The Telegraph – States can’t say no to CAA but can go against NRC, NPR: Shashi Tharoor

He said that states have hardly any role in granting citizenship as it is given by the federal government

Kolkata – West Bengal – India, 23 January 2020. Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that bringing in resolutions against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is more of a “political gesture” by the states as they hardly have any role in granting citizenships.

In an interview to PTI, the lawmaker said that in the implementation of the National Population Register (NPR) and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), the states will play a vital part as it will be their officials who will conduct the exercise because the Centre doesn’t have the required manpower.

“That’s more of a political gesture. The citizenship is given by the federal government only and obviously no states can give citizenship, so it has nothing for them to implement or not implement,” Tharoor said.

“They (the states) can pass a resolution or go to the court but in practice what can they do? The state governments can’t say they won’t implement CAA, what they can say is they will not implement NPR-NRC as they will have a crucial role in it,” he added.

Tharoor’s party colleague Kapil Sibal raised a storm last week by saying there is no way a state can deny the implementation of the CAA when it has already been passed by Parliament. Later, he termed it “unconstitutional” and clarified there was no change in his stance.

Panjab, where the Congress is in power, passed a resolution against the CAA last week. It also supported a similar move by the Left government in Kerala. In West Bengal as well, Tharoor’s party has been demanding an anti-CAA resolution, which will be brought in by Mamata Banerjee’s government on January 27.

The Congress has hinted that it may pass similar resolutions in other states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh where it is in power.

Maintaining that the Supreme Court not directing a stay on the Citizenship Amendment Act has “not at all diluted” the protests against it, Tharoor welcomed the top court’s decision to set up a five-judge constitution bench.

“This Act by naming religions in relation to citizenship has violated the Constitution. But at least the five-judge constitution bench will hear all the arguments and look into the merits of it. That’s the only way we can resolve the fundamental disagreement,” he said.

“There are only two ways this law can be struck down, one, if the Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional and strikes it down and second, if the government itself revokes it. Now, the second option is not viable as the BJP would never accept its mistakes,” said the Thiruvananthapuram MP who was in the city to take part in the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet.

He said the protests are largely spontaneous and if the government makes it clear that no religion is being targeted then many would lose their reason for protesting. However, the diplomat-turned-politician said the government needs to do much more than just removing the religion clause in the CAA.

“It needs to say we will not ask questions about place of birth and citizenship and will not prepare the NRC,” he said. On the country’s Opposition, Tharoor said their unity has never been easy in Indian politics as many parties may have a similar stand at the Centre but may differ in the states.

“In my opinion, it would be simply better to present a united front to the nation rather than a divided front,” he said, asserting that no one should feel threatened by the Congress.

Asked about the Gandhi family and the role of the present leadership in reviving the party, Tharoor said the Congress is more than a family, and it is not only a major mass movement but also a set of coherent ideas.

“Yes, when we ask people to vote for Congress, some vote for the family, some vote for individuals, but above all they vote for a certain set of principles and convictions,” he said. Tharoor said the Congress stands for inclusiveness and is the only viable and reliable alternative to the “divisive politics” of the BJP.

“We have just lost the national elections. We have a four-and-quarter year to go before we can prove our qualities on the national stage. In the meantime, there are state elections. So there will be a constant opportunity for referendum against the BJP’s non-performance,” he said. – Death threat to Harinder Singh Phoolka

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi – India, 21 January 2020. Senior Advocate Harinder Singh Phoolka, who has been fighting a legal battle for the victims of the 1984 Sikh genocide, has received a death threat in writing through a letter.

It is being suspected that he has been threatened for his active role in a case pertaining to bribing of a chief witness by the 1984 Sikh genocide culprit Jagdish Tytler.

It is learnt that the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjyot Singh Bhalla directed the CBI to file a response in the matter by February 11.

Interacting with media, Harinder Singh Phoolka said that such death threats cannot distract him from fighting a legal battle for the 1984 Sikh genocide. “I have been receiving such threats for the last 35 years,” he added.

Death threat to HS Phoolka

Den Haag – Delftselaan – Prinsegracht – Brouwersgracht

Den Haag – Delftselaan
28 December 2019

Tram 11 to Station Den Haag Holland Spoor

Ravidas Tempel
Delftselaan 103
2512 RC Den Haag

28 December 2019

Zoutkeetssingel – Lijnbaan

28 December 2019

Named after Frederik Hendrik
the third son of William of Orange

RandstadRail Tram 3 to Loosduinen

RandstadRail Tram 3 and 4
Tram 2

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Indian Express – Tackling rising hate crime against Sikhs, stop & search, ethnic tick box main priorities

London – UK, 22 January 2020. Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill has been re-elected as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in London, said the Sikh Federation (UK) in a statement.

The Sikh Federation (UK) set up the APPG in 2005 and has been providing secretariat support to it for nearly 15 years.

Following the general election, its principal adviser, who acts as the secretariat for the APPG and interface with the Sikh community, wrote to each of the 150 MPs that have more than 1,000 Sikh constituents that the community will be looking to work on Sikh issues in the Sikh Manifesto 2020-2025 in the next five years.

In the 10 days leading up to the AGM, dozens of MPs from different political parties have come forward to become members of the APPG for British Sikhs. Supporting Preet Kaur Gill will be five vice-chairs from the Conservative Party, five vice-chairs from the Labour Party and three vice-chairs from the Scottish National Party.

Excerpts from a conversation that Kamalpreet Kaur had with Preet Gill:

What are the main priorities as the APPG chair this time around?

Main priorities include tackling rising hate crime against Sikhs, get the Sikh ethnic tick box, and help people facing problems wearing Kakar’s at workplaces, stop and searches, etc.

How are the issues being delegated within the group?

New Conservative MP Nicola Richards and Pat McFadden will lead on hate crimes whereas such crimes against the Sikhs are under-reported.

I and Eddie Hughes will continue to work on the Sikh tick box that is so important, to address inequalities, working with Home Office and other departments about the importance of 5 Kakar’s and Sikh code of practice.

Martin Docherty-Hughes will continue to lead on work with Jaggi Johal’s case. Also, work with all to raise 1984 and Justice Dhingra Report at the UN and India to try to get a Rwanda Style commission.

Last time the efforts around the Sikh tick box didn’t fructify. How confident are you that it will work this time?

I’m very confident because one of the court findings was that this matter had to be dealt with politically at the Cabinet Office level. And this is the issue of tackling gross inequalities in the Sikh community, which I’m sure the government wants to deal with too, especially the Sikh community. We need data for Sikhs.

I heard of the death of woman, for example, who committed suicide in the West Midlands, was of Sikh origin. We will never get that data. We will never understand the issues and inequalities faced by the community if we do not monitor them.

They might think we do not have any issues, but we have and because we are recognised as a religion and not an ethnic group, we can’t get data if the ONS doesn’t make religion mandatory data. We have a lot of Sikh immigration from Italy. How do we know the kind of problems they face if they are not monitored separately.

Eddie Hughes is very passionate about it and wants to lead. How great is that!

Being in majority, the Conservatives are getting to have their way over Brexit? What do you plan to do?

Continue to raise our voice and hold them to account wherever possible, push them to hold debates in the Parliament. With Brexit noise over, we can now actually focus on our own constituency and help people better. There’s a lot of work to do.

Labour Party leadership contest is on and you are very supportive of Kier Starmer. Why him?

I’m part of the Team Kier campaign. I believe he is the person who can bring the party together that will help us win. If we continue to remain divide the public will not trust us. He is experienced in helping people and human rights work, making difficult decisions about terrorism and sexual abuse cases.

The Print – India slams Pakistan at UN, says it takes to hate speech just like ‘fish takes to water’

India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu said Pakistan “obfuscates” the international community from the truth.

United Nations – New York – USA, 23 January 2020. United Nations: India has slammed Pakistan for “spewing venom and false narratives” of monumental proportions in the United Nations, saying it takes to hate speech like fish takes to water and “obfuscates” the international community from the truth as Islamabad yet again raked up the Kashmir issue at the world body.

Pakistan consistently rakes up the Kashmir issue at various UN platforms in a bid to internationalise it but has repeatedly failed to get any support.

Last week, Islamabad failed in its efforts to get any traction from the membership of the UN Security Council when its ‘all-weather ally’ China made another pitch to raise the issue in the 15-nation Council. There was consensus among the rest of the Council members that Kashmir is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan.

India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu, speaking at a session of the General Assembly on ‘Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization’ on Wednesday, said Pakistan “indulges in confabulations and obfuscates the international community from the truth” instead of putting an end to the “bellicose and vitriolic diatribe” and taking steps to restore normal ties.

“Just like a fish takes to water, one delegation has again taken to hate speech. Every time this delegation speaks, it spews venom and false narratives of monumental proportions.

“It’s extremely surprising that a country that has completely decimated its minority population talks about protecting minorities. Pakistan’s practice of using false pretenses to distract from addressing the malaise that afflicts it has run its course. Pakistan needs to reflect that there are no takers for its false rhetoric and should get down to the normal business of diplomacy,” Naidu said.

The Indian diplomat’s strong response came after Saad Ahmed Warraich, Counsellor at Pakistan mission to the UN, raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in his remarks during the session, saying no other situation reflects the “abdication” of the UN’s responsibility to discharge its responsibilities more than the decades-old Jammu and Kashmir issue.

China’s latest attempt to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council on Pakistan’s behalf failed last week, with an overwhelming majority of the body expressing the view that it was not the right forum to discuss the bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.

It was China’s third such attempt to raise the Kashmir issue at the UNSC since August last when the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution was scrapped by the government, and the state was bifurcated into two union territories.

“We once again saw an effort made by one member state of the UN, fail in plain view of all others. We are happy that neither alarmist scenario painted by the representatives of Pakistan nor any of the baseless allegations made repeatedly by representatives of Pakistan in the UN fora were found to be credible today,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said last week.

“We are glad that the effort was viewed as a distraction and it was pointed by many friends that bilateral mechanisms are available to raise and address issues that Pakistan may have in its ties with India,” Akbaruddin said after the January 15 Council meeting.

India slams Pakistan at UN, says it takes to hate speech just like ‘fish takes to water’