The Times of India – Fear of US sanctions, not of India, prompted Hafiz arrest

Indrani Bagchi

New Delhi, 1 February 2017. It wasn’t India’s coercive diplomacy or surgical strike, but the threat of international sanctions by the US under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that prompted action by Pakistan against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed.

Monday’s action may put Saeed out of sight for a few months, but there is no sign that his terror activities against India would be affected. FATF, an inter-governmental body, goes for effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats.

In early January, when the Obama administration was still in office, Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington Jalil Jilani was told by a senior US official that they would put Pakistan on the FATF’s blacklist if Islamabad did not take action against LeT and JuD, and their funding mechanisms.

JuD had come under the FATF’s scanner for its financial transactions. Pakistan could declare JuD a banned or “defunct” organisation, which means it could rebadge itself and function under another name.

The strictures did not only come from the US, these were raised at the meeting of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering, which is part of the FATF.

JuD, which is allowed to function without check in Pakistan despite coming under a ban by the United Nations Security Council’s 1267 committee, has grown beyond being just a terror group targeting India, although India remains its principal target. It is now working with the Haqqani network and other terror entities in Afghanistan and parts of West Asia.

Jilani reportedly forwarded the US message to Islamabad, Pakistan was given until January 31 to act against Saeed and JuD. This explains Saeed’s house arrest a day before the deadline.

The fact that Saeed was allowed to air a video reiterating his resolve to continue terror against India stands testimony to the fact that Pakistan does not want his arrest to be seen in the Indian context.

In fact, since January 14, Saeed has already been moving some of the India-targeted operations of JuD to a new organisation, Tehreek-e-Azaad-e-Kashmir.

Advertisements – World Sikh Organization condemns Quebec terror attack that killed six

Sikh24 Editors

Quebec City, Canada, 31 January 2017. In a press statement, the World Sikh Organization of Canada condemned the terror attack on Sunday, January 29, in Quebec. During the attack last night, two gunmen entered the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Sainte-Foy, Quebec City and killed six people.

Terming the incident as horrific, World Sikh Organization said that the Sikh community stands in solidarity with the Muslims.

The attack took place yesterday at 7:50 PM. Quebec police have confirmed that six people were killed and two more are in critical condition.

“Make no mistake: This was a terrorist attack. This was a group of innocents targeted for practicing their faith,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.

WSO President Mukhbir Singh said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of last night’s horrific shooting. Today, Canadians stand together to condemn this act of terror and stand in solidarity with the Muslim community.”

“We will guard our shared values of diversity and inclusion even more jealously and we will work to prevail over the forces of hatred and bigotry. We are confident that law enforcement agencies will work quickly to bring those responsible for this tragedy to justice.”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

Sikhi Camp – Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara

Sikhi Camp – Gent Gurdwara
December 2016


Reciting a text in Panjabi


V for victory ?


And a nice smile


Balkar Singh & Mehakpreet Singh


Spoon in mouth – small ball on spoon


Spoon in mouth – small ball on spoon

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

BBC News – Man in court over Derby Sikh temple [Gurdwara] murder

Derby, 31 January 2017. An elderly man found dead near a Sikh temple [Gurdwara] had been beaten so badly police believed he had been hit by a car, a court heard.

Sukhraj Singh Atwal has gone on trial for the murder of Satnam Singh, 74, the father of his mother’s ex-husband, in Derby in July 2015.

The prosecution at Nottingham Crown Court alleged he repeatedly stamped and jumped on Mr Singh.

The 29-year-old, of Pear Tree Crescent, Derby, denies murder.

Mr Singh had been walking to the temple where he volunteered in the early hours of 23 July when he was attacked on the corner of Coronation Street.

He was found with 41 fractures to his ribs, lacerations to his heart and blunt force injuries to his head and face.

Mr Atwal’s car appeared several times on local CCTV at the time of the attack.

The beating itself was not caught on camera but the vehicle was seen entering the spot where Mr Singh died immediately before the attack and leaving four minutes later.

Disposed of trousers

Footage from a garage forecourt showed Mr Atwal appearing to inspect his light-coloured trousers.

He also returned to the scene several times “to observe what was happening”, the prosecution alleged, wearing different trousers.

Mr Atwal was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving four days later, giving no comment at interview, save that police should “check the forensics” on his car.

He was arrested in April 2016 on suspicion of murder after tests determined Mr Singh had not been hit by a car.

Examination of Mr Atwal’s phone revealed he had travelled to a remote location near Carsington Water, near the Peak District, later that day where the prosecution alleges he disposed of his trousers.

A text message on his phone said he had not hit Mr Singh “with my car” and he even taunted police in a letter from custody saying they “couldn’t even get the cause of death right”.

The Hindu – Angry, pained and determined to stem the tide of sacrilege

Vikas Vasudeva

Bargari, Faridkot, Panjab, 01 February 2017. Political analysts in Punjab see the latest attempt of the Prime Minster and the Akali leadership to heal the hurt feelings as a last-ditch effort to consolidate the support of Sikh voters that could be a make-or-break factor in the upcoming polls.

At a recent election rally in Kotkapura, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to soothe Sikh sentiments hurt by wanton acts of desecration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the State, but barely 10 kilometres away at Bargari, the village where the outrage first took place over a year ago, many believe that the political damage is irreparable.

Soaking in the winter sun outside Gurdwara Sahib Patshahi Dashmi in the village, Balwinder Singh, a former carpenter, who is here to attend a religious ceremony, feels the State government should have made more efforts to find the culprits and punish them.

“It’s been more than a year, but those responsible for the desecration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib have not been caught … I’m angry, I’m pained and so are many others in the village with the Akali government,” he told The Hindu, pointing out that it was right in front of this Gurdwara that the torn pages of the holy book were found on 12 October 2015.

‘All faiths targeted’

“It’s not only Sikh holy books; there have been sacrilege of Hindu and Islamic holy books as well in parts of the State, which is unacceptable. The government is the custodian of people’s faith and if it fails in its duty, then naturally, people will get angry,” he said.

After the outrage at Bargari that protests erupted here and in surrounding villages. After two protesters were killed in police firing at the nearby Behbal Kalan village, tensions spread across the State and anger against the government snowballed.

‘Goverment responsible’

“The Guru Granth Sahib is treated as a living guru by us [Sikhs] and such incidents have to be curbed as soon as possible … It’s the responsibility of the government to stop such incidents, but they (SAD-BJP combine) have failed,” said Pritpal Singh, a local farmer, who had come to pay obeisance at the Gurdwara.

The ruling Akali government, meanwhile, has blamed the Aam Aadmi Party for the series of desecrations. “Incidents of sacrilege started in Punjab after the entry of the AAP into the State.

The Punjab government had solved around 30 cases of sacrilege and only the incident at Behbal Kalan remained unsolved,” Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said at the Kotkapura rally, requesting the Prime Minister to direct the CBI to conduct a speedy inquiry. Mr. Modi was quick to assure the crowd that the culprits would be punished.

Pre-poll damage control

Political analysts in Punjab see the latest attempt of the Prime Minster and the Akali leadership to heal the hurt feelings as a last-ditch effort to consolidate the support of Sikh voters that could be a make-or-break factor in the upcoming polls.

“They [SAD-BJP] have realised and recognised the fact that “sacrilege incidents” are a key issue in these elections, and Mr. Modi’s assurance from the election stage at Kotkapura seems to be a damage-control exercise,” Ashutosh Kumar, Professor of Political Science at Panjab University, said.

Professor Kumar said the Shiromani Akali Dal had been facing the wrath on the sacrilege issue as it claims to be a “Panthic” party, but the BJP cannot absolve itself of responsibility as it is a partner in the government.

“Sacrilege incidents happened during the SAD-BJP combine regime, which were related to law and order. In a secular polity, the government has to respect sentiments of all religions and it is its constitutional duty to protect all religions. It was their [SAD-BJP] responsibility to find out the culprits and punish them,” he said.

The Aam Aadmi Party has squarely blamed the ruling Akali government for the desecrations.

AAP State convener Gurpreet Singh Waraich said on Tuesday that during the tenure of Sukhbir Singh Badal as Home Minister, 95 cases of sacrilege took place, one being the theft of the Guru Granth Sahib from the gurdwara at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village in June 2015.

“What could be more shameful that even a year-and-a-half later, Sukhbir Badal was unable to trace the Holy Guru Granth Sahib,” he said.