Los Angeles: US President Donald Trump has accused the slain Iranian military leader Qassam Soleimani of being responsible for terrorist plots in New Delhi.
“Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London,a Trump said on Friday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Flordia.
Speaking about the missile strike he ordered to kill Soleimani, he said, “Today we remember and honour the victims of Soleimani’s many atrocities and we take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over.”
While Trump did not specify the plots in India, he may have been referring to a 2012 bombing of the car of the wife of the Israeli defence attache to India.
Tal Yehoshua Koren was injured and underwent surgery to remove shrapnel and her driver and two bystanders were also hurt in the attack on February 13, 2012, using a bomb that was attached to the vehicle with a magnet.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Iran was behind that attack and another attempted attack using similar technique in Georgia.
The New Delhi case not been resolved so far and a conclusive link to Iran has not been made by India.
News reports at that time said that the attack was carried out by Iran in retaliation for the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan in Teheran using a bomb with a magnet attached to his car, allegedly by Israelis.
An Indian journalist, Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, was arrested on March 6 that year and accused of being a part of a conspiracy to carry out the attack and held under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
He was released on bail by the Supreme Court in October on the condition that he does not go abroad.A
According to news reports at that time, Delhi police alleged that he had carried out reconnaissance for the Iranians who carried out the attack.
The five persons who carried out the attacks were Iranian members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard who had visited Delhi, police were quoted as saying. They were not arrested although police identified them.
An Iranian major general, Soleimani was the leader of the Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. But his name did not figure in the reports at that time on theAIndian attack.
In his address on the killing of Soleimani in Iraq on Thursday, Trump said on Friday, “Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him.”
He listed several alleged attacks directed by Soleimani and carried out by the Quds Force and allied militias.
“For years, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its ruthless Quds Force — under Soleimani’s leadership — has targeted, injured, and murdered hundreds of American civilians and servicemen,” Trump said.
He blamed Soleimani fro the recent attacks on US targets in Iraq, including rocket strikes that killed an American and injured four American servicemen, as well as the assault on the US embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.
Choose wisely – go organic this Holi
With Holi -the festival of colours coming up — everyone is busy buying colours, ‘pichkaris’, and balloons but with increasing environment pollution and severe allergic reactions to synthetic colours, there is a growing awareness among people to opt for organic variants.
“In an approximately Rs 4,500-crore unorganised Holi colour market, the share of the organic variety is miniscule, but growing,” said Madhumita Puri, Founder and Executive Director of Avacayam Naturals, a Delhi-based manufacturer of organic colours.
The adverse effects of synthetic colours was observed in a study titled ‘The Holi Dermatoses’, published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology.
It found a spate in skin diseases following the spring festival in India.
In the study conducted on 42 patients in Kolkata, 11 patients suffered due to activities related to preparation of colors and 12 reported aggravation of pre-existing dermatoses.
Nearly 60 per cent patients reported itching, while others reported to have suffered from a burning sensation, scaling, redness and watering of the eyes, as per the study.
Treading on a eco-friendly and skin-friendly path, Avacayam Naturals employed differently-abled persons to make organic colours by using waste and used flowers and leaves.
This solves three purposes at one go – generates employment for the disabled, manufactures harmless eco-friendly colours, and there is optimal usage of waste flowers.
Speaking to IANS, Puri said: “For making the colours, we collect used flowers — roses, marigolds, and others — and leaves from temples, weddings, and hotels.”
Avacayam Naturals, one of the programs that Puri started under her “Trash to Cash” scheme, makes four colours: Pink from roses, yellow from yellow marigolds, orange from orange marigolds, and green from leaves.
On being asked if the colours are harmless, she said: “Rather than damaging the environment, they are beneficial as each packet of colour is made from waste flowers which otherwise would dirty the place.”
How are the colours made?
“After the flowers are collected, the workers sort them in different baskets according to their colour. Then, the petals and seed pods are separated and cut. These are then spread out to dry in a well ventilated space for all the moisture to evaporate.
“After that, they are ground and processed — without adding any chemicals — to be made into colours for people to enjoy,” Puri said, adding that the process of collection, drying, and grinding continues throughout the year but it is only before festivals that they process them into the final product.
“In a year, we manufacture around 20 tonne of pure organic colour, some of which is sold to Walmart India. One kilo of colour is sold between Rs 600 and Rs 1,000.”
When asked about the expiry date of these colours, Puri said: “The product is a dry one and completely natural. We have been testing them since five years now and have not found any deterioration in the quality, fungal infestations, or weevils. So there is no ‘expiry date’ to them.”
Another such manufacturer is Jaipur-based Red Earth which makes colours “exclusively from edible materials and scent them with pure, traditional attars”.
Speaking to IANS, Himanshu Verma, Director-Owner of Red Earth, said: “Every 2-3 years, we change our colour palette… this year we have four colours — Sunahra Dhamaal, Shvet Abeer, Neem Sanrachna, and Gulabi Nagariya — that are inspired by local materials.”
“The colours are curated on the basis of availability of local materials. We use items like camphor, neem, mehendi, multani-mitti, geru powder, arrowroot, flour, and others,” Verma said, adding that 50-60 per cent materials used are edible so that even if someone ingests them by mistake, they will not be as harmful.