The Tribune – ‘Was removed arbitrarily’

Non-committal on taking up new assignment in Jind

G S Paul, Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 22 April 2017. While Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh has maintained a studied silence, Takht Damdama Sahib’s acting Jathedar Bhai Gurmukh Singh termed his unceremonious removal ‘an arbitrary decision taken by the SGPC to please the Badals.’

Committee chief Kirpal Singh Badungar at a meeting at Fatehgarh Sahib had yesterday removed Singh for violating ‘maryada’ by issuing controversial statements.

Meanwhile, Bhai Gurmukh Singh went to perform prayers at Akal Takht this morning but before he received any official communication of his removal, the SGPC withdrew his official vehicle.

He refrained from commenting if he would be joining his new assignment as head priest* of Gurdwara Nauwin Patshahi Dhamtan Sahib in Haryana’s Jind district. “I still expect a positive response from the SGPC chief to give me fair chance to present my point of view,” he said.

He emphasised that the decision to remove him was solely at the behest of political bosses (referring to the Badals).

“I was not mentally prepared for this. It was principally wrong on the part of the SGPC to announce my unceremonious removal unilaterally. Had there been any violation of ‘maryada,’ the committee chief should have formed a panel to scrutinise it before coming to any conclusion.

Anyway, the issue is now beyond our reach and will only aggravate the crisis in the Sikh community”, he added

After the Panj Pyaras fiasco, Bhai Gurumukh Singh became another casualty for raising his voice against the flip- flop decision of exonerating controversial Dera Sirsa head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for the 2007 blasphemous act.

*There are no Sikh head priests, nor ordinary Sikh priests !

The Tribune – Chief Minister hails Centre’s move on SYL meet

Chandigarh, 10 April 2017. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today welcomed the Centre’s decision to convene a meeting of Punjab and Haryana on April 20 to resolve the contentious SYL issue.

He said the question of sharing Punjab river waters with other states did not arise since the state did not have surplus water.

The Chief Minister underlined the need for a fresh assessment of the quantum of riverwaters available with Punjab before taking a decision in the SYL matter.

“To allow the construction of the SYL canal before ascertaining the water availability will amount to putting the cart before the horse,” Captain Amarinder said. (TNS)

The Tribune – Jhinda appears before Akal Takht, awarded tankhah

G S Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 4 April 2017. The Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC ad hoc) president Jagdish Singh Jhinda appeared before Akal Takht to submit his clarification on the charges of dividing the SGPC levelled against him.

On the other hand, his move has invited the ire of his party leaders who termed it as a ‘conspiracy’ to scuttle the interest of Haryana Sikhs. The SGPC had filed a case in the SC and the matter is still pending.

Nonetheless, pronouncing the ‘tankhah’ (religious punishment), Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh directed Jhinda to perform Akhand Path at Gurdwara Chhevi Patshahi in Kurukshetra, cleaning dishes at Sri Guru Ram Das langar hall and offer “degh” (karah prashad) worth Rs 101 during “ardas” for atonement.

On July 16, 2014, the Akal Takht had excommunicated Jhinda, HSGMC’s senior vice-president Didar Singh Nalvi and the then finance minister Harmohinder Singh Chattha for defying the highest temporal seat and going ahead with the formation of a separate gurdwara panel in the neighbouring state.

Akal Takht Jathedar said, “Jhinda has submitted a written reply and showed his willingness to be taken in the community. The Five High Priests resolved it by pronouncing tankhah, he said.

However, Jhinda said his stand on the HSGMC had not changed. “The matter is listed for hearing on April 7. It should be kept aside from my appearance before the Akal Takht. I am here to apologise today for not adhering to the Akal Takht’s edict of 2014 as the political situation of Punjab and the SGPC were not conducive then”, he said.

Nalvi alleged: “Jhinda has ditched Haryana Sikhs and attempted to scuttle our struggle. It is a pity that being HSGMC chief he has been leading our side in the SC.”

The Asian Age – Haryana: 11 bodies, 4 human skulls recovered from Bhakra canal

Eight bodies were recovered from the canal near Dhakal village in Narwana, a police official of the Sadar Police Station said.

Jind-Haryana-India, 2 April 2017. Eleven “highly decomposed” bodies,including of a woman, and four human skulls were recovered Sunday from Bhakra canal here, police said.

The bodies were recovered near Narwana and Garhi areas of the canal. While eight bodies were recovered from Narwana, three bodies and four skulls were found from Garhi, police said.

Police said they received information on Saturday that a body had been spotted in the canal when the water level was low. Later on, a search was started.

Eight bodies were recovered from the canal near Dhakal village in Narwana, a police official of the Sadar Police Station said.

“The water level in the canal was low and we found the bodies, which were in mutilated state,” he said.

A case has been registered under relevant provisions of the law, he said, adding possibilities of more bodies being found from the canal cannot be ruled out.

“We have kept the bodies for their identification and are in touch with our counterparts in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh,” the police official said.

The bodies were kept in the civil hospital at Narwana. The Bhakra Canal enters Haryana from Punjab. – SGPC elections demanded by SAD Amritsar

Sikh24 Editors

Tarn Taran-Panjab-India, 28 March 2016. A delegation of Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar leaders and its alliance groups on March 28 wrote a letter to the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to immediately order the Election Commission to hold the SGPC elections.

The letter was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner of Tarn Taran DPS Kharbanda today by a delegation of Sikh leaders led by S. Karam Singh Bhoian and SYFB (Amritsar) President Dr Gurjinder Singh.

Speaking to Sikh24, Dr. Gurjinder Singh said that the Election Commission always conducts elections of Parliament, assembly, Municipal Corporations etc. at proper time but the SGPC elections were being delayed for no reason.

He added that the tenure of SGPC members elected in 2011 had already completed in 2016 but the Union Home ministry was still not depicting any interest to hold the SGPC elections.

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.