The Hindustan Times – Family of 21-yr-old Sikh woman killed in Canada’s Surrey clueless on why she was shot dead

Jatinder Mahal

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 25 November 2019. Gurdyal Singh Matharoo, the father of Prabhleen Kaur 21, from Jalandhar who was shot dead in Canada’s Surrey where she was working after studying management, is clueless on why she was targeted and is headed to see her body one last time.

“The Canadian police have refused to share anything with us over the phone and with our relatives there. They have asked me to come to get details.

I’m hopeful of getting the go-ahead from the Canadian embassy by Tuesday morning and will be taking a flight at the earliest,” said an inconsolable Matharoo, 64, of Chitti village near Lambra in Jalandhar, where he runs a photo studio.

He freelanced as a photographer for a Punjabi daily for 15 years.

Prabhleen had gone to Canada on a student visa on November 14, 2016, and studied business management from Langara College in Vancouver. She was working at a store and lived on rent with friends in Surrey. Police suspect she was shot dead on 21 November.

The family was told about the murder at 6 am on Sunday. Her father said the Canadian police said they had locked her accommodation after the crime.

Matharoo said when Prabhleen got a full-time job this year, she started sending home money to repay the loan taken for her education. “I spent Rs 35 lakh in three years, including the Rs 15 lakh needed to send her to Canada. I borrowed the money from relatives. We still we have to repay about Rs 15 lakh,” he said.

Her mother, Manjit Kaur, had visited her twice in two years and returned in August after spending three months with her.

“She was happy and excited for she was to come home in January. The last time she came visiting was in January 2017. I would never have allowed her to go had I known she would never come back,” he said.

Prabhleen has a 10-year-old brother, Prabhjeet Singh, who studies in a Jalandhar school.

The Tribune – Politicking over sacred occasion shameful: Mann

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 06 October 2019. Condemning the politics over the events related to celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, AAP state convener and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann on Sunday said there shouldn’t be feud over stage or events concerning the auspicious occasion.

While campaigning in favour of AAP candidate Santosh Kumar Gogi across 10 villages of the Phagwara Assembly constituency, Mann said the differences between the Congress and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) over the functions were unfortunate.

He said while the Congress and the SGPC had already announced to set up parallel stages at Sultanpur Lodhi, on her recent visit to the historic town, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the Congress wanted to ruin the programmes planned by the Sikh body.

Taking a dig at both the parties today, Mann said, “It is shameful that religious and political leaders are fighting over names on foundation stones or seats on the stage and dragging such a pious occasion into petty politics.”

On the break-up of SAD-BJP alliance in Harayana, Mann said, “The Akali Dal is indulging in politics of convenience by siding with the BJP where they have hopes of winning seats even as they have fallen out with the saffron party in Haryana.”

Mann said AAP would be holding roadshows on October 13 and 14 in Phagwara. He alleged that the Congress government had failed to fulfil its promises made to the people prior to the 2017 Assembly elections.

The Tribune – No FIR against Dalit protesters: Panjab Chief Minister

Will lead Ravidasia delegation to seek PM’s intervention

Deepkamal Kaur, Tribune News Service

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 14 August 2019. Having already supported the Dalit activists who organised Punjab bandh yesterday, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today said no FIRs would be registered against them for blocking the highways for eight to 10 hours during the bandh.

Giving a leeway to the protestors, who were agitating against the demolition of Guru Ravidas Temple in Delhi, the CM, who was with minister Charanjit Singh Channi, said, “We have to look from case to case.

There has to be a basis to register a case. The Dalits were emotionally disturbed. It was their 500-year-old temple which was demolished. It could have been a church or a mosque too. It was all reactionary.”

He added, “No doubt this was a Supreme Court order and we have to accept it. But before it came to this stage, it should have been taken care of. As many as 30 per cent of Punjabis are from this community.”

On hooliganism that they indulged in, he said, “When such things happen, the youth will do whatever comes to them. Bache tan bache hi ne, chahe jinna vi samjhalo. (Kids will remain kids. However hard you may try to counsel them).”

The CM also announced to lead a delegation of the Ravidasia community to meet the Prime Minister for resolution of the crisis triggered by the demolition of their historic temple.

The CM, who met Sants and leaders of the community at Punjab Armed Police today, acceded to their request to lead them for a personal meeting with the Prime Minister to seek the latter’s intervention in the case.

During the meeting, the Chief Minister also promised to look into the demand of the leaders for withdrawal of the five cases against members of the community for the 2009 violence in Jalandhar during protests against firing at the head of Dera Sachkhand Ballan and his close associate in Vienna.

The community was represented by 25 Sants, including Shri Guru Ravidas Sadhu Sampardai Society President Sant Kulwant Ram, Vice-President Sant Gurdip Giri, Chairman Sant Mohinder Pal, General Secretary Sant Nirmal Singh as well as Dera Sachkhand Ballan Sant Lekhraj.

The Tribune – NDP’s Jagmeet kick-starts drive for Canadian federal polls ahead of rivals

Varinder Singh, Tribune News Service

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 18 July 2019. In his bid to gain some ground in a relatively “un-chartered territory”, New Democratic Party (NDP-Canada) chief Jagmeet Singh is undertaking a quick roadshow of some ridings (seats) of Quebec, launching his campaign ahead of his rivals for the October 21 Canadian federal polls.

Jagmeet’s NDP was just holding 15 seats in Quebec. But, he was hopeful of at least increasing the numbers or at least his party’s vote share by holding his road trip.

After kick-starting his roadshow from Montreal, Jagmeet visited Sherbrooke. After this he will be trying his luck in central Quebec ridings of Berthier–Maskinongé, Trois-Rivières and Drummond. These quick road stops will be in nearly half of the 15 seats held by the NDP, but where the party support base has got “eroded” sharply as per some pre-poll surveys.

The NDP, according to a survey, was just enjoying a “meager” 9.4 per cent support in Quebec or at fifth place after Liberals who still hold 32.8 per cent share, Conservatives 23.5 per cent, Bloc Québécois 18.5 per cent and the Greens 11 per cent.

The biggest hurdle before Jagmeet is that he does not apparently have the level of “connect” with people of Quebec which top party leaders like Jack Layton had in the province even as the edge for Layton had come that no other national party was being led by a Quebecer, which won’t be the case this time around.

In Sherbrooke, the NDP had managed to stage victory by a margin of eight points in 2015, when the party had won Drummond by only four points after losing 21 percentage points since 2011. Trois-Rivières was another seat the NDP had barely managed to hold its ground in 2015, with Robert Aubin’s support eroding by18 points.

He also could face a stiff challenge from the Conservatives this time for the latter have put up long-time mayor Yves Lévesque as their candidate.

The Indian Express – Punjab soil & water conservation department submits rainwater harvesting plan to state, Centre

“Punjab has been facing the problem of depleting groundwater for over two decades now, but the state’s successive governments seemed to have no political will to get a real solution to tackle the issue except making statements,” said an expert.

Anju Agnihotri Chaba

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 23 June 2019. Punjab’s soil and water conservation department has prepared a Rs 213 crore action plan for ‘Rain Water Harvesting and Rain Water Recharging (RWH&RWR)’ systems to address the issue of fast-depleting groundwater. It has been submitted to both state and central governments.

Experts say that this plan, once implemented, can save huge amounts of rain water and reduce groundwater usage to a large extent.

“Punjab has been facing the problem of depleting groundwater for over two decades now, but the state’s successive governments seemed to have no political will to get a real solution to tackle the issue except making statements,” said an expert on ground water from the state agriculture department, adding that RWH&RWR systems are the need of the hour here where ground water is depleting by over half a metre each year.

Punjab receives around 650 mm rainfall annually, 75% is received between June and September.

“For average rainfall of 1,000 mm, approximately four million litres of rainwater can be collected a year in an acre of land post-evaporation.

So if Punjab gets around 650 mm rain, then around 2.5 million litres can be collected,” said Gurvinder Singh Dhillon, map officer, chief conservator office, Chandigarh.

“In urban areas, more than 65% to 70% rain water get wasted, either going into sewer lines or evaporating due to lack of kuccha places and green belts.

If we start harvesting and recharging rain water from big buildings, use of groundwater will decrease and water level will automatically go up in a few years,” said a senior officer of the department’s town planning wing, adding that several such projects had been proposed in the state in the past but nothing was done.

“We have made an action plan because in Punjab, 70% of the population depends on groundwater for drinking and irrigation purposes,” said Dharminder Sharma, IFS, chief conservator of the soil department.

He further said that in the Kandi belt (sub-mountainous) more than 60 water harvesting structures and over 500 smaller check dams have been constructed in the past two decades.

The plan has been submitted to the Centre in January and the state government in May, and shall be implemented in the coming couple of years, he added.

“The action plan has been prepared with a total outlay of Rs 213.75 crore which includes Rs 73.75 crore for installing 305 rain water harvesting structures in Kandi area, Rs 112.50 crores for constructing 2500 rain water recharging Shafts across state, Rs 2.50 crores for constructing 50 units of recharge ground water at tail ends of the canal system and Rs 25 crores for constructing 100 units of rejuvenation of village water Bodies for recharge and Irrigation source Creation,” said Dhillon.

“Besides focusing on water recharge, the plan also includes interventions for reducing ground water withdrawal by utilising harvested water for irrigation,” said chief conservator Sharma.

The action plan also includes suggestions of micro-watersheds in earthen or RCC dams.

How rainwater recharging/harvesting is done

Rain water collected on rooftops/open spaces of houses/buildings is added to soil through underground pipes laid from the rooftop to the ground. On ground, two tanks are constructed as per the requirement of the premises and the collected rain water through pipes goes into the first tank directly, gets filtered and then goes into the second tank.

Expenditure varies from Rs 50,000 to Rs. 5 lakh depending on the area.

Rain water harvesting is collection of rain water by storing it in a different ways, for example, by constructing ponds in low-lying areas from where it is later lifted for irrigation purposes and watering plants in parks. Wells are also constructed in sub-mountainous areas and from there, water is supplied to the fields through underground pipes.

The Indian Express – Brimming reservoirs gush to Pakistan, but not to taps in parched Punjab

Barring 30-40 per cent of this water being used in the state for irrigating the summer crops, the remaining drained out to Pakistan and other Indian states, including Rajasthan, through the canal network.

Anju Agnihotri Chaba

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 15 June 2019. In around one and half months, beginning April-end to June 12, around 2,060 million cubic metres (MCM) water was released from three dam reservoirs built over three major rivers of Punjab, Bhakra dam on Sutlej, Pong dam on Beas and Ranjit Sagar dam on Ravi.

And barring 30-40 per cent of this water being used in the state for irrigating the summer crops, the remaining drained out to Pakistan and other Indian states, including Rajasthan, through the canal network.

While on the face of it these figures from the Central Water Commission (CWC) back the state government’s argument of releasing excess water downstream to prevent flooding during monsoons in Punjab, they also underline the state’s failure to utilise a readily available resource to meet supply gap in urban areas and to recharge a fast depleting ground water table.

Amid a raging controversy over the flow of excess water from Punjab’s rivers to Pakistan, a senior officer at Bhakhra dam said: “It is better to give water to Pakistan instead creating flood-like situation in Punjab during the monsoon.”

Another official added: “All the water is released as per the consent of the officials from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan.”

Asked if this water could have been used in the Punjab and Haryana to supply to the urban areas during summers and for recharging the ground water, the officer added that it was the responsibility of the state government to make required reservoirs and plans for this purpose.

The Joint Director of Punjab Agriculture Hydrology-Geology Wing, Rajesh Vashist, agreed that river water can be used for recharging of water table and supplying water to urban areas, but added that for this proper studies for filtration are needed.

Currently, about half a dozen major cities of Punjab require nearly 3000 MLD (Million Litre a Day) water daily, including nearly 400 MLD in Jalandhar.

In Jalandhar, for instance, the Municipal Corporation (JMC) had considered a plan two years back for bringing Beas river water to the city, which is under dark zone, through pipelines. The project would have cost Rs 2000 crore.

“Around 250 cusecs water will quench the thirst of entire Jalandhar city,” said Superintendent Engineer, Water Supply, Punjab, adding that no extracting of ground water for few years would have automatically recharged the ground water table here.

In Punjab, out of 141 agricultural blocks, 109 blocks have already fallen under the dark Zone. A senior officer in the Canal and Irrigation Department, Punjab, said that regular release of water in canals can recharge the water table, but due to improper maintenance of canals, water is released only for some months in several canals across the state.

About the past one month, an official at the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) said that nearly 10,000 to 15,000 cusecs water went to Pakistan flowing downstream as there was less demand from Rajasthan due to some repair work in canal.

PEP leader Sukhpal Khaira had Wednesday alleged that around 15,000 to 20,000 cusecs water was released from Punjab’s dams to Pakistan daily, while the canals of Punjab remained dry in Malwa and Doaba regions.

CM Amarinder Singh denied that allegation saying that only 8700 cusecs of water on daily basis had been released downstream of Ferozepur headworks to Pakistan for the past 24 days.

As a controversy rages over water flowing to Pakistan, the current year storage of the three dam reservoirs in the state is 41% of the total capacity of these reservoirs, which is better than their average storage in past one decade, that stood at 25%.

The three main reasons behind excess water in these reservoirs included incessant rain in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh from September 23 to September 25 last year when there was no demand for irrigation. Secondly, the wettest summer months in Punjab this year which witnessed 109% rain above normal.

Lastly, heavy snowfall in the high ranges and the catchment area of the three rivers due to which heavy snow melting took place in summers.

Jagmohan Singh Mann, chief engineer canal, state water resources department, told The Indian Express that on Friday (June 14), Bhakra dam’s water level was at 1,609 feet against its total capacity of 1,680 feet.

With monsoon season not far away, they have to release the water in rivers and canals during summer months to accommodate rain water, which comes in heavy flow, in dams.

He agreed that some of this water is flowing to Pakistan and other Indian states like Rajasthan so as to avoid a flood-like situation in Punjab during monsoon. He also said that huge amounts of water in dams during summers is quite unusual and the government is planning to supply canal water to the urban area users by involving the state local bodies department.

Director Water Regulation BBMB Satish Kumar Singla said that they release water as per the demand of the irrigation departments of several states including Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

The Tribune – Sidhu being victimised in Congress, welcome to join us: Khaira

Three regional parties of Punjab Democratic Alliance to merge

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 08 June 2019. Stating that Navjot Singh Sidhu was being victimised by the Congress for telling the truth, Punjabi Ekta Party founder Sukhpal Khaira on Saturday welcomed the Punjab minister to join the alliance.

Khaira said the three regional parties of the Punjab Democratic Alliance shall be merged in the coming days. Khaira also sought the stopping of release of Punjab waters to Pakistan.

Addressing the media here, Khaira said in the coming two days, a unity committee would be formed under which all three regional parties of the PDA: Nava Punjab Party, Lok Insaaf Party and Punjbai Ekta Party, shall be merged and will have a common symbol.

Speaking on Sidhu, Khaira said, “He is being victimised by the Congress. He spoke the truth. But due to political understanding between Captain Amarinder Singh and the Badals, he is being targeted.

The Congress tried to insult him. While portfolios of ministers who lost haven’t been changed, Sidhu’s portfolio was changed. We appeal to him to still stick to the truth.

If he bids goodbye to the Congress, he is welcome to join us. We will respect him.”

Before Khaira, the Taksali Akali Dal had also extended invitation to Sidhu a few days ago.

Speaking on unity of PDA’s Punjab parties, Khaira said, “Post elections it is a common request that Punjab’s three regional forces, which are fighting on truth, should get together under one banner. So our call is for ‘Ik nishan, ik vidhan, ik pardhaan’ (one symbol, one principle, one leader).

It has been unanimously decided that a unity committee shall be formed and will decide on the issue. While respective leaders will hold talks in the first phase, we also welcome others to join in.”

Khaira said, “We are also willing to talk to Taksali Akali Dal to expand the alliance.” He said in the larger fight against the Congress and BJP he was also willing to talk to the AAP.

‘Stop release of water to Pakistan’

Sukhpal Khaira said his party and the PDA shall be adopting the Buddha Nullah and starting a cleanliness campaign in the coming days. He also called for the suspending the release of “15,000 to 20,000 cusecs of Punjab waters per day” to Pakistan even as the state reels under a crisis.

He said, “The PDA with the help of various organisations shall be adopting the toxic Buddha Nullah which is leaving a trail of cancer.

We will be carrying out a campaign, wherein research about the industries would be carried out and information regarding polluting industries shall be revealed. He said the campaign shall be expanded to include the river waters of the state which are currently facing a huge crisis.”

Khaira also called for the Congress and Akali Dal to seek pending dues from Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi for sharing waters with them. He said the government had failed to honour the resolution passed in the Vidhan Sabha on November 16, 2016.

“While state’s canals were empty, 15,000 to 20,000 cusecs of water is being shared with Pakistan. This should stopped immediately,” he added.

The Indian Express – Parched Punjab finds a source of water: rejuvenated village ponds

Sandeep Singh, a former sarpanch of Manak Dheri village in Hoshiarpur district, now irrigates his three acre farm with water from the village pond. A 2-km underground pipeline network now supplies water to his farm free of cost from the rejuvenated village pond.

Anju Agnihotri Chaba

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 07 June 2019. Farming had been a difficult proposition for Kans Ram. A resident of Nasirewal village in Sultanpur Lodhi sub-division of Kapurthala district, Ram is a marginal farmer owning 2.5-acre land. He doesn’t own a tube well – the boon and the bane of the farming community in Punjab.

Till last year, he had been dependent on the other farmers for water to irrigate his fields. The water, however, came at a cost and with a precondition that he won’t sow a crop that requires too much water.

“I was not able to sow the crop of my choice because water was not available to me. Those who used to provide me water used to put a condition that I’ll sow only that crop, which needs less water,” says Ram who used to pay Rs 3,000 to Rs 4000 for irrigating his fields every crop season.

A pilot project launched by the state soil conservation department, however, has changed all that. Ram can now grow any crop of his choice on his land and never worry about the availability of water.

A 2-km underground pipeline network now supplies water to his farm free of cost from the rejuvenated village pond. Sandeep Singh, a former sarpanch of Manak Dheri village in Hoshiarpur district, too now irrigates his three acre farm with water from the village pond.

“The water is good and we don’t need to put too much fertilizer to improve the crop quality,” says Sandeep Singh. The underground pipeline network in his village stretches over 3.5km.

Saranjit and Sarwan Ram, both marginal farmers with around two acres of land at Nasirewal village, have a similar story to tell. So does Surinder Singh, a small farmer from Jalandhar’s Rurka Kalan village, who now doesn’t have to plead before other fellow farmers to let him use their tubewell.

These farmers are among hundreds across Punjab who are beneficiaries of the pilot project through which the soil conservation department has rejuvenated 54 village ponds in the over-exploited blocks of eight districts in state. These ponds now irrigate 1,139 hectares (2813 acres).

In Punjab, 83 per cent of total land is cultivable and there is huge demand of water, which if not checked, may turn the state into a desert in the next 25 years. With 80 per cent of the agricultural blocks in Punjab coming under overexploited category, the state has been looking at alternate sources of irrigation.

The pilot project is a step towards achieving that, especially for the small farmers and those who don’t have their own tube wells.

There are over 13,000 villages in the state with around 15,000 ponds and other water bodies.

The waste water from the village households flow into these ponds. With piped drinking water supply system making its way to the village households, the water flowing into these ponds has increased considerably over the years.

Often the village ponds overflow and the water enters nearby houses.

“Under the project, the ponds were renovated and rejuvenated to increase the water holding capacity and to ensure that water quality was fit for use in agriculture. Underground pipelines were laid from these ponds to take the water to agricultural fields.

Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) Pump sets were installed for pumping the water through the pipelines,” said Map Officer, office of chief conservator of soils, Punjab, Gurvinder Singh Dhillon.

The stagnant water in these ponds had often led to various health hazards in the villages besides numerous other environmental, economic and social impacts, he added.

“For instance an area with a population of 500,000 and a water consumption of 120 litres per day per person produces about 48,000 m3/day of waste water (assuming 80 per cent of the water used reaches the public sewerage system).

If this waste water were to be used in carefully controlled irrigation at a rate of 5000 m3 per hectare per year, it could irrigate some 3500 hectares”.

“If all the water bodies or ponds in the state are utilized in agriculture, it will not only help in checking ground water exploitation but will also provide farmer an assured irrigation water source besides avoiding drought incidences in agriculture as household water flows into ponds regularly irrespective of climatic variability’s,” he said.

“Besides it also helps in recharging of ground water. The projects are self sustainable with no operational costs,” said Naresh Gupta Gupta, Divisional Soil Conservation Officer, Hoshiarur.

Sub-divisional soil conservation officer, Jalandhar, Lupinder Kumar, said that in Ruruka Kalan, 2.4 lakh litres of pond water is lifted through solar pump and supplied in 2 km long area through underground pipeline system.

In Nasirewal and Rurka Kalan villages, the ponds are providing water to 60 farmers to irrigate over 100 acres of land.
The project was launched under under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichayee Yojana (PMKSY) in Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Patiala, Kapurthala, SAS Nagar, Faridkot and Gurdaspur districts of Punjab. 1580 hectare area is to be brought under these 54 ponds.

The Indian Express – With 11,650 stubble fires in 2019, Punjab breaks 2018 record

“Last year, we recorded fire incidents till May 26 and the figure was 11,468. This year were are recording till May-end as the harvesting of wheat was delayed due to untimely rains,” said Anil Sood, head of the ACM Division, PRSC, Ludhiana.

Anju Agnihotri Chaba

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 30 May 2019. Stubble burning incidents in Punjab have crossed the 2018 figure despite the efforts of the state government to stop farmers of burning their fields post harvest.

Till May 29 this year, Punjab Remote Sensing Centre ( PRSC), Ludhiana, has recorded 11,650 cases of stubble burning against 11,468 last year. In 2017, Punjab had recorded 14,822 fire incidents.

“Last year, we recorded fire incidents till May 26 and the figure was 11,468. This year were are recording till May-end as the harvesting of wheat was delayed due to untimely rains,” said Anil Sood, head of the ACM Division, PRSC, Ludhiana. Sood said that the fire incidents had gone down in the past few days as the harvest season is almost over.

In 2019, Ludhiana district has recorded highest fire incidents till date at 1027 fires. Amritsar, which was on top last week, is now placed second with 1017 fire incidents. Sangrur and Tarn Taran are at third spot and forth place with 896 and 867 fire incidents till date, respectively.

Rup Nagar, which recorded 88 fires, and SAS Nagar, which saw 93 fires, are only two districts in Punjab which have recorded less than 100 fires in 2019. SAS Nagar’s total 88 fire incidents are almost three times more than last year’s 28 cases.

Bathinda and Ferozpur Districts too have recorded high number of fires incidents at 796 and 789 fires, respectively.

According to data sourced from PRSC for the past three years, eight districts are the big violators in past three years with Amritsar topping the chart with 3573 fires in past three years. Tarn Taran (3506), Ferozepur (3066), Moga (2724), Ludhiana (2694), Sangrur (2657), Gurdaspur (2562), and Bathinda (2533) are other big violators in the three-year list.

This year on a single day, 1595 fire incidents were recorded on May 20, the day after polling in Punjab. – BJP is hell bent to play the Hindutva card to retain power – says Dal Khalsa

Sikh24 Editors

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 19 April 2019. On April 18, the pro-freedom Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa stated that the BJP’s choice of Hindutva terror face, Pragya Thakur, as their candidate for Bhopal parliamentary seat is a clear case of double standards of the Modi government on terrorism.

Speaking at a function on the first death anniversary of a KLF militant leader Harminder Singh Mintoo alias Nihang, who died in prison under mysterious circumstances, senior party leader Harcharanjit Singh Dhami said that Pragya Singh Thakur’s candidature was a reminder that the BJP was determined to make the country a Hindu India and the BJP is hell bent to play the Hindutva card to retain power, come what may.

“For the BJP, anti-minority faces like her are assets which help it to consolidate majority votes. Polarising or dividing the country on communal and caste lines has always been BJP’s agenda but now it has come to the fore even more brazenly under the tutelage of Modi and Shah,” he added.

Speaking of double standards, the Dal Khalsa leader dwelt on the irony that on the one hand the Indian state wants the whole world and the UNSC to declare Masood Azhar as a global terrorist for masterminding terror attacks on Indians and on the other the BJP is honoring Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, an accused in bomb blasts cases on innocent Muslims, with nomination to the Indian Parliament.

Giving her nomination is like the Congress party honoring the Pandey brothers with nomination to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly after they hijacked an aircraft in favor of the then Congress chief Indira Gandhi, in the late seventies.

He chided the SAD to learn from their alliance partner and not to run down the Sikhs who have actively participated in the Sikh struggle for rights and freedom. Throwing a jibe at them, he asked, “Can Akali Dal dare to field any Khalistani militant as their official nominee?”

Bhai Daljit Singh presented Siropa to the family members of the deceased Harminder Singh Mintu. The other prominent speakers at the function included Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur, former Jathedar Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode and Sikh Youth of Punjab president Paramjit Singh Tanda.

BJP is hell bent to play the Hindutva card to retain power, says Dal Khalsa