SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI

 

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

Make voters’ identity cards error free

As Punjab will elect its new State Assembly on February 13, the Election Commission must ensure that the voters’ identity cards are foolproof without any errors. It is a valid document for anyone to establish his citizenship just as the ration card and the school leaving certificate.The common mistakes in the voter’s identity card are: wrong spelling of names, house number, voter’s relationship with other family members, address and so on. Other particulars like date and place of birth, caste etc. must be correct.

Preparation of voters’ identity cards is a costly exercise. Of what use they are if no care is taken while supervising and checking the factual accuracy of the entries?

Lt-Col DAYA SINGH (retd), Bathinda

II

In his letter, Cast your vote carefully (Jan 20), Vinod Narang has rightly stressed the need for Punjab’s voters to exercise their franchise without fear or favour and wisely. Such appeals should inculcate a sense of responsibility among the young voters to perform their duty properly. We need to elect the right people to the Assembly.

ATUL GARG, Mandi


 

III

The people of Punjab should elect those who are honest and dedicated and with a clean record. Our representatives must be public-spirited individuals. If each candidate lived in a Punjab village for at least five years, he/she would be in a better position to grasp the village’s problems and do the needful.

Those representatives who have shown remarkable achievement in their respective constituencies (rural or urban) should be given another opportunity to serve the people. Let us hope for best in the coming Assembly elections.

S.S. PARMAR, Nangal-Thandal (Hoshiarpur)

Crimes against Dalits

J. Sri Raman’s article, Crimes against Dalits (Jan 24) is factual, correct and true. The Indian press in recent times has influenced the judiciary and the executive into action when heinous crime has been committed against socialites, the rich and the famous. There has been retribution as a result. However, torture, rape and death in police custody of Dalits do not receive any attention from any quarter.

Sikhism was founded as an egalitarian religion by our Guru's. They did away with the caste system. However, since 1947 our Sikh political and religious leaders, for selfish reasons and self-aggrandisement have fallen under the pernicious ideology of Hindutva, preached actively by the BJP and RSS and followed astutely by the Congress and other pseudo-secular parties.

This subservience of our leaders to Hindutva has allowed old Hindu caste practices to creep into the Sikh religion. Now we have two Gurdwaras, two cremation grounds and two Dharmsalas in every Sikh dominated avenue and village, one for the so-called upper crust and one for the Dalit Sikhs.

The influence on the SGPC, the High Priests of our Takhats and politicians, by the forces of Hindutva is so strong that though after 1849 we were able to shake off the Hinduisation of Sikhism, now after 1947 we are ambiguous of these extreme influences into our religion. I do agree that we practice apartheid on our Dalits. We deprive them of equality in religion, education, social intercourse and political upliftment. We also practice untouchability and in one Dera in Bhatinda, the Gurdwara management here doesn’t serve them meals in the community kitchen. This is a cardinal sin in our religion.

Our superior political class has still not found respectful toiletry for our Dalit women in villages and they still go out into the agriculture fields to answer the call of nature. Equal education for their children, pensions for the aged and the widows are still dreams. They are without health care, employment and housing. They are so poor that they vote for their own demise when the Hindutva parties to which our Akali factions are in coalition offer them liquor, drugs and money for their votes.

It is time the UN and the Western democracies stepped into this fresh Black Hole of Calcutta. Our party stands by the egalitarian code of our Guru’s. We do want total equality in every field for our Dalit Sikhs and put an end to practices of apartheid and untouchability. We think these are crimes against humanity and should be dealt with as such.

SIMRANJIT SINGH MANN,
President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Camp: Dhanaula

Money power

“Money can buy bed but not sleep; food but not appetite…” the well-admired quotation brings down the value of money. This is applicable only to the elite class or, to some extent, the upper middle class. However, for others, only money can buy them the basic necessities of life.

The power-mongers, once elected, deny any assistance to the poor till the next elections. No doubt, there is no substitute for money, be it for politicians or the poor.

SUKHBIR SINGH, Mohali

 

All for a bureaucrat!

During a visit to Punjab recently, I had been to ‘Boat Club-Pincasia’, a tourist complex, near Ropar, for dinner. Surprisingly, the dinner service was suddenly suspended for all ordinary people like us after a local bureaucrat arrived there to dine with his friends!

Having seen the bureaucrat, the hotel manager was tense and panic-stricken. He diverted the hotel staff to the place where this bureaucrat settled for the dinner. This is not the way in which tourists should be treated. In principle, bureaucrats should not visit public places if their visits are likely to disrupt the normal functioning of the hotels and cause inconvenience to the general public.

I hope the authorities concerned will understand this writer’s deep anguish and act accordingly. This letter should not be viewed as an individual complaint but as a general suggestion to the Punjab government to have concern for all customers and to treat all humans equally.

ROBERT SMITH, 25, Broadway, New York (USA)


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