The Tribune – Anil Vij has hurt Sikh sentiments: SGPC

Badungar backs Gurmehar Kaur

Sarbjit Dhaliwal, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 3 March 2017. Taking on Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij for his remarks on DU student Gurmehar Kaur, daughter of a Kargil martyr, a visibly upset SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar today said, “Ours is a diverse country and Vij should recognise this fact”.

He said Vij had hurt Sikh sentiments with his comment that those who supported Gurmehar were pro-Pakistan and should be “thrown out of the country”.

Gurmehar has faced rape and death threats after she launched “I am not afraid of ABVP” campaign.

Badungar asked the Haryana minister what he had to say about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Pakistan some months ago, the jawans and officers on the border exchanging sweets with their counterparts in Pakistan during festivals and cultural groups on official tours to Pakistan?

Stoutly backing Gurmehar, Badungar said wars had indeed killed millions across the globe over the centuries and that there was nothing wrong in what Gurmehar had stated. “There should be peace between India and Pakistan as wars in the past have proved detrimental to the growth of both,” he added.

The Tribune – Sutlej Yamuna Link Stir : How the day unfolded, Police’s forceful display foils breach bid

Jupinderjit Singh, Tribune News Service

Shambu-Patiala district-Panjab, 23 Februray 2017. The manual and technical expertise of the Punjab Police was on full display at the Punjab-Haryana border today to prevent INLD activists from reaching the SYL canal.

In contrast, the Haryana Police had far less men. They also fared poorly on the modern equipment front.

The Punjab Police deployment was supervised by a DGP-rank officer, while a DSP-level officer was the in-charge on the Haryana side. INLD activists easily breached the Haryana security rings, but could not cross the Punjab Police barricades.

The specially trained anti-riot police, equipped with body suits that guard against fire, acid and stone missiles; head gear; pellet bullets; and chilli spray, was prepared for any eventuality.

Multi-barrel launchers mounted on Vajra vehicles, drones and a helicopter were used to ensure peace and foil any attempt to breach the barricades.

The helicopter and drones caught the fancy of the media and residents alike as these were used for the first time.

The Punjab Police had drawn flak in the past for not having proper weaponry, modern equipment and permission to use the chopper in several pressing circumstances. Most of the modern equipment was bought after the police faced challenges such as the terror attack at Dinanagar and Pathankot Air Force station.

Learning from the past, the government provided its helicopter to the police for the third day consecutive today. Senior officials used it to survey the border.

On several occasions, the drones were flown over the Ghaggar bridge, from where INLD activists marched towards Punjab. Besides drones, CCTV cameras installed at key points recorded the INLD’s march and police arrangements.

The anti-riot contingent was the first line of defence. It was earlier deployed in Bargari village, where clashes took place over sacrilege incidents. These men have been undergone a minimum 45-day training to handle a riotous mob. They are the “wall” of the police defence.

More than 5,000 men and women drawn from six police districts, besides 10 battalions of the paramilitary force and personnel of reserve battalions were deployed along the border, specially at the Shambu bridge and entry points to Sarala and Kapoori villages.

Under the command of DGP (Law and Order) HS Dhillon, eight commandants of reserve battalions, five SSPs and two IGs remained on their toes the entire day.

Punjab DGP Suresh Arora supervised the entire operation from the headquarters.

The Tribune – No terror threat: Dal Khalsa

Chandigarh, 22 February 2017. The Dal Khalsa has disagreed with PPCC chief Captain Amarinder Singh predicting “the revival of terrorism” over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal and blamed him for exaggerating the situation.

Dal Khalsa head Harpal Singh Cheema said it was not the SYL issue that had the potential to trigger the revival of armed rebellion, but continued injustice being meted out to Punjab by all organs of the state.

He said INLD leader Abhay Chautala was creating chaos only to revive his political moorings. He alleged that Badals had left the state in this hour of crisis to facilitate the Chautalas to play misadventure. – DSGMC elections: HSGPC to support Sarna led Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) candidates

Sikh24 Editors

Kurukshetra, Haryana, India, 11 February 2017. The Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee has announced to support candidates fielded by Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) led by Paramjit Singh Sarna. The HSGPC was carved out of SGPC in July 2014 and has been a strong opponent of the Akali Dal (Badal).

Speaking to Sikh24 on February 10, General Secretary of HSGPC S Joga Singh clarified that the HSGPC would openly work for the winning of candidates fielded by Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) led by Paramjit Singh Sarna.

Ruling out any possibility of supporting candidates led by former Akal Takht Jathedar Ranjit Singh or AAP backed Avtar Singh Kalka, S Joga Singh said that their sole mission was to oust Badal affiliated candidates from DSGMC and only Sarna led candidates were having ground base there.

The Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee was constituted by the Bhupinder Singh Huda led Congress government of Haryana on July 11, 2014.

The constitution of a separate Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee was challenged by a Kurukshetra based SGPC member in the Supreme Court. The case is under consideration of the constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India led by Justice J S Khehar. The Apex Court is expected to address its verdict in coming months.

Meanwhile, just few weeks ahead of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee elections, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) president Paramjit Sarna has raised serious allegations on Shiromani Akali Dal’s patriarch Parkash Badal.

He has said that Parkash Badal has sent armed police men with AK-47 riffles to provide security to Akali Dal (Badal)’s leaders in Delhi and to threaten the Sikh voters.

Sarna said that Chief Minister of Punjab Parkash Badal has provided security cover of Punjab police cops equipped with border-range AK-47 rifles to DSGMC president Manjit Singh GK, DSGMC’s general secretary Manjinder Sirsa and Avtar Hit.

He said that it was against the norms of Punjab police and territorial law to provide security cover by state government of Punjab to non-categorical Delhi based leaders.

Sarna alleged that the only motive of sending armed Punjab police cops to Delhi was to threaten the Sikh voters in DSGMC elections.

He further said that he will raise the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and will ask them that if these leaders really need security cover then the state government of Delhi should provide them security.

Sarna said that even the Delhi police was not aware of the amount of arms & ammunition carried by these Punjab police cops to Delhi. He appealed the voters not to get scared of these cheap tactics of Badal affiliated leaders and dare to vote them out of sacred Sikh shrines of Delhi.

The Tribune – Panjab government readies Bill to save riverwaters

Session tomorrow, Congress MLAs to stay away even as resignations yet to be accepted

Ruchika M. Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 14 November 2016. The Akali-BJP government seems all set to introduce a Bill in the emergency session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, which will essentially protect the rights of the state over its riverwaters, on the principle that under the Constitution, the decision on releasing of riverwaters through irrigation channels was the sole right of the state.

Highly placed sources told The Tribune that the new Bill, likely to be presented in the emergency session on Wednesday, is being given its final shape.

Though its initial draft was discussed today, the final Bill will be ready by tomorrow after effecting certain changes as suggested by irrigation and legal experts. The final decision on bringing the Bill will be taken tomorrow.

The sources said the new Bill, if given the go ahead, would assert that the state government had the right to determine the flow of its riverwaters as water falls in the state list (List 2, which now comprises 61 items) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, subject to the provisions of Entry 56 of List I.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is also likely to pass a resolution highlighting the contribution of Punjab in making India food secure and how the river waters are the lifeline of Punjab.

The government is likely to take a strong political stand on the issue, and may declare that the state will not tolerate the injustice as it is against the recognised principles of riparian laws.

An appeal could also be made to the Prime Minister and the President, besides all other law makers in the states as well as the Centre, to support Punjab’s cause.

The session has been convened for 10 am on Wednesday. Though the Congress MLAs have tendered their resignation in wake of an adverse SC verdict on the matter, their resignations have not yet been accepted by the Speaker. Thus, intimation has been sent to all Congress MLAs to attend the special session. The latter have so far chosen to abstain.

Sources say that though no back channel talks have been initiated by the government to ask the Congress MLAs to attend the session, Badal has made public appeal to them to be present.

With elections round the corner and the riverwater dispute becoming a major poll issue, it suits the government to take the credit as being the ones serious about the issue and show the Congress in poor light, saying they ran away from it.

The issue will be discussed in the SAD core committee meeting tomorrow morning and later in the Cabinet.

The Hindustan Times – Sutlej Yamuna Link row: Punjab readies water bill, Haryana stops bus service

HT Correspondent

Chandigarh, 12 November 2016. The Punjab government is likely to bring a new bill on the inter-state water dispute in a move that could complicate the legal tussle with Haryana over sharing of water from the Beas and Sutlej rivers, official sources said on Friday.

The SAD-BJP government led by Parkash Singh Badal asked President Pranab Mukherjee to ignore the Supreme Court’s terming as “unconstitutional” a 2004 state law that scrapped all water-sharing arrangements between Punjab and its neighbouring states, including Haryana.

The dispute is likely to become a major issue with the opposition Congress turning the heat on the Badal government ahead of next year’s assembly polls.

On Friday, all 42 Congress legislators resigned from the assembly, a day after the party’s state president Amarinder Singh quit as a Lok Sabha MP to protest the court ruling.

Singh’s government had enacted Punjab’s Termination of Agreements Act to stop work on the 212-km-long Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal. Haryana, which is banking on the canal to bring water from the rivers to the state’s “dry and arid areas”, had moved the top court opposing the law.

Punjab government sources said the fresh bill was likely to be introduced at a special session of the assembly, convened on November 16 to discuss the verdict.

The Badal government has vowed not to “allow a single drop of water” to be taken from Punjab.

Sources said the government has tasked advocate general Ashok Aggarwal and other top legal eagles to put in place a legal strategy to hit-back politically and stay ahead of the Congress, which has blamed the ruling alliance of failing to protect Punjab’s interest in court.

“The Supreme Court’s judicial reference is not a binding on President who may accept, reject or send (it) back to Supreme Court for fresh opinion. Punjab government has set up a team of lawyers, including me, to examine the advisory. We will be able to give our viewpoint by Saturday,” Aggarwal said.

Government sources say at the heart of the move to bring a fresh bill is to go beyond the 2004 law.

“The Constitution clearly forbids the Centre from arrogating to itself the right to adjudicate on distribution of river waters among states. Grave injustice has been done to Punjab by the Centre, violating this Constitutional clause,” CM Badal said in his letter to the President.

Earlier in the day, the Congress announced a statewide agitation from November 13, with a public rally at a village in south west Punjab.

“This area would become a desert in case water flows into SYL, taking water from Punjab into Haryana,” Amarinder Singh said.

With tension rising, Haryana suspended state-run buses to Punjab citing security reasons.

“It is a precautionary measure in view of the prevailing situation,” said Haryana additional chief secretary, transport, Sudeep Singh Dhillon.

Though the transport department claimed that only long-route operations have been temporarily stopped, some depots have stopped plying buses even on short routes.

Some Haryana leaders and khaps have threatened not to allow vehicles from Punjab to pass through the state if the Badal government does not accept the court verdict.

The Tribune – Punjab can’t deny Ravi-Beas waters to Haryana, other states, rules Supreme Court

‘Punjab’s Termination of Agreements Act-2004 invalid’

R Sedhuraman

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi/Chandigarh, 10 November 2016. In a blow to Punjab, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Punjab was bound to share Ravi-Beas river waters with Haryana and other states and comply with its two judgments for completion of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.

A five-member Constitution Bench headed by Justice Anil R Dave made the clarification while invalidating the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004 by which the state had terminated its pacts with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi for sharing the waters of the two rivers.

The Bench made the ruling while answering the Presidential reference sent to the apex court seeking its opinion if the 2004 Act was in consonance with the legal and Constitutional provisions. The reference contained four questions on the issue.

“Our answers are in the negative,” Justice Dave said while reading out the operative part of the ruling. The other judges on the Bench were Justices PC Ghose, SK Singh, AK Goel and Amitava Roy.

The Bench, however, rejected Haryana’s plea for extending the status quo order passed on March 17, 2016, directing Punjab not to notify the law meant for returning about 4,000 acres of land acquired for the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link SYL canal.

Haryana was free to take appropriate steps, including approaching the SC, it said.

To read the full article :

The Tribune – Seechewal’s water management model floors Khattar

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, 11 October 2016. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today said the state will soon adopt the Seechewal model of cleaning water in all its districts.

He said this after meeting noted environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal at his village. While visiting the sewerage treatment plant at Sultanpur Lodhi, Khattar said the country was in need of such systems, especially in villages, where there was no way for water exit.

Khattar also visited the recharge plant at Sultanpur Lodhi.

Haryana, like other states, is also looking for ways to preserve water and to recharge it for repeated use. Earlier, a team of the Haryana Irrigation Department and sewerage board had visited Seechewal village to study the water management system.

Khattar spent around two hours at Sultanpur Lodhi and even visited the railway station to see the tree planation drive carried out by Seechewal. Later, he visited a gurdwara to pay obeisance.

The Tribune – Sexual offences on the rise

Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh fare better than the state

Sushil Manav, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 14 September 2016. Infamous for gender bias, Haryana witnessed more cases of rapes and crimes against women than neighbouring Punjab, Himachal and Chandigarh in 2015.

Haryana contributes 2.4 per cent share in total sexual offences in the country against 1.7 percent by Punjab, 0.6 per cent by Himachal Pradesh and 0.1 per cent by Chandigarh.

According to the National Crime Record Bureau’s (NCRB) annual report ‘Crimes in India ¬— 2015’ released recently, the rate of sexual offences (incidents of sexual offences per 1,00,000 of female population) in Haryana for 2015 was 11.6 against 10.04 in Himachal, 7.5 in Punjab and 9.4 in Chandigarh.

A total of 1,070 incidents of rapes were reported in Haryana in 2015, as per the NCRB report. Data of the Police Department in Haryana also shows that the incidents of rape have witnessed an increase in the state in the past four years.

“The increase in the numbers is largely because of the fact that more women are coming forward to report crimes committed against them due to steps initiated by the state government,” said Rajbir Deswal, Additional Director General of Police (Human Rights and Litigation).

Deswal said steps like opening of women police stations, online registration of FIRs on the Haryana Police portal Harsamay, complaints received on CM Window, etc., have encouraged women to come forward and lodge their complaints freely with the police.

He said the state police had ensured that prompt action was taken in all FIRs registered by women. He said the government was going to introduce ‘mahila volunteers’ in all villages to check crimes against women.

The Hindu – Justice Dhingra hints at irregularities in Haryana land deals case

Gurgaon, 31 August 2016. Justice S N Dhingra on Wednesday submitted an 182-page report to the Haryana government on granting of Change of Land Use (CLU) licences in four villages of Gurgaon during the rule of the previous Congress government, hinting at irregularities.

After submitting the report to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar at Chandigarh, Mr. Dhingra told media persons that he had no reason to submit an 182-page report had there been no irregularities.

“Had there been no irregularities, I would have finished the entire report in just one sentence,” said Mr. Dhingra, in reply to a question. He, however, refused to divulge further details saying that the report was the property of the government and now it was the decision of the government to make it public or not.

In reply to a question on the persons indicted in the report, Mr. Dhingra said that he had “named each and every person” responsible for the irregularities and now it was up to the government “against whom to proceed”.

“I have mentioned the irregularities found, the manner in which they were committed and the persons responsible,” said Mr. Dhingra. The Commission has reportedly examined more than 200 cases of grant of CLU licences and summoned 20-odd officials.

“The report has two parts. The first part contains the findings and the second contains evidence. Also I have submitted an annexure on the documents brought to my notice on June 30 just before the report was to be submitted. And I have recommended further investigation into it,” said Mr. Dhingra.

Set up by the Haryana government in May last year, the Commission had the mandate to inquire into the circumstances of grant or rejection of licences for development of colonies, group housing societies and commercial complexes in those sectors of Gurgaon for which land of Shikohpur, Sikanderpur, Badah and Kherki Dhaula was used.

It also inquired whether the transfer of licence by the original licencee within a short period of time was in violation of law and caused loss of revenue to the government. Mr. Vadra has been accused of transferring his licence to DLF, violating laws and causing a huge loss of revenue.

In reply to a question, Mr. Dhingra said that he did not consider it necessary to summon Ashok Khemka who had cancelled the mutation of Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s land deal in Gurgaon.

Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was also summoned by the commission in March this year, but he did not turn up and was instead represented by a battery of lawyers.