Sanjha Morcha

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Bhopal Veterans and Family Pensioners,
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Last Sikh Queen’s earrings fetch nearly 6 times auction estimate

Last Sikh Queen’s earrings fetch nearly 6 times auction estimate

The earrings belonged to the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Photo courtesy Twitter handle: @bonhams1793

London, April 25

A pair of gold pendant earrings from the collection of last Sikh Queen of Punjab Maharani Jind Kaur fetched 175,000 pounds, nearly six times the guide price, at an auction here.The earrings, the highlight of the Islamic and Indian sale at Bonhams yesterday, were estimated to attract bids between 20,000 and 30,000 pounds.The earrings belonged to the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was the only wife of the Sikh ruler not to commit sati on his funeral pyre following his death in 1839.She went on to be appointed as the de facto ruler of Punjab before being captured by the British. It was only many years later when she arrived in England that her jewellery, including the earrings on sale, were handed back to her.“The impressive price paid for these beautiful pieces of jewellery conveys their significance,” said Oliver White, Head of Islamic and Indian Art at Bonhams.“These gold earrings are a powerful reminder of a courageous woman who endured the loss of her kingdom, and persecution and privation, with great dignity and fortitude,” he noted.When Kaur’s five-year-old son Duleep Singh was proclaimed Maharaja of Punjab in 1843, she was appointed Regent.The Punjab Empire at the time stretched from the Indian Ocean to the Himalayas and the court was fabled for its artistic and scientific achievements and opulence and riches.The East India Company invaded and annexed Punjab, despite armed opposition organised and led by Kaur. She was deposed in 1846, separated from her son and imprisoned.According to Bonhams’ historians, the Maharani’s personal wealth was confiscated and the state Treasury plundered by the British Army.The famous Koh-i-Noor diamond and the Timur Ruby were sent back to London as gifts for Queen Victoria. Mother and son were eventually reunited after 13-and-a-half-years in 1861 when Kaur moved to England to be with her son. She died in 1863.Besides her earrings, some of the other Indian highlights of the Bonhams auction this week included a painting by Gujarati artist Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh.His ‘Composition in green and black’ inscribed on the reverse with the artist’s name sold for 40,000 pounds, within the guide price estimate of 35,000 and 45,000 pounds.Another Indian painting, dating back to circa 1820-30, ‘Shiva and Parvati with Ganesh, Karttikeya and Nandi on Mount Kailasa’ went under the hammer for 16,250 pounds, beyond the estimated 8,000-12,000 pounds.A ‘Mother and Child’ portrait by Jamini Roy dating back to circa 1950 fetched 11,875 pounds, also beating the guide price estimate of 6,000-8,000 pounds. — PTI


Ex­armyman guns down wife’s mother, another kin in Fatehabad

Accused Devender Singh first fired at his wife Sunita Rani who fled the spot and managed to save herself, and then shot dead her mother Manapati Devi and paternal aunt Kaila Devi

From page 01 HISAR:An ex-armyman shot dead his mother-in-law and her sisterin-law allegedly over dowry dispute at Gorakhpur village under Bhuna block of Fatehabad district on Monday.

HT PHOTO■ Police near the crime spot at Gorakhpur village of Fatehabad district on Monday.

DEVENDER HAD RETIRED AS NAIK FROM THE ARMY ON OCTOBER 31 LAST YEAR

Accused Devender Singh, 38, a resident of Hisar, reached his in-laws’ house at about 1pm and first opened fire on his wife Sunita Rani, who had come to her maternal house last month after he allegedly harassed her for not giving his family the money demanded as dowry.

Sunita managed to flee the spot and took shelter at a neighbour’s house. Devender then fired at her mother Manapati Devi (55) and the latter’s sister-in-law Kaila Devi. The two women received serious bullet injuries and were rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors declared them brought dead.

The accused later surrendered before the police. The cops recovered a .32 bore pistol from his possession, besides fired bullet shells from the spot.

The accused told that he used his licensed weapon in the crime. Devender had retired as Naik from the Indian Army on October 31 last year.

After the incident, Fatehabad superintendent of police (SP) Deepak Saharan, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Jagdish Kajal and Bhuna SHO Ramesh Kumar reached the spot.

Accused’s wife Sunita told the police that she got married to Surender in 2008 and had given his family adequate dowry as per her parents’ resources. Later when Devender’s brother Vinay Kumar got married in 2014, their family got Rs 18 lakh as dowry. Since then, Devender’s family started demanding Rs 14 lakh from her family members, Sunita alleged.

She also alleged that Devender and his family members often beat her up and in such circumstances she returned to her maternal house last month.

On the other hand, sources said the accused told the police that he had come to his in-laws’ house to take his wife back home. But her relatives thrashed him after which he lost his temper.

DSP Kajal said, “The police are investigating into the matter. A case of murder has been registered against the accused.”


Goa on alert after info on terror attack using sea route

Goa on alert after info on terror attack using sea route

A fishing trawler from India, which was seized by Pakistan has been released and there is intelligence input that on its way back, it may carry terrorists, says Goa Ports Minister

Panaji, April 7

Goa has issued an alert to all the vessels and casinos operating off the state’s coast following an intelligence input about possible arrival of terrorists on board a fishing trawler, the state’s ports minister said.State’s Ports Minister Jayesh Salgaoncar told PTI that his department has issued a warning to all the off shore casinos, water sports operators and barges to be alert as the Indian Coast Guard has shared an intelligence input about a possible terror attack on the western coast.“The alert is not specific to Goa. It can be even to Mumbai or Gujarat coast, but we have alerted the vessels and concerned agencies,” Salgaoncar said.“A fishing trawler from India, which was seized by Pakistan has been released and there is intelligence input that on its way back, it may carry terrorists,” the minister said.State’s Ports Department has written to the off shore casinos and cruise vessels, and barges to remain alert in the wake of the intelligence input.“Have received intelligence input from District Coast Guard that anti-national elements have boarded an apprehended Indian fishing boat in Karachi and (are) likely to land on Indian coast and attack vital installations,” states the communication by Captain of Ports James Braganza to Goa’s tourism department and all the water sports operators, casinos, and cruise vessels and barges.“All vessels to increase security and report any sighting or untoward movement to concerned authorities,” the letter states.When contacted, Braganza confirmed sending the letter today to all the people concerned. The letter was also marked to State Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma. PTI


CRPF men promoted for foiling attacks

Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 3

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has given out-of-turn promotion to four of its men for averting two fidayeen attacks in Kashmir.While three CRPF men have been promoted for foiling a fidayeen attack in June last year on their battalion headquarter at Sumbal, Bandipora in north Kashmir, by killing four attackers, a CRPF Constable, who averted a fidayeen attack in February this year in Srinagar city, has also been rewarded.“On the request of the CRPF, the Ministry of Home Affairs has waived the eligibility criteria of promotion in respect of these four men in recognition of their gallantry and praiseworthy performance in the operational area in the militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir,” CRPF spokesman Rajesh Yadav said.He said Head Constable AS Krishana has been promoted to the rank of assistant sub-inspector, Constables K Dinesh Raja and Prafulla Kumar have been made head constables.“These three bravehearts of the 45 Battalion thwarted a deadly terrorist attack on the CRPF camp in Sumbal on June 5 last year,” he said.Constable Ghait Raghunath Ulhas, 27, who was instrumental in thwarting a fidayeen attack on the 23 Battalion headquarter in Karan Nagar in Srinagar on February 11, was rewarded with a promotion to the rank of head constable.Ghait was deployed on a sentry duty on a picket at the congested Karan Nagar locality and at around 4.30 am he noticed two armed men with rucksack bags coming from a house and approaching towards the camp. He instantly fired 30-35 rounds and the two militants retreated.“The subsequent action by the security forces, saw the neutralisation of both the Pakistani militants,” the spokesman said.The Karan Nagar attack was foiled two days after militants carried out a suicide attack on the Sunjawan Army base in Jammu.


Guardians of Governance: 6­month report released

Members rue resistance from political leaders, corrupt practices by govt officials, mismanagement of funds as the reason behind lack of implementation of schemes

From page 01 LUDHIANA: The Guardians of Governance (GoGs) project members released a six-month report card of their assessment of the administrative affairs during a press briefing held here on Thursday.

GURPREET SINGH/HT■ Guardians of Governance district project head Lieutenant Colonel HS Kahlon. retd, (second from right) during a press conference in Ludhiana on Thursday.The chief minister’s pet project Guardians of Governance (GoGs) seems to have rubbed the political leaders on the wrong side as hinted by some of project members .

The report has picked gaping holes in the claims made by the district administration in the implementation of the government schemes.

The report mentions that under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employee Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme, it was observed that the labour force was used for de-weeding the village ponds and lakhs of money was wasted which could have been used for other developmental works.

“We found mismanagement of funds, wages which was being siphoned off to aides of sarpanches. Involvement of few banks in aiding this fraud has also been revealed,” said Colonel (retired) BS Bhangu, second in command of the project in the district.

Around seven GoGs posted at different levels in the district released this report which raises serious questions over the delivery of services to the ordinary people.As per the report, despite the district being declared open defecation free, people in Braich village defecate in the open.

The report also mentioned that most of the Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in the villages lack maintenance as the filters in these plants have been rarely changed. “High-stage tanks have been constructed in almost all the villages but the equipment for chlorination is lying defunct,” said Bhangu.

‘ GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS INVOLVED’ Acknowledging the failure to implement the government schemes at micro-level, the project members accused government officials at lower- level of corruption.

“At village and block level, the officials in connivance the village representatives are indulging into corrupt practices.As of now, we have not specifically identified those individuals in our report,” said one of the members pleading anonymity.

“We have been facing resistance from political leaders of the ruling party who have also approached the chief minister in this regard,” said the member.

“The local MLAs think of us as their rivals. We do face resistance when we strike out the fake names from the list of beneficiaries for welfare schemes,” said another member.

‘EMOLUMENTS FOR SARPANCHES’ Sarpanches across the state have not been getting their monthly honorarium of ₹1,200 for the past four years. However, the state government will be soon releasing the emoluments for the sarpanches, said Lt. Col. (retired) Harbant Singh Kahlon, in-charge of GoG in Ludhiana. We will keep on informing the government of all the updates from the district, he said.


Pak troops shell forward areas

Jammu:  Pakistani troops on Monday targeted forward posts and villages along the Line of Control in Poonch district with mortar shells and gunfire in violation of the ceasefire, an official said. “The Pakistan army initiated unprovoked firing of small arms, automatics and mortars from 5.30 pm in the Krishnaghati sector along the LoC”, he said. PTI


Fearing ‘hot summer’ along LAC, India ups patrolling in Arunachal

Fearing ‘hot summer’ along LAC, India ups patrolling in Arunachal

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 31

India, it seems, is militarily preparing for a “hot summer” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) — the de facto 3,448-km boundary with China running all along the Himalayan ridge line.Post the 73-day (June 16 to August 28, 2017) Doklam stand-off, India has increased patrolling along the far-eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh. The remote mountainous terrain at Kibithu, Walong and the Lohit valley are in greater focus. Surveillance is not possible through UAVs due to dense tree foliage. Hence, patrolling has to be on foot in the valleys of Lohit, lower  Subhansiri, upper Subhansiri, Siang,  Dibang,  Delai and Dau.These are very narrow valleys in which the invader will have a military disadvantage, said a senior military officer.Walong, Kibithu and Lohit were the locations of pitched India-China battles in 1962, but things have changed. India has militarily tailored its response to stall any incursion.A rather candidly written ‘History of the conflict with China’ produced 30 years after the war by the Historical Division of the Ministry of Defence describes the battle of Walong: “A defensive battle against heavy odds, the troops fought bravely, but being out-numbered and out-weaponed in automatics and ammunition, suffered heavily.” But it was no walkover. “Indian troops offered stiff resistance, but they had to vacate their positions,” says the MoD’s book.After that, India has had a fully functional airstrip at Walong and a division (some 20,000 troops) located in the eastern-most corner of India. All key bases have road connectivity, a far cry from 1962 when a 14-day Tezu-Walong trek was the only option.India’s move has come after Beijing’s troops have taken to intensive patrolling in areas that are disputed all along the LAC and have been building military infrastructure. US confirms military build-up on both sides

  • On January 25,  US-based think tank Stratfor released a report ‘Preparing for a rematch at the top of the world’. It said India and China have continued with a build-up of military resources on either side
  • It released satellite images of airbases of both countries and said “the imagery confirms that both China and India are pursuing a wide-ranging strategic build-up that has only accelerated in the wake of the August agreement (to dis-engage)”

Why the inter-Korean meet has ignited anxieties

North Korean leader Kim Jong­un’s peace offensive has put both South Korea and the US on the defensive

The summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un takes place today — the same day China’s President Xi Jinping will host Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While the Xi-Modi informal summit is designed be a closed-door brainstorming, the inter-Korean summit has the defined goal of denuclearising North Korea. It is also meant to set the stage for the first-ever summit between a sitting North Korean leader and a serving US president.

REUTERSKim Jong­un’s deft nuclear diplomacy has earned him enormous visibility. The royal treatment he got in Beijing could be the sign of things to comeCompared to the calm, duck-paddling style in India-China diplomacy, hectic footwork in the Korean peninsula has ignited enormous enthusiasm and anxieties. A hotline between the two leaders was commissioned on August 20. A day later, Kim announced his decision to stop all nuclear and missile tests, and to close test sites. Such unilateral concessions from a trigger-happy Kim were described as a “meaningful step forward” and a “big progress” by Moon and Trump. While sceptics allude to North Korea’s track record of similar pledges in 1994, 2005, 2007 and 2012 not fructifying and believe that Kim is bluffing, enthusiasts are celebrating this as a victory of Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy that may see him go down in history for having finally resolved the Korean nuclear crisis.

Meanwhile, Kim’s deft nuclear diplomacy has earned him enormous visibility. His getting the royal treatment during his March 25-27 visit to Beijing could be the sign of things to come. Kim hosted Mike Pompeo, Trump’s CIA director, over Easter holidays. In this hype, Kim has said nothing about giving up nuclear weapons or stopping tests of medium range missiles. But given his incessant testing of nukes and missiles, and his verbal blitzkrieg last year, his halting of nuclear and missile tests is being labelled as major achievement for the Trump administration.

Having achieved his robust nuclear deterrence , Kim wants to draw political dividends from it. The plenary session of the Workers’ Party on “policy issues in a new stage” last Friday marked a shift in Kim’s “byongjin” (or dual push) policy of simultaneously pursuing nuclear weapons and economic development. Compared to “juche” (or self-reliance) policy of his grandfather and father, “byongjin” had been the buzzword ever since Kim took over.

Kim’s peace offensive has put both Seoul and Washington on the defensive. Pyongyang, that has been demanding withdrawal of US forces from the Korean peninsula, has also not reacted to Moon’s assertion that this issues was not on the table. Kim continues to hold his cards carefully, fuelling curiosity among his adversaries, which now defines his nerveracking adventurous nuclear diplomacy.


Towards entente cordiale Summit diplomacy aims to reset Indo-China ties

Towards entente cordiale

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s forthcoming “informal summit” in China raises the strong possibility of improving the relations between the two countries. There has been a flurry of activity for the last few months involving National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, among others. This raises the hope of a substantial progress, an entente cordiale, since the summit meeting has been arranged after adequate preparation, including confidence-building measures on both sides.India has shown concern regarding Chinese sensitivities on the Dalai Lama. The ghost of the 73-day stand-off in Doklam has now been buried and the concerns about the Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean have been kept aside in an attempt to focus on commonalities rather than differences. The Modi-Jinping summit in Wuhan is expected to yield rich dividends and it will set the stage for the Prime Minister’s second visit to China in June, when he is scheduled to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting.India has been moving energetically to repair relations with neighbouring countries. The reset with China is needed because of the changing geopolitical situation in which both Beijing and New Delhi seek to build an alliance that can weather the mercurial US. The summit meeting is a major investment for both leaders. They will seek to set the tone of the relationship that will then be followed up by officials concerned from both nations. The devil is always in the details, but the expectation is that there would be effort to find practical solutions to each other’s concerns. President Jinping needs India to be on board his Belt and Road Initiative, while India has territorial concerns since it runs through the PoK. Just as India has done, China too has made some concessions already. It announced it would resume sharing of hydrological data of the Brahmaputra and Sutlej rivers, which is crucial for flood prediction and relief planning. The two leaders have the ability to forge a new path of mutual benefit to the two countries. How well they seize the opportunity remains to be seen.