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Pakistan bans TLP for violent protests over the arrest of its leader

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According to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the Pakistan Government has taken the decision to ban Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), whose supporters and members have been violently protesting since the arrest of their chief, Saad Hussain Rizvi, on Monday.

In a post on Twitter, Sheikh Rashid Khan specified that the Islamist political party would be banned under Rule 11(b) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997. Rashid said that the Punjab Government made the recommendation to ban TLP, of which a summary is being sent to the Federal government.

“…today we’ve decided that [a] ban on TLP [will be placed] and this file is going to the cabinet for the approval from today,” Pakistan’s Interior Minister said.

This ban on TLP comes in the wake of three days of violent protests by TLP supporters and cadre, which have resulted in the deaths of two policemen and left at least 340 injured.

With regard to negotiations with TLP, Sheikh Rashid said, “It was our effort till the last moment to convince them to agree on a resolution to be presented in the assembly, but all of our efforts were unsuccessful.”

Sheikh Rashid added that TLP activists, “wanted to come to Faizabad chowk and Islamabad at any cost”.

Background for TLP’s violent protests

Pakistan was on the verge of a civil war after TLP’s violent protests against two things, the arrest of their leader Saad Hussain Rizvi which took place on Monday, and against France’s defence of Freedom of Expression pertaining to drawing caricatures of Prophet Muhammad. The Islamist group has demanded that the French ambassador be expelled from Pakistan and import of goods from France banned.

On November 14, 2020, the TLP and the police clashed so violently that the government gave in to their demands the following day. In their charter of demands, TLP directed the ouster of the French ambassador within 3 months. They demanded the release of arrested members of the TLP and said that no further cases should be registered against the party’s workers.

TLP also demanded that Pakistan would not appoint its ambassador to France, else they would continue their sit-in protests. The Imran Khan government, through its Interior Ministry, issued a notification to release all TLP workers. On January 3 this year, the new successor of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan Saad Hussain Rizvi threatened to launch countrywide protests if its demand of expelling the French ambassador is not met by February 17.

“If you have forgotten the promise, see our history… You have got time until Feb 17 to expel the French ambassador,” he had earlier warned. On February 11, the Imran Khan government reached a new agreement with TLP and assured that their demands will be tabled before the Parliament on April 20. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had told TLP that no other PM had raised the issue of blasphemy on international platforms more than him. However, in his signature U-turn, Imran Khan failed to implement the agreement ahead of the April 20 deadline.

In a video message on Sunday (April 11), TLP leader Saad Hussain Rizvi urged his followers to protest and hit the roads against the government if demands are not fulfilled. This call for a countrywide protest led to his arrest at around 2 pm on Wahdat Road in Lahore. Following his arrest, a large mob of his supporters blocked the Grand Trunk Road at several junctions. Major cities such as Islamabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, and Peshawar were cut off from the rest of the country. The Islamists had also blocked motorways, highways, train tracks and clashed with the police.

While speaking about the development, TLP leader Khalid Awan said, “We will not step back from our mission because of Saad Rizvi’s arrest.” A TLP spokesperson, Tayyab Rizvi, vowed, “They (Protests) will continue till the French ambassador is deported.” He added that a total of 12 members of the Islamist party were killed in police firing in cities such as Lahore, Karachi, and Talagang. Keeping in mind the law and order situation, major intersections in Karachi and Islamabad were closed on Sunday (April 13).

Horrific violence across Pakistan

Several videos have now surfaced online that highlights the grim law and order situation in Pakistan. A Pakistani Twitter user (@nighatdad) shared a horrific video claiming to depict the final moments of a constable killed by TLP workers. In the video, the policeman is chased by a mob of violent Islamists, being mercilessly beaten with sticks.

A retired Pakistan Army Major on Twitter shared a video of a Pakistani policeman with a mauled ear barely hanging on by its skin. The video also showcases other injured policemen, sharing their experience of being attacked by TLP activists.

Another video shows a Pakistani policeman being brutally beaten by a mob of TLP Islamists.

In a video shared by Twitter user (@AbdulGJutt), Islamists brandishing skullcaps were seen brutally assaulting security personnel with sticks. Even after the victim bled from his face, the mob continued with the thrashing. Another security personnel could be heard pleading with the TLP supporters to stop assaulting the man.

Popular Pakistani atheist Harris Sultan shared a video of a mob vandalizing a car with sticks, even when the occupants were inside the vehicle. They broke the window panes while the driver tried to desperately back off from the chaotic scene. Haris Sultan tweeted, “Somes lovers of the prophet peaceful letting it out on a blasphemous car.”

In another video, a frenzied mob can be seen gathering around a lone police official and mercilessly throwing blows at him.

In a heart-wrenching video, Islamists are seen pulling a bruised police official while he pleaded with them to spare him. “Are you a Muslim? You must be a Jewish (Yahoodi)agent.” Although the nameplate read ‘Umar’, the mob assumed that he was a Jew and hurled the choicest of expletives at him. In the end, the security personnel collapsed on the ground while the mob chanted, “Labaik Labaik.”

Despite the violence wrecked by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan in the country, the Pakistani army personnel were seen raising Islamist slogans along with the party members. Journalist Shama Junejo tweeted, “This video gives a clear message to the world from our armed forces that where do they stand, who they are with, & what kind of social structure they will support in Pakistan. Yet we wonder about #FATF & being a high-risk country for the UK.”

Last year, TLP Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan released videos where Muslims said that the ‘Badmash’ (naughty) Imran Khan government was instigating the ‘Kalma’ reading forces against the ‘Kalma’ reading Muslims of Rawalpindi when Muslims of Srinagar and Kashmir were hoping that these same forces would rescue them. They lamented the fact that the Pakistani forces were taking action against Namazis instead of “fighting Hindus”.

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MP Plans Affordable Liquor Policy, 90ml Country Liquor Packs to Help the Poor, Stop Hooch Tragedies

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The Madhya Pradesh government’s excise policy for 2021-22 aims to package country liquor in 90 millilitre bottles so that it becomes affordable to the poor who may skip costlier 180ml bottles and opt for cheaper and possibly spurious liquor, officials said on Saturday. The move to have country liquor in smaller bottles comes after 38 people died drinking illicit liquor in Ujjain and Morena in October and January, they added.

The policy, cleared by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in its cabinet meeting on Friday, however, has put on hold plans to sell liquor online, unlike neighbouring Chhattisgarh which recently became the 12th state where people can purchase alcohol in this mode. “As per the new policy, liquor companies must pack 10 per cent of their production in 90ml bottles. Country liquor used to come in 180 ml packs, which some of the poor consumers may not have been able to afford and there was the risk of them turning towards cheaper and possibly spurious liquor,” an official explained.

“The 90 ml bottle may be more affordable as it will come at half the price of a quarter,” he added. The new excise policy will come into effect from June 1 and will be in force for just 10 months, the months of April and May having been “dry ones” due to the corona curfew in place, officials pointed out.

Under the new policy, licence fee of outlets has been hiked by 10 per cent to tide over excise losses brought about by the coronavirus-induced restrictions, they added. “The closure of liquor outlets has affected business by some Rs 32 crore daily,” MP Excise Commissioner Rajeev Dubey told PTI.

Corona curfew is in force in MP since April 20.

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All India Parisangh shares image from 2008 to target Modi govt

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On Saturday (May 15), Dalit organisation All India Parisangh (AIP) sparked controversy by taking potshots at the Modi government using a 13-year-old image. The organisation was founded by Dalit activist and Congress leader Udit Raj.

In a tweet, AIP wrote, “Unke ‘Mann ki baat’ kyu sunna, jab Ganga pe terti lasho par bhi khamosh raha.” It loosely translates as “Why should we listen to PM Modi’s monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’ when he is silent on dead bodies floating in the river Ganga?”. The Dalit organisation shared a picture of a dog mauling a human skeleton, along the banks of a water body. At the time of writing, the image was retweeted 167 times and had 463 likes.

Screengrab of the post by the All India Parisangh

By posting the image, the organisation tried to insinuate that it is a recent image showing the mortal remains of a Covid-19 victim whose last rites were not performed. Reports of bodies of Covid victims floating on Ganga river have emerged in the last few days, and All India Parisangh tried to say the image also shows such an incident.

What is the Truth?

It may be noted that the image posted by All India Parisangh has the watermark of Alarmy on it, an stock image platform. Popular Twitter user ‘Befitting Facts’ pointed out that the stock image from Alarmy dates back to February 20, 2008. The disturbing picture was taken by one Dinodia Photos RM and captioned, “Dog eating dead man on Varanasi ghat, Uttar Pradesh in India.” Given the picture dates back to 2008, it must be remembered that the BJP did not have its government at the Centre nor at the State level. And as such, the unfortunate incident is not the result of PM Modi’s negligence.

Screengrab of the image via Alarmy

Earlier, close to 100 unidentified and decomposed bodies were found floating in the Ganga, sparking fear among the locals in several districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. While 71 bodies were recovered from Bihar’s Buxar district, other 25 bodies were fished from Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district with locals suspecting them to be the bodies of Covid victims.

After Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, in a horrifying video, at least half a dozen corpses were seen floating in the Runj river in the Panna district of Madhya Pradesh. Buxar police suspected the bodies might have floated from the neighbouring Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh. Authorities of both the districts were yet to confirm if the bodies were of Covid victims. As such, All India Parisangh seized the opportunity and shared a 13-year-old picture to blame the Modi government.

All India Parisangh compared Brahmins to pigs last year

Besides fake news, the Dalit organisation has been at the forefront of peddling Anti-Hindu hatred. It has time and again resorted to such vile derogatory casteist hurls targeting Brahmins, and resorted to the anti-Brahmin propaganda by posting an image of a pig wearing ‘Janeu’ – the sacred thread in July last year.

By openly propagating anti-Brahmin sentiments and comparing Brahmins to ‘pigs’, the Parisangh claimed that the Indian judiciary is only comprised of Brahmins. Expressing its contempt for the country’s judiciary, the Dalit organisation claimed that ‘Brahmin’ judges in the Indian courts only recommended fellow people from the community, who were then selected as judges by the third set of Brahmins. The derogatory comments were not only directed at the Brahmins of the country but also an attack on the independence of the judiciary.

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Govt, Admin, Public – All Dropped Guard After First Covid-19 Wave: RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat

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File photo of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

File photo of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Bhagwat said the country should stay united and work as a team in these testing times, instead of pointing fingers at each other.

  • PTI New Delhi
  • Last Updated:May 15, 2021, 19:21 IST
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After the first wave of COVID-19, the government, administration and public dropped their guard which led to the current situation, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said on Saturday and urged people to stay positive and proactive to fight the pandemic. Addressing a lecture series Positivity Unlimited’, Bhagwat said the country should stay united and work as a team in these testing times, instead of pointing fingers at each other.

“We are facing this situation because, whether it was the government, administration or public, everyone dropped their guard after the first wave despite indications from doctors, he said. Bhagwat said there is talk of a third wave. But, we will not be scared. We shall stand like a rock.

We have to stay positive and take precautions to keep ourselves COVID negative in the present situation, he said. The RSS chief said that this is not an appropriate time to point fingers and all should avoid making irrational remarks.

Citing England’s situation in World War II when everything seemed going against it, Bhagwat said a quote was written on the then prime minister Winston Churchill’s desk which read, “There is no pessimism in this office. We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They don’t exist”. Similarly, he said, in this situation we can’t give up on courage. We need to also have steely resolve.

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