The Statesman – Presidential poll on 17 July

The President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament; and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States.
Article 54 of the Indian Constitution

New Delhi, 7 June 2017. The presidential poll will be held on 17 July, the Election Commission of India announced on Wednesday. Counting of votes if necessary will be taken up on 20 July, it stated.

Announcing the schedule, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said the notification for the election would be announced on 14 June, the last date for nominations is 28 June, and candidates can withdraw their nomination on or before 1 July, the CEC said.

On 17 July, voting will begin at 10 am and continue till 5 pm. On 20 July, counting will begin at 11 am and the results will be announced by the Commission on its completion.

The term of the present incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee will end on 24 July.

The voting will be through secret ballot, the CEC said. For marking the vote, the commission will supply particular pens. This pen will be given to the electors in the polling station by the designated official when the ballot paper is handed over.

“Electors have to mark the ballot only with this particular pen and not with any other pen. Voting by using any other pen may lead to invalidation of the vote at the time of counting,” Zaidi said. “A ballot paper would also be termed invalid ‘if any mark is made by which the elector may afterwards be identified,” he said.

The CEC said no political party can issue a whip to its MPs and MLAs in the matter of voting in the Presidential election, but the EC would make sure that no offence of ‘bribery’ or undue influence’ takes place during the poll.

“It is also clarified that as per Section 18 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952, the offence of ‘bribery’ or ‘undue influence’ as defined in Sections 171B and 171C of IPC, by the returned candidate or any person with the consent of the returned candidate are among the grounds on which the election can be declared void by the Supreme Court in an election petition,” the CEC said.

“Counting of votes will be held in New Delhi under the supervision of the Returning Officer. On completion of counting, Return of Election will be signed and issued by the Returning Officer declaring the candidate who secures the quota elected. Formal announcement of election of the President will be made by the Commission,” the CEC added.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/presidential-poll-on-17-july-1496857347.html

Sikh24.com – 1984 Anniversary Program Concludes With Echoes of Khalistan Zindabad; Giani Gurbachan Singh Faces Boycott

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar Sahib-Panjab-India, 6 June 2017. Despite having organized meetings with Sarbat Khalsa appointed Jathedars and inviting them to today’s programs at Akal Takht Sahib, SGPC president Professor Kirpal Singh Badungar remained firm about allowing Giani Gurbachan Singh to address the Sikh sangat.

Sikh24 has learned that Sarbat Khalsa Jathedars, along with several Panthik organizations attended the programs officially on condition that Giani Gurbachan Singh would not speak at the anniversary programs.

However, Giani Gurbachan Singh had to face sharp wrath of Sikh masses as soon as he stood up to deliver his customary speech. When Giani Gurbachan Singh gave his short speech, Sikh sangat started raising jakare, making his speech completely inaudible.

The Sikh masses started shouting pro-freedom slogans in loud manner and no one could hear Giani Gurbachan Singh’s speech. Giani Gurbachan Singh faced full fledged boycott by Sikh masses today.

Later, the Sarbat Khalsa appointed Jathedars Bhai Dhian Singh Mand and Bhai Baljit Singh Daduwal addressed the Sikh sangat from the front of Sri Akal Takht Sahib. Along with them, S Simranjit Singh Mann and Jaskaran Singh Kahansinghwala also addressed the sangat.

Anniversary Program Concludes Peacefully

Large gathering of Sikhs from all over Punjab was noticed today even though paramilitary and police force attempted to delay Sikh sangat from arriving at Akal Takht Sahib this morning.

Akhand Path Sahib was was held at Sri Akal Takht Sahib in memory of Shaheed Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale, General Bhai Subegh Singh, Bhai Mehnga Singh, Bhai Amrik Singh and countless other shaheeds concluded at 8 AM.

Akal Takht Sahib Head Granthi Giani Malkiat Singh performed ardas while Darbar Sahib Head Granthi Giani Jagtar Singh took hukamnama.

Echoes of Raj Karega Khalsa and Khalistan Zindabad were heard loud and clear from the outskirts of Akal Takht Sahib as Sikh Sangat re-iterated their demand for sovereignty and self governance. Sikh Sangat which was sitting peacefully stood up to boycott Giani Gurbachan Singh’s speech.

Meanwhile, as Bhai Dhian Singh Mand started speaking, SGPC officials turned up volume of speakers by Akal Takht Sahib which play kirtan from Sri Harmandir Sahib. These speakers were powered off by supporters of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) as Sarbat Khalsa jathedars continued speaking.

Although the mainstream media outlets are giving unusual hype to the 33rd martyrdom anniversary of 1984 holocaust but in reality no clash occurred between Sikh groups today.

Finding no way to defame Sikh community after watching peaceful anniversary observation by Sikhs, the mainstream media outlets are unnecessarily raking up the issue of shouting pro-Khalistan slogans inside Sri Harmandir Sahib which is constitutionally approved by the Supreme Court of India.

Dal Khalsa’s shutdown call receives robust response from Amritsar locals [bold]

The shutdown call given by pro-freedom Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa received robust response from Amritsar masses. Some of the markets were observed completely closed till 5 pm in the evening.

Most prominent banks in the city (both private and public sector) were seen operating with their shutters down, leading to low public dealing. Shopping malls were also closed till 4 pm.

While the shutdown call was not aimed at medical shops and the transport industry, blockage in transport and closure of medical shops was observed today putting the commuters and patients into trouble.

While petrol pumps gave a deserted look, public transport facility was also affected as hardly any passenger was seen at bus and train spots.

Sandesh by Jathedar Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara

Jathedar Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara also addressed the Sikh community. He called upon the Panth to unite and liberate the Gurdwaras.

“To liberate the gurdware we will have to form a joint strategy by contesting the shiromani gurdwara parbandhak committe elections and keeping the Panthik interest in mind above the agonising ideals of the group. This is the responsibility of all the Panthik organisations and if any should neglect their responsibility then all Sikhs around the world should enforce it.

Paying tribute to the martyrs of the holocaust we should guard their vision. In order to fulfil their dream it is important to create a consolidated strategy.”

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/06/06/1984-anniversary-program-concludes-with-echoes-of-khalistan-zindabad-giani-gurbachan-singh-faces-boycott/#.WTjOGcYlHIU

Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO) – Sikh community appeal to the five permanent members the UN Security Council to instigate a UN led inquiry into the 1984 Sikh genocide and recognise the demand for a separate Sikh homeland, Khalistan

London, 7 June 2017

The Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO) has written to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council on the 33rd anniversary of the Indian army attack on the Sri Harmandr Sahib Complex in Amritsar in June 1984 and the 1984 Sikh Genocide.

The letter addressed to whoever becomes the next British Prime Minister later this week has been copied to the United States of America, Chinese, French and Russian Governments. The letter states: “the Sikh campaign for Truth, Justice and Freedom is an international campaign requiring the support of foreign governments and the international community.”

Sikhs in the Diaspora are increasingly becoming politically active and beginning to influence policy makers and politicians in the countries in which they live on views about the Narendra Modi led Indian government that has been increasingly targeting minorities.

They have successfully been challenging the negative stereotype and false propaganda created over many years by the Indian authorities.

The letter calls on the next British Prime Minister to hold an independent public inquiry to get to the truth of UK involvement in the 1984 Sikh Genocide. A small Conservative majority or a hung Parliament given the official position of the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party on this issue will increase pressure on the next UK Government to concede to this demand.

The letter states: “The British Sikh response to the revelations (in January 2014) was not to respond by using violence, but use peaceful democratic means such as protests, legal challenge and political pressure to get to the truth.

In turn we need the UK Government to respect our approach and enter a meaningful dialogue at Ministerial level on how best to deliver the truth of UK involvement and assistance from the international community to expose the Indian authorities for failing to deliver justice for the 1984 Sikh Genocide.”

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council have been urged to push for a UN-led inquiry into the atrocities committed by the Indian authorities in 1984 and for UN rapporteurs and independent experts to carry out independent investigations into the torture, disappearances, false encounters and extra-judicial executions.

The letter in reference to the right to self determination and the demand for an independent Sikh state, Khalistan continues: “The UK Government working with other permanent members of the UN Security Council has a historic, legal and moral responsibility towards the Sikhs to help through diplomatic means and respect for international law to resolve a conflict that still continues.”

The Sikh Federation (UK) is a prominent member of the Federation of Sikh Organisations and its Chair, Bhai Amrik Singh said:

“The wider public see the Sikh community as a role model community and appreciate they are tolerant, hard working and peace loving people who deserve the support of the international community for a UN-led investigation into the 1984 Sikh Genocide and recognition of our demand for an independent Sikh state, Khalistan.”

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

Dawn – Supreme Court acquits blasphemy accused citing lack of evidence

Haseeb Bhatti

Islamabad, 8 June 2017. The Supreme Court on Wednesday exonerated a blasphemy accused facing life imprisonment on allegations of desecrating the Holy Quran.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Qazi Faez Isa issued the order after hearing the prosecution and defendant’s lawyer.

The defendant’s lawyer told the court that her client had been accused of burning pages of the holy book.

The lawyer also informed the bench that the defendant was a drug addict residing in Multan in 2006, when the incident allegedly took place.

The counsel explained that police had found no trace of burnt pages of the Holy Quran at the site of the incident.

The lawyer also argued that while the incident allegedly took place inside the accused’s house, the accused had unlawfully been booked under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, besides Sections 342 and 395-B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

After examining the record and hearing the defendant’s arguments, the court ruled that the prosecution’s version, prima facie, appeared to be false.

It noted that the complainant may even have brought previously burnt pages of the Holy Quran to the accused’s house in a bid to influence the case.

Police itself did not collect evidence from the site, the court observed, adding that a matchbox was instead provided to the police by the complainant. The prosecution did not check whether the matchbox was new or used, the court said.

The apex court also stated that the lower courts appeared to have not conducted a fair trial of the case.

“Why were sections pertaining to terrorism added [to the charges against the accused]”? the bench wondered.

The court subsequently issued the order to absolve the defendant of all charges, citing a lack of substantial and credible evidence.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1338034/supreme-court-acquits-blasphemy-accused-citing-lack-of-evidence