The Indian Express – In a first, Pakistan acknowledges area where the three were hanged as ‘Bhagat Singh Chowk’

The initiative was spearheaded by Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation, which is run by Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi who had also filed a petition in Lahore High Court to rename Shadman Chowk as ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk.’

Divya Goyal

Ludhiana – Panjab – India, 24 March 2019. A motley group of followers of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev Saturday paid tributes to the trio on their 88th martyrdom anniversary at Shadman Chowk in Lahore city of Pakistan, the spot which was once a part of a jail where they were hanged by the British on March 23, 1931.

The spot reverberated with the chants of ‘Bhagat Singh Zinda Hai’ and ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh Teri Soch Tey, Pehra Deyange Thok Ke’ as Lahore residents, including women and children, with candles in their hands, paid tributes to the martyrs.

The initiative was spearheaded by Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation, which is run by Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi who had also filed a petition in Lahore High Court to rename Shadman Chowk as ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk’.

The mood at Shadman Chowk Saturday remained sombre as artistes paid musical tributes to the martyrs.

“Ae Qaidey Azam… tera ehsaan hai ehsaan…naksha badal ke rakh diya iss mulk ka tune…likha hai iss zameen pe shaheedon ne lahu se…,” sung a young woman paying tributes to the martyrs.

Students and youth groups, also raised slogans of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’, and ‘Bhagat Singh tera mission adhoora, hum sab milke karenge poora’.

In a major development, the district administration of Lahore for the first time in its official document acknowledged Shadman Chowk as “Bhagat Singh Chowk” and addressed Bhagat Singh and his companions as “Great Revolutionary Leaders,” claimed Qureshi, on whose petition the Lahore High Court had directed Mayor of Lahore in September last year, to take decision on renaming the chowk.

Till now, no official notification or orders have been issued in this regard by Lahore administration.

However, in a letter dated March 21 (copy with The Indian Express) issued by the office of deputy commissioner Lahore, allowing foolproof security arrangements for the tributes ceremony was organized on Saturday, the additional deputy commissioner (headquarters), Lahore, has written, “I have been directed to request that appropriate security arrangements may be ensured for 88th anniversary of great revolutionary leaders Bhagat Singh and his companions Raj Guru and Sukhdev on Saturday 23rd March, 2019 at Bhagat Singh Chowk (Shadman Chowk), Lahore to avoid any untoward incident”.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Qureshi said, “Following our petition in February last year in which we pleaded that government should rename Shadman chowk after the martyrs, the Lahore High Court had directed Mayor of Lahore in September to take a decision on it.

Since then, it is for the first time that any official document of Pakistan government and Lahore district administration has acknowledged and recognized Shadman Chowk as Bhagat Singh Chowk.

This is a big victory for Bhagat Singh’s followers in Pakistan who are trying to keep his spirit, values, teachings and philosophy alive amid the tension between the two countries.

We are hoping that soon an official notification will also be issued announcing renaming of the chowk. We are also trying to get statues of the martyrs installed at the chowk as it is demand of common people of Pakistan.”

“It will be highly ignorant and unfair if people in Pakistan forget that Bhagat Singh laid his life not only for India but us too. He dreamed of seeing an independent India which also included Pakistan.

This the land where he breathed last. Let’s not divide his martyrdom into two halves. People of both India and Pakistan should respect his sacrifice and remember him fondly,” he added. – Hindu villagers attack Gurdwara Sahib in Kaithal; 50 year old Sikh lost life, 16 others injured

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 24 March 2019. An innocent Sikh Shamsher Singh (50) reportedly lost life and several others got injured in an attack on a Gurdwara Sahib of Badsui village of Kaithal (Haryana) by the Hindu villagers.

It is learnt that the Hindu assailants even tried to attack the holy corpus of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji but the Sikh men present inside the Gurdwara premises succeeded in defending the holy corpus.

Sikh24 has learnt that the Sikhs were attacked in a pre-planned way by the Hindus as there was a longstanding dispute of land between the two communities of Badsui village.

A few months ago, the issue was resolved with the interference of village Panchayat but the Hindu villagers crossed the line of mutual understanding in a deliberated way and later attacked the Sikhs showing hooliganism over the minority.

An injured Sikh told the media that the Hindu villagers erected a boundary wall in the night while illegally taking possession of Gurdwara Sahib’s land.

“When we (Sikhs) gathered together in the morning hours and went to the Temple to express our objection to their move, they attacked us due to which one of us lost life while several others got injured,” he added.

The injured Sikh further informed that the Hindu villagers then attacked on Gurdwara Sahib while hurling stones and bricks, but the Sikhs present there succeeded in shielding the Gurdwara premises.

“One of us died and two others got seriously injured during this attack while we eight are getting treatment here in the local hospital,” he said while adding that the seriously injured have been transferred to PGI, Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that a case has been registered against 35 Hindu villagers and the Police has rounded up 17 Hindu assailants. The police has also destroyed the illegal wall constructed by the Hindu villagers during the darkness of the night hours.

A Special Investigation Team has been also constituted to probe the incident.

Gent Gurdwara

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
10 March 2019

Akhand Path – Master Ji and Gursharan Singh

Women reading the sloks of ninth Guru together
with the men

The sloks of the ninth Guru are usually read by the readers of the Akhand Path
This time these three women took part as well

The three female readers
Three Kaurs

The three male readers
Three Singhs

Four Singhs including the one with the Chaur Sahib

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

NDTV – Congress blocked fund release to anti-Sikh riot victims: Rajnath Singh

“I ordered the release of the fund. And we have given Rs. 2 lakh to every family of the victim,” Rajnath Singh said.

Lucknow – Uttar Pradesh – India, 24 March 2019. Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday accused the Congress of blocking the release of compensatory funds meant for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Speaking at an event in Lucknow, Mr Singh said: “When I took the office of Home Ministry in 2014, I got to know that the ministry had the extra fund of Rs. 90 crore that was meant for the victims of the anti-Sikh riots, but the Congress had not released it.”

“I ordered the release of the fund. And we have given Rs. 2 lakh to every family of the victim,” he added.

“It is the first time, that a leader of the then ruling party has been convicted for his crime during the riots. It could be possible because the BJP was at the Centre. And I had also ordered the formation of SIT to investigate the riots.”

He further criticised the Congress for questioning Balakot strike conducted by Indian Air Force. “I can assure you every action was taken after the intelligence input. I don’t understand the attack was conducted in Pakistan, why Congress is feeling pain?”

Mr Singh also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that he has emerged as the “most popular leader” of the world. Mr Singh further added that, “I am not telling you because the election is coming, but India’s Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) is not only India’s favourite leader but has also emerged as the world’s most popular leader.”

The Hindu – Indian-origin Labour MP Virendra Sharma faces vote of no-confidence

Virendra Sharma’s views on many issues have stirred up controversy

Vidya Ram

London – UK, 24 March 2019. The Indian-origin MP for Ealing Southall, Virendra Sharma, is in the midst of a local political storm, following a vote of no confidence in him by the local constituency Labour Party.

The vote is the first in a multi-stage process that could enable the local party to choose a new parliamentary candidate for any future general election.

Those who triggered and supported the motion against Mr. Sharma this week have expressed a number of concerns about his ability to represent the local community, pointing to a number of factors such as his failure to attend local constituency Labour meetings for the past 21 months.

But their deeper concerns relate to his stance on a number of political and international issues, such as his position on issues relating to Kashmir and India-Pakistan bilateral relations, which they say endangers the politics of a very diverse London constituency.

Ealing Southall has one of the largest South Asian diasporas in the UK, with 29.7% of its population describing itself as of Asian background in the last census. It is also religiously diverse, with 16% identifying as Muslim, 9% as Hindu, 8% as Sikh and 43% as Christian.

The issue has surfaced locally a number of times, when Mr Sharma in 2017 referred in Parliament to Pakistan as the “world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.” Following protests, he subsequently issued an apology to the local community, but the issue has come to the forefront following the Pulwama attacks.

“People have been asking the question is he an MP for Southall and its diverse community or a representative of the Indian government?” said one local activist.

Some have pointed to a range of local issues such as the failure to support a campaign to keep Southall Town Hall, a long-standing community building, secular and avoid it being taken over by a local temple last year.

There was also disquiet about action relating to local community concerns over environmental conditions around a local “soil hospital”, where contaminated soil is cleaned leading to “odour and air pollution on a daily and nightly basis”, according to a local campaign.

“There are concerns about the level of activity and style of activity of Virendra Sharma,” says Harsev Bains of the Indian Workers Association, who said he hoped that the MP would take the opportunity to listen to concerns that had been expressed by the community, particularly about the need to engage with local issues.

The vote was brought by the Unite union delegate branch of the local Labour party and passed by 41 votes to 18, following a two-hour general meeting on Thursday night.

The motion said that the constituency party had “no confidence” in Mr. Sharma and that he had “failed to work with the local membership or act as an adequate constituency MP”.

“Party members concerns are not racially or religiously motivated. The vote was overwhelmingly against Mr Sharma and people spoke from the left and the right and all major faiths and of no faith”, says Rheian Davies, a local solicitor who moved the motion of no confidence.

“That is not to say that Mr. Sharma has not upset various sections of Southall with some of his statements and positions. Playing communal politics, as he has tried to do, is dangerous. Ealing Southall is a diverse community that lives in harmony,” she added.

Mr. Sharma has hit back at his critics, and in a statement following the vote insisted it was nothing to do with meetings of the local party but was because he had refused to “play local political games” and had publicly criticised some Labour figures.

Mr. Sharma is a vocal critic of Brexit and supports a second referendum, contrary to the national party’s line on this. “The action today is motivated by religious and racial grounds and those who try to split our party do not represent our movement’s vibrant history of anti-racist campaigning”, he wrote in an emailed statement.

“We would strongly refute the claims made by Virendra Sharma that this is in any way a vote that was initiated on religious or race grounds. The CLP general committee meeting compromises 71 delegates from across Southall communities of all religions and ethnic backgrounds,” said a spokesperson for the Constituency Labour Part of Ealing Southall.

“We are a very diverse CLP and the meeting itself and the debate around the no confidence vote included speakers from across religious and racial groupings. The fact that the vote was 41 of the 59 delegates present shows it was a shared view from across the religious and racial groupings of the constituency.”

The vote will not require Mr. Sharma to stand down but does mean that he could be replaced by another candidate at any future general election. The no-confidence vote enables the local party to call on Labour’s National Executive Committee to allow them to start a “trigger ballot process” that would put Mr. Sharma’s leadership to another vote.

Were he to win this that would be the end of the process. Were he to lose it, it would lead to an open selection process where Mr. Sharma and other candidates could attempt to become the party’s candidate in a future election.