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March 28, 2001 - March 28, 2001

Seminar on handling crime related to women Wednesday, March 28, 2001

VADODARA: District police are making efforts to sensitise staff to handling crime related to women. In a day-long seminar held here, the cops were exposed to sensitive issues related to offence against women.

"Crime against women is of great concern to the police. We want that all our policemen should be educated about certain needs of handling such crimes. In this seminar, we tried to make them aware of certain issues and also educate them to be more sensitive towards women," district superintendent of police Keshav Kumar said.

Vadodara civil judge H P Patel, Asha Dalal of Jagrut Mahila Mandal, an NGO in Anand, and assistant professor with department of forensic science S Purandhare also participated in the seminar.

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Gudi Parva, Cheti Chand celebrated in city Wednesday, March 28, 2001

AHMEDABAD: As the streets of the city on Monday remained unusually deserted in the wake of a public holiday, Maharashtrians and Sindhis in Ahmedabad observed their festivals in their characteristic ways.

While Maharashtrians celebrated Gudi Parva, the day which symbolises victory againsts all odds of life, the Sindhis observed Cheti Chand their new year's day, a day marked by prayers and merry-making.

A wooden staff, with the gudi attached to its end were seen firmly fixed facing the eastern horizon at every Maharashtrian house. The day is being observed ever since women celebrated the victory of their husbands in war. The day also signifies the beginning of a new year when members of families exchange greetings and show their respect to one other.

Chetti Chand, which is celebrated with pompous and gaiety every year by the Sindhi community, was a low-key affair this year. The new year's day, which is usually marked by lavish community lunches and dinners after praying before Jhule Lal, the most revered deity of the community, was observed in a simpler manner. Members of the community instead of spending on merry-making decided to help the quake-affected people.

While processions and gatherings were organised by the Sindhis of Kubernagar, Sardarnagar, Vadaj, Rewri Bazar and other areas, much of the time was spent in collecting money, which people donated by curtailing their celebration expenses.

The community also decided to cancel cultural programmes they had been organising in the evening. Funds thus saved were given for a noble cause.

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Historians to probe Kutchi spirit and resilience Wednesday, March 28, 2001

VADODARA: Historians from western India will talk on aspects of life, culture, environment, legend and history of Kutch area and its people at a seminar on "Kutch in History and Legend." Organised by MS University's history department, the seminar will look into the resilience of the Kutchi people in the light of the earthquake that left them devastated. The two-day seminar begins on Tuesday.

"The seminar will provide us a better understanding of what is distinctive about Kutch and enable us to get a feel of those enigmatic sources of resilience that seem to characterise the Kutchi response in the face of heavy odds," says seminar co-ordinator Professor Raj Kumar Hans.

Director of Centre for Social Studies, Surat, Professor Vidyut Joshi, will deliver the keynote address on "Kutchi Society and Culture."

Other speakers include professor from University of Mumbai Chhaya Goswami who will speak on "Kutchi traders and the Slave Trade in Zanjibar" while Professor Uday Shelat of MS University will speak on "Kutch after the Earthquake."

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IAF memorial for its quake victims Wednesday, March 28, 2001

BHUJ: There is very little left to imagination in the memorial the Indian Air Force has raised for 30 of its men and 65 family members of IAF personnel who perished in the January 26 earthquake. Two collapsed concrete beams and a few concrete blocks strewn around a raised platform of black granite is all that the stark memorial, erected in the air force station, is all about.

The memorial was unveiled by Air Chief Marshal A Y Tipnis, the chief of air staff, at a sombre ceremony near the IAF officers' mess here on Monday morning. It has taken full two months for the IAF to pay tribute to its personnel who died in the devastating earthquake. There was hardly any time as the men in blue had to put their personal tragedies behind and jump immediately into the rescue operations in quake-ravaged Kutch.

A two minutes silence was observed after Air Chief Marshal Tipnis and Air Marshal V K Bhatia, the chief of South Western Air Command (SWAC) placed wreaths at the memorial and names of all 95 victims of the IAF family were read out. The last post was sounded and the gun-men reversed their arms as a mark of respect to their departed mates.

In his brief but touching address to the personnel, their chief said "we really did not have time to grieve over our own loss, today we shed a silent tear and remember our men and their families who lost their lives". Tipnis said the history of Bhuj air force station was replete with acts of courage and valour and the challenges thrown up by the earthquake were no less than those thrown up by an operation during war.

He said it spoke volumes of the inner strength of the men who put service before self. He also paid tributes to the people of Kutch who displayed surprising calmness and resilience in the wake of such a tragedy and said, "while we are men in uniform and are trained to deal with such challenges, the common people also reacted like us in this crisis". The challenge today, he said, was to create "an ideal air force station" in Bhuj in the coming months.

The IAF chief also said that since most of the living quarters and offices in the station had been destroyed in the quake, he had asked the defence minister to sanction a special allowance to personnel posted in Bhuj. He said the IAF would also take charge of children who had lost either of their parents in the tragedy and pay for their educational costs. He said a special sanction had been made for reconstruction of buildings and these would be ready in two years time.

Tipnis said in spite of the devastation, Bhuj station was operational from the first day itself and there were no security concerns because of the earthquake. In fact, other IAF officers said that the Bhuj station, in spite of not having navigational aids, had handled nearly 1000 sorties in the week after the earthquake and unloaded thousands of tonnes of relief material that poured in. In fact Bhuj was perhaps the busiest airport anywhere in the world during the period January 27-30 .

Similar functions to pay tributes to IAF personnel killed in the quake were held at all air force stations all over the country.

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IAF memorial for its quake victims Wednesday, March 28, 2001

BHUJ: There is very little left to imagination in the memorial the Indian Air Force has raised for 30 of its men and 65 family members of IAF personnel who perished in the January 26 earthquake. Two collapsed concrete beams and a few concrete blocks strewn around a raised platform of black granite is all that the stark memorial, erected in the air force station, is all about.

The memorial was unveiled by Air Chief Marshal A Y Tipnis, the chief of air staff, at a sombre ceremony near the IAF officers' mess here on Monday morning. It has taken full two months for the IAF to pay tribute to its personnel who died in the devastating earthquake. There was hardly any time as the men in blue had to put their personal tragedies behind and jump immediately into the rescue operations in quake-ravaged Kutch.

A two minutes silence was observed after Air Chief Marshal Tipnis and Air Marshal V K Bhatia, the chief of South Western Air Command (SWAC) placed wreaths at the memorial and names of all 95 victims of the IAF family were read out. The last post was sounded and the gun-men reversed their arms as a mark of respect to their departed mates.

In his brief but touching address to the personnel, their chief said "we really did not have time to grieve over our own loss, today we shed a silent tear and remember our men and their families who lost their lives". Tipnis said the history of Bhuj air force station was replete with acts of courage and valour and the challenges thrown up by the earthquake were no less than those thrown up by an operation during war.

He said it spoke volumes of the inner strength of the men who put service before self. He also paid tributes to the people of Kutch who displayed surprising calmness and resilience in the wake of such a tragedy and said, "while we are men in uniform and are trained to deal with such challenges, the common people also reacted like us in this crisis". The challenge today, he said, was to create "an ideal air force station" in Bhuj in the coming months.

The IAF chief also said that since most of the living quarters and offices in the station had been destroyed in the quake, he had asked the defence minister to sanction a special allowance to personnel posted in Bhuj. He said the IAF would also take charge of children who had lost either of their parents in the tragedy and pay for their educational costs. He said a special sanction had been made for reconstruction of buildings and these would be ready in two years time.

Tipnis said in spite of the devastation, Bhuj station was operational from the first day itself and there were no security concerns because of the earthquake. In fact, other IAF officers said that the Bhuj station, in spite of not having navigational aids, had handled nearly 1000 sorties in the week after the earthquake and unloaded thousands of tonnes of relief material that poured in. In fact Bhuj was perhaps the busiest airport anywhere in the world during the period January 27-30 .

Similar functions to pay tributes to IAF personnel killed in the quake were held at all air force stations all over the country.

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