C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘Charitable’ institutes come under tax ambit
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
A day after withdrawing the tax exemption certificate of the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA), the income tax department today cracked the whip on 19 trusts and educational societies running a large number of well-known schools and medical and engineering institutes in the tricity and its adjoining areas.

When contacted, DS Bedi, president of the Independent School Association, said: “We haven’t received any communication from the department yet. If the department has passed such an order, we will decide the course of action after meeting all members of schools.”

The move would make the institutions liable to pay taxes for the last fiscal, which could run into several crores of rupees. The exemption has been withdrawn on the grounds that these were profit making institutions and thus not liable for exemption. However, the IT department’s action can be termed as “conditional” as it has offered to revive the exemption if these institutes revise their structures downwardly.

The societies that face the IT axe are Rayat Educational and Research Trust, which is running several colleges in the vicinity of Mohali; National Educational Development Trust, which is running Ajit Karam Singh International Public School-41; Shivalik Educational Society that runs Shiwalik Public Schools in Sector 41 and Mohali; St Stephen’s Educational Society which runs St Stephens School-45; Shishu Niketan Model School in Sector 22; St Peter Educational Society that runs St Peter School-37; and Sikh Education Society which runs Shri Guru Gobind Singh College at Sector 26.

Confirming the move, PK Chopra, Chief Commissioner (IT), North-West region, told The Tribune that exemption to almost 19 institutions had been withdrawn from the financial year 2008-09 onwards under Section 10 (23C) (VI).

The decision to withdraw the exemption has been taken after the department found that the institutions were claiming charitable status even after making “excessive profits”. However, the department has given them the option to apply afresh, if they reduce their fee.

“Many of them have a large number of institutions in the tricity and are enjoying charitable status,” Chopra said.

The other societies that have been affected by today’s orders are Shri Raghu Nath Rai Memorial Educational Trust, Sector 20; Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Educational Trust that has an engineering college at Fatehgarh Sahib; Kandi Friends Educational Trust which runs the Institute of Engineering and Technology College at Bhaddal; Indo Global Educational Foundation Society, Kharar; Gian Jyoti Educational Society and Saint Soldier Educational Society, Mohali; Sehajpal Singh Educational and Welfare Society, Ropar; St Joseph Educational and Charitable Trust, Sector 44; and Pine Groove International Charitable Trust, Solan.



Flow of funds, not education
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Running schools seem to have become a money minting business. A cursory glance at the balance sheets of some major private schools in the city -- most run by family-owned educational trusts -- reveals that while they have been making crores by way of fee and other funds.

Also, these schools are not fulfilling their social responsibility as over 20,000 children below the poverty line (BPL) remain deprived of education. Most of these schools do not comply with the norm of providing 15 per cent seats for BPL students as per a report of the UT education department in 2008.

Certain school managements argued that they complied with the condition as they run a parallel section for BPL students. But it is hard to grasp how such an education would help bring them in the mainstream.

DPI Samwarthak Singh said a survey was undertaken where most schools were found not complying with this condition. “The attempt would be not to force them to comply, but make them realise the significance of such a concept. The endeavour would be to ensure right to education for all children, specially underprivileged children, in a cordial atmosphere. We are preparing a fresh status report of all schools. The inspections have already started.”

Shishu Niketan School-22, as per its balance sheet of March 2007, has accumulated funds to the tune of Rs 9.20 crore and the yearly collection fee has crossed Rs 3.46 crore. Despite this, its Sector 43 branch could accommodate only 8 per cent of BPL children. School administrator Savita Sharma was not prepared to give a reply as admissions were under way.

The March 2007 statement of Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan-27 shows the school’s fixed assets at Rs 3.18 crore and the yearly income at Rs 2.21 crore. Yet, the institute could afford to educate only 4.36 per cent of underprivileged children. Principal Vaneeta Arora did not respond despite repeated attempts.

The fixed assets of Moti Ram School-27 (as per the statement for March 2008) stand at Rs 2.8 crore. It collected Rs 63.27 lakh as fee, besides Rs 83 lakh as annual funds. The management has given an undertaking in the department to start evening shift for poor children.

The statement of DAV School-15 during March 2007 testifies that Rs 2.47 crore had been charged as fee. The school generated funds of over Rs 1.05 crore, but could offer only 10.4 per cent seats to BPL students. Principal Rakesh Sachdeva could not be contacted.

Ajit Karam Singh International Public School collects an yearly fee of Rs 2.40 crore and has earned Rs 83.39 lakh excess of income for 2007.

The school has assets worth Rs 6 crore and has Rs 1.40 crore in fixed deposit. Ironically, it has just 3.16 per cent seats for BPL students. Principal Jagjit Sekhon assured that seats for such children would be extended.

SD Public School-32 has accumulated funds to the tune of Rs 2.19 crore and has fixed deposits of over Rs 1 crore, but the management has filled just 2.6 per cent seats for poor children, as per a report of 2008.



13-yr-old special girl goes missing from Aashreya
Swati Sharma/Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

When the authorities at the institute were asked about the details of the missing girl, they said the GMCH-32 had those, while the authorities at the GMCH claimed that the documents had been sent back to Nari Niketan.

Chandigarh, April 1
Aashreya at Sector 47 has once again run into trouble following the news of a 13-year-old mentally challenged girl having gone missing 15 days ago.

The incident, close on the heels of an escape by an inmate from another such home, Snehalya, has raised concerns over the functioning and attitude of the authorities concerned.

While officially, the authorities have even refused to acknowledge the incident, sources said the girl scaled the wall in broad daylight and even a DDR had been registered in this matter.

The girl, Sunita, was shifted from Nari Niketan at Sector 26 to the institute on March 13. She reportedly escaped on March 18 around 10 am and all that the authorities did was register a DDR at the Sector 31 police station.

The escape raises questions on the security arrangement and the care that the GMCH, Sector 32, and the department of social welfare is providing to inmates.

“Don’t they realise the gravity of the situation? A mentally challenged girl is on roads? What if she is abducted, killed or raped? Who would be answerable? All that the officials have done so far is to direct all of us to restrict media entry into the institute,” an insider revealed.

His claim proved true when the officials concerned were contacted to get details about the incident.

A specialist from the Government Medical College and Hospital, who has been monitoring inmates, said she would not be able to disclose any details about the girl as the department of social welfare had the authorisation for it. The Director, Social Welfare, Amandeep Kaur, could not be contacted after repeated attempts.

Earlier, the institute had run into trouble for the alleged denial of admission to mentally ill patients, however, the authorities had dismissed it as mere allegations.

It has also been revealed that the institute is facing acute staff crunch, with posts of superintendent, staff nurse and accountant lying vacant since the day of its inauguration in December.



Poverty no hurdle for these toppers
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Everybody knows him as a topper, but Sahil finds it hard to deal with his newly found status as he insists his teachers stay with him while he talks.

The sense of winning against all odds is what has made success sweeter for Sahil and his friends Amrit, Aarti and Komal of Government High School at Mani Majra.

These four passed with flying colours in the Class VIII examination, the results of which were declared yesterday.

“My parents are not well off and had no choice but to send me here, but it was never a deterrent for me. I could not afford tuition, but I worked very hard. I expected good marks, but achieving the top position was a dream,” Sahil, whose father is an electrician, said.

For Aarti Semwal, daughter of a priest, it was her parents’ support that did wonders. “I am happy. More than anything, I believe that my success proves that big buildings and facilities don’t necessarily make for good results, but only hardwork counts. My parents have been a big support. My father broke down when he learnt of the result,” she said, looking elated at securing 93.42 per cent.

Though these kids have turned heroes overnight in their localities, they are not comfortable with too much attention. “The moment people in my colony came to know about my result, all of them thronged my house, asking my mother for sweets. All the elders of the colony came to bless me. The people who never cared for my father were congratulating him and the sense of pride in his eyes made me feel great. More than my marks, it is the change that education has brought in our not-so-lucky fate that is reassuring,” Amrit Saini, daughter of a labourer, said as she proudly flashed her certificate with 91.2 per cent.



EC biased on Varun’s speech issue: BJP
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Taking potshots at the Election Commission (EC), the BJP today accused it of working at the behest of “some big power” in the Varun Gandhi hate speech issue.

“The case under the National Security Act (NSA) against BJP Pilibhit candidate Varun Gandhi smacks of “political vendetta” and was the result of the minority competitive vote-bank politics between the Congress and the BSP,” BJP spokesman Balbir Punj told a press conference here today.

Alleging that the EC committed “irregularities” in issuing advisory to the BJP not to field Varun from Pilibhit, Punj asserted even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and his cousin sister Priyanka also spoke against him. “We can understand under what pressures the EC had to work,” he alleged.

Punj alleged the EC had jumped the gun in the case as Varun’s claims that the CD had been “doctored and tampered with” and had not been scientifically verified.

Claiming that the UPA had vanished from the political map of the country, the BJP spokesman asserted that the the UPA was left only with the DMK and three allies of doubtful commitment--Sharad Pawar (NCP) in Maharshtra, Shibu Soren (JMM) in Jharkhand and Mamta Banerjee (Trinamool Congress) in West Bengal.

Besides, Congress’ presence is negligible in the major states of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, which comprise total 173 seats, the BJP leader said.

“On 173 seats, the Congress is not considered a serious player,” he said, adding that organised efforts were being made by the rival party to vitiate the atmosphere, garner votes on religious lines and side-step debate on issues like inflation, meltdown, unemployment, deteriorating security environment and rampant corruption.

Coming down heavily on the alliance between the Ittehad-E-Millat Council and the Congress, he alleged it was in continuation of the party’s policy of courting Islamic fundamentalists as part of its vote-bank politics.The alliance would embolden the Islamic fundamentalists who pose a serious threat to the unity, integrity and secular character of Indian, he added.



Bansal blogs it out to attract youth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Come elections and politicians find all means to woo voters. However, Union Minister of State for Industries Pawan Kumar Bansal has his eyes fixed on young voters. For that, he is not only blogging and sharing more about himself and his family by coming out with his own website, but also addressing youth issues like never before.

In fact, Bansal’s blog on his website www.pawanbansalforchd.com concentrates almost entirely on the youth. If the blog is anything to go by, then Bansal understands the problems being faced by the youth as well as their parents and is promising to address them if elected.

Chandigarh has become a hub for education services but this has also increased coaching fee in various private institutions, which have opened up all over the city. Bansal says in his blog that he will work towards establishing coaching centres, which are owned and managed by the administration.

Other issues of students are also mentioned including the need for creating more girl hostels in the city, as hostels attached to women colleges are clearly inadequate. Bansal says he has already been trying to get the Punjab Engineering College (PEC) converted into an IIT.

The Congress leader has also stressed the need for paying attention to athletics, saying cricket, hockey, tennis and squash already have world-class facilities. He says there is a need for establishing international stadia for athletics in the city.

Arshad Khan, a designer and councillor, who is responsible for Bansal’s web page, says it has helped the Congressman to reach out to the youth, interact with them and also become aware of what they want most of all. In the process, Bansal’s campaign has turned around words like “geri” which denotes a road stretch in the city to “Giving Elections Real Interest”. Khan says youngsters are also being wooed with slogans they can relate to so that they do not miss their date with Bansal and the Congress in the city on voting day.



Situation in Pakistan disturbing: British envoy
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Growing incidence of terrorist strikes in Pakistan is serious and dangerous. We are very much concerned as it is affecting us, says Sir Richard Stagg, the High Commissioner of Britain to India.

Talking to The Tribune here today, the High Commissioner disclosed that the British government has been convincing Pakistan to use its Army for countering insurgency. Armies are normally trained for external warfare but the situation in Pakistan is explosive and disturbing.

“We are trying to help Pakistan in our global war against terrorism. Yesterday’s incident at the Police Training Centre in Lahore is serious,” added Stagg.

Talking about growing unemployment in Great Britain, economic growth this year would be minus 2 per cent. Unemployment is rising. We have now as many as 2 million unemployed.

The Brown government has been coherent in its approach to tackle recession as it has provided lot of liquidity to banks. It has been supportive of the industry of future. We are working for sustainability of businesses of future in the process of economic recovery besides pursuing green agenda for economic development. Both economic and environment agenda have to be pursued together, he said.

The European Union, he says, is now for reducing Carbon output by 20 per cent by 2020 as the recommendations of the Kyoto conclave would end in 2012. Great Britain hopes to reduce Carbon out put by 60 per cent by 2050 compared to the 1990 levels.

Talking about the G-20 summit in London, Sir Richard Stagg said that it was heartening that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh could make it after undergoing heart surgery. Such summits with participation of world leaders help to improve the quality of discussions on issues concerning the economies.

Education is an important area where Great Britain wants greater cooperation with India.

“We hope when the new government takes over the after the elections, it would review its earlier decision on allowing foreign universities to open their campuses here. India has the potential. If high quality or higher brand of education is available inside the country at 30 per cent cheaper than in the UK, then why not permit it. Cambridge, Oxford, London School of Economics, for example, are world-brand institutions and they would love to have their own centers in India.

Talking about the new immigration policy, he says that it is the mechanism that has been changed to points system. But again this is not discriminatory but because of economic pressures. Once the economy gets back to growth, the demand for work force will again be revised upwards, he said.


Casteist Remarks
Dhawan writes to election commission
BSP seeks Lucky’s arrest
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Even as the Chandigarh Police is waiting for legal opinion on the yesterday’s incident of passing of casteist remarks by CTYC president HS Lucky, BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan has sent a complaint to the Chief Election Commission (CEC) demanding his immediate arrest.

In the letter, Dhawan said the yesterday’s incident was a result of Mauli Jagran residents questioning Bansal on the non-issuance of SC/ST certificates in the past 10 years and failure of the authorities to abolish contract system.

Instead of giving answers, Bansal disappeared from the scene, while Lucky and his supporters hurled casteist abuses at the Dalits.

When the crowd tried to register their complaint at the Mauli Jagran police post, the latter failed to do so under Bansal’s clout.

Dhawan further alleged that Bansal, being a Minister of State for Finance, knew the rules yet he did not take prior permission before starting the “padyatra”.

Terming it a violation of the code of conduct, he demanded arrest of Lucky.

Earlier in the day, the Congress at a press conference denied that any casteist remark was passed by Lucky or his supporters.

Lucky maintained that around 300 residents, mostly Dalits of the locality, participated in the “padyatra”. He held that there was no point of his making any remarks there.

He further showed a copy of purported complaint lodged by Sada Sawan Lehri, the alleged victim of the casteist remarks, in which it was nowhere mentioned that Lucky had passed such remarks against him.

Terming the episode a conspiracy, the Congress said the complainant was coaxed to make changes in his complaint many a time by the BSP yesterday.

On the other hand, members of National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR) presented Lehri before the media and showed a copy of the DDR in which it was mentioned that both Lucky and his accomplices had passed casteist remarks against the victim.

Stating that they had no faith in the Chandigarh police, Bhagat Raj Tisawar, convener of NACDOR, sought a magisterial inquiry into the episode.

Tisawar alleged that the police had acted in a biased manner on the issue, otherwise it would have arrested Lucky taking preventive measures under Sections 107 and 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

On the issue of casteist remarks, he said the police should conduct an independent inquiry into the matter before proceeding on the complaint.

Meanwhile, NACDOR members threatened to take to streets if the police failed to arrest Lucky by evening.

They clarified that it was not the issue of any political party but of their community and they had joined hands cutting across party lines.

Mani Majra police station SHO Kehar Singh said they were awaiting legal opinion to proceed on the matter.



Lawyers rally behind Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Hundreds of lawyers from the city gathered at Harmohan Dhawan’s residence here today and announced their support to the BSP candidate. Addressing the gathering, Dhawan said he won the elections last time with the support of lawyers and this time, too, their support was crucial.

Dhawan asserted that he was instrumental in getting land allocated to cooperative housing societies, which included the advocates’ co-op society, during his last tenure as an MP.

He assured that if he got elected this time, he would help the lawyer fraternity to get houses at nominal prices and ensure that the ownership right was given to lawyers for chambers at district courts on easy installments.



Not-so-Lucky for Bansal
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Congress candidate Pawan Bansal’s man Friday and president of the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC) HS Lucky seems to have landed the sitting MP into trouble again.

With Dalit organisations and the Opposition joining the chorus for the arrest of the youth Congress leader for allegedly using casteist remarks against a Dalit leader at Mauli Jagran yesterday, Bansal’s election campaign may run into rough weather in the run-up to the May 13 elections.

In fact, this coupled with Dalits’ anguish over the alleged failure of the Minister of State for Finance to get the issue of Scheduled Castes certificates resolved at the Centre could prove to be a double whammy for the minister seeking a hat-trick from the Chandigarh seat.

It may be recalled that last year, the minister had gone on record claiming that the Dalits would be issued SC certificates soon as the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had cleared the file.

Even Buta Singh, chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Caste, had claimed at a press conference a few months ago that the issue had been resolved.

However, the issue continues to hang fire with various central ministries sitting over the proposal for a long time.

It is surprising that the Congress-led UPA government, which claims to have done a lot for the uplift of the Dalits, has failed to spare a thought for such important issue, which could snowball into a major controversy for the Congress in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in the city.

In 2006, the local unit of the Congress and Bansal had faced a lot of embarrassment when Harneet Singh, wife of Lucky, who was the Deputy Mayor of the municipal corporation of Chandigarh, was involved in a case of theft of expensive clothing from a Sector 17 store.

Though Lucky had claimed that it was a conspiracy by his political rivals to defame his family, the fact remained that for several weeks Congress was held to ridicule in public in the wake of the theft case making headlines.

With the Opposition, particularly the BSP, already making it an election issue, further embarrassment seems to be in store for the Congress and its parliamentary candidate.

And that is another matter that the Congress had again been claiming that the issue had been blown out of proportion and was the result of the frustration of the Opposition due to overwhelming response to the election campaign of Bansal.



Voters must voice their opinion

Politicians have done enough to erode the trust and faith of the masses in democratic institutions. Voters feel disillusioned and are not interested in voting for any candidate as they feel it will not make no difference to their lives. Those elected only concentrate on filling their coffers and fail to work for the betterment of people.

Voters must unite in voicing their opinion and telling politicians that if they do not start recognising the power of the electorate they will be forcefully removed from their posts.

The election commission must make stringent rules and regulations to debar the entry of undeserving candidates.

All political parties too must clean up their act before it is too late.

Ajay Arora



BJP demands transfer of Panchkula DC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 1
“The district administration was siding with the government and the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner was acting as a Congress worker.” This was alleged by Gian Chand Gupta, a senior BJP leader and election in-charge of Panchkula assembly constituency, at a press conference in Sector 16, here today.

Deputy Commissioner Rajender Kataria, being the chief administrator of the Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board allowed the installation of banners in the temple complex bearing the names of Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee president Phool Chand Mullana. He was his father-in-law as well, said Gupta and demanded the transfer of Kataria.

Earlier during the Panchkula Municipal Council elections, the role of administration came under scanner and to ensure that free and fair elections were conducted here the BJP would meet Election Commission officials to demand the transfer of Kataria, he said.

Claiming that the BJP and the Indian National Lok Dal were working together to reach out to people, Gupta said the Congress was a divided house and it was the reason they even failed to choose the candidates for elections till now.

The Congress leaders even failed to come to expectations of people as local MP Kumari Selja did not bother to visit the constituency and former Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan, who had promised to develop Panchkula on the pattern of Paris, was no where to be seen, he added.

Informing about the celebration of BJP Sthapna Divas on April 6, he said the supporters of party would put up flags on their houses from April 7 to 11.



Nano draws people in droves
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Thousands of people converged on Tata dealerships in Industrial Area here and neighbouring Mohali to catch a glimpse of “people’s car” Tata Nano here today.

People jostled with each other not just for a glimpse of the car but also to get the application form to apply for the car.

The car was officially unveiled at the local dealership by Ajay Swaroop, chief general manager of State Bank India.

Speaking on the occasion, he said they had been chosen as the exclusive bank to accept application forms at select 97 branches in major cities of the region; and process them.

Forms will be available for Rs 300 each. As many as three lakh forms are expected to be sold in the region — two lakh by the SBI and one lakh by the 28 dealerships of Tata Motors.

The company will earn around Rs 9 crore only through the sale of these application forms.

But those who fill out these forms will not be guaranteed delivery of the car, as the recipients of the first one lakh cars to be sold in India will have to be chosen through a draw of lots. The first cars will be delivered only by March next year.

Meanwhile, the booking for the car will be done between April 9 and April 25 (both dates inclusive).

Nano comes in three variants and the booking amount is Rs 95,000 for standard model, Rs 1.2 lakh for Nano CX and Rs 1.4 lakh for Nano LX.



Opening of liquor vend spurs violence
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 1
Tension prevailed at Manakpur Sharif village here today after residents resorted to stone throwing in protest against the opening of a liquor vend in the area.

According to reports, a new liquor vend was being set up in the area which was opposed by residents of Manakpur Sharif and Sangatpura villages. A number of persons, including women, gathered and told the contractor that no liquor vend would be allowed near the two villages.

It is alleged that tempers ran high when a former sarpanch reached the scene after which residents starting throwing stones.

ASI Satnam Singh, who the first police official to reach the scene, sustained injuries in the action by the protesters. Later, the SHO and the DSP also arrived.

SSP Jatinder Singh Aulakh said a case had been registered in connection with the violence.

It is reported that the tin shed of the liquor contractor was damaged and bottles of liquor broken by the protesters.

A case under Sections 353, 186, 335, 435, 148 and 149 of the IPC was registered against 15 to 20 persons, including women, on the statement of ASI Satnam Singh.

Some residents alleged that they were beaten up by the police. The police, however, denied the charge.

The residents have given a representation to the Deputy Commissioner in this regard.



Pt Chaurasia casts divine spell
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, April 1
The scintillating spell of music by legendary Padma Vibhushan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia at the Tagore Theatre here today provided a grand finale to the week-long Chandigarh Art and Heritage Festival.

It begun with vocalist Padmashri Shubha Mudgal’s performance. Amidst a patronising applause, the flute wizard took the centrestage and spelled magic at the session of cohesive melody comprising of luxuries of sur, lay and taal.

Commencing the recital with the popular raga Yaman, the grand master of Indian classical displayed serene melody of raga through an alaap. Supported by his foremost disciples Sameer Rao and Himanshu on flutes, Pandit Chaurasia besides Priyanka Sharma articulating drone on Tanpura displayed the craft of progression (Badhat) traversing all octaves.

Pandit Chaurasia presented a brief alaap of raga Jog in calm contemplation but embellished the jod and jhalla with brilliant taankari, murkis, tode with glides to express his imaginative perception of the serious raga.

Then followed the classics, though in shorter forms of Chhota Kahyal in raga Kirwani and Hansdhwani which was marked with creative musical confrontation of layakari and spontaneous expressions between the flute and tabla.

The commendable accompaniment by maestros Vijay Ghate on tabla and Pandit Bhavanishanker on pakhawaj heightened the concert level. With his blowing and breath control techniques, Pandit Chaurasia doled out the spiraling melodic phrases with an emotional appeal.

He concluded the concert with a dhun in raga Pahad.

Earlier, UT home secretary Ram Niwas lauded the efforts of everyone concerned and welcomed adviser to the UT administrator Pradip Mehra.



e wild wild web
Internet vigilantism
Anil Maheshwari

Beware of Internet! Someone is watching you and your activities. Now, everything from child abuse to bad customer service can get the online masses whipped into a frenzy of vengeance. India, with its rising cyber population, may too face Internet vigilantism.

The Wikipedia defines Internet vigilantism or e-vigilantism as the phenomenon of vigilantic acts taken through the Internet. The term encompasses vigilantism against scams, crimes and even non-Internet related behaviour.

A prominent case of Internet vigilantism was reported in The New York Times, way back in 2006. It started with an impassioned, 5,000-word letter on one of the country's most popular Internet bulletin boards from a husband denouncing a college student being suspected of having an affair with his wife. Immediately, hundreds joined in the attack.

Impassioned people teamed up to uncover the student's address and telephone number, both of which were then posted online. Soon, people eager to denounce him showed up at his university and at his parents' house, forcing him to drop out of school and barricade himself with his family in their home.

In instances, people have scrutinised husbands suspected of cheating on their wives, fraud on Internet auction sites, the secret lives of celebrities and unsolved crimes. One case involved poisoning of a Tsinghua University student, an event that dates to 1994, but was revived by curious strangers after word spread that the only suspect in the case had been questioned and released. Even a scandal involving a top Chinese computer scientist dismissed for copying the design of an American processor came to light in part because of Internet hunting.

Cracked.com has listed eight cases of Internet vigilantism as awesome. In the first instance, a 16-year-old New Yorker, Sasha Gomez, stole the phone she found in the back of a cab. The victim had to buy a new phone and when she logged into her account, she found pictures of Gomez along with her AOL screen name.

A friend of the victim, Evan Guttman, tracked down the thief and sent her a message asking her to return the phone. He made a simple web page that included the pictures of Gomez and a description of what happened. Next, the page was linked on Digg, and Gizmodo, and from there to hundreds of other sites. Hundreds of thousands of people read the story and started a massive virtual campaign of harassment against Gomez. Of course, this was not nearly enough for the more industrious types who tracked Gomez down on MySpace and started to harass her and her friends. Then it was time for the real hardcore avatars of justice to bring it into the real world, actually finding her address in Queens and driving past her home shouting accusations. She was arrested and the story was added to the annals of cyber-mob justice.

Her Name is Dog Shit Girl: In 2005 in South Korea, bloggers targeted a woman who refused to clean up when her tiny dog defected on the floor of a Seoul subway car, labelling her "dog-shit girl”. Another commuter had taken a photograph of the woman and her dog, and posted it on a popular Korean website. Within days, she was identified by Internet vigilantes, and much of her personal information was exposed on the web. The story received mainstream attention when it was widely reported in South Korean media, and was discussed in Korean communities in the United States as well. The public humiliation led the woman to quit her university.

The reaction by Korean citizens to the incident prompted several Korean newspapers to run editorials voicing concern over Internet vigilantism.

The writer is an editor with Instablogs.com. He can be contacted at anilm@instablogs.com



IT dept attaches property
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Income tax officials yesterday attached the plot of Chandigarh-baed residents, Shamsher Singh, Surinder Pal Singh and Paramjeet Singh, at Bishanpura village on the Zirakpur-Ambala highway to recover pending amount of tax to the tune of Rs 6 lakh.

According to sources, four partners, Gurdayal Singh, Darshan Singh, Shamsher and Surinder Pal, own a petrol pump at Sector 22.

Income tax recovery officer Bikramjeet Singh said: “The people are advised not to enter a deal of the land. The Tehsildar, Dera Bassi, was also informed about the development and was instructed not to transfer the ownership of the land.”

Earlier, the income tax officials attached the sales of their petrol pump on October 16, stating that the department had appointed a receiver, who would receive 20 per cent of the daily sales of the petrol pump.



New bishop to take charge tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The Catholic community of Shimla-Chandigarh diocese, covering four states, announced the ordination ceremony of its new bishop today. Rt Rev Ignatius Loyala Mascarenhas will succeed Rt Rev Gerald John Mattias in a ceremony to held on Sacred Heart School campus on April 3.

The new bishop was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on February 10. In an interactive session with the media held at the Church in Sector 19 today, the new bishop emphasised the need to help the downtrodden and reach out to people who were not getting benefits of growing economy. He also added that enjoying the position, he wanted to help others in a humble manner.



Free gym for Bapu Dham kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Children at the Bapu Dham Colony thronged their student centre with excitement as the ‘Shera Gym’ was inaugurated today by social activist from Japan Kajuihiro Fujiwara.

“There is a Japanese here, who wishes to transform us into Salman Khan by opening this free gym,” a young boy said.

The latest attraction in the colony, Shera Gym, is equipped with the machinery donated by philanthropist Reshma.

“All of us want to have a good body, but we could never afford to go to a gym because of high charges. We would get together at a nearby park and work like lifting logs and bricks. I am happy that someone has thought ahead of giving us something else than books and clothes,” an enthusiastic boy, Gopal, said. The gym is the best way to channelise the energy of the youth here who vile away their time, Fujiwara said.



Importance of meditation discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
A talk on stress free life for its officers and soldiers was organised by the Central Reserve Police Force at Range H.Q. Bahlana yesterday.

A senior raja yoga meditation teacher and a management trainer of the Brahma Kumaris, Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya, based at the global headquarters in Mount Abu was the key speaker. The seminar was attended by DIG Chandigarh AS Sidhu, DIG Taj Mohmad, DIG Manjeet Singh, commandant SS Thapa and other officers.

Brahma Kumari Usha Didi discussed the physical, mental and behavioural levels of stress and advised all to keep positive and elevated thoughts in mind to lead a happy life.

She said: “A negative mind leads to wrong functioning and imbalances; it directs all external inputs in wrong activities. A polluted mind ruins the health of the body, spoils relations and fritters away all resources. Rajyoga meditation is aimed at re-awakening our innate spiritual qualities.”



Pall appointed Chief Engineer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The Chandigarh administration today appointed Surinder Pall, Superintending Engineer (SE) as the Chief Engineer on a temporary basis.

Pall, who is already holding the additional charge of Chief Engineer of the Chandigarh Housing Board, fills the slot vacated by Krishanjit Singh who retired after a three-month extension yesterday.

Providing alternative routes to Mohali and Panchkula, development of the IT park and institutional area, Sarangur, renovation of Tagore Theatre, construction at Beant Singh memorial and new lake at Sector 42 were among the projects undertaken during the tenure of Krishanjit.

Retirement gift — Chargesheet

The UT administration has chargesheeted Harsh Kumar, SE, and Mohinder Singh, Xen, for their alleged role in the engineering department kickbacks case involving former Chief Engineer KK Jerath. Both officials retired yesterday.



IAS Officer’s Assn mourns Capt’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The Punjab State IAS Officers Association has expressed anguish at the demise of cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh in a fatal road accident near Kharar on Sunday.

In a condolence meeting held yesterday, the association has extended prayers to grant strength to his family members in order to bear the irreparable loss.



Rajasthan Bhawan election
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Office-bearers of the Rajasthan Bhawan were elected for the term 2009-2010 at an executive meeting held on March 30. Deepak Bhandari has been elected as president, SS Jagnani as vice-president and Raj Kishore as general secretary. RA Sharma and SB Sharda are the new secretary and the treasurer, respectively.



PU recommends disaffiliation of ayurvedic college
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Sri Dhanwanatry Ayurvedic College and hospital, Sector 46, Chandigarh could be in more trouble if allegations of “misuse of premises” allotted to it for the promotion of ayurveda education are proved correct.

Fresh trouble is brewing close on heals of the Panjab University proposing to disaffiliate the college for violating the norms of the university and Central Council of Indian Medicine, New Delhi.

Sources in the estate office revealed, since 2006 several notices had been served to the college for violating the norms of the land allotment by running “commercial activities” on the campus. An earlier notice served to the college authorities had questioned the presence of a chemist shop.

These activities were dubbed as violation of the land allotment rules by the estate office, which has also taken objections to the Dabur hospital that is running on the campus. Sources also added that the authorities have asked the college management to send a copy of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dabur for providing space to the company on the college premises.

Ashwani Kumar, assistant estate officer, said before the stipulated date of hearing, a fresh inspection team to check the status of violations would be sent to the college.

Sources informed the college management had filed a reply of the notice. The college management has now been asked to appear on April 21 for clarifications. Sources stated that they would examine the MoU and decide whether the management had violated the lease deed.

SK Aggarwal, a representative of Dhanwanatry management told that they had sent a reply to the UT estate office on August 6 stating that there was no change in the use of land allotted.

Meanwhile, in a recent meeting of the Syndicate and senate of the Panjab University, a proposal of disaffiliating the college for flouting the instructions of the university and Central Council of Indian Medicine, New Delhi had been passed.



PU non-teaching staff decry DC orders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The Panjab University non-teaching staff staged a dharna today in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office in protest against the execution of Deputy Commissioner (DC) rates fixed by the Chandigarh Administration from March, 2009. The staff demanded that the authorities should not implement this order, as after this every ad hoc employee will come under the same pay scale whether he/ she is working in the university for long.

The protestors made a request to Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti that these rates should not be implemented because the adhoc employees, who are now getting Rs 7,200 per month would get Rs 3,860.

The employees alleged that it was not fair on the part of the authorities to decrease their salaries without any prior notice.

Sobti said it was not possible for the authorities not to implement the DC rates. He further said nothing could be decided till a model code of conduct was in force due to the Lok Sabha elections. Sources revealed there were over 340 adhoc personnel working in various departments of the university out of which most were on public dealing seats.

They further said the adhoc system was introduced in the university in 1993 and since then most of the posts had been filled by adhoc personnel.



First Canadian school in city
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 1
“The aim of providing education is to make children the best they possibly can be and also help them to become self-disciplined,” said Linda Beatty, principal of the British Columbia Academy (BCA), the first Canadian off-shore school being set up in this part of the country.

Beatty, who retired as a principal from Pinewood in the Delta School District in British Columbia, said: “She was not ready to retire and took the opportunity of setting up a Canadian school in India as a challenge.”

While talking to The Tribune here today, she said students who took admission in the BCA would have a level plain field in Canada in higher education as compared to students who acquired education in Canada itself. They would only need a student visa and good academic performance to attend Canadian universities.

The former principal, who came first to India in January and then in March, said she was British Columbia trained and most of the teachers in the BCA here would also be Canadian certified. The school having classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology would start functioning from the new wing of Saupins School in Sector 70 here.

A boarding school would be built on 14 acres near Chandigarh and there was a plan to spend about Rs 20 crore on this project. The board of directors of the British Columbia Academy would be funding the school. Admissions would be open for NRI families as well as Indian students.

The school would give admissions to students of classes IV to IX this year, would also offer 50 per cent scholarships to students. The school would also organise a student exchange programme, added Beatty.



From Schools & Colleges
Dr DN Trikha award for PEC researchers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
“Prof DN Trikha Excellence in Research Publication Award” is being instituted in the Punjab Engineering College to recognise the faculty members for excellence in research publication through the papers published in referred international journals.

This award has been introduced on the basis of a donation received from PEC alumnus Prof DN Trikha who graduated in 1959 from the

department of civil engineering. Dr Trikha has donated Rs 2.25 lakh to the college and the award will be given from the interest accrued on the donation received, which will be invested in the fixed deposit.

The award will be presented annually to two faculty members for excellence in research paper publication in the referred journals.


Dr Nindru Bal was appointed as the principal of Government College for Girls, Sector 42, today. Prior to this she worked as the dean College Instructions at the Government College, Sector 11.She did Ph.D in Social Psychology from Panjab University.

She emphasised to work for betterment of academics and administration of the college.

Rs 50-cr aid for course

Monsanto Company has announced a Rs 50- crore (US$ 10 million) grant to establish a ‘Monsantos Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Programme’ <http://www.monsanto.com/>, which will help identify and support young scientists interested in improving research and production in rice and wheat, two of the world’s most important staple crops, through plant-breeding techniques.

The company is funding the programme, which will be administered by Texas AgriLife Research <http://agrilife.tamu.edu/>, an agency of the US-based Texas University system <http://www.tamu.edu/>, for the next five years. The programme honours the accomplishments of Dr Henry Beachell and Dr Norman Borlaug (recipient of Nobel Prize in 1970), who pioneered plant breeding and research in rice and wheat, respectively.

Students from the city and around, who interested in applying for the programme can find more details at www.monsanto.com/mbbischolars <http://www.monsanto.com/mbbischolars>.



Students from J&K meet IGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The UT Inspector General of Police, SK Jain, yesterday interacted with a group of 27 students from Jammu and Kashmir, who are on “Bharat Darshan” tour initiated by Jammu and Kashmir Police.

SS Srivastava, SSP, HS Doon, SP traffic and security, also attended the session. Interaction session under the community relation scheme was arranged through community relation unit of the city police.

Senior Superintendent of Police SS Srivastava, gave brief introduction of the city police and its working style to the students.

The students of age from 12 to 17 years said the beauty of the city impressed them.



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