The Tribune – Khalistani extremists, Shia groups ‘low-level’ threat to Canada

Varinder Singh, Tribune News Service

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 13 December 2018. While the main threat to Canada and its interests is posed by individuals or groups inspired by Sunni Islamist ideology and terror groups like Daesh or al-Qaida, Canada continues to face “low-level” threats from other forms of extremism posed by certain right-wing activists, Shia Islamist groups and Canada-based Khalistani extremists.

The Canadian government has issued the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada that clearly indicates that the biggest threat to Canada and its interests is posed by Daesh or al-Qaida and not as much by Sikh (Khalistani) extremists, Shia Islamist groups and other right-wing organisations’ modules active in the country.

“The risk of violence emanating from individuals inspired by such extremism – Shia Islamist groups, Sikh (Khalistani) activists and other right-wing organisations currently poses a lower threat to Canada than that of Daesh or al-Qaida-inspired individuals or groups,” said the report.

The report indicates that certain groups or individuals keep supporting the Sikh movements for achieving their goal of creating an independent homeland for Sikhs in India.

Such violent activities supporting an independent homeland have come down as compared to the Khalistani movement’s height from 1982 till 1993-94 when Khalistani activists had carried out an array of dastardly terror acts, including the bombing of the 1985 Air India flight leaving 331 passengers dead.

The support to the extremist ideology, attacks and activities of the hardliners have since reduced considerably.

Realising this, the Canadian government has pruned the list of such banned terror organisations to just two – International Sikh Youth Federation and Babbar Khalsa International.

Interestingly, the threat level issued by Canada this year remains a more or less similar dossier issued by the Canadian government in recent years or after 2014. For example, the National Terrorism Threat Level, a broad indicator of the terrorist threat to Canada, remains at ‘medium’.

Violence and threat of violence have no place in Canadian society and curbing or eradicating any such thing has always been the top priority of the government.

Interestingly, the allegation hurled by a section of the Indian government that Canada remains a “refuge” for Sikh militants was deflated by facts, especially as both International Sikh Youth Federation and Babbar Khalsa have been lying defunct in that country.

Similarly, no major violence has been carried out by any Khalistani militant group in Canada following the yet-to-be-cracked murder of vernacular journalist Tara Singh Hayer around 20 years ago.

So there has been a vast gap between the Khalistani machinery of the 1980s and its dwindling support base in today’s Canada and elsewhere.

Also, the Referendum 2020 campaign has been peaceful.

The young Sikh generation of Canada has no relation with any sort of extremist ideology. A section of Indian government officials still can’t stomach any criticism of the Indian government coming from Sikhs of Canada.

The Indian authorities had reportedly exhorted Justin Trudeau to crack down on Sikh organisations within Canada during the latter’s trip to India in February.

The report has sparked an outrage among the Canadian Sikh community with a number of Sikh groups urging the government to provide evidence in support of its claim made in the terror assessment report that the “Sikh extremism” was a real-time threat to Canada in the changed scenario.

“They have targeted the Liberal government saying rather than protecting Canadian Sikhs’ reputation and denying the baseless allegations, the Canadian government is capitulating to the Indian government to demand a crackdown on Sikh activists,” said a spokesperson of Canada’s Mississagua-based largest gurdwara Ontario Khalsa Darbar.

Balpreet Singh, legal counsel for World Sikh Organisation of Canada, said there was nothing to suggest violence of any sort in Canada. Also, the British Columbia Gurdwaras’ Council and Ontario Gurdwaras’ Committee representing nearly three dozen gurdwaras, observed that the government’s allegations were irresponsible and these had maligned the image of the peace-loving community.


The Express Tribune – Place of worship: Lease of Gurdwara land challenged

Peshawar – Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – Pakistan, 11 December 2018. The representatives of the Sikh community in Peshawar have filed a writ petition against leasing of the land of the Bhai Biba Singh Gurdwara.

The counsel for the petitioners have made the federal and provincial governments and Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) respondents. Sahib Singh and Sikh community filed the plea with facilitation of Sanaullah and Taimur Advocates.

Plaintiff has observed that Gurdwara Bhai Biba Singh is a religious place and Constitution of Pakistan gives the community right to practice their faith freely, protection of minorities’ holy places is government’s responsibility.

However ETPB has leased 16 marlas of Bhai Biba Singh Gurdwara land which is an unconstitutional act. He has requested the court to annul the lease of Gurdwara land. – UK: protestors cause disruption at Hounslow gurdwara; Police enters Guru’s Darbar to control situation

Sikh24 Editors

Hounslow – Middlesex – UK, 10 December 2018. On Saturday, 08 December, violence erupted at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Alice Way, Hounslow, after a protest turned violent. Aggression and intimidation by close to 100 protestors led to London’s Metropolitan Police surrounding the Gurdwara and entering the Darbar Sahib with shoes on.

Several people, including a young child, were left with injuries after getting caught up in protestors pushing the police officers. Another young man was choked by a protestor in the Darbar but freed by women in the Sangat enraged by the hooligan behaviour of the protestors.

According to the President of the Gurdwara, S. Gurmeet Singh, a large number of the protestors had traveled from Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Other protestors had come from Slough and Southall.

Leaders of West Midlands Gurdwaras associated with Gurdwara Guru Hargobind Sahib Tividale were present as protestors and were seen instigating youth.

Last month, a video statement was made from Gurdwara Guru Hargobind Sahib Tividale in the presence of other Gurdwara representatives in the West Midlands, threatening protests at Gurdwaras wherever Nirvair Khalsa Jatha was invited.

Speaking on behalf of 5 Gurdwaras in Sandwell, Birmingham, the video called for all Gurdwaras to ban Nirvair Khalsa Jatha for “preaching against Gurmat”. These threats have been further fuelled by internet trolls on Facebook who have been targeting Harinder Singh with vicious messages of hate, leading to incitement of potential violence.

After an aggressive protest and threats of violence made at Gurdwara Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib in Leicester, Harinder Singh took the decision to postpone all UK programmes. However, two weeks ago, the group had decided to continue their programmes, beginning with the programme that was scheduled yesterday at Hounslow.

Harinder Singh of Nirvair Khalsa Jatha (NKJ) was scheduled to do a programme at the Gurdwara at 6.30pm. Speaking from the speaker stand, the Head Granthi of the Gurdwara invited the protesters to come to the stage “if they had anyone who wanted to do 15, 20 or 30 minutes of Katha of Gurbani.”

“In the absence of anyone taking up the offer, Harinder Singh will be given the stage in accordance to the majority of the Sangat’s wishes,” he told the sangat.

Video footage shows one lead protestor, Jaswinder Singh Jassi from Willenhall, standing up and saying they are here to oppose and stop Harinder Singh.

Seconds into Harinder Singh being invited to the stage, several individuals, namely Jaswinder Singh Jassi from Willenhall and Amarjit Singh from Hounslow, stood up and began shouting and the situation soon escalated into violence.

One eyewitness reported, “Several anonymous Facebook IDs have been set up that have time and again posted unsubstantiated accusations of grooming and sexual misbehaviour by Harinder Singh of Nirvair Khalsa Jatha, and other nonsense.” He added.

“The Facebook IDs is part of a wider campaign to instigate hatred and violence with unsupported claims against any preacher who does not fit a particular group’s religious ideology. I hope the law enforcement authorities take strict action against those stirring trouble in the Sikh community.”

On 15 July 2015, after an investigation of a complaint, the UK Police dismissed all charges against Harinder Singh. Sikh24 urges all those with credible proof against Harinder Singh or other members of the Nirvair Khalsa Jatha to contact the Police and Sri Akal Takht Sahib.

This kind of witch hunting is a recent phenomenon in the Sikh community and could lead to severe consequences for anyone who has differing views of Sikhi to another religious group.

If there is an opposition to any preacher for their religious views or issues relating to their moral character, then individuals, or groups should take credible proofs they have collected to the representatives of Sri Akal Takht Sahib and/or the national Sikh body of the country they live, like the Sikh Council UK in this case, to investigate and take action.

Defaming preachers and individuals on the Internet with no proof or evidence using anonymous IDs is not a Sikh way. Furthermore, for any individual or group to disturb the Guru’s Darbar with profanity and violence makes them liable for ‘Thankhah’ (chastisement) in accordance with Panthik traditions.

A spokesperson from the Metropolitan Police said: “Police were called on the evening of Saturday, 8 December following reports of a disturbance at the Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Alice Way, Hounslow.

A number of people are believed to have gained access to the Gurdwara to protest. Police attended and worked with Gurdwara staff to calm the situation.”

Twenty five police officers had to form a human chain around the stage to protect Harinder Singh’s safety from the angry protestors. Sikhs worldwide have condemned those who caused disruption, intimidation, and violence on Saturday night, causing Police to intervene with their shoes on and heads uncovered, violating the sanctity of the Guru’s Darbar.

No arrests have been made so far.

Gent Gurdwara – Gent-Sint-Pieters

Gent Gurdwara
24 November 2018

Granthi Singh reading from Guru Granth Sahib

The Guru Granth Sahib

The Guru Granth Sahib

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

25 November 2018

L Train to Dendermonde and Mechelen

L Train to Kortrijk

IC train to Aalst and Brussel Airport

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Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue – State excesses continue on Sikligar Sikhs

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 03 December 2018. Despite repeated efforts by the political Sikh outfits, the state excesses on Sikligar Sikhs are not coming under control in India.

It is learnt that the Madhya Pradesh police have recently arrested around 25 Sikligar Sikhs from village Sindoor of Khargon district (Madhya Pradesh). As per an estimate, around 120 million Sikligar Sikhs live in different states of India currently.

Sharing the development with media, Sikh preacher Bhai Mohan Singh Khalsa informed that the Madhya Pradesh police conducted a raid in Gurdwara Sahib of village Sindoor in the evening hours during a past day.

He added that the Police cops entered into the Gurdwara premises along with shoes and took away 25 Sikligar Sikhs from there. “The Police didn’t even refrain from committing atrocities on children and old aged Sikligar Sikhs” he said.

Bhai Mohan Singh Khalsa further informed that the apex Sikh body Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has still not offered any help to the Sikligar Sikhs despite its high claims.

He added that only the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and a few of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committees have come forward for helping the Sikligar Sikhs.

Bhai Mohan Singh Khalsa has appealed the worldwide Sikh community to come forward for helping the Sikligar Sikhs who have been serving the Sikh community from Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s era.

The Tribune – SGPC comes to rescue of Sikligar Sikhs in Maharashtra

Tribune News Service

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 03 December 2018. The Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has taken cognisance of the damage done to the houses of Sikligar Sikh families and ‘Nishan Sahib’ in a gurdwara by the police at Balsa village in Maharashtra.

SGPC secretary Diljit Singh Bedi said the Chhattisgarh Sikh Mission incharge had been deputed to probe and report back in this regard.

The SGPC will also approach the Maharashtra Government to ensure the safety of the Sikligar Sikhs.

The committee has been taking care of Sikligar families with monetary aid and by helping their children get education. Last year, the SGPC paid school fee of 84 children in various schools at Vishakhapatnam.

Besides this, 40 “frivolous” cases registered against the Sikligar youth were settled.

The apex Sikh body has made arrangements to get them technically trained in various skills.

Knitting centres were opened for their women to make them self-reliant, Bedi said.

Gent Gurdwara – Lousbergkaai and Park

Gent Gurdwara
18 November 2018

Bandi Chhor decorations still in place

Guru Granth Sahib sitting on it’s ‘throne’

Sikh women reading Sukhmani Sahib from their Gutkas

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

Lousbergkaai and Lousbergpark
18 November 2018

My favourite Netherlands’ newspaper : Trouw

What is this bike doing in Gent, along the Lousbergkaai ?

Park inside housing estate

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Dawn – ‘Negative propaganda by section of Indian media’ on Kartarpur corridor dismays Foreign Office

Naveed Siddiqui

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 01 December 2018. The Foreign Office on Saturday expressed its disappointment at the “relentless negative propaganda campaign” being “waged by a section of the Indian media against Pakistan” on the Kartarpur Corridor initiative.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday performed the groundbreaking of the long-awaited corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district.

The ceremony held to mark the historic event and the speeches delivered there had come under severe criticism in certain sections of the Indian media, much to the “dismay” of the FO.

“We have received overwhelmingly positive response from the Sikh community, not only in India and Pakistan but also from across the globe,” the FO said in a statement.

“The Government and people of Pakistan fully share their joy on this historic breakthrough and solemnly affirm that they will make every possible contribution to a befitting celebration of the auspicious occasion of Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary in 2019.”

The FO affirmed that it will not be deterred by unwarranted criticism from across the border.

“We are convinced that those seeking to sow negativity around this initiative for partisan purposes or due to their known anti-Pakistan proclivities will not succeed in their designs,” it said.

“The Government of Pakistan will continue to do what is right for advancing this noble initiative. We also look forward to working out necessary details and modalities with the Indian side concerning the passage through the Corridor.”

The Foreign Office hailed the event as “another moment of hope for the peoples of India and Pakistan” and hoped that “every effort would be made to preserve and take forward the Kartarpur Spirit”.

BBC News – Kartarpur corridor: A road to peace between India and Pakistan?

Secunder Kermani BBC News

Kartarpur – Panjab – Pakistan, 29 November 2018. Seventy-five-year-old Gurcharan Singh was just a child during Partition in 1947, when his family left their home in the city of Sialkot, in modern day Pakistan, to head to India.

Now on a visit to the Sikh Gurdwara in the Pakistani village of Kartarpur, he was delighted that the two countries had agreed to construct a corridor allowing visa-free access to pilgrims from India.

“Since Pakistan was created our community has wanted this,” he told the BBC. “Two families, Indians and Pakistanis, are meeting again.”

The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur is one of the holiest places in Sikhism. It’s believed to have been built on the site where Guru Nanak, the founder of the religion, died in the 16th Century.

The Gurdwara is located around 4km (2.5 miles) from the border with India, but tensions between the neighbouring countries have meant Sikh pilgrims have often found it difficult to visit. Some have had to be content with viewing it through binoculars from India.

The “Kartarpur corridor” will however lead from the Indian border straight to the gurdwara, with the sides fenced off.

The move has been welcomed enthusiastically by the Sikh community, and also represents a rare instance of co-operation between the two countries, which have fought three wars against each other since independence.

Relations between India and Pakistan remain strained, but at a ceremony formally starting construction work on the pathway on the Pakistani side of the border, the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said: “We will only progress when we free ourselves from the chains of the past”.

A number of Indian politicians were amongst those attending.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the BBC the Kartarpur project would help improve the countries’ relationship.

“The more people meet, the more they realise how much in common we have, and what we are missing by not resolving our outstanding issues.” he said.

Formal talks between India and Pakistan have stalled since an attack in 2016, which Indian authorities blamed on Pakistani-backed militants. Pakistan denied the claim.

Prime Minister Khan directly addressed the commonly held view that Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence services don’t want peace with India, whilst civilian governments generally do.

“My political party, the rest of our political parties, our army, all our institutions are all on one page. We want to move forward,” he said.

However India’s Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, said the initiative did not mean “bilateral dialogue will start”, adding: “Terror and talks cannot go together. The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, bilateral dialogue can start.”

Pakistan denies supporting militants targeting Indian forces in Kashmir and in return accuses India of supporting separatist movements within Pakistan.

Following his election victory this summer, Mr Khan announced that for every “one step” India takes on improving relations, Pakistan would take “two”. However, a planned meeting between the countries’ foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September was cancelled by Indian officials, amidst anger over stamps issued by Pakistan commemorating what they termed Indian atrocities in Kashmir.

Analyst Michael Kugelman, from the Wilson Centre, told the BBC the Kartarpur border crossing was a “significant” development but it would be wrong to suggest that the next step was a peace process.

“It’s a confidence building measure but at the end of the day India and Pakistan are still at loggerheads”.

Many observers have also predicted that substantial progress on dialogue between the neighbours would have to wait at least until after elections are held in India, next April or May.

Mr Kugelman said: “It’s politically risky for the Indian government, particularly for a Hindu nationalist government like the current one, to extend an olive branch to Pakistan during the height of campaign season.”

The Kartarpur corridor is due to become operational next year, in time for celebrations of the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak.

The Asian Age – Determination necessary to solve Kashmir issue with India: Imran Khan

Imran Khan said political leaders, army, all are on one page and wish to move forward for civilised relationship with India.

Kartarpur – Pakistan/New Delhi – India, 28 November 2018. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said Pakistan wants a “strong” and “civilised” relationship with India and the two countries can resolve all issues, including Kashmir, with determination as he laid the foundation stone for a historic corridor linking two revered gurdwaras on both sides of the border.

The much-awaited corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur.

Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. It was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev who is believed to have spent 18 years here.

The first Gurdwara, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, was built in Kartarpur, where Guru Nanak is said to have died.

“We want to move forward in our relations with India,” Imran Khan said while addressing the ceremony which was attended by Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, government officials, Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri and foreign diplomats.

“If France and Germany who fought several wars can live in peace, why can’t India and Pakistan,” Imran Khan said.

He said Pakistan and India cannot understand the opportunities God has given to them.

Imran Khan said whenever he visited India, he was told that politicians are united, but the Army won’t allow the friendship between the two sides.

“I am saying today, that our political leaders, our army, and all other institutions are all on one page. We wish to move forward, we want a civilised relationship. We have just one problem, Kashmir. If man can walk on the moon, what problems are there that we cannot resolve?” Imran Khan asked.

“I assure you that we can solve this problem. But determination and big dreams are necessary. Imagine, once trade begins, once our relationship is fixed, how much both nations could benefit,” he said and reiterated that if India takes one step forward, Pakistan will take two steps forward in friendship.

Imran Khan said that there have been “mistakes on both sides” and asserted that the two sides should not live in the past.

“Where Pakistan and India stand today, we have seen such a situation for 70 years now,” Imran Khan said.

“We will stay stuck this way unless we break the shackles of the past and stop blaming each other,” he said, adding that the two neighbours must improve their ties.

He said the citizens of both countries want peace and it is just the leadership which needs to be on same page.

The Pakistan prime minister appreciated the joy on the faces around him.

“The happiness I see in you today, if I were to explain to my Muslim brother and sisters, is that imagine that you are standing 4-km outside Medina (a city in Saudi Arabia where the Prophet is buried) and cannot go in, and you are then given the chance to go. That is the happiness I see here.”

He assured the Sikh community that facilities at Kartarpur Sahib will be even better for 550th birth celebrations for Guru Nanak Dev next year.

“We will keep improving the Kartarpur darbar for you,” Imran Khan told thousand of Sikh pilgrims from both India and Pakistan who were present at the ceremony.

Imran Khan said India and Pakistan need more steps like this (Kartarpur Corridor) for peace in the South Asian region.

The Kartarpur Corridor, which will facilitate the visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, is expected to be completed within six months.

Thousands of Sikh devotees from India visit Pakistan every year to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

India had proposed the corridor to Pakistan around 20 years back.

Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who also attended the ceremony, said there had been enough violence and that the corridor would be a major opportunity to bring peace to the region.

Harsimrat Kaur, who also spoke on the occasion, said if the Berlin Wall can fall, hatred and mistrust between India and Pakistan can also end.

An emotional Kaur said the corridor will bring joy and peace to both countries.

Last week, Pakistan and India announced that they would develop the corridor on their respective side of the border to help Indian pilgrims visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.

India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place. The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016.

Pakistan had invited External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who thanked her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi for the invite and said she was unable to travel to Kartarpur Sahib due to prior commitments.

The issue of Kartarpur Sahib came into focus after Sidhu visited Pakistan in August to attend the oath-taking ceremony of his cricketer-turned-politician friend Imran Khan as prime minister of that country.

After his return, Sidhu said that Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had told him that Pakistan may open a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib.