Saturday, October 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

DA slab for Punjab staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today announced one more instalment of dearness allowance for employees, pensioners and private aided institutions’ staff at an enhanced rate of 2 per cent (45 per cent instead of 43 per cent), effective from July 1, 2001. The payment will be in cash. This will entail an additional burden of Rs 71.31 crore on the exchequer.

Sharing some of the important decisions of the Council of Ministers taken here on Thursday, he said a long-pending demand of the pensioners had also been met by agreeing to lower the age for admissibility of the old-age allowance. This demand was conceded by Capt Kanwaljit Singh way back on December 17, 1999.

Now the old-age allowance, at the rate of 5 per cent and 10 per cent of the basic pension, will, henceforth, be admissible to pensioners at the age of 65 years and 75 years, respectively, against 70 years and 80 years earlier. There are 1.75 lakh pensioners. This decision will mean an additional financial burden of Rs 15 crore per year.This scheme for senior citizens will be effective from January 1, 2001.

The Council, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said, also approved a further six months’ extension in time to receive applications for jobs on compassionate grounds from terrorist-affected and riot-hit persons. As in the case of special police officers, the Home Guards will also receive Rs 90 (instead of Rs 70) as daily wages, from April 1, 2001.


Gurdev Badal, son get ‘mild tankhah’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 12
Angry activists of the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC) and some devotees today raised slogans against the mild “tankhah” (punishment for religious misconduct) pronounced by Sikh high priests on Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Agriculture Minister, his son, Mr Kewal Singh Badal, who is the Junior Vice-President, SGPC, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, a former member of Parliament, and Mr Bhag Singh and Mr Surjit Singh, both leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), who had violated the “hukamnama” (edict) by having links with the excommunicated Sikh, Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara.

Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Officer on Special Duty with the Chief Minister and Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal, was, however, bailed out by the Sikh clerics as no evidence was found against him for visiting the dera of Baba Bhaniara.

This is for the first time that slogans were raised in front of Akal Takht. There was a virtual scuffle between the slogan-shouting activists and devotees and supporters of Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and Mr Aliwal. The activists of the KAC demanded that the leaders who were found guilty of having direct relations with Baba Bhaniara should be “burnt to death” before Akal Takht. However, the supporters of Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and Mr Aliwal asked whether Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra was given such “tankhah”.

Pronouncing the “tankhah” from the rostrum of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti said the Sikh leaders, who had established relations with Baba Bhaniara, had committed a religious blunder as they had violated the edict pronounced by the Takht.

Earlier, the five Sikh high priests, Jathedar Vedanti, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Damadama Sahib, Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, and Giani Gurbachan Singh, priest, Golden Temple, held a marathon meeting at the Akal Takht secretariat and listened to the “guilty Sikh leaders”.

Interestingly, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary, and Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, General Secretary, SGPC, and a number of Akali leaders accompanied those who appeared before the Takht. However, Mr Hardalbir Singh Shah, former General Secretary, SGPC, denied that he had accompanied Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar. Interestingly, influential Akali and SGPC leaders also met the Sikh high priests before the pronouncement of the “tankhah”.

The edict issued by Akal Takht today pronounced that after reading the controversial granth — “Bhavsagar Samunder”, authored by Baba Bhaniara, it was found that the Sikh leaders were guilty of promoting the excommunicated persons. The edict pronounced that Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, his son, Mr Kewal Singh Badal, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, Mr Bhag Singh and Mr Surjit Singh would have to listen to kirtan for three days each at all five Takhts, dust shoes of devotees for one hour and wash utensils in the “langar” for one hour each. Besides, they will have to hang placards round their necks, wherein it should be written that they consider Guru Granth Sahib as living guru and hence will not accept any human being as guru, for half an hour before appearing at Akal Takht. The placards will also read that they seek apology for bowing before living gurus. This is for the first time that such a message will be displayed by persons who were declared “tankhaiahs”. After completing the “tankhah”, they will appear before Akal Takht again and offer a “karah parsad” of Rs 1,100 each.

In a separate message, the Sikh high priests warned the Sikh leaders against indulging in “cheap popularity” by issuing baseless statements like the one against Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar. The directive of the Sikh clerics reads that though Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President, SGPC, had clarified that he had not issued any statement against Mr Badungar, yet leaders indulged in allegations and counter-allegations with a view to getting cheap publicity.

In yet another directive, the Sikh high priests said any “dera” where the dignity of Guru Granth Sahib was not upheld should not be visited. They said no Sikh should recognise to so-called “babas” who consider themselves as living guru.

In yet another significant development, the directive said gurdwaras in the name of castes should not be built in future. The high priests directed that it was the duty of gurdwara managements of the respective areas to ensure that dignity of Guru Granth Sahib was upheld at all costs.

Meanwhile, Jathedar Vedanti said Sikhs who had raised slogans against the “tankhah” would be summoned at Akal Takht. It may be mentioned here that activists of the KAC had submitted a joint petition to the Jathedar, Akal Takht. They sought stringent action against Sant Shamsher Singh Jagera, president, International Sant Samaj.Back

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