Modi quotes Dy­lan to hail change, jokes about `100 NIA raids Zakir Naik’s Mum­bai of­fices, home

CASH CRI­SIS So­nia hits out at ‘short­cuts to great­ness’; four peo­ple die in queues

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com Sau­rabh M Joshi and Ra­jesh Ahuja let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com Aayushi Pratap aayushi.pratap@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on Saturday quoted No­bel Lau­re­ate Bob Dy­lan to hit out at crit­ics of the govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to re­call high-value ban­knotes, say­ing “the times they are a-changin” and asked them not to crit­i­cise “what you can’t un­der­stand”.

Modi’s swipe came 11 days af­ter he an­nounced a ban on Rs500 and Rs1,000 ban­knotes, a sur­prise de­ci­sion that has left mil­lions of In­di­ans strug­gling to ex­change the banned cur­rency and with­draw cash from banks and ATMs.

Ear­lier in the day, Congress pres­i­dent So­nia Gandhi took a dig at lead­ers who are in a “quest for short­cuts to great­ness”, in what is seen as a veiled crit­i­cism of Modi’s de­mon­eti­sa­tion move that her party says has been ex­e­cuted badly.

Party vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi also tar­geted Modi. “The cold play while the poor suf­fer!” he tweeted, re­fer­ring to the Bri­tish band Cold­play which per­formed in Mum­bai af­ter Modi’s ad­dress through video-con­fer­ence.

The Congress’ fresh salvo came on a day when at least four more peo­ple died, al­legedly due to ex­haus­tion from queu­ing sev­eral hours to ex­change ban­knotes.

The govern­ment says the de­mon­eti­sa­tion was aimed at curb­ing black money and coun­ter­feit­ing of cur­rency. Stu­dents at a Jammu col­lege pose for a pho­to­graph with the new Rs2,000 ban­knote, back­ing PM Modi’s de­mon­eti­sa­tion move.

Fed­eral an­titer­ror­ism in­ves­ti­ga­tors searched a dozen of­fices and homes linked to tel­e­van­ge­list Zakir Naik on Saturday, re­cov­er­ing cash and po­ten­tially in­crim­i­nat­ing doc­u­ments, a day af­ter the po­lice charged the con­tro­ver­sial preacher with pro­mot­ing ter­ror­ism.

Of­fi­cers of the Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (NIA) swooped down early in the morn­ing on the head­quar­ters of Naik’s Mum­bai-based NGO, Is­lamic Re­search Foun­da­tion (IRF), which was banned this week for five years un­der a tough anti-ter­ror­ism law. The teams con­ducted searches in the Don­gri and Maza­gaon neigh­bour­hoods, where Naik’s home and of­fices are spread across sev­eral build­ings. The searches went on till late at night. In­ves­ti­ga­tors also searched a me­dia com­pany that Naik used to beam his of­ten­in­flam­ma­tory speeches.

Blood do­na­tions that usu­ally drop dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son is yet to take off af­ter Di­wali this year, with blood banks across the city fac­ing a se­vere scarcity, es­pe­cially of the blood groups B pos­i­tive and AB.

Blood banks said there is usu­ally a sharp fall in do­na­tions around Di­wali as peo­ple go on va­ca­tions, but the short­age this year has lasted longer than usual. Dr Kishore Jha, the blood bank of­fi­cer at the Ma­hatma Gandhi Seva Mandir blood bank, Ban­dra, said,“At any point, we have a stock of 500 units of all blood groups, which is suf­fi­cient. Right now, how­ever, we have about 30-40 units of blood,” he said.

The staff at the state-run JJ Ma­hana­gar blood bank, By­culla, also re­ported fac­ing a short­age for three weeks. “We have had to refuse peo­ple who need blood,” said a staff mem­ber at the blood bank. The Red Cross Blood Bank at Fort has 19 units of blood, com­pared to 100 units that make up their ‘ad­e­quate sup­ply’. “We have now re­served the stock only for Tha­lassemia pa­tients,” said Mangesh Sawant, a tech­ni­cian.

The short­age has hit pa­tients and their fam­i­lies. Su­nil Shah (name changed), a Gore­gaon res­i­dent, said he called up ev­ery blood bank in the city to ar­range for blood for his 29-year old son who has Tha­lassemia, an in­her­ited blood dis­or­der. “My son’s needs three units of B pos­i­tive blood ev­ery 15 days. As we are trav­el­ling on Mon­day, one bank called a donor,” he said.

PTI

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