|Saturday, February 12, 2000,
11 bonded labourers freed
sell 1200 plots
3 Bangladeshis arrested
11 bonded labourers freed
CHANDIGARH, Feb 11 Trembling with fear, they dont seem to trust humans as they only know humans as contractors who beat them and sexually harass their women. The concept of buses, trains, schools and television are alien for them. Of course, all of them are unlettered and are unaware if they live in India, not to mention an independent India with laws and freedom.
These are the 11 bonded labourers, including women and children, who were freed a few days ago after years of captivity as bonded labourers from a stone quarry run by Maha Singh in Charkhi Dadri, near Bhiwani. The labourers were presented before media persons here this afternoon. They had been born in bondage as their parents had been sold off like cattle years ago. All of them have become adults without any contact with the outside world.
The labourers do not even know where they hail from and their little children were also destined to be bonded labourers till efforts of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) bore fruit in releasing them. The NHRC had acted on a petition filed by the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS). Despite the efforts, 21 of their fellow bonded labourers are missing from the stone quarry since yesterday, a team of investigators which visited the spot has reported.
Possibly, by now, they may have been sold off to some other contractor or left in the wild with no food to starve, opined Mr Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson of SACCS. When Mr Satyarthi presented the freed labourers before media persons in Chandigarh here this afternoon the 11 seemed to hail from some other world. Mr Satyarthi said when these labourers saw a train they were amazed and were afraid of the television.
The labourers revealed that contractor Maha Singh was not the man who had originally "bought" these people. Over the years the labourers had been sold several times. The going rate for a husband and wife team is only Rs 2,000. The SACCS got the NHRC to issue a notice to the District Magistrate of Bhiwani on January 17. Maha Singh reportedly shooed away the government officials, saying that no one could harm him.
After initial enquiries Maha Singh suspected that one of the labourers had informed someone. The punishment was no food and a sound beating. After a lot of pressure from investigators, Maha Singh dumped 11 of the starving labourers in a truck and left them in the wilds near Pilani in Rajasthan . From there they managed to reach the bus stand. From there Dhala Ram, who had originally given the information during one of his visits to the hospital, had a visiting card and he managed to call the NHRC.
Giving details about their past lives. Kheta Ram, an 18-year old youth said this was his first visit to the world outside the stone quarries. Dhala Ram cannot see with his left eye due to an accident that occurred in the stone quarries when he was a child. The women have told the NHRC team that Pappu, a relative of Maha Singh, and his friends used to sexually exploit them, Mr Satyarthi revealed.
The women and men are
children of bonded labourers and their marriages were
also solemnised at the quarries. The NHRC has a centrally
sponsored scheme to rehabilitate these bonded labourers
who have no skills. He lamented the fact that government
officials had very little awareness about the Bonded
Labour Act, 1976.
PM fails to keep date with
HISAR, Feb 11 Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee failed to keep his date with Hisar today, disappointing people and BJP workers. To add to the disappointment of the BJP workers even the Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala did not turn up.
Thousands of people had converged here at the Old College Grounds to listen to the Prime Minister. While an atmosphere of uncertainty prevailed before the scheduled arrival, the organisers of the rally did not announce till the end that the Prime Minister was not coming.
While it was later announced that the Prime Minister's Panipat visit had been cancelled as the venue was submerged in water his Hisar visit had not been cancelled. Ultimately, the people started leaving the venue, the moment Prime Minister's security personnel, who had arrived in advance packed off.
The BJP leaders were hoping that Mr Chautala will come and address the rally. He was reportedly in Tohana. However, he too failed to arrive at the venue.
The BJP leaders had great expectations from the Prime Minister's visit. Particularly they expected Mr Chautala to declare his support publicly for the BJP candidate, Dr Kamal Gupta. This was necessary for the BJP as there was confusion about the INLD workers tacitly supporting the Independent candidate, Mr Om Parkash Mahajan.
No senior INLD leader was present at the venue of the rally. Even the local MP Mr Surinder Singh Barwala was conspicuous by his absence. Except for a handful of local INLD workers, no senior party leader was present. Thus further confounding the confusion.
Earlier, the BJP leaders urged the people to vote for the alliance candidates to ensure that Mr Om Prakash Chautala becomes the Chief Minister. Some of the INLD leaders also spoke on the occasion and sought votes for Dr Kamal Gupta.
Most of the alliance candidates in and around Hisar, including Dr Kamal Gupta from Hisar, Ram Kumar Gautam from Narnaund, Prof Ganeshi Lal from Mandi Adampur, Rishi Sharma from Bhiwani, Puran Singh Dabra from Ghirai, Subash Goyal from Hansi, Santosh Sarwan from Bhawani Khera and Mr Rameshwar Dass Gupta also spoke on the occasion.
Prominent among those present included Mr Ram Bilas Sharma, Mr Shrinivas Goyal, Mr Bola Nath Chugh, and INLD leaders, Rajmal Kajal and Ram Kumar Saini.
According to a PTI report from New Delhi, the election tour of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to Haryana was cancelled on Friday due to inclement weather and waterlogging of the landing strip in Hisar and Panipat, BJP sources said.
Mr Vajpayee was to address two election meetings along with Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala in Hisar and Panipat, which experienced heavy downpour since yesterday.
The BJP is contesting 29 seats for elections to the 90-member assembly in alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal of Chautala.
Gurjar titans cross swords
SAMALKHA, Feb 11 This rural constituency sprawling along the banks of the Yamuna is all set to witness a fierce contest between the Congress and the INLD, although the Sarv Jatiya Maha Panchayat has also put up its candidate.
The constituency has a domination of Gurjar voters. As the constituency is spread along the Yamuna, the influence of politics in western Uttar Pradesh is clearly visible here.
In Uttar Pradesh, especially in the western areas, there has been traditional enmity between Gurjar and Jat voters. This affects the voting pattern in Samalkha constituency too.
The Samalkha constituency has been a citadel of the Congress. It was only in the last election that Mr Kartar Singh Bhadana won as the Haryana Vikas Party candidate from here. Otherwise, Gurjar stalwarts like Mr Katar Singh Chhokar or Mr Hari Singh Nalwa had been holding a sway over the voters.
These two leaders are traditional enemies. Last time Mr Bhadana, also a Gurjar belonging to Faridabad, benefited from the enmity between two leaders and was elected.
Of course, Mr Bhadana, a resourceful and rich businessman, has joined the bandwagon of Mr Om Prakash Chautala. Considering his influence in the Gurjar community, Mr Chautala has allotted him the INLD ticket. But he seems to have lost his shine among the voters. The voters seem not very favourably disposed towards him. At each meeting Mr Bhadana has to ask for forgiveness from the voters.
In fact, he has done little for the development of the area and has been busy politicking. Therefore, he assures voters at every meeting that he will start living in Samalkha. He says he has bought a house there and will work for the welfare of the voters and the area.
Mr Bhadana suffers from other disadvantages. For one, he has to contend with the silent opposition from leaders like Ms Phool Pati and Mr Katar Singh Chhokar. Both were contenders for the INLD ticket.
In the last election, Ms Phool Pati had lost by a very narrow margin when she had fought on the Lok Dal ticket. In the eyes of the voters, she was a "deserving" candidate. The denial of ticket has upset her supporters.
The Congress candidate, Mr Hari Singh Nalwa, has once earlier represented the Samalkha constituency. During his tenure he did a lot of work in the fields of education and health. He was the founder of Sanjay Gandhi Eye Hospital and the Grain Market in Bapoli village. Mr Nalwa has strong roots among members of his caste. At one time, he enjoyed the near total confidence of Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi. The latter even visited the area on his invitation.
But Mr Nalwa faces allegations from his supporters that he has collected money in the name of a school. His rivalry with Mr Katar Singh Chhokar may also cost him a large number of votes.
Another disadvantage faced by the INLD candidate is that he has the tag of being an outsider. Upset over this, the people in the area had called the Sarv Jatiya Maha Panchayat in Jorasi village recently. The panchayat was attended by sarpanches, panches and village elders. It was decided that the villagers should work for the defeat of the INLD candidate.
Mr Bhadana hopes to sail through due to the following of Mr Om Prakash Chautala in the area. Mr Chautala has visited the constituency a number of times and has pockets of influence in each village. The victory chances of Mr Bhadana much depend on the peoples support for Mr Chautala.
Undoubtedly, Mr Bhadana has money power and may win over the poor as well as backward voters.
A retired IPS officer, Mr Rishi Prakash, is also in the field. He projects himself as a candidate of 36 biradaris. Basically, he is banking on the 15000 Brahmin votes. The HVP has put up Mr Gauri Shanker Goyal as its candidate.
Traders likely to back Bansi
BHIWANI, Feb 11 The hostile attitude of the trading community here towards former Chief Minister Bansi Lal may not last. The traders are, apparently, infuriated over the denial of the HVP ticket to the sitting nominee, Mr Ram Bhajan Aggarwal, who is a member of the trading community. After sealing Ram Bhajan Aggarwals chance at the last moment, Mr Bansi Lal himself is seeking election from Bhiwani, and many traders here swore that only a resounding defeat could be the fitting answer for the act of "betrayal" by the HVP supremo.
However, prominent members of the trading community told the TNS that emotions were likely to give way to cold rationality at the time of the voting. According to them, what the trading community (the baniyas) dread is the victory of Brahmin candidate which will encourage the Brahmins to stake claim on this seat in future.
Even if Mr Bansi Lal wins from this seat, the trading community can once again claim this constituency in the next election. However, victory of Mr Vasudev Sharma, the Congress nominee and Mr Bansi Lals chief rival at this juncture, will encourage the Brahmins to eye this seat, which has almost always remained with the trading community. To prevent any Brahmin from getting elected from the Bhiwani seat, majority of the members from trading community will eventually rally around Mr Bansi Lal, say these traders.
The Bhiwani assembly constituency has always been a stronghold of the Bansi Lal-led Haryana Vikas Party (HVP). The voters of this constituency are aware of the fact that the HVP candidates will not be in a position to put up worthwhile fight anywhere outside Bhiwani district. However, this is not likely to have any adverse fallout for Mr Bansi Lal as his supporters firmly believe that Mr Bansi Lal has secret ties with the Congress and in case the INLD-BJP alliance does not get majority, the government will be formed by Congress HVP-Independents combine.
"The voters here also feel indebted to Mr Bansi Lal because they think that he has really worked for the development of Bhiwani, people here think that Mr Bansi Lal will never sacrifice their interests, said Mr Sagar Ram Gupta, a former Finance Minister, who is a resident of the town none of the opponents of Mr Bansi Lal is a strong candidate, he pointed out.
The prospective Congress candidate, Mr Shiv Kumar Aggarwal, was allegedly denied the ticket by the party at the last moment and Mr Vasudev Sharma was chosen in his place. Nevertheless, Mr Sharma is getting the support of the strong Brahmin community of Bhiwani, and also from all those who want the HVP chiefs defeat.
The BJP initially wanted to field Mr O.P. Kaushik, former Vice-Chancellor of MD University of Rohtak from this seat. However there was virtual revolt against the imposition of "an outsider", and the party backtracked from this decision. Mr Rishi Sharma, 44, an advocate, whom the BJP has finally chosen to contest this seat is yet to make much impact among voters.
What has further jeopardised Mr Rishi Sharmas chance is the candidature by Ms Poonam Sangwan, an Independent nominee, who is claiming that she has the blessings of Chief Minister and INLD supremo, Mr Om Prakash Chautala. Last Wednesday Ms Sangwan was joined by the INLDs local office-bearers including Mr Vijay Sharma and Shyamlal Gupta, when she took out a procession raised slogans in the names of Mr Devi Lal and Mr Chautala.
Talking to the TNS, Ms Sangwan claimed that Mr Chautala had himself asked her to contest from Bhiwani when he had come to the Chang village under the Mundhal Khurd constituency on February 4. She said Dr K C Kajal, a key man of Mr Chautala in this area, had a meeting with INLD workers at PWD Rest House here on last Wednesday and he had asked them to help her for canvassing and other purposes.
If Mr Chautala does not support me, how can I finance my campaign", Ms Sangwan, a former president of the local municipal corporation, said and added that she would expect Mr Chautala to come to Bhiwani and address public meeting in her favour.
Mr Jaidev Sharma, the election in charge of the BJP for this constituency, however, contested her any claim. I asked Mr Ajay Chautala about it when he came to Bhiwani district on last Wednesday and his answer was that the INLD was not supporting any Poonam Sangwan", he said. He, however, admitted that "only about 40 per cent of the INLD workers" were taking part in the campaign for the BJP nominee. Other BJP functionaries, however, privately admit that Mr Chautala may have encouraged Ms Sangwan to join the fray to create a split in Mr Bansi Lals Jat votes and ensure the success of the Congress candidate.
Campaign picks up in Ambala
AMBALA, Feb 11 The election campaign launched by the various political parties and the Independent candidates in the district has started picking up. In urban area a little sign of involvement of electorate is being seen, while in rural area the picture seems to be quite reverse.
The main reason for this is that farmers and agricultural labour are not very much busy in rabi crop these days and have sufficient time for the election rally. The rallies organised by political parties in the rural constituencies are getting good response. Two days back even after the wet and cloudy season a large number of people were turned up in the INLD rally organised in Naggal village. Similarly, corner meetings of the Congress had been getting good response even in the small village of Naggal. In Mulana and Naraingarh rural constituencies, too, a large number of the participation of electorate in the election campaign was reported.
On the other hand urban electorates are not showing much interest as they are disgusted with the false promises made by candidates every time. They are of the view that once they got elected they did not bother for their voters. Following the mood of the electorates the candidates have been preferring the door to door campaign.
The posters and banners are hardly visible in markets of city and cantonment and the people generally did not take interest in discussing the fate of the candidates. The limit on the use of loudspeakers has provided a great relief to the student.
Naresh Mittal of the
cantonment seems to be fed up from the poll campaign. He
says, "We are facing the election more or less every
year. Now it has lost its charm. We will simply cast the
vote, and thats all".
Chautala gloats over nailing
CHANDIGARH, Feb 11 The Haryana Chief Minister and President of the Indian National Lok Dal, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, is very happy that all defectors had been denied nomination to contest the Assembly polls. "I have put these MLAs on road and shown them their place by denying them the tickets. Other parties have also rejected them", he told an election rally at Indira Indri.
Mr Chautala had come to power riding on the back of the defectors from the Haryana Vikas Party and some Independents in July, 1999. When he felt threatened by them, he had the Assembly dissolved and got the elections ordered. All these six-odd months when he was the Chief Minister because of the defectors. But now the truth has dawned on him and he has begun calling them names. He said: "They are the ones who have brought bad name to the state of Haryana."
According to an INLD press note here, Mr Chautala criticised the defectors and said they had entered politics only for their personal interests and had no interest for the welfare of the masses. He commented that in order to remove the blot of "Aaya Ram Gaya Ram" from Haryana, the people should teach defectors a lesson by rejecting them from whichever party or place they were contesting the elections. He asserted that his party had not given the ticket to any such MLA.
He said his party had
given the ticket to all the 36 communities which included
Ahirs, Brahmins, Sikhs, Jats and Punjabis and to women,
Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes etc. He also
claimed that not a single community had been left out.
53 candidates in poll fray
KAITHAL, Feb 11 The stage is set for the contest of the five Assembly constituencies falling in this district, as 53 candidates remain in the poll fray after the completion of withdrawals.
In the Kaithal Assembly, 12 candidates, including Mr Ashok Seth (BSP), Mr Baldev Singh ( NCP), Mr Leela Ram (INLD) and Mr Surender Madan (Congress) remain in the poll fray.
Interestingly, Mr Rajinder Sharma after failing to get Congress ticket, is contesting as Independent candidate. Mr Charan Dass Shorewala, who was elected an MLA from here, has not filed his papers this time. He has extended support to Independent candidate, Mr Dharam Pal Chhot.
In the Pundri constituency, 18 candidates are in the poll fray. The main contenders are Mr Balkar Singh (Congress), Mr Mehar Singh (HVP), Mr Raghbir Singh (BSP) and Mr Randhir Singh (BJP). Interestingly, Mr Narinder Sharma, a former Haryana Minister, files his nomination papers as Independent candidate as he was denied ticket by the INLD. Similarly, Mr Makhan Singh, a former MLA from this constituency, who was strong contender for the INLD ticket filed his nomination papers as Independent.
In the Pai constituency, after withdrawal of one candidate, 11 are in the fray, including Mr Tajender Mann ( Congress), Mr Nar Singh Dhanda (HVP), Mr Bhagwa Singh (BSP) and Mr Ram Pal Majra (INLD).
In the Kalayat reserve constituency, all seven candidates who filed their nomination papers are in the fray. Mr Deena Ram (INLD), Mr Nathu (BSP), Mr Baldev Singh (Congress), Mr Hawa Singh (HVP) and three Independents are in the poll fray.
CM: no dispute over seat
YAMUNANAGAR, Feb 11 The INLD-BJP will sweep the ensuing Assembly elections in Haryana, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister, Haryana said while addressing a rally at Radaur, 15 km from here, today.
He said there was no dispute over the seat adjustment in the state and leader of both the parties had been campaigning together for the candidates. He lashed out at the candidates who violated the parties code of conduct by contesting against the official candidates. He asked them to withdraw their name even at this stage otherwise strict disciplinary action would be taken against them. He claimed that in five months of his tenure as the Chief Minister he fulfilled all election promises which were earlier ignored by the Bansi Lal government.
KAITHAL, Feb 11 The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has launched a campaign to terrorise and harass political opponents.
This was alleged by Mr Tajender Pal Mann, a former Haryana minister and Congress candidate from the Pai constituency, while addressing a press conference here yesterday. Referring to a case registered by the Karnal police against his son and three others under Section 302, IPC, on Wednesday, Mr Mann said the case was totally false and registered with a motive to harm him politically. He alleged that Mr Chautala directed police officials to involve him or his family member in some case and his son was implicated in the case relating to the death of an employee of an electric contractor working for his factory situated at Chirao in Karnal district.
Mr Mann also showed a
pamphlet distributed by some political opponent which
contained highly objectionable material against him. He
said he sent a memorandum to the Election Commission of
India and the Deputy Commissioner, Kaithal, demanding
action against them.
Cong manifesto on Feb 13
ROHTAK, Feb 11 The Congress will release its election manifesto for the ensuring Haryana assembly elections on February 13 in Rohtak.
According to Haryana
Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) spokesman Pardeep Singh
Poonia, the state Congress President Bhupinder Singh
Hooda vill release the party manifesto. Meanwhile, it is
learnt that HPCC President Bhupinder Singh Hooda will
utilise the services of a helicoptor for four days from
February 12 to 15 next to go to different parts of the
state for campaigning in favour of the Congress
Security arrangement for polling
AMBALA, Feb 11 Three companies of the Punjab Armed Police and the CISF will be deployed in the Assembly constituencies of Ambala district on the polling day. This was stated by the Superintendent of Police, Ambala, Mr Navdeep Singh Virk, here today. There are five Assembly constituencies in the district including Ambala City, Ambala Cantt, Naggal, Naraingarh and Mulana (reserved).
Besides 1,000 constables, 100 ASIs, 40 SIs, 6 Inspectors and 5 DSPs of the Haryana Police would also be deployed for the polling process. Apart from these, services of around 1,000 Home Guards would also be utilised.
According to official sources, Naggal has been identified as the most sensitive constituency in the district. The SDM, Ambala, is the electoral officer of this constituency. According to sources, at least three more Executive Magistrates will be deputed in this constituency for maintaining law and order during the polling day.
There are around 735
polling booths in the five constituencies of the
district. Out of these, 114 booths are hyper-sensitive,
declared by the administration. Maximum number of 28
hyper-sensitive polling booths fall in Naggal
constituency. Apart from Naggal around 24 hyper sensitive
booths fall in Mulana, 22 in Naraingarh, 13 in Ambala
City and five in Ambala Cantt.
HUDA to sell 1200 plots
GURGAON, Feb 11 The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) will dispose of about 1200 residential and industrial plots at developed sites soon, according to its Chief Administrator, Mr N.C. Wadhwa.
Mr Wadhwa, here on a visit announced this during an interaction with industrialists, organised by the Gurgaon Industry Association (GIA). He said that a large number of plots was lying vacant in places like Gurgaon, Faridabad, Panchkula, Rohtak, Panipat and Sonepat. Formalities for disposing of the plots were about to be completed, he added.
He conceded that there were not many takers of HUDA plots as before, and serious stocktaking had to be done to reverse the trend. He said that one step was to reduce the price of the plots by cutting on the facilities to the purchasers at the time of handing over the possession.
He added that the Extra Development Charges (EDC) from the primary purchasers of the industrial plots would be levied only after the facilities were provided.
He said that HUDA and the Country and Town Planning Department, of which he was the Director, was committed to rapid industrialisation of the state and would render all possible help for growth.
He cautioned private colonisers fulfil their promises of providing facilities to the buyers at the time of selling the plots and also the residents of the surrounding villages. It has come to light that they cater only to the affluent sections of the society, especially from places like Delhi.
He further said HUDA was in favour of extending the validity period in Change of Land Use (CLU) cases to three years, and even more in genuine cases. He assured the industrialists that pending completion certificates in the state would be cleared by the end of the current fiscal year.
Talking to reporters he said that HUDA did not face competition from the private colonisers like the Ansals, the Unitech and the DLF. He justified the existence of HUDA saying that it acted as bulwark to the common man against them.
Earlier GIA president, Jagan Nath Mangal, submitted a memorandum to Mr Wadhwa on behalf of the industrialists. It alleged the departments apathy to insanitary and deplorable conditions in the industrial Sectors of 34 and 36. Sewerage and water supply system should be planned and provided there at the earliest, it demanded.
The GIA also joined
issue with the government on its procedure of granting
"Occupation Certificate". It urged urgent
simplification of the rules and streamlining of the
process. The approach of the department seemed to be
"clerical and negative", it added.
3 Bangladeshis arrested
FARIDABAD, Feb 11 The police arrested three Bangladesh nationals yesterday in connection with a theft in a house in Sector 21-A. They are Abdul Shahnaz, Mohammed Nasir and Mohammed Razzak.
A police spokesman said here today that they had committed the theft in the house of Mr Jagir Singh when he had gone out and escaped with jewellery, cash and other households.
FARIDABAD, Feb 11 Several parts of Faridabad remained without electricity for more than 16 hours yesterday due to a major power breakdown. Water supply was also disrupted.
to tackle unemployment
Steps taken for
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