The Statesman – Man attacked, house set on fire in Jharkhand after cow found dead outside

New Delhi. 28 June 2017. A man was severely beaten up and his house was set on fire by a mob on Tuesday after a dead cow was allegedly found outside his place in Jharkhand’s Giridih district.

A frenzy mob attacked the dairy owner Usman Ansari and his house was set on fire after some people spotted a dead cow outside his house.

The police immediately rushed to the site and Ansari was taken to a nearby hospital. “Our men braved the crowd and immediately rescued Ansari and his family members.

When the police tried to take him to hospital, there was resistance from the crowd. There was heavy stone-pelting. We had to open fire in the air,” Jharkhand police spokesperson and ADG (Operations) RK Mullik said.

“About 50 policemen were also injured in the stone pelting,” Mullik added.

Heavy security has been deployed in the village, which is around 200km from Ranchi, to maintain the law and order.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/man-attacked-house-set-on-fire-in-jharkhand-after-cow-found-dead-outside-1498637451.html

The Tribune – State attempt to bypass SC liquor ban challenged

It is pleaded that the state has shown a ‘narrow pedantic approach’ for the sake of revenue

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 28 June 2017. Just about a week after Punjab came out with an amendment Bill to permit the supply of liquor at hotels, restaurants, clubs and other notified places, a Vacation Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today put the state on notice.

The Bench of Justice Anita Chaudhry and Justice Harminder Singh Madaan also issued notice regarding stay on the petition filed by NGO Arrive Safe Society through its president Harman Singh Sidhu.

The Bench fixed July 24 as the next date of hearing for the state and other respondents to respond to the averments raised. Sidhu contended that the Supreme Court had directed all states and union territories to forthwith cease and desist from granting licences for the sale of liquor along national and state highways.

It directed: “No shop for the sale of liquor shall be visible from a national or state highway; directly accessible from a national or state highway and situated within a distance of 500 metres of the outer edge of the national or state highway or of a service lane along the highway.”

But the state brought the “impugned” amendment to the Punjab Excise Act to dodge the orders. He added that the state government, instead of recognising the Supreme Court’s concern in trying to remedy the mischief of drunken driving from the highway, has shown a “narrow pedantic approach just for the sake of revenue”.

Sidhu argued liquor vends camouflaged as a restaurant, hotel or club would be found everywhere along the highways without any consideration for public health, public morality, and public peace, if the impugned amendment was allowed to operate. It would resultantly lead to traffic chaos, health hazard and frequent road accidents.

He added that the amendment was “nothing short of a political response with an ulterior motive to dismantle the foundation of the verdict given by the Supreme Court”.

Dubbing the term “notified place” as “vague”, he submitted that the expression would definitely be misused to mean “tavern” and the Supreme Court judgment in national interest would be diluted.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/state-attempt-to-bypass-sc-liquor-ban-challenged/428992.html

Sint-Truiden – Halmaal Gurdwara – Leuven

Gurdwara
31 May 2017

Gurdwara visit – OKAN group

Gurdwara visit – OKAN group

Gurdwara Sangat Sahib
Halmaal Dorp 20
B-3800 Sint-Truiden

Sint-Truiden
De Lijn Bus station
31 May 2017

Bus 30 to Herk de Stad – Bus 23 to Budingen

Bus 42 to Landen via Gingelom – Bus 30 to Herk de Stad
I took the bus to Tongeren and from there a bus to Leuven

Leuven
31 May 2017

Jaartallenpad

Hambrugpad

To see all my pictures:

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

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Dawn – India stops over 300 Sikh pilgrims from visiting Pakistan

Lahore, 29 June 2017. The Indian government on Wednesday stopped over 300 Sikh pilgrims, who were due to attend the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, from crossing over to Pakistan, citing refusal by the External Affairs Ministry to clear their names.

The pilgrims, who had reached Atari early in the morning, a bordering railway station from where they are picked up by the Pakistan Railways, protested against the Indian government and some violence was also reported.

Chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Siddiqul Farooq kept trying for six hours talking to the Indian embassy in Pakistan but in vain. Frustrated, he held a press conference in the afternoon to allege “fundamentalism is creeping into Indian state institutions”.

The Indian government has refused pilgrims a second time in June alone. On June 8, it disallowed over 200 visitors for Shaheedi Jor Mela, celebrations for the fifth Guru of the Sikh religion. After some hectic efforts, only 14 were allowed to cross the border on foot.

“Given the stubbornness of the Indian government, the fear now is about November when birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak are due,” says an ETPB official. That is the holiest pilgrimage for the Sikh community and a big event for Pakistan. In all probability, those celebrations were in danger, at least for the Indian Sikh community, he feared.

ETPB chairman Siddiqul Farooq said: “While Pakistan is routinely accused of fundamentalism, none of its state organ has acted in such a manner. By stopping the yatrees, the Indian ministry has also violated the UN charter, which forbids a decision hurting religious feeling. This visit was purely religious and should not have been hampered.”

Tara Singh, head of the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, was present at the press conference.

Mr Farooq said Pakistan had gone the extra mile in facilitating the visitors. “Though the agreement binds the visitors to apply for a visa at least 45 days before the visit, applications that arrived only five days before the visit were entertained.

The Pakistan High Commission issued over 300 visas and the ETPB held meetings with 34 departments to finalise arrangements for the visit. The Indian side kept us and pilgrims waiting for more than six hours. But all ended up in vain,” he regretted.

“The entire staff of the board was at the border to receive them. I myself travelled from Islamabad to Lahore to welcome the yatrees. A train from Pakistan Railways was waiting at the Zero Line to fetch the visitors.

The situation unfolded only when the pilgrims were stopped and the Pakistani side tried to find a way out. I have never travelled abroad in the last three years, but now I plan to go to India and try to convince people concerned there.

On its part, Pakistan has also inducted four Yatra promoters from the private sector to facilitate visitors from all over the world,” he concluded.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1342012/india-stops-over-300-sikh-pilgrims-from-visiting-pakistan

The Hindu – China may be giving a diplomatic message via tri-junction

Dinakar Peri and Josy Joseph

New Delhi, 29 June 2017. The Army chief is expected to visit Sikkim as early as Thursday to review the tense standoff between Indian and Chinese troops, even as military officers said that such standoffs were not unprecedented.

Army sources said General Bipin Rawat could visit Sikkim at the earliest to review the situation where standoff between troops of both sides is believed to be continuing.

According to reliable sources, Indian Army troops objected to the Chinese soldiers carrying out construction on a road stretch through the disputed Dolam Plateau (Donglang or Doklam), triggering the confrontation. In response, Chinese authorities denied entry to pilgrims for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via the Nathua La pass.

In a rebuff, Bhutan refutes China’s claims on Doko La road construction

Former Army chief General Shankar Roychowdhury told The Hindu that such incidents were not new and date back to 1967 when the first such clash took place at Nathu La between Indian and Chinese troops.

“This is a flashpoint. These take place from time to time,” General Roychowdhury said. However, he said the question to ask is why are such incidents taking place with such frequency.

“Is it because our Prime Minister is perceived to be too close to the USA or is it to assist its best ally Pakistan? Or is it a combination of all these factors plus history. Add to that is the fact they have turned the pilgrims away.”

Keeping India engaged

A recently retired Army officer who has served on the Sikkim border with China said he too believed that the timing of the Chinese action, not just in provoking a border standoff but to send back Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrims, was a diplomatic message to coincide with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the USA.

Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal, Distinguished Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses said these incidents were a continuum of maintaining stability at a strategic level while “keeping India engaged at the tactical level through political, diplomatic and military means.” He said the standoff would take sometime but would be resolved.

‘China used bulldozer to remove Indian bunker in Sikkim section of border’

“It could be said to be Chinese manifestation of the choices India has made in the recent past,” he said in the context of the recent disputes between the two countries and the timing of the incident.

Army sources pointed out that the standoff at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction was not unprecedented. “It is almost an annual affair,” one officer who had served there said.

“The Chinese believe that the Dolam Plateau belongs to them, and have been constructing a road through the disputed area to Bhutan for a long time,” he pointed out.

And the present standoff must also be seen against recent diplomatic unease between the two sides, including India’s stand on the Belt and Road Initiative.

Border on the boil

There were repeated skirmishes on the Indo-China border ever since the 1962 war

September 1967: Chinese troops fired at Indian posts close to Nathu La and Indian Army retaliated with full force. Both sides suffered casualties with China significantly higher. A ceasefire was declared later.

June 1986: Indian Army launched exercise Chequerboard after China amassed thousands of troops in the Thandrong pasture on the banks of the Somdurong Chu (river). The situation was diffused diplomatically by August 1987.

November 2008: Chinese troops destroyed makeshift Indian army bunkers at Doko La near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction.

April 2013: Chinese troops intruded in Daulat Beg Oldi in Eastern Ladakh and set up camps in Depsang valley. These came ahead of Premier Li Keqiang’s India visit.

August 2014: Chinese troops enter 25 to 30 km deep into Indian territory in Burtse area in Ladakh and pitched their tents and the standoff continued for three weeks.

September 2014: About 1,000 troops intruded 3 km inside Chumar in Eastern Ladakh. The incident lasted for a week and coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India.

March 2016: A platoon of PLA soldiers came about 5.5 km inside the Indian territory near Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh. Incident resolved in a few hours.

June 2017: China removed an old bunker of the Indian Army located at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan in Sikkim by using a bulldozer after the Indian side refused to accede to its request to dismantle it.

Beijing’s stance

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang touched upon a slew off issues while addressing the media in Beijing Donglang’s status

‘Donglang is part of China’s territory. This is indisputable. The Donglang area belonged to China since ancient times and it doesn’t belong to Bhutan’.

Road project

‘Chinese construction of the road project is legitimate and normal action on its territory. No other country has the right to interfere’

Kailash-Mansarovar yatra

‘The suspension of the same is an emergency response to the situation there. I want to stress that the resumption of pilgrims pass requires necessary atmosphere and conditions’

Bhutan’s sovereignty

‘If any third party, out of hidden agenda, interferes it is disrespect of the sovereignty of Bhutan. We don’t want to see this as Bhutan is a country entitled to sovereignty by the international community’.

Pakistan’s efforts

‘China thinks that the international cooperation against terrorism should be enhanced and stepped up. The international community should give full recognition and affirmation to Pakistan’s efforts in this regard’

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/china-may-be-giving-a-diplomatic-message-via-tri-junction/article19165883.ece?homepage=true

BBC News – Why are Indian women wearing cow masks?

Geeta Pandey

New Delhi, 28 June 2017. A photography project which shows women wearing a cow mask and asks the politically explosive question, whether women are less important than cattle in India, has gone viral in the country and earned its 23-year-old photographer the ire of Hindu nationalist trolls.

“I am perturbed by the fact that in my country, cows are considered more important than a woman, that it takes much longer for a woman who is raped or assaulted to get justice than for a cow which many Hindus consider a sacred animal,” Delhi-based photographer Sujatro Ghosh told the BBC.

India is often in the news for crimes against women and, according to government statistics, a rape is reported every 15 minutes.

“These cases go on for years in the courts before the guilty are punished, whereas when a cow is slaughtered, Hindu extremist groups immediately go and kill or beat up whoever they suspect of slaughter.”

The project, he says, is “his way of protesting” against the growing influence of the vigilante cow protection groups that have become emboldened since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, came to power in the summer of 2014.

“I’ve been concerned over the Dadri lynching [when a Muslim man was killed by a Hindu mob over rumours that he consumed and stored beef] and other similar religious attacks on Muslims by cow vigilantes,” Ghosh said.

In recent months, the humble cow has become India’s most polarising animal.

The BJP insists that the animal is holy and should be protected. Cow slaughter is banned in several states, stringent punishment has been introduced for offenders and parliament is considering a bill to bring in the death penalty for the crime.

But beef is a staple for Muslims, Christians and millions of low-caste Dalits (formerly untouchables) who have been at the receiving end of the violence perpetrated by the cow vigilante groups.

Nearly a dozen people have been killed in the past two years in the name of the cow. Targets are often picked based on unsubstantiated rumours and Muslims have been attacked for even transporting cows for milk.

Ghosh, who is from the eastern city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), says he became aware of “this dangerous mix of religion and politics” only after he moved to Delhi a few years ago and that “this project is a silent form of protest that I think can make an impact”.

So earlier this month, during a visit to New York, he bought the cow mask from a party shop and, on his return, began shooting for the series, taking pictures of women in front of tourist hotspots and government buildings, on the streets and in the privacy of their homes, on a boat and in a train, because “women are vulnerable everywhere”.

“I photographed women from every part of society. I started the project from Delhi since the capital city is the hub of everything – politics, religion, even most debates start here.

“I took the first photo in front of the iconic India Gate, one of the most visited tourist places in India. Then I photographed a model in front of the presidential palace, another on a boat in the Hooghly river in Kolkata with the Howrah bridge as the backdrop.”

His models have so far been friends and acquaintances because, he says, “it’s such a sensitive topic, it would have been difficult to approach strangers”.

Two weeks ago when he launched the project on Instagram, the response was “all positive. It went viral within the first week, my well wishers and even people I didn’t know appreciated it.”

But after the Indian press covered it and put out their stories on Facebook and Twitter, the backlash began.

“Some wrote comments threatening me. On Twitter people started trolling me, some said I, along with my models, should be taken to Delhi’s Jama Masjid [mosque] and slaughtered, and that our meat should be fed to a woman journalist and a woman writer the nationalists despise. They said they wanted to see my mother weep over my body.”

Some people also contacted the Delhi police, “accusing me of trying to instigate riots and asking them to arrest me”.

Ghosh is not surprised by the vitriol and admits that his work is an “indirect comment” on the BJP.

“I’m making a political statement because it’s a political topic, but if we go deeper into the things, then we see that Hindu supremacy was always there, it has just come out in the open with this government in the past two years.”

The threats, however, have failed to scare him. “I’m not afraid because I’m working for the greater good,” he says.

A positive fallout of the project going viral has been that he’s got loads of messages from women from across the globe saying they too want to be a part of this campaign.

So the cow, he says, will keep travelling.

To see the pictures :

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-40404102

Sikh24.com – Sikh Community Protests Outside Indian PM Modi’s Business Event in USA

Don’t invest in Modi
chants and placards as business event takes places in Virginia USA

Sikh24 Editors

Washington DC-USA, 26 June 2017. While the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a select gathering at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner earlier today, hundreds of Sikh rights activists were present displaying placards reading “Don’t Invest in India”, outside the hotel.

The rally focused on the atrocities of the Modi administration, whose practices have killed Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and other minorities living in India.

“Since religious freedom functions at the core of American values, we have asked the members of the Congress to stand against the persecution of Sikhs under Modi regime,” said attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ.

“Sikhs in India are targeted for campaigning to restore their separate religious identity and their inalienable rights to self-determination.”

Further awareness rallies will take place, particularly today, when Modi meets POTUS Trump at a summit at the White House.

Last week, SFJ representatives met with dozens of U.S. Congressmen, Senators and their staffs in an effort to urge the establishment of a Congressional delegation visit to Punjab to assess, report and apprise the U.S. Congress of the recent spate of human rights violations against the Sikh community.

In support of efforts to establish such a delegation, SFJ issued a full memorandum to every member of Congress.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/06/26/hundreds-of-sikhs-protest-at-indian-pm-modis-event-in-washington-dc/#.WVMvEulLfIU

Sint-Truiden – Halmaal Gurdwara

Sint-Truiden Halmaalweg
31 May 2017

Sint-Truiden – Halmaalweg

Sint-Truiden – Halmaalweg

Sint-Truiden – Halmaalweg

Halmaal-Dorp

Gurdwara Sangat Sahib

OKAN students visiting the Gurdwara

Gurdwara Sangat Sahib
Halmaal Dorp 20
B-3800 Sint-Truiden

Rawstory.com – High school denounces student’s offensive tweets about Sikh man on flight

Benjamin Fearnow

Posted with permission from International Business Times

USA, 27 June 2017. A public school in the Indianapolis area has denounced the “offensive, racially insensitive” Snapchat posts a student sent about a Sikh passenger aboard a flight to Indianapolis.

The student at Eastern Hancock High School posted a Snapchat that circled the Sikh man wearing a turban and read, “Never mind I might not make it to Indy.” The post began gaining traction online after Simran Jeet Singh, a religion professor at San Antonio’s Trinity University, began sharing the post on Twitter and ridiculing the student.

An additional post from the student read, “Please god just let the man sleep,” as it showed the Sikh man resting his head. Another read, “Update I’m still alive J” and yet another post showing the man in a turban read, “Ok he just walk to the back of the Plane then to front then to his seat” before showing several shocked emojis.

The tweets received thousands of replies – the majority of which criticized the captions.

“As a Sikh who flies frequently, I’m no stranger to the uncomfortable stares and misguided fears people have of me,” read Singh’s first reply. “I try to live my life by the Sikh maxim, ‘Fear none, frighten none.’ I think about this teaching often when I travel,” he later tweeted.

According to the Sikh Coalition, there were more than 300 cases of violence and discrimination against Sikhs in the United States in the first month after the 11 September 2011 terrorist attacks.

The group says cases of profiling, bigotry and backlash are still commonplace in everyday American life. In 2012, an Army veteran shot and killed six people in a Wisconsin Sikh temple.

And in May, a 32-year-old Sikh man, Jagjeet Singh, was killed outside a California grocery store, allegedly his refusal to sell cigarettes to men without identification.

The school posted the following message on its Facebook page on Saturday:

“Eastern Hancock School officials have become aware of offensive, racially insensitive posts on social media recently made by one of our students.

Eastern Hancock administrators and staff do not condone, nor can we justify this type of behavior for any reason,” Eastern Hancock County Community School Corp. posted Thursday on Facebook. “As an educational institution, our priority is to prepare students to become successful members of a diverse world community.”

The school, which is about 35 miles east of Indianapolis, added that it is “seeking legal advice for avenues to address the student’s unacceptable behavior in accordance with national and state law, and local policy.”

Although posts on Twitter and Facebook must be deleted manually, Snapchat posts automatically disappear unless they are screen-grabbed and shared by recipients, as was the case in this incident, school officials said.

The screenshots had thousands of retweets on Twitter within just hours of the Thursday incident. It prompted the #FlyingWhileBrown hashtag, which pointed out Americans’ difficulty in understanding the difference between Muslims and Sikhs while also criticizing the overtly racist commentary.

“Once information is out in cyberspace it cannot be called back, nor contained,” Eastern Hancock Schools said. “Unfortunately, this incident, which may have been intended to be amusing, is not only deeply offensive, it has done considerable damage to many individuals.”

http://www.rawstory.com/2017/06/high-school-denounces-students-offensive-tweets-about-sikh-man-on-flight/

Dawn – ‘Trump-Modi nexus’ could spell disaster for regional peace: AJK president

Tariq Naqash

Muzaffarabad, 27 June 2017. Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Mohammad Masood Khan in a statement on Tuesday warned that a “Trump-Modi nexus” could spell disaster to regional peace.

The statement follows a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the run-up to which the US State Department had designated Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist and slapped sanctions on him, a move slammed by the Foreign Office today as ‘completely unjustified’.

Both leaders had called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries, a statement from the White House said.

Sardar Khan, who retired from the foreign service of Pakistan as a career diplomat, claimed that the US had always deceived Pakistan and its latest decision was yet another example of it.

“The US has never acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices despite the latter’s being a frontline state in the war against terrorism,” he said.

Khan questioned the justification of the US decision, claiming that the Hizbul Mujahideen had been struggling solely for freedom of India-held Kashmir (IHK), and was neither linked to any terrorist group nor had resorted to any action outside IHK.

“In fact, it’s the Indian army committing terrorism in occupied Kashmir. Ignoring the genocide of Kashmiris by Indian army and declaring freedom fighters as terrorists is a criminal departure from international humanitarian and democratic norms by the US,” he claimed.

Kashmiris protest US move

Hundreds of people from different walks of life staged a rally in the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to condemn the US administration’s decision of designating Salahuddin a terrorist.

Demonstrators started the rally from Muzaffarabad’s famous Burhan Wani Chowk, named after a Hizbul Mujahideen commander who was killed by Indian forces in IHK last year.

Just in front of them, a large Indian tricolour flag was also placed on the ground with two young children standing on it.

Amid loud anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, it was later torched by the demonstrators.

Representatives of separatist groups and political parties took strong exception to the decision which they termed a reprehensible attempt by the Trump administration to please India.

Speaking at the rally, Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, a senior leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and a former AJK minister, claimed it was the weak foreign policy of the PML-N led government in Islamabad that had encouraged the Trump administration to take this step during Modi’s visit.

“If you are serious in your avowals of extending diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiris, then you should show some strength and as a first step summon the US and Indian envoys in the Foreign Office to lodge a protest over this unfair decision,” he said, addressing the federal government.

Ahmed also asked the AJK government to give a strike call on both sides of disputed Kashmir, like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had given for February 28, 1974, to express rejection of the US decision.

“All political parties and mujahideen groups should be taken on board to make this strike a historic one,” he said.

PPP leader Shaukat Javed Mir and several others also spoke on the occasion.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1341927/trump-modi-nexus-could-spell-disaster-for-regional-peace-ajk-president