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Migrant labourer’s minor girl allegedly raped
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
In a hair-raising incident, an unknown paedophile allegedly raped a three-year-old girl of a migrant labourer and left her to die in agricultural fields near Jassian village this morning.

Two women labourers who had gone to the field for some work spotted the badly-bleeding semi-conscious child and saved her from certain death. The girl was later rushed to the civil hospital by Mr Jaspal Singh, a sewadaar with a gurudwara situated near Sunil Park. She is stated to be out of danger.

Though the girl child has been able to reveal her name and that she has two brothers and sisters, she is unable to give details about her address as well as the accused.

In probably the first use of camera phone technology, the police has fanned out a number of constables in slum area near Jassian village with the picture of the victim girl captured in their mobile phones. The police hoped someone could give clues about the girl’s parents after seeing the picture.

Apart from this the Haibowal police has sounded the usual red alert about the recovery of a such a girl. Till evening, no one had approached the police to claim the child. No police station in the district has also reported receiving complaint of such a missing child after last night.

DSP Simratpal Singh Dhindsa said the medical examination of the victim girl has confirmed she was raped. He said a case under Sections 363, 376 of the IPC has been registered against the unknown accused.

Mr Dhindsa said it seems the girl was raped and abandoned this morning only. He said the accused would be traced only after finding the parents of the victim girl.

The police was taking the case as an isolated incident and denied there could be the possibility of a paedophile on the prowl.

The city had witnessed a gruesome series of such rape and murder of minor boys and girls three years ago. An alleged paedophile was nabbed after few months. After that there have been some isolated incidents but nothing suggesting some serial rapist was on the run.



Ludhianvis shiver at 3.8°C
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
With the minimum temperature falling to 3.8°C Ludhianvis are shivering as the cold wave continues to persist in the region.

Besides throwing normal life out of gear, the weather is also affecting the arrival and reaching time of a number of trains. Thankfully, the sun has not become elusive as yet and bright sunny days are proving to be some respite for the residents who find it difficult to venture out on cold nights and mornings.

Yesterday, the minimum temperature recorded in the city was 3.5°C and the people continued to shiver. A thin blanket of fog had also engulfed the city last night with thick effects in areas nearing the canal. People preferred remaining indoors amidst the cosy environs. The minimum temperature as recorded by the Punjab Agricultural University meteorological lab was 3.8°C and the maximum was recorded at 21.2°C. The moisture content was 97 per cent in the air during morning.

As the cold conditions brought cheer to the hosiery manufacturers, those living below the poverty line in the city are having a bad time. They were seen shivering on the roadsides with a single wornout blankets. Some were siting near camp fires on the roadsides last night.



Peanuts and time pass go hand in hand
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, December 12
Time Pass! monkey nuts, ground nuts, peanuts, nuts that delight and provide a lot of proteins can be seen on carts, heaped in small mounds, being roasted in some shops. In fact peanuts are visible everywhere during winter season. Young, old men, women and children all love to eat it. It helps pass time peeling it and removing the outer red film and chatting with others. The housewives after finishing their daily chores get together and sit in a circle and eat peanuts. Many a gossip is exchanged whilest eating it. It is quite a pleasurable experience.

People in Punjab generally eat it roasted though they can be fried to make them more delectable but that adds more calories. People prefer fried salted peanuts with their drinks. That surely adds zing. In Maharashtra people boil peanuts in turmeric water and they are sold looking yellow and are much different from moongfali.

Peanuts make excellent snacks. Most nuts, including peanuts, are an excellent source of protein, and for many vegetarians are often a primary protein source. Generally speaking, nuts are high in both protein and fat, dietary fibre and sometimes vitaminss A, B and C, as well as calcium and iron. Although anyone having a diet rich in nuts should be wary of total fat content, nuts are virtually cholesterol free. So for poor persons not only do they supply proteins but nuts work well to keep hunger at bay, partly because of their high protein and fat content.

Keeping this quality in mind even airlines persist in providing bags of peanuts as snack food when they want to hold passengers over without providing a meal. Peanuts are a valuable source of B vitamins, and provide 20-30% of their food value as protein whereas almonds provide only 6gm of protein. But when one compares the cost of peanuts to almonds , peanuts win hands down .

Poor people pound peanuts coarsely and mix with salt, red chilli and a little oil and carry with their chappaties to work as peanut chutney provides a change in their diet. So eat them while the winters last.



NHRC refuses to take up suicide case
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
Ending the last hope of a father of an IAS aspirant, who had committed suicide allegedly under pressure from a bureaucrat, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has refused to take up his case, claiming that it was time-barred.

A month ago, the commission had admitted the case of Mr N.M. Hansi, a local resident and father of Ashish Hansi,who had been fighting this case for the last more than two years. But soon it also slammed its door at this desperate father, stating that he should have filed the case within a year of the suicide, though Mr Hansi had been fighting at various levels, seeking justice for his son.

He reiterated that his son had received message and long calls from a phone number just a few hours before committing suicide. The contents of the message were suggestive of some threats and when he asked the BSNL about the identity of the number, it refused, stating that the number was not a private number, but of the customer care of BSNL. But the documents procured by him did not match the reply by the BSNL.

Arguing with the commission, Mr Hansi filed another petition, claiming that he had knocked at the doors of the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) soon after his son committed suicide on February 20, 2003. Though his case was taken up and the district police chief was asked to look into the details, he could not get the guilty for his son’s death booked.

He was shown the door by the PHRC with the plea that it was not able to do anything in the case, as action required with regard to investigation of the crime had been initiated by the police.

The NHRC had rekindled his hopes after taking up his complaint under Section 12 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, and registering a case.

Giving details of the case to the NHRC, Mr Hansi claimed that the local police had submitted a report by a DSP, who had stated that there was nothing substantial in the case, so the matter be closed. He claimed that it was shocking that he had never met the DSP in his life. How could he conduct an inquiry into the case when he had not met the complainant, he asked.

‘‘In my statement to the police, I had given the name of a co-accused, who talked to my son on phone about 15 hours before he committed suicide as per the printout of his call details. But it never listened to me and closed the file. They have been violating my human rights by denying justice to me,’’ he maintained in another petition to the commission.

Mr Hansi had been reiterating that the mobile number in question belonged to a bureaucrat’s ward, who had forced his son to commit suicide. He alleged that his information had revealed that the SIM card of this mobile was sold in the last week of October 2002 at Ludhiana and a history file was prepared in March 2003.

He had been claiming that the identity of the mobile user was deleted in the records of the BSNL and this could be found after taking the services of a software expert, who could check the hard disk of the BSNL server.



State of human rights in Pak improving: Justice Khokhar
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 12
The state of human rights in Pakistan is improving gradually. People belonging to far-flung undeveloped areas have become aware about their rights now. Poverty is the root cause of majority of crimes in Pakistan.

Sentences are harsh for criminals, but one has to make people aware regarding their rights. These views were expressed by Justice Fakhar un Nisa Khokhar, President, Lahore High Court Bar Association, who as part of a six-member judicial delegation, visited the city today on an invitation from the Model Town Welfare Council.

On the Mukhtar Mai case, Ms Khokhar defended the law of the land. She said the accused could not be punished because of lack of evidence or proof. The law was absolutely not at fault, she said.

Ms Khokhar said the judiciary in Pakistan enjoyed freedom and nobody interfered in it. If a judge was fair and unbiased, nobody dared to overpower him or her.

“I have served for almost 10 years and there was absolutely no interference from anyone”, she said. She added that people in both countries wanted to break the barriers of enmity and the judiciary had decided to fulfil the dreams of the common man by sorting out the problems. She stressed that delayed justice should be eliminated in both countries.

She further added that the so-called superpowers were jealous to see the progress of both countries.”We should understand each others’ systems. We have to tell these superpowers that we do not need them and we will bring the reforms ourselves”, she asserted.

The other five members of the delegation were Mr Raja Zulgarnain, advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Mr Zia-ul Kamar Bhatti, Dr Shaukat Hussain, Mr Numan Aziz and Mr Sheraz Bhatti. The delegation was given a warm welcome by the council.

Mr Atul Lakhanpal, advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh, who accompanied the delegation, said Pakistani and Indian advocates wanted to make an Indo-Pak Bar Council, which would be free from any political interference. “We will try to bring reforms in every field for the betterment of the common man in both countries”, said Mr Lakhanpal.



Cong against suggestions of Delimitation Commission
Our Correspondent

Khamano, December 12
The Punjab Congress is opposed to the suggestions recommended by the Delimitation Commission about constituencies because these are against the directions of the Election Commission. This was stated by Punjab Congress chief Shamsher Singh Dullo while talking to mediapersons after the inauguration of the new building of Government Senior Secondary School at Sanghol, near here.

He said the commission had not consulted any Congress leader and was working on its own, which was not acceptable to the Punjab Congress. He said all rules and regulations and directions of the Election Commission had been set aside.

Addressing the gathering, he said the Congress government had implemented 80 per cent of its promises while the remaining would be implemented soon. He said vaccancies of teachers would be filled on a priority basis so that education did not suffer.

Attacking the Shiromani Akali Dal, he said Punjab was a debt-ridden state under the SAD-BJP regime, with a debt of Rs 52,000 crore. The Congress government did hard work to reduce the debt, he added.

He said main roads had been widened and link roads were being repaired. He claimed that the Congress would again form the government after the Assembly elections.



Preparations on for Vijay Divas
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
As the Vijay Divas is only four days away, the city is preparing to pay tributes to war heroes belonging to this district.

The war heroes, who laid down their lives fighting for the country’s honour in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, would be saluted on the day in a function specially organised in the mini secretariat. Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Parliamentary Secretary, will be the chief guest.

The tank, fighter plane and the statues of the war martyrs of 1971 war, put up outside the mini secretariat, here are being given a fresh look in view of the day. A team from Sainik Welfare Department today spruced up the memorials and provided them with a new look.

As the district has always been on a forefront as far as contribution to national security is concerned, there are over 300 highly decorated soldiers from this district, some of whom have achieved honours and awards as high as Param Vir Chakra (PVC).

According to Lt. Commander, Tarlochan Singh, District Sainik Welfare Officer, the day is observed by the district administration every year and the statue of Flying Officer, Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon and Major Bhupinder Singh who lost their lives fighting for the country in the 1971 Indo-Pak war are garlanded.

Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, who belonged to Issewal village and was decorated with Param Vir Chakra posthumously. The sublime heroism, supreme gallantry, flying skill and determination above and beyond the call of duty displayed by Flying Officer Sekhon in the face of certain death had set new heights in the Air Force traditions. He was a pilot of a Gnat detachment based at Srinagar for the air defence of valley against Pakistani air attacks. On December 14, 1971, Srinagar airfield was attacked by Sabre aircraft.

Flying Officer Sekhon engaged a pair of the attacking Sabres. In the fight that ensued, he secured hits on one aircraft and set another on fire.

By this time other Sabre aircraft came to the aid of their hard-pressed companions and Flying Officer Sekhon’s Gnat was again outnumbered this time by four to one. Even though alone, the Flying Officer engaged the enemy in an unequal combat. In the fight that followed, at tree top height, he almost held his own, but was eventually overcome by the sheer weight of numbers. His aircraft crashed and he was killed.

Major Bhupinder Singh set an inspiring example of personal sacrifice and bravery in the best traditions of the Indian Army. Major Bhupinder Singh, Squadron Commander, Hodson’s Horse, led his squadron with distinction in the battle of Phillore and Sodreke in Pakistan between September 11 and 19,1965. With skilful deployment and bold action, his squadron was able to cause a large- scale destruction of Pakistani tanks and other equipment. Although his tank was hit on several occasion, he continued to remain in affective command and, by several acts of personal gallantry, inspired his men to fight courageously. On September 19, 1965, in battle of Sodreke his tank was hit and caught fire. While abandoning the tank, he was burnt severely and died.



Syal’s photograph again wins a prize
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 12
Rakesh Syal a Ludhiana-based photographer, has won second place for October for the third time in the prestigious photography contest sponsored by BetterPhoto.com, the site’s founder, Jim Miotke, announced last Saturday.

More than 23,500 entries were submitted for the ‘online photography contest’, from contestants all over the world and featured in 10 separate categories.

Syal’s stunning image, “Bullock cart race”, held in Kila Raikot garnered top honors after being submitted in the ‘Monthly Theme’ category. Mr Syal said he had used a special technique and moved his camera along with the running carts and hence the people sitting in the background appear to be just a blur.

All of the winning images can be viewed at BetterPhoto.com’s contest page: http://www.betterphoto.com/contest/winners/0510.asp

The contest is conducted each month. Categories include nature and landscapes, animals, people, elements of design, digital darkroom, travel and place, flowers, details and macro, special effects, and monthly theme. Judging is done by a panel of professional photographers.

Besides its free, popular photo contest, BetterPhoto.com also offers a variety of services: digital camera reviews, online photo courses, free newsletters, a discussion forum, Web sites for photographers, question-and-answer section, how-to articles, photo galleries, and more.

Photographers can enter this month’s contest and learn more about photography at: www.BetterPhoto.



Woman burnt in kitchen mishap dies
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 12
A married Dalit woman of Akalgarh village in Ludhiana district, who had caught fire due to bursting of stove, succumbed to her injuries at a private hospital in Ludhiana.

As she had stated in her dying statement that nobody was responsible for the incident, the police handed over her body to her relatives after conducting a post-mortem and registering a report under Section 174 of the CrPC.

According to sources at Sudhar police station, Rachna (28), wife of Rakesh Kumar of Akalgarh, got burn injuries while working in her kitchen late last night. She was shifted to CMC Hospital in Ludhiana in a serious condition by her husband.

Relatives of the victim, including Rakesh Kumar, husband, Bachni, mother, and Lal Chand, father, stated before the police that she had caught fire when she was working in kitchen.

The police also confirmed that the deceased had submitted before the Duty Magistrate, Mr Jarnail Singh, that she had caught fire accidentally.



SDM holds grievances committee meeting
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 12
Stern action will be taken against encroachers on government land, SDM, Khanna, Mr Jaspal Mittal, said while addressing a grievances committee meeting here today.

Mr Mittal said complaints of illegal encroachments in various areas of the city and villages of the subdivision had been received. He said that notices had been issued to the encroachers of Libra and Ikolaha villages by the Block Development and Panchayat Department. He said now legal action would be taken against them. He directed the executive officer of the Khanna Municipal Council to remove the encroachment on both sides of the roads in the city.

Mr Mittal directed Block Development Officer to complete the photo identity voter card drive before the next meeting of the committee.

He directed the Assistant Food and Supplies Officer to solve the problems regarding LPG. He said Rs 6100 was being distributed to the beneficiaries after scrutiny of their income.



Revenue patwaris observe ‘sadbhavna divas’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 12
The Revenue Patwar Union, Punjab, today called upon the state government to accept the long-pending demands of revenue patwaris. Gurmel Singh, state president of the body, addressing a ‘sadbhavna divas’ function of the union at Old Tehsil Complex here today, demanded justice for the revenue staff.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, along with other district officials attended the function. The guests were felicitated by the functionaries of the union.

The function commenced with bhog of Sukhmani Sahib and kirtan recital by Baba Bhupinder Singh Dhakki Sahib Khasi Kalan Wale.

The organisational conference, which followed the function, was addressed by district president Kuldip Singh Mann, general secretary Balbir Singh Threeke, Balwinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh Chauhan, among others.



Sahota is MC chief
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, December 12
The Congress has become a well-organised and disciplined party to face any challenge from the Shiromani Akali Dal, asserted Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, today at a function organised by Municipal Council, Mandi Gobindgarh, to elevate Mr Jagmeet Singh Sahota as president for the remaining 30-month term of the council.

Mr Dullo appreciated the development of the town during the 30-month tenure of Mr Joginder Pal Singla, who has relinquished charge for Mr Sahota.



Employees’ union holds meeting
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 12
The Government Class IV Employees Union (Education Department) held its meeting in the park adjoining New Courts here today. The meeting was presided over by the president of the union, Mr Harbhajan Singh.

They discussed problems concerning the Class IV employees. They decried the appointment of watchmen looking after the security of schools at night in the schools imparting computer education. They demanded the cancellation of such appointments and suggested to appoint those persons employed under the Sarv Shikhya Abhiyan in computer schools to gaurd the computers.

Mr Harbhajan Singh and Mr Kaur Singh, secretary of the union, asked their collegues to be ready for struggle.



Three held on charge of wheat theft
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 12
The Sudhar police has arrested three persons and booked four others for allegedly stealing 26 quintal of wheat from godowns owned by PUNSUP at Halwara four days ago.

A total of 11.5 quintal of wheat, along with three horses and carts used in the crime, have also been recovered.

The persons arrested are Mukhtiar Singh and Balbir Singh, alias Nihang, of Raikot and their brother-in-law Raghbir Chand of Ahmedabad.

The police has booked Kalu and Jagta of Narnaul and Ram Sarup and Subhash of Rajasthan on the basis of information provided by those arrested.

According to the police, the gang, consisting of close relatives, had been active in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.



Four held on assault charge

Jagraon, December 12
The Raikot police has arrested four persons on the charge of assaulting a person of Dhalian village.

According to information available, Mukhtiar Singh, Karamjit Singh, Manpreet Singh, Kuldip Singh and Maghar Singh of Dhalian had assaulted Gurmit Singh of the same village with weapons.

On the statement of the injured, a case had been registered under Sections 323, 324, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

The injured was admitted to Civil Hospital, Ludhiana.

Barring Maghar, the police arrested the other four.

One held with opium

The police has arrested Gangadhar of Dadian in Rajasthan from the Kila Raipur area and seized 2.5 kg of opium from his possession.

A case has been registered under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act. — OC



Two killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Khamano, December 12
Two persons died on the spot and four others were seriously injured in a road accident on Ludhiana - Chandigarh road, near Ranwan village, involving three vehicles.

According to information at a Tata 709 Tempo collided head on with a loaded truck resulting in the death of Manjit Singh on the spot and injuring two others. After a few minutes a Mahindra Jeep hit the standing truck resulting in the death of Lalit, a resident of Solan while two persons sitting with him were injured seriously. the truck driver fled the spot and the police is looking for him.



Fast-food joints out to woo customers
Shivani Bhakoo
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 12
To meet the cut-throat competition in food industry and to woo customers, the fast-food joint owners in the city are trying it hard to bring-in variety, uniqueness and comfort at their restaurants.

‘Perception of consumers towards fast-food services’- a study conducted by Dhiraj Malhi and Vidhi Kapoor, MBA students of Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE) under the guidance of Mr Gautam Bansal revealed that all fast-food joints in the city had become air-conditioned and provided sit-in-service. To meet others in the line, a majority of them provide facilities of take away and home delivery.

More than 100 respondents were chosen to study the liking for major players in the market, including Dominos, Pizza Hut, Hot Millions, Mc Donald’s, Basant, Hot Breads, Nirulas, Wimpy’s, Kipps, One Happy Bean, Le Pizzeria, Burger King, Flavours and Cuisine Express. It was found that half of the restaurant owners had their own speciality items and had added more varieties in pizzas, burgers and snacks during the last one year.

The most common pricing policy of the fast food restaurants is cost-plus, although in some cases, value for money and competitive price also formed the basis for pricing policy. Prime location emerged as the major factor influencing the choice of site for setting up restaurants. Massive advertisement campaigns are conducted by almost half of the owners through newspapers/pamphlets. Offering discounts is the most common followed by promotional schemes to attract clientele.

A majority of customers suggested that restaurant owners should increase the variety and give due attention to the quality of fast food to curb complaints from customers since quality of food had a major influence on the choice of restaurants.

The respondents felt that efforts should be made to bring-down the prices so that frequency of visits could be increased and potential customers could be tapped. Since word of mouth referrals played a major role, so customer satisfaction and building reputation of the restaurants should be the prime concern of owners, suggested the study.



Unions to intensify stir against closure of units
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 12
The brewing discontent and unrest among labour organisations against the closure of two Hero group industrial units in the city might culminate into an intensified struggle against what the affected industrial work force described as repression let loose by the management against the workers.

In a press note issued here today, the Moulder and Steel Workers Union said a meeting of all like-minded trade unions, farmers and workers’ bodies and other sympathetic organisations had been convened here on December 14 to deliberate on the issue and chalk out strategy for a united struggle against the gross injustice inflicted upon the industrial workers of the two factories.

According to union activist Mohinder Singh, the closure of Highway Cycles and Rockman Cycle Industries, both Hero group companies, had pushed thousands of workers and their family members towards starvation. The management of these units had not only deprived their workers of employment but attacks were also made on their constitutional trade union rights.

The union expressed its serious concern over increasing trend of contractual labour and denial of due facilities to the permanent workers in the industrial capital of the state.

He alleged that the administration as well as the state government had failed to pay heed to the pathetic plight of the affected workers even after an extended agitation lasting for more than one a half month and large number of workers were still to receive their previous wages and other dues.

The proposed joint meeting of trade unions would also deliberate upon the detrimental economic policies of the government, including privatisation, attacks on trade union rights and exploitation of the working classes by the employers, the press note added.


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