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While Pakistan PM Imran Khan says Taliban have ‘broken shackles of slavery’, China says it’s ready for ‘friendly relations’ with militia.



The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, according to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, is “breaking the chains of slavery”. The statement came a day after the Taliban took over Kabul, setting off concerns about the return of the hardline system which deprived many sections, especially women, of civil rights in terms of education, jobs and marriage.

“You take over the other culture and become psychologically subservient. When that happens, please remember, it is worse than actual slavery. It is harder to throw off the chains of cultural enslavement. What is happening in Afghanistan now, they have broken the shackles of slavery,” he said.

Pakistan’s all-weather friend, China, too is ready to deepen “friendly and cooperative” relations with Afghanistan, a government spokeswoman said on Monday, after the Taliban seized control of the country.

Beijing has sought to maintain unofficial ties with the Taliban throughout the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, which spurred an advance by the Islamist hardliners across the country that saw them capture the capital Kabul on Sunday.

China shares 76-km border with Afghanistan and has long feared Afghanistan could become a staging point for Muslim minority Uyghur separatists in Xinjiang. But a top-level Taliban delegation met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin last month, promising that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for terrorists. In exchange, China offered economic support and investment for Afghanistan’s reconstruction.  

On Monday, China said it “welcomed” the chance to deepen ties with Afghanistan, a country that has for generations been coveted for its geo-strategic importance by bigger powers.

“The Taliban have repeatedly expressed their hope to develop good relations with China, and that they look forward to China’s participation in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

“We welcome this. China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny and is willing to continue to develop… friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan.”

China’s embassy in Kabul remains operational, Hua said, although Beijing began evacuating Chinese citizens from the country months ago amid the deteriorating security situation.

As for the United States, it has said that it is willing to work with the Taliban if they respect “basic rights” of its people—of women and girls, specifically—and do not harbour terrorists, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview to CNN on Sunday.

“A future Afghan government that upholds the basic rights of its people and that doesn’t harbour terrorists is a government we can work with and, and recognise,” Blinken said in response to a question if the Biden administration would ever consider recognising the Taliban-led government.

“Conversely, a government that doesn’t do that, that doesn’t uphold the basic rights of its people, including women and girls… that harbours terrorist groups… that have designs on the United States… that’s not going to happen,” he said.

When and if in government, they might need assistance from the international community and support of the international community, the secretary said, adding, “none of that will be forthcoming, sanctions won’t be lifted, their ability to travel won’t happen” if they are not sustaining the basic rights of the Afghan people and if they revert to supporting or harbouring terrorists who might strike the US.

Meanwhile, chaos and panic reigned in Kabul as the Taliban took over Afghanistan. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, conceding that the terrorists have won the 20-year war.

The astonishingly quick collapse of the government, with the Taliban taking over the presidential palace on Sunday night, had triggered panic in Kabul. Chaos reigned at the Kabul airport, where thousands of Afghans gathered, desperate to leave the country. Gunshots were heard as the people jostled to get into the few remaining aircraft. The Afghan airspace has been closed.

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People are more aware of the quality of products after Covid: Ashish Khandelwal

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX India A-List, Managing Director of BL Agro Industries Limited Ashish Khandelwal spoke about new initiatives undertaken by his company.



Ashish Khandelwal joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation for its special segment NewsX India A-List. Speaking about the company, Ashish spoke about how it was formed in 1999 and was made by his forefathers. Having been in the business for the past 75 years, BL Agro Industries Limited has created a niche for itself.

When asked about the reason behind the entry into kitchen ready products, Ashish said, “Basically for diversification, we started it. We are doing distribution and all the customers and retailers ask for quality products. So we decided why not move forward with diversification and move into food products.”

Talking about the response gained for the product, he said, “Just after the launch, Covid-19 pandemic started. It started in January 2020. The journey has not been very long. We faced lockdown. Moving forward, we will hit our targets.” After Covid-19 pandemic hit, kitchen ready products became one of the most searched products and most of the people started exploring various options. Talking about this, Ashish said, “We got a good push in delivery because of this. Otherwise, a new product introduction during lockdown would have been tough.”

When asked about the existing market and new markets in India, he replied, “Right now, we are in northern parts like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Bihar, etc. and we are permanent here. In a couple of months, we are moving to the South.” Stressing on the company’s new marketing strategy, Ashish informed, “We are always after distribution. We try to maintain relations with distributors. So, companies provide sales staff and everything. The sales staff gathers all the market reports and demands and then we work on it. The more prominent and convenient strategy is retailing nowadays because nobody is moving out much and going to market often. Today, the Covid-19 pandemic is causing problems for retailers to move out. So we are trying to maintain our market. We recently started our online portal. Soon it will be fully functional.”

Most people are used to bigger platforms like Amazon but small companies have also curated their apps that shows whatever product is available. BL Agro Industries Limited has the same plan. He said, “We are launching an app. We will be available side-by-side on the websites. We are trying to fulfil the desire of the customers.”

“We are thinking about expansion, typically in pulses, and other grocery products. In India, it has not been innovated. There are not many innovations. So we have tried to introduce some machines. Right now, we are grinding it with the stone mill which is modernised and is from Austria. We have started vacuum packaging of pulses and food items. Nobody in India does vacuum packs for pulses. Similarly, we try to procure more specific machines and try to give more flavours and more specific aromas and the best quality we can provide,” added Ashish.

He expressed, “After the Covid-19 pandemic, people are more aware of the quality of products. They are more concerned about the quality. So we are trying to produce good and better quality products today. We are focusing on Indian pulses.”

When asked about organic chains, Ashish said, “Right now, we are not planning for organic because organic has lost its quality as every brand is producing organic products. Specifically, we don’t have any tests for organic. That is the problem when we say organic, it needs a specific amount of time. It takes seven years for an organic crop to come and is financially not feasible.”

After the Covid-19 pandemic, people are more aware of the quality of products. They are more concerned about the quality. So we are trying to produce good and better quality products today. We are focusing on Indian pulses.

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Vivek Oberoi, a well-known actor, and Dr Vivek Bindra, founder and CEO, Bada Business, recently joined NewsX and spoke about the campaign ‘I am Oxygen Man’ and more.



Covid-19 taught us the importance of helping each other. The pandemic, being a blessing in disguise, made the people more empathetic towards each other and etched the concept of humanity deeper into the fabric of the society. Vivek Oberoi, a renowned actor, and Dr Vivek Bindra, founder and CEO, Bada Business, recently joined NewsX’s special series NewsX India A-list to speak about their campaign, ‘I am Oxygen Man’. The campaign has managed to raise around Rs 7.5 crore and helped numerous families in such dismal times.

Talking about the advent of the campaign and the drive behind becoming a co-pilot for this initiative, Oberoi said, “For me, it’s funny how aside from the life of an actor, I live an alternate life of a philanthropist. Vivek Bindra is a friend, and I am the brand ambassador for the CSR work for Bada Business. He reached out to me with a plan to fight the problem of lack of oxygen.”

Highlighting the leadership of Dr Bindra and the zeal of the team at Bada Business, the actor added, “The entire team at Bada Business was hugely motivated to work for the cause, and Dr Bindra is a master motivator. The campaign built up in a matter of four days. What I thought will take at least a month to achieve was executed from nothing in four days. I am just playing a supportive role, and I am proud to be a small part of such a big initiative. More than 800 lives have been saved through it, and that gives me immense satisfaction.”

‘I am Oxygen Man’ is a brainchild of Dr Bindra. Talking about this philanthropic cause, he said, “The idea was to create a human contributing to humanity in difficult times. A businessman always looks at a hassle and creates a premium out of it by solving the problem. Therefore, I believe every negative situation can attract new customer acquisition. Due to this, a businessman is always solution-oriented. Real solutions are those which involve every individual. Through ‘I am Oxygen Man’, we aimed at making every commoner a superhero.”

Elaborating more on the vision, Dr Bindra added, “A comedian, an actor, a journalist, a hotel manager, a rickshaw puller, a railway employee, anybody can be a superhero. Humein doosron ki madad karne ke jazbaat rakhna zaroori hai. We wanted people to come forward to help the community as an Oxygen Man.”

Many celebrities like Sanjeev Kapoor, who gave PPE kits and Kailash Kher, who contributed Rs 25 lakh, also helped achieve the vision that Vivek Bindra and Vivek Oberoi had. Vivek Oberoi also donated a sum of Rs 25 lakh to this campaign. Three organisations together worked for the cause involving ISKON, Kailash Kher Foundation, and Bada Business. “Bada Business basically means Vivek Square (Vivek Oberoi and Vivek Bindra)”, said Dr Bindra. The campaign also garnered a total of 1 million views in just four hours.

Talking about a new initiative for the first time, Dr Bindra said, “I am thinking of starting an ‘Oxygen Man Challenge’, similar to the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’, which was started to raise awareness for ALS and ‘Rice Bucket Challenge’ initiated by Manju Lata Ji, inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which involved cooking a bucket of rice and feeding the poor. A small challenge can bring a big change in the society.”

The next wave, which is believed to hit children, is problematic. Talking about the road ahead and preparations for the same, Oberoi said, “The thing about Bada Business as an organisation and as a family is that they do not stop. They always think about the next big thing.” Echoing the thoughts on the social media challenge, he added, “Social Media is a potent tool. If people cannot contribute capitally or physically, they can at least use the power of social media to spread the word about the problem and its solutions.”

When asked about how can the viewers contribute to their campaign, Dr Bindra urged the users to post pictures on social media helping others, use the hashtag ‘IAmOxygenMan’ and tag five of their friends. Oberoi added, “We don’t want to be a complaining man; we want to be an Oxygen Man.”

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Only those religious codes which don’t intervene with the lifestyle of other religious groups would be feasible in a democracy like India. As long as Muslims practise or prefer it in their private lives, there aren’t reasons to complain. However, when such practices enter the public domain and question the Indian system and Constitution, these should enter wider public scrutiny and consensus.

Shweta Shalini



“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last,” warned Winston Churchill. Indian politics has a long history of appeasement. The pandering to the wishes of a small minority who vote en bloc has been a lucrative career choice for decades until PM Modi arrived at the scene and gave a reality check. In many ways, the Indian situation of appeasing the Muslims is more ridiculous than other nations. Just a few generations ago, India was divided on cultural lines and the Indian society had clear ideas of the choices. Muslims who chose to stay back in India have exercised that choice by saying No to an Islamic nation. Given this historical and cultural background, under no circumstances do Muslims expect or require special treatment or religious code. Yet, religious codes exist and demand for Sharia and other Islamic practices find many takers in secular parties and in the Muslim community. The outright appeasement in the Shah Bano case was a defining case in point when the Indian masses said enough of it and rallied behind the nationalists.

Like Sharia law, halal is also one of the core principles of the Islamic way of life. Halal—an Arabic word that means “permissible” runs completely in contrast to the system India has adopted. If an ancient religious code can dictate what is permissible (halal) or forbidden (haram) in India today, it’s a challenge to every legal system which isn’t an Islamic one. But then, the target of those promoting such concepts is precisely to introduce foreign cultural influences to subvert our national life. Strangely, the usual proponents of halal and Sharia are the same set of people who harp on secularism. It’s clear from this double-standard of theirs that what they actually seek is pick-and-choose. They want an Indian secular state to protect where they find themselves weak while also weakening the superstructure by insisting on exclusive religious codes.

The halal and jhatka food debate is part of this larger debate on how many religious sanctions of earlier eras should apply to modern India. One is about sticking to religious dogma while another is a question of a more humane approach to slaughter. The proponents of halal claim that the halal lifestyle is mandated for Muslims. In a practical sense, no religious mandates should be allowed to subvert the lifestyle of anyone else except followers of the specific religion. In the case of halal, it ain’t so. Halal food is food that is slaughtered by Muslims only which makes it a clear case of discrimination and runs counter to our system. Secondly, the brutality incurred on the animal needs to be reduced as much as practical. That’s a humanitarian argument devoid of any religious bias. The Sikhs and others who support Jhatka are taking a better approach when they insist on minimum suffering. Numerous western countries practice stunning the animal to instant death than incurring the woes which it would otherwise suffer. However, halal in Islam isn’t simply about food but encompasses many aspects of the life of which food is just one element. Beginning with halal food, the aim is to introduce halal finance, halal lifestyle and many other aspects which is nothing but a red herring for Sharia. All these tendencies should be nipped in the bud and a strong legal framework should be brought to ensure to avoid pandering to any segment of the society. 

As a final word, only those religious codes which don’t intervene with the lifestyle of other religious groups would be feasible in a democracy like India. As long as Muslims practice or prefer it in their private lives, there aren’t reasons to complain. However, when such practices enter the public domain and question the Indian system and constitution, these should enter wider public scrutiny and consensus. As long as nationalists like PM Modi occupy the seat of power, such appeasement won’t ever happen. It’s up to the Indian system to guard against any attempt to push agendas. In the New India of today, primacy will be to Indian culture and the Indian way of life and nobody has any reason to complain. 

Shweta Shalini is BJP spokesperson and advisor to former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis. She is also state-in-charge of the BJP North Indian Cell.

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Drug menace continues to prevail in the state, particularly in areas adjoining to neighbouring state of Punjab.

In wake of this, the state government has taken several steps to curb the drug menace and the issue has been raised by the legislators of ruling and opposite factions so many times. In continuation to this, it is worth mentioning that branches of the Narcotics Control Bureau have been established in 12 districts. These districts include Hisar, Fatehabad, Karnal, Sirsa, Kaithal, Ambala, Panchkula, Kurukshetra, Faridabad, Rohtak, Gurugram and Rewari. The State Narcotics Control Bureau has been established in Haryana on the pattern of the Centre (MHA), and is the first State Narcotics Control Bureau in the country.

In view of the ongoing scenario, the state government is mulling over a plan to open 17 branches at the district level all over Haryana. A sub-inspector level officer has been made in-charge of toll free number, who will immediately inform the units of the respective districts. Any person can give information on toll free numbers. The name of the person giving information will be kept strictly confidential.

In this series and while talking to ADGP, State Narcotics Control Bureau, Shrikant Jadhav, Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatraya has stressed the need of involving public and private universities and other educational institutions in wiping out the crime of drug trafficking from Haryana. Dattatraya said that youths will be effective in checking the use of illegal substances and preventing drug trafficking effectively. He said the officers of the Bureau should coordinate with educational institutions and make youths aware of drug prohibition in rural and urban areas.

The Governor said, “The university administrations can play a better role in preventing drug trafficking and illegal use through their own information system, social media and other means of media including street plays, rallies and other such activities. Students in the universities can create awareness against drugs in urban, village and other far-flung areas by giving effective messages through the above media tools. He also said that NCC Scouts and students associated with NSS can play an important role as well. Along with this, the cooperation of the Red Cross and other social, government and non-governmental organizations can also be taken into consideration to make people aware.”

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National level experts, policymakers, implementers, academia, researchers and civil society advocates will assemble at the 5th National Conference on Tobacco or Health hosted at PGIMER, Chandigarh. All of them are concerned on one single issue i.e. increasing tobacco addiction in this particular region. Appallingly, kids and adolescents are not even escaped from this vicious circle. PGIMER Chandigarh different departments like Cardiac, Pulmonary medicine, community medicine, psychiatry happen to see kids getting admitted with tobacco addiction.

Dr. Sonu Goel, the Organizing Secretary and Professor at PGIMER exhorted, “Its not about the numbers of kids suffering from tobacco addiction, its about why anyone; be it a kid, adolescent or adult shall suffer from this poison. Appallingly, Adolescents are suffering from such addiction due to easy availability of tobacco in many forms”.

A 3-day virtual 5th National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTOH) scheduled from 25th – 27th September 2021 shall be hosted by the Department of Community Medicine & School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh.

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plea in Delhi High Court seeking repatriation of 56 pregnant nurses

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday gave a nod to the functioning of the High Power Committee (HPC) to look into the matter of providing compensation to people who died due to lack of oxygen during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hearing the case, a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said, “We see no difficulty in the High Power Committee (HPC) constituted by Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) in discharging its assigned role.” The court’s remark came after the Delhi government took the stand that the committee would not fix any liability on the hospitals and the government would pay the amount of the compensation.

Lieutenant Governor of Delhi had earlier put the committee, constituted by the Delhi government in abeyance.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Riti Singh Verma, whose husband died on May 14, 2021, due to COVID-19 in a hospital in Delhi’s Nehru Nagar.

The petitioner has sought direction from the Delhi government to operationalise the High-Power Committee it constituted and commence its functioning forthwith.

The petitioner told the Court that her husband died at the young age of 34, and he was the

only earning member of the family. She said that she has two small children to look after along with her parents.

“The untimely death of her husband due to COVID-19 has caused great financial hardship. That the deceased was working in a private company and his annual income was approx. 8 Lakh rupees,” read the petition filed by advocates Yogesh Aggarwal and Kamal Jindal.

The petitioner said that her husband was admitted in a normal and not very severe condition and was a healthy 34-year-old with no other co-morbidities and died due to cardiac arrest as per the discharge summary.

“The discharge summary appears to be copy paste job on the part of the hospital as the deceased was a male and referred to as a lady. The manner in which the petitioner’s husband case was handled casts doubt on the hospital dealing with the COVID-19 patients and also the death summary does not mention if the Oxygen was administered at any point in time when his condition started deteriorating,” the plea said.

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