Monthly Archives: SEPTEMBER 2018


Cop versus Cop in Punjab
Saiyan Bhaye Kotwal Ab Dar Kahe Ka
29.09.18 - VIPIN PUBBY
Saiyan Bhaye Kotwal Ab Dar Kahe Ka



INFIGHTING AMONG THE top brass of Punjab Police is one of the worst kept secrets in the state. Top police officers accusing each other of corruption, protecting drug mafia and worse is common. There have also been instances of cases being instituted or investigations launched against one another.

Ironically, almost all those involved in such bickering were in the forefront of tackling militancy in the 1980s and 1990s as young officers. They were foot soldiers of the then Director General of Police, KPS Gill, and bore the brunt of the struggle against the militants. Gill had given them extraordinary powers and they took full advantage of them. Some see a link to the continued bickering with professional rivalries harking back to that era.
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For a border state that has been on the Pakistani radar, an undisciplined police force can just be the best thing to happen for the enemy who might seize this chance to create trouble in the state.
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But the culture of indiscipline in the police force percolated to even lower levels. So much so, that an inspector-level station house officer (SHO), Parminder Singh Bajwa, addressed a press conference and made snide remarks about the chief minister’s personal life. He was, of course, suspended and then dismissed from service but the rot appears to have set in.

Perturbed over the washing of dirty linen in public, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh recently called a meeting of the top brass and warned of severe action against those indulging in indiscipline. As part of his intervention he even changed the head of the Special Task Force (STF) entrusted with the job of checking drug trafficking. He had himself requested the Centre to prematurely release a 1992-batch, Punjab-cadre, IPS officer Harpreet Singh Sidhu, who was heading CRPF’s anti-Naxal Operations in Chhattisgarh, to head the newly-created STF.

This had caused some resentment in the state as many senior officers were available to head the Task Force. Capt Amarinder even went further and asked him to report directly to him instead of the DGP Suresh Arora. This led to dual power centres. The chief minister had then given the explanation that since Sidhu was recalled prematurely from central deputation, he had to directly report to the CMO.
 
But in a surprise move earlier this month, in an evident attempt to tackle infighting among the top police officers in the state, the chief minister removed Sidhu as STF head and appointed him special principal secretary to the chief minister. In his place he appointed another senior officer, Mohammad Mustafa, as STF chief. Unlike Sidhu, he is supposed to report to the DGP. Simultaneously, he also obtained an extension for DGP Arora who was to retire month-end.

It was well-known that Sidhu was resisting reporting to the DGP while the top police officer of the state had taken the stand that two power centres were causing friction in the police force. Thus he has tried to mollify both Arora and Sidhu by giving Arora full control and authority while moving Sidhu to the privileged Chief Minister’s Office.

The trigger for the latest turmoil was the statement given by another senior officer, DGP (HRD) Sidharth Chattopadhyay in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He had approached the court alleging that he was being targeted by some senior officers "whose role was under investigation for being closely associated with SSP Raj Jit Singh”. He was obviously referring to DGP Arora and DGP (Intelligence) Dinkar Gupta.

He had approached the High Court to claim that he was being implicated in a case of abetment of suicide due to internal politics of the state police. He had refused to withdraw his allegations despite being asked by the government to do so. The name of the SSP had, in turn, come up during the interrogation of Inspector Inderjit Singh, who has since been dismissed. The inspector was arrested by the STF led by Sidhu with four kilograms of heroin. It was considered the biggest achievement of the STF. SSP Raj Jit, too, had approached the High Court alleging he was being harassed by certain police officers as part of departmental politics.

In yet another related case, the court had stayed a probe against Chattopadhyay in a case connected with the suicide of a businessman, Inderpreet Chadha, in January. Chattopadhyay submitted that his name was unnecessarily being dragged into the case and had sought a CBI probe into the death.

The High Court has thus become a battleground for the infighting among a section of senior police officers. It is hearing multiple complaints of harassment by senior officers against each other. It remains to be seen if the latest reshuffle improves discipline and relationships within the police force. For a border state that has been on the Pakistani radar, an undisciplined police force can just be the best thing to happen for the enemy who might seize this chance to create trouble in the state.
 

 

 

*(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)


 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

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UNHOLY HASTE To save the faith

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_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT


 






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KARTARPUR CORRIDOR
Akali Dal's attempt to brand Navjot Sidhu as anti-national & ISI agent is ridiculous
22.09.18 - VIPIN PUBBY
Akali Dal's attempt to brand Navjot Sidhu as anti-national & ISI agent is ridiculous



THE PROPOSAL TO open a corridor for the historic and most revered Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, has unfortunately degenerated into a political controversy.

What started as a sudden but very welcome disclosure to Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu by Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa at the swearing in ceremony of the new Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, has snowballed into an acrimonious and bitter debate.

It is well known to all that Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular had been demanding a corridor to the Gurdwara located just three kilometers inside Pakistan where Guru Nanak had spent over 15 years of his life. One only has to go the border near the Gurdwara on the indian side and see devotees trying to take a glimpse of the Gurdwara. Many return with moist eyes and prayers in their hearts that they would be able to pay obedience at the Gurdwara one day.

The 550th birth anniversary of the great guru was a wonderful opportunity to devotees to pray at the Gurdwara and the offer by Pakistan should have been welcomed by one and all.

Pakistan already offers passage to the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara during gurpurab and India is generous in allowing pilgrims from Pakistan to Ajmer Sharif Dargah and other important places for the Muslims from Pakistan. 
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The proposal to open a corridor for the historic and most revered Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, has unfortunately degenerated into a political controversy. Rather than making such efforts, the Shiromani Akali Dal has taken the lead in criticising Sidhu. While the rivalry between him and the Akali leadership is well known, to describe him as anti national and even an ISI agent is ridiculous.
----------
Such a gesture by Pakistan neither absolves the Pakistan army or its rulers for the repeated and continued attacks on indian territory. This one gesture should not be equated with other issues the two countries have.

The border between India and Pakistan was drawn hastily within a period of two months by the British lawyer Cyril Radcliffe who had never been to India earlier and no idea of the sentiments of either the Sikhs, Hindus or the Muslims. He simply drew a line on the Ravi river. One can presume that had he known the  significance of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, he would have included it within Indian territory.

Anyway the border has not remained static ever since the artificial line was drawn. A lot of changes have been brought after wars. In one early peaceful exchange of territories, the samadhis of Shaheeds Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were transferred to India in exchange of a piece of land to Pakistan.

Even in the recent times, several areas have been exchanged between India and Bangladesh to resolve the disputed lands since 1947. Indian should actually engage with Pakistan for a possible exchange of land  so that Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib could be included in India.

Rather than making such efforts, the Shiromani Akali Dal has taken the lead in criticising Sidhu. While the rivalry between him and the Akali leadership is well known, to describe him as anti national and even an ISI agent is ridiculous. Even the party’s coalition partner, the Bhajpa, has not taken a positive view. According to leaked stories apparently at the behest of Akalis, Sidhu was alleged "pulled up” by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. "Pulled up” for what was not clarified.

Akalis, currently in a corner in the wake of sacrilege incidents and the justice Ranjit Singh report, are fighting with their back to the wall. They claim to be the actual representatives of the Sikhs. However they must realise that the issue of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib is emotionally very close to the sentiments of the people whom they claim to represent. It would be in the interest of their own political future that they push the government of India to take up the issue with Pakistan.
 
 

*(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

UNHOLY HASTE To save the faith

Hua Panthik-Panthik Punjab - How do we reclaim real politics?

The Yuba City Attack on Manjit Singh GK & General Sambit Patra

Pakistan, Navjot Sidhu & the hug: Amarinder Singh 2018 is opposing Amarinder Singh 2004

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Paragraphs that went missing from PM’s Red Fort speech could have pre-empted Opposition attack

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

Mr SY Quraishi, can you please help to save this pet dog locked inside this sealed building?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

Punjab is Silent as India Wakes Up to Talk of Refugees

AAP-CONG ALLIANCE: ARREY BHAI, YEH KYA LIKH DALA?

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS PLANNING HONEYMOON? 

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

DEATH EMBRACING LOGIC: Drugs in Punjab

PANJAB'S EMERGENCY: FORMAL AND INFORMAL

THE KASHMIR GOVERNOR, THE TRIBUNE TRUST & ETHICS - How Journalism Fails Readers?

"Congress Sikhan Di Dushman Jamaat Hai?” —Akalis need to dump broken record, shift gears

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

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'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

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HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT


 





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On Amarinder's call
Excise staff contributes one day salary for flood-hit Kerala
18.09.18 - Team PT
Excise staff contributes one day salary for flood-hit Kerala



CHANDIGARH, SEPTEMBER 18:  In response to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s appeal, officers and inspectors of the Excise and Taxation Department have contributed a day’s salary for the flood-hit Kerala state.

A delegation of the department, led by Additional Chief Secretary M.P Singh, handed over a cheque of Rs.10,93,709 to the Chief Minister today, according to an official spokesperson.

Appreciating the gesture, the Chief Minister said that Punjab was among the first states to extend help to the people of Kerala and had dispatched four plane loads of 150 MT each of relief material, apart from other contributions. It was the duty of all Punjabis to come forward to do their bit to help the beleaguered state cope with the unprecedented calamity, he added.

Tejveer Singh, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, V.P Singh, Excise and Taxation Commissioner and Gurtej Singh AETC were also present on the occasion.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

1.27 crore will step out of their homes. Who’s talking about it?

UNHOLY HASTE To save the faith

Hua Panthik-Panthik Punjab - How do we reclaim real politics?

The Yuba City Attack on Manjit Singh GK & General Sambit Patra

Pakistan, Navjot Sidhu & the hug: Amarinder Singh 2018 is opposing Amarinder Singh 2004

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Paragraphs that went missing from PM’s Red Fort speech could have pre-empted Opposition attack

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

Mr SY Quraishi, can you please help to save this pet dog locked inside this sealed building?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

Punjab is Silent as India Wakes Up to Talk of Refugees

AAP-CONG ALLIANCE: ARREY BHAI, YEH KYA LIKH DALA?

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS PLANNING HONEYMOON? 

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

DEATH EMBRACING LOGIC: Drugs in Punjab

PANJAB'S EMERGENCY: FORMAL AND INFORMAL

THE KASHMIR GOVERNOR, THE TRIBUNE TRUST & ETHICS - How Journalism Fails Readers?

"Congress Sikhan Di Dushman Jamaat Hai?” —Akalis need to dump broken record, shift gears

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT




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comments*
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1.27 crore will step out of their homes in 48 hours. Who’s talking about it?
17.09.18 - Kanwar Manjit Singh
1.27 crore will step out of their homes in 48 hours. Who’s talking about it?



YOU MIGHT HAVE missed it because it got very little space in the media. National dailies with editions in Chandigarh bung the news on the inside pages of their city supplements. 

Forty 'jamhoori jathebandis' — it is interesting how ragtag bunches describe themselves — brought a few thousand farmers, labourers, employees and trade unionists on September 13 to Chandigarh, and then held a rally with a deferential respect for police barriers and water cannons on standby. 

Ostensibly, these were intellectuals, civil liberties activists and student leaders sharing a platform to protest the arrest of civil society leaders, but in reality, their fulminations were targeted at a range of issues — from Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi to black money to demonetisation to state of the farmers to contract system of recruitment.
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A serious engagement with elections to village local bodies has been missing from our politics and media.
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Not one of the leaders, while addressing thousands of people who had trudged long distance from various corners of Punjab, made a reference to the Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad elections scheduled for September 19.

It is a little more than puzzling as to why an election in which 1.27 crore people are supposed to step out and vote in a few hours, is ignored to this extent by those who claim themselves to be the real voice of the people? Of course, Punjab's Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad elections have made news only for some low scale violence, skirmishes and inability of political parties to find candidates.

A serious engagement with these elections to bodies considered the bulwark of democracy has been missing from our politics, media, editorial understanding and the smorgasbord of issues that pro-people voices are currently engaging with.

Panchayat elections in distant West Bengal had made more news in Punjab newspapers than the September 19 elections here itself. The date for election of sarpanches and panches was not announced because of delay in the reservation process, but there has been little political commentary on that either. 

Editorial comment and understanding has been sorely missing about the situation emerging as a result of the new rules framed by the state government, as per which Punjab will now have district-wise reservation of sarpanches than the previous practice of block-wise reservation.

Apparently, the Punjab Reservation of Offices and Sarpanches of Gram Panchayats and Chairman and Vice-Chairmen of Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads Rules, 1994, were amended to make the rotation process of sarpanches in conformity with Section 12(4) of the Panchayati Raj Act, 1994.
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Few are actually aware of the role of these Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads. Ask any of the farmer leaders about the role assigned to a Panchayat Samiti by the Panchayati Raj Act, 1994.
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Whatever headlines the Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad elections have gathered so far have been because of scuffles and attempts to prevent opponents from even filing their papers. Most of the "unopposed victories" have been on account of murder of grassroots democracy, as genuine cases of consensual election have been rare.

This ennui among the political leadership as well as farmer unions, employee leaders, trade unions and progressive sections of society could be ascribed to the unfortunate trend of political parties muscle flexing their way through local elections, but there is another more serious and disturbing reason. 

Few are actually aware of the role of these Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads, and their failure to enthuse their cadre and the electorate is largely because they have little understanding of the domain that these bodies straddle.

A simple reading of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 can shock even the most complacent. Enumerating the "Functions and duties of Panchayat Samiti" under Clause 119, the Act says "it shall be the duty of a Panchayat Samiti to provide for and make arrangements for carrying out the requirements of the area under its jurisdiction, in respect of the following matters:

Multiplication and distribution of improved seeds; distribution of fertilizers; popularization of improved techniques and improved implements; achieving self-sufficiency in green manure; encouraging fruit and vegetable cultivation; 

reclamation of land and swamps and conservation of soil; providing credit for agricultural purposes; propagating and assisting in plant protection methods; tree planting; growing of village forests; 
land improvement and soil conversation; construction and maintenance or minor irrigation works; implementation of community and individual irrigation works; planning and implementation of poverty alleviation programmes and schemes; 

maintenance of veterinary and animal husbandry services; improvement of breed of cattle, poultry and other livestock; 

implementation of housing Schemes and distribution of house sites in villages; establishment, repairs and maintenance of rural water supply schemes; prevention and control of water pollution; construction and maintenance of public roads; 

construction, repair and maintenance of primary school buildings; regulation of fairs and festivals including cattle fairs; promotion of health and family welfare programme; promotion of school health and nutrition programmes; monitoring the old age and widow’s pensions and pensions for the handicapped; regulation of offensive and dangerous trades and practice; distribution of essential commodities; and establishment, maintenance and promotion of libraries.
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Shorn of all jargon, the Act clearly mandates that the Panchayat Samiti will regulate the way we live and breathe and die. And yet there is little enthusiasm among civil society activists about this third tier of democracy. This is a situation that suits the rulers the most, incumbent or any potential rulers of tomorrow.
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It must be clear that this list is not exhaustive and does not represent even half of the specified duties and responsibilities entrusted to Panchayat Samiti. Also, that going beyond this list, the Act also has provision that the "State Government may entrust, conditionally or unconditionally to a Panchayat Samiti, functions in relation to any matter, to which the executive authority of the State Government extends or in respect of functions which have been entrusted to the State Government by the Central Government and the Panchayat Samiti, shall be bound to perform such functions."

Shorn of all jargon and legalese, the Act clearly mandates that the panchayat samiti will regulate the way we live and breathe and die. And yet there is little enthusiasm among politicians or civil society activists about this third tier of democracy, the one that is closest to the people.

This is a situation that suits the rulers the most, as well as any potential rulers of tomorrow. So, an Amarinder Singh is happy with it, as is a Sukhbir Singh Badal. If the Aam Aadmi Party is also not raising a ruckus about it, it is more because of a lack of understanding about the power of the 73rd and 74th Amendment to the Constitution of India.

Any move to empower the people in a real sense has to begin from the basic unit of the Panchayati Raj System, which is the Gram Sabha, and not the panchayat. The Gram Sabha means the collective of the eligible voters of any village. This Gram Sabha is the body endowed with the maximum power under the Panchyati Raj system. 

But since any politician will find it difficult to force such a collective to toe his or her line, they prefer not to stress the need for an active Gram Sabha. As a result, the Gram Sabha is the most ignored cog in the system, and one without which the system fails. 

Punjab's farmer unions and the many shades of Left could have paid more attention to the inherent power of the Panchayati Raj system and could have worked towards strengthening the institution of Gram Sabha but they have been found missing in the field. It is not always because of any mala fide approach, but could be ascribed either to a lack of understanding about the working of the Gram Sabha or on account of their approach to democracy.

It must be noted that the Gram Sabha is not an elected body, and yet, it is the most democratic of the institutions in independent India. People elect panches, sarpanches. They elect MLAs, MPs. No one elects Gram Sabha. People are the Gram Sabha when they sit together. What can be more representative of all the people than all the people representing themselves?

Any awareness about the importance of panchayats, panchayat samiti, zila parishad is predicated on how well run is the institution of Gram Sabha. If newspapers in Punjab have not sent out dozens of reporters in the field even hours before 1.27 crore people are expected to step out and vote to elect representatives in elections seen as the foundation of democracy, then those fighting on behalf of the rural population need to look inwards.

The elections will happen, in any case, by hook or by crook. Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads will be constituted. The elections to Panchayats will also follow very soon. But we would have defeated the very purpose of the Panchayati Raj System.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

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Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT




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RALLY VS RALLY
Now, Captain to hold rally in Lambi to expose ‘Badal’s real face’
16.09.18 - Team PT
Now, Captain to hold rally in Lambi to expose ‘Badal’s real face’



CHANDIGARH, September 16: After Shiromani Akali Dal’s rallies in Abohar and Faridkot now it’s the turn of Punjab Congress to hold a rally at Badals’ home turf.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has decided to take on Akali veteran Parkash Singh Badal on the latter’s home ground in Lambi for misleading the people of the state on the sensitive issue of sacrilege cases.

The Chief Minister will hold a rally in Lambi, the Assembly constituency of Badal, in the last week of September, after the Zila Parishad elections in the state, a spokesperson said here on Sunday.

The spokesperson said Captain Amarinder Singh had taken serious note of Badal’s continued and wilful attempts to create communal unrest in the state through his deceitful statements on the report of Justice (Retd) Ranjit Singh on the widespread incidents of sacrilege that had taken place during the SAD-BJP rule. The Chief Minister said that Badal had a habit of raising communal passions by spreading a web of lies and misusing religion every time around the elections, and vowed to expose the Akali leader’s real face to the people of Punjab.  

The former Chief Minister had been trying to spread a disinformation campaign on the issue of Bargarhi and other sacrilege cases, as well as the incidents of police firing on innocent and peaceful protestors in Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura, since the Commission had come out with its report, said Captain Amarinder Singh. 

Badal, who had been under fire ever since the report was tabled in the state Assembly, was clearly desperate to divert public attention from his own role in these cases, said the Chief Minister, lambasting the former SAD chief for exploiting the religious sentiments of the people to protect his interests.
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The Chief Minister made it clear that he would not allow Badal to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the state at any cost, and would expose his mal-intentions through the proposed rally.
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Badal has always misused religion to further his political ambitions and agenda, said Captain Amarinder Singh, pointing to the incidents of communal strife that had rocked the state ahead of every election, including the 2017 Assembly polls. Fortunately, however, the people of Punjab had seen through his attempts to destabilise the state and had voted him and his party decisively out of power, he added.

With the parliamentary elections now around the corner, Badal was once again try to whip up communal passions in a desperate bid to retrieve the lost political ground for his Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Captain Amarinder Singh said. The findings of the Ranjit Singh Commission had further fanned his fears, not just of total political oblivion but also of strict legal action for his shameful crimes, prompting him to once again resort to desperate measures to trigger unrest in the state, he added.

The Chief Minister made it clear that he would not allow Badal to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the state at any cost, and would expose his mal-intentions through the proposed rally.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

UNHOLY HASTE To save the faith

Hua Panthik-Panthik Punjab - How do we reclaim real politics?

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Pakistan, Navjot Sidhu & the hug: Amarinder Singh 2018 is opposing Amarinder Singh 2004

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

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Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

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AAP-CONG ALLIANCE: ARREY BHAI, YEH KYA LIKH DALA?

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THE KASHMIR GOVERNOR, THE TRIBUNE TRUST & ETHICS - How Journalism Fails Readers?

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If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

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The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

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A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

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NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

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SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT


 




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comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

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