The Asian Age – USA urges UN, other international bodies to take up Dalai Lama succession issue

Ambassador Brownback said the spiritual leader deserves respect and that the succession process be picked by his faith community.

Washington DC – USA, 22 November 2019. Rejecting Chinese claim on deciding the Dalai Lama’s successor, the United States on Thursday said that this was an issue that should be taken up in international bodies, including the United Nations.

“There are many people who follow the Dalai Lama and don’t live in China. He is a well-known spiritual leader throughout the world and deserves respect and deserves the succession process picked by his faith community,” Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback told reporters at a news conference here.

Rejecting the Chinese claim, he reiterated that it was an issue that should be taken up in international bodies.

The United States is going to keep pushing on that, said Brownback who was recently in Dharamshala and addressed the Tibetan community.

“He used to travel so much, was such a great spokesperson. I met him several times when he travelled to the United States just was energetic and lively and clear. But he’s not able to travel as much now, so he can’t really kind of carry the cause the way he used to carry the cause almost single-handedly in the past,” he said.

Now more of the international community needs to step up and start carrying the cause with him and for him, he said. Responding to a question, Brownback said the United Nations needs to take this topic of succession of the Dalai Lama.

“I think it should be taken up by the United Nations. It should be taken up by other international bodies too, but the UN should take it up, the European a number of governments, around the world should take this up, he said.

“Particularly, European governments should take this up that care about religious freedom and human rights. This is something that needs to be addressed at this point in time, Brownback said.

“We know what the Chinese are capable and willing to do because of what they’ve done to the Panchen Lama. So this we are not going to be surprised what actions they’re going to be willing to take. It’s just we need to get there ahead of time and address it, he said. – Trial begins against Sikh couple arrested for spying on Sikhs and Kashmiris in Germany

Sikh24 Editors

Frankfurt – Hesse – Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 21 November 2019. The Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt, Germany has today begun trial of an espionage case in which a Sikh couple is accused of spying on the pro-freedom Sikhs and Kashmiris living in Germany.

On March 28 this year, Manmohan Singh and his wife Kanwal Jit Kaur were booked under espionage charges for providing information about the movements of Sikhs and Kashmiris to an official of India’s Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) since January 2015 for the sake of money.

It is noteworthy here that Manmohan Singh and his wife Kanwaljit Kaur had received a total of 7,200 euros (about $8,100) for the information they provided to their handler stationed in Germany.

The couple may be imprisoned for 10 years if the federal prosecution service succeeds in proving the charges imposed on them. The further hearings are scheduled up until December 12.

Trial begins against Sikh couple arrested for spying on Sikhs and Kashmiris in Germany  

Gentbrugge – Schelde/Keizerpark – Oude Brusselseweg

10 November 2019

Cycle route to Gentbrugge
Red and White Long Distance Walk Route marker

Barge permanently moored in the Schelde

Neighbourhood Centre

Oude Brusselseweg
10 November 2019

Oude Brusselseweg – future cycle route through Gentbrugge

Oude Brusselseweg / Burvenichstraat

E17 viaduct (Viadukkaduk)
Railway viaduct

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Sikh Federation – Sikhs mark 550th Guru Nanak Dev Ji gurpurb event in City Hall

London – UK, 20 November 2019. The 550th Gurpurb, birth anniversary, of the founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was marked with great accolade at City Hall overlooking the spectacular London skyline during the evening of Tuesday 19th November 2019.

The event was co-hosted by the Sikh Network, Sikh Federation (UK) and Dr Onkar Sahota, member of the London Assembly in close collaboration with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. It was sponsored by Bond Wolfe Charitable Trust, Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Southall and London’s Punjab Restaurant.

The event celebrated the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji focusing on his universal message of wellbeing “Sarbat da Bhalaa”, as well as providing some much-deserved recognition for individuals who have carried out great work on behalf of the Sikh community.

Opening and welcome speeches were delivered by a distinguished panel of speakers including Preet Kaur Gill, whom Sadiq Khan described as a true role model to many Sikh and non Sikh women.

Preet was followed by the host for the evening Dr Onkar Sahota, who gave the floor to Deputy Mayor, Debbie Weekes-Bernard. In introducing Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, Debbie congratulated the diverse audience congregated within the City Hall, Living Room on the Gurpurb of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Sadiq Khan acknowledged the diversity of the audience gathered by saying it was the most diverse audience he had ever seen in his time at City Hall. He highlighted the great achievements and contributions of Sikhs in the UK and expressed admiration for the Sikh community that truly embodied the teachings of their Gurus, striving for equality, acceptance and oneness.

Satpal Singh, founder of Nanak Naam, keynote speaker for the evening implored the audience to dig deep inside themselves to question the true meaning of oneness, of equality, of Sikh politics, unearthing popular, calming and peaceful depictions of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and shining light on the actual struggle Guru Ji faced in his lifetime whilst working to spread the message of Sikhi.

Satpal Singh’s connection with the audience was clear from the awe-struck silence within the packed room.

Jas Singh, founding member of the Sikh Network and co-author of the Sikh Manifesto and UK Sikh Survey encouraged audience members to come forward to become ‘activists’ and adopt Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings shared by Satpal Singh.

“Sikhi is not a spectator sport,” he cited and urged Sikhs to pursue the truth and engage on issues important to the community, issues clearly outlined in the Sikh Manifesto 2020-2025.

Jas Singh was followed by beautiful kirtan (Sikh hymns) by international devotional singer, songwriter and philanthropist, Manika Kaur accompanied by leading, global violinist Jyotsna, Giuliano on guitar and Gurdain on tabla. The atmosphere created brought goosebumps to the entranced audience.

Canon Mark Poulson, Canon for inter-faith relations at St Paul’s Cathedral and for the Diocese of London spoke eloquently on the role of Sikhs as a bridge between societies and the need for their true values to shine through particularly now, at a time of social unrest and changing political climate.

Dabinderjit Singh, OBE, long serving director at the National Audit Office and principal adviser to the Sikh Federation (UK), emphasised the evening was about celebration, inspiration and recognition, but this year it was also about appreciation.

He highlighted the importance of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message that those who choose the Guru’s Path should not listen to what others say and never flinch from performing righteous deeds. He revealed to guests the specially commissioned 550th Guru Nanak Dev Ji Parkash Gurpurb gold coin that everyone was given to take away and treasure.

Also tucked in their goodie bags was a donation pledge card to allow guests to show their appreciation for the Kartarpur Sahib Yatra Committee who are undertaking a significant accommodation building project to provide UK pilgrims with first class facilities.

Guests were also given a glimpse of the Sikh Manifesto 2020-2025 that will be formally launched at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Smethwick on Saturday 23 November and in Glasgow on Sunday 24 November.

In line with previous events, a small award ceremony was held to provide recognition to various individuals and organisations who have gone above and beyond in the last year in their work for the Sikh community. The following were awarded for their contribution in their own fields of work.

– Contribution to Politics – Martin Docherty-Hughes

– Contribution to Sports – Kirenjit Kaur Bains, Powerlifter

– Contribution to Education – Munsimar Kaur

– Contribution to Business – Paul Bassi CBE

– Contribution to Media – KTV

– Contributions in Charity Selfless Seva – Khalsa Aid, Ravi Singh

– Contribution to Human rights – Redress

– Recognised Organisation – Tribute 1984

– Recognised International Contribution – Jaskaran Kaur, Ensaaf

– Recognised Lifetime achievement – PM Imran Khan

Sahibzada Jahangir, spokesman for Prime Minister of Pakistan for Trade & Investment in UK & Europe, graciously received the Lifetime achievement award on behalf of Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

He suggested the Kartarpur Corridor reinforced the idea of Sikhs as a bridge between cultures and countries. He went on to express how honoured the PM would be to receive this recognition and how keen he was to support Sikhs visiting Pakistan.

The event concluded with remarks from two of the event’s Sponsors, Harmeet Singh, youngest ever General Secretary of the most iconic Gurdwaras in London, Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall, and Amarpal Singh, owner of Punjab Restaurant.

Manchandan Kaur from the Sikh Network commented on the event:

“This truly was a remarkable event; the best turnout we have had in the five years we have held this event. The move from Parliament to City Hall to mark the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Gurpurb was positively received by our esteemed guests.

It is our hope that each of our guests left the evening with a glimmer of Guru Ji’s message inside them. The universal message of wellbeing “Sarbat da Bhalaa”. Guru Nanak Dev Ji explained the importance of equality of all human beings, regardless of gender, birth or creed.

He stressed the need for social responsibility and an active concern for others. We are blessed today to have an incredible array of male and female Sikh role models to inspire us too, many of whom joined us to mark this once in a lifetime occasion.”

The event was recorded by KTV (Sky770) and will be broadcast in the coming days via TV and social media pages. Once again, the Sikh Network and Sikh Federation (UK) would like to thank everyone who supported this remarkable event the sponsors and media partners.

The Sikh Network
Press Office

Sikh Federation (UK)
Harnek Singh – National Press Secretary
Posted by: Sikh Federation <>

The Print – Why students in Pakistan, like in JNU, are raising azadi slogans

A video of Pakistani students raising ‘azadi’ slogans has gone viral. The same chant was used three years ago by former JNU student Kanhaiya Kumar.

Taran Deol

New Delhi – India, 22 November 2019. As students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi are protesting against a steep hostel fee hike, their counterparts in Pakistani universities seem to be mirroring them.

A video of some students of Pakistani universities chanting ‘azadi’ slogans went viral on social media a few days ago. They were protesting at the Faiz Literary Festival held on 19 November in Lahore.

Azadi chants were raised in India too, in 2016 by former JNU student and CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar and others.

The students at the literary festival in Pakistan were protesting against alleged government interference in colleges, fee hike, budget cuts and lack of student housing. The students are demanding the restoration of student unions, “de-securitisation” of campuses, end to harassment, among others.

“There have been budget cuts in the public education sector, which means no scholarships, fee hikes, raised costs of transportation, etc,” Tooba Syed, a Pakistani student and activist, told The Print.

The students seen protesting on 19 November are members of the leftist Progressive Student Collective. A bigger protest, Student Solidarity March, has been planned on 29 November to be organised by Progressive Students’ Federation (PRSF).

“The marches that will be held across the country are for students’ right to unionisation, and free and quality education for all, among other demands,” said Syed.

“We are marching against the system which labels us as ‘Terrorists’ for demanding clean water on campus. Puts us behind bars for opposing the dictatorship of administration on campus. We demand our right to exist with dignity,” PRSF tweeted.

The PRSF was referring to an incident this week in which at least 17 students of Sindh University, Jamshoro, were booked under sedition charges for allegedly raising anti-Pakistan slogans.

Similar protest held last year

While the video of the 19 November protest has garnered a lot of attention on social media, this is not the first time such as protest was held, a similar protest was held last year in 16 different cities.

According to a report in the Asian Marxist Review, several progressive student organisations from all over Pakistan formed Student Action Committee to demand the restoration of student unions, representation of students in management and increase in the education budget.

According to the students, the Imran Khan-led PTI government had left “educational campuses and students abandoned, dejected and directionless”, the report stated.

Why students in Pakistan, like in JNU, are raising azadi slogans