16 Injured in Blast near BJP Office in Bangalore


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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The blast on Wednesday damaged two cars, a motorcycle and a van of the Karnataka State Reserve Police. (Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint)
The blast on Wednesday damaged two cars, a motorcycle and a van of the Karnataka State Reserve Police. (Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint)

Yesterday, April 17, 2013, just a few weeks ahead of key elections in Karnataka state (scheduled for May 5, 2013), a blast ripped through the Malleshwaram area of Bangalore near the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office. The blast gutted several vehicles including a police van parked near the BJP office and injured 16 people including eight police officers on duty.

According to several eyewitnesses on spot it was a “big explosion that shook nearby buildings.” Television footage showed several cars and two-wheelers at the blast site were badly damaged.

Television footage showed several badly damaged cars and two-wheelers at the blast site.

There are conflicting reports about the blast. Initial reports suggested that a gas cylinder had exploded. Raghavendra Auradkar, Bangalore police chief told reporters: “We initially thought it was a gas cylinder explosion. [Now] we believe it is a motorcycle blast – a motorcycle [has been] destroyed,” he said. BBC reported that “bombs had been planted on bicycles 150 metres (500 feet) apart near a crowded fruit market.”

Banglore Blast - Injured policemen - 2

Press Trust of India news agency quoted Lalrokhuma Pachau, Karnataka police chief: “Due to the blast, 16 people are injured – eight policemen on duty and eight civilians. Nobody is critically injured. All are being treated at hospital … As of now, we do not know what material was used in making the bomb.” Pachau added that officials of the anti-terrorism National Investigation Agency had reached the site.

This is the first major bomb attack in India since the September 2011 blast outside Delhi’s High Court that killed 13 people.

R.P.N. Singh, Federal junior Home Minister, said investigators were “looking at all possibilities” and requested the public not to “give credence to rumours.”

R. Ashok, Karnataka Home Minister, said it was a “terror attack”; however, he did not elaborate.

The Union home ministry has pointed to an Indian Mujahideen (IM) signature in targeting crowds.

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Men Deemed ‘Too Handsome’ and ‘Irresistible to Women’ Deported from Saudi Arabia


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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First held in 1985, the Jenadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival, organized each year by the National Guard is the most famous cultural event in Saudi Arabia. For a fortnight, the festival highlights the Kingdom’s commitment to keeping the traditional culture and crafts of Saudi Arabia alive and offers to over a million Saudis a glimpse into their past.

Camel Races in Saudi Arabia
Camel race – Al Jenadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival in Saudi Arabia.

The festival opens with a traditional camel race. The festival includes almost every aspect of Saudi culture. Folklore troupes perform the Ardhah and other national dances, while singers from around the Kingdom perform traditional songs and music.

King Abdullah takes part in Ardah dance
On March 23, 2010, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday took part in the traditional Ardah dance, one of the main events of the National Heritage and Culture Festival in Jenadriyah

Poetry competitions are held among contemporary poets reciting historic verses. In small shops with typical palm-frond-roofed porches, potters, woodworkers, weavers, and other artisans show their traditional crafts. There is a permanent heritage village in Jenadriyah where visitors can stroll through Arabia’s past.

Handsome Arab men

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During this year’s Jenadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival, three men from the United Arab Emirates were ejected as they were deemed “too handsome,” and women could become attracted to them, it has been reported.

According to Arabic language newspaper Elaph, on Sunday, April 14, 2013, the UAE nationals were taking part in a heritage event in the capital Riyadh, and they were thrown out by the mutaween, the government’s religious police.

“A festival official said the three Emiratis were taken out on the grounds they are too handsome and that the Commission members feared female visitors could fall for them,” the newspaper said and added that the festival’s management took urgent measures to deport the three to Abu Dhabi.

The UAE stand at the annual culture festival has issued a statement clarifying why a mutaween had stormed the stand before members of the Gulf Kingdom’s national guards forced him out. It said that an Emirati female artist at the stand attracted the mutaween. Saudi Arabia, a strictly conservative Sunni Muslim society, prohibits women from interacting with unrelated men. The statement by the UAE stand did not name the artist. “Her visit to the UAE stand was a coincidence as it was not included in the programme which we had already provided to the festival’s management,” Saeed Al Kaabi, head of the UAE delegation to the festival, said in a statement.

Aryam, Pop singer from UAE
Aryam, Pop singer from UAE.

Now, it has come to light that UAE female singer Aryam was at the heart of an incident involving storming of the country’s stand at the Saudi cultural festival by a member of the Gulf Kingdom’s feared religious police

The 33-year-old Dubai-based Aryam’ whose real name is Reem Shaaban Hassan is of Egyptian origin. Aryam said the Abu Dhabi Culture and Tourism Authority had invited her to visit the national pavilion where the incident took place. She confirmed she went to the UAE pavilion. “I went to the UAE stand as a delegate and congratulated them on their folklore…I stayed there for 20 seconds and had no intention to sing,” she said as quoted by Arabic language newspapers in the region. “I strongly respect the traditions of Saudi Arabia and all Gulf states, and I consider myself a Saudi woman.”

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