The Statesman – 1984 riots: Jagdish Tytler refuses to undergo lie detection test

New Delhi, 30 March 2017. Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, who has been given a clean chit by the CBI in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, on Thursday told a Delhi court that he is not ready to undergo lie detection test as it amounts to cruelty.

Tytler’s counsel objected to the test, saying the CBI has not given any reason for conducting it and the agency’s plea for the test was a “gross misuse of law” and it was filed with “malafide intention”.

He also filed a list of events since the riots broke out till now to which the victims’ counsel said they would a reply to it.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Shivali Sharma listed the matter for April 18 for further arguments on the CBI’s plea for permission to conduct the test on Tytler and arms dealer Abhishek Verma for the purpose of further probe.

The move came in pursuance to the court’s December 4, 2015 order in which it was mentioned that lie detection test may be conducted, if required.

Verma, a witness in the case, also told the court that he was ready for the polygraph test if he is provided with adequate security as he apprehends threat to his life as well as to his family.

He also said he was ready to record his statement before a magistrate.

The CBI prosecutor, however, did not agree with the proposal of recording Verma’s statement and said the consent for polygraph test should be unconditional.

Advocate Prabhsahay Kaur, who represented the victims, questioned the CBI as to why it was refusing to record the statement when the witness was ready for it.

She also said that the witness should be given proper security if he apprehends threat to his life.

Meanwhile, the CBI filed a status report before the court in a sealed cover regarding its further probe in the case.

The case pertains to riots at Gurudwara Pulbangash in north Delhi where three people were killed on November 1, 1984, a day after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Tytler, who has denied any role in the riots, has been given a clean chit by the CBI thrice in the case but the probe agency has been directed by the court to further investigate the matter.

Verma has made several statements to the CBI against Tytler that he allegedly pressured the witnesses in the case.

The court had in December 2015 directed the CBI to further investigate the matter and had said it would monitor the probe every two months so that no aspect is left un-investigated.

The agency had reinvestigated the case of killing of Badal Singh, Thakur Singh and Gurcharan Singh near the gurudwara after a court in December 2007 refused to accept its closure report. The CBI has filed three closure reports in the case.

Advertisements – Vaisakhi Celebrations At Panja Sahib

Sikh24 Editors

Ferozepur-Panjab-India, 27 March 2017. A jatha (group) of Sikh devotees will depart for Pakistan from Attari Railway Station on April 12 to mark the Vaisakhi festival at Gurdwara Panja Sahib. The pilgrimage will continue until April 21.

Speaking to Sikh24, President of World Bhai Mardana Memorial Kirtan Darbar Society Harpal Singh Bhullar and Chairman Santokh Singh Sandhu made the announcement. They added that the program schedule has been confirmed by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Deputy Secretary Imran Godnal.

Harpal Singh shared that a religious procession will be taken out in Panja Sahib on April 13 and the ‘Khalsa Sajna Divas’ would be celebrated on April 14.

They added that the jatha will then take a tour of other prominent historical Sikh shrines including Gurdwara Nankana Sahib and Gurdwara Sacha Sauda (Faruqabad). “The jatha will then come back from Lahore on April 21 and will reach the Attari railway same day”, they said.

Leuven NMBS Station – Gent Dampoort NMBS Station

Leuven station
22 February 2017

Two modern EMUs ready for departure

A fairly ancient EMU

Gent Dampoort station
24 February 2017

Many students live in Gent
Students have bicycles

Waiting for the 09:03 to Antwerpen

DMU to Eeklo

DMU to Eeklo

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Northampton Chronicle & Echo – Northampton Sikh leader to racist hate mail writer: ‘This is unacceptable this day and age’

Paul Lynch

Northampton, 31 March 2017. A Sikh leader in Northampton has appealed directly to the bigot who has been posting hate mail through the door of the town’s main gurdwara to stop. Amarjit Singh Atwal has had to report two hate crimes that have occurred at the temple [Gurdwara] in St George’s Street to police in the past two months.

On both occasions a person has posted a vile, threatening letter through the door. “This is the second letter we have had that that talks about Muslims and Indians,” he said. “Most of it talks about how we should go back to our own country, that sort of thing.” “It’s malicious, it’s obsessive.”

Mr Atwal believes the letters sent in February and in March are from the same person as they are similar in style. But more worryingly the latest appears to have been prompted by the the terror attacks in Westminster, even though they were carried out by a deluded attacker purporting to be fighting on behalf of Islam.

However when Mr Atwal tweeted a picture of him reporting the crime to police on Monday he was happy to see the level of support, including a reply from Chief Constable Simon Edens.

“To be honest we know the Sikh population is quite active in Northampton,” Mr Atwal said. “We do get a lot of support from people when this sort of thing happens. “People see the contribution we make to the community.”

Now the Sikh leader, who was born and raised in Northampton, wants to appeal directly to the letter writer. He said: “This is just unacceptable for someone to take that stance in this day and age.

“To say ‘go back to your own country’ is just so ignorant. I am in my own country, I was born here. “The reason I reported this is because I want more people to report hate crimes. “The police said to me the stuff that gets reported to them is barely a fraction of what is actually going on out there.

Over the years it has just become accepted.” The gurdwara in St George’s Street, near the town centre, often hosts school trips, hosts heritage day events and hands out food to more than 100 homeless people every Sunday. But Mr Atwal says despite the good work the 400 or so attendees do, many are still affected by racial abuse.

“What we saw was, we as a community group were getting really well until 2001 when we had 9/11. “Then things started to get better for a while and we had 7/7. We always see a spike when we get these sorts of incidents.”

Dawn – Cousin of Nobel laureate Abdus Salam gunned down in Nankana Sahib

Imran Gabol

Nankana Sahib-Panjab-Pakistan, 30 March 2017. A prominent local leader of the Ahmadi community and a relative of Nobel laureate Abdus Salam was gunned down in Nankana Sahib on Thursday morning in an attack claimed by the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

Advocate Malik Saleem Latif, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiya in Nankana Sahib, was on his way to a local court on a motorbike along with his son, Advocate Farhan, when Latif was targeted and shot at by “unidentified attackers”.

Latif’s son informed Dawn that the attackers had fired at them from behind.

“Saleem Latif was spreading Ahmadi beliefs in the region,” the LeJ said in a statement claiming Thursday’s attack.

A district police officer (DPO) said that a suspect had been identified and police are narrowing their leads in the case. He refused to disclose further information for the time being.

“We have three teams investigating and searching for the assailants and trying to apprehend them,” DPO Shahzada Billa Umer later told Reuters.

No check on hate-mongering

The murder sparked outrage in the Ahmadi community.

Saleem Uddin, a spokesman for the community, said the incident shows that ongoing military operations Zarb-i-Azb and Raddul Fasad are not being implemented the way they should be.

“Threats against Ahmadis are common in the area and Latif was a prominent member of the community and a well-known lawyer,” he told Reuters.

“Around 1,700 advertisements were published against the Ahmadiya community in local and national newspapers in 2016,” said Saleem. “There is no check on hate mongering and if the situation remains the same then the killing of Ahmadis will also continue,” he added.

Saleem said the community is battling discriminatory laws in the country and expressed frustration that hate mongers are enjoying the support of the government.

The killing of the lawyer today puts the spotlight back on Pakistan’s problem of Ahmadi persecution. The issue is deep-rooted and dates back to pre-Partition India.

The mistreatment of and mainstream bias against the community is one of the main reasons that Pakistan’s first Nobel laureate, Dr Abdus Salam, fled the country to reside in the United Kingdom.

Although Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently made the ‘bold gesture’ to rename Quaid-i-Azam University’s (QAU) physics department after Professor Abdus Salam, the community still greatly suffers at the hands of extremists.

Ahmadis are often subjected to humiliation and harassment in educational institutions and the workplace and in the media.

BBC News – Who’s the Hindu hardliner running India’s most populous state?

New Delhi, 29 March 2017. Yogi Adityanath has dominated headlines in India since his appointment as leader of the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. A saffron-robed Hindu priest, he is a highly controversial figure who is loved and hated in equal measure, as the BBC’s Geeta Pandey reports.

At the weekend, Yogi, as he is widely known, returned to a hero’s welcome to the temple town of Gorakhpur for the first time since he was sworn in as chief minister on 19 March.

Overnight, the town turned saffron, the colour of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). All roads leading to Gorakhnath temple were decorated with party flags, marigold flowers and orange balloons.

The smiling new leader, 44, looked down from massive hoardings and posters on buildings, and mannequins outside shops even sported bright saffron outfits.

At a college run by the temple, thousands of people waited for hours to see him. Speakers praised his vision and leadership. “Some people walk in others’ footsteps, some make footsteps for others to walk in,” said one.

A brilliant orator, Yogi Adityanath has been elected MP for Gorakhpur five times since 1998 and the crowds there worship him. Many tell me he’s a “reincarnation of the gods, a God himself”.

But he is also a very controversial leader who has often been in the news for the wrong reasons. Critics describe him as India’s most divisive and abusive politician who used his election rallies to whip up anti-Muslim hysteria.

And some of the statements attributed to him – and his supporters – have been widely condemned.

He accused Muslim men of indulging in a “love jihad” to seduce Hindu women and convert them, he claimed that Mother Teresa wanted to Christianise India, he called for a Donald Trump-style travel ban on Muslims in India and compared Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to Pakistan-based militant Hafiz Saeed.

At one point, he shared a stage with a supporter who said that when Yogi Adityanath came to power, Muslims would no longer have the right to vote and that supporters would rape dead Muslim women.

His campaign promises included “anti-Romeo squads” to “prevent harassment of Hindu women” and he listed protecting cows and shutting down illegal slaughterhouses as his top priorities.

Religious Hindus revere cows and slaughtering them is illegal in large parts of India, including Uttar Pradesh. In 2015, a Muslim man was lynched by a Hindu mob which alleged that he had stored beef at home.

Yogi Adityanath also faces criminal charges. He has been accused of attempted murder, criminal intimidation and rioting in relation to a clash that took place in 1999. And in 2007, he spent 11 days in jail for making inflammatory speeches.

No wonder then that his surprise elevation has alarmed many in India and around the world, with many expressing concerns that the state’s 40 million Muslims will not have an easy time under his watch.

In an editorial, The Guardian called it a “victory for anti-Muslim bigotry” and the New York Times said Mr Modi was trying to “humour Hindu extremists”. The paper called the move “a shocking rebuke to religious minorities”.

Respected Indian columnist Pratap Bhanu Mehta called it an “odious and ominous” development.

And the negative publicity has continued since he became chief minister. The “anti-Romeo squads” have been accused of harassing and intimidating courting couples in cities and towns, and the authorities have been criticised for forcing abattoirs to shut down, mostly on flimsy grounds.

The press in Gorakhpur, however, has been more complimentary, revelling in the “grand victory” of their hero.

“Local newspapers are writing in great detail about his amazing memory skills, they say he can remember names of thousands of people. Some are talking about how he communicates directly with his 500 cows, monkeys, dogs and birds,” says senior Gorakhpur journalist Kumar Harsh.

“For people here, he’s a celebrity. He’s the chief priest and head of the temple management, which also runs a hospital and colleges. He is very hardworking and is immensely popular with the people,” he adds.

The son of a forest ranger, Yogi Adityanath was born in 1972 in Garhwal (which was then in Uttar Pradesh but is now in Uttarakhand state) and was named Ajay Singh Bisht.

A maths graduate, he moved to Gorakhpur in November 1993 and three months later was appointed heir to Mahant Avaidyanath, the temple’s chief priest and an influential Hindu politician. A vegetarian, he has taken a vow of lifelong celibacy.

Dwarika Tiwari is his deputy at the temple and has worked closely with him since his arrival in Gorakhpur.

“He’s very intelligent, bright and hard-working, he’s efficient, he respects everyone whatever their caste, creed or religion, he respects women and loves children.”

Mr Tiwari concedes he has weaknesses – a tendency for plain speaking and a quick temper.

When I point out the anti-Muslim statements during the campaign, the criminal charges and the fact that he was briefly jailed, Mr Tiwari brushes them aside as “malicious propaganda” and “conspiracy” from his political rivals.

“Muslims respect him equally. They also come to us to resolve their disputes,” he says.

Just outside the temple gates, Muslim shopkeepers insist they are not unduly worried over the appointment.

Cloth merchant Feroz Ahmad says he, in fact, voted for the BJP and now hopes that Yogi Adityanath will bring much-needed development to this backward town.

“All politicians say such things to win elections,” he says. “Some of his supporters are troublemakers who do wrong things. But now that he’s in power, it will all stop.”

So can it all be dismissed as mere rhetoric, something he indulged in just to win the election?

Sharat Pradhan, senior journalist in the state capital, Lucknow, says “ever since he’s been named chief minister, he’s been conducting himself very responsibly”.

“In his first days in power, he’s been careful. He’s shown a lot of restraint. He’s trying to be inclusive, he’s even inducted a Muslim into his cabinet.”

He has also been trying an image makeover – paying a surprise visit to a police station one day, visiting an acid attack victim in hospital the next. He has also refrained from commenting on the contentious issue of the Ram temple in Ayodhya despite it being promised in the BJP election manifesto.

“But the worry is with the fringe elements among his supporters. With his rabble rousing, he’s freed the genie from the bottle, now the question is can he control it?” asks Mr Pradhan.

That is precisely what Yogi Adityanath attempted to do when he took the stage in Gorakhpur at the weekend, appealing to his boisterous supporters to behave.

“The prime minister has given me a huge responsibility, to ensure that development reaches the last man. I assure you no-one will be ignored, irrespective of their caste, creed or religion,” he said. “And I need your help to succeed.”

Success, Mr Pradhan says, will depend on whether he can ensure the first six months of his rule are trouble-free. Then he can build his future.

“At present Mr Modi is number one in the party, the others are number nine. There’s no-one in between. Yogi Adityanath can be number two.

“He’s young. Age is on his side. By the time he turns 60, Mr Modi will be 80. And he will be ready to take him on. He’s the BJP’s tomorrow.”

The Tribune – Our voice muzzled in Assembly, alleges AAP’s Sukhpal Khaira

Ruchika Khanna, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 29 March 2017. Aam Aadmi Party leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Wednesday alleged that their voice was muzzled in the current Assembly session.

Addressing a press conference here, Khaira said the Speaker and the Congress government were partisan from the very beginning.

He said the party MLAs were forced to protest as the Lok Insaaf Party MLAs, the Bains brothers, were not allowed to sit with the AAP MLAs. He said the Speaker had allowed the LIP and AAP MLAs to sit together on Tuesday.

He said the reason Leader of Opposition H S Phoolka kept sitting on his seat and did not join the party MLAs as they moved to the well of the House to protest was that he had to speak on behalf of the party.

He said the arrogance of the Congress was visible from the top.

Party’s Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu said the government should form a committee of MLAs which should decide the seating plan in the House. This committee should have members from all political parties, he added.

The AAP MLAs also accused CM Captain Amarinder Singh of appointing a Delhi lawyer, Atul Nanda, as Advocate General of Punjab. Khaira said their party condemned the decision.

He said the relatives of judges and influential lawyers used the AG office as a platform.

Speaking on the occasion, LIP leader Simarjit Singh Bains said he is not publicity-hungry and spoke only for the welfare of Punjab. He rued that the Congress got after him. He said the tradition of the House should be followed while allowing them to sit with the AAP MLAs. He said they would continue to act as a shadow of the government.

Speaking on the occasion, Phoolka said Speaker Rana KP did not say on Tuesday that the Bains brothers would not be allowed to speak in the House.

By De Lijn bus Hoepertingen – Sint-Truiden – Tongeren – Leuven

Bus 23A from Hoepertingen to Sint-Truiden

Sint-Truiden station
22 February 2017

A ‘taxi’ in Sint-Truiden

Is this because of the many Sikhs in the area ?

Bus 313 from Sint-Truiden to Tienen

Tienen station
22 February 2017

New platform of Tienen NMBS Station

Tongeren bus station – De Lijn bendibus

Tongeren bus station

Bus 380 from Tienen to Leuven

Leuven station
22 February 2017

Leuven NMBS Station
Waiting for the 16:03 IC train to Brussel, Gent and Kortrijk

To see all my pictures:

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Harjinder Singh
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Human Rights Without Frontiers – Pakistan: HRWF new campaign for sixteen year-old Christian prisoner

District Kasur-Panjab-Pakistan, 24 March 2017. Nabeel Masih, a 16-year-old Christian in Pakistan, has been jailed since 18th September 2016 for a Facebook post that was allegedly blasphemous.

A Muslim friend accused him of “sharing” and “liking” on Facebook a “defamed and disrespected” photo of the Kaaba, the holiest Islamic site in Mecca.

Nabeel was charged under section 295 (“injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class”) and 295A (“deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs”) of the Pakistan Penal Code. These are otherwise known as Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

The boy’s defense attorney, Riaz Anjum, said that the case against Nabeel is “clearly fabricated” and that it had been registered with “malafide intention” and “ulterior motives.”

More than two-hundred people in Pakistan were charged under blasphemy laws in 2015, many of whom were religious minorities such as Christians, who make up one-percent of Pakistan’s population.

As observed by Morning Star News: “the laws are often used to settle personal scores, and Islamist groups and lawyers often advocate the harshest punishments and apply pressure for convictions on police and courts”.

On 7th February 2017, the judge in Punjab Province’s Kasur District denied to grant him bail and therefore he remains in prison under a baseless blasphemy charge while he maintains his innocence.

HRWF has opened a campaign to call for the release of Nabeel Masih. We are asking individuals and organisations to write letters to officials in Pakistan requesting that Nabeel Masih be released from prison and that charges against him be dropped. To learn more about how you can participate in our campaign, please click here.

HRWF documents FoRB prisoners in over twenty countries, including Pakistan. Thus far, we have documented over fifty FoRB prisoners in 2017. Click here to visit our 2017 Prisoners Database.

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The Hindu – Now, Kenyan woman attacked in Greater Noida

Purusharth Aradhak

Greater Noida-UP-India, 29 March 2017. Two days after the attack on African nationals in Greater Noida, a young Kenyan woman was reportedly attacked in the city, located in Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday.

Maria Burendi (25) alleged that she was beaten up and kicked in the abdomen while travelling in a cab in Greater Noida’s Kasna area.

The police said the incident took place around 4.30 am. Greater Noida Superintendent of Police Sujata Singh told The Hindu that the incident occurred when the woman was coming from Delhi to Greater Noida.

“She lives in Alstonia residential society in Greater Noida. A few meters away from the residential society, the cab was reportedly stopped by goons and she was slapped,” Ms Singh said.

“We are in touch with the her. Once she gives a written complaint, we will lodge a FIR. We have launched a manhunt to nab the culprits. We are recovering CCTV footage from the spot,” Ms Singh said. The woman was taken to a hospital for medical examination.

Dr Sanil Kapoor of Greater Noida’s Kailash hospital told The Hindu that she was discharged after first aid. “There was no visible injury marks. She complained of abdomen pain. We took her for an ultrasound test. Her ultrasound report is normal. No major injury found,” he said.