15042019-JTR-01.qxd 4/15/2019 1:45 AM Page 1 c m y b Jalandhar TRIBUNE VARUN DHAWAN, ALIA, DO SOUL-SEARCHING IN CITY PAGE 3 At a young age, Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt have earned respect for their unusual and challenging roles. FORECAST CLOUDY EARLY DETECTION OF CANCER ESSENTIAL: SONALI BENDRE PAGE 3 SHABIR AHLUWALIA ALL SET TO MAKE DIGITAL DEBUT Sonali Bendre said early detection and spreading awareness about the disease was essential. MAX 34°C | MIN 18°C | YESTERDAY MAX 33°C | MIN 17°C SUNSET MONDAY 6:56 PM PAGE 4 TV actor Shabir Ahluwalia is all set to make his digital debut with ALTBalaji’s upcoming web series Fixer. SUNRISE TUESDAY 5:59 AM MONDAY | 15 APRIL 2019 | JALANDHAR City Dalits credit enlightenment, development to reservation Festive spirit reigns high Justice Katju’s advice to give up reservation hasn’t gone down well with residents Aparna Banerji Tribune News Service Students of Lyallpur Khalsa College celebrate Baisakhi in a field in Jalandhar. PHOTO: SARABJIT SINGH INBRIEF MAN HELD WITH INTOXICANTS Phagwara: The Goraya police arrested a drug trader, Jasbir Singh of Kotli-Khurad village and recovered 6,200 intoxicant capsules, six bottles of liquid intoxicants and 675 intoxicant tablets from him near Goraya on Sunday. Phillaur DSP Davinder Singh Attri said the arrested suspect had confessed that he brought the intoxicants from Haridwar and was going to sell the same in the Dasuya area. OC Jalandhar MP faces protest Jalandhar, April 14 Congress sitting MP and contestant for the 2019 Lok Sabha poll Chaudhary Santokh Singh faced protests during the garlanding of the statue of Dr BR Ambedkar on the occasion of the Ambedkar Jayanti here today. Dalit leaders Subhash Sondhi and Deepak Telu and Ambedkar Samajik and Vyacharak Manch member Vinder Lakha raised slogans against Chaudhary. Dalit leaders protest against Jalandhar MP Chaudhary Santokh Singh in Jalandhar on Sunday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: MALKIAT SINGH They said the MP’s father and late minister Master Gurbanta Singh had shown black flags to Dr Ambedkar during his visit to Jalandhar for his campaign in 1952. — TNS PDA’s Jalandhar pick holds show of strength Tribune News Service Jalandhar, April 14 In a show of strength in the city, city’s Punjab Democratic Alliance candidate BSP’s Balwinder Kumar took out a rally in Jalandhar across Nakodar Chowk on the birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar. The candidate garlanded his statue at the Ambedkar Chowk and also at the Ambedkar Park. Hundreds of BSP supporters traversed on city roads. Vehicles with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) symbol were also seen accompanying the cavalcade of the candidate. The rally was primarily supported by Bahujan Samaj Party supporters this afternoon wherein traffic also remained blocked at the Nakodar Road amid the rally today. He was the formal pick from the Jalandhar for the Punjabi Ekta Party as part of the Punjab Democratic Alliance. The alliance has fielded a total of three BSP candidates from the state to represent it in the 2019 elections. Jalandhar, April 14 Known for his controversial and politically incorrect stance wherever he goes, Justice Markandey Katju’s insinuation to Dalits in Jalandhar — to give up reservation — hasn’t gone down too well with residents of the region. While 32 per cent of the population of the state (and 45 per cent of the district) is Dalit, the Dalit vote bank being one of the major decisive factors of the region ahead of the elections. Often key political decisions are made with Dalits on mind. Ironically, though, even as Dalits remain ignored in the sectors of education, health, scholarship schemes or property ownership, they are the most important when it comes to votes. In such a scenario, the idea to give up reservation has only earned the ire among city Dalits and scepticism even among the most cosmopolitan ones among them. While members of the Ambedkar Mission Society said they had called Justice Katju after due deliberations and they had made their disagreement on the issue clear beforehand. Retired Prof GC Kaul, a staunch Ambedkarite and one of the members who invited Katju, said: “Justice Katju had put an FB post deliberating his idea of reservation. Members of the committee had seen these and held a meeting in which a letter was drafted by our seniormost member expressing clear disagreement with his view of reservation for Dalits. After at least two board meetings, the letter was sent to Justice Katju who wrote back Former SC Justice Markandey Katju releases a souvenir during an event to mark the birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar in Jalandhar on Sunday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: MALKIAT SINGH DALITS IGNORED IN VARIOUS SECTORS While 32 per cent of the population of the state (and 45 per cent of the district) is Dalit, the Dalit vote bank being one of the major decisive factors of the region ahead of the elections. Often key political decisions are made with Dalits on mind. Ironically, though, even as Dalits remain ignored in various sectors, they are the most important when it comes to votes. In such a scenario, the idea to give up reservation has only earned the ire among city Dalits and scepticism even among the most cosmopolitan ones among them. to us saying he would raise the point but also present solutions to it. He also said he would speak on many other issues not only this. The committee had raised its clear disagreement on the issue.” Reacting to the row, Professor Kaul said: “A lot of development seen in the Dalit society in the past is due to reservation. Reservation is largely responsible to enlightenment in the community. It is imperative for development. We cannot disagree with the fact. A lot of Dalits started going abroad in the 60s. The process speeded up in the 90s and in this entire chain of events and awareness reservation had a pivotal role. However, we agree to Justice Katju’s concerns that the present politi- cal system is headed for a collapse. And it can’t be fought without an intellectual streamlining of like-minded forces in the country on a political platform.” Lahori Ram Bali (80), a staunch Ambedkarite and one of Ambedkar’s oldest living supporters, reasserted from stage today that while the society did not agree with the country’s political system, it disagreed with Katju on his stance on reservation. A peep into the history While the state had over 8,000 Buddhists as per the 2011 Census, a majority of these are Ambedkarite Buddhists who are directly or indirectly inspired by Babasaheb’s conversion to Buddhism in 1956. The Ambedkarites, as Bali and Prof Kaul point out, Need to lend an artistic touch to Virsa Vihar ‘Kashmiri Pandits aren’t a vote bank anywhere in country’ Ajay Joshi Tribune News Service Jalandhar, April 14 “Virsa Vihar could play an instrumental role in acquainting the youngsters about the rich cultural heritage of the state,” Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma was reported to have said in February this year while announcing to make the city-based Virsa Vihar a hub of socio-cultural activities in the region. Similarly, Lok Sabha MP Santokh Singh Chowdhary was quoted as having said, “Virsa Vihar, inaugurated by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh during his previous tenure, could act as a catalyst to perpetuate the cultural heritage of the state among the coming generations.” Chaudhary also underlined the need for organizing events at Virsa Vihar to instill life into it. Likewise, many words have been said and spoken by several ministers and authorities for many years for the development of Virsa Vihar. However, the walls and rooms of Virsa Vihar meant for training the young artistes, have been gathering dust. The open air theatre stage at Virsa Vihar, the foundation stone of which was laid in 2009 by the then Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia, Jalandhar Central MLA, has The building of Virsa Vihar in Jalandhar. SARABJIT SINGH THE APATHY Walls and rooms of Virsa Vihar meant for training young artistes have been gathering dust. The open air theatre stage at Virsa Vihar, the stone of which was laid in 2009 by the then Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia, Jalandhar Central MLA, has been non-existent since then. There is no memory of even a single play being performed at the open air theatre. A few events were held in the initial days only. Looking at its deplorable state and the administration’s negligence, artistes have time and again turned their back at Virsa Vihar. been non-existent since then. There is no memory of even a single play being performed at the open air theatre. A few events were organized in the initial days only. Looking at its deplorable state and the administration’s negligence, the artistes have time and again turned their back at Virsa Vihar. Rekha Kashyap, manager of Virsa Vihar said, “ I have been working here for over a year now and have never noticed any activity being conducted on a daily basis. Howev- er, some theatre artistes come to rehearse their play, but nothing lasts for more than a month or two here. Karate classes for girls, started a few months ago, were also closed due to insufficient number of students.” Despite being offered several grants, why wasn’t the fund utilised for the development of Virsa Vihar, ask theatre artists. On February 8 this year, the DC was reported to have said that an open air auditorium would be constructed at a cost of Rs 10 lakh within two months, but nothing seems to be happening in this regard. Notably, Chowdhary, also announced a grant of Rs 4 lakh for the construction of the boundary wall for the open air auditorium to come up at the centre. Ever since Kewal Dahaliwal became the president of the Virsa Vihar in Amritsar, it has grown at a tremendous pace, feel theatre artists. Therefore, the administration should rope in artistes for the management of Virsa Vihar, so that they would prompt people to take part in various activities by organising plays and other such events. Besides, being an established theatre group in the region, the Yuva Theatre Group never performed at Virsa Vihar due to absence of facilities and lack of encouragement. At present, Virsa Vihar is limited only to organising art and lifestyle exhibitions. No major play or event has ever been organised here for years. IS Dhami, secretary, Virsa Vihar, said development wasn’t initiated due to the model code of conduct and once the elections are over, the task would surely be completed within a month. Dhami also was of the view that artistic activities could flourish at Virsa Vihar only if any body of artistes is asked to manage the affairs there. c m y b Members of community in city gather at annual havan to venerate their local deity Aparna Banerji Tribune News Service Jalandhar, April 14 Displaced from their homes 30 years ago, the 100-150 odd Kashmiri Pandit families in the city have been gathering at the office of the Photographer’s Association for the past about a decade to remember their ‘Isht Devi’ – local deity Raginya Bhagvati – an incarnation of Durga who is venerated at the historic temple of Kheer Bahawani nestled amid Chinar trees in Srinagar, Kashmir. As the city’s few Kashmiri Pandits gather at the annual havan to venerate their local deity, they say: “It’s that annual occasion to ask the Goddess for kasht nivaran (alleviation of troubles). She put us in this dilemma, she will take us out.” Sunita Kak (49) says, “In January of 1990, I along with my mother and sisters fled Kashmir after villagers began threatening to murder all men and take women. We spent days in agony. My mother kept a live wire at the attic and asked us to electrocute ourselves if any attackers came. We, my sisters and brother and mother, moved out in the night to Jammu. For days we survived on one pair of clothes we washed in the night. My aunt was among the first Kashmiri Pandits to be killed. Eventually, after weddings we migrated here. If we weren’t educated, I don’t know what fate would have befell us. Our house was burnt in 1992.” Kak hails from Habba Kadal in Srinagar. Kak said: “The government has told us it would rehabilitate us. But here we are, still dreaming of our erstwhile homes. The government has done a lot for 10,000 Kashmiri Pandits in Gujarat but the rest of us continue to languish. Bal Thackeray was the only politician who ensured jobs for us. For the rest of the parties, it seems like talking about our plight isn’t even fashionable, since we are a minority. I want to vote from Habba Kadal (Kadal means bridge).” Rajinder Kaul, who originally belongs to Zaina Kadal in Srinagar, says: “The greatest problem for Kashmiri Pandits is they are not a vote bank anywhere in the country. We are a minroty everywhere. I have been a migrant all through. I was born in Kolkata and moved to Punjab. I wasn’t essentially displaced. But my relatives were. We had a beautiful 100-room house in Kashmir. I want to visit it. But can’t. It is stifling. Terrorism of all kind is bad. I have seen Devdutt Khullar being killed in front of my own eyes during the Punjab terrorism days. Our house in Srinagar lies in shambles. We can’t visit Kheer Bhawani or venerate our Gods there. It’s not the same here. The BJP has still given ear but no one else thought about us. I still have the hope to fulfill my dream of visiting my 100room house one day.” While there are about lakhs of Kahmiri Pandits in the country, members of the community in the city also say they are scattered and do not come together on one platform. aren’t in agreement with Dalit politics of the state as they maintain it doesn’t address the actual Dalit issues at the grass-roots level. The Ambedkar Mission Society has as many as 600 members and the city has over 3,000 Dalits who are sworn Ambedkarites. The society doesn’t deem those contesting from political parties as true mission members, as it terms itself free from political agenda. The Ambedkar Bhawan in Jalandhar is one of the oldest such bhawans in the state and Jalandhar being one of the Buddhist hubs where Ambedkar had been visiting since the 1950s. The city has an Ambedkarite-Buddhist history running back to the inception of the movement of Dalits for larger constitutional rights in the country. Lahori Ram Bali, who invited Katju, is one of the oldest associates of Ambedkar. While in 1958, 5,000 persons embraced Buddhism in the state (at Chak Hakim, Phagwara), many of Ambedkar’s earliest associates were from the region. Van spreads awareness among voters Jalandhar, April 14 An awareness van that has been started by the district administration has been touring all nine Assembly constituencies in the district i.e. Adampur, Kartarpur, Jalandhar Central, Jalandhar West, Jalandhar North, Phillaur, Shahkot, Nakodar and Jalandhar Cantt. An officer fills the form of young and new voters on the spot. Officials said if someone had not got his name registered in the voters’ list yet, then this was a good chance for them to get the same done. The van, fitted with an audio system, will visit villages and towns in the district and spread the message of ethical voting to the masses. To make people aware about the importance of right to vote and encourage them to participate in the ensuing Lok Sabha poll, Commissioner of Jalandhar Division B Purushartha and Jalandhar DC Varinder Kumar Sharma had flagged off an awareness van for the district. They had said the van would play an instrumental role in making people aware of their voting rights. The officials expressed hope that it would act as a catalyst to make people, especially youngsters, aware of need for enrolling them as voters in the democratic system and their voting rights. — TNS
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