Wednesday, April 11, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Sudden rise in number of murder cases
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 10
A sudden rise in the number of murders and that, too, one of the most hair-raising ones has exposed increasing social tension in society and the weakness of the human relations which break at the slightest provocation and cause pain and bloodshed not only to the families concerned but also to society at large.

A study of the cases reveals that emotions are easily running out of control at the exposure of someone’s infidelity or just the suspicion of an illicit relation and the burning desire of love and lust rapidly is becoming as uncontrollable as ever. While the incidence of murders is not unprecedented due to the large population, especially of the migrant labourers, the recent crimes have rocked the residents because of the barbaric or macabre manner in which they were executed.

As many as 11 persons, including four minors have lost their lives in the last one week only. The ruthless murders included the unimaginable killing of two children by their own mother in Mullanpur Dakha village and the more heinous one in the form of the last night’s act of a constable to shot his 5 family members and then killed himself.

The former may be called a rarest of the rare acts where a fatal obsession for her paramour prompted a woman to strangulate to death her two small kids, while her husband was away on duty in the Army.

The shocking incident occurred at Mullanpur Dakha three days ago when the police found two dead children and their unconscious mother lying on a road side. However, later it was found that the woman had feigned unconsciousness and had in fact along with his paramour murdered her own children so that she can marry her alleged paramour. If that shock was not enough, the murderers have now confessed to the police that their next target was the woman’s husband.

The shocking news of this murder was afresh when the city was rocked with another cold-blooded incident. A police constable shot dead 5 members of his family and then killed himself in what seems to be in a fit of some abnormality. In this case too, besides the abnormal behaviour of the constable, his suspicion of an illicit relation between his wife and his , hold your breath , father is said to be the main reason for the shootout. While police investigations are on to find the truth, senior officers seem to have accepted this theory.

Another shocking murder took place yesterday at Jagraon when a youth shot dead a middle-aged woman . According to Mr Jaskaran Singh, SSP Jagraon, the police was probing two lines of investigation. One, the youth could be a student who wanted to take some revenge from some teacher. This line of investigation has been strengthened by the fact that the youth addressed the woman as madam first and when she turned towards him, he shot her. The police believes that the woman was shot accidentally while the youth wanted to kill someone else. Another line of theory was that the youth might be harassing one of the daughters of the woman and when he was rebuked by the girl or her parents, he took the extreme kind of revenge.

In the beginning of the week, another youth, kin of a congress MLA, was killed in a shootout between two groups of liquor contractors at Samrala. Different reasons for the shoot-out are coming up. It is believed that the murder took place due to some family rivalry or due to the ongoing struggle for the monoply of the liquor trade in the town.

Yet another murder, that of a clerk, is reported to have taken place at Samrala last night. The body of a clerk of Samrala tehsil was found in mysterious circumstances from a roadside. The murder remains blind.

To complete the list one newly wedded woman was burnt to death allegedly by her in-laws in Ghungrana village. The woman breathed her last at DMC Hospital yesterday. Her NRI husband and other in-laws are absconding.


Impasse persists, so do bootlegging, overcharging
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 10
The crisis created by the failure of the state government in holding the auction of most of the liquor vend groups in the district has precipitated, with inter-district smuggling of liquor and spurt in bootlegging, which has taken its toll in loss of six human lives and killing of a liquor contractor in Samrala subdivision.

Even after the auction of two groups, out of a total 11, was held at Patiala on March 31 and the Excise and Taxation Department opened another 52 vends at several places in the district, more than 75 per cent of the areas still remained unserved, providing the liquor smugglers and the successful bidders of the two groups with an opportunity to make a fast buck. In the process, the government was losing at least Rs 1 crore every day by way of excise duty, sales tax and other taxes, according to a conservative estimate.

After the failure of the government to find a solution to the deadlock, both at the ministerial and administrative levels, the matter was being referred back to the Punjab Cabinet, which was expected to deliberate and find ways to wriggle out of the mess. During the past few days, top officers of the department had been holding brain-storming sessions, but no face-saving formula could be evolved.

That the situation could take such a turn could not have been foreseen by the Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon.

Sources in the liquor trade pointed out that in his overenthusiasm to tame the liquor syndicate by induction of some of his favourite contractors, Mr Kairon had apparently bitten more than he could chew. The new excise policy, claimed to have been formulated to end the monopoly in the trade, had backfired, at least in this district.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune had revealed that huge quantity of liquor was being smuggled into the city and other towns and villages in the district, mainly from Chandigarh and other districts. From Chandigarh alone, anything from 1000 to 3000 cases of liquor were being brought in the city, it was alleged. In addition, the successful bidders of Samrala Road and Ferozepur Road groups were also reportedly indulging in sale of liquor in areas where no vends had opened.

The liquor trade circles were also questioning the manner in which the Excise and Taxation Department had opened government-operated vends in unserved areas. They maintained that most of the vends opened by the department had come up in the localities around the area served by Samrala Road circle, whereas the officials were reluctant to set up vends towards the Ferozepur Road even when shops were offered to them. The Samrala Road group had been auctioned to a group of contractors headed by the Garcha family while a liquor baron from Uttar Pradesh, claiming affinity to the Minister for Excise and Taxation, was the successful bidder for the other group.

There were reports of overcharging at the vends operated by the department and long queues at the liquor vends in many localities was a common sight. At times, vehicular traffic in many congested areas was disrupted. It was also reported that at some places in the city, where auction of liquor vends was not held, authorised drinking places, normally a part of the vend, were being run unlawfully, with the department looking the other way.


Physically-challenged being given a raw deal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 10
God has been unkind to them, but officials at the office of the civil surgeon are even worse. Hundreds of physically handicapped persons who come here everyday in pursuit of a certificate that grades their disability for the purpose of reservation and other concession extended to the physically challenged are given a raw deal. They are not only made to wait in the scorching heat for hours in long queues, but even mercilessly pushed around by the attendants. Only a lucky few return with the certificates, while most are asked to come again and again.

It has already taken Karamjit Singh, an eight-year-old blind child, days to get a certificate that will enable him to gain admission to the Vocational Rehabilitation Center here. He has lost count of the number of times he has visited the office of the Chief Medical Officer. His father, a daily wage, is anguished over the non-cooperative attitude of the authorities concerned.

He says, “They treat us very badly and push us aside from their cabins. They are not ready to listen to us. Last time I was sent back because I did not attach my son’s photographs with the form. This time my form has been rejected because I am fifteen minutes late.” This is the third consecutive visit of Pappu, a physically challenged man of 27, to the office . He is depressed at the very thought of revisiting the civil surgeon’s office. Since both he and his wife are handicapped, he has to come here all alone, only to return again. Pappu needs the certificate to get concession in the rail and roadways fare. He said:” I have already wasted my whole day and my work is still pending.”

These are not two isolated cases. The whole place outside the Civil Surgeon’s office is occupied by physically challenged people and their relatives all the time, even though the certificates are given to the needy on Mondays. Going by the reputation of the office, most of them want to know in advance about the requirements that will finally fetch them the disability gradation certificate. But despite all efforts most of them have to make several trips before they finally secure the required document.

Gyan Singh, a paralytic man of 60 years of age, said that it was perhaps his tenth visit to the office.

The old man with tears in his eyes complained that the attendants rejected the forms by saying “time ho gaya hai”. He said that he came from Shallubhaini village with his niece and spent over Rs 100 on the bus fare. The weak old man said that he could not afford to spend money like this to get a certificate made by the department. “At this moment, we feel leftout,” added Gyan Singh.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Rajinder Kaur, when asked about the alleged ‘harassment’ being caused by the department officials expressed her ignorance. She said: “There may be one or two such persons whose forms will be incomplete and are called again by the department officials, but we try to issue the concession certificates to maximum people.”


Female foeticide continues unabated
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, April 10
Even as the Central Government enacted the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Regulation and Preventive Act in 1994 and the Punjab Government implemented the same in 1996, female foeticide continues unabated in the city.

In utter violation of the legislation, ultrasound clinics and private nursing homes are performing medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) in case the unborn child is a female.

Though the business of these private clinics and nursing homes is flourishing, it has led to imbalance and sharp dip in the male-female ratio in the state, as reflected in the recent census.

Dr Jawahara Chishti, a gynecologist at Model Gram, while confirming the violation of the legislation, has held parents desirous of a male offspring responsible for this social imbalance.

She accuses the administration of allowing female foeticide and says the government should not make laws if they cannot be implemented. Dr Chishti adds,

“The doctors indulging in female foeticide are equally responsible, both on moral and ethical grounds”.

Dr Anjli Sharma says, “A lot of quackery was being practiced under the garb of conducting ultrasound. Radiologists use the method to make money.

Through ultrasound, private clinics draw a dual benefit. They do the pre-natal sex determination test between 14 and 16 weeks of pregnancy and charge Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 for the test. Government hospitals do not carry out an MTP after 12 weeks”.

Though ultrasound is considered to be a great advancement in medical research, the technique is not 100 per cent accurate in determining the sex of the child.

“In fact, the ultrasound is otherwise an inaccurate method to determine the sex of a child because of its low sensitivity”, says Dr Chishti.

Dr Rajinder Kaur, Civil Surgeon, says, “Due to the secret agreement between patients and doctors, the termination of female foetuses can be done”. She agrees that this is a major reason for imbalance in male-female ratio.

The district Civil Surgeon admits that little is being done to stop this practice, the outcome of which can be drastic, but the department, through varied media, is warning nursing homes to get themselves registered. The department is also planning strict action against those who are found guilty.

Dr Chishti says laws to prevent the termination of female foetuses exist, but there is hardly any enforcement of such laws in society.

The laws exist only on paper, she adds. She says the entire scenario has to be changed.

The biased attitude towards the female gender, the thinking and cultural traditions are to be mended. Not only doctors, but the public also is to blame for this social imbalance.


Cops return extortion money

Ludhiana, April 10
Jaswant and Rimpy, the two cops posted at Vardhman police post, who extorted Rs 675 from a roadside tea seller in Urban Estate, Focal Point, on Saturday night, returned the money to him last evening.

Mr Santokh Singh, SHO, Focal Point, taking note of the Ludhiana Tribune report exposing the extortion yesterday, hauled up both the cops at the Focal Point police station where the poor tea-seller was also called up at 5 pm. The SHO reprimanded both of them for operating out of their territory and extorting money from innocent people. Hardev Singh, the tea-seller, who had gone to the DSP’s office at Sherpur in the morning with a written complaint was persuaded to withdraw his complaint as it would have led to the suspension of the erring cops.

Hardev Singh was picked up by the cops on Saturday night and released only after he had promised to pay them Rs 2,000, failing which he would have been implicated in a false case.

Even yesterday, before the cops were hauled up by the SHO, they came to Hardev Singh’s tea stall with his ledger which had been taken away by them and demanded money from him.

But when they were called up at the police station by the SHO, they produced a page from his ledger saying that it was a ‘matka’ slip. However, on scrutiny it was found to be the account of a tea wholesaler who had been paid a certain amount every Tuesday. At this, the SHO reprimanded the cops for producing flimsy evidence against the innocent man.


League for probe into rights violations
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 10
The Sikh League International, a newly formed political party, while releasing second part of its manifesto, today promised to establish a “truth commission” to look into instances of violations of human rights in the past two decades, and the league will take steps to prosecute the guilty.

The party, committed itself to protect human rights of all people irrespective of their religion, caste or creed and to eliminate the existing caste distinctions prevalent in society as these were an assault on the human rights of Dalits. The widespread gender inequality, distorted sex ratio and child labour were the other prominent manifestations of the violation of human rights in Punjabi society, the manifesto added.

“We shall put on trial persons like J.F. Ribeiro, K.P.S. Gill and O.P. Sharma, their instigators like Narasimha Rao, Arun Nehru, Chandra Shekhar, S.S. Ray, O.P. Malhotra, and their more notorious subordinates,” said the Sikh League president D.S. Gill, while releasing the party’s manifesto to the Press.

At the same time, Mr Gill said, the league shall institute awards to encourage politicians and officers who remained true to the letter and spirit of law and carried out their duties faithfully and conscientiously. These honourable personalities, inter alia, were V.P. Singh, Nirmal Kumar Mukherjee, the then Governor B.D. Pande, DGP K.S. Dhillon and Chaman Lal.

Strongly favouring the release of all political prisoners and their rehabilitation, the league pledged also to hold an enquiry into how and from where the CPI(M) leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet allegedly collected crores of rupees for his newspaper empire and to finance a party congress at Chandigarh.

“The league shall take steps to inculcate humanistic values, fellow feeling and equality among students. The police and para military personnel shall have curricula designed with a human face to shape them into a world class force with the aim of eliminating the cult of violation of human rights altogether from the forces.



The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, seems to be a regular, if not a frequent, visitor to Ludhiana on one pretext or the other. During the past six months, he visited the city four times. Only the other day he was once again in the city to enquire about the health of a family friend who was admitted in a city hospital. He was behind the schedule by about two hours. The policemen had a difficult time waiting since eight in the morning till about 2 p.m. Hundreds of patients visiting the hospital also faced difficulties due to tight security arrangements. Dr Abdullah made a formal presence and did not stay even for five minutes. Some patients genuinely asked if it was necessary for him to make a formal visit leading to difficulties to so many others.

Ineffective diktats

It appears as if the office of the Deputy Commissioner has been reduced to just a symbol of authority whose diktats can be safely ignored without any fear of punishment. Almost every other day, Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, issues an order banning something or the other which is neither implemented nor followed. The latest in the series was the order about closure of all meat shops in the district on April 6 as the day was being observed as the first Ahimsa Day on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti. The order was issued on April 5 which was carried by the newspapers the next day.

By issuing a press note only a day before the ban was supposed to take effect, it seemed the district administration was making a formality for the sake of the records only. Not only meat was sold on April 6 in the city and the rest of the district, there were also reports that chicken was served at an official lunch on Mahavir Jayanti.

Porno boom

The city is witnessing an unprecedented porno boom, thanks to an inert district administration. When Ludhiana Tribune recently highlighted the screening of porno movies in gross violation of the Cinematography Act, the Deputy Commissioner instead of taking any action against the erring cinema houses, chose to defend these by saying that the cinemas were showing only those movies which were cleared by the Censor Board. With screening of such movies going on unabated in the city cinemas, one wonders whether the district administration is in league with the operators of such movies ?

The police can also be hauled up for not posting any cops at ticket windows of cinema houses showing adult movies to ensure that no one below-18 got a ticket.

Looking sheepish

The Friday last turned out to be a bad day for the district president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, who is spearheading a party campaign against the MC administration and specifically targeting the Commissioner, Dr S.S. Sandhu.

A senior BJP leader and chairman of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Mr Sat Pal Mahajan, was in the town to inspect the sites for setting up of disposal-treatment plants under the Sutlej Action Plan. Unmindful of the ongoing hostility between the local unit of the party and the MC top brass, Mr Mahajan, during the course of his news conference, remarked that Ludhianvis were fortunate to have an MC Commissioner like Dr Sandhu, who had vision and was instrumental in launching many a development projects in the city.

While for the scribes it was a lot of fun, Mr Sethi, present on the occasion, could hardly do anything, but to fume and fret and sheepishly look the other way.

Suitably rewarded

A senior lecturer of Government Multipurpose Senior Secondary School was recently posted on examination duty as a superintendent. One day, while on duty, he was informed that a local leader of the ruling party wanted to talk to him immediately. He picked up the phone and the person on other side said, ‘‘ I am press secretary of Sardar Shahib. Please ensure that my relative gets good marks.’’ The teacher asked the fellow to contact the DEO in this regard and put down the phone. He did not allow the boy any cheating or to copy from any other student. Next day he was ‘rewarded for doing his duty honestly’ and was relieved from the duty. He was promoted as ‘Cluster supervisor for his efficient work’ though he felt that he was awarded for not obeying the wishes of the press secretary of a politician.

Sane driving

If the saying ‘Lane driving is sane driving’ is applied here, most of the drivers in the city are ‘insane’. As a matter of fact, most of them don't even understand the meaning of lane driving. They are all known for manoeuvering through heavy traffic throwing the traffic rules to winds. They while driving in the left lane would suddenly take a U-turn towards right without bothering about the vehicles behind them. The smartest of such drivers are rickshaw pullers who would just spread out a hand in the direction they wanted to turn, no matter if the vehicle following them was moving at a high speed. If the result is a bang then they would say, "Did’nt you see the hand?" As if the hand was a controller of speed for the following vehicle.

Xerox police forms

While the city police department has recently invited sponsors for the publication of police verification forms, a number of Photostat shops have began selling Xerox copies of the forms on their own. Though priced at Rs 1 only, the forms are fetching easy money for the owners. The issue is not only that the sale is illegal, but also that the police is caught napping at curbing such a practice.

Uphill task

Though the Tehelka stick to beat the NDA government and its constituent parties came in handy for the Congress and its front bodies, the party, which claims to be down but not out, still faces an uphill task in making a comeback of sorts. Thanks to fierce infighting and factionalism in the party at all levels.

A banner put up for the April 11 rally being held by the Congress to demand the dismissal of the NDA government was turned upside down (see picture) by strong wind the other day and that more than symbolised the state of the party, at least in this district.

The hectic party activities on for the rally, notwithstanding, it was amply clear that the district unit of the Congress, the Youth Congress and other front bodies like the Sewa Dal, the Mahila Congress, the Urban Development Cell and hosts of others were working at cross purposes with number of parallel functions being organised by the pro-Capt Amarinder Singh factions and those owing allegiance to rebel leaders like a former Punjab Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and the MP, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar.

Commoner cops

At times a common man can act more responsible than caretakers of the law. Last night when traffic lights stopped functioning at Bharat Nagar Chowk, there was no traffic cop on duty which resulted in total chaos. After a few minutes, two traffic cops came to the roundabout and all passersby gave them the way thinking that they had come to control the traffic. However, as soon as they got the way, they quickly sneaked away from the chaotic scene. At that moment, two middle- aged passers-by came forward to direct the traffic and controlled the traffic. Soon the lights were on and normalcy returned.

Frequent visits

Till last week, convocations were being held at various colleges of the city and most of them invited Master Mohan Lal, Minister of Higher Education, to award degrees to students.

On his first visit this year at SCD Government College, he was given a warm welcome by Senators and Syndics of Panjab University and lecturers from different colleges. Representatives of different teacher unions also met him to talk about problems being faced by them. Besides, several mediapersons also flocked to talk to him.

In his next visit at Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Model Town, the number of visitors came down to half.

Road blockade

On Sunday just before Deep Hospital a big shamiana was erected which blocked the road. There was a crowd of holiday-makers on roads of Model Town. Due to blockage people used by-lanes. With the result that the traffic was unruly.

At the market, too, there was a lot of confusion. The other day, Pakhowal Road was blocked, too, for a function. How can the Municipal Corporation gives permission for blocking the roads in such blatant manner and causing untold suffering for drivers. The MC should fine such people heavily. There are marriage palaces, community halls and hotels. Why don't they use them?

— Sentinel



Telephone bill payment date extended
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 10
The Telecom Department has extended the last date of payment of telephone bills from April 9 to April 16, keeping in view the list of holidays during last week.

A post office official said though the date had been extended, a majority of people had already deposited their telephone bills by the time.

It may be mentioned here that the post offices experienced heavy rush on April 9 because of the holidays at post offices on April 4 and 6 and half day on April 7.


This summer will be hotter’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 10
The instant and sharp rise in day and night temperature in Ludhiana has caught people off guard. Added to this the regular unscheduled power cuts has added to the problems of people, who are already facing the bite of the scorching heat.

Experts say this is after a gap of many years that April has been too hot in the beginning. On the other hand, scientists and meteorological experts at Punjab Agricultural University here are also predicting a hot summer this year.

Only yesterday the day temperature touched 37.4°C, while the night temperature was 21.2°C. The temperature witnessed a steady and gradual increase during the past four days. The met experts said both the day and night temperature was about three degrees more than the average.

However, a senior scientist of the PAU disclosed that, “There is a pattern in the rise in temperature during April after every four or five years”. While he did not specify any particular reason for it, but said, this was a natural phenomenon observed over past several decades that after every four or five years the temperature shoots up by about three or four degrees above average.

The scientist said it was indicative of a hot summer ahead and the temperature during the summer months was likely to go at least three to four degrees more than the average. Besides this, there will be frequent winds and windstorms. However, the rise in temperature will have one positive impact on the wheat crop. The scientist said the temperature would be beneficial for the ripening of the crop.

As if the rise in temperature was not enough, the PSEB also seems to be adding to the woes of the people with regular and frequent unscheduled power cuts at odd hours. Local PSEB officials have been maintaining that the cuts are directed and monitored from Patiala and nothing is done at the local level.

The cuts also lead to disruption in the water supply. The power cuts lead to twin problems. First the tubewells cannot be operated in absence of power. On the other hand most people in the city use motors for lifting water to upper stories as the pressure is quite low and in absence of electricity motors do not work and water does not reach the upper stories. The problem is more serious in old city areas.


Two hurt in shootout
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 10
Two youths were injured in a shooting incident at a marriage palace on Dugri Road here last night.

According to police sources, the incident took place when one youth, while dancing in front of the orchestra party fired a shot and injured two youths. It yet to be ascertained if the shots were fired deliberately or accidentally.

No case was registered as the persons at the marriage party were changing their statements According to the latest information, the relatives of the injured wanted to get a case registered and a police official had gone to a city hospital to record their statements but till evening the investigation was on.

The shooting incident exposes the non-implementation of the District Magistrate’s orders on ban on carrying firearms in marriage palaces.Back


Gang of thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 10
The police reportedly busted a gang of thieves yesterday. Dinesh Kumar, a resident of Dholewal Chowk, Baldev Singh, alias Bali, a resident of Sherpur Kalan, Rakesh Kumar, Shankar Sahni and Raj Maan, all residents of Gias Pura, equipped with weapons were allegedly planning to loot a wine shop at Kacha Sua road in the Dhandri Kalan area.

Police raided the area on a secret information and arrested the accused. A kamanidar knife, a pistol (.315 bore) and two live cartridges were recovered from the accused. A case has been registered under Sections 399 and 402 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act. 


Sale of cooler pads picks up
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 10
With rise in mercury the sale of desert cooler pads is increasing day by day in the region. Vendors selling pads can be seen on road sides.

Ram Parshad (17), a migrant from Uttar Pardesh, who has been selling the pads at the Ghumar Mandi road, said the pads had been brought from Chandigarh and other states. “This region is a big market of the pads as it becomes very hot in summers in the region”. And he makes best use of the weather conditions every time. He comes every year to sell these pads and earns good profit from this business.

Ram Parshad is quite optimistic that he would be able to make good profits in this season. He disclosed that a set of ordinary hay pads is available for Rs 45 whereas special ‘khas’ pads cost Rs 150 for three.

Ravi Kumar, a salesman says, “We can afford only a desert cooler, as air conditioner is out of our reach. 


Mango time is here again
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 10
King of fruits, mangoes has heralded its arrival in the city with hundreds of vendors selling the fruit. About 10 truck loads about 130 tonne, of mango was unloaded in the city fruit market, this morning. The number of trucks of mangoes has doubled in a day. Only five mango trucks were unloaded yesterday.

‘Safeda’ is one of the largest and best crop of the Andhra Pradesh, which would be very cheap in this summers, say merchants in the fruit market.

The wholesale price of this variety is around Rs 18 per kg while the retail price is Rs 25. The retailers have more margin in selling “gola” as the whole sale price is Rs 15 for a kilo while retail price is Rs 25 per kilo. Totapari is the cheapest variety in the market at a price of Rs 15 per kilo in retail while for Rs 11 per kilo in wholesale. 

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