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Re-look at events of 1984

Apropos the news items on the UK role in Operation Bluestar, I am reminded of a telecast on a TV channel by Giani Ranjit Singh in which he rightly eulogised the supreme sacrifice made by Baba Deep Singh ji to protect Harmandar Sahib. He contrasted this lofty state to the low and mean act of the Centre of attacking Akal Takht in 1984 and said the Sikhs would never forget the assault.

It is true that most Sikhs were deeply hurt and traumatised to see the damage caused to their holiest shrine in Operation Bluestar. However, is it not time for the community to pause and ponder over the reasons for this trauma? Firstly, why did the security forces have to enter the holy complex? Was it to demolish Akal Takht per se or flush out terrorists who had turned the holy shrine into a fortress? Secondly, were the activities of the extremists not contrary to the Sikh ethos?

The SGPC owes it to the Sikh community that no message is propagated that even indirectly poisons young minds based on prejudices and half-truths that are contrary to universal brotherhood and love for mankind. There is a need to have a free, frank, open and unbiased re-look at the events from 1973 to 1984. Those who do not learn from history are bound to suffer the consequences. Whether the SGPC will rise to this challenge or repeat the follies of the 80s, only time will tell.

Supinder Singh, Dehradun

Budget for elderly

The process of the Union Budget for 2014-15 is due to commence. The Union Finance Minister has to be engaged in discussions with experts, farmers, industry captains and other representatives for the Budget to be people-centric. All sections of society are pinning great hopes on the coming Budget.

The senior citizens are indeed a very vulnerable segment of society. They need special attention and should be divided into three groups: young senior citizens (60-70 years), old senior citizens (70-80 years) and super senior citizens (80 years and above). All these categories should be given tax relief accordingly so that their evening of life does not become unbearable. Moreover, under Section 80-C of the Income Tax Act, a senior citizen should be allowed to invest the whole permissible amount in any one of the tax-saving instruments and its lock-in period should not exceed three years.

Dr LK Manuja, Nahan

LPG: No cash benefit yet

Una and Hamirpur were among the few small districts selected in the first list ofthe direct cash benefit transfer scheme. Sadly, the residents are running from pillar to post for the cash transfer after paying more than ~1,100 for an LPG cylinder. In many cases, the poor consumers have been running for months between the gas agency and the bank to get the cash benefit credited.

Also, in PDS fair price shops, the supply of essential items such as cooking oil, dal, sugar has been irregular for almost a year. It is sad that the government has miserably failed to look into the mishandling of supplies and distribution. The common man is miserably squeezed as his resources do not match the rise in prices. Non-availability of items is adding to his woes.

Tek Chand, Abada Barana, Una

Give firewood via PDS

Keeping in view the extreme cold conditions in Himachal Pradesh, the state government should make available firewood and charcoal through the public distribution system at reasonable prices. The consumer who has two LPG cylinders on a ration card is not entitled to kerosene. This is not justified as the people spend more than six months in chill.

KC Sharma, Gaggal, Kangra

Football coach needed

The post of football coach at the Sports Hostel in Rohroo, Shimla, run by the Education Department, is lying vacant for the past 11 years, hitting the hostel boys from all over Himachal Pradesh. The state government makes tall claims of promoting sports, but the reality is otherwise. No serious efforts have been made to fill the vacant post. On the other hand, the game of cricket is getting all support and special attention. Football and related activities stand ignored, much to the misery of football players and lovers. It is most unfortunate.

Prem Chand, Rohroo

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