Tuesday, May 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Fatehabad: will ideology triumph over caste?

Apropos of Mr Yoginder Gupta’s article “Fatehabad: will ideology triumph over caste?”, the present-day politicians are not committed to any ideology. Even little known individuals become MLAs and MPs if they are fielded by powerful regional or national parties. They don’t have any mass base because they are the yesmen of regional chieftains.

Fatehabad district has a mixed population of Jats, Sikhs, Punjabis and many other castes. The untimely death of Chaudhary Leela Krishan, sitting MLA of the Indian National Lok Dal, necessitated this by-election. Of all the candidates on the fray, Mr Krishan Swaroop is the most active and experienced leader who has been raising the voice of the peasants, agriculture workers and the Dalits for the past three decades in Fatehabad. He became the member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1971. When Fatehabad was in the grip of communal frenzy soon after the Dariyapur massacre (in which over 30 innocent bus passengers were gunned down by the terrorists), the CPM cadres saved the life and property of the minority community people even by risking their own lives. Mr Krishan Swaroop deserves to be elected MLA from this district keeping in view his long innings as a self-effacing leader of the masses. Other national parties ought to support him because he can prove to be a big asset in the Haryana Assembly.




Helping senior citizens

After attaining superannuation at 58, serving people, for two or three years, try to arrange marriages of their children or keep busy in building a house. In most cases, they do not have liabilities after they reach 60. Retired government and bank employees are pensioners while others depend upon their Provident Fund, savings etc.

At this stage, they are relatively free, expected to pass time happily with family and friends and visiting various places of religious and tourist importance. In certain countries, special facilities are provided to senior citizens. In India, the Centre has taken some steps like concession on rail travel to senior citizens. Still, a lot remains to be done like the sanction of old age pension sufficient enough to live comfortably and giving further concession on travel, medical reimbursement etc. The Centre and the states should give 75 per cent concession to senior citizens for their stay in public sector hotels, government and railways guest houses, retiring rooms, trains, aeroplane, ships and buses. The Centre should consider free rail travel, in Sleeper Class, to those senior citizens who pay every year a lump sum of Rs 1,000, AC II-Tier or First Class for Rs 2,500, Rs 3,000 for the Shatabdi and the Rajdhani express trains, Life-time metal pass of Rs 5,000 for Sleeper Class and Rs 10,000 for all higher classes.

S.K. SONI, Panchkula


Scientists’ selection

With reference to the report Board bends rule to adjust favourites (April 9), I refute the charge that it is not true. All the facts were duly confirmed by the authorities concerned at Kandhaghat’s Composite Testing Laboratory (CTL) where four candidates were appointed as senior scientists.

In fact, much before the report appeared, the Enforcement wing of the State Vigilance Department, after receiving complaints from other aspirants, had already initiated a probe into the matter. They have not only recorded the statements of the complainants and another employee but also established the fact that the experience claimed by the four candidates was not in accordance with the rules. Moreover, as a case has been pending in the State High Court, the Vigilance Department could not recommend the quashing of these appointments. However, it had clearly established a case under Sections 420, 468, 465, 201 and 208 of the Indian Penal Code for cheating and forgery against the four.

After the publication of The Tribune report, the remaining eight candidates met the SP (Enforcement) and were informed that the interview marks of only the four qualified candidates were entered in the records. This proves that the rules were bent to accommodate the chosen four. Suffice it to mention, a Board member, Vidya Dhar, had to obtain anticipatory bail from the High Court on April 24 for having been implicated in this case concerning production of false experience. This report was duly published in The Tribune (April 24). All this proves that my report was based on facts.

I admit that there are two inadvertent errors in the report. In all, 12 candidates were called for the interview (not 13); and the examination was held in September 2001 (not August 2001).


Gurdwara in Iraq

During the sixteenth century, Guru Nanak Dev on his way back from Mecca stayed at Baghdad for over six months. He spent some time at the Tomb of Sufi Saint Dana Bahlool, having religious discourse (Satsang) every day. This place was discovered by the Sikh Regiment during the Second World War. A marble plate engraved in Punjabi narrating the brief history is available on the wall. I had the privilege of living in Baghdad in very recent past. In fact, I left Iraq a few days before the war. It was during the visit of President Giani Zail Singh that the Government of Iraq provided a room next to the grave of Dana Bahlool. Thereafter, walls have been raised around the grave yard. The Indian Embassy is in possession of the keys of this room of the Gurdwara. The Indian community, though in small numbers, has been cleaning up the place every Friday, the normal weekend observed in Iraq. Gurbani is recited and kirtan performed on a weekly basis.

According to reports from the Indian Embassy, there was little damage to the Gurdwara during the recent war on Iraq. However, this historical place needs utmost care. The government and/or the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) should take up the matter of constructing Gurdwara with Nishan Sahib with the Iraqi authorities. Full-time trained preacher (Granthi) and Raghis for kirtan may be appointed to perform religious rituals every day. This would spread the eternal words of Guru Nanak Dev.

DR M.S. DHOORIA, Chandigarh

Bitter experience

Is using original Duratuff toughened glasses for a car an offence? The Jalandhar police think so. I had a bitter experience with them recently. When I was returning from Amritsar via Jalandhar on May 8, an assistant sub-inspector challaned me. I tried to convince him that permission was not necessary for original Duratuff glasses, but he didn’t listen and challaned me. What is also reprehensible is that his behaviour was abrasive. He used foul language and did not listen to me.

District police authorities may please note that I had showed the ASI the test report as well as the original certificate of the toughened glass, issued by the Duratuff company. But he was not convinced. The use of this glass is duly permitted by the court of law and it does not warrant any punishment. Will the Superintendent of Police or any other responsible police officer please clarify the position promptly? Otherwise, many more innocent people like me will be penalised by this ASI for no fault of theirs.

Meanwhile, the ASI needs to be told by his superior authorities how to behave with the general public. This is important to protect the image of the police and restore the people’s confidence in them.


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