Bengaluru, Oct 13: Former Karnataka Chief Ministers Siddaramaiah and B S Yediyurappa on Wednesday rubbished JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy's claim that both leaders have had a secret late night meeting.

Kumaraswamy had yesterday claimed that the recent Income Tax raids on a person, who is said to be close aide of Yediyurappa, was an attempt by the BJP leadership to "control" him, following his alleged meeting with Siddaramaiah.

Congress stalwart Siddaramaiah challenged Kumaraswamy and said he will retire from politics, if it was proved that such a meeting took place. On the other hand, BJP veteran Yediyurappa termed it as "far from truth and meaningless".

"I had gone to meet Yediyurappa on his birthday. I had not met him personally as Chief Minister or as the Leader of Opposition. I have not met him (personally) till today. We both were in the same hospital when we were infected by Corona, even then we had not met," Siddaramaiah said.

Speaking to reporters in Kalaburgi, he claimed it is Kumaraswamy who repeatedly met Yediyurappa, when he was the CM.

"Let him (Kumaraswamy) prove that Yediyurappa and I have met, I will retire from politics.... While in opposition I will never meet those in the ruling party, nor go to their office or house, it is the principle I follow.....it (Kumaraswamy's claims) is blatant lies," he added.

On the other hand, Yediyurappa, who took to social media to reject claims about his meeting with Siddaramaiah, without naming Kumaraswamy, said he has never compromised on the ideology he believes in and his only aim was to bring BJP back to power in Karnataka.

"Other than my birthday on February 27, 2020, I have not personally met Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah..I have no need to have such a meeting. We in the party are working to bring BJP back to power in the state," Yediyurappa tweeted.

Further stating that he will not rest until achieving the goal of bringing BJP back to power, he said, "I have never compromised on the ideology that I have believed in, and will never compromise in the future. As Siddaramaiah has clarified that no such meeting has taken place, I'm too clarifying that the reports in the media in this regard are far from truth and meaningless."

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Kumaraswamy on Tuesday had claimed that the recent Income Tax raids specifically on a person who is said to be Yediyurappa's Personal Assistant and Water Resources department related contractors, was an attempt by the BJP to "control" Yediyurappa, following his alleged late night meeting with Siddaramaiah.

"Anyone with the slightest understanding of politics can understand that the recent IT raids were for what reasons....IT raids were with a political motive...it is to control or checkmate Yediyurappa...as both (Siddaramaiah and Yediyurappa) had a late night meeting about political developments, and the BJP that has government both at the Centre and state got to know about it from their sources, and probably have tightened things," he said.

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Hong Kong, Oct 25: Amnesty International said Monday it would close its two offices in Hong Kong this year, becoming the latest non-governmental organization to cease its operations amid a crackdown on political dissent in the city.

The human rights group said its local office in Hong Kong would close this month while its regional office will close by the end of the year, with regional operations moved to other offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong's national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government, Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty's board, said in a statement.

Hong Kong implemented a sweeping national security law in 2020 following months of massive anti-government protests. The law outlaws secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign collusion to intervene in the city's affairs. More than 120 people, many of them supporters of the city's democracy movement, have been arrested under the law.

The majority of the city's prominent pro-democracy activists are behind bars for taking part in unauthorized assemblies, and dozens of political organizations and trade unions have ceased operations out of concern for their members' personal safety under the security law.

Bais said the recent targeting of local human rights and trade union groups signaled authorities were intensifying their campaign to rid the city of dissenting voices. It is increasingly difficult for us to keep operating in such an unstable environment, she said.

Critics in Hong Kong say the national security law is an erosion of freedoms, such as those of expression and assembly, that were promised the city for 50 years when the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.