Monday, September 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



BJP leaders to seek blessings of Akal Takht
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
In what appears to be an interesting and significant development, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders of Punjab, escorted by a section of the Sant Samaj, will appear at Akal Takht tomorrow.

The reason: to seek the blessings of the Jathedar of Akal Takht for the coming assembly elections. Since the BJP aspires to become a party which can contest all 117 assembly seats on its own, it needs the support of Sikh sants and their deras for a foothold in the rural areas.

The whole exercise is being organised by Baba Jaspal Singh of Dera Baddowal, near Ludhiana, who, according to reports, has already fixed an appointment for the BJP leaders and workers at Akal Takht at 10.30 a.m. on Monday.

The BJP caravan, led by its state unit president, Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, will leave Ludhiana around 7 a.m. to reach Amritsar by 10 a.m. After offering prayers at Harmandir Sahib and Akal Takht, the BJP president is expected to be presented with a siropa by Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti.

Professor Rinwa will be accompanied, among others, by Mr Avinash Jaiswal, organising secretary of the unit, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, a prominent kisan leader heading the peasants’ cell of the party, and Mr Sukhwinderpal Singh Grewal, president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP in the state.

The BJP motorcade will include more than 100 vehicles. Though the leaders will also visit Durgiana Mandir and Jallianwala Bagh to offer prayers, the time chosen for this exercise is interesting.

It is not that the BJP is starting its election campaign from tomorrow. In fact, it has already started its campaign and rallies are being organised in all 28 assembly constituencies from where the party candidates contested the 1997 elections.

For example, today it was Balachaur, where an impressive rally was held before the state leader of the BJP travelled to Ludhiana.

The reason being given is that a major section of the Sant Samaj has decided to support both the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal candidates in the poll and it is at the initiative of the Samaj that the visit to Akal Takht is taking place.

Though the BJP leadership has been demanding eight more seats from its senior alliance partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal, no joint meeting has been fixed so far to work out seat adjustments.

The leaders of both the BJP and the SAD have another important agenda on hand: the visit of the Prime Minister and several Central Ministers besides four Chief Ministers to Killianwali on Tuesday to mark the 88th birth anniversary of former Deputy Prime Minister, Devi Lal.

The “sadbhavna rally” to be addressed by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, after the unveiling of a 12-foot-high bronze statue of Devi Lal is being viewed as the “formal launch of the election campaign of both the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party” in Punjab.

The Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh (Mr Chanderbabu Naidu), Jammu and Kashmir (Dr Farooq Abdullah), Himachal Pradesh (Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal), Haryana (Mr Om Parkash Chautala) and Punjab (Mr Parkash Singh Badal) will be joined by Central Ministers, including Mr Pramod Mahajan, at the rally.

Change in the time of the rally from early afternoon to evening may compel the organisers to shorten the programme as the Prime Minister, who will be flying from Agra direct, will have to leave before it gets dark.

Further, common people who will come to the rally, mostly from the rural areas, in tractor-trailers, trucks and buses, too, will be keen to return home before dark.


Cong to hold rallies in Punjab
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 23
The Congress has decided to hold rallies in various districts of Punjab from the end of this month. These rallies would be followed by meetings in every block of the state. The Punjab Congress chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was here to attend a meeting of the Manmohan Singh committee on Assembly polls in the state, told the TNS that the party had so planned its grass-roots strategy as to build the crescendo near the elections.

Though the state Congress seems to be preparing its strategy for elections in February, its leaders say that they are ready for an early election also.

After holding rallies in various zones of the state, the Congress has now decided to mobilise public in the urban areas of the state. Capt Amarinder Singh said the first of the 21 rallies, which the party was planning to hold in various district headquarters in the next two months, would be held at Gurdaspur on September 30.

The party plans to focus on the rural areas from the middle of November after the procurement of paddy and the sowing season are over. Corner meetings have been planned in each block of the state.

The special committee on Punjab headed by Dr Manmohan Singh, which was constituted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, is finalising the party’s charge sheet against the Badal government. While Dr Manmohan Singh is giving the final touches to the charge sheet, the draft of manifesto is being readied by a committee headed by Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder. The manifesto, party leaders said, would be declared only after the polls were announced.

Satisfied with the response at their zonal rallies at Raiya, Isru, Phagwara and Malout, the party leaders are in no mood to let the enthusiasm among the party cadre wane. They feel that the Congress has gained from the recent verbal duel between Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh as the former had “backed off.”

The Congress is making special efforts to gain sympathy of the large farming community in the state. Apart from the promise of “free power,” the party has also assured to increase the minimum support price for paddy by Rs 30.

Its leaders feel that the party will now get support from the sections which had drifted away from the party in the recent years. The issue of return of former militants, they hope, will sway the minority community in the state towards the Congress. “We stand to gain even if unity is reached between various Akali factions as the party would then have greater support among Dalits,” a party leader said.

Unlike Uttar Pradesh, where Ms Gandhi is scheduled to address series of rallies in the next few days, no such programme has been chalked out for Punjab.


BSP to go it alone in Punjab
Varinder Singh

Hoshiarpur, September 23
Kicking off the Bahujan Samaj Party’s poll campaign and giving a clarion call to the Dalits of Punjab in view of the forthcoming Assembly elections, the BSP supremo announced that his party would contest all 117 seats in Punjab without going in for any alliance with any other party.

Staging the BSP’s first massive show of strength at Roshan Grounds, Mr Kanshi Ram and former UP Chief Minister Mayawati also promised to give due representation to the Rajputs and Backward Classes in their efforts to remove the impression that the BSP was a party of Dalits alone and to give a boost to the Scheduled and Backward Classes which constitute a majority in almost all 25 Assembly seats of the Doaba region of Punjab. “You committed a folly by casting your votes to the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine in 1997 and you saw the results. Have you got any benefit from this government? Such a vast electorate had sent just one person to the Assembly. Is it not a shame on your part?” questioned Mr Kanshi Ram, adding that he had been working hard in Punjab for the past 10 months to unite the Dalits.

He said the BSP would be the leading party at the Centre and rule the country after the next parliamentary elections. “This time you won’t see 25 parties ruling at the Centre. There will be a two-party system — one ruling (BSP) and the other opposing it. There will be a polarisation of ideology, he said, denying any possibility of an alliance with any other party in Punjab. “The Congress was spreading canards that I had taken money from Mr Badal and the Akalis were dubbing me as a Congress agent. But you will come to know the reality about these baseless allegations this time,” said Mr Kanshi Ram while welcoming the formation of the Panthic Morcha in Punjab.

Lashing out at the Congress, he said unlike the Congress his party would work on the principle of “manavvaad” and would not pursue the agenda of “Manuvaad.” He alleged that Mahatama Gandhi and the Congress had opposed the countrywide struggle initiated by Dr Ambedkar for the uplift of the poor. “The Congress had done nothing except minting money during its 40-year rule. Same was the case with the SAD-BJP combine government in Punjab. But now the fight will be between money and votes.” Mr Kanshi Ram said his party’s relentless campaign to create awareness among the Dalits had stunned both the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine.

A senior BSP leader, Ms Mayawati, said the Dalits of Doaba region had the capacity to help their brethren to improve their economic condition, but they had “failed” to play an effective role. She said her party would contest 403 seats in Uttar Pradesh.


Move afoot to remove Kewal Singh
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 23
The SGPC President, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, is under pressure to remove Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, from his post in view of his alleged statement against Baba Nand Singh, the founder of Nanaksar Kaleran sect.

Giani Kewal Singh is alleged to have made some derogatory remarks against Baba Nand Singh at a function in Amritsar district a few days ago.

Giani Kewal Singh has lately denied the remarks attributed to him, but his denial has not been accepted by the Nanaksar Kaleran sect and other Sikh organisations.

A few members of the SGPC belonging to Bathinda district also met Mr Talwandi on Friday at Alamgir and urged him to remove Giani Kewal Singh. They are reported to have told Mr Talwandi that Giani Kewal Singh was already facing trial regarding the death of his daughter in law.

It is further learnt a few days ago the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal, also raised the issue at a meeting of the district Jathedars in Chandigarh. They are reported to have urged the SGPC chief to restrain Giani Kewal Singh from making such remarks.


9-yr-old raped, murdered
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 23
In a bizarre incident, a nine-year-old girl, Sajjo, was kidnapped from a railway platform here on the night of September 21, raped and strangled to death by unidentified persons. Her body was kept at the railway police station for more than 12 hours as the post-mortem examination could not be conducted yesterday.

Police sources said Sajjo was a daughter of Jagdish Kumar, a resident of Dausa in Rajasthan, who lives on the railway platform of the city and earns his livelihood by selling honey collected from various places. During the wee hours of Saturday, Sajjo was kidnapped from the platform while she was sleeping. A number of people sleep on the railway platforms, including a large number of sadhus. Her parents raised the alarm when they came to know that their daughter was missing.

After her family failed to locate her, they contacted the police authorities at the railway station and a search operation was carried out, the sources said. The body of the girl was recovered from the thick vegetation near the railway lines yesterday evening but the post-mortem examination could only be carried out today.

When the police party and the family members of the deceased were carrying out a search, the father of the deceased located clothes of his daughter and the body was recovered from the thick vegetation.

Police officials said the body was recovered at around 5 pm yesterday and the civil hospital authorities did not perform the post-mortem examination the same evening. The body was kept on ice slabs under police custody.

Hospital sources said the body was not received till this morning and a post-mortem examination had confirmed rape and death due to strangulation. The report of the post-mortem examination had been submitted to the authorities, sources said.

Dr Jatinder Jain, SSP, said a case under Sections 363, 376, and 302 of the IPC had been registered. A special team has been constituted to nab the culprits. Certain suspects had been identified, he disclosed.


Case against Dr Singla ‘false’ 
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 23
The corruption case registered against Dr Pushpinder Singla, Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Bhikhi by the Vigilance Department took a new turn today when all municipal councillors of the Nagar Panchayat urged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to withdraw it as it was a totally false case.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, 13 municipal councillors while condemning the registration of corruption case against Dr Singla pointed out that there was no truth in the case.

The municipal councillors in a separate representation had also requested the Health Minister to withdraw the case.

Earlier, the PCMS Association, Mansa, in a representation to the Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Raji P. Srivastva, alleged that Dr Singla had been implicated in a false criminal case and it should be withdrawn. Mrs Srivastva had assured them that she would taken up the matter with the Chief Secretary, Punjab, so that an independent inquiry could be conducted into it.

Sources said the Vigilance Department had claimed that Dr Singla was caught red-handed on September 17 in the hospital while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 3,000 from Mr Parvinder Kumar.

However, the PCMS Association alleged that Dr Pushpinder Singla was implicated into a false case as there was no motive for him to take bribe from Mr Parvinder Singh as neither Mr Parvinder nor his kin was under treatment or medically examined by Dr Singla.

The association had also alleged that vigilance team had also carried out a search in the house of Dr Singla without any search warrants. They added that due to harassment at the hands of vigilance officials, Dr Singla developed some complications and had to be hospitalised subsequently.


Family disputes taking ugly turn
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 23
The number of cases registered for murder, attempt to murder and causing grievous injuries for property, extra-marital affairs and “honour” is on the rise in Malwa.

According to official records, in the past nine months, 23 criminal cases were registered at different police stations of the district in which family members and close relatives were involved in crimes ranging from disputes over use of canal water to extra-marital affairs.

Records reveal that “honour killings” were on the rise in the region. Between April and August this year, the Bathinda police registered four cases of murder or attempt to murder. A case of injuring a woman seriously was also reported.

In one case in Bathinda in April this year, a girl was reportedly murdered by her maternal uncle for marrying a boy of her choice against the wishes of the family. In another case registered at Maur village of the district, a man and his brother killed his wife as they had doubts about her character.

There has been an upswing in crimes related to extra-marital affairs. The most sensational case in the district was that of a person who was brutally killed by his wife with the help of her paramour in June this year as the husband opposed the illicit relation.

Disputes that arose from the use of canal water for irrigation and distribution of property are other major reasons for crime. Property disputes are taking such an ugly shape that people go to the extent of killing their near and dear ones to settle the issue.

Such disputes range from the construction of a common wall in houses to ownership of land. Transactions by forging documents by family members and relatives are also leading to serious crimes.

A senior police official said that it was only the tip of iceberg, as many such cases were not reported due to fear of social stigma.


BSP to back UP Bill on quota
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 23
The Bahujan Samaj Party will support the BJP government in getting the Bill on reservation for Dalits and Backward Classes passed at a special session of the UP Assembly on September 26. This was stated by Ms Mayawati, former Chief Minister of UP, while talking to mediapersons at the Canal Rest House here today.

Ms Mayawati, who came here in a helicopter from Lucknow to attend a state-level rally of the BSP at Roshan Ground, criticised Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav for resignation of Samajwadi Party MLAs en masse from the state Assembly.

She said Mr Mulayam Singh wanted to topple the BJP government so that the reservation Bill could not be presented in the House. She said why he and his party had not brought a no-confidence motion against the government earlier.

Ms Mayawati said the BSP would contest the coming elections in UP, Uttaranchal and Punjab independently. The UP Assembly would complete its turn on October 17. The BSP would take a decision regarding resignations of its MLAs from the House after that. She claimed the BSP had widened its base in all aforesaid states.

Referring to the Centre’s stand on the proposed American war against terrorism, she said it should not act in haste and watch the interests of the country first.

Mr Kanshi Ram, BSP supremo, who was also present, said in reply to the BJP’s hindutva concept, the BSP had a “manavta” campaign.

He said he had succeeded in uniting the 24 per cent. Dalits in UP as a result of which the BSP had formed its government there twice.

Dalits constituted 36 per cent and the BC 15 per cent of Punjab’s population. He was trying to unite them. He hoped the BSP would secure 51 per cent votes in Punjab in the coming elections to the state Assembly.

Later, Ms Mayawati and Mr Kanshi Ram along with senior leaders of the BSP addressed a rally of workers at Roshan Ground here.


Dhindsa for Bachi as SAD nominee
Tribune News Service

Dirba (Sangrur), September 23
Factionalism in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today surfaced in this district when in a show of strength in Dirba, the bastion of Mr Baldev Singh Mann, former local MLA and Administrative Member (AM) of the PSEB, Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachi, Chairman, Punjab State Cooperative Bank, was “projected” as the candidate of SAD for this Assembly constituency in the forthcoming elections.

Though the function organised at the local grain market was to thank the “Akal Purkh” (almighty God) for the recovery of Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachi, who remained seriously ill for more than a month recently, yet it was “purely” a political conference which was attended by thousands of his supporters.

Mr Baldev Singh Mann was virtually a permanent Akali candidate from the Dibra Assembly constituency and has contested several times from here in the past. His allegiance to Mr Surjit Singh Barnala is well known, while Mr Bachi is a confidant of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.

The function was attended, among others, by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Gurbachan Singh Fetehgarh, president of the district unit of SAD, Mr Parkash Chand Garg, Chairman, Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation, Mr Teja Singh Kamalpur, Chairman, Milk Plant, Sangrur, Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, member of the working committee of SAD.

No speaker even mentioned the name of Mr Baldev Singh Mann in his speech, but they only “projected” Mr Bachi as the candidate by demanding ticket for him. Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa also approved the name of Mr Bachi for Dirba Assembly constituency by saying that the gathering at the function has proved Mr Bachi’s popularity.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Dhindsa lashed out at the Congress. He said the Congress had created a wedge between Hindus and Sikhs in the past, but SAD always worked for their unity. He assured the farmers that they would not face any difficulty during the paddy procurement. He said due to his efforts, the Union Government had not decreased the subsidy on fertilisers this year.

Mr Dhindsa said SAD would try its best to allot party tickets for contesting in the Assembly elections by rising above the factionalism. He said the party would allot tickets to popular candidates.

Mr Dhindsa assured the gathering that Mr Parkash Singh Badal would hold a “sangat darshan” in Dirba in October to solve the problems of the residents of this Assembly constituency.


Communal amity to be BJP’s poll plank
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, September 23
The district unit of the BJP organised a rally at Balachaur, 20 km from here, today to observe the birth anniversary of Pt Din Dyal Upadhaya. Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, president of the state unit of the BJP, while addressing the rally said development and communal harmony would be the major plank of the party during Assembly elections.

He said the Congress and the so-called Panthic Morcha had no concrete programme for the welfare of the people. He added that the delay in abolition of octroi in the state was due to the absence of alternative and now the alternative had been identified. So, the octroi would be abolished and the CM would make an announcement in this regard soon. He said the BJP would demand more seats in the ensuing Assembly elections but denied any tension within the SAD-BJP alliance on the issue.

Mr Tikshan Sood, State Minister for Excise and Taxation, Mr Avinash, Mr Shakti Sharma, Mr Varinder Kaur Thandi and Mr Chamkaur Singh Kouri, all BJP leaders, Mr Resham Singh Thiara, and Mr Mehanga Singh both SAD leaders, among others, addressed the rally.


Kanshi deceived Dalits: Kainth
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, September 23
The Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM) today organised a rally at Banga, about 13 km from here. It was attended by thousands of morcha workers from the Doaba region. Mr Satnam Kainth, president, BSM and former MP, addressing the rally, said the Dalits, the backward classes and other marginal groups of society should not rely upon the Congress or the ruling NDA government as these parties were feudal and were safeguarding the interests of the elite only. He said these parties represented the elite.

Criticising the SAD-BJP coalition government in the state, Mr Kainth said the Dalits and other weaker sections of society had become disillusioned with its working.

He said the BSM was not against the abolition of octroi tax in the state but if the step put burden on the weaker sections of society, then the morcha would launch a statewide agitation. He criticised the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for giving sops in the shape of liberal grants to the village panchayats.

Mr Kainth came down heavily on the BSP supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, and alleged that he had also deceived the Dalits.

Mr Kainth said the BSM would not enter into an alliance with any party having direct or indirect relations with the BSP.

The BSM passed resolutions demanding increase in the minimum wages of labourers, free education up to matriculation, withdrawal of hike in fee for SC students in professional colleges, implementation of the Mandal Commission report and subsidy to purchase agricultural machinery for small farmers.

The rally was also addressed, among others, by Dr Raj Singh Kheri, former MLA, Mr Avtar Singh Lator, Mr Hardev Singh, both general secretaries, Mr Ram Chand Talwandi, vice-president, Mr Mehar Chand Kaile, Mr Chaman Lal Gujjar, Mr Som Nath, Mr Paramjit Singh Kainth, Mr Hardit Singh Bhatti, Mr Balbir Ram, Mr Nachhattar Singh Suman and Mr Pritpal Singh.


Cong designs thwarted: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 23
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP, today said the SAD-BJP government had thwarted anti-people and anti-Punjab designs of the Congress.

Mr Sukhbir Badal, while talking to mediapersons here today claimed that in the past four and-a-half years, the Punjab government led by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had succeeded in putting the state’s economy back on rails by bringing various mega projects in the state.


‘Educate passengers on rights, duties’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 23
The Railway Passengers Association (North Zone), at a function organised here today in connection with the better utilisation of railway facilities, urged the railway authorities to educate rail passengers about their right and duties.

Mr R.K. Goyal, general secretary of the association, said in a press note issued here today that every passenger should protect railway property and enjoy various facilities.

The railway authorities should also ensure that the rail passengers were kept informed about the latest developments and their rights, he said. Giving examples, Mr Goyal said that under the railway laws, every passenger who possessed a valid ticket was insured against any accident, though the amount for which he or she was insured varied as per the loss suffered. In most cases the association had found that the passengers were not aware of this law, Mr Goyal added.

A large number of representatives of various bodies and non-government organisations took part in today’s function. Those who attended the function included Mr Gurprasad Behl, member, Railway Advisory Committee, Bikaner, Mr Mahabir Prasad, patron, Railway and Road Safety Society, Mr C.L. Kukkar, legal consultant, Railway Passengers Association (RPA). Many senior officers of the Northern Railway also addressed the gathering.

Mr Lajpat Rai, Rajya Sabha MP, released a book, “Passenger Guide,” issued by the RPA. Addressing the gathering, he said the association was doing good work in educating railway passengers.

The details given in the book about train timings, fares, refund rules and laws relating to the rail journey would be of immense help to the passengers, he said.

Mr Pawan Tayal and Mr Ashok Kumar, president and senior vice-president, respectively, of the association, said that although the Bathinda railway station was classified under the modern railway stations, the facilities being provided were not in keeping with the requirements.

The self printing ticket machine, which was to be installed in July this year, had not yet been set up. The stairs connecting the various platforms, needed to be widened, they said.

Representatives of the RPA alleged that though the government had increased the rail fares in the name of collecting safety fund, the proposals for the utilisation of the fund many had not been made public.

They said unmanned railway crossings should be converted to manned crossings. The government was expected to collect Rs 5,000 crore with the increase in these fares, they added.

The association urged the railway authorities to print on the back of the railway ticket that the passenger who owned the ticket was duly insured against any accidental loss. The association would raise the demands of the passengers at a meeting to be held at Shimla on October 10, Mr Goyal said.


Take up US Sikhs’ cause: Mann
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 23
The Member of Parliament and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today demanded that an all-party delegation should visit the USA to take up the cause of American Sikhs with the US government. He said that this step was the need of the hour, keeping in view the attacks on the Sikhs after the terrorist attacks on the USA.

Mr Mann was addressing mediapersons here today when he said that the delegation should be led by the Foreign Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, and include Sikhs and members from all political parties of the country.

He criticised the USA for lifting the sanctions against India and Pakistan. Terming the decision as a hasty one, Mr mann said that the US Government should have asked the two nations to dismantle their nuclear structures before lifting the sanctions.

Criticising the Punjab unit of the Congress, Mr Mann said he was against the five- member delegation being planned by the party. He said that this decision had exposed the anti-sikh policies of the Congress party and had re-opened the wounds of the Sikhs which were inflicted on them during the 1984 riots.

He said the situation in 1984 and the attacks on the religious places of Sikhs were the handiwork of the Congress party. He said the Congress favoured granting amnesty to cops who had killed hundreds of innocent youths during the militancy period in Punjab.

Criticising the BJP government at the Centre, he said that this party was never with the USA and had extended its support only because Pakistan had supported America. He said that it was anti-Muslim and so was supporting the USA now.

He said that the USA should understand that the Sikhs were its friends and it should have worked in the direction of making the Americans believe that they were their friends. He said that during the 1979 war between the USSR and Afghanistan, the Sikhs had supported America.

He said that the USA should follow some other path to fight the terrorism as it could not be controlled by adopting the terrorists’ policies.


Bhan: employed SCs must help brethren
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 23
The Himachal Pradesh Governor, Mr Suraj Bhan, today appealed to the educated and employed members of the Scheduled Castes to contribute at least one day’s salary in a year for the benefit of downtrodden SC members. He was addressing a seminar, Dr Ambedkar — An Inspiration Lives On”, at Presidency hotel. The seminar was organised by the Punjab Civil Medical Services Welfare Association here today.

He said there were about 50 lakh employed members of the Scheduled Castes, including officers.

The Governor said in spite of this atrocities are still being committed against members of SCs particularly in far-flung rural areas. If we do not succeed in providing economic and political freedom to them it won’t make much sense, he added.

Mr Bhan also dwelt elaborately on the life and principles of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. When at the round-table conference in London the Britishers had opposed independence for India on the plea that Indians are a divided and caste ridden society. Dr Ambedkar urged them to give freedom and leave it to Indians to settle caste problems between themselves.


BJP Kisan Morcha gen secy quits
over Sehajdhari issue
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 23
The state General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party Kisan Morcha, Dr P.S. Ranu, has resigned from office as well as from the primary membership of the party in protest against the denial of voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

The resignation has come in the wake of formation of the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, with Dr Ranu as its National President.

In a two-page resignation letter written to the BJP state chief, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, Dr Ranu, the lone elected member of the Central Council of Homeopathic System of Medicine, has regretted that it was under the SAD-BJP regime that the SGPC had chosen to marginalise the Sehajdhari Sikhs, thereby creating another minority within a minority.

Dr Ranu further pointed out that he had taken over the reins of Sehajdhari Sikh Federation to fight for their rights and since the BJP was a constituent of the ruling coalition, he was quitting his post as well as the party, albeit with a heavy heart.

He had earlier served the BJP in various positions, including secretary in the district unit of the BJP Kisan Morcha and member of the National Executive of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, youth wing of the BJP.


Thousands pay obeisance at Baba Farid’s tomb
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 23
Thousands of people from all walks of life here today paid obeisance at the tomb of Baba Sheikh Farid and Gurdwara Godri Sahib on the concluding day of the celebrations to mark the “aagman purb” of Sufi saint Baba Sheikh Farid. Most of them also had a dip at the holy “sarovar” of Baba Farid.

Meanwhile, the management committee of Tilla Baba Farid took out a “nagar kirtan” procession through the main streets of the town to mark the occasion. The procession, which started from Gurdwara Tilla Baba Farid, terminated at Gurdwara Godri Sahib.

A congregation was also held at Gurdwara Godri Sahib where the management committee honoured members of Sahara Club, Bathinda, with a cash award of Rs 51,000, a citation and a robe of honour for their dedicated services. Mr Nanak Chand Khichi, judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court (retd), Mr Mukand Lal, District and Sessions Judge (retd), and Dr Balwant Singh Tung, Director (retd), Health Services, Punjab, were also honoured for performing their duties honestly in their respective professions.

Highlighting the teachings of the Sufi saint, Mr Inderjit Singh Sekhon, president of the Baba Sheikh Farid Society, said a decision had been taken to give “shagun” of Rs 21,000 to those Sikh couples who would perform intercaste marriages in the district. A “kirtan darbar” was also held on the occasion.


CM behind case against me, says Dhanaula
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 23
Mr Gurinderpal Singh Dhanaula, a former General Secretary of Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, who has joined the Kanshi Ram-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has alleged that the Chief Minister is making all efforts to implicate him in false cases.

Talking to this reporter here on phone from Delhi today, he alleged he had been implicated in a false case of car theft because of political vendetta.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal had given oral instructions to the police to implicate him in false cases even after his arrest was stayed by Mr Justice Nirmal Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

He said he had incurred the wrath of Mr Badal when on July 27 last year he wrote to him regarding implication of Mr Kulwant Singh Jaito, leader of the SAD youth wing, at the instance of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal in a false case under the NDPS Act.

He urged upon various human rights organisations to protect him.


6,025 industrial disputes settled
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 23
The department of Labour and Employment, Punjab organised a Lok Adalat at Guru Nanak Bhawan, here yesterday.

As many as 6025 industrial disputes involving Rs 4.35 crore were settled. The presiding officers of Amritsar, Patiala, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Gurdaspur and Bathinda labour courts and the chairman of State Industrial Tribunal held the Lok Adalat.

This was the fourth Lok Adalat held by the Labour Department. The three Lok Adalats were held in Ludhiana, Patiala and Jalandhar respectively.

Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Labour and Employment Minister Punjab said the dispute settlement rate was one of the highest in the country. Despite this pendency in the labour court was quite high. Attempts were now being made to resolve these industrial conflicts through Lok Adalats.


Duggal, Anjum get Punjab Rattan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 23
Noted personalities Kartar Singh Duggal, Sardar Anjum and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary-General Randhir Singh were among those given “Punjab Rattan Award” by Punjab Governor Lieut-Gen J. F. R. Jacob (retd) on behalf of the Punjab Writers Forum at a glittering function organised at the Thapar Institute auditorium here today.

The Governor also bestowed the Punjab Rattan Award on former bureaucrat Tejinder Khanna, Punjab and Sind Bank Chairman N. S. Gujral, artistes Surinder Kaur and Hansraj Hans and industrialist Rakesh Bharti Mittal. The Punjab Rattan Award was also given posthumously to former Chief Minister Beant Singh, former Hind Samachar Editor Lala Jagat Narain and former Akali Dal Chief Harchand Singh Longowal.

Mrs Jaswant Kaur, wife of the former Chief Minister, received the posthumous award in the name of Mr Beant Singh. Similarly, Vijay Chopra, Editor, Hind Samachar, received the award bestowed posthumously on his father.

Those honoured with the Patiala Rattan Award were Major Manvendra (posthumously) which was received by his widow, former Vice-Chancellor Dr Gursewak Singh, theatre personality Pran Sabharwal, bureaucrat Viswajit Khanna, Gurcharan Singh Manni on behalf of the Daily Ranjit newspaper, upcoming classical dancer Aarohi Walia and blood donor Subhash Jain.


Shabad singer goes pop
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 23
The present generation of Punjabi singers cannot be put in any category. They sing for the masses, without following any particular style.

Sukhdev Sukha made this statement while talking to mediapersons here last night. He said the primary aim of the singer was to entertain the audience and there was no need to restrain oneself to any style. He was in the city to perform at a local club yesterday.

Sukha, a new entrant in the field of Punjabi singing, belongs to Bhanoke village, near Phagwara of Kapurthala district. He migrated to Canada in 1996 but continued to practise singing, in the hope that one day he would earn a name for himself.

Sukha said he had been singing since his childhood. He used to render shabad kirtan in the gurdwara in his village. His first guru was Master Mohan Lal who gave him his first lessons in music.

Sukha said he had worked hard for his first album titled ‘Tu Mast Kalander’. The lead song of the album is a mixture of Sufi and pop styles. Four videos for the songs of the album have been shot by Samir Hafiz.


Steps to check dengue fever
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 23
Cases of fever are increasing in the city and it is suspected that some of them may be of dengu.

This was stated by Dr Kiranjit Kumar, the local Civil Surgeon, in a press note here last evening. Preventive measures to check the spread of dengu had been started in the district. Ten teams had been deputed to spray anti-mosquito insecticides. Fever survey had been conducted in some of the mohallas in the city, he added. He said a control room had been set up at the Civil Hospital. 


Remarks against minister ‘baseless’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Dr Manjit Singh, President, Punjab Civil Ayurvedic Services Association (PCASA), has described the statement of Dr Harmanjit Singh, claiming himself to be the President of the association, against the Punjab Health Minister, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, as malicious, unfortunate and baseless.

In a written statement issued here today, Dr Manjit Singh claimed that he was elected President of the actual and duly recognised association of ayurvedic doctors of the state and Dr Harmanjit Singh had nothing to do with the presidentship.


Markfed procures 65,000 MT of paddy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
The Punjab Markfed has procured 65,190 MT of paddy worth Rs 36 crore on the first two days of the current procurement season which opened on Friday.

According to an official spokesman here today, Markfed had been allotted 484 mandis this year for the procurement of paddy. Some of the mandis had been allotted exclusively to Markfed while the remaining were shared by it with other procurement agencies. Markfed was fully geared to procure its share of 18.5 per cent of the total paddy arrivals as compared to 16 per cent last year. The quality of paddy procured was in keeping with the specifications laid down by the Government of India, the spokesman said.

Smooth paddy procurement operations had belied apprehensions expressed in some quarters that the farmers would face difficulties in selling their produce in the Punjab mandis, the spokesman added.


On-the-spot painting contest held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 23
An on-the-spot painting contest was held at the district branch of the Indian Welfare Council of India under the presidentship of Mr Narinderjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner. The chairperson, Ms Parminder Kaur, was also present on the occasion.

As many as 259 students from 19 schools participated. Competition was held in the age groups 5-8 years, 9-12 years, 12-16 years. Mentally retarded, deaf and dumb groups were also categorised. The first prize among the 5-8 years age group went to Shailja Sharma of Manav Public School, second prize to Tribhawan Singh of Khalsa Public School and third prize to Raghav of DAV Senior Secondary School here.

In the age group of 9-12 years, first prize was won by Anchal Sehgal of Manav Public School, second prize was shared by Vishal Singh Rana of DAV Senior Secondary School and Amritpal Singh of Red Rose Higher Secondary School. Third prize was won by Dixit Kumar of Ajanta Public Higher Secondary School.

In the 13-16 years age group, first prize was won by Kavita of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, second prize went to Sanachit Mehra of Alexandra Higher Secondary School. Third prize went to simranjit Kaur of Government Girls Senior Secondary School.

In the mentally retarded category all prizes were won by Red Cross Koshish School for Special Education here. In all age groups first prize was won by Navdeep Singh, second by Sukhmandeep Singh and third prize by Shalindera.

The groups of mentally retarded students who won the prizes were — first to Gurpreet Kaur, second to Parmod Kumar and third prize to Sandeep Aggarwal.


Auto show in Patiala
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 23
Auto buffs had a field day yesterday admiring the latest designs introduced by DC Trends which were showcased for the first time in the city.

There was an enthusiastic response from youngsters who thronged the various stalls of DC Trends to know how their vehicles could be made snazzier as well as more powerful. The changes made by the DC Trends to most of the popular models were also showcased.

There was also a big crowd at the Hundai stall where its new luxury car Sonata was on display. The auto show saw all the major car companies, including Tata Motors, Maruti, Hundai, Honda, Toyata, Mahindra and Mahindra, Ford, Opel and Kinetic.

The Citi Auto IT show was held on the Thapar college ground and the show was inaugurated by Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra, senior Akali leader, here.

Mr Sanjoy Sen, Country Head, Auto Business, Citibank, who was the chief guest, said: “The show would help the citizens of Patiala and the neighbouring towns to choose from the tremendous car models at display and the most attractive finance options from Citibank.”

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