Tolo News – Concerns raised over growing number of female addicts in Kandahar

Kandahar officials said they are also very concerned about the overall increase in drug addiction in the province, putting numbers at around 100,000.

Kandahar – Kandahar Province – Afghanistan, 17 November 2018. Kandahar officials have raised concern over the increasing number of female drug addicts in the province.

According to local officials, there are currently nine women being treated for drug addiction at a rehabilitation center in Kandahar.

The women said that poverty and insecurity have driven them to using drugs.

Doctors at the rehabilitation center said the women have successfully completed one month of their two month program.

The Kandahar health department has also raised concerns over the increasing number of addicts in the province.

According to them there are an estimated 100,000 addicts in the province.

In March, public health ministry officials raised concerns about the alarmingly high number of female drug addicts in the country.

According to them at least one million women and 100,000 children are addicts.

Last year officials stated that three million people in total were addicts, but the new figure of one million female addicts could mean the total number is much higher than initially thought.

Shahpor Yusuf, the head of the anti-drug department at the public health ministry, said in March the number of child addicts was also extremely high – at about 100,000.

These children, officials said, were all below the age of 10.

Currently, there are at least 20 drug rehabilitation centers across the country that treat women and children but official said this is not enough to treat the growing problem. – Dal Khalsa admonishes Indian Army Chief for beating drum of law & order problem in Panjab

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 16 November 2018. Joining issue with Indian army chief Bipin Rawat regarding his statement on “attempts” to revive insurgency in Punjab through “external linkages”, the Dal Khalsa said the army chief has overlooked Maur Bomb Blast terror case that has internal linkages having roots in Sirsa cult.

Dal Khalsa’s spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh in an interview to a news agency said the people of Punjab are sure that the footprints of Maur blast will reach to Delhi via Sirsa. “Police under Sukhbir Badal, the then Home Minister, blamed militants for the terror act, which turned out to be a farce”.

Contesting Indian army chief’s statement that “it would be too late” if India does not act soon to stop the attempts to revive terrorism in Punjab, the pro-freedom group leader categorically stated that there’s no terrorism in Punjab.

New Delhi has always wrongly portrayed Punjab problem as a law and order where as its political conflict between Punjab and India that requires peaceful political resolution.

“The only attempts that are being made in Punjab is to secure and protect basic fundamental rights of the peoples including the right to self determination upheld and safeguarded as per the UN charter to which India is a signatory”, said he and added that other than that it’s the figment of imagination of the security establishment, who always thrive on upping the ante for their own legitimacy and survival.

Which law of India allows the army chief to issue threats to the peace-loving people of Punjab? Why should the people of Punjab be made scapegoats of India’s war mongering with Pakistan?

Exposing the double standards of the Indian government, he said when the Pakistan army chief speaks on political and foreign policy matters, India cries foul, but on the other side, the present dispensation under Narendra Modi is allowing its own army chief to issue political statements whether it relates to Punjab, Kashmir or Assam.

On army chief blaming Sikhs For Justice for trying to destabilize the peace in the region, he said this is a loaded question, straight from the archives of the government.

We don’t hold any brief for Sikhs for Justice. However, we strongly condemn the illegal arrest of the activists who were peacefully putting up posters for referendum.

The Indian court’s judgement allowing peaceful propagation of any political movement upholds the right to speak and put up posters for self determination and even for a separate Sikh state.

While we disagree with their methodology and daily utterances, yet the SFJ has a democratic right to talk about a referendum. Talking about a referendum in a democratic manner is not an anti-India move but a pro-people and pro-rights movement.

We reiterate that SFJ’s referendum is a democratic exercise to know the will of people of Punjab whether they aspire to become independent from India, whereas, the real referendum would be held in Punjab either under the aegis of UN or with the consent of New Delhi.

So we take exception that under the garb of referendum issue, Indian army chief has issued veiled threat to Sikhs.

Deurne: Ter Heydelaan & Gurdwara

Ter Heydelaan
27 October 2017

Tracks for Tram 5, loop

Deurne Gurdwara
27 October 2017

Can you read and understand this ?

Guru Granth Sahib in prakash

Behind the Gurdwara is the Bremweide park

Nishan Sahib under construction

Bremweide park

Guru Har Rai Sahib Cultuurcentrum
Bisschoppenhoflaan 638
B-2100 Deurne – Antwerpen

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

DNA India – ‘Panicked, shocked and scrambled through thick blanket of smoke’: Eyewitnesses recount Amritsar grenade attack

Rajasansi – Panjab – India, 18 November 2018. Nearly 200 devotees attending a religious congregation at ‘Nirankari Bhavan’ in Amritsar rushed for safety after unexpectedly being pushed into chaos on Sunday, when two men on a motorcycle hurled a hand grenade in an apparent terror attack at the premises, from where messages of peace and spirituality are sent out, eyewitnesses said.

Recalling the scenes that followed the attack on “Nirankaris”, the eyewitnesses said they were panicked, shocked and scrambled through a thick blanket of smoke.

They said it was a usual Sunday congregation at the Bhavan on the outskirts of Amritsar city, until the bombers struck.

“Each Sunday, I do ‘sewa’ at the Bhavan. I was on duty near the stage when I saw a person, who appeared young, with his face covered, throw something and run. The next thing I remember is that there was a blast, smoke all over and everyone ran around for their lives, Simranjeet Kaur told reporters outside the premises.

A man said his daughter was deputed at one of the entry gates to frisk women devotees visiting the place.

“She told me that two people came there and pointed a pistol at her after which she panicked. The next thing she knows that people were rushing out in fear after a grenade was hurled inside,” he said.

A devotee who was inside the Bhavan said, “I saw blood at the spot after the blast. Although I did not see the attackers, I was told by other devotees that two youth had come on a motorcycle. They gained entry inside and hurled explosive and escaped. Both appeared to be youth with faces covered”.

Another man, who identified himself as Gurpreet Singh, said he lives near the Bhavan, which is also close to the Amritsar international airport.

“I was in my home when someone said a cylinder had burst at Nirankari Bhavan. When I reached there, I saw injured people being taken to hospital in ambulances,” he said.

Pawandeep Singh, an ambulance driver, said he took many seriously injured to Guru Nanak hospital in Amritsar. Injured people were also rushed to a private hospital.

The grenade attack has left three people dead and at least 10 injured, police said. The Punjab police chief said they were treating it as a terrorist attack.

DGP Suresh Arora told PTI that the attack “appears to have a terror angle… we will take it as a terrorist act.” Punjab was put on alert following an input claiming that a group of six to seven JeM terrorists were reportedly in the state, possibly in Ferozepur area.

Al Jazeera News – Sabarimala temple: A rallying point for the Hindu far right?

India’s ruling BJP party is accused of exploiting a court decision to allow women into temple for political mileage.

Zeenat Saberin

Kochi – Kerala – India, 16 November 2018. An estimated one million pilgrims flock to Sabarimala in Kerala’s Western Ghats mountains every year to pay homage to the celibate deity Lord Ayyappan who, according to Hindu mythology, meditated at that spot.

But in recent weeks, the picturesque hilltop temple in the southern Indian state has emerged as a flashpoint with protests turning violent.

Since the country’s Supreme Court overturned a ban on women of reproductive age from entering the shrine, Hindu hardliners, opposed to the decision, have attacked female pilgrims, threatened journalists and pelted stones at police.

Not a single woman, aged 10 to 50, has made it through the sea of protesters to the temple.

Last week, thousands of people rallied in the streets and attended a protest in Kerala’s Kozhikode city, led by leaders of the right-wing BJP party, while many streets remained barricaded and parts of the city closed to traffic.

The Hindu nationalist coalition that rules India has been struggling to carve out a support base in Kerala, where the BJP has just one elected legislator in the state assembly.

BJP chief Amit Shah has thrown his weight behind the anti-women protesters despite the court order.

The party rose to prominence in the late 1980s on the back of a movement to build a temple in place of a medieval era mosque in the northern Uttar Pradesh state. The 16th century Babri Mosque was eventually torn down by Hindu mobs in 1992.

Charmy Harikrishnan, an editor at The Economic Times, told Al Jazeera, that the BJP was fanning the unrest to make inroads into the region.

“There are conservatives who are disenchanted with the Supreme Court judgment, but the BJP sees this as an opportunity to make inroads into Kerala where it is a minor political player.

“It wants to mobilise Hindus in the name of protecting the temple’s ‘age-old practices’,” she said.

“This is a moment of reckoning for the people of Kerala – whether to go for progressive practices or support misogynistic movements,” she added.

Surrendering to religious bigots

The BJP, which is trying to make political inroads into the state ruled by a communist coalition – the Left Democratic Front (LDF), says it is supporting Hindu conservatives on a “matter of faith”.

“This is an agitation against the atheist ministers in the state that is run by communists,” Sreedharan Pillai, the chief of the Kerala unit of the BJP, told Al Jazeera.

“They want to destroy Sabarimala. This is an ancient temple that has its foundations in our rituals and traditional customs. The people are resisting all these attempts to destroy the heritage of the temple.

“It is a spontaneous people’s protest. It shows the will of the people. The masses don’t want their traditions to be destroyed. So they are reposing their faith in the BJP. We will ensure our rituals and customs are not overturned,” he added.

But in a video leaked to local media earlier this month, Pillai was heard telling party supporters that the unrest was a “golden opportunity” for the BJP in Kerala.

The opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) led by the Congress party, which happens to be the main opponent to the ruling party at the federal level, seems to have joined forces with the BJP in opposing women’s entry to the shrine.

And the state government is facing criticism for its inability to ensure safe passage for women into the temple.

Kapil Komireddi, author of the forthcoming book “The Malevolent Republic: India Under Modi” said India “has a tawdry history of governments surrendering to religious bigots”.

“What is different this time is the absence of resistance. Every major political party is afraid of offending Hindu men. Nobody has the courage to enforce the rights of the women emancipated by the Supreme Court from obscurantist restrictions placed on them,” Komireddi told Al Jazeera.

“The communist government of Kerala has suddenly got cold feet. The BJP, in opposing the Supreme Court’s order, is only upholding its sectarian creed. Congress party leaders, in doing the same, are revealing the ideological and moral bankruptcy of their party,” he added.

Dissolving women’s rights

Since the temple began taking online bookings for an annual festival that starts on November 16, 539 women in the so-called restricted age group have registered online to visit the temple.

“Everybody is equal, why should women not be allowed to go?” Jyothi Narayanan, a resident from Kochi city told Al Jazeera.

“Who is anybody to judge who should be a devotee? The government must give security to us women who want to go.”

Such contests are becoming more acute as awareness of gender rights spreads among India’s largely conservative society, rights activists say.

But discriminatory attitudes, to lower castes, to women, to LGBT, still persist.

“This isn’t the first time women have been mobilised in defence of Brahmanical (upper caste) patriarchy,” Kavita Krishnan, the secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, told Al Jazeera.

“Here, political forces are manufacturing ‘religious sentiments’ to dissolve women’s rights.”

Analysts have said India is struggling to balance competing interests of “believers” and the “rights” of citizens.

“The Constitution is very clear on this: Hindu places of worship cannot discriminate against Hindus. In the contest between fundamental rights and discriminatory religious beliefs, rights should win,” said journalist Harikrishnan who is based in New Delhi.

Komireddi, the author, said it had become increasingly difficult to rein in Hindu nationalist forces, with the face-off at Sabarimala highlighting the threat Hindu conservatism poses to India’s secular constitution.

Amid intense political pressure, the top court on Tuesday said it would review its earlier order, which was criticised by Hindu groups.

“When the defenders of secularism are spineless careerists, don’t be stunned by the triumph of religious nationalists,” author Komireddi said.

“The Supreme Court can of course set aside its decision and we can all uphold the pretence that India is a secular state. But nothing can conceal the squalid truth that Sabarimala is the ground on which Indian secularism is facing its final defeat.”

Additional reporting by Juhan Samuel in Kochi, Kerala