25th Anniversary of Paash – A Punjabi Poet who died for opposing Fanaticism #mustshare


SUNDAY, MARCH 24, 2013

The Most Dangerous – Poem by Paash

Most treacherous is not the robbery
of hard earned wages
Most horrible is not the torture by the police.

Most dangerous is
To be filled with dead peace
Not to feel agony and bear it all,

Leaving home for work
And from work return home
Most dangerous is the death of our dreams.

Most dangerous is that watch
Which runs on your wrist
But stands still for your eyes.

Most dangerous is that eye
Which sees all but remains frostlike,
Most dangerous is the moon
Which rises in the numb yard
After each murder,
But does not pierce your eyes like hot chilis

By Gurpreet Singh

Twenty-five years ago when leftists across the world were commemorating the hanging of Bhagat Singh—a towering revolutionary who fought against the British occupation of India—another progressive voice was silenced by the terrorist bullets in Punjab, India.

Paash, whose real name was Avtar Sandhu, was gunned down by Sikh separatists on March 23, 1988.

It was a sheer coincidence that his murder came on a historic day that commemorated the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and his two comrades, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who were hanged together by the British government on March 23, 1931. But the political ideology of Paash, who was born in 1950, made him inseparable from them.


True to his commitment toward the secular and progressive ideology of Bhagat Singh and his comrades, Paash was assassinated for his writings, which opposed religious fundamentalism. 

Much like Bhagat Singh, Paash was opposed to religious fanaticism of every shade and pulled no punches while criticizing both Hindu and Sikh extremists.

Yet the terrorists, owing allegiance to the Khalistan Commando Force seeking a separate theocratic Sikh homeland, shot him dead. 

His death shocked secularist Punjabi scholars in B.C. where a Paash Memorial Trust is still active and continues to hold events in his memory once a while.

Although Paash lived in California, he never made it to Canada. He was visiting India at the time of his murder.

It was thanks to Maxim Gorky’s Mother that Avtar Sandhu came to be known as Paash. Born in a peasant family, he loved to identify himself after Pasha, the hero of the classic novel by the same name.

This pen name gave him a new identity which remained with him until his assassination. There were some striking similarities between legendary Pasha and Paash as both stood for the working class and opposed both the establishment and theocracy.


Paash started writing poetry during his early teens and was an ardent reader, who had a personal library that housed books on range of subjects including science, philosophy, and literature. Though he wrote essays and published two Punjabi journals, Haak and Anti 47, as well as a “wall newspaper“, he gained much prominence as a poet. 

His poetry was so popular that its translation from Punjabi into other languages attracted attention widely, both outside Punjab and all of India. Even some Bollywood stars were among his admirers.

In the late 1960s he became involved in the youth wing of the Communist Party of India, but slowly he became fed up with its politics and instead joined with supporters of the ultra-leftist Naxalbari movement. It believed in an armed struggle for the sake of landless farmworkers.

He borrowed the idea of publishing a wall newspaper from Chinese revolution. It is a separate matter that he was not a sectarian leftist and remained critical of the flaws within Communist parties and groups.

Paash was briefly jailed for being a Naxalite but this did not deter him from writing for poor and against state repression. His poems were frequently smuggled out of prison and published. His rebellious poetry was widely circulated among the youngsters. Even a section of police and bureaucracy was influenced by his poetry.

It is not surprising that the BJP, a Hindu nationalist party of India, opposed an attempt to include one of his highly provocative poems in the school curriculum. 

Paash also opposed the state of emergency imposed by the Congress government from 1975 to 1977, and expressed his anger at the then-Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi in his poetry.

He even returned a paycheque to a Hindi newspaper that censored lines about Gandhi in his poem as a mark of protest.

It was his journal Anti 47 that provoked the Sikh separatists. Since he studied a lot, he questioned and denounced their separatist ideology by quoting from Sikh scriptures. He shamed them by arguing that the real Sikhism was all about equality and compassion—and not fascism.

The title of the journal symbolized a challenge to another attempt to divide India on religious lines like in 1947, when Muslim Pakistan was separated from India.

As a result, he was gunned down by the extremists in his native village Talwandi Salem. As one says, you can kill a person but not an idea. Paash may have been murdered physically, but his rebellious rhymes will continue to live.

Gurpreet Singh is Georgia Straight contributor, and the host of a program on Radio India. He’s working on a book tentatively titled Canada’s 9/11: Lessons from the Air India Bombings

HC orders transfer of seven cops for thrashing Punjab dalit woman #Vaw


TNN Mar 19, 2013,

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday ordered immediate transfer of seven policemen, who were caught on camera thrashing a dalit Sikh woman and her father publically in Tarn Taran earlier this month.

The HC ordered authorities to provide security to the woman, who had moved the court seeking protection and action against the cops as they had allegedly threatened her with dire consequences if she proceeded with the case.

The court said IGP (Amritsar range) should appear before it on Tuesday if its order was not implemented. It observed the police had acted in a barbaric manner and were now making the life of the woman and her family miserable. “Police officers cannot be permitted to behave in this manner,” the court said.

Justice Ranjit Singh, who heard the plea, said the woman and her father had told him that they have some recordings indicating the pressure on the family to withdraw the case. “Once the SC has taken note of the incident, this action by the police amounts to interference in the cause of justice and cannot be permitted.”

The court took note of the woman’s claim that Tarn Taran SSP had offered her Rs 4-5 lakh to abandon her pursuit for justice. It asked Amritsar IGP to ensure that the SSP or any police officer does not pressurize the petitioners.

The woman has sought an independent inquiry into the case in a time-bound manner and security cover from Haryana or central police forces while apprehending danger to her life.

The case will come up for hearing on Tuesday when the Punjab police have been asked to file its reply.

The Punjab police had not taken any action against the seven or filed an FIR against them despite the Supreme Court censure over the “inhuman act”. In fact, Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini defended his men saying they had attacked the woman following “ample provocation” two days after the assault on March 5.

 

PRESS RELEASE- Punjab Police implicating farmers under Sec 302 of IPC Barbaric


Chandigarh, March 13

Association of Democratic Rights (AFDR), Punjab held a press conference in Kisan Bhawan, Chandigarh on 13the March and condemned the ongoing arrests of around 2000 farmers and leaders of farmer organisations in Punjab.

AFDR said that the way Punjab police has implicated the farmers and their leaders under the Sections of IPC like 302 is undemocratic and barbaric act. General secretary Prof. Jagmohan Singh, State president Prof. Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Press secretary Buta Singh, Organizing secretary Narbhinder, finance secretary Tarsem Lal and Publication secretary Pritpal were present at the conference.

The AFDR said that due to ruthless economic policies of the state and central government, the farmers are in deep crisis in the state. So to lodge protest and struggle for their demands is the democratic right of the farmers.

The AFDR said that instead of indulging into ruthless repression the government should have adopted democratic means and should have engaged the farmers and their organizations in negotiations.

Significantly, the Punjab police raided 319 separate locations on the morning of March 6 and arrested 155 farmer leaders. Following that total 1353 people were arrested and they were sent to various jails in the state. The situation has led resistance and restlessness among various sections of the society.

Crossing all limits of democratic set up, the police even arrested those people who had gone to meet the jailed leaders and activists. The flag marches were organied in Mansa district. In Amritsar district besides, Amritsar police, around 1400 Indian reserve police force has been called to supress the farmers.

Even those who have been arrested have been shifted to jails which are faraway from their home districts. The AFDR understands that it is being done to demoralize the protesting farmers.

The Association also feels that instead of going for an independent probe in the death of ASI in Taran Taran, the police have acted with a bad intention of settling the score and they have booked 13 farmer union activists under Section 302 of IPC for charges of murder. It has been done despite the fact that the postmortem report of the ASI says that he died due to cardiac arrest and there were no signs of any injury on his body.

The Association once again demands from the state government to start political dialogue with farmers instead of slaughtering the democratic rights by organizing flag marches and mass arrests.

According to the facts collected by the AFDR following number of people were arrested from various places and have been sent to jail:

Gurdaspur 240, Mansa 250, Nabha 143, Patiala 8, Fardikot 600 , Sangrur 237, Jalandhar 36, Taran Taran 10, Moga 100, Ferozpur 83, Fazilka 80, Nawan Shahr 16, Barnala 12, Ludhiana 8. (70 women are jailed in Faridkot jail.)

Buta Singh

Press secretary

AFDR, Punjab
########

 

PRESS RELEASE-State Repression on Punjab farmers: an offensive response to democratic protest


March 10, 2013

PUDR Press Statement

Democracy within its value frame assumes the right to protest as a vital means towards ensuring the guarantee of those rights and values it stands for. However, today we are witnessing a different ‘culture of democracy’ where the right to protest is increasingly becoming not just an empty notion, in fact, protest itself is being turned into an offence. The mass arrest of members and activists of 17 peasants’ and workers’ organizations in Punjab as a preventive act of securing law and order situation is symptomatic of this different ‘culture of democracy’.

On 6 March, members of these organizations had decided to jam rail traffic under their state-wide ‘Rail Roko’ agitation to push for their long pending demands after witnessing a prolonged response of apathy from the government. The farmers have been demanding an increase in the Minimum Support Price based on the price index, as per the Swaminathan Committee report, more subsidies for the poor and checks on the hike in prices of diesel and other farm inputs. Government responded in pre-emptive confinement of those involved with the agitation, under the name of protection law and order situation. Early in the day, Punjab police arrested Jagmohan Singh (provincial General secretary, BKU Ekta_dakaunda), Dr. Darshan Pal and Satwant Singh Wazidpur, Patiala distt. president & secretary of BKU (Ekta Dakaunda) Darshan Lal, state secretary of Dehati Mazdoor Sabha (CPM Pasla); Ruldu Singh, president of Punjab Khet Union; Harmesh Malri, state president of Pendu Khet Mazdoor Union; Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, state convener of Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Piddy); Nirbhai Singh Dhudike, Moga president of Kirti Kisan Union; Gurmeet Singh Bakhtupura, AICTU state president and during the day, another 1353 persons were rounded up. Houses of many Union activists were raided and many were detained to be either released by the evening or sent to Judicial Custody.

This act of police repression is an attempt to quell the protest aimed at securing what has been due to the farmers and workers for long. In the given political climate of state repression we apprehend fabrication of false charges against those participating in this people’s movement. The forebodings of such acts are clear in ending into a deterred space of struggle for democratic rights, something that defeats the end that democracy is meant to achieve. PUDR strongly condemns this act of repression by the state elite and demands the immediate release of the activists. PUDR also extends solidarity with protesters and their demands.

Asish Gupta and D. Manjit
(Secretaries, PUDR)

 

Supreme court -Police Brutality is gross Human Rights violations #Vaw


SC castigates Punjab, Bihar cops for violation of rights

, TNN | Mar 7, 2013,

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognizance of Punjab police assaulting a woman in Tarn Taran and Bihar police caning contractual teachers in Patna saying the governments had failed to safeguard people’s right to life and dignity from “wholly unwarranted” police action

 

Initiating proceedings on its own in discharge of its mandate to protect fundamental rights of citizens, particularly women and weaker sections, a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and Ranjana P Desai said, “We feel that it is proper for this court to take cognizance of the gross violation of human rights as well as the constitutional rights of the people.”

On February 4, television channels showed two Punjab policemen abusing, slapping and caning a 25-year-old dalit woman and her ex-serviceman father in Tarn Taran. The woman was complaining to police against some taxi drivers who allegedly molested her. Though Punjab government ordered a magisterial inquiry, state police chief Sumedh Singh Saini defended non-registration of FIR against the two cops involved in the incident.

The other incident related to lathi-charge and tear gas firing by Bihar police on February 5 against contractual teachers who were demanding wages. Referring to news reports, the bench said, “Contents of the news items revealed that members of Punjab police and Patna police have mercilessly beaten an unarmed woman and teachers. Both the incidents have shocked the conscience of the entire nation.”

The bench faulted the Prakash Singh Badal and the Nitish Kumar governments for failure to take “adequate steps for protecting the people against the wholly unwarranted action taken by the police at Tarn Taran and Patna”.

“These incidents raise important constitutional issues relating to Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution and dignity of individual,” the bench said and sought assistance of attorney general G E Vahanvati and senior advocates Harish Salve and U U Lalit to help the court as amicus curiae in the matter. It posted further hearing for March 11.

Long before the Justice J S Verma panel, appointed in the aftermath of Nirbhaya’s gang-rape, suggested that judiciary must initiate suo motu action against blatant violations of fundamental rights of citizens, the Supreme Court and high courts have from time to time initiated proceedings on their own, taking cognizance of reports of gross violation of human rights.

The Supreme Court of India may not match its counterpart in Pakistan, which has in the last five years initiated 86 suo motu actions, but it did not remain a mute spectator when citizens’ rights were targeted by those tasked to protect it.

Justice Verma panel had in its January 23 report to the government said, “The judiciary has the primary responsibility of enforcing fundamental rights through constitutional remedies. The judiciary can take suo motu cognizance of such issues being deeply concerned with them both in the Supreme Court and the high courts. An all-India strategy to deal with this issue would be advisable.”

Last year, the Supreme Court had initiated suo motu proceedings in a number of cases, including VVIPs flaunting red beacons on their vehicles and travelling with a large security detail, inconveniencing citizens.

On November 21, the court had taken suo motu cognizance of private guards using firearms, as was alleged in the shootout at a farmhouse killing liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his brother, and asked the Union government to frame a regulatory mechanism for private security agencies.

In another PIL which sought an end to discrimination of women and their protection by police, the apex court had on January 2 suo motu made all states a party to the petition and sought response in four weeks.

 

Punjab & Haryana High Court finds application of UID /Aadhaar legally questionable #biometrics


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Punjab & Haryana High Court finds application of Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar legally questionable

 

Executive order for Biometric UID ‘Cards’ withdrawn  

 

UPA’s Budget 2013 is promotion of Aadhaar is unconstitutional

 

High Court finds application of UID/Aadhaar illegal like the Parliamentary Committee on Finance

 

Responding to the direction issued to the Union of India and Union Territory of Chandigarh by Punjab and Haryana High Court in the matter of Civil Writ Petition 569 of 2013 filed in the High Court against Union of India and others, the Executive Order for making Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar has been withdrawn.

 

In its order the bench of Justice A K Sikri, Chief Justice and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain dated February 19, 2013 had not noted that the petition “raises a pure question of law.” Since the Executive Order was withdrawn, the case too was disposed of March 2, 2013 with a two page order. 

 

The Order observes, “In this writ petition filed as PIL, the petitioner has challenged the vires of notification issued by Union of India for making it compulsory to have UID Cards. Admittedly, this issue is pending before the Supreme Court and therefore, on

 

the last date of hearing i.e. on 19.2.2013, we did not observe anything on this issue.”

 

It is further observed that “Second issue raised in this petition is that vide order dated 5.12.2012, respondent No.3 i.e. Deputy Commissioner, U.T., Chandigarh has given directions to the Branch In charge Registration-cum-Accountant, office of Registering & Licensing Authority, Chandigarh not to accept any application for registration of vehicle and grant of learner/regular driving licence without UID card.”

 

It is quite bizarre that Union Territory of Chandigarh remains ignorant of the fact that UID is not a card, it is a 12 digit number. The entire government machinery is hiding the fact that fundamentally UID is not a proof of identity, it is an identifier contained in the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR)of (UID)/Aadhaar Numbers. Union Territory of Chandigarh failed to inform the Court the UID is not a card but an identification number based on biometric data without any legal mandate.

 

The petition had made the following prayers:   i) Issue a writ in the nature of certiorari to quash Executive order dated 5.12.2012 passed by respondent no.3  passed in violation of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 vide which  UID has been mandatory for the registration of vehicles  and grant of learner/ regular driving licence.

 

ii) a writ in the nature of mandamus directing Union of India to accept other proofs of Identity and address i.e. Voter I-Card issued by Election Commission of India, the Constitutional body and Passport issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Govt. of India and other proofs of address, age prescribed under Rule 4 of Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 for issuance of learning/ regular driving licence and for registration of vehicle;

 

iii) Further it sought direction for Union Territory of Chandigarh and Union of India not to make mandatory UID for essential public Utility Services and accept other documents as proof of Identity and address as per the Rules;

 

iv) a writ in the nature of certiorari quashing notification dated 28.1.2009 being illegal and further issuance of a appropriate writ declaring the Unique Identification Authority of India constituted vide Notification dated 28.1.2009 unconstitutional as the same has no legal sanctity as the UIDAI been constituted and functioning illegally as the National Identification Authority of India Bill-2010 is pending in the Parliament of India.

 

The writ petition had emphasized that during the pendency of the petition Executive order dated December 5, 2012 and other similar executive orders vide which Adhaar have been made compulsory for essential public utility services may kindly be stayed.

 

In its concluding paragraph the March 2, 2013 order of the High Court reads, “Today, short affidavit of Mr.M.Shayin, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, UT, Chandigarh is filed stating that the aforesaid instructions have been reviewed and now the insistence of UID card is no longer treated as mandatory. No further orders are required to be passed in this petition, which is accordingly disposed of.”

 

It is noteworthy that UPA’s Budget Speech of 2013 announced that “We are redoubling our efforts to ensure that the digitized beneficiary lists are available; that a bank account is opened for each beneficiary; and that the bank account is seeded with Aadhaar in due course.” In the light of the High Court’s order, the implementation of opening of bank accounts seeded with UID/Aadhaar is legally and constitutionally questionable.  Earlier, Parliamentary Standing Committee, Finance rejected the UID/Aadhaar project and the related UID Bill in its report to the Parliament dated December 13, 2011.

 

Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) has been campaigning against unregulated biometric, surveillance and identification technology companies since 2010 and had appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee, Finance in this regard. CFCL has consistently underlined that the silence of the States which are quite vocal about threats to federal structure from Union Home Ministry‘s National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) that integrates 21 sets of databases in the matter of the creation of UID’s Centralized Identities Data Register (CIDR) disregarding the fact that Planning Commission’s CIDR and Home Ministry’s National Population Register (NPR) is inexplicable.

 

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Form for Civil Liberties (CFCL), Mb: 9818089660, E-mail: krishna1715@gmail.com

 

 

Punjab: Man sets pregnant wife ablaze, arrested #Vaw #Justice


PTI | Mar 03, 2013, 1
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Chandigarh: A man was arrested for allegedly setting his wife on fire in Punjab‘s Jakopur village over a petty matter, leading to her death, police said on Sunday.
Gurmej Singh alias Laddi Palwinder Kaur was arrested yesterday for setting Palwinder Kaur ablaze on Monday after she clipped his nails too deep cutting into the skin, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Shahkot) in Jalandhar district, Harpreet Singh said.
She was rushed to hospital where she succumbed on Thursday, the DSP said.
The victim’s kin told police she was persistenly harrased for dowry, the DSP said.
In her statement given to the Magistrate before her death, the victim told the police that her husband had set her on fire after thrashing her.
The DSP said Kaur had called up her brothers in Amritsar and expressed her fear that her husband may harm her.
“She told them that her husband was enraged as she had clipped his nails too deep cutting into the finger’s skin. After she made the phone call, Gurmej abused and thrashed Kaur and later sprinkled kerosene on her and set her on fire,” he said.
Two brothers of the victim rushed to Lohian, but found their sister in a semi-burnt condition and rushed her to civil hospital at Lohian, from where she was referred to a Jalandhar hospital, where she succumbed to her burn injuries, he said.
The brothers of the victim claimed she was pregnant, but the DSP said they were waiting for the postmortem report.

House of Commons debate on the #DeathPenalty and Human Rights violations in India


By , http://www.sikhsiyasat.net/

Published: March 2, 2013
    • London, United Kingdom (March 02, 2013): According to a press release by the organizers of the Kesri Lehar, a petition asking for the Abolition of the Death Penalty in India was debated in the Main Chamber of the House of Commons on Thursday, 28th February 2013.

The two and a half hour debate, started with an opening speech by Rt. Hon. John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, who said that the national Kesri Lehar campaign urged the UK government to press the Indian Government to sign and ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which encompasses the death penalty.

Amongst the many issues on Human Right’s abuses raised during the debate, two prominent cases, currently on death row in India, that of Balwant Singh Rajoana, and, Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar were discussed at length.

Rt. Hon. John McDonnell referring the cases of Balwant Singh Rajowana and Prof Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, said, “These two cases carry immense significance around the world, the Rajoana case for its historical context and the Bhullar case because it is almost now a symbol of the injustice meted out to so many Sikhs in recent decades.”

Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana (quote from Will)

Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana (quote from Will)

“If Balwant Singh Rajoana symbolises the suffering of the Sikhs in that period, Professor Bhullar symbolises the injustice meted out to Sikhs, over the years at the hands of the Indian police and the judicial system.”

Parliament was told that, “Balwant Singh was party to killing Beant Singh, the chief Minister of the Punjab. We now know that Beant Singh personally commanded the police and security forces in the killing and disappearance of possibly more than 20,000 Sikhs—men, women and children. Faced with the failure of the Indian authorities to take action against the former chief Minister for his crimes against humanity, Balwant Singh and a co-conspirator took the law into their own hands. Nobody, including Balwant Singh, claims that he is innocent of the killing, but Sikh organisations, human rights lawyers and human rights groups are urging the Indian Government to take into account the context of his actions, the scale of the human suffering that the Sikhs were enduring at the time, and the anger that young men such as Balwant Singh felt at the failure of the Indian state to bring to justice the chief Minister responsible for the atrocities against the Sikhs in the Punjab. On that basis, they plead for understanding and mercy on Balwant Singh’s behalf and that the death penalty is avoided at all costs.”

Free Professor Devender Pal Singh Bhullar

Free Professor Devender Pal Singh Bhullar

It was also pointed out to Parliament that, the German courts have now ruled that that deportation of Professor Bhullar was wrong. He has been convicted of involvement in an attempted political assassination solely on the basis of a confession, which he retracted, with not one of more than 100 witnesses identifying him at the scene, and on a split decision of the court judges. In split decisions in India, the practice of the courts is not to impose a death penalty, but Professor Bhullar has been sentenced, held in solitary confinement for eight years and, despite his deteriorating health, his plea for mercy has been rejected.

Despite a further petition to the Supreme Court, the fear is that the Indian authorities could move to execute him at any time. This is a shocking miscarriage of justice waiting to happen unless we can intervene effectively.

There is also concern that India is expanding the scope of the death penalty, new laws passed in 2011 which provide for the death penalty include for the making and selling of illicit liquor.

Rt. Hon. Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing and Southall, stated that, “We must kill the myth that we are anti-India or that we are interfering in India’s internal affairs. We are taking a matter of principle and fighting for the rights of the people living in India and abroad.”, he further stated that, “We cannot always assume that the judicial system is faultless. Therefore, using death, an irrevocable act, as a punishment for a crime, puts the system at risk of punishing the innocent irreversibly.

On talking on the issue of the judiciary in India, Simon Hughes, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said that, a Supreme Court bench said that people’s faith in the judiciary was dwindling at an alarming rate, posing a grave threat to constitutional and democratic governance of the country.

The house noted that “Amnesty International points out that the use of the death penalty in India is “riddled with systemic flaws”.

MP for Slough, Fiona McTaggart expressed her worries that the rights of religious, ethnic and caste minorities in India are not sufficiently well protected. It seems to me that we have a responsibility to say to India, “We expect you, as the largest democracy in the world, to promote the standards of democracy and human rights that we expect, and to recognise that if the death penalty is used in this way, there is a risk that you will deepen the divisions between ethnic and religious communities in country. There is a risk that you will make your country less safe and less peaceful for all who live in it.”

Concluding the debate, Labour MP John McDonnell said, “To add weight to the British Government’s representations, I urge them to raise the issue again with our European partners and to seek a joint representation from Europe on the subject. I urge the British Government, working with other Governments, to raise this call within the United Nations. With the UN Commission on Human Rights meeting imminently, this is an ideal time to put this back on the UN agenda.”

It seems to me that we have a responsibility to say to India, “We expect you, as the largest democracy in the world, to promote the standards of democracy and human rights that we expect, and to recognise that if the death penalty is used in this way, there is a risk that you will deepen the divisions between ethnic and religious communities in country. There is a risk that you will make your country less safe and less peaceful for all who live in it.””

Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford, added that, there will be consequences for our relationships with India unless the Indian Parliament looks at this issue very seriously again and makes the changes that Members are asking it to do.

Rt. Hon. David Ward, MP for Bradford East, stated that, “I believe that it is our intrinsic right and, more importantly, our fundamental duty to speak up for all people, and especially for minorities who do not have suitable champions for their cause and who face persecution, wherever in the world that might occur and no matter what entrenched views or self-interest they might be battling against. The oppressors often have powerful weapons at their disposal to stifle debate… I have touched on the necessity for India to uphold the basic human rights that are espoused in the United Nations convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This is an important issue for my constituents, especially those in the Sikh community, who have long borne the brunt of judicial and societal discrimination in parts of India.”

David Ward, went on to state that, “Over the past few years, I have been approached by a number of constituents about the cases involving Balwant Singh Rajoana and Professor Bhullar. I know those cases well, and I am sad that those people are still on death row. I must be honest and tell the House, however, that on researching this issue more thoroughly, I was deeply shocked to discover the sheer scale of the human rights abuses that the Indian Government have not acted against, over many years. I am a member of Amnesty International, and I regularly receive the evidence that it produces. It is shocking to learn of the extensive use of forced evictions, the excessive use of force, arbitrary arrest and detention, and the fundamental lack of due process that are still prevalent in India. Amnesty states: “Impunity for abuses and violations remained pervasive.” The continuing existence of India’s controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act gives the Indian army arbitrary powers and near-immunity from prosecution.”

Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham and Heston, said. “We participate in many debates in this House, but this one is literally about life and death. I have had a long-standing personal opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances and I am proud to live in a country where it has been abolished. This is a matter of humanity and, as someone once said, it is not for the state to kill people who kill people to show that killing is wrong”

The execution of Balwant Singh and others would not end terrorism or causes of concern, and would damage the image of India

Another great concern is the fact that in the world’s greatest democracy we have recently seen innocent people suffering and being killed in the crossfire when peacefully protesting for improved human rights. Last year, a horrific case that touched us all deeply was the death of Jaspal Singh. Jaspal was an 18-year-old Sikh college student peacefully protesting against capital punishment last March who was killed when police opened fire on a crowd of just a few hundred to make them disperse.

India is a nation with more than 1,500 languages and dialects and is a showcase to the world in business, culture, arts and crafts. The Sikh community in India and around the world leads in business and agriculture, where it blazes a trail. The work of the Pingalwara charity in the Punjab shows the deepest compassion for those in the community with the least and those with the greatest disabilities. It is also leading the thinking about how to deal with environmental issues so that we can have a clean environment and tackle the vital questions of quality of life and the supply of water and good food for so many. The Sikh religion has at its heart the principles and values of equality that many of us hold so dear.

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#Jalandhar 14 year old #gangrape victim critical; family wants justice #Vaw


Even as the 14-year-old Jalandhar gangrape victim continues to battle for life in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the local Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, her family members have alleged that they are being pressed to strike a compromise.

The girl’s father, a labourer, told reporters that  one Puran, a resident of his village Mandhala Channa in Jalandhar district’s Shahkot sub-division, was resorting to pressure tactics. “My daughter is on her death bed. I want justice, not a compromise,” he said. 

Meanwhile, National Commission for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) vice-chairman Raj Kumar Verka, who met the girl’s family in the hospital, said, “I am going to Jalandhar and will seek an action-taken report from the police. I will also ask the police to ensure that the family is not put under pressure.”

Verka said all persons booked in the case must be arrested at the earliest and the Punjab government should ensure best treatment.

The girl had undergone a surgery here on Thursday. Doctors had removed her uterus and repaired her intestines. Doctors confirmed that she would never be able to bear children.

Dr Tejbir Singh, medical superintendent, said, “The girl’s condition is still very critical. A team of doctors is keeping a close watch.”

“There was a lot of blood loss. We are giving her blood and have made arrangements for more, if required,” he added.

When asked whether the girl’s condition had deteriorated due to rape, Dr Tejbir Singh said, “I can comment only after getting a report from the medical team.”

Brutalised on January 28 by three male relatives after she was allegedly abducted from her house at Mandhala Channa village, the girl had been admitted to the civil hospital in Jalandhar on Wednesday after her health deteriorated. A case was registered by the Jalandhar (rural) police the same day against Charanjit Singh, Balwinder Singh and Sher Singh, none of whom has been arrested so far.

The police have conducted raids at various places in search of the accused who have been on the run for the last almost ten days.

 

#Punjabgangrape : Woman who alleged rape arrested #WTFnews #Vaw


PUNJAB, Posted on Jan 21, 2013

Moga: In a shocking case in Moga in Punjab, the police have arrested a 26-year-old woman for falsely alleging that she was gangraped. According to the police, the charges leveled by the woman were motivated.

The woman, who works as a nurse, had claimed that she was abducted and drugged by a gang of four, including two women, while she was returning from Mohali after a job interview, following which she was gangraped.

Earlier, in another twist to the case, the police had claimed that the woman had been booked in 2012 on charges of injecting an HIV-infected needle into a woman with whose husband she was allegedly having an affair with.

The police had claimed that one of the two women accused of drugging the nurse and letting their male accomplices rape her was the same who claimed to have been infected with HIV. The other woman was her mother, said the police.

The 26-year-old woman claimed to have been gangraped and thrown on the Bathinda-Dabawali road on Sunday eveing. She said that they took her to a room, filmed and gangraped her.

 

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