R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S


Cyclist killed
: A 30-year-old cyclist was killed when a mini tourist bus ran him over on the Jalandhar-Amritsar G.T. Road near Transport Nagar here on Sunday evening. The victim, who died on the spot, has not been identified, according to police sources. The driver of the bus was absconding, the police said.

Canegrowers’ case
: The next hearing of the canegrowers’ case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been fixed for January 16. Disclosing this, Mr Harbhajan Singh Bhullarai, vice-president, and Mr Gurdial Singh Dhanda, director of the Phagwara Cane Growers’ Co-operative Society, said the last hearing, which was the 10th one in the court, was held on January 12. Meanwhile, the indefinite day and night dharna by canegrowers against the direct bonding of sugarcane by a local mill management bypassing the society entered its 69th day on Sunday.

Mobile snatched: Three motorcycle-borne unidentified persons waylaid, assaulted and snatched the mobile phone of a youth, Mohinderpal Singh (24), from Maheru village on Saturday night. The victim had to be hospitalised.

4,527 challans issued: As many as 4,527 challans were issued in 2005 for various traffic violations here and over Rs 22 lakh were recovered as fine, Phagwara ASP, Mr Sukhchain Singh Gill, said on Sunday. Besides this, several traffic awareness programmes were also conducted with the participation of 7,956 school children, 392 teachers, 1,569 drivers and 1,105 rickshaw pullers, Mr Gill added. As many as 32,957 vehicles were checked free for pollution, 1,109 pamphlets and 1,908 booklets were distributed and 12 seminars and three medical check-up camps were held during the programmes, he added.

Ambedkar Award: The president of the Gazetted and Non-Gazetted SC/BC Employees’ Welfare Federation, Punjab, Mr Jasbir Singh Pal, has been awarded this year’s Dr B.R. Ambedkar Award for his efforts in the upliftment of Dalits. Addressing a gathering after receiving the award on Friday, Mr Pal criticised the Punjab government for its “anti-Dalit” policies. He announced a statewide struggle to press for the demands of the Dalits, which included implementation of the 85th Constitutional Amendment and the Mandal Commission Report and the release of blocked stipends for SC students. The sub-divisional rallies would be held from January 15 to February 7, while protest marches had been scheduled to be organised at the district headquarters from February 15 to 25, he said. 



Held for theft
: The police has arrested Bhajan Kaur of Kachhwa Farm for allegedly stealing a woman constable’s purse. According to police sources, the accused was sent to judicial remand by a city court. 

Prayer meeting
: A prayer meeting comprising votaries of various religions was held under the auspices of the Divine Life Society on the occasion of Makar Sankranti here on Saturday. Emphasising the urgency of universal peace and brotherhood, Prof V.D. Randeva, a functionary of the Divine Life Society, Christian Missionary Miss Rajni, noted Arya Samaji, Ram Kumar, and others expressed their religious views in this regard.

2 held: With the arrest of Rohtash Yadav and Tota Ram, the Kosli police claims to have solved Surender Yadav’s murder case. Rohtash Yadav and Tota Ram have reportedly confessed to having committed the crime.

: A case has been registered by the Rai police against Deva Nand and four other members of his family of Jajal village on the complaint lodged by Mr Ranjit, a resident of Sisana village in UP alleging that the accused murdered his daughter Sangeeta and cremated the body without informing him. According to a report, the investigations are on and no arrest has been made so far. 

Case registered: The Kharkhauda police has registered a case against two sarpanches, Meenu of Kundal village and Raj Kumar of Nizampur Khurd village, and 13 others on the charges of blocking the Kharkhauda-Delhi road for about four hours and assaulting the barrier staff on Friday evening in protest against the recovery of toll tax. In another incident, the Ganaur police has registered a case against Luxmi Chand, sarpanch of Bhogipur Rajlu village, on the complaint of Devinder, a Dalit, who had alleged that the accused had used cast language and threatened to kill him.

Unnatural ACT: Sehdev, a child prisoner, was allegedly made the victim of an unnatural physical act by another inmate, Anil, with the help of Kuldeep and Deepak at Bal Sudhar Graha (borstal jail) here on Saturday night. The Civil Lines police has registered a case against the accused and got the victim medically examined.

Body found: The police found the body of an unidentified man lying in a well near Rohat village on the Sonepat-Rohtak road, 5 km from here, on Sunday. The body has been sent for the postmortem examination. A case has been registered.



Ambala church features in ‘Rang De Basanti’

A view of the church of the Holy Redeemer at Ambala that was bombed during the 1965 Indo-Pak conflict
A view of the church of the Holy Redeemer at Ambala that was bombed during the 1965 Indo-Pak conflict. — Photo by Neeraj Chopra

Even as Aamir Khan’s film ‘Rang De Basanti’, which revolves around MiG-21 crashes, has got embroiled in controversy, the residents of Ambala will be happy to know that the city’s famous Holy Redeemer Church features in it.

Otherwise claimed to have been made without any assistance from the Indian Air Force, the movie’s producers, however, got help from the defence authorities in the form of permission to film the 100-year-old church located at the Ambala airbase. The church was bombed by Pakistani aircraft during the 1965 Indo-Pak conflict.

 The church dates back to the middle of the 19th century, when British troops moved from Karnal to Ambala and the first church of the Holy Redeemer was built in 1848. A priest’s residence and later a military club were built on the premises, but towards the end of the century, these were destroyed.

 In 1902, the old building was pulled down and construction of a new one was started by the then priest, Peter Mary. He collected money for the church, the three marble altars, a marble sanctuary with communion rails, the huge pipe organs and three large bells.

On November 12, 1905, the new church of the Holy Redeemer was inaugurated by Archbishop Gentilli. It can seat 800 persons, has a huge tower, solid pillars and a high Gothic roof. Interestingly, the benches in the church had a niche in which soldiers could place their rifles. In 1911, the Archdiocese of Shimla was created and the church was handed over to the English Capuchins by the Italians.

Drive against druggists

Ropar’s Area Reform Committee has launched a campaign against the chemist shops involved in the sale of drugs without prescription to youths in the rural areas of the district. The campaign was launched in Majra village, near Kurali, recently.

“We had earlier protested against many chemist shops selling drugs without prescription after several youths died of drug abuse. Some of the shops were shut down by the administration but the number was insignificant,” says the president of the Kurali committee, Kamal Kishore.

“We have been recruiting youths from each village so that they can be given the responsibility of checking the sale of drugs. Besides, the sarpanches of many villages have also come forward to spread awareness against drug abuse and provide every possible support,” he adds.

Dripping concern

 Members of the Yuva Bharat Sangh, led by its president Ram Avtar Rana, took out an awareness march on water conservation in Hisar recently
WATER SHARING: Members of the Yuva Bharat Sangh, led by its president Ram Avtar Rana, took out an awareness march on water conservation in Hisar recently. Photo by Sanjeev Mehta

Though all of us are well aware of the vital importance of water in our lives, still most of us do little for its conservation. This indifference prompted a Hisar-based youth, Ram Avtar Rana, to set up the Yuva Bharat Sangh for creating awareness on this issue.

“This youth organisation was a brainchild of noted environmentalist and Magsaysay awardee Rajender Singh, who is amongst its founder members,” says Rana, the president of the sangh. The sangh members are actively involved in organising seminars on water conservation and related environmental matters, apart from conducting workshops during NSS camps for school and college students.

The youth body recently organised a Jal Yatra, which covered 75 drought-affected villages of Hisar district. Rajasthan-based Rajender Singh flagged off the yatra. The sangh members now plan to launch a statewide drive in this regard.

Rana asserts that a firm resolve and community participation are a must to achieve water conservation. “The need of the hour is that instead of depending on the government for all their needs, the people should pledge not to let even a single drop of rainwater go waste by adopting water harvesting,” he observes. Asserting that the local population has the natural right over the natural resources, Rana maintains that the government should not allow MNCs to exploit these at the cost of our people.

Contributed by Vijay Mohan, Kiran Deep and Sunit Dhawan


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