– Delhi Violence: Dal Khalsa seeks Amit Shah’s resignation

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 26 February 2020. Dal Khalsa has sought resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah for allowing non-state actors to collude and connive with Delhi police to unleash mayhem and terror on anti-CAA protesters, who have been staging peaceful protests since the last two months all over the capital Delhi and elsewhere.

Strongly condemning the violence and vicious role of police targeting a particular community, the organization slammed the present day government for making a precious attempt to reduce a political movement to a law and order problem.

“This is a gross failure of the entire Indian system comprising a hateful government, a biased bureaucracy and an indifferent justice system,” reads a statement by Dal Khalsa.

“Delhi is in flames and the pro-CAA people are indulging in arson and looting right under the nose of the police and the administration”, said party Spokesman Kanwarpal Singh.

He said it reminds of the horrific moments of November 1984, when lumpens let loose terror and mayhem against innocent Sikhs.

The party leader said the situation in the country is volatile and a spark is needed to turn it into a disaster.

Seventy two hours before the US President Donald Trump was to arrive in India, we wrote a letter to caution him about the current dynamics of the situation and to bring to his notice how the fascist plans of his friend Narendra Modi’s government were playing havoc with the lives of minorities and nationalities.

It’s ironic that the visiting dignitary was deeply concerned about the radical Islamic terrorism but least bothered about rising radical Hindutva terrorism, which is showing it’s ugly face right now at the time of his presence in the capital.

The BJP is culpable and responsible. The Indian Home Minister must resign forthwith. Like CAA and NPR, he stands rejected by a large section of the population.

The Dal khalsa leader went on to lash out at senior BJP leaders and ministers for their hateful speeches. He held that provocative remarks like “goli maaron (shoot them)” are responsible for the mayhem in the Indian capital.”

Delhi Violence: Dal Khalsa seeks Amit Shah’s resignation

The Print – AAP & Akali Dal condemn Punjab DGP’s statement on Kartarpur, seek clarification from Punjab CM

Akali Dal leader Majithia alleged that DGP Gupta said Kartarpur corridor ‘offers a potential’ of people leaving as ‘ordinary chaps’ and coming back as ‘trained terrorists’.

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 23 February 2020. The opposition SAD and AAP on Saturday slammed Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta’s for his purported statement on the Kartarpur corridor and sought clarification from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh within 24 hours.

Senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia warned, “If a clarification is not issued, the party will stall proceedings of the budget session of the Vidhan Sabha on 24 February.”

The Aam Aadmi Party too lashed out at the DGP, terming the statement condemnable and seeking the removal of the top cop.

Responding to the criticism over the statement he made at an event organised by a national daily on 20 February, the DGP said he was being “misunderstood or wilfully misconstrued” as his remarks strictly pertained the security and safety of Punjab and India.

SAD senior leader Bikram Singh Majithia said DGP Gupta had told a national daily that “Kartarpur offers a potential that you send somebody in the morning as an ordinary chap and by evening he comes back as trained terrorist actually. You are there for six hours, you can be taken to a firing range, you can be taught to make an IED”.

The DGP also reportedly said some elements based in the neighbouring country were “trying to woo the pilgrims and making overtures to them”.

“I condemn the statement in the strongest possible words. I do not think it is the statement given by the Punjab DGP, I see this coming from the Congress headquarters because this DGP was handpicked by overlooking several senior officers,” alleged Majithia.

Majithia dubbed the statement a “deep-rooted conspiracy” of the Congress to paint every Sikh pilgrim a “terrorist”.

“As many as 52,098 pilgrims have so far paid obeisance at the Kartarpur gurdwara. Please check and see which one of them became terrorist,” asked Majithia, alleging that they (Congress) were trying to get the corridor shut.

AAP MLA and the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Harpal Singh Cheema, sought the DGP’s removal.

“The statement poses a threat to the country’s unity and integrity. The CM should lodge an FIR against him (DGP), put him behind bars and remove him from his post,” said Cheema.

Meanwhile, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Gobind Singh Longowal also condemned the DGP’s statement and said the corridor gave a message of peace.

“With the DGP’s statement, sentiments of Sikhs have been hurt. So far, 50,000 devotees have offered prayers at the Kartarpur gurdwara and no such instance like what the DGP has said has come to the fore yet,” said Longowal in a statement.

Later in the day, DGP Dinkar Gupta said there was absolutely no reference to any religion or community in his remarks.

“I only red-flagged the obvious potential for the misuse by elements notorious for their hostility towards India and their efforts to exploit every opportunity, even the most pious one, to disturb peace and communal harmony,” said Gupta in a statement here.

Therefore, we need to be vigilant to such potential dangers in the interest of peace and security of the people of the state, who, he said, had already suffered a lot in the past at the hands of terrorism promoted by the hostile neighbour.

Gupta said as the DGP of the state, which is faced with continuing battle against violent extremism funded and supported from across the border, he cannot over emphasise the need to remain vigilant.

Clarifying his position, Gupta said he was “rejoiced” at the opening of the Kartarpur corridor which fulfilled the decades-old aspirations of millions of devotees.

The state government and all its agencies, including the Punjab Police, worked with great devotion and commitment to successfully observe the historic event (opening of Kartarpur corridor), he said.

“As the state DGP, I assure that we will continue to strive to work towards facilitating trouble-free access to the holy shrine of Kartarpur,” he said.

Earlier, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too had repeatedly warned that Pakistan had “nefarious designs” behind the opening of the Kartarpur corridor and had also maintained that while he was extremely happy as a Sikh at its opening, “the threat it posed to India could not be ignored”.

The Kartarpur corridor, which was opened on November 9 last year, links the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan–the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev–with Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur of Indian Punjab.

AAP & Akali Dal condemn Punjab DGP’s statement on Kartarpur, seek clarification from Punjab CM

India Today – No Sikhs in Delhi Cabinet irks community

Manjeet Sehgal

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 19 February 2020. The absence of Sikh faces in Arvind Kejriwal’s cabinet has irked the community in the neighbouring Punjab. This is not the first time when the Sikh community was denied a cabinet berth. The same treatment was meted out to the community in the previous government as well.

This time two Sikhs, Jarnail Singh and Prahlad Singh Sahni managed to win the recently concluded Assembly election in Delhi. However, they did not find a place in the cabinet.

Akali Dal has slammed Arvind Kejriwal for ignoring the Sikh community in his cabinet. While speaking to India Today TV, senior Akali Dal leader Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said that “step-motherly treatment” to the community in the cabinet has exposed Kejriwal and his approach towards the community.

Delhi has a very significant Sikh population. Sikhs belong to the minority community and this time two from our community managed to win the elections,” Daljit Cheema said.

Cheema said that Delhi has seen three Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government but none of them considered Sikhs for a cabinet berth.

“Arvind Kejriwal speaks a lot when he has to exploit the Sikhs. He will have to explain to the people of Punjab why he did not give representation to the Sikh community in his cabine,” Daljit Cheema said.

After winning New Delhi, AAP is now eyeing Punjab where the majority of voters are Sikhs. AAP’s election manifesto cover had courted controversy in 2017 after a broom was printed with the photo of Golden Temple in Amritsar.

AAP’s ties with Khalistani supporters had also irked the mainstream Sikhs community. The party, which was very popular before the Punjab elections, lost its sheen and it only managed to win 20 out of 117 seats in the state Assembly election.

The Print – Amarinder Singh faces rebellion from Punjab cabinet colleagues ahead of budget session

Many Congress MLAs and now ministers have criticised CM Amarinder Singh’s governance, the attitude of civil servants, and the advocate general in particular.

Chitleen K Sethi

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 19 February 2020. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is facing a fresh bout of rebellion within his Congress party, with MLAs and now even cabinet colleagues openly voicing their disenchantment.

Less than a week after former India hockey captain and Congress MLA Pargat Singh’s letter criticising the CM’s governance became public, Amarinder’s cabinet colleagues Tuesday voiced their dissatisfaction over the working of his government’s functionaries.

This latest crisis within the ruling Congress comes on the eve of the eight-day budget session of the Punjab assembly that begins Thursday.

During the pre-budget session cabinet meeting Tuesday, some ministers objected to the working of Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh and Advocate General Atul Nanda. Both officers were hand-picked by Amarinder when he took over as CM in early 2017.

Senior minister Sukhjinder Randhawa said civil servants “did not care” for elected legislators, and added that the AG’s office too had failed to defend the state government in prominent cases. Several cabinet ministers seconded Randhawa’s criticism of Nanda.

Pargat’s letter

Apart from his cabinet colleagues, a section of party MLAs are also upset with Amarinder’s performance. Pargat Singh, who had defected from the Akali Dal and won the elections from Jalandhar, had shot off a scathing letter to the CM, listing his grievances with the government.

Pargat is considered a close friend of former cabinet minister and Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu. In his letter, Pargat has questioned the inability of the government to stem corruption, listing the various scams on which the CM had ordered probes, none of which came to their logical conclusion.

He added that despite the fact that the Congress had come to power with a huge mandate, an impression was gaining ground that things had gone awry and people were getting disappointed with the government’s performance.

Though the letter was written last month, it hit the headlines on the eve of the crucial budget session, which will likely set the tone for the session, said a senior Congress leader on the condition of anonymity.

Sidhu, meanwhile, remains a constant irritant for Amarinder. Sidhu was extremely vocal against the government’s functioning while he was a minister, but has been lying low ever since his ignominious ouster from the cabinet in July last year.

Senior Congress leaders’ run-ins

Last month, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu had taken on Amarinder and finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, asking them to start working towards fulfilling the party’s pre-poll promises. He challenged Badal to prove he is an effective minister, and that his parent party Akali Dal’s accusation that he is a “failed minister” is baseless.

Rajya Sabha MP and former state Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa also had an ugly spat with Amarinder last month, when he demanded Nanda’s removal as advocate general. When the CM told Bajwa to mind his own business, the latter called for a “Captain-mukt Congress”, and told a news channel that he would not support another term of Amarinder as CM.

In November last year, current state Congress president Sunil Jakhar was at pains to assuage four MLAs from Patiala, who had raised a banner of rebellion against the government. They too had complained against the bureaucracy being non-responsive.

Amarinder Singh faces rebellion from Punjab cabinet colleagues ahead of budget session

Mumbai Mirror – Akal Takht lends support to anti-CAA, NRC protests

Top Sikh body takes stand after meeting with Delhi Minority Commission chief Zafarul Islam Khan.

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 16 February 2020. The highest temporal seat of the Sikh religion, the Akal Takht, has extended support to protesting Muslim groups against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Akal Takht head Giani Harpreet Singh met a delegation led by Delhi Minority Commission chief Zafarul Islam Khan in Amritsar and assured his support to them, a senior functionary told IANS on Saturday.

There is a sentiment of fear and insecurity among the minorities and the Sikhs are bound to stand by the oppressed, Giani Harpreet Singh was quoted as saying to the visiting Muslim delegation. They thanked the Sikhs for standing with the Muslims and others on the CAA and the NRC.

The Takht chief reportedly said he received a similar request Muslim groups also.

Adopting a tough posture, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) supremo and five-time Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal two days ago said those in powerat the Centre and states should ensure that the country was run strictly in accordance with secular democratic ethos as enshrined in the Constitution. – Sikh delegation seeks Akal Takht’s intervention to end monopoly over telecast of Gurbani from Sri Darbar Sahib

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 15 February 2020. On 14 February, a Sikh delegation headed by Punjab cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa met officiating Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh to ask him to intervene for ending single firm’s monopoly over live telecast of Gurbani from sanctum sanctorum Sri Harmandir Sahib.

The delegation sought availability of signal to all channels within the framework of the guidelines while citing the universal nature of Gurbani.

The delegation told Akal Takht Jathedar that it was necessary to take Guru Sahib’s message to every corner of the world free of cost rather than making it a source of money. “We shouldn’t treat Gurbani as a commodity for trading,” said the delegation.

Interacting with media, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa informed that the Akal Takht Jathedar has patiently listened to their demand while assuring them to look into the matter.

It may be recalled here that the Congress led Punjab government had adopted a resolution on 06 November last year in this regard.

The Tribune – It’s Panjab next, claims Bhagwant Singh

Says only development will matter in next Assembly elections

Ruchika M Khanna – Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 14 February 2020. The pitch for battleground Punjab has been set, the players are ready and the match with the Congress is all set to begin.

We don’t even consider the Akali Dal to be in the field, as the audience (voters) have already rejected them, says Bhagwant Mann, president of AAP state unit, as he basks in the party’s success at the hustings in Delhi.

The people of Punjab are with us. They have seen how good governance in Delhi can change the face of the state. All democratic means will be used to raise public issues and force the government to act. The first issue we will take up is that of high power tariff [Bhagwant Singh Mann – Sangrur MP].

Mann, who came to Punjab after aggressively campaigning for his party in Delhi for almost a month, says the party’s entire concentration will now be on Punjab. The central leadership is all set to build (political) inroads, treading a more cautious and mature path, and present itself as a formidable force in the state.

“The people of Punjab are already with us. They have seen how good governance in Delhi can change the face of the state,” he tells The Tribune. In the coming days, says the Sangrur MP, the state unit will get more aggressive and organise protests to make the incumbent Congress government rise from its political “reverie”.

“All democratic means will be used to raise public issues and force the government to act. The first issue we will take up is that of high power tariff. People of Punjab are unable to bear it and are forced to cut down on consumption.

The power intensive industry is also hit, which has adversely affected the economy,” he says, adding that this issue will be raised by the party in the Budget session of Vidhan Sabha.

On reports of the party’s central leadership playing a bigger role in Punjab unit affairs, post win in Delhi, with probability of structural changes in the party, Mann says the central leadership has always remained involved in the state unit.

“Now that we have won Delhi, the leadership will concentrate entirely on strategising party’s win in Punjab in 2022, but in consultation with the state leadership. Our focus will now be on strengthening the party cadre.

We will showcase the Delhi model of governance and promise what all we could do to improve things for the voters, who feel let down by the Congress, and by the SAD-BJP. We will only talk about development to counter those who rake communal or Panthic issues to get votes,” he says.

On the speculation that AAP might depend on three regional party leaders, rather than just one incharge of the entire state unit, Mann says he is unaware of such a move.

Mann, however, remains non-committal on efforts aimed at unification of rebel and dissenting MLAs and leaders and those who deserted the party.

On attempts by political strategist Prashant Kishor, who recently came on board AAP, to end differences between warring leaders and even bring splinter political groups on board, Mann says the effort is good and needed to strengthen AAP. – Finally, Parkash Singh Badal terms CAA anti-secularism

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 14 February 2020. On February 13, the SAD patron Parkash Badal broke his silence over controversial CAA while expressing concern over BJP led Indian government’s deviation from principal of secularism. He broke his silence on CAA in a rally organized at Rajasansi.

Clarifying SAD’s stand on the controversial CAA, Parkash Badal said that it is the responsibility of those ruling in Centre to ensure the implementation of full-fledged secular democratic ethos across country.

He substantiated his point by saying that the foundation stone of Sri Darbar Sahib was laid by a Muslim (Sai Mir Mian Mohammed). Similarly, among the top five ministers appointed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, three were Hindus, one Muslim and one Sikh.

“Taking the minorities along was the legacy that we inherited from our Gurus and it must be honored,” he said.

Finally, Parkash Singh Badal terms CAA anti-secularism

The Tribune – Witnesses in sacrilege cases face threat to life

Jupinderjit Singh – Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 12 February 2020. In the wee hours of 04 November 2015, two persons on a two-wheeler rode past ex-serviceman Sewak Singh while he was on his way to his village gurdwara in Malke, Moga district. When he reached the shrine, he saw ‘ang (parts)’ of Guru Granth Sahib strewn outside.

Amid monetary allurements and threats to withdraw his statement against the two persons he saw that day, Sewak Singh’s life has been a nightmare. He is not the only witness to be living in fear.

Iqbal Singh of Guru Sar Jalal village in Bathinda has faced threats ever since a sacrilege incident was reported in his village gurdwara. “The state has abandoned us. We are left to fend for ourselves,” he told The Tribune over the phone.

Surjit Singh, a witness in the Behbal Kalan police firing incident, who died recently, too had faced harassment at the hands of the accused, provoking Justice Ranjit Singh (retd), who headed a commission to probe sacrilege incidents and the police firing at Behbal Kalan, to write to the Punjab Chief Minister. He wrote that the state, especially the police, had been insensitive to the plight of the witness.

“We will not bend despite the threats and allurement of money,” said Sewak Singh and Iqbal Singh. “But the state is duty-bound to protect all witnesses. My request for police security was turned down,” said Sewak Singh.

Advocate Gagan Pardeep Singh Bal said he had approached the High Court for providing protection to the witnesses.

The Tribune – Jakhar seeks probe into kabaddi team’s visit to Pakistan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 11 February 2020. Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Sunil Jakhar on Monday demanded an inquiry into sending of a Punjabi Kabaddi Association’s team to Pakistan for a world championship.

Jakhar asked how the players had managed to go without any official permission or clearance from the Union Sports Ministry and External Affairs Ministry.

Addressing a press conference, Jakhar alleged Jatinder Singh (Mendu Kheda), who was leading the team, was close to SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal. “On one hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi warns of teaching a lesson to Pakistan, and on the other, a close contact of the SAD leader took the team to Pakistan,” said Jakhar.

The PPCC chief showed a video of the secretary general of the Pakistan Amateur Circle Kabaddi Federation, Mohammed Sarwar Butt, who said many countries had refused to participate in the event. He said members of the squad from India were to be part of teams of other countries.

Asking Sukhbir to clarify his stand on the controversial visit of the kabaddi players to Pakistan, Jakhar said the entire issue needed to be probed by the National Investigation Agency, as it was a serious issue. Pakistan is indulging in narco-terrorism while 60 Indian players were granted permission to visit the hostile neighbour, he said.

Drawing attention of the NDA government towards denial of permission to a Punjab minister to visit Nankana Sahib in connection with the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak, Jakhar said the permission to the 60-player squad raised several questions.

He added the state should also probe the visit of team under the banner of Punjab Kabaddi Association, though it was the issue pertaining to national security.

Congress trying to imitate Sangh Parivar ?
How can a visit from Panjab to Panjab be controversial

Man in Blue