Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government is planning to take strict action against the radical forces and organisations involved in cases of arson and violence during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests.
Some top officials of the state admit that the state government was keeping a close watch on the ”Popular Front of India” (PFI) which has lately come up in the state. However, the officials were not ready to speak anything officially on the plans to ban it.
Uttar Pradesh suffered the maximum loss of government property in the violent anti-CAA protests and several people lost their lives.
In Meerut, the police have arrested two miscreants in connection with the violence. During investigation, it was revealed that both the accused were active members of the PFI.
Awanish Awasthi, Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Uttar Pradesh said: “I will not be able to say anything about the ban right now. The state government is taking precautionary measures.
“With the arrest of members of this organisation in Meerut, the situation is clear. At present, the Uttar Pradesh Police intelligence and the state government are keeping a close watch on all the suspicious activities of this organisation.”
Lucknow witnessed several violent incidents over the CAA. The arson-riot incidents at Nadwa revealed the poor state of law and order situation in the state capital.
A senior police officer in Meerut told IANS: “The organisation has spread as much terror as it could in Meerut, Lucknow and other parts of the state. The investigation has cleared the picture.”
Sources said that the Delhi Police and Uttar Pradesh Police are planning to take strict action against the organisation.
The two miscreants caught in Meerut have revealed that the headquarters of the PFI is located near South-East Delhi”s Shaheen Bagh/Okhla-Jamia Nagar area.
A senior officer of the Uttar Pradesh Police said: “Wherever the state police have received news of riots and arson, the organisation is directly or indirectly involved. This is a sensitive matter. No action will be taken in haste. An exemplary action will be taken against the organisation so that no untoward action happens in the future.”
A highly placed source of the Uttar Pradesh police told IANS, “A file to ban this organisation was opened about six months ago. However, no action has been taken as yet. There have been no discussions on any plan to ban the organisation.”
“It will not be appropriate to reveal the steps to be taken by the government against the organisation.”
However, the PFI has dismissed the allegations.
“The government can say whatever it wants. We dismiss these allegations,” a PFI member said.
When asked about the possible ban of PFI, the group”s member said, “First, the government should have evidence against us.”
Choose wisely – go organic this Holi
With Holi -the festival of colours coming up — everyone is busy buying colours, ‘pichkaris’, and balloons but with increasing environment pollution and severe allergic reactions to synthetic colours, there is a growing awareness among people to opt for organic variants.
“In an approximately Rs 4,500-crore unorganised Holi colour market, the share of the organic variety is miniscule, but growing,” said Madhumita Puri, Founder and Executive Director of Avacayam Naturals, a Delhi-based manufacturer of organic colours.
The adverse effects of synthetic colours was observed in a study titled ‘The Holi Dermatoses’, published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology.
It found a spate in skin diseases following the spring festival in India.
In the study conducted on 42 patients in Kolkata, 11 patients suffered due to activities related to preparation of colors and 12 reported aggravation of pre-existing dermatoses.
Nearly 60 per cent patients reported itching, while others reported to have suffered from a burning sensation, scaling, redness and watering of the eyes, as per the study.
Treading on a eco-friendly and skin-friendly path, Avacayam Naturals employed differently-abled persons to make organic colours by using waste and used flowers and leaves.
This solves three purposes at one go – generates employment for the disabled, manufactures harmless eco-friendly colours, and there is optimal usage of waste flowers.
Speaking to IANS, Puri said: “For making the colours, we collect used flowers — roses, marigolds, and others — and leaves from temples, weddings, and hotels.”
Avacayam Naturals, one of the programs that Puri started under her “Trash to Cash” scheme, makes four colours: Pink from roses, yellow from yellow marigolds, orange from orange marigolds, and green from leaves.
On being asked if the colours are harmless, she said: “Rather than damaging the environment, they are beneficial as each packet of colour is made from waste flowers which otherwise would dirty the place.”
How are the colours made?
“After the flowers are collected, the workers sort them in different baskets according to their colour. Then, the petals and seed pods are separated and cut. These are then spread out to dry in a well ventilated space for all the moisture to evaporate.
“After that, they are ground and processed — without adding any chemicals — to be made into colours for people to enjoy,” Puri said, adding that the process of collection, drying, and grinding continues throughout the year but it is only before festivals that they process them into the final product.
“In a year, we manufacture around 20 tonne of pure organic colour, some of which is sold to Walmart India. One kilo of colour is sold between Rs 600 and Rs 1,000.”
When asked about the expiry date of these colours, Puri said: “The product is a dry one and completely natural. We have been testing them since five years now and have not found any deterioration in the quality, fungal infestations, or weevils. So there is no ‘expiry date’ to them.”
Another such manufacturer is Jaipur-based Red Earth which makes colours “exclusively from edible materials and scent them with pure, traditional attars”.
Speaking to IANS, Himanshu Verma, Director-Owner of Red Earth, said: “Every 2-3 years, we change our colour palette… this year we have four colours — Sunahra Dhamaal, Shvet Abeer, Neem Sanrachna, and Gulabi Nagariya — that are inspired by local materials.”
“The colours are curated on the basis of availability of local materials. We use items like camphor, neem, mehendi, multani-mitti, geru powder, arrowroot, flour, and others,” Verma said, adding that 50-60 per cent materials used are edible so that even if someone ingests them by mistake, they will not be as harmful.