Posts tagged ‘Sikh’

01/07/2015

NDA constituents Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal, Swabhimani Paksha red-flag land bill provisions – The Hindu

Fault lines in the NDA over the land bill are visible with three of BJP’s allies – the Shiv Sena, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Swabhimani Paksha — red-flagging a number of provisions of the proposed legislation.

The contentious land acquisition bill, which proposes amendments to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, is under examination of a Joint Committee of Parliament. File photo

The contentious bill, which proposes amendments to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, is under examination of a Joint Committee of Parliament which is about to conclude its consultation process and consider it clause-by-clause next week.

While the Shiv Sena has, for quite some time, been on record seeking incorporation of a clause providing for 70 per cent consent of farmers in the bill, the SAD and the Paksha have written to the panel headed by S.S. Ahluwalia that “not an inch” of land should be acquired without the consent of farmers.

In its written representation to the JPC, five MPs from the SAD — Naresh Gurjal, Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Prem Singh Chandumajra and Sher Singh Ghubaiya — said that they firmly believe that land is a priceless asset of the farmers.

“Not even an inch of it should be acquired by the government without the consent of the farmers/land owners.” they said.

The MPs also insisted that land should only be acquired for public sector projects and the “government should not get into acquisition for private entities”.

via NDA constituents Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal, Swabhimani Paksha red-flag land bill provisions – The Hindu.

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04/10/2014

1984 anti-Sikh riots were an organised massacre, says ‘Caravan’ article

Avtar Singh Gill, the former petroleum secretary, alleged that Rajiv Gandhi aide Arun Nehru had sanctioned the violence.

Did disparate groups of rioters act spontaneously during the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, or was the violence orchestrated at the behest of the top leadership of the Congress? This question has dogged Congress governments since Delhi’s Sikh comunity was devastated by one the bloodiest bouts of communal carnage after Independence. The Congress has long maintained that the violence was an unplanned response to the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984. The riots continued until November 3.

Now, a recent statement by a senior government official of the time has added credence to the allegation that the violence was indeed orchestrated, and that the clearance came from the top. Avtar Singh Gill, the former petroleum secretary, has told Caravan magazine that Arun Nehru, a cousin and confidant of Rajiv Gandhi, had given clearance for Sikhs to be attacked and killed in Delhi.

In an article by the magazine’s political editor Hartosh Singh Bal in the latest issue, Gill is quoted as saying that on November 1, 1984, “Lalit Suri of Lalit Hotels, who used to come and see me often, dropped by. He was the errand boy for Rajiv Gandhi, and since he often needed some work done, he was close to me. He came to me in the ministry and said, ‘Clearance has been given by Arun Nehru for the killings in Delhi and the killings have started.  The strategy is to catch Sikh youth, fling a tyre over their heads, douse them with kerosene and set them on fire. This will calm the anger of the Hindus.”

Gurudwara lists

Gill is also quoted as saying that Suri “told me that I should be careful even though my name is not in the voters’ list, the Delhi Gurdwara voters’ list. ‘They [the rioters] have been provided this list. This will last for three days. It has started today, it will end on the third [of November].’”

Gill’s revelations also appear to put to rest the long-term speculation about Arun Nehru’s role in the violence. “That Arun Nehru had a role in the violence has long been widely rumoured, but Gill’s statement marks the first time a senior government official has put the accusation on record,” writes Bal. “His story offers the first coherent explanation for the nature of the violence in Delhi,”

Gill and Nehru

Gill’s revelations have greater significance because he was often consulted by Arun Nehru on Punjab and Sikh issues. “As one of the few Sikhs in a senior position in the government – even though I was clean shaven, he [Nehru] wanted to know my views,” the former petroleum secretary is quoted as saying.

Gill’s also explains – again for the first time – how rioters could easily identify Sikh houses. Lawyer HS Phoolka, who is leading the legal battle to secure justice for the victims of the 1984 riots, is quoted in the article saying “the ease with which Sikh houses were identified would make sense if Gurdwara voters’ lists were available”.

Gurdwara voter lists contain the names of people eligible to vote in the elections to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. That these lists were already available to “people in the higher ranks” is made clear by another contention Phoolka makes in this article.

via 1984 anti-Sikh riots were an organised massacre, says ‘Caravan’ article.

22/08/2014

India’s Government Blocks Release of Film About Sikh Assassins Who Killed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s government has blocked the release of a film about the Sikh assassins who killed the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, saying it could pose a threat to law and order.

Theaters across northern India and select cities elsewhere were set to start showing the Punjabi-language movie, “Kaum De Heere,” which translates as “Diamonds of the Community,” on Friday.

The film tracks the transformation of Mrs. Gandhi’s killers – anointed as martyrs last year by Sikh religious authorities — from dependable bodyguards to assassins.

Mrs. Gandhi’s death sparked large-scale anti-Sikh riots, one of the worst episodes of communal violence in Indian history. Around 7,000 people, mostly Sikhs, are believed to have died in the rioting.

Leela Samson, chairwoman of India’s Central Board of Film Certification, said the movie “rakes up very old and strong sentiments” and sends a “wrong message to the youth that a particular ideology comes above the nation’s interests and that taking the law into your hands is permissible.”

She said that after officials from the Home Ministry, Information and Broadcasting Ministry and film review board watched the film Thursday, film regulators decided to withdraw their earlier approval for it to be shown in theaters.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Thursday, the film’s producer, Satish Katyal, said the film was about the lives of the two assassins and the difficulties faced by their families.

“Nobody has been shown as being good or bad. There are no biases,” he said.

Mr. Katyal said it was unfair for the film board to reverse course just hours before the film’s release. If the government had any objections, he said, there was “ample opportunity to raise them before.”

The film opens with the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi, the daughter of independent India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Mrs. Gandhi, like her father, led the Congress party.

While she was premier, Indian security forces attacked alleged Sikh militants inside the Golden Temple, Sikhism’s holiest site, in a raid dubbed Operation Blue Star. Hundreds of people were killed.

Soon after, Mrs. Gandhi was killed by two Sikh bodyguards, touching off a spasm of religious violence. Senior Congress politicians have faced trials, some of which are ongoing, for inciting mobs and fueling the conflict.

“There will never be any justification for the attack on the sanctity of Sikhs and the targeting of an entire community,” said Avtar Singh, head of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Sikhism’s highest authority.

The party has attempted to reconcile with the Sikh community. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, apologized for the riots when he came to power.

via India’s Government Blocks Release of Film About Sikh Assassins Who Killed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – India Real Time – WSJ.

05/02/2014

Britain says it had role in 1984 India temple raid – Businessweek

Britain has acknowledged advising the Indian government ahead of its 1984 raid on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, an admission that links the U.K. — India\’s former colonial master — with one of the bloodiest episodes in the subcontinent\’s recent history.

Hamandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib (also known as ...

Hamandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib (also known as the Golden Temple). The holiest shrine in Sikhism located in the city of Amritsar, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Foreign Secretary William Hague told Parliament on Tuesday that British military advice was \”purely advisory\” and had only a \”limited impact\” on the operation.

\”A single U.K. military officer provided some advice. But critically, this advice was not followed, and it was a one-off,\” Prime Minister David Cameron said in a video message to the Sikh community in Britain.

Still, the acknowledgement of any link to the deadly attack that killed hundreds if not thousands at Sikhs\’ holy temple will be disturbing to many.

The storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar was one of the most contentious episodes in the Indian government\’s battle against Sikh separatists, whose violent campaign for an independent homeland in the Punjab region smoldered into the 1970s and 80s.

\”It is awkward,\” said Sumit Ganguly, an Indiana University professor and the co-author of a book on Amritsar. \”The evidence that the British government might have provided some assistance in terms of the planning of this event is once again going to stoke old memories, memories that had long been buried.\”

via Britain says it had role in 1984 India temple raid – Businessweek.

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02/10/2012

* ‘Murder attempt’ on Golden Temple raid General Brar

It would seem that 28 years is not long enough for those directly affected by Operation Bluestar to forgive and forget.  That’s assuming the four suspects were indeed separatist-Sikhs bent on revenge.

BBC: “Police in London say the stabbing of the Indian general who led the 1984 raid on Sikhism’s holiest shrine was attempted murder.

File photo Lt-Gen Kuldeep Singh Brar  (left)  and  senior army officers at the site of the  Operation Blue Star in 1984

Lt-Gen Kuldeep Singh Brar was stabbed in the neck by four men with beards on Sunday night. He is out of hospital.

Hundreds died when troops flushed Sikh separatist militants out of the Golden Temple in Amritsar in Punjab state.

The 78-year-old is thought still to be a target for extremist Sikhs, but the identity of his attackers is unclear.

Lt-Gen Brar, himself a Sikh, was one of the architects of Operation Bluestar, which removed armed Sikh militants fighting for an independent homeland of Khalistan from the temple.

According to the Indian government, the operation left about 400 people, including 87 soldiers, dead.

Sikhs groups contest this figure, saying the number of casualties was several times higher.

via BBC News – ‘Murder attempt’ on Golden Temple raid General Brar.

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