Friday, July 20, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



First tortured, then implicated in case
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
In a shocking incident, Mr Harmel Singh, a 68-year-old farmer of Dango village, 20 km from here, was first allegedly kidnapped, brutally tortured (his left leg was pierced with an iron rod) by three persons of the same village due to a land dispute and then in alleged connivance with certain cops was booked for causing injuries to one of the alleged attackers.

Though the police also booked the three attackers for mercilessly beating and seriously injuring the old man, the case against the victim, according to sources, has been registered as pressure-tactics to make it a “cross case” so that the alleged attackers can reach a compromise later with the victim.

Even though a majority of the villagers and the panchayat is openly acknowledging the injustice meted out to the old man, who has been lying in the Civil Hospital with broken arms and legs, besides deep wounds on the left leg, since July 6 when the incident took place, the police went ahead with the registration of the case against the victim. Inquiries from the villagers and the Panchayat revealed that it was improbable for the old man to cause an injury to one of the attackers.

Interestingly, the statement of one of the witnesses in the case, which has been incorporated in the FIR also, indirectly supports the assertion of the villagers. The villagers are thus a resented lot due to the alleged victimisation of the old man and have demanded justice from senior officials of Jagraon police district.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune at the Civil Hospital, Mr Harmel Singh narrated his tale of woe. He was still writhing in pain, as there were severe injuries and fractures on his arms and legs. The condition of the left leg was serious, as a wound inflicted with iron rods was not healing properly. He alleged that he had an old land dispute with his relative, Mr Rajinder Singh, and were involved in a legal battle also.

He alleged that on July 6 he was standing near a tubewell when Rajinder Singh, Jasmeet Singh and some other persons arrived there and dragged him to a nearby poultry farm. He was beaten mercilessly with sticks and iron rods due to which his shoulder bones were broken and legs injured. The old man said while beating him the attackers mentioned about the land dispute and told him they would teach him a lesson if he did not give a statement upholding their point of view in the case. However, as the old man refused to budge, the attackers allegedly pierced his left leg with an iron rod. The victim said he fell unconscious and was later admitted to a hospital by other villagers.

Corroborating his statement, Mr Raghbir Singh, a member of the panchayat, said he was one of the several villagers who took the old man to a nearby civil dispensary and later to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana. He said they had found the old man lying unconscious and in a pool of blood in the poultry farm owned by the accused. They were later surprised to learn that the police had booked the victim for causing injury to one of the attackers.

Interestingly, a Sub-Inspector admitted that the old man was found unconscious in the poultry farm. According to the statement of Sher Singh, a villager who had reported the incident to the police, the old man was beaten up in the poultry farm. When the sub-Inspector was asked as to how the old man who was found unconscious in the poultry farm be accused of beating one of the alleged attackers, he said he would look into the matter.



Work begins on road project despite protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
The Municipal Corporation today gave a ‘go ahead’ to the firm, which was awarded the contract for the 2.5-km ‘Elevated Road’ over the Old G.T. Road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema in the city. The Rs 33-crore project, which has been in the eye of the storm for quite sometime now, was approved in the general house meeting of the MC here yesterday.

The MC had, on an earlier occasion also (on May 18), given its nod to the project claimed to be the first of its kind in Northern India. But the BJP, which had been offering vociferous opposition on the ground that the elevated road would adversely affect the trade and commercial activity in the area, had prevailed upon the state government to stay the decision on the plea that the item had not been brought before the House through a regular agenda and had been added at the last minute. The BJP and a section of the SAD-B councillors had staged a walk out from the meeting, when the item was taken up in yesterday’s meeting.

Work on the Rs 33-crore “elevated road project” begins from the Chand Cinema side on the old G.T. Road on Thursday; and (right) shopkeepers stage a dharna in protest against the project.
Work on the Rs 33-crore “elevated road project” begins from the Chand Cinema side on the old G.T. Road on Thursday; and (right) shopkeepers stage a dharna in protest against the project. — Photos Inderjit Verma

It is reliably learnt from the MC that the work order was issued to the successful bidder M/s Caverner Cementations Ltd on May 18 itself but the work could not commence due to the stay imposed by the State Government. With the House, according its approval, with a majority vote, the decks have been cleared and the construction company today deployed men and machines to start road digging on the Chand Cinema side of the Old G.T. Road to lay the foundations of the project.

Meanwhile, the sangharsh samiti of traders and shopkeepers resorted to a one-hour dharna at Clock Tower Chowk here to register their strong protest against the project.. Activists of samiti, including Mr Som Nath Grover, Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, Mr Amarjit Singh Happy, Mr Subhash Singal and Mr Kanwaljit Singh lambasted the MC administration for inflicting gross injustice upon the shopkeepers.



Kidwai award for PAU don
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
Dr P.P. Gupta, Additional Director of Research, Punjab Agricultural University, has brought another laurel to the university. He has been awarded the ICAR Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award for the year 2000 for outstanding research in animal health.

The award, which carries a cash prize of Rs 3 lakh and a citation, was given to him by the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, at a function at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, on July 16.

This award has come for the first time to veterinary and animal Sciences in the history of PAU and is the highest ICAR award given to an individual. This is the third national award received by Dr Gupta within one year. Exactly one year ago, he was awarded ICAR outstanding teacher award for his outstanding contributions to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. In November,2000, he was awarded Dr N.C. Jain and J L Vegad Award for the year 2000 by the Indian Association of Veterinary Pathologists for outstanding research contributions in Veterinary Pathology.

The Kidwai award has been given to Dr Gupta for his pioneering, outstanding, comprehensive and significant contributions in unravelling the understanding and the nature, evolution, pathology, pathogenesis and for developing early diagnostic tests of some emerging diseases of dairy animals like mycoplasmal and mycotic mastitis, pneumonia and genital diseases.

These studies will help in early treatment and prevention of above diseases leading to prevention of huge economic losses incurred due to high animal morbidity and mortality.

Dr Gupta is also an eminent bio-medical scientist and was awarded Sriramachari Award by the Indian Council of Medical Research in 1995 for his outstanding contributions in the field of atherosclerosis and its implications in the prevention of coronary heart disease in human beings.

The other awards received by Dr Gupta are science pioneer prize and fellowship given by the Egyptian Veterinary Association, team research award and best teacher award by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, meritorious teacher award by PAU and Fellowships of the National Academy of Veterinary Sciences and the Indian Association Pathologists.



NABARD cancels chair at PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
In an apparent jolt to research work at the Department of Sociology and Economics, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) has cancelled a chair set up and funded by it for carrying out extensive research on a project.

Sources in the PAU disclosed that after getting upset over lack of proper progress in the research project, NABARD had taken this action and has not released a grant of Rs 10.31 lakh which was scheduled to be released to the varsity this year.

The project was sanctioned by NABARD in April, 1994, and the research work on it was started in April, 1996. The project was being supervised by Dr Rajinder Singh Sidhu, a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Economics, besides two Associate Professors and an employee of the PAU. While the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, was not available for comments despite repeated attempts, a senior official of the university has confirmed the development.

The progress of the project was hampered as its supervisor, Dr Sidhu, had proceeded on leave to go abroad last year. As a result the progress report of the project was not sent to NABARD. It is learnt that the university did not report about the leave of the supervisor to NABARD.

The bank had initially sanctioned a five-year project to the university and had said that it would extend it for another five years if the progress of the project was found satisfactory.

But before the university could get the extension of the project the bank found it better to cancel it, thereby causing a loss of lakhs of rupees to the university to be spent in the field of research. It has been learnt that the bank had to release an amount of Rs 9.24 lakh to the university last year but only some amount was released and the rest was withheld.

The sources revealed that the university had written to NABARD, requesting it not to cancel the project. It has also written that the supervisor of the project, Dr Sidhu, had been already asked to return from abroad.

It should be mentioned here that the Heads of the Department of Sociology and Economics would be replaced after a short while. The process had started after Dr Joginder Singh, Head, had left for the Phillipines to do research in IRRI, Manila, three months ago. Later, a Professor, who was appointed Head, retired from the department just after one month of his taking over the assignment. Another Professor, who had followed him, had to leave the post also as a Professor, who was senior to him, had returned from abroad.



BKU wants NRIs’ problems redressed
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 19
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has urged the government to take immediate steps to redress the problems of NRIs, particularly those settled in Canada and other North American countries. A fresh beginning could be made in this direction by providing ‘dual citizenship’ to the NRIs.

The BKU president, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, addressing a news conference here today, after his return from an extended tour of Canada, observed that a large number of NRIs, despite their strong desire to maintain their links with their motherland, were harassed here to the extent that they returned back to their adopted countries. One of the major problems, frequently faced by them, was grabbing of their land and buildings by anti-social elements, which needed to be addressed urgently.

Besides Mr Lakhowal, other prominent functionaries of BKU, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, secretary-general, Mr Bhupinder Singh Mahesari, general secretary (press), Mr Puran Singh Shahkot, general secretary (finance), Mr Avtar Singh Mehlon, sarpanch, Mr Harbinder Singh Bhamian and Mr Bahadur Singh were present at the occasion.

The BKU chief asked the state government to take up the matter with the External Affairs Ministry for setting up consulate offices of some of the main countries at Chandigarh to provide relief to Punjabis and other North Indians, who desired to go abroad. The plight of Indians, settled in Canada and other countries, who were yet to get citizenship rights, was also highlighted by Mr Lakhowal, who wanted the work in the Indian Embassy there, streamlined and process of issuance of temporary passport, simplified. He said international flights from Amritsar airport should also be started without further delay, so that the foreign travellers, should not have to go to Delhi.

Rampant corruption in all government departments, he pointed out, was a major deterrent in the way of potential investment by the NRIs in business and industry in India. During his interaction with a cross section of Punjabis settled in Canada, Mr Lakhowal was told that many of them had given up the idea of setting up business or industry in Punjab after their unpleasant experience with harsh realities. He further demanded that the so called ‘black list’ of Punjabis maintained for the purpose of denying them visa, should be immediately scrapped and every one should have the right to visit his or her native country.

The BKU termed the procurement of paddy by government agencies and particularly the FCI as a victory for the struggle by farming community and demanded that minimum support prices for paddy, cotton, sugarcane and all other kharif crops on the basis of price index. Mr Lakhowal wanted that all agricultural loans be totally remitted and the government should ensure farm credit on nominal rates of interest in future.



Summit, a political stunt: BSP chief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
“The Agra summit between Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was a political stunt aimed at distracting the attention from ‘Tehelka’ exposures and involvement of several key functionaries of the ruling NDA in corruption cases,” said the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) President, Mr Kanshi Ram.

Talking to mediapersons after addressing a cadre camp of the party at Arya Senior Secondary School here last evening, he termed the visit of the Pakistan President as a sightseeing tour and a fraud on the Indian people. He apprehended that with the summit failing to achieve anything, tension on the borders would increase and bilateral relations would further deteriorate.

Asserting that Kashmir was an integral part of India, Mr Kanshi Ram charged the successive governments, including the ruling NDA combine, with failure over the sensitive problem. “No government has made serious and sincere attempt to solve the Kashmir issue, which has been used to draw political mileage and ruffle communal feelings,” he said.

The BSP supremo, replying to a question on the coming Assembly elections in Punjab, made it clear that the BSP would contest all 117 seats in Punjab Assembly, without any alliance or adjustment with any other political party, and further claimed that his party would form the next government. To mobilise the party workers for the electoral battle, a state-level campaign would be launched soon, he added.

Earlier, addressing the party workers in the camp, Mr Kanshi Ram expressed his satisfaction over the increasing participation by the youth in the BSP.

He reiterated his party’s commitment to secure the control of Ram Tirath Ashram in Amritsar, which he asserted, rightfully belonged to the Valmiki community. The tough days of Dalits, he added, would soon be over, and once the BSP assumed power in the centre and the states, the victimisation, exploitation and repression of the Dalits would be put to an end with an iron hand, he said.



Gear up for Assembly poll: Sonia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
The All-India Congress Committee (AICC) President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, has asked the Youth Congress functionaries in Punjab to gear up for the coming Assembly elections and the YC activists should take upon themselves to propagate the policies and programmes of the party among the people.

According to Mr Devinder Singh Babbu, president, and Mr Pawan Diwan, coordinator (membership), Punjab Youth Congress, who had attended the meeting of the members of the national executive, office-bearers and state presidents of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) at New Delhi on Wednesday, Ms Sonia Gandhi, during an interaction, focussed on the forthcoming Assembly polls in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir. She exhorted the YC functionaries to concentrate on mobilising rural youth to further strengthen the organisation.

Expressing her concern over the increasing menace of social evils like dowry and drug addiction among the younger generation, the AICC President observed that the YC could play a major role in creating awareness among the people and motivating them to launch a concerted fight for eradication of social evils. Educating masses about the deadly disease of AIDS, was another important area where youth could come forward and make a valuable contribution, Ms Sonia Gandhi said.

Mr Babbu and Mr Diwan told Ludhiana Tribune that Mr Oscar Fernandez, General Secretary, and Mr Anil Shastri, Secretary, AICC, also met the state YC presidents and other functionaries of the party.

The one-month membership drive for enrolment in the YC, they said, would commence from August 1. Twenty primary members and two active members would be enrolled from each of the 17,550 polling booths in Punjab. A meeting of the district and block presidents and other office-bearers of the YC would be convened in Chandigarh on July 27 for distribution of enrolment forms. Mr Diwan, who has been entrusted with the responsibility to supervise the membership campaign, said he would personally visit each and every block to ensure that members were enrolled in a proper manner.

The YC, they added, would hold a national convention of active members of the party in Delhi on November 19 to mark the birthday of Mrs Indira Gandhi. The AICC Chief, the IYC President, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, and many other senior party leaders would address the convention.



Chaos on Link Road subway

Ludhiana, July 19
Commuters have no alternative but to suffer daily due to the chaotic condition of the subway made on Link Road near Gill Chowk.

The subway was made due to the flyover project, which was started with the objective to facilitate commuters. After the completing of the flyover, the commuters would be able to cross the Dhuri railway line without stopping before the railway crossing. But this awaited facility has become a problem these days.

The major part of the road was covered for construction of the flyover and the subway is so small that the traffic cannot flow easily. There are many shops and offices on the both sides of the subway. The vehicles parked in front of these shops-cum-offices block the major part of the small subway and become another hurdle for the passerby.

Mr Rajan (not real name), an employee of a bank in a shop-cum-office, was of the view the before starting this project, the problems of parking and traffic on the road should not have been taken into account. It would take another six months to complete this project and the commuters on one of the busy roads of the city have to suffer for another six months.

There are many potholes on the road and it is in such a bad shape that vehicles cannot move. This is a very important road and connects the residential part of the city with the industrial area. A number of people use this road to commute. It takes about half an hour to pass through the subway.

Various commercial vehicles, including state transport buses, coming from outstations have been diverted. It takes about 20 minutes more to reach the main bus stand through the diverted way. Due to this people coming from outstations have to wait for hours to reach the mega city.



Sardar Panchhi — poet of love & beauty

Ludhiana, July 19
In Ludhiana Sardar Panchhi found himself to be an alien when he shifted here from Rae Bareli in 1984. He was doled out lip-sympathy in abundance but no genuine help came forth. If someone were to ask him at that time what he needed most, his reply would have been “My self-respect, of course”. In that peculiar state of his mind, he composed a ghazal ....

‘Laaee hai kis muqam pae yeh zindgi mujhe

Apna wajood lagta hai ab ajnabi mujhe’

(What place is this where life has abandoned me? I regard myself as a total stranger here.)

The imagery of fire predominates Sardar Panchhi’s poetry. He always sees around him a dance of sparks. His house at Rae Bareli was torched at nightfall. The world became dark for him when the sun rose. In some of his ghazals he uses lamp as a metaphor for dispelling the darkness of the night. At the same time it is a prelude to sunrise .....

‘Andheri raat mein tapkega khoone-dil jis mein

Usee charagh se suraj nikal raha hoga’

(In the darkness of the night, my heart’s blood will trickle down into the lamp. From that very lamp, the sun will rise in the morning.)

Basically, Sardar Panchhi is a poet of love and beauty. He is at his best when he meditates on the joys of life. He has a tendency to identify himself fully with the object of his contemplation. He feels intensely and records the tremors of his sensitive mind meticulously.

‘Hina mein, phool mein, moti mein, ya ke deepak mein

Hum apne khoon ki rangat kahaan talaash karein’

(Where else can I find the hue of my blood, except in hina, a flower, a pearl or a lamp?)

Panchhi’s poetry embodies the music of words. His unique sense of rhythm, cadence and resonance is quite obvious in his couplets. No wonder his poetry lends itself so readily to the reputed singers. He himself has been endowed with a mellifluous voice that enthrals the audience in literary functions. On his part, while listening to music, he is transported to the world of imaginative flights. In those supreme moments, he is in tune with the Muse and composes inimitable ghazals and geets, some of which have found their way into the world of films.

He is not self-centered but, at the same time, he is not self-effacing. He wants to establish his identity on the basis of his pristine poetic sensibilities. The image of a poet that emerges in his poetry is that of a person caught in the labyrinths of longings. These are of course concerned with his love of beauty, the glimpse of which he craves for in all its manifestations...

‘Hum ne tere khayal ki titli daboch lee

Sab rang kayenaat ke mutthi mein aa gaye’

(I have secured in my hand, the butterfly of my idea of your loveliness. Thus have I in my grip all the colours of the universe.)

Now, when he is in his late sixties, he is faced with some new challenges. This is the time of his life when he is supposed to rest on his laurels. But ironically he finds himself involved, with each passing day, in the inanities of existence. On his part, he is not asking for the moon. He merely wants some space, in this agonising period of mad race, to plan his life anew. He longs for the full flowering of his creativity. But that is possible only when ...

‘Ik dooje ke aansu lekar

Ik dooje ko khushian dein

Shamme-mohabbat ka yeh ujaala

aao har atraaf karen’

(Let’s exchange our joys with the tears of others. Let the glow of the lamp of love diffuse itself in all directions.)



Intern dies of brain haemorrhage
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
A 24-year-old intern Rishi Rajpal of the CMC was found dead in his hostel room yesterday afternoon. The CMC authorities today claimed that the doctor had died of a disease and they were not suspecting any foul play behind the incident.

According to Dr Sanjay Chand, Assistant Medical Superintendent and Warden of the hostel, there was no mystery surrounding the death. He was on medical leave for the past two days and had complained of headache. He had visited the hospital neurologist, who had advised a CT scan.

Rishi Raj did not attend his class yesterday, but his classmates were not worried for they knew that he was on a sick leave. But in the afternoon, when one of his classmates visited him, he found him unconscious. He immediately informed Dr Sanjay Chand. Rishi Raj was rushed to the causality ward of the hospital, but he was declared dead.

According to Dr Sanjay Chand, the death of Rishi Raj was shocking and had unnerved his classmates as well as the faculty. “He was taken for a CT scan but only after his death. The scan revealed that he had died of a brain haemorrhage,” he said.

The police was satisfied with report of the CT scan and no post-mortem examination was ordered to ascertain the cause of the death and the body of the deceased was handed over to his parents, who had come from Patiala.



Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
A meeting of the Punjab Mata Nagar Welfare Association was held here on Wednesday which was presided over by Mr Barjinder Singh Tur. The following office-bearers of the association were elected: president — Mr Gurmukh Singh Lohi; senior vice-president — Mr Barjinderjit Singh Tur; vice-president — Mr Tilak Raj Kalia; general secretary — Mr Harbhajan Singh Sarna; joint secretary — Mr Binder Singh; cashier — Mr Nirmal Singh; and assistant cashier — Mr Shamsher Singh.



Drug-trafficking charge against seven
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
In a joint operation, the Ludhiana and Jagraon police has claimed to have achieved a major success against drug-traffickers today by arresting seven persons, including two proclaimed offenders, on charge of smuggling narcotics.

The police has seized six sacks of poppy husk, four swords, two spears and six scooters from them. They were arrested from Khandoor village.

Briefing mediapersons here today, Mr Dilpreet Singh, SHO, Sarabha Nagar, and Mr Balbir Singh, SHO, Mullanpur Dakha, said the police had been on the look out for the gang members for the past several months but they always managed to elude them.

The police said Mr Dilpreet Singh received an information that a number of drug-traffickers were selling poppy husk in certain villages. A team of the Sarabha Nagar police rushed to the villages and chased them. As they entered the boundary of the Jagraon police district, the Mullan Dakha police station was informed.

A team of the Dakha police station rushed to the spot and the suspects were arrested at the Khandoor-Jagpur road.

Those arrested have been identified Lakshman Singh, Malkit Singh, Jarnail Singh, Balaj Singh, Resham Singh, Shingara Singh and Makhan Singh. Out of these Malkit Singh and Resham Singh were proclaimed offenders.



Life sentence for killing brother
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
Mr A.K. Sharma, Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, convicted Gurmail Singh (46), a resident of Panj Rukha Khanna village, and sentenced him to undergo rigorous life imprisonment after holding him guilty of murdering his own brother, Mehar Singh, by inflicting axe blows on May 2,1997, due to some property dispute.

Mr Sharma also turned down the plea of leniency raised by accused in this gruesome murder case and held that he did not deserve leniency as there was not much provocation so as to commit such a grave offence.

An FIR was lodged against the accused under Section 302 of IPC at police station sadar Khanna, on May 2,1997, by Jagtar Singh, son of deceased.

He had alleged that on the fateful day, at about 6.30 pm, he and his uncle, Pritam Singh, were managing the wheat husk at their fields, whereas his father Mehar Singh was also sitting near tubewell.

Accused Gurmail Singh armed with a kulhari in his hand came there and started abusing his father Mehar Singh. He inflicted kulhari blows on the neck of Mehar Singh and other parts of the body.

Thereafter, the accused fled away from the spot. Due to fatal injuries Mehar singh died on the spot.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |