BBC News – Farooq Abdullah: Kashmir leader released from seven-month detention

Indian authorities have announced the release of a veteran Kashmiri MP and former chief minister who had been in detention for seven months. The order did not give any reason for Farooq Abdullah’s release.

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 13 March 2020. He said he was “grateful” to all those who fought for his freedom, and called for the release of other detainees. He was among thousands of local leaders put under house arrest a day before the disputed region was stripped of its semi-autonomous status in August.

The government deployed tens of thousands of troops to quell unrest and enforced a crackdown on communications. Mr Abdullah’s detention under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA) had generated debate, especially as he is an MP.

Days ago, eight opposition parties wrote a letter to the government, demanding his release along with other Kashmiri leaders.

The joint resolution warned that “democratic dissent is being muzzled” in the state. Two other former chief ministers, including Mr Abdullah’s son Omar and Mehbooba Mufti, are still in detention.

Thousands of others, including political party workers, activists and lawyers are also in custody, with many taken to jails in cities outside the region. The government said the move, decried by critics as draconian, was necessary to maintain law and public order in the region.

It also moved to block internet and mobile connectivity in the region, these have only been partially restored.

A five-time chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir, Mr Abdullah was widely considered to be a “pro-India” politician in the state.

Both India and Pakistan claim the region in its entirety, but control only parts of it.

When he was first placed under house arrest, MPs demanded an explanation as the procedure is to inform parliament if a member of the house is to be arrested. This prompted Home Minister Amit Shah to tell the house that Mr Abdullah was “not detained or arrested”.

In one of his last public interviews since then, Mr Abdullah gave an emotional television interview where he accused Mr Shah of lying. “Why would I stay inside my house on my own will when my state is being burnt, when my people are being executed in jails? This is not the India I believe in,” he said.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-51869134

Sikh24.com – India suspends pilgrimage to Kartarpur due to coronavirus outbreak

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi – India, 15 March 2020. The Indian Home Ministry has temporarily suspended pilgrimage and registration for Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib as a precautionary measure to put control over coronavirus outbreak. From 16 March, no devotee would be allowed to emigrate through Dera Baba Nanak terminal to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib via Kartarpur corridor.

Sharing the development with media, a government official informed that the Home Ministry has suspended pilgrimage to Kartarpur Sahib so that the spread of coronavirus could be controlled. “Not only Kartarpur instead movement of all types of passengers through international border points with Pakistan from 16 March onwards,” he added.

It is pertinent to note here that the Indian government has already suspended all types of passenger movement through land check posts with its other neighboring countries Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

On 13 March, the SGPC appointed Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh had asked the Indian government not to suspend pilgrimage to Kartarpur.

A similar ban by the Pakistan government is already in effect on Pakistani citizens since yesterday.

India suspends pilgrimage to Kartarpur due to coronavirus outbreak

Gurdwara Gent – Flanders Expo – Geuzenhuis: IWG Debat

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
02 February 2020


Granthi Singh reciting from Guru Granth Sahib

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49B
9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

Flanders Expo – Tram stop
03 February 2020


Evi en haar collega

Geuzenhuis – IWG Debat
Patrick Loobuyck & Khalid Benhaddou
Ds Eefje van der Linden & Winnie Belpaeme Huis van de Mens
Verdwaald in Verlichting
Lost in the enlightenment
06 February 2020


The authors of the book on the left
The ‘questioners’ on the right


The protestant minister and the humanist counselor


The spotlight does something funny to Khalid’s forehead


The humanist author and the Imam, who became friends

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Hindustan Times – UK funds security in gurdwaras, temples (mandirs)

Prasun Sonwalkar

London – UK, 15 March 2020. Five gurdwaras and four Hindu temples [mandirs] are among 49 places of worship given £1.6 million to install and upgrade security systems to protect them from hate crime attacks in the United Kingdom.

Recipients of the Places of Worship Security Funding scheme included 27 mosques and 13 churches, the home office said. The scheme provides funding for measures such as CCTV, fencing, gates, alarms and lighting to places vulnerable to hate crime.

Susan Williams, minister for countering extremism, said: “No one should be fearful about practicing their faith. Whether it is a church, a mosque, gurdwara or temple, any place of worship should be a space of reflection and safety”.

“The Places of Worship scheme provides that physical security. However, we can always do more, which is why we want to hear from worshippers about how we can better protect them from these terrible attacks”.

The scheme’s allocation for next year has been doubled to £3.2 million, officials said. In 2018-19, police in England and Wales recorded 103,379 hate crime offences, an increase of 10% on the previous year.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/uk-funds-security-in-gurdwaras-temples/story-Fd32SM3U1Dp35Wgb8yHgaI.html

The Print – Scindia’s entry hurts BJP and Modi more than any other dynast’s. Here is why

To sustain Modi’s anti-rich image, the BJP spins stories about how dynasts in the party are never promoted. Defending Scindia would be tough.

D K Singh

Bhopal – Madya Pradesh – India, 16 March 2020. Abhishek Banerjee, a Member of Parliament better known as West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew is not known for humour or wit.

But he had the audience in splits at a recent event in Kolkata as he took on the Bharatiya Janata Party for its ‘double speaks’: “Aapke saath rahein to chamatkar, aapke bina rahein to balaatkar…aapke saath hon to Ramlila, aapke binaa hon to character dheela (in your company, it’s miracle but if it’s without you, it’s rape… with you it’s Ramlila, without you it’s loss of character)!”

He sounded familiar. Remember Arshad Warsi’s outburst in Ishqiya: “Tumhara ishq ishq, hamaara ishq sex (your love is love and my love is sex)!”

Warsi’s and Banerjee’s words rang in one’s ears as Jyotiraditya Scindia made a grand entry in the BJP last week. A chaiwalla’s party welcoming the high profile ‘Maharaj’ of Gwalior (‘Maharaj sahib’, to his personal staff). So, what happens to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet theme of dynastic politics?

Addressing a rally in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan in May last year, the prime minister had berated dynasts in every state, naming “the Scindia family” in Madhya Pradesh, Hoodas in Haryana, and Abdullahs in Kashmir, among others. “They try to suppress those who rose from poverty.

They suppress the talent of deserving people. In the 21st century, how can these people lead the country? That is why when I question their dynastic politics, they feel bad. They are infuriated.”

Well, Scindia will soon be a Cabinet minister in Modi government, expectedly, the only one after Amit Shah, and probably S Jaishankar, to run his own ministry and not just append signatures on the files sent to him.

So, does Scindia’s entry in the BJP signal, or force, any change in Modi’s views on dynastic politics? The answer is yes and no.

Scindia’s entry hurts BJP and Modi more than any other dynast’s. Here is why