L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Replace Bukhari, says city Imam
Confusion over Id celebrations sparks off criticism
Tribune News Service

Mr Atiq-ur-Rehman, president of the minority cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, greets the PPCC president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, during the Id celebrations in Ludhiana on Tuesday
Mr Atiq-ur-Rehman, president of the minority cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, greets the PPCC president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, during the Id celebrations in Ludhiana on Tuesday. — Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana October 24
The Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Ludhiana, Maulana Habib-u-Rehman Ludhianvi, today criticised the Shahi Imam of Delhi, Imam Ahmad Bukhari, for creating uncertainty about Id celebrations. The Maulana demanded that Imam Ahmad Bukhari must be removed from the coveted seat and another

religious scholar capable of leading the country's Muslims be appointed there.

Addressing the annual Id congregation at the historic Jama Masjid, Field Ganj, here today, the Shahi Imam pointed out the dilemma faced by the Muslims of the country over the Id celebrations. He pointed out, till midnight everybody was kept in dark as to whether Id would be celebrated on Tuesday or Wednesday. He blamed the Shahi Imam of Delhi for this confusion.

The Ludhiana Imam demanded setting up of a permanent panel of leading Muslim intellectuals authorised to spot the crescent on the eve of Id. “Otherwise, the Muslims will continue to remain under uncertainty about the exact day of Id”, he remarked, while adding, this confusion needed to be removed once in for all.

The Shahi Imam paid tributes to the glorious plural culture in the country where Hindus, Sikhs and Christians joined the Muslims in celebrating Id. He said, the feeling was unique to India only, where such brotherhood prevailed.

Pradesh Congress Committee president Shamsher Singh Dullo, Minister Harnam Dass Johar, Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawer, Abraham Irshad, Parminder Mehta and others joined the Muslims on Id celebrations at Jama Masjid.

Meanwhile, thousands of Muslims celebrated Id in the city. Prayers were offered in different mosques across the city. However, the main function was held at the historic Jama Masjid, where the Shahi Imam and other religious leaders addressed the congregation.

Long queues of devotees were seen outside the mosque offering prayers in colourful outfits and caps. Even children were lined up in the queues offering prayers in perfect discipline and order alongwith their elders.

The Field Ganj, Islam Ganj and other areas, which has the maximam number of Muslim population living there, wore a festive look. Markets were decorated for the occasion.

Samrala: Id-ul-Fitr was celebrated here on Tuesday with gaiety. A dharamshala was also inaugurated by MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon on the occasion. The local SDM, Mr Baldev Singh, and SGPC member Kirpal Singh Kheernian greeted Muslims.



Congress mass contact programme from Oct 31
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana October 24
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) will launch a mass contact programme from October 31 coinciding with the martyrdom day of Indira Gandhi. This was disclosed by the PPCC president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, while addressing a press conference here today.

He said there could be no better day for the Congress to start the programme than the martyrdom day of Mrs Gandhi.

The PPCC president sought to clarify that there was no difference of opinion with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on any issue.

He said the programme would be jointly organised by the government and the party. It would involve organising big and small rallies, some of which would be jointly addressed by the PPCC president and the Chief Minister.

Mr Dullo refused to label the programme as ‘road show’ as was publicised earlier. He stressed that it would simply be a “mass contact programme” with the public.

Under the programme, all 117 constituencies of the state would be covered. He hoped that the programme would generate substantial public response as people were quite happy with the performance of the government.

The PPCC president announced that three massive rallies, one each in Malwa, Doaba and Majha region, would be held. Besides, there would be relatively smaller rallies organised at zonal-level.

On the issue of allotment of tickets, he said the ‘winnability’ would be the main criteria. He also hinted bringing in some fresh faces in the elections.

He added that the past performance of the probable candidates would also be taken note of.

On striking possible alliance with various political parties, he said the PPCC would submit its opinion and observations to the party high command for the final decision.

He also appealed all secular parties, mainly the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist), to support Congress to prevent the communal forces from coming to power.

About the appointment of party office-bearers at the district-level, the PPCC president said the district presidents had been fully authorised to make the appointments.

He said even in the cases where people approached him directly, the recommendations would be forwarded to the district presidents only.

However, he added, the district presidents would make the appointments with due consultation with the PPCC.

Mr Dullo said the government was likely to provide relief to the families of terror’s victims on the pattern of the 1984 riot victims.

He said the process in this regard was going on and the decision was likely to be announced soon. 



Bank employees to observe strike on October 27
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 24
Supporting the call for a nationwide strike by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), bank employees here would observe a strike on October 27 under the banner of Punjab Bank Employees Federation and All India Bank Officers Association.

The employees have demanded introduction of one more option for pension scheme and rejection of the government directed scheme.

They have also sought implementation of compassionate appointment scheme "as per bilateral discussions between UFBU and Indian Banks Association", besides raising demands like stoppage of outsourcing and commencement of recruitment to deal with shortage of employees and officers in banking industry.

Mr Naresh Gaur, secretary, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, said that for the last 15 years, the employees have been struggling due to government policies pertaining to financial sector and on account of banking sector reforms.

Alleging that the government has been making attempts at large scale closure of rural branches, the union said it has also been aiming to allow foreign banks in a big way in the country.

"The government wanted to give licenses to a large number of corporate houses to start banks and also wanted to hand over rural banking to private hands in the name of local area private banks. There was a pressure to close down three of our public sector banks but we fought against it. Now issues like mergers, outsourcing are posing a big threat to banks in the country and we would struggle till these are resolved," said the union.

The federation also said that it is strictly against mergers and acquisitions in public sector banks and would not tolerate any dilution in the ceiling of voting rights as provided in the Banking Regulation Act.

Employees would also hold a massive rally on October 27 in front of Canara Bank in the Bharat Nagar Chowk.



Rallies organised to misguide masses: Ramoowalia
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 24
Political rallies are meant to woo innocent voters, this was said by Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president Lok Bhalai Party. He claimed that these gatherings were organised to misguide people. He alleged that leaders of the Congress and the SAD had never shown any concern about the well-being of youth of the state.

While talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Ramoowalia alleged that the Congress and the SAD that had been ruling the state successively had been exploiting the sentiments of the people to gain and retain power. Terming the leaders of these parties as a burden on the social system, Mr Ramoowalia said, “Let these leaders come out with a list of their achievements and define what they have done for Punjabis, including starving youth and girls being exploited by travel agents.” He claimed that his party was the real public servant.

He blamed the SAD leaders for ignoring interests of Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular. He further alleged that these leaders did not bother to spend a single penny on the welfare of masses out of the annual income of Rs 287 crore by the SGPC.

Mr Ramoowalia further alleged that Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, had ignored the demand raised by him to impress upon the embassies of the countries where thousands of Punjabis had been stranded to expedite process for their repatriation. “What to talk of perusing the cases, the Chief Minister did not even confirm having written a letter to the concerned embassies,” rued Mr Ramoowali.

LBP leaders, Mr Mintoo Lotey, Amin Chand Joshi, Happy Gill and CPM leader Harbhalav Dass were also present on the occasion. 



Human rights body dismayed over police inaction
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 24
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) today expressed surprise and dismay over the inaction and dubious role being played by the local police in the case of a retired PCS officer’s blackmail by certain electronic mediapersons despite the fact that the Punjab Chief Minister had asked the DGP, Punjab, to enquire into the case and report back to his office at the earliest .

IHRO chairperson D.S. Gill, general secretary Mohinder Singh Grewal and secretary Jatinder Singh Sandhu, today said the SSP and his officials acted promptly in a similar case of Mayor’s blackmail by some mediaperson, who was arrested, and an FIR was registered against him immediately allegedly to please their bosses and only because there were no stakes involved in nabbing the said accused, they added.

They alleged that a “so called” special crime reporter of a TV channel along with his associates had masterminded a plot against Mr A.R. Darshi, a retired PCS officer, to extort money by falsely claiming latter’s involvement in the blind murder case of Vikramjit Singh of Model Town.

The complaint to this effect, they said, was handed over to the SSP, Ludhiana, more than a month ago for booking the accused under the appropriate provisions of the IPC but to no avail.

This despite the fact that the Chief Minister had desired that the complaint be enquired into and a report sent to the office for his information at an early date, according to the communication received by the IHRO from the Chief Minister’s OSD(S), Mr K.K.Sachdeva, on September 21.

Mr Darshi, who is also a member of the IHRO and looks after its academic affairs and documentation, felt that the local police, especially of Haibowal and Sarabha Nagar police stations, were hand in glove with the accused and were misleading the police in the Vikramjit murder case.

The IHRO would take up this matter with the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission, besides the Chief minister, in case the police did not book the accused immediately, they added.



Kotwali building to be renovated
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 24
The Kotwali building, one of the oldest in the city, would soon get a new lease of life with the police realising the need to protect the historical monument.
Taking note of a news report about the crumbling monument in these columns recently, the SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, said special funds were being arranged for the purpose.

The building dates back to 1836. The police station was house there after the 1860s.

More than half of the building was declared unsafe in 1994. The building could have withstood the onslaught of the elements if the department had taken care from time to time.

The Archaeology and Conservation Department of the state has also to share the blame. Even though the law regarding old monuments states that all buildings of historical importance have to be declared and treated as protected monuments, the department concerned has failed to notice its importance.

Industrialists have also not come forward to help in its conservation.

Even though the office of a DSP is situated there, the dilapidated building has not been on the priority list for renovation.

1834 is inscribed on the huge entrance door and it is the only indication of its history.



CM to open elevated road today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 24
Mr Vikas Partap, Commissioner, MC, said here today that the elevated road would be inaugurated tomorrow by the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh.
Addressing a press conference, he said the MC was also organising a function in Sherpur Kalan at 11 a.m. tomorrow where the CM would address the public.

He added that the elevated road was a unique project, first of its kind in the North India which was completed at a cost of Rs 51 crore.

It will reduce the travelling time by 15-20 minutes for the beneficiary traffic destined for the Jalandhar side as well as coming from Jalandhar side and going to Ferozepur, Ambala and Malerkotla.

The 11000 square metres of land under the elevated road would be utilised for landscaping.



Lok Bhalai Party questions CPM claim
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 24
The Lok Bhalai Party today questioned the claims of the CPM that the CPM, the LBP and the CPI had jointly fielded Mr Amarjit Singh Mattoo as candidate from Dakha (reserved) Assembly segment.

According to Mr Harbans Singh Sekha of the LBP, “No decision has so far been taken about the nomination of a candidate for Dakha (reserved) Assembly constituency and the joint front of the CPI, the CPM and the LBP has still to decide about the sharing of seats amongst them.”

He said the joint front would contest 50 to 60 seats in the forthcoming elections and provide the people of Punjab a viable representative group in the state Assembly.



MLA gheraoed
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 24
The Pendu Mazdoor Union (Punjab) members today gheraoed Mr Malkit Singh Dakha, MLA, over non-implementation of their demands which included remission of the power bills of the Pendu Mazdoor Union, Scheduled Castes and landless farmers, 50 per cent subsidy on wheat and fulfillment of promises made by the Congress government during the last elections.

The union members, holding a protest at Gagra village, accused the Congress government for inflation which had made the lives of masses miserable. They also demanded permanent jobs for daily wagers.

Mr Avtar Singh Rasulpur, general- secretary, Mr Sukhdev Singh Manuke, district president, and Mr Madan Singh, district secretary, were present on the occasion.



People for Orphan Organisation meeting
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 24
The People for Orphan Organisation today held a meeting, which was attended by its office-bearers.
Those at the meeting were told that a religious organisation, Gowrakshani Sabha, had announced to extend support and cooperation to the organisation. It also would be bearing half of the expenses of the body.

The organisation has also decided to open up an office in the city.

The meeting was attended by Mr Sham Lal Sapra, Mr Sham Sunder Malhotra, Mr Pankaj Sahrda, Mr Ashok Jindal, Mr Tejinder Singh Dang, Mr Prahlad Singh Dahll, Mr Parminder Singh Pardesi among others.



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