The Telegraph – Kerala CM Vijayan writes to 11 Chief Ministers on CAA

‘We are sure that our unity in diversity, which has stood the test of time, will ultimately emerge stronger.’

Kerala – Thiruvananthapuram – India, 04 January 2020. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday wrote to his counterparts in 11 states on the need to “protect” secularism and democracy, days after the Assembly in the southern state passed a resolution demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

In a letter to the chief ministers, including Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal, Vijayan said: “Apprehensions have arisen among large sections of our society consequent to the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.

“The need of the hour is unity among all Indians who wish to protect and preserve our cherished values of democracy and secularism.”

Vijayan continued: “People from various cross sections of the society irrespective of any difference they might have, need to stand united in preserving the basic tenets of our polity that form the cornerstone of Indian democracy.

“We are sure that our unity in diversity, which has stood the test of time, will ultimately emerge stronger.”

Vijayan informed the chief ministers that Kerala had “decided to address the apprehensions” about the National Register of Citizens and that the National Population Register could be a precursor to the NRC by stalling all activities related to the NPR.

Pointing to the Kerala Assembly resolution against the citizenship law, he wrote: “States which have the opinion that the CAA should be repealed can also consider similar steps so that it will be an eye-opener to the proponents of the CAA and the NRC.”

The ruling CPM-led Left Democratic Front and the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front united in supporting the resolution. The sole vote against the resolution was cast by the lone BJP lawmaker, O. Rajagopal.

The Tribune – Sukhbir Badal to meet Modi, Shah over Rajoana’s sentence; Bittu angry

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana/Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 03 January 2019. SAD president and former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has stated the SAD leadership will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and request them to commute the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a death row convict in the Beant Singh assassination case.

Sukhbir drew the ire of Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu who said “it exposed his real face.”

Sukhbir Badal, along with Akali leaders, including Daljit Singh Cheema, visited the residence of Rajoana’s sister in Ludhiana on Friday. Badal said, “Our party’s core committee meeting was held today and we decided that our party leadership will meet both Prime Minister and Home Minister soon.

We will appeal to them to commute the death sentence of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana.” Badal also appealed to Balwant Singh Rajoana to cancel his hunger strike, which he is to start from 11 January.

Bittu said, “The Akalis have stood with the murderers and showed their true mentality to the peace-loving Punjabis. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Gobind Singh Longowal has announced to provide legal aid to Rajoana, showing real face of the Akalis.”

Bittu said late Beant Singh had attained martyrdom while safeguarding the rights of Punjabis and maintaining peace and communal harmony in the state.

“Thousands of people lost their lives during the dark days of terrorism in the state and the Akalis standing in the favour of perpetrators of the crimes has exposed their real face. It clearly shows that the Akalis led by Sukhbir Singh Badal have always supported such people,” rued Bittu.

Den Haag (NL) – Transvaalkwartier – Zuiderpark

Den Haag (NL)
Laing’s Nek
24 December 2019

The Battle of Laing’s Nek, 28 January 1881

Den Haag NL
24 December 2019

Ruddy shelduck – Casarca



Canada goose

Canada goose

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Pakistan Today – Protesters besiege Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, threaten to expel Sikhs from city

Staff Report

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 03 January 2020. Protesters staged a sit-in outside Gurdwara Nankana Sahib on Friday and threatened to drive the local Sikh population out of the city if the authorities did not release the suspects arrested in an alleged forced conversion case.

They were led by the family of a man named Ehsan, who had been detained alongside several family members earlier in the day for forcibly converting a Sikh girl, Jagjit Kaur, earlier this year. Ehsan’s sister told the media that the police had raided their home and had tortured the women and children present inside the house.

Ehsan was scheduled to appear before the court on 09 January in the case. His family alleged that the police tried to pressurise them ahead of the hearing.

Nankana Sahib District Police Officer Ismail Kharak said that the suspects were arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by a citizen regarding a dispute. He did not, however, comment on the family’s allegations regarding the police’s attempts to pressure them ahead of the hearing.

Nankana Sahib Police Station Sub Inspector (SI) Ghulam Hussain said that a dispute between two families had escalated to the point of one family protesting in public. However, he said, the protesters did not attack the holy site.

While the official said that the protesters dispersed after the police intervened, a local media outlet reported that PTI Nankana Sahib President Pir Sarwar Shah held talks with the protesters and ensured the release of the suspects.

Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Amir Ameer said that there was no attack on the Gurdwara and no damage was caused to the holy site. “This is a law and order issue which was resolved by the police,” he said.

Meena Kumari, a resident of Nankana Sahib told Pakistan Today that said she has been married to a Muslim for the past 20 years but has not faced any discrimination. Commenting on the matter, she said that the locals had created an issue out of nothing.

Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, also known as the Gurdwara Janam Asthan, is the site where the first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak, was born and is regarded as one of the holiest sites in the religion. On August 28, a First Information Report (FIR) was filed in the Nankana police station against six people who were accused of abducting and forcefully converting the 19-year-old woman.

The police subsequently traced the suspects to Lahore and detained one of them. Later, the woman had submitted a written statement in the court, stating that she had converted to Islam and married Ehsan of her own free will. She also accused her family of “wanting to kill me”.

The woman was subsequently shifted to a Darul Aman shelter on the court’s orders after the Sikh community had demanded that the police bring her back to her parents’ house irrespective of the conversion being forced or consensual.

The Hindu – India caught in the crossfire as Trump invokes Delhi post Soleimani killing

But Iran’s Ambassador to India Ali Chegeni denies allegation that Soleimani was behind terror attacks.

Suhasini Haidar

New Delhi – India, 04 January 2020. India got caught in the crossfire between the United States and Iran after President Donald Trump blamed assassinated Iranian General Qasem Soleimani for a spate of terror attacks, including one in Delhi, a charge Iran’s envoy to India has denied.

In a statement in Washington, Mr Trump justified the killing of Mr Soleimani in a missile attack on his convoy outside the Baghdad airport, saying that the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) international operations or “Quds force” was responsible for several terror attacks and was planning more.

“Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London,” Mr. Trump said.

Iran’s Ambassador to India Ali Chegeni denied the allegations. “Mr Trump can say anything he likes, he can give any list of attacks that he likes. But this is a big lie. General Soleimani was a soldier, he was not involved in the targetting of innocents anywhere,” Mr Chegeni said in an interview to The Hindu.

The Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment on Mr Trump’s statement, which brought New Delhi into the rising tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Mr Trump is believed to have referred to the car bombing of an Israeli diplomat in Delhi in February 2012. The diplomat, who was also the wife of the Israeli defence attaché, was injured in the attack along with three others.

At the time, the Delhi Police’s special cell that investigated the case believed it was connected with attacks on Israeli diplomats in Tbilisi, Georgia as well as Bangkok, Thailand, and was reportedly carried out by IRGC agents at the time in retaliation for attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists.

Delhi Police officials say the case has not moved since 2013, when the lone suspect, an Indian journalist with an Iranian news agency, was granted bail, a decision that was upheld in the Supreme Court.

Mr Chegeni said that by raising the issue, Mr Trump was attempting to cover the USA’s action in killing the Iranian official while he was visiting Iraq after travelling to Syria for “anti-terrorism consultations”.

“General Soleimani fought against the ISIS, Jubhat Al Nusra, Al-Qaeda. He was invited to Syria and Iraq by their governments for advice and assistance on fighting these terror groups. So anyone who assassinated him, is for the terrorists. And if this was ordered by their President, as the USA says, then this is an act of state terrorism,” he noted.

New Delhi expresses concern

On Friday, India issued a statement that expressed concern over rising tensions between the USA and Iran, and “noted” the USA’s killing of the senior Iranian official.

When asked, Mr. Chegeni said he expected India would also “condemn the assassination of an official who was on a visit to another country on official invitation.”

He stated, “We expect India as our reliable friend to advise the United States to follow international norms and not destabilise the region. We have the right to retaliate, but Iranians are patient, we will choose the time and place of our response to this killing.”

Tougher language is expected from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who is due in Delhi on 14 January to address the Raisina dialogue. The 3-day event, where USA Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger will also speak, could see India, which has attempted a “tightrope walk” in ties with both countries, caught in the middle again.

With inputs from Saurabh Trivedi