The Times of India – Session on Sikh history held

Chandigarh-Panjab-India, 5 December 2017. Panjab University Colloquia Committee in collaboration with the department of political science organized the 43rd Colloquium Lecture on The Sikh Panth: Its History and Historiography at the Panjab University on Monday.

The lecture was presided over by Professor Arun K Grover, Vice Chancellor, PU and in his presidential address briefed everyone about the aim of PU Colloquia Lectures and conveyed thanks to all the eminent and learned speakers who showed keen interest to visit the Panjab University and interacted with the faculty and students.

The lecture delivered by Professor Gurinder Singh Mann included a brief survey of existing scholarly literature on the subject through which Professor Mann analyzed the significance of history in Sikh life. He enlightened the audience about the tradition of history writing within the Sikh Panth.

He gave an insight on how Sikh history has emerged over a period of time. He emphasized history needs to be recorded and remembered in a forward looking way. He said history is enshrined at pilgrimage centers of Sikhs.


The Tribune – SGPC to bring dera Sikhs back into fold: Longowal

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 4 December. Newly elected SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal said here today that efforts would be made to bring back “disillusioned” Sikhs who had shifted loyalties to Dera Sacha Sauda.

Expressing concern over the fallout of the clergy’s flip-flop on exonerating dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, he said: “Various controversies, especially the dera episode, have led to resentment among Sikhs.

Our endeavour would be to win over the disgruntled people and bring them back to the mainstream. We are meeting representatives of Sant Samaj and other organisations to know their opinion.”

Longowal today visited Damdami Taksal headquarters at Chowk Mehta for the first time after assuming charge. He held a closed-door meeting with Taksal head Giani Harnam Singh Khalsa. Longowal said the purpose of his visit was to keep Damdami Taksal, Sant Samaj and other organisations in the loop on key Panthic issues.

After taking over as the president, Longowal had stated that he would try to end the standoff between Khalsa and preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale.

Khalsa assured him support in the interests of the Panth. He suggested that the SGPC should take up the early release of Sikh political prisoners languishing in jails despite the completion of their sentence; seek punishment for those responsible for violating human rights post 1980 by killing innocent Sikh youth; make efforts at the national level to bring justice to victims of the 1984 riots; and resolve issues pertaining to ‘dharmi faujis’.

Earlier, Longowal paid obeisance at Gurdwara Gurdarshan Parkash and partook of langar. He was also presented a ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) by Khalsa.

Others present included SGPC general secretary Gurbachan Singh Karmuwal, executive member Bhagwant Singh Sialka, Sant Gurmeet Singh Trilokewale, Sajjan Singh Baijuman, former Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode and SGPC member Charanjit Singh Jassowal.

SGPC chief meets Badal

Muktsar: Newly elected SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal came to meet former CM Parkash Singh Badal at his residence at Badal village here on Monday. The meeting lasted for about half an hour. Though some other SGPC members, too, were present at the residence, they were not present in the meeting, said sources.

Gent Gurdwara – Oostende

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
05 November 2017

Reciting the final verses of the Guru Granth Sahib

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

7 November 2017

Koningin Astridlaan
Northbound tram to Knokke

Koningin Astridlaan
Northbound tram to Knokke

Nieuwpoortsesteenweg – Stelplaats

Tracks to what I suppose is a tram maintenance facility

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

I News – What it’s like to experience Islamophobia as a Sikh

London-UK, 4 December 2017. The programme My Week As a Muslim caused outrage this autumn. It’s easy to see why: a white woman was ““browned up” as a Muslim, complete with hijab, prosthetic nose and false teeth. Instead of “disguising” someone in such a crude manner, why not actually ask Muslims about their experiences?

It also stereotyped Muslims as “brown” when Islam is a faith, not an ethnicity. While I understood the controversy, the programme was also a powerful reminder of the importance of empathy. For just one week this woman experienced the intolerance many Muslims face on a daily basis.

This includes being abused, spat at and labelled a terrorist. There is an old adage that to truly understand someone you need to walk a mile in their shoes. This went a step further, by asking someone to a mile in someone else’s skin.

I don’t need to wear a prosthetic nose or false teeth to begin to recognise what Islamophobia feels like. Although I am a practicing Sikh, I have been mistaken for a Muslim on many occasions. People see my skin colour and turban, and in their ignorance assume that I am both a Muslim and a terrorist. If the leap of assumptions wasn’t so hideous it would be funny.

‘You killed three thousand people’ One of my worst experiences came on an ordinary Friday evening. It was a few months after the 9/11 tragedy, when the atmosphere in the UK was one of fear and anger. I was on the Tube on my way to meet friends, with my headphones in and oblivious to everyone else. So far, so normal.

A man became extremely aggressive, shouting “you killed three thousand people”. He called me “scum” and every other name under the sun, becoming increasingly belligerent and threatening. I was left with an unwelcome dilemma: should I defend myself against the false “charge” of being a Muslim or the preposterous inference that all Muslims are terrorists? I was stumped.

As my fellow passengers became increasingly concerned for me, an American man, who I know was only trying to help, stepped in, also thinking I was Muslim. “Leave him alone, I’m an American and we all hated them [Muslims] at first but now I’m not angry. It wasn’t their fault.”

My attacker was by now screaming, his face turned red. He was about to punch me. He would have succeeded if a passenger hadn’t stepped in to defend me as I ran towards the platform, squeezing past the slamming doors.

Despite my best efforts to tap into the British spirit to keep calm and carry on, I was left completely shaken and it remains one of the most frightening experiences of my life. I didn’t report it, at the time I just wanted to get out of the situation. And I’ve regretted it ever since.

Always report

Reported hate crimes have risen by 29 per cent in the past year From then on, I’ve made it a principle to report any time I face hate crime. The police have not only taken it extremely seriously, but I have found even just the act of reporting cathartic and empowering. I deserve to take a stand and say “enough”.

Too often victims of hate crime stay silent. Statistics show a 29 per cent rise in hate crime over the past year and a rise in Islamophobia specifically. Despite this, there are still serious challenges with underreporting. Some think they won’t be taken seriously or feel unsure if what’s happened even constitutes a crime.

As someone who has been affected, as well as in my personal experience as a barrister, my message is simple: report it. Whether it’s online or offline, attacks on the basis of race or faith should never be tolerated. And if you see someone being targeted – step in. Hate crime is thankfully not endemic in our society and despite some horrible exceptions Britain is characterised by tolerance and respect.

The fact that hate crime is on the agenda shows that it is not acceptable in our society. Not only is the Government monitoring statistics but the police actively encouraging people to come forward by making it easier to report crimes, including setting up online apps. This all points to Britain’s proud history of creating a liberal society where all are treated equally under the rule of law.

Respect for those who are different is a value to be celebrated and it is clear that progress is being made in tackling the very antithesis to liberty: hate crime. We shouldn’t have to dress up as another ethnicity to know how important it is to defend the rights of one another. The only intolerance we should accept is for intolerance itself.

Jasvir Singh OBE is Co-Chair of the Faiths Forum for London and the Chair of City Sikhs, a national representative body for British Sikhs. He is also a practising family law barrister.

Dawn – ‘No Turkish citizen with valid documents has been deported’

Kashif Abbasi

Islamabad, 5 December 2017. State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry on Monday admitted that the Pakistani government has been facing pressure from the Turkish government over the matter of Turkish teachers and other citizens residing in Pakistan.

Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, which met at Parliament House on Monday with Senator Rehman Malik in the chair, Mr Chaudhry said not a single Turkish teacher or citizen who had valid documents has been deported from Pakistan.

The state minister also claimed that the government had no knowledge of the whereabouts of the four missing Turkish citizens reportedly abducted from Lahore.

A Turkish teacher, Mesut Kacmaz, his wife and two daughters, Huda Nur and Fatima Huma, were picked up from their residence in Wapda Town on Sept 27 this year allegedly by a law enforcement agency.

It is said that the family, which was associated with the Pakistan-Turkish International Schools & College System in Pakistan, was deported to Turkey.

The state minister for interior told the committee that the Turkish teachers and citizens who had valid documents for staying in Pakistan or those who have secured an asylum certificate were not deported from Pakistan.

“We know nothing about the [four missing Turkish citizens],” the minister said, adding that the government has been facing pressure from the Turkish government and that its ambassador is also very much involved in the issue of Pakistan-Turkish schools.

A joint secretary of the interior ministry said 175 Turkish nationals have left Pakistan and that 219 are still residing in the country.

He said the names of the four members of the same family who are missing have been put on the Exit Control List and that the administrative control of Pakistan-Turkish Schools & Colleges has been handed over to a new organisation.

The committee directed the official to furnish complete details of the new organisation and the process adopted for shifting the administrative control of the school system before the next meeting of the committee.

The Pakistan-Turkish school system came under scrutiny in the aftermath of the failed coup in Turkey last year which was blamed on Fethullah Gulen and led to a crack down on his follower in Turkey and other countries.

The matter of action being taken against Turkish citizens living in Pakistan with a valid and legal visa was brought up by Senator Mohammad Ali Khan Saif, who said Pakistan is signatory to numerous international conventions which provide protection for all such foreigners residing legally in a state and who have fear of a trial in their own country.

The senator said it has been reported in the press that many Turks who had legal work permits were deported without being given due time to have a fair trial before deportation.

He was not satisfied with the briefing by the state minister and officials of the interior ministry and the chairman of the committee therefore decided to defer the matter till the next meeting, asking the ministry to provide details of any ongoing trials and also take the matter up with the Turkish government.

The mover will also bring details about any such cases if available.

Officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) gave participants a briefing regarding the inquiries referred to it by the Capital Development Authority against cooperative housing societies which have sold plots which were not available.

Director FIA told the meeting that action is being taken against the Multi Professional Cooperative Housing Society E-11, Pakistan Medical Cooperative Housing Society E-11, the Jammu and Kashmir Cooperative Housing Society G-15 and Soan Gardens Cooperative Housing Society Zone 5.

The committee also discussed the proposed Criminal Law (Amendment) (Protection of Rights of Transgender Persons) Bill, 2017 which was moved by Senator Rubina Khalid, and after hearing the mover, the law division and the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), referred the bill to the CII and asked the council to give a clear answer in affirmative or negative on the bill with proper justification.

Members of the committee condemned the attack on the Agriculture Training Institute in Peshawar and prayed for the victims and their families.

The committee demanded that the government take the matter up with Afghanistan as chief terrorists like Mullah Fazlullah and others are sponsoring terror activities in Pakistan from Afghanistan. Members urged for more security across the Pakistan-Afghan border and said India is behind the terrorist activities across the country.

I am not pro Gulen, I am not pro Erdogan and I am pro Human Rights
Man in Blue