The Statesman – M J Akbar likely to resign amid MeToo allegations

As more women recounted their alleged accounts of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of Union minister M J Akbar, the Congress demanded either his justified explanation or resignation.

New Delhi – India, 11 October 2018. Union Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by many women in the wake of ongoing MeToo campaign, could be asked to resign from his post soon.

According to media reports, Akbar, who is currently in Nigeria, may step down till his name is cleared in the cases of sexual harassment.

He is expected to return from his foreign trip on Friday after which he could tender his resignation.

It is expected that the minister will resign citing personal reasons.

Meanwhile, as more women recounted their alleged accounts of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of Union minister M J Akbar, the Congress demanded either his justified explanation or resignation.

The Congress stepped into the swirling storm, asking journalist turned politician Akbar to either resign as minister of state for external affairs or offer a satisfactory explanation to the allegations by women journalists who had worked with him in the past.

The government maintained silence with Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad refusing to comment when asked to do so in a press conference.

“How can he be in the ministry with serious allegations being levelled against him by responsible journalists who worked with him. Let there be an inquiry into it,” Congress spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy said as three more journalists came forward with their allegations against Akbar.

One of them, Ghazala Wahab, detailed the harassment and molestation she faced during her first job in the Asian Age when Akbar was editor.

Describing her trauma in graphic detail, Wahab wrote in The Wire that it took her a while to process the abuse and open up about it.

“Once, in autumn of 1997, while I was half-squatting over the dictionary, he sneaked up behind me and held me by my waist. I stumbled in sheer fright while struggling to get to my feet.

He ran his hands from my breast to my hips. I tried pushing his hands away, but they were plastered on my waist, his thumbs rubbing the sides of my breasts,” Wahab recalled.

Akbar has come under the media spotlight after many of his former women colleagues accused him of sexual misconduct.

The #MeToo movement has intensified in the country with more women recounting their experiences of sexual harassment in the entertainment and media industry.

The movement in India started after actor Tanushree Dutta alleged that well-known Bollywood actor Nana Patekar sexually harassed her on the sets of a movie in 2008. Since then, many women have come out in public to share their experiences of harassment. – Australian Sikhs request New South Wales premier for representation and helmet exemption

United Sikhs

Sydney – New South Wales – Australia, 10 October 2018. New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, responded warmly to a request to address two pressing issues faced by Sikhs in New South Wales. She was visiting the Glenwood Gurdwara in Sydney yesterday and had a meeting with the Australian Sikh Association and United Sikhs representatives.

During the meeting the Premier was handed a letter which was signed by an ASA Trustee, Mr Balvinder Singh Chahal and Mejindarpal Kaur, the International Legal Director of United Sikhs, which made a request in relation to two pressing issues, which particularly affect Sikhs in New South Wales, namely:

1. The need for Sikh representation in the public sector and Parliament; and

2. The need for a helmet exemption for Sikh pedal cyclists.


In the letter, the Premier was informed that she leads a state where the first Sikh Gurdwara was built in 1968, in Woolgoolga, where today Sikhs comprise 50 percent of the population and own 90 percent of the local banana farms. Further, of the 19 Australian Sikh ANZAC members, five were enlisted in New South Wales.

Recent statistics reveal that Sikhism has grown over 500 per cent in Australia in the last ten years making it Australia’s fastest growing religion since 2011. However, Sikhs continue to be a visibly invisible religious minority.

“Even though Sikhs in New South Wales are hard-working active contributors to a broad range of community, industry, civil service and professional areas, regrettably, they are not appointed at senior levels to advisory boards, commissions, committees or other public authorities. As a consequence, Sikhs have had limited input in decision making in the public sector,” the letter pointed out.

“Equally, Sikhs feel that it is time that the New South Wales Parliament has its first upstanding Sikh male or female MP, who will also be the first Sikh MP in Australia. This can only be achieved if a political party, for e.g. the Liberal Party, fields a Sikh candidate,” the letter added.

“To this end, we request that appropriate persons from the Sikh community of NSW be identified and allowed an opportunity to participate in senior representative roles within the NSW government and as a first Member of Parliament,” the letter said.


Secondly, the Premier was reminded of the New South Wales Sikh community’s long-standing request for an exemption for Sikh pedal cyclists, who are mandated by their faith to wear a turban at all times.

United Sikhs legal advisor, Ishita Kaur, apprised the Premier that apart from the ACT, New South Wales is the only Australian State or Territory do not have an exemption for Sikhs riding or being a passenger on a bicycle.

“This operates to effectively ban Sikh persons from riding or being passenger on a bicycle in NSW. This is inconsistent with the position taken by most other States and Territories in Australia and is also out of step with community expectations,” the letter re-iterated.

The letter further informed the Premier that according to legal advice obtained by United Sikhs about the validity of the relevant NSW road rule, it is likely that it will be found to be invalid pursuant to section 109 of the Australian Constitution to the extent that it restricts a Sikh person from riding, or being a passenger on a bicycle in NSW without penalty.

“It is safe to say that this is an issue that is close to the hearts of all Sikhs, persons of Indian descent and the broader Australian community. Given the strong community support for a helmet exemption for Sikh persons, we implore you to consider supporting an exemption,” the letter said.

It was suggested to the Premier during the meeting and again reiterated in the letter that words to the effect of those appearing in the South Australian road rules could be adopted in the State of NSW so to allow for an exemption to Sikhs in New South Wales.

The Premier warmly received the submissions put on both of the main issues and agreed that it would be appropriate to meet further to discuss an exemption for Sikh pedal cyclists.

Gent: Gurdwara – Ketelvaart

Gurdwara Gent
02 September 2018

Reading of the last pages of the Guru Granth Sahib

The family I used to meet in the Vilvoorde Gurdwara

Indirpreet Kaur and friend

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

02 September

Bridge across the Ketelvaart – Grote Huidevetterstraat

Footbridge from the Krook library to the Brabantdam

The same bridge from a different angle

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

DNA India – Home ministry exempts Sikh women wearing turbans from wearing helmets

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 11 October 2018. The Union Home Ministry has advised the Chandigarh Administration to follow the notification issued by Delhi Government to exempt Sikh women who wear turbans, from wearing protective headgear (helmet) while driving two wheelers in Chandigarh.

The directive is in response to the representation received by to the Union Home Minister from representatives of Sikh bodies.

The Department of Transport, Delhi Government, through its notification issued on June 4, 1999, carried out the amendment in Rule 115 of Delhi Motor Vehicle Act 1993, making it optional for women “whether riding pillion or riding a motorcycle to wear a protective headgear”.

The rule was further amended through a notification dated August 28, 2014 as “in the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rule 1993, in Sub-Rule 115 for the word “Women” the word “Sikh Women” shall be submitted.

The correct position is: Sikhs (male or female) who wear turbans are exempt, those who do not are not
Man in Blue

Dawn – Child marriages prevention bill on the table in Balochistan

Staff Correspondent

Quetta – Balochistan – Pakistan, 08 October 2018. A senior leader of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Sana Durrani, has urged the provincial government to move the Prevent Child Marriages bill in the provincial assembly for legislation as soon as possible.

Speaking at a joint press conference, along with representatives of different NGOs, including Robina Rizwan, Ms Samreen, Abdul Sattar Baloch, Gul Khan Naseer and Zia Baloch, Ms Durrani said that NGOs have played a leading role in the campaign for this bill to be presented.

She said that the bill was discussed in the assembly by members from both sides and the majority of the elected representatives agreed to go ahead with it. The only point of contention among some of them, she said, was on the matter of the points on the age limits of girls the bill addressed.

Ms Durrani said that the bill was about to be passed in the assembly but because it was the end of its tenure, the bill remained pending. She said that Balochistan was notorious for child marriages, which causes a high child mortality rate.