Friday, June 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


DSGMC poll announced in open challenge 
to Sarna’s authority
Tribune News Service

Huge posters welcoming the recent merger of the Akali factions have appeared outside several gurdwaras
Huge posters welcoming the recent merger of the Akali factions have appeared outside several gurdwaras in the Capital, a manifestation of the virtual revolt in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.— Tribune photo Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, June 26
The Akali reunion is spelling trouble for the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), with its senior vice-president, Mr S. S. Sandhu, announcing that the committee would hold its annual elections on July 24. He has also issued a caveat that the present chief, Mr. P. S. Sarna, who is currently abroad, was free to challenge it legally.

The announcement has come within days of Mr Sarna cancelling the orders passed by Mr Sandhu as the officiating president on a large number of community-related cases pending before the committee.

The latest move is being seen here as an attempt to oust Mr Sarna who has so far refused to merge his party with the united Shrimoni Akali Dal.

In his latest move, Mr Sandhu set July 24 as the date for the annual elections to the powerful, cash-rich committee, which controls a number of educational institutions and historical gurdwaras in the Capital.

Large posters welcoming the recent merging of the two opposing factions have also appeared around several Delhi gurdwaras controlled by the DSGMC.

The posters have been put up by some community-spirited youths, who have been persistently demanding that the community end its differences and project a united face.

“We fully support Mr Sandhu for having announced the election date because this move will set a good example for all future controllers of the DSGMC to hold elections in time,” Union Minister and SAD secretary-general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa told newsmen.

Also, he said that splinter factions had no future in the face of a large united party. “We have earlier advised Mr Sarna to merge his party with the SAD,” he said.

Mr Sandhu, meanwhile, claimed that he had received a written request to hold annual elections from the “requisite 17 members”. “What’s wrong with this election announcement? Religious elections should be held in time and if Mr Sarna wants to challenge the announcement legally, he is free to do so,” he said.

The request letter was moved by SAD Delhi chief Avtar Singh Hit, a long-time Sarna rival and Badal loyalist. Mr Sandhu said that he deemed it wise to hold the elections on July 24, exactly a year after Mr Sarna took over as the president of the DSGMC for a one-year term.

General secretary of the DSGMC Bhajan Singh Walia, however, dismissed the move, saying that Mr Sandhu’s orders carried “no legal validity as presidential power had been delegated to junior DSGMC vice-president Gurcharan Singh Gatka Master, after Mr Sandhu issued 174 orders without my knowledge”.

“We are very much in command and in control of things,” he claimed. Mr Sarna, who is on a business trip abroad, was being kept informed about the developments.

Observers here say that the SAD-backed rebellion in the DSGMC, ahead of the Assembly elections in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, indicates that the party (United Akali Dal) has decided to wrest control of the committee, which has considerable influence over the large Sikh population.

Mr Sarna is considered close to the Congress while the SAD has an alliance with the BJP. Both the Delhi Congress and the BJP have been trying to woo the Sikh and Punjabi electorate by claiming credit for getting the second language status for Punjabi in the Capital.



Venkaiah gives BJP pep talk, harps on killer instinct
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 26
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Venkaiah Naidu says the development works completed in the NCT of Delhi is courtesy the generous disbursal of funds by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

If it were not for the Centre, he reminded anybody who chose to listen to him, the inauguration of Tis Hazari-Shahdara section of the Delhi Metro or the introduction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for public transport would not have been possible.

If he was quick to snatch the credit for Delhi Metro, he was not slow either to apportion the blame on the Sheila Dikshit ministry for the delay in implementing the Antyodaya Anna Yojana that reaches food grains at subsidised prices to the economically challenged sections of society.

“The Union Government is giving money but the Congress is not able to spend it,” he told mediapersons after the conclusion of the political conference of office-bearers of Delhi Pradesh BJP he chaired today.

“Whether it is CNG or anything else, the contribution is made by the BJP-led NDA government and not by the Government of NCT of Delhi.

Can she get CNG without the Centre sanctioning it?” he asked and ridiculed Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her party for trying to take the credit for the works completed with central assistance.

As if on cue, Delhi Pradesh BJP president Madan Lal Khurana said the party would launch a satyagraha from July 1 to highlight the “failures” of the Sheila Dikshit ministry.

BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan told the party’s office-bearers in the NCT of Delhi to develop a “killer instinct”.

“Do not let your guard down. Work towards defeating the Congress. There is a wave in our favour and it is important for you to develop a killer instinct, for only then can we win any electoral battle,” he said.

He claimed certain political parties were keen to join the NDA and contest the Assembly elections in the NCT of Delhi in collaboration with the BJP.

The BJP won 14 of the 70 seats in the 1998 Assembly elections. It won only 15 of the 134 seats in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections last year.

The party, however, maintains that it enjoys popular support and there is a wave in it favour. “The BJP has won all the seven parliamentary seats in the last Lok Sabha elections,” Mr Naidu recalled.

He reiterated that Mr Khurana would be the chief minister if the BJP returned to power.

“This is not my decision but the decision of the BJP workers,” he added.



Is Gurgaon safer? Yes, if you believe statistics
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, June 26
The crime graph in the district has shown a significant decline following prompt action taken by the police and intensive patrolling in sensitive areas, Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh Siag has claimed.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Mr Siag said that incidents of crimes such as murder, robbery, theft and rash driving had come down in the current year, as against that in the corresponding period last year.

Reeling out statistics, he informed presspersons that till June 20, 24 murders had been reported whereas in 2002 during the same period there were 35 such incidents in the district. Sixteen incidents of robbery had been reported this year compared to 22 robberies last year during the corresponding period. Goods and cash worth more than Rs 30 lakh had been robbed this year, but goods worth Rs 9 lakh had been also recovered, the SSP said.

Five dacoities had been reported this year, of which four cases had been cracked. A sum of Rs 29 lakh had been recovered.

There had been 324 cases of theft this year compared to 335 in the corresponding period last year in which goods and cash worth Rs 1.8 crore were declared stolen. The police had solved 322 cases this year and recovered cash and goods worth Rs 1.1 crore.

The vehicle thefts had increased marginally (212 cases) in the current year from 206 cases last year. The police had traced 67 vehicles.

The steps taken by the police to check rash driving had yielded good results, Mr Siag claimed. In the current year, 450 cases of rash driving had been registered so far whereas there were 470 cases last year in the corresponding period. In these accidents, 133 persons had lost their lives. The incidence of rash driving had come down despite the increase in the number of vehicles on district roads.

However, incidents of rape had increased from 14 to 17. In most cases, a close relative or a known person had been found to be involved.

The incidents of kidnapping and abduction had also increased from 18 to 20 this year. However in all these cases, ransom was not a factor. Rather, they stemmed from family disputes.

The SSP further claimed that the police in the district was leaving no stone unturned to make itself people-friendly. He appealed to the masses to get the identities of their peons, drivers, housemaids and other helpers registered with the police.



More needles surface even as sceptic doctors dub them as plants
Our Correspondent

Meerut, June 26
In another twist to the case of 12-year-old Munzrin, from whose body 80 needles were ‘‘retrieved’’ in a span of seven months, a claim which was greeted with scepticism in medical quarters, three persons, including a doctor, have been arrested on the charge of sexual harassment.

It is alleged that Munzrin’s cousin and a doctor of the village, where she resided, were sexually harassing her on the pretext of treating her. The police are investigating the matter and the 12-yr-old girl is currently lodged in the district hospital where she is also being provided police protection.

According to senior doctors and surgeons of Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial (LLRM) Medical College and Hospital, the needles had been planted in the girl’s body merely to gain cheap publicity.

Munzrin’s father came to a nursing home seven months back for the treatment of his daughter. She had pain and swelling in her head. When he got an X-ray done of her head the doctor was astonished to see four needles.

He put her under the scanner and extricated the needles. But next month she complained of pain in her stomach. This time it was found that she had needles in her tummy. She was again operated. The needles found in her body were of the same size as the ordinary sewing needles. They were about 1.5 inches long.

A team of doctors and surgeons from the district hospital had visited her in her village. They had asked her to come to the district hospital on June 19 for an examination.

Incidentally, after being examined on Monday in the district hospital, she again complained of pain. Curiously, despite being under constant police vigil, the X-ray report revealed the presence of five needles in her body. The doctors continue to insist that the needles have been planted. However, they have no ready answers how the needles were planted in the district hospital, where she is under their care. The Divisional Commissioner, Mr N S Ravi, has ordered a detailed inquiry into the episode. 



Delhi power tariff up
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 26
There is no respite for Delhiites. Reeling under power cuts, the domestic users will have to reckon with a tariff hike of 25 paise per unit from July 4.
The will pay Rs 1.75 per unit for the first hundred units, as against Rs 1.50 earlier, and Rs 2.35 per unit in the upto 200 unit slab. The earlier charges were Rs 2.10, Rs 3.25 and Rs 3.85 per unit in the 201-400 unit and above 400 unit slabs, respectively.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) chairman, Mr V K Sood, told presspersons that the hike was marginal compared to the revision in May 2001. The industrial consumer will also have to bear a hike of 5.79 per cent in the existing slabs.

He disclosed that the Delhi Government had sent a proposal to the DERC seeking a limited subsidy for domestic consumers who do not use more than 400 units a month. The commission is considering the proposal and trying to work out the modalities.

The DERC has also taken steps towards rationalisation. For instance, the distinction between light and power rates in Domestic Category has been abolished. The hike is aimed at bridging a revenue gap of Rs 87 crore in the Annual Revenue Requirements of the transmission and distribution companies.

The leader of opposition in Delhi Assembly, Prof Jagdish Mukhi, has condemned the increase and dubbed it a severe blow for lower and middle income groups.

He cited the example of Mumbai, where the tariff has been brought down. Also, there was no logic in raising the tariff without checking power pilferage.

Prof. Mukhi has demanded this high tariff should immediately be withdrawn. Otherwise, the BJP would be compelled to launch an agitation to protect the honest consumers of electricity.

Even as the DERC hiked the tariff, some parts of the capital reported power break downs and low voltage.



Village community detains barat

Ghaziabad, June 26
The residents of Kanawani village, which falls under Indirapuram police station, detained a bridegroom and the marriage party for demanding dowry at the eleventh hour. A motor cycle and Rs. 20,000 were reportedly demanded at the time of departure of the doli. Rajmumar’s marriage party had reached Kanawani yesterday from Kondli, Delhi. Geeta, the bride, who had lost her parents some time back, was being married off by her brother and the entire village community.

Everything went without a hiccup and the marriage was solemnised; but when the barat was to leave in the morning, the boy’s side suddenly demanded Rs 20,000 in cash and a motor bike. This was objected to by the bride’s relatives as no such condition was laid at the time the match was finalised. Geeta’s brother said they were prepared to give Rs. 1,500 but the groom’s side would not accept that. Incidentally, he has even hypothecated his house for the marriage. When Rajkumar’s relatives refused to relent, the bride’s family declared that they will not allow the girl to accompany the marriage party; then, to the horror of the marriage party, they detained all the baratis in the village. The village Panchayat is now seized of the Matter. One group in the village is insisting that the marriage party should be handed over to the police. OC



DCC flays action to deprive farmers of land
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, June 26
The action of the district administration, aimed at “dispossessing” nearly 50 families of Ahulana village under the Ganaur subdivision of around 600 acres of panchayat land, on which they had been farming for a decade, has been criticised by the District Congress Committee. The DCC alleged that the arrest of 88 farmers and lodging of criminal charges against them was illegal and discriminatory.

President of the DCC (Rural) and MLA Jitender Singh Malik, in a press statement, flayed the police and the administration for adopting a “partisan attitude and vitiating village brotherhood”. He demanded immediate release of the arrested farmers and cancellation of cases against them.

He alleged that the police had framed false cases against the farmers who were only working in their fields; further, that the police had taken action at the behest of leaders of the ruling INLD.

Incidentally, a number of INLD leaders from Ganaur have backed the government action, claiming that it was aimed at preventing illegal possession of panchayat land. Nearly 50 families had been cultivating 600 acres of panchayat land for the last one decade, but were not paying anything to the panchayat which was losing Rs 30 lakh every year. The panchayat was asked by the authorities to initiate action for removing illegal possession of the land. 


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