The Statesman – Ayodhya dispute: SC to hear Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir case today

New Delhi – India, 14 March 2018. The Supreme Court (SC) will on Wednesday continue hearing the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute case to determine ownership of the 2.77 acre disputed land in Ayodhya.

In the last hearing in February, the apex court had said that it will treat the case as a pure land dispute and refused the appellants’ plea for day to day hearing.

The SC bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer had also asked all parties in the case to file translated copies of the documents before it.

The court was hearing a batch of cross petitions challenging 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict that had divided the disputed Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi site between the Nirmohi Akhara, Lord Ram deity and the Sunni Waqf Board.

The top court was moved challenging the High Court verdict by petitioners M. Siddiqui represented by his legal heirs, the Nirmohi Akhara, the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, Bhagwan Shri Ram Virajman, All India Hindu Mahasabha’s Swami Chakrapani, the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, the Akhil Bharatiya Sri Ramjanam Bhoomi Punardhar Samiti and others. – 374th Gurta Gaddi Diwas of Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji 374th to be celebrated as Sikh Envirionment Day

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 14 March 2018. The apex Sikh body Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, constituted to govern historic Sikh shrines in Punjab and northern India, has decided to celebrate 374th Gurta Gaddi Diwas of seventh Sikh master Sri Guru Har Rai Ji as Sikh Environment Day.

A special program has been chalked out in this concern at Gurdwara Sri Kiratpur Sahib for March 15.

Sharing the development with Sikh24, SGPC’s Chief Secretary Dr Roop Singh said that the SGPC has decided to celebrate Gurta Gaddi Diwas of Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji as Sikh Environment Day every year.

He informed that special programs have been chalked out by the SGPC for celebrating 374th Gurta Gaddi Diwas and the main program will be organized at Gurdwara Sri Harmandr Sahib (Sri Kiratpur Sahib) on March 15 under supervision of SGPC member Amarjit Singh Chawla which will be presided by the SGPC President Gobind Singh Longowal, Baba Sewa Singh Khadoor Sahib Wale, Baba Labh Singh Qila Anandgarh Sahib Wale, Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal and other renowned environmentalists.

Dr Roop Singh further informed that the SGPC was making special efforts to preserve ‘Nau Lakha Bagh’ and 15 kinds of medication plants were planted in this garden last year.

Antwerpen Groenplaats

Antwerpen Groenplaats
25 Januari 2018

Tram 4 going back to Hoboken

Antwerpen Groenplaats

Antwerpen Groenplaats
Prémetro station

Going down to the platform

Tram 3 to Merksem P&R

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Business Standard – UK to raise concern over British Sikh held in Indian jail at senior levels

London – UK, 14 March 2018. The UK government said today that it will raise concerns around the case of a British Sikh being held in a maximum-security jail in Punjab at “senior levels” in India.

The case of Jagtar Singh Johal, a 30-year-old British Sikh from Dunbarton in Scotland who is currently being held in Nabha Central Jail on murder and conspiracy to murder charges, was raised as part of a debate in the UK Parliament’s Westminster Hall today.

British Sikh MPs Preet Kaur Gill and Tan Dhesi along with Johal’s local MP, Martin Docherty-Hughes, asked the UK government to raise the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the UK for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) meeting next month.

Mark Field, Minister of state in charge of Asia and the Pacific in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), said he would “try” to see that happens, adding that he would “continue to raise this case at senior levels with Indian authorities”.

He revealed that the UK government had handled nearly 5,000 detentions involving British nationals abroad in the last year alone with”comprehensive, responsive” consular service and stressed that it is important that the legal systems of other countries are respected.”

India as a partner in the Commonwealth and also as a partner in many other ways has a strong democratic framework which is designed to guarantee human rights.

However, it also faces numerous challenges related to the size of development and when it comes to enforcing fundamental rights enshrined in its Constitution,” Field said in his response to the debate entitled ‘British Nationals Imprisoned Abroad’.

Gill, as chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs, had organised the debate in order to raise Johal’s case.She laid out the background to the case since Johal was arrested in Punjab in November last year, claiming that he had faced severe torture while in custody.

“Indian authorities have prevented Jagtar having private access to British consular staff,” she said, adding that his case has become a “farcical trial by media”. Dhesi added: “It is incumbent on all us to stand for the human rights of all British citizens.

The UK government’s failure to condemn the series of abuses [against Johal] has left all British citizens travelling abroad vulnerable”. During the debate it emerged that Johal’s MP, Docherty-Hughes, had spoken to the British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith, and received an update on the case this week.

The Indian government maintains that “due process” is being followed in the case, which was last raised at a ministerial level during the UK visit of Indian minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju in January.

Dawn – Senate elections: What went wrong for ruling alliance?

Federal Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 13 March 2018. The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) suspects at least seven senators, including a couple of its own, ditched it in the election of Senate chairman and deputy chairman.

Raja Zafarul Haq, the candidate of the ruling alliance for the chairman, secured 46 votes, the exact total of the members of the four parties which were part of the five-party ruling alliance.

This clearly shows that either no one from outside the alliance voted for Mr Haq or some of the members from within the alliance had voted for the opponents in violation of party discipline.

A number of PML-N leaders, including those who remained part of the consultations within the party and in the negotiations with other parties, said they had taken part in the elections with confidence that the ruling alliance would secure 57 votes after being assured of support by their allies and other parties.

“We had calculated 57 votes for us and 46 for the opponents. However, it turned the other way round,” said a senior PML-N leader, who described the day-long development as “depressing”.

Soul-searching within PML-N over who abandoned the party [centre/italics]

The five-party ruling alliance presently has 48 members in the 104-member upper house of parliament. With the absence of senator-elect Ishaq Dar, the PML-N had been left with 32 senators, followed by five members each of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and the National Party (NP), four members of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and one member of the PML-Functional.

The PML-N leader claimed their vote tally had reached 53 with the support of the two members of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), two senators from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and a Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) member and a member of the Awami National Party (ANP), which had assured the ruling party of their support.

He admitted that the delay in the announcement of the candidates also played a major role, as it allowed the rumour-mongers to launch propaganda that the PML-N-led alliance was short of numbers. Also, he believed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif should have stayed in the capital to supervise the whole exercise instead of visiting Lahore a day before the election.

The PML-N leader said they had ‘doubts’ that the four-member JUI-F and some Fata members had voted against them. He said the JUI-F was actually interested in getting the office of the deputy chairman but they lost “a toss” against the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), which later nominated Usman Kakar for the slot.

It seemed they lost interest in the whole exercise afterwards, he said, adding that the party might have been contacted by the senators-elect from Balochistan, where the JUI-F had supported a move to dislodge the PML-N government.

Absence of three JUI-F senators when their names were called in alphabetical order for voting was surprising for many though they later came to the house and were allowed to vote out of turn.

The PML-N leaders suspect that a minority member of the ruling alliance and a PML-N senator from Balochistan, Kalsoom Parveen, had polled votes for the opposition-backed Sanjrani-Mandviwalla panel. According to them, there is also a possibility that the Fata senators might have voted en bloc for the candidates of the opposition parties.

Ms Parveen later told a private TV channel that she had cast her second vote in favour of Mr Mandviwalla for the office of deputy chairman. She has been in the Senate since 2009.

Previously associated with the Balochistan National Party-Awami (BNP-A), Ms Parveen was awarded ticket by the PML-N leadership amid opposition from some party leaders when she switched her loyalty.

Sources in the PML-N said the leadership had finalised the name of NP president Hasil Bizenjo for the Senate chairman’s office but the decision had to be changed at the last minute due to several reasons.

BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal had categorically told them on Sunday night that his party’s lone senator would not vote for the ruling alliance, if Mr Bizenjo was nominated, the sources said. Similarly, they said, the NP president’s nomination was opposed by the PkMAP.

They said the coalition partners — the PkMAP, the NP and the JUI-F — after allowing the PML-N to nominate its candidate for the chairman’s office, had told Nawaz Sharif that they would decide among themselves the candidature for the office of the deputy chairman.

They said Mr Bizenjo, who was already reluctant to accept the offer, himself withdrew from the race and then the matter between the PkMAP and the JUI-F was decided on a toss.

The sources said a PML-N delegation remained engaged with the JI and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) till late hours. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also accompanied the delegation during a meeting with JI leaders Sirajul Haq and Liaquat Baloch.

The sources added that the MQM-P had told the ruling party’s delegation that the MQM-P could not vote for their candidates as they had already made commitment to the other group.

The sources said that a group within the PML-N wanted the leadership to hold a thorough inquiry to find out those who ditched the party and caused embarrassment to it.