|Friday, March 17, 2000,
directive: Badal in fix
feels let down by Jagir Kaur
Sarbat Khalsa if experts say so
to discuss Anandgarh after March 27
to boycott exams
in voter list alleged
favours extension of quota for SCs
jatha leaves for Pakistan
women and Khushwant Singh
HIV cases detected
sought into lathi charge
ordered into sugar scam
protection week launched
term for one in murder case
directed to probe rape case
charged with misappropriation
killed in mishap
raises ETT seats
Jathedars directive: Badal
CHANDIGARH, March 16 Following a directive from the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Puran Singh, to the Shiromani Akali Dal president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on March 13, was the first step taken by Mr Badal to postpone the March 16 meeting of the SGPC executive committee.
The meeting has now will be held on March 23. Primarily the meeting was to discuss Budget of the SGPC for 2000-01.
Sources close to the party president told The Tribune yesterday that the postponement was to buy time and find a way out of the present impasse in the meantime. Besides the issue of appointing acting president of the SGPC in place of Bibi Jagir Kaur, the Akal Takht Jathedar wants the two excommunicated Jathedars, Prof Manjit Singh (Takht Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur Sahib) and Giani Kewal Singh (Takht Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo) also replaced with acting Jathedars.
The directive is not as simple as it appears to be though the SGPC Act does not provide for any direct intervention by the SAD president in religious matters. The move by Giani Puran Singh is being interpreted in two ways. One school of thought is that Giani Puran Singh has gone berserk and apprehending his own removal is resorting to summary trials It started with Jan. 25 edict. The second view is that he has, in ways more than, one given a warning shot to Mr Badal that he too could be targeted if he did not contain Bibi Jagir Kaur and act on the directive.
The fact of the matter, however, is that both Giani Puran Singh and Bibi Jagir Kaur drifted apart over a period of time due to lack of proper, direct communication. In this widening chasm the respective advisers of the two seemingly played a negative role either by design or accident. Another element is that senior Akali leaders of the Majha area nurse grievances against the son-in-law of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, therefore, indirectly to settle scores with him (Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon) they have involved Mr Badal by their subtle moves.
But what is of immediate concern is the forthcoming Hola Mohalla which traditionally is celebrated with gusto at Anandpur Sahib. There, the Takht Jathedar is Prof Manjit Singh, who stands excommunicated. He has already defied the hukamnama. Will he function openly and will the SAD president and Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal share dais with him? The edict of March 12 forbids Sikhs to have any social, political and religious relations with the excommunicated ones till they sought pardon and Akal Takht forgave them.
The newspapers have already carried advertisements by the SGPC inviting people to flock to Anandpur Sahib on Hola-Mohalla. Some head granthis of gurdwaras have also questioned the hukamnamas and the way these have been issued in rapid succession. Does it mean sooner than later Giani Puran Singh alone will remain? asked a senior Akali leader.
In fact the practice and concept of excommunication was also set in motion by the former SGPC president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Therefore what the Akalis face today is partly because of their own doings in the past.
Nevertheless, it is being now thought of that there was no provision as such in the Gurdwara Act of appointing acting president, not the least by the SAD president. An acting president of the SGPC can be appointed by the SGPC president alone with the approval of the executive committee, followed by that of the general house. In so far as acting Jathedars of the two takhts is concerned, again it is for the SGPC , which is the appointing and sacking authority. The SAD president does not come into picture.
On the other hand, the Akal Takht Jathedar has tried to involve Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi also by writing to him to use his good offices to get the hukamnamas implemented. Mr Talwandi was chairman of the SDAs Disciplinary Action Committee. One reason could be that Giani Mohan Singh, head granthi of the Golden Temple, is a close relation of Mr Talwandi and at one time he was to succeed Bhai Ranjit Singh. He however, refused, reportedly because of terrorist threat. It was at that difficult point of time that Giani Puran Singh had bailed Mr Badal out.
The mannerism of Giani Puran Singh has intrigued the Akali leadership. Bibi Jagir Kaur is also believed to have had a long discussion with Mr Badal, who is in constant touch with several others. In the process of buying time a solution is being found.
The general feedback is that Giani Puran Singh must be removed.He has already acted in a partisan way and is selective in giving punishment to key persons without giving them an opportunity to present their case before taking extreme decision of excommunication.
A source close to the Chief Minster said that there was in fact no room for excommunicating anyone in Sikhism. One is born in a particular religion and it is something personal. The way Hola-Mohalla functions are held and what SGPC executive finally decides is a million dollar question. Every plausible solution at present has many complications given the bouquet of ideologies of individuals and institutions in Sikhism that are involved in such sensitive and sentimental issues.
Coming as the present
crisis does soon after the Nawanshahr win for the SAD has
cast a dark shadow over the party and the government,
which is having an adverse affect. To fathom gameplans of
the Akal Takht Jathedar is difficult, say observers, but
efforts are on for a face-saving exit.
Badal feels let down by Jagir
CHANDIGARH, March 16 Akali Dal President and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is veering round to the idea that SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur shall have to go. he feels let down the way the whole issue has been messed up by clashing egos. According to those who had been discussing the whole controversy involving the Akal Takht, SGPC president and other high priests, Mr Badal finds that Bibi Jagir Kaur has not honoured her word. The result now is that the Akali Dal has landed itself in the soup.
Akali Dal leaders say it had been agreed by both sides, Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar of the Akal Takht, who issued the hukamnama excommunicating the SGPC President from the Sikh faith and Bibi Jagir Kaur that she would present herself and seek tankha (punishment for religious misconduct). her precondition that other high priests should also be present was accepted by Giani Puran Singh. why did she create that fuss? The Akali circles have been debating this.
Today, former Akali Dal President, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, whose help Mr Badal sought said Bibi Jagir Kaur was not behaving properly. No one can defy the Akal Takht. Giani Puran Singh had kept everyone, including the Chief Minister, informed of it. He was more sinned against than sinning. What could he do? Bibi Jagir Kaur also made the other priests defy and hence the next hukamnama, he told The Tribune.
while he was hopeful of a solution as always problems get solved one way or the other, yet he found the Akali Dal in a deep crisis. The issue is before the Akali Dal now. We have to decide soon .We should know where to begin with, he added.
Those who met Mr Badal today included Mr Ranjit Singh Bramhpura, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Capt Kanwaljit Singh and a host of others.
Akali circles said Mr Badal now has a fair idea who did what. The conspiracy had roots somewhere else and the SGPC president should have been careful in her comments and remarks. Earlier, Mr Badal did not realise that the issue of excommunication could snowball into a major controversy that had the potential of hitting his government and the Dal, he led.
But since the Akal Takht chief had now directed him, he had no way but to take charge and resolve. while some of his colleagues felt that he had the capacity to resolve, others including rivals in the Tohra Dal, felt that vacillation had been his hallmark and hence the complication.
Mr Badal, it is pointed out, feels that at this stage the Akal Takht chief, who had reluctantly agreed to head the highest temporal institution of the Sikhs, could not be touched. First, his edicts should be honoured and his position vindicated. Later, if the current thinking in the ruling circles is any guide, all the priests should go. An entirely new wise set should come who have less of ego hassles, the leaders feel.
Mr Badal has bought time till March 23 when the SGPC executive is to meet. The general house meets later on March 31 to pass the Budget. it could be that Bibi Jagir Kaur is assured of her old ministerial berth and she leaves in an amicable way or else Mr Badal asserts and chooses someone else to head the SGPC. That too is not easy as already many are trying to fish in troubled waters. Mr Badal has also discussed the threat from Bibi Jagir Kaur that she would be in the procession of the Hola Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib during the celebrations. This could mean even an armed conflict as some organisations have lent her support. Division among the Sikhs may not be vertical, but it is clearly there.
The manner and tenor of
hukamnamas has been the subject of debate among the
thinking sections. No one opinion prevailed. This offers
Mr Badal a chance to resolve the complex issue. In his
long career as an Akali politician he has been dealing
with the religio political issues, this is the first time
he has been directly called upon to deal with the issue
of such a magnitude and he cannot afford to wear
blinkers. It is interesting to watch a leader from
the sidelines how he decides, particularly, the one who
strongly believed that issues get resolved on their own.
Time is not on his side, was the wry comment of
former Speaker and once a close friend Mr Ravi Inder
No Sarbat Khalsa if experts
AMRITSAR, March 16 Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar Akal Takht, said today he might withdraw his decision to call a Sarbat Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib on the occasion of Baisakhi if Sikh intellectuals and historians opined it was in violation of the maryada (Sikh tradition).
Talking to mediapersons at his residence here, Bhai Ranjit Singh said he had asked Sikh historians to see whether Sarbat Khalsa convened at any place other than Akal Takht was violation of the maryada.
To a question, Bhai Ranjit Singh said there were instances when Sikh congregations were held at places other than Akal Takht. He said the Five Sikh high priests, Giani Kirpal Singh, Giani Sahib Singh, Bhai Harcharan Singh, Sant Lakha Singh and Giani Pritam Singh, had convened a Sarbat Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib on February 11, 1986.
Bhai Ranjit Singh said he had convened the Sarbat Khalsa on the suggestion of Sikh intellectuals present at the seminar organised by the World Sikh Council on March 4 at Jalandhar. He said those present had not said the Sarbat Khalsa could not be held at a place other than Akal Takht.
Lashing out at Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Bhai Ranjit Singh said he could not be trusted. He said his meeting with RSS office-bearers was no secret.
Bhai Ranjit Singh said Mr Mann should not indulge in mud-slinging as he was hand in glove with the Congress which was evident from a photograph showing him shaking hands with Rajiv Gandhi.
Bhai Ranjit Singh,
replying to yet another question, said Giani Puran Singh
and Bibi Jagir Kaur had been following Mr Parkash Singh
Badals maryada. He alleged Mr Badal was
behind the ongoing Panthic crisis.
Yogi Harbhajan justifies
AMRITSAR, March 16 Coming to the rescue of Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar, Akal Takht, the world renowned spiritual Sikh leader, Yogi Harbhajan Singh, today justified the hukamnama issued from Guna (Madhya Pradesh) excommunicating the President of the SGPC from the Sikh Panth.
Talking to mediapersons here today,he said the Jathedar was competent to issue a hukamnama under the seal of Akal Takht from any place. He said an edict once issued could not be withdrawn.
He said it was a matter of concern that Akali leaders were not unanimous over the maryada. The Sikh Panth should initiate corrective measures. There is a dire need for introspection, he said.
Yogi Harbhajan Singh said all warring Akali factions should sink their differences in the larger interests of the Panth. He said nobody should question established Sikh institutions like Akal Takht.
We are nobody to challenge such great institutions, he said.
He said the solution to the Panthic crisis could be found through a dialogue. There was an attempt to destroy Sikh institutions, he alleged.
Objections on jantri
AMRITSAR, March 16 Dr Khark Singh, who was removed as convenor of the 11-member panel on controversial Nanakshahi calendar by Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar, Akal Takht, said today that draft amendments of the jantri (calendar) were ready. These could be submitted within a day on the demand of the panth, he claimed.
Talking to TNS here today, Dr Khark Singh said that it was unfortunate that the Jathedar of Akal Takht had imposed a ban on the implementation of the jantri. He reiterated that the issue of calendar was neither a religious nor a political question. It is just a scientific matter, he added.
The controversial Nanakshahi calendar is root-cause of the ongoing panthic crisis. Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief, was excommunicated from the Sikh panth for allegedly implementing the Nanakshahi calendar despite a ban by Akal Takht. While a section of Sant Samaj, which is a close ally of Giani Puran Singh, had been opposing the implementation of the calendar, the SGPC had unanimously passed a resolution in its favour.
Dr Khark Singh claimed that there was consensus among the penalists to accept all objections raised by a section of Sant Samaj that the common festivals like Divali, Holi and birthday of Guru Nanak Dev should not be changed.
Dr Khark Singh, who is staunch supporter of the Nanakshahi calendar, said that there were some glaring discrepancies in this jantri too. We had agreed to remove all such discrepancies, he said. However, it was unfortunate that the Nanakshahi calendar which was named after the first Sikh guru could not be implemented from the tercentenary of the birth of Khalsa Panth.
Dr Khark Singh said that the objections of a section of Sant Samaj that the Nanakshahi calendar could change the dates of purnmashi or amavas were unfounded. He said such dates could not be changed as these were based on lunar system. He said, while all advanced countries and nations had implemented the solar system, some vested interest wanted to stop the implementation of the Nanakshahi calendar. He, however, admitted that the Nanakshahi calendar, too, had discrepancies of the traditional Bikrami calendar which needed to be changed.
point, Dr Khark Singh said that the Government of India
had already implemented Saka era which was
incidentally a solar calendar. However, no Hindu
organisation had raised any hue and cry over
its implementation. He said it was again an unfortunate
development that the Akal Takht Jathedar had imposed a
ban on holding seminars on the issue of Nanakshahi
calendar. He said Mr Pal Singh Purewal, a Canada-based
Sikh, was an authority on this very issue.
SGPC bans arms inside temple
AMRITSAR, March 16 The SGPC has banned the carrying of arms in the Golden Temple and Akal Takht complex.
Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, secretary, SGPC, said the task force had been directed to ensure that nobody took firearms inside the complex. He said the decision had been taken in view of reports that armed miscreants had entered Akal Takht on March 12.
Bachan denies reports of
AMRITSAR, March 16 The secretary of the SGPC, Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, clarified yesterday that he had never stated that the persons accompanying Baba Kashmira Singh were carrying firearms inside the Golden Temple Complex. The SGPC in a press note issued here today described these reports attributed to him as mischievous and baseless.
Dr Bachan pointed out that he had great regard for Baba Kashmira Singh, whom he described as respected religious personality and added that he had already instituted an inquiry to find out how the firearms had been brought into the complex on March 12 and added that administration too had been looking into the lapse.
Meanwhile, manager of
the Golden Temple has issued instructions to the task
force not to allow any kind of firearms in view of the
reported clash at Akal Takht premises between the
supporters of Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh and
SGPC and SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur on March 12.
House to discuss Anandgarh
after March 27
CHANDIGARH, March 16 In the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today the Speaker finally said there would be a discussion on the proposed new city, Anandgarh, after March 27. The Business Advisory Committee of the House will meet shortly to decide on the day and date.
This issue had witnessed many a noisy scene and walk-outs for the past few days with members getting exercised over the issue.
But it was another day of the same excuse for the interruption of the proceedings of the House by the lone BSP member, Mr Shangara, Ram Shangura, who once again raised the issue of Dalits. Despite repeated requests by the Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, he went on speaking. Even the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal asked the Speaker to use the relevant rules to silence the member. Later, the BSP man walked out shouting slogans.
In fact the Congress again found an excuse to walk out of the House over the issue of roll-back in fertiliser prices. The Leader of the House, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, intervened on the subject when Mr Hardev Arshi first raked it up referring to a rally in Chandigarh by as many as five farmers organisations to seek better terms of trade for agriculture. Mr Badal said it would be appropriate if the House passed a resolution to demand cut back on fertiliser price and to demand a fair deal for agriculturists from the Centre. Though, on his own he had taken up the issue with the Prime Minister personally as well as followed that up in writing.
During the day most of the members were raising the issue of not being spotted by the Speaker or not being given a fair chance to speak out. Everyone, who is normally seen to be more vocal than many others, was also seen demanding attention and time from the Chair. In fact so many members wanted to say or ask so much that even the Question Hour was today taken up by barely six of the 20 odd questions listed for the day. One question on transport, asked by Mr Ajaib Singh Raunta, alone ran into over 300 pages. It was about plying of buses in an illegal manner on unauthorised routes by private owners. He had sought details on challans and names of operators. This question took lot of time and the Chief Minister had to intervene to assure that illegal operations would not be allowed and revenue would be taken care of. In fact during the special drive in October-November last year the daily income of the state Transport Department went up by at least Rs 5 lakh.
The issue of incomplete replies or wrong replies again was a point raised by several members who expressed dissatisfaction over the replies given by the ministers. These members, including Mr Arshi and Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, wanted the Speaker to pull up the ministers.
Most of the issues raised during the Zero Hour by the members were disallowed by the Speaker. Yet he did allow most of them to have their say, though members were not satisfied. In fact quite a commotion was caused when one of the members while speaking on a special resolution moved by the Leader of the House on congratulating Mr Ujjal Dosanjh on becoming Premier of British Columbia remarked if we wish our people to gain political heights abroad, why not enable Ms Sonia Gandhi to become Prime Minister in India. This remark by Mr Dhanwant Singh (Independent) made the Minister of Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, join issue with him with several members from both benches talking, shouting and gesticulating simultaneously.
The Speaker had to remark, referring to utterances by the Congress leader Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, that he should not say unpleasant things on such a resolution. The House paid tributes to Mr Dosanjh for doing India and Punjabis proud. Some members wanted him to be invited and honoured.
The issue of having red lights atop vehicles being used by the MLAs was also raised by Mr G.S. Bhullar, who said the Chandigarh Administration, despite proper authorisation and permission continued to challan several MPs and MLAs. This amounted to disrespect of the House and members and that the matter be taken up with the Chandigarh Administration for suitable action.
The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Mittal stood up to say that the issue was in the notice of the government, which having taken cognisance has asked the Chief Secretary to look into it.
There was a calling attention motion as well moved by Ms Lakshmi Kanta Chawla on difficulties being faced by school and college students due to nuisance created by unrestricted use of loud speakers.
Today was the non-official business day. One resolution listed for the day was by Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, who wanted the House to recommend to the Government to set up Guru Gobind Singh Chair in any university to mark the tercentenary of the birth of the Khalsa.
Several members spoke on it. Theirs were a sort of religious discourses. Eventually the resolution was talked out. In all six resolutions were listed, at least four for sports stadia and one asking the government to curb accidents and another to punish parents who did not send children to schools under free and compulsory education for all children below 14 years of age scheme.
The House today
adjourned till March 22, when it will assemble at 11 a.m.
for the presentation of the Budget for 2000-01 by the
Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, and there will be no
other business for the day.
Threat to boycott exams
CHANDIGARH, March 16 Annual examinations by universities in Punjab, including Panjab, Punjabi and Guru Nanak Dev Universities, face a threat of boycott by teachers and other authorities in case their demands are not accepted by March-end.
A week-long protest by the Joint Action Committee comprising, management, principals, teachers and non-teachers began today. At least 26 representatives from all fronts began a relay fast at "Matka Chowk". Future plan of action will come up for discussion at a meeting on March 29.
Colleges will remain closed on March 29.
Prominent among those on dharna who addressed a press conference at Panjab University, included Principal P.S. Sangha, Mr Ashwani Sharma, president of the Principal's Federation, Dr Ishwar Singh Doraha, president of the Management Federation, and Prof S.S. Hundal among others.
Mr Sangha pointed out that at least 85 non-government colleges faced threat of closure due to the non-release of grants by the Punjab Government. As many as 85 colleges figured in the list. A few leading colleges had reserves to pay to the staff but the reserves looked exhausted. A number of colleges were running without having paid salaries.
Nearly all colleges in this category were facing the threat of closure in case the payments were not released at the earliest.
Colleges were already listed to be paid more than Rs 84 crore. The grant paid to colleges covered only teachers whose services were regularised.
It was announced that a mass rally would be organised on March 29 in case the government did not respond to their demands. "We will be left with no alternative but to agitate, Mr Sangha said. It was strange that government said the money given to colleges was a grant for development purposes whereas its only purpose was payment of salaries.
The major demands include 95 per cent grant which has not been released for six months from September 99 to February 2000, regular and full release of 95 per cent grant at the enhanced rate from January 1, 1999, to February 28, 2000 on account of the revision of pay scales of teaching and non-teaching categories'.
The charter also mentions demands saying 'withdrawal of cut in grant on account of 26 day's strike period in 1998 of teaching staff on the All-India level. No cut in salary has been imposed in the case of government colleges and universities.
The federation also demands arrears of grant of Rs 40 crore received from the central government to all posts which existed on January 1,1996 .Other items on the agenda included immediate implementation of the pension scheme. Mr Ashwani Kumar said despite notification of the scheme by the government, the policy was yet to be implemented.
Farmers threaten chakka
CHANDIGARH, March 16 Farmers from various parts of Punjab condemned the proposed hike in the prices of urea and the anti-farmer policies being pursued by the government. The agitating farmers will resort to a chakka jam on May 25 besides laying siege to the state Vidhan Sabha in the forthcoming session.
They were attending an impressive rally organised under the aegis of the Punjab Kisan Sabha at the Parade Grounds here today. The agitators raised slogans against the government and demanded that the prices of farm produce be raised considerably and efforts made to get the loans of small farmers waived.
Mr Joginder Dayal, Secretary, CPI, said the farmers were groaning under debts and being forced to commit suicides. Even as farmers were toiling to fill silos of the country, they were being forced to sell their land and farm equipments to pay the high interests charged by money lenders.
In case of bank loans, the government should ensure that the defaulter kisan should not be arrested and his property should not be confiscated. The loans should be advanced at the rate of 4 per cent and the disbursal process should be simplified.
The suggestion that the farmers should go in for other crops was also criticised and it was pointed out that the farmers who went in for diversification were in dire straits as the state had no marketing policy for their produce. It has been proved that the price of such crops also varied considerably.
The prices of farm produce speak for itself. The farmers who went in for onions, potatoes and other crops were being forced to plough their crop in the fields in view of the unremunerative market prices. Withdraw the proposal to freeze the prices of agriculture produce, they demanded.
The resolutions passed at the rally include a judicial inquiry into the police firing at Jethuke and a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of the victims, withdrawal of the proposal of setting up Anandgarh by uprooting 38 villages besides fixing of the minimum support price for wheat.
Those who addressed the
meeting included Mr Hardev Singh Arshi, MLA and secretary
of the sabha, Mr Kulvinder Singh and Mr Rashpal Singh, Mr
Pishora Singh, president BKU (Ekta), Mr L S Taggar,
general secretary, Punjab Kisan Sabha, Mr Hardev Singh
Sandhu and Mr Satbir Singh of the Kirti Kisan Union.
Kisan mela concludes
LUDHIANA, March 16 The two-day kisan mela at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), concluded here today with the prize distribution ceremony in which farmers and various agro-industries institutions were honoured for excellence in various fields. Dr Sukhdev Singh, Member, Board of Management, PAU, gave away the prizes. Farm literature worth Rs 1.75 lakh was sold during the mela.
Presiding over the concluding function Dr G.S. Kalkat, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said that the need of the hour was to shift some area which was under paddy to other crops. This would alone sustain the agricultural growth in the state, he said.
The coveted Dalip Singh Dhaliwal Memorial Award for innovative farming was given to Mr Ranjit Singh Sidhu, a poultry farmer from Naudrani village in Sangrur district. The award carries a cash price of Rs 5,000 and a citation.
Farmers were also given prizes for their best produce in different crops.
In the agro-industries exhibition stalls M/s Escorts Ltd, M/s Sehra Motors and Tractors, M/s Appollo Tyres, M/s IFFCO, M/s Monsanto, M/s Falcon Industries, M/s Whirlpool India Ltd were declared best in different categories.
Irregularities in voter list alleged
NANGAL, March 16 Members of the Citizens Welfare Society today staged a dharna outside the office of the local municipal council. They were protesting against the absence of names of many residents in the newly prepared voter list. The voter list for elections to the local council, scheduled for May 29, was finalised a week ago.
The president of the society, Mr Paramjit Singh, alleged that the names of hundreds of local residents, in about 17 wards, had been left out of the voter list. He said his entire family had been left out though he was an aspirant for the elections.
He alleged that their names had not been included though he had personally handed over the filled forms for the purpose to the authorities concerned.
Meanwhile, leaders of
the opposition parties have also alleged irregularities
in the voter list. Mr Ravinder Dewan, an ex-MC and
general secretary of the DCC, has alleged that while the
names of many residents were missing from the voter list,
the names of many contract labourers had been illegally
added to it.
Punjab favours extension of
quota for SCs
CHANDIGARH, March 16 The Punjab Council of Ministers at a meeting here last evening under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal has granted its approval for moving the resolution in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha for ratifying the amendment to the Constitution of India falling within the purview of clause (d) of the provision to Clause (2) of Article 368 proposed to be made by the Constitution (Eighty fourth amendment) Bill, 1999.
The amendment has been made for the continuance of reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the representation of the Anglo Indian community by nomination in the Lok Sabha and in the Legislative Assembly of the States for a period of 10 years.
The Council of Ministers, through another decision, has approved the proposal in principle for introducing a new Punjab Infrastructure Development and Regulation Act 2000.
Sikh jatha leaves for
AMRITSAR, March 16 A 10-member jatha led by Mr Mela Singh today left for Pakistan to take up the issue of the Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PGPC) with the government there on behalf of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC). The members of the jatha were stopped from crossing over to Pakistan through the land route at Wagha a few days back.
It may be mentioned here that the DSGMC and the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee are at loggerheads so far as sending of jathas to Pakistan is concerned. While the SGPC had banned the sending of jathas to pay obeisance at Sikh shrines in Pakistan in protest against the formation of the PGPC, the DSGMC had decided to take up the issue with the government of Pakistan.
Mr P.S. Sarna, president
of the DSGMC had told the press that the government of
Pakistan wanted to settle the issue in wake of the
feelings of the Sikh masses who were perturbed over the
decision of the SGPC not to send jathas. The SGPC had
blamed that anti-India propaganda was being launched from
Sikh shrines in Pakistan, especially after the
appointment of Jawed Nasir, a former chief of the ISI as
Chairman of the PGPC.
Pen, women and Khushwant
PATIALA, March 16 Khushwant Singh pulled the leg of all and sundry in his writings, so I decided to pay him in the same coin, said artist Satwant Singh, while discussing his cartoons and caricatures on the noted writer.
The exhibition was inaugurated at Banasar Art Gallery here today by Mr Mohinder Mohan Singh, Principal, Government Mohindra College. A large number of art lovers, artists and educationists were present.
The collection, titled A brush with Khushwant Singh, presents him in humourous pictures in sketch ink. Strokes of the artists hand show Khushwant Singh in different environs, always armed with pen and surrounded by damsels.
The multi-dimensional personality of the writer shows him in several kinds of attire, including those of Pied Piper leading masses to a doctor treating patients with deficiency of haemoglobin, Hanuman spreading fire with his pen, street charmer, keen bird (women) watcher and blue Indian. Pointing towards a cartoon showing him as Bhisham Pitamah, writing continuously with a pen while lying on a bed of pens, Satwant Singh said the aim of the exhibition was also to show the facade of the writer. He makes everyone laugh but hides his pain as his writings often lead him to so many problems, the artist explained.
The over-emphasis of Khushwants portrayal as a man interested in women and sex was evident. The painter explained that he could not help but capture the image of the writer as seen by everyone.
A number of people who
had come to see the exhibition felt that many hidden
aspects of the writer had not been highlighted. Some of
them claimed they had met Khushwant Singh and he was a
more serious person than depicted in the cartoons. The
range of cartoons had a special message from Khushwant to
journalists. It said, Always bura suno, bura dekho
but achha likho (hear and see bad but write good).
28 HIV cases detected
PHAGWARA, March 16 Twentyeight HIV positive cases have been detected in Kapurthala district. An anti-AIDS drive has been launched and camps held in truck unions, schools and colleges. This was stated by Dr Ajaib Singh Sandhu, Civil Surgeon, Kapurthala in a press note released today.
He also addressed a
function after inaugurating a family welfare camp at the
local Civil Hospital. Dr Sandhu said water of handpumps
in villages situated along Chitti Kali Bein
(rivulets) passing through Kapurthala district as well as
the nullah near Kala Sanghian village was contaminated
and not fit for drinking. He advised the residents of
these villages to use water from deeply dug tubewells for
drinking and that too after boiling. He also laid stress
on chlorination of water tanks in cities and villages
where water was being supplied by the department. Dr
Sandhu stated that Rs 3.90 crore would be spent on
face-lifting, furnishing, equipping hospitals of
Phagwara, Begowal, Sultanpur Lodhi and Kapurthala.
Land erosion continues
GURDASPUR, March 16 Erosion of fertile land of Toor and Chebe villages across the Ravi along the Indo-Pakisatan border continues unabated. As many as 400 acres of Toor village have been washed away so far. Residents of the area said today if adequate flood-precaution measures were not taken before the rainy season, more land would be washed away resulting in the loss of life and property.
The Bhariwal area comprising 12 villages is likely to be affected. As many as 1,500 acres in Manke, Rajibela and Nikka in the area have already been washed away.
Mr Baldev Singh of Toor village and Mr Roop Singh, member Bhariwal panchayat, said the construction of 4 spurs and 7 studs on the right bank of the Ravi was in progress and hoped that the work would be completed before the rainy season.
The construction of 1 spur and 2 studs near Cooker village at a cost of Rs 63 lakh, and 1 spur and 5 studs near the Nikka BSF post at a cost of Rs 72 lakh is on the verge of completion.
The residents of Manke
and Rajibela, the villages which have been washed away,
are living in jhuggies. They said their houses and land
had been washed away and they had not been paid any
Probe sought into lathi charge
SAMANA: March 16 Mr Harpal Singh Ghagga, President Truck Operator Union Punjab demanded a judicial enquiry by a retired Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court into the brutal lathi-charge on members of the truck operator union Samana, in which about 25 persons were injured on Tuesday.
Hola Mohalla celebrations
KIRATPUR SAHIB, March 16 Hola Mohalla celebrations started here at Gurdwara Patalpuri Sahib today.
A large number of pilgrims paid obeisance there. They partook langar and bathed in the holy sarovar.
Probe ordered into sugar scam
AMRITSAR, March 16 An enquiry has been ordered by the Prime Ministers Office into the alleged evasion of octroi in sugar imported from Pakistan during the period from February 1998 to the present date.
Mr Surinder Kumar Billa
President All-India Hindu Shiv Sena alleged that the
municipal corporation and importers had connived to evade
octroi worth crores of rupees in the scam. According to a
rough estimate octroi worth Rs 2 crore was evaded.
Consumer protection week launched
GURDASPUR, March 16 The Department of Food and Civil Supplies with the help of the District Administration launched a consumer protection week which began yesterday. A district-level seminar was held here today in this regard.
Mr Sukhdev Singh, District Food Controller, speaking on the occasion, appealed to people that before purchasing consumer goods, they must ensure about the quantity, quality and weight, of the articles purchased.
He said 378 checks of various wholesale agencies were carried out, out of which 47 agencies were found lacking. These were issued show-cause notices and Rs 47,3000 were collected as fine from them. As many as 1,018 retail agencies dealing in kerosene were checked, licences of 23 were cancelled, 12 agencies licences were suspended and 81 agencies were given show-cause notices, while Rs 17,000 was collected as fine.
As many as 41 brick kilns were given show-cause notices and Rs 42,900 were collected as fine from them for various irregularities committed. Out of 1,063 ration depots in the district, which were checked, licences of 60 were cancelled and 180 depots licences were suspended, Rs 66,750 was collected as fine.
Life term for one in murder case
LUDHIANA, March 16 Mr S.S. Arora, Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, has sentenced Narinder, alias Kala to rigorous imprisonment for life. The convict murdered a dairy owner. Baldev Raj by pouring acid on him on July 4, 1998.
The judge also ordered the accused to pay a fine of Rs 3000 or in default of the same, to undergo further imprisonment for a period of four months.
The case was registered
on the basis of a statement by Baldev Raj, before his
death. The deceased stated that he was running a dairy at
Haibowal Khurd. On the day of the occurrence, i.e. on
4-7-98 about 5 a. m. He was proceeding in his Maruti Zen
to his dairy. Baldev Raj was driving the car while his
son Suresh Kumar was sitting on the back seat. When the
car reached the corporation workshop, a scooterist coming
from the rear honked. Thereupon, Baldev Raj slowed down
his car, so as to enable the scooterist to pass by.
However, when the scooter was parallel to the car, Baldev
Raj found accused Narinder, alias Kala sitting on the
pillion and holding a plastic can. The accused hurled the
contents of the can towards Baldev Raj causing him burns
on the face, arms, chest, back and legs. He was taken to
the DMC where he succumbed to his burns later.
SSP directed to probe rape
CHANDIGARH, March 16 On a petition alleging rape of the petitioner on the promise of marrying her, Mr Justice T.H.B. Chalapathi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Chandigarh, to get a case registered on the basis of the complaint sent to him earlier through post by the petitioner, Ms Karamjit Kaur, and directed that the complaint be investigated.
He was further directed to complete the investigation expeditiously, preferably within three months, and take such action as required under the law, depending on the result of the investigation.
In the complaint sent to the S.S.P., by Karamjit Kaur of S.A.S. Nagar, it was alleged that on November 23, 1999, she went to house of her friend Rajni, in Sector 55, where the accused Shiv Kumar and four women accomplices were present and she was served tea. On taking the tea, she became unconscious. Thereafter she was raped by accused Shiv Kumar in which the four accused women Kamla, Geeta, Raj and Rajni persuaded her to submit on the promise of marrying her the next day.
Thereafter she is alleged to have been taken to Hardwar and Nabha. One of the accused, who allegedly told the petitioner that she working at the house of a former D.G.P., threatened her that if she reported the matter to the police or try to escape then her life and that of her family was in danger. On January 27, 2000 she was left by the accused Shiv Kumar at the Gobindgarh bus stand.
She alleged that other women accused connived with Shiv Kumar, who again raped her during the period.
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Mr Justice R.S. Mongia and Mr Justice J.S. Narang stayed the reversion of Mr Iqbal Singh Sikand, General Manager of the Punjab Roadways depot at Hoshiarpur, to the post of Traffic Manager.
The petitioner was promoted General Manager on January 9, 1996 from the post of Traffic Manager. He had been reverted on the ground that there was no vacancy in the higher post.
The petitioner stated
that he was reverted without giving any opportunity of
showing cause or notice and that the inquiry which was
earlier dropped and later on reopened after his
promotion, should not affect his promotion because it was
made before the inquiry.
Markfed officer held
Jalandhar, March 16 The Vigilance Bureau, Jalandhar, has arrested Surat Singh, a Markfed branch officer posted at Bhogpur for accepting a bribe of Rs 18,000 from one of his colleagues, Lakhwinder Singh Gill.
Lakhwinder Singh Gill alleged in his complaint that he had been holding duel charge of the wheat stock along with another colleague G S Minhas in August last year on the orders of the District Manager, Markfed. Surat Singh was posted as branch in charge, Bhogpur, in place of G S Minhas. However, while taking over the charge Surat Singh refused to take charge of 228 bags of wheat on the ground that they were defective. Surat Singh refused to sign the report and demanded Rs 18,000 for signing the report which included verification of the 228 bags left out earlier.
XEN charged with
SANGRUR, March 16 Investigations by the Vigilance Bureau into the public health scam in which a case has been registered against a dozen officials has revealed several irregularities.
Special Judge J.P. Mehmi had ordered the DSP, Vigilance to probe allegations that an Executive Engineer of Public Health had misappropriated lakhs of rupees by drawing the salary of 14 fictitious workers placed on the muster roll.
Vigilance investigations revealed that on February 9, 2000, the XEN had reinstated the employee whose complainant had set off the probe in an attempt to hush up the case.
Substantiating the allegation the vigilance report changing the XEN of being hand-in-glove with other officials of his department in drawing the salaries of 14 workers who were on the muster rolls between July 1997 to November 1999 thus cheating the exchequers of Rs 7,60,697.
The report also showed that the XEN recruited a close relative in October 1997 although there was no vacancy and no officials sanction for the post and the appointee drew Rs 84,300 as salary till December 1999, though he did no work.
2 killed in mishap
FEROZEPORE, March 16 Two persons were killed in an accident on the Ferozepore-Fazilka road, near Khaipheme village, near here, today.
The Mamdot police said
the accident happened when a scooter and a mini-bus
collided. One of the two deceased has been identified as
Roshan Lal, a resident of Ferozepore city. The driver of
the bus escaped after the accident. A case is yet to be
Punjab raises ETT seats
CHANDIGARH, March 16 The Punjab Education Department has increased the number seats for Elementary Teacher Training (ETT) in proportion to population in the various districts of the state.
A spokesman of the state government said today that Amritsar and Ludhiana districts would have 150 seats each instead of 100 seats each earlier. Ferozepore, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Patiala and Sangrur districts would have 125 seats each according to the revised schedule of seats. With this increase the number of seats has gone up to 1950 .
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