The Hindustan Times – Supreme Court grants 4 more months to Centre, Punjab, Haryana on Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal (SYL) issue

Punjab government has demanded a negotiated settlement between the two states with the help of the Centre.

HT Correspondent

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 04 September 2019. Supreme Court on Tuesday granted four more months to Punjab, Haryana and the Centre to resolve differences on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal, saying it was willing to wait for an amicable settlement to the dispute to be worked out.

A fresh time frame was fixed by a bench led by justice Arun Mishra after attorney general  K K Venugopal asked for three more months to discuss and settle the vexed dispute.

The bench gave four months for the talks after the Haryana government counsel said the court must fix a time frame for concluding the discussions.The counsel said the talks cannot go on indefinitely.

The Punjab government has demanded a negotiated settlement between the two states with the help of the Centre. The two states are at loggerheads over a controversial 1981 water-sharing agreement. Haryana state was carved out of Punjab in 1966.

The agreement proposed the construction of the SYL canal for effective allocation of water,with each state required to fund the portion falling in its territory. While Haryana completed its portion of the SYL canal, Punjab, after the initial phase, stopped work on it. This led to multiple cases reaching the top court.

In 2004, the Congress government in Punjab came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act to annul the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas rivers. This was two years after the top court decreed Haryana’s suit and ordered Punjab to fulfil its commitments on water sharing.

In 2004, the Supreme Court rejected Punjab’s original suit and asked the Centre to take over the remaining infrastructure work on the canal.

The Tribune – FIR against Muslim man quashed in Pakistan Sikh girl case

Lahore – Panjab – India, 11 September 2019. Police in Pakistan’s Punjab province have quashed the FIR against a Muslim man and others for allegedly abducting a Sikh teenage girl and converting her to Islam after both families signed a written agreement, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Jagjit Kaur, the 19-year-old daughter of a Sikh granthi of Nankana Sahib, was allegedly abducted by Mohammad Hasaan of her locality in Nankana Sahib, some 80 kms from Lahore in August. He allegedly married her later.

“The families of Kaur and Hassan have signed a written document agreeing to resolve the matter between them. Kaur’s family has withdrawn all charges against Hassan and his family members and friends, thereby, the FIR against them stands quashed,” a senior police officer of Punjab police told PTI on Wednesday.

He said Hassan and a couple of his other family members have also withdrawn their protective bails in the wake of the agreement.

A video of the girl’s family had gone viral on social media in which one of her family members had alleged that a group of men attacked their house and she was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam and was married Hassan, triggering concerns in Pakistan as well as in India.

On 29 August, the FIR was filed against six people for allegedly abducting and forcibly converting Kaur to Islam. The police arrested Arsalan, a friend of Hassan.

Kaur has been to sent to Lahore’s Darul Aman (shelter home) on a court order after she told the judge that she married Hassan of her locality with her own free will.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Governor Chaudhry Sarwar were forced to intervene in the matter after the Sikh community reacted angrily over the alleged abduction of the girl from the community.

“In the agreement it has been decided that Hassan will not force Kaur to stay with him and will divorce her if she asks for it. Kaur’s family has also pledged that it will not harm the girl by any means on her return to the home,” the official said.

The girl is still in shelter home in Lahore as she is not “mentally prepared” at the moment to return to her parents’ home in Nankana Sahib, the police official claimed.

“It has also been agreed that Kaur will not see Hassan or vice a versa even he doesn’t divorce her,” the official said.

India had voiced its concern with Pakistan over the issue of her abduction and forced conversion to Islam and sought for “immediate remedial action”.

Ahead of opening of the Kartarpur Corridor and 550 birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the Pakistani government cannot afford annoyance of local Sikhs which created tension among the Sikhs and Muslims in Nankana Sahib, the official said.

Poor Jagjit Kaur, victim of Panjabi culture
Man in Blue

Gentbrugge – Gentbrugse Meersen

Gentbrugse Meersen
20 August 2019

The ‘road’ to Heusden

This settlement comes under Melle
Across the Schelde is Heusden

The road ahead

Here too, only a bit of water due to hot and dry summer

Yellow fowers

Big bridge, small stream

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Asian Image – Sikh Federation (UK) granted permission for judicial review hearing on census ethnic tick box option

London – UK, 11 September 2019. A High Court judge has granted permission to the Sikh Federation (UK) for a judicial review hearing to decide whether the decision not to include a Sikh ethnic tick box option for Census 2021 was unlawful

A High Court judge had considered the written submissions by the Sikh Federation (UK) and the counter arguments of the Cabinet Office and has granted permission for a judicial review hearing.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said, “This decision by Mrs Justice Thornton sends a clear message to the Cabinet Office that our claim has legal merit.”

“Obtaining permission to proceed and a hearing date should focus the mind of those at the Cabinet Office on the need to intervene.”

“The Cabinet Office must now review the evidence available surrounding the decision-making process, including the new evidence we uncovered in the 6-month period between the White Paper and launching the legal challenge.”

“The Cabinet Office will also want to look at how the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has retrospectively tried to justify its decision by raising certain matters and arguments in the legal exchanges that were non-existent in the 5-year period leading up to the Census White Paper proposals.”

“We are extremely confident our claim will succeed in court and it would be better all round for the Cabinet Office to concede on the need for a Sikh ethnic tick box in the Census 2021.”

The organisation had argued that it would be unlawful to exclude a Sikh ethnic group tick box from the 2021 Census, on the basis of the reasoning in the White Paper, which is procedurally flawed.

Rosa Curling, of Leigh Day solicitors said, “Our clients are delighted the court has confirmed their legal challenge needs to be considered. The allocation of public funds is determined, in part, by census information. Our clients believe their community has been unfairly neglected as a result.

Ensuring a Sikh ethnic tick box is included in the next census is crucial to addressing this ongoing discrimination.”

Preet Kaur Gill MP, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs reacting to news of the High Court Order said: “The ONS left the Sikh community no option but to take the Cabinet Office to the High Court with a judicial review claim to ensure it is fairly treated and bring an end to institutional racism by public bodies as a direct result of ONS decisions with respect to the census.”

“MPs are very clear from direct interactions with the former National Statistician who has now retired, his Deputy and senior ONS officials over the last two years, including since the Census White Paper was issued last December that ONS to keep its reputation intact must ensure there is the option of a Sikh ethnic tick box in the Census Order to be presented to Parliament.”

“This is not just about the legal recognition of Sikhs as an ethnic group since the landmark ruling in the House of Lords in 1983 but also the wide-ranging evidence ONS has collected that has now come to light.”

The Hindu – On Muslim man who wed a Hindu woman, Supreme Court observes he should be ‘a loyal husband’

New Delhi – India, 11 September 2019. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra observed that the man should be a “loyal husband” and a “great lover”.

A controversial case of an interfaith marriage from Chhattisgarh was taken up for hearing in the Supreme Court on September 11.

A Hindu woman had married a Muslim man who admitted that he converted to Hinduism in order to be accepted by the woman’s family. The woman’s family has disputed the man’s conversion to Hinduism, calling it a sham.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said: “We are only concerned only about her future. We are not against inter-religious or inter-caste marriage.”

The court observed that the man should be a “loyal husband” and a “great lover”.

The counsel for the woman’s father insisted that it was a racket to trap girls. The apex court has asked the man to file an affidavit and show bona fide.

The court queried the man on whether he had changed his name after the marriage in an Arya Samaj temple and taken proper legal steps to change his name.

The court observed that it is not averse to interfaith and inter-caste marriages. “We only want the future of the girl should be secured.” The counsel for the woman’s father said that the woman does not need any protection.

The top court sought a reply from the State government and allowed the intervention application of the girl.