The Hindustan Times – Beyond bull: Why new restriction on cow slaughter will hurt India

When the Government of India issued an ‘extraordinary’ notification on Tuesday, restricting the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets and imposing rules that put a majority of the country’s animal markets in danger, it willy-nilly hit much more than the meat industry.

Kunal Pradhan

Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 27 May 2017. It is easy to frame rules banning the slaughter of the cow, its progeny, its distant cousin the water buffalo, and its passing acquaintance the camel. It is much harder to think of life without buttons, soap, toothpaste, paint brushes and surgical stitches.

Only 30% of cattle slaughtered in India is used for meat, either local consumption or export, while 70% of the carcass is traded for industries that deal in the aforementioned products, along with about three-dozen other items of daily use.

Most of the 30% cattle slaughtered, of course, is the water buffalo because the culling of cows for meat is either totally banned or allowed with strict riders in all but five states.

What’s more: eating, selling, transporting or exporting meat of the cow genus is a non-bailable offence, punishable with up to 10 years in jail in all of northern, central and western India.

So, when the Government of India issued an ‘extraordinary’ notification on Tuesday, restricting the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets and imposing rules that put a majority of the country’s animal markets in danger, it willy-nilly hit much more than the meat industry.

Sources say the meat industry relies on animal markets for 90% of its supply. The impact on allied industries is unclear.

The government may think the decision is politically rewarding at a time of easy vigilantism. But there are economic implications across the board on exports, the environment, the rural economy — issues that should have been addressed before taking a hard line.

According to the 2012 Livestock Census, India has a total of 191 million cows and bulls, and 109 million water buffaloes. These are together roughly 25 per cent of India’s human population.

Most of these end up on the streets at strays, spewing methane in this age of global warming. With culling a bad word now, the number, according to experts, will rise, “perhaps exponentially”.

India exported 2.4 million tonnes of buffalo meat to 65 countries in 2014-15, or 23.5% of global beef exports according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.

It was worth Rs 30,000 crore, accounting for 1% of India’s total exports, part of the “Pink Revolution” that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had so derisively talked about during the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign.

As far as the bovine economy goes, however, it was only a tiny sliver.

The biggest impact of the government notification will be on India’s largely non-mechanized rural economy, in which the life cycle of bulls and bullocks provides farmers with a sustainable economic model. A couple of former colleagues and I had worked out the math in an article for India Today magazine a couple of years ago.

If a farmer buys a bullock for Rs 25,000, it remains sellable at the same price for about two years. Once it becomes unproductive due to injury or illness, the farmer sells it for culling for about Rs 10,000. This 40% return on investment then allows the farmer to raise capital for a replacement animal.

If this replacement cost is taken away from the farmer, it not only makes it harder to procure a new set of healthy bullocks for ploughing, it adds the additional burden of paying for the animal’s upkeep.

In 2014, the used-cattle market in Maharashtra, for example, yielded an annual turnover of Rs 1,180 crore. When the state government banned the culling of cow and its progeny in 2015, a farmer with an unproductive bull suddenly had nowhere to go.

Since the average bovine consumes about 65 litres of water and 40 kg of fodder a day, estimates put the cost of taking care of a bull at nearly Rs 40,000 per year at 2015 prices. With an estimated 1.18 million unproductive bulls in Maharashtra alone, feeding them costs about Rs 4,700 crore per year.

The ban in Maharashtra did not include buffaloes, making the new government notification all the more unpalatable.

So, when anti-culling supporters celebrate taking away the most delicious item on the menu in Lucknow’s Tunday kababs or in a Goan shack, they should consider exactly what they’re losing, and ask themselves: Is depriving other people their meat really worth the cost? – Case Surrounding Killing of 7 Sikhs in UP Prison in 1994 Ongoing

Sikh24 Editors

Allahabad-Uttar Pradesh-India, 25 May 2017. In a case pertaining to the murder of 7 Sikh prisoners in Pilibhit Jail, the Allahabad High Court bench, comprising Justices Ramesh Sinha and Umesh Chandra Srivastva, has issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government to submit a reply by July 7.

Sikh24 has learnt that 24 out of a total 41 jail officials have received notice from the Allahabad Court in this case. The Allahabad High Court has fixed July 14 for the next hearing on case.

On the intervening night of November 8 & 9, Pilibhit Jail officials led by Jail Superintendent Vidhianchal Singh brutally thrashed 7 Sikh prisoners who succumbed to death in 1994.

In 2007, the District Court of Pilibhit had accepted an application moved by the Mulayam Singh Yadav led UP government for the withdrawal of the case against the jail officials.

Originally, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee had sought the indictment of all 41 jail officials deployed in the jail at that time.

Later, the DSGMC moved a plea in the Supreme Court of India seeking justice for the victims. The Supreme Court had then directed the DSGMC to lodge case in Allahabad High Court.

Sint-Truiden Halmaalweg

Sint-Truiden Halmaalweg
20 April 2017

Walking from the Gurdwara to the station

Omleiding Brussel – Luik (By-pass)
STVV Stadium

Modern church off the Halmaalweg

Clock tower

Modern church

Sint-Truiden Gazometerstraat
20 April 2017

Walking from the Gurdwara to the station

Construction of sports facilities ?

When I left Sint-Truiden in 2013 there were plans to construct sports facilities here

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

UK Election 2017: Sikh Identity Candidates

Gurnam Singh’s Article posted to Sikh News Discussion by Sardar Gurmukh Singh <>
Thursday, 25 May 2017

I broadly agree with the general principle that for democracies to function properly they should be representative of the population. However, this does not mean that we priorities identity over other important considerations.

For example, as a socialist, if I have the choice between supporting a Sikh candidate standing as an independent or for the Conservatives and a non Sikh standing for Labour, who should I support? Of course political ideology, though important, should not be the only criteria, and the track record of the candidate should be considered.

One of the arguments being made is that we should have more ‘turban wearing’ Sikhs. Whilst again, I recognise and sympathise the general desire for diversity, I am afraid, simply focussing on outward identity itself could be mistake.

We know for example the presence of turbans in Panjab and Indian political systems is and has not been a guarantor of Sikh interests.

Indeed, it was the turban wearing Chief Minister of Panjab, Beant Singh and his ‘trusted’ Chief of Police, K P S Gill who were instrumental in the extermination of a generation of Sikh youth in the 1980’s through a policy of extra judicial killing and illegal torture.

Even today, we are seeing at the head of many ‘respected’ Sikh institutions and seminaries men displaying multitude of turbans of different colours and designs overseeing what many critical commentators suggest is the systematic Brahminification of the Panth.

The turban is equivalent to a crown and is the symbol of respect, dignity and leadership or sardari. Sadly, because of the growth of global jihadism and most people’s inability to distinguish the nuances of turban styles, it has become a symbol of terror and mistrust.

And the greatest tragedy is that the Sikhs, a generally peace loving and law abiding community, the world over, has become the targets of a mistaken identity.

Add to this social media videos of turban wearing old and young men with flowing bears attacking gurdwaras and preachers, one could be accused of being somewhat weary of supporting candidates simply because they are wearing a turban.

Yes, bring on the turbaned Sikhs, but make sure they have something to offer beneath the turban that can not only protect but extend the honour of our crown that was bestowed upon us by our Gurus to serve humanity and fight all kinds of inequalities, discrimination and oppression.

Any candidate, turban wearing or not, who can demonstrate a commitment to such high ideas will certainly get my vote.

Gurnam Singh

Dr Gurnam Singh
Principal Lecturer in Social Work, Coventry University
School of Psychological, Social and Behavioural Sciences,
Coventry University, Priory Street,
Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
Tel (0044) (0)24 7765 7886

The Hindu – ‘Rumours’ drove assault on four Sikh men in Chainpura

Villagers accuse sewadars of ‘hypnotising’ them while seeking alms

Mohammed Iqbal

Chainpura (Nasirabad), 27 May 2017. Rumours and fear of the unknown purportedly drove villagers of Chainpura, about 160 km from Jaipur, to assault four Sikh men here last month. The villagers said the victims, sewadars of a gurdwara, had “hypnotised” them while demanding cash and foodgrain.

“They hypnotised us while seeking alms…In a trance, I gave away ₹2,500 and 20 kg of wheat,” said Keshav Singh (60), a farmer. The villagers at Chainpura, dominated by Rawat Rajputs, further accused the men of threatening them.

Molestation charge

“These Sikh men were roaming around for several days. They were asking villagers to donate foodgrain and threatening people who refused to do so,” said Ajay Rawat, who owns a wine shop in Pushkar.

The victims were also accused of child trafficking, molestation, robbery and selling low-quality rice. Earlier this week, a 51-second video of the sewadars being abused and thrashed by the villagers went viral on social media.

The victims, who fled to their native place Khairthal in Alwar district, have not returned to Nasirabad to seek action against the accused. The villagers claimed that the mob consisted of youth from the nearby Chat Sardarpura hamlet and not residents of Chainpura.

On a complaint lodged by Sarpanch Ramdev Singh, the police detained the four men after the thrashing episode on April 24 and released them the next day following their medical examination and bail orders. Even as no remorse is visible among the villagers, the police here are unwilling to follow up the matter and launch investigation into violence.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Jagdish Rao told The Hindu that no investigation could be initiated unless the victims filed a complaint.

“We asked the group’s leader, Nirmal Singh, to lodge a counter-complaint, but he refused. We cannot open a case [against the villagers] on our own,” he said.

Nasirabad Sadar Station House Officer Laxman Ram said he was in touch with the sewadars, but they were reluctant to come to the town again. “Mr. Singh told me on phone that a complaint would not serve any purpose now.”

While insisting that the incident should not be given a communal twist, Mr Ram said if the police had not reached the spot on time, the mob would have killed the men. “On the other hand, if we had released them without detention for a day, it would have created a law and order situation here,” he said.

Sikhs in the dark

The minuscule Sikh minority in Nasirabad was unaware of the incident until the video was circulated on social media. Singh Sabha Gurdwara’s caretaker Tirlochan Singh said the gurdwara volunteers from other places generally did not inform the local community members about their visits.

The incident bore similarities to the one in Jharkhand, where six persons were lynched on May 19 on suspicion of being child lifters. Last month, cow vigilantes allegedly lynched a dairy farmer from Haryana and thrashed three others on the Jaipur-Delhi National Highway claiming that they were taking the cows for slaughter.

The Indian Express – No mention of Bhim Army in UP government report

The report also sequences the events of May 9 and 23 that triggered clashes, with Rajputs allegedly stopping Dalits from installing a statue of B R Ambedkar inside the Ravidas temple at Shabbirpur village.

New Delhi, 26 May 2017. The UP government’s report on the recent violence in Saharanpur does not mention the Bhim Army, a group that has been spearheading the Dalit agitation in the area and has been accused of instigating violence.

The report, which was received by the Home Ministry on Thursday, says that on 5 May 5, BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal tried to take out a procession of Rajputs through a Dalit area to garland a bust of Maharana Pratap, stoking the violence.

The report also sequences the events of May 9 and 23 that triggered clashes, with Rajputs allegedly stopping Dalits from installing a statue of B R Ambedkar inside the Ravidas temple at Shabbirpur village.

MHA officials said that 400 Rapid Action Force personnel had been sent to Saharanpur to help the state government restore peace in the area. The UP government had requested the forces.

The Tribune – Four Sikhs thrashed in Ajmer, panel seeks report

Our Correspondent

Jaipur, 25 May 2017. The Rajasthan State Commission for Minorities today summoned the state police after a video showing four Sikh men beaten up by local residents of Chainpura in Ajmer district on April 24 has gone viral.

The 51-second shows the four men being abused and thrashed by a mob as people witnessing the incident filmed the entire episode, the police said.

After reviewing the video on WhatsApp and other links, commission chairman Jasbir Singh issued letters seeking personal appearance of the four victims, Nasirabad police, and people who lodged a complaint against the Sikhs in the next 10 days before the commission.

“The location is unidentified. In fact, I got a vehicle number traced and found that the incident happened somewhere in Ajmer. A factual report has been sought within 10 days,” Jasbir Singh said.

Additional Director General of Police (law and order) N Ravindra Kumar Reddy said the incident had occurred nearly a month-and-a-half ago in Chainpura village falling under Nasirabad Sadar police station of Ajmer district.

He said three-four sewadars (Sikh members) of a gurdwara from Alwar district had visited the village to collect donation. Some local residents had then beaten them up alleging that they molested their women. They were arrested and released on bail.

However, according to the police, the Sikh men were not found involved in molestation and were asked to file a cross FIR against those who thrashed them but they did not lodge any complaint.

Laxman Ram, SHO, Nasirabad Sadar, said the sarpanch of Chainpura had lodged a complaint following which four accused were arrested. They were released on bail.

Sint-Truiden Station & Halmaalweg

Sint-Truiden Station
16 April 2017

Waiting for the 12:45 to Blankenberge and Knokke
via Gent

Platform 2

A little train !

Sint-Truiden Halmaalweg
20 April 2017

Walking from the Gurdwara to the station

Halmaalweg just outside Halmaal-Dorp

Asparagus field
Fruit trees in the background

The footpath leading to the station
via the Tiensesteenweg roundabout 

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Sikh Federation – Should the General Election be postponed ?

London – 24 May 2017. Bhai Narinderjit Singh, the General Secretary of the Sikh Federation (UK) responding to the impact of the Manchester terror attack and decision to increase the terror threat level from severe to critical has called on party political leaders to seriously consider postponing the General Election on 8 June.

The last time the General Election was moved was in 2001 when Tony Blair postponed polling day by an entire month because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease which resulted in restrictions on movement in rural areas.

The country should not be going to the polls with the terror threat set at its highest level and with troops on the streets.

Bhai Narinderjit Singh said:

“Although it is not straightforward party leaders should come together, suspend campaigning for a week and agree to postpone the General Election by two weeks.”

“Election campaigning has rightly been temporarily suspended in a show of respect for the young people killed and injured. However, terrorists should be sent a strong and powerful message that our democratic process will not be compromised by their threats.”

“Suspending campaigning for a week and postponing the General Election by two weeks would show that whilst terrorism can cause disruption it cannot change our way of thinking, values and democracy.”

He continued:

“As further information is emerging regarding the Manchester terror bombing and how best to protect the public against suicide attacks it is not just about deploying troops to increase security to avoid an imminent attack that normally signals a critical threat level.”

“We must show respect for the children killed and allow time for the families and nation to grieve. A postponement would signal the need to deal with the imminent threat and get back to normal cause of business as soon as possible to declare terrorism will never succeed.”

“The General Election is fundamental to our democratic rights and too important for it to be disrupted by terrorists in this way. Safety and security of the public is critical at this point in time and a postponement would be the best way to indicate our democratic process and the rule of law will continue.”

With just two weeks to go before the General Election the current suspension of campaigning should not be used by any politicians as an excuse at a later date and a postponement of two weeks is the respectable and appropriate measure to take.

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

Dawn – Sikhs donate palanquin for holy book at museum

Shoaib Ahmed

Lahore, 25 May 2017. The Sikh community on Wednesday donated to the Lahore Museum a metallic palanquin with a wooden base for the Guru Granth Sahib, the religious book of the Sikhs, officials told Dawn.

Officials said 10 members of the Sikh Sangat donated the palanquin. The Guru Granth Sahib kept at the museum belonged to the times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The community members performed a ritual while placing the holy book in the palanquin, which had been brought from Amritsar to be permanently placed at the museum.

The Sikh community members lauded the efforts of the museum administration for properly preserving heritage of this region, particularly of the Sikh community.

Lahore Museum Additional Director Naushaba Anjum told Dawn that the event went really well. The museum contains a rare collection of artefacts linked to the Sikh community, especially from the time of Ranjit Singh. These artefacts could not be found anywhere in the world, she claimed.

The palanquin was placed in the ongoing exhibition of Sikh artefacts, Naushaba said, adding that the museum was considering declaring the general gallery where the exhibition was taking place as the Sikh gallery.

Though the exhibition was to conclude on May 30, but after the donation of the palanquin it would remain on display in August too, she said.

The exhibition featured paintings, weapons, intricate woodwork among a host of other items.

The museum features a rich collection of Sikh artefacts, including gold, silver and copper coins, as well as Ranjit Singh’s gold medals, miniatures including portraits of Sikh spiritual and political figures, clothing, furniture from the royal court, royal decrees and Sikh holy books.

The Lahore Museum is the ‘wonderhouse’ that figures in ‘Kim’ and of which Rudyard Kipling’s father was the director. The last time I visited, the famous Zamzama gun on which Kim and his friends played was still to be seen outside the Museum