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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Latest Breaking News from Punjab: Thursday 12th July 2007

Gurmatta Withdrawal Nandgarh, Samaj lodge protest with Vedanti

Amritsar, Even as Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa and senior Panthic leaders held a closed-door meeting with Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti over withdrawing “Gurmatta” for holding a Sikh conclave at Ratia in Haryana, the Sant Samaj has convened a meeting at Damdama Sahib on July 19 to discuss the next course of action in the dera controversy.
Baba Harnam Singh claimed that the Sikh high priests, including Jathedar Vedanti, would attend the proposed meeting at Damdama Sahib.
It was learnt that Jathedar Nandgarh lodged his protest with Jathedar Vedanti for taking decision to withdraw the “Gurmatta” without taking him (Jathedar Nandgarh) into confidence. The unscheduled meeting was held at the residence of Jathedar Vedanti and it lasted for more than two hours.
The religious leaders tried to persuade Jathedar Vedanti to hold a march to Ratia, to which the latter refused. A section of the Sant Samaj had described the volte face by Jathedar Vedanti regarding the proposed conclave as “unprecedented” in the Sikh history.
It is believed that Jathedar Nandgarh told Jathedar Vedanti that with the withdrawal of the “Gurmatta”, the institution of Akal Takht had been denigrated.
Though Jathedar Akal Takht could take independent decision on an issue, as per Sikh traditions, he had never reversed the “Gurmatta” passed by five Sikh high priests in the past without taking all of them into confidence.
Meanwhile, the chief of Damdami Taksal said the meeting of the Sant Samaj, which was proposed to be held at Ferozepur on July 13, had been advanced to July 12.
He said Sikh leaders would meet the Ferozepur administration to withdraw cases registered against Sikhs following clashes with followers of the dera.

Case against Akali leaders sought Dera follower cremated

Bathinda, Dera Sacha Sauda follower Sham Sunder Bansal, who died after setting himself afire to lodge his protest against the alleged harassment of followers of the sect by Akali leaders, was cremated at the local cremation ground amid tight security.
As the situation was tense in the town, policemen and paramilitary forces were deployed at various places.
Meanwhile, SHO of the city police station Harwinder Singh Virk said a case under Section 309 of the IPC was registered against Bansal on July 8. However, the section in the case had been changed to 306 of the IPC (forcing a person to commit suicide).
He said Bansal had not levelled allegations against anyone that he was forced to commit suicide. He had mentioned in his statement that Sandhu and Sarup Chand Singla were present at the function, the SHO added.
Meanwhile, the police had to face tough time taking the vehicle carrying the body of Bansal to the cremation ground.
Earlier, followers of the dera staged a dharna in front of the vehicle carrying the body at Bansal’s house in Paras Ram Nagar. They demanded that a criminal case be registered against Akali leaders, including a former minister, for harassment of members of the sect.
They let the vehicle moved to the cremation ground after a senior functionary of the dera assured them that a criminal case had been registered against two Akali leaders.
On the way, too, hundreds of followers staged a dharna in front of the Paras Ram Nagar police post, demanding the copy of the FIR in the immolation case.
The body was cremated according to the rituals of the sect.

Dayal urges dera chief to settle issue

Chandigarh, Dr Joginder Dayal, member of the national executive of the CPI, here today urged the chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda to reciprocate in a positive manner to the decision taken by Giani Joginder Singh, Jathedar of Akal Takht, with regard to the cancellation of the Sikh convention at Ratia.
He said the dera chief should come forward to settle all issues with those who had been feeling hurt because of his certain actions. He said the dera chief should confine himself only to religious activity and should have nothing to do with politics.
“It was wrong on the part of dera management to extend open support to a particular party,” he added. “If the dera chief is interested in politics, he should come out openly into the political arena,” said Dr Dayal.
Dr Dayal has urged the Sikh clergy to withdraw the call of social boycott of dera premis. “Social boycott is not desirable in our society. For centuries, Dalits have been suffering because of their social boycott by upper classes.”
The call given for social boycott leads to serious problems in society for decades to come. It can lead to vertical divisions on the basis of several factors including religion,” he said.
Commenting on Badal government, Dr Dayal said it was a direction-less government. The state was failing on the industrial, unemployment, law and order, education and other fronts. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is not worried to resolve these problems.
On the problem of rural indebtedness, he said, “All loans of farmers should be waived”, he said. Sick industry should be revived and the Union Government should be compelled to given industrial package to Punjab on the Himachal pattern.
He said because of unavailability of potable water, cancer was spreading in certain parts of the Malwa region. Level of toxicity in drinking water was very high, he added.
He said the oil refinery project in Punjab had been revived because of Laxmi Mittal and not because of the SAD-BJP government or the Congress party.
Dr Dayal said Punjab was being ruled by the SAD-BJP and not by the people’s government. The SAD-BJP was protecting its own activists and targeting opponents. The same was done by the previous Congress government, he said.

House of dera member torched or is it just false cases against sikhs

Bhagta Bhai Ka (Bathinda), July 11The house of Dera Sacha Sauda follower Rajinder Pal was set on fire by miscreants here late last night. At the time of the incident all members of the family were sleeping on the roof.
Fear gripped dera followers here and in adjoining villages after the incident came to light this morning.
Rajinder and his brother have been putting up in the house for the past many years. They run separate shops in the town.
Members of the family raised an alarm before the fire spread. They, with the help of local residents, doused the fire after little effort. The miscreants sprinkled kerosene on the front doors of the house to set these on fire.
One of the members of the family told The Tribune that that when they noticed flames, they immediately extinguished it with the help of local residents.
She said though the police was informed about the incident immediately, policemen and officials visited their house this morning only. No security had been provided to them by the police, she added.
The front doors of the house, a bed and window had got damaged in the fire.
Dyalpura SHO Jagjit Singh said a case under Sections 436 and 427 of the IPC had been registered on a complaint of Rajinder.

JD (S) flays remarks on Sukhbir

Hoshiarpur, July 11The Janata Dal (S) has condemned the recent statement of chief of Damdami Taksal Harnam Singh asking acting president of the SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal to get himself baptised if he wanted to continue to lead the Sikh community in general and the Panthic party in particular.
Executive committee member of the Janata Dal (S) Balwant Singh Khera, in a press note issued here today, also criticised SGPC chief Avtar Singh for giving a full-page advertisement in various newspapers regarding the launch of “Singh Sajo campaign” from July 15.
“There are around 2 crore Sikhs in the world, of which only 5 per cent are Amritdhari Sikhs. Therefore, it is illogical to say that Gursikhs are lowly than Amritdhari Sikhs. Every Sikh who believes in ‘Kirat karo, nam japo and band chako’ is decent”, Khera said.

Indian State's interference in Sikh Religious matters is unwarranted

Chandigarh:Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu (Senior Vice President, Akali Dal Amritsar) held a press conference in Chandigarh. He claimed that Indian State is interfering in religious matters of Sikhs and this is unauthorized interference. He accused that State is ignoring sentiments of Sikh Nation and trying to forcibly suppressing Sikh movement in dera issue. For instance, he said, State stopped many persons and leaders from participating 9 July dharna in Mohali held by KAC. He informed SAD (A) youth leader S. Mandhir SIngh and his Jatha were stopped by Ropar Police. Similarly, Dal Khalsa Jatha was also stoped at Ropar. There are other incidents of like nature also. He said State is on its' way of closing all peaceful means of protest and this is extremely dangerous. He said if situation goes out of control the whole responsibility shall be on Central and State Government and its' agencies. Commenting on postponing Ratia convention he said firstly established Sikh Leadership takes decision without consulting Sikh Sangat and then postpone it under State Pressure. This trend is reducing the credibility of this leadership. As on 08 July S. Ram Singh of SAD (A) has announced in a press conference that SAD (A) has separated itself from Khalsa Action Committee, Bhai Bittu said that it may be thinking an individual and it is not decision of the party. He said we joined KAC after deciding for it in a Political Affairs Committee, and only PAC has the right to decide in this regard. On charges of Sedition against him and S. Simranjeet SIngh Maan and others, Bhai Daljit SIngh said that State is misusing law and legal process to trap Sikh leaders. He said role of Judiciary in this matter is also discouraging. It is worth notable that stay on arrest of Bhai Daljit Singh in a sedition case at Fatehgarh Sahib is vacated by the court of Addn. Sessions Judge on 4 July, the day when court rejected bail application. Meanwhile on 09 July the High Court has asked the Punjab Government to file reply by 02 August on bail application filed by Bhai Daljit SIngh in High Court through his council, Advo. Navkiran Singh, But the court has not stayed arrest of Bhai Bittu and police is in his search.

Haryana govt imposes restrictions on dera Sacha Sauda function

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Government has issued instructions that the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda would neither be allowed to use any public place nor loudspeakers for the purpose of their scheduled 'Nam Charcha' on July 12 at Ratia in Fatehabad district.
This was revealed by Haryana Chief Secretary, Prem Prashant while interacting with media persons here Wednesday.
Prem Prashant said that in case anyone has to do 'Nam Charcha', it might be done at one's home. He said that a decision to this effect has been taken to maintain peace in the area.
The Chief Secretary said that as the proposed Sikh rally, which was scheduled for today, had also been deferred by the Akal Takht Jathedar, the tense situation has been diffused. He appreciated that wise sense has prevailed upon both parties. As he was replying to the questions of media persons, he rang up Deputy Commissioner Fatehabad to enquire about the situation in Ratia. He was informed by the Deputy Commissioner that some people had visited the Gurdwara at Ratia, but returned after paying obeisance and situation was normal. The State Government would protect life and property of the people, he added.
In reply to another question, Prem Prashant made it clear that no instruction has been issued to prevent the people from visiting Gurudwara in Ratia. The State Government is in touch with Punjab Government and Chief Ministers of both States too have been discussing the issue with each other, he added.
On the issue of on going hunger strike by some of the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda, the Chief Secretary said that none of their demands related to Haryana, but these were for Punjab. However, the doctors of Haryana were examining medically those on hunger strike and in case of worsening of anyone's condition, they were being shifted to hospital.
When asked to comment of the power situation, he said that power had been purchased at a rate of even or eight per unit for short term so as to ensure its supply to consumers.
He denied having received any proposal for construction of metro rail from Chandigarh to Ambala. However, he added that efforts were being made to connect Faridabad with metro rail in first phase of the project, but it would be possible by 2012 or 2013. Gurgaon would be connected with metro rail by 2010.
When his attention was drawn towards a newsitem appearing in a section of the press concerning the issue of tenure for IAS cadre posts in the State, the Chief Secretary made it clear that every State has its schedule of tenure. The Central Government has amended All India Service Rules for determination of fixed tenure for IAS cadre posts. The State Chief Minister has recommended a minimum tenure of one year for all IAS cadre posts in the State and his views have been communicated to the Central Government. In case of transfer of an officer, the issue is looked into by the Tenure Committee headed by the Chief Secretary. he added.

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