Tuesday, January 1,
2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Sufi kalam and pop to put audience on cloud nine
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 31
The New Year celebrations are likely to continue throughout the first week of January in the Capital with a musical fiesta from sufia kalam to Punjabi pop, setting the musical tone for the whole year.

The three-day musical evening from January 4, as part of the Punjabi Mela, would leave a lasting impression about the vibrance and richness of the culture of the land of five rivers. It would also evoke an interest in the dying musical tradition of the state, Dr Rawail Singh, the Punjabi Academy Secretary, told the NCR Tribune.

From sufia kalam to pop, the music of all ages would enthral the audience and give a glimpse of the richness of the musical tradition, he said.

Barkat Siddhu, Shamin Iqbal and Wadali brothers would set the stage for the evening with their songs which would not only appeal to the body, but also the soul.

The female singers like Pushpa Hans, Gurmeet Baba, Manpreet Aktar would present songs of the dying musical forms, which the people, especially those living in Delhi, have hardly heard of. They would sing the songs traditionally sung on different occasions – happy or sorrowful.

Paramjit Siddhu, whose bangra boli, has been much acclaimed, would wow the music lovers, Dr Rawail Singh said.

While the traditional forms would appeal to the old and not-so-old generation, he said, “The pop music of Punjab, to be played by Ashok Masti, Jazzy B, Gursewak Mann and Sardur Sikhanda, would be a euphonic treat for the GenXers.”

An interesting aspect of the mela would be the way the artists are introduced. Comedians Gurpreet Jhugi, Sukhi Jaggi Naqqal and Chacha Rannki Ram would introduce the artists in a manner which would evoke an interest about the artists and their performance. No doubt, the comedians would also leave a lasting impression on the audience.

“The comedians, introducing the artists is a traditional form, used in the bygone eras. With their satire, they not only create laughter, but also make the audience think,” the Punjabi Academy secretary said.

The Dhadi, a traditional form of narrating the folk tales by singing, is a dying culture which would also be on display.

Musical instruments like rabab, a string organ used by Guru Nanak Dev to render Guru Bani; Bugdu, a rhythm instrument; chamta; katu and others would be played by different artists. The audience would also be given an insight into the instruments in an effort to revive the dying art, he added.

The traditional martial art forms of Punjab – gatka and bazighar – would also be on display, which, Dr Rawail Singh said “would leave the audience in awe. They would find it hard to believe their eyes as to how these artists perform such awesome feats.”



Cong rings in 2002 with recast DPCC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 31
In a move to inculcate some semblance of unity among the rival factions, the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee rung in the New Year with a reconstituted list of office bearers in an apparent effort to propel the party to power in the forthcoming elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

Ending the year-long suspense, the Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, on the eve of the New Year, finally released the list of about 130-member DPCC which, according to some observers, was “a please-all one”.

The new ‘jumbo’ list is marginally shorter than the last one which had nearly 200 office bearers and members.

The four former Delhi government ministers – Yoganand Shastri, Parvez Hashmi, Ms Krishna Tirath and Narendra Nath – who were dropped in the recent Cabinet reshuffle have been accommodated as vice presidents in the party, an obvious move to quell dissidence. However, adhering to the “one-man one-post” principal, none of the six ministers in the NCT Cabinet have been given party responsibilities.

The veteran city politician, Jagpravesh Chandra, has been named the senior vice president and Mr Subhash Chopra, who has been elected for a three-year term, continues as the president. The chief minister, Ms. Sheila Dikshit, has been named the permanent invitee and a member of the all-powerful election committee.

The Delhi Chief Minister, simultaneously, released the list of new heads of different corporations and committees. Those named were persons who could not be showered with plum posts in the DPCC list.

Mr Romesh Sabharwal has been made the chairman of the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC), Mr Hasan Ahmed chairman of the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (DSIDC), Mr Mahendra Singh Choudhury chairman of the Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board and Mr Mukesh Sharma chairman of the Delhi Khadi and Village Industries Board.

“The high command, after a long-drawn and hectic process, has accommodated everybody. The list is a blend of youth and experience, which is in the ratio of 35:65,” was how the DPCC president, Mr Subhash Chopra, described the list.

The Congress Party has named 16 vice presidents, with three first-time office bearers – Parvez Hashmi, Mahabal Mishra and Brahm Pal.

Others named as vice presidents were Sajjan Kumar, J P Aggarwal, Bansilal Mehta, Krishan Swaroop, S C Vats, Harcharan Singh Josh, Anjana Kanwar, Raj Kumar Kohli, J P Goyal and Abhijit Singh Gulati.

The party has named 25 general secretaries, including Arvinder Singh Lovely, Tarvinder Marwah, Ms Meera Bhardwaj, Naseeb Singh, Surendra Mohan, Bhisham Sharma, Jaiveer Nagar, Ms Waryam Kaur and Ashok Jain.

Thirty two persons have been named as secretaries, including Jintender Shunty, Gurcharan Singh, Jagdish Gupta, Ms Parinita Azad, Ms Razia Sultana, Ms Ritu Singh Chouhan, Gokul Sootha and Satender Sharma.

While Mr Mukesh Sharma, a close ally of Sajjan Kumar, who had been vocal in his criticism of the chief minister, has been named the party spokesperson, Mr Raj Chopra, a close confidante of DPCC president, has been named as the treasurer.

The party has named 49 persons as executive committee members, 23 persons are special invitees and 22 persons are permanent invitees. Mr Chopra said a 13-member election committee has also been constituted, which is the first step in the direction of the MCD polls.

While Mr Chopra has been named as the chairman of the election committee, the other members are Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Delhi Speaker Prem Singh, Delhi Deputy Speaker Kiran Choudhary, Delhi Finance Minister M S Saathi, Ms Tajdar Babbar, Mr J P Agarwal, Mr Jagdish Tytler, Mr Sajjan Kumar, Mr Jagpravesh Chandra, Mr Shadi Ram and the leader of the Congress in the MCD, Mr Ram Babu Sharma.

The election committee has given representation to the different factions. However, the committee has a few Chief Minister loyalists and there is an equal number representing the Subhash Chopra and Sajjan Kumar factions.



Man & Nature combine to mar New Year high
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 31
Terrorist strikes, the growing threat of a war, economic downslide, traffic snarls and inclement weather all combined to ensure that the New Year celebrations in the Capital were not marked by a sense of euphoria or merriment.

The so-called “pedestrianisation” drive of the police in Connaught Place, the annual hotspot of midnight revellery, had its adverse effects on many parts of the metropolis, as commuters were sandwiched in the long queues of vehicles due to the diversion of traffic.

While Connaught Place was completely pedestrianised, to the extent that no vehicles were allowed to enter the carnival site, other commuters had to take longer routes to reach their destinations.

Though the usual carnival atmosphere envelops Connaught Place and its periphery, the special lighting on the main roundabout was not there because of the metro work. Also missing was the lovely spectacle, presented by the huge fountain in the Central Park. The entry of vehicles to CP is restricted 7:30 p.m. onwards. Only those staying in hotels and going to the nearby railway station are being allowed in the area. The Delhi Police has deployed additional personnel, numbering close to 1,000, which are being assisted by 15 companies of other forces.

Attired in fluorescent garments, the policemen braved the elements of nature to ensure that no incident spoilt the party spirit. Armed with light bars, the cops were distributing cards randomly to the visitors, who trudged quite a distance from the nominated parking lots in Gol Dakkhana, Ferozeshah Road, Ashoka Palace, India Gate and Copernicus Marg.

Besides, policemen in mufti kept a vigil on mischievous elements. Apart from the inner-circle, the radial arteries, including Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Parliament Street, Janpath, K G Marg, Barakhamba Road, D B Gupta Road and Panchkuian Road, remained closed to vehicular traffic.

It was, however, a bad day for the devotees of Bacchus, with cops cracking the whip to reduce the menace to drunken driving. Equipped with alchometers, the policemen hauled up those who had crossed the limit of alcohol consumption.

Elsewhere in the city, the party continued till the wee hours of the morning at all the happening places, including the five star hotels where special dos were organised.

The hotel industry sources, however, admitted that the response this year had been lukewarm, primarily due to the economic downslide, with most organisations holding back increments and in several cases even doling out pink slips to cut down costs. Even the discount ploys by the retailers to woo the festival shopper evoked a tepid response.



Private bus operators milking Haryana
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, December 31
The Haryana Government is being duped by private bus operators on the Gurgaon-Delhi route. The racket was always an open secret, but of late it has picked up a momentum of its own. The disgusting aspect is the impunity with which the racketeers operate under the nose of the authorities. These vehicles do not have the necessary permits and the operators do not pay taxes under various heads. Also, the operators don’t care two hoots about abiding by norms such as maintaining a passenger manifest etc.

Some operators, it is alleged, procure permits for one bus, but operate more than one vehicle. Even if they pay taxes on one bus, they rob the exchequer by not paying a dime on the others.

The fly-by-night operators dent the government financially in another way. These unauthorised vehicles operate at the cost of the Haryana Roadways, the government’s flagship. Result: Over the years, the revenue of the Haryana Roadways has dwindled and its buses are deep in the red.

From all accounts, it is clear that the Haryana Roadways is gasping for breath to compete with the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), whose buses are dime a dozen on the Delhi-Gurgaon route. That, coupled with the shady practices of the private bus operators, has placed the bottom line of the Haryana Roadways under strain. It is distressing that the public transport norms are being flouted despite the recent statements by Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala that the government had cracked down on illegal bus operations.



Heroin worth Rs 5 cr seized
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 31
With the arrest of five persons, including two foreign nationals, the Delhi Police today claimed to have seized five Kg of pure heroin, worth Rs 5 crore in the international market.

The sleuths of the Special Cell of the Delhi Police had received a tip-off that Bachchan Singh, a resident of Ambala, would deliver a consignment to two foreign nationals – Bony Fie, a Kenyan, and Selix, a Nigerian, – near Shiv Murti in South West district last evening. A trap was laid and all three were arrested, police sources said. During interrogation, the names of two other accomplices were revealed. They were identified as Mohammad Shafiq of Ratlam and Surekha of Chennai. They have also been arrested. According to the sources, the police also seized the truck in which the consignment had been brought to the Capital from somewhere in Madhya Pradesh. A car, used for ferrying the drug consignment, has also been seized.

The police had earlier arrested a leading hotelier Neeraj Wadhera along with three foreign nationals.



Saket residents no longer feeling down in the dumps
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, December 31
The residents living near the G. M. Modi Hospital and Press Enclave in south Delhi’s Saket, have something to cheer about in the New Year. The garbage dumps on the road from G. M. Modi Hospital to Press Enclave are being reconstructed.

The dump near Press Enclave is the first one that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is digging to give a new look. There are three other dumps, two of them just about 20 meters from the G. M. Modi Hospital that will be given a face-lift. “We are making the dumps deeper and its walls higher so that the garbage inside is not visible,” said a senior MCD official.

The garbage dump near Press Enclave has been the cause of several arguments in the colony’s weekly meetings of the Residents Welfare Association. The dump always overflowed with garbage, and the MCD karamcharis were rarely seen clearing it. .
So much was the muck that the garbage overflowed on to the roads almost every day, covering nearly half of the main road in front of Press Enclave. The fact that the dump is situated close to a prominent road crossing has made the situation even more difficult for vehicles because they invariably had to drive over the garbage.

Moreover, the garbage dump attract stray dogs and cattle who sit in the middle of the road.

The MCD official assured residents that “there would be no more problems of garbage” wherever dumps were being re-constructed as “the garbage inside it will not even be seen by the passers-by, “leave alone garbage flowing out of the dump. "Admitting that the dumps, not only on this road but almost across the national Capital, have been constructed at wrong places and also that most of them remained neglected, the official said that the MCD had “decided to turn over a new leaf.”

“I absolutely agree that a garbage dump should not be close to a hospital or for that matter, even close to a residential complex because it stinks and can cause various diseases. But the fact is that the hospital was constructed after the garbage dump. So we are not to be blamed,” he said.

The official further added: “However, we are not looking for excuses. We have a job to do and it will be done.”

MCD Commissioner S.P. Aggarwal had earlier said that something would definitely be done to solve the problem of garbage dumps in the city when the NCR Tribune reported how the dumps on this road had created unliveable conditions for the residents of the area. The Medical Superintendent of the G.M. Modi Hospital, Dr Ambrish jain was relieved after hearing the news that something was being done to reconstruct garbage dumps outside the hospital.

“I am so glad. It was absolutely shocking that people came for treatment where so much muck was overflowing. There were so many cases when people refused to come inside the hospital because of the garbage. But I am glad, at least, the reports in the media is making the MCD work.” The MCD official said there were many other dumps in the city that were either being relocated or reconstructed. “With the start of the New Year, we shall see garbage dumps with a new look, probably the ones that you wouldn’t say yuck after looking at them.”

However, residents are upset that the governmental agency has not taken the necessary step to ensure an alternative garbage dumpsite when the dumps are under construction.

The garbage dump outside Press Enclave, which is under construction for about a week now, has its garbage overflowing onto the road when there is another garbage dump just about 50 yards from it. The official conveniently blamed the residents of Hauz Rani village, located on the other side of the road, for throwing mutton and chicken leftovers throughout the day. “The karamchari cannot remain at the dump for 24 hours.

The residents have to learn to be more systematic. But the residents of Hauz Rani are illiterate and continue to throw garbage throughout the day, even right from their balconies. Naturally, it would fall on the roads,” he explained. 



A year when cops made it to headlines for wrong reasons
Tribune News Service

Ghaziabad, December 31
Even though a large number of criminals were apprehended and killed by the Ghaziabad police in various encounters, criminals and their gangs had an upper hand in the district during the year 2001.

The year was notable for some new types of crimes in the district, like providing protection to criminals, while several policemen were caught copying in their departmental examinations meant for selection to the post of head constables.

For the first time in the district, a woman police officer was appointed Station House Officer (SHO) of Modinagar police station. Interestingly, the year was observed as the women’s year. The lady SHO had replaced an inspector, who was transferred for being involved in illegal gambling and stock share racket.

The arrest of the SHO of the Indirapuram police station while taking a bribe must rank as one of the unusual events of the year.

Interestingly, the allegations of a woman sex worker that many police officials had a relationship with her caused a flutter in the district.

Even after the exposure of the police-criminal nexus, several senior police officials were let off. Only junior police officials were made to pay for their misdeeds. A gazetted officer, who allegedly received Rs 60,000 per month for supporting illegal activities, was also spared.

The Circle Officer of Modinagar was alleged to have provided protection to women running a call girl racket.

Another alarming crime committed was the triple murder in the district court complex on September 19 by dreaded criminals of the district. Clearly, it showed the poor law and order situation prevailing in the district.

The police had, however, identified all criminals involved in the crime and claimed to have killed its kingpin, Babloo Hasanpuriya, in an encounter.

The murder of Mohinder, along with the SHO of Sahibabad in the Rajinder Nagar area on November 17, was another sensational crime committed during the year.

In a sensational case, criminals managed to free the dreaded criminal, Amarpreet, on June 27 from the police custody by killing one of the escorting policeman and injuring another in the Musori police station area.

Jailed criminals were being escorted back to Musori jail from a court appearance when criminals snatched the weapons of the escorting policeman. Amarpreet was, however, killed by the Delhi Police in an encounter later. On the positive side for the police, the new building complex for the police headquarters in Ghaziabad was inaugurated.


Crime rate shows a dip in Gurgaon
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, December 31
The district police claimed to have kept the crime under check by arresting dreaded criminals, including proclaimed offenders and bail jumpers.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldip Singh Siag, told mediapersons that heinous incidents of crime including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping/abduction, rape, riots, dacoity, robbery etc. have come down during 2001 as compared to 2000.

For instance, murder cases had come down from 71 last year to 69 this year. Similarly, attempts to murder declined from 45 to 30 this time. There were less rape cases too, 32 in place of 39 last year.

However, cases of kidnapping had shown an increase by five from 45 to 50. While there were 79 riot cases last year, 75 such cases had been recorded this year. Burglary also showed decline from 382 to 291 in 2001.

Mr Siag also informed that the police arrested 26 proclaimed offenders and 179 bail jumpers in 2001, which acted as a deterrent to the criminals. While giving credit to his staff for checking the crimes, the SSP said that the increased mobility and visibility of the police force was the main factors which helped in checking the crime rate.

Speaking about the new initiatives to be taken by the department for the smooth flow of traffic, Mr Siag said that red lights with timer systems would be installed at all crossings on the National Highway-8 falling in the district.

He said that 21 PCRs (nine Gypsys and 12 two-wheelers) had been put on alert on the roads to check eve-teasing, kidnapping, abduction, and looting.

He also said that in 2001, the police issued 36 thousand challans for violating traffic rules. While 686 challans were issued for using mobile phones while driving, 14 vehicles were held for using red beacon lights, 12,948 vehicles for pollution, 6,295 for tainted/black films, 19,345 for not using helmets, and 491 challans for jumping red lights. These offenders paid around Rs 1 crore to the state exchequer, added the SSP.



Careless owners give carjackers the key 
Our correspondent

Noida, December 31
Auto-lifters are having a field day in Noida, where two dozen vehicles on an average are stolen every month. Effectively then, nearly 300 vehicles, by liberal estimate, have been stolen during 2001.

Lack of proper parking facilities in the residential and industrial sectors has been cited as the main reason facilitating auto-lifting. Interestingly, most of the culprits are rarely apprehended, as the police have failed to trace the vehicles.

During the year, over 300 FIRs were registered against missing vehicles in six police stations of Noida. Of these, 110 thefts were reported at Sector 20 police station, 52 at Sector 39 station and 45 in Sector 24 station. Interestingly, most of the residential, industrial and public sector establishments fall under these three police stations.

According to the police, lack of proper policy by Noida for parking lots in the residential and industrial sectors is mainly responsible for the high incidence of vehicle thefts.

It has been noted that vehicles parked on the roadside or outside the houses have been the primary target of auto- lifters. Most of the owners in defence Sectors - 21, 25, 28, 29, 37 rent out their garages and park their vehicles in the open. Effectively, auto-lifters take advantage of this situation.

In a random checking in Sector 12, the police found that not only were vehicles parked on roadsides, but many of the owners had even failed to properly lock their vehicles. The police suspect that many of the cars parked haphazardly were by the people who had been too drunk to be in control of the situation.

In the residential area of Sector 18, though there are parking lots, people prefer to park their cars in front of showrooms. On the busy roads like Atta, Sector 16, vehicles parked on both sides of Dadri Road hamper the free flow of traffic.

According to sources, though there are nearly 1,000 private buses in the city, there are no parking lots for them. Unfortunately, buses parked in residential areas have become a convenient point for mischief-mongers and other anti-social elements in the city.



‘Leaders in Punjab want to rule over the Delhi Sikhs’
R. Suryamurthy

Whether it is an attack on the World Trade Centre or Parliament or denigrating remarks about religious figures in NCERT textbooks or terrorist violence in Kashmir, the president of National Akali Dal Paramjeet Singh Pamma is in the forefront, articulating his viewpoint.

He is invariably the first to protest and burn an effigy. His acts smack of rebellion and the anger in his voice underscores the need to act. And act quickly, if the simmering discontent is to be reined in.

Otherwise he is a young face amidst hordes of weather-beaten oldies. Certainly a welcome change in the political arena, bringing with him fresh ideas to tackle the problems facing the society in general and the Sikh community in particular.

Son of late Jathedar Trilochan Singh, who was the general secretary of Akali Dal (Master Tara Singh), he plunged into politics at a young age.

What has been the significant achievement of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee in the last one year?

There is large-scale corruption in the DSGMC. The objective of the committee is to protect the interests of the Sikh community, provide higher education to children and to propagate religious values. But I regret to say that the present committee has totally failed to achieve these objectives. In fact, this committee has witnessed large-scale corruption and groupism with committee members indulging in constant bickering.

The group heading the committee wrested power by virtue of money power rather numerical strength. The committee does not have a majority: A big amount was paid to some members, to corner their votes. Thus, the foundation of the present committee is based on corruption.

What are the areas in which improvements could be made?

We do not expect anything from the present committee. The DSGMC elections were last held in 1995, after a gap of 17 years. Sikhs were hoping that they would be able to articulate their views through the committee. After 1984 riots, people wanted to have a strong DSGMC. This is the reason why there was a good turnout in the 1995 elections and Akali Dal (Badal) won almost all the seats.

But peoples’ hopes were dashed in a few months. The DSGMC split into two groups, each wanting to control the committee. The executive elections were held after the intervention of the court.

This is the reason why educational institutions run by the DSGMC lost their clout. Once it was difficult to get admission into these institutions; now they are shunned by the Sikhs.

It is, therefore, important that interference of committee members stops at once in the working of schools, colleges and hospitals. Staff members should be appointed only on the recommendations of the committee members.

What are the main areas of concern for the Sikh community in Delhi?

Sikhs have a different identity in Delhi. They play an important role in social, economic and political field. But political parties use the Sikh community to garner their votes in elections. They promise many things but forget once elections are over. The blame, of course, lies with the political parties; but those who claim to champion the cause of the community are also to be blamed. The Sikhs in Delhi feel neglected.

The elections to the DSGMC are long overdue. Are you in favour of early elections? And what steps is your party is taking to exert pressure on the Delhi Government hold early elections?

No doubt the elections to the DSGMC are long over due: the government and the DSGMC are equally responsible for delay. Most committee members are sure that they will lose the election; as a result, they are more interested in the executive election rather than the general election.

In the last five years, the committee has taken decisions only after the court passed orders. Whether it is a question of appointments in schools or purchases in gurdwaras, the members have gone to court to further their selfish ends. Nobody has the will to work and they are misusing the gurdwara funds.

As far as my party is concerned, we have always believed in democracy. We have always tried to hold elections on time in every institution, so that voters can choose representatives of their choice. We have demanded gurdwara elections from time to time. But I am sorry to say that Delhi Finance Minister, Mahendra Singh Saathi, who is also in-charge of gurudwara elections, is not holding them.

The concentration of the Sikh community in the Capital is the largest outside Punjab. However, the politics continues to be controlled by the people in power in Punjab. Is it the right practice or is there need for some change?

There is no doubt that Sikhs reside in the Capital in a large number. The contribution of the Sikhs to the development of the state where they reside is laudable. But it is unfortunate that leaders of Punjab want to rule over the Sikhs of Delhi and other states.

Akali Dal is a name, which is very dear to every Sikh. The Dal was formed to solve the problems faced by the Sikh community. But, with passage of time, Akali Dal split into many factions and the prominent surviving ones include Akali Dal (Badal), Akali Dal (Tohra), Akali Dal (Talwandi) and Akali Dal (Mann).

All leaders of these parties belong to Punjab. They have their party branches in Delhi and other states also, although they have nothing to do with the people of these states.

Leaders of these parties collect money in Delhi and send it to their godfathers in Punjab. DSGMC collects money under various programmes and, at the time of election, funds of gurdwaras are not spared by those heading the branch offices.

Moreover, the Akali leaders in Punjab make sure that Delhi branch leaders slug it out, so that their purpose continues to be served.



Kirtan darbar held to mark Guru’s birthday
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, December 31
A grand Kirtan darbar was organised by the Baba Atal Sewak Jatha in 8 Block, Ramesh Nagar last evening to celebrate the birth anniversary of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji and the arrival of the New Year.

Prof Darshan Singh Khalsa, a prominent Sikh religious leader and former jathedar of Shri Akal Takht recited the nirol kirtan. The Delhi unit president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr S. Paramjit Singh Sama, Prof Joginder Singh, Mr S. Manmohan Singh Kochar, Mr S. Harpal Singh Kochar and renowned social worker Shri Ram Maggo graced the occasion with their presence.

Mr S. Paramjit Singh Sama addressed the gathering and expressed concern the trend among the young generation to forget the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and adopting the life style which is not in keeping with the Guru’s instructions. He requested Prof Darshan Singh to take the lead in professing the sacred teachings of the Guru.

The politicisation of the Sikh religion was the reason for its downfall, he said.

Mr S. Harcharan Singh of Ramesh Nagar welcomed the dignitaries and thanked them for extending their co-operation.

A procession (nagar kirtan) was taken out today from Gurdwara Damdama Sahib, Nizamuddin to Gurdwara Bala Sahib and to Hari Nagar Ashram in connection with the inauguration of the Central Hall at Gurdwara Bala Sahib.

Jathedar Avtar Singh Hit, president, Mr S. Kulmohan Singh, general secretary, Mr S. Dilwinder Singh Ayur, senior vice-president, Mr S. Shamsher Singh Sandhu, junior vice-president, Mr S. Jasbir Singh Kaka, secretary and other members of Delhi the Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and Jathedar Inderpal Singh Khalsa, chairman of the Dharam Parchar Committee – DSGMC participated in the function.



Cold wave takes toll of cattle 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 31
A large number of cattle in various blocks of this district are reported to have perished due to the cold wave sweeping Haryana and other northern states, according to reports reaching here. Sonepat district has a large cattle population.

According to the report, herdsmen and dairy-owners lit fire throughout night to keep the cattle and themselves warm.

For the last five days, Sonepat City and its adjoining areas are in the grip of a severe cold wave sweeping the region.

It has adversely affected gram, mustard and vegetable crops in many villages of the district.

The cold wave and the declining temperature kept people indoors. Most of the shopping centres and main bazaars looked deserted till late in the afternoon. A thick blanket of fog disrupted normal life and business activities in the city.

All the government schools and colleges remained closed for the day. Several private schools functioned, though the attendance in these schools and some government offices remained thin as people made themselves scarce.

A hurried round of the government offices revealed that not only subordinate employees, but the heads of the departments did not turn up on time.

In effect, most of the offices wore a deserted look. In the absence of any monitoring by the district authorities, the officials and subordinate employees arrived late in the offices and left early.

Meanwhile, thousands of passengers, mostly commuters, government servants and businessmen remained stranded for several hours at Sonepat and other nearby railway stations after the disruption of train services owing to dense fog.

Several long-distance mail, super fast and express trains were late due to poor visibility. These included Delhi-bound Jammu Mail and Uchhar Express. Moreover, all the suburban trains, running between Delhi and Panipat and Delhi and Kurukshetra also reached Sonepat behind schedule.



Jawan killed in mine blast cremated with full honours
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, December 31
Sepoy Sunil Kumar (21) of 12 Jat Regiment was cremated with full civil and military honours at his native Ritauli village today. Naik Jaibir Singh, who accompanied the body, said that Sunil Kumar, along with some other soldiers of his regiment, died when an anti-tank mine exploded at Longowal district near Rajasthan border on December 28. He is survived by his mother and two brothers.

Mr Gopi Chand, elder brother of the martyr, said Sunil Kumar had joined the Army in 1999 and he had returned to his unit after a vacation in the village in November. Capt Inder Singh (retd), MP, Mr Balwant Singh Maina, MLA from Hasangarh, Mr Anil Malik, Deputy Commissioner, Mr A. S. Ahlawat, SSP, and Mr Dharam Pal Makrauli, Chairman, Zila Parishad, were among who paid floral tributes to the martyr.

Fined for power theft

The vigilance department of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has imposed a fine of Rs 5.92 lakh on the owner of a hardboard factory located at Ladrawan village in the Bahadurgarh sub-division on the charge of stealing power last night.

According to UHBVN sources, a vigilance team led by the Additional Executive Engineer, Mr Rajpal Singh, raided J K Industry factory and found the personnel there stealing power from the transmission wires. The crime was videotaped and the factory owner was penalised.

Two hurt in mishaps

Mr Gaminder, a DTC driver, fell down from a tractor and sustained injuries near the Bahalgarh chowk, about 10 km from here, last evening. He was rushed to the local civil hospital and his condition is stated to be out of danger. According to another report, Mr Puran Chand (67), a resident of Sewli village, was injured when he was hit by a jeep on the G. T. Road, about 15 km from here, yesterday. He was crossing the road on his way to his house when the accident occurred. He was immediately hospitalised and he is stated to be out of danger.

Shop burgled

A group of burglars entered a shop at Kabirpur village on the outskirts of the city last night and escaped with goods worth several thousands of rupees. According to a report, the stolen goods included three LPG cylinders, an electricity fan, three tins of ghee, two bicycles, four chairs, an electricity motor and quilts.

Sewer pipes

Mr Dev Raj Dewan, an independent MLA, inaugurated the work on the laying of sewerage lines in Sikka Colony here yesterday. Speaking on the occasion, he said that a sum of about Rs 15 lakh would be spent on the work and when completed it would benefit the residents of the area. He claimed that the area had remained neglected during the period of successive governments in the state but the INLD government has sanctioned the funds for the development of the city. 



Girl rescued from pimp
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 31
The Central district police today rescued a 13-year old girl from the clutches of a youth and his friend who were allegedly going to sell her in the red light area on G. B. Road in the Capital.

The victim, who is a student of standard VI in a government school, was rescued from a jhuggi cluster in Wazirpur where she had been living with the accused, Ravi, as his wife for sometime, the police said.

A resident of Chandani Mahal, she met Ravi at the residence of her friend in the Daryaganj area. They started having an affair.

Ravi, who is reportedly a pimp in the red light area, had promised her to marry her. He had taken her to the jhuggi cluster one month back with the help of his friend, Somesh, who claimed to be the brother of the girl. Parents of the girl had lodged a complaint at the Daryaganj police station that their daughter was missing.

During investigations, police received a tip-off that the accused was going to sell the girl in the red light area. The police raided the house of the accused in Daryaganj and arrested him and his friend on the charge of abduction, the police said. 



Cabby stabbed to death

New Delhi, December 31
The police are looking for the assailant who reportedly stabbed to death a taxi driver, Jaiprakash Nagar, in Usmanpur in North-East district last night. According to the police, the deceased used to ply his taxi in the Dilshad Garden area. Last night, he returned home bleeding profusely from two stab wounds. He was admitted to GTB Hospital where he succumbed to injuries. A case of murder has been registered in the Usmanpur police station. TNS



Boy assaulted after row over cricket match
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 31
Parveen, a class XII student of Happy Child School, sustained knife injuries when he was allegedly attacked by some members of a rival team during a cricket match on the Sector 23 ground here yesterday. According to a report, the injured student was rushed to the civil hospital here. He is stated to be out of danger. The police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress. The alleged assailants are still at large. A dispute during the match was stated to be the main cause of the assault.

According to another report, a youth, Rajinder, was allegedly beaten up by some persons at Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here, yesterday. The injured youth was immediately hospitalised. The Kharkhauda police have registered a case against the alleged assailants.


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