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Muslims protest over Prophet’s cartoons
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Hundreds of Muslims today staged a protest march here today to express their anger against the publication of cartoons and caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in some European newspapers. The protesters submitted a memorandum, in the Deputy Commissioner's office to be forwarded to the President of India, denouncing the western media for antagonising the Muslims.

Leading the protest, Maulana Atiq-u-Rehman, Punjab president of the Indian Muslim Council alleged the Western media was out to portray Islam in a poor light. He alleged the publication of the cartoons of Prophet Mohammad was a deliberate attempt to hurt the sentiments of the Muslims world over.

Mr Rehman pointed out that everybody knew publication of cartoons of the Prophet is prohibited in Islam. He said it is difficult to believe that the editors, who published these cartoons, did not know anything about Islam. The way other European newspapers published the cartoons even after worldwide protests obviously meant that the western media wanted to add "insult to the injury" of the Muslims, he said.

The Muslims urged the civil society worldover to denounce the publication of such cartoons and boycott such publications. Freedom of expression did not mean they were free to hurt anybody. "There are limitations to every type of freedom, including the freedom of expression," he added.

There was widespread resentment among the Muslims gathered at the historic Jama Masjid here to offer their weekly Friday prayers. They said no Muslim can tolerate insult to the Prophet and the repercussions were bound to take place. 



Prophet’s caricatures: Muslim bodies protest
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 10
Various Muslims organisations of the area have urged the state government to impress upon the Ministry of External Affairs to intervene in the matter of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed. An effigy of the Danish, French and German regimes was also burnt. The protest was supported by certain non-Muslim organisations also.

While addressing a huge gathering at local Dehliz road, leaders of various Muslim and non-Muslim organisations alleged that these governments had not taken action against the publishers who had brought out insulting caricatures of the Prophet.

"Instead of taking action against a satirical French weekly for reprinting cartoons which were printed by a Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, the authorities validated the same by terming it as freedom of the press," rued the protestors. They cautioned leaders of other religions to be vigilant against the sinister designs of certain forces which wanted to divide the world on religious basis.

Mr Mohamad Yaseen, general-secretary of the state body of All-India Mazlis Ahrar, Mr Munir Mohamad, president, Muslim Youth Front, Mr Ali Asgar, president, Islamia High School were among those who spoke on the occasion.

Mr Jatinder Kumar Bhola, Mr Ramesh Ghaie, president, BJP, Mr Surinder Sapra, Mr Sandeep Puri, a Bhartia Yuva Morcha leader and Mr Ashootosh Vinayak, a BJP councillor, assured support on behalf of their respective organisations.



Industry guards lynch robber
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
After remaining fear-stricken in the wake of regular strikes of robbers, industrialists have chosen to hit back today morning where an alleged robber was lynched to death and another was nabbed by an alert group of guards in Steelman Industries Ltd.

Three guards of the industry were also injured with one of them suffering serious injuries. The incident took place in the wee hours today. The police has registered a case against the robbers under sections 457, 380 and 511 of the IPC for attempting to commit a robbery.

No case has been registered against the guards as the industry owner and the police maintained that they had acted in self defence.

This was for the first time in the past several months that employees of a factory had challenged a gang of intruders, who have been striking at will for stealing nickel or other industrial material in the city.

Many industrialists had made their own safety measures to prevent the losses. The owners of Steelman Industries were stung by two earlier burglaries at their premises and had deployed some employees as guards specially for night duty besides a watch dog to take on the robbers.

A police officials said the deceased robber has been identified as Deepak while Jai Parkash had been arrested. Both belong to Mannpur Makri village in Bihar.

The injured guards — Munish, Sunil and Ranbir — were first taken to the civil hospital but later shifted to a private hospital

Mr Sham Sunder Gupta, owner of the Industry, told Ludhiana Tribune that at about 3 am, a group of robbers, whose exact number was not known, barged into the premises. The guards challenged them after a watch dog alerted them. The guards about five in number spotted two robbers.

Both groups used iron rods to beat each other. One of the robber was hit on the head.

The police was, however, informed at about 7 am. Initially, the police took it as a clash between a group of labourers but later investigations strengthened the claims of the industrialist.

Though the industry guards thwarted the robbery attempt, the incident has once again highlighted the fears about the activities of the criminals. Representatives of different industries have been blaming the police for laxity and inaction.

The industrialists have been demanding better night patrolling from the police. It has been generally seen that the robber strike after 3 am whereas the cops are seen on the roads before that, the industrialists alleged.



Resentment among traders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Traders who have applied for Value Added Tax (VAT) registration number are going through a tough phase as Excise and Taxation Department is not allowing consignments to cross barriers without a VAT number.

Traders are being harassed at the hands of the officials of the Excise and Taxation Department at all the 35 barriers in the state. This was alleged by the Taxation Young Lawyers Association here today. While it is the department that is causing delay, it is traders whose business is suffering.

President of the association, Mr Jatinder Khurana, said there is great resentment among traders due to the treatment meted out to them when they send vehicles loaded with goods to other places.

"Several loaded vehicles are impounded and are detained at barriers for several days," he alleged.

According to the association, officials at barriers have been demanding that VAT number must be written on bills and that without VAT number no goods would be allowed to cross barriers.

"Despite submitting all the requisite documents and completing all formalities, VAT number has not been issued to many traders for several months. In such a case, they cannot stall business operations during that period. However, traders have to visit barriers and meet department officials time and again as a result of this action by the department."

Business of such traders is being adversely affected, the association said. Urging the government to solve the problems of traders who have applied for VAT numbers, the association said the vehicles that have been detained should also be released.



Councillor asks minister to pay excise dues
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
After Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu created a furore by asking the state government to pay the dues regarding excise duty, a local Akali councillor has written to Local Bodies Minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh to pay the duty amounting Rs 60 crore on the plea that development works were suffering due to lack of funds.

Mr Bhairaj Singh in a letter to the minister has stated that many development works in the city had failed to take off due to shortage of funds.

He added that if the government failed to do so, he would be forced to move the High Court. Referring to a meeting of the F&CC held on March 14, 2005, in which many development works were cleared, Mr Bhairaj Singh said tenders were not invited for those works owing to shortage of funds.

“There are many wards in the city where there are no water supply, sewerage and street lights. The residents had been demanding these amenities for past many years but nobody has come to their help,” he added.



BKU flays wheat import decision
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
The Bharitya Kisan Union today criticised the Centre’s decision to import wheat from foreign countries when abundant stocks were pending in the country. The executive meeting of the union was held here to take stock of the situation after the government decided to import wheat.

The union leaders observed that the decision was not in the interests of the farmers of the country. They said the decision had been taken in utter haste and it could spell doom for the farmers. They pointed out that the wheat was being imported at higher rates than provided to the farmers in the country. They regretted that the government did not have any plausible policy that could save the interest of the farmers.

In a separate resolution, the BKU demanded that the Centre and the state governments must waive off all debts of farmers, Dalits and other weaker sections of the society. 



Enhance female literacy: Governor
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 10
“India still has one of the lowest female literacy rates in Asia. In 1999, less than 40 per cent of the 330 million women (aged 7 and above) were literate, which means today there are over 200 million illiterate women in India. This low level of literacy not only has a negative impact on women’s lives but also on their families’ lives and on the country’s economic development,” said Dr S.S. Sidhu, Manipur Governor, who presided over the 49th annual convocation of the Malwa Central College of Education for Women here today. As many as 250 B.Ed and 25 M.Ed students were awarded with the degrees.

In his keynote address, Dr Sidhu said lack of female teachers was another potential roadblock to girls’ education. Currently, women account for only 29 per cent of teachers at the primary levels and the proportion of female teachers at university level is even lower, he said, adding that it is hoped that the proportions would change in the future as women currently account for nearly half of those being trained as teachers.

He said, “You will soon be joining the mainstream and might experience that all that was taught you was not enough. I do hope you will continue to learn from the sources available to you. Young people can play a vital role in bringing greater transparency into governance and making governments more accountable. The real solution for this is to empower civil society, empower women, and enhance female literacy”.

The role of honour was presented to Teena Rani for standing fifth in Panjab University M.Ed. examination and Vijayata Dhand for standing first in college in Panjab University in the B.Ed. Examination.



Infighting in Youth Cong to the fore
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 10
Infighting in the district unit of Youth Congress in the city has intensified to the extent that senior party leaders are trading charges openly and allegations of anti-party activities and having a criminal background are being levelled against each other.

Presiding over an emergency meeting of the party workers here last evening, the District Youth Congress (DYC) president, Mr Dimple Rana, charged his predecessor and at present vice president of the state unit of the party Mr Komal Khanna with indulging in anti-party and criminal activities to fill his coffers.

In a unanimous resolution adopted at the meeting, the party high command was urged to remove Mr Khanna from the party and also to initiate a high-level probe into his conduct.

Mr Rana and other party activists noted with regret that in a bid to pursue his nefarious activities, Mr Khanna had not only been holding protests against his own party but had gone to the extent of burning effigies of the senior party leaders, including the state president of youth congress.

The party activists also called upon the district authorities to withdraw security guards provided to Mr Khanna.

Earlier, Mr Komal Khanna had levelled charges of neglecting the party work and ignoring the ranks against the DYC president Mr Rana. 



Pensioners pin hopes on Patiala rally
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 10
The Punjab Pradesh Employees’ Federation will organise a state-level rally at Polo Ground in Patiala on Saturday. Mr S.S. Dullo, president, PPCC, is expected to preside over the rally.

“Some announcements concerning key demands of employees, pensioners and staff of aided schools and colleges in the state may be made during the rally”, says Mr Yash Paul Ghai, general secretary, Punjab Government Pensioners Association.

Copies of memorandum concerning pensioners’ demands have already been sent to the chief minister, finance minister and PPCC president, he said.

Mr Harchand Singh Barsat, patron of the federation, and political secretary to the chief minister, is the spirit behind the rally.



Chinese New Year celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 10
Of all the Chinese festivals, the New Year is perhaps the most elaborate, colourful and important. The Chinese believe that this is the time to congratulate each other for having passed through another year, a time to bring the old year to a close and to welcome the New Year.

Continuing with the tradition of celebrating the Chinese New Year in a grand way, Majestic Park Plaza, Ludhiana, is all set to celebrate the occasion at its Chinese resturant, Orient Blade.

According to the Chinese calendar, the year 4703 has dawned and it is devoted to the dog. The 'year of the dog' has come back after 12 years.

A special menu, which promises authentic Chinese dishes, will prevail for the next 10 days to bring love and happiness. The dishes, devised by Chef Rajhans, are mouth-watering and truly delectable.

In traditional China, the Kitchen God was regarded as the guardian of the family hearth. Keeping this in mind, the menu of Orient Blade on New Year's Day, included 'no cut noodles' symbolising long life. A chicken was exhibited with a head, tail and feet to symbolise completeness.



Demolition squad returns empty-handed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
The demolition squad of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, which had gone to raze some illegal structures at Daba Road and Ferozepore Road, had to return back empty handed following opposition by the alleged violators.

A hotelier on the Ferozepore Road showed status quo orders by a court and the team led by Dr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner, retreated without any action.

Earlier, the team accompanied by police, ATP Tejpreet Singh, a JCB machine and labourers had gone to Daba road but could not pull down a single structure thanks to stiff opposition by residents and area councillor, Mr Simarjit Singh Bains and District Congress Committee Urban chief, Mr Jagmohan Sharma.

The duo did not allow the team to carry out its operation and after resistance the team came back.

The MC has not been able to achieve anything substantial for the past several months as far as removal of encroachments is concerned.



LJP leader expelled
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 10
The former state president of the youth wing of the Lok Janshakti Party, Mr Ramanjit Lalli, has been expelled from the primary membership of the party for a period of six years.

According to Mr Kartar Singh Patna, secretary general of the state unit of the party, the action had been taken against Mr Lalli for anti-party activities and promoting factionalism. The expulsion orders were issued by Mr S.N. Singh, national general secretary and convener of the National Disciplinary Committee of the party.


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