The Tribune – SGPC pins hopes on Amarinder for joint celebrations

Tribune News Service

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 08 October 2019. In an attempt to break the deadlock over joint celebrations of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev at Sultanpur Lodhi on November 12, SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal today appealed to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to follow in the footsteps of Dr Manmohan Singh.

Stating that he was personally pained by the manner in which the pious occasion was being politicised, Longowal emphasised that any move to commemorate the occasion should be held above the party lines.

Citing the example of religious occasions held in the past under the tutelage of the SGPC, he reminded Captain Amarinder’s participation in his capacity as the CM along with the then PM Dr Manmohan Singh during the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib installation programme held in Amritsar in 2004.

“The state and the Centre in the past have always been contributing and participating wholeheartedly in religious functions organised by the SGPC and I have every reason to believe that the CM will help in upholding this tradition during the 550th Gurpurb celebrations too.”

In 1999, during the 300th anniversary of the birth of Khalsa, the Congress was represented by its veteran leader Dr Karan Singh. Even outside Punjab in case of the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in Patna, the Bihar Government had handed over the stage to the SGPC for three days and it was the latter that conducted the event as per ‘maryada’,” he pointed out.

He expressed his resentment by stating that despite repeated requests, the state government took long to finalise their representatives for coordination committee constituted as per directions of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh.

“The two meeting held with state representatives on September 17 and October 4 could not yield any outcome as they required CM’s nod to come on any conclusion. Till date, there was no hearing from the CM’s side,” he said.

Longowal said lakhs of pilgrims would be visiting Gurdwara Ber Sahib in Sultanpur Lodhi on the occasion and the venue set by the SGPC was apt to accommodate them. “There is paucity of space in the gurdwara and that is why the stage was being put up at Guru Nanak Dev Stadium, situated just 100 m away from the gurdwara,” he added.

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 Indian Express – No evidence that Guru Nanak visited Puri’s Mangu Math: SGPC

“We have been assured by Odisha government authorities that they are not going to demolish Mangu Math. They will only demolish the illegal constructions around Mangu Math,” said Harjap Singh who was part of the three-member delegation.

Kamaldeep Singh Brar

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 21 September 2019. There is no evidence that Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikh faith, ever visited ‘Mangu Math’ near Jagannath temple at Puri, a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) delegation that visited Odisha has said.

The delegation had gone there after reports that Odisha government was going to demolish Mangu Math, which was claimed to be associated with Sikh history.

“We have been assured by the Odisha government authorities that they are not going to demolish Mangu Math. They will only demolish the illegal constructions around Mangu Math,” said Harjap Singh who was part of the three-member delegation.

He said, “They have assured us that Mangu Math won’t be demolished. But at the same time, we found no evidence that Guru Nanak Dev Ji ever visited Mangu Math. Yes, there has been an idol of Shri Chand, son of Guru Nanak, at Mangu Math.

Guru Nanak Dev had gone to Jagannath Puri. But it is not clear whether he stayed at Mangu Math or not. We don’t have evidence to say that.”

“Also there is a claim that Guru Granth Sahib was installed at Mangu Math in the past. But Mangu Math is very small and it is not possible that there could have been a Gurdwara there at any time in history,” said Harjap Singh.

However, there are multiple references in Sikh history books about the presence of a gurdwara at Mangu Math.

The mention is found in the ‘Mahan Kosh’ by Kahan Singh Nabha. Historians Ganda Singh and Giani Gian Singh have also mentioned the gurdwara in Mangu Math.

Odisha-based Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Religious and Charitable (SGNDRC) has condemned the statement made by SGPC members.

“How can they make such a statement. Sikhs always knew that Guru Nanak Dev Ji came to Jagannath Puri and Mangu Math. SGPC is hurting Sikhs’ claim over the Mangu Math.

SGPC should first read history books before making any statement,” a spokesperson of the Trust said. The Trust is making efforts to convince Odisha government about Mangu Math’s association with Sikh history.

“We have talked to locals and the priest at Mangu Math. There have been idols of Hindu Gods at Mangu Maths. The priests told us that there never was a gurdwara. This is how we come to know that there was no evidence of Guru Nanak’s visit to Mangu Math. I haven’t read any history book in this reference,” said Harjap Singh.

Christian Today – Justin Welby warns against ‘misuse of power’ in visit to site of Indian massacre

Staff writer

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 11 September 2019. The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken of his shame and sorrow over the horrific massacre of men, women and children at Jallianwala Bagh, India, a hundred years ago.

The tragedy, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919, when British forces opened fire on the unarmed crowds, killing at least 400 people, including 41 children.

In a moving visit to the site of the massacre, Justin Welby lay face down at a memorial remembering the victims.

Speaking to reporters at the site, he said: “The souls of those who were killed and wounded, of the bereaved, cry out to us from these stones and warn us about power and the misuse of power.”

He continued: “This is a place of both sin and redemption beause you have remembered what they have done and their names will live, their memory will live before God.

“And I am so ashamed and sorry for the impact of this, for this crime committed here.”

The massacre has remained a sore point in UK-India relations. While the British Government has in the past spoken of its “deep regret” over the incident, it has never offered a formal apology.

The Archbishop stressed that he was speaking in his capacity as a religious leader and not on behalf of the British Government.

He also took time to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar, a major pilgrimage site for the world’s Sikhs.

“It’s been a real honour to visit the Golden Temple in #Amritsar, the holiest site for the Sikh faith,” the Archbishop said.

“I’m constantly inspired by the commitment of Sikhs to serving others, the amazing langar kitchen here serves free meals around the clock to 50,000 people a day.”

Hindustan Times – Police party attacked by locals during raid in Amritsar village

The police party came under attack while they were raiding the house of one Aman Singh in the village. They were rescued by Lopoke police which rushed to the spot after receiving information about the incident.

HT Correspondent

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 14 September 2019. The police party came under attack while they were raiding the house of one Aman Singh in the village. They were rescued by Lopoke police which rushed to the spot after receiving information about the incident.

A police party led by sub-inspector (SI) Baldev Singh of Kacha Pacca police station (Tarn Taran) were thrashed by people when it had gone to raid a house in Chugawan village under Lopoke police station in Amritsar, on Friday.

The police party came under attack while they were raiding the house of one Aman Singh in the village. They were rescued by Lopoke police which rushed to the spot after receiving information about the incident. The video of the incident had gone viral.

Inspector general (border range) Surinderpal Singh Parmar, who also visited the village after the incident, informed that the police team had not taken permission from their superiors.

“Station house officer (SHO) Jhirmal Singh has been placed under suspension and action against Baldev Singh is pending. The villagers have levelled corruption charges against the cops. Senior superintendent of Police (SSP-Amritsar rural) Vikramjeet Singh Duggal will investigate the case,” he added.

Earlier, when the police team began searching the house, an altercation ensued between the family members and the police party and the family members, supported by a large number of people, thrashed the cops.

The video shows after heated exchange of words between the two parties, the people bolted the gate from inside and began thrashing cops. They primarily targeted the sub-inspector as his uniform was torn and turban tossed. They also snatched his service revolver.

The villagers accused that the cops demanded money from the family and threatened them of framing them in false drugs case if their demand was not met. They alleged that the raiding cops acted on behest of the Congressmen in the village.

A case has been registered against three persons under Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Lopoke police station.

Duggal said, “As many as 20-25 persons were yet to be identified. We have the video of the incident and will examine it properly to investigate the matter. Action will be taken against whosoever is responsible.”

The Tribune – Scheduled to meet Akal Takht Jathedar

Worldwide head of Anglican Church (Anglican Communion) Justin Portal Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Tribune News Service

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 08 September 2019. Worldwide head of Anglican Church (Anglican Communion) Justin Portal Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, United Kingdom, will visit Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh and other prominent places as part of his programme. He is also scheduled to meet Giani Harpreet Singh, Jathedar, Akal Takht.

The religious leaders are expected to discuss the issues of violence and hatred among people of different faiths and religions.

Bishop of the Diocese of Amritsar, Church of North India, Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy, said, “It is not a political visit. He will be meeting community members and visiting prominent places in the city. He will also meet DC Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon on Monday.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, UK, will be accompanied by his wife Caroline Welby along with a six-member delegation.

Organising committee convener Vidhupriya Chakraverty said, “On Tuesday, he will deliver a sermon at the Christ Church, Ram Bagh, followed by a visit to Jallianwala Bagh and Golden Temple and his meeting with Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh.”

The Tribune – No response from Pakistan government, protest on

Tribune News Service

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 01 September 2019. Even as protests continued against the alleged forcible conversion and marriage of the daughter of a granthi to a Muslim man in Nankana Sahib, there was no response from the Governor House, Lahore.

Sources said truth could not prevail as the victim’s family had not been allowed to meet their daughter, who was staying in a shelter home.

Mastan Singh, president of Pakistan Sikh Council, said the Sikh youth were agitated and wanted stern action on the matter even as a section of Sikh group asked them to wait for the government’s response.

He said they kept on waiting till the evening, but there was no favourable response from Governor’s House, Lahore, in the matter.

Meanwhile, another video has surfaced, which was reportedly shot by female family members of Mohammad Hassan, who has married the girl. Appealing to the Muslim community to rescue them, they were seen alleging that the police had been harassing the male members of their family even as “the girl has adopted Islam and wedded as her own wish”.

The Tribune – India-Pakistan tension may hit Gurpurb festivities

Tribune News Service

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 23 August 2019. The tension between India and Pakistan may take a toll on the joint celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Though the SGPC, DSGMC and SAD (Delhi) have planned cross-border pilgrimage and religious processions to commemorate the occasion scheduled in November, looking at the rising tension, especially after the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K, the enthusiasm appeared to have been dampened on both sides.

Though the Pakistan authorities had earlier announced to grant around 10,000 visas for pilgrims, the SGPC has received just around 1,300 applications for a jatha to Pakistan.

Bhai Mardana Kirtan Darbar Society, which organises the pilgrimage, too, received just 400 applications and the DSGMC has got only a few applications.

SGPC chief secretary Roop Singh said the final decision on the jatha would be taken as per the situation prevailing in November. Recently, the SGPC has taken out a nagar kirtan that started off from Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib before entering to India through the Attari-Wagah border.

An official of SGPC said there were at least 3,000 applications for jathas that were scheduled for Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary in the past, but now the enthusiasm had decreased.

Bhai Mardana society’s president Harpal Singh Bhullar admitted that the tension between the two neighbouring countries had dampened the spirit among the devotees.

SAD (Delhi) Paramjit Singh Sarna was of view that the nagar kirtan would cross over to Pakistan on October 31, but the number of participants might be less.

The DSGMC too plans a parallel nagar kirtan from Gurdwara Bangla Sahib in Delhi to Nankana Sahib and looking forward to cross over Attari-Wagah border on November 1.

Exhibition on Guru Nanak in United Arab Emirates

New Delhi – India, On the eve of visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE, Vikramjit Singh Sahney, international president, World Punjabi Organisation, presented a painting of Guru Nanak Dev to Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance.

Sheikh Al Nahyan inaugurated an exhibition on the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Dev to mark the 550th anniversary celebrations in Abu Dhabi.

The Hindu – SAD, BJP team to meet PM over Guru Ravidas temple demolition

SAD, BJP team to meet PM

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 16 August 2019. Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday said a SAD-BJP delegation would soon meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urge him to provide a piece of land for rebuilding the Guru Ravidas temple which was demolished in Delhi’s Tughlakabad area.

The delegation would ask the Prime Minister to assuage the hurt feelings of the Dalit community and find an amicable solution, he told a gathering on the occasion of ‘Rakhar Punia’ here.

The Tribune – Hold plebiscite in Kashmir says Simranjit Singh

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 06 August 2019. Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann and Dal Khalsa spokesman Kanwarpal Singh Bittu today urged the United Nations (UN) Security Council to hold plebiscite in Kashmir stating that it had passed a resolution for a plebiscite in 1948.

The supporters of a separate Sikh homeland, Mann and Bittu, in a press conference, termed the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood by the BJP-led government as “appalling”.

“The democratic structure has been hit at its foundations,” Mann said.

Bittu said they would be observing August 15 as a ‘black day’ to protest the injustice being meted out to the minorities. He said peaceful protests would be held at the headquarters of 15 districts in Punjab and in Chandigarh.