Monday, 25 February 2013

Sikh Golden Temple hosts David Cameron

Also in this week's news roundup, two Tibetans self-immolate and Canada launches Office of Religious Freedom.

Sikh Golden Temple
A. Tayyaba

British PM Visits Amritsar Massacre Site and Sikh Golden Temple
David Cameron has this week stopped short of a full blown apology for the 1919 Amritsar Massacre, which he described as a ‘deeply shameful event’ in British colonial history. Hundreds of unarmed civilians were killed by British soldiers during a public meeting, banned by the British rulers at the time, in Jallianwala Bagh, a public garden, where thousands had gathered. A British General, sent to disperse the gathering, blocked the exits and ordered his riflemen to fire, only stopping ten minutes later when their ammunition ran out. The figures for the dead were recorded as 379 by the British but could have been as high as 1000.

Mr. Cameron is the first serving British Prime Minister to visit the site, lay a wreath and pay respect in this manner. He also visited the Golden Temple, a beautiful and deeply revered site for members of the Sikh faith. David Cameron is visiting India with a high profile trade delegation including the likes of Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, the London Underground and the English Premier League. It is hoped his visit will boost both British-India trade relations and Sikh votes back at home.

Two Tibetan teenagers self-immolate
Following the self-immolation of a 49-year-old Tibetan man on Sunday, two teenagers set themselves on fire and died in Tuesday. There have now been over 100 Tibetans who have burnt themselves in protest against Chinese rule in the region. Chinese authorities accuse exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, of encouraging such acts.

Head of Lashkar e Jhangvi Arrested in Pakistan
Malik Ishaq, the leader of Lashkar e Jhangvi, the banned militant group that has claimed responsibility for the terrorist killings of over 200 people, mainly Shia’s on January the 10th and February 16th in Quetta this year, has been arrested on Friday. Mr Ishaq, of Rahim Yar Khan in the Punjab, has been jailed for 14 years in the past on numerous murder charges and for incitement to hatred.

Office of Religious Freedom Launched in Canada

In Canada this week, a new Office of Religious Freedom was launched from a mosque in Vaughn, with the new Ambassador to the office, Andrew Bennett explaining his role aimed to build awareness of the issue of religious freedom abroad and to strongly promote this aspect of human rights. Bennett is a Catholic and dean of Augustine Church in Ottowa. Prime Minister Harper spoke about the plight of many religious groups abroad including Christians, various Muslim sects and Sikhs and mentioned the 2011 assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian minister in the Pakistan government.

Irish Laundry Scandal
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has offered a full apology on behalf of the Irish government over the Magdalene laundry scandal in which thousands of women and girls were virtually kept as slaves between 1922 and 1996. He also promised counselling and financial support for those surviving out of the 10,012 women and girls detained in the laundries, over 2000 of whom were sent there by the authorities. The laundries, run by four orders of Catholic Nuns, were a place where women convicted of petty crimes, or with mental illness, some whom were unmarried mothers or had suffered abuse at home, were sent and then forced to work for long hours without pay. @TayyabaNoor02


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