L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

One dead, 8 hurt in wall collapse
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
One migrant labourer was killed and eight others were injured when a 12-feet high wall of the Division No 3 police station collapsed today early morning crushing the victims under the debri.

The district administration announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 50,000 to the family of the deceased while Rs 15,000 was announced for the injured. The city police was also arranging for the free treatment of the injured.

The wall built with Nanakshahi bricks was part of the structure of the police station which was built in 1930’s, police sources said. The incident has raised fears of more such incident in the police stations most of which were working from dilapidated buildings.

All the victims in the today’s incident were migrant labourers, who had come to the police station for mandatory registration of migrants being enforced by the city police to check crime.

DSP Jatinder Khaira said at about 7 am the labourers had queued up right from the munshi’s office to the boundary wall. The wall that had developed cracks over the years had weakened more after the rain that lashed the region in the last two days. It went down with a sudden thud crushing the labourers under it.

Ram Shakal Mishra, aged about 55 , succumbed to head injuries, in a hospital. Of the eight others, two Hans Raj and Shiv Chand were admitted to CMC in serious condition. They had also suffered head injuries and fractures on their limbs.

Six injured labourers admitted to Civil Hospital are Mohammed Sirpal, Rajesh Kumar, Adi Gul, Mohammed Ranchi, Aslam and Munoo.

SP-Headquarters Amarjit Singh Chahal said the police had got limited funds for the renovation or new construction of the police stations. He said the buildings of many police stations dated back to the British era. 



Feeling of indignation at INA veteran’s widow’s bhog
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Mr Kirpal Singh, secretary, Punjab Freedom Fighters Association, and an INA veteran, along with villagers of Bhaini Rora express their anger over denial of pension to Sarjit Kaur, INA veteran's widow, at her bhog ceremony on Wednesday.
Mr Kirpal Singh, secretary, Punjab Freedom Fighters Association, and an INA veteran, along with villagers of Bhaini Rora express their anger over denial of pension to Sarjit Kaur, INA veteran's widow, at her bhog ceremony on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Bhaini Rora, July 12
A feeling of indignation and disgust marked the bhog ceremony of INA veteran’s widow, Sarjit Kaur, who died waiting for pension for almost six decades after the country’s Independence. at this village today.

Angry at the non-recognition of her husband’s contribution in freedom struggle, the villagers attending the bhog ceremony at this village today said it was very shameful that the deceased spent her life in penury although she deserved to be treated well.

Although a magisterial inquiry had established that Sarjit Kaur’s husband, Havildar Hazoora Singh Chahal of Indian National Army was jailed at Singapore before-Independence, he died waiting for recognition and his wife also died despite knocking at various doors. She passed away at her village a week ago after suffering a hip fracture. Due to financial constraints, her son was not able to get her treated.

As rich tributes were being paid to the deceased, Com Kirpal Singh, secretary of Punjab Freedom Fighters Association and an INA veteran, who worked for the freedom along with Sarjit Kaur’s husband, said it was unfortunate that those who gave their prime for the country were treated so shabbily by the government.

“She had knocked at the doors of Punjab State Women’s Commission, Punjab and Haryana High Court and state government also. The commission and court had directed the state government to give her the dues but nobody cared.”

He added that nobody from the district administration attended her bhog. “I myself went to the Deputy Commissioner yesterday to invite him for the function. He assured me that some representative would be there. We kept waiting for two hours but nobody turned up. This is how they respect the INA veterans,” he added.

Following a direction by the Women’s Commission, the former Deputy Commissioner had ordered an inquiry into Sarjit Kaur’s claims. After talking to other INA veterans, who submitted in an oath that Hazoora Singh was with them at that time and with the help of other documents preserved by her, a magisterial inquiry said that she should have been given pension.

It was established that her husband remained in various jails in Singapore before Independence and after her marriage she also joined him there. She claimed that she had to abandon her son as she could not leave him at the cruel hands of British army.

But back home in her country, her fate remained in the “cruel” hands of bureaucracy, who kept on moving her file from one office to another. Finally, death did not give her time to wait more.



Dr Khush award for PAU scientist
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
Dr Yadvinder Singh, PAU’s senior soil scientist, has been awarded the “Dr G.S. Khush Distinguished Professor Award” for his contribution towards developing integrated nutrition management technologies based on inorganic fertilisers and organic sources for rice-wheat system. He is the ninth recipient of the award.

The award has been instituted by Dr Khush, an internationally known rice breeder. He has made a fixed deposit of Rs 1.20 lakh and 90 per cent of the interest that accrues on the sum is given to the awardee annually for a period of three years.

The last recipient of the award was a former Head of Agronomy, Agrometeorology and Forestry, Dr Lall Singh Brar.

Dr Yadvinder Singh is already a recipient of the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Memorial Prize and also the Marie Curie Senior Fellowship of the Commission of European Communities, besides Fellowship of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

His work on nitrogen management in soil and losses due to wrong agronomic practices and wrong application of nitrogenous fertilisers have gone a long way in protecting the environment and reducing the cost of cultivation.

Dr Yadvinder Singh has studied the need-based nitrogen management using “chlorophyll meter” and “leaf curl chart”. This technique results in 25 per cent saving in fertiliser application.

Chlorophyll meter is a simple hand-held devise that helps determine the fertiliser requirements of the crop. It is the green pigmentation or the colour of the plant that indicates the fertiliser needs of the crop and chlorophyll meter enables to measure the same.

Similarly, by making use of the leaf curl chart for nitrogen application and management on 2.6 million hectare on which paddy is grown, the farmers can effect saving of around Rs 50 crore.

Dr Yadvinder Singh is the principal investigator of an inter-disciplinary Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research-funded project on management of paddy straw.

Working in tandem with the Departments of Agronomy, Farm Power and Machinery and Soils, a machine called “Happy Seeder” has been fabricated. The prototype is at the adaptive trial stage. The machine is used to plough the field after harvesting paddy. As it ploughs, it mulches the paddy straw and drill fitted to it sows wheat. This fulfils the recommended agronomic practice of “zero tillage”. The three-in-one machine is expected to be a major instrument to save nitrogen and cut cost of cultivation.

The mulching of paddy straw should be done at least 10 days prior to sowing of wheat, says Dr Yadvinder Singh. In fact, farmers apply 1.3 lakh tonne nitrogen to paddy in the state. This means an investment of about Rs 145 crore.

Punjab reaps approximately 22 million tonne rice straw every year of which 85 per cent is burnt by the farmers, causing not only pollution but huge nitrogen losses, killing nutrients and organic matter in the soil.



Goods, buildings worth lakhs gutted
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 12
Goods worth lakhs were gutted in a fire that broke out in a rice sheller situated at Maherna-Maholi road near here today. However a joint operation by residents and the Dehlon police doused the fire well in time from spreading to tons of rice husk lying in the open.

The fire broke out in the godowns of Vishnu Luxmi Rice Mills, situated at Maholi village near here at around 5 am today. The workers of the mill informed Mr Ravinder Kumar, owner, at around 6 a.m.

Eyewitnesses said guinea bags worth lakhs of rupees were reduced to ashes within a few minutes. The building of the factory also suffered major damage. Had the fire not been controlled in time, it would have spread to a transformer installed close to the wall of the unit.

The owner called up the police and fire office. Three fire engines summoned from Ludhiana, Malerkotla and Shreyans Industries Limited, Ahmedgarh were pressed into service.

While the fire was controlled from spreading further, dousing operations continued till the filing of this report.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Police officials suspect that it could have been caused due to a short circuit.

Heavy rains experienced in the morning also helped in putting off the flames.



“Sikh priests’ verdict one-sided”
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 12
In a petition to the Jathedar of Akal Takht, as many as 17 Sikh organisations have termed the verdict of the five Sikh high priests as ‘one sided and biased’ against Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and his associates who went to participate in the function at Manji Sahib in connection with the 400th year of establishment of Akal Takht.

The petition said: “We all are committed to uphold the sanctity and decorum of Akal Takht Sahib. We believe that order of the five Sikh priests against Simranjit Singh Mann and his party colleagues is one sided, retrograde and against the principles of natural justice and the time honoured traditions of the Akal Takht.”

In a hard-hitting petition to the Jathedar it says: “The justice system of Khalsa Panth is unique and is parallel to the principles of Anglo-Saxon law and European law. Your decision has dealt a blow to the principles of the Sikh religion.”

“The foundation of the Sikh religion is based on equality, independent thinking and republican pluralism and your order is an order of a Kangaroo court.”

The radical leaders of the Sikhs who met the Jathedar of Akal Takht said: “To uphold the just character of Akal Takht Sahib, the order of July 2 should be rescinded.”

The leaders who met the Jathedar of Akal Takht further alleged in the last few years that the Akali Dal (Badal) had been using the opportunity to demonstrate its relations with the BJP and also use the large gathering for pure political purposes. The Sikh scholars have also decried this attitude of the Badal faction and the Akal Takht is being misused by the Badal led SGPC for glorification of Mr Badal.

The Jathedar of Akal Takht has been under pressure now to review the order of July 2 . The radical Sikh leaders who met the Jathedar also charged him with adopting a partisan attitude and not taking any action against Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

This reporter has learnt that the radical Sikhs are likely to file a petition against Mr Badal shortly to Akal Takht.

The July 2 order of the Jathedar has been strongly criticised by Prof Darshan Singh , former Jathedar of Akal Takht, and Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, president, Gurmat Sidhant Parcharak Sant Samaj. They said what happened on July 2 within the precincts of the Golden Temple had shaken the devout.

Sikh scholars and political observers are of the view that Mr Parkash Singh Badal is responsible for the July 2 happenings and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann should have been allowed to speak.



NGOs, political bodies condemn serial blasts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 12
“Killing of more than 200 persons and injuring over 800 persons in Mumbai blasts is inhuman act and it should be condemned in strongest terms,” said the Punjab Government Pensioners Association. To provide financial assistance to the bomb victims, the association, has decided to collect funds from its members and send the money to Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

Mr Yash Paul Ghai, general secretary of the association, urged the industry, political outfits, religious institutions, social service organisations,students and employees to come forward to help the affected families.

The Rashtriya Vikas Manch (RVM), too, has condemned this dastardly act. Its president, Mr Gurinder Sood, and Mr Nirdosh Bhardawaj expressed anguish at the deaths of innocent commuters.

The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) burnt an effigy of ‘terrorist’ and held a protest against the blasts near Mahavir Homeopathic Chowk here today.

Punjab joint secretary of ABVP Rajat Sood said that terrorists were showing that their cowardliness by attacking innocent people. He said that the terrorists had their base in Pakistan and Pakistan was only instigating the terrorists to carry out such dastardly attacks on innocent people.He said that India should break away the bus service as well as other relations between two countries .

Harsh Sharma of ABVP, Sahil Verma, Arun Malik and Nipun Kapur said that the families of people killed in the blasts should be given Rs 10 lakh as compensation and a monument should be erected in their memory .

The Shiv Sena (Hindustan) too condemned the bomb attacks on innocent common people in Srinagar and Mumbai. The local branch of Shiv Sena took out a protest rally and burnt the effigy of ‘terrorist’ on the GT Road here today. The protest march started from Metro Chowk and after passing through Gias Pur, it ended on the GT Road. Its district president Krishan Sharma condemned the blasts and destruction through their bomb blasts.

The protesters raised ‘anti-Pakistani slogans’ during the protest march.



Heavy rain throws life out of gear
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July12
Heavy rainfall experienced in the town today threw normal life out of gear besides exposing the inadequacy of infrastructure to check flooding especially in low-lying areas. However, the civic authorities claimed to have strengthened the sewerage system to cope with the future situation.

Normal life came to a halt in the morning today when heavy rains flooded low-lying areas including railway road, Mahavir Road, Dehliz Road, Gandhi Chowk, Bhagat Singh Chowk areas and the office of Municipal Council. Though the employees had reached their respective seats before the downpour started, they had to sit idle for at least two hours as people found it difficult to reach them.

A large number of two wheelers were seen stranded on the roads flooded with water. People preffered to hire rickshaws to taking their vehicles back home after attending their offices in the afternoon for obvious reasons.

Mr Jatinder Kumar Bhola, president, Municipal Council, on the other hand claimed that the authorities had tried their best to tackle the situation. “Besides running all disposal pumps available with the office we deputed manual labour to clear blockades in the drain system,” maintained Mr Bhola.



NGO speaks for senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 12
Members of the Citizens for Public Cause, an NGO, held a meeting yesterday under the presidentship of Mr Jiwan Dhawan to discuss the status of senior citizens and facilities being given to them in India as compared to other countries.

Mr Virinder Bhakoo, general secretary of the organisation said 8 per cent of the total population of the country comprised senior citizens and a majority of them lived and died uncared and unsung as the government was doing nothing for them. He said: “It is surprizing that in the annual budget of 2006-2007, the income tax rebate for senior citizens is for citizens above 65 years of age wheras the Railways is treating them at the age of 60. The government is not pressing the Income Tax Department to treat them at the age of 60 instead of 65 years”.

It was suggested all states in the country should give free travel concession in all roadways buses to senior citizens. The Railway Ministry should also provide 50 per cent concession in all the trains instead of the present 30 per cent.

The members said that the present facilities like reserved seats in Punjab Roadways and PRTC buses, separate queues for senior citizens in hospitals, dispensaries, bus stands and libraries, while depositing electricity and water bills etc were nothing but an eyewash. The members felt that there was no need to celebrate days like Elders Day etc if there was no respect for senior citizens.



Tribune Impact
Probe against ‘troublesome’ cop begins
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 12
Stern action would be taken against Jagraon Police cop who, along with a woman and her son, had been booked under Sections 160, 294 and 34 of IPC for allegedly creating nuisance at a local private hospital after the staff and attendants of other patients caught them in a compromising position on Sunday.

The SSP Jagroan took the decision after a story on the subject was published in the Ludhiana Tribune.

Mr R K Jaiswal, SSP Jagraon, said he had directed Mr Rachhpal Singh Dhindsa SHO Dehlon, to submit detailed report about the activities of Amarjit Singh who had been arrested by the Ahmedgarh police for allegedly creating nuisance in Hind Hospital here on Sunday. “As his behaviour has tarnished the image of the police department, we would take stern action against him and his accomplice,” said Mr Jaiswal while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune. He said the tainted guilty cop would be placed under suspension before initiating the investigations.

Amarjit Singh of Chhanna village, at present posted at Dehlon police station, was arrested by local police, when he was trying to leave the area on Sunday. He was released on bail later. However, Harjinder Kaur and her son Sarabjit Singh, other accused, had succeeded in dodging the police.

Dr Sunit Hind, director of Hind Hospital and Diagnostic Centre had accused the trio of creating nuisance at the hospital after staff and attendants of other patients objected to Amarjit Singh’s comprising act with Harjinder Kaur. Harjinder Kaur was admitted to ICU of the hospital for the treatment of some cardiac disorder.

Preliminary investigations by the local police had revealed that the woman got admitted to the hospital allegedly with an ulterior motive of staying with the cop. Perusal of hospital records had shown that her son Sarabjit, who is unemployed, had shown himself as a police official and name of patient was told at Premjit Kaur instead of Harjinder Kaur. 



March for Panthic ‘penance’ from August 5
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
The All India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) will organise a ‘Panthic pachhatap’ march along the Guru Gobind Singh route from August 5.

The march will start from Anandpur Sahib and would go via Talwandi Saboo and conclude at Anandpur Sahib, thus covering all the takhts in Punjab.

Disclosing this here today, the AISAD president, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, said at a press conference that the march was being organised for ending the bitterness among various Sikh groups and creating peace and harmony among them.

He pointed out that the recent unfortunate incidents at Akal Takht and Ludhiana had led to a surcharged atmosphere that could lead to worst violence.

He said the march was aimed at restoring peace among the rival factions.

Mr Mann blamed the Shiromani Akali Dal president and former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for these incidents, saying, “It is sheer arrogance of power.”

He pointed out that Mr Badal had a majority in the SGPC and it was his responsibility to ensure peace and order.

Moreover, the way his supporters attacked the workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar only showed arrogance of power on his part.

He also regretted the ugly trend of blowing off the turbans of others. He condemned the blowing-off of the turbans of some SAD-A supporters by the SAD-B workers and their display as a mark of victory.

“Victory against whom?”, he asked, while pointing out “turban is a symbol of Sikhism which they were trying to disgrace”.

The AISAD leader said the march would also highlight the corruption prevailing in the SGPC.

Mr Mann said there were about 10,000 employees working for the SGPC and most of them had been appointed following the pressure of the members.

The Ludhiana district president of the AISAD, Mr Bhupinder Singh Grewal, was also present at the press conference.



Birth anniversary of Guru celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 12
The 400th birth anniversary of Guru Hargobind was celebrated at Gurdwara Chhevi Pathshahi near CMC chowk here today. The function was sponsored by Sikh Family Club in which dastar bandhi, Gurbani kanth and kavita recital competitions were conducted category-wise.

More than 450 students from 15 schools like Sargodha Khalsa High School, Guru Nanak International Public School, BCM Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh road, Ramgarhia Senior Secondary School for boys and Sacred Heart Convent School took part.

All the three top positions were bagged by Spring Dales in the dastar bandhi competition in group 2. Gurpreet Singh stood first, Jagpal Singh stood second and Gaganpreet Singh stood third. Incidentally all the students are from class X.

In the Gurbani kanth competition, Satinderpal Singh of class VIII stood first in group 2. In group 3 Jassimran Kaur of class XII, stood second. In kavita competition Satinderpal Singh of class VIII stood first. All the winners and participants were awarded trophies.



Farmer electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 12
A farmer of Rachhin village was electrocuted to death while trying to start a tubewell motor in his fields this morning.

According to Mr Rachhpal Singh Dhindsa, SHO, Dehlon, Harbhajan Singh (58), was electrocuted. While trying to start the tubewell motor for watering his paddy fields on the outskirts of the village.

“Hardly had my father gone to the fields that a villager came to inform us that he had heard cries of my father near the room where the electric motor was installed. On reaching the spot, we found that he had received an electric shock,” said Mr Ravinder Singh, son of Harbhajan Singh.

The body was handed over to the family after a post-mortem examination.



Secular Muslims an anathema to votaries of two-nation theory: Javed Akhtar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
Noted writer and lyricist, Javed Akhtar has no regrets over being denied the visa by the Government of Pakistan. He said, it was quite expected of them, as they did not tolerate any secular Muslim anywhere in the subcontinent. “People (Muslims) like me are an anathema to the votaries of two nation theory, because we shake its foundations,” he remarked.

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune here recently, he asked, “What else can be the reason for refusing visa to me?” He said it was not that he spoke against Pakistan. “Let me ask them that even Mr Lal Kishen Advani used to speak against them perhaps more bitterly than I do, but he was accorded a red-carpet welcome there usually reserved for the heads of the state,” he pointed out.

He said there was a reason. “While Mr Advani fits best in their scheme of things, people like me do not,” he observed, while pointing out, “we are shaking the foundation of their two-nation theory that was based on religion.” He said there was an irony that the secular Muslims were neither liked by the Pakistanis, nor the radical Muslims here and nor the Sangh parivar.

Javed Akhtar had first been granted visa by Pakistan but was later refused it as some people raised the issue of his songs in film ‘Lakshya’ and the dialogues like “doodh mangoge, kheer denge, Kashmir maangoge, to cheer denge”. The song which raised the storm in Pakistan was from film ‘Lakhsya’, “kandon se kandein milte hai, kadmo se kadam milte hain, jab chalte hai hum aise, to dushman ke dil hilte hai...”

On the important issue of Urdu, Javed Akhtar feels that it was wrong to identify Urdu with a particular religion. He said the hostility towards Urdu has ended and people have now started learning about its beauty. He said, language couldn’t be identified with any particular religion. He pointed out, Pakistan learnt it a hard way by ignoring Bangla that led to the split of the country into two parts.

He said, Urdu had already been accepted by the people of this country. “Which language do you think we speak? he asked, while adding in the same breath, “this is Urdu”. He said, although the prevailing Persian script of the Urdu must be retained at all costs, there was nothing wrong if Urdu was written in other scripts particularly the Devnagri. In fact, he added, a lot of Urdu literature, particularly the poetry, was now being published in Devnagri script. 



Punjab leads in honey production
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
The quinquennial review team (QRT) constituted by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) reviewed the progress of an all-India coordinated research on honey bee research and training at PAU between 1999 to 2004.

PAU is one of the nine centres where quantitative and qualitative research on beekeeping is being carried out by the Department of Entomology. This all-India coordinated project with a budget provision of Rs 91.30 lakh has enabled Punjab to top the list of states in honey production for commercial purposes.

According to the entomology head, Dr N.S. Butter, Punjab not only produces 25 per cent of the total honey produced in the country but its 23,000 strong bee-keepers are able to export nearly 3,000 tonnes of honey, annually worth Rs 15 crore. The main importing countries are the USA, the UK, Europe and Middle East. This export is out of a total production of approximately 5,500 tonnes produced by 2.5 lakh Italian honey bee colonies. Punjab also exports bee wax in addition to honey.

Additional Director of Research (Agri.) Dr. G.S. Hira who addressed the QRT team, pointed out that honey bee venture could be upscaled to about 10 lakh colonies. This, however, requires additional manpower to strengthen the “Centre of Excellence” in honey bee at PAU and liberal funding to meet the travel expenses of the university scientists imparting training to beekeepers.

On an average, a bee colony produces 25 kg of honey, annually. This 20-frame colony has one queen, drones and workers. A farmer markets his honey at Rs 100 per kg — the retail price. In fact, honey marketing requires streamlining and government intervention to end “exploitation” of the bee- keepers. Besides the retail marketing, the farmers are compelled to sell honey at Rs 40 — Rs 50 per kg to NGOs, state agency like Markfed, local traders, exporters, ayurvedic institutions, beauty parlours and pharmaceutical companies.

According to Dr G.S. Gatoria and Dr Pardeep K. Chhuneja, honey-bees and beekeeping vocation can do much better but for the honeybee diseases and varroa mites, which together cause heavy casualties on the honey bees. Together, it is estimated, these two problems are responsible for 25 per cent mortality rate in bees.

Interestingly, honey bee keepers are like nomads or what PAU Centre of Excellence scientists say “migratory honey production”. In other words, honey bee colonies mushroom in those areas of the state where there are mustard, sunflower and cotton fields or eucalyptus plantation and forest cover. Consequently, the beekeepers in the south-western districts of Punjab want to shift their colonies to Rajasthan and beyond by the end July or those who do not have much of wherewithal, to Central Punjab districts like Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur. This migration is influenced by the presence of the above mentioned crops depending upon the season.

The QRT team interacted with the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh and appreciated the work done at PAU. The team was particularly impressed by the training programme which the university has introduced for beekeepers. The team comprised of Dr R.C. Sihag, Dr Harvir Singh and Dr N.S. Bhat along with Dr R.K. Lakra, Projector Coordinator (ICAR).



Scare among business community
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 12
The repeated incidents of scuffle among supporters of the Akali Dal (Badal ) and Akali Dal (Amritsar ) in the past two weeks have created a scare among traders and industrialists. They fear that events taking place in the state do not speak of “all is well’’ in the state. They apprehend that since the elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha are also due to be held in February 2007, the incidents of such nature could take a violent turn.

The akali factions of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann first quarrelled at Manji Sahib in Harmander Sahib complex on July 2 and then at Ludhiana on July 9 in front of circuit house. The occasion at Amritsar was the celebration of the 400th anniversary of establishment of Akal Takht-supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs. The trouble started when the SGPC functionaries who had organised the celebrations refused to allow Mr Simranjit Singh Mann to address the congregation.

The Akali Dal (Amritsar) had announced holding of a demonstration on July 9 at Ludhiana during the visit of Mr Arun Jaitley general secretary of the BJP to protest against the demand of the BJP to seek withdrawal of the Hukamnama issued by Akal Takht against the interference of the RSS affiliate, Rashtriya Sikh Sangat in the religious affairs of the Sikhs. The followers of the Akali Dal (Badal ) had planned to counteract the demonstration by the followers of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann. The Badal followers had allegedly come prepared with lathis and they thrashed Mann’s followers as they were very small in number.

The Shiromani Akali Dal chief Mr Parkash Singh Badal has charged the congress for the trouble in Ludhiana whereas the fact is that there is TV footage available which clearly shows Badal supporters carrying lathis which they had brought in large number in their vehicles.

Even on July 2 at Amritsar, kirpans were brought out by Nihangs owing allegiance to Harianbelan wale.

A senior industrialist of Ludhiana today expressing concern over the two incidents said it was unfortunate that Sikhs were quarreling among themselves and projecting a bad image of the community.

The industrialist was apprehensive that under such a situation violence during the ensuing Vidhan Sabha elections could not be ruled out.

He observed that so far the elections in Punjab had been held in a peaceful manner and any violence would leave a bad name for the border state.

The traders and industrialists feel that Punjab has already passed through a period of great turmoil for more than 10 years and any revival of such violence would cripple the trade and industry.

Mr Tulsidas Jaitwani, president, Punjab Beopar Mandal, and Mr P.D. Sharma, president, Apex chamber of commerce and industry have appealed to leaders of the political parties in the state to preserve the hard won peace and tranquility in the state.



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