The Hindustan Times – Government plans to relax height limit for Nepalese in paramilitary forces: Rijiju

The minister of states for home affairs Kiren Rijiju said the relaxation in the height limit would be same as given to Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the paramilitary forces.

New Delhi – India, 12 September 2018. The home ministry is planning to relax the minimum height requirement for people from the Nepalese community residing in India to join the paramilitary forces, minister of states for home affairs Kiren Rijiju said on Wednesday.

He was speaking at Haritalika Teej Mahotsav organised by Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust and Bharat Swabhiman Trust.

Rijiju praised the contribution of the Nepalese community in developing the Indian culture.

“The Nepalese community has played a very important role in saving and making the Indian culture and because of their enormous contribution, we are proposing relaxation of height for the Nepalese community residing in India in paramilitary forces,” he said.

The minister said the relaxation in the height limit would be same as given to Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the paramilitary forces.

The Scheduled Tribes get a relaxation of a few centimetres in paramilitary forces. The minimum height for all candidates belonging to Scheduled Tribes is 162.5 centimetres for males and 150 centimetres for females.

The minimum height for General Category candidates is 170 centimetres for males and 157 centimetres for females.

At the event, Ramdev urged people to believe in national unity, which should be above unity over caste, religion and region.

“We keep hearing about OBC unity, SC/ST unity. National unity should be above all,” Ramdev said. – Dal Khalsa Seeks Immediate Release of Sukhdev Singh Bhaur

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 09 September 2018. Strongly condemning the arrest of SGPC member S Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, the Dal Khalsa has asked the Congress led Punjab government to immediately release Bhaur and withdraw case registered against him in Banga for hurting religious sentiments of Ravidas community.

In a press note shared with Sikh24, the Dal Khalsa leaders S Harcharanjit Singh Dhami and S Kanwarpal Singh has said that the case registered against Sukhdev Singh Bhaur seems patently motivated by other than legal reasons.

The duo leaders also questioned the Punjab government’s haste to arrest Sukhdev Singh Bhaur despite the fact that he had already apologized for his comment.

Accusing the Punjab government of arresting Sukhdev Singh Bhaur for reserving Schedule caste vote bank, they said that the Congress as well as the SAD was running their politics on greed, lie and rhetoric.

Gent-Sint-Pieters – Halmaal, Sint-Truiden

02 August 2018

This train will take me to Sint-Truiden

Sint-Truiden / Halmaal
02 August 2018

Halmaalweg – Maize

In spite of the drought the maize looks quite healthy

Halmaal – Gurdwara

Diwan Hall – Palki Sahib

Design of the new Gurdwara

Gurdwara Sangat Sahib
Halmaal Dorp 20
B-3800 Sint-Truiden

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

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian and UK pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Huffington Post – Every Canadian should know the tale of this murdered Sikh Activist

Jaswant Singh Khalra was “disappeared” by Punjab police months after alerting Ottawa of the widespread killings of Sikhs.

Canada, 09 November 2018. In June 1995, Jaswant Singh Khalra gave a speech in the Canadian Parliament about the disappearances of thousands of Sikhs in Punjab. Three months later, he too “disappeared” in Punjab and was never seen again.

“Disappeared” is a euphemism. Just like the tens of thousands of Sikhs Jaswant Singh was talking about, he was murdered by the Punjab police. A respected activist and community figure, Jaswant Singh was another victim of the systematic killing of mainly Sikh men in what have become known as fake “encounters.”

The only difference between Jaswant Singh and the thousands of missing Sikhs he was seeking justice for is that police officers were convicted of his killing, although it took 10 years to happen.

These massacres of the Sikhs largely came in an 11-year period, immediately after the huge rise in activism post the Sikh genocide in 1984. The killings were given judicial validation under the infamous TADA law implemented across India in 1985, widely condemned by human rights groups until it was rescinded in 1995.

However, fake encounter killings, police brutality and torture are all still widely known traits of the Punjab police, as reported by Amnesty International just last year.

Following the Sikh genocide in 1984, the Indian state became reliant on the ultra-violent tactics shown during Operation Blue Star to quell the activism and resistance of the Sikh community.

Almost every Punjabi family has anecdotal evidence of the Punjab police’s brutality at that time; it was in the face of this violence that Jaswant Singh began exposing the mass killings taking place.

It is important to note that the standard Indian state narrative of this era is that the Punjab police, headed by notorious figures such as Kanwar Pal Singh Gill (known as “The Butcher of Punjab”) were tackling separatist terrorism.

The counter view is that following the Sikh genocide, support for Khalistan (an independent Sikh homeland) naturally grew, leading to further violent repression of Sikh activism by the Punjab police, which then led to groups resorting to armed resistance.

It was in this climate that the fake encounters killings became commonplace, with the Punjab Police seemingly operating with impunity. Anyone that could have potentially be part of another uprising of the Sikhs was arrested and often were never to be seen again.

Jaswant Singh began investigating the case of so many missing Sikhs. He was already known for his activism, and as a qualified lawyer he was studious in his approach to expose the killings of countless Sikhs, which included colleagues of his at the bank he worked at.

His breakthrough came when he discovered files from the municipal corporation of the city of Amritsar which contained the names, age, addresses of those who had been killed and later burned by the Police.

Further research revealed other cases in three other districts in Punjab, increasing the list by thousands. Jaswant Singh Khalra exposed the murder of approximately 25,000 Sikhs in the late 1980s/early 90s, a figure many believe is just the tip of the iceberg.

It was after years of research that Canada played a key role in Jaswant Singh’s legacy. Invited and hosted in Canada by the World Sikh Organization, a speech he made in Parliament in Ottawa illuminated his research.

That speech is hailed as a breakthrough moment for Sikh activism to this day, helping thousands realize just how widespread the fake encounter killings of Sikhs were.

It is also a key moment for the Canadian Sikh community, where the traumas of the Sikh nation were presented to the public on such a mainstream platform. The speech highlighted to Canadian Sikhs just why their families had left India in the first place.

The suffering of Sikhs is something that is all too commonly left out of discussions when so-called “Sikh extremism” is discussed.

Ultimately, the impact of that speech is why the Punjab police murdered him just a few months later. However, just as with all great activists and martyrs, his end only helped spur on others to continue his legacy. In the Sikh faith in particular, martyrs are celebrated for their selflessness.

As such, Jaswant Singh has been given the esteemed posthumous title of Shaheed and his activism is celebrated and work continued. This can be seen in the efforts of organizations such as Ensaaf, who recently visually documented the data of over 5000 families that had missing members.

Last year in the USA, a park in California was renamed after Jaswant Singh Khalra.

The suffering of Sikhs is something that is all too commonly left out of discussions when so-called “Sikh extremism” is discussed. This was no more evident than in our very own Canada earlier this year, when media outlets condemned Sikhs for their support of the Khalistan movement, which was portrayed to be a terrorist movement.

Yet, the belief of millions of Sikhs is that such movements are justified, not just by their faith but also by the circumstances forced upon them from 1984. This was arguably best articulated in Canada itself, in the very building that enshrines the principle of free speech.

Without that context, without knowing that tens of thousands (and possibly more) Sikhs were killed at the hands of a brutal regime widely condemned by human rights groups, anyone considering Sikh movements of resistance, sovereignty, and activism will never fully understand where they come from.

That is why it is so important that every Canadian knows the tale of Jaswant Singh Khalra.

The Hindu – ‘I am a victim of political persecution’, says Mehul Choksi

Special Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 11 September 2018. Mehul Choksi, a diamond merchant who had allegedly masterminded the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, has said in interviews to a section of the media that the case against him is baseless and he is a “victim of political persecution”.

Choksi, now an Antiguan citizen, has said he is a “soft target” for the Indian government because it finds it impossible to get other economic offenders extradited from the United Kingdom.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate have filed chargesheets against him, his nephew Nirav Modi and others, accusing them of having swindled ₹14,000 crore through fraudulent issuance of Letters of Undertaking and Foreign Letters of Credit to their companies.

The cases were filed on the complaints from the bank.

Choksi has been accused of having defrauded the bank, through his Gitanjali group of companies, of over ₹7,500 crore.

‘Cannot pay dues’

Choksi has said all his assets have been attached by the Enforcement Directorate and he is in no position to pay off the dues. He has also blamed the scam on his employees.

He has said that he had taken the Antiguan citizenship to “expand his business” and that “human rights were violated” in India because of the action initiated by the investigating agencies.

He said he could not return to India as his passport had been revoked without explanation.