Sunday, November 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Temple row: jatha happy at directive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
The Amrit Sanchar Jatha and the Khalsa Action Committee that had been criticising the Guru Ravidass Temple body for worshipping Guru Granth Sahib along with an idol of Guru Ravidass, said here today that it had received a shot in the arm after an Akal Takht directive on the correct ways of worshipping Guru Granth Sahib.

The Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti has issued instructions that no one can organise ‘akhand paths’ of Guru Granth Sahib in or on graves or at places where idols are worshiped. The Jathedar has said worshipping of the holy book at such places was in violation of the ‘Rahit Maryada’ (the Sikh code of conduct). He has also said the violation of this code will not be tolerated.

At a press conference here today, representatives of the parties said their stand on the temple controversy had been vindicated with the Akal Takht directive.

The Guru Ravidass Temple Committee was keeping its fingers crossed after the recent developments. According to Mr Jaswant Kataria, Chairman of the Vishwa Guru Ravidass Mission, a meeting of the committee will be held later today to take stock of the situation and plan a response.

Mr Kataria said the temple committee was committed to maintaining peace and harmony in the city, but would not allow anyone to interfere in its ways of worship. The committee held a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, today and apprised him of its stand on the issue.

Mr Charan Singh Lohara, Mr Balwinder Singh Bains and Mr Sarbjit Singh Bawa, representatives of the Sikh bodies, said the temple committee had levelled false allegations of sacrilege against six persons who had “just visited the temple to convince a priest to stop violating the tenets of Sikhism”. They said the issue had been blown out of proportion.

The leaders have demanded an inquiry into the matter and criticised the role of the police in the affair.



Termites destroying property on PAU campus
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
While scientists of Punjab Agricultural University here are helping farmers all over the state to fight various diseases of plants, they seem to be in no position to control a highly damaging insect, the termite, that has virtually infested the campus as its growth grows unabated.

The termites are devouring administrative blocks, residential flats, various departments, hostels and even trees. While scientists rule out the idea that the termite can actually kill a full grown tree, Ludhiana Tribune found out a number of trees being consumed by termites.

At least six Silver Oak trees have died in the Students Home and many green trees are being infested by them. The six trees have been converted into dead wood and PAU is perhaps caught napping. Sources say that these trees did not die of age but suddenly started drying up after the termites’ colonies appeared on them.

The campus residents say that the termites are damaging doors, cupboards, electrical fittings and even clothes and they have tried all possible means to kill them. A resident and an employee of PAU on the condition of anonymity, said that if they left the house unopened for three days, colonies of termites were found even in the cupboards.

While scientists are of the opinion that some trees are being killed due to termites, some of them say that these cannot kill a tree as these only feed on the dead bark of the tree. Scientists also said that the cause was suspected to be some fungus which was feeding on the roots and killing the trees.

The Estate Officer, Mr Raghbir Singh, said that it was the responsibility of the Horticulture and Forestry Departments of PAU to look after these trees, which were being killed by the termites. While heads of both departments were not available today, being a holiday, Dr Darshan Singh, former Head of the Entomology Department and Additional Director, Research (Agriculture), said that termites were really causing a lot of damage to the university property. He said that the problem was prevalent on the entire campus.

He, however, said that although the trees could not die of termite infestation, the university scientists were working on the cause of death of those trees which had died on the campus. He said this kind of death was a mystery for the scientists not only on the campus but all over the country. He said that kikar and shisham trees were dying all over the state but there was no definite answer.

He also said that to control this damaging insect, its colonies had to be eradicated completely. He said that the procedure required was to dig the entire land, as the colonies live underground, and apply doses of strong chemicals. He said the university should devise a plan with the help of the Departments of Horticulture, Forestry and Entomology to get rid of this problem.



Wages of poverty: illegal confinement
Tribune News Service

Alamgir (Ludhiana), November 17
A theft of just 2 kg of cooking oil proved too dear for a starving labourer employed in a factory in this village. He was allegedly kept in illegal confinement for over 10 days and beaten regularly by the factory staff.

The labourer, Vijay Kumar, 20, was finally rescued today by a team of Maraudo Chowki police under the Sadar police station. Some visitors, on condition of anonymity, said the labourer was in a pitiable condition after he had been given inhuman treatment by the factory officials.

The factory officials had not reported the alleged theft to the police and decided to punish the labourer on their own.

After it received the information, the police team rushed to the factory premises to rescue the labourer. There was no resistance from any person in the factory. On the statement of the labourer, the police has registered a case under Sections 342 and 506 of the IPC against the factory officials, but no particular person has been named in this case.

The labourer, in a bad state, was sent to the civil hospital after a Duty Magistrate recorded his statement. He is likely to be discharged later today. The police has not registered any case of theft against him as the factory officials have not lodged a complaint.

The labourer said he was a daily wager in the factory. At the time of appointment, his employers had told him that he would be paid Rs 2,400 per month. However, the payment was irregular and, for the past two months, he had not been paid at all.

He said his requests for payment had borne no fruit, so, in a state of helplessness and starvation, he had stolen 2 kg of oil. He was caught and his ordeal started. He was tied and beaten mercilessly by several persons of the factory. Though he was given food at times, it used to be inadequate. He said his pleas for release had fallen on deaf ears.

The labourer said, while torturing him, the factory officials used to pressurise him to admit to committing a theft that he had not committed. The labourer, who belongs to Muzzarpur in Uttar Pradesh, said his family was dependent on his income and had been living on borrowed ration all these days. Vijay said he regretted his act, but said the circumstances had made him weak.



Residents face the curse of Shani
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, November 17
Residents of the Club Road area feel “threatened” by a number of ‘shaniwalas’, who have been encroaching upon the main road and forcing them to give alms. A number of residents of the area, on condition of anonymity, said all ‘shaniwalas’ on the Durga Mata Mandir Road had been “deployed” by one person who collected the money every evening and gave the ‘shaniwalas’ their share.

One of the residents of the Club Road area said there was no dearth here of people who loved to donate money. “That is why such persons like these ‘shaniwalas’ get encouraged and No one dares object. Sometimes, they put up their stalls in front of our houses. If we ask them to move away, they abuse us and argue with us, saying that no one can stop them from sitting there,” he said.

Another resident of the area said this was one of the posh localities of the city, but these beggars had not even spared this area. “The administration is preparing for organising the National Games, but nobody bothers to get the place cleared of these persons,” he said.

Residents said a special road for pedestrians had been constructed for devotees who visited the temple daily, but these beggars had blocked it with their own small temples, clothes and the other items.

A woman who lives in the area said such nuisance was visible not only on Saturdays, but also on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She said, “Most of these ‘shaniwalas’ are drug addicts and spend all their earnings on buying drugs every evening. Some of them fall unconscious on road only, while the others keep staring at us. When we are alone in our homes, we feel insecure because these ‘shaniwalas’ know when our menfolk leave for offices.”

These beggars, who chew tobacco and consume alcohol, use abusive language if residents do not give them sufficient money in alms.

Another woman who lives in the same area said these beggars forced drivers and servants of residents to give them items. She said, “One of these beggars asked my washerman to give him something everyday. When my washerman refused, the person threatened him that his union would retaliate.”

Residents said they had approached the authorities concerned several times, but nothing had been done, so far. “One of the officials told us that these beggars would be removed once the National Games began, but the beggars are there even today,” they said.


Preparations for National Games in top gear
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 17
Hectic preparations are afoot here for the 31st National Games which will begin at the Guru Nanak Dev Stadium on Monday.

The stadium has been decked up to welcome the participants. The city is abuzz with activity as preparations are being made at full pace. All roads these days lead to the stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies of the mega event will be organised. The stadium has been given a facelift and is decorated with small flags all around.

The cultural show will include the presentation of Punjabi folk dances Bhangra, Giddha besides Jhumar and Nachar. Not to be missed will be the dhadhis, nachars and Nihangs who will be exhibiting their martial feats on the opening day of the mega show. Participants will present a dance exhibiting the land of five rivers.



Robbers’ gang busted
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, November 17
The Sahnewal police has claimed to have arrested three members of a gang of robbers involved in many robberies in and around Sahnewal for the past several months.

The accused have been identified as Rajinder Singh Gaddowal, Bhajan Panipat and Deepak Kaithal. A motor cycle, a scooter, a generator set and two coloured television sets have been recovered from their custody.

In another case, the Sahnewal police arrested Ashok Kumar, son of Krishan Lal, a resident of Kot Khalsa (Amritsar), finding him to be a suspicious person roaming about near Lakkhowal and recovered a pistol and two live cartridges from his custody. The police registered a case under the Arms Act against the accused and sent him to jail.

Threatened: Avtar Singh of Bilga village has complained that Bhajan Singh of the same village threatened him and beat him up as a result of which he was hospitalised. A case has been registered.

Killed: A scooterist of Kotari village was hit and crushed to death by an unidentified vehicle at Landa Buani village on Friday evening.

Suicide: A man committed suicide by jumping into a river near Payal. Rajinder Singh of Nanakpur village committed suicide by drowning himself. The body was recovered by the police and handed over to relatives after a post mortem.



Woman held for chain snatching
Our Correspondent

The alleged chain snatcher overpowered at Lalheri Road Chowk in Khanna. 
—Photo Vishal Angrish

Khanna, November 17
In another incident of chain snatching, the golden chain of Kulwant Kaur, wife of Bikramjit Singh of Harbanspura village, who was boarding a bus at Lalheri Road Chowk, was snatched by a middle -aged woman. Surjit Kaur, wife of Nachhattar Singh of Sher Majra police station, Patiala Sadar. The woman raised the alarm and the people present there captured the woman and handed her over to the police.

The police registered a case under Section 356, IPC, and arrested the woman .

The other day the police had arrested a chain snatches Gurmeet Kaur on the Malerkotla road.



Street theatre that fights ignorance
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, November 17
It seems to be just another theatre group, but it takes a deep study of its work to reveal its contribution in spreading awareness on diseases and social evils confronting the mankind. Meet activists of Patiala’s Roopak Theatre Group, whose motto is “Education Through Entertainment”. Working in collaboration with the Ahsaas, an NGO, the group stages plays and skits in streets across the state to spread their message.

The Roopak educates people through stories. Their simple and strong storylines convince people of the dangers of being ignorant about AIDS. The artistes also tell in their stories the causes of various diseases and the control measures.

In their plays, diseases are characters who are hell bent on destroying human population. Then, there are doctors who resist their efforts. However, the efforts of doctors come to a naught as human carelessness makes the diseases spread.

The theatre group has staged 50 plays on these themes in various parts of the state. The group was here recently for a function in the Central Jail where a series of welfare schemes for inmates were launched.

Their play titled ‘Bhasmasur Di Maut’ is about AIDS that is spreading rapidly in India. It begins with a doctor urging street artistes to stage a play on AIDS, but the artistes are reluctant. Finally, they agree and present various scenes, in which, a wife goes to her parents’ house for a few days and someone asks her lonely spouse to seek pleasure from another woman. He gets AIDS. The doctor tells inmates of the jail through this scene frequent changing of partners causes AIDS. The monster called AIDS brags that he can kill his targets just like Bhasmasur could turn everything to ashes.

In the second scene, two drug addicts are selling their AIDS-infected blood to get money to buy more drugs. Before this, they are shown to be so desperate to have drugs that they inject drugs into their viens through a used syringe. Labortary tests show that donors’ blood is infected with the HIV. The youngsters are shocked to learn that they are now AIDS patients who would die in their youth.

The doctor advises that used syringes and transfusion of infected blood are the other sources of AIDS. The HIV takes years to show its symptoms, due to which awareness on the subject is low.

The actors perform well and the message is well-received. Artistes receive rich applause for their efforts.



Rich tributes paid to martyrs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 17
The martyrdom day of Kartar Singh Sarabha and Vishnu Ganesh Pingle was observed at Punjabi Bhavan yesterday by the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Vichar Manch. Rich tributes were paid to the Gadar revolutionaries who laid down their lives for the freedom of the country. Prof Malwinder Jeet Singh, a historian, was the main speaker on the occasion.

He traced the history of the Gadar Movement and its contribution in the freedom struggle of the country. He exhorted the younger generation to take a cue from history and work in the footsteps of Gadar heroes. He paid rich tributes to Kartar Singh Sarabha who, at the young age of 18, sacrificed his life to fulfil his dream of free India.

He emphasised the need for making the younger generation aware of selfless sacrifices that are required to make the country strong, especially in the volatile world that we are living in.

Earlier Prof Jagmohan Singh, patron of the manch, recalled the contribution of freedom fighters like Vishnu Ganesh Pingle, who did not hesitate to sacrifice his life for the freedom struggle.



Rally for employment generation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
The All-India Youth Federation today held a massive rally to create awareness about the employment generation among the masses here. The rally started from the ancestral village of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha and ended in the city.

The large convoy of the vehicles, which were being driven by youths gathered on the call of the All-India Youth Federation and the All-India Students Federation, was covering an area of 10 km at one time. The rally culminated at Ghant Ghar Chowk in the afternoon.

Hundreds of youths coming from all over the state participated in the rally. They were demanding that every adult should be given job after the age of 18 and if the government was unable to do so then it should give an unemployment allowance to them as per the Law of Minimum Wages.

Mr Pirthipal Singh Magimera, secretary of the Youth Federation, said that the various governments were creating a lot of hullabaloo about the various development projects but was saying nothing about the unemployed youths. Terming it as “jobless development,” Mr Pirthipal said that the problem of unemployment was consuming the youth of the state.



Lala Lajpat Rai remembered on his martyrdom day
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 17
The martyrdom day of Lala Lajpat Rai was observed with great devotion at the LRDAV College here today.

Dr Rajpal Dhand, Principal, members of the local committee and staff members offered flowers at the statue of Lala Lajpat Rai.

College students presented a patriotic song.

Mrs Saneh Prabha Gupta, lecturer, explained the contribution of Lalaji in achieving the freedom of the country. However, she regretted that the statue of Lalaji in the Municipal Park was in a state of neglect.



One killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 17
The Focal Point police has registered a case under Sections 427, 279 and 304-A of the IPC against the driver of a bus ( PB-28 4919) for causing death to Rajinder Kumar, a Bihari migrant, near Sherpur on Thursday. According to the complaint lodged by Mr Raj Kumar, an uncle of the deceased boy , he was carrying his nephew on the cycle when the bus hit the cycle from behind, as a result of which Rajinder Kumar was seriously injured. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital but could not survive

Harassment: A case of dowry harassment was registered on Thursday on the application of Mrs Lakhwinder Kaur, wife of Mr Talwinder Singh, a resident of Preet Nagar, Ludhiana, against her husband, son of Jagdev Singh, Harbans Kaur, wife of Jagdev Singh, Kuldeep Singh, son of Jagir Singh, Kamaljit Kaur, daughter of Jagdev Singh, and Rajinder Singh, son of Gurdev Singh, all residents of Shimla Puri, under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC.

The complainant stated that after her marriage, the accused started harassing her for more dowry. Mr. Rajinder Singh, ASI, Shimla Puri police station, is investigating but no arrest has been made so far.

Case registered: The Focal Point police yesterday registered a case against the driver of an unknown vehicle which hit and killed a man, aged around 25, under Section 304-A of the IPC on statement by Mr Pawan Kumar alias Rattan Thekedar, son of Mr Balbir Singh, resident of Bhagat Singh Colony in Sherpur. He stated that the driver sped away after the accident, which occurred on the intervening night of November 15 and 16. Mr Kuldip Singh, Head Constable at Sherpur Kalan police post, has been handed the case.

Dowry case: The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on a statement by Ms Rekha Sharma, wife of Raj Kumar, a resident of Daba Road, New Janta Nagar, against Raj Kumar, son of Gyan Chand; Maya Devi, wife of Gyan Chand; Som Nath, son of Gyan Chand, all residents of Post office Street, Makhu, in Ferozepur district. Ms Rekha had complained that the accused were demanding dowry from her.

Gamblers arrested: In separate raids, the Sadar Police arrested some gamblers and booked them under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act yesterday. In the first case, Whisky Singh and Sadhu Ram, both residents of Laddowal village were arrested, and a sum of Rs 650 and a set of cards were seized from their possession. In the other case, Jagesh Lal and Bittu, also of Laddowal, were arrested and Rs 375 and a set of cards were seized from them.


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