FirstPost – JP Nadda meets SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal amid strained ties over CAA, BJP president makes pitch to strengthen Punjab NDA alliance

Chandigarh/Amritsar/New Delhi, 20 February 2020. BJP president JP Nadda on Thursday called on Akali Dal patriarch Parkash Singh Badal at his home in Punjab’s Badal village and deliberated on strengthening the NDA in the state, sources in the parties said.

The visit to Badal’s native village came days after the former Punjab chief minister said minorities “should be taken along” to run a government.

The closed-door meeting, which lasted about an hour, assumes significance following the brief strain between the BJP and its oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) that had announced it would not contest the Delhi Assembly election following differences with the saffron party on the Citizenship Amendment Act.

It later backed BJP candidates in the Assembly elections.

Coming out of the meeting, Nadda told reporters he had gone to the village to meet the veteran leader to extend a personal invitation for his son’s wedding.

“We have good relations with the Badals,” Nadda said.

The BJP president said on Twitter that he had paid a courtesy visit to “Parkash Singh Badal Sahab”, one of India’s most “respected statesmen”. “Meeting with Badal Sahib always inspires us,” he said. Nadda was accompanied by BJP vice president Prabhat Jha, also the party’s in-charge for Punjab.

Nadda got a grand welcome with flowers and the traditional bhangra when he reached Badal village. Addressing a rally in Amritsar on 13 February, Badal said all religions should be respected.

The SAD wanted Muslims to be included in the CAA, a legislation which seeks to give citizenship to members of persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan but leaves out the community.

This was Nadda’s first visit to Punjab after becoming BJP president and also his first meeting with Badal senior. From Badal village, Nadda went to Amritsar and paid obeisance at the Golden Temple in the evening.

Asked about the relations between the BJP and the SAD, he said, “BJP and SAD have old, important and strong alliance, we remained together in good and odd circumstances. Further strengthening and making stronger the NDA, we both are committed for this cause.”

“A few days ago, I had a meeting with SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal. The alliance is very much strong and will remain intact in future too,” he said.

Later, he had a closed-door meeting with Punjab BJP leaders at a hotel.

The News – Afghan Taliban say talks with US have resumed

Mushtaq Yusufzai

Peshawar – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Pakistan, 18 January 2019. The Afghan Taliban said Friday they had resumed the stalled peace process with the United States and top negotiators of the two warring sides met in Doha, Qatar, on Thursday to discuss the proposed peace agreement, which is likely to be signed next week.

Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban spokesman for Doha-based office in Qatar, said on Twitter early Friday that their chief negotiator and head of the political council, Mullah Abdul Ghani Biradar on Thursday held a ‘useful’ meeting with US representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. He said they would continue peace talks for a few more days.

Taliban sources privy to the peace process in Doha said their representatives had been meeting with US officials, though officially the process was suspended for more than a month over some issues related to the proposed peace agreement.

They claimed that major issues which earlier impeded the peace process and posed a potential threat to the peace agreement had been resolved now.

According to the Taliban, they are most likely sign the peace accord with the United States in Doha next week. The Taliban said the US had earlier demanded them to involve the Afghan government in the peace process which their leadership had refused.

Then the US negotiating team demanded the Taliban to announce a ceasefire with the Afghan government and its armed forces as the US and Taliban had already agreed on a ceasefire with each.

It took enough time to the Taliban to develop a consensus as there were reports that some of their top military commanders were not willing to involve the Afghan government in the peace process and stop attacks on the Afghan security forces.

It is stated to be a big outcome of the ongoing peace process in Doha that convinced some hardliners among the Taliban on a ceasefire with the Afghan government. Taliban sources said their top leaders had agreed to a 10-day ceasefire with the US and bringing a major decline in their attacks against the Afghan government and armed forces.

However, the Taliban said once the peace accord is signed, they would start acting on the ceasefire plan. During the ceasefire period, the Taliban said they assured their fighters would stop attacks including suicide bombing, IEDs, target killing, etc, across Afghanistan.

“The US and Afghan forces would ensure to stop all type of operations against us (Taliban) in Afghanistan once the ceasefire is announced,” said a senior Taliban leader. Pleading anonymity, he said Taliban may not publicly announce the ceasefire but would convey to their military commanders and make sure their fighters to act on the ceasefire plan.

And once the peace agreement is inked between the USA and Taliban, Taliban said they would start the intra-Afghan dialogue. According to Taliban Germany had offered to host the intra-Afghan dialogue.

World Sikh News – Dal Khalsa appeals to UN to protect minorities in India

Published 5 days ago 26/12/2019

Alleging that the Indian government under Narendra Modi continues its march against minorities and nationalities, Dal Khalsa has reached out to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva narrating the volatile developments that spell an anarchic situation for religious minorities in India.

From the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir to India’s Supreme Court’s “political” verdict on Babri Masjid in the Ayodhya dispute to the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act by the Indian parliament everything is being played out in India’s march to make India a professedly Hindu country, reads the memorandum submitted to the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

Party secretary for human rights Pritpal Singh Switzerland met the representative of the High Commissioner at the UN­HCHR office in Geneva and apprised him of the increasingly difficult and dangerous times for all minorities and nationalities, who want to stand up for the fundamental rights of oppressed people.

Reiterating that Sikhs as geographical neighbours of Kashmir and as people who endorse the UN Charter on Human Rights, consider it their sacred duty to stand up against repression and oppression everywhere.

Pritpal Singh told the UN officials that how the government of India denied his party and other groups the right to protest against gross violations of rights of the Kashmiri people.

The Indian state barred around 200 activists associated with Dal Khalsa and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) from entering Jammu and Kashmir at the Madhopur-Kathua interstate border on 9 December on flimsy grounds. The activists were on their way to observe World Human Rights Day at Lal Chowk, Srinagar.

Complaining about the muted response of the international community and the United Nations Security Council, which has been making soft recommendations to the perpetrator state, the Dal Khalsa leader Pritpal Singh told the UN representative that the stoppage of Sikh leaders and human rights activists by the government from entering Jammu and Kashmir was a loud declaration by the Indian state that those who want to observe Human Rights Day for the people of Kashmir have no right to do so.

Urging the UN to make India answerable for this to the world community, the Dal Khalsa leader narrated the outcry of people across the spectrum on the CAA.

Unquestionably, there are double standards for the government of India vis-à-vis the majority community and the Muslims, not only in Kashmir but in the whole of India. It is apparent that the Modi government was deliberately pushing the people to a point of no return and this has dangerus portents for South Asia.

It is reliably learnt that the Sikh leader Pritpal Singh had a patient hearing in the UN office and more so the officials were seized with the developing unrest across India. Speaking to WSN, Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said its time for UN intervention as the silence of the international community leadership was hurting the relevance of the UN Human Rights Charter.

Dal Khalsa appeals to UN to protect minorities in India

Saturday 19 October

Tomorrow I will not upload any news items or pictures due to the fact that I will be in Brussels from early till late.

On Sunday normal service will resume,

Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Gentbrugse Meersen


Published in: on October 18, 2019 at 2:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Tribune – Pilgrim fee issue unresolved

Sandeep Dikshit, Tribune News Service

New Delhi – India, 17 October 2019. The government will be attempting to steal the march over Pakistan in a subtle tussle unfolding over celebrations of the 550th Gurpurb by organising the visit of 90 ambassadors to the Golden Temple On October 22, less than three weeks before the opening of Kartarpur corridor.

India and Pakistan are poised to sign a pact on the corridor. Islamabad has remained unmoved on the Indian request to scrap the $20 fee to be charged from each pilgrim.

The Ministry of External Affairs, resigned to this inevitability, said: “After several rounds of discussion with Pakistan, we have reached an agreement on all other issues, except the matter of service fee. Pakistan insists on charging Rs 1,420 from each pilgrim. We’ve urged Pakistan not to do so. We hope the agreement can be concluded and signed in time for the great event.”

Pakistan has almost agreed to allow an Indian consular officer to be posted during the time of the pilgrimage and to permit 10,000 pilgrims on special days. – Tent copy of Sri Harmandr Sahib erected in Kolkata for Durga Puja

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 05 October 2019. A tent copy of Sri Harmandr Sahib has been erected in the northern park of Bhawanipur in Kolkata for an upcoming religious Hindu event known as Durga Puja. Several visuals of this tent copy of Sri Harmandr Sahib have gone viral over social media due to which a sharp outrage is being witnessed among Sikh masses.

Taking strong notice of this anti-Sikhism move, the SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal has said that Sri Harmandr Sahib can’t be copied at all. He added that the copiers must have understood the ethos and traditions of Sikhism as well as the Sikh sentiments before committing such an anti-Sikhism act.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the SGPC has asked the management committee of Gurdwara Bara Sikh Sangat (Kolkata, West Bengal) to probe this incident and report back the factual information by visiting ground zero.

What is Durga Puja ?

Durga Puja, also called Durgotsava, is an annual Hindu festival originating in the Indian subcontinent which reveres and pays homage to the Hindu goddess, Durga. As per mythology, the festival marks the victory of goddess Durga in her battle against the shape-shifting asura, Mahishasura.

Tent copy of Sri Harmandir Sahib erected in Kolkata for Durga Puja



The Tribune – 7 KZF operatives in police custody till 09 October 2019

Tribune News Service

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 03 October 2019. A local court today extended the police remand of seven alleged members of terror module of the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) by six days.

According to information, the Stated Special Operation Cell (SSOC) sought the extension of remand while stating that certain members of the terror module were yet to be arrested. Sources in the counter-intelligence wing said considering the point raised by the police, the court extended their police custody till 09 October.

The SSOC reportedly told the court that they needed the custody of KZF members to ascertain funding routes of the module besides investigating their foreign links. The sources said the police claimed it was trying to locate more weapons which might have been smuggled with the help of drones in the recent past.

Earlier, the terror module members were brought to the court amid heavy police security cover. Among those produced in the court included Baba Balwant Singh, Akashdeep, Harbhajan Singh, Balbir Singh, Maan Singh, Gurdev Singh and Shubhdeep Singh.

Their eighth accomplice Sajanpreet, who was arrested on Tuesday, was sent to five-day custody on Wednesday.

The sources said the police had launched a manhunt for one of their accomplices who had been evading arrest till now. His name also figured during the interrogation of Shubhdeep Singh. “We are closing in on him and he is expected to be arrested in a day or two,” said a counter-intelligence official preferring not to be named.

On September 22, the SSOC claimed to have busted a terror module and arrested Baba Balwant Singh, Akashdeep Singh Randhawa, Harbhajan Singh and Balbir Singh.

Accused remanded

Mohali: The Special CBI Court on Thursday remanded Palwinder Singh in 14-day judicial custody in the murder case of Chand Kaur, wife of former head of Namdhari sect Satguru Jagjit Singh. Palwinder Singh, who has been in police custody since his arrest on 26 September, was produced in the court.

After their arrest the policemen kindly asked the KZF members to produce their membership cards. Now they only need to establish their link with Pakistan and Sikhs for Justice and the investigation is done.
Man in Blue

The News – CCTV Video of Amir Masih lends credence to torture claims

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 08 September 2019. A CCTV footage has lent credence to claims that Amir Masih was subjected to torture by the Lahore police officials.

According to the family of the deceased, Masih, a gardener by profession, had appeared before North Cantt police last week to prove his innocence against the charges of theft levelled against him by his employer, but the police detained him and subjected him to severe torture which claimed his life.

Police had reportedly shifted him to a private hospital four days later for multiple injuries inflicted on him. The video purports to show policeman and Amir Masih in front of the hospital where he was brought on a motorcycle.

The footage shows policemen in plainclothes kicking the victim as he falls to the ground before being dragged into the medical facility. According to the video timestamp, an hour later the victim is seen on wheel-chair outside the hospital entrance and being taken away in a car.

The postmortem report also confirmed torture on Amir’s hands, back and arms. His ribs were also broken, the report stated. On 04 September, the police registered a case against six police officials over the death of a suspect in police custody.

Incharge Investigation Nasir Baig, T/ASI Zeeshan and four constables were nominated in the FIR registered against them under sections 302, 342 and 34 PPC.

Masih is a common Christian surname in India and Pakistan
Man in Blue

The Hindu – Subramanian Swamy asks to halt Kartarpur project

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 24 August 2019. BJP MP Subramanian Swamy on Saturday demanded that the work on the Kartarpur corridor be immediately stopped, voicing apprehension about Pakistan’s intentions.

“There should not be any talks with Pakistan, keeping in view the interest of our country. In my opinion, the work on the Kartarpur project should be stopped. Whatever work has been done, let it be stopped there. We should not have any dialogue or relations with Pakistan,” he told journalists here.

The corridor will connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Narowal district with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. In Kartarpur Sahib, Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life. India and Pakistan agreed to lay the corridor in November last year.

Dr Swamy said he understood the sentiments of the Sikhs and, in fact, had always supported the community. “The Sikhs need to understand the bad intentions of Pakistan,” he said.

The News – Horrific details of how India suppressing protests in occupied Kashmir

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 21 August 2019. Rafiq Shagu’s wife died shortly after Friday prayers in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) when tear gas smashed through a window in their home and filled the room.

Now, with Indian authorities denying their troops have caused any civilian deaths while enforcing a lockdown of more than two weeks in the Himalayan region, he is facing what may be a futile quest to hold those responsible to account.

“They (the police) are not ready to take responsibility for the death. We want answers but I don’t know where to seek justice,” Shagu said.

In an interview with AFP, Shagu recalled the horrific events of the August 9 afternoon when he said his wife, Fehmeeda, was teaching her two children at their home in Srinagar, the largest city of occupied Kashmir.

Shagu said there had been small clashes between government forces and protesters nearby, then police started firing tear gas and pepper shells into residential houses.

The clashes occurred four days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government stripped occupied Kashmir of its autonomy, with tens of thousands of extra troops deployed there ahead of the announcement to stop residents from protesting.

“We couldn’t see each other in the room as the smoke was so dense. There were three huge thuds when the canisters burst,” Shagu said.

“We somehow removed the children from the room and as she tried to run out amid the chaos, she fell. By the time we moved her out of the room she was unconscious and frothing.”

He said Fehmeeda was taken to hospital on a motorcycle where doctors were unable to revive her.

The medical report seen by AFP said she “had inhaled toxic gas from a tear gas shell” and that a possible cause of death was a “toxic lung injury”.

No deaths

Indian authorities have sought to block any news coming out of occupied Kashmir since imposing the lockdown.

Aside from deploying the extra troops, they cut off telephones, mobile phones and the internet – though some landlines have now been restored.

Authorities say there is no credible proof that anyone has died in occupied Kashmir as a result of the lockdown, and only that eight people have been injured.

But multiple hospital sources told AFP at least 100 people had been hurt, some of them by firearm injuries.

Others were treated at home, fearing that they may be arrested if they visit hospitals, people who had been hit by pellets told AFP.

Unaccounted deaths

AFP also spoke with relatives of two other people died due to violence from the security forces.

One of the reported victims was Usiab Ahmad, 15, who drowned on August 5.

His family said Ahmad was near his home when police used live ammunition and tear gas shells and chased protesters towards the river bank where the student drowned.

“His body was taken out after five hours from the water and his funeral was attacked by police,” one of Ahmad’s relatives who could not be identified for security reasons told AFP.

“They tried to snatch away the body because they feared more protests,” he said.

Another alleged victim, Mohammad Ayub Khan was standing outside his home in downtown Srinagar on Saturday when police fired tear gas canisters to break up a small group of stone-throwing protesters, according to multiple family members and neighbours.

Two shells fell in front of the 62-year-old timber trader, immediately causing him to collapse on the road and froth from the mouth.

The father of three daughters was declared dead at the hospital but police forcibly took over his body.

Just 10 family members were allowed for the funeral and burial that took place under police watch in the dead of night.

“The police officer threatened us that he will throw the body into the river if we talk to media or try to make a procession,” Shabir Ahmed Khan, his younger brother told AFP.

“We were escorted by four police vans to the graveyard,” he said.

Khan’s family has visited the hospital multiple times for a death certificate but doctors told them police had instructed them not to issue it.

“His death will probably not even get recorded by the government but for us he is a martyr,” Khan said.

“His death is another example of India’s brutality.”