Sunday, December 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Key to roadside Romeos lies in the family
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
Apart from initiating stringent legal measures against the perpetrators of crime against women, the Delhi Police plans to involve the families of the culprit in their effort to curb the menace.

Alarmed over the recent incidents of molestations and other crimes against women in the Capital, the Delhi Police held several rounds of meetings with NGOs and psychologists in the city to find concrete solutions to the nuisance as legal measures had failed to deter the street-smart Romeos.

“We found that mere arrests and fines were not acting as a deterrent,’’ said Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Sanjay Baniwal.

Social workers and psychologists had suggested in the meetings that social boycott and pressure from the women folk at home could help curb the menace.

Daily, on an average, the police round up at least ten men on charges of molestation or harassment. “But we have never nabbed a man twice for the same act. If this trend continues, the menace would hopefully end,” he added.

The new gambit — to inform the family of the molester — would not only serve to embarrass the molester, but also inhibit him from repeating his wayward behaviour.

According to Mr Baniwal, “The police have now become wiser by insisting that the family members or wives of the molester should be present at the police station while paying the fine or applying for bail.”

Last week 3,000 men in the city were rounded up by decoy women police officers for passing lewd comments, whistling, winking or for making obscene gestures. Police women in civvies were also being deployed around women’s colleges and schools in the city to provide a sense of security to the women students and also to identify suspicious elements and arrest them.

A Crime Against Women Cell in the city is also functional round the clock under an Additional Commissioner of Police to handle the cases with some sensitivity.

The police are now sensitizing the women staff who have been posted in these cells; they are briefed regularly and instructed to take prompt and effective action. ``Gender sensitization courses are being taken up to make the police personnel more receptive, helpful and amenable to women’s problems,” said an officer.

Recently the authorities also decided to send policemen in civvies to the residence of the rape victims, so as not to embarrass them in front of the neighbours.

“A visit by a policeman is still frowned upon in middle class families which abound in the city,” a senior police officer explained.


MCD razes shop adjuncts in Chandni Chowk
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today demolished 44 unauthorised structures and shop adjuncts constructed by shopkeepers in the congested Chandni Chowk area of North district.

The shop owners had been served notices by the MCD, asking them to remove the unauthorised constructions in the open “chabutras,” failing which the corporation would be compelled to remove such encroachments with the help of police.

When the shopkeepers did not respond to the notice, the demolition squad of the corporation, accompanied by a strong police contingent, descended on the area and demolished 44 structures. A portion of Shahi Halwai Ghantewala’s shop, a landmark for over a century, was also demolished as he had encroached on the pavement.

The demolition was earlier scheduled for the previous week but had to be postponed as adequate police force was not available, the MCD sources said.

Hundreds of traders and shop owners gathered at the spot and raised slogans against the MCD. While the demolition was on, the traders’ association came up with a stay order from the court. The case will be heard by the court on December 18.

Local MP Vijay Goel also visited the area which falls in his constituency and tried to pacify the agitated traders.

A spokesperson of the MCD alleged that in connivance with the officials of the corporation the shopkeepers had taken ‘tehbazari’ on the pavement in front of their shops. Later, they had constructed concrete structures at the “ tehbazari” sites and connected these with their shops. This had resulted in chaos as now there was hardly any room for the pedestrians. This, in turn, had added to the already chaotic traffic conditions in the area.


HC says ‘no’ to compulsory relocation of slum dwellers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
The Delhi High Court today struck down a policy framed by the government, which seeks compulsory allotment of alternative sites for relocated slum dwellers.

Describing the policy without any social criteria as illegal and arbitrary, the court proceeded to quash the scheme, which requires alternative sites to be provided to slum dwellers occupying public land before they can be removed from it.

A Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Devender Gupta and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, in a judgement, said benevolence in administration is a necessity but this has to be balanced against the rights of the residents of a town, specially when dealing with one commodity which can never increase, that is availability of land.

Stating that the Government should devise a new policy for rehabilitation of economically weaker sections based on a legitimate criteria, the court, while laying down a series of guidelines for the government, said such a policy should not encourage encroachment upon public land.

Giving time to the Government to complete the exercise of verifying the eligible persons by June 30, 2003, the court said slum dwellers, who have a licence to raise a hut, would be allowed to stay at the original site but the licence would not be transferable.


Speaker defends House adjournment
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
The Winter Session of the Delhi Legislative Assembly ended the way it began: on a dull note, but Speaker Chaudhary Prem Singh maintains the House conducted most of the business listed on the agenda. And this, he was emphatic, in spite of the session lasting only five days.

The Speaker told mediapersons today the Assembly succeeded in discussing and disposing of a lot of matters before being adjourned yesterday. He said the House conducted business for an additional two hours and 14 minutes beyond the stipulated time of 17 hours and 30 minutes. The Delhi Nursing Homes Registration (Amendment) Bill was passed and 36 matters raised as Special Mention.

The Speaker claimed there was no alternative other than adjourning the House sine die on the last day without completing the business. “The pandemonium raised by members of the ruling party and the Opposition forced me to adjourn the House,” Chaudhary Prem Singh said and regretted that important items of private members listed for discussion could not be taken up.

The House discussed regularisation of unauthorised colonies, relocation of industries and Delhi Metro. The Eleventh Report of the Business Advisory Committee, Thirteenth Report of the Committee on Private Members Bills and Resolutions and Preliminary Report of the House Committee to consider the issues relating to allotment of land under the 20-Point Programme were presented and adopted in the House.

The House unanimously passed a motion condemning increasing cases of violence against women in the Capital and demanded that the police be sensitised and equipped to deal with crime against women and promptly respond to cases involving atrocities on women. During the discussion on the worsening law and order situation and rise in atrocities on women, Police Commissioner R.S. Gupta along with some other senior Delhi Police officials were also present in the House.

However, Chaudhary Prem Singh regretted important items of private members listed for discussion could not be taken up due to the adjournment of the House sine die after pandemonium prevailed on the issue of regularisation of unauthorised colonies. The Speaker said motions were moved by 23 members for immediate withdrawal of proposal to impose parking tax in Delhi but on the request of Urban Development Minister A.K. Walia the motion was withdrawn.


Last of the diesel buses to go off the road today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
With the last batch of 600 diesel buses going off the road from tomorrow, Delhi will become the first city in the world to have a fully CNG-based public transport system. The diesel buses have been phased out on the directions of the Supreme Court, to bring down the pollution level in the Capital.

Delhi will also become the first city to have the maximum number of CNG vehicles, disclosed Delhi Transport Minister Ajay Maken. At least 7,400 private buses, 2100 DTC buses, 4,000 mini buses, 15,000 taxis and 45,000 auto-rickshaws are running on CNG.

Mr Maken said he was hopeful of a further improvement in the CNG supply with Inderprastha Gas Ltd. giving an assurance to the Delhi Government and Supreme Court that it will provide 16.1 lakh kg CNG from end of May next year.

With this, more CNG vehicles could ply on the Capitals roads, the minister said. Despite assurances, the CNG shortage in he Capital persists. Serpentine lines of autos and buses can be seen at CNG filling stations. To ease the pressure, a large number of CNG filling stations need to be opened, a senior official of the transport department said.

Instead of increasing the number of buses in the Capital, the authorities should make proper arrangement for the supply of CNG to the transport operators, the official said.


Thanks to CM, a widow loses her source of livelihood
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 30
While the District Grievances Committee meeting chaired by Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala at Municipal Corporation Faridabad Auditorium today might have solved the problems of several people, Urmila Devi, a 48-year-old widow, is ruing her fate. The authorities removed her tea stall outside the auditorium in view of the CM’s arrival.

Not only Urmila Devi, owners of several khokhas (kiosks) on the side of the road outside the auditorium have lost their only source of livelihood in the special drive to beautify the place to roll a ‘red carpet’ for the CM. Their kiosks were removed by the district authorities for the meeting that lasted less than an hour.

Urmila Devi has been running a tea stall outside the Central Telegraph Office (CTO) on Nehru ground, just across the road from the MCF Auditorium, for the last 15 years. The MCF authorities demolished her tea stall last evening, stating that the stall was located on government land.

The woman told the `NCR Tribune’ that the officials did not even issue a notice before removing her stall. She claimed that some items, including glasses worth about Rs 500, were damaged in the crackdown.

She said that her stall was not an impediment and was located about 75 meters away from the road. By demolishing the stall, the authorities had snatched her source of livelihood and it would be difficult for her to start working again, she lamented.

Her husband died several years ago and she has been looking after a family of five members by running the tea stall. She has now sought compensation and action against the officials who got her stall removed.

The MCF officials have reportedly spent lakhs of rupees on the beautification of the MCF Auditorium premises. Though it is limited to a certain area, it is learnt that the budget for the beautification was not presented or passed in the meeting of the corporation.

The authorities spruced up the road for the CM’s visit but paid scant attention to other areas. Sewers and drains in many areas are reported to be choked and contaminated water is a major cause of worry.

The Chief Minister heard and disposed of 14 complaints today, even though it is claimed in some quarters that most of the complaints had been addressed earlier and placed before the CM for his final okay. It is also alleged that many complaints don’t reach the CM at all. Officials ensure that only those grievances are tabled that are not controversial or which do not show the local authorities in a poor light.


Three inter-state gangsters nabbed
Our Correspondent

Noida, November 30
The Dadri police claim to have arrested three inter-state gangsters, who were involved in two cases of dacoity and murder recently. However, two of them escaped from custody. An amount of Rs 22,000, a country-made revolver, cartridges and a stolen motorbike have also been recovered. They were planning a bid heist in Ghaziabad on November 28.

SSP Rajeev Kishen disclosed that the gangsters had looted one C. L. Ragwanshi and his employee on November 24 near the Pachhar police post of Kasna police station, before scooting in his car.

They looted Rs 2.65 lakh from one Ghamandi Singh of Oonchi Dinkaur and his eight companions on November 25, after killing the former and wounding his driver Rakesh.

It so happens that SP (Rural) Pushpak Jyoti was informed by a source that the gangsters were known to him and that they were now planning to loot Rs 27 lakh in Ghaziabad.

On the assigned day five persons coming from Dadri to Ghaziabad on motorbikes were asked to stop on Thursday evening. However, they made a murderous attack on the police team and tried to flee towards Dairy Siknagar village.

In desperation, three suspects dumped their motorcycle on the railway line and started running. An encounter took place near Rajwahe in which they were nabbed. They were later identified as Babu of Dadri and Ved Prakash and Akash, both residents of Ghaziabad.

A sum of Rs 22,000 in cash, three country-made revolvers and cartridges were recovered from them.

The motorcycle, it turned out, was stolen from the Biserakh police station area. They confessed that the Kasna loot and murder had been the handiwork of their gang, the plan for which was hatched by Rakesh and Jita of Nai Basti Dadri.

Rakesh is the leader of the gang which has 15 members.

One of the arrested gangster, Vedu, is described as a ‘dreaded criminal’ in the Surajpur police station records. He had come out of jail only two months back after undergoing four years’ imprisonment. The gang was involved in a number of crimes in Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Delhi, the SSP said.


Personal secretary of Noida CEO abducted
Our Correspondent

Noida, November 30
The PS of Mr D S Bains, the Chief Executive Officer of Noida Authority, was abducted on Thursday evening by unknown criminals. Mr Ashok Sharma was returning to his residence in Sector 27 in his Santro car.

While he was talking on his mobile near Cambridge School, four criminals approached him and before he could comprehend anything, one of them whisked out a revolver and planted himself in the driver’s seat; the other three took the rear seat.

The criminals drove the car about 4 km towards the forest bordering the Sorkha village. Here, one of them addressed him as Ashok Goel. When he said he was not Ashok Goel, they deprived him of his cash, wrist watch and cell phone. They stripped him down, tied him to a tree with his clothes and sped away. Somehow, he managed to free himself and informed the people in Sorkha village who, in turn, informed the police. The police soon took charge of Ashok Sharma and admitted him to a hospital.

But strangely no case has been registered by the police, although Sharma had also informed his office in the morning.

SP City Vijay Bhushan terms the whole episode as a case of loot. He says Ashok Sharma’s car is gone, whether it has been stolen or taken away forcibly, an inquiry will establish that.

Noida Officers and employees have called for action against the culprits and a thorough inquiry into the whole episode.


And now, BJP-Cong spat over distortion of a map
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
After fighting over by now familiar issues of regularisation of unauthorised colonies, the worsening law and order situation in the Capital, the Delhi Metro and sundry issues of concern to Delhiites, the BJP and the Congress on Friday engaged in a verbal duel over alleged distortion of a map.

After the usual trading of charges in the Delhi Legislative Assembly (the winter session concluded with the House being adjourned sine die) over unauthorised colonies, the BJP lashed out at the Congress for wrongly depicting the boundaries in a map.

The Congress-administered Government of NCT of Delhi later clarified the map – that became the subject of a controversy after a BJP legislator claimed it was distorted – was a relief map and therefore should be treated as one.

The controversy erupted after BJP legislator Harsharan Singh Balli accosted mediapersons, claiming a map put up during the recently concluded India International Trade Fair (IITF) wrongly depicted the contours of the nation.

The map, he had alleged, wrongly depicted the boundaries and besides being an affront to the nation also showed the Government of NCT of Delhi in poor light before the millions of visitors to the IITF.

When confronted, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit clarified the map was a relief map that did not depict international boundaries. According to the official version, the relief map only depicted the broad contours and did not in any way cause harm or damage the nation’s territorial integrity.


Electoral College mooted for gurdwaras
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
To discuss the reason for the degeneration of gurdwara affairs and to consider any alternative to elections for religious institutions (SGPC and DSGMC), a meeting of intelligentsia of Delhi was called by the Sikh Forum in association with Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan.

Justice R.S. Narula presided over the meeting. Dr J.S. Neki initiated the discussion by presenting a well-thought out method of replacing elections by a representation selection. Sardar H.S. Phoolka put forth an alternative suggestion for the formation of ‘Electoral College’. Dr Amrik Singh, Dr Joginder Singh (former Director CBI), S. Tarlochan Singh (Vice-Chairman Minority Commission), Dr Amarjit Singh Narang, Dr Maheep Singh, S. Anup Singh, Col Manohar Singh, Dr Mohinder Singh Maj Gen M.S. Chadha, S. Joginder Singh (IRS) and others expressed their views in the discussion.

It was observed that the concept of Miri and Piri has been widely muddled by the Sikh leaders. It was emphasised that those interested in offering services for the management of gurdwaras and other religious institutions should refrain from active politics.

No member of SGPC and DSGMC should be MLA or MP or any other political post, and vice-versa. Only non-political organisations should be allowed to nominate persons for election to religious committees.

Carry out necessary amendments in Acts governing SGPC and DSGMC to ensure that elections to General House of both the Gurdwara committees are held on completion of their respective tenures of five and four years.

SGPC and DSGMC should frame rules covering code of conduct and educational qualifications of members.


HVP to hold demonstration against Casino Bill
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 30
The Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) has decided to hold a massive demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office at Sonepat on December 27 next to register its strong protest against the passing of the Casino Bill by the Haryana Vidhan Sabha.

Announcing this, Mr Rajiv Jain, general secretary of the party, told mediapersons here today workers of the party would assemble at the PWD (B and R) rest house from where they would proceed to the mini-secretariat in a procession which would pass through the main bazaars of the city. Mr Surinder Singh, a former MP and the secretary general of the party, would lead the procession, he added.

Mr Jain accused the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, of damaging the ancient culture of the country by opening the gambling dens in every part of the state. This, he alleged, would encourage the youths to take to crimes like thefts and dacoities.

He said casinos had been spreading gangster-drug poison at the international level wherever they had been in operation. He alleged that Nepal and Goa had already become centres of international smugglers where gangsters were indulging in various crimes. Such casinos, he alleged, had also encouraged prostitution.

The HVP leader said the Chief Minister had a dream for having Disneyland in the state when he assumed power earlier for a short period. When the people of the state opposed him, he was forced to abandon the plan. Now he wanted to set up gambling dens in every part of the state but he would not be allowed to do so by the HVP, he declared.

Mr Jain also made a fervent appeal to the people in general and leaders of the political parties in particular to come forward and launch a united struggle against the Chief Minister’s plan. He said his party was prepared to cooperate with other parties on this issue and would go ahead to oppose the move at any cost.


Vidrohi flays discrimination against Ahirwal
Our Correspondent

Rewari, November 30
The Haryana Janata Dal (U) president, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, has flayed the Chautala regime for the injustice meted out to the areas of Ahirwal and Mewat regions in estimating the losses caused by drought.

In a press statement, he said that the entire Sirsa district, where more than 80 per cent of the cultivable land was irrigated by canals, had been declared 100 per cent drought-affected. Meanwhile only three villages - Hazariwas, Kaluwas and Chandawas - out of the 418 villages had been pronounced as 100 per cent drought hit in Rewari district where canal-irrigated area comprised only one per cent of the total cultivable land. Similarly, only 85 villages out of 800-odd villages had been declared 100 per drought-affected in Gurgaon district when irrigation facility by canal water was almost negligible in the Mewat region.

He also said that the intensity of drought in Rewari and Gurgaon districts was in no way less than that in the neighbouring district of Mahendragarh where 316 villages out of 371 villages had been declared drought affected.

Mr Vidrohi asked the glaring disparity between Sirsa and Ahirwal-cum-Mewat region was sufficient to prove the arbitrariness as well as partiality being practised in the entire exercise of estimating drought-affectedness.

Mr Vidrohi also urged the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, to send a special team for a fresh and fair assessment of drought to undo the wrong that was being perpetrated on the hapless farmers of the Ahirwal and Mewat regions by the Chautala regime.

He disclosed that he had made a written representation to the Chief Minister and had a telephonic talk with the deputy commissioners of Rewari, Mahendragarh and Gurgaon emphasising the incorporation of certain drastic measures in the then ongoing exercise of special girdawari to make it beneficial for the drought-stricken farmers of these areas. But it was a pity that his protestations went unheeded and the special girdawari too resulted in a futile exercise.


Lack of seeds, fertilisers hits sowing of wheat
Our Correspondent

Noida, November 30
Farmers of Greater Noida are a worried lot these days because seeds, fertilisers and other farm inputs are not available in the godowns of the Lakhanwali Cooperative Service Centre, Surajpur. Non-availability of farm inputs has already started affecting the sowing of wheat in the area. A further delay of even one week will adversely affect their crops. Any amount of fertiliser or irrigation later will not be able to rescue their crop.

According to Jagran Singh of Mali village, sowing should be completed by November 30. Late sowing will certainly affect the chances of a good crop. Rajpal Singh of Sathana village says that they have not been able to procure seeds and fertilisers, which are delaying their sowing operations. They have been visiting the service centre every other day.

According to Mahi Pal Singh, MD of the Lakhanwali Service Centre, the centre caters to the need of 26 villages. He had arranged 56 quintals of seeds for average farmers and for quintals for small farmers. The seeds are of four or five different categories. The complete stock of seeds has been distributed.

He had 253 tonnes of DAP and 52 tonnes of NPK fertilisers in his godowns. The NPK fertiliser has been totally distributed while only 253 tonnes of DAP have been distributed and 160 tonnes are still left in the godowns.

Besides, 19 tonnes of urea have also been sold. In view of the farmers’ demand, a letter seeking 56 tonnes of DAP and 28 tonnes of urea has been sent to the authorities, which are expected to reach here within two-three days, Mr Lakhan Pal Singh added.


BSES denies MCD allegation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
BSES Discoms today denied MCD claims of non- payment of dues to the civic authority and poor streetlighting in their areas.

The Chief Executive of BSES Discoms, Mr J. P. Chalasani, said, “Contrary to the statements made by the MCD regarding non-payment of dues, we have cleared all due amounts. The property tax for this year, i.e. up to March 2003, has been paid. The electricity tax till date has also been cleared.

In fact, it is the MCD which is yet to clear its payments to us for power supply.”

To make payments for the MCD easier, BSES has centralised billing for bulk supply with a single window clearance for the MCD. Going a step ahead, BSES has also reconnected all MCD schools whose electricity was disconnected during the days of the erstwhile DVB. The MCD is yet to pay for the accumulated dues of these schools.

On the streetlighting issue, the areas under BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd covering South and West and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd covering Central and East were fully lit during Divali. “As promised by us, we had more than 95 per cent streetlights functional by Divali and have received appreciation from the government legislators and resident welfare associations,” Mr Chalasani said.


‘We all gain inner strength with time’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankarji, famed for his workshops on “The Art of Living’, delivered a lecture on “Ageing with Dignity and Spirituality” on the second day of the ongoing International Conference on Ageing here yesterday.

He said that contrary to popular perception, every human being gains in power, inner strength and beauty with the passage of time. He cited the examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa in this regard.

Swamiji unravelled the scientific reasoning behind the Indian custom of the younger members of the family taking blessings of the elderly on occasions like birthdays, weddings, religious festivals, etc. The elderly have reached a stage in life where their mind is not in turmoil, the mind is at peace with the world at large. And the words from an uncluttered, serene mind are potent and compelling.

The lecture was followed by an energising 15-minute meditation session wherein the Guru asked everyone to “think of the name Ram”. At the end of the meditation session, the participants’ feedback was, “It didn’t seem like 15 minutes; it seemed much less”.

A lively question and answer session ensued after the meditation. The participants asked a number of questions and sought guidance from the Guru on their common beliefs and doubts.

Coming as it did after a hectic, action-packed day that saw four interactive sessions and one plenary session, the spiritual session helped the delegates unwind and relax.

Sri Sri Ravishankarji felicitated 10 eminent personalities with citations engraved on silver plate and shawl on the occasion for their inspiring achievements.

They are Pandir Birju Maharaj (world renowned kathak exponent), Dr Rajendra Awasthi (eminent writer and editor of many Hindi publications), Mrs Gaura Pant `Shivani’ (illustrious writer in Hindi literature), Mr Gauri Shankar Mishra (a naturopathy and ayurvedic specialist), Swami

Sunderanand (famed for his photographic exposition of Himalayas), Dr Nirmala Deshpande (notable social worker, writer and scholar), Mr G Suryanarayanan (well-known Gandhian and freedom fighter), Col S. P. Wahi (former Chairman of ONGC), Maj-Gen Ranbir Bakshi (retd) (distinguished soldier turned social worker), and Master Ramachander Sharma (famous for his “Jaipur Foot”).


Chail, a place to visit during all seasons
Tribune News Service

At a distance of about 43 km from Shimla is the former summer capital of Patiala — Chail. Situated at a height of 2,250 m above sea level, it has earned itself a name by holding the record of having a cricket pitch and a polo ground at the highest point in the world.

Chail and its surrounding areas are a delight for tourists in every season. Offering relief during the summer heat and a picturesque view during the winters, the place looks equally fascinating in autumn when the fields and the forests are covered in hues of gold.

The place is peaceful in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of city life. The place owes its origin to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala who was banned from entering the summer capital of the Raj, Simla. The Maharaja vowed to build a new and better summer capital for himself. Chail, a little village close to Simla, caught the Maharaja’s fancy and he rebuilt the city.

Chail is built on three hills — the palace is on Rajgarh Hill and the Residency Snow View once occupied by British resident is on Pandhewa Hill and on the third Sadh Tiba hill is Chail. Overlooking Satluj Valley, Shimla and Kasauli are also visible at night from here.

How to reach

Air: Nearest airports are Shimla and Chandigarh.

Rail: Nearest railhead is Kalka (86 Km).

Road: Accessible by road from Kalka via Kandaghat, which is 32 km short of Shimla, on the Kalka-Shimla Highway. The distance between Kandaghat and Chail is 29 km

The places to see in Chail include:

Sidh Baba Ka Mandir

Maharaja Bhupinder Singh had originally intended this to be the site for his palace, but a saint who appeared in his dreams told him that the site was where he had meditated. Bhupinder Singh shifted his venue and built a temple on the spot.


Fourteen kilometre from Kandaghat is the beautiful tiny village of Sadhupul, and the bridge over the Ashwani stream, a popular picnic spot.

Cricket Ground

Surrounded by gigantic deodar, the well-maintained Chail Cricket Ground is the highest cricket ground in the world. Built in 1893, this cricket pitch located at the height of 2,144 m is also used as a polo ground.

Chail Palace

The palace of the maharajas, built in the late 19th century, and the pretty cottages of the complex that once accommodated the ADCs and guests of the royal party have now been turned into a charming holiday resort.

Chail Sanctuary

Ensconced amidst the tall and majestic deodar and oak forests and grasslands around the town, the sanctuary is home to sambhar, ghoral and cheer pheasants. Barking deer and khalij pheasants are often spotted at dusk and dawn in the sanctuary. For the fishing lovers, the Gaura river rich in fish offers excitement. A number of high-altitude trekking routes keep those wishing to trek happy.



Prejudiced minds and intolerant societies

Let but the public mind once become thoroughly corrupt, and all attempts to secure property, liberty or life, by mere force of laws written on parchment, will be as vain as to put up printed notices in an orchard to keep off canker-worms,’’ wrote a sensitive soul on the rule of law in societies dominated by prejudices.

One dominant corrupting influence is that of prejudices based on religion, region, language or race. When inflamed, such passions could end up in disaster. This nation has experienced the baneful impact of such prejudices throughout its history. But in today’s pluralistic societies, there is need for greater tolerance of differences; the philosophy of “unity in diversity” calls for a culture of tolerance.

Most societies in the world today are pluralistic in nature and the UN initiative in celebrating November 16 as “International Day of Tolerance” results from the recognition of the importance of this virtue in societies for maintenance of peace.

There have been disturbing signs of growing intolerance in our society and the latest is the lynching of five Dalits at Dullena village in Jhajjar on October 16. It indicates the deadly impact of communal prejudices in people’s minds.

The lynching followed mob fury, incited over the alleged skinning of a cow, a sacred animal to the Hindus, near a police post and resulted in the death of five. Several days after the incident, there were reports that the victims were merely carrying animal skins in a truck. They had not killed any cow. A victim’s family had accused the police of engineering the mob fury and murders following the victims’ refusal to pay extortion money.

While reverence for the cow can be explained in religious terms in the Hindu scriptures, they do not justify a mob taking law into its hands to punish the wrong doers, and the tragedy is that the victims were not even guilty of the crime they were accused of.

The incident only shows how communalism has vitiated the atmosphere in the country inciting mob fury and lawlessness even near police posts. Instead of taking action against the culprits, some sections had audaciously taken the stand that the police should not act against individuals since deaths had been caused by mob fury. Political activists had even taken out a procession at Dullena to oppose any police action against the perpetrators of the crime on the same day, October 16.

The failure to take action in the case can be an encouragement to lawlessness and mobocracy.

Another dangerous trend of late is the openly communal and inflammatory slogans raised by political parties. When communal passions are aroused in this manner, there may be consolidation of votes on a communal basis but it is too dangerous a strategy from the point of view of unity and stability.

The tendency to take law into one’s hand and the proneness of certain leaders to make inflammatory speeches inciting passions against the minorities do not augur well for the nation.

Khushwant Singh, writer and journalist, commenting on the recent communal incidents had observed: “Fascism of the Indian brand is at our doorstep.’’(In his column in the Hindustan Times dated October 19)

He goes on to say that “Germany was a literate nation and yet succumbed to the most irrational sort of racial prejudice. We are largely illiterate and it is much easier to sway our masses by rousing their basest instincts. We saw that with the eruption of Bhindranwale and his success in winning over the Sikh masses by preaching hate. We are now witnesses of the same kind of preaching of hate on a national scale. The Nazis had only Jews and Gypsies as their targets.’’

Five innocent lives were snuffed out because a mob thought they were guilty; the driving force behind the unjust mob was religious prejudice. The innocents had no opportunity to defend themselves. Same was the case when mobs moved against the Sikhs in the wake of the murder of Mrs Indira Gandhi. When the 400-year-old Babri Masjid came tumbling down, the same religious sentiments were at play.

We have paid a heavy price in terms of material and social progress for all the prejudices we engender. The caste prejudices are the worst. Until we learn to treat everyone as a human being, irrespective of colour, creed or other differences, peace in societies could be fragile and precarious.

We should not be indifferent to the situation. There is need for peacemakers and there is need for reconciliation in society. To be unconcerned is to invite the rebuke in the words of prophet Jeremiah, “Is it nothing to you who pass by?''

MPK Kutty



One killed, 14 hurt as drain wall collapses
Our Correspondent

Noida, November 30
One sanitary worker was killed and 14 others sustained injuries when the wall of a drain, they were cleaning, collapsed over them.

The Noida Authority had employed 130 workers on daily wages for the cleaning of the drain in Alkananda Apartments, near Sector 28, under Sector 20 police station.

As the wall collapsed at about 10.30 am, 15 workers were trapped under the debris. There were lot of hue and cry and those labourers who were around tried to pull their colleagues out. The injured were rushed to the Bhardwaj Hospital.

One labourer, Pintu, who was in precarious condition, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The workers admitted to the Hospital include Ranjan, Babu, Gajender, Amit, Johny, Vijay, Ravi, Shiv Kumar, Pintu, Rakesh, Johny-II and Vinode. All the labourers belong to Delhi and Ghaziabad.

The City Magistrate, Mr Uchhay Lal and Noida Authority Secretary, Mr Rajiv Toutela, visited the injured in the hospital. As there was only knee deep water, a major tragedy was averted, Noida officials said. About 90 workers, who were on the spot, quickly extricated their companions buried under the debris.


One killed, two hurt in collision
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, November 30
One person was killed and two others injured seriously when a truck collided with their tractor near Sahidi Park here on Friday night.

According to police, Kapoor Singh and his son Dharamender of Kheri Asra village, had gone to Jhajjar for shopping on their tractor. When they were returning, a truck rammed their tractor near Sahidi Park. They received serious injuries, while his father was rushed to PGIMS at Rohtak, who succumbed to his injuries midway.

The driver of truck fled in a maruti car (DL-4CK-0474) from the accident spot. The police registered a case under section 304A/279 of IPC against the truck driver.

Youth shot at

A member of a wedding party was reportedly shot dead by his friend in Qwalison village of the district on Friday night.

According to the police, Manoj, son of Omprakash, resident of Baharana village, had gone to attend the marriage of his friend Jinendra of nearby Maharana village. He along with the wedding party arrived in bride’s village in Qwalison on Friday night. He came in a Tata Sumo and accompanied by his friends.

However, when they were staying in a village Chaupal, Dinesh, one of his friends reportedly shot Manoj in his chest.

Three injured in clash

Sonepat: Three students were injured in a clash between two rival groups at Jhundpur village about 15 km from here on Friday evening. According to a report, the injured students were identified as Rajesh, Ramesh and Gurnam and they belonged to Jhundpur village. The alleged assailants are Vikrant, Amit and Anil of Jakhauli village.

The injured students were returning to Jhundpur village on their bicycles after the closure of the school at Jakhauli village when they were waylaid on the way and attacked after some altercations.


The Shree Sunder Kaand Yajna Samiti is holding a massive `Sankirtan’ on the premises of the Nehru Park situated on the railway road in Gita Colony here tomorrow. According to a report, Dr Swami Divyanand Ji Mahraj, Bhikhshu, a famous saint of Tapovan Hardwar will preside over it. The well-known singer Vinod Aggarwal of Mumbai will perform the Sankirtan. It will be followed by an arti and bhandara.

Bailed out

The District and Sessions Judge Mr S. K. Sardana granted bail to the accused Mukesh involved in the double murder case committed on April 10 last in Adarsh Nagar of this city. According to a report, the accused had shot dead Mr Ran Singh, an ex-serviceman and his wife Mrs Sarita and injured his daughter Chetna after entering the house.

Woman beaten up

A young housewife Mrs Suman was allegedly beaten up by a group of neighbours at Ferozpur Bangar village about 25 km from here on Friday night.

According to a report, the Kharkhauda police have registered the case against the alleged assailants but no arrest has been made in this connection so far.


Married woman raped by villager
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, November 30
A married woman has reportedly been raped by a resident of Kher Khumar village for several days.

The victim, wife of Manoj Kumar, resident of Jahajgarh, complained to the police today that the accused Krishan of Kheri Khomar village, took her and Manoj to Najafgarh on the pretext of providing a job to her husband. She reportedly said that after one month the accused took her husband in a vehicle to his native Jahajgarh village. The accused reportedly dropped her husband in his village when he become unconscious following a heavy dose of liquor.

Later, the accused went back to Najafgarh and took the victim in his custody. He reportedly raped her for many days. The police started investigation after registering a case under Section 376 of IPC.

Boy run over by tractor

A nine-year-old child, Harish, reportedly killed when a tractor ran over him in Vajirpur village of the district on Friday evening.

The police said here today that Jaiprakash in his report to the police alleged that the deceased Harish, son of his brother Ramakumar, was playing on the Veranda of Bhagwan Singh. However, Narender, son of Bhagwan Singh, arrived at home with a tractor. On seeing the tractor, Harish attempted to escape but crushed under the vehicle. He died on the spot. The police registered a case under section 304-A/279 of IPC.


Youth mowed down by school bus
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
Kamal (28), resident of Jhuggi cluster in Nangla Majhi, was reportedly hit by a Mater Die school bus near F-Gate of Supreme Court this afternoon. The victim later succumbed to his injuries in RML Hospital. Tilak Marg Police arrested the erring driver of the bus, Salim Ahmed, on charge of causing death due to rash and negligent driving.

Special police team

The East district police have constituted special teams, which have been deployed near colleges, schools and bus stands to take action against the eve-teasers. Women police officers have also been detailed for the purpose. The teams arrested 10 eve-teasers under the Delhi Police Act, DCP, Mrs Nuzhat Hassan said.

Gang busted

The police have also claimed to have busted a gang of manufacturers of illegal arms with the arrest of Navin, resident of Muzaffar Nagar. A country made pistol was recovered from his possession.

During the course of interrogation, he disclosed that he was involved in manufacturing of illegal arms and rifles of various bores. Besides him, Mangay Ram and Madan Lal, his associates were also involved in the racket for two years. They supplied arms to their customers in East district specially Shahadra, its adjoining areas and villages. He came to supply the revolver to his customer in Patparganj Industrial area and Anand Viharon Friday. He also disclosed that he manufacture the arms in Sugar cane field in his village. A raiding team of the Delhi Police reached the village and sugar cane field and recovered two rifles of 315 bore, three guns of 12 bore, three country made pistols of 315 bore and some unprepared arms along with live and used cartridges.

Software seized

Crime Branch of the Delhi Police today seized seven computers containing pirated versions of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Imageready and Adobe Photo Delux, following raids conducted at two franchisees of the NIFD, located at W-6, West Patel Nagar and FD-6, Pitam Pura.


SBP launches computerisation drive
Tribune News Service

Panipat, November 30
With a view to providing value-added services to its customers, the State Bank of Patiala (SBP) has launched a major computerisation drive. Announcing this after the inauguration of the newly upgraded and fully computerised branch here today, the Chief General Manager of SBP, Mr B. M. Jain, said of the 729 branches, 20 branches covering 97 per cent of business had been computerised and the rest would be computerised in the next two months. Similarly, anywhere banking facility was available at 17 branches.

The bank had already installed ATMs at 51 branches. Tele-banking facility was available at 25 branches and remote log-in facility at 14 commercially important branches. Interactive kiosks, one of which was working at the Mall road, Patiala, would be installed shortly at 10 other locations. Video-conferencing facilities had been set up with the Headquarters at Patiala and 10 end-points in zonal offices. Internet banking, mobile banking and call centre facilities were likely to be added soon, he stated.

The bank had outperformed its competitors as was clear from the half-yearly performance ending September 30, 2002. The aggregate deposits had exceeded Rs 17,200 crore and total advances Rs 9,300 crore. The total business as on September 30 had exceeded Rs 2,500 crore. Gross profits at Rs 361 crore registered a growth of 23 per cent over September 30, 2001, officials highlighted.

They added that the bank continued to lay emphasis on improvement in asset quality. The efforts of the bank had resulted in the decline of net NPAs to 2.35 per cent as on September 30.

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