– Tens of thousands pay homage to martyred Sikh youths at Bargari

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 14 October 2018. Tens of thousands of Sikhs today commemorated the third death anniversary of Shaheed Bhai Krishan Bhagwan Singh and Shaheed Bhai Gurjit Singh Nikke Sarawan at Bargari.

Contrary to the expectations among political circles, the today’s gathering didn’t seem less than the earlier gathering held at Bargari on October 7.

Notably, Shaheed Bhai Krishan Bhagwan Singh and Shaheed Bhai Gurjit Singh Nikke Sarawan had attained martyrdom in unprovoked firing opened by the police cops on peacefully protesting Sikhs at Behbal Klan on October 14, 2015.

Prominent Panthik leaders and AAP leaders enthusiastically participated in this tributary program held in the grain market of Bargari.

Addressing the gathering, all the leaders took on the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) for undermining the temporal Sikh institution by playing in the hands of anti-Sikh powers. They also criticized the Congress led Punjab government for not taking any action against the killer cops.

Rebel AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira, SAD (Amritsar) president S Simranjit Singh Mann, UAD president Bhai Mohkam Singh, General Secretary S Gurdeep Singh Bathinda, Bhai Satnam Singh Manawa, Bhai Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, S Jaskaran Singh Kahan Singh Wala, Bhai Balwant Singh Gopala etc addressed the Sikh gathering on this occasion beside the Sarbat Khalsa appointed Takht Jathedars.

The presence of Punjab Congress leaders Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria was noticed in the other tributary programs organized by the families of martyred Sikh youths in their native villages.

Interacting with media, the Punjab Cabinet Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said that the Punjab government is planning to build memorials of Shaheed Bhai Krishan Bhagwan Singh and Shaheed Bhai Gurjit Singh Nikke Sarawan in their villages.

Terming the Behbal Klan tragedy as the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy of 21st century, Bajwa said that the Punjab Government is duty-bound to give justice to the victims of Behbal Klan and Kotkapura firing incidents and the perpetrators would be behind the bars very soon.


The New Indian Express – Amarinder Singh’s government didn’t punish culprits of Guru Granth Sahib sacrilege – Arvind Kejriwal

Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Kejriwal alleged that it is unfortunate that Captain Amarinder Singh government has badly failed to punish the culprits of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

New Delhi – India, 14 October 2018. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday accused the Punjab Government led by Capt Amarinder Singh of having failed to punish the murderers of two people who died in a firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan in the state during protest against sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in 2015.

Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Kejriwal said, “On third death anniversary of Behbal Kalan victims Krishan Bhagwan Singh and Gurjit Singh, I offer condolences to their families.

Highly unfortunate that Captain Amarinder Singh government has badly failed to punish the culprits of sacrilege of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the murderers of two innocents.”

On this occasion, two Punjab ministers Sukhwinder Singh Sarkaria and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa along with two Congress MLAs Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon from Faridkot and Harminder Singh from Tarn Taran on Sunday visited the families of victims who died in the firing incident.

In Punjab’s Faridkot, a dharna was staged to commemorate the third anniversary of the death of the victims.

The Tribune – Akalis ask Modi to seek UK apology on Jallianwala Bhag massacre

New Delhi – India, 13 October 2018. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask the British Government to tender an apology for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

In a letter to Modi, party’s senior vice-president Prem Singh Chandumajra said, “I request you on my behalf and on behalf of the people of Punjab to write to the UK Government on this issue and build pressure to take the matter to its logical conclusion.”

He said a campaign had been going on for the past several years in India and the UK in this regard.

“It is high time the Government of India seeks a formal apology from Britain for the heinous crime,” Chandumajra added.

The Centre has already decided to observe the massacre’s centenary at the national level next year.

Tolo News – Explosion targets Takhar election rally; Twelve killed

Takhar police said the incident took place in Rustaq district on Saturday afternoon.

Rostaq – Rustaq District – Takhar – Afghanistan, 13 October 2018. At least 12 people were killed in an explosion at an election campaign rally in Rustaq district in the northeastern Takhar province on Saturday afternoon, security officials confirmed.

A motorcycle bomb was detonated just before 2 pm local time targeting the campaign rally of Nazifa Beg, a candidate from Rustaq district of Takhar.

Takhar police said at least 12 people were killed and 32 others wounded in the explosion.

According to the provincial police, two security force members are also among those killed in the explosion.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack in a statement, saying that the enemies of Afghans cannot weaken the will of the nation for the success of the democratic process of elections.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Kabul John Bass condemned the attack and called on the Taliban to condemn it. He said if the group is serious about peace process it will do the same and punish those responsible.

This is the third attack against the election campaign process this month. The parliamentary elections are scheduled for next Saturday.

The latest attack comes after an attack at a campaign office in Helmand province on Tuesday which claimed the lives of eight people including the election candidate, Saleh Mohammad Achakzai.

On October 3, an explosion targeted an election rally in Nangarhar, killing 14 people.

At least eight candidates have been killed in insurgent attacks since the beginning of July, soon after the candidate registration process was finalized.

On September 25, Nasir Mubarez, a candidate for the Kochis, from Kandahar, was killed by unknown armed men in a shooting in Kandahar City’s PD2.

On September 2, Anwar Niazi, a Parwan candidate, was killed and two others wounded when a magnetic IED was detonated against the vehicle they were traveling in. The incident took place in Kabul city center, in Shirpoor, in PD10, at about 7pm local time.

In August, Jalal Salehi, a candidate from Kabul, was killed during a security forces operation in Kabul’s Shakar Dara district.

Another candidate, former member of Ghazni provincial council, Sayed Obaidullah Sadat, was killed in Ghazni on July 14 by unknown armed men.

On July 1, the Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leader, Ottar Singh Khalsa, who was running for parliamentary elections, was killed in a suicide attack in Jalalabad city in Nangarhar province.

And on July 30, another Nangarhar candidate, Hayatullah Khan Rahmani, was killed when a suicide bomber targeted him in Rodat district in the province.

More than 2,500 candidates are running for 249 parliamentary seats in the October 20 elections.

Dawn – TLP threatens to paralyse country if Aasia Bibi is acquitted

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 13 October 2018. The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has warned of paralysing the country within hours if the Supreme Court sets Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, free.

The TLP directed its local leaders across the country on Friday to start holding sit-ins within hours without waiting for a decision by the central leadership, if she is freed.

“Judges’ remarks have sown doubt among the party leaders and fears that she would be released soon,” Pir Afzal Qadri, patron-in-chief of the TLP, said while addressing a rally taken out to protest the possible acquittal of Aasia Bibi.

Reading out a four-point resolution approved by the party leadership, he said the possible acquittal would be deemed an attack on Islam, the Constitution and blasphemy law.

Responsibility for the subsequent law and order situation would rest with the judges, the government and all institutions supposed to protect the Constitution, he warned.

“The central leadership has already decided about a countrywide protest and local leaders should not wait for any message from the central leadership and start their sit-ins immediately,” Mr Qadri said, adding that these “nationwide sit-ins should continue till all those responsible for [Aasia Bibi’s] release are punished, even if the central leadership is incarcerated or killed”.

A number of TLP workers gathered on The Mall in Lahore and other major cities in the country, including Karachi, Multan and Gujranwala, to “pre-empt the acquittal”.

Police, unlike previous rallies, did not block Charing Cross till the last moment and even when the rally arrived at the venue, the road was blocked by the party workers who dragged barriers put up to block access to the Punjab Assembly building and encircled the crossing.

Addressing the rally later, firebrand TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi not only seconded the decisions announced by Mr Qadri but also took on the judiciary, inviting the judges to a debate on the blasphemy law and its violations on television.

He concluded his speech by asking the workers to be ready for nationwide sit-ins. “Stay ready and wait for Tuesday when another important announcement would be made,” he said.

In Karachi, the TLP held a big rally warning the government against showing any flexibility in cases pertaining to blasphemy. The participants of the rally demanded the execution of Aasia Bibi and action against those pursuing a campaign in her favour.

Hundreds of participants marched from Hasan Square to Numaish intersection where leaders of the party addressed the rally. Traffic on main University Road and then on M A Jinnah Road remained badly affected.

The TLP leaders asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to come up with a clear policy on blasphemy laws and satisfy the people who had voted him to rule under the Constitution.

The charged participants of the rally on motorbikes, buses, cars and pickups chanted slogans vowing to protect the blasphemy law.

A TLP statement said the rally was part of its countrywide movement against the “possible acquittal of blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi”.

“There is a growing campaign for the release of Aasia Bibi and the recent steps coupled with statements from the people of the ruling party suggest that the government is considering a kind of relief for Aasia Bibi,” said Allama Razi Hussaini while addressing the rally.

These people are wicked and stupid and lack humanity
Man in Blue

Dawn – Child marriages prevention bill on the table in Balochistan

Staff Correspondent

Quetta – Balochistan – Pakistan, 08 October 2018. A senior leader of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Sana Durrani, has urged the provincial government to move the Prevent Child Marriages bill in the provincial assembly for legislation as soon as possible.

Speaking at a joint press conference, along with representatives of different NGOs, including Robina Rizwan, Ms Samreen, Abdul Sattar Baloch, Gul Khan Naseer and Zia Baloch, Ms Durrani said that NGOs have played a leading role in the campaign for this bill to be presented.

She said that the bill was discussed in the assembly by members from both sides and the majority of the elected representatives agreed to go ahead with it. The only point of contention among some of them, she said, was on the matter of the points on the age limits of girls the bill addressed.

Ms Durrani said that the bill was about to be passed in the assembly but because it was the end of its tenure, the bill remained pending. She said that Balochistan was notorious for child marriages, which causes a high child mortality rate.

The Tribune – CM reviews progress of SIT probe in sacrilege cases

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 09 October 2018. Amid growing concern within the ruling party over the delay in taking action in sacrilege cases and subsequent police firing at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura, CM Captain Amarinder Singh today reviewed the progress of the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

He also discussed with the Advocate General and Additional Chief Secretary (Home) the status of case regarding interim stay granted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to five policemen, whose names figured in the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report.

The state’s plea for vacation of the stay is coming up for hearing tomorrow.

It is learnt the party’s top brass has drawn up plans to come out with some action before November so that people’s faith in the Congress was restored. The party wants to use the issue to its advantage in the Lok Sabha polls.

A senior government functionary said the presence of hardcore radicals among the gathering at Bargari on October 7 is an area of concern for intelligence agencies. The October 14 gathering to be held at Bargari and Panthic assembly on October 20 and 21 is being closely watched.

The CM and the police officers discussed the scheduled gathering of the Panthic leaders on October 14, called to observe the third anniversary of those killed in police firing at Behbal Kalan. “The Congress wants to oust Badals from the SGPC, but not allow the radicals to take over,” said a senior leader.

Earlier in the day, Cabinet Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Faridkot MLA Kushaldeep Dhillon are learnt to have met the CM seeking timely action against those whose complicity have figured in the Ranjit Singh report.
Though both termed the meeting as a courtesy call, it is learnt that they have sought taking the sacrilege cases and subsequent police firing to its logical conclusion. More leaders are expected to meet the CM in the coming days over the issue.

BBC News – MP Preet Kaur Gill queries police raids on Sikh homes

Rahil Sheikh BBC Asian Network

The Labour MP has said she wants to know why details of five Sikhs in the UK were leaked to Indian newspapers after their homes were raided by police.

London – UK, 09 October 2018. Preet Kaur Gill said she was told the Indian authorities had no role in the raids carried out on the addresses.

Sikh activists have said they believe the raids were instigated by the Indian government, a claim denied by police.

West Midlands Police counter-terrorism officers searched the addresses in the Midlands and London last month.

The force said it had targeted suspects accused of being involved in extremist activity in India, but no arrests were made.

Since then the names and details of five Sikh activists were published in Indian newspapers, which has sparked claims by Sikh groups in Britain that the Indian authorities were involved in the operation.

‘Horrible experience’

Shamsher Singh, a well-known British Sikh activist, was one of the five whose homes were raided in Birmingham, Coventry and West London. He said the raids left him and his family traumatised.

“The whole experience was really horrible and totally absurd. It was really out of the blue. I don’t really understand it,” he said.

“Things happened to my friends, their children and elderly family members that I never thought would happen in this country”.

Ms Gill, the MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, who is the first female Sikh MP elected to the UK Parliament, said there were unanswered questions.

“We’re trying to establish the facts,” she said. “We’re trying to establish why in the Indian media you have one story, while here the West Midlands Police have given out very little information but have actually stated to myself that these raids were not conducted as a result of India requesting this to take place.

Now the information being put out in the public domain is quite contradictory.”

Ms Gill said there were concerns in the Sikh community that any Indian involvement could be linked to the case of Jagtar Singh Johal.

Mr Johal, from Dumbarton, was arrested in India last November and is still being held in an Indian jail without charge, accused of being involved in political violence in Punjab.

“The fear in the community, when I’ve spoken to many of the organisations, is that because there’s been no charge on Jagtar Singh Johal in India, are these raids to try and build some kind of evidence?” said the MP.

“And therefore are they targeted and have they been done in an underhand way, which is something Gareth Peirce, who is representing the five, will be looking at.”

Indian journalist Manoj Joshi said: “The threat of Sikh extremism in India isn’t very serious. But it would be in the Indian government’s interest to keep track of it.

“Because there are areas which are used for fundraising and propaganda so I think it is a legitimate interest of the government in India to at least keep track of this and to tip off British authorities if they think something could become more serious.”

Shamsher Singh said the raids had gone down very badly with Sikhs in the UK.

“I don’t really understand it because can West Midlands Police investigate stuff that happened in India? Are they acting on behalf of the Indian government?

“It’s really confusing at the moment, so we’ve got lawyers, Sikh organisations and Sikh politicians who are trying to work this out and understand what’s happened.

“From what I’ve seen Sikhs are enraged because they think that Sikh activists are being targeted.”

West Midlands Police denied any involvement by the Indian government. In a statement the force said the operation was carried out based on intelligence gathered over a period of time related to terror offences relating to activity in India and fraud offences.

It also said the operation was not directed by either the UK or Indian governments and also denied it was connected to the Jagtar Singh Johal case.

The Indian government has been approached for comment but has not responded.

The five Sikh activists have said they are seeking a legal case against West Midlands Police and Ms Gill said she would raise the issue with Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

The Asian Age – ‘Untenable’: SC Sabarimala verdict allowing women of all ages challenged

The petition was filed by the National Ayyappa Devotee Association.

New Delhi – India, 08 October 2018. A review petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the earlier verdict of the apex court which allowed women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple.

The plea filed by president of National Ayyappa Devotees Association, Shylaja Vijayan, said the September 28 judgment which had allowed entry of women of all ages in the hill-top shrine is “absolutely untenable and irrational, if not perverse”.

On 28 September 2018, the five judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court lifted ban on women of all ages from entering the Kerala temple.

Soon after the verdict, some groups started protesting. The agitation gained momentum after the LDF government made it clear that it would not go in for a review of the apex court verdict.

The representatives of Sabarimala temple’s chief priest are skipping a meeting convened by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday to discuss the court’s verdict amid mounting protests.

Devotees of Lord Ayyappa protested in Chennai on Sunday, demanding the retaining of the age-old tradition of the temple.

A rally ‘Ayyappa Nama Japa Yatra’ was also held on Sunday at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar where Lord Ayappa’s devotees protested against the top court ruling.

Earlier, women of the menstrual age, between 10 to 50 years, were restricted from entering the temple premises.
It is believed that the residing deity of the temple, Lord Ayyappa, is considered to be a celibate.

As the long dead Lord Ayyappa was a celibate, women between 10 to 50 years could not enter the mandir.
Does that make sense ? Of course it makes no sense.
Man in Blue

The Hindu – Deportation fears rise at Rohingya camp in Delhi

Rohingya refugees say they will not go back till the Indian government assures their rights, safety.

Saurabh Trivedi

New Delhi – India, 06 October 2018. The 235 Rohingya refugees staying at the Kalindi Kunj camp are worried about their future after the government deported seven of them on Friday. Most of refugees in the camp earn a living as daily-wage labourers and e-rickshaw or autorickshaw drivers.

They alleged that the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) had refused to extend their visas, which expired in 2017.

Abdullah,who stays at the camp, said, “We are already suffering. By deporting us, they [the Indian government] are pushing us to certain death. Why are we treated as refugees and not human beings?

We do not know what freedom means. We are happy in India and get what we never got in Myanmar. We want to live here like any other Indian citizen.”

The refugees said a police team had visited the camp on Monday and distributed a six-page nationality verification form titled ‘Personal Data Form’. The police asked each of them to fill the form, complete with a photograph, by Thursday.

“A policeman came to collect the forms [on Thursday] but most of us refused to fill them. We do not want to go back till the Indian government assures our rights and safety in Myanmar.

The Indian government will send these forms to Myanmar, where the authorities will forge details and use them as needed,” said Mohammad Shakir, who stays at the camp with his family.

Sanjida Begum, who lives here with her 17-year-old son, said she will only go back to Myanmar once the situation is back to normal.

“My house in Myanmar was set afire and my husband remains untraceable. My son is too young to get a job, and my community does not allow me work. NGOs and the government have been taking care of us,” she said.

A major fire broke out in the camp on April 16. The residents were rehabilitated on an adjacent piece of land, with the government providing all basic necessities.

“We lost everything, including our United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR] cards. However, they were reissued within two days. We were provided with all facilities, including electricity and ration.

Our visa, which were issued in 2014, expired in 2017 but the FRRO refused to extend [them] citing procedural delay,” said Samil Mullah, a refugee who runs a grocery shop in the camp.

The refugees said they will be killed in Myanmar if get deported.

“We want the Government of India to assure our freedom in Myanmar. If it cannot do this, let us stay here peacefully. We will never demand anything,” said Faiyaz Ahmed.