Thursday, May 17, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Tohra’s nod to unity prompted by compulsions
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
The last-minute nod to moves for Panthic unity by the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, is understood to have been prompted by political realignment building up in the state. Besides it may also act as a pressure group against the ruling alliance. At the same time Mr Tohra’s assent to these moves should not be considered as final.

Earlier, he had on several occasions remained cool towards these moves and preferred to stay away from the meetings organised by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and others for forging the Panthic unity. The change of heart on the part of Mr Tohra is quite understandable.

It is being felt that Mr Tohra’s decision is part of his multi-pronged strategy vis-a-vis Mr Badal and his future course of action. Notwithstanding his assertion that he has slammed door on Mr Badal, he has not closed the option of a rapprochement. Three reasons are being attributed to Mr Tohra’s move.

The first being that he had consistently been cold shouldered by Mr Badal. It is no secret that prior to Mr Tohra’s departure for the USA the unity moves on both sides had gained momentum to the extent that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had also admitted to such moves. Having waited for a considerable time after his return, without getting any positive feelers from the SAD, Mr Tohra decided to work towards the Panthic unity.

The second factor is said to be that the announcement of the Panthic unity can also work as a pressure tactic for Mr Tohra besides conveying to Mr Badal that the AISAD is not desperate and has other options as well.

By declaring his willingness to form a united Panthic group, the former SGPC chief has tried to come at a par with Mr Badal in terms of negotiating a settlement. For now at least the SAD cannot dictate terms to the AISAD on the pretext that it (the AISAD) has nowhere else to go. And in case there is no rapprochement between the two, the major loser would be the SAD, as it has more at stakes.

The Assembly results in the five states may also be one of the reasons for Mr Tohra to reconsider his strategy towards the ruling SAD-BJP alliance. He has sufficient time to decide his future course of action. By declaring his support and approval for the Panthic unity, he has at least secured his position in case the rapprochement with Mr Badal does not mature. Now Mr Tohra can at least bargain on equal terms.


Punjabi youths in bad state in Pak prison
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Though chances of the release of 29 Punjabi youths lodged in a jail in Baluchistan (Pakistan) have brightened, the worries of their close relations continue to grow because of depressing reports about the conditions in the jail.

The youths have described their pitiable condition in the jail, following the unavailability of proper food and other facilities, in a letter received by a close relation of one of them. They rarely get water to have a bath. But the worst thing they have encountered in the jail is the menace of lice. Almost all of them are suffering from lice infestation.

They have requested their release at the earliest possible by taking up the issue with the Pakistan Government through the Government of India.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the state government told TNS that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was proceeding to Delhi on May 18. He would call on the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, to seek his help for securing the release of the jailed youths. Mr Badal would also urge Mr Advani to take up the issue with the External Affairs Ministry.

“We have collected the necessary information with regard to the youths. It is being processed at the appropriate level for handing over to the Union Government authorities for taking up the matter with the Government of Pakistan through the proper channel,” the senior official said.

Sources said when a report on the youths, who were on the way to Greece via Turkey, reached here, the state government directed its intelligence agencies to collect the relevant information on them. A section of the print media also highlighted reports about the imprisonment of the youths in Pakistan.

Recently, a deputation of close relations of the youths met Mr Badal at Khamano during the “sangat darshan” programme to request him to secure their repatriation. Mr Badal had assured them that he would do the needful.

Twentynine Punjabi youths were being taken to Greece from Dubai and Lebanon by a travel agent. They had paid Rs 4 lakh each for taking them to a pre-decided destination.

However, they were arrested in Turkey. They were robbed of their belongings and handed over to the Iranian army, which subsequently pushed them into Pakistan. In Pakistan, they were arrested and jailed for three months for entering in the country without valid documents.

Informed sources said their imprisonment had been extended by three months.

The youths had sent several letters to their close relations for securing their release. They said they were not involved in any antinational or violent activity. In fact, many of them had left the country several years ago to take up jobs in Dubai and Lebanon.


Police foils jailbreak
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 16
The overcrowded local Central Jail which remained in the thick of several controversies relating to series of deaths of inmates, smuggling within its premises by inmates and beating up of inmates by the jail staff and others, seems to be heading towards another major controversy relating to an attempt to escape from jail by inmates with the help of a mobile phone.

The district police authorities today claimed that four accused, three of them in jail and one on bail, hatched a conspiracy to escape from the Central Jail. They decided to escape from the jail when they would be taken to courts in connection with the hearings of criminal cases registered against them.

The three accused namely, Makhan Baraguda, against whom 47 cases had been pending in different courts at different places, Harwinder Singh, alias Bitta, against whom four cases of car snatching were pending and Chinder Singh Bhagibandar, who managed to take mobile phone inside the jail, used the same to make contact another accused namely Jagga Singh, who was on bail in connection with their escape.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, Bathinda, in a press note issued here today, said on receiving a specific information, Jagga Singh was arrested and a case in this connection was registered under Sections 223, 224 and 120-B of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act.

After that, the three jail inmates, Chinder Singh Bhagibandar, Makhan Baraguda and Harwinder Singh, alias Bitta, were brought on production warrant. One countrymade pistol of .12 bore was recovered from Chinder Bhagibandar.

He added that Makhan Singh Baraguda was one of that accused who escaped from police custody while he was being taken to Patiala central jail by policemen after producing him in court at Phul in Bathinda district on April 20, 2000. The accused escaped after putting chilly powder in the eyes of policemen who were taking them back to Patiala central jail.

Mr Jaspreet Singh Sidhu, DSP (R), said that accused also confessed before the jail authorities that they had been using mobile phone.

Mr G.S. Mann, Deputy Superintendent Jail (DSJ), when contacted, said that question of using the mobile phone by the jail inmate did not arise. He added that the three inmates, who were taken into custody by the police on production warrant had confessed that they were using mobile phones in the jail out of fear.

He pointed out that though the central jail was overcrowded every inmates was being checked thoroughly in morning and evening. He added that a special watch on Makhan Singh Baraguda, against whom 47 cases were registered and Chinder Singh Bhagibandar who had been facing trial for second murder case after being sentenced for life in first murder case, was being kept.

He said that there were 915 inmates in the central jail here against its capacity of 500. Nearly 40 women were lodged in the jail against its capacity of only 10 women.

However, the two accused Makhan Singh Baraguda and Harwinder Singh, alias Bitta, who were presented before mediapersons confessed that they were using mobile phones in jail.


Tyagi asks Cong men to unite for elections
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 16
Mr Dhirendra Tyagi, Secretary of the AICC, has called upon the Congressmen to fight against the anti-national forces and to contest unitedly the ensuing Assembly elections in Punjab.

He was addressing a meeting of the Congress worker, organised by the District Congress Committee, here yesterday.

Mr Tyagi also called upon people to join the signature campaign of the congress against the Vajpayee-led government demanding its dismissal by the President of India in the wake of the Tehlka. Com episode. He emphasised that under the leadership of the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the party had done well in the recently held Assembly elections in the five states.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Dirba, president of the District Congress Committee, Sangrur, also appealed to the Congressmen to disseminate the message of Mrs Sonia Gandhi throughout the country.


Jallo blames NDA for Cong victory
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 16
Major Narinder Singh Jallo, a senior Akali leader, has blamed the NDA government at the Centre for the victory of the Congress in recent elections.

In a press statement issued here today, Major Jallo said the regional parties had mortgaged their interests at the hands of the BJP in order to secure ministerial berths for their candidates in the Union Cabinet.


BSP to stage dharnas from June 4
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 16
Thousands of workers of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by its chief, Mr Kanshi Ram, will start a 27-day-long dharna at Chandigarh to press the Punjab Government to implement the labour laws, including the Bonded Labour Act, the Child Labour Act, the Minimum Wages Act and the Prevention of Atrocities on Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribe Act in the state.

Everyday, starting from June 4 and till June 30, 100 workers from each parliamentary constituency of Punjab would reach Chandigarh on cycle.

Mr Sham Singh Jaura, general secretary of the Punjab unit of the BSP, while talking to TNS said workers who would campaign for the rights of the downtrodden would also generate a wave in favour of the party for the coming assembly elections in the state.

He said a decision to this effect had been taken late last evening at a meeting held at Jalandhar and presided over by Mr Kanshi Ram. He said after this series of dharna, party activists would also stage dharnas in front of Parliament in July. He said dates for this agitation were yet to be fixed.

He pointed out that in this agitation people would be educated about the law of the land and their rights and duties under the same. The agitation would prepare the grassroots worker for the coming general assembly elections.

He said the party had decided to contest the assembly elections on its own steam.

He added that Mr Kanshi Ram had also been holding party rallies in every nook and corner of state. Two such rallies would be held at Mansa and Goniana on May 28.


Cheema for debate on alliances
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
Mr M.M. Cheema, Chairman, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee ( intellectual cell), has said announcements regarding the alliance with the parties like the CPI, the CPM and the BSP sends wrong signals to the party workers.

Appealing to Capt Amarinder Singh, President PPCC, he said, the Congress should not rush for adjustments and alliances without having a debate at the block, district and state levels without the consent of the party leader, Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

Earlier, poll alliances with these parties had proved detrimental to the Congress, he added.

The Communist parties have given-little support to the Congress on vital issues like WTO, MNC and Labour fronts, he added.


Preserving Babbar Akalis’ heritage
Parmod Bharti

The Babbar Karam Singh Memorial Trust in Daulatpur village, which was set up with the aim of preserving the heritage of the Babbar Akalis, has been doing yeoman service since its formation in 1992.

The trust, the brainchild of Mr Bachan Singh Thandi, a former INA Commander and sarpanch of the village, has with the cooperation of philanthropists here and abroad built a memorial in the village to the Babbar Akali movement. The trust has been striving hard to make it a “source of inspiration for the coming generations”. Besides erecting Minar-e-Shaheed and Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall, it has also set up a high school, a research centre, a library, a computer training centre, a music centre, a sewing training centre and a gymnasium.

Daulatpur, which had the distinction of holding the first conference of the Babbar Akali movement 1921, is the native village of Babbar Karam Singh, popularly known as “Editor”. He was the Editor of Babbar Akali Doaba, a newspaper published by the Babbar Akalis to propagate their views and mobilise the masses to participate in the freedom struggle. The paper was published from Daulatpur, where the Babbar Akalis had set up an underground printing press named the Udaroo Press. Now, the trust has opened a computer centre at the place where the press was set up.

Mr Bachan Singh says 2.5 acres of land was provided by Mr Ajmer Singh, a nephew of Babbar Karam Singh, for erecting the memorial. Generous donations were received for the purpose from within the country and abroad. Till now, the trust has spent Rs 42 lakh on the memorial to all participants and martyrs of the movement and the Ghadr Party. Their names have been engraved on Minar-e-Shaheed. Photographs, literature and arms and ammunition of Babbar Akalis are on display. The research centre has been set up to help scholars conduct research on the Babbar Akali movement.

At Babbar Karam Singh Memorial National Public School, 24 rooms have been built so far, each dedicated to the memory of different martyrs of the movement.

The trust also organises a shradhanjli samaroh on September 1 every year to mark the martyrdom day of Babbar Karam Singh and honour freedom fighters. It plans to set up a polytechnic, install a statue of Babbar Karam Singh and build a sports stadium, a swimming pool and a park in the memorial area.

Mr Bachan Singh said a number of descendants of martyrs of the movement had visited the memorial and appreciated the work of the trust. Recently, Dr Bakshish Singh Nijjar, a former Director of the Punjab State Archives and prominent historian, visited Daulatpur and lauded the trust for erecting the memorial.


Badal keeps mum on ‘Ghallughara Divas’
Our Correspondent

Guru ka Bagh (Amritsar), May 16
“The government will not be a party to any controversy regarding the observance of the ‘Ghallughara Divas’,” said the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Badal was responding to a query by the mediapersons after Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President, SGPC, made a statement yesterday equating former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to the Mughal invaders who were similarly “wiped out” after ordering an attack on Akal Takht. The statement has given impetus to Sikh radical thinkers, 13 of whom have given a call for observing the “Ghallughara divas” at Akal Takht, even as the Jathedar, Akal Takht, Mr Joginder Singh Vedanti, had said the observance of the day was still under consideration.

The Chief Minister was on a “sangat darshan” programme at the historical gurdwara at Guru ka Bagh village near here.


Bhindranwale’s ‘antim ardas’ on June 6
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The claim made by the Damdami Taksal that Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale is “alive” and in good health notwithstanding, the newly formed nine-member Shahid Sant Jarnail Singh and Holocaust Commemoration Committee has decided to perform his “antim ardas” at Akal Takht on June 6.

In a statement released here today, Mr Narain Singh, co-ordinator of the committee, and eight others said, “The Sant embraced martyrdom for the sake of Sikhs and not for the Damdami Taksal or for his family”. The committee said the ceremony would be conducted in a dignified and peaceful manner at Akal Takht.

Replying to questions raised by the Damdami Taksal in a statement, which appeared in print media today, the committee members said to condemn those who wish to perform the “antim ardas” was uncalled for. They said at one stage the Damdami Taksal had declared to produce the sant in person before December 31, 1997, but it had not been done so far.

If the Taksal has any proof about the sant being alive, it should be put before the people in a transparent manner. But illogical and ridiculous arguments should not be put up to make people believe that he is alive.

The committee members said there was nothing political behind the decision to perform the “ardas”. Replying to the question, Mr Narain Singh said vested interests continued to float rumours and create confusion among the Sikhs about the sant’s presence. Because of this reason, “antim ardas” could not be performed all these years.

Besides, Mr Narain Singh, other members of the committee are Mr Gurtej Singh, Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Kanwarpal Singh, Mr Surinder Pal Singh Ghariala, Mr D.S.Gill, Mr Jaspal Singh Dhillon, and Justice Ajit Singh Bains( retd) and Mr Surinder Pal Singh.


Lawyers firm on laying stone
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 16
After losing all hope for an amicable solution with regard to the construction of chambers for lawyers in the newly built judicial complex here, the District Bar Association today gave a call to all political parties and bar associations of the state to take part in the foundation stone laying ceremony for the construction of chambers on May 18 here.

Giving this information here this afternoon, Mr Balraj Singh Sohi, president of the association, said a decision to this effect was taken at an emergency meeting of the association here this morning.

Mr Sohi said the government had forced them to lay the foundation stone for the chambers at their own level as the Punjab Government had turned a blind eye towards their demand so far despite the fact that they had struck work since April 9 besides staging a protest dharna since April 10 and observing relay fast since April 16.

Mr Sohi said the District Bar Association had also given a call to the bar associations of Punjab to strike work on May 18 to express solidarity with them. He said the demand to construct chambers for lawyers was a common cause so every bar association should extend its support whole-heartedly to the Sangrur District Bar Association.

Mr Sohi said they had given an ultimatum to the state government at a rally of lawyers at Sangrur on May 11 to respond positively towards their demand, otherwise the lawyers would have no option but to lay the foundation stone on May 18.

Mr Sohi also said it seemed the state government was not concerned about their demand otherwise it would have come forward with an effective proposal for the construction of chambers.

The president of the association also announced the programme for the laying of foundation stone. He said on May 18 the lawyers would hold a protest march through the town before the foundation stone laying ceremony. Thereafter, a rally would also be held there, he added.


Residents questioned on sub-depot fire
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 16
Court of inquiry officials yesterday summoned sarpanches, panches, colonisers and other residents of the area adjoining the 2 ammunition sub-depot, (2ASD) Mamoon.

Those who appeared before the court of inquiry included Mr Krishan Lal Mehta, husband of Sarpanch, Mamoon, Mrs Sushma Mehta, Mr Hardeep Singh, Sarpanch of Lamini village, Dr Ashok Sharma, Mr Raj Kumar Sharma, Mr Dharam Singh, panchayat member, Mr Raghunath Singh, former Sarpanch, Mamoon, Mr Kewal Krishan, Sarpanch, Siunti,, Mr Avtar Singh, Mr Vijay Dogra, former Sarpanch, Mamoon, and Mr Gopal Mahajan, a local coloniser.

According to sources, inquiry officials also recorded the statements of the persons and inquired from them about the probable cause of the fire which broke out on April 29 at the sub-depot.

No mediaperson was allowed to attend the proceedings.

The persons who appeared before the court of inquiry ruled out any chance of sabotage in the fire incident.


Restructuring of district sought
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 16
A meeting of district lawyers, including members of different trade organisations, held here yesterday decided to form a Sangarsh Committee to intensify agitation for the restructuring of the district which was trifurcated into three districts Muktsar, Moga and Faridkot in November, 1995.

A decision was also taken to seek the support of all political parties to make the programme more effective. The meeting expressed concern over the alleged adamant attitude of the Punjab Government, particularly the Chief Minister, for its failure to accede to the demand regarding the restructuring of the district despite repeated assurances.

Presiding over the meeting Mr Kulinder Singh Sekhon, President of the District Bar Association, disclosed that on the advice of the state government, the district administration sent a complete data on December 9, 1996, in connection with the merger of the nearly 80 villages belonging to Mudki and Bhagta Bhaika area in the district but no action had been taken so far. He said Faridkot with a strength of 170 villages and two blocks, was one of the small districts in the country. Members of the association had been staging a three-hour-dharna daily in the district court premises for the past three months regarding the issue. 


Hydel projects start functioning
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 16
Two power projects of the PSEB on the Anandpur Sahib hydel canal started functioning yesterday after water was released in the canal.

The water level in the Bhakra dam started increasing on May 10 due to snow melting. The BBMB authorities released about 4,100 cusecs of water in the canal after two months. With this the PSEB authorities started operating one turbine each at Ganguwal and Nakian power houses on the canal.

There are two turbines with a generation capacity of 27 mw at each power house. These turbines can generate power to their optimum capacity if the water release in the canal is at least 5,000 cusecs.

The PSEB authorities at Anandpur Sahib said at present about 54 mw was being generated at both the power houses. However, the generation could be doubled if more water was released in the canal.


Unlocked post-boxes irk residents
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, May 16
The common complaints of the people against the Postal Department are that the letters and parcels reach them late or sometimes do not reach at all. However, the letters of local residents do not reach the post office itself — thanks to the unlocked post-boxes in the city.

The seriousness of employees of the Postal Department regarding the safe delivery of letters of the residents can be judged from the fact that a number of post-boxes in the city are not locked and can be opened by anybody.

One such post-box, planed at the local railway station, is used by a large number of residents of the area. They put the letter into the post-box but are not sure whether it would reach its destination or fall into the hands of a person mischievous enough to open the post-box and take out the letters.

The place where the post-box is to be locked is covered by ropes so that it is not noticed by anybody. The Postal Department employee who comes to collect the post merely unties the ropes and takes out the letters. It makes his task easier, as he does not have to keep a key of the lock.

Some residents said that if the condition of a post-box in the hub of the city was so poor, anybody could guess the state of post-boxes in far-off places.

They said the “casual” attitude of the authorities concerned about the security and secrecy of the letters created problems for them. They said there were a number of incidents where they had to suffer due to the negligence of the Postal Department.

A senior official of the department said no such incident had come to his notice where post-boxes were not properly locked. He said every care was taken while collecting and delivering the post. He said it was likely that sometimes the employee responsible for collecting the post misplaced the key of the post-box lock and in order to escape the wrath of his officers, he resorted to the other method. He said if any such incident came to the notice of the department, action would be made against the employee concerned.


Cutting trees to raise offices
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 16
After Thandi Sadak, trees are being felled in the Civil Lines area. Personnel of the Punjab Forest Development Corporation (PFDC) started cutting the avenue of trees from the Deputy Commissioner and SSP’s office today. The area is being cleared for the construction of a district administrative complex (DAC).

According to sources, 60 trees would be axed. The PFDC men on the job have a proper permission to cut the trees. They have been directed to finish the job within a week. There is resentment among residents over the cutting of trees. Mr Vivek Aggarwal, ACA, PUDA, said only those trees would be done with which fell in the DAC zone.

He pointed out that trees along the roads having the DC and SSP offices would not be cut. He added that moreover, a green belt would also be developed around the DAC. In Bathinda town, the DAC was being constructed at the cost of Rs 15 crore by PUDA. Tenders had also been floated for a section of work. For providing modern offices to the Punjab government officials, the newly constructed meeting hall and various other buildings would be dismantled, official sources said. The Punjab government had failed to take notice of the large scale protest lodged by citizens and various social organisations against the dismantling of the offices of DC and SSP which were built about four decades ago.

The DC office had been shifted to children and general hospital which was located in the heart of the city while the 100-bedded children and general hospital had been shifted to the extended wing of OPD in the premises of civil hospital.


Dharna against remarks on Christ
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 16
Several hundred residents of Dhariwal and its surrounding villages held a dharna at the Dhariwal bus stand crossing today in protest against the alleged derogatory remarks in a book published by Mr Satnam Singh about Christ and his family. The traffic was blocked for two hours from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. However, the police diverted the traffic to link roads.

Mr Nathenial Nadda, senior vice-president of the Christian Protection Committee, Punjab, and Mr Sunil Manna, vice-president of the Christian Yuva Morcha, Punjab, demanded a ban on the book and the registration of a case against Mr Satnam Singh.

They appealed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht to summon Mr Satnam Singh and excommunicate him from the Panth if he did not relent.

Meanwhile, members of the Union of Physically Handicapped held a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here today in support of their demands. They also presented a memorandum of demands to the Deputy Commissioner.

According to Mr Sarjoga Singh, president of the union, demands included the absorption of handicapped persons in the Punjab Red Cross and against the vacant posts of Class-IV in the Health Department.

He also demanded that the interview for handicapped persons which was cancelled on January 5, 1999, should be held again.


Worker unions resolve dispute
Our Correspondent

Barnala, May 16
Following intervention by the Barnala police and the administration, a compromise between two warring unions — the Workers Palledar Union and the Punjab Palledar Workers Union — was hammered on Tuesday night as the two decided to sink their differences over the loading of wheat of Dhanaula procurement centres on a special train at Barnala.

It may be recalled that 13 labourers were injured in a clash between the two unions at Barnala station earlier on Tuesday over a dispute. As many as six labourers sustained serious injuries in this clash.


Woman immolates herself
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 16
Darshan (35) of the local Kabir Nagar locality, immolated herself at her residence late last night. According to the police, she was disturbed due to some family problems which promoted her to take her life. She was rushed to the Civil Hospital with 90 per cent burns. She died late in the night.

Meanwhile, Beera (22), of the same locality, committed suicide by consuming some pesticide at her residence last night. He died on the spot. Ashwani Kumar (32) an employee of Market Committee was found dead at New Sabzi Mandi, near Maqsoodan, today. The cause of the death could not be ascertained.


Judicial remand for Zaffarwal
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 16
Khalistan Commando Force chief Wassan Singh Zaffarwal was produced today in the court of Mr Jasbir Singh, Judicial Magistrate, for his involvement in a case registered against him at Dhariwal under Sections 302, 201 and 34, IPC, and Sections 25, 54 and 59, Arms Act, on May 6, 1985. The Judge remanded him in judicial custody till May 30.

Zaffarwal has been lodged in high security Nabha jail. He has brought here yesterday and was kept in lock-up at Sadar Police Station for the night. 


Telegram jam
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 16
Telegrams booked at the local Telegraph Office after April 30 have not been sent so far. Official sources say this was due to the shortage of staff.

Interestingly, Mr Bishan Das, a local resident, had booked a telegram addressed to the Punjab and Haryana High Court that his two relatives had been picked up by the police on April 28.

Though the police had released the said persons yet the telegram was still lying in the Telegram Office.

As many as 300 telegrams have piled up so far.


Plan to raise memorial
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 16
The city will make arrangements to place a statue of or name a place after Brigadier Sukhdev Singh, decorated with the Vir Chakra and the Military Cross.

This was stated by Mr K.S.Kang, Municipal Commisssioner, at the bhog ceremony of Brig Sukhdev Singh held at a gurdwara here today.

Expressing grief over the death of the gallant soldier, Mr Kang said efforts would be made by the government to institute some memorial in the city of the Brigadier. He said the Brigadier had devoted his life for the country, and did yeoman’s service after his retirement.


5 pc rebate on sites auctioned by trust
Our Coresspondent

Pathankot, May 16
The Punjab Government has offered a rebate of 5 per cent on the amount to be paid for the residential and commercial sites auctioned by the Improvement Trust in the state.

According to a letter written by the Joint Secretary, Local Self-Government, Mr S.S. Bajwa, the facility will be available to those persons who will deposit the entire amount of the bid within 30 days.

This was stated here yesterday by Mr Purshotam Arora, chairman of the local Improvement Trust, at a press conference held in the office of the Trust. He said the rebate facility would be available to the persons participating in the auction on May 28.


Protest against Dy CE’s transfer
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
The transfer of Deputy Chief Engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board allegedly under political pressure has sparked large-scale protest and rallies here. A spokesman of the PSEB Engineers Association here alleged that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during his sangat darshan on May 13 ordered the immediate transfer of Deputy Chief Engineer City Circle, D.S. Kamboj at the behest of BJP councillor and Deputy Mayor Ms Raj Sharma.

The association protested against the sudden transfer and today sought an appointment with the Chief Minister camping here in connection with sangat darshan.

Meanwhile, over 80 engineers from all four circles of the board organised a rally here to express resentment over the politically motivated transfer without giving the officer concerned an opportunity to present his side of the case.

Sudden transfer on a holiday, the spokesman for the association said that a new 220 kva transformer was being installed at Ghee Mandi Gate for raising load and to improve distribution network for the Jallianwala Bagh area. As the transformer was being erected Ms Raj Sharma, BJP councillor along with her supporters turned violent and beat up PSEB employees and pulled down their ladder. In the melee one assistant lineman Mr Rajwinder Singh of the board was injured.

The employees union after this incident lodged a report with the police against the councillor but anger of the police did not take action in the case.

The employees’ union along with the other federation members organised a rally at Ghee Mandi Gate and urged the police to register an FIR against Ms Raj Sharma for interrupting government staff from doing their duty and also causing serious injuries.

According to available information the Chief Minister after hearing the complaint of Ms Sharma immediately called up the chairman of the PSEB at Patiala and asked him to issue urgent transfer orders on Sunday afternoon itself to relieve Mr Kamboj of his charge as Deputy Chief Engineer City Circle.


Arrested for killing 3 of in-laws’ family
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 16
With the arrest of Gurvinder Singh of Rasulpur village in Amritsar district allegedly for killing family of his in- laws, the Jammu branch of the CBI claim to have solved the murder of three persons took place in 1996 in Kotla Bajwara village in the district in which all three members of the family were killed. The CBI took over investigation of the case on directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court as the police could not trace the killers.

In 1996 the three-member family of Kotla Bajwara village 2 km from here, consisting of mother, son and daughter-in-law were found murdered in their house. In the morning the servant of the family knocked at the door, getting no response, he informed villagers who suspecting foul play informed the police. The police broke open the door to find that all three members were dead. Nothing was missing from the house. Kanwar Mohinder Singh, only son of the family was a social worker and known in the area. He had married a Chandigarh girl six months ago only. His father had died earlier leaving one son and two daughters. One of the daughters was married in Canada and the other married Gurvinder Singh the accused. The family owns 40-acre farm house worth crores of rupees. At the time of murder the hand of the accused was suspected as the family did not have enmity with anyone in the area.

Many youths of Sirhind town from different sections of society, who happened to be friends of the deceased were interrogated by the CBI and summoned to Jammu repeatedly. The accused dodged the district police. Even father-in-law of deceased Kanwar Mohinder Singh also suspected Gurvinder Singh’s hand. After the murder he took charge of the farm house and property. As the police could not trace the culprit, relatives of the deceased moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which in 1999, entrusted the inquiry to the Jammu Branch of the CBI.

Mr Ashok Kalra, investigation officer, registered a case against the unidentified persons under the Arms Act and Section 302 of the IPC. After investigation he had mentioned in his report that on the night of April 10 and April 11, 1996, armed man having sophisticated weapon shot dead Kanwar Mohinder Singh alias Lali, his wife Navjivan Kaur and mother Manjit Kaur and fled away. During inquiry the CBI found that the 40 acres of land at Kotla Bajwara village went into the hands of Gurvinder Singh through his wife Harkiran Kaur. After five years the CBI arrested the accused on the basis of proofs on April 25 and presented him in a court at Jammu, which remanded him the police custody, after the expiry of police remand he was presented before CBI Court at Patiala which remanded the accused in judicial custody. CBI sources said that soon a detailed charge sheet would be presented in the CBI court.

Meanwhile Mr H.S. Saran, SSP said that though the CBI had solved the case of murder of three persons, the district police would seek, the remand of the accused for further interrogation to expose all those involved in the conspiracy.


2 smugglers land in police net
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 16
In a major breakthrough the police has arrested Bant Singh and Sukhdev Singh, residents of Mangeana village, near Dabwali, in Haryana, who were members of an interstate gang of smugglers of narcotics.

It has also seized three gunny bags full of poppy husk weighing about 30 kg each.

The alleged culprits used to purchase poppy husk from Gopal Singh, alias Kaka, resident of Mithri under Auda police station of Sirsa district in Haryana, and sold it in retail in different parts of the district for about a year.

Bant Singh and Sukhdev Singh owned a Maruti car which they had specially purchased to do their “business”.

The police has impounded the car.

Police sources said Gopal Singh used the two alleged culprits as his retail agents so that he could earn profit from the Bathinda “market” which has its border with Haryana and Rajasthan. Gopal Singh was wanted in several cases of narcotics smuggling by the Punjab Police.

Many cases have been registered against him at various police stations of the district.

In addition to four cases in Bathinda he is wanted in two cases by the Patiala district police and an equal number of cases by the Kurukshetra police in Haryana.

The alleged culprits were nabbed yesterday near Dhuman Kalan village while they were trying to smuggle the poppy husk which they were carrying in a Maruti car that did not have any registration number.

A countrymade .38-bore revolver six cartridges of the same and 10 cartridges of 8 mm type were also seized from Bant Singh. A mobile phone was also found in their possession.

Two different cases have been registered against them at the Maur police station. Case number 33 under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against both the alleged culprits while case number 34 under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered against Bant Singh.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said the arrest of these two smugglers would help the police in nabbing Gopal Singh.

He said the information gathered from these two during investigation could make more smugglers land in the police net.


Two booked for cheating NFL
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 16
The district police has registered a case against Rajinder Singh of Nangal town in Ropar district and Narinder Singh of Chandigarh for allegedly supplying water instead of caustic soda to National Fertilizer Limited (NFL), for which they were engaged by the plant.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, district police chief, in a press note issued here today said the two suspects had built special tankers for supplying caustic soda to the plant. He said they had built chambers in the tankers for storing soda and water separately. Dr Jain said the special chamber that ran from top to bottom in the middle of the tanker was filled with caustic soda while the rest of the space was filled with water. He said they used to show to the inspection teams that portion of the tankers which stored soda.

Dr Jain said the cost of one tanker of caustic soda was about Rs 1.5 lakh and the suspects had duped the NFL of lakhs of rupees. He said they were using fake registration papers and other documents for operating the tankers. 


10 booked for attacking mahant
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 16
The Kotwali police yesterday registered a case under Sections 458, 380, 148 and 149 of the IPC against 10 persons on the charge of causing injuries to Mahant Krishan Dass, a priest of a dera at Kanjli village, near the town.

According to police sources, in his complaint the mahant has alleged that on Monday night 10 persons entered his room after breaking the door. They injured him and locked him and his disciple Surjit in the room. They also allegedly decamped with Rs 23,000 in cash, a mobile phone and 13 silver coins. The mahant has also alleged that the attack was the result of a dispute with some villagers over 13 acres attached to the dera and these villagers were behind the attack. 


Shopkeeper shot at, looted
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 16
Two unidentified persons today injured Mr Ghanshayam Goyal (30) seriously by opening fire on him, about 5 km from Sular Gharat. Mr Goyal is a shopkeeper of Sular Gharat village near Dirba.

The police said Mr Goyal was going to Gujran village on his scooter to collect money from his customers when two unidentified persons demanded cash and gold from him on the way. They snatched his watch, gold bracelet and scooter and injured him. He was taken to the Sangrur Civil Hospital from where he has been shifted to the DMC, Ludhiana. 


Derecognition of medical colleges feared
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
The Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association has expressed its annoyance and deep concern on the imminent threat of the derecognition of the state medical colleges.

The president of the association, Dr Bhola Singh Sidhu, in a press note issued here today said more than 40 per cent posts of the medical teachers had been lying vacant for the past many years and this might result in the derecognition of the state medical colleges as these fail to fulfil the norms fixed by the Medical Council of India.

Dr Sidhu said the government made attempts to fill 75 per cent of the posts but almost all eligible doctors failed to qualify in view of the new annual confidential report guidelines.

The association expressed its resentment over the non-filling of the post of the Director, Medical Education and Research, which had been lying vacant for the past four months.

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