The Times of India – Attack on Sikh preacher in UK gurdwara: Intellectuals caution against adjusting to demands of ‘vigilante groups’

I P Singh

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 13 May 2018. When the recent incident of assault on Sikh preacher Amrik Singh, Chandigarh, at Southall gurudwara on May 8, has created a major controversy among Sikhs as his turban was also removed, a group of prominent Sikh intellectuals has called upon the Sikh institutions to guarantee the honour, dignity and safety of all Gursikhs, who visit their premises, regardless of the views they hold.

They have also ‘cautioned’ that international goodwill of the Sikhs would be reduced if they would adjust to the demands of the vigilante groups and their mentors.

“The Khalsa realises that all the international acclaim that it has earned in recent past is the result of sticking fast to the Guru’s word and his rahit (code of conduct). All goodwill, success and glory will be reduced to dust as soon as the Sikhs accept to adjust their thought and conduct according the demands of vigilante groups and their mentors and those who remote control them,” said Sikh intellectuals Gurtej Singh (former IAS), professor Gurdrashan Singh Dhillon, Jaspal Singh Sidhu and Gurpreet Singh of Singh Sabha Chandigarh.

“The institution heads are duty bound to protect even those Sikhs of the rational Guru who live according to his word and interpret the word according to the bani of the sole Guru Granth Sahib. The Sikhs must be respected even when they refuse to succumb to the intimidation, insults and abuse of the goons and refuse to give up the truth as they know it,” they said.

Holding that similar incidents happened in the past also they held that perpetrators owed allegiance to a faction of Damdami Taksal. They said that the ultimate cause of hatred expressed in this manner was that the majority of the Sikhs are increasingly returning to the Guru’s original teachings without accepting phoney human mediators like Sant Babas, Dera heads etc.

They also held that such elements were being controlled and supported by the myopic forces of Hindutava which wrongly believe that rigid regimentation and absolute uniformity was the basis of unity and progress and not liberalism, multiculturalism and freedom of profession.

“Being powerfully supported, the official goons are able to escape the consequences of their dastardly acts. Such is the extent of impunity available to them that even for planned and admitted murders of the upholders of Guru’s instructions, they are able to escape consequences,” the joint statement said. – Attack on Bhai Amrik Singh: Case registered against attackers in Slough police station

Sikh24 Editors

Slough – Berkshire – UK, 13 May 2018. On the complaint of the management committee of Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha (Slough), a case has been registered against the attackers, who had attacked Bhai Amrik Singh Chandigarh.

The complaint has been registered in the police station of Slough. The Management Committee of Slough based Gurdwara Sahib has also sought permanent ban on entrance of the attackers into Gurdwara Sahib.

In a press note shared with Sikh24, President of Slough based Gurdwara Sahib Bhai Joginder Singh Bal has also objected over the role of management committee of Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha (Southall) for neither calling the police on spot nor rushing Bhai Amrik Singh to the hospital.

It may be recalled here that Bhai Amrik Singh Chandigarh was attacked by some hooligans at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha of Southall on May 7. Interestingly, the Damdami Taksal has indirectly backed the attackers by lodging complaint against Bhai Amrik Singh Chandigarh to SGPC appointed Akal Takht Jathedar.

Gent: Sint-Baafs Abdij – Gentbrugge: Braemkasteelstraat

Sint-Baafs Abdij
Spanjaard Straat
27 March 2018

Sint-Baafs Abdij (Abby)

Spring is in the air !
29 March 2018

Flowering forsythias are always early signs of spring

They grow in gardens but also in the wild

This is in a bit of jungle next to the E17 viaduct

No planted park or garden !

What do you think these are ?

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Catch News – How Hindutva groups are provoking Sikhs by meddling in their community affairs

Rajeev Khanna

Op/Ed, 12 May 2018. There are rumblings in the Sikh community once again over the interference by Hindutva forces in its religio-political affairs. Even as the recent controversy over the dilution of Sikh history in the class 12 history books in Punjab is yet to die down, fingers are now being pointed at booklets being printed at Nagpur under the ‘Bharat Bharati’ series.

The address of the publisher on these books has been given as ‘Shree Bharati Prakashan, Dr Hedgewar Bhawan Parisar, Nagpur’.

These books in Hindi are said to be in circulation in various parts of India and the Sikhs are agitated over their “blasphemous” content. There are three books named ‘Gurputra Fateh Singh Zorawar Singh’, ‘Guru Tegh Bahadur’ and ‘Guru Gobind Singh’ in particular, about whose content there is unrest.

It is being pointed that on the cover of the book ‘Guru Tegh Bahadur’, the picture depicting the Sikh Guru shows him in almost Mughal attire. This once again brings to the fore the debate over promotion of idolatry and pictures of Sikh Gurus that has been going on for quite some time.

Then there is resentment over the content of these books. Sources say that these contain lines saying that Guru Gobind Singh and Shivaji had waged a war against the political power of Turks that have been referred to as “Malech”, which is a typically Vedic term meaning “barbarian”.

Sikhism, on the other hand, is opposed to discriminating against any community using such terms.

In these books Guru Arjan Dev has been referred to as a ‘Gau Bhakt’ and it is written that his assassination was a sacrifice for ‘Sampoorna Hindu Samaj’. There are also objections to some historical facts represented in these books.

“In the first instance there is an attempt to compare and draw parallels between Guru Gobind Singh and Shivaji, who was an ordinary mortal. Then Guru Arjan Dev has been called a ‘Gau Bhakt’ which is totally wrong because unlike Hinduism, cow is not worshiped in Sikhism.

Calling Guru Tegh Bahadur’s sacrifice as something for the ‘Sampoorna Hindu Samaj’ is again something very wrong because this was a sacrifice for humanity against oppression which could have been from anyone,” said Baldev Singh Sirsa who has been continuously taking up the issues pertaining to the misrepresentation of Sikh history.

He pointed to the common perception among the Sikhs that the Hindutva organisations including the RSS treat the Khalsa as a sect of the Hindus created by Guru Gobind Singh to confront Islam and Sikhs are described as yet another Hindu “shakti kendra” (power centre).

This is not the only recent instance that has kicked up a storm. Just a few days ago there was the controversy over the renaming of the Dyal Singh College (Evening) in Delhi as ‘Vande Matram Dyal Singh College’.

It was once again left for the Union human resource development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar to intervene and assure that the government would not allow the renaming of the college.

Despite Javadekar’s assurance, the chairman of governing council of the college Amitabh Sinha reportedly said the government cannot interfere in the administrative matters of Delhi University to which the college is affiliated as it is an autonomous university.

He had said that renaming was within the permissible law. Many among the Sikhs see it as a strategy of the Sangh Parivar to create confusion among the community.

While the name remains unchanged for now, the damage has already been done. The parties opposing the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) once again called for the party’s lone representative in the Union cabinet Harsimrat Kaur Badal to quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government.

Harsimrat took up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to sack Amitabh Sinha for going against the undertaking of the HRD ministry that the name of Dyal Singh College, Delhi will not be changed.

She pointed that despite a written assurance by Javadekar on 16 January this year that the name of the college will not be changed, its management deliberately inflamed the sentiments of the Sikh community by putting up banners changing the name of the college to ‘Vande Matram Dyal Singh College’ at its annual prize distribution function on April 25.

She said Amitabh Sinha was deliberately misusing the name ‘Vande Matram’ at the cost of destroying the legacy of noted philanthropist Dyal Singh Majithia who was a social reformer and had donated all his wealth for public welfare.

Harsimrat had also requested Modi to take strict action against Delhi University vice chancellor Yogesh K Tyagi, who according to her had extended indirect support to Amitabh Sinha and didn’t take action against him despite numerous complaints.

Last year the matter had been raised by SAD leader Naresh Gujral in the Rajya Sabha also to which Javadekar had given a categorical assurance.

“The onslaught by the Hindutva organisations including the RSS on institutions continues. The Sikhs are being attacked and provoked from all sides be it the issue of Dyal Singh College, films like Nanak Shah Fakir and reference to Gurus in books.

What comes as a surprise is that the name of Dyal Singh Khalsa College in Lahore remains unchanged while there has been the recent mischief in Delhi,” said Captain Chanan Singh of United Sikh Movement (USM), an organization that claims to represent Sikh groups outside the ambit of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress.

Referring to the RSS organising a congregation of different faiths through its affiliate Rashtriya Sikh Sangat in Delhi on 25 October to mark the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, he said, “We were threatened with the message that if we did not toe their line we would be confined to only one state.

We want to tell them to introspect what led to the shrinking of the Sanatan Hinduism to only one country. If they do not mend their ways it will further shrink in India too.” The Sikh organisations had boycott the event.

Observers have pointed time and again that there should not be interference in the Sikh matters by outside forces. It should be kept in mind that Punjab has some distinct features. It is a border state where a national religious minority is in majority. It is a state where issues of identity are taken very seriously and any provocation can lead to a flare up.

Dawn – India hushed up Mumbai attacks case, says Nisar

Islamabad/Lahore/Karachi – Pakistan, 14 May 2018. Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday blamed India for hushing up the Mumbai attacks case and hanging principal accused Ajmal Kasab in haste to hide facts.

His comments came in the wake of a statement by ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif that has been spun by the Indian media as a tacit admission of Pakistan’s involvement in the 2008 attacks that left over 150 people dead.

Chaudhry Nisar said that due to non-cooperation and stubbornness of New Delhi, investigation into the attacks which was being carried out simultaneously in India and Pakistan could not reach its logical conclusion.

Chaudhry Nisar in his statement said: “In a country where cases concerning capital punishment face years of delays, the only proof in a very important case was sent to the gallows in extreme haste to take him away from the public eye and close the door before facts became public.”

Opposition parties condemn Nawaz Sharif’s statement and demand his trial under treason charges

He said Kasab was hanged in haste so that the Mumbai attacks could be used as a tool for “Pakistan bashing” across the world.

“I say with full responsibility that the delay and slow pace of the Mumbai attacks-related case in Pakistan was not Pakistan’s doing but was a result of non-cooperation and stubbornness by India,” he added.

The former interior minister said: “Despite repeated efforts, India refused to share those facts and evidence with the FIA and the investigative committee formed by Pakistani courts,” he added.

Treason trial

Meanwhile, main opposition parties condemned Sharif’s statement about the Mumbai attacks and sought his trial under treason charges.

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Sherry Rehman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) termed Mr Sharif’s statement “irresponsible, self-serving and damaging” and asked him to explain his position.

“He cannot make such an irresponsible statement inimical to the national security of Pakistan and to its stated foreign policy, even during his own time,” she said at a press conference in Karachi.

Ms Rehman said no democratic state would ever allow non-state actors to go maim, plunder and loot across its border. “What is Nawaz Sharif trying to do apart from serving his own interest?”

She said Pakistan was fighting a huge war “against terrorism against all odds alone and constantly under international criticism and he [Mr Sharif] is adding fuel to that highly critical narrative”.

“There is no concrete evidence linking Pakistan to the Mumbai attacks or for Mumbai to proceed with a trial. Pakistan, too, wants a judicious resolution of the Mumbai case and we are still waiting for the requisite evidence from India,” the PPP senator said.

In a press statement issued in Islamabad, former interior minister and PPP Senator Rehman Malik held India responsible for the Mumbai attacks and said the incident had been engineered to divert world’s attention from human rights violations in India-held Kashmir. He said the state of Pakistan had no role in the attacks.

“Such a statement [by Mr Sharif] implicating Pakistan amounts to backing the UN resolution against Hafiz Saeed who was found ‘not’ involved in the attack,” he added.

Mr Malik asked the PML-N supreme leader to withdraw his statement that created a false impression about Pakistan’s role in the Mumbai attacks.

“It was the RAW [Indian intelligence agency] which facilitated the non-state actors some (of which) were recruited from Pakistan. That is why India did not give access to Pakistani investigators despite numerous requests,” he added.

The former minister said it was a RAW operation supported by some western countries to frame Pakistan.

PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said Mr Sharif’s ‘anti-Pakistan statement’ was a “well thought-out conspiracy” against the country’s security agencies.

He said the former premier had stooped to such a low to commit treason. “In order to hide his corruption, Nawaz Sharif has gone to the extent to target Pakistan’s security agencies and armed forces. The Sharifs are hatching conspiracies against the army and judiciary with the help of their foreign patrons. The patriotic people of Pakistan will foil their evil designs,” he added.

Awami Muslim League leader Shaikh Rashid said Mr Sharif’s statement was against the country’s security and could lead to economic sanctions. “Defaming the judiciary and army was part of an international agenda and an attempt to create obstacles in the way of accountability,” he told the media in Multan.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Punjab president Abdul Aleem Khan said Mr Sharif had once again proved that he was more interested in having friendship with Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi than protecting the interest of Pakistan.

PTI leader Ejaz Chaudhry de­­manded institution of a treason case against the former prime minister.

Former foreign minister and PTI leader Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali said the authorities concerned should proceed against the PML-N supreme leader under Articles 5 and 6 of the Constitution for his statement that shocked the nation and pleased the enemies of Pakistan.