Tuesday,October 9, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Appear at Akal Takht, accused leaders told
Lalit Mohan

Anandpur Sahib, October 8
Sikhs who kept association with Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, even after he was ousted from the panth by the then Akal Takht chief, Bhai Ranjit Singh, have been directed to appear before Akal Takht for violating the “hukamnana”.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at a joint meeting of the SGPC executive, the Dharam Parchar Committee and the Jathedars of the Takhts at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib here today.

The Jathedar of Akal Takht has also been urged to take action against the guilty.

With the adoption of this resolution at the crucial meeting, the controversy regarding the action to be taken against those allegedly associated with the excommunicated Baba Piara Singh has been finally settled. According to the decision taken at today’s meeting, many political leaders, including Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Agriculture Minister, and Mr Kewal Singh Badal, Senior Vice-President of the SGPC, Congress leader Charanjit Singh Chani, Jagmohan Kang, and Shamsher Singh Dulo, police officers SP Gurmeet Singh and DSP Avtar Singh will now have to appear before Akal Takht.

The Jathedars, when asked as to how they would ascertain the timing of the association of the guilty with Baba Piara Singh, said the decision regarding the same would be taken at the next meeting of the Sikh High Priests scheduled for October 12. Baba Piara Singh was excommunicated from the Panth in August, 1998, whereas many of the accused maintain that their association with him was before that.

In another resolution, the Sikhs, especially religious and political leaders of the community, have been advised not to visit ‘deras’ until they are sure that no desecration will take place there.

The members present at the meeting empowered the President of the SGPC, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, to form a committee of retired judges to probe into the incidents of sacrilege. Mr Talwandi, later talking to mediapersons, said he would constitute the said committee soon.

A resolution adopted in this regard stated that the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib was a heinous crime and to check it new laws should be enacted. The Jathedar of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Prof Manjit Singh, who read out the resolutions for the mediapersons, however, declined to comment, if the resolution meant that the SGPC was not satisfied with the action taken against the Baba.

The meeting was attended among others, by the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, the Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, Jathedar Kewal Singh, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, senior granthi of Takht Kesgarh Sahib, and Giani Gurbachan Singh, senior granthi of Darbar Sahib.


Quit post, Tohra urges Talwandi
Our Correspondent

Jagdev Singh TalwandiFatehgarh Sahib, October 8
Jathedar G.S. Tohra, president, SHSAD, today praised Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, president, SGPC, for walking out from a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD on the issue of sacrilege yesterday.

Appreciating the bold stand taken by him by demanding action against those whose photographs had appeared in the controversial granth of Baba Piara Singh and criticising the government for its failure to protect Guru Granth Sahib, he urged Jathedar Talwandi to act according to conscience and not succumb to pressure.

He called upon him to create history by resigning from his post on this issue, instead of becoming a tool in the hands of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.


Morcha accuses Vedanti of ‘indifference’
Our Correspondent

Anandpur Sahib, October 8
Members of the executive committee of the SGPC, associated with the Panthic Morcha, at a press conference held here today, accused the Akal Takht Jathedar, Joginder Singh Vedanti, of taking the incidents of sacrilege lightly.

Mr Harbans Singh Manjpur, executive member of the SHSAD, said ‘if a family member of a person dies, he comes back home leaving every chore.

However, the Jathedar did not return from abroad for 20 days despite the incidents. Due to it there was a resentment among the Sikhs, he claimed.

When asked if the Panthic Morcha would seek the removal of the Jathedar, he said if the morcha was voted to power in the next elections, he said the Jathedar’s ouster would be imminent.

Mr Manjpur said the executive members of the Panthic Morcha present in the today’s meeting, besides registering their resentment against the Akal Takht Jathedar, have also condemned the tardy pace at which the Badal government dealt with the Baba’s case.

Mr Vendanti, when asked about the delay in his arrival, however, said he could not come early due to the non-availability of air tickets due to the terrorist attack in the USA.


SHSAD questions CM on ‘Bir’ issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, Chandigarh unit, today flayed the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for not showing any concern about the burning of “Birs” in a few villages of the state.

A press note issued by Mr Joginder Singh Sawhney, president of the city unit of the SHSAD, said this was primarily because he was under the influence of the BJP and wanted to save his “kursi” for a few months more. It was for this reason that he had been maintaining calculated silence.

The press note said the dharna by Sikh masses at Zirakpur and SAS Nagar was a political stunt and had nothing to do with the religious feelings of the Sikhs. The SAD had lost its confidence among Sikh masses.

Mr Sawhney said the party appreciated the stand taken by Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President of the SGPC, while condemning the incidents of sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The SHSAD demands that the guilty persons should be brought to book and punished.

He called upon all religious-minded people in general and the Sikhs in particular to join the proposed “ros march” on October 17 from Fatehgarh Sahib to Chandigarh.


SSF (United) team to submit report today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 8
The joint fact-finding team of various splinter groups of the All-India Sikh Students’ Federations owing allegiance to the SAD is likely to stir a hornet’s nest with its report being submitted to the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, at Amritsar tomorrow at the time of bhog ceremony of Sukha and Jinda, who were executed for the assassination of Gen Vaidya.

Sources said four organisations, SSF (Bhuma), SSF (Peer Mohamad), SSF (Sandhu) and SSF (Bhoparai), who have jointly formed the SSF (United), had constituted a fact-finding team under the chairmanship of its press secretary Tejinder Singh Sandhu to investigate the incidents of sacrilege at different places in the state.

The team visited all places including, Gaduma, Kulheri, Rattangarh and Tarkahn Majra. The team has documented a detailed report, corrroborating it with a three-hour-long video film. The report is likely to create ripples within the ruling Akali circles as it is learnt to have named the Agriculture Minister, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, a youth Akali leader and former MP, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, and also sought their expulsion from the panth. Besides, the report is learnt to have also named the Pradesh Youth Congress president, Mr Devinder Singh Babbu, as having visited Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara on various occasions.

Mr Sandhu visited Kulehri along with the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and met a six-year-old boy, who is claimed to be an eyewitness to burning of “birs” there. The boy is said to have identified two persons whom he knows by name. Both persons are reported to have absconded. Mr Badal announced a reward of Rs 21,000 for the boy and directed the Senior Superintendent of Police to ensure that the two accused are arrested at the earliest.


Badal afraid of truth: Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Rampuraphul, October 8
The Punjab Congress chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, today alleged that the state Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was not instituting a judicial probe into the recent incidents of burning of ‘birs’ in various parts of Punjab because he (Mr Badal) was afraid of truth.

Capt Amarinder Singh who was here today in connection with his some private engagement, while talking to mediapersons, said Mr Badal was blaming the Congress for these incidents to cover up his and his party colleagues’ ‘misdeeds’.

He said if Mr Badal was sure about some facts which led to the burning of ‘birs’ then why he was not instituting a judicial probe. He said a probe by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court would bring truth to the light. He said Mr Badal by asking a executive magistrate to conduct a probe was misleading the people.

The PPCC President alleged that whenever Mr Badal felt that he would be exposed before the public, he always avoided judicial probes. He added that his party made a promise to the people on the eve of last Assembly elections that a judicial probe would be held to find out the reasons behind the spread of terrorism in Punjab, which was yet to be fulfilled.

Mr Badal came to power with absolute majority, but backtracked from his promise of judicial probe.

Mr Badal had not bothered to hold a judicial probe to expose the rampant corruption in the government machinery.

“Now again Mr Badal has started befooling the people by raising the slogan that the panth was in danger and accusing the Congress party of this.

The Punjab Congress chief asked that why Mr Badal was not coming forward to tell the people that his government had failed to maintain law and order situation and why he had been blaming the Congress for all these happenings when his party was in power in state.

Mr Amarinder Singh claimed that all sections of society including farmers, traders, employees, industrialists, farm workers and labourers were fed up with the misrule of Mr Badal.


Cong behind acts of sacrilege: CM
Tribune News Service

Dirba (Sangrur), October 8
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, held “sangat darshan” here today and distributed grants worth Rs 2.80 crore among 87 villages of the Dirba Assembly constituency for various development works.

Mr Badal said leaders of the Panthic Morcha wanted to draw religious mileage from incidents of sacrilege. He said the state government was thinking of detaining Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara under the National Security Act (NSA).

He alleged that it had now become clear that the Congress was behind the blasphemous acts. He said there was documentary proof that a top Congress leader (Buta Singh) had laid the foundation stone of the ‘dera’ of Baba Piara Singh a few years ago.

Mr Badal said in view of the ensuing Assembly elections, the Congress was trying to create a rift among the people. He said he had asked the Ropar Deputy Commissioner to check all records on the ownership of the land where the baba had set up his dera. If the land belonged to the government, it would be taken back.

The government would conduct a thorough probe to determine the role of government officials who had allegedly helped Baba Piara Singh to write his controversial “granth”. The guilty would be punished.

Mr Badal said in the wake of the fatal attack on Baba Mangal Singh Satlani, if Giani Puran Singh demanded security from the state government, the same would be provided to him. He denied that Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi had walked out from a PAC meeting yesterday following differences with the SAD Secretary, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar.


BJP leaders hold meeting
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 8
A meeting of BJP leaders from six Assembly constituencies of Ferozepore, Fazilka, Abohar, Amritsar (Central North) and Amritsar (West) was held here today under the chairmanship of Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, administrative in charge of these constitutencies, and Mr Avinash Jaiswal, organisational in charge and general secretary of Punjab BJP. The meeting was held under the instructions of central BJP.

Welcoming Mr Surjit Kumar Jayani, Cabinet Minister, Punjab, Dr Chawla, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, MLA, Mr Jaiswal and Mr Om Parkash Kalia, district president, expressed grief over the burning of ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib by anti-social elements.

Dr Chawla alleged that he sees the Congress hand in the burning of ‘birs’ in Punjab to play the communal card in view of forthcoming Assembly elections.

The leaders unanimously resolved to setting up of teams of 11 workers each to be deployed on all booths in their constituencies by October end.

The meeting was also attended by Mr Bajrang Lal Gupta, president of Fazilka unit, Mr Raj Kumar Aggarwal, Mr Naresh Sharma, Mr Kamal Nain Sharma and Mr Inderjit Bhatia.


Acts of sacrilege condemned
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, October 8
Students of Punjabi University, Patiala, observed a strike on campus, here today, to protest against the recent acts of sacrilege in different parts of the state. The strike went peacefully throughout the day and no untoward incident was reported.

Meanwhile, various other religious organisations including Sri Guru Ravidas Sabha also condemned these acts. The sabha leaders expressed their anger by taking out a rally. The rally was led by the Sabha chairman, Mr Hardiyal Singh Bhatti.

Mr Baldev Krishan Sharma, vice-president of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, also condemned the incidents and demanded that the Punjab Government should take strict action against those who are responsible for such sordid incidents.



Judicial remand for Baba till October 22
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 8
Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara and his two followers, arrested for sacrilege at Tarkhan Majra village, were produced before Mr Vijay Singh, Senior Sub-Judge, here early in the morning before the normal working hours. They were earlier remanded in four days’ police custody.

The judge remanded them in judicial custody till October 22. A large number of people, who had gathered to protest against the Baba, were disappointed when they discovered that he had been produced in the court early in the morning.

Mr H.S. Saran, SSP, said the police had made elaborate arrangements to avoid any law and order problem. He said the Baba and his followers had been sent to Central Jail, Patiala.


Copies of granth seized, 3 held
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 8
The Kharar police has seized two copies of the controversial book written by Baba Piara Singh Bhaniaranwala and arrested three persons in this connection.

The accused, Dilbag Singh, Seetal Singh and Nachattar Singh, were produced before Mrs Preeti Sahni, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar today. The court remanded them in Judicial custody till October 20.

Mr Baljeet Singh Sahota, Assistant Public Prosecuter, who appeared for the state, pleaded for remand on the ground that the police had recovered two copies of Bhavsagar Granth and some tapes from the accused. The police has registered a case under Sections 295-A, 153-A and 504, IPC, against the accused.



One held for sacrilege
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 8
The police today arrested one Dalbir Singh Dalli under Section 295-A of the IPC for sacrilege at Dhak Pandori village on September 10 night. Property dispute turned out to be the cause of desecration, it may be mentioned.

Mr Dalli was arrested earlier also but released under pressure from a Minister, alleged Senior Panthic Morcha leaders Rajinder Singh Fauji and Harbel Singh Pahwa today. The then DSP’s role was also dubious, they alleged.


PTV blacks out anti-govt protests
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 8
While the electronic media all over the world beamed widespread protests in Quetta, Peshawar and other parts of Pakistan, viewers of the PTV were totally in dark about these happenings in the country.

Though President Pervez Musharraf today openly admitted that Pakistan had aided and abetted the Taliban movement for the past five years, yet most of the PTV panellists from Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta said the war on Afghanistan was the result of rigid stand taken by the Taliban.”Despite best efforts, we could not succeed in persuading the Taliban with whom we have been maintaining diplomatic relations,” they said.

On Pakistan’s volte-face, General Musharraf said no policy could be consistent and the only thing which could be consistent was the national interest.

Most of the panellists, who described Afghan nationals as their brethren, shifted their stand on Taliban. They said Pakistan was concerned about the well-being of the Afghan nationals who had been facing onslaught since 1979. They favoured formation of a democratic government in Afghanistan replacing the Taliban. “Formation of a hostile government in Afghanistan by Northern Alliance won’t be acceptable to Pakistan”, they said.

In the “News Morning” the panellists, Mr Nusrat Khan and Dr Maqbool Bhatti, admitted that the Taliban had reached a point of no return. They were of the firm opinion that the Taliban could not withstand the ‘war of 21st century’ as they did not have a regular or professional army.

Expressing concern over the failure of diplomatic efforts of Pakistan, Mr Tahir Malik said, “We are disturbed that people of Afghanistan, with whom Pakistan has centuries-old cultural relations, have become target of another war”.

Interestingly, General Musharraf justified the shift in Pakistan’s stand on King Zahir saying that in changed circumstances, thenations should bring moderation in policies.

Though the news being shown on the PTV gave wide coverage of the events in Afghanistan, yet the views of the radicals, who openly opposed the support of Pakistan to the USA, were not shown.

However, the panellists on the PTV opined that Pakistan should make efforts to stop the exodus of refugees from Afghanistan as their influx in the country would shatter the economy of Pakistan which was already in doldrums. One of the panellists from Lahore suggested that the refugee camps should be set up along the border (inside Afghanistan) and Pakistan should only support them on humanitarian grounds.

The PTV announced that if the prevailing situation in Afghanistan was not handled properly, India would try to gain ‘mileage’ out of it. The panellists called upon the Islamic countries to form a platform to safeguard their brethren from further attacks. They said it must be ensured that after Afghanistan, no other Islamic country should become a target of war on flimsy grounds. 


Radar surveillance beefed up
Our Correspondent

Rajasansi, October 8
In view of enhanced threat perceptions following last night’s US attacks on Afghanistan, the Indian Air Force (IAF), stationed in this border district, has started round-the-clock radar surveillance as opposed to earlier “as per requirement” aerial radar surveillance in normal peace-time operations.

To further counter expected retaliatory reactions from fundamentalist elements in Pakistan capable of fomenting heightened emotive reactions here, the IAF has relocated its radar surveillance from passive to active positions.

Group Commander Jatinder Singh Dhillon admitted to the beefed-up security alert sounded in view of threats of sabotage but refused to comment further.

Meanwhile, the Uzbekistan flight, re-routed to use China space instead of Afghanistan after September 11 terrorist attacks, was cancelled today.

Mr Khaitov Mukhtar, Station Manager of National Air Company of the Republic of Uzbekistan, said a technical snag was the reason for the cancellation. However, flights scheduled for October 9, 16 and 23 of Uzbekistan have also been cancelled.

The Turkmenistan flight landed nearly four hours late today at 12.30 p.m, Mr Rampal, Manager of Rajasansi airport told The Tribune.

The General Manager (Operations), Turkmenistan Airlines, Mr Jagdish Yadav, was here along with the Station Manager, Mr Anil Yadav, to monitor the flights today.



Administrative reshuffle in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
In a major administrative reshuffle at least 14 IAS officers were given new postings in Punjab today.

The new Principal Secretary, Finance, is Mr P. K. Verma. He replaces Mr K. R. Lakhanpal, now posted as Presiding Officer, State Colleges Tribunal and State Schools Tribunal, vice Mrs Gurbinder Kaur Chahal. She has been shifted as Principal Secretary, Public Works (Public Health), in place of Mr J. R. Kundal, who becomes Secretary, Science, Technology and Environment, in place of Mr Rajan Kashyap, now appointed Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, in place of Mr Verma.

Mr Lakhanpal's transfer is being linked to his ''confidential note'' to the Chief Minister on the use of Rural Development Fund money for "sangat darshan", an issue challenged in the high court that has taken cognisance of the loans taken by the Punjab Mandi Board and transferring of the same to the RDF. It is understood that the board is borrowing money against market fees to be collected in future.

Mr Rajesh Chhabra is the new Principal Secretary, Irrigation. He replaces Mrs Surjit Kaur Sandhu, who goes as Secretary, Revenue. Dr B. C. Gupta goes in place of Mr Chhabra as Principal Secretary, Local Government.

The new Secretary, Information and Public Relations, is Mr D. S. Guru. He comes in place of Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, who will continue as Special Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, and, in addition, will be Secretary, PWD (B and R) in place of Mr Mohinder Singh, whose deputation with Punjab ends on October 18 next. Mr Guru will continue as Director, Industries and Commerce, till further orders.

Mr S. K. Ahluwalia is the new Director, Information and Public Relations. He comes in the slot vacated by Mr P. S. Aujla, who has been appointed Director, Technical Education and Industrial Training.

Mrs Kalpana Mittal Baruah is Secretary, Personnel. She will continue as Additional Managing Director, Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation.

Mr S. S. Channy is the new Secretary, Labour and Employment, and Mr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu is Project Director, Punjab State AIDS Control Society. He will also be Managing Director, Punjab state Electronics Development Corporation, in place of Mr Gurnihal Singh Pirzada, whose deputation tenure with Punjab ends on October 28 next.

Orders for the appointment of the new Director, Industries and Commerce, Labour Commissioner and Additional Commissioner (Appeals), Patiala, will be issued later.


BJP takes credit for OBC quota
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 8
Mr Sangh Priya Gautam, BJP national general secretary, today said the Other Backward Classes (OBC) were given the benefits of reservation by the BJP and other parties were only cashing in on the caste issue.

Mr Gautam, who was here in connection with a “shakti pardarshan rally” of the OBCs Welfare Association, told mediapersons last evening that the Bharatiya Jan Sangh had appointed the Bindashwari Prasad Mandal Commission in 1977. The Mandal Commission recommended in 1979 that the OBCs should be given 27 per cent reservations but due to fall of the then Jan Sangh government the report could not be implemented.

Mr Gautam alleged that the successive Congress government did not pay any heed to the recommendations of the Mandal Commission. The report was finally implemented during the prime ministership of Mr V.P. Singh in 1990 with the support of the BJP. But as the BJP failed to highlight its achievement and the so-called Dalit-favouring parties cashed on the situation and even tarnished the image of the BJP as a secular party, he further alleged.

Mr Gautam said since 1984 the number of Congress MPs had been declining but the BJP whose strength was only two MPs in the Lok Sabha in 1984 had managed to form the government.

He said the BJP would celebrate 50 years of its political thought and a national-level function would be organised at Agra on October 23, which would be attended by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. He claimed that the party was democratic to the grassroot level and all office-bearers of party had been elected democratically. The party had more than four crore members out of which more than 25 lakh were active members, he claimed.

Mr Gautam denied that the BJP was the party of the elite class and of traders. He claimed that every section of society was represented in it. The party had given Chief Ministers like Mr Kalyan Singh who belongs to the OBCs. Some political parties were trying to woo Dalits by playing caste card which was not in favour of national interest, he said.



Oppn propaganda on octroi baseless: Tandon
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, October 8
Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Local Bodies Minister, talking to mediapersons at Taragarh, 20 km from here, yesterday said the SAD-BJP government had taken a policy decision to abolish octroi in the state. The government has moved an application before the Punjab and Haryana High Court for vacation of the stay on the abolition and as soon as the stay is vacated, the government would enforce its decision, he added.

Mr Tandon said the propaganda launched by the Opposition that the development would stop if octroi was abolished was totally wrong and baseless. He reminded that when the SAD-BJP government came to power, the budget of municipalities was to the tune of Rs 365 crore which at present had risen to Rs 850 crore. The income of the municipalities out of octroi at source on liquor, petroleum and electricity would continue as usual. Moreover, democratic set up of municipalities would also remain the same, he said.

The minister predicted more than absolute majority for the ruling SAD-BJP alliance in the state in the next Assembly poll.

He said Punjab was under a debt of Rs 8500 crore on account of fight against terrorism when the present government came into power. Former Prime Minister, Mr I.K. Gujral, inspite of his best efforts could not waive off this loan and the state had to pay Rs 200 crore as interest and instalment. Mr Vajpayee completely waived the loan, he added.


Baba Banda Bahadur award for Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
The Baba Banda Bahadur award will be given this year to Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

This was announced today by, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, President of the Bairagi Mahan Mandal, Punjab. In a statement, he said the award would be given on October 16, when the birth anniversary of Baba Banda Bahadur, will be celebrated by the Mandal in the country.

The earlier recipients of this award are Late Mr Beant Singh, Late Mr Rajesh Pilot, former Union Minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and certain other eminent persons. Mr Bawa said the Mandal was headed by Mr Balkavi Bairagi, MP, at the national level.

A meeting of the Mandal and its youth wing was held today. It sought the setting up of a Chair in any university of Punjab and naming of the route between Delhi and Nangalghari ( Punjab) in the name of Baba and declaring October 16 as a gazetted holiday.


Plea to set up manpower export centres
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 8
All-India Lok Bhalai Party has urged upon the Central Government to set up manpower export cooperation centres in Punjab to send youths abroad to earn their livelihood.

This was stated by Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, MP and president of the party, while talking to mediapersons at Thathi Bhai village in the district, about 40 km from here, today. He said many travelling agents had been cheating Punjabi youths by making false promises with them to arrange better source of income abroad.

Mr Ramoowalia had arrived at the village to attend a function organised by villagers and parents of 31 youths who had recently been released from Lakhpat Jail, Lahore (Pakistan). He demanded the setting up of police cells headed by the Director General of Police at Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Jalandhar particularly to check frauds committed by travel agents.

He criticised the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for his failure to handle the case of the 31 youths with the Central Government effectively. He said he had taken up the matter personally with Mr Jaswant Singh, Union Foreign Minister.

He highly appreciated Mr Arun Kumar, Joint Secretary, (Pakistan) and Ms Ruchika, Director, for their help to resolve the issue promptly. He also flayed the Congress Party for its failure to raise its voice for the release of Punjabi inmates in Pakistani jails.

Mr Ramoowalia assured the villagers to take up the matter with the Central Government for the early release of another group of 25 Punjabi youths from Pakistani jails. He regretted that a number of families of these detainees were not still getting any financial assistance for the Central Government.

Mr Baldev Singh of Godawala village in Moga District, who had been detained in a Pakistani jail for many years, said more than 25 Indians, including Punjabi’s, had been detained in Pakistani jails for the past several years. Many of them had lost their mental balance. 


Patwar union stages dharna
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 8
A state-level dharna of the Revenue Patwar Union was staged outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office here today. Patwar Union members from Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur on the call of the local Patwar Union protested against the non-acceptance of their demands.

Meanwhile, the SDM, Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhiawala, in a press statement, said 50 per cent of the demands of the Patwar Union were already met and the rest would be shortly undertaken. He alleged that the real motive of the demonstration was the reported transfer of 21 patwaris


Govt to honour martyrs
Our Correspondent

Moga, October 8
The Punjab Government has decided to give state honours to those martyrs who lost their life while fighting terrorism in the country.

The names of the institutions and other complexes situated in their respective villages would be named after them. This was stated by the Punjab Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, while paying tributes to Balwinder Singh of Takhanwadha village in the district on his bhog ceremony held at the village today. Balwinder died while fighting terrorists in Hazari Bagh in Jharkhand. A large number of prominent persons were accompanying him on the occasion.


Farmers ‘happy’ over paddy procurement
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 8
The Punjab Government has been making all efforts to make paddy procurement smooth to the satisfaction of farmers of the state.

Stating this here today, former Union Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said that procurement, lifting and storage operations were coordinated by the state and central agencies in a way that farmers faced no problem at the purchase centres.

He said that payments to the farmers were also being made as per schedule and no official of procurement agencies was allowed to harass farmers on “flimsy” grounds. He said that the Punjab government would lift the paddy from the markets.

He claimed that Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his cabinet colleagues along with the officials concerned had been touring the state to ensure fast procurement. He added that action was being taken against the commission agents found involved in irregularites in procurement.

Mr Badal also claimed that the SAD-BJP combine government had created a history by carrying out procurement of paddy for five consuctive seasons without any problems to the farmers. He added that every year, the SAD-BJP combine government succeeded in getting the minimum support price (MSP) of the paddy hiked by the central government.

On the other hand, the price of paddy remained unremunerative during the Congress governments and farmers had to face a lot of problems at the purchase centres for days together. Even the previous Congress governments never gave compensation to those farmers whose crop was damaged due to untimely rains or who had made distress sale of their crop and fetched less price than the MSP.


IFFCO to insure farmers, kin
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 8
IFFCO and KRIBHCO are committed to bring awareness among farmers all over India regarding personal and equipment insurance to ensure economic and social security for them and their families.

This was stated by Mr Surender Kumar Jakhar, Chairman, IFFCO, today at a farmers’ conference at Khuikhera village, 17 km from here. The conference was organised by KRIBHCO to apprise the farmers of production technology of rabi crops. Scientists from the PAU delivered speeches on different aspects of wheat sowing, including seed technology, role of certified improved seed in crop production, soil fertility management for sustainable agriculture.

Mr Jakhar said the farmers buying a bag of fertiliser from any IFFCO or KRIBHCO service centre or approved agriculture service society would be entitled for an accident insurance of Rs 4000. The premium would be paid by the organisations. If the farmers desired to insure their family members or even agriculture tenants against accidents the organisation would offer the facility at a premium of Rs 37 for each person under group insurance scheme.

The Union Government had been requested to present a Bill in Parliament to widen the scope of this scheme so that all cooperative societies, could also be covered under the insurance scheme.


Punjab creates 9 posts of SP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 8
While the Punjab government has banned the recruitment of lower-level police personnel citing financial crisis as reason, it has, in a surprise move created nine new posts of Superintendent of Police (SP) in three districts, besides approving, in principle, the continuation of 18 more such posts in the state, which were declared as abolished recently.

The decision creating nine posts in Nawanshahar, Moga and Muktsar along with continuation of 18 other posts was taken in the last week of September. It came to light after the Government of Punjab through the Department of Home Affairs and Justice informed of the orders to the President of the PPS (Punjab Police Service Officers) Association Punjab.

The orders ostensibly were issued under pressure from a lobby of police officers seeking the creation of new posts either to take the posts or get promoted to these. The orders are, in contradiction of the earlier claims of the Punjab Police and the state government, which said at least 18 posts of the SP were not required in the state and officers posted to these were functioning against an unauthorised post. A survey by the government also had revealed that the Punjab Police was increasingly becoming top-heavy and putting huge financial burden on the government due to which the posts were required to be abolished.

However, the government could not stick for long to the decision and reportedly buckled under pressure from a lobby of police officials. While intense lobbying has begun for the posts, Mr Amarjit Singh, General Secretary, PPS Officers Association Punjab, has welcomed the government’s decision. He said the creation of the posts would pave the way for the promotion of several officers.



8 held for narcotics smuggling
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 8
Eight persons were arrested for their alleged involvement in the smuggling of narcotics. At least 8 kg of poppy husk and 54 litres of illicit liquor were seized from their possession, according to the police here today.

Gurjant Singh, resident of Giana in the district, was arrested for allegedly possessing 8 kg of poppy husk. A case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 was registered against him at Talwandi Sabo police station.

Under the Excise Act seven persons were arrested and cases registered against them. The police also recovered 54 litres of illicit liquor, 20 kg of lahan, and unearthed an illegal distillery.

Gurmail Singh was arrested from near Bath village for possessing 4 litres of illicit liquor and a case was registered against him at Nathana police station. Santa Singh of Bir Talab was arrested from near Multania and case registered against him at sadar police station. He was allegedly possessing 26 litres of illicit liquor.

Kuldeep Singh was arrested for illegally distillating liquor at Chak Ram Singhwala village and 20 kg of lahan, three litres of illicit liquor was seized and a distillery was unearthed. Naranjan Singh of Jangirana village was arrested for possessing 5 litres of illicit liquor and a case was registered against him at Sangat police station.

Baljinder Singh of Chak Atar Singhwala was arrested for possessing five litres of illicit liquor and a case registered against him. Balaur Singh Balianwali was arrested for possessing nine litres of illicit liquor and a case was registered against him at Balianwali police station.

All these have been booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.


Arrested for selling fake gold biscuits
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 8
The police has busted a gang selling fake gold biscuits from a local jewellary shop and arrested Prithvi Raj alias Titu, for his involvement in it. Two other members of the gang are still at large.

Dr Jathinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note issued here today said, Prithvi Raj, alias Titu, and Chander Shekhar, sons of Ram Nivas of Hisar (Haryana) presently residing at Harpal Nagar of the city and Dheeru, resident of Churu (Rajasthan) were running a jewellary shop at the local Kikkar Bazar and were selling duplicate gold biscuits.

Dr Jain said three persons were putting on the seal of Swiss 9990 on the duplicate gold biscuits prepared by them. A raid was conducted on his shop and Prithvi Raj was caught red-handed. Two fake gold biscuits weighing 116.440 grams were seized from his possession.

He said during interrogation Prithvi Raj admitted that he, his brother Chander Shekhar and one of their relative Dheeru were doing this business for past three years. Prithvi Raj said that they used to sell 25 to 30 biscuits in a month. To get more profit they used to mix copper and silver in ample amount to gold.


Pimp, 2 women arrested
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 8
The police claims to have unearthed a brothel being run at a house in the local Bhagu road area and arrested a pimp Rajveer Kaur.

According to information, Rajveer Kaur has been staying there for the past about eight months. She had reportedly taken the house on rent for running ‘business’. She used to operate from there by using telephone.

Police sources said she used to lure women and young girls of the city and nearby villages into prostitution. The police on a tip-off raided the house yesterday and caught her red handed. Two women aged about 35 and 20 years, respectively, were also arrested while in the company of Harwinder Singh (31) and Gurdeep Singh (24), both residents of Ward number 16, Mansa. A case under Sections 3 and 5 of the Supression of Illegal Trafficking in Women and Girls Act 1956 at kotwali police station.

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