The India Express – As criticism grows, CJI Ranjan Gogoi asks Justice Bobde to decide on next steps

This move comes the day two lawyers’ bodies of the Supreme Court cited “procedural impropriety” in the April 20 sitting and said the “full court of the Supreme Court” should take all “necessary steps” to deal with the charges.

Ananthakrishnan G

New Delhi – India, 23 April 2019. Amid snowballing criticism for the manner in which he called a special Supreme Court sitting on April 20 to trash the sexual harassment complaint against himself, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi Monday asked Justice S A Bobde, the second most senior judge, to decide on the next steps in the matter.

Sources told The Indian Express that at an informal meeting of the judges Monday morning, CJI Gogoi offered his version of the developments. He later assigned the matter to Justice Bobde who is in line to succeed him in November.

This move comes the day two lawyers’ bodies of the Supreme Court cited “procedural impropriety” in the April 20 sitting and said the “full court of the Supreme Court” should take all “necessary steps” to deal with the charges.

Last Saturday, the CJI had convened an “extraordinary” sitting after reports about a former woman staffer’s sexual harassment complaint against him. The allegations by the woman, who had worked at Justice Gogoi’s home office in Delhi, date to October last year.

She alleged that after she resisted his “sexual advances,” she was fired and her husband and brother-in-law, both posted with the Delhi Police as head constables, were subsequently suspended.

Sitting with Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjiv Khanna, CJI Gogoi called the charges a bid by a “bigger undermine the independence of the judiciary and deactivate the office of the CJI”. He added: “I should not stoop low even in denying it.”

On Monday the executive committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) resolved that the Saturday session of the court in the matter of allegations made by ex-employee against the CJI is “in violation of procedure established by law as well as principles of natural justice,” a statement issued by the SCBA said.

It urged the full court to collate all material with regard to the allegations from “electronic, print, social media and other available sources” for consideration at its next meeting.

The Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAORA) also pointed to “procedural impropriety” in convening the session and sought “immediate appointment of a committee headed by full court of Supreme Court to impartially investigate and inquire into the allegations.”

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Employees Welfare Association came out in support of the CJI and said it “strongly condemns the false, fabricated and baseless allegations” against him. It claimed that “unscrupulous allegations are aimed at maligning the institution”. – Bibi Khalra lodges strong reply to election officer’s notice

Sikh24 Editors

Tarn Taran Sahib – Panjab – India, 23 April 2019. Replying to the District Election Officer’s notice regarding violation of model code of conduct, the PDA’s candidate Bibi Paramjit Kaur Khalra has said that the message of living Sikh master Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was not only for the Sikh community but for the entire humanity.

She wrote in her reply that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji teaches the principles of equality, helping the needy and meek ones, eradication of the caste system and welfare of entire humanity so she doesn’t find anything worth objection in following this ideology to contest the elections.

“I pain that you have sent me the show-cause notice on the complaint of those who once tried to oppress this great ideology with the use of tanks and by backing sacrilege episode,” she wrote.

Bibi Paramjit Kaur Khalra further wrote that she has not cheated with her constituents like the Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh did by taking oath of Gutka Sahib during the Punjab assembly polls.

“I think, this issue doesn’t need further heed as no one has any right to challenge the secularist and humanitarian ideology taught by the living Sikh master Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji,” she added.

It may be recalled here that after being pressed by the Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress, the District Election Officer of Tarn Taran had issued a show-cause notice to Bibi Paramjit Kaur Khalra on April 20 for terming Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as her election manifesto. She was asked to submit a clarification within 48 hours.

Bibi Khalra Lodges Strong Reply to Election Officer’s Notice

Bosnia – Mostar

Across the Bridge
09 April 2019

The Neretva river

Two mosques on the other side

Beautiful old building, but too much tourism

The river

Our imam Ilber on the bridge

Mostar people must get enough exercise !

More Bosnian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Vancouver Sun – Sikh-Canadian activists put on no-fly list after Trudeau’s India visit; critics say aim was to appease Indian government

Under the Secure Air Travel Act, the three have been told there are reasonable grounds to suspect they might ‘threaten transportation security’

Tom Blackwell

Vancouver – British Columbia – Canada, 22 April 2019. At least three Sikh-Canadian activists have been added to the Canadian no-fly list in recent months, more evidence the federal government may have changed its approach to advocates of Punjabi independence after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s controversial India trip.

Under the Secure Air Travel Act, the three have been told there are reasonable grounds to suspect they might “threaten transportation security,” or travel by air to commit terrorist acts.

Two of the three have filed court challenges to the decisions, saying the system for barring people from air travel is unfair and violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

One had flown from Ontario to Vancouver, only to be told when he attempted to board his return flight he was on the list, requiring him to drive back across the country.

Critics say they suspect the no-fly additions were made to appease New Delhi after Trudeau’s visit in February 2018, which brought to the surface the Indian government’s growing concerns about alleged Sikh extremism.

Moninder Singh, president of a major BC gurdwara, or Sikh temple, and an outspoken community leader, said the three activists who contacted him all received notice of their no-fly designation last year, in the wake of the prime minister’s ill-fated tour.

“They are activists, all of them in the Sikh community, quite vocal, against India in many ways,” Singh said. “Maybe these are key people they’re focusing in on, trying to silence, and this is one of the ways to do it. Stop them from being able to move around, make them feel they are being cornered.”

Singh linked the apparent trend to the latest, controversial edition of an annual Public Safety Canada report on terrorist threats, which included alleged Sikh extremism for the first time.

That reference sparked outrage among community leaders, prompting the government earlier this month to remove the specific mention of Sikhs or Khalistanis, those who advocate for an independent Sikh homeland in Punjab state. The report now cites those pushing for the separation of part of India.

Tim Warmington, a spokesman for Public Safety Canada, said security reasons prevent the department from commenting on who is added to the “passenger protect” list or how many people are on it.

“Individuals can only be added if they meet the legal threshold under the act,” he said.

The two men who appealed their targeting both related similar experiences in court applications.

Bhagat Singh Brar was given written notice at Vancouver airport on April 24, 2018. He appealed to the government’s Passenger Protect Inquiries Office, which provided an unclassified summary of the information used in his case, and indicated Public Safety Canada had other, classified material, as well.

A department official upheld the original decision on 21 December.

Parvkar Singh Dulai received notice at Vancouver airport last 17 May, with Public Safety Canada eventually confirming the decision this 30 January his court filing says.

Moninder Singh said a third Sikh-Canadian man found out in December he was on the list.

Richard Fowler, Brar’s Vancouver-based lawyer, would offer little comment as the case is before the courts, but claimed the evidence the government showed his client to back up its decision was “unbelievably thin,” including clippings from Indian media outlets that are often overtly pro-government.

The challenge of the legislation itself is based on the “almost impregnable” decision-making process behind the no-fly list, Fowler said. Blocked passengers are barred from seeing any information used against them if the government believes doing so would endanger national security or individual people.

Fowler suspects the recent inclusion of Sikhs is a response to the strained Canadian-Indian relationship. “It’s not a coincidence that people were added after the prime minister returned from what was widely described as a calamitous trip to India,” he said.

Trudeau’s tour was marred by a series of widely mocked photo opportunities, and the attendance at an event of Jaspal Atwal, convicted of attempting to murder a visiting Indian cabinet minister in B.C. in 1986.

Before the trip, Canadian officials held several meetings with their Indian counterparts to “address more effectively India’s growing concerns regarding the rise of extremism,” a parliamentary committee said in its report on the episode.

There were also charges of meddling by New Delhi. In a background briefing with Canadian media, the prime minister’s national-security advisor suggested the Indian government may have been behind the spread of the Atwal story.

The parliamentary committee’s findings on allegations of “foreign interference,” however, were censored from the public version of its report.

With files from Brian Platt in Ottawa

The minister does not personally decided no-fly list appeals


Dawn – Peshawar police arrest man alleging anti-polio vaccines cause children to faint, die

Peshawar – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Pakistan, 23 April 2019. Police in Peshawar arrested a man on Tuesday after he allegedly spread misinformation about the anti-polio vaccine in a series of videos that went viral on social media, a day after hundreds of children in different cities complained of illness and were admitted to hospitals in the midst of a province-wide anti-polio drive.

Videos circulating on Twitter show a resident of Peshawar’s Mashokhel area, Nazar Muhammad, in Hayatabad Medical Complex, where children from a school in Badhber were admitted yesterday with complaints of illness following administration of the anti-polio vaccine.

In the video, Nazar alleges that administration of the vaccine causes children to fall unconscious. Then he turns to a group of children standing next to him and orders them to “fall asleep”. They then lie down on the hospital bed behind them as if they were unconscious.

When a boy gets up, Nazar tells him to “fall asleep” again, after which he lies down on the bed again.

In another video, Nazar is speaking to reporters outside, surrounded by a crowd of men. He alleges that some children in his video died after being administered the vaccine.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tweeted the videos with the caption: “EXPOSED: Watch how young innocent kids were made to lay down in hospital beds and pretend they’re suffering due to polio vaccination, to give a wrong message to masses regarding the polio campaign.”

KP and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas have long seen vaccine refusal cases. According to provincial officials and anti-polio campaign documents, suspicion about the vaccine stems from misconceptions about the oral polio vaccine (OPV) which have persisted since 2004, when obscurantist elements and militants in the area spread rumours that certain hormones were deliberately added to the OPV to make Muslim children sterile.

Panic over anti-polio drive

Panic spread across Peshawar yesterday after reports that 75 students at a school in Badhber, complaining of headaches, nausea and abdominal pain allegedly after being administered the anti-polio vaccine, were admitted to Hayatabad Medical Complex. Shortly after, doctors began releasing them, saying they were in stable condition.

Family members and area residents resorted to agitation in protest against the incident. They broke the doors and windows of a hospital during their protest, set a Basic Health Unit in the area on fire and held polio workers hostage for some time.

Panicked parents continued taking their children to hospitals for checkups till late at night, some 300 children visited Lady Reading Hospital, and mosques added further grist to the rumours by issuing intermittent warnings over their loudspeakers to not get children vaccinated, and that those who had must reach hospitals to avoid a reaction.

Most children were released after treatment, health workers said. The doctors at LRH said it was psychological whatever it was that was impacting the children. In Charsadda 800 children were hospitalised.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Saddar Sahibzada Sajjad told DawnNewsTV that a first information report (FIR) had been registered at the Badhber police station against identified individuals for setting fire to a Basic Health Unit and causing widespread panic by rumour-mongering.

DSP Sajjad confirmed Nazar Muhammad’s arrest and said that further arrests would be made using videos of the protests and vandalism.

Police obtained one-day remand for Nazar from the court today.

KP government to probe incident

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan held a press conference in Peshawar last night to debunk the rumours about the vaccine. “We have an inquiry report and the only thing it points towards is panic.

The school from where it all started, there should be an investigation against them. These two, three schools had also refused the anti-polio campaign earlier. They did not want drops administered to their students,” he claimed.

His claim was echoed by Chief Police Officer Qazi Jalilur Rehman, who had said the issue of alleged reaction from polio vaccines emerged from one school.

The health minister added that a preliminary investigation had revealed there was no issue of the expiry of vaccines. “We are also investigating a batch of vaccines which we procured from an Indonesia-based manufacturing firm.

The matter was blown by media out of proportions which swelled to a big crisis but in reality there is nothing to worry as all the children are safe,” he said.

The Emergency Operation Centre of KP has formed a committee under the additional deputy commissioner to investigate the issue and submit its findings in 48 hours.

Prime Minister’s Focal Person Babar Bin Atta had said that action would be taken against those who created the rumours to damage the polio vaccination campaign.

“Panic was created to jeopardise polio vaccination as part of a campaign and to put our children at risk of diseases. It is a criminal act and perpetrators will be held accountable. There were no instances of diarrhoea or skin rashes on affected children,” he explained.

He pledged that the vaccination drive would continue till polio was completely eradicated from the country. “The WHO-approved OPV used for eradication of poliovirus worldwide is safe for children and parents must have it administered to their children.”