P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Navjot attacks Punjab, Union Governments
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The BJP MP, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, today blasted the Punjab and Union Governments on development issues related to the state.

Speaking to mediapersons at the Chandigarh Press Club, Mr Sidhu said that because of the biased approach of the Union Government and the lack of will of the state government, Punjab was sliding on the economic and development fronts while other states were marching ahead .

While Haryana had taken one and a half months to set up an SEZ on 25,000 acres with an investment of Rs 40,000 crore, Punjab was unable to do so even in the past one and a half years though its SEZ was to be set up only on 2,500 acres with an investment of Rs 1,700 crore.

He said even though he was an elected MP, he had to make several rounds of the offices of Union Ministers to get even tiny projects approved for the state. He said he had to call on the Union Surface Transport Minister several times to get approval for the Jalandhar-Amritsar four-lane project, which should have otherwise been cleared decades ago because the road had the highest traffic density. ‘‘Punjab needs a world-class airport but the Union Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Praful Patel, was not listening. He was all for Maharashtra,’’ he added. " Even the cargo custodian facility had not been approved for Amritsar Airport," he said.

If the Pakistan Consulate could be opened in Mumbai and the Indian Consulate in Karachi, why could Pakistan's visa office not be set up in Amritsar or Chandigarh. He said this was a case of discrimination against Punjab from where every year thousands of persons went to Pakistan to pay obeisance at religious places. It was illogical that one had to go to Delhi from Punjab to get a visa."There cannot be peace between Delhi and Islamabad by bypassing Punjab," he asserted.

All paths of development of Punjab had been blocked by the Centre by giving a special package to industrialists keen on setting up their units in hill states like Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh.

It was unfortunate that Punjab was still suspect in the eyes of the Centre and its agencies though terrorism had become a thing of the past. He said that foreign direct investment was not coming to Punjab because of the Union Home Ministry's indifferent attitude towards the state. Giving details, he said that Punjab got FDI of only Rs 2,200 crore last year while in the case of Andhra it was Rs 11,600 crore, Gujarat Rs 12,700 crore, Karnataka Rs 19,200 crore and Maharashtra Rs 37,000 crore.

‘‘I have also asked the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, to remove the Disturbed Area Act from Punjab in practice. Of course, the Act has not been extended after October, 1997, but Union Government agencies continue to treat the state as a disturbed area," he added.

Mr Sidhu said that Amritsar was the biggest trade market of Asia but it had now been reduced to a non-entity because the Union Government did not take adequate initiatives to revive trade via the Wagah border to Central Asia. He said that Punjab had suffered the most in the past 60 years and because of this reason a stage had been reached when its farmers had started committing suicide.

He urged more powers to the state to deal with various problems. He tactfully ducked all controversial questions by taking the plea that he was still a sepoy of the BJP and not its commander.


SAD, Cong try to woo BSP
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The Bahujan Samaj Party is emerging as a much-sought-after party for political alliance for the coming Assembly elections in Punjab.

Sources said the ruling Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the two principal contenders for power in the state, had begun probing the mind of BSP leaders for an alliance in the elections, only a year away now.

The sources said the President of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had approached the state leadership of the BSP in this connection recently. However, he was told by top leaders of the BSP in the state that the power to enter into an alliance with any party rested with the national President of the BSP, Ms Mayawati. And if the SAD was serious about an alliance, it should approach Ms Mayawati in Delhi.

The sources said Mr Badal had told his confidants to open a dialogue with Ms Mayawati for entering into an alliance. Already, the SAD has a tie-up with the BJP in Punjab. The sources said Mr Badal and his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, were preparing for a do-or-die battle to capture power in the state.

After examining the performance of the BSP in the last Lok Sabha elections in Punjab, the Congress leadership in Delhi has also opened channels of communication with the BSP. In the last Lok Sabha elections the BSP had got 8 per cent of the votes. Its performance in certain Assembly segments was quite impressive. Moreover, the BSP had nominated candidates from all communities in the Lok Sabha elections. For instance, from Amritsar a candidate belonging to the Brahmin community was nominated.

The sources said both the Congress and the SAD were talking to the BSP informally at this stage. Formal meetings would start in due course.

However, Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri, president of the Punjab unit of the BSP, denied that any party had approached him for entering into an alliance. He said he had no authority to decide on this issue. “It is only Ms Mayawati who has the authority to take a decision on such issues. I am not aware if anyone has approached her from the SAD or any other party for an alliance.”

Mr Karimpuri said he had reorganised the party from the village to the state level. ‘‘At present, we are busy firming up our social base. We are expanding it and trying to rope in all poor and other sections of society regardless of their caste and religious affiliations. We are making the BSP all inclusive,” he added.


Blunders galore in PTU papers
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 14
Students of different streams at Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology today rued that the university’s question papers had so many spelling mistakes, which forced them to leave some questions costing them crucial marks.

Leave alone spellings, the paper of Design of Concrete Structures II of B.Tech Semester VI/VII held today didn’t have the first question of Section B, which was supposed to have five questions out of which the students had to attempt any four. “We were not left with any choice, as the question no 2 was missing.

Even “Section B” was not printed in the paper,” said a student. Similarly, in the paper of Fluid Machinery (New) of B.Tech Semester VI also held today, in question 1d of Section A "cogitation" was written in place of "cavitation", in question 1h, "third coupling" in place of "fluid coupling" and 1j had "import of jets" instead of "impact of jets".

Students said at times numerical questions didn’t have required data and they were told to assume any data on their own. They complained that whenever they had sought the aid of the subject teacher in case of a printing mistake in question paper they were denied it. Another student lamented that he had applied for re-evaluation of a subject, but was yet to receive its result and the paper of same subject was scheduled for tomorrow.

“The university should fix a time frame for declaration of re-evaluation results so that students know whether they have cleared the exam or they have to prepare for compartment exam.”

Meanwhile, Punjab Technical University (PTU) today reportedly sent an observer to the college to track down the possibility of recovery of more impending papers in the packets of scheduled papers in near future, as the college had reportedly received some papers 10 days in advance.

Sources said the packets of other impending papers lying at the college might also have some odd papers and they should be sealed for inspection to avoid recurrence of the recent incident.

On the other hand, the Registrar, Mr MS Grewal, could not be contacted for his comments.


Poaching case: government ‘shielding’ accused
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, December 14
Alleging high-handedness from top bureaucrats of the Punjab government, especially, the Forest Department, two key witnesses in the Pathankot SDM poaching case has written to the Punjab, Chief Secretary apprehending hushing up of this case.

In a letter to the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Sukhdeep Singh Bajwa and Mr Gunraj Singh Saini, Honorary Wildlife Wardens of Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur, respectively, have complained that certain high-placed officers and individuals had been shielding the accused.

The two alleged that the government was shielding the then Pathankot SDM Puneet Goel. On February 29, 2004 when Puneet Goel and his accomplices were caught with dead peahen and partridges, it was in the knowledge of the forest team and the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) that the accused too killed some wild animals the previous night with the help of some highly placed persons, but no effort was made to investigate this aspect. The residence and the farmhouse of the accused were not searched to recover and investigate the poaching of the said animals.

Residential places of actor Salman Khan and cricketer Nawab Pataudi were searched after they were caught for poaching but no such search was carried in Puneet Goel’s case which shows his connections with top bureaucrats and politicians, the complainants alleged.

The investigating officer (IO) of the case allegedly misled the court by giving an undertaking that the investigations in the case were over. But post-mortem examination of the dead birds and the forensic test of the gun used in the crime were not done. No search of his residence was made to recover articles, made of skins and body parts of killed animal and birds which other wise would have proved that the accused was a habitual violator of the Wildlife Protection Act.

The application also lists that the DM Gurdaspur renewed the Arms Licence of Puneet Goyal a few days after he was caught poaching while the gun used in poaching of the national bird was in custody of the Forest Department.

Mr Bajwa and Mr Saini claimed that they were being victimised.


Dullo meets DCC presidents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
A meeting of the presidents of District Congress Committees was held here today under the chairmanship of the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo.

He directed the district unit presidents to complete the work of setting up committees of party activists in each village by December 30.

Some of them told Mr Dullo that they had already completed about 80 per cent of the work.

Among those who attended the meeting were Mr Tarlochan Singh, MLA from Banga, and Mr Raj Pal Singh, general secretary of the PPCC.


Dist units of MCPI, CPM merge
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 14
The district units of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) and the CPM Punjab merged and formed MCPI (United) at a meeting of the both parties here yesterday. Mr Sukhdev Singh Barri, a state committee member of the CPM, Punjab, and Mr Kiranjit Singh Sekhon, Central Committee member of the MCPI, were chosen convener and cashier, respectively, of the district unit of the MCPI (United) at the meeting.

Giving this information here, Mr Sekhon said a 13-member district committee of the MCPI (United) was elected for running the affairs of the new party smoothly. 


Police most corrupt, says govt-sponsored survey
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
As the Punjab Assembly elections are only a year away, the state government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh has got its performance assessed from a reputed company.

Besides corruption, law and order and the rating of MLAs, assessment has been made with regard to the government’s performance in various social sectors such as health, education, drinking water supply and power.

Sources said the company, which had submitted its report to the Chief Minister and others concerned, had approached 1,000 persons in each Assembly constituency to get feedback regarding the government’s performance and related aspects such as the present popularity of the party MLA concerned and his or her chances of winning in the Assembly elections.

A senior official of the ORG Centre for Social Research, a division of AC Neilsen ORG-MARG, which conducted the survey, said over 400 officials were deployed by the company in Punjab in September and October to conduct the feedback survey. In all, 117 Assembly segments and 1.17 lakh persons were approached, he added.”

As far as corruption is concerned, the Police Department has scored over the other departments. “The police is the most corrupt in the eyes of people”, said a source who had access to the report. The Punjab State Electricity Board found the second place among the corrupt departments and the third place went to the Health Department.

For people, the condition of roads and drinking water are big issues. Interestingly, the functioning of schools, which has been facing a lot of criticism, is not a major concern of people.

The report has also listed the safest and safe Assembly constituencies for the ruling party. The number of safest constituencies for the ruling party is 25 and the number of safe constituencies 20 as far as the coming Assembly elections are concerned. However, the number of constituencies where the ruling party requires to pull its socks up is 34. There are a total of 117 constituencies in the state. From the report, it is clear that to retain power, the ruling party will have to work hard in at least 34 Assembly constituencies.

As far as popularity is concerned, Capt Amarinder Singh is ahead of his opponent, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, according to the report.


Pak child detainees sent to Delhi
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, December 14
They have lost some precious years of their childhood in the juvenile jail of their neighbouring country, but their dream of returning home may come true in coming days. Four Pakistani children lodged in the juvenile jail here today left for Pakistan embassy in New Delhi for their identification, which would pave the way for their repatriation.

Out of these children, 11-year-old Khurram Nawaz was the youngest. A resident of Dera Gazi Khan, he boarded Samjhauta Express after getting angry with her mother and ended up in the hands of Indian authorities. 14-year-old Shaukat Ali too entered into the other side of the border through Samjhauta Express. “I would sell fruit juice in the train and accidentally arrived in India one day.” The other two kids 12-year-old Mithun Masih and 14-year-old Imran Masih strayed into Indian side while they were playing in the border village of their aunt.

The district administration provided them with woollen clothes prior to their departure to New Delhi in a special van under the supervision of District Social Security Officer Harpal Singh.

Deputy Commissioner, Alok Shekhar, said the Juvenile Jail here had a total of six children from Pakistan under the Passport Act, of which the identification process of Altaf Shah and Asif had been completed. He said these four kids were being sent to Delhi, where they would be produced before the officials of Pakistan embassy for their identification process. He said they would return to Faridkot on December 16 and they would possibly be repatriated in the next two-three months.


Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus trial likely in mid-Jan
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 14
After successful trial run of ‘Punj-Aab’ express and ‘Dosti’ Amritsar-Lahore bus services, trial run for Amritsar to Nankana Sahib direct bus service is likely to be held till mid-January 2006.

All modalities would be finalised during the two-day high-level meeting, scheduled to be held on December 20-21 at Islamabad in Pakistan.

Choudhary Hasham Khan, Managing Director, Pakistan Tourism and Development Corporation revealed this to reporters during the return journey to Pakistan here today.

The eight-member delegation of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) also included Hasham Navaz Trar, secretary and Mr Khalid Sultan Deputy Commissioner Lahore. The ‘Dosti’ (Lahore-Amritsar bus service) crossed back to Pakistan.


Sekhri for SEZ status to Majha focal points
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Parliamentary Secretary to the Punjab Government and Congress MLA from Batala Ashwani Sekhri has demanded that the government should notify the existing industrial focal points at Pathankot, Batala, Goindwal Sahib and Amritsar as special economic zones (SEZs).

Mr Sekhri, who was speaking to the media here yesterday, said the DLF-backed SEZ at Amritsar could come up, but it would take at least three years before any industry was set up. The need of the Majha area was to employ well-educated youths. Land in these industrial focal points was lying unused and was available at a low price as compared to market rates.

In the case of DLF, the company would have to buy land from the open market and the cost would be high. He wondered whether any industry would be viable at that cost.

He said the focal points at Pathankot, Batala, Amritsar and Goindwal Sahib had 400 acres, 110 acres, 330 acres and 900 acres, respectively. The land was available at Rs 600, 500, Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 per sq. yd, respectively.

This would mean that an acre in Amritsar would be available for Rs 1 crore while the price in the open market would be close to Rs 3 crore or Rs 4 crore.

All four places had a good rail and road network, he claimed. Only minor modifications might be required in the existing focal points.

Giving SEZ status, Mr Sekhri claimed, was the only option to revive industrial activity in the Majha area.


Right to information denied
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, December 14
Despite the Right to Information Act-2005 in force for the past two months, the Municipal Corporation (MC) is yet to heed to the directions to spread awareness about this significant right among the citizens.

Moreover, the MC authorities preferred not only to ignore the directions but also refused to acknowledge the Act and provide information to the public seeking information.

The Directorate of Local Bodies had written to all civic bodies, including the municipal corporations, improvement trusts, municipal councils and nagar panchayats to allow access to information.

Besides, it had directed them to provide information regarding the Act for public utility. Towards this end, the local government directed the civic bodies to spread information about the right through various means of communication, including publishing pamphlets, using Internet services and newspaper advertisements to facilitate the public.

Reportedly the MC failed to make any headway in this direction. Commissioner K.S. Kang, when contacted, said he was busy and could not comment. Mr S.S. Sharma, a resident, highlighted the utter violation of the Act as officials of the MC refused to provide information and to accept the mandatory fee for such information.

Moreover, in a letter to the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Mr Sharma has urged that the Act should be published in regional and national languages in simplified content so that it could be easily understood by the common man.

“The act was aimed at providing openness, transparency and accountability in the administration,” wrote Mr G. Vajralingam, Director and Secretary, Local Government, in a communication to the civic bodies on October 11.


Registration of ultrasound centre cancelled
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 14
Dr Nirpal Singh, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, has cancelled the registration of an ultrasound centre at Longowal village, about 20 km from here. The registration of the centre has been cancelled due to the violation of the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act.

Dr Nirpal Singh said here today that earlier a notice had been issued to the owner of the ultrasound centre for giving a reply within 10 days. The owner submitted his reply that had been found unsatisfactory, due to which the registration of the ultrasound centre had been cancelled. He also said the cancellation of the centre had been done in public interest.

Dr Nirpal Singh said on the basis of a report with regard to the violation of the PNDT Act by the ultrasound centre, the state government authorities had also given him orders of cancellation of the registration of the ultrasound centre. Earlier, the authorities had also ordered him to seal the ultrasound machine of the centre, he added.


28 pc children anaemic

Hoshiarpur, December 14
Around 28.4 per cent school-going children were found anaemic during medical check-up camps conducted by the District Health and Family Welfare Department from April to November, 2005, Dr Manjit Kaur, Civil Surgeon, said here today.

She said around 1.68 lakh students were examined during the said period in the district and 28.4 per cent of them were found anaemic.

She said to correct anaemia, a special campaign would be launched from January 1, 2006, throughout the district.

She said heads of all government schools where students had not been examined so far, should contact the senior medical officer of their respective primary health centre in rural areas and in charge of the school health programme in urban areas for organising special camps. She also appealed to the NGOs to help in the campaign. — PTI


high court
Vacant judicial posts: HC asks Punjab to explain
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 14
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today gave time to the Punjab Government to inform it as to why the government was not filling vacant posts of judicial officers in the state by making fresh appointments.

Coming down heavily on the Punjab Government for its non-serious attitude, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta said unless the Punjab Government gave a satisfactory explanation, contempt proceedings could be initiated against the officials, including the Chief Secretary.

During resumed hearing of a PIL filed by Mandeep Mittal and Rajneesh Kumar, both LLm students of Panjab University, seeking issuance of directions to the respondents, including the States of Punjab and Haryana, to ensure compliance of Supreme Court orders dated March 21, 2002, in All-India Judges Association versus Union of India, the Bench expressed displeasure over the failure of the Punjab Government to do the needful.

The Supreme Court order relates to appointment of adequate number of judicial officers in subordinate judiciary and increase in number of posts.

The petitioners have also stated that the High Court, in a suo motu order, had directed the two states to fill the vacancies in subordinate judiciary on a yearly basis by holding regular examinations.

In 2002, the Punjab Government, through an affidavit in another matter, had informed the court that it would comply with directions by conducting exams every year.

But, the petitioners have stated that this has not happened.

Sometime back, the State of Haryana had requested the High Court to conduct exam for HCS (Judicial) posts. However, the Punjab Government is still undecided on the issue.

Today, the State of Punjab also filed an affidavit in the matter.

The affidavit states that 63 posts of judicial officers in subordinate judiciary are presently vacant. It also says that even the Council of Ministers has discussed the matter and had decided that the posts of PCS (Judicial) be filled through the PPSC.

After hearing all parties, the Bench adjourned the matter to January 11.


Two get life term for murder
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 14
Additional Sessions Judge, D.K. Arora today sentenced two persons to life imprisonment in a murder case, in which four persons had conspired to eliminate four individuals of their village but were nabbed after killing their first target.

Sources said Satpal Singh of Kothe Guru village had illicit relations with Manjit Kaur, while his friend Makhan Singh had an affair with a minor girl of the village. Thinking that society would not accept their relationships, they hatched a conspiracy to murder two men and two women of their village one by one and gradually move to some other place after projecting these murders to be that of their companions. Sources said Baljinder Singh of the village was murdered on July 5, 2001, and Satpal put his clothes and watch on the victim’s body before disfiguring his face. Satpal’s brother identified the body to be that of his brother and a case was registered against unidentified men. A day before that Baljinder’s father had lodged a missing report of his son. Satpal fled from the village, but soon his luck ran out of favour and one of the villagers spotted him with Makhan Singh at some other place. The police rounded up Makhan who spilled the beans.

Sources said they had also involved Jagga Singh and Baggar Singh in the conspiracy and both of them had murdered Baljinder.

The court today sentenced Jagga and Baggar to life imprisonment and acquitted Satpal, Makhan and Manjit Kaur in the case.


Daylight robbery at petrol station
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, December 14
In a daring daylight robbery, armed unidentified assailants yesterday looted a government-owned petrol station at gunpoint near the Shambu police post, near here, this morning.

According to information, at least four armed persons came to the petrol station around 7 a.m. in a black Esteem car from the Patiala side. Two of the armed assailants forcibly took Mr Rattan Chand, an employee of the petrol station, to the bathroom and asked him to hand over the cash.

Since Rattan Chand was not having cash, they caught hold of another employee, Mahesh Rai, and asked him hand over cash at gunpoint. They fled towards the Ambala side after looting Rs 22,854 from him.

Later, they entered Haryana after jumping the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) toll tax barrier at Mehmadpur village when the staff tried to stop them.

It may be recalled that the petrol station is just a stone’s throw away from Shambu police post. The robbers could have been arrested if the Punjab police had flashed a message to the Haryana police.

A case has been registered.


Mandi board officer in police custody
Tribune News Service

Kharar, December 14
A local court today remanded Mrs Parinder Kaur, Establishment Officer, Punjab Mandi Board, booked by the Vigilance to a day in police custody.

According to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, Mrs Parinder Kaur was caught red handed by a team led by Mr Zora Singh, DSP, VB while she was accepting a bribe of Rs 10,000 from Mr Nalinder Singh, JE, Punjab Mandi Board, Mohali for forwarding his promotion case.

A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against her and further investigation is in progress.


Kanungo nabbed for accepting bribe
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 14
The Patiala vigilance bureau yesterday nabbed a Kanungo for accepting illegal gratification of Rs 2000 from Mr Bharat Bhushan of Patiala.

Giving this information, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, said Bharat Bhushan of Patiala had purchased 4.5 acres in Shampur falling under the jurisdiction of Fatehgarh Sahib district. However, the kanungo concerned, Mr Rashpal Singh, demanded Rs 2000 for handing over the report of the demarcation of land to Mr Bharat Bhushan.


Social role of Sufis, Bhaktas evaluated by historians
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The counter-hegemonic Sufi poetry has played a historic role in the secularisation and radicalisation of the Punjabi society and its culture, said medieval historians on the concluding day of the two-day seminar on ‘The role of Sufis in the making of Medieval Punjab’ held at Panjab University here.

Stating that Sufi poetry has remained out of the domain of Punjab historiography, Prof I.D. Gaur of Panjab University pointed out that Sufism as a social counter hegemonic ideology and praxis had its strong bearings on Punjabi poetry of the medieval Punjab.

“But the progressive revolutionary socio-political forces failed to discern such a medieval character of Sufism with the result that Sufism like Bhakti could not become a segment of that revolutionary and reformatory praxis which aimed at bringing a structural transformation or communal harmony in society,” he said.

“The 18th century Punjab is not just the age of political awakening under the leadership of the Khalsa but also of literary and social renaissance underlined by the Sufi poets like Bulleh Shah and Waris Shah. A student of history should not view Waris Shah’s ‘kissa’ of Heer only in the ambience of Sufic spirituality, but as a document of socially non-conformist views,” he said, adding that Sufi poetry of this period refutes the generally held view that characterises this age as a century of “Sikh- Muslim” conflict.

Dr Meenakshi Khanna from the University of Delhi traced the development of a unique spiritual practice known as Uwaisi, in which a novice was initiated into mysticism not by a living saint, but by the spirit of the Prophet, Khizar or an eminent preceptor. She examined the modern historiography on Sufism, which she said, had not paid the required attention to the Uwaisi concept.

Arguing that the pervasive political anarchy and destructive foreign invasions failed to disrupt the composite social fabric influenced by the Bhaktas and Sufis, Prof Z.U. Malik of Aligarh Muslim University re-evaluated the social role of the Sufis and Bhaktas in providing spiritual guidance and humanitarian services through madrasas and khanqahs and langars, Prof Malik said.

“Their gospel of devotion to God, self-realisation and improvement became the basis for a catholic outlook and generous tolerance which contributed to slowing contemporary squalor and reducing social tension in the country.”

Mr Hitender Kumar, an archeologist from Kurukshetra University, said Sufi shrines of South-East Punjab (present Haryana) located at Hansi, Panipat and Thanesar led to the understanding of the non-elite popular culture revolving around ritualistic practices of the shrine. Prof Jigar Mohammed of the University of Jammu based his study on 93 Sufi shrines of the Jammu region and pointed out that Sufis here had recorded their association with Guru Nanak Dev.

Mr Muhammad Arshad and Dr Iqbal Sabir, both from Aligarh Muslim University, examined the role of the disciples of Mian Mir and the spiritual mission of Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi. Dr Sabir said Sirhindi’s three volumes of letters formed an important source of Indian history, specially during the reign of Akbar and Jahangir. He also spoke about Sirhindi’s disciples who settled in Lahore and smaller towns of Punjab like Banur.

Stating that there existed a close relation between the Chishti shrine of Ajmer and various sections of the people of Punjab and Sindh, Dr S. Liyaqat Husaini Moini of Aligarh Muslim University focused on the revival and growth of the Chishti order in Punjab during the 18th century.

In his paper Prof Surinder Singh of Panjab University, explored the mystical beliefs and practices of Mian Mir, the Qadri saint of Lahore, on the basis of the works of Dara Shukoh.


Teachers force entry into school
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 14
Protesting teachers of more than century old PBN Senior Secondary School forced their entry into the school premises here today.

As many as 37 teachers out of a total strength of 52 have been protesting against the officiating principal for the past more than two months. They alleged that the officiating principal was unqualified for the post. They alleged that the officiating principal was merely “a PT teacher and matriculate.”

Meanwhile, the police has been called to deal with the protesting teachers on the school premises. It was seen that a tear gas squad and a riot control vehicle were deployed outside the school.

Mr Jalwant Singh, president, District Aided School Teachers Union, said the teachers had not been allowed to enter the school since they started their protest. He alleged that a senior local leader of the ruling party was backing a particular group with an eye to usurp the land worth crores.

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