– Commission’s final report points toward Badal’s direct role in ordering fire on Sikhs

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 18 August 2018. The Justice Ranjit Singh led Investigation Commission, constituted by the Punjab government to probe sacrilege cases, submitted its final part of the report to the Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh on August 16.

Sources have informed that Captain Amarinder Singh has directed the state’s home department to take further necessary action on the full and final report on sacrilege cases.

Sikh24 has learnt that the entire report is in four parts. While Part-1 of the report was submitted on June 30, Part-2 submitted recently deals with incidents of sacrilege in SAS Nagar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Roop Nagar and Patiala districts.

Part-3 is related to incidents in SBS Nagar (Nawanshahr) and Hoshiarpur districts and Part-4 covers the sacrilege incidents in Amritsar, Bathinda, Barnala, Faridkot, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Mansa, Moga, Sangrur, Muktsar and Tarn Taran districts.

In a video uploaded on his Facebook page, MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira claimed that the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission has disclosed in the final report that the former DGP Sumedh Saini has submitted an affidavit before the Commission in which Saini has admitted that the then Punjab CM Parkash Badal had called him at 2 am of October 14 i.e. few hours before opening fire on the peacefully protesting Sikhs.

Seeking a thorough investigation in this concern, Sukhpal Khaira expressed a suspicion that Saini might have been ordered by Badal to open fire on the peacefully protesting Sikhs at Behbal Klan and Kotkapura.

He said that the fact couldn’t be neglected as the former SAD-BJP led Punjab government did everything to shield the guilty police cops.

It is pertinent to note here that on being summoned by the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission, the former Punjab CM Parkash Badal had refused to appear before the Commission and had said that he annuls the commission.


The Asian Age – Professor assaulted by mob for criticising Vajpayee in Bihar

The professor was dragged down from his flat and thrashed, following which the attackers tried to burn him alive

Motihari – Bihar – India, 18 August 2018. An academician, working at Mahatma Gandhi University, was allegedly thrashed by an angry mob on Friday afternoon for a comment on a social media platform criticising former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who took his last breath on Thursday, following a prolonged illness.

The professor was attacked and dragged down from his flat, situated on the third floor. The attackers also attempted to burn him alive.

Reportedly, his comment on a critical post against the late BJP Veteran read, “Fascivad ke ek Yug ki samapti. Atal ji anant yatra par nikle (End to an era of fascism. Atal ji embarks on an journey to eternity).”

The professor was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital and later was referred to Patna’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for advanced medical treatment.

Speaking to ANI, the victim however claimed that he was not only attacked for commenting on the post criticising Vajpayee, but also for raising his voice against his university’s Vice Chancellor’s (VC) decisions in the past.

“The people, who attacked me were all backed by the present VC. I also received a threat call from the attackers, who warned me to not protest against the VC,” he added.

A face-off between the VC and the professors started on May 29, after scores of teachers sat on dharna, protesting the decisions taken by the university administration pertaining to reservation and appointment of new faculty members.

The Modesto Bee – In wake of attacks, Sikh-led town hall urges unity and awareness

Garth Stapley <>

Modesto – California – USA, 17 August 2018. About 150 people gathered Thursday in Modesto to denounce hate crimes and urge acceptance for people of all backgrounds.

The town hall meeting was prompted by recent reports of two separate attacks on turban-wearing Sikh men, near Keyes and in Manteca. But organizers also hoped to “create awareness and unity,” said Jaspreet Kaur, 209 community organizer for Jakara Movement, the nation’s leading nonprofit for Sikh youth.

Several young Sikhs led the charge Thursday, urging peaceful but firm response to disturbing acts.

Ranjot Kaur, a California State University, Stanislaus, student from Livingston, said she was “shocked and stunned, but unfortunately not surprised” to learn of the attacks.

“We fear what we don’t know, or don’t understand,” said Jagjot Singh of Ceres, who studies biology at Stanislaus State. He praised the evening’s “beautiful turnout.”

Gursimar Kaur, a Livingston High School student, called for all people to “practice kindness and generosity.”

Jaspreet Kaur said she was impressed at support from groups other than Sikhs, including the NAACP; the Modesto, Turlock and Manteca city councils; state Senator Cathleen Galgiani and representatives of other state and national office holders.

Naindeep Singh, executive director for a valley chapter of Jakara Movement, said 118 hate crimes were reported to authorities in Stanislaus County from 2007 to 2017, and 121 in San Joaquin County. Most victims were black, he said.

Thursday’s gathering helped “lift and amplify voices that are often neglected,” he said.

Garth Stapley

The New Indian Express – BJP corporators ‘thrash’ MIM man for opposing Vajpayee tribute

A video clip purportedly showing Sayed Mateen being kicked, punched and slapped by the BJP corporators has gone viral on the social media and was also aired by some TV channels.

Aurangabad – Maharashtra – India, 17 August 2018. BJP corporators allegedly thrashed a Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) member today for opposing a resolution in the municipal corporation to pay tributes to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The alleged incident took place during the general body meeting of the civic body, an official said.

After the meeting began, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator Raju Vaidya tabled a proposal to pay tributes to Vajpayee.

MIM corporator Sayed Mateen opposed it, which infuriated the saffron party members, who allegedly rushed to him and thrashed him in the House.

A video clip purportedly showing Sayed Mateen being kicked, punched and slapped by the BJP corporators has gone viral on the social media and was also aired by some TV channels.

In the clip, the corporation security officials can be seen coming to Mateen’s rescue and taking him out of the House through a side exit.

The MIM corporator was later taken to a nearby hospital.

A BJP corporator said Mateen had been creating a nuisance and had also earlier opposed the singing of the national song in the House.

Mateen told PTI that he was opposing the move to pay tribute to Vajpayee in a “democratic manner”, but around a dozen BJP corporators assaulted him.

He even named some of them.

Immediately after the incident, alleged MIM supporters damaged a car belonging to a local BJP functionary and also beat up the driver.

BJP corporator Pramod Rathod, who was named by Mateen as one of his assaulters, demanded that the MIM corporator be expelled from the civic body for his “anti-national” move in opposing a tribute to Vajpayee.

Later in the evening, Vijay Sainath Autade, Deputy Mayor of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation, lodged a complaint against Mateen at the City Chowk police station.

The police said a case under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc. and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 294 (obscene acts in public) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered against Mateen.

BJP MLA from Aurangabad East Atul Save demanded that a case of sedition be lodged against the MIM corporator.

He said he had approached the city police commissioner, who told him that the police would take a decision on this “in a day or two”.

“When the entire nation was paying tribute to the former prime minister, the MIM corporator opposed the move. This is an act of sedition and a case should be filed against him,” Save said.

Meanwhile, MIM MLA from Aurangabad Central Imtiyaz Jaleel urged the police commissioner to go through the footage of the incident and take action against those involved in allegedly assaulting Mateen.

“The victim will file a complaint, but the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation should also file a complaint against the attackers,” he said.

Jaleel added that assaulting anyone over such disagreements could not be justified in a democracy.

The police said Mateen was yet to approach them with a complaint.

Catch News – Why the ‘dead’ idea of Khalistan is being resurrected

Rajeev Khanna

Chandigarh – Panjab – India. 16 August 2018. Although it is almost a dead idea in Punjab, the idea of a sovereign Sikh homeland and the right to self determination continue to dot the political narrative in the state as well as among the Sikh diaspora.

Once a militant organisation, the Dal Khalsa is now resorting to democratic means. It has chosen the occasion of its 40th anniversary on Monday to announce the continuation of the struggle for ‘Sikh sovereignty to the formation of a secular and liberal Sikh state, through peaceful and democratic means’.

The announcement came at the ‘Azaadi Sankalp Divas’ congregation at Chandigarh from where the demand for Khalistan had first been aired four decades ago.

This announcement to take the movement forward through peaceful and democratic means comes a day after the London rally organised on Sunday by separatist Sikhs living abroad who are playing up the proposed ‘Referendum 2020’ for self-determination.

After its requests to Britain to ban the event failed, the Indian establishment worked behind the scenes to get the Indian origin Britons to hold counter demonstrations to send home the message that the rally by the Sikhs had fizzled out. The Indian media played to the ‘nationalist’ tune and did the rest.

Political parties in Punjab, particularly the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government has gone hammer and tongs to denounce the attempts by separatist elements abroad for a cause that is nowhere to be seen on the ground.

But the story for Dal Khalsa remains different as it is trying its best to keep at least the idea of Khalistan alive among the people. This was evident at the Chandigarh event where one of the speakers, human rights activist Jagmohan Singh, said:

“Referendums don’t happen in thin air. They follow either a determined armed resistance struggle in the homeland to protect genuine and legitimate rights of a people through United Nations intervention or where there are mature democracies like United Kingdom and Canada which allow full play of democratic self-determination to those who desire.”

He called for a ‘Lok Lehar’ (people’s movement) to take the idea of self determination forward pointing that the movement has to be not only in the political domain but in the social and cultural ones as well, something that has been missing in Punjab.

Underlining that achieving the goal through democratic means is very difficult but not impossible, he told those present, “The first struggle is to convince the Indian establishment that ours is a political issue and not that of law and order. We have to ask ourselves whether we are ready for a limited referendum.

Are we ready to understand it. This is to be followed by garnering support from friends both in India as well outside.” He asked those present to start engaging with the Indian state specifically on self-determination. He underlined that this is the only path available.

In his speech he gave interesting insights into the Sikh struggle over the last 40 years stating that the points being raised by those organizing Referendum 2020 had all been raised by the Sikhs in India in a memorandum handed over to former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali during his visit to India in the last decade of the last century.

Earlier opening the conference Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh, “We have revived our movement on political lines in 1998 for the right to self-determination and through it, to rekindle the spirit of freedom of the Sikhs. We launched our youth wing, the Sikh Youth of Punjab with the clear objective of rejuvenating the Khalsa and passing on the buck to the next generation.”

Senior party Harcharanjit Singh Dhami while referring to Sunday’s London Declaration rally said, “Our doubts regarding the feasibility and possibility of the referendum remain. Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and its leader has not offered anything new in the London Declaration, except fixing the time of November 2020.

Unless the misgivings are addressed 2020 will be a fiasco and will hurt the freedom movement of the Sikhs.”

It is being said that as it has come about, the SFJ call is nothing but an opinion poll whose results the organisers propose to take to the United Nations. Sadly, at the Trafalgar Square meet, absence of any Sikh activist from homeland Punjab showing a clear disconnect between Punjab and the body which claims to campaign for freedom of Punjab.

Dal Khalsa president Harpal Singh Cheema said, “We will launch a new phase of consistent democratic engagement with the government of India and the United Nations, urging them to set up a mechanism to allow the people of Punjab to exercise the right to self determination.”

A message was read from All India Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani who said, “My dear partners in freedom struggle, the minorities, in the vast ocean of majority populace of India have been subjected to the worst treatment”.

The event was also attended by Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) leader Simranjit Singh Mann who said that a ‘buffer’ state of Khalistan is required between ‘Islamic’ Pakistan, ‘Hindu’ India and ‘Communist’ China. “The fact that all these are nuclear powers cannot be ignored and a balance of power has to be struck to ensure peace in South Asia,” he said.

Meanwhile Amarinder has debunked the London rally saying it has exposed the total lack of ground support for the Referendum 2020 even outside India. He has dismissed it as a futile exercise by a sham organization to create trouble in India, particularly Punjab.

He said the SJF are just a group of fringe elements playing into the hands of Pakistan’s ISI to divide India, but they have failed, and will continue to fail in their nefarious designs. He added that the presence of Pakistani politicians at the rally confirms that it was out and out an ISI plot.

The Punjab chief minister said that as expected, it turned out to be a damp squib, participated by a handful of elements. He, however, felt the UK government should have put its foot down and not allowed its soil to be used to propagate anti-India campaign.

Further castigating the UK government, Amarinder said that by allowing the protestors to use Trafalgar Square, instead of the usual Hyde Park that’s generally used for such purposes, it had shown its total complacency in the issue.

He also said that some of Kashmiris were forced to wear turbans to make them look like Sikhs at the event.

Describing the SFJ fringe elements as mere ‘social media tigers’ trying to create a hype even when they have no support, both in India and abroad, Amarinder said the Sikhs are a patriotic community who have always stood for the unity and integrity of the country.

He pointed that as many as 90,000 Sikhs are serving in the Indian army, defending the country’s borders.

There were many Khalistanis on the square and only a handful of counter demonstrators
Man in Blue – USA: two arrested in attack of Sikh man at Manteca park, including son of police chief

Alexa Mae Asperin

Manteca – California – USA, 09 August 2018. Manteca police have arrested two teens in connection with the attack of a 71-year-old Sikh man at Graystone Park Monday morning.

Police say numerous tips assisted authorities in identifying 18-year-old Tyrone McAllister and the 16-year-old boy.

McAllister is being processed at Manteca PD before being transferred to SJCO Jail on the following charges:

– Attempted Robbery
– Elder Abuse
– Assault with a Deadly Weapon

In response to inquiries about whether McAllister is the son of Union City Police Chief Darryl McAllister, the Union City Police Department issued the following statement:

“Chief McAllister confirmed that his estranged son, Tyrone Keith McAllister, is one of the two suspects arrested. Chief McAllister’s status as a law enforcement leader has no bearing or relation to the case whatsoever, but he is devastated by how much the nature of his son’s actions are such a departure from everything he has stood for in his personal life and 37 year career of compassionate, engaging police work.

He and his wife worked with Manteca PD to help track down and arrest Tyrone this morning, as Tyrone has been estranged from the family and their home for some time. Chief McAllister expresses deep concern for the victim and the victim’s family and he remains steadfast that his son, an adult, must be accountable for his actions.”

The teen is being processed at Manteca PD before being transferred to SJCO Juvenile Detention Center on the following charges:

Attempted Robbery
Elder Abuse
Assault with a Deadly Weapon

“The public’s assistance in providing information with this case was instrumental in identifying the suspects and allowed my investigators to make a quick arrest,” said Supervisor Sgt. Miller.

Surveillance video shows one of the suspects kicking the victim to the ground.

After the victim gets up to defend himself, the same suspect kicks him back down to the ground.

Police say the man does not speak English and could not tell officers what the men said to him.

Last week, two men beat a Sikh man in Keyes and spray-painted a neo-Nazi symbol on his truck in what police are treating as a hate crime.

Surjit Malhi says he was putting up campaign signs for local Republicans when two men ambushed him.

The Statesman – Supreme Court issues notice to UP government in Hapur lynching case

Meerut – UP – India, 14 August 2018. The Supreme Court on Monday directed a senior Uttar Pradesh police officer to probe the Hapur lynching case in which one person was killed and another brutally assaulted in the name of cow vigilantism, while terming the allegations of the survivor as “serious”.

ADG of Meerut Zone Prashant Kumar has refused to give a statement on the comment of the Supreme court on Hapur lynching during hearing on Monday.

When contacted the additional director general (ADG) Prashant Kumar said that he shall not speak anything in this regard untill he gets the official report.

On the contrary he admitted that the honourable Court has asked IG range to submit a report on it. He explained that IPC’s Section of murder is considered stringent and case of lynching was registered in the incident.

According to the media reports the Supreme court on Monday has directed the police to give security cover to Samuddin who survived a mob attack in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur over suspicion of killing a cow on 18 June in which a man was killed.

“In the meantime, the IGP, Meerut (Range) shall submit a report with regard to the incident in question. We have so directed keeping in view the serious allegations/ assertions made in the writ petition,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.

The SC also asked the police to submit a report on the incident. The survivor had taken refuge of the court demanding security.

“Police has carried out a fair investigation of the incident,” he said adding that the probe was based on the complaints lodged by the family members. Kumar also said that investigation would be done as per directions of the honourable Supreme Court and whosoever is involved would not be spared.

Sankalp Sharma, SP of Hapur, however, promised full complaince of the orders of the court though he has not yet any directive so far. ‘What we know is through media reports,” he said, adding that the family of the survivor victim has already been provided security.

On the contrary an inspector level officer has been investigating the case and its monitoring is being done by superior officers.

Nasir was lynched by a mob when he had gone in a village to buy cows and another farmer Samuddin was injured on 18 June. Initially, police tried to project it as a case of road rage but later it was surfaced that lynching was carried out on the name of protection of cows.

The Tribune – Will make peaceful push for Khalistan, says Dal Khalsa

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 13 August 2018. On the occasion of its foundation day, the Dal Khalsa on Monday said it would strive for a peaceful, political and democratic struggle for a separate Sikh homeland.

At the same time, the radical Sikh organisation paid homage to “militant” leaders, acknowledged the “contribution” of Pakistan-based Sikh leaders and boasted of support of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Kanwarpal Singh, Dal Khalsa spokesperson, said the organisation had started its movement from Chandigarh 40 years ago and it was the only one to have continued struggle for justice to Sikhs for the 1984 riots and fake police encounters.

He distanced Dal Khalsa from Referendum 2020 saying though the aim and ideology of the two was common, the method to achieve it was different.

“We represent people of Punjab and we are for a peaceful struggle, while they are just doing a survey and have no representation from Punjab”. Other speakers included Harpal Cheema, Simranjit Singh Mann and Harcharanjit Singh Dhami.

The New York Times – Their first Gurdwara was a tent. Now Sikhs walk New Jersey’s halls of power

Arun Venugopal

Glen Rock – New Jersey – USA, 14 August 2018. In the 1980s, when Sikh immigrants from India began arriving in New Jersey in significant numbers, they lacked a proper house of worship, so they set up a tent on a patch of dirt and began to pray.

Much has changed since then. The tent in Glen Rock, a town in northern New Jersey, has been replaced by an imposing gurdwara, or temple, with a red brick facade and white domes.

The congregation that once comprised 10 families now has hundreds of families drawn from across New Jersey and New York, two states that have among the largest populations of Sikhs in the country.

Today, after a long history of dealing with bigotry, Sikhs have begun to acquire power.

The worshipers in Glen Rock include Gurbir Grewal, New Jersey’s attorney general, and Ravi Bhalla, the mayor of Hoboken, along with Mr Bhalla’s older brother Amardeep Singh, a founder of the Sikh Coalition, a national civil rights organization.

All three grew up together and have attended the temple since they were children, Mr Grewal and Mr Bhalla served as best man at each other’s wedding.

They are now in their 40s and embody the political maturation of Sikh-Americans. They gathered recently in a conference room at the Gurdwara to reflect on how their faith has shaped their progressive values.

Childhood in New Jersey was marked by “a lot of bullying, a lot of teasing, a lot of animosity,” said Mr. Grewal, who, abiding by Sikh tradition, covered his hair from a young age. But on weekends, within the grounds of the gurudwara life was different.

When they were not attending religious instruction, the three boys bonded over baseball or sneaked out for pizza; they got in trouble together.

“One time our mom didn’t let us bring our bat and ball,” Mr. Singh said. “I had a ball but we used a stick to hit the ball. And I whacked an auntie, an elderly woman, by mistake and she cursed me in Punjabi”.

For the small Sikh community in which they were raised, a transformative moment came in 1984. That year, political tensions in the Indian state of Punjab erupted into violence between Sikh militants and the Indian military at the Golden Temple, the most sacred site in Sikhism, a monotheistic faith founded in South Asia in the 15th century that distinguished itself by emphasizing equality for all.

Later that year, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards and her supporters responded by killing thousands of Sikhs.

Mr Bhalla said this bloody period introduced him to “the concept of injustice.” Sikhs began organizing and staging demonstrations in Washington and meeting with members of Congress to raise concerns about human rights.

The violence in India prompted many Sikhs to flee; many settled in New Jersey. Estimates of the number of Sikhs now living in the United States range from 200,000 to 500,000, experts said, noting the difficulty in pinpointing the size of religious groups and newly arrived immigrants.

Mr Singh recalled being in a home and watching a man roll up his pant leg “to show how the Punjab police had helped to crush his muscles with a heavy roller. And for someone who was just in college, it sort of impacts you”.

He joined Amnesty International, helped form student groups and was the first of the three friends to go to law school. Throughout the 1990s much of the political focus of the Sikh-American community was centered on what was happening thousands of miles away in India.

Then came 11 September 2001. The attention immediately turned inward as Sikh-Americans, particularly men wearing turbans, were victims of hate crimes, including Balbir Singh Sodhi, the owner of a gas station in Arizona, who was fatally shot.

At the time, Mr Grewal was working in commercial litigation at a private law firm in Washington and he remembers some of the looks he got in public. One homeless man, he said, would routinely accost him outside his office building.

“He’d start yelling at the top of his lungs, ‘I found him! I found him! I found bin Laden!’” Mr. Grewal said.

Eventually, after trying to avoid the man, Mr. Grewal said he took him to a McDonalds.

“His name was Jimmy,” Mr Grewal said. “I explained who I was and where I came from, and gave him a stack of coupons for McDonalds, and we were friends ever since.”

For his part, Mr Singh worked with others to form the Sikh Coalition, met with Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and helped ensure that protections for Sikhs were included in the Patriot Act.

They also persuaded the Department of Transportation to issue guidelines on searches of Sikh passengers and pushed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to educate employers on workplace discrimination.

“That level of advocacy, that fast, could not have happened if we didn’t have some practice,’’ said Mr. Singh, a program officer for the Open Society Foundations, a group financed by George Soros that works to promote human rights and democracy. “That really came out of the ’84 experience”.

One challenge for Sikhs after 11 September was how often they were being mistaken as Muslim. Some Sikh leaders argued that Sikhs needed to make the distinction clear as an act of self preservation. But Mr Bhalla and others strongly rejected such a strategy, arguing that Sikhs should “stand up for injustice not just against the Sikh community but really against anybody who is treated unfairly.”

“‘In the eyes of God, there is no Hindu, there is no Muslim,’” Mr Bhalla said, quoting Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. “In God’s eyes everyone is equal. That’s something that’s foundational in Sikh philosophy and belief.”

Mr. Bhalla said this basic Sikh value, he described its modern, secular equivalent as “radical egalitarianism”, explained his first executive order as mayor, declaring Hoboken to be a fair and welcoming city.

He followed this with an order intended to protect transgendered people by making all single-occupancy public restrooms gender-neutral.

“Not because that’s relevant to me as a Sikh,” he said, “but because its relevant to my ideals as a Sikh.”

While the concentration of Sikhs in New Jersey is a relatively recent development, Sikhs were among the earliest South Asian immigrants in the country, arriving over a century ago to work primarily as farmers and loggers on the West Coast.

Their presence inspired one newspaper in Bellingham, Wash., to ask, “Have We a Dusky Peril?” in 1906, amid fears “that the dusky Asiatics with their turbans will prove a worse menace to the working classes than the ‘Yellow Peril’ that has so long threatened the Pacific Coast.”

Not long afterward, a mob of white men violently expelled nearly 200 immigrants from the town. In the ensuing years, anti-immigrant hysteria grew, resulting in laws blocking immigrants from India and other predominantly non-white countries that were eased in the 1960s and prompted a new surge in immigrants, as well as a backlash.

For Sikhs, one of the worst acts of religious violence occurred in 2012, when a gunman killed six people in a Gurdwara in Wisconsin.

Now Sikhs are starting to gain more political prominence across the country. They include Manka Dhingra, a state legislator in Washington, Preet Didbal, the mayor of Yuba City, California, and Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican Party leader in California.

Still Mr Grewal, who was appointed by Governor Philip D Murphy, a Democrat, and is the first Sikh to serve as a state attorney general, has had to contend with intolerance.

In July, two New Jersey DJs, Judi Franco and Dennis Malloy, called him “turban man” and Mr Malloy said he would not refer to the attorney general by name until he stopped wearing a turban. After a public outcry, the two were suspended for 10 days.

“Sikhs have been seen and treated in America as perpetually foreign and automatically suspect and since 9/11, as potential terrorists,” said Valarie Kaur, a prominent Sikh-American activist.

“Ravi and Gurbir’s visible presence on the nation’s stage as public servants is breaking down these stereotypes and reshaping the nation’s moral imagination for ‘who counts’ as American.

In a time of heightened racism and bigotry, their leadership provides hope and inspiration and offers us a glimpse of the America that is possible, the America worth fighting for.”

Ms Kaur said she and other Sikhs regularly draw upon “the Sikh spirit of Chardi Kala,” meaning a positive attitude, even in the face of adversity.

This principle may help explain why the three childhood friends from the Gurdwara in Glen Rock are optimistic about the country’s future.

“People far greater than us and far braver than us have overcome far more than us in our nation’s history,’’ Mr Grewal said. “And this is just another moment that’s testing the foundations of our nation’s democracy.”

“And,’’ he added, “I think the institutions will survive.”

The Hindu – India rejects UK’s DNA test plan for finding illegal migrants’ nationality

Government refuses to sign pact citing ‘privacy issues’

Vijaita Singh

New Delhi – India, 14 August 2018. India has rejected a proposal of the United Kingdom to use DNA sampling to establish the nationality of illegal migrants living there, citing “privacy issues”.

Although a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on return of illegal migrants was initialled, after the due approval of the Union Cabinet in January, by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju while leading a delegation to the UK the same month, India refused to sign the final pact during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to England in April.

As per the original MoU, security agencies in India were to verify the antecedents of illegal migrants without documents in the UK within 72 days and those with documents within 15 days. If no report was given within the stipulated time frame, the illegal migrant would be deported automatically.

The agreement was put on indefinite hold after National Security Adviser Ajit Doval conveyed that the 15-day limit was unworkable.

Unethical, says India

“In one of the meetings, the UK authorities suggested that the nationality of document-less illegal migrants suspected to be Indians could be established by matching DNA samples of their family members living here.

We raised objections, saying this was a breach of privacy and unethical. How do we know that the document-less person is an Indian,” said a senior Home Ministry official who attended the meeting.

According to the British government’s estimates, there are around 1,00,000 Indians overstaying their visa in the UK.

India has contested this, saying that as per their estimate, the number will not be more than 2,000.

Post April, at least two high-level delegations from the U.K. have raised the issue with India.

During her first visit to India on 7 November 2016, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK would consider an improved visa deal “if at the same time we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain in the UK.”