This picture was honestly stolen from my good friend Satwinder (Bilo) Singh from Hounslow
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 25. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal gave approval for budgetary allocation of funds to the already existing chair in the name of Satguru Ram Singh at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar to perpetuate his teachings and philosophy across the globe.
A decision to this effect was taken by Badal while presiding over a meeting of Kuka Martyrs Memorial Trust led by its president Baba Surinder Singh Namdhari at his official residence here late last evening.
Badal reviewed the progress of various programmes initiated by the state government to commemorate the 150 years of martyrdom of the great Kuka martyrs during the freedom struggle.
The Chief Minister told the Finance Department to release a grant of Rs 20 lakh for the existing chair at GNDU during the current financial year and also asked it to make regular budgetary provision from next fiscal year to ensure smooth functioning of the chair.
Questioning the centenarian’s birth records, it has refused to recognise the marathoner’s feat
Kusum Arora, Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, October 25. Livid relatives of centenarian Fauja Singh today reacted sharply to the decision of Guinness Book of World Records not to list his feat in their publication. Describing the Guinness’ unwillingness to list his achievement as a rude shock, they questioned the double standards of the publishers when it came to recognising accomplishments by Asians.
The officials refused to list Singh’s name as the world’s oldest marathon runner, while questioning his birth and age records. This, despite the fact that the British Government had issued him a passport and had been recognising his achievements as a marathon runner.
Fauja Singh became the first centenarian to complete the Scotia Bank Toronto Waterfront Marathon held on October 16. He had broken the record of a 98-year-old British citizen after reaching this benchmark.
Fauja Singh’s family, relatives and neighbours back home in Beas village in Jalandhar termed the British Government as ‘hypocritical’ and using ‘double standards’ when it came to endorsing his name upon his having achieved the landmark.
A dejected Harwinder Singh, son of Fauja Singh, questioned the rationale of the Guinness Book of World Records on his age and birth saying, “My father was born on April 1, 1911 at village Beas in Jalandhar. He was brought up in a family of agriculturists and never went to school. My father is illiterate and just knows how to sign in Urdu language.”
He said, “My father took up running as it was his passion and not for making or breaking records. We are surprised — Where was this British Government when my father kept on raising money for charity events in England and while his previous marathon records were set?”
Paramjit Singh Patar from Patar Kalan village in Jalandhar, a relative of Fauja Singh, said it made world news when Queen of England, Elizabeth-II had honoured Fauja Singh when he turned 100 recently.
“The British Government is challenging its own authority by not supporting my father’s achievement. Why did they honour him if they were suspicious about his age records?” he questioned.
He also highlighted that the Indian Government started registering names after 1928. “That was a time when India was being ruled by the British. In fact, one of the villagers, a retired Indian Army personnel, who is 85 years old, told us that Fauja Singh was older to him by more than 15 years and they grew up together in village Beas. We had sent an application of his date of birth duly signed by a notary long time ago, which is proof of his age,” he added.
Paramjit also pointed out that Fauja Singh never ran for gaining popularity or earning money. “He hails from a well-to-do family of farmers in village Beas while his son Sukhjinder Singh is well off and resides in London. Fauja Singh is a name synonymous with passion and zeal for marathons and the British Government should acknowledge it,” he said.
26 October 2011. Jammu and Kashmir policemen take away a suspected militant for questioning after a grenade attack at Batamaloo, in Srinagar, on Tuesday.
At least four policemen were injured, one of them seriously, in a series of grenade explosions and a shooting incident in the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday.
The attacks were carried out in two crowded areas of Srinagar, and in southern Shopian and Anantnag districts, a day after chief minister Omar Abdullah, while discussing varied issues with a visiting team of top Central government officials, reportedly denoted that he would, despite stiff opposition from the Army, go ahead with the revocation of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and Disturbed Areas Act from the areas of J&K deemed peaceful. (PTI)
Mostly pictures of gurdwaras, trains and trams taken during my recent visit to the Netherlands
Three pictures taken 7 September and one on 8 September in Den Haag
HTM tram 12 to Station Holland Spoor in the Paul Krugerlaan
Krishna has shop on the Paul Krugerplein
Main door of the Scheepersstraat Gurdwara
Gurdwara side-entrance and parking place in Hertzogstraat
Gurdwara Den Haag
Scheepers Straat 54
2572 AL Den Haag (The Hague)
To see more pictures of Gurdwaras and sangat in the Netherlands :
Belgium and Netherlands public transport pictures at :
More Netherlands pictures to follow
Man in Blue
Balwant Garg, Tribune News Service
Faridkot, October 25. Six months after the Punjab Government started providing protection and boarding to inter-caste couples in government rest houses, the district administration in Faridkot finds itself in a piquant situation.
While the state government is not releasing any funds for boarding and lodging of these couples, their stay in the state government rest houses apparently makes for financial burden on the district administration.
In the last five months, 14 couples reached Faridkot to seek protection and stayed in Sainik and PWD rest houses.
While the stay of these couples, up to 25 days in some cases, escorted by police guards in the rest houses, created a space problem for government guests, another problem area is provision of food to these couples and the police guards accompanying them.
As there is no financial provision to foot these bills, some revenue officials are bearing the expenses, hoping there would be reimbursement by the state government.
But the chances of reimbursement look bleak. In the last two months, the Faridkot Deputy Commissioner’s office has written three letters to the Home Affairs and Justice Department Punjab for payment of the bills, but so far, there has been no response.
“We are hopeful of getting the funds in the coming days,” said Ravi Bhagat, DC Faridkot.
“So far, there is no provision of funds for payment towards boarding and lodging for these couples, so we have written to the state government,” said the DC.
D S Bains, Principal Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice Punjab, said he was not aware of the problem.
“I don’t know whether the state government is supposed to bear the food expenses for the stay of the couples in the government rest houses. Until I go through the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders, I can’t comment on this issue,” he said.
The scenario follows many honour killings in Haryana and Punjab and many inter-caste couples rushing to the High Court, seeking police security to escape the wrath of their family members.
To prevent honour killings, in March 2011, the High Court had directed the state government to provide protection to such couples. The protection umbrella includes provision of accommodation at government rest houses and police protection to save them from any attack by their relatives or family members.
Another problem area for the district administration is shortage of space for government guests. “While eight rooms of Circuit Rest House in Faridkot have already been allotted to the Commissioner’s Office for official work, the long stay of newly wed couples has further created space shortage for government guests,” said a supervisor.
A senior officer in Home Affairs and Justice Department in Chandigarh said keeping in view the shortage of space in the rest house, the department has decided to provide accommodation to these couples for a maximum of 10 days, with the couples having to pay a minimum fixed amount. Moreover, the couples will have to foot the food bills, he added.
In August last year, the state government issued directions to all district police chiefs in the state to constitute five-member district-level counselling cells to assist imperilled lovers. The cell was meant to guide parents in resolving differences due to caste, creed or social status barriers.
Over a year down the line, these cells are a mere formality. There was not even a single meeting of this cell in the last one year and no case was referred to it for counselling, said Vishav Jyoti Dhir, a noted short story writer who is also a member of the District Honour Killing Counselling Cell in Faridkot.
26 October 2011
Washington: The United States and Pakistan agree on a framework for holding direct talks with the militants and are now working to operationalise the plan, says the US State Department.
At a briefing for the press corps that accompanied Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Islamabad last week, two State Department officials explained what the secretary meant when she said in her recent interviews that the US and Pakistan had agreement on 90-95 per cent of issues they confronted.
They said the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan had already an understanding on holding a “tri-logue” with the Taliban militants.
They also agree that this has to be Afghan-led and has to be at the pace and scope that the Afghans decide on.
“That Pakistan has to play its part in this; it has to encourage reconciliation. And that as efforts are made at reconciliation, if the US can play a helpful role, that we would be available to do that,” said one official.
After agreeing on this framework, the US and Pakistan were now working on the need to operationalise it. “What does it mean? And particularly in the context of the awful, horrific experience that the Afghans had with the death of President Rabbani … we’re all working off the script that is going to protect against that kind of thing happening again,” the official said.
Operational details like where to hold the dialogue, who to talk to and in what form and formats and for how long were now being worked out, the official added.
“We needed to start with ensuring we were all on the same page in terms of the framework.” The two officials explained that in their meetings with the US delegation, which included the CIA and military chiefs, Pakistani leaders kept referring to the resolution passed by the all-parties conference on the proposed talks with the militants.
“What does the all-parties conference mean to them? It means that every party in Pakistan got together and agreed that reconciliation, if it can be done right and if it is Afghan-led and if it meets the red lines, is in Pakistan’s interests,” said the State Department official.
“And so as they seek to work with Afghanistan and with us on this, what we heard in general, was that they need to keep the Pakistani body politic together on this agenda. And they think that they have a framework for doing that with this agreement of the all-parties council,” the official added.
The two officials disagreed with a suggestion that the Pakistanis were refusing to take military action against the militants because they had failed to produce results.
“The conversation that we had was very much on the lines that we have to squeeze them,” said one State Department official.
“But we also have to have a track for talking for those who are willing to come in off the battlefield within the parameters that the Afghans have set.
“So I don’t think there’s any disagreement between us, that we have to fight and squeeze even as we talk.”
Another senior State Department official said that Pakistan also recognised that there were militant safe havens inside its territory and the two sides needed to work together to deal with them.
In an interview to The Washington Post, Gen. Scaparrotti noted that until last year he enjoyed excellent cooperation with the Pakistani military and toured the battlefield with his counterparts from Pakistan along both sides of the porous border.
After the US raid on the Bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, “this relationship is not what it was, say, a year ago,” he said. “My intent is to start rebuilding this on a mil-to-mil basis, at least.”
A week before Secretary Clinton’s visit to Islamabad, General Scaparrotti met top Pakistani military officials and pressed for re-establishing “routine daily communication” and discussions of how to deal with insurgents.
“If we work together, we can have a joint effect on [the insurgents], and we need to do so,” he said.
Meanwhile, former State Department official Vali Nasr, who was a senior adviser to the late US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrook, noted that the Obama administration clearly wanted to re-engage Pakistan.
“Every one of our assumptions about our timetable of getting out of Afghanistan, our success on the ground with military operation has been predicated on the kind of at least minimal cooperation we have had with Pakistan over the past two years,” he told the US National Public Radio.
“If that cooperation ceases to exist and our relations get any worse than they are currently, it’s very difficult to see how the United States can meet its deadlines in order to be able to withdraw from Afghanistan.”