Monday, November 6,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


5 die in car-bus collision
Tribune News Service

MANGLI NICHI (Ludhiana), Nov 5 — Five persons, including a woman and a child, were killed and three others injured in a head-on collision between a Tata- Sumo car and a Punjab Roadways bus near this village on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road today.

The dead and two of the injured belonged to two families of Naya Gaon village near Chandigarh. They were heading towards Ludhiana in the car No.CH-03-3288 to attend the bhog ceremony of a relative. Those killed had been identified as Nirmal Singh (40), Suraj Singh (26), Loveminder Singh (14) Raj Kumar (55) and his wife Kamla Rani (45).

The injured are Devinder Kaur (35) and her daughter (Prabhjot Kaur) and Raj Kumar, the driver of the bus. He has fractured his leg in the accident. A majority of the bus passengers escaped unhurt while some received minor bruises. Devinder Kaur who is wife of Balbir Singh, a driver of Mr Sujjan Singh Panchayat Minister of State, lost her son Loveminder Singh in the accident.

The police has registered a case under Section 166 of the IPC against the driver of the bus for alleged negligence that led to the accident. He is admitted at CMC Hospital here. The roadways bus of the Ferozepore depot was heading towards Chandigarh.

According to the police and the injured, the accident occurred at about 8 a.m. They held the bus driver responsible for it and said when the accident took place the bus was on the wrong side. The bus after ramming into the car hit a tree. Fortunately , the passengers escaped unhurt.

Devinder Kaur, was not able to give details of the accident. She said she did not know how it happened and only saw the bus coming over them.

However, the driver of the bus talking to Ludhiana Tribune claimed that the accident occurred because of the presence of fog. He said he could not spot the car from a distance and found it suddenly appearing in front of him.

The scene at the accident site was appalling. The car had been badly crushed. The window panes of the bus were smashed and broken glass pieces was scattered all around.


SAD lashes out at Cong over role in 1984 riots
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — Paying tributes to the victims of anti-Sikh violence of 1984 at a function organised by the Danga Peerit Welfare Society, Punjab, at Urban Estate, Dugri, late last evening , senior Akali Dal leaders blamed the then Congress government for instigating planned massacre of Sikhs, under a deep-rooted conspiracy, to teach a lesson to the entire Sikh community. In hard-hitting speeches, the Akali leaders accused the government of killing around 7000 Sikhs all over the country.

Among those who attended the function were Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor designate of Uttaranchal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Sports Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Jathedar Tota Singh, Education Minister, Punjab, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, Mr Sat Paul Gosain, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Bhai Amarjit Singh Chawla, member, Punjab Public Service Commission, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, senior vice-president, SAD-B, and Mr Surjit Singh, president, Danga Peerit Welfare Society.

Mr Barnala, describing those three days, when Sikhs were brutally killed in all parts of the country, as black days in the history of India, said this planned massacre of Sikhs was worse than the killing of the people undertaken by Mughal emperor Nadir Shah in the past and it was most painful that the killings were committed at the instance of a government elected under the constitution by the people. He said the involvement of senior Congress functionaries were clearly established from the findings of the commission appointed for this purpose. The Congress, he remarked, had never bothered, to condemn the killings and to register the FIRs against those guilty of crimes against humanity.

He said during three days of massacre, thousands of Sikhs were killed and property amounting to billions of rupees was destroyed. When the Shiromani Akali Dal government, headed by him, came to power in Punjab in 1985, it announced some concessions to provide a healing touch to the injured feelings of victim families. In all, 26,700 migrant victim families were registered in Punjab and the state government had provided them with free houses, pension of Rs 500 per month, jobs and ration depots on priority basis to rehabilitate them.

Expressing extreme anguish, Mr Barnala said President’s rule, which followed, and the subsequent Congress governments, which ruled from 1987 to 1997, had even withdrawn these facilities and had started pressuring the victims to pay the prices of the houses and plots which they were occupying. It was once again after the formation of SAD-BJP government led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal in Punjab, that concrete steps were taken for the welfare of families and dependants of riot victims. Complementing the victim families for successful rehabilitation with their hard work and the grace of God, he assured that SAD would always stands by them.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said the Sikh community could never forget this pain and misery inflicted by the Congress to malign the whole community. “When the Sikhs were being indiscriminately killed and their property was being burnt, the then Congress government did not even pretend to take any action against the guilty persons.” He said during that ‘black period’, the Constitution of India had ceased to exist, at least for the Sikhs.

Mr. Dhindsa further accused the then Congress government of destroying vital evidence and patronising the killers of the Sikhs. The erstwhile government had adopted a partisan attitude and FIRs were not lodged at many places where Sikhs were killed. He claimed that it were only the SAD-BJP governments that had tried their maximum to rehabilitate the victim families.

Now the Union government, headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had constituted a new commission to identify those involved in the riots, so that they could be suitably punished. The minister asked the victim families to submit the required information and evidence about the killings of their relatives in the office set up by SGPC and DGPC at Gurdwara Rikabganj in New Delhi.

Mr. Charanjit Singh Atwal, said under a well thought out conspiracy, the Congress had branded the entire Sikh community, which had made more than 80 per cent of sacrifices in the freedom movement and was known for its patriotism, as anti-national. He said those still shaking hands with the anti-Sikh and anti-Punjab congress party, were detractors of Punjab.

Echoing the feelings expressed by party colleagues, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said during the tragedy of 1984, the then congress government had openly supported and protected the killers of the Sikhs. He said one could forget atrocities and wounds inflicted by enemies, but it was impossible to remove the shadows of the 1984 massacre from one’s mind, when the entire Sikh families were burnt alive by putting tyres in their necks, at the instigation of the government. The people of the country had given a befitting reply to the Congress party for their anti-people policies by throwing them out of power, but still the Congress leaders had not learnt a lesson from their grave mistakes and were pursuing the same old policies.

Mr Surjit Singh, moved three resolutions — demanding early punishment for those guilty of the massacre, adoption of a condolence resolutions in the Punjab Assembly and in Parliament and implementation of the decision taken by the state government for their rehabilitation at the earliest.

A kirtan darbar was also organised on this occasion. Among others present at the function were Mr Pritpal Singh, president, Gurdwara Dukhniwaran, Mr Jatinder Singh Saluja, Mr Harpal Singh Kohli, Mr Davinder Singh Bittu, Ms Harpreet Kaur, councillor, Mr Manmohan Singh Pappu and Mr Gurdev Singh Jamalpur. 


Ludhiana city a tinderbox
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — A devastating fire in a woollen market in the narrow and congested Mochpura locality of the walled city here last night has brought into open the inadequacy of the fire-fighting agency to handle such exigencies effectively.

The city’s Fire Brigade, which functions under the control of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, has only four fire stations to look after the entire city with a population of nearly 20 lakh.

Intriguingly, none of the high-rise buildings in the city, including the government buildings, hotels and commercial complexes on the prestigious Mall Road, College Road and Ghumar Mandi Road besides the old GT Road, have ever been checked for fire safety measures.

The number of such sky scrapers has been on the rise. The builders of these commercial complexes have been exploiting every inch of the covered area of their respective buildings leaving little or no space for the mandatory fire safety requirements.

When contacted the Chief Fire Officer of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, Mr R.K. Sharma, admitted that though the Fire Safety Act extended within municipal limits of Ludhiana, but no exercise had ever been conducted to certify whether these high-rise buildings abide by the mandatory legal requirements.

The building plans are approved by the Town Planning Cell of the Municipal Corporation.

A majority of these high-rise buildings have violated even the approved building plans. Almost all of them have converted the basement parking areas into shops, offices and even godowns. The fire or emergency exits, too, are missing from a majority of these major high rise commercial complexes.

To meet their enhanced demand for water supply, owners of these commercial complexes have gone for booster pumps and motors leaving practically no provision for emergency water tanks from which fire engines could draw their supply of water in case of exigencies.

Four fire stations with just 20 fire engines appear far from adequate for this major industrial town. Six of these fire engines are small fire engines.

The Ludhiana Fire Brigade, investigations reveal, has no infrastructure to evacuate people trapped on upper storeys of high-rise buildings in the city in case of a fire. The Fire Brigade hopes to procure its first hydraulic platform next year.

It does have equipment to fight chemical fires, including one which was reported from Mochpura woollen godown yesterday. It has both foam and CO2 facilities to contain chemical fires. Of the 20 engines, two are water boosters with a capacity of 15,000 litres each.

The corporation now proposes to supplement its fire services by adding six fire stations. The new fire stations would be located near Punjab Agricultural University, Sunder Nagar, the Gill Road, Transport Area, Haibowal and the Jalandhar byepass area. The proposal for these additional fire stations has already been approved.

One of the major operational handicap face by the Ludhiana Fire Brigade are narrow lanes of the walled city which house nearly 80 per cent of the total hosiery units of the city. Wool is highly inflammable.

The repeated pleas of the hosiery and woollen industry for relocation in an open area have fallen on deaf ears. Neither the district nor the state administration have ever planned to shift the hosiery units in a new modern complex to end congestion within the city. This would also minimise chances of fires. At present, two to three fire calls are reported from the walled city everyday.


Woollen goods worth lakhs gutted
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — Woollen goods worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed in a major fire that broke out in the second floor of a triple-storey shop in one of the narrow alleys of the congested Moachpura Bazaar here last night

The fire was so severe that 15 fire tenders had to be pressed into service. Nearly three firemen became unconscious due to the poisonous smoke emanating from the burning of the highly-inflammable petroleum-based yarn stored in the shop. Almost all firemen and even some officers received burn injuries.

The fire could have turned into a major tragedy had the residents and shopkeepers of the area not succeeded in removing more quantity of the combustible material.

Mr R.K. Sharma, Assistant Fire Divisional Officer, said when the fire broke out, the owner of the store, Mr Brij Lal Garg, and his son Jagmohan were in the shop and had a lucky escape.

Though no definite cause of the fire was known, it was suspected that a short-circuit triggered it. The fire tenders had a tough time in not only controlling the flames, but also at reaching near the shop. The narrow streets of the crowded bazaar proved to be a major hindrance.


Childless couple kidnaps girl
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — In a shocking incident, a 3-month old girl child is reported to have been kidnapped by a middle-aged childless couple from New Hargobind Nagar on November 2.

In a complaint lodged with division No. 6 police station, here today, by the parents of the kidnapped child, Ms Shaida and Mr Azhar Aalam, their neighbour Jaida and Abdul, a middle-aged couple, have been accused of kidnapping the child.

In the FIR registered under Section 365 of the IPC, it has been stated that the couple was childless and was living in the colony near the house of the complainant. The couple used to frequent their home and play with the child. However, on November 2, the woman, Jaida, took the child to her house but never returned.

The shocked parents, after searching for the two on their own, reported the matter to the police yesterday. Police sources said raids had been conducted at several places but the couple was yet to be traced.


Four held for selling beef
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — The police today arrested four persons who were caught by activists of People For Animals (PFA) organisation on the charges of selling beef in the city.

The four persons — Jamil Akhtar, Shaheed-ul-Rehman, Majib-ul-Haq and Nazrul Islam — were caught in Kashmir Nagar Colony. Angry activists of the Shiv Sena and other organisations staged a demonstration in front of the Shingar Cinema police post, where the accused were taken initially.

The accused have been booked under Section 166 the IPC and Sections 5/8 of the Punjab Prohibition for Cow Slaughter Act, 1955. Mr Sandeep Jain, president of PFA, said the sale of beef was banned in the state.

According to the police, about 2 kg of beef was seized from the accused. They belong to different places in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The police said they were active in the area for quite some time.


Muslims disown Deendhar Anjuman
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — The All-India Khotimi Nabwat (Seerat) Conference has disowned the Bangalore-based Deendhar Anjuman for its alleged role in certain bomb blasts in churches in different parts of the country. Muslim religious leaders sought ban on the organisation.

The conference, which was organised by the All-India Majlis Ahrar, was attended by several religious leaders from across the country, besides thousands of Muslims. The entire Field Ganj area reverberated with the shouts of Allah Akbar throughout the night.

Leaders made scathing attack on the Ahmediya sect and announced that they were not Muslims. Addressing the huge congregation, the Shahi Imam of Ludhiana Maulana Habib Ur Rehman challenged the claim of the Ahmediyas of being Muslims. He said they could not be called as Muslims as they did not believe in Prophet Mohammad to be the last Prophet in Islam.

Maulana Rehman claimed that the sect was the result of the "divide-and-rule" policy of the British during the freedom struggle. He said as Muslims were actively in the forefront of the freedom struggle they (the British) wanted to divide the community and they succeeded in it.

Pamphlets were also circulated at the conference on behalf of the Majlis Ahrar.

The Maulana also regretted the registration of false and fictitious cases against Muslim youth. He said the police should thoroughly investigate all cases.

Speaking on the occasion, the Punjab president of the Indian Muslim Council, Mr Atiqur Rehaman, also shared the view of the Maulana and said the sect was the creation of the British. He strongly condemned the Deendhar Anjuman for its alleged role in the bomb blasts.

The conference was attended, among others, by the Speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, the Deputy Speaker, Mr Satpal Gosain, the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Minister for Technical Education, Mr Jagdish Garcha, and senior members of different religious communities.

The Finance Minister, who represented the Chief Minister, assured all cooperation from the Punjab Government. He said the Badal government was committed to ensure fair deal to all communities, including the Muslims.

Mr Jagdish Garcha assured that all false cases registered would be thoroughly investigated.


Unruly scenes at astrologers’ meeting
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — Unruly scenes marked the second and concluding day of the Astrological Meet 2000 when an unidentified person went on stage and started criticising and accusing astrologers of befooling people.

He was dragged off stage and manhandled by the people. The matter was solved after he reportedly tendered an apology, saying he did not wish to hurt feelings of the people.

Hundreds of persons thronged Guru Nanak Bhavan, the venue of the meet. Mr Ajay Bhambi, an astrologer, argued that astrology was a practical science and had its roots in pure mathematics. He said it was a matter of faith, but not devoid of reason. He clarified that only learned astrologers could help. He claimed that astrology was as practical as any other profession and astrologers diagnosed problems using mathematical calculations.

Some dissenters were also present, who said they had no faith in astrology. Mr P.D. Sharma, an industrialist, said astrologers were simply capitalising on the simplicity of people and their sense of insecurity about the future. Mr Jeevan Dahwan, another industrialist, felt that faith could also heal. He said it gave psychological satisfaction and helped in building confidence.

Mr Ashok Lumba, an advocate, said he had belief in astrology. He added that it provided psychological relief and confidence. He argued that one should not question astrology as all questions could not be answered. Mr Rajan Munchal and Mr Teja Singh said they had faith in astrology as it helped in taking preventive and remedial measures.

Dr Vineeta Malhotra, Head, Department of Pathology, DMC, said she did not believe in astrology. She pointed out that if things were predestined, why should anyone worry about it. Dr Bakul Dalal, an India-born physician based in Canada, said he did not believe in astrology, although he was wearing a pearl-studded ring. He said he was wearing it because his wife wanted him to wear it.

Mr Joginder Vyas a local astrologer, came down heavily upon the critics. Other practising astrologers like Mr Suresh Atray, Ms Rachna Sharma and Mr Ashok Kapur claimed that they had hundreds of clients who believed in their calculations.


Seminar on senior citizens organised
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — The All India Senior Citizens’ Organisation organised a seminar in connection with the observance of the current year as the “Year of the Aged”. Mr D.R. Ahuja, a senior journalist and president of the Association presided over the function.

The speakers at the seminar urged the government to provide the much-needed relief to the senior citizens. Mr Ahuja said that the government had given small benefits such as concession in railway fare, air fare and relief in income tax. But still a lot remained to be done. The healthcare facilities for the aged were still inadequate.

One of the suggestions given was that in the hospitals, a separate department related to the geriatric ailments should be established. The government should provide adequate funds to the NGOs or the Senior Citizens’ Organisations to build old-age homes where the aged could be taken care of properly.

It was also stressed that the services of the retired persons with sound health and mental alertness should be used in developmental works. The aged could act as the watch dogs to fight various social evils including rampant corruption. It was alleged that the government had failed to realize the potential of the senior citizens. Even after retirement, the senior citizens had 20-30 years that could be used productively.

Legal counselling was another aspect that could not be ignored as the aged had to deal with litigations on tax matters and property disputes. Mr Rattan Lal Pambi said that the organisation would submit copies of the memorandum to all MPs so that they could focus their attention on the problems of the aged. The demands of the senior citizens included 50 per cent concession in railway fares in all trains and classes, medical aid to the aged, setting up of senior citizens’ homes, relief in taxes, relaxation in age limit from 70 to 90 years, free legal aid, and respect to the senior citizens in all government offices. 


Cycle body poll; withdrawal of nominations today
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — One of the oldest and biggest industrial association of the city, the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, is going to witness its annual elections on November 16. Though the position will be clear to some extent tomorrow after the withdrawal of nominations is over.

There are two groups emerging in the elections, one led by Mr Joginder Kumar and the other led by Mr D.S. Chawla. Both groups have organised separate press conferences and claimed that majority of 1,285 members were with them. Allegations have been levelled against each other.

Interestingly, none of the presidential candidate was ready to reveal the name of other candidates in his group. Sources said candidates were bargaining with different groups for the posts. Mr G.L. Pahawa, present president, Mr Indejeet Pradhan, Mr Harish Khanna, Mr Bhushan Abbi, the Bhogal group of industries and other major industries are backing the candidature of Mr Joginder Kumar.

Mr Joginder Kumar disclosed that Mr Inderjeet Singh Navyug and Mr Jaswant Singh were their candidates for the posts of senior vice-president and general secretary, respectively. On the other hand, Mr D.S. Chawla claimed that Mr Joga Singh, Mr Manjeet Singh Deol and Mr Varinder Kumar had decided to withdraw their names in his support.

It may be mentioned here that the industry is passing through a critical phase. Members are looking for a leadership that can prepare them to face the challenges posed by WTO.

Mr Jaswinder Singh Birdi of Birdi Cycle Industries was of the view that, ‘‘ We need a leadership that can mobilise the entire industry to fight for its rights. We are not afraid of WTO, however, we should be provided a level playing field to compete with the multi-nationals and big players.’’

Mr Joginder Singh while presenting his election manifesto said problems relating to the Electricity Department, Sales Tax and Pollution Control Board would be taken on priority basis.


Inaction in dowry case flayed
From Our Correspondent

KHAMANO, Nov 5 — The general secretary of the Lok Bhalai Party, Mr Bhinder Singh Rawan, has threatened to sit on dharna in front of the SDM’s office at Payal against the injustice meted out to a married woman of Khamano.

Mr Rawan said Ms Harpreet Kaur of Khamano was married to Mr Devinder Singh of Panjrukha village. Harpreet’s husband and mother-in-law often beat her for bringing insufficient dowry. Harpreet left Khamano and started living at Rauni village. But she was compelled to leave the village.

While she was shifting her valuables to Khanna, her in-laws intervened again. With the help of some residents of Rauni, who belong to the ruling Akali Dal, they captured the truck loaded with her valuables and took it into their custody. Mr Rawan alleged that the police also favoured the culprits.

Later on, the parents of the woman contacted the leaders of the Lok Bhalai Party. The party submitted a memorandum to the SDM of Payal. They warned that if the valuables were not returned, they would sit in dharna in front of the office of the SDM on November 7. The SHO of the police station was not available for comment.


Janata Dal (S) flays law and order
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — The Punjab unit of the Janata Dal (S), has expressed serious concern over deteriorating law and order situation in the state. It said the incidents of looting, killing, rape, kidnapping, police excesses, human rights violations and atrocities against women and the weaker sections were on the rise and the law enforcement machinery had totally collapsed in the state. The party had called upon the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to either take effective remedial measures or to quit, owning moral responsibility for the chaotic conditions on the law and order front.

In a statement issued here today, the state convener of the party, Mr Harish Khanna, lamented that the police set up had totally failed to come to terms with the alarming situation and people, particularly in the rural areas, were living in a fear psychosis. A spate of killings, extortions and lootings during last few days in this district had virtually shaken the confidence of the people in the state government and the police administration, which had been reduced to the status of a helpless spectator. The most unfortunate part, he added, was that the criminals and underworld elements, enjoying political patronage, were moving scot free and the innocent persons were being implicated in false cases. Corruption, at all levels in the police network, had also crossed all limits.

The Janata Dal convener demanded that as a first step towards overhaul of the police administration, the district police chief and the DIG of the Ludhiana range, should immediately be transferred out. He threatened that if the government failed to initiate immediate steps to effectively deal with the law and order situation, the party would launch a statewide agitation to mobilise public against the apathetic government.Back


BSP to protest against atrocities on Dalits
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will launch a mass movement to focus on the apathy and indifference of the state government towards incidents of atrocities and police repression against Dalits. A meeting of the urban and rural district units of the party, presided over by state convener, Mr Mohan Singh Fallianwala, here last evening, expressed strong concern over the deteriorating condition of a Valmiki youth, Mr Ramesh Mintu, who was under treatment in CMC hospital after being tortured by the police.

Senior BSP leader, Dr D.P. Khosla, claimed that an injury report of the victim, issued by CMC hospital, clearly stated that the condition was caused by torture and merciless beating. He informed those present at the meeting that the party had submitted a memorandum to the chairman of the national commission for schedules castes and backward classes, demanding registration of a criminal case against the erring officers of the CIA staff of the local police.

Mr Fallianwala, later, said a deputation of the party would meet the chief secretary, the Director General of Punjab police and other senior government officials to press for immediate action and grant of justice to the Dalits. Further course of action will be chalked out by the party, depending upon the response of senior government functionaries and if the administration failed to mend its ways, the party workers would be forced to come out on streets to seek justice.


Suicide attempt by married woman
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — Gita, a married woman, attempted suicide at her residence in Mandir Chowk, Chauni Mohalla here on Saturday allegedly due to harassment by her-in-laws.

The Division No. 4 police has resgistered a case under Section 498 of the IPC against her husband Ravinder Kumar of Ambala. She was admitted to civil hospital with considerable burn injuries and is reported to be out of danger. No arrest has been made so far.

Cheating case
Rajinder Kumar. a resident of Kuldeep Nagar colony here, has been booked and arrested by the Jodhewal police on the charge of an attempt to cheat the Oriental Bank of Commerce of Rs 1 lakh.

The manager of the bank Abinash Gupta had complained that the accused had tried to encash a fake cheque of Rs 1 lakh from the bank but was caught well in time.

Woman booked
Kramajit Kaur, a resident of the city, has been booked under Sections 420, IPC for cheating Jaskaran Singh of Rs 90,000. According to the FIR registered with the police, the accused woman had taken the loan from Jaskaran Singh but did not return it. Even the cheques given by her as security were dishonoured.Back


Exhibition of hosiery products
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 5 — An exhibition- cum-sale of woollen, hosiery leather and readymade garments was organised today by Dayal Bagh manufacturers, Radha Soami Satsang Dayal Bagh, Agra was organised today.

Mr S.R. Kler, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, inaugurated the exhibition. Mr Gurcharan Singh, regional vice president, Punjab Radhasoami Satsang Association was the chief guest on the occasion.

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