The Asian Age – Arundhati Roy, others seek action against cops for ‘vicious attack’ on activists

The statement comes a day after the Supreme Court directed that the five activists be kept under house arrest.

New Delhi – India, 30 August 2018. Leading intellectuals and civil society members on Thursday demanded action against Maharashtra police for launching a “vicious and malafide attack” against human rights activists and called for an immediate end to “such political acts of vendetta”.

The arrests of the five activists, in a nationwide crackdown on Tuesday, highlights the violation of all due procedures and is a mockery of the legal system, said a joint statement signed by author Arundhati Roy, lawyer Prashant Bhushan, as well as activists Aruna Roy and Jignesh Mevani, among others.

The statement comes a day after the Supreme Court directed that the five activists be kept under house arrest.

They have also demanded that police return the laptops and mobiles seized during the “illegal arrest” of the activists.

“They want to divert attention from real issue and discredit the Dalit movement. The so-called Maoist plot to kill the Prime Minister is an effort to garner sympathy. Dalits will hold protest rallies at various places on 5 September against the government,” Mevani said at a press conference.

“What is happening today is more dangerous than the Emergency,” Bhushan added.

Maharashtra police arrested Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, and raided the homes of several others as part of its probe into the ‘Elgar Parishad’ conclave in Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune on December 31, 2017.

Others whose premises were reportedly searched this week were Father Stan Swamy, Susan Abraham, Kranthi Tekula and Anand Teltumbde.

The Tribune – Debate on Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report

The SAD Badal MLA’s did not take part in the debate

Akalis colluded with dera
Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa Congress

It is clear that Akali leaders, including the Badals, had links with dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The then Akali-BJP government knew that dera followers were involved in sacrilege incidents, but they turned a blind eye towards it.

The dera chief was let off by the Akalis in 2012 for committing sacrilege by dressing up like Guru Gobind Singh. They have politicised the Sikh religion and I have no problem in leading a tirade to free the Sikhs and the gurdwaras from the Akali Dal-controlled SGPC.

Both Badals should be sentenced to life imprisonment, as their involvement in sacrilege incidents has been proved.

Badals must pay for ‘sins’ 
Navjot Singh Sidhu Congress

The voice of the people is clear and they want you (the CM) to act against the Akalis. The Badals are the masands of the Sikh quom. They ran away from the debate because they have no explanation to give for a dark phase in the history of Sikhs. Sukhbir is known to win over people with money.

But I was not for sale and I am standing here with my pride intact. But those who are witnesses in the cases against the Badals have been bought over. The same could be true for Himmat Singh. However, I would like Sukhbir to explain what happened to Rs 100 crore he allegedly took from the dera chief for allowing his movie to be released.

They played political game
Manpreet Singh Badal Congress

The then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Badal deliberately ignored the inputs regarding sacrilege incidents. It was clearly a part of their political game to polarise the vote bank. In fact, Badal has been indulging in polarisation of votes on religious lines right from the beginning of his political career.

He was the Home Minister when the Nihangs were massacred in Amritsar. He had specific inputs about it, but still chose to ignore these and let these Nihangs die. The incident later led to the onset of terrorism in Punjab and over 21,000 people were killed.

Arrest Ex-DGP Saini
Tript Rajinder Bajwa Congress

Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has decimated the very philosophy of the Akali Dal and gave the reins of the once Panthic party into hands of his family members. Badal and Sukhbir failed on every front in dealing with the sacrilege incidents.

The then DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, who ordered firing at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura, was involved in Ludhiana’s infamous Saini Motors case. There are civil and police officers who are afraid of acting against him.

But why can’t Saini be arrested? Is he above the law? If anybody has any apprehension, let me constitute a Special Investigating Team to arrest him.

Want Captain to do justice
H S Phoolka AAP

I call upon the SGPC members to listen to their inner voice and work for the ‘Panth’, rather than the Akali Dal.
I laud Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for speaking truth on the issue of 1984 anti-Sikh riots [Pogroms] and call upon him to do justice to the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report by withdrawing the investigation of sacrilege cases from the CBI.

A special court to hear sacrilege cases should be set up. But it seems that the Congress is after the small fish, while leaving the mastermind out. I want to ask why no action was taken against former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini despite his indictment by the Commission?

Gentbrugge Schooldreef – Gent-Sint-Pieters – Leuven: Simran’s birthday

Gentbrugge Schooldreef
09 August 2018

Tram 2 to Melle Leeuw

20 July 2018

Gent-Sint-Pieters – IC to Leuven via Mechelen

Gent-Sint-Pieters – IC to Leuven via Mechelen

Simran Kaur’s Birthday
20 July 2018

The birthday cake !

Gelukkige Verjaardag

Happy birthday

I messed up the sequence of the pictures.
We now jump back to 20 July and will return to August
in due course.
Man in Blue

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Premier – Man charged over fires at Methodist Church and Gurdwara in Edinburgh

A man has been charged over fires at a Methodist church and at a Sikh temple in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh – Lothian – Scotland, 30 August 2018. Police and fire crews were called to the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Sheriff Brae at around 5 am on Tuesday. No-one was injured. The blaze was condemned by the Church of Scotland.

A 49 year old man was arrested on Wednesday and Police Scotland said he has now been charged over the incident.

He has also been charged in connection with a second fire at The City of Edinburgh Methodist Church in Junction Place which also happened in the early hours of the same day.

The man is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday.

The gurdwara, situated in a former church, is the only Sikh centre in the Scottish capital, serving a community of more than 500 people.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “A man has now been charged following the suspicious fire at the Gurdwara in Sheriff Brae, Edinburgh.

“The 49-year-old is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday 30th August, where he will also appear in relation to a second fire at the Methodist Church in Junction Place which also happened in the early hours of Tuesday 28th August.”

Dawn – Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) concerned over increase in media curbs

Ikram Junaidi

Islamabad – Islamabad Capital Territory, 30 August 2018. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Wednesday expressed concern over increase in media curbs and held both government and military agencies responsible for the situation.

While launching its fact-finding report “Curbs on freedom of expression in Pakistan” at a press conference, the commission called on the federal and provincial governments and other state institutions and services to take appropriate steps to prohibit and prevent unauthorised, illegal interference with freedom of expression in the country.

“There should be no interference in the sale and distribution of any newspaper, nor should any TV channels be deliberately displaced. The system of issuing ‘press advice’ on the part of state agencies must cease immediately and the complaints documented in HRCP’s report redressed.

The state must also set up complete and effective information commissions in each province to implement its obligations under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017,” speakers said on the occasion.

HRCP spokesperson I A Rehman said that in a number of areas newspapers were banned. On the other hand, no one was ready to tell who has banned Dawn, The News and Jang, he said.

“HRCP talked to a number of bookshop owners, stall holders and hawkers over the issue and they confirmed that the complaints were correct, but none of them was ready to be quoted out of fear,” he said.

“Press advice is given even during live TV programmes. There is fear in the environment due to which not only people will stop speaking but they will also stop thinking,” he said.

Mr Rehman said that the journalist community had been deliberately divided by some elements. Massive campaigns were launched against some journalists on social media, he said.

Former Awami National Party Senator Afrasiab Khattak, who worked on the report, said that for the past few years the country had been facing a creeping coup.

“Initially media groups were controlled and now efforts have been started to control journalists. It is our duty to stand with those who have been raising voice as democracy cannot be ensured without freedom of media,” he said.

He said that security departments wanted to dominate, but they did not want to become accountable. He said the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement came into being because political parties stopped speaking about the rights of people.

Former Senator Farhatullah Babar said it had been observed that rather than approaching journalists directly the owners were approached to stop news and force the journalists to exercise self-censorship.

He said the civil-military equation had been written on terms of military alone and consequently some state institutions exercised power without accountability and were averse to transparency. This lay at the root of curbs on expression, he said.

Mr Babar said the freedom of expression was the right of every citizen, not only of journalists, and asked people to make maximum use of the right to information law to expose wrongdoings, promote transparency and accountability.

He also called for implementing the December 2016 unanimous report of the Senate on speedy and inexpensive justice that also included legislation to make the Inter-Services Intelligence accountable for its actions.

Senior journalist M Ziauddin said that it was strange that no one took responsibility about banning the circulation of newspapers and news channels.

“In the past after such issues negotiations were used to be held between media and the government but now the government also seems helpless. If there is an issue of Khalai Makhlooq, it should talk to us. Today, the situation is worse than the Press and Publication Ordinance which was used in the past to curb media,” he said.

Veteran journalist Rashid Rehman said the HRCP wanted to launch the report before the general elections, but while the report was being finalised and printed, things had become even worse.

“While anchorpersons speak, voice is muted a number of times. Even on social media and an organised campaign has been started,” he said.

Rights activist Marvi Sirmed said that there were a number of examples in which journalists, who were criticising a state institution, were threatened by militant organisations despite the fact that they had never filed any story against militants.

The New Indian Express – Two Pro-Khalistan supporters charged by US authorities for attack on DSGMC chief Manjit GK

US based advocacy group Sikhs For Justice (SJF) had said the charges were not justified and accused Puneet Chandhok of instigating the attacks.

Harpreet Bajwa

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 29 August 2018. Sutter County Sherriff’s Office in California, USA has charged two pro-Khalistan supporters, Sukhwinder Singh and Gurdeep Singh for attacking Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) President and senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjit GK during his visit to Yuba City Gurdwara on August 25.

US based advocacy group Sikhs For Justice (SJF) had said the charges were not justified and accused Puneet Chandhok of instigating the attacks.

“All evidence and videos show that Puneet Chandok who is close to Manjit GK instigated the violence against the Referendum 2020 campaigners who were exercising their right of protest protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

We will be defending the charges against both our campaigners since they were only protesting GK’s presence outside Yuba City Gurdwara, said Gurpatwant Singh Pannun advisor to SFJ.

SFJ in its August 27 communiqué to Kirstjen M Nielsen, Secretary Department of Homeland Security urged that visa of Manjit Singh GK should be revoked for “engaging in political propaganda on behalf of a foreign principal without registering as required under “Foreign Agents Registration Act” (22 USC Section 611(c)). S

ukhwinder and Gurdeep both residents of California are closely associated with Referendum 2020 Campaign.

The court date for the case has been set for October 15 before Sutter County Superior Court, Yuba City, California. This was the second attack on Manjit GK as earlier last week Manjit along with his family was attacked by protesters outside a TV studio in New York by pro-Khalistan supporters.

Yesterday evening US Ambassador Kenneth I Juster had a 45-minute long meeting with Shiromani Akali Dal president and former Deputy CM Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal at the party’s headquarters here.

Sukhbir discussed the issue of problems being faced by members of the Sikh community in the USA and referred to the incidence of racial attacks against them, especially in the recent times.

He specifically urged Juster to use his good office to expedite action against those guilty of an attack on the DSGMC President Manjit Singh GK during his trip to the USA. Juster assured Sukhbir that he would do all he can to ensure that justice is delivered expeditiously in the case.

Earlier leading a Akali Dal delegation Union Minster Harsimrat Kaur Badal had met US Ambassador Juster on Monday and raised the matter pertaining to attack on Manit Singh GK in California. “We met the US ambassador and he assured us action will be taken and all help will be extended,” she said then. – Resolution seeking corridor to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib unanimously passed in Punjab Assembly

Sikh24 Editors
August 28, 2018

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 28 August 2018. A resolution seeking opening of the corridor to Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib for the Sikh masses during 550th birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev Ji was unanimously passed in the Punjab assembly on August 27.

Sikh24 has learnt that all the legislators tendered their votes for this resolution moved by the Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh to build up pressure on the Union government of India to take up the matter with the Pakistani government.

While reading the resolution in House, Captain Amarinder Singh said that it was an esteemed dream of every Sikh residing in India to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib. “The Punjab government had been urging the Government of India, time and again, to take up the matter with Islamabad” he added.

All members of the House, cutting across party lines, were unanimously of the view that the opening of the corridor would enable millions of Sikh devotees residing in India to pay obeisance at the historic Sikh shrine where Guru Nanak Dev Ji spent last 18 years of his life.

Sint-Pieters Woluwe – Notre–Dame du Chant-d’Oiseau – Montgomery – Gentbrugge

Sint-Pieters Woluwe
Notre–Dame du Chant-d’Oiseau
Four Day Retreat
08 August 2018

Last evening : Syrian Kurdish Musicians

Last evening : Syrian Kurdish Musicians

Sint-Pieters Woluwe
Julius Cesar MIVB Tram
08 August 2018

Julius Cesar – waiting for tram 39 or 44 to take me to Montgomery

Montgomery MIVB Metro
08 August 2018

Montgomery – Eastbound Metro

Montgomery – Westbound Metro

Gentbrugge Schooldreef
09 August 2018

Tram 2 to Melle Leeuw

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Sikh Federation – Conservative government turning blind eye to hate crimes targeting Sikhs and our Gurdwaras

Edinburgh – Lothian – Scotland, 28 August 2018. At around 5am this morning Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Edinburgh was subject to a petrol bomb attack.

Whilst no-one was injured the fire caused extensive smoke damage to the Gurdwara building.

Thankfully the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the holy Sikh scriptures or the living Guru of the Sikhs was not damaged.

Detectives believe the attack was deliberate and a hate crime, although local Sikhs have an excellent relationship with other communities.

Bhai Narinderjit Singh, the General Secretary of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“This is not the first arson attack on a Gurdwara. They often come in the aftermath of a terror attack and in what has popularly become known as ‘mistaken identity’ as Sikhs have never been involved in terror attacks”.

“The police and other authorities must take these arson attacks seriously as they are designed to cause injury and possible death”.

“The perpetrators must be found and prosecuted”.

“The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has called the attack appalling and said she stands in solidarity with the wonderful and valued Sikh community that has her support”.

“Richard Leonard, the leader for Scottish Labour has called the attack a ‘deplorable act of violence against Edinburgh’s Sikh community’, but the Conservatives North and South of the border appear to have been silent”.

“We expected Ruth Davidson to condemn the attack and show support for the Sikh community. Why is the Sikh community invisible to her? She has said absolutely nothing”.

“Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary and James Brokenshire the Communities Secretary have also said nothing. Even Lord Bourne the junior minister responsible for faith communities has had his lips sealed”.

“The Hate Crime Action Plan focused on religious communities and was published by the government more than two years ago in July 2016 after the Brexit vote. This was issued jointly by the then Home Secretary, Amber Rudd and the then Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, who completely overlooked the existence of the Sikh community and hate crimes we have faced. It focused largely on Islamophobia and Antisemitism”.

“We have had excuse after excuse by the Conservative government for the oversight and been promised an updated plan. We are still waiting two years later. In the meantime Sikhs and our religious institutions continue to be attacked”.

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

The Hindu – Raids on activists: Maharashtra police had no answers in courtroom

Reasons for arrest not specified, all documents in Marathi: Bench

Soibam Rocky Singh

New Delhi – India, 28 August 2018. With the Maharashtra police unable to explain the specific offence for detaining journalist and social activist Gautam Navlakha, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday ordered that he should not be taken away from the capital till it heard the case on Wednesday.

The High Court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of Mr Navlakha by his advocate Warisha Farasat after his arrest by the Maharashtra police.

Mr Navlakha was arrested from a residence in South Delhi’s Nehru Enclave by a Maharashtra Police team from Pune on Tuesday afternoon. He was produced before a local court in Saket that allowed the police to take him and produce him before a local court in Pune.

The Bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel said the documents submitted by the Maharashtra police while seeking the transit remand did not clearly specify why Mr Navlakha was detained.

When Bench asked the Maharasthra police official, who was present in the courtroom, “what is the specific allegation” against Mr Navlakha, the official could not give any clear answer.

Not satisfied with the response, the Bench said it was “not possible to make out from the document (submitted by the Maharashtra police) what precisely was the case against the petitioner (Mr Navlakha)”.

As a result, the High Court stayed the local court order granting permission to the Maharashtra police to take him to Pune.

During the brief hearing, advocate Nithya Ramakrishnan, appearing for the activist, said he was not present at the event in question (Elgar Parishad in Pune) and the search at his residence here had not yielded objectionable material.

Provisions disregarded

She also contended that the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code regarding search and arrest were not followed as the warrants were in Marathi, which Mr Navlakha could not understand, and the grounds for the action were not given in writing.

The petition was first mentioned before a Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao by Mr Navlakha’s lawyers for urgent listing. When urgent listing was allowed, the lawyers approached the Bench of Justices Muralidhar and Goel, having the roster for habeas corpus cases, which issued an interim order that the petitioner be not taken out of the State.

The Bench also questioned how the Maharashtra police was able to receive a transit remand order from the local court within half an hour of Mr Navlakha’s arrest on Tuesday afternoon.

Questioning why witnesses were brought from Pune to authenticate the arrest, the court said that under the law, witnesses were supposed to be local persons from the area where an individual was being arrested.

The Bench said Mr Navlakha would remain at his residence here under police guard.

The High Court will take up Mr Navlakha’s plea as the first case on Wednesday.