The Hindustan Times – Shutdown in Valley after Kashmiris harassed over Pulwama attack

Authorities have imposed restrictions in parts of old city and reduced high speed mobile internet services.

New Delhi – India, 17 February 2019. A shutdown was observed in Srinagar and adjoining areas as a mark of protest against reported attacks or targeting of Kashmiris outside the state, days after a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy killed 40 soldiers.

Traders’ bodies called for a complete Valley-wide bandh on Sunday against mob attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu and other states. Transporters have supported the bandh call. Authorities have imposed restrictions in parts of old city and reduced high speed mobile internet services.

A curfew in Jammu continued for a third consecutive day on Sunday with the authorities saying that it will remain in force until the law and order situation improves in the city. Authorities will take a call later whether the curfew can be relaxed or not.

Kashmiris in various parts of the country were reported to have been harassed or intimidated in retaliation against the terror attack, prompting the Union home ministry to issue an advisory to all states to ensure safety and security of the students and people from Jammu and Kashmir living in their areas.

The CRPF, which suffered its worst loss in a single day in the Valley, and has sworn to avenge the death of its troopers, stayed true to its professionalism as it took to Twitter to announce the launch of a 24-hour helpline for Kashmiri students and general public who are out of the Valley.

A Kashmiri student was arrested in Dehradun on Saturday for allegedly posting “insulting and provocative” comments against the armed forces personnel while another Kashmiri student was suspended by a city-based medical college on Friday for inappropriate remarks.

In several parts of the country, Kashmiris have been asked to vacate their places. The colleges or institutions where they study have been asked to withdraw them. A mob tried to occupy a Kashmiri girl students’ hostel in Dehradun.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police have setup a helpline for the assistance of students and other Kashmiris living outside the Valley.

Advertisements – Pulwama attack: Loss of human lives regrettable but war mongering no answer, says Dal Khalsa

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 15 February 2019. Commenting on Pulwama bloodbath, the Dal Khalsa said the loss of human lives is always regrettable, whether it is of the security forces or that of a militant or even an ordinary person.

What is disturbing is that when there are regular deaths of militants and insurgents, then the media and civil society take very little notice, whereas whenever an incident of such magnitude happens like it had happened in Pulwama, there is an uproar of rhetoric, anger and revenge feels Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh.

He said that “war mongering at such times in a retaliatory tone is not helpful as it only adds fuel to the fire.” “Why is there no consistent effort to understand the political causes for the strife in Kashmir?”

The Kashmir dispute is lingering since decades and the people of the valley are dying everyday and facing untold misery and ironically all governments to date have paid only lip service to the political resolution of the Kashmir problem.

To avert the further loss of lives, the government does not have to indulge in war talks, but reopen dialogue with rebels to resolve the very issues which are at the heart of the problem, he observed.

He said the government and the civil society needs to realize the gravity of the ground situation especially the state of mind of a person who prepares himself to die first and subsequently takes lives of others.

The Tribune – Convicted under sedition law, three youths move HC

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 14 February 2019. Just about a week after a Nawanshahr court awarded life imprisonment to three youths on the allegations of waging a war against the state, the order was on Thursday challenged before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In their appeal filed through counsel R S Bains, the three submitted that no case was made out against them. The appeal is expected to come up for hearing next week.

The three accused, Arwinder Singh of Nawanshahr, Surjit Singh of Gurdaspur and Ranjit Singh of Kaithal in Haryana, were convicted by the Court of Additional Sessions Judge on January 31.

The quantum of sentence was pronounced subsequently.

“From the material on record, common intention and object which brought the accused together could be easily gathered from the documentary evidence such as books, literature, pamphlets, which are seized from them,” reads the order.

NDTV – Amarinder Singh to raise Gurdwara body’s poll delay issue with centre

Amid protests by SAD and BJP members, the House authorised Captain Amarinder Singh to raise the issue with the central government.

Mohammad Ghazali

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 15 February 2019. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said people have the right to early polls of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, hours after he was authorised by the State Assembly to take up with the Centre the issue of delay in elections of the supreme body controlling gurdwaras.

The SGPC elections are pending since 2016.

Talking informally with the media outside the House, the chief minister said the delay in the SGPC elections as wrong and unfair for the people of Punjab.

It was the democratic right of every Punjabi to vote in SGPC elections which cannot be denied by Union Government, he earlier said in the House, while responding to the issue that was raised by AAP lawmaker H S Phoolka.

Amid protests by SAD and BJP members, the House authorised Captain Amarinder Singh to raise the issue with the central government. The chief minister assured the House that he would meet the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh soon to press for early initiation of elections.

Since the Gurdwara Act was a national legislation, it was the bounden duty of the central government to hold timely elections to the SGPC, he said, seeking the permission of the Speaker, on behalf of his government, to adopt the resolution moved by Mr Phoolka.

Amidst protests by SAD and BJP MLAs, the Speaker put the resolution to vote, as a result of which the House authorised Captain Amarinder Singh to raise the issue with Union Government immediately.

As the resolution was put to vote, the members of ruling party and AAP welcomed it with thumping of desks.

The Chief Minister later told media there was unanimity in the House on the issue as the elections were over due by three years. Only the Akalis and BJP were not in favour, he added.

The Telegraph – Hiren Gohain plea to vote against BJP in Lok Sabha poll

Assam and the Northeast urged by Forum against Citizenship Amendment Bill to vote against ruling party

Abinash Kalita

Guwahati – Assam – India, 14 February 2019. The Forum against Citizenship Amendment Bill has urged masses to vote against the ruling BJP for pushing the bill.

Following the non-tabling of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, the forum thanked the people of Assam and the Northeast for their supporting the organisations and political parties fighting against the bill.

The president of the forum, Hiren Gohain, in a news conference on Wednesday said, “It is the victory of the public. It is a temporary relief for us. It shall do more harm to our society if this government will come to power.

So, we urge the people of Assam and the Northeast to vote against the ruling party. This will only solve the various issues, being created by the ruling BJP during their tenure throughout the country.”

“With the Rajya Sabha being adjourned sine die on the last day of the budget session, the last parliamentary session before the Lok Sabha polls, there is no chance for the BJP now to amend the citizenship act,” he added.

The forum with the 70 other organisations had met Congress president Rahul Gandhi on February 4 and sought his co-operation to stall the bill in the Upper House.

Rahul had assured that his party would oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Convener of the forum, Manjit Mahanta said, “We want to thank all the political parties and students’ unions who opposed the bill from the beginning. Mostly, for the strong stand from the Congress, JDU and Shiv Sena against the bill in the Rajya Sabha, the ruling government unable to table the bill.”

The whole Northeast was united to scrap the bill and today (Wednesday) they have succeeded, he added.

Other members of the forum, Haidar Hussain, Udayaditya Bharali, Dinesh Baishya and Abdul Mannan and Deben Tamuli, were present in the news conference. – Dal Khalsa stages protest against unjust conviction of three Sikh youths; Terms court’s verdict as judicial terror

Judiciary and Executive collude to crush Sikh rights and aspirations – Order of the Nawanshahr judge is a black chapter in the judicial history of Punjab

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Punjab – India, 13 February 2019. Carrying placards with photos of martyrs and books referred to by the Sessions Judge Nawanshahr in the recent judgement against three Sikh youth namely Arvinder Singh, Surjit Singh and Ranjit Singh, Dal Khalsa activists marched to the district courts taunting the administration and daring the state to take action against them.

Waving the books to the protesters, the leaders called the martyrs as Sikh heroes, whose books adorn their homes.

Crushing the already-reduced space for dissent and upholding a different religio-political opinion, especially the right to self-determination, the order of Randhir Verma, the Additional Sessions Judge of SBS Nagar court sentencing three youth to the maximum punishment of life imprisonment for mere possession of posters and literature relating to the Sikh struggle, is an annulment of the freedom of expression and portrays a clear enemy-like attitude towards the Sikhs, said Dal Khalsa leader H S Dhami in a statement released during their protest sit-in here today.

Mother of one of the convict Arvinder Singh participated in the sit-in.

Accompanied by Prof Mohinder Pal Singh, general secretary Akali Dal (A), SGPC members Karnail Singh Panjoli and Panthik front leader Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Dal Khalsa veteran leader Dhami said the order is a clear-cut case of how the judiciary has exceeded its brief to take on the role of the executive and how the executive has taken swift action to buttress the defaults of the judiciary.

“It is nothing but judicial terror and political repression”, said he.

Addressing the spirited gathering outside court premises, Dhami said it was amusingly shocking to note that as a result of the overwhelming objections and denouncements of the judgement for ‘waging war’ by political activists and civil society, the police under instructions of the present Punjab government acted post-facto to foist another case against one of the accused to ‘build the case’ against the accused.

‘This proves that the judiciary, the executive and the police are hand-in-glove,’ said he while addressing the dharna.

‘There was no conspiracy to overthrow the government, there was no evidence of any incitement upon reading the books, there was no proof that the accused actually read all the books that they possessed, there was no communication with any one through social media or otherwise which can come into the purview of criminal activity.

They were all acquitted under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, thus proving that they were not members of any proscribed organisation. The accused did not hold any secret or public meetings to incite any individual or group to wage a war against the government of India”, said Dhami and added that the entire case is a frame-up to crush dissenting voices.

Party general secretary Paramjit Singh Tanda said, “The order of the Nawanshahr judge is ‘a black chapter in the judicial history of Punjab.’

Speaking on the occasion Panjoli said “The allegation is that 97 books, 198 photographs and 13 photographs of Sikhs, who had died in the Saka of 1978 and 1000 books in connection with biography of Sukhdev Singh Babbar were recovered from him.” None of this is a crime and none of this has been proscribed by the government.

SYP head Paramjit Singh Mand said, ‘the judge has moved from action pursuant to a conspiracy to mind reading. The judge’s focus is ‘mensrea –the guilty mind.’ No intent or action is mentioned or proved.

The Indian Express – 1984 riots: SIT to examine over 1250 cases filed in Kanpur

On 05 February 5, the state government ordered to set-up a four member SIT headed by former UP DGP Atul to examine the cases filed during 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The Kanpur police have been collecting the case documents and the status of each cases to be sent to the government

Manish Sahu

Lucknow – Uttar Pradesh – India, 13 February 2019. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Uttar Pradesh government to examine and probe anti-Sikh riot cases lodged in Kanpur after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, have to handle 1,254 cases including 1,101 to be investigated again as these were all closed on various grounds.

All the cases to be handed over to the SIT were registered at different police stations of Kanpur district during the riots.

On February 5, the state government ordered to set-up a four member SIT headed by former UP DGP Atul to examine the cases filed during 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The Kanpur police have been collecting the case documents and the status of each cases to be sent to the government.

“The state government, taking a suo motu decision after taking cognizance of requests made in a petition related to the Sikh riots filed in the Supreme Court, decided to form SIT in the riot cases. In the petition pending in the Supreme Court, petitioner had requested for examination and investigation of cases by an SIT,” said principal secretary (home) Arvind Kumar.

The petition, Manjit Singh and others vs Government of India, was filed in 2017 in the Supreme Court. Former DGP Atul is chairman of the SIT while district judge (retired) Subhash Chandra Agarwal and additional DG, prosecution (retired) Yogeshwar Krishna Srivastava are its members and a serving SSP or SP will also be there in the team as member-secretary.

The tenure of the SIT has been fixed at six months.

As per government directives, the newly formed SIT would be examining cases in which closure reports were filed, those in which accused were acquitted and also the cases pending for investigation. If found appropriate, the SIT will investigate the cases under provisions of section 173 (8) of the CrPC.

In cases where the accused were acquitted, if it is found during examination that no writ/ appeal was filed in such cases while it was required as per merit, the SIT is supposed to recommend to the legal authorities concerned to file a writ/appeal in a higher court.

The SIT will be provided police inspectors, sub-inspectors, other employees and prosecuting officers for assistance in the examination and investigation.

When contacted, SIT chairman Atul said, “I have so far not received the government order in this regard. After receiving the order, it will be clear what job SIT has been assigned. We will certainly ask for human resources to complete the assignment.”

Principal Secretary (Home), Arvind Kumar, said, “The four SIT members have been informed telephonically about the order.” Additional DG, Prosecution (retired) Yogeshwar Krishna Srivastava, the SIT member, said, “We have to only examine the cases registered in Kanpur during 1984 riots.”

Additional Superintendent of Police, Rural area (Kanpur), Pradyumna Singh, informed, “as per records available, a total of 1,254 FIRs were lodged in connection with 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Kanpur.

These cases were registered at 29 different police stations. Of the 1,254 cases, closure reports have been filed in 1,101 cases. Police had filed chargesheet in 153 other cases.”

He added, “We are still collecting details about how many deaths occurred during riots and also present status of the cases pending in court.”

Awaiting justice

Kanpur resident Harmohinder Kaur, 70, is hopeful that the killers of her husband Bhagat Singh and brother-in-law Harbansh Singh will be brought to justice by SIT.

“I am waiting for the SIT to investigate the murders of my husband and brother-in-law because Kanpur police had failed to trace any assailant then, said Kaur, who retired as a lecturer from Guru Nanak Degree College in Kanpur. Kaur now lives in Rambagh locality in Kanpur with her only son, Rana Ranvir Singh.

Giving details of the case, Kaur said she was staying with her family in Sharda Nagar area of Kanpur at the time of the riots. “A day after the death of Indira Gandhi, a mob of over armed miscreants barged in our house. My husband Bhagat Singh (then 35) and Harbansh Singh (then 34) were standing outside the house.

The mob caught and hit them with sticks and sharp-edged weapons. Later, they escaped,” said Kaur.

“We took both of them to hospital. Since curfew was clamped in the city, no senior doctors were present. Junior doctors asked to arrange for blood, but we could not do so due to the situation. Later, my husband and brother-in-law died during treatment,” added Kaur.

Bhagat Singh used to run an air-conditioner repair shop at Badariya Bagh and Harbansh Singh help him in the business. A case was filed against unidentified persons at Kalyanpur police station but police failed to trace any accused and closure report was filed, added Kaur.

After the incident, I started working at Guru Nanak Degree College on contractual basis for survival and two years later I was made a permanent employee. “Fearing that I may lose my son, I send him to a relative’s house in Punjab where he studied.

Rana Ranvir Singh returned to Kanpur after a decade. He completed his intermediate and runs an AC repair shop,” she added.

The Hindu – Bhima-Koregaon case: Supreme Court sets aside High Court order refusing police 90-day time to file charge sheet against Gadling, others

Lawyer Surendra Gadling will not be eligible for default bail now.

Krishnadas Rajagopal

New Delhi – India, 13 February 2019. The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside a Bombay High Court order refusing the Maharashtra police a 90-day extension to complete the investigation and file charge sheet against lawyer Surendra Gadling and others accused of Maoist links in the aftermath of the Bhima-Koregaon violence.

Mr. Gadling will not be eligible for default bail now. The High Court order on October 24 had opened the window for Mr. Gadling, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, activists Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson to seek default bail.

They were arrested on June 6 by the Pune Police and a case was registered against them under the various provisions of The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and the Indian Penal Code.

“The police started the investigation but could not complete the same. On September 3, 90 days were completed since the date of arrest of the respondents,” the Maharashtra government petition filed through State counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar said.

The petition argued that under Section 43-D (2) of the UAPA Act, the trial court may, on the report of the public prosecutor, extend the detention of the accused for another 90 days.

On September 2, the trial court had allowed an extension of 90 days, following which Mr. Gadling and the others moved the High Court, which set aside the trial court order. The HC however stayed its order till November 1 to give the State time to appeal the Supreme Court.

The State government argued that the HC resorted to a “pedantic view rather than resorting to a pragmatic view”. The HC concluded that the report for the 90-day extension of detention was filed before the Sessions Judge by the case investigating officer instead of the public prosecutor as required by law.

“The public prosecutor, by way of abundant precaution, took signature of the investigating officer. But the High Court was carried away by the fact of signature of the investigating officer and arrived at a conclusion that the report/application was not by the public prosecutor,” the State government contended in the special leave petition.

The State submitted the HC was “carried away” by a reference made by the Sessions Judge that the application for extension was “filed by investigating officer”.

“It appears that more the State took precaution to file the report/application for extension of time to complete the investigation, the more the High Court considered it as improper and thereby passed the impugned order,” the State had complained to the Supreme Court.

The Tribune – Fearless Freda

Freda Bedi, an Englishwoman, was a leading anti-colonialism campaigner, who later became a pioneering Buddhist nun. A new book chronicles the life of this legendary woman who was actor Kabir Bedi’s mother.

Sarika Sharma

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 10 February 2019. When Freda Houlston confided that she was going to marry the handsome Sikh student she’d been seeing, her best friend, Barbara Castle, replied: ‘Well, thank goodness. Now at least you won’t become a suburban housewife!’

Freda had refused to fit into that groove; in fact, she had refused to fit into any groove. She broke the mould not once, but repeatedly in the coming decades. An Englishwoman, she was jailed in India as an anti-Raj political detainee and later became a pioneering Tibetan Buddhist nun, says former BBC journalist Andrew Whitehead, who traces her life in a biography to be released this week.

Aptly titled The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, the book has been published by Speaking Tiger. It draws on the papers in the possession of her movie star son, Kabir Bedi, besides archives of The Tribune, for which Freda wrote regularly.

Freda, from a shopkeeper’s family in the English Midlands, fell in love with Baba Pyare Lal Bedi, an Indian fellow student at Oxford University. In the spring of 1933, they married at Oxford Registry Office, in spite of the disapproval of her family and disciplinary action by her college.

From the moment of her marriage, Freda Bedi regarded herself as Indian and dressed in the Indian style, even though it was another year before she first got to set foot on Indian soil. By then, the husband and wife had edited four books about India’s claim to nationhood.

Freda grew up in an atmosphere of Fabian Socialism, when Laski and the London School of Economics dominated the intellectual life of the English-speaking people.

Baba Bedi was a communist and militant nationalist, and also a champion hammer thrower. All these and a speech by Mahatma Gandhi at Oxford were to determine her anti-imperialist stand that she was to adhere to for the rest of her life.

In India, the Bedis were to become a noted left-wing couple. They set up home in Lahore where Freda decided to teach English at the Fateh Chand College, while Baba Bedi wrote, lectured and organised political activities.

She told a Tribune correspondent in May 1970: “For years we lived in a thatched hut in Model Town. There was no other way to live if one wanted to be active in politics. We could not have stayed with the ICS brother of my husband even though the doors of TD Bedi were open to us.

We would only have been causing embarrassments. Nor could we lock ourselves in the small town of Kapurthala. The city of Lahore was the capital and there we spent some of our best years.”

In the years to come, she was to sway people with her oratory. It is said thousands thronged her meetings to listen to a white Oxford graduate denounce British imperialism. Gandhi was to later handpick her to be a satyagrahi.

Whitehead says during the World War II, both Freda and Baba Bedi were jailed for opposing the war effort and British imperialism. While Baba Bedi spent 15 months in detention, Freda spent three months as a political detainee (a satyagrahi) at Lahore women’s jail in 1941.

Interestingly, the magistrate had given light imprisonment to the Indian satyagrahis. However, Freda got hard labour, probably to demonstrate strictness to the British who went against the establishment.

“She recorded her jail experiences in her first book: Behind Mud Wails. Some of these were stories of the inmates who had worked with her. The English language professor protested against the women jail being described as ‘female jail’.

A mild elite agitation changed the name to ‘women’s jail’. Baba Bedi in the Deoli detention camp had a longer term to serve behind barbed wires,” The Tribune story had reported.

The Partition blizzard, which blew the inhabitants of old Lahore to various places in India, was to send the Bedis to Kashmir. That was to be her new battleground. The two became politically involved in Kashmir, living there for five years.

They worked closely with Sheikh Abdullah. “Freda would dress in a burka to make contact with underground left-wing nationalists and enrolled in a women’s militia,” says Whitehead.

The next turning point in Freda’s life was to come in the 1950s when she encountered Buddhism while working in Burma for the United Nations. Whitehead says, in 1959, she persuaded Nehru to send her to help improve facilities for the tens of thousands of Tibetan refugees who had escaped on foot across the Himalayas.

“She set up a school for young incarnate lamas and in 1966, without telling her children, she was ordained as a novice nun, Sister Palmo. She later took a higher ordination, and was perhaps the first woman in the Tibetan tradition (western or otherwise) to be ordained as a full Buddhist nun.

She arranged for two young lamas to study at Oxford and persuaded her guru, the Karmapa Lama, to reach out to the West, accompanying him in 1974 on a pioneering rock star-style five-month tour of North America and Europe. She has been described as the seed of Buddhism in the West,” he says.

Freda died in Delhi in 1977 aged 66, bringing to end her very fruitful political, spiritual and personal journeys. Baba Bedi too took the spiritual path in later life and died in Italy in 1993.

The Asian Age – Woman dragged out of car, gangraped by 10 men in Punjab

The woman was travelling with a man on Saturday night when their car was stopped by men on three bikes, who were following them.

Ludhiana – Panjab – India. 12 February 2019. A 21-year-old woman was dragged out of a car and allegedly raped by 10 men near Issewal village in Punjab’s Ludhiana, police said today.

The woman was travelling with a man on Saturday night when their car was stopped by men on three bikes, who were following them, Superintendent of Police (Investigation) Tarun Rattan told reporters.

As soon as they stopped, the car was attacked by the men with stones and bricks, he said.

The men on bikes then dragged them out of the car and took them to a vacant spot on the banks of the canal. They called six to seven more people and raped the woman, police said.