The Statesman – Karnataka verdict, Siddaramaiah’s Lingayat gamble backfires

Siddharamiah had decided to grant minority religion tag to a small section of the Lingayat community, which follows the teachings of 12th century saint Basavanna, much to the annoyance of the Veershaiva Lingayats

Bengaluru – Karnataka – India, 16 May 2018. Chief minister Siddharamiah’s gamble to divide the dominant Lingayat community by granting minority religion tag to a small section of the community which follows the teachings of the 12th century saint, Basavanna, has bombed.

This is evident from the Assembly election results, declared on Tuesday, which saw the BJP becoming the single largest party in the state bagging 104 of the 222 Assembly seats, polls for which were held on 12 May. The ruling Congress managed 78 seats while the JD-S accounted for 37.

Over ten of the sitting ministers lost in a tough contest, including law minister T B Jayachandra, Ramnath Rai and Vinay Kulkarni. The latter had spearheaded the movement for the grant of a separate religion tag to the Lingayats.

His defeat is considered as a slap in the face of the Congress for its attempt to divide the dominant community.

Conversely, however, another major leader of the movement, M B Patil, water resources minister in the Siddharamiah government, sailed through from Bableshwar in Vijapura, with a margin of 27 000 votes.

Together the two Congress leaders had made a determined bid to divide the Lingayat community leading Siddharamiah to grant the followers of Basava a separate religion tag, much to the annoyance of the Veershaiva Lingayats.

Even though the discontent within the community did not come out in the open during the elections, at least it was not visible, the final results appear to prove that the chief minister’s decision did prove costly for the ruling party.

For the Congress, the defeat comes as a rude shock because it was banking on dividing the dominant Lingayat community which has tended to support the BJP, especially, its chief ministerial candidate and community leader B S Yeddyurappa.

Under Siddharamiah, the party had carefully planned the division, having learnt from the manner in which the BJP lost the 2013 polls. The party lost power that year as the Lingayat votes got split after Yeddyurappa separated from his parent party to form the Karnataka Janata Paksh.

Obviously, this ploy did not work for the Congress.

According to information available here, the BJP seems to have done well in the Lingayat-dominant belt of the state.

What perhaps gives the Opposition party the most satisfaction is that chief minister Siddharamiah lost to JDS’ G T Deve Gowda by a margin of over 36,000 in Chamundeshwari. The consolation for him though came in Badami, which he won against BJP’s backward caste leader, Sriramulu, even if with a small margin of 1,600.

The Yeddyurappa-led party, meanwhile, swept Udupi district winning all the five seats. It also decimated the ruling Congress winning seven of the eight seats from Dakshina Kannada where the ruling party was holding sway till recently.

In a related development, H D Kumaraswamy of the JDS braved the competition in Ramanagara and Chennapatna, the two constituencies from which he contested. Now he will need to vacate one.

BJP’s Yeddyurappa, himself had a comfortable win from his constituency in Shikaripura just as Siddharamiah’s son, Yathindra, sailed through comfortably in Varuna, a seat vacated for him by his father. – SGPC seeks action against RSS for Distorting Sikh History

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar Sahib – Panjab – India, 16 May 2018. Taking strong notice of the distortion of Sikh history in books published by RSS’ Nagpur based Sri Bharti Parkashan, the SGPC president Sardar Gobind Singh Longowal has asked the Indian government and Maharshtra government to take action against the responsible authorities.

Warning the RSS to put control over its anti-Sikhism actions, Longowal has asked them to immediately withdraw the books from the market and seek an apology from Sikhs.

Sharing the development with Sikh24, the SGPC president Sardar Gobind Singh Longowal informed that he has written letters to the Union Human Resource Development Minister Sri Prakash Javadekar and Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Sri Devendra Fadnavis seeking action against the RSS backed publishers.

Longowal has said that the Sikh community respects every religion but it doesn’t mean that the other religions are allowed to portray Sikhism as part of their religion.

He added that nobody would be allowed to distort Sikh history at any cost. “The SGPC is going to constitute a panel of Sikh intellectuals, Sikh educationalists and Sikh lawyers to tackle such attacks on Sikhism” he maintained.

Gent-Sint-Pieters – Leuven – Gent Gurdwara

31 March 2018

IC Train to Eupen via Brussel and Leuven arriving at platform 6

31 March 2018

Arashdeep Kaur

Arashdeep Kaur


Leuven NMBS – The good old 16:19 to take me to Gent

Gent Gurdwara
01 April 2018

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

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Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Indian Express – Culpable homicide charge: Sidhus celebrate, Rahul Gandhi first to congratulate

Congress president Rahul Gandhi was among the first to send him a congratulatory text message. Priyanka too called him up later and congratulated. CM Amarinder Singh, who tweeted a congratulatory message for him, also called him up personally.

Kanchan Vasdev

Chandigarh – Panjab- India, 16 May 2018. Relief, celebrations and congratulatory messages marked the day for Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu after he was acquitted of culpable homicide charge by the Supreme Court in a 1988 road rage case.

While his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu celebrated with song and dance and sweets at the couple’s residence in Amritsar, the minister’s official bungalow in sector 2 of Chandigarh was abuzz with activity.

AICC president Rahul Gandhi was among the first to send him a congratulatory text message. Priyanka too called him up later and congratulated. CM Amarinder Singh, who tweeted a congratulatory message for him, also called him up personally.

Among others who visited him today was PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar and Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa.

Sidhu later called on the CM at the latter’s residence before leaving for Delhi to meet Rahul tomorrow. “I am going to meet Bhai,” he said referring to Rahul. “I am feeling relieved. More so, I am feeling humbled.

It is unimaginable that there are people who you have never met and they are praying for you. They are praying for me in a Pakistan gurdwara and organised an Akhand Path. That’s very touching. I am thankful to all those who prayed for me. I am actually thankful to those who wanted me to survive this battle,” he said.

Sidhu said he woke up at 3 am Tuesday as usual, prayed and played with his three dogs, who are like children to him. Was he nervous? “Not at all. You will never see me cribbing.

You will never ever see me becoming a bechara in life. I am strong enough to carry my burdens on my shoulders. I am fighting for bigger issues. I am fighting against corruption. I am fighting for the resurrection of Punjab.”

Did he have any hard feelings at the way Punjab government submitted to the Supreme Court that his sentence should be enhanced? No hard feelings. Every adversity has made me 10 times stronger. Character is not made in a crisis. It is exhibited.

I have never looked for sympathy during trying times. In good times, I have always stayed humble, bowed down to those who have been friends but in tough times I have the tenacity to get over a situation because the recitation of God’s name is within me and the love of people, he said.

His message for the victim’s family? “It was an accident. Nothing else. The rest is all said in the judgment that comes from the majesty of the law. I bow to the judges.”

In Amritsar, his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, a former MLA and currently Chairperson of Punjab Warehousing Corporation, said she was happy her husband was not convicted under section 304 and she danced along with her daughter Rabia in celebration. Sidhu’s supporters also joined her.

“It is a moment of celebration and victory not only for us, but also for every person who thinks he or she can’t get justice. But we should keep hope alive. There are good policemen, good politicians and good judges. We should keep hope alive. We should keep faith in God too,” she told media-persons.

Kaur alleged that the victim’s family was instigated by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal to pursue the case against Navjot Singh Sidhu. “The family didn’t want to pursue case. It was Sukhbir who instigated them”.

Culpable homicide charge: Sidhus celebrate, Rahul Gandhi first to congratulate

Dawn – The ‘not-yet-disappeared’

Rafia Zakaria

Op/Ed, 16 May 2018. It’s the stuff of nightmares: the sudden arrival of a number of men into the privacy of one’s home, a search, and then a family member taken away. This is what reportedly happened last month to a Ph D student Laeeq Aslam.

According to details of the reported event, about half a dozen men barged into his Rawalpindi home late at night. The men showed the inhabitants, including the victim and his family, a search warrant, and then proceeded to go through all the contents of the house.

They must have gone through personal belongings in the cupboards and drawers and everywhere else, scattering items across the floor of the home.

At the end of this, they were said to have taken some mobile phones and a laptop that belonged to Laeeq, indicating that they would need to conduct some tests on it. No one objected; after all, everyone was scared. Then, as they were leaving, they took Laeeq outside, to ‘talk’ to him. He did not return.

Laeeq’s family, his bereft mother and his father, have done everything that parents can do in such a hapless situation. They have filed a missing person’s case. In a short video, Aslam’s mother begs for her son to be returned.

We imagine ourselves safe, not at threat of armed men arriving in the depths of the night

They are hardly alone in their grief. In January of this year, a young scientist, Nozair Hassan, and his wife were suddenly taken away from their house in Islamabad. Their two young children cried and watched their parents disappear.

A petition filed in that case is before the Islamabad High Court, which has repeatedly demanded that the whereabouts of the couple be revealed and that they be brought before the court. So far, this has not happened.

According to the data kept by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, which has been ordered to investigate these cases, 1,822 remained pending since April 30 this year.

A hearing before the Supreme Court earlier this month, resulted in additional attorney general Sajid Ilyas Bhatti admitting that over 1,330 people were being kept in ‘internment’ centres in various parts of the country. A little over 250 have been released from these centres.

When the judge asked for more details and whether proceedings had been initiated against these centres, the AAG requested an additional two weeks. It is difficult to tell from the record of the hearing whether these obviously illegal internment centres and the people in them form part of the 1,822 total missing persons cases that are pending.

The confusion and lack of information must undoubtedly be excruciatingly painful for those whose loved ones have been ‘disappeared’.

While all losses are terrible, the uncertainty of not knowing what exactly has happened to them, whether they are being tried or persecuted, held safely or are in peril, dead or alive, exerts its own torturous cruelty on those left behind.

The depth of this kind of pain is attested to in historical memoirs that speak of repressive realms as in the Soviet Union and pre-war Germany. Then, too, strange men would appear, often in the dead of night and always without warning.

Then, too, people, hurriedly dressed and still groggy from sleep, were carried away to unknown locations. Then, too, children and wives or parents and husbands were left behind, wondering if they would ever see their loved one again. Then, too, there was a regime of ‘disappearance’, where one is not dead, not alive, just inexplicably, painfully gone.

But Pakistan is not Stalin’s Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany. We have, at least in theory, a system that includes the rule of law, where detention must be lawful and its conditions transparent, where every citizen has the right to freedom unless they are accused of committing a crime.

But these perhaps are the pretensions of all the rest of us, the not-yet-disappeared, who choose to believe in certain sorts of fictions, such as legality and criminality.

These stories, in turn, give us the courage to look away, to imagine the disappeared as inherently culpable, people who were involved in something sticky or nasty, something that offended the powers that be.

We, the play-it-safe, not-yet-disappeared, thus imagine ourselves safe, not at threat of armed and unknown men arriving in the depths of the night and rifling through our belongings and then taking away with them the most cherished, children or husbands or sons or daughters, with no explanation, not a single clue to their destination.

There may be 101 hearings, orders by courts demanding the production of the disappeared in courts, asking for explanations to these unknown ‘internment’ centres where so many Pakistanis reportedly remain far from the law of the land.

None will end the problem of enforced disappearances. For that to happen, the not-yet-disappeared, each and every one of the rest of us who imagine the gone as guilty, the present as safe, must let go of that myth, recognise disappearance as a fate worse than death imposed by unseen, unaccountable powers.

It is only when the ‘not-yet-disappeared’ recognise how perilously close their own existence, the lives they have built, are to being erased, that this problem will find a solution.

It is this silence, practised by the not-yet-disappeared in the Soviet Union and in Germany, that permitted enforced disappearances to take place, their numbers to grow. So, too, will be the consequences of similar silence in Pakistan. No one expects things to devolve, their own lives to be impacted — until it is too late.

The not-yet-disappeared of Pakistan must awake, suddenly and immediately, and realise that innocence is not sufficient protection against the abyss of disappearance.

The writer is an attorney teaching constitutional law and political philosophy.