The Times of India – UN Human Rights experts ask India to release the Maoist linked professor Saibaba

U Sudhakar Reddy

Hyderabad – Telangana/Andhra Pradesh – India, 29 June 2018. United Nations Human Rights experts from Geneva on Thursday urged India to release Andhra origin Delhi University Professor Dr G N Saibaba on health grounds.

Maharashtra police arrested the professor, who uses a wheelchair, for his alleged links to Maoists in 2014 and Gadchiroli sessions court sentenced him for life imprisonment in March 2017 on the charges of waging war against the nation.

Recently in March 2018, he wrote a letter from Nagpur jail to his wife on the deterioration of his health condition. His wife Vasantha approached various human rights forums.

A joint statement released in Geneva by Special Rapporteurs on human right defences and rights of persons with disabilities said “human rights defender” Dr G N Saibaba is in wheelchair user with severe disabilities and has been reportedly held in solitary confinement under poor jail conditions and with no facilities for disabled and no staff to handle them.

“We are concerned about reports that Dr Saibaba is suffering from more than 15 different health problems, some of which have potentially fatal consequences. He is now in urgent need of adequate medical treatment.

We would like to remind India that any denial of reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities in detention is not only discriminatory but may well amount to ill-treatment or even torture. In particular, solitary confinement should be prohibited when the conditions of prisoners with disabilities would be made worse by this measure (sic),” the experts said in the statement.

The experts asked India to immediately ensure that the jail professor has continuous and unrestricted access to health care and rehabilitation.

Experts also suggested that Indian government to guarantee that all human rights defenders in the country can conduct their legitimate work without fear of threats or intimidation.

Professor Saibaba faced charges under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and as well Criminal conspiracy. The judgement by Gadchiroli court then said that the profession was in possession of Naxal literature, correspondence, electronic materials which are used to incite violence to cause public disorder.

The sessions judge then commented that though Saibaba is 90 per cent disabled there is no ground to show him leniency as he is mentally fit. – Op/Ed: Misogyny in the Khalistan movement – View of a Kaur

Guest Contributor, Anonymous Kaur (UK)

UK, 29 June 2018. The Khalistan movement divides people as much as it unites them. I am strongly in support of it and everything that it stands for.

However, what I do not support is the toxic, overbearing, testosterone-fuelled, egocentric, masochistic voices that think they have earned the right to speak on behalf of everyone else who identifies as a Khalistani (like myself).

These young men are in their mid to late twenties and have appointed themselves ‘speakers’ and ‘activists’ from various different organisations across the United Kingdom. One would think that due to the fact these individuals are from specific groups, they’re accountable to something or someone for their behaviour.

Wrong. There is no accountability which in term has directly contributed to their disrespectful and outlandish behaviour.

As I mentioned before, the Khalistan movement does not sit favourably with many people. Instead of politely engaging with those who are against (or frankly do not understand) the movement, these so-called activists and speakers berate, attack and slander anyone who holds an alternative point of view.

On social media I witness countless arguments and very quickly the subject matter divulges in to participants hurling hostile and personal abuse at each other; the discourse of Khalistan having been long forgotten.

These young men cannot handle the idea that there are people who will never adhere to their way of thinking, especially people from their very own community. Anyone who holds political views that are in direct conflict with the principles of the Khalistan movement automatically becomes diasporic panthik enemy number one.

It’s all well and good being provocative behind a screen and shouting your opinions in uppercase lettered sentences littered with undesirable expletives across various different social media platforms. There comes a time when one should voluntarily move away from this sort of juvenile behaviour and actively do something for the betterment of the sangarsh.

I have noticed many times over the majority of these self-proclaimed male experts on the Khalistan movement are fantastic at trashing other people’s opinions but they fail spectacularly at providing decent counter arguments.

Their natural knee-jerk defensive reaction is to jump in to victim mode and repeat the same constant stream of rhetoric like a stuck record: if you criticise or do not support the Khalistan movement, you’re automatically on the side of the oppressive Indian government.

There’s an ever-present invisible agreement amongst these Khalistani men that any other opinions must be attacked, annihilated and silenced in to submission. This is true of dialogue I have experienced online, in personal discussions and formal academic spaces.

It’s “my way or the highway”, for them it is simply not plausible to engage in healthy political discourse in any context. For these men, everything exists in black and white; what they fail to realise is that many people are learning and forming their point of view, they are still firmly existing in the grey area.

Undoubtedly there is an inherent male dominance in the movement and this has negative repercussions for women who contribute tirelessly. To a certain extent, the role of female Khalistani activists are not taken seriously at all and they’re severely undermined.

You are only granted a shred of credibility as a female activist if you are amritdhari. This culture of male dominance must come to an end and the idolisation of a token female amritdhari activist must also stop. Women must be given the same respect as their male counterparts.

The Khalistan movement is incredibly emotionally charged and of course, why shouldn’t it be? We are up against a genocidal government that has always been intent upon erasing Sikhs and everything that we stand for. A stereotypical image of a Khalistani would be an amritdhari Sikh man with a black dhumalla grasping an AK-47.

While all this makes sense because a black dhumalla is symbolic of our resistance and sovereignty and the AK-47 is a symbolic reference to freedom and liberation, the image of the Khalistan movement is changing.

No longer does the movement exclusively consist of Taksali amritdhari Sikh men, the Khalistan movement like any other political movement is organic and ever-evolving; these men have no choice but to accept that.

With the arrest of Scottish activist Jagtar Singh Johal, many young Sikhs are waking up to the harsh reality they were previously ignorant of. They are showing interest in the Khalistan movement and all that it’s about. I beg these egotistical Khalistani men to think about their behaviour and the ramifications it could have.

If you do not agree with someone, there is no need to descend in to chaos. Furthermore, displays of behaviour like this will drive people away from the movement, particularly young Sikh women. There is already plenty of ill-feeling and disillusionment surrounding our movement, we do not need to add anymore fuel to the fire.

I know my words will not be well received across the board but that was not the purpose of writing this. The truth always tastes most bitter to those who have difficulty digesting it.

These men have no choice to change their behaviour because there may come a time in the near future where they inflict serious irreversible damage all because they are slaves to monumental sized egos.

I mostly agree with my sister. Sikhs in general are very bad at disagreeing with respect, and the followers of the ‘Dhumma Taksal’ and their likes are worse than most. The Guru teaches that we should stand up against injustice, not that we should use violence against those that have different views. I have have always felt comfortable working with Dabinderjit Singh, first in the Sikhagenda group, later in the Sikh Federation.

Gentbrugse Meersen

Gentbrugse Meersen
15 May 2018

Footbridge, dead tree

It looks like a bridge but there is no water

A see of yellow


Which tree ?

Green abundance

Mij spreekt de blomme een tale,
Mij is het kruid beleefd,
Mij groet het altemale,
Dat God geschapen heeft!

Guido Gezelle

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Outlook – Drug Menace Continues To Harm Punjab’s Youth: Dal Khalsa

The radical Sikh outfit says the Congress government’s approach to Sikh welfare remains the same as that of its preceding Akali Dal

Hoshiarpur – Panjab – India, 29 June 2018. A once-proscribed Sikh outfit known for its pro-Khalistan stance castigated on Friday the Congress government in Punjab, saying “nothing except faces” has changed under the present regime of the five-river state that has “completely failed” to check socio-economic menace like use of drugs and illegal mining of sand.

The four-decade-old Dal Khalsa, which strives to form a sovereign State for members of northwest India’s majority religion, further deplored “rising incidents of sacrilege” against the Sikh community amid “lawlessness” under the regime of chief minister Amarinder Singh.

The administration, which assumed power 15 months ago, has failed on all fronts, said the Amritsar-based Khalsa head Harpal Singh Cheema. “It’s a free-for-all in Punjab. Nothing has changed with the change in government except faces,” he said in Doaba region’s Hoshiarpur, 140 km northwest of the state capital Chandigarh.

“Does a government exist in Punjab? Only the reins of power have passed on from the Akali Dal to the Congressmen. The ground situation, the police functioning, the bureaucratic attitude has shown absolutely no difference in content and style.”

Particularly disturbing has been the “different kinds of alcohol and drug abuse”, leaving “all parts of Punjab in an octopus-like grip”, claimed the Sikh nationalist, also a human rights lawyer who was in May 2016 made the working president of the Khalsa that was banned for ten years from 1982 at the peak of the separatist Khalistan movement.

“It is a sad irony that the Punjabi youth is today leaning on loneliness, misery and stress. People are dying, suffering unending pain of seeing their near and dear ones collapsing into the malaise of drug abuse without reprieve and reform.”

Referring to the state seeing a “sudden increase in the deaths of such addicts due to drug overdoses”, he said the administration never actually implemented the counter-measures it announced. “There is only just talk of strict action.

Else, drug suppliers as well as their mentors in the police and administration continue to have a field day without any let-up,” said Cheema, whose Dal Khalsa had two years ago fused with the Panch Pardhani, another Sikh radical organisation.

“The CM has to catch the bull by its horns; otherwise nothing substantial will happen.”

Dal Khalsa leaders H S Dhami and Kanwar Pal Singh said it’s almost a month that a section of the state’s population was protesting through sit-in demonstrations to book the culprits involved in Faridkot’s Bargarhi and Behbal Kalan violence of October 2015, triggered by an instance of sacrilege of the Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib in July that year.

Even today, the government’s attitude to probing those incidents of theft and police firing is “thoroughly non-serious and casual”, Dhami said, noting that none of the demands of the agitators has been accepted.

Added Singh: “We hope that the people of Punjab will get to see the findings of the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission on the sacrilege incidents. They are expected to be out in a day or two.”

The Hindu – Arunachal Pradesh to scrap anti-conversion law: CM Pema Khandu

The law was passed in 1978 primarily to check proselytism

Rahul Karmakar

Guwahati – Assam – India, 29 June 2018. The Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Arunachal Pradesh may lift a 40-year-old anti-conversion law to uphold secularism.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday said his government could repeal the Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, an anti-conversion law, that the frontier State’s Assembly has passed in 1978 primarily to check proselytism. Uttarakhand enacted a similar law in May this year.

“The anti-conversion law could undermine secularism and is probably targeted towards Christians,” Mr. Khandu said while addressing Prem Milan, a function organised by the Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association at a church in Banderdewa, the gateway to State capital Itanagar.

Mr Khandu assured that the law would be brought before the next Assembly session for repeal as it “could be misused by irresponsible officials.”

“Any misuse of the law leading to torture of people could trigger large-scale violence in the State and could break Arunachal into pieces,” Mr Khandu said at the function marking the 10th death anniversary of Reverend Brother Prem Bhai.

A Benedictine missionary who endured repeated arrest, imprisonment, beatings and wore disguises to evangelise in Arunachal Pradesh, Prem Bhai died on June 28, 2008 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He worked as a missionary in Arunachal Pradesh for almost 25 years despite laws entailed two years of imprisonment and fine of Rs 10,000.

Rise of Christianity

Today, Christians account for more than half the population in Arunachal Pradesh.

Census data say there were no Christians in North East Frontier Province, as the State was called then, in 1951. By 2001, Christians were the third largest religious group accounting for 18.7% of the State’s population, behind Hindus (34.6%) and ‘others’, mostly Donyi-Polo (30.7%).

According to the 2011 census, Christianity has overtaken Hinduism as the State’s largest religion. Christians, most of them Roman Catholics, account for 30.26% of the State’s 1.3 million people while Hindus are now 29.04%.

Though Arunachal Pradesh had 5.56% fewer Hindus in 2011 than in 2001, traditionalists were more worried by the 4.5% drop in the number of followers of Donyi-Polo and other indigenous faiths.

Arunachal was the third state after Odisha (1967) and Madhya Pradesh (1968) to enact an anti-conversion law. Chhattisgarh in 2000, Gujarat in 2003, Himachal Pradesh in 2007 and Rajasthan in 2008 also passed anti-conversion laws, prohibiting forced or money-induced conversions.

Yorkshire Evening Post – CCTV appeal over arson attacks on mosque and Sikh temple in Leeds

Police today released CCTV images of a man they believe may have carried out arson attacks on two places of worship in Leeds.

Beeston – West Yorkshire – UK, 28 June 2018. A mosque and a Sikh temple, both in Beeston, were targeted in the attacks on the morning of Tuesday, 5 June.

Fire crews were called to the Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira Mosque, on Hardy Street, at about 3.40am after its main door was deliberately set alight, possibly with the use of a flammable liquid.

Staff at the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Gurdwara, opposite Brickfield Park on Lady Pit Lane, then called police just before 4.20am to report someone setting fire to its front door.

Detective Inspector Richard Holmes, of Leeds District CID, said: “Over the last three weeks we have conducted an extensive and exhaustive trawl of all available CCTV cameras in and around the area where the arson attacks occurred.

“These images are the best ones that we have been able to find of the person we believe to be the suspect for these offences.

“While I appreciate his face is not visible and the images are of limited quality, we hope that someone may recognise him from other factors such as his clothing, build and movements.

“The images are from CCTV in Lady Pit Lane and I would like to hear urgently from anyone who has seen this man in the area at any time around when the offences occurred.

“We are continuing to treat both these incidents very seriously and are doing everything we can to try to identify the person responsible and bring them to justice.

“We are also continuing to work closely with our colleagues on the local neighbourhood policing team who are maintaining regular contact with key representatives in the community as part of their ongoing efforts to reassure people following these incidents.”

Anyone with information is asked to ring Leeds District CID via 101 quoting log reference 1318270739 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. A 42-year-old man arrested on June 5 in connection with the attacks has been released under investigation.

The Tribune – Cabinet sets up panel on groundwater crisis

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 27 June 2018. Taking cognisance of reports on Punjab heading for a groundwater crisis by 2025, the state Cabinet on Wednesday constituted a sub-committee to suggest an action plan for water conservation and recharging.

In a Page-1 report published on Wednesday, The Tribune had highlighted that groundwater in large tracts of Punjab had become unsuitable for irrigation purposes, particularly in Malwa.

The five-member sub-committee has been mandated to assess the groundwater situation and interact with agriculturists, environmentalists, NGOs and groundwater experts before finalising its proposal within the next 45 days. The panel report is expected to help the state government formulate a water policy.

The sub-committee will share its report with the Centre to work out ways for crop diversification to minimise groundwater utilisation.

Flagging the issue at the Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh suggested that the sub-committee, comprising Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Revenue Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Education and Environment Minister O P Soni, should visit Israel to study water conservation methods.

Various departments of the state government have been asked to launch major awareness plans on water conservation.

The groundwater crisis came up for discussion when Mission Director, Directorate of Groundwater Management, Arunjit Singh Miglani, made a presentation to the Cabinet.

It was pointed out that 90 per cent of the blocks in the state had been declared dark, highest in the country, and 60 per cent of the state would be affected by a water crisis by 2025. The state would have no water left after 15 years, unless immediate steps were taken to control the situation.

Gentbrugse Meersen

Gentbrugse Meersen
15 May 2018

Beautiful flowers

And more of the same

These are in a small park that became a wilderness

Mij spreekt de blomme een tale,
Mij is het kruid beleefd,
Mij groet het altemale,
Dat God geschapen heeft!

Guido Gezelle



To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

India Today – Punjab CM hands over compensation to 40 Jodhpur detainees

Satender Chauhan

New Delhi – India, 28 June 2018. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday assured compensation for the remaining 325 Jodhpur detainees, at par with the 40 who have been awarded by the district and sessions court, Amritsar. The chief minister also promised to persuade the central government to do the same.

Amarinder Singh made this assurance while handing over the cheques of the states 50 per cent share of the approximately Rs. 4.5 crore compensation to 40 detainees. These detainees had appealed to the courts alleging wrongful detention and torture.

The cheques that were paid out today (June 28) by the state government amounted to Rs 2,16,44,900.

A total of 365 persons were arrested and detained at Jodhpur jail in the wake of Operation Blue Star in 1984, and were eventually released in 1986. As many as 100 had since died. Of the 40 who had gone to the courts, seven had passed away in the interim.

The chief minister, while sharing the pain of the detainees, said those who did not go to the courts were also entitled to compensation. He expressed the confidence that the Centre would agree to his plea to also contribute its share to the remaining 325 detainees.

His government had been prepared to release the full compensation to the 40 detainees who had won the case in district and sessions court. But he was then informed by the central government of its decision to release its share too.

Recalling the painful period that Punjab had gone through post-1984, the chief minister urged the detainees and their families to forget the past and move on.

Congress MLA from Patti, Harminder Singh, who was also detained after 1984, thanked the chief minister for coming to the rescue of the detainees. He recalled Amarinder Singh’s gesture in visiting the detainees in Nabha prison (where they were initially kept before being shifted to Jodhpur), to give them clothes.

The detainees had been kept naked in Nabha prison, Harminder Singh alleged.

Speaking on the occasion, one of the detainees, Jasbir Singh Ghuman lauded the chief minister as the ‘man of the match in the entire episode.

Ghuman said their acquittal had come after a 20-year court battle and then it had taken them seven years to win the compensation. Only Amarinder Singh understood the pain of the detainees, said Ghuman.

Dawn – PM calls for institutional structure for Fata transition

Peshawar – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Pakistan, 28 June 2018. Caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk on Wednesday called for establishing an institutional structure in the areas previously under the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

“The federal government was working in close coordination with the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) to facilitate residents of the area and ensure a smooth transition,” he said.

Chairing a meeting on law and order in KP, the prime minister appreciated the considerable improvement in the law and order situation in the province since 2009. He lauded the sacrifices rendered by the people of KP, the security personnel and officials of law enforcing agencies for restoring peace in the province.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements made for the general elections in KP. He said that facilitating free, fair and peaceful elections was the joint responsibility of the federal and provincial governments.

The meeting held at Governor House in Peshawar was attended by KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, KP Chief Minister retired Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, the chief secretary, IGP Muhammad Tahir, the provincial election commissioner and senior officers of the federal and provincial governments.

IGP Tahir gave a detailed briefing about the prevailing law and order situation, including an update on crimes against persons and property, arrest of proclaimed offenders, recovery of weapons and targets achieved under the National Action Plan.

The meeting was informed that 1,306 officials of the KP Police sacrificed their lives in the line of duty since 2004. They were also briefed about the security arrangements made by the provincial government for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.

The IGP also informed them about the requirements for policing, in view of the changed dynamics of the province, after the Fata merger.

He said that apart from the KP police, Frontier Constabulary, Levies, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir police would also be deployed for ensuring security during the upcoming general elections in the province. The prime minister also held separate meetings with the governor and chief minister at the Governor House.