Wednesday, August 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Teacher suspended on charge of molestation
PAU bows to students’ pressure
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
Succumbing to the massive agitation launched by the students, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today suspended a faculty member facing charges of molestation levelled against him by a female student. The decision was taken by the university this evening after a large number of students joined the agitation and threatened to resort to violence if action was not taken immediately.

The impasse ended when, after a stormy meeting of the university high-ups and the students, Dr V.K. Sharma, ADR (Engg) came out of office of the Vice-Chancellor and read out the orders of the VC in front of the students. Dr Sharma said Dr Thind had been transferred with an immediate effect and this announcement was an order in itself. He also said Dr Thind would be issued a charge sheet within a week’s time after completing the legalities

Dr Sharma said the major adviser of the student who was allegedly molested would be changed, but her topic of research would remain the same. The ADR also said the student would not be allowed to suffer on any account. The Head of the Department of Soils, Dr V.K. Nayyar, said the student would not be harassed academically or personally.

Dr Harmit Singh Thind, faculty member, Department of Soils, had been accused by a postgraduate student that he had molested her in his office room last week. The matter had taken the PAU by storm for the past many days. As the university authorities remained indecisive, tensions rose high on the campus and the situation remained volatile till the decision was announced.

The situation was critical in the university till this morning. The students who collected in front of the office of the Vice-Chancellor said they would not accept this incident lying down and resort to any method, be it legal, or illegal to punish the guilty. They even threatened to create a ruckus at the venue of the elections of Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association (PAUTA), which were held today amidst tension. The agitating students had also threatened that they would capture the polling booths in order to stall the elections.



Cop gets away with bigamy
‘Second wife’ duped, implicated
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
While the district police claims to have launched a scheme of free registration of cases, it has not acted in the case of an aggrieved woman, who has accused a suspended policeman of bigamy. The woman has been running from pillar to post for the past more than a year to get a case registered against the policeman concerned, but in vain.

Notwithstanding police inaction in the case, the woman’s complaint against Joginder Singh, a former Sub-Inspector, has put him in the centre of a fresh controversy. He is one of the main accused in the infamous Jassi murder case and has been brought to Ludhiana from the Sangrur jail for questioning in connection with a corruption case registered against him recently.

Surprisingly, the corruption case has been registered against him within a short span of time, but the woman continues to await justice. There have been allegations that the cop has been shielded by some senior officers, allegedly involved in harassment and exploitation of the woman, and who have allegedly almost grabbed her property.

After lodging several complaints with the police, the woman had given a fresh complaint to the new SSP of Ludhiana, Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, after he announced the launching of a scheme called Free Registration of Cases, in which the police promptly registers an FIR on any complaint, but arrests a person only after verification. However, the scheme seems to have been given a go-by in this case.

Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, when contacted, said as far as he remembered , he had marked the woman’s complaint to some officer and the inquiry in the case must be on. Asked about the exact action, he said he met several persons in a day and would have to check up on the follow-up action.

Narrating her tale of woe, Ms Neelam, a middle-aged woman, said she and her first husband had agreed to a divorce as the former was settled in Germany and she wanted to stay back. She had a son and a daughter from her first marriage.

The woman, a property dealer, said in 1997, Joginder Singh, who was posted as the SHO, Sadar police station, then, had taken some money from her on interest. Later, their relationship grew and they got married at a gurdwara in Chandigarh on November 29, 1998.

The woman claimed that she agreed to the marriage proposal of the policeman as he told her that his first wife had died. She said she got suspicious at the time of marriage itself as Joginder Singh and his lawyer said the marriage would be solemnised in a gurdwara and not in a court, as had been agreed earlier. She said she objected, but relented as she was told that the gurdwara also issues certificates.

They started living together. However, after a few months, she was shocked to learn that the policeman had duped her as his first wife was alive and he was also spending time with her. She said her husband used to stay away on the pretext that he was on duty.

When she confronted him finally, she was mercilessly beaten up and forced to submit. However, she decided to fight and approached senior police officers. She was shocked to learn that some senior officers were hand-in-glove with the accused and they threatened her. The woman singled out a DSP, who had allegedly implicated her in false cases. The cases were, however, withdrawn after she approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Meanwhile, the Additional Director, Crime, Punjab, in an inquiry on her application, had established in December, 1999, that the allegations of bigamy levelled by her were true. She also furnished a police report in favour of the authenticity of marriage photographs produced by her. A copy of the report said the photographs were true.

Despite this, the case has not been registered. The woman’s ordeal does not end here. She was allegedly implicated in a number of other cases by a DSP, who pressurised her to withdraw complaints against Joginder Singh. She was even defrauded by a lawyer into signing some blank papers, on which later her entire property was sold. The property case is pending in court.



Cong up in arms for action against councillor
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 28
The ruling SAD-BJP combine in the Municipal Corporation here appears to have stirred up a hornet’s nest by effecting disqualification and consequent removal of the Congress Councillor, Mr Sat Pal Puri, representing Ward No 66, on the basis of a departmental inquiry against him. The inquiry which is said to have established charges of misuse of power and the construction of shops on a piece of land in New Shiv Puri, along the Budha Nullah, which the authorities claimed was a part of the 80-foot road shown in Town Planning Scheme of the area.

The Congress, with a strength of 22 members in the general House, which was on the defensive for quite sometime now, after the party extended support to the Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, in his confrontation with the BJP, a constituent of the ruling combine over the controversial ‘Elevated Road Project’, suddenly finds itself in a stronger position to effectively perform the role of an opposition party. The unprecedented removal of one of its councillors has provided the party with a strong stick to beat the ruling alliance with.

Without losing any time, even as the official notification on the removal of Mr Puri was yet to be received by the MC, Congress councillors, led by the District Congress Committee (Urban) chief, Mr Surinder Dawar, and the group leader of the Congress Councillors, Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, convened a meeting of party activists and councillors in Congress Bhavan here on Sunday to register their protest against the government action, which the meeting termed as arbitrary, uncalled for and was tantamount to political vendetta.

Mr Ahluwalia further observed that the government action was vindictive and smacked of a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by the local unit of BJP which was nursing a grouse against Mr Puri over his defection to the Congress. He said the Congress councillors would not let the general House function and would further resort to staging a dharna in front of the house of the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, to press for revocation of the decision.

The councillor, who has been in the news for one reason or the other, told Ludhiana Tribune that he was the lawful owner of the land on which the shops were constructed in accordance with a building duly approved by the MC. Further, the matter of construction of shops in New Shiv Puri was pending in a local court, which had granted an interim stay against dispossession and interference. “Since the court is yet to pronounce its verdict, the government action of my removal from the MC was contemptuous and would be challenged before the appropriate authority”, he added.



School inauguration: SAD leader ‘hijacks’ function
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana August 28
A newly upgraded senior secondary school at Khanpur village, 12 km from here, near Alamgir, has become the battle ground for two Akali leaders, both of whom are contenders for the SAD ticket for Ludhiana (rural) constituency for the next Assembly elections.

The government school was recently upgraded from high school to the senior certificate level. After the upgradation, different Akali leaders have begun vying for the honours to get it inaugurated.

While the supporters of former minister Jagdev Singh Tajpuri, a ticket contender, had announced that Mr Tara Singh Ladal, state Education Minister, would formally inaugurate the school at a function on its premises on August 27, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Chairman, Markfed and another ticket contender for the same seat, along with Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, went a step ahead and inaugurated the school yesterday. Both groups, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, claimed that they were justified in inaugurating the school.

Accusing Mr Dhillon of “hijacking” their function , Mr Jasbir Singh Khanpur, a supporter of Mr Tajpuri, claimed that Mr Tajpuri had worked hard for the upgradation of the school. He said as the struggle for securing a ticket to contest the Assembly elections was on in the constituency, Mr Dhillon, who desperately wanted the ticket, conspired with Mr Garcha and hastily organised a function at the school on Saturday. He said everyone in the village knew about the function of Mr Ladal on August 27, yet Mr Dhillon went ahead with the inauguration.

He claimed that Mr Dhillon got the invitation cards for the function published on August 25 whereas they had circulated their own invitation cards much before. Mr Khanpur said when they announced to stage a dharna in front of the school yesterday, a heavy police force from the Sadar Police Station, Ludhiana was posted at the village. He claimed due to police terror, the dharna could not be organised.

When contacted, Mr Dhillon asked, “Who is Mr Tara Singh Ladal to inaugurate the school when a senior Akali minister of Cabinet rank, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, has been invited by the village panchayat and the school to inaugurate the school?” He said Mr Tajpuri had no claim over the school. He said it was he (Dhillon) who had worked hard for improving the standard of the students in the region by getting the schools upgraded.

Incidentally, this is the second school upgradation ceremony which has been embroiled in a controversy due to the different claims by prospective Akali candidates.



Tandon’s desire intensifies BJP infighting
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
The keenness of the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, to contest from the Ludhiana West Assembly segment in the forthcoming elections has caused many heartburns in the local BJP. This has added fuel to the already raging fires of factionalism within the party with other groups like the one led by the Rajya Sabha Member and senior party leader Lala Lajpat Rai reportedly opposing it.

The factionalism has become so intense that it became public last week during a press conference of BJP leaders on the issue of release of grants by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. The local BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) have a grudge against the Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal. The main reason is said to be the elevated road project, which is being opposed by the BJP and a section of the SAD(B) and supported by the Mayor, who in turn has the backing of Mr Tandon.

Some of the local BJP leaders are irked over the silence of Mr Tandon on the issue. In fact, they apprehend that Mr Tandon was trying to appease Mr Grewal, with a motive to seek his support and cooperation in the elections from the Ludhiana West Assembly segment, where he (Mr Grewal) holds considerable clout. This has obviously embarrassed the local BJP leadership, which feels sidelined and let down.

This division, so far private, within the BJP, became public, when a local BJP functionary and husband of a party councillor, Mr Jagan Nath Sharma, started criticising Mr Tandon. He reportedly used some unparliamentary language against the minister accusing him of betraying the partymen, while siding with the opponents for his personal ends. Mr Sharma is said to be owing allegiance to Mr Lajpat Rai. Mr Sharma’s remarks were, however, objected to and resented by Mr Uma Dutt Sharma, the husband of another BJP councillor, Ms Sunita Sharma. He tried to stop Mr Jagan Nath from using foul language against Mr Tandon, saying, he was a senior and respected leader of the party and should not be held to such scorn.

The BJP sources revealed that there was more to it than what meets the eye. They disclosed that it was not a simple altercation between two local party leaders, but only an extension of the deep factionalism within the party. The anti-Tandon lobby within the BJP has been trying day and night to ensure that he (Mr Tandon) is not able to get party nomination from Ludhiana West. So they used the occasion through Mr Jagan Nath Sharma to criticise Mr Tandon.

Mr Tandon currently represents Rajpura from where he won in 1997 elections. Although at one point of time he was supported by Lala Lajpat Rai in the intraparty fight against the group led by the Punjab Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, now he stands relatively alone today, having made more enemies than friends after his intentions of contesting from Ludhiana West became public. Mr Rai has ever since been supporting the Mittal group, which seems to be emerging more stronger now.

Ludhiana West is currently being represented by Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, an influential Akali leader.


In love with Punjabis
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, August 28
“Punjabis are real machomen and gutsy people. I like them. At present I am dating a Punjabi model based in Mumbai, who is 20 years younger than me”, said Sylvie, a renowned hair designer, during a chat with Ludhiana Tribune here today. She was in the city to conduct a one-day beauty seminar on different hairstyles and haircuts.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the hair designer from Delhi said, “I am basically a medical surgeon from Essex, in America. I took training in hair designs from the Medical School of Aesthetics in Chicago”. The fair and hazel-eyed beauty said she first visited India with her husband in 1986 to see her ailing mother-in-law. She liked Indian people and their simple life style. Realising that she could create wonders in India with the latest hairstyles, Sylvie decided to settle down in Delhi. “There was no hair fashion at that time. I knew I would get better career opportunities here”, admitted Sylvie. Widely recognised as a woman, Sylvie is in fact a man, who has been dressing up and acts like a woman since childhood. To give a touch of authenticity, she married a man from the USA and the couple adopted two children.

“But for some personal reasons, I could not get along well with my husband. We divorced and he went back to the United States. I am a proud mother of two adopted grown-up sons. The elder one is 20 years of age and the younger one has got admission in an engineering college in Delhi”, she said.

Sylvie established her name in the world of beauty by bringing about a revolutionary change in hairstyles. Her clientele include filmstars of Bollywood and leading models of the country. The Delhi-based hairstylist loves parties. She is a fan and friend of Daler Mehndi. Sylvie always likes to be dressed in a black outfit. “I am working for many television serials. My approach towards life has always been very optimistic and my mother has been a pillar of strength to me”, added Sylvie.

Earlier, Sylvie conducted a beauty workshop here. Many beauticians from all over the state attended the workshop. 


Akali leader’s aide booked for murder bid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
The district police today booked an aide of an Akali leader on the charge of attempting to murder a man during a fight that took place in the Salem Tabri police post on Sunday.

Harbhajan Singh, alias Bhikhi, a close aide of Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, acting president of the district unit of the SAD, was booked by the police under Section 307, IPC. According to the FIR, Harbhajan Singh is accused of attacking a youth Deepak Kumar with a sword. The injured youth is in a hospital.

Mr Parkash Singh, grandfather of the youth, had complained to the police. Two groups one led by Harbhajan Singh and the other by Parkash Singh were involved in a dispute over a plot. Both parties were called to the police post for compromise. However, both parties came with supporters and allegedly swords and began fighting in the presence of the police.



SYCOPHANCY has become an important part of our political culture. No party is an exception to it. It is the loyalty towards a particular leader, than the part principle or ideology, which seems to matter more in making or marring the future of an aspiring politician. And a similar show was exhibited recently in Ludhiana during the visit of two central observers of the All-India Congress Committee to the city. While one observer was for the Ludhiana (rural) another was for the Ludhiana (urban). The observers were supposed to have a feel of situation over here and identify issues which could be raised during the elections. They also wanted a feedback about the prospective candidates. This was supposed to be an independent assessment. The two observers were flooded with applications and bio-datas of prospective candidates, with each one claiming himself to be the best. The observers reiterated it time and again that they had not come for choosing the candidates, but their protestations went to deaf ears. In fact the local leaders (read aspiring candidates) exhibited such a show of hospitality (read sycophancy) that they themselves realised that what drew people mad behind them. In fact one of the observers remarked “If I come next time as an ordinary man, I am sure none of these people who met me will be prepared to recognise me”.

Shrimanji, shut up!

When Mr Harpreet Sidhu took over as the district police chief, an air of change in the police administration was created. In fact Mr Sidhu cracked his first order asking all police officials, including the officers, to address people as Shrimanji. The decent gesture was received well by the people and the media also appreciated it. However, the initial euphoria seemed to fizzle out very soon as some police cops started behaving in most irresponsible and rude manner with the public. In a recent case, which has already boomeranged into a major controversy, a DSP misbehaved with two scribes. And when the scribes lodged a joint protest with the police chief, his response was quite contrary to what had been claimed. Taking action against the guilty cop was too far, the SSP did not seem to be prepared to order a time-bound investigation into the incident, as the SSP reportedly did not consider the DSP’s action as misdemeanour.

Festive spirit

We have a number of great festivals like Divali, Baisakhi, Janmashtami and so on. On Divali, there is a peculiar kind of festive air around which ensures that enough crackers are burst and more than enough sweets are consumed. The intensity of it all verges on madness. So much so that even those who do not like playing cards at all go in for a gambling bout hoping that Laxmi would smile on them.

What if someone wants to celebrate Divali again after a week? Surely the neighbours would laugh. The festival flavour cannot be reproduced by any means. Nobody would perhaps disagree with that. But it seems the club-going women of the town do not have any considerations for that vital flavour factor. For them celebrating a festival such as Janmashtami a week or two later is not an extra-ordinary exercise.

Sawan days

During the month of sawan a number of functions were organised to mark this romantic season. Mostly these were related to women. Since the sawan was too hot and humid as there were no rains, the girls who participated in these programmes had to bear with the heat. As they had to dress up in typical Punjabi costumes, which were not at all suitable for the hot season, they literally sweated it out as they had to. But they had to keep pace with the tradition, even if it meant some amount of perspiration. In fact some girls, in a college revealed that they were quite reluctant to use those dresses in that humid atmosphere. But at the same time they could not miss the charm and fascination of celebrating the sawan. (see picture)

Traffic hazards

Mini buses stop the buses where they fancy. Most of the times they stop more towards the centre of the road causing problems for the commuters, who are alighting from the buses, as they often bump into the scooterists coming from behind keeping to the left but also the bus drivers engage into a conversation with another bus drivers. This surely causes a chaotic conditions on the road. In a minute a traffic jam is caused with trucks, cars honking creating most undesirable cacophony of sounds. Could the bus drivers be instructed to stop at the proper bus stops to safeguard the disembarking passengers as invariably one or two elderly persons get knocked down by the rickshaws and scooterists?

Funny stickers

Travelling on the NH 1 can prove to be very entertaining as well as can set one thinking. Trucks plying on the highway have invariably some amusing and thought provoking slogans written on the back of the truck. One never can get bored as after travelling a little distance, a slogan reads ‘1baar muskara 2’. Invariably one smiles. Then another one says wistfully, ‘Pankh hote to uad jaati mein’. The traveller does wish to be free of all bondage. Another one appears to be a philosophical fellow for he gets this written ‘Socho saath kya le jaoge’. That sets one pondering about the futility of material possessions. But the mood is soon lightened when one reads ‘Buri nazar wale tera thobda black’. Some seem to make the best of numericals and figures and boldly ask ‘10 13 ki naam’. The one cheerful one writes, ‘Sada khush raho’.

Darkness to light

Majority of the government schools of the city conduct classes in rooms which sans any provision for light. The students and teachers depend on the natural light that comes through windows. During monsoons when days are generally cloudy the rooms go quite dark and neither the school authorities nor the District Education Department seem to be aiming to bring about improvement. They seem to believe that enlightenment can come only where there is darkness. Sentinel



Snag in thermal stations hits power supply
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 28
The power supply to the northern region was badly affected yesterday following some snag in six thermal plants of the national thermal power corporation. According to information available, two units of 500 MW and 210 MW of Sangrauli Thermal Plant, one unit of 500 MW at Rihand, 210 MW unit at Dadri and 210 MW unit at Unchahar went out of order yesterday as a result of which the power supply was affected. Besides, power generation at the Chamera Power Plant and the Uri Hydro Station has also come down by 50 per cent owing to low water level.

The position is likely to improve as two thermal stations — 500 MW unit at Sangrauli and 210 MW unit at Unchahar — were recommissioned today. The failures of the thermal plants yesterday had resulted in low frequency problem and the authorities had to impose power cut throughout the northern region.

Even otherwise, the low level of water in the reservoirs of the hydro-plants is also causing concern to the authorities. Power generation at the Ranjit Sagar Dam has also been affected and only one unit of the dam is generating about 49 lakh units of power. Power generation was about 110 lakh unit on August 23 and it started going down as the authorities started installing Derrick Crane which floats in the reservoir. According to authorities this installation process will be completed within a week. The water level in the Ranjit Sagar reservoir has been reported at 518.23 m and the authorities are not allowing higher generation till the installation of the crane is completed.

Meanwhile, the water level in the Gobind Sagar reservoir of the Bhakra complex is also low by 39 ft as it was reported at 1641 ft against the optimum level of 1690 ft. Similarly the level in the Pong Dam reservoir is also low by 15 ft. The level was reported at 1375 ft against the required level of 1390ft.

In view of the low water level in the Gobind Sagar reservoir, the release of water from the same has been restricted to 19,000 cusecs. The low release of water has hit power generation at the Anandpur Sahib hydel power station where it has come down from 32 lakh units to 20 lakh units. However, Mukerian hydel station is generating to the full capacity of 48 lakh unit. The PSEB authorities are worried as they feel that low water level in the hydel reservoirs would create problems in power generation during the post -monsoon period.

However, the thermal plants at Bathinda, Lehra Mohabbat and Ropar are working satisfactorily and producing 487 lakh units daily.

Dr S.S. Hundal, Professor and Head of the Department of Agro-Meteorology of Punjab Agricultural University, maintains that the region has above-average rainfall during the months of July and August so far.


SAD (A) for Advani’s resignation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 28
The youth wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), while criticising the Union Home Minister, Mr Lal Krishan Advani, for the move to grant general amnesty to police officers facing charges of human rights’ violation during their fight against militancy in Punjab, has called for his resignation.

The district president of the party, Mr Sarbjit Singh Baba, said here today that if the Home Minister had no faith in the judicial system of the country and an agency like the CBI, which functioned under his own ministry, he should quit. The cases of police officers, charged with gross violation of human rights, were investigated by the CBI and, thereafter, filed in the appropriate courts of law. Any move to grant general amnesty to these officials would erode the credibility of both the CBI and the judiciary.

Mr Baba was addressing a meeting of party activists at Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar, Dugri to take stock of the preparations for the party convention at the Chhapar mela, near here, on September 1. He said the indifferent attitude of the government towards Sikh youth languishing in jails without any charges being framed against them for past more than 15 years, amply proved that rights of all minorities, including Sikhs, were unsafe in India and they were treated like second class citizens.

Terming the stand of Mr Advani as most unfortunate, the youth wing chief further remarked that at least in their policies towards the minorities, the BJP had proved no different than the Congress. “Mr Vajpayee had praised Operation Bluestar, carried out by the then Congress government in 1984, while the Congress, now in Opposition, has appreciated the government move on amnesty to police officers.”

Meanwhile, the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, SC/BC wing, convened a meeting at Basti Jodhewal here, which was attended, among others, by Mr Malkiat Singh Khalsa, national organising secretary, and Mr Narinder Singh Parwana, state organising secretary. Speaking at the meeting, they claimed that the government, headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was in a state of panic ever since the ‘Panthic Morcha’ had come into being. “Mr Badal has violated the sanctity of Akal Takht and has stabbed the Panth in the back. It will be the Panth itself, that will punish Mr Badal at a suitable time.”



Beant’s sacrifice lauded
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 28
The death anniversary of former Chief Minister Beant Singh will be observed at Payal in Ludhiana district on August 31. The gathering will be addressed by M. S. Bitta, National President of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF), said Mr Jagmeet Singh Sahota (Bawa), State President of the AIATF, in a press conference here today.

After forming the government in the state, Beant Singh initiated action to deal with the foreign-trained terrorists. Before he could strike at the roots of international terrorism after successful operation in the state, he himself became the target of terrorists.


2 killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Amloh, August 28
On the statement of Mr Netar Singh, son of Mr Kehar Singh, resident of Machhrai Khurd village, the local police has registered a case against a tractor driver Harbans Singh, alias Kala of Bhari Panchan village, under Sections 279, 304-A and 427 of the IPC.

According to a police report, Sub Harbhajan Singh of Khanian village and Jasbir Singh, resident of Ward No. 5 in Amloh (both ex-servicemen) were going to Amloh when the tractor coming from the opposite side hit their scooter and killed both of them.

The deceased were campaigning for the rally of ex-servicemen to be organised on Thursday at Fatehgarh Sahib.

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