Sint-Pieters Woluwe – Jules César – Notre Dame Chant d’oiseau

Sint-Pieters Woluwe
Jules César
30 July 2019

Tram 39 to Ban-Eik

Jules César – Julius Cesar

From here it was about 15 minutes walk to my destination

Notre Dame Chant d’oiseau
Sint-Pieters Woluwe
31 July 2019

The corridor on the ground floor

Notre Dame Chant d’oiseau
Sint-Pieters Woluwe
01 Augustus 2019

The church seen from my room

Looking more to the left

Vogelzanglaan – Avenue de Chant d’oiseau
Church and MIVB busstop

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Published in: on August 10, 2019 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pieter Friedrich – Jammu and Kashmir Loses “Special Status”

Part 3 – Kashmir: Torn by Hindu Nationalist Violence Since 1947

In 1939, as World War II dawned with the Nazi invasion of Poland, RSS leader, soon to be chief, M S Golwalkar published a manifesto.

“We, Hindus,” he writes, are “at war at once with the Moslems.” He declared that, “ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in [India], right up to the present moment the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to shake off the despoilers.”

Praising Nazi Germany for having “boldly vindicated” the “Nation Idea,” he invoked the topic of “German Race Pride,” writing, “To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races, the Jews.

Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”

Meanwhile, Kashmiri Muslims languished in the Hindu state constructed by the Dogras.

In 1941, nearly 80 percent of the population of the princely state of J&K was Muslim. Yet, writes political scientist Sumantra Bose, “Local Muslims were barred from becoming officers in the princely state’s military forces and were almost non-existent in the civil administration.”

Bose quotes a Kashmiri Hindu activist of the time, who said, “The poverty of the Muslim masses is appalling. Dressed in rags and barefoot, a Muslim peasant presents the appearance of a starving beggar. Most are landless laborers, working as serfs for absentee landlords.”

With the conclusion of WWII, and the success of the independence movement, the Indian subcontinent finally secured its freedom from the yolk of the British Empire in 1947.

By then, the RSS had penetrated every major area of the subcontinent and boasted up to a half a million members. In J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh Dogra was left with a decision, join his state to Muslim-majority Pakistan, to Hindu-majority India, or remain independent. As he weighed his options, Golwalkar visited the Maharaja on October 17, 1947 to pressure him to join India.

In the days and weeks before Golwalkar’s visit, the Dogra’s troops and the RSS joined hands to conduct a state-sanctioned pogrom of Muslims.

In the mountains of Jammu, Muslims constituted a smaller majority than in the Kashmir Valley to the north. In September, they were targeted for ethnic cleansing. “The Dogra state troops were at the forefront of attacks on Muslims,” writes historian Ilyas Chattha.

“The state authorities were also reported to be issuing arms to local volunteer organizations such as RSS.” Chattha claims, “The Maharaja of the Dogra Hindu state was complicit in the targeted violence against Kashmiri Muslims.” According to some reports, he explains, Hari Singh Dogra was ‘in person commanding all the forces’ which were ethnically cleansing the Muslims.

“Instead of trying to prevent such killings and preserving communal peace, the Maharaja’s administration helped and even armed the communal marauders,” writes Ved Bhasin, a witness to the massacre who later became a journalist. “It was a planned genocide by the RSS activists.”

After the Maharaja agreed to accession on October 26, barely a week after RSS chief Golwalkar’s visit, the killings continued. “In the first week of November, the Pakistan government dispatched many buses to Jammu city to transport the refugees into Sialkot,” writes Chattha. The Dogra’s troops and RSS men “attacked the caravan and killed most of the passengers and abducted their women.”

By the end, the total number of dead was catastrophically high. Bhasin says, “There is no doubt that their number runs into several thousands.” Political scientist Christopher Snedden says, “Perhaps between 20,000 and 100,000 Muslims were killed.” A 1948 report in London’s The Times alleged that “237,000 Muslims were systematically exterminated.”

However many actually died, one tragic fact stood out. “There was hardly any family in the region which escaped the horrible wrath of communal hooligans,” writes journalist Zafar Choudhary. “The events of 1947 permanently changed the way the Muslims of Jammu would live or think.

A majority of them was either massacred, or pushed to the other side of the divide; many fled to save their lives thus leaving behind a terrorized and harassed minuscule minority.”

In 1949, British civil servant William Barton, writing in Foreign Affairs magazine, warned that a “militant group” called the RSS, “whose object is to absorb Pakistan, has of late been asserting itself.” He noted the “atrocities committed” during the “wholesale expulsion of Moslems from the Jammu province.”

Barton added, “One wonders whether the Indian Government has considered the military implications of the retention of Kashmir in India. With half or more of the population hostile, it would have to maintain an army of occupation.”

India had already begun dealing with the ramifications of retaining Kashmir. On October 22, 1947, four days before the accession, India and Pakistan commenced their first of three wars over the region. Ever since, the two South Asian nations have incessantly squabbled over J&K as though it were a crown jewel.

In 1965, the second war over Kashmir claimed the lives of perhaps 7,000 troops, no one seems to have kept count of how many civilians died. The war ended in a stalemate. Yet the RSS’s Golwalkar was ecstatic.

In his 1966 manifesto, Golwalkar proclaimed, “The nation’s pulse has been quickened by an unprecedented upsurge of patriotic pride and self-respect. Verily this is the first and the foremost lesson that the war has taught us.” Analogizing the conflict to a mythological battle between the Hindu god Ram and a demon, he argued, “It is inevitable to annihilate the support, the evil persons, if we have to do away with evil.”

This, he implied, required absorbing Pakistan into India. Demanding “the hoisting of our flag in Lahore and other parts of Pakistan,” he declared, “Since times immemorial, those areas have formed integral parts of our motherland. Our fight for independence can be deemed to have come to a successful close only when we liberate all those areas now under enemy occupation.”

This long article will be published in five parts in the coming days
Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California.

He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted:
A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent.

Discover more by him at:

Dawn – Thar Express, Dosti Bus Service to India suspended

Aamir Yasin

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 10 August 2019. Pakistan decided on Friday to shut down Thar Express, the second train service to India, and Dosti Bus Service following the mounting tension between the two countries in the wake of New Delhi’s decision to annex Jammu and Kashmir.

In a tweet, Minister of State for Communications Murad Saeed said: “In line with the decisions of NSC [National Security Committee] Pakistan-India bus service is suspended.”

Similarly, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced at a news briefing at the Press Information Department (PID) that the government had decided to close down Thar Express, the train service running between Khokhrapar (Pakistan) and Munabao (India). The last train departed for India on Friday night.

It was the second train service between Pakistan and India to be suspended after Samjhauta Express was shut down on Thursday. Thar Express runs from Karachi to Zero Point via Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas every Friday and every Saturday from Zero Point.

The railways minister said Samjhauta Express and Thar Express would remain suspended and there was no chance of them being restored in future.

In reply to a question about a statement by Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry that the railways minister could not suspend Samjhauta Express on his own, Mr Rashid said he was the most senior member of parliament and he would not make such decisions without the consent of Prime Minister Imran Khan and after the latter’s permission he had announced it.

“He (Fawad Chaudhry) is in habit of sticking his nose into other ministries instead of his own work. I don’t make further comments on him as he is my friend but….,” he said, adding that as long as he is railways minister he will not allow restoration of services of these trains.

He said a 133 km-long new track had been laid for Thar Express at a cost of Rs 13 billion and after the suspension of its service, the track would be utilised for the Thar coal project. “This track was laid before me as railways minister. It is the latest broad gauge track as the old metre gauge track was laid in the area in 1861,” he said.

Referring to his affiliation with the Kashmir freedom movement, he claimed that Lal Haveli (his political office) and Lal Chowk in Srinagar had centuries-old blood relations. “I will visit border areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir from Urri, Neelam Valley, to Chokathi to review the latest situation,” he said.

He said Pakistan did not want war as countries went through difficult times after it. However, he said those who did not raise his/her voice for the rights of Kashmiris would be called traitor.

Mr Rashid said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had violated the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir while revoking special status of the disputed territory and torn all the agreements related to Kashmir between the two countries.

He said Prime Minister Khan had asked the Planning Commission to expedite work on the Main Line (ML-1) project. “The rehabilitation of 1,800km main track would increase the number of passengers from seven million to 10m per year and also reduce the travel time from Karachi to Lahore.”

He said Tajikistan businessmen were coming to Pakistan via Afghanistan for trade and the present railway track was not in a condition to bear the burden of the freight train to accommodate new trade relations with central Asian states.

He said that as many as 69 old locomotives of China were out of order and if the ML-1 project started then he would manage to repair these locomotives from China free of cost. “Labour colonies will also be constructed under ML-1,” he said.

Responding to a question about Maryam Nawaz’s arrest after she started public meetings to highlight the Kashmir issue, he said she was arrested in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case and this ‘corruption’ case would make the “whole Sharif family diabetic”.

World Sikh News – Panthic bodies seek Sirsa Dera head trial for sacrilege – blasts – protest 15 August

Published 6 days ago – WSN Punjab Desk. Coming together to launch a frontal attack on the injustice and blasphemy of the Sirsa Dera and its chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, three Panthic bodies, Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar and the United Akali Dal have sought trial of the Sirsa Dera head for sacrilege and Maur bomb blasts and have planned a peoples’ protest all around Punjab on 15 August, later this month.

In its resolve to fight against injustices and enslavement, three Panthic organizations, Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar and United Akali Dal will hold protest demonstrations all around Punjab on August 15, coinciding with India’s 72nd Independence day and holding the day as a day of protest.

The protests will focus on continued loot of river waters of Punjab, strong resistance against the draconian legislative amendments to make UAPA more stringent and draconian giving unbridled powers to NIA by infringing state’s rights, misuse of the laws of sedition, release of four police convicts through a state pardon, denial of justice to Sikh detainees and the denial of right to self-determination to the people of Punjab.

Further­more, the closure report by the CBI in the Barghari sacrilege case is yet another cause of concern and anger amongst the Sikh population of Punjab.

At a recent meeting of the three bodies attended among others by Kanwar Pal Singh, Jasbir Singh Khandur, Paramjit Singh Tanda, Prof Mohinder Pal Singh, Jaskaran Singh Kahansingh­wala, Gurdeep Singh Bhatinda, Bahadur Singh Nawanshahr and SYP president Paramjit Singh Mand resolved to take this joint step.

Addressing a press conference, Kanwar Pal Singh said the protests will be a reiteration of our aspirtion to be free and to up­hold the legitimate rights including the right to self-determination of the people of Punjab.

The protest program will be organised in Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Sangrur, Bhatinda, Mansa, Ferozpur, Faridkot, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Chandigarh, Moga, Barnala and Tarn Taran.

Taking a strong view of conflicting and self-contradicting statements by Captain Amarinder Singh and Sukhbir Singh Badal on sacrilege issue and CBI report, Kan­warpal Singh told the media that the chief minister lacks will power to crack the case and ex­pose the real conspirators.

Even the victims of Maur Bomb blast cry for justice but the CM has turned his back on them too because he knows that the conspiracy leads to Sirsa.

The Panthic bodies demanded that the Dera Sirsa Chief should be interrogated and prosecuted in the various cases of sacrilege and the Maur Bomb blast case.

The Chief Minister asking the CBI to re-investigate the sacrilege case goes against the spirit of the Vidhan Sabha that passed the resolution to withdraw the probe from the central agency.

Pointing out the failure of Punjab government to prosecute former DGP S S Saini in the Bebhal Kalan firing, party leaders said the reports clearly indicate that the police hierarchy has arm-twisted the political class to defend their men who ordered unprovoked firing on Sikh Sangat.

Will the faith of the public be restored in rule of law with the government’s dilly-dallying and partisan approach?

Panthic bodies seek Sirsa Dera head trial for sacrilege, blasts, protest 15 August

The Tribune – Sikh man detained for carrying kirpan in UK’s Birmingham; video viral

Tribune Web Desk

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 09 August 2019. A police officer of UK’s Birmingham city detained a Sikh man for carrying a kirpan in public on Thursday.

The incident took place on Bull Street in Birmingham and was shared by several people on social media. A Facebook page, ‘British by paper – Punjabi by nature’, posted the video and wrote: ‘Police arrest Sikh man for carrying a kirpan.’

In the video, the man can be heard telling the officer: “I’m a Sikh. I can carry this if I want to.”

The viral clip show the Sikh man, wearing a blue traditional dress with a kirpan strapped around his waist. The officer is seen requesting for back-up.

The officer explains the situation to other officers and the Sikh man is heard asking: “Why, why, why?”

The policeman then talks into his radio again, saying: “He’s a little bit aggro with me”.

After a few seconds, the Sikh man points at a bus driver and asks the officer: “Could you call that bus driver, he goes to my gurdwara.”

A woman is then heard saying: “They are arresting him for no reason for wearing a kirpan”.

The Sikh man then walks towards the bus driver, and the officer tries to stop him. The officer says: “Sir I need you to not wander around while I’ve got you detained.”

The officer can be seen holding onto the Sikh man’s arm as a crowd gathers around.

The video has been viewed over 30,000 times and has divided many in the comments.

In 2018, the UK government made an exemption to the 2018 Offensive Weapons Bill to allow Sikhs to carry kirpans for religious reasons.

From Gent-Sint-Pieters to Sint-Pieters Woluwe

To Sint-Pieters Woluwe
30 July 2019

I wanted the 17:37 train

Modern comfortable carriages

Final destination Eupen in German speaking Belgium

The Eupen train is departing

Gent – Brussel Zuid {NMBS train)
Brussel Zuid – Brouckère (Prémetro)
Brouckère – Montgomery (Metro)
Montgomery – Jules César (Tram)

Brussel Montgomery
Underground tram station
Trams to Tervuren and Ban Eik
30 July 2019

Montgomery – Tram 39 to Ban Eik

Montgomery – Tram 39 to Ban Eik
My final destination was Jules César only three stops away

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Pieter Friedrich – Jammu and Kashmir Loses “Special Status”

Part 2 – Hindu Rulers of Muslim Subjects

Religious conflict between ruler and ruled, as well as the sense that Kashmir is an object to be haggled over, traded, and valued only for the bragging rights of ownership, has persisted since at least the mid-19th century.

Islam took root in Kashmir in 1320 when the local king converted. By the end of the 1400s, most Kashmiris were Muslims. In 1586, the Mughal Empire sent a Hindu general, Bhagwant Das, to annex the region.

He succeeded, writes 17th-century Dutch East India Company merchant Francisco Pelsaert, “by craft and subtlety, the lofty mountains and difficult roads rendering forcible conquest impossible.”

Mughal Emperors then adopted Kashmir as their summer resort. Meanwhile, Pelsaert records, Kashmiris remained “for the most part poor.” In 1751, Afghanistan invaded and conquered Kashmir.

Kashmir’s situation changed in the 1800s. As the Mughal Empire crumbled, the young Sikh community in Punjab, immediately south of J&K, asserted itself militarily. The Sikhs fought invasions of Afghanis and Persians, waged war against the Mughals, and battled local Hindu kings.

Finally, they established the Sikh Empire in 1801. In 1808, the Sikh Empire annexed Jammu and then, in 1819, attacked and overthrew the Afghani occupiers of Kashmir.

The Sikh Empire was then the only major region of the Indian subcontinent which the British had not colonized. Its downfall began when the Dogra brothers gained political control. Dhian Singh Dogra was made prime minister in 1818 and Gulab Singh Dogra was made raja of Jammu in 1822. From 1840 to 1845, they staged two coups, eventually installing a child on the throne.

In 1846, when the British invaded in 1846, Gulab, then prime minister, negotiated the Sikh Empire’s surrender. Shah Mohammad, a contemporary Punjabi poet, says Gulab “was serving none but himself” as he “paid obeisance” to the British “with all obsequiousness” and brought them in “by the arm.”

The outcome was the 1846 Treaty of Lahore. The treaty included a reward for Gulab’s assistance in bringing the Sikh Empire to its knees, kingship over J&K. “After getting Kashmir in the bargain, Gulab Singh repaired forthwith to Jammu,” writes Mohammad.

Gulab was the first Maharaja of the Dogra dynasty that controlled J&K until the last Maharaja, Hari Singh Dogra, acceded the region to independent India.

The distinguishing feature of Dogra rule was exclusive state-patronage of Hinduism and a systematic campaign to Hinduize Kashmir. In her book, Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects, historian Mridu Rai explains that Gulab “was careful to emphasize his standing as a Hindu ruler” and publicly “denounced Hindu-Muslim marriages and conversions from Hinduism to Islam.”

His son, Ranbir, began “construction of a Hindu state” and founded a government department “with the single aim of securing the glorification of the Hindu religion in the state.”

Ranbir further “acclaimed the importance of being Hindu in order to rule in Jammu and Kashmir.” His son, Pratap, represented “the interests of only the small Hindu segment of his Kashmiri subjects.”

The situation had not changed by the time Pratap’s son, Hari, came to the throne in 1925.

Global changes that year, however, saw the rise of ethnocentrism and fascism. In the US, over 30,000 members of the Ku Klux Klan marched on Washington, DC. In Italy, Mussolini made himself dictator. In Germany, Hitler published Mein Kampf, reformulated the Nazi Party, and founded the SS.

And in India, KB Hedgewar founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a uniformed paramilitary which soon drew inspiration from both Hitler and Mussolini.

This long article will be published in five parts in the coming days
Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California.

He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted:
A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent.

Discover more by him at:

The Hindu – President Kovind gives assent to UAPA Bill

New Delhi – India, 09 August 2019. President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to legislation under which individuals can be declared terrorists and their properties seized.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 also provides for putting a travel ban on such individuals once they are declared terrorists.

The President gave his assent to the legislation late on Thursday night, a Home Ministry official said. The Lok Sabha passed the amendment Bill on July 24 and the Rajya Sabha on August 2.

Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar are likely to be the first two to be designated as terrorists under the legislation, the Ministry official said.