Cautioning them to not give the meeting a political or religious colour, the Delhi high court granted permission to a United Nations-affiliated NGO to meet a 21-year-old Sikh woman, who was allegedly gang-raped and paraded before a crowd, with a garland of footwear around her neck, in east Delhi's Shahdara in January this year.
The Jalandhar by-polls are expected to be a crucial electoral battle for political outfits ahead of the 2024 general elections. Although the Congress party has remained undefeated in the Jalandhar Lok Sabha elections since 1999, it is facing challenges in the upcoming by-elections. The party is going through a credibility crisis in the state, especially following its defeat in the 2022 assembly elections. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party is said to have weakened the Congress party at the grassroots. The Congress is going all-out, having already announced 27 leaders, including present and former MLAs, for the nine assembly segments falling under the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency.
India's Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president, Sukhbir Singh Badal, has accused the chief minister of Punjab state of reneging on a promise to supply power to businesses at the rate of INR5 ($0.07) per unit. Bhagwant Mann's government has raised power tariffs for industry by 60 paise per unit, according to Badal, who warned there could be an exodus of businesses from Punjab to neighbouring states as a result. Badal claimed the state's power corporation was being penalised for mismanagement by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party.
A man in India has been arrested for allegedly setting fire to his two minor daughters after sprinkling petrol on them. The girls, aged 10 and 16, were seriously injured in the attack in Berring village, with one report suggesting that their mother had also been targeted. The girls were taken to a local hospital before being transferred to PGIMER in Chandigarh.
Three further arrests have been made in Australia in relation to violent incidents in January between pro-India demonstrators and Khalistan supporters. The fights broke out during the so-called ?Punjab independence referendum? in Melbourne, which was organised by Sikhs for Justice. The group, which is based in the US, is a banned organisation in India. Multiple people were injured in the incidents, in which flag poles were used as weapons. The Australian police are continuing to investigate the violence.
The chief minister of the Indian state of Punjab, Bhagwant Mann, has called for a shift in agriculture to move away from water-intensive crops, such as paddy, towards alternative crops such as cotton, basmati and moong. Mann has set up a committee to investigate suitable crops and to meet with farmers to discuss the issue. The cultivation of paddy in the state has led to depletion of the water table, excessive power consumption and pollution due to stubble burning. The government is promoting alternative crops through subsidies, crop insurance and procurement by Markfed.
The Sampurnanand Sanskrit University in Varanasi is set to establish a research chair on Ramayana, which will aim to spread the ideals of Lord Ram among the people, as well as to research and publish accurate facts. The Ramayana Shodhpeeth is expected to start functioning from April 1.
Punjab Police have launched a huge manhunt for Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh after he gave them the slip for the second time. He was spotted in a Hoshiarpur village on 29 August before disappearing. Police have been searching with drones and have sent teams to Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The pro-Khalistan leader has been on the run since 18 March.
A purported audio message of Waris Punjab De chief has surfaced on social media, in which Amritpal can be heard asking Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh to call Sarbat Khalsa to prove he is the head of the community. Hours later, his second video went viral on Facebook in which the radical Sikh leader can be seen almost repeating what he said in the audio clip. Amritpal said he doesn?t fear jail or torture and will stay on his path fighting for his community.
Navjot Singh Sidhu, a cricketer-turned-politician, is set to be released from Patiala Central Jail on April 1 due to good conduct. Sidhu has been in jail since May 20, 2022, following a one-year jail term for a 1988 road rage case. He is likely to receive a 45-day remission, and his scheduled release was on May 16. The Punjab prison rules mandate that a convict serving in jail and maintaining good conduct is entitled to a remission of five days for every month spent in prison, making Sidhu eligible for early release.
North Eastern Railway (NER) is "rapidly transforming and remodeling itself," according to NER General Manager Chandra Veer Raman. Speaking to a meeting of railway organisations to discuss ways to increase rail income, Raman emphasised the need to re-skill staff to cope with new technologies. Pankaj Kumar Singh, NER's Chief Public Relations Officer, said the company had completed 90% of its gauge conversion work, converting most of its 3,470.9km track to broad-gauge. However, a 112km metre-gauge section remains.
The Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE) has broken its record for the most electrification of broad-gauge rail routes in a financial year, achieving 4,387 route kilometres (RKM) by March 29. CORE is aiming to fully electrify India's broad-gauge rail network by December 2023. Electrifying the network will result in increased efficiency and reduced fuel expenditure, as well as savings in foreign exchange. Over 86% of the network has already been electrified as part of the Indian Railways' "Mission 100%" to become the world's largest green railway.
The acting jathedar of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, has condemned acts of vandalism at Indian consulates in the US and UK by Sikh groups protesting the crackdown on Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh and his aides. The acts of vandalism were damaging the community?s reputation, he said, while urging protesters to show restraint and avoid giving opponents a chance to malign the community's image.
A mobile phone has been seized from the possession of a gangster held in Goindwal Central Jail, who was accused of involvement in the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala. Arshad Khan, who is linked to notorious criminal Lawrence Bishnoi, is also accused of involvement in a clash in the same jail in February in which two members of gangster Jaggu Bhagwanpuria's gang were killed. The discovery of the phone highlights the jail's security vulnerabilities, following a series of reports of illegal activities.
The Punjab government has released 348 of the 360 people it had taken into custody during a police crackdown against radical preacher Amritpal Singh. The Akal Takht Jathedar?s personal secretary Jaspal Singh said the state government had informed them the rest would be released soon. Earlier this week, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh had given the state government an ultimatum to release all Sikh youths held during the police crackdown against Amritpal Singh and his aides.
The government of Himachal Pradesh is establishing an investment bureau in the state to help scale up the ease of doing business and minimise delays in getting requisite approvals through a single-roof facilitation mechanism. The new bureau will replace the old single-window system, have the power to approve investment proposals and consist of two panels: an executive committee overseeing investment cases on a day-to-day basis and an apex committee for approving investment proposals. The government will make necessary amendments in the law to empower the bureau.