Friday, February 28, 2014
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London : A Sikh bus driver in Finland has won his fight to wear a turban while at work.
Gill Sukhdarshan Singh has been in dispute with his employer, Veolia Transport in the city of Vantaa, for more than a year for his right to wear turban at work, Yle, the Finnish public broadcasting company,reported Tuesday.
His year-long dispute with the Veolia bus company was resolved after an agreement between the transport workers union (AKT) and the employers’ organisation (ALT).
Now, after this development, Sikhs would be able to wear either their own turban or one provided by their employer, the report said.
“It feels nice,” Gill was quoted as saying. “I can wear my turban at work now and that’s the important thing,” he added.
With thanks : Mizonews : LINK
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Singapore, Feb 23: An elderly Sikh in Singapore has been honoured for his outstanding volunteer services.
Surjan Singh, 82, received the Ministry of Social and Family Development Volunteers Award for helping some 60 boys, mostly involved in petty crimes such as theft, the Straits Times reported.
Singh, a retired teacher, worked for Community Probation Service, a voluntary service, for 42 years.
With thanks : IANS : LINK
Britain is close to changing employment laws to remove an anomaly that meant Sikhs were exempt from wearing head protection in a high hazard industry such as construction, but were required to do so in lower hazard workplaces.
Following the completion of a consultation process carried out by the health and safety executive, the David Cameron government is expected to shortly place an amendment to the De-regulation Bill currently before parliament.
The forthcoming change takes forward British rules and legislation relevant to the Sikh community that were first challenged in 1969, when bus driver Sohan Singh Jolly succeeded in his campaign to overturn a local ban on bus drivers wearing turbans in Wolverhampton.
Minister of state for health and safety Mike Penning told HT: "I've listened to the arguments and I'm supportive of the Sikh Council's desire to extend the exemption. That is why I'm personally intervening to change the law".
He added: "It's about restoring a common sense approach to health and safety to get rid an anomaly which means turban-wearing Sikhs are exempt from wearing hard hats on construction sites be made to wear them in lower hazards workplaces."
Official sources said the wording of the amendment is still subject to discussion and approval but the initial proposal is to replace the phrase "on a construction site" with "in a workplace" in the Employment Act 1989.
Representations to the government by the Sikh community, especially the Sikh Council UK, had identified problems experienced due to the limitations of the current exemption. They pointed out that limiting the exemption to an industry which has a high risk of head injuries, and not to other lower risk industries, was an anomaly.
Members of the Sikh community have faced disciplinary hearings and dismissal for refusing to wear head protection, while some were unable to follow their chosen professions because of the insistence of the need to wear head protection.
In a recent debate in the House of Commons, Penning said: "As the law currently stands, turban-wearing Sikhs are exempt from wearing head protection in a high hazard industry, construction, but may be required to wear it in lower hazard workplaces".
He added: "I am seeking to table an amendment to the De-regulation Bill, which is currently before Parliament, to extend this exemption to all workplaces, including industrial premises. The amendment will also extend the limitation on liability for employers to any work situation where a turban-wearing Sikh chooses not to wear head protection".
There may be very limited exceptions, such as specific roles in the emergency services or armed forces, Penning said.
With thanks : Hindustan Times : LINK
Manpreet Singh is highly disappointed with the Italy court's decision .
In a copy to a punjabi daily , Manpreet Singh who is a resident of village Tanda in Hoshiarpur, now residing at Vicentino in Vicenza province of Italy,said that almost a year ago, on February 2 , 2013 while working in the Italian city of Tarvisio, he had been the victim of a road accident. At that time, he was admitted in the hospital of Tarvisio for treatment, where a team of young doctors asked Manpreet Singh to remove his kirpan.
Manpreet Singh explained to the doctors the importance of the kirpan and the reason he cannot remove it. On Manpreet Singh's refusal, doctors informed the police, wherein he was accused of wearing an 18 centimeters long ( kirpan )- more than what is allowed- and considering it a crime to keep weapons, registered a case under Section 110 of the Italian Constitution Act 4.
Manpreet Singh's lawyer, Baso Jasepe continued defending the case, but on January 22, 2014, through his lawyer he received a notice from the court of Tarvisio, according to which the court fined him Rs. 19.5 lakh.
In the case the fine is not paid, a three month prison sentence will be awarded. Although against this decision, Manpreet Singh's expert lawyer Agrona has begun the legal process.
With thanks : Hindustan Times : Link
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Washington: A Sikh American in Minnesota drove away with a victory when he won the right for the community in the US State to wear their turbans in driver’s licence photos.
Last month when Blaine resident Jatinder Singh went to the local Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) office to get his licence renewed, he was told his turban was not allowed in his driver’s license photo.
He then went to the Sikh American Legal Defence and Educational Fund (SALDEF), a community organisation, which pointed DVS officials to the department’s explicit policy on religious accommodation.
In fact, the department’s own guidance material shows examples of compliant photographs, including a full-face photo of a Sikh American man wearing a turban.
Following SALDEF’s intervention, Singh was able to get his licence with his articles of faith intact.
Apologising for the incident, DVS director, Patricia McCormick, pledged to work with SALDEF on religious accommodation training of DVS staff “specifically, related to accommodating the Sikh turban” as needed.
Jasjit Singh, executive director of SALDEF commended “Jatinder Singh for identifying an opportunity to make change, for the benefit of Sikh Americans in Minnesota and elsewhere, who now see a shining example of a fair policy properly enforced”.
North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) chairman Dalwinder Singh Dhoot also expressed the Indian American community’s “satisfaction and happiness on the significant victory” of Jatinder Singh.
With Thanks : Mizo News : LINK
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Pakistan (February 17, 2014): It is learnt that Pakistan Sikh leaders has been holding meeting with the Pakistan leadership, including the so-called ‘hardliners’, to save the two Sikh who were abducted near Deraban area of Dera Ismail Khan last week.
The abductors though released the other two men, who along with two Pakistani Sikhs were kidnapped, but the other captives, who were identified as Pawinder Singh and Nand Singh, resident of Mohallaj Jogan Shah, Peshawar, and deal in natural medicines, remain untraceable.
As per information member provincial assembly of Imran Khan’s Pakistan According to media reports Sadar Singh father of Pawinder Singh and uncle of Nand Singh has registered a case with the Deraban Police station under Pakistan Penal Code against abductors.
“We had meeting with Maulana Sami ul Haq, the head of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP), Jamaat e Islami KPK Ameer Prof M Ibrahim Khan, Maulana Atta Ur Rehman , vice presedent Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and so on to make early and safe release of the Pawinder Singh and Nand Singh”, Swarn Singh reportedly told news-agency ANI.
Sikh leaders in Pakistan and India have also shown their concern for the safety and security of minorities living in Pakistan.
Sham Singh, President of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (PSGPC), has urged the federal government to make sure the two Sikhs are released.
Whereas Avtar Singh Makkar President Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC), the premier body of the Sikhs that have been looking after the religious affairs, appealed to the Pakistan government to find out the whereabouts of two Pakistani Sikhs.
with thanks : SikhSiyaasat
The woman suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome, and she grew her first beard at age 11. Since then, the hair has spread to her chest and arms, making her an easy target for jeers and bullies. She says she has received several death threats from strangers on the internet.
Miss Kaur has however decided now to stop cutting her hair since she became a Sikh – the Sikh religion doesn’t permit the cutting of body hair.
The bearded woman, who had engaged in self-harming acts and considered suicide when she was younger, says “I would never ever go back now and remove my facial hair because it's the way God made me and I'm happy with the way I am.I feel more feminine, more sexy (sic) and I think I look it too. I've learned to love myself for who I am nothing can shake me now.’
with thanks : Nigerianbulletin : LINK
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
London, Feb 13 : A Sikh man in Britain has become only the second male contestant to win a popular television game show, getting 250,000 pounds (around $416,000) in the process.
Roop Singh, 54, from Leeds became only the second male contestant to take such a large sum on Channel 4 game show 'Deal Or No Deal' hosted by popular anchor Noel Edmonds, and the seventh overall since the programme was first broadcast eight years ago.
Roop Singh went all the way to the end despite having just five pounds, 100 pounds, 500 pounds, 1,000 pounds and 250,000 pounds in his last five boxes, the channel said in a media release Wednesday.
In the game, there would be 22 identical boxes containing randomly assigned sums of money inside ranging from one pound to 250,000 pounds assigned to contestants to choose one from them.
As the boxes are opened over a number of rounds, the banker (an unseen person who offers deals to the contestants) makes offers of real money to gain possession of their box.
Contestants can either 'deal' to take the money, or play to the end, settling on the amount in their box.
Roop Singh was joined in the programme, which is also called Dream Factory, by his wife and one of his daughters.
“The night before my game, my daughter quite innocently said ‘Dad, I want confetti',” Roop said after winning the game.
“When I was offered 46,000 pounds, all I could think of was ‘Dad, I want confetti’ and I said ‘No Deal’. I still cannot fully remember what happened next but I do remember the confetti and everyone hugging and congratulating me,” he added.
With 250,000 pounds in one box and 500 pounds in the other, the Dream Factory waited with bated breath as Noel revealed the contents of Roop Singh’s box.
with thanks : IANS : LINK : for detailed news.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Dr, Gurjit Singh ( well known eye surgeon in Chandigarh ) says"after reading all 10 volumes of Guru Granth Sahib Darpanfour times ,my repect for Prof. Sahib Singh ji multiplied million times and he spent 40 years of his life on this
Jatinder S.Sawhney say "Professor Sahib Singh Ji's contribution is immeasurable;the 'Darpan' really opened the door to the meaning of Gurbani,the interpretation of words on the basis of grammar,revolutionized the understanding of Gurbani; He was a real scholar ".
The Sahib Biwi Gangster Returns actor would be seen portraying another unconventional character. We wonder what it is…
Soha Ali Khan has never really worked in mainstream, big budgeted films. She preferred unconventional cinema over commercial; be it War Chhod Na Yaar, Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns or Tum Mile. Now grapevine suggests that the Mr Joe B Carvalho actor has given her nod to a film based on the Delhi riots post Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Wondering whether she would be playing the prolific leader of the nation?
Actually no, as the film is based on the 24 hours post the assassination. The film, which is tentatively titled October 31, would show Soha portraying the character of a Sikh mother of two children. The story, directed by national award winner Shivaji Patil, is said to be based on real life incident. The rest of the details are still under wraps, but this film surely promises to be a great suspense thriller.
with thanks : BollywoodLife : LINK
New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Scores of members of the Sikh community this evening took out a march from Gurudwara Bangla Sahib to Jantar Mantar here in protest over the recent revelation that the then central government had sought help from Britain for Operation Bluestar in 1984.
Bearing torches, the participants in the 'Walk for Justice' wanted to go up till the PM's residence, but were stopped by police at Jantar Mantar.
with thanks : PTI : LINK
New Delhi: Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Monday backed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's demand to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The Delhi Cabinet on February 6 had announced that a SIT will probe the riots.
"The Delhi Cabinet has asked the Lieutenant Governor to form a SIT to look into the 1984 riots. Cases which were closed will be opened again and if required, will be filed afresh," Delhi minister Manish Sisodia had said. He also said that SIT members would be from outside Delhi.
Kejriwal had recently met Jung on SIT probe into the communal riots. The CM's move came after an interview by Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi who refused to apologise for the violence.
"First of all, I wasn't involved in the riots at all. It wasn't that I was a part of it," Rahul had told to a news channel.
Thousands of Sikh men and women were killed during the violence which broke out after the then prime minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards on October 30, 1984.
Thirty years since the riots, only 28 people have been convicted in the case.
with thanks : IBNLive : LINK
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Sunday, February 9, 2014
SAN LEANDRO, United States
After a Gap ad campaign drew attention to hip young Sikhs with its photo of model Waris Ahluwalia being fondled by a non-Indian model, Axe body spray is now on the bandwagon as well, featuring a turbaned Sikh model kissing a woman on the New York City subway in its new campaign titled “Make Love Not War.”
“Sikh is the new black,” observed several Twitter users.
The “Make Love Not War” campaign was developed at Bartle Bogle Hegarty London by its deputy executive creative director, David Kolbusz.
Through a Web site (axepeace.com), a Twitter feed (#KissForPeace) and a Super Bowl commercial, Axe has been releasing images with a “peace” message — but after the ad with the Sikh model appeared, an alarming number of racists also chimed in on social media. Some commenters on Axe’s Facebook page call the model a “terrorist” and a “towelhead.”
Chiming in in a lengthy thread about the ad on Facebook, user Brandon Dewade put it this way: “Wow, there is a lot of hate here. Being an Iraq and Afghanistan vet all I see is a guy w/an epic beard kissing a beautiful girl.”
Other media watchers on Twitter wisely bemoan the fact that “peace” — as a concept — is being used to hawk a chemical-laden perfume spray.
Axe also has a presence in India, where Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor is its brand ambassador.
India-West’s e-mail to the ad agency was not returned by press time.
with thanks : IndiaWest : LINK
Revelations that Margaret Thatcher's Government was actively consulted ahead of the Indian Army's June 1984 assault on Sikhism's holiest shrine has predictably provoked vehement indignation in Punjab.
Several leaders including Punjab's chief minister and the Jathedar or chief priest of the Akal Takht, the highest religious and temporal seat of the Sikh Community, demanded an unconditional and befitting gesture of apology from the incumbent British Government.
The United Kingdom is home to nearly a million Sikhs, including second and third generation emigrants, and the angry voices of protest are certain to bring considerable pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron and his Government to try and make amends.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who has hitherto blamed the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the Congress party for desecrating the shrine and killing hundreds innocent pilgrims besides the militant chief Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed followers, now says, both India and Britain must share the guilt of planning and executing the army action.
with thanks : India Today : LINK : for detailed news.
Instead of the Nanakshahi calendar controversy, adverse comments about the faith and the Gurus on social networking websites was the serious matter on Thursday in the meeting of the five Sikh high priests.
At the Golden Temple, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh led the proceedings of this discussion that was to be on a memorandum from the Dhuma-based Sant Samaj that asked Sikhs to revert to the Bikrami calendar, since the change to Nanakshahi had caused confusion, outside Punjab especially, about important religious dates.
"We did not touch the topic," Giani Gurbachan Singh stated in a media interaction after the meeting. Radical Sikh groups and some organisations in Canada, the US and the UK are opposed to a switch back to the Bikrami calendar. They want the original Nanakshahi calendar of 2003 implemented instead of the 2010 version.
About the issues discussed, the jathedar said that priests had the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to monitor the content on Facebook and other social-networking websites to check the posting of adverse comments about religion and the Gurus. They also have been asked to identify the users posting these remarks to be able to hand them over to law and begin legal action.
SGPC nod must to float religious group
Observing that too many religious groups were being floated for vested interests, the jathedar said: "We'll recognise religious groups only if the SGPC approved them and the Akal Takht also agreed. Only then will they qualify for assistance from the two authorities." The decision is based on complaints before the Takht.
The clergy forbade individuals from pasting self pictures alongside the images of Sikh Gurus. It is a common site at religious functions.
Patna Sahib clash
There was also no discussion on the Gurpurb clash at Takht Patna on January 7 over an appointment. The supporters of Patna Sahib management and jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh and were said to be involved. "We received the CD (compact disc) containing a video of the clash only a few minutes ago. We'll view it first," the jathedar said in reply to a query.
Rajasthan MLA summoned
The clergy decided to summon Rajasthan Congress legislator Gurjant Singh and his relatives to the Akal Takht on a charge of stepping inside a gurdwara with shoes on. The gurdwara is at Khara Chak village in Rajasthan.
with thanks : Hindustan Times : LINK
London, Feb 6: A Sikh man in the British county of Yorkshire, who died last year after his bike hit a car, was not wearing a helmet because of his religious beliefs, an inquest heard.
The Coroner’s Court in Kirklees heard that 23-year-old Kulraj Singh Kalsi's 125cc motorbike struck a Volkswagen Caddy van, which was taking a turn into a complex on Thornhill Road in Dewsbury April 27 last year, The Examiner reported on Thursday.
Kalsi suffered a serious head injury after hitting a concrete post encased in metal, the court heard.
An eyewitness told the inquest that Kalsi and his bike went ‘airborne’ after the collision with the van.
The inquest also heard that Kalsi’s vision may have been affected by wind and drizzle as he was not wearing a helmet or visor.
Sikhs are exempted from wearing the helmet.
Kalsi, who had been riding close to the kerb, may have been attempting to overtake the van - or had simply failed to see it slow down, indicate a turn or then turn into the complex, the court heard.
Coroner Mary Burke concluded that Kalsi had died as a result of the road accident.
“There’s no evidence that suggests Kulraj was slowing down as the vehicle was beginning its manoeuvre and it’s not possible to say why he was in the position he was,” Burke was quoted as saying.
Burke also added that Kalsi, who was suffering from epilepsy, might have suffered a seizure before the crash.
“It may be that Kulraj became unwell and he suffered from some health issues that prevented him from slowing down,” she added.
with thanks : IANS : LINK
KISUMU, Kenya, Feb 8 – The controversial monument erected by the Sikh community in one of the streets in Kisumu has caused jittery among the city residents.
The storm was raised by members of Repentance and Holiness Ministry associated with Prophet Dr. David Owuor who claimed the statue was ‘satanic’.
The monument, erected on top of a rock along Mosque Road on a roundabout, has remained the subject matter in the lakeside city.
Pastor Helen Ochieng of Repentance and Holiness Ministry in Kisumu who led worshippers in condemning the monument said the statue portrays a society worshiping an Idol and it should be brought down.
Ochieng said as Christians they will ensure the monument is erected elsewhere not along the streets of Kisumu.
She asked the authorities who approved the construction of the monument to rescind their decision as its presence will mean doom for Kisumu people.
“Strange happenings in Kisumu are as a result of the presence of the monument. Recently we witnessed a stormy rainfall that caused massive destruction,” she said.
However, Charjeet Hayer, Chairman Kisumu Siri Guru Sabha said the monument has been erected to commemorate 100 years of Sikh presence in Kisumu and has nothing to do with religion.
“I appeal to our religious brothers not to view the monument as idolatry but a sign of peace,” he pleaded.
Hayer said they are celebrating the arrival of their ancestors in Kisumu in the early 1901 and nobody should associate it with idolatry. Residents of Kisumu now fear passing along the street for bad omen.
“Cyclists will have to follow longer routes only to avoid passing through that street. They say whenever they pass there, their business dwindles,” said John Omollo, a cyclist.
with thanks : LINK : for detailed news.
A charity that usually helps out in foreign disaster zones has come to the aid of flood-hit residents in Somerset.
Khalsa Aid is on hand to distribute bottled water, food, warm clothing, antiseptic fluid and whatever else is needed to help those in deluged communities.
Ravi Singh from the Slough-based Sikh charity said they were compelled to act after watching Sky News' coverage of the heavy rain and high winds that have battered the country.
The charity has previously helped people in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan and Haitans trying to recover from the devastating earthquake there in 2010.
But Mr Singh said communities much closer to home were their focus for the moment.
"This is our community, these are our countrymen who are in dire need," he said.
"I never knew the amount of devastation until we drove around to get to this place, we had to go several different routes and it’s amazing. The floods … the fields are like lakes. It’s unbelievable, how will they recover from this disaster?
"I think we all need to pull together; it’s very very important."
He urged anyone who was thinking of trying to help to contact organisations already in the area, so as to avoid blocking roads and causing more problems.
"I appeal to every community, keep these guys in your prayers, do as much as you can, it's our time now to serve our own community," he added.
with thanks : LINK
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Monday, February 3, 2014
On January 28, 2014 letters were sent to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder by twelve major American Sikh advocacy organizations, including UNITED SIKHS, calling on the Obama Administration to immediately reinstate Kawaljeet Tagore, a Sikh IRS Agent based out of Houston, TX fired in July, 2006 for wearing a kirpan, a Sikh religious article of faith.
Following her termination, Tagore sued the IRS and the Federal Protective Service (FPS),the federal agency responsible for the security of federal buildings, under Title VII and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act for failing to accommodate her Sikh religious practice of wearing the kirpan, a dagger-like article that symbolizes the Sikhs’ commitment to justice. Even though FPS and IRS allow saws, box cutters, letter openers, and cake knives into federal buildings for work-related purposes, the IRS and FPS defended Tagore’s lawsuit by claiming that a federal criminal law, 18 U.S.C. section 930, prohibits them from according Tagore any accommodation for her kirpan.
In 2012, a Houston federal judge sided with the government and dismissed Tagore’s lawsuit. However, on November 13, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit—relying on a December, 2012 FPS Policy Directive that requires accommodation of kirpans —reversed the federal judge’s ruling in favor of FPS. The Fifth Circuit held that the new FPS Policy Directive “contradicts the arguments previously advanced by the government for denying Tagore an exception or exemption for the wearing of her kirpan.
Yet, to date, the government has refused to reinstate Tagore to her position as an IRS agent, compensate her, or accommodate her kirpan.
“A hard working IRS agent is being kept from work due to her religious beliefs in a country founded on diversity and religious freedom. The FPS has already allowed 2.5 inch kirpans in almost 9,000 federal buildings but will not allow Ms. Tagore to wear her kirpan to work in an IRS building. Now that this inconsistency has been addressed by the Fifth Circuit, it is time to give Ms. Tagore her job back,” said Anisha Singh, staff attorney and policy advocate for UNITED SIKHS.
In their letter, UNITED SIKHS, along with other Sikh advocacy groups, claim that the “IRS and FPS’ continuing violation of Ms. Tagore’s right to religious accommodation is contrary not only to RFRA and FPS Directive 184.108.40.206 but to the guiding principles and tenets of the Obama Administration,” including an Executive Order that requires federal agencies to promote diversity. The Sikh groups call on Obama to “direct the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, IRS, and FPS to appropriately resolve” Tagore’s lawsuit, by “reinstating her employment with the IRS and providing her with an exemption to wear her kirpan to work.”
with thanks : UNITED SIKHS