The Hindustan Times – Protests escalate in northeast against citizenship bill, army called out, internet suspended

Mobile Internet services were also suspended in 10 districts of Assam, the epicentre of the anti-CAB protests, for 24 hours from 7 pm on Wednesday.

Sadiq Naqvi and Priyanka Deb Barman

Guwahati / Agartala / New Delhi – India, 12 December 2019. A curfew was enforced in Guwahati, the principal city in Assam, where the army was called in on Wednesday night after tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, or CAB, clashing with the police and paramilitary troopers, as protests raged in the northeast.

Mobile Internet services were also suspended in 10 districts of Assam, the epicentre of the anti-CAB protests, for 24 hours from 7 pm on Wednesday. An army spokesperson said the army had deployed two columns in Tripura, one column consisting of 70 personnel.

“Curfew has been imposed in Guwahati. We have also called in the army,” Assam’s additional director general of police Mukesh Agarwal said, as in New Delhi the Rajya Sabha debated the legislation that seeks to fast-track Indian citizenship for members of persecuted minorities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis from the Muslim-majority nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The Lok Sabha passed the bill on Tuesday.

An army spokesperson in Guwahati said two columns of the Army had been deployed in the city and will be performing a flag march. Earlier in the day, the spokesperson said three Army columns, two for Tripura and one for Assam, had been requisitioned.

The Centre on Wednesday also airlifted over 5,000 paramilitary personnel to northeastern states, including Assam, in the wake of the violent protests against CAB, a senior home ministry official said.

The curfew was clamped in Guwahati after protests of a scale reminiscent of those that took place during the six-year movement against illegal immigrants in the state that ended with the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985.

Post-noon, as the contentious bill was tabled in Rajya Sabha, the roads of Guwahati started filling up with protestors. Hundreds of protestors including students marched to Janata Bhawan, the Assam secretariat, chanting slogans against CAB and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Hundreds gathered spontaneously at several other places in the city and blocked roads with burning tyres.

Protesters fought pitched battles with security forces across Assam, including in front of the secretariat. By the evening, the government announced that it was suspending mobile internet services in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup districts for 24 hours till 7 pm Thursday.

A similar shutdown was ordered in Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

Protesters pulled down barricades on the arterial Guwahati-Shillong Road, prompting the police to burst tear-gas shells and take recourse to a baton-charge. Protesters burned tyres and blocked highways and rail lines.

Anti-CAB protesters also clashed with police in Dibrugarh, where security forces fired rubber bullets and tear-gas shells to disperse the demonstrators.

Protests also rocked Jorhat, Golaghat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Bongaigaon, Nagaon, Sonitpur and many other districts. In view of the protests, the Northeast Frontier Railway cancelled many trains and rescheduled some that originate from the state.

At least 14 trains have either been cancelled, shortened or diverted anticipating “disruptions in train movement,” NF Railway chief public relations officer Subhanan Chanda said.

A motorcycle rally was organised against the CAB in chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s hometown, Chabua. Gauhati University, Cotton University and Dibrugarh University had to postpone examinations scheduled for Wednesday.

Student organizations, civil society groups and opposition parties in Assam have been at the forefront of the protests against the CAB, saying it would lead to an influx of religious minorities from Bangladesh and hurt the interests of indigenous communities.

A large section opposing the bill, which proposes a cutoff date of December 31, 2014, also says it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants in the state irrespective of religion.

The protesters organized an 11-hour shutdown in the northeast on Tuesday saying they oppose the bill out of concern that more migrants who came to the country illegally will move to the border region and dilute the culture and political sway of indigenous tribal people.

“The people are determined and we are determined against CAB. The CAB must go,” said Samujjal Bhattacharya, the chief advisor of All Assam Students Union, said.

“People of Assam are against CAB, yet they {Centre} are imposing it on us. Whatever happened is government’s fault. Top government ministers have provoked people. The chief minister has totally failed in maintaining law and order,” said R Konwar, Assam Congress spokesperson.

“People who talk about democracy are engaging in vandalism. Is this democracy? Organisations who are leading this agitation did not appeal for peace. They should go to the Supreme Court,” said Rupam Goswami, a spokesperson for the BJP.

Meanwhile, in Tripura the internet shutdown continued amid clashes between anti-CAB protesters and security forces.

Additional director general of police Rajiv Singh said skirmishes took place in Ambassa, Kamalpur of Dhalai, and Teliamura of Khowai, among other places. Singh said the situation was under control. Chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb appealed to all parties to maintain peace.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/citizenship-amendment-bill-protests-escalate-in-north-east-army-called-out-internet-suspended/story-XRIlMk0lT4scIetBiXyYpI.html

The Hindustan Times – Human Rights Day 2019: Knowing the history and significance

As the UN has been repeatedly calling everyone to “Stand Up for Human Rights,” they have dedicated the year 2019 to celebrate the potential of youth

HT Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 10 December 2019. Every year, Human Rights Day is observed on 10 December. The day was officially adopted in the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

The UN came up with a document called Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which defined the rights an individual should enjoy, despite belonging to any race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Today, this document is available in more than 500 languages.

Human Rights Day 2019 Theme: Youth Standing Up for Human Rights

There is no doubt that youth form the most vocal opinion of all. They shape the country and define the path of progress. As UN has been repeatedly calling everyone to “Stand Up for Human Rights,” they have dedicated the year 2019 to celebrate the potential of youth.

The young generation today, tomorrow and future has the ability to change or amplify their voices, and engage a broad range of global audiences in the promotion and protection of rights.

Human Rights Day 2019 History: What has happened so far

The Human Rights Day was formally adopted at the 317th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on December 4, 1950. All the member states and other organizations were invited to be present during the declaration of resolution 423(V).

According to UN tradition, on December 10 the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the field of human rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/human-rights-day-2019-knowing-the-history-and-significance/story-7M8Sa87vXTimpgO2uIUV3H.html

The Hindustan Times – Impossible, says NCP on Anant Hegde’s Rs 40,000 cr claim; Fadnavis agrees

Devendra Fadnavis, whose second term is the second shortest tenure of a chief minister in Maharashtra, said the state government’s role in the bullet train project was limited to acquiring land for the ambitious project.

Ketaki Ghoge

Mumbai – Maharashtra – India. Anant K Hegde, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s five-time MP from Karnataka, has come up with a bizarre theory around Devendra Fadnavis’s 80-hour-long stint as chief minister.

Hegde claimed that Fadnavis’ record tenure of just a little over three days was designed to divert Rs 40,000 crore from the state treasury back to the central government, a claim that forced Fadnavis to stand in front of the television cameras to issue a firm denial.

“I deny the statement and reports that I returned money sent by the Centre to Maharashtra,” the former chief minister said.

Fadnavis, whose second term is the second shortest tenure of a chief minister in Maharashtra, said the state government’s role in the bullet train project was limited to acquiring land for the ambitious project.

The former chief minister also pointed that everyone who understood how funds move between the Centre and the states would realise that the statement was baseless. He did not name Anant K Hegde in his rebuttal.

“Anyone who understands how Central and state governments accounting systems work will not make such statements. The state finance department can probe this. I think those who make such statements and others who are giving reactions to them are both in the wrong,” Fadnavis said.

Fadnavis had hoped to have a longer stint when he quietly took oath as chief minister in a surprising turn of events on 23 November. He had the support of Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar.

But his new partner, its pre-poll ally Shiv Sena had walked out on him over the chief minister’s chair, wasn’t able to get other NCP legislators to switch their loyalties.

Shiv Sena boss Uddhav Thackeray finally replaced him last week, in Maharashtra’s first-of-its kind partnership with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress. Anant Hegde’s claim was so bizarre that the Nationalist Congress Party’s Nawab Malik appeared reluctant to believe it either.

“It is not possible,” Nawab Malik said. But he didn’t let the opportunity to jab the BJP and Fadnavis either. If it has happened, it exposes the BJP’s face, the NCP leader said as he attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded his resignation for the transfer of funds.

Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut was unforgiving. In a tweet, he flagged Anant Hedge’s comment that Fadnavis had moved the money to the Centre before mounting his attack. “This is treachery with Maharashtra,” he said, tagging chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s handle.

This isn’t the first time that Anant Hegde has embarrassed his party. Like when in 2017 he claimed that the BJP would amend the constitution to exclude secularism from the preamble. That row had led to a major uproar in parliament too.

Right ahead of the national elections this year, the BJP leader had tweeted in support of Pragya Singh Thakur over her comments describing Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a patriot. He was then told by his party to delete the tweets.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bjp-leader-scores-self-goal-with-rs-40-000-cr-theory-sena-calls-it-treachery/story-jiRI6XS3lazuOhIcVUTlVK.html

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.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/family-of-21-yr-old-sikh-woman-killed-in-canada-s-surrey-clueless-on-why-she-was-shot-dead/story-umSpOvUUl8qtEWu6CXyGEO.html

The Hindustan Times – Will apologise for Jallianwala Bagh massacre if voted to power: Labour Party’s manifesto

Labour party’s manifesto promises that besides the apology, the party’s government would hold a ‘public review’ into “Britain’s role in the Amritsar massacre”, referring to Operation Bluestar in Amritsar.

Prasun Sonwalkar

London – UK, 21 November 2019. The Labour Party has promised to tender a ‘formal apology’ on behalf of the British government for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, and hold a ‘public review’ into the UK’s role in the 1984 Operation Bluestar if it is voted to power in the December 12 elections.

Releasing the party’s manifesto on Thursday, party leader Jeremy Corbyn set out an ambitious plan to shake-up the status quo that, according to him, benefits the rich and wealthy, and bring about real change for the common people.

In the centenary year of the massacre, the British government confined itself to expressing ‘deep regret’, despite facing many calls for a formal apology, but senior functionaries have since insisted that the issue is ‘work in progress’ and may well happen before the year ends.

The manifesto promises that besides the apology, the party’s government would hold a ‘public review’ into “Britain’s role in the Amritsar massacre”, referring to Operation Bluestar in Amritsar. In the 2017 manifesto, it had promised an ‘independent inquiry’ into the role.

The issue blew up in 2014 when declassified files suggested that the Margaret Thatcher government provided advice to the Indira Gandhi government before the operation. A section of the Sikh community in the UK has since been demanding an independent inquiry into Britain’s role.

The 107-page manifesto alleged that the Conservative party had failed to play a constructive role in resolving what it called “the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises, including Kashmir”. However, the manifesto did not elaborate on its perspective on Kashmir.

An emergency resolution passed at Labour’s annual conference in September had called for international intervention in Kashmir, which riled New Delhi and the increasingly assertive 1.5 million-strong Indian community in the UK.

The party has since faced a backlash from the community, with sections campaigning in social networks against voting for Labour, which has long been the natural party of preference for the community, but has been haemorrhaging support to the Conservatives in recent elections.

The British Indian vote is estimated to be significant in 15 constituencies in which Asians, including Indians, constitute over 40 per cent of the population, 46 constituencies in which they constitute over 20 per cent, and 122 constituencies where they number over 10%.

The manifesto also promised a full apology to black and Asian soldiers who fought in Britain’s colonial armies and explore ways to compensate them for the discriminatory demobilisation payments they received compared to their white counterparts serving at the same rank in the same regiments.

The manifesto adds: “We will work through the UN and the Commonwealth to insist on the protection of human rights for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil and Muslim populations…Internationalism is at the core of the Labour movement. We recognise our responsibility to confront injustices we see today and to correct the injustices of the past”.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/will-apologise-for-jallianwala-bagh-massacre-if-voted-to-power-labour-party-s-manifesto/story-5YOTcNR1oxJeBBnRdfCpuI.html

The Hindustan Times – Sikh pilgrims barred from visiting gurudwara in Haridwar

Haridwar – Uttarakhand – India, 10 November 2019. The Uttarakhand police stopped a group (jatha) of over 140 Sikh pilgrims from Delhi who were on their way to Haridwar to visit Gyan Godhri Gurudwara at Har Ki Pauri on Saturday. The pilgrims were intercepted at Purkazi town of Muzaffarnagar district which is situated on the border of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

The ‘jatha’ was headed by Gurcharan Singh Babbar, president of All India Sikh Conference, who alleged that the priest community at Har ki Pauri had illegally occupied the land of Gurudwara Gyan Godhri since 1984 and Sikhs were prevented from visiting it for fear of clash with the priest community (pandits).

Babbar told HT on phone that the ‘jatha’ arrived Purkazi town at around 11 pm on Saturday night as the pilgrims wanted to visit Gyan Godhari on the occasion of Guru Nankav Devji’s 550th birth anniversary.

They were having langer (community meal) at Purkazi when superintendent of police, Haridwar, Navneet Kumar and circle officer Dheerendra Kumar arrived there with force and stopped them from entering Uttarakhand.

Babbar said that they feared a clash between members of the two communities and were compelled to stop the ‘jatha’.

The ruckus between police and Sikhs continued till early morning and eventually the police officials allowed a delegation to meet Uttarakhand minister Madan Kaushik on Sunday afternoon.

Babbar said that a delegation met Kaushik but the deadlock continued and finally the Sikh ‘jatha’ was forced to return to Delhi from Purkazi without visiting Gyan Godhari Gurudwara. Babbar said that they had tried many times to visit the gurudwara in the past 15 years but were never allowed to offer prayers there.

A visibly upset Babbar said that Pakistan had donated land to Kartarpur Sahib and was also allowing renovation in different gurdwaras there, “but we have been deprived of visiting an important place of our Guru in our own country.”

He said that Uttarakhand had a BJP government and it should help Sikhs in getting their right to visit their gurdwara instead of bowing down to pandits who were opposing a gurdwara at Har Ki Pauri and were illegally occupying it since 1984.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/sikh-pilgrims-barred-from-visiting-gurudwara-in-haridwar/story-LYOYKz27aVU9ulNR1U4SJK.html

The Hindustan Times – ‘Kartarpur can change face of South Asia, like the fall of Berlin Wall’: Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

New Delhi – India, 09 November 2019. Calling Kartarpur Corridor ‘a goodwill gesture’, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, however, told BBC that improvement in relations with India depended on “New Delhi changing its policy on Kashmir”.

The Kartarpur Corridor is a “goodwill gesture” and relations between India and Pakistan can improve only if New Delhi changes its policy on Kashmir, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said.

Speaking hours ahead of the opening of the corridor that will link Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur to Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, Qureshi told BBC that India had not responded to peace overtures from Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He said the objective behind the corridor was a “goodwill gesture” and Khan had always said that for every step taken by India towards peace, Pakistan would take two steps.

“Unfortunately, we did not get the same response. Despite that, we decided to continue with the Kartarpur Corridor and the Kartarpur Spirit,” he said.

“It’s not just the corridor, it’s the spirit behind the corridor that needs to be understood. And it has given us a lot of goodwill in the Sikh community.”

However, Qureshi said any improvement in bilateral relations will depend on India changing its policy on the Kashmir issue.

“Improvement of relations will depend upon their treatment and attitude in (Jammu and) Kashmir. The way they are going about maltreating people and abusing human rights” he said.

“If they continue to do what they are doing in Kashmir, I see no respite,” he added.

The Kartarpur Corridor marks a rare instance of cooperation between the two countries against the backdrop of heightened tensions over New Delhi’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split the state into two union territories.

Qureshi even compared the opening of the corridor to the fall of the Berlin Wall, which led to the reunification of East and West Germany and coincided with the collapse of Soviet Union.

“You saw the Berlin Wall go down. It changed the face of Europe. Kartarpur can change the face of South Asia,” he said.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/kartarpur-can-change-face-of-south-asia-like-the-fall-of-berlin-wall-pakistan-foreign-minister-shah-mahmood-qureshi/story-m5FfxtjKcE4gHTvaOuwFfN.html

The Hindustan Times – In Shiv Sena leader’s new dart at BJP, a warning on options before Uddhav Thackeray

Raut’s warning comes just hours after he met Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar at his house on Thursday evening.

Swapnil Rawal

Mumbai – Maharashtra – India, Picking up from where Shiv Sena boss Uddhav Thackeray had left it yesterday, his party continued to play hardball over its initial demand for the chief minister’s post on Friday and delivered a sharp warning to the BJP that it could look at other political formations if its demand for the chief minister’s post wasn’t accepted.

“If Shiv Sena decides, it’ll get the required numbers to form a stable government in the state,” senior party leader, Sanjay Raut, told reporters on Friday amid the ongoing, and increasingly bitter, tussle with the BJP over the Sena’s demand for equal sharing of posts and responsibilities, including the chief ministership.

Raut also dared the BJP to go ahead and form the government if it had the numbers. “The mandate was for the alliance, why didn’t they come forward to discuss on the day results were announced?” he asked.

The BJP, which contested the state elections in alliance with the Shiv Sena, had emerged as the single largest party with 105 seats in the 288-member assembly. Its ally, the Shiv Sena, was the second largest with 56 seats. The Congress has 44 MLAs and the NCP 54.

A strength of 145 is needed for a simple majority.

Raut’s warning comes just hours after he met Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar at his house on Thursday evening. Raut later told reporters that he had gone to extend Diwali wishes to Pawar but they did discuss, as Raut later put it, “the politics in Maharashtra”.

That meeting, followed up with Friday’s warning, is seen as an effort to counter the narrative that the Shiv Sena, despite the many stinging barbs that it directs at its alliance partner, would eventually come around. It is also designed to rebut the BJP argument that the Sena did not have the numbers to claim the CM’s post and was only using the demand to seek more cabinet portfolios.

“People have given mandate to form government on basis of 50-50 formula that was reached in front of people of Maharashtra. They want chief minister from Shiv Sena. There will be a Shiv Sena chief minister,” Sanjay Raut said.

Shiv Sena boss, Uddhav Thackeray, has been particularly upset with the BJP after chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, told reporters this week that there had been no decision on the 50-50 power-sharing formula that Sena leaders talk about.

At a meeting of party lawmakers to elect their leader in the assembly, Uddhav Thackeray told his MLAs that Fadnavis’ assertion was untrue and uncalled for. The Sena chief also told his party that the talks on government formation could proceed only after the BJP admits that there was a 50-50 formula.

BJP leader and finance minister in the outgoing cabinet, Sudhir Mungantiwar, responded to the latest warning from the Sena but insisted that the rift between the two allies was just a ‘hurdle’.

“We are willing to take the initiative and start the talks to end this impasse. This is just a small hurdle. The mandate is for both of us. It would be unfortunate if we can’t form the government by November 8,” said Mungantiwar.

“It would be unfortunate if we let one-up-manship derail the talks,” he said, underscoring that the BJP would approach the Sena to initiate talks later in the day.

Political analyst Prakash Bal sees Friday’s statement by Sanjay Raut as a pressure tactic. “It is unlikely that the Shiv Sena will go with the Congress-NCP to form the government.

It will be an unstable government. Also, Sharad Pawar is not likely to support a Sena-led government. This seems to be pressure tactics of the Shiv Sena. We will have to wait and see how the BJP reacts to it,” said Prakash Bal.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/in-shiv-sena-leader-s-new-dart-at-bjp-a-warning-on-options-before-uddhav-thackeray/story-Yt21mGgPFmRsX3BY52DXdO.html

The Hindustan Times – Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary: Special bus carrying rare copies of Guru Granth Sahib flagged off from Punjabi University

The bus with rare manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib will travel to different parts of Punjab and tour all five takhts in the coming days.

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 22 October 2019. As part of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak, a special bus carrying rare manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib was flagged off from the Punjabi University in Patiala on Monday.

Cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, chief principal secretary to chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Suresh Kumar and varsity’s vice-chancellor Professor B S Ghuman carried 16 ‘birs’ of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikhs, and placed them in the bus, which is made by an NGO ‘Sarbat Da Bhala’, at the cost of Rs 62 lakh.

Randhawa said that the bus will travel to different parts of Punjab and tour all five takhts in the coming days. He said that preparations for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak are in full swing and will be complete well before time.

“Tension between India and Pakistan will not pose any threat to the celebrations. Opening of the Kartarpur corridor will help spread the message of Guru Nanak’s teachings across the globe,” Randhawa said. The cabinet minister announced that the state government will set up Sri Guru Nanak Bhawan and Sri Guru Nanak Chair at the Punjabi University.

Meanwhile, Suresh Kumar threw light on projects worth Rs 3,000 crore that have been started by the state government to mark the celebrations. V-C Ghuman said that the bus will travel to different areas in district before going to Sultanpur Lodhi and Dera Baba Nanak.

It took 10 years to collect these rare copies

It took the Punjabi University’s department of Guru Granth Sahib Studies over 10 years to collect these rare and handwritten ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib, in their original form.

“We have a total of 62 handwritten sarups (manuscripts) that were written in different eras. The oldest ‘bir’ is around 370-year-old, while others are 150- to 200-years-old,” said Prof Sarbjinder Singh, head of the department.

He added that these ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib were collected from Sikh families with old associations with the Sikh gurus.

“These families had preserved the ancient and valuable manuscripts of the holy book in its original form. It took me 10 years to collect these and hand them over to the university,” the HoD added.

He said that these rare ‘birs’ includes Kartarpuri Bir, Damdami Bir, Khari Bir and Chitarkari (painting) Bir.

“The Kartarpuri Bir was compiled by the fifth Sikh master Guru Arjan Dev and written by Bhai Gurdas, while the Damdami Bir was compiled by the 10th Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh and penned by Bhai Mani Singh. The Khari Bir was written by Bhai Bano and compiled by Guru Arjan Dev,” he said.

He added that in Chitarkari Bir, which was compiled before the period Maharaja Ranjit Singh, colourful painting were done using gold and diamonds.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/chandigarh/special-bus-carrying-rare-copies-of-guru-granth-sahib-flagged-off/story-K6ftwiOLXk6RFuRzte4AGM.html

The Hindustan Times – Free-Tibet activist Tsundue arrested before Modi-Xi summit in Tamil Nadu

According to Villupuram district police department, TN police was alerted by the Union Home Ministry that Tsundue, a “Free Tibet” movement supporter, may protest at the venue during the summit.

M Manikandan

Chennai – Tamil Nadu – India, 07 October 2019. Tamil Nadu’s Villupuram police on Saturday night arrested a noted Tibetan writer and activist Tenzin Tsundue in Kottakuppam, less than hundred kilometers away from the Tamil Nadu town of Mamallapuram, which is hosting the three-day summit between Chinese President Xi-Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi beginning 11 October.

According to Villupuram district police department, TN police was alerted by the Union Home Ministry that Tsundue, a “Free Tibet” movement supporter, may protest at the venue during the summit.

“Tenzin had been arrested twice previously by Mumbai and Bengaluru police during visits by then Chinese premiers in 2002 and 2005 respectively. Tsundue had unfurled a banner reading “Free Tibet” at Hotel Oberoi, Mumbai in 2002 where Chinese premier Zhu Rongji was addressing a gathering.

He was arrested in Bangalore in 2005 for protesting against the then Chinese premier Wen Jiabao,” said top police official from Villupuram. On Saturday night, Tenzin was arrested from a hotel in Villupuram district near Puducherry.

“Tsundue was trying to get a room in a hotel which in turn alerted the police leading to his arrest,” the police officers noted.

Sources said that Tsundue was again planning to unfurl banners in support of the “Free Tibet” during Xi-Jinping’s visit. He has been sent to Chennai Puzhal Central Jail in the wee hours of Sunday said police officers.

The Sino-Indo summit will be hosted in scenic Mamallapuram about 60 km south of Chennai from October 11 to 13.

Tsundue had posted on Xi’s visit on his Facebook on Saturday. “Xi has invited Pakistan PM to Beijing for chai on the 8th, and India’s military exercise in Arunachal will go on while Xi is on India visit. Xi hyphenates Nepal on the India tour. Too many swords drawn. What’s going on? And no official announcements still,” his post read.

A travel ban was imposed on Tsundue which kept him restricted to Dharamshala during the former Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to India in November 2006. Though he is a refugee, Tenzin Tsundue is based in Dharamshala, from where he writes and works for the cause of Tibet’s independence.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/south/free-tibet-activist-tsundue-arrested-before-modi-xi-summit-in-tamil-nadu/story-q78fBvZ0hfuteOlSSqGdPJ.html