Partition museum opens in Amritsar
A new museum on the Partition of the subcontinent would open this week, as India and Pakistan mark seven decades as independent nations. Mallika Ahluwalia, CEO of the Partition Museum said “If you look at any other country in the world, they’ve all memorialised the experiences that have defined and shaped them. Yet this event that has so deeply shaped not only our subcontinent but millions of individuals who were impacted has had no museum or memorial 70 years later,”. The exhibitions, housed in the red-brick Town Hall building in the Indian border city of Amritsar, include photographs, newspaper clippings and donated personal items meant to tell the story of how the region’s struggle for freedom from colonial rule turned into one of its most violent episodes, as communal clashes left hundreds of thousands of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs dead and another 15 million displaced from their ancestral homes. The last of the museum’s 14 galleries is called the Gallery of Hope, where visitors are invited to scribble messages of love and peace on leaf-shaped papers before hanging them on a barbed-wire tree. The idea, Ahluwalia said, was to have visitors participate in the “greening” of the tree and to think of peace and reconciliation between the torn nations. She said she wanted to create the museum after years of hearing her 83-year-old grandmother’s tales of the subcontinent before it was divided, before she had to flee her Pakistani home as a 13-year-old girl. The museum is a non-profit trust that has raised money from individuals such as Indian ad guru Suhel Seth and companies including Airtel and the Hindustan Times. The Punjab government donated the space.
No voting right for Sehajdhari Sikhs in SGPC elections
The Union Home Ministry had issued guidelines notifying the debarment of Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) elections. The move is likely to trigger fresh protests from the Sehajdhari Sikhs, who, unlike baptised Sikhs, may trim their hair and may not wear the five articles of the faith. A Sehajdhari Sikh, however, believes in the 10 Sikh Gurus and the Guru Granth Sahib. As per the amended Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 (Punjab Act Number 1 of 1959), a Sehajdhari Sikh is a person who performs ceremonies according to Sikh rites, who does not use tobacco or halal meat, who is not a patit (an apostate) and who recites the mul manter. There are over 70 lakh Sehajdhari Sikhs in Punjab. In a notification last week, the Ministry of Home Affairs omitted form I A that allowed voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs. The latest guidelines from the ministry came nearly a year after the Centre amended the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925. The matter has been hanging fire since 2011 after the Punjab and Haryana Court restored Sehajdharis’ right to vote, quashing the Centre’s 2003 notification. According the new rules, only Keshdhari Sikhs can be registered as electors and will be required to declare that: a) I am a Sikh, b) I do not trim or shave my beard or kesha, c) I do not smoke or use kutha (halal) meat, d) I do not take alcoholic drinks and e) I am not a patit (an apostate). The decision is likely to concetrate power only in the hands of Keshdhari Sikhs.
Patidars seek stoppage of Bharatiya Janata Party events
Patidar Anamat Anadolan Samithi (PAAS), which has been demanding job quota for Patidars, had submitted a memorandum to Surat Police Commissioner, urging him not to give permission to the BJP to hold rallies or public meetings in the Patidar-dominated areas of Surat as there is “anger within the community against the ruling party”. “If the BJP organises such programmes in the Patidar-dominated areas, and if anything goes wrong, than the community or PAAS should not be held responsible,” stated the memorandum, which was submitted by PAAS leaders Alpesh Katheriya and Dharmik Malaviya. The PAAS leaders told Police Commissioner Satish Sharma that such events will instigate the Patidar community and law and order situation will be disrupted. “The purpose of giving such a memorandum is that the Patidars are angry with the BJP.”
Congress says slapping Madrasas with the National Security Act (NSA) will be unlawful.
After a Madrasa in Bareilly did not adhere the state government's order on singing the national anthem on Independence Day; Bareilly's Divisional Commissioner P.V. Jaganmohan said that charges can be slapped on the seminary under the National Security Act (NSA). Jagmohan said, "So far on Independence Day every school, government organisation and Madrasa abided to the rule which had been initiated. But the Madrasa which did not sing national anthem will be probed and National Security Act (NSA) can be imposed against them. Only after finding solid proof about anti-national activities we will probe this matter in details". The Jamiat-ur-Raza Madrasa in Bareilly came under the radar after refraining from singing the national anthem and video-recording the day's events. Nearly 1,000 students of the Madrasa, before ending the day shouted "Humara Hindustan zindabad" and broke into 'Sare Jahan Se Accha'. Congress leader Dwijendra Tripathi objecting to the possibility of the authorities using the NSA against the madrassa said, "They probably don't understand what the NSA is all about. If they do anything like this, then the High Court will take action against them.”