The Telegraph – Connect Kejri dots: Shaheen, Hanuman, Gita

The AAP convener’s advice to read the holy text came towards the end of his daily webcast briefing

Pheroze L. Vincent

New Delhi – India, 31 March 2020. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday asked people to read the Bhagavad Gita for half an hour every day over the remaining lockdown period, triggering fears that such advice could alienate sections of the society.

A source in the ruling Aam Aadmi Party said Kejriwal passes on to the public “whatever suggestions” could help ease their fears in this time of crisis, as a family member would.

The AAP convener’s advice to read the holy text, part of the Mahabharat, came towards the end of his daily webcast briefing. “If you feel good about doing this at home, then there are 18 chapters of the Gita and 18 days of lockdown,” he said.

“Since yesterday, my wife has started reciting the Gita in my house too. Our whole family sits together and reads a chapter. It takes only half an hour. Therefore, if you also feel like, you can… recite the Gita in your home.”

Sunday was the fifth day of the 21-day lockdown the Prime Minister had announced on March 24 as part of concerted efforts to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

This wasn’t the first time Kejriwal had resorted to religion in recent times. Ahead of the Delhi elections last month, he had invoked Hanuman, a popular deity especially in North India, in what appeared to be an attempt to undercut the BJP’s narrative of projecting the AAP as anti-Hindu for its opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Later, after the riots broke out in the capital, the Delhi government had stood aloof. Party leaders said the government’s role as a bystander was a misguided attempt to appease Hindus that affected his credibility as an efficient and secular leader.

“No, this (invocation of the Gita) should not have been done…,” former AAP leader and journalist Ashutosh told The Telegraph.

“Is he claiming that he is only the chief minister of Hindus. I don’t know his intent, but if you connect the dots, he did not meet (the anti-CAA) protesters at Shaheen Bagh, he did not visit Northeast Delhi while the riots were happening, then one can assume that he is trying to cultivate a Hindu vote bank.

There is no problem if he recites the Gita in his personal capacity, but as a chief minister asking everyone to do so is crossing the line.” Ashutosh added: “If it is a mistake, he should correct it. If not, then it is dangerous to alienate sections of society,

This is the danger of getting caught in a narrative that is not your natural narrative. This could be explained as a strategy before elections, but there are no polls now.” The Delhi government is yet to respond to the suspension of two of its senior officers by the Centre, ostensibly for allowing buses to ferry those who wanted to leave Delhi.

Kejriwal’s private secretary Bibhav Kumar and the AAP’s chief spokesman and Delhi MLA, Saurabh Bharadwaj, did not respond to queries on the Gita pitch.

A source in the government, however, said: “It is a bit rich to talk of the Gita when one can’t summon the courage, if not common sense, to defend bureaucrats whose careers could be jeopardised for implementing orders.”

The nature of Delhi’s polity, the source added, is such that the Centre has a greater say than it has in other states.

“In such a situation, if their government does not defend their actions, there is no motivation for public servants to heed lawful directions of the elected government of Delhi rather than toe the line set by North Block (the seat of the Union home ministry).”

An AAP source said it was a “policy decision” not to get into confrontation with the BJP or the Centre at a time of crisis.

“Kejriwal made that clear too at yesterday’s briefing, MLA and senior party leader Raghav Chadha is now set to face harassment as a case has been filed against him for criticizing Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath,” the source said.

“We have taken a conscious decision of focusing on helping those in need. The time to counter the BJP is not now. Whatever suggestions can ease the fears of the public, and help them stay calm, the chief minister passes them on, as a family member would.”

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/connect-arvind-kejriwa-dots-shaheen-hanuman-gita/cid/1760687?ref=india_india-page

Sikh24.com – Persecuted Afghan Sikhs quit gurdwara Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji amid continuous threats

Chandigarh – Punjab – India, 31 March 2020. The Kabul resident Sikh families have left Gurdwara Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib situated in Shor Bazaar due to continuous threats being sent by the terrorist organizations. All these Sikh families have shifted to Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha situated in Karta-e-Parwan.

It is pertinent to note here that these families were looking after the day-to-day proceedings of Gurdwara Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji for a long time while living there.

Sharing with Sikh24, the Afghan Sikhs informed that they were looking after the historic Gurdwara Sahibans situated in Kabul, Jalalabad, Kandhar, Karta-e-Parwan and Ghazni despite getting looted and murdered in routine since long.

“But now, it has become difficult for us to stay here as we are continually facing deadly attacks and threats by the terrorists,” they said while adding that no one is left in Afghanistan to look after their interests.

It may be recalled here that the Islamic State had murdered more than two dozen Sikhs in a suicidal attack carried out on March 25. Eight others had also lost lives in this deadly attack while eight others were left seriously injured.

https://www.sikh24.com/2020/03/31/persecuted-afghan-sikhs-quit-gurdwara-sri-guru-har-rai-sahib-ji-amid-continuous-threats/#.XoNB7nJS_IU

Groen Gentbrugge 9050: De Groene Brunch – De Knoop – Botermarkt – Ledeberg

Groen Gentbrugge 9050
De Groene Brunch
08 March 2020


The Dutch Greens


Volunteers waiting for customers


Guests waiting for the next course ?


At the bar


A good few families with children


Sara and Evita and the candidates for the Green Feather

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Hindustan Times – Malaysia airlifts 180 citizens stranded in Amritsar

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 31 March 2020. About 180 Malaysians who were stranded in the Holy City after India banned international flights following the Covid-19 outbreak flew back home in a special Malindo Air aircraft from the Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport here on Monday.

All were of Indian origin and had come to Amritsar to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple (Harmandr Sahib). They also visited their native villages in Punjab, besides other tourist destinations across the country.

Delighted to be returning to their country, many of them chanted “Sat Sri Akal” while leaving their hotel for the airport to thank God for the efforts to rescue them.

They also had a word of praise for Baldev Singh, a prominent Indian settled in Malaysia, who runs Sri Saheb Production House there, for tying up with the government there to arrange for the flight.

Airport director Manoj Chansoria said the flight took off at 2.40pm on Monday for Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

60-year-old Malaysian tourist Gurbachan Singh said: “We landed in Amritsar on March 7 and were scheduled to return on March 21, but our flight was cancelled. Punjab Police, civil administration and local Sikh institutions helped us a lot.”

“This is my first visit to India. Though I am Malaysia-born, my roots are in Punjab. We have no words to express our happiness. First we got an opportunity to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. Now, we are returning to home where we will be able to put ourselves under self-quarantine,” said Jatinder Singh, a 25-year-old youth.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/malaysia-airlifts-180-citizens-stranded-in-amritsar/story-QhbEy5LHXaKiZbERVuDXzI.html

Dawn – Punjab allows opening of cattle markets

The Newspaper’s Staff Reporter

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 30 March 2020. To maintain meat supply chain during the ongoing lockdown in the province, the Punjab government has allowed functioning of all cattle markets, including the one at Shahpur Kanjran in Lahore.

Since the government in its notification for imposing lock-down on the province had not included the cattle markets among the essential service providers or departments, the deputy commissioners in all the districts of the province had disallowed the cattle markets, that led to shortage of meat in Punjab.

“It impacted Lahore’s Shahpur Kanjran cattle market that was opened on Wednesday after a special permission. But, it received a very small number of animals for sale, resulting in less slaughtering in Lahore and causing meat shortage in the city,” Lahore Division Cattle Market Management Company Manager (Operations) Jazib Saeed told Dawn.

He said it was observed on Wednesday that only cattle traders from nearby towns and villages reached Shahpur Kanjran market on the main day of its operation. So the business volume remained very low, approximately 20 per cent of the usual trade.

“Sufficient number of animals were not available [on Wednesday last] for the butchers to meet the demand. The animal count of small ruminant [goats and sheep] remained 4,100 compared to 20,000 on normal days, while large ruminants number was 1,800 as compared to 9,000 on normal days,” he explained.

Consequently, he said, the animal slaughtering at the Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company (Pamco)-operated slaughterhouse at Shahpur also remained low on Wednesday.

“Keeping in view the situation, the government realised that it may disturb the meat supply chain in the ongoing lockdown, causing problem for the people. That is why it allowed opening of the cattle markets,” Mr Saeed explained.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1544858/punjab-allows-opening-of-cattle-markets

The Hindustan Times – Covid-19: Five reasons you must stay home during lock-down

Stepping out results in contamination of surfaces or objects, from where it can infect people who touch the surface and then touch their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

Virus spreads through contact

New Delhi – India, 30 March 2020. The virus spreads between people in close contact (within 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. But the infection can spread before people develop symptoms, which, on an average, take around five days to appear.

Some people develop no symptoms and others have mild disease but still infect others. Stepping out also results in contamination of surfaces or objects, from where it can infect people who touch the surface and then touch their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

The virus spreads very easily in areas where there is community transmission of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in US.

Infection may occur without close contact

Scientists have documented a cluster of cases among people who worked in shops, visitors or were staff of a mall without direct contact with an infected person, according to a research document called “Indirect Virus Transmission in Cluster of Covid-19 Cases, Wenzhou” in China published by the CDC on March 12.

Indirect transmission may have happened among these unrelated cases from spread via surfaces like elevator buttons or restroom taps, said the paper. For case-patients who were customers in the shopping mall but did not report using the restroom, the source of infection could have been the elevators or asymptomatic patients.

Lockdown greatly reduces transmission

A recent study by the Imperial College London’s Covid-19 team found that population-wide social distancing would have the largest impact in transmission reduction; and, in combination with other interventions, such as home isolation of infected people and closure of schools and universities.

There are many more scientific studies that prove massive social distancing measures can stabilise transmission and give governments time to prepare for a spurt in infections.

Lockdown helped China control the pandemic

China enforced similar lockdowns in phases with far more stringency for over two months. Along with massive lockdowns, electronic surveillance was used in China to track people’s movements. Some 760 million people, roughly half the country’s population, were confined to their homes.

A World Health Organization report recently concluded that the cordon sanitaire (restriction on movement of people) around Wuhan and neighbouring municipalities effectively ended infected people travelling to the rest of the country. The team noted a steep decline in new infections because of the lockdown.

China’s model has been replicated in Italy, in the US New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and other European countries. They have all ordered people to stay at home, threatening them with fines in some cases.

Lockdown helps governments track and trace

To contain spread, governments must identify infected cases and isolate them and their close contacts before they step out and infect many others in the community, as it happened in the case of the Sikh granthi who travelled to around 20 villages and put a large number of people at risk of infection before he was diagnosed with the Covid-19.

Tracking and quarantining is done through continuous surveillance, which is possible during a lockdown. The lockdown also prevents undiagnosed infected people from travelling and further spreading the infection.

The government can also use this time to build health infrastructure, source ventilators, medicines and personal protection equipment like masks and gloves for healthcare workers, train healthcare workers in treatment and infection-control, and accelerate vaccine and diagnostic development for Covid-19 patients.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/covid-19-five-reasons-you-must-stay-home-during-lockdown/story-4OT3cD2OQVzEO7VUtOsLDI.html

The Tribune – Bodies of three Sikhs killed in Kabul attack to be brought to India on Monday: Harsimrat Kaur

Urges PM to facilitate relocation of Afghan Sikhs who want to settle in India

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 29 March 2020. Union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Sunday said bodies of three Sikhs killed in the Kabul gurdwara attack, whose families were based in India, would be brought back to the country on Monday.

She also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps to facilitate the relocation of all Afghan Sikhs who wanted to leave Afghanistan and settle in India.

In a statement here, Harsimrat said the bodies of three Sikhs were being brought back to India tomorrow. He said while the families of two, Shankar Singh and Jiwan Singh were based in Ludhiana, the third Tian Singh’s family was based in Delhi.

She said while Shankar’s wife would also return with her husband’s body to Ludhiana where his six children were residing with their maternal grandparents, Jiwan’s wife and children were living in Ludhiana.

The Union minister has appealed to the Prime Minister to initiate an exercise to relocate all Afghan Sikhs who wanted to leave Afghanistan due to growing insecurity and threats to their very lives and livelihood.

She said from a population of several thousands, only around 300 to 400 Sikh families remained in Afghanistan with thousands migrating to India and elsewhere in the last more than one decade.

She also appealed to the Prime Minister to take up the issue of the safety and security of the Sikh community in Afghanistan with the latter government. “Sikhs in Afghanistan are undergoing a trauma. They are facing threats on a day to day basis.

Earlier also there have been gruesome attacks on its members including a terrorist attack in 2018 while killed 13 persons in Jalalabad. Many want to leave Afghanistan and relocate in India. This relocation should be facilitated at the earliest,” he added.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/bodies-of-3-sikhs-killed-in-kabul-attack-to-be-brought-to-india-on-monday-harsimrat-62808

Gent: Sint-Lucas Hospital – Aalst: Jebron, Bijbeldag, – Groen Gentbrugge 9050

Gent Sint-Lucas Hospital
Faiths and Beliefs in the healthcare sector
06 March 2020


Listening to the panel members

Aalst – Bijbeldag – Jebron,
Aalst NMBS
07 March 2020


Four of us waiting for the train to Gent


This is number three while number four took the pictures

Groen Gentbrugge 9050
De Groene Brunch
08 March 2020


Jurgen (voorzitter Groen Gentbrugge) Evita kamerlid en
Sara voorzitter van de gemeenteraads fractie


Nederlandse leden van Groen-links uit Limburg


Op de voorgrond het achterhoofd van Raymond,
schepper van het kunstwerk links op de tafel.

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Hindustan Times – Golden Temple (Harmandr Sahib) offers hope for humanity in times of corona-virus

Upholding maryada devotees, in fewer numbers due to the curfew, join the keepers of the faith to ensure dawn-to-dusk rituals are carried out uninterrupted at the holiest shrine of the Sikhs

Surjit Singh

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 30 March 2020. ‘Tu kahe doleh parania, tudh rakhega sirjanhar (Don’t lose heart, O man, you will be defended and taken care of by God, the Creator of everything)’.

The reassuring shabad at the Golden Temple is apt in these troubled times of the corona-virus disease.

The holiest shrine of the Sikhs may be seeing far fewer devotees due to the curfew to ensure social distancing, but the age-old maryada and dawn-to-dusk rituals of parkash, kirtan and sukhasan, traditions that were interrupted only during Operations Bluestar (1984) and Black Thunder (1986) in living memory, are being followed religiously.

Hymns reverberate in the precincts, and far beyond, through the live telecast that is now providing spiritual solace to devotees holed up in their homes the world over.

Keepers of the faith, including raagis and sewadars, begin their day as early as 2am for the amrit vela (the pre-dawn) ceremony that starts with the opening of kiwars (doors of darshani deori). Despite the curfew, about 100 devotees recite prayers followed by kirtan of Asa di Vaar, a hymn by Guru Nanak.

“It is a daily ritual to be here, even in the curfew,” says Tarundeep Singh, a youngster who lives nearby, and is adept at blowing the narsinga (a traditional wind instrument) while the Palki Sahib (golden palanquin) carries the holy saroop of Guru Granth Sahib.

Normally, about 3,000 devotees watch the proceedings, says Giani Maan Singh, a granthi (priest*). “Now the sangat comes daily but only in the required number so as to uphold the maryada,” he says.

Faith comes first

The kirtan by hazoori raagis (regular Gurbani exponents) are telecast live throughout the day on social media ever since the curfew came into effect last week.

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) sewadars and half the devotees wear masks in the parikarma of the shrine but not in the sanctum sanctorum.

“No devotee is prohibited from wearing masks inside the sanctum sanctorum, but it is against the maryada for granthis. They keep a ‘hajuria’ (a piece of cloth) around their neck to ensure cleanliness,” says Gobind Singh Lonogwal, the president of the SGPC that manages affairs of the shrine and has scaled down its staff to 30%.

The sangat continues to drink jal (water) from the holy sarovar, while the Akhand Path (48-hour, non-stop recitation of Guru Granth Sahib) continues as usual.

Devotees happily accept the karah parshad offered by the sewadar on their exit from Darbar Sahib. It is prepared according to the footfall of the sangat. “As usual, the first deg (offering) goes to the sanctum sanctorum at 1.30am.

As a limited sangat comes, only five cans of 15-kg desi ghee is consumed to prepare the parshad in a day. During a normal day, 40 cans would be consumed, while on special days such as gurpurbs, the consumption goes up to 75 cans,” says Kulwant Singh, a cook at the shrine’s kitchen.

Eat, Pray, Serve

The coronavirus curfew has not been able to halt the operation of Guru Ram Das Langar Ghar, the largest community kitchen, where food is served free of cost. The service continues round the clock.

“The devotees come to do seva even when there is no relaxation in curfew,” says Harjit Singh, an SGPC employee overseeing the langar operation.

Gurmeet Singh, 25, from Koom Kalan in Ludhiana district who came along with a friend to do seva a week ago, says, “I recovered from an accident and wanted to express my gratitude by doing seva. The curfew has given us a golden opportunity to spend more time and serve in the Guru’s abode.”

*There are no priests in Sikhi, the Granthi is more like a protestant minister, who also is not a mediator between God and mankind
Man-in-Blue

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/golden-temple-offers-hope-for-humanity-in-times-of-coronavirus/story-QHaovKK9NhpCDlARU55eBN.html

Scroll.in – FIR filed against AAP MLA Raghav Chadha for tweeting against Adityanath over migrant exodus

The AAP leader alleged that migrants travelling from Delhi to Uttar Pradesh were being beaten up on Chief Minister Adityanath’s orders.

New Delhi – India, 29 March 2020. A first information report was registered against Aam Aadmi Party MLA Raghav Chadha on Sunday for making alleged objectionable statements about Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath over the mass migrant exodus that started after a countrywide lockdown was announced to battle coronavirus, The Indian Express reported.

The FIR was filed based on a complaint by Prashant Patel, an advocate, in Noida.

Chadha alleged that migrants travelling from Delhi to Uttar Pradesh were being thrashed on the orders of Adityanath. “According to sources, Yogiji is getting migrants going from Delhi to UP beaten up,” he said in a tweet.

“He is saying why did you go to Delhi and you will not be allowed to go to Delhi again. My appeal to UP government is not to do this and not to increase problems in this difficult hour.”

However, Chadha later deleted the tweet.

The lockdown has caused tens of thousands of people, mostly young daily-wage laborers but also families, to flee large cities where they have lost their source of livelihood. The mass exodus of thousands of migrant workers, who are leaving for their hometowns in bustling buses, has sparked fears about the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

On Sunday, the Narendra Modi-led central government told states and Union Territories to seal their borders, as migrant labourers attempted to return home on foot. Earlier in the day, Modi apologised to the public for imposing a three-week national lockdown, calling it harsh but saying India “needed to win” the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Adityanath on Saturday ordered officials to keep nearly 1 lakh people who have arrived in the state in the last three days in quarantine camps for 14 days. He also instructed officials that the essential needs of people kept in quarantine must be fulfilled.

The number of Covid-19 patients who have died in India rose to 25 on Sunday morning, an increase of six since the previous government update. Sixty-one new patients were confirmed across the country, taking the number of cases to 979. Of these, 86 have now recovered.

https://scroll.in/latest/957612/fir-filed-against-aap-mla-raghav-chadha-for-tweeting-against-adityanath-over-migrant-exodus