The New Indian Express – Pakistan president Arif Alvi, PM Imran Khan reiterate support to people of Jammu and Kashmir

In his message, Alvi said “the United Nations Security Council, through several of its resolutions, has validated the Kashmiris’ right to decide their future through a fair and impartial plebiscite”.

Islamabad Capital Region – Pakistan, 28 October 2018. President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday reiterated Pakistan’s diplomatic and political support for the just cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the official media reported.

In his message, Alvi said “the United Nations Security Council, through several of its resolutions, has validated the Kashmiris’ right to decide their future through a fair and impartial plebiscite”.

Khan said Pakistan would not relent in its moral, political and diplomatic support until the Kashmiris realise their legitimate right to self-determination in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions, Radio Pakistan reported as the country observed ‘Black Day’ to demand the right to self-determination for the people in the Valley.

He called for immediate implementation of the recommendation to set up a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir.

The Tribune – Disgruntled SAD leaders stay away from party meet

Sukhbir ducks queries on senior Akalis’ resignation

Neeraj Bagga, Tribune News Service

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 27 October 2018. Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal on Saturday held a meeting with SGPC members and Akali MLAs, but disgruntled party leaders chose to stay away.

To a question on resignation by senior leaders, Sukhbir just said: “They are towering Akali leaders of my father’s age.” He ducked the repeated queries over the matter by repeating the same answer.

On being asked if any attempt was being made to resolve the differences, he stated that they had not resign from the party and were very much part of the Akali Dal.

All Akali leaders of the Majha region, who had aired their resentment by holding a meeting on September 30, abstained from the meeting. They are Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, Ravinder Singh Brahmpura, Manmohan Singh Sathiala, Amarpal Singh Bonny and Sewa Singh Sekhwan.

Meanwhile, the Akali Dal demanded registration of a case against Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Education Minister OP Soni and the committee members who authored PSEB Class XII history book with “derogatory references to Sikh Gurus”.

A resolution to this effect was passed at the Saturday’s meeting, attended by SGPC members, legislators, district presidents and senior party leaders.

Sukhbir alleged that the Congress government had neither taken action against committee members who had prepared the five chapters recently released online nor withdrawn the objectionable matter so far. He demanded immediate withdrawal of the new chapters.

Gent Gurdwara – Gentbrugge Schooldreef/Braemkasteelstraat – Gent Rabot

Gent Gurdwara
30 September 2018

Anmol Kaur and her dilruba

Equality : Two young women, two somewhat older men

Dilruba and tabla

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

Gentbrugge Schooldreef
01 October 2018

Tram 2 to Zwijnaarde and to Melle Leeuw

Even Eva reminds me of Evi

Gent Rabot
03 October 2018


To see all my pictures:

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Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

First Post – Stubble burning continuing in Amritsar despite Punjab government’s awareness measures, says district’s deputy commissioner

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 28 October 2018. Despite the deterioration in air quality in New Delhi and the adjoining areas, farmers in Amritsar continue to burn paddy-stubble and further deteriorate air quality, despite an order of prohibition.

Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha said, “According to the National Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court the Punjab government tried to spread awareness on how to incorporate paddy straw in different ways. The agriculture department also spoke to the farmers and that worked.

Still, some people continued stubble burning and our team of officers had fined them according to the NGT order. One officer has been posted in every village to spread awareness on stubble burning. Things will start improving from now onwards.”

Data by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) showed a decline in the paddy stubble-burning in Punjab this Kharif season.

The data from the PPCB reflects that 7503 cases of stubble-burning have been reported until Friday in 2018. During the corresponding periods in the last two years, there were 13,364 and 19,879 cases of farm burning.

The report by the pollution control board shows that Amritsar witnessed a slight dip in stubble-burning cases. A little more than 700 incidents have been recorded in 2018 as compared to 785 in 2017 and little lesser than 1000 in 2016.

The decline can be attributed to various factors, including awareness and farmers adhering to governmental policies in mitigating the farm fires.

Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan expressed concerns over the increase in air pollution levels in Delhi and its neighbouring cities and assured that the Centre will make all efforts to curb the menace.

“This time the Central government had appointed 41 teams from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to do field study of four cities, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurugrama and Haryana in order to curb the issue from the grass root level.

We will make efforts to curb the issue of air pollution,” the minister told reporters earlier in the day.

The Hindu – One dead in Sri Lanka shooting as political crisis deepens

Bodyguards for Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga fired live rounds at a mob loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena.

Colombo – Greater Colombo area – Sri Lanka, 28 October 2018. One man died and two others were injured when shots were fired on October 28 in Sri Lanka, as a constitutional crisis over the shock sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe turned violent.

Bodyguards for Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga fired live rounds as a mob loyal to Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena besieged the Cabinet member in his office, police said.

One of those shot in the melee, a 34-year-old man, died shortly after being admitted to the Colombo National, hospital spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa told AFP.

It was the first report of serious violence since Mr. Sirisena sacked Mr. Wickremesinghe on on October 26 and installed a former strongman as the new Prime Minister, triggering political chaos in the Indian Ocean nation.

Mr. Wickremesinghe has refused to vacate the Prime Minister’s official residence since being controversially deposed, declaring his dismissal illegal and demanding an emergency session of parliament to prove he still commands a majority.

Over 1,000 supporters and loyalists, including chanting Buddhist monks, massed outside the colonial-era residence in Colombo where a defiant Mr. Wickremesinghe has been holding crisis talks with allies.

Elsewhere his successor Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former President, sought blessings at a temple ahead of naming a new cabinet, as he jostles to consolidate his claim to the Prime Ministership.

Officials loyal to Mr. Rajapaksa said police will now seek a court order to evict Mr. Wickremesinghe from the residence, threatening to escalate the standoff.

Regional neighbours and Western nations have urged all sides to exercise restraint and respect the constitution.

Soldiers had been stationed near the Prime Minister’s residence, although his security and official cars were withdrawn on October 27, but the shooting at the Petroleum Ministry was the first reported instance of violence breaking out.

The embattled Mr. Wickremesinghe received a boost on October 28 as Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary Speaker Karu Jayasuriya refused to endorse his sacking.

The Speaker backed the ousted Prime Minister’s request to retain his privileges and security until another candidate could prove a majority, saying it was “democratic and fair”.

Mr. Wickremesinghe called for a vote in Parliament to prove his right to hold office, but instead Mr. Sirisena shut Parliament for nearly three weeks to forestall any challenge against Mr. Rajapaksa’s appointment.

‘Serious consequences’

Speaker Jayasuriya warned the President that shuttering Parliament risked “serious and undesirable consequences for the country”.

Others feared the crisis could degenerate into street violence if the President did not immediately summon Parliament to end the impasse.

“Don’t try to create a civil war in this country,” Karunarathna Paranawithana, a legislator from Mr. Wickremesinghe’s party told reporters at the Prime Minister’s residence.

“If the President has the numbers he should immediately call Parliament and prove his majority.”

‘Wickremsinghe’s political conduct was unbecoming’

In his first address to the nation after the dramatic move to sack Mr. Wickremesinghe, Mr. Sirisena said that Mr. Wickremesinghe was sacked due to his “arrogant” behaviour, and asserted that Mr. Rajapaksa was made the new premier in strict accordance with the Constitution.

Mr. Wickremsinghe’s political conduct since the victory in 2015 was unbecoming. “He appeared to treat Sri Lanka’s future as a joy ride for a coterie of people around him who had no sense of the common man’s thinking,” he said.

Loyalists to Mr. Rajapaksa, whose controversial decade-long rule was marked by grave allegations of rights abuses, the crushing of the Tamil Tiger uprising, and growing authoritarianism, still control the headquarters of two state-run television channels.

The controversial new Prime Minister travelled to a highly venerated Buddhist temple on October 28 in the central district of Kandy to seek blessings from monks.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s aides said he was likely to name a few Cabinet Ministers before the end of the day and begin work on October 29 — he is yet to make a formal statement since being elevated to the new post.

The strongman is seen as being closer to China than Mr. Wickremesinghe, who had sought to re-establish stronger ties with India.

China’s ambassador to Colombo met separately with Mr. Rajapaksa and Mr. Wickremesinghe on October 27, officials said, while Colombo-based Western diplomats met with Mr. Wickremesinghe.

‘Constitutional coup’

Privately-run newspapers on October 28 described Mr. Sirisena’s move as a “constitutional coup”.

However, Rajapaksa loyalist and former Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris said there was nothing illegal about sacking Mr. Wickremesinghe and challenged him to prove his majority when Parliament returns on November 16.

The falling out between Mr. Wickremesinghe and Mr. Sirisena has come to a head since the President this year backed a no-confidence motion against the man he had handpicked to lead the government.

The two allied against Mr. Rajapaksa in the 2015 election, but their relationship steadily soured.

Mr. Sirisena initially said he would be a one-term President but has since indicated he will seek re-election next year, pitting himself against Mr. Wickremesinghe who also has presidential ambitions.

This is the second time that a President has ousted Mr. Wickremesinghe from office. In 2004, the then head of state sacked him and called snap elections.

After winning the premiership a third time in August 2015, Mr. Wickremesinghe amended the constitution to remove the President’s power to sack Prime Ministers to prevent a repeat of his earlier ouster.