PERSPECTIVE

Monthly Archives: FEBRUARY 2018


A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA
Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar
27.02.18 - S Pal
Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar



HE DID NOT WANT to meet him; the guest, in turn, never wanted to see him. In the end, both met. And then, one of them told a lie.

Amarinder Singh claimed in writing that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured him that Ottawa did not support any separatist movement anywhere. And then laid thick his claim by making a reference to Quebec which is looking for independence from Canada.

Here is what a suave Amarinder, or his talented media advisor, said in an official statement mass emailed to journalists: "Citing the separatist movement in Quebec, Trudeau said he had dealt with such threats all his life and was fully aware of the dangers of violence, which he had always pushed back with all his might.”
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"The reports are false; I said nothing of the sort. On the contrary, I have always said I’m very proud of the lessons Canada and Quebec have to share on differences of opinion shared in peaceful ways and pluralism and diversity that is positive for our community.” This was Trudeau, calling Punjab CM Amarinder Singh a liar. So far, the Punjab Civil Secretariat has not responded.
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While the highly paid press release writers of Punjab government may not have been aware, Canada actually has newspapers and journalists, and some of those hacks also read Indian media reports. Naturally, even before Trudeau was to leave for home, the Canadian journalists asked him about his alleged remarks made in the context of Quebec. Trudeau decided not to be diplomatic any more.

"The reports are false; I said nothing of the sort. On the contrary, I have always said I’m very proud of the lessons Canada and Quebec have to share on differences of opinion shared in peaceful ways and pluralism and diversity that is positive for our community.” This was Trudeau, calling Punjab CM Amarinder Singh a liar. Right on Indian soil. So far, the Punjab Civil Secretariat has not responded.

Between the two, it is anyone’s guess who carries more credibility, but the question is, who put the reference to Quebec in the Amarinder government’s official statement, and why.

While Amarinder government made much of the list of 11 wanted men given to Trudeau, the latter was almost dismissive of it, saying his government regularly received such information and the list was passed on to intelligence officials. "It is not something that is particularly an out-of-order request,” he said. 
  
Effectively, Amarinder Singh used Trudeau’s visit to do what a Modi government’s backroom boy should have done during an advance meeting before Trudeau even left Canadian shores. 

But one thing is for sure: the Congress leader, Amarinder Singh, emerged as a strong nationalist voice dedicated to the territorial integrity of India, ready to wrestle anyone to the ground over even a whiff of Khalistani talk.
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In his second term as chief minister, Amarinder Singh possibly has had a change of heart that has moved him much closer to the BJP and the RSS. While he ostensibly leads a Congress government, the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo could not have asked for a better ally in Punjab.
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Meet Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister of Punjab. Of the many shades of turban that he wears, I do not recall seeing him sporting saffron, but saffron is what he eats, drinks, sleeps and talks now.

Public memory may be short, but contemporary history comes back to haunt faster than politicians wedded to expediency realise.

It was natural for the media to fish out Amarinder Singh's pictures circa 2005 from Canada's Dixie gurdwara with a "Khalistan Zindabad” inscription banner behind him. The BJP was then in the forefront of those demanding resignation, rather removal, of Amarinder Singh as chief minister of Punjab.

In his second term as chief minister, Amarinder Singh possibly has had a change of heart that has moved him much closer to the BJP and the RSS. While he ostensibly leads a Congress government, the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo could not have asked for a better ally in Punjab.

I am not even asking if a nudge from the Enforcement Directorate makes one start liking saffron, but between a Narendra Modi and an Amarinder Singh, who do you think went to the press to claim that Rahul Gandhi is not as mature as his mother to lead the party?

Modi and Shah consider Rahul Gandhi too important and invariably focus their attacks on him. Amarinder wanted Rahul Gandhi to wait and not take over Congress’ reins.
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Amarinder Singh has been announcing his new ideological affiliations, every statement of his almost perfectly aligned with the BJP's political line. Three Pakistani heads for every Indian soldier martyred, bravery medal for Indian Army major who tied a Kashmiri citizen on the bonnet of a jeep as a human shield, a completely free hand to the army in Kashmir & all resultant casualties as collateral damage, & those questioning Operation Bluestar & India’s human rights record as enemies of India’s integrity – Amarinder Singh’s hardline stance could have been scripted at 6A Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg.
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There’s more to Amarinder’s nationalist/saffron choices.

In the July of 2016, when the Kashmir valley was on the boil, Amarinder wrote an article in The Tribune saying the Government of India "must allow freedom of action to the Army." (https://goo.gl/vDuL9A)

"The directive must be just one: Bring a situation in the state where the writ of India runs and not that of the ISI. Yes, in the ensuing clashes collateral damage will take place," Amarinder wrote, his words much closer to the position a die-hard Bajrang Dal leader would adopt than even a seasoned BJP leader. It is a pity journalists did not ask Rahul Gandhi of he agreed with his Punjab leader.

When an Army major thought it prudent to truss up a Kashmiri citizen on the bonnet of his jeep to be used as a human shield and paraded him for hours along the valley's roads, Amarinder's line of action was more saffron than Nagpur's prescription.

Not satisfied with his statements hailing the army officer, Amarinder Singh took time out to write a long article for the Indian Express, arguing that "tough situations warrant tough reactions, and dangerous situations often, if not always, merit daring actions."

He called it unfortunate that "there were not many willing to pat his (the army major's) back for his remarkable presence of mind" of coming up with a brilliant idea to pick up a Kashmiri at random and tie him to the bonnet of a jeep to use him as a human shield. (https://goo.gl/Jt7qwa

He actually advocated "a tooth for a tooth and a nail for a nail", said he cares little if it "sounds a crude way of putting it."

"Does an army officer not deserve a reward for saving lives?" Amarinder Singh asked. Good question! It's a pity he didn't announce one to be given by the Punjab government.

But he clearly did announce his new ideological affiliations. Every statement of his is almost perfectly aligned with the BJP's political line, including his initial stance on the movie Padmawati. Days passed before he modified his views a little bit on the issue. 
 
He is the sole Congress leader who issued a statement that he wanted three Pakistani heads for each Indian soldier beheaded, a perfect echo of Sushma Swaraj’s comments that she made when she was the Leader of the Opposition and which she does not repeat now. (They have Amarinder Singh for that. https://goo.gl/AjL4j4)

Amarinder Singh has no views to offer on  Umar Khalid, or Kanhaiya Kumar. His party leader Rahul Gandhi lands up at Hyderabad University for a Rohith Vemula, but Amarinder Singh does not speak in sync with his leader even though Umar Khalid draws crowds in Punjab. But he rushes to defend the army major who uses a Kashmiri citizen as a human shield.

It is in that context that we need to see Amarinder Singh's sudden enthusiasm to emerge on the forefront of the battle to oppose any discourse even remotely touching the subject of India's territorial integrity.

For a man who signed the Amritsar Declaration and remained wedded to the Akali Dal's politics revolving around Anandpur Sahib Resolution, it was quite a journey when Amarinder Singh had refused to meet Harjit Singh Sajjan, the Defence Minister of Canada.

Much has been made of the pro-Khalistan sympathies of certain Canadian politicians. The facts are somewhat more sombre. Much of the Sikh Diaspora's concerns have to do with a perceived lack of justice in India following the anti-Sikh violence of 1984. 

The Operation Bluestar and the decades of national narrative that painted Sikhs as separatists, the culture of fake encounters, the extra-ordinary powers enjoyed by a police force that is virtually unaccountable, the abominable role of the state-backed human rights commissions, the obstinacy of the Indian state to revisit the atrocities and fix responsibility, and the near political consensus over letting the past be past -- all of this ensured that generations of Sikhs and many right thinking people of India and elsewhere remained very sceptical about India's claims of being a democracy.

Time heals. Unfortunately, it also solidifies distances, and normalises cynicism.
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For a man who signed the Amritsar Declaration and remained wedded to the Akali Dal's politics revolving around Anandpur Sahib Resolution, it was quite a journey for Amarinder Singh cold shouldering Justin Trudeau or refusing to meet Harjit Singh Sajjan.
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Northern America now has a significant population of Sikhs, with a younger demographic that was born and brought up there. They are well versed with the progressive discourse about civil liberties and human rights, and they are well aware of their own contemporary history. These are the people who ask difficult questions, and they look upon Indian politicians and political parties as stakeholders who let them down.
 

Unlike India, they have umbrellas like the First Amendment of the United States under which they can raise difficult questions without being branded separatists, secessionists, or worse, terrorists. In India, these terms are used like synonyms.

They live in a country where Quebec can seek independence and force a referendum. They live in a country where Trudeau is asked if he did indeed make a disparaging reference about the freedom movement in Quebec and the prime minister loses no time in calling Amarinder Singh a liar, effectively.

The idea of a student asking his academic guide, a professor of political science, if Khalistan could have survived as a viable country, given the geo-strategic realities in the region and from an economic view point, is taken as confirmation of the young student having separatist ideology -- a perfect ruse for the local SHO to pick him up and administer some time-tested police dose. 

Unsurprisingly, it works. Our students hardly ask any questions, a fact top academicians often bemoan. Those who ask can be branded. Try asking any question about how and when India became a nation state, or cow became holy, or why dalits remain where they are, or why BJP does not give a ticket to any Muslim, or why the Akali Dal, a party that claims to represent a minority, does not raise its voice when powerful people in the government openly spew hate speech against Muslims, and you will be branded.
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BJP’s Ram Madhav travelled to Canada for a meeting with separatist Sikh groups, arranged by UK-based Jasdev Singh Rai of the Sikh Human Rights Group, in November 2016. Rai was to join Madhav again in Toronto but Ottawa never allowed that to happen. BJP has been miffed since then, and wanted to deliver a snub. Amarinder Singh acted as the courier boy, with a Mera Bharat Mahan placard.
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They are not branded in Canada. So they ask questions. It is not a discourse that New Delhi likes. It moves on two fronts: first is to open direct, behind-the-scenes links with these so called separatist elements, an exercise it undertook under the BJP regime in 2016 which it successfully kept under wraps. To remind you, even Jasdev Singh Rai kept it under wraps. When that did not work, it fired the other cannon, with Amarinder Singh happily playing the Centre's fiddle.

THE 2016 Khalistani-BJP Talks Initiative

As the Hindustan Times of February 22, 2018 brought out in a sensational expose, BJP's top pointsman Ram Madhav opened talks with leadership of separatist Sikhs elements among the Diaspora in 2016.

Journalists Rezaul H Laskar and Prashant Jha, well respected for their credible journalism, wondered if possible intervention by Canadian Sikh politicians, including Harjit Singh Sajjan, to sabotage the talks could be the reason behind the frosty reception accorded to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his visit to India.

It now turns out that Ram Madhav travelled to Canada for a meeting with Sikh groups, arranged by UK-based Jasdev Singh Rai of the Sikh Human Rights Group, in November 2016. Rai was to join Madhav again in Toronto because the US Sikh leaders had agreed to meet the BJP leader only if Rai participated in the talks.

Rai, who had travelled to Canada at least 25 times, always used to keep the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in the loop about his contacts with the Sikh groups, but this time, Canada did not clear his visa.

As a result, Ram Madhav kept waiting for him in Toronto, while the Sikh groups refused to meet him for talks in the absence of Rai. It was a mission that failed, and the BJP considers Harjit Sajjan and his ilk responsible for not letting Rai join the talks. Rai has confirmed it. 

"Trudeau should stop pretending that he is defending freedom of expression of Khalistanis and come clean that his government has obstructed the peace dialogue process between the Modi Government and Sikh separatists,” Rai was quoted by the HT as saying.

New Delhi wanted to deliver a targetted snub. Modi not receiving Trudeau at the airport, or even tweeting about his arrival, fits into a pattern. 

Given the current bonhomie between Amarinder and Modi government, it is inconceivable that Amarinder would create a problem for New Delhi by threatening not to meet or welcome Trudeau. Also, there’s always that Enforcement Directorate angle. 

Amarinder played hard, and later soft, in perfect sync with New Delhi, eventually meeting Trudeau and making much about handing over a list of people wanted for anti-India activities.

The Canadians, on their part, messed up their own India venture by extending an invitation for dinner to Jaspal Atwal, an Indian-origin businessman with ties to the Khalistan movement. 

Once back in Canada, Trudeau was quick to undo any damage he may have caused unwittingly by catering to the rhetoric about territorial integrity, and reminded everyone about Canada's glorious track record in protecting freedom of expression. It is clear that Trudeau returned to a domestic constituency of Sikhs rolling out the red carpet for him.
 

International media hardly served the purpose Amarinder had intended; in fact, the exact opposite happened.

Articles like these appeared in ranking newspapers. (Click the visuals to read these.)

 
In the process, the India, Canada relationship has been struck a bloody blow by a PM who hugs, and does not; tweets, or does not; and a CM who refuses to welcome, and then does.
 
But in the process, Amarinder Singh also succeeded in inspiring many articles in the western press that underlined India's poor track record in meting out justice to the Sikhs. Sample this little quote from Sunny Hundal's piece (https://goo.gl/Gj4ipS) in The Independent of UK:  

"Why have relations between India and Canada suddenly turned chilly? ... What really worries the Indian government is the prospect of Sikhs in Britain, Canada and the US getting into positions of power and challenging the abuse of Sikh civil rights in India. The Indian government mentions the revival of Sikh militancy in India too, but it is highly exaggerated. Among Indian elites there is palpable concern that Western foreign policy towards India will increasingly be shaped by Sikhs willing to challenge its interests. Hence the alarmist talk about Sikh separatism."

This is exactly the kind of talk Amarinder Singh wanted to nip in the bud when he had refused to meet Trudeau. Now he is being seen as standing on the other side of the saffron line. Pity the fact that he was someone who made a career out of resigning his Rajya Sabha seat in protest against Operation Bluestar.
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Given the current bonhomie between Amarinder and Modi government, it is inconceivable that Amarinder would create a problem for New Delhi by threatening not to meet or welcome Trudeau. Amarinder played hard, and later soft, in perfect sync with New Delhi. The choreography is outside the scope of Amarinder’s CMO. This is New Delhi at work.
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The fact that the Akali Dal has an alliance with the BJP is a mere technical truth. The Badals wanted to welcome Trudeau, but when Modi needed a minister at the tarmac at Amritsar airport, he did not ask Harsimrat Kaur Badal to do the honours, fielding Hardeep Puri, instead.

With all of this, Amarinder has permanently walked into the BJP fold. It does not matter in which party he is technically. It is the ideological journey that he has made – from putting his signatures on the Amritsar Declaration to emerging as the frontline fighter for Bharat Mata, becoming a leader who sticks out his neck against anyone trying to question India's human rights record, civil liberties, or territorial integrity, and wants the Army to be given a complete free hand and considers the resultant body bags as collateral damage. 

I am sure Amarinder still wants a medal for the major who used a Kashmiri as a human shield, but am not sure if he does not have a saffron coloured turban in his sartorial collection. Rahul Gandhi will be now better educated with the colour preferences of his man in Punjab.
 

Amarinder’s press release writers have more work at their hands, including claiming that Trudeau actually told lies after landing in Canada, that Amarinder Singh never signed the Amritsar Declaration, that he did not write those articles and has no difference of approach from his leader Rahul Gandhi, that he has always had much respect for his party’s newly anointed president, and that he does not have any plans to sport a saffron turban.  

You know, it may actually work, but then a reporter might ask him if he thinks universities in Punjab should station a tank at the entrance to evoke the sense of nationalism. Try guessing the answer of Amarinder Singh, the Congress leader!

Post Script: I hate to settle any argument using a tank, but then this was a cheap shot I could not resist. Your turn, press release writer!
 
 
 

(A version of this article appeared earlier on this website with the headline "DECONSTRUCTING TRUDEAU IN PUNJAB - A visit that helped Amarinder complete a journey. This is an updated version after Trudeau trashed Punjab government’s claims about referencing Quebec during his talks with Punjab CM. Updated throughout. – Ed.)   

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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Jaspal Atwal controversy
Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this, too?
22.02.18 - Amandeep Sandhu
Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this, too?



THE KHALISTANI ANGLE to the relations between India and Canada has hogged the news headlines all through the past week. Finally on Wednesday there was some thaw and the Panjab Chief Minister met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and team including Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan and Industries Minister Amarjit Sohi, both earlier accused of being Khalistan sympathisers. Today the Canadian PM will meet the Indian PM and other official level talks will take place. 

Yet, a spin played out yesterday over the invitation extended by the Canadian PM and High Commission to a controversial individual Jaspal Atwal on most likely the recommendation by Canadian Parliamentarian Randeep Sarai. Pictures of Atwal with Justin Trudeau, Sophie Trudeau, Amarjit Sohi, MP Sonia Sidhu and others are flashing in media. Since then the dinner invite has been rescinded but it has caused embarrassment to both the Canadian and the Indian side. At the heart of the controversy are questions: who is Atwal and if he is in the wrong how did he manage not only an invite to the dinner but also a Visa to India.

Background: 

Atwal is a former member of the International Sikh Youth Federation – banned by British, Indian, Canadian and American terrorism legislation. In 1986 he was arrested, convicted, sentenced, over the attempt to murder of Indian Panjab Akali Minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu, on Vancouver Island, Canada. During the parole hearing in 1992 he confessed he was the shooter. He was subsequently released on parole. 
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My questions are for all grandstanding liberals who in the last few days have sought to impose the fear of Khalistan on the Sikh community in Panjab, in India and in the Diaspora. Those who have pushed Sikhs in a corner and forced them to explain themselves.
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However, Atwal has been flirting with the law. In 2002 he was a suspect in a drive-by shooting at his brother’s house, at which point, his parole was revoked. As a result the Indian Government revoked his visitor’s visa to India. In 2005 he triggers a police probe, when claiming then Tory MP Gurmant Grewal had asked him to write a donation out to Mr. Grewal’s personal account. In 2006 he wishes to travel to India. He does not contact his own MP in Fleetwood-Port Kells, Nina Grewal, because she is the wife of Gurmant Grewal against whom he had initiated probe. Instead out of all the MPs he approaches a particular one – Ujjal Dosanjh. 

Ujjal Dosanjh

Ujjal Dosanjh, is former Provincial Premier of British Columbia, Attorney general and Federal Health Minister. Over the last few years we know him for calling out the growing influence of Khalistan in Canadian politics and as a major voice against Hindutva in India. I read him carefully and I guess many who seek a world where development concerns override religious and identity politics would read him. He is truly a liberal, a darling of liberal press. 

A long time back, in 1985, when Dosanjh was running for Premiership he was attacked and severely beaten with a torn pipe spiked with sharpened bolts. Jaspal Atwal was considered responsible for the attack. He was arrested but let go for lack of evidence. Twenty years later Atwal approaches the same Dosanjh for the Visa to India. I understand that many people approach public figures, many get photographed with them. Dosanjh is no way responsible for Atwal approaching him. Dosanjh’s responsibility starts with how he responds to the approach.
 
Dosanjh felt that his ability to serve Atwal fairly was impaired by their history. Dosanjh referred Atwal to fellow Liberal MP Don Bell. No one, including Dosanjh, makes Bell aware of the details of Atwal’s background. In July 2006, Bell called the Indian consulate in Vancouver in an attempt to assist Atwal to obtain a new visitor’s Visa. It was rejected. 

My friend Kanwaldeep Singh asked Dosanjh a pointed question on twitter. Here is Ujjal’s reply. 
 
@kschandok 
Replying to @ujjaldosanjh
Mr. Dosanjh, I heard in a radio program 'Sathth' on KRPI 1550 AM today that it was you who recommended Federals to reach out to Indian government for Mr. Atwal to get an Indian Visa for him. What is your say?
Ujjal Dosanjh
‏@ujjaldosanjh
He approached me for help over 10 years ago. I couldn't help him in an unbiased manner and referred to another MP colleague. India denied him the visa. The rest is history.
@kschandok
It was mentioned 'in that radio show' that you "recommended" your federal colleague, and he met the person you "referred to as" as been kind of one recommended by you (if I am correct in translation of what I inferred from that broadcast).
 
Questions:

Now, my questions to Dosanjh, who over last night, is all over media making comments on Atwal:

a) Sir, why didn’t you brief Mr Bell in 2006?

b) Is your activism, political stance good for columns and commentary or does it play a role in your personal conduct - who you hob-nob with, whom you promote?

c) It is a bit rich that you now stand as an accuser firing away at Trudeau government when you were earlier complicit. Any real explanations?

Please note, my questions are not only to Mr Ujjal Dosanjh. Perhaps he has a big heart and goes out of his way by staying silent about his probable ex-attacker. My questions are for all grandstanding liberals who in the last few days have sought to impose the fear of Khalistan on the Sikh community in Panjab, in India and in the Diaspora. Those who have pushed Sikhs in a corner and forced them to explain themselves. Liberals, your right hand needs to know what your left hand does. If it doesn’t then it is hypocrisy. 
 

A related aside:

Atwal has been active in the Liberal Party of Canada as a strong Surrey supporter and organizer. In 2011 he worked for Christy Clark leadership bid, demonstrating skills in organizing volunteers, gathering huge swaths of memberships and facilitating fluid, key donations. At the same time he continues to flirt with the law. In 2011, Atwal lost a USD 22,000 decision against the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia in regards to a car fraud ring. Amid these allegations of fraud, he stirred a controversy the following year by showing up to Budget Day in Victoria. 
 
Conclusion:
 
We know politics is a murky game. We know wheeling dealings happen. We know big funds and shady reputations are part of the making of today’s politics. Just don’t flatten it for us by creating easy targets. Look into your own conduct before you seek brownie points through accusations.   
 
 
Amandeep Sandhu is working on a non-fiction book on Panjab.
 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

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TRIBUNE’S HARISH KHARE SHATTERS EDITORIAL SILENCE OVER CARAVAN REPORTAGE  

THE DANGER OF RENAMING A COLLEGE 

ARNAB GOSWAMI WATCHES PADMAWATI, KARNI SENA IS HAPPIEST

DESH CHORR DO – VANDE MATARAM MAN TELLS SIKH LEADER TO LEAVE COUNTRY

DYAL SINGH COLLEGE TO VANDE MATARAM MAHAVIDYALAYA - A DESIGN NEFARIOUS?

HONESTY CERTIFICATE TO MAJITHIA TRIGGERS CRISIS IN TRIBUNE 

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

WAS IT MEANT FOR TRUMP? OR US?  – Bush, Obama said this on Diwali

WALKING IN STEP, HAND ON THE SHOULDER Aye Bhayee, Bina Dekhe Chalo

CHALO, PATAAKE CHALAYEN – CM Amarinder Singh & Parkash Singh Badal Jee

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

ELECTION COMMISSION - YOU FAILED TO CONVINCE. TRY AGAIN.

THIS IS WHY ELECTION COMMISSION DID NOT ANNOUNCE GUJARAT POLL DATES – Decoding the mystery 

BJP TO EDUCATE FARMERS ABOUT AGRI & RELIGION LINK – Will tell them Modi did so much 

AYE BHAI, BINA DEKHE CHALO –  Walking with the blind in Chandigarh

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

OPEN SALE AT GNDU – Have Rs 25,000? Get your compartment cleared. Rs 50,000 for two subjects

SUCHA SINGH LANGAH : KAMAAL JAARI HAI... Sucha Singh Langah wins, even in his darkest moments

ABEY TU BAHAR NIKAL, CHOWK MEIN AA   The 10-yard-radius protest

PATIALA, VIA PANCHKULA. HAIL DEMOCRACY! Halaat kharaab nahi hone chahiye!

PEHLU KHAN CASE   Will Govt Now Compensate The Magnificent Six? The Nation Needs to Know

MR HOME MINISTER, WILL YOU BE VISITING FAROOQ AHMAD DAR'S HOUSE? 

THE RYAN DEBATE: HOW INDIA MISSED THE GREAT CCTV ANGLE?  Not covered by cctv, so not covered by tv either

POLITICAL ECONOMY OF RETIREMENT AGE ROW   What’s wrong with retirement age policy?

THE GORAKHPUR DEAD SPEAK TO PUNJAB  From Patiala to Gorakhpur, the tale of the dead

WE WILL KILL 40-50 – Haryana BJP, Govt calculated death toll before firing first bullet

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

LET'S KILL PAASH – Dr Sumail Singh Sidhu on the importance of Paash

A DOKLAM IN EVERY FIELD: Farmers not only produce food. They produce peace.

SURGICAL STRIKE YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT: When Indian jawans killed everyone at Pak post

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT







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Lutana, Bhagana and Bhulana
Yes, Ease of Leaving was announced by Jaitley in LS
21.02.18 - kanwar manjit singh
Yes, Ease of Leaving was announced by Jaitley in LS



ARE YOU STILL WONDERING that how diamond czar Nirav Modi (NiMo) and his uncle, who is also a jeweler, Vimul Choksi, could so easily leave the country after certifying ‘Ease of Doing Business’ the flagship programme of Modi government?

You should not, because this path-breaking scheme was unveiled in the parliament by none other than Finance Minister of India, Mr. Arun Jaitley, in his Union Budget 2018-19 speech.
---------
"Now, our government has taken Ease of Doing Business further by stressing on ‘Ease of Leaving’ for the common men (sic) of this country."
---------
Joking? No, this enlightening information is revealed by former Union Finance Minister and senior BJP leader, Yashwant Sinha, in an article in Indian Express.
Sinha quoted the text of the Jaitley’s speech, "Now, our government has taken Ease of Doing Business further by stress on ‘Ease of Leaving’ for the common men (sic) of this country, especially for those belonging to poor & middle class of the society."

So now we know that NiMo, who told us that diamonds are forever, was just implementing the government’s initiative in letter and spirit.

Only difference is that benefactors of this ‘Ease of Leaving’ scheme are not those belonging to poor or middle class of the society but diamond merchants.

Two days earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while speaking at Global Investors Summit in Mumbai informed us that previous governments only knew Latkana, Atkana and Bhatkana. But it seems that he was telling his countrymen that his government rather believes in Lutana, Bhagana and Bhulana.

India is a corrupt nation. The stain of it is so pervasive in our everyday lives that it should hardly surprise us when big scams are unearthed, periodically. In fact, what is surprising is that they don’t happen, or aren’t reported, more often, writes Udayan Mukherjee, Consulting Editor, CNBCTV 18, in his article, ‘Ease of doing scams’ again in Indian Express.
---------
"Previous governments only knew Latkana, Atkana and Bhatkana." But it seems that PM was telling his countrymen that his government rather believes in Lutana, Bhagana and Bhulana.
---------
Further Mukherjee writes that in 2017 (Note the year-Ed.), India was the most corrupt nation in the entire Asia Pacific region, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. We may be taking baby steps up the ease of doing business ladder but on an ease of doing scams index, we are the uncrowned champions.
 

In the light of the scam at PNB, the government’s recent bailout package of over Rs 2 lakh crore to PSU banks seems like a cruel joke. How can these banks, crooked at worst and incompetent at best, be given such vast amounts of public money without first putting in systems to ensure that it will not be frittered away like this? asks Udayan.
----------
We may be taking baby steps up the ease of doing business ladder but on an ease of doing scams index, we are the uncrowned champions.
----------
This ease of doing scams has again been proved by Likhte Likhte Love Ho Jaye wale Rotomac Pen-master Vikram Kothari and now don’t be surprised if in coming days more ‘Made in India’ entrepreneurs prove their mettle and make NaMo proud by their initiatives.

So, be a braveheart and adopt your Ease of Leaving programme even more efficiently or you will be left with Pakoda start-ups only earning Rs 200 daily. Woh bhi Rozgar hai ke nahin? 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

BREAD & CIRCUSES Readying a saffron generation     

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Legal Status To Cannabis Usage: Can We Afford It? 

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

RISE ABOVE PERSONAL VINDICATION, MR SURESH KHUMAR. FOR PUNJAB.

PAY YOUR INCOME TAX? What an idea, sir jee! 

PADMAVATI - KARNI KYA & KATHNI KYA! 

PADMAVAT – FIRST DAY, FIRST SHOW IN DAVOS

TV DEBATE EXPLODES WITH REVELATION ABOUT PB&H HIGH COUR

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

RANA GURJIT RESIGNS, BUT AMARINDER MAY HAVE LITTLE RESPITE

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

GOVT NOW DEFENDS MANSA FUCTION AND 6-FEET LONG CERTIFICATES

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SELF GOAL BY AMARINDER GOVT ON VAISAKHI HOLIDAY 

AMARINDER, BADALS, KHAIRA, AROOSA ALAM & A JOURNALIST OF TRIBUNE

BUT AAP WON'T GET IT. TUM TO THEHRE SHEHARI 

AMARINDER, BADALS, KHAIRA, AROOSA ALAM & A JOURNALIST OF TRIBUNE

BUT AAP WON'T GET IT. TUM TO THEHRE SHEHARI 

NAPOLEON PAINTING ROW: Punjab Govt insists on riding its high horse

PLAYING WITH SIKH SENTIMENTS: Punjab Govt’s ad depicts Tenth Sikh Master astride Napoleon’s horse

HOW DHUMAL WAS ASSASSINATED POLITICALLY, BY THE BJP

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

SHIROMANI AKALI DAL – Abhi to party shuru huyee hai...

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS IN PUNJAB: How Congress, SAD, AAP have framed issues  

DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT

VIDEO - CLASS 5 STUDENT THREATENS REVOLUTION

CHAI PAR SUICIDE? Meet Mankar. Sorry, he’s dead. Modi met him, though - for Chai Pe Charcha

1984 - A RIOT OR A GENOCIDE? Controversy explodes in Canada again as Hardeep Puri tweets

PUNJAB VIDHAN SABHA: They are publishing a new book, so please go read an old one

JAANE KYA DIKH JAAYE! Rajasthan, where they write poems hailing Shambu Lal Regar 

'IF NOT VANDE MATARAM, then will you salute Afzal Guru?' 

LAHORE NU SALAAM – LAHORE CHODD AAYA - Prof. Randhir Singh

THE LOOT THAT RAJASTHAN COMMITTED – An insult bigger than Bollywood’s Padmawati! 

TRIBUNE’S HARISH KHARE SHATTERS EDITORIAL SILENCE OVER CARAVAN REPORTAGE  

THE DANGER OF RENAMING A COLLEGE 

ARNAB GOSWAMI WATCHES PADMAWATI, KARNI SENA IS HAPPIEST

DESH CHORR DO – VANDE MATARAM MAN TELLS SIKH LEADER TO LEAVE COUNTRY

DYAL SINGH COLLEGE TO VANDE MATARAM MAHAVIDYALAYA - A DESIGN NEFARIOUS?

HONESTY CERTIFICATE TO MAJITHIA TRIGGERS CRISIS IN TRIBUNE 

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

WAS IT MEANT FOR TRUMP? OR US?  – Bush, Obama said this on Diwali

WALKING IN STEP, HAND ON THE SHOULDER Aye Bhayee, Bina Dekhe Chalo

CHALO, PATAAKE CHALAYEN – CM Amarinder Singh & Parkash Singh Badal Jee

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

ELECTION COMMISSION - YOU FAILED TO CONVINCE. TRY AGAIN.

THIS IS WHY ELECTION COMMISSION DID NOT ANNOUNCE GUJARAT POLL DATES – Decoding the mystery 

BJP TO EDUCATE FARMERS ABOUT AGRI & RELIGION LINK – Will tell them Modi did so much 

AYE BHAI, BINA DEKHE CHALO –  Walking with the blind in Chandigarh

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

OPEN SALE AT GNDU – Have Rs 25,000? Get your compartment cleared. Rs 50,000 for two subjects

SUCHA SINGH LANGAH : KAMAAL JAARI HAI... Sucha Singh Langah wins, even in his darkest moments

ABEY TU BAHAR NIKAL, CHOWK MEIN AA   The 10-yard-radius protest

PATIALA, VIA PANCHKULA. HAIL DEMOCRACY! Halaat kharaab nahi hone chahiye!

PEHLU KHAN CASE   Will Govt Now Compensate The Magnificent Six? The Nation Needs to Know

MR HOME MINISTER, WILL YOU BE VISITING FAROOQ AHMAD DAR'S HOUSE? 

THE RYAN DEBATE: HOW INDIA MISSED THE GREAT CCTV ANGLE?  Not covered by cctv, so not covered by tv either

POLITICAL ECONOMY OF RETIREMENT AGE ROW   What’s wrong with retirement age policy?

THE GORAKHPUR DEAD SPEAK TO PUNJAB  From Patiala to Gorakhpur, the tale of the dead

WE WILL KILL 40-50 – Haryana BJP, Govt calculated death toll before firing first bullet

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

LET'S KILL PAASH – Dr Sumail Singh Sidhu on the importance of Paash

A DOKLAM IN EVERY FIELD: Farmers not only produce food. They produce peace.

SURGICAL STRIKE YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT: When Indian jawans killed everyone at Pak post

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT







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Punjab Today impact: 'MIS-REPORTING PUNJAB'
21.02.18 - Team PT
Punjab Today impact: 'MIS-REPORTING PUNJAB'



Just today Punjab has extended a warm welcome to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his team of Ministers arriving at Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. The CM Punjab had a one-on-one meeting with the Canadian Prime Minister and then with his Ministers.
 
As a curtan raiser, Ferndale, Washington based KRPI Radio 1550 AM interviewed Amandeep Sandhu on his recent Punjab Today article calling out the Indian media's half-baked truths which were set to jeopardise the meetings.
 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

BREAD & CIRCUSES Readying a saffron generation     

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Legal Status To Cannabis Usage: Can We Afford It? 

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

RISE ABOVE PERSONAL VINDICATION, MR SURESH KHUMAR. FOR PUNJAB.

PAY YOUR INCOME TAX? What an idea, sir jee! 

PADMAVATI - KARNI KYA & KATHNI KYA! 

PADMAVAT – FIRST DAY, FIRST SHOW IN DAVOS

TV DEBATE EXPLODES WITH REVELATION ABOUT PB&H HIGH COUR

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

RANA GURJIT RESIGNS, BUT AMARINDER MAY HAVE LITTLE RESPITE

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

GOVT NOW DEFENDS MANSA FUCTION AND 6-FEET LONG CERTIFICATES

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SELF GOAL BY AMARINDER GOVT ON VAISAKHI HOLIDAY 

AMARINDER, BADALS, KHAIRA, AROOSA ALAM & A JOURNALIST OF TRIBUNE

BUT AAP WON'T GET IT. TUM TO THEHRE SHEHARI 

AMARINDER, BADALS, KHAIRA, AROOSA ALAM & A JOURNALIST OF TRIBUNE

BUT AAP WON'T GET IT. TUM TO THEHRE SHEHARI 

NAPOLEON PAINTING ROW: Punjab Govt insists on riding its high horse

PLAYING WITH SIKH SENTIMENTS: Punjab Govt’s ad depicts Tenth Sikh Master astride Napoleon’s horse

HOW DHUMAL WAS ASSASSINATED POLITICALLY, BY THE BJP

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

SHIROMANI AKALI DAL – Abhi to party shuru huyee hai...

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS IN PUNJAB: How Congress, SAD, AAP have framed issues  

DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT

VIDEO - CLASS 5 STUDENT THREATENS REVOLUTION

CHAI PAR SUICIDE? Meet Mankar. Sorry, he’s dead. Modi met him, though - for Chai Pe Charcha

1984 - A RIOT OR A GENOCIDE? Controversy explodes in Canada again as Hardeep Puri tweets

PUNJAB VIDHAN SABHA: They are publishing a new book, so please go read an old one

JAANE KYA DIKH JAAYE! Rajasthan, where they write poems hailing Shambu Lal Regar 

'IF NOT VANDE MATARAM, then will you salute Afzal Guru?' 

LAHORE NU SALAAM – LAHORE CHODD AAYA - Prof. Randhir Singh

THE LOOT THAT RAJASTHAN COMMITTED – An insult bigger than Bollywood’s Padmawati! 

TRIBUNE’S HARISH KHARE SHATTERS EDITORIAL SILENCE OVER CARAVAN REPORTAGE  

THE DANGER OF RENAMING A COLLEGE 

ARNAB GOSWAMI WATCHES PADMAWATI, KARNI SENA IS HAPPIEST

DESH CHORR DO – VANDE MATARAM MAN TELLS SIKH LEADER TO LEAVE COUNTRY

DYAL SINGH COLLEGE TO VANDE MATARAM MAHAVIDYALAYA - A DESIGN NEFARIOUS?

HONESTY CERTIFICATE TO MAJITHIA TRIGGERS CRISIS IN TRIBUNE 

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

WAS IT MEANT FOR TRUMP? OR US?  – Bush, Obama said this on Diwali

WALKING IN STEP, HAND ON THE SHOULDER Aye Bhayee, Bina Dekhe Chalo

CHALO, PATAAKE CHALAYEN – CM Amarinder Singh & Parkash Singh Badal Jee

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

ELECTION COMMISSION - YOU FAILED TO CONVINCE. TRY AGAIN.

THIS IS WHY ELECTION COMMISSION DID NOT ANNOUNCE GUJARAT POLL DATES – Decoding the mystery 

BJP TO EDUCATE FARMERS ABOUT AGRI & RELIGION LINK – Will tell them Modi did so much 

AYE BHAI, BINA DEKHE CHALO –  Walking with the blind in Chandigarh

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

OPEN SALE AT GNDU – Have Rs 25,000? Get your compartment cleared. Rs 50,000 for two subjects

SUCHA SINGH LANGAH : KAMAAL JAARI HAI... Sucha Singh Langah wins, even in his darkest moments

ABEY TU BAHAR NIKAL, CHOWK MEIN AA   The 10-yard-radius protest

PATIALA, VIA PANCHKULA. HAIL DEMOCRACY! Halaat kharaab nahi hone chahiye!

PEHLU KHAN CASE   Will Govt Now Compensate The Magnificent Six? The Nation Needs to Know

MR HOME MINISTER, WILL YOU BE VISITING FAROOQ AHMAD DAR'S HOUSE? 

THE RYAN DEBATE: HOW INDIA MISSED THE GREAT CCTV ANGLE?  Not covered by cctv, so not covered by tv either

POLITICAL ECONOMY OF RETIREMENT AGE ROW   What’s wrong with retirement age policy?

THE GORAKHPUR DEAD SPEAK TO PUNJAB  From Patiala to Gorakhpur, the tale of the dead

WE WILL KILL 40-50 – Haryana BJP, Govt calculated death toll before firing first bullet

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

LET'S KILL PAASH – Dr Sumail Singh Sidhu on the importance of Paash

A DOKLAM IN EVERY FIELD: Farmers not only produce food. They produce peace.

SURGICAL STRIKE YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT: When Indian jawans killed everyone at Pak post

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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MIS-REPORTING PANJAB
Shekhar Gupta's half-baked truths
18.02.18 - Amandeep Sandhu
Shekhar Gupta's half-baked truths



Please bear with me. I write this with a heavy heart but also with familiar tedium because all my life I have seen much of media report complex situations - especially when it comes to Panjab, Sikhs, Khalistan - in a black and white manner. With an overdrive of Indian nationalism. It hasn't helped anyone and even after a quarter century of guns going silent Panjab remains trapped in this question of Khalistan. This time the article Shekhar Gupta has tweeted is mis-reporting. Let me show you how.

Q. What do you derive when you read this paragraph from The Print story?

"Trudeau’s Sikh minister Amarjeet Sohi was arrested in 1988 under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (known as TADA) and remained in jail for over 21 months in India before being released for lack of evidence."

To me, it seems like Amarjeet Sohi was a terrorist let off for lack of evidence. Since the story is about Khalistan, the implicit message is Sohi must be a Khalistan terrorist.
-----------
I do not understand what is the media trying to achieve. Why is it urging the Central government to deny permission to the Canadian ministers from visiting India - duly elected Canadian Prime Minister, the Defence Minister, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
-----------
On the night of 27th September 2014 a friend took me to a Mela at the Grain Market near Barnala in the south of Panjab. It was to commemorate the death anniversary of one of the tallest people's movement figures of Panjab Gursharan Bhaji and the birthday of another tall figure, a much cherished ideologue and freedom fighter, Bhagat Singh. It was a night of plays organised by Punjab Lok Sabhyacharak Manch, PLS Manch, Jalandhar. I knew about Bhaji from earlier and it was uplifting to watch plays he had written, directed, even acted in. Especially one with the iconic character Bhai Manna Singh after which he was even lovingly named. The attendance must be around 7 - 10 thousand people who had come from long distances on tractors, trolleys, jeeps, cars, bikes and what we call chotta hathi - a modified small truck. The atmosphere was one of solidarity. People's love for Bhaji was overflowing.

In the dark era in Panjab, what is called the Khalistan era, Gursharan Bhaji was one of the few who had stood against the militants and sought to claim the nights in far and interior villages. He had worked relentlessly in rural Panjab to keep the focus on people's issues and had stood against the mayhem of guns - both state and anti-state. As part of his work with the poor and the dispossessed he had also toured Bihar. On that tour a young man had joined him after having returned from Canada earlier because he wanted to work among his people. This man was Amarjeet Sohi.

Ironically for these theatre folks opposed militancy in Panjab, the Bihar police saw them as sympathizers of Naxalites and picked up Sohi. When they checked his bag they found two things: a book of poetry by the poet Paash and a Ponds Cold Cream bottle. Luckily for Sohi a Panjabi Sikh IAS officer was serving in Bihar and learnt about the case. The officer was familiar with Panjab, with people's theatre, asked Sohi to recite poetry, checked his credentials and satisfied that he was no terrorist, got him medically examined, rescued him from Jehanabad police and produced before a Chief Judicial Magistrate. Basically saved his life and saved him from torture to extract a false confession. The case was fought by theatre organizations and took 21 months to be decided in his favour.

That is the case the journalist has quoted above, just the bare bones. By hiding the details, the context, the journalist has misinformed the readers and made Sohi out to be a Khalistan supporter. Ironically, I read about Sohi in the very newspaper in which the journalist earlier worked. So, it is not the journalist did not know. Yet, it is very typical of how Sohi, being a Sikh, continues to be demonized. (Anyway, upon release Sohi went back to Canada.)
----------
The bigger shame is that Shekhar Gupta and the senior journalist know the nuances of Panjab's politics. They know the reasons for the demand of Khalistan. They know that none of those reasons have been addressed by the state.
----------
In the very next paragraph the article says: "Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan’s parents are believed to be closely associated with the World Sikh Organisation, a Sikh advocacy group which supports the Khalistani movement."

This is what current Panjab CM Amarinder Singh had also said when he opposed Sajjan last year. When he rebuked him by not meeting him on his visit to Panjab. Yet, where is any proof? Any statement by Sajjan? In fact, the only statements Sajjan has made are clarifications about not supporting Khalistan which later the Panjab CM lauded. Is there any real reason to visit upon the son his father's political leanings?

I do not understand what is the media trying to achieve. Why is it urging the Central government to deny permission to the Canadian ministers from visiting India - duly elected Canadian Prime Minister, the Defence Minister, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. All this does, as it has done in the past, is a great damage to Panjab and to India. Flatten the complexity to suit a black and white framework, elicit false rhetoric, but solve nothing on the ground.

The bigger shame is that Shekhar Gupta and the senior journalist know the nuances of Panjab's politics. They know the reasons for the demand of Khalistan. They know that none of those reasons have been addressed by the state. In fact, today Panjab is in an even more miserable condition than in its past because it is a post-conflict region but we have failed to look at it as such. We also know about the US Gurdwara politics - the supposed ban on Indian politicians and embassy staff. But also remember the biggest terrorist act of the times, the Kanishka air crash, happened on Canadian soil. Canada's ministers will not be irresponsible with their own country.

The article forces us to ask what should be the role of media in post-conflict societies. For if we continue to look at Panjab through the lens of Khalistan and the Diaspora, how can Panjab seek justice, heal? Move on?
 
 
Amandeep Sandhu is working on a book on Panjab.
 
 
 

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