J&K departments not accepting Aadhaar

The Aadhaar card is not being considered as a valid proof of identity by the Jammu and Kashmir government departments. In J&K, which enjoys “special status”, no state government department is accepting the Aadhaar card as an identity or address proof. Instead, they are asking for the ration card or passport as proof of residence, complains a Central government employee. Nearly 90% of J&K population has got the Aadhaar card. But it has “no use” for the people except for opening bank accounts, getting a SIM card or an LPG cylinder. For unknown reasons, the state administration has not included the Aadhaar card in its list of identity proofs.

Haryana village unfurls Tricolour for the first time

In Haryana’s Bhiwani district, there is a rural belt known as “village of rebels”. The national flag was never unfurled here since Independence. During the first freedom struggle in 1857, the British had branded it as the “village of rebels”. After India’s independence, villagers continued to be upset for “not getting justice”. They felt they were still being treated “as slaves”. So they never celebrated Independence Day until a few days ago when Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar visited the village and for the first time unfurled the national flag on the occasion of Martyrs’ Day. Legend has it that the villagers from Rohnat broke into Hisar jail on 29 May 1857 and freed those imprisoned there for participating in the freedom struggle.

Eleven British officers were killed at Hansi. The British unleashed a reign of terror on the villagers and branded Rohnat as a “village of rebels”. Hundreds of men were run over with a road-roller on a road, which is now known as Lal Sadak, as it turned red with blood. Some men were hanged from trees. Several women, along with their children, jumped into a well to avoid being caught. The banyan tree and the well are still there.The British auctioned 20,856 bighas of agricultural land, which was purchased by people from the neighbouring areas for a paltry sum of Rs 8,000.

The current deputy commissioner, Anshaj Singh says that the land could not be returned because of legal problems. Khattar told The Sunday Guardian that he was apprised of the village’s history during a meeting with its residents arranged by local MLA Vishambhar Balmiki. “I was deeply moved by the heroic struggle of the village ancestors. I cannot undo the injustice done to those brave villagers. But I am going to leave no stone unturned to give them their due. I salute the brave ancestors of this village.”

The CM has unveiled the blueprint of a four-acre “Shaheed Smarak” to be built in the village. He said that those who sacrificed their lives would no more remain unsung. “The nation will remember them as martyrs.” He has also put into motion development projects there.

We Are Sikhs’ campaign wins United states award

“We Are Sikhs” campaign has received the top 2018 PRWeek US award in the “public cause” category. These awards have been nicknamed as the “Oscars of the Public Relations Industry”. The campaign was launched on Baisakhi in 2017 by the National Sikh Campaign (NSC) and executed by FP1 Strategies to create awareness about Sikhism and its followers in the US and fight prejudice. The campaign won the award “for effectively projecting the Sikhs as neighbours and everyday Americans who face discrimination due to ignorance about their faith”. The NSC co-founder Rajwant Singh informed The Sunday Guardian that it was a great victory for the Sikh community across America. “It is unfortunate that countless Sikhs have had to face bullying, discrimination, and hate crimes due to the lack of understanding of our faith and our values. That is why, we had decided to educate our fellow Americans.”

For the campaign, $1.3 million were raised and stories were told through online and TV advertising and amplified via emails to media and community events nationwide. The TV ads showed Sikhs “as American neighbours” going about their daily lives, professing patriotism and sharing a love for TV series such as Game of Thrones and Sponge Bob Square Pants. The campaign reached more than 5.5 million voters and gained the attention of many influential bodies in Washington.

BJP worried about Lingayat factor in Karnataka

Alarm bells are ringing in BJP post Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s move to recommend separate religion status for Lingayats, who generally support BKP, ahead of the Assembly elections there. During his recent visit to Karnataka, Amit Shah visited the Siddaganga math in Tumkur and the Bekkinakal math at Shivamoga, and other holy places associated with Lingayat and Dalit communities. Apparently, he is convincing math heads to continue to support the BJP and also seeking suggestions on how the Centre should treat the Congress government’s recommendation. “The options before the Centre are limited, accept it, reject it or just let it hang fire for now, but all loaded with varied political implications and fall-outs,” says a veteran Bengaluru based journalist.

The Lingayats are a factor across a swathe of constituencies in north and central Karnataka where their maths influence voters in areas such as Davanagere, Hubli-Dharwad, Gadag and Shivamogga. The Lingayat community makes up 17% of the state’s population.

Speaking in Hindi angers MLAs in Meghalaya, nagaland

A strong row has erupted following Meghalaya Governor Ganga Prasad addressing the first day of the budget session of the Assembly in Hindi, deviating from the tradition of using English in the Assembly. A similar controversy has erupted in Nagaland also. In both these Christian-dominated states, English has been the mode of deliberations since the inception of the two Assemblies. Sharp reactions have come from both the ruling and opposition parties, alleging the Hindi speeches as part of BJP’s plan to saffronise the Northeast. In the Meghalaya Assembly, members from both Treasury and Opposition benches were “stunned to silence” by the Governor’s speech. A Congress member, Ampareen Lyngdoh, walked out in protest. Another insisted that he would speak in Khasi.

Some other members said that in future they might speak in Khasi or Pnar or Garo. Speaker Donkupar Roy told The Sunday Guardian, “The official language is English, but as per rules, anyone can speak in one’s mother tongue, provided they give the translated version beforehand.” Roy clarified that the English version of the Governor’s speech was circulated to all members. “The circulated English version is the official one,” he made it clear.

In the Nagaland House, BJP minister Temjen Imna Along spoke in Hindi while participating in a debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address. As this caused uproar, opposition NPF legislators, Imkong L. Imchen and C. Sazo, raised objection to the use of Hindi without providing an English version of the speech. They said only English and Nagamese were allowed in the Assembly. The minister, with permission from the Speaker, continued to speak in Hindi. “I only wanted to congratulate M. Piyongtemjen Jamir, a Padma Shri recipient for immense contribution to the field of Hindi.” He then switched to English to finish the remaining speech.

Man Mohan can be contacted at rovingeditor@gmail.com

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