Friday, February 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Gen secy of Paswan’s party held
Former terrorist also arrested, 14 cars recovered
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CIA police party with one of the accused, Jasbir Singh 
Tiger (sitting).
— Photo Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, February 14
In a sensational arrest by the CIA-I wing of the local police, a state general secretary of the Lok Jan Shakti Party, led by Mr Ram Bilas Paswan, has been caught along with a terrorist-turned-robber for stealing several cars from the city, out of which 14 have been recovered. This is the biggest recovery made by the Ludhiana police in the past several years.

Police sources told Ludhiana Tribune that Gurdeep Singh, alias Neeta, general secretary of the Lok Jan Shakti Party, had been caught along with a noted criminal, Jasbir Singh alias Tiger. The two were allegedly members of a notorious gang active in the city, especially in the Model Town and Focal Point areas, for the past four months, giving sleepless nights to the police. Most of the stolen cars had been recovered from Patna in Bihar.

The arrest of the politician, who had been actively campaigning for party candidates, evoked sharp protests from the party leadership. Mr Kartar Singh Patna, a party candidate, along with state president of the party, Mr Amar Singh Mehmi, gathered with some supporters in front of CIA headquarters in the Mini-Secretariat and demanded proof of the involvement of the leader. A delegation of the party also met senior police officials in this regard.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Patna and Mr Mehmi alleged that the leader’s arrest could be part of political vendetta politics as they knew that no worker of their party was involved in such acts. They said they would take strong action against the arrest and were waiting for directions from Mr Ram Bilas Paswan, who had been apprised of the case.

According to CIA-I wing sources, the police had definite clues against the two accused and would present these in court. The police also showed the stolen cars recovered from the accused. Nine of the stolen cars had been recovered from Bihar.

Police sources said the police was more delighted at the arrest of Jasbir Singh, alias Tiger, who was a key member of a gang of robbers and snatchers led by Sukhwinder Singh Bhapp. Sources said Tiger had been active since the days of terrorism and was involved in several cases of extortion in the garb of terrorism. He was out on bail in some case and had been declared proclaimed offender in a robbery incident in Model Town last year.

Sources said the modus operandi of the accused were to look for cars, especially Maruti cars, parked in front of marriage palaces or houses during night hours. After stealing the cars using a master key, the accused used to park these in parking stands for weeks and then sell these off. Most of the time, the accused used to take away the cars to other states, especially to Bihar, where these were parked and sold at a convenient time. The police said the accused used to prepare fake documents of the car, which helped them in travelling far and wide.



Cops breathe easy as report confirms suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 14
In a reprieve for the district police, the post-mortem examination of the body of a criminal, who died in custody at the Division Number 6 police station yesterday, confirmed that the deceased had committed suicide by consuming seven proxycon tablets, which had caused his death. The report received today ruled out the possibility of the criminal’s death due to torture or police beating, as was being feared earlier.

The police had caught Sunil Kumar, the deceased, and his accomplice Gagan within four hours of their escape from captivity of a team of the Jalandhar police passing through the city. The two had run away from near Manju cinema while on the way to Jalandhar after appearing in a court case at Fatehgarh Sahib. They were being taken away by the Jalandhar police when they opened the handcuffs and made good their escape.

Despite police concentration due to poll preparations, a police party immediately raided the possible hide-outs of Gagan in a colony on Noorwala road. The police could not find the criminals there, but the residents were instructed to inform the police in case the criminals came. The residents caught both the accused, which were later handed over to the police.

One of them, Sunil Kumar, complained of chest pain and died in police custody immediately after his arrest. The panicky policemen rushed him to a hospital, where he was declared dead. His companion Gagan told the police that the deceased had bought eight proxycon capsules and had consumed seven of these. The police also recovered the one remaining capsule.

The policemen remained tense for several hours till today, when the report of the post-mortem examination conducted by a board of doctors in the presence of the SDM stated that the victim had died due to overdose of the capsules leading to heart attack. There were no signs of any injury or beating marks of any nature.

According to the other criminal, both of them were depressed as they were set to be imprisoned for some years in a criminal case. They decided to escape and got an opportunity while passing through Ludhiana. He said they went straight to the colony on Noorwala road where he lived, but were overpowered by the residents and handed over to the police.

The SDM, Mr Kuldip Singh, entrusted with the magisterial inquiry into the custodial death, began his probe. The escape of the criminals from police custody had become a point of concern. In the past one week, four undertrials had run away. The first two had fled from the Bakshikhanna building in old courts and had not been arrested till date. No action against the erring cops had been taken.


Hearts beat in unison, feet tap in tandem
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 14
Thousands of heartbeats echoed loudly to celebrate Valentine’s Day today. Despite threats by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Shiv Sena, several parties were organised in the city to celebrate the festival.

The JD Institute of Fashion Technology organised a small party for its students. Over 60 students of the institute danced for three hours on the tunes of DJ Bhanu. Almost all party-lovers were dressed in red and black outfits as it was the dress code. The students exchanged greetings and gifts. The organisers arranged various one-minute games. Paper-dancing was the main attraction for couples.

Ms Pooja Munjal, the centre director, said various prizes were given. These included Best Dancing Couple, Mr Valentine, Ms Valentine and Best Dressed Couple. Ms Taran and Ms Ravneet were the judges.

The Star Card and Taksonz jointly organised ‘slip, dance and dine with tide of darkness’ to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Mr Balwinder, one of the organisers, said over 250 couples enjoyed themselves. The first 10 couples were given special prizes. Best Dancing Couple and Best Well-Dressed Couple were also chosen.

Some scientists in London had recently found that celebrating the day was good for the heart. The World Heart Federation had recently issued a statement, urging loving couples across the globe to let their emotions run free. The statement said, “Lovers have another reason to celebrate today as findings had shown that being in love and being loved helped to keep us healthy and is particularly good for our hearts”. A Geneva-based federation committed to fighting heart disease said love reduced stress, depression and anxiety.

The Hindu-Sikh Arora Khatri Association and the Ekta Sangh condemned the celebrations. They said festivals spreading western culture among the youth should be prohibited. The members appealed to the youth not to adopt the ‘meaningless’ culture. Mr Deepak Gupta, general secretary of the sangh, alleged that western influence was spoiling our traditions and culture.


Cupid comes calling, bypasses varsity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 14
While the entire city was in Valentine’s Day spirit, Cupid did not smile on the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) campus. The campus was as sleepy as ever and the day looked like any other day.

A visit to the campus revealed that there were no lovey-dovey couples, no exchanging of roses and no sharing of sweet little nothings. None of five colleges of PAU organised any party or fete to mark Valentine’s Day. University authorities took rounds of the campus to intimidate love-birds if any. Said a student of the College of Home Science, “The security officer has passed from this side a number of times. The university is dry and there is no sign of love. Such strictness discourages lovers altogether.”

The sprawling grounds of PAU and Students Home were also devoid of couples. The mini-market on the campus did not have many couples. Not even a single stall was put up to sell roses. The beauty of the environs of the campus attracted many outsiders, making a beeline to the campus with their valentines.

Said Harpreet Singh, a student of microbiology, “The strictness by the authorities is not a deterrent on the spirits. Many went out on a date outside the campus. This day does not make any difference to the students as there is not much craze for the day among them.”

Many were ruing the non-availability of flowers on the campus. “We had to go all the way to Ghumar Mandi to buy flowers. This is a dull place, unlike other campuses, where this day is celebrated like anything and all have a gala time. We have to hold ourselves back as we know many girls will not like to accept flowers from us,” said a student.

Some girls said they were not fearful of the authorities. “So what if they do not allow us to sit here or to organise a party. We will freak out in the evening as there are many parties being organised in the city. They can stop us, but not our free spirit,” they chirped.


Studies rule, campus cool
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 14
The sprawling campus of Christian Medical College and Hospital showed no signs of roses, couples moving hand in hand, cut-outs of hearts or Valentine’s Day banners. It actually looked like any other day.

Talking to a few students, Ludhiana Tribune found out that the students were aware that it was a Valentine’s Day, but the pressure of studies was too much to divert their attention to other activities. Many of them could be seen sitting on steps preparing for the notes for the next class. Two girls running to reach their hostel answered hastily that they were not interested.

The only couple spotted said whoever had to give roses gave at 7 a.m. when the classes started and after that it was like any other day. The boy said boys did not know what would be the response of girls and so most of them were scared to offer any gift to girls. A third-year student said, “The atmosphere in the college is cool; there are no ‘phools’.”

All the students spoken to said in the evening a frenzy party would be organised.


Protest against celebrations
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 14
The Ludhiana Seva Sangh, a social organisation, today held a demonstration at Kundan Puri here in protest against the Valentine’s Day celebrations by lighting a bonfire of ‘obscene’ greeting cards, audio and video cassettes related to the day.

Sangh members demanded that curbs must be put on international companies which were promoting such events. Mr Suresh Gupta, president of the sangh, said in a press note that the effect of foreign TV channels that entered the country about five years ago were becoming apparent now in the form of celebrations of such meaningless and shameless festivals. He said boys were publicly indulging in eve-teasing in the name of Valentine’s Day. He said the youth of the day were being misled and as such they were forgetting their traditional festivals. He also criticised various hotels and restaurants which were offering various programmes to celebrate the day. The youth, by celebrating this day, were only wasting their time and money, the note added.


Govt nod to 535-cr Ring Road project
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 14
The state government has agreed in principle to a proposed ambitious project for a 60-km-long Ring Road around the city, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 535 crore. At a meeting of the senior officials of the Municipal Corporation with the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr N.K. Arora, held in the last week of January, the civic body was given a go ahead for a feasibility study and other preliminary work for the ‘self-financing project’.

Elaborating on a need for an alternate route, particularly for the through traffic, Mr R.L. Kalsia, Commissioner, told Ludhiana Tribune that the total absence of bypass roads, coupled with the fact that the city was centrally located, had created a chaotic situation as far as traffic movement within the city was concerned.

The proposed 200-feet-wide road would have a length of 14.28 km from the Ferozepore Road to the Sidhwan Canal, 9.17 km from the Sidhwan Canal to the Chandigarh Road, 23.37 km from the Chandigarh Road to GT Road (Jalandhar Side) and 12.9 km from GT Road to Ferozepore Road. To make the project financially viable, the MC intended to acquire 500-metre-wide stretch on all sections, except for the Sidhwan Canal to the Chandigarh Road, where the total width of the acquired land would be 400 metre.

According to Mr Kalsia, the total land acquisition, involving around 2,250 acre would cost Rs 337 crore, construction of a four-lane road Rs 90 crore and another Rs 108 crore would be required for construction of nine rail overbridges and flyovers on the entire stretch. Besides, the MC would have to provide a compensation of around Rs 2.77 crore for shifting of residential, commercial and industrial buildings, boundary walls and other structures like tubewells and brick-kilns, falling in the proposed alignment of the Ring Road.

Keeping in view that the civic body would not be flush with funds, particularly in an octroi-less regime and raising money for the Ring Road project by other means would be simply impractical, the MC had devised a plan to develop commercial area on both sides of the proposed road. Out of a total 500-metre-wide stretch to be acquired for this purpose, 150-metre width on each side of the road would be developed as commercial shop-cum-offices.

Mr Kalsia said that according to a rough estimate, around 400 SCOs, with a plot area of 183 sq mt, could be carved out in each km of the road on both sides, which in turn could yield Rs 22.22 crore. In other words, the estimated return of Rs 1200 crore from total stretch of about 60 km of the proposed Ring Road could more than meet its total cost and become a profitable preposition for the civic body. The seven important junctions on the road could further add to the total return by way of commercial exploitation on half km on each side.


Changes in BJP unit on cards
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 14
The district unit of the BJP is all set for changes with the district president, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, likely to be replaced by some new face. Mr Harish Bedi, Mr Suresh Verma, Mr Anil Sarin and Mr Sunil Mehra are learnt to be among the front runners. The central leadership is learnt to be contemplating massive changes in the party structure here after the completion of the electoral process in four states, including Punjab.

Sources revealed that the leadership was seriously considering reviving the state and district units in Punjab. However, the process will be started only after the announcement of election results. Notwithstanding their public posture, senior leaders have been privately admitting the defeat and seem to be quite prepared for that.

Mr Sethi had taken over from Mr Satpal Gosain in 1997. However, during his tenure the party did not make any significant progress despite being the partner in the state government. Moreover, the party was not able to retain its strong base, not to speak of expanding it, the party sources said.

It has been learnt that the central leadership, particularly Mr L.K. Advani, has expressed his displeasure with the functioning of the state and district units, barring few exceptions. He is understood to have not like the performance of the state president, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, who has not been able to create an impact worth its name.

Mr Advani is particularly said to have been upset over the poor response to the ‘rath yatra’ taken out in January. The ‘yatra’ was taken out before the elections and was reportedly aimed at mobilising the workers. But it failed miserably and rather proved counterproductive as party rank and file got demoralised over the poor response.

Since the timing of the ‘yatra’ was significant, the central leadership had advised local leaders not to take the risk, particularly when the region was gripped in intense cold and people did not come out before 10 am. “The poor response to the ‘yatra’ was the beginning of the end,” confided a senior leader here. The local leadership was reportedly advised to postpone the ‘yatra’ after elections, as there were already apprehensions of poor response.

One of the main factors, which has angered the central leadership, is the ‘half-hearted moves’ and stands taken by the party on various issues, particularly the issue of ticket distribution. The state unit had asked for more seats in the seat-sharing arrangement. It had even got to the extent of demanding at least 50 seats. But it remained content with the previous lot only. The party did not even claim the Ludhiana West seat.


After 13 years PSEB slaps a fine of Rs 43,402
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 13
Imposition of fine worth Rs 43,402 by officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board ( PSEB ), has almost driven a consumer to sell his house in order to pay the amount. Mr Amar Singh, a resident of the New Kundan Puri area, who is running a small tea shop, has alleged that the board has wrongfully imposed a fine worth Rs 43,402 on him for tampering with the electricity meter. The officials have blamed him for stealing power for the past 13 years by tampering with the meter.

He, however, claimed that he had never tampered with the meter but a team of PSEB officials, which recently visited his residence, blamed him of stealing power by tampering with the meter. The team had removed the meter and forcibly got his signatures on some documents, which he was not able to understand properly. He has now got a letter from the SDO of the PSEB’s West Circle, Mr Bajwa, asking him to deposit that amount within seven days otherwise his connection would be disconnected. The letter has also mentioned that the amount has been re-calculated from August 1988 for 59.96 per cent slow speed of his electricity meter. The fine includes new meter’s price, octroi duty and other charges as well.

Mr Amar Singh has unsuccessfully pleaded with the officials, ‘‘ My monthly income is not more than Rs 3,000, how can I pay for the alleged slowing of meter for the past 13 years? A number of meter readers and other inspection teams have visited my residence to inspect the meter but had not found anything wrong.’’ He said my image in the locality has been tarnished by these allegations and “I will have to sell my small house to pay that much amount.

Officials of the PSEB, however, admitted that the fault could not be detected during the past 13 years, but added,‘‘ If he has any objections to the decision, he can file an appeal with the Disputes Settlements Committee (DSC), after depositing at least 35 per cent of the amount.’’ The official however, claimed that the meter had been checked in the PSEB laboratory here and it was found that the current coils of the meter had been cut down. Mr Amar Singh, however, claimed that the employees had not inspected the meter in his presence and he had been forced to sign on blank papers, and was threatened that a police case would be registered against him otherwise.

Referring to the case, one of the leading Consumer Court activists, has suggested him to approach the consumer court and not the Disputes Settlement Committee, which usually rejects the appeals of the consumers even without considering them properly. He said according to a recent ruling of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, once a person deposits a part of the fine to approach the DSC, he cannot approach the Consumer Court. But the complainant has no option as he is being threatened with disconnection by the PSEB. Mr Amar Singh has appealed to the authorities to consider his case sympathetically as he was unable to deposit the fine.



Heavy betting on poll outcome
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 14
As the fate of candidates gets sealed in ballot boxes, heavy betting has started in the city over the possible outcome of poll results for the 12th Vidhan Sabha poll. As everyone waits for February 24 to see the outcome of yesterday’s polling, city gamblers have not let the opportunity to bid stakes pass by. The wide variation in polling per centage between constituencies like Samrala and Qila Raipur on the one hand and Ludhiana west and rural has given rise to a lot of speculation, notwithstanding the exit poll results.

Local gamblers have involved bookies in Delhi, it is learnt and the returns on the bet vary on the basis of the votes polled. Ludhiana district has seen the highest polling in the Samrala assembly segment, which is now put at 72.13 per cent Qila Raipur, which polled 68.24 per cent, is put at number two. The lowest polling was recorded in Ludhiana rural and has been put at 42 per cent. Ludhiana west was next at 43. 73 per cent.

The speculations are being made on the fact that the rural segments in most constituencies recorded a higher polling percentage as compared to the urban segments, giving a clear advantage to the ruling Shiromni Akali Dal - BJP alliance and the Panthic Morcha candidates. In the areas that recorded high polling in the urban areas, the Congress candidates are being put among the hot favourites. While Qila Raipur comprises of 80-odd villages, Ludhiana rural, which is the largest assembly segment in the state, has many pockets of urban areas.

In fact right from the beginning of the elections the Congress was said to be the favourite among the satta operators, who were giving the party 62 or above seats. The Akali-BJP combine was placed far behind at less than 35 seats. Obviously, the bids were reportedly being accepted in favour of the Congress.

While for cricket bets are accepted by local bookies, election bets are being managed by some influential satta operators from Delhi and Mumbai. Some sources having association with people who place bets revealed that for the Akali-BJP alliance the satta operators have fixed 33-35 seats.

Notwithstanding their public pronouncements, even politicians are themselves aware about the probable number of seats they are likely to win. Besides, bookies take inputs from influential media people who indicate trends about the chances of different political parties. Even the contesting parties are taking a regular feedback from the satta market, which they believe indicates credible trends.

Ludhiana, which is already a cricket betting centre seems to have attraction for political betting as well. The punters (people who place bets) are placing stakes for individual candidates in individual constituencies. Although the Congress is said to be having a clear edge at this stage, it is not that the party candidates are favourites everywhere.

The final percentage recorded in Ludhiana district is as follows: Jagraon 64.5, Raikot 67.84, Dakha 51.62, Qila Raipur 68.24, Ludhiana north 45.68, Ludhiana west 43.73, Ludhiana east 46.25, Ludhiana rural 42, Payal 68.66, Koom Kalan 64, Samrala 72.13 and Khanna 63.68. While most candidates and political workers have heaved a sigh of relief after hectic campaigning, it is now the turn of bookies and city gamblers who have got active.


Impersonators shatter voters’ faith
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 14
When Ms Sunita and her husband, both residents of Jamalpur Colony, Focal Point, reached their polling booth, number 99, at about 10 a.m. to exercise their right to vote they were shocked to learn that Sunita’s vote (number 266) had already been cast. However, her husband’s vote had been spared by “impersonators”. The experience shattered voter’s faith in the whole exercise

Ms Sunita, however, was not the only resident who went through the shattering experience. There thousands were others, who were astounded when told by polling agents at various polling booths in the city that their votes had already been cast. They felt cheated and robbed of their right to exercise their right. Journalists were not spared by these hired impersonators who acted out a well-thought out plan , well before the actual voters could arrive. A journalist , who works for a news agency and several language newspapers of the region, flew into a rage on being told that his vote had been cast already. The polling booth personnel finally pacified the angry journalist by suggesting that he could cast someone else’s vote in favour of the candidate of his choice. A vote belonging to someone who was not in the town was offered to him and it was gratefully accepted. But several others had to return disappointed only to relate what they had ‘discovered’.

Observers of the poll scene said bogus polling was not a new thing but the way it was carried out this time smacked of total professionalism. Walking past all those security men nonchalantly and casting a bogus vote or two at a polling booth without getting caught in the act requires guts and some training too. Thousands of voters had been deprived of their right to vote by these impersonators.


2 Cong men stabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 14
Two Congress workers were allegedly attacked with sharp-edged weapons and beaten up mercilessly by a group of persons belonging to another party in Amarpura colony, here late last night.

The injured have been identified as Chaman Ram and Raju, who have been admitted to a local hospital. The police has registered a case against Dhami, Pandit, Ashok and Raju.


A creche which is a home away from home
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, February 14
On March 1, 1997, due to the efforts of a doctor Betty Cowen, a creche came in to existence in the CMC residential area. Many of the workers of CMC were finding it difficult to leave their children at some good, neat, clean place and go to work peacefully as such a place was not available. Dr Cowen who has worked in CMC for 38 years as a Professor of medicine, finds it hard to sever her ties with the hospital. She returns every year from Scotland to take up a project for the welfare of the patients and the residents of the hospital. In 1997, she set up a creche in quarters built by Americans. She renovated the rooms with the help of the money that she had got from the churches abroad. She even knitted some blankets which are being used by the children.

Twenty pre-nursery children of varying ages between three months to three years are being taken care of in this creche. Doctors, technicians, nurses and other staff of the hospital leave their children at the creche at 7 a.m. They leave milk , bottles and other food stuff for their children. The workers look after the comforts of the children.

Sister Shanti Mathews, community Health Supervisor, has offered her voluntary services. She is in charge of ‘peripheral services’ too. Yet, she makes it a point to supervise the activities at the creche in the mornings and evenings. The in charge is Mrs Rosy Samuel, who sees to the cleanliness at the creche.

Dr Betty Cowen said, “In the four years that the creche has been functioning, we are glad that none of the children has fallen sick. We have a periodical check up of the children. The young kids learn nursery rhymes, alphabets, they learn to distinguish colours, sing songs and are generally well occupied playing games etc.These kids later get admissions into good schools. The charge per child is Rs 350. The total income of the creche is Rs 6000 but the expenditure is Rs 8000. So the money that we get from the churches abroad covers this deficit. I have money to clear the deficit for the next 18 months and I do not know what will happen after I go. The CMC has only loaned the services of the personnel officer, Mr Theoder, who keeps account of the money.”

Mrs Shanti Mathews says, “Since I have been associated with Betty for a long time. I volunteered my services despite my busy schedule. I am in charge of Domiciliary Midwife Services which runs for 24 hours. So the nurses come in the morning to play with the children. We have four helpers who keep the premises clean. The toys are kept in a hot boiling water container overnight to disinfect the toys. The parents take their children at 1 o’clock and other lot of parents who work in the evening shifts leave their children at 1’clock and take them away at 5o’clock. The parents can go to their jobs peacefully as the creche is a home away from home,” she said.



Democracy rooted in history
M. S. Cheema

WITH the elections over, the heat generated by electioneering is cooling down. With greased palms losing shine, false ego is cracking. The liquor consumed is going down the drains, bits of sense are returning. During campaigning all teach, few learn. The final count is awaited, though not so breathlessly. At surface things may mislead. The objective observer seldom misleads. Pre-poll survey has added a new dimension to the democracy. The new tools of media such as exit-poll would survive to match curiosity. Till the final tally appears before us, we have a pause to think. It is time to review the chain of recent events from notification to acceptance of candidature, from propaganda to the making of a choice at hustings. Besides, we watch the utility of democratic system and the futility of some means while exercising this right. Cautions Carlyle, ‘Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight.’ Electors have to heed that most. That patients felt irritated, none bothered about. That students were disturbed, none cared. That many missed sleep or lost peace, was concern of none. Not so unwisely, W.S. Gilbert declared, ‘Man to be Nature’s sole mistake.’ Going through this experience is more than academic. Many faces appeared practically before us. If the choice was limited, the exercise to find a real democrat looked more difficult.

That India is the largest democracy, is beyond doubt. It can graduate into a great one, should we feel our national concern. We can strengthen its in-built mechanism. It should be a prime national duty of all thinkers and planners on one side, people and parties on the other. Punjab, to a large extent is maker of history. Ironically, it faced the brunt and suffered most. These sufferings are roots of dynamics of life. Punjab is more than a sword arm. In vital national reconstruction, human experience collected as history, should be our guide. Enough of blood is sacrificed. Ballot, displacing bullet, has taken over. This is the dynamics of new-emerging reality. Sweat, not wasted labour, holds key to reconstruction.

History teaches us, few learn. The few that learn make new history. Makers of history do not stand in isolation. They take lesson from the book of experience to share. The book is entire mankind, the time is all annals. World is watching India.

The recent scenario at Ludhiana was like anywhere in Punjab. It promised good hope and presented some despair. Ironically, none told us that the year 2002 carries a rare significance. The Indian Constitution came into effect in 1950, India becoming a republic . The work of the Constituent Assembly was over. Free India had its first elections in 1952 leading to the formation of Lok Sabha. Punjab, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and Manipur are practically celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the first Parliament.

India won freedom, it was Punjab who suffered most the pains of the Partition. Punjab historically owes to India, its special duty. The role of Punjabis is pre-destined, service to the nation, human kind. In their anxiety to score one-up, no party reminded us of our rightful place in the amity. Those knowing the composition of global village perceive India as a vital constituent. Let us be awake to new reality. Alas, the sleeping giant is being made a victim of drugs and hard drinks to enter into a slumber. A five-year dose is administered to some by evil itself. A single drop of blood of martyr is more precious than the priceless pearls of any imperial crown. Near home, right at the Jagraon bridge, the trio of Martyrs Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev signifies a pledge. Do we hear? Their statues are eloquent. Do we listen the message? Follow the oration?

The colonial Britishers built the Central Legislative Assembly at New Delhi. After Independence, the mighty pillars of the building were presented as pillars of democracy. So far, so good. But a democracy needs strong foundations to support the pillars. This strength assures the carriage of total burden — an ever-increasing one.

History tells us the dynamics of democracy, Panchayati Raj. It records the form and function for republic-the glory of the Greek nation, Greece as country. In the middle ages, the British built a democratic institution, Parliament. It is recognised as Mother Parliament. Westminster is not a mere tourist site, it gives insight to the democrat. I had an educative experience recently. At the historic and history making site, a park exists. There are only two big-size statues in it. Sir Winston Churchill leaning on his famous walking stick and looking at the Mother Parliament. On the other side is President Lincoln of USA. What divides the two nations ? The Atlantic Ocean. What does unites them? Democracy. The statues are symbolic. At New York we watch the Statue of Liberty, USA, which imbibes the best from France : Liberty. It is an eloquent symbol, Statue of Liberty. To learn and practice, let us recall the wisdom of Disraeli, “I must follow the people. I am not their leader.” People of India should rise to the level where a leader would ask where to lead to and how so. Historian Will Durant explicitly stated, ‘Education is transmission of civilisation. We ask how to educate politically and democratically?’ Democracy has its logic besides its dynamics. Intellectuals of Ludhiana are seriously discussing the aftermath of elections.

Democracy is rooted in history which grows with man in time. Do we get the message of silent martyrs? Think before next elections.


Driven by ‘rasbhari’
D. B. Chopra

Ludhiana, February 14
For young Ashok Kumar, who is a driver by profession, yesterday was definitely a different day. As instead of driving the car of his employer, he was driving vehicle for the Congress and transporting voters to the polling booths.

Narrating his once-in-five years experience yesterday, he told this correspondent that since his family had been staunch supporters of the Congress all these years, his services were requisitioned by the area’s Congress candidate. It was around 10 in the morning when he, alongwith another supporter, took charge of the vehicle meant for transporting voters, a majority of whom were migrants. Soon they were given a bottle of “rasbhari”, country made liquor, which both of them consumed in a jiffy within 15 minutes.

Once the bottle of ‘rasbhari’ was finished, it was all rush and hurry and non-stop work. They picked up the voters and tutored them as well on way to the polling booth. Their constant refrain, aimed at convincing the voters, was indeed interesting. “Takkari noo tor ke, hathi te charh ke, teer kaman pharh ke, kamal de phul no sungh ke te sutt ke, panje te mohar laani hai”.

The hectic activity continued throughout the day and in addition to the ‘rasbhari’ he had been given some money too. Which he said would utilize to buy a pint of liquor , have a nice dinner and go to sleep a bit earlier than usual, to be at the driving wheel of his employer’s car the next morning on time.


OBC to hold lok adalat tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 14
The Oriental Bank of Commerce will hold a second lok adalat on February 16 to take up pre litigation cases pending under the non performing assets (NPA) category. The bank is holding this special lok adalat after getting tremendous response to the first lok adalat held on January 13 here.

According to a press release issued by the District Public Relations Officer, Mr V.B. Handa, District and Sessions Judge-cum- Chairman, District Legal Services Authority, will preside over the programme. He has appealed to the public to bring their pending cases to get speedy justice.

The bank had settled 520 cases of the Ludhiana region involving an amount of Rs 4.09 crore in the previous lok adalat. The bank is holding these lok adalats to decrease its NPAs and to ensure speedy justice, without any involvement of the traditional legal system. The OBC management is expecting to settle further 400 cases in the next lok adalat. 


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