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
February 6,2023

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Early Monday morning (February 6), an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck south-central Turkey and Northwest Syria, reported AP. Buildings across the region were seen tumbling down, sparking a mad scramble to find survivors in the rubble and amidst an ongoing snow storm in many places.

Early reports have put the number of fatalities over 600 with thousands injured, reported AP. This event is likely to be a humanitarian catastrophe in a region already ravaged with over a decade-long civil unrest and a refugee crisis.

The magnitude of the quake

Many survivors have claimed that this is the strongest quake they have felt in their lives. “I have never felt anything like it in the 40 years I’ve lived”, Erdem, a resident of the Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the quake’s epicentre, told Reuters. Videos of buildings being razed to dust have been circulating on social media.

A magnitude of 7.8 on the Moment Magnitude scale is indeed really strong. According to experts, the quake is the joint largest on record (since roughly 1900) in Turkey. It has the same magnitude as one that killed about 30,000 people in December 1939 in northeast Turkey, tweeted Stephan Hicks, a researcher in seismology at the Imperial College London.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake was centred about 33 km from Gaziantep, around 18 km deep, reported AP. This is a highly populous region, exponentially increasing the likelihood of casualties. The effects of the quake were felt across West Asia, Northern Africa and South Eastern Europe with residents of Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Egypt also reporting tremors, wrote The Guardian.

Measuring a quake’s magnitude

The earth’s crust is broken up into tectonic plates that are constantly moving, slowly, often getting stuck at their edges due to friction. When the stress on the edge overcomes the friction, there is an earthquake that releases energy in waves that travel through the earth’s crust, resulting in the vibration felt.

A network of seismographs are used to record earthquakes with each individual seismograph recording and measuring the movement of the ground in its location. A seismograph is securely mounted onto the surface of the earth so that when the earth shakes, the entire unit shakes with the exception of the mass on the spring, which remains in its place because of inertia.

During shaking, the recording device on this mass records the relative motion between itself and the rest of the instrument, thus recording the ground motion. According to the USGS, these mechanisms are no longer manual, but instead work by measuring electronic changes produced by the motion of the ground with respect to the mass. 

Measuring the intensity

In many ways, the intensity is an even more important measure of an earthquake as it is related to the tangible impact a quake has. Intensity scales, like the Modified Mercalli Scale and the Rossi-Forel scale, measure the amount of shaking at a particular location.

An earthquake causes many different intensities of shaking, depending on how deep it is located on the earth’s crust and how far it is from its epicentre. Earthquakes of lower magnitude can be more intense if they are located in more shallow ground or if the area where they occur has more loose soil, etc.

The Modified Mercalli Scale, the most commonly used intensity scale, ranks earthquake intensity on a scale of I. (not felt) to XII. (extreme). The maximum intensity measured in today’s Turkey earthquake is IX. or violent – “Damage is considerable in specially designed structures; Damage is great in substantial buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings are shifted off foundations. Liquefaction occurs. Underground pipes are broken”, according to the USGS website.

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News Network
February 1,2023

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday began her much anticipated Budget speech, highlighting India's economic prospects amid a slowing global economy.

"The world has recognised India as a bright star. Our growth for the current year is estimated at 7 per cent...the highest among all major economies, in spite of massive global slowdown caused by pandemic and war," Sitharaman said, kicking off her speech.

She added that the Indian economy was on the right track, and heading towards a bright future.

While presenting the first Budget for 'Amrit Kaal', FM Nirmala Sitharaman said the government, in a bid to increase digital infrastructure in the rural areas and boost rural startups, will set up an accelerator fund for agri startups.

She said the Budget for 2023-24 hopes to build on the foundation of the previous budget and blue print for [email protected]

This is the last full Budget of the second term of the BJP-led NDA government ahead of the general elections in 2024.

Sitharaman is presenting her fifth full Budget after she took over as Finance Minister in July 2019.

Details to follow

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News Network
February 5,2023

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Dubai, Feb 5: After a long bout of serious illness, former Pakistan President and chief of Army staff Pervez Musharraf died today at the American Hospital in UAE's Dubai after spending years in self-imposed exile. He was 79.

The Consulate General of Pakistan, Dubai, has issued a no objection certificate (NOC) for the repatriation of the body of former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. In order to repatriate the body, a no objection certificate is required from the Consulate General of Pakistan.

Mr Musharraf's organs were malfunctioning because of an ailment called amyloidosis. This disease affects connective tissues and organs, inhibiting normal functioning. It's a rare disease caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body.

Facing charges back home for the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007, Mr Musharraf has been living in Dubai for the last eight years. He had earlier expressed his desire to spend the "rest of his life" in his home country, and wanted to return to Pakistan as soon as possible.

The former President was the tenth president of Pakistan after a successful bloodless military coup in 1999. He served as the 10th Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan (CJCSC) from 1998 to 2001 and the 7th top general from 1998 to 2007.

He was known as the architect of the Kargil war, the man who ordered his soldiers to enter India to cut off Leh from Srinagar.

In the war that followed in the summer of 1999, Pakistani soldiers, whose presence he denied, were decimated in the high mountains of Kargil. It was a catastrophic military failure for Mr Musharraf, who had pushed forward with the plan, keeping his Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif mostly in the dark.

Almost unbelievably, two years after Kargil, Mr Musharraf emerged stronger than ever.

Nawaz Sharif, who tried to prevent Mr Musharraf from returning to the country while he was on an official tour of Sri Lanka, was arrested, jailed, and subsequently sent to exile.

With the support of his Army, and in a bloodless coup, Mr Musharraf appointed himself President of Pakistan in 1999.

Pakistan's start-and-stop democratic process would grind to a halt for the next 7 years.

It was as President that Pervez Musharraf came to India in July 2001.

Born in New Delhi in 1943, Mr Musharraf was four years old when his parents joined the mass exodus by Muslims to the newly-created Pakistan. His father served in the foreign ministry, while his mother was a teacher and the family subscribed to a moderate, tolerant brand of Islam.

He joined the army at the age of 18, and went on to lead an elite commando unit before rising to become its chief. He took power by ousting the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who had tried to sack him for green lighting an operation to invade Kashmir, bringing Pakistan and India to the brink of war.

On March 9, 2007, Mr Musharraf unconstitutionally suspended Pakistan's then Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, triggering massive political protests that weakened the military ruler.

Following elections the next year, he was pressured by political parties to quit as President in August 2008. In November that year, after the 26/11 attack, India-Pakistan ties deteriorated.

The General was later arrested on charges related to the arrest of judges.

Under house arrest, Mr Musharraf faced a deluge of cases, and was accused of subverting the constitution. He was initially prevented from leaving Pakistan, but in March 2016, his name was removed from the exit control list, and he was allowed to travel to Dubai.

In December 2019, a special court in Pakistani sentenced General Pervez Musharraf in absentia to death for suspending Pakistan's constitution in 2007, a symbolic order since Dubai does not have an extradition treaty with Pakistan.

Mr Musharraf challenged the order and in January 2020, the Lahore High Court annulled the death sentence and held the earlier trial to be unconstitutional.

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