The Hindustan Times – Supreme Court says human rights of Rohingya refugees cannot be ignored

The top court set the next date of hearing for November 21, and asked petitioners to approach it in case the government begins any deportation exercise.

New Delhi, 13 October 2017. The Supreme Court on Friday said that problem of Rohingya refugees is of a “great magnitude”. However, there is a need to strike a “right balance” to address concerns of national security that might arise due to their stay, it said.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was about to issue a directive to the Centre not to deport Rohingya refugees but was stopped by additional solicitor general, Tushar Mehta, who said an order of this kind would embarrass the government on international fora.

The bench fixed November 21 to give a detailed and a holistic hearing on the petitions filed against the government’s decision to deport Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar.

At the request of senior counsel, appearing for representatives from the community, social activists and NGOs, the bench gave them liberty to approach it in case any contingency arose during the intervening period.

“It is a large issue. An issue of great magnitude. Therefore, the state has a big role. The role of the state in such a situation has to be multipronged,” the bench said.

Mehta was told that the government should not be oblivious to the plight of children and women. “They do not know anything. We expect the executive will not be oblivious to their condition. Do not deport them. You take action if something wrong is found,” the bench said.

On behalf of the petitioners, senior advocate Fali S Nariman said that all Rohingyas, be they Muslims or Hindus, are not terrorists as the government has stamped them to be. “It (Centre) cannot pass a blanket order like this,” he submitted.

The bench felt the government’s concern over national security, too, cannot be ignored. “There is no iota of doubt that a humanitarian issue is involved but national interest has to be kept in mind,” said the judges.

They also emphasised that the court will go by the letter of the law and not get swayed by the “emotional arguments” offered by the two sides.

Centre should deal with migration: MHA

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) said the issue of Rohingya migration had to be “dealt with only by the Central government” as it is an executive function of the government.

“The central government is of the opinion that deportation of illegal immigrants has to be dealt with only by the central government because it is essentially an executive function of the government,” said an MHA spokesperson after the hearing.

The spokesperson added that the apex court had not stayed the deportation of Rohingyas.

“No interim order has been granted. The SC has merely recorded the statement of the learned counsel for the petitioner to the effect that in case of any contingency he can move the court for appropriate interim order.”

Advertisements – Shiv Sena leaders booked for faking threats from Sikh activists

Sikh24 Editors

Ludhiana-Panjab-India, 12 October 2017. Ludhiana Police have arrested six persons including two senior Shiv Sena leaders for lodging false complaints of being threatened by Sikh militant groups.

The arrested persons have been identified as Shiv Sena leaders Sanchit Malhotra, Rohit Saini, Maninder Singh, Prem Sagar, Gurpreet Singh and Baljit Singh.

Interacting with media on October 11, the Ludhiana Police Commissioner R N Dhoke informed that Shiv Sena leader Sanchit Malhotra had moved a complaint on August 22 that he was being threatened by some Sikh militant groups.

Dhoke further informed that the Shiv Sena leader had claimed in the complaint two Sikh militants posted some threatening posters in his home and also sent him threatening text messages. Dhoke said that he had directed the ADCP City-1 for probing the matter.

Police Commissioner R N Dhoke said that during probe it has come to fore that the Shiv Sena leaders Sanchit Malhotra and Rohit Saini had orchestrated this fake episode by using a fake Mobile SIM purchased from a vendor.

He further added that Sanchit Malhotra had used his accomplices to throw threatening posters in his home who were made to wear turbans so that no one could identify them. “The culprits have been indicted under sections 420/ 177/ 182/ 153-A/ 193/ 120-B of Indian Penal Code” added Dhoke.

Gent – Bloemekeswijk & Gent Zuid

Bloemekenswijk Maisstraat
Profundo Programme
3 October 2017

Royal Deanery Bloemekenswijk

Sint-Vincentius church
We visited the church in the morning

Sint-Vincentius church
In the afternoon we met with Frank who explained about the food distribution organised by the Dekenij (Deanery)

Frank on the right – students on the left

Gent Zuid
5 October 2017

Tram 2 to Zwijnaarde

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

ANI – Amritsar: Three injured during clash outside Golden Temple

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 12 October 2017. Three people were injured in a clash between the supporters of parallel Jathedars and the Task Force of SGPC on Thursday, outside Golden Temple here.

This incident took place after the parallel Jathedars summoned Johar Singh, president of local managing committee of Gurudwara Chhota Ghalughara in connection to an old case. Tension prevailed when SGPC Task Force brought Johar Singh for the same.

Manager Darbar Sahib Sulakhan Singh said that the supporters of the parellel Jathedars tried to violate the rules and were responsible for the ruckus.

People were also seen carrying swords. (ANI)

Dawn – Ghosts from Vietnam

Irfan Husain

Op/Ed, 14 October 2017. Readers of my generation will no doubt recall the horrors of the Vietnam War in which countless lives were lost in a pointless conflict.

I was in my early 20s when the Tet Offensive of 1968 shattered American illusions that the Vietcong were on the verge of defeat. I remember all too well the anger many of us felt over the merciless American bombing of unarmed civilians in North and South Vietnam, as well as Laos and Cambodia.

Watching the 10-part documentary about the war directed by Ken Loach and Lynn Novick, I relived those bleak times as harrowing images from old newsreels showed the unceasing American assault on Vietnam. In terms of archival research, this is a cinematographic tour de force.

Spread over 18 hours of news reports and interviews, it overwhelms the viewer with its unrelenting coverage of events on the shifting battlefields, as well as in Washington, Hanoi and Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City).

By weaving together factual coverage and a vast range of personal interviews, the documentary underlines the horrors and sacrifices on both sides.

In particular, the implacable determination of the North Vietnamese communist leadership, and its willingness to commit hundreds of thousands of men and women to the cause, comes through as an immovable force.

Facing them were the mounting numbers of Americans in uniform: at one point there were nearly half a million US troops in South Vietnam. Almost 60,000 were killed. More bombs were dropped by the US on Indochina than on Germany and Korea combined.

The US is still bogged down in Afghanistan

Seen on paper, these statistics do not move us as does the testimony of a 15-year-old North Vietnamese girl who volunteers to join a unit that hauls supplies to the south through the jungle. Known as the Ho Chi Minh trail, this network of paths was constantly bombed by US planes. Napalm was commonly used, and casualties were heavy.

Through the documentary (I have watched the first six episodes) runs one constant refrain: as casualties mount and success remains elusive, general after American general asks for more troops. The Pentagon keeps assuring president Lyndon Johnson that if field commanders were given extra troops, the enemy’s defeat would be assured.

Inside the US, the daily TV coverage of the war made it increasingly unpopular, fuelling a significant anti-war movement. When four demonstrating students at Kent State University were shot dead by the National Guard, protests erupted across the US. Large demonstrations broke out in London, Paris and other capitals.

Finally, following the 1973 Paris peace talks, the Americans withdrew from Vietnam, leaving behind the abiding image of a helicopter taking off from the US embassy in Saigon, with people clinging to its landing gear. Thus ended a needless war that consumed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Sadly, no lessons appear to have been learned. The Americans are still bogged down in Afghanistan after 16 years of war. And the generals are still calling for more troops and promising victory. But additional forces have done nothing to cow the Afghan Taliban into submission.

As in South Vietnam, the US enjoys control of the air, and has artillery and armour. And yet an outgunned, dirt-poor foe has fought the mighty war machine to a halt.

With their focus on ‘body count’ and PowerPoint presentations, US generals have not factored in ideology and nationalism as force multipliers. Given the fact that American politicians are ultimately answerable to voters, they cannot afford an unending number of body bags.

One reason there is so little interest in America about the Afghan conflict is that the class composition of US forces has changed since the Vietnam War. In the latter period, soldiers were conscripted into the armed forces, forcing many young, educated middle-class men to fight.

Now, the Americans have an all-volunteer military, and most foot soldiers are from the working class. They have a lower social profile, and get little sympathy or attention. There is thus far less media coverage of the Afghan war than Vietnam received.

But the larger question to be asked is why Americans have not applied the lessons of Vietnam to Afghanistan? After all, in both conflicts they faced poorly armed but highly motivated foes, and both the Vietcong and the Taliban had contiguous territory they could shelter in.

A retired Russian general, interviewed during the height of the fighting in Afghanistan, said he was amazed to see the Americans repeating the Red Army’s mistakes. Why, he wondered, had they not spoken to him and his ex-colleagues to benefit from their experience?

Why indeed? Obviously, hubris prevents US generals from learning from history, or the knowledge of others. They think their superior arms can win easy victories, but as the Vietcong and Taliban have shown, asymmetrical warfare depends more on resolve and a willingness to sacrifice.