‘Indian govt must take steps to free POWs’
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 17
Veteran journalist Kuldeep Nayyar has urged the Indian government to take immediate measures to set free prisoners of war (POWs) languishing in different jails of Pakistan.

Taking a serious note of the allegations, levelled by the recently-released civilian prisoners, that many POWs have been held captive in the specially-made underground cells in various Pakistan jails and the authorities across the border had deceived the relatives of POWs by showing them just the barracks, Nayyar said, “The government should immediately take up the matter with Pakistan so that the POWs could be united with their families.

Addressing a gathering of ruralites and members of Pakistani delegation, who had thronged Wagah to participate in a candle light vigil on the occasion of Independence Day, Nayyar said, “The pace of talks needs to be accelerated between India and Pakistan so that old issues can be quickly resolved.”

“The people from both the countries had been itching to embrace each other. Even the trade ties between the countries would lead to development of the masses,” Nayyar added.

Appreciating the efforts of veteran journalist Nayyar, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “The candle light vigil has helped in developing harmonious relations between the two countries.” He said the age-old animosity should be shed out and the two countries should come together as a powerful economic entity on the lines of European Union.

Col Haider Ali Khan, a veteran writer, said, “There was no question of war between India and Pakistan. People know now that war only brings miseries.” Urging both the nations to stop huge expenditure on defence, Sidhu said, “Precious resources should be used for the welfare of people.”

Earlier, during a musical extravaganza held at Dana Mandi in Attari the police had a tough time in controlling the crowd. The crowd had gathered to listen Lakhwinder Wadali’s “Ve mahiya tere vekhan no charkha gali wich dhawan.” A mild lathi charge was also used by the police to disperse the crowd trying to reach the stage. Sufi Singer Hans Raj Hans also sang a duet “Ma jana pardes” with Pakistani singer Tahira Naddi on the occasion.

Though the police had made elaborate security arrangements to thwart any untoward incident, the organisers alleged that some of the policemen were collecting parking charges from the people. However, the audience present rued that no arrangements were made for the drinking water during the function.



Grandmaster in the making
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 17
Following in the footsteps of grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand, Sidharth Mohindru, a budding chess player has won many national and state level awards in chess championships.

Studying in the 9th standard in DAV Public School here, Sidharth picked up the art of playing chess at the age of nine and never looked back since then. He participated in Parwanath International Open Championship in New Delhi and also at the JSG International open chess championship held at Jaipur. He had been a Punjab state champion for the last six years in the under-15 category and also won the national level under-15 All India Chess Championship held at Malerkotla. He participated in the under-19 CBSE National Championship held at Durgapur in West Bengal.

Sidharth claimed the 3rd position in the under-19 CBSE National Chess championship recently held at Chennai. His parents plan to send him to Delhi or to other major metros for training under national coaches to hone his skills.



Police Medal for IG Sahota
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, August 17
Police Medal award has been conferred on IG Gurdev Singh Sahota, currently posted at Punjab Armed Police (PAP), Jalandhar, for his meritorious services in the department.

Earlier Sahota has served as senior superintendent of police at Mansa, Fatehgarh Sahib, Khanna, Majitha (now Amritsar Rural) and Amritsar besides holding position of commandant in 3rd and 5th Battalion I.R. Bn at Jalandhar and Amritsar. He has also served as DIG Border Range, Amritsar, counter intelligence and vigilance bureau.

G.S. Sahota is known for his crackdown on drug peddlers in the holy city, who conducted a survey with the help of non-governmental organisations to identify drug peddlers and gazed the extent of drug addiction in the city of golden temple. During his stint as district police chief in Amritsar, Sahota arrested many drug peddlers and took strong measures to cut off drug supply and break the network.

He identified many areas infamous for drug peddling and where drug addiction has taken its major toll including Maqboolpura area, a locality of widows where a large number of men fell victim to drug menace. He was also instrumental in establishing Citizen Forum Vidhya Mandir School for children of drug victims in the area.

Sahota was baptised by fire during the peak period of militancy in 1989 and participated in many anti-terrorist campaigns during his stint in the heartland of border districts.

Sahota was first to set up police check posts and first-aid post on main highways for providing medical help to accident victims. Expressing his happiness, he said the government has recognised his services to the police and public. He said the award would strengthen his resolve to continue to fight the social evils and give good policing to the masses.



Municipal poll undemocratic, says ex-speaker
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 17
“Democracy was at its lowest ebb during the recently held municipal elections in Punjab, as the government had failed to hold free and fair elections in the state,” said Professor Darbari Lal, former deputy speaker Punjab assembly, while talking to newsmen in a press conference held here recently.

He said if Parkash Singh Badal wanted to capture the power in the corporations in this manner, he should have appointed councillors so as to avoid blood shed.

“Badal had given free hand to the MLAs, who were made in charge of various corporations, to rig the elections,” he alleged, adding that the police raided about 125 places in the city including the residence of Congress candidate Navdeep Singh Goldy who was contesting from Ward 29.

The police while searching for Congress candidates and their supporters had harassed the women present in their houses. The repoll held in Ward 5, which was won by the Congress candidate, proved that if the elections were carried out in a fair and peaceful manner, the Congress would have won nearly 40 to 45 seats in the Amritsar municipal corporation.

He said the police had registered politically motivated and false cases against Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, treasurer Youth Congress and Sukhjinder Singh Lalli, president, District Congress Committee (rural) and 30 other unknown persons while no cases were registered against hundreds of Akali workers who were arrested by the police from the polling booth on August 12.

He alleged that more than 2000 Akali workers armed with lethal weapons had come to the polling booths in ward no. 29 and 40 on August 12 and had captured these besides threatening the general public. 



CPI up in arms against removal of vendors
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 17
The Communist Party of India (CPI) has decided to launch an agitation against the district police chief for forcibly removing small time vendors from near Guru Nanak Dev University campus. Amarjit Asal, district secretary CPI, has demanded the transfer of SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh. He said they would hold protest rallies in the city near the university and in front of SSP’s office if he was not transferred.

He alleged that the SSP had ordered for the removal of these vendors allegedly under the influence of political leaders of the area. He said these vendors were earning their livelihood by running their small time shops in the area for the past 30 years.

Asal said their party would soon meet the Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, in this regard and if no action was taken against the SSP they would launch a statewide agitation. He alleged that the police misbehaved with the hapless rehriwalas instead of giving a patient hearing to their grievances.

The district secretary alleged the police had failed to check crimes in city. The city youth was getting involved in to drugs and other petty crimes. He alleged that the SSP was obliging his political bosses by taking illegal actions. Only the corporation could take a decision regarding removing the vendors.

Responding to the allegations by the CPI, the SSP said he had initiated the removal of these roadside rehris on the recommendation of the police in charge of the area that some of the vendors allowed customers to consume alcohol.

Pointing to an incident of firing opposite the university market on August 2, the SSP said a number of anti-social elements had made the area around the university a crime hub. 



New facets of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s reign revealed
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, August 17
The new book on Maharaja Ranjit Singh describes him as a peace icon. The author Manveen Sandhu, who has conducted a detailed research on the legendary king, has brought to the fore some fascinating facets of Maharaja’s reign in her book ‘Maharaja Ranjit Singh —- Personalitas Extraordinaire’.

Taking to The Tribune, the author said it was important to understand and replicate the king’s magic mantra of harmony and peace in the region. Adding a new aspect to his coronation, the author writes that being bright and a brilliant warrior the then elderly statesman Baba Sahib Singh Bedi recognised abilities of young Ranjit Singh Baba and offered him leadership of the Sikh confederacy. His rise to power was meteoric because of his national spirit and penetrating political vision. Baba Sahib Singh coronated Ranjit Singh with the title ‘Va Fazal-e-Akal, Vali-e-Khalsa Sarkar, Khadim-e-Kaum Sher-e-Punjah in 1801 on the day of Baisakhi. aMaharaja epitomised secularism, giving importance to all festivals of different communities under his rule. His diarist Sohan Lal Suri gave evidence of Maharaja’s secularism in his book ‘Umdat-ut –Tawarikh.’ He was also a visionary leader who realised that to thwart rebellion it was essential to establish a cosmopolitan society. The author says her work aims at bringing new facts about Maharaja to the fore with proper documentation. The book also contains rare pictures and paintings. She added that the book was an attempt to understand the king’s philosophy. 



10-hr job: At 83, this club manager’s going strong
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 17
After putting in 65 years of service in Lumsdon Club, the 83-year-old Krishan Kumar is still yearning to lead a dignified life by doing hard work. He believes in dignity of labour. While old people are considered to be a vulnerable part of the society and most of them land up in old age homes, Krishan Kumar, manager of the club, still works for more than 10 hours a day. For him work is worship.

The archives of Lumsdon are index of the glorious history of the club, which are a prize possession of Krishan Kumar. Since the opening of the club, all food items have been prepared in desi ghee.

The club has preserved the minute books since 1930. They contain the notes by legendary persons, including Englishmen and Muslims who once served the club as 

The rates of food items in pre-Partition days make an interesting reading. A plate of fish that would cost five annas before Partition is now available for Rs 90. In 1939, the rate of a plate of mutton was four annas, Karachi fish six annas and tea/coffee was served for two Annas each.

The minutes of the club meetings reveal that one Dr H.B. Swift, an Englishman, was made member of the club by charging Rs 10 only while the charges for getting membership for a private person was Rs 50. The whisky like Black Dog was used to be served for Rs 2 only while the rate of Golden Beer was only Rs 1 and 10 annas.

The Solan whisky used to be offered for 14 annas only. All these entries were done by hand and with blue ink. In 1936, the club president was Sardar Bahadur Sardar Santokh Singh and in 1942 Rai Bahadur L. Parkash Chand Mehra. Dewan Dilbagh Rai, honorary magistrate, also became the president of the club. Krishan Kumar, who was appointed in May, 1942, on a meager monthly salary of Rs 20, is now drawing Rs 5,900 after serving 65 years in the club. He is still satisfied with what he is earning. The secret of his good health is “take no tension.” He is a teetotaller and vegetarian.

Among the leaders he served in the club were Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, V.V. Giri and Giani Zail Singh. Born on April 1, 1924, in Hoshiarpur district, Kewal Krishan did his matric and joined the club. “I have one daughter Parveen Kumari (56) and son Harish Kumar (45),” said the man.



Show keeness to learn Punjabi martial art
UK students go gaga over Gatka
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 17
Describing the martial art of ‘Gatka’, practised for self defence as awesome, a group of students from UK on a visit to the city have said it was a new experience for them. Thrilled and excited are the reactions that Emily Corran, Laura Watts, Sophia Preuss and Maria Patoczka, students from Oxford University UK, expressed after watching a performance of ‘Gatka’ here.

They said they would also try to learn the art, perfected by the Sikhs, for self defence during their stay here. These students are here under the United Sikhs Oxford University Travel Air English Language Teaching Programme. They are teaching English to the students of Standard Public High School in Dhulka village. They will also interact with the students of Khalsa College.

Maria Patoczka said they had an amazing experience as the people here were social, affectionate and warm to strangers.

She said compared with the students in the UK, the children here were more disciplined and gave more respect to their teachers.

The students here were ambitious and wanted to study in England and go to other countries.

These guests also attended music classes and performed community service at Pingalwara. The team was exposed to village life during field trips. The group also donated 400 pounds to the Pingalwara society which were collected by them from the students in UK under the charity programme.

Kiran Kaur, coordinator, said students from Khalsa College and Standard Public High School, Dhulka village were taught English by the UK students under the CAOF (change agents of the future) and STARAE (scholarship as a tool to accelerate rural academic excellence) programmes. She said the students from the UK acted as mentors and role models for the students here.

Emily Corran said initially they found it difficult to interact with the children, but were able to convey their message with the movement of their hands.

She said the students in Khalsa College and at Dhulka village were excited to meet the group and wanted them to come again to teach them.

Laura Watts said the visit to the city was a cultural experience and gave them an insight into the life in Punjab, it’s food, people and culture, and broadened their knowledge.



GND varsity youth fest schedule out

Amritsar, August 17
Guru Nanak Dev University released the schedule of youth festivals for men and women for the year 2007 today. Baljit Singh Sekhon, director youth welfare of the University, said the A-zone youth festival for men comprising the districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran would be held from October 5 to7 while women’s A-Zone youth festival would be held from October 12 to 15 at the university campus.

Sekhon said the B-zone youth festival for men from Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr districts would be held from October 17 to 20 at the ASSM College, Mukandpur. He said the zonal youth festival of the government colleges would be held from October 26 to 28.— TNS



I-Day Celebrations
Play tries to revive Gandhigiri among kids
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 17
City-based Shri Ram Ashram Public school honoured freedom fighter Shamsher Singh Verka during the 61st Independence Day celebrations at school premises.

The staff members along with students distributed fruit among the students at blind school.

A play titled ‘Aur But Bol Paraa’ (And the Statue started Speaking) depicting the ills of society and shunning of Gandhiji’s ideals by the people was also staged.

In the opening scene of the play the students were shown playing truant and bunking classes on the excuse of drinking water and discussing how they fool teachers to loiter around.

The second scene depicts a postman throwing letters into a well and assuring loudly that nobody was watching him. Yet another corrupt character pulls out an electricity poll and sells it in the market while some others steal electricity through 'kundi' connections.

Watching their misdeeds from above the statue of Gandhi comes alive and asks them whether he should die again in order to uplift the corrupt from the morass of corruption. The play ends on a note of profuse apology by the bad characters who promise to mend their ways and work for the betterment of the country. During her address principal Preeti Sharad said asked the students to follow the teachings of father of the nation.

Earlier, a Hindi poem ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’ gave a call for urgent reforms in the country An inter-house patriotic group-song competition was won by Vivek and Srijan houses on the occasion.

DAV Public School, honoured 12-outstanding students, including Asian level winner of Chess Championship Amandeep Singh, Hargun Kaur selected in ‘Amul Junior Voice of India’, Tanushree Khanna whose work of art won award of excellence by Japanese Company ANIKE, Malvika Jain’s for painting recognised by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ravi Sharma, North India Topper of CBSE X standard, Priyanka Bawa topper in National essay competition by Rotary Club, Shveta Sharma, topper of 8th DAV board, Archit Sood, silver medallist CBSE national tennis, Agam Shingari for youngest tabla player recognised by Limca book of world records, Abhinav Dudeja for creating new record in CBSE nationals and Open Punjab state swimming, Bhupinder kaur for bronze in CBSE national athletics and Danish Gill for north zone topper in essay competition.

The students presented a skit the revolt of 1857 was staged. They also artfully brought forward scenes of social evils, corruption, and violence in the present scenario through songs and actions.

Meanwhile, the DAV International School also celebrated the 61st Independence Day in its premises with great zest and zeal. Vimal Kumar Setia, district transport officer, was the chief guest while Shiv Gupta, renowned Charted Accountant was guest of honour.

The function started with the flag-hoisting ceremony. Later, The students presented a group dance.

The students of Guru Nanak Dev DAV Public School, Bhikhiwind, presented Bhangra and recited patriotic poems to mark the 61st Independence Day celebrations.

Meanwhile, Minister for local government and industries Manoranjan Kalia launched the atta-dal scheme by distributing atta and dal to the five beneficiaries as part of the celebrations. Earlier, he unfurled the national flag at Guru Nanak Stadium on the occasion during the district level function. 



Seminar to highlight Sikh issues
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 17
The Dal Khalsa will hold a seminar on “60 years of Sikhs in independent India” touching upon various issues, including increased migration, robbing of river waters, youth trimming their beards, drug abuse and mushrooming of “living gods,” on August 22 at Jalandhar.

Kanwarpal Singh, general secretary of the Dal Khalsa, giving details said their aim was to provide a platform for discussing key issues relating to the future of the Sikh community.

He said there were other concerns also which would come up for discussion.

The key speakers who will participate in the seminar are Manjit Singh Calcutta, Karnail Singh Panjoli, both member, SGPC, Harinder Singh Khalsa, former MP, Dr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, Prof Jagmohan Singh, Khalsa Action Committee convener Bhai Mohkam Singh, SKP chairman Rajinder Singh and Karamjit Singh.



‘Make Amritsar tourist-friendly’

Tourism is one of the growing industries the world over. The economies of some countries/cities like Singapore, Thailand, Mauritius, Las Vegas and Honolulu solely thrive on tourism.

India with cultural diversity of colour, cuisine, customs, costumes, religions, seasons and languages is an appropriate destination for tourists.

Kerala, Kashmir, Goa, Rajasthan, Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh and Bodh Gaya are some of the hot places for domestic and foreign tourists with unlimited potential for tourism.

Amritsar is perhaps the only place in the region with multiple tourist attractions.

With poor tourist infrastructure and facilities here, the issue needs to be addressed immediately. Here are some suggestions:

Meters should be installed on all cabs and auto-rickshaws and proper pollution checks done. All paddled rickshaws be withdrawn, as done in Pakistan, and replaced with motorised ones. Rickshaw owners should be provided with technical support and liberal loans for this purpose.

More parking lots should be developed near tourist areas. Cleanliness and traffic control need improvement. Yatri Niwas’ should be created here with affordable rates. Food village/court with special cuisines of Amritsar should be developed on the pattern of Haveli eatery near Jalandhar.

The Punjab government, SGPC and newly elected municipal corporation should join hands and seek professional and expert services for improving tourist facilities and comforts with least hassles to visitors. The elevated road leading to the Golden Temple is a thoughtful step, but the work should be sped up like metro railway in Delhi with minimum inconvenience to users Presently all areas around the elevated road are in an awful state.

B.M. Singh, 9-A, CP, Taylor Road, Amritsar.

































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