P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Posts of DGP to be phased out
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
A top-heavy Punjab Police will be a thing of the past. Once criticised for having as many as eight DGPs with most of them working on “inconsequential” posts, the police will now virtually lose its “heavy crown”.

Sources said the state government had made it clear that there would be no more “ornamental” promotions for police officers as DGPs unless there was a need for it or a vacancy was created. The Home Department is of the view that there should be just two DGPs — the DGP of the state and the DGP, Home Guards. In the past there have been DGPs appointed to the Punjab State Electricity Board, the Lok Pal, the Police Housing Corporation, the Railways and Prisons.

In the past six months the government has silently gone about reducing the number of DGPs and handing over their work to junior officers. No new promotions are being suggested when the incumbent DGP retires. Three DGPs retired during the past nine months while another three are to retire next year.

The most recent example has been the case of Mr S.K. Verma, DGP, Lok Pal. He retired on November 30 and the government appointed an officer of the level of IG to replace him, downgrading the post. The new incumbent is Mr Rajpal Meena, a 1987 batch IPS officer, while the outgoing DGP was a 1967 batch IPS officer.

Mr M.P.S Aulakh, DGP, Prisons, retired on August 31 and was replaced by Mr H.R Chadha. The gap in seniority of the two can be gauged from the fact that Mr Aulakh was of the 1970 batch of the IPS while Mr Chadha is of the 1978 batch.

In another case Mr D.R. Bhatti retired as DGP, Punjab Armed Police, on March 31, 2005. He has been replaced by Mr Rajan Gupta , who is an Additional DGP. Again, there is a difference in their seniority. Mr Bhatti was of the 1970 batch of the IPS while Mr Gupta is of the 1978 batch of the IPS.

Next year also three officers will retire. Mr Lalit Bhatia, DGP, PSEB Vigilance, retires in February. Mr S.C. Jain, DGP, Railways, is set to retire in May while Mr P. Lal, DGP, Punjab Police Housing Corporation, will superannuate in November.

The work of all three will be handled by officers of the level of ADGP or IG. There would be no promotions as DGP against these posts, a senior government functionary confirmed.


Kidwai supports move of separate high court
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Malerkotla (Sangrur), December 21
To a query, relating to Haryana Vidhan Sabha’s resolution seeking separate high court for Haryana Dr A.R. Kidwai, Haryana Governor, today also supported the resolution on separate high court. He said it is believed cases from Haryana would increase in a big way in Punjab and Haryana High Court due to development, especially on industrial front in the state. So a separate high court would help dispose cases speedily from Haryana, he added.

Dr Kidwai was here today in connection with the 10th annual day celebrations of the Al-Falah Senior Secondary Public School. The function was also attended by Ms Razia Sultana, local MLA and Parliamentary Secretary (Health), Punjab; Dr Iqbal Ahmed, Dr A.S. Nakadar and Dr (Ms) Razia Ahmed, vice-president, general secretary and member respectively of the American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin, USA and Canada; Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur; and Mr Surjit Singh Grewal, SP (D), Sangrur.

People were advised to impart quality education to children for knowledge and job opportunities in India and abroad, Dr Kidwai said at present India was on number two in the world in respect of scientific and technical manpower. He said more than 25 per cent Indian engineers were working in the USA. Besides this, 30 per cent scientists and engineers were working with NASA while 5,000 Indian professors were teaching in various universities of the USA, he added.

Ms Razia Sultana, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, and Chairperson of the Punjab Waqf Board, said that the government alone could not bear the burden of education, so private organisations and individuals should contribute in this direction. She said first priority of the Punjab Waqf Board would now be education and educational institutions. She also assured the gathering that works, which earlier were done in years, now would be done in days by the Waqf Board. She also assured all help to Al-Falah school.

Later, Dr Kidwai also participated in a function, organised by the Islamia Kamboj Senior Secondary School on its campus here. The function was organised for the introduction of American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin at Malerkotla. Dr Kidwai spoke on education while Ms Razia Sultana welcomed Dr Kidwai.


Dense fog engulfs town, delays trains
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 21
Dense fog enveloped the city today for the first time during these winters, paralysing normal life as office-goers and schoolchildren had a tough time reaching their destinations in time.

The foggy weather prevailed even after 10 in the morning and the sun didn’t peep out of clouds for the entire day. Rail and road traffic was also affected.

Almost all the trains were running behind schedule. Punjab Mail, which is scheduled to arrive here at 3 a.m., chugged into the railway station four hours late. Similarly, the Janata Express arrived one and a half hours late at 7.45 a.m., while the Fazilka-Bathinda train reached three hours late at 9 am. The Dainik Express, Jammu Tawi and Ambala-Ganganagar were one hour behind their scheduled time.

Fog also hampered the smooth flow of buses and commuters as the local bus stand had to cope with their delayed arrivals.

The mercury dipped considerably in the city and its surrounding areas, forcing people to stay indoors in the evening. The city roads wore a deserted look with only a few people opting to venture out in cold. The worst-hit were slum-dwellers and beggars.

The foggy weather led to an accident near the Doomwali barrier in which a PRTC bus, on its way from Dabwali to Bathinda, collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction. Over 20 persons were injured in the accident, of which two were admitted to the Civil Hospital, while the remaining were discharged after first-aid.


NRI to donate $ 1 m for battle against AIDS, cancer
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
For a long time non-resident Indians have been donating for causes associated with their native villages or hometowns for schools, dispensaries or roads. In what is a rare example of donation targeted specifically for carrying out the battle against AIDS, cancer and TB in Punjab, a New York-based NRI today told the Punjab Government that he would spend $1 million (Rs 4.5 crore) on the project.

An unassuming Mr Surinder Singh Dhall walked into the office of the Punjab Health Secretary, Mr D.S. Guru here and said that all equipment and medicines would be provided by a charitable trust formed by him. A formal agreement between the state government and the trust is being drafted and is expected to be signed in January.

Later talking to The Tribune Mr Dhall said: “If I am satisfied, I will donate even more than $1 million. It was my wish to donate for a larger cause and not restrict myself to building roads or schools in my native village”. Guru Granth Sahib, he said, guided him to give one-tenth of his income as donation for a good cause.

To utilise his money, the state government has asked Dr G.S. Chahal, Assistant Director, Punjab Health Services, to be the coordinating officer.

The Civil Hospital in Dasuya has been identified as the first beneficiary and the government will be identifying more places for implementing the project. Also the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, will be determining if any project is required in one of the medical colleges.

Mr Dhall added: “ The idea is to help the underprivileged, and the person may be from any background, religion of caste. My belief in equality and universal brotherhood has helped in my thought process”.

Mr Dhall, who was accompanied by his wife Jaspinder, said several NRIs wanted to put their money in the health and development sectors in Punjab, but were unaware of the right forum or place.


Nihangs display martial skills
Tribune News Service

Chamkaur Sahib, December 21
A display of martial arts skills by hundreds of Nihang Singhs of different groups and a procession led by the Panj Piaras marked the last day of the three-day Shaheedi Jor Mela here.

Dressed in blue, Nihangs performed gatka. The procession started from Ranjitgarh Sahib Gurdwara.

Nihang Singhs of Baba Budha Dal, Bidhi Chand Dal, Hariyanwale, exhibited their skills. Age was no bar as Nihang Singhs between the age groups of 12 to 60 years participated.

“I have been practicing martial arts since the age of six as my parents left me at the dera. Besides horse riding, I have learnt martial arts,” a 12-year-old Nihang Singh, Gurcharan Singh, said.

A large number of devotees participated in another procession organised by the SGPC from Katalgarh Sahib Gurdwara. The procession passed through various gurdwaras and ended at Katal Sahib Gurdwara. More than 400 police personnel had been deployed in this regard.


NRI’s murder: Vaz spurs govt to set up SIT
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, December 21
Efforts of the British Parliamentarian, Mr Keith Vaz, to ensure speedy investigation in the murder case of UK-based industrialist NRI Mohan Singh, seem to be bearing fruit.

Following Mr Vaz's meetings with the officials of the Union Home Ministry, the Punjab Government and the Punjab Police, the state government has set up a high-level special investigation team (SIT), headed by the IG (Zonal), to investigate the matter in detail.

The DIG, Jalandhar Range, Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, will assist the SIT head, Mr Hardip Dhillon while the SSP, Jalandhar, Ishwar Singh, will also be an important member of the SIT.

The British MP met the Union Home Secretary in New Delhi and IG Hardip Dhillon represented the Punjab Police in the meeting held yesterday.

The SIT today visited and inspected various places and the site of the NRI's murder.

IG Dhillon, while talking to The Tribune today, claimed that the police had succeeded in getting some vital clues about the killing of the NRI and was confident to nab the culprit soon.

Mr Dhillon said the police was working on various theories but the main objective was to nab the killers.

When asked about the high-level inquiry in the much publicised Phagwara case in which, after a brief scuffle, a Jalandhar Zila Parishad member and close aide of Punjab Transport Minister Mahinder Singh Kaypee was allegedly beaten up mercilessly by some cops, the IG said the investigation was pending as the NRI murder case had to be solved first.


Lifers turn preachers
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, December 21
Lifers who had committed murders in heat of moment have been chosen to give sermons to their fellow inmates in the high security Central Jail where foreign nationals, including Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, have also been lodged. They have been rechristened as granthi ji and panditji, who quote from holy scriptures, aiming to bring reforms in the most-neglected sector.

Overnight all 2,000, inmates are now being addressed as “sathi” (comrade or friend). Even senior officials of the jail will have to address them with the newly coined expression, “sathi”, to create congenial atmosphere inside the high walls.

However, hardcore habitual criminals have been segregated from the first-time offenders. The inmates who have been identified as “disciplined” are being provided with opportunity to reform themselves. Kits of basketball, volleyball, table tennis and badminton are provided to wean them away from boredom and keep them physically and mentally fit.

Apart from this, the vigil at the jail is being beefed up with three-tier security. Close-circuits TVs are being installed in all barracks for close monitoring of the inmates and to keep a check on the wrong doings in the prisons. The newly appointed Senior Superintendent of Police, Jail, Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, has put his most confident and trustworthy police officials of Indian Reserve Battalion (He is holding additional charge of the battalion) in the outer ring of the jail. Additional guards have been posted on each watch tower of the jail.

The new SSP told The Tribune that yoga and meditation classes were being introduced as part of major reforms, which were in the offing.

A drive has been launched to detect any movement of drugs on the jail premises. He admitted that the reports of drug trafficking in the jail were rampant when he took over. He said one of the hospitals on the jail premises has been converted into a de-addiction centre.

In yet another effort, more than 50 inmates have been enrolled for adult education. A new educational block had been earmarked inside the jail complex. Mr Kunwar said he would endeavour to tie up with Guru Nanak Dev University, Indira Gandhi Open University and S.L. Bhavan Public School for providing infrastructure to impart higher education and adult education.

To cope with the lack of accommodation, new blocks are coming up with the help of NGOs and prominent public figures.


Punjab Roadways to buy 300 buses
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, December 21
More than 300 new buses would be added to the existing fleet of Punjab Roadways, in addition to the 360 buses added this year, revealed Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Minister of Transport, who was here to preside over a meeting of the District Planning Board and the Grievances Committee.

The meeting was attended by Mr B.C. Thakur, Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.S. Srivastava, SSP, Mr Sukhpal Singh, MLA, besides other civil, revenue and police officials.

Mr Kaypee said the state government had proposed to introduce 250 more buses under the Golden Employment Scheme, but its implementation would take some time as the matter was still pending with the High Court. He stated that a proposal to recruit 2,700 employees against vacant posts and additional 500 employees on compassionate ground had been sent to the state government for approval.


Badal decries cut in farm subsidy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said that by agreeing to the “subsidy reduction clause” in the recently concluded WTO talks in Hong Kong, the Government of India had virtually signed the death warrant of millions of beleaguered farmers of the country.

He said the developed nations had successfully throttled the agricultural subsidy regime for poor countries like India without conceding anything concrete in return. In a statement here, Mr Badal said India should have pressed for an enhanced subsidy regime for the developing countries while advocating a cut for the developed nations to account for the vast disparities in ground realities affecting farmers in the two worlds.

He went on to add: “It is amazing that the GOI is seeing a victory in the subsidy reduction clause without realising that any reduction by developed countries will have to be matched by a similar cut by the farm-oriented developing nations like India” . For a country where farmers were committing suicide because of inadequate government support, this was a shocking development and one that will sound the death knell of the farm sector in India”.

He said that even the present format of the agreement gave the developed countries eight years to honour their part of the deal while the industrial tariff restrictions affecting countries like India would come into force immediately. “The fact of the matter was that agriculture in India needed major doses of governmental assistance even to keep its head above water,” said Mr Badal.

Farmers in the developed countries like the USA enjoyed far more subsidies than their counterparts in India. “Our government should have advocated different yardsticks on subsidies for the two worlds”, the Akali leader added.


CPI, CPM workers clash
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 21
Supporters of the CPI and the CPM clashed on Tuesday in the office complex of the Child Development Project officer (CDPO) during the visit of Ms Saroj Rani Chhapriwala, state president of the Anganwari Workers and Helpers Union, affiliated with the CPI.

Workers from anganwari centres at Seetogunno, Ramsara, Dharangwala and other villages of the sub- division had assembled at the local office of the CDPO. As they were preparing their monthly activity report Ms Chhapriwala arrived there. Most of the workers had already joined the union affiliated to the Pasla faction of the CPM. Ms Chhapriwala had nominated Ms Maninder Kaur as president of her faction here but she denied affiliation with any of the factions. Most of the anganwari workers and helpers in the office complex started shouting slogans against Ms Chhapriwala and blamed her for the failure of their agitation against the Punjab Government. The demonstrators said that some officers of the Social Welfare Department had played a role in creating parallel unions to thwart their genuine demands. Ms Bhagwanti, Ms Satinder Kaur and Ms Joginder Kaur president, vice president and secretary respectively of the CPM affiliated unit alleged misappropriation of funds collected by the other faction for agitation.

Tension was diffused after three hours by residents of the locality who rushed to save Ms Chhapriwala.


Pak boy to be repatriated on Dec 26
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, December 21
Altaf Shah, one of the six Pakistani boys lodged at the local Juvenile Jail, would be repatriated to his country through Wagah Border on December 26.

The Deputy Commis-sioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, said yesterday that he had received a fax from the Home Secretary, Punjab, that the Pakistan Government had given green signal for Altaf’s repatriation. He said five out of seven Pakistani kids lodged in the jail had been repatriated through Wagah border sometimes back, while the process for the return of Altaf Shah and Asif was on.

However, the number of Pakistani boys in the jail again has reached six with four more kids, Shaukat Ali, Mithun Masih, Imran Masih and Khurram Nawaz, straying into the Indian territory.


Kanshi Ram’s mother dies pining for him
Tribune News Service

Bunga Sahib (Ropar), December 21
She died pleading that Kansi Ram should be freed from the custody of BSP supremo Mayawati. His mother was desperate to see her elder son and had gone to meet him in New Delhi on December 1, but guards of Ms Mayawati did not allow in, said Dalwara Singh, brother of Kanshi Ram, who brought the body of his mother at Bunga Sahib village, about 25 km from here, this evening.

Bishan Kaur (96) died of a major heart attack this afternoon at the PGI, Chandigarh. Her condition had deteriorated after she was humiliated by the guards. Initially, she was admitted at an Anandpur Sahib hospital but when her condition did not improve, she was shifted to the PGI.

“Even in the morning, she appealed to all of us to take her to Delhi so that she could see her son but in vain. Our advocate has sent a fax message to Mayawati about the death through an SHO concerned in New Delhi and also appealed to her to bring him to the village to perform the last rites. The message had also been faxed to the Delhi Police Commissioner”, he said.


Punjab to waive interest on loans to SSIs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The Punjab Government has decided to waive interest on loans given to small-scale industrial units or other beneficiaries provided they deposit the entire balance of the principal amount in one instalment within a specified period.

The scheme is valid for loans under the Seed Margin Money, the Punjab State Aid to Industries Act, 1935, and Integrated Rural Development Programme, an official spokesman said here.

SSI units or other beneficiaries which have not deposited their principal amounts availed under the above schemes have been provided an opportunity to deposit the amounts up to December 27, 2005, to avail this facility.

It had also been decided that those SSI units or beneficiaries which had already deposited the entire principal amounts, interest would be waived in their cases too, the spokesman said.


Scheme to cover scarce water villages
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 21
The Punjab Government has prepared a project for providing potable water in water scarcity villages within the next three years for which it has signed an MoU with the World Bank for getting Rs 1,820 crore. This was stated by Mr Avtar Henry, Minister for Food and Supplies and Public Health Punjab, while laying the foundation stone of Nabard-II water supply scheme for Rs 43.5 lakh at Phuglana village, about 18 km from here, today. He said the first instalment of Rs 265 crore would be issued by the world bank in May.

He said special stress was being given to provide water supply in all villages of the Kandi area of the district. As per norms fixed by the Union Government, out of 1,386 villages, 1,352 had been identified as water scarcity villages in the district. Out of these, 1,045 had been covered under 214 piped water supply schemes.

He said keeping in view the non-potable water in the Malwa belt, a water treatment plant had recently been set up in Sangrur. Similar treatment plants would be installed in other localities of the belt.

He announced a grant of Rs 1.7 lakh to Government Senior Secondary School Phuglana, and Rs 1.86 lakh to Government Senior Secondary School, Rajpur Bhaian.


DIG intervenes to get erring cops booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
A case was registered against a controversial SHO and two constables of the Focal Point police station here for extorting money from innocent persons for releasing them in a false case.

The accused cops, SI Warryam Singh and Head Constables Avtar Singh and Darshan Singh had forced a truck driver and two poor cleaners to pawn their small land-holding and a truck to arrange bribes for their release. A scrap dealer Hardeep Singh has also been booked.

The case involved a consignment of copper wire, worth Rs 36 lakh, a part of which was first siphoned off and then hastily returned to the Delhi-based owner after the information of extortion was leaked to senior officials.

The gravity of the offence and well-connected web of corruption could be further gauged from the fact that a senior police official of the rank of a DIG had to take stern stand against the alleged corrupt activities and order registration of a case after personally monitoring the investigation.

According to the FIR, controversial and well-connected Sub-Inspector Warryam Singh, posted as SHO Focal Point here and who is already facing charges of corruption in a Vigilance, inquiry has been booked under Section 384, 120-B and Section 7, 8, 13(1) 2 of the Prevention of Corruption Act at the Focal Point police Station where he was posted as the SHO.

The cop’s name had last week figured in the infamous money-minting case exposed by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in which two Head Constables were nabbed on the charges that they were falsely implicating innocent persons and then extorting money, a sizeable share of which went to the higher ranks.

However, due to certain pressures, the cop could not be booked, vigilance sources said. DIG, Ludhiana, Parag Jain said he had ordered the investigation and the registration of the case after learning that the SHO and two constables had a nexus with scrap dealers to extort money from innocent persons.


Traffic in charge held taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 21
The Patiala Vigilance Bureau nabbed the Traffic in charge of Patiala police Gurcharan Singh after he was demanding illegal gratification from a private bus owner.

According to Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Patiala Vigilance Bureau, Gurcharan Singh, who was also the overall in charge of traffic in this district, had demanded Rs 1000 from the complainant Balwinder Singh, the owner of a private bus. Gurcharan Singh had already confiscated the Registration Copy (RC) and other documents of the bus and had demanded the bribe to release them. Mr Bhullar disclosed that Gurcharan Singh was also demanding a bribe on monthly basis from Balwinder Singh if the complainant was to ply his bus. The vigilance sleuths recovered nearly Rs 22,445 from the pockets of Gurcharan Singh which he was unable to account for at the time of his arrest. The Vigilance Bureau had sealed the office of the traffic police after reports of bungling in challans had surfaced following the questioning of Gurcharan Singh.

Meanwhile, the Patiala Vigilance Bureau sleuths also nabbed a Punjab Police Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) when he was accepting illegal gratification in a case pertaining to the solving of a matrimonial dispute.

According to Mr Bhullar, the ASI, Mr Amarjit Singh, who was posted at Amloh police station, was trying to negotiate a deal with the complainant Mrs Paramjit Kaur. The complainant had alleged that the ASI had demanded the bribe to settle a matrimonial dispute between her son Salamddin and his wife Sophia.

Interestingly, the ASI, who was on temporary duty at the Amloh police station, was caught red handed while accepting a bribe amount of Rs 3000 at the residence of the complainant Mrs Paramjit Kaur.

In both cases, the vigilance teams were led by DSP, Mr Jaspal Singh.


3 drug peddlers held
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 21
The district police has arrested three persons, who used to sell smack in the district and recovered 24 gm of smack from them. They were arrested from different parts in the Mandi Gobindgarh police station area.

According to a press note issued by Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, a police party led by Mr Daljit Singh Rana and SHO Harbans Singh during separate nakas, arrested the three narcotic sellers and recovered smack from them. He said during a naka at Sangatpur Sodian, police arrested Sukhwinder Singh and recovered smack from him. At a naka at Ladpur, the police arrested Meharban Singh, resident of Sangatpura, and recovered smack from him and during a naka at Focal Point, the Raipur Majri police arrested Rajinder Singh, alias Raju, and recovered smack.

The SSP said two of them were hardcore criminals and many cases of theft and selling drugs were pending against them. He said separate cases under Sections 21,61,85 NDPC Act were registered.


Three quacks arrested

Moga, December 21
In a crackdown against those indulging in illegal medical practice, the Sadar police today arrested three quacks from different pockets of the district.

Sources said the police conducted raids in about a dozen villages and arrested Gurmail Singh from Nidhawala, Virla Ram from Preet Nagar and Resham Singh from Bukkanwala, while some others managed to flee after they got a wind of police action. A case has been registered. — TNS


Two students of varsity beaten up, injured by ‘outsiders’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 21
Several armed persons attacked and injured two students of Electronics Department of Guru Nanak Dev University yesterday evening. The accused, including Ankur Lekhari, a person with criminal background was accompanied by Varun Puri, who had enmity with injured students. Varun Puri is said to be a classmate of the injured students.

The accused armed with a double-barreled gun fled in a car after opening the gate at gunpoint raising questions on the security of students including girls. The injured, include Raman Malhotra and Amarnath Lalka, both students of B.Tech (final year). They were removed to Civil Hospital. They were discharged after treatment.

The university authorities lodged a complaint at Sadar police station here where a case under Sections 323, 326, 353, 506, 148, 149, 186 of the IPC and 25/54/59 of the Arms Act against Ankur Lekhari, Varun Puri, Karan, Nirantak and Meetkamal was registered.

According to sources, the accused attacked the students when they had come out of the department after examination and beat them up. When a professor of the university tried to intervene they threatened to kill him. He rushed to the main gate and asked the security personnel to close the barrier.

Meanwhile, Ankur Lekhari along with other companions reached the main gate and asked security personnel to open the barrier. When security men refused to do so they pushed the security men aside and fled the campus after opening the gate.

Mr S.S. Chhina, security officer of the university refused to comment on the incident, Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar of the university, said that the case was with the police and investigations were on. He added action would be taken against erring students of the university after the police report.

Earlier too incidents of clash were reported from the campus.


Conference on Guru Nanak Heritage from February 16
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 21
A five-day conference on Guru Nanak Heritage of Interfaith Understanding will be held at Lahore from February 16 to 20.

The conference was scheduled to be held in November. It was postponed due to earthquake.

Mr Harbans Lal, Professor Emeritus, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, U. North Texas Health Science Center, in an email to The Tribune said that the conference was first of its kind to be held in Lahore in which scholars and leaders of all world religions would make presentations and lead discussions on the teachings of Guru Nanak.

Mr Lal said that two-day commemoration congregations from February 19 would be held at Nankana Sahib in the memory of non-violent Sikh martyrs who gave their lives in the Gurdwara Reform Movement. He further said that an evening of poetry, spoken word, recitations, and kavi darbar would be followed next morning by completion of the recitation of holy Sri Guru Granth Sahib, kirtan darbar, and presentations. Topics of presentations would be the antecedents of the Gurdwara Reform Movement of 1921 and its relevance today, he added.

The Professor said that people of all faiths would join world Sikh delegations to undertake the pilgrimage of peace in Pakistan from February 21-28 and visit earthquake victims. He said after visiting Sikh holy places in Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sri Panja Sahib Gurdwara, Bhai Joga Singh Gurdwara in Peshawar, and relief efforts at various places, the congregations would conclude with a prayer by world religious leaders at Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara. He said the participants would talk on the lives and purpose of non-violent martyrdom offered by 130 Sikh martyrs of the Sikh Gurdwara Reform Movement of 1921 and pay homage to them.


Celebration time in schools
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 21
Street play: Students of Blossoms Senior Secondary School, Patiala, staged a street play at the Leela Bhavan Complex under its ECO Club to create awareness about the need of energy and water conservation. Mr A.S. Rai, SSP, and Mr Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, were present at the show, besides the Principal, Ms Ravi Singh, and Ms Sant Chahal. The effort of the children was well received by general public.

Paper reading contest: Shruti, a student of Our Lady of Fatima Convent School, Gunia, a student of DAV Senior Secondary Public School, and Ginny Garg of Green Well Academy bagged the first, second and third positions, respectively, at the inter-school paper reading contest held to highlight harmful effects of polythene bags. The contest was organised at DAV Senior Secondary School here by the Patiala Social Welfare Society in collaboration with the Punjab Pollution Control Board. More than 20 students from various schools of the city participated in the contest. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Patiala, Mr Malvinder Singh, member, Punjab Pollution Control Board, and Mr Vijay Kumar Goel, president, Patiala Welfare Society, and other members of the society were present on the occasion.

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