Railway Gazette – Passenger name regulation could destroy cross-border rail

Belgium, 21 September 2016. The European Commission, train operators and passenger representative groups have expressed grave concern over draft legislation introduced into the Belgian parliament on September 19 which could threaten the viability of cross-border passenger trains.

Proposed as a reaction to the terrorist attacks in Brussels earlier this year, as well as attacks elsewhere in western Europe, the regulation would extend the airline-style Passenger Name Record requirements to all international trains crossing Belgian borders.

Operators would be expected to collect and submit information on all travellers 24 h in advance, which would preclude same-day ticket sales and completely destroy any prospect of a walk-on service competitive with other surface transport modes.

Operators and user groups in several countries have expressed concern to their respective governments, but there is reportedly some concern about interfering in the security policy of another EU member state.

The European Commission and European Parliament are holding urgent talks to discuss the proposal. The Community of European Railways and European Passenger Federation have also questioned the practicality and impact of the regulation.

A report commissioned by the Landsec advisory group for the Commission’s transport directorate DG Move is understood to have found that extending PNR to rail services would be ‘a complete waste of time’, according to one insider.

The report was due to be discussed by DG Move next month, but Railway Gazette understands that its findings have already been made available to the European Parliament’s Transport & Tourism Committee.

With the legislation potentially to be adopted this week, there is pressure for urgent talks with the Belgian government over the practicality and potential impact of the proposals.

However, as a further complication there is uncertainty within the Commission over whether the regulation falls under the remit of DG Move as a measure affecting international transport of whether it is a security issue for the the internal affairs directorate DG Home.

In practical terms, the introduction of PNR requirements would seriously damage the viability of Thalys and ICE services linking Brussels with Paris, Amsterdam and Koeln, where experiments in passenger segregation and security checks at stations introduced after the Paris attacks last year have reportedly already been abandoned as impractical and not effective.

It would also make it impossible for SNCB or its neighbouring railways to operate cross-border regional passenger trains, affecting many local travellers travelling regularly between towns and cities in border areas. Such travellers would probably be displaced to private cars, for which no such security measures are envisaged.

http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/policy/single-view/view/passenger-name-regulation-could-destroy-cross-border-rail.html

Sikh24.com – AISSF President Peer Mohammad comes out against screening of movie ‘31st October’

Peer Mohammad should understand that if he wants pro-Sikh films to be allowed, then he should also allow pro-government films
Man in Blue

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi, 22 September 2016. All India Sikh Students Federation President Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad has come out against the screening of upcoming movie ‘31st October’. ‘31st October’ is based on the anti-Sikh massacres of 1984. The movie is scheduled to hit screens worldwide on October 7.

Speaking with Sikh24, Peer Mohammad said that the movie is more focused on portraying the achievements of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi rather than the massacre of innocent Sikhs by Hindu mobs.

He alleged that the Director Shivaji Lotan Patil has tried to portray the genocide of Sikhs as communal riots between two communities which was totally wrong. Seeking the SGPC’s interference in the matter, Peer Mohammad said that he would launch an agitation to stop the movie from hitting cinema screens.

It is pertinent to note here that the movie ‘31st October’ was given green signal by the Central Board of Film Certification with 9 changes to the movie.

The story of the movie revolves around the tragedy of a Sikh family whose chief ‘Sardaar Ji’ gets killed by the Hindu mobs and his wife (played by Soha Ali Khan) had to face severe problems with her three children. Most of the movie has been shot in Ludhiana area.

AISSF President Peer Mohammad comes out against screening of movie ‘31st October’

Gent Sint-Pieters – Brussel Noord – Leuven Station

Gent Sint-Pieters
21 June 2016

060-f-gentst-pieters-21-06-16

Train to Brussel – Luik – Eupen

060-g-gentst-pieters-21-06-16

Train to Brussel – Luik – Eupen

060-h-gentst-pieters-21-06-16

Train to Brussel – Luik – Eupen
This train starts in Dutch speaking Belgium,
goes through bilingual Brussel
then back into Dutch speaking Belgium
after which it enters the French speaking
province of Liège to end up in German speaking Eupen

Brussel Noord
21 June 2016 

060-i-brusselnoord-21-06-16

TRAXX Engine of Amsterdam Brussel IC train

060-j-brusselnoord-21-06-16

Amsterdam Brussel IC train

Leuven Station
23 June 2016

060-k-leuvenstation-23-06-16

All station train to Antwerpen

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Apology from the British Prime Minister in Parliament before the 100th anniversary of the British massacre of Sikhs at Jallianwala Bagh on 13 April 1919

Third report from the Sikh Federation (UK) National Sikh Convention

London, 20 September 2016. In April 2016 a speech was delivered by Dabinderjit Singh, an adviser to the Sikh Federation (UK), at a Vaisakhi event in Parliament on the significance of the Khalsa.

In that speech a reference was made to what Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, had just announced on the occasion of a Vaisakhi event in Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

He said that on 18 May 2016 he would make a full apology in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru incident from 1914 when over 350 passengers – nearly all Sikhs and British subjects – were denied entry, starved of food and water for two months with the ship eventually being forced to return to India.

In 2013 David Cameron visited Jallianwala Bagh, in Amritsar where on the occasion of Vaisakhi on 13 April 1919 soldiers of the British Indian army fired at more than 10,000 unarmed men, women and children who had gathered.

During his visit he described the Amritsar massacre as “a deeply shameful event in British history, one that Winston Churchill rightly described at that time as monstrous. We must never forget what happened here and we must ensure that the UK stands up for the right of peaceful protests”.

Dabinderjit Singh pointed out on 13 April 2018 it will be 100 years since the massacre by British soldiers in Amritsar. The minimum the worldwide Sikh community deserved was an apology by the British Prime Minister in Parliament.

Greg Clarke, the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) at that time listened carefully to the full speech and nodded to acknowledge the demand.

DCLG and Foreign Office officials were reminded at a meeting last week on the need to make progress on this issue. The response so far has been generally agreeable to the suggestion.

Bhai Amrik Singh in his speech at the National Sikh Convention mentioned it was made all the more painful as the Amritsar massacre of 1919 came within months of the end of the First World War where Sikhs had made sacrifices in huge numbers for the freedom of Europe.

The Sikh Federation (UK) wrote to the Foreign Secretary on this matter a week ago to try and accelerate progress on this subject.

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

Posted by: sikh federation <sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk>

Dawn – Army will defend every inch of Pakistan: General Raheel Sharif

Kharian, 23 September 2016. Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Friday said the Army will defend “each and every inch” of Pakistan “no matter what the cost”, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.

The Army chief, addressing officers at the National Counter-Terrorism Centre near Kharian, said that Pakistan’s armed forces “have the capability to counter the complete threat spectrum”.

General Raheel said that Pakistan had, despite being a victim of terrorism for over a decade, been able to turn the tide against terrorism due to the nation’s resilience and the professionalism of its security forces.

The COAS on his visit to the NCTC inaugurated state-of-the-art upgradations to the centre’s infrastructure allowing it accommodate the growing demand of foreign armies and Pakistan’s own law enforcement agencies to train alongside the Pakistan Army.

The addition of the new facilities have made the NCTC one of the best counter-terrorism training facilities among contemporary armies, ISPR claims.

So far, 231,000 troops of the armed forces, 3,483 police officers and civil armed forces men have been trained at the NCTC, Lt General Umar Farooq Durrani, Commander of the Strike Corps, briefed the army chief.

He added that five joint exercises have been conducted at the centre with China, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Turkey.

The Army chief’s strongly-worded statement comes at a time when regional tensions are soaring as Pakistan and India face off at the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York over the Kashmir issue.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his address to the UN maintained that Pakistan wants peace with India but it is “not possible without resolving the Kashmir issue”. The premier urged the UN to demilitarise Jammu and Kashmir and called for steps to implement UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.

India, exercising its Right of Reply, levelled serious allegations against Pakistan in its rebuttal, terming it a ‘terrorist state’.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1285619/army-will-defend-every-inch-of-pakistan-gen-raheel

The News – Kashmir uprising proof of Indian occupation: Pakistan

United Nations, 22 September 2016. A senior Pakistani diplomat has rejected a claim by an Indian delegate that Pakistan was promoting terrorism in occupied Kashmir and elsewhere, saying the Kashmiri people’s uprising “was spontaneous and indigenous”.

The Indian delegate, Eenam Gambhir, made the accusation while exercising her right of reply to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s forceful speech in the UN General Assembly in support of Kashmiri people.

“The Indian government has chosen to criticize the statement by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, which reflects the sentiments and aspirations of the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have, for seventy years faced bullets, repression and the brutalities of illegal occupation,” Dr. Muhammad Faisal, a director general in the Foreign office, said in the 193-member Assembly while reacting to some serious allegations leveled by Ms. Gambhir.

“The dispute of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be wished away,” the Pakistani diplomat said. Pakistan, he said, would continue to stand by the people of Jammu and Kashmir and extend its full diplomatic and political support to their movement for freedom from Indian oppression.

“The cold-blooded murder of Burhan Wani sparked widespread and unprecedented protests across Kashmir, which was spontaneous and indigenous and was irrefutable evidence of the Kashmiri peoples rejection of Indian occupation,” Faisal told the General Assembly.

“But peaceful protesters were mercilessly fired upon, blinded and critically injured,” he said. “Yet, the use of brutal force cannot extinguish their burning aspiration. Every day young and old come, defying the curfew and dodging the bullets, only to assert their right to determine their own destiny.

“The Right to self-determination has been promised to them by the international community through a series of Security Council resolutions.

Although this promise has yet to be realized, seven decades later, time has not weakened their resolve, nor their aspirations. In fact, it remains active and vibrant in the hearts of the Kashmiris.’

The Pakistani diplomat said the Kashmiri people looked towards the international community, especially the members of the UN Security Council, to deliver on the pledge to hold a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices, to enable them to decide their future, a democratic and legal right of the Kashmiri people.

“No amount of verbiage used by the Indian delegation can obfuscate this reality,” Faisal said.

In her statement, the Indian delegate criticized PM Sharif for glorifying Burhan Wani, who she claimed belonged to a terrorist organization.

India, she said, was firmly resolved to protect all its citizens from all acts of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. “We cannot and will not allow terrorism to prevail.”

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/151778-Kashmir-uprising-proof-of-Indian-occupation-Pakistan

The Tribune – Three-day Global Sikh conclave in Patna from today

Jitendra K Shrivastava & PTI

Patna, 21 September 2016. The first ever three-day International Sikh Conclave will be held at SK Memorial Hall here from tomorrow.

Over 200 scholars, religious gurus, academicians and politicians, including Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, are expected to participate.

The conclave is being held ahead of the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, whose birth place is in the eastern part of Patna known as Patna Sahib.

Dignitaries from several countries, including Canada, US and New Zealand, would dwell on the life and teachings of Guru Gobind Singh.

The conclave would be inaugurated by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

He said: “Bihar is ready to host the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh. We are proud to organise this mega event. The state government will observe three-day holiday during the main function early next year. Despite small Sikh population, the entire state will participate in the mega birth anniversary event.”

“The state wants the teachings of the Sikh guru to reach the common masses. The Tourism Department is the nodal agency to oversee the arrangements and take help from respective departments to make the event grandeur and fabulous,” he said.

Bihar plans Sikh circuit

The Bihar government is mulling to start a Sikh circuit on lines of Buddhist circuit to draw more foreign tourists to the state. “To tap the tremendous potential of religious tourism in Bihar, we are also working on Sufi circuit, Ramayan circuit and Gandhi circuit,” Nitish Kumar said.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/3-day-global-sikh-conclave-in-patna-from-today/299011.html

Gent Gurdwara – Gent house hunting – Gent Sint-Pieters

Gent Gurdwara – school visit
21 June 2016

059-z-gentgurdwara-1-21-06-16

Students, teachers and Gurdwara sevadars

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

Gent house hunting
21 June 2016

060-a-prosperclaesstr-21-06-16

Prosper Claesstraat

060-b-prosperclaesstr-21-06-16

Prosper Claesstraat
We looked at a nice apartment in this neighbourhood
but did not get it

060-c-konalbertlaan-21-06-16

Very true, both for me and Evi
Most of  my books are still in Southall !

Gent Sint-Pieters
21 June 2016

060-d-gentst-pieters-21-06-16

Train from Genk to Knokke and Blankenberge

060-e-gentst-pieters-21-06-16

This train is to take us to Brussel

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Sikh Federation – British Sikhs deliver a number of key announcements at largest ever National Sikh Convention

London, 19 September 2016. The annual three-day National Sikh Convention organised by the Sikh Federation (UK) ended yesterday at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Sedgley Street, Wolverhampton and attracted in excess of 10,000 Sikhs from across the UK and others parts of the world.

It is the largest political gathering of its kind of members of the Sikh community in the diaspora. The main speeches and a number of key announcements were delivered yesterday.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), delivered the key note speech setting out what the organisation had achieved with respect to delivery against the promises made last year, the organisations key activities and successes over the last 12 months, how it was responding to the challenges that exist and giving direction in a number of key areas.

The audience for the Convention is worldwide so Bhai Kuldip Singh, the Vice Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), spoke about the organisations views about the forthcoming elections in Punjab in 2017.

Several UK politicians spoke about some of the ongoing campaigns being championed by the Sikh Federation (UK), achievements during the year where politicians were assisting the organisation and promises on other things that could be delivered.

The Sikh Federation (UK) announced expansion of its leadership and advisory capacity given the growth of the organisation to virtually all regions of the UK and larger presence in many more towns and cities. It also reflects the increasing workload in the UK and abroad with greater demands from the mainstream media and shift in the working relationship with the UK Government.

A series of separate press releases will be coming out in the next 24 hours on some of the key announcements, including:

– developing the improved relationship with the UK Government to make progress on challenges faced by British
Sikhs
– British Sikh response to a changing political landscape in the UK
– apology from the British Prime Minister in Parliament before the 100th anniversary of the British massacre of Sikhs at Jallianwala Bagh on 13 April 1919
– key achievements in the last 12 months, including the lifting of the ban of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)
– the formation of the International Sikh Governing Council to take forward dealings with foreign governments and international institutions
– developing an understanding and working relationship with like-minded organisations in Punjab
– challenges presented by the Modi-led BJP government and how these are being handled
– observations and advice to voters on elections in Punjab in 2017
– Formalised partnership and support for Your Seva a registered charity working for and supporting impoverished families in Punjab

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

Posted by: sikh federation <sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk>

The Hindu – Jaish website claims Uri attackers were Kashmiris

India is blaming Pakistan for the incident without any basis, says JeM

New Delhi, 22 September 2016. A propaganda website run by the terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed that the four terrorists who stormed the Uri Army camp on Sunday were “home-grown Kashmiri Mujahideen [fighters].”

Foreign terrorists: DGMO

Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. General Ranbir Singh had earlier told media persons that the terrorists belonged to the JeM and all four killed were “foreign terrorists.”

In a message posted on Wednesday in the news section of its website alqalamonline.com, the JeM did not claim responsibility for the attacks but insisted that the terrorists belonged to Kashmir and that India was blaming Pakistan for the attacks without any basis.

The Urdu website, which is run by the JeM, also said the Kashmiri fighters set at least four barracks on fire and 12 soldiers were charred to death.

It said 19 Indian soldiers were killed in the attack, though the death toll is 18.

“Soldiers who target unarmed Kashmiris were running for cover that day. Though 13,000 soldiers were present at the Army camp in Uri, they had to call paratroopers from Baramulla to save the Indian soldiers,” the website said.

Army press note

The Army had issued a press note after the Uri incident where it said the “fire fighting between the terrorists and the Army personnel continued from 5.30 a.m. to 8.30 a.m.”

The Jaish claimed that the four Kashmiri men fought with the Army personnel for five hours.

After the attack at the Pathankot airbase on January 2, an audio message posted on the website had criticised the Pakistan government for “bowing before” allegations made by India but stopped short of taking the responsibility for the attack.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the Pathankot case had said that it was JeM, which carried out the attacks at the behest of its leader Masood Azhar.

Though the Indian Army has claimed that the Uri attackers belonged to JeM, the NIA said that it had not reached any such conclusion so far.

“We are still examining the attack site and the AK-47s recovered from the terrorists would be examined in the coming days. We have extracted DNA samples from the bodies of the four terrorists,” said an NIA official.

The Army had buried the bodies of the four terrorists after a post-mortem was conducted at the Army camp. During the Pathankot operation, NIA had preserved the bodies for three months even after it was able to establish their identities.

“Though Army has said that the terrorists belonged to JeM, their modus operandi and choice of weaponry point towards Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). They could be mixed also and trained by Pakistan’s ISI,” said the official.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/jaish-website-claims-uri-attackers-were-kashmiris/article9132989.ece