Sunday, June 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



What drove Dimple to schizophrenia
Varinder Walia and Rashmi Talwar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 23
Even as Dimple became a victim of circumstances to behave in an obsessive and a paranoid manner, her children Tanya and Deepak, alias Biba, were the worst sufferers in the process.

When The Tribune team visited Dimple this morning, she evaded all questions on why her children spoke about her in harsh terms. “I only want my children back”, she pleaded repeatedly.

However, Dimple’s sister Madhu said Dimple was a victim of circumstances and the squalid conditions she was living in were due to the meagre maintenance amount she was getting on the orders of the court. She feared that her in-laws and husband (a businessman manufacturing bidis) would deprive her of her children. This drove her to be excessively protective towards her children. She also had to deal with court cases on her own besides looking after her children. Earlier, Dimple’s mother would help her with food and other things till she died a year ago. Madhu said she could not interact with her after the mother’s death. She, however, admitted that Dimple was “disturbed” due to the shabby treatment meted out to her by her in-laws.

Dimple had been fighting a legal battle to establish her credentials as the wife of Mr Tulsi Goel, claimed Mr Yog Raj, an employee of Mr Goel’s bidi factory in the local Ramanand Bagh. Ramesh, another employee of the factory, claimed that Dimple could not prove herself to be the wife of their employer. They claimed that Mr Goel was never married to Dimple. However, they had no satisfactory reply as to why Mr Goel had purchased a house in the name of Deepak (Dimple’s son). On repeated queries, both admitted that Mr Goel might have established some relations with Dimple. They said they had tried to offer handsome money to Dimple on the condition that she would withdraw all cases against Mr Goel, but she flatly refused.

A panel presided over by Dr B.L. Goel, Director, Mental Hospital, and attended by Dr Inderjit, Mr S.S. Rahi, president and in-charge of Pingalwara, respectively, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP MLA, SHO Jagtar Singh and a representative of the Deputy Commissioner had visited Dimple’s house. According to Dr Goel, Dimple had refused to unlock the main gate despite the fact that the team had tried to get her to react by saying that her son was in a serious condition and wanted to have a glimpse of her. Instead she muttered that ‘Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is going to take her with him any time now’.

According to Dr Goel, Dimple suffers from “paranoia schizophrenia” and exhibits signs of delusions of persecution. The reason could be desertion by her husband. In such cases the person behaves normally when under observation or when a sympathetic ear is lent to him/her, but reverts to the earlier symptomatic behaviour later typical of this problem. He said he was unable to get her to the hospital for treatment because of the legal proceedings involved.

However, Dr Goel categorically said, “The woman needs treatment for a “mental disorder” which could have been caused by social, biological, genetic or psychological factors which were evident from the emotional blunting exhibited by her during the short interaction.”

Dimple’s neighbours, who bore the brunt of her odd behaviour, had written to the Municipal Health Officer on June 8 about a foul smell emanating from her house. Consequently a team of health workers had cleansed Dimple’s house of foul smelling dead animals, garbage and faecal matter, said Mr Amit Khanna, Mr H.L. Bhatia and others while talking to The Tribune team. Bhola, cook of Mr Bhatia, provided Dimple’s children with food, water and even buckets and blankets.

The neighbours also said when they offered to collectively pay for cleaning her house, she had hit Mr Subhash Nagpal with a rolling pin and had refused to get her house cleared.

Ms Surjit Kaur, a PCO owner nearby, said for the past 10 years, she had never known that Dimple had a daughter too though Deepak was frequently seen crying.

In a letter countersigned by some neighbours, Deepak had alleged that his mother was ‘mentally sick’ and did not allow her children to go outside. He had urged the authorities concerned to provide them with shelter on humanitarian grounds.

On the marital status of Dimple, Mr Yog Raj alleged that his employer was already married. He said Mr Goel came to Amritsar once a year. Mr Goel’s father, Des Raj Bidiwala, died in October, 2000. Relatives of Dimple said whenever they tried to help her, they were intimidated by her in-laws. Employees of Mr Goel claimed that the house in which Dimple was living was ‘sold’ by him after getting permission from the court.

Mr Rajesh Jaiswal, Superintendent of Police (City), visited Dimple’s house and directed police personnel to keep a vigil at the house.


Steps to set up Sikh varsity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
The founder General Secretary of the World Sikh Council, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, said today that the newly appointed President of the WSC, Mr Didar Singh Bains, an NRI, would visit here in October and general house meeting of the WSC would be convened in November.

He said that he was hopeful that Jathedar of Akal Takht, Joginder Singh Vedanti, who is a patron of the WSC, would recognise Mr Bains as President of the Sikh body. Though Mr Bains was appointed President of the WSC by a group of members of the WSC on May 13 yet his appointment has not been recognised by the Jathedar of Akal Takht so far. He said that he talked to Mr Bains over phone recently and he had accepted his appointment as President of the WSC.

It is significant to mention here that no Akali faction has opposed the appointment of Mr Bains as President of the WSC.

Justice (retd) Kuldip Singh resigned from the Presidentship of the Council on June 18.

Jathedar of Akal Takht also visited recently the USA. Mr Bains, who lives in the USA, had met the Jathedar there.

Mr Mann said that the main agenda before the WSC at the moment was to set up a Sikh World University with an approximate cost of Rs 500 crore. It would be one of the best educational institutions in the world with all modern facilities. He said already a case had been put up to the Punjab Chief Minister in this connection. About seven villages have offered to donate 431 acres of land to set up the university. The panchayats have already handed over resolutions offering the land to the WSC. Besides, the WSC would set up four international centres containing mementos of Sikh history, culture and heritage in four continents.

Mr Mann said that he held Justice Kuldip Singh in high esteem but he (Justice) was surrounded by a coterie of self-seekers, who negated his all efforts.

Mr Mann alleged that certain persons, having no ‘Panthic’ background, entered the WSC with an ulterior motive to usurp coveted positions. It had not happened only with the WSC but with other institutions of Sikhs also.

Mr Mann said that he had submitted accounts of the WSC to the Jathedar of Akal Takht at the last meeting held with him on May 14.

Mr Mann said that Mr Bains has been made chief of the WSC keeping in view his contribution to the Sikh cause in the western world.

He said that the WSC was anguished over disunity in Akali ranks.


PPCC chief flays bid to torch train
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the PPCC, has strongly condemned the attempt to torch the train carrying Sikh pilgrims and the Guru Granth Sahib to Kolkata. He said strict action should be taken against those involved in the act. He urged the West Bengal and Bihar governments to provide adequate security cover to the trains and medical help to those who suffered injuries.


Fatehgarh Sahib gears up for elections
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 23
The pending visit of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, to the district on June 26 for political conference has generated and acrimonious atmosphere in various faction of the SAD. Each group has been vying with each other to get the SAD ticket. Series of meetings have been held in the past 15 days wherein a lot of mud-slinging and scuffle has been witnessed.

Though Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Minister for Finance, who has been camping in the district for the preparation of this political conference, has been trying to call upon faction leaders to unite and sink differences, yet the discord among them continues to simmer. Sympathisers and sincere workers of the party feel that the visit would do more harm than good to the prospects of the party in the coming Assembly elections.

Offices of the mediapersons are flooded with requests from different factions of the party to attend their meetings. The faction, led by Mr Didar Singh Bhatti, a senior SAD (B) leader and a hot contender for the Assembly ticket from the Sirhind constituency, had arranged a meeting of party workers at his farmhouse in Sirhind which was largely attended and four resolutions were passed in which the policies of the government and efforts of the Chief Minister to strengthen the party by organising ‘sangat darshan’ programmes were appreciated.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Batti, District President of the Youth Akali Dal, Mr Rajesh Pal Singh Lalli, senior party leader, and Mr Balwant Singh Sahpur, MLA, also addressed the meeting.

A party workers’ meeting which was held at Bachat Bhavan here was addressed by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, in which the arrangements for the political conference were reviewed and workers assigned duties.

Mr R.S. Cheema, former minister and considered to be a party candidate from the Sirhind constituency, will hold meeting of his supporters at his residence in Karimpura village tomorrow.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, leader of the Youth Akali Dal, is hopeful of getting the party ticket as Mr Sukhbir Badal has announced a chunk of party tickets for youths.


Badal upbraids bureaucrats
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 23
The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, is reportedly upset over the functioning of his bureaucracy, particularly when it comes to the implementation of his promises and commitments made in the ‘sangat darshan’ programmes. In an angry outburst recently he lashed out at some senior bureaucrats telling them “mind it I am the Chief Minister and you should obey my orders”.

Well-placed sources said Mr Badal was disappointed when a delegation of leading Ludhiana industrialists met him at Chandigarh and brought to his notice that all promises he had made at the industrial ‘sangat darshan’ here on May 15 had remained unfulfilled. Instead, the Punjab State Electricity Board had taken some steps which went contrary to the interests of the industry.

Presiding over a meeting with the industrialists and leaders of the BJP and the Akali Dal at Chandigarh, Mr Badal reportedly summoned senior bureaucrats, including his Principal Secretary, Mr Ramesh Inder Singh and the Financial Commissioner, Mr Y.S. Ratra, and told them to implement all announcements he had made at the sangat darshan in Ludhiana. Mr Badal reportedly vent his ire on the chairman of the PSEB Mr S.S. Sohal. He has also asked the bureaucrats to file the compliance report before June 27.

The reason for the Chief Minister’s outburst is said to be a complaint by some Akali Dal and BJP leaders and some industrialists close to him.

Mr Badal also announced the constitution of a committee. He would head the committee himself with the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljeet Singh, the Agriculture Minister, Mr Gurdev Badal and the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal as its members. The committee will supervise all development projects announced by the Chief Minister during his sangat darshan programmes.


Malta tragedy victims still alive?
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 23
Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman, Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, in a press note issued here last evening said some of the human traffickers and travel agents had created confusion among the parents of those who had lost their lives in the tragedy on December 25, 1996, by disclosing that their sons were still alive.

Some of the parents had raised doubts about the validity of the mission at the meeting held on June 20. The meeting was organised to get compensation forms filled by the parents of the victims. A majority of them did not fill the forms and criticised the Chairman for not taking them into confidence. They were of the view that their sons were still alive and would soon return to their homes.

Mr Khera said about 300 youths of different countries, including India (particularly Punjab), had lost their lives in the tragedy. He said after five days of the tragedy when the ship anchored at the coast of Greece, about 160 survivors confirmed the tragedy. At least 22 Indians, 37 Pakistanis and 70 Sri Lankans had briefed their respective governments about the tragedy.

Some of the newspapers had reported that Neelkamal, son of Rattan Chand of Kakkon village of the district, had contacted his parents four months after the tragedy. He said the name of Neelkamal had wrongly been mentioned in the list of those missing or deceased.


Kin deprived of last glance
Police cremates missing Principal
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 23
The Faridkot police allegedly cremated body of Gurdev Singh, Principal, Senior Secondary School, Dhurkot, in the district as unclaimed even as the members of his family were trying to trace him since he disappeared on June 6. His body was found from a canal on June 9.

Police sources said the negligence on the part of a police official had deprived Ms Rajinder Kaur, her two daughters and a son of performing the last rites of her husband.

The sources said though the police personnel, who found the body of Gurdev Singh from the canal near Tehna village had got some clues regarding his identity, they did not bother to pursue the process to its logical end and cremated it as unclaimed on the same day. The cremation was done despite the fact that a message had been flashed to the district police through the Punjab Police Control Room on June 8 by the Moga police in connection with the disappearance of the Principal.

Principal Gurdev Singh, who commanded great respect in the area, had disappeared under mysterious circumstances while returning to Nihalsinghwala after visiting the District Education Office in the city. His family reported the matter to the police on June 8. A case against three persons was registered in this connection on June 9.

On protests by teacher unions and other organisations led the district police authorities to constitute a special investigation team to probe into the disappearance. When the team came to know that the Faridkot police had cremated a body on June 9, the fact of Gurdev Singh’s mysterious death came to light. The local police authorities came to know about it on June 21.

The police personnel, who allegedly cremated the body in haste, did not inform the police in the neighbouring districts about it. It is learnt that the shirt over the body was carrying the name of tailor’s shop and its phone number.

The district police chief, Faridkot, could not be contacted.


Sandhu, Harry to be readmitted to Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Mr Tara Singh Sandhu and Mr Harinderpal Singh Harry will be readmitted into the Congress soon. Both were expelled from the party by the President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Captain Amarinder Singh, for alleged anti party activities.

Both Mr Sandhu and Mr Harry, who are close associates of senior Congress leader, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, today met Captain Amarinder Singh at Congress Bhavan here. They held a brief discussion on what happened in the past and decided to bury it to strengthen the party for the ensuing Assembly elections.

Captain Amarinder Singh has told the newly appointed Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the Party, Mr H.S. Hanspal, to revoke the expulsion of Mr Sandhu and Mr Harry.

Main charge against Mr Harry was that he organised a Kisan rally violating the party discipline. Mr Tara Singh Sandhu had written certain articles in a newspaper raising certain issues which was not liked by the party leadership.

Following the revocation of their expulsion, they might be taken on the Executive Committee of the party in due course.

Mr Brar seems to have played a major role to arrange a meeting between Capt Amarinder Singh and both expelled leaders. As at present, both Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Brar are pulling smoothly in the party, the PPCC Chief has no problem in accommodating Mr Brar’s men.


Panthic morcha to contest on SAD (M) symbol
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 23
After the formation of the proposed Panthic morcha, it will contest the Assembly elections on the symbol of “gadda” of the SAD (Mann). This was stated by Prof Sukhjinder Singh, acting president of the party while presiding over a district-level meeting of party workers at Gurdwara Singh Sabha here today.

The meeting was convened for mobilising the workers in connection with the ensuing SGPC elections and Assembly elections.

He also asked the party’s circle units to form committees comprising five members each to work round the clock.

He also criticised the Badal government for issuing ration cards to six lakh migrants. Mr Dhian Singh Mand, Vice-President of the party, asked the workers to have a close contact with voters.


Political party formed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 23
A new political party, All-India Congress Party (P) was formed here today at a meeting presided over by Mr Sanjeev Prashar, a lawyer. The party announced that it would bring social, economic and political justice to the people at their door steps.

It would contest 50-60 seats in the forthcoming assembly elections in Punjab. The party, issuing its agenda, said if it came into power, it would abolish octroi, reduce sales tax and house tax rates. It would waive loans sanctioned to farmers up to Rs 2 lakh.


First focal point petrol pump
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib
Fatehgarh Sahib has become the first district in the state to boast of a petrol pump and community centre at focal points, under the Chief Minister’s focal point development scheme. Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Minister for Finance, inaugurated the first such petrol pump set up by the Indian Oil Corporation at ‘Paheri’ focal point in the district. It was a dream come true for the people of the remote rural area who had to cover a long distance to fulfil their requirements of diesel and petrol.

Mr Ranjit Singh, sarpanch of Paheri village, expressed his feelings by saying that the village folk had not even dreamt of this bonanza. Mr Harbans Singh Machrai Kalan said with the opening of this petrol pump at focal point much expense and time would be saved and the people would feel relieved and happy. Mr Tejinder Singh Salana, advocate, was of the view that earlier the politicians had been indulging in tall talks regarding fulfilment of their needs at their door steps, but nothing tangible had happened.

Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, told The Tribune that as desired by the Chief Minister to provide all urban-like amenities in rural areas, 23 focal points were being set up in the district. The govt had written to the Ministry of Petroleum to set up retail outlets and gas agencies at these focal points, so that they could be properly developed. He said after a long struggle, they succeeded in setting up the first petrol pump of its own kind in the state. Shortly two more such petrol pumps at ‘Kharey’ and ‘Ranwan’ focal points would be set up within a month. He said the next step of the district administration would be the opening of gas agencies, purchase centres, branch of banks, daily need items store and industrial units, so that the focal points present the model of mini towns. He said the district would be converted into a ‘model’ district. He urged the rural people to make use of these facilities and assured them that more such facilities would continue to be provided to them in the near future also.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Minister for Finance, said that the government was committed to the overall development of the state. He said the government had taken up the matter with the Centre to sanction retail outlets and gas agencies for all the sanctioned focal points in the state. He said in this age of industrialisation and transportation diesel and petrol had become a necessity and played an important role in the development of the state. He said in their four year rule they had invested the capital worth Rs 20,000 crore on the industrial sector, whereas earlier Rs 16,000 crore had been spent in 50 years.

Mr Sanjeev Sharma and Mr H.P.S. Sethi, Manager, Sales, Indian Oil Corporation, said the Ministry of Petroleum had sanctioned 156 retail outlets for the state. Out of these 92 would be set up by the IOC. They said wherever the district administration would provide land on the focal points in the state the petrol pumps would be set up. Under the ‘Social Corpus’ scheme the petrol pumps were being set up in the district at focal points.

Mr Balwant Singh Sahpur, MLA of the area, appreciated the efforts of the District Administration and the Indian Oil Corporation for setting up the petrol pump.

The Minister honoured Mr Arif Akhtar Deputy Manager, Sales, IOC for his outstanding services in setting up the retail outlets in the district.


Ambedkar’s statue desecrated, rally held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 23
Members of various organisations today held a rally and sat on dharna in protest against dishonouring of the statue of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, at the B.R. Ambedkar park in front of the district courts here.

Members of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Dalit Senas, Gazetted and non-Gazetted Scheduled Caste, Backward Class Employees Welfare Federation, PRTC Scheduled Caste, Backward Class Union slogans against the miscreants who had put a cycle tyre around the statue of Dr Ambedkar last night. They said the miscreants had not only dishonoured Dr Ambedkar but they had dishonoured the nation.

Members of the SC BC unions alleged that the intention, while committing the act, had been of the Dalits. It was a preplanned act, they alleged.

They said the main motive behind the protest was to emphasise the need to take care of the dignity of Dr Ambedkar which they insisted should have been taken care of by the authorities.

The protesters alleged that the authorities were not making efforts to project the statue from the reach of miscreants. They demanded special police patrolling near the statue. They also demanded deployment of a night guard at the premises of the park.

The agitating members of the Dalit organisations insisted that a case be registered against the miscreants.

The chairman of the improvement trust, who had visited the spot, said special funds would be provided for the maintenance of the park and the statue. He said arrangements would be made for a night guard for the protection of the statue. He assured them that every care would be taken to protect the sanctity of the statue.

The dharna ended in the afternoon when the police registered a case under Section 295 of the IPC.


Seven months on, no sign of panthers
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 23
Panthers continue to elude visitors to the Deer Park on the outskirts of the city, with the promised panther pair not arriving in the park despite seven months having passed since Forest Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani laid the foundation stone of the panther enclosure on the park premises.

Forest Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani had visited the Deer Park on November 14 along with senior officials of the Wildlife Department, during the course of which he laid the foundation stone of a panther enclosure. Though the foundation stone was laid for a panther enclosure, it was planned to remove the wire mesh partition between two adjoining enclosures, presently home to monkeys and jackals.

It was planned that while the monkeys and jackals would be shifted elsewhere, the panther pair would be adjusted in the enclosure and that two small rooms would be constructed at the back of the enclosure. The Deer Park authorities have made an estimate of Rs 40,000 for the two small rooms, which are still to come up. The authorities disclosed that the case was still being processed and that once the estimates were passed, permission would be taken from the Central Zoo Authority to transfer the animals from the Chhat Bir Zoological Park. They said there were abundant panthers available in Chhatbir for transfer.

Residents of the city were livid at the delay in establishment of the panther enclosure and bringing the panther pair to the Deer Park. They said they were not only hurt by the delay in bringing the panther pair to the city, but also at the cheap manner in which a foundation stone had been installed to herald the arrival of the panthers. Mr Narinder Singh of Deshmesh Nagar said there was no need for a foundation stone when no new enclosure was being established, with the department making do by removing a wire mesh to combine two enclosures into one. He said it was strange how a foundation stone had been laid for the enclosure when there was no foundation stone for the scores of other enclosures in the Deer Park. “If every new enclosure has a foundation stone with it, the Deer Park will be littered with them”, he added.

Sources said the introduction of panthers in the Deer Park was not important only from their attraction value and the fact that they would boost ticket collection, but also because they were the key to upgradation of the Deer Park into a mini-zoo. The sources said for any park to be upgraded into a mini-zoo, it had to possess at least three carnivorous animals. They said the Deer Park already had a crocodile and jackals on its premises and could get the status of a mini-zoo once panthers were added.

The sources said the panthers were also likely to boost ticket collection, which was much less than the expenses. They said while the Deer Park earned Rs 30,000 by way of ticket collection every month, its expenses on the animals ran upto Rs 60,000, besides salaries of around 15 employees. They said once the park was given the status of a mini-zoo, it could keep adding animals according to its requirement, which would further boost its popularity.

The sources said present facilities in the park also needed to be improved, adding that better canteen facilities could be provided. Recarpeting the road leading to the park, which was in a bad condition, and laying out new slides for children as the previous ones had long served their utility could also be carried out.


Orphans no more, courtesy SOS
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, June 23
Jatinder, presently doing diploma in engineering from Bathinda, came to SOS when he was in class VII. His father used to beat his mother and drink a lot. His father allegedly killed his mother. Today, Jatinder and his brother, who are staying in the SOS children village here, do not want to see their father, but are happy with their friends. Jatinder wants to do MTech and achieve higher goals.

Many others like Jatinder were at their happiest today when Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), the Punjab Governor, visited their institute as chief guest on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Dr Herman Mainer, the founder of the SOS institution.

General Jacob said he was happy at the effort being made by the institute to mitigate the sufferings of orphans and infusing new life in them. “I will shake hands with each and every child before leaving from here”, he said. He was true to his words interacting with children after the end of the cultural programme held on the occasion.

Dr Randeep Singh, a homoeopathic doctor and doing voluntary service in the centre, said the children coming from varied places were either left by their fathers or relatives or were picked from hostels where they were not brought up well. He said in the SOS, an endeavour was made to provide all facilities to the children so that they should not remain homeless or orphans.

A total of 160 children of varied age groups reside in the residential SOS children’s villages of India, Rajpura, who are from different places, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Nainital, Delhi and Banaras. A child was brought from Jallianwala Bagh last year. Recently, a ten-day old blind girl was brought to SOS.

SOS comprises of 14 houses. Ten children and one mother house in one complex. The selection of the mother is entirely training based. She undertakes all jobs that a mother otherwise does in normal houses. Dr Randeep Singh said till the children are 12 years of age, they reside in the houses. The children from 12 to 14 years of age group are shifted to youth house, where a different attitude prevails.

Hunny, who came to SOS from Jalandhar in 1996, said earlier he was staying in an ashram where no efforts on studies and care was made by the authorities, adding that he had never thought of his parents since he came to the place because of all the availability of desired comforts.

Ish came from Jalandhar in 1997 and wants to be a teacher. Vikas came from Banaras while Pragathi Malhotra wants to be a chess player. Sunil came in 1997, Himani came from Nainital in 1996 and Jainti came from Delhi. Himani and Jainti want to be doctors when they grow up.

Each child carries a dream with them and want to achieve higher goals. They are still touched by the trauma in their life through which they underwent. Either the father was not working and used to drink a lot, or the parents died during the freedom struggle. Some children were brought by their grandparents because they could afford to carry on their care, while some were left by their fathers themselves.


Probe to be conducted in custodial death case

Chandigarh, June 23
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has directed the Additional Director-General of the commission to inquire into the custodial death case of Gurdev Singh, who died on December 14 in CIA staff, Samana in Patiala district.

It is learnt that the division bench of the commission has directed the ADGP to submit its report before the commission on August 8. Sources revealed that the SSP of Patiala had submitted investigation report into the case and denied custodial death. The SSP alleged that Gurdev Singh had committed suicide. On the other hand the complainant, the Lawyers for Social Reforms, alleged that the Police Department had violated guidelines of the NHRC in order to destroy evidence in the case.

The Lawyers for Social Reforms had moved a complaint under Section 12 of the Protection of Human Right Act, 1993 for an independent inquiry into the custodial death of Gurdev Singh of Samana village in Patiala district and for adequate interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.

The complainant conducted an on-the-spot investigation into the whole matter and found that it was a case where gross violation of human rights had taken place and he had died due to police harassment and torture.

As per investigation, it had come to light that Gurdev Singh was summoned to the CIA staff Samana in connection with some interrogation of a murder case.

It was stated in the complaint that eye-witnesses and relatives of Gurdev had denied the police theory and expressed fear that Gurdev had been killed in police custody. Therefore, it would be in the interest of justice, if an independent inquiry was conducted by this commission and recommendations may be made to the state to take suitable criminal action against the erring policemen of CIA staff and for the payment of interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased to be recovered from the erring cops, if found guilty after trial.

According to the police, Gurdev Singh had been summoned by the CIA staff for interrogation in a murder case. The police claimed that he had consumed some poisonous tablets and was pronounced dead when taken to a private hospital in the town. He vomited on the CIA staff premises and collapsed.


Reserve seats for Punjabi youth’
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 23
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, has failed to convince Mr A.S. Oberai, Director, South Asia Multidisciplinary Advisory Team, on the need to generate employment for youths in the state during his recent meeting with him. Mr Badal did not make any solid proposal in this regard.

This was alleged by Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra and Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretaries of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), while addressing a press conference at Gurdwara Kalgidhar here today. They said the state was facing unemployment problem and nothing had been done during the four-year SAD-BJP regime. Instead the government had rendered more than 1 lakh persons unemployed.

They suggested that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) should be urged to allow free movement of skilled and unskilled workers throughout the world so that they could get fair chance to earn their livelihood. The Central Government should provide reservation in the fresh recruitments in railways, banks and Army to Punjabi youths in proportion to Punjab’s contribution of wheat and paddy in the central pool.

Both leaders said there would be a triangular fight among the SAD-BJP alliance, Congress and Panthic unity forces and the like-minded political parties in the forthcoming Assembly elections. They said all issues relating to panthic unity had already been settled and the unity would be achieved very shortly. Panthic unity forces and like-minded parties would contest all 117 seats of the Assembly. They condemned the attack on the train carrying ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib at Uttarwara near Kolkata. They demanded action against the culprits.


Drive to check drug smuggling
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 23
The civic authorities and the local police of the district have decided to launch a joint operation to check the unauthorised sale of drugs by chemists and quacks, besides the smuggling of the smack and poppy husk in this subdivision.This was disclosed by the new Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Ladhar, and the SSP, Mr Harchand Singh Sidhu, at a joint meeting with the mediapersons here yesterday. The administration would explore all other legal remedies and resources to check the menace which was ruining the youth, the officers added.

The SSP claimed that crime graph in the district had come down by 25 per cent whereas the recoveries made during various police operations had gone up by 50 per cent. He said lottery ticket sellers at the local Rani Jhansi market would not be allowed to indulge in gambling by issuing ‘satta’ slips. No anti-social activities would be allowed, he added. The Deputy Commissioner assured the citizens that the repair of the main roads of the town would be taken up after the rainy season. The funds for the repair works would be procured from the state government. The Chief Minister had already released more than Rs 1 crore for various developmental schemes in the wards of the town. Efforts would also be made to overhaul the municipal bus-stand. Mr Ladhar said some projects, which involved heavy expenditure, were being sent to the state government and Nabard for financial assistance.

Mr Ladhar said the district was backward as compared to other districts of the state. Illiteracy, poor turnout in schools of rural areas, lack of potable water, mud houses and inadequate drainage portray of the backwardness of the district. The Deputy Commissioner held his first sangat darshan programme in the subdivision along with the SSP. Both assured the people that they would hold at least one such programme at Abohar and Fazilka every month. They also urged the DSPs and the SDMs to hold such functions fortnightly. The complainants should keep themselves away from middlemen, they added.

While dealing with complaints regarding the damage of recently purchased foodgrain due to the rain, Mr Ladhar said it was the duty of commission agents to protect the foodgrain till it was lifted by government agencies. He, however, agreed to discuss the matter with senior officers concerned. He agreed to review the rates fixed for transferring the ownership rights of shops, owned by the Municipal Council to the tenants.

The Deputy Commissioner was also made aware of the erratic power supply. Power breakdowns here were highest as compared to other cities. The employees instead of doing maintenance work during the power shutdown, preferred to enforce separate shutdowns to harass the public. The Chief Minister had released funds for new streetlight connections, but work was yet to be started even after two months. Mr Ladhar said stern action would be taken against the departments which failed to obey the instructions of the Chief Minister. Regular monitoring of the projects funded by the Chief Minister under the Urban Development Fund would be done to ensure the quality of construction as well as the pace of the progress.


Eight remanded in police custody
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 23
Eight persons — Tirath Dass, Sheetal Kumar, Sahibdin Ibrahim, Jagraj Singh, Herbans Singh, Jagdev Singh, Baldev Singh and Dula Singh who were arrested by the Barnala police yesterday for trespassing the office of Ashok Goel, an advocate, in a bid to take illegal possession of his office, have been remanded into police custody up to June 25.

These alleged accused were produced before Mr S.S. Mann, Judicial Magistrate First Class-cum-Vacation Judge, Barnala.

Mr Goel alleged here today that Sheetal Kumar and Tirath Dass were the major accused in the case who had tried to take possession of his office in local Pharwahi Bazar.

He further said a civil suit was already going on in a local court. He further said contempt of court proceedings in a local court were also pending against the two.


Employment notice for disabled ambiguous
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 23
The Punjab State Forest Development Corporation Limited (PSFDC) through a notice today invited applications from eligible handicapped persons for eight posts of clerk, driver, saw-setter, sewadar, timber watcher and chowkidar.

However, going by conditions and documents required in the notice, it could create problems for applicants as Saturday and Sunday are holidays and those who do not have the required documents will find a problem in getting them. Not only this, the last date for filing the applications is June 25. It will be difficult for the applicants to deposit the applications in time. The notice does not clarify about the nature of the test. Although it has been mentioned that a test/interview for the posts would be held on June 26, the place has not been specified.

Medical experts at the local Civil Hospital said on condition of anonymity that at least for the posts of driver of heavy vehicles and chowkidar, the candidates had to have a medical fitness certificate. They said there was no category under the name of “partially blind”. The certificates for vision was issued under 20/40/75 or 100 per cent blindness. A doctor could not issue a certificate of medical fitness to a “partially blind” applicant for a driving licence of a heavy vehicle.

The district transport authorities were also of the view that a medically unfit person could not be issued a driving licence. Mr Rajinder Singh, Managing Director, PSFDC, under whose signature the notice was issued, could not be contacted.


Function marks Save Our Souls Day
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, June 23
The Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) presided over a function organised by the SOS to mark Save Our Souls Day and congratulated the children being brought up by the organisation here today.

The function was organised to commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr Herman Mainer, the founder of the institute. He appreciated the organisation for providing a new life and home for the abandoned children throughout the country. General Jacob shook hands and interacted with a majority of the children of the institute. Before it, he took a round of the institute and expressed his satisfaction over its upkeep.

The children were all smiles when the Governor visited their institute. A number of residents and senior government officials were also present.

An impressive cultural programme was also presented by the children of the institute. A dance performed on the tune of a Indi-pop song ‘‘Maine payal hai chhankai’’ by a 3-year-old girl stole the show.


Rules of Shagun scheme simplified
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 23
The state government has simplified the rules for getting grants under the shagun scheme.

This was stated by Mr R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, in a press note here yesterday.

He said doing away with the earlier procedure, now only a single application signed by the area MLA, MP, Patwari or Sarpanch of the village authenticating the claim of the applicant would be sufficient for getting the grant.

Even the mandatory affidavit which was required earlier would not be required anymore, he added.

Efforts would be made to ensure that the cheque was delivered either before the marriage of the girl or on the day of the marriage, he added.


Snake found in drinking water
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, June 23
Fear has gripped residents of the town as various insects have been found in drinking water during the past two days.

Mr Sohan Lal Kalia in the Post of Telegraph Department and residing at the Krishan Nagar mohalla was taken aback when he found a snake in the drinking water supply line in his house this morning. He put the snake in a bottle and showed it to newspersons.

In a similar incident, a snake was found in the tap at the house of Jiwan Dass Chawla at Bhagat Singh street.

The residents have also been facing water shortage due to frequent power cuts. The municipal council had received a grant from the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal for installing generators at tubewells, but nothing has been done so far.

An official of the council said on the condition of anonymity that the council had not yet started the chlorination of drinking water.

No senior officer of the council was available for comments.


SPOs wait for increment
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 23
Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, has alleged that the announcement made in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha by the Finance Minister regarding the increment in daily wages of SPOs from Rs 70 to Rs 90 per day has not been implemented so far. The announcement, he said, was made some three months ago during the Assembly session.

He added that SPOs were not being given their weekly off-day, besides other leaves (casual, medical, earned). In addition, the government had not even issued them any uniforms.

The government had even failed in its commitment of getting those SPOs employed in Class IV jobs, who could make it to the police force, he added.


SDM takes cognizance of brothel
Tribune News Service

Zeera (Ferozepore), June 23
Mr Bakhtawar Singh, Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM), has taken suo motu cognizance of a brothel being run in the city by a few unscrupulous elements for the past many months.

Official sources said the SDM had taken cognizance of the brothel on the basis of reports which had been appearing in a section of the press for the past two weeks.

The SDM had asked the Deputy Superintendent of Police in writing about the action the police had taken to stop the running of the brothel and sought an explanation as to why those running it had not been booked under the Immoral Traffic Act.

It is learnt that the residents of the city had been agitating against the presence of the brothel by forming an action committee.

They had also got some of the persons involved in the running of the brothel arrested.

The residents alleged that in most cases, the police freed those who were arrested without taking any action.

They were demanding that exemplary punishment should be given to those who had been running the brothel.

Mr Bakhtawar Singh when contacted said after getting all reports in this connection, he would submit his report to the District Magistrate, Mr S.R. Ladhar, for action.


DC seeks probe into repair of road
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 23
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Ladhar, has asked Xen PWD to enquire into the alleged bungling in the repair of the Sahitya Sadan road by contractors of the local municipal council. The matter by some residents was raised at a “sangat darshan” held yesterday.

Mr Faquir Chand Bansal, former vice-president of the council and senior BJP worker, in a written statement, had said the council had got done some patchwork on the road.

He alleged that hardly 5 cubic metre stone metal and 10 quintal of bitumen was used for the repair work but a bill amounting to Rs 2.75 lakh was claimed. The council had claimed that 80 quintal bitumen and 80 cubic metre stone metal was used for the same

Mr Bansal had faxed the complaint to the Chief Minister and Director, Vigilance, also.

The council authorities have however, rejected the allegations terming them false.

Some residents met the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, Mr Harchand Singh Sidhu, at the first ‘sangat darshan’ in the subdivision.

Mr Ladhar asked the SDM Darshan Singh Grewal, to consider the demand put by the residents that a Trust be formed to look after historic Panjpeer, a religious place visited by a lakh number of devotees every Thursday.

The Deputy Commissioner asked all heads of the departments to put their complaint in a complaint box and enter all complaints in a register regularly.

All grievances should be redressed within a fortnight, he said.

The Deputy Commissioner and the SSP assured the residents that quick and fair justice would be given to the common man and could none found guilty would be spared.


Fake recruitment agencies thriving
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 23
This district is emerging as a centre of fake recruitment agencies as unsuspecting residents of rural and urban areas are falling prey to unscrupulous elements who promise to secure a government job for them.

The police which has launched a campaign against narcotics, fake goods and fake recruitment agencies, has busted three such gangs and arrested a number of persons who have duped people of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of getting them jobs.

On June 21, the police arrested a husband and wife who had been operating a fake recruitment agency and promising unemployed youths jobs of clerk and peon in the Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC).

The accused had collected about 3 lakh from seven persons.

Ashu Kumar of Mansa was cheated of Rs 15,000, Raj Kumar of Maur Mandi of Rs 30,000, Pawan Kumar of Maur Mandi of Rs 30,000, Harpal Kaur and her kin of Rs 1 lakh, and Ram Kumar, Gian Chand and Chinder Kaur, all of Maur Mandi, of Rs 27,000, Rs 20,000 and Rs 20,000, respectively.

Earlier, three persons, who were running another such agency, had collected lakhs of rupees from people for getting a guard’s job for them in the FCI.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note here today said Om Parkash and his wife Nishi Sharma were making money by supplying fake appointment letters to the youths in lieu of money. Om Parkash had retired as stenographer from the judicial court at Moga while his wife had been working as a class IV employee in the PHSC at Maur Mandi.

The accused took Rs 10,000 from Durga Dass for getting him a job of peon in the PHSC. The total deal was of Rs 20,000. The remaining amount was taken when a fake appointment letter was given to Durga Dass.

The father of Durga Dass and others met Om Parkash at Moga when they found that Durga Dass could not join his duty. Om Parkash told them that as the Director of the PHSC was on leave, he could join duty after the Director returned. The accused also got a few blank papers signed from Durga Dass.

After his father came to know that the appointment letter was fake, he demanded his money back. Om Parkash, however, refused. A case was later registered against them.

The accused used to issue fake appointment letters in connivance with Happy, a resident of Kotkapura. He and the other accused are yet to be arrested. A case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered against them.


Dera looted
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 23
Some unidentified armed robbers looted the dera of Baba Maharaj Wale last night at Khiwan Kalan village in the district and decamped with Rs 61,000 cash and some gold and silver ornaments after mercilessly beating sadhus and their followers.

According to information, about a dozen unidentified armed robbers, who came without any vehicle, attacked the dera and seriously injured six sadhus and their followers. The injured are Sadhu Ram Dass, Maur Ram, Sukhbir Paul, Chanan Dass, Sadhu Singh and Lal Singh.


Villagers seek separate school for girls
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 23
The efforts by the residents of Mandi Kalan village of the district to get independent status for a girls school at the village for the past many years have failed to yield positive results despite assurance by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Although the school had been operating as branch of the Government High School which was earlier coeducational, yet the villagers wanted that it should be made a full-fledged school. The villagers claimed that they had spent lakhs of rupees on the construction of the school.

According to information, the building of the school was constructed in 1984 at a cost of Rs 9 lakh. Out of this, Rs 7 lakh was donated by Mr Ganda Singh, a villager. Nearly eight acres for the building were given by the panchayat.

Villagers said a separate school for girls was required as some villagers had refused to send their daughters to the coeducational school. The girls school had started functioning as branch of the main school.

Since 1984, villagers had been trying to get an independent status for the school and for this, they had met many ministers of the ruling parties.

A resident of the village alleged that Mr Lakhmir Singh Randhawa, former Education Minister, had visited the village in 1993 and promised that the school would be given an independent status.

The villagers also demanded that the school be named after Mr Ganda Singh for his contribution to the construction of the school and for spreading education in the area.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, sarpanch of the village, when contacted, alleged that Mr Tota Singh, Education Minister, on his visit to the village in 1997, had claimed that the school would start functioning soon. He alleged that Mr Tota Singh had assured them that the formalities would be completed by the officials of the Education Department for giving the status of high school to the branch of the school.

He said the villagers had put forward the demand before the Chief Minister when they had invited him to the village in connection with a sports festival in January this year. He claimed that the Chief Minister had not only assured recognition but also said the school would be upgraded to plus two level.

According to information, the Chief Minister had written to the Secretary, Education, Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, for opening a plus two school in the village. He had also said a grant of Rs 10 lakh would be given for the school building.

According to reports, Mr Major Singh Sandhu, District Education Officer, on May 17, wrote a letter to the Headmistress of Government Girls High School of the village seeking details about the school.

The Headmistress had, in turn, written to the village panchayat for the necessary information.


Minting money by selling prospectuses
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 23
Prospectuses of various institutes are becoming costlier day by day. Not only this the institutes are formulating policies for selling their prospectuses in large numbers.

An average prospectus in Punjab costs about Rs 500 to Rs 700 whereas in neighbouring Rajasthan it cost ranges between Rs 50 and Rs 150.

Not only universities, but colleges and schools have also increased the cost of prospectus.

The Sri Guru Ram Das Charitable Hospital Trust, Amritsar, has issued prospectus for admission to the MBBS and BDS courses, costing Rs 500 each with the instruction that a candidate would have to buy two different prospectuses even though the entrance test for the courses was the same.

According to the handbook of information, the entrance test for the MBBS and BDS courses would be conducted on July 22.

Only a single set of certificates in a single envelope have been demanded from the candidates.

A candidate said the institutes were minting money in the name of selling information brochures.

Mr Jagmohan Kaushal, Chairman, Teachers, Home Management Welfare and Education Trust, said the hefty increase in the application fee and cost of prospectus was not justified.

The entrance tests should be conducted on no profit no loss basis, he added.


B. Pharm result today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 23
The results of B. Pharmacy, Part-I and Part-III will be declared tomorrow, informed Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar of Guru Nanak Dev University.

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