|P U N J A B||
Sunday, May 30, 1999
Ranjit not to attend meeting
BSF, Pak jawans to carry unloaded
(Amritsar) JD form third front
Case based on made-up story, says
"Sonia can get respect, not
Punjab to buy drugs through
Badal, Tohra groups blame each
Row over Kohinoor continues
He prefers to donate body
New town to take roots before
Punjab BJP may contest 5 seats
Varsity puts off entrance test
Youth dies in freak accident
Badal camp faces awkward situation
Ramoowalia sued for libel
14 students charged with ragging
Trio "traitors to party"
Mann decries Sant Samaj move
Setback for Tohra camp
AMRITSAR, May 29 The sacked Jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, has said that the he will not attend the convention of "Tohra camp" to be held at Gurdwara Alamgir, Ludhiana, tomorrow.
Talking to reporters here today, Bhai Ranjit Singh said he would wait for the appropriate time when the entire Panthic force (except the SAD (B) dedicated to Akal Takht would come on a single platform.
He said it was his wish that the SAD (Amritsar), SAD (Democratic), SAD (Panthic), All-India Sikh Students Federations should come together for the Panthic cause.
Tohra loyalists have convened a convention at Ludhiana tomorrow where Mr Parkash Singh Badal is likely to be "de-recognised" as President of the SAD. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a staunch supporter of Mr Tohra had earlier announced that Tohra loyalists were not going to float a new party tomorrow. He, however, gave indications that the SAD leadership would be changed.
Reacting to the allegations levelled by Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Granthi Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh said he had no right to hold the post in the wake of "baseless" allegations levelled against him (Bhai Ranjit Singh). Former Akal Takht Jathedar said he was ready to submit his accounts since 1980 to a committee headed by Giani Bhagwan Singh. He termed Giani Bhagwan Singh's allegations "baseless" that the Jathedars of Takhts were "used" by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra in the past. He said the Head Granthi should realise that he himself was being "used" by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He alleged that the press note, issued against him yesterday was prepared and distributed by "Badal men".
Giani Bhagwan Singh
should quit as Head Granthi of Akal Takht as he had
alleged that he had put his signature on the hukamnamas
during his stint as Jathedar of Akal Takht, including the
one regarding the Nirankari-Tohra case, he said.
WAGAH, May 29 (UNI) The BSF and Pakistan Rangers taking part in the Retreat ceremony, held every evening, will be "disarmed" as a precautionary measure in view of the military operations in Kargil.
The Decision was arrived at during a meeting of the BSF and Ranger officials held here yesterday after three Pakistan Rangers "cocked" their AK-47 rifles on Thursday evening.
The meeting was held in an amicable atmosphere.
BSF officials said here today that it had been decided that both Pakistan Rangers and BSF jawans would from now on carry their rifles unloaded while participating in the Retreat ceremony.
Only those jawans who were on security duty during the ceremony on either side would be armed, they said.
Meanwhile, the BSF officials claimed that the three Rangers, who cocked their rifles when the flags of both countries were being lowered during the ceremony, had been transferred from this joint checkpost.
Both sides decided that the Kargil operations should be put behind and the sanctity of this post should be maintained, they said.
In another decision, raising of provocative slogans by spectators witnessing the retreat ceremony had been banned.
From Varinder Walia adds: The Kargil episode has had literally no fallout on the bus service launched by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee between Delhi and Lahore in the month of March. The bus, Sada-e-Sarhad, starting from Lahore reached the Wagah joint checkpost at around 9 a.m. today. The Immigration authorities said the bus was running full to capacity between the two countries.
The Kargil incidents had not dampened the enthusiasm of the passengers and traders of both countries. The Indian Passengers, including women and children, who returned from Lahore said there was no change in the behaviour of the Pakistanis.
Yusuf Khan, a resident of Karachi who was going to Nagpur to meet his relatives along with his wife and children, said he was not even aware of the bombing down of Indian aircraft by Pakistani missiles. Nawab Ali, Mustakin, Parvez, Khalil Ahmid and other passengers said there was no fear psychosis among the passengers.
According to officials, the Samjhauta Express, which runs between Attari and Lahore, twice a week has also been running normally.
However, on the other hand, residents of border villages said steps should be taken to normalise the situation. They said the BSF officials had not opened the gates of border fencing for sowing paddy for the past 14 days due to the Kargil incidents. The gates were opened yesterday only after repeated requests by farmers.
Lakhwinder Singh and Balwinder Singh, all residents of
Koranwali Khurd village, near Attari, said their
womenfolk were more panicky about the current
"war-like" situation in the Kargil sector of
Jammu and Kashmir. They said they had already born the
brunt of the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971 and could not
afford to face another war.
Massive show of strength planned
LUDHIANA, May 29 The Tohra camp is turning tomorrow's convention convened at Gurdwara Alamgir, about 20 km from here, to formalise a split in the Shiromani Akali Dal into a massive show of strength.
A huge shamiana has been erected outside the historic gurdwara following the refusal of the SGPC to allow the Tohra loyalists to hold the convention inside the gurdwara. "We half-expected it", says a spokesman for the Tohra camp. "We knew that the Badal government can go to any extent to disrupt our convention. Therefore, we were ready with an alternative plan to hold the convention on a private piece of land not very far from Gurdwara Alamgir. And, it will be a show to remember".
The 200 ft by 400 ft shamiana can accommodate more than 35,000 persons although the veteran Akali leader, Jathedar Surjan Singh Thekedar, who is the convener of tomorrow's show, says that he is expecting the number of people who may turn up tomorrow to be much higher. He along with Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal and other loyalists of the ousted SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, are camping at Alamgir, supervising the arrangements. All top leaders of the Tohra faction are leaving no stone unturned to ensure a massive turnout at the convention. Mr Tohra himself has been addressing up to five rural meetings a day to mobilise the people. His followers are also doing the same.
Prominent advertisements have been placed in major language dailies of the region exhorting people from all over the state to attend the convention. The advertisements carry photographs of Bhai Ranjit Singh, the "dismissed" Jathedar of Akal Takht, and Mr Tohra.
Akali workers are expected to converge on the venue in buses, trucks and tractor-trailers. A convoy of 100 buses is expected from Delhi. The district administration is keeping a wary eye on the convention but has no plans to interfere.
The convention will open with "Asa di War" in the morning and conclude with the "impeachment" of Mr Parkash Singh Badal as President of the Shiromani Akali Dal. The "document of impeachment" listing various acts of omission and commission by the Chief Minister, including the failure to adhere to the requirement of a true Amritdhari Sikh, defiance of Akal Takht and violation of the hukamnama, will be read out by a former Akali minister and staunch Tohra loyalist, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta.
Mr Badal will be "impeached" and "removed" from the post of President of the Dal and Mr Tohra will be elected in his place. Mr Tohra will also be authorised to name other office-bearers of the party. However, no MLA is likely to be given any responsibility in the new party structure.
SAD (Amritsar) JD form
PATIALA, May 29 A "third front" was launched today in Punjab to fight the Lok Sabha elections with the announcement of an alliance between the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and the state unit of the Janata Dal.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (Amritsar), and Thekedar Jagir Singh Ganesh, President, Janata Dal, Punjab said the two parties had initiated the formation of the "third front".
These parties were hoping to persuade "like-minded" parties to join the front.
Mr Mann and Mr Ganesh said consultations were on with the Tohra faction of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Kanshi Ram of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Mr Jasbir Singh Rode of the Akali Dal (Panthic) and Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala of the Akali Dal (Democratic). They expressed optimism that these leaders would support the front.
Mr Mann said a meeting had already been fixed for May 30 with Mr Wadala.
When Mr Mann was asked whether his hardline approach to the "Khalistan " issue would be acceptable to the Janata Dal and other probable participants in the "third front" he said in this electoral alliance only those issues which were within the ambit of the Constitution and the legal framework would be raised. The other issues were being put in cold storage for the present.
Announcing the "acceptable" issues, Mr Mann and Mr Ganesh said the front would launch an attack on the SAD-BJP combine and the previous Congress governments in the state for their "non-performance" and "non-fulfilment" of demands of the people.
The front would specifically raise issues like the return of Punjabi-speaking areas to Punjab, transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab, control of the state on river waters and the Bhakra Dam, immediate release of youths languishing in jails since the days of terrorism, immediate stop to the increasing police repression and violation of human rights and end to corruption and red-tapism.
Mr Ganesh said the Janata Dal had always fought for the social and economic development of the state.
Case based on made-up story,
CHANDIGARH, May 29 A former Punjab Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, said here today that the case registered against her by the Nabha police was a politically motivated act of the Punjab Government.
She said the case had been registered on the basis of a "made-up" story. I was in no way involved either in stone throwing or inciting the mob. All charges levelled to this effect are false and baseless, she added.
Mrs Bhattal said the police wanted to give a new twist to the murder of a commission agent and wanted to divert the attention of the people from this case by registering an FIR against her. "I am not afraid of such cases and will continue to stand by those who were suffering in any form in the hands of the Punjab Government or the police officials concerned".
She said though the commission agent, Mr Bant Ram Goyal, was missing for several days, police did not made any effort to trace him. Later his body was recovered in bad shape and the police continued to dither on the issue. Only when people of Nabha town lodged their silent and peaceful protest, police officials swung into action.
Mrs Bhattal said she went to Nabha to express her sympathy and solidarity with the family members of Mr Bant Ram Goyal.
Instead of improving the
law order situation in the state, the Punjab Government
was making its political opponents a target. Registration
of case against her was also part of such a design, she
"Sonia can get respect, not
ROPAR, May 29 Ms Sushma Swaraj, former Union Minister, and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the SAD and Chief Minister called upon the people to not let a 'foreigner' become the Prime Minister of country.
They said this while addressing an Akali conference at Gurdwara Bhatha Sahib here, which was organised as a part of district-level SAD conferences for creating awareness among the voters in view of the coming Lok Sabha elections.
While attacking the Congress for projecting Mrs Sonia Gandhi as the next Prime Minister, Ms Swaraj said that love, respect and security could be given to Mrs Sonia Gandhi for being a daughter-in-law of Nehru-Gandhi family, the President of the AICC and widow of Rajiv Gandhi, but not the prime ministership.
Terming the coming Lok Sabha elections were as 'special', Ms Swaraj said the voters would have to ensure that there was no hung Parliament this time as it would be harmful for the democratic system.
Holding the Opposition responsible for forcing elections, on the people, she said, the Vajpayee government did not lose confidence motion on any specific issue.
Ms Swaraj also said the SAD-BJP alliance was not a political one but was a strong bond. She appealed to the voters to support the alliance in the coming elections.
Mr Parkash Singh Badal in his address said it was difficult to trust the Congress as it had been responsible for the fall of minority governments time and again.
Punjab to buy drugs through
LUDHIANA, May 29 The Punjab Government has decided to purchase medicines and medical equipment for its civil hospitals through public tenders.
This was announced here today by the Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mr Manoranjan Kalia. The minister was speaking after inaugurating a new wing of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital. The function was attended among others by Mr S.P.S. Bakshi, President, Central Council of Homoeopathy, Mr sat Pal Gosain, MLA, and Dr Tejinder Pal Singh, a member of the Punjab Council of Homoeopathic Medicines.
Mr Kalia said the step had been taken following the unearthing of a major medical scam involving over Rs 1 crore at the civil hospital at Ludhiana last month. The earlier practice of inviting quotations for medicines and medical equipment by civil surgeons was being discontinued. The minister was confident that the step would bring greater transparency in the purchase of medicines and medical equipment.
He also said the government was spending more than Rs 421 crore annually on health care through the Punjab Health Systems Corporation.
Mr Kalia also disclosed
that nearly 750 doctors had been recruited during the
past two years. As a result there was no shortage of
doctors in the civil hospitals. As many as 175 nursing
sisters were also in the process of being recruited.
Train's late running saves
PATIALA, May 29 Running late of a train has for a change, proved beneficial for scores of passengers aboard Amritsar-Chattisgarh Express that was the probable target of yesterday night's bomb blast at a railway track near Rajpura.
The train coming from Amritsar was late by 20 minutes. It normally crosses the site where the bomb was planted at about 9.45 p.m., which was exactly the time when the explosion took place.
More than 2 feet of the track was completely damaged. Normal traffic, according to railway sources, was restored at about 4 a.m.
While no clue has been found so far about persons or agency behind the blast a question mark has been put on the security of the tracks and railway passengers as this was the third attempt in three months to blow up a train in this region.
On February 7, huge quantities of RDX was recovered from near Shahbad Markanda. On February 25, another explosive device was timely recovered from Ghaggar bridge inside the Punjab border. In spite of these warnings, bomb planters succeeded in placing the bomb on the tracks.
The Inspector-General, Railways, Punjab, Mr S.C. Jain, refused to comment saying only Mr J.S. Chahal ADGP, Railways who was not available could brief the press.
A senior railway official, speaking strictly on the condition of anonymity, said the railway police was clueless not only about yesterday's blast, but also had made no headway in the previous blasts.
Badal, Tohra groups blame each
CHANDIGARH, May 28 While the Badal camp said today that the Tohra camp was resorting to a false propaganda campaign to create confusion among the people, the supporters of the former SGPC Chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, said they had prepared a "charge sheet" against the Punjab Government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) headed by Mr Badal said here today that the claim made by the Tohra camp that Mr Badal had completed his term as a president of the party was false and not based on facts.
He said Mr Badal was elected president of the SAD on June 8, 1997, for two years by the general house of the party delegates at Amritsar. Mr Sarup Singh had acted as the returning officer. He said the entire process of the organisational election was completed on August 23, 1997 and an intimation with full records of office-bearers and working committee members was furnished to the Chief Election Commission on August 28,1997.
Mr Badungar said the new general house of the party would meet on September 8 to elect the president. The schedule for electing the new house had already been sent to the Election Commission, he claimed. He said the outgoing general house which was elected in May-June, 1997, would hold its last meeting on June 15 at Teja Singh Samundri Hall. The house would discuss the latest political situation.
Mr Badungar said there were 421 delegates of the party and Mr Tohra did not have the support of more than 21 delegates. Earlier Mr Tohra was claiming that he was holding a delegates session at Ludhiana on May 30. When he saw that he had no support of even two dozen delegates, he started saying that he was holding a "maha" panchayat. Now his supporters were saying that they were holding a meeting of the primary members of the party.
Mr Badungar said only the party president, Mr Badal, had the powers to call a delegates session. The intimation with regard to the expulsion of Mr Tohra had been sent to the election commission on May 16 after two days of the meeting of the Political Affairs Committee, which decided to expel Mr Tohra from the working committee as well as primary membership of the party. He added that from time to time all information with regard to the party's organisational elections, various organisational decisions, including the list of delegates, had been sent to the election commission.
No body could mislead the poll panel as it had all the relevant records with it as regards the organisational set-up of the SAD, Mr Badungar averred.
On the other hand, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra said all arrangements had been completed for holding the meeting of the party activists at Ludhiana on May 30 to remove Mr Badal from the presidentship of the party. He claimed that it would be the exclusive gathering of supporters of Mr Tohra and no other political group had been invited to take part in it. He said a charge sheet would be filed against the Badal Government.
Mr Chandumajra said important decision like poll alliance with like-minded parties would be taken.
Mr Tohra is expected to be elected president of the party to be formed after a split from the SAD headed by Mr Badal, Bhai Ranjit Singh is expected be made chief patron of the party.
Row over Kohinoor continues
AMRITSAR, May 29 Even as the mystery regarding the ownership of the world's largest diamond, Kohinoor, is likely to be settled shortly with the opening of a plain safe box in a Swiss Bank vault, five "Sandhawalia sardars" from Rajasansi (Amritsar) have claimed that they are the "actual" heirs of Maharaja Duleep Singh.
It is pertinent to mention here that the vault is likely to be opened within a day or so and may contain documents providing that Kohinoor, the centerpiece of Queen Mother's state crown and the world's most famous treasure, does not belong to Britain.
The five "Sandhawalia sardars", who claim to be the real heirs of Mahajara Duleep Singh have kicked off a fresh controversy as one Mr Beant Singh Sandhawalia, a resident of Amsterdam, had already claimed that he was the last recognised heir of the Maharaja. He had claimed that the contents of the Swiss safe box would prove that the diamond belonged to him. He had said, "It is just a matter of time before I get the box, Kohinoor and other Sikh treasures belonging to my family and that were taken by the British by force and trickery".
The papers, believed to be in the Swiss bank vault, belonged to Catherine Duleep Singh, daughter of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last ruler of Punjab, before it was annexed by the British in 1849. She had placed the papers in the Swiss bank vault before her death in Buckinghamshire in England in 1942.
However, the five residents of Rajasansi Sukhraj Singh Sandhawalia, Surinder Singh Sandhawalia, Avtar Singh Sandhawalia, Sarbjit Singh Sandhawalia and Tarsem Singh Sandhawalia claimed that they are the real descendants of Maharaja Duleep Singh. They have also sent telegrams to the Prime Minister and the High Commissioner of the UK, the President and the Prime Minister of India and the General Manager of the Swiss Bank regarding their claim.
They claim that the "Sandhawalia families" stood by Maharaja Duleep Singh throughout his life. Their great-grandfather, Baba Thakar Singh Sandhawalia, had launched a massive agitation against the British to get Maharaja Duleep Singh his "rule". According to them Baba Thakur Singh was a cousin (brother's son) of Maharaja Duleep Singh. He had worked as a torch-bearer of the Maharaja. He was the "Prime Minister" of the "rule" established in the name of Maharaja Duleep Singh while in exile in Pondicherry.
He prefers to donate body
ROPAR: Donation of the blood or eyes is common in our society. But when a person donates his body, it is a rarity that draws attention.
Mr Ajit Singh Pardesi has attracted the attention of a large number of people by making a will to donate his body and getting it registered with the Sub Registrar at Ropar early this month.
Mr Pardesi was born on September 11, 1954, at Hawaran Kalan village of Khamano Kalan tehsil in Fatehgarh Sahib district. He did his B.A. in 1975 from Government College, Chandigarh. In 1978 he joined the Improvement Trust here where he has now risen to the post of junior assistant. He built his own house in 1991 in Adarsh Nagar on the Rallon road here.
Mr Pardesi associated himself with the Tarksheel Society, Punjab, in 1987. Since then, he has been serving the society as a member or an office-bearer. Mr Pardesi says Tarksheels do not believe in the rebirth theory or in religious customs and rituals. So, he considers that it is the Tarksheel ideology which inspired him to donate his body. He expects more persons to come forward to donate their body and help in running a campaign to this end.
In his will, Mr Pardesi has mentioned that as life is uncertain, he wants to serve the people even after his death, so he has decided that after death, his body should neither be consigned to the flames nor be buried, rather it should be handed over to the PGI, so that his eyes and other organs could be used for needy persons or on medical research.
Besides after his death, no religious or unscientific rituals and customs should be held because he follows scientific ideology and opposes unnecessary rituals.
In his will, Mr Pardesi has also appealed to his wife, son, daughter, relatives and friends to fulfil his desire after his death.
Talking to this reporter, Mr Pardesi said he had a wife, a son, and a daughter who had no objection to his decision to donate his body to the PGI. He said his wife, Surinder Pal Kaur, is considering donating her body while his daughter, Navjot, a student of tenth class, and his son, Navtej, a student of sixth class, would donate their eyes.
Mr Pardesi said the
Tarksheel Society plans to organise seminars on body
donation to inspire people in this direction. The society
would continue its efforts to inspire the people with the
message "Body is mortal, don't hesitate to donate it
to serve the human beings".
New town to take roots
CHANDIGARH, May 29 The Punjab Governments ambitious project of establishing a new town, Anandgarh, will start taking roots before Baisakhi next year.
Disclosing this here the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr R.S. Mann, who is also vice-chairman of the newly constituted Anandgarh Planning and Development Authority said: "We are preparing to lay the foundation stone of the new town before Baisakhi.
Already authority for the new town had been set up and now sub-committees would be constituted to take up various tasks associated with the establishment of the town.
"Obviously the new town will be by far better than Chandigarh, known world over for its architecture, layout and exclusiveness", said Mr Mann. In fact it would be a city of the 21st century, he claimed.
Asked whether any architect from abroad would be associated with the lay-out of the new town, Mr Mann said highly talented architects were available in the country, and if required help of foreign experts could be availed of.
Mr Mann said the establishment of a new town was the need of the hour. No new town had been established in Punjab for the past may years. He would like the new town to be located about 10 km from Chandigarh or at the same distance from Anandpur Sahib. So far the location had not been finalised.
The Chief Secretary said the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had totally changed the land acquisition procedure. The price for the land to be acquired had been fixed by a committee having the peoples elected representatives as its members.
Meanwhile, a senior
member of the newly constituted authority has urged the
people settled in the Shivalik foothills between
Chandigarh and Anandpur Sahib not to sell their landed
property at this stage. The authority member added that
as the government would give very good compensation for
the land to be acquired for the new town, farmers should
be alert to discourage unscrupulous elements making a
Punjab BJP may contest 5 seats
ROPAR, May 29 Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Punjab Food and Civil Supply Minister, yesterday said that as an alliance partner of SAD, the Punjab unit of the BJP wanted to field five candidates in the state in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
He said during the previous Lok Sabha elections, the BJP candidates contested on three seats of Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Amritsar, and won. This time the BJP was considering to contest two more seats, for which talks were in progress with the Shiromani Akali Dal. However, he did not disclose the names of the two seats.
Talking to newsmen at Ghanauli village, about 10 km from here, after laying the foundation stone of Hajura Singh Memorial complex in the premises of Government Senior Secondary School of the village, Mr Mittal also claimed that the SAD and BJP alliance would repeat performance in the Lok Sabha elections, winning all 13 seats in the state and the Chandigarh seat.
He said there would be no dispute between the two parties on the sharing of seats because both parties were with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Addressing a gathering there, Mr Mittal also disclosed that Punjab Government had drawn up a plan to open LPG agencies and petrol stations at the focal points for providing facilities on urban pattern to the rural folk.
The Minister said Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had taken up the matter with the Petroleum Ministry. The Ministry had assured the state government that certain relaxations in the rules for opening gas agencies and petrol stations at the focal points would be given.
Mr Mittal also announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for the construction of the Hazura Singh memorial complex.
Those who addressed the
gathering included Mr Surinder Sood, president of
district unit of the BJP; Giani Rajinder Singh, a former
MLA; Mr Gurinder Singh Gogi, president of the District
Youth Akali Dal and Dr Mansa Singh, president of the
Gang 'selling' women, kids
BATHINDA, May 29 The Nathana police has busted a gang which was allegedly involved in "selling" women and children in Punjab.
Mr Harnek Singh Sran, SSP, in a Press note issued here today said the police had arrested four members of the gang Gurdev Singh, Meena, Abbas and Meena. The gang was involved in "selling" women along with their children in Punjab after bringing them from Bihar.
He said three women Sawatri, Geeta and Sunita and two children belonging to Bihar had been rescued from the suspects. A woman along with her daughter had also been rescued from a resident of Bazuana village.
Varsity puts off entrance test
AMRITSAR, May 29 The joint entrance test (JET) for under graduate science students for admissions to B.Sc. (honours school) in chemistry, physics, botany, human genetics, zoology, B.Sc. industrial, Microbiology and B.pharmacy of Guru Nanak Dev University will be held on July 8 instead of July 2 as notified earlier.
Youth dies in freak accident
JALANDHAR, May 29 (UNI) A young man with his clothes on fire ran out of his home and was run over and killed by a diesel multiple unit (DMU) at a railway track outside Ghazipur village on Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur section last night, police sources said here today.
Balbir Singh, who was staying with his aunt Surinder Kaur and cousin Avtar Singh in Ghazipur, caught fire from a leaking gas cylinder in the kitchen of their home while cooking.
Both Surinder Kaur and Avtar Singh, too, suffered 50 and 15 per cent burns, respectively, while trying to save Balbir. But he ran out of home in panic and hit the track outside the village only to be run over and killed by the train.
Badal camp faces awkward
AMRITSAR, May 29 The Badal camp is in a fix over the outburst of Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, against Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Kesgarh Sahib (Anandpur Sahib). Some of Mr Parkash Singh Badal's loyalists, who had arranged a Press conference of Giani Bhagwan Singh yesterday with a view to fire another salvo against Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Bhai Ranjit Singh, found themselves in an awkward position when he (Giani Bhagwan Singh) spoke more against Prof Manjit Singh.
This has started a fresh debate among Sikhs about the role of the Sikh clergy. Giani Bhagwan Singh has sought the immediate resignation of Prof Manjit Singh on moral grounds. He has also asked the three-member committee of the SGPC to submit its report against Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Kewal Singh at the earliest. The committee was constituted by the SGPC to probe charges against Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Kewal Singh.
Ramoowalia sued for libel
CHANDIGARH, May 29 Mr Gurtej Singh Balluana, Mr Balbir Singh Nathana, Mr Ajaib Singh Makhmailpur, all MLAs, and certain others have served a legal notice on former union minister, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia for making allegations against Surinder Kaur, wife of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The legal notice has been served through Mr Rajinder Singh Riar, an advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Mr Ramoowalia has been asked either to withdraw the allegations and apologise or face the legal proceedings.
It has been alleged in the notice that Mr Ramoowalia while addressing a gathering at Humbran (Dhaliwal) village said that for appointment as Tehsildar one had to pay a bribe of Rs 5 lakh, for appointment of a constable Rs 1 lakh, for appointment as a peon a bribe of Rs 70,000 to Mrs Surinder Kaur.
14 students charged with
AMRITSAR, May 29 Mr M.S. Dhillon, Principal, Khalsa College, has reported to the police that 14 students of his college, including eight gold medallist players, were found ragging their juniors.
While the Sadar-police has rounded up a few students, the players who are involved in the ragging, are missing.
Trio "traitors to
FEROZEPORE, May 29 Mr Bal Mukand Sharma, member of the AICC and a former Punjab Minister said here today that the people would give a befitting reply to the leaders who branded Mrs Sonia Gandhi a foreigner.
Talking to this correspondent he described the rebel trio Mr Sharad Pawar, Mr P.A. Sangma and Mr Tariq Anwar, as "traitors to the party". The newly formed Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) would not get the support of the masses as it was a group of disgruntled elements.
Mr Sharma, who compared the Congress with an ocean, remarked that all those who has deserted the Congress in the past were now without any political identity. Similarly, the trio would also find themselves missing from the nation's political map.
He said the Congress had become more united and powerful under the leadership of Mrs Sonia Gandhi and the party would get an overwhelming majority in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress leader said the Opposition, especially the BJP and its allies were apprehensive of Mrs Sonia Gandhi's increasing popularity among people and hence they were maligning her.
Reacting to the functioning of the PPCC President, Capt Amarinder Singh, he said more and more people were joining the party as they felt it was the only secular party in the country.
Mann decries Sant Samaj move
FATEHGARH SAHIB, May 29 The SAD (A) has taken a strong exception to the efforts of the Sant Samaj to forge unity among the Tohra and the Badal factions. While talking to TNS at his native village, Talania, 2 km from here today, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the SAD (A) said it was unfortunate that the Sant Samaj had formed a seven-member committee to forge unity between the warring factions of the Akali Dal.
He questioned how a compromise could be reached between those who had deserted Akal Takht, removed its Jathedar and destroyed all principles of Sikhism and between the others who were misusing the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs for their personal and political interests. He cautioned Bhai Ranjit Singh and the Sant Samaj from the move of Mr G.S. Tohra, who, he said, just wanted to mislead the Sikhs on the name of forming a third front as an alternative to the SAD.
Appreciating the efforts
of the Sant Samaj and Bhai Ranjit Singh for the
restoration of high traditions and values of Akal Takht,
Mr Mann said he could not understand why the Sant Samaj
was involving itself into politics. Criticising the
statement of Mr Tohra that the new Akali Dal to be formed
on May 30 would be dedicated to Akal Takht, he said an
impression was being created that the other Akali Dals
were against it. He said it was only the SAD (A) which
had stood for the Amritsar declaration on the directions
of Akal Takht, where as all others, including Mr Badal
and Mr Tohra, had deserted it, in spite of the fact that
the united Akali Dal was formed in 1986 by Prof Manjit
Night curfew imposed
GURDASPUR, May 29 Mr S.K. Sandhu, District Magistrate, under Section 144, IPC ordered the imposition of night curfew yesterday restraining the movement of public along both sides of the railway lines, canals and their distributaries and on the Dhussi bandh of the Beas following in this district up to 150 feet.
The curfew will remain from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. with immediate effect and will remain in force till July 23.
Rs 10.22 cr allotted to
ROPAR, May 29 The Punjab Government has allotted funds amounting to Rs 10.22 crore as first instalment to the District Planning and Development Board for the current financial year.
This was stated here yesterday by Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Minister for Technical Education, Punjab and Chairman of the District Planning Board, while presiding over a meeting of the board.
She said about Rs 7.39 crore would be disbursed among beneficiaries under various pension schemes of the Social Security Department while about Rs 2.82 crore would be spent on various development works.
Dr Upinderjit Kaur said 400 km stretch of rural link roads in the district would be repaired this year. Besides new link roads stretching up to 20 km, would be constructed in each Assembly segment of the district. "Kutcha" roads, leading to religious places, would be made "pucca"
Permanent Lok Adalat set up at
NAWANSHAHR, May 29 Mr Justice H.S. Brar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Executive Chairman, Punjab Legal Services Authority, while inaugurating the 17th Permanent Lok Adalat here today called upon all sections to come forward with determination and missionary zeal to make Permanent Lok Adalats a mass movement.
He also called upon panchayats, the police and judicial officials to guide the parties concerned to settle their cases in Permanent Lok Adalats.
The Permanent Lok Adalat here would work on Saturdays. It would function daily as per the requirements. If the number of cases increased substantially, another Permanent Lok Adalat would be set up, he added.
Out of 27 cases presented before the Permanent Lok Adalat, about 20 were settled on the spot. Compensation worth Rs 6.20 lakh was given in four motor accident cases. A cheque for Rs 3,09,938 was given to Mr Naresh Kumar as compensation in an accident case.
Case against ex-sarpanch
MALERKOTLA, May 29 A case under Section 409, IPC, has been registered against Charan Singh, former sarpanch of Kashapur, village 7 km from here, for allegedly misusing government funds.
According to Mr R.K. Jaiswal, ASP, the District Welfare Department had released a grant of Rs 50,000 to Charan Singh in 1995-96 when he was the Sarpanch for constructing a Dharamshala in the village. However instead of constructing the Dharamshala, he misused the money for his own use.
BDPO held for taking bribe
JALANDHAR, May 29 The Vigilance Bureau has arrested a Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) for reportedly taking bribe in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office yesterday.
The SP (Vigilance), Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, said BDPO (West) Mr Sohan Singh, was caught while taking Rs 2,500 from Sarpanch Shingra Singh of Hussain Munda village to clear a police record which pertained to his (Shingra Singh) suspension.
Shingra Singh had been suspended but was reinstated recently.
Fund scarcity hits
MALERKOTLA, May 29 All development work in the town have come to a standstill due to a scarcity of funds with the local municipal council.
According to sources, the council has not received any fund from the government for the past two years. Though Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had announced at Idgah here on the occasion of Eid-ul-Zuha on March 20 that the state government had sent Rs 50 lakh to the council, the grant had not been received by the municipal authorities so far.
The local municipal councillors have appealed to the Chief Minister to release the funds so that the development work lying pending for the past two years, might be started before the monsoon.
Paddy stocks worth
MOGA, May 29 Another report of foodgrain, valued at crores of rupees and belonging to government procuring agencies, nothing here was received today.
According to reports, paddy stocks valued at over Rs 1 crore and numbering several thousands have been lying in a rice mill, 5 km from here, on the Moga-Ludhiana road. They have been rendered unfit for human consumption and have started emitting foul smell.
Firing incident: case against
PATIALA, May 29 A case has been registered against 12 persons who were allegedly involved in a firing incident at Dheeru ki Majri here last evening.
According to the police, members of a group building a wall allegedly opened fire when challenged by residents of Dheeru ki Majri who protested against the construction as it blocked a main route leading to the Upper Mall.
RTO men beat driver unconscious
JALANDHAR, May 29 (UNI) Security Guard Major Singh and Pawan Kumar, driver of the Regional Transport Officer, RTO, were yesterday detained by people who were agitated over the beating of a van driver, allegedly by them near Jandiala.
Rajinder Kumar, who was taking mourners in his van from Gumtal was signalled by the RTO party to stop for checking but he drove on. The RTO team caught up with him near Jandiala where it pulled him out and gave him a severe thrashing.
The victim was later admitted to the Civil Hospital at Jandiala where he is still unconscious.
17 hurt as buses collide
MOGA, May 29 As many as 17 passengers were injured, four of them seriously, when two buses in which they were travelling collided head-on near Mullanpore village, 55 km from here, on the Moga-Ludhiana road last evening.
A bus belonging to the Guru Hargobind Transport Company, Khanna, was on its way to Ludhiana, collided with another bus belonging to the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking, which was coming from Ludhiana.
Drivers and conductors of both buses fled after the incident.
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