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Jagdish Tytler attacked by Sikh youth in Delhi

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New Delhi: Congress leader and 1984 riots accused Jagdish Tytler was attacked by a Sikh youth at a wedding in New Delhi on Saturday night.

According to reports, 23-year-old Sehaj Umang Bhatia, allegedly in an inebriated state, got into a heated argument with Tytler at a farm house in the national capital’s Mehrauli area and then threw a glass at the latter at around 11 pm. Tytler reportedly escaped unhurt.

The man was detained by police.

“The Congress leader was leaving the wedding ceremony when the incident happened. A youth named Sehaj Umang Singh started abusing Tytler and then tried to throw a glass at him. However, the leader escaped unhurt,” a police official said.

“Following the attack, the people caught the youth and handed him over to the police. He was detained and later let off after a brief interrogation.”

This comes two days after a court here refused to accept the closure report and directed the CBI to further investigate a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case against Tytler, pointing to arms dealer Abhishek Verma’s statement that Tytler had tried to influence a witness.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Saurabh Pratap Singh Laler ordered on Friday the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct further investigations and refused to accept the closure report that gives Tytler a clean chit, saying it should be found out whether Verma’s statement was true or not.

Verma, in his statement, told the CBI that Tytler had tried to influence one of the witnesses by giving him a hefty sum of money and promising to settle his son abroad.

The court observed that Verma has disclosed an active role played by Tytler in sending key witness, Surinder Singh Granthi’s son Narinder Singh to Canada. It was done as a deal for changing Granthi statement which has helped Tytler to get clean chit in the case, Verma has disclosed.

The court ordered the CBI to find out whether the statement of Verma was true or not and directed to conduct his lie detection test, if required.

It also asked the CBI to find out how many times Nairnder Singh applied for Canadian visa and to collect the copies of all the relevant documents.

The judge also ordered to find out whether Nairnder Singh ever committed any visas violations in Canada.

(With inputs from IANS)

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‘Government chalked out 1984 anti-Sikh genocide’

Operation Bluestar in June 1984 was regarded by some as ‘inevitable’.

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Protest against 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Facebook
  • Gandhi family dynasty involved in the genocide, as per the author
  • Western governments toed the line of their Indian counterpart and downplayed events
  • To bolster the insinuation that the Sikhs’, the government commissioned a series of documentaries in early 1984

New Delhi, December 12: The 1984 anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that claimed the lives of an estimated 8,000 people in Delhi and around the country were not spontaneous as has been made out but were government-orchestrated, says a scathing new book on the four days of mayhem, adding it’s time the world took note of the killings, as it did of the slaughter of a similar number of Bosnian Muslims in 1994.“At the time, the authorities projected the violence as a spontaneous reaction to the tragic loss of a much-loved Prime Minister. But evidence points to a government-orchestrated genocidal massacre unleashed by politicians–with the trail leading up to the very heart of the dynastic Gandhi family–and covered up with the help of the police, judiciary and sections of the media,” author Pav Singh writes in ‘1984 – India’s Guilty Secret’.The government of the day “worked hard on its version of events. Words such as ‘riot’ became the newspeak of an Orwellian cover-up, of a real 1984. To protect perpetrators, the most heinous crimes have been obscured from view; evidence destroyed, language distorted and alternative ‘facts’ introduced. The final body count is anybody’s guess,” the author says.

Anti Sikh riots
According to the author, government was directly involved in the massacre

And yet, “what may well go down in history as one of the largest conspiracies of modern times is hardly known outside of India. At that time, Western governments toed the line of their Indian counterpart and downplayed events–arguably for fear of losing trade contracts worth billions–to the misnomer of ‘communal riots”, the author says.Pointing to a meeting held at the residence of then Information and Broadcasting Minister HKL Bhagat on the evening of October 31, hours after Gandhi was assassinated, and attended by an Additional Commissioner responsible for the capital’s Central, North and East districts, and the SHO of the Kalyanpuri police station, all of which bore the brunt of the violence, the author writes: “The foundation of their plan had, however, been laid well in advance and were in part the outcome of years of suspicion, misgivings and disagreements between the Centre and the state and its political, economic and social demands as framed by the Akali Dal, the governing Sikh-centric party in Punjab.”“It is believed that key players in the Congress government used the increasingly volatile situation in Punjab to blur the perception of the Sikh community in the eyes of their fellow citizens…These poisoned sentiments gathered such deadly momentum that the execution of Operation Bluestar in June 1984 was regarded by some as ‘inevitable’,” writes Pav Singh, a member of the Magazines and Books Industrial Council of Britain’s National Union of Journalists who has been campaigning on the issue for a number of years.To bolster the insinuation that the Sikhs’ desire for regional autonomy posed a national threat, the government commissioned a series of documentaries in early 1984. Mani Shankar Aiyar, Joint Secretary to the Government of India, was said, by an associate, to have claimed that “he was given the unpleasant job of portraying Sikhs as terrorists”. He was on some special duty with the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. The minister in question was none other than Bhagat, the book says.Pointing to an elaborate cover-up of the four days of mayhem, the author says a key figure in the deception was Home Secretary MMK Wali.“At a press conference on November 1, he insisted that most of the violence consisted of arson and that few personal attacks had occurred–in what seems an outrageous statement he even claimed that only two people had been confirmed killed in New Delhi.“He revised the figure to 458 on November 4 soon after being sworn in as Delhi’s new lieutenant governor. The Indian Express had reported on November 2 that in two incidents alone there were 500 dead, including 200 bodies lying in a police mortuary and at least 350 bodies on one street in East Delhi,” writes Pav Singh, who spent a year in India researching the full extent of the riots.His research led to the pivotal and authoritative report ‘1984 Sikhs’ Kristallnacht’, which was first launched in the UK parliament in 2005 and substantially expanded in 2009. In his role as a community advocate at the Wiener Library for the Study of Holocaust and Genocide, London, he curated the exhibition ‘The 1984 Anti-Sikh Pogrom Remembered’ in 2014 with Delhi-based photographer Gauri Gill.The book is highly critical of the manner in which subsequent governments have acted.Figures released in 2013 show that of the 3,163 people arrested in the capital, just 30 individuals in approximately as many years, mostly low-ranking Congress party supporters, had been convicted of killing Sikhs. This represents less than one per cent of all those arrested, the book says.“Out of those arrested, a staggering 2,706 were subsequently acquitted. Convictions for riot-related offences amounted to 412. One hundred and forty-seven police officers were indicted for their role in the killings, but not one officer has been prosecuted. Nobody has ever been prosecuted for rape,” the book says.It’s time India and the world called a spade a spade, the book says in its conclusion. IANS

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Seven Decades after Partition: Sikhs in Pakistan Struggle amid Bombings and Violence

Sikhs in Pakistan have been looking to leave Pakistan as their homeland has begun to turn toward radical Islam

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Sikhs in pakistan
Types of 51st Sikhs (Frontier Force), now 3 Frontier Force, Pakistan Army. ca. 1905. Wikimedia Commons
  • In today’s period, Sikhs in Pakistan are among the smallest minorities
  • Pakistan today uses blasphemy as a weapon against minorities and fellow Muslims alike, which is a crime that carries an involuntary death penalty
  • Mr. Singh heads a council representing the Sikhs in Pakistan

Aug 15, 2017: At the age of 11, Radesh Singh’s grandfather left his village in India’s Punjab province to move to Peshawar, which is bordered by Afghanistan in the far northwest of the country.

Pakistan wasn’t even a glint in the eye of its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah in the year 1901 when the British ruled the Indian subcontinent and Peshawar held the promise of work and adventure.

It has been 70 years since the partition of India, which divided the subcontinent into majority Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan and led to one of the largest migrations in modern history.

Singh’s family have been waging a secessionist uprising in India ever since, demanding unmitigated sovereignty for India’s Punjab state where they command. Singh’s family is neither Hindu nor Muslim but Sikh, a religious minority in both countries. Feeling increasingly less at home on either side of the border, they have been victims of local Taliban violence in the recent years in Muslim Pakistan.

Singh’s grandfather would never return to his village, not even in 1947. Singh stated that poverty kept his grandfather in Peshawar, which was controlled by fiercely independent ethnic Pashtun tribesmen. He said, “It’s not easy to start over at zero when you have very little,” mentioned BBG Direct.

ALSO READ: 10,000 members of Sikh community in Pakistan lack Education and Health: Sikh Leader 

According to Singh, the enmity in the immediate aftermath of 1947 was slightly lower in the northwest. It was followed by decades of peace. The decision to stay in Pakistan appeared like a reliable option at the time.

The Sikhs had lived harmoniously for centuries alongside their Pashtun Muslim countrymen. Singh explains, Sikhs had a glorious history in the northwest. In the 18th century, they oversaw a dynasty headed by a Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh, whose capital was Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore. He rebuilt Peshawar’s infamous Bala Hisar Fort, an imposing walled fortress that some historians assume is as old as the city itself.

In today’s period, easily identifiable because of the colorful turbans and the surname Singh, Sikhs in Pakistan are among the smallest minorities. As indicated by the CIA Factbook, 3.6 percent of Pakistan’s 180 million people are non-Muslims which include Sikhs, Christians, and Hindus.

Singh asserted until 1984 Pakistan’s Hindus and Sikhs lived unitedly in northwest Pakistan. Their children married and worshipped together. But after the tragic assassination of India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, the entire scene changed consequently.

“They (Hindus) cut all relations with us. They said Pakistani Sikhs are like all Sikhs everywhere. No difference. They said, ‘From now on, we will be separate from you”, Singh recalled.

Today Sikhs in Pakistan are contending with the government for possession of dozens of Sikh temples (Gurdwaras); however, they have succeeded to restore some of the buildings. The Pakistan government took over the buildings after 1947 and allowed the squatters to remain.

Once a vibrant Gurdwara attended by hundreds of Sikhs, it no longer resembled a house of worship but rather a sweeping courtyard. However, it was until now that two families called it the home, said Singh.

Singh who heads a council representing the Sikhs in Pakistan, said young Sikhs have been looking to leave as the homeland has begun to turn toward radical Islam.

“They want to go to another country, not to India or Pakistan. But every country eyes them with suspicion.,” he said.

He adds, “Even Indians see his Pakistani passport and question his intentions, suggesting he wants to agitate for Sikh secessionism, the battle that resulted in Indira Gandhi’s death and a dream still held by many Sikhs on both sides of the border.”

According to Singh, Pakistan’s slide into intolerance began when Pakistan’s military dictator Zia-ul Haq set the country on the course of Islamic radicalization in the late 1970s with the former Soviet Union’s invasion of neighboring Afghanistan. Jihad became a rallying cry to defeat the communists in Afghanistan.

Extremism aggravated after the 2001 intrusion of Afghanistan by a U.S.-led coalition, he proclaimed.

The tribal areas were steadily caught by Taliban and in 2013 several Sikhs were killed, their limbs cut. Singh said the brutality of the killings and the threats sent thousands abandoning Pakistan.

Pakistan today uses blasphemy as a weapon against minorities and fellow Muslims alike, which is a crime that carries an involuntary death penalty.

“That is why we have a fear in our hearts, that this law can be used against us,” he told.

“In the last nearly 40 years we have been facing the boom, boom (mimicking the sound of explosions) in every city of Pakistan,” said Singh. “In a long time we have not heard any sweet sounds in our Peshawar, but still we love our city.”


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1984 anti-Sikh Riots Case: Abhishek Verma Ready to undergo Polygraph Test

The case pertains to the riots at Gurudwara Pulbangash in North Delhi on 1st November 1984, in which three people were killed, just a day past the assassination of then Prime Minister of India- Indira Gandhi

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Abhishek Verma, controversial arms-dealer
Abhishek Verma. Twitter
  • The court also asked Verma to give the statement in writing, that he wished to undergo the test if fulltime security is offered to him till the test was conducted
  • The court had directed Tytler and Verma to provide ‘unambiguous’ statements on whether they were willing to undergo the lie detection test
  • The case pertains to the riots at Gurudwara Pulbangash in North Delhi on 1st November 1984, in which three people were killed, just a day past the assassination of then Prime Minister of India- Indira Gandhi

New Delhi, July 08, 2017: Abhishek Verma, a controversial arms-dealer and a witness in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case allegedly involving Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, gave a statement to a Delhi court on Thursday that he was prepared to undergo a lie-detector test if that ensured full security to him and his family; Press Trust of India has reported.

During the hearing, Verma was present and he stated that- while Tytler had Z-plus security, he was offered protection only on the days of court-hearing and he anticipated severe threat to his own life as well as that of his mother and wife.

According to PTI reports, Verma agreed to the suggestion of the counsel, meant for the victims in the court that he should be provided with 24 hours security till he gives nod for the polygraph test.

ALSO READ: 1984 anti-Sikh Riots: Special Investigation Team (SIT) moves High Court For Cancellation of Bail to Sajjan Kumar

Advocate Prabhsahay Kaur and Kamna Vohra, who represented riot victims, said “Here is a witness who is willing to depose against Tytler. Witness protection is very important. Till the time his statement is recorded or lie detection test is conducted on him, he be given security round-the-clock so that he has no apprehension of grave danger to his life. After conducting the test, the threat perception could be re-assessed.”

According to the reports, Shivali Sharma, the additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, stated that she was curious to know the stand of the CBI’s investigating officer regarding this issue and listed this matter for 18th July as he was not present on Thursday. CBI prosecutor had mentioned to the court that the IO is out for a training session and would be available after two weeks.

The court also asked Verma to give the statement in writing, that he wished to undergo the test if fulltime security is offered to him till the test was conducted and his perception of a threat be re-assessed post that.

PTI reports say that besides carrying out a test for Verma, CBI has also sought for Tytler to undergo a lie-detection test, which has been refused by him.

The court had directed Tytler and Verma to provide ‘unambiguous’ statements on whether they were willing to undergo the lie detection test. It had held that the CBI’s plea for obtaining the consent of the two for the test was maintainable.

It had mentioned that, if there were any conditions attached to their consent, Verma and Tytler should have to appear in person for clarification.

According to the reports, the CBI’s move to seek permission for carrying out polygraph test on Verma and Tytler, came in pursuance to the court’s order of 4th December 2015, in which it was stated that the test may be conducted, if necessary.

The case pertains to the riots at Gurudwara Pulbangash in North Delhi on 1st November 1984, in which three people were killed, just a day past the assassination of then Prime Minister of India- Indira Gandhi.

Reportedly, Tytler was given a clean-chit by the CBI three times in the case, post his denial of involvement in the riot; but the agency was directed by the court to pursue further investigation in the matter. A protest petition had been filed by the victims, challenging the closure reports of CBI in the case.

The court had directed the CBI on December 2015 to investigate the matter, and decided to supervise it in every two months, just to ensure that all the aspects were thoroughly investigated.

The agency had gone through severe re-investigation regarding the murder of Thakur Singh, Badal Singh, and Gurcharan Singh near the Gurudwara after a court in refused to accept its closure report December 2007. The CBI has already filed three closure reports in that case; PTI has reported.

– prepared by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC