Sunday, October 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sacrilege to be probed: CM
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
After imposing a ban on the controversial ‘Bhavsagar Samunder Granth’ authored by excommunicated Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, the Punjab Government is contemplating a ban on the activities of ‘Dera Bhaniara’.

Talking to TNS, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, and President, Shiromani Akali Dal, said his government would order a high-level probe to unearth the “deep-rooted conspiracy” behind the acts of sacrilege. He said though preliminary investigations revealed that the incidents were a handiwork of followers of Baba Bhaniara, a deeper conspiracy could not be ruled out.

Taking exception to the bizarre incidents in different parts of the state, Mr Badal said every preventive measure would be taken to ensure that such sordid incidents did not recur.

When his attention was drawn to the controversial statements of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President, SGPC, against Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, officer on special duty to the Chief Minister, Mr Badal said party leaders must exercise constraint. He said it was the duty of party leaders not to issue any controversial statement which could adversely affect the working of the party.

He, however, said he enjoyed good ties with Mr Talwandi. He said he would speak to the SGPC chief to take measures to protect the ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib.

Mr Badal said his government and party would not tolerate sacrilege of the holy granth. The police had already arrested Baba Bhaniara and many of his followers.

On the bicentenary celebrations of the legendary Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Mr Badal said his life-size statues were being installed in front of Parliament and the Ranjit Sagar Dam site. A stamp on the maharaja would be released by the President on November 7.

Meanwhile, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Senior Vice-President, Shiromani Akali Dal and Agriculture Minister, and his son Kewal Singh Badal, Junior Vice-President, SGPC, may seek an apology from Akal Takht for associating with Baba Bhaniara.

Photographs of Mr Gurdev Singh and his son were published in “Bhavsagar Granth”. According to sources, there is pressure on the Akali leaders to seek an apology from Akal Takht as Baba Bhaniara has been excommunicated from the Sikh Panth.

Earlier too, Mr Kewal Singh Badal had submitted a request to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, that he was ready to face any punishment as per the Sikh “maryada” for participating in a function organised by the excommunicated baba.

Rival Akali factions have already mounted pressure for summoning Mr Gurdev Singh and his son to Akal Takht and sought their removal from the Punjab Cabinet and the SGPC.


Mastermind behind granth held
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, October 6
The Ropar police has arrested a staunch follower of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara suspected to be the mastermind behind the publication of the “Bhavsagar Samunder Granth”.

Highly placed sources in the police said on the basis of investigations, Darshan Singh, working as a superintendent in the Punjab Industries Department Chandigarh, had been arrested for the distribution of copies of the controversial granth.

He is suspected to have encouraged the baba to write his own granth to give the shape of religion to his sect. Darshan Singh, along with 21 other followers of the baba, including six women, allegedly wrote the “Bhavsagar”.

The book allegedly contains stolen verses from Guru Granth Sahib and anecdotes of the baba’s achievements.

It was released by the baba on Baisakhi this year. He also distributed xeroxed copies of his granth to some of his followers. Now the book has been banned by the Punjab Government.

Baba Piara Singh could not be produced in the court today due to security reasons.

He was to be produced before the Judicial Magistrate, Ropar today. Three of his followers, including Sadhu Singh, Pritam Singh, both of Ludhiana, and Harjit Singh, who were also arrested, were also to be produced in the court today.

However, police sources said when the Ropar police went to the Patiala jail to bring the accused to the court, some jail inmates threw acid on followers of the baba.

One Sadhu Singh, lost his sight in the incident, while the other two were admitted to a local hospital with burn injuries.

After the incident, the police authorities decided against taking baba to the court.


Confrontation may spill over to Haryana
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
With acid thrown on the faces of three of his followers inside Patiala jail this afternoon and the Ambala unit of Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) threatening to gherao the office of the district police chief in protest against its failure to take action against another follower, the Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara case has taken a dramatic turn and may affect the neighbouring Haryana in the coming days.

The Patiala jail incident may have shaken the authorities concerned over the availability of the corrosive chemical inside the highly protected premises. There has been widespread criticism of the management of prisons in the state before the state government decided some months ago to post a police officer of the rank of an Inspector-General as Inspector-General of Prisons. But this afternoon’s incident has again exposed chinks in the jail management.

The police and security forces are tightlipped about their strategy to contain any confrontation between followers of Baba Bhaniara and the agitated masses supported by several organisations, including the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, Panthic Morcha, Dal Khalsa, Sikh Students Federation and even a major section of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

The Patiala incident has rung the alarm bell. The authorities will have to be alert to prevent recurrence of any such incident elsewhere in the state as a number of followers of the baba, including the baba himself and one of his sons , are in police custody and their production before magistrates attracts big crowds.

Secondly, the ultimatum served by the Ambala unit of the SHSAD on the district police authorities seeking action against a follower of the baba before October 12 also indicates the growing public resentment against inaction on the part of the authorities.

Mr Kartar Singh Takkar, general secretary of the managing committee of the historic Gurdwara Paonta Sahib, told The Tribune that the Ambala unit of the SHSAD lodged a formal first information report with the police on September 25 against a follower of Baba Bhaniara who was keeping the “controversial granth after desecrating the holy Guru Granth Sahib.”

“We made a formal complaint to the SP of Ambala earlier that day about the activities of this follower of the baba but no action was initiated. Now we have lodged an FIR and still no action has been taken,” Mr Takkar said maintaining that some members of the Dal, led by SGPC member, Surjit Singh Niddar, had visited the village of the baba’s follower where sacrilege was allegedly being committed.

A meeting of the Ambala unit of the SHSAD was held under the chairmanship of Giani Sher Singh, Head Granthi of the historic Gurdwara Manji Sahib which was attended among others by Mr Sukhdev Singh Gobindgarh, President, Haryana State unit of SHSAD, and other prominent leaders, including Jathedar Kartar Singh Takkar. Mr Bhupinder Singh Mr Harbhajan Singh and Mr Rajwant Singh Raju attended the meeting. They demanded immediate forfeiture of the controversial ‘Granth’ and strict action for committing sacrilege against the baba’s follower.

It was resolved at the meeting that the office of the SSP of Ambala would be gheraoed on October 12 .


Acid thrown on Baba’s followers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 6
In a bizarre incident, acid was thrown on three followers of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara on the premises of Central Jail here early this morning. All three were undertrials lodged in the jail located on the Nabha road.

One of the victims, Pritam Singh, alleged that acid was thrown on them by another undertrial when they were being taken to a Ropar court. The undertrials have been identified as Sadhu Singh, Pritam Singh and Harjit Singh.

The followers of Baba Bhaniara were lodged in the jail after they were suspected of committing an act of sacrilege recently.

All the three have been admitted to Rajindra Hospital. The condition of two are reported to be serious.

Police sources said the accused who threw acid on the three followers of the Baba had been identified as Lakhbir Singh. He had a bottle of acid with him.

Pritam Singh alleged that they were attacked amid police security. Doctors said the victims had suffered 25 per cent burns.

Meanwhile, the security at Central Jail has been tightened to prevent any other incident of this sort. A case has been registered at the Civil Lines police station against Lakhbir Singh, under Section 307 of the IPC.


SAD may discuss acts of sacrilege today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The latest developments including the acts of sacrilege of holy scriptures and subsequent actions of certain political parties are likely to dominate tomorrow's meeting of the political affairs committee of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal. Besides, election-related issues will be discussed at the meeting.

For the first time in its present tenure, the ruling SAD has been encountering a serious religious problem. In fact, the problem is snowballing into a crisis. The Akali ranks are worried because of these developments. How the SAD must deal with the emerging situation is expected to be decided at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the secretary of the SAD, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, has written a letter to all the members of the Parliament , MLAs, members of the SGPC and district presidents of the party to remain alert and ensure security and safety of holy places. They have also been advised to counter false propaganda being spread by vested interests.

Mr Badungar said the SAD had always stood for peace, social harmony and brotherhood in the state. When some forces had become active to disturb the peace in the state, it was duty of the party activists to counter such ‘conspiracies’ by educating people in their respective areas. He said the SAD -BJP Government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was committed to exposing the forces involved in the incidents pertaining to sacrilege and other destructive activities.

He has drawn the attention of Akali leaders towards the earlier incidents of sacrilege.


BJP flays acts of sacrilege
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
At a meeting of its office-bearers, called to make preparations for the meeting of the national executive at Amritsar early next month, the Punjab unit of the BJP yesterday passed a resolution condemning the acts of sacrilege at certain places in the state.

Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, President of the state unit, presided over the meeting.

Mr Avinash Jaiswal, general secretary of the state unit, who moved the resolution, said that those involved in the acts of sacrilege should be punished. The guilty should be given such punishment that in future no one should dare to repeat such an act. Through other resolution, the BJP praised the state government for successfully lifting paddy from all grain markets in the state.

Mr Rinwa informed the office- bearers that the party would bring out a souvenir on the completion of 50 years of the BJP which was earlier known as the Jana Sangh. The party would complete 50 years on October 21. The Prime Minister would release the souvenir on November 4 at Amritsar.

The party would organise a workers, conference at Amritsar on November 4 which would be addressed by the Prime Minister, Home Minister and other senior cabinet ministers. Mr Rinwa has called a meeting of Presidents of 140 mandals of the party in the state at Ludhiana on October 14.


SAD leaders in league with Bhaniara: PPCC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) today urged the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal to refrain from mud slinging on sensitive issues like sacrilege and instead focus on setting its house in order.

A spokesman of the PPCC said the SAD-BJP alliance was on the brink of a crushing defeat in the coming elections. Condemning the self-styled ‘Baba’, Piara Singh, the spokesman said that the PPCC chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, was the first person to condemn these acts of sacrilege and publically demanded that the persons involved in such cases should be arrested under Section 302 of the IPC.

He said it was an irony of fate that the SAD was accusing the Congress for these incidents whereas their senior leaders like Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal had been regularly meeting this ‘baba’.


Badungar for probe by Akal Takht
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Clarifying his position with regard to allegations levelled against him with regard to his alleged links with controversial Baba Bhaniara, the secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, has appealed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht to hold an inquiry at his own level to bring out the truth in this connection.

Reiterating that he had no connection with Baba Bhaniara, Mr Badungar, said a wrong impression had been created and only an inquiry could establish the truth.

Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, president of the SGPC, had already withdrawn his statement, he added.


Strike observed against sacrilege
Our Correspondent

Bhucho Mandi (Bathinda), October 6
The traders here observed a half-day strike today in protest against the alleged burning of ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib in Fatehgarh Sahib district and burnt an effigy of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara. The call for the strike was given by the Panthic Morcha.

Addressing a gathering here, leaders of morcha, Mr Baljinder Singh Bhairupa and Mr Amolak Singh Mann, alleged that the culprits were trying to create tension and communal disharmony among the Hindus and Sikhs. The leaders alleged that it was for the eighth time, during the tenure of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, that Guru Garanth Sahib was desecrated.

Activists of the morcha demanded stern action against the guilty at the earliest.


It’s a fight against barbarism: Gujral
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 6
A former Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, today termed the proposed US-led military action against Osama bin Laden and his supporters among the Taliban as the last war between the civilised world and the barbaric forces. The ensuing conflict would put an end to barbarism in the world for times to come, he claimed.

Mr Gujral, speaking at a function organised by the Hind-Pak Dosti manch here today, said the proposed US-led action was neither against Islam and Muslims, nor Afghanistan.

“The world is fighting against barbarism. These barbaric forces are led by the Taliban as these were led by Mehmood Ghaznavi and Ahmed Shah Abdali in the ancient times. We need to act like Maharaja Ranjit Singh who crushed such forces and extended his empire up to Afghanistan, which is India’s strategic border.

“Every action which is occurring in Afghanistan is bound to have its bearings on India. When the USSR had envisaged initiating its army into Afghanistan, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had opposed the idea initially, thinking that the war could have its impact on India. But later conditional support was extended by India.” said Mr Gujral.

He said a number of Muslim countries were suffering from fundamentalism at the hands of “jehadis”. This was why they had extended their support to the US-led action in Afghanistan.

“It was Pakistan’s gameplan to rule Afghanistan indirectly. This has posed a threat to Iran, India and Central Asia since 1996,” said Mr Gujral, adding that the proposed US-led action was likely to leave its impact on India.

“I think it is easy to go to war, but very difficult to come out of it. It may be our misconception that the war against terrorism will not affect us. All civil societies have converged at one platform and in the 21st century, barbarism will be a closed chapter forever.”

Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Editor, Punjabi daily “Ajit”, said the world was sitting on a heap of explosives and the war generated by the US-led action might eliminate many a civilisation.

“But this war is a must for India which had always had a defensive posture towards terrorism. We have never been able to assert ourselves. Take the example of the Prime Minister who wrote a letter to the US President about a terrorist attach on the J and K Assembly instead of resorting to action. We should learn a lesson from Maharaja Ranjit Singh,” he said.

Other who spoke were Mr Satnam Singh Manak and Mr Kartar Singh Duggal, Rajya Sabha MP.

Earlier, Mr Gujral visited the SGL Charitable Hospital of Baba Kashmira Singh and inaugurated a new block of the hospital.


Preserve heritage, Gujral tells people

Kapurthala, October 6
Members of Kapurthala Heritage Society todays accorded a warm welcome to Mr I.K. Gujral, former Prime Minister, and Mr Kartar Singh Duggal, member of Rajya Sabha, at a function organised at the local rest house.

Mr Vivek Aggarwal said the society with the help of people and industrialists of the district had undertaken the task to restore the glory of Jagatjit Palace, Karma Palace, Clock Tower, Jubilee Hall, Morris Mosque and other historical buildings. Addressing the function, Mr Gujral exhorted the people to come forward to preserve their heritage to enable the coming generations to know their culture.

Mr Gujral welcomed the getting together of world powers in fighting terrorism. He termed the military action against the Taliban by the USA and its allies a war against barbarism. The Taliban was pushing the world civilisation 500 years back.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Gujral urged the USA to reconsider its decision to resume arms sales to Pakistan. He reminded the USA that there was evidence with India against Pakistan abetting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Gujral held a meeting with high officials of the science city and expressed satisfaction over the progress of work. Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary, Science and Technology, told Mr Gujral that the first phase of the science city would be completed by March, 2002. The science city would have its own railway station and 75 villages within a radius of 10 km of the city.


Aulakh misusing funds: Mann
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
Huge funds being collected all over the world in name of Khalistan are being misused by America-based Gurmit Singh Aulakh, self-styled chief of the Council of Khalistan.

This was alleged by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), while talking to the press here today. Mr Mann alleged that Mr Aulakh has amassed crores of US dollars from the Sikhs but had failed to do anything for the movement.

He said this was evident from the fact that the Sikh in America were mistaken for Arabs and attacked frenzy after the attacks on the World Trade Centre there that Mr Aulakh had failed to educate the Americans that Sikhs had a distinct “nationality”. He appealed to the Sikh masses not to give a single penny to Mr Aulakh.

Interestingly, Mr Aulakh had levelled similar charges against Mr Mann on his website.

On the acts of sacrilege in various parts of the state, Mr Mann said Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi should convene a meeting of the general house of the SGPC immediately to take stock of the situation.

Mr Mann alleged that Akal Takht and the SGPC had failed to take proper action to safe-guard the holy granth.

Supporting the agitation of Kashmiris, Mr Mann said they were fighting for ‘independence’. He said there should be a referendum in Kashmir as innocent persons should not be killed everyday. Criticising the ban on SIMI, Mr Mann said it was a step to “gag minorities”. If a ban could be imposed on the SIMI why could no such action be taken against the RSS, the Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena, he asked.

Mr Mann expressed concern at the “callous attitude of the Central Government towards Afghani Sikhs trapped in war-zone.


Families desert mentally ill: CM
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 6
The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today laid the foundation stone of the ultra-modern Dr Vidya Sagar Institute of Mental Health which is being reconstructed at a cost of Rs 40 crore.

The Chief Minister expressed anguish over the fact that some persons in their bid to grab the property of the mentally sick members of their families were admitting them to mental hospitals. He said even after these patients were cured, their families did not take them back and care for them.

Mr Badal said he had taken keen personal interest in the setting up of this prestigious institute here, which had remained neglected for may years. He said the Punjab Health System Corporation had already drawn up plans to build the institute which would provide the most modern patient care facilities, besides doing research work.

Mr Badal announced that he would organise a sangat darshan programme for the inmates of the hospital and interact with the doctors and the administration of the hospital soon.

The Health Minister of Punjab, Mr Baldev Raj Chawla, said the World Bank had provided them financial aid worth Rs 422 crore for the construction of 154 modern hospitals in the state. He added that at present about 100 new hospitals were under construction while the work on the 54 remaining hospitals would be completed by the end of this financial year.

Mr Chawla said all big hospitals were being equipped with the latest gadgets and the hospitals would be able to provide facilities like kidney transplant, liver transplant and cardiac surgery for the patients. He said with the involvement of voluntary and social organisations, the dreaded disease TB would be wiped out from the state very soon.


Baba Satlani cremated
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
Baba Mangal Singh Satlani, acting President, Gurmat Gurbani Parcharak Sant Samaj and a votary of Balmiki calendar, died at a local private hospital late last night. He was a strong opponent of the controversial ‘Nanakshahi calendar, which had virtually divided the Sikhs.

Baba Mangal Singh (70), was a confidant of Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi, Golden Temple. He was behind the ex-communication of Bibi Jagir Kaur, the then President, SPGC, and the three Sikh High Priests. It was the implementation of the Nanakshahi calendar by the SGPC which had irked the then Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, Baba Mangal Singh was of the view that the adoption of the calendar, Hindu and Sikhs would celebrate festivals separately.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal visited the hospital where the body of Baba Mangal Singh was kept. The baba was attacked by a former ‘sevak’ in the Golden Temple premises with a sharp iron rod two day ago.

His cremation was largely attended by his followers and leaders of various political parties. Mr Gurpinder Singh Wadala has been chosen as successor of Baba Mangal Singh. Among those who attended the funeral were Baba Daya Singh Sursinghwale, Baba Shisha Singh, Baba Lakha Singh Guru ke Baghwale, Baba Kashmira Singh Grewal, Baba Kashmira Singh Bhurewale, Baba Anup Singh and Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi, Golden Temple.

Baba Mangal Singh had opened a number of educational institutes in the border belt. He had recently deposited Rs 80 lakh with the Central Government for opening of an engineering college.

Earlier, Baba Mangal Singh was attacked by Sikh militants in November last at Gurdwara Nanaksana Sahib.

Baba Mangal Singh was responsible for the ‘kar seva’ of a number of gurdwaras. He belonged to Kallah village in Tarn Taran.


3 MLAs, MP form front against govt
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 6
Three members of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from Mansa district, Mr Hardev Singh Arshi, leader of the CPI group in the Assembly, Mr Baldev Singh Khiala, a rebel SAD legislator, and Mr Ajitinder Singh Mofar, the lone MLA of SAD (A), who recently joined the Congress, along with Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, CPI MP, have formed a front to expose the alleged misdeeds of the Badal government.

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, Mr Bhaura said the government was not according due respect to the Opposition. He alleged the panchayats in the district were being discriminated against in the allotment of grants.

Mr Khiala said though he had been working for SAD for the past 35 years, Mr Badal had not given even a single penny to his village. He said he would move the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the “highhandedness” of the Badal government.

Mr Mofar, MLA from Sardulgarh, said they had formed the common front keeping in view the hardships being faced by the people of the area. He said that he was preparing a list of the grants given to the panchayats in the area to expose the hollow claims of the government.

He said it was only this government which had given such a raw treatment to the Opposition as the previous governments had always taken the Opposition in confidence. Meanwhile, the ruling SAD has described the formation of the front as an election gimmick.


Poor amenities bane of Nabha
Rajnish Sharma

Civic amenities in this town are poor. The problems of residents range from faulty sewerage, encroachments and contaminated drinking water to erratic power supply and heaps of garbage in almost all localities.

Rain adds to the woes of the residents with water collecting in open spaces and streets. This happens due to the lack of proper cleaning of drains and choked sewers. When it rains, garbage lying around often flows on to the doorsteps of houses.

Residents complain that they rarely see safai karamcharis cleaning the drains. Whenever they do so, they simply dump the waste on the sides of the drains. At places sullage in drains seeps into water pipes causing contamination.

Absence of a proper site for the dumping of garbage is another problem in the town. Residents allege that garbage after collection is usually dumped in the nearest available open space where it rots for days together. Pigs and cattle rummage about in these heaps. One such place is near the FCI godown on the cinema road where garbage can be seen almost throughout the year.

The only park in the town is also in poor shape.

The condition of roads in the vegetable market and the bus stand is also bad. Besides, floors are damaged to such an extent that it is difficult to walk on them. In the absence of a proper drainage system, water collects at the bus stand and the market for hours together when it rains.

The condition of the shed and toilets at the bus stand is pathetic. There is no proper seating arrangement under the shed. Eight fans are missing and one is out of order.

Areas like Purbia Basti, Bazigar Basti, Shivpuri Colony, Balmiki Colony, Ranjit Nagar and Jaspal Colony lack basic facilities like sewerage, streetlights, pucca roads and a regular supply of potable water. Newly developed colonies beyond the railway station and Circular Road also lack such facilities.

Another problem residents face is unscheduled power cuts.

Residents says that the Municipal Council is trying to hide its inefficiency by saying that funds are inadequate and people lack civic sense.

They demand that tractor-trailers for collecting garbage should visit various areas on alternate days. The council should also earmark some appropriate sites for the dumping of garbage.

The Executive Officer of the council said that the problem of water collecting in various areas was mainly due to the construction of Circular Road at an elevated level and that, too, without any siphon. The council was planning to provide an underground siphon at a cost of Rs 20 lakh.

He gave an assurance that top priority would continue to be given to the cleaning of drains and the removal of garbage.


Press meet or musical concert?
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 6
It was an unusual scene to see a press conference gradually taking the shape of a fine musical concert.

It happened at a local hotel here today where Mohammed Sadique, an eminent Punjabi folk singer of yesteryears, accompanied by some of his fellow singers had come to address mediapersons in connection with the two-day Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Fair, which starts at Ludhiana on October 20.

Some journalists requested Sadique and others to sing something of their choice. The singers were more than ready to fill the air with their melodious voices with Sadique taking the lead by rendering his popular song, “Asin allarpune vich aime akhiyan laa baithe, di be quadran nu deke quadar gava baithe.

Sukhnain of “Gora chitta mukh” fame sang,”Ik taa modiya e mukh sohnai”, while Sukhwinder Sukhi depicted the nature of people of various districts of Punjab by rendering, “Bathinda waale rakhde raiflain, Jalandhar waale bharde jebaan notan naal” followed by Angrez Ali, who sang “Kissa Heer” in his typical folk song style.


Security at Bathinda cantonment lax
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 6
Even as almost all countries of the world have been taking steps to protect their vital installations after the terrorist strike at the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York, USA, the security and safety of Asia’s biggest cantonment located in the city seems to have missed the agenda of the authorities.

The intrusion of a stranger into the ammunition depot (AD) in the local cantonment recently has exposed the security arrangements in the area. The authorities have been trying to fine how the stranger entered the depot.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that stranger, who was later identified as Anwar Khan, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, was found in the depot under suspicious circumstances by the security personnel. Anwar Khan first tried to conceal his identity by claiming himself to be a member of a particular community. It is only later that he disclosed his name and place of residence. The security personnel sent him to the Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC). Amritsar, to extract information from him.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP while confirming that Anwar Khan was found in the AD, said that a case against him was also registered on October 1 under the Official Secrets Act in the cantonment police station.

Though the Army authorities were tightlipped about the incident, it is learnt that Anwar Khan came from Allahabad.

Sources said that Anwar Khan would be discharged shortly as the authorities had claimed that he was a mad person and entered into ammunition depot without any motive or mala fide intention.

About two years ago, Ahsan Ahmad, a sepoy working in the 101 Engineering Regiment, then located in the Bathinda Cantonment, was arrested by the members of counter-espionage wing of the Delhi police for his alleged involvement in leaking the vital information to Pakistan’s intelligence agencies by working as their ‘spy’.


98 cases settled at 6 lok adalats
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 6
More than 180 cases were taken up of which 98 cases were disposed of at six different lok adalats organised at the Amloh town and here simultaneously today.

Mr Mohinder Pal, District Sessions Judge-cum-Chairman of the District Free Legal Services, said awards worth about Rs 8 lakh were given to claimants at the lok adalats.

The lok adalats were presided over by Mr G.S. Gill, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Vijay Singh, Civil Judge (Senior Division), Ms Neelam Arora, CJM, Mr S.S. Sahni, Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mr R.K. Khullar, Civil Judge (Junior Division) and Mr K.S. Cheema, Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division).

Mr Pal highlighted the free legal services being provided by the Government and said the poor, whose annual income is less than Rs 30,000 would be provided with the services of lawyer free of cost.

Mr Vijay Singh, secretary, Free Legal Services, said since April, 2000, 93 deserving persons had been provided with free legal services.


Cancelled tour rocks NRI Sabha meeting
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 6
Differences between the Commissioner, Jalandhar Division, who is also chairman of the NRI Sabha, and the sabha’s president and some other office-bearers cropped up at the its executive committee meeting held in the Gymkhana Club yesterday.

The NRI Sabha is already under a cloud after the levelling of corruption charges by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee against it.

Sources revealed that the sabha president, Mr Resham Singh, questioned the decision of the sabha chairman, Mr Satish Chandra, cancelling the foreign tour of the sabha delegation at the eleventh hour in the last week of July.

The president of the Ludhiana unit of the sabha, Mr Pritam Singh Deol, reportedly raised objections about the central sabha’s decision to realise Rs 5.19 lakh from the unit as membership fee.

Similarly, Nawanshahr unit members also said the central sabha had no right to realise Rs 1.19 lakh from them.


Cancer detection camp by AWWA

Jalandhar, October 6
A cancer detection camp to screen ladies for cancer of breast, oral cavity, skin and cervix was held at Ferozepore Military Hospital today under the aegis of the Golden Arrow division of the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA).

Inaugurating the camp, the division’s AWWA President, Ms Kiran Nandrajog, said cancer was a disease which struck terror in every heart but when detected early, it could be cured or controlled with the help of modern medicines and technology.

The camp was held with a view to detect cancer in its early stages as well as to increase awareness about the disease.

About 350 women were screened for cancer by a team of doctors from the Military Hospital. UNI


Vikas Manch for uniform criterion for senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 6
The Amritsar Vikas Manch has sought that all organisations should have the same criterion regarding age to accord certain facilities to senior citizens.

In a letter to the Prime Minister and Union Finance Minister, the manch says that the Income Tax Department considers both men and women above 65 years of age as senior citizens for giving IT concessions.

Likewise, the Railways was also giving concessions in fare charges to men above the age of 65 years and women above the age of 60 years, it said.

The copies of the letter have also been sent to Mr Nitish Kumar, Union Minister for Railway, Mr Syed Shah Nawaz Hussain, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, Union HRD Minister and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab.


M.S. Gill to open Mohan Singh fair
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 6
The annual two-day 23rd Prof Mohan Singh Yaadgar Mela will be inaugurated by Mr M.S. Gill, former Chief Election Commissioner, at Ludhiana on October 20.

Apart from presentation of ghazals, folk songs, recitation of poems by famous artistes and poets, at least 24 persons from different walks of life who have contributed to the enrichment of the Punjabi culture would be honoured during the fair.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Pargat Singh Grewal, president, Mr Gurbhajan Singh Gill, general secretary, and Mr Mohammed Sadiq, vice-president of Prof Mohan Singh Foundation, said the fair will begin with the garlanding of the statue of Prof Mohan Singh by the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner and the Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal. This would be followed by a symposium.

The “Ghazal Durbar” will see participation by eminent poets like Sardar Panchi, Surjit Paatar, Kashmir Quadir and Satinder Noor.

Mr Gill said the foundation would release “Ambi Daa Boota”, an audio-cassette based on the poems of Prof Mohan Singh and sung by noted singers Hans Raj Hans, Amrita Virk, Sardool Sikandar, Harbhajan Maan, Mohammed Sadiq and Amar Noori.

Mr Gill said top artistes and social workers like Sant Sucha Singh Jawaddi Kalan, former Ludhiana MC Commissioner Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, veteran folk singer Surinder Kaur, Prof Niranjan Singh Tasneem, folk singer Karamjit Singh Dhuri, pop singers Jasbir Jassi, Dr Sukhnain, comedian Bhagwant Maan, dramatist Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Dhadhi Moola Singh Pakharpuri, Mr Jarnail Basota, Mr Avtar Deepak, bhangra coach Tehal Singh Kheeva and lyricist Gurmukh Singh Gill would be honoured on the concluding day.

Dramas on themes like female foeticide, a slide show by Tej Partap Singh Sandhu, “giddha, bhangra” and an open “akhara” would form part of the fair, which will have a special item in the shape of competition in different categories of folk musical instruments like dholak, tabla and algozas.

Mr Grewal said the message of the fair to Punjabis was to save their culture from extraneous influences.


IAF gives dole to victims

Hoshiarpur, October 6
Seven men, women and children, who were wounded on the ground when a MiG-21 fighter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in the district on September 26, were yesterday given cash assistance by the IAF authorities for medical treatment.

Flying Officer Ravinder Dube, came from Pathankot airfield and disbursed Rs 8000 each to Gurmit Kaur, Naina Devi and Ravinder Kumar and Rs 4000 each to Sohan Singh, Jyoti and Veena.

Sonu’s mother Kamaljit Kaur had died when burning debris of the fighter hit her. Her family will be paid Rs 40,000 after her death certificate is issued, official sources said.

Dasuya Subdivisional Magistrate B.S. Dhaliwal accompanied the IAF officer to the local Civil Hospital where cash assistance was given to the victims, all of whom are still under going treatment. UNI


Malta tragedy victims’ kin await relief
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 6
Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman, Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, today condemned the indifferent attitude of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his government towards the parents of 170 untraceable/deceased Punjabi young men who were drowned by the international human trafficking mafia on December 25, 1996, in the Malta Sicily channel near Italy along with 91 Sri Lankans and 37 Pakistani nationals.

Mr Khera said only 25 families were given Rs 50,000 relief and the remaining 145 families are awaiting government relief. He said that it was pitiable that the State government had not appointed any officer to look into the ghastly mass murder.

Mr Khera stated that following the efforts of the probe mission, the Ministry of External Affairs and the CBI had directed the DGPs of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi to prepare a list of dead and untraceable young men and oversee the activities of fake travel agents.


More rail facilities sought
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 6
The Bathinda Vikas Manch has urged the Railways to provide more facilities at the local railway station.

In a press note issued here today, Mr R.K. Narula, convener of the manch, said although the railway station was spacious but the goods remained lying on the platforms causing problems in the movement of passengers.

He added that the number of ticket booking windows and benches was less as compared to the number of computers at the station. He said the rickshaw pullers also created nuisance for the computers as they persistently keep harassing the commuters.


No misconduct, no apology, says SDM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Reacting to a report “SDM apologises for misconduct” published in The Tribune today, Mr Nirbhai Singh, SDM of Khamano, denied that he had either abused the DFSO or tendered an apology for it and described the report as “totally false and motivated.”

In a statement here today, the SDM said that “I had pulled up the DFSO as he was obstructing the smooth foodgrain procurement process by instigating the procurement agencies to reject paddy on flimsy grounds so that farmers may pay bribe. I had threatened to report the matter to the Deputy Commissioner.”


‘Aao Bune’ contest results
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 6
More than one lakh students from 500 schools all over the country participated in “Aao Bune Knitting Competition”.

Punjab, was divided into 10 zones for the competition. Mr Naresh Goswami, a representative of Zoom Media Vision Private Limited company that conceived and managed the competition, said “We are receiving an excellent response from the schools and are expecting the event to be a landmark in the category of hand knitting.”

The chief executive of Vardhman Spinning, Mr V.K. Goyal, said hand knitting was gaining popularity in the Western countries.

The following bagged the first two positions in various classes: Government Girls High School, Anardana Chowk, Patiala: Class VI — Deepa and Poonam; Class VII — Neha and Jasmeet; Class VIII — Surinder Kaur and Sangita; Class IX — Anu Rani and Mala; and Class X — Bhupinder and Charanjit Kaur.

Veer Haqiqat Rai School, Patiala:

Class V — Alankrita and Ravneet Kaur; Class VI — Binder Rani and Meenu; Class VII — Gagandeep Kaur and Suman Devi; Class VIII — Abhilasha Kumari and Gurpreet Kaur; Class IX — Shivani Verma and Sunita Malik; Class X — Sonu and Pratibha

Kendriya Vidyalaya Number 1, Patiala: Class V — Sunita Kumari and Preeti Chauhan; Class VI — Vishali and Anu Singh; Class VII — Balpreet Kaur and Maheep Kaur; Class VIII — Archna Tewari and Seepmala; Class IX — Amandeep Kaur and Gagandeep Kaur; Class X — Ashok Kumar and Neelam Arya.


Cops, arhtiyas ‘harassing’ farmers
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 6
Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, vice-president, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta), has alleged that arhtiyas were harassing farmers with the connivance of the police in the name of getting their money back given to farmers.

In a press note issued here today he said many incidences had been reported in the area in the past few months in which the arhtiyas cut the standing crops of the farmers with the excuse that they wanted to recover their loan. The police also helped the arhtiyas in these unlawful activities, he added.

Mr Kokrikalan said a few days ago one of the arhtiyas of Maur Mandi harvested the paddy crop of one of the farmers of the Maiserkhana village in the district with the help of armed persons. He said although an FIR had been lodged in this regard no further action had been taken so far. The farmer had taken a small sum as loan from the arhtiya about four years ago. The arhtiya purchased the land of farmer as he was not able to repay the loan. But the farmer kept tilling the land, he added.

He said the arhtiya reaped the paddy crop from the land owned by him, but cultivated by the farmer without intimating to the latter. He said the arhtiya had no right to reap the crop as the farmer had paid the rent for the land.

The union would launch an agitation if the atrocities on farmers did not stop. He urged the government to put an end to the activities of the policemen who helped the arhtiyas in their unlawful actions.


125 cr for 24-hr power supply
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 6
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) received Rs 125 crore from the Rural Electrification Corporation, New Delhi, here today for enhancing the process of providing 24-hour power supply to all villages in the state on the urban pattern.

Stating this here today, PSEB Chairman Sudhir Mittal called upon officials of the board to launch a vigorous drive to provide 24-hour electricity supply to the villages so as to achieve the target within a limited span of time.

He said while 600 villages had already been given the 24-hour power supply facility on the urban pattern during August and September, 2500, additional registered villages would be given the facility up to January, 2002 and the remaining villages would be provided 24-hour power supply before the end of next year.


CISF team at Rajasansi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 6
The security at Rajasansi International airport, which witnessed over six hijacking incidents during the past few years, will be handed over to the elite Central Industrial Security Force completely.

An advance team of the CISF has already reached here for board and lodging arrangements.

The Director of the airport, Mr V.S. Mulekar, said the CISF would finally take over the charge by the middle of October.


Life term for 3 in murder case
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, October 6
Mr Jagroop Singh Mahal, Additional Sessions Judge, yesterday convicted Manjit Singh, Paramjit Singh and Sukhpal Singh, all residents of Shersingh Wala village under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code for murdering Jagmohan Singh of the same village.

Mr Mahal sentenced all the three accused to undergo imprisonment for life and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each and in case they failed to pay the fine, judge ordered them to further undergo imprisonment for one year each.

Mr Mahal further sentenced all accused to undergo imprisonment for ten years on the charge causing gun shot injuries to Amarjot Singh, the brother of the deceased and also imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 each and in default of the payment, the judge ordered them to undergo imprisonment for one year each. All the sentences will run concurrently, he added.

Mr Mahal, however, acquitted Jaswinder Kaur and Kamal Kumar in the case.

According to the prosecution, the deceased along with his brother Amarjot Singh were going on their tractor on November 8, 1998, to Bholath village from their village and on the way, the accused stopped their tractor fired shots at them resulting in the death of Jagmohan Singh and injuries to Amarjot Singh.

A dispute over land was said to be cause of the murder.


Gang of robbers busted
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 6
The district police has busted a gang of robbers, vehicle thieves chain snatchers and recovered a Tata Sumo, two Maruti cars and a scooter with the arrest of four persons. Two other members of the gang are still at large. Two of the six members of the gang are constables in the Punjab Police.

Dr Jatinder Jain, SSP today said the culprits were involved in vehicle stealing chain snatching, poppy husk smuggling, and highway robberies. He said on January 1, three of accused, Gurpreet Singh, Jagsir Singh and Balwinder Singh, hired a Tata Sumo from Abohar to go to Muktsar and fled away with the vehicle when the driver of vehicle stopped enroute. The culprits tried to sell the vehicle in Delhi but could not do so. Later, Balwinder Singh and Jagsir Singh started smuggling poppy husk in the vehicle.

The SSP said the culprits were arrested by the Maur Mandi police when they were smuggling 60 kg of poppy husk in the vehicle from Panni Wala village. A case under Section 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act had been registered against them.

The SSP said in a press note, issued here today, that Gurpreet Singh and Jaspal Singh had stolen a Maruti car (DDQ-3499) during the intervening night of October 21-22, 2000 from the Gandhi market of the city. The car was left abandoned in Delhi by the culprits and a police party had been despatched to recover the car.

He said a car (PB05 C-0040) stolen by Gurpreet and Jagsir Singh from the Kamla Nehru colony of the city had been recovered from Nahianwala village. The car had been handed over to its owner.

The SSP said Gurpreet Singh, Jagsir Singh and Balwinder Singh had stolen a car (DL 6C-3761) last year from the bus stand area of the city and left the vehicle at Bhullar village in Muktsar. The car was recovered by the Muktsar police.

The SSP said a scooter (PB 03E-1494) stolen from Government Rajindra College of the city by Gurpreet Singh had been recovered. A scooter stolen by Gurpreet Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Jagsir Singh from the AC market of the city was yet to be recovered.

He said two gold chains had also been recovered from the gang members. Jaspal Singh (constable) and Gurmeet Singh had snatched these chains on September 5. A casehad been registered in this connection.


Woman killed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 6
Jaswinder Kaur of Chaina village, Faridkot was crushed to death by a bus near the local branch of the Bank of Punjab on the GT road. The bus sped away from the spot.


CM gives Rs 10 lakh to school
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 6
The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today announced the state government was recruiting 8000 teachers to fill vacancies existing in various schools.

Mr Badal, addressing a gathering on the occasion of completion of 100 years of the establishment of Sri Guru Harkishan Public School here, said the progress of the nation could be gauged by its literacy rate. He urged the management of the Chief Khalsa Dewan to open more schools in rural areas.

He lauded its role in spreading education in the state. He urged the management to open a vocational training centre.

The Chief Minister announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the school.

The Chief Minister honoured eminent educationists, including the former Justice R.S. Narula and retired Vice-Chancellors S.S. Johal, H.K. Manmohan Singh, Bhagat Singh, G.S. Randhawa and Prithipal Singh Kapoor.

The president of the Chief Khalsa Dewan, Mr Kirpal Singh, said the organisation was running more than 45 schools, including 19 in the border belt of the district, and had spent more than Rs 2.50 crore on the educational institutions.

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