The Times of India – Hindu outfit leader shot by unidentified assailants in Amritsar

Yudhvir Rana

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 31 October 2017. Nearly two weeks after the killing of a Rashtriya Swayam Sewak (RSS) leader in Ludhiana, unidentified assailants shot dead Vipina Sharma, leader of a lesser known Hindu outfit Hindu Sangarash Sena in broad day light on Monday.

According to reports, four unidentified assailants arrived on two separate motorcycles at Bharat Nagar, Batala Road at around 3 PM on Monday.

Sharma was accompanied with his friend on motorcycle and was on his way to home. As the two turbaned gun wielding assailants intercepted the motorcycle, Sharma fell on the ground while his friend fled.

The accused opened fire on Sharma from close range while their two accomplice were standing at a distance. Sharma died on the spot.

The incident was recorded on CCTV in which two turbaned persons are seen shooting Sharma.

Notably on October 17th, RSS leader Ravinder Gosian was shot dead in Ludhiana.

Police have issued an alert and sealed all the exit points of the city.

Amritsar police commissioner S S Srivastava informed that they had ‘some’ suspects but added that police had not arrested anyone so far. He informed that till now there was no information of hand of any Sikh hardliner organization behind the killing. He said police was trying to trace the culprits on the basis of CCTV footage.

Local residents informed that Vipin Sharma had a cable TV agency and for nearly a decade was an active Hindu leader often organizing Jagran and other Hindu religious functions.

Police sources informed that in past Vipin had received life threats from unknown persons.

Meanwhile BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh blamed Punjab’s Congress government for its alleged failure to maintain law and order. “Incidents of attack on Hindu leaders are increasing, instead of providing them with security cover police had withdrawn their security” he said.

I have no sympathy at all for these right-wing Hindu outfits, but I also totally disagree with those that want to solve the problem of Hindu extremism by killing its leaders !
Man in Blue


The Tribune – British officers pay homage to the Jullundur Brigade

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, 30 October 2017. A little over a century after the Indian Army went into action in Northern France and Flanders during the World War I in October 1914, 12 veterans of British Army here today paid homage to soldiers of Jullundur Brigade who were killed in action. Their names are etched for posterity at India Gate.

Jullundur Brigade Association president Major General Peter Davies today led an Indian delegation, including several veterans who served in the British Army and are now members of the JBA. Members of the association include Lt General Devraj Singh, former Colonel of the Sikh Regiment and Director General (Infantry).

The Indian Corps were among the earliest troops on the Western Front, the very first Indian troops to land on Europe in September 1914 being the XV Sikhs (later 2nd Royal battalion, Sikh Regiment and initially part of the Jullundur Brigade).

The Jullundur Brigade went to war in late October 1914 and fought at the First Battle of Ypres [Ieper], Neuve Chapelle, Givenchy, Second Battle of Ypres [Ieper], Festubert and Loos.

The JBA was constituted in Manchester in 1989. Its founder was late Major General Mohindar Singh Chopra.

Gent: Visserijvaart – Sint-Macharius – Sint-Baafs

17 October 2017


Sint-Macharius – Sint-Baafs
17 October 2017

Ferdinand Lousbergskaai – Sint-Machariuspoort

Sint-Machariuspoort – Herberg Macharius


Sint-Baafs Abdij

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More Belgian pictures to be published
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Man in Blue

The Independent – British government accused of covering up role in Amritsar massacre of Sikhs

Sikh Federation report attacks ‘culture of secrecy’ and calls previous review a ‘whitewash’

May Bulman

London, 30 October 2017. The Government has been accused of covering up the extent of Britain’s support for India’s crackdown on Sikhs in 1984, prompting concerns that there is an “undemocratic and unsustainable” culture of secrecy around UK special forces.

A new report has called for a full inquiry into the role played by Margaret Thatcher’s government in the events leading up to a massacre, which left hundreds, possibly thousands, of Sikhs and Indian soldiers dead.

In 2014, David Cameron ordered a review after previously secret documents appeared to show possible SAS involvement in the 1984 Amritsar massacre.

The papers, made public for the first time under the 30-year rule, indicate that a British officer helped the Indian authorities come up with a plan to remove Sikh separatists from the city’s Golden Temple.

They also showed that the plan, known as Operation Blue Star, was carried out with the full knowledge of the Thatcher government.

When the Indian army did mobilise to clear out the occupying Sikhs, there were catastrophic consequences. The precise death toll from Operation Blue Star is still disputed, from around 400 according to the Indian government to Sikh estimates in excess of a thousand.

The move was considered good for the “bilateral relationship” at a time of potential defence-related sales, according to the review released by Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood.

The new report, published by the Sikh Federation UK, described Cameron’s review as a “whitewash”, and claims that attempts to expose the full facts have been thwarted by government secrecy rules and conflicts of interest.

According to the Sikh Federation’s report, immediately after the SAS officer carried out his reconnaissance with an Indian special forces unit, the Sikhs pulled out of peace talks believing they had seen a commando unit move into the city.

It suggests the UK was keen to help India because the country was one of its biggest purchasers of military equipment between 1981 and 1990.

The author of the report, Phil Miller, said: “The Government needs to finally come clean about Thatcher’s role in the Amritsar massacre and India’s crackdown on Sikhs.

“Whitehall censorship of historical files is like an old boys’ club that prevents the public from ever knowing how taxpayers’ money was spent. This culture of secrecy around Britain’s special forces and intelligence agencies is undemocratic and unsustainable.”

Bhai Amrik Singh, chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: “This report casts serious doubts on the adequacy and integrity of the in-house Heywood review commissioned by Cameron.

“There has been a massive cover-up and parliament and the public have been disturbingly misled. An independent public inquiry to get to the truth is the only way forward.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “All sensitivity reviewers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office work strictly in accordance with the Public Records Act.

“Every redaction must be justified in terms of the Act, and is subject to review by the Advisory Council of the National Records and Archives. Redacted documents remain subject to the Freedom of Information Act.”

The Hindu – Supreme Court adjourns hearings on J&K’s special status for 12 weeks

Attorney General K K Venugopal said the court should adjourn the hearing on the petitions against Article 35A by six months

Krishnadas Rajagopal

New Delhi, 30 October 2017. The Centre on Monday bought time from the Supreme Court hearing petitions challenging special status to Jammu and Kashmir, saying it has appointed an interlocutor to commence dialogue with stakeholders in the restive State.

Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Attorney General K K Venugopal said the court should adjourn the hearing on the petitions against Article 35A of the Constitution by six months.

The court settled for 12 weeks in its order. It initially said eight weeks, but added one more month on the request of Mr Venugopal.

“The interlocutor has already commenced talks with stakeholders. If the court continues to hear this case, it will affect the dialogue process,” Mr Venugopal submitted.

Article 35A is a provision incorporated in the Indian Constitution giving the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature a carte blanche to decide who all are the ‘permanent residents’ of the State and grant them special right and privileges in State public sector jobs, acquisition of property within the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare programmes.

The provision mandates that no act of the State legislature coming under the ambit of Article 35A can be challenged for violating the Indian Constitution or any other law of the land.

Article 35A was incorporated into the Indian Constitution in 1954 by an order of President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.

The controversial Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order of 1954 followed the 1952 Delhi Agreement entered into between Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah extending Indian citizenship to the ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Presidential Order was issued under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Indian Constitution. This provision allows the President to make certain “exceptions and modifications” to the Indian Constitution for the benefit of ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.

So Article 35A was added to the Constitution as a testimony of the special consideration the Indian government accorded the ‘permanent residents’ of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Parliament was not consulted when the President incorporated Article 35A into the Indian Constitution through a Presidential Order issued under Article 370. Article 368 (i) of the Constitution mandates that only the Parliament can amend the Constitution by introducing a new Article.

A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in its March 1961 judgment in Puranlal Lakhanpal vs. The President of India discusses the President’s powers under Article 370 to ‘modify’ the Constitution.

Though the court concludes that the President has the power to modify the Constitution under Article 370, the judgment is silent as to whether the President is empowered to bring about a radical change in the Constitution by introducing a new Article. This question remains open till date.

The question has come up for a decision in a writ petition filed by NGO, We the Citizens, which challenges the validity of both Article 35A and Article 370.

The petition argues that four representatives from Kashmir were part of the Constituent Assembly involved in the drafting of the Indian Constitution and the State of Jammu and Kashmir was never accorded any special status in the Constitution.

Article 370 was only a ‘temporary provision’ to help bring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and strengthen democracy in that State. The Constitution makers did not intend Article 370 to be a tool to bring permanent amendments, like Article 35A, in the Constitution.

The petition said Article 35 A is against the “very spirit of oneness of India” as it creates a “class within a class of Indian citizens.”

Restricting citizens from other States from getting employment or buying property within Jammu and Kashmir is a violation of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

A second petition filed by Jammu and Kashmir native, Charu Wali Khanna, has challenged Article 35A for protecting certain provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution which restricts the basic right to property if a native woman marries a man not holding the Permanent Resident Certificate.

Mr Venugopal has also called for a debate in the Supreme Court on the sensitive subject.

The court has indicated that the issue of the validity of Article 35A and 370 may ultimately be placed before a Constitution Bench of the apex court for an authoritative decision.

The News – Nawaz likely to return to London from Jeddah for consultation with party’s top brass

Jeddah-Saudi Arabia, 29 October 2017. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to return to London from Jeddah and meet party leaders, including the prime minister and the Panjab chief minister there.

Sources said that the former premier would return home (Pakistan) after having consultation with the PML-N leaders in London.

Nawaz, who is currently in Saudi Arabia to spend time with his mother, was earlier expected to return to Pakistan.

Sources added that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and some other cabinet members are also likely to leave for London in a day or two.

Shahbaz leaves for London

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had left for London on Sunday morning.

The chief minister would stop over in Qatar, where he is likely to hold important meetings with the Qatari officials, on his way to London.

Earlier on 26 October, the accountability court hearing corruption references against the Sharif family issued bailable warrants for former premier Nawaz Sharif in two references.

The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties and over dozen offshore companies owned by the family.

The hearing was then adjourned until 3 November with the last chance for the former premier to ensure his presence in court. – SGPC establishes IT department to establish contact with worldwide Sikhs

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 30 October 2017. In an attempt to establish mass contact with worldwide Sikh masses, SGPC President Professor Kirpal Singh Badungar today inaugurated the “SGPC Information Technology Wing”. The new IT department will be supervised by the already running SGPC Internet Team. SGPC employee S Jaspal Singh has been appointed as the head of the IT wing.

Speaking with Sikh24 earlier today, Professor Kirpal Singh Badungar said that the SGPC was feeling the need to convey its activities to common Sikh masses via social media from a long time. He added that the IT wing will serve the task of answering the queries from Sikh masses and conveying information about sensitive Sikh issues to them.

He told Sikh24 that the IT wing has been established on suggestions of sub-committee comprising SGPC General Secretary S Amarjit Singh Chawla, Secretary Dr Roop Singh, Professor Sukhjit Singh, Dr Manpreet Singh and Dr Kanwalvir Singh Dhindsa. He added that Professor Sukhjit Singh, Dr Manpreet Singh and Dr Kanwalvir Singh Dhindsa have been also nominated as an advisor of the new IT wing.

Gent: Gurdwara Mata Sahib Kaur and Portus Ganda

Gent Gurdwara
17 October 2017

Guru Arjan’s martyrdom
Panjabi – English – Bad Dutch

Guru Teg Bahadur’s martyrdom
Panjabi – English – Bad Dutch

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

Portus Ganda
17 October 2017

Portus Ganda – Confluence of the Leie and the Schelde

Portus Ganda – Confluence of the Leie and the Schelde

Superman/woman with no clothes on ?

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Man in Blue

ANI News – Catholic Church bell rings after half a century long gap

Srinagar-Jammu & Kashmir-India, 29 October 2017. After 50 long years, the people of Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar heard the holy bell of 121-year-old Catholic Church on Sunday.

The Holy Family Church was built in 1896, and holds so far the largest bell the state weighed at 105 kilograms. The British-era Church and its belfry had suffered severe damage in an arson incident in 1967 and since then it had no bells.

In a gesture of communal harmony, members from Muslim, Hindu, Sikh community joined hands with Christians for the re-installation of bell.

Continuing with Kashmir’s pluralistic ethos, an inter-religious ceremony was organised for the historic occasion attended by representatives of all major faiths and joined hands with Christian community to ring the bell for the first time.

There are about 30 Christian families, both Catholics and Protestants, living in Srinagar There are five churches in Kashmir, of which regular prayers services are being held in three Churches. Traditionally, a church bell is used to call worshipers to the church for a prayer service and announcing the time of daily prayers.

Dawn – Maryam’s ‘leadership boast’ jolts embattled PML-N

Syed Irfan Raza & Masood Haider

Islamabad/New York, 29 October 2017. The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which is already reeling from rumours of a split in the wake of the ouster of Nawaz Sharif, was thrown another curveball on Saturday after the daughter of the former prime minister hinted that she might be given a leadership role in the party.

Although Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who celebrated her 44th birthday on Saturday, told the New York Times in a recent interview that there were people who thought she was “meant for a certain role”, she denied ever saying that her family had decided that she should take the reins of the party.

“The statement that ‘the family decided that I should be leading the party’ is wrongly ascribed to me. There never has been any such decision. Nawaz Sharif is and Insha’Allah will be leading PML-N. I am not even an aspirant. Am happy to be working as [a party] worker,” she tweeted on Saturday.

Ex-PM’s daughter disputes NYT quote; leaders say too early to say whether she or Hamza will lead the party

Although both she and senior party leaders deny the impression that the PML-N is a “divided house”, insiders admit there are ‘differences of opinion’ within the party, especially over the leadership vacuum created in the wake of the former prime minister’s ouster.

The impression is strengthened by reports of a rivalry between Ms Sharif and her cousin, Hamza Shahbaz, which is said to have been quelled only after the Punjab chief minister mediated between the two at a recent meeting.

In the NYT interview, Ms Sharif only had praise for her uncle and supported his chances of becoming the next prime minister. “He’s the most competent person. He’s my hero. I love him to death,” NYT quoted her as saying about Shahbaz Sharif.

Local PML-N leader and former MNA Shakil Awan, who defeated Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in the 2010 by-elections, endorsed Ms Sharif’s view, saying that there was no split in the party. However, he maintained that if Nawaz Sharif left office, it was his younger brother Shahbaz who deserved to take his place.

The whole party, he said, had complete confidence in Nawaz Sharif’s leadership. “There is no question about who will become party chief while Nawaz Sharif is still around,” he said.

However, Mr Awan admitted that there were concerns in the party, based mainly on the cases instituted against the Sharif family.

“The whole party is disturbed over why only one family is being targeted in the name of accountability, while those who openly committed corruption and became billionaires within in few years were still free to do anything,” he said.

The whole party believed that while Shahbaz Sharif and even former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan could have differences of opinion with Nawaz, but they all firmly backed the elder Sharif as their leader.

Nisar and his erstwhile cabinet colleague Riaz Hussain Pirzada have recently gone public with their own opinions about who should succeed the elder Sharif; the former doubting Maryam’s credentials and the latter suggesting that Shahbaz Sharif take over from his brother.

Cabinet minister and senior party leader Mushahidullah Khan, however, saw a political conspiracy behind such reports. The opposition, especially the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, he said, wanted to gain political mileage by propagating the narrative that there were rifts within the Sharif family.

“Nawaz Sharif is our party president and his decisions are unquestioningly accepted by party leaders and workers,” he said.

When asked about the possibility of Maryam or Hamza playing a leadership role in the party, he said that all such speculation was purely hypothetical while Nawaz Sharif was still there.

But, if such a decision was to be taken, it would also be made by Nawaz Sharif, he concluded.

Another PML-N leader, Rana Afzal, said that both Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz had different kinds of
political experience, but it was not yet time to consider them to lead the party.