The Times of India – Stop cross-LoC trade if it is a threat, but don’t harass us: Traders

Hakeem Irfan Rashid

Srinagar-Jammu & Kashmir-India, 19 September 2017. Traders engaged in business across the Line of Control in J&K have asked the government to stop the barter trade if it is a threat to national security and put an end to the harassment of the traders who they said are repeatedly summoned and questioned by the National Investigation Agency.

The NIA has sent notices to around 40 cross LoC traders and raided houses, offices and businesses of 15 traders, seized documents, electronic gadgets and called many of them for questioning to New Delhi, Lucknow and Nagpur.

The traders stated that the Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during his recent visit to J&K assured them that they won’t be summoned to New Delhi or any other place, but despite his intervention some of the traders have again been summoned to New Delhi and Lucknow.

“We are traders not terrorists. If government and its agencies believe than this trade is a threat to national security let them stop it. We are not scared of any investigation, but let the investigators should question us here in the state. We can’t afford to go to New Delhi, Nagpur or Lucknow every now and then,” one of the traders Samiullah told ET.

A delegation of the cross LoC traders also met former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led Congress policy planning group here in Srinagar to convey their concerns and urged them to raise the issue in New Delhi. The traders have threatened to stop the trade themselves from October, if the government didn’t pay heed to their concerns.

The NIA while investigating a case registered in May this year regarding illegal transfer of money to Hurriyat leaders has questioned many cross LoC traders and the trade has also intermittently halted due to various reasons.

“We have been made the sacrificial lambs of this confidence building measure between India and Pakistan,” Showkat Ahmad Kaloo, another cross LoC trader, told ET. The traders blamed the PDP-BJP government’s internal differences for their plight, claiming that PDP wants to continue the trade while as BJP opposes it.

“In the fight between two elephants, grass is trampled,” another trader added.

The cross LoC zero tariff barter trade with no custom duty was started in October 2008 as a biggest CBM between India and Pakistan and is conducted from Chakan-da-bagh-Rawalakote route in Jammu and Salamabad-Chokoti in Kashmir. The government has made list of 21 items that can be traded.

“Now we have to pay double tax after GST regime was implemented and cannot even do trade on credit as it is barter trade. Only 35 traders are presently doing the trade out of more than 750 registered traders,” said another trader Rashid Ali.

The trade is vulnerable due to shaky relations between the two countries and is stopped even on a minor ceasefire violation or any political confrontation. Besides, increasing intervention of investigating agencies accusing the traders of their involvement in drug trafficking and hawala transactions.

During the NIA raids, the traders claimed that their wallets, ATM cards, property documents, medical reports, mobile phones and even the registers documenting gifts received on given during functions have been seized.

“They make us feel like criminals and the electronic media without any proof only amplifies the accusations which have not even been proven till now,” said another trader.


The Tribune – Police reach Canada to extradite Jassi’s ‘killers’

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 17 September 2017. A three-member Punjab Police team has reached Vancouver, Canada, for the extradition of two prime accused in the Jassi honour killing case.

The team led by IPS officer Kanwardeep Kaur, posted as SP (Headquarters) in Patiala, would bring back Jassi’s mother Malkiat Kaur (62) and maternal uncle Surjit Singh Badesha (70) to face trial in India for the murder.

The extradition was made possible after the British Columbia Supreme Court ordered the extradition last week — 17 years after the murder.

Jassi and her husband Sukhwinder Singh Mithu of Kaunke Khosa village in Jagraon were attacked on June 8, 2000, near Malerkotla by contract killers allegedly hired by Jassi’s mother and uncle. Jassi died, while Mithu survived.

The police left for Canada last evening after Secretary (Home) Rahul Kumar gave the approval to bring back the accused.

The other members of the police team are Dhuri DSP Akashdeep Singh Aulakh and Inspector Deepinder Pal Singh. Surjit and Malkiat are booked under Sections 302, 307, 364, 148, 149 and 120-B of the IPC.

Jassi, a Canadian-born Indian girl, met Mithu when she visited her uncle in Punjab. It was love at first sight.

Mithu and Jassi belonged to the Sidhu clan, but Mithu’s socio-economic status was lower than the Jassi’s. A huge mansion of Badesha was next to a two-room house of Mithu in Kaunke Khosa.

Also, marriages within a village are mostly unapproved of. But Jassi insisted and married Mithu against the wishes of her family in March 2000.

The couple stayed at various places till 8 June 2000, when 14 contract killers waylaid them near Malerkotla.

Sint-Truiden – Limburg – Belgium

27 August 2017

Groenmarkt – Funfair

Abdij toren – Abbey tower

Zoutstraat – Huis van de Wereld

Zoutstraat – Huis van de Wereld

Zoutstraat – Community Education (Go School)


To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Express and Star – Thousands at Sikh convention in Wolverhampton

Thousands of Sikhs headed to the Black Country for an annual convention

David Cosgrove

More than 10,000 are estimated to have attended the Sikh Federation UK’s convention at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Wolverhampton over the weekend.

And in a keynote speech at the event a Sikh leader called on Prime Minister Theresa May to make a full apology in Parliament for a historic massacre before its 100th anniversary.

Unarmed civilians were killed at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar on April 13, 1919 by soldiers from the British Indian Army.

During a visit to the site in 2013, David Cameron described the massacre as ‘a deeply shameful event in British history’, but fell short of an official apology.

At the convention Bhai Amrik Singh said: “While the words of David Cameron in 2013 when he visited Jallianwala Bagh were comforting they fell short of an apology for the shameful massacre of unarmed civilians in Amritsar on April 13, 1919.

“We will focus our efforts in the UK by gaining cross-party support to demand a full apology before the 100th anniversary from Theresa May, assuming she remains Prime Minister.

“We are confident of support from MPs as many know the massacre came within months of the end of the First World War where Sikhs made sacrifices in huge numbers for the freedom of Europe.”

The Federation is leading an ongoing campaign for an independent public inquiry into UK involvement in the 1984 Sikh genocide.

The convention, which ran at the Gurdwara in Sedgley Street from Friday to yesterday (sun), also heard from both new Sikh MPs elected to Westminster in June – Sandwell councillor and new Edgbaston MP Preet Kaur Gill, the first Sikh woman MP, and Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, the first turban wearing Sikh.

Wolverhampton MPs Pat McFadden and Eleanor Smith also attended and spoke, as did former city MP Rob Marris.

The Hindu – India cannot push back those seeking asylum, says Tarun Gogoi

‘It’s a violation of principle against sending refugees back to a hostile nation

Sandeep Phukan

New Delhi, 18 September 2017. Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi says the “Rohingya crisis is a humanitarian one and India cannot simply push back those seeking asylum”.

Reacting to The Hindu’s report on Saturday that the BJP-led governments in Northeast India have asked the State police forces to push back any Rohingya refugee trying to cross the border, Mr. Gogoi said, “As a country which is concerned about human rights, how can we simply push them back into the country from where they are fleeing because of persecution.”

The senior Congress leader maintains that such a stand is a violation of the principle of non-refoulement, not to send asylum seekers back to a hostile country, and “the Government of India should take up with the United Nations to force Myanmar to give the Rohingya citizenship rights”.

“It is unfortunate if refugees are also divided along religious lines by the BJP governments in the north-east. They talk about population control but says we welcome Hindu Bangladeshis. If the idea is to welcome minorities who are persecuted, then Rohingya qualify too,” Mr. Gogoi say.

He says the north-eastern region can’t handle the burden of more refugees but the “issue has to be dealt with in a humane way.”

Suggesting that the Centre convene an all-party meeting and prepare a standard operating procedure to deal with refugees, Mr. Gogoi said, “We should be prepared to provide some temporary shelter if someone crosses the border.”

Congress for consensus

The Congress said on Monday that the Modi government “must take all sections of the political spectrum into confidence” on the issue of Rohingya refugees and evolve a national consensus.

Addressing presspersons, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi advised caution on the Centre’s position in its affidavit in the Supreme Court that India was not bound by international treaties when it was a question of national security.