– Supreme Court gives Punjab & Haryana authority to settle SYL-canal issue

New Delhi, 11 July 2017. Following a hearing on the contentious SYL-canal issue, the Supreme Court of India today gave liberty to the disputing states of Punjab and Haryana, to reach a settlement. The apex court also directed the union government of India to act as an intermediate between Punjab and Haryana to sort out the issue.

Appearing before the court on behalf of union government of India, the Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted that the union government was making attempts to break the standoff between two states on this issue. He further said that the SYL-canal issue was a sentimental issue for members of the public of both states.

The court has also ordered Punjab and Haryana government to stop all agitations related to the Sutlej Yamuna link canal. The court also took issue with the Punjab government for cancelling the agreements pertaining to SYL-canal construction. The Supreme Court warned the Punjab government that it can’t overturn court orders.

It is learnt that the legal counsel of Punjab government argued that several issues had come up in executing the orders of the court whereby the state was obligated to complete the construction of the canal in its territory.

But the bench replied, “You can’t overturn the orders of this court. You must comply with the decree and finish the construction first.”

The Asian Age – Junaid lynching case: 4 accused arrested, sent to judicial custody for 14 days

17-yr-old Junaid was stabbed when he, along with his brothers, was returning home after Eid shopping in Delhi on 22 June.

Faridabad (फरीदाबाद)-Haryana-India, 2 July 2017. Four people arrested in connection with the stabbing of a Muslim boy on a Mathura-bound train have been sent to judicial custody for 14 days by a court in Faridabad.

Police said these accused were arrested on June 28 and were initially sent to two-day police remand.

Junaid (17) was stabbed when he, along with his brothers, was returning home in Palwal district’s Khandawli village after Eid shopping in Delhi on 22 June.

His brothers, Hashim and Sakir, who were also travelling in the train with him, were injured by a mob which also allegedly hurled slurs against them.

Police have so far arrested five people. Of the five, four held on June 28 are residents of Khambi village. The fifth one was held earlier.

The Hindu – Junaid murder: Gloom descends on Khandawali

No Eid celebration in Faridabad village following last week’s brutal attack on young Muslim students at Ballabgarh railway station

Ashok Kumar

Faridabad-Haryana-India, 26 June 2017. With four of his sons studying in different Madrasas in Gujarat and Mewat, Eid every year was a reunion time for Jalauddin and his family. But with the murder of teenager Junaid on Thursday, a couple of days before the festival this year, Eid will never be the same again for this family.

Seventeen-year-old Junaid was stabbed to death and his two brothers Hasib (21) and Shakir (23) injured when a group of people attacked them inside a crowded train following a dispute over a seat. The incident took place at Ballabgarh railway station in Haryana on Thursday evening.

While Junaid was studying at a Madrasa in Nuh, Hasib and two of his brothers had been studying at separate Madrasas in Gujarat for several years.

Recalling the good old days, Hasib said that Eid was the only time of the year when all the brothers would spend time with each other. “Now with Junaid gone, it does not feel like Eid today [Monday]. The Eid now will be marked by his haunting memories and pain every year,” said Hasib, choking with emotion.

But the pain and mourning is not confined to this one family in Khandawali village in Faridabad. It feels like the entire village has lost its loved one.

“The usual hustle-bustle on the eve of Eid was missing at the nearby Ballabgarh market the previous night after the moon was sighted. A shopkeeper told me that the turnout was low this year with several villages around being Muslim dominated,” said Saddam Hussain, one of the villagers.

Nassir Khan, another villager, added: “Even the children did not burst crackers and no one in the village bought new clothes this time around. The traditional fervour associated with Eid is missing. Even those visiting their relatives in the village have actually come to express sympathy to the family.”

The villagers said the streets swarmed with revellers and children all through the day on Eid, but wore a deserted look today, and the shopkeepers had also downed the shutters.

Wearing a black band around his arm, Ushman Khan, a customer executive with a private company in Faridabad, said there was a sense of fear, and many of his Hindu friends who usually visit him on the occasion of Eid had preferred not to come to the village.

Ushman said the village youth, in a meeting on Sunday, had decided to wear black armbands, against the advice of elders, in a silent protest against the incident.

“The elders did not want us to do so, but the youth decided to wear black bands as a mark of resentment and protest against the brutal murder. We are not happy with the response of the government towards the incident and the investigation in the case.

“It has been four days, but only one person has been arrested. No government representative has visited us,” said Ushman, adding that the Muslims were too scared to proudly proclaim their identity.

Around 300 young Muslim men from several villages in the region visited the family under the aegis of Mewat Yuva Sangathan on the occasion of Eid to express their sympathy.

“It is a serious matter and not an isolated incident. Similar incidents are happening across the country. Be it [Mohammad] Akhlaq, Pehlu Khan, DSP Mohammad Ayub, Dingerheri gang-rape or the murder of Junaid, the Muslims are being targeted across the country.

We plan to hold a peaceful protest at Jantar Mantar later this week and devise a strategy for the next course of action,” said Javed Khan, one of the members of the Mewat Yuva Sangathan.

The Asian Age – Man lynched, three thrashed over beef-eating rumours

However, station in-charge Surat Pal said the fight started after a dispute over a seat.

New Delhi, 24 June 2017. A group of four people were thrashed in a train between Delhi and Ballabhgarh in Haryana over rumours of them eating beef. One of the victims died due injuries. The four people had come to Delhi for shopping ahead of Id and were on their way back home in Haryana.

During the incident, huge crowd present in the train, along with GRP personnel, remained mute spectators. The four were thrashed from Tughlaka-bad till Ballabgarh on a moving train.

The four men have been identified as Junaid, Hashim, Shakir Mohsin and Moin of Khandavali village in Ballabgarh. They had boarded a train from Tughlakabad in Delhi.

They were later thrown out at Asavati railway station as the train left for Mathura. They were taken to Palwal hospital, where Junaid was declared brought dead. Shakir and Hashim are still in hospital.

According to one of the injured, Mohsin, all of them had gone to Delhi for Id shopping. They boarded a passenger train. Soon other passengers started abusing them. When they resisted, they were beaten up and soon a huge crowd attacked them.

Two suspects were carrying knives with them and stabbed the four. In an attempt to save themselves, they called the police and emergency response number but to no avail.

Mohsin claimed that they tried to pull the chain to stop the train but failed. They also said GRP personnel at Ballabgarh railway station refused to help them.

Meanwhile according to Surat Pal, station in-charge, GRP Ballabhgarh, the fight started after a dispute over a seat. The crowd then passed racial slurs against them. When the four tried to de-board the train, the unruly men stopped them.

The police has taken up the case and have ordered a probe into the same didn’t allow them to de-board them at Ballabhgarh.”

Another friend, Hashim said that “We boarded the train at sadar Bazar railway station , these men entered our coach at Okhla Mandi railway station. They started calling us names said Muslims are unpatriotic and anti nationals, abused our religion, racial slurs were passed at us.

We changed our coach at Tughlakabad railway station, they again entered our coach. They threw our skull caps. The Lynch crowd chased them to a different coach and fight was not over seats.

Police has taken up the case and have ordered a probe into the same.

The Tribune – Rescue operation on at Panipat gurdwara after Monday’s partial collapse

Tribune News Service

Panipat, 13 June 2017. Rescue operation is on at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Pehli Patshahi on National Highway here on Tuesday.

One person was killed and eight others injured when the main portion of the gurdwara collapsed on Monday evening.

An NDRF team is trying to reach those stuck under the debris.

The Tribune – Jagdish Singh Jhinda floats Janta Akali Dal

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 10 June 10 2017. Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC ad hoc) president Jagdish Singh Jhinda floated a political outfit, Janta Akali Dal (JAD), after performing prayers at Akal Takht today.

Jhinda said he would be the officiating head of the party, even as a meeting of JAD members and HSGMC (ad hoc) had been scheduled for August 1 to appoint its office-bearers.

“I will stick to one post. Our party’s slogan is ‘Hamara gaon hamara raj, hamara shehar hamari sarkar’. It would be a secular political outfit devoid of dominance of any religion, caste or creed,” he said.

He said JAD would operate from rural areas and had been conceptualised as a national political party. Jhinda said in Punjab, the JAD’s main focus would be to topple the Badals’ SAD, which had falsely been propagating that Haryana Sikhs seldom observe the inviolability and tenets of Akal Takht by floating a parallel gurdwara managing committee.

“Unlike other Akali Dals which are based on lies and misguide people, the JAD will not be remote-controlled from New Delhi or Chandigarh. Our aim would be to remain within the limits of Sikh rehat maryada (tenets).

On the other hand, the interference by the SAD (Badal) in religious affairs has resulted in unrest in Sikh circles. Our purpose of announcing the party from Akal Takht is to dispel the wrong impression created by the Badals that Haryana Sikhs do not have faith in Akal Takht and Golden Temple,” he said.

When asked if he recognised the sanctity of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh or the 2015 Sarbat Khalsa-appointed jathedars, he said: “One was appointed by the government, the other by society. But I am here to bow before Akal Takht only”.

He clarified that he had volunteered to appear before Akal Takht some time ago and accepted the ‘tankhah’ (religious punishment) with an aim to clear the way for floating a political outfit.

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 !