Saturday, September 15, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Need to study causes of violence

All kinds of violence and causes of bloodshed in Punjab need to be studied by neutral agencies. So far all mainstream political parties have opposed this idea. India is the only so-called democracy in the world which has declined access to international human rights groups like Amnesty International.

Every human being or community has a right to have political aspirations or the more maligned term of separatist views (sense of separateness is an unpleasant feeling and the reason for these views is a topic for another time) as long as they believe in using peaceful means to advance their cause. The majority of Punjabis have never supported violence of any kind against innocents in Punjab (of any faith) or elsewhere. The previous Indian governments had successfully used the military/'police and the media might to suppress political aspirations of the people of Punjab.

The Central government used to say it will accept demands of Punjab only after violence is quelled, but to date all those demands remain unsettled. (like issues of capital, water sharing and territorial concerns.) Many police officers made tonnes of money by killing innocent people, labelling them as terrorists and they were given bounties by the government.

I am against all kind of violence. But there is a big difference between violence by misguided persons and the people in uniform killing innocents. There is also a difference between militants and ordinary citizens. I am talking about ordinary citizens because most of Indian intellectuals brand (justify) every Sikh killed in India in the same category.

The government or the legal system in India has failed to punish any one of those police officers who helped Congress supporters in killing thousands of innocent, non-political, non-separatist, loyal citizens of India in New Delhi (1984) and elsewhere in India. Punjab needs healing and justice. The number one cause of instigating violence is when ordinary citizens of any country lose faith in their judicial system and fairness of the majority community.

Let us hope for justice. Let us hope the so-called defender of justice (Home Minister of India) will not stall justice in courts of India. People in rural Punjab are poor and they don't have access to expensive attorneys. If they can successfully prove guilt of some powerful police officers with their meager means, then there must be some facts which need to come out to public knowledge. These issues are very serious for future peace in Punjab.

Let me share one fact that the population of Sikhs in New Delhi was 11 lakh out of the total 80 lakh in 1979 and now (2001) it has dwindled to less than six lakh out of 130 lakh as per the recent census. This could be due to many reasons but one major factor is the sense of insecurity amongst the Sikhs living in the Capital of their own country — the country they loved and sacrificed for. A very sad fact. And the Punjab problem remains unsolved.

J. SINGH, California, USA


Research work

The report, "Who cares for research at Punjabi University" (September 4) is not based on facts.

A few months ago Dr Jodh Singh was sent to Paris by the Council of All Indian Philosophical Research for one-month research work.

Dr Dharam Singh recently presented his paper at an inter-faith international conference in London. The Publication Bureau publishes more than one research book every month.

The Department of Library Science is going to start an international research journal. Dr Sharnpal Singh of the Department of English, Correspondence Courses, was invited for two months to work on a research project in the USA.

Dr Jagbir Singh was presented the Young Scientist Award by the Japan Government for his research contribution.

More than 25 "Multimillion Series Lectures" have been delivered in the university by Indian and foreign scholars.


Errors in textbooks

There are often factual errors in school textbooks which put teachers and students in a fix. Of late private publishing of textbooks has become a lucrative business.

Publishers hire cheap, incompetent authors who have made authenticity the last priority.

To sell books publishers rope in retired principals, NCERT & CBSE officers and university professors.

Even books by renowned institutions are not free from confusing contradictions. For instance (i) "Geography of India" (NCERT, Class X textbook) states on page 11:

"But more interesting is the fact that three major rivers of the subcontinent — the Indus, the Satluj, and the Brahmputra originate beyond the Himalayas ...

Moreover, it can be inferred that these rivers existed before the formation of the Himalayas".

If the Indus, the Satluj and the Brahmputra existed before the formation of the Himalayas, how can they start from it? Which statement is correct?

Dr U. S. UPADHYAY, Faridabad

Pensioners’ demands

Resentment prevails among Himachal government pensioners as the state government has not so far released DA @ 20 per cent due from January, 2001.

The Centre, as also Punjab and Haryana, has since long released DA. Now another instalment of DA has become due from July 1, 2001. The Himachal Government is requested at least to release the DA due from January, 1, 2001, without further delay.

The Himachal Government has also not accepted other d7emands of pensioners like fixed medical allowance of Rs 250 p.m., LTC, old age allowances on the Punjab pattern.

C.L. RAJPUT, SolanTop

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