The Times of India – Jammu & Kashmir governor calls all-party meeting tomorrow

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 21 June 2018. Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra has called an all-party meeting here on Friday to discuss the situation in the wake of the implementation of governor’s rule in the state, officials said today.

Jammu and Kashmir was placed under governor’s rule on Wednesday, a day after the PDP-BJP government collapsed as the BJP snapped its three-year-old alliance with the regional party citing “larger national interest” and “deteriorating security situation”.

The governor also placed the legislative assembly in suspended animation till the proclamation of governor’s rule is revoked or varied by a subsequent proclamation, according to a gazette notification. The six-year term of the current assembly ends in March, 2021.

According to the officials, the governor has called a meeting of all party heads, including the heads of the state units of the national parties, tomorrow to discuss the situation in the state.

They said the meeting will take place on Friday evening.

Advertisements – Meghalaya government in action to displace Sikhs from Shillong’s Punjabi Lane

Sikh24 Editors

Shillong – Meghalaya – India, 20 June 2018. As per the latest updates, the state government of Meghalaya has commenced work to displace the Sikhs living in the Punjabi lane of Shillong. Images of government officials taking survey of the Punjabi lane in Shillong have surfaced over social media.

Sources have informed that a team of Land Record and Survey Department (Meghalaya) today undertook the land survey exercise at the Punjabi lane area of the city as per the instruction of the High Level Committee (HLC).

Notably, the HLC was formed by the state government to resolve the long pending issue of relocation of the colony from its present location as per the demands of local pressure groups.

Punjabi women residing in Punjabi lane registered a protest by holding placards opposing Meghalaya government’s attempt to displace Sikhs from Punjabi lane.

Meanwhile, SYFB’s senior vice president Bhai Ranjit Singh Damdami Taksal has asked the Punjab government to immediately take an action to stop the Meghalaya state government from devastating Punjabi lane in Shillong.

“If the Meghalaya government succeeds in displacing Sikhs from Punjab lane of Shillong then it will be a start of new chapter of atrocities against Sikhs living in other states of India” he added.

The Indian Express – North-east floods: Sikh volunteers lend a helping hand in flood-hit Assam

Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone, Gurpreet Singh said, “Karimganj is the worst-hit district in Assam. We have selected those villages which are still under water and inaccessible by roads.”

Divya Goyal

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 22 June 2018. Sikh volunteers from Punjab have started relief operation in the remote villages of Assam worst-hit by floods in the north-east.

The operation first started in the south Assam districts- Karimganj, Cachar and Hailakandi, where volunteers distributed basic grocery packets and water-cleaning tablets. Government relief is yet to reach the villages which are still under water.

Gurpreet Singh, 24, from Patiala and Japneet Singh, 29, from Ludhiana in Punjab are leading the Khalsa Aid International team in Karimganj district along the India-Bangladesh border.

Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone, Gurpreet Singh said, “Karimganj is the worst-hit district in Assam. We have selected those villages which are still under water and inaccessible by roads. We have hired boats from locals here and have started distributing ration packets in these villages.

In some villages, there is still at least 11-feet water. Initially, we provided them with bottled water to drink. Now, we are distributing water-cleaning tablets and masks so that dirty water does not lead to bacterial infections and other water-borne diseases.”

Singh added that a team of at least nine volunteers from Khalsa Aid is working in Assam and travelling to the affected areas, using boats. Basic grocery items, sanitation kit and water-cleaning tablets are being distributed in remote villages, including Tukurgram, Kalain and Badarpur.

“We were informed about a peripheral village Tukurgram, located along the border of Karimganj and Cachar. It is still completely under water and no aid had reached there. We reached there by boats and distributed relief kits,” he said.

The relief teams are hiring boats from locals to reach the concerned areas and fields that have been completely washed away in flood waters. “We are mapping more villages in need with the help of local administration.

We are trying our best to help those places where government relief is yet to reach. The locals are cooperating with us and giving us their boats. Their kutcha homes and crops have been completely washed away,” Gurpreet said.

“The team also visited Unakoti district in Tripura but the situation proved to be better with flood waters receding,” he added.

“We are not providing cooked food (langar) here yet because people are more in need of grocery and sanitation kits. Also, with areas still submerged in water, it is difficult to distribute cooked food through boats,” he said.

North-east floods: Sikh volunteers lend a helping hand in flood-hit Assam

The Hindu – AAP MLA assaulted by Punjab sand mafia

CM Amarinder Singh seeks detailed report on the incident

Special Correspondent

Chandigarh/New Delhi, 21 June 2018. An Aam Aadmi Party MLA in Punjab was allegedly assaulted by a group of people involved in illegal sand mining near Nurpur Bedi in Rupnagar district on Thursday, prompting Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to seek a detailed report on the incident.

Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira alleged that MLA Amarjeet Singh Sandoa was attacked for trying to expose the ongoing illegal activities of the sand mafia.

The AAP MLA and his gunman, head constable Sukhdeep Singh, were injured in the incident.

“Both were taken to a civil hospital, from where Mr Sandoa was referred to PGI, Chandigarh, for further check-up after he complained of chest pain,” an official spokesperson said.

Three arrested

The police have arrested three persons allegedly involved in the incident.

The spokesperson said three relatives of Ajwinder Singh, the key accused from Baihara village, have been arrested. Ajwinder and another accused, Bachittar Singh, of Bhauwal village fled after the incident.

Those arrested have been identified as Jaswinder Singh Goldy, Manjit Singh and Amarjit Singh, all residents of Baihara. One vehicle and two guns were seized from them.

The Chief Minister has sought a detailed report from the Deputy Commissioner and asked him to ensure a free and fair probe.

The two PSOs attached to the MLA have also come under the Chief Minister’s scanner for evidently failing to protect him and have been transferred to the police lines. “The Chief Minister has directed the DGP to investigate their role in the entire episode,” the spokesperson added.

‘CM should resign’

Reacting to the alleged attack, the AAP in Delhi said the Chief Minister should resign if he cannot rein in the mafia.

AAP spokesperson Ashish Khetan said Mr. Sandoa had raised his voice against the sand mafia in the past as well.

He said the Chief Minister had during last year’s election campaign promised to rid the State of the drugs, transport, extortion and mining mafia. “Instead, the influence of the mafia has increased. They are carrying out lethal attacks on MLAs,” he said.

The AAP has demanded a new policy to put an end to illegal mining and also called for a White Paper detailing the loss of revenue caused to the State by illegal mining during the past 15 years.

The News – Who owns what? Imran, Zardari and Maryam declare assets

Karachi – Sindh – Pakistan, 20 June 2018. PTI chairman Imran Khan, former president Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz have submitted details of their assets in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

According to documents obtained by Geo TV, Imran Khan has disclosed agriculture, salary, pension and bank profit as his sources of income. Documents show that Imran Khan owns 169 acres of irrigation land.

The PTI chairman has also submitted details of his foreign visits. He had made 28 international trips from 2015 to 2018 and most of them were sponsored.

In his nomination papers, Khan has declared assets of Rs 4.77 million. Imran Khan has declared his salary to be Rs 1.89 million in addition to agriculture income of Rs 2.36 million, according to documents.

Last year, the PTI chairman had paid Rs 103, 763 in the form of income tax. He said that his wife Bushra Maneka and two children were his dependents.

According to the documents, Imran Khan doesn’t have a personal car and holds two foreign currency accounts in Islamabad.

The documents further reveal that Imran Khan has 14 properties in Lahore, Islamabad and other parts of Pakistan which he had inherited.

Imran Khan has no business ventures in Pakistan or abroad, it added.

Asif Zardari owns Rs 758 million

Former President Asif Ali Zardari, who is running from his home constituency of Nawabshah, owns assets worth Rs 758 million. In his declaration, Zardari has disclosed agriculture and business as his major source of income.

According to details, Asif Zardari owns 349 acres of irrigation land in addition to 7399 acres of rented land.

The former president had earned Rs 100.55 million from his agriculture investment and a further Rs 7.66 million from other businesses.

According to details submitted in the commission, Asif Zardari had paid income tax of Rs 1.95 million in 2015. Next year, he was taxed Rs 2.5 million and in 2017, the PPP co-chairman paid income tax of Rs 2.63 million.

The former president doesn’t have a foreign passport, according to the election documents.

Maryam Nawaz is worth Rs 858 million

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz, while submitting her nomination papers, declared that her net assets amount to a total of Rs 845 million.

This information was shared by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding assets of electoral candidates on Wednesday.

Daughter of former Prime Minister, Maryam who has submitted her nomination papers from NA-125, NA-127 and PP-173 constituencies revealed that she is a shareholder in Chaudhry Sugar Mills Limited, Hamza Spinning Mills Limited, Muhammad Buksh Textile Mills Limited, Hudabiya Papers Mills Limited and Hudabiya Engineering Co Private Limited.

Furthermore, she also owns 1,506 kanals irrigation land, which have increased by 548 kanals in the last three years.

Maryam also disclosed that she invested Rs 3.4 million in her family flour mills and had lent a loan worth Rs 7 million to Soft Energy Private Limited. She also stated that she currently owns gifts and jewellery worth Rs40 million and 1.7 million respectively.

Moreover, Maryam shared that her brother Hasan Nawaz had also given her a loan of Rs 20 million.

The Tribune – Referendum issue: Khaira finds NRI support but Delhi leadership remains miffed

Jupinderjit Singh, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 20 June 2018. As Aam Aadmi Party’s NRI supporters rally behind Punjab Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Khaira, the remainder of his party remains upset with him over his remarks on ‘Referendum 2020’, with the party’s national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal refusing to meet him on Wednesday.

Beleagured Khaira, currently in Delhi to meet senior AAP leaders, later approached Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the person in-charge of the Punjab unit’s affairs. Party leaders who wanted to remain unnamed said Sisodia wanted him to come clean.

“Sisodia lashed out at Khaira while telling him that AAP has nothing to do with his referendum thoughts. He was also asked by Sisodia, to explain his stand through the Punjab unit president of the party,” said a party leader.

Delhi leaders are believed seething at Khaira. Sources in the party said that the party might take a decision once they receive his written response.

Khaira, however, found support among the party’s NRI base, which wrote an open letter to Sisodia.

The letter, signed by 36 NRIs from USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, among other countries, said Khaira’s demand for justice for Sikhs was justified, and demanded Balbir Singh be immediately removed for issuing media statements without getting Khaira’s version of story. They also cited the party’s Shahpur bypoll defeat as reason for sacking him.

Balbir said in a tweet on Monday that his calls to Khaira to ask for his side of the story went unanswered.

Last week, Khaira is reported to have “supported” ‘Referendum 2020’ a secessionist movement for a separate Sikh homeland. News reports quoted him as saying: “”I support the Sikh referendum 2020 movement as Sikhs have the right to demand justice against atrocities suffered by them”.

Khaira later clarified that he was misquoted, and that he had only said that Sikhs had the right to demand justice.

Khaira’s statement provided another weapon to rival parties, who immediately demanded his dismissal.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh condemned Khaira for “backing secessionism”, prompting Khaira to respond with a tweet: “”I am surprised a leader of your level is tweeting against me without checking the facts, I am not a votary of 2020 but I don’t hesitate to point out a consistent policy of discrimination against Sikhs by Central governments! Be it attack on Darbar Sahib (or), genocide of Sikhs leading to 2020″.

Senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a union minister, demanded that AAP should immediately sack him.

The timing of the controversy has caught the AAP’s Delhi leadership, which was busy until recently with Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal’s sit-in at the Lt Governor’s office over its tussle with the bureaucracy, off guard.

The problem with these stupid politicians who claim to be democrats is that they do not know what ‘democracy’ entails. In countries like Spain and India people who are peacefully campaigning for independence of a part of the country are considered to be criminals. Amarinder Singh, Kejriwal cs should not blame Khaira, they should blame the governments at the centre (Congress and BJP) for not dealing with the just demands of the Sikhs.

NDTV – 64-Year-old woman returns to Pakistan after serving 10 year in Amritsar jail

A 64-year-old Pakistani woman, who served her 10-year prison term in Amritsar Central Jail for drug trafficking, returned to Pakistan on Tuesday via the Attari-Wagah border. Nasreen Akhtar was arrested on a drug puddling charge and was awarded a 10 year prison sentence by a local court.

Attari – Panjab – India, 20 June 2018. Nasreen Akhtar, who was on a wheelchair, was handed over to Pakistani Rangers at the border.

After her release from the jail, Nasreen Akhtar greeted the media and said, “My mother is 90-years-old and it is her wish to see me before she dies. Enormously happy as I am going to meet my mother”.

Later, she was received by her mother on the other side of the border.

Eight months ago, Nasreen’s two sisters Fathima and Mumtaz were released from jail.

In May 2006, the three sisters and two others, Rashida Bibi and Rashid, were arrested for drug trafficking after they arrived at Attari Railway Station on board the Samjautha Express.

A local court had awarded 10-year prison terms each to the five Pakistani nationals. A fine of Rs four lakh each was also imposed on them.

Besides Nasreen, five other Pakistani prisoners also returned to their homeland after being released from various jails in India.

The Pakistani prisoners were issued emergency travel certificates by the Pakistani High Commission.

Dawn – A misogynistic campaign

Editorial, 20 June 2018. Election campaigns are rarely civil, anywhere. But when a candidate uses the personal life of an opponent, whether man or woman, including a male candidate’s association with the opposite gender to malign him, such a tactic crosses the line between uncivil and indecent, between what is acceptable and what is not.

Coming from the party of an individual who was appointed to the very apex of Pakistan’s judicial system, that distinction is even more acute.

A candidate from the Justice and Democratic Party, which is headed by the former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, has filed a petition against Imran Khan’s eligibility to stand as a candidate in the coming elections.

His objections, spelled out in salacious detail, are centred on a past relationship of the PTI leader.

In conservative societies like Pakistan, the concept of honour is used to control women’s social behaviour, even to the point of violence against them.

Now Mr Chaudhry’s party has picked up this misogynistic trait to discredit Mr Khan in the eyes of the electorate. Muckraking is not a substitute for campaigning; it merely illustrates a bankruptcy of ideas.

At the same time, the PTI chief himself has also reminded us of the extent to which misogyny and sexism permeate this society regardless of socioeconomic and educational background.

In a recent TV interview, he claimed that the Western concept of feminism has “degraded the role of a mother”.

The statement is both asinine and offensive. It betrays a total lack of understanding about feminism, a concept that underlies many rights for women taken for granted today (or on which the ongoing struggle for women’s rights is based).

For example, the acceptance of women’s franchise, an important consideration for a party that likes to claim a huge female support base.

Moreover, Mr Khan’s statement pedals hackneyed typecasting of women solely in terms of motherhood. Many hardworking women among his party would attest that it is possible to be a mother, a good one at that, and much else.

The Asian Age – Jammu & Kashmir government collapses as BJP pulls out of ruling alliance with PDP

New Delhi – India, 19 June 2018. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled out of its alliance with Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday, ending a three-year rocky relationship that came to a flashpoint this week with the Centre’s decision to discontinue the Ramzan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir.

Untenable, the BJP called the alliance, blaming the government for the rise in violence in the Valley.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav told the media: “We have taken a decision. It is untenable for the BJP to continue in alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. Hence, we are withdrawing support”.

He added: “Terrorism, violence and radicalisation have risen and fundamental rights of citizens are in danger in the Valley. Shujaat Bukhari’s killing is an example”.

Madhav also cited the lack of development in Jammu and Ladakh.

Party president Amit Shah had called all BJP lawmakers in the state to Delhi for a meeting in the morning. Madhav said the brainstorming was to review the alliance’s goals and targets achieved in the last three years.

Soon after the announcement Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti handed in her resignation, prompting the way for Governor’s Rule, which the BJP favours.

Jammu and Kashmir BJP lawmakers welcomed the Centre’s decision to pull out from the PDP alliance. They also tendered their resignation to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Jammu Kashmir Deputy CM Kavinder Gupta said, “We have submitted our resignations to CM Mufti. We have now come out of the government”.

The BJP had 25 lawmakers and the PDP 28 in the state Assembly, where the majority mark is 45. The National Confrence has 15, the Congress 12 and others 7 MLAs in the state Assembly.

BJP and the PDP, unlikely partners from the onset of their alliance, have had uneasy relations from time to time in the last three years. Things came to a head on Sunday when Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh lifted the ceasefire that the government had put in force during the month of Ramzan.

Anti-terror operations would resume in full force, Singh said on Sunday.

Data shows terrorist activity had more than doubled in this month.

The killing of Rising Kashmir editor and a moderate voice Shujaat Bukhari was the last nail in PDP’s hopes that the ceasefire would continue to promote harmony in the Valley.

The ceasefire was Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s brainchild, though it had met stiff opposition from the state BJP.

Sources in Mufti’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) said that after deciding not to extend the conditional ceasefire announced by the Centre for the Islamic fasting month of Ramzan, the Modi government has decided to launch a tough military campaign against separatist militants in the restive state and give a ‘free hand’ to security forces to deal with the situation.

The PDP did not agree to it which established the point of no return.

The Chief Minister and the PDP had also pleaded for extending the Ramzan truce beyond Eid-ul-Fitr to pave the way for holding talks with the separatists which was ignored by the Centre, the sources said.

However, sections of security forces and also senior Army commanders were against extending Ramzan ceasefire and even eager not only to resume but also bump up anti-militant and anti-terror operations across the Kashmir Valley at earliest.

They were planning to launch ‘Operation All Out II’ against the militants. In its first phase, more than three hundred militants, including several top commanders, were killed in 2017 and during the first four and half months of 2018.

Local watchers see in the BJP’s decision also an attempt to charm its constituency as the party was being openly accused of surrendering for power the interests of Jammu from where it won almost all seats in the 2014 Assembly election.

On the other hand, the PDP’s support base in Kashmir Valley has eroded because it chose the saffron party as its ally, and because of the unending killings in the Valley over the last three years.

Ever since the two parties cobbled up an alliance to form the government in 2015, they have publicly differed on issues including Article 370 which guarantees special status to J&K within the Indian Union.

While the PDP would repeatedly say it will never allow dilution of this provision, the BJP would vow that abrogation of Article 370 and its upshot including Article 35A are ‘core agendas’ of the party and that it could never abandon it.

“Only for the purposes of running a coalition government in the state, the party had decided not to press for abrogation of Article 370 while in government. The agenda is not abandoned,” the party would say.

Tension had also simmered over the PDP’s promise to talk to separatists, the proposal to remove the Armed Forces’ Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which gives the Army more power in insurgent areas and even in the rollout of the Goods and Services tax in the state.

This March, the PDP sacked its minister Haseeb Drabu who was a popular interlocutor between the allies. – Jodhpur detainees speak up against SAD-BJP Alliance

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 18 June 2018. Reacting to the BJP led Indian government’s move of challenging Amritsar Court’s verdict recommending financial aid worth Rupees 4,00,000/- for the Jodhpur detainees, the Jodhpur prisoners have said that they won’t support SAD’s alliance with BJP in the upcoming Parliamentary elections due in 2019.

Around 40 Jodhpur detainees, who are currently associated with Sukhbir Badal led Shiromani Akali Dal, have openly announced to boycott their party’s alliance with BJP by terming the latter as an anti-Sikh party.

It is pertinent to note here that hundreds of innocent Sikhs arrested during June-1984 holocaust were illegally detained in the Jodhpur jail.

Interacting with media on 17 June S Jasbir Singh Ghuman said that they have unanimously decided to conduct a march with Jodhpur victims’ families to oppose all BJP candidates contesting the Parliamentary Elections in Punjab, if the Centre doesn’t withdraw its petition from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

“It is up to the SAD to decide whether they want us or BJP that played anti-Sikh role. The Tiwana Commission report in May 1986 testified our illegal detention and torture by the police.

We were officially declared innocent by the then Rajiv Gandhi-led Union government and a court here too announced compensation to us. Under what justification, the Modi-led BJP questions it now?” he said.

It may be recalled here that an Amritsar Court had directed both Centre and state governments to provide financial aid worth Rupees 4 lakh each to the detainees along with six per cent interest per annum from the date of filing the suit.
Challenging these orders, the Centre has filed a plea in the Punjab & Haryana High Court and next hearing on this plea is due for July 2.