BBC News – Protest over detention of Scots Sikh Jagtar Singh Johal

Supporters of a Scottish man detained in India on suspicion of murder have staged a protest in London.

London – UK, 18 April 2018. Jagtar Singh Johal, from Dumbarton, was arrested in Punjab last November.

Campaigners said the 31-year-old Sikh has been held without charge and tortured. Indian authorities said he is being investigated over seven counts of aiding and abetting of murder.

The protest coincided with the arrival in the UK of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He is in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.

Downing Street said Prime Minister Theresa May raised Mr Johal’s case with Prime Minister Modi when they met on Wednesday morning.

Mr Johal’s brother, Gurpreet Singh, is among those who travelled from Glasgow to take part in the protest in Parliament Square.

His family have said Mr Johal was a peaceful activist who had contributed to a website remembering the 1984 massacre at the Golden Temple at Amritsar but was not a militant.

He was arrested in Punjab on 4 November, just over a fortnight after his wedding.

His supporters claim he has had limited access to his family and to a lawyer, and they have also said reports of torture have been ignored.

Charandeep Singh, from Glasgow Gurdwara, who was among those protesting in London, told BBC Scotland: “What we are asking and urging the government of India and the authorities to do is to actually present the evidence and actually outline what the official charge is.

“If we understand what the official charge is, if there is one, then we are able to present a case, and he can actually rightfully defend himself.”

The Indian High Commission has previously said each of the cases against Mr Johal was proceeding “strictly as per due process of Indian law, as in any mature democratic set-up”.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The prime minister raised Mr Johal’s case with Prime Minister Modi this morning and the government will continue to make representations on his behalf until our concerns are addressed.

“Our High Commission staff in India have visited Mr Johal 10 times since his detention, most recently on 22 March, and the Foreign Office are in regular contact with his family.”

The Tribune – KLF chief Harminder Singh Mintoo dies of ‘cardiac arrest’ in Patiala jail; probe ordered

Tribune News Service

Patiala – Panjab – India, 18 April 2018. Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief Harminder Singh Mintoo died of ‘cardiac arrest’ here on Wednesday evening, officials of Patiala Central Jail where he was lodged said.

ADGP (Prisons) Inderpreet Singh Sahota has recommended a judicial inquiry into the death of Mintoo. He said Mintoo felt uneasy before appearing in a video-conference in an ongoing case trial.

He had undergone the video conferencing at 2 pm in a case registered against him in Jalandhar and was in his cell when he suffered a cardiac arrest. The jail doctors treated him before he was rushed to Rajindra Hospital.

Mintoo was lodged in the Patiala jail from past over a year. Senior Intelligence officials rushed to Patiala to ascertain the detailed cause of his death, as his links with ISI and various international spy agencies were under scanner.

He had escaped from Nabha prison in a sensational jailbreak on November 28, 2016, only to be arrested a day later.

Who is Harminder Singh Mintoo?

In November 2014, Harminder Singh Mintoo was arrested by Punjab Police from the Indira Gandhi International airport on his return from Thailand. At the time of his arrest, Mintoo was accused of being involved in 10 terror-related cases.

Mintoo was using Thailand as his base to mobilise funds for the banned organisation. He was using online resources to enlist support for the Khalistan cause and to radicalise youth.

Using a fake Malaysian passport and identity card, Mintoo travelled extensively across Europe and South East Asia in order to develop contacts. He frequently made trips to Pakistan, where he was reported to have acquired funds and support.

In India, Mintoo was named accused in several terror cases, including the attack on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and on three Shiv Sena leaders. He was allegedly tasked by the ISI of Pakistan to carry out an attack in Punjab on Independence Day. However, the plan had failed.

In November 2016, Mintoo escaped from the Nabha jail in Punjab along with five other dreaded gangsters. Six to eight armed men had stormed Nabha jail and opened fire. They eventually helped the six inmates escape from the prison.

Apart from Mintoo, the other four gangsters who escaped included Gurpreet Singh, Vicky Gounder, Neeta Deol and Vikramjeet Singh Vicky.

Mintoo was nabbed from Delhi’s Nizammuddin railway station a day after the Nabha jailbreak.

Gent – Luik (Liège) – Tongeren – Hoepertingen

Gent – Luik (Liège) – Tongeren – Hoepertingen
22 February 2018

Liège Guillemins

15:24 Tongeren Hasselt

These units should be assigned to the rail museum !

Liège Guillemins

Modern EMU mostly used on commuter services

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Indian Express – Honour for us to host Sikh pilgrims, says Pakistan envoy

Calling it an “honour” for the government of Pakistan to host and serve Sikhs from India, Shah said his country would hold full-scale celebrations of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev scheduled for 2019.

New Delhi – India, 18 April 2018. Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner to India Syed Haider Shah Tuesday said his country was investigating and “trying to ascertain facts” on what actually happened with Sikh pilgrims.

The Ministry of External Affairs on Monday had summoned Shah and lodged a strong protest against alleged denial of consular access to Sikh pilgrims who are currently in Pakistan to visit shrines for Baisakhi festivities.

The protest was also lodged against for alleged surfacing of Sikh referendum 2020 posters, related to Khalistan, in gurdwaras there.

Speaking at the convocation of Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Gujarkhan Campus, in Ludhiana, Shah said in reply to a query, “We are investigating. We are trying to ascertain facts… ki hua kya hai? (What has actually happened). It is being sorted out through diplomatic channels and both governments are in touch.”

“There is nothing that can’t be sorted out through talks. It is our belief. The relationship between both countries will certainly improve,” he said.

Calling it an “honour” for the government of Pakistan to host and serve Sikhs from India, Shah said his country would hold full-scale celebrations of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev scheduled for 2019. “Guru Nanak Dev was not only the guru of Sikhs but the entire humanity.

Pakistan will be fully cooperating with India and also celebrate his 550th birth anniversary next year. In fact, our preparations and celebrations from our side will be more than what India is expecting from us,” he said.

Shah said Pakistan would extend full cooperation for Indian pilgrims who apply for visas to visit Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib (birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev).

Earlier, during his convocation address to the students, Shah stressed on Pakistan’s cultural affinity with India, especially with the Sikh community. “We have deep bonds of cultural affinity (with India), especially with Sikh community.

Baisakhi festivities are going on there. Government of Pakistan feels honoured to serve our Sikh brothers and take care of your relatives in Pakistan. We will continue to do that,” he said.

Shah said his stay in India had been ‘memorable’. “Professionally, it has been an important and challenging assignment for me and worthwhile in understanding complexities of relationship between both countries,” he said.

Meanwhile, Professor Ravinder Bhathal, president Punjab Sahit Akademi, met Shah and demanded that Pakistan extend cooperation for kavi darbaar being planned in Pakistan and India next year for 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.

Paramjit Singh Sarna, president Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) and former president Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, also president of the college where Shah came, said, “We face problems in getting visa for our sewaks who do kar sewa at Gurudwara Dera Sahib in Lahore.

We met him several times to discuss such issues. We are glad he accepted our invite to preside over our college’s convocation,” said Sarna.

Sarna said Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan should ignore Khalistan posters and slogans. “It hasn’t happened for the first time. Sikh pilgrims in Pakistan should just focus on praying which is purpose of their visit. They should simply ignore such things,” he said.

Shah also left a note in Urdu in college’s visitor’s diary.

Honour for us to host Sikh pilgrims, says Pakistan envoy

Dawn – Hundreds of protesters confront Modi in London

London – UK, 19 April 2018. Hundreds of noisy protesters greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he arrived in London on Wednesday.

Holding placards reading “Modi go home” and “we stand against Modi’s agenda of hate and greed”, they gathered outside Downing Street and parliament as Modi arrived for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May.

The demonstrators included Muslims and Sikhs, who called for end to religious persecution, and human rights activists, who called for end to violence against women.

Kashmiris held aloft flags, while others displayed posters depicting an eight-year-old Muslim girl, who was raped and murdered earlier this year in a brutal attack blamed on Hindu men.

“Lots of different groups are here,” said Dupinder Jit, a Sikh businessman. “What is happening in Modi’s regime is unacceptable, he is killing minorities.”

Sexual violence against women is a highly charged political issue in India, where protests regularly erupt about entrenched violence against women and the failure to protect them.

“The Indian government is doing nothing, and you feel sorry for the families because of the total injustice of it all,” said Navindra Singh, an Indian-born lawyer who lives in Britain.

“He has been in power for four years now and there has been no policy change to help protect women and children.”

Protests have erupted across India after the latest rape cases were reported. Police officers and a politician are under investigation in two of the unrelated cases.

In a crime that shocked India, an eight-year-old Muslim girl in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir was kidnapped, drugged and held for several days while she was raped repeatedly and then murdered.

In the other case, a state lawmaker from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party stands accused of raping a teenager. No action was taken against the politician until the girl threatened to set herself on fire earlier this month. Her father died soon afterwards from injuries he sustained while in police custody.

Modi addressed the outrage over the rapes last week by promising justice regardless of whoever the guilty were.

Nearly 40 per cent of India’s rape victims are children and the 40,000 reported rapes in 2016 marked a 60 per cent increase over the level in 2012. But women’s rights groups say the figures are still gross underestimates.