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Beas election: HC summons DGP
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered the DGP, Punjab, to appear in court in person on February 21 to apprise about the prospects of peaceful conduct of polling for the Beas constituency earlier than the scheduled date of March 11.

The Election Commission had adjourned the polling to March 11 from the earlier scheduled date of February 13 in the wake of violence on January 29 in which one person was killed and some others injured in the clash between rival groups. While postponing the polling, the EC had also come down heavily on the state police for its inept handling of the situation.

Sitting MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa, who is the Congress candidate from the Beas constituency, has moved the High Court, praying for staying declaration of the results of the polling held on February 13 for 115 of the total 117 seats till polling is held in Beas.

The results of 116 constituencies, including Valtoha, where polling will be held on February 24, are due to be declared on February 27.

Mr Dimpa as also prayed that in the alternative, directions be issued to the respondents, including EC, to hold polling on February 24 along with Valtoha constituency.

Today, the High Court Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice Vijender Kumar Jain and Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla also directed the Chief Secretary, Punjab, to file an affidavit in this connection.

Hearing will resume on February 21 when the EC’s stand on the plea would be made known to the court.


When EC did not favour voting without I-cards
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
It may sound strange but just hours before the polling in Punjab was to commence, the Punjab Government, fearing “large-scale” purchase of voters identity cards, had requested to the Election Commission to allow people of the state to vote without the voters’ ID cards.

But the EC had turned down the request and insisted on people producing ID cards. As a result more than 90 per cent of the voters had used their cards as proof of their identity to exercise their right to franchise. The final decision was taken in the wee hours of February 13.

Apart from this the Punjab Government had also raised another objection, which was also turned down. Sources in the EC said that a senior functionary of the Punjab Government had placed a call to the EC around 10 pm on February 12 complaining about “large-scale snatching, selling and buying” of voter cards in the state.

The Punjab official, citing intelligence reports, had warned of the prospect of disenfranchising of “a large number of voters” if the EC’s order was to be followed.

But the EC said that people having the voters’ ID cards could vote only after producing their cards, while those who had not been issued cards could use other identity documents specified by the commission.

The government had claimed that a large number of ID cards had been snatched away or bought by some political parties or candidates.

Late into that night the intelligence report was faxed to the EC by Punjab officials stating that a “number of cases of snatching, buying and selling of voters’ ID cards had been detected in Punjab”. Such cases, according to the report, were concentrated in the Malwa region.

But the report had quoted just two specific cases, one in Faridkot and the other in Muktsar. While Muktsar is SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal’s home district, his son Sukhbir Singh Badal is an MP from Faridkot.

Sources said the EC’s crosscheck on these inputs revealed that only 13 cards had been seized in a raid in Muktsar. While the person involved in the Faridkot case was a former terrorist, who had come back from Australia recently.

Finding no evidence of “large-scale” snatching and selling of ID cards, the EC had rejected the demand, well-placed sources confirmed here today. Past midnight Punjab officials had alleged that the order on use of voters ID cards for Punjab was different from the its orders passed during last year’s polls in Bihar and West Bengal.

After checking not a single deviation was found and the requirement of producing the cards was done away only for the Assembly elections in Kerala, because electoral rolls in that state had the photo of the voters on it. It was not before 2 am that the senior officials had sounded an all clear and the EC had turned down the request of the Punjab Govt barely 6 hours ahead of the poll.


Hearing adjourned in Badal case
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 19
In a corruption case involving Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD Chief, and others, defence counsels today concluded their arguments against the framing of charges Sub-Inspector Nirabhjit Singh, one of co-accused, before Special Court Judge G.S Saran. The defence counsels also partially argued for another co-accused G.S Garewal. After hearing the arguments Mr Saran adjourned the hearing till February 21 for further arguments.

The vigilance bureau had alleged that Nirabhjit Singh, who was a close confidant of Sukhbir Badal, SAD General Secretary, had accepted the bribe from various persons to get their work done from junior Badal (Mr Sukhbir Badal). The sub-inspector was also accused of investing black money earned by Sukhbir Badal in a Punjabi film, ‘Hawayen’ and at other places.

Vikram Chowdhary, defence counsel, accompanied by the battery of the advocates argued that not single evidence and documents were submitted by the investigating agency to substantiate it claim against the sub-inspector.


‘Don’t halt this train of love’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Attari, February 19
The Station Superintendent, Attari, Mr S.K. Madan, and his Wagah counterpart , Mr Aslam, have been in touch with each other through magneto phone since 3 am. A worried Aslam keeps collecting information on casualties.

The Samjhauta Express crawled out of the Attari station today with passengers in a state of shock and officials of the Railways, the Customs and intelligence agencies in gloom. It takes at least 30 minutes to cover a distance of 3km, even as mounted BSF jawans run along to keep a vigil during the journey.

The passengers on board who escaped death had never thought that the journey to Wagah would be such a nightmare.' Eh mohabbat di gaddi hai, is nu band na hon dena (This is a train of love and emotions, don't let it stop) said a passenger though shaken by the twin bomb blasts.

The train binds not only the people of these two countries separated by Partition, but also the people of Afghanistan.

Introduced between Lahore and Amritsar in September, 1975, Samjhauta Express celebrated its silver jubilee in 2001. It was interrupted for a fortnight in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar in 1984 and later during the Babri Masjid demolition at Ayodhya in December,1992. The Samjhauta Express gets its name from the Simla Agreement.

At Attari, it was beeline for PCO
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Attari, February 19
There was tension and agony on the faces of passengers of the Attari Express from Delhi that arrived at the international railway station at 12.52 pm, about seven hours late.

As soon as the train reached the station, the passengers made a beeline for the PCO to inform their relatives about their safety. They seemed at a loss for words while describing their harrowing experience.

More than 500 passengers alighted from the train while 604 had boarded the train from New Delhi.

"Please help us. We have lost our belongings, including money and passports", said Afsana, holding her two-year-old son in her lap in the chilling cold.

Afsana, a resident of Ferozabad (India), along with her husband Kamrul and two children, was on her way to a marriage function of a relative in Pakistan. She said they had jumped out from the one of the coaches to save their lives as soon as the train came to halt.

Another passenger Almas Suhail of Gujaranwala (Pakistan) said a woman of Faislabad had jumped out of the burning coach with one child while her four children were burnt alive in the fire.

She said the fire brigade arrived at the site half an hour after the blasts.

Mohammad Saghir of Lahore said it was a serious lapse on the part of the security agencies. He said the government should ensure safety of passengers as it could hamper the ongoing peace process between the two nations.


Punjab cops in Panipat
Dharmendra Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 19
The Punjab Police has sent a team to the Diwana railway station in Panipat district to examine the nature of the blast and other related things to take preventive steps in the entire Punjab, particularly in sensitive areas.

The Punjab DGP, Mr Rajdeep Singh Gill, said this while talking to mediapersons at the PAP here today.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Police sources said the blast in the Samjhauta Express was seemingly similar to the two explosions that had occurred in different buses at the local bus stand several months ago.

Ranjit Singh Neeta’s Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) was behind those blasts that had killed several persons. The ill-fated buses were completely burnt.

Mr Gill said an high alert had been sounded in the entire state.

Patting the back of the Punjab Police for ‘peaceful’ Assembly elections, the DGP said the police performed its duty in a fair manner.

In reply to a question, he said the new government in Punjab would decide about the possible police reforms.


10 allowed back without passport
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 19
At least 10 passengers, whose entire luggage was burnt in the fire that broke out on Attari Special following a blast near Panipat last night, were allowed to leave for Pakistan through Samjhauta Express without passport this evening. However, screening of their antecedents was carried out.

One of the passengers, Mr Shah Mohammad of Karachi, said his passport was burnt in the fire. This was perhaps for the first time that the Government of India had allowed passengers to leave the country without passport.

Meanwhile, Attari Special was halted on the outskirts of Amritsar and then at Chhehrta for more than an hour, adding to the agony of the passengers. Intelligence and security agencies reportedly checked the coaches and antecedents of the passengers before they leave for Pakistan.


Security up in Pak-bound buses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
All buses and trains bound for Pakistan and passing through Punjab will be put through rigid security checks and precautions will be put into place along the route as part of a “new security strategy” in view of the blasts on board the Delhi-Attari Samjautha Express.

“Anti-sabotage” measures will be put into place to ensure a smooth passage for passengers. The Delhi-Lahore bus service called the “Sada-e-Sarhad” passes through Punjab and so does the Samjautha Express while the “Panj Aab” bus service starts from Amritsar, goes to Lahore and then to Nankana Sahib and back again.

A “red alert” has been sounded. Sources in the police said physical screening of all baggage was being carried out.


Woman accuses cops of husband’s kidnapping
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, February 19
Certain policemen of Tarn Taran district allegedly kidnapped Mr Dev Singh (55) from Bhullar Bet village under the Dhilwan police division in Kapurthala district on gunpoint here today.

This was alleged by Mr Dev Singh’s wife Gurdish Kaur in a complaint to Kapurthala SSP Rajiv Ahir. Mr Ahir said he spoke to Tarn Taran SSP P.K. Rai in this regard and asked Bholath DSP Harpreet Mandher to look into the matter.

Tarn Taran SP(D) Surinder Singh Mand said a complaint had been pending against Mr Dev Singh and his son Jassu with the CIA staff of the Tarn Taran police.

He said personnel of the CIA staff took Mr Dev Singh with them this morning for recording his statement and was allowed to go after that.

Ms Gurdish Kaur said policemen led by the SP(D) kidnapped her husband at the behest of Mr Baljit Singh Lukhy, an NRI who had enmity with her husband and who was a friend of the SP(D).

In her complaint, she alleged that several policemen, led by the SP(D), came to her house along with Mr Lukhy around 6 am.

She added that the policemen tried to forcibly take away her husband, a Kirit Kisan Union member, but when she and members of her family resisted, the policemen allegedly pointed guns at them and took him away with them.

She informed the Dhilwan police station and representatives of the Kirit Kisan Union and the Pendu Mazdoor Union about the incident.

Representatives of the unions brought the matter to the notice of the Kapurthala SSP and requested him to lodge an FIR of kidnapping.

The SP(D) said he did not go to Mr Dev Singh’s house as he was in Chandigarh at that time, but admitted that Mr Lukhy was his friend.


New scheme for BSNL subscribers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
The BSNL today rang in a new scheme for enabling its subscribers within the Punjab circle to call each other up on landline and WLL telephones absolutely free.

All existing and prospective subscribers will have to pay an additional amount of Rs 111 per month, plus taxes, to go in for the scheme "Lagge raho BSNL de naal".

The subscribers opting for the unlimited calling scheme will also be able to ring up BSNL mobiles within the circle at cheaper rates. In fact, their calls from basic telephones to BSNL mobiles within the circle will have a metering pulse of 180 seconds, instead of existing 60 seconds.

Approximately 17 lakh household using BSNL landline and WLL phones within the Punjab circle, including Panchkula, will benefit from the scheme coming into existence from Tuesday.

Punjab is the third BSNL circle within the country to go in for this "optional add-on value-added service". The scheme is already existing in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Addressing a press conference, BSNL's Chief General Manager (CJM) Rajendera Singh said almost all existing and prospective subscribers could opt for the scheme regardless of the tariff plan within the next 90 days.

Even commercial establishments could go in for it. The scheme was not valid except for PCO operators, ISDN lines, DID franchises, service telephone and rent-free connections provided to the BSNL and DOT employees.

He added that the scheme, enabling unlimited calling within the circle, was being launched not only to retrain the existing subscribers and attract new ones, but also to buy back the lost subscribers. BSNL would not suffer loss by introducing the scheme as an increase in the volume was expected to compensate for the revenue.

He added that the service was not expected to result in congestion of lines. As of now, BSNL in Punjab had 1553 digital electronic exchanges and a switching capacity of 29,72,653.

The CGM agreed that the number of landlines was registering a steady decline with approximately 2 lakh subscribers surrendering their phones within a short span of 10 months. This, he asserted, was largely because more and more people were getting connected to mobile telephony.

Quoting figures, he said BSNL's mobile base too was rapidly expanding. From 3.71 lakh mobile subscribers last year, it was all set to touch the figure of 11 lakh by March 31.


Badal stands by Mulayam
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
Differing with the BJP, its ally - the SAD - has decided to stand by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Taking a strong stance in his support, the SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today steadfastly opposed the move of the UPA government to dismiss the UP Government by what he described “misusing Article 356 of the Constitution”.

Mr Badal said the Mulayam government was a democratically elected one and to dismiss it by invoking Article 356 would amount to “daylight murder of democracy”.

The SAD, he said, had always been opposed to the misuse of Article 356. In fact, it had sought the “removal of this Article from the Constitution long ago”.

Mr Badal said the best forum to prove majority was the floor of the Assembly, adding that if there was any doubt about the majority of the government, an urgent session of the Assembly should be convened. “The Union Government. should desist from dismissing the state government merely on the report of the Governor,” said Mr Badal.


Mini bus operators gherao DC office
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 19
Members of the Mini Bus Operators Workers Union today gheraoed the offices of the Deputy Commissioner (DC) and the District Transport Office (DTC) allegedly for misbehaving and maltreating bus operators during recently concluded elections. They alleged their dues relating to the election, were also not being paid to them.

The bus operators earlier protested against the DTO at bus terminal here. Demanding action against the transport official, they raised slogans against him. After this they moved the DC and DTO’s offices again where they protested.

Alleging discriminations against mini and other bus operators, members of the Mini Bus Operators Union led by Lakha Singh, Chairman and Mr Ajit Singh, president respectively said their buses were released on February 14 after the elections. However, the certificates issued by the District Transport Office showed releasing date February 13, he added.

He alleged although they had been paying tax to the government regularly, they had to give Rs 50 extra under the pretext of ‘verification of receipt’ of tax payment during the submission of same (receipt) in the Transport Office as per the orders of the DTO. He said the DTO had been impounding their buses and issuing challans to harass and ‘teach them a lesson’.

However, Mr Paramjit Singh, DTO refuted the allegations and said baseless allegations were the reaction to the strictness of the department against erring buses plying without documents.


Doctors ‘favour’ accused in jail
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 19
Sanjeev Sood, an accused of attempt to murder case has been spending nights mostly at his house in connivance with Jail and Civil Hospital doctors.

In a complaint to the DIG, Central Jails, victim Surinder Singh, said with the connivance of the jail doctor, the accused was sent to the Civil Hospital due to false ailment. Fearing threat to his life Mr Surinder Singh demanded a high-power inquiry by a panel of doctors to examine Sanjeev Sood and action for the violation of the jail rules and for preparing false papers in connivance with the doctor.

Mr Surinder Singh addressing reporters here today alleged the Civil Hospital authorities were in league with the jail doctor and keeping the accused unlawfully in the hospital. He added the accused discharged from the hospital on February 12, but again was admitted to the hospital on the pretext of stomach pain.

Two groups which had come for the hearing in a property dispute case quarrelled in the court premises on January 3, which led to firing. Mr Surinder Singh was injured by a gun shot while the police booked and arrested Sanjeev Sood on the spot for an attempt to murder.

Mr Surinder Singh alleged the police had failed to arrest two brothers of the accused — Roshan Lal Sood and Anil Sood. He said the police was not acting against them.


CITU bandh on Feb 27
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 19
The National Vice President of the CITU and a member of the CPI(M) state Secretariat, Mr Raghunath Singh, said on the call of CPI(M), bandh would be observed in the district headquarters in the state on February 27 to show protest against the price hike of basic commodities.

Besides it, to oppose the move of the Congress to allow multinational companies investing in India, which will cause harm to small-scale industries and small businessman.

By merely reducing the price of petrol and diesel, the price of other things could not be controlled, he added.


Turban issue: HC notice to Centre

Chandigarh, February 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued a notice for April 30 to the Centre on a plea in connection with the French Government decision to place restriction on wearing turban by Sikh students in schools.

A Division Bench of the Chief Justice Vijendra Jain and Justice Rajiv Bhalla issued the notice on an application filed by the Singh Legal Foundation. It was filed through its chief M. S. Rahi, seeking directions to the respondent to file a proper reply to the writ petition wherein the issue of turban has been raised.

The foundation has sought directions to the Union Government to protect the fundamental rights of its citizens in India and in foreign countries.

Dr Rahi maintained that the restrictions placed on Sikh students in French schools was violation of the fundamental rights of the people. Wearing turban was an essential part of the Sikh religion. — UNI


SHO suspended for seeking ‘poll fund’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 19
The district police authorities have placed Mr Ashok Mohan, Station House Officer (SHO), police station, sadar, Patiala, under suspension after he was accused of making attempts to collect money from some heads of police posts in the shape of fund during the recently held Assembly poll.

Mr Mohan was accused of making attempts to collect Rs 15,000 from about eight heads of police posts falling in the jurisdiction of the sadar police station in the shape of fund on the pretext that the amount would be passed on to senior police officials.

The cop was found guilty of demanding money from the heads of police posts in an inquiry conducted by Mr Mandeep Singh Sidhu, SP (City), a few days ago. Mr S.K. Asthana, SSP, while confirming the suspension of Mr Mohan, said that this had been done on the inquiry report of Mr Sidhu.

He added that apart from holding Mr Mohan guilty, Mr Sidhu had also suggested that Mr Mohan should be placed under suspension. He added that a departmental action had also been initiated against him.

Another inquiry into the same incident had been marked to SP (D), he pointed out. Mr S. K. Sharma, Inspector-General, Patiala range, when contacted, said that before reaching any conclusion in this case, both the inquiry reports of SP (City) and SP (D) along with the comments of the SSP and DIG, Patiala range, would be taken into consideration.

Sources said that the inquiry conducted by Mr Sidhu revealed that Mr Mohan had asked for money in the shape of ‘election fund’ from about eight heads of different police posts, some of whom had also admitted that the SHO had demanded money from them in the shape of ‘fund’, and they had paid a part of the same to him.

Neither Mr Sidhu nor Mr Mohan could be contacted for their respective comments despite repeated efforts.


Man held with 300 bottles of whisky
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 19
The police seized more than 300 bottles of whisky from a smuggler who entered Sriganganagar from Abohar area last evening. Country made foreign liquor continues to be smuggled from Chandigarh and Abohar through the interstate border for supply to outlets in Rajasthan and Gujarat regions.

The police in neighbouring areas of Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh earlier had seized three truckloads of the liquor, marked for sale in Chandigarh UT and Punjab only, sources said. The Hanumangarh police yesterday nabbed Akram Khan (35) son of Nanhe Khan of Pidava village in Jhalawar district. He is named kingpin of the drug trafficking gang by Harjinder Singh alias Giani caught recently with 1420 gm of smack and small suppliers including Luxmi Devi, Ram Swarup, Surjit Singh and Shaukat Ali in the neighbouring region, officials indicated. DSP Mustafa Ali Zaidi monitored the raid at Pidava village.

Akram has been facing trial in cases relating to smuggling, attempt to murder and killings there, the police said last night.

According to information the Sriganganagar police on a tip-off intercepted a car (HR 03 A 0063) that had crossed the interstate border from Abohar side but the driver reportedly fired at the police party and sped away. The police party chased the car and had to fire three rounds to burst the tyres. The police nabbed Paramjit Singh son of Mohinder Singh along with some cases of whisky, .315 bore pistol and an iron rod. Paramjit reportedly revealed that unemployed youths were involved in smuggling.

The police found whisky being unloaded from another car in the Mukherji Nagar locality but alleged smuggler Harish Chander alias Billu fled with the vehicle leaving cases of whisky on the road.

Later during raids carried between 8 p.m. and 11 pm different police parties arrested Sunder Lal and Manoj Kumar when they were supplying the smuggled whisky. The Sriganganagar police this morning confirmed that in a crackdown against illicit distillation in rural areas Virender Singh, Prithvi Singh, Chhinderpal, Paramjit Singh and Baggar Singh were arrested last night.


Dhillon to be chargesheeted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
The Punjab Government will chargesheet the former SSP of Mohali for committing an act “unbecoming” of a police official during the run-up to the elections in the state. The charge sheet has been sent to the Election Commission for approval before the Punjab Government issues the order, well-placed sources confirmed tonight.

The SSP of Mohali, Mr G.S. Dhillon, was removed at the directions of the EC as the Mohali Police had asked the people of Mohali to give their opinion on the polls. The Shiromani Akali Dal complained to the EC stating that the Mohali Police conducted an opinion poll which was unethical.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, the charge sheet to be issued against an AIG-level police officer is likely to be dropped. The official, presently posted at Jalandhar, was facing allegations from a Delhi-based trader of not paying for goods purchased by the cop and his family. The cheque for Rs seven lakh, issued on behalf of the officer’s wife, had bounced. A fresh cheque was later issued and the charges have been dropped. A final decision on his case will be taken soon.


6 held for vandalism at temple
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 19
The police arrested six persons, Jagtar Chand, Amandeep Singh, Som Dutt, Paras Ram and Panam, residents of Rorian village, and Anil Bagha of Bhawani Nagar in Hoshiarpur, president of the Dr Ambedkar Youth Club, this evening for their alleged involvement in the vandalism at the Shiv temple in Rorian on the eve of Mahashivratri.

According to the police, four more persons, Jagtar Chand, Paramjit Singh, Sandip Kumar and Sanjiv Sharma, residents of the same village, had been arrested in connection with the disconnection of electricity supply during a function to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Ravi Dass in the village.


Youth’s body found on rail track
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 19
A youth was found dead on the rail track near Katarsinghwala village today. The youth, who was wearing a shirt and jeans, was identified as 21-year-old Hargobind Singh, a resident of Muktsar.

Sources said he had tried his luck in an Army recruitment rally a few days back. It was yet to be ascertained whether it was an accident or a case of suicide.


This college caters to the poor
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 19
Baba Aya Singh Riarki College located in the remote Tuglakabad village of the district can easily be termed as Shantiniketan of Punjab. The only difference is that girls from poor families living in the rural areas study here.

However, the campus spread over 15 acre is running without teachers. Students studying in higher classes take classes of juniors and help in maintaining strict discipline across the college. They also help in maintaining the library, hostels and gardens inside the institution. There are just six full -time teachers to help solve the academic problems of the students. Despite all this, the overall results of the institution in the board and university examinations are excellent.

The college Principal, Mr Swaran Singh Virk, says the college was established in 1977. He says, “When Baba Aya Singh offered me a job I decided to quit the government job and joined the school.”

Right from the start we tried to teach self-control to students. They are taught to admit their mistakes and speak truth, Mr Virk added.

The schools in the border district are famous for mass copying cases. However, in this institute a containing cash award of Rs 25,000 hangs on the wall. Anybody is welcome to come to our institution during exams and check students. If any student is caught copying the person can walk away with the prize money, the principal claimed.

The main objective of the institute is to ethical values in poor girl students living in the rural areas. The fee charged from them is meager. The day students have to pay Rs 800 per annum while hostellers pay Rs 5,500 per annum including the food charges.

Initially we faced difficulty in finding students. However, the institute has 800 students on its roll. The only handicap is that there are not enough funds for starting science classes. However, we are planning to start computer classes in the near future, the principal added.

In hostels also students select their own menu and cook food. A biogas plant is being set with the help of the students. A dairy and 15 acre on which vegetables are grown serve the needs of the institution and its hostel, Mr Virk added.


‘People from different faiths should do something concrete for society’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 19
"It is necessary to recognise people who call upon the name of religion while behaving in a way that is contrary to the teachings of that faith." These views were expressed in an exclusive interview with TNS by Dr (Ms) Joy Barrow, Director of the International Interfaith Centre, Oxford, UK, who was here in the city to deliver her key note address on the opening day of the seminar on 'Towards Building Peaceful; Society : Use of Religion' held at the Senate hall of Punjabi University.

The three-day seminar is being organised by the Department of Dr Harbans Singh Encyclopedia of Sikhism, Punjabi University, and is being sponsored by the India Heritage Research Foundation which has donated Rs 1 lakh.

The opening day, Dr Barrow delivered the key note address, while lectures were read by Dr Javier Cevalios.

The Presidential address was delivered by the Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S Boparai, while the same was inaugurated by Swami Tat Bharti from the India Heritage Research Foundation.

Speaking on Guru Arjan Dev and the compilation of Adi Granth, Dr Barrow said " Guru Arjan Dev, while compiling the Adi Granth, allowed the Bhagat Bani to have its own voice. Prominent among the fundamental necessities of interfaith are honesty, trust and respect."

Expressing her views on the Sikh faith, Dr Barrow said, " . This has been summarised by Guru Hargobind Sahib when he described members of the Khalsa as Sant Sipahi.."

In the end, Dr Barrow spoke on the advantages of different people belonging to different religions coming together on a common platform to do something concrete for society. "

Prominent among who attended the seminar were Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor and Dr Javier Cevallos, President, Kutztown University, United States.


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