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Police fire pellet guns on Kashmir Muharram procession: Witnesses | India News

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Government forces have fired shotgun pellets and tear gas to disperse hundreds of mainly Shia Muslims participating in a Muharram procession in Indian-administered Kashmir, injuring dozens, witnesses have said.

The violence came as the disputed Himalayan region – where nearly 97 percent of residents are Muslims – observed Ashoura on Saturday, the 10th day of the Muharram month in the Islamic lunar calendar.

Jafar Ali, a witness, told AFP news agency the procession started in the Bemina area on the outskirts of the main city of Srinagar and that government forces were present in heavy numbers.

Ali and other people who saw the clashes said security forces fired pellets and tear gas to break up the gathering. Police said mourners violated prohibitory orders that restrict all religious processions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“The forces fired pellets at the procession that was mainly peaceful and included women,” said another witness Iqbal Ahmad.

At least 40 people were injured, according to witnesses. Medical workers at a hospital in Srinagar told The Associated Press they treated at least 30 people, some of them with pellet and tear gas injuries.

Residents said many other injured were taken to another hospital in the city.

Videos circulating on social media showed police in armed vehicles warning the mourners to disperse before firing shotgun pellets and tear gas on them.

Some mourners were also seen raising slogans seeking an end to the Indian rule in the disputed region.

“The procession was not just peaceful but was also following health protocols,” said Sajjad Hussain, a witness. “They [government forces] unleashed such violence and did not spare even women mourners.”

A police officer told The Associated Press they were confirming the number of injured.

A Kashmiri Muslim shouts slogans as he is detained by an Indian policeman during a Muharram procession in Srinagar [Danish Ismail/Reuters]

Several processions attacked

Muharram is among the holiest days for Muslims across the world and includes large processions of mainly Shia Muslim mourners beating their chests while reciting elegies and chanting slogans to denounce the slaughter of Husayn, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, and his companions.

Police in Indian-administered Kashmir broke up several Muharram processions this week.

Officials said at least 200 people were detained in Srinagar for participating in the processions and at least seven people were arrested under an anti-terror law for raising pro-freedom slogans.

Some main Muharram processions have been banned in the Muslim-majority region since an armed rebellion broke out in 1989 demanding independence from India or a merger with neighbouring Pakistan.

But Kashmiri Muslims have long complained the Indian administration curbs their religious freedom on the pretext of law and order while promoting an annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Himalayan Amarnath Shrine in Kashmir that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Seven suspected rebels killed

The violence in Srinagar came shortly after officials said at least seven suspected rebels and an Indian army soldier were killed in two gunbattles, also in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Three rebels and a soldier died early on Saturday after troops and police launched a search operation in a village in southern Pulwama district, said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, an Indian army spokesman.

On Friday, joint teams of army, paramilitary and police forces cordoned off a village in southern Shopian district following a tip that rebels were hiding there, leading to an exchange of fire, police said.

Four rebels were killed and another arrested during the operation, a police statement said.

Vijay Kumar, the inspector general of police, told reporters that one of the deceased in Friday’s gunfight was the district commander of Al-Badr rebel group.

Kashmir Muharram

Authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar to prevent gatherings marking Muharram from developing into anti-India protests [Mukhtar Khan/AP Photo]

Conditions have worsened in Indian-administered Kashmir since August last year, when New Delhi stripped the region of its statehood and semi-autonomy, setting off widespread anger and economic ruin under a harsh security clampdown.

Since January, Indian forces have killed 180 rebels during counterinsurgency operations, according to the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a rights group.

Based on official figures, data shows that more than half of them had joined the rebels less than a year ago, and of those, most had been active for only a few months.

At least 68 government forces and 46 civilians were also killed in the same period, the rights group said.

India and Pakistan claim the divided territory of Kashmir in its entirety. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies.

According to several human rights groups, nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict since 1989.

Kashmir Muharram

A young Kashmiri Muslim watches a Muharram procession, cradled in the arms of a woman in Srinagar [Mukhtar Khan/AP Photo]





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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