The Indian Express – Haryana’s Panchkula to seal borders with Chandigarh and Punjab; know about the exemptions

The entry and exits will be sealed from Saturday morning, and essential services will be permitted movement only subject to several conditions, including downloading of Aarogya Setu app.

Pallavi Singhal

Panchkula – Haryana – India, 01 May 2020. Following a sudden rise in COVID-19 cases in adjoining Union Territory of Chandigarh and Punjab’s Mohali district, the Panchkula administration Friday imposed additional restrictions on cross-border movement.

The entry and exits will be sealed from Saturday morning, and essential services will be permitted movement only subject to several conditions, including downloading of Aarogya Setu app.

The administration has ordered that non-Panchkula residents whose jobs require every day travel to the district will have to be accommodated in the district itself by their managements.

The Panchkula residents working in places outside the territory of Panchkula district would have to make similar accommodation arrangements with their management, as per the order from the Panchkula administration.

The cross-border movement in unavoidable circumstances of any “specific case” will be allowed subject to three conditions, the downloading and use of Aarogya Setu app, thermal scanning and symptomatic screening at border checkposts when entering Panchkula, and use of rapid testing facility if any person entering Panchkula is found symptomatic, the District Magistrate said in the order.

The conditions are also applicable to those falling under consolidated exemptions announced by the district authorities.


  • In a list of consolidated exemptions issued in the order, authorised government officers and staff of the offices, officers belonging to the Punjab and Haryana High Court and other courts, health professionals belonging to Government agencies will be allowed movement.
  • Those with specially issued ‘restricted movement passes’ provided by the Government of India, Government of Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh (UT) are also exempted.

Panchkula is a suburb of Chandidarh in Haryana just like Mohali is a suburb of Chandigarh in Panjab.
Chandigarh itself is a Union Terrirory.

The Tribune – In special flight, 263 stranded people leave for Heathrow from Amritsar

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, A total of 263 stranded people, mainly Britons, on Friday left for their destinations in a special flight from the international airport in Amritsar in Punjab, officials said.

Qatar Airways flight with 221 Britons and 42 Indians departed from Sri Guru Ram Das Ji International Airport to Heathrow via Doha, Special Chief Secretary K B S Sidhu, who is in-charge to monitor statewide corona-virus cases, informed in a tweet.

The British government on Thursday announced seven further charter flights to bring over 2,000 stranded British travellers home from India.

Once these flights are completed, over 15,000 British travellers will have been brought back from India on 59 flights chartered by the government, it said in a statement.

It said the Amritsar to Heathrow flights will ply on seven days consecutively from 05 May.

Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, said: “Our charter programme has already helped more than 10,000 British travellers return home from India by ensuring flights to the UK have run every day since 8 April, with thousands more due to depart in the coming days.”

Jan Thompson, Acting High Commissioner to India, said: “This fifth round of flights brings the total number of planes we have organised from India to 59. There have been daily departures from across the country for weeks, which have helped thousands of people get back to their friends and families in the UK.”

Watersportbaan – Braemkasteelstraat – Gentbrugse Meersen

Gent – Watersportbaan

19 March 2020

Bus 38 and 39 to Sint-Amandsberg
via Korenmarkt and Dampoort
Bus 41 and 43 to Merelbeke
via Sint-Pieters and Ledeberg

Bus-stop shelter

19 March 2020


Another victim of the recent gale force winds

Stop for bus 9 to Mariakerke Post

Gentbrugse Meersen
21 March 2020

Bridge across a very watery bit

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

BBC News – India rejects scathing US religious freedom report as ‘biased’

India has rejected the findings of a US religious freedom panel which has named it a “country of particular concern”, since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was re-elected.

New Delhi – India, 29 April 2020. The annual report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) places India alongside Pakistan, China and North Korea.

Delhi said the report was “biased” and a “new level of misrepresentation”. This is the first time India has been placed in this category since 2004.

In its key findings, the USCIRF report says that following the landslide victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in 2019, “the national government used its strengthened parliamentary majority to institute national level policies violating religious freedom across India, especially for Muslims”.

It also made special mention of India’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), adding that “Home Minister Amit Shah referred to migrants as ‘termites’ to be eradicated”.

Nadine Maenza, the vice chair for the religious freedom watchdog, said that the CAA “potentially exposes millions of Muslims to detention, deportation, and statelessness when the government completes its planned nationwide National Register of Citizens”.

India’s government rejected the observations in the report.

“Its biased and tendentious comments against India are not new,” said external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava. “On this occasion, its misrepresentation has reached new levels. We regard it as an organisation of particular concern and will treat it accordingly.”

The religious freedom panel had even recommended “targeted sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious rights”.

Two of the nine-member panel expressed dissent over the recommendations. Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee said “India does not belong to the same category as authoritarian regimes like China and North Korea. India is the largest democratic nation in the world, where the CAA has been challenged openly by the opposition Congress Party and law makers, civil society, and various groups”.

The Indian American Muslim Council, an advocacy group, welcomed the report. In a statement, it said: “As a part of the Indian diaspora that only wishes well for the country of our birth, we view international criticism of India’s religious freedom record as distressing but painfully necessary, given the escalating level of persecution of minorities.”

It further said that in March, “along with its partners, International Christian Concern (ICC) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), it had written to USCIRF urging it to bring India into its list of the worst offenders of religious freedom violations in the world”. – Arbitrary arrests of CAA-NRC protesters point to political vendetta under the cover of Covid

The Delhi Police is undermining democracy by criminalising dissent.

Shoaib Daniyal

New Delhi – India, 30 April 2020. When governments around the world began to invoke emergency powers to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, fears were expressed that lockdowns to contain the spread of the disease could easily be used as an opportunity to crush basic democratic rights.

These anxieties have come true in India. In recent days, the Union government-controlled Delhi Police has arrested several people who had been protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens.

These initiatives had been widely condemned for adding a religious element to Indian citizenship law. Many feared they could be used to harass India’s Muslims.

Among those arrested are three people involved in organising protests at New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia. Two are students: Safoora Zargar and Meeran Haider.

The third, Shifa-Ur-Rehman, is the president of the Jamia Alumni Association. In a related action, the police have seized the phone of the Delhi president of the All India Students Association, Kanwalpreet Kaur.

The arrests have been made under a host of harsh legal provisions, including the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, with the police claiming that these protesters were part of a shadowy conspiracy that led to violence in Delhi in February that left 53 people dead.

However, till now, the Delhi Police has offered little evidence to support this claim. In fact, the first information report filed by the police does not bother to explain even the bare bones of what that conspiracy could have been.

Criminalising protest

This ambiguity in framing allegations, the use of the draconian UAPA as well as the lockdown has allowed the police to carry out actions that appear extremely prejudicial to civil liberty.

These arrests seem less like a legal measure and more like political vendetta against protestors opposing a law passed by the Bharatiya Janata Party-controlled Union government.

In its submissions, the Delhi Police has actively tried to criminalise the very act of protest. For example, the Delhi Police told the Indian Express that the accused people had been “communicating with each other and discussing arrangements and plans for the protests”.

In its submission to the court to take remand of Shufi-ur-Rehman, the Delhi Police said, “during interrogation” Rehman had “admitted” to being involved in the protests.

Ironically, even as the Delhi Police alleges a murky conspiracy that links the peaceful protests against the citizenship initiatives to the Delhi riots, obvious cases of instigation have gone unnoticed.

The day before the riot began, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra had threatened protestors with vigilante action.

In fact, there is direct evidence that the violence was instigated by Mishra, with eyewitness accounts at the time attesting to the fact that attackers mentioned his name while carrying out the violence. Yet the Delhi Police has not taken any legal action against Mishra.

To make matters worse, this decision to ignore Mishra and the attempts to link protesters against the citizenship initiatives to the riots comes even as much of the violence in Delhi was directed at Muslims, with documented cases of even the police attacking Muslim neighbourhoods.

Rather than make amends, the Delhi Police seems to be doubling down on its majoritarianism, paradoxically linking a movement to protect minority rights with a riot that in which minorities were the targets. Two-thirds of the people who died in the violence were Muslim.

Abusing lockdown

Even more egregious, this attempt to attack the movement against the citizenship initiatives comes during a lockdown when the government has taken on extraordinary powers to tackle the pandemic.

However, as is now apparent, this has resulted in a loosening of checks that is also being used for more insidious, political ends. As has reported, the courts have used the lockdown to justify a lack of scrutiny on the police as it cracks down on protestors.

The protests against the National Register of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act were a peaceful movement that aimed to rescue Indian secularism by opposing moves to communalise India’s citizenship laws. The criminalisation of dissent against these initiatives is a significant blow to Indian democracy.