Tolo News – 18 More Bodies Found of Drowned Afghan Migrants

President Ghani has tasked a 10-member team to probe reports of the drowning of migrants and started their work today, officials said.

Kabul – Afghanistan, 09 May 2020. The bodies of 18 Afghan migrants who were allegedly drowned by Iranian border police nine days ago were found on Saturday, Herat’s local officials said.

Over 50 Afghan migrants were trying to cross the border when they were “tortured and drowned” by Iranian guards, according to eyewitnesses.

Last week, an Afghan official said that so far 16 of the Afghan nationals have been rescued, 18 to 20 are missing, and 16 bodies have been found. Today, the total is 34 bodies found.

A Herat official said that the Afghan delegation has started investigating the incident today in Gulran district.

Bebe Hura, the mother of a victim named Abdul Bari, called for justice, and for the punishment of the perpetrators.

“The murderers of my son must be found, and these murderers must be arrested and should be sentenced to death,” said Bebe Hura.

Abdul Bari was the only breadwinner for his seven-member family in Herat.

Unemployment and poverty forced Bari to leave Herat for Iran to support his family, said his mother.

“My son went to Iran due to hunger, I told him to not go, I will start begging, but he told me that there is no jobs in Afghanistan and ‘how can I bring food for you?’ We don’t have a house or land and we are not even able to pay the house’s rent,” said Abdul Bari’s mother.

“The perpetrators must be brought to court. Why are they are killing innocent people?” said a relative of Abdul Bari, adding that “Islam does not allow such acts and they didn’t do anything, but they were drowned.”

Azizullah and Ahmad are the two survivors of the incident.

“We begged a lot and cried and said that we don’t know how to swim, but the Iranian police started shooting at us and we were forced to jump into the river. All of us jumped into the river and a few were able to rescue themselves, but we lost 30 to 35 people, we pull-out the bodies of five people,” said Azizullah.

Ahmad, another witness said: “The police was beating us with wood. They started shooting at us and we all jumped into the river.”

The Iranian government has rejected the involvement of its border guards in the incident. – Dal Khalsa asks Punjab CM to arrest and prosecute Sumedh Saini

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 08 May 2020. Dal Khalsa’s spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh has written a letter to the Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh in which he has urged him to arrest and prosecute ex-DGP Sumedh Saini. He has said that mere registering FIR against Sumedh Saini means nothing.

Notably, a fresh FIR No. 77/2020 has been registered against the former Punjab DGP Sumedh Saini in Mataur police station of Mohali in relation to the enforced disappearance of Sikh youth Balwant Singh Multani on May 6. Balwant Singh Multani, who was the son of a former IAS officer Darshan Singh Multani.

Read full text of Dal Khalsa’s letter to the Chief Minister :

The Punjab government led by you have finally booked notorious cop and former DGP SS Saini in an abduction and disappearance case of Balwant Singh Multani. It is a different matter that you ignored the pleas of Sikh community in prosecuting the same tainted cop in Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firing case.

Being infamous for his ruthlessness and notoriety, the news of Saini being booked was bound to create anxiousness and bit happiness among aggrieved community. Every Sikh is asking to himself and to other will he be arrested or the move is just a smokescreen.

Going by the biased of India’s political and justice system vis-a-vis the Sikhs, it is unlikely that we could see him behind bars. He has applied for the anticipatory bail at Mohali court, which will come up for hearing tomorrow. So with this, Punjab’s legal department under your favourite Advocate General will be on test.

Having said so, I am mindful of the fact that it was you, who nailed Shiv Sena leader Jagdish Tangri and fake nihang Ajit Singh Phoola in 2002 and 2004 respectively. Both were part of state-terrorism machinery and coincidentally both enjoyed patronage of Saini.

The case has reminded me the arrest of Maharashtra cadre IPS and ex-DGP S S Virk by Badal led Punjab government in September 2007 from Delhi. He was brought to Chandigarh by Punjab police officials via road. Before he reached, Delhi Takht conveyed its message to Chandigarh.

Apart from arresting him, the Badal’s failed to nail him down. Since day one, he stayed in the comforts of the VIP special private room of the PGI, under the pretext of being getting treated, where the magistrate went to extend his judicial custody.

After he secured bail from Punjab and Haryana High Court and walked free, I remember writing a letter to CM Parkash Badal on 05 November 2007 regretting his Government’s inefficiency and inability in nailing Virk for his extra-constitutional role and methods during militancy period. All the fanfare and brouhaha of arresting Virk died down once he got the bail.

At that moment, I felt that Sukhbir Badal has turned out to be a naive. He overlooked that Virk is an instrument of the Indian state and they won’t sacrifice him.

When I learned that your Government has booked Saini in militancy related old case, the immediate question that stuck into my mind was: are you also a political novice?

Answer is, no, you aren’t! You are well aware that like Virk, Saini too is instrument of the state and it was the impunity provided by the state that emboldened them and many others including Ribero, KPS Gill to commit rights excesses throwing all laws to wind.

How come you overlooked the simple fact that the mole in the police department will not alert his ex-boss and help him to flee as it has happened?

The moot question on every one’s mind is what was the urgency or provocation that led to registering an FIR against tainted cop at the times of the COVID-19 pandemic? Has your inclination towards Modi-Doval nosedived?

Let me caution you. If the motive behind the booking of Saini is another than upholding the rule of law and justice, then the move is going to boomerang on you later or sooner.

The people of Punjab expect from you to send the police team to arrest Saini from his Delhi hideout. And in case, Delhi police that comes under Union Home Ministry refuses to cooperate in locating and arresting him, reveal it before the public.

There is not an iota of doubt that the Punjab police in 80’s and 90’s had transgressed all norms of decorum, dignity and rule of law. There should be a full-scale impartial public enquiry. Will you dare to initiate and snatch the forgotten and unresolved agenda of the Akali Dal?

Dal Khalsa appeals to you to wake up to the call of justice, human rights and harmony.

Dal Khalsa asks Punjab CM to arrest and prosecute Sumedh Saini

Gent/Gentbrugge – Gentbrugge to Korenmarkt

Gentbrugge to Korenmarkt
26 March 2020

Laan van Rode, E17 viaduct
No, this building has not fallen down, it was built this way

Oude Brusselseweg – cycles have right of way

Oude Brusselseweg

Oude Brusselseweg – Not really a castle !

Oude Brusselseweg – cycles have right of way

Oude Brusselseweg – modern apartment blocks

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Published in: on May 11, 2020 at 6:22 am  Leave a Comment  

The Hindustan Times – India’s migrant workers deserve better than this, writes Mark Tully

Why has the outcry against this suffering inflicted on men and women who are more than 90% of India’s workforce been so muted?

Mark Tully

Op/Ed, 09 May 2020. Last Sunday, a friend of mine was in a group which was driven on official business from Delhi to Lucknow. As I have not seen a single report of a long drive and I am locked down in a containment area, I asked him to take notes on what he saw. He was not allowed to stop and interview anyone.

All along the 416 km route, he saw migrant workers and their families walking to their homes, most of them were in groups, some alone. The old hobbled supported by sturdy sticks; some younger men, drenched in sweat, for it was a sunny Sunday, carried heavy bags strapped to their backs; others carried sacks on their heads.

Babies and young children were held in the arms of their parents, older children clasped their parents’ hands. At a village called Brijghat in Hapur district, the police manhandled young cyclists trying to get past a barricade.

My friend’s vehicle was stopped at barricades and checked by the police each time he crossed the borders between districts.

All dhabas and shops were closed. Drinking water was only provided at two places. At one place, Sikhs had established a langar and were providing food for the walkers. Within Lucknow, the police checking was intensified but walkers were still to be seen on the ring road.

Nearly six weeks after the first lock-down was announced, this was the scene on the road between the capital of India and the capital of its most populous state.

Migrant workers, dismissed by employers, enjoying no protection from their governments, often thrown out of their accommodation by their landlords, in urgent need of food transport and money, driven by desperation to walk home.

It is a scene many have described as reminiscent of the migration at Partition. This is the outcome of the largest and one of the strictest lock-downs in the world enforced during the corona-virus disease crisis, a lock-down that has been widely applauded internationally.

Why has the outcry against this suffering inflicted on men and women who are more than 90% of India’s workforce been so muted?

It is, I believe, in part at least, because those in a position to raise their voices have not identified themselves with those who are suffering. This idea came to me from re-reading D H Lawrence’s once-controversial novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover during the lock-down.

Set in the industrial midlands of Britain between the two World Wars, the novel is the story of a titled woman’s love for the working-class gamekeeper on the estate of her husband, a mine owner.

One of the themes is the lack of engagement and empathy between the upper-class and the working class as they were known in those days. During a row with her husband over his attitude to the servants, Lady Chatterley says, “I’d have you be aware of people.”

He replies, “And I’d have you a little less aware of that kind of people and a little more aware of the people who are after all of your own sort and class.” One of the gamekeeper’s friends asks Lady Chatterley, “Do the upper classes feel any sympathy with working men as has nothing before them, till they drop. Do they sympathise?”

The migrant worker crisis has shown the relevance of that question in today’s India. The economist Jean Dreze, who has dedicated his life to the study of poverty and inequality, said on News18, “The lock-down has been like a death sentence for the underprivileged”, and maintained that “the policies made to contain the pandemic have been made or influenced by a class of people who pay little or no attention to the consequences for the underprivileged.”

Nikhil Dey, who along with Aruna Roy, has worked for many, many years empowering workers and farmers put this lack of sympathy even more bluntly. In an NDTV debate on the migrant crisis, he said, “We are not thinking of them as human beings.”

The views expressed are personal

Dawn – 3,000 Afghans return home as Pakistan opens border

Saleem Shahid

Quetta – Balochistan – Pakistan, 10 May 2020. Pakistan opened its border with Afghanistan at Chaman on Saturday to allow return of Afghans to their country.

Last month, Pakistan sent back over 37,000 Afghan families after it opened the Pakistan-Afghan friendship gate at Chaman on the special request of the Afghan government.

Official sources said that the friendship gate opened from 8am to 5pm and 2,977 Afghan citizens stranded in different areas of Balochistan crossed into Afghanistan.

Majority of these Afghan citizens had entered Pakistan without travelling documents.

They crossed into Pakistan through the Chaman border and other entering points between Pakistan and Afghanistan on the basis of Afghan national identity cards only.

“The border had opened for crossing Afghans and Pakistanis into their respective countries,” a senior official of the Chaman administration, Zakaullah Durrani, told Dawn over phone. He said that so far 488 Pakistanis stranded in Afghanistan had also returned.

Majority of these Pakistani belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while some of them belong to Balochistan and Punjab, he said. He said that these Pakistanis had been sent to their respective provinces after medical check-up by health officials at the border.

He said that Pakistanis who arrived from Afghanistan on Saturday would be quarantined in the tent village quarantine centre established at Killi Faizo close to the Pakistan-Afghan border.

“Those Pakistanis who are not willing to spend 14 days in quarantine will be sent back to Afghanistan,” an official of health department said, adding that quarantine was mandatory for all those Pakistanis who were coming from Afghanistan according to SOPs issued by the government of Pakistan.

Mr Durrani said that 488 Pakistanis were allowed to go home after completing the 14-day quarantine period.