The News – India alleges Kulbhushan Jadhav mother, wife harassed in Pakistan

India alleges Kulbhushan Jadhav mother, wife harassed in Pakistan

Islamabad-Islamabad Captital Region-Pakistan, 28 December 2017. India alleges Kulbhushan Jadhav mother, wife harassed in Pakistan

Strongly rejecting Indian objections raised over meeting of Indian death row spy Kulbhushan Jhadav with his family, Pakistan on Thursday said it was arranged purely on humanitarian ground.

In a weekly briefing, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said Indian allegations coming 24 hours after the visit are baseless, counterproductive and regrettable.

The spokesman said that clothes change and removal of jewellery and ornaments was purely for security reasons and all their belongings were returned to them before they left.

He said the purpose of the visit was to have a meeting on humanitarian grounds, of Commander Jadhav with his wife and mother, which was successfully achieved despite all impediments, which needs to be acknowledged.

The spokesperson said success of the meeting is evident by the fact that the mother thanked Pakistan after the visit.

Dr Muhammad Faisal said that Commander Jadhav is a convicted Indian terrorist and spy responsible for multiple deaths and destruction in Pakistan.

The Spokesperson said that the Indian Deputy High Commission raised no objection at any point.

To a question, Dr Muhammad Faisal said that the United States has not refused to provide F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

Answering another question, he said that United Nations Military Observe Group in India and Pakistan should be allowed to work to monitor the ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and Working Boundary.

He said but it is regrettable that New Delhi is not cooperating in this regard.

The Tribune – Chief Khalsa Diwan expels Chadha, son

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 30 December 2017. Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD) Charitable Society today expelled its disgraced president Charanjit Singh Chadha and his son Inderpreet Singh Chadha, who was vice-president of the Sikh body.

Chadha had refused to step down following the allegations of sexual abuse and its viral video.

Of the 15-member office-bearers of the CKD, 11 today held an emergency meeting, led by officiating president Dhanraj Singh. Notably, Chadha’s younger son Harjit Singh Chadha, who is honorary joint secretary, was also present, and is a signatory to the decision.

It was unanimously decided to expel Chadha from post of president and the society’s primary membership.

Similarly, the society also removed his son Inderpreet Singh from the post of vice-president and membership.

Former Congress leader Mandeep Singh Manna sought the intervention of state government in conducting fresh elections of the CKD. He alleged that Chadha had made the Sikh body a personal fiefdom by inducting his family members, relatives and friends in the past 15 years. He claimed that even Dhanraj Singh was also his close aide.

He sought a probe into the utilisation of funds during the construction of school buildings and buying land for new institutions.

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Gentbrugse Meersen
24 November 2017

Wetland ….

Strange construction !

Footpath to Heusden

View from Koningsdonkstraat


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The Straits Times – Singapore Khalsa Association re-opens after $12 million upgrading

Zaihan Mohamed Yusof

Singapore, 30 December 2017. The Singapore Khalsa Association (SKA) officially re-opened its doors on Saturday (December 30) after a two-year renovation which began in November 2014.

The $12 million make-over adds upgrades and new facilities to the new SKA building located at Tessensohn Road, where the previous SKA had been for more than 40 years.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was guest-of-honour at the building’s grand opening.

SKA president Mohinder Singh said a new building was needed to “meet current and future needs”.

In his welcome address, Mr Mohinder Singh, said: “We hope the enhanced building provides the ambience to attract both the young and old, families and friends from not only the Sikh community but the Singapore community which use the SKA for their events.”

The six-storey building has key features like two ballrooms, one with an enlarged floor space for larger banquets; three new lifts; new offices; a dance studio; new function rooms; and a gymnasium with glass walls.

Toilets for the disabled and ramps have also been added.

More reception spaces can now be found outside the ballrooms thanks to semi-circular extensions. A roof-top activity area overlooks the Balestier Plain fields.

The SKA, often regarded as the centre for cultural, social, educational and sporting needs of the Sikh community, is also seeing more “non-traditional” use of its facilities, said Mr Albel Singh, general manager of the association.

Prior to the 2014 renovation works, SKA was primarily used for Sikh weddings and receptions.

Mr Albel Singh told The Straits Times: “While weddings continue to be popular for 2018, there are also bookings and enquiries for annual general meetings, bazaars, group programmes, meditation classes and fashion shows at the association.”

DPM Tharman told guests at the event that the Sikh community has gone beyond serving its own.

He said: “In fact, the association’s premises itself has evolved into a meeting place for Singapore Sikhs to network among themselves, as well as with friends from the larger Singaporean community. Almost 70 per cent of bookings for the usage of SKA’s facilities are by non-Sikh individuals or organisations.”

The association’s yearly Vesakhi Mela, which celebrates the rich Sikh heritage and tradition, continues to attract more Singaporeans of other races to SKA.

Each April, multicultural teams compete in games and sports like soccer, netball and hockey during the Mela.

From its humble beginnings in 1931, when pioneer members had registered the association as a sports club, to the new building at Tessensohn Road, SKA has come a long way, said Mr Jaswant Singh Gill, 94.

The pioneer said he was proud of what SKA has achieved.

The first clubhouse in 1931 was a two-room wooden shack at Target Road close to Sungei Bendemeer.

Mr Singh Gill, who was from Raffles Institution, said: “My wish is for the younger generation to take up the patronage and see the association into the future.

“They have all the opportunities while we started with very little in 1931.”

Dawn – JUI-F chief seeks province status for Fata

Amir Wasim

Islamabad-Islamabad Capital Territory-Pakistan, 31 December 2017. Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Saturday called for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) to be granted the status of a province, and vowed to continue his stand against the proposed merger of the tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“If Gilgit-Baltistan can get its own government, why can’t Fata be given a provincial government system?” the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief asked the participants of a rally that descended on China Chowk, a stone’s throw from Parliament House.

This was the first major rally organised by the JUI-F and attended by groups opposed to the merger of the tribal areas with KP.

Earlier on December 12, Fata and KP natives had staged a brief sit-in near the same spot to demand the merger of the two areas.

Organised by the Jamaat-i-Islami, the demonstrators had demanded that the government implement the recommendations of the special committee, constituted by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to make proposals for the mainstreaming of the restive tribal areas.

Ayesha Gulalai not allowed on stage at rally against proposed KP-Fata merger

In his speech, delivered primarily in Pashto, the JUI-F chief said the people of the tribal areas would decide their own future and would never allow anyone to change their “independent identity”.

“If we talk about the right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir, then why not for Fata?” he asked, adding that the people of Fata should be allowed to live independently.

He said that parliament was supreme and had the power to legislate and amend the Constitution, but “they cannot change the geographical boundaries of the country”.

The JUI-F chief alleged that some of the elected representatives from Fata were supporting the merger with KP because they were “under pressure”.

“Elected representatives of Fata can be pressurised, but the tribal people can never be pressurised,” he declared, amidst slogans.

He said that no system could forcibly be imposed on the people of Fata, who had rendered great sacrifices for Pakistan and for the cause of peace in the country. He said that no reforms that were prepared without consulting them would be acceptable to the people of Fata.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman claimed his party would continue to support the people of the tribal areas, come what may.

He said that he had endured prison when he opposed the decision of the former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf to join the US-led war on terror in 2001, and was prepared to go to jail again today over his support for the Fata cause. He also called on all political parties supporting the merger to “reconsider” their policy.

The rally was also attended by a number of JUI-F parliamentarians and other notables from Fata.

Interestingly, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) dissident Ayesha Gulalai also came to participate in the rally, but was not allowed onto the stage. The organisers of the rally told Ms Gulalai that they could not allow a woman to sit with the men on stage, in accordance with tribal traditions.

Ms Gulalai then left the venue after an argument with the organisers.

The Asian Age – Lalu Yadav jail yatra may spell doom for RJD

Several senior RJD members may not agree to follow the orders of Lalu’s 26-year-old son Tejashwi Yadav, who has been asked to lead the party.

Nayear Azad

Patna-Bihar-India, 30 December 2017. The court verdict in the Deoghar fodder scam case has come as a major blow to RJD chief Lalu Yadav and his party.

According to JD-U sources, the conviction might end RJD supremo Lalu Yadav’s four-decade-long political innings, which had already got a body blow in 2013 after a six-year ban was imposed on his contesting elections due to his first conviction in the fodder scam case at Chaibasa.

Some leaders even predict that his latest jail stint, whose tenure will be decided by court on January 3, will not only break his party but also force a split in the grand secular alliance.

This was his second conviction in the fodder scam and was linked to swindling of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar treasury between 1991 and 1994. The 2013 conviction dealt with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.5 crores from Chaibasa treasury.

The Deoghar case verdict against Lalu Yadav has come at a time when he was preparing to stitch together a larger alliance at the national level to gain support from secular parties against the BJP.

Observers say that a lot will depend on whether the Congress will remain in an alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) after Lalu Yadav’s conviction in the fodder scam case.

According to a report, a section of Bihar Congress leaders, opposed to continuing ties with tainted Lalu Yadav, are exploring the possibilities of contesting elections on their own.

After the dramatic collapse of the grand secular alliance in July, Lalu Yadav had managed to stay afloat with the Congress in Bihar despite opposition from several party leaders who wanted to end ties with RJD on grounds that the RJD chieftain and his sons were facing a string of corruption charges.

Party insiders claim that he had also managed to maintain unity within the party, despite reports that a large number of MLAs were planning to join hands with JD-U after Nitish Kumar formed a government with NDA in July.

However, party leaders fear the scenario may soon change as several senior RJD members, who had supported Lalu Yadav in his hard times, may not agree to follow the orders of his 26-year-old son Tejashwi Yadav who has been asked to lead the party. – Scores of Sikh devotees attend religious procession commemorating the martyrdom of Chhote Sahibzaade

Sikh24 Editors

Fatehgarh Sahib-Panjab-India, 28 December 2017. Commemorated to the 313th martyrdom anniversary of Baba Jorawar Singh Ji, Baba Fateh Singh Ji and Mata Gujar Kaur Ji, a religious procession was taken out in Fatehgarh Sahib by the Sikh devotees.

Scores of Sikh devotees attended this religious procession with great enthusiasm amid echoes of Sikh ovations.

SGPC President Gobind Singh Longowal placed the corpus of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in a gold plated palanquin.

Sikh devotees recited Japji Sahib before starting the religious procession and Head Granthi of Sri Harmandr Sahib Giani Jagtar Singh read the sacred Hukamnama following Ardas by Head Granthi of Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib Giani Harpal Singh.

Common Sikh devotees were continuously showering flower petals on palanquin carrying corpus of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

The religious procession was formally concluded at Gurdwara Sri Jyoti Saroop Sahib in the afternoon hours. Hazoori Raagis Bhai Ajitpal Singh, Bhai Jaspreet Singh and Bhai Bhupinder Singh performed melodious kirtan at conclusion.

Addressing the gathering on this occasion, SGPC President Gobind Singh Longowal said that the martyrdom of Baba Jorawar Singh Ji, Baba Fateh Singh Ji and Mata Gujar Kaur Ji teaches us to remain adamant on Sikh principles.

SGPC appointed Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, Damdami Taksal Chief Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma were also present in this religious procession beside several other eminent Sikh personalities.

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Gentbrugse Meersen
24 November 2017

Small bridge – Big stones

Names and date of births of Gentbrugge children


One threatens to fall over !

The Gentbrugse Meersen are a wetland

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Barry and District News – New Year’s Honours List: Sikh Council of Wales leader Gurmit Singh Randhawa awarded MBE

Barry-Cymru-UK, 29 December 2017. Vale of Glamorgan resident and chairman of the Sikh Gurdwara in Cardiff, Gurmit Singh Randhawa, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

Mr Randhawa, 65, from Walterston, just outside Barry, has received the honour for services to community cohesion within the Vale of Glamorgan.

As well as being chairman of the Gurdwara, a registered charity, Mr Randhawa has been a prominent figure in improving relations between different faiths and ethnic groups across both the Vale and wider Wales, as well as bringing together Sikh communities from across the country.

A former lawyer, Mr Singh is also a director of anti-discrimination body Race Equality First and helped to establish the Sikh Council of Wales two years ago.

Having taken over leadership of the Cardiff Gurdwara several years ago, Mr Randhawa successfully secured funding to transform the building into a multi-purpose community facility which now, as well as acting as a place of worship, provides educational classes for children, yoga, coffee mornings and offers free advice services to those in need.

The £700,000 project was masterminded and driven by Mr Randhawa for three years, after the charity had bought a disused and dilapidated motor repair garage next door to the original building.

In redeveloping the old garage, not only has it brought about a much-needed service for local Sikhs to come together and practice their faith, but it has also helped rejuvenate an up and coming area of Cardiff.

Mr Randhawa said that while he was very humbled to receive the recognition, it was the success that he and the community had achieved that was the true reward.

“I’m very humbled, certainly it is good to be recognised,” said Mr Randhawa.

“I think it is always honourable for somebody to be recognised. I don’t personally think that I deserve it, it’s the support of the community that is the backbone. You need a leader and if the people support it, you can take that wherever you want.”

Mr Randhawa will be presented with his MBE in a ceremony early next year.

The Hindu – Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to visit India in February

Suhasini Haidar / Vikas Vasudeva

New Delhi/Chandigarh-Panjab-India, 29 December 2017. will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his visit to India in late February, if the government requests, but he will raise the prickly issue of “pro-Khalistan propaganda”, the CM’s office says.

Sources confirmed to The Hindu that preparations for Mr Trudeau’s visit are under way, and advance teams have travelled to Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Amritsar on reconnaissance missions.

According to Canadian officials, Mr Trudeau, whose visit is expected in “early 2018”, will travel after the Canadian House of Commons goes into recess on February 17, and will likely visit India from February 19-23.

“As of now we do not have any formal intimation about the visit of the Canadian Prime Minister to Punjab,” Raveen Thukral, Chief Minister’s Media Adviser told The Hindu, when asked about the possible meeting.

“If any such meeting is sought by the Canadian authorities, the CM will have no issues in meeting him, [but] he would certainly raise the issue of pro-Khalistan propaganda being unleashed from Canadian soil,” he added.

The Chief Minister’s words are significant as in April 2017, he had refused to meet Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan during his visit to Punjab, referring to him and three other Canadian Ministers as “Khalistanis”.

The Chief Minister had also accused what he called “Khalistani sympathisers” in the government for forcing him to cancel a series of public rallies in Canada in April 2016 because of protests by Sikh rights groups against him.

The issue of Khalistani elements in Canada has been a sticking point raised by the Central government as well. Then Defence Minister Arun Jaitley raised concerns with Mr Sajjan, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is understood to have spoken to Mr Trudeau on the issue when the leaders met at the G-20 summit in Hamburg in July 2017.

Mr Trudeau, who has frequently attended events by the politically powerful Sikh diaspora in Canada, has famously referred to his Cabinet as having “more Sikhs than Prime Minister Modi’s”. One of Mr. Trudeau’s political rivals, now leader of the New Development Party in Canada, Jagmeet Singh, is also a Sikh.

As a result, Mr Trudeau’s visit to Punjab will be watched most closely, including a proposed visit to the Harmandar Sahib. The MEA’s spokesperson declined to comment on whether Mr Modi will also accompany Mr Trudeau to Amritsar, as the visit is yet to be announced and “it is too early to share details about the programme.”

The Canadian High Commission in Delhi told The Hindu only that “Prime Minister Trudeau has accepted an invitation from PM Modi” but the dates have not been announced yet.

Mr Trudeau will join a long list of world leaders expected to visit India in the first quarter of 2018, including Israeli PM Netanyahu in mid-January, 10 leaders of ASEAN nations for the Republic Day celebrations and the ASEAN-India commemorative summit, as well as Jordanian King Abdullah II.

Officials said Mr Trudeau’s visit could see the signing of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, and a possible breakthrough in the long-pending free trade agreement, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Ahead of the Prime Minister’s trip, three key ministers Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development; François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade; and Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport had travelled to Delhi in mid-November, accompanied by a mammoth delegation of 200 Canadian business representatives to participate in the Canada-India Technology Summit.