The Indian Express – No space for Islamic State, al Qaeda, says Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin

Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin on Thursday warned “defeatist elements”, who want to “launch Daesh (IS) like organisation in Jammu and Kashmir”. He said there is no space for any international organisation “like Daesh (IS) and al Qaeda” in the state.

Bashaarat Masood

Srinagar, 28 July 2017. Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin on Thursday warned “defeatist elements”, who want to “launch Daesh (IS) like organisation in Jammu and Kashmir”.

He said there is no space for any international organisation “like Daesh (IS) and al Qaeda” in the state. “…some of our people, playing into the hands of our enemy, are trying to disrupt unity between people and the leadership and are trying to harm (our movement).

We want to make it clear to them that they will not gain anything,” he said in a video statement in an apparent reference to Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’s statement naming former Hizbul Commander Zakir Musa as its leader.

“I, for the last time, appeal to these elements, who are trying to start this new game that they should stay away from this confusing, disuniting and damaging effort,’’ he said without naming anyone. “The elements, whom we know, are intentionally or unintentionally playing into the hands of the enemy and trying to create confusion and rift.”

He added that “freedom loving people are misguided and confusion is created among them” in the name of shariah and martyrdom. “This is like serving the interests of the enemy,’’ he said.

Salahuddin said they have “credible reports that that Indian imperialist power is trying its last weapon’’. He claimed that they want to launch a Daesh like organisation in J&K with the help of paid agents.

“They want to spill blood and break mujahideen the way this so-called organisation (IS) spilled blood of Muslims in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Turkey and Afghanistan. Wherever you look, they (IS) have spilled blood of Muslims; they have served the interests of the imperialists.”

Salahuddin insisted that their movement is fully indigenous and has no global agenda. “Neither there is need nor space for any international organisation whether it is Daesh, al Qaeda or any other outfit,’’ he said. He asked the people to remain vigilant and to support militants fighting the “Indian rule”.

“I appeal the people of my nation, especially the youths, that they should remain vigilant of the conspiracies of India and keep their relations intact with organisation fighting against the Indian army. (They should) not become part of any global agenda,” he said.

Salahuddin said that they want to make is clear that their movement stands on three pillars: Islam, unity and freedom.

Separately, police sources said that they cannot authenticate veracity of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’s statement circulated through WhatsApp that claimed Musa to be its leader.

They added many of slain militant Burhan Wani’s associates have been killed while those alive are part of Hizbul Mujahideen except Musa, who enjoys support of around 10 militants in South Kashmir.

No space for Islamic State, al Qaeda, says Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin

Sikh – Jalandhar Court acquits Daljit Singh Bittu in a case registered under UAPA

Sikh24 Editors

Jalandhar, Panjab, 26 July 2017. Sikh activist Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu and a UK citizen Jaswant Singh Azad were today acquitted in a case registered against them in 2012 under sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Sharing the development with Sikh24, Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu’s legal counsel Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur informed that the Jalandhar police had registered an FIR No. 216/2012 under sections 10, 13, 17, 18-B, 20, 38, 39 & 40 of UAPA against UK citizen Jaswant Singh Azad in 2012.

He added that later Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu was also framed in this case.

Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur further said that the case was purely politically motivated and the Court found no evidence against the accused persons. He informed that such a case against Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu was also registered by the Ludhiana police in which he was later acquitted in May 2016.

He added that this was the last case among 33 cases registered against Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu by the state in which he has been acquitted now.

He stated that the UAPA (after amendments of 2008 & 2012) was proxy of infamous acts like TADA & POTA which is being used by the state and police suppress rebel voices.

In 1967, India had introduced its first “Black Law”, known as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which allowed the State to curtail the following rights of citizens who it deemed were not acting in the national interest:

– Freedom of speech, and expression
– Right to assemble peaceably, and without arms
– Right to form associations, or unions

The Congress Party introduced the UAPA at a time when the State of India was in turmoil. Indira Gandhi’s grip on power was under threat. India had only just emerged from wars with both China, and Pakistan, the economy was in crisis, the political system was in crisis, and the Congress Party itself was in crisis.

There were new strands of opposition emerging, and gaining in strength. The Congress Party could not see how to avoid their inevitable failure at the next election, so they created an atmosphere whereby, anyone who raised a voice was labelled as an enemy of the State, and then could be booked under the UAPA.

In 1985, the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) was introduced, and used to suppress anyone who raised a voice against the Indian State’s actions, specifically in Punjab which gave wide powers to law enforcement agencies for dealing with so called ‘terrorists’.

The Act was scrapped in 1995, but many Sikhs charged under the TADA still remain in prison today.

In 2002, India introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), and after strong opposition in 2004, the Indian parliament removed it. In 2004, the UAPA which still remains on the book of statutes, was given more bite. In 2008, and again in 2012, further amendments were made, which contain many of the provisions of POTA.

Each time such Acts are introduced, the Government gives assurances that there are in-built safeguards against abuse, but given India’s abysmal human rights record, their primary use is to target anyone who raises a legitimate voice against the activities of the police, or the endemic corruption of Indian society.

Den Haag: Hoefkade – Scheveningen Haven

10 July 2017

Tram 11 to Scheveningen
Tram 12 to Duindorp

Hoefkade – Tram 11 and 12

Hoefkade – Tram 12 to Duindorp

Scheveningen Haven – Tram 11 near its terminus

Scheveningen Haven – Terminus of Tram 11

Scheveningen Haven – Tram 11 to Leeghwaterplein

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The New Indian Express – Akal Takht rejects made-in-Italy kirpan for baptized* Sikhs

Harpreet Bajwa

Chandigarh, 28 July 2017. The Akal Takht, the highest temporal body of the Sikhs, on Thursday rejected the modified, non-lethal Kirpan (steel sword) manufactured in Italy meant to be carried by baptised Sikhs living in that country. It was presented for approval before the body a few days ago.

In a meeting held by five high priests at the Akal Takht in the Golden Temple complex, the religious leaders concluded that the modified Kirpan made of flexible metal does not adhere to the tenets of Sikh religion.

The production of a non-lethal Kirpan was necessitated after the Italian Supreme Court in May upheld the ban on the Kirpan which was imposed by the Italian government.

The court had observed that migrants must conform to the values of the society they had chosen to settle in. The modified Kirpan has a bending blade and is incapable of injuring anyone.

Sources said that Sukhdev Singh Kang, president of Indian Sikh community in Italy, along with representatives of the Italian company which manufactured this Kirpan, met Jathedar of Akal Takht Gurbachan Singh in June this year and handed him samples of various lengths.

The Italian government has already given its approval to manufacture these Kirpans and they wanted the approval of the Sikh clergy, so that the company could certify the modified Kirpans as safe.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in May this year had stated that it would approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and challenge the order of the Italian Supreme Court.

The SGPC had also taken up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to intervene in the matter and take it up with their Italian counterparts.

* Baptised is not the right term, initiated is closer and we call the initiated Sikhs Amritdharis.

The Sikh ‘migrants’ come from a tradition that has fought to uphold values like ‘Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood’, these are core European values and core Sikh values !
Man in blue

Dawn – Make-or-break verdict for Nawaz Sharif today

Nasir Iqbal

Islamabad, 28 July 2017. All eyes are on Courtroom No. 1 today (Friday), where a five-judge Supreme Court bench is set to announce the much-awaited verdict in the Panama Papers case, which will not only decide the fate of a thrice-elected prime minister, but is also likely to chart the country’s political future.

The bench that will announce the historic verdict will be headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, the same judge who had commenced his dissenting note in the April 20 judgement with a quote from Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather and declared Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ‘disqualified’ for not being honest to the nation.

The judge also had directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to issue a notification of the PM’s disqualification, an opinion that was endorsed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

But the majority judgement by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan had afforded the prime minister and his children another opportunity to explain their position before a specially constituted six-man Joint Inves­tigating Team (JIT).

Later, a three-judge bench consisting of the judges who handed down the majority verdict, become the implementation bench overseeing the working of the JIT. After going through the 10-volume JIT report, the bench closed proceedings on July 21.

Over the last few days, the entire country has been awaiting their verdict with bated breath. Gossip, speculation and rumours have been rife over when the final verdict will come and what conclusion the judges would arrive at. The most important question of all is whether the prime minister will be unseated or not.

On Thursday evening, the Supreme Court office put all speculation to rest when it issued a supplementary cause list, heralding the announcement of the judgement on Friday.

The verdict, however, will be announced by the larger bench in Courtroom No. 1 at 11:30am, even though the hearings were mainly held in the relatively smaller Courtroom No. 2.

Legal observers are of the view that the earlier minority judgement, sending the prime minister home, may become a majority view in case even one of the three majority judges rule against the prime minister.

Former Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir described this development as very “unusual and inappropriate”, saying that three judges had heard arguments on the JIT report, but the final judgement was being announced by five judges.

“It makes me sad to see that the rule of law, which was upheld after the reinstatement of the judiciary, is now being flaunted in front of my eyes,” she said, adding that judges must remember they are under oath to remain consistent and give judgements even if they are unpopular.

“I feel sorry for the judges, since this case is like an ‘Albatros’ left by former Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali,” she deplored, referring to the mythical creature that became the symbol of shame in Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

But when asked whether it was unusual for the five-judge bench, which already decided the Panama Papers case earlier, to sit in judgement again, Pakistan Bar Council Vice chairman Ahsan Bhoon brushed aside any impressions of impropriety.

Since whatever was announced in the April 20 judgement was an inconclusive order of the court and was signed by all five judges of the bench, the final verdict will also be announced by the same larger bench, he said.

Former additional attorney general Tariq Khokhar was of the view that the five-member bench was inexplicable and defied all past practice and precedent. “It could have been comprehended if this bench was constituted after the JIT report was filed, but now it does not make sense,” he said, adding that this was a crucially significant detail.

“The stance of at least two judges is on the record. They can only proceed further against the prime minister in the matter of perjury, forgery, concealment of facts and submission of false documents. They need just one more judge to turn the minority opinion into a majority view,” he said.

Speaking on a TV programme, Advocate Babar Sattar said the judgement that will be announced on Friday will be the first of its kind, since three judges had seen different material and heard different arguments after the JIT report was furnished, as compared with the other two judges.

Another senior lawyer, on condition of anonymity, told Dawn this was highly unusual and not normal. “The benches of the court usually dissolve after announcement of the judgment but this was an unusual case.”

To substantiate, he cited the famous US jurist and philosopher Ronald Myles Dworkin, who used to say: “Hard cases make bad law.”

“However, Friday’s decision will be a big decision,” he said.

The Statesman – Junaid lynching: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) notices to Railways, Haryana government, Director General of Police

New Delhi, 26 July 2017. The NHRC has issued notices to the Railways, and the Haryana government and its police chief over the killing of a Muslim youth on a train in Faridabad last month.

According to the order issued by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the notices have been sent to the chairman of the Railway Board, chief secretary of the Haryana government, and the Director General of Police of the state.

“The notices were sent a couple of days back,” a senior official of the rights panel said, on condition of anonymity.
The NHRC has sought a report from them in four weeks.

Seventeen-year-old Junaid was stabbed to death when he, along with his brothers, was returning home to Khandwali village after shopping for Eid in Delhi on June 22.

His body was dumped close to Asaoti village in Faridabad district.

Junaid’s brothers, Hashim and Sakir, were injured by a mob which allegedly also hurled communal slurs against them in Ballabgarh area of Faridabad, while they were travelling on a train from Delhi.

His brothers had claimed the attackers had taunted and repeatedly called them “anti-nationals” and “beef eaters”.

A reward of Rs two lakh had also been announced for information on the identities of those involved in the killing.

The Tribune – Sikh with kirpan told to ‘get off’ bus in New Zealand

Wellington, 26 July 2017. A Sikh man in New Zealand was asked to take off his kirpan and “get out” of a bus when a passenger called the police in panic after seeing the ceremonial knife, a media report said today.

The police boarded a busy commuter bus in Auckland yesterday after a passenger was seen carrying a ceremonial knife, traditionally worn by Sikhs.

“We looked out the window and we could see the police car behind us with sirens blaring and armed men all around us. One policeman stormed into the bus with a gun in his hand and said to the guy, ‘get your hands up so we can see them and get out of the bus’,” New Zealand Herald quoted a witness as saying.

The passenger, thought to be in his 20s, was wearing a turban and had a long, curved “sword-like” kirpan strapped behind his back on the left side, which the police removed, said the witness.

A police spokeswoman said officers were called after a member of the public reported seeing a kirpan.

She said the armed offenders’ squad was not sent and the officers were not armed.

“The police spoke with the man, who is a Sikh. He was in possession of a ceremonial kirpan, which is customary for Sikhs. The man, who is lawfully living in New Zealand, was polite and cooperative and no further action was taken,” the report said.

The spokeswoman said the ceremonial kirpan was not confiscated.

Den Haag: Hobbemaplein and Hoefkade

09 July 2017

HTM Tram 6 to Leidschendam Noord

Tram 11 to Leeghwaterplein

Tram 11 to Leeghwaterplein
Tram 12 to Duindorp

Tram 12 to Duindorp

Tram 12 to Duindorp

10 July 2017

Tram 12 to Den Haag Centraal

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

NDTV – Sikh-Americans propose to entitle women to sing at Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple)

Sikhs urgently need to end all forms of discrimination against women in all Gurdwaras
Man in Blue

About 120 young Sikhs between the age group of seven and 17 gathered in a Maryland suburb of Washington and raised the question of why Sikh women are not performing kirtan at Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple).

Washington, 26 July 2017. Sikh-Americans have proposed that women should be allowed to sing shabads or hymns at the Golden Temple (Darbar Sahib) to recognise the important role played by them in strengthening the Sikh faith.

About 120 young Sikhs between the age group of seven and 17 from across the United States and Canada, gathered in a Maryland suburb of Washington, raised the question of why Sikh women are not performing kirtan at Darbar Sahib

“It is clear from the many other historical references that Sikh women were crucial to the success of the 5th largest religion and it is extremely important that we give them their deserving role in Sikh affairs, especially being able to sing shabads or hymns at the very heart of Sikhism, in Darbar Sahib, the Golden Temple,” Rajwant Singh, one of the Sikh Americans who taught the campers said.

The Sikh youth camp was organised by the Washington-based Guru Gobind Singh Foundation.

“This Panth would not be where it is today without the actions of Sikh women, so we should recognise their contributions,” said Sehejneet Kaur, one of the counselors who is pursuing dentistry.

The Hindu – What we know on the 39 Indians missing from Mosul

In the second week of June 2014, Indian officials in Baghdad said they had lost contact with 40 construction labourers, many of them from Punjab, who had been working on a government construction project in Mosul.

The Hindu Net Desk, 26 July 2017. The whereabouts of 39 Indians who were working in the war-torn Iraqi city Mosul have been unknown for three years now.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, saying that “It is a sin to declare a person dead without concrete evidence. I will not do this sin”. Ms. Swaraj’s statement comes two days after she spoke to Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari on the issue.

Here is the lowdown:

What happened?

Thousands of Indians living in Iraq fled the country during 2014 as the Islamic State advanced.

In the second week of June 2014, Indian officials in Baghdad said they had lost contact with 40 construction labourers, many of them from Punjab, who had been working on a government construction project in Mosul. They believed the Indians were abducted by the IS.

The Indian Embassy and the external affairs ministry have been using various diplomatic channels to establish contact with the abductors as well as the abductees. They are also in touch with the families of the abductees.

But the government has never been in direct negotiation over the release of the men and has not confirmed if they have any concrete evidence they are alive.

The return of an abductee

A few days after the abduction, IS released about 55 Bangladeshi workers. One Indian, Harjit Masih, managed to flee making use of this opportunity. Masih claimed all the 39 men, barring him, were executed by the terrorists shortly after they were captured.

However, the government is not willing to buy Masih’s claim. Ms. Swaraj said she has “six other sources” telling her that the Indians are still alive.

The ‘proof

In early July, Ms Swaraj said her junior minister, General (Retd.) V K Singh, during his recent visit to Iraq, got information that the abducted Indians were at the Badush prison in Iraq.

Quoting intelligence inputs, the Minister said the Indians were made to work in farms by the IS. They were captured and later lodged in Badush prison. “This was the last time we heard about them,” Ms. Swaraj said.

But when the offensive between Iraqi forces and Islamic State reached its peak last month, the Badush prison was completely destroyed. The Iraq government has declared that the prison has no inmates.

During his visit to India, Mr al-Jafari said his country was not sure if the Indians “are dead or alive”. “We are also concerned… we are doing our best,” he said. The Islamic State has so far not claimed any responsibility for the abduction, nor have they claimed to have killed the Indians.

Are they alive?

Unfortunately, there is no certain answer to this question. As Ms. Swaraj mentioned in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, no credible evidence such as blood spillage, bodies or DNA samples to prove that the Indians are indeed dead. The External Affairs Ministry has classified them as “missing persons” and continues its search efforts.