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Khalistani elements publicly threaten Amarinder, India protests

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Capt Amrinder Singh

Chandigarh, May 1 : A threat publicly issued to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh by pro-Khalistan elements during an event in Surrey city of Canada’s British Columbia province recently has drawn an official protest from India.

Sources here told IANS that the Indian High Commission in Canadian capital Ottawa has lodged a “formal complaint” to Global Affairs-Canada, the foreign office last week, following the open threat to Amarinder Singh and hate speeches.

Videos of the ‘Vaisakhi Parade’ in Surrey on April 22 have been sent to the Canadian foreign ministry as proof of the open threats issued to Amarinder by Sikh hardliners.

The communication has also objected to the public display of Khalistan floats with images of slain separatist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and other terrorists, pictures of Kalashnikov rifles and photographs of former and serving army and police officers who are on the hit-list of Sikh radicals.

It is learnt that the Canadian authorities were cautioned about the “anti-India propaganda” of the Khalistani elements by the Indian authorities, who were anticipating such trouble, on April 13 itself. The Canadian foreign ministry, responding to the early warning, said it will take “necessary action”.

However, the Khalistani elements were allowed to have a free run and even issued threats on loudspeakers to Amarinder Singh in front of hundreds of people from the Indian community who participated in the April 22 parade. The Canadian provincial police and security agencies were present when all this happened, the sources told IANS.

It is learnt that the complaint pointed out to two Khalistani activists, Inderjit Singh Bains (an ex-office bearer of the Dashmesh Gurdwara, Surrey) and another person from the Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) organization.

British Columbia premier Christie Clark had also attended the parade. The Punjabi Diaspora, particularly Sikhs, form a major vote-bank in the election-bound province.

“These kinds of open and cheap threats show the extent of radicalisation in a relatively small section of the Sikh community in Canada. They endorse our stand of pro-Khalistani leanings of such elements in the Canadian Sikh community. Such brazen threats, and that too against the elected chief minister of a state in another country, should have no place in a democratic polity. It is up to the Prime Minister of Canada and the authorities there to rein in such elements and take preventive action to ensure that things do not get out of hand,” Raveen Thukral Media Advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister told IANS.

The Amarinder Singh government cold shouldered visiting Canadian Defence Minister of Indian-origin, Harjit Singh Sajjan, 46, as he visited various places in Punjab last month.

Amarinder refused to meet Sajjan, the first Sikh to be the defence minister of a western country, accusing him and other ministers of Punjab origin in the government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of links to radical elements demanding a separate Sikh state of Khalistan.

No minister or senior officer of the Punjab government either went to welcome Sajjan or even accompany him during the visit.

Amarinder had pointed out that “Sajjan and several other ministers and top leaders in Canada were sympathizing with those indulging in anti-India activities, notwithstanding Canada’s claims to the contrary”, adding that he would “not meet any Khalistani sympathisers”.

“I will personally not entertain the Canadian minister as I have concrete information about his being a Khalistani sympathiser, just as his father Kundan Sajjan, a board member of the World Sikh Organisation, was,” Amarinder had said earlier.

“Not only Sajjan but other ministers and MPs, including Navdeep Bains, Amarjit Sohi, Sukh Dhaiwal, Darshan Kang, Raj Grewal, Harinder Malhi, Roby Sahota, Jagmeet Singh and Randeep Sari, were well known for their leanings towards the Khalistani movementaa I will not be seen hobnobbing with a Khalistani sympathiser,” Amarinder pointed out.

Amarinder has been annoyed with the Canadian government since April last year when he was denied permission to visit that country, which has a sizeable Punjabi Diaspora, in the run-up to the Punjab assembly elections. The SFJ had complained to the Canadian government against Amarinder’s visit.

The Congress leader had to cancel his trip after being told by the Canadian authorities at the last minute that he could not allowed to visit the country for holding political rallies and meetings. The visit was aimed at wooing influential Non-Resident Indian (NRI) groups in Canada.

Amarinder had shot of an angry letter to Trudeau protesting against the “gag order”. He was informed by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishanker of the Canadian government’s stance.

Trudeau’s prdecessor, Stephen Harper, had visited Punjab in 2012 and 2009 in an apparent bid to woo the Punjabi and Sikh community in Canada.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at [email protected])

Politics

Now, Rabri Devi dubs Nitish as ‘warrior of sophistry’

Tejashwi also alleged that Nitish Kumar was facing actions in a murder case of 1991 and that the case was closed recently.

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Rabri Devi

Patna: A day after RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav took a dig at Nitish Kumar and provoked him enough to angrily hit back, Tejashwi’s mother Rabri Devi on Saturday dubbed the Bihar Chief Minister as a “warrior of sophistry”.

“He is a ‘kutark ke yoddha’ (warrior of sophistry). He claims that he made Tejashwi the Deputy CM of Bihar. It is absolute rubbish. He doesn’t have any shame left. In the 2015 Assembly elections, we won 80 seats and the Janata Dal-United got only 69 seats. Tejashwi was the leader of 80 MLAs and Nitish did not oblige him by offering the post of Deputy CM. You (Nitish) have to thank Lalu Prasad ji for extending a political lifeline to you in 2015,” Rabri told the media at her residence here.

“When a person becomes weak, he generally becomes angry and blows his fuse. Nitish Kumar is losing his cool these days and using unparliamentary language against the Leader of Opposition (Tejashwi). The CM is using highly objectionable words for him,” said Rabri Devi, a former Chief Minister of Bihar.

Nitish Kumar on Friday lost his cool after a personal attack by Tejashwi, who said in the Assembly that Nitish Kumar did not become father to a second child as he was probably scared of girl child.

Tejashwi also alleged that Nitish Kumar was facing actions in a murder case of 1991 and that the case was closed recently.

An angry Nitish Kumar in his speech later in the Bihar Assembly accused Tejashwi of lying and indulging in idle chatter.

He also clarified that he had made the remarks about 8-9 children of people just to inject some humour during an election rally.

Meanwhile, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) President Jitan Ram Manjhi said: “Tejashwi crossed the limit in the Assembly and used unparliamentary language to personally attack the Chief Minister. He should apologise. Nitish Kumar had made the remark at a political rally and not in the Assembly.”

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Politics

Congress and BJP leaders exchange barbs after Yediyurappa’s PA attempts suicide

Sources said Santosh was also eyeing an entry into politics and was working quietly in Arasikere constituency of Hassan district to make his debut in the next Assembly elections.

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Yediyurappa Karnataka

Bengaluru/Karwar: Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa’s personal assistant allegedly attempting suicide on Saturday turned into a political slugfest between ruling BJP leaders and the Congress.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D. K. Shivakumar demanded high-level probe into the suicide attempt by N. R. Santosh Kumar, who is a relative as well as Yediyurappa’s PA.

Speaking to reporters in Karwar, Shivakumar alleged that he knew that Santosh was under tremendous pressure as a few BJP leaders were harassing him. “They are having a CD containing Santosh in a compromising state and this CD was used to harass him,” he alleged. However, he refused to divulge any details.

Although, ruling BJP senior ministers Rural Development and Panchayat Raj minister K. S. Eshwarappa dared Shivakumar to come out in the open with names of which minister or which BJP leaders are involved in this case. “If he has any proof let him release the video and names too. If not, he should accept that he has misled the people of this state,” he said.

Revenue minister, R. Ashoka charged that Shivakumar was making false charges only to gain political mileage. “These days he is making more and more such ‘imaginary’ statements only to stay relevant in state politics,” he quipped.

However, it is pertinent to note that Karnataka Congress chief had made these allegations soon after local Kannada News channels aired Santosh’s wife Jhanavi obliquely claimed that her husband was severely upset with “ongoing political developments” in the state.

She too did not elaborate which political development had led to her husband taking such an extreme step.

However, it was strongly speculated by a section of local media that Santosh had fallen out with the inner circle of Yediyurappa as a result of this he was about to lose his prestigious post – CM’s Political Secretary shortly.

However, this theory was rubbished by none other than BJP state Vice President and Yediyurappa’s son B. Y. Vijayendra stated that they were shocked over the incident.

“I do not wish to respond to any speculations. As of now he is recovering which is good news. I have seen in the media that his resignation was sought, there is no need for such discussions. It is the prerogative of the Chief Minister who decides on who should be given what position and fix responsibilities,” he said angrily in response to a question.

This speculation has been doing the rounds since the last fortnight after Yediyurappa showed the door to a senior journalist – M. B. Maramkal who was appointed political advisor last year. In a quick succession Yediyurappa’s Media Advisor, Mahadev Prakash too put down his papers last week, thus it was speculated that Santosh too might face a similar fate.

It is alleged that Maramkal and Santosh had played pivotal roles in negotiating terms and identifying 17-rebels in Congress and JD(S) coalition government last year and thus paved the way for Yediyurappa to form the BJP government in the state.

Sources said Santosh was also eyeing an entry into politics and was working quietly in Arasikere constituency of Hassan district to make his debut in the next Assembly elections.

Santosh had even held a series of Press Conferences in Arasikere and levelled charges against seasoned JD(S) legislator Shivalinge Gowda. Even Gowda had confessed that Santosh was trying to cultivate his own base in his constituency whenever he met mediapersons in Bengaluru.

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Election

Around 52% Polling recorded in 1st phase of DDC Polls in Jammu and Kashmir

The SEC said that the DDC elections will play a decisive role for development at the grass-roots level.

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Election

Jammu: State Election Commissioner (SEC) K.K. Sharma said on Saturday that the first phase of District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir has been conducted successfully with a voter turnout of 51.76%.

The polling was by and large peaceful in the 43 constituencies of DDC that went to the polls on Saturday in which 3,62,766 voters, including 1,93,375 males and 1,69,391 females, out of 7,00,842 voters, exercised their franchise to choose their representatives in their respective councils, the SEC said in a press conference.

Sharma said that Reasi district recorded the highest polling at 74.62 per cent, followed by Rajouri (70.52 per cent), Poonch (68.69 per cent), Samba (68.61 per cent), Doda (64.49 per cent), Kathua (62.82 per cent), Jammu (61.49 per cent), Ramban (64.21 per cent), Udhampur (57.13 per cent) and Kishtwar (55.16 per cent) — all in Jammu division.

In the Kashmir division, Budgam district recorded the highest polling at 56.96 per cent, followed by Kupwara (50.74 per cent), Ganderbal (48.62 per cent), Bandipora (43.57 per cent), Anantnag 43.32 (per cent), Shopian (42.58 per cent), Kulgam (34.35 per cent), Srinagar (33.76 per cent) and Baramulla (32.51 per cent).

The SEC further said that large number of people came out to cast their votes in the first phase of DDC polls and panch/sarpanch bypolls. Long queues could be seen despite severe cold conditions in the Kashmir division and the hilly areas of the Jammu division, Sharma added.

The SEC said that the DDC elections will play a decisive role for development at the grass-roots level.

He also appreciated all the stakeholders for their tireless efforts for the successful conduct of the polling process. Adequate security personnel were deployed at all the polling stations to ensure the smooth conduct of the polls, he said.

The SEC further informed that arrangements for the second phase of polling — to be held in 43 constituencies, 25 in Kashmir division and 18 in Jammu division — have been put in place.

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