The Hindustan Times – Mirwaiz, Geelani summoned by NIA to Delhi tomorrow

The NIA on Saturday summoned Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Naseem Geelani, son of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, to Delhi on Monday for questioning in connection with a terror funding case.

Mir Ehsan

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 09 March 2019. The National Investigative Agency (NIA) on Saturday summoned Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Naseem Geelani, son of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, to Delhi on Monday for questioning in connection with a terror funding case.

Farooq’s secretary, Syed Rehman Shamas, confirmed receiving the summons. “Yes, NIA has summoned Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to Delhi,” he said.

On February 26, the NIA carried out searches at seven locations, including the residences of Farooq, Geelani, JKLF leader Yaseen Malik, Shabir Shah, Ashraf Sehrai and Zaffar Bhat in connection with the same case.

An NIA spokesperson said officials recovered incriminating documents, including property papers, financial transactions receipts and bank account details during the raids. Electronic devices, including laptops, e-tablets, mobile phones, pen drives, communication system and DVRs, were also seized, he added.

On Thursday, Malik was slapped with Public Safety Act and was shifted to a Jammu jail. The developments come in the backdrop of the government’s decision to withdraw the security cover of senior separatist leaders after the Pulwama attack.

The Tribune – SGPC for joint celebration on Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 08 March 2019. A solo grand function should be organised jointly by the Shiromani Gurdwara Management Committee (SGPC), the state and the Centre to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November this year.

This was stated by SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal at a press conference here on Friday. He said since the Guru professed the message of unity, a unified celebration to commemorate his birth and teachings should be held.

Regretting that there were parallel stages set up in Sultanpur Lodhi, the SGPC chief said all stakeholders should join hands for a grand celebration. He said the Punjab Government should expedite the process of land acquisition for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor and the SGPC would provide all assistance for it.

Asked if the SGPC would lend a helping hand to the three Sikhs convicted by a Nawanshahr court to a life term for waging war against the state, Longowal said: “If they approach us, we are willing to provide legal and other aid to them.”

Earlier, at an executive committee meeting of the SGPC, it was decided that the Budget session would be held on March 30.

Admitting that the SGPC was facing a financial crunch and finding it difficult to meet its committed liabilities, Longowal said it was mainly because Rs 40 crore was blocked with the state government, which had failed to release the amount given as post-matric scholarship to students from socially backward classes.

Other decisions taken during the meeting include annual scholarships to Amritdhari students and sportspersons, and grants to gurdwaras located in Jammu and Kashmir.

Rs 17.5 crore for infra upgrade of villages

The Rural Development Board has released the first instalment of Rs 17.5 crore for the holistic development of 35 villages associated with the life of the first Sikh Guru.

These funds will be spent on the upgrade of basic civic amenities. Total estimates amounting to Rs 183.97 crore were prepared, of which Rs 33.97 crore would come from the MGNREGA and the remaining Rs 150 crore from the state.

The birthday commemoration of Guru Nanak should be organised by Sikhs for the benefit of all
Neither the state of Panjab nor the Union government should be part of it
Man in Blue

Gent: Gurdwara and Muinkpark

Gurdwara Mata Sahib Kaur
Bhog of Akhand Path

24 February 2019

Master Ji – Zepperen Wala

Three readers of the Guru Granth Sahib
and the man with the Chaur Sahib (fly brush)

The same four people from a slightly different angle

24 February 2019

Wonderful tree, like something out of the Lord of the Rings

It is the Ent Treabeard !
Don’t anger him or he’ll trash you

Pila phul !
ਪੀਲਾ ਫੁੱਲ

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Asian Age – Following in the noble footsteps of Sikh Gurus

Khalsa Aid attracts a large number of volunteers – presently there are around 18,000 volunteers working for it.

Kulbir Kaur

New Delhi – India, 09 March 2019. Who can be considered a true Sikh of the Guru? Who can be regarded a Sardar? A “Sardar” means a leader and one who leads others on to the path of humanity. A true Sikh must always be a defender, not an aggressor.

And during the recent events after the Pulwama attack, a large number of Sikhs came forward to extend a helping hand to Kashmiris who had become soft targets of hatred.

The Sikhs did not fail their Gurus and their message of love, devotion and universal brotherhood. As says Guru Nanak, “Listen O mind, that person who fears nothing nor gives anyone cause to fear has alone obtained true knowledge.”

A Sardar, a unique combination of saint-soldier, does not always need to use weapons to defend and help others. There can be no love of God without seva or service, which is presented as the highest ideal of life. All over India, Sikhs offered food and shelter to Kashmiri boys and girls and even arranged for their tickets back towards home.

One such Sikh organisation, “Khalsa Aid”, stands out for its humanitarian efforts. It not only made arrangements for their safe stay by guarding the students at night when they were asked to vacate the hostels and rented places but also sent more than 300 Kashmiri students from various places back to their homes.

In the true spirit of the Sikh faith, Khalsa Aid pursues the model of equality, compassion and selfless service. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, preached a non-sectarian philosophy and strongly advocated that it did not matter to which religion one belonged, but what really mattered was truthful living.

As says Guru Nanak, “Truth is higher than everything, but higher still is truthful living.”

Khalsa Aid, an international non-profit aid and relief organisation, was formed in 1999.

Based on the Sikh principles of love, selfless seva (service), vaand chhakna (to share with others) and compassion, Khalsa Aid has not restricted its good deeds to the Sikh community but following in the footsteps of the Sikh Gurus, it has spread the value of universal brotherhood.

Khalsa Aid has provided relief assistance to victims of disasters, war-victims, immigrants and for other untoward incidents. It arrives on the scene and provides all kinds of help, ranging from distributing food, water, clothing and medical-aid to providing safe shelter to the victims.

Khalsa Aid was founded by Ravinder Singh, who, following the core teaching of Sikhism, “Sarbat-da-Bhalla” (well being for all), decided to join a group of volunteers to provide food and shelter to the refugees on the Albania-Yugoslavia border where thousands of war-victims had taken shelter.

Since 1999, Khalsa Aid has been providing aid to people around the world, from victims of the Yemen civil war to Rohingya Muslims fleeing Burma.

“Focus Punjab”, launched in 2010, is one of the long-term projects of Khalsa Aid to help the victims of the 1984 riots. The main focus of another project, “Langar Aid”, is to end hunger worldwide. It is based on the Sikh philosophy of distributing free food to all. Langar Aid provides food to people all around the world.

Khalsa Aid attracts a large number of volunteers and presently there are around 18,000 volunteers working for it. Based on the Sikh philosophy of universal brotherhood, Khalsa Aid considers the whole human race as one and helps others without any distinctions. Khalsa Aid truly deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

Kulbir Kaur teaches sociology at Shyama Prasad Mukherji College, Delhi University

Dawn – Foreign journalists find holes in Indian narrative on F-16 usage, Balakot strike

Balakot – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Pakistan, 06 March 2019. New Delhi’s narrative on the India-Pakistan standoff appeared to crumble further on Wednesday as foreign journalists unearthed new details about the events of the preceding weeks.

New York Times journalist Maria Abi-Habib on Wednesday revealed that, contrary to India’s insistence, Pakistan may not have necessarily violated its F-16 sales agreement with the US even if it may have used the American-made fighter jets to shoot down Indian aircraft last week.

On 27 February Pakistan Air Force had announced that its jets had flown into occupied Kashmir to demonstrate its capability to respond to Indian aggression, locked on to military targets, and then spared them. It had later shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace when they tried to give chase to Pakistani jets.

Indian officials, while admitting that Pakistani jets had engaged Indian military targets, had complained that the aircraft used by the PAF to ingress into occupied Kashmir had included an F-16.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) had also claimed that it shot down the said F-16, and paraded the remains of an AIM-120 missile in an attempt to substantiate its claim.

New Delhi had insisted that Pakistan’s use of F-16 against India meant that Islamabad stood in violation of a sales agreement with the US, which reportedly restricts the fighter jets to be used for anti-terrorism activities alone.

However, Abi-Habib, the NYT’s South Asia correspondent, in a series of tweets explained how Pakistan may not have committed a violation of its sales agreement with the US even if it did use F-16s to shoot down Indian jets (which the PAF nonetheless says never happened).

“The US says if Pakistan used an F-16 to shoot down an Indian MiG, it may not have violated sale agreement,” she tweeted.

“They say if India entered Pakistani airspace for a second day, and Pakistan used the jet defensively, the contract wasn’t violated. But, if Pakistan used an F-16 to attack India first, then deal was violated.”

Citing weapons experts and officials, Abi-Habib also put a question mark on Indian Air Force’s claim that the AIM-120 missile’s remnant that was displayed by New Delhi was ‘proof’ of Pakistan’s use of an F-16 in the counter-strike to the Balakot incident.

She also said US officials still do not have sufficient reason to believe that an F-16 was shot down by India, as claimed by IAF.

Abi-Habib noted that “the West, particularly US, is really trying to bolster its alliance with India”. She said that the strengthening of its alliance with New Delhi is so important for Washington that it even offered to produce F-16 jets in India “as a sweetener”.

For the US to be cautious with Indian version of last week’s events, despite its newfound fondness of India, “is very interesting”, she added.

Satellite image of ‘areas hit’ by IAF show virtually no change

More damaging for the Indian narrative was a report penned by Martin Howell, Gerry Doyle and Simon Scarr for Reuters.

The report cited new high-resolution satellite images of the buildings and infrastructure India claimed it had targeted and destroyed in Balakot, allegedly killing scores of militants, to demonstrate that what India claims may never have happened.

The new image, produced by Planet Labs Inc, a San Francisco-based private satellite operator, showed that the “biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)” that the Indian Air Force claimed to have struck last week, which, according to locals, is a seminary for children, appears “to be still standing”.

The Reuters report said that according to the latest image it had acquired, when compared to an April 2018 satellite photo of the same area, the infrastructure remains “virtually unchanged”.

The news agency says that the development, to which India’s foreign and defense ministries did not respond to, casts further doubt on claims made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the Indian Air Force had successfully hit all its intended targets.

Today’s developments follow earlier reports by foreign publications that had found no trace of mass casualties and bodies in the area New Delhi claimed it had bombed inside Pakistan.

On a visit to the raid site a day after the incident, Reuters’ reporters had found some bomb craters and splintered pine trees but just one confirmed victim, who had a cut above his right eye.

“They say they wanted to hit some terrorists. What terrorists can you see here?” 62-year-old Nooran Shah told the agency. “We are here. Are we terrorists?”

Reuters’ findings were consistent with those of an Aljazeera representative’s. The Qatari publication’s reporter had found “splintered pine trees and rocks strewn across blast craters” but “no evidence of any building debris or casualties”.