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JD-U yet to take a call on PFI ban despite BJP pressure

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After a suspected terror module was busted in Patna’s Phulwari Sharif, there is disagreement between Bihar’s two ruling alliance partners – the BJP and the JD-U – over a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), which was allegedly involved.

BJP leaders like state minister Jivesh Mishra, Rajya Sabha MP and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, state President Sanjay Jaiswal and MLA Hari Bhushan Thakur and others are demanding a ban on the PFI while the Janata Dal-United’s leadership is yet to decide.

Minority Affairs Minister Jama Khan, of the JD-U, said: “The investigation is currently underway. There is no clarity over whether the organisation (PFI) is involved in anti- national activities or not. Hence, you can’t declare an organisation illegal. How could a ban be imposed on an organisation only on the basis of the assumption of some people. The action will be taken against the organisation only after its guilt would be proven by the authorities and courts.

“Any organisations like the RSS, the Bajrang Dal or PFI, they are connected with political parties. The probe should take place on this line too. If any organisation is involved in wrongdoing, the state government will take action against them. Ban cannot be imposed on the demand of some leaders of a political party,” Khan said.

On the other hand, BJP Minister Mishra demanded complete ban on PFI.

“The security agencies have busted PFI terror module of Phulwari Sharif… the NIA is investigating this case. If its operatives’ terror links will be proven in future, the Centre will ban it. We are already demanding a ban on such an organisation,” he said.

“I also appeal to the Central government to identify organisations like PFI and ban it immediately. When the Narendra Modi government came to power, it made every possible effort to destroy such organisations. They have given life threats to BJP leaders but they are not worried about it,” Mishra said.

Jaiswal alleged that a “large number of sleeper cells” were active in Bihar.

“The Popular Front of India Phulwari Sharif module developed in Patna. I am hoping that the security agencies will break the chain of terror modules developed in every district of Bihar. It is an international conspiracy against the country to destroy… it will be prevented….

“Whoever had taken the training under the PFI from 2016 to 2022 will be exposed and arrested,” he asserted.

“The BJP leaders are not the soft target of terrorists but their connection from Bihar is emerging before us. Wherever terrorist activities taking place in the country, it has some connection with Bihar. This is also indicating that a large number of sleeper cells are active in every district of Bihar,” Jaiswal said.

BJP leader Neeraj Kumar Bablu sought that security agencies should scan all madarsas existing in Bihar.

“There are many madarsas in Bihar having excellent education systems while some of them have a fishy atmosphere. Hence, those madrasas need investigation and should be kept under close watch of intelligence agencies,” he said.

Why the Nitish Kumar government is not imposing a ban on PFI?

Despite a strong demand for a ban on the PFI by BJP leaders, the JD-U believes otherwise. The party think tank believes that banning an organisation only on the basis of allegations may prove dangerous in upcoming polls.

The JD-U is on the driving seat in Bihar but it is only due to the bargain and not due to its political strength. The party performed poorly in the 2020 Assembly election and won only 43 seats. It managed to win two more seats in the by-elections to reach 45, and subsequently merged an LJP MLA and an independent MLA to reach at the figure of 47. Still, it is in the third position in the house, as the RJD has 80 and the BJP has 77 MLAs.

The JD-U leadership believed that the party had reached to the third position not due to opposition but the “lethal” political moves of the BJP. In the last 21 months, these two parties were often involved in mud-slinging on almost every single issue.

The PFI issue has emerged as another flashpoint.

In the past few weeks, BJP hardliners like Union Minister Giriraj Singh and Hari Bhushan Thakur have claimed that they have received threatg calls from militant organisations. Even a number of BJP leaders were attacked during the Agneepath protest. Following that, the Centre government has given Y-category security to 10 BJP leaders including Giriraj Singh, Thakur, Ashwini Kumar Chaubey, Tar Kishore Prasad, Renu Devi, Sanjiv Chaurasia, Ashwini Kumar Chaubey and others.

Despite all provocations, no communal tension or riots occurred in Bihar under the Nitish Kumar government, which is why a sizable part of the minority community reposes faith in him. The JD-U also knows that if the state government would impose a ban on the organisation like PFI, it would be a disaster for it in the next election as the minority community will entirely swing over to the RJD.

JD-U sources are claiming that the Union Home Ministry’s handing over the probe to the NIA is a part of ploy to declare it an anti-national and terrorist organisation and ban it.

As BJP leaders are citing the example of neighbouring Jharkhand, which has imposed a ban on the PFI, the JD-U notes that the Hemant Soren government took the decision as its “core constituency” is different.

Bihar Minister and former IPS officer Sunil Kumar said: “It is a decision of Jharkhand government to impose a ban on the PFI. Bihar government will take any such decision on the basis of the investigation report and legal observations.

As the ban on PFI is an extremely sensitive matter, officials of Bihar Police are tightlipped on it and avoiding recommendation to the state government for ban.

Meanwhile, the RJD questioned the updates in the investigation so far.

State RJD chief Jagadanand Singh said: “They (investigating agencies) are claiming that a person has a telephonic conversation with a Pakistani national. The investigators should release the transcript of the conversation in public domain. They should reveal what the act was done by youths of a particular community which turn threat for the nation. During Partition, a large number of Muslim families went to Pakistan and their relatives are living in both the countries. Can they clarify whether interacting with relatives in Pakistan is a crime?”

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, while referring to Patna SSP M.S. Dhillon’s now controversial comments, said: “RJD is saying right from the beginning that the RSS is a threat to the country. At present, whatever the poisonous and hatred spread in the society is only due to the RSS. It is in the agenda of RSS to communalise the society.”

Patna police have arrested 8 persons so far in these two cases, including the PFI module. In the suspected terror module case, Athar Parvez, Mohammad Jalaluddin, and Arman Malik were arrested, and have revealed the names of Margoob alias Danis and Shabbir. Margoob was running a social networking group called Ghazwa-e-Hind and connected with the youths of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The investigators claimed that Parvez was attached with the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and his brother Manzar Alam was involved in 2013 serial bomb blast in Gandhi Maidan rally of then PM candidate Narendra Modi. Jalaluddin also has some connection with the SIMI. During the raid, the joint team had recovered some objectionable documents which indicate that they were allegedly involved in brainwashing Muslim youths and working on “Mission 2047” to make India a Muslim country.

National News

Delhi HC declares ITC Maurya’s ‘Bukhara’ a well-known trademark

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The Delhi High Court has declared ITC Limited’s ‘Bukhara’ as a well-known trademark under Section 2(zg) read with Section 11(2) of the Trade Marks Act and also directed the Registrar of Trademarks to add the same to the list of well-known marks following the completion of required formalities.

The court observed that the attribute of certain trademarks attaining the status of ‘well-known marks’ had been acknowledged by courts in India for about three decades.

ITC had filed a case against a Gurgaon restaurant claiming that the usage of the mark ‘Balk Bukhara’ is an infringement of its trademark. Additionally, ITC sought a declaration of its mark ‘Bukhara’ as a well-known mark.

Justice Prathiba M. Singh also observed that there is no doubt that ‘Bukhara’ was a well-known mark as the restaurant has won numerous awards and has had celebrities visiting from across the globe.

Defending ‘Balm Bukhara’, Advocates Peeyoosh Kalra and Nikita Anand informed the court that the mark ‘Bukhara’ had not been protected by courts in the USA.

Whereas, the court said as the mark ‘Bukhara’ originated in India, the judgments from USA courts would not be applicable in India’s context.

“It enjoys substantial goodwill and reputation not only among Indians but also among foreigners who travel to India and carry back the said reputation,” said the court.

Further, the court restrained the defendants from using the mark ‘Balk Bukhara’ or any other similar mark in any form and directed them to change the items or places where the mark appears before December 31, 2022.

The defendants, however, agreed not to use the mark or any other mark with the word ‘Bukhara’ for their hotel, restaurant, or other hospitality services.

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National News

BJP claims better performance than UPA govt in economic domain

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The political tussle between Congress and BJP has intensified with respect to the ‘politics of performance’. While Congress is constantly trying to put the Modi government in the dock regarding the economic condition of the country and rising inflation, BJP claims that their government has fared much better in the domain of economy.

Comparing the size of the country’s economy in the tenures of UPA and NDA governments, BJP expressed on twitter that during 10 years of the UPA government, India moved up just one notch as the world’s largest economy. On the other hand, the Indian economy has climbed up five places to become the world’s fifth largest economy in just eight-and-a-half years of under Modi.

India moved from 11th to 10th largest economy in ten years of UPA while India has moved from 10th to 5th largest economy in eight and half years of BJP-led NDA.

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Mumbai Police takes underworld don Chhota Shakeel’s relative Salim Fruit’s custody

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The Anti extortion cell (AEC) of the Mumbai Police on Tuesday said that it has arrested Underworld gangster and Dawood Ibrahim’s close aide Chhota Shakeel’s relative Salim Qureshi alias Salim Fruit in a fresh case of land grabbing.

The police said a family based in South Africa had filed a complaint saying that their property in the Umerkhadi area of South Mumbai was allegedly grabbed by preparing fake documents. A case under relevant sections of the IPC was registered by the Economic Offence Wing of the city police and it was later transferred to the AEC.

Initial investigations revealed the involvement of five people including Salim Fruit in the matter following which the police arrested the suspects, an official said.

The police said the complainant had said that his property which is worth over Rs 25 crore was grabbed by making fake documents. The property was originally owned by his father.

“Salim Fruit was lodged in jail. He had been arrested by the NIA in a previous case. With the court’s permission, we have taken him into our custody and he is arrested in the matter,” said DCP Prashant Kadam.

The police said the arrested suspects were produced before a court that sent them to police custody. Further investigations into the matter are going on.

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