The Indian Express – Punjab: Bansal lays stress on development, good governance and poverty elimination

Pointing out that India has suffered owing to lack of delivery, Basu said: “Poverty has always existed in India as a felt phenomenon.

Chandigarh, 31 March 2016. Former Union minister and PU fellow Pawan Kumar Bansal on Wednesday presided over a seminar to study the various aspects of governance and move towards a system of inclusive development and governance.

He was the chief guest during the two-day national seminar, “Innovations in Governance: Multi Disciplinary Perspectives”, organised by the department of public administration, University School of Open Learning (USOL) at Panjab University.

Bansal spoke about the innovative aspects of governance like citizen’s charter, e-governance and Aadhaar cards that have now resulted in the betterment of the society. “Innovation has to come from circumstances. At present, poverty is the biggest curse that India is reeling under.

Through efficient governance, the first target should be the elimination of poverty. The mindset of the people has to change and we need to realise that all of us are equal stakeholders in bringing in a system of effective governance,” Bansal said.

Professor Rumki Basu from Jamia Millia Islamia explained that the implementation of a world-class governance system in India is the primary mandate. “Many believe that the 21st century will be an Asian century led by China and India.

However, to achieve that, India needs to have a growth rate of 10 percent for the next 30 years. And this can only be achieved by developing a world-class governance system that comprises private and economic policies.”

Pointing out that India has suffered owing to lack of delivery, Basu said: “Poverty has always existed in India as a felt phenomenon. However owing to a weak public delivery and governance system and bureaucratic failures, we have failed to abolish this phenomenon.

In the first 40 years post Independence, there was a lack in the delivery of goods and services in the state systems. One could argue that democracy is a slower process and justify how an autocratic government in China ensured that there was no lag in delivery.”

Basu added that the public management must learn and adopt some practices of the private management and explained that public-private partnerships could contribute towards creating better governance mechanisms.

“There has been a paradigm shift in how we look at the government now. The government is now not a monopolistic provider of goods and services in a nation. The state’s capabilities need to be enhanced and public-private partnerships need to be adopted.”

She also went on to add that an index of good governance practices of the 29 states of India needs to be created and on the basis of the index, the best practices should be adopted across all states.

Later, professor Mamta Mokta from Himachal Pradesh University, spoke about how some countries are doing good governance to deliver efficient services to their citizens and highlighted the need for innovation and inclusiveness in governance.

Also present at the inaugural was councillor Saurabh Joshi, who spoke about improvising governance at the grass-root levels.

The Tribune – NHRC seeks report from state on bodies floating in canal

Sarbjit Dhaliwal, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 30 March 2016. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought an “action taken report” from the state government on a petition filed by Inderjit Singh Jaijee, convener, Movement against State Repression (MASR), with regard to bodies floating in the Bhakra Canal.

Jaijee had complained to the NHRC that every month about 30 to 40 bodies float to the Khanuri barrage on the Bhakra Canal.

However, the state government did not extend any support to fish the bodies out of the canal and relatives had to hire divers for the same, he stated. However, a police post has been set up near the barrage to keep the count of the bodies.

In his latest letter to the NHRC e-mailed earlier this week, Jaijee has stated that even the government authorities concerned had started creating hurdles in taking the bodies out of the canal.

“Police officials want that the bodies should be pushed further in the canal through the barrage so that they float downstream to Haryana’s territory,” said Jaijee.

“I have informed the NHRC,” Jaijee said, adding that respecting the dead was humanity and showing contempt towards bodies is a criminal act”. Jaijee said showing disrespect to somebody’s mortal remains was a violation of human rights.

He said a number of missing persons were declared dead only after their bodies were traced in the canal.

In his petition to the NHRC, Jaijee had stated that in August 2012, the Punjab and Haryana Court’s then acting Chief Justice Jasbir Singh had directed the Deputy Commissioner of Sangrur to install two over-head and two under-water CCTV cameras at the barrage to record the position of bodies and for taking them out.

The court had asked to install the overhead cameras within a month and the Municipal Committee of Khanuri was asked to maintain these CCTV cameras.

When questioned about the same, Additional Deputy Commissioner Arvind Kumar said the administration had been facing problems in finding requisite technology to install the underwater cameras.

He said the administration had put executive officer (EO) of the Khanauri Nagar Panchayat on duty to do the needful but the Nagar Panchayat was also facing financial and technological problems.

However, the Khanauri Nagar Panchayat had recently passed a resolution to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court to seek the review of its order passed in 2012.

To Brussel for ENAR Meeting – Guru Granth Gurdwara – Tree-planting in Southall Park

Going to Brussel for ENAR Meeting
03 December 2015


St Pancras International – Christmas non-tree


St Pancras International – 10.58 Eurostar to Brussels


Ebbsfleet – New Eurostar train
I took no pictures while in Belgium and
returned on the 4th of December to London

Southall Park tree planting
o5 December 2015


Guru Granth Gurdwara
45 Villiers Road
Southall, Middlesex UB1 3BS


Southall Transition working together with others
planting fruit trees in Southall Park


First dig a hole, than plant a tree

To see all my pictures :

More UK pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Hounslow Friends of Faith – Religious Freedom

Hounslow Friends of Faith are very pained by the recent incidents of deaths as a result of religious intolerance. We have already circulated our sadness about Brussels.

There have been others attacks – in Turkey aimed at Muslims, on families and children in Lahore in Pakistan directed at Christians and now the murder of Asad Shah in Glasgow, apparently because he was a member of the Ahmadiyya Community. Religious freedom is an increasingly significant issue for the UK, as for other countries around the world.

This last attack in Glasgow has been condemned by the Muslim Council of Great Britain, and many others. As the Interfaith Network for the UK has said, ‘attacks on, or intimidation of, groups and individuals of other beliefs is an extreme form of restriction of the religious freedom of others. We deplore these in the strongest terms.’

Hounslow Friends of Faith is a group which exists for the promotion of religious harmony for the benefit of the public in the Borough of Hounslow and surrounding areas.

We have as members, or are in touch with, individuals of all faiths and beliefs represented in the borough and of many of the different denominations within these faiths. In all faiths there are different perspectives and beliefs. We must respect other people’s freedom within the law to express these beliefs and convictions.

Where we disagree, we must not allow these beliefs or disagreements to lead to hostility or even violence in our relationships.

Let us all encourage better education, dialogue and engagement, and work together on the basis of our common values for increased understanding, cooperation and harmonious coexistence.

Charanjit Ajit Singh, Chair
Bessie White, Information Officer
Hounslow Friends of Faith
020 8560 5887 07812 833635

The Hindu – More claims likely in ‘RAW spy’ case

It is quite possible that Pakistan has made this all up to embarrass India,
it is equally quite possible that RAW is stirring up trouble in Balochistan

Man in Blue

National Bureau

New Delhi, 31 March 2016. Despite New Delhi’s stout denial of Pakistani claims about nabbing a senior R&AW operative, many in the Indian security establishment believe Islamabad will come out with more startling claims based on the alleged interrogation of Kulbushan Yadav.

Many officials said Pakistan could be expected to release statements based on Yadav’s claims.

“The effort would be to create three global impressions — one, that India is actively involved in creating unrest within Pakistan, especially in Balochistan; two, that he was working towards targeting Chinese in Gwadar port; three, India is using Iran as a base for such operations,” a senior official said.

“We can expect a series of videos and claims which will lead right up to the top,” another senior official said, pointing out that Pakistan had never had such a senior Indian officer in its custody. “The propaganda value is immense,” he said.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday accused Pakistan of cooking up stories to defame India and said the video showing the former Indian naval officer’s so-called confessions was doctored.

“The MEA [Ministry of External Affairs] has already come out with a statement regarding the forged, doctored video and the made-up story being created by the Pakistani establishment.

We don’t have to pay attention to that, and I feel that this is an internal game in the Pakistani establishment, their government, the Prime Minister and their agencies,” he said.

At least one source said New Delhi was working towards resolving the issue, and hinted that there was informal contact between the two sides. However, it might not succeed immediately, he admitted.

Published in: on March 31, 2016 at 7:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Statesman – PM Modi arrives in Belgium

Brussels, 30 March 2016. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday morning arrived in Brussels on the first leg of his three-nation tour to Belgium, the US and Saudi Arabia.

During the course of the visit Modi will attend the India-EU summit and the global nuclear security summit in the US.

On his daylong visit to Brussels on Wednesday, Modi will hold a bilateral summit with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and then attend the 13th India-European Union (EU) Summit.

On March 31, the prime minister will leave for Washington to attend the two-day Fourth Nuclear Security Summit to be hosted by US President Barack Obama.

On his way back, he will drop in at Riyadh for a bilateral visit to Saudi Arabia on April 2-3.

The Tribune – Three more US Sikh soldiers move court

Chandigarh, 29 March 2016. A lawsuit brought by three Sikh American soldiers was filed in a US federal court on Tuesday against the Department of Defence. Specialist Kanwar Singh, Specialist Harpal Singh and Private Arjan Singh Ghotra have sought the right to serve their country without being forced to compromise their religion.

The lawsuit, filed by the Sikh Coalition, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and McDermott Will & Emery, has demanded that the Army accommodate their religious articles of faith so that they can begin Basic Combat Training with their various units in May. The lawsuit was filed after the US Department of Defence ignored a letter that was sent on March 23.

The new lawsuit follows the March 4 federal court ruling that the Army was prohibited from subjecting a decorated Sikh American soldier, Captain Simratpal Singh, to unprecedented, discriminatory testing. A final Army decision regarding Capt Singh’s landmark religious accommodation request is due by March 31.

“We had hoped that we would not have to file a second lawsuit on behalf of three more Sikh soldiers, who simply want to practise their faith freely while serving their nation,” said Sikh Coalition’s legal director Harsimran Kaur. “However, the defence department has remained unresponsive.”

Last year, 27 retired US Generals had called on the Department of Defence to lift the ban on practising Sikhs. (TNS)

Brussel Zuid/Bruxelles Midi – St Pancras and return

To London St Pancras
01 December 2015


Brussel Zuid – Bruxelles Midi
Thalys TGV


Brussel Zuid – Bruxelles Midi
Eurostar to London St Pancras


Calais Frethun


UK – Ebbsfleet

Attack on Gurdwara
California USA


Gurdwara Buena Park
Fresno – California

To Brussel for ENAR meeting
03 December 2015


London St Pancras – Eurostar Check-in

To see all my pictures :

More UK pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

American Sikh Council – ASC strongly condemns deplorable terrorist attacks in Lahore

Press Release, 28 March 2016. The American Sikh Council (ASC) is shocked and distressed by the brutal act of violence against Pakistani Christians who were celebrating Easter Sunday at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, in central Lahore, when a suicide bomber blew himself up a few yards from a children’s play area on March 27, 2016.

Currently, at least 70 people, mostly women and children have been killed at a crowded park in Pakistan in a suicide blast that also wounded more than 300 people, officials said.

The police and paramilitary are on a nationwide manhunt trying to apprehend the main suspects. The military has already raided several locations and found huge caches of arms and bomb making material.

The American Sikh Council (ASC) sends its heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have been taken away by this unspeakable tragedy. We pray for a speedy and full recovery of the injured.

Our prayers are with all the victims, their families, and local community. May the Almighty lighten your burden, and grace you with hope and healing under these very difficult circumstances. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of profound tragedy and grief.

Such heinous acts in the name of religion must be condemned in the strictest manner and the American Sikh Council (ASC) stands in solidarity with the civilized world.

Religious extremism which culminates in any form of violence must be rejected by all and the full weight of the law must be brought to bear on it in order for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

The American Sikh Council is the umbrella organization representative of Sikhs in the United States. It is an elected body of Sikh Gurdwaras and institutions. Currently 71 Gurdwaras and other Sikh institutions across the nation are members of ASC.

The major governing purpose of the organization is to represent the collective view of Sikhs in the United States. ASC works to promote Sikh interests at the national and international level focusing on issues of advocacy, education, and well-being of humankind.


Inderpreet Singh
Media and Public relations

American Sikh Council
P.O. Box 932, Voorhees, NJ 08043, USA

Dawn – Government airs video of Indian spy admitting involvement in Balochistan insurgency

Islamabad, 29 March 2016. In a joint press conference by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) head Lt Gen Asim Bajwa and Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid on Tuesday, a video of arrested Indian Navy officer Kulbushan Yadav was aired in which he confessed to involvement in terror activities in Balochistan and Karachi.

Terming the Indian spy’s arrest a ‘big achievement’, Bajwa said Yadav was directly handled by the RAW chief, the Indian National Security Adviser and the RAW joint secretary.

“His goal was to disrupt development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with Gwadar port as a special target,” Bajwa said, adding, “This is nothing short of state-sponsored terrorism… There can be no clearer evidence of Indian interference in Pakistan.”

“If an intelligence or an armed forces officer of this rank is arrested in another country, it is a big achievement,” Bajwa said, before going on to play a video of Yadav confessing to Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) involvement in Balochistan separatist activities in Pakistan.

In the video, Yadav, who hails from Mumbai, said he had joined India’s National Defence Academy in 1987 before going on to join the Indian Navy in 1991.

“I am still a serving officer in the Indian Navy and will be due for retirement in 2022,” he said.

“By 2002, I commenced intelligence operations. In 2003, I established a small business in Chabahar in Iran. As I was able to achieve undetected existence and visits to Karachi in 2003 and 2004 and, having done some basic assignments within India for RAW, I was picked up by RAW in 2013 end,” Yadav said.

Since then, he said he has been directing various activities in Karachi and Balochistan “at the behest of RAW”, adding that he had played a role in the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi.

“I am basically the man for Mr Anil Kumar Gupta who is the joint secretary of RAW and his contacts in Pakistan,” he said, “especially in the Baloch student organisation”. His purpose was to meet Baloch insurgents and carry out “activities with their collaboration”, he explained.

“These activities have been of anti-national or terrorist nature,” he said, as they resulted in the “killing or maiming of Pakistani citizens”.

Yadav’s arrest

Law enforcement agencies arrested Yadav in an intelligence-based raid in Balochistan’s Chaman near the shared border with Afghanistan last week.

The Indian Foreign Ministry earlier confirmed the arrested man was a former Indian Navy officer, but the Pakistani government claimed to have recovered travel documents and multiple fake identities of Yadav, establishing him as an Indian spy who entered into Balochistan through Iran — holding a valid Iranian visa.

Yadav was shifted to Islamabad for interrogation, during which an unnamed official said the spy revealed that he had purchased boats at the Iranian port in Chabahar in order to target Karachi and Gwadar ports in a terrorist plot. The official had said the ‘RAW agent’ is believed to be expert at Naval fighting techniques.

After Yadav’s arrest, Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to lodge a strong protest over ‘India’s spying activities’ in Balochistan and Karachi.

Following revelations by the Indian spy, security was tightened across Balochistan, especially at the shared borders with Iran and Afghanistan.

Yadav’s arrest occurred just days before a possible meeting between the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, whose meeting to restart the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) in January was derailed by the Pathankot attack.

At the beginning of March, foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz had said that foreign-secretary levels talks would resume after the probe team’s visit. The Pathankot Joint Investigation Team left for New Delhi on Sunday (today) and is expected to investigate the attack over the next week.

Pakistan and India had agreed to resume peace talks under the newly-coined phrase of CBD during Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia Conference last year.

The dialogue was to take on matters related to peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Tulbul Navigation Project, economic and commercial cooperation, counter-terrorism, narcotics control and humanitarian issues, people to people exchanges and religious tourism.