P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Childhood desecrated
Madrasa administrator, maulvi booked for student’s torture
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, April 2
The police booked two persons, including an administrator and a maulvi teacher of a madrasa situated on the Khanna road, here today on the charge of illegal confinement and torture of a seven-year-old student. A case under Sections 342, 323, 506 and 34, IPC, was registered on the complaint of the mother of the child.

According to information, Shehnaz, wife of Hafiz Khan, a resident of Kacha Kot, here complianed to the police that she had admitted her child Mohammad Ishfaq to the local Madrasa Tamir-e-Seerat one-and-a-half months ago.

Yesterday evening when she visited the madrasa to take her child home for vacation, she found her child locked in a room and tortured by the administrator and teacher of the madrasa. She alleged that these persons used fire and lathis to torture the child. They even put an iron chain round his neck and locked him in the room.

Shehnaz demanded stern action against the persons responsible for the incident.

Malerkotla DSP Gurpreet Singh Sikand said the administrator and the teacher of the madrasa had been booked in this connection.

Meanwhile, Mufti Fuzailur-Rehman Hilal Usmani condemned the incident. 


Will sacrifice life to save Sarabjit: Burney
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
Newly fostered bonds between India and Pakistan, initiated with the release of Indian prisoner Kashmir Singh, may further bear fruits, even as Pakistani human rights activist and former minister Ansar Burney has announced that he would even sacrifice his life to save Sarabjit Singh, who has been lodged in Kot Lakhpat Rai Jail, Lahore, if concrete evidence is found to prove his innocence. Burney is a member of an advisory committee of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

After crossing over to India, along with his wife Begam Shaheen Burney and son at the Attari joint check-post, Burney advocated joint repatriation of prisoners of both countries who had been languishing in jails even after the completion of their sentence. However, he said he had no sympathy for the terrorists in any part of the world who killed innocent persons.

“I shall submit summary of the evidence collected from Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit, to the President of Pakistan”, he said. Burney had already urged the new government in Pakistan to consider converting Sarabjit’s death sentence into life imprisonment on “humanitarian grounds”. He said the request was being made as Sarabjit had “spent more than a life sentence on the death row in Pakistani jails”.

“At one time I had dropped the idea of visiting Bhikhiwind amid reports that there was division in the family of Sarabjit. However, I changed my mind on the request of public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia who opined that I must visit the place.”

To a question that second witness Shaukat Ali had denied the hand of Sarabjit in the bomb blasts in Pakistan in 1991 , Burney said he might also meet the eyewitness who turned hostile in this high-profile case. Shaukat, whose father was killed in the blast, had stated that he was asked to name Sarabjit as the person he had seen planting an explosive device in a cinema hall.

Meanwhile, Burney advocated opening of Wagah/Attari border like “ the fall of the Berlin Wall”. He said both countries should do away the visa system so that people could meet without any border hassles.

He expressed gratitude to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Majithia for extending him personal invitation to visit Amritsar and other parts of India.

Burney said he would meet the Prime Minister, union home minister and foreign minister during his itinerary to discuss the plight of prisoners of both countries.

It is reported that there are nearly 47 of them in Punjab’s high-security jails. They have even completed their sentence.

To a question, Burney said the Prisoners of War, lodged in Pakistani jails, should also be released at the earliest.

He said it was Majithia who was instrumental in sending all documents to the Pakistani authorities, required for the release of Kashmir Singh. He, however, rued that the statement given by Kashmir Singh that he was an Indian spy and had crossed the Radcliff Line had made his position dicey at home.

“The judges should take up the role of lawyers whenever they come across any case relating to hangings so that innocent persons should not die for want of evidence,” he said.

Quoting the Pakistan media, Burney said he was dubbed as “Sardar Burney Singh” when Kashmir announced that he was an Indian spy. “I myself knew that Kashmir was an Indian spy, but I worked to secure his release on humanitarian grounds because he had already spent 35 years in a death cell,” he said. He, however, said he would like to visit Kashmir Singh to see him leading a new life.


Ending hostility, his mission
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
Even as Ansar Burney has been receiving brickbats in Pakistan following the statement of Kashmir Singh that he was an Indian spy, he was accorded a warm welcome after he crossed over to this side of the border.

Public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia described Burney as a “messiah” for Indian prisoners who have been languishing in Pakistani jails despite completion of their sentences. His visit to India has rekindled hopes of their reunion with their relations in India.

Burney, who played a key role in the release of Indian prisoner Kashmir Singh, was elected unopposed a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s advisory committee.

“I have come to India with a hope to end hostility between both neighbouring countries”, he said. The human rights activist said instead of wasting money on defence, the same should be used for humanity. He was totally against the practice of hanging.

His visit has also rekindled the hopes of the families of Kirpal Singh, another Indian prisoner on the death row in the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, and many others.

Kirpal’s family members reached the border today to submit a memorandum to Burney. He was arrested in Pakistan in 1992 on the charges of espionage and involvement in a bomb blast that took place in Islamabad.

Meanwhile, addressing mediapersons, Majithia said it was a matter of pleasure that Burney was elected unopposed member of the Geneva-based UN advisory committee.

Burney, who recently served as Pakistan’s caretaker minister for human rights, is also the chairman of the Ansar Burney Trust.

Burney, who belongs to Karachi, had established the trust in 1980. It is the first organisation to introduce true human rights in Pakistan. 


He kept waiting for Pak ex-minister
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
Pakistani prisoner Mukhtar Ahmad has been harbouring a wish to meet Ansar Burney, human rights activist from Pakistan. He hoped his wish would come true during Burney’s visit to the city, and consequently to the jail. But his wish remained unfulfilled with there being no mention of jail on Burney’s itinerary.

Mukhtar, who has been lodged in the high-security Central Jail here, was hoping to present his case through Burney to the authorities across the border for his early release.

A resident of border village of Tattara Kambal in Kasur district of Pakistan, Mukhtar is among the 47 prisoners lodged in the jail. All of them have almost completed their jail terms for various offences. Earlier too, officials from the Pakistani Embassy had met about 20 prisoners and taken down their names and addresses, but none of then bothered to meet Mukhtar, who had completed his sentence about 11 years ago. The Indian government has been paying Rs 100 as daily allowance on the humanitarian grounds to all these prisoners.

About seven years ago, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on a petition filed by the International Human Rights Protection Council, had ordered for the release of these prisoners. Even though the Indian government wants to release them, apathetic approach of the Pakistani Embassy has been a hurdle in their repatriation.

Jail superintendent S.P. Singh said he had not received any representation from the Pakistani prisoner for meeting Burney as most of them were illiterate and possibly did not know about his visit to the holy city. He did not even got any information about Burney’s visit to the jail.

Mukhtar had been arrested by the BSF after he crossed over to this side of the border in Mamdot sector of the Ferozepur area in 1987. He had been sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment on the charges of spying and smuggling that he completed in October, 1997. Even the jail authorities had sent him twice for consular access to Jaipur in 1998 and 2000. But embassy officials did not meet him. He has been receiving letters from his wife Shamim, sons Istikhar and Hazaz and daughter Sahiye of and on.


Restore our share in UT admn, Badal to PM
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
In a tough stance on various issues related to the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to restore Punjab’s 60 per cent share of employees in the Union Territory as envisaged in the State Reorganisation Act of 1966. Punjab wants its officers on deputation be given prime posts as was the case in 60s and 70s.

Opposing the creation of the UT cadre at the cost of Punjab employees, Badal has urged the Prime Minister to correct the imbalance created in various government departments because of the creation of the new cadre. As Punjab has been hit because of the creation of UT cadre, Badal has asked the Prime Minister state should be given due share in administrative functions and other spheres in the UT.

There is a feeling in the ruling party circles steadily Punjab’s has been marginalised in the administrative set- up of the UT. Most of the Punjab officers, who go to UT administration on deputation, are given less important posts. Though the post of the SSP of the UT is with Punjab but over the years the SSP’s post has virtually become unimportant because almost all powers in Chandigarh now are vested in the police officer of the rank of the IG, who is from the UT cadre.

Earlier, Punjab’s officer on deputation in the UT used to have a decisive say in the Education Department but it is not so now. All important posts in the Education Department of the Chandigarh are now with the officers, who do not belong to Punjab.

At one stage, even the Union government had planned to post the officer of the UT cadre as SSP at Chandigarh. However, the move was stopped following Badal took up the matter with the Prime Minister and the union home minister. Over the years, several changes in the master plan of the Chandigarh have been made without taking Punjab into confidence. As Punjab has been claiming Chandigarh belonged to it and Haryana is also laying claim over it, no one from the UT administration has bothered to take into confidence the governments of both states while taking vital decision with regard to the future planning of Chandigarh.

At various places green belt has been converted into habitation. Whereas the UT administration has been meddling in the affairs of Punjab such as the development of the periphery in the state zone but no effort has been made by it discuss issues related to Chandigarh with the Punjab government.


Suicide attempt by peasant family, 1 dead
Mahesh Sharma

Machhiwara, April 2
A peasant family of Kariana village, near here, attempted suicide after Nihang Virsa Singh, who had come to prevent eviction from panchayat land they had been cultivating for years, fell unconscious due to alleged police thrashing and stabbing by unknown persons.

While Som Nath, head of the family, was reported brought dead at a private hospital at Doraha village, the condition of others, including the Nihang and deceased’s wife Surinder Kaur, was stated to be serious. Number of persons who consumed poison was yet to be confirmed.

Sources revealed Som had been tilling four acres of panchayat land for many years. The land was auctioned to another farmer Amarjit Singh this year and was to be handed over to him after reaping present crop.

Failing to convince the panchayat office-bearers, the peasant family called Virsa Singh of Meonwal village for help. The Nihang erected the Nishan Sahib and a hut in the land in the morning today after which the panchayat reported the matter to the police.

Virsa allegedly attacked the police party when the latter tried to remove his belongings from the venue. This infuriated the cops, who allegedly thrashed everyone who came their way. According to eyewitness, it was a free-for-all for some time after which Virsa got hurt with a sickle. 


PAU can’t use grant to pay pension: Govt
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, April 2
Though the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) authorities have started paying pension to its former employees through a fund set up with a part of the recent grant of Rs 20 crore, the Punjab government is understood to have told it to make its own arrangements to provide pension to its retirees.

The government had sanctioned Rs 20 crore as special grant to PAU, besides Rs 10 crore to Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University for strengthening research activities. The state financial commissioner (Development) was reported to have told PAU vice-chancellor Manjit Singh Kang that he could use his discretion to disburse the pension to the retirees out of the special grant. The retirees have received pension for November, December and January.

At the annual budget meeting of the board of management of PAU held on March 27 at Mohali, the financial commissioner opposed the payment of pension to the retirees out of the Rs 20 crore and maintained that the grant was meant to strengthen PAU. He told the meeting that the government was not ready to take the responsibility of paying pension to the university retirees and PAU had to make its own arrangements for the pension fund.

Board members, particularly non-official ones, pointed out that the university had no means to mobilise Rs 3 crore every month for the retirees and the state government could not absolve itself of the responsibility of meeting the pension liability of the university.

Dr Kang said they would release pension up to March out of the special grant money.

“We cannot hold a magic show to raise funds to meet the financial commitment,” he said, adding that he would meet the Chief Minister to press him for enhanced financial aid to PAU.

“We had asked for Rs 133 crore as state grant for the 2008-2009 budget, but we got only Rs 100 crore, which will only meet the salary component. Haryana Agricultural University was getting Rs 171 crore from the state government. Our contribution to the national food pool was higher than the Haryana university,” he added.

Dr Manjit Singh Mahal, president, Punjab Agricultural Teachers Association, said PAU was a state-funded university and the government must come to its rescue.


Ban on Turban
SGPC seeks Burney’s help
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
The SGPC here today urged Ansar Burney, a member of the advisory committee, United Nations Human Rights Council, for help in finding a lasting solution to the turban issue in France. The issue was taken up with him after Burney paid obeisance at the Golden Temple along with his wife and son.

Burney’s wife, Begum Shaheen, assured the SGPC that since women in Pakistan too wear scarf, she could understand the sentiments of Sikhs and pledged support on the issue. “People in Pakistan, especially women, can relate to this issue and we hope it is resolved soon,” she said on behalf of her husband.

Handing over a detailed note on the turban issue to Burney, along with supporting documents, SGPC secretary Harbeant Singh told him that the issue pertains to the human rights of scores of Sikhs settled across the world. Being a member of the UN Rights Council, he could use his influence in tackling the issue, the secretary added.

Meanwhile, Burney said he cherished the visit to the Golden Temple as he was intrigued by the story of a Sikh Guru spending all money given to him by his father to start a business for the welfare of poor people.

“This sums up the love for humanity. For me personally, the Golden Temple is a symbol of humanity,” he said. Burney was presented with a replica of the Golden Temple by the SGPC. 


He ‘served’ nation, but got a raw deal
Former spy seeks salary for period he spent in Pak jails
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
In yet another case, the country “failed” to look after the family of a secret service agent, on death row in Pakistan after being caught by the rangers while “serving nation”.

In a letter to Justice Ranjit Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Omkar Nath Budhwar of Faridkot alleged that the government did not even hand over the salary to his parents, while he was facing death sentence in Pakistani jails.

The letter has again brought to the fore the need for coming out with a comprehensive policy to rehabilitate and look after the families of agents and soldiers crossing border for collecting vital information. Only recently, Kashmir Singh’s wife Paramjit Kaur had alleged that for 30 years she had not received even a single penny from the government.

Claiming to have been recruited as an agent in the Intelligence Bureau way back in October, 1968, Budhwar said twice he managed to return after crossing over to Pakistan. But, the third time while he was crossing back to India on December 24, 1968, the Pakistani rangers caught him at Jajjat Sarhu checkpoint. He, subsequently, had to undergo 18 months interrogation at Lahore Shahi Fort and was later detained for over two years in different jails. In October, 1972, he was awarded death sentence after a long trial in the sessions court and was transferred to Jehlam district jail.

He returned to India after there was a general exchange of spies of both the countries on December 9, 1974. “Surprisingly”, he came to know from his parents that even the salary for his services was not handed over to his family during his absence, even though he was the sole breadwinner.

Budhwar added while he was discharging his duties as an agent at the cost of his life, his family was left unattended and was at the verge of starvation. In his letter now placed before a Division Bench of Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, Budhwar added salary for six years he spent on duty should be handed over to him. His children, especially his son, may also be adjusted in government service.

After going through the letter, now being treated as a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the Bench issued notice of motion to the State of Punjab and fixed April 23 as the next date of hearing in the matter.


Physician’s concern for mother tongue
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
Will the third generation of Punjabi immigrants forget the language of their forefathers in 50 years as predicted by an American linguist ? This question has been raised in a survey of the Punjabi language by Dr Harshindar Kaur, a paediatrician at Government Medical College, Patiala.

In India too, Punjabi faces threat of extinction in many parts, because many higher class people have started abandoning it. She says many of the third generation Punjabi immigrants have never visited Punjab and hence will forget it. Dr Harshinder Kaur’s concern assumes significance as she feels the world’s languages are disappearing at the rate of one a fortnight.

The survey “Maan Boli - Ik Doctri Drishtikon” (Mother tongue: A doctor’s perspective) has raised the above apprehensions about the future of Punjabi following a Unesco report on languages which reads: “Most languages disappear because their speakers voluntarily abandon them”.

The eight articles of Dr Harshinder Kaur are an eye-opener. The first of the eight write-ups is on the impact of language on child’s mind. She feels concerned about the pitiable condition of Punjabi which she claims is older than English. She attributes the present state of affairs to indifference by so-called upper class and all concerned.

Dr Harshinder Kaur is WHO and UNICEF certified trainer and life member of 11 paediatric societies. Her research papers were published in national and international journals. She has also presented papers at national and international conferences.

She has published five books and two are in the press. Earlier, she wrote books on heart diseases, “Sade Bachche Sade Chirag”, “Bachian Dian Manovigyanik Samasiavan Te Ilaj” and “Bachian Bare Gyan Vigyan Te Manovigyan”. Her survey on mother tongue, brought out by Singh Brothers, will be released in New Zealand on April 13 to mark Baisakhi for which she has been invited there. Her sixth book on female foeticide is being published by the SGPC, Amritsar, and another book of children stories is under publication titled as “Dactar Massi Dian Kahaniyan”.

A recipient of the Punjab State Award (August 15, 2006) for social work, female foeticide prevention and professional excellence, and the SGPC award Faqr-e-Quom for work on preventing female foeticide. She is the only doctor to receive this award. She was also honoured by the Governor of Haryana. 


ITBP forced to cancel expedition to Everest
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has been forced to cancel its 28-membered ambitious mountaineering expedition to Mount Everest later this month. A communication with regard to no official clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for the mountaineering expedition reached the ITBP in the third week of March.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Harbhajan Singh, team leader, confirmed the postponement of the expedition. He said Olympic Games in China had been quoted as the reason for denial of permission. The permission had been denied to teams the world over. It is learnt that the flame for the Olympics will also go to the Everest summit. In case, mountaineering trips commence after the Olympics, later this year, it will be too late to have suitable weather conditions.

Harbhajan Singh, Deputy Inspector-General (DIG), Jammu, said, "Following reports about the teams not being allowed to go on the expedition this year, we had taken up the case with our seniors who pursued the matter with the MEA. However, the MEA has turned down our request citing China as the reason".

Harbhajan said, "We have only postponed the expedition. We will now plan our trip next March. My team will keep up regular exercises to stay fit. Postponement of a trip at the last moment is definitely disheartening, but postponement does not mean a permanent cancellation. We shall conquer the Everest next year".

Besides other team members, the officers on the list finalised for the trip included Prem Singh, Commanding Officer, Devinder Singh, second-in-command, S.R.Simre, assistant commandant, and Dr Jaiveer Singh, medical officer.

A senior officer said, "It is also felt that the Tibetan unrest in China could be another major reason why expeditions were denied entry in the country to scale Mt Everest. Our team members feel demotivated because they have spent almost a year on special training sessions. Mt Everest is not just another adventure sport. The expedition means conquering the tallest mountain in the world, which has an innate sense of pride attached to the event and maybe a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Waiting for another year will, be indeed, very long". 


Megha’s kin want life term for husband
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, April 2
The family of Capt Megha Razdan of 113 Engineer Regiment breathed a sigh of relief after it received information that Chaitanya Bhatwadekar, husband of Captain Razdan, had been arrested by the Jammu police for driving her to suicide.

A resident of the Ambedkar Nagar locality, Captain Razdan was found hanging from the ceiling of her official residence in Jammu on July 1 last year. She and her husband, from with the same unit, were posted in Jammu. They lived in separate accommodations.

Members of her family had accused senior Army officials of forcing their daughter to commit suicide.

Talking to The Tribune, her mother Shailja Razdan said though they were satisfied with the investigations in the case by the Jammu police, they wanted stern action should be taken against the culprits.

“We do not seek hanging for Captain Bhatwadekar. We want that he should be given life imprisonment so that he could feel the pain behind the bars with each passing day,” said a shattered mother, holding back tears.

Basically residents of Delhi, the couple, along with their two daughters, had shifted to Pathankot long ago. After joining defence forces, Captain Razdan fell in love with Captain Bhatwadekar and they tied the knot in September 29, 2006.


Change Jail Act of British era: DGP
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 2
Director- general of police (prisons),Punjab Mohammad Izhar Alam has recommended to Punjab government to replace existing Prison Act, 1894 for mending, reforming and rehabilitating prisoners in jails of the state.

After visiting central jail here today after recent violence, Alam told reporters a proposal to replace the existing prison act with the Punjab Prison and Correctional Home Act had been made to the government. He was accompanied by DIG (Jails) Jagjit Singh, superintendent Jalandhar jail Gursharan Singh Sidhu and assistant superintendent Lalit Kohli.

To a query, Alam said video- conferencing facility would be installed in three - Ludhiana, Barnala and Sangrur jails in a year, whereas two modern jails which were to be constructed in Kapurthala and Faridkot districts would also have the same facility.

Admitting nexus between some jail staff and section of prisoners in providing the latter drugs and mobile phones in jails, Alam said several members of the jail staff and prisoners had already been shifted to different state jails to break the nexus.

To a question, he said exact cause of recent violence would be known after the report of magisterial inquiry being conducted by ADC (G) S.P.S. Marar. At the same time, he said the jail staff and the prisoners responsible for recent violence would also be shifted to different jails after identifying them.

Alam said earlier there was legal hitch in booking the jail inmates found with drugs as there was condition for registering a case against them that they should be caught in the presence of either a DSP or a magistrate. Now after discussing the matter with Punjab Police officials, it was decided cases would be registered against those prisoners who would be caught with drugs even without in the absence of any DSP or magistrate.

Simlarly there was no provision in law to register a case against the prisoners found with mobile phone inside jails. Now it was decided those prisoners and those persons in whose names these connections had been issued would be booked for cheating under Sections 420 of the IPC, he added.

He claimed medical facilities in the jails were much better than those provided to an average Indian. Further, he said the foundation stones of Kapurthala and Fardikot jails would be laid in three-four months. He refused comments on grievances of the prisoners.


Panel to ascertain genuineness of Guru’s armour
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, April 2

Even though Sotheby’s, one of the biggest auction houses of London, has announced that the rare body armour did not belong to the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) here today has constituted a six-member committee to ascertain the genuineness of the relic.

The six members of the committee are Dr Jasdev Singh Rai of the UK, Baba Mohinder Singh of Nishkam Seva, UK, Dr Kharak Singh, Chandigarh, Dr Gurnek Singh and Dr Sukhdayal Singh of Punjabi University, Patiala, and Dr B.S. Dhillon.

Earlier, SGPC president Avtar Singh had sent a missive to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with copies to the UK High Commission, to halt the auction of the rare body armour believed to be that of the 10th Sikh Guru. The rare relic is kept in the Sotheby’s museum where it is planned to be auctioned on April 9.

SGPC secretary Harbeant Singh said the members would coordinate to ascertain whether the armour belonged to Guru Gobind Singh or not. The members would visit London for the purpose, he added.


Arhtiya-CM meeting on April 7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
As per the existing government notification government agencies are bound to make payment direct to farmers by cheque for wheat or other foodgrains purchased, but sources said the state government would have a meeting with the Association of Arhtiyas of Punjab on April 7 to discuss the issue further.

As the official procurement of wheat began yesterday, payment to farmers is supposed to be made by cheque in the next few days.

Confirming the meeting, Ravinder Singh Cheema, president of the association, said his organisation was to meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the issue of payment by cheque, loading and unloading by the labour engaged by arhtiyas instead of contractors and certain other issues.

He said at the conference of commission agents at Moga, Badal had promised it would be left to farmers whether they wanted payment direct by cheque from the procurement agency or in cash through the commission agents as was the practice. In the past, procurement agencies used to make payment to commission agents, who used make payment in cash to farmers by encashing the cheque. However, there were organisations, including the Punjab Farmers Commission, that had impressed upon the government for direct payment to farmers.

Cheema said the state government had made a commitment that the payment would left to the choice of farmers. However, as per the existing notification, payment to farmers by payees account cheque was mandatory.


‘Harassed’ by arhtiya, farmer kills himself
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 2
Farmer Pargat Singh (22) son of Hakam Singh, resident of Janal village, 4 km from Dirba, today allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance in his field.

The police said it had registered a case against an arhtiya of Dirba mandi and his friend under Section 306 of the IPC as relatives of the deceased had alleged the arhtiya had been harassing the deceased on account of money matters, due to which the deceased had been tense.


Join drive against female foeticide: CJ
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Nagri (Sangrur), April 2
Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijender Jain today called upon people to join campaign launched by Judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court against female foeticide in a big way. He also said there was a dire need to change the mindset of people to work against female foeticide and for this “we have miles to go”.

Chief Justice Jain was addressing the annual day and prize distribution function at Multani Mal College of Education here today.

Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Mr Justice R.S. Randhawa were also present. Former vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences L.S. Chawla also spoke.


Randhawa refutes allegations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Refuting the reports of allegation of corruption against him, former parliamentary secretary during Amarinder regime Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said here today that he was prepared to face any investigation and would not seek any anticipatory bail. He said he was not involved in any corruption.

“I have nothing to hide and my political career is clean. All allegations of corruption against me were baseless and attempt to tarnish my image,” he said.


HC: Infidelity not abetment to suicide
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Your spouse’s decision of committing suicide because of your alleged infidelity may not send you behind the bars. In a new significant ruling, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that the abetment to suicide cannot be imputed if the conduct of any spouse is not up to the expectations of the other and it results in the commission of suicide.

The ruling by Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia of the high court comes on a revision petition filed by the state of Punjab against the discharge of Nawanshahr resident Kamaljit Kaur, alias Bholi, and another. Bholi was accused of abetting her husband and son to commit suicide.

Taking up the matter, Justice Ahluwalia ruled: “Every husband or wife may not be living a life of virtue. The conduct of a spouse, if not up to the expectations of the other spouse, results in the commission of suicide by the other, abetment of suicide cannot be imputed to the other spouse.”

Elaborating, Justice Ahluwalia added: “Suspicion by one spouse regarding the moral character of another, if it leads to the commission of the offence of suicide, to say that the other is guilty of abetment will be of far reaching consequences.”

Accused Bholi and Surinder Kumar were facing trial in a case registered in 1994 at Nawanshahr police station under Section 306 of the IPC after Paramjit Singh and son Amritpal’s bodies were found near a maize field on August 27, 1994. Before committing suicide, they had left a note stating that wife Bholi was a woman of bad character.

Jalandhar’s Sessions Judge, while discharging the respondents, had observed: “It cannot be disputed that charges can be framed merely on strong suspicion and the evidence at the time of framing charges is not be considered meticulously. But I am of the considered opinion that the circumstances of the case are such as, possibly, it cannot be stated that a prima facie case is made out against the accused within the meaning of Section 306 of the IPC.”

Acting on the petition against the Sessions Judge’s orders, Justice Ahluwalia observed: “Abetment can be either by instigation or by intentional aid or illegal omission of doing a thing. So far as the death of the child is concerned, it has to be assumed that Paramjit Singh, his father, had killed him by administering aluminium phosphide. There is nothing to show if any the accused was present at the time of the commission of suicide.

The Judge added: “For argument’s sake, if it may be taken that the wife is a woman of easy virtue, even then it cannot be stated that if she had instigated or had aided the commission of suicide.

“The husband might be feeling harassed or mentally disturbed with the alleged illicit relations of his wife, but harassment and the mental disturbance do not constitute the offence of abetment to commit suicide.”

“It looks that the deceased husband was unable to control his wife and he out of frustration had not only committed suicide, but had also snuffed out the life of his son”.

The Judge concluded: “I am of the firm view that from the facts of the case no prima facie case is made out against the accused. The conduct of the wife of the deceased though may be the conduct of a bad wife, but was not for the purpose to incite the husband to commit suicide.”


Allotment of Liquor Vends 
Notice to Punjab, Ponty Chadha group 
 Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Taking up a petition filed by two Punjab MLAs for setting aside the allotment of liquor vends to the Chadha group, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued a notice of motion to the state of Punjab and others.

The group is reportedly managed by liquor baron Ponty Chadha and Inderpreet Chadha.

In the petition placed before a Division Bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Jaswant Singh, MLAs Harhohinder Singh and Avtar Singh had also sought directions for ordering an inquiry into the irregularities committed in the allotment of vends in the state for 2008-09.

The summoning of the entire liquor vend allotment record has also been asked for. Describing the allotment process as “illegal”, the petitioners contended that it was also in violation of the excise policy for 2008-09, Punjab Excise Act 1914 and the Punjab Liquor Licences Rules, 1956.

Arguing the case, senior counsel Mohan Jain submitted that manipulation was done by replacing the cheques with demand drafts once the allotment was through. For example, if 30 applications were submitted by this group, only one had the required bid fee in the form of a draft, all other remaining applications had annexed cheques instead to maximise the benefit in allotment.

The state government and the Chadha group have been given seven days to file reply. The case has been fixed for arguments on April 24.

Stay on Virk’s arrest extended

Acting on a blanked bail petition filed by Punjab’s former DGP S.S. Virk, Justice H.S. Bhalla today extended directions against his arrest till April 9.

Virk, in his petition, had earlier sought pre-arrest bail or the issuance of 10 days’ advance notice in any case likely to be registered against him in the state by any wing of the Punjab Police.

Virk had asserted he could not expect the Vigilance Bureau to act independently and in a professional manner. Elaborating, he said it was abundantly clear the state was determined to refashion the Vigilance Bureau as per its own vested agenda. It was for the first time in over 15 years that an important wing of the police was under the total control of an IGP rank officer.


Teachers to boycott varsity exams
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) and the Government College Teachers Union (GCTU) have decided to boycott the annual examinations by three universities in the state on April 8 in protest against the non-acceptance of their demands.

In a joint press note to the media here today, Dr Kuldeep Singh, general secretary, PCCTU, and Prof Jaipal Singh, president, GCTA, said they had decided on the boycott of examinations to be conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University, Punjabi University, and Panjab University beginning next week. They said the government had failed to meet their demands promised six months ago.

They added that if the government failed to meet their demands, they would intensify the stir. They have also sought support of the Principals’ Federation and Non-teaching Unions for the protest.


Allow corporates to procure wheat: Farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Farmers from Punjab and Haryana today staged a demonstration in the city in protest against the decision of the Centre to ban corporates from procuring wheat from their states.

Led by Sharad Joshi, MP, and Bhupinder Mann, a BKU leader from Haryana, the farmers rued that though the price of wheat had shot up to Rs 1,600 per quintal in the international market, the government was forcing them to sell their produce at the minimum support price of Rs 1,000 per quintal.

Hundreds of farmers gathered at Sector 34 and marched towards the Parade Ground, Sector 17.

Addressing the farmers, Joshi said the government was more concerned about maintaining the food security but least concerned about the problems of farmers.

“Why should the farmers suffer losses by selling their produce at lower rates to the government agencies. The market forces, and not politics, should be allowed to rule,” he said.

Mann said the government was expecting the total wheat production to reach 250 lakh metric tonnes from Punjab and Haryana. He said by selling at a loss of Rs 600 per quintal, the farmers from these states would suffer a loss of Rs 1,500 crore. He said another protest would be held at Kurukshetra on April 21.


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