Sikh24.com – 1984 Sikh Genocide: Arms dealer Abhishek Verma expresses conditional consent for Lie Detection Test

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi, 25 February 2017. Following the Court’s direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct ‘Lie Detection Test’ on Jagdish Tytler and Abhishek Verma on March 16 in a case of killing three Sikhs during 1984 Sikh genocide, the arms dealer Abhishek Verma has expressed conditional consent to undergo the test.

He has said that he was ready for a lie-detection test if Congress leader Jagdish Tytler also agrees to it.

Verma, who apprehends threat to his life and to his family, told the Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Shivali Sharma on February 23 that he had no objection in undergoing the polygraph test if he would be provided adequate security and the process will be shot visually.

“If Tytler agrees for the test, I have no objection on it. But if I am going for the test, adequate security should be provided to me and my family as I am under threat. Asking me for the lie-detection test is more of pointing fingers at me rather than the accused. I am a witness and I am coming forward to help the prosecution,” Verma submitted.

Advocate Maninder Singh, who appeared for Verma, said he had been made a witness by the CBI in the case and it would be proper if the agency records his statement before a magistrate under Section 164 Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) as he would not be able to retract from it.

It is pertinent to note here that the case pertains to killing of three innocent Sikhs near a Gurdwara Sahib in Pulbangash area of Northern Delhi in which Jagdish Tytler was accused of inciting Hindu mobs.

Although the probing agency CBI had acquitted Jagdish Tytler thrice in this case but later the arms dealer Abhishek Verma had deposed before the Court that Tytler had bribed the chief witness in this case by remitting Rupees 50 million on his son’s name to Canada.

Verma had told the Court that initially the remitted amount was freezed by the Canadian government but later he had helped them in defreezing the remitted ransom.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/02/25/1984-sikh-genocide-arms-dealer-abhishek-verma-expresses-conditional-consent-for-lie-detection-test/#.WLPEYH_RHY8

Sikh24.com – Satkar Singh Sidhu Latest To Be Gunned Down In Abbotsford’s Violent Townline Conflict

Desi Buzz BC

Abbotsford-BC-Canada, 24 February 2017. Another young Indian-Canadian man has been gunned down in the ongoing gang conflict in Abbotsford’s Townline area.

Satkar Singh Sidhu, 23, has been identified as the man killed Monday in Abbotsford..

While RCMP said Sidhu did not have a criminal record but was known to police, it is believed the murder was targeted and is linked to other gang violence that has happened in the area.

In a statement, Cpl. Meghan Foster of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said it’s fortunate no one else was injured in the shooting, which happened in a residential neighbourhood.

“Having association to or involvement with the gang life comes with many risks,” she said. “There are people who have information about what happened, and they need to step forward.”

She said it is still early in the investigation, and IHIT is trying to determine what, if any, involvement the three males taken into custody had in the homicide. They have since been released from custody, and are not facing any criminal charges.

Multiple 911 calls were reported Monday about shots fired on Steelhead Court shortly before 10 am.

Officers arrived to find Sidhu suffering from gunshot wounds. Ambulances were dispatched to the scene but he died off his injuries before he could be taken to hospital.

The neighbourhood is close to Townline Hill, an area that has been subject to recent gang turf wars.

The region has been subject to recent multiple warnings from police agencies, saying people connected to the conflict may be in danger.

Constable Ian MacDonald said one of the force’s officers saw the suspect vehicle speeding off. He gave chase, trying to pull it over on Highway 11, “and eventually into Mission”.

The vehicle only stopped after officers from Abbotsford and Mission RCMP threw down a spike belt. Three men were taken into custody, although it’s still unclear what, if any, role they have in the murder.

The vehicle was towed away from Lougheed Highway near Stave Lake Road and several of the windows were shattered.

Back at the scene, a large area of the road was taped off and investigators set up a white tent on a lawn.

Members of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team have taken over the probe into the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call police.

IHIT says its investigation is still in its infancy and “more updates will be provided tomorrow unless they can be provided earlier.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448), or by email at ihitinfo@rcmp-grc.gc.ca. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/02/24/satkar-singh-sidhu-latest-to-be-gunned-down-in-abbotsfords-violent-townline-conflict/#.WLBY-X_RHY8

The Indian Express – Pink Shirt Day observed: Sikhs in UK, Canada fight bullying, racism; Canadian PM, defence minister back campaign

Gurdwaras also support the campaign to spread message of kindness and tolerance

Divya Goyal

London-UK, 24 February 2017. Fighting against the racism, bullying, hate crimes and discrimination, Sikhs across the United Kingdom and Canada observed ‘Pink Shirt Day’ on Wednesday, coming out in pink shirts and turbans to give message of kindness and tolerance.

The pink shirts and T-shirts with the message ‘Kindness is One Size Fits All’ were distributed in huge numbers and Pink Shirt Day rallies held across Canada, the UK and in some other countries.

The campaign has also found support from Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and National Defence Minister of Canada Harjit Sajjan, a Sikh who too sporting a pink shirt gave out a message Wednesday.

“I’m wearing pink because we should celebrate our differences, stand up for each other, and work together to end bullying and discrimination.

I am wearing my pink shirt today because bullying is never okay,” said Sajjan in his message. “Our caucus is sporting its finest colours for #PinkShirtDay today, let’s stand up to bullying and lift each other up, today & every day,” (sic) said message from Canadian PM Trudeau.

Various Sikh organizations and gurdwaras across Canada and the UK requested people to “practise kindness, and wear a Pink Shirt, button, or pin to symbolise you do not tolerate bullying”. People were also requested to flash message ‘Bullying stops here’ on their T-shirts.

Jagmeet Singh, an engineer settled in Vancouver, told The Indian Express, “This Pink Shirt Day movement basically started from Nova Scotia where two school children were bullied for wearing pink shirts on day one of their school.

Since then, pink shirt has become a symbol against racism, bullying and discrimination. As Sikhs too have been facing these issues and have been victims of hate crimes due to turbans and beard, we decided to observe Pink Shirt Day for cause of Sikhs too.”

The Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar at New Westminster of Canada also observed the day with anti-bullying programme for the youths and requested people to wear pink.

“Bullying is a major problem for students, employees and almost everyone faces it once in life. So Sikh community settled abroad is hugely supporting this campaign,” said Prithpal Sekhon from Toronto.

Pink Shirt Day observed: Sikhs in UK, Canada fight bullying, racism; Canadian PM, defence minister back campaign

CBC News – Kaur Project explores diverse identities of Sikh women in the Lower Mainland

Many Sikh women have taken the name Kaur as a statement of independence from their male family members

Anna Dimoff

Vancouver, 19 February 2017. Two Vancouver women are harnessing the feminist origins of the traditional surname Kaur to give voice to Sikh women in the Lower Mainland.

The Kaur Project profiles Sikh women through portraits and first person narratives.

The creators, photographer Saji Kaur Sahota and writer Jessie Kaur Lehail, developed the website to share the untold stories of power and resilience from women who have accepted the name Kaur.

“We wanted to do something that was creative but had a theoretical framework behind it and really to showcase the diversity of Kaur and Sikhism in general,” Lehail told On The Coast guest host Belle Puri.

The name was meant to be an equalizer, allowing women to live their lives without the influence of their fathers or husbands, explained Lehail.

Mapping untold stories

Sixty women have shared their stories with the pair so far, but Lehail says that it wasn’t easy to get there. Many of the women they asked were puzzled at first and didn’t quite understand why they were being asked about the name they adopted.

“I believe it’s because no Kaur has ever been asked, ‘what’s your story?’ Then to have your picture taken and your story told, it’s a little intimidating.”

Each woman’s name is followed by a quick description using identifiers like “warrior,” “survivor and mom,” “poetess” and “healer.”

“It’s kind of interesting the titles that we give these Kaurs. We don’t identify them, when I interview them over the phone that’s the first question I ask; how do you identify yourself?

“Usually they don’t have an answer and as we go through our 20-minute interview session. I ask them the same question again and they are usually able to identify themselves, which is such a beautiful and empowering ability to have.”

Inspiration in diversity

Lehail has been inspired by many of these stories but also feels the weight of the task that she and her partner are taking on. Every story she hears reminds her that there are ten more waiting to be told.

One recent interview that has stuck with her was with a woman who had lost her mother to cancer. She told Lehail that it took two years to even talk about her mother after she passed.

“So this girl, last fall, did a beautiful cancer memorial shaving of her head*. It was there she discovered how her features look like her mother,” said Lehail.

The experience of interviewing this diverse intersection of women has been a cathartic experience for Lehail and she says it has allowed her to discover more about her own identity as a Kaur.

“I think as a South Asian woman, as a Canadian, as a Sikh. As someone who works, who has her own business, I have so many identities. And I think as a daughter of immigrants you kind of grapple, and you’re supposed to have these hyphenated identities but really you could be anything and everyone.

“It’s been very interesting to see that you can have all these multilayers and identify on so many levels.”

The encouraging words of her mother, “you can learn something from every person you speak to,” ring in her mind as she continues to grow this project.

* Patients undergoing chemotherapy against cancer often lose their hair, Man in Blue

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/kaur-project-vancouver-1.3989644

The Hindu – Foreign funds surge under NDA rule

2015-16 saw NGOs receive a whopping Rs 17,208 crore from foreign donors

Vijaita Singh

New Delhi, 20 February 2017. Foreign donations to Indian NGOs have surged since the NDA government came to power.

As per figures available with the Home Ministry, which regulates the flow of foreign funds to NGOs and associations in India, the 2015-16 fiscal saw a flow of Rs 17,208 crore from foreign donors, the highest in five years. There were donations of Rs 14,525 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 13,092 crore in 2013-14. In 2012-13, the foreign donations received totalled Rs 9,423 crore, and in 2011-12, Rs 10,334 crore.

There are 33,000 NGOs registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) that are required to file their annual returns with the Home Ministry, but only 19,000 received funds last year.

Of the 16 major donors, at least 14 are Christian organisations, most of them based in the USA.

Last year, the Home Ministry put Colorado-based Christian NGO Compassion International on its “watchlist” as it was accused of funding Indian NGOs involved in religious conversions.

The crackdown against the Compassion International, which also figures in the list of the largest foreign donors, led to a diplomatic standoff with the United States. The USA Embassy wrote to the Centre, asking it to share evidence to support the allegations.

World Vision International, which is also based in the USA, sent Rs 300 crore to Indian NGOs last year. Another USA-based donor, Give Two Asia, sent Rs 105 crore while Canada-based Gospel For Asia sent Rs 830 crore.

Before it was put on the watchlist, the Compassion International had donated Rs 292 crore.

Clean-up exercise

Soon after the NDA government came to power in 2014, a massive clean-up exercise was taken up against NGOs registered under the FCRA.

In 2015, the Home Ministry notified new rules, which required NGOs to give an undertaking that the acceptance of foreign funds is not likely to prejudicially affect the “sovereignty and integrity of India or impact friendly relations with foreign states and does not disrupt communal harmony”.

Under the annual returns category, the NGOs were asked to give an undertaking that the foreign funds were utilised in such a way that it did not affect the “security, strategic, scientific or economic interest, public interest, freedom or fairness of election to any legislature or harmony between religious, social, racial, linguistic group, caste or communities.”

The Home Ministry has cancelled the registration of over 10,000 NGOs in 2015 for not complying with the norms.

The registration of Greenpeace International was cancelled on the premise that it compromised the country’s “economic security”.

The MHA also cancelled the registration of Sabrang Trust, an NGO run by Gujarat-based social activist Teesta Setalvad’s and that of noted lawyer Indira Jaising’s Lawyers Collective. Ms. Setalvad and Ms. Jaising are known for their critical stand against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/foreign-funds-surge-under-nda-rule/article17330939.ece

Scroll.in – 1985 Air India bombings: Canada frees lone Sikh immigrant convict

Although the parole board has allowed Inderjit Singh Reyat to return to a normal life, it has barred him from undertaking any political activity.

The Parole Board of Canada has set free a Sikh immigrant from India who was convicted in the 1985 Air India bombings that killed 331 people. Inderjit Singh Reyat is the only person convicted in the case.

He was found guilty of making bombs that were stuffed into luggage and planted on two planes departing from Vancouver, and of perjury, reported AFP.

Although Reyat was released from prison a year ago, he was ordered to live in a halfway house. The parole board has now lifted that condition. Board spokesperson Patrick Storey told AFP that Reyat can now lead a normal life, “living in a private residence”. Reyat had been in jail for two decades.

However, his parole officer has already decided with whom he will live so that there is no chance of any “negative influence on him”. The parole board has also barred him from establishing any contact with families of the blasts victims. He cannot undertake any political activity and also has to undergo counselling.

On June 23, 1985, all 329 people aboard Air India Flight 182 were killed when a bomb in it exploded near the Ireland coast. The second bomb killed two baggage handlers in Japan’s Narita airport.

Investigators found out that Reyat had bought dynamite, batteries and detonators when he was working as a mechanic in Canada. Two others, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, were also accused of conspiring the explosions.

However, they were acquitted because of lack of evidence. It was believed that the explosions were planned to avenge Operation Blue Star in Amritsar’s Golden Temple.

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Sikhchic.com – Canada’s Minister Of Everything: Navdeep Singh Bains

Rachel Aiello

For Navdeep Singh Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, or, “The Minister of Everything,” as some say, the working relationships he has been cultivating are the beginning and the end of his political power and influence this year.

It is expected that in 2017, Navdeep will roll out the wide-spanning innovation agenda the Liberals see as a people-focused scaling-up of Canadian idea incubators and economic accelerators.

“It’s not going to be simply an innovation, science, economic development plan, it’s going to be a government-wide approach that’s really going to implicate industry, academia, and civil society as well, because we all need to work together,” said Navdeep, adding that the intended outcome will be “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

And he plans to achieve this in part by leveraging his contacts and connections, and likely cashing in some of his own political capital.

“I take pride in building those relationships and I think those relationships are really critical for not only developing a plan, but critically important when we execute and implement a plan,” Navdeep explained when asked where he sees his power stem from.

He is in charge of a multi-billion dollar department formerly called Industry Canada, now called Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Within his department he oversees the federal government’s six regional economic development agencies and has Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, and Bardish Kaur Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism reporting to him under the same departmental umbrella.

He is a member of four cabinet committees: Agenda, Results and Communications; Growing the Middle Class; Environment, Climate Change and Energy; and Defence Procurement.

Lobbyists say that he’s come a long way since stepping into the role. At first, they said, he seemed in a bit over his head but is now viewed as being a capable custodian of the portfolio. Those who have sat down with him, or whose clients have, say he understands business and interfaces well with industry representatives, prioritizing results.

One of the most-lobbied cabinet ministers, he’s viewed as accessible. It’s also said that he is quick to pick up the phone himself, and did so a great deal when he first became a minister.

“My style is very much built on, how do you create consensus? How do you bring people together? How do you first of all, value diversity?” Navdeep said, adding that he sees that combination of points of view as a key to unlocking better decision-making.

Because of his tentacle-like portfolio in a government-by-cabinet style of leadership, nearly all roads pass through Navdeep, who is liaising with nearly half of the cabinet on other priorities, like clean technology with Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr; procurement with Public Services Minister Judy Foote; and with International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Finance Minister Bill Morneau on expanding trade opportunities for Canadian companies.

“I think it’s about relationships, I’ve spent a lot of time with people who care about progressive values and who want to move a progressive agenda forward. And for me I think it’s important to get the big things right, but little things matter as well: making sure you go out of your way to listen to people, wish them a Happy Birthday, talk about their families, get to know them on a personal level.

I think that dimension is so critical because politics is about people and if you don’t understand people and their point of view, and if you don’t engage with them in a meaningful way, you really can’t help make meaningful progress,” said Navdeep.

His ministerial mandate has already seen him restore the long-form census, expand broadband coverage, and attempt to stiffen the backbone of Statistics Canada.

Insiders said with more mandate commitments to be filled this year, the scrutiny will build, as will some stakeholders’ dissatisfaction with the outcome, but observers say Navdeep has the character to take it on the chin.

The file and responsibility he shoulders secures his place as an influencer, but it’s also because of his close ties to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his inner circle that he’s viewed as a powerful and trusted cabinet adviser.
Navdeep was one of the first supporters for Justin Trudeau as party leader, and worked on his leadership campaign in 2013 by campaigning for him in the Greater Toronto Area (“GTA“).

Navdeep’ strong Toronto ties are another major source of his political power, sources said, adding that they keep him in the loop of many government decisions.

“He’s a very valued adviser of the Prime Minister and people know that, he’s really connected,” his former parliamentary secretary, Greg Fergus said, on his former boss’s reputation both on Parliament Hill and in the GTA.

“He’s just one super competent guy; he knows his file, he knows his issues, it’s very much a part of him,” added Fergus, who went on to list off a handful of books Navdeep read in the weeks after being sworn-in. Among the books was “Start Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle” by Dan Senor and Saul Singer.

Fergus said Navdeep comes to meetings having done his homework enough to engage the stakeholder in the meeting, asking a few questions off the top to reassure them he knows what he’s talking about, but then will sit quietly and listen, taking notes in meetings and debriefing with his staff afterwards to go over what they heard and what they understood.

However, the liaising and question-asking may have a tendency to run long; Navdeep has a reputation for less-than-perfect punctuality, often carrying on conversations well into his next-scheduled meeting time, according to some insiders.

Before getting into politics, Navdeep, who holds an MBA and has his accounting designation, worked in accounting and finance at Nike and the Ford Motor Company, and was a visiting professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management. He also has close ties to local charities and cultural groups in his riding.

“He’s always had a head for business, whether he was working at Ford or Nike, he was always interested in what made business tick,” said Matthew Rowe, who worked as his legislative assistant and communications director between 2007 and 2011.

Navdeep says he wasn’t political at a young age and was set on rising up the corporate ladder at Ford, but, in 2004 he wasn’t happy with the roster of federal Liberal candidates vying for the riding he resided in, so as he phrased it, he put his “turban in the race.”

He ran, and won, becoming the MP for what was then the riding of Mississauga-Brampton South, Ontario, at age 26. He held that riding until 2011 when he was defeated alongside a number of his Liberal caucus-mates.

During those seven years as an MP, he had a taste of power as the Parliamentary Secretary to then Prime Minister Paul Martin; and then many critic portfolios while in opposition during the tenure of then Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Navdeep said that after he lost the election, he spent days thinking his phone wasn’t working; he even had his wife, Brahamjot, call him to test it. Alas, it was simply a case of an abrupt change in lifestyle.

But Navdeep was re-elected in 2015 with 62.3 per cent of the vote. His riding is now called Mississauga-Malton, Ontario and that go-go-go, always-ringing-phone lifestyle has returned.

In fact, he says the part of the job he likes the least is the amount of time he’s away from home and his two daughters: Nanki who is nine, and Kirpa who is six. He said he’s found the time management hard, but has prioritized any time off by spending it with them rather than friends or other social activities.

Because of the toll on his personal life, when asked what his career and political aspirations were, Navdeep says he doesn’t see himself in politics long-term. “I have other dreams and hopes,” he said.

He added that after he’s fulfilled his goals as Minister, he would like to “pursue other paths,” perhaps in business or academia. He added that he may like to work more with youth, or in innovation, but wants to continue challenging current ideas.

http://ift.tt/2kFDvja

Sikh24.com – World Sikh Organization condemns Quebec terror attack that killed six

Sikh24 Editors

Quebec City, Canada, 31 January 2017. In a press statement, the World Sikh Organization of Canada condemned the terror attack on Sunday, January 29, in Quebec. During the attack last night, two gunmen entered the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Sainte-Foy, Quebec City and killed six people.

Terming the incident as horrific, World Sikh Organization said that the Sikh community stands in solidarity with the Muslims.

The attack took place yesterday at 7:50 PM. Quebec police have confirmed that six people were killed and two more are in critical condition.

“Make no mistake: This was a terrorist attack. This was a group of innocents targeted for practicing their faith,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.

WSO President Mukhbir Singh said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of last night’s horrific shooting. Today, Canadians stand together to condemn this act of terror and stand in solidarity with the Muslim community.”

“We will guard our shared values of diversity and inclusion even more jealously and we will work to prevail over the forces of hatred and bigotry. We are confident that law enforcement agencies will work quickly to bring those responsible for this tragedy to justice.”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/01/31/world-sikh-organization-condemns-quebec-terror-attack-that-killed-six/#.WJGEb3_RHY8

The Hindu – A TADA detenu, now a VIP guest

Amarjeet Sohi will lead a Canadian team to Gujarat summit.

New Delhi/Gandhinagar 6 January 2017. Once branded a Khalistani terrorist with alleged links to Naxals and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, former Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) detenu Amarjeet Sohi will be welcomed back to India as a privileged guest next week to attend the Vibrant Gujarat summit as Canada’s Infrastructure and Communities Minister.

Gujarat officials said Mr. Sohi will lead a delegation to the bi-annual investors summit in Gandhinagar.

In 1988, as a 24-year-old youth activist, Amarjeet Sohi, who belonged to a family in Sangrur and had emigrated to Canada, returned to take part in a theatre programme in Bihar on land rights, when he was arrested under the dreaded TADA.

Police in Azadbhiga accused him of being a Khalistani come to recruit Naxal fighters for the cause.

Eventually, Mr. Sohi’s release was helped by Amnesty International and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), who sent testimonies in his favour. However, Mr Sohi, who has been back to India several times since his release and still has family in Punjab, has said he bears no “ill will” towards authorities in India.

Ministry of External Affairs (MoEA) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) sources said there would be no problem with Mr. Sohi’s past for his first official visit either. “There are no cases against Mr. Sohi and no issue regarding his visit,” an official said.

He will arrive in Delhi on January 9, and then travel to Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar where Canada is one of the partners in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. Officials said he will visit Mumbai and possibly travel to Punjab to meet family members as well.

Mr. Sohi’s visit will be one of a series of ministerial trips ahead of an expected visit by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sometime in March. Another Canadian-Sikh minister of Indian origin, Harjit Sajjan, who is the Defence Minister, is also expected to visit in the next few weeks. Mr. Trudeau’s Cabinet includes four Sikh Americans, leading him to quip once that he had “more Sikhs in his Cabinet than [PM] Modi does.”

As an immigrant, Mr. Sohi’s story is of particular interest in Canada, as he drove a municipal bus for years before he was elected City Councillor.

He has also spent much of his time on “promoting socially inclusive communities”, the Gujarat government’s literature on him records.

He also kept his theatre activism going and staged a play about the Komagata Maru incident where 350 people, mostly Sikhs, died aboard a ship of refugees that had been refused permission to enter by Canada in 1914.

In May 2016, PM Trudeau apologised in Parliament for the incident, for which Mr. Sohi had campaigned.

In his 2015 interview, Mr. Sohi said: “Once I was mistaken for a terrorist because I was a Sikh. If we start marginalising people here because of their faith, who does that help? It doesn’t help us. It probably helps the ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria].”

With inputs from Mahesh Langa

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/A-TADA-detenu-now-a-VIP-guest/article16994474.ece

Sikh24.com – Developer reveals new SikhiToTheMax Beta release

Sikh24 Editors

UK, 3 January 2017. In an exclusive interview with the Sikh24 news portal, the innovative Sikh resource developer group Khalis Foundation took time out for an interview revealing exciting new details about the upcoming version of the Gurbani search app, SikhiToTheMax.

Khalis Foundation has been developing innovative Sikhi apps for some time now. The Sundar Gutka app is one of the most downloaded Sikhi apps in the world. A whole array of other apps including, Baal Bodh (a Punjabi learning resource for kids), My Pothi (digital version of your own shabad listings book), Learn Larrivar (the title speaks for itself), amongst others.

They also host a variety of resources such as Vidhia, an online Sikh literature resource where countless books have been digitized for viewing or saving. The infamous online kirtan resource Keertan.net is also a Khalis baby.

Working with Khalsa Foundation, a UK based charity that promotes Sikhi through talks and camps, the two organizations have been collaborating resources to complete the project.

Reaching out to Khalis, we were put in touch with Navdeep Singh, the lead developer for the upcoming SikhiToTheMax release. A 30 year old Gursikh from Vancouver, Canada, he shares insightful details on the progress and expectations of the release.

Navdeep Singh has been enthused by technology since he can remember, a developer for 11 years and recently compelled to foray into the world of mobile apps. He finds himself often thinking in code and dreaming in stylesheets and enjoys helping others get up and going in their times of tech distress. He is also currently a small business owner.

S24: The question on everyone’s lips is; when does the new SikhiToTheMAx release?

NS: The first public beta will be released on January 6, with Maharaj Jee’s Kirpa. Anyone will be able to download it then and use in the settings that they’d like. There will be an auto-update feature so the newest version will always be downloaded and installed automatically.

Editor’s note: You’ll need to register your interest in the beta in order to be informed of it’s release.

S24: How excited are you to be working on this project?

NS: Gurprasad. I thank Maharaj Ji constantly for blessing me with the opportunity to work on such a project that, if it is in will of Akal Purakh, will help Sangat across the world connect with Gurbani in new ways.

S24: Have previous versions influenced your life? If so how?

NS: Indeed, I thank the Sevaadaars who have worked on previous versions, which were revolutionary. SikhiToTheMax brought me closer to Gurbani and gave me a taste of appreciation for the limitless ocean that is our Shabad Guru.

To have translations available alongside Gurbani in the settings of Gurdware Sahibs and Sangat at home while Ucharan and/or Keertan was happening was something completely new and amazing.

S24: How do you think the software has altered access to Gurbani for Sikhs across the world?

NS: The software has forever changed it. The grateful acceptance of SikhiToTheMax on large screens made it clear that access on small screens would be the next logical step when the technology became available. Specifically, SikhiToTheMax for PocketPC paved the way for all future mobile Gurbani-searching apps.

It was the first version that I used on a regular basis personally. First-letter search is something that we take for granted nowadays, but it started with SikhiToTheMax.

To hear a Panktee being recited or Shabad being sung and now having the ability to look up that Shabad in just a few taps on our everyday devices is bringing us closer to Gurbani.

S24: What new features are you hoping to introduce that would compliment the current version of the software? – How would these features improve the Gurbani search experience?

NS: We want the experience of reading Gurbani to be even more personal and hands-off. We’re aware that everyone is in their own stage of learning how to connect with Gurbani.

As much as we might try, we know it’s not possible to find the perfect balance of font sizes to fit Gurbani, English translations, Punjabi translations, English transliterations, and/or Arth from various Teekay all on one screen so that everyone will be happy.

What this means today is that Sangat will pull out their phones and search for the Shabads and toggle what they need to see. This is distracting in that everyone is now engaged with the operations of searching and scrolling rather than internalizing.

The new SikhiToTheMax will have a mobile app as well that will allow you to join the session that is already ongoing on the large screen.

Your own Larivaar/PadChhed/translation/transliteration settings are applied so you see what is important to you, but all of the searching and scrolling are being done for you by the Sevadaar who is controlling the projector screen. This means that your experience is hands-off and focused on internalizing Gurbani.

S24: There are quite a few Gurbani search softwares out there right now. How will the new SikhiToTheMax offer of a more unique experience? Other than the above, of course.

NS: Khalis Foundation is not looking to replace or compete with Sevaa that is being already being done. In fact, we are collaborating with developers of a number Gurbani-searching apps on a project to bring the most accurate versions of digitized Gurbani to Gurbani app developers.

How SikhiToTheMax will differentiate itself will be its ability to broadcast not only to other mobile devices, but in a unique way to wireless casting hardware such as Google Chromecast.

S24: How many of you are there in your team?

NS: There are a number of components to SikhiToTheMax, from design to database to website to mobile app to desktop app, and we have a number of designers and developers helping with various aspects of the process and giving their input.

S24: The original software designer was Bhai Tarsem Singh in the UK. Have you or your team been in touch with him or his team to obtain their input into the vision for the new release?

NS: We were very fortunate to have the blessing of the original SikhiToTheMax team to create the newest offering. Their input has been wonderful.

S24: Have sufficient funds been donated to enable a complete creation of the vision intended?

NS: With the grace of Akal Purakh, we have enough funding to last a few more months, but still lack enough to continue until the end of 2017. We are unlikely to reach the milestone of the full release without further funding though. We would be very grateful to receive more recurring donations, which can be setup at khalisfoundation.org/donate.

Editor’s note: UK donors can contribute through Khalsa Foundation.

S24: What platforms will the release be available on?

NS: The software will ultimately be available on desktop and mobile, with planned support for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The beta will start with desktop and will be followed by a mobile beta at a later date.

To see the full article and the fundraising video click on the link below :

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/01/03/interview-developer-reveals-new-sikhitothemax-beta-release/#.WG3cNFzRHY8