Derby Telegraph – Police link attack on Sikh temple (Gurdwara) to Derby shop stabbing

A door was smashed in the early hours of this morning

Martin Naylor & Tom Bokros

Derby – Derbyshire – UK, 26 May 2020. An attack on a Sikh temple (Gurdwara) in Normanton has been linked to a nearby shop stabbing.

Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara in Stanhope Street had its front doors smashed in the early hours of this morning.

The break-in was reported to police at 8.40am.

Now, police believe that this break-in is linked to a stabbing in Normanton Road nearby.

In that incident, a 41-year-old man was found unconscious and with stab wounds after he was attacked in Polanica Polish delicatessen this morning.

A man was arrested in relation to the shop incident.

Now, that same man has also been arrested on suspicion of burglary in relation to the temple break-in.

Police have also said that they do not believe anyone else was involved in the incidents, but they will continue to investigate.

Superintendent Gareth Meadows said: “I would like to thank the Sikh community and the local people in Normanton for their assistance with our enquiries.

“Our officers remain in the area.

“If you have any information in relation to these two incidents please speak to the officers or contact us using the methods stated.”

Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara said on its Facebook page: “From the evidence obtained thus far, the male’s attire and the note which was left, appears that he is of Muslim background.

“This is an area with a multi-cultural community, where all have lived and worked together for many years.

“Especially during these times, faith-based charities have been at the forefront.

“This incident nor this message will create any tension between communities, but how you react to this will.

“We acknowledge this maybe an individual or a small group however we should not malign the whole Muslim community and therefore request people to refrain from such posts.”

Derby city councillor Baggy Shanker, who is a member of Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara, said: “Any attack of this nature on any place of worship is cowardly.

“The police need to act promptly to deal with this individual and bring him to justice.

“Derby’s communities have a very long and good understanding of each other’s values and share the utmost respect for people’s beliefs.

“This isolated issue is not any reflection on that and must be treated with firmly and quickly.”

The Tribune – UK gurdwara vandalised, Takht wants action

Akal Takht and the SGPC have condemned the vandalism of Guru Arjan Dev Jee Gurdwara in Derby, UK, on Monday a day before the martyrdom day of the Guru.

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 26 May 2020. The UK police have arrested a man believed to be a Pakistani. It has been learnt that the man had posted a message seeking support on the Kashmir issue and caused damage worth thousands of pounds.

Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Hapreet Singh demanded the UK Government to ensure the safety of gurdwaras and Sikh citizens. “Like other gurdwaras across the world, the one in Derby is providing the needy with langar and other relief material in times of the Covid pandemic.

It is beyond my understanding why Sikhs are being targeted,” he said.

Gentbrugge – Dampoort

Gentbrugge – Dampoort
31 March 2020

Victoria Regia Park
off Oude Brusselseweg

Victoria Regia Park

Co-housing project
Louis Van Houttestraat

Co-housing project

Tuin van Padua

Co-housing projects

Louis van Houttestraat

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Sikh Federation UK – Sikhs give ministers two-week warning of census legal action

Posted to Sikh News Discussion by Sikh Federation UK

The Times, 20 April 2020. Sikhs have given Scottish ministers two weeks to confirm they will be recognised as a distinct ethnic group on the next census before launching legal action.

The Sikh Federation has posted a “pre-action letter” to the Scottish government saying that ministers’ plan to exclude them from the ethnicity tick-box list is illegal under equalities law.

The federation said its community had been recognised as an ethnic group in the UK since 1983 and expressed “disbelief” that it would not be identified as such on the census.

Pagans will be an accepted religion for the first time but there is no room for Episcopalians, who outnumber Sikhs, Jews and pagans combined in Scotland.

Fiona Hyslop, the culture secretary, warned that an amendment or legal action would delay the implementation of the whole census as she would be forced to do a complete redraft.

She offered Sikhs a compromise where they would be given advice in the explanatory notes to declare their ethnicity in the “Other” section beneath the tick boxes.

The federation said in February that this was a step in the right direction but did not go far enough and refused to withdraw its threat of legal action.

Scottish ministers have now been informed by Balfour and Manson LLP that legal action will commence in two weeks unless a change is put into action.

The federation said: “The ethnic groups specified in the census are used by public bodies in Scotland for resource allocation, to inform policy development and make service planning decisions.

“It also helps public bodies meet and monitor their statutory obligations arising from equalities legislation.”

The federation said that Sikhs in Scotland “are consistently being overlooked and discriminated against by public bodies in deciding policies that impact on them”, in contravention of EU equalities law and the Equality Act 2010.

It added: “Scottish ministers have been asked to confirm they will therefore lay an amended Census Order in the Scottish parliament with a Sikh ethnic tick box response option or they could find themselves in the Court of Session in Edinburgh accused of discrimination.”

A meeting to discuss the amendment on 25 March was postponed due to “urgent parliamentary business” and the rearranged meeting on 02 April was cancelled as the corona-virus crisis escalated.

The Scottish government, health bodies and National Records of Scotland have been unable to provide data on the number of Sikhs testing positive for Covid-19 or on the number of Sikh deaths occurring from the disease in Scotland.

The federation hopes the pause in parliamentary legislation will give Scottish ministers time to reflect on their decision to exclude them from the census.

The legal challenge is also expected to resonate in England and Wales, where the Sikh Federation (UK) has launched a second judicial review against a similar omission there.

In the first judicial review challenge that took seven months in the courts on an expedited timetable, the High Court ruled on 12 December last year that the claim was too early as the Cabinet Office minister had not yet laid the draft Census Order before parliament.

A Scottish government spokesman said: “National Records of Scotland continues to plan for Scotland’s census in March 2021 and is committed to delivering a set of questions and associated guidance which enables everyone in Scotland to access, understand and complete the census.

“Following engagement with stakeholders, National Records of Scotland is proposing that the question on ethnic group will include a prompt to highlight the opportunity to write in ‘Sikh’ as a response.”

Sikhs give ministers two-week warning of census legal action – BJP’s cynical drive to topple Maharashtra government amidst Covid crisis fits the Amit Shah playbook

Shah built the party only to seek power, no matter how opportunistic the path.

Rohan Venkataramakrishnan

Mumbai – Maharashtra – India, 27 May 2020. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in power at the Centre and a number of states, has struggled to handle the Covid-19 crisis. It has sparked off an exodus of migrants from cities, messed up the procurement of tests and put together an economic package that has failed to convince anyone.

Yet this hasn’t stopped the party from continuing to play political games, even at the cost of hurting India’s ability to battle the coronavirus.

Earlier in the year, the BJP used the Covid-19 crisis to continue demonising Muslims, a tactic that has significantly contributed to the stigma around the disease.

It used the cover of the lockdown to whitewash the protest art at demonstration sites in Delhi that had been vacated because of the restrictions. It then carried out arrests of several people who had spoken out against the government’s citizenship initiatives.

As the medical crisis began to swell, the BJP toppled the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, hobbling the state’s ability to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic in the early weeks of its spread.

Now, the BJP has turned its eyes on Maharashtra, which is ruled by a coalition consisting of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.

The state currently has the highest number of cases in India, accounting for almost a third of known infections. In part because of the sheer population density in Mumbai, Maharashtra’s capital and the state are struggling to contain the outbreak, even as the rest of the country attempts to re-open after a long, harsh national lockdown.

Amid all this, the BJP has seen an opportunity to pull down the government.

Its online bot-armies have spent the last month attacking Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, first by spreading communal rumours and then criticising him for the situation in the state, despite the questions being raised about the Centre’s strategy.

Over the last week, BJP leaders have been visiting Raj Bhavan to speak to the governor, sparking more rumours that the party wants to topple the government. Then BJP Member of Parliament Narayan Rane came out and said it: “Maharashtra should be put under President’s rule. The Governor should step in.”

Worried that this would be construed as dirty politicking in the middle of a crisis, former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis insisted that his party was not trying to topple the government, but added that it would “collapse” on its own.

Reports have suggested that the BJP’s “national leadership wants the state unit to keep the pressure on, but does not want it to take the blame of toppling it, which could create sympathy for Thackeray”.

Criticism from the Opposition, even in a time of crisis, is a good thing. It helps ensure accountability and if the government is listening, creates the conditions for course correction.

But this is not something that the BJP understands, even though its governments have struggled to deal with the virus at the national level as well as in states like Gujarat.

When criticism is leveled at Modi for his mishandling of many aspects of the Covid-19 crisis, party supporters say that this is unnecessary, and even anti-national. Yet the same kind of criticism directed at Maharashtra is seen to be an act necessary to save the state from collapse.

The BJP, as it has been shaped by former party president Amit Shah, understands much more about political power games than real governance.

With thousands of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra and hospitals running out of beds, the BJP has decided that this is the time to take advantage of the crisis, unsettle the state government and overthrow the parties that outsmarted it last October.

It would be a reminder of the nakedly opportunistic way in which the party approaches its politics.