The News -PML-N MNA submits resolution to ban dowry in Punjab Assembly

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 30 March 2019. A resolution seeking to place a ban on the age-old custom of dowry was submitted in the Punjab Assembly on Saturday.

As per reports, the resolution was presented in the assembly by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Uzma Zahid Bukhari who demanded a ban on the practice on by the state itself.

The resolution stated that the custom of dowry is not present in the teachings of Islam while those who still put forward this demand should be taken action against.

On the other hand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had already passed a bill last year that not just bans the practice of dowry but also limits the wasteful spending on weddings.

As per the bill the bride’s family will not be able to gift anything over the price of Rs 0.2 million while a fine of Rs 0.3 million or a three-month sentence will also be handed to those demanding it.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/451045-pml-n-mna-submits-resolution-to-ban-dowry-in-punjab-assembly

The Tribune – Sultanpur Lodhi pledges to open doors for devotees

Deepkamal Kaur, Tribune News Service

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 28 March 2019. The 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev may still be months away (November 12), but residents of Sultanpur Lodhi and adjoining areas have already pledged to throw open the doors of their houses for the devotees expected to descend on the holy town.

The residents, both Sikhs and Hindus, have also offered to provide meals and transportation to the devotees, coming from abroad or far-off places in the country. Some NRIs have already handed over the keys to their vacant houses to neighbours or organisations arranging for the stay.

Many locals have offered to spare one or more rooms. Tent cities are also being set up by the government and social organisations. To ensure that the arrangement is foolproof, advance booking and liaison efforts are already on.

The government, SGPC, gurdwara managers, political parties and social bodies are all charting out lists of such host and guest families.

Gurvinder Singh, who works in the team of environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal, said, “We will make arrangements for hosting one lakh families. So far, we have already arranged for the stay of 50,000. Around 20,000 vehicles have also been pledged.

We began working on this around two years ago. We launched booking recently by opening portal http://www.parkashpurab550.in. We have also launched a mobile application for navigation. The guests will have to share their Aadhaar ID or passport numbers with the hosts for proper registration.”

Gurvinder said, “We are covering houses not just in Sultanpur but in a 20-km radius around it, including in Shahkot, Nakodar and even Jalandhar city. The app that we provide will also send alerts to volunteers regarding their duty time.

We have spent Rs 8 lakh on developing software and the app. But the entire service that will be extended will only be voluntary. I have myself offered my house at Ahmedpur village in Kapurthala.”

AAP leader Sajjan Singh Cheema said, “I will be shifting to my house in Jalandhar in those days and will offer my house at Dabulian village in Sultanpur Lodhi to devotees. I have told all my party workers to at least share one room of their houses. We are preparing lists for the same.”

Gurdwara Ber Sahib manager Satnam Singh said, “We are also making lists of hosts and guests. We are also arranging rooms in schools, colleges and sports academies to accommodate the sangat.”

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/sultanpur-lodhi-pledges-to-open-doors-for-devotees/749803.html

Leuven NMBS – Ledeberg Welzijnsknoop: Groene Brunch

Leuven NMBS
20 March 2019


Track 1 and 2


17:04 IC to Brussel and Kortrijk via Gent


16:57 IC to Luik and Welkenraedt

Ledeberg Welzijnsknoop
Groene Brunch


Tine Heyse rijkt de groene pluim uit


Zo’n 150 mensen namen deel aan de Groene Brunch
georganiseerd door Groen Gentbrugge-Ledeberg


De Groene Pluim

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Daily Record – Family of ‘tortured’ Scot held in India to meet foreign secretary after 500 days in custody

Jagtar Singh Johal claims he’s been subjected to horrific electric shock torture by authorities after his arrest in November 2017.

Dumbarton – Scotland – UK, 29 March 2019. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to meet the family of a Scottish Sikh who has been held in India without trial .

Jagtar Singh Johal is alleged to have been tortured and mistreated during his incarceration of more than 500 days.

The 32-year-old from Dumbarton has been held since November 4 2017 after travelling to the Punjab for his wedding.

It is alleged that while in police detention Mr Singh Johal was tortured by electric shocks to his ears, nipples and genitals, his limbs being forced into opposite directions and forced sleep deprivation.

His arrest has been reported to be linked to the killing of Hindu leaders in Punjab.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP has previously raised the case in the House of Commons and called on Mr Hunt to meet with his constituent’s family.

The Foreign Secretary has now invited Mr Docherty-Hughes and Mr Singh Johal’s relatives for a meeting.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “Our staff continue to support a British man and his family following his detention in Punjab.

“We continue to visit him regularly, and raise concerns with the government of India about his case, including allegations of torture and mistreatment and his right to a fair trial.

“The Prime Minister has raised his case with Prime Minister Modi, and Minister for Asia Mark Field has raised it on multiple occasions, most recently with the Indian Foreign Secretary on March 12.”

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/family-tortured-scot-held-india-14203898

The Hindu – 1984 anti-Sikh riots: Supreme Court grants two more months to SIT to complete its probe

New Delhi – India, 29 March 2019. The Supreme Court on Friday granted two more months to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to complete its probe into 186 cases of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

A Bench comprising Justices S.A. Bobde and S. Abdul Nazeer extended the time after the SIT said that more than 50% of the work was finished. The SIT also wanted two more months to complete the investigation.

The SC also issued notice to parties on a plea by petitioner S. Gurlad Singh Kahlon, a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, seeking inquiry into role of 62 policemen named in the riots.

The apex court had on January 11 last year constituted the SIT headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice S N Dhingra and comprising retired IPS officer Rajdeep Singh and serving IPS officer Abhishek Dular to supervise further probe into the 186 riots cases, in which closure reports had been filed earlier.

However, the SIT presently has only two members as Mr Singh had declined to be a part of the team on “personal grounds” .

Large-scale riots had broken out in the national capital in the aftermath of the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh security guards on the morning of October 31, 1984. The violence had claimed 2,733 lives in Delhi alone.

No riots but pogroms organised by members of the Congress party
Man in Blue

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/1984-anti-sikh-riots-sc-grants-2-more-months-to-sit-to-complete-its-probe/article26672997.ece

The Telegraph – Lies, deceit and invented truths in the Modi regime

Setting the record straight on the government’s pervasive data-twisting

James Wilson

Op/Ed, 11 February 2019. Post truth. This seems to be the only surviving truth in today’s India, a country overrun with bare-faced lies, falsehood, deceit and invented truths — statistics.

Note the brazen manner in which the chief of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, Bibek Debroy, declared recently that a new national sample survey will be conducted by the government to show there is substantial job creation, thereby countering the latest report by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).

Debroy’s comment comes close on the heels of a countrywide debate on data meddling by the Narendra Modi government, set off by the resignations at the National Statistical Commission (NSC). NSC chief P.C. Mohanan and independent member J. Meenakshi quit over the delay in release of the NSSO’s periodic labour force survey.

The findings of the NSSO survey report, which is now in the public domain, reveal that the 2017-18 unemployment rate at 6.1 per cent is at a 45-year high. For a government which came to power on the back of a promise to create two crore jobs, that is a lot of egg on its face.

It is also evidence of how demonetisation and a poorly-executed goods and services tax (GST) wrecked the economy and created large-scale unemployment.

Once the survey report got out, the government’s mandarins scrambled to explain away the findings. More blogger than minister, Arun Jaitley brushed it aside as a draft report, ignoring the fact that the NSC had approved it in December 2018.

NITI-Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar struggled to pull off a satisfactory damage control. And then there was Debroy with his own promise of a fresh job report, a chilling and open admission that the government would window-dress national employment data and that it didn’t care what the public made of such manipulations.

The beginning

All of this started when the UPA II regime was ending. That is when the social media space started getting flooded with fake narratives spread by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT cell.

It started to circulate fake comparisons of global petrol prices to show that India charged an exorbitant price; astronomical figures of black money deposited in Swiss banks and other tax havens and these captured the imagination of the middle class.

The number of zeroes included to quantify the black money stashed away made Narendra Modi’s pre-election promise of Rs 15 lakh in every Indian’s account appear plausible. As a gullible votebank consumed this fake propaganda, the UPA made no attempt to counter it, either out of ignorance of the power of social media or of indifference born of arrogance.

GDP tweaking

Once Modi assumed power, the fake news machinery did not stop. Instead, it was now used to make tall claims about governance. The BJP started to fiddle with the Gross Domestic Product or GDP rates.

In 2015, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) announced two changes in the way GDP is calculated, the base year for all calculations was revised from 2004-05 to 2011-12, and the methodology was changed.

These made the GDP growth rate of 2014-15 jump from 5.5 per cent to 7.4 per cent, surpassing even China’s growth rate. Leading economists publicly expressed their bewilderment. Globally, whenever such changes are done, past data is also revised concurrently.

But the CSO failed to publish the GDP growth figures for the years prior to 2011-12. What is more, the demand was ignored for three years.

In August 2018, when a draft report on the GDP back series was released by a committee set up by the NSC, it indicated that growth figures under the UPA was higher than the old methodology indicated. The BJP government swiftly removed this report from its website saying it needed closer examination.

The GDP figures were finally released by NITI-Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar on November 28, 2018. They indicate that the revised average GDP growth rate between 2005-06 and 2013-14, all UPA years, stands at 6.7 per cent, against 7.35 per cent, as recorded in the first four years of the NDA government.

Former chairman of the NSC, Pronab Sen, questioned the NITI-Aayog’s unusual move of releasing GDP data, and pointed out that it is the prerogative of the CSO. Sen also stated that a proper study of the methodology used to deduce real growth in each segment of the economy is warranted.

The latest upward revision of GDP growth was done for 2016-17 and 2017-18 on January 31, 2019. The revised figures for 2016-17 is 8.2 per cent, showing that maximum growth happened during the demonetisation year, caused eye-brows to be raised and smirks from those aware of the government’s propensity to mangle data and present it in its favour.

Demonetisation

At the time of demonetisation, the Prime Minister sought 50 days to restore the currency supply after demonetising 86 per cent of high value currency, but his government suppressed the fact it had only 32 per cent of the value of the above currency in hand, and that too in Rs 2,000 denomination notes, to replace all that denotified currency.

The government and the Reserve Bank of India were also well aware that given the printing capacity of India’s currency presses, 2 billion notes per month, it would take eight to nine months to restore normalcy. And it is to help prop up this lie that they adopted rationing of currency notes and urged citizens to embrace digital payments.

After the first month, the government also stopped releasing updates about the quantum of demonetised currency in banks, as it would expose their claims that no more than Rs 12 to 13 lakh crores worth currency would return to the banks.

Instead, they trotted puerile, risible explanations such as “the notes are still being counted”, when the whole process was known to be automated.

Finally, after eight-and-a-half months, the RBI Annual Report of 2016-17 disclosed on June 30, 2017, that the RBI had received Rs 15.28 lakh crore of demonetised currency, in other words more than 99 per cent of the demonetised currency.

Digital economy

A few days into demonetisation there was a publicity blitz that Indians were to enter a cashless economy soon. At the time, the cherry-picked data of growth in UPI (united payments interface) transactions and mobile wallets from a zero base was projected as dramatic growth by the government.

They conveniently ignored the fact that the payment system indicators available on the RBI website clearly reveals that total retail electronic transactions did not show any dramatic growth, only a readjustment of various options of the extant digital transactions coupled with natural growth of digital transactions as people embraced e-commerce.

As of 25 January 2019, there is Rs 20.62 lakh crore currency in circulation as against Rs 17.97 lakh crore at the time of demonetisation, what better proof that India never metamorphosed into a digital economy.

Direct tax growth and income tax payers

As demonetisation failed to achieve its stated objectives, the government peddled another narrative. This time it said the objective of demonetisation was to make India a tax-compliant society.

In his 2017 Independence Day speech, the Prime Minister said that post-demonetisation the number of income tax payers had grown by 56 lakh. The FM claimed it was 91 lakh. A written reply in Parliament said the addition was 33 lakh. The Economic Survey of 2016-17 put it at 5.4 lakh.

What makes it all the more astonishing is that these claims and statements were made in a span of 2-3 months. All of it was made worse by the fact that the government didn’t even make an effort to be consistent in such prevarications. It was as if they couldn’t care less.

An examination of the Central Board of Direct Taxation data available in the public domain reveals that there was an 11.6 per cent growth in the number of income tax payers in 2013-14.

It then fell to 8.3 per cent and 7.5 per cent in the next two years, increased to 12.7 per cent in 2016-17, but again fell to 6.9 per cent in 2017-18. That there was dramatic increase in the number of tax payers after demonetisation was a Big Lie. It is true that direct tax realisation has increased, but it is proportionate to growth of the economy.

Data suppression

As in the case of unemployment data, the government suppresses many an inconvenient data which causes it embarrassment. One such is the farmer suicide data. The last NCRB report published was in 2016.

It showed that till 2015, in India, every hour a farmer committed suicide. But the Union agriculture minister, Radha Mohan Singh, told Parliament that the government had no data on farmer suicides since 2016.

Such data fudging and suppression have been questioned by many in social media. Websites such as altnews.in and indiaspend.org also continue to prick the government’s hot air balloons and bust their myths.

The Congress and other opposition parties too are gradually waking up to the dangers of letting BJP spread these fake narratives. A section of the public has also started to take note of the discrepancies.

But there are many who have willingly suspended disbelief and consider Modi to be a modern-day messiah for India. Unless they too realise that those who are voted to power should be questioned at every turn instead of being venerated in silence, India doesn’t have much of a future.

The hole we have dug ourselves into will become deeper and deeper, the independence and integrity of our institutions will be compromised, the bureaucracy will bend every which way to do the bidding of those in power, and India will no longer be India.

The edge of the wedge has long ceased to be thin.

The writer is is a civil engineer and data cruncher

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/streanh-in-numbers/cid/1684099?ref=features_india-page

Sikh24.com – Harinder Singh Khalsa joins BJP; resentment erupts among Sikhs

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 28 March 2019. In an unexpected move today, the sitting Fatehgarh Sahib parliamentarian Harinder Singh Khalsa joined the saffron Bhartya Janta Party. He was inducted into the party fold by the Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Hardeep Singh Puri and the general secretary (organization) Ram Lal.

Notably, Harinder Singh Khalsa had won the parliamentary seat of Fatehgarh Sahib on AAP’s ticket in 2014 but later he was ousted from the party in 2015.

Harinder Singh Khalsa held high respect among the Sikh community as he had resigned from the Indian Foreign Services in protest of the Indian army’s invasion into the holiest Sikh shrine Sri Harmandr Sahib in June-1984.

He had returned back to India from Norway in 1990, after being assured that the cases against him would be dropped.

Reacting to the move, Dal Khalsa patron Bhai Gajinder Singh said that Harinder Singh Khalsa has lost the respect among the Sikh community that he had earned with the sacrifices made in protest of June-1984’s attack on Sri Harmandr Sahib. “Harinder Singh Khalsa is no more for us,” he added.

https://www.sikh24.com/2019/03/28/harinder-singh-khalsa-joins-bjp-resentment-erupts-among-sikhs/#.XJ4ug6R7nIU

Brugge De Lijn – Gent Keizerpoort – Leuven NMBS

Brugge De Lijn Bus station
18 March 2019


Connexxions Bus 42 to Breskens Veerhaven

Gent Keizerpoort
19 March 2019


De Lijn Tram 2 to Zwijnaarde

Leuven NMBS
20 March 2019


IC From Hasselt to Brussel Airport and Antwerpen


IC to Gent-Sint-Pieters via Mechelen


S train to Ottignies
Bay platform


IC to Luik/Liège and Welkenraedt

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Indian Express – India questions Pakistan over Khalistani sympathiser on Kartarpur panel, puts meeting on hold

Gopal Singh Chawala, who allegedly has close ties with LeT’s co-founder and terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed is on the special 10-member committee of the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee (PSGPC) to “help facilitate” the visit of Indians pilgrims at the Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara.

After learning that Pakistan has included controversial Khalistani sympathiser Gopal Singh Chawla and Bishen Singh on the Kartarpur panel, India Friday summoned the neighbouring country’ deputy high commissioner and conveyed its concerns.

Sources in the government said Gopal Singh Chawala, who allegedly also has close ties with Lashkar-e-Taiba’s co-founder and terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed, is on the special 10-member committee of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (PSGPC) that will “help facilitate” the visit of Indians pilgrims at the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara.

The Ministry of External Affairs, it is learnt, said, “India has sought clarifications on reports that controversial elements have been appointed by Pakistan to a committee to be associated with the Kartarpur corridor.”

The MEA added they have also conveyed to their counterpart that the next meeting on modalities would be scheduled only after they receive a response from the neighbouring country over the indicated concerns.

The two sides were earlier scheduled to meet on April 2.

Regarding security concerns, government sources told news agency ANI, “There can’t be any let up in security. India hopes Pakistan will address security concerns. Once the security aspect is cleared and we get a satisfactory response, we are keen on taking the discussion forward.”

India has cleared its stand on Kartarpur Corridor not being used for anti-India activities including secessionist activities or propoganda, adding it is only a passage for pilgrims to travel safe and in a secure manner.

At the last meeting in Attari with Pakistan, India had proposed to hold another meeting of technical experts in mid-April to resolve outstanding issues in order to ensure the infrastructure development of the corridor in an expeditious manner.

India, in its proposal, has asked Pakistan to allow pilgrims to travel on foot if they wish. It also urged that another 10,000 pilgrims be allowed access on festivals like Baisakhi and Gurpurab.

In November last year, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/kartarpur-corridor-panel-pakistan-pro-khalistani-sympathiser-5648440/

Dawn – Pakistan regrets India’s decision to postpone upcoming Kartarpur meeting

Naveed Siddiqui

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 29 March 2019. Pakistan regrets India’s decision to postpone the upcoming Kartarpur meeting [on April 2] “jointly agreed by both sides” on March 14, said Dr Mohammad Faisal, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following a statement from India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday.

“The meeting was to discuss and find consensus on outstanding issues,” he said on Twitter.

“Last minute postponement without seeking views from Pakistan and especially after the productive technical meeting on March 19 is incomprehensible.”

Dr Faisal’s response comes shortly after New Delhi said it had “sought clarifications from Pakistan on key proposals put forward by India at the last meeting held in Attari to discuss the modalities of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor”.

The statement by the Indian ministry had added that “the next meeting on the modalities can be scheduled at an appropriate time after receiving Pakistan’s response”.

According to the statement by MEA, “India has shared concerns and sought clarifications on reports that controversial elements have been appointed by Pakistan to a committee to be associated with the Kartarpur Corridor.” However, it did not elaborate on what ‘controversial elements’ it was referring to.

On Wednesday, Radio Pakistan reported that the Federal Cabinet had constituted a ten-member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) to facilitate Sikh pilgrims after opening of Kartarpur Corridor.

Meanwhile, India has also proposed in its statement that the infrastructure development for the corridor should go forward and “in an expeditious manner”.

“India has proposed to hold another meeting of technical experts in mid-April to resolve outstanding issues at the zero point agreed to at the last meeting,” the statement further clarified.

According to the MEA, the Indian government “remains committed to realise the long pending demand of the Indian pilgrims to visit the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor in a safe, secure, smooth and easy manner.”

Earlier in the day, the FO had invited Indian media to apply for visas to cover the April 2 meeting at Wagha.

“Pakistan welcomes Indian media for the Kartarpur Corridor meeting at Wagah on April 2, 2019. They may apply to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi for visas #PakKartarpurSpirit,” tweeted Dr Faisal.

This was in contrast to India’s refusal to allow Pakistani journalists to cover the last meeting on the Kartarpur Corridor held at Attari.

Kartarpur Corridor negotiations

The Kartarpur Corridor is expected to provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib, a small town in Narowal, 4 kilometres from the Pakistan-India border, where Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life.

The corridor is planned to be opened for Sikh pilgrims this year in commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak. The groundbreaking of the project on the Pakistani side was performed by Prime Minister Imran Khan at Kartarpur Sahib on 28 November 2018.

In January, Pakistan had shared its draft of Kartarpur Corridor Accord with India and invited its delegation for a visit for negotiating the document

India, however, instead of accepting the proposal on that occasion, insisted on hosting the meeting and asked Pakistani officials to visit Delhi either on Feb 26 or March 7. Although the counter-proposals from Islamabad and Delhi had given the impression of a sort of standoff on the issue, Islamabad had, instead of reacting to the position taken by India in response to its original suggestion, vowed to “take the process forward”.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed its commitment to continuing negotiations on proposed Kartarpur Corridor agreement and announced that the two neighbouring countries would exchange visits by their respective delegations.

The announcement came amidst an escalation of tension between the two sides with the Indian Air Force (IAF) violated Pakistani airspace following the 14 February attack targeting Indian security forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama area.

Two intruding IAF jets were later downed by Pakistan and a pilot was captured only to be released as a unilateral goodwill gesture.

On 14 March, officials from Pakistan and India agreed to expedite work to operationalise the Kartarpur Corridor after talks on the matter concluded on a cordial note in Attari, India.

Delegations of Pakistani and Indian technical experts met on March 19 at the the proposed zero points to discuss and finalise the development of the Kartarpur Corridor.

It was decided after this meeting that both sides will present surveys and maps for border fencing and developmental work on the Dera Baba Nanak-Kartarpur Sahib corridor to their respective governments.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1472628/pakistan-regrets-indias-decision-to-postpone-upcoming-kartarpur-meeting