Sunday, April 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


CNG price hiked by 28.5%, fare hike next
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27
The monopoly supplier of Compressed Natural Gas, IGL, today announced a 28.5 per cent hike in the price of gas, evoking a sharp reaction from the Delhi Government, transporters, commuters and the environmentalists. The new rate of CNG in Delhi will be Rs 16.83 per kg, up by Rs 3.72. The current price of CNG, the only fuel for public transport in the Capital following recent Supreme Court orders, is Rs 13.11. “The increase was necessary in view of the increase in input as well as other costs in the past ten years,” the IGL Managing Director A K De told newspersons here today. He said the CNG price in Delhi, despite the hike, continues to be lower than that in Mumbai (Rs 19.71 per kg) and Surat (Rs 20.34 per kg). The hike in gas price is likely to worsen the transport crisis in the Capital and the commuters would be hard hit as bus and auto-rickshaw fares would go up. Critical of the CNG price hike, Delhi Transport Minister Mr Ajay Maken said: “It is on the higher side. The increase in CNG price is against the basic spirit of the Supreme Court order.”

Mr Maken said, “It is irrational to hike the price of CNG when the company is supplying gas to the industry at a rate of about Rs 4 per kg.” Stating that the DTC would be the worst hit, as all buses are in the CNG mode, Mr Maken said the Delhi Cabinet would meet on Monday to work out the proportionate fare hike. Indicating that the government has no option but to hike the fares, the Delhi Transport Minister said: “The quantum of hike would be calculated and announced soon.”

He, however, ruled out re-imposition of the four per cent sales tax proposed in the Delhi Budget. The State Government had withdrawn the sales tax proposal in a move to provide clean environment.

No representative of the Delhi Government, which is also a five per cent stake holder in IGL, attended the board meeting.

“We have only a five per cent stake, our voice does not count,” Mr Maken said when asked why the State Government representative did not attend the meet.

The Union Petroleum Minister, Mr Ram Naik, who is in Mumbai, told the NCR Tribune that the IGL had approached the ministry with its proposal to hike the price.

“The company had stated that it was being pressurised by the financial institutions to hike the price, before releasing further funds. I asked them to take the decision on commercial consideration,” Mr Naik said. Asked whether the hike was justified, Mr Naik said, “The company is increasing the gas price only to improve the infrastructure facility in the city and thus abiding by the Supreme Court directive.”

The Centre for Science and Environment, which has been campaigning for clean fuel, said: “With the hike, the price difference between CNG and diesel will narrow and this will reduce the economic incentive for vehicle owners to shift to a cleaner fuel.

“At a time when the Congress-led state government in Delhi is showing interest in implementing the CNG order and has even rolled back the proposed sales tax hike, it is grossly unfair on the part of the NDA-led Central government to continue to push IGL to jack up CNG prices,” the green group said.

Mr Himanshu Malik, general secretary of the Delhi CNG Bus Operators Association, said “IGL is misusing its monopoly in the sector. While, on the one hand, they do have the infrastructure to increase the gas supply, on the other hand, they are hiking the price, which is totally irrational.” The president of the taxi and Auto rickshaw Drivers’ Sangarsh Samati, said “The government should hike fares. Or else the drivers would be forced to tamper with meters.”



Six inquiry officers, yet case unsolved
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, April 27
Three orphans – Yashpal, Ramesh and Rajinder – whose parents were brutally done to death by unidentified persons at Jhattipur village near here on January 17 last year, are fighting a different battle now: Against an inert police force, which has failed to trace the assailants for the last 15 months. This, despite the fact that the brothers have announced a reward of Rs 60,000 for any information leading to the arrest of the assailants.

In fact, for the last 15 months it has been a story of police indifference and the family’s grit. And now, after an endless wait, the family is considering approaching either the PMO or the Punjab and Haryana High Court for a CBI probe into the double murder. ``We have no faith in the Panipat Police and the CID Crime Branch,” Mr Yashpal Garg told the NCR Tribune.

It was on the night of January 17 last year that Banarshi Dass and Shimla Devi were brutally murdered in their factory in Jhattipur village by unidentified persons, spreading panic among the affluent industrialists here. The irony is that the deceased had shifted to Jhattipur as they considered it “safer” than Barnala in Punjab where they were residing at the height of the militancy in the early 80s.

Seeing that the industrial community was livid over the incident, the police authorities promised to solve the case within a week. The Samalkha SHO, Mr Jai Bhagwan, was appointed the inquiry officer. When he failed to crack the case, CIA Inspector Dhyan Singh took over, only to be followed by another inquiry officer, SI Shamsher Singh. But the shuffling of officers yielded no result.

Even as the family continued to move from pillar to post, calling for a CBI probe, the inquiry was entrusted to DSP of the CID, Mr Jai Prakash Gautam, after the DGP, Mr MS Malik, was “gheraoed” by the family on May 11 last year. But, despite Mr Gautam’s efforts, the culprits did not fall in the police net; the latter retired in August.

Yet another DSP, Mr Ashok Kumar, was asked to take over but the police continued to grope in the dark. Now, another DSP, Mr Fateh Singh, is the inquiry officer. However, 15 months and 6 inquiry officers later, the investigation is back to square one.

Even as the police continues to function at its tardy pace, the inordinate delay has taken a toll on the family. ``We shudder at the thought of venturing out of our homes after dusk. Once in the factory premises, the bloody night comes to mind, tormenting us time and again, ” an emotional Mr Garg said.

Despite the personal loss, Mr Garg said he was not ready to take things lying down. ``I am not asking for alms. As an ordinary citizen, who pays hefty taxes despite the recession, I am asking for my right,’’ he explained.

Now, the family is toying with the idea of shifting to a safer place in Punjab. ``Even if the Haryana Government paid us half of our total investment, they cannot persuade us to stay. We no longer want to stay in goonda raj,’’ laments Mr Garg.



Rohtak Inc lives in fear as robbers rule the roost 
Jatinder Sharma

Rohatak, April 27
The Haryana Beopar Mandal has expressed serious concern over the worsening law and order situation in the state. The criminals, active for quite sometime now, have caused terror in the state. Their victims have mostly been members of the business community, the Beopar Mandal president, Mr Lakshmi Chand Gupta, said.

Quoting the incidents, he said that on April 14, watches worth several lakhs were stolen from a shop close to the police station at Jhajjar.

The sniffer dogs, who were pressed into service to trace the criminals, entered the police station while sniffing the footprints of the thieves.

The Beopar Mandal left to the imagination of the people about the identity of the criminals who had stolen the watches.

The Mandal said that on April 2, goods were stolen from the Parkash Mill Balaji Trading company at Jhajjar and thieves struck at the residences of Mr Surinder Singh Dalal in the first week of February and Bhagat Ram and Sons in the beginning of March.

The police, the Beopar Mandal charged, have failed to arrest the thieves. Therefore, the traders at Jhajjar had no option than to observe bandh on April 16 to lodge their protest against the police inaction. Mr Gupta said that Mr Hem Chand Jain, a jeweller at Narnaul, was murdered in broad daylight on April 23.

Earlier on April 8, two truck loads of ‘sarson’ and grams of Chaudhary Ram Narain of Anaj Mandi, Narnaul were looted between Narnaul and Mahendergarh. The police have failed to arrest anybody so far.

Pawan Kumar Jain (24) and Phool Singh Saini (45), two traders of Gohana, were gunned down in broad daylight on April 15 but the police have failed to trace the assailants, Mr Gupta said. Gohana town observed total bandh on April 17 to protest against the deteriorating law and order situation.

The Beopar Mandal regretted that the police had failed to solve any of the crimes committed last year as well as this calender year.

On July 4 last year, an amount of Rs 3.69 lakh was stolen from the shop of Sunder Lal Ajay Kumar at Rohtak and in the same month, an amount of Rs 76,000 was looted in broad daylight from Kishan Chand Maya Chand, a trader of Anaj Mandi here.

The police, the Beopar Mandal alleged, also failed to arrest the dacoits who had looted Rs 1.91 lakh from the Tilak Nagar branch of Punjab National Bank here on July 13 last.

The terror-stricken traders had observed bandh on July 5 to protest against the police inaction. Mr Lakshmi Chand Gupta further alleged that Amit Khera of Sunder Dass and Sons, Rohtak, was murdered on October 5 and the assailants decamped with the bag containing money.

Two days later on October 7, Gulshan Kumar of Modal Town was murdered in his hotel. The manager of Madras Hotel, too, was shot dead during those days. But regretfully, none of these cases has been solved, he said.

Mr Gupta has appealed to Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala to direct the police to contain lawlessness if he was keen to make Haryana number one state in the country.

He has also asked the Director General of Police, Mr M S Malik, to take immediate steps to restore confidence among the people, especially the trading community who were feeling insecure.



Drums of oil fuel Okhla factory fire
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27
Property worth crores of rupees was gutted in the devastating fire that broke out in Gogia Chemical Factory in Okhla Industrial Area on Friday night.

No loss of life was, however, reported. The fire broke out at 9 pm in the basement of the factory. Forty-two fire tenders took four hours to control the fire, according to the Delhi Fire Service Chief, Mr R. C. Sharma.

Since there was no provision to enter the basement, the fire-fighters had a hard time trying to douse the fire. As there was a strong breeze last night, the fire soon escalated and engulfed the three-storey building. Matters got out of hand as the cylinders of chemicals, kept in the premises, exploded.

“It was very scary. The factory is located in a congested street and has jhuggi clusters in its vicinity. Incidentally, most of the jhuggis are stacked with combustible PVC material. They were, however, evacuated in time. “The oil drums in the basement, which kept exploding, fueled the fire and the flames leapt as high as 150 feet,” the fire chief said.

It is learnt that the factory was involved in extracting oil out of oranges and had stocked hundreds of drums of oil in its basement.

It is not yet known how the fire started; only its is sheer good fortune that most factories had downed shutters at that hour. No one was in the premises at that hour, except for a watchman who informed the Delhi Fire Service.

Also, had the fire-fighters not reached the spot in time, a large number of factories would have been gutted, the DFS chief said.

The factory did not possess an NOC. The Okhla Industrial Area was developed in 1966 when laws were not so strict, the DFS chief explained.



Towering inferno: To hell and back 
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27
A chemical factory in Okhla turned into a virtual fireball on Friday night, gutting property worth crores. Our correspondent visited the spot for a first-person account.

It was like a war zone with flames spiralling into the sky and chemical drums exploding intermittently. Some of the drums, stored in the factory premises, crackled in the fire like popcorns before hurtling into the neighbourhood.

With residents fleeing the slum clusters in the vicinity, it was panic stations at the Gogia chemical factory, the site of the fire.

“I have never seen such a devastating fire. With the drums in the chemical factory exploding, we were not sure what to do. We did not want to leave our possessions unguarded in our dwellings. But, eventually, we had no option but to save our lives,” said Kamala Devi, a resident of the area.

For the fire-fighting personnel, it was a testing time as they found that gallons of water would not help in dousing the blaze. They had to resort to foam, generally used to contain such mishaps in oil depots.

“It was an experience I won’t forget. I am consoled that there was no loss of life,” said a Delhi Fire Service personnel, fagged out after fighting the inferno for over four hours.

The women and children in the area had to further endure a night in the open. All night, they were tormented by the thought that their jhuggies would melt in the heat, a resident of the cluster, Ram Lakhan, said. The residents were not allowed to go inside their jhuggies even after the fire had been controlled at about 1 am.

Suresh, a junk dealer, said, “I saw the smoke billowing out of the factory at about 8.45 pm, but I thought that somebody was making a bonfire. However, just after 15 minutes, the flames started billowing out of the factory. I became alert then.

“When I went to the main gate of the factory, I saw that somebody was ringing up the Delhi Fire Service. Since the area was congested, the fire-fighters could not reach promptly and a small fire had taken the shape of an inferno.

The only saving grace is that the towering inferno did not snuff out any life.



Taking the help of gods, to clear garbage sites
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, April 27
Fed up with the apathy of the bureaucrats, especially with regard to garbage clearance, the public has found an ingenious way to solve their problem. They have started installing religious icons in garbage dumping sites, so that it puts the fear of god into the scavengers. The strategy has yielded uncanny results – apparently, no one wants the gods to get angry.

The shopkeepers of Dhobi Ghat were the first to install a bust of Lord Shiva in the centre of the road where the scavengers would collect the garbage for final disposal. One of the shopkeepers, Mr Mahesh Kumar, told the NCR Tribune that the daily sifting of the garbage by the scavengers was a sore sight, detrimental to business. Moreover, the site would stink all day and the garbage would fly in all directions.

The shopkeepers had approached the administrative and political bosses numerous times and requested them to shift the site but to no avail, explained Mr Kumar. Then, in a god-send brainwave, the shopkeepers installed the bust near the site and began the daily pooja. Result: The scavengers stopped collecting garbage at the site.

Again, in Jacobpura, the principal of Government Girls Senior Secondary School was fed up that despite intermittent requests, the municipal council was not interested in shifting a garbage site near the school boundary wall. Even more disgusting was the spectacle of the boundary wall being used as a urinal. During the recent Navratras, the principal got the area cleaned up and plastered the wall with tiles bearing the images of gods and goddesses. Now, the site is neither used for dumping garbage, nor as a public urinal.

In the third instance, the residents of Madan Puri and Jyoti Park constructed a makeshift mandir of Lord Hanuman on the road where garbage was dumped. As expected, the Municipal Council shifted the garbage site.

The Municipal Council Executive Officer, Mr S N S Sidhu, lamented the practice, stating that the garbage has to be collected at some place. If all places are converted into abodes of god, then, where would the garbage be collected?

However, the EO informed the NCR Tribune that the MC has identified more than 40 sites in the city where proper concrete garbage collection centres would be constructed. These garbage points would be cleaned automatically with the help of modern machines, said Mr Sidhu. The problem would be solved for good when these garbage points come up, claimed the officer.



Farmers on the warpath against GNIDA on
 land rates
Parmindar Singh

Noida, April 27
Farmers in Greater Noida, especially of Habibpur village, are again on the warpath on the question of difference in rates of compensation for the land acquired by the Noida Authority and Greater Noida Authority. In a huge panchayat held in Habibpur village recently, panchayat chief Dheeraj Singh said there was hardly one kilometre distance between the land of Habibpur, Kulesra, Allahbas and Shahdara. While the Noida Authority had paid compensation for the land acquired in Kulesra, Allahbas and Shahdara villages at the rate of Rs 340 per sq yard, the Greater Noida Authority (GNIDA) was paying compensation at Rs 213 per sq yard for the land acquired by it in Habibpur village and other villages adjacent to Noida, he said.

The farmers demanded that the compensation should be based on the same rates. Dheeraj said the GNIDA had hiked its rates for residential sectors to Rs 3,200 per sq m, industrial sectors from Rs 1,400 to Rs 1,800 per sq m and institutional areas from Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,600 per sq m. Many of these rates for different categories were the same as those fixed by the Noida Authority. However, the GNIDA had not increased the compensation rates to farmers for the land acquired. In the panchayat, several farmers warned the GNIDA that if their compensation rates were not increased, they would be left with no choice but to start an agitation. The agitation would include blocking highways, stoppage of work in the authority office, hunger strike and courting arrest to fill the jails.

During 1997-98 also, Habibpur farmers had gone on hunger strikes for 24 days in front of the district collectorate.



Get set for assembly poll, says Jana
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27
BJP president K. Jana Krishnamurthi today exhorted the party workers in Delhi not to lose heart at the debacle in the recent Municipal Corporation of Delhi polls and gear themselves up for next year’s assembly elections by fulfilling the role of the Opposition. Addressing a special meeting of the Delhi Pradesh BJP working committee to review the reasons behind the polls reverses, Mr Krishnamurthi urged the party workers to highlight the grievances of the people and fight for their interests.

Describing Delhi as a stronghold of the BJP, he said the party workers would have to play a double role of highlighting the achievements of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre while focussing on the failure of the Congress-run Goverment of NCT of Delhi and Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

BJP general secretary Pyare Lal Khandelwal stressed the need for unity in the Delhi unit of the party and said all workers should work as one to strengthen the organisation. 



Cong ‘jail bharo’ stir from August 16
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 27
The Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) has announced its decision to launch a statewide ‘jail bharo andolan’ from August 16 in protest against the anti-people and anti-farmer policies of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) government headed by Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, president of the HPCC, told mediapersons here today that at least two lakh party workers would be enrolled by July 31 to take part in the satyagraha. These workers, he said, would also be required to sign on the pledge letter mentioning that they would protect the interests of the Haryana people.

He disclosed that a massive state-level rally of the party with the slogan ‘Chautala Bhagao, Haryana Bachao’ would also be held on June 23 in Sonepat which would be the largest-ever held in the state. He also said that the AICC president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, would also be invited and that prominent Congress leaders of the state would take part in the rally. Mr Hooda denied that he was being removed from the presidentship of the HPCC and said that he would complete his full term as he enjoys the blessings of Mrs Sonia Gandhi. He also described the press reports in this regard as mischievous and baseless.

He accused the Chautala government of encouraging lawlessness deliberately in the state and said that Haryana had surpassed Bihar in criminal activities. Expressing his grave concern over the spate of cases of murders, loot, kidnapping, extortion and rape, he said that the people of the state were feeling insecure. On the other hand, Mr Chautala was creating a reign of terror and foisting false cases against his political opponents.

Mr Hooda alleged that the two sons of the Chief Minister were acting as de facto chief ministers in the state and they were pressurising the bureaucracy to comply with their wishes. He called upon the people of the state to join hands with the Congress Party and take part in the ‘jail bharo andolan’ to dislodge Mr Chautala from power.



Finance Commissioner drops in at mandis to reassure farmers
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, April 27
The state Finance Commissioner and Secretary, Ms Asha Sharma, today said that every grain brought by the farmers in the mandis would be procured. She claimed that elaborate arrangements had been made for the convenience of the farmers coming to the mandis with their produce.

After visiting the mandis of Bahadurgarh, Asaudha and Chhara, Ms Sharma expressed her satisfaction over the arrangements and the process of procurement of wheat there. She also directed the authorities to show more alacrity in the stitching of gunny bags and lifting the stock as the arrival of wheat this time was reported to be unprecedented.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Khemka, informed that so far, 30,389 metric tonnes of wheat had been purchased by various procurement agencies in the district against 13,628 tonnes procured during the corresponding period last year. The DC said that the Food and Supplies Department had procured 9,046 metric tonnes, HAFED 12,247 metric tonnes and the FCI 9,096 metric tonnes so far.

The Finance Commissioner directed the arhtiyas to make the payment of the farmers without any delay and cautioned that the licenses would be cancelled if anyone found indulging in irregularities. She also supervised the arrangements for supplying drinking water and other required amenities in the mandis.

Meanwhile, according to official information, various district officials have cancelled the licenses of 13 arhtiyas so far for committing irregularities in the procurement process. Farmers have complained that the arhtiyas and other government agencies were apathetic and were rejecting their produce on one pretext or the other. The farmers grumble that the state government is not showing any enthusiasm in procuring their wheat to discourage them from cultivating wheat in the future.



In stoic silence, historical tanks of Rewari 
await tourists
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, April 27
Rewari, an old town of Haryana, has several monuments, mansions and tanks which are of great historical importance. Among the tanks, the Tej Sagar, popularly known as the Bara Talab (Big Tank), the Nand Sagar, which goes by the name of Chhota Talab (Small Tank) and the Solah Rayee (a medium size tank) need a special mention.

It is, however, deplorable that these tanks, once the pride of the town and which rendered valuable services to the people, are now lying in total neglect on account of the apathy of the administration and the government.

Tej Sagar: Tej Sagar or Bara Talab, which now lies in the vicinity of the Govt Sr Sec School for Boys, was built in 1803-1806 at a cost of Rs 1.83 lakh by Rao Tej Singh, the then ruler of Rewari. The tank is now 200 years old.

Besides being a colossal structure of architectural artistry, the tank has several unique features. One such feature that has remained a mystery till date, comprises the four wells moulded on its subterranean tunnel through which rain waters pour into the tank.

The gushing rain waters move like a serpent at the first well, stride like an elephant at the second one, gallop like a horse at third one and then flows like oil at the fourth one.

Several fascinating stories are also linked to its inception. Legend has it that as soon as the tank was ready, several citizens, who were jealous of the rising fame of Rao Tej Singh, made a representation to the then Moghul Emperor in Delhi complaining that Rao Tej Singh had virtually slighted the imperial authority by not seeking His Majesty’s prior permission for the construction of the tank here.

However, Rao Tej Singh, who got the wind of it, had an Idgah (a place for offering namaz) erected in the vicinity of the tank overnight and when the emperor’s messengers came here to check the veracity of the complaint, he (Rao Tej Singh) made it known to them that the tank had been built to facilitate years after which owing to the scanty rain fall on the one hand and gradual erosion of the rainwater channel on the other hand, the tank fell on evil days in 1960’s. It has been lying dry and vacant for the past several decades.

There has been a public cry for a permanent canal water channel to ensure the tank’s usage as a fine swimming pool as well as a recreational centre. But to date, it has remained a cry in the wilderness.

Nand Sagar 

Nand Sagar or Chhota Talab, which now lies at the back of the Rewari Sadar Police Station, was built to perpetuate the memory of Rao Nand Ram, the then ruler of Rewari, in the first half of the 18th century. It is older than the Tej Sagar though a little smaller in size.

This tank rendered a valuable service to the public in the form of a bathing place for over 250 years. Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, pleaded with the Muslims to wash their hands and feet here before offering namaz at the Idagah. Needless to say that this brainchild of Rao Tej Singh not only frustrated the designs of his rivals but also earned him plaudits from the emperor.

There goes another story which pertains to the magnificent statue of Lord Hanuman, which was accidentally discovered from a remote field and which later had its miraculous installation in a temple erected on the bank of this tank. This ancient Hanuman Temple is now among the most prestigious temples of northern India.

When the above tank was built here, a long ‘kachha’ drain was also simultaneously dug out from the Tankri hills up to the tank, which annually filled it up with rain waters.

It is also noteworthy that several wells were then sunk on the banks of this tank which supplied sweet drinking water to the residents of the surrounding localities of the town.

Besides, the tank also served as a bathing place for thousands of men, women and children as well as a watering place for the cattle.

Swami Dayanand’s sermons on cow-keeping and cow-protection later led to the establishment of India’s first ‘goshala’ in Rewari at the hands of Rao Yudhishter Singh.

However, the tank is now lying in a shambles and there is an urgent need for the renovation of this historical relic.

Solah Rayee

Solah Rayee, which now lies near the Maharana Pratap Chowk here, was built by the public of Rewari about a century ago.

It is not known how this tank got the name of Solah Rayee. It was primarily built to facilitate the mourners to have an ablution in it after they had participated in the last rites of a person, performed in the cremation grounds in its vicinity.

However, it also served as a bathing place for the people as well as a watering place for the cattle. Besides, the wells sunk on its banks also provided sweet drinking water to the residents. The old temple of Lord Shiva, lying on its bank, has also been the abode of great saints like Baba Hanuman Das and Baba Bulbul Wallah.

The tank, which now lies in ruins, can be developed into a fine swimming pool as well as a recreational centre.



Non-violence is the supreme dharma 

As it would be unto thee, so it is with him whom thou intendest to kill. As it would be unto thee, so it is with him whom thou intendest to tyrannise over. As it would be unto thee, so it is with him whom thou intendest to torment. In the same way (it is with him) whom thou intendest to punish, and to drive away...” If everyone could be so sensitive to the pain of others, there would be no attempt to hurt ... Compare such noble sentiments expressed in the Akaranga Sutra with what is going on currently in Gujarat....

Ahimsa or the practice of non-violence implies that we not only desist from causing physical injury by our actions but also ensure that our thoughts and words do not hurt. To be non-violent is to desist from all forms of hurt as indicated in the Sanskrit phrase: ‘manasa, vacha, karmana.’ (By thought, word or deed).

The country, on Thursday, celebrated the 2600th birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira, who gave such a depth of meaning to this philosophical concept. The VIPs, including the Prime Minister of the country, made speeches extolling the glory of the propounder of the ahimsa concept. The Prime Minister even said that he did not need the western sermons on secularism, as sages of India had discovered the merit of tolerance long ago. Such a talk itself betrayed how far removed are persons like him among our politicians who cannot tolerate just criticism. If only he valued truth, he would have, in a spirit of humility, expressed his anguish over the conduct of all those who preach and practise violence bringing a bad name to the nation.

Gandhiji, it must be recalled, never subscribed to the notion that “India was older, wiser and more spiritual than the material West”. In fact, in 1918, he reminded his British friend Charlie Andrews that ‘incarnations’ in Indian legends were “bloodthirsty, revengeful and merciless to the enemy” and in 1946, in remarks to Noakhali, he again recalled the violence in India’s past.

Though all honest people will have no difficulty in confessing that we have not been non-violent as a people, there is no denying the fact that Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, won independence for the country through non-violent means fighting against a foe as powerful as the British empire. This will be recounted in history as a miracle of sorts.

Rajmohan Gandhi, in his recent book, Revenge & Reconciliation, avers that Gandhiji’s non-violence movement owes a lot to the concept of non-violence contained in Hindu religion and Jainism. The Mahatma has also acknowledged his indebtedness to Tolstoy, who in turn had borrowed the ideal from the Gospels. Suffice it to say here that most religions in some way or the other extol the virtue of non-violence and preach the need to avoid all violence.

This is to admit that Mahavira’s message is becoming more and not less relevant to the whole world. Most societies are turning pluralistic by virtue of circumstances and the armament race and weapons of mass destruction make conflicts deadly for mankind. So, the need to promote a culture of non-violence has become all the more urgent.

In his search for truth, Mahavira found that the basic problem of man is that of violence. But violence was the fruit of passions. Mind tainted with attachment is filled with the emotion of love whereas one tainted with aversion is filled with hatred. Love, in turn, produces avarice. Avaricious mind becomes deceitful, lustful and possessive. Mind tainted with aversion takes pride in riches, caste, power, beauty etc. He held that attachment is the mother of avarice and deceit and aversion generates egotism and anger. All these gave rise to problems. He, through spiritual exercises, sought to free himself from passions. Passions are the seed and violence is the fruit. And he established that non-violence is the supreme dharma (Ahimsa paramo dharma).

Violence and acquisitiveness go hand in hand. Today, when the have-nots use violence against those with power and wealth, it creates alarm in the public mind. In the language of Mahavira, this violence is against violence. He pronounced that the remedy for economic inequality is aparigraha. The thinkers today have begun to endorse the sage’s view that we can put an end to violence only by checking the monopoly of power and wealth. And he maintained too that violence can be eradicated only through a change of heart.

Non-violence also implies equality of all. A non-violent man is he who finds all souls to be equal despite external differences. A society based on egalitarianism is free from all sorts of discrimination.

If the preaching of Jainism against possessiveness answers the problems caused by the excessive consumerism and materialism of the present day, its doctrine of anekantavada ensures tolerance in a pluralistic society. This philosophy lays down that same truth can be looked at from different angles. It means that along with one’s own standpoint, the standpoint of the ‘other’ is also significant.

This wide basis and connotation of non-violence invited this comment from Gandhiji: “No religion of the world has explained the principle of Ahimsa so deeply and systematically, as discussed with its applicability in Jainism.” In the strife-torn atmosphere of this country, in the midst of all the hostilities and discrimination, it is good to remind ourselves of the “reverence for life” taught by Mahavira. The caste system, riots in the name of religion and hundred other practices will then appear to be a violation of this moral principle.




Raw water duct to be ready by 2003
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27
A 30-km-long raw water duct is being constructed from Murad Nagar in Uttar Pradesh to Sonia Vihar where a water treatment plant of 140 million gallons per day (MGD) capacity is being set up. Lieutenant-Governor Vijai Kapoor today said the plant, when completed by the end of 2003, would enhance the availability of drinking water by 25 per cent. He acknowledged that the availability of raw water had not increased during the last four years commensurate with the rate of growth of population.

He said constructing two flyovers would enhance the connectivity between Dwarka and west and south Delhi. The six-km-long road, including the flyover and road-under-bridge at Delhi-Rewari railway line near Palam Technical Area, would be one of the main access roads for Dwarka. He said the first phase of another flyover on Pankha Road had already been taken up.

His comments came during a visit to the Vir Awas Yojana under construction in Sector 18 A, Dwarka Phase-II for the families of soldiers who sacrificed their lives in Kargil during Operation Vijay. The flats would be constructed by June.

The Lieutenant-Governor also said the construction of the third line of Metro Rail from Barakhamba Road along Najafgarh Road to Dwarka was being considered. If the project was finalised, he said, efforts would be made to commission this line also by 2005.



SSP denies reports on prisoners’ escape
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 27
The Superintendent of Police, Mr Paramjit Singh Ahlawat, today denied the recent reports that prisoners had escaped from the custody of the Sonepat district police. However, he told mediapersons here that in all the previous cases, the prisoners had escaped from the custody of Jind, Jhajjar and Hisar police during when the accused were taken from the district jail here for producing before the courts or on their return journey.

He said that the district police were quite vigilant and adequate steps had been taken to foil the attempts of the prisoners to escape from the police custody. Mr Ahlawat took credit for himself and said that not even in single case of escape of any prisoner from police custody has taken place in the district.

Found hanging

The body of an Krishan (50) was found hanging in his house at Bhatgaon village, about 15 km from here, on Friday night. According to a report, the police believe it to be a case of suicide. The body has been sent for the post-mortem examination.

Three assaulted

Three persons, including a woman, were injured in separate incidents when they were assaulted by members of rival groups at Liwan and Dewru villages and Kailash Colony of the city on Friday evening.

According to a report, all the injured were immediately hospitalised and they were stated to be out of danger. The police have registered cases and further investigations are in progress. No arrest has been made so far.

2 hurt in mishaps

Mr Uma Kant Misra sustained serious injuries in an accident on the G. T. Road near Bahalgarh Chowk, about 10 km from here, on Friday night. He was returning home after the duty hours. According to another report, Mr Lal Chand of Nagina village in Gurgaon district was seriously injured when he was hit by a car on G. T. Road near Bahalgarh Chowk, about 10 km from here, on Friday evening. 



Man inhales poisonous gas while cleaning
sewer, dies

Faridabad, April 27
A safai employee working with a contractor died after he inhaled poisonous gas while cleaning a sewer line in Sector 29 here today. The deceased, Charan Singh (28) of Pream Nagar jhuggi colony, had been working with a contractor who assigned him to clean a sewer line on Friday.

It is reported that while he climbed down the manhole and hit the slush, poisonous gas engulfed him and he fell down in the dirty water. He was pulled out after a few minutes by one of his associates but he succumbed on the way to the hospital. It is reported that the victim had no safety equipment with him. TNS



Woman strangulates daughter to hide crime
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, April 27
A woman allegedly strangled her six-year-old daughter at Chamarian village on Friday night. The mother apprehended that the daughter might inform the panchayat of a crime she had committed. The woman had beaten her nephew black and blue resulting in his death and the daughter seemed to be the witness to the alleged beating. She could spill the beans, the mother feared.

Mr Duli Chand, a resident of Chamarian village stated in the FIR that his grandson, Anand (6) died on April 9 and was cremated. He said his granddaughter, Monica (6), informed him, after nearly 10 days of the cremation, that her mother, Kavita, aunt of the deceased, had badly beaten up Anand and detained him in a room on the day of the incident.

It seemed that due to the merciless beating by his aunt, the boy breathed his last. Mr Duli Chand said that the matter was reported to the panchayat which scheduled its meeting on April 28 to decide the issue by interrogating Monica. He said he heard cries from the house of Kavita and found her strangling her daughter at around 1 am on Friday night. The girl had died before he could free her. Her mother, Kavita escaped allegedly after committing the crime. The police registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC.

Fatal liaison: With the arrest of a couple today, the police claim to have solved a murder case. The duo were sent in judicial custody for 14 days by Ms Madhu Khanna, Judicial Magistrate (1st class). Those arrested have been identified as Surender and his wife, Shyamlata, residents of Bhagwatipur village, who allegedly murdered Sunil of the same village on April 20.

It is learnt that Surender suspected that his wife and the deceased had illicit relations. The police recovered two empty bottles of liquor, water and some glasses near the body which indicated that somebody known to the deceased committed the crime after offering him liquor.



Girl killed in cylinder blast
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27
A minor girl was killed and three others were injured in a cylinder blast in a house in Samaipur Badli early this morning. The injured were identified as Raghu Nath, his wife Guddi and their daughters Soni and Moni. They were admitted at LNJP Hospital where eight-month-old Moni succumbed to her injuries. The incident occurred at 6.45 am when one of the family members lighted the stove to make tea.

Woman set afire: The Mehrauli police today arrested Mukesh (25), a resident of a jhuggi cluster in Bhati Mines, on the charge of trying to kill his wife, Sunita (21). He allegedly set ablaze his wife after an argument on Thursday night. The victim told the police that she was married two years back and on Thursday her husband set her ablaze after pouring kerosene on her following a quarrel. She had been admitted to a hospital with severe burns, the police said.

Shot at by ex-staff: In an act of revenge, a transport manager in a detergent powder and soap company, Sanjay (30), was injured after he was allegedly shot at in his house in Prashant Vihar by his former driver, Aggarwal, this morning. The manager had reportedly expelled the driver from his services three months back.

Man kills wife: A resident of Maujpur in North-East district has thrown his wife to death when he as informed that she was raped by her elder brother. The rapist has been arrested and the husband of the woman is absconding. The woman was married two-and-a-half years’ back. An SDM enquiry had been ordered, the police said.



Vet caught red-handed while taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 27
A veterinary doctor of the Haryana Government posted at Palwal has been arrested after being caught red-handed while accepting a bribe from a resident of Mitrol village. This is the fourth incident of corruption exposed in the past few weeks.

According to district authorities, the accused, identified as Dr Sachin Dhankhar, had demanded Rs 300 for issuing a fitness certificate for the buffalo of Mahavir of Mitrol village for getting a loan from `Haryana Kalyan Nigam’ against the cattle. As per the requirement, the loan could be released only if the veterinary doctor of the area declared the animal as fit and healthy. A raid was conducted after the matter was reported to the authorities and the accused was caught while taking the money. The Deputy Commissioner has announced a reward to the complainant as per the scheme announced recently.

Tata Sumo  robbed: Three unidentified armed youths robbed a Tata Sumo from its driver at gunpoint near Palwal town on Friday. According to the complaint lodged by one Rafiq Mohammad, his new Tata Sumo, which had not been even registered, was robbed at gunpoint near Nangla Meghpur village while he was going to Alwar at about 8.30 pm. The accused had taken a lift from him. A case has been booked.



Seven dacoits nabbed from hideout

Sonepat, April 27
The police carried out a surprise raid on the hideout of a gang of dacoits in Sector 12 here on Friday night and arrested seven members when they were planning to commit a dacoity at a petrol pump in Sector 14 of Huda colony. The arrested persons have been identified as Ravinder alias Babu of Mukandpur village in Muzaffarnagar district (UP), Yudhvir Jat of Rohat village, Surinder Brahmin of Shahzadpur village, Salim of Tayori village in Meerut district (UP), Rajbir Jat of Jatwarna Mohalla of the city and Naresh Jat of Larsauli village. OC



Youth fires in air to get CNG

New Delhi, April 27
The Vasant Kunj police arrested a youth who fired a few rounds in the air after an argument with an employee of a CNG filling station in the area this evening. He is identified as Harish Gehlaut and a country-made revolver has been seized from him. During interrogation, he disclosed that he has fired just to create fear and get the CNG out of turn.

House robbery: Four unidentified youths robbed Rs 10,000 and jewellery worth Rs 15,000 from the house of Zahiruddin, a resident of Shastri Park in North-East district, today. TNS


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