The Hindustan Times – Lion death toll in Gir rises to 21, officials admit some succumbed to viral infection

As a precautionary measure after the deaths of lions due to various reasons in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, 31 lions have been shifted to a care centre in Jasadhar.

Hiral Dave

Ahmedabad – Gujarat – India, 02 October 2018. Twenty-one lions have died due to various reasons, including a virus infection, in Gujarat’s Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, the last abode of the Asiatic lion since September 12, the state forest department said on Monday.

The department also admitted, for the first time, that some lions had succumbed to infections caused by tick bites. The department had so far maintained that deaths were because of infighting in the highly congested wildlife habitat. The toll stood at 13 when the data was made public on 22 September.

As a precautionary measure, 31 lions have been shifted to a care centre in Jasadhar, the forest department said in a statement, adding that the spread of the virus was now under control. All the causalities were reported from Gir’s east division in Amreli district.

Spread across 1,400 sq km, Gir wildlife sanctuary is divided into two administrative divisions. It has a total of 523 lions, according to the census of 2015. Latest estimates by the forest department put the lion population at about 600.

“Samples sent to National Institute of Virology (Pune) confirmed the presence of viruses in four cases. In six other cases, veterinary college Junagadh confirmed protozoa infection cause by tick bites, the release said.

Tick-borne illnesses are caused by variety of pathogens, including several types of bacteria, viruses and protozoa.

The department said a vaccination has been imported from the United States to control the spread of virus, and experts from across India have been roped in to monitor the situation.

Three experts from Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Uttar Pradesh, five experts from Delhi zoo, and two from the Etawah lion safari, are in the Gir reserve for conducting the examination of the cats and for their treatment, an official said.

The Gujarat government said it will take further steps after examining the reports to be submitted by the experts. The experts will examine the reasons for the death after examining blood reports and functioning of kidney and liver of all 31 lions who have died.

The forest department also linked the deaths to an increase in the lion population. “A survey was conducted by 140 teams after 11 deaths were first reported between September 12 to 20, and it has revealed that the population of lions has increased since the last census in 2015,” the department said.

“From day one, volunteers have said that infighting cannot cause so many deaths and it has to be some diseases. The forest department instead of being in denial should have acted swiftly,” said Bhikha Jethva, president of the Lion’s Nature Club. which has been working for the conservation of Gir forest.

The forest department had earlier said there was no reason to worry because about 100 lions die in Gir every year. “In the last two years, an average of 32 lions have died during the three monsoon months. Against that, in the current year, 31 have died,” the department had said in a statement on September 22.

The Gujarat government has long resisted the move to relocate some of the lions from Gir to Kuno Palpur wildlife sanctuary in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, invoking state’s pride in being the only home of the Asiatic lions.

The MP government first proposed the relocation in 1993. Delhi-based biologist Faiyaz Khudsar even filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking relocation on the grounds that Gir was overpopulated.

The court asked the Union environment ministry to examine the relocation plan. The ministry, in its report in 2015, said Madhya Pradesh will take at least 30 years to prepare Kuno Palpur for the relocation of lions, thereby ending any possibility of immediate relocation.

“The deaths should be an eye-opener and the Gujarat government should now give lions for relocation to Kuno,” Khudsar said. – Canada can’t crush freedom of expression of its citizens on Khalistan Issue, says Canadian Diplomat

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 02 October 2018. Mr Nadir Patel, Canada’s High Commissioner to India, paid obeisance at the holiest Sikh shrine Sri Harmandar Sahib on October 1. He presented a “Rumala Sahib” before the living Sikh master Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji while paying obeisance inside sanctum sanctorum.

Accompanied by his wife Graham Patel and a little daughter, Nadir Patel partook “langar” and performed “sewa” in the world’s largest community kitchen i.e. Guru Ram Dass Langar.

He was felicitated with a golden model of Sri Harmandar Sahib, set of religious books and a “Siropa” (robe of honour) by the SGPC president S Gobind Singh Longowal.

Interacting with media, Mr Nadir Patel hailed the Sikhs residing in Canada for their work to robust communal harmony across the world. He said that the Sikhs have secured a good status and reputation in Canada due to their hard work and sharp intellect.

Replying to a query posed by a mainstream journalist on the pro-Khalistan upsurge in Canada, Patel said that Canada can’t crush the freedom of expression of its citizen. He also stated that the Canadian government will continue to support the idea of united India and will cooperate with the Indian agencies.

Gent: Achtervisserij – Sint-Macharius / Sint-Baafs – Portus Ganda – Coyensdanspark

26 August 2018

Interesting flower

Another one, slightly different colour

Sint-Macharius / Sint-Baafs
26 August 2018

Macharius Kerk – Sint-Baafs Abdij

Portus Ganda
26 August 2018

Confluence of the Leie and the Schelde

26 August 2018

Meeting of the Green (Groen) party

Herberg Macharius
A fresh coat of paint

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Star – Raja Petra apologises to Amar Singh, Sikh community

Petaling Jaya – Selangor – Malaysia, 2 Oct 2018. Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin has apologised to Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Seri Amar Singh and the Sikh community for making a remark which insulted their faith.

“I was told a Sikh’s turban is a very sacred item and they do not take too kindly to anyone making fun of it. For that, I would like to sincerely apologise.

“I also apologise to Amar Singh Ishar Singh because, as much as I may disagree with him, that disagreement should not be reduced to the level of insulting his religion,” he said in his blog yesterday.

Raja Petra said he also apologised to Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, the late Karpal Singh and lawyers Amarjit Sidhu and Manjeet Singh Dhillon.

He said those men were the ones that acted as his lawyers during various trials and during his ISA detention in 2008 without any payment.

“They also helped me in other ways, which I am not at liberty to mention, and which helped me to settle down in the UK after I left Malaysia in February 2009,” he said.

Raja Petra said he would not insult the faith of those who had done so much for him and had asked nothing in return as it would be tantamount to not remembering their good deeds.

Earlier, Malaysia’s 170,000 strong Sikh community wanted Raja Petra to apologise, not just to Amar Singh, but the larger Sikh community for his remark that insulted their faith.

Police reports against Raja Petra were being made nationwide, with Khalsa Diwan Malaysia president Santokh Singh Randhawa and lawyer Baldip Singh lodging a police report on the matter.

Santokh said the turban was a sacred article of the Sikh faith and that it was “not just a symbol”.

“We strongly condemn his ridicule of the turban”.

“To insult our faith, he has touched a raw nerve of the community”, he said, adding that the Ipoh-based association was the oldest Sikh organisation in the country.

Baldip, who lodged a police report on Sunday, said Raja Petra should have just remarked about Comm Amar and not touched on any religious aspects.

Baldip said Malaysians in general should refrain from disrespecting other religions.

Last Friday, Raja Petra had published a post on his blog Malaysia Today titled “Amar Singh’s turban must be too tight” after a war of words with Comm Amar over his claim that the police had stolen RM 43.3 million following the raids at various premises linked to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in May.

The Hindu – Supreme Court: a crusade for women’s rights

Supreme Court’s challenge to patriarchy has been on-going across Benches, CJIs

Krishnadas Rajagopal

New Delhi – India, 01 October 2018. The past two years have seen the Supreme Court progressively question patriarchy in religion to ensure emancipation for women, and set the course for the future.

But majority decisions in the court continue to take cover behind legal technicalities when it comes to politically-charged cases like the Ayodhya dispute and the arrest of five activists in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case.

The court has not shied away from confronting age-old personal law practices, usages and customs which were considered taboo.

Gender bias

Chief Justice Dipak Misra belled the proverbial cat when he wrote in his main opinion that “historically, women have been treated unequally”. No philosophy has so far convinced the large population of this country to open up and accept women as equal partners journey of spirituality, the Chief Justice wrote in the Sabarimala case.

In Sabarimala, the court held that the ban on women, based on their menstrual status, considering them as “polluted” and a distraction for worshippers vowed to celibacy, is a “form of untouchability”.

In no uncertain terms, the court told the world that India still practices untouchability 63 years after the social evil was abolished under the Untouchability (Offences) Act in 1955.

The fact that the court, despite the changes in Chief Justices, has remained steadfast in its objective to realise the equal status of women in religion was witnessed in October 2016 when a Bench led by then Chief Justice of India T S Thakur drew a parallel between the restriction on women worshipping in the Sabarimala temple and Mumbai’s famed Haji Ali Dargah.

Chief Justice Thakur had observed that ‘exclusion’ is practised by both Hindus and Muslims and the “problem needs to be addressed”.