The Indian Express – ‘Is Constitution a mere administrative manual,’ ask eminent personalities in open letter

“Is the Constitution a mere administrative manual which enables the elected governments to claim legitimacy for abuse of power, and allows the citizens to convert liberty into license disregarding rights of others?” the letter says.

New Delhi -India, 12 January 2020. Several prominent members of the civil society Sunday issued an appeal to citizens, asking them to “introspect whether truth and non-violence, the two values held very dear to the heart of the Father of the Nation, continue to inform our actions in the public sphere”.

Ahead of Republic Day and the National Voters Day (January 25), the letter, signed by former SC judge J Chelameswar, former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi, former Army Commander Lt Gen Harcharanjit Singh Panag, filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, actor Sharmila Tagore, vocalist T M Krishna, former UGC chairman Sukhdeo Thorat and former Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed, urges people to “constantly introspect and audit the working of the Constitution”.

“Is the Constitution a mere administrative manual which enables the elected governments to claim legitimacy for abuse of power, and allows the citizens to convert liberty into license disregarding rights of others?

Is it simply another text penned in ink, or a sacred text written in the blood of innumerable martyrs who transcended the barriers of caste, religion, region, ethnicity and language?” the letter says.

“The seventieth anniversary of the Republic is an appropriate moment to celebrate and introspect by peacefully observing the Birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (23 January), Foundation day of the Election Commission celebrated as the National Voters Day (25 January), the Republic Day (26 January) and the martyrdom of the Father of the Nation (30 January),” the letter adds, asking citizens to “utilise this solemn occasion to celebrate our success, reflect on our current concerns, particularly about our plural, secular society, and resolve to fulfill the Constitutional goals envisaged by Dr Ambedkar and our forefathers as summed up in the Preamble.”

The statement comes amid widespread protest against the contentious Citizenship Amenmend Act (CAA) that grants citizenship to individuals who are Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain, or Parsi and who entered India from Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Afghanistan by the cut-off date of December 31, 2014 excluding Muslims.

Protesters have argued that the law is unconstitutional in that it makes religion a criterion for citizenship. Concerns have also been raised over the proposed nationwide NRC, combined with the Act. After protests spread, the government has sought to downplay its narrative on NRC, but the CAA has come into effect.

Some protests have seen a brutal crackdown by the police, with Uttar Pradesh the worst-affected. The state saw violence erupting in 12 districts, including Firozabad, Rampur, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr and Bahraich. As per officials, 19 people lost their lives in clashes in December.

The government has defended the citizenship Act saying it is the responsibility of the country to provide a safe haven for minorities in the three neighbouring countries, as they face prosecution there.

‘Is Constitution a mere administrative manual,’ ask eminent personalities in open letter

The Tribune – Nankana Sahib attack: Pakistan denies visa to SGPC team

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 11 January 2020. The Pakistan High Commission today denied visa to a four-member delegation of the SGPC to visit Nankana Sahib town in the aftermath of the Gurdwara Janam Asthan attack.

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal regretted the decision and urged the commission to review it.

He said the Sikh delegation wanted to take stock of the situation after a group of people used anti-Sikh words against the shrine built at the birthplace of the founder of the Sikh religion.

Longowal said being a representative body of the Sikhs around the world, it was obligatory for the SGPC to visit the shrine after an incident of such a proportion.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nankana-sahib-attack-pak-denies-visa-to-sgpc-team-24894

Den Haag (NL) – Wouwermanstraat

Den Haag NL
Wouwermanstraat
24 December 2019


Tram 9 to Scheveningen Noord


Tracks to/from Holland Spoor station


Tram 9 to Vrederust


Tram 9 to Vrederust


Tram 11 and 12 to Holland Spoor


Tracks for tram 11 and 12 to/from Hoefkade

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

India Today – Unity in diversity at Shaheen Bagh as citizens conduct hawan, recite Quran and Gurbani at anti-CAA stir

The inter-faith ceremony at Shaheen Bagh, where there was a traditional Hindu-style ‘hawan’, chants of Sikh ‘kirtan’ and Quran recitation, saw participants also reading out the Preamble of the Constitution and taking an oath to preserve its “socialist, secular” values.

New Delhi – India, 12 January 2020. People of different faiths came together on Sunday to participate in a ‘sarva dharma sambhava’ ceremony at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, where anti-citizenship law protestors have been demonstrating for almost a month now.

The inter-faith ceremony, where there was a traditional Hindu-style ‘hawan’, chants of Sikh ‘kirtan’ and Quran recitation, saw participants also reading out the Preamble of the Constitution and taking an oath to preserve its “socialist, secular” values.

“Scriptures from the Geeta, the Bible, the Quran were read and Gurbani was sung. Then the Preamble of the Constitution was also read out by people from varying faiths who are supporting this movement,” said Syed Taseer Ahmed, one of the initial organisers of the protest.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/unity-in-diversity-at-shaheen-bagh-as-citizens-conduct-hawan-recite-quran-and-gurbani-at-anti-caa-stir-1636243-2020-01-12

The Hindu – Akali Dal suspends rebel Rajya Sabha MP and his son

Party to issue charge sheet to explain their conduct: spokesman

Special Correspondent

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 12 January 2020. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday suspended rebel Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and his son, former Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, for “anti-party” activities.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the core committee which was presided over by party president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The party has decided to suspend them with immediate effect and has also resolved to issue them a charge sheet to explain their conduct.

According to party spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema, after due discussion it was decided to issue a charge sheet to the duo, following which they would be given two weeks to explain their conduct. “The party will take its next course of action after receiving the reply of the two leaders,” he said.

Former Minister Sikander Singh Maluka, who is party’s observer for Sangrur district, disclosed to the core committee that at a recent meeting of the Sangrur district body it was unanimously decided to recommend the expulsion of both Mr Sukhdev Dhindsa and Mr Parminder Dhindsa for indulging in anti-party activities.

Last week, Mr Parminder Dhindsa had quit the post of leader of the SAD legislature party. Earlier, Mr Sukhdev Dhindsa had rebelled against the top party leadership, demanding Mr Badal’s resignation as the party president to restore to its “lost glory”.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/akali-dal-suspends-rebel-rajya-sabha-mp-son/article30546689.ece