Sikh representatives sign condolence book at the Pakistan High Commision in London for victims of the Peshawar school attack

Pakistan.HC
London, 19 December 2014

Representatives of the Sikh Federation (UK) today visited the Pakistan High Commission in London to sign the condolence book.

The following message from the Sikh Federation (UK) was inserted:

‘A cowardly act that should be condemned by all decent human beings. The perpetrators and those supporting them from abroad must be brought to justice. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured.’ Sikh Federation (UK)

The condolence book has now been closed and was open at the Pakistan High Commission in London for the last three days.

The representatives of the Sikh Federation (UK) met the Deputy High Commissioner Muhammad Imran Mirza (pictured) who expressed his appreciation for the gesture and then they held a meeting with the Commercial Counsellor Ijlal Ahmed Khattak and other staff.

Yesterday the Sikh Federation (UK) issued the following statement to the media about the attack in Peshawar:

‘It is easy to issue a statement condemning the killing of innocent children, especially when you see images showing the brutality of the attack, with pools of blood on the ground and walls covered in pockmarks from hundreds of bullets. Even the Afghan Taliban have issued a statement condemning the attack as no one can defend the gunmen who walked from class to class indiscriminately shooting students and teachers.’

‘However, what is far more difficult it to get to the bottom of is why the attack took place, who knew about the attack in advance and could have prevented it and who may have assisted.’

‘Hundreds of Taliban fighters are thought to have been killed in the recent Pakistan army offensive in the Khyber area and North Waziristan, regions close to the Afghan border and this may explain, although not justify why gunmen targeted a military-run school.’

‘It is also almost certainly the case that various foreign intelligence agencies would have had some advance information about the planned attack and had they been willing to share information with the authorities in Pakistan on the possible killing of innocent children the attack may have been prevented.’

‘The sad reality is foreign intelligence agencies often do not believe they can share such information because of the secretive way they operate. Worse they are sometimes subsequently found to have directly or indirectly supported such attacks by providing training or other forms of assistance’.

‘Conspiracy theories blaming the attacks on India have started. Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has blamed India for the dastardly attack on the school. He has told media he is sure the Indian intelligence agency, RAW is supporting Maulana Fazlullah, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan commander who is believed to have masterminded the attack.’

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

The Tribune – BSP wants razed temple rebuilt

Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh sahib, December 19. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) here today threatened to launch an agitation if the Sirhind municipal council failed to rebuild the Ravidas temple that it had demolished during an anti-encroachment drive on October 20.

A delegation of the BSP, led by its state general secretary Raja Rajinder Singh Nanherian, met the Deputy Commissioner today. They said the land for the Ravidas temple had been “allotted by the Municipal Council” and the people of the Ravidasia community had built the temple after collecting funds.

He alleged that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had not issued any directions, but the Municipal Council had demolished the temple, causing resentment among the community.

On October 20, Ravidas Prachar Committee chairman Lachman Dass along with 30 to 40 persons armed with sharp-edged weapons had targeted the Municipal Council office in protest of the demolition. The police had booked and arrested eight persons under Section 307 of the IPC for vandalism and attack on MC employees.

They also expressed concern over seven-year imprisonment awarded by a local court to a Dalit girl of Badinpur village, who had injured a boy with kitchen knife, in a bid to save her modesty.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/politics/bsp-wants-razed-temple-rebuilt/20351.html

The Asian Age – Holy cow! Vishwa Hindu Parishad launches product line

Asian Age Correspondent

Mumbai, 10 December 2014. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has launched a line of beauty products containing cow dung and gau mutra (cow urine). The VHP, while stressing on the medicinal value of cow dung and cow urine, also claimed that their products were superior to the ones available in the market currently.

“The use of gau mutra in medicines and beauty products will help farmers and prevent them from selling cows.

Ayurveda talks about use of cow dung to prevent pimples. But people are reluctant to use dung, which is why we are making beauty products out of it,” the VHP leader Venkatesh Abdeo said.

The products include Nandini beauty soap (aloe vera, almond oil and gau mutra), Lal Dant Manjan (pudina ka phool, Babool Chhal (cow dung ash), Harde Churna laxative (harde soaked in fresh gau mutra), Snannadi Vilayan bathing liquid (gau mutra arka, hau maya bhasma), Nandini skin cream (gau mutra rasa, gau maya rasa, yellow beeswax) and Nandini dhoop sticks (cow dung, and various herbs).

“We even have medicines using various compositions which are useful for cancer, heart diseases and other ailments. We make 48 medicines and have taken eight international patents so far.

It is just promoting Ayurveda in different form,” Mr Abdeo said. The VHP had appealed to the people to invest in the products, so that gau mutra becomes popular.

Ayurvedic practitioners said using gau mutra and cow dung in medicine is a common practice and there is nothing new in it.

“There are some medicines mentioned in Ayurvedic grantha which contain cow dung and gau mutra. However, what formula the VHP is using is not known. It is difficult to verify their claims unless the products are tested,” an Ayurvedic practitioner said.

http://www.asianage.com/mumbai/holy-cow-vishwa-hindu-parishad-launches-product-line-218

Havelock Road Singh Sabha, 26 October 2014, Nagar Kirtan

99.i.TheGreen.26.10.14
The Green – St Anselms Roman Catholic Church
Waiting for the Nagar Kirtan

99.j.TheGreen.26.10.14

The Green – St Anselms Roman Catholic Church
Waiting for the Nagar Kirtan

99.k.TheGreen.26.10.14
The Green / Osterley Park Road – Singh & Singh

99.l.TheGreen.26.10.14
The Green – More Singhs

99.m.TheGreen.26.10.14
The Green – Temporary bus stop
Picture taken at about 2 pm
First bus due at about 5 pm

To see more Southall, Middlesex, UK pictures :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/sets/72157624060488388/

More UK pictures to follow
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Tribune – Cold wave grips North; fog delays 30 trains

Chandigarh/New Delhi, December 20

Cold wave conditions continued unabated in several parts of North India, especially Punjab and Haryana, withdense fog engulfling several places, affecting vehicular movement.

According to a MeT Department report, a thick blanket of fog had engulfed most places of Punjab and Haryana and reduced visibility.

More than 30 trains were running late in the region due to fog. The Garib Rath from Bhagalpur to Delhi was running late by 22 hours, while the Mahananda Express from Alipore Duar to Delhi was running behind schedule by 18 hours. The Seemanchal Express, too, was running late by 18 hours, authorities said.

In Delhi, the day’s minimum temperature settled a level below the season’s average at 7.4 degrees Celsius.

“There was dense fog in the morning and sky was partly cloudy. However, during the day the sky will be clear.

The maximum temperature is likely to hover around 17 degrees Celsius,” said an official of the India Meteorological Department.

Humidity at 8.30 am was 89 per cent.

Friday was similar with the maximum temperature settling six notches below the season’s average at 16.4 degrees Celsius, while the minimum was 7.4 degrees Celsius, a notch below average.

Narnaul in Haryana was the coldest place in the region as it recorded a minimum temperature of 4 degrees Celsius, down by two notches below normal.

Hisar and Karnal, in Haryana, had minimum temperature of 6.2 degrees Celsius and 6 degrees Celsius, respectively, down by up to two notches below normal.

The low in Ambala settled at 6.9 degrees Celsius, while Bhiwani recorded a minimum temperature of 6.2 degrees Celsius.

In Punjab, Amritsar experienced cold weather at 4.1 degrees Celsius, while Ludhiana and Patiala recorded minimum temperature at 6.3 degrees Celsius and 6.5 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Chandigarh’s low settled at 7 degrees Celsius.

The MeT Department has predicted partly cloudy weather with dense fog during morning and evening in Punjab and Haryana in the next 24 hours. (Agencies)

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/cold-wave-grips-north-fog-delays-30-trains/20455.html

Dawn – ‘Hanging won’t absolve government of hard decisions’

Dawn Staff Reporter

Lahore, 20 December 2014. Rights activist and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir says hanging of a few convicts will not absolve the government of taking some hard policy decisions on the security paradigm or to revamp the criminal justice system.

In a statement issued on Friday, she said the government decision to execute prisoners who were awarded death penalty for terrorism could well be understood under the present circumstances where emotions were high and there was anger against terrorists. However, she said, such a measure was simply sidetracking the issue.

“Terrorism does not disappear with revenge tactics but through making justice and equality before law a reality,” she added.

Ms Jahangir said that in the past, the knee-jerk reaction to terrorism had been to pass harsh laws, giving security forces a free hand to eliminate or arrest anyone on suspicion of being a terrorist. This practice only eroded legal protection, she said.

She stated the powerful walked away free after murder while the vulnerable could easily get death under the weak judicial system. She believed the policy makers should take the recent tragedy as a warning to eruption of more violence and wisely devise strategies that would reduce terror attacks.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1152031/hanging-wont-absolve-govt-of-hard-decisions

From 22 December 2014 till 7 January 2015

From 22 December 2014 till 7 January 2015 I will only upload two news items and one pictorial per day !

Enjoy the festive season
Be happy and healthy !

Man in Blue

Published in: on December 20, 2014 at 8:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sikh Council UK Condemns Acts of Terror

Posted to Sikh News Discussion by Balvinder Kaur <balvinder.kaur@scys-notts.co.uk>

Sikh Council UK today expressed solidarity with the people of Peshawar, Pakistan who are mourning the loss of 132 children and 9 of their teachers in an unimaginable act of terror.

Spokesperson for the Sikh Council UK, Gurinder Singh Josan said, “The deliberate targeting of innocent children and their teachers in this way is a despicable act and we utterly condemn it.

Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with the families and friends of those who were killed. We cannot imagine the anguish they must be experiencing.”

He added, “Those responsible for planning and carrying out this act of terror must be brought to justice. Our thoughts also go out to the families and friends of the two persons killed in the hostage situation in Sydney, Australia.”

The North West Frontier region of Pakistan and Afghanistan are places that have seen an increase in intolerance and hatred towards others by the Taliban and their supporters. Sikh Council UK is aware of individuals from the Sikh community being killed, kidnapped and having their businesses shut down.

We are also aware of Sikhs in these areas being forced to pay a tax to local Taliban forces to continue to live in an area they have lived in for many generations in some cases.

The Sikh Council UK has recently held discussions with the Pakistan High Commission and senior representatives of Sikh Council UK recently visited and met with Sikhs in Pakistan to assess the severity of the threat to Sikhs in these areas.

We will continue working for an end to intolerance and hatred and for Sikhs and all others to be able to live and practice their faith in peace wherever they may be in the world.

The Tribune – Calendar row: Balwant Singh Nandgarh stands firm, SAD draws flak

Perneet Singh, Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 18 December 2014. Sikh organisations and intellectuals have hit out against the Akali Dal over the issue of reverting to Bikrami Calendar.

They said it would be a jolt to the community’s fight for a separate identity. Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh also stood firm on his stand of supporting the original Nanakshahi Calendar.

Talking to The Tribune, Jathedar Nandgarh said, “I reiterate my support for the original Nanakshahi Calendar as it symbolises the independent identity of the Sikh community.

I will not hesitate from voicing my support for it even if a meeting of the Sikh high priests is called on the issue.” He, however, declined comment over the issue of the state government withdrawing his security cover.

Sikh organisations and intellectuals have flayed the Akali Dal for “the manner in which it wants to throw out” Jathedar Nandgarh for his stand on the calendar row.

Former Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission Chairman K S Patti said, “The original Nanakshahi Calendar should be implemented as it was created with a lot of brainstorming and expertise. When every community has its own calendar, why Sikhs should not have one?”

Dal Khalsa chief HS Dhami said, “Sikhs have been striving to get recognition to their separate identity since long and reverting to Bikrami Calendar will be a setback to their struggle.”

He said the original Nanakshahi Calendar was the manifestation of distinct and separate identity of the Sikhs. He alleged the Nanaksar sect was pressuring the Akali leadership to revert to Bikrami Calendar.

“Sikhs will not sit back quietly if their own premier institutions take any unprincipled stance that dilutes their unique identity,” he said.

Former SGPC secretary Manjeet Singh Calcutta said, “Most of the Jathedars are mere stooges of the Akali Dal, but Jathedar Nandgarh is the one who, at times, voices his righteous opinion without any fear.”

Meanwhile, sources in the Akal Takht secretariat clarified that no meeting of the Sikh clergy was scheduled to be held on December 20, as reported in a section of the media.

pun1(1)

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/calendar-row-nandgarh-stands-firm-sad-draws-flak/19879.html

The Asian Age – Despite billions in aid, US unable to get Pakistan to confront militants

Although the article is somewhat biased, it is worth reading, Man in Blue

Washington, 19 December 2014. Since 2001 the United States has tried virtually every strategy available to persuade Pakistan’s army to take the threat of militancy more seriously, but 12 years and $28 billion in aid later, all the American approaches are widely viewed as having failed.

First, the Bush administration heaped praise on former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, agreed to reimburse the Pakistani army for anti-Taliban military operations and launched drone strikes that killed al Qaeda leaders and militants wanted by the Pakistani government.

Adopting a more confrontational stance, the Obama administration unilaterally carried out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, vastly increased aid to Pakistan’s weak civilian institutions and, at times, cut off aid to the Pakistani military.

Yet the militants continue to operate, ever more brazenly, as illustrated by Tuesday’s harrowing attack on a school in Peshawar, in which 132 students were killed by a faction of the Pakistan Taliban. And with the United States increasingly focused on other crises, Washington’s options for bringing about change in an increasingly unstable Pakistan are dwindling fast.

“There is great ‘Pakistan fatigue’ in Washington,” said Cameron Munter, who served as the American ambassador to Pakistan from 2010 to 2012. “Not only have the last dozen years been very difficult, but other challenges – from Syria to Ukraine to Iran, to name a few – demand our attention.”

Although Tuesday’s attack sparked widespread condemnation, current and former US officials expressed cynicism that the bloodshed would cause Pakistan’s military to change its view of militants.

Munter and other officials said the United States has been unable to break a powerful, army-backed narrative in Pakistan that militant attacks are the result of America’s war on terror. Foreign powers, not Pakistan, are responsible for growing militancy in Pakistan, according to the narrative. And Pakistan is not responsible for the problem and unable to stop it.

That narrative played out immediately when Pakistan’s army chief, General Raheel Sharif, flew to Afghanistan within 24 hours of the attack to meet Afghan leaders. They said they had information that the school attack was directed by militants hiding inside Afghanistan.

“We are hoping that we will see strong action from the Afghan side in the coming days,” said Pakistani army spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa.

One senior American official said he hoped the trip was not “communications Kabuki” designed to divert blame for the failure to stop the attack away from the Pakistani army. Analysts said the army is failing to live up to its decades-long history of training, funding and sheltering some militant groups and using them as proxies to counter archrival India in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

Since 2001 a parade of American officials – from presidents to CIA directors – have repeatedly warned Pakistan’s generals that they will lose control of their militant proxies and eventually be attacked by them. Pakistani military officials have denied sheltering militants.

Chinese pressure ?

But some current and former US officials said the sheer brutality of this week’s attack would intensify demands from Pakistan’s public for the army to confront militancy.

James Dobbins, who served as the Obama Administration’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2013 to 2014, said there was also growing pressure from Pakistan’s longtime ally China.

“I think they are pressing Pakistan to take this threat more seriously,” he said.

Munter, the former ambassador, argued that the problem reflects a more fundamental question of whether militants have become so entrenched that the Pakistani army cannot defeat them.

The senior administration official was more optimistic, contending that even before the school attack, the Pakistani public was raising pressure on the army to act. The ongoing military operation in North Waziristan that militants said prompted the school attack was evidence of change.

“There has been a growing sense in Pakistan that this is an issue that they need to deal with,” said the senior official, who asked not to be identified by name.

But Shamila Chaudhary, who served as senior director for Pakistan and Afghanistan on the National Security Council from 2010 to 2011, warned that as U.S. attention has shifted elsewhere, the steady deterioration of Pakistan’s institutions, security forces and economy has continued.

For years, Chaudhary said, she dismissed alarmist warnings from other USA experts on Pakistan that the country’s nuclear arsenal was unsafe. The inability of Pakistan’s security forces to protect a military-run school, she said, has given her doubts regarding Pakistan’s atomic arsenal for the first time.

“I will have a hard time saying to people that militants can never steal Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,” she said. “The more these things happen, that rate of risk goes ahead, and I just think, well, it could happen one day.” (Reuters)

http://www.asianage.com/international/despite-billions-aid-us-unable-get-pakistan-confront-militants-451

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