The Statesman – Man attacked, house set on fire in Jharkhand after cow found dead outside

New Delhi. 28 June 2017. A man was severely beaten up and his house was set on fire by a mob on Tuesday after a dead cow was allegedly found outside his place in Jharkhand’s Giridih district.

A frenzy mob attacked the dairy owner Usman Ansari and his house was set on fire after some people spotted a dead cow outside his house.

The police immediately rushed to the site and Ansari was taken to a nearby hospital. “Our men braved the crowd and immediately rescued Ansari and his family members.

When the police tried to take him to hospital, there was resistance from the crowd. There was heavy stone-pelting. We had to open fire in the air,” Jharkhand police spokesperson and ADG (Operations) RK Mullik said.

“About 50 policemen were also injured in the stone pelting,” Mullik added.

Heavy security has been deployed in the village, which is around 200km from Ranchi, to maintain the law and order.

The Tribune – State attempt to bypass SC liquor ban challenged

It is pleaded that the state has shown a ‘narrow pedantic approach’ for the sake of revenue

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 28 June 2017. Just about a week after Punjab came out with an amendment Bill to permit the supply of liquor at hotels, restaurants, clubs and other notified places, a Vacation Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today put the state on notice.

The Bench of Justice Anita Chaudhry and Justice Harminder Singh Madaan also issued notice regarding stay on the petition filed by NGO Arrive Safe Society through its president Harman Singh Sidhu.

The Bench fixed July 24 as the next date of hearing for the state and other respondents to respond to the averments raised. Sidhu contended that the Supreme Court had directed all states and union territories to forthwith cease and desist from granting licences for the sale of liquor along national and state highways.

It directed: “No shop for the sale of liquor shall be visible from a national or state highway; directly accessible from a national or state highway and situated within a distance of 500 metres of the outer edge of the national or state highway or of a service lane along the highway.”

But the state brought the “impugned” amendment to the Punjab Excise Act to dodge the orders. He added that the state government, instead of recognising the Supreme Court’s concern in trying to remedy the mischief of drunken driving from the highway, has shown a “narrow pedantic approach just for the sake of revenue”.

Sidhu argued liquor vends camouflaged as a restaurant, hotel or club would be found everywhere along the highways without any consideration for public health, public morality, and public peace, if the impugned amendment was allowed to operate. It would resultantly lead to traffic chaos, health hazard and frequent road accidents.

He added that the amendment was “nothing short of a political response with an ulterior motive to dismantle the foundation of the verdict given by the Supreme Court”.

Dubbing the term “notified place” as “vague”, he submitted that the expression would definitely be misused to mean “tavern” and the Supreme Court judgment in national interest would be diluted.

Dawn – India stops over 300 Sikh pilgrims from visiting Pakistan

Lahore, 29 June 2017. The Indian government on Wednesday stopped over 300 Sikh pilgrims, who were due to attend the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, from crossing over to Pakistan, citing refusal by the External Affairs Ministry to clear their names.

The pilgrims, who had reached Atari early in the morning, a bordering railway station from where they are picked up by the Pakistan Railways, protested against the Indian government and some violence was also reported.

Chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Siddiqul Farooq kept trying for six hours talking to the Indian embassy in Pakistan but in vain. Frustrated, he held a press conference in the afternoon to allege “fundamentalism is creeping into Indian state institutions”.

The Indian government has refused pilgrims a second time in June alone. On June 8, it disallowed over 200 visitors for Shaheedi Jor Mela, celebrations for the fifth Guru of the Sikh religion. After some hectic efforts, only 14 were allowed to cross the border on foot.

“Given the stubbornness of the Indian government, the fear now is about November when birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak are due,” says an ETPB official. That is the holiest pilgrimage for the Sikh community and a big event for Pakistan. In all probability, those celebrations were in danger, at least for the Indian Sikh community, he feared.

ETPB chairman Siddiqul Farooq said: “While Pakistan is routinely accused of fundamentalism, none of its state organ has acted in such a manner. By stopping the yatrees, the Indian ministry has also violated the UN charter, which forbids a decision hurting religious feeling. This visit was purely religious and should not have been hampered.”

Tara Singh, head of the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, was present at the press conference.

Mr Farooq said Pakistan had gone the extra mile in facilitating the visitors. “Though the agreement binds the visitors to apply for a visa at least 45 days before the visit, applications that arrived only five days before the visit were entertained.

The Pakistan High Commission issued over 300 visas and the ETPB held meetings with 34 departments to finalise arrangements for the visit. The Indian side kept us and pilgrims waiting for more than six hours. But all ended up in vain,” he regretted.

“The entire staff of the board was at the border to receive them. I myself travelled from Islamabad to Lahore to welcome the yatrees. A train from Pakistan Railways was waiting at the Zero Line to fetch the visitors.

The situation unfolded only when the pilgrims were stopped and the Pakistani side tried to find a way out. I have never travelled abroad in the last three years, but now I plan to go to India and try to convince people concerned there.

On its part, Pakistan has also inducted four Yatra promoters from the private sector to facilitate visitors from all over the world,” he concluded.

The Hindu – China may be giving a diplomatic message via tri-junction

Dinakar Peri and Josy Joseph

New Delhi, 29 June 2017. The Army chief is expected to visit Sikkim as early as Thursday to review the tense standoff between Indian and Chinese troops, even as military officers said that such standoffs were not unprecedented.

Army sources said General Bipin Rawat could visit Sikkim at the earliest to review the situation where standoff between troops of both sides is believed to be continuing.

According to reliable sources, Indian Army troops objected to the Chinese soldiers carrying out construction on a road stretch through the disputed Dolam Plateau (Donglang or Doklam), triggering the confrontation. In response, Chinese authorities denied entry to pilgrims for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via the Nathua La pass.

In a rebuff, Bhutan refutes China’s claims on Doko La road construction

Former Army chief General Shankar Roychowdhury told The Hindu that such incidents were not new and date back to 1967 when the first such clash took place at Nathu La between Indian and Chinese troops.

“This is a flashpoint. These take place from time to time,” General Roychowdhury said. However, he said the question to ask is why are such incidents taking place with such frequency.

“Is it because our Prime Minister is perceived to be too close to the USA or is it to assist its best ally Pakistan? Or is it a combination of all these factors plus history. Add to that is the fact they have turned the pilgrims away.”

Keeping India engaged

A recently retired Army officer who has served on the Sikkim border with China said he too believed that the timing of the Chinese action, not just in provoking a border standoff but to send back Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrims, was a diplomatic message to coincide with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the USA.

Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal, Distinguished Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses said these incidents were a continuum of maintaining stability at a strategic level while “keeping India engaged at the tactical level through political, diplomatic and military means.” He said the standoff would take sometime but would be resolved.

‘China used bulldozer to remove Indian bunker in Sikkim section of border’

“It could be said to be Chinese manifestation of the choices India has made in the recent past,” he said in the context of the recent disputes between the two countries and the timing of the incident.

Army sources pointed out that the standoff at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction was not unprecedented. “It is almost an annual affair,” one officer who had served there said.

“The Chinese believe that the Dolam Plateau belongs to them, and have been constructing a road through the disputed area to Bhutan for a long time,” he pointed out.

And the present standoff must also be seen against recent diplomatic unease between the two sides, including India’s stand on the Belt and Road Initiative.

Border on the boil

There were repeated skirmishes on the Indo-China border ever since the 1962 war

September 1967: Chinese troops fired at Indian posts close to Nathu La and Indian Army retaliated with full force. Both sides suffered casualties with China significantly higher. A ceasefire was declared later.

June 1986: Indian Army launched exercise Chequerboard after China amassed thousands of troops in the Thandrong pasture on the banks of the Somdurong Chu (river). The situation was diffused diplomatically by August 1987.

November 2008: Chinese troops destroyed makeshift Indian army bunkers at Doko La near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction.

April 2013: Chinese troops intruded in Daulat Beg Oldi in Eastern Ladakh and set up camps in Depsang valley. These came ahead of Premier Li Keqiang’s India visit.

August 2014: Chinese troops enter 25 to 30 km deep into Indian territory in Burtse area in Ladakh and pitched their tents and the standoff continued for three weeks.

September 2014: About 1,000 troops intruded 3 km inside Chumar in Eastern Ladakh. The incident lasted for a week and coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India.

March 2016: A platoon of PLA soldiers came about 5.5 km inside the Indian territory near Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh. Incident resolved in a few hours.

June 2017: China removed an old bunker of the Indian Army located at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan in Sikkim by using a bulldozer after the Indian side refused to accede to its request to dismantle it.

Beijing’s stance

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang touched upon a slew off issues while addressing the media in Beijing Donglang’s status

‘Donglang is part of China’s territory. This is indisputable. The Donglang area belonged to China since ancient times and it doesn’t belong to Bhutan’.

Road project

‘Chinese construction of the road project is legitimate and normal action on its territory. No other country has the right to interfere’

Kailash-Mansarovar yatra

‘The suspension of the same is an emergency response to the situation there. I want to stress that the resumption of pilgrims pass requires necessary atmosphere and conditions’

Bhutan’s sovereignty

‘If any third party, out of hidden agenda, interferes it is disrespect of the sovereignty of Bhutan. We don’t want to see this as Bhutan is a country entitled to sovereignty by the international community’.

Pakistan’s efforts

‘China thinks that the international cooperation against terrorism should be enhanced and stepped up. The international community should give full recognition and affirmation to Pakistan’s efforts in this regard’ – Sikh Community Protests Outside Indian PM Modi’s Business Event in USA

Don’t invest in Modi
chants and placards as business event takes places in Virginia USA

Sikh24 Editors

Washington DC-USA, 26 June 2017. While the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a select gathering at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner earlier today, hundreds of Sikh rights activists were present displaying placards reading “Don’t Invest in India”, outside the hotel.

The rally focused on the atrocities of the Modi administration, whose practices have killed Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and other minorities living in India.

“Since religious freedom functions at the core of American values, we have asked the members of the Congress to stand against the persecution of Sikhs under Modi regime,” said attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ.

“Sikhs in India are targeted for campaigning to restore their separate religious identity and their inalienable rights to self-determination.”

Further awareness rallies will take place, particularly today, when Modi meets POTUS Trump at a summit at the White House.

Last week, SFJ representatives met with dozens of U.S. Congressmen, Senators and their staffs in an effort to urge the establishment of a Congressional delegation visit to Punjab to assess, report and apprise the U.S. Congress of the recent spate of human rights violations against the Sikh community.

In support of efforts to establish such a delegation, SFJ issued a full memorandum to every member of Congress.

Dawn – ‘Trump-Modi nexus’ could spell disaster for regional peace: AJK president

Tariq Naqash

Muzaffarabad, 27 June 2017. Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Mohammad Masood Khan in a statement on Tuesday warned that a “Trump-Modi nexus” could spell disaster to regional peace.

The statement follows a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the run-up to which the US State Department had designated Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist and slapped sanctions on him, a move slammed by the Foreign Office today as ‘completely unjustified’.

Both leaders had called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries, a statement from the White House said.

Sardar Khan, who retired from the foreign service of Pakistan as a career diplomat, claimed that the US had always deceived Pakistan and its latest decision was yet another example of it.

“The US has never acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices despite the latter’s being a frontline state in the war against terrorism,” he said.

Khan questioned the justification of the US decision, claiming that the Hizbul Mujahideen had been struggling solely for freedom of India-held Kashmir (IHK), and was neither linked to any terrorist group nor had resorted to any action outside IHK.

“In fact, it’s the Indian army committing terrorism in occupied Kashmir. Ignoring the genocide of Kashmiris by Indian army and declaring freedom fighters as terrorists is a criminal departure from international humanitarian and democratic norms by the US,” he claimed.

Kashmiris protest US move

Hundreds of people from different walks of life staged a rally in the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to condemn the US administration’s decision of designating Salahuddin a terrorist.

Demonstrators started the rally from Muzaffarabad’s famous Burhan Wani Chowk, named after a Hizbul Mujahideen commander who was killed by Indian forces in IHK last year.

Just in front of them, a large Indian tricolour flag was also placed on the ground with two young children standing on it.

Amid loud anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, it was later torched by the demonstrators.

Representatives of separatist groups and political parties took strong exception to the decision which they termed a reprehensible attempt by the Trump administration to please India.

Speaking at the rally, Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, a senior leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and a former AJK minister, claimed it was the weak foreign policy of the PML-N led government in Islamabad that had encouraged the Trump administration to take this step during Modi’s visit.

“If you are serious in your avowals of extending diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiris, then you should show some strength and as a first step summon the US and Indian envoys in the Foreign Office to lodge a protest over this unfair decision,” he said, addressing the federal government.

Ahmed also asked the AJK government to give a strike call on both sides of disputed Kashmir, like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had given for February 28, 1974, to express rejection of the US decision.

“All political parties and mujahideen groups should be taken on board to make this strike a historic one,” he said.

PPP leader Shaukat Javed Mir and several others also spoke on the occasion.

The Times of India – Dalai Lama angle to China stopping movement of Kailash yatris

Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury

New Delhi, 27 June 2017. China has hardened its stand on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by stopping movement of Indian pilgrims for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Nathu La Pass.

Beijing hasn’t given any reasons for its action, but Delhi suspects that it could be a reaction to Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh in April, sources here said.

The Chinese move came ahead of a meeting between PM Modi and Trump in Washington. The two leaders are expected to put in place an arrangement for strengthening economic partnership in the Asia-Pacific or Indo-Pacific region, sources said ahead of the meeting scheduled for early Tuesday India time.

China is emerging as a leading power in the region through an aggressive policy involving territorial claims and arm twisting.

The action in the Nathu La Pass area in Sikkim comes within weeks of an airspace violation by Chinese choppers in Uttarakhand. The situation has been further complicated with Chinese troops entering the Sikkim sector and jostling with the Indian Army personnel guarding the LAC besides destroying two bunkers.

The face-off has been going on in the Doka La general area in Sikkim for the past 10 days. A flag meeting was held between senior Army officers from both sides on June 20, but tension still persists.

It is not the first time that such a transgression has happened at the Doka La, located at the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction. Beijing had earlier warned India about the consequences of Dalai Lama’s trip to Arunachal Pradesh, whose entire territory, in particular the Tawang area visited by the Tibetan leader, is claimed by China.

On Monday, Beijing said the foreign ministry authorities of both countries were in “communication” on the suspension of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (KMY) through the Nathu La Pass, but didn’t give any specific reasons. This raised suspicion that there is more to meet the eye than mere landslides which Beijing initially claimed as the reason for suspending KMY through Nathu La.

The annual Yatra was suspended over the weekend and pilgrims have returned to Gangtok after the denial of permission. “There are some difficulties being experienced in movement of Kailash Mansarovar Yatris via Nathu La. The matter is being discussed with the Chinese side,” a foreign ministry official said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said “the two foreign ministries are communicating on this issue”. There are unconfirmed reports of certain internal troubles in the region through which KMY occurs. At least seven batches of 50 pilgrims each were expected to cross over to Tibet through the Nathu La Pass.

The Tribune – Golden Temple [Harmandr Sahib] kitchen to soon go solar

G S Paul, Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 26 June 2017. The SGPC plans to switch over to solar energy soon to cook langar in the world’s largest kitchen at the Golden Temple. At present, at Sri Guru Ramdas Langar Hall, free food is prepared through LPG and some amount of wood is also used as fuel to prepare food for about 60,000 devotees daily. The number increases during weekends and special occasions.

The langar preparation sourced through solar energy would not only reduce the use of wood, which is the main source of pollution, but would also help in reducing the expenses on LPG cylinders. Around 5,000 LPG cylinders are used in the kitchen every month.

A team of Punjab Energy Development Authority led by its director Balor Singh today explored the area where the solar energy plant was to be installed.

PEDA has been working on a plan to prepare langar at the shrine with a solar steam cooking system for long. A solar plant has been proposed. Golden Temple [Harmandr Sahib] manager Sulakhan Singh said, “This plant will not only be eco-friendly but will also be efficient in cooking vegetables, daal, chapattis etc.

Other sources of fuel like the LPG system will also be kept as backup in case of cloudy weather or a snag,” he said.

Meanwhile, the work on modernising the new langar hall is in full swing. The new building would have four floors, including the basement.

The new facility will boast of an ultramodern cooking facility, air-conditioned sitting place, lifts, separate provision for washing the vegetables, basement for storage of vegetables and ration, apart from a conveyor system.

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.