The Indian Express – Get info about them: Kin of 2 soldiers who went missing in ’71 urge government

Though back then, Jalandhar’s Mangal Singh, who was a Naik in Indian Army in 1971, and Amritsar’s Sepoy Ram Das had been declared martyrs by Indian government, after 41 years in 2012, the families came to know that both of them are alive and lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail in Pakistan.

Anju Agnihotri Chaba

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 28 February 2019. As Pakistan Wednesday claimed that Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was flying a MIG-21 jet, was in its custody, back in Punjab two families of Indian soldiers, who had gone missing during 1971 war, once again urged the Indian government to “at least get information about them”.

Though back then, Jalandhar’s Mangal Singh, who was a Naik in Indian Army in 1971, and Amritsar’s Sepoy Ram Das had been declared martyrs by Indian government, after 41 years in 2012, the families came to know that both of them are alive and lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail in Pakistan.

Singh was posted with 14 Punjab Regiment, while Das was with 94th Field Artillery Regiment.

Satya Kaur (72), wife of Singh said they didn’t hear anything about him since 1972. “During a radio programme in Pakistan, he had identified himself as Mangal Singh and disclosed his service number, even took the names of our children.

But, on September 26, 2012, when an Indian prisoner, Rafi-u-Deen of Bulandshahar, had returned from Pakistan jail, he had given them an unofficial list of Indian prisoners lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail, in which the names of the two soldiers were mentioned,” said Kaur.

The families had then met the officials of the Ministry of External Affairs. “We also visited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office to take up the matter up with the Pakistan government,” said Kaur who lives with her two sons in Ramamandi area of Jalandhar.

“I have met the officials of PM Modi’s office and the external affairs minister several times with our applications, but no one listens to poor people like us,” said her son Daljeet Singh.

Shiv Kumar, son of Das, who was born after he went missing in 1971, also confirmed that after 41 years they came to know that he is alive and has become a Prisoner of War in Pakistan.

“We urge the Indian Government to do something in this direction,” said Kaur, adding that the prisoners, who return from Pakistan, told them that they were not treated well there.

The Tribune – Takht Patna Sahib Jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh submits resignation

G S Paul, Tribune News Service

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 03 March 2019. Takht Patna Sahib Jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh, who faced controversy due to his marital ties recently, has submitted his resignation to Takht Patna Sahib Management Board head Avtar Singh Hit.

Several complaints pertaining to his behaviour and marital status had been received from various Sikh organisations.

On Friday, Akal Takht’s acting Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh had constituted a seven-member committee to probe allegations levelled against Giani Iqbal Singh.

Reacently, Giani Iqbal Singh’s son Gurparsad Singh, whose video clip showing him smoking and consuming alcohol had gone viral, was dismissed from service. He was working as accountant at Takht Patna Sahib.

Gentbrugge – Moscou – Kortrijksepoortstraat

Via Moscou to the Kortrijksepoortstraat
17 February 2019

Muinkschelde – Safe and easy way to cross the R40

Muinkschelde – R40 bridge

Kortrijksepoortstraat – Veergrep – Tram 1

Veergrep – Tram 1 to Flanders Expo

Kortrijksepoortstraat – Kanunnikstraat
New student housing

Kortrijksepoortstraat – Night-shop owned by Sikhs

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Firstpost – Against the India Idea

Dr Baharul Islam

Op/Ed, 01 March 2019. The Citizenship Act of 1955, stipulates that in order to get Indian citizenship by naturalisation one must have resided in India for eleven of the previous fourteen years.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (now lapsed in the Rajya Sabha) tried to lower that eleven-year stipulation to six years, but only for those belonging to six religious communities: Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, even if they had entered India as late as, December 14, 2014.

This gives a religious twist to the purely political, legal and humanitarian perspectives usually associated with citizenship laws.

The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights including the right to equality before the law (Article 14) even to non-citizens. If we keep that essence of Indian Constitution as expressed through the fundamental rights in view, we are bound to oppose any religion-based discrimination in giving citizenship whether fast-track or not.

It is heartening to note that such misguided attempt to play a religious card in creating and appeasing a particular vote-bank by excluding a particular religious community is not accepted by the people at large in the northeastern region where the said amendment was seen to have the greatest impact.

The very fact that the majority of the people of Assam, as well as those of the neighbouring states like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, came out vehemently against such religion-based law of citizenship is a strong indication that they saw through the ulterior design in such a law to allow illegal migrants to remain in India under the garb of ‘religious persecution of minorities’ in the neighbouring countries.

It is another million-dollar question altogether as to how one will prove such religious persecution when leaders like Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed of Bangladesh has already denied that any such persecution of minorities prevails in her country.

Assam has seen decades of agitation against illegal migrants from Bangladesh and thousands lost their lives in those years.

Ultimately all agitating parties, as well as the people of the state cutting across religious lines, agreed upon the Assam Accord (1985) which says that illegal migrants entering India after 25 March 1971, will be expelled from the country irrespective of their religious identity.

Majority of the people of Assam, Hindus and Muslims, in an act of both humanitarian considerations as well as exigencies of the circumstances, accepted the cut-off date.

They agreed that those who entered the country before that date be accepted as citizens through the due process of law. Such a considerate view of the Assamese society was uniquely secular and not soaked in religious sectarianism.

Granting ‘fast track’ citizenship to ‘non-Muslims’ illegal migrants goes against this basic sentiment of the people of Assam as well as of the other northeastern states.

In fact, though Christians are included in the proposed amendment, it is the largely Christian people of a state like Mizoram who could see through the long term impact that such a religion-based citizenship law.

The society and culture of the North East at large do not tow the religious fanaticism of the North and on the contrary, it reignited the faultiness that made placard saying “Hello Independent Republic of Mizoram” hit the headlines.

Proposers of this kind of citizenship law make the same mistake that followers of the two-nation theory made years ago. Pakistan soon saw the birth of Bangladesh underlining the fact that cultural and linguistic ties are much stronger than any whipped up religious sentiments.

The founding fathers of India rejected any religious overtones in building this nation and our constitution emphatically bears that proof in all its provisions.

The Citizenship Act, 1955, though amended more than once since, has maintained the same non-discriminatory principle while laying down the process by which one can genuinely acquire citizenship of India.

In the words of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as spoken at the World Economic Forum or at the United Nations, India has always espoused the principle of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the whole world is one single family) and believed in the unity of the humanity rather than dividing it.

If we believe in that core value, then, one can see that any law to grant fast-track citizenship to non-Muslims runs against that idea of India as a nation.

The writer did his PhD on post peace agreement societies and is an international fellow of the KAICIID Dialogue Centre in Vienna.

Dawn – ‘Kashmir an internal matter’: India rejects OIC resolution

New Delhi – India, 03 March 2019. India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday rejected a resolution on Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir adopted by an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) ministerial meeting in Abu Dhabi, terming the matter an “internal” issue.

According to the Foreign Office (FO), OIC member states in a resolution adopted by the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, “reiterated that Jammu and Kashmir remains the core dispute between Pakistan and India and its resolution is indispensable for the dream for peace in South Asia.”

The OIC resolution had condemned in the strongest terms recent wave of Indian terrorism in occupied Kashmir and expressed deep concern over atrocities and human rights violations in the occupied valley.

The resolution also reminded the international community of its obligation to ensure implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

India’s MEA, in a statement on Saturday, stated: “As regards the resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, our stand is consistent and well known. We reaffirm that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India.”

In the context of the current volatile situation in the region, the OIC member states had also adopted a new resolution sponsored by Pakistan, which expressed grave concern over the Indian violation of Pakistani airspace, affirmed Pakistan’s right to self-defence; and urged India to refrain from the threat or use of force.

This OIC resolution on regional peace and security in South Asia also welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s renewed offer of dialogue to India and the goodwill gesture of handing over the captured Indian pilot. The resolution had called for restraint and de-escalation as well as the need to resolve outstanding issues through peaceful means.

The OIC’s resolutions on Kashmir, the India-Pakistan Peace Process and a statement on “Muslim minorities” globally,  which called on the Indian government to rebuild Babri Mosque, were described by The Hindu as an “embarrassment for the government” a day after foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had addressed the gathering.

India lives in a dream world as far as Jammu and Kashmir are concerned. In that dream all of the territory ruled by the Maharajas of Jammu Kashmir including Gilgit and Baltistan, the territories ceded to China by Pakistan and the territories conquered by China on the Indian side are integral parts of India. Because they live in this dream they can only give standard reactions attempts to come to a solution.