Tuesday, September 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Religious differences boil into violence
Two injured, holy book burnt, colony cordoned off, several persons arrested
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
It was a tense situation in the ‘J’ block of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar here today as followers of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara of Ropar gathered in protest against the burning of a book of his preachings by a mob of about 300 members of the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta).

With a huge police contingent armed with anti-riot equipment, it was a curfew-like situation in the colony. Shops of the area were closed and residents stayed indoors or away from the place, fearing a clash between the followers of Baba Piara Singh, members of the federation and the police.

The tension increased in the afternoon when the police restricted entrance to roads to the colony.

The police, then, asked the followers of the Guru to leave the place or be arrested. While some of them were taken away, most of them were still camping in the colony till late evening.

Cases have been registered against at least six persons, including leaders of the federation, for attempt to murder and rioting. Two of the accused, Sarbjit Singh Gill and Pappu, have been arrested. The persons against whom the cases have been registered include Gurinder Pal Singh, General Secretary of the Youth Akali Dal; Sukhjinder Singh Jorra, District President of the SSF (Mehta); Mohinder Singh and Mohni. Several others of the accused are unidentified.

These persons were part of the mob that allegedly attacked the house of Gurnam Singh in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar and injured Gurnam and his wife. The mob was allegedly armed with unsheathed swords, spears and sticks. After allegedly entering the house forcibly, the mob stopped the ‘akhand path’ of a book of preachings of Baba Piara Singh and, later, “burnt” the book outside Gurdwara Dasmesh Singh Sabha near the colony.

Gurnam’s wife Gurmail Kaur and an unidentified person were attacked with sharp-edged weapons and had to be admitted to the civil hospital here yesterday.

Mr Surjit Singh, Secretary of Rapar’s Dharamkala Asthan Bhaniarawali, centre of the sect, alleged that the attackers had been sent by certain religious leaders. He also said citizens of a free country were free to follow any mode of worship.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Grewal, President of the SSF, when contacted, justified the attack and the burning of the holy book. He said Baba Piara Singh had been excommunicated from the Sikh Panth.

He said the cases against the federation leaders should be withdrawn because they were not involved in the attack.

The disagreement between the Akal Takht and the followers of Baba Piara Singh has taken a violent turn for the first time. While the followers of Baba Piara Singh say that their sermon motivated people to reject money-minded religious leaders and casteism, Mr Grewal alleged that the sermon was aimed at maligning Sikhism and its holy book.

The origin of the conflict lies in a controversy over a book written by Baba Piara Singh.


Paddy purchase to commence on September 21
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 17
The purchase of paddy by government agencies in the district will commence from September 21 and all arrangements for this purpose were ready. This was stated by Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, here today.

Giving more details, he said that last year the total arrivals of paddy in this district were 13.14 lakh metric tonnes, out of which 11.42 lakh tonnes was purchased by government agencies. The expected arrival of paddy in different mandis during the current season was around 14.5 lakh tonnes and government agencies were adequately equipped to lift the produce. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) would purchase 30 per cent of the paddy crop, followed by Punsup and Markfed 18.5 per cent each, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation 14 percent, Food and Supplies Department 12 per cent and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation 7 per cent.

According to Mr Sandhu, 109 purchase centres, in all, were set up in the district, with the FCI to exclusively operate in 39 while other agencies were entrusted with 44 exclusive purchase centres (Food and Supplies Department 9, Markfed 11, Punsup 14, Warehousing Corporation 8 and Agro Industries Corporation 2. Twenty six other centres would be shared by these agencies.

The Deputy Commissioner maintained that the procurement agencies had posted their required procurement staff in all the mandis and adequate stock of empty gunny bags was being made available to the nearest main storage centres to be shifted to mandis before September 21. The mandi board has already ensured that all yards were cleared and arrangements made for water, shades and power connections in the purchase centres. The commission agents (arhtiyas) had been directed to arrange for at least two power cleaners for the produce.

Mr Sandhu further said that the government had fixed a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 560 per quintal for grade A variety and Rs 530 for common variety of paddy. The administration would ensure the MSP for the entire crop of paddy, which fulfilled the specifications laid down by the government. Making an appeal to the farmers to bring thoroughly dried up crop to the mandis, he said the farmers would face problems in sale of crop with a high moisture content.

Fully confident that the paddy procurement would go on smoothly, the Deputy Commissioner informed that all SDMs, Tehsildars and naib tehsildars would remain on duty to supervise the procurement operations while senior district officials, including himself, would closely monitor the overall procurement work on day-to-day basis. The procurement agencies had been asked to set up control rooms at their respective headquarters so that problems, if any, could be attended to without any loss of time.

Meanwhile, the Kirti Kisan Union, Punjab Kisan Sabha and Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) have termed the government decision to commence purchase of paddy from September 21, a big success of the joint agitation by farmers’ bodies. In a joint statement, the activists of these organisations claimed that after prolonged dilly-dallying, the government had come out with the decision to advance the date, only after these organisations had served an ultimatum to disrupt vehicular traffic all over the state on September 20.


BKU rejects MSP for paddy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 17
The Bharti Kissan Union (BKU), Punjab, has rejected the MSP announced for paddy and demanded that it should be revised in proportion to the general price index.

At a meeting of the executive of the union held here today which was presided over Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, union president, it was resolved to oppose the MSP as announced by the Centre. The resolution also called for an early start to the purchase of paddy by the government which had announced that it would start the purchase from September 15.

Through another resolution, the union condemned the sale of spurious insecticides in the cotton-growing belt of Punjab which was responsible for the American bollworm attack on the cotton crop. The Union also demanded adequate compensation for those farmers who had lost most of their cotton crop due to the bollworm attack. It also urged upon the Cotton Corporation of India to start the purchase of cotton at the earliest.

The role of agriculture department officials in the sale of spurious insecticides, which led to a bad cotton crop, must be ascertained and the guilty punished according to the law, added the resolution.

The union passed another resolution demanding a price of Rs 143 per quintal for sugarcane and the payment of arrears by sugar factories to the farmers.

Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, general secretary, said that the union had planned a hold a rally on September 24 at Malout in Muktsar district in which the next agitation programme of the union would be unveiled. Prior to the Malout rally, kisan rallies would also be held at Shahkot (Jalandhar) on September 19 and at Nadala (Kapurthala) on September 20.

The meeting also passed a resolution expressing sympathy with the families of those killed in Tuesday's terrorist attacks in America and prayed for peace to the departed souls.


India should support USA to combat terrorism
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, September 17
City residents want India to support the USA to eliminate the terrorist outfits responsible for attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) and killing thousands of innocent people including many Indians. They think that this is the best opportunity to fight against the forces which are against democracy and humanity.

Mr E.K. Nathanial, a senior citizen, said our country was the worst affected in the world by terrorism as every year a large number of security personnel and innocent people die in terrorist attacks. Due to terrorism in Kashmir valley and other parts of the country, the government has to spend lot of money to strengthen security forces to maintain law and order in the state. Otherwise, this money could be spent on the development of the state, he added.

Being an Indian, I support the USA’s stance for eliminating the terrorist outfits, and this is the best opportunity to come forward to show that the country believe in peace and non-violence, he opined.

Mr Manohar Sharma, a professional said this was the right time for our country to come forward and join hands with the USA to finish the evil called terrorism. India should provide all facilities like air space refueling facility and opening of sea routes for the US navy, he said. India should not even hesitate in providing our troops to nip this evil in the bud, he added. Mr Sharma laments that India lacks a definite policy against these terrorist outfits.

Another senior citizen, Mr Kalyan Chand, agrees with the view of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee that until and unless we smash their roots, the terrorist training camps, we could not restore peace in our country. He opines that these terrorist countries are the factories in which these enemies of humanity are produced and these should be destroyed so that the peace and harmony could prevail in the world.

However, an entrepreneur, Mr Ajay Arora, thinks that the support to the USA in this operation against terrorism should be conditional and India should seek the US help to wipe out the terrorist training camps in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir. This was the best time to take initiative against the terrorism due to which we have suffered loss of life and property, he added. An executive, Mr Hareshwar Dyal, said India should support anybody taking up arms against terrorism since India has suffered a lot because of terrorism. The present situation in the USA is same and it is duty of our country to help the USA for action against these cold-blooded people who kill innocent people in the name of jehad (holy war). 


BJYM men burn Laden’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) burnt an effigy of the Osama bin Laden for his role in the attacks on the US vital installations.

The BJYM activists gathered near Colony No 4 and took out a protest march till the roundabout near Hallo Majra. Raising anti-terrorism slogans, the activists flogged the effigy of Laden before burning it.

Speaking on the occasion, the BJYM chief, Mr Satinder Singh, said the Islamic terrorism was a threat to the world peace and it should be uprooted immediately.


Dead calf is worth a laugh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
In a comical incident, a team of the district police, along with senior officers, kept guarding a sack for over two hours thinking it to be containing a dead body, where as, the sack actually contained a dead calf only.

The police did not open the sack for about two hours till the dog squad arrived. According to police sources, opening it earlier would have destroyed the scent of the murderer or the place from where the body was brought here.

However, when the sack was finally opened, the tired police officers were bemused at the discovery and could not do anything but laugh at each other.

The incident took place at about 12:15 pm when the Sadar police was informed that a sack, suspectedly containing a body, was lying in a field near Gill village.

First junior officers reached at the place and informed the SHO, who then informed his immediate senior.

The senior officer informed SP Parmod Ban who also reached the spot. All officers came in turns but no one opened the sack.

The sources said the officers were waiting for the arrival of the dog squad.

The sources said till the arrival of the dog squad the sack could not be touched, as it would have led to the losing of the scent.

The dog squad came and reached a tubewell pump where a labourer was sleeping.

The labourer also added to the confusion as he was under the influence of some drug. He initially told the police that the body was of his wife and then said it was of his niece.

Ultimately, the police opened the sack and much to its amusement found a dead calf.


It’s tough life for them
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 17
There is diminishing hope in his innocent eyes. And it may not take a long time for it to vanish completely. For Arun Kumar Chaud-hary is one among thousands of child labourers in Ludhiana who are working at various places like tea stalls, dhabas, restaurants, workshops and factories. Twelve-year-old Arun makes Rs 30 a day after putting in about 13 hours of hard labour.

Arun’s father has come from Uttar Pradesh and he drives a rickshaw. Arun is contributing to the family income. He has four brothers and sisters — all younger to him. He works at a tea stall where he is supposed to report at 8 am in the morning and stays till 8 pm. Although his working conditions did not seem very hard, there are several others who have to work in quite difficult set-up.

Similarly, Raju, who must not be more than 10 works in a tea stall owned by a different person. Although Arun has the privilege of staying with his parents as they are in Ludhiana, Raju’s parents live in a village in Nepal. It is already a year since Raju came here with his uncle on a “pleasure trip”. Here he was “handed over” to the tea stall-owner who pays him Rs 600 a month, besides one-time food. Raju also sends money to his parents back home. He does wish to go home and see them, but he does not know when this will fructify.

There are hundreds of children like Arun and Raju who are working in more difficult and harsh conditions. Most of them suffer from malnutrition, which is obvious from their lean and emaciated physique. A number of such children are also working with embroiders. The employers have several interests in employing young children. They are less troublesome and have to be paid much less than the grown-up employees for same amount of work.


BJP stands by backward classes’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
The BJP general secretary, Mr Sangh Priya Gautam, yesterday claimed that only the BJP could safeguard the interests of the backward classes, the downtrodden and Dalits. He pointed out that it was the BJP which had made Ms Mayawati the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh twice.

Addressing a backward classes rally organised by the Bharatiya Yuva Janata Morcha here, Mr Gautam said the BJP was committed to the welfare of the people and had made special programmes for the uplift of the backward and the downtrodden.

The BJP leader claimed that the party was getting phenomenal response from the backward classes in Uttar Pradesh and it was bound to return to power there.

The Union Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies, Mr Ashok Pradhan, while addressing the rally said the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre had launched several welfare schemes, specifically targeted at improving the lot of the downtrodden. He criticised other parties for exploiting the sentiments of the people on communal and caste considerations.

Mr Pradhan said that the NDA government had also ambitious and comprehensive plans for the farmers and the agricultural labourers. He disclosed that the agricultural labour insurance policy and other such schemes were precisely for the welfare of these sections of society.

Prominent among those who attended the rally included the state BJP president, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, Mr Avinash Jaiswal, Mr Sukhminder Singh Grewal and Dr B.C. Kapila.


AISAD meet held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
A meeting of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (Scheduled Castes and other backward classes wing) was held here today. While addressing the meeting, the speakers criticised the corruption prevailing in the present government. Mr Kirpal Singh, president of the wing, Mr Malkit Singh Bagha, secretary, and Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, MLA, attended the meeting.

Mr Narinder Singh Parvana also thanked Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi for uniting all the parties. He also highlighted the demands related to the electricity and water. 


Badal to open Valmiki Bhavan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 17
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will preside over the state-level function to mark Bhagwan Valmiki birthday here on November 1and will formally inaugurate the four-storeyed building of Valmiki Bhavan in the city. The building, constructed at a cost of Rs 1.81 crore, is first of its kind in the entire country, according to Mr Mohan Veer Chauhan, state secretary, Bharatiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj (BVDS).

In a statement here today, Mr Chauhan said a meeting of the BVDS activists from different districts of Punjab, as well as the state and national level functionaries, has been convened at Valmiki Bhavan here on September 23 to chalk out the detailed programme for the November 1 function. The state convener of the BVDS, Mr Ashwani Sahota, will preside over the meeting.

Prominent BVDS functionaries, including Mr Vijay Danav, national joint secretary, Mr Piare Lal Anjan, propaganda secretary, Dr Dev Singh Asur (Sangrur) Mr Lakshman Dravid, Choudhry Yash Pal, Mr Ashok Sudra (Ludhiana) Mr Nand Lal Randhawa, Mr Kumar Darshan, Mr Tarlok Gill (Amritsar), Mr O.P. Bhatti (Ferozepore), Mr Ram Lal Adiwal, Mr Charan Das (Patiala), Mr Kamal Danav (Balachaur), Mr Shiv Kumar (Ropar) and Mr Vir Bhan (Moga), Mr Eklavya Manak (Abohar), and Mr Hardish Kukkoo (Rajpura) among others would attend the meeting.


Twin honour for PAU scientist
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 17
Dr G.S. Dhaliwal, Professor of Ecology, PAU, Ludhiana, has been nominated for the fellowship of two premier national plant protection societies. The Society of Plant Protection Sciences, New Delhi, has decided to confer fellowship on Dr Dhaliwal at the forthcoming national symposium on plant protection strategies for sustainable agro-horticulture to be held at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture and Technology, Jammu, from October 12, 2001.

The Society of Pesticide Science, New Delhi, would also honour Dr Dhaliwal with fellowship at the international conference on pesticides, environment and food security to be held at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) New Delhi, from November 19, 2001. Dr Dhaliwal is the first PAU scientist to bag this twin distinction in view of his outstanding contributions to pesticide management.

A Ph.D from the IARI , where he was awarded the Gurprasad Pradhan Gold Medal, Dr Dhaliwal remained postdoctoral fellow at the International Rice Research Institute, Manila, Philippines, for two years.

He is also Fellow of the National Environmental Science Academy (NESA) and the Entomological Society of India. He was conferred the ‘Best scientist award-1999’ and ‘ Scientist of the year award-2000’ by the NESA. Dr Dhaliwal has been the founder president of the Indian Society for the Advancement of Insect Science and Society of Biopesticides, India. He is the president of the Indian Ecological Society. He is author/editor of more than 25 books on different aspects of pest management and environment.


Hawkers’ body dissolves election committee
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
Mr Ved Parkash, the newly-elected president of the Newspapers Suppliers’ Association, in a press note released here today has stated the dissolution of its election committee.

A meeting of the unanimously-elected hawkers’ body was held at the Rakh Bagh today, which decided that the new election committee would be nominated out of the dissolved committee before two months of the elections. That committee would conduct the elections and till that time the committee would remain dissolved. 


Golden jubilee of AIIEA
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
A cluster meeting of all local units of the Northern Zone Insurance Employees Association(NZIEA) was held in Sham Nagar, Ludhiana, to celebrate the 50th year of the All-India Insurance Employees Association (AIIEA).

The meeting was presided over by the divisional president, Mr Amarjit Singh. Mr S.S. Koonar, zonal president addressed the meeting and more than 100 members of the association attended the meeting.

Mr Koonar briefed the participants about the history of the AIIEA and also about the role of private companies which transacted the life insurance business prior to nationalisation of these companies. He told that the AIIEA came into existence on July 7, 1951 to fight the onslaught being lashed out on the working people. Coming to the fight against privatisation, he elaborated that the AIIEA had launched a vigorous campaign and struggle for the past 12 years. Inspite of strict opposition in Parliament, the IRDA was passed, but the AIIEA had intensified its struggle against privatisation by mobilising the other sectors to form a platform for a joint struggle against privatisation, anti-people and and anti-working class policies of the NDA government led by the BJP.

He appealed to all the participants to consolidate their rank and file in their respective units so as to defeat the second phase of reforms of the present anti-people government. The meeting was conducted by Mr Harbans Singh, divisional secretary , NZIEA, Ludhiana.


Police clueless about murder
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, September 17
The police here is clueless about the murder of a resident of Ludhiana, Sukhwinder Singh Shinda, whose body was found near Mandey village in Phillaur subdivision on Friday night. A four-year-old daughter of the deceased is also reported missing under mysterious circumstances.

Mr Harpreet Singh, SHO, Phillaur, told Ludhiana Tribune here today that the body had injuries from sharp-edged weapons.

Giving details, he said Sukhwinder Singh along with his daughter had gone to a dera in his Maruti car near Rahon. The car (DGR 6196) was found abandoned near Phagwara and his daughter is missing. The police suspected some group enmity behind the murder. A case has been registered under Section 302, IPC, and the body sent to Phillaur Civil Hospital for post-mortem.Back


Panic grips LSE after market crash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
The panic gripped the Ludhiana Stock Exchange ( LSE ) today as stock markets crashed in view of the attack of the USA and the allied forces on Afghanistan. The Bombay Stock Exchange closed at 2680 points, the lowest during the past many years. The market at the NSE also fell sharply.

The trade volumes at the LSE were just Rs 64 lakh in addition to Rs 21 crore trade volumes of the LSE Securities. The trading volumes at the LSE on friday were around Rs 28 crore. The brokers said that the market would have crashed further lest the SEBI had not taken the temporary measure of allowing fall in share value by 10 per cent against 20 per cent in any single day. Most of the leading shares including Infosys and Satyam closed at the 10 per cent end of lower circular break.

The brokers and the investors witnessed their falling fortunes as the share market continued to fall. “The brokers and investors are fearing a sharp fall at the New york exchange, when it opens today after the attack on World Trade Center.”

The investors are worried that there are no chances of any improvement in the market in the coming days. Another broker felt that the increase in oil prices and the long period of war in Afghanistan would further affect the market.

Mr Tarvinder Dhingra, chairman, LSE Securities agreed that the conditions in the market are not too good. The lack of liquidity and the limited deferral options including forward products have also affected the share market.


Curb wastage of petroleum products’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The industrial sector consumes about one-fourth of the total petroleum products. While the demand for the petroleum products and the electrical energy is continously increasing in the industries, the energy resources were becoming scarce and costlier.

Stating this at the action group meet on oil conservation in the industrial sector here yesterday, Mr S.P. Goyal, Chief Regional Coordinator and Genral Manager of the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), New Delhi, claimed that the energy conservation efforts had already achieved an annual recurring saving of over 740 thousand tonnes of oil worth Rs 483 crore in the industrial sector till March this year.

Mr Goyal said about Rs 80,000 crore was being spent on the import of petroleum products every year which could be saved by curbing wasteful practices and propagating efficient utilisation of the petroleum products.

Mr D.S. Guru, Director and Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce, Punjab, said 25 per cent inputs in the industry were being used in the form of petroleum products. He informed that the Punjab Government was giving subsidy to the industrial sector for technology upgradation.

Earlier, welcoming the delegates, Mr G.C. Daga, General Manager, Indian Oil Corporation, Punjab and Haryana, exhorted the people to come forward for adopting fuel efficient equipment and technologies so that their service remained competitive.

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