The Hindustan Times – Mob attacks cops in Uttarakhand’s Rudrapur town for alleged misbehaviour with Sikh driver

The 39-year-old driver from Ferozepur in Punjab was arrested for preventing a public servant from doing his duty and assault, but was later released on bail on Saturday.

HT Correspondent

Dehradun – Uttarakhand – India, 30 March 2019. Tension gripped Rudrapur town of Udham Singh Nagar district on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday after a mob attacked policemen, accusing them of misbehaving with a Sikh truck driver who was stopped from entering a no-entry zone in the town late Friday evening.

The 39-year-old Punjab-based Sikh driver was arrested for preventing a public servant from doing his duty and assault, but was later released on bail on Saturday, senior police officials with knowledge of the matter said.

Police however, denied any misbehaviour with the accused, Satnam Singh, a resident of Ferozepur, Punjab.

“The incident happened on Friday evening at around 8.30, when the accused Singh entered a no-entry zone at DD Chowk area of the town with his chemical-laden tanker,” said Circle officer, Rudrapur, Himanshu Shah, who was present on the spot.

“As it was a no-entry zone, the traffic police present there asked him to stop but he didn’t. He was then chased by personnel of City Patrolling Unit (CPU) of district police and made him stop the vehicle. After stopping him, they asked him to show the vehicle’s papers which he refused to do,” said Shah.

“The accused then himself put his turban inside the vehicle and took out his sword to chase the policemen on the highway,” Shah said.

“The allegation of police disrespecting the accused’s turban is completely wrong as he himself took off his turban and put it in his tanker. Police have video evidence of the same,” said director general, law & order, Ashok Kumar.

Police tried to nab him and take the sword from his hand but failed.

“On being chased by the accused they then called for help from Kotwali police station. By then the mob had also gathered on the road in support of the accused and started alleging the police of disrespecting his turban which was totally wrong,” he added.

Superintendent of police (SP), crime, Pramod Kumar, reached the spot to pacify the crowd, but was allegedly manhandled by the mob.

“While he was trying to control the situation, someone from the mob attacked him and his armed personal guard. It was then the guard fired a round in the air to push them back,” said Shah adding that the police then resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.

Kumar said, “The mob was dispersed and the situation was defused completely by 4am (on Saturday). The accused was later arrested and his tanker was seized by police.”

“At least three other policemen including me sustained minor injuries in the incident. A police vehicle was also damaged by the accused and the mob,” he added. – Kaar Sewa seminary starts demolishing historic Darshani Deodi of Sri Darbar Sahib Tarn Taran

Pritpal Singh

Tarn Taran – Panjab – India, 31 March 2019. Putting aside the Sikh sentiments, the Kaar Sewa seminary headed by Baba Jagtar Singh has started demolishing the more than two centuries old main entrance gate of Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib, Tarn Taran.

To evade the protest by Sikh masses, the demolition was started during the intervening night of March 30 and 31.

Ranbir Singh, a local Sikh, told Sikh24 that his heart got twitched when he saw the top of this historic Darshani Deodi demolished during the morning hours today. “The Darshani Deodi was standing intact when I had come to pay obeisance here last evening,” he added.

It may be recalled here that an attempt to demolish this Darshani Deodi (Entrance gate) of Sri Darbar Sahib, Tarn Taran under pretext of ‘Kaar Sewa’ was earlier failed by the Sikh devotees on September 14 last year.

Baba Jagtar Singh and other SGPC officials had to face a sharp protest by the Sikh devotees when they were about to begin work for demolishing the two centuries old entrance gate built during the kingdom of Kanwar Naunihal Singh.

At that time, the SGPC and Kaar Sewa authorities had found it better to stop the demolition of this ‘Darhsani Deodi’ for the time being.

Gent-Sint-Pieters – Tongeren NMBS/De Lijn

25 March 2019

Gent-Sint-Pieters – IC to Tongeren
IC slow to Brussel, fast to Hasselt and slow to Tongeren

IC to Tongeren
Refurbished old rolling stock

Tongeren NMBS/De Lijn
25 March 2019

Tongeren NMBS

NMBS symbol – De Lijn bus station

Two buses at the bus station – Both going to ‘Not in Service’

Bus 39b to Voeren, formerly a Dutch speaking part of Luik/Liège Province, now part of Limburg and therefore served by De Lijn
There are also regular De Lijn bus services to Maastricht (NL) and Liège from here

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Yorkshire Evening Post – Assault at Sikh Gurdwara in Leeds, ‘not hate-related’, police say

Corinne MacDonald

Leeds – West Yorkshire – England – UK, 30 March 2019. An assault which took place at the Gurdwara Guru Nanak, Lady Pit Lane in Beeston, was not hate-related, police investigating have said. The incident occurred at the Sikh Gurdwara on the evening of Saturday, March 30.

In a statement on Facebook West Yorkshire Police said: “During the incident, three people were assaulted, a man has been arrested for the offence and the police are continuing with their investigations into the matter.

“Enquires have revealed this not to be a hate-related incident.”

Local officers have been, and will continue to provide reassurance patrols in the area.

The Gurdwara was previously the target of an arson attack in June 2018. On June 4, 2018, fire crews were called after a flammable liquid was used to set the building’s front door alight.

The same evening, the Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira – also known as Beeston Central Mosque – on Hardy Street was also set on fire. Fortunately, fire crews were able to contain the blaze before it spread.

Speaking at the time, Detective Inspector Richard Holmes, of Leeds District CID, said: “We are treating both these incidents as linked given the closeness of the locations and the similar times that they have occurred.

“While our investigation is still at a relatively early stage, we do believe these premises have been specifically targeted as places of worship and we are treating both incidents as arson and hate crimes.”

Though a suspect was arrested on suspicion of arson, no charges have been made over the arson attack.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: “Unfortunately, despite extensive enquiries, we weren’t able to identify the suspects – there were potential suspects arrested but they were later ruled out.”

Dawn – Forced conversions

Akhlaq Ullah Tarar

Daharki – Sindh – Pakistan, 31 March 2019. Two Hindu sisters, Reena and Raveena, were reportedly abducted recently from their home in Daharki and taken to Rahim Yar Khan.

This is yet another in a series of such abductions taking place in Sindh’s rural areas of Umerkot, Tharparkar and Ghotki in which economically vulnerable Hindu girls or young women of marriageable age are ‘abducted’ and then conveniently discovered with their newfound identity as converts to Islam.

The ensuing public hue and cry fizzles out after a few days.

I am a police officer serving in Balochistan’s southern district of Lasbela. In my subdivision, eight per cent of the population is Hindu, and there is enviable inter-communal harmony here. It has been so for centuries, people of all religions living together in a spirit of acceptance and mutual respect.

In fact, many Muslims enthusiastically participated in the recent Holi celebrations. Such sentiments are invariably reciprocated by the Hindus.

In the context of the recent incident, three fundamental questions arise. Why are Hindus in Balochistan not being subjected to forced conversions? Why is this phenomenon so predominant in interior Sindh?

And lastly, why is the modus operandi, a Hindu female, either minor or of marriageable age, eloping with a man and then converting to Islam, identical in all such incidents?

What makes Hindus in Sindh so vulnerable?

To answer the first question, Hindus in Balochistan have always felt more secure vis-à-vis religious persecution. The tribal chiefs consider Hindus, or for that matter any other religious minority, as members of their own extended family and afford them the freedom to live their lives according to their faith.

They never acquired any missionary zeal to convert them. The Jams of Lasbela and Bugti tribal chiefs in Dera Bugti, for instance, have always been protective of them. Owing to this, society overall has developed a culture of tolerance and coexistence.

Second, Hindu places of worship are proportionate to their population: within the jurisdiction of two police stations (Uthal and Bela) in Lasbela, for example, there are 18 mandirs for 5,000 Hindus living in the area. This is a powerful indicator of religious freedom.

Lastly, Hindus are economically well off: they are working as contractors, bank employees and landowners. By virtue of their affluence, they enjoy a social status that gives them adequate protection. On the other hand, the dynamics in interior Sindh are altogether different.

For one, the social and economic disparities are stark. It is a particularly in-egalitarian society, where a few individuals enjoy a privileged status and the impunity that goes with it while others have to struggle for even their basic rights to be recognised.

The Hindu community’s lack of financial empowerment, and their total dependence on those who control the means of production, makes them doubly vulnerable.

Second, there is a very strong proselytising zeal among the local clergy to bring non-Muslims into the fold of the dominant faith. To convert someone is perceived as a pious deed that will bring rewards in the hereafter, no matter the method employed to execute the conversion.

Clerics like Mian Mitho from Ghotki and Ayub Jan Sarhandi from Samaro, to name a few, have become veritable symbols of conversion in Sindh.

Third, for a poor Hindu girl, conversion is in a way a stepping stone to a better life that offers her the prospect of an end to a miserable existence. Such considerations have played a role in young girls being enticed by even elderly Muslim men into marrying the latter.

Fourth, elopement in the case of a Hindu girl is akin to defilement. After running away from her family, she sees no way back because she will be shunned by her own community. Thus even if she is remorseful and unhappy in her marriage, she will accept her lot.

In the backdrop of these recurring incidents, the police must expand their outreach to the vulnerable Hindu community. They should meet often not only with the notables of the community, but also local Hindus who do not have any social media platform from where to voice their concerns.

For most of Pakistan’s existence, there existed no legislation on a registration mechanism for Hindu marriages. Then the Sindh Hindus Marriage Act, 2016 was passed by the Sindh Assembly which, however, includes no provision for divorce.

A year later, the National Assembly enacted the Hindu Marriage Act, 2017, which is applicable to all the provinces except Sindh.

Although it frames a comprehensive process for the verification and registration of marriages, clause 12(3) gives leeway to forced conversions by stating that a Hindu marriage can be terminated on the grounds that the other party “has ceased to be Hindu by conversion to another religion”.

Such anomalies should be rectified through amendments, if the practice of forced ­conversions is to be eliminated.

The writer is a police officer posted in Balochistan.