The Hindustan Times – AAP ousts nine leaders for ‘anti-party’ activities in Punjab

HT Correspondent

Chandigarh, 28 September 2016. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday ousted nine senior party leaders, including some senior functionaries, who it said are involved in anti-party activities.

Most of those removed have been actively supporting Sucha Singh Chhotepur, who was sacked as party’s Punjab convener last month.

Among those removed include AAP’s national council member Paviter Singh and his wife Lakhwinder Kaur, member of the state women wing.

Paviter had accused party’s Punjab in-charge Sanjay Singh and national organisation building head Durgesh Pathak of demanding Rs 50 lakh for a ticket for his wife. Both Pathak and Sanjay had denied the charge.

Last week, Paviter alleged that he along with some other AAP members had gathered Rs 1 lakh party donation which was deposited in the personal account of state co-in-charge and Delhi MLA Jarnail Singh in January last year. Jarnail Singh did not give him a receipt for it, he said.

Jarnail had said there was “nothing wrong” in gathering donations for an election as long as he was accounting for it before the election commission.

The other leaders, who have been removed from the party, are state media team member Colonel (retd) Jasjit Singh Gill, circle in-charge Jagtar Singh, Harpal Singh of NRI cell, Amandeep Singh Bains, Baljit Singh Chahal, Colonel (retd) Dalwinder Singh Grewal and Amandeep Singh Boparai.

Most of these were actively assisting Chhotepur in the creation of his new party.

A party press release said these people “had maintained distance from the AAP in the recent past due to their anti-party activities. The AAP hereby clarifies that the party has nothing to do with these leaders anymore”.

Paviter to lodge police complaints

Reacting to the move, Paviter Singh said the AAP had “finally removed all doubts that it has completely deviated from the principles for which it was created”.

“The party has been taken over its Delhi leaders Durgesh Pathak, Sanjay Singh and Jarnail Singh,” he said. He would lodge police complaints on the basis of his earlier allegations, Paviter said.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/aap-ousts-nine-leaders-for-anti-party-activities-in-punjab/story-cn0SbHhWaiaNUQPFUUXZ3O.html

Advertisements

The Tribune – Two Indians charged with visa fraud in US

Apne munde !
Man in Blue

Washington, 28 September 2016. Two Indians in the US state of New Jersey have been charged with visa fraud for recruiting foreign nationals at a “pay to stay” college, where they maintained their clients’ student visa status with full-time work authorisations without having to attend classes.

Harpreet Sachdeva, 26, and Sanjeev Sukhija, 35, currently on a foreign worker visas and living in New Jersey have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud.

On April 5, 2016, 22 brokers, recruiters, and employers, including Sachdeva and Sukhija, were charged with enrolling foreign nationals in the University of Northern New Jersey (UNNJ), the justice department said in a statement on Tuesday.

Sachdeva and Sukhija were employed at Right OPT, a purported international student recruiting and consulting company located in Somerset, New Jersey.

UNNJ represented itself as a school that, among other things, was authorised to issue a document known as a “Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status – for Academic and Language Students,” commonly referred to as a Form I-20.

This document, which certifies that a foreign national has been accepted to a school and would be a full-time student, typically enables legitimate foreign students to obtain an F-1 student visa.

With the visa, they can enter or remain in the United States while they make normal progress toward the completion of a full course of study at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) accredited institution.

According to court papers, Sachdeva and Sukhija told Right OPT’s foreign recruits that for a fee, they could enroll at UNNJ without having to attend any classes and that their enrollment would enable them to fraudulently maintain their non-immigrant status.

With full knowledge that the recruits were not bona fide students and would not attend any course, earn credits, or make academic progress toward any legitimate degree at UNNJ, Sachdeva and Sukhija caused Forms I-20 to be issued to the foreign nationals.

The duo also caused the foreign nationals to be reported in government databases as legitimate foreign students.

In order to deceive immigration officials, Sachdeva, Right OPT’s foreign clients, and others obtained and created fraudulent student documents, including attendance records and transcripts, federal prosecutors said.

After enabling them to maintain their student visa status, Sachdeva and Sukhija also conspired to secure fraudulent work authorisations for some of their foreign clients.

In their guilty plea, they admitted that their intention was to profit from the scheme by outsourcing these foreign individuals through Right OPT as information technology consultants with various businesses in the United States for commissions. (PTI)

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/two-indians-charged-with-visa-fraud-in-us/301983.html

Wondelgem – Multicultureel Festival – Basisschool de Regenboog

Wondelgem, Multicultureel Festival
Sint-Sebastiaanstraat 8
26 June 2016

061-j-wondelgem-26-06-16

Last picture of the piper, his skindoo and dirk

061-k-wondelgem-26-06-16

Mehakpreet Singh, Balkar Singh, the magician and the historical dancers

061-l-wondelgem-26-06-16

More Sikhs in the mix !

061-m-wondelgem-26-06-16

Afghanis were also present

061-n-wondelgem-26-06-16

Chess players sat in a quite area

061-o-wondelgem-26-06-16

Prizes to be won

To see all my pictures:

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

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Observations and advice to voters on elections in Punjab in 2017

Eighth report from the Sikh Federation (UK) National Sikh Convention

London – 24 September 2016

Punjab assembly elections in 2017 present a dilemma for those like the Sikh Federation (UK) who believe and campaign for the establishment of an independent Sikh homeland. None of the mainstream political parties fighting the Punjab elections next year are at the moment prepared or permitted to question the concept of India’s ‘national integrity’.

This despite a common appreciation at the lack of recognition and discrimination against the Sikh minority since independence in 1947, widespread human rights violations for the last 40 years with no justice for the atrocities, including an attempted Genocide and now the threat of assimilation into the Hindu faith.

In a properly functioning democracy these would normally be excellent grounds to argue Sikhs must be allowed to exercise their right to external self determination and establish an independent Sikh homeland.

However, the mainstream political parties in Punjab are all under pressure to address Sikh issues to secure votes and the elections are generating a lot of interest in Sikhs overseas. Complete silence is not therefore an option for an organisation like the Sikh Federation (UK) that people look to for direction on political matters.

Politicians in Punjab also recognise Sikhs abroad are more informed about the current problems in Punjab than many local people.

Sikhs in the UK, Canada, USA and other countries overseas exist in their millions and are considered as key influencers in the Punjab elections. There are villages and towns in Punjab, especially in the Doaba region, where almost every family has a few members living abroad. Sikhs abroad want better protection of their religious interests and many have family, businesses and other interests in Punjab.

Sikhs from the West will also travel in large numbers to Punjab during the winter vacations in December-January. This year it will coincide with state elections expected in January 2017. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alone hopes that around 50,000 volunteers from across the world will come to Punjab before the elections to boost the AAP campaign.

The jam-packed National Sikh Convention did not really allow the overall message of the Sikh Federation (UK) regarding the elections in Punjab to properly come across.

The only real choice at present for those who vote in the Punjab elections is as one commentator put it to “vote for the least worst mainstream political party” as there is no chance of successfully electing those committed to the ideology of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale that Sikh independence is the ultimate solution to all the problems faced by Sikhs.

While Sikhs in Punjab need to support individuals standing in the elections who are competent and committed to achieve Sikh sovereignty there is no doubt that many Sikhs having experienced the current ruling coalition of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and BJP alliance and previously the Congress want change and are considering the AAP as a better option.

Opinion polls conducted in August suggest AAP will take anything from 60-75% of the 117 members of the Punjab Legislative Assembly. Whilst opinion polls may be wrong and are subject to change before the elections, AAP are clear favourites, although they will be damaged by the recent infighting and controversies.

From the Sikh Federation (UK) perspective the one thing that is absolutely clear is Sikhs and the voters of Punjab should reject the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)-BJP alliance and the Congress. Between them they were responsible for the assault on Sri Darbar Sahib in June 1984 and promoting human rights abuses and giving impunity to those responsible.

There is plenty of evidence that the Akali leadership in 1984 feared Sant Jarnail Singh Ji and desperately wanted to get back some power. Their alliance partner the BJP also has much to answer for, with L K Advani admitting in his book, ‘My Country My Life’ the BJP support for Operation Blue Star and the fact it had passed a resolution in 1984 wanting the attack sooner.

There is not a shadow of doubt the Akali leadership was responsible for inviting the assault on Sri Darbar Sahib in June 1984.

In 2014 it emerged Badal held a secret meeting with the then Union Home Minister P V Narsimha Rao, the Cabinet Secretary, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the Union Home Secretary in a guest house in New Delhi on 28 March 1984, wherein he sought military action on Sri Darbar Sahib to remove Sant Jarnail Singh Ji.

This alone makes Badal unfit to remain Chief Minister of Punjab.

Having been invited by the Akali leadership, the Congress government of Indira Gandhi was responsible for carrying out the military attack on Sri Darbar Sahib in June 1984 and used it to try and teach the Sikhs a lesson. It was the Congress centre who chose how and when to carry out the attack.

They timed the attack to coincide with the Martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, when thousands of pilgrims would have been trapped inside and chose to use the military, tanks and artillery to destroy the Akal Takht Sahib.

Congress took the opportunity that the Akali’s gave them to seal off Punjab and go from village to village arresting, torturing and killings Sikh men between 15-30 years of age, to slaughter a whole generation of Sikhs so they would never recover.

The Congress then led the Sikh Genocide of November 1984, although the BJP have also been implicated. What the Congress did in 1984 alone is unforgivable and we are confident the people of Punjab will remember this.

The record of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)-BJP alliance and the Congress is equally as bad when it comes to support for the widespread abuse of human rights and giving impunity to police officers involved in extrajudicial killings.

Bhai Gurjeet Singh, the Press Secretary of the Sikh Federation (UK), told those at the Convention that a year ago revelations came in the biography of K P S Gill ‘The Paramount Cop’ about the close relationship between this mass murderer and infamous Punjab police DGP and Parkash Singh Badal. The book made clear Badal’s anti-Sikh role as the two would meet regularly in Sector 9 Chandigarh and conspire to hunt and kill a generation of young Sikhs.

As the elections approach in Punjab there is considerable patting on the back from Akali supporters how after 21 years Badal and the BJP have temporarily released Professor Devinderpal Singh Bhullar. However, it was an insult to the rule of law, when Badal again came to power in 2012 and promoted the infamous Sumedth Saini, who has been in and out of controversies, to become the DGP in Punjab.

This was despite his record of being accused of serious human rights violations including abduction, illegal detention and torture and is currently under trial for murder.

In July 2008 Sumedh Saini was indicted for his involvement in the torture of Balwant Singh Multani and Balwant Singh Bhullar, father of Professor Devinderpal Singh Bhullar. According to the 2008 FIR, both Balwant Singh Bhullar and Bhai Balwant Singh Multani were tortured during their detention. Balwant Singh Bhullar was tortured so badly he lost his mental balance.

In December 1991 Balwant Singh Multani and Balwant Singh Bhullar were picked up and interrogated on the whereabouts of Professor Devinderpal Singh Bhullar. They were tortured in the presence of and on the orders of Saini, the then SSP. On 2 February 1992, Balwant Singh Bhullar was arrested again and tortured.

He was unable to walk properly and eat anything. On the seventh day, he was segregated and taken away and believed to have been disappeared. Subsequently Saini claimed that Balwant Singh Bhullar had died a natural death and that Professor Devinderpal Singh Bhullar had tried to assassinate him.

The Congress record on human rights abuses is similarly poor. Following the excesses in the mid-1980s, Presidents rule was imposed in June 1987 until February 1992 after which Congress politician Beant Singh became Chief Minister in Punjab.

His tenure as the chief minister became synonymous with widespread human rights violations. Many reports estimate over 25,000 people were abducted and killed under impressions of fake encounters to please the Narsimha Rao-led Congress government in Delhi.

After two terms the Badal-BJP alliance is on its way out unless something dramatic happens in the next few months. They are held responsible for grabbing land and real estate and stashing away money in foreign bank accounts, while the people of Punjab face unemployment, the farmer crises, a failing economy and the drugs menace – supply of drugs and widespread addiction – that is destroying future generations.

Corruption allegations associated with sifarish (patronage, influence peddling and nepotism) and the use of goons in day-to-day matters is also highly prevalent. These factors together strike at the heart of Sikhi in Punjab and if not brought to an end threaten to wipe out the Sikh way of life promoted by the Sikh Gurus.

Sikhs that are supporting the Badals or have formed alliances with them should take a good look at themselves. The Badals may soon be out of power and could be finished with an uncertain future for their supporters.

Although Badal and his son who gained total control of Sikh religious power in 2003 following the death of Gurcharan Singh Tohra, hand picking presidents of the SGPC and the Jathedars of the Akal Takht, will try and hold on in the SGPC elections that should follow.

However, the handling of the controversial pardon of Gurmit Ram Rahim, subsequent withdrawal of the pardon following intense pressure and the lack of action following the beadbi of Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Bargadi and other places are indefensible and will result in much opposition in the SGPC elections.

Voters in Punjab need to use their vote wisely and vote for change. They need to vote for those who will give some form of justice for human rights abuses by prosecuting police officers and permanently release all Sikh political prisoners.

The newly elected Punjab administration needs to establish the truth of what happen to the Sikhs prior to and following the Sikh Genocide in 1984. Those elected also need to safeguard and promote Sikhi and make sure their actions are beneficial for the people of Punjab and the land of our Gurus.

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

Posted by: sikh federation <sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk>

The Hindu – USA Security Advisor calls Doval, condemns Uri terror attack

Varghese K George

Washington, 29 September 2016. Ms. Rice strongly condemned the September 18 cross-border attack on the Indian Army Brigade headquarters.

The U.S. expects Pakistan to take effective steps to “delegitimise and combat” terrorist organisations and individuals, its National Security Advisor (NSA) Susan E Rice told her Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Wednesday.

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif had described Hizbul commander Burhan Wani as a “young leader murdered by the Indian security forces” in Jammu and Kashmir in his address to the UN General Assembly last week. India had taken strong exception to the statement, pointing out that it legitimised terrorism.

“Highlighting the danger that cross-border terrorism poses to the region, Ambassador Rice reiterated our expectation that Pakistan take effective action to combat and delegitimize United Nations-designated terrorist individuals and entities, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, and their affiliates,” said a statement by National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price.

Ms Rice strongly condemned the September 18 cross-border attack on the Indian Army Brigade headquarters in Uri and offered condolences to the victims and their families, said Mr. Price. The NSAs discussed the shared commitment of both countries to deepen collaboration on counterterrorism matters “including on UN terrorist designations.”

Meanwhile, the co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, Republican John Cornyn and Democrat Mark Warner promised to work within Congress to “pressure Pakistan to end any association with terrorist groups targeting India, put a stop to their cross-border incursions and take active and immediate steps to reign in homegrown terrorists.”

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Senators said they were “greatly concerned about the initial indications that the perpetrators of this attack (in Uri) were Pakistani and that the attack emanated from Pakistan.”

“If true, this attack would be just the latest in a series of deadly attacks in India conducted by Pakistan-based terrorist groups. We call on Pakistan to cooperate fully and transparently in this investigations and prosecute any individuals within its territory that participated in this horrendous attack,” the Senators wrote to Mr. Modi.

The Senators said Pakistan’s “possible involvement” in this attack underscored their broader concern about Pakistan’s “use of terrorism as a pillar of its foreign policies toward Afghanistan and India.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/us-security-advisor-calls-doval-condemns-uri-terror-attack/article9161332.ece

The Indian Express – Revenge for Uri attack? We already have it

We must not let ourselves be baited into a fight that can only damage us, we must not allow ourselves to blindly hate an entire people

Rohan Parikh

Op-Ed, 27 September 2016. In a masterstroke of political judo, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out in his thumping speech on Saturday, that Pakistan has failed its people. He laid down the gauntlet for India to fight Pakistan on a front where everyone wins – by challenging them to a race against poverty and unemployment.

He also made the critical and important distinction between the mostly innocent people of Pakistan and its monster of an army and state.

If we wish to do justice to the martyrs at Uri, and to the thousands of brave young soldiers that have given their lives for the nation, we must first understand what they died for.

Our soldiers did not die defending a vengeful, trigger-happy nation. They died defending our right to create a peaceful, stable, united, prosperous, and respected nation. A nation that can absorb a blow and move steadily forward.

In that respect, we have already had our revenge. Our revenge lies in the 300 million strong middle class we have created, in the hundreds of millions freed from extreme poverty, in our raucous free press, our fiercely independent Supreme Court, the IPL and our dominance of world cricket, the soft power of Yoga and Bollywood, and the global success of our MNCs.

Today, we sit at every global table and are a critical part of all global forums (while Pakistan generally finds itself seated solely on the ones on terror).

To use a business analogy – when your career is going well, you are rapidly ascending the corporate ladder, and providing a better life for your family, you do not get into a fist fight with the neighborhood lout who keeps needling you out of jealously. You plow ahead and let your success be the revenge.

If this week’s news is to be believed, while India debated what constitutes a proportional response, Pakistan’s Army flew fighter jets above its capital, whipping its population into a state of panic. This pretty much encapsulates what India is up against: A belligerent, paranoid army, whose interests are not aligned with those of its people, and whose survival depends on a constant state of panic and fear.

Knowing that India cannot be challenged militarily, and protected by their own nuclear weapons, their response has been to try to bleed India through asymmetric warfare – encouraging terrorism on our soil, and trying to keep tensions just high enough to justify their existence (the so called “death by a thousand cuts” policy).

Where previous governments have struggled to respond, Modi has disrupted this status quo, through a string of speeches starting from his Independence Day address.

First, by differentiating between the Pakistani people and the Pakistani military leadership, Modi places India firmly on the moral high ground.

Modi’s challenge to Pakistan, in the face of grave provocation, to a war on poverty will resound well in capitals across the world. Further, this will cement the perception of India as a responsible country stuck with an unstable, dangerous neighbour.

Second, Modi has struck a direct blow to the pride of the Pakistani army and government by exposing their total failure in their responsibility to their people. He has a knack for finding the soft underbelly of his opponents and striking there.

By trumpeting India’s social and economic successes versus Pakistan’s failures, he has taken the conversation beyond a simple tit-for-tat accounting of people killed. He has widened the game to a field where Pakistan is at a disadvantage.

Critically, in signature style, couched within Modi’s restraint is a very direct threat through his reference to Baluchistan. Pakistan’s supposed Islamic solidarity and championing of the “oppressed Kashmiri” has always been hypocritical.

Resource-rich Baluchistan was annexed, against its will, to Pakistan in 1948 and since then a long running independence struggle has ensued. The Pakistani Army and Government have long practiced brutal political repression in this province with accusations being made of mass killings, human rights violations, and targeted rape.

Modi’s message to Pakistan is unequivocal – continue to stir up trouble in Kashmir, and we will respond by supporting the freedom fighters in Baluchistan.

Trouble in Baluchistan puts the Pakistan Army in the awkward position of condemning the supposed repression of Muslims in Kashmir, while simultaneously repressing Muslims within their own borders.

It would sap their popularity and strain their already stretched resources. A loss of Baluchistan (comprising 40 per cent of Pakistan’s land mass) would be devastating.

Finally, Modi has silenced criticism from India’s chicken-hawks – every ready to call for war, without really knowing the huge cost that it entails.

His message to them is – we are winning, let us focus of our areas of victory and not be distracted by the inevitable set back. We cannot stop all attacks, but we are strong enough to absorb a few blows and determined enough to strike back in a manner that is most beneficial to us.

I think the nation would do well to support the Prime Minister’s lead. We must not let ourselves be baited into a fight that can only damage us, we must not allow ourselves to blindly hate an entire people, and instead, we should trust this government to respond in a manner befitting our global status.

Views expressed by the author are personal.
You can follow him on Twitter @rohanaparikh

http://indianexpress.com/article/blogs/revenge-for-uri-attack-pakistan-narendra-modi-we-already-have-it/

Sikh24.com – 2017 assembly polls: Manpreet Badal seeks life-time ban on candidates who lure voters

Sikh24 Editors

Bathinda, 27 September 2016. Vice-President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Manpreet Badal has sought lifetime ban on the candidates who lure the voters with liquor or by other means.

Speaking with Sikh24 on September 26, Manpreet said that he has urged the Election Commission of India to take suitable actions to bring transparency in the voting system.

The PPCC’s Vice-President has also sought the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used in other states that issues receipt for every vote. The move has already been approved by the Election Commission to ensure there are no discrepancies during the 2017 elections.

“Local machines can be tampered easily, and we need to make sure every party is given a fair chance,” he said.

Manpreet Badal came to the fore when he launched the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) in 2011, however, despite having large support from masses in Punjab and abroad, PPP failed to secure a victory in the elections. Many people alleged EVM tampering as the reason behind PPP’s loss.

Manpreet also informed that the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee will issue 117 constituency specific manifestos beside the main manifesto portraying strategies of Congress to move Punjab into a better future.

2017 assembly polls: Manpreet Badal seeks life-time ban on candidates who lure voters

Wondelgem – Multicultureel Festival – Basisschool de Regenboog

Wondelgem, Multicultureel Festival
Sint-Sebastiaanstraat 8
26 June 2016

061-d-wondelgem-26-06-16

Folkdancers

061-e-wondelgem-26-06-16

Folkdancers

061-f-wondelgem-26-06-16

Belgian piper in full highland dress
Sgian Dubh (skindoo) in the sock
Dirk hanging from his belt

061-g-wondelgem-26-06-16

Piper and drummer

061-h-wondelgem-26-06-16

Sgian Dubh (skindoo) in the sock

061-i-wondelgem-26-06-16

 The piper and the drummer

To see all my pictures:

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

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Challenges presented by the Modi-led BJP government and how these are being handled

Seventh report from the Sikh Federation (UK) National Sikh Convention

London, 22 September 2016

Addressing the Convention, Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), reminded everyone that since Modi came to power his BJP government had made clear it is concerned with three main matters as regards Sikhs in the UK.

Firstly, large protests that damage the Indian image; secondly the reach of the Sikh media that is being used by the likes of the Sikh Federation (UK) to spread anti-India propaganda and promote the demand for a Sikh homeland and finally political activities detrimental to the Indian state.

They have also made clear their number one target is the Sikh Federation (UK) as it leads the way on protests, media exposure and political activities.

Preventing large protests that damage the Indian image – Historically the Indian Government has been concerned with the massive annual June protest that freedom loving Sikhs from across the globe look to as the premier event of the year in relation to commemorating June 1984.

Although this protest has continued for 32 years numbers in attendance did dip in the mid to late 1990s. However, from the 20th anniversary onwards, more or less coinciding with the establishment of the Sikh Federation (UK), the remembrance event has been taken to a new level with a greater focus on English speakers and whenever possible a Freedom Rally in the iconic Trafalgar Square.

The Indian authorities have and continue to use various means to disrupt the June event with direct pressure on the UK Government, including public bodies like the Metropolitan Police and Greater London Authority (GLA) as well as the Sikh media.

They have and continue to also use agent provocateurs from within the Sikh community to cause various forms of disruption. For instance, they made a big push for two events on the 30th anniversary to divide the Sikh community, but were exposed and were unsuccessful.

In more recent years there have been several large protests involving thousands of protesters organised at short notice on weekdays that have attracted significant media attention and stunned the Indian authorities.

These protests have troubled India as they have been linked to current incidents or campaigns in Punjab and have included stopping the execution of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, the hunger strikes of Bhai Gurbaksh Singh and Bapu Surat Singh and most recently the Sikh Lives Matter protest last November in response to disrespect of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Punjab and the killing of innocent Sikhs that were protesting.

Policing of peaceful protests involving sit downs will need to be carefully managed going forward as there appears to be Indian pressure on the British authorities to use heavy handed tactics. Despite the divisive tactics used by the Modi regime to try and discredit the need for protests and pressure imposed on the Sikh media there was a huge turnout at this year’s June commemoration.

This reminded India that despite Modi’s efforts to try and obstruct the June remembrance event through various means, India had failed abysmally to damage this peaceful Sikh remembrance and call for freedom.

The Sangat and Gurdwaras have made clear the June remembrance is one event they will never forget until Sikhs secure their freedom. Publicity or no publicity it appears all the Sangat and Gurdwaras want to know is the date and location for the event as it has become a permanent fixture in the calendar.

Controlling the Sikh media – Following Modi’s visit in November 2015 it is a fact that considerable pressure was applied on the Sikh media to kerb promotion of the annual June Remembrance March and Freedom Rally and limit the time for the Sikh Federation (UK) to publicise its work and activities.

For example, the weekly TV programme presented by the Sikh Federation (UK) has remained suspended following Modi’s visit in November last year. To a large extent the Modi government has been successful in pressuring the Sikh media.

However, one look at the Sikh Federation (UK) 50-page highlights booklet shows India is unable to control other forms of media, such as the mainstream press, from covering the activities and successes of the organisation.

The Sikh Federation (UK) has a hug social media presence through its own Facebook (facebook.com/Sikh Federation UK) and Twitter (@Sikhfeduk) pages and regular coverage by Daily Sikh Updates on Facebook that now is approaching 1 million likes.

India can also do nothing about channels like TV84 and Fateh Channel Azad from covering and promoting Sikh Federation (UK) activities. However, given recent experiences everyone is expecting the Sikh Federation (UK) not to disappoint in directly responding to the pressure on existing Sikh TV channels in the next few months.

Undermining political activities led by the Sikh Federation (UK): The political activities of the organisation disturb India the most. For many years India has been able to force the UK Government not to deal with the Sikh Federation (UK) because of the organisations support for Khalistan.

However, in the last few years the media and political profile of the organisation has become too great and won the organisation much respect in political circles.

Also the Sikh Federation (UK) has in the last two years out manoeuvred Indian intelligence officers and diplomats based in the Indian High Commission in London that has directly resulted in a closer relationship with the UK Foreign Office that Indian officials had been preventing for years.

Lifting the ban on the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), quickly followed by the leadership being invited by the British Prime Minister to 10 Downing Street for the first time earlier this year would have sent alarm bells ringing in Delhi.

Virtually everything the Indian authorities have attempted, to undermine the Sikh Federation (UK), has eventually failed. Now they can see the setting up of the Sikh Network to develop and take ownership for the Sikh Manifesto and initiatives like the UK Sikh Survey are making the Sikh Federation (UK) the one organisation the UK Government and politicians can not afford to ignore.

Ambitions of the Sikh Federation (UK) to bring together like-minded organisations across the globe who are campaigning for justice and freedom to work together politically has not gone unnoticed by the Indian authorities who will be worried by the political threat this will present.

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

Posted by: sikh federation <sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk>

Dawn – India pulls out of Pakistan-hosted 19th Saarc summit

Islamabad, 27 September 2016. India has decided to pull out of the upcoming Saarc summit in Islamabad, said the official spokesperson for the India’s Ministry for External Affairs (MEA) Vikas Swarup in a tweet on Tuesday.

The announcement comes amid growing tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours following the attack on an Indian army base in held Kashmir.

“India has conveyed to the current Saarc Chair in Nepal that increasing cross-border terrorists attacks in the region and increasing interference in the internal matters of member states by one country has created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the Saarc summit,” said the statement released from the Indian foreign ministry.

The statement added that India, under the prevailing circumstances, is unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad.

India also claims in the statement that it remains steadfast in its commitment for regional cooperation.

Pakistan had offered dialogue to India for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, but the offer was rejected.

“Regional cooperation and terror don’t go together,” said Swarup.

The 19th Saarc summit is due to be held in November this year.

Pakistan had formally extended an invitation to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the Pakistan-hosted 19th Saarc summit.

FO terms India’s withdrawal as unfortunate

The Foreign Office, in its response after India’s withdrawal from the upcoming Saarc summit, termed the Indian announcement as unfortunate in an official statement released.

The statement also added that India has not officially conveyed in this regard yet.

“Pakistan remains committed to peace and regional cooperation. We will continue to work to that end in the larger interest of the people of this region,” said the statement.

The FO’s statement also mentioned India’s support for terrorism in Pakistan.

“As for the excuse used by India, the world knows that it is India that’s has been perpetrating and financing terrorism in Pakistan.”

Attack and allegations

Earlier this month, 18 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack on the Uri army base in IHK in the run-up to Pakistan and India’s showdown at the United Nations General Assembly over Kashmir.

India accused Pakistan of involvement immediately after the attack, terming it a ‘terrorist state’.

Over 100 people have been killed, hundreds blinded and over a thousand injured in violent clashes with government forces despite repeated imposition of curfews in IHK since Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in July.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his address to the UNGA maintained that Pakistan wants peace with India but it is “not possible without resolving the Kashmir issue”. The premier urged the UN to demilitarise Jammu and Kashmir and called for steps to implement UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj at the UNGA on Monday, in a veiled reference to Pakistan, accused it of ‘nurturing, peddling and exporting terrorism’.

Swaraj slammed PM Nawaz’s speech saying, “The prime minister of Pakistan used this podium to make baseless allegations about human rights violations in my country” and advised Pakistan to abandon the dream of having control of IHK.

“My firm advice to Pakistan is: abandon this dream. Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so,” Swaraj said.

FO Spokesman Nafees Zakaria, responding to Swaraj, raised the question “why is Kashmir on the agenda of the UN Security Council” if it is an integral part of India.

He added “[It is] strange that the Indian minister of external affairs is disowning UNSC resolutions, and that too at the UN.”

http://www.dawn.com/news/1286460/india-pulls-out-of-pakistan-hosted-19th-saarc-summit