L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


12 held as village groups clash
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Aligarh (Jagraon), March 17
The Jagraon civil and police administration today formed a 12-member peace committee in this village to maintain law and order as fresh violence erupted between two groups, who pelted each other with stones, resulting in injuries to a woman and bruises to another. Twelve persons were taken into preventive custody and cops were deployed round-the-clock at the village to prevent escalation of tension.

After about eight months of relative peace, tension broke out between two groups of this village, one of Jats and the other a mix of Dalits and Jats too, this morning. Both groups resorted to stone-pelting. The situation took a new turn when both groups made phone calls to political leaders to come to their aid.

The groups had been at loggerheads with one another for the last couple of days after the children of members of the rival groups had some argument.

The matter reached a flashpoint today when Harpal Singh, alias Sukhi, of the Dalit-Jat group and Gurdev Singh of the other group had an argument over some comment. Soon, more supporters gathered and the groups started pelting stones.

The Jagraon police sent a posse to control the rioters. Twelve persons were taken into preventive custody and an anti-riot police squad was deployed in the village. SSP H.S. Bhullar said SDM Gurmeet Singh and DSP Randhir Singh rushed to the site and controlled the situation.

Late in the afternoon, a compromise was arrived at between the parties. It was decided that the 12-member peace committee, having six persons from each group, would meet every Monday and solve the problems. The committee would regularly inform the administration about the situation and take the help of the officials whenever required.

At the instance of both groups, no case was registered. The police hoped that preventive arrests might cool their tempers.

The two groups have been clashing on one issue or the another. More often than not, the issues were trivial. Major tension had taken broken out between the two groups over the laying of the foundation stone of a park in June.

There were disagreements between Jats and Dalits over several issues.

The administration was keeping a close tab on the situation and the police force would remain in the village for a few days. The administration was not taking any chances despite the formation of the peace committee.



Oppn parties match govt hoardings with posters
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 17
Strict Election Commission (EC) directions to all state governments for the removal of hoardings put up at public cost notwithstanding, such boards continue to stand in this constituency, much to the annoyance of Opposition parties.

In violation of the explicit instructions of the EC, private and public property is also being defaced with impunity and all political parties are guilty of such violations, without attracting any penal action.

The authorities have failed to remove the hoardings highlighting the achievements of the government from several strategic locations. As a result, all political parties have gone overboard with their posters and banners announcing public meetings, welcoming senior party leaders, etc, leaving virtually no space vacant.

A number of buildings of state and Central government offices and most of the private buildings have their boundary walls covered with posters. Party workers, in their zeal to please their paymasters, have not even spared the pedestals on which the statues of martyrs like Kartar Singh Sarabha, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru stand.

Some of the affected owners of private buildings alleged that owing to no action, the parties were having a field day. In a few cases, objections to the posters have been met with a rude or highhanded response.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, who is also the District Election Officer, being out of town, was not available for comment. However, inquiries revealed that the administration had so far not initiated any action under the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act against the campaigners for the Lok Sabha elections.



Bogus vet caught with protected animal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 17
Ludhiana Range Wildlife officials and the police have caught a fake veterinarian for possessing civet, a protected animal. The secretions of this hill animal is used for making perfume.

The Chinese Government had recently ordered the mass killing of the animal as it was found to be the main carrier of the deadly SARS virus. The officials also recovered some dogs and pups from Babbu Verma, who claimed to be a veterinarian and operated from his ‘clinic’ near the Jalandhar by- pass. He said some persons had brought the animal to him for treatment but had not returned.

The activities of the accused came to light when some neighbourers complained to the police about foul smell emanating from his clinic. When the police raided his place late last night, some residents were already there.

The police called for wildlife officials after finding the animals. Mr Gurbans Singh Bains, SHO, said the police found some dead dogs and pups inside the clinic. It was alleged that he had starved the animals to death. The residents claimed that several animals had died in the past too but he had allegedly cremated them early. It could not be ascertained why he kept the dead animals.

Mr Gurdarshan Singh, Range Wildlife Officer, said the prize catch was the recovery of the civet. The Wildlife Department had taken the accused into custody.

Mr Sandeep Jain, president of the People for Animals, said the accused had a kennel and would treat some animals. He had worked with a veterinarian for sometime and had learnt some skills.

Weeping profusely, the accused said he was the only earning member of his family and had four minor children. He said he didn’t know that civet was a protected animal.



Dehlon police washes its hands of paper-leak case
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 17
Washing its hands off the paper leak controversy, the Dehlon police today referred the complaint of the District Education Officer (DEO), Ludhiana, about the leak of Class X maths paper to the Sangrur police for action.

Police sources said the police investigation had revealed that the alleged fax by some person two days ago was not made from Dehlon as alleged by the DEO and thus fell the case the jurisdiction of the Malerkotla police.

Confusion, however, prevailed over the issue as it was yet unclear how the paper was actually leaked and who was the sender of the fax. While the case was yet to be registered by the Sangrur police, the DEO at Ludhiana had given a clean chit to all examination centres falling under the jurisdiction of his office.

The DEO office at Sangrur, on the other hand, had ruled out all chances of paper leak from the centre at Malerkotla.

Mr Avinash Sethi, DEO, Ludhiana, had made a complaint to the Dehlon police in connection with the reported leak of the maths paper of class X of the Punjab School Education Board. In his complaint, Mr Sethi had alleged that the paper had been stolen from some centre at Malerkotla and was later faxed from Dehlon to a Hindi daily being published from Jalandhar.

Sources at Dehlon police station said the complaint had since been endorsed and sent to the Deputy Superintendent of Police at Dakha to be forwarded to the DSP, Malerkotla, for action. Dehlon police further maintained that preliminary investigation had revealed that the document was not faxed from any of the PCOs at Dehlon.

Sources at the DSP office, Dakha confirmed having received a complaint from Dehlon. Giving a clean chit to all examination centres falling under his jurisdiction, Mr Sethi said: “My staff had checked various examination centres including Adarsh Senior Secondary School at Dehlon, before the opening of the centre and packets containing the question papers were found to be in order.” Referring to information received from officials of a Hindi daily, he said a question paper had been faxed before the opening of the centre for examination on March 15. The PCO owner had told him that the person carrying the question paper had come from Malerkotla side. This made him construe that the paper had been stolen from Malerkotla.

Dr Maghar Singh, DEO, Sangrur, was unhappy to learn that some centre under his jurisdiction had been named in the complaint. He said all examination centres in his area were working fine and no such incident had been brought to his notice either by the Board authorities or the public.

Mr Joginder Singh Aulakh, president, Gazetted Education School Services Association, has criticised the board for not handling the issue properly. 



Exam officials shifted
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 17
The District Education Officer Ludhiana, Mr Avinash Chander Sethi, detailed a Superintendent and Deputy superintendent for an examination centre at Government Senior Secondary School here.

Mr Sethi, had made a massive change in the staff at the examination centre on March 10. Nine examinees were caught using unfair means.

Disturbed by the action, the guardians of examinees met senior party leaders who reportedly impressed upon the authorities to change the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent. The two officials performed their duties only for one session on March 13.

Mr Avinash Sethi, DEO said the centre had been working properly since he made the changes.

He, however, expressed ignorance about any change in staff at the examination centre and said, “Controller of the centre might have made the reported changes.” Mr Harnek Singh, controller, said all changes were made by the district office only.



Akalis join Lok Bhalai Party
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 17
The campaign of Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, chief of the Lok Bhalai Party, got a shot in the arm after a large number of Akali leaders and workers joined his party at a function held at Khoom Kalan today. The SAD (Longowal) and the Akali Dal led by Mr Ravi Inder Singh have decided to support his candidature for the Ludhiana seat.

Addressing a gathering, Mr Ramoowalia said the “dictatorial” style of functioning of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, had been exposed following the expulsion of leaders like Mr Gurcharan Singh Tur and Mr Inderjit Singh Zira.

He said the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee had also supported his candidature.

Commenting on the industrial sector, he said the faulty policy pursued by the successive governments had resulted in loss of capital. Our neighbouring states are giving incentives and a majority of the local industry is shifting there. Persons educated in other parts of the country are getting employment in Punjab but our own educated youth are jobless,” he said.

He promised to set up a passport office here if voted to power. He was weighed against coins at several villages. A large number of local leaders joined his party on the occasion. 



Women express concern over diversity issues
Our Correspondent

Dr Vandana Shiva, resource person, speaks on the occasion of the public hearing organised for women in Ludhiana
Dr Vandana Shiva, resource person, speaks on the occasion of the public hearing organised for women in Ludhiana on Wednesday. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, March 17
A public hearing was held here today under the banner of the National Commission for Women, the National Alliance of Women for Food and Water Rights, and Diverse Women for Diversity in coordination with the Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha and the Punjab Istri Sabha.

A jury was constituted to hear the testimonies of victims and experts on positive alternatives to WTO prescriptions. Over 250 persons from several districts of Punjab participated.

On the panel were Dr Vandana Shiva, Director, Research Foundation on Science, Technology and Ecology, New Delhi; Ms Amarjeet Kaur, Secretary, All-India Trade Union Congress; Ms Manjeet Sodhia, former Principal, Government College for Women, Ludhiana; Dr Chanchal Gupta, Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana; Dr S.N. Sewak, a writer and renowned theatre personality; Dr Daler Singh, District Agriculture Information Officer, and Mr B.C. Chibber, an advocate.

The speakers said that women in India had traditionally been the producers and conservators of bio-diversity. They had worked with wheat and atta for ages and would not allow the patenting of traditional foods by multi-national corporations (MNCs).

The various presentations and speeches conveyed that the policies of the World Trade Organisation were destroying our farms, access to healthy food, and the right to natural resource. This was creating inhuman conditions by turning humans into a disposable commodity, especially women. In Asia, 70 per cent of the women worked in food production, they pointed out.

Dr Shiva said that with industrialisation and world-wide trade, food had come to be produced where labour was cheap and environment laws weak. Agricultural inputs from MNCs (seeds, fertlisers and herbicides) had flooded rural areas, driving out indigenous products and pest-control systems. In addition, MNCs had manipulated the genetic structure of seeds and were distributing these seeds widely, pressurising farmers to adopt this new technology, she alleged. The wisdom of genetic modification had been questioned, she pointed out.

Women entrepreneurs raised the issue of lowering water table. A woman farmer talked about the aggressive attitude of male farmers towards her.

Among those who participated in the discussions were Dr Arun Mitra, Dr Rajinder Pal Singh Auluck, Ms Jit Kumari, Maj Sher Singh Aulakh, Ms Gurcharan Kocher, Ms Avtar Kaur, Ms Barjinder Kaur, Dr Balwant Singh, Dr Hiti Mahedru, and Dr Jalees.



“Virsa Punjab Da” released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 17
The book ‘Virsa Punjab Da’ (Heritage of Punjab) was released at a function organised under the aegis of the Punjab Agricultural University Sahit Sabha in the Vice-Chancellor’s committee room here today.

The book, authored by Dr Gurcharan Singh Mohay, has 20 chapters, on subjects like fairs, celebrations, rituals, marriages, poetry and ‘kissas’ of Punjab, most relevant to the culture and heritage of Punjab.

Popular folk songs, proverbs and art forms inherent to the Punjabi way of life have been discussed meticulously in the book.



Sutlej Club poll

Nomination papers for the post of general secretary Sutlej Club, of Mr Sunil Jain and Mr Yogesh Bansal, were rejected by the returning officer (RO), Mr M.S. Jaggi. They have alleged that their nomination papers were rejected ‘unconstitutionally’ by Mr Jaggi after the scrutiny on Tuesday. OC



4 injured in attacks
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 17
Four persons were injured in two attacks here yesterday.
Some persons beat up Ajay Kumar when he said that India could lose the cricket match being played in Rawalpindi. He said eight to 10 persons attacked him, besides injuring Amrish Kumar Ashu and Amrit Pal Monty.

In another incident, four persons attacked Dheeraj Kumar who was going to his house after closing his shop. He has been admitted to the Civil Hospital.



Muthoot Group services launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 17
The Muthoot Group, a major player in the private banking and financial services sector, today launched its services in Ludhiana. Mr M.G. George Muthoot, chairman of the group, inaugurated the branch by lighting the lamp.

Mr Geroge said the group had a turnover of over Rs 5,000 crore and a network of over 650 branches spread across 10 states in the country. The group was striving to strengthen its network in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.


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