Tuesday, April 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Phone bill collection scheme fails to take off
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
The Postal Department’s proposed scheme of getting telephone bills collected through postmen has come under a shadow with the department having second thoughts over the scheme.

Unsure of the success, the department has decided to seek public opinion before going ahead with the proposed scheme.

With this new shift of the department it seems that it will take quite some time when this scheme actually takes off.

The residents were promised a number of times not only by the local authorities but also by state-level officials of the department. The much touted “door-to-door collection of telephone bills” was to be started in December last.

While it has already started in Chandigarh, the officials of the local department seem to be in no hurry to implement it even after four months of its announcement.

While the scheme was to be introduced four months ago the authorities at that time had said that the indefinite strike by the employees of the Postal Department had played a spoilsport. Mr A.S.I.S. Paul, Chief Postmaster General, Punjab Circle, in an exclusive interview with Ludhiana Tribune had said just after the strike was over that the department was all set to try it in December but it would be implemented in the city within a month.

The department had postponed both night mail service as well as telephone bill scheme for a month. However, the night mail service was started soon.

The telephone bill scheme remains a non- starter. The Senior Superintendent Post Offices, Ludhiana Division, Mr M.K. Khan, said that they were now seeking the response of the public before going in for this scheme.

He said: “We are giving forms to the public and have asked them whether this scheme is acceptable to them or not. Once we get a good response we will definitely start it. Moreover, we require some infrastructure in the post offices also which will take quite some time. Coordination with the Telecom Department is also required for that. We are yet to discuss it with them. I think it will take another month when it actually starts.”

This scheme was planned for the convenience of the public as well as the Postal Department. Under the scheme the residents were not required to visit a post office to pay telephone bills.

The department also was to be spared of the extra rush and burden of work. It would have fetched extra allowances to the staff assigned to the task of bill collection.

Under this scheme, which is still underway, the postmen will go from door to door and collect the bills from the subscribers and after depositing the money the receipts will be delivered to the subscribers at their homes.

This facility would have cost the subscriber only Rs 10, out of which the postman would have got Re 1 per bill as incentive.

Besides this the department had also decided to launch similar schemes for the collection of electricity bills, water bills and municipal taxes in the near future. But all the plans have been abandoned for the time being as the very first scheme has not taken off.

Long wait to deposit bills

Telephone subscribers had another tough day today when they had to stand for several hours in long queues to deposit their bills. Today was the last day for submission of bills.

It may be mentioned that due to gazetted holidays in the last week, subscribers were not able to deposit their telephone bills earlier.

One of the postmasters at a post office said that people were still not aware that they could deposit their bills through cheques and drafts in banks. “They just rush to the post offices on the last day and it becomes very difficult for us to handle such a heavy rush”, he said.

One of the subscribers at Lajpat Rai Market post office said that he had to return on Saturday without depositing the bill. “I am here since morning and it will take me one more hour to deposit it”, he said.

Another subscriber said extra counters should be opened for depositing of telephone bills.

An old lady standing in long queue held the telecom department responsible for the inconvenience. She said,” keeping in view the number of holidays, the department should have extended the last date for submission of bill”.



Cong, YC activists burn NDA Govt’s effigies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 9
As a part of the intensive mass contact programme of the Congress and the Youth Congress in preparation for the state level rally here on April 11, activists of Congress, YC, Seva Dal, Mahila Congress and other front organisations today held a massive protest march and rally, demanding the dismissal of NDA government, led by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee in the wake of Tehelka scandal.

A protest march led by Mr Harnam Das Johar, vice-president, PPCC, the Punjab Seva Dal president, Mr Sushil Parashar, Congress legislator, Mr Rakesh Pandey and DYC President, Mr Parminder Mehta, the Congress and YC workers, was taken out through city areas. Later, a rally was held at Clock Tower Chowk. Women workers of Seva Dal were carrying 28 earthen pots on their heads to symbolise the ‘misdeeds’ of 28 constituent parties of the NDA government.

PPCC vice-president Harnam Das Johar, Punjab Seva Dal chief Sushil Parashar and DYC President Parminder Mehta lead a party demonstration against the NDA government in Ludhiana on Monday. —  Photo by Inderjit Verma
The protesters burnt an effigy of the government and broke the earthen pots in the symbolic ‘cremation’ of the corrupt government. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Johar, a former Punjab Minister and former Speaker of Punjab Assembly, made a scathing attack on the Prime Minister, Mr Vajpayee. He described him as a shameless leader, who had refused to quit gracefully even after being thoroughly exposed in Tehelka tapes. Not only this, Mr Vajpayee had gone to the extent of making Mr George Fernandes convener of the NDA after his resignation from the Union Cabinet on the charges of his party being involved in pushing the shady defence deals.

Mr Sushil Parashar, Mr Parminder Mehta, Mr Ashok Parashar, Mr Jagjit Singh Mukandpuri, Mr Om Parkash Angrish, councillor and Ms Manjit Kaur also addressed the rally.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Mr Kuldip Singh, Mr Harjinder Grewal, Mrs. Gurpreet Kaur, Ms Gurnam Kaur, Ms Inderjit Kaur, Mr Charanjit Bansal, Mr Ravinder Syan, Mr Sarvjit Bunty, Mr Pankaj Sood, Mr Jasbir Johny and Mr Sita Ram Shankar.

The DCC organised another party meeting at Shahanshah Palace here today to mobilise party ranks for the rally, which was addressed, among others by Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, M.P., Mr Lal Singh, vice-president, PPCC and party observer for the district, Mr Harmohinder Singh, MLA, Mr Surinder Dawar, president, DCC, Mr Kewal Krishan Bawa, secretary, PPCC and Mr Pawan Diwan, Chairman, Urban Development Cell of Indian Youth Congress.

The speakers said the party rally to be held on April 11 would focus on “corrupt governance” of NDA Government and the failure of SAD-BJP government in Punjab.

Meanwhile, Congress activists of Amloh constituency staged a protest march in the main bazars of Amloh today against the NDA government.

A rally was also organised in tehsil complex which was addressed by Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Member Parliament, Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamkot, former minister, Mr Harbans Lal MLA, Sirhind, Mr Kulwinder Singh Ambey Majra, Chairman, Youth Congress Seva Dal Punjab, Mr Ved Hari Krishan, former chairman of District Congress Committee, Mr Dilbag Rai Sood general secretary, Mr Amarinder Singh Dhaliwal, senior vice-chairman, Congress Seva Dal (youth wing), Punjab and Mr Ranjit Singh Bhangu, district president, Congress Seva Dal (youth wing) district Fatehgarh Sahib.

Effigies of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, Mr Bangaru Laxman and Mr George Fernandes were burnt.

Earlier, a seminar and rally was organised by Dr Sikander singh president of the District Congress Committee, Fatehgarh Sahib at Mandi Gobindgarh near here which was addressed by Mr Jai Kishan Saini former minister and observer sent by Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee.



BJP flays Mayor’s ‘extravagance’
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 9
With the term of the city councillors about to end and the civic elections also due early next year, the ruling SAD-BJP coalition is fast developing deep fissures. The situation has come to such a pass that barring a few exceptions, the alliance partners are openly speaking against each other and do not let go of any opportunity to criticise the working of their ally, in order to score some points.

The latest to join issue with the city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, over the controversial project of “elevated road” is firebrand BJP councillor Sunil Mehra, who apprehends that wrong policies of the MC top brass might create a severe resource crisis for the civic body to the extent that buildings, other property and even the provident fund of the MC employees might have to be mortgaged in near future.

According to Mr Mehra such a situation had arisen at an earlier occasion in 1991, when the then City Mayor Choudhry Sat Parkash had guided the MC out of a financial mess with his administrative capabilities and when he left office in 1996, the financial health of the civic body was in the pink, which might take a turn for the worse now in the wake of massive funds being diverted to wasteful and low priority projects.

On the controversial project of elevated road on Old G.T. Road in the city from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema, which has been in the eye of the storm, mainly due to vociferous opposition by the BJP from the very beginning, the BJP councillor observed that he had given a notice to the Mayor to convene a General House meeting to discuss the project threadbare, which has not been done so far. “In the absence of proper and authentic information, the city population is in the dark and the MC administration is misleading the public by painting rosy pictures of the project, which entails an expenditure of a whopping Rs 40 crore.”

Mr Mehra maintained that he was a staunch supporter of the development of the city but the misuse of public funds, collected through local taxes, could not be permitted. The elevated road project would serve no useful purpose, since it would not provide any direct access to the people to any part of the city, nor the traffic coming to the national highway from city localities would be able to take the road from any where in the city, except for Jagraon Bridge and Chand Cinema.

Pointing an accusing finger towards the MC administration, he said the project of construction of a flyover in place of foot overbridge (Lakkar Pul) was hanging fire for quite some time and even after the railways giving approval to the project and the MC depositing a hefty amount of Rs. 5 crore for the purpose, the project could not take off till now. Similarly, the work for the construction of a road, along Budha Nullah in the city, had been delayed. If these two projects had been taken up and completed in time, the traffic situation in the city could have got a big relief.

“Rather than incurring wasteful expenditure projects that would not do any good to the common people, the MC administration should take immediate steps for commencement of work on flyover to replace Lakkar Pul and complete the work on road along Budha Nullah without any further delay. Further, the water supply and sewerage facilities need to be expanded to cover more than 40 per cent of the city population,” the BJP councillor demanded.


A story of missing money orders
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
The six lakh employees of the Postal Department should not feel surprised when even the migrant labourers demand privatisation of the department. The labourers complain of harassment and missing of money orders on the way. The hard-earned money is reportedly grabbed by the department employees by making forged signatures. These employees do not hesitate in harassing the illiterate and poor migrant labourers who do not have time or resources to complain about the misdeeds of some employees.

In fact, lakhs of migrant labourers send money orders from the city post offices worth crores of rupees to their relatives in UP, Bihar and other states. The department also gets heavy commission of 5 per cent for delivering the money orders. Though it is supposed to deliver the money orders at the most within one week, fails to deliver them even after months. In some cases the money orders are not delivered at all. The nexus of post men and their high officials take care of this money by making forged signatures.

The parents of Mr Dileep Naik, a rickshaw-puller, in a small village Devgami, district Ranchi, Bihar, have been waiting for a money order of Rs 3,000 for the past over four months which should have been delivered long ago. According to Mr Dileep Naik, he had posted a money order worth Rs 3,000 on November 29, 2000, from Ludhiana Central Post Office, near Mata Rani Chowk. He paid Rs 155 as postal commission to the Postal Department and Rs 10 as other charges. He was duly given a receipt, TMO No. 873, PA: 04 by the booking clerk.

He was shocked when he came to know in January, 2001, from his parents that the money order has not reached them. He complained to the authorities but without any result. Narrating his woes, he said: “I am repenting why had I sent the money through money order. No one is ready to give any satisfactory answer despite repeated complaints.” The complaints to the department has resulted in nothing but excuses that the money order had reached Ranchi, and they could not do anything about it, he added.

Mr C.L. Verma, Deputy Post Master, when contacted in this regard, said: “We are sending a message to the Ranchi post office in this regard, but we are not sure when the money order will be delivered.”

In fact, a number of migrant labourers have complained that their money orders do not reach their destination. The officials on the other hand maintain that the number of money orders have increased manifold in the past decade, but the ban on recruitment of new employees and retirement of employees have resulted in increased workload on the existing staff.

A visit to the Focal Point postal office and other postal offices revealed that there were long queues of labourers waiting for their turn to book money orders. Mr Shanti Ram, a labourer standing in the queue, said: “We have no option to send our money except through money orders though we are not sure whether they will reach our home or not. We have to waste so much time while standing in queues resulting in wage losses as well.”


Housewife robbed at gunpoint
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 9
In a daylight robbery, two unidentified young men robbed a housewife at gunpoint near Adarsh Theatre on Lalheri Road at noon here today.

According to the police, two persons, one of whom was clean shaven and the other was wearing a turban, entered the house of Rakesh Seth a local cloth merchant. Posing to be PSEB employees, they demanded an old electricity bill when Ms Rekha Seth turned to get the bill, one of the robbers caught her and asked her to give all her ornaments. He also demanded Rs 50,000 in cash. He threatened Ms Rekha that if she did not give them the money then they would shoot her one-year-old son Ritik Seth.

Meanwhile, Ms Seth’s niece raised an alarm at which the robbers fled with gold ornaments.

According to the police in another case two persons had tried to enter a house in Narotam Nagar Colony on the pretext of checking the telephone.

The police has been informed about the incident and a case has been registered.

Officiating SSP, Khanna, Ram Singh, said the police in the district had been put on alert.



Farooq lauds CMC’s missionary zeal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, was all praise for the selfless service and missionary zeal of the doctors and the paramedical staff at the Christian Medical College and Hospital here.

Dr Farooq was at the CMC today to enquire about the health of Mr Amar Nath Gupta, a dry fruit merchant of Jammu and a family friend, who was admitted to the hospital for treatment of his kidneys. He was accompanied by his ministerial colleague Mr Ajatshatru Singh.

Attired in traditional cream colour kurta pyjama and sporting a Muslim cap, Dr Abdullah, after enquiring about Mr Gupta, also talked to the doctors, nurses and paramedical staff of the hospital. He lauded their services, exhorting them to keep it up. “I am thankful to all of you for rendering selfless services to the people of my state”, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister told the CMC people who came to see him off.

Dr Abdullah, who was about two hours late, while expressing his helplessness to accept the invitation of Dr T M Jaison to spend some time in the office, he felt quite happy over the love showered by the CMC employees on the patients. “You are serving the people in the name of God and may God bless you all”, he said with folded hands.

Although he was in hurry as he had to reach Jammu, he took off some time to get photographed with the CMC staff. The Chief Minister did not use the elevator, much to the delight of the waiting journalists, as he fielded their questions while moving up the stairs. Dr Abdullah was received here by the Additional Deputy Commissioner Mr S R Kaler, the Assistant Commissioner (General), Mr Harsuhinderpal Singh, and the S P City, Mr Gursharan Singh Sandhu.


Well rounded women roll papads
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 9
The day was March15th.

A pioneer batch of seven women along with a few social workers in a small function started Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad. Papads that add zing and spice to food brought financial help to the women. That fateful day four packets of papads were rolled. Late Chhaganbapa gave a gentle push to the women and the organisation which started with a borrowed capital of Rs 80, on the condition that it must earn and return the money within a stipulated time, now has a turnover of more than Rs 100 crore.

The success story of Lijjat Papad is actual a success story of women empowerment. It has succeeded because the organisation had clear foresight and lofty principles based on a sound philosophy. The basic thoughts are: a) Ours is a voluntary organisation of sisters. b) Our organisation is neither for the poor sisters nor for the rich ones. c) Our organisation never accepts charity or grant. d) Our organisation believes in running the business wisely. e) Our organisation is like a family and sisters run it as if they all belong to the same family. f) Our organisation is like a revered place of worship. g) No one can change these basic thoughts of our organisation.

Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad has made rapid and exemplary progress in the past 36 years. It has become a vast and prestigious institution with branches in almost all the big cities. In Ludhiana, the organisation has shifted to new premises in Sarabha Nagar which they purchased at a whopping price of Rs 78.5 lakh. The building is undergoing renovation to make room storage of the drums containing the raw material. The central office is located in Mumbai and the raw material is purchased from Mumbai and Nasik.

Ms Aruna Sarma, who is at the helm of affairs said, “We have about 600 women working for Lijjat papads. 400 women come and take the dough for making papads. There is a separate batch of women for making the dough and still there are others who are involved in packing the papads. A team had come from Gujarat to train a few of us to make dough and rolling of papads. We need a special rolling pin and a ‘chakla’ for papads. The women can roll 4 to10 kg papads in a day. About 112 to 120 papads are rolled out from 1 kg dough. For rolling 1kg of papads, a woman gets Rs 14 and every one makes at least Rs 52 a day and some make as much as Rs 140 a day. Every one is paid on a daily basis. There is a team of women who check the weight and quality of papads. For every kilo, 200 grams are accounted for loss of moisture. If the papads are less then the money is deducted accordingly. Even the supervisors are on their toes for they are also held accountable later if the figures do not tally.”

She further said they sell directly to the agents. Every penny is accounted for. They have opened small centres at Sahnewal and Alamgir too. Raw material from ludhiana is taken from the city and distributed to the women there. Thus providing employment to 250 women. The women who knead the dough takes home Rs126 per day cashier and store in charge takes away Rs 252 per day whereas material in charge gets Rs 322 and Ms Sharma earns Rs 392 per day. An accountant, three peons and a driver are the only male employees, rest of the organisation is run by women only.

Ms Sharma said earlier they were exempt from income tax and sales tax. But from November 19 the Punjab Government has levied a sales tax of 6.6 per cent. Since they are associated with Khadi Board, the board is fighting the case with the government as Khadi products have also come under the purview of sales tax. Ms Sharma said it had dealt a blow to them as 50 per cent of their distributors were not lifting the papads. The reduced sales would mean that women would get less work and earn less. In Mumbai the ladies have diversified and are making several other things like detergents and confectionery items. But in Punjab the sales tax levied on papads is putting a spoke in the wheels of progress of a very successful organisation.

The organisation is conscious of its social duties and has contributed for the victims of rail accident, Khanna, built houses for quake victims of Latur, and now have donated generously for Gujarat quake victims.

The secret of success is that the sisters who work in the institution are the joint owners of the institution and hence they all act in a responsible manner and behave as real owners in the right spirit.



City kids turn Net crazy
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, April 9
When Anurag, a six-year-old, refused to eat his meals properly, his mother tried out different ways to coax him into finishing his food. One of them being the lure of using his father’s computer for playing games. Soon she realised that her son was hooked onto the computers. Everytime the trick worked out and her son unconsciously finished his lunch. She continued this practice for almost a year till she realised that Anurag is today not only a computer buff, but also a Net addict and has shun all physical activities.

Nidhi, a 10-year-old, complained of frequent headaches. Her mother took her to a paediatrician who referred her to a psychiatrist. When the psychiatrist traced her history to know about the cause of headache, it was found that prolonged use of the computer for surfing kids’ sites on the Net and chatting and playing games online had led to the problem.

These are just a few instances of the city kids turning Net addicts. City psychologists like Dr Parveen Narang believe that easy accessibility to the Internet at schools and home, mushrooming of cyber cafes and lack of awareness among the parents regarding the effects of excessive use of the Internet are some of the causes of increasing Net addiction among children, leading to certain ill-effects on their health.

Says Dr Parven Narang, psycho-counsellor: ‘‘While earlier the cases of kids going Net junkies were seen only among the kids of Delhi and other metropolitan cities, such cases have become common among the kids of Ludhiana as well. On an average, I get three such cases in a week’s time. The parents accompanying the kids complain of headaches and even epilepsy in extreme cases, and when I trace the history of the patient, prolonged use of the Net is found to be the real cause.’’

Dr Parveen Sobti, paediatrician at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, said that the cases of Net addiction were more common among the boys than girls as the former were given more liberty. “To surf the Net, boys make bunks at school hours and go to cyber cafes. However, daughters are usually under their parents’ vigil and, therefore, they do not get a chance to spend much time on computers,’’ she said.

While pointing out the symptoms, Dr Sobti said that such children would like to keep away from their family and spend most of the time in front of the computer. Loss of concentration in studies, headache and epilepsy in extreme conditions were other symptoms of Net addiction.

Dr Sobti further pointed out that to prevent the problem, parents need to be more watchful. “All those who have computers at home should fix timings for its use. Parents also need to keep a check on the ways their kids were spending their pocket money. Besides, the administration should go strict with cyber cafes which have created private cabins and are allowing the kids to watch pornographic material,” she said.


Spiritual orientation stressed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 9
Various studies have shown that persons with a spiritual orientation have a strong will and the can face hardships of life more effectively.

This was stated by Mr Sarabjit Singh, Director, Social and Health Services, at the symposium on mental health organised by the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle on the occasion of the World Health Day here today.

He said the youth must be trained as to how best they could while away their hard times so that they could be saved from falling prey to pessimism and drug addiction. Work was not tiring for man, but the resultant tension caused tiredness, he added.

In his presidential address, Dr Raghbir Singh blamed liquor for the increasing tension in society. Contentment was the key to maintaining mental equilibrium in this competitive age, he said.


46 marriages solemnised
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, April 9
The Dr Bheem Rao Ambedkar Youth Welfare Club (Regd) solemnised 46 marriages of couples belonging to poor families at Jifco Resorts, Sahnewal, on Saturday. The brides were given gold jewellery, furniture, utensils, sewing machines and fans.

According to Mr Gurdeep Singh Kaul, president of the club,‘‘This has become an annual feature of the club since 1996. Since the first year of its formation, the club has arranged 130 such marriages, but till date, we have not got even a single penny from the government under its Shagun Scheme. The club also runs a free tailoring centre. Medical camps are arranged from time to time. Financial aid is also given to poor school students.’’

The guests of honour, on the occasion were Mr Gyan Singh Pasla and Mr Malkiat Singh, both NRIs who donated Rs 3 lakh to the club. A souvenir was also released.



Body found under mysterious circumstances
Our Correspondent

Sarmala, April 9
The body of Lakhbir Singh, a senior clerk at the tehsildar’s office in Samrala, was found here today. He was also the president of the Tehsil Employees Union.

His body was found this morning on Behlolpur road near the brick-kiln of Randhir Singh, under suspicious circumstances. His scooter was found about 70 yards away on the road. There was blood near a tahli tree, where his body was found, but there was no signs on the scooter to show that it was an accident.

According to the postmortem, conducted in the local Civil Hospital, he had received a head injury, and his legs were fractured. The courts in SDM office and tehsil office suspended work.

The president of the Ludhiana District DC Employees Union, Mr Avtar Singh Sidhu, Mr Nachhattar Singh Uppal, president of the Patwar Union, Mr Parminder Singh Toor, senior member of Kanungo Association, Mr Swaran Singh, Bar president, Mr Gurdev Singh, and Chaukidar Union president, Mr Gian Singh, demanded inquiry into the incident. The body was handed over to the family of the deceased and later cremated.


1-lakh grant for school
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 9
The family of Dr Anil Kumar Sharma, an NRI who had spent about Rs 2.5 lakh to build two rooms and a verandah in Government High School, Amrala, was honoured here today. The ADC, Mr Devinderpal Singh Walia was the chief guest.

Mr Walia lauded the role of Mr Sharma’s family in solving the problem of rooms. The Headmaster of the school, Mr Bawa Singh, gave information about the development works done by the school welfare and vikas committee and said two more rooms should be constructed. Mr Sharma announced that if this school was upgraded upto class XII, they would help to construct one more room.

The ADC announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the remaining development works of the school and said other demands would be fulfilled after consulting senior officers. Mr Amar Chand Sharma and his son Ashok Kumar were honoured on the occasion.



Islam Gunj tense
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Islam Gunj remains tense as three days after a 6-year-old boy Laxman went missing, no clue has been found about his whereabouts.

While the police has registered a case of kidnapping, the family has so far not received any ransom call. The police has dispatched teams at several places including certain other cities but to no avail.


5 women hurt in clash
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir (Patiala), April 9
The controversy over the disputed land here took a new turn yesterday when a clash occurred between the rival groups injuring five women.

According to information available, two groups, owing allegiance to the BSP and SAD pelted stones at each other when the SAD group tried to stop the other group from encroaching upon the disputed land again. Women, who were injured included Gurdeep Kaur, Nashattar Kaur, Kamlesh, Asha Rani and Parkash Kaur.

The police has booked Narmail Singh, Dalwinder Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Gurcharan Singh along with the five injured.


Illicit relationship led to kids’ murder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Karamjit of Mullanpur Dakha village was arrested yesterday and charged with murdering her two children. Her alleged paramour Shamsher Singh and his friend Tarsem Singh were arrested today.

The Jagraon SSP, Mr Jaskaran Singh, said, “The incident exemplifies the story of a shrewd woman who allegedly first cheated her husband by having an extra-marital relationship, and then blinded by her love for her paramour eliminated her two children. She cooked up a fake accident story and accused her paramour and his friend of having drugged her”.

Claiming to have reached at the truth in the case, the SSP told Ludhiana Tribune that the woman was in love with Shamsher, who promised to marry her only if she removed the children from the way. According to the SSP, the woman was so ruthless that when her first attempt to murder the children by giving them celphos tablets failed, she strangulated her 8-year-daughter Gurpreet Kaur and her 6-year-old son Sukhpal Singh was strangulated by her paramour.

The latest police findings put to rest the conflicting reports emerging about the murder. While some said the children were killed as they objected to the relationship, others said the woman was told by her paramour to please his friends too. When she objected, her children were beaten up, which caused death of one of them. As the second was a witness, he was also silenced.

Giving details of the sequence of events based on the confession statement given to the police, the SSP said the woman’s husband was in the Indian Army and was posted somewhere in the North-East. In his absence, the woman developed illicit relations with Shamsher. The relationship was objected to by the woman’s father, but she did not pay and heed to it. When people began to talk about them, the woman told her paramour to marry her.

The paramour agreed, but on the condition that the woman eliminated her two children. The deal was struck and the murders took place. The shrewd lovers then made a plan to make it appear as an accident. They cooked up a story that the woman and her children were hit by a passing truck. The paramour then phoned the police that some bodies were lying near Morkarmian village. The woman also lay there and acted as if she was unconscious.

The police was suspicious about the story and when the woman’s father told them about the illicit relationship of his daughter, the police got the medical examination of the woman conducted. The doctors reported that the woman, who became unconscious now and then, had no physical ailment. The postmortem report strengthened the police suspicion as the children had died due to asphyxia.



Family rivalry led to murder
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
The killing of Jagjit Singh, a close relative of Samrala MLA and Congress leader Amrik Singh Dhillon, is being termed as ‘a murder in default’. In fact the killing is said to be the accidental outcome of the rivalry between two other families.

It is learnt that the main accused, Ranjit Singh Jeeta, had actually come to settle score and target his cousin, Mitterpal Singh Lovely, an ex-president of the municipal committee. Jeeta had of late developed aversion for Mitterpal for latter’s proximity to Mr Amrik Singh. Mitterpal’s father, Kaka Pavatia, and Amrik Singh had been accused of the murder of Sher Singh, a leading liquor contractor of Madpur village, several years ago. However, Amrik Singh’s name had reportedly been deleted from the FIR, while Kaka was convicted. This had led to a long-drawn feud between Mitterpal’s and Amrik’s family.

While Jagjit was now believed to be close to Amrik Singh, their relationship was not always cordial and the two families had great rivalry because of the liquor trade. Jagjit had shot into prominence at a young age. About 10 years back he was accused of committing fraud with the government by selling paddy worth Rs 35 lakh and burning an equal quantity of husk. He had reportedly claimed the compensation from the insurance company. However, the fraud was later detected and he was made to refund all the money.

During the regime of Beant Singh, Jagjit had come close to the in-laws of one of his sons who were living in Machhiwara after having migrated from Haryana. Given his experience in liquor trade, the family used its connections and Jagi’s experience and made huge profits in liquor trade. Jagjit had utilised the services of Karam Singh Gill who was an MLA from Samrala and a minister in Beant Singh’s cabinet and was also a rival of Mr Amrik Singh. Jagjit and Amrik had become rivals in liquor trade and Mitterpal always stood by Jagjit.

However, when Karam Singh Gill died and Beant Singh’s regime ended, Jagjit decided to call truce with Amrik Singh as he (Amrik Singh) had also become an MLA by them. Some common friends brokered a compromise between the two. After Jagjit came close to Amrik Singh, Mitterpal’s relationship with the latter also started soothing. This reportedly infuriated his cousin Jeeta. He never wanted a rapprochement between Mitterpal and Amrik Singh as he had opposed again Amrik Singh for Mitterpal, after latter’s father was convicted of murder. Mitterpal’s father is Jeeta’s maternal uncle.

Feeling betrayed and isolated, he reportedly decided to avenge the humiliation. It was on the fateful evening of April 7 when Jeeta along with some others caught hold of Mitterpal and severely beat him up. Jagjit reportedly tried to intervene. He was reportedly told by the accused that they had nothing to do with him and he should keep away. Jagjit reportedly went on the rooftop of the shop and allegedly started throwing bottles at Jeeta and his men. They allegedly returned it with gunfire resulting in serious injuries to Jaggi which ultimately led to his death.


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