Tuesday, May 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Murder and police inaction

Reeta Sharma’s piece “Of murder, parallel banking and police inaction” (May 23) will be appreciated a lot by readers. However, some vital facts have been missed.

The case was at first said to be a suicide by the police itself.

When the family members first met the Chief Minister, the father of the deceased was offered “old age pension”.

As stated in the article, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch, Chandigarh, when the City SP, Mr Jain, was on the verge of arresting some persons for destruction of evidence. No investigation was done by the Crime Branch. The case was sent back to Amritsar after Mr Jain was promoted and sent to Bathinda. There is a theory that Mr Jain wanted to involve innocent persons at the instance of a VVIP and miscarriage of justice was sought to be prevented. However, no explanation has been given by any one as to why in that case, Mr Jain was promoted.

One MP moved Home Minister Advani on 4.2.2000 to ensure reference of the case to the CBI. Mr Advani vide his letter dated 15.1.2001, informed the MP as under:


“However, the matter was referred to the Government of Punjab who have since reported that the Police Department is making all-out efforts to trace the culprit and hence it does not consider it necessary to hand over the case to the CBI.”

It is an amazing stand on the part of the Punjab Government after its total failure to solve the case even after more than two years of the murder. Moreso, when it is a matter which concerns our national economy being a case arising out of parallel banking (of smuggled money) in a nationalised bank.

Will the Chief Minister explain? He should, when he claims total transparency in governance.

It is about a year and a half ago that the Mahajan family went to the high court with the prayer that the case be given to the CBI. Reeta Sharma is not right when she says that the court “ordered promptly” the Amritsar police to give their findings by May 28, 2001. The SP Headquarters and the SHO concerned have been ordered to appear on 28.5.2001 only very recently. One does not want to run the risk of being hauled up for contempt of court but I must express my feeling that this case deserved to be referred to the CBI long long ago.

I am nobody to say whether or not those sought to be hauled up by SP Jain for destruction of evidence were really guilty. The police may be right when it says that Mahajan himself might have been involved in parallel banking. However, interests of our economy demand that this case must be solved and no one involved must be spared, howsoever high or low he may be.

SATYA PAL DANG, Chheharta (Amritsar)

Ridiculous & ominous ad

On May 24, 2001, a ridiculous and ominous advertisement appeared in some dailies of Delhi about which your esteemed readers ought to know and they must raise their voices against it. The ad, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division), requires every householder to report to the nearest police station the arrival or presence in his household of any foreigner. Non-compliance of this order can attract punitive action under the Foreigners Act 1946.

Foreign countries may look upon India as one of the most liberal and democratic societies of the world but its citizens will not accept that view if they are branded criminals for allowing foreigners into their homes.

The stupid ad does not even specify how long a foreigner must stay at a given location before the police must be informed. Need we report to the police even about casual visits by foreigners to our homes, about a cup of tea or meals we have with them? The Ministry of Home Affairs must clarify this.


Operation Bluestar

As mentioned in the report “Ex-SP confirms Bhindranwale’s death” (May 20), according to Mr Apar Singh Bajwa, the then DSP (City), who retired as SP, more than 800 bodies of those killed during Operation Bluestar were cremated en masse.

Apparently, they were innocent devotees, who visited the Golden Temple to make obeisance, not knowing the fate that awaited them, as most of the militants must have slunk away from there. I don’t think that any religious ceremony was performed at the time of their cremation or thereafter. Even their relatives might not have been informed about their deaths.

The Army attacked the Golden Temple complex on the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev. Was not it the worst type of insult to the memory of the great Guru? Could not some other measures be taken to flush out the militants?

The gilded walls of Harmandar Sahib bore numerous bullet marks. Yet the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, declared that not a single shot had been fired at it. Was not it a lie?

If my memory does not fail me, when the Punjab Vidhan Sabha with Mr Surjit Singh Barnala as the Chief Minister, mourned the deaths of innocent Sikhs killed during Operation Bluestar and anti-Sikh riots, the Congress MLAs staged a walkout to please their masters in New Delhi.

It is a pity that Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra has not, so far, even slightly expressed regret over the failure of the SGPC, then headed by him, to prevent the militants, who indulged in sanguinary violence and other heinous crimes, from entrenching themselves at Akal Takht and, thus, desecrating the supreme temporal and religious seat of Sikhism.



Right to information

The facts given in "The Right to Information Movement" by Ajit Bhattacharjea (May 22) rightly present a case for the right to information. There is no doubt that most of the development funds are misappropriated by people in high positions down to gram sewaks.

The needy people get very small part of the grant. This happens because: (a) people are unaware of their right to information (b) they are afraid to ask, because the opponents are powerful and dominant (c) they are ignorant of the laws of the land.

For example "the Punjab Panchayat Act' clearly states that a Gram Sabha (assembly of all adult population of the village) shall be held twice in a year to discuss the budget of development work in the village and sanction grant for it. But in villages no such assemblies take place. Neither the administration forces the people concerned to call for these assemblies. Thus lakhs of rupees are misappropriated by officials and village leaders.

No efforts are made by the district administration to look into the matters of villages. Some high dignitary or minister seldom makes a sudden inspection of village administration and development works.

Corruption is deep rooted and well recognised. Both the elected and the electors consider misappropriation of funds their fundamental right.

"Jan Sunwai" (the right to information movement) which is going on in Rajasthan villages is the people's movement for their rights. Every village in India needs such "Jan Sunwais". The vernacular media has a special role to make the concept popular at the grassroots levels. There lies a big social revolution in our society.

D. O. GOYAL, Khanal Kalan (Sangrur)


Have ‘Authors’ Guild’

Tavleen Singh's sharply critical article about the unprofessional attitude of Indian publishers towards their writers is not without reason. After two years' prodding I was lucky to extract a small amount of royalty from my publisher for my first Hindi novel. The same Delhi-based firm published my second novel in 1999. Although, bound by contract to inform me every six months about the sales of the novel and royalties due to me, I have yet to hear from my publisher!

The solution lies in forming an Indian Authors Guild similar to the Society of Authors of Britain.

Within this guild can be groups of children's writers, educational writers, TV & film scriptwriters, translators and illustrators. The Guild should have the power to take action against any publisher guilty of a breach of contract and blacklist those who fail to pay royalties on date.


Kandhali, Narangpur (Hoshiarpur)

B.C. poll winners

You missed two important names from the list of those who were successful in the recent B.C. election — Sindi Hawkins and Dave Hayer. Sindi is a Punjabi girl married to a Canadian doctor and is a nurse and a lawyer by profession. Dave Hayer took over the editorship of Vancouver Indo-Canadian Times when his father, Mr Hayer, was shot dead in his own garage by someone who is presumed not to like his views on extremism.

MOHINDAR RATTAN, Parksville, Canada

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