The Tribune – UP police to probe IG’s role in ‘freeing’ gangster

Tribune News Service

Lucknow, 20 September 2017. Uttar Pradesh’s ADGP (Law and Order) Anand Kumar will probe the alleged deal made by an IG of the UP Police to let go Nabha jailbreak accused Gurpreet Singh alias Gopi Ghanshyampura from police detention in Lucknow.

Amitabh Yash, IG, STF, was summoned by Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar. Speaking to the media, Yash denied the charge of any Punjab criminal being detained or released by the STF.

In a press statement, the STF said news in Punjab papers about Gurpreet being detained and released on payment were “imaginary”.

DGP Sulkhan Singh said the audio tape of the conversation about the alleged deal would be probed and taken as evidence, if required.

Earlier, in a statement on social media late last night, the Principal Secretary said: “A high-level inquiry headed by an ADGP-level officer has been ordered into the matter.”

He clarified that they had not received any written complaint from the Punjab Government. He said the government was acting on the basis of newspaper reports.

While Gurpreet was picked up from near a bus stand in Lucknow reportedly on September 10, the arrest was not shown on record either in UP or Punjab.

It was a Facebook message of his accomplice Harjinder Singh Bhullar alias Vicky Gounder, mentioning his arrest and release, that alerted the Punjab Police.

Late yesterday night, CM Yogi Adityanath summoned DGP Sulkhan Singh and the Principal Secretary after which the inquiry was ordered.

Sources said the deal to free Gurpreet from detention was reportedly negotiated by the said officer with three of his alleged collaborators in a Lucknow hotel.

The officer is said to have initially demanded Rs 1 crore, but the deal was struck at Rs 45 lakh after which Gurpreet was allowed to go.


The Tribune – Police reach Canada to extradite Jassi’s ‘killers’

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 17 September 2017. A three-member Punjab Police team has reached Vancouver, Canada, for the extradition of two prime accused in the Jassi honour killing case.

The team led by IPS officer Kanwardeep Kaur, posted as SP (Headquarters) in Patiala, would bring back Jassi’s mother Malkiat Kaur (62) and maternal uncle Surjit Singh Badesha (70) to face trial in India for the murder.

The extradition was made possible after the British Columbia Supreme Court ordered the extradition last week — 17 years after the murder.

Jassi and her husband Sukhwinder Singh Mithu of Kaunke Khosa village in Jagraon were attacked on June 8, 2000, near Malerkotla by contract killers allegedly hired by Jassi’s mother and uncle. Jassi died, while Mithu survived.

The police left for Canada last evening after Secretary (Home) Rahul Kumar gave the approval to bring back the accused.

The other members of the police team are Dhuri DSP Akashdeep Singh Aulakh and Inspector Deepinder Pal Singh. Surjit and Malkiat are booked under Sections 302, 307, 364, 148, 149 and 120-B of the IPC.

Jassi, a Canadian-born Indian girl, met Mithu when she visited her uncle in Punjab. It was love at first sight.

Mithu and Jassi belonged to the Sidhu clan, but Mithu’s socio-economic status was lower than the Jassi’s. A huge mansion of Badesha was next to a two-room house of Mithu in Kaunke Khosa.

Also, marriages within a village are mostly unapproved of. But Jassi insisted and married Mithu against the wishes of her family in March 2000.

The couple stayed at various places till 8 June 2000, when 14 contract killers waylaid them near Malerkotla.

The Tribune – Complaint against suspended AAP MP for sharing ‘objectionable video’ on WhatsApp

Ludhiana, 16 September 2017. A complaint has been filed with police against suspended AAP MP Harinder Singh Khalsa for allegedly uploading an “objectionable video” on a WhatsApp group through his official mobile number.

Khalsa, however, said he was in the UK when the video was posted on WhatsApp and his mobile phone was not with him at that time.

The complaint has been lodged with the Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Ludhiana range, Gursharan Singh Sandhu, by a social worker, Renu Sonia.

She said in her complaint that the video was uploaded in a WhatsApp group in which she was also a member.

She has sought action against the MP, said Satnam Singh Dhaliwal, president of the Universal Human Rights Organisation. Renu is a member the human rights body.

DIG Sandhu on Saturday said he had marked an inquiry in the case to Khanna SSP Navjot Singh Mahal.

Seventy-year-old Khalsa, MP from Fatehgarh Sahib, said he was in the UK when the alleged incident took place and the video might have got uploaded by a child. “I had left the mobile phone at my relative’s place where a child might have posted the video on the WhatsApp group,” he said. (PTI)

The Tribune – Evidence of gurdwara in Haridwar, says DSGMC

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, 14 September 2017. Delhi Sikh Management Gurdwara Committee (DSGMC) general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa said today that the surfacing of government documentary evidence of a gurdwara being there at Subash Ghat near Har ki Pauri would boost the campaign to reconstruct the historic Gurdwara Gyan Godri Sahib.

Sirsa said it had come to light that the Haridwar civic body record had shown an evidence of a gurdwara at Har ki Pauri. The municipal corporation record of 1935 depicted existence of the gurdwara.

Documents of the Bharat Scouts and Guides office also related to a gurdwara at the site. Surfacing of this evidence would boost campaign to reestablish the gurdwara sahib and the Sikh community would be thankful to all for its reconstruction when it was done.

He said Sikhs had been demanding handing over the piece of land as Guru Nanak Dev had visited Har ki Pauri where he meditated and gave sermons in 1504-05.

The Tribune – Indian-Americans provide relief materials post-Harvey

Houston, 11 September 2017. As residents of Texas began the process of restoring their homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey, Indian-Americans and their community organisations are also doing their bit by providing relief materials and working tirelessly to clean up the mess caused by the storm.

Nearly two weeks after Harvey made landfall in Texas, mounds of garbage, sheet-rock clusters, computer monitors and furniture still cover the sidewalks.

The efforts of government agencies, including the federal, state, county and city, police, coast guard, armed forces, Red Cross and others, have been phenomenal in saving lives and providing for the needs of those who got trapped in the hurricane.

However, the amount of destruction and devastation caused by Harvey needs a herculean effort to speed up the reconstruction work in the flooded neighbourhoods.

“Over the past two weeks, volunteers have already put in 23,100 hours of work towards various relief and rehabilitation projects and we have raised over $300,000 and the target is 1 million,” Gitesh Desai, president of Sewa in Houston, said.

“We plan to support rebuilding efforts of homes that need to be fixed through a public-private partnership with the US government agencies and many of the Indian American entrepreneurs in Houston,” he said.

As families start to move back into the houses, more than 800 volunteers of different Indian non-profit groups coordinated by Sewa International are helping people clean up the mess that catastrophic floods have left behind.

Worst affected are the poor and less privileged communities.

One such community that Sewa International worked with was the Cambodian Buddhist community in Houston.

Volunteers helped clean up more than 200 mobile homes and trailer homes belonging to the community members.

“Indo-American organisations have been leading fundraising efforts and are planning to contribute to Mayor’s Hurricane Relief and Governor’s Rebuild Texas funds in addition to contribution in kind exceeding $2 million already,” Jiten Agarwal, an IIT alumnus and founder of data analytics firm Expedien in Houston, said.

Indian restaurants have also opened up their kitchens to provide hot meals at various shelters.

“Houston restaurants served over 30,000 meals since the landfall,” said Dinesh Purohit, owner of Cafe India, that has been serving free food and supplies.

Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) is also reaching out to Small Business Administration (SBA) and plans to work closely with its District Director Tim Jeffcoat to organise seminars for business loans across the various areas in the region affected.

Achalesh Amar, leading the volunteer efforts in Rosharon, says: “We have committed to be here and help as long as it takes to get the community back on its feet”.

Swadesh Katoch, the director of disaster relief for Sewa International, also came from Atlanta to support the ground operations in Houston.

“Today I saw the true leadership of India as a global power. Working with the Cambodian community, I saw picture of Hanuman coming out of water on the wall of one of the Cambodian families.

These symbols of shared heritage tell the story of the global power that India was and we hope that we are all working towards the same positive global power that India will be,” he said.

SEWA International has set up medical camps for sick people. It is also providing construction supplies to support the massive cleanup operation in Houston.

IACCGH President Allen Richards through an animal rescue charity has helped rescue over 150 animals and distributed 30,000 pounds of pet food.

Volunteers also rescued 200 Indian students at University of Houston who were trapped on the top floor of their apartment building near campus when floods hit the building two weeks back, provided them food, essentials and moved them to safer shelters.

The ISKCON temple has been serving meals since the day Hurricane Harvey hit Houston.

The Sikh National Center received trucks of supplies for distribution from across the country from other Sikh communities, as far away as Yuba City, California.

In addition to providing cleaning supplies, toiletries, drinking water, shelf food and pet food, the Sikh community put in long hours to prepare meals to be distributed to the displaced families.

Gurdwara Saheb of South West Houston’s (GSSWH) Prithvipal Singh Likhari offered up to $25,000 in matching funds for all donations made to the hurricane relief fund.

“I think the real winner, the true silver lining in these storm clouds, is the human spirit. It’s unfortunate that it takes a disaster to bring us all together, but it is refreshing to know that the spirit of love and compassion is alive in us all,” said Mary, a Sugarland resident whose house was damaged completely. (PTI)

The Tribune – President asked to resolve Sikkim gurdwara row

New Delhi, 9 September 2017. Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa has sought the intervention of President Ram Nath Kovind to save the gurdwaras in Sikkim.

Sirsa, who met the President today, said Gurdwara Gurudongmar Sahib and Gurdwara Chungthang Sahib, both associated with Guru Nanak, were under threat as the Chungthang SDM had ordered verification of claims of encroachment and illegal construction.

He told Kovind that “saroop” of Guru Granth Sahib had been shifted from Gurdwara Gurudongmar Sahib by the administration. These incidents have hurt sentiments of Sikhs, said Sirsa, also an Akali MLA from Delhi. (TNS)

SGPC to amend record on Ram Rahim pardon

Patiala, 7 September 2017. The SGPC is planning to table a draft to amend its record regarding the controversial exoneration of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a blasphemy case.

SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar said that after discussing the case in the upcoming meeting of the interim committee, they would table the draft in the General House meeting scheduled in November.

The pardon resolution was put on record on September 29, 2015, amid a protest by some members. The resolution was passed “unanimously” a few days after the then five ‘high priests’* had issued a “gurmata” to pardon the dera chief.

Another Premi dies [bold]

Muktsar: A Dera Sacha Sauda follower from Satnam Nagar in Malout town today succumbed to his injuries sustained in the August 25 violence in Panchkula, taking the number of those killed from Muktsar district to four. Gurdeep (22) was hit in the head and was admitted to PGI, Chandigarh. (TNS)

* There are no priests in Sikhi ! Jathedars are leaders of jathas, these are jathedars without jatha and they should have no authority over the panth.
Man in Blue

The Tribune – US gurdwara vandalised with hate graffiti

One of the messages calls for ‘nuking’ Sikhs – Witness from New York films accused on cellphone

Washington, 6 September 2017. A gurdwara in the US state of California has been vandalised with hate messages scrawled on its walls, including one calling for “nuking” Sikhs.

The incident took place at the Vermont Gurdwara in Los Angeles, also known as the Hollywood Sikh Temple.

A witness confronted the vandal and caught him on cellphone footage walking away from the gurdwara’s wall without any explanation, NBC Los Angeles reported.

“I said I was going to call the police, at which point he said he felt threatened,” Karna Ray, the witness who filmed the vandalism, said. “He said, ‘I will slit your throat’.”

The Hollywood police were investigating the hate messages written on the side of the gurdwara.

Ray, who is from New York, was visiting a friend on Thursday when he saw the man writing long incoherent messages with a black maker on the pristine white wall of the gurdwara and started recording him with his cell phone.

He then uploaded the video on Facebook and received thousands of comments.

Ray was particularly disturbed by one of three separate passages calling for the “nuking” of Sikhs, according to Fox 11. According to a Facebook post by Ray, the vandal flashed a razor at him as he made his threat.

Ray said the hateful message left on the walls of the gurdwara counters everything the Sikh community stands for.
A member of the gurdwara hoped to invite the vandal to a service so he could experience what the community believes in.

“I would love to invite the person in the gurdwara, make him, show him what he is missing,” Sarab Gil was quoted as saying. Nirinjan Singh Khalsa of California’s Sikh Council is in close contact with the Los Angeles Police Department about the case.

“This particular incident isn’t a matter of swastikas and ‘go home, ragheads’, which we get sometimes. This seems to be a diatribe by someone who may or may not be mentally imbalanced,” Khalsa said. (PTI)

Vermont Gurdwara
1966 N Vermont Avenue
 Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

The Tribune – SGPC urges Centre to open Kartarpur corridor

Tribune News service

Sultanpur Lodhi, 4 September 2017. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Kirpal Singh Badungar has urged the Centre to initiate talks with Pakistan to open the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh devotees in 2019, when the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak would be celebrated.

“The move will defuse tension between the two countries and improve their ties. Lakhs of devotees visiting the Dera Baba Nanak shrine feel dejected that they have to pay obeisance from a distance (to the shrine in Pakistan),” he said in a meeting with SGPC officials here today.

“No time can be more favourable than the 550th year of Guru Nanak’s birth celebrations. If not on a permanent basis, the two counties can sign a temporary pact for the historic year,” Badungar said, adding that Sikh devotees and scholars not only from India, but also from abroad were expected to visit the state to commemorate the event.

In May, the parliamentary standing committee on external affairs had ruled out the construction of a corridor linking India with the historical Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.

The SGPC has formed a committee to mark the historic year.

The Tribune – DSGMC meets Rajnath on Sikkim Gurdwara row

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, 2 September 2017. A delegation of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) today called on Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh over a host of issues, including the threat of demolition of gurdwaras in Sikkim, imposition of GST on items for langar and ban on Sikh students wearing “kara” in competitive exams.

The leaders, including DSGMC chief Manjit Singh GK, general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa, former MP Tarlochan Singh, Akali Dal leader Kuldeep Singh Bhogal and former chairperson of Dharam Parchar Committee of DSGMC Paramjeet Singh Rana, sought Rajnath’s intervention.

They said the possible demolition/renovation of Gurdwara Gurudongmar Sahib and Gurdwara Chungthang Sahib by the authorities in Sikkim was hurting Sikh sentiments.

The DSGMC chief, who also wrote to PM Narendra Modi yesterday, disapproved of the Sikkim Government’s decision.

Sirsa said a DSGMC delegation would meet Sikkim CM Pawan Kumar Chamling tomorrow.