World Sikh News – Sikhs celebrate Guru Nanak 550 birth anniversary at Australian Parliament

Published 3 weeks ago Kamaljeet Singh

As Australia opens its heart to Sikhs, amidst members of Parliament, with participation of various Sikh bodies, Sikh scholars from across the globe and activists from Australia, the Australian Federal Parliament reverberated with the Shabads of Guru Nanak sung on Sikh musical instruments and shared His universal message on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of the founder of Sikh faith, beautifully organised in Sikh style and tradition by the Australian Sikh Coun­cil in the evening of 22 October.

The first-ever investiture of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Scripture and the eternal Guru of the Sikhs at the Australian Parliament House, with scores of Sikhs and friends of Sikhs was a historic occasion which will be remembered for years to come by the Sikh community, not only in Australia but across the Sikh world.

Setting the tone for the evening, Sikh music vocalist Bimal Singh of the Gurmat Sangeet Academy Melbourne performed a beautiful melody of traditional Sikh music on classical instruments Taus and Rabab with Dayabir Singh and Himmat Singh joining him to play Shabads of Guru Nanak from Guru Granth Sahib, enthralling the audience.

Guru Nanak Sahib Parkash Purab in the Australian Parliament

Dwelling on the need for a paradigm for life as created by Guru Nanak to address the issues of political paralysis, social justice, and rising extremism, keynote speaker Harinder Singh, of US-based Sikh Research Institute said, ‘Guru Nanak proclaims the biggest weapon you can carry with you is knowledge,’ In the same vein he applauded Aus­tralia for its Numero Uno ranking in the United Na­tions Education Index and emphasized how it sets an example for Sikhs and other countries to follow.

The leader of the Labor party Anthony Albanese said that ‘Sikh values are Labor values.’ Parliamentarians Adam Bandt, Warren Entsch and Bob Katter shared personal anecdotes from their interaction with members of the Sikh community and all seemed thrilled to be in the company of Sikhs.

They were particularly impressed by the contribution of Sikhs to Australian society and were enamoured of the Sikh values of freedom, equality, compassion and hard work.

Parliamentarians AM Ben Morton, Julian Leeser, Tanya Plibersek, Chris Bowen, Julian Hill, Tim Watts, Tony Zappia, Anne Aly, Joanne Ryan, Dean Smith and others also joined the Sikhs in the celebrations.

Tracing the history and contribution of Sikhs in Australia, Tarunpreet Singh of Australian Sikh Heritage covered the 180 years of Sikh presence through his immaculate presentation.

“Guru Nanak’s revolutionary and progressive ideas of gener equality and women’s empowerment were way ahead of the times,” said Jatinder Kaur, Director of JK Diversity Consultants.

Guru Nanak Sahib Parkash Purab in the Australian Parliament

The Australian Sikh Council, which initiated this program expressed gratitude to Akalpurakh for the unprecedented public and political outreach made possible through this function and have announced its commitment to continue its Sikh advocacy work across Australia which has witnessed a huge growth of Sikh population in the last decade and is now the third destination for Sikhs, after the USA and Canada.

Sikhs celebrate Guru Nanak 550 birth anniversary at Australian Parliament

The Tribune – Murder convict walks free after 24 years

Karam Prakash, Tribune News Service

Patiala – Panjab – India, 18 November 2019. Sikh prisoner Subeg Singh, who was granted remission by the Centre in the wake of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak, was released from the Central Jail in Patiala on Monday evening.

Subeg, who was undergoing life imprisonment with co-convict Bhai Nand Singh, has been released after 24 years. He was received by his family members and Bhai Nand Singh who was released last Thursday on the same grounds.

Both were convicted for a murder case in 1995 and were undergoing life imprisonment. Teary-eyed Subeg Singh, while talking to mediapersons after his release, said, “I can’t describe my feelings in words. I think I have got a second birth.”

“I will take up farming and spend time with my family which I have not been able to for the last 24 years. In 2008, I lost my wife in a road accident,” he said. Subheg Singh, a resident of Suhron village near Kheri Gandian in Patiala district, had been in jail since 1995 for killing a man named Bachan Ram.

In 2004, Jagtar Singh Hawara and two other prisoners, who were serving life imprisonment in Burail Jail, managed to escape. Nand and Subeg, who were serving life imprisonment in the same jail, were implicated in the jailbreak.

In 2014, all accused in the case were acquitted. However, the government did not release both despite completion of minimum term for life imprisonment.

Jail Superintendent Bhupinderjeet Singh said, “We received bail bonds for his release on Monday.”

Gent: Sassekaai – Voormuide – Tolpoort – Gent Zuid

Sassekaai Tram 4
07 November 2019

Sassekaai – new tramtracks

Muidebrug – new tramtracks

Voormuide Tram 4
07 November 2019

Tram-stop Voormuide – Tram 4

Tolpoort bus stop
07 November 2019


Eight bus services all to or via Gent Zuid
Bus 5 and 8 offer the most frequent service

Gent-Zuid Tram 2
07 November 2019

Tram 2 to Zwijnaarde

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

CNN – Houston Police Department honors fallen Sikh deputy by allowing officers to serve with their articles of faith

Harmeet Kaur

Houston – Texas – USA, 18 November 2019. The Houston Police Department has a message for the community: their doors are open.

The department formally announced at a news conference Monday that it is changing its uniform policy to allow officers to wear their articles of faith while serving, a practice prohibited by many law enforcement agencies.

In the words of Mayor Sylvester Turner, “It’s about time.”

The policy change, signed on 11 October, was made partly in honor of Sandeep Dhaliwal, the Harris County sheriff’s deputy who was killed in the line of duty in September. Dhaliwal gained national attention in 2015 when the sheriff’s department changed its policy to allow him to wear the Sikh turban and a beard as part of his uniform.

“I’m proud to stand with you today to say that the Houston Police Department is now the largest law enforcement agency in Texas, and one of the largest two or three in the nation, to allow officers who are Sikhs to wear their articles of faith on duty,” Turner said.

Police Chief Art Acevedo said the department had already been working on a religious accommodation policy. But after Dhaliwal was killed and laid to rest, he couldn’t think of waiting another day without formalizing the department’s policy.

It was a necessary step for the most diverse city in the country, he said, noting that Houston’s police force was majority minority.

“You can’t just be welcoming and diverse. You have to be inclusive,” Acevedo said. “And inclusivity and bringing people in means that we had to change our policy.”

Lt. Colonel Kamal Kalsi, one of the first Sikhs to be granted a religious accommodation from the US Army, told CNN that Houston’s move sends a powerful message.

“It certainly is a step forward for diversity and equality but very, very simply put, for people like me, it means that Houston PD is saying, ‘We love you, we accept you, we respect you and your turbans are part of the American fabric,'” Kalsi said.

Houston police join a few other law enforcement agencies around the nation, including the NYPD, Chicago Police Department, Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC and the Riverside Police Department in California, to make such changes in recent years.

Sikh advocacy groups praised the policy change.

“This policy change shows that no one should ever choose between their faith or their career, and also that these articles of faith pose no barrier to service,” Nikki Singh, policy and advocacy manager for the Sikh Coalition, told CNN.

Since Dhaliwal’s death, the Sikh Coalition has called on state and national police agencies to develop religious accommodation policies. It has also called on the Department of Defense to implement a streamlined religious accommodation process across all branches of the US military, in line with the Army’s policy change in 2017.

The Hindu – Wrong signals: on the release of killers of Melavalavu

The release of killers of Melavalavu sends out an undesirable message to society at large

Op/Ed, 19 November 2019. The release of 13 life convicts responsible for the massacre of six Dalit men in Tamil Nadu in 1997 has caused understandable disquiet among activists and members of the Scheduled Castes. The Madras High Court has voiced its displeasure over the release of the convicts, on grounds of ‘good conduct’ in prison, and asked the State government to produce the relevant orders.

The murder of Murugesan, who was elected president of the Melavalavu panchayat in Madurai district, along with five others, by members of a dominant caste, who resented the local body’s leadership being reserved for Scheduled Castes, had created a sensation then.

That was an era in which there was considerable communal tension between Dalits and intermediate castes.

In the Melavalavu case, the Sessions Court and the High Court had sentenced 17 men to life terms. The Supreme Court confirmed the convictions in 2009. Three convicts in the Melavalavu case were released in 2008 by the DMK regime. Now, the AIADMK government has courted controversy by freeing the remaining 13 (one is no more).

Last year, it convinced the Governor to agree to the release of three men found guilty of burning alive three students when they set fire to a bus in Dharmapuri during a protest in 2000.

The Supreme Court had initially upheld the death penalty for the three, but, on a review petition, commuted it to life, citing their lack of intention to kill members of the public and that they had been gripped by “mob frenzy”.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly clarified that ‘life sentence’ means imprisonment till the end of one’s natural life. However, the law also provides for remission of sentences, including life terms.

Under Section 433A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a convict sentenced to life for an offence that also attracts the death penalty, or has had his death sentence reduced to life, can be considered for release only after completing 14 years in jail.

Last year, the AIADMK government released hundreds of prisoners to mark the centenary of late party founder M G Ramachandran. While de-congesting prisons by freeing inmates, especially for good conduct, and after they have served specified years, is permissible in law, there will be a question mark over mass release without regard to the nature of the crimes committed.

Guidelines for remission do exclude those in prison for specified crimes such as terrorism, rape and economic offences. But when those guilty of a caste atrocity such as the Melavalavu massacre are released, it is certain to send out an undesirable message.

Ideally, mass release of prisoners should be avoided, and the desirability of freeing each one of them should be separately considered. The Advisory Board that recommends such release should have the benefit of a social impact report as well as the opinion of the trial court.

There are still Sikh prisoners who spent far more than 14 years in jail and who are not released
Man in Blue