C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Woman alleges custodial death of husband
Our Correspondent

Sanjeev Kumar
Sanjeev Kumar

Chandigarh, March 4
Sanjeev Kumar (32), a peon in the office of the DPI (Haryana) in Sector 17 here, who had furnished sureties for two accused in a drug-peddling case, was allegedly tortured to death by what his wife identified as the CIA staff of the Chandigarh Police.

According to Jyoti, her husband was beaten up by two policemen in plain clothes on March 2 and sent back unconscious in a rickshaw on the same night to his house in Sector 24. The man remained at home for 35 hours after allegedly being thrashed by the police before he was declared dead today in the General Hospital, Sector 16, in the wee hours.

The DSP (Crime) Om Prakash, however, refuted the charge, saying his men had not gone to the house of Sanjeev Kumar but could not rule out some other policemen allegedly being involved in the case.

Ms Jyoti demanded a legal action against the guilty policemen, claiming her husband to be hale and hearty when he was taken by Sub-Inspector Kuldeep Singh and another policeman of the CIA staff. She said he was tortured in police custody on March 2 and died subsequently.

In a complaint filed to the SSP of the city, Ms Jyoti alleged that Sub-Inspector Kuldeep Singh and another policeman, whose name she did not know, came to their house in civilian clothes on February 28 and asked about her husband. They told her that they had come to serve summons issued by Sessions Judge, Chandigarh, to Sanjeev Kumar as he had stood surety for an accused in an NDPS case. Her husband was not at home at that time and the policemen left the place, giving her their mobile phone numbers.

She further, in her complaint, said that on March 2, both policemen came to her house at around 2:30 pm. Her husband Sanjeev Kumar opened the door and the policemen caught hold of his hand and dragged him out of the house. She said that her husband asked them as to why they were treating him that way, but they refused to listen to him and started beating him publicly.

Mr Tersem Lal Sidhu, president of the Mohalla Welfare Society of Sector 24, who was an eyewitness to the incident, said, “I saw two policemen chasing Sanjeev that afternoon. At a little distance from the residence of Sanjeev, the policemen nabbed him and started beating him up mercilessly in the market. After that, they took him on their scooter (number not known). They were wearing civilian clothes.”

Ms Jyoti said at around 5:15 pm on the same day a rickshaw-puller brought her husband home in a critically injured condition and he was unconscious at that time. She said she attended to her husband at home on March 2 and 3. When the condition of her husband deteriorated, she took him to the General Hospital at 4 this morning, where the doctors declared him brought dead.

Mr S.C. Sagar, DSP (Central) said the police was recording the statements and action would be taken against those found guilty as per the law. He also said that Sanjeev stood surety in two NDPS cases and was required to appear in court on March 3 and 7 in this regard. He said the police had requested the medical authorities to constitute a board of doctors to conduct post-mortem tomorrow.



Birth office defaults on power bills; public suffers
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The office of the UT Registrar of Births and Deaths is without electricity for the past 10 days. Hundreds of cases have piled up because no data could be entered in the computers of this “fully computerised” branch.

The connection has been snapped because of the “non-payment of the electricity bills for the past several months. “Officials from the electricity department have come today and we will soon have power,” an official said. However, till 4 p.m. the office was plunged in darkness.

“Only very urgent cases are being handled manually for the convenience of the people. Rest have to wait,” an official said in the afternoon.

The official said, “The situation has arisen because of the non-payment of old electricity bills by the office. Our office is under the UT Administration, while the office at our backside (Medical Officer Health) is now under the Municipal Corporation. There was confusion in the division of area for billing. Now a new meter has been installed in our office and things will be normal very soon”.

Apart from a tough time for the staff on duty, scores of people returned empty-handed. “I have come for the third day in a row and am returning without the death certificate I wanted”, said Mr Atul Bhasin, a local resident. He said, “It is indeed an abnormal situation in the city, which boasts of a regular supply throughout the year. The matter pertained to an office of the UT so it should have been handled at the official level instead of putting the residents to inconvenience”.

The official said, “We are sorry for the inconvenience and the matter will be sorted out very soon. Our office has installed the software for Interactive Voice Response System, which gives online information about the status of their case.

This saves them unnecessary visits to our office. Electricity is not in our hands but we will update all data at the earliest.”

Mr Sandeep Singh, a businessman, said, “I wanted the date of birth certificate for my son who has to enroll in nursery class this year. The school has given me time till Saturday and I have not got my certificate till nearly the closing time today. The office remains closed on Saturday.”

An employee handling the computer said “On an average, we handled about 100 cases daily. Now the total for data entry must be about 1000. It is surprising that more than eight years after the MC was set up, a need was felt to separate the bills for the office linked to the corporation and another to the Administration”.



Sending mail through RMS a risk!
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Your important mail sent through the Railway Mail Service (RMS) may not reach its desired destination, thanks to the indifference of the Northern Railways and the Postal Department.

Reason: The mail bags are being stored in the open at the Chandigarh Railway Station, exposed to the security risk and the vagaries of the weather. The room which used to be in the possession of the Postal Department is now in possession of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and a canteen contractor.

Everyday postal bags are stacked in the open by postal employees who wait for the arrival of a train. Sources in the Postal Department reveal that over 1.25 lakh letters, including the registered letters, are sent and received through the RMS at the station. At times the security of the bags is at stake.

A visit to the station revealed that the mail bags were stacked on the platform, waiting for the specific train to arrive. The truck used to ferry the mail from the General Post Office, Sector 17, is parked haphazardly in one corner of the station where is no proper ramp to tow the postal bags. When this reporter visited the station, the postal employees were trying to pull a trolley laden with the bags through a mad rush of passengers, rushing to catch the Himalayan Queen.

Sources revealed that after the postal staff was evacuated from the room, a lot of correspondence took place between the railway authorities and the Postal Department. At last the Postal Department was asked to deposit certain amount of money to get an earmarked space at the station. But the Postal Department left the demand stating that it did not need any space at the station. The Director, Postal Services (Head quarters), Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, said there was no need for any room at the station.

But it was not an alright affair for the Postal Department, not to mention the fate of the post in case of bad weather or the security risk.

Enquiries reveal that when the trains were late or the postal department employees missed a train, the mail was either taken back all the way to the Sector 17 post office or left in the open at the station with one or two persons to guard it. The rush of the mail was witnessed during the arrival and departure of the Kalka-Howrah train. “When we had the room, we could store the mail at the station. Now a lot of manpower is wasted in the exercise”, said an employee.



Jewellers call off strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
In a late night decision, jewellers of the city called off their indefinite strike against the imposition of two per cent excise duty on branded jewellery. The convener of the Jewellers Association, Mr Anil Talwar, said that the strike had been called off following assurances that their demand would be considered favourably.



Tsunami fund crosses Rs 2 crore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The Tribune Tsunami Relief Fund collection has crossed Rs 2 crore. Hundreds of donations, through cheques, are still pouring in and are being forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

Contributions to The Tribune Tsunami Relief Fund can be made at any Tribune office in Chandigarh, Delhi and across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The Tribune will continue to send the donations received by it to the PMO office on a regular basis so that the money meant for the rehabilitation of lakhs of people reaches them quickly.



Housing complex residents contribute to tsunami fund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The Modern Housing Complex (Duplex) Residents Welfare Association today presented two drafts worth Rs 41,000 to Mr H. K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, here today. The contribution has been made to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for Tsunami victims.

Mr K. L. Aggarwal, president of the association, accompanied by Dr V. P. Nagpal, secretary, and Mr A. C. Chopra and Mr T. R. Goyal handed over the drafts to Mr Dua.



Passing Thru

Tejpal Singh, M.Tech. Software Engineer, Los Angeles
Tejpal Singh, M.Tech. Software Engineer, Los Angeles

What are the prime products your company is known for in the world?

‘St. Jude Medical’ is one of the three largest Cardiac Rhythm Management products manufacturers. My division manufactures Pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) which detect very fast rhythms and fibrillations and automatically restore them to normalcy.

How do your company products relate to Indian consumers?

Our products are life saving devices which serve heart patients worldwide. Since numerous Indians die of heart-related diseases our products could come in handy in their treatment thereby improving their standard of health.

What is your job profile in the company?

My software development team brings the hardware of these products to life. I write software for the external ‘equipment Programmer’ which communicates with pacemakers and ICDs and retrieves information and changes their behaviour. Mr Tejpal Singh M. Tech. in Computer Software Technology, a medalist from Roorkee University and now employed with the ‘St Jude Medical’, is settled at Los Angeles. He visited the city this week.

— S.D. Sharma



Mayor-DC spat: BJP for CBI inquiry
Tribune News Service

The UT Administration has sent a proposal of extension for the tenure of Mr Arun Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, reliable sources in the Administration said here today. The term of the DC expires this year.

Chandigarh, March 4
The stand-off between the Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, and the DC, Mr Arun Kumar, over relief work for the victims of the Sector 18 rehri market today took a new turn with the BJP and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) throwing in their lot with the DC.

While the BJP demanded a CBI inquiry into the whole episode, the CVM accused the Congress of “blackmailing” the DC. The Mayor misled three councillors into signing a representation to the UT Administrator demanding the removal of the DC, the BJP said demanding the registration of a case against the Mayor.

Similarly, the CVM spokesman, Mr Sandeep Singh, made it clear that though the two party councillors — Mr Jatinder Bhatia and Mr Vijay Rana—had signed the representation in “good faith” yet the manch was not in favour DC’s removal.

Meanwhile, the BJP has already written to the UT Administrator to order a CBI inquiry into the case to bring out the truth.

The BJP alleged that the Congress was levelling false charges against the DC to hide various acts of omission and commission of certain party leaders.

On March 2, the Mayor and 14 councillors of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, in a representation to the UT Administrator, alleged that the DC was “discourteous” to her over phone when she wanted that the relief work for the rehri market victims should be speeded up.



Welfare Dept to take care of abandoned children
Family may be relocated in Ambala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Pooja, Bhavna and Himanshu woke up to the gift of family today. Abandoned by parents some days ago, they suddenly found themselves at the heart of all activities that unfolded at Nari Niketan, Sector 26, this morning.

Overwhelmed by the attention after days of persistent neglect, they obviously stood flustered, least aware of how to react. So they relaxed by their mother’s side and simply smiled throughout the proceedings that ended with a “happy reunion”.

While Bhavna and Himanshu lodged with the Missionaries of Charity at Sector 23 went home yesterday, Pooja, the eldest of the three children of Santosh and Vinod was formally restored to them today. Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), bid farewell to the family. She had taken steps to ensure that the children returned to a safe and secure future this time.

Thanking The Tribune for highlighting the case, Ms Rodrigues said she was exploring the possibility of relocating the family in Ambala. Tribune reader Kehsav Chander Ganesh has offered to rehabilitate them. She said, “We have sent a police team to verify his credentials. If all goes well, we will facilitate the family’s resettlement in Ambala.”

Pooja is likely to be shifted to Bal Niketan, Sector 15,here. She will live and study at Bal Niketan. Bhavna and Himanshu will go to “Balwaris” at Khuda Lahora so that they get proper pre-school training and nutrition. The idea is to keep them in safe hands until their mother returns from work. The consent of parents has been taken and all these directions will be implemented by the office of the Director, Social Welfare, UT.

At another front, Ms Rodrigues took the responsibility of ensuring proper healthcare of Santosh’s husband, Vinod, who is suffering from bone marrow TB. A tea vendor at Khuda Lahora, Vinod, barely earns Rs 300 a month. Santosh, a domestic help, also earns the same amount. Most of their income goes in meeting medical expenses.

For 45 minutes, Ms Rodrigues heard the family in the presence of the Director, Social Welfare, UT, Ms Madhavi Kataria, the member, Chandigarh Child Welfare Committee, Ms Madhu Singh, and this correspondent. Finally it was decided that UT Red Cross would take care of Vinod’s medical needs while Pooja would be lodged at Bal Niketan so that she could pursue studies seriously.

Familiarising herself with the minutest details of the family, Ms Rodrigues warned the parents of the dire consequences of irresponsible behaviour. She also said Pooja was too young to be kept at Nari Niketan and that she should be shifted to a congenial place which would facilitate her growth.

“Pooja can visit her parents during holidays. Also we will see how best we can help the family. We will regularly monitor the rehabilitation process,” Ms Rodrigues said before bidding warm farewell to the family.

Ms Rodrigues thanked everyone involved in the effort of bringing the family together. After sending off children with gifts, she thanked SI of Sector 11 police station Prem Chand, volunteers of PGI child helpline Ruby and Geeta and member Chandigarh Child Welfare Committee Madhu Singh who had arranged accommodation for children.



Godown owners meet DC
Raise voice against demolition drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Raising voice against the administration’s plan to demolish godowns in Daria village, its owners said today that the move would adversely affect the movement of the freight from Chandigarh Railway Station to different cities in the North. It would render about 5,000 labourers jobless.

Since their godowns are located adjacent to the railway station, these are being used to store tonnes of freight being ferried by the goods trains. The freight primarily consisting of cement, coal, steel and other type of consumer durables taken by trucks to traders in cities like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Sarabjit Singh, a godown owner, said the unloading of the freight at the railway station would become costlier if the godowns were demolished or relocated. Relocating them in other parts of the city would mean movement of the freight through the city, which was restricted during the morning and evening hours.

The owners said existing location of the godowns suited the concept of locating the transport areas on the outskirts of the city. Mr Shingara Singh, member, Panchayat Samiti, said the administration had so far no plan for demolishing godowns.

The structures of the godowns should not been seen as violations of the Periphery Control Act but as an important part of unloading and loading activity at the railway station.

A delegation of the godown owners today met the Deputy Commissioner and was also planning to meet the UT Administrator. The Deputy Commissioner had recently requested the godown owners to remove their belongings to avoid any loss. The owners have already been served notices.



GSI celebrates foundation day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The Geological Survey of India (GSI) celebrated its 154th foundation day on its office premises in Sector 33 here today.

The serving and retired officers and staff of the GSI gathered to mark the occasion.

The GSI has carried out pioneering studies in earth sciences since 1851 and has geologically mapped the entire country. Digitisation of these geological maps has also been completed. The organisation is currently engaged in geochemical mapping of the country on grid pattern. It has been providing consultation to engineers for hydel projects, road communication, bridge sites, besides actively participating in Indian expeditions to Antarctica and glaciological expeditions in the Himalayas.

The GSI has also been declared the nodal agency for landslide hazard mitigation by the Ministry of Home Affairs and has taken up the monitoring of major landslides in the country.

It is organising a seminar ‘Seismicity in the Himalaya: 100 years since the Kangra Earthquake’ at Palampur in Himachal Pradesh from April 4 to 6.



Order to provide power to dairy complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The UT Administrator General S. F. Rodrigues (retd), today asked the Deputy Commissioner Mr Arun Kumar, to provide electricity to Maloya Dairy Complex, and explore the possibility of a bio-gas and compost plant in the village. Directions to this effect were given by General Rodrigues during a visit to the village.

The Administrator asked the Deputy Commissioner to utilise the cow dung in generating energy and preparing manure for fields. The Administrator also asked the officials to institutionalise the sale of milk of around 5000 cattle to help the milkmen increase their income.

General Rodrigues also visited the Sector 39 Grain Market and the fire destroyed Sector 18 rehri market. The Administrator was informed that each of the 36 fire hit shopkeepers have been given Rs 5,000.

The Administrator advised the panchayat members to take up developmental projects at a faster pace to improve infrastructure of the village.



Rehriwallah succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 4
Mathura, a rehriwallah from Mullanpur Garibdass, who had met with an accident with a Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) bus on February 26 died at the PGI here today.

The victim was riding his rehri when he was hit by a CTU bus coming from the opposite side from Chandigarh.

He was referred from the PGI to the Civil Hospital, Mohali.

His condition is said to have worsened there following which he was again shifted back to the PGI yesterday. He succumbed to his injuries at the PGI today.

The CTU bus driver, Swaran Singh, was booked by the police on February 28 under Sections 279, 337, 338 of the IPC.

Known as Bhindi in the village Mullanpur Garibdass, Mathura is survived by his wife and three children.

The members of his family today alleged that Mathura was shifted from the PGI on the instance of the bus driver and due to lack of proper medical care outside the 
PGI he died.



PUDA allottees stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 4
Members of the Plot Allotment Sangarsh Committee, Sector 76-80, staged a dharna outside the office of PUDA here today in protest against the failure of the authorities concerned to give them possession of the plots allotted to them.

The protesters said that they had met the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, Chief Administrator, PUDA, and other officials in this regard but to no avail.



Woman loses ornaments to cheat
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 4
A woman was duped of her golden belongings to appease what a cheat-turned godman said ill-fate-bringing gods.

The woman was asked to hand over all her belongings in a piece of cloth. She was returned a similar looking bundle only to find -steelmade ornaments.

Ms Shashi Gupta, a resident of Sector 38- west, filed a complaint to the police that an unidentified man and woman duped her of one gold chain, one pair of earrings, one ring and four gold bangles, saying that they would make the ornaments lucky for her family yesterday.

According to the police, Ms Gupta was on her way back to her home in the afternoon when she was stopped by a man who asked her about the way to Sector 24. Later, a woman approached her and told her that the man with whom she had talked to was blessed with supernatural powers and had helped many people. The unsuspected Ms Gupta followed that man and talked to him. He told her that her family would face problems in the near future and told her to give him her ornaments to cast a spell on them to prevent the problems. The woman wrapped the ornaments in a handkerchief and handed them over to the man. The man played a trick and produced a handkerchief resembling the former one and gave it to the woman and asked her to open only after reaching her home.

When the woman opened the handkerchief at her home, to her utter surprise, she found steel bangles in it. A case of cheating under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 39 police station. No arrests have so far been made in this regard as yet.



3 killed in road mishaps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 4
Three persons were killed and as many injured in separate road accidents in the district today.

A scooterist, Thanga, 28, was killed, and a man riding pillion with him, Naik Singh, was seriously injured when their scooter was hit by a black coloured car near Chandi Mandir this evening. They were coming to Panchkula. They were taken to the General Hospital here, where Thanga succumbed to his injuries. Naik Singh has been in an unconscious state.

In another incident, a migrant labourer was run over by a truck at Majri Chowk. The victim, who appeared to be 35 years old, was walking down the road. In yet another incident, scooterist Gurcharan Singh was killed when his scooter was hit by a truck on the Kalka-Paploha road. He was driving the scooter, while his brother, Gurnam and another person, Vicky, were riding pillion. The other two were seriously injured and were admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Chain snatched: Two miscreants snatched a gold chain from a Sector 15 resident on Friday. The victim, Ms Kamlesh Bhardwaj, was coming home from work when two youths, on a grey scooter, came from behind and snatched her chain.

Three held: The police has arrested Kanhaiya, Abraz Khan and Chottu and recovered stolen shuttering material, The trio were arrested by from near the Zirakpur naka. They were produced before a local court on Friday and remanded in two-day police custody.



Travel agent booked
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 4
A city-based travel agent was booked for duping a man of Rs 1.15 lakh for sending him abroad, besides two other separate cheating cases registered in different police stations in the city, the local police said here, today.

A case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 39 police station against Satish of Sector 45-D who had taken Rs 1.15 lakh from Jaivir Singh of Daddu Majra Colony on the pretext of sending him abroad. He neither send the complainant abroad and nor returned his money.

Mr Jaivir in his complaint said, he had given Rs 5,000 in December 2003, Rs 50,000 in December 2003 and another Rs 60,000 in February 2004. The accused once handed over him a cheque, which was later dishonored by the bank.

50,000 taken to sanction loan

Mr Shoba Ram Negi of Thoma Grat village in Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh filed a complaint that V.K. Sharma and his wife Tannu Sharma of Sector 22 had taken Rs 50,000 from him on September 27, 2004. They promised him to sanction a loan from a bank. But, they neither made him available the loan and nor returned his money. A case under sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.

In a separate incident, Mr Atul Sharma of Sector 38-West reported to the police that Chetna Latwal of Sector 22 had sold her house to him in June, 2004 and had taken a token money of Rs 90,000 from him. Later, the accused did not give him the documents of the house when he made full payment to her. A case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 17 police station. No one has been arrested in this regard as yet.



Minor crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 4
A four-year-old girl, Nikita, was crushed to death by a Scorpio (CH-23-T-0265) at Kaimbwala village today. The driver fled away leaving the vehicle behind after the accident.

According to the police, Nikita was playing outside her house at Kaimbawala village with other children when the incident took place. She suffered severe head injuries and died on the spot. The post mortem will be conducted tomorrow.

Nikita’s father, Rajinder, is a carpenter by profession. A case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 3 police station.



Cable tariff to be hiked in Panchkula
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 4
Thousands of residents here will now have to pay Rs 50 extra per month towards their monthly cable tariff. Following the bifurcation of various television packages, leading to an increase in subscription, they will now have to pay Rs 350 per month as against earlier tariff of Rs 300 per month.

Sources in the cable industry said the new tariff would be effective from this month. Other than the 7 per cent increase in tariff allowed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) from January this year, Star TV network and Zee Network have included some new channels in their package and bifurcated the packages. With the bifurcation and increase in tariff allowed by TRAI, Zee Network has hiked its subscription by Rs 29 per connection, and Star TV by Rs 17. 20 per connection.

Sources say Sony TV is also likely to include new channels in its package and further increase its tariff. “Since these channels have refused to allow the cable operators to beam just one package of each TV network, we are left with no choice but to increase the monthly tariff,” says a leading cable operator.

Zee Network had discontinued beaming its channels in most parts of the town after cable operators refused to pay the enhanced subscription rate of the channel. Zee Network increased its subscription rates by over Rs 29 per connection, since January 1 this year.

The Zee package, which includes Zee TV, Zee Cinema, Zee English, Zee News, Zee Business, Trendz, Reality TV, Zee Movie Zone, CNN, ETC, Cartoon Network, CNBC Hindi, besides channels in Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi and Bangla, had been available to the cable operator for Rs 55 per connection till December last year.

After the TRAI allowed for a 7 per cent hike, the Zee package was available for Rs 58.85. Also, in January this year Zee Network reportedly included HBO in its package (this channel was earlier a part of Sony TV) and increased the subscription rate by another Rs 25 after bifurcating its package.

The second package includes HBO, Pogo, CNBC Hindi, VH1 and Awaaz channels.

Cable operators had refused to increase the subscription rates and demanded that instead of both Zee packages, they be allowed to beam only one package, and thus keep the total subscription of Zee Network at Rs 58. 85 per connection. Zee officials refused to accept this and stopped beaming all its channels in the township.

After more than one month, the beaming of two popular channels of the Zee package— Zee TV and Zee Cinema— began in the town today. The cable operators were forced to the negotiating table by their subscribers, who wanted to watch their favourite programmes of Zee TV.

Sources in the cable industry said they had agreed to beam both packages of Zee Network, and thus the Network authorities had begun beaming the channels in Panchkula. Star TV, too, bifurcated its package last month, by including Disney World, Star One and Hungama TV.


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