09 August 2006 Wednesday Striking a discordant note and upping the ante against the Amarinder Singh led Congress government, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Dal Khalsa at their joint conference at Baba Bakala challenged the Congress government to stop the danda-raj in Punjab. SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann decreed the daily dose of lathis on unemployed youth including women, unemployed and underemployed teachers, protesting nurses, farmers, truck union leaders and political activists and sought exemplary punishment for the errant police personnel. With an eye on the impending assembly elections, Sardar Mann too promised the affected sections to join and support his party for justice and prosperity of Punjab. The Dal Khalsa leaders namely Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib, Jaspal Singh Dhillon, H S Dhami and Kanwarpal Singh warned the people of the designs of the Congress which they said were reminiscent of the East India Company. They exhorted the gathering to resist the temptations of Reliance, Varinder Agro, Abishek Industries and the growing land mafia of Punjab. They condemned Congress government for violations of human rights and police excesses against those citizens who have been agitating against indifferent policies of the state. In another resolution, the parties urged the Central government to waive off all debts of the Punjab farmers on the pattern of the Vidharba package. The parties also urged the government of Punjab to stop the “pseudo-Sikh” activities of the Ashutosh dera, which they said was, “a direct intervention in the religious affairs of the Sikhs” and “which would lead to a 1978-like situation if their “nefarious designs” are not contained and curtailed. Resolutions: At the Panthic conference of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Dal Khalsa at Baba Bakala the following resolutions were unanimously passed: 1. Stop the Lathi Charge Rule: In the last few weeks, screaming newspaper headlines narrate the indiscriminate and unprovoked lathi charge by the Panjab police on various cross sections of the people of Panjab. Unemployed young men and women, unemployed and underemployed teachers, protesting nurses, farmers, truck union leaders and activists –all have become the butt of attack by the Panjab police under the orders of the Congress government. Neither the courts nor the Human Rights Commision has taken suo moto notice of these regular acts of the Chandigarh and Panjab police. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Dal Khalsa will shortly present a detailed memorandum to the National Human Rights Commission and seek the dismissal of the errant police officers. We strongly condemn the barbaric role of the police. We also appeal to the affected sections to join us in our battle for all round justice for the people of Punjab. We are dedicated to peace and prosperity in Punjab and appeal to the people of Punjab to join us as we are determined to eradicate poverty and unemployment from Punjab. 2. Stop the loot of Punjab: It is ironic that Congress which did not do anything for the progress of Punjab in the last four and a half years has suddenly started to run its election machine in top gear. We warn the people of Punjab to ignore the last-minute designs of the Congress as it is nothing but an attempt to cheat the people with false election promises. Just as the East India Company had taken over India, Reliance Industries, Varinder Agro, Abishek Industries and a host of other industrial sharks, in league with the Congress is out to loot Punjab. We are determined to protect the natural resources of Punjab. We perceive the land grabbing tactics accompanied with the growing non-Punjab population in Punjab as another genocidal measure against the Sikh people. We will start a people’s movement against this dangerous trend. 3. Development of Border Areas: The Prime Minister of India has been making announcing a number of programmes for the development of border areas of Punjab, but the state government has been stalling the same under one pretext or the other. The Amritsar Airport too has been awaiting the next flight of development. 4. Waive off all the debts of Punjab farmers: It is ironic that the farmer of Punjab who was considered the food provider for the country, is today fighting for life. There is a spate of suicides in Punjab. The decreasing prices of farm produce, increasing prices of petrol and diesel and increasing prices of fertilizers is all responsible for the increasing number of suicides. To make matters worse, big industrialists and land sharks are busy buying off the small farm holding of small farmers. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Dal Khalsa demand a package from the Central government regarding waiving off the debts of Punjab farmers.