Sikh24.com – 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.

https://www.sikh24.com/2018/10/14/tens-of-thousands-pay-homage-to-martyred-sikh-youths-at-bargari/#.W8TH3_ZoTIU

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Sikh24.com – DSGMC member Avtar Singh Hit elected to head Patna Sahib management board

Sikh24 Editors

Patna – Bihar – India, 15 October 2018. The SAD(Badal) affiliated DSGMC member Avtar Singh Hit was elected to head the Takht Sri Patna Sahib Management Board on October 14. He has replaced the former SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar who was elected as president of the committee about two and half years ago.

Sources have informed that the DSGMC general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa played a key role in the election of Avtar Singh Hit as the president of the Takht Sri Patna Sahib Management Board. Avtar Singh Hit ran unopposed in the election as no candidate appeared to challenge his election as president of the management board.

Sikh24 has learnt that the other office bearers of the management committee are also affiliated to SAD (Badal). Dr Gurmeet Singh has been elected as the senior vice president while Inderjeet Singh got elected as a junior vice president. Similarly, M S Dhillon and M S Chhabra have been elected as general secretary and secretary of the management board respectively.

https://www.sikh24.com/2018/10/15/dsgmc-member-avtar-singh-hit-elected-to-head-patna-sahib-management-board/#.W8TI6_ZoTIU

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.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/oct/14/amarinder-government-didnt-punish-culprits-of-guru-granth-sahib-sacrilege-arvind-kejriwal-1885458.htm

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.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/akalis-ask-modi-to-seek-uk-apology-on-jallianwala/667848.html

FirstPost – Punjab farmers say they have no option but to burn stubble, claim industries, vehicles contribute more to pollution

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 14 October 2018. Farmers in Punjab on Saturday claimed that industries and vehicles majorly contribute to air pollution and not stubble burning.

For the last few days, Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) have been experiencing pollution due to the burning of stubble in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

However, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee district secretary Jarmanjeet Singh told ANI, “The farmers have no other option than to burn stubble. We will not let the government impose fines on farmers for stubble burning. Industries and vehicles majorly contribute to pollution, not farmers”.

Demanding a subsidy for farmers as per the directives of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), he said, “The Green Tribunal also said that farmers with two acres of land must be given tools free of cost.

The owners of five acres of land would be given Rs 5,000 subsidy while the farmers having land more than five acres will get an amount of Rs 15,000. But the government is doing nothing in this regard”.

Speaking on the suggested alternative of making cardboard out of paddy straw, another farmer explained that it is not a feasible option for them. “It (paddy straw) is just sand for us.

They say that cardboard can be made out of it but only if the government takes the initiatives. Labour is costly; they ask us for Rs 4000 per acre. Where are we going to pay this amount from?” he asked while speaking to ANI.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/punjab-farmers-say-they-have-no-option-but-to-burn-stubble-claim-industries-vehicles-contribute-more-to-pollution-5376751.html

The Hindu – #MeToo: M J Akbar threatens to take legal action against journalists who accused him of harassment

Special Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 14 October 2018. Akbar attributed the allegations to motives other than the #Metoo movement’s aims to out sexual predators.

Union minister M J Akbar on Sunday threatened to take legal action against several women journalists who had accused him of sexual harassment at two newspapers where he had been editor.

There was no suggestion in Mr Akbar’s statement that he would resign from the Union Council of Ministers.

In a detailed statement to ANI, Mr Akbar, who returned this morning from Africa where he had been leading an Indian delegation on various events, said that “accusation without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections.

Whatever be the case, now that I have returned, my lawyers will look into these wild and baseless allegations in order to decide our future course of legal action”.

Mr. Akbar attributed the allegations to motives other than the #Metoo movement’s aims of outing sexual predators. “Why has this storm risen a few months before the general election? Is there an agenda? You be the judge. These false, baseless and wild allegations have caused irreparable damage to my reputation and goodwill,” he said.

“Lies do not have legs, but they do contain poison, which can be whipped into a frenzy. This is deeply distressing. I will be taking appropriate legal action,” he added. Referring to journalist Priya Ramani, who had first spoken about Mr. Akbar’s alleged behaviour with female colleagues, he said, “Priya Ramani began this campaign a year ago with a magazine article.

She did not, however name me as she knew it was an incorrect story. When asked recently why she had not named me, she replied, in a tweet, ‘never named him because he didn’t do anything’.”

“If I didn’t do anything, where and what is the story? There is no story, but a sea of innuendo, speculation and abusive diatribe has been built around something that never happened. Some are total unsubstantiated hearsay, others confirm on the record that I didn’t do anything,” he added.

Mr Akbar’s statement seems to suggest that calls for his resignation were not going to be entertained by the Union government. He is scheduled to meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj later in the evening.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/metoo-mj-akbar-threatens-to-take-legal-action-against-women-journalists/article25220032.ece?homepage=true

Sikh24.com – 484th Birthday Celebrations: 200 hotel rooms to be provided free of cost to pilgrims

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 13 October 2018. Keeping in view the upcoming 484th birth anniversary of fourth Sikh master Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji, the SGPC underwent a meeting with the owners of hotels situated in the vicinity of Sri Harmandr Sahib on October 12.

SGPC secretary Dr. Roop Singh took up the issue of accommodation deficiency for the pilgrims coming to pay obeisance at sanctum sanctorum from distant areas.

Understanding the situation, the hotel owners promised to reserve 200 rooms for providing free of cost accommodation to devotees. The Hotel owners have also promised to offer rooms at discounted rates to the pilgrims.

Sharing the development with Sikh24, Dr Roop Singh informed that the SGPC is making robust arrangements for providing luxurious pilgrimage to devotees this year. He added that the school and college campuses will also be used to provide accommodation to devotees arriving in the holy city on this auspicious eve.

Dr. Roop Singh further informed that the SGPC will celebrate the birthday of Guru Ram Dass Ji with a focus on creating social awareness.

https://www.sikh24.com/2018/10/13/484th-birthday-celebrations-200-hotel-rooms-to-be-provided-free-of-cost-to-pilgrims/#.W8IJ8vZoTIU

BBC News – M J Akbar: India minister under scrutiny over #MeToo allegations

A former prominent newspaper editor who is now a junior foreign minister is the latest to be named in what is being called India’s #MeToo movement.

New Delhi – India, 10 October 2018. M J Akbar is accused of predatory behaviour, including inviting young women to hotel rooms for “meetings”.

Neither Mr Akbar nor the foreign ministry have responded to the historic allegations against him.

But another minister, Maneka Gandhi, said all allegations, including those against politicians, must be probed.

Mr Akbar is the most senior person so far to be named in the flurry of allegations that have been made against comedians, journalists, authors, actors and filmmakers in the last few days.

One of India’s most influential editors, he has edited leading English-language newspapers such as The Telegraph and The Asian Age.

He was first named on Monday by senior journalist Priya Ramani, who retweeted an article she had written for Vogue India a year ago titled “To the Harvey Weinsteins of the world”, where she recounted what she called her first experience of workplace harassment.

Ms Ramani did not name anyone in the original piece, but said in Monday’s tweet that the article had been about Mr Akbar.

Since then, five other women have also come forward with their own stories, naming Mr Akbar. At least one other anonymous account is believed to be about him.

Apart from Mr Akbar, veteran actors Alok Nath and film director Vikas Bahl have been accused of sexual assault. Nath has denied the allegations, while Bahl has not responded.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-45808629

The Tribune – AAP’s Harvinder Singh Phoolka resigns as MLA

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 12 October 2018. Aam Aadmi Party MLA Harvinder Singh Phoolka on Friday resigned as legislator from the Punjab Assembly, expressing unhappiness over the state government’s alleged “failure” to initiate action against former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and retired DGP Sumedh Singh Saini in sacrilege incidents.

“I have sent my resignation as legislator of Punjab Vidhan Sabha to the Speaker through e-mail,” the Dakha MLA told PTI over phone.

However, Speaker Rana K P Singh is yet to take a call on the resignation, Assembly officials said.

If his resignation was to be accepted, AAP’s strength in the Vidhan Sabha will drop to 19 MLAs, eight of whom have formed a rebel group led by Sukhpal Singh Khaira.

Phoolka, who is fighting 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases in courts at New Delhi, had been asking the state government to initiate action against Badal and Saini in connection with police firing on people protesting at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan against sacrilege incidents.

On three occasions, he had said he would resign if action is not taken on the findings of Justice (Retd) Ranjit Singh Commission.

According to the report of the Commission, that was set up to probe the sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib, Badal and Saini were “aware” of the proposed police action to disperse the protesters at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura using force.

It held that the police opened fire in Behbal Kalan, where two people were killed, “without any warning and without taking permission from civil authorities”. Phoolka had earlier resigned as the Leader of Opposition saying that he could not do justice with the post as he was fighting anti-Sikh riot cases.

In September, Phoolka had alleged that due procedure was not followed by the police before it opened fire on the protesters.

He said his resignation would put pressure on the state government to act on findings of the Justice (retired) Ranjit Singh Commission.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/aap-s-phoolka-resigns-as-mla/667149.html

The Hindu – Maneka Gandhi proposes committee of legal experts to look into #MeToo cases

She asserts that she believed in the “pain and trauma” of every complainant.

New Delhi – India, 12 October 2018. The Women and Child Development Ministry plans to set up a panel of legal experts to look into allegations of sexual harassment that have surfaced in the #MeToo campaign, Minister Maneka Gandhi said on Friday. She asserted that she believed in the “pain and trauma” of every complainant.

More women should come out and address the issue of sexual harassment and narrate their experiences, she said.

“I believe in all of them. I believe in the pain and trauma behind every single complainant,” she told PTI in an interview.

Ms Gandhi did not comment on the allegations of sexual harassment against her colleague M J Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs, who has been accused by several former colleagues of sexual harassment when he served as editor at various media organisations.

Film director Sajid Khan and actor Alok Nath are among those accused of sexual misconduct and more.

“I am proposing to set up a committee with senior judicial and legal persons as members to look into all issues emanating from the #MeToo campaign,” Ms. Gandhi said.

The committee will look into the legal and institutional framework in place for handling complaints of sexual harassment, including some of the complaints if required, and advise the ministry on how to strengthen these, she said.

‘Elephants in the rooms for the last 25 years’

“It takes a lot for women to come out like this. These cases have been elephants in the rooms for the last 25 years. The question here is how can they prove these after all these years… they have faced verbal assault, they have been touched, pinched, their clothes have been pulled…

“The first thing to do is naming and shaming these monsters. Naming and shaming will go a long way in lessening the pain these women have been carrying,” she said.

The next step, she said, was to set up a committee that could listen to the women.

Urging women to come out with their stories, Ms. Gandhi said men who sexually harassed them depend on them to be shamed into keeping quiet.

She said her Ministry had created a woman-friendly environment in which they could complain to her directly. Even anonymous complaints would be addressed.

Ms Gandhi said women could complain through the She Box (www.shebox.nic.in), which provides a single window access to every woman, irrespective of her work status to register complaints related to sexual harassment.

Complaints could also be lodged at min-wcd@nic.in, she said. All the cases would be closely monitored by the Ministry.

“Regarding taking action against those that are in office, I am really hopeful that the system will react because I believe that these complaints are true,” she said.

According to the Minister, protecting women had been the watchword of the present government with the ”Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign one of its flagship schemes.

“The Prime Minister has always given top priority to the rights of women. The first programme that he launched was Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. We don’t save our daughters to allow big shots to insult them later in life. I will do what I can do to help them,” she said, adding that women should raise their voices.

“They should speak out and in one jolt finish off this matter altogether so that men are frightened from ever sexually assaulting or making women uncomfortable.”

India’s #MeToo movement, which started with actor Tanushree Dutta alleging that actor Nana Patekar harassed her during a film shoot in 2008, has escalated sharply with increasing number of women coming forward with their complaints.

Demands for action against Mr. Akbar have also been rising.

While most BJP leaders and ministers have refrained from commenting, on Thursday, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said Mr Akbar himself would be better positioned to speak on the issue.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/maneka-gandhi-proposes-committee-of-legal-experts-to-look-into-metoo-cases/article25206186.ece?homepage=true