– Sikh peace activist gunned down in Pakistan

Peshawar – Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – Pakistan, 29 May 2018. A human rights activist and Sikh community leader Charanjeet Singh was shot dead by bike-borne assailants in Peshawar in broad daylight on Tuesday.

Singh, who had shifted to Peshawar with his family nearly two decades ago, was a highly respectable figure in the region. He was known for promoting religious harmony and discouraging violence.

Although the exact motive behind the incident is still unknown, community and local political leaders suspect the hand of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) hand in the attack.

In the run-up to the upcoming general election, which is scheduled for July 25, the political atmosphere of the country is getting increasingly turbulent. While the Pakistan Army and the ISI have been covertly supporting extremism, a few players are contesting to bring a more liberal government in Islamabad.

Various religious representatives in the past have accused Pakistan government of turning a blind eye to the discrimination and atrocities being meted out to the minorities in the country.

Despite having a separate ministry for the minorities, Islamabad establishment has failed to alleviate minorities’ pain and sufferings.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan’s internal affairs policies, by and large, are decided by influential army generals, who mainly work for the welfare of the Muslims of Punjab province.
About 60,000 Sikhs live in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, including 15,000 in Peshawar alone, who have time and again raised the issue of discrimination.

Aninews seems very keen to blame the ISI, but there are any number of actors in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa that could be behind the murder of Charanjeet Singh.

The Tribune – Dalit family ‘stopped’ from drawing water from government tubewell

Ravi Dhaliwal, Tribune News Service

Akhwana-Gurdaspur District-Panjab-India, 10 February 2018. A Scheduled Caste (SC) family has alleged that some members of an “upper” caste had allegedly stopped them from drawing drinking water from a government tubewell at Akhwana village in Sujanpur tehsil.

Deputy Commissioner Neelima has dispatched the District Social Security Officer among other officials to the village to probe the matter.

Jyoti Devi claimed that earlier this week, when her family members started digging the ground to lay a plastic pipe — which would have enabled them to draw water from the nearby tubewell, some members of the Rajput community came and told her to stop the work.

“They told me that the tubewell was exclusively meant for Rajputs and she, being a Ramdassia (Scheduled Caste), could not be allowed to use it. I was stunned and reported the incident to my father-in-law Parshottam Lal. He approached the administration and a human rights activist, Sunil Dutt.

I was forced to use that tubewell after the one we were using earlier developed a snag. The group even took away our gardening tools that were being used for digging,” alleged Jyoti Devi.

Sunil Dutt, who visited the area, alleged when village Sarpanch Jagan Nath intervened, he was told to stay away by the group.

Sitting MLA Dinesh Babbu admitted that the aggrieved woman had called him twice. He, however, refuted the allegation that the SC family was stopped from laying a pipe “just because they belonged to a lower caste”.

“It is the job of the panchayat to lay pipes. I told Jyoti Devi to wait for some days till the panchayat gets money to do the needful,” said the legislator.

Sapanch Jagan Nath, however, alleged, “The MLA is trying to push the matter under the carpet. Those Rajputs told me that Jyoti Devi would not be allowed to use the tubewell that belonged to them. When I argued that the tubewell was owned by the government, they started threatening me,” he said.