World Sikh News – Delhi Police forces family to allow autopsy of Professor S A R Geelani

Published 5 days ago – WSN News Bureau

Rubbing salt on the wounds of the family, already struggling to come to terms with the sad demise of their illustrious member Professor S A R Geelani who died of a massive heartattack, the Delhi police, apparently with ‘instructions from above’ was at their heartless best by forcing the family to give permission for an autopsy on his body before being taken to his ancestral home in Kashmir.

While it may be a technical requirement to conduct a post-mortem prior to airlifting of a dead body, the Delhi police and the Delhi administration and the hospital authorities should have shown more preparedness and sensitivity while handling the case of Professor S A R Geelani.

The trauma that the family went through on the roads, with the police pocketing the keys of the ambulance is shameful, to say the least. All pleadings by the family members did not yield anything. The police personnel kept on passing the buck from one officer to another.

When will Indian administration arrange to teach hospital and police personnel how to handle the dead with dignity?

After seeing this article on World Sikh News I decided to refresh my knowledge about Professor Geelani and found the excellent Caravan article that I have published earlier this morning
Man in Blue

Delhi Police forces family to allow autopsy of Prof S A R Geelani

The Tribune – LPAI to set separate stage for Modi

Ravi Dhaliwal, Tribune News Service

Dera Baba Nanak – Panjab – India, 29 October 2019. The prestigious Kartarpur corridor project has suddenly acquired controversial contours with the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI), responsible for constructing the Rs 190-crore Integrated Check Post (ICP), setting itself on a collision course with the Punjab Government by deciding to set up a separate stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the inaugural ceremony.

The development came to light in a rather unexpected manner today when the LPAI started the work on the stage at the BSF’s post of Shikhaar Masiahan, nearly 10 km away from the corridor.

Heavy movement of trucks and other vehicles towards Shikhaar Masiahan, considered to be a sensitive area from the security point of view due to its proximity with the International Border (IB), were a tell-tale sign that something big was going on.

Sources confirmed that the LPAI was detaching itself from the festivities being organised by the state government “with the explicit permission of the BJP-led Central Government.”

The state government ‘pandal’ at the corridor site is almost 90 per cent complete and hence LPAI’s last-minute decision has come as a surprise to almost everybody. A senior BSF officer confirmed the development.

LPAI chairman Govind Mohan was camping at the corridor site.

There are two versions floating around. One was that the Union government does not want to repeat the fracas that occurred during the 26 November 2018, function held at Dera Baba Nanak when Vice-President Venkaihah Naidu and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh jointly laid the corridor’s foundation stone.

At that time, Cabinet Minister and local MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa had organised a function on behalf of the government while the NHAI had made arrangements to hold a separate event, barely 50 yards away from Randhawa’s function. Later, better sense prevailed and the NHAI agreed to disband its stage and join the one set up by Randhawa.

Moreover, the proceedings had threatened to snowball into a major controversy when Randhawa lambasted Union Minister Harsimrat Badal publicly.

Both the LPAI and NHAI are controlled by the Union Ministry of Surface Transport. Secondly, a Cabinet minister disclosed that the BJP at the Centre was siding with its alliance partner SAD and hence the SGPC. It is a well-known fact that both the SGPC and the state government are at loggerheads over certain issues.

Brussel: Noord Station – Gent Gurdwara

Noord Station
19 October

Brussel Noord – Bruxelles Nord

IC Train to Oostende via Gent-Sint-Pieters

Gent Gurdwara
20 October

Karnataka Singh
World Peace Campaigner

Karnataka Singh – Harjinder Singh – Pyar Kaur

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

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Daily Times – ‘Kartarpur Corridor’

Amna Ejaz Rafi

Op-Ed, 30 October 2019. “Gurcharan Singh, a 75 years old was happy to visit the Sikh temple [Gurdwara] in the Pakistani village of Kartarpur. “Pakistan and India have a “protocol on visits to Religious Shrines” signed back in 1974, the protocol allows the citizens of both countries to visit the religious sites in each others countries.

The recent development wherein, the Sikh community has been facilitated to visit their religious shrine in Pakistan is a good will gesture. It is reflective of a balanced approach towards other peoples faiths. Professor Dr Kalyan Singh said that the desire to visit the holiest places would be fulfilled.

The religious sites linked to the life of Guru Nanak in Pakistan are the ‘Gurdwara Janam Asthan’, ‘Gurdwara Panja Sahib’ and ‘Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur ’. The ‘Kartarpur Corridor’ will link the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib (Narowal, Pakistan) with the Dera Baba Nanak gurdwara (Gurdaspur district).

The inauguration ceremony of the corridor will be held on 9 November, ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, and the corridor will be operational by November 11. It will be the first visa free route between Pakistan and India. The Sikh pilgrims from Gurdaspur, India via corridor will travel 3 kilometers to reach the temple.

South Asian politics are viewed in terms of India-Pakistan tense ties and lack of cooperation among the regional countries. Pakistan-India relations are on the lowest ebb since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)government took over.

The bilateral dialogue between the two sides have been suspended. The regional environment has impacted the domestic mindset of people, the people often seem to be disillusioned with the idea of cooperation and interaction.

On the regional front, issues like terrorism have further widened the divide. Developments like the upcoming China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and Pakistan and India membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) depict positive trends but the regional connectivity, and trade cooperation seem to be a challenge amidst the regional differences.

There have been instances where efforts are being undertaken to sabotage the development work of CPEC and arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav from Balochistan is a proof of it. The recent revocation of Article 370 by India, and the ongoing human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir have heightened the security environment.

The Kartarpur corridor has given a message of peace; the political differences should not come at the helm of humanity, and the importance of developing fruitful links.[centre/italics]

In this backdrop, the opening of ‘Kartarpur Corridor’, despite the tense political environment speaks of an innovative step undertaken to facilitate a religious minority and to move forward towards building a region of peace and harmony. It may seem an idealistic approach, but to have peace and to deter the inimical forces, soft approaches need to be heralded.

The political differences should not overpower the peoples right to live, neither should fall prey to adversarial designs. Instead, the focus should be on human security and strengthening of moderate forces.

The vacuum created due to the political stalemate provides ground to extremist elements to furnish their agenda, and to exploit the religious and cultural sentiment to their advantage.

Thereby, to counter the transnational challenges and to change the unbalanced mindset, there is a need to give up short sightedness and open up towards cooperation. The corridor signifies the importance of religious freedom and how it can serve the purpose of peace.

The people have suffered due to the regional disputes. The Kartarpur corridor has given a message of peace; the political differences should not come at the helm of humanity, and the importance of developing fruitful links. The success of Kartarpur corridor should be seen as religious freedom, and it should further lead to opening up of other spiritual sites like Khawaja Moinuddin Chishty in Ajmer and Nizamuddin Auliya dargah in New Delhi.

The writer is Researcher at Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI)

‘Kartarpur Corridor’

The Caravan – Death of a Political Prisoner

The unscathed humanity of Professor S A R Geelani

Martand Kaushik

28 October 2019. About eleven years ago, in November 2008, students of Delhi University organised a seminar titled “Communalism, Fascism, Democracy Rhetoric and Reality” in Room Number 22 of the Faculty of Arts building. The talk was to be headed by Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani, a Kashmiri Muslim professor who taught Arabic in the university.

There were few people in the country more suited to speak on the topic. Geelani had been sentenced to death in December 2002 by a court for his alleged role in the attack on the Indian parliament the previous year. A sordid media trial had declared him a terrorist even before the court’s verdict.

But, in the course of the next three years, the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court acquitted him of all charges. At the event, Geelani was going to relate his persecution at the hands of a repressive state machinery and its communalist rhetoric.

On a raised platform, behind a large desk sat the speakers—seated next to Geelani was a 21-year-old Umar Khalid, who would later come into limelight after he was charged with sedition during the 2016 Jawaharlal Nehru University controversy, and the journalist Rajesh Ramachandran, currently the editor of The Tribune.

Minutes after Geelani took his place at the dais, a student walked up to the desk and leaned in, as if he was trying speak to Geelani. As Geelani too leaned in, the student, a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s youth wing the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, spat twice on Geelani. The professor flinched, but then slowly moved back in his chair.

This was a planned disruption. ABVP members in the audience rose up and began loudly abusing Geelani and the other speakers. Undeterred by the ruckus, Geelani started his talk.

The ABVP members then began vandalising the room, and some physically attacked the speakers. The then president of ABVP, Nupur Sharma, who would go on to contest an assembly election on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, walked in and declared that Geelani could not speak in the university.

The video of the incident reached the press. Arnab Goswami, then the host of Times Now’s The Newshour, invited Geelani and Nupur Sharma to his show. At the time, Goswami was yet to reinvent himself as a Hindu nationalist, which would happen only after the BJP came back to power again in 2014.

“Let’s just run those pictures, the ugly pictures of what happened at Delhi University,” Goswami said. “The student came and spat on SAR Geelani twice. The entire country is shocked at something like this happening.”

Goswami repeated multiple times that Geelani had been acquitted of all charges by the Supreme Court. “As an ex-student of the university I feel a sense of shock and horror at the mode of expression which was used today,” he said. “The mode of spitting was so despicable that the less said about it the better.” He asked Sharma to apologise to Geelani, to which she responded: “What for?”

When Geelani finally got a chance to speak, he noted with some amusement that Sharma happened to be a student of law. Sharma remained defiant. “Can I tell you something?” she shouted. “The whole country should spit on him! The whole country should spit on him!”

Sharma’s conviction that a professor in the university she studied at should be spat on by the entire country spoke to an environment that had been created since the early oughts. After the 9/11 attacks in the United States, Islamophobia in the name of terrorism had global sanction, giving Hindu nationalists a new vocabulary.

The mere accusation of being a “terrorist” became sufficient grounds to dehumanise people. They were now fair game to be spat on, be arrested without evidence, to be beaten up, tortured and even shot.

From 2001 until his death of cardiac arrest in October 2019, Geelani faced all of these atrocities, without a single charge against him ever being proven. After his acquittal, Geelani became a human-rights activist, working towards the release of political prisoners.

“I always think of him as one of the most courageous and dignified people that I’ve known,” the writer Arundhati Roy, who was part of a campaign to defend Geelani after he was arrested, told me over the phone. “He just spent all his time working for people who were going through something similar.”

Perhaps the most well-known political prisoner in contemporary India, Geelani was a living testament to the excesses of the Indian state. The story of his life exposes how the regime holds the power to brand any ordinary person a threat to national security, how a pliable media helps put out the state’s version, and how even the courts sometimes can be led to mete out gross injustice.


The Indian Express – Explained: Why Samira Ahmed has dragged her employer BBC to court

Samira Ahmed has been presenting the BBC show ‘Newswatch’ since 2012, and in the past has worked on other projects with the broadcaster on both television and radio platforms.

New Delhi – India, 29 October 2019. On Monday, British television presenter Samira Ahmed dragged her employer, the BBC, to an employment court in London in a major gender pay gap case. The National Union of Journalists, a UK-based trade union, has come out in Ahmed’s support, as have important figures such as politician Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.

What are Samira Ahmed’s allegations?

Ahmed has been presenting the BBC show ‘Newswatch’ since 2012, and in the past has worked on other projects with the broadcaster on both television and radio platforms.

The 51-year-old journalist has accused the BBC of paying her 85 per cent less than a male colleague, Jeremy Vine, host of the show ‘Points of View’. According to the website of the National Union of Journalists, Vine was paid GBP 3000 (Rs 2.72 lakh) per episode of his show between 2008 and 2018.

In January 2018, his fee was reduced to GBP 1300 (Rs 1.18 lakh) per episode, following which he left the show in July that year. Ahmed, since 2012, was paid GBP 440 (Rs 40,000) per episode, and the fee was increased in 2015 to GBP 465 (approx. Rs 42,000). The revised fee was again reduced later after the BBC signed employment contracts with presenters.

The general secretary of the NUJ has said: “The scourge of unequal pay has no place in our public service broadcaster and that’s why the NUJ is backing Samira’s case and many others.

Unfortunately, despite Samira going through a lengthy and frustrating internal process in the hope that a sensible solution could be achieved, the BBC has not resolved this case and it will now be for the tribunal to determine whether this monumental pay gap is appropriate and defensible.

Samira is to be congratulated for her persistence and determination to secure fair and equal treatment by her employer.”

What does Samira Ahmed want now?

Ahmed is now demanding back pay for her work on the BBC show under the country’s Equal Pay Act of 1970. An employment court in London will hear the case over the next seven days.

At the employment court, Ahmed will argue that both her show ‘Newswatch’ and Vine’s ‘Points of View’ are presenter-led programmes running around 15 minutes, and that both have a similar format in which viewers can express their views on the BBC’s content.

According to the NUJ, the BBC previously has agreed to pay Ahmed full backdated pay for her work on two other shows on two of the network’s radio stations, where there was a pay gap of 50 per cent and 33 per cent between Ahmed and her male equivalents.

What is BBC’s argument?

In this case, the BBC is arguing that Ahmed’s show is in the news segment, while Vine’s show is under entertainment, hence the different pay. The network has also said that Ahmed has been paid the same as the male predecessor on her show.

Explained: Why Samira Ahmed has dragged her employer BBC to court – Forcing Sikh students to perform Hindu rituals is an attack on Sikhism, says SGPC

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 29 October 2019. The apex Sikh body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has taken a strong notice of the forceful imposition of Hindu rituals on Sikh students in Mata Jai Kaur Public School situated in Ashok Vihar of India’s national capital Delhi.

Notably, the Sikh students in Mata Jai Kaur Public School were forced to perform “Aarti of Lakshmi Mata” against the basic ethos of their inherent religion.

Terming the incident as an attack on Sikhism, the SGPC’s chief secretary Dr Roop Singh has said that this is an extremely sensitive issue and we have written to the DSGMC to investigate the matter.

Dr Roop Singh further said that the Sikhism has its own rituals and code of conduct so any attempt to mix it with Hinduism can’t be tolerated at any cost.

“What could be worse than it that the educational institutions, which are meant to infuse discipline in students, are violating the discipline itself,” he added.

Forcing Sikh students to perform Hindu rituals is an attack on Sikhism, says SGPC

Brussel: Place des Amateurs – Noord Station

Place des Amateurs
19 October

Steam locomotive on the bridge across the Willebroekse Vaart

Noord Station
19 October

Noord Station – Simon Bolivar

Noord Station – Simon Bolivar – Eurolines

Main Hall

Waiting for the 17:51 to Gent-Sint-Pieters

Not many people gathering to join the Benelux Intercity

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Published in: on October 30, 2019 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Hindustan Times – Will meet Centre to press for SGPC general elections: Taksalis

Sekhwan hailed Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh’s statement where he said that if the entire Sikh community stood by it, the takht could play the role it played during the 18th century.

HT Correspondent

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 28 October 2019. Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali), a splinter group of the SAD, said on Monday that its deputation would soon meet officials in the Union home ministry to press for holding of general elections of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex institution that manages the affairs of gurdwaras in the county.

“We have decided to meet the home ministry to urge it to conduct gurdwara elections, which is the constitutional right of the Sikhs. Not holding these is grave injustice to Sikhs. If all kinds of other elections are conducted, why not this one?

Ten years, which is equal to two tenures of the SGPC general House have passed, but why is the Union government not conducting elections?,” said SAD (T) president and former Khadoor Sahib MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura after presiding over a meeting of the party core meeting on Monday.

He added that the SGPC passed budget in crores of rupees, and claimed that not holding elections of the institution was discrimination with the Sikh community.

He added, “To strengthen the party among the masses, our district presidents have been told to hold gatherings in respective areas and constitute units on circle level. We are also holding a religious function in each district to celebrate the 550th Parkash Purb of Guru Nanak.”

On the controversy over the stage at Sultanpur Lodhi, Brahmpura added, “Following the directions of the Akal Takht, we will attend the function being organized by the SGPC but as devotees.”

Former Punjab minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan hailed Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh’s statement where the jathedar had said that if the entire Sikh community stood by it, the takht could play the role it played during the 18th century.

“I urge the jathedar to play this role and my party stands with him,” Sekhwan added.

SAD (T) also congratulated Justin Trudeau for retaining the Prime Minister’s post in Canada and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh for holding a key position in Canadian parliament.

On the result of the recent bypolls in Punjab, Brahmpura said, “Both the ruling Congress and the SAD have faced a debacle in these elections as they lost their prestige seats, Dakha and Jalalabad, respectively. This is a sign that people have been left disappointed by both these parties.”

At the core committee meeting, former deputy speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Bir Devinder Singh; former MP Rattan Singh Ajnala; former MLAs Manmohan Singh Sathiala and Ujagar Singh Wadali were also present.

Do the Gurdwaras managed by the SGPC belong to the Modi sarkar or to the Badal parivar ?
Of course not, they belong to the Sarbat Khalsa, and not to jathedars, pardhans, nor to former or present ministers.
Man in Blue

Dawn – Kashmir & self-determination

Ali Sultan

Op/Ed, 28 October 2019. Centuries of British colonial rule on the Indian subcontinent ended in August 1947, as Winston Churchill put it, in a “premature hurried scuttle”. The ill-conceived flight of the British left certain far-reaching elements of the decolonisation process unfinished, including the political fate of the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir in accordance with the wishes of its people and consistent with Partition’s underlying principles.

Since then, India has stubbornly stonewalled the free exercise of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination embodied in a dozen outstanding United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Besides precipitating an unfolding humanitarian crisis of immense proportions, India’s actions of 05 August 2019, with respect to India-held Kashmir represent its latest and to date most brazen breach of its moral and legal obligation to respect Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.

The revocation of the Indian constitution’s Articles 370 and 35-A by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-majoritarian government is alarmingly geared towards changing IHK’s demographic profile and its political, economic, social and cultural character.

In due course, this would irreversibly thwart any meaningful exercise of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination in flagrant contravention of international law.

The effective realisation of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination is not merely a moral imperative. [centre/italics]

The concept of self-determination is an extremely potent one. As Princeton University’s Wolfgang Danspeckgruber has put it: “No other concept is as powerful, visceral, emotional, unruly, and steep in creating aspirations and hopes as self-determination”.

On top of Kashmir-specific UNSC resolutions, the principle and fundamental right to self-determination is firmly established in international law, which recognises that compliance with it is an essential condition for enjoyment of other human rights and fundamental freedoms, be they civil, political, economic, social or cultural.

Article I of the UN Charter prominently enshrines it, marking its universal acknowledgment as essential to the maintenance of friendly relations and peace among states.

Moreover, it is recognised as a right in several other international law instruments. These include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States, the Helsinki Final Act, and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

It has also been resoundingly affirmed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Namibia, Israeli wall, and Chagos Archipelago advisory opinions, as well as the East Timor case, in which the court confirmed its universal jus cogens and erga omnes character.

Over the years, as far as Kashmiris’ right to self-determination is concerned, India has principally made two assertions. First, it has contended that this right stands exercised in IHK through elections for the constituent assembly of Jammu & Kashmir held in 1951. Second, it has maintained that UNSC resolutions on Kashmir are non-binding in nature.

Both contentions are false

The elections of 1951, in which Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference won all 75 seats, 73 without contest, were massively rigged by New Delhi. The manipulated results prompted Josef Korbel, chair for the UN Commission on India and Pakistan, to remark: “No dictator could do better.”

The UNSC itself also noted in its Resolution 122 of Jan 24, 1957, that such sham Indian electoral exercises cannot amount to a substitute for impartial plebiscite envisioned by its resolutions.

While it is true that UNSC resolutions on Kashmir were passed under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, they nevertheless acquire a binding character when examined in the context of several oral and written pledges of free exercise of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination made by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Following the conditional accession of Kashmir to India on 26 October 1947, unlawfully obtained under duress to begin with, Nehru, in a famous speech at Lal Chowk in Srinagar, promised Kashmiris that their wishes regarding the future of Jammu & Kashmir would be honoured in a plebiscite or referendum.

Nehru’s telegram to his Pakistani counterpart, Liaquat Ali Khan, dated 30 October 1947, completely negates India’s later assertion that Kashmir was strictly India’s domestic matter. In it, Nehru made this explicit promise: “Our assurance that we shall leave the decision about the future of the state to the people of the state is not merely a pledge to your government but also to the people of Kashmir and to the world.”

Speaking on All India Radio on 02 November 1947, Nehru said: “Fate of the state of Jammu & Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. This pledge we have given not only to people of Kashmir but also to the world. We will not and cannot back out of it.”

On 25 November 1947, Nehru informed the Indian parliament: “We have suggested that when people of Kashmir are given a chance to decide their future, this should be done under the supervision of an impartial tribunal such as the United Nations.”

Under international law, such unilateral declarations made by heads of government in clear, specific terms, and manifesting the will to be bound, have the effect of creating legal obligations.

This long-standing rule has been recognised by the ICJ in nuclear tests cases and also by the International Law Commission in its Guiding Principles adopted in 2006, as well as the UN General Assembly in its Resolution 61/34 of 2006.

The effective realisation of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, therefore, is not merely a moral imperative. It is, in fact, a legal obligation owed by India and Pakistan to Kashmiris and the rest of the world community. Notably, given the highest status and importance accorded by international law to this right, all states have a legal interest in its fulfilment.

As the people of IHK continue to reel under the clutches of an ethno-nationalist regime in New Delhi, the global community and its institutions must not shirk from their collective responsibility to ensure that the unresolved Kashmir dispute is finally settled according to freely exercised wishes of the Kashmiri people.

The writer is a lawyer.

A good article, but Modi CS will not act upon it
Man in Blue