The dead body of Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters photojournalist who was killed in Afghanistan this month, was badly mutilated while in the custody of the Taliban, the New York Times quoted officials as saying.
Siddiqui, 38, was killed on 16 July, when Afghan commandos he had accompanied to Spin Boldak, a border district recently captured by the Taliban, were ambushed. Initial photographs from the scene showed Siddiqui’s body with multiple wounds but fully intact, NYT reported.
But by that evening, when the body was handed over to the Red Cross and transferred to a hospital in the southern city of Kandahar, it had been badly mutilated, according to two Indian officials and two Afghan health officials there.
The NYT reviewed multiple photographs, some provided by Indian officials and others taken by Afghan health workers at the hospital, that showed Siddiqui’s body had been mutilated. One Indian official said that the body had nearly a dozen bullet wounds and that there were tire marks on Siddiqui’s face and chest.
Another health official quoted by NYT said that the Inddian photojournalist’s face was unrecognisable, and he could not determine exactly what had been done to the body.
A Taliban spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, denied any wrongdoing, saying that they were under orders to treat bodies with respect and to hand them over to local elders or the Red Cross.
There are conflicting reports about what happened on July 16, as the Afghan special forces with whom Siddiqui was traveling tried to retake Spin Boldak.
Accounts from local officials, as well as Taliban members, suggest that Siddiqui and the Afghan unit’s commander were killed in a crossfire when their convoy was ambushed from multiple directions. Their bodies were left on the battlefield as the rest of the unit retreated, according to this version of events.
Some news outlets reported that Siddiqui might have been captured alive by the Taliban and then executed. Those reports could not be confirmed. One Indian official, however, said that some of Siddiqui’s wounds appeared to be from gunshots at close range.
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POST TALIBAN TAKEOVER, NEW TERROR CAMPS COME UP IN POK
According to an Intelligence Bureau report, seven new terror camps have been activated in PoK, due to which now the number of terror camps has increased from 13 to 20.
According to information received from security agencies, after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, there has been a stir in the terrorist camps located in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), and the masterminds engaged in these conspiracies are planning to infiltrate terrorists into India. According to an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report, seven new terror camps have been activated in PoK, due to which now the number of terror camps has increased from 13 to 20.
According to an official from a security agency, after the India-Pakistan ceasefire in February, Pakistan›s intelligence agency is once again involved in conspiracies to infiltrate terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir. According to the IB, after receiving information about the infiltration of six terrorists in Uri along the Line of Control in the intervening night of 18-19 this month, the army has been engaged in the search operation against the terrorists continuously for the last 30 hours. Information has been received about these terrorists that they are being trained in a training camp to enter Jammu and Kashmir and are planning a major attack in the area.
Security agencies fear that the weapons that are in the hands of the Taliban are being given to Lashkar and Jaish terrorists. Not only this, Pakistan›s intelligence agency ISI is constantly engaged in conspiracies to attack Indian security forces in Kashmir. According to the IB, the number of terrorists is increasing on the launching pad built on the Line of Control and they are engaged in continuous attempts to infiltrate India. Terrorists are also trying to infiltrate through the international border adjacent to Jammu so that Jammu can be targeted.
Currently, ISI is troubled by the lack of youth involvement in terrorist organizations and now they are involved in methods of online radicalisation through social media to push the youth into the path of terror. The videos of the Taliban are being shared through social media in which the Taliban captured Afghanistan by defeating American forces and Afghan security forces.
They are trying to radicalize the youth and push them into the path of jihad so that they can be brainwashed and prepared for a terrorist attack on India. Indian security agencies are constantly monitoring social media to thwart Pakistan›s jihadi plan. Several Twitter accounts related to Wilayah-al-Hind, Voice of Hind are being monitored.
Recently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) warned of the danger of online radicalization, saying that terrorist organizations are trying to implicate these innocent youths through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. After this, such youths are asked to contact online handlers. The NIA has urged people to share information about any such activity on the Internet with the agency. According to a report by Indian security agencies, till 31 August this year, 110 terrorists have been killed in separate encounters. The ISI is furious about this and instructions are being given to the terrorists present in the valley to carry out major attacks in the Valley.
NEED FOR FAMILY OFFICES TO WORK TOGETHER UNDER A CO-INVESTMENT STRUCTURE: JAHNAVI KUMARI MEWAR
Jahnavi Kumari Mewar, CEO and Senior Portfolio Manager at Auctus Fora, talks about her business firm along with insights on internationalism, effective global governance practices and the way forward in the post-Covid world.
Jahnavi Kumari Mewar recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, she spoke to us about her business firm along with insights on internationalism, effective global governance practices and the way forward for the post-Covid world.
Jahnavi commenced her talk by speaking about the creation of Auctus Fora and its uniqueness. She said “Auctus fora was born with a need to work with family offices (preferably) without a fund structure in place. If I take a small step back, I initially worked for JP Morgan from where I decided to set up a boutique investment bank and as that business developed and progressed, I had developed very meaningful relationships with family offices globally. We found that there was a significant need for family offices to work together under a co-investment structure rather than that of a fund. Moving on we decided to set up a co-investment platform, entirety focused on private acuity and private structure credit working with family offices globally. It’s a unique model because we work on the ‘reverse origination methodology’ developed in 2011. We use this methodology to make investment decisions and direct our investment philosophy.”
When asked about how pandemic months have been for her and her firm, she responded “I think based on facts that firstly we are directed to an asset. Secondly, we don’t do listed securities and are a private acuity focused and private structure credit that organically gives you a lot more control over your investment decisions. I am very rigid when it comes to the investment decision making process. For example, we’ll never chase dues or get into a bidding war as I believe that if you get your buying price wrong then you already made a big mistake in terms of capital allocation and investment process. In such disruptive times when others have faced upheavals, we have ramped up because of our decent decision making. Based on that what we have done over the past 15 months is that the assets which we felt will continue to give long term returns and are relatively resilient to the disruptions caused by global pandemic and lockdown, we have reinvested capital or added additional capital into those assets and portfolios. So, at a macro level, we have reinvested capital into our portfolios and at a micro level, into select asset portfolios. I mean not to say that we haven’t felt pain but we have been more resilient.”
Explaining the post-Covid global economic changes, she expressed, “What we are seeing globally is an unprecedented crisis for which a lot of nations have lacked institutional memory because they have never experienced something like this before. In the absence of institutional memory, there is institutional unpreparedness. I think that the responsibility and accountability of this crisis don’t solely sit with the current government because there have been decades of under-investment in the public healthcare infrastructure. Instead, the present government has put concentrated efforts towards formulating new public policies. It is my personal opinion that unfortunately, the government lacks sophistication in its policymaking. Therefore they come across significant opposition to their policies.”
When it comes to changing global supply chains, Jahnavi described “let’s look at global supply chains from both political and economic perspectives. Politically speaking, we have fallen short on collective action and there has been a crisis of global governance. Supply chains and global governance can work hand in hand. A good small scale example is of QUAD members who have been working together and have been multilaterally more effective. So when we talk of re-engineering global supply chains, we have to look at from the perspective that are we going to create an incentivising engagement that affects better global governance practices.”
Lastly speaking about the importance of institutions like QUAD as representative of the changing world over institutions like UN and WHO, she said “QUAD is a great example of a force for global good. WHO has been less effective than QUAD as it has been dispersing contradictory information globally, it along with the UN have failed to garner collective action for a global solution to the pandemic. QUAD is a representation of the way forward. We need to re-engineer a pragmatic form of internationalism which meets the needs for today and future.”
INDIA-BORN SINGER FEATURES ON UK’S BBC RADIO
The latest composition of the Indian born, London-based singer Saisha Hayes’s ‘One Way ticket’ was selected by UK’s BBC Radio to be played on its platform on Monday night.
At 20, she is among the youngest singer-songwriters to feature on BBC radio and her song was selected among the pool of well-established names.
BBC Radio 1 Leeds chose Saisha’s composition under the “Best modern Asian fusion music”. While the words of the song have been penned by her, the music has been composed by Rohit (Foenix). The song, sung by Saisha, had earlier featured on the coveted ‘Rolling Stones’ India hitlist.
She is a second-year student of King’s College, London and the granddaughter of Hindi literary giant and former IAS officer Bhagwati Sharan Mishra, who passed away last month.
The song is being played on all major music platforms including Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube.
IT’S TOUGH FOR PLAYERS TO STAY IN A BIO BUBBLE, SAYS MURALI KARTIK
In an exclusive conversation with NewsX India A-List, former cricketer Murali Kartik talks about his lockdown experiences, how he felt being part of the IPL in a bio bubble, and much more.
Murali Kartik, a former Indian cricketer and a popular figure in commentary, is well-known for his slow left-arm orthodox bowling. Having charmed cricket lovers across the world with his bowling skills, Murali Kartik recently got recognised by NewsX India A-List for excellence in Cricket. Joining us for an exclusive conversation, he spoke about his lockdown experiences, how he felt being part of the IPL in a bio bubble and much more.
Speaking about his emotions and experiences during the second wave of Covid-19, in the wake of which IPL was first postponed and later stopped in middle, Murli said, “Pandemic has been a tough one for everyone but more so for people on the ground. We were actually much protected as a commentary team. With that point of view, we didn’t have many problems but I can imagine teams travelling and engaging in contracts would have been tougher amid the pandemic.”
“Since last year, I got the feeling that as soon as a little bit of unlocking starts people got careless. It is our responsibility to make sure that we don’t go out till the time we aren’t needed to go out. Most important of all is we should all be happy in our homes and not feel entrapped into them. We can only control the controllable,” he added.
When asked about the concept of bio bubble, especially in cricket, which is a contact game, Murali responded, “People in bio bubble is never easy. We need to return to normalcy. We all are missing luxuries of life which are not to go around in expensive restaurants but to simply move around with freedom and without a mask; meet our people without the fear of either contacting with the virus or passing it to someone else. That is the normal luxury. From a sports point of view, it’s tough for players to stay in a bio bubble. There’s a life beyond a sport. Hopefully, we come back to normalcy soon.”
Speaking about what the players have missed out in almost past two years of time is very evident now, he said “Unfortunately, it’s same for everyone. People who had to write exams are unable to do it and are sitting home. For sportspeople, the Olympics has been postponed and rescheduled. So, imagine all the athletes, who worked so hard for it. We come back to the same thing that it’s for everyone. Now it is about mental strength and controlling the controllable. We need to be surrounded by positive people and thinking. We need to look inwardly because the easiest thing in these days is to get despondent.”
When asked about something new or novel he has picked up in the last few days, Murali shared, “To be honest, I have caught up in a lot of sleep these days at home. I am not someone who’ll sleep a lot. I have been the happiest being at home. The only thing I did in my 1st lockdown was to read Sai Suchadutta. I read it six to seven times. I have read books but apart from that I haven’t done any specific thing.”
Concluding the interview on a humorous note, he stated that he has been a couch potato watching many fun OTT programs during the lockdown. He added a funny but profound thing that we teach a dog to sit and stay but we are not able to do it ourselves.
JUST BE AUTHENTIC AND EVERYTHING WILL FALL INTO PLACE: KARUNESH TALWAR
In an interview with NewsX, stand-up comedian Karunesh Talwar talks about his new show and more.
Karunesh Talwar, a well-known stand-up comedian, is all set to entertain the audiences with his stand-up special on Amazon Prime Video. Recognised for excellence in entertainment, Karunesh recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of the NewsX India A-List series. He spoke about his new show on Amazon Prime, the idea behind the name of the show, principles of stand-up comedy and much more.
Speaking about how he and the team happened to name the show ‘Aalas, Motapa, Ghabraahat’, Karunesh shared, “The name is part of joke punch line from the show itself. I had written the whole show, we shot it and while we were editing it, I was sitting with the show’s director and editor who suggested me to give the name ‘Aalas Motapa Ghabraahat’.” He added, “The first half of the show is about my parents and the other half is about my relationship with my girlfriend.”
Emphasising the relevance of these three words: Aalas, Motapa, and Ghabraahat, especially amid the pandemic, Karunesh said, “This happened subconsciously as I wrote this show during the pandemic. Also, it comes from the attempt to tell my story, which has to be really authentic and unique on stage. So these three words can describe a lot of people’s experiences during the pandemic.” On being asked to give three words to describe his last one and a half years, he jokingly said, “Aalas, Motapa, Ghabraahat. Apart from that, I think it would be lucky, motivated, and more anxious.”
When asked what makes this show different from others, he responded, “Usually you write material about certain subjects that is about eight to nine minutes per subject covering about six to seven subjects over an hour show. Here, I had only two topics. I think it is a lot more in storytelling format and in long-form. That’s not what I have attempted before. It is much more personal and vulnerable than anything I have ever done before as it reveals aspects to my personality, which people who watch my content wouldn’t have been revealed to before.”
Karunesh is hopeful that it is the sign of more things like this coming from him in the future. He expressed, “One of the principles of live stand-up comedy is that if you are authentically telling your story, then you are the only one selling it and you are the only supplier of that particular kind of comedy. So, people will always buy it from you. You’ll also never run out of material because you are being authentic and not pretending up there.”
Talking about the public response on his last Amazon Prime show’s interesting title—‘Pata Nahi Par Bolna Hai’, Karunesh said, “The response was overwhelming and I got a lot of positive feedback. The fact that I am doing another show with Amazon Prime means that the last response was good. The title of that show came about because it was about a lot of people and me at the same time.”
When asked if his family and friends call him to share some light moments in otherwise heavy days, he expressed, “I think people often have a perception that comedians are hilarious and people around them are constantly laughing. No, they are constantly irritated by our existence. They haven’t called me for light moments but definitely, the advantage is to learn about therapy and how to balance mental health better.”
Sharing his takeaway from the pandemic, Karunesh said, “To be honest, I am extremely fortunate that my career picked up at the time it did. It allowed me to access work and resources that kept me tied in these unprecedented times. This allowed me to work on myself. It gave me time to introspect, write more material, and explore new avenues in my work. This is the reason why this new show is different from the kind of work I have done before.”
On a parting note, Karunesh shared a piece of advice for aspiring comedians and said, “Delayed gratification always beats instant gratification. If you have a funny thought, don’t put it out instantly instead work on it for about six months to one year. It will give you unimaginable success and opportunities. Respect your audience, be authentic, and write and perform as much as you can.”
PUNJAB CM DIRECTS GOVT OFFICIALS, EMPLOYEES TO REACH OFFICE BY 9 AM
CHANDIGARH: In order to bring discipline in the government offices, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday directed all the government officers/employees at state/district/tehsil/block level to reach their concerned offices by 9 am and remain available for the public till the office hours in the evening.
The Chief Minister, while stressing the need of bringing transparency in the government offices also directed all the officers/employees to deal with all the grievances of the people on a priority basis.
“To ensure the availability of all the government officers/employees in the offices during official hours, Administrative Secretaries/Department Heads to conduct surprise checks twice a week to keep a vigil on the employees working under them,” said the CM.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also asked Administrative Secretaries/Department Heads to keep a close watch on the activities/records at their concerned offices.
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