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Monthly Archives: AUGUST 2018


The Yuba City Attack on Manjit Singh GK & General Sambit Patra
25.08.18 - S Pal
The Yuba City Attack on Manjit Singh GK & General Sambit Patra



EVERY EVENING, on prime time news television in India, spokespersons of various rightwing outfits defend the most reprehensible acts, statements and claims. They defend rapes and murder, threats to rape and murder, the culture of lynch mobs policing the streets, and worse. 

On certain television channels, their task is facilitated by the anchors; on others, they spew venom to the utter frustration of the news anchor.

This is the new India that is increasingly more acceptable, either because the liberal and moderate voices have been threatened or muscled out, or the ultra-nationalist muscular version of nationalism is finding new takers among the uneducated, unemployed, frustrated hordes of India's younger demographic.

However, this discourse of hatred is not finding resonance in Punjab, thanks to the unique history, experience, legacy and demography of the state. "Where in Punjab did you find a single communal riot during the entire dark period of militancy?" asked Prof Ishwar Dayal Gaur in a recent television debate, adding, "We should understand that Punjab cannot be equated with the rest of India; it is a special case, and has a unique temperament."
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Punjabis are angry with the traditional leadership, and that anger did find an outlet at times. Politics got heated, but it never went the Sambit Patra way. The opposition was aggressive, but we stopped short of becoming lynch mobs.
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The fact is that today's Punjab has moved beyond geographical boundaries. From Mississauga to Mansa, from Toronto to Tarn Taran, from Sialkot to Seattle, from Bathinda to Boston, Punjabis are moving, sharing their experiences, talking politics, slamming or praising Badals or Amarinder Singh, angry with the AAP leadership for its internal feud, and forever hoping that Punjab will find its destiny and a political leadership that it deserves.

Punjabis are angry with the traditional leadership, and that anger finds an outlet now and then, either by electing four MPs of a new upstart political party, or by overawing the ruling Akali Dal with sheer crowd power in the wake of incidents of sacrilege of Sikh scriptures or by refusing to buy the tall claims of ending the drug menace in four weeks.

Politics got heated, but it never went the way of a Sambit Patra. The opposition was aggressive, but we stopped short of becoming lynch mobs. At times, Akali Dal leaders find it hard to make an uninterrupted speech, but no one moved around with a lathi in hand.

It could not have gotten more provocative than when Gurmit Ram Rahim brought things to a brink, but Punjab still did not mirror the culture of a mob beating to pulp innocent citizens on suspicion that the black buffalo in the truck may actually be a white cow painted dark.

This may soon change, though. We are decisively moving towards starting to refer to that fellow on prime time television as Dr. Sambit Patra, or Prof. Rakesh Sinha, the hon'ble Member of Parliament.

The fact is that we are fast becoming a lynch mob. 
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From a slipper thrown at a leader, it is a short distance to firing a gun shot at a Dabholkar, a Kalburgi, a Pansare, a Lankesh.
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We do not like a certain leader, so we think it is alright if someone in the crowd throws ink on his face, or slaps him. We rationalise it as an expression of the people's legitimate anger. From a slipper thrown at a leader, it is a short distance to firing a gun shot at a Dabholkar, a Kalburgi, a Pansare, a Lankesh. 

Our anger needs a spectacular outlet, so bashing up a Manjit Singh GK in Yuba City, California becomes a supremely panthic act, an adventure undertaken for the panth, for the aan-baan-shaan of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

It is an action that makes a Dr Sambit Patra proud. The crowd that parades in favour of the rapists and killers of an eight year old girl in Kathua is desperate to recruit supporters. It needs a people weaned on hatred. Its survival depends on supply of poisoned minds ready to take direct action.

The ilk of the hatemonger is increasing exponentially, and the rowdy loutish elements whose argument flows from super protein-fed muscles and a mother-sister-abuse-laced invective, are now finding brothers-in-arms among certain sections of the Sikhs.

They won't listen to an opponent, they won't even let the opponent speak. They won't let the opponent address his own people, they won't engage. They have come with their minds made up, their line of action clear. The turban must come off and fall on the road, and some fisticuffs must find their target.
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Our anger needs a spectacular outlet, so bashing up a Manjit Singh GK in Yuba City, California becomes a supremely panthic act, an adventure undertaken for the panth, for the aan-baan-shaan of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
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In the true lynchmob tradition, now sanctified by the gau rakshaks and Muslim haters, a video must be made and it must go viral. Then breathless spokespersons will pick up the narrative: "Ajj DSGMC wale Manjit GK da keeta giya kuttapa. Vekho video."

So much for the people of the book, the Ahl-e-Kitab. The people of shabad vichar. The people whose guru is a granth. Granth Sahib. Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 

You can stand on any side of the ideological fence, but you cannot defend what that bunch did to a young Sikh face in Yuba City. That, too, inside the premises of a gurdwara.

The tales of what happened inside the premises of one of the holiest shrines of the Sikh community in the mid-eighties are too horrific. The lynchmobs are ideological comrades. From a Sambit Patra on Republic TV to a group of people teaching panthic maryada to Manjit Singh GK, it is one big baradari shutting out the sane and sanity.

Any 20 people can beat any one person anywhere in the world. That only proves that 20 people can beat a person. It does not settle any other argument.

For that, we have Sri Guru Granth Sahib. There is one in that gurdwara in Yuba City. It is time we measured our actions in the light of the tradition of goshthi that the guru taught us.
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Any 20 people can beat any one person anywhere in the world. That only proves that 20 people can beat a person. It does not settle any other argument.
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Back in 1994, a mosque was burnt in an act of arson just days after it was completed by the local Muslims at the cost of an estimated $1.8 million and many hours of donated work. The local Sikhs, Mormons, Christians, and other groups got together to rebuild that mosque, a story told beautifully in the 2012 documentary, "An American Mosque." That day, the Sikhs reclaimed their Sikhi.

Today, the louts are taking us back to rogue times. If you feel like agreeing with them, you are being recruited as a footsoldier in the army of General Patra. We know your salute also. They teach it in Nagpur, but you can learn the same in the Berlin of 1930s and early 1940s. Practice will make you perfect. "Agli baar bach ke na jaane paye.” 

For how many times must they have pretended with eyes closed, hands folded, their lips syncing perfectly: "Sikhan da mann neevan, mat uchi; Mat pat da rakha aap waheguru!
 

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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_______________________________________________________________


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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HATE CRIME
Sikh man thrashed in US, told to return to 'His Own Country'
05.08.18 - TEAM PT
Sikh man thrashed in US, told to return to 'His Own Country'



In yet another addition to the ever increasing cases of racism, a Sikh man was allegedly assaulted by two white men in Keyes in California and was told to head back to his country. They shouted, "You’re not welcome here! Go back to your country!” Reportedly, the two men hit the Sikh man repeatedly with a rod and even threw dirt in his eyes. They also wrote a racist message on his truck with a spray paint.

An acquaintance of the victim shared a picture of the spray-painted car on Facebook, describing the assault. "Beaten with a rod on his head and they also threw dirt in his eyes…Fortunately he is okay physically due to his turban protecting his head…,” the Facebook post read. The racist message was spray-painted on his car in large black letters with the words "Go back to ur country” alongside an image of a Celtic cross, one of the most commonly used symbols by white supremacists.
 
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said the assault is being investigated as a hate crime. "This is a random despicable criminal act against a member of the Sikh community," Christianson said.

Sheriff Sergeant Tom Letras said the 50-year-old victim was placing signs for local candidates when two white men wearing black hooded sweatshirts ambushed him and beat him to the ground. 

He was struck multiple times as the assailants screamed, "You're not welcome here!" and "Go back to your country!" They then spray painted his truck, Letras said. "This is a heinous crime and we are aggressively investigating it," Letras said.

The victim required medical attention so an ambulance was called and he treated on scene for cuts and other wounds. According to a Facebook post, the man was beaten on the head with a rod. But he escaped major injury because of his turban, which is traditionally worn by Sikh men.
 
Earlier, Sikh Attorney-General of the US state of New Jersey Gurbir Grewal was attacked by two hosts of a talk radio programme, Malloy and Franco  who refused address him by his name and called him a ‘Turban Man’. "Turban man!” Franco said, imitating a condom company’s slogan. Malloy too chimed in saying "Yeah, turban man. And listen if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban, man. I’ll remember your name.”
 
Hate crimes against the Sikh community have raised alarm in the Central Valley numerous times over the years. After 9/11, a spate of local crimes against Sikh people were attributed to misplaced anti-Muslim bigotry.

The valley has one of the largest and oldest Sikh populations in the US. The first Sikh temple, or gurdwara, in America opened in Stockton in 1912. There are an estimated 500,000 Sikhs in the US and 25 million worldwide making it the fifth most popular religion.

Earlier, The Sikh Coalition, a national Sikh advocacy and civil rights group, issued a statement saying they were seeing a "new wave of hate crimes" against the Sikh community. It reported that Sikhs in the US are experiencing an average of one hate crime per week since the start of 2018.
 

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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_______________________________________________________________


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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ORDERS RECEIVED FROM THE TOP?
Journalists get a taste of Imran Khan's New Pakistan: SAFMA office sealed with members, pet dog still inside
02.08.18 - PT Pakistan Desk
Journalists get a taste of Imran Khan's New Pakistan: SAFMA office sealed with members, pet dog still inside



IMRAN KHAN'S New Pakistan began its relationship with the free voices in the media this week in a rather disappointing manner: Just as it became clear that Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party will be forming the government in Punjab, authorities moved fast to seal the office of SAFMA, the South Asian Free Media Association, a non-profit that promotes media networking in South Asia for regional peace. 

Some members of Safma and a pet dog were still inside the building that was sealed by the LDA. 

The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) pulled out a complaint gathering dust for years and claimed that SAFMA was carrying out ‘commercial activities’ in the residential area from its office in Shadman-II enclave.

Journalists who still dare to speak truth to power in Pakistan have slammed the move, even as officials said some residents had approached the court a few years back to demand that commercial activities of SAFMA be stopped. The Daily Times of Pakistan led with the headline: SAFMA is Naya Pakistan’s first victim.
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The action against Safma comes at a time when different media outlets, journalists and local and international rights groups are complaining of increasing pressure on the media and restrictions on free speech in Pakistan.
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"We must ask to what extent can running a library and a school for teaching journalists the media code of ethics be classified as a commercial activity?" asked Pakistan's leading English language daily "Dawn" in an editorial condemning the action against SAFMA.

"The action against Safma comes at a time when different media outlets, journalists and local and international rights groups are complaining of increasing pressure on the media and restrictions on free speech in Pakistan," the Dawn said.

SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam condemned the sealing of the office of the media foundation and urged the caretaker chief minister of Punjab, Dr Hassan Askari, a journalist himself, to intervene in the matter. 

SAFMA now plans to hold protest rallies and sit-ins besides pursuing the legal battle. Most experts said by no means can the activities of SAFMA be described as commercial.

SAFMA is a non-profit organization working for capacity building of journalists and advocates freedom of the media under Article 123 of the constitution of Pakistan. 
 

It is a subsidiary of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and journalists of Saarc member countries have a stake in it.
-----------
A number of senior journalists in Punjab have remained associated with SAFMA, including South Asia Post editor Gobind Thukral and Ajit's Satnam Manik.
-----------
Senior official of the LDA, Ms Amina Imran Khan, was quoted by the Dawn as saying that the LDA "will not allow anyone to carry out commercial activities that disturb the residents.” She said SAFMA's activities "are really causing public nuisance."

Hitting back, Imitiaz Alam said thousands of plots remain under illegal occupation of land mafia and all around the SAFMA office, many buildings were being used for commercial activities. 

"In general, everywhere in Lahore, many premises are being used for commercial purposes unlawfully allegedly in connivance with the LDA," he said.

"One thing is clear: whatever has happened has been done on the orders received from the ‘Top’," Alam said.
Alam said he was worried about how to bring out of the sealed building the Safma members and a pet dog who were inside. "If we try to go inside, it would be violation of the law,” he said, adding, "I would also take up the matter with the ISPR very soon.”

A number of senior journalists in Punjab have remained associated with SAFMA, including South Asia Post editor Gobind Thukral and Ajit's Satnam Manik.
 
 

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: 

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

Punjab is Silent as India Wakes Up to Talk of Refugees

AAP-CONG ALLIANCE: ARREY BHAI, YEH KYA LIKH DALA?

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS PLANNING HONEYMOON? 

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

DEATH EMBRACING LOGIC: Drugs in Punjab

PANJAB'S EMERGENCY: FORMAL AND INFORMAL

THE KASHMIR GOVERNOR, THE TRIBUNE TRUST & ETHICS - How Journalism Fails Readers?

"Congress Sikhan Di Dushman Jamaat Hai?” —Akalis need to dump broken record, shift gears

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

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

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

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

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

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

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

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

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

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

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

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

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

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

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

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

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

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

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

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

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

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

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

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

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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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