New Delhi: Narendra Modi is the “favourite” prime ministerial candidate of Muslims for next year’s Lok Sabha polls as he has dispelled the “fear” that several parties instilled in the community using his name, senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said.
He said the faith in Modi among Muslims had increased, especially among the women. “The favourite prime ministerial candidate for Muslims in the 2019 polls is Narendra Modi, because he sees all 132 crore people of the country just as Indians. Other parties have seen them as a vote bank,” Hussain said.
Muslims account for around 14 per cent of India’s 130 crore population and the community plays a key role in the electoral outcome in a sizeable number of Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir.
Hussain blamed the Congress for the poverty and backwardness of the Muslims in the country, saying the party had done injustice to the community and Modi had given them justice.
“Some people in 2014 used to scare others using Narendra Modi’s name. Today, a large number of people from the Muslim community also feel that he is a man who works day and night. Narendra Modi treats all 132 crore Indians alike,” he said.
Other parties used to take votes from Muslims by spreading the “fear” of Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the prime minister had taken out that fear, Hussain said. Now they see that Modi is in power but there is no problem, the BJP leader added.
Not a single statement was made by Modi against Muslims, he said, adding that the prime minister’s “shamshan-kabristan” statement in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls last year was “wrongly interpreted” as he had advocated taking care of both.
“In our party, some people may be making (certain) statements, but Muslims have full faith on the statements made by BJP chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the former Union minister said.
“Our party president and our prime minister have never given any statement that would hurt Muslims,” he claimed, asserting that the community would back the saffron party big time in the 2019 general election.
Hussain also said Allahabad’s name was changed to Prayagraj as “injustice” was done in the past” and now, “justice” had been restored. “The earlier name was Prayagraj that was changed. To correct that mistake, is it wrong? Earlier also, Bangalore’s name was changed to Bengaluru, Madras was changed to Chennai. So, how does history come into this,” he said, rebutting the Congress’s charge that the Modi government was trying to rewrite history.
On the Ram temple issue, Hussain said for the BJP, it was a matter of faith and not a poll plank. “From October 29, there will be day-to-day hearing (in the Supreme Court). We are hopeful that this issue will be resolved soon and it will be acceptable to all the people in the country.
“Some people are also demanding that a law be made (for the construction of the temple). Everybody has a right to demand, how can anybody stop that? The government has the right to decide and it has not taken any decision in this regard,” he said.
Talking about the upcoming Assembly elections in five states, the BJP spokesperson exuded confidence that his party would win in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
“In Mizoram, the government will not be formed without our support and in Telangana, we will emerge as a big party,” he claimed.
Hussain also asserted that the BJP, the Janata Dal (United), the Lok Janshakti Party and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party will fight the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar together.
He said the alliance with the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) had boosted the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) prospects in Bihar and the coalition was focussed on “Mission 40” — to win all the Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Asked if anti-incumbency would be a factor in Bihar, Hussain said, “I had lost from Bhagalpur by 8,000 votes and Nitish Kumarji’s candidate was third, getting 1,60,000 votes. Now those votes will be added to the BJP’s kitty…We will fight together and this time, it is Mission 40 — that we win all the 40 seats.”
He also claimed that issues such as rising petrol and diesel prices will not hamper the BJP’s poll prospects, saying the people were aware that the fuel problem was a global one.
The Modi government will come to power with a bigger mandate in 2019, Hussain asserted.
NIA raids locations in western UP, Punjab over ISIS-inspired module probe
New Delhi:The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday morning conducted raids at several places in western Uttar Pradesh and Punjab in connection with the investigation into a suspected ISIS-inspired module. A case was recently registered against the suspected module.
Sources said that the police officials detained two persons for questioning from Athsaini village in Garhmukteshwar tehsil. They were being interrogated by the police till last report came in.
The agency rounded up a 50-year-old resident of Bulandshahr, who runs a general store and has spent over 25 years in Saudi Arabia.
Notably, this is the third time that raids have been conducted by the NIA in Hapur area of Uttar Pradesh while the searches in Amroha have been carried out for the second time.
Several teams of the counter-terror probe agency launched the searches simultaneously in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha and Bulandshahr besides Punjab’s Ludhiana, and several places early in the day, a senior NIA official said.
The raids that were still underway, kicked off after the NIA got leads from those arrested during their interrogation. The agency is looking into the role of a foreign mastermind behind the new module.
The action comes in the wake of a case it registered on December 20 under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Explosive Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Armed robbers loot passengers onboard Jammu-Delhi Duronto Express
New Delhi: Unidentified assailants, carrying guns and sharp-edged weapons, barged inside two coaches of Jammu-Delhi Duronto Express and looted the passengers on Thursday morning.
A group of about seven to ten armed assailants robbed passengers onboard B3 and B7 coaches. The incident took place in the early morning hours in Badli station, on the outskirts of Delhi.
The incident came to light after a passenger filed a complaint through the railways’ complaints portal. Passenger Ashwani Kumar, in his complaint, claimed that passengers of B3 and B7 coaches of the train were targeted by the armed men as it neared the Delhi Sarai Rohilla station.
“As train number 12266, which stops only at its source and destination stations, was approaching the Delhi station, stopped at around 3:30 am awaiting signal, seven to 10 miscreants entered coaches B3 and B7 of the train,” Kumar said.
The miscreants snatched mobiles, gold jewellery, cash and other valuable items from multiple passengers. The entire robbery took place within 10 to 15 minutes.
A case has been filed.
Railway Protection Force (RPF) has initial leads in the case and action will be taken against culprits, said the Chief Public Relation Officer (CPRO) Northern Railways.
“The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has initial leads in the matter. The culprits will be nabbed soon and stern action will be taken against them,” a Northern Railway spokesperson said.
Kumar later added that the passengers tried to reach the train attendant and TT after the incident and found them after 20 minutes. “The irony is that neither staff nor security personnel were available there at the time of the mishap,” the passenger claimed.
The complainant claimed that when he could not find the TT or the attendant, he contacted the Delhi Police after which an FIR was registered at the destination station.
“… The attendant told us that there was no security personnel available in the train. We are not safe even in AC coaches and imagine the security in sleeper class and general coaches where passengers enter the train even without tickets… ,” Kumar wrote in his complaint.
Several persons took to social media questioning rail security and safety of passengers again with this incident.
The Jammu Tawi-Delhi Sarai Rohilla Express (Train no 12266) has a travel time of 9 hours with one halt at Ludhiana.
The Duronto Expresses are one of the fastest trains in India. It has only AC coaches.
SC partially strikes down stringent rules on Maharashtra dance bars
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside certain provisions of a law imposing restrictions on the licensing and functioning of dance bars in Maharashtra.
A bench headed by Justice A K Sikri quashed certain provisions of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working therein) Act, 2016.
The top court allowed orchestra and added that tips can be given but showering of cash and coins is not allowed inside bars.
SC upheld the condition of fixed timings of dance bars in Maharashtra from 6 pm to 11.30 pm.
Supreme Court said, “There cannot be a total prohibition on dance bars. No licence has been granted by Maharashtra since 2005. There may be regulations but that should not amount to a total prohibition.”
The court quashed conditions of Maharashtra government of putting CCTV cameras in dance bars of Mumbai, giving licence to people of good character as ‘vague’.
It also repealed a rule that segregated dancing stage from the bar area where drinks are served.
The Court has also struck down a condition by which dance bars should be 1 km away from educational and religious places.
The top court has upheld a rule of Maharashtra government by which working women should have a contract so they can’t be exploited, however, quashed a rule of monthly salary for bar dancers.