Over 100 top Sikhs, politicians from India visiting Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan

News Network
November 18, 2021

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Lahore, Nov 18: Over 100 Sikh pilgrims from India, including Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, are expected to arrive at the revered Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan on Thursday using the visa-free Kartarpur corridor, some 20 months after the pilgrimage was suspended following the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Wednesday, the first batch of 28 Indian Sikhs, including women, arrived in Pakistan to take part in the annual commemoration of the birth of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev on Friday. Similarly, over 2,500 Indian Sikhs also arrived via the Wagah border crossing.

“The Indian Punjab chief minister (Channi) along with his delegation is also scheduled to visit Darbar Sahib on Thur¬s¬day,” Karta¬rpur Pro¬ject Management Unit chief executive officer Muhammad Latif said.

Latif also told the Dawn newspaper that over 100 Indian pilgrims were expected to visit the gurdwara on Thursday.

The Kartarpur Corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district.

Gurpurab, which marks the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, will be celebrated on November 19.

Till Wednesday, over 2,500 Sikh pilgrims have arrived via the Wagah border.

The pilgrims left for Nankana Sahib soon after their arrival to participate in the main event at Gurdwara Janam Asthan on Friday, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) spokesperson Amir Hashmi told the Dawn newspaper.

“All the visiting Sikhs from India and elsewhere will be facilitated for travelling to Kartarpur sahib,” he added.

Pilgrimage to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara was suspended in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Indian government reopened the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from its side on Wednesday.

India signed the Kartarpur corridor agreement with Pakistan on October 24, 2019.

Under the pact, Indian pilgrims of all faiths are allowed to undertake round the year visa-free travel through the 4.5-km-long passage.

In November 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan had formally inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor as part of the commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak at a colourful ceremony, paving the way for Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit one of their religion's holiest sites in Pakistan without needing a visa. 

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News Network
November 26,2021

Bengaluru, Nov 26: The loud sound heard in several parts of Bengaluru on Friday at noon was not due to vibrations caused by an earthquake or tremor, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Cell said. 

Mmany Bengalureans took to social media to share that they heard a loud ‘boom’ sound. “Just now heard a loud explosion sound in Bengaluru, then doors and windows vibrated. I felt this in Rajarajeshwari Nagara. #Bengaluru #Bangalore #SonicBoom? Others felt too??” a social media users asked. 

“Loud sound heard again in various parts of Bengaluru along with rattling of windows. What happened this time ? Sonic boom ? Earthquake ? Quarry blast ?” tweeted a journalist.

Reports of sound associated with mild vibrations by the local residents was received from Hemmigepura, Kengeri, Gnanabharathi, Rajarajeswari Nagar and Kaggalipura, Bengaluru today, dated 26.11.2021 between 11.50 am – 12.15 pm, a statement issued by KSNDMC Director said.

"The data was analysed from our Seismic Observatories for any seismic signatures/possible earthquake signals during the said time period. The seismographs shows no signatures of local tremor/earthquake,” the natural disaster monitor added. 

Bengalureans took to social media to report a loud sound with some speculating that it is a sonic boom. 

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News Network
November 20,2021

New Delhi, Nov 20: Om Raj excitedly shows his small diary carrying details of all the friends he made at Singhu border, while Manak Singh says he will miss the protest site which witnessed their daily hardship for over a year to convince the Centre to repeal the farm laws.

Sitting with his friends on a cot near temporary tents set up at Ghazipur border, Raj (85) said the protest venue now feels like home and that the agitating farmers have developed a deep bond with each other.

The farmer, a native of Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, shows his diary in which he has meticulously maintained details of all the protesters he has befriended in the past one year.

"See this is my tenth diary and there are hardly any pages left. I have maintained details of all the farmers I met here and became friends with over the period. We all stay in touch. The bond that we developed here has only become stronger. I also plan to visit them,” Raj says enthusiastically.

At Ghazipur border, one of the three prominent venues of the anti-farm laws agitation, protesters were filled with excitement following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of repealing the controversial farm laws.

Another protestor says he will definitely miss the venue after he will return to his village.

Asked if he ever went to his hometown during the last one year, Raj recalled that he visited his native place on just two to three occasions and returned within a few days.

Since the last two months, the elderly farmer has set up a small venture which he starts at around 10 am and closes by 5 in the evening. He says the intention behind it was just to have some ‘gupshup’ (conversation) and pass the time with other farmers.

He also showed the spread of the products for sale -- bidis, matchboxes, badges and flags.

"When the farmers get bored, they sit here and pass time. I sell bidis and matchboxes which usually fetches me around Rs 100 a day,” he said.

Manak Singh (77), a native of Amroha district in Punjab, says, "This spot has become our place for chit-chat. We will stay here until all the laws are repealed as per legal procedure. We will not go unless all our listed seven demands are met by the central government. This announcement by the Centre could have also been done with upcoming elections in mind."

Having braved severe weather conditions and other hardship during their protest, the farmers say this has only made their brotherhood and will power stronger.

"If the government would have made this announcement earlier, we would not have suffered so much," a protester rues.

Meanwhile, a few tents away, 68-year-old Ram Kumar Sharma, hailing from Nithari village in Noida, had been serving ‘langar’ (free meals) from morning till night, at the protest site for nearly a year now.

Sharma, who is also a member of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, says he comes around 10 am and leaves at night after the last langar is served.

“I have been organising the langar with the spirit of social service. I will miss the farmers after they will leave the site,” he says.

“I do not want to see anyone going back with an empty stomach. I am myself a farmer and do not want to see anyone hungry,” he adds.

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News Network
November 18,2021

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Even though the ‘Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020’, claims to protect cattle and increase the breed of cattle, in reality the Act has a detrimental impact on the cattle rearing and market ecosystem, according to a scientific study. 

The study was led by public health specialist Sylvia Karpagam and independent researcher Siddharth Joshi. The study was an initiative by a group of researchers part of Ahaara Namma Hakku collective. 

The study report “Criminalising Livelihoods, Legalising Vigilantism” analyses the impact of the legislation on various communities including farmers, cattle transporters, slaughterhouses, skin and hide curing units, butchers, eateries and consumers.
It states that the justification provided by the government to implement the Act “betrays a complete lack of understanding of how the cattle production cycle works, and the utter disregard for the destructive impact it is going to have on the lives, incomes and livelihoods of the those who are part of the long chain of economic activities sustained by slaughter of cattle...”

While farmers usually sell unproductive cattle to traders who transport them to slaughterhouses, the new legislation which prohibits the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and buffaloes (below the age of 13 years), criminalizes traders who buy cattle for slaughter. Without an option to sell unproductive animals, farmers have to continue taking care of the animal making it economically unviable, it says. The report also highlights farmers lamenting how the legislation portrays them like criminals, leaving them vulnerable to vigilantes.

Further, the measures proposed by the government for mitigation of these adverse impacts are also impractical, it points out. For instance, while the government has proposed to take care of stray cattle in gaushalas, it doesn’t solve the economic loss to the farmers from being unable to sell the unproductive cattle. The report also quotes stakeholders who point out that cattle aren’t fed properly in gaushalas and they are sold on the sly. 

Considering that Karnataka is grappling with malnutrition, the researchers emphasize the importance of beef as a nutrition source.

Karpagam demanded that the government revoke the Act. “Else, it should at least allow slaughter of all other animals such as ox and bull. Now the exemption is allowed only for buffalo, which people in Karnataka do not consume,” she said.

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