The New Indian Express – 25 Dalits convert to Buddhism in Shamli alleging discrimination

Dalit leader Devidas Jayant, who also converted, said they had taken the step due to discrimination and atrocities against the community.

Muzaffarnagar – UP – India, 12 November 2018. Twenty-five Dalits converted to Buddhism in a ceremony in Shamli district, alleging discrimination against the community.

Dalit leader Devidas Jayant, who also converted, said they had taken the step due to discrimination and atrocities against the community.

Bodh bhikshu Bhante Pergyashil has performed the conversion ceremony, he said.

Circle Officer Rajesh Kumar Tiwari said the event had not taken place under any coercion and added that everyone had the freedom to follow any religion they desire.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/nov/12/25-dalits-convert-to-buddhism-in-shamli-alleging-discrimination-1897167.html

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Sikh24.com – UK: Mass Sikh Lobby on November 14 to raise important issues


Sikh24 Editors

London – UK, 12 November 2018. The UK Sikhs are lobbying their MPs to put forward several important issues facing the Sikh community to Prime Minister Theresa May on November 14. Five important key issues have been identified, see the above image.

The Sikh Federation UK is urging Sikhs to inform their MPs and ask them to raise the above issues during November 14 Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs). PMQs is a constitutional convention in the United Kingdom, currently held as a single session every Wednesday at noon when the House of Commons is sitting, during which the Prime Minister spends half an hour answering questions from Members of Parliament.

“There will be a Prime Minister’s Question event at the House of Parliament in Westminster.

We ask all Sikhs to contact parliament switchboard ‭020 7219 3000‬ to inform their MPs and ask them to be present at The Parliamentary Lobby which will take place between 12.00 – 15.00,” Sikh Federation UK states in a press statement.

“During the Parliamentary Lobby, there will be an opportunity where MPs will be questioned on what they have done in regards to Jagtar Singh Johal’s detainment in India and also question the involvement of the Indian government in regards to the raids which took place by West Midlands police at the house of 5 activists involved with the #FreeJaggiNow campaign,” said Jas Singh.

“From 13.00 – 15.00 there will be an event to mark the 1-year detainment of Jaggi taking place in Committee Room 16. During this time there will be speeches from Redress and Martin Docherty Hughes. This will also provide you with an opportunity to ask your MP to join in and show their support for the #FreeJaggiNow campaign,” he added.

https://www.sikh24.com/2018/11/12/uk-mass-sikh-lobby-on-november-14-to-raise-important-issues/#.W-pyYuJRfIU

Antwerpen Centraal – Diamant – Frankrijklei – Meir – Meirbrug

Antwerpen
27 October 2018


Antwerpen Centraal – Middenstatie
Level +1, 0, -1, -2


De Lijn station Diamant


Frankrijklei – New tracks
When will the works be finished ?


This side is still very much a work in (slow) progress


De Lijn Station Meir


Tram junction Meirbrug

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Scroll.in – Jallianwala Bagh massacre: How Colonel Dyer exploited the planned gathering as a ‘gift of fortune’

In a new book, Kishwar Desai writes about how the residents of Amritsar were manipulated and insufficiently warned before the massacre in 1919.

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 12 November 2018. Since April 13 was a Sunday, many of the shops were closed in any case and the hartal was still on. With the constant presence of the army on the streets, few people would have been out in the morning.

However, at 9.30 am, Dyer decided to make two proclamations, neither of which was likely to have been heard. The Naib Tehsildar who was making the proclamations said he had halted at around 19 places where anywhere between 100 to 500 people had gathered.

Most of them, he said, were jeering, and it was doubtful if anyone grasped the importance of his words. He also mentioned that there were announcements of the Jallianwala Bagh meeting taking place simultaneously, or at least discussions about it.

There are also reports of people staying indoors when Dyer’s entourage passed by. In any case, the terms of the proclamations were unclear, perhaps deliberately so. They were read out to the beat of a drum by the Naib Tehsildar.

The first proclamation said:

The inhabitants of Amritsar are hereby warned that if any property is destroyed or other outrages committed in the vicinity of Amritsar it will be taken that incitement to perform these acts originates from Amritsar City, and such measures will be taken by me to punish the inhabitants of Amritsar according to Military law.

All meetings and gatherings are hereby prohibited and I mean to take action in accordance with Military Laws to forthwith disperse all such assemblies.

It was signed “RE Dyer, Brigadier General, Commanding Jullundur Brigade”.

This was a printed proclamation, as was the first part of the second one. But the final and most crucial part of the second proclamation, which spoke of dispersal by “force of arms”, was only read out.

The first part said:

It is hereby proclaimed to all whom it may concern, that no person residing in the city is permitted or allowed to leave the city in his own private or hired conveyance, or on foot without a pass from one of the following officers:

The Deputy Commissioner

The Superintendent of Police – Mr Rehill

The Deputy Superintendent of Police – Mr Plomer

The Assistant Commissioner – Mr Beckett

Mr Connor, Magistrate

Mr Seymour, Magistrate

Ara Muhammad Hussain, Magistrate

The Police Officer-in-charge of the City Kotwali

This will be a special form and pass

The next part of the proclamation, which was only read out, said:

No person residing in the Amritsar city is permitted to leave his house after 8.00 pm.
Any persons found in the streets after 8.00 pm are liable to be shot.

No procession of any kind is permitted to parade the streets in the city, or any part of the city, or outside of it, at any time. Any such processions or any gathering of four men would be looked upon and treated as an unlawful assembly and dispersed by force of arms, if necessary.

A note by Irving clarified, “I have put in the words ‘if necessary’ in the draft which I was asked to edit in legal language so as to bring it into line with ‘liable to be shot’ in paragraph 2.”

But did the addition of these words really have any preventive impact or was it only to protect Dyer and Irving?

This second (ambiguous) statement was read out in Urdu and Punjabi and it is the addition of the last two words that indicated that some kind of warning would be given before shooting.

The additional information that people would be shot if they were out after 8.00 pm, also made it confusing for most. Many who heard it may have thought that people would only be shot after 8.00 pm if they were still on the streets.

In any case, the proclamation was made at 19 places, none of which were close to Jallianwala Bagh or even the Golden Temple – the most crowded part of the city and an area where even visitors were likely to throng to.

For the residents of Amritsar who wanted to attend, the fact that a respected local elder and barrister, Kanhya Lal, was going to address the assembly meant they could expect to receive some “sound advice”.

Kanhya Lal himself said in his evidence to the Congress Committee: “I heard that some men (who have not been traced up to this time to my knowledge) had on the 13th April, proclaimed that a lecture would be given at Jallianwala Bagh by me.

This led or induced the public to think that I should have given them some sound advice on the situation then existing.”

A boy with a tin can had also gone around announcing that Kanhya Lal would preside over the 4.30 pm meeting at Jallianwala Bagh. He too could not be traced later. Neither could Hans Raj, the person said to have called the meeting, be questioned about the meeting, as he became a government witness in the “Amritsar Conspiracy Case”.

He did not give evidence before the Hunter Committee as he had left for Mesopotamia by then.

Some historians suspect that Hans Raj was used to gather a crowd because Dyer wanted a large number of people to be “punished”.

That the meeting was going to be held at 4.30 pm was confirmed at 1.00 pm to Dyer, who remained at Ram Bagh till at least 4.00 pm, and later said, “I went there as soon as I could. I had to think the matter out. I had to organise my forces and make up my mind as to where I might put my pickets.

I thought I had done enough to make the crowd not meet. If they were going to meet I had to consider the military situation and make up my mind what to do, which took me a certain amount of time.”

The “military situation” meant he must have asked for a map of the area and studied how he could attack the enemy, with maximum impact. He was proud of his technical skills.

Something of what was going through his mind is in his biography, The Life of General Dyer, written by Ian Colvin, in close association with Dyer’s wife, Anne, in 1929. Puzzled about how to attack the “rebels”, he had exulted over the “gift of fortune” when the “rebels” decided to congregate in an open space.

He wanted to take “immediate action” on the Amritsar “mob” which had tasted blood and “began to feel themselves masters of the situation”. He realised that he needed to bring a sizeable crowd together, but how could he do it?

In the narrow streets, among the high houses and mazy lanes and courtyards of the city the rebels had the advantage of position. They could harass him and avoid his blow. Street fighting he knew to be a bloody, perilous, inconclusive business, in which, besides, the innocent were likely to suffer more than the guilty.

Moreover, if the rebels chose their ground cunningly, and made their stand in the neighbourhood of the Golden Temple, there was the added risk of kindling the fanaticism of the Sikhs. Thus he was in this desperate situation: he could not wait and he could not fight.

The fact that the rebels themselves chose to go to an open space, where they could be corralled in was an unexpected “gift of fortune”: something he could only have hoped for and not devised. As his admirer Ian Colvin said, now the enemy was within easy reach of his sword.

“The enemy had committed such another mistake as prompted Cromwell to exclaim at Dunbar: ‘The Lord hath delivered them into my hands.’”

For Dyer, this was not a murderous attack on defenceless, innocent people. For him the people assembled were all guilty; it was a state of war, in which he wanted to teach them a “moral” lesson. He assumed all of those present at Jallianwala Bagh to be guilty without any idea of who they were.

Dyer’s planning was impeccable. He ensured that he conscripted soldiers who were sufficiently removed from Punjab so they were able to shoot without compunction. He deliberately took no British troops, because he wanted no blame to fall on them. He took none of the other commanders, what would have happened if they resisted his orders?

He was thus accompanied by twenty-five Gurkhas and twenty-five Baluchis armed with rifles. These were fierce fighters and the Gurkhas, especially, were incredibly loyal. They had no connections with Punjab, they did not even know the language.

Aware that if the crowd rushed towards him, there might be hand-to-hand combat, he took forty Gurkhas armed only with khukris. He was prepared for a bloodbath. Knowing fully well that they would not fit into the entrance, he took two armoured cars.

This was more for effect and, if things got out of hand, for escape. He also placed pickets all along the routes to the Bagh so people could be shot even if they escaped.

As the Hunter Committee admitted in its report to the British Parliament in 1920, “It appears that General Dyer, as soon as he heard about the contemplated meeting, made up his mind to go there with troops and fire” because they had “defied his authority” by assembling.

The fact that they may have been unaware of his prohibitory orders was not important for him. He wanted to create a “wide impression”.

He said, “If they disobeyed my orders it showed that there was complete defiance of law, that there was something much more serious behind it than I imagined, that therefore these were rebels, and I must not treat them with gloves on. They had come to fight if they defied me, and I was going to teach them a lesson.”

In his defence, British historians have said that he took a very small force and that he was surprised by the crowd that he found, forcing him to react the way he did. This is contrary to the facts.

He had carefully calculated how he would spread the force available to him all around the city and an aircraft flying over the meeting had already conveyed to him the strength of the crowd.

He stationed around fifty men to protect his Ram Bagh base, and also dropped off five pickets of forty each en route to Jallianwala Bagh. It was thus that he was left with “fifty rifles, forty armed Gurkhas and two armoured cars”. But he also had another fifty stationed at the Kotwali, which was not very far from Jallianwala Bagh.

Of course, the people assembling at the Bagh had no inkling of his plan, while he knew about their meeting. The CID, based in the Kotwali, were keeping a close eye on the assembly, as they had been asked to do. They too did not request people to leave, or stop them from going to the Bagh, following the morning proclamation by Dyer.

This would have added to the confidence of the gathering at Jallianwala Bagh, as the police would have watched them assemble and done nothing about it. Some members of the CID and a few police constables were even seen at the gathering, as was normal.

It is also interesting to note that despite the large presence of the army and the discomfort and deprivations they had been subjected to, the people of Amritsar still had faith in the system, in each other and, to a large extent, the British.

They were defiant, but also sombre, after the deaths on April 10, they could not imagine that a peaceful gathering, so close to the Golden Temple, on the festive day of Baisakhi could become a bloodbath.

The events of April 10 were seen as an aberration. The two days of calm that followed had given them false hope, leading them to believe that things had calmed down and they could carry on with their satyagraha.

Excerpted with permission from Jallianwalla Bagh, 1919: The Real Story, Kishwar Desai, Westland.
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https://scroll.in/article/901710/jallianwala-bagh-massacre-how-colonel-dyer-exploited-the-planned-gathering-as-a-gift-of-fortune

The Hindu – Explosion in front of high school rocks Kabul

Blast took place close to where Afghans have been protesting against Taliban attacks on the minority Hazara ethnic group.

Kabut – Kabul Province – Afghanistan, 12 November 2018. Casualties are feared after a huge explosion rocked Kabul on Monday close to where scores of Afghans had been protesting against Taliban attacks on the minority Hazara ethnic group.

The blast struck in front of a high school in the downtown area of the Afghan capital, the interior ministry said.

A photo shared on the popular WhatsApp messaging app showed several bodies lying on the ground.

“It was a huge blast near Istiqlal high school, very close to where the demonstrators were gathering,” witness Qais Nawabi told AFP.

A police officer at the scene said he could see 10 to 15 casualties on the ground, as well as body parts.

“It is hard to see whether it was a suicide attack or a bomb [that had been planted],” he told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Hundreds of protesters, including university students, had taken to the streets of Kabul to demand the deployment of reinforcements to Hazara-dominated districts in Ghazni province which have been attacked by the Taliban.

Hazaras are not just an ethnic community, most of them are also Shia Muslims.
To learn more about Hazaras you should  read ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini.
Man in Blue

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/explosion-in-front-of-high-school-rocks-kabul/article25475027.ece?homepage=true