The Statesman – AIADMK factions merge, Panneerselvam is TN deputy CM; Sasikala may be sacked

Chennai, 21 August 2017. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswamy and his predecessor O Panneerselvam on Monday joined hands at the AIADMK headquarters here, after the factions had split following the death of J Jayalalithaa. As per sources, Panneerselvam has been offered the post of deputy CM as part of the unification deal.

Sources said, the party leaders were unanimous on sacking jailed party chief VK Sasikala.

The announcement was made minutes after the duo arrived at the party headquarters at around 3 pm. Hectic parleys preceded their arrival, to sort out the last-minute differences that were delaying the merger.

Two senior ministers and a senior MP who are supporters of the Chief Minister went to Panneerselvam’s residence on Monday with a draft of the deal worked out between the two sides.

Panneerselvam was received enthusiastically at the party headquarters by AIADMK cadres who presented him stoles and bouquets. It was his first visit to the office after six months.

Hundreds celebrated the occasion by bursting firecrackers.

Panneerselvam was accompanied by his faction leaders including K P Munuswamy and K Pandiarajan.

Before his arrival, Chief Minister Palaniswamy held discussions with his colleagues including ministers K A Sengottaiyan and D Jayakumar.

Panneerselvam has demanded the expulsion of the now jailed Jayalalithaa aide V K Sasikala.

Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao arrived here on Monday afternoon for a possible swearing in ceremony in which Panneerselvam and some of his faction leaders may be sworn in as ministers.

Panneerselvam, who was thrice Chief Minister, may get the Deputy Chief Minister’s post.

The faction headed by T T V Dinakaran, Sasikala’s nephew, has warned against his own and Sasikala’s sacking as Deputy General Secretary and General Secretary of the AIADMK. Dinakaran is said to enjoy the support of a dozen MLAs.

Meanwhile, Panneerselvam has taken oath as deputy CM in the evening.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/aiadmk-factions-merge-palaniswamy-panneerselvam-join-hands-1502454735.html/

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Capelle aan de IJssel Gurdwara; Via Rotterdam and Antwerpen to Gent; Brussel MIVB / STIB

Capelle aan de IJssel Gurdwara
16 July 2017

Teachers Theodorus Singh and Harjinder Singh
and their students

Singh Sabha (Zuid) Holland
Stationsplein 20
2907 MJ Capelle a/d IJssel

Capelle Schollevaar station
Via Rotterdam and Antwerpen to Gent
16 July 2017

Waiting for the Rotterdam train

Antwerpen Middenstatie
16 July 2017

Last leg of my journey home:
Antwerpen – Gent Dampoort

Brussel MIVB/STIB
18 July 2017

Koningsplein – MIVB Tram 92 or 93

Koningsstraat – MIVB trams 92 and 93

Koningsstraat – MIVB tram
Tram 92 or 93

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Tribune – AAP, with NRIs’ help, adopts debt-ridden farmers; gives them aid

Varinder Singh, Tribune News Service

Bathinda, 23 August 2017. With the help of NRIs, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has come to the rescue of beleaguered families of those farmers who committed suicides due to debt caused by farm loans in Punjab.

The AAP alleged that the Centre and the state government were responsible for the plight of the farmers and farm labourers in the country and have launched “Peedat Kisan Khet Mazdoor Muhim” movement to help them.

Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Wednesday disbursed one-time financial aid of Rs 50,000 each to 20 families whose male members had committed suicides in the Malwa region.

“The party has adopted 50 other such families and they would be given a monthly aid of Rs 2,500 for a period of at least five years from today onwards,” Khaira said.

While, 50 families have been “adopted” by two California-based doctors, Dr Harjeet Singh Gill and Sangram Singh Gill from Jhingar Kalan village near Dasuya, through the AAP, the one-time financial help of Rs 50,000 each for the 20 suicide victim families of the Malwa region has been extended by NRIs based in the US, Canada, the UK and other countries.

Khaira said: “The party is not in a position to get the farm loans waived or to compensate any loss of life, but it has taken an initiative to motivate the NRIs and other people to come and help distressed farmers at a time when the Central and the state governments have “failed” to provide any relief to them.”

“We are not doing a favour on farmers, but it is our duty. There are more than 50 lakh Punjabi NRIs. If each of them comes out with a help of just one dollar they would roughly be contributing a good amount of Rs 35 crore for the help of small and marginal farmers.

I urge all NRIs and people belonging to all sections of the society to come forward and help these farmers,” said Khaira after handing over cheques to farm-suicide victims.

He said: “The BJP Government has turned a blind eye towards big industrial houses and influential families who owes Rs 2 lakh crore to banks and financial institutions. But it cannot waive farm loans, which is around Rs 1 lakh crore. If the government can extend special tax concessions to the hill states then why can’t it help farmers.”

Khaira alleged that more than 200 Punjab farmers have committed suicides during the five-month-old Congress rule in the state.

“Farmers and farm labourers are increasing taking to suicide path for they have got frustrated over false promises made by the Congress just for the sake of usurping power in Punjab. Captain Amarinder Singh already knew that Punjab owed a huge Rs 2 lakh crore debt well before the Punjab Assembly polls.

Still, he went ahead with his promises of complete waiving of loans of farmers in the run-up to the polls. Now, the Congress is washing its hands off by saying that Punjab has no money for complete payment of farm loans,” Khaira said.

AAP co-convener Aman Arora and MLAs, Prof Baljinder Kaur, Rupinder Kaur Ruby and Najar Singh, were also present.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/aap-with-nris-help-adopts-debt-ridden-farmers-gives-them-aid/456279.html

Human Rights Without Frontiers – Pakistan: Documented cases of Ahmadis behind bars

By Willy Fautré, Human Rights Without Frontiers

HRWF, 22 August 2017.  Ahmadis are persona non grata in Pakistan (1). They are routinely arrested on false charges of blasphemy, kept for years in prison without any judgment or sentenced to several years of deprivation of freedom. As of August 2017, the following Ahmadis were in prison in Pakistan.

Ghulam Ahmad, Ihsan Ahmad, Mubashir Ahmad

On 13th May 2014, a case was opened against these three Ahmadis from Bhoiwal (District Sheikhupura) at the Police Station Sharaqpur after someone tore down an anti-Ahmadi poster. A fourth Ahmadi who was involved the case was murdered three days later by a madrassah student while in police custody.

They were all accused of violating Article 295-A (2) of the Pakistani Penal Code (PPC) on blasphemy. On 25th May 2017, they were refused bail by the Supreme Court. The bench hearing the case comprised three judges: Manzoor A. Malik, Sardar Tariq Masoor and Mazhar Sher.

The three Ahmadis were arrested on 18th July 2014. They have been in prison for the last three years without any judgment.

Tahir Mahdi Imtiaz

Tahir Mahdi Imtiaz, who is the printer of the Ahmadiyya monthly Ansarullah, was arrested by the police on 30th March 2015 in the premises of a Lahore court where he had gone to seek confirmation of bail in another fabricated case registered with Millat Town police on behest of mullas, more than a year before.

In 2015, he was accused of deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion of religious beliefs (PPC Section 295-A).

Defiling, etc. of the Holy Qur’an (PPC Section 295-B).

Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet, punishable with life imprisonment or death (PPC Section 295-C).

He was also charged under the 1997 Anti-Terrorism Act, Article 8-W, which prohibits acts intended or likely to stir up sectarian hatred, including: using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, displaying, publishing, distributing, or possessing written material, visual images, or sounds, which are threatening, abusive or insulting. He will be tried by an anti-terror court.

He rejects all the accusations. He was denied bail. He has been in prison since 2015 without any judgment.

Qamar Ahmad Tahir

He was arrested on 20th November 2015 after a major arson attack in Jehlum by a mob on Pakistan Chip-board Factory which was owned by an Ahmadi and of which he was a security official (See pictures at https://www.dawn.com/news/1221273). The incident resulted in riots, extensive damage to Ahmadiyya property and massive flight of Ahmadis from the locality.

The next day, a mob attacked the local Ahmadiyya mosque, set fire to its furnishings and occupied it. The police made some arrests but most of the attackers and arsonists were released on bail.

On 1st July 2017, after 19 months of pre-trial detention, Mr Liaquat Ali Ranjha, Additional Session Judge, sentenced Qamar Ahmad Tahir was sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly defiling the Holy Quran (PPC article 295-B) during the November 2015 events in Jehlum. He denies the charges.

Shakoor Bhai and Mazhar Abbas

On 2nd December 2015, officials of Punjab’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) accompanied by a contingent of the Elite Force raided Shakoor Bhai’s bookshop, arrested him as well as Mazhar Abbas, the shop assistant, a Shia. He was accused of selling religious books published by the Ahmadiyya Community.

The books found in his store (including copies of the Holy Quran) were purely religious in nature and in no way incited or condoned the use of violence. Two days later, a speedy trial in an anti-terrorism court dispensed five years’ imprisonment to each of the accused.

Shakoor, 81,was sentenced to three additional years in prison under the anti-Ahmadiyya law.

Sabah ul Zafar and Idrees Ahmad

On 5th December 2016, twenty-eight armed police contingent of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) carried out a raid on Ahmaddiyya central offices and Zia-ul-Islam Press in Rabwah. They arrested four Ahmaddiyya officials. Two of them were released.

Sabah ul Zafar and Idrees Ahmad remained behind bars as bail was not granted to them. They were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

Amjad Iqbal Salooni and Ikram Ilahi

These two Ahmadis were arrested on 15th March 2017 for preaching their faith. They were charged under Article 295-A and 298-C of the PPC. A judge added terrorism clauses to the case and set it to an anti-terrorism court. Their pleas for bail were rejected. On 31st May 2017, a judge in Faisalabad sentenced them to three years in prison.

Footnotes

1. In 1974, Prime Minister Bhutto amended the Pakistani Constitution to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims. Then, in 1984, under General Zia, the Government of Pakistan enacted Ordinance XX that made it a criminal offence for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims, to call their place of worship a ‘mosque’, to use the Islamic greeting ‘Assalamo alaikum’ (Peace be on you) and to preach or propagate their faith. Any of the above acts is punishable by three years imprisonment or by death if convicted under the blasphemy laws.

2. Pakistan Penal Code, Chapter XV: Offences relating to religion

295. Injuring or defiling place of worship, with Intent to insult the religion of any class: Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

295-A. Deliberate and malicious acts Intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting Its religion or religious beliefs: Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the ‘religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations insults the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both. Sec. 295-A ins. by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, XXV of 1927.

295-B. Defiling, etc, of Holy Qur’an : Whoever willfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Qur’an or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life. Sec. 295-B added by P.P.C. (Amendment) Ordinance, I of 1982.

295-C. Use of derogatory remarks, etc, in respect of the Holy Prophet: Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. Sec. 295-C ins. by the Criminal Law (amendment) Act, 111 of 1986, S. 2

Source:
http://www.oecd.org/site/adboecdanti-corruptioninitiative/46816797.pdf

The Hindu – Dera chief followers throng Panchkula

Verdict in rape case tomorrow

Vikas Vasudeva

Panchkula, 24 August 2017. Thousands of ‘Premis’ (followers) of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda are thronging Panchkula in support of their chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in case the court verdict goes against him in the rape case.

The followers have been gathering at Naam Charcha Ghar (the congregation centre) in Sector 23 for a few days now, ahead of the verdict to be delivered by the CBI special court on August 25.

The number of followers is swelling, in a sign that the security forces may face a tough challenge in case of an adverse ruling.

While the police have barricaded many points in Panchkula to restrict entry of vehicles, a large number of followers were seen walking in groups to reach their destination.

Several of them could be seen sitting and lying on the roadside around the Zirakpur-Kalka highway besides the city roads as well. Many followers have erected tents while some have taken shelter in parks.

Sitting along the road, leading to the congregation centre, B C Joshi, who hails from Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand strongly dismisses the allegations levelled against the Dera chief.

He is facing charges of raping a former female follower inside the Dera campus, near Sirsa.

“He (Dera chief) is a noble man…if verdict comes against him I’ll sit on dharna here. I have told my family I may not return,” Mr Joshi told The Hindu.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/dera-chief-followers-throng-panchkula/article19547021.ece