The Statesman – AFSPA extended in Arunachal Pradesh’s three districts for 6 months

According to a Home Ministry official, the decision was taken following a review of the law and order situation in the state’s three districts and the eight police station.

New Delhi – India, 03 October 2018. The Centre has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for six months in Arunachal Pradesh’s three districts and in the areas falling within the jurisdiction of the state’s eight police stations bordering Assam, notifying them as “disturbed areas”, a government notification said.

Issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday, the notification said AFSPA has been extended in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh and the eight police stations bordering Assam up to 31 March 2019.

“Now, therefore, Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in Arunachal Pradesh and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of the following eight police stations in the districts of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering the State of Assam, are declared as ‘disturbed area’ under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 up to March 31, 2019 w.e.f. October 1, 2018, unless withdrawn earlier,” the notification said.

The three districts, bordering Myanmar, have been under the AFSPA since January 2016. The government had declared these three districts and the eight police stations bordering Assam as “disturbed” in its earlier notification issued on April 1.

The eight police stations include Balemu and Bhalukpong in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district, Seijosa in East Kameng district, Balijan in Papumpare district, Namsai and Mahadevpur in Namsai district, Roing in Lower Dibang Valley district and Sunpura in Lohit district.

According to a Home Ministry official, the decision was taken following a review of the law and order situation in the state’s three districts and the eight police station.

AFSPA gives powers to the Army and Central forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant and provide cover to forces from prosecution and legal suits without the Central government’s sanction.

It is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven Assembly constituencies of Imphal). The state governments of Assam and Manipur now have the powers to keep or revoke the Act.

The Act was withdrawn from Tripura in 2015 and in past one year, fewer areas in northeast are under the Act, the official said, adding that the Act was in place in Meghalaya for a a 20-km area (along the Assam border) and not in operation in Mizoram.

The Tribune – Khaira group seeks action in 1986 firing case

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 02 October 2018. The rebel group of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday demanded that the Justice Gurnam Singh Commission report on the 1986 Nakodar firing and an action-taken report should be tabled in the next Assembly session.

The state government, the rebel group demanded, should apologise to the families of the persons killed in police firing in Nakodar 32 years ago.

A spokesperson for Sukhpal Khaira-led AAP and Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu has written to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh in this connection, demanding formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for further action.

He has also demanded adequate compensation for the aggrieved families. “The report was never made public, as families of the victims await justice even after 32 years,” the spokesperson said.

He said the incident in Nakodar was triggered by burning of the “birs” of the Guru Granth Sahib in a gurdwara on February 2, 1986.

Gent – Coyensdanspark – Groen

Sint-Baafs Abdij
26 August 2018

Sint-Baafs Abdij and Macharius Kerk

26 August 2018

Elke Decruynaere

Meyrem Almaci

Elke speaks but not too long !

My friend Luc

It is busy in the tent

Vote the Greens !
Kies Groen
The green Man in Blue

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Quartz India – In India and Pakistan, religion makes one country’s hero the other’s villain

Haroon Khalid

01 October 2018. At the entrance of the [Badshahi Masjid in Lahore] are some pictures from the colonial era. They show the mosque’s dilapidated condition after having served as a horse stable during the Sikh era.

The pictures narrate the story of the mosque, of the benevolence of the “just and fair” colonial empire that returned its control to the rightful inheritors, the Muslims of the city.

It narrates the story of colonial historiography, the categorisation of history into Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and British eras, pitting epochs, communities, religions, and histories against one other, and in the process creating new classifications that might not have been there at the start.

History is used as a political tool, an excuse, a justification for the imposition of colonial rule. The British were needed to rescue the Muslims from the Sikhs, the Hindus from the Muslims, the Dravidians from the Aryans, the Dalits from the Brahmins, the past from the present.

The narrative continues to unfold even today, throughout south Asia, as modern sensibilities are imposed on historical characters, making heroes out of them, of imagined communities.

The Mughal rule, for example, in this narrative became a symbol of the oppressive Muslim “colonialism” of India, as foreign to the Indian subcontinent as British rule, while figures such as Chhatrapati Shivaji were representative of Hindu indigenous resistance.

Just like the British, everything Muslim was deemed “foreign,” alien to the Indian subcontinent, a coercive historical anomaly that ruptured the Indian, read Hindu, civilization.

In this narrative there was room for Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs within the fold of Hindu nationalism, but not for the Muslims, the successors of foreign occupation.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Muslims too looked back to a “glorious” past when this infidel land was ruled by one true force.

This imagined memory became the basis of laying down future plans, with one group determined to uproot all vestiges of foreign influence, and the other wanting to take inspiration from the past to reclaim lost glory.

The British, in the meantime, were more than eager to perpetuate this communalisation of history for it provided them with a justification to govern as arbitrators, as correctors of historical injustices.

In this communalisation of history, emperor Aurangzeb (1618–1707) bears the dubious distinction of being blamed for the downfall of the mighty Mughal empire due to his intolerance, a product of his puritanical interpretation of religion.

It is believed that during his long rule, which saw the expansion of the Mughal empire to its zenith, Aurangzeb isolated several of his key Hindu allies because of his religious policies. Ever since the time of Emperor Akbar, jizya, a tax levied on non-Muslim subjects in a Muslim empire for their protection, stood abolished.

It was reintroduced by Aurangzeb, adding to the grievances of his Hindu subjects, including his Rajput allies, whose support to the Mughal throne had been crucial to its stability throughout Mughal history. Also, Aurangzeb’s protracted campaign in the Deccan was perceived as his vainglorious attempt to expand his autocratic rule, which put such a burden on the state that it quickly unravelled after his death.

As evidence of Aurangzeb’s intolerance, it is argued that he demolished several Hindu temples. Sikh history notes how he ordered the assassination of the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, for his sympathy to the Kashmiri Brahmins.

The Mughal-Sikh conflict continued with Guru Tegh Bahadur’s son, Guru Gobind Singh, who waged several battles with the powerful Mughal army. The staunchest opposition to Aurangzeb came from the Marathas in the south, under the leadership of Shivaji.

Aurangzeb’s treatment of his father and brothers is also depicted as a testimony of his cruelty. After usurping the throne from his father, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb is believed to have imprisoned him in Agra, where he was rumoured to have been deprived of luxuries he had grown accustomed to, including music.

It is cited that since Aurangzeb adhered to a puritanical interpretation of Islam, he was of the belief that music was not allowed, and had it banned throughout the empire.

A much-narrated popular story has it that traditional musicians who had been part of the profession for generations were rendered unemployed and took out a funeral procession of their musical instruments.

When Aurangzeb heard of it, he reportedly ordered that the instruments should be buried so deep that they may never be heard again.

The third of four brothers, Aurangzeb is accused of having had all his brothers murdered. He is also alleged to have sent his captive father the decapitated head of his eldest brother, Dara Shikoh, Shah Jahan’s favourite son.

Thus having forcefully snatched the crown from his father and his brother who had been appointed crown prince, Aurangzeb, in popular history, is depicted as a usurper who had no right to be at the head of the Mughal empire. The subsequent weakening of the empire is presented as proof of his unsuitability for the throne.

Just a little more than thirty years after his death, Delhi, the Mughal capital and the symbol of its authority, was ransacked by the Persian army of Nadir Shah. Between 1707 and 1719, the Mughal empire had lost most of its vitality after a series of weak emperors, wars of succession and machinations of members of the nobility.

Aurangzeb was the last effective emperor of the Mughal empire.

In the Pakistani narrative, Aurangzeb is presented as a hero who fought and expanded the frontiers of the Islamic empire. He is depicted as a pious Muslim who reintroduced Islamic laws by banning music and levying jizya.

While Akbar in the Indian discourse is depicted as a tolerant ruler who treated his Hindu subjects with respect, encouraged interfaith dialogue and also abolished jizya, in the Pakistani narrative, he is viewed with scepticism because of his experiments with different religious philosophies and his attempt to forge a religion of his own, Dini-Ilahi, which is considered a human’s attempt to intervene with the word of God.

In contrast, Aurangzeb is imagined to be a true believer who removed corrupt practices from religion and the court, and once again purified the empire. The Indian narrative abhors him for the same reason, for abandoning the syncretic, and even politically expedient, practices of his predecessors in favour of a more puritanical interpretation of Islam, eventually resulting in the disintegration of the empire.

Excerpted with the permission of Penguin Random House from Imagining Lahore by Haroon Khalid.

The Hindu – Kulbhushan Jadhav case: World court to hold four-day public hearing from 18 February 2019

The Hague – Zuidholland – Netherlands, 03 October 2018. The hearings will be streamed live and on demand in English and French on the International Court of Justice’s website as well as on UNO Web TV.

The International Court of Justice will hold a four-day public hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at The Hague starting 18 February 2019, a statement issued by the principal judicial organ of the United Nations said on 03 October.

Jadhav, 47, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on spying charges in April 2017. India moved the ICJ in May 2017 against the verdict. The world court has halted Jadhav’s execution on India’s appeal pending the final verdict by it.

Both India and Pakistan have already submitted their detailed pleas and responses in the world court.

“The hearings will be streamed live and on demand (VOD) in English and French on the Court’s website as well as on UNO Web TV, the United Nations online television channel,” said the press release issued by the ICJ.

Pakistan says its security forces arrested Jadhav from Balochistan Province in March 2016 after he reportedly entered the country from Iran.

In its submission to the ICJ, Pakistan had stated that Jadhav is not an ordinary person as he had entered the country with the intent of spying and carrying out sabotage activities.

India denies all the charges and maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy and that he has no links with the government.