BBC News – Rohingya return to Myanmar: Confusion and fear in refugee camps

Cox’s Bazar – Chittagong Division – Bangladesh, 15 November 2018. No Rohingya refugees voluntarily chose to return to Myanmar from camps in Bangladesh on the first day of a planned repatriation programme.

Under a joint deal between the two countries, authorities had wanted to move some 2,000 Rohingya on Thursday.

But the UN and rights groups say no-one should be forced to return, as the situation in Myanmar is not safe.

More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims and others have fled to Bangladesh over the past year.

They were escaping violence and a military operation in western Rakhine state.

The UN has said senior Myanmar officials should be investigated and tried for genocide over the operation, which the army says was targeting militants.

After the planned repatriations were halted on Thursday, amid protests in the camps, senior Myanmar officials said they had been ready to process returnees and blamed the Bangladeshi side.

‘They’re sending us to die’

The refugees are mostly living in basic conditions in sprawling camps near the Bangladeshi border town of Cox’s Bazar.

Myanmar and Bangladesh have agreed they should gradually be returned to Myanmar and thousands of people have been approved for return by Myanmar.

This has led to panic among the refugees, many of whom experienced violence in Myanmar, or had family members killed and their homes burned.

The first group of refugees due to leave on Thursday had been told buses had been organised, a transit camp set up and there were stocks of rations for three days, the BBC’s Yogita Limaye reported from one of the camps.

But hearing the announcement people erupted in protest, shouting “we don’t want to go back”, and holding up placards listing the things they wanted before they would agree to return. Some even broke down in tears, our correspondent reports.

“None feels safe to go back now. We cannot force them to go back against their will,” Mohammad Abul Kalam, Bangladesh’s repatriation commissioner, told AFP news agency.

Amid the heightened anxiety, there is an increased security presence in the camps.

“I’m scared about the repatriation,” one 40-year-old man on the list to be sent back told the BBC. “Though they are trying to reassure us, I’m not convinced. I think they might kill us if we go there.”

Like many others he has sent his family into hiding in the camps. He said the only condition under which they were prepared to return to Myanmar was if they were given citizenship.

“If we have to go back, that is our fate. But I feel they will be sending us there to die.”

Another refugee told the BBC he fled with his wife and sons but that many relatives had been killed.

“They brutally tortured us,” he said, breaking down in tears. “The military came to us, they killed our people, threw kids in the fire and also set fire to houses.

“I am very disturbed by this talk of going back. How can we go there?”

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-46217505

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The Tribune – We still wake up at night and cry, say brothers of ’84 victim

Wheels of justice turn after 34 years

Aditi Tandon, Tribune News Service

New Delhi – India, 15 November 2018. The wheels of justice turn slowly and in the case of Jalandhar-based brothers Kuldeep Singh and Sangat Singh, they have taken 34 long years to turn.

“It’s almost as if November 1, 1984 never passed. I still remember the brutality with which they killed my brother using his own kirpan. They charged at us like animals determined to maul. Two of us survived but our youngest brother Hardev was consumed by the fire of revenge in Mahipalpur.

We still can’t believe his killers have been brought to justice,” says Kuldeep Singh.

Three decades after the tragedy and several failed attempts at justice later, Delhi’s Patiala House Court yesterday convicted two accused, Yashpal Singh and Naresh Sehrawat, for murdering Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh.

“We want both the accused to hang till death. Nothing else will compensate the loss. We have died a thousand deaths every day. Our statements have been disregarded, our case closed and we have been mocked by the justice system.

But the wheels of justice are now turning,” say brothers Kuldeep and Sangat Singh, both witnesses, whose testimonies helped the Special Investigation Team of the Centre prove the guilt of the accused beyond doubt.
The SIT was formed in 2015 to reopen closed cases of the riots.

On several occasions since the trial in the Hardev Singh murder case began, his brothers have lost their composure and cried before the judge.

“Their eyes have often turned red while recalling the horrors of the tragedy. The judge has recorded in the order how Kuldeep Singh often broke down in court while remaining consistent with his statements,” says Gurbaksh Singh, the lawyer for the victims.

Speaking to The Tribune, the Singh brothers, who left Delhi in 1985 to settle in Jalandhar, said their fight for justice was not over. “We still wake up at night and cry. We can’t rest till the time Congress leader J P Singh, who led the mobs that day, is also convicted. He was tried but was acquitted,” they say.

The current SIT has named J P Singh in the chargesheet as the man who led the communally driven mob along with Naresh Sehrawat. Ironically, J P Singh was acquitted by a Delhi court following a case in 1984 and under the law only the state can appeal against that acquittal.

In Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh’s murder case, no accused was ever brought to justice until yesterday. The complaint was first filed in 1984. Then the case was reopened in 1993, to be closed again.

“Since it was the Congress government at that time, they never challenged the acquittal of J P Singh. We want that done now,” Kuldeep Singh said, recalling the struggle for justice and also how investigation officers used to simply destroy their testimonials and statements.

No wonder Kuldeep and Sangat Singh today declined the offer of compensation from the court, saying all they wanted was “death for convicts”; this despite the duo working on meager wages in Jalandhar.

While Kuldeep Singh is a granthi in a local gurdwara, Sangat runs a vegetable shop to make ends meet. Asked why they refused compensation, Kuldeep Singh said, “Yashpal Singh was a friend of Hardev. They went to college together. Naresh Sehrawat used to buy groceries from us. Both betrayed our trust. Both deserve to die.

They torched our shops and came for us when we were hiding in the house of Surjit Singh, another witness in the present case. They cut short two vibrant lives. Hardev was not even married.”

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the family of another victim, Avtar Singh, are not known except that one of his brothers recently came all the way from Italy to testify in the matter the SIT began pursuing last year. The SIT is also pursuing two other reopened riot cases. These are pending in Delhi’s Karkardooma and Dwarka courts.

BJP’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who has been helping victims’ families withstand inducements and threats from the accused in riot cases, said the journey to justice was long and arduous.

But he sounded hopeful with the SIT securing the first-ever convictions in the reopened cases. As for the families longing for justice, the twin convictions mean their nightmares may just end… but who knows.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/we-still-wake-up-at-night-and-cry-say-brothers-of–84-victim/683999.html

Antwerpen Groenplaats – Deurne Stadion – Ter Heydelaan

Groenplaats
27 October 2018


Taking tram 5 to Deurne Stadion


Tram 5 in 2 minutes


Tram 5 to Wijnegem

Deurne Stadion & Ter Heydelaan
27 October 2018


The stadium of FC Antwerp in Deurne


Ter Heydelaan


On its way Linkeroever (Left Bank)

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 – 1984 riots case: Witness identifies Congress leader Sajjan Kumar as alleged instigator of violence

The witness said she saw Kumar addressing a crowd in Delhi on November 1, 1984, telling people to kill Sikhs.

New Delhi – India, 16 November 2018. A prosecution witness on Friday identified Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a case related to the anti-Sikh riots that followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, News18 reported.

The Patiala House Court was hearing Cham Kaur’s statement when she identified Kumar as the one who allegedly instigated a mob in Delhi to kill Sikhs.

Kaur told the court that she had seen Kumar addressing a crowd on November 1, 1984, telling them to kill Sikhs as “they had killed our mother”. Kaur’s son and father were thrown down from the roof the next day and they died, she claimed, as she identified Kumar, who was present in the court.

The case will next be heard on December 20.

On Wednesday, the court found Naresh Sherawat and Yashpal Singh guilty of killing Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh in Delhi’s Mahipalpur locality in a murder case in connection with the riots.

The Delhi High Court in February had upheld a 2016 trial court order granting Kumar anticipatory bail in two cases related to the riots. Kumar was accused of killing two Sikhs, Sohan Singh and his son Avtar Singh, in Delhi’s Janakpuri area during the riots.

https://scroll.in/latest/902375/1984-anti-sikh-riots-witness-identifies-congress-leader-sajjan-kumar-as-alleged-instigator

Dawn – No killer of journalists punished in last five years: report

Our Staff Reporter

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 17 November 2018. As many as 26 journalists have been murdered in the country during the last five years and none of the killers have been punished, said a report launched on Friday.

The report, formulated by ‘Freedomnetwork’, was set to be launched on 02 November, the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, it was delayed due to the sit-in at Faizabad and protest rallies against Supreme Court’s decision on Aasia Bibi.

According to the report, launched in the National Press Club, during the period from 2013 to 2018, 26 journalists were murdered.

Punjab proved to be the most dangerous place, with eight mediapersons having been killed while performing their duties. Seven journalists were killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and five each in Sindh and Balochistan.

The report, authored by Adnan Rehmat and Iqbal Khattak, highlighted that the killers included mysterious, nameless and unidentified actors. One group of killers were non-state actors such as militants and outlawed groups while some killings were attributed to political parties and religious groups.

It added that the state had failed in its responsibilities to pursue justice for the murdered journalists.

Speaking on the occasion, Press Council of Pakistan Chairman Salauddin Mengal criticised the lack of interest from all stakeholders and the respective governments to improve the standard of journalism.

“The press council does not have the capacity to monitor all 2,200 daily newspapers in the country,” he added.

Mr Mengal said it was the responsibility of media bodies and owners to help the relevant authorities modernise media-related laws.

The participants discussed the status of journalists’ protection bill finalised by the Senate Standing Committee on Information.

Former senator Farhatullah Babar, who was in the standing committee that finalised the bill, called for a debate in all provincial and federal legislatures on the issue of impunity of crimes against journalists and devise a legal framework to ensure protection and safety of mediapersons.

“Crimes against journalists basically were committed by those who do not tolerate freedom of expression.

Without free media there can be no free parliament and no free political activities,” he added.

Senior journalist and union leaders M. Ziauddin and Nasir Malik spoke on the occasion and decried the ongoing economic strangulation of media workers and demanded that the government should intervene in the matter.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1446036/no-killer-of-journalists-punished-in-last-five-years-report