The Statesman – Ahluwalia seeks probe into alleged Rohingya camps

Siliguri – West Bengal – India, 09 May 2018. Concerned about information of alleged ‘Rohingya settlement camps’ at some border areas in north Bengal in Kalimpong district, Darjeeling MP and Union minister of state for drinking water and sanitation SS Ahluwalia has requested Union home minister Rajnath Singh to take initiatives to carry out investigations.

The Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM) had informed Mr Ahluwalia through an email on 2 May on the “migration of Rohingya” in areas under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). In the letter, the BJYM mentioned that the Rohingya refugees had migrated to areas like Bhalukhop, Delo and its surroundings, Lava forest area and the Kalimpong-Rangpo highway.

It also informed him that they had received reports of their presence in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik. “I have received information based on the letter of the BJYM on the presence of Rohingya refugees in some parts of the Hills.

Settlement camps have been set up in the sensitive chicken-neck area. Accordingly, I wrote to Union home minister Rajnath Singh to have the matter investigated and urged him to undertake proper measures to ensure that no such illegal settlements are allowed to come up,” Mr Ahluwalia said over the phone from Delhi today.

In the letter to the home minister, he says, “As you are aware, Darjeeling district and Dooars regions share three international borders, all of which are porous, and settlement of Rohingyas in this sensitive region can pose a serious national security threat.”

While there was a clamour earlier that some Rohingya Muslims had entered Kalimpong town, chairman of the GTA Board of Administrators, Binoy Tamang, had refuted reports and said that the group of Muslims who had reached Kalimpong were pilgrims from Kolkata and that it was a common practice for such groups to visit different mosques across India as part of their studies on their religion.

Mr. Tamang had also claimed that such hullabaloo had been created to by keeping the 2019 general elections in mind and to disturb the now peaceful Hills.

The Tribune – Peddlers going back to trade frustrate police efforts

Number of cases far higher than people in drug trade, police yet to compile figures

Rachna Khaira

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 08 May 2018. The number of arrests under the NDPS Act has been consistently high for the past couple of years, average of around 35 per day, however, that may not signify much success as most of them are repeat offenders, because of which peddling has persisted despite the massive police drive.

The number of actual peddlers would thus be much lower when compared to the number of arrests since the formation of the anti-drug Special Task Force (STF) in the state.

STF chief and ADGP Harpreet Sidhu, admitting the fact, said data needed to be compiled to establish the actual number of peddlers getting arrested repeatedly. “We have thus far succeeded in blocking the supply lines to Punjab, and are now beginning analytical investigation of the cases,” he said.

Experts feel that along with nabbing peddlers, the STF should also have a separate wing to plan rehabilitation projects for those arrested under the NDPS Act so as to keep them from going back to the trade once they come out on bail.

How a lot of the police effort goes waste in carrying on a struggle with the same set of peddlers was revealed in The Tribune’s interaction with three peddlers.

Family circumstances

It was after much persuasion that 23-year-old Mohinder (name changed) agreed to meet this correspondent on the outskirts of his village in Kapurthala. He was arrested last year for carrying narcotics, and was released on bail recently.

How did he get into drugs? “Six years ago, my father, the sole earning member in the family, died in an accident. I was only 16 at the time. Despite efforts, I could not find a job to support my four sisters and grandparents. Under stress, I took my first ‘shot’,” Mohinder said. He has been arrested twice under the NDPS Act since.

He bought his first shot of morphine for Rs 600. “My neighbor had bought it for Rs 60 from Saharanpur. Seeing the profit, I too joined him in this lucrative business,” Mohinder claimed.

Initially, he bought around 2,000 injections for Rs 60 each, and sold those for Rs 500 to Rs 600 in Punjab. Later, he even called for consignments of up to Rs 2 lakh, and sold those to bigger players in the state.

Interestingly, he claimed that the police till date were not aware of the “mega deals” struck by him, and had been arresting him only for possession of small quantities of “intoxicant powder”.

Supply from UP

Thirty-four-year-old Bharat (name changed) is into peddling for the past 10 years. Despite repeated arrests, he has not given up the trade. He came out on bail recently.

During a meeting in Kartarpur, he said, “I am just a small fish. The chain is alive across the country, with the nerve centre in Uttar Pradesh. Over 80 per cent of the drugs consumed in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh are being supplied from UP.”

Bharat said the majority of the drugs sold by them are injections and medicines such as Alprax tablets, Spasmo Proxyvon and Tramadol.

“Bhagwanpur and Kaliyar villages in Uttar Pradesh are the hub for the supply of drugs to Punjab. You can ask for any quantity from a small bag to truckloads,” Bharat said.

And how does he receive the consignments? “Peddlers like us strike the deal on the road. I do it in Bhagwanpur. Each time we are met by a different face, on a different vehicle (mostly two-wheeler). The deal is always done in cash,” Bharat said.

He even claimed that he had informed the local police of the modus operandi during interrogation, but there was no action on the input. “They are just perpetuating the narcotics supply cycle by repeatedly arresting peddlers whenever they come out on bail,” Bharat alleged.

Multiple cases

The Tribune spoke to the sister of one Sushant (real name), 22, a resident of Phillaur. He was allegedly rounded up by the Nakodar police on September 16, 2016, on the charge of stealing a scooter on September 13 from a Punjab Roadways employee (FIR No. 192) at Nakodar bus stand.

A day later, on September 17, he was booked under the NDPS Act and Sections 397, 380, 455 and 427 of the IPC, and 34 and 25 of the Arms Act (FIR No. 193).

Two days after that, on September 19, he was booked yet again under Section 22 of the NDPS Act for possession of 120 gm of “intoxicant powder”.

The sister claimed that two cops had approached him and asked if he knew how to drive an Activa scooter. When he said yes, they took him to the police station. Next, they clicked his photographs after making him stand next to a stolen scooter, and sent him to jail.

Though Sushant was acquitted in the theft case, he is still contesting the two other cases, in which he has been awarded imprisonment of 17 years.

Despite repeated calls made to the area SHO and DSP, they could not explain as to why three different cases were registered against the same person with a single arrest.

Prisons ill-equipped

The availability and abuse of drugs in prisons is going on unchecked as the department is severely strained for staff, who are unable to prevent the entry of drugs into prison premises. In Kapurthala Modern Jail, where around 500 to 600 people go out for court hearings every day, it is not practically feasible to frisk every prisoner.

The department recently procured two dogs trained in sniffing out narcotics, but their work time is limited to an hour or so. Moreover, with no vehicle available to transport the dogs, they tire out just walking to the prison gate.

Gent: Korenmarkt – Gentbrugge Braemkasteelstraat – Sint-Baafs Abdij – Gentbrugge P&R

23 March 2018

Korenmarkt – Sint-Niklaaskerk
Blowing bubbles

23 March 2018

Braemkasteelstraat – Spring !

Sint-Baafs Abdij
24 March 2018

Dialogue between King Filip en Koning Leopold II about Congo

Filip on the left – Leopold III on the right

Gentbrugge P&R
25 March 2018

Beautiful blue PCC car – Not on service

E17 Viaduct – Brusselsesteenweg

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

ANI News – Religious minorities in Pakistan face persecution by Islamic terrorists

Quetta – Balochistan – Pakistan / Geneva – Canton of Geneva – Switzerland, 07 May 2018. On April 22, two people from the Hazara community were shot dead in a sectarian attack in Quetta city of Balochistan province of Pakistan.

In Pakistan, targeted killings of minorities have continued and are being carried out by Taliban, Islamic State, and other Sunni Muslim militant groups for their religious beliefs. Hazaras, whose population is around half a million in and around Quetta city, are a mainly Shi’ite Muslim community.

Another community which has been facing persecution in Pakistan are the Ahmadiyya. Since Pakistan is home to the largest population of Ahmadis in the world, they have been facing persecution by Muslim fundamentalists, who consider them as non-Muslims.

Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan is facing discrimination since 1984 when the then President of Pakistan Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq brought Ordinance XX in the Constitution. The legislation restricted the religious freedom of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, prohibited the reading and writing of the Quran and building mosques.

It also prohibits calling themselves Muslim and threatened prison terms for any individual who in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims. A majority of people facing blasphemy charges are from the Ahmadia community.

The Lahore based Center for Social Justice estimated that at least 1,472 people have been charged with blasphemy from 1987 to 2016. Of the 730 Muslims charges, 501 were Ahmadis. Pakistan has forever been an intolerant country, especially for the religious minorities, whether they are, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians or even the Ahmadiyyas.

This is worst human rights violations which the International Community need to review.

More of an example of Anti-Pakistan sentiment in India than a piece of good journalism on the real problems of minorities in Pakistan.
The Man in Blue

The Hindu – Kathua minor rape and murder: Supreme Court transfers case to Pathankot

The trial will be held in camera on a day-to-day basis with no adjournments, rules the court.

Krishnadas Rajagopal

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 08 May 2018. The Supreme Court on Monday transferred the Kathua minor rape and murder case to Pathankot district in Punjab.

A Special Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra transferred the case out of Jammu and Kashmir with the consensus of the victim’s family, the Jammu and Kashmir government and the accused.

“Fair trial is sacrosanct principle under Article 21 [fundamental right to life] of the Constitution,” the court observed in the order.

It said fair trial and fear were contradictory concepts and should not be allowed to coexist. It said fair trial means an “atmosphere where the victims, accused persons and witnesses feel safe and they do not suffer from any phobia from attending court”.

Issuing a series of directions, the court ordered that the trial should be held in camera. This is to protect the witnesses and make the accused “feel safe”.

The court ordered the Pathankot District Judge to conduct the trial and not delegate it to another court. The trial shall be held under the provisions of the Ranbir Penal Code, which is applicable in Jammu and Kashmir.

Documents to be translated from Urdu to English

The documents would be translated from Urdu to English. The apex court allowed the J&K government to appoint a special public prosecutor and continue providing protection, transport and all other ancillary facilities to the victims, lawyers and accused during the trial.

The court refused to examine a separate plea to hand over the investigation to the CBI, saying it was dealing with only a petition seeking transfer of the case for the purpose of fair trial.

Chief Justice Misra said the investigation had been done and charge sheet filed by the J&K Crime Branch on April 9 and it was always open for supplementary investigation, if required.

“When charge sheet is filed, why should we want another agency?” Chief Justice Misra said.

Apex court to monitor trial

The court said it would continue to monitor the trial, so no other court across the country has jurisdiction to entertain complaints or appeals from the Pathankot District Judge’s orders.

The court ordered a fast-track trial on a day-to-day basis with no adjournments. Chief and cross examinations of a witness should be done without break and there would be no adjournments.

There are a total of 221 witnesses in the case.

The next date of hearing in the Supreme Court has been fixed on July 9.

The court ordered all the records of the case to be sent from the Kathua District and Sessions Judge’s court, where the case was committed for trial, to the Pathankot trial court in a sealed cover under police escort.

The hearing saw the court accepting a suggestion by the J&K government, represented by senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, that it would be better to transfer the trial outside Kathua district rather than out of J&K itself.

The court’s decision was fortified after the J&K High Court-appointed judicial report from the Kathua District Judge “indicated” that the local lawyers, demanding a CBI probe, had obstructed the administration of justice by not allowing the Crime Branch team to file the charge sheet in court.

The court also did not heed to submissions raised by one of the accused’s lawyer that the investigation by the Crime Branch itself was “botched-up” and a transfer of the case would not ensure fair trial.

“We are not going to comment on the investigation. We are here for the fundamental concept of fair trial for both victims and the accused,” Chief Justice Misra responded.

Four adjoining districts suggested

During the hearing, four adjoining districts, Udhampur, Samba, Jammu and Rambal, near Kathua were considered for transferring the trial. However, counsel for victims and accused could not reach an agreement on any of them owing to their distance from Kathua.

Finally, they all agreed on Pathankot, which is 30 km away from Kathua but over the border in Punjab. The victim’s father had wanted a transfer to Chandigarh, but the accused had protested.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, for the victim’s father, argued that “the police have done a good job” and the demand for a CBI probe was an “attempt to unscramble a scrambled egg”.

Ms Jaising had argued that the demand for a CBI probe had more to do with efforts to influence the State police investigation, which led to the arrest of eight men. These accused include policemen who are suspected of destroying evidence. A 15-page charge sheet has been filed in this case.