The Tribune – Bains brothers to move Bill on SYL, seek support

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 16 May 2017. The Lok Insaaf Party today appealed to all political parties to support them to move a private member’s Bill on the issue of water dispute with Haryana in the upcoming state Assembly session.

In a press conference, Atam Nagar MLA Simarjit Singh Bains said the Speaker should allow them to move the Bill which would prove crucial to protect the state’s interests on the SYL canal issue.

While sharing the details of the Bill, he said the Supreme Court’s decision was not likely to go in favour of Punjab.
“The only way out for the state is to pass a Bill and seek presidential reference on the legality of Section 78 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, and Section 14 of the Inter-State Water Dispute Act, 1956, in the light of federal structure of the country, which the Constitution ensures,” he said.

He said both sections were against the 7th Schedule and Article 262 of the Constitution, respectively. It was thus important that all parties must unanimously pass the Bill, he added.

The Times of India – UT doing nothing to save Sukhna lake, claim residents

Neha Sharma

Chandigarh, 2 May 2017. In 2011, the Chandigarh administration constituted a committee to save the Sukhna lake. In 2012, it had met and increased its strength from 9 members to 14. That meeting, six years ago, was its last.

This and other instances of administrative apathy came to light on Monday during the Sukhna lake hearing at the Punjab and Haryana high court.

Another issue that was repeatedly raised was how the administraion kept ignoring suggestions from the public. Last year, the High Court, which has been monitoring the case for eight years, had directed the Chandigarh administration to invite suggestions from the public to address the issue of depleting water in the lake, which is often considered the soul of the City Beautiful.

Some of the suggestions it received included the use of treated tertiary water, the digging of tubewells in the catchment area, and bringing water from Patiala Ki Rao. Others included clearing the Sukhna catchment area of dirt and garbage, as well as harvesting rainwater (during the monsoon), that could come to the rescue of the lake.

The administration’s refusal to take seriously any of this suggestions hasn’t gone down well with citizens, who have now come out and hit the UT hard. “This problem crops up every year, but the Chandigarh administration is doing nothing to save the lake,” said Ravi Malhotra, a resident of Sector 44.

“We need to get out on the streets to save the Sukhna lake,” said Nitin Sharma, a resident of Sector 22. “We need to put pressure on authorities and make it clear that the Sukhna lake means a lot to us.”

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh administration says that the tube-well proposal was considered. It transferred water from seven tube-wells near the Chandigarh golf course to Sukhna lake for around 40 days in January and February. A UT source said that this is suspended as of now because of the summer and the high demand of water in residential areas.

One citizen had suggested transporting water from Siswan dam, but to that, the administration lamented the 15 km distance between the dam and the lake. The other suggestion, to use treated tertiary water, was also turned down. “The quality of the waters doesn’t match,” it said, adding that this could affect the flora and fauna of the lake.

The Hindu – Dhingra report leak an act of vendetta: Congress

Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi cites two Punjab and Haryana High Court injunctions against publication

Special Correspondent

New Delhi, 28 April 2017. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Friday accused the central government of leaking the Dhingra Commission report, saying it was “blinded by power and steeped in vendetta.”

News reports based on the Justice S N. Dhingra report accuse former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra of wrongdoing in land deals in Haryana.

Mr Singhvi pointed out that as Mr Vadra had not received any summons from the Dhingra Commission to depose before it, he could not be accused of anything till his personal testimony had been taken.

In the case of Mr Hooda, he said, that though the latter had received letters from the Commission, none of them was an 8(b) notice, as is legally mandated. In fact, when Mr Hooda pointed out all this to the Commission, it had responded by saying it would not be sending an 8(b) notice.

He said there were two court injunctions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, dated November 23, 2016 and April 26, 2017, blocking publication of the contents of the Dhingra report. “These are selective opportunistic leaks,” he stressed.

According to a news report published in The Economics Times, the Dhingra Commission is said to have concluded that Mr Vadra had made unlawful profits of Rs 50.5 crore from a land deal in Haryana in 2008.

The Commission was set up by the Khattar government in May 2015 to look into the grant of licences for change in land use in four villages of Gurgaon, including the licence granted to the Vadra-owned Skylight Hospitality.

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.