L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Heads likely to roll for PM rally fiasco
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
Poor performance in the Prime Minister's rally is going to haunt the rank and file of the Congress party post elections as many heads are likely to roll for not being able to make the rally a success.

According to sources not only the state Congress unit but All India Congress Committee too had taken issue of low turnout at the rally very seriously and was all set to take action against those found responsible for the mess.

They, however, said action may be taken after the elections as removing some people right away could have an adverse affect on the outcome of the elections.

The AICC has already given a scolding to some Congress leaders besides the three Congress observers who had been camping in the city for quite some time. The party high command is sending more observers to take control of the situation.

Sources said after the PM's rally, that was more of an embarrassment to the party, rallies of many senior leaders scheduled in Ludhiana were cancelled. Mr Sushil Shinde, a Union Minister and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra had to address a rally in city but after PM's rally he refused to come here.

Even the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, is learnt to have heaved a sigh of relief that she had not selected to address electorate in Ludhiana.

The District Congress Committee was the organiser of the rally and as many as 3,500 persons attended it. The candidates, MC councillors, Youth Congress and Mahila Congress members, were not asked to make arrangements. The party has been told that many people wanted to listen to the Prime Minister but there were no arrangements to ferry them to the venue of the rally.

On the other hand the PYC, Mahila Congress workers have been secretly telling the party high command that they were not asked to chip in and they thought the DCC would make arrangements on their own. But they could not gather even 5,000 persons.

Such was the displeasure of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, PPCC Chief Shamsher Singh Dullo and AICC Secretary Manish Tewari that they reportedly gave a severe dressing down to DCC Chief Jagmohan Sharma after the event.

A section of the party, including the Youth Congress and other frontal organisations, have demanded the sack of the organisers.

There were many red faces in the Congress camp, especially, in the District Congress Committee as the unit could not ensure a decent turnout as several parts of the venue were completely empty from the time the Prime Minister arrived till he left at 4 p.m.

It was a matter of shame that only 12 party councillors chose to attend the rally while most of the block chiefs were conspicuous by their absence. Had the organisers informed the councillors and the block presidents the venue would have been choc-a-bloc with people.

A gathering of a few thousand voters was needed to fill the relatively small venue and this should not have been a problem, they added.

The leaders have demanded strict action against the organisers besides the Congressmen contesting against the party nominees.

The 12 party candidates too were annoyed at the average turnout and had informed the party top brass that they were not asked by the DCC to bring their supporters and were informed that the city unit would manage the show on its own.

Thus most of them came with a few supporters only.

Blame game on

Meanwhile, the organisers of the rally have reportedly started blaming each other. So much so that even the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, has not been spared.

The rally had been organised purposely at the fag end of the campaign with less than a week left for the elections. The party leadership had expected a good turnout in order to build up momentum that could be carried forward right till the end. But unfortunately for the party the rally failed to boost the morale of the party rank and file.

The Ludhiana District Congress Committee (urban) president, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, is learnt to have blamed the party candidates contesting from different constituencies for the fiasco. He is said to have told the party high command that except for Kila Raipur, none of the candidates had offered any support to them in terms of mobilising the people. In fact, they reportedly asked their workers and supporters to remain focused in their own segments. As a result the major party rally was reduced to the level of a local constituency-level show.

The candidates, on their part, have been maintaining that it was difficult for them to shift their workers away from their routine duties. They have reportedly explained to the party leadership that moving the party workers in large numbers could have "derailed" their own campaign in their particular segments.

Some leaders have even blamed the PCC president, Mr Dullo, who is also contesting from the Khanna constituency, as, they argue, he had more stakes than anybody else as he was a candidate as well as the PCC president. Mr Dullo has, however, rubbished these charges saying, he was overseeing the entire state and not a particular segment.



Congress days numbered, says Shanta Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Shanta Kumar today said days of the Congress were numbered in the state as was evident from the fact that the leaders were not able to arrange a decent show in the rallies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

‘‘It is a writing on the wall and the electorate is already telling its mood, ’’ he said, while canvassing for the SAD-BJP leaders in the city here today.

‘‘The people have got disenchanted from the Congress and they want a change. That is why the turnout is on the lower side, ’’ said Mr Shanta Kumar.

The former Union Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution System said that the Congress Government not only in Punjab but also at the Centre had failed on all fronts and could not check the rise in prices of essential commodities like wheat flour and sugar.

‘‘The hike is manmade and there was no shortfall in the production of wheat or sugarcane. Government agencies’ delay in purchasing these agriculture produces was deliberate and by that time the private players had filled their stores to sell these commodities at higher prices later," he said, adding that even the prices of wheat flour were going very high while there was a surplus produce of wheat in the country.

He addressed a rally in the favour of SAD-BJP candidate from Ludhiana west, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, at Mandeep Nagar today. Senior district BJP leaders, including Mr Subash Verma, Mr Satpal Gosain and Mr Kamal Chatley, were also present on the occasion.



Protest against free liquor, drugs 
Our Correspondent

Students of Gurmat Gyan Missionary College take out a rally in protest against of politicians distributing drugs and alcohol to woo voters
Students of Gurmat Gyan Missionary College take out a rally in protest against of politicians distributing drugs and alcohol to woo voters. — Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, February 8
Politicians, in order to win elections, are freely distributing drugs and alcohol. To make the general people aware of the ill effects of drugs and alcohol, a rally was taken out by students, staff and officials of Gurmat Gyan Missionary College (GGMC) here today.

The election time is here, and to entice voters various political parties are distributing drugs to woo voters. In order to check this malpractice , GGMC took out a rally to spread awareness among the general public.

The rally started from Gurdwars Model Town Extension, and went to Krishna Mandir, to RS Model School, Guru Tegbhadur Hospital, MintGumari Chowk to Chattar Singh Park. It took a round of the Gurdwara Singh Sabha and went to Gulati Chowk to Dugri Road and went back to where it began.

The students were shouting anti- drug slogans and carrying placards condemning the persons distributing alcohol. They asked the politicians to shun the practice of distributing alcohol during elections. Mr Inderjit Singh Rana, Chairman of Gurmat Gyan Missionary College, and Principal Kanewar Mahinder Pratap Singh, Gaurd Attar Singh, and many other participated in this march.



Truant poll staff will not be spared: EO
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
Getting tough with the employees not turning up for rehearsals of poll duties, the District Election Officer has issued notices to employees and in many cases, to departmental heads instructing charge-sheeting of absentees from poll duties.

The District Election Officer, Mr Ashok Gupta, told the Ludhiana Tribune that disciplinary action against the absentees could involve a departmental action or a criminal action.

While rehearsals would take place tomorrow as well, Mr Gupta said each case would be thoroughly analysed before any action is taken. "If there are candidates who do turn up tomorrow, then they would be required to explain their absence during previous rehearsals. Each case would be treated individually before deciding upon the final action. We have issued notices and are very serious about pursuing the same."

Poll duties had lead to the pouring in of numerous complaints at the Election Office here. From teachers to bankers and various other departments, complaints varied from medical grounds to personal reasons. While bank employees said public work was suffering as the allotment of duties was not proportionate, the Election Officer maintained that duties had been assigned only after due consultations with senior officials in departments including banks.

The EO had earlier issued notices to employees who did not turn up for rehearsals on January 31. “Duties have been finalised. This time the notices have been sent in case of those who have failed to turn up in all rehearsals held so far.”

The EO had issued warning to employees to take their duties seriously lest they face a disciplinary action. “At a time when the employees should co-operate and contribute towards smooth polling, it is sad that many are not taking their duty seriously”, he said.



‘SAD plundering pockets of peasants’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 8
Accusing the SAD of promoting divisive forces in the state, Mr Sachin Pilot, MP, called upon various sections of society to join hand against the communal forces that according to him were bent on destabilising the economy of the nation.

He was addressing a rally organised in support of the Congress nominee at Pakhowal village near here yesterday.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Pilot, son of a former minister Rajesh Pilot, alleged that the SAD leaders had been plundering pockets of innocent peasants for decades and in turn had given them only penury instead of prosperity.

“When they (SAD) did not feel satisfied with their booty they became hand and glove with the BJP and both made hay during their regime. The Congress on the contrary has been looking after the interests of all sections of society, including farmers and traders,” claimed Mr Pilot. He sought support for the party candidate, Mr Jasvir Singh Khangura.

Mr Jasvir Singh Khangura, candidate, Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura, in-charge Kilaraipur, Mr K.K. Bawa, Chairman, HOUSEFED, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, Ludhiana, and Mr Raghbir Chand Maini, director, Sainik Group, showed solidarity with the candidate. 



SAD-BJP alliance harmful for state : Bansal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 8
The Union State Finance Minster Pawan Bansal has appealed to the masses to cast their votes in favour of the Congress candidates. He said the future of Punjab was safe in the hands of the Congress government. He criticised the SAD-BJP alliance terming their policies to be harmful for the state.

He was addressing an election rally organised by Mr Balwinder Goel, Member Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana at Tagore Nagar, in support of Mr Harnam Dass Johar, a Congress nominee from Ludhiana West Assembly segment.

Mr Hemant Kalia, president, District Bar Association, criticised Mr Harish Dhanda, the opponent candidate of Mr Johar. He alleged that no doubt Mr Dhanda had been the president of the District Bar Association seven times but he had always won the elections by adopting unfair means.

Mr P.D. Sharma, Senior Congress Legal Cell leader, Mr Ashok Bhakri, convener, Legal Cell, Mr Rajneesh Gupta, Mr Kamaljit Sharma, Mr Stevon Soni, Mr Rohit Malhotra, the Councillors, Mr Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Mr Jai Parkash, Mr Balkar Singh and a number of Congress leaders and industrialist were present on this occasion. 



Razia Sultana gets support
Sacha Sauda activists to back her
Mahesh Sharma
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 8
Ms Razia Sultana, Congress nominee from Malerkotla, received a shot in arm when of the Sacha Sauda, showing solidarity, vowed to make every effort for her and called upon the followers to abide by the dictate of the chief and support the candidate for welfare of members of the cult.

“Now when the Legal Wing of our sect, acting on the suggestions of our members, has taken decision to support Congress nominees in assembly elections, it has become our prestige to gather support for Ms Razia Sultana and send her to the legislative assembly,” said Mr Pawan Kumar and Mr Sarwan Kumar, the office-bearers of the block level unit adding that the dictate came in wider interest of the followers.

Hundreds of activists attended meeting convened at the centre at Jagera village near here last night. The Block level unit had invited Ms Razia to the meeting. However, Razia confined her speech to paying gratitude to the gathering.

“While thanking you all for joining my election campaign I assure you that I will come true to your expectations,” commented Razia keeping in view the model code of conduct.

While talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after the meeting, the office-bearers claimed that the followers were enthusiastic about the dictat received from legal wing of the sect and there was no divide on the issue.

A large number of volunteers attended functions organised by various organisations of local town and surrounding villages, in support of the candidate. 



Election office that hides more than it shows
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
In offices of candidates there is one job that even an expert eye would fail to detect. It is portraying a humble picture of the office so as to hide the actual expenditure. The limit of Rs 10 lakh on spending, termed unrealistic by most, has put on job not only those taking care of accounts but also those engaged in routine duties like fetching publicity material or arranging transportation for campaigning.

"We have to make sure that the office looks quite average. Any inspection could put us in trouble," said a worker with a candidate on anonymity. The work hence, includes, scattering the publicity material, which, it is ensured, is not piled at one place and hence rests with different supporters at different places.

The job does not end here. Those working in godowns keep an eye on visitors to evade any 'suspecting' (read officers from election office) ones. Coupled with this are billing below actual rates and, in many cases, non billing.Even the voter slips, which are at least double the number of voters, are shown at much lesser value than the actual.

And then comes transportation, for which the actual expense never comes on record. "There is no way to find out how much expenditure was incurred on that account. Even when taxis are arranged, we have to be careful with the billing," an accountant with a candidate revealed.

The ones taking care of accounts have a tough task at hand. Candidates in this case mostly rely on tried and trusted ones. These could be relatives or the ones they have been working for long." It would not be wise at all at this time to go in for someone one has not known. The truth is that accounts have to be manipulated."

For election offices, the job does not look easy!



Women assert themselves
Have come out of their husbands shadows
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana February 8
Like in any other field, the women have started asserting themselves while making the political choices. While in the past it usually happened that women would vote along with their men while subscribing to their choice, now they have started thinking independently.

A number of women this reporter talked to asserted that they were voting of their own choice. It may be a coincidence that their choice matched with that of their spouse also. Otherwise the choice was their own.

Sonu Kapoor, an educated young housewife, said she has her own preferences when she would go for casting her vote. She said, for her, both the party and the candidate do matter. "I hardly bother how my husband will vote, nor does he want me to follow his choice", she said, while adding, they do discuss politics and they have strong differences of opinion on various issues. This obviously does not make any difference to their personal relationships.

Reena, an Assistant Manager with a private bank, said she also discussed politics with her husband. "This is the election time and the television and newspapers are full of election reports...obviously we also get into discussions and we hardly agree on any point", she said.

Reena disclosed that she had made up her mind about voting as had her husband and both had different choices. Both of them had tried to influence each other and both stood their ground. "We tried to convince each other about our respective choices, but we stuck to our respective choices", she said.

Even their children participate in such discussions. "None of my two daughters is of voting age as yet, but they are alert and aware of everything and they participate in our discussions and they also come out with suggestions", said Ms Kiran Aggarwal, while maintaining that there was a sense of disillusionment among them (her daughters) as they felt that none of the political parties whether the Congress, the BJP or the Akali Dal had any vision for the progress of the state or the welfare of the youth.

However, there are some couples who appear too casual. Like Sunanda, who said, "I hardly bother myself about such things, my husband told me to vote for a particular candidate and I have agreed...after all what is a big deal about it?".

She said it hardly mattered as who would come to power because they (the political parties) just carry on what they inherit, thus making practically no difference in the lives of the common masses. 



Khirnia, Dhillon lock horns in Samrala
Our Correspondent

Khamano, February 8
The Samrala constituency is all set for a direct contest between the Akalidal-BJP candidate Jagjivan Singh Khirnia and the sitting two time MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon of the Congress.

Although there are nine candidates, including BSP candidate Amarjeet Singh Balion and third front candidate Amrik Singh Sekhon, yet the SAD and the Congress are the main contestants. Family members of Mr Khirnia and Mr Dhillon are playing a key role in convincing the voters. Flags, banners and posters can be seen all over the constituency.

A total of 117 villages, two cities, Samrala and Khamano, fall in the Samrala constituency, and there are about 1,17, 000 voters that are less than seven thousand voters as compared to the 2002 elections.

This time, the contest is very tough. Mr Khirnia has succeeded in wooing the young generation and even the Congressmen in large number, many panchayats, clubs and even close relatives of Mr Dhillon have decided to support Mr Khirnia. There are also allegations that the Congress MLA has nominated his near and dear ones on all key posts of the Khamano area.

It is also alleged that he never demand any money for the development works at Khamano and Nagar. Panchayat Khamano received Rs 18 lakhs in the past two years as compared to other Nagar councils of the district which received more than Rs 1 crore each.

Meanwhile, Mr Dhillon claimed that he had done a lot for the development of the area and the construction of the Tehsil complex was his big achievement. However, it is being alleged that both candidates are spending lakhs of rupees and liquor is being distributed in a big way to woo voters. The Akali Dal candidate also alleged that the Congress candidate was distributing money, mobile phones, shawls and other materials without any fear of the Election Commission and the district administration. 



Poll: Basic issues ‘ignored’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) has expressed its concern over the trend of politics during the Assembly elections, in which the Congress and the Akali Dal (Badal) are the main players. It has degenerated into chaos, favouritism, opportunism, corruption and antipathy.

Mr D.S. Gill, chairperson of the outfit, said the main players have ignored the basic issues facing the state and its people while the other groups participating in the elections do not seem to have a viable and feasible alternative to these two opportunist parties.

He remarked that some candidates like Capt Amarinder Singh, Jathedar Kuldip Singh Wadala, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal (Payal) and Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa (Khanna) should be supported.

Others who need to be returned from the Panthic front to the house include Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Mr Harinder Singh Khalsa Norway (Dakha) and Prof Jagmohan Singh Tony (Ludhiana-West), he added.

"We also urge the voters in Amritsar parliamentary constituency to vote for Mr Surinder Singla only to neutralise Mr Navjot Sidhu, a puppet in the hands of the BJP, who is a disgrace to the Sikhs," he appealed.



Authorities tighten noose
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 8
Reacting to the allegations by candidates contesting the Punjab Assembly elections that liquor was being served at poll rallies, the district administration has taken stringent measures.

Complaints were made to the Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer, Mr Tejveer Singh, by various candidates that liquor was being served at election rallies to woo voters.

Mr Tejveer Singh said he had been receiving such complaints for the past about one week. He said as such seven teams, comprising officials from the Excise and Taxation Department, had been constituted to carry out special checks. The police had also been asked to put up more nakas so that the smuggling of liquor from Chandigarh, where it was sold at much lower rates, was curbed.

He said a meeting was also held with the Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh which was attended among others by the election observers for the Mohali district to ensure that similar steps were taken by the Chandigarh Administration as well. It was also being probed whether the sale of liquor from vends located on the UT- Mohali boundary had picked up.

The DC said raids were conducted on receiving complaints but not much quantity of liquor was found.

The election observers were also moving about in the district at night to keep an eye on the activities of the candidates.

Mr Gurtej Singh, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, SAS Nagar, said the checking had been intensified in view of the elections.

He said his department had been given 28 personnel belonging to the Central Industrial Security Force to lay more nakas to check the illegal sale and smuggling of liquor.



‘Remove slums,  get support’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
It is a hobson's choice for the candidates of Ludhiana Rural constituency. The residents of SBS Nagar would vote the candidate promising removal of slums and the slum dwellers would opt for the one who ensures that they stay put.

The removal of slums has been an issue in SBS Nagar for quite long. Despite various representations at different platforms by the residents, these could not be removed.

Sick of knocking at several doors, the residents of the area say that they would cast their vote in favour of a candidate who would promise that these would be removed. Needless to say the slum dwellers comprise vote-bank of a prominent leader.

‘‘Whosoever would approach us to vote in his favour, we would ask for a solution to the slums that have made our life a hell. If the candidate would openly announce he would give a solution to our problem, we would vote for him, ’’ said a resident requesting anonymity in view of previous threats to the residents by some slum dwellers.

‘‘We are united on this issue. We cannot live amidst slums after spending a princely sum for buying houses in this area, ’’ said another resident.

With the announcement, the candidates are in a catch 22 situation. They do not know who to promise. They would be the losers either way.

The residents had been waging a war of sorts against these jhuggies but could not take it to a logical conclusion. As and when their efforts were going to bear fruit, the anti-encroachment drive was either stalled midway or just before the start due to political pressures.

Some months ago, a demolition drive to evacuate the land was stalled mid way following political patronage. The dwellers had come back in that very evening emerging even stronger. The shanties were replaced the pucca houses following that episode.

Jhuggi dwellers had been creating problems for residents by drawing electricity through kundi connections. Besides they reared pigs, which created nuisance by entering the green belts of the houses.



Mudslinging on in Kilaraipur constituency
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 7
The trend of hitting below the belt is not confined to trading charges by supremos of the SAD and the Congress in the state. In has trickled down to the Kilaraipur constituency, with the Khanguras and the Garchas trading charges against each other publicly, it is obvious that it is being done to please the voters.

The mudslinging game is going on in the Kilaraipur constituency, claim the elders in both parties.

Administration, including the representatives of the Election Commission seems to have closed eyes towards what is going on in the area.

The style was evident from the displays on banners and hoardings installed by supporters of Mr Jasvir Khangura, Congress nominee from Kilaraipur, and his opponent Mt Jagdish Singh Garcha, the SAD candidate, and speeches during their rallies and meetings.

"Jadon panj tara hotel chon England jinni kamaie na mili, munda Bap nun kenhda tenu kam nahin karna aunda. Fer dowan ne ral ke Kamra number 114 vich Punjab dian dhian bhaina dian moovian banake England vich ja ke vechnian shuru kar dittian atte ohi dollaran de rupyeea bane ke thodi zameer kharidan aye ne hun," sketches Mr Garcha augmenting charge by adding that a university had allegedly expelled junior Khangura for reasons best known to him.

The Khanguras did not lag behind in vendetta politics with both Khanguras levelling Garchas as land grabbers and smugglers. "Bharavo ehnan dan tan kamm hi zaminan dabna, bhukki bechna atte bhaie nun bhaie nal ladaunan hai. Assin tan thoda ehnan ton khaira chhudaun layee England ton aye han," said junior and senior Khangura at majority of the meetings and rallies held during election campaign.

The mudslinging was not confined to making derogatory speeches. Ugly advertisements appeared regularly in a section of vernacular press besides large number of banners and hoardings. 



Resentment against poll duty
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 8
There is anger and resentment among primary school teachers as they have been given poll duties about 50 km away from their schools.
Mr Piara Singh Dhillon, president of Government Primary Teachers Association, said through a press note issued here that if the schools were closed during the elections due to teachers being sent out for poll duties, then the teachers would stage a protest outside the Deputy Commissioner's Office.

The association members are protesting against the poll duties being assigned to woman teachers. They have demanded that duties of woman teachers be withdrawn. 



Police takes out flag march
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 8
A flag march was taken out by the district police in order to educate the voters about the safety measures being undertaken by it in view of the forthcoming elections.

Mr Sunil Kumar, SP(D), police district, Khanna, Mr Kuldip Singh, DSP (Payal), Mr Bhupinder Singh, in charge, Payal police station, and Mr Devinder Singh, in charge, Doraha Chowki, organised a flag march that started from Khanna and culminated at Payal after crossing through Machhiwara and Doraha.

Mr S. Kumar, SP(D), said out of a total of 307 polling stations, as many as 90 polling stations had been declared sensitive where sufficient police force had been deployed.

Giving details he said, "A total of nine companies have arrived and a high alert has been sounded in the area. At present, we are fully armed to tackle any situation with a strong hand."

Speaking about the flag march being conducted he said,"Apart from spreading a general message of peace and security among the voters , the flag march is a warning for the anti-social elements who are in a mood to disrupt the entire show."



Danga peerat society chief booked
Mahesh Sharma

Raikot, February 8
Acting on the directions of the Returning Officer, the local police has registered an FIR under section 125 of People's Representative Act, 1951, and Section 188 of the IPC against a group of persons, including president of Danga Peerat Welfare Society, Ludhiana, for allegedly creating nuisance in society by provoking sentiments of a particular community and spreading hatred among masses.

Terming administration's action as murder of democracy the SAD candidate, Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi, maintained that the riot victims had every right to make people aware of the role played by leaders of various political parties in shielding killers and culprits.

Surjit Singh, president of the outfit, Abdul Gaffar, alias Raju of Ludhiana, and Vishwa Mittar of Kidwai Nagar Ludhiana, drivers of the vehicles (PB 13 K 9112 and PB 07 J 6237), were booked for allegedly spreading hatred among masses by displaying posters and banners regarding atrocities committed on Sikh during 1984 riots in various parts of the country. While Surjit Singh escaped arrest, the drivers along with vehicles were arrested after a brief chase.

According to Mr Kanwaljit Singh Dhillon, DSP, Raikot, the accused were booked on the directions of Mr Mukand Singh Sandhu, SDM, and Returning Officer.

"The Returning Officer had observed that a group of women, accompanied by some men had been creating nuisance by provoking religious sentiments of a particular community by displaying posters and banners about 1984 riots. Sensing threat to peace and harmony and apprehending law and order problem the magistrate ordered to initiate action against the suspects," said Mr Dhillon while talking to the Tribune.

Investigation by The Tribune revealed that the activists had been impressing upon the masses to support candidates fielded by SAD and BJP and oppose the Congress nominees in various constituencies.

While the Congress was held responsible for riots claiming 5,000 lives and injury to about 20,000 and loss of property of 50,000 Sikhs, the SAD and BJP leaders were termed saviours of the victims across the country.

Mr Harmohinder Singh Pardhan, Congress nominee, after coming to know about the propaganda made by the activists, had brought the matter into the notice of the administration.

The Returning Officer, finding matter in the complaint directed the police to initiate action.

However, some of the activists gathered at a religious place situated on the outskirts of town later and protested against the police action. They raised slogan against the police and the congress party and demanded action against the officials ordering action.

Terming the action as politically motivated Mr Surjit Singh, said the society would take up the issue with Human Right Commission as according to him it was infringement of fundamental rights. 



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