Friday, August 4, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Peace talks must prevail, feel city Kashmiris
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 3 — Reacting to the killings in Kashmir and also the ongoing talks between Hizbul mediators and the Government of India, the zonal coordinator of Panun Kashmir, Ms Nymphia Koul, says ''We had not anticipated that killings of such a magnitude could take place after a ceasefire had been announced by the Hizbul.'' The killings are motivated by Pakistan as the Lashkar-e-Toiba backed by the neighbouring country.

A meeting of the core group of the local PK unit was held today to decide the course of action, Ms Koul said.

The killings only show that the Hizbul Mujahideen's ceasefire alone will not work as several militant organisations were running their own programmes in the valley. She also stressed that holding talks with Hizbul without including the Kashmiri Pandit community, was unfair. She demanded that the Pandits, who were displaced during militancy, should also be involved in the talks.

Mr K.L. Kichloo said the killings were an attempt to sabotage the peace process dialogue between the Hizbul and the government. The killings occurred as other militant wings had not been taken into confidence. Intelligence agencies had warned that anything could happen, he said while adding that foolproof security should have been provided for the yatris.

Mr Kichloo blamed the Jammu and Kashmir Government, saying that the militants faced no opposition from the security forces as no one had been deployed properly to provide security to the yatris.

Moreover, the Hizbul alone cannot negotiate on behalf of the 7 lakh strong Pandit community.


Condemning the nefarious designs of Pakistan-supported terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, the Kashmiris staying in the city have expressed outrage over yesterday's killings in the state. They contend that while an offensive ought to be launched against the adversaries, table talks with various organisations must be dove-tailed for an efficacious solution.

"Nothing short of annihilation of these terrorist groups is going to help and there is no alternative with the government. Having lived in Kashmir for 60 years, I know that any soft stance adopted by the government gives wrong signals to these groups which presume that we are a weak state. The killings are shocking, especially those of the pilgrims since they are provided adequate security cover during the yatra,'' Mr V.K. Raina, a resident of Sector 17, contended.

Coming from a family which fled Kashmir owing to threats by militant organisation, Ms Vijji Raina, rues, "Only we know what the ground reality is, how these militants attack and bodies are heaped and buildings reduced to ash. Table talks are a complete failure when numerous outfits are operating in the state. We are virtually in no man's land since this is not our land and terrorists will not give us a right over what is ours.''

From Sector 14, Mr Vijay Qasba, says, "The killings have unleashed a reign of fear and apprehension in the state and among communities. The ceasefire declared by Hizbul Mujahideen is an indication that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in the state was beginning to die its own death. However, the killings by another group with pilgrims being targeted, shows their frustration over recent developments.''

"Terrorism can be only tackled head on, there are no two ways about that. However, this is certainly no way to find a permanent solution to the problem. Talks will have to go on and will start at some point. Now is as good as any other time. The present spate of killings should not be a deterrent to the talks. These can't stop. Moreover, the government must make sure that interests of all communities be addressed in these talks. Usually, it is seen that Kashmiri Pandits and Buddhists are left out which is not in the interest of the state,'' Dr R.P. Sapru, a resident of Sector 7, said.

Terming the killings as an act of cowardice, Ms Sunita Kaul, a resident of Sector 12, opined that a counter-attack on the outfits is not the way out of the trouble-spot. "Table talk in such a tense situation is a must and probably the only front open. While dealing with insurgents and in talks, the effort of the government should be to identify the weakness of each outfit and strike accordingly,'' she added.

Mr T.P. Singh, of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Chandigarh, says, “Yesterday’s killings were aimed at sabotaging the proposed peace talks of our Union Government with the Hizbul. The other terrorist outfits do not want that my state should once again become a paradise. Our Prime Minister and Home Minister are very sincere in their efforts. The Hizbul is the main group as it mainly comprises, Kashmiris. I do not feel that the Army had lowered its guard. There, the Human Rights Commission is one-sided that is why they always take the side of militants and blame the security forces for high-handedness.”

Sukhchan Singh, student at Panjab University, is of the view, “Do not let peace prevail in Kashmir” is the slogan of the pro-Pakistan terrorist organisations. There are no words to condemn the incidents. Such activities are the handiwork of foreign mercenaries. The basic problem in Kashmir is that the human rights commissions there are stooges of Pakistan. One can see through their plans. First, they targeted Hindus and then, Sikhs and the day is not far when Muslims too will start running for their lives.

Mr Showkat Hussain, cashier-cum-clerk, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, feels, “Whichever organisation did it, I am sure nobody is happy. Actually, Dr Abdullah’s autonomy issue was rejected by the Central Government and the latter instead went ahead for talks with the Hizbul. The killings might have been done by the surrendered militants. It is definitely going to hamper the peace talks. The government must proceed with the initiative. But at the same time, it should be in mind that no peace talks can be successful until the Hurriyat Conference, the representative of Kashmiris, is made a part of the talks process.”

Dr Madhu Kaul, lecturer at Government Home Science College, says, “The media is talking about the Hizbul only. The yatris were targeted because some terrorists organisations wanted to remain in the news. We are today scared of visiting the state. Just tell me which community have they spared? Every time there is a ray of hope, something tragic happens.”

Mr Pawan Durani, Development Officer, Oriental Insurance Company of India, opines, “The basic problem is that the government is not serious. The strikes were aimed to torpedo the peace talks. The pro-Pak militant groups do not want the Kashmir problem to be solved. Their aim is to terrorise the Hindus. The talks can be fruitful only if the Kashmiri Pandits are made part of the talks. The Army should be given a free hand in dealing with them.”

Mr S.K. Bhatt of the Oriental Insurance Company of India, says, “I am surprised to see that society, is not reacting. The proposed peace talks did not go well with Dr Farooq Abdullah. If the government starts talking to the Hizbul, how can he retain his Chief Ministership? It was Dr Abdullah who founded the JKLF, then how can one expect peace from his government? The militants are not afraid of the Indian Government. The easiest way to clean up the mess in the state is that ekwans, the surrendered militants be given ammunition and asked to fight back.”

Mohita J.S., dietician at the PGI, feels, “Anybody can see that the killings were a hurdle to the talks with the Hizbul. We are expecting a lot from the Central Government.Back


Farooq must step down: city parties
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 3 — Political parties and social organisations have reacted sharply to the killing of a hundred people in Kashmir in the past 48 hours.

The Islamia Committee, Chandigarh, met today and its President, Sheikh Mohd Sadiq, said the killing of pilgrims, labourers and innocent men and women is a barbaric game of militants.

We must all together condemn such violence which is against our culture and violence cannot solve problems, he said. Other party members said Islam does not allow the killing of unarmed and innocent persons. Mr Sadiq asked Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to step down for a few months for the Centre to deal with Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.

The Kashmiri Sahayak Sabha, while condemning the inhuman act, urged the Central Government to take note of the incident and take all measures to ensure a safer Amarnath yatra.

The Panun Kashmir Movement (PKM) called an urgent meeting of its Chandigarh unit and condemned the incident in which Amarnath yatris were killed by militants in the valley. This speaks of the failure of Dr Abdullah's government, it alleged. The unit urged the Central Government to intervene and not to shut its eyes just because the Hizbul has announced a three-month ceasefire.

The Punjab unit of the RSS said a sensational atmosphere is being created by terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. These are planned efforts to create fear psychosis in the minds of Hindus in the state, especially in the Kashmir valley.

It is likely that terrorists are out to sabotage the peace negotiations of the Government of India and the representatives of Hizb-ul-Mujahidin, it said. The attitude of Dr Farooq Abdullah is objectionable.

The RSS demanded that the Government of India should take severe action against these elements to restore confidence among the Hindus in the state.

Condemning the killing, the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee said the massacre of innocent pilgrims of the Amarnath Yatra is a barbaric act.

The local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha also condemned the massacres, saying that this act is to terrorise the Hindus of the valley.Back


Involve Pandits in talks: Panun
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 3— The core group of the local unit of the Panun Kashmir met this evening and announced that it did not recognise the ongoing talks between the Hizbul Mujahideen and the government which were not involving the Kashmiri Pandits.

''The talks, which have no scope for inclusion of the Pandit community, will not be acceptable to us,'' said a press note issued by Ms Nymphia Koul, Zonal Coordinator of Panun Kashmir. The present talks also gave an impression that the Pandits were not welcome in the valley at all.

The so-called peace talks were also not acceptable to the Huriyyat conference and other organisations operating in the valley.

The group also condemned the brutal killing of Amarnath yatris. 


PGI gets hi-tech machine for cancer
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 3 — Cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy at Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, PGI, will shortly be administered more accurate treatment. The department has procured a state-of-the-art computerised therapy CT stimulator for treatment planning.

Dr S.C. Sharma, Head of the Department of Radiotherapy, said that the new equipment, which is likely to become functional by month-end would be used to define the treatment fields, volume of dosage and verification of the technique to be used. The treatment will be according to the plan chalked out by the equipment, thereby ensuring uniform radiation doses inside the treated area.

Procured at a cost of Rs 2.25 crore from France, the equipment will help in better control of tumours and reduce morbidity. Dr Sharma explained that the mechanical technology combined with high performing electronics will permit accurate stimulation of fields of radiation. This will help deliver the highest quality of radiation therapy treatment to patients, thereby promising better control of cancer.

The availability of this equipment in this part of India beyond Delhi will be very benefit as many as 2,500 new patients of cancer register every year. Of these, nearly 2,000 persons undergo radiation therapy.

The equipment is also fitted with a facility for taking CT cuts in treatment position of patients, which will help delineate the normal body structures in relation to tumour. This will help plan the radiation treatment on the tumour in such a way that there is minimum radiation on the normal surrounding tissues, he added.

The sophisticated equipment will also be used to work out details of giving higher dose to certain patients to improve the cure rate of cancer. 


Cape buffalo delivers a calf
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 3 — Rani, the Cape buffalo of South Africa, has given birth to a calf at the Chhat Bir zoo. This has come as a welcome sign as this is the first time that a Cape buffalo calf has been born at the zoo. The bad-tempered animal of Africa has never been tamed. It can kill lions with its heavy hoofs and horns.

The Cape buffalo was unwilling to be photographed when The Tribune team reached its enclosure. As Karam Singh focussed his camera over the wall, Rani turned around her eyes red with fury. Then she retraced her steps, her calf falling over. Then she dashed out into the open, her calf in pursuit.

Then followed a long wait for the right pose. Green grass was thrown towards the mother and calf. Dr Vinod Sharma, Director of the zoo, asked one of the handlers to coax the animal into coming closer to the wall. After some time, Rani relaxed.

The zoo acquired the first male Cape buffalo on March 15, 1993. It remained without a companion, till Rani joined him on March 23 last year.

The Cape buffalo resembles the Indian buffalo, but it has never been tamed. It is a dangerous animal and has killed many hunters. 


Mohali lacks dumping ground
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Aug 3 — Unable to find a proper site on the outskirts of the town, the local municipal council has started dumping garbage adjacent to houses the on the main road diving Phase 11 and Sector 48.

Residents lament that for the past few days the sanitation staff of the council has been dumping garbage along the road despite protests by them. Heaps of garbage lie scattered near their houses, attracting stray cattle.

A former municipal councillor, Mr Amrik Singh Tehsildar, said he had written to the municipal council authorities, but no action had been taken.

Earlier, the sanitation staff were dumping garbage in the cremation ground here but had to shift after strong protests by various sections of society. PUDA has been requested by the council to look for at least seven acres of land to dump the garbage, which is expected to multiply in the coming years in this developing township.

Officials of the council said at present, about 2 tonnes of garbage was generated from the township. About 100 trash bins placed at different points in the township are used to collect the garbage. 


Zealous youngsters change the face of Chandigarh
By Monica Sharma

CHANDIGARH, Aug 3 — Chandigarh, the City Beautiful, long considered a place of “chitiyan dhadiyan and hariyan haddiyan”, is not the same any more. The city is full of zest and vigour and people are having a good time. People of different ages have their own opinion regarding the social life of the city.

Atul Singla, a web designer, believes the change has been brought about by the advent of information technology and due to the fast-paced life of the young generation. Another reason is the presence of the salaried class. These people in contrast with the business community, have much more time to devote to their families and tend to rejoice with their families after working hours which was not the case a few years back.

Sherry Poddar, a housewife, is of the opinion that the new generation is the cause of the drastic changes in the social life of the Chandigarhians. The generation-Y is fully aware of the latest social trends and believes in living it fully. The nuclear family is also responsible for the change. Fashion shows, discotheques and late night parties are very common these days and the city is no more boring and dull.

On the other hand, Mr Tirlochan Singh Bawa, Olympian hockey player (1948), is of the view that the outlook of people has changed .It is no more a peaceful city. Life has changed since the present generation is aping the western culture madly. A faster pace of life has also weakened the strong social ties among people.

Meenal Sood, a B. Com student, agrees that the city has changed but for the better. People have shed orthodox beliefs and have got somewhat advanced. If we look back, life was dull and slow in the city, but with the awareness brought about by the media, the outlook has changed. The city has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment and facilities.

Shivani Gupta, a BBA student, is of the view that the environment has changed due to the breaking up of the joint family system. People used to enjoy with their own extended family, but now with three or four-member families, one tends to move out for entertainment. The outlook of the old as well as the young has changed. Though the thinking has changed, still most of the youngsters are aware of their limits and are closely bound to their traditional values.

Capt Mohni Kahlon, who was in the Merchant Navy says that, it was never a city for the old. It is only the inclination towards life that has changed due to the increasing number of youngsters in the city. The increase in the number of educational institutions has brought a large number of youngsters to the city. It is the youth that changes the colour of life. The city is becoming a hub for the youngsters slowly and gradually and outlook towards our life is changing.

Usha Nanda, a housewife, said the city was calm and serene a few years back but now, with the influence of the metropolis, the set-up has changed to a large extent. Parents surrender to the demands of their children. Media has played a crucial role, especially, the electronic media to change the habits of the youngsters.


Two girls abducted in city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 3 — Two cases of abduction have been reported from the city.

In the first case, Mr Prithi Singh, a resident of Sector 39, reported that Surinder Pal Singh, his wife and his two sons, Sonu and Monu, all residents of Sector 35, have abducted his daughter.

In the other case, Mr Surinder Pal, a resident of Bauzkar village in Ludhiana district, alleged that his minor daughter had been abducted from his relatives' house in Mauli Jagran here.

Cases have been registered in both incidents.

Cars stolen: Mr Avtar Singh of Sector 34 reported that his car (CH01-C-0081) has been stolen from his residence.

In another incident, Mr Satwinder Singh, a resident of Sector 40-A, reported that his car (CH01-0524) has been stolen from Sector 22 market.

The police have registered cases.

Thief held: A native of Nepal, Munish Rahi,was caught red-handed while trying to steal a pair of trousers, a bedsheet and a purse from the house of Mr Dev Raj, a resident of Sector 23.

The stolen items have been recovered and a case registered.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested Jaidev, a resident of Chaulta in Ropar district, from near the Jhampur barrier, near Chandigarh, and seized 30 pouches of whisky

A case under the Excise Act has been registered.


Suicide: A 22-year-old girl and employee of the Haryana Warehousing Corporation, Nima, reportedly committed suicide at her Sector 14 residence here on Thursday.

According to sources, the girl, originally a resident of Almora in UP, hanged herself to death. The police, when informed about the incident, took her to hospital where she was declared dead.

She was reportedly mentally upset after the death of her father over an year ago. Her mother reportedly left for Almora for a second marriage which might have led her to take the extreme step, the sources added.


Vehicle detained: Mr T.P.S. Anand, a resident of Sector 70, said his vehicle was being allegedly detained by certain persons in a unit in industrial area at the behest of the local police. He alleged that on last Sunday two policemen came in civil dress to return his vehicle only to be taken away after some time. He was also allegedly detained at the industrial unit for the entire day before being rescued by a warrant officer appointed by a court.



Excise evasion detected
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 3 — The anti-evasion staff of the Central Excise Division, Amritsar, falling under the jurisdiction of the Central Excise Commissionerate, Chandigarh-II, have detected the evasion of excise duty to the tune of Rs 32 lakh by an Amritsar-based 100 per cent export-oriented unit.

Acting on information, the staff seized certain incriminating documents from the unit engaged in the manufacture of silk yarn. It was found that the unit, had cleared silk yarn valued at over Rs 2 crore in the domestic tariff areas without the payment of duty.

For the domestic sale, it was required to pay duty equal to 30 per cent of the customs duty leviable on the import of the said goods, a press note said, adding that the General Manager of the firm had admitted to the charge.


Industrialists seek more big units
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Aug 3 — The Mohali Industries Association (MIA) has demanded the setting up of more large-scale industrial units in the town, besides the provision of a common effluent-treatment plant.

The demands were put forward at a meeting here today between the MIA representatives and Prof Jagir Singh Bhullar, Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Industries) of Punjab, and other senior officials of the Industries Department. Various problems being faced by the industry were discussed at the meeting.

Mr S.S. Sandhu, President of the association, said, with the setting up of the Punjab Tractors Ltd factory in the town, a large number of ancillary units had come up here. “However, thereafter, no large-scale engineering unit was set up here which was necessary for the establishment of more ancillary units in the small-scale sector,” he said.

He said the Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala and the Diesel Component Works at Patiala were set up in Punjab by the Central Government to give a boost to small-scale industrial units in the state, but the units were fulfilling their requirements from the other states.

Mr Sidhu said there was a dire necessity for providing effluent-treatment plants in all industrial estates as small units could not afford to set up these at their own level.

The MIA President favoured the allotment of industrial plots to units functioning in rented premises. He said a large number of unit owners had applied for plots past year. “As applicants were proven and established units paying sales tax, central excise and other dues, they should be given a preference in the allotments of plots,” he said.

Mr Sandhu said the state government had announced incentives for encouraging industry from time to time, but unfortunately, these were not made available to the industry in time.

He said advisory committees needed to be set up at the state and district levels for the formulation of plans and programmes for industrial development.

The other demands of the association included construction of houses for industrial workers, computerisation of the local District Industries Centre and one-time settlement of defaulting cases.

Mr D.S. Guru, Director Industries of Punjab, said government wanted SAS Nagar to be developed as an information technology (IT) centre and that was why special incentives were being given to the town. Earthstation was already functional and the development of an information technology park was at an advanced stage.

He said if any private party was interested in setting up a big industrial unit here, it would be provided with all help by the government. As far as the allotment of plots was concerned, the policy had defined certain parameters which had to be taken care of at the time of allotment which was done on the basis of merit.

Mrs S.K. Sandhu, MD of the PSIEC, said establishing an effluent-treatment plant was a costly affair. The cost of setting up the unit had to be divided among all entrepreneurs. This could be established in the upcoming sectors, but not in areas which had already been developed.

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