P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Six Punjabis elected to British Columbia Assembly
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The province of British Columbia in Canada, which had the distinction of producing the first ever Punjabi premier in Ujjal Dosanjh, has now in its new Assembly six legislators of Punjabi origin.

Though the ruling Liberals led by Gordon Campbell have been successful in retaining power, winning 46 of 79 seats, but not without facing a tough opposition from the main Opposition party, New Democratic Party.

Liberals got only 46 per cent vote against 57.26 per cent votes in 2001 while NDP improved its percentage from 21.56 per cent in 2001 to 41 this time.

Interestingly, the ruling Liberals and the only Opposition party, NDP, have three members each from the Punjabi community in their respective legislature parties.

Those elected on NDP ticket are Mr Raj Chouhan (Burnaby Edmonds), Mr Harry Bains (Surrey Newton), and Mr Jagroop Brar (Surrey Panorama Ridge) while Mr Dave Hayer (Surrey Tynehead), Ms Sindi Hawkins (Kelowna Mission) and Mr Wally Uppal (Vancouver Fraserview) have been elected on Liberal ticket.

Patty Sahota of Liberal, who was member of the previous House, lost this time. Other prominent losers from Punjabi community included Mr Taranjit Purewal, Mr Ravi Chand, Mr Harjit Singh Randhawa, Mr Bob Hans, Mr Harjinder ‘Harry’ Grewal and Mr Ravinder Gill.

If one looks back, it was Moe Sihota who became the first Canadian of Punjabi origin to be elected to British Columbia provincial Assembly in the early 90s.

Interestingly, British Columbia is perhaps the only province where date for Assembly election has been fixed for the second Tuesday of May every four years.

When elections were called in 2001, Liberals had swept the poll, winning 77 of 79 seats in the provincial Assembly while the then ruling New Democratic Party could win only two seats. Even the then premier, Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, lost the election before retiring from politics.

It was only last year that the Liberal Prime Minister, Mr Paul Martin, persuaded him to join federal politics and made him Federal Health Minister after he had been elected to the House of Commons.

Now the Liberals are facing the heat as they have been defeated on the floor of the House of Commons as the combined opposition is insisting on the resignation of Paul Martin and force fresh elections to the House of Commons.

Canadians of Punjabi origin are also well represented in the House of Commons where besides Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi, Mr Navdeep Singh Bains and Ms Ruby Dhalla represent the Liberals while Mr Gurmant Grewal, and his wife, Neena, are from the Opposition.


New twist to contract killing conspiracy case
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 18
Sticking to his guns, Mr Ram Murti Bhanoki, general secretary of the local block Congress committee and a panch of Bhanoki village, today gave new dimension to the contract killing conspiracy case by alleging at a press conference that Punjab BJP vice- president and former minister Chowdhary Swarna Ram had drugged Dharminder Singh, one of the two alleged contract killers, for turning him hostile. He presented five witnesses to prove his point and demanded security from the DGP, saying that his life was at risk.

Mr Bhanoki also alleged that the BJP leader was behind the conspiracy. However, Chowdhary Swarna Ram denied these allegations. It was part of the Congress’ gameplan of implicating its political opponents, he said.

The press conference was organised by Mr Inderjit Singh Khalyan, president, Phagwara (rural) Block Congress Committee. Nagar council senior vice-president Sanjeev Bugga and former block Congress (urban) president Ashok Prashar were also present.

Mr Bhanoki presented five witnesses who reiterated that his political rivals belonging to the Akali Dal and the BJP wanted to eliminate him.

The press conference was evidently held as a tit for tat to the one organised two days ago by Chowdhary Swarna Ram and SAD organising secretary Jarnail Singh Wahid who had presented before newsmen Dharminder Singh who said in an affidavit that he had got no “supari” from Baldev Singh and others as was alleged by Mr Bhanoki.

Mr Bhanoki had lodged a complaint on May 6 that NRI Baldev Singh, on Akali leader, a former sarpanch and Phagwara block samiti member, his father Piara Singh, and Sukhdev Singh had promised to give Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh for hiring a contract killer to eliminate him. He mentioned the names of Dharminder Singh and Harinderbir Singh as the duo who had been promised the amount for contract killing.

The police had registered a case under Sections 115 and 120-B, IPC, against the three. However, an inquiry by the SP(D) was later ordered into the case when Piara Singh met the SSP and pleaded that the complaint was false and politically motivated.

Mr Bhanoki alleged that Dharminder Singh was a drug addict and he had backtracked from his earlier statement under the influence of smack and drugs.


Bodies of Dalit boys recovered, suspects held
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 18
Mr Jas Ram and Mr Kamraj, poor members of the weaver community from Prem Nagar here, were in a state of shock when bodies of their sons Vikram and Sunny were brought to the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here this afternoon.

Hundreds of Dalits, including women, had last night marched to the DSP’s residence here to express anguish over delay in recovering bodies of these school-going boys who had allegedly been drowned by an addict and his accomplice on Sunday evening.

Both the suspects had joined the parents of the boys in search operation on Sunday night.

As DSP Narinder Pal Singh Waring was not available at his official residence, the SHO of the city police station, Mr Veer Chand, took the parents to the Canal Colony blaming irrigation authorities for not suspending water supply in Malukpura Canal.

The Irrigation Department’s XEN was away to Chandigarh. He was contacted on a mobile phone to convey resentment of the affected families, which prompted quick discontinuation of water supply.

The old city police station staff, led by Additional SHO Gurpiar Singh had an important tip-off from a woman at Diwankhera village who claimed having noticed two bodies floating on late Sunday evening.

The police found bodies at the waterfall point of the sub-canal near the same village.

Vikram had recently passed the Middle standard exam from Gurunanak AV Sr. Sec. School here.

Sunny's parents were not in a position to deposit admission fee in another school, so he served at a Kiryana shop for which used to get Rs 400 which were to be deposited in the school on Monday.

But destiny had something worse in store. Sources said that a 20-year-old man, widely known as an addict and Sunny’s friend, took Vikram and Sunny to Malukpura Canal, 10 ft deep, on Sunday afternoon luring them for a bath as mercury touched 43.7 Celsius temperature.

Parents of the victims and persons attached with preliminary investigation said the addict allegedly asked Sunny to give him money but the latter refused. Irate addict allegedly strangled him, torn his shirt and finally pushed Sunny in to canal.

As Vikram rushed using his bicycle and threatened to inform Sunny's parents, the addict reportedly chased, caught him and also pushed Vikram into the same canal at some distance.

Finally, the accomplice of the addict reportedly broke out leading the parents and the police to launch search operation at the canal.

Parents of the victim said they had received threat to life for pursuing the matter from family of the main suspect who claimed that one of their relatives was serving in Punjab Police as Gazetted officer.

Bodies were handed over to the bereaved families after post- mortem examination. 


Missing bank money: manager held
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 18
Major Singh, manager Gehlan village (near Bhawanigarh) branch of The Sangrur Central Cooperative Bank, was today arrested by the Bhawanigarh police in connection with a theft case, registered on May 1 under Sections 380 and 406 of the IPC at Bhawanigarh police station.

Mr Darshan Singh Mann, SP (Headquarters), Sangrur, said today afternoon the manager would be produced in a court here tomorrow to seek his police remand for interrogating him in connection with the recovery of Rs 32 lakh, which was found “missing” from the safe of the bank on May 1.

As per earlier reports, the manager of the bank visited the bank branch at Gehlan village on May 1 (Sunday) and found Rs 32 lakh missing from the safe.

It was surprise that no lock of the bank or the safe was found broken to steal such a big amount. Besides, the keys of the bank were also with the manager only. Needle of suspicion pointed towards the involvement of the manager in the theft or embezzlement because the Gehlan branch was one-man branch where the manager also functioned as cashier.

In the morning today, Ms Rani Kaur, wife of Major Singh, with a deputation met Deputy Commissioner Husan Lal here and submitted a memorandum to him, apprehending that her husband would be tortured to death, as he was in police custody since May 1, so an inquiry should be conducted from the CBI.

Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, said over the phone, today the police had formed a team to interrogate the persons, allegedly involved in this case.

He said that the police called Mr Major Singh to the CIA staff office every morning in connection with the investigations of the case and let him off in the evening daily. He said the police felt that the family members were making efforts to put pressure on the police to arrest Major Singh immediately to get the matter, involving theft of Rs 32 lakh, ended at the earliest.

Earlier on May 10, Ms Rani Kaur also sent a telegram to the Chairman of the Punjab Human Rights Commission, stating “the Police of CIA Bahadur Singh Wala, Sangrur district, keeping my husband Major Singh son of Kirpal Singh, Manager/Clerk of Gehlan Cooperative Bank in illegal custody since May 1, 2005.

Nor releasing nor producing in the court. Kindly help”.


Travel agent who duped hundreds arrested
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 18
The district police claims to have arrested a person carrying a pistol and two cartridges at Sirhind town. The person was later identified as a popular travel agent, who had allegedly fleeced hundreds of people on the pretext of sending them abroad. Many cases are lying pending against him in various police stations of the state.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, told The Tribune that Mr Gurmeet Singh, CIA Inspector, Sirhind, had erected a naka at the main bus stand, GT Road, Sirhind. On suspicion, he stopped a person and enquired from him about his whereabouts and identity.

The SSP said he started misleading the police. When Mr Gurmeet Singh threatened him, he disclosed his identity as Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Khamano Khurd. On search, the police recovered a pistol along with two cartridges from him.

He said on preliminary interrogation, Kuldeep Singh revealed that he had been working as a travel agent and had fleeced many people of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of sending them abroad.

A case under the Arms Act has been registered.


PSHRC member gets contempt notice from HC
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 18
In what could be the first-of-its-kind order, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued contempt notice to a sitting member of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC).

Issuing contempt notice to PSHRC member B.C. Rajput, the Division Bench comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal noted that he had been transgressing powers vested in the PSHRC. Mr Rajput is alleged to have issued directions to police officers in contravention of High Court orders.

Mr Rajput, a former District and Sessions Judge, was appointed member of the PSHRC when the Amarinder government assumed office.

The Bench also quashed a number of orders passed by Mr Rajput and also directed the complainants in those cases to pay costs of Rs 25,000 each.

The contempt notice was issued during hearing of petition filed by Mr Rajesh Chhibber, SHO, Samana, seeking quashing of ex-parte orders issued by Mr Rajput in a complaint.

The complainant, Mr Raj Kumar Verma, had alleged that the SHO was harassing his son, Ashu Verma. Ashu and some of his accomplices were allegedly involved in a murderous attack on a person in Samana and were booked by the Samana city police, of which Mr Chhibber is the SHO, on August 2, 2002.

On October 10, 2003, acting on the complaint, Mr Rajput directed the Inspector General of Police, Patiala Zone, to transfer Mr Chhibber out of the district as he was allegedly interfering in the inquiry being conducted in the matter by the PSHRC. The IGP then issued transfer orders of Mr Chhibber, who moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In his petition, Mr Chhibber questioned the authority of the PSHRC to issue direction to the Police Department. He also stated that the order was arbitrary as no notice was given to him. Also, he was not even allowed to inspect the record pertaining to the compliant. The evidence of the complainant was also being recoded in the petitioner's absence.

Taking up the petition, on October 23, 2003, a Bench headed by Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar modified the PSHRC order and directed that it would be treated as a recommendation and not direction.

The IGP, Patiala Zone, then cancelled the transfer order of the petitioner.

In an earlier order, the HC Bench headed by Mr Justice Nijjar noted that the second order of Mr Rajput amounted to over-ruling the order passed by the High Court. "We are satisfied that the member of PSHRC, B.C. Rajput, has clearly transgressed the power vested in the PSHRC," the Bench noted.

Interestingly, today, during hearing, counsel for Mr Chhibber informed the court that he wanted to withdraw the petition and it should be declared dismissed as withdrawn, However, the Bench headed by Mr Justice Bedi refused to accept the request and ordered that the case would continue.


World-wide protest planned against French ban
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Sikhs the world over would be protesting the ban imposed by the French authorities on wearing turbans. Revealing this here today, Shiromani Akali Dal General Secretary, Onkar Singh Thapar said that Sikhs living in India as well as abroad would march up to French embassies located in respective countries and lodge their protest. The protest would be held simultaneously on a mutually decided date.

The SAD will send an eight-member delegation to France this month to take up the issue with the French authorities. Mr Thapar said that the delegation would be led by the SAD Secretary-General, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, and was scheduled to leave on May 21. It would seek audience with top French leaders and seek to remove the ban. Delhi-based Mr Thapar was here to attend a SAD conference.

Expressing concern on the non-tabling of the Nanavati Commission report on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Parliament as was earlier stated by the Home Minister, Mr Thapar apprehended that the report’s legal validity of six months may expire before it is placed in the Lok Sabha.

The SAD leader also said that the Delhi Government has also failed to implement its decision to accord second language status to Punjabi even two years after it was notified. He added that rather than to give Punjabi a boost, the Delhi Government had terminated the services of 4,000 Punjabi teachers.


Turban tutor CD launched
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 18
Akal Purakh Ki Fauj (APKF) today launched “smart turban software” and a turban tutor CD under its “Dastar Swaiman Lehar- 2005” campaign.

While the turban tutor CD would tell how to tie turban, the “smart turban software” would show children which style of turban tying would suit them.

Mr Jaswinder Singh, member of the SGPC, along with a team of the APKF released the software containing 35 styles of wearing turban and the CD.

He said they would be writing to the SGPC to allot a suitable place outside the Darbar Sahib for establishing a turban clinic for training children in tying turban.

They expressed concern over the adamant attitude of the France Government over the turban issue.


Govt schools sans rooms, water
Tribune News Service

Mansa, May 18
Many government schools here do not have drinking water and classrooms. Summer has set and students will find it difficult to study in open and get water from nearby houses.

According to sources, 113 government schools in the district do not have water taps for providing water to students. Half of the district’s 450 schools don’t have water supply from water works. Students of these schools get drinking water from nearby homes. More than half of the government schools have water taps, but their water is not fit for human consumption. As per information 62 schools of Sardulgarh and Jhunir blocks don’t have drinking water, while 19 schools of Mansa and 34 of Budhlada face acute water crisis.

Many of government schools do not have toilets. Only 208 schools out of the total of 450 have toilets. Scenario is worse when it comes to separate toilets for girl students. Sources said 175 government schools of the district have been granted Rs 35,000 each for these amenities under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan. Work of providing drinking water and having toilets in these schools is expected to be over in the coming 2-3 years.

There is shortage of space in these schools and students have to study in open during summer. At present only 50 out of the total of 275 primary schools have the required infrastructure. About 150 rooms have been built under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan in the past two years, but still students of 550 classes of various government schools don’t have roof.

Even existing school buildings are in a shambles and they require repair. Many of these don’t have cemented floors and their doors and windows are in bad shape. About 150 primary and high schools don’t have boundary walls. Residents of many villages are willing to work free of cost for the construction of schools provided the state government provides funds. Deputy Commissioner, Raj Kamal Chaudhuri, said the district administration had plans to cover the government schools under total sanitation campaign. Drinking water and water for sanitation purposes would be provided in the schools under the campaign. He said efforts would be made to provide them drinking water from water works. He said handpumps had been installed in almost all government schools for purposes other than drinking. He said there was not much shortage of classrooms and the administration had granted lakhs for the construction of rooms to 70 schools under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.


Mann lashes out at govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann said today that liquor mafia had strengthened its hold on the polity of Punjab. The mafia had a complete hold on the governance of the Congress-led Punjab Government, he said.

“It intervenes in the functioning of the SAD headed by Parkash Singh Badal, corrupts the operations of the Punjab police, interferes with the working of the SGPC and influences the office of Akal Takht,” said Mr Mann in a statement issued here.

“The state is heading towards anarchy with people losing faith in its functioning,” he added.

Basic amenities like roads, good schools, and health services were missing from the state. The so-called richest state was on the brink of economic disaster, he said.

He added that the manner in which the state had remained silent on “anti-Sikh” movie “Jo So Bole Nihal” — the silent complicity of the SAD (Badal), the SGPC and the Akal Takht leadership on the issue — the Sikhs been put to shame.


Removal of Jagjit Singh demanded
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 18
The SC Morcha of the BJP today held a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner office here to seek removal of Punjab Local Bodies Minister Choudhary Jagjit Singh from the state Cabinet for being charged with travelling in the New Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi train without a valid ticket.


85-year-old bachelor with 860 sons!
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, May 18
He is an 85-year-old bachelor but as per the voter’s list, he has 860 sons and four daughters. He is none other than the chief of the Budha Dal, Baba Santa Singh.

This startling fact came to light with the revision of the voter’s list for the forthcoming panchayat elections in Talwandi Sabo. In the list, every nihang has mentioned the name of Baba Santa Singh as his father. His whole family resides in three houses. At present, 230 members of the family are aged over 50 and range from the age of 5 to 95 years. Whether it is the Lok Sabha poll or the panchayat elections, no candidate can to ignore this family. Baba Santa Singh has been residing here for the past 42 years.

Work on revising the voter’s list was carried out from April 27 to May 4 and the final list came out on May 13. About 13,000 voters of Talwandi Sabo would decide the fate of candidates. In the newly prepared list, the names of his family members have been listed in Booth Nos 91 and 92. In the list of Booth No 91, Baba Santa Singh’s sons feature from voter no. 285 to 582. These 297 persons reside in House nos. 48 and 49. In the list for booth No. 92, 578 nihangs have named Baba Santa Singh as their father. They stay in house no 86. Jaspal Kaur, Jaswinder Kaur, Mahinder Kaur and Gurdev Kaur are also members of this family. There are a total of 13 booths in Talwandi Sabo.

The nephew of Baba Santa Singh, Baba Uday Singh, said he was proud of his family and they would participate in the elections with enthusiasm.

He said Baba Santa Singh inherited this family from Baba Chet Singh. The SDM of Talwandi Sabo, Mr Gurkiratkirpal Singh, said he had intimated the Election Commission of India regarding the matter. He said they were given voting rights due to religious tradition. He said nobody had objected to the votes of Baba Santa Singh’s family.


Protest by sugar mill workers
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 18
A protest by thousands of agitating workers of co-operative sugar mills in Punjab turned violent here today when the protesting workers breached barricades and the police restored to a lathi charge.

In the process about 25 persons, including Mr P.K. Dhawan, a DSP of the Chandigarh police, were injured. Most of the injured are the employees and were admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16.

The employees broke the barricades following a four hour rally. Since this morning employees from all over the state had collected outside the office of the Sugarfed in Sector 17 in protest against privatisation of sugar mills.

Around 3.15 p.m. the employees moved towards the Matka Chowk and rushed north of the Madhya Marg.

The Chandigarh Administration has enforced Section 144 of the CrPc which bans the assembly of five or more persons, north of the Madhya Marg where the Vidhan Sabha and the Secretariat are located. In an attempt to stop the agitators, the police used the water cannons which did not deter them.

The police force resorted to a lathi charge and the employees also retaliated by throwing stones that resulted in injuries to the DSP, who was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16.

The agitation intensified when the Bharati Kisan Union, which was protesting separately, joined in. The cops used tear gas to disperse the crowd. The entire operation lasted 20 minutes.


Shift garbage site, demand residents
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 18
Residents of Guru Nanak Colony and Ishwar Nagar yesterday staged a dharna against the indifferent attitude of the Municipal Corporation towards dumping and burning of garbage in the residential area.

They organised dharnas on Tarn Taran Road and near Grain Market phatak.

Mr Jatinder Singh, a resident of the area, alleged that a majority of the residents were suffering from diseases like jaundice, asthma, and respiratory problems due to burning of garbage.

He alleged that they were getting contaminated water.

However, the corporation and Health Department had adopted an indifferent attitude even as they had given a number of representations to the authorities concerned.

They raised slogans against the corporation for ignoring their complaints.

He said they had urged the Mayor and other authorities to shift the garbage dump outside the residential area, but to no avail.

The residents threatened to intensify their agitation if the necessary steps were not taken.


Whistle blower threatens to sue temple committee
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 18
Mr Surinder Singh Sharma, a social activist, has questioned the authority of Mr Surinder Arjun, working president of the Durgiana Committee, for giving a call to religious authorities to socially boycott him.

Mr Sharma said the committee was agitated over the various alleged scandals being unearthed by him.

He added that he was not against the Durgiana Temple or any religious outfit. However, he reiterated that he was against all “illegal’ actions alleged to have been undertaken by the temple management committee.

He threatened to act legally against the decision of the Durgiana Committee for banning his entry to the temple. He said he would continue to unearth any illegal activity that the management undertook.

Mr Sharma’s statement comes in the wake of the Durgiana Management Committee’s call yesterday to socially boycott him for his alleged anti-temple activities.

Mr Arjun claimed that they had to take the step as Mr Sharma had indulged in ‘mala fide propaganda’ against the temple.


Poor sanitation is the rule here
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 18
The provision in the municipal council manual warranting respectful cremation of unclaimed, unidentified bodies notwithstanding, the Sanitation Department has been using stinking trolleys to lift the bodies from the Civil Hospital for transporting to the cremation ground. This was evident again today when the police handed over body recovered from canal on the Hanumangarh road late last evening to the council after completing post-mortem and DDR formalities. Though the employees had been claiming expenses from the municipal funds on account of cremation, responsibility was generally executed by voluntary organisations, sources said.

Meanwhile, the council has again warned over 1.3 lakh residents to remove encroachments on the streets and main roads. All such warning issued in the past had gone unheeded. The Sanitation and the Engineering Departments had earned name for not only ignoring their duties, but also shielding law-breakers against some consideration, sources said.

The council had been spending more than Rs 5 lakh on purchasing trolleys and hand-pulled rehris for maintaining sanitation, but the same get damaged allegedly due to poor quality of material used in manufacturing. This, workers said, was a major reason for poor state of affairs so far sanitation was concerned.


Torture  case: DC orders probe
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 18
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the alleged torture of 17-year-old brick kiln labourer, Reshma.

It may be recalled that the SHO of the PS Sadar, Mr Sharanjit Singh, has already been transferred to the Police Lines while two other cops have been issued show-cause notices in the case.

The DC has appointed the General Assistant, Ms Poonamdeep Kaur, as the inquiry officer.

Meanwhile, the Bahujan Samaj Party has welcomed the DC’s decision. In a press release, the BSP Secretary Mr Paramjit Singh Kainth said that police officials and other responsible for allegedly torturing Reshma should be brought to book once the inquiry was over.


Vigilance team raids Central Jail
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 18
A vigilance team today raided the premises of the Amritsar Central Jail following information of alleged discrepancies in the records pertaining to ration. The team was led by Mr Kashmir Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Vigilance).

The operation was on till the filing of the report. Mr Kashmir Singh said there was information about discrepancies in the records of the stock. He said the team was in the process of checking records and nothing could be said until it was over.

The team entered into the jail at 10 am.

Capt S.P. Singh, Jail Superintendent, did not comment on the episode.


Shagun cheques  distributed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 18
The District Welfare Department has distributed Rs 3.05 lakh under the Ashirwad Shagun scheme, said the Deputy Commissioner, while handing over two cheques for Rs 6,100 each to Mr Harnek Singh, a resident of Machrai Kalan, for solemnising the marriage of her two daughters.

The DC said under the scheme, the Punjab Government gives a cheque for Rs 6,100 to the Scheduled Castes and Christians as a token of shagun for solemnising the marriage of their daughter.

Mr Pritam Singh Kore, District Welfare Officer, assured the DC that the department would redress the grievances of weaker section on priority.


Birmingham Council welcomes CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
A delegation of the Birmingham City Council today welcomed the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, during transit halt on way to Toronto. They proposed a strategic partnership between Jalandhar and Birmingham which would not only cover cultural and social areas, but also economic cooperation.

According to information reaching here, the delegation was led by the City Council leader, Mr Mike Whitby.


Magisterial probe ordered into rape case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 18
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, has ordered a magisterial probe into the alleged rape of a Dalit girl belonging to Behman Jassa Singh village. The Talwandi Sabo SDM, Mr Gurkiratkirpal Singh, will investigate the matter.

According to sources, the victim, who comes from a poor background, was married, but was staying at her mother’s home at the village.

Sources said she had gone to bring back her goats from the village’s outskirts on May 15 when one Surjeet Singh of the same village reportedly dragged her into a deserted hut and raped her.

A delegation of villagers, who met the DC today, alleged the police didn’t get the victim medically examined on the same day and it was trying to hush up the case. The DC ordered the probe following the delegation’s request for the same. The delegation also demanded immediate medical examination of the victim, besides the suspension of the Talwandi Sabo DSP and the SHO.


3 constables suspended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 18
The police has registered a case against three constables for reportedly letting off an opium smuggler after taking bribe.

The accused constables, Harjiwan Singh, Harjinder Singh and Narinder Singh, were posted at Bhucho police post. Sources said the case came to the fore when policemen of Bhucho police post released Darshan Singh of Lehra Mohobat, an opium smuggler, after arresting him. There were also speculations that the policemen further sold of the opium recovered from him. The name of an Akali leader who reportedly acted as a mediator in the deal also came up. Later, some political leaders flayed the police action and brought the matter to the notice of higher police officials.

As per the statement recorded by SI Dhyan Singh, Darshan Singh had been smuggling opium for the past four months. The police had recovered 500 gm of opium from his possession following a tip-off.

The accused constables reportedly hushed up the case after taking Rs 60,000 from the smuggler. Sources said though the police had booked the constables, the SHO and the mediator had been given a clean chit.

Sources said some political leaders were raising the issue again so that all the accused were brought to book. Communist leader Gulab Kha Ghadaili has sought an impartial probe into the matter.

The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, said that they had been booked following a probe into the case. He said these constables had been suspended with immediate effect.

They had been booked under Sections 7, 13, 2, and 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and Sections 18, 61, and 85, of the NDPS Act, at Nathana police station.


Robbers loot Rs 4.06 lakh from bank
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, May 18
A three-member gang of robbers, armed with pistols, looted Rs 4.06 lakh from Kanganwal branch of Punjab National Bank, near here today.

According to Manager of the bank, Mr K.K. Verma, three youths in the age group of 20 to 25 years came to the bank at 11.45 a.m. They snatched the guns from two gunmen Krishan Chand and Jagroop Singh and then entered his cabin.

In his cabin, they demanded the money, from him at pistol point. Out of fear, the Manager called cashier, Nirmal Singh to his cabin and they handed over Rs 4.06 lkh to them. After taking the money, the robbers fled with the guns and booty in a car.

They later abandoned the vehicle and guns at a bridge near Kanganwal village.

The Ahmedgarh police has registered a case and recovered the car and guns. No arrests has been made so far.


Minor girl elopes, found a day later
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 18
A minor girl who had gone missing late last evening was found by the district police in the company of her lover early this morning.

A resident of Tilak Nagar, the 16-year-old girl had gone missing last evening and the matter had been reported to the police.

The girl was found at 3 am today roaming near Bidhipur level-crossing along with a boy of her age. They were stopped and questioned. When they failed to give a satisfactory reply, they were brought to police station number 7.

Keeping in view the age of boy and girl and consent of the parents of the girl and boy to sort out the matter among themselves, a lenient view was taken and both of them were handed over to the parents.

Meanwhile, the district police arrested a minor boy for allegedly stealing car parts. Yogesh, a resident of Bilga village, was arrested for ferrying on his bicycle two stolen car tyres and a car stereo taken out from Maruti Zen car PB-37A-5072 belonging to Baljit Singh Thandi of Phillaur at Bilga village.

Pargat Singh, an accomplice of Yogesh, however, was still at large.

In another incident, a Ludhiana resident was arrested for stealing a truck, number PB-08G-6535, belonging to Mr Sukhdev Singh of Phagwara two days back.

Paramjit, a truck driver, was arrested by the Phillaur police when he was hunting for a buyer for the stolen vehicle.


Woman tries to immolate self
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, May 18
A twenty two-year-old Kajal, wife of Sham Lal allegedly set herself on fire yesterday. She was admitted to a private hospital here with 30 per cent burns.

Mr Parshotam Lal, father of Kajal, said that she was married to Sham Lal of Daddal mohala three years ago.

She alleged that her in-laws used to torture her for bringing less dowry. She said when her husband thrashed her yesterday, she set herself ablaze. The police has arrested her husband and father-in-law while her mother-in-law was at large. A case under Sections 498-A and 406 of the IPC, was registered.


ASI held taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 18
A team of vigilance officials led by Mr Jaipal Singh, DSP, Patiala, caught red handed Mr Gurcharn Singh, ASI, in charge Police Chowki Peerjain, while taking bribe from Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Dabhali village. A case has been registered and police has taken ASI in custody.

According to information available, Kuldeep Singh had applied for a weapon license for which police report was pending with chowki in charge. He was demanding Rs 2000/- for writing favourable report. Mr Kuldeep Singh expressed his inability to pay the bribe amount and complained to the vigilance department. DSP said that they laid a trap as soon as Mr Gurcharn Singh accepted the money. He was caught and the money recovered from his pocket.

On the other hand chowki in charge said that he had been arrested under a planned conspiracy. He said a few days ago, he had made compromise between two parties of Dabhali village. One party had given him Rs 2000/- to hand it over to the other party as was settled during the compromise.


Teachers of aided schools to meet Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
A delegation of the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union will meet the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), tomorrow to apprise him of the “indifferent attitude” of the state government towards its demands.

In a joint statement, Mr Gurcharan Singh Chahal, president, and Mr Ramesh Kumar Sharma, general secretary of the union, said today that apart from meeting the Governor, the delegation would also lead a demonstration by 500 teachers and other employees of aided schools in front of the office of the DPI (Grants) and Director (Finance).

Both leaders said the union was left with no alternative but to meet the Governor. They alleged that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had no time to meet the representatives of the union.

“We wrote several letters to the CM and his staff officers to seek an appointment but got no response,” said Mr Chahal.

He said the union had met with the Education Minister but he also expressed his helplessness in extending any help to the employees of aided schools.


ITI employees stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, May 18
Members of the Industrial Training Employees Union, Patiala and Ludhiana zones, today staged a dharna against the Punjab Government’s move to privatise technical institutes.

The protesters shouted anti-government slogans, saying the move would not only affect poor students but also commercialise the technical education. They also lodged a protest against four-time hike in tuition fee in the institutes.

Various students and employees leaders, including Mr Paramjit Singh, president of local unit of the ITIs Employees Union, and Mr Gurindev Singh Nagra, convener of the union addressed the protesters. Traffic on the highway was also disrupted.

The union will also hold a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Jalandhar on June 8.


BCA-III results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 18
The results of the BCA (III) examination of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April would be declared tomorrow. The results could be accessed from the university website,www.gnduonline. org the same evening.


Market panel chiefs appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The Punjab Government today appointed chairmen and vice-chairmen of 20 market committees (MCs) in the state.

Mr Gurnam Singh is the chairman of Ajnala MC, while Mr Dilbag Singh is the vice-chairman. In Attari MC, Sukhdev Singh is the chairman, while Amanbir Singh is the vice-chairman. In Chowgawa MC, Kashmir Singh is the chairman, while Paramjit Singh is the vice-chairman. In Jhubal MC, Lakhbir Singh is the chairman, while Narinder Singh is the vice-chairman.

In Gehri MC, Surinder Singh Randhawa is the chairman, while Chaman Lal is the vice-chairman. In Khadoor Sahib MC, Bhupinder Singh is the chairman, while Pinderjit Singh is the vice-chairman.

In Khemkaran MC, Suinder Singh is the chairman, while Piara Lal is the vice-chairman. In Majitha MC, Karnail Singh is the chairman, while Resham Singh is the vice-chairman.

In Noshera Pannuan, Charanjit Singh is the chairman, while Jarnail Singh is the vice-chairman. In Rayya, Jaswant Singh is the chairman, while Narinder Pal Singh is the vice-chairman. In Tarn Taran, Gurminder Singh Rataul is the chairman, while Harjit Singh is the vice-chairman.

In Bhagta Bhaika, Sukhchain Singh is the chairman, while Paramjit Singh is the vice-chairman. In Bhucho, Teja Singh is the chairman, while Rattan Singh is the vice-chairman.

In Maur, Gopal Singh is the chairman, while Ravinder Kumar is the vice-chairman. In Rampur Phul, Davinder Singh is the chairman, while Inderjit Singh is the vice-chairman.

In Khamano, Parminder Singh is the chairman, while Sushil Kumar is the vice-chairman. In Dera Baba Nanak, Usha Rani is the chairperson, while Dilbagh Singh is the vice-chairman.

In Fatehgarh Churrian, Narinder Kumar is the chairman, while Tarpal Singh is the vice-chairman. In Garshankar, Pankaj Kirpal is the chairman, while R.P. Soni is the vice-chairman. In Jalandhar City, Rajinder Pal Singh is the chairman.

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