Man who made efforts to avert Op Bluestar is no more
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18
Amritsar-born former ambassador to Ghana and Madagascar Daljit Singh Pannun, who once made a last-ditch efforts to avert infamous “Operation Bluestar” by mediating between Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale and the union government, has died in Chandigarh following brief illness.

It was his “communication skills” that got him the most important assignments. He shot into limelight when he became a pen friend of Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, the then Indian ambassador to Russia. He was a student of a local school at that time. He wrote a letter to congratulate Dr Radhakrishnan when he was received by Josef Stalin, considered a historic moment in the Russian history.

Later, Dr Radhakrishnan invited him to Delhi when he was made Vice-President of India and the relationship continued till his death. It was due to Dr Radhakrishnan’s inspiration that he met Indira Gandhi, the then minister of information and broadcasting, who got him appointed as state correspondent of the All-India Radio in Amritsar.

Pannun also had a short stint as a correspondent of The Times of India. The relationship with Gandhi strengthened when she became the Prime Minister.

In Punjab, Pannun had the longest tenure as the chairman, Punjab Backward Classes Development Board. He also organised a mass-loaning function in 1980 and introduced “yellow cards” for the downtrodden.

A recently published book, “Cannon unto Canon,” by Pannun, unveils some startling revelations which belie many of the claims made by Indira Gandhi and the Indian government on the subject of the 1984 attack on the Golden Temple and the destruction of Akal Takht. In his book, Pannun had claimed that certain forces had played mischief and misguided Indira Gandhi, leading to the army operation.

This was despite the fact that the firebrand sant had agreed to initiate dialogue to resolve the deadlock. The exclusive meeting between Bhindranwale and Pannun assumes significance, since the latter had put his life in danger by trying to resolve the “Punjab problem.”

“I was pushed to talk to Sant Bhindranwale at Akal Takht. It wasn’t my personal effort. I was pushed into it by a large number of friends, including the then senior-most officer of the government of Punjab, S.S. Sidhu, who was the de facto ruler of the state,” wrote Pannun.

However, he rued that he was kept in the dark about the impending army operation by vested interests, otherwise, many innocent lives could have been saved. He said he worked out some details with Sant Bhindranwale and it looked so simple and straight.

“We had an informal and frank exchange of views.”

The book by Pannun further discloses that “the dialogue with Sant Bhindranwale was conducted in such a warm and cordial atmosphere that he called for Rooh Afza (a soft drink), which was arranged by Bhai Thara Singh and we took it.”

“I remember I made the proposal that Indira Gandhi shall speak to the nation and appeal for peace and normalcy in the country, particularly in Punjab, and elaborate that all problems afflicting the state shall be resolved through mutual discussions,” Pannun wrote . He revealed that he wanted the sant to respond to this appeal by announcing that he would wait for a month and would persuade his followers and others to keep their guns unloaded during this period.

The former envoy wrote that he had proposed a period of four weeks for the same (while Bhindranwale wanted just one week), which they hammered down to 10 days. Pannun assured Sant Bhindranwale that if some mishap took place, Indira Gandhi would not blame it on his men. The sant, however, sought a commitment from Pannun that the central government would stop torturing Sikh youths during captivity. Pannun claimed that Sant Bhindranwale wanted that the plan should not be sabotaged.

The documentation of the reports sent to the central government before Operation Bluestar reads, “We ended this meeting in utmost cordiality and understanding and were happy at the outcome. In fact, I found there was nothing that would frighten the government of India, nor anyone else.”

Pannun claimed that Bhindranwale had repeatedly told him, “I don’t want Khalistan, but they would give it on a platter to me.” He said the sant was “grossly misunderstood,” and had he been treated with honesty and consideration, Operation BlueStar would have never taken place.



Now, spl clubs in schools to promote heritage
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18
In order to create awareness among the students of the holy city about the art and cultural heritage, the Intach has established clubs in various schools of the city.

These clubs organise various activities for the students to promote and protect the living, nonliving, social, cultural, monumental, architectural and environmental heritage.

Amrit Lal Mannan, incharge of these school clubs, said they organise various activities throughout the year, which include visits by the school students to monuments, heritage sites, quiz competitions, on the spot sketching of heritage buildings and sharing of traditional dishes and meals.Mannan said clubs of DAV Schools, Spring Dale School and Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School have shown keen interest in these activities and were doing excellent work. He said the government schools should also participate in such programmes to create awareness among the students about the rich heritage of the nation.

“Students not only enjoy participating in these activities but also get to know about various things related to history,” he added.



Majithia launches bar body’s website 
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, December 18
Punjab information and public relation minister Bikram Singh Majithia launched a website of Amritsar Bar Association, here today. Besides, he also inaugurated a cafeteria and library in the bar association building.

Speaking on the occasion, Majithia assured the bar association of all his help and support for the development of the bar.

Association president BS Sialka said the website would consist of names and addresses, along with telephone and mobile numbers, of all the members of the Amritsar bar body and advocates.

It would also have public utility numbers such as that of airport, railway station, bus stand and other departments. The history of bar would also be displayed on the website, he added.

Interestingly, one of the unique and important features of the website is details of cause list or list of cases to be heard on days to come.

It would also enable people to see hearing dates of their cases on website. For this purpose, all advocates have been requested to give the details about hearing of their cases to the concerned sections by 3.00 pm so that it could be put on internet.

Sialka also detailed about the funds for the development of the infrastructure He said Navjot Singh Sidhu had sanctioned Rs 6 lakh from his MPLAD funds for the construction of concrete streets in the judicial complex. The amount has been reached in the statistics department.

He said advocate general had also assured a sum of Rs 20 lakh from Chief Minister discretionary funds for development and welfare, besides Rs 5 lakh out of Rs 10 lakh promised by information and public relation minister Majithia had also reached the district treasure office.



Lifetime Achievement
GNDU professor gets ILA award
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18
The Indian Library Association (ILA) has honored Dr M P Satija, professor and head of the department of library and information science, GNDU with ‘Life Time Achievement Award’ for the year 2007.

The press released issued here stated that Prof Satija has been awarded in recognition for his contribution to the library, literature and professional work at the national and international level.

It further stated that Prof Mohammad Suleman Siddiqui, vice-chancellor, Osmina University, Hyderabad conferred this award on Prof Satija at the 53rd All India Library Conference held in Hyderabad recently.

The university spokesman said Dr Satija has authored 20 books, which were published in India, UK, USA. Besides, he has 150 papers published in national and international journals to his credit.

He is also associated with many national and international library organisations and has served as visiting professor in India, Holland and Sri Lanka.

The Indian Library Association is a charted body of librarians established in 1933 to promote library movement in India and the award was given in the honour of Prof Dr PSG Kumar, an emeritus professor at Nagpur University.



City students develop flying electric generator
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, December 18
The students of Ashoka Senior Secondary School have developed a ‘flying electric generator,’ which has been selected by NCERT for display at 34th Jawahar Lal Nehru National Science exhibition at Puducherry. The event would be held at the end of December and the school team would represent Amritsar.

Originally based on the concept of an Australian professor Robert Brown that governs a wind mill, this electric generator is established at the height of 10 to 30 km in the sky where the speed of wind currents is very high speed. The wind currents rotate the turbines and produce huge amount of energy, which is then sent to earth through tether wires.

Moreover, the generator is useful during natural disasters like floods and earthquakes when all other sources of electricity get failed. Above all, it is very economical and pollution free natural resource of energy.

School principal Sushil Aggarwal said it is great privilege for the students and science teachers of the school to be selected for national event after winning the tehsil, district and state-level competitions.

Aggarwal said a company Magenn Air Corporation had already started working on the project and the day was not far when India too would enjoy this safe and cheap source of electricity.



No papers: Canadian girl arrested

Rajasansi, December 18
A 19-year-old girl who was taken to Canada by her paternal aunt around 15 years ago has been arrested by Rajasansi police, here today. She was handed over to the cops by the immigration authorities due to absence of some documents.

It is learnt that the girl was taken to Canada at the age of four without proper documentation and her aunt fought nine year-battle in the court there to materialise her adoption. However, for certain reasons the alleged accused decided to come back to India to stay with her Jalandhar-based biological parents. — TNS



City Sikh is Holland body’s peace envoy

Amritsar, December 18
Holland-based Sikh Bhupinder, who hails from Amritsar, has been honored and declared “Ambassador of Peace” by Almere, the Netherlands based Universal Peace Federation recently. Bhupinder was honored at a special function organised to honour prominent citizens of the Netherlands in the Glass House of Almere. Besides Bhupinder, five other prominent citizens of Holland include, Ronald Jan Hein - former national hockey player, businessman, writer and film maker, Nanette de Jong - Chairman Relizaap, working with different religions, Dr. Robin Rover, teacher and writer; Ver Bass - first church minister of Almere and Anita Nijman, designer and webmaster. — OC



Good Heart
Honest cop honoured
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18
Harjinder Singh, ASI 1956 PAP, was honoured by the management of the State Bank of India, Amritsar at a special function for his honesty as he had returned valuable documents, including two check books and pass books, of one Mohinder Singh Gill, found outside the bank premises.

KP Sharma, assistant general manager, in a letter to Commandant 5th IRB Mall Mandi Amritsar, has urged to recommend the name of Harjinder for President’s Medal.



From Madhubala to Madhuri, frock suits come full circle
Trend catching up in city with boutiques flaunting the retro rage
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18
As girls in the city take the retro route on the fashion road, Anarkali and frock suits are back in vogue. The trend which was a rage in the 70s is back and now mommies can have a lot to guide the collegiates on.

Designers in the city tell us that it is due to reality tele-shows like “Nach Baaliye” that the frock and Anarkali suits are all over the place.

The look of yesteryears, revived in recent films like Om Shanti Om and Aaja Nachle have also helped in bringing back the past.

“This time round, the mix-and-match formula has added the missing charm to the frock suits, making them the ideal wear for year-end celebrations,” says Meenu Seth of ‘So Fine Creations’.

Kaliyon-wale suits, as they are called, have already caught the fancy of college students in a big way. To make an impressive style-statement on the campus, the girls are going in for block and spray prints.

“The length of the suits can vary. Depending on the height of the customer, the helm line is varied and it can go upto 45-47 inches in comparison to the 40 inch limit for the regular suits. The short-statured, however, prefer only the knee-length variant of the kurta,” Seth adds.

The price tag starts from Rs 3,000 and can go upto Rs 10,000 depending on the fabric and the kind of work the customers want on the suits.

Anjali Bajaj of Look Good Boutique in Ranjit Avenue says the Anarkali suits are available in a wide range of fabrics including georgette, tissues, organza, chanderi and net. Students and working women, however, prefer georgette for its easy-to-wash quality and durability.

“The whole idea of frock and Anarkali suits steps in from the on-screen-dance-diva-look. That is why they have to be a bit over-the-top and sometimes even loud. Girls team them up with choodidar pyjamis and accessories like belts and glittering footwear and danglers for the ears. The dupatta with these suits is also heavy, with lots of intricate work on it,” Bajaj says.

The gorgeous red Anarkali suit with golden lining on the kaliyon that Madhuri Dixit sported on the sets of TV show “Nach Balliye” was proof enough that the trend is here to stay.

Though we cannot forget that though Amisha Patel had worn a frock suit in the song “Chand Sitare”, it had failed to kick off a trend. So, it would be wrong to give movies the entire credit for reviving the retro look, she adds.

On the flip side, the high cost and non-availability of the suits in cheaper versions, like in cotton, is working to the disadvantage of the trend. Besides, customers in this region do have inhibitions about sporting long kurtas for daily wear, say the designers.



‘Rural health services all set for a spruce-up’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 18
To make holy city residents aware of various health facilities available, a three-day ‘Family health and welfare fair-2007’, took off at local Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Civil Hospital, here on Tuesday. Deputy commissioner-cum-chairman of the Red Cross Society KS Pannu inaugurated the vent which is being organised by the health department.

More than 50 stalls have been put up at the fair where doctors of various systems of medicine, including allopathy, homeopathy, ayurveda, have been appointed for providing free treatment to the people. Pannu said the fair would be organised in every parliamentary constituency of the country. “It will have all the facilities, including free check-up, tests, X-ray and ECG. Besides, free medicines would also be distributed among the patients,” he added.

The DC informed that in the coming days revolutionary improvement would be brought in rural health services under national village health mission. He said the administration would prepare a blueprint for village-level facilities which would then be extended to various blocks under the scheme. Later, a detailed district-level plan would be made under which necessary machines, equipment and medicines would be allotted after receiving funds from the Centre.

Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, civil surgeon Dr Lehmbar Singh gave details about the various programmes being run by the government. He said HIV + patients can avail free treatment at GMC. 



Mobile dispensary van launched
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18
A mobile medical dispensary van was launched by the Bhai Ghanayaji Mission Society, which was flagged off by Punj Pyaras while Dr Inderjit Kaur, patron of the Pingalwara Trust, showed the green flag.

Speaking on the occasion, Manjit Singh, chairman of the society, said the van would tour various villages in the border district of Amritsar between 9 am to 5 pm daily and provide clinical and medical services to people at their doorsteps.

Manjit Singh said the van has the facility of conducting ECG and other tests, besides providing oxygen supply to the needy in case of emergency. He said the van would also provide free medicines to poor patients.

Harbhajan Singh, manager, Darbar Sahib, Baba Sukhbir Singh, Bhuriwala, Baba Harbhajan Singh Toot Sahib Wale, Onkar Singh Sharifpura, member, SGPC, Surinder Pal Singh of Sajan Sarswati Foundation, UK, and Ravinder Singh, patron of the society, were also present.



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