The Statesman – Supreme Court issues notice to UP government in Hapur lynching case

Meerut – UP – India, 14 August 2018. The Supreme Court on Monday directed a senior Uttar Pradesh police officer to probe the Hapur lynching case in which one person was killed and another brutally assaulted in the name of cow vigilantism, while terming the allegations of the survivor as “serious”.

ADG of Meerut Zone Prashant Kumar has refused to give a statement on the comment of the Supreme court on Hapur lynching during hearing on Monday.

When contacted the additional director general (ADG) Prashant Kumar said that he shall not speak anything in this regard untill he gets the official report.

On the contrary he admitted that the honourable Court has asked IG range to submit a report on it. He explained that IPC’s Section of murder is considered stringent and case of lynching was registered in the incident.

According to the media reports the Supreme court on Monday has directed the police to give security cover to Samuddin who survived a mob attack in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur over suspicion of killing a cow on 18 June in which a man was killed.

“In the meantime, the IGP, Meerut (Range) shall submit a report with regard to the incident in question. We have so directed keeping in view the serious allegations/ assertions made in the writ petition,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.

The SC also asked the police to submit a report on the incident. The survivor had taken refuge of the court demanding security.

“Police has carried out a fair investigation of the incident,” he said adding that the probe was based on the complaints lodged by the family members. Kumar also said that investigation would be done as per directions of the honourable Supreme Court and whosoever is involved would not be spared.

Sankalp Sharma, SP of Hapur, however, promised full complaince of the orders of the court though he has not yet any directive so far. ‘What we know is through media reports,” he said, adding that the family of the survivor victim has already been provided security.

On the contrary an inspector level officer has been investigating the case and its monitoring is being done by superior officers.

Nasir was lynched by a mob when he had gone in a village to buy cows and another farmer Samuddin was injured on 18 June. Initially, police tried to project it as a case of road rage but later it was surfaced that lynching was carried out on the name of protection of cows.

The Tribune – Will make peaceful push for Khalistan, says Dal Khalsa

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 13 August 2018. On the occasion of its foundation day, the Dal Khalsa on Monday said it would strive for a peaceful, political and democratic struggle for a separate Sikh homeland.

At the same time, the radical Sikh organisation paid homage to “militant” leaders, acknowledged the “contribution” of Pakistan-based Sikh leaders and boasted of support of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Kanwarpal Singh, Dal Khalsa spokesperson, said the organisation had started its movement from Chandigarh 40 years ago and it was the only one to have continued struggle for justice to Sikhs for the 1984 riots and fake police encounters.

He distanced Dal Khalsa from Referendum 2020 saying though the aim and ideology of the two was common, the method to achieve it was different.

“We represent people of Punjab and we are for a peaceful struggle, while they are just doing a survey and have no representation from Punjab”. Other speakers included Harpal Cheema, Simranjit Singh Mann and Harcharanjit Singh Dhami.

Zeebrugge/Knokke – West-Vlaanderen

Zeebrugge – West-Vlaanderen
14 July 2018

Inside the Kusttram
De Lijn, Tram 0

Knokke – West-Vlaanderen
14 July 2018

Knokke Terminus

Knokke Terminus

Bayauxlaan – Citroën Deux Chevaux

Bayauxlaan/Lippenslaan – Citroën Deux Chevaux

Knokke Zeedijk

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Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The New York Times – Their first Gurdwara was a tent. Now Sikhs walk New Jersey’s halls of power

Arun Venugopal

Glen Rock – New Jersey – USA, 14 August 2018. In the 1980s, when Sikh immigrants from India began arriving in New Jersey in significant numbers, they lacked a proper house of worship, so they set up a tent on a patch of dirt and began to pray.

Much has changed since then. The tent in Glen Rock, a town in northern New Jersey, has been replaced by an imposing gurdwara, or temple, with a red brick facade and white domes.

The congregation that once comprised 10 families now has hundreds of families drawn from across New Jersey and New York, two states that have among the largest populations of Sikhs in the country.

Today, after a long history of dealing with bigotry, Sikhs have begun to acquire power.

The worshipers in Glen Rock include Gurbir Grewal, New Jersey’s attorney general, and Ravi Bhalla, the mayor of Hoboken, along with Mr Bhalla’s older brother Amardeep Singh, a founder of the Sikh Coalition, a national civil rights organization.

All three grew up together and have attended the temple since they were children, Mr Grewal and Mr Bhalla served as best man at each other’s wedding.

They are now in their 40s and embody the political maturation of Sikh-Americans. They gathered recently in a conference room at the Gurdwara to reflect on how their faith has shaped their progressive values.

Childhood in New Jersey was marked by “a lot of bullying, a lot of teasing, a lot of animosity,” said Mr. Grewal, who, abiding by Sikh tradition, covered his hair from a young age. But on weekends, within the grounds of the gurudwara life was different.

When they were not attending religious instruction, the three boys bonded over baseball or sneaked out for pizza; they got in trouble together.

“One time our mom didn’t let us bring our bat and ball,” Mr. Singh said. “I had a ball but we used a stick to hit the ball. And I whacked an auntie, an elderly woman, by mistake and she cursed me in Punjabi”.

For the small Sikh community in which they were raised, a transformative moment came in 1984. That year, political tensions in the Indian state of Punjab erupted into violence between Sikh militants and the Indian military at the Golden Temple, the most sacred site in Sikhism, a monotheistic faith founded in South Asia in the 15th century that distinguished itself by emphasizing equality for all.

Later that year, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards and her supporters responded by killing thousands of Sikhs.

Mr Bhalla said this bloody period introduced him to “the concept of injustice.” Sikhs began organizing and staging demonstrations in Washington and meeting with members of Congress to raise concerns about human rights.

The violence in India prompted many Sikhs to flee; many settled in New Jersey. Estimates of the number of Sikhs now living in the United States range from 200,000 to 500,000, experts said, noting the difficulty in pinpointing the size of religious groups and newly arrived immigrants.

Mr Singh recalled being in a home and watching a man roll up his pant leg “to show how the Punjab police had helped to crush his muscles with a heavy roller. And for someone who was just in college, it sort of impacts you”.

He joined Amnesty International, helped form student groups and was the first of the three friends to go to law school. Throughout the 1990s much of the political focus of the Sikh-American community was centered on what was happening thousands of miles away in India.

Then came 11 September 2001. The attention immediately turned inward as Sikh-Americans, particularly men wearing turbans, were victims of hate crimes, including Balbir Singh Sodhi, the owner of a gas station in Arizona, who was fatally shot.

At the time, Mr Grewal was working in commercial litigation at a private law firm in Washington and he remembers some of the looks he got in public. One homeless man, he said, would routinely accost him outside his office building.

“He’d start yelling at the top of his lungs, ‘I found him! I found him! I found bin Laden!’” Mr. Grewal said.

Eventually, after trying to avoid the man, Mr. Grewal said he took him to a McDonalds.

“His name was Jimmy,” Mr Grewal said. “I explained who I was and where I came from, and gave him a stack of coupons for McDonalds, and we were friends ever since.”

For his part, Mr Singh worked with others to form the Sikh Coalition, met with Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and helped ensure that protections for Sikhs were included in the Patriot Act.

They also persuaded the Department of Transportation to issue guidelines on searches of Sikh passengers and pushed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to educate employers on workplace discrimination.

“That level of advocacy, that fast, could not have happened if we didn’t have some practice,’’ said Mr. Singh, a program officer for the Open Society Foundations, a group financed by George Soros that works to promote human rights and democracy. “That really came out of the ’84 experience”.

One challenge for Sikhs after 11 September was how often they were being mistaken as Muslim. Some Sikh leaders argued that Sikhs needed to make the distinction clear as an act of self preservation. But Mr Bhalla and others strongly rejected such a strategy, arguing that Sikhs should “stand up for injustice not just against the Sikh community but really against anybody who is treated unfairly.”

“‘In the eyes of God, there is no Hindu, there is no Muslim,’” Mr Bhalla said, quoting Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. “In God’s eyes everyone is equal. That’s something that’s foundational in Sikh philosophy and belief.”

Mr. Bhalla said this basic Sikh value, he described its modern, secular equivalent as “radical egalitarianism”, explained his first executive order as mayor, declaring Hoboken to be a fair and welcoming city.

He followed this with an order intended to protect transgendered people by making all single-occupancy public restrooms gender-neutral.

“Not because that’s relevant to me as a Sikh,” he said, “but because its relevant to my ideals as a Sikh.”

While the concentration of Sikhs in New Jersey is a relatively recent development, Sikhs were among the earliest South Asian immigrants in the country, arriving over a century ago to work primarily as farmers and loggers on the West Coast.

Their presence inspired one newspaper in Bellingham, Wash., to ask, “Have We a Dusky Peril?” in 1906, amid fears “that the dusky Asiatics with their turbans will prove a worse menace to the working classes than the ‘Yellow Peril’ that has so long threatened the Pacific Coast.”

Not long afterward, a mob of white men violently expelled nearly 200 immigrants from the town. In the ensuing years, anti-immigrant hysteria grew, resulting in laws blocking immigrants from India and other predominantly non-white countries that were eased in the 1960s and prompted a new surge in immigrants, as well as a backlash.

For Sikhs, one of the worst acts of religious violence occurred in 2012, when a gunman killed six people in a Gurdwara in Wisconsin.

Now Sikhs are starting to gain more political prominence across the country. They include Manka Dhingra, a state legislator in Washington, Preet Didbal, the mayor of Yuba City, California, and Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican Party leader in California.

Still Mr Grewal, who was appointed by Governor Philip D Murphy, a Democrat, and is the first Sikh to serve as a state attorney general, has had to contend with intolerance.

In July, two New Jersey DJs, Judi Franco and Dennis Malloy, called him “turban man” and Mr Malloy said he would not refer to the attorney general by name until he stopped wearing a turban. After a public outcry, the two were suspended for 10 days.

“Sikhs have been seen and treated in America as perpetually foreign and automatically suspect and since 9/11, as potential terrorists,” said Valarie Kaur, a prominent Sikh-American activist.

“Ravi and Gurbir’s visible presence on the nation’s stage as public servants is breaking down these stereotypes and reshaping the nation’s moral imagination for ‘who counts’ as American.

In a time of heightened racism and bigotry, their leadership provides hope and inspiration and offers us a glimpse of the America that is possible, the America worth fighting for.”

Ms Kaur said she and other Sikhs regularly draw upon “the Sikh spirit of Chardi Kala,” meaning a positive attitude, even in the face of adversity.

This principle may help explain why the three childhood friends from the Gurdwara in Glen Rock are optimistic about the country’s future.

“People far greater than us and far braver than us have overcome far more than us in our nation’s history,’’ Mr Grewal said. “And this is just another moment that’s testing the foundations of our nation’s democracy.”

“And,’’ he added, “I think the institutions will survive.”

The Hindu – India rejects UK’s DNA test plan for finding illegal migrants’ nationality

Government refuses to sign pact citing ‘privacy issues’

Vijaita Singh

New Delhi – India, 14 August 2018. India has rejected a proposal of the United Kingdom to use DNA sampling to establish the nationality of illegal migrants living there, citing “privacy issues”.

Although a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on return of illegal migrants was initialled, after the due approval of the Union Cabinet in January, by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju while leading a delegation to the UK the same month, India refused to sign the final pact during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to England in April.

As per the original MoU, security agencies in India were to verify the antecedents of illegal migrants without documents in the UK within 72 days and those with documents within 15 days. If no report was given within the stipulated time frame, the illegal migrant would be deported automatically.

The agreement was put on indefinite hold after National Security Adviser Ajit Doval conveyed that the 15-day limit was unworkable.

Unethical, says India

“In one of the meetings, the UK authorities suggested that the nationality of document-less illegal migrants suspected to be Indians could be established by matching DNA samples of their family members living here.

We raised objections, saying this was a breach of privacy and unethical. How do we know that the document-less person is an Indian,” said a senior Home Ministry official who attended the meeting.

According to the British government’s estimates, there are around 1,00,000 Indians overstaying their visa in the UK.

India has contested this, saying that as per their estimate, the number will not be more than 2,000.

Post April, at least two high-level delegations from the U.K. have raised the issue with India.

During her first visit to India on 7 November 2016, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK would consider an improved visa deal “if at the same time we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain in the UK.”