A London court has ruled that £35m ($42m) held in a UK bank account must go to the descendants of an Indian royal, and not to Pakistan. The dispute began in 1948 when the last Nizam (king) of Hyderabad deposited £1m in the UK account, held by the then Pakistan high commissioner. With interest, the sum has grown to £35m. The origins of the dispute go back to the 1947 partitioning of British India.
The Indian government announced Wednesday a sweeping ban on electronic cigarette products. The decision was made with the intention of protecting young people from becoming addicted to nicotine. The Cabinet approved the ordinance, which prohibits the manufacture, sale, storage and advertisement of all e-cigarette products. Penalties include fines and jail terms of up to three years for repeat offenders.
An explosion at a fireworks factory in northern India has killed at least 22 people and caused the building to catch fire and collapse, officials have said. Residents complained that authorities had failed to take any action against the factory. Fireworks manufacturing is a big business in India, with firecrackers often used in festivals and weddings. Many illegal factories produce firecrackers that are cheaper to buy than legally made ones.
The death toll from floods in the Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra has risen to at least 147, according to authorities, as rescue teams raced to evacuate people and waters submerged parts of a world heritage site. Heavy rain and landslides forced hundreds of thousands of people to take shelter in relief camps, while train services were canceled in several flood-hit areas.
India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, addressed the nation Thursday night for the first time about his government’s unilateral decision to revoke Kashmir’s autonomy, speaking against a backdrop of rising protests, mass arrests and escalating tensions with Pakistan. Mr. Modi defended the action, arguing that it would make the restive territory more secure. “A new era has begun,” he said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to change the status of Kashmir ran into fierce opposition from China and its ally Pakistan on Tuesday as the disputed territory lay under a telecoms blackout to forestall protests for a second day. China said it opposed India’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status and that New Delhi needed to be cautious on border issues.
India’s government has revoked part of the constitution that gives Indian-administered Kashmir special status, prompting fears of unrest. Article 370 is sensitive because it guarantees significant autonomy for the Muslim-majority state. The measure was accompanied by a telecoms and media blackout which began on Sunday evening. There is a long-running insurgency on the Indian side. India and Pakistan fought several conflicts over Kashmir.
Top politicians in Indian-administered Kashmir have been put under house arrest, days after thousands of troops were deployed to the disputed region. Last week authorities also ordered tourists and Hindu pilgrims to leave, citing a “terror threat” against an annual pilgrimage to a major shrine. Kashmir has been under governor’s rule since June 2018 when the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled out of a state government coalition with the regional People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Authorities in Southern India recovered the body of coffee baron V.G. Siddhartha floating in a river on Wednesday, two days after his disappearance sparked speculation that he was under intense financial strain. The recovery of Siddhartha’s body unnerved investors in his flagship listed Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd and sent its shares plunging to an all-time low on Wednesday.
India has successfully launched its second lunar mission a week after it halted the scheduled blast-off due to a technical snag. Chandrayaan-2 was launched at 14:43 local time (09:13 GMT) on Monday from the Sriharikota space station. India hopes the $145m (£116m) mission will be the first to land on the Moon’s south pole. Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the mission for being “fully indigenous”.