The Hindustan Times – India deploys more troops along China border in Sikkim, Arunachal, ‘caution level’ raised

India-China ties are currently under strain after New Delhi, along with Bhutan, raised concerns over Beijing’s attempts to build a road in the disputed Doklam area in the Sikkim sector.

New Delhi, 11 Aug 2017. In a strategically key move, India has poured in more troops along the entire stretch of its border with China in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the face of heightened rhetoric by Beijing over the Doklam standoff, senior government officials said on Friday.

The “caution level” among the troops has also been raised, the officials told PTI.

The decision to increase the deployment along the nearly 1,400 km Sino-India border from Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh was taken after carrying out a detailed analysis of the situation and considering China’s aggressive posturing against India on Doklam, the officials said.

“The troop level along the border with China in the Sikkim and Arunachal sectors has been increased,” said the officials on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The Army’s Sukna-based 33 Corps as well as 3 and 4 corps based in Arunachal and Assam are tasked to protect the sensitive Sino-India border in the eastern theatre.

The officials declined to give any figure or percentage of increased deployment, saying they cannot disclose “operational details.”

According to defence experts, roughly 45,000 troops including personnel having completed the weather acclimatisation process are normally kept ready along the border at any given time, but not all are necessarily deployed.

The soldiers, deployed over 9,000 feet, have to go through a 14-day-long acclimatisation process.

The officials, however, said there is no enhancement of troops at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction in Doklam where around 350 army personnel are holding on to their position for nearly eight weeks after stopping Chinese troops from constructing a road on June 16.

Bhutan and China have competing claims over Doklam, and are negotiating a resolution.

China has been ramping up rhetoric against India over the last few weeks, demanding immediate withdrawal of Indian troops from Dokalam. The Chinese state media, particularly, has carried a barrage of critical articles on the Dokalam stand-off slamming India.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj recently said both sides should first pull back their troops for any talks to take place, and favoured a peaceful resolution of the border standoff.

India also conveyed to the Chinese government that the road construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for it.


The Tribune – Rights group asks hardliners to stop threatening writers

Disagree enthusiastically, but with respect !
Man in Blue

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 11 August 2017. A democratic rights watch group, the Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR), today expressed concern over the threats issued to writers in Punjab by hardliners.

Recently, Right-wing Khalistani groups had threatened and used abusive language against Sahitya Akademi award winner Punjabi writer Baldev Singh Sadaknama.

Professor Jagmohan Singh of the AFDR said the legal notice served by the Dal Khalsa to Punjabi writer Baldev Singh Sadaknama was nothing but an act of strengthening oppressive system.

He said the Dal Khalsa must remember that sections under which the legal notice was issued were often used by the Indian state to suppress the freedom of expression.

In a press note, Professor Jagmohan Singh and A K Maleri of the AFDR said social media trial and legal notices issued to the writers amounted to suppressing their freedom of expression.

They said that a section on social media instead of initiating meaningful debate on works of literature was threatening them with legal cases and personally harming them and demoralising the well-meaning writers also.

Prof Jagmohan Singh said the way writers like Perumal Murugan and Baldev Sadaknama had been forced to abandon their future projects under pressure from right wing groups was a sad sign for the Indian society.

The AFDR said readers might have numerous questions over Baldev Singh Sadaknama’s historical novel “Suraj Di Aakh” based on Mahraja Ranjit Singh’s life but it was not acceptable to issue “fatwas” against the writer. The AFDR appealed that all the progressive people should raise their voice against the disturbing phenomenon.

For more information read the Hindustan Times article below 
Man in Blue

Den Haag: Prinsegracht – Grote Markt

Prinsegracht – Grote Markt
14 July 2017

Tram 2 to Kraayenstein

Randstad Rail 3 and 4 to Zoetermeer
Tram 2 to Leidschendam / Leidsenhage

Tram 6 turning into the tram-tunnel

RandstadRail 3 to Loosduinen

RandstadRail 3 to Loosduinen

Prinsegracht / Grote Markt
Bus 25 to Vrederust – Bus 50 to Zoetermeer
Bus 51 to Delft

To see all my pictures:

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Human Rights Without Frontiers – Indian Christians faced almost as many attacks in first half of 2017 as all of 2016

World Watch Monitor, 8 August 2017. In the first six months of 2017, Indian Christians were harassed, threatened or attacked for their faith in 410 reported incidents (248 in the first quarter), almost as many as the total for the whole of 2016 (441).

This is according to figures compiled by partners of Open Doors, the global charity which monitors the treatment of Christians worldwide to produce an annual World Watch List of the 50 most difficult countries for them to live in.
Last year, India was at its highest ever on the List, at no. 15; it looks set to rise higher in 2018 if present trends continue.

In January, April, May and June the number of incidents this year were more than double that of 2016.

In February and March the number is nearly double that of 2016.

There were two killings in the first half of 2017.

Eighty-four incidents were of violent assault (by Hindu extremists in 99% of cases): most beatings were severe.

In 32 of them, Christians would have died if timely medical-aid had not been provided.

A local partner told Open Doors, “When Christians are beaten up by extremists, they are injured mostly on their heads or vital body parts. There was one incident earlier this year when the victim was attacked by a sword to his head.

He was bleeding profusely and was critically injured… Attackers do not care if the person dies. They know they will not be punished because the Government (and hence the judiciary) will take their side. In most cases attackers go unpunished.”

In 37 incidents, victims were socially boycotted, or threatened with it, by Hindu villagers if they didn’t change their religion back to Hinduism.

In a further 34 incidents, victims were forced to leave their homes since they didn’t want to leave Christianity. (In 14 of these, victims had to completely leave their village or city).

The number of incidents against Christians in the six-most-populous Indian states has also been recorded.
The increase in persecution incidents in India has never been at such a great rate, say analysts.

In Maharashtra, which last week passed a bill to criminalise social exclusion based on religion, caste or race, 80 incidents against Christians were recorded (32 last year).

In Chhattisgarh, one of five states to have an ‘anti-conversion’ law, 122 incidents were recorded (72 last year).

This week, Jharkhand is the latest state to bring to its Parliament a bill for a similar “anti-conversion” law.


Although the current ruling party, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), talks about secularism and unity, the background reality is that it is a centre-right party built as the political wing of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). RSS, a Hindu nationalist organisation, is widespread and openly upholds Hindu values and a conservative agenda.

So India is in a process of “Hindunisation”, born from the “Hindutva” ideology (literally: “Hindu principles”) of nationalism, which holds that the Indian nation can be a cohesive and aspiring force only if the tenets of one religion, one culture, and one nation are maintained.

RSS founder M S Golwalker identified five defining features of the Hindu nation, geographical unity, racial unity, cultural unity, linguistic unity, and the slogan “Hindu, Hindi, and Hindustan”.

He said:

“The non-Hindu people in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but the glorification of the Hindu religion, that is, they must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ingratitude towards this land and its age-long tradition, but must also cultivate the positive attitude of love and devotion instead; in one word they must cease to be foreigners or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment, not even citizens’ rights”.

One Christian leader said, “Before I converted to Christianity, I used to be a staunch Hindu. I also joined RSS at that time and started working with them. The party upholds Hindutva ideology and believes that if Christians in India aren’t controlled, they would convert all the Hindus in the country and Hindutva would lose its identity.

Hence RSS wants to do their best to stop Christians from preaching about their faith. They would go to any extremes for that. I myself persecuted many Christians until I came to the Christian faith and realised what I had been doing.”

The BJP, led by the federal Prime Minister Narendra Modi, rules many states. Modi categorically denies persecution of Christians or other minorities. During a TV show he said he has no knowledge of the burning of churches or other types of persecution.

It has been said by an official linked to Hindu extremists that India should be “free of Christians by 2021”.

Meanwhile, Christians face social exclusion, expulsion from villages, detention, threats, abuse, physical violence and sometimes killings. Open Doors’ partners have identified a pattern. They say:

Hindu extremists apply a five step process to ‘bring Christians home’:

1. Pastor is chased out of the community. Church members not allowed to contact him or to leave their village and worship with other Christians.
2. Extremists prevent Christians from participating in the society. They are not allowed to have a government job, trade, draw water from the well, buy food and other products from local stores or even to talk to other people in the village.
3. As the numbers show, physical violence happens more frequently too. Families are threatened, Christians are beaten up, girls and women may be raped, children may be kidnapped.
4. At some point, the Hindu priest will come to indoctrinate Christians, to remind them that they were born as Hindus and to persuade them to come back to the religion of their community.
5. If they still resist, they are often forcibly taken from their house, pushed into a Hindu procession and dragged to a temple. There they have to bow to idols, recite scriptures and are often smeared with cow dung and/or cow urine (to “cleanse” them).

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The Hindu – Chandigarh to march for women’s rights to public spaces

‘Bekhauf Aazaadi March’ aims to bring to attention crimes against women, sexual minorities and address patriarchy

Special Correspondent

Chandigarh, 11 August 2017. In the backdrop of the recent ‘stalking episode’ in Chandigarh, the city is preparing for the ‘Bekhauf Aazaadi’ march on Friday night to provide a platform for asserting women’s rights to public spaces.

The organisers of the march, led by poet and activist Amy Singh, have created a Facebook page ‘Bekhauf Aazaadi March/Reclaiming the Streets’, asking people to join the march against patriarchy, binaries, oppression and crimes against women which also extend to sexual minorities.

“This isn’t the first time a woman has been harassed on the streets and it won’t be the last if we don’t reclaim the streets.

It’s about time we smash down the patriarchal norms which restrict the women behind closed doors and set the culprits out loose to wreck havoc,” says the page, pointing out that what happened with the victim of the Chandigarh stalking episode has left the city in jitters.

Ms Singh, in her post, said that the march seeks, in a peaceful manner, to address and bring public attention to violence against women.

“We believe that women and other sexual minorities in India deserve to be able to live in society free from violence. We believe in their right to speedy justice and their right to demand accountability from the justice system,” she said.

The proposed march would start at 10 PM on August 11 from Rose garden and end at the Government Arts College at Sector 10 by midnight.