I hope that this an opportunity for many to start following the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib that will give you inner peace and true happiness
Angadvir Singh, Den Haag
Naveen S Garewal, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 12. Pakistan is keen to respond to India’s request to release Sarabjit Singh, lodged in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail for having
orchestrated bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan that killed 14 persons in 1991. The change in Pakistan’s stand on the issue is the result of a fresh initiative to normalise India-Pakistan ties, highly placed sources in Pakistan said.
According to sources close to Pakistan’s civil rights activist Ansar Burney, a review petition will be filed in the Indian Supreme Court next week, seeking permission for Pakistani virologist Dr Khalil Chisti to leave India. “Once Dr Chisti arrives in Pakistan, a mercy petition will be filed for Sarabjit ”. Quoting Indian officials, the source said the issue of prisoners lodged in jails across borders had come up during talks between Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
Zardari had assured the Prime Minister that his government would reciprocate any gesture made by India. Though Sarabjit’s sister Dalbir Kaur and daughter Swapandeep could not meet Zardari, it is learnt that their plea was conveyed to Pakistan’s President. After the release of Dr Chisti, Pakistan has indicated that it will release 34 Indian fishermen at Wagah tomorrow.
Awais Sheikh, counsel for Sarabjit and president of Pakistan-India Peace Initiatives, indicated that there was fresh hope for not just Sarabjit, but other Pakistani and Indian prisoners too. Sheikh has already filed a fresh mercy petition before President Zardari that is expected to be taken up after Dr Chisti’s return.
Sarabjit was to be released on August 14 last year in exchange for Dr Chisti, but this decision was withheld at the last moment.Sarabjit’s prospects of freedom became even brighter after Chairman of the Press Council of India Justice Markandey Katju made an appeal for his release. Katju wrote to Zardari, saying: “I am appealing to you to order the release of Sarabjit Singh and his return to India as a humanitarian gesture, exercising your power of pardon as the Pakistan President.
By doing so, you will add to the excellent impression among Indians created by your recent visit to Delhi and Ajmer Sharif and improve ties between our two countries.” Both Congress and BJP have said that they hoped Pakistan would release Sarabjit on humanitarian grounds. Dr Chisti was granted bail on Mondayon humanitarian grounds.
Asian Age Correspondent
New Delhi, 13 April 2012. In a country of diverse religions, the government decided Thursday to enact a law enabling registration of marriages regardless of the couple’s religion. This law, which needs Parliament’s approval before it can come into force, will give legal protection to couples planning inter-religion marriages.
In yet another significant step, this time for Sikhs, the government cleared the introduction of a bill in Parliament to amend the Anand Marriage Act 1909. This will enable registration of Sikh marriages under a law of their own. Till now, Sikh marriages were registered under the Hindu Marriage Act.
The government will amend the Registration of Births and Deaths Act 1969 to bring marriage registrations under its purview.
A bill to this effect is likely to be introduced in the Budget Session’s second half beginning April 24.
These two proposals were approved by the Union Cabinet on Thursday. Government sources said these laws will benefit women and protect them from harassment in matrimonial and maintenance cases.
Sikhs have been demanding a separate law under which they could register their marriages as is the case with Muslims, Parsis and Christians.
The government said there would be a provision to avoid duplication of marriage registrations under the proposed Central legislation and state laws.
On 28 February I went to Antwerp to attend the wedding of Jatinder Singh & Reyhan Kaur
As I was early I had time to take pictures of trams, the river and the castle
Van Dyckkaai, Cathedral of Our Lady
The Scheldt, the trees and ‘het Steen’
‘Het Steen’, the fortress on the Scheldt built t0 keep Vikings and other unwanted visitors out
Jatinder Singh & Reyhan Kaur
About the be married with the Man in Blue as only wedding guest
To see more Belgium (mostly Limburg) pictures :
More Belgium pictures to follow
Man in Blue
Aditi Tandon, Tribune News Service
New Delhi, 12 April 2012. Sikh couples will soon be able to get their marriages registered under the Anand Marriage Act, 1909, instead of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Accepting the long-standing demand of Sikhs, the Cabinet today approved amendments to the Anand Marriage Act, 1909, to provide for registration of Sikh marriages. A Bill to this effect would be introduced in Parliament when the Budget Session resumes later this month.
The Cabinet also approved the introduction of a Bill to amend the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, to include registration of marriages as well. The move aims at utilising the existing administrative mechanism to maintain marriage records on the lines of records of births and deaths.
The amendment would allow couples to get their marriages registered independent of their religion, though the option of getting marriages registered under the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriages Act would continue.
Though the Law Ministry note in respect of this amendment talked of compulsory registration of marriages, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal clarified, “Those who wish can get their marriage registered under this new law. The issue of mandatory registration will be discussed when the Bill reaches the Standing Committee .”
After Parliament passes the amendment Bill, Sikh marriage certificates won’t be issued under Section 2 of the Hindu Marriage Act (as is the case now). The Cabinet decision comes a year after the government decided to drop the proposal of amending the Anand Marriage Act and Salman Khurshid informed the Rajya Sabha of the decision.
The Tribune was the first to report the move on August 29, 2011, following which the Sikhs began fresh agitations for a demand that had once been approved by the Standing Committee on Law when Veerappa Moily was the Law Minister. But later the move fell flat.
Khurshid recently proposed religion-neutral registration of all marriages — a move which the Sikhs slammed. Former Chairperson of the National Minority Commission Tarlochan Singh wrote a protest letter to Law Minister Salman Khurshid, demanding amendment to the Anand Marriage Act and not a religion-neutral marriage registration law.
“This is the victory of Sikhs; we had fought for this right for decades,” Tarlochan Singh said today. Akali Dal’s Rajya Sabha member Naresh Gujral also welcomed the decision saying. “It’s sad that Sikhs who sacrificed so much for the country had to feel alienated over such a small demand. We thank the PM and the Cabinet as this decision reassures minorities that their interests are protected. We want to congratulate Tarlochan Singh, former MP, who spearheaded the campaign in Parliament.”
In the Cabinet, Information Minister Ambika Soni proposed that the amendment Bill be titled Anand Karaj Amendment Bill, 2012. This title is likely to be retained. So far, marriages amongst Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and other communities, except Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews, were covered under the Hindu Marriage Act.
Lahore, 11 April 2012. More than 2,200 Sikh pilgrims arrived in Lahore via Wagah Border on Tuesday by three special trains for participating in the 10-day Baisakhi festival. The event is beginning on Wednesday.
Led by Shurumani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee of India Sardar Amrik Singh, the Sikh pilgrims started arriving at Wagah by first special train around 11:30am. The other two trains reached at 3:30pm and 4:30pm.
After the immigration process by the Pakistani authorities, the visitors left for Hassanabdal after being welcomed by officials of the Evacuee Trust Property Board and other departments concerned.
“We have received more than 2,200 Sikh pilgrims at the Wagah Railway Station, who then proceeded towards the Lahore Railway Station for onward travel under tight security by the Pakistan Rangers and the Punjab police,” ETPB Deputy Secretary (Shrines) Azhar Sulehri told Dawn.
He said the ETPB was expecting 800 more Sikh pilgrims from India on foot and by Samjhota Express on April 11 and 12. Many would come from other parts of the world, he said.
The official said the ETPB had arranged free transport, food and residential facilities for the Sikh pilgrims in Lahore, Hassanabdal, Nankana Sahib and other cities.
Sulehri said the visitors would spend their first three days in Hassanabdal, where they would offer special prayers at Gurdwara Panja Sahib and observe Baisakhi. From there they would move to Nankana Sahib to pay homage to Baba Guru Nanak and participate in ceremonies.
On April 16, he said, they would return to Lahore and visit Gurdwara Dera Sahib. The next day the Sikhs would go to Eimanabad and Narowal and return home on April 19.
The official said the ETPB also planned to host a grand reception for the Sikh pilgrims.
As for the security arrangements, he said: “The police in Lahore, Hassanabdal, Norowal, Nankana Sahib and other cities have been directed to provide foolproof security to the pilgrims. Arrangements like CCTV cameras have been made at the Wagah station, temples and other relevant places.”