P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab to witness close contests
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, December 3
Both the principal parties who are contenders for power in Punjab — Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal — have already done home work through their rallies and road shows, respectively. Both of them seem to have come to the conclusion that they are facing close contests in each and every constituency and this time it will not be a cakewalk for any of the two.

In such a situation, the smaller parties are feeling emboldened. Mr Ravi Inder Singh, who heads the Akali Dal (1920), organised a congregation at Chamkaur Sahib wherein leaders of the Jan Morcha or Third Front, including Mr V.P. Singh, former Prime Minister, showed up. This development, in fact, is being considered as the first step towards formation of the Third Front in Punjab. Secondly, it also shows that the smaller parties are on the road to be relevant in the fight for power.

The Chamkaur Sahib rally was followed by the visit of Ms Mayawati, President, Bahujan Samaj Party, to Jalandhar where she addressed a state-level rally of the party. The state leaders of the BSP are confident that their support will become crucial in the election foray as soon as the scene hots up, notwithstanding the differences in the BSP leadership of the state. Mayawati will like to make the best of the situation as usual.

The Left Parties are also looking towards the alignments in the smaller parties. The CPI has made it clear that it will not have any alliance with the Congress. The CPM is also not likely to adopt a different course.

Still the Akali Dal (Amritsar), led by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, remains an enigma. The smaller groups are yet to appreciate that Mr Mann has his political ambitions and his first priority is to maintain his vote bank of the committed Sikhs and those hardcore sections who suffered during the militancy in Punjab. He has mellowed down but his whole thrust is to maintain his following. What shape the political alliances take place is yet to crystallise.

The Congress and the SAD, on their part, are trying to highlight for the time being the weaknesses of each other, the factional fight and the disgruntled elements who inevitably will not find adjustments for themselves in the end. This speaks for the repeated claims of the notables and the number of workers of each of their parties leaving and joining one and the other. The people still cannot make any projections about the Akali Dal (Longowal) headed by Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra who keeps on meeting cross-sections of the people.

Frequently there are rumours that he might be accommodated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal within the SAD. The second rung leadership in the SAD is feeling uneasy about the overbearing attitude of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The Party in power, the Congress, has its own difficulties. The President of the PPCC, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, does not have smooth working with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. He has his own ambitions also.

The Chief Minister, who led the party to power in 2002, has his own political convictions as well as power base. He also has likes and dislikes.

Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar brand politicians within the Congress do not let him have comfortable time. All these permutations and combinations are likely to get relegated into the background when the scene hots up. The real fight in Punjab will centre round two personalities — Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

SAD to help Sidhu fight case in SC: Badal
Tribune News Service

Ajnala, December 3
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) would stand by Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, local BJP MP, and help him fight the case in the apex court as it was 'politically motivated'.

Stating this to the media here today, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD, announced that the party would generate public opinion on the case. The SAD-BJP combine would benefit as Sidhu's campaign would be more effective now.

He said the party was taking the views of legal experts in the case and would decide the future course of action only after the verdict of the honorable court comes out.

He announced that he would accompany Sidhu on December 6, the day fixed for the judgement in Chandigarh.

On being asked whether Sidhu would be fielded as a candidate against the Capt Singh from Patiala, the SAD chief said that it was for the BJP to decide. “We have to take them in confidence.”

Urging the people to change the dictatorial government of Capt Amarinder Singh in the state, Mr Badal said that the Congress had been vindictive as it had let loose repressive forces to harass people.

Later, addressing the rally at Dana Mandi, Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary SAD, said that they would set up a commission which would submit its report within three months on the false cases registered at various police stations in the state if their party came to power.

He said that it was for the people to decide whether they wanted a dictator like Capt Singh or real democrat like Mr Badal (his father) who had spent his whole life serving the people of the state.

Though the list of the SAD-BJP candidates for the forthcoming assembly elections has not been declared yet, the name of Mr Amarpal Singh Boney was announced from the dais by Sukhbir Badal.


BJP prays for Sidhu
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 3
Mr Tikshan Sud while talking to mediapersons at his residence here yesterday said that neither the political career of BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu would have any adverse effect on the party nor would the SAD-BJP alliance suffer setback in the forthcoming state Assembly election.

He said the recent statement of the Chief Minister, Capt Amrinder Singh, against the cricketer-turned-politician clearly indicates that the prosecution had speeded up the proceedings of 18 year-old case on his behest.

Mr Sidhu and the BJP had full faith in the working of judiciary.

He said the BJP legislatures and workers were with Mr Sidhu who was a star campaigner and an undisputed leader of the party.

The BJP workers of Hoshiarpur also prayed for Mr Sidhu at local Gurdwara Singh Sabha this afternoon.


Capt Kanwaljit at his populist best
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Banur, December 3
Acknowledging the significant role of senior citizens in the February 2007 Punjab Assembly elections, a senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and Banur MLA, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today sought to woo them with old-age pension in a clear attempt to score political points over his rivals.

Addressing a “Dalit chetna rally” here, Capt Kanwaljit Singh promised a pension of Rs 400 to every senior citizen in the state in case the SAD-BJP alliance formed the government in Punjab after the elections. Abdicating its social responsibility, the Amarinder Singh government had reduced the old-age pension beneficiaries from 9.5 lakh in 2002 to about 3 lakh at present, the Akali leader alleged.

At the same time, the SAD stalwart was at his populist best and sought to placate every section of society. The Bazigar community would be given proprietary rights over the land under their control, the MLA said, promising special schemes for the backward classes and the Dalits.

Taking on the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for wasting precious public money on the Punjab vikas yatra, the former Finance Minister advised him to spend this money on productive works for the development of the state, which had taken a backseat in the past about five years.

The spiralling prices and unemployment would be the main election issues as every section of society, including farmers, traders and the youth, was fed up with the “lopsided” policies of the Punjab Government, which he alleged, were “compromising” with the state’s interests.

While the common man remained at the receiving end of the government machinery, top government functionaries were busy wooing major industrial houses in the garb of mega projects for their “selfish “ motives, he alleged.

Mr Jasjeet Singh Bunny, general secretary of youth wing of the SAD, claimed that the party organisation, particularly the youth wing, was fully geared up for the elections.

Prominent among those, present on the occasion were Mr Surjit Singh Garhi, SGPC member, Mr Nirmail Singh Jaula Kalan, Mr Sukhdev Singh Changera, Mr Bhupinder Saini, Mr Narinder Sharma, Mr Jaswinder Singh Jassi, Ms Gulshan Kaur, Mr Amarinder Singh, Mr Sadhu Singh and Mr Santokh Singh.

Meanwhile, Mr Bachan Singh Saini, vice-president of the Congress (City), joined the SAD along with his supporters.


SC verdict on DSGMC poll setback to Badal group
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, December 3
With the Supreme Court judgement the election of the office-bearers of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), decks have been cleared for the general house elections of the DSGMC by the end of this month. Term of the house of the SGPC is five years whereas of the DSGMC is four years. The four-year term has since expired.

The Badal group in the DSGMC has suffered a setback with the Supreme Court judgement by which election of Mr Harvinder Singh Sarna as president of the DSGMC and other office-bearers has been declared valid. The Badal group which went to the Supreme Court has been fined Rs 50,000 for unnecessary litigation. Now the Sarna group of the State Akali Dal (Delhi) is busy in preparations for the general house elections whereas the Badal Group is keen on getting the election postponed. For this purpose, the Badal Group has approached the Lt. Governor of Delhi through Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor of Tamil Nadu. The Sarna brothers too have cordial relations with Mr Surjit Singh Barnala because both brothers were supporters of late Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. Mr Harvinder Singh Sarna and Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna are confident that elections will be held by the end of December or the early January.

Strength of the DSGMC house is 46. At the moment, Mr Sarna group seems to have an edge over the Akali Dal (Badal) because under presidentship of Mr H.S. Sarna, the DSGMC organised kar seva of gurdwara Janamasthan Guru Ramdas in Lahore in Pakistan and also nagar kirtan to Nankana Sahib despite boycott by the Badal group, procession attracted a number of Sikhs in Punjab and Haryana. Mr Pervez Elahi, Chief Minister of Pakistani Punjab came to the Wagah border to receive the procession led by Guru Granth Sahib.

Among the, elite educated and the Sarna brothers also created a place by organising a Seminar on the eve of Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev. Mr Harvinder Singh Sarna said they had been successful in preventing the DDA from demolishing the staff quarters built by the DSGMC adjoining Majnu Ka Tilla gurdwara.

They have promised to set up a B.Ed. college and also a college of technology. Both institutions have been opened and admissions started opening new for Sikh students of Delhi. The SGTB Khalsa College run by the DSGMC got a new auditorium and has been named as Master Tara Singh Auditorium. Likewise, parking constructed Gurdwara Bangla Sahib has also been named Master Tara Singh Car Parking. This has gone well with Sikhs of Delhi.

Meanwhile the Badal Group has entered into negotiations with the group of late Jathedar Santokh Singh is now headed by his son Manjit Singh who has set up the Akali Dal (Panthic) and Bhai Ranjit Singh former Jathedar of Akal Takht.

Scenario at Delhi does not go well with the Badal group and because this is the group making efforts to get the poll postponed hoping after the Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections, they will be in a position to face the Sarna brothers.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, general-secretary, Akali Dal (Amritsar) commenting on the Delhi Sikh scenario of Sarna brothers because of their work in Delhi, Punjab and in Pakistan had merged as Panthic leaders. They continue to work in the style of Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra and have successfully defeated all efforts of the Badal Group in Delhi.


BKU for case against sugarmill management
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The president of the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU), Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, today urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to get a criminal case registered against the management of the Mukerian sugarmill for "attacking" farmers of the area with sharp-edged weapons.

Mr Rajewal said if action was not taken by the state government against the management of the mill, the agitation, launched by farmers against the mill authorities, would spread to the entire state." The BKU cannot tolerate the beating up farmers in any case", he said.

The government authorities concerned should also be questioned as to on what grounds they had transferred the area under sugarcane, that was earlier in the jurisdiction of the Gurdaspur Cooperative Sugarmill, to the Mukerian mill.

Talking to The Tribune,Mr Rajewal, said a case of culpable homicide should also be registered against certain officials of the mill in connection with the death of Swaran Singh.

Mr Rajewal alleged that Swaran Singh died on hearing that his son,Mr Tarsem Singh, Sarpanch of Noonan village, had been attacked with sharp-edged weapons by officials of the mill management and suffered a cut on one arm. The BKU leader said Swaran Singh was in the Gurdaspur Civil Hospital when he got the news regarding the injury suffered by his son. " On receiving the report regarding injury to his son, Swaran Singh suffered a heart attack and died", alleged Mr Rajewal.

Mr Rajewal said the farmers had been agitating against the management mill to seek Rs 7 per quintal as freight charges for the farmers who brought sugarcane to the mill from a distance about 50 km.

Earlier, the management of the mill had been paying such freight charges to certain farmers who had been bringing sugarcane from a distance up to 32 km from the mill site. However, it was denying the same freight charges to other farmers who had been bringing sugarcane from a distance of 50 km, he added.


Zee for de-merger; to launch 24-hr Punjabi news channel
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Zee, which pioneered entertainment on the small screen in the country, has decided to go for de-merger by rolling out three functionally, strategically and legally independent companies.

The new companies - Zee News, Wire and Wireless and Zee Entertainment - will have their own Chief Executive Officers and also be free to chart their own future course of action.

Talking to The Tribune here, Mr Asish Kaul, vice-president, Zee Films and Entertainment, said the demerger had already been approved and the new companies would be functional from either this month or early next month.

He said all legal formalities had been completed. Even the High Court had approved of the demerger. The group, with a turnover of Rs 5,500 crore, had witnessed a tremendous growth over the years.

“There is still a lot to be done in the cable and entertainment network. As of now there are only 8 lakh television sets in the country, of which only 6.6 lakh have cable connectivity. And more than 50 per cent of total TV sets are black and white,” revealed Mr Kaul. “A vast area of the country is still to be covered. Advancing technology is bridging the communication gap and we are planning to reach our consumers wherever they are-travelling, at their work place or their home. Every month, a million cell phones are added.

“Since TV is by appointment and life is becoming hypersensitive, a substantial section of people with disposable income want to be kept informed of happenings around them. That is why the concept of digital media convergence has been gaining strength,” added Mr Kaul.

Zee News will have news channels like Zee Business and the regional channels, including Zee Bangla and Alpha, under its banner. It has already launched a 24-hour Bangla news channel,24 Tass, and will soon be launching a similar 24-hour news channels in Marathi and Punjabi. It will also be listed on the stock exchange.

The second important company, Wire and Wireless, will be basically dealing with cable distribution. It is this company which is the gatekeeper of info in a home. Cable networking, he said, had come of age and time was not far when each cable service provider would bring home phone, cable, broadband and data. This company would be headed by Mr Jagjit Singh Kohli, the man who pioneered the telecast of Gurbani from Sri Harmandir Sahib.

The third company would deal with entertainment, cinema and international business.

Mr Kaul said the Zee group was also planning to come in a big way in the entertainment business by planning multiplexes ,Bioscopes, on the pattern of Fun Republics in Chandigarh and Mumbai. “Our next destination in the north is Punjab where we plan to have Bioscope in each district. Besides, we plan to reintroduce Antakshri,’’ concluded Mr Kaul.


‘Constitution of pay panel after Dec 7’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 3
Denying that there was any failure on the part of the state government, regarding constitution of the Fifth Punjab Pay Commission, the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, today claimed that the state government would hopefully constitute the pay commission after December 7 to benefit lakhs of employees in the form of new pay scales and other allowances.

In reply to a question, Mr Singla said the state government had already made a proposal regarding nomination of the Chairman of the commission.

He said the Punjab Chief Secretary, who had gone abroad, would return to Punjab on December 7. After his return, formalities to constitute the Fifth Pay Commission would be completed, he added.

Earlier, on September 22 last during his visit to Sangrur, Mr Singla had stated "the Punjab Government is looking for a Judge, already dealing with service matters, to appoint him as Chairman of the Fifth Punjab Pay Commission” while during his visit to Sangrur on August 9 last, Mr Singla had stated that after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Punjab Government would constitute the Pay Commission the following day.

Mr Singla was here today in connection with a meeting of the Sangrur District Congress Committee which was held to mobilise Congress workers for the Congress rally to be held on December 8 at Badal, the native village of the SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal. He claimed that this rally of the Congress in Badal village would be a historic one, as the Congress would hoist a victory flag for the ensuing Assembly elections on that day in Badal village.

Mr Singla claimed that the rallies and Vikas Yatras by the Congress in the state had proved that the party was ahead of the SAD, as the people were with it due to development carried out by the government. He also claimed that the Congress party was going to form the government once again and this would be a new chapter in the history of the state as no party had ever formed the government for the second consecutive term.

With regard to the state's financial health, Mr Singla said the bank balance of the state government was Rs 830 crore. He said this money was lying with the Reserve Bank of India. So there was no shortage of money for development in the state despite the fact that the state government was spending crores on various projects.


Engine snag hits rail traffic
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, December 3
Up and down line railway traffic to Jalandhar-Pathankot railway section remained suspended for more than one hour today.

While confirming the disruption of rail traffic, sources said here this afternoon that down line railway traffic on the Pathankot -Jalandhar rail section remained disrupted for one hour when the engine of the Delhi-bound 2920 Dn Malwa Express failed near Dasuya railway station at 11.35 am. The train could proceed for its destination with a new engine at 12.40 pm.

In second incident, the up line rail traffic remained suspended when a sugarcane-loaded tractor-trolley suffered a technical fault as the hook connecting both tractor and trolley suddenly broke in middle of the manned railway crossing no B-110 between Mukerian and Bungala at about 8.10 am.

Meanwhile, Pathankot bound-3151 Up Sialdeh Express remained stranded at Mukerian railway station while 1077 Up Jhelam Express remained stranded outside Mukerian railway station for more than 40 minutes.

Later, the tractor trolley was pulled away with the help of another vehicle and traffic could be restored.


Stable tax regime to be ensured, says Pawan Bansal
Our Correspondent

Tapa (Barnala), December 3
A stable tax regime will be ensured in India. The national economy is in a better state now, as the national economic rate of growth has gone up to 9.2 per cent from 8 per cent during the past quarter.

This information was given by Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister of State for Finance here today.

Sounding a note of caution and warning, Mr Bansal made it clear that tax evaders and violators in the country would be dealt with sternly. In reply to a question, Mr Bansal said that he did not agree that there were any disparities and partial approach in the enforcement of the tax system.

Mr Bansal expressed happiness over the fact that credit growth in banks of India had gone up to the extent of 32 per cent. He said that cooperative banks had been instructed to offer loans to farmers (agriculture credit) at the interest rate of 7 per cent at par with national banks for one year. He made it clear that all national banks in the country had been instructed not to charge anything more than 7 per cent interest rate for agriculture credit (offering loans to farmers) and if any bank charged anything more than 7 per cent interest, this must be brought to his notice.

Mr Bansal declared that to bring more prosperity, development and advancement in Barnala and Tapa regions, he would strive to impress upon the authorities concerned to add a new rail line in this region.


Judges vow to put cases under PNDT Act on fast track
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, December 3
Taking a serious view of the declining sex ratio in Punjab and Haryana, the judiciary today vowed to take the necessary steps to stem the rot. In the first ever judicial colloquium held to discuss the issue, judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the 40 visiting judicial officers to decide the pending cases under the Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 as soon as possible.

The backlog is too heavy to be ignored. Also, the rate of conviction under the PNDT Act is abysmally low.

In Punjab, out of 88 court cases filed under the Act to prevent pre-birth elimination of the girl child (the term being used instead of foeticide which only means medical termination of pregnancy), only four have resulted in conviction. Haryana has registered 28 such FIRs but managed only one conviction.

These facts came to light during the conference, which was organised by the Human Rights Law Network.

In Punjab, 75 cases are pending in courts. Same is the case in Haryana. No wonder Mr Justice K.S. Grewal of the High Court, besides asking the Punjab government to register every pregnancy and constituting a Bio-Ethical Committee to check malpractices, told the attending judicial officers to decide all pending cases by March 31.

Earlier, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar, Executive Chairman of the Punjab State Legal Services Authority, told The Tribune that the Authority would no longer restrict its intervention to compromises through lok adalats. “Prevention of sex determination would be top priority for the Authority in 2007. The effort is inspired by the Chief Justice of the High Court who is keen on the issue. On December 17 we are holding a conference in Patiala, where the Chief Justice of India is also expected.

We will discuss the ways forward and plan a strategy to create awareness in the direction. We also plan to hold district, tehsil and sub-tehsil level meetings presided over by judicial and health officers who will further apprise the people of the subject.”

All the 11 High Court judges who attended the colloquium, including Mr Justice J.S. Narang, Mr Justice S.S. Saron and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar stressed the need to protect the girl child. They thanked experts for apprising them of the scientific base of the Act. The colloquium was attended by about 40 judicial officers from Patiala, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Panchkula and Chandigarh.

For them, it was one stop shop for all the information regarding the Act, which offers elaborate provisions to nab the culprits.

It is another matter that the offenders devise other ways around the law. As Dr. V.K. Goyal, State Nodal Officer for the implementation of PNDT Act in Punjab, pointed out: “Whereas ultrasound must only be conducted to determine the abnormality in the mother or the child, ultrasonographists are blatantly misusing the test for sex determination.

The usual excuses are -- fetal wellbeing and abdominal pain. But the law offers the provision to check this practice.

The reasons for conducting an ultrasound are supposed to be mentioned in detail in form “F” and any discrepancy in disclosure can lead to trouble.”

Punjab has 1178 ultrasound centres and has so far ordered 230 suspensions under the Act. Haryana has conducted 4389 inspections since the Act came into force.

These two states are home to the 10 districts infamous for the lowest sex ration in the country. These districts are Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Kurukshetra, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Bathinda, Mansa, Amritsar, Sonepat and Ambala.


Pak artistes given warm welcome at Wagah 
Tribune News Service

Wagah, December 3
A 19-member delegation of artistes led by Usmaan Peerzada of Rafi Peer Theatre group of Lahore, crossed over to India to take part in 'Saanjh' Amritsar Lahore Festival-2006, that started yesterday. The artistes from across the border were welcomed by the management and students of Spring Dale School and residents of Amritsar at Wagah.

“This year we would be fortunate to have with us maestros like Allahditta Lonaywala, Sain Zahoor, Jatt brothers and many more renowned artistes. Besides a nautanki natak and a film festival of Pakistani movies and documentaries with a diverse repertoire will surely make this festival an exuberant experience”. Usmaan Peerzada of the Rafi Peer Theatre group of Lahore said coming to Amritsar was like coming home. It was not really any different from Lahore. He said he was thrilled to get a warm welcome during Saanjh-2004 and was sure that this year too the people of this holy city would shower the same love and affection on them. Usmaan added that Indian artistes had received unprecedented response in Lahore during the past few days and was hopeful that people-to-people contact would be further strengthened with such festivals.

Sain Zahoor, one of the last wandering minstrels, said Saanjh-2004 had given him platform in India for the first time and added that for him coming to Amritsar was like coming home and the love and affection he got from this city would always remain close to his heart.

Allahditta Lonaywala, who is visiting the holy city for the first time, too was full of excitement. He would be presenting traditional music in Chiniot Style.


Plan to set up hospice in Hoshiarpur
Our correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 3
A group of social activists intends to set up a hospice in Hoshiarpur to provide symptomatic treatment to terminally ill persons in a homely environment to mitigate their sufferings.

Stating this here today, Dr Ajay Bagga, Prof Bahadur Singh and Dr Sardool Singh, all social activists, stated that at present only one such 10-bedded hospice is working in North India at Chandigarh. This hospice, managed jointly by the Chandigarh Red Cross and Radiotherapy Department of the PGI, Chandigarh, is catering to the medical needs of terminally ill cancer patients.

They further stated that the proposed hospice in Hoshiarpur would provide palliative care to the terminally ill patients of all diseases. To set up and manage this hospice, help of dedicated, devoted persons and philanthropists is required, he said.

Dr Bagga said that Dr Feroza Patel, Prof of Radiotherapy Department of the PGI, who is also looking after the Chandigarh hospice would visit Hoshiarpur this month to explain the significance of palliative care in the present-day society.


Bhagat Singh’s philosophy ‘stirs souls in Maharashtra’
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 3
Martyr Bhagat Singh's philosophy is stirring the souls of lakhs of people in Maharashtra, a state that has witnessed a strong Dalit movement in the past and strain in Hindu-Muslim ties in the aftermath of bomb blasts at different places.

This was stated yesterday by Mr Ravindra Mokashi, secretary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Janam Shatabdi Committee formed in Maharashtra. He was in the city to attend the Shaheed Yadgari Mela organised by United Welfare Society and Tarksheel Society to mark the martyr's birth centenary.

In an exclusive interview to The Tribune, he said: "Bhagat Singh's ideas on sensitive issues like communalism and untouchability can be significant in bonding our society in contemporary times." He said they were propagating the martyr's philosophy through district-level workshops that were being attended by teachers, students, representatives of trade unions and NGOs in large numbers. They were also banking upon the visual media to sensitize common people on Bhagat Singh's views and were screening 'The Legend of Bhagat Singh' movie in urban localities as well as rural areas. "The screening is followed by a summary in Marathi language to convey the idea across to those who had difficulty in understanding Hindi. We engage students or activists attending our workshop for narrating the summary." He said people in Maharashtra were appreciative of Bhagat's radical views on communalism and untouchability. He said the martyr's birth centenary had provided them a unique platform from where they could initiate a dialogue with people on existing social problems and exploring a way out through his ideology. He said they were now planning to take out a mobile poster exhibition on this revolutionary social thinker in various districts of Maharashtra.

He said the committee, which is headed by retired Supreme Court Judge PB Sawant, had also roped in different varsities of the state in celebrating the martyr's birth centenary. He said the celebrations would culminate in the form of Yuva Mahotsav on September 28 next year in which over 10,000 youths would participate.

Meanwhile, a cultural programme was presented at the sports stadium as part of the Shaheed Yadgari Mela in which a play “Mein Bhagat Singh” was the high point. Bhagat Singh's nephew, Prof Jagmohan Singh, freedom fighters and social activists of the area were felicitated. Mr Baldev Singh from Tarksheel Society and Mr Vijay Bhatt of United Welfare Society were also present.


950 examined at neuro camp
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 3
More than 950 patients were examined at a free neuro-therapy camp, organised by the Lehragaga Niwasi Sabha, Sangrur, at the Pracheen Shri Shiv Mandir (Bagichi Wala) here today.

Mr Harnek Singh, ADC (Development), inaugurated the camp, while a team of 35 doctors examined the patients and gave detailed information to the people about the neuro-therapy.


Cable operators’ clash: 2 hurt
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 3
After pointing accusing fingers at each other the warring factions of the cable network operators clashed late last evening.

Bharat Bhushan Sharma,a son of the Nai Abadi-based cable operator, was rushed to the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital with head injury as some persons allegedly attacked him with lathis in street 2 where he had gone to attend a complaint by a customer, Inder Mohan.

The culprits escaped as Bharat's assistant Chintu raised the alarm for help. His mother, Rama Sharma, said at the hospital she had informed the subdivisional authorities on Thursday but no preventive measures were initiated.

Later Malkiat Singh, an employee of the rival cable operator, was also admitted to the same hospital. He blamed sons of the Nai Abadi-based operator for attacking him with swords and lathis but the other faction termed it a bid to neutralise their complaint.

Five others, including a woman, were injured in clashes at different places in the subdivision on Saturday. A science student was assaulted on the way back from a coaching centre on Seeto Road.


One remanded under NDPS Act
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 3
Avtar Singh, son of Lal Singh, a resident of Seed Farm Colony, has been remanded in police custody for two days. He was arrested by the police yesterday under the NDPS Act on recovery of 20 gm of smack.

The accused had been allegedly involved in narcotics trafficking for the past three years and faced trial in the sub-divisional courts.


Unemployed B.Ed teachers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 3
Hundreds of unemployed B.Ed teachers today staged a protest march on the main roads of the city stifling traffic at many important junctions.

The teachers, protesting against the non-implementation of their demands by the state government, assembled at Vir Haqiquat Rai park, near Rajpura road, where several leaders delivered speeches.

From there, the teachers started marching towards the New Moti Bagh residence of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, before they were stopped near the Polo ground, about 400 meters from the CM's residence. Addressing the protesting teachers, Mr Sukhdarshan Singh, state President of the Unemployed B.Ed Teachers Union, said the state government had played a cruel joke on the unemployed teachers by advertising just 2614 posts, while there were more than 1.25 lakh unemployed B.Ed teachers in the state.


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