The Hindustan Times – Centre moves 100 companies of paramilitary forces to Srinagar amid massive crackdown

There has been a considerable build-up of security forces across Jammu and Kashmir after 14 February terror attack in Pulwama which killed 40 CRPF troopers.

HT Correspondent

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 23 February 2019. The Centre airlifted an additional hundred companies of paramilitary forces to Srinagar to boost security build up even as police detained JKLF chief Yasin Malik Friday night and arrested dozens of Jamaat-e-Islami workers in the Valley.

The fresh deployment includes 45 companies of the CRPF, 35 of the BSF and ten each of the 10 SSB, and the ITBP.

There has been a considerable build-up of security forces across Jammu and Kashmir after the 14 February terror attack in Pulwama which killed 40 CRPF troopers.

About two dozen people associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami were also arrested from central, north and south Kashmir as part of a crackdown after the terror attack on a CRPF convoy that killed 40 troopers in Pulwama on February 14.

Police have so far not commented on the detentions.

The Jamaat-e-Islami termed the move a “well-designed conspiracy to pave way for further uncertainty in the region”.

“During the intervening night of 22-23 February, 2019 police and other forces agencies launched a mass arrest drive and raided many houses in the Valley wherein dozens of its central and district level leaders have been arrested,” it said in a statement.

Those detained included its chief (Ameer Jama’at) Dr Abdul Hamid Fayaz, Advocate Zahid Ali (spokesperson), Ghulam Qadir Lone (former secretary general) and dozens more, it said.

Police and paramilitary forces have been put on high alert since the Pulwama attack

Earlier this week, the government withdrew the security cover of separatist leaders in Kashmir.

The Tribune – Bir Devinder is a good bet for Taksalis from Anandpur Sahib

Deepkamal Kaur, Tribune News Service

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 21 February 2019. Barely two weeks after he joined SAD Taksali, Bir Devinder Singh, former Deputy Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, has been fielded for the parliamentary poll from Anandpur Sahib seat. He is the first candidate to be announced by the party.

Considered a “good orator and a prolific writer” by some and a “party hopper” by others, Bir Devinder was considered by SAD Taksali to be a good bet from the seat as it encompasses Kharar from where he has been an MLA from 2002 to 2007.

Though he is a native of Kotla Bhai Ka village of Sirhind, Bir Devinder boasts of his contacts in Anandpur Sahib. “This is a constituency where the people will not need my introduction. It was during my tenure that Mohali was carved out as a separate constituency. So, I am familiar with Mohali segment too,” he says.

The SAD Taksali had always been considering Anandpur Sahib as a non-negotiable seat. “The party which has a panthic policy cannot, at any cost, leave the seat that is the birth place of the Khalsa,” he said.

A postgraduate in political science, he is known to have not even spared his own.

As a Congress leader, he took up the Amritsar Improvement Trust scam case, became a witness in the matter and even spoke against Captain Amarinder Singh. Bir Devinder was ousted after his write-up appeared in an English daily against Amarinder.

He was barely 29 when he became Congress MLA from Sirhind in 1980. He again had a stint in the Akali Dal in 2008 when he was denied ticket by the Congress in preceding Assembly poll. The two-time MLA has also shared the dais with Manpreet Badal’s previous outfit People’s Party of Punjab. In the 2017 poll, he had backed Aam Aadmi Party.

BSP hints at going solo

The Anandpur Sahib seat has been a point of conflict between the SAD Taksali and the BSP in the seat-sharing plan. Hinting at going solo, BSP state in-charge Randhir Beniwal said: “SAD Taksali has shown impatience by going ahead. As of now, we are readying candidates for all 13 Lok Sabha seats.”

Gent: Pro refugee demonstration

Demonstration against Belgium’s asylum policy
02 February 2019


Afghanistan is not safe !

Afghan flag




To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Daily Sikh Updates – The Gurdwara Sahib that is literally on a hot spring

Manikaren – Himachal Pradesh – India, 18 February 2019. Gurdwara Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is an historical Sikh shrine present there which was discovered by Baba Narayan Hari, the history of the gurdwara sahib is mentioned in Bhai Bala Janamsakhi and Twarikh Guru Khalsa.

Gurdwara Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is located where Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji was with his Sikhs in the Himalaya mountains of India. His Sikhs were hungry and there was no food. Guru Nanak sent his good friend Bhai Mardana to collect food for langar (the Community Kitchen).

Many people donated rice and flour (atta) to make parsadas (bread). The one problem was that there was no fire to cook the food.

Guru Nanak than lifted a rock and a hot spring (hot water) appeared. The Sikhs were able to make rice and beans. Bhai Mardana was having trouble making parasadas (chapatis) because they kept sinking. Bhai Mardana said, “I am going to donate my life in the name of God”. The parsada amazingly floated.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji said that anyone who donates his life in the name of God, All his (or her) drowned items will float. This was a miracle.

The place is famous for its hot boiling sulphur springs, which are revered by lakhs who come here for a dip in the curing waters. It is believed that the hot springs can cure skin diseases or even ease the swelling caused by gout.

A huge Gurdwara has been erected in the memory of Guru Nanak who is believed to have visited this place. A number of Sikh and Hindu pilgrims visit the Gurdwara every year. The Ram Temple mentioned above, built in the 16th century, is situated near the Gurdwara.

Sikh Pilgrimage to Manikaran

The village ‘shatt’ is on the way where once a cloudburst had turned the village into a nullah. An awe-inspiring experiment at Manikaran is that of cooking rice or dal in the boiling hot waters. Tourists can experience this by purchasing ‘chawal potli’ (rice in a muslin bag) from the nearby market.

The gurdwara management prepares tea and food by putting huge vessels in the water. There is a water pool in the gurdwara where one can enjoy a hot bath. The local residents use hot water in narrow bazaar through pipes.

Tibetans dominate the market here where one can buy religious idols, offerings, books, prasad, and Tibetan products. The amazing union of cold water and boiling springs in Parvati river has mystified many a scientist and the devout alike.

Nature has used an array of colours, textures and materials to form fascinating mountains with many medicinal herbs. Transparent stone crystals, which resemble topaz, can be found at some points.

Water flowing through the curves of hill land shapes has given rise to driftwood in various shapes and forms. Due to the climate, local vegetables and pulses like rajmah and urad are of rare quality and taste different from those available in the plains.

Dawn – Ban on Jamaatud Dawa

Editorial, 23 February 2019. The decision by the country’s civilian and military leadership to take action against Jamaatud Dawa and its charity wing, Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation, is significant.

On Thursday, the National Security Committee, with the prime minister in the chair, took the decision, with the Prime Minister’s Office later saying that the state cannot be allowed to “become hostage to extremism”.

The JuD is of course an avatar of Lashkar-i-Taiba, one of the many jihadi groups that dot this country’s landscape. However, making an announcement about the group’s proscription is not enough; if the state has evidence of the outfit’s involvement in militancy it should present the facts and pursue the legal course so that JuD’s leadership can face justice.

As has been witnessed for nearly two decades now, the state moves to ban militant outfits, but, in very little time they are back, up and running, with new names and the entire structure of violence intact.

For example, in 2002 the Musharraf regime banned a host of jihadi and sectarian groups, yet this effort had little practical effect because with a mere change of nomenclature, the groups continued to peddle hate and violence, making a mockery of the proscription.

Moreover, the establishment’s attempts to ‘mainstream’ violent actors, eg presenting them as legitimate religious scholars or relaunching the jihadi lashkars as political parties, have also failed to steer these groups away from violence and hate.

For example, a sectarian party has been repeatedly allowed to take part in general elections, but its senior leaders have failed to cease spewing venom.

History has shown that while low-level jihadi and sectarian party cadres perhaps can be deradicalised and mainstreamed, their leadership is committed to the ideology of violence and can only be silenced through the legal path.

These parties’ fundraising, communications and organisational systems must be targeted to put them out of business; imposing mere ‘bans’ is futile.

In the delicate post-Pulwama period, Prime Minister Imran Khan must be praised for saying that those who use this country’s soil to attack others are enemies of Pakistan. The government has now started to take action.

For instance, reports emerged on Friday that a key madressah associated with Jaish-e-Mohammad in Bahawalpur, another militant outfit accused of orchestrating cross-border attacks, was taken over by the Punjab government.

These moves indicate that the leadership has perhaps realised that taking half-baked steps against violent actors is dangerous for Pakistan’s internal security, as well as its external relations.

Now the elected leadership and the military establishment must take this campaign, as envisaged under NAP, to its logical conclusion by ensuring that non-state actors are not able to raise armed militias, and that those spewing hatred against other countries or spreading sectarian views are prosecuted.

It was unwise to allow these outfits to operate in the past, and efforts are needed to shut them down permanently.