Monthly Archives: MARCH 2020


I apologise to the countrymen, says PM in Mann ki Baat
29.03.20 - Team PT
I apologise to the countrymen, says PM in Mann ki Baat



The battle against coronavirus is a tough one and it required harsh decisions to keep India safe, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first Mann Ki Baat after the 21-day lockdown was imposed in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

"The battle against COVID-19 is a tough one and it did require such harsh decisions. It is important to keep the people of India safe. A disease must be dealt with at the very beginning as delay makes it incurable," said Prime Minister Modi.

He said that as the coronavirus has put the entire world in lockdown, so "India is doing the same."
 
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"It is a challenge before everyone, science and knowledge, poor and rich, powerful and weak. It is neither restricted to a nation nor region or particular weather. This virus is bent upon killing human beings, eliminating them. Hence all of us, the entire humanity, must unite and resolve to eliminate it," he added.

Addressing the 63rd edition of his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat', the Prime Minister had sought forgiveness from all countrymen, and especially the poor, for the nationwide lockdown in the country in the view of the novel coronavirus.

During his address to the nation on March 24, the Prime Minister had announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
 
Watch Video:
‘Better to die with families’ — no food or money, Delhi migrants prefer the long walk home
 



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NPR-NRC-CAA protests at Bilal Bagh, Bengaluru & the spectre of COVID-19.
Protest in times of a possible Epidemic
20.03.20 - AMANDEEP SANDHU
Protest in times of a possible Epidemic



The spectre of the Corona virus epidemic is a major challenge to the last 90+ days long Muslim women led protests against the Central government’s intention to implement the NPR and NRC and CAA on a nationwide scale. By early March, according to a Ministry of Home Affairs memo to the states, the protests which started with Shaheen Bagh in Delhi in mid-December were replicated with minor differences at 291 sites across the nation. In Bengaluru we have our own Bilal Bagh, off Tannery road. 

Ever since the protests started three months back the protestors have been under attack by the BJP government and other right-wing Hindutva forces. The primary attacks have been verbal, through public discourse. The protestors have been called anti-national, they have been accused of being sponsored by the opposition parties, they have been vilified in derogatory terms, police action has been threatened, court cases have been filed, even attempts have been made to incite violence. 

Yet, throughout the period the women of the many Baghs maintained their calm, displayed remarkable resolve, and did not let these sites become sites of communal or anti-state violence.
 
Through the protests, the 14.2% Muslim population of India asserted its right to citizenship, found their space in the national narrative.By doing so, they came out of the corner in which the right-wing had relegated them when it came to power.
 
The protestors found great solidarity from people from other communities, majorly from the student community, activists and concerned citizens. 

The protests have helped the Muslims and all the non-Hindutva people of the nation to reclaim the articles of nationhood that had been snatched from them over the last few years: the national flag, the nationalistic slogans, the national anthem. Since December, state after non-BJP state declared they will not conduct the National Population Register exercise. To the right-wing’s horror for the first time in the last seven years since it came to power, it did not control the narrative, it did not dictate the discourse, it took a solid beating. 

What has really happened through these protests is that the women of the multiple Baghs have pinned down Hindutva’s slippery tongue. They have pushed the government to be accountable – stand by what you say or retract. Since the government declared its intention to press the citizenship register in early December 2019 and before that in the BJP Manifesto, it has started back-tracking. First, in late December, the Prime Minister said there will be no NRC, ‘there were no plans discussed’. Second,in February, the Home Minister in a Times Now Summit depicted NPR as almost a benign exercise where ‘no papers will be necessary’. Until date, with 10 days left to the beginning of the NPR exercise in BJP-ruled states, the framework has not been notified. 

Yet, the government will never openly retract. This is ego, this is supremacy, or at least the display of being all powerful. However, in courts, just three days back, as if from the backdoor, the government has filed an affidavit that ‘NRC is necessary’. This reveals BJP’s forked tongue. It shows the BJP will never become accountable and answer the women of India’s many Baghs.

*
In late January and early February, facing imminent defeat during Delhi election campaigns, the BJP tried its best to vilify the protests.
 
Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Anurag Thakur led a chant, ‘desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maro salon ko’. It was replicated thousands of times through the campaign and after.
 
Home Minister Amit Shah said, ‘We have to dismantle those thousands of Shaheen Baghs. (Referring to ballot) ‘aisa button dabana, current Shaheen Bagh ko lage’. It was a plan. BJP understands that the more it targets the Muslims, the greater is its vote gain. It showed in the Delhi election results – a 6% gain in vote share. 

When the Delhi elections were over and AAP won, the right-wing leader Kapil Mishra issued a notice to Delhi police to evict the Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh protests in Delhi. He led a pro-CAA protest. Such a protest is a mockery for who protests in favour of a law cleared by the Parliament? This was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
 
The antipathy towards the protests and the vilification of the Muslims resulted in an anti-Muslim pogrom. North East Delhi burnt for over three days. As of now, a total of 53 people (both Hindu and Muslim) died, hundreds were injured, property worth hundreds of crores was burnt and destroyed, no one knows how many have fled. BJP made sure Arvind Kejriwal,the AAP chief minister, stayed silent, did not help the citizens, did not even provide adequate relief. The pogrom established the BJP as the supremoes of Delhi. That is how, through their aggression and apathy, the BJP tried to dust off the Baghs of the nation.

*
For any protest to succeed, it is important that the protestor and the one against whom the protest is made, occupy the same moral universe. Sadly, that is not the case here. The protestors and the BJP or Hindutva occupy different moral universes. The BJP actually gains a macho image by targeting the Muslims.Its support in a Hindu majority nation increases as evidenced in the Delhi elections. That is why the BJP has no reason to engage with the protestors. 

In such a case, it is incumbent upon protestors to snap an economic lifeline. In the case of Shaheen Bagh it was one road on the Noida-Faridabad route. The police had blocked several other roads.The people found it cumbersome to travel. A case was filed in the Supreme Court. The court sent interlocutors, more roads were opened. The protests were no longer affecting the economy, they seemed to weaken. 

That is why, though still the many Baghs continue to persist, it has led to an impasse. With an unrelenting government, with NPR still not rolled back though given the threat of the virus it seems impossible to enact it now by April 1st, it is a question of how long to continue the protests? Now with the virus threat, everybody is concerned about an epidemic outbreak. The number of people gathering for protests has waned, so the question is: what should the protestors do?

Naturally, there are many opinions and differences between the protestors and allies on whether to suspend the protests or not. Ramazan is approaching and while the winters were harsh (in north India), long sit-ins will be very hard in summer. The question that comes up in the context of the protest is: to what end? Will the protesters be able to push back the government which remains apathetic? Is the BJP not responding because it is trying to wear out the protestors?
 
On the other hand, ever since the COVID-19 news, regular media is spinning a story that the protestors are not mindful about the threat, the risk. They are adamant. They are risking lives. 

Last evening I went to Bilal Bagh to check how they were holding up. I noticed many more tricolours than last time I was there about 10 days back. Though I was there in the evening, an hour when crowds earlier used to start assembling, I noticed the crowd was much thinner than earlier times. I was greeted with the ritual cleaning of hands with sanitizers, I was suggested to wear a face mask. The protestors themselves make masks now, like they make sanitizers. 

One of the organisers told me that mostly only women under 35 years of age are allowed to sit for longer periods.The women sit segregated from each other by more than three feet or one meter. Like earlier, the men stood at a distance, outside the tent, but the change was that this time they maintained a distance between them.

While earlier children were allowed to the protests and there was a running library, now the children have been told not to come. Instead, there is a health clinic where doctors Danish, Almas, Mahmood attend to patients for check-ups. We discussed how the organisers can bring in a bit of symbolism to the protest – empty chairs with placards saying: ‘No to NPR-NRC-CAA’; a row of footwear marking people; and so on. We agreed that what is important is the count of days should not stop. Yesterday, it was the 42nd day in Bengaluru.

Credit: Bilal Bagh

Two days back the PM addressed the nation. His speech was the same old platitudes, the same vacuous jingoism with no substantial sharing of government’s preparedness, action plan, even approach to handle the crises looming large. In comparison, the women of Bilal Bagh are actually taking action and have the welfare of people on mind. 

Theatre practitioner and volunteer Nisha Abdulla says, ‘It is important to respect the choice made by those who are at the frontlines. The protestors are aware of the risk and continue the sit-in because they feel quite strongly about both: threat of the virus to life and threat to dignity by NPR-NRC-CAA’

It is true. Let each Bagh around the nation decide what it wants to do. The most important aspect in the last three months is that women have reclaimed public spaces and have set the narrative. The Muslims have come out without being inhibited of their dress and speech and way of being. Bilal Bagh demonstrates that just like the women did not let the protests become communal sites, they will try their best that these sites do not become spaces of virus infestation. Given the increasing threat of the Corona virus spread, even if the women choose to withdraw for now, it would never be a retreat. It would be strategic. 

Nisha adds, ‘Why isn't this regime held to the same level of scrutiny that peaceful protestors are held up to? Before you blame protestors for being irresponsible, blame the regime for being blind and deaf to legitimate questions raised by multiple protest sites across the country.’

The women of Bilal Bagh hark at the humanity of the people of this nation. They continue to hope the government will be influenced, it will respond. Though those chances seem remote, when histories are written and the arrogance of the powerful is denounced, it is these protests that will go down to future generations as the voice of the people. 
 

 

Amandeep Sandhu is the author of PANJAB: Journeys Through Fault Lines


Pics: Amandeep Sandhu & Nisha Abdulla.
 

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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Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

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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Whatsapp: +1(520)775-0121
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Gogoi’s RS nomination wrong & questionable, it indicates he had been useful to govt: Amarinder
19.03.20 - Team PT
Gogoi’s RS nomination wrong & questionable, it indicates he had been useful to govt: Amarinder



Dubbing as "wrong and questionable” the nomination of former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, to the Rajya Sabha, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday said it clearly indicated that he had been useful to the current government at the Centre.

Gogoi’s nomination has definitely caused eyebrows to be raised, said the Chief Minister, adding that any sensible person would be against such a move by the Government.

Governments have to realise their responsibility, they cannot use institutions for political benefit, as appeared to be the case in Gogoi’s nomination, said Captain Amarinder, during a conclave to mark the completion of three years of his government.
 -----------
------------
The Chief Minister drew a clear distinction between Gogoi’s nomination by the BJP-led government less than 6 months after retirement as Chief Justice, and Ranganath Mishra’s election to the Rajya Sabha on a Congress ticket after several years of retirement from the same post. Unlike Gogoi, Mishra fought an election to win the RS seat, and that too some seven years after he retired as CJI, he pointed out.

Noting that former defence personnel, judges and others often enter politics and contest elections, the Chief Minister observed that General JJ Singh had been pitted against him by the Akalis in the last Assembly polls in Punjab. Gogoi was also entitled to get into politics, but he should have faced election after 4-5 years of retirement, said Captain Amarinder.

Even though his government had nominated retired judges to various commissions, they had no political or government standing, said the Chief Minister, making it clear that he would never agree to doing such a favour to a chief justice as had been apparently done for Gogoi.
 
Watch Video:


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:

 

Amarinder govt’s nefarious plan to steal Shamlat Lands will spell death knell of Punjab

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

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




[home] [1] 2  [next]1-5 of 8


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CHRONOLOGY SAMAJHIYE
NRC exercise is necessary for any sovereign country: Govt in Supreme Court
19.03.20 - Team PT
NRC exercise is necessary for any sovereign country: Govt in Supreme Court



With the new citizenship law and the proposed NRC sparking protests across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in December that the government had not held any discussions on a pan-India NRC.

But now, in its first legal response before the Supreme Court on a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), the central government has said that it is a "necessary exercise for any sovereign country”.

Responding to a batch of petitions challenging the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, B C Joshi, Director in the Ministry of Home Affairs, submitted in an affidavit on March 17 "that the preparation of a national register of citizens is a necessary exercise for any sovereign country for mere identification of citizens from non-citizens”.

The petitions had also challenged Section 14A of the Citizenship Act, 1955, which provides legal backing for the NRC, on the grounds that it suffered from excessive delegation of powers to the executive and is therefore arbitrary.

The provision states that the central government "may compulsorily register every citizen of India and issue national identity card to him” and "may maintain a National Register of Indian Citizens”.

In its affidavit, the government put on record that its powers to bring in a nationwide NRC have existed in the statute books since 1955.


"It is submitted that as per the existing statutory regime, there are three classes of persons residing in India — Citizens, Illegal migrants and foreigners on valid visas. It is therefore, the responsibility entrusted on the Central Government, on a combined reading of the Foreigners Act, The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and the 1955 Act to identify/detect illegal migrants and thereafter, follow the due process of law,” the affidavit said.

The government cited the Foreigners Act, 1946 to claim that it had "absolute and unfettered discretion” to expel foreigners and "an unrestricted right to expel remains”.

"It is submitted that the assertions of the Petitioners that the requirement for registration of citizenship have been delegated to the executive are erroneous as the National Register of Citizens does not create any embargo on any form of citizenship. It is submitted that the delegation has been only of the procedure to be adopted while conducting the said exercise,” the affidavit said.

The government cited examples of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, where citizenship cards are issued. "It may not be out of place to mention that as per information available in open sources in many countries, there is a system of maintaining register of their citizens. In fact, national identification cards are issued based upon the exercise of identification of citizens in these countries,” the affidavit said.

Defending the validity of Section 14A of the Citizenship Act, the government said that through the provision, the Parliament gives the government powers to only frame rules on procedure to be followed for maintaining NRC and not to set criterion or requirements of citizenship of Indian nationals.

 
Watch Video:



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:

 

Amarinder govt’s nefarious plan to steal Shamlat Lands will spell death knell of Punjab

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

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




[home] [1] 2  [next]1-5 of 8


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Comment by: Praveen Krishna

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Whatsapp: +1(520)775-0121 or Telegram: @trustcrypto
Email: bit.fxtrade@yahoo . com


I'm doing this because I promised Mr Brandon Parker if I got my profits back I will recommend him to people in the world, if you have been seeing people testifying about Mr Brandon Parker don't doubt, he is 100% real, for the first time in my life when I invested $1000 with him I got paid $7500 from crypto trading within a month, thank you sir Mr Brandon Parker. I can't recommend you to someone who is not real, Mr Brandon Parker is real when it comes to trading don't doubt him, you can contact him to give him a try and also see for yourself.
Whatsapp: +1(520)775-0121 or Telegram: @trustcrypto
Email: bit.fxtrade@yahoo . com


I'm doing this because I promised Mr Brandon Parker if I got my profits back I will recommend him to people in the world, if you have been seeing people testifying about Mr Brandon Parker don't doubt, he is 100% real, for the first time in my life when I invested $1000 with him I got paid $7500 from crypto trading within a month, thank you sir Mr Brandon Parker. I can't recommend you to someone who is not real, Mr Brandon Parker is real when it comes to trading don't doubt him, you can contact him to give him a try and also see for yourself.
Whatsapp: +1(520)775-0121 or Telegram: @trustcrypto
Email: bit.fxtrade@yahoo . com

reply


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PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH!
Corona Party Shuru Huyee Hai: At Kar Sewa, & Five-Star Hotel
18.03.20 - S Pal
Corona Party Shuru Huyee Hai: At Kar Sewa, & Five-Star Hotel



IF ANYONE THOUGHT the government or the ruling party politicians or those in the opposition, or our religious leaders, were at all concerned about the health of the citizens, or even about their life, just watch what they did in the last 48 hours.

At a time when the world is in a battle mode on the issue of the novel corona virus, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh spewed venom against political adversary Sukhbir Singh Badal, who spitted back as much as he could.

How casually has the state government been undertaking pre-emptive measures will be clear from its order asking that all schools be shut down. The order came with an exception for schools where examinations were taking place.
 
But the government probably did not notice that all schools were in the examination mode, and all the school going children had no option but to venture out and be in the school.
 
So, the order to shut down all schools effectively meant 'shut down no school at all.' A faux pas like this happens when we start getting education ministers with little understanding of education.

The government of Captain Amarinder Singh has been perfunctorily advising people to maintain social distance, but the chief minister is busy appearing on public platforms with hundreds of people sitting next to each other, and toasting his government's three years in power.

It is not clear what are the government’s achievements, considering that the head of the party's state unit keeps publicly complaining about the state of affairs and has even been demanding the resignation of the top law officer.

At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the SGPC is making a huge show about taking precautions in view of the coronavirus, but one serious look at the instructions and you would find them laughable, or even designed to aid the spread of the contagion.

The SGPC sewadars are now regulating the distance between any two devotees, but they are forgetting that when one after another devotee bows his or her head at the same place, placing both the palms on the side, touching the golden rails along the causeway and inside the sanctum sanctorum, that's exactly as per any manual on "how to successfully spread Coronavirus."

Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad has been closed to the public

Ironically, the mess up on the part of the SGPC comes at a time when religious authorities all over the world are taking steps to limit contact or close places of worship in response to the pandemic.

In one of the most disappointing incidents, Shia Muslims in Iran entered the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad and the Fatima Masumeh shrine in Qom on March 16, Monday, night, protesting the closure of these places that are normally open for prayers around the clock. 

Iranian health officials had told pilgrims that kissing and touching the shrines could spread the virus, and had urged clergy to close them for weeks, but worshippers chanted objections to the closures. 

At the Vatican, the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the global 1.2 billion Roman Catholic population, Holy Week celebrations and services will take place without the physical presence of worshippers. Instead, they will be livestreamed, and broadcast on radio and television.

The world is planning to mark Easter and Passover next month without devotees venturing out, while the Islamic holy month of Ramadan – during which most of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims will fast – begins around 23 April.

St Peter’s Basilica Square is closed and the pope’s daily 7am mass, the Angelus on Sundays, and his weekly general audience are being livestreamed and broadcast.

But what are our religious authorities doing? At the SGPC-run Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib, till as late as March 15, the management was giving calls to the devout to reach the gurdwara in large numbers for kar sewa.
 
Someone should actually have been arrested and put behind bars for endangering the life of the citizens and misusing the name of the shrine and the Guru, but, instead, it took some strong objections by alert citizens and members of the sangat that forced the management to postpone the venture.

Despite objections by many, the SGPC-appointed Head Granthi of the shrine issued a message on social media, saying all the sangat must come for kar sewa of the sarovar: "ਆਪ ਜੀ ਨੂੰ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ ਸਮੇਤ ਪਹੁੰਚਣ ਦੀ ਕਿਰਪਾਲਤਾ ਕਰਨੀ."

Later, in a message, the management actually conceded that it was postponing the kar sewa in view of the government orders and demands of some Sikhs, not because it itself realised the blunder it had prepared to commit.

But, on March 17, a large number of devout insisted on doing the kar sewa and all that the authorities/management did was to stay away from the kar sewa and watch it from a distance. The management is now saying that it was helpless since the sangat insisted on doing kar sewa.

Whose job was it to not let that happen? What part of the responsibility for such criminal abdication of duty at the Gurughar should be attributed to the SGPC?
 
Who are the managers of the gurudwara who caused and allowed such a grave exposure? If there is any outbreak of the virus, who will be held responsible for besmirching the name of the Sikh community?

On Sunday, the Italian police had dispersed people attending a mass at the church of St Francis of Assisi in Cerveteri, 27 miles north-west of Rome. Now, imagine if the Punjab police had gotten into action to push back those wanting to do kar sewa, what kind of noise the SGPC and many in the community would have made?

Just imagine what kind of noise a lot of nationalist propagandist state has been making about a small group of women sitting at Shaheen Bagh while observing all the precautions in view of the advisories regarding coronavirus outbreak?

But how can the Amarinder Singh government take any action against those posing such blatant threat to public safety and public health?
 
Captain Amarinder Singh himself is leading a government which, in collaboration with a leading news channel, plans to celebrate its three years in power with a massive show at a five star hotel in Chandigarh.

As for the SGPC, the manager of the shrine, told Punjab Today on March 18 that the management had postponed the kar sewa "par sangat apni marzi nal laggi hoyee hai ate hun sadi koyee zimmewari nahi hai." "(The sangat is doing kar sewa of its own accord and we have no further responsibility to bear.)"

And you thought that the religion and its practice over the years at such an important shrine would have instilled a love for the humanity and a sense of sarbat da bhala in the management at least!

In Malaysia, about two-thirds of the country’s 673 confirmed infections have been linked to an Islamic conference attended by about 16,000 people late last month at a mosque near the capital, Kuala Lumpur. 

In Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, the top Muslim body issued a fatwa stating that people should not attend Friday prayers if they live in an area which has a "high or very high transmission potential.” 

Across Europe and the US, churches, mosques, synagogues and temples have suspended public events at their own initiative. Many are livestreaming services and setting up WhatsApp groups of worshippers.

The Muslim Council of Britain has urged mosques in the UK to suspend all congregational activity, including Friday prayers. 

But for some reason, the Jathedar of the Akal Takht, often making news for his education, insisted till the very end that the government of India should not shut down the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, even though Giani Harpreet Singh's expertise on the coronavirus family of the vector is not so well known.

Amarinder Singh is on the right side of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, so the Centre has little interest in calling his bluff by questioning why the CM is keen on attending a gathering of hundreds to hail his government, but the BJP will do all it can to give a bad name to the Shaheen Bagh protestors, a political line in which Arvind Kejriwal is also aligned with the saffron party.

Who is really worried about the questions that your little children are asking, or your worries about whether the sanitizer will outlast the outbreak or if the vaccine would come into the market by the time your daughter was planning to start her family? 

Clearly, the politicians have given up on you. It is a party in the times of coronavirus, the strange kind of political love for power in the time of cholera, but you haven't been invited to the party. 

So please wash your hands of this entire business of Congress-Akali Dal-BJP-Aam Aadmi Party politics, and do so for much longer than 20 seconds. Its the kind of coronavirus that only you can stop, by questioning their politics.
 

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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Comment by: Satinder singh sawhney

I am surprised to see the stupid steps of congress in Punjab.

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