|Tuesday, July 4, 2000,
Four-year-old child sacrificed to fulfil
Sahnewal, July 3 It was a murder committed in the most foul manner to fulfil the wish of a beloved and win her over.
A four year old boy, Deepa, was hacked to death as a human sacrifice by self-styled Baba Om Prakash and his friend and room-mate Shankar in order to help their beau Tara please the Gods and fulfill her wish for a male child.
It is learnt that the two men were having a sordid affair with Tara, whose hutment was next to the one occupied by the men. The conspiracy to find a suitable human sacrifice was going on for some time. The three accused, seeing Deepa alone around 1.00 a.m. on the intervening night of July 1 and 2, kidnapped him. All the other residents of the jhuggis were either asleep at that time or were watching a movie on a VCR in one of the hutment's.
The SHO of the Sahnewal police station, Mr J.S.Khera, revealed that "our investigations have shown that the victim had gone out to answer the call of nature around 1.00 a.m.and the two men, who were allegedly enjoying their drinks, saw him and decided that he was most suitable for the sacrifice. The two then caught hold of him and after taking Tara along went to the fields. There the three first gagged the child and then pricked the body of the child to draw out the blood. However, when sufficient blood could not be drawn out, they decided to cut his throat. After this, the three then collected the blood in a vessel so that Tara could drink it and also bathe with this blood. However, when Tara had just drunk the blood and was about to bathe in blood they saw some commotion in the colony and left in a hurry".
Meanwhile, the father of the deceased, Rajpal, got worried and approached the Sahnewal police in the morning. He also expressed his reservations about the three accused also being missing. The police soon dispatched police parties in all directions and a massive manhunt was launched. The three were then found at the Doraha railway station while planning to flee to UP. The police then brought them to a brick-kiln and the accused then led them to the body after confessing to have murdered him.
The public ire at this crime was so much that while the police was stranded with the accused near a closed level crossing, more than a hundred persons gathered there and demanded that the accused be handed over to them. However, the police managed to get them out and later a case under Sections 304 and 34 of the IPC was registered.
It is learnt that all the accused as well as the deceased were labourers hailing from various districts of UP and working at the brich-kiln at Katani Kalan village. The accused Baba was respected in this labour colony and was often giving residents possible divine solutions for their misfortunes.
It is alleged that Tara, who is married and has three daughters aged two, three and four years , was desperate for a male child. She had allegedly been involved with Shankar, who is also her brother-in-law, for the past few months. She later also started an affair with Om Prakash and began pestering him to use his divine powers to help her.
Says Om Prakash, "Aurat de peechche pagal ho gaya si. I had heard a Baba in my native Rustumpur village in UP say that killing a child and then drinking and bathing with the blood of a young boy helped one conceive a male child. So, the three of us decided to go ahead with this plan," he said regretfully.
distraught father of the deceased, Rajpal, when contacted
by TNS said that he did not have any enmity with the
accused and that he, in fact, respected the Baba.
"Had it not been my son, it would have been someone
else's child", he said ruing his fate.
Mughal Sarai, pride of Doraha
Sahnewal, July 3 Doraha village, situated to the south of the Ludhiana-Khanna road, has a rich past. The Mughal Sarai, the symbol of our ancient glory, stands in the heart of the village. Built by Sher Shah Suri in the 17th century AD, it was, as the name suggests, a much sought after place for rest by the fatigued travellers.
It is a beautiful sarai of approximately 168 square metre. There are imposing gateways in the centre on the northern and southern sides. These are pointed on the inner sides. The northern gate has remains of floral designs while the southern gate has floral and formal paintings. Both the gateways are connected by a kutcha pathway. The northern and southern sides of the sarai have 20 rooms each and the eastern and western sides have 30 rooms each with a suite of three rooms in the centre.
On the north-east corner of the sarai, there are some rooms which might have been a hammam. Many rooms have ceilings specially designed for light and ventilation. The walls and the ceilings of these rooms were richly painted with designs executed in bright colours, the traces of which still exist.
Each corner of the sarai comprises a central room. All the rooms as well as galleries are provided with slanting ventilators. On the western half of the sarai, now in ruins, is a mosque with a dome. There is also a single storey structure adjoining the northern wall of the mosque, now in ruins, probably meant for the the mullah's residence.
The big compound is now being maintained as a lawn by the Department of Archaeology. The sarai is protected under the Punjab Ancient and Historical Movements Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1964. The fashion of decorating buildings with coloured designs and glazed tiles was prevalent particularly during the reigns of Jahangir and Shahjehan. The Doraha sarai also seems to have been constructed during the period.
But for a few inquisitive PhD research scholars and Muslim devotees, this abandoned sarai has little significance for the dwellers around. On a casual visit to the place, one finds a small group of uninterested people playing cards, fatigued worker resting under the shade of a tree, a gardner doing his job. At the very entrance is a defaced notice board that defies the instructions written on it. It warns a penalty of Rs 5,000 or three years' rigorous imprisonment to anyone who destroys, removes or impairs any part of the sarai . The inside story is revealed when one notices the debris of the crumbled ancient monument crashing each day with the onslaughts of time.
Having been reconstructed to some extent in 1990, the sarai gives a general impression of lack of any maintenance and upkeep. The grand historical compound now being altered and given the form of big lawns is perfectly maintained but the building speaks of neglect and apathy on the part of the government and the public at large.
From the time the government took over the control of the sarai, one chowkidar and four upkeepers have been employed for its maintenance. A weekly round of the in charge-cum-instructor has also been made obligatory. But this is not sufficient.
Mr Barjinder Singh, a villager, expressed the view that "officers pay visits, try to keep up what already is left but the process is very slow. Some immediate remedy must be provided."
According to Mr S.S. Chauhan, Archaeological Engineer, "Planning becomes lopsided in the absence of sound financial support. It is not a government project alone. The people should come forward and do what they can do for this monument. The department is launching schemes in which donations from people regarding the preservation of these monuments would be invited. Various incentives like income tax rebate etc would be provided in return,"
Mr Bhajan Singh, in charge of the sarai, said, "People nowadays have little time from their busy pursuits to think about what remains of our past today. Just 5 per cent of people show some sort of interest in these historical monuments. Individual efforts of any department come to a naught in the absence of general support. On the other hand, collaboration between various departments is a must. A transformer, just in front of the main entrance, has not been removed till now, in spite of the repeated requests and reminders to the PSEB."
Stone of sewerage project for Haibowal
LUDHIANA, July 3 Akali Dal (B) leader and Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board Mal Singh Ghuman laid the foundation stone of the Rs 45 lakh sewerage project in the Haibowal Kalan locality in here on Sunday. Speaking on the occasion, he said with the completion of the project in three months, the problems being faced by the residents in the disposal of sewerage water would be overcome.
He claimed that the SAD (B)-BJP government in the state was going strong and it would not only complete its full term but would go on to win the next elections as well. Criticising certain dissidents and rebel Akali Dal groups, he said their efforts to dislodge the government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal would prove futile.
Responding to the demands put forth by Mrs Manjeet Kaur Gogi, councillor of the area, Mr Ghuman announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for a building of the government middle school and another Rs 75,000 for a cremation ground.
Mr S.S. Jandu, Superintending Engineer (O and M) of the municipal corporation, said that work on the project would be completed within the scheduled period.
The function was
attended, among others by Akali Dal Youth Wing activist
Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Akali Dal circle Dakha
jathedar Mr Gagan Parkash Singh Bhanohar, Councillors
Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia and Mr Kashmir Singh
Shira, Sarpanch, Mr Baljit Singh, Sarpanch, Mr Naib
Singh, and social worker Mr Bhupinder Singh Gogi.
Begging syndicates operating in city
Ludhiana, July 3 Until a few years ago, Guddi Bai and her husband were poor farm hands somewhere in Chattarpur district of Rajasthan, when a tragedy struck them.
Sheer deprivation drove her husband to insanity as they were not getting any regular work. She was left with no other alternative than to arrive here in the city, somehow or the other, and beg.
Now everyday, she sits outside the Sheetla Mata Temple at Mata Rani Chowk with her three little children, two girls and a boy, looking for alms, where there is no dearth of charity. Well-to-do businessmen and rich, kind women come to the temple with ample food for the horde of alms-seekers hanging around the temple.
Guddi Bai gestures towards her children to indicate that she needs more and she is instantly understood. All she hopes now is that one day the children would grow up to beg on their own.
Visit any temple in the city that is frequented by a large number of devotees and you can see that the menace of begging has assumed alarming proportions.
Tuesday evenings are special, not only for the professional 'begging kids' but for many kids belonging to middle-class families as well, who wait outside various temple just for a fistful of sweet badana. Some of them merrily chant Jai Bajrang Bali.
But of late, the professional kids have started cajoling car owners at crossings into giving them some money. These are the children of migrants living in slums who find it more profitable to push them into begging than spending on their education. All of them are not so destitute as they pretend to be. It is only a minority of them who have taken to begging as the last refuge.
On the top of all this, there are reports of begging syndicates operating in the city. Informed sources tell that children are 'hired out' on a daily wage basis.
That reminds me of an early 70's movie Chand Aur Bijli in which children are forced into the humiliating business of begging against their wishes by the cruel and greedy villain, played by Jeewan. That was really horrible.
Experts caution against spurious cattle feed
LUDHIANA, July 3 Animal nutrition experts in Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here have cautioned the dairy farmers against spurious and substandard cattle feed being sold in the market which had adversely affected the milk production in the state.
A senior nutritionist of the PAU, Dr B.K. Gupta, said at the monthly meeting of the extension review committee held here today that almost 80 per cent of cattle feed samples collected by extension specialists of the university from different districts of Punjab were found to be substandard under the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specifications.
The BIS specifications, said Dr Gupta, provided that cattle feed should have a minimum 20 per cent crude protein, whereas most of 136 cattle feed samples collected from all over the state were found to be containing 12 to 16 per cent crude protein. The study conducted by the PAU experts concluded that cattle feed manufacturers were using deoiled rice bran instead of oilcakes.
To overcome the problem, the PAU experts have advised the dairy farmers to buy all ingredients from the market and prepare the cattle feed themselves. The use of substandard cattle feed would lead to a drop in the milk production of the dairy animals, they pointed out.
The PAU Director of
Extension, Dr Jaspinder Singh Kolar, who presided over
the meeting informed that the dairy farmers could have
detailed information on cattle feed from the Animal
Nutrition Department in the PAU. The same can also be had
from the farm advisory service centres or krishi vigyan
kendras at the regional research stations of the
Rally by DYC activists
LUDHIANA, July 3 District Youth Congress (DYC) workers, led by their President, Mr Pawan Diwan today organised a demonstration and sat on dharna in the busy Clock Tower Chowk here demanding an immediate ban on the Bajrang Dal and other militant outfits of the Sangh Parivar, holding them responsible for atrocities against minorities, especially Christians all over the country.
The protesters also condemned the demand for autonomy raised by the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, and warned the government that the move could have far-reaching ramifications with more and more states, including Punjab following suit with similar demands. They also called upon the Union Government to order unconditional release of the IYC President, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, and others, who were arrested during a peaceful demonstration at Delhi on June 30.
The Youth Congress workers, carrying banners and placards, marched in procession from District Congress Committee office to the Clock Tower, where they squatted for quite some time, raising slogans against the Union Home Minister, Mr Lal Krishan Advani, the J and K Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah and the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Later, they burnt an effigy of the Union Home Minister.
In a memorandum addressed to the President of India and submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, the DYC reiterated the demand for imposition of a ban on Sangh Parivar outfits that were perpetrating atrocities against minority communities. Further, drawing the attention of the head of the state towards the mischievous and sinister autonomy move by the J and K Chief Minister, the DYC demanded immediate dismissal of the state government headed by Mr Abdullah.
The DYC, in a separate
memorandum addressed to the Punjab Governor, demanded a
roll back in the power tariff hike of 8 to 14 per cent
for all categories of consumers in Punjab, saying that it
would prove to be an unbearable burden on common people,
as well as the trade and industry.
Old legislators of city
It may be interesting and informative to throw light on old legislators of Ludhiana city.
Babu Bachan Singh, a veteran freedom fighter, popularly known as Babu Ji, was elected to the Punjab Assembly from Ludhiana in 1962. He defeated Pandit Harbhagwan Moudgil, a Congress nominee and an advocate by profession. Interestingly, after filing his nomination papers, Babu Ji disappeared from the city. His partymen spread rumours that he had been kidnapped by his political opponents. This led to an upsurge of sympathy for him and he won the elections. Soon after being elected, Babu Ji returned, accompanied by Maulvi Abdul Ghani Dar, and with an unbelievable kidnapping tale. Later, Babu Ji worked as political secretary to Chief Minister, Justice Gurnam Singh.
Mian Abdul Haye, an advocate by profession and Education Minister of the undivided Punjab, represented the city a few years before Partition. It was during his tenure that the city got the Government College for Women. Mr Bhim Sen Sachar represented the city from 1952-53. He also became Chief Minister. Dewan Jagdish Chander, an advocate, represented the city in the Assembly during the 50s. After lying low for a long period, he is again active in politics.
Lala Lajpat Rai, now an MP, was elected MLA on the Jana Sangh ticket in 1957, defeating Mr Kidar Nath Saigal Siahposh (black-robed), a Congress stalwart. Dina Nath Aggarwal, an industrialist, and a Congress nominee, was elected to the Punjab Assembly in 1962. He refused the berth of minister offered by Mr Partap Singh Kairon, the then Chief Minister. Mr Ajmer Singh, a leading advocate of city, was elected to the Assembly from the city in 1967 on Jana Sangh ticket. Mr Sardari Lal Kapur, a veteran freedom fighter, represented the city during 80s and served as the Health Minister even though he was not keeping a good health.
Mr Joginder Pal Pandey, father of Mr Rakesh Pandey, MLA, who was gunned down by the terrorists, represented the city twice in the Assembly. Mr Sat Pal Prashar was an MLA during the 80s. He was gunned down by terrorists. Mr Satpal Mittal, MLC, was a Parliamentary Secretary in the Gurmukh Singh Mussafir ministry in 1966-67. He was an MP (Rajya Sabha) for a long period. He did the city a great service by establishing the Nehru Sidhant Kendra. Mr Om Parkash Gupta represented the city thrice. He passed away in June last.
Theatres on the road to recovery Refugee,
Kaho Na Pyar Hai show the way
LUDHIANA, July 3 With the release of a few Bollywood blockbusters, hope seems to have dawned on the cinema industry in the city. For the last several years due to the invasion of cable television, the industry was facing rough weather. Reports suggest, that of late, most of the cinema halls have been witnessing a huge rush of visitors Thanks to some good movies and the media hype attached to them.
The release of Refugee after a massive campaign yielded dividends at last. The movie is running to capacity in two local cinema halls with advance bookings for another four to five days. There is a mad rush for the movie starring two star children from the Bachhan and Kapoor class. The cinema owners had a difficult time controlling the huge rush of people who had come to see the movie for the first tow days.
The trend was set early this year by the debut film of Hrithek Roshan and Amisha Patels Kaho Na Pyar Hai. The movie ran to packed halls for several weeks in several cinema halls simultaneously. Kaho Na Pyar Hai was released only after a high publicity campaign, which was responsible for its ultimate success.
The cinema owners are jubilant and optimistic of the new trend. According to Mr Bhupinder Singh, President of the local Cinema Owners Association, the trend is certainly picking up. However he was guarded in his optimism. He felt that the rush was yet to match that the seventies and eighties. Only the difficult phase had passed. The good old days were yet to return and we hope that they would, he added.
It was not just the cable invasion alone that hit the cinema industry in Punjab, militancy also played a part.
All these years, people preferred to watch new movies at home on their television sets only. Nobody ventured out to a cinema hall as it was dangerous particularly after several bomb blasts and militant attacks on theatres. The habit continued for several years among people.
However, for the last few years things changed. People had started visiting the theatres again with their families. Moreover, good movies publicised through the prelaunch media blitz have also once again sparked off interest in cinema.
A leading cinema hall, Preet Palace in the city which had closed down a few years ago had opened again. The theatre is doing good business after the reopening. However, the owner of the cinema insisted that the theatre had been closed down due to some dispute between the partners and falling business had nothing to do with its closure.
The cinema halls have
been given a new look. While some newly constructed
theatres are well furnished and properly airconditioned,
the old ones have also started repair work. The cinema
owners had to provide better facilities after the rates
of entry tickets were increased. The district
administration has also asked the cinema owners to
provide all the necessary facilities to the visitors.
Liquor vend closed at last
LUDHIANA, July 3 A liquor vend that had opened just outside the Mini Secretariat on the Ferozepore road here in alleged violation of rules about a week back was today closed down by orders of the local Department of Excise and Taxation.
The opening of the liquor vend just opposite the Secretariat which houses the prominent offices of the district, including the Deputy Commissioners and the SSPs, was criticised by various quarters, including the general public and also highlighted in the press.
Sources in the department revealed that after receiving a number of complaints the Deputy Commissioner directed the Excise Department to close down the vend and provide it an alternate accommodation. However, no site has been selected so far for the purpose. Sources revealed that the department was in the process of holding discussions with the Municipal Corporation for finding a convenient place for the vend.
The vend was reportedly opened outside the Secretariat due to the non-availability of space for it in the proper place as a struggle for dominance is going on in the city between two liquor groups supported by two senior ministers of the Punjab Government. The group which bought most of the vends, however, found it difficult and at places impossible to open their vend as the out going liquor lobby caused several hurdles in the way.
Power tariff hike flayed
LUDHIANA, July 3 The Industry and Trade Forum, Punjab, condemned the move of the Punjab State Electricity Board and the state government for announcing a hefty hike in rates of electricity for consumers industrial, domestic and commercial sectors. It may be recalled that the state government had formed an industrial panel and the matter of power tariff was to be decided in consultation with all the members of this panel.
Mr Harish Khanna, President of the Forum further said that the formation of an industrial panel was just an eyewash and that with this move the state government had not only betrayed the industry, but also the people.
Mr Khanna said: The intentions of the state government to continue with its populist scheme of giving free electricity to the farming sector and making the other categories of industrial and urbanite consumers bear the extra burden as a direct consequence made it abundantly clear that the government had scant regard for the welfare of other sections of society. As against the increase of 8 to 9% mentioned by the board, the increase in power tariff was actually upto 17.3%.
The Industry and Trade Forum will hold a statewide agitation and a protest rally on July 7 at Vishwakarma Chowk against this tariff hike. This will be followed by similar protest rallies in other disricts as well.
The forum urged the
Chief Minister of Punjab to immediately defer this hike
and convene a meeting of representatives of the
small-scale sector before arriving at a final decision
regarding the matter.
Three missing children return
LUDHIANA, July 3 The mystery over the disappearance of the three teenage children, including a midget, from the Sant Fateh Singh Nagar area since June 28, was solved today when they returned here from Mumbai, while the local police and their families were kept on tenterhooks.
The three children,
Charanpreet Singh, Vipinveer Singh and Harwinder Singh,
all students of Class X, returned back home and told
their parents that they had gone to Mumbai for holidays.
It is learnt that Vipinveer had stolen Rs 1200 from home
and after the money was spent, they decided to come back
Home-made soft drinks have stood the test of time
DURING summers you come across attractive advertisements with catchy slogans for different types of cold drinks. These can be found everywhere right from the newspaper and magazine pages to the prime slots in electronic media. At bus stands and the railway stations also, huge hoardings showing ads of popular brands of aerated beverages invariably catch attention. After the disgraceful fall of cricketers from public esteem, soft drinks ads now feature popular film stars with a promise to quench your thirst, besides energising you. Small kids and teenagers become the main target of this campaign.
Despite the fact that these aerated drinks hardly provide lasting relief from thirst, people consume them voraciously. This is mostly due to the fact that these are properly chilled. On the contrary, unchilled drinks may lead to unpleasant taste. The very name of these drinks is a contradiction in itself, as these hardly contain anything which may be described as cold because they contain no more than a few chemicals like sodium bicarbonate and caffeine, a known artificial mood elevator. No wonder after consuming these drinks there is a feeling of abdominal gas, distension, loss of appetite and also disturbed sleep.
Besides aerated drinks, the market is also flooded with numerous types of soft drinks. Carried away by an attractive and possibly a misleading advertisement, there is hardly an attempt to know about the ingredients of these drinks which are written on the label of the bottle.
Most of these drinks are nothing more than a combination of certain fruit flavours, artificial colouring material and citric acid as preservative. Doctors all over the world are worried about the prevailing trend of using artificial colours and flavours in food items. Apart from causing different types of allergy, most of these colours are also found to be carcinogenic. In fact, multinational and other big companies are competing in this multi-billion dollar trade at the cost of peoples health.
In India since times immemorial, many domestic cold drinks have been used. These are both refreshing and safe. With the passage of time and due to Western influences, it seems alien things are preferred to the traditional ones. Many such Indian drinks are really cold in content and refreshing in effect. These can be prepared at home within no time. The cooling effect of the popular Indian lassi made from curd or the kachchi lassi by adding little milk in a glass of sweetened water is incomparable. The lassi, churned from curd, is a protection against diarrhoea and gastroentritis. Similarly, the use of lemon shikanjawi in sultry and scorching summer is also very beneficial. Lemon, being a natural blood purifier, replenishes the body with essential electrolytes.
It is disturbing to note the disappearance of the famous thandai, made by crushing peeled almonds, rose petals, cardamom and cucumber seeds. Once upon a time this tasty and energising recipe was a popular evening drink in most of the Punjabi homes. Proven diuretic, sattoo was a great help in case of burning micturation and urinary stone formation.
The artificial and the aerated drinks cannot match the efficacy of home-made cold drinks. Still there is another class of these drinks known as sharbats, bael, shatoot, mango, sandal and many other Indian medicinal plants can be used in this form. Their use is not only economical but superbly beneficial for health. So let us return to home-made cold drinks.
2 members of gang held
LUDHIANA, July 3 The Sarabha Nagar police today claims to have solved various robbery and snatching cases occurred at the Sarabha Nagar , Haibowal, Phillaur and Bahadurke areas with the arrest of two members of a gang.
The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sarabha Nagar, Mr Harmanbir Singh, said the police had caught Sohan Lal, alias Sona, and Dilbagh Singh, alias Kala, both residents of Azaad Nagar. The accused have been arrested by a police party led by additional SHO, Mr Jagjit Singh and the ASI, Mr Gurwinder Singh, from near the Rode railway crossing this afternoon and recovered two duplicate pistols, one knife and one scooter from their possession.
It is learnt that with the arrest of these two miscreants, the police has succeeded in solving a host of other robberies and they have confessed they injured two employees of a liquor shop at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar in March and looted Rs. 1,200.
The DSP said they also confessed to several other crimes, including snatching of a purse from Sushma Chawla in the Sarabha Nagar area on June 8, snatching of another purse from a woman at Defence Colony in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, and looting of a kiryana store at Phillaur. Other than this the two had confessed to stealing Rs. 70,000 from a cyclist at Choorpur village and robbing another cyclist of Rs 20,000 on the Bhadurke road.
Gang of car thieves busted
LUDHIANA, July 3 The police claims to have solved several car robbery cases with the arrest of four of miscreants of an inter-district gang and recovered three cars from them.
According to information given by ASP Shive Kumar Verma of the Division No.3 police station, the four accused identified as Narinder Kumar, Sanjay Kumar, Bhupinder Singh and Darshan Singh were arrested today and two cars PB 10X 4664 stolen on June 1 and PB 10AE 5405 stolen on June 30 have been recovered.
The third car stolen by the gang from the area falling under the Division No 4 police station, with registration number PCL-5413 has also been traced, said the ASP. He said a .315 bore country-made pistol has also been recovered from them.
It is learnt that the kingpin, Narinder Kumar, was a history-sheeter and had served two years in jail at Chandigarh. After being released only two months ago, he had formed a gang and started stealing cars.
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