Akal Takht Jathedar voices concern over ‘spread of Christianity’ in Punjab

News Network
June 6, 2022

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Amritsar, June 6: Expressing concern over “spread of Christianity" in Punjab, Akal Takht Jathedar Gyani Harpreet Singh on Monday asserted that "churches and mosques" are being built in numbers in rural parts of the state and urged Sikh preachers to visit villages to promote Sikhism.

Delivering his customary address to the Sikh community from the Akal Takht's podium to mark the 38th anniversary of 'Operation Bluestar' here, the Jathedar also said that the Sikh community should make arrangements for the training of the youth in Sikh martial art and other heritage weapons.

"Today, we are confronting several challenges that are weakening us on the religious, social and economic fronts. To weaken us on the religious front, strong publicity of Christianity is being carried on in Punjab," he said.

The Jathedar of the Akal Takht - the highest Sikh temporal seat - said "churches and mosques" are being built in numbers in Punjab's villages and noted "it's a matter of concern and worry for us". This should be tackled by the Sikh institutions and jathebandis (organisations) by coming forward to preaching Sikh faith like the old Sikhs and saints did, he said.

He appealed to all the eminent associated with the Sikh religion to visit villages, especially the border villages, of the state and strengthen Sikh religion. The Jathedar pointed out that the time has come to step out of air-conditioned rooms and said Sikh preachers and scholars need to visit the border areas to promote Sikhism and apprise the youth about the rich Sikh tenets and history.

"We need to understand that if we are weak on the religious front, we will not be strong on economic and social fronts and then politically also, we will be weakened," he said.

The Jathedar said that the Sikhs have been blessed with the determination of Raj (sovereignty) from the time of Gurus (masters), which Sikhs still reiterate in their daily ‘ardas’ as 'Raj Karega Khalsa'.

"And to move in this direction, the Sikh youth will have to move forward in the world by getting high quality education. At the same time, it is imperative for the Sikh community to be proficient in the Sikh martial art received as inheritance," he said.

He said the Sikh community should make arrangements for the training of youth in Sikh martial art (Gatka) and other heritage weapons and also set up the shooting ranges for training of modern weapons as required.

The Jathedar also expressed concern over drug menace afflicting many youths and talked about the need to fight the scourge. Meanwhile, pro-Khalistan slogans were raised by supporters of radical Sikh outfits as well as that of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) at the Golden Temple on the occasion.

The marbled premises of the Golden Temple near Akal Takht echoed with pro-Khalistan slogans.

Many youths held banners and placards with 'Khalistan Zindabad' written on them. They wore T-shirts with the picture of slain separatist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale printed on them.

Pro-Khalistan slogans were also raised by activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) led by former MP Simranjit Singh Mann, who was also present at the spot. He raised the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala and demanded justice for the family.

Operation Bluestar was a military operation carried out in 1984 to flush out the militants from the Golden Temple.

Elaborate security arrangements were put in place in Amritsar to ensure that the event passed off smoothly.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body of the Sikhs, displayed the bullet-ridden holy 'Saroop' (volume) of the Guru Granth Sahib. The 'Saroop', which was installed in the sanctum sanctorum at that time, was hit by a bullet during the military action in 1984. Saying that the ghallughara (holocaust) of June 1984 is a painful saga of atrocities perpetrated on the Sikh community, the Jathedar questioned the heavy deployment of forces by the government in Amritsar city during that time.

"The governments must understand that the Sikh community is not a community which intimidates but it protects the oppressed," he said.

He said that "the attack on several Sikh shrines, including Sri Akal Takht Sahib, still hurts the community and it is a historical fact that whoever attacked the Sikh shrines was doomed".

On the occasion, the family members of several former terrorists were honoured with 'Siropaos' (robes of honour) by Head Granthi Giani Jagtar Singh, Jathedar Gyani Harpreet Singh and SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami.

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News Network
June 18,2022

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New Delhi, June 18: As anti-Agnipath agitations continued for the fourth successive day with more states joining in to protest the newly-announced scheme, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced a 10 per cent reservation for 'Agniveers' in recruitment in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and Assam Rifles.

Rajnath Singh held a meeting with the top brass of the Army, Navy and the Air Force on the overall situation. The focus of the meeting was to ensure a quick rollout of the 'Agnipath' scheme and ways to pacify agitators.

Singh also approved the proposal to reserve 10 per cent of the job vacancies in the defence ministry for 'Agniveers' who meet requisite eligibility criteria. He further appealed to young people to apply under the new scheme.

The MHA also decided to give three years age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to 'Agniveers' for recruitment in CAPFs and Assam Rifles. For the first batch of 'Agniveers', the age relaxation will be for five years beyond the prescribed upper age limit.

As per the Agnipath scheme, jawans will be recruited on a contractual basis for four years, following which 75 per cent of them will have to take compulsory retirement sans pension while the remainder will be allowed to continue service. The selection will be made based on their performance.

Youths across the country took to the streets to protest against the new short-term recruitment scheme for entry in the armed forces.

In Uttar Pradesh, a total of 260 people were arrested and six FIRs across four districts were lodged in in connection with violent protests over the scheme.

The agitation in the East Central Railway jurisdiction resulted in eight more trains including six originating from different cities of West Bengal and two originating from cities in Bihar to be cancelled.

In Bihar's Jehanabad, agitators protesting over the Agnipath scheme set fire to a bus, truck and two other vehicles. The violent mob also pelted stones on a police party which led to a sub-inspector rank officer getting injured.

Telangana's Secunderabad Railway Station, which witnessed arson and violence resulting in the death of a protester yesterday, witnessed tight security while train services resumed. The funeral procession of the youth killed in Friday's police firing at Secunderabad railway station was under way in the Warangal district amid shutdown and protest. Hundreds of people participated in the procession which began from MGM Hospital in Warangal to Narsampet.

In Tamil Nadu, youth organised a protest against the scheme near the War Memorial in Chennai. They were later removed from the spot and detained by Police.

In Kerala, youth took out huge protest rallies in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode demanding to conduct the pending written examination for the army recruitment at the earliest.

In Karnataka's Dharwad, police had to resort to mild lathi-charge after hundreds of youth raising anti-BJP slogans organised a protest rally demanding to scrap the scheme and hold regular army recruitment. Protests raged in West Bengal, Delhi, and other states as well.

Speaking to the media about the issue, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said armed forces cannot be "contractual", it is a disciplined force.

Meanwhile, AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) MP Raghav Chadha wrote to Rajnath Singh, requesting him for "roll-back and re-deliberation" of the Scheme.

Weighing in on the matter, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and said that just as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to withdraw the farm laws, he will have to accept the demand of the youth and rollback the Agnipath recruitment scheme.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi appealed to protesting youth in the country to adopt non-violent means of protest. She dubbed the scheme as "directionless", and said it is unfortunate that government has 'ignored' the voices of the youth. Gandhi also pledged to stand with the youth and work towards the withdrawal of this scheme.

Congress also announced a protest to be held on the Agnipath scheme at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Sunday. All CWC members and MPs are expected to join. 

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News Network
June 30,2022

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Mangaluru, June 30: Following heavy rains and floods in Dakshina Kannada, Deputy Commissioner K V Rajendra has declared a holiday for all educational institutions across the district tomorrow (July 1).

The DC had earlier declared for schools in Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) limits today (June 30). However, students who had already reached schools had to stay in classrooms due to increased rains.

Due to heavy rains, many low-lying areas like Kottara Chowki have been inundated with rainwater. Traffic flow was choked at many places including Mahaveer (pump well circle)with water flooding the roads.

The stretch near Kalladka, where the road was dug up to build a flyover, was sealed off for traffic. The stretch was inundated with rainwater.

Overflowing storm water drains had flooded residential colonies in Malemar, Ballalbagh and surrounding areas. Social media was flooded with messages warning commuters on avoiding flooded streets and areas.

The India Meteorological Department declared an orange alert in the district on July 1. Hence, the DC has declared a holiday for the educational institutions.

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News Network
June 27,2022

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Mumbai, June 27: Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde spoke to MNS chief Raj Thackeray over phone twice amidst the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra, according to ANI.

Shinde spoke to Thackeray about the recent political situation in Maharashtra and enquired about his health, an MNS leader confirmed the agency. 

Rebel legislators led by Eknath Shinde inched closer to formally getting their group recognised and pulling out of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress dispensation is contemplating action against the rebels and ministers and dealing with them sternly which may include disqualification, suspension from the party and stripping their portfolios.

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