Saturday, June 16, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Desecrating religious places

The terrorists of Lashkar-e-Toiba, who had entrenched themselves in a mosque at Kharhama in Shopian, after killing a soldier and a special police officer, were given a safe passage by the security forces, who lifted the siege in view of the sanctity of the religious place (June 1).

A mosque is called “Khaana-e-Khuda”, i.e. the abode of God, where devotees say “namaaz” and do “talaavat” (recitation of the Quran) to purge the stains of sins from their souls and enjoy celestial bliss.

But the terrorists entered the mosque to use it as a hideout and a firing place. Was not it a desecration of the mosque? The security forces, living up to their glorious tradition to protect the sanctity of religious places of all faiths, allowed them to leave the mosque.

It is a pity that no Muslim cleric has condemned the sacrilegious act of the terrorists. I am reminded of Allama Iqbal’s verse:

Masjid to bana di shab bhar mein eeman ki haraarat waalon ney/ Man apna puraana paapi hai barson mein namazi ban na saka.

Bhagwan Singh, Qadian


Controversy over CDS

The appointment of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is mired in controversy. There is difference of opinion among the three services. Every service has its own reasons and sadly its own axe to grind in the matter.

The Army may argue that it is the biggest arm and that the crucial last-ditch hand-to-hand battle with the enemy is fought by the Army with the other two services playing only the supportive role. The Air Force may assert its importance in the foreseeable nuclear environment since the delivery system of nuclear warheads is held by it. The Navy may say that its role in safeguarding India’s long sea coast along which most of the country’s industry is growing should not be ignored.

But more than that it is the bureaucracy that may create hurdles if it perceives dilution of its own supremacy and hegemony in the proposal to set up the CDS.

It would perhaps be most appropriate that the job goes to the Army to begin with, followed by other two services in rotation after every three years. The incumbent should be senior to the three service chiefs, preferably a 5-star General, for effective command and control. All three services and the MOD may be suitably represented in the CDS secretariat for the smooth functioning of the new system.

Wg Cdr C. L. Sehgal (retd), Jalandhar


A shabby colony

This is to highlight the sorry plight of Shogi residents. Here are some of our problems.

We don’t get sufficient water. The water we get is brown and highly polluted. There is no garbage disposal system in place. The area is already turning into a slum.

There are no streetlights. At night it is pitch dark. There is no security system in place and there is a grave threat to life and property.

The sewerage and sanitation system is not fully operational. A lot of it is still exposed. The place stinks and is full of flies and mosquitoes.

The roads are in a dismal condition. Flats are incomplete. Often the doors and windowpanes are either broken or missing.

We have made several requests to the authorities concerned, but nobody pays attention.

R. K. Agnihotri, Shogi, Shimla

No English, please

This refers to the recent Sansui movie awards at Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi. English dominates at such programmes organised to award Hindi movies. Co-compere Rajpal Yadav tried to make fun of the national language and India’s traditional costume of “dhoti-kurta”.

Even artistes awarded for their roles in Hindi films spoke words of thanks in English. Raj Babbar and Shatrughan Sinha, however, addressed the viewers in Hindi. The public follows popular film artistes. They should avoid English while speaking in public.

Madhu Agarwal, DelhiTop

Border roads

Notwithstanding the tall claims of the Punjab Government about repairing all roads in Punjab by June 30, 2001, the condition of roads in the border-belt of Punjab speaks volume of the apathy and carelessness of the department concerned. The Amritsar-Khem Karan road (70 km) connects hundreds of villages of the Gandiwind, Bhikhiwind and Valtoha blocks. Its pitiable condition has already caused fatal injuries to two-wheeler riders. At night potholes are virtual death-traps.

The Bhikhiwind-Patti road is in bad shape at several places near Kale & Sandhra villages. The Bhikhiwind-Pahuwind link road has been awaiting repairs for the last four years.

Dr Jagsharan Bir Singh Sandhu, Amritsar

NIPER test

I applied for the entrance test for M. Pharma/M.C. (Pharma) in the National Institute of Pharmaceuticals Education and Research (NIPER), Sector 67, (Phase 10) Mohali, scheduled to be held on June 18, 2001, by depositing Rs 1,000 through a demand draft issued by the State Bank of India, for two subjects. On enquiry from the office of the NIPER I was informed that my form has been rejected as it was incomplete. Incomplete columns in the form, if any, were not shown to me despite my repeated requests. The form was completed in all respects and no column was left unattended.

Many candidates who have not received their admit cards and were put to trouble by this institute.

Munish Kumar, Hamirpur

Bill on insurance

This refers to Pushpa Girimaji's "Bill to give more powers to consumer courts". At present an aggrieved insurance consumer gets justice in his own district. With the proposed replacement of Section 3 of the insurance Act the aggrieved consumer will be forced to approach the Insurance Ombudsman.

At present the Insurance Ombudsmen are posted in 12 cities in India and their headquarters are located in state capitals. One Ombudsman looks after four to five states. For example, the Ombudsman located at Chandigarh looks after the complaints from Punjab, Haryana, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, and Chandigarh.

An aggrieved person who resides in Ladakh will have to visit Chandigarh for justice instead of getting it in his own district.

I request Minister of Consumer Affairs Shanta Kumar, and the members of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to keep this in mind while discussing the Bill which has already been introduced in the Rajya Sabha.

Sukhdev Singh, Amritsar


A few years back he was an ordinary octroi clerk collecting firewood, fodder and fresh vegetables from carts and trailler heading for the city market. He used to collect milk and fruits from farmers carrying these items to the city. Part of these collections went to his seniors who looked after his service interests, including his posting at advantageous points.

And now his son has become a city father. It is perhaps the beginning of his political career. The father of the city father is a much wanted person as he helps the needy in their day-to-day demands such as for LPG, kerosene and ration. The depot holders never disappoint him lest his "city father" son should put them to trouble.

Both the father and the son are held in high esteem by voters and lower-level government officials. Now they are itching to join a political party-so that they can make a fortune for their generations to come.

No Vajpayee or Badal can control the nefarious activities of such professional leaders-cum-looters.

Jai Dev Suman, Ferozepur Cantt

Pension problems

Benefits of pension on the revised grades as per the fourth pay commission have been denied to the pensioners of government-aided schools. Medical allowance has also not been given. Pension is granted in one year or more after retirement. The process of pension is very troublesome. Declining health renders many unable even to walk down to the treasury to collect pension. Pension should be paid through banks.

Satya Parkash Khanna, Kapurthala


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