The Hindustan Times – No government until BJP assures on Mufti’s vision: Mehbooba

Srinagar, 31 January 2016. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday told her party’s core group that she was not averse to forming the government in Jammu and Kashmir but this cannot happen unless she has assurances from the ally BJP that her late father’s vision would be fulfilled.

Presiding over the meeting of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders, Mehbooba Mufti, according to party sources, said she needed concrete assurances from the coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party that the vision of late chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed about equitable development and peace in the state would be fulfilled.

“The core group meeting was called today (on Sunday) to basically discuss party affairs like its membership campaign and reaching out to people. However, some leaders and legislators wanted to know Mehboobaji’s views on government formation,” a party leader said.

“She told them she was not averse to government formation, but she won’t burn her fingers for nothing. She spoke about Mufti Sahib taking a big decision by deciding to form an alliance with the BJP but his dream remained largely unaddressed during his 10-month tenure,” said the source.

According to him, Mehbooba Mufti said that she cannot decide to claim power in the state simply because that would make her the chief minister.

From Sunday’s closed-door PDP deliberations, it has become clear that the impasse over the government formation in the state will continue.

Jammu and Kashmir was placed under the Governor’s rule on January 8 after Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away on January 7 in New Delhi after a brief illness, and Mehbooba Mufti did not step forward to stake claim to form the government.

The Tribune – Indo-Canadian Sikh elected head of Police Services Board

Toronto, 30 January 2016. An Indo-Canadian Sikh has been unanimously elected as the head of Canada’s Peel Police, the country’s third largest municipal police force.

Amrik Singh Ahluwalia was voted as the new chair of Ontario’s Peel Police Services Board after receiving backing from Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

“My first thoughts are, what a wonderful country we live in,” Ahluwalia said, immediately after yesterday’s unanimous vote.

Noting that he arrived in Canada decades ago “with $7 in my pocket”, Ahluwalia said he couldn’t have fathomed at the time that one day he would be bestowed with the “honour” and responsibility of what was bestowed upon him.

“I am honoured. This is a great responsibility, I take with humility and with a sense of purpose that I want to do my very best,” he said, adding that the board and the force would work to improve things “collaboratively”.

“I will do my best to serve the public and serve the police force… the men and women in the force who day in and day out do such an exemplary job,” Toronto Star quoted Ahluwalia as saying.

Ahluwalia was first appointed by the provincial government to the board in February 2011 and re-appointed for a second term in April 2014.

After Navdeep Singh Bains and Harjit Singh Sajjan who became the first Sikh Cabinet ministers in Canada, Ahluwalia is the third Indo-Canadian to rise in the country’s government affairs.

A business leader with extensive background in manufacturing and petro-chemicals, Ahluwalia has organised several youth camps and served as President of Sikh Society Calgary. He is a volunteer with Seva Food Bank Mississauga.

The Peel Regional Police is Canada’s third largest municipal police force, responsible for the provision of adequate and effective police services, law enforcement and crime prevention within the region, a duty it discharges through the enactment of policies.

The board is responsible for the police budget, oversees the actions of the chief of police and is the employer for the members of the police service. (PTI)

Human Rights Without Frontiers International – India: Human rights group says India needs to do more to defend religious freedom

29 January 2016

WSJ, 29 January 2016. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government did little to improve the protection of religious freedom in India last year, says a new Human Rights Watch report.

The New York-based advocacy group’s World Report for 2015 pointed to a series of violent attacks on religious minorities in the country including the September killing of a Muslim man by a Hindu mob who suspected him of slaughtering a cow for food.

The killing sparked a debate in India over whether the rise of Mr. Modi, who has Hindu nationalist roots, has emboldened people eager to push a religious agenda.

“The authorities did not press robustly for prosecution of those responsible for violent attacks on minorities, and impunity for the assailants contributed to a sense of government indifference to growing religious intolerance,” the report’s section on India said.

Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist has deep roots in Hindu nationalism. Hindus make up 80% of India’s population and many of them don’t eat beef. Cows are considered holy in Hinduism.

The Human Rights Watch report drew attention to a series of attacks on Christian houses of worship and a school in India’s national capital last year.

In February, intruders vandalized a church in Delhi, scattering communion wafers on the altar and stairs. The attacks prompted “fears of growing Hindu nationalist militancy under the BJP government,” the report said.

Spokesmen for the BJP did not respond Thursday or Friday to requests for a reaction to the report.

Last year, after the churches were attacked, Mr. Modi made broad appeals for religious harmony.

“My government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the minority or the majority to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly,” he said in a speech to Catholics in February.

In October, in an interview with a local newspaper, he was quoted saying that incidents of inter-religious violence were “unfortunate” and could be “solved via dialogue.”

In May, India’s government rejected findings of similar report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a government organization that advises the US president on religious freedom around the world. That report put India on a list of countries that engage in or tolerate violations of religious freedom.

At that time, India’s foreign ministry said the report appeared to “be based on limited understanding of India, its constitution and its society.”

The Human Rights Watch report also expressed concern about the Indian government’s restrictions on non-governmental organisations.

In April, the government froze bank accounts belonging to Greenpeace India’s arm and suspended the environmental group’s foreign funding license. It claimed that the group underreported its foreign funding. Greenpeace India denied that it had broken the national foreign-funding law.

“The Indian government’s clampdown on dissent this year undermines the country’s long and rich tradition of free expression,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Wednesday.

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Dawn – Demolition of Babri mosque shamed India: Mukherjee

Monitoring Desk

Karachi, 31 January 2016. From the controversial and fateful storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar to the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination to the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has been privy to many significant events in Indian history.

In the second volume of his memoirs, “The Turbulent Years: 1980-96”, released this week by Vice President Hamid Ansari, he has revealed what transpired behind the scenes during such events.

In his book, the Indian president termed the inability to prevent the demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992 one of P V Narasimha Rao’s biggest failures as prime minister.

He also talks about how the incident “deeply wounded the sentiments of the Muslim community in India and abroad.

“The demolition of the Babri Masjid was an act of absolute perfidy, which should make all Indians hang their heads in shame. It was the senseless, wanton destruction of a religious structure, purely to serve political ends. It deeply wounded the sentiments of the Muslim community in India and abroad.

“It destroyed India’s image as a tolerant, pluralistic nation where all religions coexist in peace and harmony,” he writes.

“In fact, the foreign minister of an important Islamic country later pointed out to me that such damage had not been inflicted on a mosque even in Jerusalem, which has seen religious conflicts for centuries.”

Talking about the Operation Blue Star in 1984 to flush out terrorists from the Golden Temple, he has recalled that then prime minister Indira Gandhi “understood the situation well and was clear that there was no other option. Aware that her own life was at risk, she took a conscious decision to go ahead in the best interest of the nation”.

“It can easily be said that the military operation could have been avoided. However, nobody really knows if any other option would have worked,” he says.

“Such decisions are always taken based on the conditions prevailing at that time. The situation in Punjab was abnormal. Urgent action was needed to put an end to the indiscriminate killings, the misuse of religious sites for terrorist activities and all efforts to break up the Indian union.”

About the aftermath of Mrs Gandhi’s assassination, Mr Mukherjee writes: “After some time, he (Rajiv) came back and announced, ‘She is dead.’ There was absolute silence. Tears started rolling down my face, and I wept inconsolably, managing to compose myself only after some time and with great effort.

“Rajiv was exceptionally calm and displayed total control and fortitude, possibly a trait he had inherited from his mother.”

Explaining how the party stalwarts decided to elevate Rajiv Gandhi to the post of prime minister, the Indian president says: “Once we were able to regain some semblance of composure, we began discussions on what was to be done next.

Balram Jakhar, Ghani Khan Choudhury, Shyamlal Yadav, Uma Shankar Dikshit and Sheila Dikshit (Congress leaders) started discussing the future course of action amongst themselves, and I joined in a bit later….

“At the conclusion of the discussion, it was decided that we should request Rajiv Gandhi to take over as the full-fledged prime minister to meet the challenge posed by this extraordinary situation. Somebody suggested that I formally make this request to Rajiv and work out the modalities to be followed.

I took Rajiv to the rear of the aircraft and requested him to take over as prime minister. His immediate question to me was, ‘Do you think I can manage?’, ‘Yes,’ I told him, ‘we are all there to help you. You will have everyone’s support’.

In his book, Mr Mukherjee has also sought to dispel a perception that he aspired to become interim prime minister after Mrs Gandhi’s assassination, terming these stories as “false and spiteful”.

Mr Mukherjee also says he was left “shell-shocked and flabbergasted” at his ouster from Rajiv Gandhi’s cabinet.

Talking about circumstances that led to his ouster from the cabinet and then from the party, he says: “To the question of why he dropped me from the cabinet and expelled me from the party, all I can say is that he made mistakes and so did I.”

After his expulsion from the party in April 1986, Mr Mukherjee formed Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress. He returned to Congress in 1988. – Sikhs for Justice Files Petition With the Portugal Ministry of Justice Regarding Bhai Pamma’s Case

Sikh24 Editors

Lisbon, Portugal, 28 January 2016. As per latest information availed from sources working on Bhai Paramjit Singh Pamma’s case, the Portuguese authorities have apparently toughened the extradition process for the Indian authorities. Sikh24 has learnt that the Portuguese authorities have transferred Bhai Pamma’s extradition case to the Ministry of Justice there.

Legal Adviser of the Sikhs for Justice, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has moved a parallel petition before the Ministry of Justice in Portugal appealing him to consider the double standards being followed by Punjab government.

As per the latest updates, Mr. Pannun has apprised the Ministry of Justice that all the co-accused in the cases being framed against Bhai Pamma by the Punjab police have already been acquitted by the court.

The next hearing on the case has been scheduled for February 15 and the team of Punjab police officials would return back to India within a day or two.

The Portugal government follows two forms of procedures in extradition process. In the first process, the Ministry of Justice directs the court whether to execute trial of extradition case or to end it.

Second procedure is followed for exceptional cases and the administrative phase seeking decision from Ministry of Justice is skipped in this procedure. Bhai Pamma’s extradition case has not been marked exceptional untill now.

Visiting Javinder Singh in Bristol

National Express
Victoria Coach Station
To Bristol


National Express Coach ready for departure


Bristol Nova Scotia Place


Nova Scotia Hotel


Floating Harbour
Man in Blue
Picture by Javinder Singh


Floating Harbour
Man in Blue
Picture by Javinder Singh


Man in Blue and reconstruction of historical ship
Picture by Javinder Singh

To see all my pictures :

More UK pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Hindu – One-man panel to probe Rohith suicide

Special Correspondent

It will fix accountability in the context of UGC norms that address discrimination in universities.

New Delhi, 29 January 2016. The Human Resource Development Ministry on Thursday appointed Ashok K. Roopanwal, a former judge of the Allahabad High Court, as the one-man commission of inquiry into the circumstances that led to the January 17 suicide of Hyderabad University research scholar Rohit Vemula.

The Dalit scholar had taken his life after the university’s executive council expelled him and four other students from the hostel. His death led to widespread protests by students nationwide.

The commission has also been asked to fix accountability in the context of the UGC guidelines, framed in 2012, which addressed discrimination at universities and colleges.

The UGC (Promotion of Equity in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012, were drafted after two suicides in institutes of higher learning. But the suicide among young students continued, leading to questions about the implementation of the rules.

In its report submitted on January 22, a two-member fact-finding committee, set up by the Ministry, faulted the university administration for failing to address the situation, leading to the suicide.

But the committee did not say anything against the HRD Ministry, though students alleged that pressure from the Ministry forced the university authorities to expel the students.

The students of the university have been on strike since the suicide of Vemula, demanding the resignation of Vice- Chancellor Appa Rao Podile and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya. They have questioned the Ministry’s decision to appoint Vipin Srivastava as interim Vice-Chancellor, alleging that he played a role in the expulsion of five students.

The UGC notification deals with specific acts of discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion, language, ethnicity, gender, and disability. And the guidelines have spelt out the mechanism to address discrimination on campuses.

Tomorrow limited service & no uploads on Sunday

Evi & I are going to Den Haag and Rotterdam tomorrow & Sunday

In Den Haag the Gurdwara at the Herman Costerstraat will move to new premises, and our brother Theodorus Singh Teekgur will be one of the Panj Piare in the Nagar Kirtan

On Saturday we will attend the Sunday Divan in the Rotterdam Gurdwara.

Therefore I will only upload two articles and one Pictorial tomorrow morning
On Sunday no uploads at all

Man in Blue

Parliament Square : No third Heathrow runway & Visiting Javinder Singh in Bristol

Parliament Square
No third runway !
10 October 2010

Hammersmith says :
No more noise; Nu more air pollution; No more Heathrow


Cllr Jon Ball and Caroline Pidgeon AM


Zac Goldmith


Zac Goldmith
No new runways


Caroline Pidgeon & Ealing Lib Dems

To Bristol to visit Javinder Singh & Parivar
16 October 2015


National Express
Bristol departure 14:00 Service 040

To see all my pictures :

More UK pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Indian Express – Khadoor Sahib: After nominating candidate, Congress opts out of bypoll

The Khadoor Sahib bypoll, to be held on February 13, was necessitated after Congress MLA Ramanjit Singh Sikki resigned citing the incident.

Kanchan Vasdev

Chandigarh, 28 January 2016. After keeping everybody guessing for over a week, the Punjab Congress Wednesday announced that it has opted out of the Khadoor Sahib byelection, with party president Captain Amarinder Singh citing the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari as the reason.

Holding Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal responsible for the desecration at Bargari in Faridkot district, Amarinder said the Congress would not contest in protest as the issue was still unresolved.

The Khadoor Sahib bypoll, to be held on February 13, was necessitated after Congress MLA Ramanjit Singh Sikki resigned citing the incident.

“We will take action against the CM if his involvement is established, when we are voted to power,” Amarinder said, adding that a judicial commission would be constituted to look into the desecration as well as the police firing in Behbal Kalan.

“Let them (SAD), who call themselves the champions of Sikh issues, tell the people of Khadoor Sahib as to why the Congress stayed out of the contest,” the Congress president said in a press conference here.

The party did not file nomination papers today, the last day for doing so.

Amarinder said the decision was taken after Sikki wrote to him saying he was hurt at the desecration and did not want to be a part of the same government again. “I could see the point Sikki was making. I forwarded his letter to general secretary incharge Dr Shakeel Ahmad who forwarded it to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

She had cleared his name but had left it to the state Congress to decide,” Amarinder said. He added the decision to stay away was taken three days ago.

Interestingly, Amarinder’s poll strategist Prashant Kishor had also advised the Congress president to not contest the byelection as it would mean wasting time, resources and energy on one constituency.

Responding to accusations that the Congress was chickening out of a contest under his leadership, Amarinder said, “For the last 47 years, I have never backed out of a fight. I have resigned from important positions. I have even fought against my own party. I have a track-record of credibility”.

On whether there was a disconnet between the high command and the state unit as the high command had nominated Sikki officially on Tuesday, Amarinder said he gets along well with the party president and vice-president: “There is no disconnect”.

He also said that his party cadre would boycott the election. “I am not saying anything to anybody. But they (cadre) are going to boycott the polls. I strongly believe that the poll percentage would come down to a record low this time”.
AAP imprint on Congress plans.

While he has repeatedly said that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was not a threat to more established parties in Punjab, state Congress president Amarinder Singh’s action plan for his party had a distinct AAP imprint. As part of the plan, which he unveiled on Wednesday, Amarinder said he had set up an agri-reforms committee that would submit a report to him.

“This report would be handed over to the party’s manifesto committee,” Captain said. AAP is already studying agricultural and economic problems being faced by the state and has announced to redress these if voted to power.

Amarinder also said he was attempting to catch the attention of youth in Punjab, considered a AAP vote-bank of AAP. The Congress president said he would interact with students of 1,400 institutes across the state.

AAP effect?

Did AAP play a role in forcing the Congress to quit on the last day of filing of nominations? While Amarinder said the final decision was taken three to four days ago, his confidantes and Sikki’s aides were claiming that the party was set to file its nominations, even minutes before Amarinder addressed the media.

Sources told The Indian Express that they were wary of AAP filing nominations at the last minute. Also, it is learnt that while Shakeel met Sonia on Saturday and informed her about Amarinder’s decision. Sources said Sonia did not want to be directly involved with taking the sensitive decision related to Sikhs and hence left it to Amarinder.