DNA – 1984 anti-Sikh riots: Justice has not been served to us, says victim

As Gurjal Kaur, 75, stares blankly at the dirty, moldering wall of her house, her nightmarish memories of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots turn into fresh bleeding wounds.

With Punjab going to polls on Sunday, Congress leader Sam Pitroda’s flippant remark that “1984 hua to hua” and the BJP’s relentless offensive over it has brought the anti-Sikh riots back into the political discourse.

The survivors of the riots in the CRPF colony of Ludhiana claim that successive Congress governments delayed justice to the affected families.

Kaur, who lost two of her sons, Harbhajan Singh and Amarjit Singh, in the 1984 communal flare-up, claims the Akalis have helped the survivors of the riots the most and that the previous Congress governments at the Centre and in the state “ruined our lives”.

Charanjeet Kaur, 59, who lost her two sons and husband in the riots, says, “We saw what people would not have seen during Partition. Mobs burnt thousands of Sikh men alive and raped the women.”

Gurdeep Kaur of the women’s wing of 1984 Sikh Katle-Aam Peerat Welfare Society alleges former Punjab chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal did not let the grant given by the Centre reach the victim families in the state.

“The Akali government took some steps, but those were not enough. There are around 35,000 riot-affected families in Punjab, and the Badal government gave flats only to 3,000,” she rues.

“Four commissions, nine committees, and two SITs were set up to probe the killings. Why? It is clear that the Congress governments wanted to hide someone’s role in the riots,” she says.

Former AAP leader and senior lawyer H S Phoolka, who has been representing victims of the riots in court cases, says that instead of punishing leaders involved in the anti-Sikh riots, the Congress had elevated and promoted them.

A state Congress leader on condition of anonymity says no one can question Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on his commitment toward ensuring justice to the victims of the riots.

“He had himself resigned from Parliament to protest against what had happened…,” the leader says.

https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-1984-anti-sikh-riots-justice-has-not-been-served-to-us-says-victim-2750437

The Hindu – Dozens arrested after anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka PM appeals for calm after a man is stabbed to death

Meera Srinivasan

Colombo – Sri Lanka, 14 May 2019. Sri Lanka police arrested dozens and remanded nearly 30 persons on Tuesday, in connection with the spate of anti-Muslim attacks in at least three districts over the past two days.

A 45-year-old Muslim man, who ran a timber store in Kurunegala district in the North Western Province, died of stab injuries.

According to residents of the villages in the area, at least two busloads of people, aided by “local goons”, carried out attacks on mosques, Muslim-owned shops and homes on Sunday night and Monday afternoon, in the worst outbreak of violence since the April 21 Easter bombings.

Similar attacks were reported in parts of nearby Gampaha and Puttalam districts.

“The fact that the mobs arrived in buses showed that these attacks were planned,” said Hilmy Ahmed, vice-president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, an umbrella body of Muslim civil society organisations. “It was very much like the previous instances of anti-Muslim attacks,” he told The Hindu.

On Tuesday, the stench of a gutted factory in an interior road of Minuwangoda, about 40 km north east of Colombo, filled the vicinity. The pasta factory was the only Muslim-owned property on that stretch, according a middle-aged man running a small shop facing the factory.

“I was right here yesterday evening, when 300 to 400 people entered the factory and set it on fire. Six workers were injured trying to escape,” he said, requesting not to be named. The mob, he said, came from the town area after attacking several Muslim-owned stores there.

Amith Weerasinghe of Mahason Balakaya, a Sinhala-Buddhist group; and Namal Kumara, a self-declared anti-corruption activist, were arrested on Tuesday for questioning in connection with Monday’s violence, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara told The Hindu.

Inciting violence

Mr Weerasinghe was earlier accused of inciting anti-Muslim violence in Digana near Kandy in March 2018. He was arrested following the attacks and granted bail in October last.

Mr Kumara made news when he claimed he was aware of a plot to kill President Maithripala Sirisena. Police also arrested Dan Priyasad, of hard-line Sinhala nationalist group Nawa Sinhale, in connection with the attacks.

Meanwhile, a prominent legislator aligned to President Sirisena, came into focus in the wake of Monday’s mob attacks.

Dayasiri Jayasekara, general secretary of Mr Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and a former Minister, visited a police station in one of the affected villages to reportedly transfer six suspects, who were in custody for allegedly violating the curfew, to another police station and to have them released on bail.

When contacted, Mr Jayasekara, an MP from Kurunegala, said he went to his area after reports of a huge crowd agitating in front of a police station. “I went there to help transfer the suspects to another police station to avoid any violence,” he told The Hindu, accusing social media of “distorting” his visit.

Appealing for calm, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe asked the public not to be swayed by false information.

Cabinet Minister and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem said allowing such violence and “pre-planned attacks” was a reward to the “demented individuals” who carried out the Easter bombings. “This is exactly what they wanted,” he told The Hindu.

M A Sumanthiran, spokesman of the Tamil National Alliance and Jaffna district parliamentarian said: “We appeal to the government: Do not let that happen. Do not let yet another community in Sri Lanka feel that in order to survive in this country, it must fight for itself.”

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/one-killed-in-anti-muslim-riots-in-sri-lanka/article27123889.ece

World Sikh News – NIA and India’s Supreme Court spread state terror in Punjab

Jagmohan Singh

10 May 2019. Egged on by the National Investigative Agency, which functions beyond the rule of law, India’s Supreme Court has transferred cases and undertrials to Delhi with­out a proper hearing.

State terror manifested itself when, in less than five minutes, India’s Supreme Court accepted the petition of the National Investigative Agency to transfer British-Scottish national Jagtar Singh Johal, Hardeep Singh Shera and 9 other undertrials from their parent state of Punjab to the notorious Tihar jail in Delhi and also start proceedings against them in the special NIA court in Delhi.

State terror manifested itself when, in less than five minutes, India’s Supreme Court accepted the petition of the National Investigative Agency to transfer British-Scottish national Jagtar Singh Johal, Hardeep Singh Shera and 9 other undertrials from their parent state of Punjab to the notorious Tihar jail in Delhi and also start proceedings against them in the special NIA court in Delhi.

Jagtar Singh, Hardeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Dharmendra Singh, Anil Kumar, Amaninder Singh, Manpreet Singh, Ravipal, Pahad Singh, Pravesh and Malook Tomar were arrested in November 2017 for alleged killings of RSS-BJP leaders and Dera Sirsa follow­ers in 2016 and 2017.

For more than half of these undertrials, the notice of NIA was not served and this has been accepted by the Registry of the Supreme Court of India. The presiding judges barely allowed the defence counsel to present his objections.

The Supreme Court bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Navin Sinha is reported to have said, “This is a decided case. There is no need to hear anything.” The transfer orders were read out leaving the counsels and the accused in the lurch.

The Supreme Court of India, already under strain with its prestige, practice and honour at stake for various reasons, should have been more careful. Ceasar’s wife, even if a little flirtatious, must at least be seen to be above suspicion.

Defence lawyers have already questioned the mistrust of Punjab jails by the NIA as without giving even any reason or even an excuse to transfer the accused and their cases to Delhi. The family and counsels apprehend a threat to life of the accused in the anti-Sikh atmosphere among Tihar prison inmates and administration.

In view of the hate and security threat hype that is being whipped up by the ruling government, the NIA is spreading its terror like that of the Special TADA courts in the eighties of the last century.

Its earlier plea for transfer to Delhi was disallowed by the Special Court of Ms. Anshul Berry in Mohali. The NIA brought the case before another judge and simultaneously got a stay of proceedings from the Supreme Court.

The manner in which the Supreme Court so easily acquiesces with the NIA compromises judicial procedure and a fair trial. It is also a violation of a judicial tradition that an accused or a convict should be trans­ferred to a place where it is easy for his family and relatives to meet him and easier for his counsels to defend him.

The Supreme Court’s one para order is a clear indicator of the haste with which the petition was disposed of in favour of the National Investigative Agency.

The order reads, “Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, as several witnesses have been shot dead, and considering the gravity of the charges involved, we deem it appropriate to transfer the cases mentioned at Prayer (a) of the Transfer Petition from the Court of Additional Sessions Judge/​Judge, Special Court, NIA, SAS Nagar, Mohali to the competent court at Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi.

Ordered accordingly. All the cases shall be tried together.” If a ship is sinking, it is the boatman’s duty to save it, but what do travellers do if the boatman sinks the ship!

The Supreme Court of India has reversed this trend for senior leaders and activists of Kashmir long back and now it is the turn of Sikh political prisoners and undertrials.

Undoubtedly, the NIA has been embold­ened by the lackadaisical and grossly partial behaviour of the British government, which has not found time in nearly two years to meet their national Jagtar Singh Jaggi in prison. Clearly, there is more work for the #Free­Jaggi­Now campaign and the dedicated Scottish MP Martin Docherty-Hughes who took the case to the British Parliament.

While the Indian state is never bothered about its image or record regarding human rights violation is pretty well known, but when the Supreme Court and the NIA also show such careless and carefree attitude, knowing well that the case has international ramifications, this is a marker of the enveloping fear climate encircling the rights environment in India.

NIA and India’s Supreme Court spread state terror in Punjab

The Statesman – Sam Pitroda’s ‘anti-Sikh riots’ remark out of line, should apologise: Rahul Gandhi

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Minorities on Friday sent notice to Sam Pitroda over his remarks on anti-Sikh riots and directed him to tender an unconditional apology to the Sikh community.

New Delhi – India, 11 May 2019. Under fire over its leader Sam Pitroda’s comment on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that what Pitroda has said “is completely out of line” and asked him to apologise.

“I think 1984 was a needless tragedy that caused tremendous pain,” Gandhi said in a Facebook post.

Pitroda, the in-charge of the Congress’s overseas units, on Thursday, rubbished BJP’s allegation that the 1984 anti-Sikh riots took place on the orders of former PM Rajiv Gandhi.

“Ab kya hai ’84 ka? Aapne kya kiya 5 saal mein, uski baat kariye. ’84 mein hua to hua. Aapne kya kiya? (What about 1984 now? What have you done in the last five years, talk about that? What happened in 1984, happened. What have you done?),” Pitroda was quoted as saying by ANI.

Rahul Gandhi in his post, further stressed that people responsible for the riots should be punished.

“The Former PM, Manmohan Singh Ji has apologised. My mother, Sonia Gandhi Ji has apologised. We all have made our position very clear, that 1984 was a terrible tragedy and should never have happened,” he said.

“What Mr Sam Pitroda has said is absolutely and completely out of line and is not appreciated. I will be communicating this to him directly. He must apologise for his comment,” Gandhi concluded.

PM said on Friday that the three words uttered by Pitroda – ‘hua to hua’ – sum up the arrogance of the grand old party and proves that “they have no regard for life”.

Following mass outrage over Pitroda’s remark, the Congress on Friday issued a statement distancing itself while asserting that the party continues to strive for justice for victims of any riot.

“Any opinion remark made by any individual to the contrary including Sam Pitroda is not the opinion of Congress party,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on Friday sent notice to Sam Pitroda over his “hua to hua” remarks on 1984 anti-Sikh riots and directed him to tender an unconditional apology to the Sikh community.

The notice, issued on a complaint filed by Delhi BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, said that the remarks had hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community.

The 1984 riots followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984. At least 3000 innocent Sikhs were killed, mainly in Delhi and Punjab.

Several Congress leaders have been accused of instigating the mob during the riots.

Sam Pitroda’s ‘anti-Sikh riots’ remark out of line, should apologise: Rahul Gandhi

The Telegraph – The reasons to be pessimistic about Indian pluralism

The Republic of India is becoming ever more a ‘Hindu’ country; in how its citizens think and feel, in how its public officials think and act, in how its major political parties canvass for votes

Ramachandra Guha

Op/Ed, 11 May 2019. In 2008, the political scientist, Steven Wilkinson, published an essay titled “Muslims in Post-Independence India”. This was its conclusion: “The good news for India, and for India’s 130 million Muslims, is that there are several factors likely to restrain any Hindu nationalist attempts to establish a Hindu Rashtra that will permanently turn Muslims into second-class citizens.

First, opinion polls consistently show that over two-thirds of Indians reject this option, and that Indians are committed to religious pluralism. Second, India’s strong legal institutions and civil society impose real restraints on politicians’ ability to target minorities in order to stay in power.

Third, a broad increase in electoral volatility and competitiveness since the early 1980s is working in Muslims’ favour, because a higher level of party competition leads to more competition for Muslims’ votes.”

If a week is a long time in politics, a decade is an eternity in the life of a nation. Professor Wilkinson, writing in 2008, was optimistic about the survival and flourishing of India’s pluralistic ethos. Writing in 2019, it is impossible to be at all sanguine in this regard.

The first reason to be pessimistic about Indian pluralism is that history teaches us that once it controls the levers of State power, a determined and focused minority can always overcome a weak and vacillating majority. That was true in Russia after 1917, when Lenin and Stalin imposed Bolshevik brutality on a population that did not want it.

That was true in Germany after 1933 as well. In India, where the Bharatiya Janata Party had the added legitimacy of winning a parliamentary election (albeit with 31 per cent of the vote), it has since 2014 determinedly pursued an agenda of Hindu pride and Hindu supremacy.

The past few years have witnessed an awful coarsening of public discourse in India. The editor, Siddharth Varadarajan, has written feelingly of how Hindu communalists have pumped “raw sewage into the veins” of the nation; by vilifying, threatening, and attacking those Indians who do not subscribe to their views. The reporter, M.N. Parth, travelling through rural North India in the run-up to the general elections, found an unreasoning Islamophobia among many Hindus.

“The BJP’s insanely effective and penetrative social media machinery,” wrote Parth, “has successfully sold the persecution complex to the majority and made them insecure and paranoid.” As he further observed: “My most disquieting observation from the ground is how okay the overwhelming majority of Hindus are with the persecution of Muslims, including some of the ghastliest cases of lynchings. Not everybody wants a Muslim lynched, but not many are bothered about it either.”

The second reason to be pessimistic about Indian pluralism is that our legal institutions are not as robust as one may wish them to be (or as Professor Wilkinson, back in 2008, thought them to be). The police in several states of northern India are utterly compromised; that is to say, thoroughly communalized.

When MLAs, MPs, and even Union ministers openly felicitate alleged lynchers, it is hard for the police or even the lower courts to act quickly and impartially in the interest of justice. In this climate, few, too few, killers of innocent Muslims have been brought to trial and punished for their crimes.

The third reason to be pessimistic about Indian pluralism is that at least as far as our two national parties go, it is no longer the case that ‘a higher level of party competition leads to more competition for Muslims’ votes’. In 2014, Narendra Modi’s slogan of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ was, at least in theory, an appeal for votes from Muslims as well as Hindus.

But the BJP’s 2019 campaign has been exclusively targeted at placating the Hindu majority and seeking their votes by stoking their fears and insecurities. Hence Amit Shah’s characterization of Muslims as “termites”, Yogi Adityanath’s avowal of Bajrangbali against Ali, and Modi’s astonishing allegation that in West Bengal, a Hindu cannot even chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’.

Meanwhile, the Congress has increasingly recast itself as a ‘Hindu’ party as well. Thus Rahul Gandhi’s proclamation that he is a Shiv bhakt and a janeudhari Hindu, thus also the gaushalas promised by newly-elected Congress governments in North India.

That the BJP-Congress rivalry is essentially a competition for Hindu votes has been most starkly revealed in the fight for the Bhopal parliamentary seat when, after the BJP nominated the Hindutva firebrand, Pragya Singh Thakur, the Congress candidate, Digvijaya Singh, proclaimed that he had no less than seven temples in his own home, four of which had an eternal flame.

Sundry babas were called in by him to perform havans and speak at Congress rallies. When he could have spoken of his record as a long-time legislator and two-time chief minister, and contrasted this with his opponent’s utter lack of administrative experience, Singh instead panicked at the sight of her saffron robes and sought to show only that he was even more of a ‘devout’ Hindu than she was.

When India became independent in August 1947, and the Congress assumed the reins of office, the party of Mahatma Gandhi promised equal rights to Muslims as well as Hindus. Its aims and objectives were most eloquently stated in a letter that Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wrote to chief ministers of states in October 1947.

Here Nehru remarked: “I know there is a certain amount of feeling in the country… that the Central Government has somehow or other been weak and following a policy of appeasement towards Muslims. This, of course, is complete nonsense. There is no question of weakness or appeasement. We have a Muslim minority who are so large in numbers that they cannot, even if they want to, go anywhere else.

They have got to live in India. That is a basic fact about which there can be no argument. Whatever the provocation from Pakistan and whatever the indignities and horrors inflicted on non-Muslims there, we have got to deal with this minority in a civilized manner. We must give them security and the rights of citizens in a democratic State.”

India, in other words, was not to be a Hindu Pakistan. Even if Pakistan treated its Hindus as second-class citizens, India would treat its Muslims as equal in all respects. That is what Nehru held the Congress credo to be. However, the charge that the Congress was in fact ‘following a policy of appeasement towards Muslims’ never went away.

It gathered salience through Nehru’s own later failure to bring about the uniform civil code promised by the Constitution, through Indira Gandhi’s periodic appeals to imams to ask their flock to vote for the Congress, through Rajiv Gandhi’s capitulation to the mullahs in the Shah Bano case, through Manmohan Singh’s statement that religious minorities, rather than women, or the poor in general, had ‘the first claim’ on the nation’s resources.

Acts such as these allowed its main rival, the BJP, to paint the Congress as a party of minority appeasement. The charge stuck; and after its utter rout in the 2014 general elections, the Congress has worked overtime to shed that label. Indeed, it has gone to the other extreme; it now wants to present itself as being as much of a Hindu-first party as the BJP itself.

And so the Republic of India is becoming ever more a ‘Hindu’ country; in how its citizens think and feel, in how its public officials think and act, in how its major political parties canvass for votes and fight elections. Little wonder that there is now a palpable fear and insecurity among those Indians who are not themselves Hindus by birth or upbringing.

The constitutional commitment to pluralism is still intact; but on the ground, and in everyday life, majoritarianism rules. India is not yet a Hindu Pakistan; yet it is closer to being so than at any time since its founding.

ramachandraguha@yahoo.in

https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/the-reasons-to-be-pessimistic-about-indian-pluralism/cid/1690301?ref=top-stories_home-template

Scroll.in – Sam Pitroda apologises, says remark on 1984 anti-Sikh violence was misrepresented

Pitroda, who is the chairperson of the Indian Overseas Congress, claimed his statement was twisted and blown out of proportion.

Indian Overseas Congress Chairman Sam Pitroda on Friday apologised for his purported remark on the 1984 anti-Sikh violence. Pitroda said his remark was misrepresented and “blown out of proportion”.

“The statement I made was completely twisted, taken out of context because my Hindi isn’t good, what I meant was ‘jo hua vo bura hua’ [what happened was bad], I couldn’t translate ‘bura’ in my mind,” ANI quoted Pitroda as saying.

BJP leaders on Friday tweeted a video clip of an interview in which Pitroda responded to an ANI reporter’s question about the violence with: “Hua to hua [it happened, so what?]”. The exchange took place on Thursday.

“What I meant was move on,” Pitroda told ANI on Friday. “We have other issues to discuss as to what the BJP government did and what it delivered. I feel sorry that my remark was misrepresented, I apologise. This has been blown out of proportion.”

The Congress leader had earlier in the day accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of distorting his quotes. BJP leaders, including Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley, criticised Pitroda for his comment and sought an apology from Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Congress says Pitroda’s remark not party’s opinion

The Congress on Friday said Pitroda’s remark was not in line with the party’s opinion and said it has advised leaders to be careful and sensitive. “Violence and riots are unacceptable and unpardonable in our society,” the party said in a statement.

“Any opinion remark made by any individual to the contrary including Sam Pitroda is not the opinion of the Congress party.”

The party said justice should be done to victims of the 1984 violence, as also to the 2002 Gujarat riot victims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat at the time of the riots.

The Congress made an indirect reference to Pragya Singh Thakur’s candidature. “Lastly, unlike the BJP, which has decided to field a candidate charged with terror crimes and is being lauded as its face by none less than Narendra Modi himself, Congress party has shown the moral and political courage to punish people and leaders accused of violence/role in 1984,” it said.

“This is the yardstick of self imposed accountability and sense of justice to people followed by the Congress party, unlike the BJP.”

The Congress accused the BJP of using riots as a “vote garnering exercise” in every election. “People should see through this Machiavellian game of deception, distraction and distortion by Narendra Modi.”

Minorities commission issues notice to Pitroda

The National Commission for Minorities on Friday issued a notice to Pitroda for his remark based on a complaint filed by BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga.

The notice said Pitroda’s remark “hurt the religious feelings and sentiments of the Sikh community” and sought an unconditional apology from Pitroda towards them. Sikhs are a notified minority community in India and the “incident of 1984 massacre is a blot in the history of mankind”, the notice said.

https://scroll.in/latest/923062/sam-pitroda-apologises-says-remark-on-1984-anti-sikh-violence-was-misrepresented

The Hindu – Five years on, no relief for jailed Delhi University professor Saibaba

Professor Saibaba, held for Maoist links, is now battling several health conditions

Sonam Saigal

Mumbai – Maharashtra – India, 09 May 2019. Arrested on 09 May 2014, on charges of having Maoist links, Delhi University Professor G N Saibaba, who is 90% physically handicapped, has remained incarcerated in Nagpur Central Jail’s ‘anda cell’ (solitary confinement) since his conviction on 07 March 2017.

On 30 April 2019, a panel of experts with the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) wrote to the Indian government urging authorities to immediately release Saibaba, citing his “seriously deteriorating” health condition.

“Dr Saibaba’s health problems require immediate and sustained medical attention and are reaching a point of being life-threatening,” the five Special Rapporteurs Catalina Devandas, Michel Forst, Dainius Pūras, Nils Melzer and Agnès Callamard wrote.

Saibaba has been wheelchair-bound since he was five because of polio and suffers from 19 medical ailments. “He has a cyst in his brain due to which he keeps getting unconscious and has maladies in his gall bladder and pancreas,” his wife Vasantha Kumari, said over telephone from Delhi.

“He also has issues in his kidney and spine because of which he needs comprehensive treatment”.

Ms Kumari said jail authorities kept assuring her that they would help her disabled husband inside the prison but had provided little assistance. “There is no one from the jail authorities and the neighbouring adivasi co-convicts help him to eat and go to the washroom”.

HC rejects bail plea

On March 25, Saibaba’s medical bail plea was rejected by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court. The court had observed that the “offences are serious in nature” as reason for not granting suspension of sentence.

Explaining that his detention in the anda cell left her husband exposed to extremes of temperature that was worsening his health condition, Ms Kumari wryly observed, “prisons were meant for reformation but now they are meant for torture.

The conditions of prisons matter only when we want to bring back Vijay Mallya but are not even taken into consideration when there is a disabled convict”.

She said if he could not be granted bail he should at least be shifted to another jail.

“We have written to the authorities to shift him to Cherlapally central prison in Hyderabad because that’s where his brother is, who can go visit him regularly and my mother-in-law will also be at peace,” Ms Kumari said. “The Nagpur jail has no emergency room and none of us are around if something happens,” she added, her voice trailing off.

“Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in a bomb blast that killed six people can be granted medical bail and be allowed to contest elections, but Saibaba should not be allowed to even be transferred to another jail,” Ms. Kumari said.

Saibaba’s daughter Manjeera said: “UAPA [Unlawful Activities Prevention Act] has been misused and my father has become a case study.”

She added, “I think its a huge game. They are able to prove that even without evidence we can convict a person. His case is serving as a huge cornerstone.”

Ms. Kumari said, “I know why Saibaba is suffering, because he stood for the rights of dalits and adivasis and other minorities. There is no democracy left. He is in prison for his ideology.”

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/five-years-on-no-relief-for-jailed-delhi-university-professor-saibaba/article27084472.ece

Bhaktar News – President Ghani thanks participation & active role of Afghan Sikhs in Peace Jirga

Kabul – Kabul Province – Afghanistan, 07 May 2019. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met with a number of representative of AL-e-Hunood and Sikhs participating in Peace Consultative Jirga.

In the meeting held Sunday evening at presidential palace, Anarkhali Honaryar, representing the Afghan Sikhs, spoke and congratulated successfully holding the Peace Consultative Jirga to the President and people of Afghanistan.

Honaryar added that debates of the Jirga occurred in an open environment and praised the country’s President for respecting the people’s views, saying that Afghans needed lasting peace in the country.

Also praising the ministry of education for attention to schools of Afghan Sikhs, Honaryar asked the country’s President for attention to Cheshma-e-Muqadas in Nangarhar and Shamshan in Ghazni and Nangarhar.

Afterwards, the country’s President spoke and while praising the Afghan Sikhs for their participation and active role in Loya Jirga said problems of the Afghan Sikhs would be addressed through presidential office, ministry of urban development and land and independent governance of local organs.

President Ghani also praised them for considerable role in boosting the country’s economy in the past.

http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/37873-president-ghani-thanks-participation–active-role-of-afghan-sikhs-in-peace-jirga.html

Sikh24.com – Dr Dharamveer Gandhi seeks judicial iquiry into captain Kanwaljit Singh’s mysterious death

By Sikh24 Editors

Patiala – Panjab – India, 06 May 2019. After a decade, the matter of SAD leader Captain Kawaljit Singh’s death under suspicious circumstances has once again surfaced in the media. Now, the sitting Patiala MP Dr Dharamveer Gandhi has raised this issue.

It is noteworthy here that this issue had gotten limelight in the media after the death of Captain Kanwaljit Singh on March 29, 2009, but the truth never came out.

Dr Dharmaveer Gandhi has said that there is still a doubt in the minds of people about the death of the former Punjab Cabinet Minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh. “I request the Punjab government to make public the investigation report about Captain Kanwaljit Singh’s death,” he added.

Dr Gandhi stated that Captain Kanwaljit Singh had died during the tenure of SAD’s government in Punjab but what could be worse than is that the Akali government did not carry out a proper investigation of the death of its own minister.

“Due to this, the Akali government also came under question mark,” he said while adding that the investigation report must be in the records of Punjab government.

He said that the report should be made public so that common masses could get acquainted about how their beloved leader died. “I want a judicial inquiry into this case,” he said while promising that if he returns to Parliament then he will also facilitate a high level inquiry into this case.

Dr. Dharamveer Gandhi Seeks Judicial Inquiry into Captain Kanwaljit Singh’s Mysterious Death

The Hindustan Times – ‘Worst fears have come true’, says complainant in CJI case

In a statement issued after the panel’s notification was made public, the complainant said “gross injustice” has been done to her “as a woman citizen of India”.

Our Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 07 May 2019. The former Supreme Court employee who levelled charges of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said on Monday she was “highly disappointed and dejected” by the clean chit given to him by the three-member in-house panel of the Supreme Court, and would decide on the next step after consulting her lawyer.

In a statement issued after the panel’s notification was made public, the complainant said “gross injustice” has been done to her “as a woman citizen of India”. The court’s notification said that the full report did not need to be made public, citing a previous Supreme Court judgment dating back to 2003.

The woman said she was terrified “because the in-house committee, despite having all material placed before them, appears to have given me no justice or protection and said nothing about the absolutely mala fide dismissals and suspensions, indignities and humiliations suffered by me and my family. I and my family remain vulnerable to the ongoing reprisals and attack.”

The complainant had detailed the alleged wrongful dismissals and indignities in a sworn affidavit sent to 22 judges of the apex court on April 19. She said that not only were the services terminated, her husband and brotherin-law were suspended from the Delhi Police.

Her third brotherin-law, who has a disability and whose job she had secured with Gogoi’s help, was given a termination letter. “Today, my worst fears have come true, and all hope of justice and redress from the committee have been shattered,” she said in her statement.

The woman participated in the proceedings of the panel but walked out after her third deposition on April 30, saying she had lost faith in it because she was not allowed to be accompanied by her lawyer, and because the proceedings were not being recorded.

The complainant also said that she was not aware if the committee had called other persons, such as the police officer who, she alleged, had taken her to the CJI’s residence to make her apologise. The complainant said she also asked the panel to secure the call record details of the CJI and had submitted two mobile numbers, asking that the committee corroborate her charge that he regularly called and sent her WhatsApp messages.

“I will consult my lawyer and decide on the next steps. Today, I am at the verge of losing faith in the capacity of our system to deliver justice to the weak and vulnerable who are pitted against the powerful within the system itself,” she said.

Gogoi has refuted the allegations, saying a ‘bigger force’ wants to deactivate CJI’s office.

In an interview, last week, her lawyer Prashant Bhushan said that the complainant can invoke various remedies under the law. “She can file an FIR with a police station but that will require the permission of the President of India. She can also go to court challenging her dismissal from service,” Bhushan said.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/worst-fears-have-come-true-says-cji-case-complainant/story-vQ3kp2eW0QZ6UFsQxWwOrM.html