Wednesday, September 19, 2001, Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Chohan barred from SGPC office
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 18
Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, a Khalistani ideologue, who visited the Golden Temple after a gap of two decades was not allowed to enter the information office of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee here today. Officials of the SGPC closed the doors when he tried to step in after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple.

Visibly upset Dr Chohan said he would shortly launch an agitation to liberate gurdwaras from “modern mahantas”. He said the gurdwara reform movement was launched by the Sikh sangat to liberate Sikh shrines from “mahantas”. However, the British Government enacted the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 so that the then government could have direct control over the gurdwaras. He said this Act had to be scrapped as it no longer fulfilled the aspirations of Sikhs.

Dr Chohan who has floated the Khalsa Raj Party invited leaders of various Hindu organisations, especially the Hindu Shiv Sena, for holding an open dialogue on the issue of “Khalistan”. He said he was against communalism and violence and hence the proposed “Khalistan” would treat all communities at par.

Coming heavily on Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President of the SGPC and the Sikh clergy, Dr Chohan said that there was need to overhaul the entire system.

Dr Chohan said that the Constitution failed to do justice to the Sikh community. He claimed that the founders of the Indian Constitution had made tall claims with the Sikhs for creating a place in the north where they (the Sikhs) could enjoy full ‘glow of freedom’. However, after achieving Independence, the Sikhs were ‘discriminated’ on various counts, he alleged.

Dr Chohan held the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the SGPC responsible for “Operation Bluestar”.

The Khalistani ideologue said that his party would contest all seats during the forthcoming general election of the SGPC.

When contacted, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary of the SGPC, feigned ignorance that Dr Chohan was not allowed to enter the information office. He said he had directed officials to offer tea and snacks during the visit of Dr Chohan. He, however, said that he had learnt that Dr Chohan tried to address a press conference at the information office which could not be allowed. Mr Narinder Singh, information officer, said that doors of the office were closed as the proposed press conference could have hampered the working of the office.


Villagers fear war, put off construction
Gurbax Puri and Rashmi Talwar

Valtoha, (Amritsar), September 18
Construction activity by residents of border villages have come to a standstill following apprehensions of World War triggering from neighbouring Afghanistan.

Announcements of retaliatory strikes by America and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s open offer of using Indian bases and resources have created a mixed response amongst the border residents, openly favouring a war to wipe out Pakistan, a country allegedly aiding and abetting terrorism in India.

However putting money in investments like constructions, buying of gadgets, vehicles have come to a halt found The Tribune team that visited the border villages of Valtoha, Khatra, Amarkot etc. today.

Mood is essentially upbeat but the approach is cautious after the Kargil conflict in 1999 when complete villages were abandoned due to fear of retaliations.

Gurdeep Singh (40) a farmer of Theh Khalra village near Khalra dropped the idea of building his house following the recent situation. A new tubewell needed to replace the old one was also done away with by Jagmeet Khanu of the same village.

However, a lone Gurmej Singh of Ghariala seems to be a happy farmer. He is happy, which others describe as for wrong reasons. “America was becoming too big for its boots”, he comments “It needed to be taught a lesson that nobody is invincible”, he added.

However, Bagwant Singh (38) of Kalsian Kalan is a scared man he has witnessed the 1971 war with Pakistan, the evacuation, curfew etc. Kulwant Singh (60) of Rajasansi too echoes the views of Bhagwant Singh who had witnessed three wars of 1962, 1965, 1971 and also Kargil. “Living in bunkers, fearing the unknown deafening sounds, sirens, cut-off-supplies blackouts etc. all is a nightmare Kulwant had left for Faridkot during the 1965 conflict with Pakistan.

Karaj Singh of Sandhra however feels no panic even though he says a person from the city had tried to influence and scare gullible village folks. Iqbal Singh an advocate of Gilpan village is trying to create calm by listening to apprehensions of villagers and clearing misconceptions.

However it seems the administrative machinery is completely complacent of the fear amongst border residents. This was amply clear from the fact when the executive magistrate holding additional charge of the SDM Patti denied having collected any information regarding migration or panic prevailing in the border belt in his jurisdiction. However, he assured of the same later. 


Warrants issued against DSP, 6 others
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 18
A local CBI court today issued non-bailable warrants against a Deputy Superintendent of Police and six others, including two Inspectors, two Sub-Inspectors and two Assistant Sub-Inspectors, in the case involving the disappearance of kar sewa head Sant Chanan Singh and five of his relatives during 1993.

The court issued non-bailable warrants for October 22 against DSP Gurmeet Singh, Inspectors Sube Singh and Kashmir Singh, SIs Sukhdev Raj Joshi and Nirmal Singh and ASIs Darshan Lal and Harbhajan Singh. Earlier also non bailable warrants had been issued against the police officers on August 14 but they could not be produced in the court.

A case was registered against the police officers after the Punjab and Haryana High Court gave the case to the CBI for investigation. It had been approached by Surjit Kaur, wife of Sant Chanan Singh, who is a resident of Pandori Ramana in Amritsar district.

The complainant had alleged that Sant Chanan Singh and his five other relatives were picked up by the police officers from different places. She alleged that all of them were never seen again.

The CBI during its investigation found the victims — Kesar Singh, Meja Singh, Gurdev Singh, Gurmej Singh and his son Balwinder Singh — were picked up from separate places and presented before the then SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu and were tortured.

The agency also claimed that the police took away 40 trucks of wheat from the gurdwara of Sant Chanan Singh at Thathian village in Tarn Taran which were sold in the open market. It said the police officials also confiscated a Ford tractor which was sold to a villager of Moga district.

SI Sukhdev Singh and Inspector Sube Singh are also charged separately with the disappearance of Meja Singh from Veeroke in March 1993. 


Attack on scribes condemned
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
Cutting across party lines, senior leaders of almost all parties, including the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president, Captain Amarinder Singh, the Shiromani Akali Dal leader and a former SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, and Punjab ministers, and other social and media organisations have strongly condemned the violent attack on some scribes by Garhshankar MLA Shingara Ram Sahoongra at the local Circuit House yesterday.

Political parties and social organisations have also expressed solidarity with the media and demanded that Mr Sahoongra be arrested for his unsavoury behaviour towards scribes and he should tender a public apology for the incident.

Mr Sahoongra, along with some of his supporters, had manhandled scribes — Varinder Singh, J.S. Malhotra (both of The Tribune), Rajiv Bhaskar (PTI) and Munish Attre (Zee News) — and had even threatened to shoot them while coming out of a meeting in progress in the Circuit House.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Captain Amarinder Singh and a number of senior Congress leaders, including Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, the leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Mr Balbir Singh, MP, Mr Davinder Singh Babbu, president of the Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Amarjit Samra and Mr Tejinder Bittu, secretary of the PPCC, demanded that Mr Sahoongra should be arrested by the police without any delay.

A former SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, said no elected representative should behave in such a rowdy manner. “He had also hurled a bundle of files at the Punjab Chief Minister, while the last Assembly session was in progress,” she said.

The Tribune Employees Union president, Mr Balbir Singh Jandu, and the Punjab and Chandigarh Patarkar Association has also demanded the arrest of Mr Sahoongra and a probe into the whole incident.

The president of Amritsar unit of the SAD, Mr Anoop Singh Minhas, who is also a former IPS officer and an eyewitness to the incident, said the behaviour of Mr Sahoongra was nothing but attack on the freedom of the

Senior BJP leaders and Punjab ministers, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal and Mr Manoranjan Kalia, the Indian Information Service spokesman, Mr Naresh Vij, scribes of Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala districts, a Hoshiarpur MP, Mr Charanjit Channi, general secretaries of the DCC, Mr Om Parkash Saini and Dr Kuldeep Nanda, and a member of the Hoshiarpur Telephone Advisory Committee, Mr Rajiv Sood, condemned the attack and demanded stern action against Mr Sahoongra.

The Akhil Bharatiya Brahman Pratinidhi Sabha president, Mr Pawan Sharma, the Naya Morcha Punjab president, Mr Arun Sharma Pappu, the Punjab Khet Majdoor Union general secretary, Mr Tarsem Peter, scribes of Phagwara, and the president of the Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Mr Sukhminder Pal Singh Grewal, also condemned the attack on journalists.

The Chandigarh Press Club has also condemned the incident. The club president, Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, said a memorandum would be given to the Punjab Governor against the manhandling of scribes by the Garhshankar MLA at Jalandhar yesterday.


Govt to be tough on sex tests
Our Correspondent

Sunam, September 18
The Punjab Government will strictly implement the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act to “punish” doctors found indulging in sex determination tests at their ultrasound centres. Sex determination tests have led to decrease in the number of females in the state.

Talking to this reporter here yesterday, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Health Minister, Punjab, further said the erring doctors would be sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000 besides cancellation of their registration for two years. The lady and other persons accompanying her for a sex determination test would also be imprisoned and fined, he added.

Dr Chawla said the state government was finalising the Punjab Nursing Home Registration Act to streamline the functioning of private nursing homes and improve them. He also said talks with the IMA and other bodies of doctors were in progress to chalk-out the modalities of the Act.

The Health Minister also disclosed that addiction to drugs in the rural as well as urban areas was on the rise as 48 per cent people in rural areas and 53 per cent people in urban areas had tasted drugs. As per a survey, every third male and every tenth female residing in hostels of colleges and universities had confessed that they had tasted the drugs once or more times.

Dr Chawla also warned the doctors working in the rural areas that either be punctual or be ready to face disciplinary action.

He also disclosed that the government would create 350 posts of doctor in the near future. He assured that efforts would be made to fill 350 vacant posts of doctor.

The Health Department had purchased medicines worth Rs 7 crore to provide medicines to the weaker sections at government hospitals, he added.

TB disease was under control in 10 districts in the state while efforts were being made to control it in the remaining seven districts, Dr Chawla added.

He also said under a World Bank Scheme, 154 hospitals in the state were being renovated at a cost of Rs 175 crore.


Relief to Dalits in domestic power bill
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 18
The Punjab Government has decided to grant concession to the tune of Rs 250 in the domestic electricity bill to each Dalit in the state. Besides, the state government will also provide a piece of land measuring 5 marlas each to those Dalits who have no residential accommodation.

This was stated by Mr Ranjit Balian, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, while addressing a gathering at Gurdwara Guru Ravidas in Dhebar Nagar here last night.

Mr Balian said the PSEB would lessen Rs 250 from the total amount of the electricity bill of each eligible Dalit while the remaining amount would be deposited by him. He said the process to give land to the homeless Dalits would begin shortly.

The minister also said presently residents of the Dhebar Nagar here did not have ownership rights of houses in which they lived. He disclosed that the Badal government had decided to grant ownership rights to such occupants on payment of a meagre amount. The government had already formed committees under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioners for this purpose.

Mr Balian also assured the gathering that their demands, including construction of streets and drains and street-lighting, would be fulfilled soon.

On this occasion, Mr Balian also presented a cheque for Rs 25 lakh to Mr Mahesh Kumar Meshi, president of the local Municipal Council, for development works in the town. 


Villagers burn religious book
Block traffic on Morinda-Ropar road
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, September 18
Villagers of Ratangarh retaliated against the burning of a ‘bir’ of the holy Guru Granth Sahib by followers of Sant Piara Singh Baniara yesterday, by burning the Bhav Sagar Samundar Granth in the house of one of his followers today.

At least 200 residents of Ratangarh broke into the house of Ms Nachatar Kaur, a follower of the baba in adjoining village of Kalheri, took out the granth and tore it into pieces. They also burned the effigy of the baba in front of her house.

However, before they could torch the granth, the police intervened.

Meanwhile, residents of Boormajra village blocked traffic on the Morinda-Ropar road for about two hours in the morning to protest against the burning of the ‘bir’ of Guru Granth Sahib. They demanded the arrest of Baba Piara Singh.

They were persuaded to lift the blockade by senior police officials of the district. The district administration called additional police force from Khanna, apprehending violence in the area.

In Anandpur Sahib too students of Khalsa College held a march in protest against the sacrilege.

The SSP, Ropar, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, talking to this correspondent, said they suspected the hand of three followers of Baba Piara Singh in the incident. One of them, Malkeet Singh of Kalheri village, had been arrested and a case under Sections 161, 452, 380 and 395-A registered against him.

His two accomplices, Jaswinder Singh and Bhinder Singh, had absconded. A case had also been registered against the residents of Ratangarh village who had damaged the granth authored by the baba.

When this correspondent visited Kalheri village today, most of the followers of the baba had fled the area fearing a backlash from residents of adjoining villages. Sources in the area said there were six families who were followers of Baba Piara Singh in the village. All had fled the village and taken refuge in the dera of the baba in Nurpur Bedi.

The villagers alleged the conspiracy to torch the ‘bir’ of Guru Granth Sahib was hatched in the house of Ms Nachatar Kaur at the instigation of the baba, who wanted to seek revenge for the torching of his granth in Ludhiana the previous day.

The torching of the ‘bir’ has evoked angry responses from leaders of various political parties in the district. Mr Pritam Singh Salomajra, district president of the SAD, talking to mediapersons, said he would take up the matter with the Chief Minister and urge him to dislodge the baba from the encroached government land.

Other leaders, including SGPC members, termed yesterday’s incident as a “murder”. 


One held for burning ‘bir’
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 18
The district police has arrested one of the suspects who allegedly burnt a ‘bir’ of the holy Guru Granth Sahib yesterday. The SSP, Ropar, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, at a press conference held late last evening, said Malkit Singh of Kalheri village, follower of Sant Piara Singh Baniara, had been arrested for burning of the granth. A case under Sections 452, 380 and 295-A of the IPC had been registered against him.

His other two accomplices would also be arrested soon.

Meanwhile, the district administration has sent the burnt granth to Goindwal Sahib for immersion.


Unemployed being fleeced: Law Forum
Our correspondent

Bathinda, September 18
Expressing serious concern over the increasing unemployment and the alleged fleecing of the unemployed, the Punjab Law Forum in a letter to the Chairman of Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) and the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has demanded that it should be ensured that the recruitment process was fair and every eligible candidate was given a fair chance to compete.

Mr C P S Brar, President, Mr M.M. Behal, Secretary and Mr Chander Mohan Ruby, Joint Secretary of the forum today said due to the corruption in the recruitment process resentment was prevailing among the unemployed youth.

Mr Brar said recently the PPSC had invited applications for 266 vacancies of the lecturers and now had asked the candidates to send a demand draft of Rs 200, so as to enable the candidates to appear in a screening test to be held on October 14. He said that when the candidates had paid the requisite fee while applying for these vacancies there was no need to ask for another Rs 200 for the screening test. Although the PPSC was supposed to be an independent body but actually it was working at the dictates of politicians, he alleged.

Mr Behal alleged that in many cases, various departments of the state had invited applications and collected huge amounts from the unemployed youth as fees but the recruitment process had not been completed yet.

He added that in certain cases the entrance tests had been conducted but the results were yet to be declared. Giving examples he said Punsup had invited application for various posts in September 1997 and the Punjab Pollution Control Board had conducted interviews for scientific assistant in February 1999 but both these agencies had not completed the recruitment process and the candidates were still in the dark.

Mr Chander Mohan Ruby alleged that even officials of the state government were indulging in corruption and enjoying political protection. Quoting an incident, Mr Ruby said, “Ms Surjit Kaur, wife of Mr Raghbir Singh, Minister of Transport, Punjab has lodged a complaint in the court of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, on September 5, levelling serious allegations against the Managing Director of the Kapurthala Cooperative Bank. She alleged in her complaint that Mr Rashbegh Singh, MD of the bank was subverting the recruitment process and even quoted the “price tag” of the 98 posts advertised by the bank being allegedly charged from the candidates to give appointments”. Such incidents had shaken the faith of the candidates in these recruitment processes, Mr Ruby said. Representatives of the forum urged the authorities that fairness, equality and justice should be ensured in the recruitment process.

The forum said if fair opportunity was not given to the candidates they would invoke the constitutional remedies for the justice. 


PM to address rally in Muktsar on Sept 25
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 18
The SAD-BJP alliance will hold a ‘maha kissan rally’ at Killianwali in Muktsar district on September 25. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will address the rally. Among other senior leaders who will speak on the occasion are Mr Chandrababu Naidu, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mr Om Prakash Chautala and Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Many Union Ministers will also attend the rally. The Prime Minister will unveil the statue of the late Deputy Prime Minister and kisan leader Devi Lal in this border town.

This was stated by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, member of the Rajya Sabha, while talking to mediapersons here today. He categorically stated that his party would not join hands with the Panthic Morcha for the ensuing Assembly poll. Mr Sukhbir Singh said the SAD youth wing would be revived shortly to make the party stronger. He evaded all questions on his family’s assets.

To another question, he said the Chief Minister had taken up the issue with the Prime Minister regarding attacks on Sikhs in the USA and the UK during the past three days. He said tenders regarding construction of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences complex here had been finalised and work on the same would start shortly. He further said the local Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital would shortly be handed over to the university here to make its functioning more effective.

Later, he inaugurated Dohk minor constructed at a cost of Rs 1.86 crore. It will irrigate 4,403 acres of land in six villages — Sukhanwala, Kila Nau, Chet Singh Wala, Sher Singh Wala, Dhab Sher Singh Wala and Dohk. The entire earthwork has been done by villagers of these areas.

Speaking on the occasion, the SAD leader said the state government had released a grant of Rs 80 lakh for the construction of two more minors — Bheelawala and Golewala. Work on both projects would start shortly. With the completion of these projects, more than 60 villages in adjoining areas would get irrigation water.


PPCC against sharing of river waters
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has asserted that Punjab has not a single drop of river waters to share with Haryana and alleged that the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has “sold out” himself and the interests of Punjab to his Haryana counterpart.

The PPCC has also expressed its displeasure over the way the issue of attacks on Sikhs in the USA and other western countries is being handled by the Punjab and the Centre Governments.

Addressing a press conference here today, the PPCC president, Captain Amarinder Singh, Mr Balbir Singh, MP, and Mr Avtar Henry, vice-president of the PPCC, said the state was facing acute shortage of water and had nothing to give to Haryana.

Captain Amarinder Singh and Chandigarh belonged to Punjab as it had been set up for Punjab after the Partition. “It belonged to Punjab and will remain with Punjab. Similarly, we don’t have a single yard of land to give to Haryana. There is no question of completion of the SYL canal,” he said, alleging that Mr Badal had “sold himself and the interests of the state.”

Captain Amarinder Singh said his party was of the view that the issue of attacks on Sikhs residing in the USA was not being handled properly by the ruling combine at the state or at the Centre level. He said: “They have failed to use the diplomatic channels properly. Mr Badal should have bought time on international print and electronic media to inform western people that Sikhs were not followers of Bin Laden.”

Has Mr Badal even bothered to pay a visit to the house of Mr Balbir Singh Sodhi who was shot dead by some hooligans in the USA on Sunday?” questioned the PPCC president, adding that the NRI cell of the PPCC, headed by Mr Balbir Singh, MP, and the Overseas Congress, headed by Mr Daljit Singh Sahota, had been activated to take up the cause of the Sikhs living in western countries.

He alleged that the SAD government had failed to take up any step for ensuring security of the Sikhs living in the USA.

He said the All-India Congress Committee chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, had already taken up the issue of attacks on the Sikhs with the US Ambassador to India. “She has told him about the Sikhs’ contribution in the development of the USA. The ambassador in turn has assured her that the US Government was taking all steps to ensure security and safety of the minorities,” said Captain Amarinder Singh, who also paid a visit to the family of Mr Balbir Singh Sodhi at Passiawal village in Kapurthala district to express condolence over the killing of Mr Sodhi.

Others, who were present, included a veteran Congress leader, Dr Lekh Raj, Mr Amarjit Samra, MLA, and the PPCC secretaries — Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Mr Tejinder Bittu and Mr Manjinder Singh Chaudhary.


BJP allocates poll work in 23 seats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The BJP today formally allocated 23 Punjab Assembly constituencies, from which it contested last time, to three senior ministers to supervise the election campaign work. This was stated here today by Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, president of the state unit of the BJP.

The Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, had been made in charge of nine constituencies and Mr Madan Mohan Mittal and Dr Baldev Raj Chawla of eight and six constituencies, respectively.

Mr Rinwa said that the decision pertaining to the allocation was taken at a party meeting held here this afternoon. Mr O.P.Kohli and Mr Pyare Lal Khandelwal, general secretaries of the BJP, were present.

Mr Rinwa said that a meeting with the President of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would be held soon to seek the allocation of more seats to the BJP. He said the BJP wanted that its share of seats should be increased. The party also wanted that coordination committees of SAD and BJP workers should be set up at the block level.

The party had decided to organise meetings at the mandal level on October 21 to celebrate the golden jubilee of the party. It would also hold meetings at the district headquarters on September 25 to celebrate the birth anniversary of late Deen Dayal Upadhayaya.

Mr Rinwa said the Chief Minister would make an the announcement with regard to octroi abolition soon. 


Cong encouraged terrorism: CM
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 18
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, addressed a conference organised jointly by the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP in memory of Guru Gobind Singh at Guru ki Dhab at Jaitu in the district today.

Lashing out at the Congress he alleged that during its 45 years of misrule in Punjab unemployment, illiteracy and poverty reached its peak and no steps were taken by the Congress to contain it. Dalits became more weaker and the economy of the state was shattered due to its unsound policies. The Chief Minister also charged the Congress with failing to resolve the river water dispute, Mr Badal also held the party responsible for encouraging terrorism in which hundreds of innocent people lost their lives a decade ago.

Recounting the developments made by the SAD-BJP alliance during its four and-a-half years tenure Mr Badal said big projects like Indian oil Refinery in Bathinda, international airport at Amritsar, Ranjit Sagar Dam came on the map of the state with the help of the Union Government. He appealed to the people to give a thumping majority to the SAD-BJP alliance in the forthcoming Assembly elections. The Chief Minister also praised Prime Minister Atal Vehari Vajpayee for giving all types of aid to resolve the state problems.

In a separate conference organised by the Panthic Morcha on the occasion, Mr Simranjit Singh Maan, President of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) accused Mr Parkash Singh Badal of making a secret deal with Mr Om Parkash Chautala for transferring Chandigarh to Punjab and Fazilka and Abohar to Haryana. He said the Panthic Morcha would give a crushing defeat to the SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress in the ensuing Assembly poll in the state. He demanded that police officials involved in the alleged killing of Sikh youths during militancy be punished. He also demanded a minimum compensation of Rs 15000 per acre to the farmers for the loss caused to their cotton crop due to the attack of the American bollworm. Another Panthic Morcha leader and former MP, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, flayed the Chief Minister for distributing funds lavishly during the “sangat darshan” programme after taking a loan of Rs 600 crore from a nationalised bank. He alleged that the state had a debt of Rs 28000 crore due to its wrong policies.

At a conference organised by the All-India Lok Bhalai party its President Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, Member, Rajya Sabha and former Union Minister also criticised the Chief Minister for encouraging nepotism and corruption in the state.


SHSAD: govt failed to protect Sikhs in USA
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 18
The Central Government did not do anything for the safety of Sikh immigrants in the USA who were under threat from miscreants after the recent terrorist attacks.

This was stated by Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, senior Panthic Morcha leader and general secretary, SHSAD while addressing a meeting of the local office-bearers of the party here today. Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president, SHSAD, would meet officials of the US Embassy in New Delhi and would urge them to protect the lives of the Sikhs, he added.

He said the Union Government should urge the Bush government to protect the lives and property of the Sikhs living in USA.

The government should take steps to make US people aware that the Sikhs belong to different religion and should not be mistaken for the Arabs, he added.

Mr Chandumajra said they condemned the terrorist attacks in the USA and were against terrorism in any part of the world.


Mohi cautions Brar on seat adjustments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Former MLA and convener of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Dr Satwant Singh Mohi, has cautioned the senior party leader, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, against making seat adjustments with other parties, especially the BSP.

Dr Mohi said that though on previous occasions such adjustment was made with the BSP, the Congress did not gain anything from it. In Uttar Pradesh the Congress had allocated about 300 seats to the BSP a few years ago, but the party paid a heavy political price for doing so. The Congress base among Dalits was almost wiped out. A similar situation could arise in Punjab also.

Dr Mohi urged Capt Amarinder Singh, president of the PPCC, not to give any reserved seat to any political party with which the Congress wanted to enter into an electoral alliance.


100 Shiv Sainiks join SAD
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 18
At least 100 activists of radical Hindu body Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) led by a local Sainik, Mr Raj Kumar Sharma, yesterday joined the ruling Akali Dal.

Akali stalwarts Jarnail Singh Wahid, Jathedar Gurmukh Singh, Mr Gurjit Singh Khalsa, Jathedar Sohan Singh Bagi and Mr Jatinderpal Singh Palani, welcomed the Sainiks.


SGPC withdraws extra vehicles of high priests
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 18
Following the decision of the executive committee, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has decided to withdraw ‘extra vehicles’ given to Sikh high priests, obviously as part of austerity measures.

Apart from escort vehicles provided by the state government, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Kesgarh Sahib; and Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, were given luxury cars and Sumo vehicles for official use.

The orders are being despatched to the high priests concerned for surrendering extra vehicles on the basis of a meeting held at Gurdwara Alamgir, Ludhiana, on September 15.

Sources pointed out that the SGPC executive had felt that austerity measures must be launched in wake of the exorbitant petrol bills. It was learnt that one of the drivers of the SGPC was placed under suspension for submitting ‘fake bills’.

It may be mentioned here that Sikh high priests never maintained logbooks of their official vehicles. However, the SGPC executive decided that the high priests would have to verify the petrol bills before making payments. This decision may hurt the high priests as they never put their signature anywhere due to their esteemed position.


Panthic Morcha for ban on Niara Granth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
The Panthic Morcha has sought a ban on the publication of controversial book Niara Granth, a collection of preachings of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara. The morcha alleged that the book was a distorted form of Guru Granth Sahib, in which he had included details of his own incarnation.

Addressing a press conference here today, senior leaders of the morcha, Mr Surjan Singh Thekedar and Mr Charan Singh Lohara, said in case the book was not banned it would lead to tension. Some copies of the book were allegedly burnt by activists of the Sikh Students Federation here on Sunday evening which had led to the tension in the area.

The morcha leaders demanded the release of the two SSF activists arrested in this connection. They claimed that the two activists had only expressed their resentment over the “distortion of Guru Granth Sahib”.

Mr Thekedar and Mr Lohara also condemned the attacks on Sikhs and members of other communities in the USA and the UK and asked the Union Government to take immediate steps so that these attacks are stopped immediately. 


Sops not reaching border areas: INLD
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 18
Mr A.L. Jakhar, state president of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) said yesterday that benefits of welfare schemes were not being passed on to residents of border villages due to “apathy” of elected representatives and the officials concerned. Mr Jakhar was addressing a meeting at Pucca Chishti village, 3 km near the Indo-Pak Border.

Mr Jakhar said border residents had to migrate twice due to war between the neighbouring countries and floods afterwards in 1988. They lost their immovable property, besides their belongings, but so far they had not been adequately rehabilitated.

He said the affects of flood could have been avoided if the extra water of Sabuana drain was allowed to fall in the main river but Indian representatives could not force the Pakistan Government to honour the water treaty.

This was the root cause of the turmoil faced by residents of villages on the banks of the Sulemanki river.

He supported the demand of the villagers that temporary bridge laid after 1971 war should be replaced with permanent structure.


Badal urged to declare NAC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The Ghar Bachao Committee, Naya Gaon, has welcomed the holding of “sangat darshan” at Ratwara Sahib, near Mullanpur, on September 20.

In a statement issued today Mr Balbir Singh, press secretary of the committee, said the committee hoped that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal would concede the long-pending demand of residents by announcing on the occasion the formation of a notified area committee for Naya Gaon and Kansal. It also appealed to the Chief Minister to announce the opening of electricity connections without no-objection certificate (NOC) from PUDA for houses constructed after 1998.

The committee also urged the government to withdraw cases filed against residents of the area for Periphery Act violations.


Bhai Ghanayia remembered
Our Correspondent

Garhshankar, September 18
In connection with the birthday of Bhai Ghanayia, a disciple of Guru Gobind Singh, a seminar on blood donation and drug addiction was organised in the S.G.G.S. Khalsa College, Mahilpur, here today.

Mr Sohan Singh Thandal, Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies, in his address said the demand for blood in hospitals was growing and for this students should make blood donation a way of life.

Mr Tajinder Singh Sodhi, Chairman of the Hoshiarpur Improvement Trust, Principal Santokh Singh, Dr Ajay Bagga and Prof Bahadur Singh, social activists, were among those who addressed the gathering. Later on, 50 students from the sports wing, NCC and NSS of the college donated blood in the camp organised by Bhai Ghanayia Charitable Blood Bank, Hoshiarpur.


2-minute silence observed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 18
On a call given by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, various schools, colleges, institutes and government departments observed a two-minute silence at 10.30 am today as a mark of respect to those killed in terrorist attacks on the USA and against terrorist activities all over the world. 


Gang busted, eight members arrested
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 18
The local police has busted an inter-state gang of criminals involved in more than 17 cases of murder and theft of vehicles, with the arrest of eight persons.

According to Mr Harchand Singh Sidhu, SSP, a police team, led by DSP Joginder Kumar, on a tip-off raided a deserted building near a Gurdwara in Lalle village on the Ferozepore-Moga road and arrested eight persons, including two women, and recovered one Tata Sumo, AK-56 rifle with 20 cartridges, one country-made pistol, one Gypsy and a Maruti car from them.

The arrested persons are Sukhjinder Singh, Harjit Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Hemraj, Angrej Singh, Satish Kumar, Rajwinder Kaur and Paramjit Kaur. Except Sukhwinder Singh, who is a resident of Ludhiana, all other arrested persons belongs to Amritsar district.

According to Mr Sidhu, the modus operandi of the gang was that the gang members used to hire taxis, like Tata Sumo, Indica car and Maruti car, from different places and used to take the vehicle to locations in Amritsar on the pretext of meeting relatives. There they used to give the driver some sedative or intoxicant in a cup of tea. Later on, after killing the driver, the members of the gang either used to dump the body at some location or throw it in a river after putting it in sack.

Mr Sidhu said the leader of this gang, Sukhjinder Singh told the police during interrogation that they generally took stolen vehicles to Jammu or Srinagar, where two of their accomplices, Mohammed Yousuf and Faiz Ahmed, helped them sell the vehicles after preparing forged documents.

Mr Sidhu said till date the gang had stolen more than 17 vehicles and killed at least 10 drivers.


Three undertrials give cops the slip
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 18
Three undertrials gave the slip to a police party bringing them back to the Central Jail here after attending a court hearing at Sangrur by pointing a gun at them and making away with the vehicle in which they were travelling.

Sources disclosed that the undertrials, facing trial in a murder case at Dhuri and Sangrur, had been taken to both places last morning. They said while coming back after attending the court hearing the undertrials were able to convince the three police personnel accompanying them, including a havaldar, to take them to the residence of a relative on the Patiala-Sirhind road.

In clear violation of norms, the police personnel took the undertrials, identified as Sukwinder Singh, Jagjivan Ram and Gurinder Singh, to Khalifawala village near here though it was not on the Patiala-Sangrur road. They said at the village, the police personnel allegedly consumed liquor and food.

The sources said following this, the relatives of the undertrials handed over a revolver to them, which they used to hold their captors at gunpoint. They said after threatening the police personnel with dire consequences, the undertrials made good their escape after taking the private Indica car in which they were travelling.

The Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal, was not available for comment. It was not known whether any action had been taken against the police personnel accompanying the undertrials. Police sources disclosed that a case had been registered against the undertrials at Sadar police station under Section 223, 23, 25 and 392 of the Arms Act following a complaint by Constable Gurnam Singh, who was one of the policemen accompanying them.

Though no senior police official was available to give details about the incident, the sources said all three undertrials were nabbed in Rajasthan today. 


Army contractor arrested
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 18
The Sadar police has arrested the owner of a firm allegedly involved in the misappropriation of defence goods under Section 406 of the IPC. According to police sources, Brig Mukesh Gandhi, Chief Engineer, Zone HQ 21 sub-area, had complained to the SSP, Gurdaspur, that M/s Him Contractor of the town owned by Inderjit Mahajan was awarded a defence contract for handling and transporting cement and other items, from the town to Kargil. The cement consignment collected by the firm had not yet reached its destination, causing a loss to the government.


3,800 kg of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 18
The police seized 100 bags of poppy husk on the Garshankar-Chandigarh road after intercepting a truck last night.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Sanjeev Kalra, SSP, Hoshiarpur, said during the search of the truck, 3,800 kg of poppy husk was seized. The truck driver, Kuldip Singh of Sagnewal village and Paramjit Singh of Dhilwan were arrested while the main suspect, Shingara Singh, of Dhada Khurd, escaped under the cover of darkness.

A case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered in this connection.

The Garshankar police had seized 4 kg of poppy husk from Sardar Ali of Bharowal, he added.

The Tanda police seized 67,485 ml of illicit liquor from Mollan Singh of Alampur last evening.


Workshop on technical education held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
A workshop on ‘‘accreditation of technical education’’ was organised by the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal (Ropar), yesterday. The workshop was sponsored by the All-Indian Council for Technical Education. It was attended by 120 delegates, including Chairpersons, Principals, Directors of the engineering colleges of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and New Delhi.

The IET has created an opportunity for the engineering colleges in the region to familiarise themselves with the requirements of accreditation process. Most of the colleges in the region are new and would be benefitted from the workshop.

Dr R.S. Khandpur, Director General, CEDTI, was the chief guest. He laid emphasis on the development of product design capability. This aspect, according to him, was lacking in the existing curriculum.

Mr Dheeraj Garg, Managing Director, SAB Infotech Limited, supported the need of a pragmatic technical education system asking the students to go global through Internet.

Prof I.K. Bhat, Member Secretary, National Board of Accreditation, was the expert for the deliberations. He stressed the need for quality awareness in technical education in the open policy which must be of international standard. He elaborated on the importance of accreditation and the procedure to be followed by all the engineering colleges for coming up to international standard.

Earlier, Dr R.S. Seehra, Principal, IET, Bhaddal, and its Chairman, Mr Gurcharan Singh, addressed participants.


463 take part in NCC camp
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 18
A 12-day camp of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) concluded at the ITI here today. Cadets of senior and junior division from all over the state participated in the camp, organised by the 20 Punjab battalion, NCC.

As many as 463 cadets participated in the camp where they were given training in drill, firing, field craft and map reading.

Lieut-Col AVS Andrews, Camp Commandant said besides the blood donation camp, a cleaniness drive at civil hospital, rallies against terrorism, child marriage and dowry were also organised by the cadets.

The Brahmkumaris organised an exhibition on moral values and drug abuse at the camp.

The district fire control authorities demonstrated the fire control methods. Mr S.S. Sidhu, Sub-Fire Officers said the cadets of the NCC should be well-versed with the techniques of fire extinguishers.


College teachers meet Badal
Tribune News Service

Malout, September 18
The local unit of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) yesterday urged Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to fulfil non-government college teachers’ demands at the earliest.

In a press note issued here, Mr Narinder Sharma, president, PCCTU, DAV college unit, said a deputation of teachers met Mr Badal during ‘sangat darshan’ for the implementation of their demands.

He said Mr Badal assured the teachers that their demands, would be met soon.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |