The Indian Express – Tarn Taran Blast Case: NIA court dismisses bail plea of accused

The court observed that evidence pointed to the accused was active member of pro-Khalistan terrorist gang. The court said it was of the opinion that there was sufficient ground for believing that accusation against the applicant/accused is prima facie true.

A special NIA court has dismissed the bail application of one of the accused in Tarn Taran blast case. The accused Malkit Singh alias Shera had applied for the bail on health grounds. His plea was rejected Monday.

While the defence said that he was falsely implicated, it also added that the applicant was a patient of diabetes.

The Public Prosecutor appearing on behalf of the NIA submitted that there was more than sufficient evidence against the accused.

He submitted that during the course of investigation incriminating role of accused had emerged and he was highly radicalised towards Khalistan movement. The prosecution added that the accused was part of gang that had planned terrorist activities.

The court observed that evidence pointed to the accused was active member of pro-Khalistan terrorist gang. The court said it was of the opinion that there was sufficient ground for believing that accusation against the applicant/accused is prima facie true.

Shera is one of the accused in a bomb blast case which had taken place on the outskirts of Pandori Gola village in Tarn Taran district on September 4 last year.

The Tribune – Dalit women break shackles, seek share in reserved land

Sangrur – Panjab – India, 02 June 2020. Having stayed behind the veil for many years, local Dalit women have finally begun to stand up for their rights.

They have been leading protests against upper castes and the Panchayat Department, demanding 33 per cent reserved village common land on annual lease.

“It’s a fight for our self-respect. Five to six years back, in a majority of villages, upper castes, who had taken the land in the name of their Dalit servants, would cultivate the reserved land.

The Dalits would have to face humiliation whenever they went even to a roadside to get fodder for animals. But now we do not wish to remain landless,” said Nikki Kaur from Kulara village.

Parmjit Kaur, zonal secretary, Zameen Prapti Sangharash Committee, said they had been fighting for the reserved land for Dalits in about 50 villages of the district.

“This year, women have come in large numbers and with their support, we have succeeded in getting the reserved land for Dalits in 33 villages,” she said.

“In many villages, we have proved through joint farming that reserved land can help Dalits,” said a protester.

Bimal Kaur, district cashier, Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union, Punjab, said they were working in 40 villages of the district and had got the land allotted to Dalits in 33 villages.

Gentbrugge – Melle – Gentbrugge

Gentbrugge – Melle – Gentbrugge
31 March 2020

This part of Melle is still mostly rural

I do not know whether this is an authentic farm house
or a 21st century imitation

This definitely is authentic rural countryside

Another rural or quasi rural house

We are getting nearer to the Heusdenbaan and Gentbrugge
More new estates

John Youngestraat
More about John Younge tomorrow

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Hansard – Lord Singh of Wimbledon

Speech made in the House of Lords

My Lords, the first week of June will mark the 30th anniversary of the Indian Government’s attack on the Golden Temple [Harmandr Sahib], the Vatican of the Sikhs.

The attack was deliberately timed to coincide with the martyrdom anniversary of the temple’s [Gurdwara’s] founder Guru Arjan, when the huge complex would be full to overflowing with pilgrims. Tanks and armoured vehicles were used.

On conservative estimates, well over 2,000 pilgrims were killed. Eye-witnesses told of how some who surrendered were tied up in their own turbans and shot.

Other eye-witnesses outside the temple complex, including my own in-laws, described with horror how they saw groups of pilgrims being herded together and then dispatched with hand grenades.

Many of the atrocities were reported in the British and world press. The President of India at the time, Zail Singh, a Sikh, who was the nominal head of India’s armed services, was not even consulted.

Every June Sikhs remember the huge loss of life and the mindless damage to the Golden Temple, the historic centre of the Sikh faith. The question arises: why did Indira Gandhi resort to such brute force against the Sikhs?

The Indian government version, unquestioningly accepted by our Government, and I speak as a British Sikh, was that there were 17 wanted ​separatists “holed-up”, to use the Indian Government’s jargon, in the Golden Temple [Harmandr Sahib].

They were a threat to a country of 1 billion people. The absurdity is obvious. In addition, this version does not explain why 40 other historic gurdwaras in Punjab were attacked at the same time.

Sikh gurdwaras are open to all. Why were the so-called separatists not simply arrested by the hundreds of soldiers and police who daily entered the gurdwara for the traditional free food?

What Sikhs were demanding at the time was a fair share of Punjab’s river waters to irrigate their fields, and, more importantly, fair treatment for all India’s minorities against growing evidence of majority bigotry.

Earlier in the same year hundreds of Muslims in Mumbai were massacred, with the mob carrying barriers proclaiming: “Majorities have their rights”.

The true reason for Mrs Gandhi’s vindictive attitude to Sikhs stemmed from her prison conviction for electoral fraud in the election of 1975 and her seizing power and imposing dictatorial rule. Her son Sanjay had married a Sikh and she turned to Sikhs for support.

Sikhs, although less than 2% of the population, were at the forefront of the opposition to dictatorial rule, in which the poor, particularly Muslims, were forcibly sterilised and others dumped in the wilderness to make Delhi a tidier place for the Asian Games.

Maneka Gandhi, Sanjay’s wife, true to Sikh democratic traditions, openly opposed the dictatorship.

Sikhs were never forgiven by Mrs Gandhi. When she returned to office, she cynically decided to play to majority religious bigotry, first against the Muslims and then even more vindictively against Sikhs.

The June 1984 carnage in the Golden Temple far exceeded in numbers and barbarity the 1919 massacre led by General Dyer at the nearby Jallianwala Bagh. Even worse was to come.

The widespread killing of thousands of Sikhs following Mrs Gandhi’s assassination was blamed on spontaneous mob violence.

All the evidence is that it was pre-planned for the anniversary of Guru Nanak’s birthday and was simply brought forward, with the government-controlled All India Radio constantly inciting the killers with the words “Khoon ka badla khoon”, meaning “Take blood for blood”.

The army was confined to barracks for three full days to allow free rein to organised gangs carrying Sikh voter lists, armed with identical steel rods and an unusually plentiful supply of kerosene, to go around the capital in municipal buses beating and burning male Sikhs and gang-raping women and young girls.

Prominent Hindus and Sikhs begged the new Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, to order troops to restore order. His chilling response was: “When a big tree falls, the ground is bound to shake”. The same scenes were enacted throughout the country.

We know all about the disappearances and killings in General Pinochet’s Chile, but a WikiLeaks document carrying a signed report from the American embassy in India shows that more Sikhs were brutally murdered in just three days in 1984 than those killed in Pinochet’s 17-year rule.

I turn to our Government’s involvement, as revealed in documents that have now come to light.

In their initial reaction, the present Government said that support for Mrs Gandhi was “minimal”. I beg them to ​think again in the light of the evidence of persecution of Sikhs that was freely known at the time.

A Government committed to human rights must question the morality of “minimal” involvement in the persecution of minorities. The released documents praise Mrs Gandhi and cast aspersions on UK Sikhs, with not one word of concern over the murder of thousands of Sikhs.

I was not in the least surprised to read of SAS involvement; I wrote about it at the time in the summer 1984 issue of the Sikh Messenger.

Nor was I surprised by evidence linking British support for Mrs Gandhi to a £5 billion arms contract and the need to “keep Mrs Gandhi happy”.

In November 1984 I went to see a senior Cabinet Minister to seek government support to end the pogrom against Sikhs.

I received the reply: “Indarjit, we know exactly what is going on but we’re walking on a tightrope; we’ve already lost one important contract”.

At the time I was a member of the UNA, where we discussed the killings. The director, Malcolm Harper, formally raised evidence-based concerns with the Government, asking them to support a UN inquiry into the killings.

I made a presentation to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights, then chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury.

The APPG decided to send two parliamentarians to investigate but the High Commission refused them visas. They appealed, saying that the visit would help to improve Hindu/Sikh relations. They were again refused.

Sikhs accept that today’s Government are in no way responsible for the mistakes of the past. However, they can and must help to heal wounds. I was in Westminster Abbey this morning and heard Archbishop Desmond Tutu quote the words:

“The time for the healing of the wounds has come”.

This is true for the wounds in the Sikh community, opened further by the new revelations.

I take this opportunity to thank many in the Hindu community who hid and sheltered Sikhs at the time of the killings.

Others risked their lives carefully documenting the names of Congress Party leaders inciting mobs to kill. Sikhs owe them a great debt.

Two of the three main political parties in India have declared their support for an open inquiry. Even Rahul Gandhi, leader of the Congress Party, has admitted that some Congress officials were involved in the killings.

Speaking in the Indian Parliament in 2005 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made the revealing comment:

“Twenty-one years have passed, and yet the feeling persists that somehow the truth has not come out”.

I urge the Government to add their support for an open, independent inquiry into the massacre or genocide of Sikhs in 1984 in the same way that they are backing a UN-led inquiry into the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Against this, all offers of government assistance and offers to talk to Sikhs pale into an unnecessary distraction.

Eighty-three thousand Sikhs gave their lives supporting Britain in the two world wars. In comparison, giving public support for an open, UN inquiry is a small ask.

Not to do so will give a clear message to Britain’s half a million Sikhs and others concerned with human rights that the UK Government are ambivalent and selective on issues of human rights.

As director of the ​Network of Sikh Organisations, the oldest and largest grouping of Sikhs in the UK, and of the more recently formed Sikh Council UK, I offer my full and unconditional support to the Government to help end the 30-year nightmare suffered by Sikhs.

We are confident that our Government will not let us down.

The Hindu – China has moved troops in significant numbers: Rajnath Singh

Important dialogue between senior military leaders on 06 June, he says

Special Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 03 June 2020. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday acknowledged that China had moved troops in “significant numbers” in the ongoing stand-off at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

There was an important dialogue between the two countries scheduled on 06 June to resolve the issue, he stated.

Separately, sources said a dialogue was held on Tuesday at the Major General level.

“It is true that there have been differences on the border at this time. A significant number of Chinese troops have come in. India too has done what it should,” Mr Singh told CNN News18.

“As of now, negotiations are going on at the military level. On 06 June, there will be talks between senior military officers. I discussed this with the Army Chief today,” he said.

Dialogue between military commanders had been going on daily, sources said, including at the level of Major Generals and on Tuesday too. No concrete resolution had been achieved, it had been learnt and the talks would continue, the sources said.

Mr Singh observed that China should also think seriously in this regard so that the issue was resolved completely.

Referring to the differences in perception between the two countries on the alignment of the LAC, he said there was something constantly going on between India and China regarding the border.

“There will hardly be a year when there is no face-off on the border between both the Indian Army and the Chinese Army,” he said. Sometime there had been such tensions that firearms had been snatched, he noted.

Specifically asked to comment on reports of Chinese troops moving inside Indian territory, he said without getting into specifics, “India will not infringe on anyone’s sovereignty and at the same time India will let not anyone infringe on its sovereignty.”

For close to a month now, Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in stand-offs at several locations along the LAC after Chinese troops moved into Indian territory at Pangong Tso, Galwan Nalah, Hot Springs in eastern Ladakh and Naku La in Sikkim.

Chinese troops have set up tents and brought in equipment inside at some places while also building up presence close to Indian positions on their side of the border.

Mr Singh later said on Twitter quoting the interview that India’s negotiation with China was on and so he “would not like to express doubts.”

“If the issue is resolved through dialogue then what else can be a good thing,” he said and added that the ‘forehead of India’ would not bend under any circumstances.