Wednesday, October 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vedanti plans meeting with Pope
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 23
With a view to discussing the problems being faced by Sikhs in Christian-dominated countries, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht is making efforts to meet Pope John Paul in the Vatican.

Jathedar Vedanti has asked Mr Tarlochan Singh, vice-chairman, Minority Commission, to arrange a meeting with the Pope. Jathedar Vedanti had also tried to meet the Pope during his two-month-long journey of foreign countries.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Delhi, in a message, faxed to Akal Takht secretariat has appreciated the action initiated by Jathedar Vedanti on the controversial book of Mr Satnam Singh Advocate which contained derogatory remarks against Christianity. The Bishop said that such a step would help in creating communal harmony in the country.

In another development, the SGPC executive, excluding Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi would meet the Sikh High Priests at Akal Takht on October 28 with a view to defusing the situation which arose after the clerics made oblique reference to Mr Talwandi. It may be mentioned here that while ‘bailing out’ Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister, from the charges of having direct links with Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, the High Priests had directed the Panthic leaders not to take ‘cheap popularity’ by making ‘baseless statements’ such as against Mr Badungar. Giving ‘clean chit’ to Mr Badungar, the Sikh clergy had stated that there was no proof of his (Mr Badungar) having visited the dera of Baba Bhaniara.

The issue of Badungar was also discussed at length in the executive meeting held at Ludhiana today. Mr Onkar Singh Sharifpura, an executive member of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal told this correspondent that the decision to meet Sikh clergy on October 28 was taken in the absence of Mr Talwandi.

He said Mr Talwandi was sore that despite his clarification, the Sikh High Priests had ‘deliberately’ made oblique reference towards him. The unanimous decision taken on this ticklish issue has given clear indications that the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal has adopted soft stand on Mr Talwandi for obvious reasons. It may be mentioned here that Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, SHSAD, had already given a ‘clean chit’ to Mr Talwandi who had presented ‘siropa’ (robe of honour), to one Canada-based Kashmira Singh — an excommunicated Sikh who had accompanied Mr Ujjal Dosanj, the then premier of British Columbia. Jathedar Vedanti has already announced that Mr Talwandi could be summoned to Takht if proved ‘guilty’.

Meanwhile, Mr Gurcharan Singh Channi, national president international Sikh Council, in a fax message to Akal Takht has urged Jathedar Vedanti to summon Mr Talwandi to Akal Takht at the earliest for honouring an excommunicated Sikh.

Jathedar Vedanti today took serious exception to the torching of Guru Granth Sahib at a Ravidass institution in Sacral village (Hoshiarpur). He asked the Sikh sangat to identify the culprits so that suitable action could be initiated against them.


Will Talwandi get second term?
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Alarm bells have started ringing for the SGPC President, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, who will complete his one year term as Chief of the Sikh religious body on November 30.

Will he get a second term or not? This question has become important because of recent political developments in Akali circles.

The election for the next one-year term is due to be held by November 30. Under tremendous political pressure from within the Shiromani Akali Dal( SAD), its President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had got Mr Talwandi, elected President of the SGPC.

According to political circles, three Ministers — Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and Capt Kanwaljit Singh — had extended their unflinching support to Mr Talwandi then. However, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal was the first to be taken to task by Mr Talwandi on the Baba Bhaniara issue.

At yesterday’s meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD, there was a heated debate on the appointment by Mr Talwandi of a three-member panel to inquire into the recent acts of sacrilege in the state. While one member of the PAC supported Mr Talwandi’s decision, others pressed the party President to announce the setting up of a judicial commission to uncover the conspiracy behind the incidents of sacrilege.

SAD circles say that by announcing the commission at the PAC meeting, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, whose request to wind up the three-member probe panel was declined by Mr Talwandi, gave a clear indication of his mind to the SGPC chief that he had not liked the latter’s decision on the panel.

The Chief Minister refused to accord official status to the probe panel set up by Mr Talwandi because he (Mr Badal) was not consulted regarding its formation. Mr Parkash Singh Badal has become suspicious of what Mr Talwandi had done in the past few weeks, according to party sources.

The SAD chief has started giving importance to a former SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, who has publicly expressed her willingness to head the religious body, if given the opportunity.

The party’s top leaders feel that by issuing avoidable statements against Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and his son, Mr Kewal Badal, and indirectly alleging that Baba Bhaniara enjoyed the patronage of certain persons close to the Chief Minister, Mr Talwandi tried to stoke the controversy. Mr Talwandi should not have provided an opportunity to rivals to take potshots at the SAD’s leadership, said a senior party leader.

Political circles said that Mr Talwandi, who was earlier asking others to appear before Akal Takht, should himself submit to the Takht to clarify his position about the alleged presentation of a siropa to an excommunicated Sikh, Kashmir Singh . The issue was raised yesterday before the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Mr Joginder Singh Vedanti, who said that if the SGPC chief was found guilty, he could also be summoned to Akal Takht.


SGPC sticks to its guns on panel
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Alamgir (Ludhiana), October 23
The SGPC today stuck to its guns while ratifying and upholding its earlier decision of October 8 to constitute a probe panel consisting of two retired judges of the high court and a Sikh scholar. Asserting its authority, the executive at a special meeting held here today said, only an SGPC-constituted panel was authorised to probe sacrilegious incidents.

The SGPC executive, however, did not mention the one man judicial commission appointed by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, although passing references were made to it.

The SGPC executive said the one-man judicial commission was no alternative to the panel appointed by the SGPC. It observed that since the commission had been constituted by the government, it could tomorrow be wound up under political expediencies and hostile circumstances.

On October 11, Mr Talwandi had announced the constitution of a three-member committee. The members included Justice Kulwant Singh Tiwana and Justice Ujjagar Singh, retired judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, and Mr Kharak Singh Mann, member of the Dharam Prachar Committee of the SGPC. The probe panel had been constituted after Mr Talwandi had been authorised to do so by the SGPC executive, five head priests and members of the prachar committee at a meeting held in Anandpur Sahib on October 8.

Although the decision upholding the constitution of the panel was unanimous, Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, an executive member from Faridkot, who had recently been appointed president of Gurdwara Patna Sahib, had raised the question of legal sanctity to the SGPC panel.

He had reportedly pointed out that the one man commission set up by the government would have legal and constitutional validity, which might not be there for the SGPC panel. However, the argument was reportedly rejected as it was pointed out that since the issue related to the Sikh religion, only the SGPC was authorised to constitute the panel.

The SGPC president also denied certain media reports attributed to him that the panel was being wound up. He clarified that he had at no stage said that and asserted that the panel would complete its job.


Yet another act of sacrilege
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 23
An incident of sacrilege at a place of worship was reported from Sakrala village, 35 km from here, today.

According to police sources, some anti-social elements took away the holy book and set it on fire last night. The half-burnt book was found near the village pond. It was later immersed by devotees.

Mr Sanjeev Kalra, SSP, Hoshiarpur, told this correspondent that instructions by the police to all villagers of this district to keep a watch on religious places and activities of anti-national elements and keep the keys of places of worship at safer places, were not followed.

A case has been registered and the police is on a lookout for culprits.


Khalsa force mooted
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 23
In a memorandum to Mr Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, President of the International Mardana Yaadgari Society, has said the Sikh High Priests have not taken any action on complaints against some “self-styled” babas sent by the society.

He said Akal Takht should raise a Khalsa force for taking action against those who indulged in acts of sacrilege. He said if Akal Takht failed to initiate any action, the Mardana society would announce cash awards on the heads of those who indulged in such acts.

Commenting on the announcement made by Jathedar Vedanti that “non-Sikhs” could not be summoned at Akal Takht”, he asked what action would be taken against such persons if they indulged in sacrilege.


Tohra dares Vedanti to summon Badal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 23
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), has dared Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, to summon Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, other ministers and senior Akali leaders who had violated ‘hukmnamas’ issued from time to time.

Talking to mediapersons at the information office of the SGPC here yesterday, Mr Tohra said Jathedar Vedanti did not summon Mr Sujan Singh, Mr Sohan Singh Thandal — both state ministers, Mr Tarlochan Singh Dupalpur, an SGPC member, and others, who had taken the rare hand written “Bir” of Guru Granth Sahib to Canada in connection with the tercentenary of the birth of the Khalsa Panth.

Mr Tohra said the Jathedar could not summon them as he himself had ordered the carrying of the “Bir”, from the Sikh reference library of the Golden Temple. However, Jathedar Vedanti denied having issued any such order.

Mr Tohra alleged that several ministers, SGPC members and Akali leaders had also been indulging in ‘smuggling of human cargo’. He said Akali leaders took five Sikhs posing as ‘panj piaras’ to Canada, who did not return to India.

Mr Tohra said the “Bir” was taken to gurdwaras in Canada where chairs and tables were kept for ‘langar’ in gross violation of the edict issued by the Sikh high priests. ‘Fake weapons’ were also taken to Canada and the Sikh sangat was misled for raising funds. The sangat was told that the ‘weapons’ belonged to the Sikh Gurus. He said the “Bir” could not be brought back though the SGPC had announced that a fact finding team would be sent for this purpose.

Meanwhile, Mr Tohra rejected the proposal of the state government to appoint a one-member panel to probe the acts of sacrilege. He said his party was with Mr Talwandi who had already constituted a panel to probe the incidents. His party did not have faith in the government panel the findings of which could be ‘biased’, he added.


PAC discusses SYL issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) at its meeting here on Monday discussed at length the issue of the sharing of river waters and the incomplete Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal. The Punjab Advocate-General, Mr H.S. Mattewal, was also called to brief the members on various legal aspects of the issue.

With judgment reserved on the civil writ petition filed by Haryana on the non-completion of the SYL before the Supreme Court, Punjab is in the process of preparing its case on the sensitive and contentious issue. It is reliably learnt that the Prime Minister may intervene by calling the Chief Ministers of Haryana and Punjab.

Punjab has always insisted that justice should be done in accordance with the universally accepted riparian principles when it comes to the distribution and sharing of river waters. The known stand of Punjab is that it did not have a single drop of water to spare. But certainly there is growing apprehension on what the Supreme Court may deliver, sooner or later.

With the Assembly elections round the corner and the state Congress trying to turn the heat on the SAD-BJP combine by threatening to “fill up” the SYL, the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has not only equipped himself with hard facts but also termed the Congress propaganda as a “political gimmick”. In a hard-hitting statement today, he charged the Congress with having played the villain and initiating the digging of the SYL. He reiterated the role of the SAD to safeguard Punjab’s interests. He reminded Capt Amarinder Singh how, under pressure from Indira Gandhi, the then Congress Chief Minister, the late Darbara Singh, had withdrawn the petition from the Supreme Court filed by the Akalis seeking adjudication by the apex court as per riparian principles.

Mr Mattewal is reported to have explained the legal aspects of the dispute to the PAC. He told the members that the review petition filed by Punjab before the Eradi Tribunal was still pending.

Even the Members of Parliament have been supplied with information on issues pending with the Government of India. In that 31-page document, the first issue pertains to the water dispute giving an updated gist of the developments. The Eradi Tribunal, it says, was a product of the Rajiv-Longowal Accord of July 24, 1985. It had submitted its report on January 3, 1987. It was unacceptable to Punjab, which received the report on May 2, 1987.

Punjab filed an application under Section 5(3) of the Inter-state Water Disputes Act, 1966, on August 19, 1987, highlighting various errors, contradictions and findings not supported by facts on record and sought a review of the award.

Right from July, 1992, Punjab has taken a categorical stand that it is strongly opposed to the revival of the legal process under way in the Eradi Tribunal because the tribunal had acted beyond its terms of reference and reached conclusions on unrealistic assumptions.

From what transpired at the PAC meeting, the pending judgment of the Supreme Court and the likely meeting between the two Chief Ministers with the Prime Minister, Punjab finds itself in deep waters, say sources.


Letter to officer being examined for anthrax
Chander Prakash
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 23
Has anthrax reached Asia’s biggest cantonment located in Bathinda city?

The authorities concerned at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College (GGSMC) here have been trying to find out the truth by examining chemically and through other modes an envelope received by a Brigadier of the Indian Army at present posted at the Bathinda military station.

Official sources said Brig P.S. Sanghera received a letter from Singapore recently. As he became suspicious about the envelope, he immediately contacted the authorities concerned.

The envelope was immediately seized by the Civil Hospital authorities, Bathinda, and sealed.

Dr Bawa Ram Gupta, Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, when contacted, said Dr Sat Pal, a forensic expert of the Civil Hospital had been asked to conduct all tests to find out whether the letter contained spores of anthrax or not.

He added that after sealing the letter, it was sent to the GGSMC for examination. A report of the tests was yet to be received.

Information gathered by the TNS showed that the letter had been received from the Economist Newspaper Ltd, Republic of Singapore.

The envelope also had the names of George W. Bush, President of the USA, Bill Gates, P.J. Keating, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela, Lee Kwan Yew, Richard Branson and Kim Dae Jung.

The Army authorities, when contacted at Bathinda, pointed out that there was no stamp of any foreign post office on the envelope. They said investigations were on report of the chemical examination of the envelope was awaited.


4 Hindu families arrive from Pak
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, October 23
Passenger rush in the Samjhauta Express drastically came to an all-time low here today in the aftermath of US strikes on Afghanistan. Four Hindu Pakistani families arrived here to look for opportunities to migrate from trouble-torn Jacobabad.

Unwilling to be named for fear of retaliation and even elimination, the families are from Jacobabad which has gained importance due to its air base being used for strikes by the USA. Manish (all names changed) a kiryana merchant from Chaman in Baluchistan near the air base, after much coercing said his wife and a year-old daughter, along with his mother, were his main “burden”. His shop was set afire early this month when the USA began the airstrikes. Since then he had been trying for visas to India.

Pawan (23) also travelled with his three-year-old son, as did Hira Lal and Shikhono. They revealed that they were seeking admissions for their children in India.

Jacobabad air base has a Hindu population of approximately 25,000 and several Sikh families.

Rajo, travelling with her husband and aged mother, wore her ‘mangalsutra’ only after reaching India fearing identification of being “kafir”. Hindu women hardly ever step out of their house there. Even navratras are celebrated quietly. It was revealed that girls of Hindu/Sikh families were in great fear of molestation by angry Taliban who were present in large numbers and incite their Pakistani counterparts to “teach the kafirs a lesson”.

One passenger revealed that the Pakistan police scouted Hindu temples and gurdwaras, hence even women were discouraged to visit religious paces. Hindus and Sikhs were blackmailed and a “hafta” was imposed on them if they undertook any construction activity, however, minor. Teja Singh (67) cut short his visit to Pakistan to rush back to India. “If trouble did not break out there I would have sought extension again and again for my visa”, he said.

Meanwhile, according to intelligence sources only about 350 passengers arrived here.


Effigies of Osama, Imam burnt

Jalandhar, October 23
Scores of activists of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackery) today took out a procession in the city and burnt effigies of Osama bin Laden and Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, Delhi. They also demanded strong action against terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

The slogan-shouting agitators held a rally at the Nehru garden and demanded arrest of the Shahi Imam for his anti-national statements and support to the terrorist strike against the USA.

The Sena activists also condemned “weak-kneed policies of the Vajpayee government” in tackling terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

Later addressing the media the Sena state President, Mr Pawan Gupta, charged the Badal government in Punjab with having adopted an appeasement policy towards Muslims. UNI


Fresh efforts for Badal-Tohra unity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Though a lot of bad blood has been created between the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and a former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, in the recent past, renewed efforts have begun on the part of certain MLAs to bring about unity between the two.

Informed sources said that at least nine MLAs belonging to the SAD and the Tohra camp today met Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, a former president of the All-India Sikh Students Federation and Akali well-wisher, to discuss with him the unity issue. Mr Mann has been active for the past some days and has contacted various Panthic leaders to build pressure on Mr Badal and Mr Tohra to close ranks.

The sources said that Mr Mann had agreed to act as coordinator between both factions and had requested the MLAs who met him to nominate four persons acceptable to both groups to take further initiative on the unity issue. However, Mr Mann declined comment.

Besides Mr Mann, certain other well-wishers of the Panth are also trying to bring about unity among different factions of the Akalis. It is felt in Panthic circles that in the absence of unity, it will be difficult for both the SAD and the Panthic Morcha to win the coming Assembly elections.


Protest over sale of school land
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 23
A large number of local residents under the banner of Baba Vishavkarma Mandir-School Action Committee, Sangrur, today held a protest march through the town and a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here to protest against the alleged “wrong” registration of land of Baba Vishavkarma School here, in the name of Mr Amandeep Singh and to demand handing over of the control of the school to the action committee.

Mr Arvinder Singh, president of the action committee, alleged that the land of Baba Vishavkarma School was a public property where the said school was being run for the past more than three decades. He further said the building of the school had been constructed with the money of the locals, so neither the building nor the land could be sold to any one. In these circumstances, the “wrong” registration of the land should be cancelled immediately, he added.

The rally held at Mahavir Chowk and in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, almost all speakers alleged that registration of school’s land in the name of Mr Amandeep Singh was “wrong”, so it should be cancelled. Speakers also demanded that action should be taken against those officials who were involved in this alleged “wrong” registration of the land.

Among others who addressed the gathering included Mr Harjit Singh, vice-president of the action committee; Comrade Hukhtiar Singh, district president of AITUC; Mr Jit Singh, a member of the action committee; Mr Sat Pal Satyam, a senior leader of the Beopar Mandal; and Comrade Prem Singh Swtantar, a CPM leader.

A deputation of the action committee today also met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sarvjit Singh, and submitted him a memorandum in this regard demanding a high-level probe into this episode.

Mr Arvinder Singh said a district-level officer would visit the school tomorrow. He said the authorities had assured the action committee if the allegation regarding “wrong” registration of the land was found correct, strict action would be taken against the “erring” persons.

The carpenters and mechanics kept their shops closed till about 1 p.m. today to express their resentment over the alleged “wrong” registration of the school land.


15 hurt as truck overturns
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 23
Five persons were killed and 17 injured during the past 36 hours in various incidents in the district.

Manjit Kaur, alias Mango, died of burns at the local Civil Hospital yesterday. A case under Section 306-A has been registered at the Kotwali police station against the brother-in-law and mother-in-law of the deceased.

In another case Amarchand who worked as a sweeper with a contractor died when he was cleaning a sewerage system at the cantonment yesterday. The relatives of the deceased alleged that they were being pressurised by the contractor not to lodge an FIR, but accept money instead as compensation. Meena (6), a resident of Gehri Butta village, was killed when she was run over by a tractor at her village. A case under Section 174, IPC, has been registered.

Fifteen persons were injured when a truck in which they were travelling overturned early this morning near the local thermal plant. Police sources said the injured were coming from Maiser Khana village after holding a langar at the annual mela.

The injured included Paramjit Kaur, Rani Kaur, Phoola Rani, Renu Bala, Jagdish Kumar, Mohinder Pal, Jagan Nath, Sandeep Kumar, Tej Kumar, Raj Kumar, Surinder Kumar, Dharam Pal, Deepak Goyal, Panna Lal and Ashok Kumar. All belong to Gidderbaha, hospital sources said. 


Polio mop-up round from Oct 30
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 23
Even as crores of rupees have been spent on the pulse polio programme launched in 1995 and sponsored by various governmental and non-governmental agencies, detection of two confirmed cases of polio in Faridkot district has alarmed the state health authorities.

Though two confirmed cases of polio were detected in August-end and early September, the state health authorities decided on September 27 to launch a mop-up round at a meeting at Chandigarh which was attended by senior officials of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the State Health Department.

Information gathered by the TNS showed that one of the patients of polio had gone to his home state Bihar while the second one was residing at Faridkot district.

What has been worrying the state health authorities is that confirmed cases of polio have been detected for the first time in the past three years. The authorities concerned are now contemplating on how to check the spread of polio virus. The authorities have decided to launch a mop-up round as ‘end-on-strategy’ to tackle the problem from October 30 to November 4. It will be carried out at Bathinda, Moga, Muktsar, Ferozepore and Faridkot districts of Punjab.

After the mop-up round is over, the Intensive Pulse Polio (IPP) immunisation programme will be carried out in Punjab from December 2, 2001, to January 20, 2002.

Dr Bawa Ram Gupta, local Civil Surgeon, in a press note issued here today, said in the mop-up round, house to house activities would be undertaken by a team comprising workers. Each team would cover 100 to 125 homes in the rural and urban areas.

He added that as part of the activities, micro planning had been worked out under the supervision of Dr J.G. Vohra, surveillance officer of the WHO and others.

Dr Gupta pointed out that all arrangements had been made to ensure that no child upto five years of age was left without immunisation. In Bathinda district, 410 teams had been constituted for carrying out the task. Strict vigilance would be kept on the exercise by senior officials and surveillance officers of the Government of India. All individuals and NGOs had been urged to make the people aware about this exercise.


Move on restricted area opposed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 23
Mr Gurdeep Singh Bhagu, president, Nagar Sudhar and Action Committee, ward No. 13, yesterday claimed that no notification had been issued regarding the declaration of the area that fell in the vicinity of the ammunition depot as restricted area by the Deputy Commissioner, news about which had appeared in a section of the Press yesterday. In a statement issued here he said the plan to declare it a restricted area was under consideration of the Deputy Commissioner, but he claimed that no action has been taken so far.

Mr Bhagu said a delegation of the affected residents would meet the Chief Minister and urge him to take some action in this regard.

He said the people had been constructing houses in the area since 1950, but the ammunition depot was shifted to its present location only in 1984.


Burn effigies of ‘reservation’: Front
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 23
The Anti-Reservation Front (ARF), Punjab, has urged the various Dasehra committees and Sanatan Dharm sabhas of the state to burn the effigies of reservation along with Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhkaran on October 26 all over the state in protest against the alleged “pro-reservation policies” of the state and the Central Government.

Mr Devinder Singh Saini, state president of the ARF, in a press note issued here today said reservation was the root cause of corruption and unemployment. He said reservation for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes would result in polarisation of society which would adversely affect national integration and harmony. He demanded that the clause providing reservation of any sort should be scrapped from the Constitution. He said benefits of reservation were being exploited by the upper strata among the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Mr Saini said the benefits given to one section of society on the basis of caste and religion were being denied to the meritorious candidates which led to resentment among the general category candidates.


Recruitment rally from Nov 5
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 23
The Army will be organising a recruitment rally for soldiers (general duty and technical) belonging to all castes from November 5 to 11 at Panther Stadium, exclusively for candidates of Amritsar.

Candidates are required to have passed matriculation and must be between 16-21 years of age for soldiers (general duty) and between 16 to 23 years for soldier (technical) as on January 30, 2002. Minimum height required is 170 cm. All candidates are required to bring their marksheets, education board certificate, school character certificate, residential certificate and caste certificate in original and photocopies (two each) duly attested by an SDM or principal of the school where a candidate is studying or had studied.

The candidates should have 12 copies of their latest photographs. Sikh candidates should bring 12 photographs with and without their turban. Children of exservicemen and servicemen should bring their fathers’ discharge book or copy of DO (part-II) order.

The circular warns candidates to be aware of touts and advises them not to deal with them in any manner, stressing that recruitment is a free service and no money is charged for it.


Freedom fighters to hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 23
The Punjab Freedom Fighters Organisation has flayed the state government for its alleged indifferent attitude towards its demands. The organisation has decided to hold a protest dharna in Chandigarh on November 19.

Addressing a press conference at the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here today, organisation president, Capt Ranjit Singh alleged that the state government was humiliating those who had made sacrifices during the freedom struggle. “We are not even invited to important functions like Independence Day and if invited no proper arrangement is made for us at such venues”.

Capt Ranjit Singh said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had announced a raise of about Rs 500 per month in pension for freedom fighters on November 4, 1997. He had also announced a raise in the grant for marriage of daughter and grand daughter from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000, but had failed to fulfil the promises even after four years, said Mr Chain Singh, general secretary of the organisation.


Study shows poor AIDS awareness
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 23
The Critique Youth Forum launched an AIDS awareness programme interspersed with cultural events for a largely youth audience here yesterday.

The programme also included a research study conducted by the forum upon a sample of rural people of 20 villages. The study showed the poor awareness level of the people.

It was found that a majority of the urban population was to some extent familiar with ‘AIDS’ but a large percentage was still unaware of its causes and consequences. About 80 per cent of the population in 20 villages of the district had not even heard of ‘AIDS’. About 18 per cent was somewhat aware of its prevention, causes and consequences. The awareness level was worst in case of women respondents.


CM to inaugurate overbridge
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 23
The long-pending demand of residents of the area to construct an overbridge at Sirhind will be met with the inauguration of the overbridge on the Amritsar-Delhi railway line on October 31 by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister.

Giving details of the project, Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, said here today that the overbridge and approach roads had been completed at a cost of Rs 9.22 crore. He claimed that the traffic flow from the Sangrur, Patiala, Khanna, Gobindgarh, Amloh, Chandigarh and Ropar sides would pass smoothly. He further asserted that a large number of vehicles from the Patiala, Sangrur and Bathinda side for Chandigarh, Shimla etc, which now normally opt via Rajpura, would run on this route, resulting in saving of a lot of time.


Case against hotelier withdrawn
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 23
Mr Ramesh Kumar Nagpal, owner of the Nagpal Residency hotel here, claimed that he had been cleared of all charges levelled against him in an FIR registered in connection with his alleged involvement in the flesh trade. Mr Nagpal said a case had been registered against him in the local police station but the charges had been withdrawn as he was found innocent during investigation into the case.


Holiday on Oct 30
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 23
District Magistrate R. Venkatratnam has announced a holiday on October 30, under the Negotiable Instruments Act in connection with the 29th death anniversary of Sant Fateh Singh. An official press note said government and semi-government offices and educational institutions in the district would remain closed on the day.


Dist may meet paddy procurement target
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 23
The district is likely to achieve the target of paddy procurement of 4.56 lakh metric tonne this season and 3,55,680 metric tonne of paddy has been purchased as compared to 2,13,137 metric tonne during the corresponding period past year.

Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, after visiting six mandis in the district said today the district had achieved 80 per cent of the target this week and the whole crop was expected to arrive in the mandis. He said procurement was going on smoothly.

Giving agency-wise details, he said the maximum purchase of 78,085 metric tonne was by the Punjab Warehousing Corporation, followed by 69,696 metric tonne by Markfed, 6,1695 metric tonne by Punsup, 50,792 metric tonne by FCI and 47,438 metric tonne by the Food Supply Department. He added that only 10,173 metric tonne had been purchased by private traders in the district.

The Deputy Commissioner claimed that the lifting of paddy purchased was going on fast.

He also said the payment for paddy was being given to farmers within 72 hours from the date of purchase.


Instructions on promotions changed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The Punjab Government has modified instructions on the constitution of Departmental Promotion Committees for considering cases of promotion to Class I and Class II (now group ‘A’ and group ‘B’) posts.

Stating this here today, a government spokesman said it had been decided to retain the numbering system of evaluation of ACRs (annual confidential reports) as contained in the instructions of December 29, 2000: “outstanding” (4 marks), “very good” (3 marks), “good” (2 marks) and “average” (1 mark).

The ACRs for the past five years were to be taken into consideration for promotion.

For promotion as head of department, the criterion would be “merit-cum-seniority”. The minimum benchmark for promotion to such a post would be “very good”. The marking system adopted earlier, as in the instructions of December 29, 2000, would be followed and a minimum of 15 marks would be required to be considered as “very good”. An officer graded as “outstanding” would supersede an officer graded as “very good”.

The spokesman further said that for promotion to posts falling in group ‘A’, other than head of department, the minimum benchmark would be “very good” with at least 12 marks. Among those meeting this criterion, there would be no supersession. In the case of promotion to posts falling in group ‘B’, the minimum benchmark would be “good” and there would be no supersession, i.e. promotions would be made strictly on “seniority-cum-merit”.

For promotions in all categories there should not be any adverse remarks in the ACRs under consideration. As a consequence of this decision, the appropriate changes in the Punjab Civil Services (General and Common Conditions of Service) Rules, 1994, would be made separately and these instructions would be applicable prospectively, the spokesman added.


MC removes lawyer from panel
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 23
In a significant decision, the local municipal council (MC) authorities have decided to remove its labour law advocate, Mr Mohan Lal Garg, from its panel, allegedly for his negligent attitude in connection with some suits in the local court. The council lost two cases as he reportedly failed to appear in the court and the cases were decided on an ex parte basis.

In a resolution passed by the municipal authorities on October 15, it was decided to appoint a new lawyer, the powers for which were vested with the Executive Officer of the council. Sources said the lawyer for the council also held the office of the Chairman of the district Improvement Trust and was also a municipal councillor.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, president of the MC, confirmed the decision.


Dowry victim’s in-laws in custody
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 23
The Judicial Magistrate, Mr Harish Anand, today remanded the in-laws of the dowry victim Saroj Rani in the judicial custody.

According to the police, the father of the victim, Ram Murti, had alleged that Rakesh Kumar, husband, Chander Kanta, mother-in-law, Rajesh, brother-in-law and Narinder, father-in-law of Saroj had been demanding dowry.

When their demands were not fulfilled, her in-laws started misbehaving with her. Saroj died on October 16, this year, her father alleged. 


Held for adding to eunuchs’ fold
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 23
The police today arrested Jangir Singh, a local resident, who was allegedly involved in the castration of number of people in connivance with the mahant of a dera of eunuchs Kotkapura.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, district police chief, said that the accused, who had been acting as fake doctor, had been running the clinic in his house located near a dera of eunuchs in Sanguana Basti in the city.

Various types of equipments including blade, ‘ustra’, syringes and medicines were recovered from his house. The accused had been castrating people in lieu of big money which he had been getting from Sibo Mahant of Kotkapura.

The accused has no degree or certificate for carrying out the surgery.

The accused had also castrated Kulwinder Singh of Kotkapura, Ruksana of Bathinda and Kuldeep Singh of the city.

After a stint in the Army, he resided in Sanuana Basti. He came in contact with the eunuchs of the dera near his house. The accused had also been booked by the Haryana police. Dr Jain said that a case under Sections 307, 326 and 420 of the IPC and Section 18 of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act had been registered against the accused.


GND varsity to celebrate Punjabi week
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 23
Guru Nanak Dev University will hold the Punjabi week celebrations from October 28 to November 2.

The programmes would also include an educational tour to ‘Preet Nagar’, a writer’s home near here, which will be developed by the university as a centre for creative writers.

A spokesman for the university said that on October 31, a popular play, ‘Mirch Masala’, written by Mr Jainder Brar would be staged at the Guru Nanak Bhavan auditorium and on November 1, the university would organise a cultural programme ‘Rangeela Punjab’.

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