The Times of India – ‘Fear drives Peshawar’s minorities to turn cremation ground into graveyard’

Yudhvir Rana

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 20 May 2018. In yet another twist to the Peshawar crematorium issue, the Sanskar Sewak Samiti (SSS), a Peshawar-based organization, has claimed that Hindus and Sikhs, who can’t afford to travel to the nearest crematorium (which is about 90km at Attock), are forced to bury their dead in a five-kanal (2,500 sq yards) cremation ground that has been turned into a graveyard following objections by the locals.

Former SSS president Zahid Kumar told TOI over the phone from Peshawar that after the Partition, they were allotted five-kanal land for a cremation ground, but due to opposition by neighbouring residents and some locals against burning the dead, they started burying them.

“We are peace loving minority communities of Pakistan, so we changed our last rituals so as to not create any bad blood,” said Zahid, adding that they had also got the platforms constructed for burning the dead ones, but they didn’t use them to maintain communal harmony.

He said both Sikhs and Hindus have filed a writ in a court urging it to direct the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) government to release Rs 3 crore, which was earmarked by it in 2017-18 budget for a crematorium for the minorities. The writ was filed by Gurpal Singh, a resident of Peshawar, said Zahid.

He said an ambulance charged something between Rs 6,000 and Rs 7,000, while a bus takes Rs 15,000 and Rs 18,000 to ferry a body to Attock for cremation.

“Sometimes when there are many relatives or friends, then there is requirement of two buses which costs anything around Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000,” he said, adding that everyone couldn’t afford the expenses.

Notably, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjit Singh GK has also appealed to the KPK government to provide land to the minority Sikh and Hindu communities of Peshwar for the cremation ground in the absence of which they were forced to bury their dead ones.

GK had also offered financial assistant for the construction work, which evoked sharp reaction from Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC).

Zahid said SSS provides conveyance expenses, wood and a pandit for the Hindu families who couldn’t afford to travel to Attock for cremation of their dead ones.

The Tribune – Government will render justice to 1984 riot victims, says BJP leader in USA

Washington DC – USA, 20 May 2018. The BJP-led NDA government has taken steps and “will do its best” to render justice to each and every family that has suffered from the grave injustice perpetrated against them during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, a senior BJP leader has said.

“I stand before you to assure the community that we will do our best to render justice to each and every family that has suffered during those unfortunate years,” BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said amidst applause from the few hundred Sikh Americans who had gathered in a Maryland suburb of Washington DC to celebrate Vaisakhi.

He said the NDA government has decided to go to any extent to punish the guilty in the crimes that were perpetrated against the Sikh community during 1984 riots.

Justice Dhingra Commission is actively looking into 186 serious cases of crime against the Sikh community in 1984, he added. A number of FIRs have been filed again.

“In fact, arrest warrants have been issued against the leaders who were in the forefront of this whole crime against the community,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a special message said that observing the Vaisakhi festival abroad is a glowing sign of the traditions and the values that the Sikh community continues to cherish.

“We are proud of the achievements of the Sikh community in North America, which has contributed significantly to the growth and prosperity in its adopted home. It is commendable that the community has also preserved its traditions and ethos, and is a living bridge with India,” he said.

Madhav also said that Indian-Americans are playing a pivotal role in building India’s strategic ties with the US.

“We are not just political, strategic allies, we are natural allies because we are two people who share a very strong bond between us,” he said.

“People of Indian origin who live in this country are an important pivot of this relationship. We value your contribution to strengthen this relationship,” he said.

Gent: De Krook and Vijfwindgatenstraat

De Krook
08 April 2018

Gent De Krook Library

Two tram and twenty-one bus services
09 April 2018

Tramtracks to Gent Zuid

Articulated bus

Three articulated buses
Two to Gent-Sint-Pieters, one to Gent Zuid

Bus 71 to Oostakker

Bus 48 to Gent Zuid – Tram 4 to Ledebergplein and Stelplaats

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue – Gursoach Kaur has become the first female turbaned Sikh auxiliary police officer (APO) in the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Her induction into the NYPD is aimed at motivating other Sikhs to join, and to promote a better understanding of Sikhism in the US, which has seen instances of harassment against Sikhs and their turbans.

Kaur’s induction sees celebration in both home and abroad

Shiladitya Ray

New York – State of New York – USA, 20 May 2018.  Gursoach Kaur’s induction into the NYPD was celebrated by the Sikh community in India and in the US.

The Sikh Officers’ Association, the only association in the US which represents Sikh officers in law enforcement, tweeted that it was “proud” to welcome Kaur among its ranks.

Meanwhile, back at home, housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that he was “delighted”.

Delighted to see a turbaned lady officer in NYPD. Hope this fosters better understanding of Sikhism & Sikhs & corrects perceptions in US so that incident which happened with me in 2010 & recently with @Canada minister @NavdeepSBains do not recur.

Puri was detained despite having diplomatic immunity

Puri was referring to incidents involving harassment of Sikhs.

In 2010, Puri, who was the Indian Ambassador to the UN then, was asked to take off his turban by officials at the Houston airport.

When he refused, he was detained for 30 minutes in a ‘holding room’ till an official resolved the issue.

India had lodged an official complaint with US authorities.

Canadian minister had to pass extra security checks for turban

More recently, in April 2017, the Canadian minister of innovation, science, and economic development, Navdeep Bains, was asked to remove his turban at the Detroit Metro airport.

Bains was on his way back to Canada after meeting with Michigan state leaders, when the incident happened.

Despite having passed all regular security checks, Bains was asked to go through extra checks because of his turban.

The NYPD has been taking steps to include more Sikhs

According to New York’s police commissioner, James O’Neil, the NYPD had around 160 Sikh officers in service as of 2016. Back then, O’Neil had said that he was looking to add more Sikhs to the NYPD’s ranks.

Then, notably, in December 2016, the NYPD revised its uniform policy to allow Sikh officers to wear turbans and keep beards in a bid to promote inclusivity.

The Hindu – BJP’s attempt to subvert democracy failed miserably: Kejriwal

New Delhi – India, 19 May 2018. The BJP’s attempt to “subvert democracy” in Karnataka has “failed miserably”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said after the collapse of the three-day old B S Yeddyurappa government in the state.

An emotional Mr Yeddyurappa resigned as chief minister of the southern state without facing a trust vote, ordered by the Supreme Court on a petition by the Congress and JD(S) challenging Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision inviting the BJP to form the government.

“BJP’s attempts to subvert democracy have miserably failed in Karnataka. BJP’s lust for power through foul means stands completely exposed. Will BJP learn any lesson now? India’s judiciary has risen to the occasion and has safeguarded our democracy,” the Delhi Chief Minister wrote on Twitter.

Mr Yeddyurappa’s resignation will pave the way for formation of a government led by JD(S) state chief H D Kumaraswamy, who has the backing of the Congress. The newly formed alliance has claimed support of 117 MLAs in the 224-member House with an effective strength of 221.

Polling for two seats was not held due to various reasons, while Mr. Kumaraswamy won from two places.