New Delhi, May 27 (Xinhua/UNB) -- An activist of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was shot dead by unknown gunmen in eastern Indian state of West Bengal, police said Monday.
The 36-year-old Chandan Sau was attacked Sunday night in Bhatpara area of North 24 Parganas, about 33 km east of Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal.
"Last night a person identified as Chandan Sau was fired upon from a point-blank range. Though he was rushed to the Bhatpara state general hospital but doctors there declared him brought dead," a police official said, adding "Sau was returning home and intercepted by four men, who came on two motorbikes."
The death was reported a day after post-poll clashes erupted across West Bengal. The state witnessed large-scale violence following confrontation between the workers of ruling Trinamool Congress and BJP.
According to police a case was registered and an investigation was ordered into the killing.
"We have started an investigation and assailants are yet to be identified," the police official said.
In this year's general elections, the BJP significantly improved its performance in West Bengal by bagging 18 out of the 42 parliamentary Lok Sabha seats. Trinamool Congress won 22 seats.
In the last general elections BJP had just two seats in West Bengal.
On Saturday, a close aide of BJP leader Smriti Irani was shot dead by unknown gunmen in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Irani, the newly elected BJP lawmaker, defeated Congress party president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi constituency of Uttar Pradesh in the general elections.
BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi registered a victory by winning 303 seats at its own, and together with its allies for National Democratic Alliance (NDA) it has strength of 353 lawmakers out of the total 542 in Indian parliament.
Kathmandu, May 26 (AP/UNB) — Three explosions killed three people and wounded at least eight in different parts of Nepal's capital on Sunday, with police suspecting that an outlawed communist group was responsible.
Police official Shyam Lal Gyawali said authorities were investigating the blasts.
The first two explosions occurred within minutes apart in two Kathmandu neighborhoods, while the third one was a few hours later.
Police said they suspect that a group that once split from the ruling Communist party was responsible for the blasts because its members have been protesting the arrests of their supporters by the authorities.
The first explosion occurred in northern Kathmandu, killing two people and injuring five, police said. The second blast was in a house in the central part of the city, killing one and injuring one.
Police believe the men in the house are linked to the outlawed group, which is known for violence. They said they found pamphlets from the group at the second explosion site.
The areas around the two blast sites were quickly closed by police and the injured were taken to hospitals.
Police said a third explosion injured two people who they believe were members of the group transporting the explosive device.
Security forces were put on high alert and officers were patrolling key areas of Kathmandu.
The group has called for a nationwide general strike on Monday to pressure the government in releasing their detained members.
The splinter communist group split from the Maoist party, which fought government troops from 1996 to 2006, when its members gave up their armed revolt to join a peace process and mainstream politics.
Nepal, May 26 (AP/UNB) — Family, friends and supporters welcomed a veteran Sherpa guide upon his return to Nepal's capital on Saturday, days after his 24th climb of Mount Everest extended his record.
After flying back from Everest to Kathmandu, Kami Rita was greeted by the waiting crowd at the airport. His wife hugged him and the crowd covered him with a cream-colored scarf and offered him yogurt.
The brief celebration at the airport parking area with traditional drums was followed by Rita riding on a truck waving to supporters as they drove out of the airport.
He told reporters he was very happy but exhausted.
Rita reached Everest's 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak on Tuesday, the second time he had climbed to the summit in a week. He also reached the top of the world's highest peak on May 15, then returned to base camp before climbing again this past week.
The climbs bring Rita, 49, closer to his target of 25 ascents of Everest before he retires from high mountain climbing. His two closest peers have climbed Everest 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.
There are 41 teams with a total of 378 climbers permitted to scale Everest during the spring climbing season. An equal number of Nepalese guides are helping them get to the summit.
About half a dozen climbers died this past week, most of them while descending from the summit during only a few windows of good weather each May. Most are believed to have suffered from altitude sickness, which is caused by low amounts of oxygen at high elevation and can cause headaches, vomiting, shortness of breath and mental confusion.
Among the latest fatalities was British climber Robin Haynes Fisher, 44.
Murari Sharma, managing director of Everest Parivar Expedition Pvt Ltd, said Fisher and his Sherpa guide reached the summit at around 8:30 .a.m. on Saturday and had descended 150 meters (490 feet) when he fell unconscious. A group of Sherpas changed his oxygen bottle and tried to give him some water but he could not be revived, he said.
Rita first scaled Everest in 1994 and has been making the trip nearly every year since.
His father was among the first Sherpa guides employed to help climbers reach the summit, and Rita followed in his footsteps and then some. In addition to his two dozen summits of Everest, Rita has scaled some of the other highest mountains, including K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu and Lhotse.
Sherpa tribespeople were mostly yak herders and traders living deep within the Himalayas until Nepal opened its borders in the 1950s. Their stamina and familiarity with the mountains quickly made them sought-after guides and porters.
New Delhi, May 26 (AP/UNB) — India's president on Saturday appointed Narendra Modi as the prime minister soon after newly-elected lawmakers from the ruling alliance, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, elected him as their leader after a thunderous victory in national elections.
President Ram Nath Kovind said in a tweet that he also asked Modi to forward the names of those to be appointed as ministers in his government and the date for swearing-in for his second five-year term as prime minister. Modi and some leaders of his alliance met the president on Saturday.
Media reports said that Modi is likely to be sworn in by Kovind on Thursday.
BJP president Amit Shah announced Modi's name as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance in a meeting of the lawmakers in the Central Hall of Parliament in New Delhi.
The Election Commission announced that the BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, after the official vote count from the six-week-long election was completed on Friday. That is well beyond the simple majority a party in India needs to form a government.
The BJP's top rival, the Indian National Congress led by Rahul Gandhi, won 52 seats, and the All India Trinamool Congress led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee won 22.
Critics say Modi and his party have applied divisive policies and used a Hindu-first strategy. But Modi said after Saturday's vote that "this election has become a movement of social unity."
"It is generally said that the election divides, creates distances, makes walls. But the 2019 elections have worked to break the walls," he said in his address.
On Friday, Modi met with his outgoing Cabinet ministers and later presented his resignation to the country's president. The president asked the officials to continue to serve until the new government assumes office.
Gandhi, whose great-grandfather, grandmother and father were all prime ministers, personally conceded his seat, long a Congress party bastion, to his BJP rival, India's textiles minister, marking the end of an era for modern India's most powerful political dynasty.
Vote counting of the estimated 600 million ballots cast over six weeks of staggered polling — the world's largest democratic exercise — began early Thursday.
The victory was largely seen as a referendum on Modi's Hindu-first politics that some observers say have bred intolerance toward Muslims and other religious minorities, as well as his muscular stance on neighboring Pakistan, with whom India nearly went to war earlier this year after suicide attacks killed more than 40 Indian security officials in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Modi effectively used the incident as a major campaign tool after responding to the attack with an airstrike in Pakistan that triggered nationalist sentiments, with the BJP saying Modi is the right person to ensure India's national security.
Kabul, May 25 (AP/UNB) — An Afghan security forces raid against Taliban fighters in eastern Nangarhar province mistakenly killed at least six civilians, including a woman and two children, provincial officials said Saturday.
Attahullah Khogyani, the provincial governor's spokesman, said 10 insurgents were also killed in the Friday night attack in Sherzad district.
The civilians' vehicle was exiting the area right after the raid and security forces thought that Taliban fighters were trying to escape, so they opened fire and mistakenly killed the civilians, Khogyani said.
Ajmal Omer, a provincial councilman, said villagers carrying the victims' bodies in a procession in the provincial capital of Jalalabad demanded justice for the victims' families.
Both Taliban and Islamic State group fighters are active in eastern Afghanistan, especially in Nangarhar.
The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said Saturday it was concerned about the heavy toll on civilians in the conflict during the holy month of Ramadan, and urged parties to do more to prevent casualties.
It condemned the insurgents for incidents in which civilians have been deliberately targeted and said that during the first week of Ramadan, the Taliban killed six civilians and wounded 28 others in a premeditated attack against a non-governmental organization in Kabul.
The statement said the U.N. mission is looking into the attack inside a mosque in the capital of Kabul during Friday prayers. Two people, including the prayer leader, were killed and 16 others were wounded.
"Deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilians can never be justified and amount to war crimes," said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General's special representative for Afghanistan. "An attack in a mosque, especially at a time of prayer during Ramadan, is particularly heinous," Yamamoto was quoted in the statement.
The U.N. mission said recent airstrikes against anti-government targets in southern Helmand and eastern Kunar provinces killed as many as 14 civilians.
In the May 20 and 22nd attacks in the Greshk district of Helmand and the Chawki district of Kunar, the civilians killed included four women and eight children, and 12 other civilians were wounded, the U.N. said.
Meanwhile, the Taliban claimed responsibility for Friday's attack on an armored vehicle belonging to Romanian NATO forces at Kandahar air base. Five Romanian NATO soldiers were injured.
Separately, Col. Dave Butler, U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman, said a NATO helicopter had a hard landing due to mechanical failure in southern Helmand province.
"There was no hostile fire or enemy contact involved," he said in a statement. Both Afghan and U.S. personnel were injured but were all in stable condition and expected to recover, he said. He said the aircraft was destroyed.
Taliban insurgents are active in Helmand and control several districts in the province.