Scroll.in – Rapper Hard Kaur supports Khalistani group, says ‘minorities fed up of Indian government’

On July 10, the Centre had banned the Sikhs for Justice group for its alleged anti-national activities.

New Delhi – India, 18 July 2019. Rapper Taran Kaur Dhillon, famously known as Hard Kaur, has joined a secessionist and pro-Khalistani campaign for a separate land for the Sikhs. In a series of videos posted on her social media, Kaur advocated for Sikh fundamentalist organisation Sikhs For Justice and its “Referendum 2020” campaign.

On July 10, the Union Home Ministry banned the Sikhs for Justice group for its alleged anti-national activities. Its founder Avtar Singh Pannu was seen shouting slogans and wearing a T-shirt that said “Khalistan Zindabad, Referendum 2020” at the India-New Zealand cricket match recently.

On Wednesday, Kaur shared three videos on “Khalistan Freedom movement” with the caption: “Every minority state is fed up of Indian government & the racist Hindus. No one wants to live with you because you are the most dirty minded people in the world…Indians hate the truth.”

In videos posted earlier, she urged people to vote for Khalistan. “Ladies and gentlemen, make sure you sign Referendum 2020. Khalistan Zindabad,” she said in the video. The rapper also wore a “Punjab Referendum 2020 Khalistan” T-shirt. She also shared songs sung by traditional Sikh singer Tarsem Singh Moranwali that praised militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

Kaur tagged Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal in her posts. Singh had welcomed the Centre’s decision to declare Sikhs for Justice an “unlawful association”.

She is a vocal critic of the ruling government and often criticises them in her posts on social media. In June, Kaur was charged under various IPC sections such as sedition and defamation for her social media posts against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat.

She had called called Adityanath “Orange rapeman” and Bhagwat a “racist murderer”.

Kaur was born in India and now lives in the United Kingdom. She is known for her Punjabi rap renditions and has featured in many Bollywood songs.

https://scroll.in/latest/930930/rapper-hard-kaur-supports-khalistani-group-says-minorities-fed-up-of-indian-government

The Hindu – Takeaways from the Kulbhushan Jadhav case ruling

India’s more successful legal journey to the ICJ must now reshape New Delhi’s approach to potentially difficult situations

Arjun Subramaniam

New Delhi – India, 18 July 2019. Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy officer, who was allegedly abducted by Pakistani intelligence from Iran and sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terrorism by a farcical military court in Pakistan, has been given a glimmer of hope by the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Responding to a petition by India that sought an annulment of his death sentence because Pakistan had violated numerous international treaties and extracted irregular confessions under coercion, the ICJ, on July 17, 2019, ruled with a decisive vote (15-1) that Mr. Jadhav cannot be executed by Pakistan, and that he must be given adequate consular access and a fair trial.

The ruling also urged Pakistan to review his conviction. This constitutes a major diplomatic and legal victory for India, with Pakistan accusing India of ‘ambushing’ it at The Hague.

Focussed strategy

Given its rather lukewarm record in the past of securing the release of Indian detainees in Pakistan through bilateral negotiations, India’s strategy in this case has been to exploit increasing international acceptance that Pakistan was an emerging ‘rogue’ state.

Laying stress on Pakistan’s scant regard for Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, it deals with the arrest, detention and trial of a foreign citizen, India’s counsel, Harish Salve, highlighted two compelling arguments. First was the arrest process, which was not accompanied by an immediate notification to Indian consular officials in Islamabad.

There was a delay of over three weeks before India was informed, and it was during this period, according to reliable sources from within Pakistan, that Mr Jadhav was subjected to all means of coercion and forced to sign a ‘confession taken under custody’ without adequate legal representation.

Second was the two-way denial of access and communication by any means between Mr. Jadhav and consular officials and a failure to inform him of the rights he enjoyed under the convention.

The legitimacy of military courts has always been controversial within the international legal system that emerged in the post-World War II era as a fast-track system of delivering skewed justice by authoritarian regimes and military dictatorships.

Purportedly set up in Pakistan in 2015 as a counter-terrorist and anti-corruption initiative, Mr Jadhav’s sentencing in April 2017 was based on confessions taken in captivity and is part of several arbitrary sentences by Pakistan’s Military Court.

Violation of rights

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) recognises the right to an effective defence against criminal charges, and to a fair and impartial trial, in which the accused is represented by a lawyer of his choice.

By denying consular access, Pakistan has stood in gross violation of both the Vienna Convention and the ICCPR. Had due process been followed, and then had Mr. Jadhav been charged with espionage, India may not have had the necessary room to take the matter to the ICJ.

By attempting to circumvent the ‘due diligence’ process, Pakistan has exposed serious chinks in its legal environment and jeopardised its standing in the comity of nations. The Jadhav case has also revealed Pakistan’s desperation in its search for ‘proxies’ as drivers of the internal unrest in Balochistan.

Reliable sources within India’s intelligence agencies hint at the possibility of Mr Jadhav having been abducted by armed groups operating on the border between Iran and Balochistan.

Pakistan is known to have used proxy Sunni groups such as the Jaish al-Adl against Iran, and Iranian officials have often spoken to their Indian counterparts about Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorist activities along the Iran-Pakistan border.

A testimony to the growing menace of this group is its recent designation as a front of Jundullah, which is a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’.

India has shown both intent and resilience in attempting to secure the release of Mr. Jadhav despite the many hiccups along the way. Following a synergised approach steered by the National Security Adviser and the External Affairs Minister, India fought the kidnapping of Mr. Jadhav, an Indian national who was legitimately residing in Iran after retirement from the Indian Navy.

Realising, in 2017, following his death sentence that the overall deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan had closed the door on any bilateral way of securing his release, India rightly chose to go the ‘international way’ by fielding a formidable legal team led by the jurist, Harish Salve.

Sparing no efforts on the human aspects of the case too, India managed to get Mr Jadhav to meet his mother and wife after the death sentence was pronounced. The first success achieved by the Indian legal team was on May 9, 2017 when the ICJ sent an urgent message to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, urging him to stay the execution till India’s case was heard fully and the ICJ arrived at a verdict.

Moving slowly but surely through the legal battle for over two years, India, has been demonstrating significant synergy between various stakeholders in the case.

The final verdict will, hopefully, galvanise the Indian establishment to step on the pedal and exert pressure on Pakistan to rescind the death sentence and allow Mr Jadhav consular access and legitimate legal platform to mount his defence.

While it would be wishful thinking to assume that Mr Jadhav would return to India soon, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon that the Indian strategic establishment would do well to exploit.

Having deftly navigated the legal and diplomatic channels and restrained the Pakistan military by securing manoeuvring space following the ICJ verdict, a leading power such as India must demonstrate its intent and capacity to extract desirable outcomes out of potentially difficult, or seemingly impossible situations. Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case is one such challenge.

Arjun Subramaniam is a strategic commentator and Visiting Professor at Ashoka University

This is an Indian reaction to the ruling of the International Court of Justice
I will look today for an article that reflects the Pakistani view
Man in Blue

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/takeaways-from-the-kulbhushan-jadhav-case-ruling/article28524139.ece?homepage=true

The Hindustan Times – UN court verdict today on Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by Pakistan court

The verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav by the UN court will be delivered on Wednesday after India challenged the death sentence given to the former naval officer.

Ashok Bagriya and Rezaul H Laskar

New Delhi – India, 17 July 2019. The top court of the UN will on Wednesday announce its verdict on India’s petition challenging the death sentence given to former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani military court for alleged involvement in spying.

Almost five months ago, The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) reserved its verdict in the matter after hearing oral arguments by India and Pakistan. ICJ president Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf will read the court’s decision in a sitting at 3pm (6.30pm IST) on Wednesday (17/07).

Jadhav was arrested by Pakistani authorities on March 3, 2016 in Balochistan on charges of espionage and involvement in subversive activities. India was informed about the arrest on March 25, 2016 and Islamabad has not offered any explanation for this delay. Jadhav was sentenced to death in April 2017 after a secret trial by a military court.

After being petitioned by India in May 2017, the ICJ directed Pakistan to “take all measures at its disposal” to ensure Jadhav was not executed pending the court’s final judgment.

India has argued Pakistan acted in an irresponsible manner and violated several international treaties and obligations, including the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, by refusing to grant consular access to Jadhav.

Indian officials have described Jadhav’s trial by a Pakistani military court as “farcical” and said he was denied the right to defence by a counsel of his choice. His conviction and death sentence were based on alleged “confessions” made in captivity.

They have said Jadhav was a civilian when he was kidnapped and taken to Pakistan and used as a scapegoat to blame India for Pakistan’s problems in the restive province of Balochistan.

During hearings at the ICJ last year, India sought Jadhav’s release and the quashing of his death sentence. It also asked for Jadhav’s custody to be declared illegal.

Jurisprudence on human rights, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, recognises the importance of due process, including the right to effective defence and an impartial trial. Jadhav’s trial by a military court violated due process standards, officials said.

Pakistan has not yet made the charges or the judgment delivered against Jadhav public, and he is unlikely to get justice, the officials added.

India also raised the Pulwama suicide attack that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force troops in February this year to highlight Pakistan’s role in sponsoring terror activities.

In its arguments, Pakistan said India’s claim for relief should be dismissed or declared inadmissible. It also relied on a 2008 bilateral treaty on consular relations, which it argued overrides any obligations under the Vienna Convention. It also contended espionage and terrorism are exceptions to the Vienna Convention.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/un-court-ruling-on-kulbhushan-jadhav-likely-today/story-awICgAyMxeqy1cRMWVvqEN.html

NDTV – 5000 Pilgrims a day, no restrictions on faith: India to Pakistan on Kartarpur

India is already constructing a bridge on the zero line of the Kartarpur Corridor to provide all-weather connectivity

Reported by Mohammed Ghazali, Neeta Sharma, Edited by Debanish Achom

New Delhi – India, 14 July 2019. Pakistan today agreed in principle to build a bridge on the zero line of the Kartarpur Corridor to provide all-weather connectivity, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement after a two-hour meeting to iron out issues in the second round of talks over the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims.

India is already constructing a bridge on the zero line; Pakistan, however, had been insisting on constructing a causeway, which India believes, would act as a barrier, directing more flood water towards India.

“Pakistan side agreed, in principle, to build a bridge at the earliest.

Pending the construction of a bridge over the old Ravi creek by Pakistan on their territory, India offered to make interim arrangements for making the corridor operational in November 2019, given the historic importance of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji,” the Foreign Ministry said in the statement.

Both countries agreed to allow visa-free travel for Indians and those who have Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards, the statement said.

“Throughout the year, 5000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara per day, Pakistan highlighted the infrastructural constraints on their side and conveyed that they may be able to accommodate many of the Indian proposals in a phased manner,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“There should be no restrictions on the pilgrims in terms of their faith,” it said.

The second round of talks comes a day after Pakistan removed pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla from its committee that is involved in talks with India.

The Indian delegation for the talks today was led by the Home Ministry’s Joint Secretary (Internal Security) SCL Das and the Foreign Ministry’s Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) Deepak Mittal, while the 20-member Pakistani delegation was led by Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson of the Pakistani Foreign Ministry.

“Pakistan is fully committed and cooperating to operationalise Kartarpur Corridor,” said Mr Faisal this morning.

The Kartarpur corridor will be vulnerable to flooding as it is being built near the flood plains of the Ravi river. In 2013, when the area was flooded, it had caused great damage to people living in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.

Once built, the corridor will connect the Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims. The pilgrims will require just a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, an important Sikh shrine established in 1522 by the faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev.

The first level of talks were held on March 14 and second round, which were to take place on April 2, were called off pending clarifications by Islamabad on New Delhi’s security concerns. In May, India had raised concerns that Pakistan is promoting the interest of Khalistani groups under the garb of the Kartarpur corridor.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pilgrims-safety-infrastructure-to-top-india-pakistan-kartarpur-corridor-talks-today-2069165

Mumbai Mirror – Pakistan redrafts Gurdwara Prabandhak’s panel list

Drops pro-Khalistan member from Kartarpur talks.

New Delhi – India, 14 July 2019. Just a day ahead of the second round of talks between India and Pakistan over fixing of modalities of the Kartarpur corridor, Pakistan has reconstituted its Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) list, thereby dropping the name of a pro-Khalistan member from talks.

On Friday, Pakistan, in an official statement, said, “The federal government (federal cabinet) has been pleased to re-constitute PSGPC.” Addressing India’s concerns raised earlier, Pakistan removed the name of pro-Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla from the list.

Officials of the two countries are slated to meet on July 14 to finalise modalities of the corridor and related technical issues.

The Kartarpur route along the India-Pakistan border is three kilometres away from Gurdaspur, Punjab. Once opened, it would allow Sikh pilgrims direct access to the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev died in 1539. Sources added that the work on the corridor is expected to be completed by October 31, ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/news/india/pak-redrafts-gurdwara-prabandhaks-panel-list/articleshow/70211399.cms?

The Tribune – India to raise SFJ issue with Canada, UK

New Delhi – India, 11 July 2019. The government has expressed its resolve to curb the banned Sikh separatist organisation, Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), by taking up the matter strongly with countries where it is active, especially with the Canadian government, MEA spokesperson Ravish Kumar told mediapersons at a press conference here today.

The other countries which will be sounded out are the UK and US where SFJ plans to step up its activities.

While the vast majority of Sikhs in Canada share warm relations with India, Ravish Kumar said this fringe group had supported violent extremism in India. The Home Ministry had pointed out that while the SFJ had over 2 lakh online supporters, it was a group of only eight to 10 people and the government had been successful in getting the Twitter handle of its legal adviser Gurpatwant Pannu.

Links on Facebook had also been brought down on India’s request.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/india-to-raise-sfj-issue-with-canada-uk/800610.html

The Asian Age – Being targeted due to our work on human rights: Indira Jaising on CBI raids

New Delhi – India, 11 July 2019. The Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising alleged on Thursday that she and her husband were being “targeted” by the CBI due to their work in the field of human rights, after sleuths from the central agency carried out searches at her residence and office.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is carrying out searches at the residence of former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Jaising and the offices of Lawyers Collective, an NGO run by her husband Anand Grover, officials said.

The searches are being carried out at the Nizamuddin residence and office of Jaising here, the office of the NGO at Jangpura and another office in Mumbai from 5 am, they added.

Grover was booked by the central probe agency for alleged Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) violations in receiving foreign aid.

“Mr Grover and I are being targeted for the human rights work that we have done over the years,” Jaising told reporters.

The CBI had filed an FIR against Grover and the NGO on the basis of a complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which had alleged several discrepancies in the utilisation of foreign aid received by the organisation. Jaising is not named as an accused in the FIR but her alleged role has been mentioned in the complaint of the ministry.

The CBI has booked Grover, the president of Lawyers Collective, and unidentified office-bearers of the organisation, besides unidentified officials in this connection.

https://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/110719/being-targeted-due-to-our-work-for-human-rights-indira-jaising-on-cbi-raids.html

Sikh24.com – India bans ‘Sikhs for Justice’; Captain asks Indian government to declare SFJ as a “terror outfit”

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi – India, 10 July 2019. The Indian government has imposed ban on the US based pro-freedom Sikh outfit ‘Sikhs for Justice’ (SFJ) which has been campaigning for a referendum in Punjab in 2020.

The move came shortly after the supporters of SFJ’s campaign “Referendum 2020” shouted pro-freedom slogans in the semi-final match between India and New Zealand at Edgbaston (UK) on July 9. India has lost this match by 18 runs today.

It is pertinent to note here that the Punjab police have already arrested a score of Sikh youths for being a supporter of “Referendum 2020” campaign.

It has also come to fore that the Twitter account of SFJ’s legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannu has been also suspended on the request of Indian government.

Meanwhile, the Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has welcomed the Indian government’s move of banning ‘Sikhs for Justice’. He has asked the Indian government to declare ‘Sikhs for Justice’ as a terror outfit.

“Though the outfit deserved to be treated as a terrorist organisation, the Government of India had at least taken a long-overdue stand against SFJ, which had unleashed a wave of terror in Punjab in recent years,” Captain said in a statement released from Chandigarh.

India bans ‘Sikhs for Justice’; Captain asks Indian government to declare SFJ as a “terror outfit”

Sputnik News – Pakistan to issue visas to Indian journalists for Sikh pilgrimage corridor talks

New Delhi – India, 09 July 2019. Pakistan has offered visas for Indian journalists willing to cover the talks on Kartarpur Corridor that would connect two key Sikh religious centres in that country and India. The next talks are scheduled to take place on 14 July 2019 at Wagah, the border point between the two countries along the state of Punjab.

Kartarpur Corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartapur (West-Panjab) with the Dera Baba Nanak gurdwara in the Gurdaspur district of the East-Punjab. It seeks the visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who would need to obtain just a permit. Darbar Sahib was set up in 1522 by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev.

Pakistani Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal tweeted that Indian journalists could apply for the visa at his country’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi.

The upcoming event on 14 July is the second meeting between Indian and Pakistani officials on a draft agreement to finalise the modalities of the corridor.

The two countries have been working for the past one year on construction of the Corridor to be ready ahead of the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak’s birth in November 2019.

The developments on the project would be significant for the Sikh community and also lead to a thawing of the prevailing tensions between the two South Asian rivals.

Relations between the two reached a new low in February, when 40 Indian soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir. It led to the Indian Air Force launching an air strike on an alleged secessionist training camp in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on 26 February in retaliation.

The two nuclear-armed nations reached a near war-like stage when Pakistan retaliated on the following day and brought down an Indian fighter jet.

Despite the border escalations, New Delhi and Islamabad did not interrupt the deliberations on the Kartarpur Corridor project.

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201907091076189873-pak-issue-visas-indian-journos-talks-sikh-pilgrimage-corridor-talks/

The Hindu – India slams UN rights office report on J&K as continuation of ‘false narrative’

New Delhi – India, 08 July 2019. In an update of a report on Kashmir released last year by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, it claimed that ‘neither India nor Pakistan have taken any concrete steps to address the numerous concerns raised.’

India on 08 July lodged a strong protest with the United Nation rights office over its report on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and asserted that it is merely a continuation of the earlier “false and motivated” narrative and ignores the core issue of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

Last year, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released its first-ever report on Kashmir. In an update of that report on July 8, it claimed that “neither India nor Pakistan have taken any concrete steps to address the numerous concerns raised”.

Hitting out at the report, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “The update of the report of the OHCHR is merely a continuation of the earlier false and motivated narrative on the situation in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir.”

The assertions in the report are in violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and ignore the core issue of cross-border terrorism, he said.

“A situation created by years of cross-border terrorist attacks emanating from Pakistan has been ‘analysed’ without any reference to its causality. The update seems to be a contrived effort to create an artificial parity between the world’s largest and the most vibrant democracy and a country that openly practices state-sponsored terrorism,” Mr. Kumar said.

“We have registered our strong protest regarding the update with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” he said.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-slams-un-rights-office-report-on-jk-as-continuation-of-false-narrative/article28320189.ece