The Tribune – Sikhs among ‘top targets’ of US hate crimes

Washington, 7 August 2017. Sikhs are one of the top targets of hate crimes and sectarian violence in the USA, the community leaders have said as they remembered victims of the 2012 mass shooting by a white supremacist that claimed the lives of six Sikhs at a gurdwara in Wisconsin city.

Several eminent Sikh Americans from across the US, lawmakers, government officials and local leaders participated in prayers held on the weekend to mark the five-year anniversary of the mass shooting.

“We have made commendable efforts to secure our gurdwaras all across the country and taken many preventive measures. But Sikhs are still one of the top targets of hate crimes, sectarian violence and bullying in American schools.

“In recent years, attacks have rather increased manifold,” said Gurinder Singh Khalsa, who heads the Sikhs Political Action Committee.

“Hate has no colour. Hate has no face. Yet we all saw hate five years ago,” Blahair Dulai, president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, said, addressing the gathering.

Among the speakers yesterday at the gurdwara was retired Oak Creek Police officer Brian Murphy, who was shot 15 times before the shooter was brought down. (PTI)


The Times of India – SGPC may protest GST on purchases made to run langar sewa

Manish Sirhindi

Patiala-Panjab-India, 7 August 2017. As the GST Council, which met on Sunday, skipped to discuss the imposition of the new tax on items purchased by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) which runs free langar sewa, the Sikh’s Mini Parliament is now contemplating to hold protests against the centre.

SGPC President Kirpal Singh Badungar said there were indications that the GST council would waive-off the tax. But the issue was not even discussed in the meeting. He said the SGPC would take up this matter at the next meeting of its executive and chalk out detailed plan to hold protests against the union government.

Besides, a Rs 10 crore tax burden to run the langar sewa, the SGPC is also anticipating an additional tax burden of Rs 3 crore to run the Pingla Ashrams.

Badungar asserted that SGPC was born out of a strong Sikh struggle and if the need arises, they would not desist from again taking the path of struggle against the ‘unfair tax’ imposed on the Sikh body.

Maintaining that GST was ‘God Service Tax’, Badungar said repeated pleas to the Prime Minister and the Union finance minister had failed to yield desired results. He reiterated that the Union government was working against the hopes and aspirations of the Sikh community.

In his letters, the SGPC chief had requested GST exemption for purchases made by the SGPC to run langar sewa at its Gurdwaras be granted.

He stated that under the previous tax regime all langar items purchased at Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Sri Amritsar Sahib, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Shri Anandpur Sahib and Takht Sri Damdama Sahib were exempted from VAT. However, with the new tax regime coming into force, the SGPC is now liable to pay taxes on these purchases.

He said SGPC was involved in spreading the message of universal brotherhood, tolerance and respect for other religions and was engaged in noble and charitable deeds and thus no tax should be imposed to offering these services to the society.

The procurement bill of langar items such as desi ghee, sugar and pulses comes to around Rs 75 crore annually. With the shift from VAT to GST, the tax of 12 per cent will be levied on desi ghee, 18 per cent on sugar and 5 per cent on pulses, the SGPC is apprehensive that it will be paying Rs 10 crore annually as GST.

Meanwhile, the SGPC will take up the issue at the next meeting of the executive which has been scheduled to be held at Kurukshetra on August 18. Besides, the GST issue, the committee will also discuss the issue related to appointment of the officiating Jathedar of Takht Kesgarh Sahib.

Den Haag: Gedempte Burgwal – Herderstraat – Brouwersgracht – Houtzagerssingel

Den Haag
13 Juli 2017

Gedempte Burgwal – Big Chinese shop

Herderstraat – Narrow House

Brouwersstraat Tram 6




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Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Dawn – Raksha Bandhan celebrated at Gurdwara Punja Sahib

Amjad Iqbal

Hassan Abdal-Panajb-Pakistan, 8 August 2017. Hundreds of Hindus and Sikhs observed the festival of Raksha Bandhan, commonly known as rakhi, on Monday at the Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hassanabdal.

Women tie rakhi on the wrists of their brothers and pray for their safety while the brothers promise to protect their sisters forever and also give them presents. Those observing the religious festival dress up for the occasion and the holy thread is usually tied at a time prescribed by pundits.

“When a woman ties a thread around a man’s wrist, he will not forget the meaning of the bond established the next day. He will look out for that woman for the rest of his life. This is a serious responsibility,” said Neha Kumari, who was observing the ritual.

“Though the festival is now observed between siblings, it began as an honourable relationship between strangers. Some years ago, two women to whom I was not related by blood made me their brother.

They are now married and live in India but always send me a rakhi every year,” said Ratan Kumar, who belongs to Shakirpur and also made a new sister at the temple [Gurdwara]. Another participant explained that Raksha Bandhan translates to the bond of protection.

According to Evacuee Trust Property Board’s (ETPB) Deputy Secretary Shrines Syed Faraz Abbas, Rakhsha Bandhan begins on the full moon in the Hindu month of Shravan and could go on for seven days.

According to the Hindu history, the festival dates back to the Vedic period when deities and demons were fighting on a poornima, or a full moon night of the Hindu month of Shravan.

The king of the deities, Lord Indra, was worried as the demons were in a stronger position so his wife, Indrani (also known as Shashikala) prepared a magical thread and tied it to Indra’s right wrist.

The thread protected him and the deities and they won the battle. The magic was called Raksha Sutra and later renamed to Raksha Bandhan.

The festival takes place on a poornima day in Shravan each year.

Addressing the Bhog ceremony, which marks the conclusion of the three-day festival, ETPB Additional Secretary Shrines Tariq Wazir said the government was committed to ensuring religious freedom in Pakistan and that the ETPB was making efforts so all important religious days were celebrated.

Other than Sikh temples [Gurdwaras], the board is also looking after the nine mandirs in the country, he said, adding free boarding and lodging facilities were provided to the pilgrims at Punja Sahib. He said funds had also been allocated for talented students from minority communities.

Assistant Commissioner Jannat Hussein also visited the temple [Gurdwara] and talked to the Hindu and Sikh pilgrims about the facilities provided to them and issued necessary orders on individual requests.

Talking to mediapersons, the AC said about 1,400 pilgrims were visiting the Punja Sahib to observe rakhi and that the ETPB, local administration and the TMA were making efforts to make the stay of the pilgrims comfortable. Though there is no specific security threat, a three-layer security plan has also been put in place.

Vendors inside the temple had set up stalls for selling rakhi, which came in many colours and designs and the prices for which varied between Rs100 and Rs700. The more expensive rakhi were imported from Hyderabad Deccan, India.

“They have zircon, beads and rudraksha seeds. The combination helps ward of the evil eye and brings good luck to whoever will wear them,” said Sharma Kumar, a vendor.

Rakhi was also observed in the Velmeki Temple in Attock under the supervision of Pundit Madan Laal.

Even in Pakistan Sikhs think that they are Hindus
Man in Blue

The Hindu – Chandigarh stalking case: State BJP rules out Barala’s resignation

Chandigarh, 7 August 2017. The opposition has been mounting pressure seeking Mr Subhash Barala’s resignation on the issue.

Senior BJP leader Anil Jain, incharge of the party’s Haryana affairs, today ruled out the resignation of its state unit chief Subhash Barala following the arrest of the latter’s son in a stalking case here.

“Subhash Barala has nothing to with the Vikas Barala case. The law is taking its own course. There is no reason for Subhash Barala’s resignation,” Mr. Jain said in a statement here.

Mr. Jain’s statement ruling out Mr. Subhash’s resignation comes a day after Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also said that the BJP state unit chief had “nothing to do with incident”.

The opposition has been mounting pressure seeking Mr. Subhash’s resignation on the issue.

“Subhash Barala has nothing to do with this incident. It is an individual happening, the accused will face action once found guilty. This is my official stand, this was my stand yesterday and today also this is my stand. After this, on this issue, no question, no answer,” Mr. Khattar had told reporters on Sunday.

Mr. Subhash had earlier said that he respects the law and the “truth” will come out through the judicial process.

The son of Haryana’s ruling BJP chief was arrested along with his friend for allegedly stalking a woman here.

Both the accused, Vikas Barala (23) and Ashish Kumar (27), were released later on bail as they were booked under bailable sections of the IPC and the Motor Vehicles Act, amid a major outcry.

The incident came to light when the woman, around 28 years of age, called up the police on Friday night and complained that two youth were chasing her.

Meanwhile, Haryana Congress Chief Ashok Tanwar on Monday met the victim and her family at her residence here and assured her of support in fighting the case.

A protest march was also taken out here over the incident.

“We appreciate the brave girl for standing up to harassment by two men, one of them belonging to an influential family. The whole of Chandigarh stands by her side,” said a citizen.

A Congress worker also accused the Chandigarh police of acting under pressure in the stalking case to protect the accused.