daesh in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asked neighbor Afghanistan to extradite a leader in the local Daesh group affiliate who was arrested in an Afghan intelligence operation in southern Afghanistan earlier this month.
Aslam Farooqi is a Pakistani national wanted in connection with attacks claimed by Daesh in Pakistan. The Afghan government accuses Farooqi of involvement in last month’s attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul on a Sikh house of worship that killed 25 worshipers.
The Daesh group, on its affiliated Amaq website, took credit for the attack saying it was carried out by Indian national Abu Khalid Al-Hindi in revenge for Indian military action in its violence-wracked portion of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
A single gunman rampaged through the Gurdwara, a Sikh place of worship, exploding grenades and firing at worshipers.
There was no immediate response from Afghanistan.
In a statement late Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Atif Mashal, had been summoned and told of Pakistan’s worries about the activities of the Daesh affiliate, known as the Daesh -Khorazan, headquartered in eastern Afghanistan.
“Since Aslam Farooqi was involved in anti-Pakistan activities in Afghanistan, he should be handed-over to Pakistan for further investigations,” the ministry statement said
Farooqi, whose real name is Abdullah Orakzai, was arrested last weekend along with 19 other Daesh operatives, according to Afghanistan’s intelligence agency.
The upstart Daesh affiliate has taken credit for attacks in Pakistan, including one in January in the southwestern Baluchistan provincial capital of Quetta that killed 15 worshipers.
In recent months, Afghan and American officials claim the Daesh has been weakened as a result of relentless US bombing raids in eastern Afghanistan as well as military operations by the Afghan National Security Forces and attacks by their rivals, Taliban insurgents.
In the months leading up to Washington’s peace deal with the Taliban signed in February, US officials said a key component of the agreement was a promise by the Taliban to aid in the fight against Daesh, seen as the greatest threat to US national security emanating from Afghanistan.
Still, the US-Taliban peace deal has had a rocky beginning. Political wrangling in Kabul between President Ashraf Ghani and his rival in last year’s disputed presidential polls, Abdullah Abdullah, has frustrated Washington, which has threatened to withdraw $1 billion in aid if they don’t find a power-sharing deal. Their bickering has delayed the next critical step in the deal, which calls for intra-Afghan negotiations between Kabul leaders, many of whom are linked to warlords and the Taliban.
Delays in completing a prisoner release as laid out in the US-Taliban deal have further frustrated efforts to start the intra-Afghan negotiations.
However, the US and NATO began withdrawing forces and if the Taliban keep their promise to fight terrorism the US will withdraw all its forces over 14 months from the signing of the deal.