Thursday, June 8, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘Students are sincere and committed’
By Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 7 — The credit for success goes to the diligence of students and a push from teachers. These are the views of Sister Gloria, the Principal of the local Sacred Heart School.

The students of this school have come out in flying colours in the matriculation examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education. The pass percentage of the school is 100 per cent. The topper, Arpeta Gupta, has scored 92.6 per cent and trailing her is Arshdeep with 91.8 per cent. Six students have aggregated 90 per cent and above. More than 90 per cent of the students have first division.

“The students of our school are very sincere and committed to their work. Their parents are very cooperating as they are well educated and highly placed,’’ says Sister Gloria. “Here, we concentrate and observe the psyche of every student and then we decide to deal with him. We often have a friendly attitude but at times we have to be imposing,” adds she.

Analysing the education system prevailing in the country, she says, "We have got really good schools in India. These are better than a couple of foreign schools. Our country can stand first in providing the education if the teachers of all schools understand their responsibility in the building of nation by properly educating its children”

The class XII topper of the school, Nidhi Bansal, has made it to the Indian Institute of Technology this year and ranks 90th. She aggregated 92.6 per cent in the non-medical stream and topped the union territory. Nidhi’s parents are feeling ecstatic after the double achievement of their daughter.

Her father, Dr Pawan Kumar Bansal, a medical practitioner, says her preparation has been meticulous. Ms Suman Rani Bansal, a PCS officer, is very happy with her daughter’s achievement

The parents of Class X topper Arpeta Gupta are feeling a sort of relieved after their daughter’s success. Her mother, Dr Vanita Gupta, a dermatologist, says, “I was worried about her. Our elder daughter, Shonali Gupta, a student of Sacred Heart, had stood first in North Zone in Class XII. I was thinking whether Arpeta would be able to do something. She has proved her mettle.”

“I was thrilled,” said Mr B.C. Gupta, her father, an IAS officer. “The school did more than enough to help the students to do very well in exams. The teachers are very dedicated here.” he adds.

Arpeta has opted for medical subjects in Class XII and wants to become a doctor. Her father is very happy with her choice. He says, “I want my children to specialise in some field. I will not force them to like my profession”.


Dissatisfaction over conduct of paper
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 7 — Students appearing for the entrance test for LLM course of Panjab University at Government College, Sector 11, have expressed their dissatisfaction with the conduct of the second paper.

Talking to The Tribune, students said their answer sheets for the second paper arrived more than 20 minutes later than the question paper were distributed. Students maintained that the intervening period gave enough time to student to discuss the answers among themselves.

The paper, which commenced at 8 a.m., had no complaints, but the one that started at 10.20 a.m. had the observing staff on the run following the procedural hitch-up. Sources said the staff on examination duty contacted the university on no receipt of the answer sheets which were being demanded by students.

The university examination office was contacted, following which it was decided that answer sheets of another paper be given, which could suit the LLM paper. Examination duty staff did agree of a ‘little delay. It said nothing major occurred to disturb the normal conduct of the examination.

The outgoing president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council, Mr Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa, also heard students’ woes and demanded a fair re-look into the matter.

A senior official on duty, while confirming the confusion, said there was nothing serious to the extent of the university needing to take a notice and the sanctity of the paper was maintained’. It was surprising to see queues’ of students looking for their copies of roll numbers during the dying hours for the entrance examination scheduled for this week at the university counters. Harassed students said certain university officials were blaming the department of postal service.

Students said the only cause which demanded university attention was the unnecessary delay in despatch of roll numbers. There were reports earlier that the last date of receipt of roll numbers had been increased by nearly three weeks. This led to a delay. Students have to rush from all corners of the state to the university counters for collecting their duplicate numbers in case of non-receipt.


Bail denied in forgery case
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 7 — The UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr H.S. Bhalla, dismissed the anticipatory bail plea filed by Naresh Batra in a case of forgery registered against him by his brother Mahesh Batra here.

The Sessions Judge observed that as per the report of the CFSL, it was found that the letter in question, alleged to be signed by the wife of the complainant, had forged signatures on it. On account of all this, the shares left in the name of the complainant's minor children by late B.L. Batra were transferred.

The Judge held that the investigating agency had still not completed its investigation and the case required a thorough probe. "In this case, some of the records are yet to be taken into possession by the investigating agency from the petitioner. For a thorough investigation, custodial interrogation of the petitioner is necessary. In case he is released on anticipatory bail, documents and records in the possession of the petitioner can be tampered with," the Judge observed.

The FIR against Naresh Batra was registered here on October 1, 1998, by his brother Mahesh Batra, who alleged that the petitioner had forged signatures in order to get the shares transferred in his name. He stated that his late father had left the shares in the name of his minor children. He and his wife also had shares in the companies.

He also said in the FIR that after the death of his father, Naresh started handling the affairs of the company. For convenience, he also gave a general power of attorney in the name of Naresh Batra. It was added that even when B.L. Batra was alive, the complainant had given some blank forms and papers which had gone into the possession of Naresh who had not returned these on one pretext or the other.

The complainant alleged that Naresh was also not conducting a meeting of the board of directors of the company and on all these grounds, he had to send a notice to the petitioner who did not care to reply.



Notice to Administration in corruption case
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 7 — Issuing notice to the UT Administration on a petition for registering a corruption case against Industrial Area Station House Officer Kultar Singh Kahlon for allegedly accepting bribe in Railway Station parking ticket scandal, Mr Justice Amarbir Singh Gill of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed against submission of the challan till August 29.

Seeking directions for handing over the investigation of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, petitioner Sub Inspector Dilsher Singh Chandel alleged that Rs 1 lakh was accepted by the SHO to hush up the matter. He added that the money was handed over to the SHO in his presence by another accused in the case.

Claiming to have been offered Rs 50,000, the petitioner stated that the fake ticket case was transferred to the Crime Branch after the SHO misrepresented the facts to senior officials, following his refusal to accept the money.

He added that the investigations were not carried out by the CIA staff. Even the warrants issued against accused Suresh Manchanda “were got consigned”. He further added that every effort was being made to keep accused Suresh Manchanda and Ramesh Kumar in column number two.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner stated that two servants of the parking contractor were arrested after a raid was conducted following secret information. He added that the contractor was embezzling Rs 35 to Rs 40 lakh annually by “cheating innocent public”.

The petitioner had also stated that arrest warrants of Suresh Manchanda were earlier obtained from the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court on the statement of a co-accused. Back


HC notice on council poll
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, June 7 — Acting on a writ petition for directions to the Punjab State Election Commission and the state of Punjab to hold elections to the SAS Nagar Municipal Council forthwith, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for June 9.

In the petition which today came up hearing before the Bench comprising Mr Justice G. S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh, the petitioners Hardeep Singh, a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), and Mr Arwinder Singh Bedi, a resident of Phase 3B 1, here, also pleaded directions to hold elections on the electoral rolls already finalised after deciding the objections and claims.

The Principal Secretary to the Local Government Department, Punjab, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Ropar, and Electoral Registration Officer (ERO)-cum-Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) have been made party in the petition.

They have stated that the Punjab Government deliberately got the report of the Electoral Registration Officer ( ERO) -cum-Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) fabricated with an intention to get the elections delayed as it was not hopeful of winning the elections. Alleging that the government in order to get the elections postponed transferred the earlier SDM, Mr O.P. Popli and appointed Mr Jaipal Singh in his place, the petitioners said with this ulterior motive, the ERO wrote a letter to the Election Commission seeking extension in the date of publication of the final voter list from May 5 to May 12.

The commission had issued a programme to hold elections to the SAS Nagar Municipal Council along with other civic bodies in Punjab. As per the schedule, the house-to-house listing was conducted from March 29 to April 10 and a draft list prepared before April 17. The objections had to be submitted up to April 24. With the intention of delaying the elections, the final voter list was not prepared by May 12, stated the petitioners.

They alleged that since the objections to the draft electoral rolls was received well in time and it could be decided by the ERO within three to four days, the report sent by him to the commission favouring the revision of the electoral rolls was fabricated.

Citing Section 13 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1991, as amended by the Punjab Amendment Act, 1994, the elections should have been held before the expiry of the term of municipal council or within six months of completion of the term.

They alleged that though irregularities had been committed by the staff associated with preparation of electoral rolls, no action had been taken against them.



Dukhini — voice of exploited women
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 7 — It was yet another journey through travails of womanhood, and this time, a very poignant one. Pakistani and Bangladeshi artistes who highlighted the plight of sexually exploited women through their play Dukhini staged today in Tagore Theatre could not have given a better performance.

"It is the first time that Pakistani and Bangladeshi actors are sharing the stage to further a common cause," said Madeeha Gauhar of the Ajoka Theatre Group of Pakistan which is staging the play jointly with the Bangladesh Institute of Theatre Art. The play is a sensitive portrayal of the trauma of trafficking that various women have to undergo. The playwright, Shahid Nadeem, who was accompanying his wife, Madeeha, said the treatment of the subject was difficult and required a lot of research.

The play begins with a dirge being played in the background. The Bhawaiya (folk music of North Bengal), composed and sung by Dipta Rakshit of Bangladesh, adds to the prevailing sadness. The first scene creates a base for the entire theme and in this scene, Dukhini is shown buried, while people talk about the cause of her death. Dukhini's grave is visited by three other women who share the same fate. Ambiya (played by Joyshree Kar) has been forcibly married to an old man, Fatima (played by Rahima Khatun) has been pushed into prostitution and Moiya (Kankan Das) has been serving as a slave.

The characters share the pain of their wretched lives and are comforted in the process by Mai (played by Uzra Butt) who tells them that they should communicate with Dukhini to seek solace.

The story matures with Duhkini's self-immolation raising sparks of controversy among officials concerned. The issue also finds favour with mediapersons who visit the grave and click photographs of Dukhini's grave. The direction is strong with Dukhini being shown as rising from the grave and dancing in joy of her redemption.

In another scene, an agent (Akbar Reza) is shown struggling to remove Dukhini's gravestone from the graveyard, but, his attempt is foiled by Mai who wants to keep ambers in the hearth burning so that the process of salvation from the evil can start.

The vicious circle, however, stands strong with the women compromising with their fate after the agent tells them that they will never be accepted if they return home. As the three women, earlier determined to go back, give in, Dukhini's spirit again dances — that's the last scene of the play where the spirit is also joined by the other women and Mai.

The message is convincingly put through and the theme more than moves the mind. It forces one to stop reveling in the routine and do something to contain the evil. The play is indeed a beginning of an end...strongly worded in both Urdu and Bangla, and successfully staged.Back

Uzra Appa returns to roots
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 7 — Her looks are deceptive of her age. Even at 83 she can argue untiringly about how she is no different from an Indian. "Physical borders don't really matter where there is love. They might prevent the movement of masses from one place to another; they can't shackle hearts of people which feel the same, irrespective of the boundaries that divide them," she says.

That was part of what one gathered from a heart-to-heart interaction with Mrs Uzra Butt, better known as Uzra Appa, the grand old lady of Pakistani theatre and the younger sister of Zora Saihgal.

After a long gap of about 50 years she was revisiting the City Beautiful today as the eldest member of the 20-member Pakistani-Bangladesh team which was here to perform Dukhini, a play under the SAARC cultural exchange programme. This play is being staged jointly by Pakistani theatre group Ajoka and the Bangladesh Institute of Theatre Art.

Uzra Appa's role in the play requires mature sensitivity which only the artists of her stature have. She has gathered this prowess after a long investment of 64 years in the field. In this play Uzra Appa plays a woman who gets raped during Partition and is spurned by her husband who lives in Lahore. Her circumstances force her to live in a graveyard where she starts looking after the buried who, she says, "also have a life and need care."

Says Uzra Appa: "I am playing a Mai who witnesses burials of various Bangladeshi women who have done themselves to death on account of their sexual exploitation. It's a role which requires a high degree of passion. I loved working for Mr Shahid Nadeem, the playwright who has very successfully highlighted the grave problem".

As one got talking to the graceful Uzra Appa, many mysteries began to get unravelled. Among them was the place of her birth and her consequent struggle to get into theatre. "I still remember our days at Dehra Dun. It has been long since I went there, but the fragrance of Dehra Dun is still with me." She told us about her family, her enthusiastic four sisters and her especially enthusiastic elder sister Zora Saihgal who, she said, was the actual pioneer in every field.

"Theatre meant life to both Zora and me but it was Zora who took on the rigid Muslim community during those times. My father was very uncomfortable with the idea, but Zora took the plunge and I followed suit," informed Uzra Appa who after taking her education from Lady Irwin College, Delhi, began training in dance with Pandit Uday Shankar in 1930s. "During those times I toured England and America and gave my dance performances," she said.

Theatre happened in 1943 when Uzra Butt gave a lead performance in Khwaja Ahmad Abbas's play `Zubeda'. This play proved to be the big break for Uzra Butt and she was picked for by Prithvi Raj Kapoor who was looking for a heroine for his group. Informed Mrs Uzra, "Zora followed me in this group and we devoted a lot of our time to theatre. Everything was fine until the Partition happened."

Division of Hindustan brought along many pangs, emotional and financial. It was then that Uzra decided to stay in Lahore along with two other sisters and Zora remained in India. Reacting on those days, Uzra said, "Pain was natural, but to tell you the truth, India has never been another country to me. It has been my root and I still love the place as much."

Interestingly, the two sisters acted together in the play "Ik thi Nani", written by Shahid Nadeem who happened to talk to Zora and Uzra about their struggles during Partition. Said Uzra Appa, "This is one play which is very close to our hearts. It is all our history."

Uzra Appa has been into active theatre now for a good about 64 years and she speaks high of the medium which she says gives you an instant response which you don't get in films. "That is one reason I never did films unlike Zora who is very comfortable on the screen. However, I am associated with Pakistan TV and I have done many serials."Back

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