Tuesday, September 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


College girls, leaders active in flesh trade
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — Prostitution is thriving in Ludhiana. About 150 sex workers live here who do business outside the town as well.

There is no organised form of prostitution or a red-light area in the town. However, according to reports, most local sex workers operate from places like Simlapuri, Urban Estate, Jamalpur, Salem Tabri, Haibowal, Rahon Road, Dhakka Colony, Daba Road, Hira Nagar and Moti Nagar. There are many huts in some of these areas where more than one person in each house is involved in the trade.

Most of the sex workers in the town are below the age of 30 and worked as either flower girls in weddings or dancers in orchestras. According to sources, some of the orchestra owners hire prostitutes and sell them to clients at marriage functions.

Sources alleged that some college students, who wanted extra pocket money, were also in this business. One of the girls arrested by the police yesterday under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act was a college student and had entered this business to have a comfortable living. Talking to the TNS today, she said she had been introduced in this profession by her friend in Chandigarh who was also a college student.

Highly placed sources said some part of the business here was controlled by some madams and their gangs, some of whom enjoyed political patronage. They alleged that one such gang was active in Urban Estate of Jamalpur area. They also alleged that it was controlled by an office-bearer of the women’s wing of a national political party.

A hotel owned by a senior leader of the ruling party in the state is also alleged to be a den of prostitutes. Recently, the police had raided this hotel and had also arrested some prostitutes. However, due to the alleged influence of the owner of the hotel, they were let off. Because 18 gamblers has also been caught in the hotel and Rs 2 lakh had been seized from them, the police had also registered a case under various Sections of the Gambling Act.

Sources say that most sex workers prefer to operate from hotels. A large number of hotels near the bus stand, railway station, Chaura Bazaar and Industrial Area are haven for prostitutes, they allege. Sources say that managers and the staff some of these hotels act as pimps.

A prostitute, who operates from the Simlapuri area, told the TNS that if she needed a customer, she went to a hotel where the staff would arrange things for her.

Yesterday, the local police led by the Head of the CIA Staff, Inspector Maninder Bedi, had launched a drive against such hotels. Four hotels — Hotel Zoom in Industrial Area, Hotel San Plaza in Feroze Gandhi Nagar, Hotel Manzil near the bus stand, Hotel Hilltop near Bharat Nagar Chowk and Hotel Royal Regency in the Focal Point area — were raided.

The police arrested three couples from Hotel Hilltop, one from Hotel Royal Regency and one from Hotel Manzil. Four gamblers were also arrested and more than Rs 8,000 was seized from them. The cases against all accused were registered under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act and various Sections of the Gambling Act.


Large haul of drugs seized
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — The Dehlon police has achieved a major breakthrough with the arrest of two drug traffickers and recovery of some weapons and 13 bags of poppy husk, weighing three quintals, hidden in 235 sacks containing cattlefeed during a special naka on September 2.

Giving this information here today, the Jagraon SSP, Mr Jaskaran Singh, said that the SHO, Dehlon, Mr Jasbir Singh Rai, had laid a naka at Phalewal Chowk when they spotted a truck (PB-03E- 3531) coming from the Pakhowal side. The police indicated the truck to stop, but the two occupants in the truck, Nachchattar Singh and Gurdeep Singh, tried to run away.

The police, however, managed to arrest them and upon search of the truck they and found the consortium of drugs.


District Attorney booked for murder bid
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — The police has registered a case against the District Attorney of Ludhiana and about 20 other persons for attempt to murder, threatening and illegal carrying of arms.

The case has been registered under Sections 307, 452, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC and various other Sections of the Arms Act. In the FIR, the complainant, Gurbachan Singh, a resident of Talwara village, alleged that he was involved in a property dispute with the accused.

He also alleged that on September 3, Gurmail Singh Nahar, District Attorney, Pakhar Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Gurmail Singh and about 20 other persons had come to his house. The District Attorney is also alleged to have fired shots at the father of the complainant, Teja Singh. When the complainant cried for help, the accused ran away, according to the FIR. The father of the complainant is now in Civil Hospital. The police has not made any arrest in this case so far.


Arjuna Awardee feels discontented
From A Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — Tara Singh, an Arjuna Awardee, is a nine-time national champion in weightlifting. He has created new national records 38 times and is the first weightlifter to win two medals since 1951 in the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi. He won two bronze medals for India by lifting 195.5 kg in the clean-and-jerk event, 145 kg in the snatch event and a total 340.5 kg in the 110-kg class in the IXth Asian Games. He is the first weightlifter to get the Arjuna Award for his performance in 1984. He was declared as the strongest man of India in 1982 by the Indian Weightlifters Federation when he proved his mettle in the Asian games.

Tara Singh started his career in 1976 by winning a gold medal in the All-India Inter-University Championships held at Bareilly. He represented India first time in the 1981 Commonwealth Games in Auckland. He won the silver medal in the 90-kg class.

He won three gold medals by lifting 170 kg in the clean-and-jerk event, 125 kg in the snatch event and a total 295 kg in the Pakistan International Games in Peshawar in 1982 in the 100-kg class.

He won three gold medals and created three new records in the clean-and-jerk event, snatch event and total in the 1985 South Asian Federation Games in Dhaka. He won three gold medals in the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships in Samoa (New Zealand) in 1985. He was the only weightlifter in the Indian squad who won three bronze medals in the Asian Weightlifting Championships in China in 1985.

He is the first weightlifter of India who lifted more than 200 kg. He lifted 212.5 kg in the clean-and-jerk event in the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul.

He is the Chief Ticket Inspector at Ludhiana railway station and is the chief coach of the North Zone Railways. He was the coach and manager of the team which went for the Silver Dragon Tournament held in the United Kingdom in 1992.

He feels quite discontented with the sports policy of the government. According to him, the Indian sportspersons need facilities and equipment of international standards to enable them to compete in the international events. He said he had not participated in the opening and closing ceremonies of the IXth Asian Games to protest against the authorities for not providing good dress to the sports persons.

He regrets while everybody in the country comments on the performance of the sportspersons, nobody is ready to listen to their problems.


Government pensioners stage dharna
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — In response to a call given by the Punjab Government Pensioners Association, a large number of pensioners sat on a dharna in the Mini Secretariat here today and later submitted a memorandum in support of their pending demands.

The Secretary-General of the association, Mr Madan Lal Agnesh, and other speakers, including Mr B. R. Kaushal, criticised the government for its indifferent attitude and delaying tactics over the genuine demands of pensioners. They said even after the Chief Minister had publicly said in Samrala that the outstanding demands of the government employees and the pensioners would be accepted by June 30, nothing had so far been done in this regard.

Pensioners were sore that the state government had spent a considerable amount of money on the Fourth Pay Commission for government employees and pensioners, but it was sitting over the recommendations made in the report, which was submitted in February, 1998.

The pensioners are demanding , among other things, lowering the age for 5 and 10 per cent hike in pension from 70 and 80 years to 65 and 75, years respectively, 0.5 per cent increase in pension for every six months of service beyond 33 years, revival of old pattern of family pension for those passing away in service or immediately after retirement, revision of reimbursement amount for spectacles, dentures, hearing aids, knee and hip replacement and terminal diseases, time-bound disposal of complaints and grievances of pensioners and issuing of multi-purpose identity cards to pensioners.


Sikh League upset over Takht dictum
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — The Sikh league yesterday expressed its surprise over the dictum issued by the Akal Takht head priest, imposing an indirect ban on all deliberations in connection with the Dasam Granth of Guru Gobind Singh.

The league, political wing of the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO), has also expressed reservations over the setting up of a committee by the SGPC to deliberate on the so-called controversy on the Dasam Granth as the matter had already been settled by the then Jathedar of Akal Takht Sadhu Singh Bhaura in 1977.

Mr D.S. Gill, secretary general of the Sikh League, in a letter faxed to head priest Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, has said that the dictum issued by him was in violation of the Akal Takht edict (hukamnama) issued on July 5, 1977, which had excommunicated Giani Bhag Singh of Ambala cantonment for his book Dasam Granth Nirnai, which allegedly contained blasphemous comments on the Dasam Granth.

The said hukamnama, according to Mr Gill, had categorically stated that the author of the book had committed a sin of criticising a Sikh religious scripture. The need of the hour was to take action against such elements that were treading in the footsteps of Giani Bhag Singh, rather than imposing a ban on the deliberations over the Dasam Granth. He further said that the Jathedar had put written complaints sent by several individuals and institutions under the carpet and an operation cover-up had been launched by setting up committees in order to shield the culprits of the ''guru'' who had spewed venom against the Dasam Granth.

The Sikh league has urged the Akal Takht Jathedar to immediately withdraw his dictum imposing a ban on discussions and seminars on the Dasam Granth and to drop the proposal of constituting any committee on this issue as it would amount to a violation of the Akal Takht Hukamnama of 1977.


Symbol of religious devotion
From Jupinderjit Singh

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — A three-century-old shrine of Baba Gajjuji Thapar located in Gurdev Nagar here is not only a symbol of religious devotion but also of immense historical significance.

For, it throws light on the strong attraction of the city that, even way back in the 18th century, pulled scores of migrants as far as from Kabul in Afghanistan to come and settle here in the land of plenty.

With the Sutlej river flowing nearby, the place had attracted several civilisations to live here. Excavation found at Sanghol and Sunet, near here, also establish the charm of the place to the migrants. It was the same pull that brought the forefathers of the Thapars to this place.

But their ancestors did not come alone. They brought along with them bricks and soil from their native place in Afghanistan and constructed a shrine in the name of babaji.

According to the literature available on the shrine, it is believed that a charismatic personality was born in the Thapar clan. The saint who later came to be known as Baba Gajjuji performed miracles during his teenage. Considering his miracles to be a nuisance, on the day of Amavasya of Bhadon his mother reprimanded him and asked him to vanish. Upon this the babaji immediately merged himself into the mother earth for ever.

It was the bricks and soils of this place which the Thapars carried with them where ever they migrated before setting permanently at this place and erected a monument here.

For the last three centuries the monument had remained in tact. Soon the devotees not belonging to the family alone also began converging at the place.

From a domed and octagonal shrine with dilapidated parikarma and corridor, the shrine has now been renovated. According to Dr Vijay Kumar Thapar, President of the managing committee of the shrine, they have further plans of renovating the shrine which for them is not only a symbol of worship but also the hard work done by the forefathers to bring prosperity to the region. The shrine also stands as a remnant of the roots of the clan.

Every year on the day of Amavasya of Bhadon, which invariably falls in the month of August, a large number of devotees, including some 600 families of the Thapars converge at the place to remember their forefathers. The day presents a unique chance to the family members of assembling at one place.

According to Mr J.C. Thapar, the shrine has historical significance for the city which unfortunately has not been recognised properly. He said several historians had visited the place to know about the route of migrants from Afghanistan three or four centuries back.


Kharif support price ‘inadequate’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — Hundreds of farmers, led by the district President of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Mr Jagir Singh Nurpur, staged a dharna in front of the mini Secretariat here today to protest against the inadequate minimum support price (MSP) of paddy, cotton and other kharif crops and to focus on other demands of the farming community.

Lashing out at the Union Government, the BKU state President, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, rejected the meagre hike in the MSP of kharif crops and demanded that the prices be reviewed. He said that on the basis of the wholesale price index, the paddy should be purchased at Rs 636 per quintal, oilseeds and cotton at Rs 3,000 per quintal.

He said the government decision to start the purchase of paddy on October 1 was unjust. When the government had specified norms for the purchase of paddy and other produce it was mandatory for the government agencies to purchase the produce, as and when it arrived in the mandis. The contradictory statements of central and state leaders on the issue were creating confusion and unrest among the farmers.

The BKU chief threatened that their activists would gherao the respective Deputy Commissioners if the paddy was not purchased within 30 hours of arrival.

The BKU General Secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, reiterated the demand to declare the Jat community as other backward classes (OBCs) as had been done in the neighbouring states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi. Charging the Union Government with pursuing policies detrimental to the interests of farmers even before the WTO agreement had come into effect, he pointed out that the said agreement provided for subsidies up to 10 per cent in countries like India. But under the garb of WTO conditions, the government was cutting down subsidies on fertilisers and other farm inputs, which in any case were not more than 6 per cent.

To add to the misery of the farming community, the government was now bringing in an Electricity Bill to privatise power distribution, which would force the farmers to pay for electricity.

The BKU called upon the government to make changes in the education system and bring parity in the quality of education in urban and rural areas so that the rural children could keep pace with the rapid advances in technology and face the global challenges effectively.


‘Plan modern gaushalas’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — The Animal Welfare Board of India, a wing of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has called upon the non-government organisations to set up modern gaushalas with the financial-aid provided by the board.

This was announced by Justice Guman Mal Lodha, chairman of the board, while speaking at a function organised by the board and the People For Animals (PFA) organisation here today at Panjab University Extension Library.

Mr Lodha said the board had introduced the concept of modern gaushalas in the country, which, besides providing shelter to the stray animals, would also have bio-gas plants and laboratories where medicines from the buffaloes' urine could be made.

The function was organised to distribute grants worth Rs 3.70 lakh to 10 select NGOs of the state. An exhibition on preventing cruelty to the animals was also organised.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jasbir Ralhan, member of the board, said with the increased financial aid given by them the number of organisations working for the protection of the animals had also increased. Giving figures, he said just three years ago there were only 275 such organisations in the country but now the number has risen to about 1,500.

He said the board did not only concentrates on giving financial aid but also keeps a check on its spending.

Dr Sandeep Jain, President of the PFA, highlighted the activities of the organisation. He demanded power to fine and challan persons causing cruelty to the animals, formation of the Animal Welfare Department, registration of cattle premises rules and the registration of dogs.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S. K. Sandhu, presided over the function. He promised all kind of help to the NGOs. Lala Lajpat Rai, MP, was the guest of honour at the function.


Inquiry ordered
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, has ordered an inquiry under para 39 (b) of the Manual for the Superintendence and Management of Prisons in Punjab to probe the circumstances leading to the escape of convict Tajinder Singh, alias Bhola, from Central Jail, Ludhiana, on February 16.

The Deputy Commissioner has appointed Mr Kuldip Singh, Subdivisional Magistrate (east), as inquiry officer to hold the inquiry and submit his report to him. The inquiry officer has also been asked to fix responsibility for this lapse and suggest suitable remedial measures to avoid recurrence of such an event.


Unforgettable Sudha Sen
From M.S. Cheema

PUNJAB and Bengal, western and eastern provinces of the British India, respectively, suffered a similar fate. What the East India Company did in Bengal in 1757 (Battle of Plassey) was more cunningly repeated in Punjab a century later (annexation of the Punjab in 1849). Again, after another 100 years, India faced Partition. Both Punjab and Bengal suffered as provinces. Both lost their bigger parts. If geography separates Bengal from Punjab by about a 1000 miles, history unites both emotionally, academically, economically and in many more ways.

If Bhagat Singh is hailed as Shaheed-e-Azam, Subhash Chandra Bose is eulogised as Netaji. Both paid the highest price for the Independence. The shock caused by the cruelty of communalism and the blood sucked by the mad monster of mobocracy is too painful to recall. The crude knife of Radcliffe bled Punjab. Bengal retained Calcutta, while Punjab lost Lahore. The Bengalis contributed to the making of a new Punjab. The Punjabis rebuilt the economy of Bengal.

It is our duty to identify spheres as well as the persons.

Calcutta and Lahore are just not cities, they are symbols. Both are academic seats. Calcutta and Panjab universities make a rare twin. In an age of mental pollution, we owe it to our conscience to remember the true faces of real servants of India.

A Bengali babu can be seen behind the monumental files of the old Punjab. The contribution of Dr Prof Bannerjea, Chatterjea, Mukherjea or Bose, Ghose, or Dutta or Sen here in our part merits identification. Some of them make a galaxy of stars. A shining star is Miss Sen.

Miss Sen had the double blessings of Lahore, she was a popular lecturer at the Central Training college. She had an Oxford degree.

Miss Sen, more commonly known as S.Sen, was actually Miss Sudha Sen.

During the war years, Mian Abdul Hayee of Ludhiana was a Cabinet minister holding the portfolio of education. He sanctioned a government college for women in 1943. After due thought, Prof Sudha Sen was sent from Lahore to Ludhiana to start , run and establish the new institution for girls for higher education.

She founded the Government College for Women, Ludhiana, and really well founded it! She started with an ordinary rented building. With her patience and sincere input, the college kept on earning the image of a fast upcoming centre of higher education. Miss Sen, with background of Calcutta, Lahore and Oxford, took to Ludhiana as the proverbial duck takes to water. Her ability and adaptability were great assets, which Ludhiana made best use of. She never sought transfer. In just about a decade she realised her impossible dream: got centrally-located prime land in the Civil Lines on the Ferozepore Road, raised the huge campus and gave to Punjab what is our great temple of learning. Ludhiana owes her a permanent gratitude.

She left Ludhiana in 1954 very reluctantly to go to Chandigarh, when she was promoted as Deputy Director Public Instruction (DDPI) of the then Punjab, comprising whole of Haryana and most of Himachal Pradesh. She very ably selected the college lectures as education-expert of the Punjab Public Service Commission. Incidentally, during her tenure the post of a government college lecturer came under the purview of the Public Service Commission. She proved herself as one of the most eminent administrators in the Punjab Education Department.

She was very compassionate. No body knows why she did not marry. Every girl of her college would recall that she advised all her wards to marry. Every colleague remembers that she wished them to realise the merits of marriage. She never painted the state of single woman as an alarming one. Her advice was based upon imperatives of society, demands of socio-cultural millieu and the virtues of an integrated family life.

Principal Manjit Kaur wisely invited her to be the chief guest at the historic golden jubilee of the college. The grand old lady was the focus of all eyes. Miss Sen observed, “ An institution is like a family where character is formed, values are created and bonds of love are developed.” She concluded, “It is the foundation on which the national edifice is built.” She brought Punjab and Bengal closer and cemented bonds with the motherland. Her words are just not sound, they carry sense and wisdom. This wisdom has music of Bengal, learning of Oxford, experience of Lahore and love for Ludhiana.

She was a saintly person. Her needs were very few. Her desires were strictly non-personal, service to society was foremost. She spoke eloquently. Had perfect command over language. As she spoke, you could judge the pauses for punctuation. Miss Sen was free from any prejudice or bias. It is fit to recall the impact of Miss Sen as a teacher at the Government Central Training College, Lahore. Her student, later the third Principal of the College founded by her mentor, Madam K. Pasricha records, “Miss Sen was like a light-house to me as she always gave me sound advice.” To me it appears while our people in Calcutta transported goods and carried passengers, Miss Sen paid back the fare in the form of education.

Ludhiana is proud of its sane daughter, the great Miss Sen, Sudha is amrit — the dictionary tells us. We believe it.


Mobile maintenance workshop at PAU
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, flagged off a mobile maintenance workshop to give quick service to the campus residents for the repair of electrical and other installations in their houses.

While addressing the gathering of teachers and other employees on this occasion, Dr Aulakh stressed the importance of work culture. Mr Ragbir Singh, Estate Officer, said the mobile workshop will be equipped with tools and necessary material and the electrician, carpenter, plumber etc. will be available on call by the residents for quick service. Among others Dr H.S. Sekhon, Dean, College of Agriculture Engineering, Dr K.S. Sekhon, Dean, Postgraduate Studies, Dr M.A. Zahir, Dean, College of Basic Sciences & Humanities, Dr R.P. Sehgal, Dean, College of Veterinary Science, Mr S.K. Bhatia, Comptroller, were also present on the occasion. 


2 booked for selling off PUDA land
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — The police has booked two persons for illegally selling off plots from a piece of land allotted to them by PUDA and without obtaining a licence.

According to an FIR registered under sections 3, 5, 8, 9, 14(1), 15, 18 and 21 of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act by the Additional Chief Administrator, Punjab Urban Development Authority, it is alleged that the two sons of Mr Bhinder Singh — Harjit Singh and Bant Singh — illegally sold off plots from their land on January 10, 1996, without obtaining a licence from PUDA.

Man arrested
The Focal Point police has arrested a person on the charge of selling kerosene meant for the public distribution system on the black market. It is learnt that the police had received information about the accused, Narayan Das, selling kerosene on black and Inspector Paramjit Singh raided the premises of the accused and recovered 1,200 litres of kerosene.

Some unidentified persons are alleged to have forcibly entered into the house of Mr Manmohan Singh in the Focal Point area on September 3 while he was away with his family to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Alamgir Sahib and decamped with cash and other valuables.

Killed in road mishap
Sudagar Singh was killed and Darbara Singh was seriously injured when their scooter was hit by a Ford Tractor (PB-10-AN-2219). It is learnt that the scooter was hit by the cultivator of the tractor being driven by Amrit Pal. Sudagar Singh died on the way to hospital and a case under Sections 279, 338, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against the accused.



Computer stolen from PAU office
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 4 — A computer has reportedly been stolen from the Forestry Department of the College of Agriculture, Punjab Agricultural University, recently.

The university authorities said they came to know of the incident on September 2 when Dr D. S. Sidhu, Head of the department, brought it to their notice in a written complaint.

The Estates Officer, Mr R. B. Singh, said that no FIR had been registered so far. Mr R.P. Grewal, Security Officer, PAU, disclosed that the police had already been intimated and the investigation was in progress.

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