The Statesman – UK Defence Chief to visit India this week

Are Mrs May’s values really all that close to those of Mr Modi ?
Man in Blue

New Delhi, 19 July 2017. Britain’s Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach, is visiting India this week and will meet Indian ministers and military officers to further reinforce the bilateral defence and security partnership.

Under the umbrella of the 2015 Defence and International Security Partnership, Stuart will meet Indian ministers and officers, a British High Commission statement said.

His meetings will cover the growing strategic defence relationship through the recently established Capability Partnerships, the threat of terrorism and extremism faced globally, multinational cooperation, upcoming exercises and UN Peacekeeping, the statement said.

Stuart, the most senior military officer in the UK Defence Forces, last visited India in April 2015 as Britain’s Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.

Ahead of his visit, Stuart said: “I very much look forward to visiting India again.

It is not only our shared history and democratic values that bind us together; but increasingly it is the threats and challenges to these values, that we face in an ever changing global environment, that bring us closer together, making the UK and India truly strategic defence partners.

“Whether standing shoulder to shoulder in countering terrorism and violent extremism, undertaking UN Peacekeeping operations, or forging ahead on developing advanced equipment programmes, the UK-India partnership is an enviable one internationally.

“I intend to ensure that my visit demonstrates further that the UK’s commitment to India and our relationship is undisputed, now and for the future.”

Stuart will visit New Delhi and Kolkata over four days. In addition to official calls and engagements, he will pay his respects to the 74,000 Indians who served and died in the World War I by laying a wreath at India Gate.

UK’s Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon visited New Delhi in April 2017.

Stuart will also touch upon the defence industry and the UK’s support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/uk-defence-chief-to-visit-india-this-week-1500472222.html

Sikh 24.com – California sikhs join other protests against mob lynchings in India

Sikh24 Editors

San Jose-California-USA, 19 July 2017. On July 16, Sikh activists joined protests to express outrage against the lynchings of minorities in India.

The protest was organized by The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) in San Jose, as ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected, the killing of minorities via mobs have skyrocketed.

Along with Sikh Activists, several other groups joined the protests, including the Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice. A similar protest is scheduled to take place in New York on July 23.

Protesters held banners against the killings of minority communities, especially Muslims and Dalits in India.

Sandeep Singh, a Sikh activist from the Central Valley said, “Today, we have gathered in San Jose against the RSS who have carried out the killings of innocent people, including the Dalits, Muslims and Christians in India.”

“It is a need of the hour to expose the reality of India, which displays itself as a secular nation, but continues to oppress minorities,” he said.

Other protesters held signs such as “India – Hostage to Hindutva?” and “Beef Ban is Cultural Fascism”.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/07/19/california-sikhs-join-other-protests-against-mob-lynchings-in-india/#.WW_b5ulLfIU

From Gent to Den Haag

Braemkasteelstraat
08 July 2017

Waiting for the bus that never came !

I misunderstood the message on the bus stop
and missed my train to Antwerpen

Lokeren
08 July 2017

Gent-Dampoort – Lokeren Antwerpen
An hour later than planned

Antwerpen – Middenstatie
08 July 2017

Antwerpen Centraal or ‘Middenstatie’
Top level

Antwerpen Centraal or ‘Middenstatie’
Medium level

Antwerpen Centraal or ‘Middenstatie’
Looking up to the main concourse

To see all my pictures:

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

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Human Rights Without Frontiers – Christians in shock after pastor shot dead in ‘safe’ Punjab

World Watch Monitor, 17 July 2017. The Christian community in Ludhiana, the largest city in India’s north-western state of Punjab, is in shock after a pastor was shot dead outside his Pentecostal church on Saturday evening (15 July).

Sultan Masih, 47, who also ran a school for the poor, was gunned down by two people on a motorbike, who shot him at close range outside the Temple of God Church, where he was senior pastor. He suffered multiple wounds to his body and head.

Hundreds of Christians took to the streets on Sunday (16 July), blocking off a major national highway (the road to Jalandhar) for three hours, and only ceasing once they had received assurances from the police that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.

“Pastor Sultan Masih was my neighbour and my friend,” fellow pastor Paul Tamizharasan told World Watch Monitor following the funeral today (17 July).

“Family members are grieving and we hope the government will catch the accused. We demand answers and have gone to the Punjab government, but they couldn’t find who did this.

“The state of Punjab is very safe in India for Christians. There are Sikhs living here, they are also a religious minority in India. We are also a minority, but never before have we had any threats. But unfortunately this has happened and we are all shocked about how this is possible. Nobody knows how this can happen.

“Two people came by bike. Every Saturday, the pastor, after finishing his Sunday-service preparations, at 8.30 pm he will come out. As usual, he had been talking with people outside, very casually. Then at 8.45, two people came very near, about 2-3 feet, and they shot his leg, and his face and his chest.”

CCTV cameras recorded footage of the attack, but a police spokesman said it was too dark to make out the attackers’ faces.

Masih had been pastor of the church for 20 years and also ran a school for the poor from inside the church. He is survived by his wife, Sarabjit, and sons, Elisha, 26, and Hanok, 18.

According to The Tribune, the Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, has promised 500,000 rupees (around $8,000) for Masih’s widow and a guaranteed job with the police for one of Masih’s sons. He also promised that the killers would be brought to justice.

Some reports say that Masih had received threats before his death. The police denied this but refused to rule out “terror” as a possible motive.

Meanwhile the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee said the attackers were trying to “disturb the peace” and called on the Christian community to “maintain the peace”.

http://bit.ly/2vvig8D

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http://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/India2017.pdf

Dawn – Where did funds for properties in KSA, London, and Dubai come from: Supreme Court judges ask PM’s lawyer

Haseeb Bhatti

Updated 19 July 2017. A day after the Supreme Court (SC) pointedly inquired about Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s money trail, the premier’s counsel reiterated that his client had presented details of all his assets to the joint investigation team (JIT) that was mandated to probe allegations of money laundering against the Sharif family.

Senior counsel Khawaja Harris on Wednesday told the three-member apex bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, that the prime minister had provided details of all assets and sources of income in the form of tax returns.

“We will take a decision after looking at all the evidence,” Justice Ejaz Afzal told Harris as he completed his arguments before the bench. “Bring the [money trail] record and the discussion on the documents will end.”

Ishaq Dar’s lawyer begins arguments

“Have you also brought a Qatari letter with you?” Justice Azmat Saeed asked Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s lawyer, Tariq Hasan, as he began his arguments before the bench.

The lawyer’s defence bore similarities to the arguments presented by Harris, as he told the court that the JIT had exceeded its mandate. An objection to the JIT’s report was included in the documents submitted to the apex court on Dar’s behalf on Monday.

“If you have so many objections, you should go to the trial court,” Justice Azmat Saeed remarked.

Hasan alleged that Dar had been “dragged” into the case by the JIT and did not actually have any direct involvement, to which Justice Ijazul Ahsan replied, “I can tell you Ishaq Dar’s connection to this case.”

The name of the finance minister’s nephew is included in the transactions relating to the Gulf Steel Mills, the judge elaborated, adding that money from the Hill Metal Establishment was transferred to the minister’s son, Ali Dar.

The judges quizzed the lawyer on his statement that the JIT had been “dishonest” in its investigations and hadn’t reviewed the submitted documents. “You had said that you did not submit any documents, yet you’re giving these statements,” said Justice Ijazul Ahsan, asking the lawyer to submit further documents at the next hearing (Thursday).

Dar’s confession in Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference

Echoing the objection by the PM’s lawyer, Hasan said that the JIT did not have the mandate to recommend reopening cases.

Referring to the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference, Justice Azmat Saeed pointed out that Ishaq Dar had refused to accept his confessional statement in the reference that was recorded before a district magistrate in Lahore on April 25, 2000, as his own.

In the statement, Dar had reportedly admitted to money laundering of $14.86 million, and opening two bank accounts under the names of Sikandar Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi for Nawaz Sharif’s brother.

During the initial Panamagate case hearing, Dar and his lawyers had maintained that the statement was “written under duress.” Speaking to the media after his appearance before the JIT, Dar had said that the statement was not written by him.

“If the confessional statement is deemed false, than the pardon [in the case] will also be unacceptable,” said the judge.

Sharif family’s foreign properties

During his arguments on Wednesday morning, Harris said that according to the laws of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), “an individual cannot be held accountable for the properties and assets that are in the name of his wife and children.” He added that the PM’s relatives had also not concealed any assets.

In reference to the judges’ observation that the PM had remained evasive in answering the questions put forward by the JIT, Harris responded that the team had not inquired about any other properties, maintaining that his client had not concealed any assets, nor did he own any benami properties.

“The real question is where did the money for [the Sharif family’s] properties in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and London come from?” Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked. “We have not yet received an answer to this fundamental question.”

The judges told the lawyer that Chapter Four (Gulf Steel Mills/Gifts) of the JIT’s report contains “dangerous” documents and talks about the trust deed of the four Avenfield flats in London’s Park Lane neighbourhood, executed between Maryam Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz in February 2006, which was declared false by the JIT in its report over.

Harris told the bench that the PM, when asked about the trust deed by the JIT, had acknowledged that he was aware of the settlement, but did not know the details. He added that his client can only be held accountable for the properties under his name, maintaining that the PM has no connection to the London flats.

“Are there any records available with Hassan and Hussain Nawaz that can prove that the PM does not have any connection with the London flats?” asked Justice Ejaz Afzal.

If Hussain is the beneficial owner of the flats, then proof for the same should be provided, he remarked, noting that in the documents received by the court, Maryam Nawaz is shown as the beneficial owner.

“The connection between the PM and the London flats is based on speculation. There are no documents available to prove this,” the lawyer said.

“Why do you keep insisting that all the records are available?” Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked the lawyer, directing him to show the documents relating to the agreement signed with Minerva Financial Services Limited, the holding company for Nescoll Limited and Nielson Enterprises Limited, the owners of the four London flats, to ascertain who signed them.

Where is the money trail?

During Tuesday’s hearing, the apex bench had asked about the PM’s money trail, saying, “We’ve been waiting for it since day one.” The prime minister and his family members had remained evasive in answering the questions put forward by the JIT, added the judges.

The bench had reminded the PM’s lawyer that the onus of establishing a money trail after claiming ownership of the Avenfield flats was on the Sharif family, adding that the money trail of the flats “remained shrouded in mystery, even to this day.”

The apex bench had also asked the counsel point-blank whether the judges should form their own opinion over the concealment of facts by his client or refer the matter to an accountability court.

Harris had argued that the JIT had exceeded its mandate by recommending the SC to reopen 15 cases against his client. He also questioned the authenticity of the documents obtained from the UK and the UAE that were included in the JIT’s report.

The bench had resumed the Panamagate case on Monday, nearly three months after ordering the formation of a JIT to investigate the allegations of money laundering against the Sharif family.

Presenting his statement before the bench on Monday, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) lead counsel Naeem Bokhari had requested that PM Nawaz Sharif should be asked to come to the court for questioning. During his arguments, Bokhari highlighted several findings of the JIT report that he said “incriminate” the Sharif family.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1346283/where-did-funds-for-properties-in-ksa-london-and-dubai-come-from-sc-judges-ask-pms-lawyer

BBC News – Why was Mother Teresa’s uniform trademarked?

Soutik Biswas, India correspondent

New Delhi, 12 July 2017. For nearly half a century, Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun who worked with the poor in the Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta) wore a simple white sari with three blue stripes on the borders, one thicker than the rest.

Senior nuns who work for Missionaries of Charity, a 67-year-old sisterhood which has more than 3,000 nuns worldwide, continue to wear what has now become the religious uniform of this global order.

On Monday, news washed up that this “famous” sari of the Nobel laureate nun, who died in 1997, has been trademarked to prevent “unfair” use by people for commercial purposes.

India’s government quietly recognised the sari as the intellectual property of the Missionaries of Charity in September last year, when the nun was declared a saint by the Vatican, but the order had decided not to make it public.

Biswajit Sarkar, a Kolkata-based lawyer who works pro-bono for the order, says he had applied for the trademark in 2013.

“It just came to my mind that the colour-identified blue border of the sari had to be protected to prevent any future misuse for commercial purposes,” he told me. “If you want to wear or use the colour pattern in any form, you can write to us and if we are convinced that there is no commercial motive, we will allow it.”

The austere blue-trimmed white sari has long been identified with the nun and her order. The story goes that in 1948, the Albanian nun, with permission from Rome, began wearing it and a small cross across her shoulder.

According to some accounts, the nun chose the blue border as it was associated with purity. For more than three decades, the saris have been woven by leprosy patients living in a home run by the order on the outskirts of Kolkata.

Accordingly, Mr Sarkar helped the order to trademark her name two decades back. Still, nuns of the order have complained that Mother Teresa’s name was being exploited for commercial gain: a school being run in her name in Nepal where teachers complained of not receiving salaries; a priest raising funds in Romania using the order’s name; shops near the order’s headquarters in Kolkata telling customers that proceeds from memorabilia sales were donated to the order; and a cooperative bank in India curiously named after the nun.

“So we decided to do something about it,” says Mr Sarkar. “Through this we are trying to tell the world that her name and reputation should not be misused.”

Owning a trademark on a colour can be a tricky business. In 2013 Nestle won a court battle against confectionery rival Cadbury, over the latter’s attempt to trademark the purple colour, known as Pantone 2865c, of its Dairy Milk bars.

It is also not clear how this trademark on the famous blue striped sari will be enforced. Many online shopping sites already sell variations of “unisex Mother Teresa dress”, blue bordered sari, and a long sleeved blouse.

Also, the move is bound to raise the hackles of the nun’s critics, and she has her fair share of them, who have accused her of glorifying poverty, hobnobbing with dictators, running shambolic care facilities and proselytising.

“How can anybody appropriate a sari, which has been a traditional Indian dress,” one of them asked me, preferring to remain unnamed.

Designers like Anand Bhushan differ. “Some designs of the traditional Indian towel called gamcha, for example, have been trademarked. There’s nothing wrong in trademarking a distinctive and iconic design or pattern like Mother Teresa’s sari. It’s not like anybody is beginning to own the sari.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-40566352

The Tribune – Thirty-six years after plane hijacking, two Sikh militants face trial

Granted two-day bail; have already served life sentence in Pakistan

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, 18 July 2017. Thirty-six years after a Srinagar-bound Indian Airlines plane with 111 passengers and six crew members was hijacked and taken to Lahore, two of the five Sikh hijackers appeared before a Delhi court to face sedition charges.

Accused Satnam Singh and Tejinder Pal Singh, who have already served life term in Pakistan for the 1981 crime, appeared before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Jyoti Kler, who granted them two-day interim bail.

After serving their sentence, Tejinder and Satnam had moved to Canada and the US, respectively, and were deported to India in 1998 and 1999. The other hijackers, Gajinder Singh, Jasbir Singh and Karan Singh, are not in India.

Belonging to the Dal Khalsa, the hijackers had demanded the release of then Damdami Taksal head Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was arrested on September 20 that year in a murder case.

Asking the investigating officer to file a report, the ACMM posted the matter for further hearing on July 20.

On behalf of the two accused, senior advocate Mohit Mathur and advocate Manisha Bhandari contended that the duo had already served life sentence and spent 35 years of their life in litigation.

Terming it a “classic example of double jeopardy”, the lawyers said the duo’s entire life would be spent in facing one trial after the other for the “same set of facts”.

Mathur said they couldn’t be tried again for the same incident under a different name, adding that the accused must be discharged.

Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh, who accompanied the accused, said there had been a travesty of justice in the case as the Indian Government had put them on trial after 36 years on “sedition” charges, ignoring their life imprisonment in Pakistan for the same offence.

However, the prosecution and the court maintained that the principle of double jeopardy did not apply as the offences for which they were tried and convicted in Pakistan were different from the ones mentioned in the present chargesheet.

The Delhi Police had filed a supplementary chargesheet in a court on September 29, 2011, under sedition charges. After taking cognisance of the chargesheet, the court had asked the accused to appear before it on July 18 for a fresh trial in connection with the crime that took place on September 29, 1981.

In May 2017, the Delhi High Court had refused to quash the supplementary chargesheet against the accused and asked them to appear before the trial court.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/36-yrs-after-plane-hijacking-two-sikh-militants-face-trial/438789.html

Gent Gurdwara – Verenigde Natieslaan

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
25 June 2017

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara

Reciting Sukhmani Sahib

Guru Granth Sahib
Granthi Singh

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 GentOost-Vlaanderen

Verenigde Natieslaan
26 June 2017

Verenigde Natieslaan

Verenigde Natieslaan

Yachtdreef – Bus 9 to Mariakerke Post

To see all my pictures:

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

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Vancouver Sun – Film backed by Surrey businessman reveals truths about Sikh royal history

In 1843, five-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh sat on the throne of the Sikh kingdom

Dana Gee

Vancouver, 18 July 2017. The Punjabi boy had ascended due to the death of his father, the Lion of Punjab, a.k.a. Ranjit Singh.

The boy ruled (sort of, he was five after all) for five years until war broke out and Britain got involved. The result was in that in 1849 Punjab was annexed to British India, and the boy was removed from the throne thus becoming the last ruler of the Sikh kingdom.

Duleep Singh’s mother (who was pretty much in charge) was imprisoned and Duleep Singh ended up in the guardianship of a British army surgeon and his wife. From tea and crumpets to Christianity, the couple taught him the way of the English.

In 1854, Duleep Singh and the doctor’s family went to England, and Duleep Singh met and charmed Queen Victoria. He was such a hit he became a kind of brother from another mother in the royal household: everybody wanted to hang with him, and he even went on holiday with the Queen and Prince Albert.

If you stopped the tale there you would still have a really good story, but an incomplete one.

A new film The Black Prince picks up the ball and completes the play, delivering the full story of Duleep Singh.

In the Kavi Raz written and directed movie, Duleep Singh’s story continues with the adopted Brit reuniting with his mother, and in turn reigniting his Sikhism. Soon he begins to question his own story and wants to connect with his roots. He makes financial demands, and faster than you can say ‘I’m not amused,’ he went from prince to pariah.

Duleep Singh’s plan was to return to the old country and set up royal shop again, but the English didn’t want trouble in the colonies and stopped him en route, putting him under house arrest. He eventually went to Paris, where he died penniless.

And to add a bit more meat to the story there is the question of the ownership of a big diamond called the Koh-i-noor (Mountain of Light).

“Everything is in there,” said Raz about Duleep Singh’s story. “Like I say, it is a Shakespearean tragedy that was just waiting to be told. There is just so much going on.”

The story is packed, but it has been parsed over the years leaving many Sikhs with that incomplete tale of a boy abandoning his homeland in favour of British finery and fancy parties.

“The general perception in the Sikh community was he betrayed the Sikh nation, he became a Christian of his own will, and he never looked back. What we try and portray in the film is ‘no, no that’s not true,’ ” said Raz during a phone interview from Toronto recently.

“I think a lot of Sikhs will be surprised when watching this film. I think it will correct a lot of the wrong notions that are out there. Maybe even start a debate, which is always a good thing.”

Executive producer Jasjeet Singh, who began researching the story back in 2011, says the story was given a British spin.

“People in Punjab didn’t know much,” said Singh who calls Freemont, California home.

“Most of the news that came to them was from the British, who said he was ‘a spoiled kid now. He doesn’t care about Punjab.’ The people were like, ‘OK he’s gone.’ The Indian historians were using the same historical documents that the British established.

“It’s a new story for everybody.”

http://vancouversun.com/entertainment/movies/film-backed-by-surrey-businessman-reveals-truths-about-sikh-royal-history

The Hindu – Zakir Naik’s passport revoked, says National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials

The passport was revoked after Mr Naik failed to respond to a show cause notice issued to him for personal appearance by July 13

New Delhi, 18 July 2017. The passport of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, wanted in connection with alleged terror funding cases, was on Tuesday revoked at the request of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), officials said.

The officials of the probe agency said the travel document was revoked by the Regional Passport Office of Mumbai after 51-year-old Naik failed to respond to a show cause notice issued to him for personal appearance by July 13.

The notice was served asking Mr Naik why his passport should not be revoked in view of various investigations pending against him, they said.

He is being probed for terror and money laundering charges by the NIA. He fled from India on July 1, 2016, after terrorists in neighbouring Bangladesh claimed that they were inspired by his speeches on waging jihad.

Centre yet to push for Zakir Naik’s extradition

According to ‘Middle East Monitor’, an online news portal on developments in Middle East, Mr Naik has already been granted citizenship of Saudi Arabia. There was no independent verification to this so far.

Mr Naik had his passport renewed in January last year and it has a validity for 10 years.

The NIA, on November 18, 2016, had registered a criminal case against Mr Naik at its Mumbai branch under various sections of Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

His organisation, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), has already been declared as an unlawful association by the government a day prior to registering of the case.

The controversial preacher is accused of spreading hatred by his provocative speeches, funding terrorists and laundering several crores of rupees over the years.

The sources could not give the exact country where Mr Naik could be at present and said that he may be changing his base quite frequently after the NIA moved the Interpol for issuance of a Red Corner Notice (RCN), international arrest warrant, against him.

Interpol was approached against Mr Naik after a year-long probe during which the NIA gathered evidence of his IRF and Peace TV being used to allegedly promote hatred between different religious groups.

The Central government has already banned his NGO and taken his TV channel off air. During the probe, the NIA claimed to have found 37 properties owned by Mr Naik and companies run by him, which are estimated to be worth more than ₹100 crore.

A special NIA court in Mumbai, while issuing a non-bailable warrant against Mr. Naik, had said that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Naik is evading arrest and that he will not voluntarily appear before the court or before the agency.”

The NIA alleged that Mr. Naik has been promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups in India through his speeches and lectures on various platforms and inciting Muslim youths and terrorists in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/zakir-naiks-passport-revoked/article19302707.ece?homepage=true