P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Akal Takht diktat against same-sex marriages
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 16
Denouncing the practice of same-sex marriages, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, has, in his directive, urged the Sikh sangat not to allow the holding of such ceremonies in any gurdwara of the world.

Taking serious view of the proposed move of the Government of Canada to introduce same-sex marriage bill in the House of Commons, he described it as ‘anti-Gurmat’ trend that had no place in Sikhism. The directive, the first of its kind, has been issued under the seal of Akal Takht.

The directive reads that the rising trend of same-sex marriages in western countries was a matter of concern. The move of certain countries to give legal accordance to such marriages had already initiated a worldwide debate. He said Sikh code of conduct did not allow such marriages.

A same-sex marriage in Amritsar had already hit the newspapers headlines.

Jathedar Vedanti said the idea of same-sex marriages originated from sick minds. The trend needed to be curbed, he said. He urged the Sikh sangat to seek guidance from Guru Granth Sahib and act as per the Sikh philosophy to stop such anti-human tendencies.

The issue of same-sex marriages has become a hot issue in Canada these days where a large number of Sikhs are settled. The cancellation of the visit of Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Paul Martin, to Amritsar for paying obeisance at the Golden Temple is being attributed to this controversy.

While, former Premier of British Columbia and Federal Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, who was to accompany Mr Paul Martin to Amritsar, had stated that the Canadian Government was committed to allowing same-sex marriages, Mr Gurmant Grewal, three-time member of Canadian Parliament, held that in 1998, the House of Commons had said that the traditional definition of marriage, meaning that it was between a man and a woman, should be retained.

There are six Sikh Members of Parliaments in Canada who had taken diametrically opposite stand on the issue. SGPC’s general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur had already urged the Sikh MPs to rise above petty politics and take stand as per the Sikh maryada.


Charges levelled against Giani Puran Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 16
Former Jathedar Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, yesterday expressed surprise over the unceremonious removal of Giani Puran Singh as Head Granthi of the Golden Temple.

Talking to TNS on Saturday, Bhai Ranjit Singh said Giani Puran Singh was appointed Akal Takht Jathedar at the behest of Mr Parkash Singh Badal , President, Shiromani Akali Dal, when Giani Mohan Singh refused to accept the post in violation of the age-old Sikh tradition.

Bhai Ranjit Singh alleged that Giani Puran Singh was the first person to declare that Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale had escaped during Operation Bluestar and was still alive. This, he said, had caused colossal damage to Sikhism and Baba Thakur Singh, acting Jathedar of Damdami Taksal had to face awkward situation till his death . However, after the death of Baba Thakur Singh , Giani Puran Singh reversed his stand by presenting a 'siropa' to Baba Ram Singh , Jathedar of the parallel Taksal at the behest of the SGPC and Mr Badal which showed his 'double standards'.

He accused Giani Puran Singh of grabbing the SGPC land which was later regularised . He further alleged that Giani Puran Singh had played a 'dubious role' during Operation Black Thunder' in 1988 and extended full cooperation to the then Punjab DGP , Mr J.F. Rebeiro . He alleged that Giani Puran Singh had 'harassed' certain victims of the Delhi riots who were settled on the outskirts of Amritsar. 


Jagmeet takes up Maghi conference issue with Sonia
Chander Parkash

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 16
The differences in the Congress that came to surface on the day of its Maghi conference when former MP Jagmeet Brar was not allowed to speak have grown as Mr Brar has taken up the matter pertaining to his humiliation at the function with AICC chief Sonia Gandhi and other party high command leaders by lodging written complaints.

Mr Brar, who went to Delhi on January 13, the day when the Congress held its conference at Maghi Mela in Muktsar, met senior party leaders apart from lodging complaints with Ms Gandhi and others. In his complaints he had conveyed to the senior leaders that by humiliating him by denying him an opportunity to address the conference, the state Congress leaders had given an advantage to the Akalis, which would cash in on the situation.

Mr Brar, who came back to Muktsar today, while talking to TNS pointed out that the state Congress leadership and others were well aware of the fact that Muktsar was his home town and home district of former Chief Minister and SAD president Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Not only this, the state leadership was aware of the fact that he had been fighting against Badals for the past many decades.

He added that the state leadership and others ignored these facts to humiliate him and to give advantage to the Akalis in the area.

He said he was invited to the conference by the state Congress chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal. He added that though he was not invited to address the conference, he kept on sitting on the stage till Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh did not finish his speech. He said when Capt Amarinder Singh started addressing a press conference, some journalists asked about his reaction about the denial of an opportunity to him to speak at the conference and he spoke about his reaction.

He said he had never said that Capt Amarinder Singh would be removed from the chief ministership of Punjab when he spoke about his reaction to the journalists. He said he had only said that by denying him an opportunity to speak at the conference, the Congress leadership had shown its wisdom.

He alleged that a section of Congress leaders had been trying to bring him bad name by planting some news in dailies that he had claimed that Capt Amarinder Singh would be removed from the chief ministership.

When asked about the outcome of his meeting with senior party leaders in the past two days, he said he hoped that the party leaders would take up the matter pertaining to the denial of an opportunity to speak at the conference to him with the state Congress leadership and Capt Amarinder Singh.

He added that during the meeting he had also given his assessment about the political scene prevailing in Punjab to the senior leaders.


SC panel vice-chief to visit Fazilka
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
Nearly a month after three Dalits were allegedly forced to drink urine and insulted with the slippers of upper caste members, Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Caste Fakir Bhai Vaghela has reportedly decided to visit Fazilka on January 19, the place of the alleged occurrence.

He has also asked the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police concerned to be present in Ferozepore during his visit — at least this is what BJP leader-cum-national executive of the party’s youth wing Vineet Joshi is claiming.

The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has already ordered a probe into the incident. Taking up the matter, the commission Chairman, Justice N.C. Jain, has directed Additional Director-General of Police (Crime) to look into the incident and submit his report. Justice Jain has further directed the ADGP to “ensure through a responsible officer that no harassment is caused to the complainants”.

The three Dalits were allegedly humiliated following an innocent quarrel between their relative’s sons and the ward of an upper caste member during a friendly cricket match. They were also “tortured after being detained in a police post, along with two more relatives” following their refusal to apologise to the aggressors.

The “victims” had claimed that the matter was brought to the notice of “higher authorities”. But action was not initiated as an MLA was safeguarding the interests of the “aggressors”.

Giving details of the incident, the three — Bittu Singh, Gurbaksh Singh and Piara Singh — had asserted that the “aggressors” were nursing a grudge against them. The reason, they added, was that their relative Jangir Singh’s son Nanak Singh had quarrelled with classmate Amarjit Singh, belonging to the upper caste members. The fight had taken place during a cricket match on November 22.

A few days after the quarrel, a mob belonging to the upper caste had surrounded them, along with another relative Balwinder Singh, while they were going to the local bus station in Patrawala village in Fazilka district.

Balwinder Singh had manage to escape, but the three were taken to the residence of the sarpanch belonging to the same caste. After liquor was forced down their throat, the three were forced to drink urine. As if that was not enough, the police was called in. The cops took them to the chowki after thrashing them, they had added.


Talkative girls earn Headmaster’s ire
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 16
Fifteen schoolgirls were severely caned by the Headmaster of Manjholi Government Elementary School on palms and knuckles when they did not obey his orders to sit down in class on Friday.

He kept hitting the girls with the stick till it broke. The beating resulted in hairline fractures on the thumbs of two girls and a broken knuckle of another. Nearly 12 girls suffered bruises.

Headmaster Ravinder Singh became infuriated when girl students of Class VIII kept talking to one another and did not heed to his direction to sit down when he had come to take class. As a punishment, he first told the girl students to keep standing. Then he called for a stick and caned the girls.

The girls were hit repeatedly on palms and some of them were also hit on the back of their palms and knuckles. At least three of them — Gurpreet Kaur, Kulwinder Kaur and Reeta Rani — were injured while others, including Sandeep Kaur, Jaswinder Kaur, Sushma Devi, Baljinder Kaur, Sukhbir Kaur, Mandeep Kaur, Ramandeep Kaur, Rajinder Kaur, Sarabjit Kaur, Gurvinder Kaur, Manpreet Kaur, Arvinder Kaur, Seema Rani and Sonam Rani, also received bruises.

Parents of the girl students have complained to the sarpanch of Manjholi village against the treatment meted out to their children. Manjholi sarpanch Sarabjit Kaur said parents from this village and also from Haripur Jhungian village had complained against the beating of their children. She said she would take up the matter with the District Education Department authorities.

Meanwhile, Mr Rajinder Singh, father of student Reeta Rani who received injuries, said the incident was intolerable.

He said the Headmaster did not have any excuse for such a behaviour with girl students and demanded immediate transfer of the teacher from the school.

The Headmaster said he had been seized by anger because of the non-serious attitude of the girl students. Admitting handing out corporal punishment to the girls, he said he was, however, now sorry for his action.


Wadalis take audience to spiritual high
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 16
The Wadali brothers — Puran Chand and Piyare Lal — weaved magic here yesterday with their musical presence, with a performance based on ‘Sufi” and pure Punjabi folk.

That the evening would remain dedicated to the Almighty became clear as the President’s award winner Wadali brothers, along with their disciples and junior Wadalis, started the Kaul form of Sufi music with a “bandish”, — ”Yaa Mohammed, Ya Mohammed, Tere Zalwon Mein Wo Ra-Naaiyaan Hain.” What made the presentation pure magic was the judicious use of the “taans”, by Wadali brothers, for which, the ‘Patiala Gharana’ is famous for.

Wadalis further created a spiritual aura as they went on to embellish their “Kaul” with “Nom-Tom” based “Hum Tum Ta Na Na Re, Ali Maula Ali, Man Mein Ali Ali.” Humble as ever, Puran Chand announced that after a “qawali”, he would be singing for audience their choicest numbers and he did it. The “qawali” was based on “khuli gayaki”, a favourite style of Wadalis.

Glorifying pure lore of Laila Majnu and how Majnu proved it when he was finally called by ‘god’ through his “farishtas” was narrated by Wadali brothers in a different manner through a rendition,” Farishte Jaa Kahein Majnu, Tainu Allah Bulaata hai, Majnue Ne Kaha Ke Kiya Voh Mujhe Dekhna Chahta Hai. Majnu Unke Sang Kiyon Jaaye, Agar Usko Zaroorat Hai, Laila Ban Ke Voh Aa Jaye.”

Finally, Wadali brothers, obliged the audience with the traditional “heer” without instruments, which, made the centennial function of Rotary Club at the Red Cross Bhavan, a memorable event, despite chaos created by a bit of mismanagement on the part of organisers.

Penaz Masani, disappointed music lovers as she mostly resorted to lip synching her pre-recorded CDs. However, some serious music lovers, however, complained that they had come to enjoy Penaz’s ghazals and not the Indi-pop.

The otherwise beautiful programme got marred when a few organisers, including a woman doctor, started misbehaving with news photographers, mediapersons and common audience and pushing them away from the stage. It stopped only after Dr H.J. Singh, a local chest specialists intervened. Ironically, the woman, her son and other organisers jumped on to the stage and started dancing with Penaz themselves.


Without salary for months
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 16
Hundreds of employees from the rank of principal to peon, working in 12 district institutes of education and training (DIETs) in the state, have been waiting for their salaries for three to five months. In some DIETs, salaries have been paid to the staff till July, while in others till September last. As far as the question of payment of salaries to the staff of Hoshiarpur and Sangrur DIETs is concerned, the salaries have been paid till July last.

In the case of Sangrur DIET, salaries to the staff were paid for June and July in the month of November last. After that the DIET staff members have been again facing hardships in running their routine life due to non-payment of salaries to them for the past five months. A staff member told The Tribune on Friday that they were also facing humiliation nowadays from shopkeepers and money lenders as they time and again asked them to repay their loans. In these circumstances, it was difficult for them to meet their daily and monthly expenses.

Sources said the salaries were being given by the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT), Punjab, to the employees of 12 DIETs, located at Sangrur, Rampur Lohian (Jalandhar), Nabha (Patiala), Verka (Amritsar), Deon (Bathinda), Jagraon (Ludhiana), Ferozepore, Faridkot, Gurdaspur, Sukhpur (Kapurthala), Khosa (Hoshiarpur) and Ropar after receiving grants from the Union Government for the purpose. There were more than 500 sanctioned posts in these 12 DIETs, while more than 375 employees from Class 1 to Class IV were working in these DIETs nowadays.

When contacted, Mr S.S. Randhawa, Director, SCERT, Punjab, over the phone in connection with the non-payment of salaries, he said the SCERT had received the first instalment of Rs 2.80 crore as a grant from the Union Government in August, 2004, which had already been distributed among the staff members of DIETs as salaries. He said the second instalment of Rs 4.70 crore was yet to be received from the government. However, he expressed the hope that the SCERT would receive the second instalment of the grant from the Union Government by the end of January as he today wrote a letter to the government to send Rs 4.70 crore at the earliest.

Mr Tarsem Lal, state committee member of the Democratic Teachers Front (DTF), Punjab, exhorted the SCERT authorities to immediately pay the pending salaries to the staff of DIETs from the amounts collected by them by selling prospectus for the ETT course as the cost of a prospectus was Rs 300 and it was expected that the SCERT would sell more than 85000 prospectus in all 17 DIETs of the state. He said the total amount of pending salaries of the staff of DIETs was about Rs 2 crore, while the SCERT authorities would sell ETT prospectus for about Rs 2.50 crore during coming few days.


Handcuffed Kohli attends mother’s bhog
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 16
Maninderpal Singh Kohli, who is accused of raping a British national, Hannah Foster, today attended the bhog ceremony of his mother Harvinder Kaur here in handcuffs.

Maninder’s family opposed the use of handcuffs by the Delhi Police which brought Maninder to Patiala.

Maninder arrived at the Dhillon road residence of his family in the morning. Immediately after his arrival his family members, including his brother Inshtpreet Singh, objected to the use of handcuffs and urged the police party accompanying him to take off the handcuffs. This request was however not acceded to.

After the bhog ceremony, which was held at the house, Maninder was taken to the nearby Academy of Sikh Religion where the kirtan ceremony was held. He was taken back to Delhi in the evening.

Inshtpreet Singh said he would file a contempt case against the Delhi Police for handcuffing his brother. He claimed that no prisoner could be handcuffed unless orders in this regard had been issued by the concerned Magistrate.


RRD to contest Ajnala seat
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 16
The Rashtriya Raksha Dal and the Defence Services Officers Association (DSOA) will field its candidate with defence background for the welfare of the people in the Ajnala byelection to be held on February 23.

Informing this in a press statement here, Col J.S. Bal (retd), state president, RRD and district president, DSOA, said that the Ajnala constituency has the maximum number of ex-servicemen in India. He alleged most of the officials and political leaders lived in Amritsar and, therefore, they had no time for the welfare of the locals. He alleged that essential services like electricity, water, drains and roads were in bad condition.


Living amid sewage for 12 years
Kanchan Vasdev

Tribune News Service

Doraha, (Ludhiana) January 16
For the past 12 years, nearly 3,000 residents of Araichan and Malhipur villages and some colonies on the outskirts of Doraha town have been forced to live in the midst of a lake of sewer water formed by the discharge of the town that has no proper drainage system.

Despite a campaign by residents to stop the inflow of the discharge over the years, the water collected in this area has contaminated groundwater. Reeling under the spread of various diseases, villagers say their life has become hell.

From boycotting various elections to knocking at the doors of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC), the residents have tried everything to move the authorities, but to no avail. They have even complained to the Ludhiana Administration, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and the Doraha MC, but there seems to be no respite for them.

The residents claim that while many among them have already fallen prey to water-borne diseases a number of times, the rest are apprehending and outbreak. As many as 20 acres of two villages, including Malhipur and Araichan, Araichan Colony and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar are under sewer discharge. The situation worsens during the monsoon when water floods their houses.

The health of 3,000-odd residents is at stake as the tubewell supplying potable water to the area is also surrounded by this water. Diseases like gastroenteritis, jaundice and cholera have already gripped many residents.

Claiming that the filthy water had also flooded the playground meant for children of neighbouring areas, the residents claimed that the MC had refused to act on their complaints.

When a Tribune team reached the area on Friday a resident said, “There is no solution for this problem. We have got many news items published in this regard, but nothing ever happened”.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh, a member of the Mohalla Sudhar Committee, said many residents had contracted diseases like gastroenteritis due to the contamination of drinking water in the past also. He added that it was difficult to bear the stench in the colonies.

Some residents drawing water from hand pumps complained that they were getting yellow water, which they could not drink without boiling. “Even the clothes do not look clean after washing. The white clothes turn pale after some time. If the water is doing this to our clothes what will it do to our system?” asked an anguished woman, a resident of Araichan Colony.

Mr Surjit Singh, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Doraha, said the MC had decided to throw the water in a drain passing through the village. He said the work would be completed by April 15 under a project worth Rs 10 lakh. He added that tenders had already been invited for the project.


Shortage of doctors cripples Amritsar medical college
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 15
Although the state government has shifted back several of the medical teachers who were transferred to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, due to a proposed inspection by the Medical Council Of India, Government Medical College was still facing shortage of staff.

The Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association has written to the Secretary, Department of Medical Association and Research, asking him to shift the remaining medical teachers back to the GMC here from Faridkot Medical College.

Six doctors, Dr Sujata Sharma, Dr A. S. Saini, Dr Usha Arora, Dr Parmod Kumar, Dr Manjit Rai and Dr Suresh Malhotra, were not transferred back. None of the doctors had been promoted.

The association said due to non-shifting of these teachers, the functioning of the Gynaecology Department had been paralysed.

There was only one Professor against the stipulation for three professors while against the four posts of Associate Professor, there was only one Associate Professor.

There was also only one Assistant Professor against the stipulated three posts.

Hence, seven out of 10 posts were lying vacant in the Gynaecology Department here while there was no such shortage of staff in Faridkot Medical College, the association claimed.

The association pleaded to shift Dr Sujata Sharma and Dr A. S. Saini be shifted back to Amritsar.

Dr Baljeet Singh Dhillon, chairman of the association, in the letter, said despite the fact that Dr Usha Arora of Microbiology Department had already served in Faridkot Medical College for almost 10 years, she was not transferred back. Besides these, Dr Pramod Kumar (Pathology Department) who was physically handicapped, had not been shifted back. Dr Suresh Malhotra, skin specialist, was still in Faridkot.

It may be mentioned here that the state government had transferred 23 doctors from Amritsar to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot, on October 22, due to a proposed inspection by the Medical Council of India (MCI).


Sheer neglect of baradari
Sushil Goyal

Tribune News Service

SANGRUR: The local marble baradari, a protected monument under the Punjab Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act-1964, has been losing its glory day after day due to indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned. It is now gradually collapsing due to its poor maintenance as several parts of this historical monument have already crumbled during the past several years.

More than 200-year-old this beautiful baradari was made by rulers of the erstwhile Jind state. Situated on a high platform in the local Banasar garden, it has a spacious hall, having several doors on its four sides, besides four marble domes on four sides and one small bathing tank in its complex. There are stairs for the visitors to reach the roof of the baradari to enjoy the beauty of the Banasar garden.

Despite a notice, put up in front of the baradari, the defacement of the baradari and damage to this historical monument continues by the visitors as it has no caretaker to look after it round-the-clock.

Outside the main gate of the baradari, there are two marble shelters, where nowadays some people relax after morning walk. Both these shelters are in shape due to discolouring of the marble and damage to the different parts of the same by the miscreants.

The main wooden door of the baradari has not been painted for the past several years. Likewise, white wash has also not been done in different parts of the baradari during the past some years. Illumination of the baradari now seems to be a thing of the past in the absence of proper lighting system there.

Out of the four marble domes two have already crumbled. The broken pieces of the crumbled domes are still lying near a damaged dome. Besides, the remaining two domes are also in bad shape and may collapse any time, if they are not repaired timely. In the baradari, there are two patches of grass which are also dying for want of maintenance.

The ceiling of the main hall of the baradari is also in bad shape as the material fixed around the girders is in a dilapidated condition.

The bad condition of the baradari is being attributed to the shortage of funds. The local residents are of the view that if the state government did not release funds to the tune of at least Rs 50 lakh immediately, then this historical monument may become a thing of the past.


Ranjit Dam class IV staff to get salary through bank
Foul play in salary disbursement suspected
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, January 16
The Finance Department has ordered the transfer of salaries of all class IV employees working at the Ranjit Sagar Dam project through bank. Up till now, around 4,600 such dam employees had been given salary by the dam authorities in cash.

The decision has been taken after authorities in the department apprehended that dam authorities might have been drawing salaries against some fake labourers. Now that the salaries have been shifted to banks, each employee posted at the bank will need to open an account.

The department authorities are of the view that this will help them ascertain the actual number of labourers working at the project. In case the dam authorities are found drawing salaries of extra workers, action will be initiated against them, sources said.

The sources added that the department has asked the dam authorities to furnish the details of the amount paid as allowance to the employees posted there for the past five years.

The employees and Finance Department have been at loggerhead over the allowance issue. The Finance Department had stopped the field and project allowance of dam employees with effect from this month.

With the withdrawal of allowance, around 13,000 employees posted at the dam were set to lose around Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,500 per month each while the government would save around Rs 1 crore per month.

The employees of the dam have, however, refused to accept the reduced salary for the month of December. They have also been carrying out agitation to get their allowance restored.

They allege that though a committee headed by the Chief Secretary decided to withdraw their allowance, it also recommended a rural allowance to replace it.

The dam authorities have been corresponding with the government to get the allowance replaced by the rural allowance. If the government has to withdraw the field and project allowance, it should replace it with rural allowance as per the decision of the committee, they contend.

The crucial meeting of the Finance Department on the issue pertaining to Ranjit Sagar dam, which was scheduled for January 14, was postponed as the dam employees sought time from the state Finance Minister to plead their case.


Kalam likely to visit Kapurthala on Mar 19
Tribune News Service

Wadala Kalan, January 16
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is likely to visit Kapurthala to inaugurate the Pushpa Gujral Science City here on March 19.

A confirmation in this regard was received at the office of Director General of Science City R.S. Khandpur in Chandigarh on Friday.

In a telephonic conversation with The Tribune, Mr Khandpur said he had received a written communique in this regard from the President’s Office but was yet to get any tentative schedule of the visit.

He said the invitation had been sent to the President through the Punjab Chief Minister a few weeks back and a formal assurance was received last evening but the exact date of the visit had not been set.

But official sources said Dr Kalam had confirmed that he would inaugurate the multi-crore project of Science City on March 19.

This will be the second visit of Dr Kalam to the city, the last one being in March, 2003 when he was the chief guest at a convocation of Punjab Technical University.

Meanwhile, preparations for the ceremony are in full swing at the Science City as a huge science hall equipped with around 60 interactive exhibits, a space centre, a mini planetarium, a 328-seat film projection system, a screen for 3D visuals and laser shows, and a 30-seat flight simulator with multi-axes freedom have been set up.


Kite-flying in his blood
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 16
A tiny speck floating with gay abandon. A distant dot merging and blending to create its own niche in the azure skies. Kite-flying may have been relegated to a few festivals like Lohri, but still the charm of letting go a kite-studded string in the rustle of light breeze is unparalleled, says Bhai Mian Jammaluddin, a Delhi-based kite-flying expert whose forte is flying a good number of kites on a single string.

Though a jeweller by profession, kite-flying is in his blood. “There is something very elemental about this pastime. It’s all a play of wind that can sometimes be wayward and your skills that you can very well work upon,” he says, adding, “There’s something of the old-world camaraderie and equally intense competitiveness in kite-flying. You can experiment a lot while making kites of different shapes, sizes and dimensions.”

He can easily manage to fly 150 kites on a single string. Way back in 1996, he, along with his father, Bhai Mian, had sent 1,187 kites soaring high on a single string. His other kite-flying feats include flying a gigantic 400 feet kite. “Ever since my childhood, I have been fascinated by this art of sending a souvenir to the sky,” he says.

While choosing his kites for single-string feat, he makes sure that the kites are of varied colours. “The kaleidoscope of colours gives the kites the right Indian touch. It signifies the diversity of our country that is strikingly appealing,” says Jammaluddin. He was in the city in connection with a kite show organised by the Spice Telecom. 


Passi appears before police, released on security bond
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 16
The All-India Anti-Corruption Forum Chief, Mr P.S. Passi, appeared before the police yesterday which released him after getting a security bond for Rs 25,000, it was learnt today.

Mr Passi is the main accused in a case regarding using foul language against Mrs Seema Singh, Naib Tehsildar, Phagwara, and threatening her by brandishing a pistol in her office on December 6, an allegation which has repeatedly been denied by Mr Passi.

While three aides of Mr Passi — Mr Chander Shekhar Khullar, Mr Gurdip Kang, Mr Naresh Kumar — secured anticipatory bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court on January 4, Mr Passi got it on January 6. Others had appeared before the police on January 10 and were released immediately after they furnished security bonds.


SGPC to send team to Port Blair
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 16
The SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, yesterday expressed his concern over the extensive damage caused to the Sikh community in Car Nicobar and Andaman islands during the tsunami tragedy.

Mr Badal talking to newsmen said a team of Shiromani Akali Dal MPs and some member of the SGPC would soon visit Port Blair to personally look into the problems faced by the inhabitants of these islands.

He said besides the SAD MPs, the SGPC members, including Mr Jaswinder Singh Advocate, Mr Rajinder Singh Mehta and some officers of the SGPC would constitute the team to visit the effected areas. The SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, added that a large number of relief trucks were waiting for transporting the relief material to these islands as ships were awaited to take it.

Bibi Jagir Kaur said she would also visit Port Blair later to personally supervise the rehabilitation work.


Protest against security withdrawal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
The Punjab BJP has lodged a strong protest against the withdrawal of the security guards provided to Mr Satpal Gosain, a former Deputy Speaker and senior BJP leader, at Ludhiana. The state President of the BJP, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, said here on Friday that Mr Gosain had been raising voice against the wrong policies of the Capt Amarinder Singh government and because of this reason his security had been withdrawn.

Mr Khanna said he had taken up the issue with authorities concerned asking them that it was the duty of the state government to provide security to leaders of the Opposition parties.


Punjabi TV academy

Jalandhar, January 16
With an aim to elevate the upcoming Punjabi television industry, a Punjabi Television Academy has been established here.

The announcement for the setting up of the academy under the chairmanship of Prof Kulbir Singh was made here yesterday.

With a goal to create a new wave for Punjabi television industry, the academy would work to provide a common platform to various Punjabi TV channels, artistes, media persons and employees to enable this industry to achieve new heights, an academy spokesman said today. — UNI


Kisan union to gherao DC office on January 20
Tribune News Service

Moga, January 16
The Kirti Kisan Union (KKU) today took out a flag march in over a dozen villages to sensitise people about “false cases” registered against farmers. They also plan to gherao the DC office on January 20.

The district union president, Mr Devinder Singh Ghali, said that during the boycott of power bills a few months back, the farmers of Khosa Pando village had not allowed Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employees to snap power connections of their motors, following which 60 farmers were booked “without any reason”.

He said that out of those booked six union leaders were arrested on November 30. “We took out a protest march on December 9 seeking their release. Later, a state-level delegation met the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who promised us that cases against them would be withdrawn within 15 days, but nothing came out of it,” he added.

The union leaders alleged that the Amarinder government was trying to suppress the farmers’ voice. They said that they would neither allow auction of land or arrest of any farmers in a debt case. The villages where the flag march was taken out included Ghalkalan, Buttar, Singhawala, Safuwala, Daroli etc.


Encroachments removed in Samana
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 16
Acting on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the local administration yesterday removed nearly 300 encroachments in Samana. The SDM, Mr G.S. Chahal, said the shopkeepers concerned were given sufficient time and notice to remove their valuables.

DSP Jaspreet Singh Sidhu said all precautions were taken to meet any eventuality. The power supply to the area was disconnected and a Duty Magistrate was posted to avoid any untoward incident.


SHO, ASI booked for bid to kill manager
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 16
A criminal case was registered in the city police station against Mr Devinder Singh Attri, Station House Officer (SHO), police station, Rampura Phul, Mr Harbans Singh, ASI, in charge, Vardhman police post, Mr Nini Bansal and three others for their alleged involvement in an attempt to kill the manager of local Sepal hotel after they were denied liquor on the night of January 14.

Police sources said a case was registered under Sections 307, 148, 149 and 506 of the IPC against them on the complaint of the hotel-manager Rajinder Kumar Sharma. However, no arrest had been made so far.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, taking prompt action on the complaint of Mr Sharma, sent both Mr Attri and Mr Harbans Singh to police lines after placing them under suspension. A departmental probe had also been launched against them. The case registered against them was also being investigated by DSP (City), Mr Darshan Singh.

The police sources said Mr Harbans Singh, who was accompanied by five others, including Mr Attri, allegedly fired at Mr Sharma at night when they were denied liquor and food by him.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Mr Harbans Singh, who fired several rounds at the manager and in the air along with others, also threatened him to implicate owner of the hotel into false criminal cases to teach them a lesson.

In an application moved to Chief Minister, Punjab, DGP, Punjab Police, and SSP, Bathinda, Mr Sharma, alleged that Mr Harbans Singh, along with five others, including Mr Attri, came to the hotel in a car. After parking the car in the porch of the hotel, they started dancing by playing the car music system on full volume.

He added that on hearing the noise, he and other staff members of the hotel approached them for not doing it. Instead of listening to their request, they started claiming that they were high-ranking police officials and, hence, they would teach them a lesson for obstructing them from dancing.

Then they ordered that they should be served with liquor and food. When they were told that they could not be provided with liquor and food at odd hours as the restaurant had closed, they became agitated and Mr Harbans Singh started firing. He also fired a shot towards Mr Sharma, but it did not hit him as he managed to save himself by turning to one side.


Missing man’s body found
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 16
Amarjit Singh (32) who had been reported missing since November 5 was allegedly strangled to death by his wife Rani (30) with the help of her paramour, Jagsir Singh (18), at Saravwala village, official sources said today.

Jagsir Singh assisted the investigating team in recovering the body from a field at Chak Khara village under the jurisdiction of Sadulshehar police station on the Abohar-Mateeli road yesterday.

According to information, Amarjit Singh had left for Saravwala village along with his wife Rani and a child to work in the fields of Sukhdev Singh around six months back.

They had left their other two children with the parents. There, Rani allegedly developed illicit relations with Jagsir Singh. As Amarjit once caught them in a compromising position, Jagsir had to stop meeting Rani for a few days.

On November 5, when Sukhdev Singh had to gone out of the village with his family, Rani and Jagsir allegedly strangled Amarjit to death and buried the body in the rear of Sukhdev’s house. Jagsir and Rani disappeared after the killing.

Later, Kala Singh, a brother of the victim, learnt from some sources that Jagsir and Rani were living in a rented room at Suratgarh along with the child. Jagsir was working there as a daily-wage labourer.

Suspecting that Jagsir might have killed his brother, Kala lodged a complaint with the police on January 14. The police raided the house and nabbed Jagsir. Rani however escaped.

During the interrogation, Jagsir narrated the incident and the police recovered Amarjit’s body in the presence of the SDM and the DSP. The body was today cremated after a post-mortem examination.

The police has booked Jagsir and Rani under Section 302 of the IPC.


Nine booked in rape case
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 16
A case of abduction and rape of a woman of Pandori Kadh village has been reported at the Sadar police station Hoshiarpur.

According to the police, the woman had gone to the fields on January 9 when Harmesh Lal of the same village, who was already there, caught her and forcibly took her to the cremation ground where Noni and Rohit were present.

From there, they took her to the house of one Sawitri in the adjoining Kahri village where Rohit raped her. He threatened her not to tell about it to anyone.

The police has registered a case under Sections 363, 366, 376, 368 and 120-B of the IPC against Harmesh Lal, Kaishi, Ram Lal of Pandori Kadh, Noni of Herian, Rohit of Mehtiana, Sawitri of Kahri, Manjit Kaur, Satnam Singh and Kamal Devi.

Dowry case: On the complaint of Baljinder Kaur, wife of Ranjit Singh of Durgi, the Garhshanker police has registered a case under Sections 498-A and 34 of the IPC against her mother-in-law Satnam Kaur, father-in-law Gurdial Singh and brother-in-law Daljit Singh.

In her complaint, she has alleged that the above said persons used to torture her for dowry.


DAV student hurt in attack
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 16
In less than a fortnight, another attack on the life of a student of DAV college was made by around 10 youths as he came out of the campus after appearing in the mid-term exam for the BCA (final) here last evening. Rohit has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

Sources said some miscreants had earlier ransacked the house owned by Rohit’s relatives in Street No. 5 in New Suraj Nagar locality. Rohit belongs to Fazilka and resides with his relatives here.

According to a statement given by the victim, over 10 youths, carrying sticks and sharp-edged weapons, attacked him as he came out of the college.

The miscreants later fled the scene.

The police has booked Arun, a resident of Bhagsar village, Sanjeev of Tarmala village and 10 others under Sections 323, 148, 149, IPC.

The DAV authorities said they had complained to the police about incidents of eve-teasing and other anti-social activities a number of times, but to no avail.

In another incident five persons, including Seeta Devi and Gurdev Singh, were injured in an attack by lathi-wielding persons at Bahavwala village on the Abohar-Hanumangarh road on Saturday.

On the same day, some unidentified persons assaulted Shingara Singh with sharp-edged weapons behind a convent school on the Hindumalkot Road here.

The doctors at the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here described his condition serious.


NRI woman killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, January 16
Renu, an NRI, was killed on the spot while her husband Harbhaghan Singh and son Jasprit sustained serious injuries when the car, in which they were travelling to Phillaur, dashed against a tree near here last night.

According to reports received here this morning, Harbhaghan Singh was driving the car and lost control on the vehicle while saving a four-wheeler.

The car dashed against a tree. The injured father and his son were admitted to a private hospital at Phillaur. The body of the Renu was handed over to the family after conducting post-mortem examination in the Civil Hospital.


Three poachers arrested
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 16
District forest officials today arrested three persons while they were trying to poach in a forest area near Pukhrali village here.

The three — Lakhbir Singh, Avtar Singh and Gurdev Singh — have been arrested under the various provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act.


Rs 150-cr institute awaits completion
J.S. Malhotra

The much-publicised Rs 150 crore Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences project in Jalandhar is yet to be completed, even though the state government had announced the starting of the first academic session of from April last year.

The foundation stone of this project was laid on two occasions by the then-Punjab Chief Ministers - Mr Beant Singh and later Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The then-Prime-Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, had also sanctioned a Central Government grant of Rs 25 crore towards the project.

The Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences with 500-bed hospital was planned to be set up on the land meant for the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) research centre for sugarcane on the Garha Road here about a decade back.

The state government had handed over the land to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) under the Optimum Utilisation of Vacant Government Land (OUVGL) Scheme. PUDA authorities, under the scheme, were supposed to fund the project cost through sale proceeds of commercial area of the land.

The work for construction of the institute's building was allotted to Larsen and Toubro (L&T) in October 2001. However, the work still remains to be completed owing to many reasons, including lack of coordination among the contractors and the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) authorities.

A construction manager with the L&T in a complaint to the PSHC alleged that a sub-divisional engineer was asking for a monthly commission from a peon of one of the sub-contractors. The complaint, a copy of which is in possession of The Tribune, further said that the official concerned was threatening the private contractor with not giving the full amount of the due bills. Meanwhile, 90 per cent of the building has been completed, even as lab equipment and furniture are yet to be procured.

Construction of two tubewells at a cost of Rs 13.70 lakh was yet to be completed by the PHSC authorities. Due to the delay in setting up the requisite infrastructure over the last three years, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has so far not granted its approval to start the academic session.

When contacted, the Director-cum-Principal of the institute, Mr J.S. Dalal, said, "The Punjab Medical Education and Research Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, has convened a meeting on January 17 to deliberate upon the issues. We are going to open up the hospital for public, while the academic session would start only after the approval of the MCI.”


Nursing institute awaits students
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 16
Uncertainty looms large over the future of the Punjab’s lone government nursing training institute here as the Directorate of Family Welfare has not sent any fresh batch of government nurses for the advanced in-job General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) course run in the school so far.

The institute, being run in the local old Civil Hospital building, provides advanced GNM training to nurses working in government primary health centres and is one of the oldest nursing institutes in the state. Compared to private nursing institutes, which charge about Rs 1 lakh annually from each student, the annual fee of this institute for government auxilliary nursing midwives is just about Rs 1200.

Though the institute was running well till last year, no government nurse was sent by the Directorate of Family Welfare for the first-year batch of the GNM, which was to start in September last. Consequently, despite extending a number of reminders to the Directorate of Family Welfare, the nursing institute administration failed to get any response and was forced to carry on with just two batches of second and third-year students.

“Since the directorate has not sent any fresh batch of government nurses, we have written to it and are waiting for its response,” said Ms Surjit Kaur, Principal of the institute. Asked as to what could be the reasons behind it, Ms Surjit Kaur said it could be due to absence of any fresh requirement of government nurses. Enquiries revealed that currently two batches are being run in the institute comprising 24 and 19 students.

Meanwhile, Health Department sources revealed that the Punjab Health Minister, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, had ordered the Directorate of Family Welfare to send a fresh batch to the institute after some people raised objections over the matter in the recently held District Grievances Committee meeting. Some people had expressed apprehensions that the institute was being closed in a phased manner in order to benefit some private nursing institutes.

Ms Surjit Kaur, however, said she had not got any official information about any fresh batch so far.


Heir offers land to school
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur January 14
Mr Joginder Nath Dewan, who claims to be the heir to late Raj Mohini’s property, has offered a truce with the District Red Cross.

The nonagenarian who has been fighting for claim on his sister’s property in courts for more than 10 years has offered the District Red Cross a piece of 10-marla land for a deaf and dumb school located on the disputed land.

While the District Red Cross has been claiming that the land was bequeathed to it for the school, the cousin of Raj Mohini has been staking his claim to the property on the basis of a will.

The will was upheld in the favour of Mr Dewan in the lower court. However, the District Red Cross challenged the decision in the higher court.

Now, in a letter to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Dewan has said that since he was a nonagenarian, it was difficult for him to contest the claims in courts.

He expressed his willingness to surrender a piece of 10-marla land to the deaf school despite having won the claim in the lower court.


PCCTU to hold protest march on Jan 18
Our Correspondent

Barnala, January 16
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) will organise ‘Nange Peir, Raje De Darbar’ protest march and stage a demonstration in front of Capt Amarinder Singh’s Patiala residence on January 18. The aim behind holding the march is to protest against the alleged indifferent attitude of the Punjab Government towards the problems being faced by the teachers of private college.

This was disclosed here today, Prof R.S. Brar and Dr Jagwant Singh, president and general secretary of the PCCTU, respectively. The decision to this effect was taken at the state executive committee meeting of the union that was held at DAV College, Dasuya, on December 27.

They also said that the executive committee ratified the decision of the state PCCTU office-bearers to postpone the executive committee’s proposed court arrest programme.

A number of other decisions as regards organisational appointments were also taken at the meeting, they said.


Education fair attracts students
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 16
Information about educational opportunities available abroad was provided to hundreds of students during the two-day education fair that concluded at local DAV College today.

The fair was organised by DAV College, Jalandhar, in collaboration with the Global Group. It was inaugurated by Mr Y.P. Vadhera, an industrialist and philanthropist associated with a number of educational institutes and governing bodies of the UK.

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