The Hindustan Times – China’s geopolitical strategy cannot be countered by PR-driven media strategy: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi also tagged a report by NDTV that suggested a renewed threat from China in Doklam by accessing new satellite images

Edited by Zara Khan

New Delhi – India, 23 November 2020. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked the government following reports of renewed threat from China in Doklam.

“China’s geopolitical strategy cannot be countered by a PR driven media strategy. This simple fact seems to elude the minds of those running GOI [Government of India],” he tweeted.

Gandhi continues to attack the government over the border stand-off with China, despite rumblings in the Congress following the setback in the Bihar assembly elections and bypolls to 58 seats in 11 states.

Gandhi also tagged a report by NDTV that suggested a renewed threat from China in Doklam by accessing new satellite images.

On Sunday, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad attacked his party over the “five-star culture”.

“Elections are not won by adopting a five-star culture and party office-bearers should be elected,” said Azad, one of the 23 leaders who had signed a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanding major changes in the party’s functioning.

He also said the general impression is that there is no president of the party.

Senior leader Salman Khurshid, though, rejected any perception of a leadership crisis in the Congress and said all-round support for Sonia and Rahul Gandhi is “apparent to anyone who is not blind”.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/china-s-geopolitical-strategy-cannot-be-countered-by-pr-driven-media-strategy-rahul-gandhi/story-lTXIfFHIgiBjqE5M8IyrML.html

Sikh24.com – Pakistan Based Maulana Rizvi Who Opposed Kartarpur Corridor and Used Hate Speech Against Sikhs Passes away

Sikh24.com

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 20 November 2020. Pakistan based Muslim preacher Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who used to spew venom against Sikhs and the Sikh Gurus, passed away on 19 November.

He passed away in his madrassah situated on Multan Road in Lahore.

Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi was 54 years old and is survived by his wife, two sons, and three daughters.

As per the available information, Rizvi had a fever and was facing problems in breathing for the last few days.

In 2019, Rizvi had openly opposed the construction of Kartarpur corridor in a highly disrespectful manner while objectionable words like “Kafar di Marhi” for the historic Sikh shrine Sri Kartarpur Sahib.

He had also accused the Sikh king Maharaja Ranjit Singh of committing atrocities on Muslims during his regime and destroying mosques.

Stuff.co.nz – Christchurch Sikhs offer the chance to try on a turban and learn about faith

Christchurch – New Zealand, 22 November 2020. Central Christchurch came to colourful life on Saturday as local Sikhs offered passers-by the chance to wear a turban and learn about their religion.

Bir Inder Singh said he helped six or seven people try on a turban for the first time on Saturday afternoon in Cathedral Square.

Canterbury Turban Day is part of a global movement where Sikhs teach people about their faith and help them put on the cloth headwear.

“People were really interested to know what was happening and learn about the turban,’’ said Singh.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/123473017/christchurch-sikhs-offer-the-chance-to-try-on-a-turban-and-learn-about-faith

FirstPost – Violence breaks out over Bru resettlement: A look at why anger over the dispute in Tripura has resurfaced

The violence threatens to reignite the Bru community’s internal displacement crisis, which seemed to be heading towards a resolution.

First Post Staff

Tripura – Mizoram, 23 November 2020. Protests against the planned resettlement of thousands of Bru migrants in North Tripura turned violent on Saturday, after which two people died in police firing.

This comes about 11 months after an agreement was signed between Mizoram and Tripura to allow the Bru community members to settle in the latter state if they wish to.

The violence threatens to reignite the internal displacement crisis which seemed to be heading towards a resolution.

Recent protests

Although the agreement on the rehabilitation of the Bru community was signed in January, it caused resentment among Bengalis and Mizos in Tripura.

The Bengali and Mizo communities claim that settling thousands of migrants permanently at Kanchanpur sub-division of North Tripura, as per the existing proposal, would lead to a demographic imbalance, exert pressure on local resources and could also lead to law and order problems.

In response to the planned resettlement, a Joint Movement Committee (JMC), which demands that not more than 1,500 Bru families should be allowed to settle at Kanchanpur, has been formed.

The JMC consists of the Mizo Convention, a local ethnic organisation, and the Nagarik Suraksha Mancha, a newly-formed organisation, according to The Indian Express.

Another point of contention has been the resettlement of 650 Bengali families from around Kanchanpur and 81 Mizo families from Jampui Hill range, who fled allegedly due to atrocities perpetrated by Brus.

On 18 November, a man was seriously injured at Laxmipur village in an alleged attack from a Bru refugee, NDTV quoted sources as saying. On the next day, the JMC called an indefinite shutdown in the Kanchanpur subdivision over the issue.

On 22 November, trouble started when a contingent of police and paramilitary, including Tripura State Rifles (TSR), was involved in a scuffle with JMC activists following an altercation over withdrawal of the road blockade, PTI reported.

JMC convenor Sushanta Baruah alleged that police personnel had opened fire on the protestors “who were demonstrating peacefully” while ADG Rajiv Singh said the police was compelled to fire in self defence since the crowd had turned unruly and tried to snatch weapons from the security personnel.

Two people died in the firing, a 43-year-old carpenter named Srikanta Das and a fire service personnel named Biswajit Debbarma.

Historical background of dispute

The Bru issue had started in September 1997 following demands of a separate autonomous district council by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura.

About 30,000 Bru tribals had then fled Mizoram due to the ethnic tension there and took shelter in refugee camps in Tripura.

The first attempt to repatriate the Brus was made in November 2009 by the Centre along with the governments of Tripura and Mizoram.

However, the effort had met with little success. A quadripartite accord was signed among the Union Home Ministry, state governments of Mizoram and Tripura and leaders of Bru refugees in January this year to permanently settle Bru evacuees in Tripura.

According to the agreement, members of the Bru community could choose to either live in Tripura or return to Mizoram.

However, those who returned to Mizoram cannot come back to live in Tripura.

Further, each resettled family is to get 0.03 acre (1.5 ganda) of land for building a home, Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance, and Rs 4 lakh as a one-time cash benefit for sustenance, according to The Indian Express.

The Centre has also sanctioned Rs 600 crore as rehabilitation package for the displaced Brus as a final solution to the 23-year-old imbroglio.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/violence-breaks-out-over-bru-resettlement-a-look-at-why-anger-over-the-dispute-in-tripura-has-resurfaced-9043771.html

The News – Punjab government to refuse PDM permission to hold jalsas in Lahore – Multan

The Punjab government has decided that it will not allow the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to hold public rallies in Lahore and Multan, adding that it will issue a written notification for the purpose.

Sources told Geo News, a government spokesperson said that the decision has been taken in view of the growing number of reported COVID-19 positive cases in both the cities because of which banning public gatherings has become necessary.

“All relevant agencies and institutions have unanimously agreed to the decision,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying by sources, adding that the provincial government will take legal action against those who violate the orders and hold rallies without the explicit permission of the government.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan also warned that Pakistan will be compelled to go into a complete lockdown if the coronavirus cases continue to surge across the country at the same rate, adding that the PDM will be held responsible for the consequences.

Taking to his Twitter account, the PM blamed the PDM for “deliberately endangering lives and livelihoods” by holding jalsas across the country despite the looming threat of the potentially deadly disease.

“Opposition is callously destroying people’s lives & livelihoods in their desperation to get an NRO. Let me make it clear: they can hold a million jalsas but will not get any NRO,” he tweeted.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/747450-pdm-will-not-be-allowed-to-hold-jalsas-in-punjab-provincial-goverment-says

The Tribune – More experiments needed for straw management: Officials

Fatehgarh Sahib – Panjab – India, 22 November 2020. The Agriculture Department is experimenting with Pusa-decomposer sent by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Delhi, but the results are not satisfactory, so more experiments will be done to help farmers in proper management of straw.

This was stated by Anirudh Tewari, Additional Chief Secretary Department of Agriculture and Dr Rajesh Vashisht, Director Agriculture, while talking to mediapersons here today.

Punjab Agricultural University was also developing a de-composer and it was being tested on an experimental basis at three places in the district, but more improvement needed to be done to reach a conclusion, they said.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/more-experiments-needed-for-straw-mgmt-officials-174466

The Georgia Straight – Gurpreet Singh: The Khalistan Conspiracy offers rich insights into the role of India’s Congress party in massacres of Sikhs

However, author G B S Sidhu papers over the impact of goons who supported the BJP

Authored by a former Indian spy, a new book called The Khalistan Conspiracy tells how the ruling Congress party of India engineered a pogrom against the minority Sikh community during November 1984.

Thousands of innocent Sikhs were slaughtered across India by mobs led by party activists following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. They were seeking revenge for the military invasion of their holiest shrine in Amritsar in June of that year.

The ill-conceived army operation left many pilgrims dead and enraged Sikhs worldwide. And it was avoidable, according to the author G B S Sidhu, a former Sikh officer in India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) intelligence agency.

He explains in detail how the attack was planned and executed to suppress the Sikhs’ struggle for the right to self-determination and autonomy in their home state of Punjab.

Sidhu points out that it polarized the Hindu majority to enable the so-called secularist Congress party to win the subsequent general election.

He gives first-hand information of how Indira Gandhi’s son Rajiv Gandhi, who succeeded her as the next prime minister, and his close associates were directly involved in the Sikh massacre that helped him gain a brute majority in that election.

Significantly, Sidhu puts it on record how the police force in the national capital of New Delhi was helping the mobs going after Sikhs, and he himself had to briefly take refuge in a Hindu colleague’s house.

This memoir is important to read to see how the repression of Sikhs strengthened the movement for a separate Sikh state of Khalistan, rather than blaming Sikh activists in places like Canada alone for instigating violence and bloodshed in Punjab.

Sidhu helps us understand that Khalistan was never a popular demand. The Congress leadership deliberately wanted to discredit and weaken a genuine Sikh movement in Punjab for more autonomy and several religious concessions in the state by “othering” Sikhs to gain the sympathy of Hindu voters.

Its calculation failed completely as the extremist elements whom they wished to prop up against moderate Sikh leaders spun out of control and Punjab was pushed into turmoil during a decade-long militancy.

He rightly observes that neighbouring Pakistan took advantage of this domestic crisis for which the blame lies squarely with the Congress party. He warns that if India fails to bring a closure to 1984, supporters of Pakistan and Khalistan outside India will continue to advance their agenda.

However, Sidhu has conveniently overlooked the influence of the current ruling right-wing Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Supporters of Modi’s Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) also participated in the Sikh massacre, that is well documented. So much so, Modi’s government gave Bharat Ratna, a highest civilian award to the late Nanaji Deshmukh, a Hindu supremacist leader who had justified the violence against Sikhs.

Yet that part is missing in the book. Sidhu is silent about it.

On the contrary, he tries to paint a rosy picture of Modi government by claiming that is has removed the names of Sikh expatriates from a blacklist. This had been prepared by the previous Congress government to deny entry to those who had been raising voices against state repression abroad and creating an environment for reinvestigating the massacre of 1984.

How could he gloss over all this, especially when attacks on religious minorities, especially Muslims, have grown under Modi? It is pertinent to mention that Modi oversaw a repeat of what happened in 1984 in 2002. That’s when he was chief minister of Gujarat when it experienced a Muslim genocide.

This came after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire leaving more than 50 people dead. Although one commission of inquiry found that it was an accident, Modi blamed it on Muslims and incited violence against them.

For this, he was denied visa by the U.S. and other western countries because until he became the prime minister in 2014.

Even in 2019, Modi’s supporters targeted Kashmiri Muslims across India, following a militant attack that left forty soldiers dead in Kashmir.

Interestingly, Sidhu, who claims to be an authority on Sikh history, does not take pains to look into the BJP agenda of assimilating Sikhs into the dominant Hindu society, which is a great source of worry among the Sikhs and has been at the root of the conflict between the community and the Indian establishment.

It is not surprising to see how this anxiety has grown under Modi, who remains highly unpopular among Sikhs in spite of an opportunistic political alliance between BJP and Akali Dal, the party that claims to represent the Sikh interests in Punjab.

Gurpreet Singh is cofounder of Radical Desi magazine and Indians Abroad for Pluralist India. The Georgia Straight publishes opinions like this from the community to encourage constructive debate on important issues.

https://www.straight.com/news/gurpreet-singh-khalistan-conspiracy-offers-rich-insights-into-role-of-indias-congress-party-in

Dawn – Imran-Nawaz battle puts UK in tight spot

Atika Rehman

London – UK, 22 November 2020. The United Kingdom government is faced with a difficult choice as it plays sheriff in the battle between Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif: should it side with an incumbent prime minister who is desperate to secure deportation orders for a former premier whose party is one of the largest political forces in Pakistan?

Senior officials in Pakistan are using both diplomatic and non-diplomatic avenues to convey their demand to British authorities that Nawaz be sent back.

A highly placed source in the UK, who is not authorised to speak on this matter, told Dawn that a top Pakistani official met his British counterpart in October to convey that Nawaz is “no longer a soft issue” between the UK and Pakistan and a failure to deport him could result in strained ties between the countries.

It is unclear how the message was received by Downing Street and the Home Office, where the case for Nawaz’s leave to remain will be decided.

Top government officials, too, are urging the UK to take action on this issue.

Prime Minister Imran Khan last month said he would contact British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss his deportation and his accountability adviser Shahzad Akbar wrote a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel on October 5 urging her to deport the former prime minister whom he said is “responsible for pillaging the state”.

All eyes on British Home Office

Separately, there are reports that the Pakistan government has denied flights carrying deportees from the UK allegedly because of the lack of success on the Nawaz issue.

Akbar denied this and told a newspaper the government is seeking the deportation of ex-PM “on principle” but it is not linked to any other bilateral issue between the two countries.

For the UK government, one option could be to grant a limited period to Nawaz to remain legally in the UK, which appears to be the singular way it can avoid offending both Nawaz and the current Pakistani regime.

This would give the PML-N leader a chance to challenge the Home Office decision and also consider alternative options.

Since 2015, the Home Office has been able to inform someone they are liable to removal, and then remove that person at any given point during a three-month removal window.

While the government of Pakistan is using the word “deportation”, it is unlikely the Home Office will take such an extreme step.

Deportation is the enforced removal of someone who has either overstayed their leave or where the Home Office finds their removal is “for the public good”, which can include an individual who has a criminal conviction in the UK or overseas.

Deportation is an extreme step, as it means being forced to leave the UK and being unable to return for at least 10 years.

In Nawaz’s case, the government of Pakistan is hoping to persuade UK authorities to bring about a “forced removal”, sometimes called “administrative removal”, a scenario in which the Home Office enforces an individual’s removal from the UK if they don’t have leave to remain i.e. if their application has been declined or if their leave to remain has expired.

There is no doubt that the Nawaz case has put the UK government in a tight spot.

As it considers the Pakistan government’s demand, it is also aware of the context in which Nawaz was granted leave as well as the political environment that exists in Pakistan.

Here, public statements such as those made by PM Khan in DC in July 2019 when he vowed to “remove the air conditioner from Nawaz’s jail cell” may be used to undermine the veracity of the government’s corruption case against him.

Most recently, Khan told a charged crowd: “You [Sharif] will be kept in a regular jail, not a VIP jail,

You come back and I’ll see how we keep you”, another statement which may be brought to the attention of the Home Office to build a case for political persecution.

It is also important to note that Nawaz has been booked in a sedition case that carries the death penalty.

International law places obligations on the UK when deporting individuals to countries where they may face a real risk of torture.

A source in the PML-N indicated an appeal would be a serious possibility if Nawaz’s leave to remain is denied. “If visa extension is refused, he has a right to appeal [review].

We will appeal because of his health and comorbidities. If God forbid he is exposed to Covid this could be fatal. If the authorities in Pakistan are doing this to shut him [Nawaz] up, we will not hold back.”

While the Nawaz case is exceptional in that it involves a major political personality, one reality is that it has come to the Home Office at a time when it is under fire at home for being a haven for foreign nationals accused of corruption.

Journalists and rights groups in the last few years have criticised the policies of the British government, which they say has made the UK “a safe haven for corrupt wealth”.

Transparency International had called for the British government to launch an investigation into Nawaz’s London properties in 2018 when he was convicted in the Avenfield case and subsequently sentenced for 10 years.

UK-based lawyer and immigration law expert Mohammad Amjad said the Home Secretary “certainly has the power to deport Nawaz Sharif”, however the question of whether Ms Patel will use that power boils down to political will.

“The core issue is whether or not there is the political will [in the Home Office] to utilize that power,” he said while speaking to Dawn. “The UK government will do what they feel is appropriate according to their own interests.

If it doesn’t serve their interests to keep him in the UK, they may act on the Pakistan government’s request.”

He added that while the UK has deported foreign nationals with criminal records in the past, he was not aware of the UK government using its removal powers against a significant politician.

Asked if there is a parallel here with the Altaf Hussain case, in which some believe the UK government had a soft approach owing to political interests, Amjad said: “I think the Altaf Hussain issue is different as he was a citizen, although there are now powers in place to strip even a UK citizen off his nationality.

The question really boils down to this: Does the UK think he [Nawaz] is still a horse in the race?”

While the Pakistan government is consulting a handful of lawyers on this issue, the son of Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, told Dawn that his father was legally represented by “one of the best firms in London, which includes the best barristers and solicitors”.

“Whatever happens, we have faith that the British government will do the fair thing,” he said, without offering further details on the matter.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1591665/imran-nawaz-battle-puts-uk-in-tight-spot

The Statesman – As long as we are here – there’ll be no CAA – no NRC in West Bengal: TMC MP Mahua Moitra

Mahua Moitra’s remark came after BJP MP Shantanu Thakur urged the Central Government to implement the CAA as soon as possible in West Bengal.

Kolkata – West Bengal – India, 20 November 2020. Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra has asserted that as long as the Mamata Banerjee’s party was in power, there would be no CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) in West Bengal.

Moitra’s remark came after BJP MP and joint president of All India Matua Mahasangh, Shantanu Thakur, urged the Central Government to implement the CAA as soon as possible.

“We are not here to respond to what those uneducated and liars of BJP said. We are clearly stating that as long as we are in India, no one will have to prove citizenship in West Bengal,” Moitra was seen speaking on ABP Ananda.

Om Thursday, Shantanu Thakur, the Bongaon lawmaker, held a meeting with his brother Subrata Thakur in Nadia’s Bogula to reiterate their demand of materialising the CAA as soon as possible.

Shantanu had written a letter to Union Home Minister of India, Amit Shah, and BJP National President, JP Nadda, asking for the same in November this year.

“We had taken up the issue with the government before… Now we are again contacting the Prime Minister’s Office,” said Santanu Thakur, the BJP MP of Bongaon as quoted by The Telegraph.

Majority of the Matua populace, a Namashudra (Hindu Dalit) community in Bengal who worship the Thakur family as their guardians, are believed to have migrated from Bangladesh, erstwhile East Pakistan, during and after the partition.

Even though the Thakur family had come to India in 1946, the majority of Matuas crossed the border “illegally” after 1971 when Bangladesh was liberated from Pakistan.

While most of the Matuas have enrolled their name on the voter’s list, the 2003 edition of the NRC (National Register of Citizens) tagged them as refugees and infiltrators.

They continue to vote. But there have been reports of Matuas being denied caste certificates and passports, with the community alleging that the voter cards did not guarantee them citizenship anymore.

As a result, the controversial CAA, which has made it easier for non-Muslims victims of religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan to get Indian citizenship, was welcomed with much joy by Matuas. The roll-out of the Act would mean permanent citizenship for all them.

“The people from Matua community are asking me when it will be implemented and they will get their citizenship. I have no answers. The Matua community has been fighting for their rights for the last 70 years, The Matuas are running out of patience,” Shantanu Thakur had said before writing his letter to Shah and Nadda.

“Matuas are already the citizens of India. Why are they being fooled to believe that they would be sent to Bangladesh,” Mahua Moitra, TMC MP Krishnanagar, said.

Sikh24.com – Modi regime is EVM government – not democratic: Akal Takht Sahib

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 20 November 2020. Amid the row over electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly getting hacked by BJP to manage poll results in India, the Akal Takht Sahib’s SGPC-appointed acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh said Modi regime is EVM government, not democratic in view of which the Sikh must be conscious.

While addressing the function organized by the SGPC to mark its 100th foundation day at Manji Sahib Diwan Hall in Sri Harmandar Sahib complex, he said, “Once again the government in India is not democratic.

This is the EVM (electronic voting machine) government. The government formed by EVMs is not democratic. Don’t know till how long it will remain with the help of EVMs.

So, the Sikhs need to unite and bury all kinds of differences. If we don’t unite, this government will destroy us completely”.

The BJP ruling at the Centre is facing allegations after the poll result of Bihar assembly, in which the saffron party turned victorious. Counting of votes for the Bihar elections took unusually long by today’s standards.

During the paper ballot era, the Election Commission (EC) would take up to 48 hours to announce results. But since the introduction of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the early 2000s, results have started coming in the same day.

The jathedar encouraged Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) to further strengthen their Panthik base in Punjab.

Moreover, he cautioned the opponents of the SGPC for having their relevant queries in a more civilized and disciplined manner.

Giani Harpreet Singh said the SGPC was today facing the same challenges like it did in 1984. He said the then Congress government wanted to break the SGPC but a vigilant President, Gurcharan Singh Tohra did not let this conspiracy succeed.

He said the Centre wanted to break the SGPC and run all Gurdwaras by forming Trusts controlled by it on the pattern of Temples because the SGPC was a State in State.

“The Indian State does not like this independent nature”, he said.

Making a strong pitch for the need to ensure and safeguard “security, equality and dignity” of the minority communities, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) president Sukhbir Badal called for more concrete and credible steps to stop insecurity and alienation in the minds of the minorities.

On this occasion of centenary celebrations of the SGPC, eleven resolutions were passed by the congregation.

Notably, it was declared on the occasion that Badal’s wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal will be entitled with ‘daughter of Punjab’ on the 100th foundation day of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), to be celebrated on 15 December.