BBC News – London attack: Five dead in Westminster terror attack

London, 23 March 2017. Five people have died and at least 40 were injured after an attacker drove a car along a pavement in Westminster, stabbed a policeman and was shot dead by police in the grounds of Parliament.

The dead officer has been named as PC Keith Palmer, 48, a husband and father.

PM Theresa May said the attack was “sick and depraved” and struck at values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech.

The attacker has not been named by police.

Acting Deputy Commissioner and head of counter terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, Mark Rowley, said they think they know who he is and that he was inspired by international and Islamist-related terrorism, but gave no further details.

The attack unfolded at about 14.40 GMT when a single attacker drove a grey Hyundai i40 along a pavement over Westminster Bridge, near the Houses of Parliament in central London, killing at least two people and injuring many more.

The car then crashed into railings outside the Houses of Parliament.

The attacker, armed with a knife, ran to Parliament where he was confronted by the police. PC Palmer, who was not armed, was then stabbed and killed.

The attacker was shot dead by armed officers.

Mr Rowley paid tribute to PC Palmer, saying: “He was someone who left for work today expecting to return home at the end of his shift, and he had every right to expect that would happen.”

“Heartbroken” former colleague, Conservative MP James Cleverly, paid tribute to the “lovely man” he had known for 25 years. The pair had served together in the Royal Artillery before PC Palmer became a policeman.

Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood, a former Army officer whose brother died in the Bali terrorist bombing in 2002, attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation of Pc Palmer.

One woman was killed after being hit by the attacker’s car before it reached Parliament. She was confirmed dead by a doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital.

To read the full article and also other reports on the attack go to:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-39359158

Sikh24.com – Sikhs Extra Vigilant in London After Terror Attack

Sikh24 Editors

London-UK, 23 March 2017. After the terror attack outside the House of Westminster, in London, Sikhs throughout the area are stepping up their vigilance as the alarm of the attack reaches evening commuters.

The attack today transpired after a terrorist driving his vehicle into members of the public. He subsequently stabbed a policeman on guard duty, before being shot dead by armed police. Four deaths have resulted.

Sikhs have borne the brunt of knee-jerk reprisals in the past as hate crimes usually and as such Gurdwara Sahibs often been a target, so local Sikh communities are on alert to be safe from any such unfounded responses.

The Met Police have cordoned off many areas of central London and asked members of the public to volunteer any images or footage that they may have captured on personal devices.

“I would like to ask the public to remain vigilant and let us know if they see anything suspicious that causes them concern and dial 999 immediately”, said Commander B J Harrington, of New Scotland Yard.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/03/23/sikhs-extra-vigilant-in-london-after-terror-attack/#.WNNw06K1vIU

BBC Radio 4 – Thought for the day 21-3-17

Lord Indarjit Singh

Last week’s ruling by the European Court of Justice that employers have a right to set dress codes (that can exclude religious symbols and dress), came as a shock to turban wearing Sikhs, Muslim women who wear a headscarf, and many Christians and Jews.

Despite assurances from the government, legal experts and the European Court of Human Rights stating that faith communities in the UK would continue to be free to both practice and manifest their religious belief, postings on internet discussion groups, suggest some people still feel the ruling might be used to their disadvantage.

Some European politicians, playing to growing populism, welcomed the ruling. For me it was all déjà vu. In the early 80s, I spent a day and a half in court as an expert witness for the then Commission for Racial Equality, in a case against a school that said its uniform rules did not allow a Sikh boy the right to wear a turban in school.

The case, that went all the way to the House of Lords, finally established the right of Sikhs to wear the symbols of their faith. During my cross-examination, I was asked: Would you be equally offended if you were told you could not enter a church or a school? I replied: ‘No, because for a Sikh it is not necessary to go to a church. But it is necessary to be educated.

A Sikh child would be placed at a severe disadvantage, especially when, to add to the hurt, he is told, “we are doing this in the interest of racial harmony”. I honestly thought that we had now finally moved on from earlier insensitivity, to ‘those not like us’, but populism, which can open the door to racism, seems to be gaining ground in much of the world, with its unstated message that those ‘not like us’, are responsible for all our problems.

Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the Sikh Gurus, directly challenged such prejudiced thinking. He taught:

Though some see only difference,

We are all of one race in all the world.

We all have the same form, compounded of the same elements

The one Lord made us all.

I believe the Gurus words are a timely warning against the growing allure of populism, now all too evident in much of the world.

Posted to Sikh News Discussion by:
Hardeep Singh <bbinfo108@yahoo.co.uk>

Dawn – Four dead, including attacker, in UK parliament ‘terror’ assault

London, 22 March 2017. At least three people were killed and 20 injured in a “terrorist” attack in the heart of London Wednesday when a man mowed down pedestrians on a bridge, then stabbed a police officer outside parliament before being shot dead.

Police guarding the iconic House of Commons building shot the man but several people were left with “catastrophic” injuries on Westminster Bridge, a busy traffic junction popular with tourists with views of Big Ben.

The car crashed into the railings outside the heavily guarded parliament building and witnesses described a man leaping out of the vehicle into the grounds of parliament and stabbing a police officer.

The incident comes with Europe on high alert after a series of deadly militant attacks and exactly a year after militants killed 32 people in a bomb attack in Brussels.

The parliament building was immediately sealed off and MPs and staff ordered to remain inside.

“We are treating this as a terrorist incident,” police said in a statement.

Those dead included the police officer and the attacker, authorities said.

David Lidington, the British minister responsible for arranging government business, told MPs: “It seems that a police officer has been stabbed, that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police.”

Prime Minister Theresa May is safe, her Downing Street office said, and was preparing to chair a meeting of the government’s COBRA emergencies committee.

She was seen being driven away from parliament.

Police cordoned off a large area in Westminster and tourists on the London Eye, a popular tourist attraction, were stuck 135 metres in the air for around an hour during the incident.

The local Underground station at Westminster was also closed off.

One fatality confirmed

At least 10 patients were treated on Westminster Bridge and several hospitals were on alert, London Ambulance Service said.

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that several French students were hurt in the attack.

US President Donald Trump said he had been briefed on the incident, describing it as “big news” and French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed their condolences.

The Port of London Authority confirmed that a seriously injured woman was recovered from the River Thames, having jumped or fallen from Westminster Bridge.

“A female member of the public was recovered alive from the water, but with serious injuries,” said spokesman Martin Garside.

“She has been brought ashore and is undergoing urgent medical treatment.”

Polish former foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski was in a taxi on the bridge and said a car “mowed down at least five people… one of them bleeding profusely.”

Attack at parliament gates

Pictures of what happened next showed two people being attended to on the ground inside the vehicle entrance gates of parliament.

Three shots were heard on video footage.

A staff member in parliament, who did not want to be named, told AFP: “I saw someone in dark clothing go down.”

Jason Groves, the Daily Mail newspaper’s political editor, said he witnessed a man coming through the vehicle entrance wielding something, heading towards a police officer, who then fell to the ground.

Another officer then shot the man from around 10 metres away “with a handgun, and then gets closer to him and shoots him again from over him and he doesn’t get up”.

Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood was pictured helping to give first aid to an injured police officer.
Armed police walk past emergency services attending to injured people on the floor outside the Houses of Parliament.

In Edinburgh, Scotland’s parliament suspended a crucial debate and vote on whether to hold a new referendum on independence.

“The fact that our sister parliament had a serious incident is effecting this particular debate,” the Edinburgh assembly’s presiding officer Ken Macintosh said.

In July 2005, four British suicide bombers inspired by Al-Qaeda attacked London’s transport system during rush hour, killing 52 people.

Airline security change

The incident came a day after Britain announced it planned to follow the United States and introduce a ban on electronic devices in cabins on flights from some Middle Eastern and North African countries.

Affected airlines have until Saturday to implement the measure.

US officials warned that terrorists are seeking “innovative” ways to attack airliners with smaller explosive devices hidden in consumer electronics larger than smartphones.

On Saturday, a man who had been investigated for links to radical Islam was shot dead at Paris’s Orly airport after attacking a soldier on patrol and grabbing her rifle.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1322164/four-dead-including-attacker-in-uk-parliament-terror-assault

Times of India – Babri Masjid demolition case: SC adjourns hearing till tomorrow

New Delhi, 22 March 2017. The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of the conspiracy charges against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti matter till March 23.

The apex court will now hear the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s plea against Allahabad High Court’s order dropping criminal conspiracy charges against the BJP leaders in the case on Thursday.

There are two sets of cases, one against BJP veteran Advani and others who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 when the Babri mosque was demolished. The other case was against lakhs of ‘karsevaks’ (volunteers) who were in and around the disputed structure.

The CBI had chargesheeted Advani and 20 others under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumours etc. circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

It had subsequently invoked charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC which was quashed by the special court whose decision was upheld by the high court.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/babri-masjid-demolition-case-sc-to-decide-on-charges-against-advani-others/articleshow/57765364.cms

The Tribune – Lahore police grant security for Bhagat Singh’s function

Sanjiv Kumar Bakshi

Hoshiarpur, 21 March 2017. The Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) of Lahore has assured Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation (Pakistan) of security for their function to mark the martyrdom day Bhagat Singh at Fawara Chowk (Shadman) in Lahore on 23 March.

Advocate Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi, chairman of the foundation, told this correspondent on the phone from Lahore that Lahore High Court had directed the CCPO to decide our application for the function. The officer today has assured us that security would be provided.”

Pakistan’s Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation had filed a petition in the HC on this count.

Qureshi said they had moved the court after the provincial government and senior police officers did not respond to their request for security.

“We met the CCPO with a copy of the HC order and requested him to decide our application for the function which would start at 4 pm on 23 March. Deciding our application, he has assured us of foolproof security,” said Qureshi.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/community/lahore-police-grant-security-for-bhagat-singh-s-function/380502.html

Newsweek – Shattering the Myth of Dutch Tolerance

Annemarie Toebosch

19 March 2017. The Dutch elections on 15 March have received a lot of attention in the international media.

The reason for the attention is clear: A Trump lookalike populist, Geert Wilders, was rumored to win big as part of a Western populist movement that some call the “Patriotic Spring.”

His rise has the liberal West confused and concerned, because if the land of gay marriage and coffee shops falls, then where is their hope for Western liberalism?

But, as results came in, two things were clear: Election turnout was high and Wilders’ support relatively low. Projections showed Wilders’ party winning 19 seats compared to 31 seats for the Dutch-right liberal conservatives of Prime Minister Mark Rutte. What does all this tell us about the populist movement? Is our bedrock of tolerance safe again?

To understand what happened in these Dutch elections, we need to look beyond Wilders and his place in Western populism to the myth of Dutch tolerance.

Students in my race and ethnicity courses at the University of Michigan have been engaged in this very task as they examine current and historic diversity in the Netherlands.

When they read University of Amsterdam sociologist Jan Willem Duyvendak or Free University of Amsterdam Holocaust historian Dienke Hondius, a more complicated picture of Dutch tolerance emerges.

Wilders doesn’t represent a sudden movement of the Netherlands away from tolerance. Dutch tolerance does not really exist in the way the stereotype dictates. Seventy years ago, the country saw a larger percentage of its Jewish population deported and killed than any other Western European nation.

This fact does not lend itself to simple explanations but has at least in part been attributed to the lack of protection of Jews by non-Jews and to Dutch collaboration with the Nazi occupation.

Looking at modern times, CUNY political scientist John Mollenkopf reports poorer immigrant integration outcomes, such as employment rates and job retention, in Amsterdam than in New York City, and Duyvendak finds explanations for these outcomes in white majority-culture dominance.

A few weeks after the 2016 USA elections, elderly Dutch statesman Jan Terlouw made a plea to the Dutch nation.
Speaking as the Jimmy Carter-like voice of reason of the political establishment, he asked the nation to go back to a time where Dutch people trusted each other, a time where people could enter the homes of other Dutchmen freely and without suspicion.

It was a “Make the Netherlands Great Again” message of sorts, but coming from the Dutch center-left.

I grew up in the Netherlands of Jan Terlouw. The country gave me an idyllic childhood, with soccer and hopscotch in the streets, but I never stepped freely into the homes of Indonesians who lived, grouped together, on the next street.

My white Dutch friends still know little to nothing about the relationship between race and our colonial history, or about the people of color who came to live in the Netherlands through that history.

Some Americans may be surprised to learn that the Netherlands has a more than 20 percent non-majority ethnic Dutch population, 10 percent of which are Indonesians, Surinamese and Dutch Caribbeans from former or current colonies, as well as Turks and Moroccans who (or whose family) originally came as part of guest worker programs.

Terlouw’s story is a beautiful story, then, but it isn’t true, and neither is the story that the Dutch have suddenly become intolerant as part of global Western populism.

In reality, the Dutch good old days were good old days because racial minorities were sidelined and did not complain, for example, about the slaves depicted on the golden coach that carries the Dutch king to the annual “Throne Address,” or the state of union.

Wilders isn’t unique

Now Dutch intolerance in the person of Wilders is on display around the world, and it is not limited to his party.

Of the 28 parties on the Dutch ballot this year, five had anti-Islam or anti-immigrant platforms, some more openly so than others. The Party for Entrepreneurs, for example, calls for a “mosque watch.”

Another one of these five parties, the Forum for Democracy party, which has a restrictive immigration and EU-cautious platform, appears to have won two seats.

Dutch nationalism does not just live on the right.

All the big parties that are contenders to enter a coalition government after this election, from all the way left to all the way right—reference “Dutchness” in one way or another in their party platforms, as a presumed understanding of what it means to be Dutch, or in the form of shared national values and a “be like us” message to immigrants.

Dutch nationalism is ubiquitous

But one important aspect of today’s elections is overshadowed by the Wilders discussion. The Dutch citizens who voted Wednesday had the choice of voting for a party called “DENK,” with mixed Dutch-Turkish, or Dutch-minority, values that some critics call the Dutch Erdogan satellite party.

Voters could also support “Artikel 1,” a party founded by minority rights activist Sylvana Simons nine weeks ago, and just four months after the country saw its racist holiday character of Zwarte Piet (the blackfaced helper of Saint Nicholas) phased out on national television amid white nationalist screams and quieter criticisms about the end of Dutch culture and tradition.

Artikel 1, named for the equality clause in the Dutch constitution, has the slogan “All Different But Yet The Same” and calls for equal rights for all Dutch people, men, women, gay, straight and, importantly, black, white, native and immigrant.

This election was the first time we saw minority parties such as DENK and Artikel 1 with programs advocating for education about Dutch migration history, the teaching of languages beyond the traditional European ones, a registry for racist hate crimes and a national holiday to celebrate the emancipation of Dutch slaves.

Remember: The Kingdom of the Netherlands is still a colonial power over the nation states of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, and the country of the Netherlands over the three Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.

As a new Dutch government is formed in the weeks to come, we could brush the minority parties off as a reaction to Wilders’ populism and see his defeat as a return of Dutch tolerance, but we would be wiser to see these elections as the beginning of a sea change in a country that is slowly changing to meet its tolerant mythology.

Annemarie Toebosch is director of Dutch and Flemish Studies, University of Michigan.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/shattering-myth-dutch-tolerance-111002053.html?hl=1&noRedirect=1

The Hindu – Amarinder to seek legal advice on Navjot Singh’s appearance in serial

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has decided to seek legal opinion on whether his Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu can continue to appear as a celebrity judge on a popular television show.

“Captain Amarinder has said he is not sure what the law says regarding a Cabinet minister working on a television programme, and will have to ask the State’s advocate general to give legal advice on the matter,” his media advisor, Raveen Thukral, told The Hindu.

Conflict of interest

“It’s about whether there’s any conflict of interest if he [Mr. Sidhu] continues to work in television…If there is any, then the Chief Minister will talk to him [Mr. Sidhu] and bring it to his knowledge,” he added.

The controversy erupted after Mr. Sidhu recently said that he will continue to appear on a popular TV show as a celebrity judge. “TV shows will not interfere with my Cabinet responsibilities. The public had elected me five times with what I have been doing…If they don’t have a problem, why should anyone else have it,” Mr. Sidhu had said.

‘Not office of profit’

He insisted that his TV shows will not interfere with his Cabinet responsibilities. “I have no liquor, sand mining or transport business like former deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. I earn a living through TV shows and I will be in Chandigarh from Monday to Thursday and in Amritsar from Friday to Sunday.

What I do at night should not be anyone’s concern. I will take first flight back to Punjab after TV shoots in Mumbai,” he said.

Mr Sidhu, who currently holds the portfolios of local government, tourism and cultural affairs, has been maintaining that doing a TV show does not come under the ambit of “office of profit”.

Meanwhile, Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur has come out in support of his husband through a Facebook post, saying that the issue was being over-hyped without any reason.

“Such hype has been created about Navjot earning a living from television. He has left 80 per cent of shows, which included IPL, commentary, etc.I think it is a meagre time for a non-socially active God-fearing workaholic,” she wrote on Facebook.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sidhus-tv-show-puts-govt-in-a-spot/article17567173.ece?homepage=true

The News – Bhagat Singh: his times and ours

Ammar Jan

Op/Ed 21 March 2017. The 23rd of March will be the 86th death anniversary of Bhagat Singh, one of the most revered figures of the anti-colonial movement.

In India, his life and death will be commemorated by a right-wing government which, after the nomination of an outright anti-Muslim bigot as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has given up even on any pretence of justice or inclusivity.

And in Pakistan, apart from a few civil society and Left activists, the day will either be ignored or consciously repressed. With a nationalism premised on the obliteration of all traces of a shared past between Muslims and non-Muslims, the story of a young Sikh man’s struggle for freedom becomes a source of collective embarrassment.

It is a form of historical violence to restrict a person to specific identitarian markers when his/her entire life was a formidable effort to overcome all limitations of race, caste and religion that structured the world he inhabited.

Bhagat’s internationalist and cosmopolitan outlook (despite having never travelled abroad) can be gauged from the inspirations he cites in his letters from prison, German communists, English philosophers, Russian anarchists and novelists, and leaders of the National Congress and the Caliphate movement.

Categorising a man who called for total communal harmony and identified with global revolutionary movements of the era as only an Indian, Sikh or even Punjabi does not diminish the universal potential of his life and struggle.

It only indicts us, demonstrating how alienated we are from universalism, from our own past and, eventually, from our own humanity.

Yet a compelling question often posed is: if Bhagat is to be considered an icon to the youth today, how do we explain some of his actions, including the murder of a police constable and a bomb attack at the legislative assembly (purposely thrown in an empty area to avoid casualties)?

This is a pertinent question, particularly at a moment of rising communal, religious and ethnic violence in our region, not to mention the spiralling financial and human costs of the ‘war on terror’. Do we then need to emulate a man who was condemned as a terrorist, and who immediately accepted responsibility for his actions?

The question of violence, however, is presented today in an ahistorical manner in the debates on the subject.

In such frameworks, one can equate the military occupation of foreign lands to the resistance against that same occupation, or the deaths of four million Bengali peasants due to a British-created famine to the violence of the Tebagha Peasant Movement against such lethal exploitation of the peasantry.

One should not forget that even Gandhi’s ‘non-violent’ movements were regularly accused of instigating riots, resulting in imprisonment, torture and death sentences handed out to many ‘peaceful’ anti-colonial activists by the colonial state.

Therefore, one cannot mimic the language of the state to collapse disparate political projects into the awkwardly woven categories of ‘violence’, ‘fanaticism’ or ‘totalitarianism’ without regard to their specific historical development.

And it is pertinent to remember that the context that produced the possibility of a Bhagat Singh was an outright assault on the lives, property and dignity of the Indian population.

In 1919, a Punjab-wide agitation began against the growing economic crisis in the province, often led by soldiers who had loyally served the British during the First World War but now faced precarious conditions due to the demobilisation of soldiers at the end of the war effort.

Tensions reached a crescendo when hundreds of people celebrating the Baisakhi festival at the Jallianwala Bagh were massacred by Colonel Dyer’s troops for allegedly violating a curfew.

This was also a time when imposing humiliating conditions on the general public was meant to, in the words of a British official, “teach them obedience”.

For example, it was made compulsory for all locals in Gujranwala to salute a European every time they saw one, while natives were forced to crawl through a street in Amritsar where a British woman had been harassed.

The Punjab of the 1920s was littered with examples of such forms of collective punishment and humiliation meted out to the locals.

Regardless of all the rhetoric of a civilising mission, colonial rule was established and secured through pain imposed on the bodies of individuals refusing to accept colonial sovereignty, and the fear such procedures induced in bystanders.

Yet, pain and fear remain remarkable omissions in the history of political thought, particularly in their centrality to the experience of colonial modernity.

It is here that we witness what is unique about Bhagat’s actions, his absolutely breathtaking indifference to the machinations of power.

If fear of the colonial state’s reprisals hindered the development of public opposition to the Raj, the young man’s voluntary surrender to police authorities signalled his determination to face the worst excesses of colonial power in its notorious dungeons for political prisoners.

One can assess his steadfastness from his writings and actions while in prison. Bhagat and his comrades refused to offer any defence in the case, using the trial instead to highlight their opposition to colonial rule.

In fact, he castigated his father for displaying “weakness” when the latter submitted a review petition in an attempt to save Bhagat from the impending death sentence; Bhagat reminded his father that his son’s life was not worth compromising the principles of the freedom movement.

In another letter written to an imprisoned comrade who was contemplating suicide, he emphasised that the process of enduring pain and suffering was a necessary component of the fight against colonial power, and ending one’s own life would be tantamount to surrender.

The hunger strikes led by Bhagat and his comrades against ill-treatment in jail captured the imagination of the country, and were met by solidarity events and hunger-strikes throughout the country.

The appeal of his persona can be judged by Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s response to the news of the hunger strike, as he stood in the Legislative Assembly to declare his sympathy with the young men, boldly declaring that “the man who goes on hunger strike has a soul.

He is moved by that soul, and he believes in the justice of his cause. He is no ordinary criminal who is guilty of cold blooded, sordid wicked crime”.

If colonial sovereignty was secured through its inscription on the tortured bodies of the colonial subjects, Bhagat Singh’s decision to voluntarily undergo suffering and turn it into a national spectacle became a major embarrassment for the British.

In overcoming the fear induced by pain, it demonstrated the limits, and eventually, the fragility of colonial power.

What further propelled him into the national imaginary was his subversive tactics in the courtroom, a platform he used not for his own defence, but to mock the Empire and its judicial system in front of the national media.

Poetry, jokes, and slogans substituted legal reasoning in the courtrooms, with the accused questioning the right of an occupying power to judge their case.

One can imagine the appeal of such tactics for ordinary Indians, who were caught in the perpetual drudgery of facing humiliation at the hands of colonial institutions.

An Empire that seemed eternal and was built upon rituals of obedience suddenly appeared contingent, vulnerable and fragile, opening up possibilities of a post-imperial world, an idea that occupied Indians in the 1930s and 1940s.

Therefore, Bhagat Singh’s singularity was not an unrestrained penchant for violence. In fact, in his famous letter to ‘Young Political Workers’, he explicitly denounced the cult of the bomb, and encouraged the youth to educate themselves and work patiently with the masses.

It was his tactical genius in opening up political imagination beyond the colonial present that was truly remarkable. Even more impressive was his readiness to face the consequences of his commitments, which eventually took him and his comrades, Sukh Dev and Raj Guru, to the gallows in Lahore on the 23rd of March, 1931.

What concrete lessons we draw from these episodes and how we fight our collective amnesia about heroic figures from our past depends on us.

In either case, all those who sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom and human dignity, like Bhagat Singh, – live eternally and are in no need of acknowledgement from those holding onto their privileges and fears in a mediocre present.

Instead, we should reverse the question and ask whether ‘we’ are dead or alive in their eyes. This simple reversal will have immeasurable consequences on how we view history, ethics and, eventually, life itself.

The writer is a doctoral candidate at the University of Cambridge and a lecturer at the Government College University, Lahore.

Email: ammarjan86@gmail.com

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/193528-Bhagat-Singh-his-times-and-ours

Sikh24.com – American state to mark April as ‘Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month’

Sikh24 Editors

Dover-Delaware-USA, 20 March 2017. Amidst rising hate crime incidents against Sikhs in the USA, the state assembly of Delaware, a state south of New Jersey, has resolved to mark the month of April as ‘Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month’.

A resolution regarding this was unanimously passed by the Senate as well as Representative House of Delaware state assembly.

“Delaware stands with the Sikh community in denouncing hate crimes directed towards any individual on account of their religious beliefs”, reads the resolution announced by senator Brown Townsend in the state assembly.

“Since September 11, 2001, the Sikhs are often mistaken for Taliban or followers of Al Qaida, owing to the commonality of their beards and turbans, and subjected to a disproportionately high rate of hate crimes, and Sikh boys suffer bullying at least twice the national bullying rate for other boys”, it said.

The move was welcomed by the State Governor, John Carney, who in a meeting with the Sikh community assured all kind of help to the community, which he said of late has been experiencing a spate of hate crimes in the US. He further said that such kind of racial attacks were totally unacceptable.

“We have fear mongering going on at a national level, and stereotyping and all of that. It is an embarrassment for America as a country,” Carney told a delegation of Indian-Americans led by local businessman and community leader Charanjeet Singh Minhas.

Meanwhile, Charanjit Singh has welcomed the Delaware’s move in taking a lead in displaying it’s solidarity with the Sikh community, despite having only a small Sikh population, compared to the other states like California, New York and New Jersey.

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/03/20/american-state-to-mark-april-as-sikh-awareness-and-appreciation-month/#.WNCBB6K1vIU