The Statesman – 114 rail accidents in north India since April 2010, kill 226

Lucknow-UP-India, 29 November 2017. A total of 114 train accidents in the Northern Railway network since April 2010 led to 226 deaths and injuries to 365 persons, an RTI reply has revealed.

In the reply, Northern Railway officials said an inquiry into 110 accidents had been completed while reports in the remaining cases were awaited, social activist Nutan Thakur, who filed the Right to Information query, told IANS on Wednesday.

The Railways suffered Rs 27.2 crore loss due to these accidents.

Of the 110 cases, no railway staff was found responsible for the accidents in 79 cases or around 72 per cent.

In other cases, 172 railway personnel were handed out punishment, including dismissal in 24 cases and compulsory retirement in four cases. – 1984 Sikh Genocide Petition reaches 100,000 signatures

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 29 November 2017. 100,000 signatures have been collected by the All India Sikh Students Federation led by Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad. The petition reached this milestone today as volunteers continued to work hard to get signatures.

On November 26, AISSF held a camp outside the sanctum sanctorum Sri Harmandr Sahib under signature campaign in favour of an online petition moved on the website of White House. Sikh devotees were appealed on this occasion to sign this petition so that the genocide victim families could be availed justice at the earliest.

Speaking to Sikh24 on this occasion, the AISSF President S Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad said that more than thousands are signing the petition every day. He added that the petition moved on White House’s website has been signed by more than 115,000 people.

AISSF leaders S Harjinder Singh, S Surjit Singh, S Satnam Singh were also present on this occasion.

Gent: Veldstraat – Ketelvaart – De Krook

Gent: Veldstraat – Ketelvaart – De Krook
03 November 2017


Tram 1 to Evergem

Tram 1 to Evergem

Palace of Justice

De Leie

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

ANI News – Former SAD MLA elected as new SGPC President

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 29 November 2017. Gobind Singh Longowal was elected as the new Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president at a general house meeting here on Wednesday.

Longowal, who is the former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA from Dhuri constituency, was elected at the annual general house meeting after he defeated his nearest rival Amrik Singh Shahpur of Dera Baba Nanak by securing 154 votes out of total 169 votes.

Gurbachan Singh Karmowala will be the new general secretary, Raghujit Singh senior-vice president, and Harpal Singh junior vice president.

The SGPC also passed a resolution to oppose the renaming of Delhi University’s Dyal Singh Majithia Evening College to Vande Matram Morning College.

Referred to as Parliament of the Sikhs, SGPC administers Harmandr Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar and is responsible for the management of gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh and the union territory Chandigarh.

The Hindu – India loses billions to air pollution: UN

High-level political commitment stressed

Special Correspondent

New Delhi-india, 28 November 2017. India had the highest share of welfare costs (or a loss of income from labour), of about $220 billion (about ₹1.4 trillion), in South and South-East Asia, of a combined total of $380 billion from mortality due to air pollution, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The global mortality costs from outdoor air pollution are projected to rise to about $25 trillion by 2060 in the absence of more stringent measures.

At regional and national scale, China’s welfare costs from mortality were the highest at nearly $1 trillion followed by the Organisation for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD) countries with a combined total of $730 billion, the report added quoting a 2016 projection by the OECD.

Although certain forms of pollution have been reduced as “technologies and management strategies have advanced,” approximately 19 million premature deaths are estimated to occur annually as a result of the way societies use natural resources and impact the environment to support production and consumption, it notes.

Serious burden

“If consumption and production patterns continue as they are, the linear economic model of ‘take-make-dispose’ will seriously burden an already-polluted planet, affecting current and future generations,” the report’s foreword concludes.

To curb pollution in various forms, the UNEP called for strong high-level political commitment and engagement of the local government, civil society and other stakeholders.

“Pollution is a universal challenge [but] the good news is that we already know what we need to do to prevent and reduce it,” UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim said in a statement, stressing that “now the responsibility is on governments, businesses, cities and local authorities, civil society and individuals around the world to commit to act to beat pollution in all its forms.”

To achieve high level political commitment in key economic sectors, there is a need to go beyond the environmental ministries and include other relevant ministries such as finance, agriculture, industry, urban, transport, energy and health.

There is also a need to engage the local government, civil society organisations, business leaders, industries, trade unions and citizens at large. Reporting on the progress that comes from acting on pollution – whether through voluntary measures or formal laws, is a crucial step in this transition.

The report, ‘Towards a pollution-free planet’, was launched during the first Conference of Parties for the Minamata Convention, which addresses mercury issues, and ahead of the annual U.N. Environment Assembly, to be held in early December.

BBC News – Padmavati: India’s Supreme Court rejects bid to block Bollywood epic

New Delhi, 28 November 2017. India’s top court has rejected an appeal by a lawyer to block the global release of Bollywood film Padmavati.

The film, which tells the story of a 14th Century Hindu queen and a Muslim ruler, has sparked nationwide protests by Hindu and caste groups.

The lawyer who brought the petition had previously failed in an attempt to prevent the film’s release in India.

The film cannot be released in India until censors have cleared it. No date for release anywhere has yet been set.

Padmavati tells the story of a 14th Century Hindu queen belonging to the high Rajput caste and the Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji. Bollywood stars Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh play the lead roles.

Hindu groups and a Rajput caste organisation allege that the movie, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, depicts an intimate romantic scene between the two characters, although the producers of the film deny this.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by the lawyer, M L Sharma, to delay its release abroad. It said such a move would amount to a pre-judgement of the Indian film censor.

The judges said those in public office should not criticise the film, as this too would erode the job of the censor board.

Rumours of a scene in the film of the Muslim king dreaming of a romantic tryst with the Hindu queen have enraged many, including the Rajput Karnik Sena, a fringe caste group that has called for the film to be banned.

The group had disrupted shooting and one member had slapped Bhansali on the set earlier this year. Others vandalised cinemas and threatened to chop off Padukone’s nose, referring to an incident in another epic, Ramayana, where a character has her nose cut off as punishment.

The group also held protests against the film in several states, including Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, which are ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Rajput community members have burned effigies of Bhansali.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has said the film should not be released until “necessary changes are made so that sentiments of any community are not hurt”.

A regional leader of the BJP also announced a reward of nearly $1.5m (£1.3m) for anyone beheading Bhansali and Padukone.

The Tribune – Members empower Sukhbir Badal to take call

GS Paul, Tribune News Service

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 28 November 2017. On the eve of the election of the SGPC president and executive committee members, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal held a meeting with party-backed SGPC members at  here today.

The members unanimously authorised Sukhbir to take the final call on the candidates. The meeting was anchored by SAD general secretary Daljit Singh Cheema.

During the one-hour closed-door meeting, it is learnt that incumbent Kirpal Singh Badungar’s work was lauded by Sukhbir, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Cheema and others. Others present included former SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, ex-minister Tota Singh and SAD leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder.

Insiders said Badungar could be re-appointed as his tenure had remained largely free of controversy. A sealed envelope containing the new chief’s name would be opened during the general House meeting.

Sukhbir said, “As per the tradition, the members have delegated all powers to the party head. However, the presidents and the executive body will be elected by the members.”

Four members join SAD

Chandigarh: Four SGPC members, who were reportedly with the Sukhdev Singh Bhaur group, joined the SAD on Tuesday, Baba Gurmeet Singh Tirlokewala Haryana, Indermohan Singh Lakhvirwala, Surjit Singh Garhi and Nirmal Singh Johlan. The last two owed allegiance to AAP.

House composition

The SGPC General House comprises 190 members, including five Takht Jathedars (they don’t have voting rights). Of these, 170 members are elected from constituencies in Punjab, Haryana and HP. The existing body has 157 SAD-backed members.

Gentbrugge Braemstraat & Gent: Veldstraat – Ketelvaart – De Krook

Gentbrugge Braemstraat
Stad Gent Farys
03 November 2017

The old drains

Bits of the sidewalks

Gent: Veldstraat – Ketelvaart – De Krook
03 November 2017

Veldstraat – Tram 1 to Flanders Expo

Koophandelsplein – Tram 1 to Flanders Expo

Ketelpoort – walkway along Ketelvaart

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

CBC News – Former Surrey Sikh temple [Gurdwara] president pleads guilty to manslaughter

Baldev Singh Kalsi was charged in the death of his wife, Narinder Kaur Kalsi

Surrey-British Columbia-Canada, 27 November 2017. The former leader of a Sikh temple [Gurdwara] in Surrey has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his wife.

Baldev Singh Kalsi appeared in the BC Supreme Court in New Westminster on Monday afternoon dressed in a beige coat.

The only words he spoke came after the clerk asked him to enter a plea.

“Yes, your honour. I am guilty,” he said as he looked up at the judge.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for 22 February 2018.

Shocking case

Kalsi, the former president of the Brookside Sikh Temple [Gurdwara] was originally charged with aggravated assault in July of 2014.

His wife, Narinder Kaur Kalsi, was found in severe medical distress at the couple’s south Surrey home.

Narinder Kalsi was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died days later after she was taken off life support.

The charge against Baldev Kalsi was upgraded to second degree murder after Narinder’s death.

“The entire community is shocked by this incident,” World Sikh Organization BC vice president Jasbir Kaur Randhawa said at the time.

“Violence against women is a serious problem that needs to be addressed by the South Asian community, including Sikhs.”

Dawn – Capitulation

Editorial, 28 November 2017. It is a surrender so abject that the mind is numb and the heart sinks.

The deal negotiated between the state, both civilian and military facets of it, and the Faizabad protesters is a devastating blow to the legitimacy and moral standing of the government and all state institutions.

In one brief page and six gut-wrenching points, the state of Pakistan has surrendered its authority to a mob that threatened to engulf the country in flames. The federal law minister has been sacked, in return for a promise by the protesters to not issue a fatwa against him.

Whether a decision made out of desperation or fear, the upshot is that the state has accepted that mobs and zealots have a right to issue religious edicts that can endanger lives and upend public order.

The decision to compensate the protesters and use public funds to pay for the damage to property caused by the protesters turns on its head the fundamental responsibility of the state to ensure law and order.

The pledge to prosecute whoever has been held responsible by a government inquiry committee for abortive legislative changes is to invite further protests and violence.

Something profound changed in the country yesterday and the reverberations will be felt for a long time. How has such catastrophe befallen the nation? Devastating incompetence and craven leadership by three sets of actors appear to be the reason.

The PML-N government helped create the crisis and then managed to exacerbate it at every step. Until the very end, when the government used the veneer of a court order to try and forcibly evict the protesters from Faizabad, there were gargantuan failures of planning and shockingly poor tactics.

The political opposition also played a miserable role, fanning a crisis for the most myopic of political reasons and searching for a pyrrhic victory.

Finally, the military leadership appears to have to let rancour towards the government in an ongoing power struggle affect its role in bringing this phase of the crisis to an end.

The government has been humiliated and the military leadership has further improved its standing with sections of the public for helping end the protests, but at what cost to the country and its people?

A menacing precedent has been set by the protesters that will surely embolden others and invite copycats. It is no exaggeration to suggest that no one is safe.

Zealots had already demonstrated the power of mob violence and the strength of the politics of intolerance and hate.
Now, a blueprint has been created for holding state and society hostage. Despair is not an option for a nation state, but neither can there be a pretence that a significant setback has not occurred. Is there anyone, in state or society, to help repair the damage?