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Srikant Ojha | HENB | Patna | July 16, 2016:: Nitish Kumar’s Bihar government and the state police were in a tizzy on Saturday after a video went viral showing student activists marching through Patna streets from Patna Science College to Kargil Chowk and chanting pro-Pakistani slogans on Friday.
The procession was taken out by around 50-60 youths under the banner of Popular Front of India (PFI), said to be another face of Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which was banned in the country soon after the 9/11 attack in the US. Interestingly, the banner of the procession was picturized with the All India Majlish-e-Ittehadul Muslimin (AIMIM) President and Hyderabad MP Assaduddin Owaisi who went to extreme some days before by saying, “I will no say Bharat Mata Ki Jai, even he is put under an knife” and the Jihadi Teacher of the Terrorists – Zakir Naik..
The frenzy processionists aimed to extend support to Zakir Naik, who is said to have inspired the terrorists who indulged in mayhem at an upmarket restaurant in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on July 1, and MIM’s chief Asaddudin Owaisi.
Police on Friday night arrested one Mohammed Taufiq Hussain (28), a resident of village Makya under Benipatti police station area in Madhubani district, from the PFI’s local office at Gulshan Apartment on Ashok Raj Path under Alamganj police station area. He is being interrogated. Police is judging Taufiq’s connection with both All India Momin Front and PFI both.
Police sources said Intelligence Bureau (IB) and National Investigation Agency (NIA) on late Friday night also interrogated Tausif for several hours. Most of the processionists are said to have reached Patna from Darbhanga, Madhubani and Samastipur districts a couple of days back.
City SP (Central) Chandan Kumar Kushwaha said Taufiqis a final-year student of BA in Darbhanga district. He has six brothers and two sisters. DIG (central range) Shalin said Taufiq has told police that he is the general secretary of Mithilanchal zone of PFI.
Patna SSP Manu Maharaaj said Taufiq has denied chanting “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans, and added the video showing him chanting “Pakistan zindabad” would be sent to forensic science laboratory to establish its authenticity.
Police sources said that they are checking transactions in Taufiq’s bank account with Punjab National Bank.
On the basis of a written complaint by a sub-inspector, Ravindra Prasad, an FIR has been lodged under Section 143 (unlawful assembly), 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC. Taufiq’s name figures in the FIR.
Meanwhile, police are trying to identify the other persons who participated in the procession. Police claimed no prior permission was taken for the procession, but sources said a police patrol was moving with the procession. Initially, police allegedly tried to hush up the matter but after the video went viral, they were forced to lodge an FIR with the Pirbahore police station in Patna.
An Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer said the PFI members had prior informed the local media for coverage of the event. He said funding for the PFI’s Bihar unit was coming from Bangalore.
An NIA officer said Darbhanga, Samastipur and Madhubani districts have large supporter base of Zakir Naik. “Indian Mujahideen’s Yasin Bhatkal, presently lodged in Hyderabad jail, was also inspired by Zakir’s sermons and he used to visit a library in Laheriasarai which is filled with his books,” he added.
Angered by the pro-Pakistan slogans that were raised in Patna on Friday, the workers of Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) today torched the Pakistani flag in retaliation at Kargil Chowk on Saturday.
The workers upped their ante on the Nitish Kumar government and alleged that it was because of the soft approach on terrorism by the government that pro-Pakistan slogans were raised on the streets of Patna.
Several workers of ABVP and HAM assembled at the Kargil Chowk and burnt the Pakistani national flag.
WILL NOT TOLERATE ANTI-NATIONAL ACTIVITIES: ABVP
ABVP workers said that they would not tolerate any kind of anti-national activity and demanded a crackdown by the government on those who shouted the slogans.
“We will not tolerate pro-Pakistan slogans in India. Student community in the country is very angry. The government will have to act upon the accused persons. Bihar government should not play vote bank politics or else we will further our movement across the state”, said Nikhil Ranjan, an ABVP protestor.
SUSHIL MODI SLAMS NITISH GOVERNMENT
Meanwhile, former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi lashed out at the Bihar government for dealing with the matter in a slack manner.
Speaking exclusively to India Today, Modi raised serious concern over the pro-Pakistan slogans and said such a thing never happened in Bihar.
“This is a matter of great concern. This has never happened on the streets of Patna. If a protest march to support Zakir Naik is carried out, it’s very serious. Even Bangladesh has alleged that terrorists who carried out attacks in Dhaka were inspired by his speeches,” Modi said.
Around 100 activists of Popular Front of India (PFI) were today taken into preventive custody for taking out a procession at Sahebgunj at Jharkhand in support of controversial televangelist Zakir Naik and AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi in the district. The PFI procession organised in protest against the alleged media trial of Naik and Owaisi was taken out without permission, Superintendent of Police, P Murugan, said.
The PFI procession organised in protest against the alleged media trial of Naik and Owaisi was taken out without permission, Superintendent of Police, P Murugan, said.
The activists were taken into custody at Patna chowk under Barharwa police station and set free on PR bond later in the evening, he said. About 150 PFI activists were taken in preventive custody in Pakur district for similar reason on Wednesday.
__With inputs from IANS, ANI & PTI.