The Asian Age – Gangster boasts on Facebook after shooting Panjabi singer

Along with the post, the gangster also shared a selfie with his pistol and another photo of the singer with a red cross drawn across it.

Mohali – Panjab – India, 22 April 2018. Famous Panjabi singer Parmish Verma was shot at by an unknown person in Mohali in the wee hours of Saturday.

The singer was immediately admitted to Fortis Hospital and was later reported to be out of danger. According to a TOI report, the singer was shot right outside his housing society in sector 91 Mohali.

Verma was returning home accompanied by a friend and a bodyguard from an event at Chandigarh’s Elante mall. There are conflicting reports about the precise sequence of events of the shooting. Initial reports had suggested that the singer was shot in the leg by the assailants after he had sent his bodyguard home.

Later in the day, a gangster Dilpreet Singh Dhaha owed up to the shooting and bragged about it on his Facebook profile.

Along with the post, Singh also shared a selfie with the pistol and another picture of singer Parmish Verma with a red cross drawn across it. The Facebook post since then has garnered over 2,500 shares.


The Asian Age – Terror emerging again in Punjab, CM warns Centre

New Delhi – India, 20 April 2018. Fearing the re-emergence of militancy in Punjab, chief minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged the Centre to put in place an elaborate plan to tackle the emerging threat, with intelligence reports indicating that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was training Sikh youths to revive terror activities in the region.

The issue, particularly some recent targeted killings by ISI-backed operatives, was discussed in detail during a meeting between Captain Singh and Union home minister Rajnath Singh here on Thursday.

The CM also briefed the home minister in detail about the security situation in Punjab and how attempts were being made to disturb the law and order situation through these targeted killings.

Home ministry officials claimed Captain Singh urged the Centre to plan an “all-encompassing” security strategy to deal with the revival of terror in the state.

Captain Singh also stressed the need for further strengthening and sharing of intelligence inputs between the Centre and state agencies, particularly on some terror operatives active in foreign countries like Italy, the United States, Germany, Canada and Britain.

The role of some of these operatives is suspected in recent killings in Punjab, now being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Sources said the home minister assured Captain Singh of all possible help from the Centre in dealing with security issues in the sensitive border state, which had seen a long spell of terror in the past.

The Punjab CM also flagged the issue of how terror elements were using the social media to radicalise youth and the urgent need to counter this. The home ministry had recently told a parliamentary panel that Sikh youths were being trained at ISI facilities in Pakistan to carry out terror activities in India.

Captain Singh appreciated the role of the Central security agencies, particularly the NIA, in handling cases related to the killing of political and religious personalities in the state, which is being seen as a desperate attempt to disturb communal harmony in the region.

The Asian Age – India looks to China for speeding-up of Bangalore-Chennai train corridor

The proposal was made at the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) held in Beijing between the two countries.

New Delhi/Beijing, 15 April 2018. India has sought China’s assistance to speed up Bangalore-Chennai railway corridor besides redevelopment of Agra and Jhansi railway stations, a senior Indian official said on Sunday.

The proposal was made at the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) held in Beijing between the two countries.

“We offered them speeding up of Bangalore-Chennai railway corridor,” NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Sunday.

The SED was held between delegations headed by Kumar and He Lifeng, the chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The proposal was made for increasing the speed of the corridor to 150 kmph.

India previously made a proposal to China for the redevelopment of Agra and Jhansi railway station. It has been re-emphasised at Saturday’s talks, officials said.

The Chinese side will respond after considering the proposals, they said.

Kumar said it was pointed out to the Chinese side that the railway station development plan is a big one involving about 600 of them. They can bid for any of them, he said.

However, there was no discussion in the just concluded SED about the collaboration to build high speed trains by China in India, he said.

China has been expressing interest to take up high speed train corridors in India and began conducting a feasibility study for New Delhi and Chennai high speed train corridor.

The first high-speed train corridor in India between Mumbai and Ahmedabad has been bagged by Japan.

China has the world’s longest high-speed rail network, with 22,000 km within the country linking various top cities.

The Asian Age – Sikhs protest near AICC office, seek removal of Kumar, Tytler

The police stopped the protesters from reaching the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in Akbar Road.

New Delhi – India, 11 April 2018. Members of Sikh groups staged a protest on Tuesday near the Congress headquarters, demanding the removal of Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler from the party for their alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The protesters raised slogans and scaled barricades even as the police tried to push them back. It detained Delhi Akali Dal president Manjeet Singh during the protests by Sikh groups outside the Congress office on Tuesday.

The protesters hung effigies of Rahul Gandhi and Mr Tytler from trees and demanded the removal of Mr Kumar and Mr Tytler from the party for their alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

“We are demanding that Congress chief Rahul Gandhi remove Kumar and Tytler from the party for their role in the anti-Sikh riots,” said Manjinder Singh Sirsa, general secretary of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee and a BJP MLA.

“The Congress should now clear its stand over Kumar and Tytler, who are accused in the anti-Sikh riots and were present at the party’s hunger strike at Rajghat on Monday,” Mr Sirsa added.

On 5 April, the Akali Dal had said that they have a sting operation incriminating Mr Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

On 9 April, Mr Tytler was allegedly told by Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken to leave the venue minutes after he was found sitting on the dais at Delhi’s Rajghat.

Mr Tytler, however, denied the reports saying he “was not told to leave”.

The Asian Age – Persecuted, Rohingyas look for safety in squalid slums

India has refused to accept the Rohingyas except for the few who came in earlier with UNHCR cards.

Asif Yar Khan

Hyderabad – Telangana – India, 24 March 2018. Life is a challenge for about 4,000 Rohingyas living in inhuman conditions in the city, even as a case on their deportation is being heard in the Supreme Court. The refugees are settled in about 70 camps in and around Balapur and Chandrayangutta on the city’s outskirts.

The camps, spread across two km, are squalid with few facilities. Affluent people who own land parcels in under-developed localities have rented the land out to the refugees, says Mohammed Hassan, leader of camp number 20 located in Royal Colony in Balapur.

“Some Good Samaritans have donated cloth, bamboos and other materials to put up tents. Some others chipped in and set up temporary toilets in the camps.”

Shafeeq Ahmed, a realtor who rented out a 400 yard compound, says that as the refugees have come from violence-hit areas and have United National Human Right Council (UNHRC) authorisation he provided them shelter.

“Local police have no objection to those having UNHRC cards”, he said.

The men in the camps try and find work wherever they can. Some collect scrap and plastic material from the streets. “We do not get work at the local labour adda every day,” says Saleem, one of the refugees.

Malnourishment amongst the children is high due to poor food. “Voluntary organisations conduct frequent health check-ups and provide free medicine. Nevertheless, the women continue to suffer from several health problems in the absence of good food,” said Abdul Rahim, a local social worker.

These impoverished families have slim chances of honest employment in the absence of any government programme, could well be exploited by terror groups or criminal networks.

They have been the victims of terrible violence and discrimination in their own country and now have to battle extreme poverty here, where no provision has been made for taking them in and providing them succour on humanitarian grounds.

“In such a situation they can become fodder for nefarious elements who can easily lure them into any organisation or group and exploit them,” said a police official.

The families live hand-to-mouth, dependent on the goodwill of local businessmen who may give them jobs in hotels and function halls. “Some of our men have set up small businesses on the roadside to earn a living,” said Abdul Mabud, one of the refugees.

Clothes, food grains and other necessities are donated by local voluntary organisations. During festivals, people are a little more generous.

These Rohingya refugees are from the Rakhine region in Myanmar and crossed over into India to escape persecution. The bulk of Rohingyas have taken refuge in Bangladesh.

India has refused to accept them except for the few who came in earlier with UNHCR cards. Even these it wants to evict, questioning the validity of the cards in a case pending before the Supreme Court.

Despite Myanmar slightly easing its pressure on the Rohingyas due to the international outcry, the refugees continue to flee.

Cannot deport till SC verdict: Experts

Legal experts say that the Indian government cannot deport the Myanmar refugees till the case in the Supreme Court filed against the government comes to some logical conclusion.

Two refugees filed a writ in the Supreme Court last year against the decision of the Indian government to deport them. They want the court to order the government to grant them the status of refugees.

They argued that there is a threat to their lives and already their property has been lost and several of them killed by the Myanmar army.

“The Central government opposed their petition and argued that they are a threat to the country. But the petition filed by the government has no legal standing in court if one takes into account the humanitarian aspects based on the United Nations charter

“Nevertheless, till the Supreme Court gives a judgment in the case they cannot be deported or sent away,” says High Court lawyer Khaja Aijazuddin, who intends to file an intervening petition in the case.

Senior High Court advocate Shafeeq ur Rahman Mahajir says that legally the government has not accorded the status of refugees to the Rohingyas staying in India.

“Any government has a right to initiate action against persons illegally staying in the country. But as the matter is sub-judice, it has to move cautiously. The government has its own security concerns which are over the humanitarian issues,” he argues.

Mazhar Hussain of Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA), who is working in coordination with the UN High Commission for Refugees in rehabilitating the Rohingyas in the city, said that the United Nations charter specifies that any person who faces threat in his native country can take refuge in another country where he feels safe

The first batch of Rohingyas came to India in 2012 following unrest in the Arakan and Rakhine region of Myanmar. There are close to 3,800 Rohingya refugees staying in Kishanbagh, Balapur, Mir Momin Pahadi and Shaheennagar in the southern side of the city.

The Asian Age – Panjab: Dalit groups strike, government suspends transport, mobile internet

The order to suspend mobile internet services has been taken to prevent spread of misinformation and rumours through social media platforms.

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 01 April 2018. Several Dalit organisations have called for a ‘bandh’ on Monday expressing concerns over the alleged “dilution” of SCs/STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act following which the Punjab government has ordered the suspension of bus services and mobile internet services.

In view of the Bharat Bandh call on April 2, the Punjab government has decided to suspend the services of public transport across the state, an official spokesperson said in Chandigarh.

The PRTC, Punjab Roadways and PunBus buses would not ply on roads and the services of these buses would remain suspended on Monday, he said.

The state government also ordered suspension of services on mobile internet (2G/3G,4G/DCMA), besides all SMS services and dongle services provided on mobile networks except voice calls from 5 pm on Sunday until 11 pm on Monday, the official said.

The order to suspend mobile internet services has been taken to prevent spread of misinformation, rumours, through social media platforms and to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order in Punjab, Secretary (Home) Rahul Tiwari said.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh appealed to the people of the state, especially the members of the scheduled castes community, to maintain restraint and maintain law and order in the larger public interest.

“The government respects the sentiments of all people and their rights to express their views in a legitimate and peaceful manner, nothing should be done to endanger the hard earned atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in the state,” Singh said in a statement earlier.

The chief minister said the Punjab government was already committed for the welfare of Scheduled Castes, “which was evident from the fact that the Punjab Vidhan Sabha unanimously adopted a resolution to express solidarity with our SC brethren during its recently concluded budget session seeking the NDA Government’s intervention to legally pursue the case in which a Supreme Court verdict had diluted provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act”.

Singh further urged the SC Community and different associations to maintain peace, harmony and amity during the ‘bandh’.

The Supreme Court on March 20 diluted the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, in a bid to protect honest public servants discharging bona fide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the Act.

The apex court said government servants should not be arrested without prior sanction and private citizens too should be arrested only after an inquiry under the law.

But Dalit organisations, including the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch, and some political parties fear the dilution of the provisions might lead to increase in violence against Dalits.

The Asian Age – Kejriwal apology: AAP’s troubles far from over

Bhagwant Mann resigned as its Punjab unit chief on March 17 in protest against Kejriwal’s apology to Bikram Singh Majithia in a defamation case. AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal has averted a split in the party’s Punjab unit, for now, but it is not going to be easy for him to prevent its disgruntled MLAs in the state from breaking away or joining other parties.

Tanveer Thakur

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 26 Mar 2018. The AAP in Punjab in the throes of a crisis with its state unit chief and MP Bhagwant Mann resigning in protest against the apology by the AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal to former Punjab minister and Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia, who had filed a defamation case against the Delhi chief minister for charging him of being involved in drug trade.

The new outfit is almost vertically split in the state where it made its Assembly debut by winning 20 seats last March. Punjab is the only state, other than Delhi, where the new outfit has legislators but the latest crisis in the party is threatening to dent its image in the Congress-ruled state.

Mr Kejriwal’s apology to Mr Majithia, which came without consulting the state unit, had caused huge embarrassment to party MLAs and workers in Punjab as it reflected a step down from the earlier stand taken by the AAP on the drugs menace getting political patronage in the state.

Although some of the AAP MLAs went to Delhi for a meeting with Mr Kejriwal on March 18 for understanding the reasons why he went ahead with his apology to the Akali leader, there were others who refused to listen to the AAP convenor’s excuse.

Mr Kejriwal has claimed that he has averted a split within the Punjab unit after explaining his position to the legislators during a meeting with them last week.

But the crisis does not seem to be over completely as some party voices are still pitching for detachment from the Delhi-controlled set up. Others are saying to wait and watch.

MLA from Kotkapura Kultar Singh Sandhwan opened the front against Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly and his party colleague Sukhpal Singh Khaira for what he termed as an attempt to split the party by putting pressure on the legislators and bringing a resolution in a meeting in Chandigarh.

Mr Sandhwan said that the AAP should take action against Mr Khaira who violated the party’s code of discipline by making attempts to create a new outfit.

He lashed out at Mr Khaira and other MLAs claiming that they won election in the name of the party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal but were not trying to challenge his authority.

If Mr Khaira wants to create a new party, he must vacate the MLA’s seat and fight elections, said Mr Sandhwan.

“We attended the meeting at New Delhi on March 18 because we wanted to know under what circumstances Mr Kejriwal apologised to Mr Majithia in the defamation case,” said Mr Sandhwan, who went Delhi to attend the party meeting.

The Congress was quick to take a dig at Mr Kejriwal for his apology. Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu described Kejriwal’s apology a “murder of AAP in Punjab”.

“It is a let down to the people of Punjab. I feel Kejriwal has murdered AAP in Punjab. It is as if their existence has been wiped off. With what face will they speak against drugs in Punjab now?” asked the Congress leader.

After 10 MLAs met Mr Kejriwal in Delhi, Mr Khaira backed down and said he was open to meeting the Delhi leadership. However, he has insisted that the meeting should take place in Chandigarh.

“There is no problem in meeting, we are in the same party. There is no ego involved in this. But we would still want that they (Delhi leaders) come down here. We have had several meetings in Delhi and this time it can be here,” he said.

As the controversy continues, some AAP leaders like Harvinder Singh Phoolka are trying to find a middle path and trying to avoid a spit in the party.

Mr Phoolka has asked party MLAs in Punjab to seek “autonomy” for the state unit rather than forming a separate outfit in the best interests of the state.

Giving his views for the first time after party Mr Kejriwal’s apology to Mr Majithia on drug allegations, which pushed the state unit into a crisis, the former Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly and Dakha MLA also suggested that the state unit should function like a regional party with total independence on state matters.

The Asian Age – Kejriwal manages to pacify Punjab AAP MLAs on Majithia apology issue

According to party sources, Punjab AAP legislators present in the meeting are believed to have been convinced with Kejriwal’s explanation.

New Delhi – India, 19 March 2018. On the backfoot over tendering an apology to former Punjab minister and Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia, the AAP on Sunday sought to pacify its party legislators from the northern state to avert a split in the state unit.

Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal’s apology letter to Majithia for accusing him of being involved in drugs trade, had taken everyone by surprise, especially the AAP’s Punjab unit.

The party’s Punjab president Bhagwant Mann and its co-president Aman Arora had recently resigned from their posts in protest against Kejriwal’s apology.

Of the 20 AAP legislators from Punjab, 10 legislators along with state unit leaders met Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia at his residence in Delhi on Sunday where Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was also present.

The chief minister is said to have given an explanation behind his apology to Majithia.

Majithia had slapped a defamation case against Kejriwal and other AAP leaders for accusing the former of drug trade during the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls campaign.

According to party sources, the Punjab AAP legislators present in the meeting are believed to have been convinced with Kejriwal’s explanation.

However, only half of the dissenting party legislators were present in the meeting, with the remaining legislators still miffed with the party leadership.

“Anyhow, it rules out any split in the party in Punjab, as of now. Forming a separate group or splitting the party would require the consent of two-third of the 20 AAP MLAs,” the sources said.

Among the prominent absentees were Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Bhagwant Mann, AAP MP from Sangrur.

There have been different demands by the AAP legislators and party leaders from Punjab after Kejriwal’s apology letter went public, ranging from giving them more autonomy to forming a different group in protest.

Aman Arora, AAP legislator from Suna, who had attended the meeting said there was some “miscommunication”.

The reason Kejriwal had apologised is because he has several cases against him in many parts of the country. And some of them are in the fast track courts, he told reporters after the more than two hour-long meeting.

Arora said the AAP legislator present in the meeting were convinced with the explanation given by Kejriwal as the legal battle was draining him and the party in terms of resources.

This, he said, was also consuming the party supremo’s time which could be used for focusing on governance in Delhi.

The Asian Age – Punjab’s Lok Insaf Party breaks ties with AAP after Delhi CM’s apology

LIP leader Simarjeet Bains called Arvind Kejriwal ‘traitor’, alleging that he ‘betrayed’ the people of Punjab by tendering an apology.

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 17 March 2018. Punjab’s Lok Insaf Party on Thursday announced to break its alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab in the wake of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s apology to a SAD leader for accusing him of being involved in the drug trade.

Arvind Kejriwal tendered the apology to former minister Bikram Singh Majithia on Wednesday for levelling charges of involvement in drugs trade against the former minister.

“We have announced to break our alliance with the AAP. We cannot be associated with a party whose main leader meekly surrendered by tendering apology to former minister Bikram Singh Majithia,” LIP leader and MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains said in Chandigarh on Friday.

Bains also called Arvind Kejriwal a “traitor”, alleging that he “betrayed” the people of Punjab by tendering an apology.

“He is a fraudster. He accepted funds from Punjabis and also promised to punish Majithia. And now he tendered an apology which is a biggest fraud with Punjabis. Therefore we ended alliance with AAP,” he said.

However, he said he will continue to support “at personal level” 14-15 AAP MLAs out of 20 who are working in the interest of Punjab.

The AAP and the LIP had entered into an alliance six months before the Punjab Assembly polls held in February last year.

In his apology, Kejriwal said he had now learnt that his allegations were unfounded.

Earlier in the day, Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann resigned as the AAP’s Punjab chief protesting the apology.

Hours later, Aman Arora also tendered his resignation from the post of Punjab’s AAP co-president on Friday.

Arora furnished his resignation to Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and AAP in-charge of Punjab Affairs Manish Sisodia and asked him to accept his resignation.

The Delhi chief minister’s apology drew flak from his party’s other leaders and MLAs in Punjab, who said they were “stunned” by the move and “disappointed” as Kejriwal had not kept them in the “loop”.

The Asian Age – Gauri Lankesh murder: Karnataka Police arrests accused after 6 months

Bengaluru Magistrate Court has sent Naveen Kumar, described as person with links to right-wing groups, to 5-day SIT custody.

Bengaluru – Karnataka – India, 09 March 2018. Six months after the murder of journalist and social activist Gauri Lankesh, accused K T Naveen Kumar was arrested by the Karnataka Police on Friday.

K T Naveen Kumar, 37, who was apprehended by the Karnataka Special Investigation Team (SIT) for questioning earlier this month, has been named as the first accused in the murder case of the journalist.

Bengaluru Magistrate Court on Friday sent K T Naveen Kumar to 5 days of SIT custody.

K T Naveen Kumar’s arrest on Friday is an indication that he is no more just a person of interest in the case and that there is scope for more details to unravel.

K T Naveen Kumar has been widely described as a person with links to right-wing groups.

BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje had recently accused the Siddaramaiah government of trying to pin the blame on a “Hindu youth”. It was seen as a reference to Naveen Kumar.

A native of Mandya district about 100 km from Bengaluru, Naveen Kumar was caught by the organised crime wing of the state police’s central crime branch on February 18, 2018. He was suspected to be on his way to sell the firearm.

Gauri Lankesh, 55, was shot down with a 7.65 mm country made pistol in the drive way of her home in west Bengaluru on the evening of September 5, 2017.

Lankesh, the Editor of “Lankesh Patrike”, was shot dead by an unidentified man wearing a helmet while the suspect who rode the motorcycle was also not identitfied.

Investigations by the SIT has unearthed CCTV footage of a man conducting a recce of the home of the journalist a few hours before her killing. The physical structure of the man found conducting the recce in the CCTV footage has a close resemblance to that of Kumar.

The Karnataka government had set up the SIT to probe the journalist-activist’s killing.