Visiting Luik (Liege) Gurdwara

I am still posting August pictures, while it is October
Five pictures every day in order to catch up !

Visiting Luik (Liege) Gurdwara
2 August 2015

Luik / Liege Guillemins
Gare SNCB / NMBS Station

Ancient EMU to Herstal

Waiting for the Oostende train
Using TGV tracks between Liege and Leuven

Slightly less ancient EMU to Maastricht

CFL Engine – Luxembourg train

To see all my pictures :

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Hindu – Opinion: The multiple costs of death penalty

The cost of prisoners on death row, the complex task of ensuring a painless mode of carrying out the judicial order and the growing international rejection of the death penalty must weigh against the pain of a victim’s family seeking justice.

R K Raghavan

Tuesday, 13 October 2015. “What they (the two accused) did, cannot be condoned, but it (the offence) is not so heinous and abhorring that warrants death….It was just a murder.

That is it…They (the two accused) have also suffered the sentence for 16 years,” held the Supreme Court of India (October 9, 2015) while rejecting the petition of Ms. Neelam Katara, mother of Nitish Katara, seeking enhancement of sentence.

The curtain has in all probability come down on the Nitish Katara case of murder, committed thirteen years ago by the son of a politician and his cousin. They are currently undergoing a jail term of 30 years.

In dismissing the plea of the victim’s mother for imposing the maximum penalty, the Supreme Court said the murder was neither an ‘honour killing’, nor was it the rarest of rare cases meriting capital punishment. Ms. Katara is however, determined to continue to “fight for justice.”

It is the intensity of the pain of a victim’s family that often explains their disappointment at the court not awarding death. In the eyes of some, this resolve to get the severest of penalties could possibly smack of vindictiveness.

I believe however, that this dimension to the natural feelings of associates and relatives of the victim should not be ignored by those, including criminologists across the globe, who consider that the debate over the rightness of the death penalty is hackneyed.

The Supreme Court’s dismissal of Ms. Katara’s plea is liable to be discussed for a long, long time. The fact is each day brings in a new point of view to the discussion on adequacy of punishment.

This is something which raises many absorbing questions related to the core of penology. A stand by some individuals that there are no further issues to be resolved in as serious a matter as capital punishment is being didactic and insensitive.

US discourse

No discussion of the rationale of a death sentence will be meaningful without reference to what is happening just now in the US, a country prone to violent crime. A large number of cities have reported an increase in homicide rates this year.

Added to this are mass killings of the kind reported recently from a community college in Oregon and earlier at an African-American church in South Carolina, which are said to have enhanced fear levels and strengthened the plea by many individuals and organisations for greater gun control and more deterrence in sentencing policies.

Ironically, 19 of the 50 States do not have the death penalty on their statutes. Despite this, more than 1400 convicts have been executed in the country since 1976, the year when capital sentence was restored after a four-year de facto moratorium flowing from the Supreme Court decision in Furman v Georgia.

There is something more than numbers here. It is the complex history that surrounds the issue of the mode of judicial killing in the country which is of interest.

Currently, administering a lethal injection is the accepted procedure to execute a prisoner awarded the death sentence.

An option to choose hanging is available to those convicted before this was introduced. It is significant that the constitutionality of lethal injection has been upheld by the US Supreme Court.

Hanging was one of the first methods employed by states to execute a condemned prisoner. After a series of blotched hangings in the 19th century, many switched to electrocution, following the recommendation of a Gerry Commission (1886) appointed to suggest an alternative mode.

After New York first introduced electrocution, other States followed suit. This form of execution also came into disrepute, as sequel to a few cases of failure of the electric chair, which necessitated repeated application of high voltage electricity on a prisoner for the successful completion of an order of sentence.

This practice therefore, came to be challenged as a “cruel and unusual” punishment, prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.

In view of this development, many States started enforcing the administration of a lethal injection, comprising a single or combination of drugs. While hydromorphone is widely used, a recent entrant is midazolam.

Some human rights organisations have cited research to raise doubts over the claimed painlessness of drugs employed in executions, and have charged that lethal injections are also cruel.

However, in a case of 2008 (Baze v Rees) and in a more recent (2015) case (Glossip v Gross), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of lethal injections.

In the former case, while concurring with the majority opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens however, raised doubts about Kentucky’s three drug protocol, especially the use of a paralytic agent, panucronium bromide.

He believed that this matter could generate a future debate. Also, while hearing the Glossip case, Justice Stephen Breyer was noticeably candid about his aversion to the death penalty.

It is against this backdrop that one must follow the proceedings of the US Supreme Court which began a new term on October 5. Though the constitutionality of death sentence is not directly listed to come up before it, any stray observation by any of the nine judges in associated matters could provide a pointer to the future.

The execution of a woman, Kelly Gissendaner, on September 30 in Georgia, has added spice to the controversy, although only about one per cent of those executed in the U.S. till now have been women. And Gissendaner was the first woman to be executed in Georgia in about 70 years.

Methodological problems

I quizzed Professor Daniel Silverman of the Department of Criminal Justice, Temple University, Philadelphia (from where I graduated more than two decades ago) on current trends in the U.S. on the death penalty.

Prof. Silverman, an attorney who defends many prisoners on the death row, teaches a course on capital punishment at Temple. He tells me that States are finding it increasingly difficult to procure the drugs required to carry out an execution.

As a result there is once again an alarming frequency of botched executions, resulting sometimes from the use of wrong drugs. The whole process is shrouded in such mystery that doubts have arisen over the efficacy and fairness of the system.

Prof. Silverman also refers to the overall sentiment within the country against the death penalty. During the past decade, seven States either abolished it or held it in abeyance. There is further the sharpening division on the subject within the U.S. Supreme Court, between liberals and conservatives.

Four of the nine judges are said to believe that death penalty is constitutional, while two clearly consider it otherwise. It is difficult to speculate what the other three would do when the matter comes up before them in the future.

It is just possible that the debate may linger on inconclusively, and will ultimately be settled only when one or two new judges join the court in the next few years.

According to Prof. Silverman, the U.S. Supreme Court is now quite sensitive to what is happening internationally. This is why it is reasonable to believe that it will take cognisance of the worldwide trend of nations giving up the death penalty.

Finally, there is also the factor of costs involved here. There are now more than 3000 prisoners on death row in US prisons. Organising sustained legal help for a majority of them adds on to the already huge commitment to look after their food and health needs.

While this particular issue is beyond the purview of courts, it could weigh heavily on the administration while reviewing the expediency of retaining the death penalty.

Challenge for India

The trends that characterise the US scene are very relevant to India, although in a slightly less acute form. We have had about 1300 death verdicts for the whole country during the period 2004-14.

Of these, only four have ended in actual execution. Prisoners in such cases certainly escalate costs of prison management. While this argument may not hold water with those who stand rigidly for the retention of capital punishment, there is the overwhelming international trend in support of abolition that can hardly be ignored.

The Law Commission’s recent weighty report that favours giving up the death penalty, except in cases of terrorism, should also motivate the government into swift action. Apart from promoting the cause of a humane jurisprudence, a decision to do away with the death sentence could have a hugely positive impact on our international image.

R K Raghavan is a former CBI Director and a graduate in criminal justice from the Temple University, Philadelphia.

The Asian Age – Graft: Is this the way to go?

New Delhi, 11 October 2015. The Aam Aadmi Party’s leaders, including Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy, acted with surprising alacrity in sacking a minister accused of corruption.

The axe fell on the minister suddenly, with the CM announcing it on live television. This is a departure from the usual practice in most parties, with the issue dragged out till either the proof is irrefutable, forcing action to be taken, or it just dies down, fading from public attention.

We don’t really know if the minister was indeed guilty of the charges made via taped conversations a whistle-blower exposed. What the AAP tried to do is to climb the moral high horse, and swiftly, to show intent.

Not having lived up to high expectations on many fronts since it came to power with an unprecedented majority in Delhi, it may be trying to get back to the anti-corruption plank that drove the movement to evolve into a full-fledged political avatar.

Given its inability to appoint a Lok Ayukta yet, Delhi’s AAP government still has to live up to most promises.

Having pointed a finger at Gujarat and at the Narendra Modi government for not dropping ministers with links to fugitive former cricket administrator Lalit Modi, this is a point the AAP is stressing, in what promises to be a revolutionary approach to bribery allegations.

If he’s later found not guilty, the minister could be resurrected. The only problem is: finger-pointing is an endless exercise in Indian life. Where will leaders draw the line on mere allegations? – Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa Reiterates his Pledge

Sikh24 Editors

Ludhiana, Panjab, 11 October 2015. After being discharged from the PGIMER Chandigarh, Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa reiterated his demand for the release of political Sikh prisoners. Although Bapu Ji is physically weak, he is spiritually in rising spirits.

Talking with Sikh24, Bapu Ji affirmed that either Singhs will be released or he will pass away. “Any atrocity of state can’t force me to bow my head,” he stated.

A large number of his supporters started visiting him today. S. Jaspal Singh Heran (Editor, Rozana Pehredar) also met Bapu Ji at his residence in Hassanpur.

Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa has been observing hunger protest since January 16 for the release of political Sikh prisoners who have already served their mandatory terms life sentences. He had been force fed by State government four times by illegally detaining him in different Hospitals.

First time, he was force fed at the Civil Hospital (Ludhiana), second time in Civil Hospital (Ludhiana) and PGIMER at Chandigarh, third time in DMC Hospital (Ludhiana) and fourth time in Advanced Cardiac Department of PGIMER at Chandigarh. Bapu Ji had been brutally tortured during all these detentions by Punjab Police.

During his recent detention at the PGI, the notice issued by the High Court to the Punjab government to clarify about Bapu Ji’s illegal detention till October 12 compelled the government to release him.

Sikh24 Editors can be reached at

Visiting Luik (Liege) Gurdwara

I am still posting August pictures, while it is October
Five pictures every day in order to catch up !

Visiting Luik (Liege) Gurdwara
2 August 2015

Liege Palais / Luik Paleis
On our way back to Erps-Kwerps

Liege Palais / Luik Paleis
This train will take us to Liege’s main station

Liege Palais / Luik Paleis
On our way back to Erps-Kwerps

Liege Palais / Luik Paleis
EMU to Liege Guillemins and Verviers

Liege (Luik) Guillemins
EMU to Verviers

To see all my pictures :

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Modi Not Welcome

A Day of Protest
Thursday 12 November 2015 from 12 noon onwards

Meeting Point:
Whitehall opposite 10 Downing Street

modi not welcome poster 2

Dawn – Panjab byelections; Ayaz Sadiq retakes NA-122, but PML-N loses provincial assembly seat to PTI

Amjad Mahmood

Lahore, 12 October 2015. In a tension-filled close contest, PML-N’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq retained his NA-122 Lahore seat by defeating PTI’s Abdul Aleem Khan in the by-election held here on Sunday amid extraordinary security as well as media hype.

According to unofficial results, Mr Sadiq secured 76,204 votes and his rival Aleem Khan 72,043.

It’s the fourth consecutive win for the former National Assembly speaker since 2002, twice against PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

The by-election resulted in ritual routing of the former ruling party, the PPP. It was difficult to spot any election camp of PPP’s candidate, Barrister Amer Hasan, or its flags and workers in the constituency. Because of the absence of PPP’s central leadership from the electioneering it could not become a three-way contest.

Interestingly, in the by-election for the Punjab Assembly’s PP-147 seat, which falls within NA-122, PML-N candidate Mohsin Lateef was defeated by PTI’s Shoaib Siddiqui, though by a thin margin, to the worst fears of the chief minister’s son Hamza Shahbaz who had opposed granting Mr Lateef party ticket because of his ‘unpopularity’ among party activists.

According to unofficial results, Shoaib Siddiqui bagged 31,993 votes and Mohsin Lateef 28,641.

Barring a couple of minor clashes, the polling throughout the day remained peaceful as no major complaint was lodged by any party, thanks to elaborate arrangements made by the election authorities.

Otherwise a dull exercise with low turnout, it became a nerve-breaking electoral contest after both the sides openly used their resources without caring for the code of ethics.

Both the parties ran expensive publicity campaigns through print and electronic media, banners and election offices and held corner meetings and large public rallies to impress voters.

Imran Khan gave fulltime while his wife Reham and party’s bigwigs, including Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Jehangir Tareen, partially canvassed for the PTI candidate. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, along with members of his cabinet, also visited the city to explain to Lahorites through media what the PTI was doing for the people in KP.

The PML-N not only executed various development schemes in the constituency but also involved its parliamentarians from outside Lahore and even Punjab, like Talal Chaudhry and Abid Sher Ali from Faisalabad and Marvi Memon from Sindh.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also made his entry by holding a large and detailed news conference at the Governor’s House, located in the middle of the constituency, criticising the political opponents and recounting achievements of his government.

The PML-N’s polling day strategy also wor­ked well. It mobilised its workers led by MNAs and MPAs from across the city to make the party’s impressive presence in the constituency.

The N-League also set up separate election cells for each union council where computerised voter number slips were prepared and delivered at voters’ doorsteps a day before the polling, while the PTI activists were seen preparing the slips at camps outside the polling stations and getting confused about numbering in the voters’ list.

The activities helped increase the turnout as by 2pm (three hours before the end of polling) about 30 per cent of voters had used their right to franchise.

Activists of both parties exchanged hot words and even blows when their leaders passed by polling camps of the other in Survey Colony in Garhi Shahu, Basti Syden Shah on the Upper Mall and Pir Ghazi Road in Ichhra.

Unlike in the past, police were fully prepared for quick response, reaching a place within five minutes of receiving any complaint.

In view of a report by a secret agency identifying 12 places where clashes were feared, the health authorities declared an emergency in three major public hospitals while Rescue 1122 was asked to reduce its response time from normal seven minutes to 2-3 minutes.

Luckily, no untoward incident took place. A youth carrying a pistol was arrested from outside a polling station in Rehmanpura.

Law-enforcement agencies made elaborate security and administrative arrangements and no-one in polling station areas was allowed to violate the election code of ethics.

Voters were not allowed to carry mobile phones inside polling stations. Voters were frisked and their identity cards checked by Rangers personnel before they were allowed to enter polling stations. Media personnel covering the elections were escorted and facilitated by Rangers.

A political analyst, who cast his vote in the constituency, told Dawn that it was the best arranged election activity so far as unlike in the past voters faced no problem this time.

Returning Officer Ahmed Nawaz said they had received 25 complaints, but all of them were of minor nature, mostly related to voter lists, and nothing about rigging.

BBC News – Missing hotelier Ranjit Power: India sent ‘wrong body’ to UK

The daughter of a British businessman thought to have been murdered in India says the body Punjab police have sent to the UK is not her father’s.

Hotel owner Ranjit Singh Power, from Wolverhampton, 54, was last seen at an airport in Amritsar, Punjab, on 8 May.

Taxi driver Sukhdev Singh was charged with his murder after police said he had confessed to killing Mr Power.

The hotelier’s daughter told BBC Hindi that dental records and DNA of the body did not match the family’s samples.

Mr Power’s body was found in a lake and was in poor condition. A family friend who identified the body in June had said it was the right height and wore “exactly the same bangle” as the businessman.

Senior Punjab police official Amrik Singh, who investigated the case, said they tested the DNA samples after recovering the body and sent it to London only after it was identified by Mr Power’s friend.

Police require the DNA sample of his mother to be able to match them, he said, adding that they had conveyed their request to the British embassy in Delhi and also to Mr Power’s family.

“The DNA of my grandmother has not been sent to India as requested, because we found out that the body was not my father’s so it was no longer necessary,” Ms Power told BBC Hindi.

“We believe the body that was brought to the UK is now the responsibility of the coroner in the UK,” she added.

The Tribune – Gold artifacts stolen from Gurdwara in UK

London, 10 October 2015. A Gurdwara in the south of England was ransacked and damaged after robbers broke in and stole cash over £ 2,500 from a safe as well as some valuable gold artefacts, according to a local media report.

The incident at Gurdwara Sahib on Spencers Road in Crawley, West Sussex, occurred late last month and investigations continue, Daily Sikh Updates reported.

“Police are investigating a break-in at the Sikh temple in Spencers Road, Crawley, which occurred overnight between September 25 and September 26,” a Sussex Police spokesperson said.

“An external door and several internal doors were forced and a safe and cabinets broken into. Gold artefacts and cash worth over 2,500 pounds were stolen,” he added.

Raiders used hydraulic tools to break into the safe which had the gold artefact.

“It will cost us thousands of pounds (to replace artefact and repair damages),” said Mohindar Galowalia, secretary of Crawley-based charity Siri Guru Singh Sabha.

Police have launched a public appeal for witnesses to the break-in at the Gurdwara. (PTI)

Visiting Luik (Liege) Gurdwara

I am still posting August pictures, while it is October
Five pictures every day in order to catch up !

Visiting Luik (Liege) Gurdwara
2 August 2015

Place Saint-Barthelemy
Eglise Saint-Barthelemy

Place Saint-Barthelemy

Tree with a woollen stocking !

Feronstree / Place Saint-Barthelemy

Hotel de Ville – Place du Marche

Place du Marche

To see all my pictures :

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue


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