Monday, 31 August, 2009

GANDHI, NEHRU, PATEL FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR PARTITION AND BLOODSHED


GANDHI, NEHRU, PATEL FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR PARTITION AND BLOODSHED

KANWARPAL SINGH, DAL KHALSA
Amritsar Sahib - The Dal Khalsa today squarely blamed so-called Founder of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and first home minister Vallabhbhai Patel for India's partition and the aftermath bloodshed in which almost a million were slaughtered in cold blood.
In a hard hitting the leaders of the Sikh group namely H S Dhami and Kanwarpal Singh hailed Jaswant Singh for providing an opportunity "to discover the real culprits that were responsible for the partition". They took exception on the sacking of Jaswant Singh from the BJP and termed it a reflection of the rising intolerance within India in general and Hindutva forces in particular.
However, going beyond they alleged that Jaswant Singh's book has stopped short of unfolding the bitter fact that V. Patel was (indirectly) fully responsible for the killings of thousands of innocent Muslims on this side as being the Home Minister he failed to prevent the bloodshed.
Coming down heavily on troika, they said all three knew in their guts that a large population of Muslims would be the biggest hindrance in converting India into a Hindu state. Due to vested interests, the troika deliberately sowed the seeds of partition to get rid of huge chunk of Muslims so as to make India preponderant of Hindus. Portraying M. A. Jinnah as a villain in India for partition was also the brainchild of the troika, they added.
Holding the troika fully responsible for the partition and the bloodshed that took lives of million innocent Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, they urged the Indian Parliament to bring all the three on trial posthumously to ascertain the truth.

Sunday, 30 August, 2009

SGPC ‘violating hukamnamas’


SGPC ‘violating hukamnamas’

Published by Azaad
Amritsar, Punjab: Veteran Akali leader and member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Manjit Singh Calcutta has created a flutter within the Akali circles and outside as well by accusing the SGPC management of “violation of hukamnamas” issued by Akal Takht from time to time.
Calcutta has sought to highlight the sensitive issue of alleged violation of Akal Takht “hukamnamas” by successive presidents of the SGPC and its management citing a couple of cases in his “open letter” addressed to the Akal Takht Jathedar. “On one hand, all of us treat ‘hukamnamas’ issued from the Takht as an ‘order of the Almighty’ and on the other hand, the SGPC itself was violating these edicts which leaves the Sikh sangat perplexed,” alleged Calcutta. SGPC chief Avtar Singh was, however, not available for comments despite repeated efforts.
Calcutta further said that in March 2000, armed with the consent of “Five Sikhs,” Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti had ordered the SGPC to make an effort to frame rules regarding service, appointment and superannuation of Akal Takht Jathedars. For this, then SGPC chief late Gurcharan Singh Tohra had formed a committee under the leadership of Bhai Jasbir Singh Khannewale to accomplish the task. Ironically, the SGPC revoked the committee within days of the death of Tohra.
Similarly, in 2008, Dal Khalsa initiated the project and formed a committee which had a brief to accomplish its job by April 2010. “Here, too, the effort was criticised by SGPC chief Avtar Singh, whereas the task and effort needed a pat,” said Calcutta.“Take the case of the Dera Sacha Sauda case. The dera head had left bruises on hearts of millions of Sikhs by wearing the attire of Guru Gobind Singh. At this, the Takht Jathedar issued a ‘hukamnama’ on may 17, 2007, directing the Sikhs to get the deras closed and to effect social boycott of dera followers. But the government, which dubs itself as an Akali government, preferred to put protesting Sikhs in jails and the SGPC chief remained a mute spectator. In 2009, after getting dera supporters’ votes in the 2009 byelections, this Akali government ordered its DGP to provide security cover to deras. This in itself is a clear violation of the Takht ‘hukamnama’”. In 2007, Vedanti had pointed out that the Shiromani Akali Dal should remove the middle “Akali” word from the party name as it had declared itself to be a secular party. “This ‘hukamnama’ too went unheeded,” said Calcutta.
Similarly, early this year, some Austrian Sikh followers had opposed the “gaddi pooja” of a “deradaar” in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib and they were subjected to atrocities. The Punjab government extended full government honours to the slain dera head and the SGPC went to the extent of holding a “path” for the peace of the soul of the deceased. But no effort was made to dig out the truth behind the entire episode. No committee was formed.

Did Sikh militancy ever die?


Did Sikh militancy ever die?

Manmeet Singh


LUDHIANA: Scrolling web pages never gives the impression that the Khalistani movement had ended in late 90s, when cops ostensibly controlled it claiming Punjab to be out of danger. Looking at videos and other web articles uploaded and hit by surfers regularly, it appears that militancy had just shifted its base from the physical world to web world. All through these years, a section of the Sikh youth had been passionately flaunting pictures and quotations of the militant leaders, especially Jarnail Singh Bhindrawala, on their T-shirts and motorbikes. To corroborate web presence of militancy are the sporadic incidents that have occurred in first decade of the new century, the time when police officials and politicians were very sure that militancy had been wiped out. With the recent arrest of Balbir Singh Bhootna and the trail leading to various other arrests, people have once again started speculating that militancy in state was reviving. Going through the streets, one can easily find youngsters wearing clothes carrying insignia of the movement. Even on Saturday, a player at a cricket match in city was spotted wearing T-shirt painted with a provocative statement of Bhindrawala, sufficient enough to justify armed struggle. “What’s wrong in wearing it, it’s not banned,” commented the youngster, as he seemingly related himself to the movement. Moreover, an inspection of the university hostels would easily reveal that separatist idea still fancies the tender minds. A university boarder in whose room was spotted the posters of Bhindrawala, strongly advocated the struggle of the 80s. “The web is flooded with videos and articles in favour of Khalistan. Search for keyword ‘Bhindrawala’ and over 50,000 results get displayed. Search for ‘Khalistan’ and there are over two lakh results,” said Satinderjit Singh Bal, owner of an outsourcing agency, for a world famous search engine. He said popularity of the stuff can be assessed from hits these videos get daily. “Some of the videos are watched by 100 viewers daily,” said Singh. Box: After evidence emerged of the involvement of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Mumbai terror attacks, India has brought up the list again, making it a test case for the Pakistan establishment to prove its much-vaunted anti-terror credentials. The list carries the names of 20 individuals India wants Pakistan to extradite. Apart from some known leaders of LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), the list also carries the names of five Indian Sikhs belonging to the separatist Khalistani movement

Saturday, 29 August, 2009

Suspected Khalistan Terrorists Plotted to Kill Punjab CM


India - Suspected Khalistan Terrorists Plotted to Kill Punjab CM
Does Khalistan terror days come back to haunt Indian state Punjab again? A suspected Khalistan terrorist who was arrested after information provided by another one arrested after a gunfight with Police from Punjab's Ludhiana railwas station allegedly was plotting to kill the Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal.
Canada might remember the Khalistan terrorists for their alleged involvement in the bombing of Air India flight 182 (Kanishka) that exploded mid-air in Irish airspace , killing 329 ( including 280 Canadians and 22 Indians) passengers on June 23, 1985. This incident is the biggest mass murder in Canadian history.

Suspected militant held for plotting to kill Punjab CM



Suspected militant held for plotting to kill Punjab CM

Ludhiana, Aug 27 (PTI) Police today arrested a suspected militant here for allegedly plotting to kill Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal.Daljit Singh Bittu, who was involved in the Khalistan movement of 1980s, was arrested from his house following information provided by suspected terrorist Balbir Singh Bhutna, police said.Bhutna was nabbed at Ludhiana railway station on Tuesday after a shootout in which one person was killed and two policemen were seriously injured.During investigation, Bhutana had disclosed that they had plans to kill the Punjab Chief Minister and his son, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister of the state.Bittu is president of the Akali Dal (Amritsar- Panjpradhani), a party which he floated after his release from jail.

Thursday, 27 August, 2009

BOLLYWOOD MAKES TURBANS


Bollywood makes turbans, beards appealing to Sikh youth
Punjab Newsline Network
Chandigarh: Bollywood's newest trend to go in for turbaned and bearded heroes is to the liking of Sikh religious leaders, who feel it is helping popularise the look and preventing young Sikhs from getting their hair cut.
Even the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex Sikh body, is happy at the portrayal even though some of the films have run into small controversies with the community.
Top male actors Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan and now Saif Ali Khan have played Sikh characters in recent Hindi films. Young actor Ranbir Kapoor, whose mother Neetu Singh comes from a Sikh family, will follow suit soon in Shimit Amin's "Rocket Singh".
SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar told "Sikhs have earned name and fame all across the world in almost all the fields like sports, politics, cinema and business. It is all due to their enterprising nature, right attitude, hard work and honesty.
"Bollywood is just trying to cash on the image of a complete Sikh with beard and turban on his head. They are doing it to earn professional gains but we are happy. Now we want them to use real Sikh characters on the screen, someone who actually sports a turban and beard."
The Sikh religion makes it mandatory for Sikh males to have the five 'Ks' -- 'Kada' (steel bangle), 'kirpan' (small dagger for defence), 'kesh' (long hair), 'kanga' (comb) and 'kachha' (short breeches/long under-garment).
"The portrayal (of Sikh heroes) has proved that Sikh men (with turban and beard) look very good. Otherwise, Bollywood directors and heroes wouldn't have taken this risk. Sikh youths are now less inclined to get their hair cut. The portrayal in films has helped them re-discover their identity," pointed out Harmehtab Singh, a college student here.
The Sikh religion, founded by first Sikh guru Nanak Dev in the 15th century, is one of the youngest and most progressive religions in the world.
In Punjab, there used to be a trend among Hindu families to make the eldest son follow Sikhism.
Saif's first home-production "Love Aaj Kal",shows him as a turbaned and bearded Sikh.
One of the biggest blockbusters of recent years "Singh is Kinng" had Akshay Kumar as a turbaned Sikh protagonist throughout the film. Some Sikh bodies though did object to the way his beard was cut in the film.
Makkar felt that the election of Manmohan Singh as prime minister had also popularised the Sikh image.
"The election of a Sikh prime minister has given much-needed impetus to boost the image of a turbaned Sikh. Not only this, we have many turbaned Sikhs at senior positions in the government of the US, Britain and other developed countries," he added.
Salman recently played the role of a brave Sikh soldier in "Heroes" but the film did not do too well.
Actor Sunny Deol - who comes from a Sikh family but like his actor father Dharmendra and brother Bobby Deol has shorn hair - had acted as a Sikh hero in two Hindi films, "Gadar - Ek Prem Katha" and "Jo Bole So Nihal", a few years ago.
Shah Rukh Khan-starrer super-hit film "Main Hoon Na" had actor Kabir Bedi playing the role of a Sikh army general. Ajay Devgun also donned a turban to play the character of Bhagat Singh as a Sikh in "The legend of Bhagat Singh".
Mumbai-born Sikh youth Jaspal Singh Sehgal showed that the turban and beard were no impediment when he became the first runner-up in the Grasim Mr India contest in 2002. His win initiated a new wave among Sikh youth, especially in Sikh-community dominated Punjab, to sport a turban and beard.
"The presence of a Punjabi character makes Bollywood movie more cosmopolitan. Due to the presence of a large Punjabi diaspora in America and Europe, movies with Punjabi flavour are easily acceptable among them," Manmohan Singh, a prominent Punjabi filmmaker and an accomplished Bollywood cinematographer.
"In fact, I am also thinking of making a Hindi film with a Sikh central character in the near future. Earlier, we had seen that a turbaned character is portrayed in a comical sense to add some humour to the movie, but now audiences have started taking it seriously," said Singh, a director who is credited with modernising Punjabi cinema.
Singh has made successful Punjabi films like "Jee Aayian Nu", "Asan Nun Maan Watna Da", "Yaran Nal Bahran", "Dil Apna Punjabi", "Miti Wajan Mardi" and "Munde UK De". He is known for highlighting various issues -- from immigration to trans-continental love -- through his narratives.
Earlier, portrayal of Sikhs in films was mostly for comical situations. Sikh comedians Jaspal Bhatti and Gurpreet Ghuggi have been featured in Hindi films in comic roles.

Wednesday, 26 August, 2009

August 28 to be holiday in Punjab on account of Sri Chand anniversary


August 28 to be holiday in Punjab on account of Sri Chand anniversary
Punjab Newsline Network
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Government has decided to declare August 28, 2009 (Friday) as gazetted holiday on the birth anniversary of Baba Sri Chand Ji instead of September 9, 2009 (Wednesday) as announced earlier.
According to a spokesman of the Chief Minister's office the decision to this effect had been taken by the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal after considering a representation made by the decedents and the followers of Baba Sri Chand Ji to observe August 28 as birth anniversary of Baba Sri Chand Ji instead of September 09. The spokesman further informed that all the Govt. Offices, Educational Institutions, Corporations and boards throughout the State would remain close on August 28, 2009

SGPC honours sacked head granthi on retirement


SGPC honours sacked head granthi on retirement

Published on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 by Azaad
Punjab: The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) here today honoured the sacked additional head granthi of the Golden Temple at Akal Takht on his retirement.
Acting head granthi Giani Jaswinder Singh and SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar honoured Giani Mohan Singh, one of the oldest employees of the SGPC, by presenting him a siropa, shawl, plaque and Rs 11,000 in cash. Giani Mohan Singh offered the reward money to the SGPC for organising langar.
Earlier, Giani Mohan Singh, who had also served as Jathedar of Akal Takht for a brief period, was sacked from the post of additional head granthi of Harmandar Sahib for celebrating the golden jubilee of his wedding in violation of the Sikh code on June 25. He was asked not to perform ‘rehras’ (daily evening prayer) by acting head granthi Giani Jaswinder Singh.
Earlier too he was removed as head granthi when he refused to accept the post of Jathedar of Akal Takht on December 9, 2000, after the removal of Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar.
Praising services of Giani Mohan Singh, Giani Jaswinder Singh prayed for his good health.
Giani Mohan Singh had joined as granthi at Sri Keshgarh Sahib in September 1964 and also served at Fatehgarh Sahib and Dukhniwaran Sahib gurdwaras in Patiala and was promoted head granthi in Patiala in 1973. Later, he was transferred to Amritsar as granthi in August 1978 and promoted head granthi of Harmandar Sahib in 1988. He was given extension in service after retirement.

Tuesday, 25 August, 2009

DIABETES,HEARTH DISEASES ON RISE IN PUNJAB


Diabetes, hearth diseases on rise in Punjab: Doctors
Punjab Newsline Network
LUDHIANA: Punjab reports a very high incidence of diabetes, high blood cholesterol level and obesity. These, in turn, manifest as cardiac problems,” Dr RP Singh, senior consultant cardiologist, SPS Apollo Hospitals, said on Sunday.
He was addressing the participants at the National Cardiology Update - 2009. Dr BC Roy, laureate, and Dr Mathew Samuel Kalarickal, Father of Interventional Cardiology in India, was the chief guest.
There was live demonstration and telecast of four interventional cases from SPS Apollo Hospital under the expert guidance of Dr Kalarickal, which evoked good response from the participants. More than 400 doctors from all over Punjab were witness to the entire process.
According to Dr Chetan Sharma, senior consultant cardiologist, heart disease is the leading cause of death globally killing about 7.1 million people each year. “India is expected to account for nearly 60 per cent of the global heart ailments by 2010. Fatty deposits that harden and block arteries, high blood pressure, which damages blood vessels, and a few other factors, cause heart disease he added.
Physicians and cardiologists observed that Indians had more common involvement at younger age with smaller coronary arteries; diffuse distal disease, multi-vessel disease and higher incidence in women. Unhealthy lifestyle and bad eating habits are making the situation more worse.”
Focusing on poor medical care in rural and remote areas, the conclave recognised that people with heart disease in rural Punjab received slower care than people in main cities and were more likely to die.
The doctors painted a picture of heart attack patients heading to hospitals in rickshaws rather than ambulances, and paying for the treatments out of their own pockets because of ignorance regarding health insurance.
In his address, Dr Manmohan Singh, President, Punjab Medical Council, commented that the benefits of addressing the root cause of heart disease in Punjab, such as threatening levels of body fat, high cholesterol and blood pressure, along with low intake of fruits and vegetables, together with change in the lifestyle, would be immense in terms of number of lives saved, mostly among young and middle-aged persons.

Monday, 24 August, 2009

Turban image in Bollywood film upsets Sikh people


Turban image in Bollywood film upsets Sikh peopleJagmohan Singh

Bollywood has done it again. As if the films in the genre of Jo Bole So Nihal (which despite the protests of the Sikh community, continues to be shown on the small screen on different channels) were not enough, films like Love Aaj Kal, Raja Hindustani, Mohabattein, Badal, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and others continue to take Sikhs non-seriously. Sikh anger is growing, but neither Bollywood producers and directors nor the Central Board of Film Certification has taken this with the seriousness it deserves.
The writer of open letters makes a fervent appeal to the leading film production company of Bollywood –Yashraj Films and the Censor Board to take immediate action in consultation with Sikh bodies.
Copies of this letter have been sent to Yashraj Films by email at helpdesk@yashrajfilms.com and to Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting at jsp.inb@sb.nic.in. As the Central Board of Film Certification of India website is not working, a copy of the letter has been sent by mail. Readers are encouraged to write similar letters at both the addresses to ensure corrective action.

The DirectorsYashraj Films Private Limited5, Shah Industrial Estate Veera Desai RoadAndheri (West), Mumbai 400 053
Gentlemen:
Greetings in the Name of God, the light of every soul.
As if male actors were not enough to mock at the Sikhs, you now have a female actor to tar the Sikh image. Scenes and sequences from your latest movie seem to suggest that you are doing with a vengeance. I have browsed through whatever is available online on the internet and on television regarding your forthcoming movie -Dil Bole Hadippa and I have to say that the use of imagery and icons has been done cursorily and derogatorily. It is highly offensive to the devout for those who hold the religious way of life and tradition as a higher ideal.
Bollywood has been using names of God and script about God in a rather agnostic or atheistic manner and all this has been only “tolerable” not “acceptable and tolerable”. For Bollywood, with respect to Sikhs, freedom of expression has been license to poke fun at their attire, their intellect, their language and their community consciousness.
I have a hunch that there may be many more scenes in the whole movie which may raise our hackles and annoy us, but from what I have seen so far, I take strong objection to the following:
1. The use of the Sikh small turban –Keski as a dot on top of the alphabet i of Hadippa, both in the posters as well as the promo is simply shocking. The manner in which instead of the dot, the Keski –the small turban comes and rests on the alphabet I in an animated manner is disgusting. Do the producer and the director and all those involved with the movie remember the dot busters of USA of the late eighties and earlier nineties? Has Yashraj films and the promotional companies taken into account the impact of such imagery? If not, how does it propose to address this prior to the release of the movie? Is it a sinister move to make Sikhs the target as were the dot wearing Indians in the US at that point of time? To do this in a year, when Sikhs are commemorating the daylight murder of more than 3000 Sikhs in the capital city of Delhi is rubbing salt on our wounds. Sikhs, particularly young Sikhs are seething with anger at this kind of portrayal, and are highly perturbed.
2. The lead actor Rani Mukherjee is casually dressed as a Sikh and her whole character is stereotyping of the Sikh image so far held by Bollywood –“strong but foolish”. Why is this so? Do the makers of the movie realize that it is a Sikh face that is running India?
3. The promotional video of the movie on the internet very caustically says that Dil Bole Hadippa is “a tale of turbans, twists and tricks”. Could you not think of a more perverse way to trivialize the Sikh turban?
4. The interspersion of the display of Gatka with semi-nude Indian actresses during song sequences is nothing but blasphemy.
This is all intolerable. Under the aegis of the Film Certification and Censor Board, you should approach the Sikh community organizations in Mumbai and elsewhere and take all the necessary steps to remove offensive posters and scenes before the release of the movie on 18 September 2009.
Before another Sikh character, Rocket Singh, also of Yashraj Films hits us in the face; it is time to ensure that the sixer of the female actor does not hit the Sikh community badly, for if it does, it is likely to boomerang on you as well.
I pray that better sense will prevail and immediate corrective action will be taken. I also hope that this will enable others in Bollywood to be more careful and learned while portraying Sikh characters.
Jagmohan SinghEditor-in-Chief, World Sikh Newswww.worldsikhnews.com
Jagmohan Singh is the editor of World Sikh News. He may be contacted at jswsneditor@gmail.com

Sunday, 23 August, 2009

Amarinder supports separate Sikh committee for Haryana


Amarinder supports separate Sikh committee for Haryana
Ludhiana: Fully supporting the Haryana government’s move to set up a separate committee for managing Sikh affairs in the State, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said the community there had the right to decide about its future.
Early this month, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had said that a separate body for Sikhs on the lines of SGPC would be set up in the State provided there were no legal hurdles. Later, he said a referendum would also be conducted to help Sikhs take a final call on the issue. Speaking to media persons after appearing in a local court here, Capt. Singh alleged that Akalis themselves earlier divided the Sikh community which has led to such a demand from Haryana Sikhs. PTI

Saturday, 22 August, 2009

Akal Takht tells Canadian Sikh group to explain


Akal Takht tells
Canadian Sikh group to explain

Published on Thursday, August 20, 2009 by Azaad
Vancouver, Canada: Akal Takht has directed members of one group of Sikhs of Canada to explain their “forging unity” after recent parleys in Surrey (Canada) with another group of Sikhs who were ex-communicated from the Sikh Panth for violating its 1997 edict prohibiting partaking of langar by Sikhs on and chairs.
Moderate Sikh leaders of Vancouver-based Ross Street gurdwara and hardliners controlling the Surrey’s Dashmesh Darbar gurdwara had met last month and had announced truce by over seven-point programme “in the larger interests of the Sikhs” .
Apart from deciding on separate Baisakhi processions on separate weekends in Surrey and Vancouver, the two sides had stipulated the “common unity programme” was to resolve issues like gang violence, dera culture and drug menace in the Sikhs .
The meeting of the hardliners and moderates following decades of “ideological differences” and subsequent “truce”, however, had splinter groups alleging the leaders of the two groups had agreed to join forces to achieve “opportunistic goals” and woo more donations.
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, sources pointed out, had asked leaders of one of one group, backing the 1997 Akal Takht edict over langar issue till recently, to explain if its meeting with any or all ex-communicated leaders.
The letter seeking explanation of persons, who had been supporting the 1997 edict so far, has reached Vancouver and hardliners, it was learnt, were busy to find out an “acceptable” explanation. Reply to the explanation was expected to be sent to the Jathedar, on US tour, in a week or so, said one of his aides.
On the complaints of certain Sikhs, then Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh had ex-communicated Sikh leaders, Kashmir Singh Dhaliwal, Jarnail Singh Bhandal, then president of the Ross Street Sikh Temple, Giani Harkirat Singh, Balwant Singh Gill and Tara Singh Hayer, a Vancouver-based journalist who, was later killed in Vancouver in 1998, for defying the edict barring Sikhs from partaking of langar by sitting on chairs.
These leaders, it was learnt, had supported old practice of a section of Canada-based Sikhs partaking of langar using tables and chair with explanation they were adhering to the practice since 1906 “much before the setting up of the SGPC” and owing to harsh weather prevailing in North America when central heating system was not so efficient.

Wednesday, 19 August, 2009

MR.SINGH INTERNATIONAL 2009


M R.SINGH INTERNATIONAL 2009
The Contest

1. The contest follows a unique selection criterion. The show will be similar to other such contests while there will be few additions/modifications keeping Sikh principles and tenets in mind. The contest will be initiated in different parts of India and the world. Entries will be called with advertisements in print and electronic media. APKF reserves full rights to reject or select any candidate on the basis of criteria. APKF can take a written test to scrutinize, if need arises.

2. Hierarchy of selection procedure.


Auditions

Zo
nal Contests

Pre Final

Final

Zonal contest


The criteria of selection in the zonal contest will be as follows:

Rounds:

There will be six rounds in total. Each round will comprise maximum of 10 marks. The total score will be marked out of 60.

1. General ability.
2. Gurmat awareness.
3. Dress sense.
4. Physique.
5. Ramp walk.
6. Stage performance.

Best Turban, Photogenic face, Best Physique, Best Performing art and Gurmat awareness awards will be awarded in each zone. These awards can be given to any participant within or apart from the Pre-finalists.

For Foreign Participants


Selected contestants (through applications) from foreign countries will be called directly for Zonal contest specially designed for them. This contest will be held two days before the Pre-Final.


Pre final show

Rounds:

There will be a written test before the 7 rounds of the Pre-final. These 7 rounds will be as follows:


1. Sikh traditional dress round.
2. Groom dress round.
3. Casual dress round.
4. Presentation by participants (based on their hobbies and interests).
5. Gurmat questions.
6. General ability questions.
7. Physique (Black Pant & Sleeveless Black vest)

20 candidates will make it to the final
contest.

The Grand Finale

The city of Amritsar – Blessed by the Sikh Gurus, plays host to The Grand Finale. Eminent Personalities from all walks of life - religion, Industry, film, fashion and literature etc. will be called to judge the contest. This show will also include socio-religious dramas and entertainment programs.

Final selection

The winners will be conferred the following titles.

1. Mr. Singh International.
2. Mr. Singh International 1st runners up.
3. Mr. Singh international 2nd runners up.

In addition to the above, some more titles will also be awarded

1. Gurmat Awareness awa
rd.
2. Mr. Impressive Turban.
3. Mr. Best costume. (groom dress)
4. Mr. Photogenic face.
5. Mr. Best Sikh traditional dress.
6. Mr. Best performing art.
7. Mr. Best Physique.
8. Mr. Best Behaviour.
9. Mr. Best Smile.
10. Mr. Best Eyes.
11. Mr. Popular (By Voti
ng)

Since the selections will be based on Sikh principles and tenets, needless to say, they will be just and fair. This show will be aired live to the whole World and will be a fantastic opportunity for show casing and branding. Eminent Media and Film personalities will be invited to watch this unique spectacular show.

Considering the high disposable income and lavish life style of Sikhs, this show will provide tremendous opportunities for the participants to grab plum roles in Films and the Advertising & Marketing industries.

Eligibility conditions for the contest

1. Saabat Soorat Sikh boys from all over the world.
2. Age: 18 to 30 years.
3. Married/Unmarried.
4. Educated.
5. Minimum height: 5’8”. (relaxable in exceptional cases)
6. Good appearance and Physical fitness.
7. Should have good interests and hobbies. (like martial arts, Music, reading, writing skills)
8. Knowledge of Sikh history and Sikh principles.
9. General knowledge.

FOR INFORMATION WRITE TO turbanpride@apkf.net

Monday, 17 August, 2009

VARUN GANDHI PAYS OBEISANCE AT AMRITSAR GOLDEN TEMPLE


Varun Gandhi pays obeisance at Amritsar's Golden Temple

Amritsar, Dressed in white, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Varun Gandhi paid obeisance at the Golden Temple here on Sunday.
Recalling his childhood, Varun reminiscenced how he once visited the Golden Temple along with his mother (Maneka Gandhi) to participate in "Kar Sewa" (community service).Varun's mother Maneka is the daughter of Lieutenant Colonel T. Singh Anand and Amteshwar Anand. Her husband Sanjay Gandhi was the son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.Mentioning about his association with Punjab, Varun said: "There is special place in my heart for Punjab and the people of Punjab."Varun revealed that after winning the Lok Sabha elections, he wanted to seek the blessings of the "Darbar Sahib" (Golden Temple).Varun was accompanied by local BJP leaders including Mohan Lal, Baldev Raj Chawla, chairman of the Punjab's Water Supply and other local BJP cadre. After a meeting with local leaders at the Amritsar Circuit House, he left for Jalandhar to attend a seminar. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

Saturday, 15 August, 2009

INDIA OUT OF KHALISTAN


15 AUGUST, Sikha di Quarbani, Poster


INDIA OUT OF KHALISTAN

INDIA FREE KHALISTAN
SELF – DETERMINATION NOW !

KHALISTAN
ZINDABAD

Mail by
Dal Khalsa Alliance

Friday, 14 August, 2009

PAKISTAN INDEPENDENCE DAY



Pakistan Independence Day Supplement: 62 years of struggle and prosperity

Asif Ali Zardari

On this auspicious occasion of the 63rd Independence Day, I wish to compliment all Pakistanis living within the country and abroad.
Sixty-two years ago, on this day, a separate homeland was created wherein we could live in freedom and shape our lives according to our values. Today therefore is a watershed mark in the history of the country and an occasion for joy and celebrations.
Pakistan was envisaged by its Founding Father to be a homeland for the Muslims of South Asia where democracy, Constitutionalism and respect of human rights would reign supreme. It was envisaged to be a country where there would be no discrimination on the basis of creed, gender and sect and where minorities would enjoy equal rights as citizens of the state and fully in the mainstream of national life.
As we celebrate the Independence Day today we should also rededicate ourselves to uphold the principles for which Pakistan was created. At the same time we should also pause and ponder whether we have upheld those principles and values which we vow every year to uphold.
While there is much to rejoice and celebrate there are also areas and issues about which we must be concerned.
The mindset that increasingly preaches extremism, violence and militancy in the name of religion and which has been on the rise in the country is a direct negation of the values for which this country was created. This is an area of great concern to all of us.
It is a mindset that poses the greatest threat to the security and stability of the country that was founded on this day. The recent burning of the houses and acts of vandalism against the Christians in Gojra in the month of our independence is only a manifestation of this mindset. Let us therefore resolve to defeat this pernicious mindset that has promoted suicide bombings, beheading innocent people, torturing women and forcibly closing academies of learning.
Countless lives were sacrificed for the achievement of the dream that was Pakistan. The country's first directly elected Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto sacrificed his life for the ideals for which Pakistan was created. His daughter and the Muslim world's first women Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto laid down her life for saving the country from militancy and for the cause of democracy, free and fair elections and emancipation of the poor, downtrodden and dispossessed.
The Pakistan Peoples Party has a long history of struggle for the achievement of the objectives for which Pakistan was created. Four Bhuttos in two generations have laid down their lives for the country and the nation. Perhaps in no other country of the world can such an example of two successive party heads having sacrificed their lives be found easily.
I wish to reiterate that the PPP will continue to struggle for the vision of Quaid-e-Azam, Quaid-e-Awam and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for achieving the goal of a federal and democratic polity where rule of law and tolerance reigns supreme and from where militancy has been banished.
On the occasion I also wish to reiterate that the PPP which has given a manifesto of peace and prosperity, will pursue the goal of peace with honor and good neighborly relations with countries in the region. We will endeavor to give hope to the people through roti, kapra and makan and by providing them employment, education, energy and safe environment.
On the eve of this anniversary of our independence I also salute kissans (farmers), mazdoor (traders), teachers, doctors, intellectuals, students, women and minorities for their heroic struggle. I urge them all to support the party to restore law and order, end militancy and provide security and dignity to every citizen and open doors for them to knowledge and livelihood.
Let us on this day rededicate ourselves to the principles of democracy and human rights, to banishing dictatorship, militancy and extremism and to provide economic opportunities for all in the country and to peace in the region.
Asif Ali Zardari
President
Islamic Republic of Pakistan

DAL KHALSA COMMEMORATES 31 ANNIVERSARY



Dal Khalsa commemorates 31st anniversary
Punjab Newsline Network
'No compromise on Khalistan ideology'AMRITSAR: The Dal Khalsa marked its 31st anniversary on Thursday with a public proclamation that there was no question of its compromising on ‘Khalistan ideology’ and the desire of Khalsa rule was as important to the Dal Khalsa as the Hindutva was for the Hindus.
Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, president of the group after presiding over the delegate session in Amritsar, said while addressing the press conference, "under the present system, justice has been denied and our wounds were allowed to fester earlier and even in the present times”.

Pressing forth with their principled agenda of self-rule for Sikhs, he said that the ‘Sikhs were not happy in the country as they have not yet seen the much promised glow of freedom and were facing discriminations at all level in independent India’.

Earlier, members of the working committee and office bearers of the organization assembled at Akal Takht to express their "commitment to the cause of Sikh sovereignty and the re-establishment of Sarkar-e-Khalsa and performed Ardas for the well being (charhdi kala) of suspects of Vienna shootout who are under detention in Austria prison.

Commenting on the 62nd anniversary of country’s independence, the leaders made it clear that nothing short of the right of self-determination, including the right to secede, as accepted by Jawaharlal Nehru would be acceptable to the Sikh nation.

“We seek dignity and rule of law and fulfillment of all commitments –oral and written made by Indian leaders at the time of the partition”, said Dhami.

Mr Dhami who was flanked by party’s senior leaders including Satnam Singh, Dr Manjinder Singh and Kanwarpal Singh, demanded laws to curb the influx of Uttar Pradesh and Bhiari migrants into Punjab, a public inquisition into police excesses from 1984 to 1995 and stopping the flow of Punjab's rivers into non-riparian states.

To a question, Mr Dhami said the Dal Khalsa was not in politics just for the sake of getting votes. We have a nation-building responsibility”. Listing party’s priority’s he said the founders on this day 31 years ago have set out three objectives for the organization: to establish self-rule for Sikhs, to defeat the malafide designs of sects and cults that pose threat to the Guruship of Guru Granth Sahib and to oppose exploitation and persecution by the state”.
He said the struggle for justice and freedom is unstoppable. We will reach out to masses to promote greater awareness of the wrongs committed by the state and its forces with impunity.

Irked over the dilly-dallying approach of the SGPC to raise a memorial of Sikh martyrs of 1984 army operation, the Dal Khalsa hits out at the leadership of the SGPC for not ‘honouring’ its promise made on 20 Feb 2002 and putting dust in the eyes of the Sikh Sangat by shelving the project time and again.

In a another resolution the delegates criticizes the hordes of lumpen elements spreading mayhem, burning and looting public and private property in the wake of killing of self-styled Sant Rama Nand in Vienna. To commemorate the 23rd death anniversary of the Sikh stalwart, Bhai Sahib Sirdar Kapur Singh, the organization repeated its demand for the establishment of ‘Sirdar Kapur Singh Chair’ in any of the Universities of Punjab. Reminiscing the role and contribution of Sirdar Kapur Singh, they said the title of National Professor of Sikhism’ was bestowed on him by Akal Takht Sahib honouring his profound scholarship of Sikh religious thought and traditions and his clear espousal of the Sikh cause. Kanwar Pal Singh said it was a long desire of the Sikh people to get free passage to Kartarpur Sahib. But, the desire of Sikh people to have free access to their sacred religious place has not been fulfilled because of the bureaucratic wrangles and lack of will-power in country’s political leadership. The resolution demanded that citizens of both the countries be allowed to cross freely without passports and visas.

Thursday, 13 August, 2009

AKAL TAKHT JATHEDAR CONDEMNS MOVE FOR SEPARATE SGPC FOR HARYANA



Akal Takht Jathedar condemns move for separate SGPC for Haryana

JAGMOHAN SINGH
AMRITSAR: Jatehdar Akal Takht (highest Sikh Temporal seat) Gyani Gurbachan Singh condemned the Haryana Government for its proposal to set up separate Sikh Gurdwara Pharbandhak Committee to manage the Haryana based Gurdwaras.
In a hurriedly called press conference in the evening Akal Takht Jathedar said that separate HSGPC (Haryana based Sikh Gurdwara Pharbandhak Committee) was an attempt to divide Sikh community that would never be tolerated by the Sikh community.
Talking about the Vienna incident he said that SGPC should send its high level committee to probe the incident to bring out the truth as what were the reasons behind the attack on preachers.
Radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa has also demanded the Akal Takht and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) should send a joint fact-finding team to Vienna to probe the May shoot-out at a gurdwara there.
The Dal Khalsa has also submitted a memorandum to the Akal Takht jathedar and urged him to lend a legal support for the suspects of the Vienna incident.
Widespread violence erupted in Punjab following a bloody clash in the Vienna gurdwara May 24, where the top two leaders of the Dera Sach Khand sect, who are followers of Guru Ravidass and belong to the Dalit Sikh community, were attacked with knives and firearms.
While the sect head Niranjan Dass was injured seriously in the attack, his second in command, Sant Rama Nand Dass, died from gunshot wounds.
Meanwhile, the main entrance door (darshani deori) 0f Golden Temple (Harmandhar Sahib) would be given face lift due to its dilapidated conditions, informed jatehdar.

Wednesday, 12 August, 2009

Dal Khalsa urges apex Sikh body to probe Vienna shoot-out


Dal Khalsa urges apex Sikh body to probe Vienna shoot-out

Chandigarh, ) Radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa Tuesday demanded the Sikhs’ highest temporal body, the Akal Takht and Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) send a joint fact-finding team to Vienna to probe the May shoot-out at a gurdwara there.“We want them to send a team to Vienna to ascertain the reasons and circumstances that led to the shootout at the gurdwara,” Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh said.
The Dal Khalsa also submitted a memorandum to the Akal Takht jathedar (highest priest) and urged him to lend a legal support for the suspects of the Vienna incident.
“All the suspects have full right to defend themselves in a court of law and the jathedar should arrange a team of lawyers from Punjab and Europe to plead their case,” added Singh.
Widespread violence erupted in Punjab following a bloody clash in the Vienna gurdwara May 24, where the top two leaders of the Dera Sachh Khand sect, who are followers of Guru Ravidass and belong to the Dalit Sikh community, were attacked with knives and firearms.
While the sect head Niranjan Dass was injured seriously in the attack, his second in command, Sant Rama Nand Dass, died from gunshot wounds.

Monday, 10 August, 2009

SAKA 1984 DISCUSSED AT HARVARD


Saka 1984 discussed at Harvard University

BOSTON: At a function held at the world famous Harvard University regarding the 1984 attack by Indian forces on Sri Darbar Sahib, engaged analysis of the attack in historical and ideological paradigm was undertaken.
Young Sikh scholar Prabhsharandeep Singh said in order to present the correct picture of the 1984 tragic saka, it was essential to deeply analyze the Sikh history for the last 150 years and also to explore the so-called secular and democratic notions of the Indian establishment.
He said while the Indian government carried out the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib under the flimsy excuse that some people sheltered inside were a threat to the country's unity and integrity, the fact remains that the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, under which the Sikhs had been fighting their battle, made no demand or mention of separating from India.
The real reason behind this attack was the fundamental difference between the Indian establishment and the Sikh ideological position.
The foundation of the Indian establishment was also based on the same terrorizing thought process on which the British administration was based earlier. The Sikhs were the only power in the region which had posed the British a challenge they had to reckon with. Following the Partition in 1947, the Indian establishment started suppressing the Sikhs after adjudging them to be some sort of a threat.
That the entire country could have a process of state formation on linguistic basis that was denied to Punjab proves such a theorization.
The scholar said the 1984 attack was not just to suppress the political demands of the Sikhs but to end the unique and distinct identity of the quom.
The participants heard in rapt attention the three hour exchange of views and the lecture was followed by much discussion. Organised with the initiative of Tarunpreet Singh studying at Harvard, the function also saw a presentation on the 1984 Saka Akal Takht Sahib.

Sunday, 9 August, 2009

Sikh Sangat dwell upon Dera issue at joint meeting


Sikh Sangat dwell upon Dera issue at joint meeting

Published on Friday, August 7, 2009 by A Kaur
Jidda, Bathinda: Amid the ongoing Dera-Sikh row, various hardliner Sikh organisations assembled at a joint platform today and decided to launch a fresh move against the Dera Sacha Sauda sect.
Under the leadership of Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, the meeting, in the shape of a Diwan Hall, was arranged at village Jidda. The village was selected to mark their protest as the police had recently rounded up some Sikh women, who were going to oppose a Dera congregation in Jidda village.
Balwant Singh Nandgarh, while addressing the gathering, said, “If the state government does not control the police and stops shielding Dera followers who are anti-Sikh, peace in the state will collapse soon.”
Lashing out at the government, Nandgarh said, “It is our bad luck that the Sikh oriented ruling party has now adopted anti-Sikh policy just to secure Dera votes.”
Accusing the in-charge of CIA staff, Bathinda, of committing atrocities against Sikhs in false cases, Nandgarh said, “I declare that if that officer does not mend his ways, he will soon be shot dead by some ‘Real Sikh’.”
At the meeting, hardliners framed two committees. A five-member committee, which comprising Ajit Singh Bhangu, Niranjan Singh Premi, Rajinder Singh, Jatinder Singh and Charan Singh, is to investigate the role of the Sikhs arrested in connection with Dera follower Lily Kumar’s murder in Mansa. They will have dialogues with senior police officials.
The second committee of seven members would give a representation to the Akal Takht for issuing fresh edict (Hukumnama) against the Dera. Jasbir Singh Rode, Harnam Singh Khalsa, Karnail Singh Peer Mohammand and Gurcharan Singh have been appointed its members, while three more members are yet to be included.
Speaking about the committees, Nandgarh said, “We have formed committees as we have doubts that the police killed the Dera follower Lily Kumar just to book innocent Sikhs in the case. Further, the Akal Takht Jathedar had earlier asked us for a ceasefire on the condition of issuing a fresh Hukumnama against the Dera after Baisakhi, but it is too late now.”
At the meeting, among the hundreds of hardliners, Harnam Singh Khalsa, chief of the Damdami Taksal, Daljeet Singh Bittu, chief of SAD (Panch Pardhani), Baljeet Singh Daduwal of Sant Samaj, Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad, president of All India Sikh Students Federation, Harpal Cheema of Panch Pardhani, Gurdeep Singh Bathinda, Jatinder Singh, state president of Ek Noor Khalsa Fauj and Jasbir Singh Rode were the prominent figures.
It may be mentioned that despite being called on the stage, Daljeet Singh Bittu and Baljeet Singh Daduwal refused to address the gathering. However, many of the hardliners delivered blunt speeches against the state government, police and Dera Sacha Sauda.
It may be mentioned that all the roads leading to the village were cordoned off by the police that was present in large numbers. Check points had been set up at various places. Police officials even searched the vehicles of some of the hardliners moving towards the stage.

Saturday, 8 August, 2009

A country called Kashmir



A country called Kashmir
Jagmohan Singh

This is an image-essay. Experience Kashmir in the words of the editor of World Sikh News, who recently visited Kashmir. He is convinced that the rights of Kashmiris have been trampled brutally and there is a need for urgent positive international intervention.

Welcome to Kashmir. Welcome to the heaven on earth, as those living there and those who visit call it so.
As soon as we alighted from the Srinagar airport, I felt and realized that I was in a different land. I could see gun-toting security men in different colours and with a variety of guns all around.
The day I landed there, I saw a senior TV anchorperson of a well-known TV channel being whisked by a senior army person. I am not sure who was helping whom.
As soon as we left the airport, some hundreds of black-cat commandos in full fighting gear were present. All roads to the airport were dotted with policemen, para-military forces and Indian armed forces personnel. Kashmir was under siege.
Kashmir is a country where a huge number of Indian armed forces occupy every conceivable place –sometimes becoming sitting ducks for armed Kashmiri insurgents but more often splashing their Kalashnikovs and other modern weapons in fighting mode. They are visibly at war with the people of Kashmir.
The people of Kashmir live in a climate of fear compounded by global warming conditions resulting in a sweltering summer with scores of new shops in Srinagar selling fans and air-coolers.
A visit to the Sher-e-Kashmir Hospital in the heart of Srinagar tells me that it is a government hospital where patients fend for themselves. A good chunk of the hospital premises is under the control of the security forces. Entering the hospital is scary.
Before reaching the hospital, we were able to see two flags aflutter the Kashmir secretariat –one of India and one of Jammu and Kashmir, a clear indicator that this part of the world has had special status and deserves more attention than a mere law-and order approach.
It is only when you spend some time in what is wrongly called as “the valley” that you understand the full import of how Jammu and Ladakh are administered differently.
Politics in this part of the world is discussed either in hushed tones or in a fully agitated manner. Each Kashmiri –men, women and children are politically aware, conscious of their rights and above all –willing to die to have their homeland.

Politics in this part of the world is discussed either in hushed tones or in a fully agitated manner. Each Kashmiri is politically aware, conscious of his rights and above all, willing to die for his homeland.
Meet Saif (name changed for you never know). He is all but 9 years old. He was part of the sit-in protest demonstration at Shopian where two young ladies were sexually assaulted and then brutally murdered by so-far unidentified security forces. I asked him, “Why are you here?” He replied, “Kya?” I asked again, “Why have you come here? “Hamari Behn ko kyon mara –Why did they kill our sisters?” he retorted promptly. I probed further, “Who killed them?” Again, barely allowing me to complete my query, he said, “India ne –India killed my sisters.” I asked him, “What will you do when you grow up? That was the only question over which he thought for a while and said, “Teacher.” What he will teach is anybody’s guess. I will not be surprised if joins the ranks of stone-pelters, who have their own significant history in Kashmir. If any one has any doubts about how clear the Kashmir-India divide is, read this dialogue again.
The new government of the new youngest chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir is a “classic government.” The “charming good-faced chief minister” does all things in Bollywood style -whether it is of the hero variety or otherwise you have to judge. Prior to his melodramatic resignation, the faux-pas he committed in the Shopian case and then the acts of his administration are nothing short of a tin-pot little dictatorship –at the outset, the rape and murder case was dismissed as a drowning case. The most disgusting and sad part is that the government gynaecologist -Dr. Nighat who confirmed gangrape has been suspended! The CM allowed SP Javed Matto to say, “Aise Wakye to hothe hi rahten hain.” Not just that, in the name of investigation, the two sons of the lone witness in the case are in unlawful detention! Anyone in India who wants to defend rape by security forces to perpetuate Indian rule in Kashmir should do a rethink. If the hold of “nationalism” is still strong, then only God can help, just as it did to Ugandans under Idi Amin.
Participating in the pain of widows and orphans of the border village Dardpora was an experience which shook me to the heels. This village had witnessed 172 deaths, there were 125 widows and nearly 450 orphans and a non-existent state administration. The Pahari-speaking widows almost wanted us to stay there and look after them. I wish I could.
Somebody in Kashmir should soon write a treatise on how elections are obfuscated, how census figures are manipulated or even not done, how all work in Jammu and Kashmir is being done with 1981 as the census figures.
An activist at Dolipora, where another young student was brutally assaulted and killed in her own house, said, “The beauty of our womenfolk has become a curse.” Though I am a feminist at heart, I strongly advocate the use of pardah in Kashmir, till the army is pulled out from this internationally recognized disputed territory. I must however admit that I was deeply impressed by the bravery of Kashmiri women.
We also met the sister of Maqbool Butt in the remains of a hundred year old mud hut house, in which this father of the Kashmiri nationhood movement lived. She had been badly beaten up during the boycott of the recently held elections in Kashmir for propagating boycott. To every question about when the Kashmiri people would be free, she would look up to the sky and say, “Insha Allah”. There was a living hope in her eyes.
Kashmir is in a state of “bandh.” Perpetually. There is hardly any day when some part of this beautiful region is not closed in protest against some killing and harassment. Significantly, as a Sikh restaurant owner told us, “Kashmiris do not shy away from closure of work. They have no other means of protest and they cannot give this away.”
In present-day Kashmir, in many districts, the Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police live outside the main cities. The chief minister and ministers and members of the opposition live in garrisons. Passing by the roads where they lives virtually scares one to death.
As the Indian army is above law, due to many laws in existence like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Enemy Agent Ordinance (have you heard about this, I did not till I reached there) and many others about which the common man is unaware -natural resources –water, lands, apple orchards, forests –have been taken over. Even if you are not politically inclined, which is rare, you are at the mercy and ‘benevolence’ of the forces.
A visit to the Bar Association of Srinagar was enough to convince us more that the administration, police, politicians, security forces are all above the law in this country called Kashmir. A habeas corpus petition which should take hours to decide, takes a year. Contempt proceedings are unheard of. Judges don’t seem to judge at all. Suo-moto proceedings should be the norm, but there is no mention of this. Police chiefs shred orders of the courts in the face of the victims or their lawyers. Around a score of lawyers have been killed under mysterious circumstances. Lawyers are denied passports.
This country has Muslims, Kashmiri Pandits (who I am told consider them to be super-Brhamans), Sikhs and Christians. The government of India has been engaged in a relentless campaign to subvert the social balance, apparently to give the Kashmiri struggle a bad name. Kashmiri Pandits did not flee Kashmir on their own; they were made to flee in a state-sponsored programme. Pilgrimage to shrines and the numbers of pilgrims are bolstered to enhance the theory of peace in the region. Each shrine has units of security forces guarding them –some visible and some not. The minority Sikh community has no special status in this region despite losing thousands in the partition riots of 1947.
Kashmir is also a country where the leadership of the independence movement is divided in its approach as regards the road map towards their final destiny. Perhaps, they were being strategic, if so, good luck to them. Their clarity and determination was inspiring. Octogenarian Syed Geelani and young Yaseen Malik may have different approaches, but each one was clear of the goal and unwavering in their fortitude. Yaseen Malik was at his diplomatic best when he said these words at his non-descript house in Srinagar, where he was under a long house-arrest, “India and Pakistan must accommodate the aspirations of the people of Kashmir and the people and leadership of Kashmir will certainly take into account the concerns of India and Pakistan.”
Expressing gratitude to everyone who stands by Kashmiris in their present hours of crisis, Syed Ali Shah Geelani said, “We are grateful to all who support us, governments will continue to be tyrannical and we will continue our fight to the finish.”
In this land, the nomenclature of occupation has been widely used. Over the years, cease-fire line has become the line of control, plebiscite has been replaced with a weird definition of self-rule, UN resolutions have lost meaning altogether, the writ of the Supreme Court of India vis-à-vis detention, arrests, rights of prisoners, etc, does not apply here and any talk of it attracts rebuke and the present international intervention is changing according to the geo-political alignments in South Asia.
Strategically located Kashmir is now an occupied territory. Barbed wires aplenty separate Kashmir from India. It is time to recognize and implement the right to self determination of the people of Kashmir so that this heaven on earth which has been made hell by the occupying forces of India regains its lost glory.
Jagmohan Singh is editor of World Sikh News. He may be contacted at jsbigideas@gmail.com

Friday, 7 August, 2009

Plant saplings in memory of genocide victims


Plant saplings in memory of genocide victimsPublished on Wednesday, by J Singh
Amritsar, Punjab: Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Gurbachan Singh here today appealed about 50 Sikh families across the world to plant a sapling each in the memory of those killed in the 1984 Sikh Genocide following the death of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
He said it was a gesture to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the tragedy in which thousands of Sikhs lost their life. He planted five saplings in front of Langar Hall in the Golden Temple complex today.
The Jathedar said all local managing committees of gurdwaras had been directed to fetch saplings from the Golden Temple and Gurdwara Khadoor Sahib and distribute these among devotees.
The campaign has been launched

Thursday, 6 August, 2009

Radio Pakistan nostalgic about Khalistan movement


Radio Pakistan nostalgic about Khalistan movement

Abohar, The Punjabi Durbar programme of Radio Pakistan is still nostalgic about the ‘Khalistan’ which had many followers in the early eighties.
The assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the operations in the Golden Temple are looked on by them as highlights of the ‘Khalistan movement’.
People of Punjab have realised Pakistan’s role in promoting dissentions among the Sikhs and Hindus in Punjab. Elements in Pakistan played an active ole provoking people of Punjab in the early eighties.
“While Pakistan professes sympathy for Sikhs on one side, the Sikhs are being ill-treated in Pakistan. Jazia tax is imposed on the Sikhs. Many organizations in Abohar are collecting funds to make it possible for the Sikhs to pay Jazia. Pakistan radio and newspapers should first look at the condition of Sikhs in their country,” said Gurvinder Singh, General Secretary of Shri Guru Nanak Sewak Dal Simran Society.
“Dr. Manmohan Singh is the Prime Minister of India for past five years. Surjeet Singh Barnala is the Governor of Tamil Nadu and Montek Singh Ahluwalia is the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission. We should tell Pakistan that we can resolve issues here in our country. The Central Government is like a guardian for all the States in the country. People can ask for their rights from the Central Government,” Gurinder Singh added.
Radio Pakistan’s broadcasters are unaware that India already has a State dominated by Sikhs and Sikhs elsewhere are honoured citizens and the Punjabi culture is held in high respect.
The Punjabi culture is prevalent across the country, especially the north India where there are millions of Punjabi-speaking people. Be it any profession, Sikhs or Punjabi-speaking people can be everywhere. Their festivals like—Baisakhi, Lohri or Gurunanak Jayanti–are participated by people of other religions with great enthusiasm.
Pakistan Radio seems to be unaware that Indian Prime Minister is a Sikh, the deputy chairman of planning also happens to be a Sikh. Sardar Gyani Zailsingh was the President of India and General J.J.Singh, the Army chief. In fact Sikhs have occupied prime posts in the country.
It seems difficult to believe that Radio Pakistan is unaware about Sikhs facing a hard time in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Looking at the plight of Sikhs in Pakistan, one may ask whether the demand for a separate State for the Sikhs should be made in India or Pakistan!

Wednesday, 5 August, 2009

Punjab govt failed to protect honour of revenue official G.S.Benipal: Khaira



Punjab govt failed to protect honour of revenue official G.S.Benipal: Khaira
CHANDIGARH: Sukhpal Singh Khaira Congress MLA from Bholath Tuesday said that It was matter of great shame for Sikhs and Punjabi’s at large that a class I officer Maj. Retd. G.S. Benipal Tehsildar has chosen to attend office sans his turban.
In a statement here, Khaira said that SAD and its leadership which have been championing the cause of Sikhs and claim to be the sole representatives of the Sikhs across the world, should hang their heads in shame, to Benipal’s refusal to wear his turban till his self respect is restored. This step is not only a slap on the face of the Panthic’ Govt. but should serve as an eye opener to the SGPC and the Jathedar of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib.
He said tht Congress party feels it is meaningless to shed crocodile tears as is normally done by the SAD and SGPC leadership on issues like the French Govt. ban on the turban or the U.S. Army not allowing Sikhs to wear their headgear, while an Ex-army class I officer cannot save his turban in Punjab. The congress party had vociferously raised the issue of assault on Benipal in the just concluded budget session of the assembly which the state Govt. preferred to willfully ignore.
He added that Congress again reinforces its allegations of political mafia operating in Punjab with blessings of the Chief Minister’s family. In order to save this mafia and push the scandalous sale of fake stamp paper in Punjab under the wraps, Mr. Benipal was targeted and assaulted. Earlier we the congress had raised issue of complete take over of cable network, transport and sand trade in Punjab at the behest of the CM’s family to which the state govt. has no satisfactory answer and refuses to order a probe. Our allegations of all trades being cornered by the political mafia stand vindicated by the resolutions passed by executive committee of the BJP.
Therefore, now that the state govt. has utterly failed to live up to the aspirations of a self respecting Sikh like Maj. Retd. Benipal, I call upon the Jathedar Sahib of Sri Akal Takhat Giani Gurbachan Singh to take suo moto cognizance of Benipal’s insult and his refusal to wear his turban and punish the guilty. In case the Jathedar Sahib fails to react to this issue of pride of a turban, it would be presumed that the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs cannot act independently and is subservient to Badal.

Monday, 3 August, 2009

Bir survives suspicious fire at Khalsa school


Bir survives suspicious fire at Khalsa school
July 31st, 2009 by Gerry Bellett Source: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Vancouver+religious+school+consumed+suspicious+fire/1845059/story.html
VANCOUVER — Rina Kaur Chawla wept with relief Thursday and declared it a miracle when a fireman carried out the Guru Granth Sahib, unscathed from the ashes of a fire that destroyed Vancouver's Khalsa School and the small temple in which the Bir was lodged.
"It's totally intact. It's a miracle nothing happened to it. It's amazing it was saved," said Chawla.
The temple was located in a converted portable classroom, one of the six portables levelled by the fire, which police suspect was deliberately set at about 7 a.m.
Chawla is a former principal of the elementary school, which is located at 43rd Avenue and Prince Albert Street and has 155 students.
She had gathered with a group of devout Sikhs who had been fretting about the fate of the Bir.
They stood for hours across the street from the temple keeping watch as firefighters fought the blaze, afraid that the Bir had been consumed by the fire that had already destroyed the walls and roof of the temple, or by the high-pressure water being poured into it from an aerial ladder.
Deputy Fire Chief Tom McEwen said firefighters were made aware of the importance of the Bir to the Sikh community when they arrived on the scene.
Although the fire was still active and smoke and steam were rising in columns above the ruined school, a firefighter was sent into the destroyed temple and recovered the Bir just before 10:30 a.m.
He carried the Bir across the street and a Sikh priest dressed in white robes and a white turban spread a large white sheet on which which the Bir was placed.
The Bir was then wrapped in the sheet and the priest carried it on his head while the faithful followed behind, repeating prayers. He entered a car and was driven away with the Bir on his lap.
"He does his miracles," said Chawla. "That's the Guru's power. It's totally hard to believe it survived. That building was on fire; there were huge flames coming from it."
"We want to thank the firefighters, they've done an amazing job," she said.
As the Bir was being driven away, Vancouver police arson investigators and the fire department could be seen probing the edges of the ruined school, which was founded in 1986. It was the first Sikh religious school to be opened in B.C.
McEwen said arson was suspected because when firefighters arrived on the scene they saw the fire had spread throughout the portable classrooms.
(Sun photographer Ian Smith, who was on the scene shortly after the fire was reported, saw four distinct fires burning when he arrived.)
It was the second mysterious fire to occur in the school in recent times. In the summer of 2004, a fire damaged two portable classrooms.
Khalsa School principal Jasbir Bhatia arrived at the scene at about 8 a.m. to find his school engulfed in flames.
"Thanks be to God that no lives were lost," Bhatia said.
He said the fire looked suspicious.
"I'm shocked, but we have to leave it to the investigators to find out what happened. We will cooperate fully with the fire department and the police," Bhatia said.
He was at a loss to say what would happen to the 155 children enrolled for classes in September.
"Right now I'm emotionally disturbed by what's happened," he said, looking at the charred beams and collapsed roofs, all that was left of his school.
"We will sit down and plan some line of action, but right now I can't comment. It's too disturbing," he said.
The portables were leased to the school by the Vancouver school district. Firefighters managed to save one portable and kept the blaze from spreading to nearby South Hill School, which is separated from the Khalsa School by a six-metre lane.
Former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh — now MP for Vancouver South — came over from his constituency office a few blocks from the school.
"This is a huge setback for people who send their children to the school," Dosanjh said. "I understand arson is suspected and if that's the case, I hope the police catch the culprits."

Sunday, 2 August, 2009

Hawara's Wife, Three Others Sentenced to Five Years in Prison


Hawara's Wife, Three Others Sentenced to Five Years in Prison
Panthic Weekly News Bureau
PATIALA, Punjab (KP)—This past week, a local fast track court based in Sangrur decided a crucial case that has been pending for over four years. The court ruling was delivered in the case of Bibi Balwinder Kaur and Baba Sukhdev Singh of Haryana along with two other Gursikhs alleged to have affiliations with Babbar Khalsa (India) Jathedar Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara.The court ruling earned outrage from Sikhs across Punjab, but sangat’s delayed reaction and losing interest in the case made it easier for the court to rule in favor of the Punjab Police. Initially after the arrest of Bibi Balwinder Kaur and others in this case, several Sikh organizations had taken a strong stand against the atrocities of the Punjab Police, but with thanks to the much delayed ruling, the general public of Punjab diverted its attention from this case.The court session was brief and Additional Sessions Judge Baljinder Sidhu announced the sentence. Bibi Balwinder Kaur, Baba Sukhdev Singh, Pargat Singh and Amarjeet Singh were sentenced to five years imprisonment for allegedly carrying explosives. Pargat Singh of Sujadpur and Amarjit Singh were arrested along with Bibi Balwinder Kaur from Dhuri village in Sangrur on June 19, 2005.

Balwinder Kaur married Hawara in 2005 without knowing of his background.Background
Bibi Balwinder Kaur, who originates from Dohai Village in Sangrur, Patiala had married Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara without knowing of his background. The marriage took place after Hawara escaped from the high security Burail Jail in Chandigarh.Sukhdev Singh was also arrested in relation to Hawara’s wedding. He was alleged to be an associate of Hawara who organized his wedding with Balwinder Kaur. Similarly, Pargat Singh and Amarjeet Singh were arrested as they had attended the wedding. The police also played a well-planned game of planting illegal arms in the possession of these innocent Sikhs after their arrests.
In addition, the Police had also arrested the Granthi Singh of Gurdwara Sri Nankana Sahib, Sangrur who performed the anand karaj of Balwinder Kaur and Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara. Over time, different Sikh and human rights organizations have claimed that Bibi Balwinder Kaur had been mistreated by police. She had also filed a petition seeking release from jail on the basis of not knowing that she had married a Khalistani freedom fighter.

Saturday, 1 August, 2009

CRY FREEDOM: RETURN KASHMIR TO ITS PEOPLES



Cry Freedom: Return Kashmir to its Peoples

Members and activists of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners visited various parts of Kashmir between 24-28 July 2009. They included academics, civil rights and political activists, namely, Prof. S. A. R. Geelani (Vice President, CRPP), Prof. Sujato Bhadra (Vice President, CRPP), Prof. Amit Bhattacharya (General Secretary, CRPP), Prof. Ravindra Goel (Delhi University), Prof. Jagmohan Singh (Voices for Freedom), Shiv Nandan (civil rights activist), Kanwarpal Singh (Dal Khalsa) and Gopal Menon (documentary film maker). We present here the document officially released by the panel that includes the interim findings of the team and suggestions/demands.

Introduction:· To understand the historical and cultural roots of the Kashmir problem;
· To study and assess the ground realities of the life of the people of Kashmir -from the cities to the far-flung inaccessible areas;
· To engage with the families of victims of gross and systematic abuse of human rights by the security forces -police, para military and military;
· To gauge the extent of presence of the Indian armed forces and to measure the depth of impunity with which the Indian army operates throughout Kashmir, and
· To decipher the social, cultural, religious and political layers of the Indo-Kashmir conflict and on the basis of that understanding to suggest postulates for the resolution of the conflict,

Prof. Ravinder Goel (Delhi University), Kanwarpal Singh (Dal Khalsa), Prof. S.A.R. Geelani (CRPP), Jagmohan Singh (Voices for Freedom), Shiv Nandan (Civil Rights Activist, Kathua) addressing the media in Srinagar

THE SHOPIAN SHAME:Members of the team visited Shopian to confirm what was already common knowledge to every resident of the small town -that the young lady Niloufer and her sister-in-law Aaisa Jan were brutally assaulted, raped and killed.
We met the members of the family, the leaders of the Mushawarat Committee, the father of the two eye witnesses -Ghulam Mohinuddin Lone and Ghulam Ahmed Lone (who were later detained by the Special Investigation Team and are still in their illegal detention), members of the Bar Association, Srinagar and residents of the town. We visited the scene of the crime alongwith the father and cousin of the Niloufer and witnessed the spots from where the two women were abducted, raped and killed and from where their bodies were found. Each of the people who spoke to the team members repeated with tears in their eyes that the "men in uniform" committed the brutal act. They narrated to us as to how the SP of the area, Javed Iqbal Mattoo, conspired with a section of the doctors to destroy evidence, including forensic evidence, how he repeatedly threatened the women members of the victim family, how he dismissed the act by loudly repeating, "Aise wakye to hothe hi rahten hain".
People who saw on television, as did the team members were shocked to listen to the diatribe of the Inspector General of Police, the Divisional Commissioner, Srinagar and the state chief minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah shamelessly trying to dismiss it as a case of "drowning", knowing fully well that the water flowing in the stream where the bodies were found was not more than four to six inches deep. We learnt from the members of the Mushawarat Committee and Niloufer's father that the police is still attempting to shield the barbaric perpetrators and how the SP, who was arrested for destruction of evidence is not in a police lock-up but in the confines of a police officer's mess.
Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners demands immediate demilitarisation of Kashmir and restoration of the rights of the people in consonance with the aspirations of the people of Kashmir

The inhuman, bizarre and blatant flouting of all norms of decent human behaviour and political boldness to speak the truth is apparent, even to the blind eye.
Unmindful of the agony of the victims' family and uncaring of the peoples’ resistance and concern cutting across party lines and caring two hoots for deliverance of justice, the cover-up campaign is still on by the administration. People suspected and circumstances bear this out that in case the SP is released on bail and the government continues to admit the nature of the crime, these two murders (rather three, as Niloufer was on the family way) is likely to become yet another statistical addition to the long list of people who have been killed with impunity by the security forces in Kashmir.
To rub salt on the wounds of the families and to brazenly demonstrate the high-handedness of the state, the government of the youngest chief minister has suspended from service Dr. Nighat, who sincerely followed the Hippocrates Oath, did not buckle under police and government pressure and who in the second postmortem declared that the two women were brutally gangraped, while those doctors who connived with the police and spoke lies continue to enjoy the patronage of the state. Nothing can be more shameful.
The brutal assault and murder of Bibi Amima in Dolipora in the dead of night, in her own house by a security force personnel, who came there to commit the crime with cover from his colleagues of the same unit, is another case of increasing assaults on women in this disputed territory.
Such cases of rape and harassment of women are now new. They have happened in the past in Kanun Paushpora Kupwara, Chak Saiyadpora Shopian and many other places where civil society and even may be media is not aware of.
The Committee is of the view that the security forces are using Rape as a weapon to suppress the spirit of revolt and rebellion of the people of Kashmir and to exert their authority.
WHO RULES KASHMIR?Streets, Bridges, cultivable lands, mountain rangers, schools, hospitals, cinema halls, orchards, houses and all other places of habitat have been occupied by almost every denomination of the Indian army and other security forces. According to a media report, more than 40,000 acres of cultivable lands is under the control of various army and paramilitary units. At Trehgam we saw that the water resources of the town have been taken over by the army and clean drinking water is not available for the 17,000 odd inhabitants of the area. It is estimated that more than half a million gun-toting security men dot virtually every inch of the region. Kashmir is under seige. Every Kashmiri, conscious of his rights and even willing to die, lives in a climate of fear.
The Committee closely observed the slogans used by army units. Sample a few: 1. Respect All, Suspect All, 2. Be Alert Be Alive, 3. Fighting for You and 4. Relax with CRPF. Likewise the names of army and para military units too have been changed to browbeat the people. To show their prowess, we have units like the Rajwar Tigers. In the village Khaigam, the total number of inhabitants is less than 600, but there are four army units stationed in the area. The army units taunt men and women everyday, as the villagers had asked for their withdrawal. Clearly the nomenclature is meant to poison the minds of the people and to force their allegiance to the presence of the army in the region.
Civil administration is virtually non-existent and whatever is there is subservient to the Indian armed forces. The army in Kashmir is not in the "aid of civil administration" as is required by law but is actually at the mercy and beck and call of the deeply entrenched armed forces, who with the assistance of a plethora of draconian laws like Public Safety Act, Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Enemy Agent Ordinance and the like maim and kill with complete impunity. The newly elected government is merely a mask to shield and provide free run to the armed forces.
The daily movement of the troops in vast numbers from one part of the state to another as a public demonstration of power and authority of the army leaves nothing to the imagination as to who is running the affairs of this region. Political authority is totally under the jackboots of the army and the bureaucratic policy makers in Delhi who have abrogated to themselves the right to decide the fate of the people of Kashmir. Every maneouvre like the so-called "free and fair elections", the setting up of the toothless and near-absent State Human Rights Commission, the "turning of the blind eye" by the judiciary in the face of contempt of court by the police and the administration, the backtracking from the pre-election promises of release of political detenues and withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and other such laws by the incumbent chief minister, political talks without the participation of Kashmiri representatives, are all facades of democracy being enacted in this territory.
The armed forces continue to violate all Supreme Court directives, guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission and Geneva conventions to be followed in the event of an armed conflict.
DETENTION OF KASHMIRI LEADERS:To demonstrate the functioning of democracy, like the earlier experiments in Punjab and the North-east, it was "proudly announced" by political participants", political pundits from Delhi and the Union government in Delhi and their blue-eyed boy chief minister Mr. Omar Abdullah that all political prisoners will be released. He has done exactly the opposite. Unabashedly. Veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, JKLF leader Yasin Malik (since released after nearly four months of house arrest), Huriyat Chairperson Mirwaiz Omar Farooq (who too has been placed under house arrest for long) other political leaders like Shabir Shah, Naeem Khan, Asiya Andrabi, Masrat Alam, Mushtaq ul Islam, Ashraf Shahrai, Bilal Siddiqui and hundreds of others have been detained under preventive detention laws, particularly the Public Safety Act. Instead of releasing prisoners, the new state government has filled in prisons in Srinagar and Jammu and there are affidavits by the administration that "jails are overcrowded."
The Committee also learnt that in order to create rifts between one section of the leadership with the other, the government has resorted to the policy of divide and rule in a rather vicious way. Shabir Shah has been detained for the death of Sheikh Abdul Aziz, though the whole world knows that last year, this leader was killed in full public view in the presence of thousands of Kashmiri demonstrators by indiscriminate firing by the security forces.
WHITHER DUE PROCESS AND RULE OF LAW:From our interaction with jail authorities, who denied us permission to visit the Srinagar prison to assess the living conditions there and to meet the detenues and from our talks with members of the Srinagar Bar Association, we learnt that this region, with such heavy presence of security forces is invariably "short of security forces for escort vehicles" to transport detenues to and from judicial complexes.
We learnt that a habeas corpus petition, which should be normally heard and adjucicated upon in days takes not lesss than a year to be disposed off. We further learnt that many lawyers who were human rights defenders have been killed and many have been attacked during the last years. The functioning of the judiciary, which allows the impunity through sheer negligence or inefficiency or even pressure demonstrates that there is no "rule of law" in Kashmir.
SADHBAVNA -FOR WHOM and WHERE?Since long the Indian Armed Forces have been touting their Sadhbhavna approach towards the citizens of Kashmir. This kind of approach has been spoken by the new political establishment too. To find out more, we chose to go to the worst affected area which could have been a bench mark for this programme. We visited Dardpora village, which has the unfortunate distinction of living up to its name. It is indeed a village of pain with more than 150 widows and 450 orphans. A majority of the men have died at the hands of the security forces. We interacted with young and old widows whose pain and suffering has had no remorse and no rehabilitation package from the state. The Vocational Centre set up has no teachers and no investment has been made, there is no private school, the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan exists on paper and medical facilities are close to nil. Widows have been reduced to picking wood from the forests and begging.
THE KELLER KILLINGS: Members of the team visited Keller village and met the wife of the deceased. She told the team members unequivocally that the killings were because of a family feud and another member of the family had been killed in the past because of the same reason.
On the basis of our on the spot study, the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners,
1. demands that the Indian armed forces, various other kinds of para military forces like the CRPF, etc, should all be withdrawn without delay.
2. demands that all draconian laws should be repealed and withdrawn. The recommendations of the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee must be implemented and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act must be withdrawn.
3. denounces the detention of political leaders and seeks the immediate release of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Shah, Aiyaz Andrabi and others.
4. demands that the culprits in the Shopian case should be identified and arrested.
5. demands that the deliberate subversion of justice by denying escort facilities to undertrials must stop and there should be speedy trials of all accused as per Supreme Court guidelines and speedier disposal of habeas corpus petitions.
6. demands that all accused who have been shifted to prisons in Jammu and elsewhere must be transferred back to jails near their homes as per Supreme Court guidelines, pending the disposal of their cases.
7.The Committee For the Release of Political Prisoners is of the firm view that the rightful aspirations of the people of Kashmir should be respected and they should be given the free, fair and unfettered opportunity to express their desire through the universally accepted right to self-determination.
S. A. R. GeelaniVice PresidentCommittee For Release of Political Prisoners28 July 2009Srinagar