Apologia for Islamism in Kashmir has been rendered ineffective by the changes in Kashmir

Rajiv Lochan

Dr. Ramesh Tamiri has expressed much distress at what he considers the sidelining of Kashmiri Pandits in the ongoing talks between the government of India and the Gupkar gang in Kashmir. His concerns remind me of the article that another friend of mine wrote many months ago. Swaran Preet Singh wrote in the context of Kashmir about the absence of a recognition that Sikhs are a persecuted community. Any community which wishes to be heard needs to become extraordinarily touchy about its existence. It is the touchiness that communicates to the rest of the world that a community exists and it needs to be respected. The Sikhs, by creating an identity around the Indian state of Punjab, have used such touchiness in the past two decades to assert a distinct Sikh identity. In the case of the Kashmiri Pandits, their initial stoic silences worked against them. Far from appreciating their suffering, there were some, journalists, Kashmiri Pandits, academics in general, who began to construct an image of the Kashmiri P andits being an oppressor group. Despite all the persecution they have suffered at the hands of the radicalised Islamists in Kashmir, the broad vision as propagated till recently by the likes of Barkha Dutt was that they were actually exploiters of the Muslims in Kashmir. That apologia for Islamism in Kashmir was fortunately rendered ineffective by the changes in Kashmir introduced by the Narendra Modi government. Today even Pakistan hesitates in providing overt military backup to Islamists crossing the border.

Pic. from c. 1870, shows the ruins of the Martand Temple, the sun temple in Kashmir which was destroyed by an Islamist ruler. The destruction, according to the historical records left behind by him, took over a year to accomplish but such was his commitment to destroy that he and his men persisted for long to eradicate the signs of the Hindu God from Kashmir.

Rajiv Lochan is a renowned scholar, historian and columnist

BCCI to host T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman in October-November

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday announced  that the  T20 World Cup 2021 will be held in the UAE and Oman from 17 October to 14 November  

The World cup was scheduled to be held in India but due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the country it has been shifted.  

The BCCI will remain the hosts of the event, which will now be held in Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground,  

We would have been happier hosting it in India but considering the uncertainty due to the Covid 19 situation and the importance of a world championship, the BCCI will now continue to host this tournament in UAE and Oman. The BCCI is looking forward to creating a spectacle.Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Saurav Ganguly

The Board made every effort to stage the T20 World Cup in India and provide its passionate fans with a reason to cheer after a long period of gloom. However, the prevailing pandemic situation in the country meant that the health and safety of everyone concerned was fraught with risk should a tournament of this stature is held across the country. The BCCI will continue to host the tournament, which will now be held in the UAE and Oman and work closely with the ICC to make it a memorable event.BCCI Secretary, Jay Shah

Whilst we are incredibly disappointed not to be hosting the event in India, the decision gives us the certainty we need to stage the event in a country that is a proven international host of multi-team events in a bio-secure environment. We will work closely with the BCCI, the Emirates Cricket Board and Oman Cricket to ensure fans can enjoy a wonderful celebration of cricket and our r priority is to deliver the I World Cup 2021 safely, in full and in its current window. – Acting ICC CEO Geoff Allardice

Emirates Cricket Board is honoured that the BCCI and the ICC (International Cricket Council) have entrusted us with staging and delivering the ICC event.  – Emirates Cricket Board Vice President  Khalid Al Zarooni 

The UAE’s reputation as being a safe country in which to host high-profile sporting events is a strong complement to our government’s unwavering commitment to implementing and monitoring effective health practices during the pandemic. Having hosted a number of high-profile tournaments in recent months our team is well-prepared and ready to mobilise to ensure the success of the World Cup. It is indeed a great moment for Oman Cricket to be selected as a venue/host of the forthcoming 20 World Cup. We shall leave no stone unturned to exceed the requirements of BCCI and ICC. Oman will certainly extend a very warm welcome to all the teams, officials and media in October.Oman Cricket Chairman, Pankaj Khimji

Winning start at Tokyo Olympics is crucial for hockey team: Former Captain Ajit Pal Singh

 Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: India’s only World Cup-winning captain Ajit Pal Singh feels that winning start is crucial for Indian hockey team at Tokyo Olympics as it will help them gain confidence and momentum. 

Writing for Hockey India’s Flashback series, Ajit Pal Singh, considered to be one of the finest midfielders of his era, exuded confidence of Indian team putting up good show at the Games.

“I know some of the players in the present team personally, and I know how capable they are, and I believe they will do well. 

“They should start well because that will help them gain confidence and momentum. They have my full support, and I wish them all the best from the core of my heart,”  Ajit Pal Singh who led India to its only World cup win in 1975 at Kuala Lumpur was also World Cup medallist (Bronze in ’71, Silver in ’73).

Going down memory lane, the 74-year-old recalled his dream Olympic debut and India’s back-to-back Bronze medal-winning feat at the 1968 Mexico and 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

He relives his memories “I was picked up for the coaching camp of the 1968 Olympic Games, while I was in college, representing my home state Punjab. I would say, I was the youngest player at the camp, and I feel I was very lucky that I ultimately got a chance to play in the 1968 Olympic Games,” 

Having lost the opening match against New Zealand, there was some reshuffling in the team, and I was brought in as the centre-half. My first Olympic match turned out to be against West Germany, who were one of the strongest teams during that time. 

“I had butterflies in my stomach the night before the match, so you can imagine the pressure, we had already lost the first match, and we were supposed to pit against a quality side. 

“I would say, I handled the pressure pretty well, and ended up contributing to the team’s 2-1 win. I never looked back from there, and eventually played all the matches at the Mexico Olympics.”

The team led jointly by  Prithipal Singh and Gurbux Singh after losing their first match to New Zealand, went on to win their remaining league stage matches against West Germany (2-1), Mexico (8-0), Spain (1-0), Belgium (2-1), Japan (5-0 walkout) and East Germany (1-0).

However, they lost to Australia (1-2) in the Semi-Final and for the first time in the Olympics history, India didn’t feature in the Final of the quadrennial Games. India beat West Germany 2-1 to clinch the Bronze medal.

He went on to narrate: “We went on to win each of our remaining league stage matches, but unfortunately, we lost to Australia in the Semi-Final and finished the campaign with a Bronze Medal. 

“So, that was something really special, you know going for the first time, playing all the big matches, and coming back even with a Bronze medal, I think was a great achievement as far as the Olympics is concerned”.

About team’s preparations and campaign at the 1972 Olympic Games, the Jalandhar-born player said, “Almost all the players were dropped after the Mexico Games, except four of us — Perumal Krishnamurthy, Harbinder Singh, Harmek Singh (who led the side ), and I could make it to the squad of the 1972 Olympics. 
“As an experienced player, I would say, we did contribute to the team in the best way possible. We prepared really well under our Coach KD Singh Babu, who led the 1952 Olympic-winning team, and a lot of top players from the 40s and 50s came in to help us at the coaching camp. 

At Munich also, we went with a target of winning the Gold medal, but unfortunately lost to Pakistan 2-0 in the Semi-Final, and that was a big loss, a big setback.

“Nevertheless, we came back with a bronze medal, which was India’s 10th consecutive medal at the marquee event. he added


Reconstituted Madhya Pradesh State Wildlife Board: High Court allows revision of petition challenging nominations as violative of the Wild Life (Protection) Act

Newsroom24x7 Network

Photo © Lalit Shastri

Jabalpur/Bhopal: A two-Judge Bench of Jabalpur High Court presided by Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and comprising Justice Anil Verma has allowed petitioner Ajay Dubey to file an application to amend the original petition challenging the formation of the Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Board by the previous state Government headed by Kamal Nath since the present BJP Government has disbanded that Board and constituted a new one. 

The High Court has given 4 weeks time to the petitioner to make the application for amendment in the petition. The original petition pointed to gross violation of the provisions for nomination of members in the State Wildlife Board under the Wildlife (Protection) Act. 

Aditya Sanghi, the counsel  for petitioner Ajay Dubey submitted during the hearing on Saturday through video conferencing that the respondent, i.e., State had passed a fresh order  re-constituting  the  Board on 20 November 2020. 

Another petition filed by senior journalist and eminent environmentalist Lalit Shastri in the same matter is also linked with the petition filed by Ajay Dubey. Shastri’s counsel in this case are Praveen Kumar Pandey and Suman Dubey.

Click links below to check background of this case:

Exclusion of some experts puts a question mark on the reconstituted MP State Wildlife Board

State Wildlife Board: Madhya Pradesh Government is in the dock and has a lot to answer

Petition challenging the reconstitution of Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Board: Jabalpur High Court serves notice to MP Government

Jabalpur High Court admits petition against reconstitution of State Wildlife Board

If you have “special interest in wildlife” you could be a member of State Wildlife Board in Madhya Pradesh