Sikh24.com – Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara makes major revelation in Beant “Singh” assassination case

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh-Panjab-India, 6 December 2017. Hearing on the pending trial against Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara in Beant Singh assassination case was conducted by a special court of additional session judge J S Sidhu in the Burail jail on December 4.

The prosecution lawyer of probing agency CBI asked Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara to answer almost 30 questions during this hearing.

Replying to question asked by the CBI lawyer, Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara revealed that he, along with Shaheed Bhai Dilawar Singh and death row convict Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana had gone to the Punjab Secretariat in a car to assassinate the then Chief Minister Beant Singh on August 30.

“But CM Beant Singh had left the Secretariat before us and we had to return from our mission. After coming back, we slept in a room of government tubewell after removing bomb belt of Shaheed Bhai Dilawar Singh”, he added.

Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara further revealed that on August 31, 1995 they again went to the Punjab secretariat. “Before departing for accomplishing our task, I fixed the wires of bomb belt on the body of Shaheed Bhai Dilawar Singh and performed prayer before the Almighty Lord.

I dropped Shaheed Bhai Dilawar Singh to Punjab Secretariat in an Ambassador car. Later, I met Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana who was following us on a scooter and moved away from the Secretariat,” he added.

Sikh24 has learned that the CBI lawyer has sought answer to 31 questions and Bhai Tara answered his first 20 question on December 4. Meanwhile, the Court has deferred next hearing onto January 16, 2018.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/12/06/bhai-jagtar-singh-tara-makes-major-revelation-in-beant-singh-assassination-case/#.WizItjdrzIU

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BBC News – Sikh activist Jagtar Singh Johal filmed in police custody

The brother of Scottish Sikh activist Jagtar Singh Johal has condemned a video filmed in police custody

Mr Johal, from Dumbarton, has been held in Punjab since 4 November, accused of conspiracy to murder prominent right-wing Hindu leaders.

The 30-year-old has also been accused of involvement in the murder of a Christian priest.

Mr Johal’s lawyer has previously accused the police of torturing his client, who denies all the allegations.

In the latest development, a video of Mr Johal in custody has been screened on Indian TV.

Gurpreet Singh Johal said he was “shocked” when he saw the footage and claimed it jeopardises his brother’s right to a fair trial.

He told BBC Scotland: “The only thing I can see from the video is that it seems like a hostile situation.

“Allegedly there is a confession but I don’t see a confession there.

“There is nothing there.

“He is just saying that he has translated some articles for a website.”

He also questioned how anyone managed to film his brother while he is in custody and fears he has been “found guilty without a trial”.

He also urged the UK government to do more to help Mr Johal.

The Scottish government has previously said it is “deeply concerned” about Mr Johal’s detention.

Punjab Police have denied the torture allegations.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-42293490

The Hindu – Adultery law weighted in favour of men: Supreme Court

Section 497 of the IPC treats only the man as the offender and the married woman as a victim

Krishnadas Rajagopal

New Delhi-India, 9 December 2017. The Supreme Court on Friday said the dusty Victorian provision of adultery in the Indian Penal Code treats a married woman as her husband’s “subordinate”.

The court admitted a petition to drop adultery as a criminal offence from the statute book.

“Time has come when the society must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every respect,” the Supreme Court recorded in its five-page written order.

Section 497 of the IPC mandates that “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery and shall be punished”.

Issuing notice, the court would examine two aspects of the penal provision. One, why does Section 497 treat the man as the adulterer and the married woman as a victim.

Two, the offence of adultery ceases the moment it is established that the husband connived or consented to the adulterous act. So, is a married woman the “property” of her husband or a passive object without a mind of her own?

“The provision (Section 497) really creates a dent in the individual independent identity of a woman when the emphasis is laid on the connivance or consent of the husband. This tantamounts to subordination of a woman where the Constitution confers (women) equal status”, the Supreme Court declared.

Further, only a husband or the person in whose care the husband has left his wife can file a complaint under Section 497. The petition challenges the validity of Section 198 (1) and (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure which deems that only a husband can be an aggrieved party in offences against marriage like adultery and only he can go to court.

Arguing for petitioner Joseph Shine, advocates Kaleeswaram Raj and Suvidutt M.S., submitted that the penal section was framed at a time when women were considered a man’s property. They have asked the court to annul Section 497 as unconstitutional.

Equal status

The Constitution confers equal status to a man and a woman. The time has come when society has to realise that a woman is equal to her husband in every respect, Chief Justice Dipak Misra recorded in the order.

Justice D Y Chandrachud paraphrased the petitioner’s arguments that it amounts to a violation of a women’s fundamental right against discrimination under Article 15 when law “assumes a patronising attitude to women”. “By presuming the woman to be a victim, has the law made a patronising assumption” he asked.

Why is prosecution under Section 497 completely dependent on the husband’s word. So much so that, a woman can enter into an adulterous relationship if her husband consents. The debate in the court centered on the question whether Section 497 demeans a woman to the extent of her being considered the husband’s “commodity”.

“Does this relegate her to the level of a commodity?” Justice Chandrachud asked.

Terming the provision “quite archaic,” the court observed in the order that when society progresses, rights are conformed and a new generation of thoughts should spring forth.

The apex court had earlier on three separate occasions, in 1954, 1985 and 1988, upheld the constitutionality of Section 497.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-agrees-to-examine-adultery-provision-in-ipc/article21296775.ece

The Asian Age – Bihar’s child bazaar: 2,000 kids trafficked annually

Once the child is handed over to members of these gangs, which pose as placement agencies, there is no end to their exploitation.

Nayear Azad

Patna-Bihar-India, 9 December 2017. There has been a steady increase in cases of child trafficking in Bihar, a fact accepted by the Nitish Kumar government which has launched a special drive to combat the menace which is suspected to be impacting 2,000 children every year.

Activists who have been fighting against trafficking claim that victims, including girls under the age of 18, from poor families are being pushed into slavery, prostitution and surrogacy by agents who manage to mislead poor parents with their lucrative offers of getting their children good jobs.

Once the child is handed over to members of these gangs, which pose as placement agencies, there is no end to their exploitation.

Government sources said that directions for a focussed drive against child trafficking came after activists involved in rescue operations demanded immediate action to stop the surge in such cases.

Statistics cited by Human Liberty Network, a social group involved in rescue and rehabilitation work, showed that 2,000 children disappear from the state every year.

In April, senior BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav, who was then in Opposition, had raised a question in the state Assembly claiming that over 572 children had gone missing from various locations in Patna district in last one year.

However, that is not all, Mr Yadav, who is now a senior minister in Nitish Kumar’s Cabinet, had cited National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data to point out that cases related to human trafficking in Bihar had increased in past few years.

“After I raised the issue in the state Assembly, several persons who have been involved in the racket were arrested, most of them were from Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

NCRB data shows that in 2015, 332 cases of child trafficking were registered in Bihar, the third highest in the country. Assam registered 1,317 cases and West Bengal had 1,119 cases.

Reports suggest that in 2017, around 160 persons involved in child trafficking were arrested by Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel on the Indo-Nepal border. Around 560 children were also rescued.

SSB personnel during their operation in 2016 had arrested 136 persons from border areas. These included 89 from Bihar and 47 from Nepal. Altogether 824 children, including girls, were rescued during this period.

According to an assessment, minor girls and women are the main targets of immoral trafficking in Bihar. Activists involved in combating child trafficking in the state recently claimed that 6,000 children from various parts of the country have been rescued in last couple of years.

“Areas surrounding Nepal border are highly sensitive. It is tough to rescue girls as they are often pushed into flesh trade by traffickers. We also found that underage boys were mostly sold to bangle and carpet factory owners outside the state and are forced into bonded labour,” activist Suresh Kumar told this newspaper.

Giving an account of an incident which occurred a few months ago, Mr Kumar said that a teenage girl from Patna was pushed into prostitution by people who posed as placement agents.

“We later came to know that the girl was taken to Uttar Pradesh and probably pushed into prostitution. Despite all our efforts, we couldn’t trace the whereabouts of the girl,” Mr Kumar said.

In another incident, a 12-year-old girl from Nawada was sold to UP-based traffickers by her own maternal grandmother and aunt for Rs 12,000. The girl was later rescued by a group called Tatwasi Samaj Nyas which also helped the police arrest people who were behind the racket.

According to a recent report, a majority of victims are from Patna, Gaya, Nalanda, Nawada, East and West Champaran, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Samastipur, Madhepura, Supaul and Kishanganj.

Child rights organisations working to prevent such cases are of the view that the surge in immoral trafficking is also linked to pushing the victims into “forced surrogacy”, an emerging money spinner.

Earlier a group working against girl trafficking had rescued several victims out of whom four complained of being used as “surrogate mothers”.

Talking to this newspaper about the issue, an activist working with Human Liberty Network said, “Surrogacy racket is booming in the country. Young girls between the age of 17 and 20 are being pushed into the bearing children for others,” said the activist who helped rescue and rehabilitate nearly half a dozen such girls.

A Role model

Tronie Foundation CEO Rani Hong, a survivor of child trafficking, is a role model for all rescued children. She had earlier met Bihar government officials to launch a campaign against gangs who work as touts and exploit people, especially daily wage earners in rural areas and their children.

“I strongly believe that we need to stand up and if we can do that as a nation then we can drastically reduce, even prevent child trafficking. I want to work with the Government of India and launch a massive campaign against trafficking and slavery,” said Ms Hong.

Ms Hong was pushed into the slavery when she was just six years of age. She was kidnapped from Kerala and taken to Canada before being rescued. “I was tortured and treated like a slave and later abandoned as a destitue,” she said.

Ms Hong and her husband run special awareness drives in 20 countries, including India, through her US-based foundation. Till 2016, she served as special advisor, human trafficking, for the UN.

http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/091217/bihars-child-bazaar-2000-kids-trafficked-annually.html

The Tribune – Now, ex-Hazoori Raagi opposes SGPC president’s appointment

Says the decision has hurt sentiments of Sikhs

GS Paul, Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 8 December 2017. The opposition to the SAD’s pick for the SGPC president’s post today reached Akal Takht when the Sikh Sadbhawna Dal, headed by former Hazoori Raagi of Golden Temple Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala, claimed that choosing Gobind Singh Longowal was a mistake.

Amid mild resistance, Wadala, along with his supporters, reached Akal Takht to get ‘ardas’ performed for the success of their campaign against conversion of Gurdwara Gurudongmar Sahib into a Buddhist temple in Sikkim under a political conspiracy.

Wadala said a person who had defied Akal Takht’s ‘hukumnama’ against the Dera Sirsa head could never be fit to head the apex body of the Sikhs. He said till the SGPC was made free of interference of the ‘Fakhr-e-Kaum’ family (senior Badal was conferred this title by the SGPC), nothing could be expected from it.

“A series of instances of Guru Granth Sahib’s desecration, a flip-flop over the decision of pardoning the Dera Sirsa head, inaction against sacrilege of historic gurdwaras in Sikkim and now, the appointment of Longowal have hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs across the globe.

It was the Badals who were behind all these controversies. The need of the hour is to release the ‘Panth’ from their clutches and boycott them from public platforms,” he said.

A day after his election, Longowal had to face the wrath of the United Sikh Party activists who showed black flags during his visit to Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib in Patiala.

Earlier, a Sikh activist, Baldev Singh Sirsa, had alleged that Longowal was behind the “shady” land deal between two gurdwaras in 2004 when he was an MLA. The parallel jathedars also burnt his effigies in Ajnala recently.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/now-ex-hazoori-raagi-opposes-sgpc-president-s-appointment/510422.html

The Hindustan Times – Man hacked to death, set ablaze in Rajasthan: Nephew says Afrazul didn’t wrong anyone

Afrazul’s family says he was harmless and worked to help others from his village in Malda find employment in Rajsamand.

Salik Ahmad

Rajsamand-Rajastan-India, 8 December 2017. Migrant labourer Afrazul who was brutally hacked and burnt by a fanatical unemployed man on Wednesday, lived with 24 labourers who shared four rooms in a rented single storey house in Rajsamand’s Dhoinda, about 300 km south of Jaipur.

Fifty-year-old Afrazul also worked as a labour contractor facilitating fellow villagers from Malda’s Sayadpur village in West Bengal find work here. They earlier lived in Kakoli, another area of the district and had moved into this house just over a month ago.

The father of three apparently had no vice.

“The only vice, he had was that he used to smoke bidis,” says Inaul Sheikh, Afrazul’s nephew who stays in the same accommodation.

He says Afrazul did not wrong anyone.

“Go to the labour market at Jhal Chakki and ask the people there who have seen him for the past 12-13 years. They will tell you what kind of a person he was,” he adds.

The man seen killing him in a video, Shambhu Lal Regar who was arrested on Thursday told police he killed Afrazul to save a woman from ‘love jihad’, a term used by right-wing Hindu groups to describe inter-faith marriages which they claim is an Islamist conspiracy to convert Hindu women through marriage or coercion.

But Inaul says he had nothing to do with it.

“If five or six years ago, some person from Malda took a girl from here what does it have to do with my uncle?” he asks.

Afrazul’s son-in-law Mosharaff Khan, another tenant in the same building, says his father-in-law had left for the labour market at around nine in the morning on Wednesday.

“There was a drizzle. We were watching television when he had tea and left. At 11:30am, he called to say that some labourers need to transfer money back home and needed his help,” he said.

At 3 pm, Inaul got a call informing him that the owner of the bike whose registration number ended with 786 had met an ‘accident’. When Inaul reached the spot, police had cordoned off the area where the charred body of his uncle was lying. Afrazul was not very religious and occasionally offered the juma (Friday congregation) prayer.

Mosharaff says Afrazul gave Rs 12000 to him on his marriage. “Garib majdoor aadmi kitna dega (how much can a poor labourer give?)”quips Afrazul’s fellow worker Samiul Sheikh who has been living in Rajsamand on and off for the past 18 years and knew the deceased for a long time.

The labourers keep their families at home. They keep coming at regular intervals depending on employment.

Afrazul’s wife and three daughters live in Malda. The elder two daughters are married, while the youngest (16) is yet to be married.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/smoking-was-afrazul-s-only-vice-says-nephew/story-Jt7LTzCcITMDIl21DmvlsI.html

Sikh24.com – Controversial SGPC president undergoes secret meeting with Giani Gurbachan Singh

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 6 December 2017.  Newly appointed SGPC President Gobind Singh Longowal, who has been entangled in controversies since his first day of election, today silently paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum Sri Harmandr Sahib.

Despite of being his primary visit to the holiest Sikh shrine after becoming SGPC President, media was kept apart from this visit by the SGPC.

Sources have informed that the newly elected SGPC President Gobind Singh Longowal underwent a secret meeting with the SGPC appointed Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh after paying obeisance inside sanctum sanctorum. It has come to fore that senior SGPC officials were not allowed to enter the room during the meeting.

As per a press note shared by the SGPC with Sikh24, it has been informed that during his visit Gobind Singh Longowal got information about the on-going tasks inside Sikh shrines by meeting the senior SGPC officials in its head office.

SGPC Chief Secretary Dr Roop Singh apprised Gobind Singh Longowal with all the senior SGPC officials and promised him of full support during his tenure.

The press note does not make any mention of the meeting with Giani Gurbachan Singh.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/12/06/controversial-sgpc-president-undergoes-secret-meeting-with-giani-gurbachan-singh/#.WiodOzdrzIU

The Hindu – The Hindu – ‘Unforgivable’: Editorial on 7 December 1992, on the Babri Masjid demolition

Op/Ed, 6 December 2017. It was religious fanaticism at its ugliest in Ayodhya yesterday, with the country’s worst fears coming true in the nightmarish spectacle of the brutal destruction of the 450 year old Babri Masjid by thousands of frenzied kar sevaks.

The disputed mosque was razed to the ground with a barbaric savagery reminiscent of the crude traditions of settling scores in medieval history. The demolition of the Masjid has delivered a lethal blow to the image of a secular and democratic India.

Yesterday’s catastrophe underlines the validity of the misgivings that a permissive attitude to the kar seva would have disastrous consequences. Sunday was a dark day for India. The Hindu shares the nation’s sense of deep anguish at this painful moment.

The BJP Government in Uttar Pradesh has forfeited its right to rule in the State by its brazen and shameless abdication of its constitutional responsibility.

Its assurances to the Centre that it would not violate the court order and that it would discharge its constitutional obligations proved insincere as it appeared to actively collude with the savage and destructive attitude of the kar sevaks surging forward to capture the disputed structure.

The State police, completely outnumbered by crowds of trishul-wielding kar sevaks, withdrew from the site as the unruly mob charged into the complex.

For the better part of the day, the inaction of the State police force coupled with the refusal of the district magistrate to permit the Central forces to act implied that the State Government endorsed the mosque’s wanton destruction.

The Central forces had to fight their way in, even as they were prevented by the State troops from bursting teargas shells to disperse the crowd.

The barricades that the State authorities had put up to guard the disputed structure were hopelessly inadequate, making a mockery of the State Government’s claim that it would take all steps to protect the disputed structure.

The resignation of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Kalyan Singh does not absolve his Government or the BJP of culpability for the kar seva’s sordid conclusion.

The BJP and its militant allies, the RSS, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal stand exposed as having brought on this horrific denouement even as the essentially destructive and fascist nature of its strategy and tactics cannot be in doubt any more. The BJP’s claim to be a defender of the national interest lies in shreds today.

Much as Mr L K Advani and his colleagues would like to disown the savagery of Sunday, they cannot escape the responsibility for having whipped up passions to the extent that it reflected in the blind mob hysteria which culminated in the attack on the Babri Masjid.

The shrill tenor of the Hindutva campaign, the continual jibes at “pseudo secular policies”, the inflammatory propaganda that minorities are being appeased all served to present a dangerous and false picture of Indian social reality to the public, breeding the sort of ugly fanaticism that surfaced in Ayodhya yesterday.

The Narasimha Rao administration will face the criticism that it did not adequately forestall Sunday’s development. In retrospect, it was a mistake to have put any faith in the sincerity of the Uttar Pradesh Government’s assurances that it would uphold the rule of law.

Thereby, the Centre had jeopardised the safety of the Babri Masjid. The Government should not have taken this risk, given that the disputed mosque had come to be a symbol of the fate of India’s commitment to secularism.

This administration had in fact been fortified by support from the non-BJP opposition parties which had promised to endorse any strong action in defence of the integrity of the disputed structure. Yet the Narasimha Rao Government hesitated in seizing the initiative in ensuring the mosque’s safety.

The wisdom of this Government’s strategic approach to the Ayodhya issue will be sharply questioned in the days to come, within the ruling party and outside.

But what is vital is to recognise that this is a defining moment in India’s history, a moment at which the country can be plunged into a dark abyss of primitive emotions threatening to erase four decades of a successful track record of a progressive secular democracy.

All the secular political forces must rally to the defence of the country and pull it back from the brink. A first step would be to rebuild the destroyed Babri Masjid as a gesture towards the minority community and as a reaffirmation of an unwavering commitment to the vision of a democratic India, free of any kind of bigotry.

This Editorial has been republished on the occasion of the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition on 6 December 2017. The original Editorial was published by The Hindu on 7 December 1992.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/unforgivable-editorial-on-the-babri-masjid-demolition-published-by-the-hindu-on-december-7-1992/article21272508.ece

The Statesman – Mandir will be built when Lord Rama wants it, PM Modi will not build it: Sibal

New Delhi, 7 December 2017. Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Wednesday in a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Ram Mandir will be built “when Lord Rama wants it and Modi will not build the temple”.

“As far as Ram Mandir is concerned (Modiji), it will be built when Lord Ram wants it to be built,” said Sibal.

“We believe in the Lord, we don’t believe in you (Modiji). You are not going to build that temple..If you think that you are, then you are mistaken…

“It’s when God wants it. When Lord Ram wants it the temple will be built wherever, whenever. And that the court will decide,” Sibal added.

Sibal had in the apex court said that the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute should be heard after the 2019 general elections, which triggered a major political storm.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the Congress and congratulated the Sunni Waqf Board for distancing itself from Sibal’s plea.

However, Sibal clarified that he did not represent the Sunni Waqf Board, but one of the individuals in the case.

“Our PM comments without knowing things sometimes. Amit Shah and the Prime Minister said I represented Sunni Waqf Board. I was never a Sunni Waqf Board lawyer. I can understand your President (Shah) saying such a thing because I don’t expect anything better from him.

“The PM did not check the fact that actually I never represented the Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court and yet he thanked them. I request the PM to be a little more careful before making such public comments. It doesn’t behove the status of a Prime Minister.”

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/mandir-will-built-lord-rama-wants-pm-modi-will-not-build-sibal-1502540710.html

The Tribune – Rein in illegal travel agents: HC to states

Saurabh Malik, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 5 December 2017. Taking cognisance of advertisements by travel agents to lure susceptible people for sending them abroad even for studies, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the DGPs of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to find out whether the advertisers were registered.

The order by Justice A B Chaudhari came more than four months after Punjab and Haryana were held culpable for not warning people against contacting unregistered or unlicensed agents while seeking greener pastures abroad.

Justice Chaudhari has already asked Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to initiate suitable action against TV channels and advertisers in case broadcast ads were not by registered agents.

As the case came up for resumed hearing, Justice Chaudhari observed that the compliance report on the previous order was not there. He added that advertisements were visible at the rear of auto-rickshaws and at several places for attracting gullible people.

Issuing directions to the DGPs, Justice Chaudhari also called for details of action taken in case the agents advertising were not registered. For the purpose of compliance, Justice Chaudhari fixed the case for third week of December, while making it clear that further adjournment would not be granted.

Justice Chaudhari, on a previous date of hearing, had directed the states to issue immediate instructions to district magistrates in each district to publish “a list of registered agents and to warn the citizens against unauthorised agents”.

The list was required to be made public on a regular basis through TV, radio, newspapers and any other modes of communication.

Justice Chaudhari had observed that agents, not registered or licensed by the government, were taking money and sending people abroad, and gullible citizens were falling in their trap.

He had asserted: “In my opinion, one of the reasons appears to be the failure on the part of Punjab and Haryana in not warning the people at large not to contact any unregistered or unlicensed person/agent and not to give any amount to them.”

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/rein-in-illegal-travel-agents-hc-to-states/508905.html