Friday, August 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Murder accused booked for light offences
Mishap victim left for dead

From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 24 — Money, it seems, can help you get away with anything, including murder, and make law enforcers do whatever you want.

A man was run over by a speeding car. An angry public made the driver of the car pick up the injured person to take him to a hospital. However, the accused left the person for dead in a deserted place.

The injured person was Dalbir Singh Khurana, a businessman. The car that had hit him was a Maruti Zen bearing registration number PB-10-S-1046. This happened at about 11 pm on August 21, when Dalbir was returning home from his shop. His brother, Dr Daljit Singh Khurana, was following him on a scooter.

The accident happened in Model Town near Suman Hospital and the car was allegedly coming from the wrong direction. Reportedly, Jasbir Singh, owner of Jawahar Cycle Industries, was driving the car and his brother-in-law, Pushpinder Singh, was with him. The car hit Dalbir’s scooter with such force that he received multiple injuries and fractured his thigh bone.

Persons who saw the accident rushed to the spot and asked Jasbir and Pushpinder to take Dalbir to the hospital in their car. Dalbir's brother, Dr Daljit Singh Khurana, decided to go home and inform the other family members before reaching the hospital. The accused reportedly agreed to this and with the help of the passers-by, placed Dalbir Singh Khurana on the back seat of their car.

After the accused entered the car, they decided to flee. After watching the car going in a direction other than towards Civil Hospital, some persons tried to follow it, but lost sight of it soon. It is alleged that, after this, the accused looked for a place where they could leave Dalbir.

They allegedly threw the victim on the Radha Soami Satsang road near Gill Road and escaped. Allegedly, when they threw Dalbir out of the car, he received injuries on his head and suffered internal abdominal bleeding. It was only at about 1 am that a police party of the Arora Palace post found the victim who was bleeding profusely.

While some policemen rushed the victim to the hospital, the others found his telephone number and address from his driving license that they found from his pocket.

Dalbir's family that was trying to locate him, was told by the police that he had been rushed to Civil Hospital. There, they were told by the doctor on duty that he had been shifted to Christian Medical College and Hospital.

Dalbir Singh was shifted to the CMC at about 3 am and died at about 6 am. Mr Inderjit Singh Khurana, Dalbir’s brother and Secretary of the District Taxation Bar Association, said, “As my brother, Dr Daljit Singh Khurana, had noted down the number of the car, we found out about its owner from the DTO office. We told the police about it and a party led by SI Jaswinder Singh, SHO of the Model Town police station, arrested the accused under Sections 304-A, 279 and 427 of the IPC — bailable offences. The accused had manipulated things in such a way they were charged with only light offences.”

He said when he had told this to the Superintendent of Police, Mr Gursharan Singh Sandhu, he had assured them that the accused would be charged under Section 304 of the IPC.

“However, the accused is enjoying all comforts in the Model Town police station because he is rich,” he alleged.

The SP, Mr Gursharan Singh, said he had already referred the case to the DSP (City II), Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill. “The relevant Sections of law will definitely be invoked and no one will be spared,” he said.

Meanwhile, the District Taxation Bar Association (direct taxes), the District Taxation Bar Association (sales tax), the District Bar Association, the Punjab Bar Association and the Chartered Accountant Society have threatened to launch an agitation against the police if an appropriate action is not taken against the accused.


Merit is incidental in PAU selections: inquiry report
From Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Aug 24 — "....process of selection (in PAU) and placement is not objective. There is too much litigation probably more so than in the Govt. This only shows that the authorities are not able to give a picture of impartiality and objectivity in selections. Merit is incidental to the process of selection."

"What is more alarming is that the deterioration is not so much due to failure in terms of talent as to failure of the organisation. There is too much politicization among the members of the selection committees which extends event to outside experts. Candidates for posts are selected through what I call 'dialectical nepotism' in which merit is an incidental outcome".

These are some of the observations made by Mr R. N. Gupta, a senior IAS officer of the Punjab government who has since retired, in an inquiry against a former Vice-Chancellor of the PAU in 1997. These observations stand as true today as they were three years ago and reflect the working of the PAU as far as selection and promotion of people is concerned.

In fact, the rules and norms continue to be flouted with impunity in the PAU right from the top, thus generating resentment among the teachers and also the non-teaching staff. Most of the teachers are sore over the creation of the post of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, which is in violation of the Haryana and Punjab Agricultural Universities Act 1970.

The PAU created the post of the PVC in November, 1999, much to the chagrin of most of the teachers in the university. The teaching and non-teaching staff of the university had also opposed the handing over of charge of the VC to the PVC since his original appointment (as PVC) was in violation of the PAU Act. This was also pointed out by a Member, Board of Management, Dr B. S. Dhillon, at the board meeting on July 28.

University sources disclose that the expenditure incurred by the PVC's office does not figure anywhere in the budget. This is supposed to bring a huge additional burden on an already resource-starved university.

The nepotism and favouritism is getting trickled down in various selections also. There are more than 12 cases of senior teachers having been denied the positions of Head of Department, Additional Director and others in violation of the rules of the university.

In a recent case, a senior professor in the Department of Extension Education in the College of Home Science, Dr Sunita Roy, was sidelined and one of her juniors, Dr Krishna Oberoi, was appointed Coordinator of Research. Dr Oberoi was a student of Dr Roy from B. Sc to Ph D. Despite several representations by Dr Roy, no remedial measure was taken. Dr Roy, the seniormost teacher of home science, served the university for a period of over 33 years.

In a similar case, according to well-placed sources, another senior professor in the university, Dr H. R. Chopra, was appointed Head in the Department of Floriculture and removed within a month without being given any reason, although his qualifications were the same as those of his predecessor Dr J. S. Arora who served as Head for about six years.

In another case, the university has promoted Mr R . C. Sudan, a senior assistant working in the office of the comptroller, despite him being charge-sheeted and several charges being found correct by the inquiry committee. The Vice-Chancellor has also censured Mr Sudan. An order censuring him was issued by the Registrar of the PAU in March, 1999. Mr Sudan has been promoted as superintendent.

This and several other similar cases were brought to the notice of the Governor, who is also the Chancellor of the university, after the university authorities failed to take any action. The letter sent to the Governor included some administrative irregularities going on in the university.

But, instead of taking any remedial measures, the university authorities are allegedly trying to pressurise the employees to submission by issuing circulars warning them of action in case they approach the Chancellor.


NRI returns to start college
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 24 — A non-resident Indian who made a fortune in London returned in 1996 to do his bit for improving conditions in his motherland. Today, due to his zeal to provide education at the doorstep of the rural folk, a much-needed college for girls is coming up in Kamalpura village of this district. In doing so, he also made his late father’s dream come true. Himself not very well educated, he wanted to spread literacy in his native village.

The demand of the villagers for a college did not evoke a positive response from the state government all these years. But rich NRI Baljinder Singh came to the aid of the village starving for quality education.

In 1996, he came to Kamalpura with his mother Pritam Kaur and they both decided to start a college. They hired a few rooms at Government Senior Secondary School of the village. In lieu of this, he made some investment for the maintenance of the building. Thus began the first session of Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College for Women and almost 20 girls took admission.

Soon, they bought some land of their own in the village and started the construction of the college building. Several NRI relatives of the villagers contributed in cash as well as kind. At present, one double-storey block is complete. It houses five classrooms, a library and rooms for the administrators. The second block is under construction where a staff room, a common room for the students and an examination hall is being built.

Now the college has more than 300 students and the number is likely to increase as admissions for BA (II) are still due. The college has classes from XI to BA (III) and the four subjects of political science, economics, history and physical education are being offered in addition to the two compulsory subjects of English and Punjabi. "We will also offer computer sciences as another option from this session. In addition, we will take evening classes in computers for the girls from nearby villages who may not be students of our college," informed the college Principal, Mr Dilawar Singh Pannu.

The college has three buses and two other four-wheelers for the students. "The fee and bus charges have been kept minimal to ensure that no one is deprived of education because of financial reasons. Fee concessions are also allowed for some girls," said Mr Darshan Singh, officiating President of the college. Grounds for playing hockey, badminton, kho-kho and volley ball are also being prepared. Sport material for the games has been bought.

"Seeing lack of career awareness among the students of the college, we are planning to arrange a regular series of guest lectures and make the girls aware of all opportunities in their way," said Mr Pannu.


Yoga camp held for senior citizens
From Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Aug 24 — Mr Hari Krishan Jain, an octogenarian, organised a psychiatry and yoga camp for senior citizens at Senior Citizens Home, Sarabha Nagar, yesterday.

Dr Gurvinder Sachdeva and two members of the staff from Kapoor Hospital examined 13 senior citizens. Most of their problems and maladies were age-related. The root cause of their problems was probably acute loneliness, a feeling of being unwanted and useless. The medical problems, too, had their origin here. Most of them suffered from hypertension, arthritis, depression, headache, insomnia and cardiac problems.

Mr Jain, a social worker, and some doctors provide medicines free of cost to the senior citizens off and on.

According to Dr Gurvinder Singh, the senior citizens have to follow three ''Ms'' — motivation, meditation and medication. They have to be motivated to do something to make them feel responsibile someone. So they should be encouraged to keep pets like birds, dogs, cats or fish. They should themselves take responsibility of feeding the fish and cleaning the aquarium. They should be allowed to cultivate a patch of kitchen garden so that they could derive satisfaction from seeing their efforts bear fruit. They should be encouraged to draw plans for community schemes like tree plantation or recycling of plastic. The senior citizens later confessed to the doctor that they were happy in company. It was only when they were alone that memories of the past haunted them and made them restless.

To teach them dhyan or meditation, three teachers, Mr Parveen Sharma, Mr O.P. Gupta and Mr Niranjan Bansal, had come from the Bharatiya Yoga Sansthan to teach them shavasana, sthilasan, padpawana and muktasana and also pranayama. All these asanas helped them to relax and made them feel better. Meditation would take care of their blood pressure.

The teachers found that it was very hard to convince the elderly to sit flat on the ground. They tried to execuse themselves by saying, “We cannot sit down due to joint pains.” So, the teachers started the yoga classes with students of the adjoining Balwadi. The students of the Balwadi had come on the occasion of Janmashtami to entertain the senior citizens. Later, they were able to persuade the senior citizens to do shavasana and other asanas lying down.

The yoga teachers remarked, “Due to our fractured social structure, these people have been thrown out of their homes. Society should not neglect them .”

Following the publication of an article, “Are oldage homes happy homes?” in these columns, the Deputy Commissioner visited the home for senior citizens some time back and listened to their problems. Most of the inmates complained about the quality of food. Mr S.K. Sandhu suggested the inmates to take care of kitchen themselves and plan their own menus, but they did not accept the responsibility.

This correspondent also noticed that the sofa sets had been repaired. The atmosphere was more peaceful as two of the inmates, who had been creating controversies, had left. Mr S.P. Malik, Secretary of the Red Cross Society, said, “We have employed a tailoring teacher. In the next phase, the Red Cross would repair the doors and windows and the last phase would see the building getting a fresh coat of paint.”


A community dedicated to laughter

By N.S.Tasneem

It is better to laugh with others than to laugh at others. It is still better to laugh at yourself. Robert Kennedy was once talking to a friend over the phone.

“I have learnt that you are voting for my brother, John Kennedy.”

“Of course, I am .”

“What about your wife?”

“She is voting for the other candidate.”

“Can’t you control your wife?” Robert Kennedy thundered and then whispered, “Or, are you like me.?”

Punjabis are known for their boisterous humour. If humour provides that relief from tensions of life. However, they seldom laugh at themselves, because, they consider it demeaning to do so. With the passage of time, they have devised a method of ‘community laughter.’ For this, they have Bhands (jesters) at their disposal. They are known for their penchant for commenting sarcastically on individual weaknesses and social evils. Their crisp dialogues stimulate laughter, which is sometimes uncontrollable. This system is a rare example of people laughing with others at their own weaknesses, not individually but collectively.

Perhaps the best corrective measure is to draw the attention of the people to their drawbacks in a humorous manner. It hurts them the least and your purpose is solved. Bhands, as a class, have taken upon themselves the role of tickling the ribs of the Punjabis in a systematic, or rather a professional, manner. They trace their lineage to Bhai Mardana who played on his rubab when Sri Guru Nanak Dev recited the divine hymns. There is a myth that the Guru inscribed on the tongue of Bhai Mardana that his community would never follow a worldly profession but serve mankind with their quick wit and talent for music. Thereafter, emerged a community of Mirasis and Bhands. Mirasis came to be involved with classical music and sufiana kalam. Bhands mostly cater to the irrepressible urge for humour of the people of the land of five rivers.

The Lok Virasat Foundation, Ludhiana, recently organised a show, Bhand Punjab De, in Partap Singh Wala village, Humbran Road, Ludhiana. The President of the foundation, Mr Daljit Singh Jassal, had a heart-to-heart talk with the leading members of this community. He learnt that the Bhands still adhere to the age-old traditions of their community. At the time of marriage, a Rs 10 note moves from person to person in both the families. The person who holds the note in his hand talks about the various problems which weigh on his mind. In this way, a sort of social dialogue takes place between various households. In the end social approval is given to the marriage by the elders. Thereafter, merry-making takes place, followed by a sumptuous feast.

In Ludhiana, as in Amritsar, Jalandhar and some other cities, there are 500 Bhands. Some of them are quite well-off and their children have received school and college education. But they prefer their own profession to joining service or entering some business. Incidentally, there is no reservation of posts for them as they do not come in the category of Scheduled Castes or backward classes. Their women-folk come with garlands and flowers at the time of a marriage or the birth of a male issue. They regale the audience with folk-songs, whereas the male members resort to witty remarks, sarcastic comments and even raillery, if the family members try to shoo them away. The Bhands are a class by themselves which society has always marginalised.

Lately, some non-professionals have entered this field of regaling the audience in the style of Bhands. They present skits on the small screen as well as the stage. Their cassettes are also available in the market wherein canned laughter follows the witty comments. Prominent among these are Dr Jaswinder Bhalla of PAU Ludhiana, and Balmukand Sharma, holding an executive post in Markfed, Ludhiana. They started as imitators of the Bhand style of provoking laughter, but later perfected their own method. Their tone of conversation prepares the listener in the very beginning to expect something funny and hilarious.

This trend shows that the age-old method of responding collectively to witty remarks, popularised by the Bhands, is very much a need of the human psyche. It has now taken a slightly different form. The leather lash as well as daria (musical instrument) is conspicuous by its absence. That was the mark of tradition, even though the recent style can be termed as innovative. It is only those people who can laugh at their follies and foibles, who can set their house in order, besides purging their minds of the dross of work-a-day existence. Some sort of catharsis takes place by sublimating the passions of resentment and indignation. Undoubtedly, laughter is the mark of a healthy response to life. 


Misuse of rumalas a sin: Vedanti
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 24 — Use of sacred rumalas (pieces of cloth used to cover Sri Guru Granth Sahib) to make dresses for women and donating the dresses to an ashram by the managing committee of Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Sarabha Nagar of the city has sparked a controversy, with the Head Priest of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, giving a verdict that it was an act of sacrilege and a sin.

It all started with the managing committee of the gurdwara in Sarabha Nagar deciding to make use of the accumulated rumalas and got 101 suits of the material stitched for women for donating them to an ashram.

Later, at a meeting of the working committee, some members, claiming to be a reformist group, raised objections, saying that the sacred rumalas could not be used for any purpose other than covering the holy Sri Guru Granth Sahib and making suits out of the material was a violation of the maryada.

The dissenting members further asserted that instead, the managing committee should have purchased fabric from the market with the approval of the working committee and the donations of suits could have been made.

Since the ruling group in the managing committee tried to justify its action and did not allow the motion preferred by the reformist group, Mr Gurbhajan Singh Gill, President, Sikh Vichar Manch, took up the matter with Akal Takht Head Priest.

In his verdict, conveyed through the Dharam Prachar Committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the Jathedar of Akal Takht said, "The people who use the sacred rumalas as shirts, salwars and other apparel are committing sacrilege and sin. Let Satguru give them wisdom. Rumalas should be used only for proper use of the Guru (the holy Granth Sahib)."

On the permitted use of accumulated rumalas according to maryada, the Head Priest has suggested that chananis and chandoas could be made, which were again used for Guru Granth Sahib.

The rumalas could also be sent to rural gurdwaras, where these were much needed or sent to gurdwara Baoli Sahib at Goindwal Sahib, where these could be used at the time of performing the last rites of old volumes of |Guru Granth Sahib.


Telecom staff strike work
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 24 — More than 500 telecom (groups C and D) employees observed strike and staged a dharna in front of Telephone Bhavan here today in response to a call given by the national action committee of six national-level trade unions.

According to the All-India telecom employees union class III district secretary, Mr Balbir Singh, the action committee had called for a renewed two-day strike on August 24 and 25 to protest against the privatisation of the Telecom department.

Various speakers, including Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Sarbjit Singh, Mr Nikka Singh, Mr Ajaib Singh and Mr Shingara Singh, threatened to intensify the agitation if the government went ahead with converting the telecom department into a corporate entity and the attempted process of privatisation was not stopped forthwith.

The demand for improvement in the service condition of the employees was also raised.Back


DYC seeks release of Surjewala
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 24 — Protesting against the lathi charge on peacefully agitating youth congress activists and arrest of the All-India Youth Congress (AIYC), Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, in Varanasi (UP) on August 22. The youth congress workers, led by the district president, Mr Pawan Diwan, today submitted a memorandum to the president of India through the additional deputy commissioner, Mr S.R. Kler, demanding a high-level inquiry into the police repression and unconditional release of the AIYC president.

According to Mr Diwan, more than 40 senior yc activists, including Mr Surjewala, were injured during an unprovoked lathi charge by the police and all of them had to be admitted to hospitals for treatment. To add insult to injury, the police arrested all of them under various sections of Indian Penal Code. The conduct of the Uttar Pradesh police, the memorandum said, was against all established democratic norms and laws of the land.


Plea for revision of pension
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 24 — Pensioners of the Punjab aided schools are agitated over the non-implementation of the fourth pay commission report. A meeting of the aided school pensioners has been called at Arya Senior Secondary School, Civil Lines, for August 27 to discuss the future course of action in this regard.

This was stated in a press note released by Mr K.K. Rudra, General Secretary of the Punjab Aided School Pensioners Cell. The meeting will be attended by several representatives from all districts of Punjab.

It was stated that though a notification was issued on March 31 last year to revise the pensions of the aided schools like those of the government pensioners, nothing had been done.


Woman poisoned for dowry
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 24 — A woman has accused her husband and in-laws of poisoning her for bringing insufficient dowry.

According to an FIR registered under sections 307, 498-A and 34 of the IPC, the victim, Aarti, has accused her husband Sunil Khullar, brother-in-law Yogesh Kumar and mother-in-law Sheela of harassing her for bringing insufficient dowry at the time of marriage. She has alleged that her in-laws were demanding cash and on the night of August 22 poisoned her with the intention of killing her.

She was hospitalised by her parents at Civil Hospital and later shifted to the CMC.

Woman immolated: Jaswir Kaur was allegedly immolated by her in-laws and husband at Mundian Khurd village on August 22 for not fulfilling the demands of bringing more dowry from her parents.

According to the FIR registered under sections 307, 498-A and 34 of the IPC, the victim has accused her husband Bikram Singh, father-in-law Gurdip Singh and mother-in-law Ajmer Kaur of first pouring kerosene over her and then setting her clothes on fire. She is now undergoing treatment at the CMC.

Man attacked: Rajesh Kumar was allegedly attacked with a pair of scissors by Gurmit Singh, alias Ladi, and Janak Raj, both brothers, on August 22 at Dharampura.

It is learnt that the motive behind this attack is old enmity between the two parties. Rajesh Kumar has been admitted to Civil Hospital for treatment and the accused have been booked under Sections 324 and 34 of the IPC.Back


Police remand for Aman killer

KHANNA, Aug 24 — The local police today produced Budh Parkash, main accused in Aman Sood’s murder case, in the court of Civil Judge (First Class) J.S. Bhinder here today.

During hearing, the police demanded a seven-day remand for the accused on the ground that a man of Mohali had stated to the police that a few days ago he had heard Budh Parkash and other two persons talking about the abduction of late Aman Sood.

The Judge granted a remand for two days.


Throwing a grand daawat
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 24 — India’s leading basmati rice producing company, L.T. Overseas Ltd., has set a target of a 25 per cent increase in its overall turnover this year.

This was announced here today at a press conference by Mr Rajesh Trikha, Vice-President of the company. It achieved a turnover of Rs 255 crore last year. It is also in the process of setting up its third, fully automatic, air-conditioned plant for processing basmati at Bahalgarh, in Sonepat district of Haryana, with technical assistance from Japan. The other two plants are operational at Amritsar and Sonepat.

Mr Trikha said that L.T. had been in the business of milling, processing and packaging of basmati rice for the past three decades and had made its presence felt both in the domestic and international markets. The main strength of the company has been the high quality of rice. In fact, today, the group is synonymous with quality-based procurement, high-tech parameters of quality and hygiene in its own milling plants and state-of-the-art machinery. Basmati rice, marketed under the brand name Daawat, has become a household name not only in India but also in international markets.

L.T. Overseas has won the APEDA award continuously for three years i.e. 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97 for its excellent performance in the export business of basmati/non-basmati rice. Also, as per the retail audit survey conducted by an accredited research agency, ORG-MARG limited, Daawat has been adjudged No. 1 brand in the category of packed basmati rice, with maximum movement in the domestic market amongst the top brands of the month of June, 1999.

It has been the first one to be certified by ISO-9002 for “paddy milling, processing, packaging and marketing of rice”. It is also in the final stages of getting HACCP certification, which ensures complete food safety as per international standards.


Hike in power tariff flayed
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 24 — The Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association has criticised PSEB for raising the power tariff in the state. The association said PSEB had given another blow to the industrial, commercial and domestic circles by making tremendous increase in monthly minimum charges. Mr Charan Singh Kohli, general secretary of the association, condemned the hike and demanded that the hike should be withdrawn immediately.

Mr Kohli said the medium and small-category industry were badly affected due to steep hike in power rates. The association urged PSEB not to take the step of hike in the monthly minimum charges. In a separate press note, the MIG Welfare Society also condemned the hike for all categories, especially for domestic consumers.

Mr Kuldeep Singh Kreer, general secretary of the society, labelled the board's step as unjustified, whereas the services being rendered by the board towards its consumers were poor in quality and irregularities in power had become very common. Under such circumstances the board had no moral right to make such increase in any form, he said.


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