P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



I’ll not spare Capt, warns Badal
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Vallah (Amritsar), November23
Unfazed by the challan filed by the Vigilance Bureau, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal, today announced that he would not spare Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, and senior officials of the Vigilance Bureau who had levelled “baseless charges of corruption” against him and his family members.

The State BJP gave a clean chit to Mr Badal and declared that the party would contest the next parliamentary elections jointly. Mr Avinash Khanna, state president of the BJP, said his party believed Mr Badal was “innocent”.

Mr Khanna claimed that Punjab did not have a leader who could equal the stature of Mr Badal.

Before addressing a public rally here today, Mr Badal said he had spent more than 15 years behind bars and was not afraid of going to jail. But Capt Amarinder Singh could not spend a single day in jail as he needed at least “five persons to tie his royal turban”.

Mr Badal said he would appear in court whenever he received summons. He said he was not running away from the state.

The SAD chief ridiculed these spreading rumours that he may go underground. He said he would continue to campaign for BJP candidates in Rajasthan as per the schedule prepared by the party.

He said it was the turn of Capt Amarinder Singh to go to jail as he will not be able to prove the charges against me”. He said he would quit active politics if charges against him were proved.

Mr Badal said the Capt Amarinder Singh government would fall under its own weight. He said he had definite information that the Congress high command would replace him after the Assembly elections in five states.

To a question, Mr Badal said the Punjab Speaker had played a partisan role. He said his party had sought legal opinion whether the Speaker had the jurisdiction to give permission for a challan against the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly. He said he was told by legal experts that it was the prerogative of the Governor to grant permission to sue the Leader of the Opposition party. The SAD was also studying rules under which the challan had been filed in Ropar district.

Addressing the rally, Mr Avinash Khanna, state President of the BJP, warned “Let the Congress Government dare arrest Mr Badal”.

He said his party would support any agitation or course of action launched by the SAD. He said Punjabis would not tolerate the arrest of Mr Badal who was the tallest leader in the state.

Interestingly, asked as to why SAD leaders including Mr Badal, had not declared their assets, like BJP leaders before the elections, Mr Khanna said both parties had different constitutions and he did not want to comment on the internal matters of the alliance partner.

Mr Badal and Mr Khanna drew out the swords from the sheaths amid slogans of ‘Bole so nihal’ to denote that the SAD and the BJP were ready to fight the ‘excesses’ of the Congress government.

During his hour-long speech, Mr Badal blamed the Congress for Operation Bluestar and the anti-Sikh riots in New Delhi and other parts of the country after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

He showered praise on Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other non-Congress leaders.


Sukhbir threatens to sue Vigilance
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 23
SAD general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP, Sukhbir Badal today threatened to sue the officials of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau for making “false” and “unsubstantiated” allegations of disproportionate assets associated with the Badals and “misleading the public”.

The bureau has pegged assets of Badals at Rs 4,326 crore while filing a challan for Rs 78.39 crore only.

“If the Bureau has the proof, why they have not filed the challan for all the disproportionate assets. By making unsubstantiated allegations, the bureau is singing to the tune of the political masters,” said Mr Sukhbir Badal, who has also been named in the charge sheet along with his father, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, mother, Ms Surinder Kaur Badal and three others.

Stating that the legal opinion was being taken on this issue, Mr Badal said “we would sue the bureau for tarnishing the image of the Badals by making false statements under pressure from the political masters and misleading the public.”

He alleged that the bureau has filed the challan and made such “unsubstantiated” claims merely to bail out the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, who is facing defamation suit for claim that the Badals owned huge properties abroad.

The District and Sessions Court in Ropar has summoned the Badals and three others to appear before it on December 1. Asked whether the Badals would present themselves before the court on the stipulated date, Mr Sukhbir Badal said there was enough time left for them to take appropriate measures by then.

SAD panel meeting on Nov 26
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has convened a meeting of its Political Affairs Committee here on November 26 to chalk out a sustained programme after its rasta roko agitation today.

SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who participated in the rasta roko at several spots, came down heavily on the Amarinder government’s policy of vendetta and vilification against Mr Badal and members of his family and said that the people of Punjab had given a crushing reply to the challenge thrown by the Congress government.

Mr Tohra said that the days of the Amarinder government were numbered. He declared that not only the workers of the SAD and the BJP but also every Punjabi stood behind Mr Badal at this juncture. He said that Capt Amarinder Singh was plotting with his high command to render the Punjabis leaderless by targeting Mr Badal, but this, he said, would never be allowed to succeed.


SAD (A) hails action against Badal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 23
Hailing the presentation of challan against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and a number of Congress leaders today said that the action of Captain Amarinder Singh-led-Congress government was timely and judicious, which would make its anti-corruption drive more strong.

Mr Tejinder Bittu, Chairman of the Jalandhar Improvement Trust, and Mr Anil Dutta, executive member of the PPCC, said that the action would prove to be a deterrent against corruption, particularly, for political people. “Badals might have thought that they could go scot-free, but this has proved to be otherwise,” said Mr Datta.

Mr Manoj Arora, a PPCC member, said the “failure” of the “chakka jam” call by Akalis was a proof that people did not approve policies of Mr Badal, his family and the SAD. Mr Baldev Singh Dugri, president of the Cooperative Union, Jalandhar, Surinder Kumar, general secretary of the Guru Ravi Dass Foundation, Jalandhar, have also hailed the government’s action against the Badal family.


Traffic diversions aided protesters
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Mauli (Phagwara), November 23
To say or suggest that the Punjab Police lent a helping hand in making rasta roko agitation of the Shiromani Akali Dal successful may not be an exaggeration, as diversions of vehicular traffic made on a number of important national and state highways caused more problems than assist travellers.

Hundreds of vehicles, including buses, cars and trucks lined up on National Highway 1 as the diversion “naka” put up by the police turned out to be an “irritant” for many travellers who refused to take the detour to their destinations and preferred to park their vehicles on the road as a mark of protest.

At a number of places, policemen carrying video and still cameras were busy recording the entire proceedings. In Ropar, for example, two video cameras were used for recording the speeches made by Dal leaders. Besides, a still photographer from the police was also there.

Elsewhere also, the policemen made recordings of the dharnas.

Among those stranded were children, sick and old people who spent several hours waiting for the agitation to end.

Though the agitators had selected vantage points for holding their dharnas to stop the movement of vehicles on national and state highways, the police did not use the convenient diversions to ensure smooth and continuous flow of traffic.

The nakas or diversion barriers put up by the police were not only far off from venues of dharnas but also offered cumbersome and difficult diversions. At places, even traffic moving away from the venue of demonstration was stopped as “instructions were not to allow any movement of vehicles in the area”.

At Mauli, it all started when an eminent educationist travelling in his Ford Ikon insisted on continuing his journey towards Jalandhar on National Highway 1. The policemen, however, wanted him to take the diversion. A heated argument developed, which led the car-owner to park his car in front of the police barrier.

Hundreds of cars, buses, trucks and other vehicles followed suit as everyone refused to take the detour. Many of the buses were parked in a nearby open field. Though passengers had to go to nearby dhabas and roadside vendors for some food, tea and snacks, the policemen had a tough time as passengers insisted that they be allowed to proceed. They promised to take appropriate detours to avoid the venue of dharna.

At Kharar, the Akali agitators had picked the Kharar-Landran-Chandigarh T-point for their dharna. In Ropar, they again used a T-junction on the Ropar-Anandpur Sahib Road for stopping vehicular movement.

In Nawanshahr also, the Akali agitators were sitting in a dharna at a T-point on the state highway. In Phagwara, they had picked national highway as the venue of their agitation.

Otherwise, at most of the places, vehicular movement was normal.

In Kharar, the agitation was spearheaded by Mr Karanbir Singh Kang while at Ropar, it was Mrs Satwant Kaur Sandhu. In Nawanshahr, besides Ch Mohan Lal, it was Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, the newly appointed general secretary of the SGPC.

Interestingly, at most of the places, BJP workers had joined the dharnas.

Nowhere, arrangements had been made to assist bus travellers and others to continue their journey onwards after state-owned or even private buses were stopped on one side of the town. Many stranded passengers walked long distances. At some places, women carrying tinytots, and even old people were offered lift by car and other four-wheelers to nearby destinations.


Wedding plans go haywire due to stir
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 23
Members of at least three marriage parties were stranded and delayed today due to the “rasta roko” agitation of the SAD-BJP combine. Members of a marriage party stranded at Chiheru on the GT Road, 8 km from Phagwara, said the “barat” was on way to Jalandhar cantonment from Nawanshahr. As there was a blockade at Khajurala village on GT Road, 4 km ahead, the policemen were not allowing them to go further and were insisting that they followed the Maheru village route. The “barat” had already spent three-and-a-half hours to cover a distance of 45 km from Nawanshahr to Chiheru as it had to change route frequently due to blockades at various places, including Phagwara. The weary ‘baratis’ had preferred to wait for the blockade to be lifted at 3 pm and had sent the bridegroom Sukhdev, his father and two brothers to Jalandhar Cantt in a car hoping that they would somehow cross the Khajurala hurdle and reach the venue of the wedding in time. “Our women and children are thirsty and hungry but we have no choice but to wait patiently for the blockade to be lifted,” they said. Incidentally, the bridegroom, Sukhdev, serves in the police.

Meanwhile, two other marriage parties were stranded between Chiheru. Meheru-Kukarpind branch route due to the blockade in rural areas as well.

Devinderpal Singh of Jalandhar was among dozens of passengers who had to terminate their journeys midway as they could not reach their destinations in time. Devinderpal Singh said he was going from Jalandhar to Ludhiana to attend a ‘bhog’ ceremony. He had to spend almost 90 minutes to cover a distance of just 22 km between Jalandhar and Phagwara and he preferred to return to Jalandhar to avoid further inconvenience.

Several vehicles including some buses, were caught unawares in the blockage and many passengers got down at Khujurala. Chiheru and Phagwara and either took lifts on two-wheelers or boarded the three-wheelers which were plying in the area.

Meanwhile, some policemen were seen enjoying the ‘langar’ served by protesters to the participants at the local Gol Chowk blockade site on the GT Road.

The GT Road, which otherwise remains busy wore a deserted look at noon today as the traffic had been diverted to rural routes due to the “rasta roko”. The “rasta roko” ended here at 3.00 pm with the burning of the Chief Minister's effigy.


Charge sheet part of Cong gameplan, says Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 23
The Shiromani Akali Dal Secretary-General and the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, today said the Centre needed to take serious note of the Congress “machinations” to defame the National Democratic Alliance leadership.

He said the filing of the charge-sheet against the SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was part of this gameplan which had been timed on the eve of the Assembly elections in five states.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Dhindsa pointed out the Congress had submitted a memorandum to the President seeking action against six ministers supposedly named by the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) for having demanded money from public sector unit (PSU) chiefs.

But the CVC had clarified that he had not named any minister. Similarly, to defame the SAD chief and his family members, the Congress had fabricated the charge-sheet at a time when the Assembly elections in some states were round the corner.

The Union Minister regretted that the Congress government in the state led by Capt Amarinder Singh was setting a “wrong” precedent of vindictiveness towards political opponents. He said Mr Badal, his family members would “come clean” in court as the “challan is a fabricated document which cannot stand the scrutiny of the law.”

Mr Dhindsa thanked the Akali Dal workers for their instant support and cooperation to the ‘chakka jam’ call by the party. He said, it was done at a short notice of less than 12 hours and the entire state had been brought to a halt.


Hanspal advises Akalis not to support corrupt
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 23
Mr H.S. Hanspal, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said that by presenting challan in a court at Ropar by the Vigilance Bureau Punjab against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and his family, on disproportionate property worth Rs 4326 crore, Capt Amarinder Singh’s government had fulfilled a major election promise.

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, he said that the Congress party had promised in Assembly elections that it would hold an inquiry into corruption cases of the SAD-BJP regime.

He said that the proposed Rasta Roko agitation by the SAD was uncalled far. To take shelter of a political party by a leader involved in corruption cases of crores was totally un-justified. The threats for agitation by SAD leaders indicated that the SAD (B) favoured corruption.

He pointed the SAD (B) never protested against the centre for more water to Punjab. He hoped that the SAD (B) would not get any support from the people of Punjab for Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his family members as they were aware of their corrupt deeds. He said that the Punjab Government would not allow any one to disturb law and order would deal the situation legally whereas the Congress would handle it politically.

He suggested to SAD leaders not to do any agitation to spoil the atmosphere of Punjab and should wait for the decision of the case.

He said the people of Punjab would not tolerate any agitation in favour of corruption.

He said that it was totally wrong that the challan against Mr Badal and his family was submitted in the court at the time of elections of five state Assemblies. An inquiry into the allegations was on for the past one and a half years. On its completion the challan was presented.


Crisis of confidence among cops
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
When a Punjab DIG recently met officials of his range, he realised that the perception of cops about the police was no different or better than that of people. So low was their level of confidence in their own colleagues that if placed in a situation similar to that of an ordinary citizen, say to lodge a complaint, a cop would also think twice, given the love-hate police-people relation.

Sharing his experience more out of anguish than surprise, the DIG today said the basic challenge before the police top brass was to instill confidence as much in people as in cops about their role, functions and mannerism in dealing with citizens.

TNS was enlisting views on how to re-establish leadership at the top and re-invent the police to become people-friendly. It was learnt there persisted a crisis of confidence which could not be resolved merely by modernisation — computerisation, communication, information technology, equipment, etc. “This calls for total transformation for image makeover, beginning at the lower levels. Though modernisation is a necessity, equally necessary is to change attitude and mind-set, introduce professional ethics, improve morale and provide motivation for crime detection and prevention”, he added.

A PPS officer remarked that the police was not fully motivated. It was equally low on morale and reflected discontent at the middle and lower levels. As such can Punjab expect the desired competence and functional effectiveness of police? To this, the officer said, “What after the controversial reshuffle involving 300-odd SPs and DSPs? Who do you think will call the shots, who ordered transfers or who commands?”

An Additional Director-General of Police admitted, “Today, there is disquiet, uncertainty and polarisation. The police is highly politicised. This is not inadvertent. And the police serves only the ruling politicians, irrespective of their party.”

The Director-General of Police, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, was clear in his concept — what the police should be, what it should mirror. His blueprint on police transformation and transparent functioning for image makeover will first require addressing immediate felt-needs at lower levels — poor salary not commensurate with their duties and responsibilities, lack of housing, day-to-day political interference in their working, making cops scapegoats for acts of commission and omission by seniors, and cops living in unhygienic, undesirable conditions. “These have placed cops under stress which is why a compulsory weekly off for all has been introduced”.

“In a democracy”, the DGP said, “the police is expected to operate and perform its role in accordance with the policies of an elected government with cops at all levels clearly understanding that they are public servants, who should be responsive to people through political executive”.

He continued, “It is the right and privilege of the government to order postings and transfers or change the law or redefine the traditional role of the law-enforcement agencies. But till then, the law-enforcement process must operate within the framework of law and not at the political will.”

However, opposite has happened. To a question that if the long spell of terrorism or President’s rule has broken the traditional chain of command, and bureaucratised the police, one SSP said, “Yes. And there is competitive politics as well between IPS and IAS officers and clamour for plum postings, down the line”.

An IG when asked about the fate of the draft Punjab Police Act, 2003, said pressure groups of all shades had not only stalled the Act but were arm-twisting the police with tacit support of political executive and bureaucracy. “We are not strong any more to firmly resist because it means transfers.”

Another officer says that now unethical practices normally go unchallenged as these have become a norm in police hierarchy. The seniors no longer create a culture that fosters integrity and have failed to hold their subordinates accountable, perhaps due to lack of integrity and commitment. Consequently, there was gradual hardening of acceptance of corruption, brutality and strengthening of the “code of silence”. Therefore, a violation of the human rights by the police — illegal confinements, third-degree torture and custodial deaths — were common occurrence and the Punjab police is in top bracket in this in the country.

As a non-revenue department, the police finds it hard to put its house in order. Out of nearly 70,000 force, policing is done by mere 14 per cent cops who are in contact with the public. The rest are on “domestic and security” duties with VIPs and non-VIPs.

Therefore, a DSP said, “The police-people relationship or courtesy will remain a casualty and image makeover a dream unless structural changes were made at the recruitment and training levels and better service conditions were ensured commensurate with changing societal needs and crime patterns. The skewed cop-public ratio must be corrected and the police made apolitical.


CM pursuing anti-Dalit policies, says BSP
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 23
Accusing Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of pursuing “anti-Dalit” policies, the Bahujan Samaj Party has sought the posting of Dalit officers as SSPs and DCs in proportion to the Dalit and backward class population in the state.

The party has also alleged that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is using the CBI to harass the BSP leadership and save the BJP’s ‘tainted’ ministers.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Avtaar Singh Karimpuri, state president of the BSP, here today alleged that in the recent bureaucratic reshuffle, almost no Dalit officer had been posted at any important post like SSP, DC or SSP (Vigilance).

“We believe that this discrimination is due to the ‘Manuvadi’ mindset of some people. They don’t trust Dalit or backward class officers despite their best performances. According to the Dalit and backward class population in the state, at least eight SSPs and eight DCs should be either Dalits or from the backward classes,” he said.

“Such a discriminatory attitude towards Dalit officers is humiliation for the Dalit community,” he said. Mr Karimpuri was accompanied by Mr Pawan Tinu, Jalandhar unit president of the BSP.

“The Hasanpur village incident showed that the state machinery favoured those who damaged Valmiki temple and indulged in hooliganism against the Dalit community,” alleged Mr Karimpuri, demanding booking of the accused under Section 307 in accordance with the provisions of the SC/ST Act.

On the role of the CBI, Mr Karimpuri alleged that the Prime Minister and the BJP leadership were trying to shield former Union Minister Dilip Singh Judeo with the help of the CBI by giving him a clean chit in a bribery case.


War widows relate woes at meeting
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 23
Tears that rolled down the cheeks of 60-year-old Gurdev Kaur of Mansa district when she was asked about the problems being faced by her after her husband attained martyrdom in the Indo-China war, said a lot about her plight. She was among the war widows who came to attend the Veer Nari meet organised by Chetak Army Wives Welfare Association at the local cantonment here yesterday.

She was allotted 10 acres by the Centre in recognition of the sacrifice made by her husband — Gurmel Singh — in the Indo-China war in 1962. But she is still waiting to get the possession of the promised land.

Though Surjeet Kaur, who also lost her husband in Indo-China war in 1962, was lucky enough to get agricultural land measuring 10 acres and two-and-half acres, she was deprived of two-and-a-half acres in Meerpur village as some unscrupulous elements grabbed the plot few years ago. All efforts made by her to get it back have failed to yield any positive result so far.

Most of the war widows, who came from far away places, narrated their tale of woes to Ms Prita Puri, president and Ms Uma Singh, vice-president, AWWA. Most of them said they were yet to get the respective pieces of land that were granted to them by the Centre Government after the sacrifices made by their husbands in various wars and during the counter-insurgency operations since independence.

They pointed out that though they were getting some of benefits given to them by the Centre, the state government had failed to help them in protecting those benefits.

As many as 60 war widows from Bathinda and Mansa districts participated in today’s function.

The District Sainik Welfare officials, Defence Pension Disbursement officials and other agencies concerned of Punjab and Centre governments were urged to resolve their problems at the earliest.

Later, AWWA members had an informal interaction with the war widows. A “bara khana” was also organised on the occasion.


DC refutes IMA allegations
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 23
Even as the Indian Medical Association (IMA), district unit, alleges that Deputy Commissioner Anurag Aggarwal has threatened its members that a doctor who refuses to conduct an ultra-sound test will be booked, the latter, denying the allegation, says vested interests are making an issue out of a non-issue to scuttle the pilot project launched to check female foeticide in this district, as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

Mr Aggarwal said here today the Punjab Government had expressed concern over the falling sex ratio in the state. In the past two years, the ratio, which was 779/1000 in 2000-2001 in this district, had come down to 740/1000 this year. He said a pilot project to check female foeticide was the need of the hour.

Dr Amrit Sethi, General Secretary, IMA, Bathinda, in a press note alleged that the district administration had not been allowing it to lodge its protest against the filing of false and frivolous complaints against a section of doctors in different courts by the PNDT cell.

He said after this “injudicious action” of the district administration, the IMA had decided not to carry out ultra-sound tests on pregnant women at all. But Mr Aggarwal had issued a threat that any doctor refusing the test would be booked in a criminal case.

He said the IMA had written to the district authorities for guidance as to how to serve the interests of the patients on the one hand and avoid “punishment” by Mr Aggarwal on the other.

He alleged by filing complaints against doctors, Mr Aggarwal had harmed the doctor-patient relationship. He said those doctors alone should be taken to task who indulged in the female foeticide.

Dr Sethi, asked what the IMA had done so far to check the fall in the sex ratio, said the IMA had constituted a task force for the purpose.

Mr Aggarwal said the PNDT cell had not filed criminal cases against the doctors. Complaints had been filed under the IPC and the PNDT Act in different courts.

Meanwhile, sources said the deadlock between the IMA and the district administration may be resolved tomorrow when Mr Aggarwal and the state unit of the IMA hold a meeting in the afternoon.


Bhai Kanhaiya Award for NGO
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 23
Mr Vijay Goyal, president, Sahara Jan Sewa, a registered NGO working for the welfare of the injured in road accidents and cremation of destitutes, was today presented with the fourth Bhai Kanhaiya Award by Mahant Tirath Singh Ji Sewa Panthi.

The award was presented at the annual function of Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, which is being run under the patronage of the Sewa Panthi Tikana, Goniana Mandi, Bathinda.

Mahant Tirath Singh, head, Sewa Panthi Tikana, in his address to the guests, teachers and students said love and compassion for fellow beings was necessary for a human and just society.

Mr Vijay Goyal, after receiving the award said that this would boost the morale of their volunteers.


Osho’s brother embarks on road to godmanship
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, November 23
The cap and the robe are identical, albeit blue in colour. Osho Rajneesh’s younger brother, a former doctor, who is introduced as Osho Shailender has donned the robes rather late in life to embark on the road to godmanship. Some 23 years younger than the Osho, Shailender is trying to channelise his personal interpretation of the godman’s message through the newly established ‘Osho Dhara’.

The ‘Osho Dhara’ came into existence a couple of years ago and has two centres at present , one at Soraha in Nepal and the other at Madhopur in Punjab. Having found Punjab conducive to spreading the Osho’s message of peace and brotherhood the organisation has decided to open its first centre at the Osho Omrau Peeth in Gurdarshan Nagar here.

“Osho” Shailender, who is on a visit to the city, held a meditation-cum-divine healing camp today which was followed by a discourse and an interactive session. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gurmeet Mann, a teacher of Punjabi University, who is heading the local chapter, said meditation classes would be held as part of the teaching of the following of the movement besides establishing a well-stocked library.

“Osho” Shailender when questioned on why he had chosen Punjab, said the concept of “Ek Omkar” was nothing new to the Punjabis and that this was the core of Osho’s philosophy. He said the ‘Osho Dhara’ was based on the message of the “gurus” who had propounded the theory of living a spiritual and corporeal life simultaneously.

When asked by this correspondent as to why he had spurned the already established Osho communes, both in India and abroad to set up his own “Osho” cult, he said Osho’s philosophy was vast and multi-faceted and could easily be propounded by him. Speaking about the Osho commune in Pune which has inherited the spiritual legacy of Osho Rajneesh, he said he did not want to condemn the ways of the commune or its functioning.

“Osho” Shailender says he has chosen the path of “dhyan” and “samadhi” to achieve ultimate fulfilment. “When I achieved enlightenment in the 2000, I realised that somewhere along the line Osho’s real message was being lost and that it could only be restored by providing “live” answers to live questions of disciples,” “Osho” Shailender says. The present Osho Dhara movement has drawn up two strategies —“Urja Dhyan” and divine healing through what the organisation calls “Urja Chikitsa”.


Demand to scrap caste-based quota
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 23
While activists of the Dalit Sena today demanded that caste-based reservation for admissions, jobs and promotions should be continued, those of the General Categories Welfare Federation demanded that these be scrapped at once to promote efficiency and work culture.

Mr Kiranjit Singh, state president, Dalit Sena, in his address to activists, said they should unite and press for the continuation of caste-based reservation. He claimed that a separate wing of the sena for the employees had been created.

On the other hand, Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, district president, General Categories Welfare Federation, in his statement said only one per cent of Dalits were eating away the benefits of reservation.

He alleged bad blood was being created in different segments of society due to “caste-based discrimination” by the government.

Mr Sidhu said to uplift Dalits and the downtrodden, economic incentives should be given to them but merit should not be compromised in jobs and promotions. He welcomed the recent judgement of the Supreme Court wherein the court had held that the admissions to super-speciality courses in medicine should not be based on caste.

He said the spirit of this judgement should be taken care of and all admissions in professional courses be made on merit basis rather than caste.

He said the federation would launch an agitation to press for discontinuation of the caste-based reservation system.


Panchayat secys will be reinstated, says Bhattal
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 23
The state government has full sympathy with the agitating panchayat secretaries and services of all those who have no judicial implications will be reinstated by removing administrative hurdles, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats, said while talking to mediapersons at Hansali village today. She had come to inaugurate an eye-check camp organised by Sant Baba Ajit Singh Ji Hansali Wale. She also presided over an annual function of Hargobind Khalsa Public School run by Sant Ajit Singh Ji and distributed prizes among winners.

Reacting to the ‘rasta roko’ call of the Akalis, she said the Vigilance Department had detected disproportionate assets of Mr Badal worth Rs 4,326 crore and instead of supporting the corrupt, Akali leaders should give such a call against the anti-state policies of the Central Government. Answering a query, about the contradictory enquiry reports of the Vigilance Department and the departmental enquiry conducted by Mr P.Ram against the dismissed minister Dr Harbans Lal, she said Dr Lal was innocent and action would be taken against the erring official, at an appropriate time, who made a false enquiry report. Answering another query about his frequent visits to Delhi, she said there was no dissidence in the Congress Legislative Party and her Delhi visits had nothing to do with dissident activities rather she had been visiting Delhi just for the cause of government and to discuss various issues with the Central Government as well as party leaders.

Latter addressing a gathering at the eye check-up camp, she called upon the panchayats to get ready as the government was going to hand over the control of five government departments to them at the earliest. She said now the panchayats would be authorised to execute the development works worth Rs 10 lakh on their own. She called upon the people not to be mislead by any false propaganda of Akalis and to maintain communal harmony. She said that government was committed to the development of rural areas. She urged the panchayat members to rise above petty politics and work unitedly for the development of the village. She announced a grant of Rs 1 crore for the overall development of the Khera Hansali area. She appreciated the efforts of Sant Baba Ajit Singh Ji Hansali Wale for redressing the grievances of the people and contributing for the development of area.

Addressing the annual function of the school, she called upon the schoolchildren to adopt good habits as they were the nation builders and the future of the country depends upon them. She said they were lucky as they were studying under the patronage of Brahm Gyani Sant Baba Ajit Singh ji.

Dr Lal in his address demanded more funds for the development of this area.

Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA, Mr Vaid Hari Krishan, president, DCC, Mr Sadhu Ram, president, BCC, Mr. Gursatinder Singh Jallah and Mr Subhash Sood also addressed the gathering.


Pak qawwals mesmerise
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 23
It was an experience with a difference for hundreds of Punjabi pop-fed music lovers, who were mesmerised with the performance of Lahore-based qawwal Javed Bashir and his troupe at a function organised at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here on Saturday night.

The function was organised jointly by the Ajit Group of Publications, Hind-Pak Dosti Manch, South Asia Fraternity Society. HRH Entertainment Private Limited and the Ajoka Theatre, Lahore, headed by Madeeha Gohar.

At the very outset, the spectators were pleasantly surprised as they were told by Bashir that he was the great grandson of Jalandhar-based famous qawwals Gajju-Bajju.

Bashir and his group’s performance took off with “raaga bageshwari” and an array of intricate “alaaps” and “taans”. But the real ecstatic moment came when Basir transcended to another height and depicted pangs of a beloved with “bols” like “E-ree main kaise man paaoon,” “Piya ki surat mere man mein basi hai,” “tere gham lag jawan mainu, tera waal winga naa howe,” and “Dildara mere haan diya” in “theth Punjabi”.

What touched people’s hearts was the intensity of preparedness of the Pakistani qawwals and their peculiar “peshkari” of a “raaga” with help of long “alaaps” and crisp and beautifully curved “taans”. The only flaw in the programme was the echo in the hall, which, created an invisible curtain between the performers and listeners.

Punjabi folk singer, Salim rendered “Charkhe di ghook,” “Dama dum mast kalandar” and “Tere ishq nachaiya kar thaiya thaiya,” in his own peculiar style dominated by what is called, “garaaris” in Punjabi.

Interestingly, Punjabi Pop singers, Hans Raj Hans, and Dr Sukhnain were seen not performing but sitting and savouring the musical treat presented by their Pakistani counterparts. Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard, the Editor-in-Chief of the Ajit Group of Newspapers, Mr Satnam Manak, general secretary of the Hind-Pak Dosti Manch, Pakistani theatre personality Madeeha Gohar and Mr Ashok Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, were also present on the occasion.


INTACH denies minister’s charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The Vice-Chairman of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Mr S.K. Mishra, today refuted reports that the Punjab Chief Minister had conveyed his displeasure over INTACH's approach to the heritage festival planned to be held at Amritsar next month.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Mishra maintained that the entire programme had been formulated with the approval of the Chief Minister and the Minister for Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Mr Ashwini Sekhri, conveying the Chief Minister's displeasure was "a figment of his imagination".

It was reported yesterday that Mr Sekhri had stated that Punjabi cultural and folk items had been left out by INTACH in the programme finalised for the heritage function even though the Punjab Government was spending Rs 50 lakh on it.

Mr Mishra said that while the emphasis had been on providing a mixture of international, national and Punjabi art forms, local sentiment too had been respected. While Punjabi opera as well as pop were included in the heritage functions organised at Patiala and Kapurthala earlier, a special programme had been formulated to highlight the performances of local artistes at Amritsar.


Sangh honours prominent citizens
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 23
The Akhil Bharatiya Seva Sangh, Patiala, today honoured prominent personalities for outstanding achievements and contribution in their respective fields at a function organised at the Brahmma Kumari Raj Yoga Centre.

Mr Sanjay Kumar, Commissioner Municipal Corporation, was the chief guest. Those who received the awards were Director Raj Yoga, B.K. Kamla, theatre couple Pran Sabharwal and Sunita Sabharwal, chairperson State Women Commission Surinder Kaur, social worker Vijay Goel and Principal Suman Sood.


Pak scribe to be honoured

Amritsar, November 23
Famed Punjabis from both sides of the border will be honoured on the occasion of Raja Porus Hind-Pak Punjabi Mitterta Mela.

Pakistani journalist Illyas Ghuman along with critic Satinder Noor from India and famed novelist Kesar Singh from Canada will be honoured. Dr Tara Singh, president, Folklore Research Academy Chandigarh, said a two-mela dedicated to the memory of those who had lost their lives during Partition would be held on November 29.

Two processions would start from the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial and from the memorial of Shaheed Sham Singh Attariwala, simultaneously. — OC


4 held for selling substandard sugar
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, November 23
The local police has busted an inter-state gang involved in the sale of substandard sugar. Four persons have been arrested in this connection.

They have been identified as Tarlok Chand Aggarwal of Amritsar, Varinder Kumar, Durgesh Kumar and Bishamber Dass, all residents of Bihar.

Aggarwal had been selling substandard sugar at the market price of Rs 1,600 per quintal, after purchasing “wet sugar” at the rate of Rs 300 per quintal.

It was being sold under the brand of Uttam Quality Sugar.

The police party raided Aggarwal’s godown and arrested three persons who were busy in mixing “ararat” in the substandard sugar.

The police also recovered 20 quintals of substandard sugar, four bags of “Uttam Quality” Sugar and 5 quintals of wet sugar mixed with “ararot”.

On investigation those arrested disclosed that they worked for Aggarwal.

They added that they use “ararot” to make the substandard wet sugar dry and to make it crystal white.

Sugar bags weighing and stitching machines were seized from the godown.

A case under section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act has been registered.


Eight satta operators arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 23
Mr Kapil Dev, Senior Superintendent of Police, today said eight persons had been arrested from Rampura Phul for indulging in satta transactions.

Mr Dev said the kingpin, Ajay Kumar, a resident of Mansa, had been operating a satta racket in Rampura, Salabatpura and Nihal Singh Wala areas of the district for the past some time. An Esteem car (DL-3 CA-8585), driven by the accused had been impounded.

The other seven persons arrested red-handed in this case are Amarjit Singh, Krishan Kumar, Barjinder Pal, Mangat Rai, Jagan Nath, Ashok Kumar and Kesar Singh, all residents of Rampura Phul.

Separate cases against the accused under Sections 420, IPC, and 13-A, 3 and 67 of the prevention of Gambling Act have been registered.


13-year-old gangraped
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, November 23
A 13-year-old Rajasthani girl was allegedly assaulted for days by five youths at Khanna and Malerkotla. The Malerkotla police registered a case only after parents of the girl held a protest outside the local police station yesterday.

One youth was arrested today. According to reports, the youths picked up the girl from a cattle fair on November 20 and forcibly took her to Khanna.


DC stresses role of co-curricular activities
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 23
“Students must participate in sports and cultural activities along with studies for the overall development of their personality. Moreover, these co-curricular activities help develop the mind as well as body”, said Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner. He was addressing the gathering at the annual prize distribution function of Mata Sundari Public School being run by the district administration. He urged the parents to encourage their children to participate in social activities.

Highlighting the achievements of the school, he said this institution, being run by the Red Cross Society and district administration, was providing quality education at nominal charges. He said the school had shown 100 per cent results, which had been made possible by the efforts of schoolteachers and principal.

Dr Daisy Walia, the Head of the Dance Department at Punjabi University, Patiala, distributed the prizes to the winners. Earlier, schoolchildren presented a cultural programme.

Mr Nirmal Singh Ghuman, the Principal of the school, presented the annual report and highlighted the achievements of school in various fields.


Exhibitions mark NCC Day celebrations
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 23
A state-level function to mark the 55th anniversary of National Cadet Corps (NCC) was held here today on Guru Nanak Dev University campus under the auspices of NCC group headquarters.

Col G.S. Ghuman, Group Commandant, NCC, Amritsar, said the NCC had completed 55 glorious years and had 1.3 million cadets on its rolls.

Highlight of the occasion was a march past by cadets of Army, Air and Naval wings of the NCC. It was followed by a display of aero modelling and ship models. An exhibition of weapons and photo exhibition of NCC activities was also organised. NCC cadets presented cultural programme including bhangra and giddha performances.

Mr R.L. Bhatia, MP took the salute from the cadets. Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor presided over the function.


Symposium discusses challenges of new jobs
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 23
The second TIET foresight symposium on 'Higher technical education-issues of access and delivery' concluded at the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology here today.

The symposium discussed the issues of affordability, quality, employability and sustainability of the higher technical education.

It recommended that aim of the institutions of higher technical education should be to produce such graduates who could adapt to changing requirements of new jobs.

Higher technical education should also be flexible in terms of admissions and provide opportunities for life-long learning in various disciplines rather than permanently typifying people in particular professions.

For improving the quality of product, the institutions should use resources available in industry and research institutions in a symbiotic manner.

Institutions should also find new ways to generate resources and provide education so that the cost of higher technical education remains affordable to large sections of society.

The symposium was addressed by leading academicians and industrialists, including Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University, Dr Y.S. Rajan, Mr Ashutosh Ahluwalia, Quark Media House, Mr Satish Koshal, Senior Consultant, Tata Consultancy Services, Mr Gajinder Singh Bains and Mr Y.K. Saboo, Managing Director, Kamla Dials and Devices Ltd.


Teachers given tips on stress management
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 23
The DIET, Nabha, in collaboration with the local Government Girls Senior Secondary School, organised a three-day training workshop under the Sarv Sikhya Abhiyaan here today.

Nearly 62 teachers from 16 educational blocks participated in the workshop . The main aim of the workshop was to bring awareness regarding discipline, counselling, first aid to the injured and sick, stress management and support to disabled children.

Mr Vijay Kapoor, in charge of the workshop, and the Head of Navjivini School, Dr N.S. Sodhi, talked about disabilities and mentally challenged children.

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