The Statesman – 1.80 lakh migrants leave Punjab, over 10 lakh more in queue

Besides, nodal officers have been deputed for all these states who are pro-actively connecting to their counterparts in other states to facilitate the return of the migrants, and teams constituted at the level of the deputy commissioners for the mandatory medical screening of migrants.

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 16 May 2020. After losing their livelihoods due to the lock-down enforced to prevent the spread of Covid-19, over 1,80,000 migrant workers have left Punjab for their home states through 150 special trains even as over 10 lakh more have registered for returning to their native states through the government transport.

The nodal officer Vikas Pratap said Punjab government plans to send over 200 trains in next 10 days and the numbers would increase in near future at the maximum possible extent. He said that Punjab is likely to send more than 20 more trains daily.

Out of total 150 special trains sent so far, maximum trains (57) have gone from Ludhiana with another 45 trains from Jalandhar have taken migrants to different parts of the country. Other places from where trains have departed include Amritsar, Patiala, Mohali, Bathinda, Ferozepur and Sirhind. Maximum trains are going to Uttar Pradesh followed by Bihar and Jharkhand.

Punjab government is also sending trains to Chattisgarh, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Assuring the state’s commitment to go the extra mile to mitigate their sufferings, Pratap said food, water and other essentials were also being provided to all those travelling back home for their journey.

Besides, nodal officers have been deputed for all these states who are pro-actively connecting to their counterparts in other states to facilitate the return of the migrants, and teams constituted at the level of the deputy commissioners for the mandatory medical screening of migrants.

Only those are being allowed to board the trains, who are found to be asymptomatic. Since 1 May, over 15.6 lakh migrant workers have registered through Punjab government portal for return to their native states. Of these, over 12 lakh have requested for government transport.

 1.80 lakh migrants leave Punjab, over 10 lakh more in queue

The Tribune – Pakistan’s first Sikh woman journalist among top 100 influential Sikhs under 30

Islamabad – Pakistan. 16 May 2020. Pakistan’s first Sikh woman journalist has been named among 100 most influential Sikh personalities under 30 years of age in the world by a UK-based global Sikh organisation.

Manmeet Kaur, 25, has been selected for the award by ‘The Sikh Group’, a global organisation recognising people of Sikh faith from around the world, the Express Tribune reported.

She will receive her award next year at a ceremony in Britain.

A resident of Peshawar, Kaur is also a social activist, who has received awards in Pakistan for highlighting issues faced by minorities and women.

She has expressed happiness that her name was included in the category of influential Sikh personalities around the world.

“Those who work hard will reap the rewards and it is a great honour for my family to visit the UK and represent Pakistan,” she was quoted as saying.

Gentbrugse Meersen

Gentbrugse Meersen
27 March 2020

Interesting looking plant
Can anybody name it

Blossoming bush

And another one

De Schelde – the houses are in Destelbergen

Nice bridge

Water – Water everywhere ….

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Published in: on May 18, 2020 at 5:51 am  Leave a Comment  

My London News – The history making London Underground train guard from Southall who fought to wear his turban

“London Transport seem to be trying to starve me into submission”

By Qasim Peracha

London UK – 25 February 2020.One of London’s greatest strengths is its multiculturalism.

It is estimated that a third of Londoners were born outside the UK, while walking on the streets of London, you can hear around 200 languages being spoken.

This hasn’t just enriched the capital economically but also culturally and gastronomically, elevating its status as the best city ever.

But things have not always been easy for those who have come to call London their home. Balancing one’s faith, beliefs and practices with life in London may seem easy now but this is only thanks to the sacrifices and struggles of heroes before us.

One such hero was Southall man Amar Singh, who worked on the London Underground. Amar Singh, from India, started working as a train guard on board Central line trains in 1962.

At the time, he lived in Hambrough Road, just off Southall Broadway at a time the Ealing town was becoming known as “Little India”.

Train guards used to operate doors, patrol trains and could be called on in case the driver fell ill or could not continue his route. A clean-shaven Amar Singh wore his flat-peaked cap to work from the Acton depot for two years.

But when Amar decided he wanted to be more in touch with his religion, transport officials suspended him without pay.

Under the Sikh religion, cutting of the hair and beard is forbidden and men are encouraged to wear a turban, an incredibly strong symbol of spirituality and devotion.

While working as a train guard, Amar decided to grow out his hair and beard. During the swinging 60s in London, this was hardly a rarity but when Amar decided to swap his guard’s cap for a turban he was told not to come in to work.

Amar Singh smiling after the London Transport decision to allow him to return to work with his turban

His black turban was chosen to coordinate with the uniform and he took the London Transport badge from his cap and pinned it to the centre of his turban. But officials at London Transport, the predecessor to Transport for London, were unimpressed with the change in uniform and said Amar would have to wear the standard uniform.

For three weeks, Amar wore his new uniform with turban to work and every single day he was marked as being absent and turned away as the bosses would not change their mind or bend the rules. Across England, prayer meetings were held in Sikh communities for Amar to get his job back.

The story made the national and local newspapers at the time, bringing awareness of the issue to more communities than ever before.

He told the Mirror during the battle: “I wore a peaked cap for more than two years. I had my hair cut and I shaved like an Englishman.

“But I could not go on – my conscience was tormenting me. I decided to let my hair and beard grow again. “When my hair looked like a Beatle’s I put it in a turban. But at work I was told this was not allowed.”

He told a news agency he “was surprised at this religious discrimination”.

“London Transport seem to be trying to starve me into submission, because they haven’t sacked me and will not release me,” he added after losing £30 in wages. That is more than £500 in today’s money.

London Transport replied that “the case has been presented the wrong way around”. “We are not interested in religion or colour. Singh has worn his uniform for two years. We simply told him he cannot wear a turban on duty,” they added.

However just days later, the bosses acquiesced and said he would be allowed to wear the black turban as long as it bore the London Transport badge.

A spokesman even told the Mirror “we won’t be unsympathetic towards a request by him for the his pay for the time he has been absent”.

The Hindu – Coronavirus lock-down – Police cane migrant workers near Vijayawada

Nearly 500 labourers were walking towards their home States from Tamil Nadu

Staff Reporter

Vijayawada – Andhra Pradesh – India, 17 May 2020. In yet another incident, police used force on migrant labourers, who were walking towards their home States. A few workers suffered injuries in the lathi-charge.

More than 500 labourers who were trekking on the national highway were provided shelter in Vijayawada Club. When the labourers came to Kanakadurgamma Varadhi on Saturday, police warned them to go back, and when the workers tried to continue their journey, the police caned them.

The labourers from Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and other States had migrated to Tamil Nadu a few months ago. The COVID-19 pandemic put them out of work forcing them to return to their home States.

On the directions of Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney, the labourers were shifted to shelter homes and provided food. On Friday, they were shifted to Vijayawada Club.

“We will never return to Andhra Pradesh again. Hundreds of workers are walking on roads for more than a month, and the officials did not even offer us a packet of biscuit. Instead of helping the poor labourers, the police are beating us mercilessly,” a woman labourer said.

Earlier, incidents of police beating the migrant workers were reported at Mangalagiri, Kovvur, Polavaram and other places in the State during the lock-down period.