Tuesday, October 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Minority students allege discrimination
David M Thangliana

Chandigarh, October 6
Minority students studying in Chandigarh in various colleges have alleged discrimination because of their status as tribals and said that this is experienced mainly in the lower rungs of the administration in these colleges.

Explained by a girl of Naga descent from Manipur, North-East India, studying at the Government Girls’ College in Chandigarh, the administrative people on the lower rungs had given her a lot of trouble when she needed a signature in her application form.

This was confirmed by David Pamei, a student from the same state when he said, “While others go through the formalities easily, we have a difficult time even getting a simple signature down on forms. We are shoved from place to place and ultimately, we spend two days getting a signature down on an important form.”

Another case cited by Lalhriatpuia, a student from Mizoram, is that the administrative people do not even know where Mizoram is. He alleges that the Chandigarh Sector DAV College administrative staff made him get a “foreigner eligibility form” when he went for admission last year.

“I had the Mizoram Board of School Education certificate with me. But when I showed it to them (the administrative staff), they asked me for my foreigner credentials. A lengthy explanation about Mizoram being a part of India did not do any good and I had to get a foreigner eligibility form filled up to receive admission,” Lalhriatpuia stated.

“If I were to check up the college’s registers, I could very well be registered as a foreigner,” he added.

When asked about these allegations of discriminations and bias towards tribal students, Hishey Negi, a Himachali and the president of the Chandigarh’s unit of the All India Tribal Students’ Association, said he had not received any kind of these complaints.

“This is news to me. However, I have been the president only for the past few months and can be unaware of the problems. I take this very seriously and we will look into it,” he said.

An opinion given by Lalremruata, the president of the Mizo Students Union of Chandigarh, can, however, explain the behaviour of administrative staff of colleges around the city regarding the alleged discrimination towards tribal students.

“I feel that the problem lies in communication. All of us tribals from the North-East are virtually unexposed to the Hindi language, which can cause quite a lot of problems when trying to communicate in this part of the country. I know that the lower rung-persons in the administration are quite poor in English and as we cannot communicate easily in Hindi, they by-pass us for those they can communicate with,” Lalremruata said.

A large number of students from the tribal belt of North-East India have been pursuing studies here in the city for the past few decades and still feel uncomfortable when exposed to a new and alien culture and atmosphere. When asked, a girl of Naga descent hailing from Manipur said they had great difficulty at first coming to terms with food problem, which usually consists of roti and a small portion of rice. Since the staple diet of the majority in the North-East is rice and non-vegetarian dishes, roti and vegetarian foods is something that needs time to get adjusted to, as well as the cultural differences.


Transferred teacher takes legal recourse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
“My name was in the newspapers for the release of my book on music and a successful seminar on the same a month back. The agitation has brought me a bad name and for no fault of mine. Legal action was the only way out,” says Dr Saubhagaya Vardhan Badal, recently transferred to Government College for Girls, Sector 42.

He was transferred from Government College for Girls, Sector 11, along with the Head of the Department of Music of the college, Dr Jatinder Khanna, after it was alleged that he was instigating students to agitate against Dr Khanna.

The students of MA-II of the department had gone on strike to press for the transfer of visually impaired Dr Khanna, who, they alleged, was using obscene examples in class. At that point, Dr Khanna had alleged that one of his colleagues was behind the agitation and that he was already fighting a case in CAT on grounds that a visually impaired person could not be a Head of the Department.

Challenging his transfer orders to the Sector 42 college, Dr Badal said he was transferred with malafide intention and was not asked for explanation after allegations were levelled against him.

“The DPI didn’t question me, no committee was set up and I wasn’t even called to explain my position. While the administration has the prerogative to transfer anybody, anywhere, the allegations of instigating students of MA-II were baseless. I have filed a case against the administration and Dr Khanna,” he stated.

He added that he would also file a defamation suit against Dr Khanna for maligning his name. “I don’t even teach those students. They are his students and whatever happened was between them. How could I be involved,” he asks.

The case filed by Dr Badal will come up for hearing on October 13. He is seeking an answer to his transfer without any prior notice.


NSS camp concludes with cultural show
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, October 6
A 10-day NSS camp concluded at the GGS College for Women with a cultural show today. The programme had items that focused on the problems being faced by NSS volunteers. The Principal of the college, Dr Harinderjit Kaur, urged students to work for the betterment of the society.

The camp started on September 27 under the guidance of programme officers, Dr Jaspreet Kaur and Dr Aaradhna Mehtani. The theme of the camp was “Youth for swastha”. During the camp, the volunteers, who had adopted village Raipur Kalan went to every house, telling the residents about the importance of cleanliness, health besides telling them about AIDS threat, environment protection etc. “Each one teach one”, a literacy campaign was also launched to educate adults.

Besides, the villagers, including children, were involved in a host of competitions to motivate them towards the NSS projects. Prizes were also given to the winning villagers.

Eminent resource persons and social workers were involved in the camp. They interacted with villagers over issues of mental health, physical health, emotional balance, women rights, environment, dental care, adolescent problems, etc.

Under the personality grooming programme, volunteers were told about stress management, time management, positive thinking and importance of ‘karma’. Villagers were also taught fabric painting, pot painting, flower making and cooking.

A short trip for environmental awareness was also organised.

Meanwhile, NSS volunteers of the Government College of Education, Sector 20, shared their experiences, which they got during a 10-day NSS camp at a valedictory function organised by the college management here today.

The volunteers expressed their experiences in the form of prose, poetry, songs. It was followed by giddha.

Mr Harjit Singh, in charge NSS, said various activities like cleanliness and beautification drives, poster-making competition, declamation contest, debate, rallies were organised at Kajheri village during the camp. The villagers were also made aware about water conservation and observance of communal harmony.

Ms Surinder Kaur Tangri, college Principal, lauded the efforts of the NSS volunteers and appreciated their hidden talent. She motivated the volunteers to keep up the spirit of National Social Service (NSS) alive.

Apart from this, a paper-reading contest was also organised by the college to mark World Habitat Day. Nine papers were presented on topics “Forests — green treasure on earth”, “deteriorating environment and wild life” and “need of maintaining ecological balance”. Concern were also expressed on the dwindling natural resources because of unthoughtful exploitation of nature.


Experts for uniform civil code
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Stating that the debate on a uniform civil code in the country was loaded with emotions rather than reason, Prof Virendra Kumar, Emeritus Fellow, at a special lecture on “Uniform civil code revisited: A judicial analysis of three-judge bench decision of the Supreme Court in John Vallamattom Case (2003),” said it was desirable to go in the direction of the code.

Prof Kumar was speaking at the seminar organised by the ICSSR North-Western Regional Centre at Panjab University here today. He said “Personal Laws” were not as personal as they appeared to be but had a bearing on society at large.

He added that the makers of the Constitution envisaged the uniform civil code in Article 44 when they said the state shall endeavour to have a uniform civil code for the citizens of India applicable throughout the country.

He was of the opinion that the intervention of the Supreme Court in the instant case merely showed that the time had come when pre-constitutional laws inconsistent with the Constitution needed to be weeded out.

Justice M.M. Punchhi, former Chief Justice of India, in his presidential remarks said it was for the elected legislators to bring about changes hinted at in the Directive Principles of the State Policy of the Constitution.

He opined that the uniform civil code was a good instrument for easy governance and was introduced as such by the western countries.

The Vice Chancellor of Punjab University, Prof K.N. Pathak, while inaugurating the lecture, said this issue was being debated nationally and the lecture was a timely one.

He further suggested that the regional centre should organise lectures on Personal Laws and Civil Code and Minority Educational Institutions. He was of the opinion that the uniform civil code was a desirable goal.

The lecture was followed by a lively discussion. Prof R.D. Anand, Dr A.D. Ahluwalia, Dr (Ms) Rajesh Gill among others took active part in the discussion.


PU sops for Kashmiri displaced to continue 
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Panjab University will extend the concessions in admissions being given to the wards of Kashmiri displaced persons in the forthcoming academic session.

The matter pertaining to the concessions comes before the university Senate for a formal clearance later this month.

Students will be given five per cent weightage in the total and merit will be determined accordingly. The candidate should fulfill the minimum requirements (including the entrance test wherever necessary). The university will allow an increase of five per cent in the fresh intake of Kashmiri students in all undergraduate and post graduate courses in all streams in the affiliated colleges and teaching departments on the campus.

The university will also allow creation of an additional seat in certain professional courses, including Bachelor and Masters degrees in education, LL.B, LLM, Bachelor and Masters degrees in library science, Bachelor and Masters degrees in pharmacy, Masters in Mass Communication, MBA and computer application, Bachelor and Masters degrees in engineering, besides certain other courses.

The step is in response to a letter from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, requesting the university to consider extension of the concession as there has been no change in situation in the Valley.

However, the university will not relax the condition of entrance test wherever applicable and a candidate will have to furnish documentary evidence of his ‘displaced’ status at the time of admission.

A senior Fellow, however, pointed out that the number of students availing the benefit of special seats for the Kashmiri displaced was negligent. This was because no financial benefits were being offered in the tuition fee and there was no arrangement for special seats for these students in hostels at concessional rates. In the absence of such measures the university’s move will have little meaning in actual practice, he added.

Senate meeting

The agenda for the Senate meeting to be held on October 12 is voluminous if one was to go by the number of items that will come up for deliberations. There are as many as 79 items for consideration, 42 for ratification and another 37 for consideration. All these are besides the statement of the Vice-Chancellor. A senior Fellow said one hopes that there would be a fair discussion on all items and also that the session would not be the usual routine affair where most of the time is spent on discussing two or three items and the bulk of matter is cleared in the closing minutes of the House without any deliberations.

Army Institute of Law

Prof Veer Singh, one of the most distinguished academic lights of Panjab University, has taken over as the Director-General of the Army Institute of Law, SAS Nagar.

The institute was set up at Patiala five years ago and has now shifted to its own campus in SAS Nagar. Equipped with the best infrastructure and experienced faculty, the institute has 80 per cent seats reserved for the wards of Army officers.

Prof Veer Singh has been a Director of the National Institute of Law and a former Director of the IAS Centre at Kurukshetra University. He is a gold medallist in LLM from Lucknow University and a Ph.D from PU. He has written “Industrial Injuries and Compensation System”.

Vivekananda Studies

Admissions to the newly introduced certificate course in Vivekananda Studies at Panjab University through correspondence have begun, an official press note said. The university has decided to extend the last date of submission of admission forms till October 30( without late fee) and till November 20 with a late fee of Rs 150.

Admission to all other departments, including BA, B.Com, MA, M.Com, MFC and M. Ed (for in-service teachers), besides others, in the Department of Correspondence Studies will also remain open till October 28 with a late fee of Rs 150.

Prof Devinder Singh, Chairman of the department, said prospectus was available for Rs 200 at the cash payment counter and for Rs 260 through post.

Adult education

The department of Adult, Continuing Education and Extension, Panjab University, organised a seminar on literacy and development at Sarangpur village on October 1. A number of social workers, community leaders and activists of the local mahila mandals were present on the occasion.

Dr C.L.Narang from the department said ‘‘literacy and development go hand in hand. It was unfortunate that due to illiteracy a large number of people are being deprived of benefits of developmental schemes launched by the government from time to time’’.

Dr Narang said India had the maximum number of illiterates in the world as there were 45 million persons in the country who could not read or write. Due to increasing numbers of migrant labourers the literacy rate was going down even in Chandigarh, he said.

Speaking on the occasion Dr (Ms) Sween Kaur said there was a need for political will to eradicate illiteracy. Mr Nachttar Singh, Headmaster of the Government High School, Sarangpur, proposed the vote of thanks.


Badal case adjourned for November 11
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 6
Former Chief Minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal today did not appear before the court in a defamation case filed by him against the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, accusing him of spreading and publishing false reports about his assets and property.

The case came up for hearing before the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L. Mohal, who after hearing the arguments adjourned the case for November 11 for cross-examination.

Officials of the various departments — Department of Personnel, Vigilance, Information and Public Relations and Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) — were present in the court.

The officials had been summoned by the court to produce records regarding the recruitment of PCS (Judicial) and PCS (Executive and Allied Services) and selections made by former PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu during the Badal regime as CM, Punjab.

They were also asked to produce various appointment letters issued during the Badal regime and the subsequent cancellation of the same by Capt Amarinder Singh, and the letter of recommendation by Mr Badal to Prime Minister for the appointment of Ravi Sidhu as member of the UPSC. Besides, record from HUDA regarding the allotment of land to Orbit Resort and the compromise arrived in the Supreme Court were also summoned.

Mr Badal had alleged in the suit that Capt Amarinder Singh had been spreading and publishing false information about his assets and properties for the past one year and persisting with the same after assuming as the CM. He had further alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh had defamed him through letters and advertisements issued in a section of Media by stating that his assets were worth Rs 3,500 crore, which included assets in Australia, the USA Switzerland, Delhi and Jodhpur.


PVGV founder gets pre-arrest bail
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 6
Founder of the Peoples Voice Gods Voice Group, B.L. Tandon, who was recently booked by the police on charges of forgery and misrepresenting facts, was granted anticipatory bail by a local court today.

The court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr L.N. Jindal, while granting anticipatory bail, observed that the accused had not used the names of high dignitaries on the letter head of his group for the purpose of cheating. Mr Tandon was earlier granted interim bail till October 6.

Mr Tandon had been booked under Sections 471, 474, 468 and 469 of the IPC on the complaint of the Executive Officer of the Municipal Council. The latter had accused Mr Tandon of adopting pressure tactics against the council in order to seek undue influence over the MC. He had also alleged that Mr Tandon was misusing the names of certain dignitaries by showing them as being office-bearers of his PVGV.

He had complained that Dr Tandon had mentioned the name of Justice Kuldeep Singh as the chief patron of the group and his address mentioned on the letter head was found to be false as a lawyer was staying in this house for the past three years. Mr Sihag also alleged that the other dignitaries, whose names were mentioned as patron and advisor- Lieut Gen J. L. Malhotra (retd) and former Engineer-in-Chief, Mr H.S. Yadav, respectively, had denied that they were associated with the PVGV. 


District Courts
Tara Chand’s remand extended
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 6
A local court today further remanded the suspended Registrar (Additional) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Tara Chand, in police custody till October 9 in a case registered against him for possessing assets disproportionate to known sources of income.

Tara Chand was produced in the court of UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Ms Harpreet Kaur, who after hearing arguments for more than an hour, sent him to police custody.

Claiming that Tara Chand’s assets were yet to be verified, the police sought four days remand. Opposing the police custody, his counsel said all documents related to the property owned by Tara Chand and his bank accounts had been lying with the police, therefore, the accused be sent to judicial custody. Moreover, the accused had been in police custody for many days, the police custody would serve no purpose.

Reply filed

The Deputy Director of the Information and Public Relations Department, Punjab, Mr Jagdip Singh Chowhan, on Monday filed a reply in a recovery suit filed by him against the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

He had filed the reply acting on the application moved by Mr Badal for setting aside ex-parties proceeding and allow him to join the proceeding.

Mr Chowhan opposed Badal’s plea claiming that he had furnished a wrong information in the court with regard to the case. Mr Chowhan claimed that Mr Badal was very much aware of the case filed against him through newspapers and various other sources but he intentionally did not appear in the case. After hearing the arguments the case was fixed for hearing for November 11.


Portraying conflict in old, new traditions
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 6
K.P. Saxena’s play “Gaz Foot Inch” is all about the conflict between old and new traditions, portrayed through the protagonist, who moves from an existence of simplicity to a complex life and makes a miserable failure in the bargain. But more than the issue what keeps the audience glued to their seats is the comical angle of the play where the lead character Tittlu compares all his emotions in terms of business — even something as important as his first love.

As the curtain goes up, we see Pokar Mal, Tittlu’s father and his friend, Sai Das, conspiring to get their son and daughter get together and lead them to the altar of matrimony. The play ends on a happy note with Tittlu and Jugni falling in love, but not without the usual climax and anti-climax and oozing hilarity in the process.

In the backdrop of a simple setting, the plot flows, with the characters putting up a strong show, but what remains in the forefront are the dialogues. The play lashes out at the prevailing socio-political situation with a healthy dose of humour.

The play was staged by the Chandigarh Institute of Performing Arts in collaboration with the Department of Public Relations and Cultural Affairs, Chandigarh, in memory of a city-based journalist, Simmi Marwah, who lost her life in a road accident.

It was directed by Shyam Juneja, who also played the role of Tittlu. The cast included P.S. Rana as Pokar Mal, Arvinderjeet Kaur as Tittlu’s mother, Braham Kumar as Sai Das, Rubina as Jugni, Seema Bhanot as Jugni’s friend, Gullo, and Gaurva Sharma as Yuvak.

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