The Asian Age – High Court slams Haryana CM, says government surrendered to Dera ‘premis’ for political gains

The court also slammed Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for ‘protecting’ Dera followers and extending political patronage to them.

Chandigarh, 26 August 2017. The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Saturday castigated the Manohar Lal Khattar government over the deadly violence that erupted in the state, saying it had “surrendered” before the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for “political considerations”.

At a special hearing, a full Bench of the court minced no words in slamming the chief minister for “protecting” the Dera followers and extending political patronage to them.

The court observed that the BJP government seemed to have “surrendered before the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda for political considerations”.

“This was a political surrender to allure vote bank,” it observed, a day after Dera followers went on a rampage across Haryana following the conviction of the self-styled godman in a rape case by a court in Panchkula.

36 people have died so far and over 269 are injured, with curfew being imposed at several places.

The Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice S Singh Saron, Justice Avneesh Jhingan and Justice Surya Kant, was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a Panchkula resident who had raised law and order concerns and stated that over 1.5 lakh people had reportedly entered the district earlier despite prohibitory orders.

The High Court also took note of Khattar’s statement on Friday in which he blamed anti-social elements for the violence, which also spilled over into neighbouring Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.

“After the CBI court verdict, you immediately came to know that anti-social elements got mixed up with the followers, but how is it that you failed to take note when large number of Dera followers arrived in Panchkula,” the Bench pointed out.

The large-scale build up of Dera followers in Panchkula and the lack of action to evict them was a “political surrender”, it said.

The court also restrained the Dera from transferring, selling or leasing out its properties, while directing it to submit a list of its movable and immovable assets.

It asked the Punjab and Haryana governments to submit their plans on avoiding such situations in the future and directed the Deputy Commissioners across Punjab and Haryana to invite claims for compensation for any losses suffered due to the violence.

The state government was asked to inform the Bench about any plans to sanitise the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters. The court also came down heavily on the BJP government for “misleading” it by furnishing wrong information on the number of vehicles in the Dera head’s convoy when he was travelling to the court in Panchkula from Sirsa.

The Dera chief, who earlier had ‘Z’ category security, travelled in a huge convoy of vehicles which had his security guards and several followers.

The court also asked Haryana Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan whether cabinet ministers Ram Bilas Sharma and Anil Vij had each sanctioned grants of Rs 50 lakh to the Dera.

Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda submitted in the court that there were 51 incidents in the state with 39 FIRs being registered. Nineteen people have been arrested including one Gurdev Singh, a state-level office bearer of Dera Sacha Sauda, he said.

Haryana Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan submitted that there have been 32 casualties in the state, 28 of which were from Panchkula. He said that out of the 28 bodies, one has been identified.

As many as 524 people have been arrested in Panchkula, he said. Twenty-four vehicles, five pistols with 79 rounds, and 2 rifles with 52 rounds were recovered, he submitted before the court.

Besides, iron rods, canes, hockey sticks and ten petrol bombs were also seized, he said.

The court asked the government to verify a report carried in a regional daily that alleged that five Dera leaders had instigated and mobilised followers.

The Bench directed the registration of an FIR against the instigators if the reporter stood by his report.

The court had on Friday asked the Dera to submit the list of assets and properties which can be attached “in case it is found that they and their followers are responsible for damaging properties”.

The next hearing will be held on August 29.

http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/260817/hc-slams-haryana-cm-says-govt-surrendered-to-dera-premis-for-political-gains.html

Advertisements

Sikh24.com – Punjab Update!

UPDATES:

Curfew in 10 cities of Punjab
– Over 30 dead and more than 200 injured.
– Military prescience in Punjab extended by 60 days
– An increased military presence of a 150 Companies requested by Punjab
– Two railways stations set alight
– Riot police in Delhi

Chandigarh-Panjab-India, 25 August 2017. Riotous behavior and violence by Sirsa cult disciples in Punjab and Haryana has stepped up which has caused the Punjab & Haryana High Court to issue a seizure order of the Sirsa cult’s entire property.

The High Court has said that the expenditure of all the demolition caused by Sirsa cult disciples will be compensated by the selling of Ram Rahim’s property.

Within few hours of the declaration of verdict against Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the Sirsa cult disciples have manifested a sharp commotion in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh.

Haryana violence

Over 25 people have been killed so far by the violent mobs, and over a hundred people have been injured. Public property and vehicles are being targeted by the mobs.

Curfew has been imposed in Bathinda, Mansa, Barnala and Ferozepur. Mobile internet has been suspended for the next few days.

Meanwhile, numerous incidents of violence at petrol pumps, telephone exchanges, and public vehicles have been targeted by the violent mobs.

The High Court has accused the BJP led Haryana’s state government and administration of internally supporting the Sirsa cult chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim as it fails to stem the increase of violence across northern India.

https://www.sikh24.com/2017/08/25/breaking-punjab-update/#.WaGyeNFLfIU

EU Parliament – Sikh Conference

Meeting of Sikh Federation UK with representatives of Sikhs from the EU discussing discrimination against Sikhs in their country. Report on the meeting available from me.
Man in Blue <harjindersingh.amritsar@yahoo.co.uk>

EU Parliament
18 July 2017

Sikhs from Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK attended

Listening to the speakers

Not all of us had pure white beards !

Note the different turban colours

Our Gent Sikhs (Four of us including me)

Sangat and speakers

To see all my pictures:

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

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Times of India – Why women not allowed to perform kirtan in Golden Temple (Harmandr Sahib) sanctum sanctorum

Yudhvir Rana

Amritsar, 27 July 2017. The delicate issue of gender equality has come to the fore with the Sikh Diaspora questioning the ritual of women not allowed to perform ‘kirtan’ (hymns) in the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple.

While a few Sikh scholars have appealed to the Jathedar of the Akal Takht to ensure that women were given the rights, others have blamed the prevailing patriarchal social system among Sikhs.

The Jathedar however has maintained silence on the issue. While talking to TOI on Wednesday, Balvinder Kaur Saundh, chair of Sikh Women Alliance, UK, said, “I have been saying for the past 20 years that Guru Nanak and our religion gave us equality. It is the men who have interpreted it to control our religious scriptures”.

She said women should be allowed to perform ‘kirtan’ in the Golden Temple besides other sewa (service), including giving shoulder to palki (palanquin) carrying Guru Granth Sahib. “All women groups should be allowed to do kirtan and take part in all the services”, she said.

Saundh said, “Generally it was said ‘women menstruate so they are unclean.’ If women didn’t have their monthly periods, would men have been born? We are as capable as men to do kirtan sewa.”

UK-based Sikh scholar Kamalroop Singh appealed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Gurbachan Singh by letting them sing the praises of ‘Waheguru’. Singh was of view that Sikh religion was founded on the concept of unity and equality. He said women have contributed immensely to the growth of the Sikh religion.

Malaysia-based humanitarian aid organizer of United Sikhs Rishiwant Singh said Sikhism was the most modern religion in the world and based on the equality of gender, race, religion, caste and creed. “There is no question whether women should be allowed to do sewa of kirtan or not”, he said.

US-based Sikh activist Rajwant Singh said Guru Nanak spoke about women’s rights. “Sikh women have played an important role in strengthening the journey of the faith in the last 500 years. The first Sikh was Bebe Nanki who played a key role in organizing the community during its infancy, also supporting her brother Guru Nanak Dev.

Similarly, Mata Khivi, who is the only woman mentioned in the Sikh scriptures, is the main person who popularized langar, a vegetarian community meal which is still in practice. Her daughter, Bibi Amro, was also installed as a Sikh preacher by Guru Amardas, the third Sikh guru”.

When contacted, the Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Gurbachan Singh said, “I have no opinion on this issue”.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/why-women-not-allowed-to-perform-kirtan-in-golden-temple-sanctum-sanctorum/articleshow/59780900.cms

Dawn – Meet the Sikh politician who might ‘out-Trudeau Justin Trudeau’

Alan Freeman

Ottawa-Canada, 25 August 2017. Canada’s latest political phenomenon is just 38. He’s a dapper lawyer who wears bespoke three-piece suits, rides his bike to work and has been featured in GQ. He also sports a long beard and wears pastel-coloured turbans and a kirpan, a ceremonial dagger, both integral elements of the Sikh religion.

Meet Jagmeet Singh, who is shaking up the lacklustre race to lead Canada’s left-leaning New Democratic Party, the country’s third-largest party. His backers say he could eventually pose a political threat to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the governing Liberal Party.

Singh, until now the deputy leader of the New Democrats in the provincial legislature in Ontario, is the latest in a line of Sikh Canadians who have made a big impact on the country’s political scene, a remarkable achievement for a minority that in the 2011 census accounted for less than 1.5 per cent of Canada’s population.

Four members of Trudeau’s cabinet are Sikh, including Harjit Singh Sajjan, who serves as Canada’s minister of national defence.

Trudeau quipped recently there were more Sikhs in his cabinet than in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet. (Sikhism is the fourth largest religion in India, but Sikhs make up just two per cent of India’s population.)

Canada’s Sikhs numbered 455,000 in the 2011 census, with the biggest concentrations in British Columbia and the Toronto area. But the political and economic success of the Sikh diaspora here makes Canada a major draw for Sikhs in India.

“For Sikhs across the world, Canada is seen as one of the best places to live,” says Balpreet Singh, legal counsel and spokesman for the World Sikh Organisation of Canada. “If you asked anyone in Punjab where they would like to live if they go abroad, the first choice is Canada.”

Balpreet Singh, a cousin of Jagmeet’s, said in an interview Sikhs have also succeeded in the United States but have faced more discrimination, including a series of hate crimes in which Sikhs have been mistaken for Muslims. “We don’t have anything here like you have in America”.

Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, a polling firm based in Vancouver, said Jagmeet Singh appeals to many of the same voters who made Trudeau’s victory possible in 2015. “He appeals to a youth demographic, and he appeals to minority communities”, Kurl said. “Where Justin Trudeau talks about diversity being our strength, Jagmeet Singh is the embodiment of that. He can almost out-Trudeau Justin Trudeau”.

Sikhs in Canada

Sikhs first arrived in Canada at the end of the 19th century but soon found themselves unwelcome.

In a now-famous incident in 1914, when the Japanese ship Komagata Maru landed at Vancouver harbour with 376 mostly Sikh passengers, authorities refused to allow the would-be immigrants to disembark. After a court battle, the passengers were expelled from Canada.

In May 2016, Trudeau formally apologised for the incident.

The real growth in the number of Sikhs and other South Indians began in the 1970s when the government of Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father, relaxed Canada’s immigration laws.

Other challenges soon arose. In the late 1980s, Baltej Singh Dhillon’s application to join the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was denied because the force’s dress code banned him from wearing a turban in place of the traditional Stetson hat.

After public pressure, the government relented and changed the policy, and Dhillon joined the force. His story has been marked by the Canadian Broadcasting Corperation in a documentary on the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.

Personal style as tool

Brought up in Newfoundland, where his father studied medicine, and later in Windsor, Ontario, Jagmeet Singh said the racism he faced as a child made him sensitive to victims of discrimination and motivated his career choice as a defence lawyer. He sees his personal style as a tool to talk about these issues.

“A beard and a turban sometimes conjure up negative associations, but if you see someone with a lime-coloured, bright orange or pink turban, it disarms people’s stereotyped notion of this image”, he told GQ.

At an all-candidates leadership debate held by the New Democrats in June, Singh said his identity would be a vote-getter. “I can connect with new Canadians in ways that others on this stage simply cannot”, he said.

As he mulled his leadership bid this spring, he was featured on a popular TV show hosted by comedian Rick Mercer. Singh taught the host how to tie a turban.

He was first elected in the 2011 Ontario provincial election; in his interview with GQ, he said he was inspired to run for office after doing human rights work as a lawyer for under-represented communities.

Singh’s policies include a vow to raise corporate taxes and oppose expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia coast, which pleases environmentalists.

Criticism

Although he has come out in favour of same-sex marriage and women’s abortion rights, Singh has been criticised for favouring an exemption from mandatory motorcycle helmet laws for Sikhs and for failing to actively support Ontario’s sex education curriculum, aligning himself with conservative immigrant communities.

Party members in Quebec have been critical of Singh for wearing a turban and kirpan and say he will hurt the party’s electoral chances in the largely French-speaking province. “To have a leader who wears ostentatious [religious] symbols, we aren’t ready,” Pierre Dionne LaBelle, a former New Democrat member of Parliament from Quebec told Le Devoir, a French-language newspaper.

The Quebec National Assembly already bans the wearing of the kirpan, the only provincial legislature to do so, and is mulling proposed legislation banning people from providing or receiving public services if they cover their faces.

A recent Angus Reid survey showed that while 56 per cent of all Canadians would vote for a party leader who wears a religious head covering, only 36 per cent of Quebecers would do so.

New Democratic Party members will begin casting ballots in the online election in mid-September in what could be several rounds of voting. A final result is expected by mid-October. Predicting the outcome is difficult because voting is limited to party members.

One indication of Singh’s organisational strength: His campaign raised more money by far than his three opponents in the period that ended June 30.

Observers warn that despite his youth and lack of national experience, it would be unwise to underestimate Singh’s chances at victory.

Suggestions that Singh is all style and no substance recall early criticisms of Trudeau before his election win in 2015, writes Tim Harper, a columnist with The Toronto Star. “Questions about Singh’s style, depth and debating skills sound surprisingly like the questions being asked about Trudeau four years ago”.

By arrangement with The Washington Post

https://www.dawn.com/news/1353786/meet-the-sikh-politician-who-might-out-trudeau-justin-trudeau