Indian media: Indians die in Kenya shopping complex attack

Kenyan soldiers are in a gun battle with suspected militants since the stand-off began on Saturday
Image caption Kenyan soldiers have been battling militants since the stand-off began on Saturday

Media are reporting the death of two Indian nationals in the "horrific terror attack" on a shopping centre in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Sixty-eight people have been killed and more than 170 injured since the attack began at 12:00 local time (09:00 GMT) on Saturday.

Kenyan troops freed most of the hostages over the weekend and were in a critical push on Monday morning to take full control of the mall.

Al-Shabab, which is part of the al-Qaeda network, claimed on Twitter that it was behind the attack, reports say.

Security experts said the group had been repeatedly threatening attacks on Kenyan soil because of Nairobi's refusal to pull its troops out of Somalia.

The Indians killed in the carnage have been identified as Sridhar Natarajan, 40, who was working with a pharmaceutical firm, and eight-year-old Paramshu Jain, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told the NDTV website.

The Times of India reports that four Indians, including two women and a girl, have also suffered injuries in the attack.

"This is a difficult time for the family and we are trying to find more information. We are in touch with the relevant authorities in the MEA (ministry of external affairs) and we appreciate their help," Mr Natarajan's family said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a suspended civil servant has been reinstated in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh after weeks of media speculation about her future.

The state government had suspended Durga Shakti Nagpal on 27 July, saying she approved the demolition of a mosque wall in Gautam Buddh Nagar district "without following the due process".

But the decision did not go down well with some of her senior colleagues and the media, who felt the officer was suspended for taking a tough stand against the local sand-mining mafia.

The First Post website says the state government's decision to reinstate Ms Nagpal comes in the wake of last fortnight's religious violence in the state, which has left more than 40 people dead.

"The move comes at a time when the government could not be in a more embarrassing corner," the website adds.

Tiger census

A census due next month will decide which state, among the 17 that have tiger populations, will get the coveted tag of "Tiger State," The Pioneer reports.

"Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are the frontrunners. While the former ruled the roost for nearly two decades, the latter clinched the title after the last census," the paper says.

Meanwhile, The Asian Age reports that several people have died of diarrhoea in Chhattisgarh state.

"Diarrhoea has reportedly assumed epidemic form in Abujhmar area in Chhattisgarh's south Bastar region killing 44 people in the past one week," the paper says.

And finally, apple trade has taken a hit in Shopian town of Indian-administered Kashmir due to a curfew imposed by the security forces, The Tribune reports.

"Shopian is one of the hubs of apple production in the valley… Due to the curfew, apple transport, marketing and sales have totally collapsed and the growers may suffer more loss than in any other part of the valley," the paper quoted president of the Fruit Growers Association Ghulam Rasool Wagay as saying.

A curfew was imposed in Shopian due to tensions following the deaths of four people in firing by the security forces on 7 September, reports say.

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