The Hindustan Times – On home turf, Punjab CM abandons speech, rally as Dalit women counter claims

Navrajdeep Singh,

Muktsar, 30 August 2016. Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was left red-faced when two Dalit women in the front row countered his claims of development, at a Dalit Chetna Rally organised by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) at Mandi Killianwali in the CM’s own assembly segment, Lambi, in Muktsar district on Tuesday.

Badal was talking about welfare schemes initiated by the SAD-BJP government for Dalits when the women — Raj Rani and Manjit Kaur — interrupted him and started asking questions. “Either your officers or jathedars (leaders) have taken all benefits from these schemes… The intended beneficiaries have not got anything,” said one of them before police took them out of the venue.

Badal then wrapped up his speech in about a minute and left the venue.

Another Dalit man, Maura Singh of Kishanpura Patti village, raised slogans outside the venue after police did not let him go in to meet the CM. “My son committed suicide on July 27 and the case of abetment was registered against two persons of his village; but the police have not arrested anyone so far,” he claimed.

Earlier, in his speech, the CM described Scheduled Castes (SC/Dalits) as the backbone of the state, and said the party “has taken historic initiatives for their overall welfare during its tenure”.

“Had the government not started these schemes, lives of these hapless families would be far more miserable,” Badal said, before his address was interrupted.

He also announced to install solar lights in all villages of Lambi segment.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/on-home-turf-punjab-cm-badal-leaves-rally-as-dalit-women-counter-claims/story-q8PdWsR9D42Yk4JE3RPxBI.html

Sikh24.com – ‘Guru Manyo Granth Society’ Seeks Security For Minorities in Jammu and Kashmir

Sikh24 Editors

Jammu & Kashmir 30 August 2016. Amid insurgency in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir, a Sikh society named ‘Guru Manyo Granth Society’ asked the State and Union government to take the appropriate steps to ensure the security of minorities living in the valley.

Asking for special employment and a financial package for the minorities falling victim, President Rinku Singh said that the minorities were enduring loss in every condition.

He said that if they don’t join the Kashmiris while protesting against the Indian paramilitary forces then they target them. But if they join the protests, the Paramilitary forces target them.

“We want the state and the central governments to take adequate security measures for various minorities living here. We are all easy targets,” Rinku Singh told Sikh24.

“If we stand with protesters, we are targetted by the police, and if we stand against the mob, they target us,” Rinku Singh told Sikh24.

“Our businesses have been worst affected by the ongoing turmoil. The economy has greatly affected us,” he said. “We want a comprehensive reform for the minorities.”

‘Guru Manyo Granth Society’ Seeks Security For Minorities in Jammu and Kashmir

Hayes Gurdwara – Southall

Hayes Gurdwara
05 June 2016

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Ramgarhia Sikh Association
(Gurdwara)
Golden Crescent
Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 1AQ

Southall
05 June 2016

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Southall – Punjab Lane
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Southall – South Road
Dutch railways operating bus services in Southall
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Southall – South Road
Dutch railways operating bus services in Southall
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Southall – High Street
Westbound buses
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Southall – High Street
Westbound buses
I took a 607 to Shepherds Bush

To see all my pictures:

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

More UK pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

BBC News – Why India needs to get rid of its sedition law

Soutik Biswas, India correspondent

New Delhi, 29 August 2016. In India, you can be charged with sedition for liking a Facebook post, criticising a yoga guru, cheering a rival cricket team, drawing cartoons, asking a provocative question in a university exam, or not standing up in a cinema when the national anthem is being played.

So when actress-politician Divya Spandana, better known by her screen name Ramya, made some remarks last week praising Pakistan, a lawyer filed a private case in a local court, seeking to get her charged with sedition for “appreciating the people of Pakistan”, India’s neighbour and rival.

Ramya had returned from a trip to Islamabad and found Pakistan was “not hell” – a riposte to the Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, who recently remarked that going to Pakistan was the “same as going to hell”.

‘Anti-national’

Lawyer K Vittal Gowda was clearly not impressed.

“By saying that people in Pakistan are good, she has committed sedition. This is an anti-national statement,” he told my colleague Imran Qureshi in Bangalore, after filing his complaint.

India’s info-tech capital is no stranger to such allegedly seditious activities: earlier this month, city police slapped a sedition case against Amnesty International India after some people allegedly raised “anti-India slogans at its event”.

For decades, successive governments have used a colonial-era sedition law, the dreaded section 124a of the antiquated Indian Penal Code, against students, journalists, intellectuals, social activists, and those critical of the government.

Section 124a in The Indian Penal Code

– The law makes “words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government” punishable by law, a fine and a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

– Drafted by Thomas Macaulay, it was introduced in the 1870s, originally to deal with “increasing Wahabi activities between 1863 and 1870 that posed a challenge to the colonial government”.

– In the 19th and early 20th Centuries, the law was mainly used against Indian political leaders seeking independence from British rule.

– Mahatma Gandhi, who was charged with sedition, famously said the law was “designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen”.

– In the decades after independence in 1947, the law was used against people accusing the ruling Congress government of corruption and tyranny, and little-known Communist leaders who exhorted people to “overthrow the government and capitalists”.

– In 1951, prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru described the law as “highly objectionable and obnoxious”.

– In 1962, the Supreme Court imposed limits on the use of the law, making incitement to violence a necessary condition.

More than half-a-century after the top court imposed restrictions on using the law, authorities appear to be flouting it with impunity.

As many as 47 sedition cases were reported in 2014 alone, across nine states, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. Many of these cases did not involve any violence or incitement to violence. A total of 58 people were arrested in connection with the cases. The government has only managed one conviction.

Consider this:

– In September 2001, cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was arrested after a complaint that his cartoons mocked the constitution and national emblem. The charges were dropped a month later following widespread criticism and public protests.

– In March 2014, 60 Kashmiri students in Uttar Pradesh were charged with sedition for cheering for Pakistan in a cricket match against India. Authorities dropped the charges following legal advice from the law ministry.

– In August 2014, authorities in Kerala charged seven young men, including students, with sedition after a complaint that they had refused to stand up during the national anthem in a cinema.

– In October 2015, folk singer S Kovan was held in Tamil Nadu for two songs criticising the state government for allegedly profiting from state-owned liquor shops at the expense of the poor.

– In February 2016, student leader Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested and charged with sedition for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans. He was later freed on bail.

In 2012 and 2013, an astonishing number of 23,000 men and women who protested against a nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu were held for “waging war against the state” and sedition, 9,000 of them for sedition alone.

“Police would name a few accused and then add 2,000 others without naming them while booking them for sedition. That’s how arbitrary it is,” anti-nuclear activist SP Udayakumar tells me.

Instilling fear

Some 140 cases, half of them related to sedition, against the protesters are being heard in the courts today. “The law is purely used now to instil fear and intimidate people who protest against authority,” says Mr Udayakumar.

Things seem to be getting worse.

Media watchdog The Hoot says it is “raining sedition charges in an otherwise normal monsoon season” this year. It has listed 18 cases involving sedition charges against 19 people in the first eight months of 2016.

India’s slow moving judicial system ensures prolonged delays in disposing cases. Meanwhile, people charged with sedition have to surrender their passports, are not eligible for government jobs, must produce themselves in the court as and when required, and spend money on legal fees.

“The charges have rarely stuck in most of the cases, but the process itself becomes the punishment,” says Jayshree Bajoria , co-writer of a Human Rights Watch report on “stifling dissent” in India.

Earlier this month a non-profit group mounted a fresh legal challenge against the “misuse” of the law in the Supreme Court.

Common Cause urges the top court to make it compulsory for the authorities to “produce a reasoned order” from the local chief of police certifying that the seditious act could either lead to incitement of violence or could lead to public disorder, before any police complaint or arrest can be made.

Most believe India should simply get rid of the law along with a raft of vaguely-worded, draconian laws, the criminal defamation laws and laws to curb hate speech and silence dissent, for example. “Sedition itself needs to enter the dustbin of oppressive legal history,” says lawyer Karuna Nundy.

Clearly, scrapping the law would be a good beginning. “The sooner we get rid of it the better,” Nehru had said. That was more than half-a-century ago.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-37182206

The Indian Express – CPEC row: Congress calls on PM Modi to question China over ‘threat’

Baloch and Sindhi leaders held a joint protest against the ongoing CPEC in Balochistan outside the Chinese Embassy in London.

New Delhi, 29 August 2016. With a think tank from Beijing stating that China would have to get involved if India threatens the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Balochistan, the Congress on Monday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to question the Chinese Government over the ‘meaning’ behind the warning.

Speaking to ANI here, Congress leader Manish Tewari said that if ultimately the CPEC is going to threaten India, then the Centre needs to stand up to it.

“PM Modi should ask the Chinese that what exactly do they mean by ‘intervene’. After all, the think tank which has written this article is closely related with the Chinese state and the Chinese establishment. So PM Modi should ask the Chinese government that what the meaning of this threat is,” he said.

Earlier, the director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) revealed that Prime Minister Modi’s reference to Balochistan in his Independence Day address is the latest concern for China.

Stating that China fears India may use “anti-government” elements in Balochistan where Beijing is building the $46 billion project, the director stated that if the ‘plot’ causes any damage to the CPEC, then they will have to get involved.

Meanwhile, Baloch and Sindhi leaders held a joint protest against the ongoing CPEC in Balochistan outside the Chinese Embassy in London.

They claimed that thousands of people were displaced to facilitate a wide array of projects under the CPEC without a proper plan of rehabilitation or providing any compensation.

World Sindhi Congress Chairman Laku Luhana told ANI that the CPEC was not an economic project, but rather a matter of life and death for the Baloch and the Sindhis.

“It is a project of capture on our land and coastal lines. This is not an economic project. It is a matter of life and death for the Baloch and the Sindhis. We will never agree to this project,” he added.

The USD 46 billion economic pact has been projected as a major boost for the economy by the Pakistan government, but locals in Balochistan say they have not benefited one bit from the CPEC.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/balochistan-activists-cpec-row-congress-calls-on-pm-modi-to-question-china-over-threat-3001786/

The Tribune – Kin of youth in Kuwait jail seek Modi’s help

Hoshiarpur, 29 August 2016. Families of nine out of 10 state youth arrested in Kuwait two years ago have urged the Union Government to help them bring their wards back.

They were arrested by the Kuwait police after the death of two Egyptian citizens in a scuffle among labourers for a seat in a bus. Family members of Amandeep Singh, Vijay Kumar, Tarsem Lal, Gurpreet Singh, Satpal Singh, Surjit Pal, Rulda Ram, Santokh Singh and Roop Singh addressed mediapersons here.

They said for the past two years, the youths had been in prison and they had been running from pillar to post to get them released. They said no help was being provided by the embassy.

They said the persons who had died, had died because of heart attack, which was confirmed in the post-mortem report too. Even then, they were not being released and were not provided any legal help too, families said.

They have now appealed to PM Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to help them secure the release of these youths from Kuwait prison.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/kin-of-youth-in-kuwait-jail-seek-modi-s-help/287595.html

Hayes – Dawley Road, Lake Farm Country Park, Gurdwara

Hayes – Dawley Road
05 June 2016

052.i.DawleyRd.05.06.16

Crossrail works
Stockley airport junction

052.j.DawleyRd.05.06.16

Crossrail project
West Inner Office, Stockley

Hayes Lake Farm Country Park
05 June 2016

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Hayes Lake Farm Country Park

052.l.LakeFarmCountryPrk.05.06.16

Hayes Lake Farm Country Park

Hayes Gurdwara
05 June 2016

052.m.GoldenCrescent.05.06.16

Golden Crescent

052.n.GoldenCrescent.05.06.16

Gurdwara building behind the wall
This building also belongs to the Gurdwara

To see all my pictures:

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

More UK pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Hindu Council UK Press Statement – Ethnic Cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh

I would encourage the Hindu Council UK to equally condemn the attacks on religious, caste and ethnic minorities in India, and on those from within the Hindu community who are critical of the Hindu dharm !

From: Hindu Council UK Admin <admin@hinducounciluk.org>
Sent: 09 July 2016

Hindu Council UK strongly condemns the recent spurt of violence against the minority Hindu population in Bangladesh.

The recent escalation of senseless killings is alarming and inhumane. Whilst Bangladesh has a secular constitution and prides itself on its diversity the fact remains that the Bangladeshi Hindu population has declined from approx 30% to 8% since the partition (1947) and still further in the aftermath of the freedom struggle and liberation of Bangladesh in 1972.

This in itself summarises the “continual ethnic cleansing” the Hindu community is subjected to.

Bangladesh’s Hindus have faced a constant onslaught of government tolerated murder, rape, abduction, forced conversion, land grabs, and more. Regrettably, not only are these heinous incidents barely covered by the international media, also, we hardly witness leaders across the globe taking this issue up.

Sneha Roy, Hindu Council UK’s Executive Officer said “Religious violence, of late, has been on the rise in Bangladesh.

The brutal and brazen killing of liberal thinkers, bloggers, journalists and minorities has been a cause for concern for some time now. It is time to address the issue.

We understand that Bengali Hindu festivals like Poila Boishak (New Year) and Durga Puja are continually being disrupted and there have been unrest and protests in several pockets of the nation.

It is only since the latest atrocity – the Café attack in Dhaka in which the terrorists targeted and systematically killed foreign nationals has the world decided to take note of the worsening human rights situation in Bangladesh for non-Muslims.

Islamic Extremist declared responsibility but the Bangladesh government denies this; their version is home grown outfits”.

So which is it? Is it foreign extremists or is it “Home grown”? Whichever it is the Bangladesh government is still in denial mode.

Speaking to CNN News18 Gowhar Rizvi, Advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “We live in a secular atmosphere. They are our brothers. The situation is not that bad and our government is committed to safeguarding their interests”.

Gautam Banerji Director of Governance for Hindu Council UK said “Hindu Council UK calls upon the World Governments, international community and Human Rights Agencies to take immediate action with practical solutions to end this brazen act of ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh.

We firmly believe that it does not pertain exclusively to the Hindu community. In fact, it concerns the entire human race. The situation will escalate further if Bangladesh does not address issues of human rights violations as a priority.

Hindus from all corners of the globe should stand together to form a pressure group to lobby the Bangladesh government to avert such ethnic cleansing of Hindus”.

Hindu Council UK has had reports that within the last 24 hours, a continuation of the communal attack on Rathayatra in Ramganj (Islampur), and a more serious communal disturbance has occurred in the adjacent Chopra Block in the Hindu minority North Dinajpur district.

Hindus have been attacked, their houses gutted, properties looted by armed Muslim mobs. A number of Hindus have been shot at and injured.

The Nainital Colony has been ransacked and gutted. Hindus have no defence at all there as the Police are totally incapable of controlling the extremists and they do not even try to stop the Muslim rioters in fear of escalation of violence.

We understand that the Police and administration is trying their best to suppress the news by putting pressure on local media representatives.

Hindu Council UK remains strongly of the view that the Hindu minority of Bangladesh must be protected and the Bangladesh Government should prevent its territory from being used as a safe haven for terrorists. We request the Bangladesh government to:

1. Ban the Jamat-e-Islami party

2. Provide protection of minorities in Bangladesh as a constitutional right

3. Address human rights violations and provide stringent punitive action

4. Re-build destroyed temples and other historic buildings

Sanjay Jagatia Director/Secretary General of Hindu Council UK said “Hindu Council UK together with Bengali Hindu groups and individuals are working together to raise the issue of ethnic cleansing of Bangladeshi Hindus with the UK Government, Political Parties, Members of Parliament, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Religion & Belief, the High Commission of India & the High Commission of Bangladesh.

In addition, we are in constant touch with our sister organisations in USA, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Europe and India to ensure that the Hindu voice is heard globally.

We also ask Hindu professional networking bodies to research their industries and organisations to see how and what trade is conducted with Bangladesh and make their organisation bodies aware there are growing concerns with Bangladesh”.

Hindu Council UK Secretariat Office
492 Beake Avenue
Coventry CV6 2HS

http://www.hinducounciluk.org/

Dawn – Misplaced patriotism

Editorial, 29 August 2016. Across much of South Asia, there is a growing strain of state-sponsored nationalism that is worrying and potentially dangerous in its consequences.

From India to Bangladesh, and from Pakistan to Sri Lanka, political dissent of various hues is being branded as anti-state and clamped down on viciously.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed has marched her country to a deadly place in her quest to vanquish her political enemies, while in Sri Lanka, the civil war may be over but great prejudice and discrimination are rampant against ethnic Tamils.

Meanwhile, Kashmiri dissenters have once again caused India to bare its teeth while the political opposition in the restive northeast of that country has for decades now been labelled as militants, anti-nationalist and veritable traitors.

The unmistakable rise of a narrow, state-sanctioned version of patriotism is evident in far too many places in South Asia against far too many oppressed groups.

Yet, it is Pakistan that must remain of the most immediate and serious concern.

Misplaced patriotism, encouraged, sponsored and directed by sections of the state, is dominating the political discourse at present. Be it Baloch separatists or even nationalist politicians like Mahmood Khan Achakzai, there is wholesale condemnation of swathes of the political spectrum taking place.

Even a thoroughly regrettable speech by Altaf Hussain has been turned into an opportunity to shoehorn all political opinion into a narrow, sanctioned version of nationalism.

No right-thinking Pakistani would oppose the essence of ‘Pakistan zindabad’, but a patriotism test, demanding of everyone to express allegiance to the Pakistani state before countenancing their political views, is a development that militates against good sense and political rights.

Perhaps a brief tour of history may help here. Once upon a time, the Khan of Kalat was arrested for sedition, a charge that echoes uncomfortably decades later in the plight of Baloch activists today.

East Pakistan was lost in the civil war, a conflict situation exploited by India, arguably, the roots of separation were laid by the state-led West Pakistani campaign to label Bengalis and their principal representative party, the Awami League, as anti-state.

Soon after, in a truncated Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto banned the National Awami Party of Wali Khan. Today, its successor, the ANP, is a mainstream political party and its cadres have been decimated by the banned TTP.

The story continues with ugly allegations against G M Syed of Sindh and Sardar Ataullah Mengal, and arrives in the present day with the demonisation of Mr Achakzai, whose father faced similar accusations before his death in a bombing.

There is one Pakistan, but there is no one idea of what that Pakistan should be. The state has neither the right nor the authority to dictate to the people what Pakistan ought to be to them.

The political realm is best served by a robust debate among competing ideas and philosophies. Coercion and artificial homogeneity are the real threats.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1280618/misplaced-patriotism

The Statesman – Teresa’s canonisation portends more conversions: VHP

Mother Teresa’s canonisation portends more conversions to Christianity, an issue that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have considered before deciding to send a delegation to the Vatican, the VHP said on Sunday.

“The canonisation of Mother Teresa is an alarm bell that now there would be more conversions in India and more funds (for conversions) would be routed to India,” Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) International Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain said here.

He said granting of sainthood to a person based on miracles attributed to them was not “practical” in today’s times.

“Do you expect miracles to happen in this age,” he wondered.

Jain warned that with more conversions, there would be more unrest in the society.

He said Modi should have considered the issue before deciding to send an official Indian delegation to the canonisation ceremony at the Vatican.

“The issue of Mother Teresa’s services vis-a-vis religious conversions is not new. We have been raising it for years. I think the Prime Minister should have thought over it before he decided to send an official delegation to the Vatican,” Jain said.

An official Indian delegation led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to attend Mother Teresa’s canonisation ceremony at the Vatican on September 4.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio address paid tributes to the late Catholic nun for her services to the poor of India, saying that Indians should be proud that Mother Teresa is being officially declared a saint.

The nun founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation that runs hospices in India. She died in 1997.

http://www.thestatesman.com/news/india/teresa-s-canonisation-portends-more-conversions-vhp/162146.html

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