The Times of India – Convince Myanmar to end violence against Rohingyas, Bangla Desh urges India

Indrani Bagchi

New Delhi, 12 September 2017. “India has good relations with Myanmar, we are both members of BIMSTEC. India must emphasize to Myanmar that conditions must be created so that these refugees can return to their country.

India can call for the immediate implementation of the Kofi Annan report,” said Syed Muazzem Ali, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India as Bangladesh grapples with a huge influx of refugees, which now total 6,70,000, in the midst of one of the worst floods in recent years.

The Bangladesh foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali proposed a plan of action to tackle the crisis. This includes asking Myanmar to stop the violence in Rakhine province, create safe zones to protect civilians “irrespective of ethnicity and religion”.

“Myanmar must engage with Bangladesh to ensure repatriation of all of its nationals living in Bangladesh through international joint verification as also proposed by the Kofi Annan Commission,” the Bangla envoy said.

Muazzem Ali conveyed Bangladesh’s concerns regarding what they saw as India’s unhelpful stand on the issue during PM’s visit to Myanmar. “I explained to the foreign secretary that we have no hesitation in decrying the terrorist attack that was launched against the security forces of Mynamar.

We condemned in the strongest possible terms. My prime minister has emphasized that Bangladesh would show zero tolerance to any acts of terrorism and Bangladesh could not be allowed to be used by anyone for any terrorist acts.”

Bangladesh’s response coincides with the UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, roundly criticizing Myanmar, calling the ongoing violence “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

“The Myanmar government should stop pretending that the Rohingyas are setting fire to their own homes and laying waste to their own villages,” saying “another brutal security operation is underway in Rakhine state this time, apparently on a far greater scale.”

Unconfirmed reports also said the biggest militant group, ARSA, has announced a month-long ceasefire for aid agencies to access people in Rakhine.

He said “Bangladesh had offered to Myanmar if necessary joint patrols on our border. But we did not get any response from Myanmar.” In the weeks before the August 25 terror attack, “security agencies of both India and Bangladesh had alerted Myanmar about an impending attack, because we saw some activities in this area, and intercepted some telephone calls.”

India had stood by Aung San Suu Kyi and the Myanmar leadership criticizing the August 25 violence as a terrorist attack, at a time when Suu Kyi has come under widespread international condemnation, including calls to rescind her Nobel peace prize.

But this stand played very badly in Bangladesh, India’s other strategic ally, which has borne the brunt of the Rohingya exodus. India changed its stance on Saturday evening acknowledging Bangladesh’s position on the issue.

“I believe we have seen in the past that the security concerns of this issue must be given due consideration,” Muazzem Ali said. Myanmar, “must distinguish between terrorist suspects and civilian population.

It has led to a mass exodus, 270,000 have taken shelter with us, and I am sure they will go to various other countries as well. I am given to understand by very high officials here that a very large number of them have also entered your country.”

The issue of Rohingya refugees is a problem in BJP-ruled India, but it comes directly in conflict with India’s position as a leading power in the region. India has found some 40,000 Rohingyas who have settled in different parts of India, but worryingly for the government, in Jammu and Kashmir.

Some ministers have spoken of deporting them, but Myanmar does not want them, neither does anyone else. Indian officials say the security implications of this influx cannot be overstated given reports that Rohingyas have been infiltrated and radicalized by terror groups in Pakistan.

The Bangladesh foreign minister also put out a set of proposals for the international community. “The root of the Rohingya crisis lies in Myanmar. Therefore the ultimate solution has to be found in Myanmar,” Ali said.

“The international community must pressure Myanmar to implement the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Commission and help Bangladesh with urgent humanitarian assistance to address the current crisis as well as for temporary relocation of Rohingyas that entered Bangladesh to Bhashan Char.”

The resolution of the Rohingya crisis, Ali said, had to be political. “Otherwise, wittingly or unwittingly we get involved in a security problem, where certain parties, which are interested in destabilizing the region, will set foot in our neighbourhood.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-must-work-to-change-myanmars-approach-to-rohingya-problem-bangladesh/articleshow/60471145.cms

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The Asian Age – Cabinet reshuffle: Meet the nine new ministers to be inducted today

Here’s all you need to know about the nine new ministers being inducted in Modi’s Cabinet on Sunday.

New Delhi, 3 September 2017. The nine new members to be inducted in the Union council of ministers include four former senior bureaucrats and also Bharatiya Janata Party (BPP) leaders from the states of Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which go to polls in the near future.

Here are their short profiles:

Ashwini Kumar Choubey

64-year-old Ashwini Kumar Choubey has been the health minister of Bihar. A BJP veteran he was born at Dariyapur in Bhagalpur and did BSc (Hons) in Zoology from the Science College, Patna University. Presently, he represents the Buxar Lok Sabha seat.

Married to Neeta Choubey, he is father to two sons. He was an active part of the JP movement in the 1970s and was taken into custody during the Emergency.

Chaubey is credited with raising the slogan “Ghar-Ghar me ho Shouchalaya ka nirman, Tabhi hoga Ladli Bitiya ka Kanyadaan”, and has helped construct 11,000 toilets for Mahadalit families.

Virendra Kumar

Virendra Kumar, 63, is the Lok Sabha MP from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh. From the convenor of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), District Sagar in 1977-79 to now being set to become a Union minister in the Modi government, it has been a long journey for Kumar, who was elected for a sixth Lok Sabha term in 2014.

Kumar had participated in the JP movement of the 1970s, and was in jail for 16 months during the Emergency. He hails from the scheduled caste community and hold a masters degree in economics and a PhD in Child Labour.

Shiv Pratap Shukla

65-year-old Shiv Pratap Shukla is a Rajya Sabha MP from the country’s most populous and electorally crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. The lawyer-social worker has earlier been a minister in the government of Uttar Pradesh.

He was appointed a vice president of Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP in 2012. He is a law graduate from the Gorakhpur University and was imprisoned for 19 months during the Emergency.

Anant Kumar Hegde

Anant Kumar Hegde, 49, was elected to the Lok Sabha a member of the 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha, from Uttara Kannada in Karnataka.

He is an agriculturist by profession. At the young age of 28, he was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time. During his multiple stints in Parliament, he has been a member of multiple Parliamentary Standing Committees like Finance, Home Affairs, Human Resource Development, Commerce, Agriculture and External Affairs.

He has also been a member of the Spices Board of India for 4 terms. He is a practitioner of Tae-kwon-do.

Satya Pal Singh

Satya Pal Singh is a Lok Sabha MP from Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh. The 1980 batch, Maharashtra cadre, retired IAS officer is a former Mumbai police chief. He was recognized with medals like the Antrik Suraksha Sewa Padak by the Centre in 2008 and a special service medal for extraordinary work in the Naxalite areas of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in 1990.

Singh has written books, on topics like tribal conflict resolution and Naxalism. Born in Basauli village in Baghpat, Satya Pal Singh has a MSc and MPhil in Chemistry, MBA in Strategic Management from Australia, MA in Public Administration as well as a PhD in Naxalism.

Gajendrasingh Shekhawat

Gajendrasingh Shekhawat (age 49) is the Jodhpur Lok Sabha MP. He also is a national general secretary of the farmers wing of the BJP. A sports enthusiast, Shekhawat has participated at National and All India Inter University level in Basket Ball.

He currently is a Member of the All India Council of Sports and the President of Basketball India Players Association. He has an MPhil and MA in Philosophy from Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur.

Hardeep Singh Puri

Hardeep Singh Puri, 65, is a 1974 batch Indian Foreign Service officer who served as the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013.

Known for his experience and expertise in foreign policy and national security, he is the president and chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) think tank, and was the Vice President of International Peace Institute, New York.

His four-decade career in diplomacy spanning the multilateral arena, included critical roles of ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ambassador to Brazil and the United Kingdom and Permanent Representative of India to Geneva.

An alumnus of The Hindu College, Delhi University, Puri was a student leader and active during the JP movement. He briefly taught at St Stephens College before joining the IFS.

Raj Kumar Singh

Raj Kumar Singh, 64, a former IAS officer of 1975 batch Bihar cadre, has been a former Home Secretary of India. He is a member of the 16th Lok Sabha representing Arrah in Bihar. Singh studied English Literature at St Stephens College, New Delhi and got a Bachelors Degree in Law thereafter. He also went on to study at the RVB Delft University in Netherlands.

Alphons Kannanthanam

Alphons Kannanthanam is a former IAS officer of the 1979 batch, Kerala cadre. He is also a practicing advocate. Kannanthanam became famous as Delhi’s ‘Demolition Man’ during his stint at the Delhi Development Authority, having cleared DDA areas of encroachment removing around 15,000 illegal buildings.

Born in a non-electrified Manimala village in Kottayam district to a World War II veteran, he pioneered the literacy movement in India as District Collector of Kottayam by making it the first 100 per cent literate town in India in 1989.

He retired from the IAS to get elected as an Independent Member of Legislative Assembly for Kanjirappally in Kerala from 2006 to 2011. Kannanthanam is a Member of the Committee to prepare the final draft of the National Education Policy 2017. He has authored a book “Making A Difference”.

Really rejuvenating and refreshing the cabinet with two 49 year old and seven 60+ ministers !
Man in Blue

http://www.asianage.com/india/politics/030917/cabinet-reshuffle-meet-the-9-new-ministers-to-be-inducted-today.html

The Hindu – Fourteen BJP legislators face cases of crime against women

Special Correspondent

New Delhi, 31 August 2017. The Bharatiya Janata Party, among the recognised political parties, has the highest number of 14 MLAs and MPs who have declared cases related to crime against women, says a report of the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch.

As per the report, Shiv Sena stands second with seven and the Trinamool Congress third with six legislators.

In the past five years, recognised parties gave tickets to 29 candidates who had declared cases related to rape for contesting in the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha and State Assembly elections while 14 independent candidates with rape allegations contested in the polls.

The non-government bodies analysed 4,852 of the 4,896 election affidavits of the MPs and the MLAs. “Of the 1,581 MPs/MLAs analysed with declared criminal cases, 51 have declared cases related to crimes against women,” said the report.

Among these 51 legislators, 48 are MLAs and three are MPs. In all, 334 candidates, who were analysed, were given tickets by recognised political parties. Over 120 independent candidates, whose affidavits were analysed, with declared cases of crimes against women had contested the elections in the past five years.

Of these candidates, 40 were given tickets by parties for the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha elections. “Various recognised parties have given tickets to 294 candidates with cases related to crimes against women for State Assembly elections,” said the report.

In the past five years, 19 independent candidates with such declared cases contested in the Lok Sabha/Rajya elections. Similarly, 103 such independent candidates contested in the State Assembly polls.

Among the States, the report says, Maharashtra has the highest number (12) of such MPs or MLAs, followed by West Bengal with 11 and Odisha with 6 MPs or MLAs.

In the past five years, Maharashtra again had the highest number of candidates (65), followed by Bihar with 62 and West Bengal with 52 such candidates who were given tickets by political parties.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/14-bjp-legislators-face-cases-of-crime-against-women/article19595943.ece

Scroll.in – Partition love story: A Muslim woman finds love with a Sikh man, but there is no happy ending

The tale of Buta Singh and Zainab embodies the tragedy of 1947, and is calling for a Bollywood producer

Zainab and Buta Singh married in 1947 in circumstances about which there is no unanimity. It is said they, nevertheless, grew to love each other. After they sired two children, the couple was forcibly separated.

Their story is emblematic of Partition because their relationship was simultaneously warped, and redemptive, and tragic. Like Partition, it has several versions, of which two will be recounted here.

There is the version that writer and publisher Urvashi Butalia narrates in her magisterial work, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India. The other is narrated by eminent Hindi fiction writer Krishna Sobti to Alok Bhalla in Partition Dialogues, a collection of his conversations with writers on their experiences of the 1947 catastrophe.

In Butalia’s version, Zainab was abducted from a kafila or caravan headed to Pakistan. She was presumably passed from one man to another until she was sold to Buta Singh, a Jat Sikh from Amritsar district. Butalia does not give us the name of the village.

Buta Singh married Zainab. Despite the ignominy of being purchased, that too by a member of the community engaged in cleansing East Punjab of Muslims, Buta Singh and Zainab came to love each other. Two girls were born to them. Partition ostensibly seemed to have been symbolically overcome through their relationship.

But the ghosts of Partition had not been put to rest. On December 6, 1947, India and Pakistan signed the Inter-Dominion Treaty, which made it incumbent upon the two nation-states to recover as many abducted women as they could.

To implement the treaty, an ordinance was issued. Under it, a woman was deemed abducted if she had entered into a relationship with a man not belonging to her community after March 1, 1947. Search parties were deployed to track abducted women and return them to their families.

One of these search parties came knocking on the door of Buta Singh’s house. It is said his nephews had snitched on Zainab to the search squad. They thought that once Zainab and her children were packed off to Pakistan, their share in the family property would increase.

Such was the law that Zainab’s opinion on whether she wanted to leave Buta Singh, and India, was not required to be elicited. The entire village turned up to see Zainab off. She came out holding her younger child and a bundle of personal belongings.

On reaching the jeep, she turned to Buta Singh and, pointing to their older daughter, said, “Take care of this girl, and don’t worry. I will be back soon.”

Buta Singh was distraught. His anxiety was compounded when he received a letter from Pakistan. It asked him to hurry over to Pakistan as his wife’s family was pressuring her to marry.

Buta Singh sold his land to raise money and arrived in Delhi, where he converted to Islam and took on the name of Jamil Ahmed. He thought it would be easier for him to travel to Pakistan as a Muslim wishing to become its citizen.

He applied for a Pakistani passport. He waited and waited but his passport did not come. His frequent trips to the Pakistan embassy made him such a familiar figure among Pakistani officials that they granted him a short-term visa for Pakistan.

In Pakistan, Zainab’s life was threatening to take a course she had not anticipated. Both her parents were dead. Since the family had been granted a plot of land in Lyallpur in lieu of the property it owned in East Punjab, its legal heirs were Zainab and her sister.

Adjacent to their land was their uncle’s. Keen to keep all the land within the family, the uncle began to mount pressure on Zainab to marry his son, her cousin.

She resisted. Zainab’s cousin, too, did not wish to marry her, not least because she had been the partner of a Sikh. It was during the days Zainab was resisting this familial pressure that Buta Singh received a letter from Pakistan, written by a neighbour of hers, presumably at her behest.

When Buta Singh reached Pakistan, Zainab had been married to her uncle’s son. Perhaps she thought Buta Singh would never come for her.

In his rush to locate Zainab, Buta Singh forgot to report his arrival to the police within 24 hours of reaching Pakistan, a requirement mandatory even in 2017. He was arrested and produced in court. He narrated his story to the magistrate, who issued summons to Zainab.

Zainab came to the court, ringed by his relatives. She told the magistrate: “I am a married woman. Now I have nothing to do with this man. He can take his second child whom I have brought from his house…”

Hours later, in the night, Buta Singh threw himself before a running train. His body was taken for autopsy to Lahore, where a large crowd of people, some weeping, gathered to witness the man who had defied Partition, and overcome his own warped conception of women, to love – and die.

A suicide note was recovered from his body. It said he wished to be buried in Zainab’s village.

But her relatives did not allow the police to execute Buta Singh’s last wish and he was buried in Lahore. Of their love, Butalia writes:

“It was said that Zainab and Buta Singh were happy, that they were even in love. Yet, the man actually bought her, purchased her like chattel: how then could she have loved him?”

Two versions

Butalia created their story through a piecing together of newspaper accounts, documents and an unpublished memoir. Butalia could not get a glimpse into Zainab’s feelings about the two men she married.

Given the stigma associated with abduction and rape, did Zainab overcome Buta Singh’s warped notion of love because of the hope he held out to her for rebuilding her life? Was her love for Buta Singh a strategy of survival? Or was it both?

These questions are rendered redundant in the version that Krishna Sobti narrated to Alok Bhalla. Sobti did not claim to have researched the story. Her version was presumably based on hearsay. Yet, it provides a peep into the politics of remembering Partition.

In Sobti’s version, Zainab does not have a name. She is “the Muslim girl”, plain and simple. It was while fleeing a riotous mob that the Muslim girl ran into Buta Singh’s house and hid under a haystack in the courtyard.

In the evening, Buta Singh, a bachelor, returned home and noticed a chunni sticking out of the haystack. He assured the girl, to quote Sobti, “Don’t be afraid, you are safe here. Stay indoors till the riots are over.” The girl came out and began to stay at his house. Though Buta Singh cooked for her for days, they did not speak to each other.

A few days later, a child chanced upon the Muslim girl in Buta Singh’s house. The word was out. In the evening, Buta Singh returned to a clamorous crowd outside his house.

Sobti tells Bhalla:

“He defended her with great courage and warned his neighbours not to harm her. His honesty and courage touched the girl. She continued to stay with him. Soon they fell in love with each other. In any case… she didn’t have many choices.”

The villagers suggested to Buta Singh that he marry the Muslim girl, who, according to Sobti, thought he was “handsome and decent”. They married, but did not have children at the time the search party arrived at their door. We are not told how the search party sniffed her out.

In the search party were her brothers. They insisted on taking the Muslim girl back to Pakistan. Buta Singh beseeched the authorities to allow her to stay with him as she was legally married to him, of her own free will. But it was to no avail.

In Sobti’s version, too, Buta Singh followed her to Pakistan. The matter of their marriage went to court. The Muslim girl was asked whether she had indeed married Buta Singh. But she refused to speak, not even when he told her that he would die without her.

Of her silence, Sobti explains to Bhalla, “Her brothers had obviously threatened her. It wasn’t difficult to imagine her psychological condition. The court decided against him. Buta Singh was so shattered that he committed suicide.”

Politics of remembering Partition

Oral stories from the past often undergo dramatic changes as these are passed from person to person. By the time it reached Sobti, the love story of Zainab and Buta Singh had morphed into a tale extolling the ideas of Sikh valour and honour.

That Buta Singh had purchased Zainab was elided from Sobti’s version. Instead, she is said to have strayed into the house of Buta Singh the bachelor who could have done anything to her but did not. Because of his impeccable conduct, the Muslim girl fell in love with him, his handsomeness a bonus.

Their love was torn asunder because of her brothers, who shifted from India to Pakistan and returned to take their sister away, unmindful of the suffering they inflicted all around. The story of Zainab and Buta Singh in its retelling indicts the Muslims of India for partitioning the country.

This love story of the Partition era is crying out for a Bollywood producer. Though Butalia’s version is undeniably more layered and captures the heartlessness that Partition was, it is very likely that Bollywood will opt for Sobti’s version in these times of Hindutva domination.

No touch of love jihad there. No depiction of Indians being overtaken by their baser passions – rather, they are always honourable in their conduct, for which they almost always pay a heavy price. A Hindu-Muslim love relationship in 1947 had to countenance the partitioning of the country. A Hindu-Muslim love biopic must be conscious of political sensitivities.

We welcome your comments at
letters@scroll.in

https://scroll.in/article/847568/partition-love-story-a-muslim-woman-finds-love-with-a-sikh-man-but-there-is-no-happy-ending

The Deccan Chronicle – Supreme Court sets up panel to examine 241 shut cases of 1984 riots

On March 24, the court asked the Centre to put before it the files pertaining to 199 anti-Sikh riot cases which the SIT decided to ‘close’.

J Venkatesan

New Delhi, 17 August 2017. The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed a supervisory panel comprising two retired judges of the apex court to examine and scrutinise the SIT’s decision to close 241 cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

A three-judge bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Amitav Roy and A M Kanwilkar passed this order on petitions seeking a thorough probe and filing of chargesheets in the anti-Sikh riot cases.

The bench said the two-judge panel would see whether there was any justification in the SIT’s decision to close the cases for want of evidence and to recommend reopening of cases if the decision to close the cases was wrong.

The bench said it would notify the names of the two retired judges after getting their consent, and said the panel will submit its report in three months.

The Narendra Modi government at the Centre had set up a committee headed by G P Mathur on December 23, 2014 to examine the anti-Sikh riot cases pending since 1984. The panel had on January 22, 2015 recommended the setting up of an SIT.

The government had formed the Special Investigation Team on February 12, 2015 with IPS officer Pramod Asthana as chairman. The members of the SIT are former district judge Rakesh Kapoor and additional DCP Kumar Gyanesh.

On March 24, the court asked the Centre to put before it the files pertaining to 199 anti-Sikh riot cases which the SIT decided to ‘close’. The anti-Sikh riots that broke out after the October 31, 1984 assassination of then PM Indira Gandhi had claimed 2,733 lives in Delhi alone.

During the resumed hearing Wednesday, senior counsel Arvind P Datar and Phulka submitted that so far chargesheets had been filed in only four cases and there was an inordinate delay in the probe.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/170817/supreme-court-sets-up-panel-to-examine-241-shut-cases-of-1984-riots.html

BBC News – Why was Mother Teresa’s uniform trademarked?

Soutik Biswas, India correspondent

New Delhi, 12 July 2017. For nearly half a century, Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun who worked with the poor in the Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta) wore a simple white sari with three blue stripes on the borders, one thicker than the rest.

Senior nuns who work for Missionaries of Charity, a 67-year-old sisterhood which has more than 3,000 nuns worldwide, continue to wear what has now become the religious uniform of this global order.

On Monday, news washed up that this “famous” sari of the Nobel laureate nun, who died in 1997, has been trademarked to prevent “unfair” use by people for commercial purposes.

India’s government quietly recognised the sari as the intellectual property of the Missionaries of Charity in September last year, when the nun was declared a saint by the Vatican, but the order had decided not to make it public.

Biswajit Sarkar, a Kolkata-based lawyer who works pro-bono for the order, says he had applied for the trademark in 2013.

“It just came to my mind that the colour-identified blue border of the sari had to be protected to prevent any future misuse for commercial purposes,” he told me. “If you want to wear or use the colour pattern in any form, you can write to us and if we are convinced that there is no commercial motive, we will allow it.”

The austere blue-trimmed white sari has long been identified with the nun and her order. The story goes that in 1948, the Albanian nun, with permission from Rome, began wearing it and a small cross across her shoulder.

According to some accounts, the nun chose the blue border as it was associated with purity. For more than three decades, the saris have been woven by leprosy patients living in a home run by the order on the outskirts of Kolkata.

Accordingly, Mr Sarkar helped the order to trademark her name two decades back. Still, nuns of the order have complained that Mother Teresa’s name was being exploited for commercial gain: a school being run in her name in Nepal where teachers complained of not receiving salaries; a priest raising funds in Romania using the order’s name; shops near the order’s headquarters in Kolkata telling customers that proceeds from memorabilia sales were donated to the order; and a cooperative bank in India curiously named after the nun.

“So we decided to do something about it,” says Mr Sarkar. “Through this we are trying to tell the world that her name and reputation should not be misused.”

Owning a trademark on a colour can be a tricky business. In 2013 Nestle won a court battle against confectionery rival Cadbury, over the latter’s attempt to trademark the purple colour, known as Pantone 2865c, of its Dairy Milk bars.

It is also not clear how this trademark on the famous blue striped sari will be enforced. Many online shopping sites already sell variations of “unisex Mother Teresa dress”, blue bordered sari, and a long sleeved blouse.

Also, the move is bound to raise the hackles of the nun’s critics, and she has her fair share of them, who have accused her of glorifying poverty, hobnobbing with dictators, running shambolic care facilities and proselytising.

“How can anybody appropriate a sari, which has been a traditional Indian dress,” one of them asked me, preferring to remain unnamed.

Designers like Anand Bhushan differ. “Some designs of the traditional Indian towel called gamcha, for example, have been trademarked. There’s nothing wrong in trademarking a distinctive and iconic design or pattern like Mother Teresa’s sari. It’s not like anybody is beginning to own the sari.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-40566352

The Tribune – Sikh challaned for not wearing helmet

Fatehgarh Sahib-Panjab-India, 2 June 2017. A delegation of lawyers led by Amardeep Singh Dharni, former president, District Bar Association, submitted a memorandum to SP (Detective) Daljit Singh Rana.

They are demanding action against traffic police incharge Amar Singh (ASI) for allegedly demanding Rs 500 as bribe from a lawyer, Gurmeet Singh Bajwa, during the checking of vehicles.

On his refusal, Amar Singh allegedly challaned Gurmeet for riding “without helmet” (copy of the challan and complaint are with The Tribune).

Gurmeet has written that when he, along with his handicapped sister in-law, was going to Sirhind, the traffic police stopped him for checking at Jyoti Swarup Chowk.

He showed all the papers, but the ASI, who was allegedly under the influence of liquor, said that they have to meet the targets of challan as per the SSP’s directions. So he was challaning the lawyer for riding without helmet as it has the minimum penalty.

So Gurmeet was challaned for not wearing a helmet despite being a Sikh and sporting a turban.

Daljit Singh Rana, SP (Detective), said that he has marked the inquiry to DSP (Headquarters) Anil Kohli and appropriate action would be taken as per the probe report.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/sikh-challaned-for-not-wearing-helmet/416730.html

First Post – Triple talaq hearing: Supreme Court may have a ‘diverse’ bench, but where are the women?

Sharanya Gopinathan

New Delhi, 11 May 2017. If you skim through all the major news sites today, you’re likely to see a headline on each site that talks about how five judges of different faiths are to commence hearing on triple talaq on Thursday.

The article will also tell you that the five judges are Chief Justice J S Khehar, who is Sikh, Kurian Joseph, who is Christian, R F Nariman, Parsi, U U Lalit, a Hindu and Abdul Nazeer, a Muslim. Waow!

It’s almost boring how typical this is, no? They took care to cover all their religious bases, and completely forgot about women while they did it.

It’s always annoying to know that any case is decided by primarily by a bench of exclusively men, but it’s doubly frustrating to think that there will be no women hearing such a loaded and important case that has a disproportionate impact on women as this one.

All the headlines seem very congratulatory, even (or actually especially) The Quint’s completely un-ironic headline that reads 5 Men, 5 Faiths: S C Judges to Hear Pleas Challenging Triple Talaq.

That being said, maybe it’s not that surprising. Shockingly, there is only one female judge in the entire Supreme Court right now, and there have been only six since 1950. Maybe Justice Banumathi was busy. Or maybe, considering how often we see the term ‘women-and-children’ in legal documents and even the Constitution, they really thought that a bench of men could just decide for women what’s best for them.

The article was originally published on The Ladies Finger website.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/triple-talaq-hearing-supreme-court-may-have-a-diverse-bench-but-where-are-the-women-3437900.html

The Statesman – India says Arunachal part of India territory; hints at joining OBOR initiative

Would it not be a good idea to ask the opinion of the people of Arunachal Pradesh/South Tibet ? Of course neither India nor China are much interested in real democracy !
Man in Blue

Statesman News Service

New Delhi, 20 April 2017. While sending out a clear message to Beijing that Arunachal Pradesh was and would remain a part of the Indian territory, India on Thursday indicated that it might take part in the ‘One Beat One Road’ Summit being hosted by China next month.

“Assigning invented names to the towns of your neighbour does not make illegal territorial claims legal,” MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said when asked for response to China’s decision to rename six places in the North-eastern state, which Beijing calls ‘South Tibet’.

He confirmed that India had received an invitation from China for participating in the OBOR Summit, a signature initiative of President Xi Jinping. The invite was being considered.

Although China has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the summit, India is said to be considering asking its envoy in Beijing to attend the meet. Nearly 30 Heads of State or Government are likely to participate in it.

India has already lodged its protest with China over the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is seen as part of the OBOR initiative, since it passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). New Delhi is expected to reiterate this position if it takes part in the OBOR Summit.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/india-dismisses-china-s-renaming-of-places-1492696111.html

Sikh24.com – Pakistan High Commission Reschedules Vaisakhi pilgrimage for Sikh Devotees

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 9 April 2017. The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has changed the schedule for Vaisakhi pilgrimage for Sikh devotees. The schedule will impact journey of Sikh devotees who are traveling to Pakistan to observe Vaisakhi at Gurdwara Panja Sahib.

As per new schedule shared with Sikh24, the Jatha of Sikh devotees will now depart on April 12 from head office of Supreme Sikh body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhik Committee in Sri Amritsar. Earlier, the Sikh jatha was scheduled to depart on April 10 instead.

Speaking with Sikh24, SGPC Chief Secretary Harcharan Singh confirmed the development. He informed that the Sikh jatha will come back after having glimpse of historical Sikh shrines in Pakistan on April 21. He added that the Sikh devotees can get their passports from SGPC Pilgrimage Department on 11 April.

Large number of devotees pay homage at Gurdwara Panja Sahib and other Gurdwaras in Pakistan to observe Vaisakhi. Every year, pilgrims attend the programs from all over Pakistan, East Punjab, North America and Europe.

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