The Hindustan Times – Air Force stations in Punjab on Pakistan-based Jaish’s radar, forces on alert

Three separate inputs in as many months indicate Pakistan-based militant outfits have “shown interest in gathering information” about Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji airport in Amritsar and the Raja Sansi Air Force station, also in Amritsar.

Azaan Javaid

New Delhi – India, 08 April 2018. Indian Air force (IAF) Stations and other vital installations in Punjab are once again on the radar of Pakistan-based militant groups, according to fresh inputs received by central intelligence agencies that are especially significant in the context of a statement issued by the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant outfit vowing to avenge the killings of 13 militants that took place during three counter-insurgency operations in south Kashmir this week.

Four civilians and three army men also died.

According to a document shared with central and state security agencies, three separate inputs have been received in the last three months that indicate Pakistan-based militant outfits have “shown interest in gathering information” about Sri Guru Ravi Dass ji airport in Amritsar and the Raja Sansi Air Force station, also in Amritsar.

A separate and older document, sent to the agencies in January, states that operatives of the Laskhar-e-Taiba and JeM could smuggle “military hardware into India through Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to execute terrorist attacks”.

Hindustan Times has seen the documents.

Punjab has seen some major fidayeen attacks in recent years. In 2015, a police station in Gurdaspur was attacked resulting in the killing of four policemen and three civilians. The following year an ever bigger attack was carried out in January at the Pathankot airbase, resulting in a four-day gun battle, and eight people, including one civilian, being killed.

A senior CRPF official said on condition of anonymity that the force is doing its “best to be prepared for any intrusion”.

Director general of Jammu and Kashmir police SP Vaid said he wasn’t aware of intelligence regarding Punjab but confirmed the Jaish statement.

Internal security expert Ajai Sahni believes that unless JeM actually executes or attempts to carry out an attack, the statement should be seen as a “political move”.

“After the encounters in Shopian there have been many statements of condemnation issued by various groups and individuals including the Pakistani Prime Minister. JeM statement too is one among the many,” he said. – Takht Jathedars announce to hold conference at Talwandi Sabo on Vaisakhi

Sikh24 Editors

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 06 April 2018. Sarbat Khalsa appointed Takht Jathedars Bhai Dhian Singh Mand and Bhai Baljit Singh Daduwal have called upon a conference at Talwandi Sabo on the eve of Vaisakhi celebrations.

The Takht Jathedars underwent meeting with the leaders of Shromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Sikh Sadbhavna Dal, Panthik Sewa Lehar, Sutantar Akali Dal, Satkar Committees on April 5 in this concern.

After meeting leaders of several Sikh bodies, interim Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Dhian Singh Mand and Jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Bhai Baljit Singh Daduwal informed that all the religious and political outfits except the SAD (Badal) have been invited in this conference to chalk out strategy for tackling emerging challenges before the Sikh community.

They added that the Shromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee have been also invited attend this conference.

Replying to a query about screening of controversial movie ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’, the Takht Jathedars clarified that they won’t let the movie hit screens at any cost.

SAD (Amritsar) president S Simranjit Singh Mann, HSGPC president S Jagdish Singh Jhinda, Baba Baljit Singh Burj Naklia, Baba Ajit Singh Dialpura, S Paramjit Singh, Baba Nacchhattar Singh Kallar Bhaini, S Balwinder Singh Boparai, S Jaskaran Singh Kahan Singh Wala, Professor Mohinderpal Singh, S Karnail Singh, S Gurjant Singh Kattu, S Harbhajan Singh Kashmiri, S Rajinder Singh Fauji, S Nirmal Singh Toor etc. were present on this occasion.

Gent: Herberg Macharius and Gravensteen – Gentbrugge Braemstraat – Sint-Pieters NMBS station

Herberg Macharius and Gravensteen
06 and 07 February 2018

Herberg Macharius – Coyendanspark 1, 9000 Gent
06 February 2018

Gravensteen and Tram 1 to Flanders Expo
07 February 2018

Gentbrugge Braemstraat
09 February 2018

Snow on the roofs behind our apartment !

10 February 2018

All station train to Kortrijk

The 12:23 train to Brussel and Eupen
again leaving early and arriving late because of works

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Belfast Live – When is Vaisakhi 2018? What is it and why do Sikhs celebrate it?

Everything you need to know about the religious festival (???)

Nisha Mal

Belfast – Northern Ireland – UK, 6 APR 2018. Sikhs around the world will be celebrating an important religious festival this month.

Vaisakhi holds a strong significance for followers of the faith, as it recognises the birth of Guru Gobind Singh’s Khalsa.

As well as this, it is also an important date for farmers, and agriculture, as it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and to hope for another good year.

Here is everything you to need to know about Vaisakhi.

When is Vaisakhi?

It will fall on Saturday, April 14. The holy event is celebrated on the same day each year, as the date is not determined by the lunar calendar.

What is Vaisakhi?

Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, is one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar.

It commemorates the year of 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh – a spiritual leader, warrior, poet and philosopher – founded the order of the Khalsa.

Sikhs believe that on April 14, 1699 Guru Gobind Singh called all Sikhs to the Indian city of Anandpur Sahib, Punjab.

At the gathering he asked all those in attendance to uphold their faith and preserve the religion.

The Guru is then said to have lifted his sword and asked the crowd who was prepared to die for their faith.

One by one five men stepped forward, and they were all taken into a tent separately. After a short while Guru Gobind Singh reappeared with a bloodied sword, and the five of the men reappeared behind him – they were all dressed in blue garments.

Guru Gobind Singh called the five men the ‘Panj Pyare’, which means the Five Beloved Ones.

After they reappeared from the tent, the Panj Pyare were baptised. It’s thought that once the Guru had finished the rituals, he lent down and asked them to baptise him.

To this day the five men are known as the first members of the Khalsa.

He then said that the Panj Pyare would be the embodiment of himself: “Where there are Panj Pyare, there am I. When the Five meet, they are the holiest of the holy.”

In the north Indian state of Punjab, Vaisakhi is also a time to celebrate the spring harvest and vegetation.

How is it celebrated?

Followers of the faith commemorate the day with processions, which are known as ‘nagar kirtan’.

A nagar kirtan is lead by five men in ceremonial dress – to represent the Panj Pyare – and performers, floats and drummers playing the dhol follow behind.

The event is similar to carnival as people line the streets singing hymns. There are also usually lots of food and tea stalls giving out vegetarian snacks such as onion bhajis and samosas, as well as chai.

Everything you need to know ?
I think that it was an initiation ceremony rather than a baptism, and on a minor point onion bhajis should be pakore, which contain onion but also other vegetables.
Both Guru Teg Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh were not  just standing up for the Sikh ‘faith’ (dharm) but also for others who were oppressed by the bigoted Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
And although Vaisakhi is a happy festival, comparing it with carnival is inappropriate.
Man in Blue

The Hindu – Gujarat, where there is a concern over disappearing lions

Mahesh Langa

Gir – Gujarat – India, 07 April 2018. Gir in Gujarat, the last abode of Asiatic lions in Asia, has lost an alarmingly large number of the endangered wild cats in two years. On March 28, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly.

It listed huge “flaws” in lion conservation efforts in the State.

What happened?

Forest Minister Ganpat Vasava told the Assembly that 184 lions had died in two years: 104 in 2016 and 80 in 2017. As many as 32 died of “unnatural causes” like falling into wells or getting run over by trains in the same period at the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. The dead included cubs too.

The high number of deaths prompted the High Court to take suo motu cognizance of the issue. The court took the authorities to task this March, directing them to get back on measures being taken by the Environment and Forest Department to ensure adequate protection to lions.

Why the conflict?

Significantly, the number of lion attacks on livestock and humans in 2016 and 2017 was pegged at 398, raising serious concerns about a man-lion conflict in eight to nine districts in the coastal Saurashtra region.

Responding to a question by Congress legislator Gyasuddin Sheikh, Mr Vasava admitted that wells without parapet walls often became death traps for the animals.

There are 27 open wells in Amreli district near the sanctuary, and the government has promised to build parapet walls “as soon as possible.” Several open wells have already been secured. The other preventive measures are construction of fences along the rail track in Amreli district and building speedhumps on roads in the sanctuary.

Why no new habitat?

As per the 2015 census, there were 523 lions in and around the Gir sanctuary. Unfortunately, though the total population of Asiatic lions increased from 359 in 2005 to 523 in 2015, no new protected habitat was approved by the State government since 2008.

As stated in the CAG report, the number of lions outside the protected area in 2011 was 108, which increased by 54.6% to 167 in 2015. The Gir Protected Area includes the Gir, Girnar, Paniya and Mitiyala sanctuaries and the Gir National Park.

To provide a safe corridor for the lions moving out of the Gir Protected Area, the Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) had proposed a new sanctuary spread over 30,000 hectares in Amreli and Bhavnagar districts in 2005. Later, the plan was revised, and the new region was proposed to be a conservation reserve (CR) spread across 10,953 hectares.

The CAG observed that as on May 2017, the Revenue Department had not transferred 4,800 hectares of wasteland to the Forest Department for setting up the conservation reserve. “Thus, the declaration of the lion habitat area as a conservation reserve is pending despite the lapse of 11 years,” it said.

It questioned the non-approval of a new protected area despite “high instances of deaths of lions” in their present habitat. The CAG also pointed out that the genome mapping project was being handled by an agency which did not possess the expertise, and the progress was slow.

What is their future?

The government, which has always taken pride in showcasing Gujarat as the only habitat of Asiatic lions, refuses to translocate some of them to Madhya Pradesh despite a Supreme Court order. It must make sincere efforts to provide adequate protection to the animals moving out to non-protected areas. It must increase the size of the protected areas to prevent more lions from dying, wildlife experts say.

Panjabi Lions are an endangered species too, specially in areas controlled by SGPC
Man in Blue