The Asian Age – Manmohan Singh shares stage with Sajjan Kumar in Delhi, sparks anger

Atul Krishan

New Delhi, 8 October 2017. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh finds himself in the middle of another controversy on Saturday when he shared dais with former Lok Sabha MP Sajjan Kumar, an accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, sparking a massive outrage.

A senior Congress leader, who did not wish to be named, said that Mr Singh and Mr Kumar attended the first meeting of the newly-elected Delhi Congress unit. “Both the leaders are the newly-elected delegates. They came had come to attend the first meeting,” he said. This has come as major embarrassment to the Congress.

In July, the Delhi high court had sought the response of Mr Kumar to a plea seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to him by the trial court in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) appointed as many as 280 new delegates who would vote in the All India Congress Committee (AICC) elections reportedly to be held next month. Besides, Mr Singh, senior party leader Janardhan Dwivedi was also made one of the delegates.

During the meeting, the Congress leaders also passed two resolutions that AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi should take over as AICC president and that the AICC president and vice-president should elect the new DPCC.

All the newly elected delegates endorsed both the resolutions by raising their hands. Former DPCC president Ms Tajdar Babar read out the first resolution regarding election of the DPCC chief. The second resolution was read out by former DPCC president Prem Singh who proposed that Mr Gandhi should take over as the AICC chief.

Addressing the meeting, DPCC president Ajay Maken said that it was a matter of pride for the party that Mr Singh had been elected as a DPCC delegate.

Advertisements – Gurdaspur by-poll: Akali-BJP candidate Swaran Salaria accused of rape

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi-India, 6 October 2017. The by-poll for Gurdaspur parliamentary seat is proving fatal for the Akali-BJP alliance in Punjab. Few days after the dismissal of Sucha Langaah, Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP candidate Swaran Salaria has also been accused of rape by a woman.

Some objectionable photos of Salaria in intimate positions with the same woman have also gone viral over social media.

As per latest updates circling social media, the victim woman has moved a plea against Swaran Salaria in the Supreme Court of India claiming that Salaria physically abused her on the pretext of marriage.

The 45 years old complainant has claimed in the plea that Swaran Salaria exploited her physically for 32 years between 1982 and 2014 on the pretext of marrying her.

She has stated that in 2014, Salaria told her that he would not marry her. She has further claimed that Swaran Salaria initially kept her in a paying guest accommodation but later gave her a flat to live in.

BJP candidate Swaran Salaria is a Mumbai-based businessman. He has denied allegations levelled by the woman. Salaria has said that complainant was trying to tarnish his public image.

Meanwhile, the Congress has approached the Election Commission seeking cancellation of Swaran Salaria’s nomination. Congress leader and Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal has slammed the BJP and Sawarn Salaria for hiding the information about the criminal cases being faced by him in his nomination papers.

“We are submitting a complaint to the Election Officer besides the Election Commission. Swaran Salaria is already facing a case under IPC Sections 376, 420 and 306 besides the SC Act, which was registered on 15th of December 2014. His nomination should be cancelled immediately,” Manpreet Badal said.

Gent: Circle of Silence – Gentbrugge: Evi and Vicinal bus

Stilte Kring on the Gent Korenmarkt
26 September 2017

The last and not the best picture of the Circle of Silence
Week of Peace

Gentbrugge – Evi
26 September 2017

Evi at her studies !

And with her favourite tea cup

Making notes !

Gentbrugge ‘Vicinal’ buses
27 September 2017

Buses in Vicinal livery
Land van Rodelaan
Underneath E17

Bus 770 from Brugge to Oostende

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Birmingham Mail – Tributes paid to community leader Sewa Singh Mandla OBE who has died aged 90

Mr Sewa Singh Mandla’s high-profile battle against civic authorities in the 1970s lead to landmark legislation recognising Sikhs as a distinct ethnic and racial group

Amardeep Bassey

Birmingham, 7 October 2017. A prominent Midland community leader who successfully campaigned for a change in the law to allow Sikhs to wear a turban at work and school has died at the age of 90.

Mr Sewa Singh Mandla’s high-profile battle against civic authorities in the 1970s lead to landmark legislation recognising Sikhs as a distinct ethnic and racial group.

A retired lawyer, Mr Mandla was a long serving volunteer at the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha sikh temple [Gurdwara] in Handsworth, Birmingham, and was awarded an OBE last year.

It was presented to him by the Queen during her 90th birthday honours list in recognition of his 50 years legal, human rights and community voluntary service in West Midlands.

Mr Mandla was born in Kenya in January 1927 and moved to Birmingham in 1955 to practice law becoming one of the first non-white solicitors to work at Birmingham magistrates court.

The grandfather-of-six hit the national headlines in 1978 when he complained that a local private school had discriminated against his son Gurinder by not allowing him to wear a turban in class.

A House of Lords panel later agreed saying: “We find it impossible to believe that Parliament intended to exclude the Sikhs from the benefit of the Race Relations Act and to allow discrimination to be practised against the Sikhs.

“We agree with the noble and learned friend that Gurinder Singh cannot comply with the school rules without becoming a victim of discrimination.

“The discrimination cannot be justified by a genuine belief that the school would provide a better system of education if it were allowed to discriminate.”

Winning legal recognition as a distinct ethnic and racial group paved the way for Sikhs in the UK to become exempt from wearing crash helmets and hard-hats on construction sites and to freely wear turbans in the workplace and schools.

Last night tributes poured in on social media describing Mr Mandla as a “pioneering campaigner” and “selfless servant of the community.”

A spokesman for the Sikh Network said: “Mr Mandla’s passing will be lamented, he distinguished himself as an equal rights pioneer.

“The Sikh community is indebted to his tenacious fight against the shim of a school and the courts upheld our right to freely wear turbans.

“Mr Mandla will be remembered as a man of principle and a role model to all of civic society.”

Professor Upkar Singh Pardesi, Vice Chair of Nishkam Civic Association, said “The Sikh and wider community in Birmingham and the region has lost one of the longest serving lawyers, an active volunteer, and role model for spirituality.

“Mr Mandla shone and become a legend for his ability to successfully fuse his professional work in law with spirituality to make a difference to Sikh and wider communities in the UK.

“Mr Mandla’s perseverance to take the issue of turbans worn by Sikh pupils in schools is a testament of his dedication to fight for a just cause. He had an extraordinary passion and flair for serving the community in the pursuit of making a difference.

“His perseverance to follow through projects and tasks was one of his outstanding qualities.”

Mr Mandla is survived by a son Gurinder, daughter Tina and six grandchildren.

Dawn – Coup talk

Cyril Almeida

Op/ed, 8 October 2017. There is a template for a coup and it goes something like this: The government is paralysed, Nawaz is on the warpath, the boys have had enough, the chief moves in.

Good enough for before, good enough for again.

Throw in a bit of anti-US and anti-India hysteria and you may even wonder why we haven’t already had a coup.

But the story has deviated a bit. No one seems to be cheering on the only chap who can pull the trigger.

It’s as if we still have a new chief; a fresher still finding his feet

What’s really needed is an institutional intervention, folk are suggesting. This is bigger than any individual, folk are cautioning. Many will have to work together if the country is to be saved, they are advising.

It’s as if no one wants the chief to become chief executive.

Something is off. Rewind to Kayani and his ascent some 11 years ago; a reluctant transfer of military power by Musharraf in the midst of a desperate struggle to cling to political power.

It took a while for Kayani to settle in and assert control. There were the snide remarks about the son of a JCO not being the best fit for the most prestigious post in the land.

There were questions about whether a direct move from the ISI to GHQ was a sound idea. There were murmurs of favouritism for political reasons and debates about whether Musharraf had been conned.

Kayani eventually overcame all of that. But he had to work at it. Hard.

He declared a Year of the Soldier. He won over the troops with pay raises and focusing on military matters. He cultivated the media. He developed a professional mystique, the thinking soldier.

And he eventually figured out how to navigate institutional factions and political circles to the point that pulled off the greatest of cons, a second term for himself.

More than a decade later, the stain of the second term and political tumult at the time of his ascension have obscured the original reality: Kayani had an uncertain start as chief.

But then came Raheel. And the script was replayed.

Raheel too took a while to settle in and assert control. His pedigree was impeccable but his intellect was questioned. Why had a mediocre general superseded at least one perfectly good candidate and been picked ahead of a couple of quality options below him?

Was he the right man for the job? He wasn’t going to be Nawaz’s man, but had Nawaz figured out that apolitical was all that he needed in his war against Imran?

As the original dharna neared, the doubts deepened and the dissent threatened to spill out into the open. Rumours of a cabal of generals trying to pressure their boss into doing their bidding were unleashed.

Like Kayani before him, Raheel eventually overcame all of that. But he too had to work at it. Hard.

After an uncertain 10 months or so, Raheel figured out that to be king you had to make sure people knew you were king and feared you as a king. The cult of Raheel began to be born.

Operation Zarb-i-Azb was its crown jewel and ‘ThankYouRaheelSharif’ its tagline.

And now to the problem. The same thing has happened with Bajwa. He came in under a cloud of suspicion. How had number six been elevated to number one? Why were Nawaz and co so sure he would be their man?

To the suspicions was added a bit of aggravation. There had been an heir apparent. He was thought to have Raheel’s support and was a favourite of the troops.

He had the right credentials, the right reputation and the right approach. But he was wronged; humiliatingly superseded for no other reason than civilian cherry-picking.

And perhaps most of all for the unlucky Bajwa, he’s had to deal with the shadow of Raheel and the seemingly never-ending strength of his faction.

Still, nothing that could not be overcome. And nothing fundamentally different to what Kayani and Raheel had to endure.

The problem: the chief doesn’t seem to be overcoming his uncertain start.

There’s a political war out there, a foreign crisis brewing in Afghanistan and DC, and institutions under attack. That’s the kind of stuff out of which reputations are made.

Even better, all the events have been slow-moving and relatively easy to predict. Ten months in, it was set up rather nicely.

Chief becomes more assertive, a fawning public and braying media exhorts him to do more and then, the chief either decides to let democracy continue out of the goodness of his heart or goes in for the kill.

Except, this time no one seems to be cheering on the only chap who can pull the trigger. It’s as if no one wants the chief to become chief executive. It’s as if we still have a new chief; a fresher still finding his feet.

Something is off. And it may not be good for any of us.

The best-case scenario is a chief who is sure he can’t take over, whether he wants to or not. We’re clearly no longer in that terrain.

The next best thing is a chief who is sure he can take over, but doesn’t want to take over. If we were blessed, that’s where we’d be right now.

But in the realm of a chief who everyone thinks is too soft to take over and in any case don’t want him to take over?

We may be tempting the gods.

The writer is a member of staff. – Twitter: @cyalm