The Hindustan Times – Former Sikh militant apologises for causing embarrassment to Trudeau in India

Jaspal Atwal says he renounces any form of terrorism and has reconciled with India now

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 09 March 2018. A former Sikh militant apologised on Friday for causing embarrassment to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his trip to India.

Jaspal Atwal, who was part of a movement that supported an independent Sikh nation in the 1980s and went to prison for the attempted murder of a visiting Indian minister in 1986, was invited to a dinner with Trudeau in New Delhi causing consternation among his hosts.

Trudeau’s visit to India had already been dogged by suspicions that Canada was soft on Sikh separatists.

“I am sorry for any embarrassment this matter has caused to Canada, India, my community and my family,” the 62-year-old told a news conference.

“I renounce any form of terrorism,” he said. “I do not advocate for an independent Sikh nation. I, like the vast majority of Sikhs who once advocated for this cause, have reconciled with the nation of India.”

Since his parole, Atwal said he has engaged broadly in politics on behalf of the Indo-Canadian community, and visited India numerous times including three visits over the past year, each time “with the full permission of the Indian government.”

“There were also no restrictions placed on me by Canada so that I could not travel,” he added.

Before his latest trip, Atwal said he reached out to his local member of Parliament, Randeep Sarai, to ask if he could attend a reception with Trudeau in India.

“I had assumed there would be no problems. No one had at any point indicated there would be any issues,” he said.

The controversy has continued to hound Trudeau since his return to Canada, with opposition parties and editorialists heaping scorn on the prime minister over the misstep.

Sarai, meanwhile, has been stripped of his responsibilities within the Liberal caucus.

The Tribune – Release of Blue Star files may hit ties: UK

London – UK, 08 March 2018. The UK authorities today said the release of classified documents dating back to the period of Operation Blue Star in 1984 could prejudice international relations with India due to the political sensitivity of the subject.

As a hearing seeking the declassification of files that are believed to contain information on Britain’s involvement in the Indian military operation at Golden Temple in Amritsar concluded in London today, the counsel for the Cabinet Office said India attaches particular sensitivity to the issue of “Sikh separatism”, which is perceived as a threat to the very existence of the Indian state.

“Just the passage of time does not diminish the significance of this case,” said the counsel for the Cabinet Office. The UK authorities have also linked the classified information in the documents with wider national security concerns and claimed that extracting any portions of it to make public would cross the Cabinet Office’s “red lines”.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office, another party in the hearing, questioned the impact on UK-India relations with the release of the documents saying India is a country governed by the rule of law, with a “sophisticated democracy” and there should be no reason to presume that it would not respect the UK’s need to follow the rule of law. (PTI)

Gent: Witte Kaproenenplein and Dampoort

Witte Kaproenenplein
23 January 2018

I would have preferred a bus to Gent Zuid, but got on the 15:25 Tram 1 instead

Witte Kaproenenplein – north-bound buses and trams

Dampoort Station
25 January 2018

I took the 09:20 to Sint-Niklaas and changed there for an all station train to Antwerp

Southbound tracks and Kasteellaan

Diesel train to Eeklo

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Global News – Sentencing of former Surrey Sikh temple [Gurdwara] president in wife’s manslaughter adjourned to next week

Jeremy Lye, Senior Reporter CKNW

Surrey – BC – Canada, 08 March 2018. On what was supposed to be his sentencing Thursday, Baldev Singh Kalsi announced that he had fired his lawyer, and wanted two weeks to talk to his new counsel.

The judge adjourned proceedings to March 12 .

Kalsi pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the violent 2014 death of his wife Narinder Kalsi late last November, with Crown and defence agreeing to an 11-year sentence in February, but they couldn’t agree on credit for time served.

The Crown wants 16 months while defence is asking for 21 months, saying Kalsi was beaten in pretrial custody and suffered internal brain bleeding.

The Court previously heard that Baldev struck his wife with his fists, stomped on her, and bashed her with an iron in their family home.

He didn’t call paramedics, but instead went to a friend’s house with police not being notified until their son made the call.

Narinder died a week after she was taken off life support.

Kalsi was the president of the Brookside Sikh Temple [Gurdwara].

Sentencing of former Surrey Sikh temple president in wife’s manslaughter adjourned to next week

The Hindu – Supreme Court sets aside Kerala HC order annulling Hadiya’s marriage

It, however, says the NIA probe into alleged cases of Islamic conversion in Kerala by a “well-oiled network” will continue.

Krishnadas Rajagopal

New Delhi – India, 08 March 2018. The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside a Kerala High Court order annulling the marriage of Hadiya to Shafin Jahan, whom she had married after converting to Islam.

In an order coinciding with the International Women’s Day, the Supreme Court recognised and upheld Ms. Hadiya’s freedom “to pursue her future endeavours according to law”. This means Ms Hadiya is free to leave her college hostel at Salem and join Mr. Jahan.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud observed that the High Court “should not have annulled the marriage”.

‘Core of culture’

“Marriage and plurality are the fundamental core of our culture. Plurality in India should be zealously guarded,” Justice Chandrachud observed during an hour-long hearing.

“The moment you allow public law (law of relations between individuals and the State) to encroach into marriage, you are letting the state interfere in individual choices of a citizen,” Justice Chandrachud said.

Chief Justice Misra emphatically added that it is not just the state, but parents too cannot wield their influence against adults who marry a person of their own choice. It is not for the courts or the state or the parents to question a woman’s choice of her husband.

Marriage still valid

Justice Chandrachud agreed that a “marriage between two consenting adults is still a valid marriage” even if a reasonable number of persons happen to disagree with the wedlock.

The Bench, in its short order, said Ms. Hadiya appeared before it on November 27 and “admitted her marriage” with Mr. Jahan.

This statement of Ms. Hadiya, made in open court, became the very basis for overthrowing the Kerala High Court order of May 24, 2017, which called the marriage a “sham” and referred to it as “love jihad”.

On November 24, 2017, Ms. Hadiya, a 26-year-old homoeopathy student from Kerala, was personally summoned to the Supreme Court.

She was flown to the National Capital under police escort with her parents in tow. In the courtroom, she confirmed her marriage to Mr. Jahan and expressed her desire to keep both her faith and her liberty.

Ms. Hadiya’s father Asokan had argued that a well-oiled network of human-trafficking was behind the marriage. The National Investigation Agency supported Mr. Asokan’s views that unseen actors were working behind the curtain to ensnare young people like Hadiya, convert them to Islam and thrust them into marriage.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) called such marriages as a “ruse” to escape police investigation. Senior advocate Shyam Divan, for Mr. Asokan, said such “marriages of convenience” disguise human trafficking. Such marriages are a fraud played on the public and an offence against the state.

Consenting adults

To this, Justice Chandrachud reasoned that “when a girl of 16 marries a man of 70 or 80, the marriage borders on trafficking. Such a marriage may occur due to poverty or ignorance.

Courts can indeed intervene in such marriages taking into consideration the inherent mental capacity of the woman or the socio-economic circumstances. But courts cannot intervene when two consenting adults decide to marry”.

However, the Supreme Court allowed the NIA to continue with its ongoing investigation into any criminality involved, but asked the agency to steer clear of Ms. Hadiya’s choice to marry Mr. Jahan. “You (NIA) and I are not here to scuttle the constitutional rights of an adult woman.

You carry on the investigation, but not into the marriage. You can probe any aspect except the marriage,” Chief Justice Misra told NIA counsel and Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh.