The New Indian Express – Afghanistan: Burqa-clad suicide bombers kill 29 in Shiite mosque

Officials said they feared the death toll could rise after the assault, the latest targeting civilians who have borne the brunt of the violence in Afghanistan’s long conflict.

Gardez – Paktiyā – Afghanistan, 03 August 2018. Burqa-clad suicide bombers struck a Shiite mosque in eastern Afghanistan Friday as it was crowded with worshippers for weekly prayers, killing at least 29 people and wounding more than 80 in the latest attack on the minority.

Officials said they feared the death toll could rise after the assault, the latest targeting civilians who have borne the brunt of the violence in Afghanistan’s long conflict.

“Two suicide explosions happened during Friday prayers in the Khwaja Hasan area of Gardez,” said Abdullah Hasrat, spokesman for Paktia province near the Pakistan border.

He told AFP the toll had risen to 29 killed and 81 wounded, with children among the victims.

The bombers wore “women’s clothing”, he said, and shot first at the mosque’s security guards before opening fire on worshippers then detonating their explosives.

Provincial police chief General Raz Mohammad Mandozai confirmed the incident, and that the pair were wearing burqas to hide their explosives and weapons.

Local resident Sayed Naimatullah said he could hear the blasts from inside his home and rushed to the mosque.

“There were body parts, heads, limbs and arms scattered everywhere. The blood of the worshippers had painted the walls of the mosque… There were pieces of glass scattered all over,” the 30-year-old told AFP.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban have denied involvement.

Uptick in violence

The blasts come as urban areas across Afghanistan have been rocked by an increasing number of attacks in recent months, with both Islamic State (IS) and Taliban insurgents targeting security forces and government installations.

The Taliban has not claimed a major attack in a city for weeks as it comes under increased pressure to agree to peace talks with the Afghan government.

But IS has carried out multiple attacks in the eastern city of Jalalabad and the capital Kabul in recent months, targeting everything from government ministries to a midwife training centre.

Last month an IS suicide bomber blew himself up near Kabul international airport, killing 23 people including AFP driver Mohammad Akhtar.

The uptick in violence comes as US and Afghan forces intensify ground and air offensives against IS, and the Taliban step up their turf war with the group.

Earlier this week more than 150 IS fighters surrendered in northern Afghanistan, in a move that Afghan security forces and the Taliban hailed as the end of the extremist group in the north of the country.

The surrender followed the Afghan army’s decision to take over security in the eastern city of Jalalabad in IS’s main stronghold of Nangarhar province after a spate of attacks, mostly claimed by the group.

Afghan civilians have taken the brunt of the gruesome war that began after the 2001 US-led invasion uprooted the Taliban regime.

Insurgent attacks and suicide bombs were the leading causes of civilian deaths in the first half of 2018, a recent UN report showed.

A total of 1,692 civilians were killed, the highest number for the period since the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began keeping records in 2009.

Another 3,430 people were wounded, the report added. – Police shot at Behbal Klan victims at point blank range, reveals Justice Ranjit Singh

By Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 01 August 2018. The initial reports about the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission’s investigation on Kotkapura and Behbal Klan firing incidents reveal that the Commission has held in the report that the martyred Sikh youths were shot at point blank range.

He has cited the medical reports of the dead bodies of martyred Sikh youths Shaheed Bhai Krishan Bhagwan Singh and Shaheed Bhai Gurjit Singh Nikke Sarawan.

Justice Ranjit Singh Commission has disclosed in the first part of its report that Dr Rajiv Joshi, who had conducted a post-mortem examination of the mortal remains of Shaheed Bhai Krishan Bhagwan Singh and Shaheed Bhai Gurjit Singh, told him that the victim appeared to be sitting and the assailant standing as the track of the firearm wound, evident from the location of the entry and exit points, was found going downwards.

“Recommending the registration of criminal cases against police officers for firing or accused of directing others to open fire, Justice Ranjit Singh is believed to have stated that the cops acted without warning, and permission.

Recommendations were also made for the initiation of appropriate action against police officers failing to carry out proper and fair investigation in the incidents of sacrilege and the cases entrusted to them regarding the use of force” notes The Tribune.

In its report, the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission could be observed jolted over no action against any Police cop despite the registration of an FIR on October 21, 2015. Notably, a SIT was supposed to supervise the investigation, but no progress was noticed till date.

Justice Ranjit Singh has made it clear in the report that the delay in action against the Police cops seems an attempt to suppress the case for letting off the guilty cops as the then Punjab government and the Union Home Ministry also didn’t do much in this concern.

Key findings of the Commission:

  • The approach of the police was too casual and mind-boggling.
  • Some weapons carried by police personnel from Ludhiana were not sent for inspection.
  • The tampering of the rifle grooves of a bullet were deliberate to prevent detection of the weapon used.
  • The bullet could have been fired from AK-47. As such, all police officers carrying AK-47 would become potential accused.
  • The police admitted opening fire at Behbal Klan, yet showed no expenditure of ammunition.
  • Primarily, the finger of suspicion for sacrilege incidents was pointed towards Sirsa cult disciples.
  • The Police cops were unable to act against the Sirsa cult disciples, but happily pulled the trigger of their guns
    against the protesters.

Gentbrugse Meersen

Gentbrugse Meersen
01 July 2018

Kasteel Rattendaele Park
Now part of Gentbrugse Meersen

Cows in the wild

Cows can thrive by eating the general vegetation

Day in – Day out blue skies and temperatures around 30 celcius
Is this really Belgium ?

Work to do for the cows !

Information about the cows

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Statesman – Is size of turban part of Sikh religion, asks Supreme Court

Counsel for Puri replied that a Sikh cannot wear a helmet because it’s mandatory for him to wear a turban as per the Sikh religion.

New Delhi – India, 03 August 2018. The Supreme Court on Friday sought to know if the topknot/half or bun turban (patka) can be worn by Sikh athletes with helmets during participation in sporting events such as cycling, if it doesn’t affect their faith”.

A bench of Justice S A Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao said that in India many great athletes played with bun turban (patka) and suggested that if a Sikh wants to participate in events like cycling, where wearing a helmet is a must, he can consider wearing a bun turban with helmet for safety issue.

“We are hesitant because of safety, otherwise it’s very clear that Sikhs don’t have to wear helmets,” said the bench, adding that it wanted to know if a particular size of turban is compulsory in the religion.

The bench also observed: “We have memories of some great Sikh athletes performing without a turban like Milkha Singh, Bishan Singh Bedi. It’s not like Sikhs don’t do anything without a whole turban.”

The court, which was hearing a plea of Delhi-based cyclist Jagdeep Singh Puri, who was allegedly disqualified for a cycling event after he refused to wear a helmet instead of a turban, suggested that if a half/bun turban with a helmet completes the safety requirement, it can be considered “if it doesn’t affect their faith”.

The size of the turban can’t be part of their (Sikh) religion, the court observed.

It further asked: “The legal problem is if different types of turbans are permissible then is there prohibition in wearing a helmet?”

Counsel for Puri replied that a Sikh cannot wear a helmet because it’s mandatory for him to wear a turban as per the Sikh religion.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which has also filed an intervening application in the case asking to be heard, contended that the Sikh had fought in World War II and contributed in country’s independence as well and “if Sikhs are not allowed to wear turbans, what would be our identity”?

The bench said it wants learned arguments based on Sikhism and not emotional arguments, adding: “This country is proud of Sikhs.”

The court posted the matter after two weeks, asking the organiser of the cycling event to file its reply making its stand clear in the issue.

Puri was disqualified from the Azad Hind Brevet (long distance cycling), organised by Audax India Randonneurs, after he refused to wear a helmet.

Puri has approached the apex court seeking direction for the Centre to formulate guidelines exempting turbaned Sikhs from wearing any headgear during sports events.

Appearing for Puri, senior advocate R S Suri told the bench that wearing a turban is an essential part of Sikh religion and Sikh rights have to be protected.

The lawyer contended that even the Motor Vehicles Act exempts Sikhs from wearing a helmet while driving a two-wheeler and the government should frame guidelines not to force Sikhs to wear headgear while participating in sports events.

The plea mentioned that in several countries such as Britain and the US, members of other communities, including Sikhs, have been permitted to wear turbans while playing sports in keeping with their religious beliefs.

Puri complained that the rule violated his fundamental right to practise and profess one’s own religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution.

“The petitioner tried to put forward the enlightened view on the significance of the turban to a Sikh; it fell on deaf ears.

“However, despite being utterly discriminated against, the petitioner still decided to join the ride unofficially, in the spirit of sportsmanship, even if discriminated (against) by the organisers. The petitioner completed the entire event at his own risk without any support from the organisers,” the plea stated.

Seeking protection of his fundamental rights, Puri demanded a direction to the government “to enact a law regarding protection of fundamental rights of the persons belonging to the turbaned Sikh community who participate in such social or sports events”.

Dawn – Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) to decide provincial portfolios today

Saleem Shahid

Quetta – Balochistan – Pakistan, 03 August 2018. President of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) Jam Kamal Khan Alyani has said that the party will decide about the leader of the house on Friday (today).

Speaking at a press conference at the residence of Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, he said the parliamentary party of the BAP would meet on Friday to decide about the parliamentary leader, speaker and deputy speaker.

While Sardar Khetran originally belonged to the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, he contested the general election as an independent candidate and after emerging victorious, he announced joining the BAP.

With the joining of Sardar Khetran, the BAP’s strength reached 19 and the support of the PTI, ANP, BNP-Awami and HDP made it stand at 31.

Secretary General of BAP Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar and other party leaders were also present on the occasion.

Mr Alyani denied any differences or a deadlock in the party on the issue of appointing parliamentary leader.

He said that decision regarding nomination of chief minister, speaker, deputy speaker and other offices would be taken with the consent of party members and allies who had joined hands with the BAP for the formation of the next coalition government in the province.

Decisions on the issues of Balochistan would be taken in the province as BAP was firm on its stance that the party would not accept decision from Raiwind, Banigala or Lahore anymore, he said, adding that giving an impression about differences in the party over chief minister and other issues was wrong.

He said in reply to a question that BAP leadership had met the leaders of all political parties, including Imran Khan, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, ANP, BNP-Awami and MMA and held talks for the formation of a coalition government.

He said that he met Sardar Mengal and MMA leaders in Islamabad and was now waiting for their decision about joining the government or sitting in the opposition.

In reply to a question, Mr Alyani said that ANP senior leader Ilyas Bilour had confirmed his party’s support for BAP.

Welcoming Sardar Khetran’s joining BAP, he said it was the third generation of Khetran and Jam families of joining hands with each other.