Dalit anger singes BJP, Mayawati’s stock rises No hel­met, no fuel: State gets tough on two-wheeler safety FOR YOUR PRO­TEC­TION Man from Zakir Naik’s foun­da­tion held for ISIS links THE ZAKIR NAIK CON­TRO­VERSY

AF­TER­MATH Protests spread in UP, Gu­jarat; Op­po­si­tion guns for Modi govt 4,500

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dents let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Correspondent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Correspondent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

BSP chief Mayawati took cen­tre stage in na­tional pol­i­tics and won rare unan­i­mous op­po­si­tion sup­port in par­lia­ment on Thurs­day, as protests grew over deroga­tory re­marks about her and atroc­i­ties against Dal­its.

Thou­sands of peo­ple filled the main streets of Luc­know and else­where in Ut­tar Pradesh, de­mand­ing the ar­rest of ex­pelled state BJP leader Dayashankar Singh for com­par­ing Mayawati to a pros­ti­tute. They left after the au­thor­i­ties promised to ar­rest Singh within 36 hours.

The in­sult to Mayawati, a Dalit icon and four times chief min­is­ter of Ut­tar Pradesh, came at a time the cen­tral gov­ern­ment has been strug­gling to con­tain protests over the beat­ing of four Dalit men by self-styled cow vig­i­lantes for skin­ning a dead cow in Gu­jarat.

Thurs­day’s demon­stra­tions as well as Mayawati’s speech in par­lia­ment sig­nalled that Ut­tar Pradesh was set to be­come the fo­cal point of Dalit protest pol­i­tics, with elec­tions in the state just months away. Ac­count­ing for about 21% of the state pop­u­la­tion, Dal­its are Congress V-P Rahul Gandhi visits Una to meet the Dalit vic­tims who were as­saulted by ‘cow pro­tec­tors’.

a key swing vote.

Im­ply­ing a po­lit­i­cal back­lash for the BJP, Mayawati said Dal­its would never for­give the party for Singh’s com­ments.

“Peo­ple from the weaker sec­tions of so­ci­ety… re­spect me a lot; they treat me as a god­dess and if you say bad things about their god­dess, they will feel bad and are bound to protest,” she said.

In the Ra­jya Sabha, her speech bore the hall­mark of a po­ten­tial elec­tion pitch.

Those rid­ing two-wheel­ers with­out a hel­met can no longer buy fuel at petrol pumps, cour­tesy the state gov­ern­ment’s new No Hel­met No Fuel rule.

Transport min­is­ter Di­wakar Raote, while an­nounc­ing the de­ci­sion in the state As­sem­bly, said al­low­ing un­safe rid­ers to re­fuel their two-wheel­ers was like en­cour­ag­ing them to ride with­out hel­mets. “The de­ci­sion was taken in ac­cor­dance with the guidelines laid down by a road safety com­mit­tee ap­pointed by the SC,” he said in the state As­sem­bly. He also said po­lice­men, who do not fol­low traf­fic safety rules will also face ac­tion.

The min­is­ter said the state has al­ready made hel­mets com­pul­sory for both the rider and the pil­lion rider.

A few other states such as Ker­ala will im­ple­ment the pol­icy from Au­gust 1. Around 4,500 petrol pumps have been asked to im­ple­ment it in Ma­ha­rash­tra. The pumps also have to dis­play boards at their out­lets in­form­ing cus­tomers about the de­ci­sion.

Petrol pump op­er­a­tors, how­ever, op­posed the move say­ing it was not their job. “We had a meet­ing with se­nior police of­fi­cers of the Mumbai police com­mis­sion­er­ate about im­ple­men­ta­tion at 223 petrol pumps in the city on an ex­per­i­men­tal ba­sis. But im­ple­men­ta­tion across the state was a uni­lat­eral de­ci­sion taken with­out tak­ing us into con­fi­dence. We do not have any right to deny petrol. The de­nial will lead to un­war­ranted brawls,” said Uday Lodh, pres­i­dent, Fed­er­a­tion of All Ma­ha­rash­tra Petrol Deal­ers As­so­ci­a­tions.

A pub­lic re­la­tions man­ager work­ing for con­tro­ver­sial tel­e­van­ge­list Zakir Naik’s Is­lamic Re­search Foun­da­tion was ar­rested from Nerul on Thurs­day for al­legedly rad­i­cal­is­ing a cou­ple from Ker­ala and re­cruit­ing them with the Is­lamic State.

A team of Ker­ala police and the Ma­ha­rash­tra Anti-Ter­ror­ist Squad (ATS) ar­rested 45-year-old Ar­shid Asif Qureshi un­der sec­tions of the Un­law­ful Ac­tiv­i­ties (Pre­ven­tion) Act.

Ar­shid’s name sur­faced when the Palar­iv­ot­tam police sta­tion in Kochi regis­tered a com­plaint against Yahya, alias Bestin Vin­cent, a Chris­tian from Palakkad who con­verted to Is­lam and is be­lieved to have joined the ISIS, after he went miss­ing from Kochi with his wife Merin Ja­cob, alias Mariyam.

The com­plaint was regis­tered by Merin’s brother Ebin Ja­cob.

Police sources said Qureshi was the pub­lic re­la­tions man­ager when Naik had held a mas­sive pub­lic con­fer­ence in 2009 and that he was re­spon­si­ble for all the co­or­di­na­tion. Ebin’s com­plaint says theirs is a Chris­tian fam­ily from Eda­pally in Kochi. His sis­ter had met Yahya while work­ing in Mumbai in 2015, and even­tu­ally the two got mar­ried.

ARUN SHARMA/HT

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