Saturday, December 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No place for terrorism: Dosanjh
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Dec 22 — Mr Ujjal Singh Dosanjh, first Indo-Canadian Premier of British Columbia, today received the first Indian degree of doctor of philosophy in laws (honoris causa) at a special convocation organised by Guru Nanak Dev University here.

Immediately after the degree was conferred, Mr Dosanjh said British Columbia had no place for terrorism. Answering queries on the arrest of Ripudaman Singh and Ajaib Singh Bagri, allegedly responsible for bombing of Air India flight Kanishka that exploded off the coast of Ireland in 1985, Mr Dosanjh said since the matter was in court he did not want to comment on it. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had arrested the accused persons in connection with the bombing of Kanishka on October 28 in which 329 persons had died.

In a categorical statement, Mr Dosanjh said, “Terrorism is totally unacceptable”. He said he was proud of the Canadian police who investigated the Kanishka incident with utmost labour and honesty. On curbing terrorism in Canada, Mr Dosanjh said, “Let us say it is the beginning of the end of terrorism”. He said when peace had been restored in Punjab, “we must not now talk about separatist movement like Khalistan. Let us move on”.

Earlier, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), PVSM, Governor of Punjab and Chancellor of the university, who presided over the convocation, conferred this degree on Mr Dosanjh while Dr H.S. Soch, Vice-Chancellor, read out the citation. Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Chief Minister, who was also present on the occasion, welcomed Mr Dosanjh.

The citation read out by Dr Soch says, “Mr Dosanjh is a highly distinguished son of Punjab. In his rise to that highest position as Premier of the province of BC in Canada, he has exhibited personal qualities of head and heart that reflect his cosmopolitan and progressive outlook.” The Vice-Chancellor said Mr Dosanjh carries the reputation of a clean and fair-minded administrator who is committed to social justice and human welfare. He has been a human rights activist for long. He said Mr Dosanjh remains a great friend of India and especially of Punjab. Peace and progress are very dear to his heart despite his commitment to the people of Canada. He wishes to see our welfare and prosperity in a modern secular democratic India.

Mr Dosanjh after receiving the honorary degree in his address expressed his gratitude to the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, syndics and fellows of this great university for the honour and respect bestowed on him.

He said though he left his birthplace for greener pastures abroad yet his heart beat for India and he always prayed for its prosperity, unity and integrity. Mr Dosanjh said nothing was impossible in this world and with strong determination hard work and dedication everything could be achieved. He said if one had strong roots in the field of knowledge and a sense of hard work then he could get the desired fruits of success at any place, at home or abroad. He said the status he had acquired today was the result of education. He advised the student community to work hard in their studies and set goals for themselves. He said education was very important and was a great equaliser. He said through education people learn what is right and wrong.

Mr Dosanjh said he had always been active throughout his life in pursuing popular social causes. Political power had never been his pursuit, he added. He said he never hesitated to do any kind of work. He had worked as cleaner in a saw mill and used to go for studies in the evening.

Talking about the quality of education, he said the atmosphere on this beautiful campus was peaceful and environment-friendly for teaching and research. For immigration he advised the youth to go for only those subjects which were in demand in India and in other countries.

He said subjects like information technology, environment technology and tourism were very much in demand in British Columbia. He said in the near future British Columbia could sign some MoUs with Guru Nanak Dev University for academic exchange programmes which could be beneficial for the progress of this region and especially for Punjab.

Talking about the investment avenues in Canada, Mr Dosanjh said there were good opportunities for investment in Canada in various sectors because the standard of living and quality of life there was very high.

General Jacob in his presidential address said Mr Dosanjh was an outstanding Punjabi who had earned pride of place for himself and our country. Rising from a middle class family of farmers and Gaddarites, he said Mr Dosanjh had achieved the highest position in an important province of Canada. He said this was the first time that an Indo-Canadian had occupied this prestigious office.

General Jacob said the university in the past had already honoured some of the most eminent people in various walks of life. By honouring Mr Dosanjh, the university had recognised the indomitable spirit of Doaba Punjabis who decided to leave their homes to explore new avenues in other lands. Congratulating Mr Dosanjh, he paid his tributes to the adventurous and enterprising spirit of Punjabis.

Mr Badal extending a hearty welcome to Mr Dosanjh on behalf of entire Punjabi community and the government said today the university was welcoming one of the greatest ambassadors of Punjabiat in the world. He said Punjabis all over the world are proud of the achievements of Mr Dosanjh who through his dedication, commitment, integrity and hard work had risen from a humble background to be the 33rd Prime Minister of British Columbia.

Mr Badal in his address said the state government would shortly be signing an MoU with the Government of British Columbia for greater cooperation in the fields of education, information technology, food processing, infrastructure development, primary health and agromarketing. This would indeed be the start of a major collaboration between the two governments in the field of social uplift.

The Chief Minister said it was a matter of pride that thanks to Mr Dosanjh’s efforts Punjabi language was accepted as part of the school curriculum all over Canada. It was also due to the presence of distinguished people like Mr Dosanjh that Punjabis had become the third largest cultural community in Canada and there were as many as five main Punjabi newspapers, three leading Punjabi magazines, five Punjabi radio programmes on the national network and three television shows.

Mr Badal said Mr Dosanjh’s visit here would also help to focus attention on the NRI community not only in Canada but also all over the world. He further said the state government had started a number of schemes for the NRIs and had introduced legislation to protect their interests back home. His government, he said, looked forward to active involvement of the Indo-Canadian community in general and the Punjabi NRIs in particular in the field of education.Back

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