The Statesman – What triggered Thupstan Chhewang resignation? Many blame BJP failure to ensure UT status for Ladakh

Resignations of Thupstan Chhewang, as also LAHDC chief executive councilor Dorjay Motup, are likely to cause enormous loss to the BJP in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections in Ladakh where it was wiped out in the recent elections civic elections.

S P Sharma

Jammu – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 16 November 2018. Failure of the Bharatiya Janata Party to implement its promise of granting union territory status to Ladakh and ministerial berth at the Centre to Thupstan Chhewang, who was the first ever BJP member of Lok Sabha from Ladakh, has rattled the party in the cold desert region.

Chhewang has resigned from his seat and also the primary membership of the party.

The MP took everyone by surprise when he shot a letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker and also state BJP chief Ravinder Raina on Thursday evening, saying he was quitting his seat and also primary membership of the party with immediate effect on “health grounds”.

A few days ago, Dorjay Motup, chief executive councilor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, had also resigned from the post on health grounds.

Resignation of both leaders is likely to cause enormous loss to the BJP in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections in Ladakh where it has virtually been wiped out in the recent elections for the Kargil’s LAHDC and the municipal council of Leh.

The Congress won all 13 seats of the Leh’s municipal council and the BJP could secure only one of the 26 seats of the LAHDC of Kargil.

It was for the first time that the BJP in 2014 won the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat as Thupstan Chhewang, who was an influential member of the Congress resigned and joined BJP to contest the election. He was reportedly promised a ministerial berth at the Centre if he won the seat.

However, he was not feeling comfortable in the BJP that failed to fulfill any of the electoral promises, sources close to Chhewang said. Moreover, he had been marginalised soon after winning the election.

Reacting to Chhewang’s resignation, former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted: “2 of the 6 Lok Sabha seats from J&K will now be vacant till the general elections. Anantnag has been vacant for more than 2 years now & Ladakh falls vacant once this resignation is accepted”.

Rigzin Zora, Congress MLA from Ladakh, said the BJP had already been wiped out of Ladakh during the recent LAHDC, Kargil and municipal elections.

There were reports that Thuptsan Chhewang and Motup were humiliated by certain junior level BJP leaders of Jammu and New Delhi following the party’s rout in the municipal elections as a result of which both decided to quit.

In a letter to Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina, Chhewang said: “I have to inform you that I am resigning from primary membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party on health grounds with immediate effect.”

He added: “I am also writing separately to the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha resigning as MP from Ladakh Parliamentary constituency.”

Raina confirmed that Chhewang had resigned from the party but claimed that he had for the past some time been saying he wanted to go towards spirituality and shun politics. He said the party had asked him to be in active politics till the 2019 elections.

Efforts to contact Thupstan Chhewang remained futile as his phones had been switched off since Thursday. – Pakistani Sikhs demand PSGPC elections

Sikh24 Editors

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 13 November 2018. The Pakistani Sikhs have started demanding elections of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee as the tenure of serving members had matured two years ago.

Mismanagement on the behalf serving PSGPC members have resulted in the emergence demand among common Pakistani for elections of the apex Pakistani Sikh body.

Speaking to Sikh24, Nankana Sahib resident Pritam Singh informed that the interference of Evacuee Trust Property Board in Sikh affairs is rising day by day in Pakistan.

He alleged that the priests [granthis] and servants [sevadars] recruited by the ETPB in Sikh shrines were being given two times more wages than the ones appointed by the PSGPC.

“There is no appointment of any servant [sevadar] for the day to day petty services in Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Sri Nankana Sahib due to which the Sikh sangat has been doing the volunteer service from a long time” he added.

Lahore resident Jagteshwar Singh said that the problems being endured by Sikh and Hindu minorities residing in Pakistan for managing their historic shrines can’t be tackled with appointment of a Muslim for the Chairmanship of ETPB.

Earlier, the Chief Justice of Pakistan had also passed a same remark on the appointment of a Muslim to head the Evacuee Trust Property Board.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the ETPB’s interference in PSGPC has risen to such an extent that the selection of PSGPC members is being done in an undemocratic manner under the garb of unanimity.

Presently, the PSGPC doesn’t even have sufficient number of members mandatory in the PSGPC. As per the constitution of PSGPC, minimum ten members are must but the two positions are lying vacant in the PSGPC after the death of members Dr. Suran Singh and Baba Sham Singh.

Antwerpen Groenplaats – Nationalestraat – Sint-Andriesstraat

27 October 2018

Stop normally used by trams to Silsburg

27 October 2018

Tram 4 to Hoboken

Tram 4 only serves Hoboken to Groenplaats
Tram 9 will go to Silsburg

27 October 2018

I should have been at Sint-Andriesplaats !
Confused old man

27 October 2018

A modern articulated tram to Hoboken

27 October 2018

PCC with ‘remorque’ waiting to leave for Hoboken

To see all my pictures:

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Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Independent – Man who set fire to Sikh temple [Gurdwara] and church in ‘political statement’ is jailed

Paul Johnson said to have ‘issues’ with religion

Edinburgh – Scotland – UK, 16 November 2018. A man who poured petrol on the doors of both a Sikh temple [Gurdwara] and a Methodist church before setting them on fire, has been jailed for four years.

Paul Johnson, was said to have “issues” with religion, set the the entrance of Edinburgh’s Guru Nanak Sikh Temple [Gurdwara] ablaze before moving on to Leith Methodist Church.

Smoke from the fire attack on the Sikh temple [Gurdwara] spewed into the building, endangering people inside, the High Court in Edinburgh heard last month.

He later confessed to the crime, telling police officers he wanted to watch the buildings burn down.

Johnson, 49, admitted two charges of wilful fire-raising, aggravated by religious prejudice, on August 28.

Returning to the court for sentencing this week, judge Lord Boyd described Johnson’s actions as “reckless and wicked”.

He said the defendant appeared to have a “grudge” against religion or religious authority in general, rather than a prejudice against one particular group.

The court had earlier heard that on the evening of 27 August, Johnson bought a container and fuel worth £3.51 from a local petrol station.

A worshipper travelling to the temple [Gurdwara] in the early hours of August 28 saw fire had taken hold on one side of one of the doors.

He raised the alarm and the fire service sent 11 firefighters who brought the blaze under control.

Hours later, the caretaker at Leith Methodist Church noticed a smell of petrol and burning, but found the front door had not been seriously damaged by a fire. He later contacted police after hearing about the incident at the temple.

CCTV footage from the area around the church between 12.03am and 12.13am showed Johnson approaching the church door, before a flash of light appeared.

He returned on two further occasions during that time to light more paper and throw it towards the door before running away.

Asked about his involvement in the two fires, after his arrest he immediately told officers: “I did it,” the court at his first hearing.

Advocate depute Alan Cameron told the court: “The accused was asked as to his motivation for the fires and stated that he was looking to make a political statement, but would not provide further details.

When asked whether this was religiously motivated he stated that he has no issue with any particular religion but his issues are with religion and God in general.”

Sentencing Lord Boyd said: “What is clear is that you seem to have some sort of grudge against religion or religious authority and decided to take it out on two nearby religious buildings.

You told police officers that you were confident that no-one was in the building and that fire officers would not be at risk because of their training. You were of course wrong about people being in the building and your actions did put people at risk.

“It is clear from what I can glean about these offences that they were motivated by a grudge against religion or religious authority in general rather than prejudice or bigotry against any one group. Indeed you appeared unaware of the religious denomination of the buildings themselves.”

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Inspector Grant Johnston, of Gayfield CID in Edinburgh, said: “Paul Johnson showed absolutely no concern for the safety or well-being of those in or around either place of worship when he started these fires.

“As a result of a swift police investigation, Johnson was quickly traced and arrested in connection with the fire and has now been given a custodial sentence.

“We treat all hate crime incidents with the utmost seriousness and whenever such offences occur, we will conduct a thorough inquiry to bring those responsible to justice.”

The Hindu – Sri Lankan Parliament disrupted again, adjourned until Monday

President Sirisena says he will not ‘prorogue Parliament under any circumstances’.

Colombo – Sri Lanka, 16 November 2018. Sri Lanka’s Parliament witnessed chaos for the second day on Friday as MPs loyal to disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa occupied the seat of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and shouted slogans, forcing him to summon police inside the House and adjourning the session until Monday.

The brawl occurred a day after the Speaker announced there is no prime minister or government following a no-confidence motion against Mr. Rajapaksa.

Friday’s proceedings were to repeat the floor test, which was disrupted on Thursday.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who installed Mr. Rajapaksa as prime minister last month in a controversial move, had agreed for a floor test with the leaders of ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s coalition during crisis talks last night.

Rajapaksa’s MPs take over Speaker seat

The MPs supporting Mr. Rajapaksa took over the seat of the Speaker, delaying the proceedings, officials said. They shouted slogans against Mr. Jayasuriya.

The Speaker summoned the police inside Parliament chamber after 45 minutes of disruption. One of the rioting MPs Arundika Fernando occupied the seat of the Speaker with more MPs surrounding it.

Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, a senior parliamentarian, was injured in the melee.

The rioting United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) members demanded the arrest of two legislators of the Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP). They charged that Palitha Thewarapperuma and Ranjan Ramanayake were carrying knives during the Thursday brawl.

On Thursday, UPFA MP Dilum Amunugama was injured in clashes inside the chamber.

Police on Friday protected Mr. Jayasuriya from the rioting MPs as he called the Tamil National Alliance lawmaker MA Sumanthiran to propose the suspension of the standing orders.

Mr. Jayasuriya on the basis of a voice vote announced that the motion against Mr. Rajapaksa was defeated as physical voting could not take place due to the brawl.

MPs hurl books at police

The rioting MPs threw books at the police. Mr. Jayasuriya immediately suspended the sittings until November 19 and left the House surrounded by police.

President Sirisena said that he would not ‘prorogue Parliament under any circumstances’.

“I urge all parliamentarians to uphold principles of democracy parliamentary traditions at all times. I will not prorogue Parliament under any circumstances,” he tweeted.

Trouble erupted in Parliament on Thursday when the Speaker agreed to a request from ousted Mr. Wickremesinghe’s UNP that a vote be taken on a statement made by Mr. Rajapaksa demanding fresh polls.

Mr. Jayasuriya allowed Mr. Rajapaksa to make a statement as a lawmaker after stating that he does not recognise the claim of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) leader who lost a no-confidence motion on Wednesday.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s side has disputed the no-trust motion, saying proper procedure was not followed and accused Mr. Jayasuriya of bias towards his own party.

No-confidence motion

Parliament on Wednesday passed the no-confidence motion against Mr. Rajapaksa after the Supreme Court overturned the presidential decree to dissolve the House and hold snap polls on January 5.

Amid raucous scenes, Parliament on Wednesday met for the first time since October 26, when Mr. Sirisena sacked Mr. Wickremesinghe, installed Mr. Rajapaksa in his place and suspended the House, plunging the island nation into an unprecedented constitutional crisis.

The vote of no confidence against Mr. Rajapaksa has further complicated the political crisis. It is not yet clear whether he will resign or whether Mr. Wickremesinghe, who has the support of 122 lawmakers in the 225-member House, will return to power.