Sunday, February 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Mann jr’s maiden foray into politics
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Sirhind, February 2
He is a Mann alright. Without the father's fiery nature but standing for the same ideals. Espousing the wrongs committed by the Congress and the abandonment of panthic ideals by the SAD, Mr Iman Singh Mann, 30-year- old foreign educated son of firebrand Panthic Morcha leader Simranjit Singh Mann, is making his debut in politics.

Tall and dark, Mann junior belies his foreign education while touring the constituency and trying to match the popularity of Congress candidate Harbans Lal and SAD candidate Didar Singh Bhatti. He presents an image of sincerity and commitment while waiting patiently for everyone to make speeches even when there are few people.

‘‘Having chosen social science at Knox College in Ilinois and later at the University of Notredam, it was natural for me to enter politics,’’ he said when asked why he entered politics.

married a year ago, he said the dynasty tag did not fit him when asked whether former minister Randhir Singh Cheema would have been a better Panthic Morcha candidate. ‘‘He is the same man who supped with Badal saheb for so many years and asked for the morcha ticket when the SAD nomination was denied to him. What commitment can you expect from such a person,’’ he said, adding that he was not entirely new to politics. ‘‘I have participated in dharnas in front of the Nabha jail to seek the release of TADA detainees, besides participating in a drive to ensure no water is released to Haryana.’’

He seemed buoyed specially after the campaign in his favour by his father and former SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra. ‘‘Tohra has a committed vote bank in the constituency and his support to Iman has boosted his campaign tremendously,’’ Harbans Singh of Sirhind said.

However, the road to the assembly may not be easy for him as he has to fight SAD candidate Didar Singh Bhatti. His campaign managers are targeting the SAD candidate by taking along members of Shamlat Bachao, Bhatti Bhajayo who allege the SAD candidate is a land-grabber. This and the maltreatment of former Akal Takth jathedar Ranjit Singh is the main poll plank of the debutant.

The morcha has little to say about Congress candidate Harbans Lal. While a division in akali votes is likely to help Dr Harbans Lal, he also enjoys widespread support in villages due to his close links with people, Gulzar, a villager, said.

Political observers said Mr Iman could benefit if the supporters of Mr Cheema supported him. Though the Chief Minister had prevailed upon Mr Cheema to withdraw in favour of Mr Bhatti, the veteran akali has still not come out openly in his favour.

Morcha dares SAD, Cong to debate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Panthic Morcha has challenged Capt Amarinder Singh, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal for an open debate on various issues concerning Punjab. Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, Convener of the Panthic Morcha, while addressing a press conference here today said Mr Badal should answer the allegations levelled against him by Capt Amarinder Singh.

He alleged that the elections had been fixed by Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Weak candidates had been fielded at certain places by the Congress against top Akali leaders to ensure their victory and likewise, the SAD has also fielded greenhorn candidates against top Congress leaders with the same objective, he said. He did not rule out the possibility of an alliance with the BJP in the post-election scenario to form the government in case of a hung assembly. Except the SAD and Congress, the morcha would be willing to form alliances with other parties, he added.



Candidates hire PR men
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
After making their presence felt in the corporate world, public relations (PR) agencies have made a quiet entry into the realm of electoral politics.

Several media-savvy politicians trying their luck at the hustings in Punjab scheduled for later this month have hired PR agencies to take care of their publicity campaigns and give a positive spin to their past performances and future promises. “Publicity is the life blood of politicians facing the elections,” says a spokesman of a PR agency here. “Gone are the days when publicity was looked after by ill-educated political volunteers of parties, doing the rounds of the newspaper offices in the evening to distribute badly written press notes. Elections have become an increasingly costly proposition. As the stakes rise, politicians do not want to take any chances. Hence, the need for professionals to draft press notes, ensure their timely distribution and proper publication. All this is taken care of by the PR agencies.”

This arrangement by individual politicians is in addition to the PR agencies which may have been hired by political parties to conduct their publicity campaigns at the state level by designing posters, pamphlets, letters, appeals and advertisement campaigns in the newspapers. A number of PR agencies of Chandigarh are now associated with publicity campaigns. A few of them are based in Delhi. “Our contract is for the duration of the electioneering which comes to an end with polling on February 13,” says the spokesman person. The agencies do not organise poll rallies for the candidates. 

Mobiles are a must
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The coming Punjab Assembly elections are not only going to be the fiercest, toughest and costliest ever but are also witnessing the unprecedented use of cellular or mobile phones in the battle for ballot supremacy.

There is hardly a candidate who does not carry a cellphone. “It is a necessity because of the tough fights in almost all 116 constituencies,” remarked a candidate. And many candidates carry more than one cellphone. For example, the PPCC chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, carries three.

Not only candidates but also the election staff have been provided with cellular phones.

According to a conservative estimate, more than 5,000 new cellular phones are exclusively in use for elections in Punjab.

“In fact, cellular phones are the only way of remaining in touch with both the candidates and election staff,” remarked a district official at Moga, maintaining that the changing rules and guidelines with actual campaign time for candidates reduced to a mere fortnight and the constituencies getting bigger, the mobility of candidates from the last date of withdrawal to the actual day of polling has increased manifold.

There are, however, problems with cellular phones. There are several “blackout” zones, like the Anandpur Sahib and Kurali belt , where the cellular services get abruptly disconnected. Even in Ludhiana district, there are a number of villages where the cellular phones either do not work or the service remains unsatisfactory.


Police excesses main issue here
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 2
While corruption issue has been dominating the election scene in other areas of Punjab, excesses committed by the police during the SAD-BJP rule in the past five years has emerged as a main election plank of the opposition parties in this district.

Political rivals of the SAD, especially Congressmen and Leftists, faced a tough time as several of them were targeted by the police, allegedly at the behest of a top police officer, since retired, who was close to the ruling party. some of them were even made to leave their houses for months as there were orders to raid the houses regularly.

The ruling SAD-BJP combine might have to pay a heavy price for this here. The case of comrade Kakka Singh is still a burning issue in this area. He had gone to a police station to lodge a complaint in this regard three years ago and has been missing since then.

Various parties held demonstrations to press the police to trace him. At one such demonstration, the police resorted to a lathi charge which had been filmed. Later, the police continued to raid the houses of those who had participated in the demonstration after identifying them on the basis of the film.

There is another case of Bhagwan Singh of Chugge Lal village who allegedly died in police custody last year. A large number of cases were registered against the supporters of the Congress and the CPI after the last Lok Sabha elections.

As certain ruling party politicians ruled the roost in this area, allegedly with the active support of a police officer, they even beat up a senior officer of the Excise and Taxation Department in a police station a few days ago. They also took away the documents which were seized by the officer during a raid following a tip-off that a politician allegedly had a large stock of illicit liquor.

Following the intervention of a top bureaucrat of the Punjab Government and the Chief Electoral Officer, action has been initiated against police officers who failed to discharge their duty and did not arrest those involved in the assault on the raiding team.

There is yet another case of a Radha Swami, Manna Singh, who was shot dead in broad daylight. The police faced a lot of criticism because of its alleged indifference in the case.

Even Capt Amarinder Singh, PPCC President, and Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, have raked up the issue of police excesses in this district. They have promised to take action against the guilty police officers.

Meanwhile, most parties here have urged the Election Commission to declare Ferozepore district as a sensitive one and deploy paramilitary forces to ensure free and fair elections. 


Crorepatis dominate poll fray
Tribune News Service

Nawanshahr, February 2
In the current Assembly elections, the electoral battle at most of the places is among crorepatis.

For example, the four main contenders in this constituency are very rich — Mr Resham Singh Thiara of the SAD-BJP is an industrialist, Mr Parkash Singh Saini of the Congress, is a transporter and owns property in Delhi and elsewhere, according to locals, Mr Ram Kishan of the BSP is a retired tehsildar and his son owns a private hospital here and the same is the case of Mr Hardev Singh Kahma, Independent candidate.

The other bigwigs in the Punjab poll fray include a number of big liquor contractors, transporters, feudal lords and traders.

Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, Congress candidate from Samrala, and Mr Harmohinder Singh, Congress candidate from Raikot, are both liquor magnates. Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon’s family and Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, official candidate of the SAD from Kila Raipur, also have stakes in the liquor business.

There are several transporters in the fray. Mr Avtar Henry, Congress candidate from Jalandhar, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, a Panthic Morcha candidate from Payal, and Mr Jagdish Sawhney, BJP candidate from Batala, all fall in this category.

There are certain Akali ministers, who became transporters after coming into power five years ago and now again trying their luck.

Mr Sangat Singh Gilzia, Congress candidate for the Tanda constituency and his rival Balbir Singh Miani from the SAD, are also said to be rich persons. Capt Amarinder Singh, Congress candidate from Patiala has a royal background while Mr Arvind Khanna, Congress candidate from Sangrur, has links with the royal family.

Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, former Chief Minister and Congress candidate from Muktsar, is a big landlord who also owns a horse stud farm.

Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Congress candidate from Jalandhar district, is a leading financier.

The way most candidates are spending money on the elections, one could say that the common man is likely to be to be crushed under the weight of money power of his rivals.


34 polling stations ‘hypersensitive’
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, February 2
As many as 34 polling stations have been declared hypersensitive in Banur constituency for the forthcoming Assembly elections to be held on February 13.

Of the 159 polling stations of Banur Constituency, four fall under the jurisdictions of Ropar and Fatehgarh districts (two each), and out of these Government Primary School, Pawala, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Government High School, Machhali Kalan, Ropar, have been declared hypersensitive.

The district administration has made elaborated security arrangements by deploying commando companies in addition to the existing police force in the constituency.

It is learnt the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala, had chaired a meeting comprising senior police officials and the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dera Bassi, and chalked out plans to avoid any untoward incident during elections.

The police is reviewing the security arrangements, in these areas and the final list of hypersensitive, sensitive and low-sensitive polling stations would be released in a day or two, sources in the Police Department said.

Meanwhile, Mr Pritam Singh Johal, Subdivisional Magistrate, who is also the Returning Officer of the Banur assembly constituency, said 711 employees had been deputed for the election duty. Mr Johal said the election staff had been trained in operating electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Counting of votes would be done at Election Counting Centre, Government Degree College, Dera Bassi, on February 24.

During the elections 1,45,568 voters including 79,996 male and 65,572 female, would exercise their voting right. In addition to this a total of 220 servicing voters (151 male and 69 female) would also caste their votes, he said.

Keeping in view the elections, the SDM, Dera Bassi, today enforced Section 144 Cr PC banning gathering of more than four persons at any public place and carrying of arms for two months.

The candidates have been directed not to deface the walls of government buildings and other government establishments. They have been directed not to paste posters or erect advertisement banners along the highway and other roads in the constituency. “Strict action will be taken against violaters”, the SDM warned.



Badal: vote on basis of performance
Our Correspondents

Nawanshahr, February 2
The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, while addressing an election rally for the SAD-BJP-BSM nominee, Mr Resham Singh Thiara, here today called upon the people to compare the performance of his government with that of the Congress government before deciding to vote.

He said while the SAD government considered itself the servant of the people, the Congress government had acted as a ruler. Moreover, the Congress had relied on the formula of ‘divide and rule’ to capture power. If the successive Congress governments at the Centre and state had worked for the welfare of the people, the country in general, and Punjab in particular, would not have faced problems of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment even after 50 years of independence.

The Congress governments at the Centre had always given step-motherly treatment to Punjab and particularly the Sikhs.

The Congress had not only deprived Punjabis of their basic rights but even launched a propaganda against the Sikhs throughout the world, by branding them terrorists, he further alleged. The people should take into account the developmental works in Punjab during the five years of the Vajpayee government at the Centre and the SAD-BJP government in Punjab, before voting, he said.

Ropar: While addressing rallies at Chamkaur Sahib for Bibi Satwant Kaur Sandhu and at Kanpur Khuhi in the Nangal Assembly constituency for the BJP candidate Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Mr Badal made scathing attacks on the Congress and blamed the party for the 1984 riots in Delhi and for the Operation Blue Star.

He cautioned the people against voting for the party that was responsible for the sacrilege of the Sikh shrines. He also blamed the Panthic Morcha for helping the Congress, by working against the SAD. Later while talking to newspersons Mr Badal, said the apprehensions of the Congress President, Capt Amarinder Singh, regarding the bomb blast in a bus near Garhshankar, were a signs of frustration.

On the SYL issue, Mr Badal said the statement of the AICC treasurer, Mr Moti Lal Vora, in favour of the construction of the canal had exposed the Congress. The Congress was responsible for starting the SYL crisis, he said.

Says view poll in larger perspective
Tribune News Service

Kharar, February 2
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said the voters should view the elections in a larger perspective and vote for a party which was in the interest of Punjab. He was addressing a rally in support of party candidate Kiran Bir Singh Kang.

A candidate was just a medium to form a government. Instead of voting for a candidate, vote for a party which could give economic and social security, he said, adding that the major parties in the fray were the Congress, SAD-BJP alliance and Panthic Morcha-BSP alliance. ‘‘You have seen the rule of the congress and the rule of the Akalis. There was more peace and tranquility during the SAD rule.’’

He said when they were voted to power in 1997, the Congress had said the government would not last more than two months but the SAD-BJP alliance ruled for five years with financial assistance from the centre.

He listed various projects which the SAD-BJP government brought to the state. The SAD candidate, Mr Kang said the Kharar assembly segment remained neglected as the sitting MLA parted ways with the ruling regime. He promised to complete all unaccomplished tasks.


SAD expels rebels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today announced that all rebels in the election fray against the party’s official candidates stood expelled from the primary membership of the party with immediate effect.

Talking to news persons at his residence this morning, Mr Badal said he had administered warnings and even tried to persuade the rebels . Since all attempts failed, he was left with no alternative but to expel all of them. There are believed to be about 16 rebels.

Mr Badal was categorical that the expulsion would not be revoked. Among those who have been shown the door include three ministers — Mr R S Ballian, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjla and Ms Mohinder Kaur Josh. Their resignations have also been sent to Raj Bhavan.

Defamation case against Cong
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 2
A defamation case against the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee will come up for hearing on February 4. The case has been filed by the local general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Mr N.S. Minhas, under Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC for the publication of "defamatory" advertisements.


TV stars draw crowds at rally
Tribune News Service

Dhuri (Sangrur), February 2
Ms Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, besides two TV personalities Mukesh Khanna, and Shruti Ulfat today sought votes for Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, the SAD candidate from Dhuri and son of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, at an election rally here.

The TV personalities were a crowd-puller a large number of persons reached the venue at the local Triveni Chowk. Others witnessed them from the rooftops of the nearby shops and houses. Parents also brought their children from schools to enable them to see the TV personalities, particularly Mukesh Khanna of the “Shaktimaan” TV serial fame.

The election rally turned dramatic when Mukesh Khanna started delivering dialogues from his TV serials, Mahabharara and “Shaktimaan”.

Addressing the rally, Ms Sushma Swaraj, who spoke in Punjabi, called upon the people to vote for the SAD-BJP alliance if they did not want to see the black days of militancy.

She also lauded the role of the SAD-BJP government in the state for various development works and said they would form the next government again.

Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP from Chandigarh, challenged Ms Sonia Gandhi, President of the AICC, to share stage with Ms Sushma Swaraj for holding discussions on issues relating to Punjab and its long-standing demands.


Campaigning with jeep only
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 2
Even as candidates of various major parties and those who are trying their luck as Independents have pressed several vehicles, including rickshaws fitted with sound system to touch every nook and corner of their respective Assembly segments, Mr Sham Singh Jaura, the BSP candidate from this segment, has been campaigning from a single vehicle in the entire constituency.

An advocate and general secretary of the Punjab BSP, Mr Jaura has been going from place to place to urge the people to vote for him by addressing them on the sound system fitted on his jeep.

The main issue, which he has been highlighting before the voters, include the corruption done by all members of the previous Congress and SAD governments in the state and no improvement in the plight of the downtrodden.

Mr Jaura pointed out that BSP had given 86 party tickets, out of the total 95, to Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, representing all castes without taking a single penny from them while the Congress and other parties had virtually sold off its tickets to those who had no concern with the plight of the commoners.

Mr Jaura said it was hard for the BSP candidates to contest the elections in the present situation ruled by money, drugs and muscle power. Most of them are living in abject poverty and have been campaigning using the least number of vehicles and in some pockets, the BSP contestants have been using cycles to reach out to the electorates by keeping the expenditure tight. A big cycle rally would be taken out shortly in the city by the BSP workers to mobilise the people.

He added that he had not pressed rickshaws and other vehicles fitted with loudspeakers for his campaign so as to avoid disturbance to the students who were preparing or taking their annual examinations and also the patients, who were under going treatment in various private hospitals of the city.



Singla gets Boost
Mr Surinder Singla, Congress candidate from here got a shot in the arm on Saturday when the district unit of the Janata Dal decided to support him in the Assembly elections. Mr Singla had a meeting with the Janata Dal leaders during which he had assured them that if the Congress came to power, the problems prevalent in the city would be dealt on priority basis. OC

Support for Garg
Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, SAD candidate from Bathinda on Saturday claimed that a number of Brahman Sabhas of the city have extended their support to him. At a meeting of the supporters at the local Kamla Nehru colony he said a large number of workers of other parties have given support to him. He said with the construction of the overbridge on the Parasram Nagar railway crossing the problem of a large section of the colonies would be solved. OC

Cong probe
On a complaint made by Mr Buta Singh, the Congress-CPI candidate from the Mansa Assembly constituency that Mr Parkash Chand Badal, senior vice-president, DCC, Mr Jagmail Singh, Pandit Barkha Ram and Mr Lajpat Rai, presidents of Mansa (Rural), Bhikhi (rural) and Bhikhi (urban) blocks, respectively, had been opposing him and campaigning for the rebel Congress candidate Mr Sher Singh Gagowal, Mr Kirpal Singh Makha, President, DCC, has constituted a five-member committee to inquire into the complaint. OC

Shiv Sena
The All-India Hindu Shiv Sena has highlighted the issue of broken promises by successive governments. Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president, alleged that Hindus had been discriminated against by all governments in Punjab, including the present Akali-BJP combine and the Congress. He pointed out that whereas Sikh jathas were permitted to visit shrines in Pakistan, Hindus were denied the same for the last many years. OC

Teachers give call
In an unprecedented move, the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) has given a clarion call to 6000 teachers of 172 private colleges to oppose and rout the SAD-BJP candidates Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, President, PCCTU on Saturday said they had to resort to it after having exhausted all other means to make the government see the reason. Save Higher Education Day will be observed on February 6, he said. OC

SAD leader defects
The Congress-CPI candidate from the Phagwara (reserved) Assembly constituency Joginder Singh Mann got a boost when Muslim leader and the president, Muslim wing of the SAD Phagwara block, Mr Mohammed Ishfaq Ahmed, deserted Akali Dal and declared his support for Mr Mann. General Samaj Party also declared its support for him. OC

Rama vs Ravana
It’s “Ram” versus “Ravana” for the February 13 polls in this Assembly seat. The sitting MLA and Minister for Higher Education, Master Mohan Lal, who used to play ‘Ravana’ in Rama Dramatic Club’s Ram Lila, is pitted against Ashok Sharma, a first timer of the Congress. Mr Sharma plays ‘Rama’ in the Ram Lila staged by the Krishna Natak Club here. Like the Rama and Ravana of the epic Ramayana, the arch-rivals are poles apart in their behaviour. While Sharma (52) is mild-mannered, Masterji or rather ‘pehlwanji’ thunders like “Ravana” when he lists out his achievements from the state. UNI

Stress on education
Mr Gura Singh Tungwali, the SAD candidate from the Nathana constituency promised to make Nathana an educationally-advanced area if voted to power. He said special attention would be paid for opening schools, colleges for the girls. Mr Tungwali, who resigned from a senior post in the Agriculture Department for contesting the elections said the ITI at Nathana would be made functional with new courses in information technology introduced there. OC


Cong loses trust in Lok Pal
Tribune News Service

Chak Dana (Jalandhar), February 2
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee today made it clear that it had no confidence in the Lok Pal of the state.

To tackle the growing resource crunch, the party has planned to impose a drastic cut in expenditure, particularly the one incurred on ministers, if it came to power during the forthcoming poll.

The PPCC chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, who came here to address a rally organised by Mr Santokh Singh, a former Punjab minister and party candidate from Phillaur, said his party had no confidence in the present Lok Pal, as he was “a defeated BJP MP”, and was likely to side with the SAD-BJP combine. He said to ensure justice for all and to eliminate corruption his party would approach, the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and would seek his advice for appointment of a new Lok Pal.

He also refused to concede that the BSP could cause any harm to the poll prospects of the Congress by saying, “people have already made up their mind and you will see the results and the same is the case with the NCP and the Independents.”

Later, addressing a gathering, Mr Santokh Singh claimed his party would win the elections as people have realised that it was the Congress which could ensure all-around development of the state. Among others, who spoke included the DCC chief, Mr Manjinder Singh, and the youth Congress leader, Mr Satnam Singh Bitta.


Paswan addresses election rally
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 2
Mr Ram Bilas Paswan, Union Minister and national president of the Lok Jan Shakti Party, dwelt on the issue of unemployment in the country and desired that every person must get some employment, and right of employment should be included in the list of fundamental rights.

He said that the elected governments in the country should be made responsible towards the people if they did not get employment. Mr Paswan was addressing a gathering here today in support of candidate of his party, Mr Rachpal Singh, who is contesting from the Kharar assembly constituency.


Sidhu (Ind) launches campaign
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, a Congress rebel who is contesting the Kharar Assembly seat as an Independent candidate, has launched a vigorous campaign in the constituency.

A popular leader, he has addressed a series of well-attended poll rallies at villages Koga, Subzi Mandi, Mohali, Dhamli Brahman di Wariya, Pannua, Cholta Khurd, Dehkalah, Nabipur, Madanheri, Anaj Mandi, Kharar, Wadali, Wadala, Mattaur and Kumhera during the past few days. Although he is among those who have been expelled from the Congress for opposing the official candidate for the constituency, Mr Bir Devinder singh, he continues to claim that he was a Congressman. “Ï was born in Congress and I will remain in the Congress”, he declares. Development has been the theme of his speeches delivered at these rallies. He promises all-round development of all villages of the constituency if elected to the state assembly.


BJP leaders join Shiv Sena

Seven BJP leaders, including Ravi Vermani, president Ward No 9 and executive member Phagwara block of the BJP Hari Om Gupta, Jatinder Vermani, Pappu, Rakesh Ahuja, Jatinder, Yogesh Arora — all office-bearers of Ward No 9 left the BJP and joined the Shiv Sena. OC


Warrants against school chairman in murder case
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 2
The murder of a farmer, Dalbir Singh, allegedly on the premises of the local Maqsudan police station on April 30, 2000, took a new turn today when non-bailable arrest warrants were issued to Mr Charanjit Singh Channi chairman of the C.T. Public School, and two others under Section 319 of the Cr PC by Mr M.M. Aggarwal, District and Sessions Judge, on a revision petition filed in the state versus Karnail Singh, one of the accused, case.

The court today issued non-bailable arrest warrants to summon Mr Channi, Mr Gurbachan Singh and his son Talwinder Singh on February 8, 2002, on an application filed under Section 319, Cr PC.

Mr Aggarwal directed the police station concerned to execute these orders and to produce the accused in the court on February 8, said Mr D.S. Dayal, counsel of Mr Nirvair Singh, brother of the deceased and the complainant.

The application had been moved by the state on January 15 to summon the accused Mr Channi, Mr Gurbachan Singh, Talwinder Singh, DSP Rajpal Sandhu, Sub-Inspector, Rajbir Singh in charge of the Maqsudan police station, ASI Sewak Singh, along with Karnail Singh.

The counsel for the state cited a part of the judgement of the Supreme Court in the case of Rakesh and others versus state of Haryana in the connection.

Earlier, in his complaint, Mr Nirvair Singh had pointed out that though an FIR had been registered under Section 302, 34, IPC and Sections 27/54/59 of the Arms Act against the accused but only a challan had been filed against Karnail Singh Dillon. He had earlier filed a complaint in the court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate on September 9, last year, for the registration of a murder case against the accused, but the complaint was dismissed “on merit” by the court.


Jacob visits border, meets troops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), yesterday visited the International border.

He met soldiers deployed in forward areas of the Amritsar Sector. The troops responded enthusiastically on meeting the War Hero of 1971.

General Jacob asked the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, to provide some civic amenities to the troops deployed in the Amritsar Sector.

The Deputy Commissioner informed the Governor about steps being taken for rehabilitation of people migrating from the forward areas.

The Governor also went to Harike Wetland and appreciated the efforts of armed forces in clearing to the water bodies of Harike of the deadly water hyacinth weed.

He also appreciated efforts of the Wildlife Department. The Governor remained with the troops for 75 minutes.



Retired staff approach rights panel for pension
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 2
Peeved by the denial of the retirement dues by the treasuries, retired employees of the Punjab Government have now approached the Punjab state Human Rights Commission. In a letter to the Chairman of the Commission, Mr Guresh Chander, a retired employee from the district has alleged that he was not being paid his dues. He opted for voluntary retirement in September 2001, due worth to some financial crisis. However, dues worth Rs 2 lakh had not been paid despite repeated reminders to the authorities concerned.

Whenever, he approached district treasury officers to inquire about his dues, they told him that there was a ban on payments. Like him, many other employees avail pension, Mr Guresh has alleged in his complaint to the commission. He said the non-payment of money of the retired employees, which was deposited with the government in the form of a general provident fund (GPF), amounted to the violation of their right. The GPF accounts of the employees are closed as soon as they retire. In some cases retired employees do not even have the resources to approach the court for justice. So, the commission should take cognizance of the violation and take appropriate action against the Punjab Government, he alleged.

Meanwhile, the sources said all payments but for the salaries and pensions had been stopped for the past-six months and dues worth about Rs 1 crore had not been paid to the employees in district.

The retired employees have also threatened to launch a campaign against government in the forth- coming election if their dues were not cleared along with interest. by the authorities concerned. 

Sohi is new Income Tax Commissioner
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 2
Mr Harjit Singh Sohi, a 1982 batch IRS officer, has been promoted to the rank of Commissioner, Income Tax. 

Mr Sohi is presently working as member (Finance and Accounts) in the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). This information was given in an official press release by the PSEB yesterday.


Four die in road mishaps
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 2
At least four persons were killed in separate road mishaps in the district last evening.

Baldev Singh, his mother Manjit Kaur and nephew Lovedeep Singh, all residents of Bagga village were crushed to death near their village when a tractor-trailer collided with their scooter. They were returning back to their village from Tahli Sahib village. The police has arrested the accused. A case under section 304-A, 279, 427 of the IPC has been registered.

In another incident Daleep Singh of Ranjit Pura locality here was run over by a mini bus yesterday. He died on the spot. The police has impounded the bus but the driver managed to escape. A case has been registered.

Meanwhile, Heera Singh was allegedly injured by some SAD workers last evening. According to reports, the incident happened when the accused tore down the posters, flags and banners of Harpartap Singh Ajnala (Independent) and Dr Ratan Singh Ajnala. A case has been registered.


World Wetland Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 2
World Wetland Day was celebrated here today at Ropar Wetland on the bank of Sutlej. The function was presided over by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal.

The Deputy Commissioner congratulated the people of the district for giving the status of International Wetland to the wetland here. He said district administration would constitute a board of district officers and environmental experts for the proper planning and development of the wetland.


SAD vice-president released on bail
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 2
Mr Amarjeet Singh Bhatia, vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), who was arrested along with 30 supporters earlier in the day, was released on bail here this evening.

Mr Bhatia and his supporters had courted arrest to protest against the registration of two police cases against him and his nephew. He was produced before the Magistrate who granted him bail till Monday.


Cop without licence to kill held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 2
Even as the dust raised by the involvement of an Inspector of the Punjab police and Arjuna Award winner Jagdish Singh Bhola into the smuggling of narcotics was yet to settle down, another man in uniform had been arrested for possessing an illegal weapon.

Police sources said Sandeep Kumar, constable, posted in the local Police Lines, had been arrested under the Arms Act and placed under suspension.

Jagdish Singh Bhola, who was absconding after giving a slip to the district police, was well connected and had been bringing a large quantity of poppy husk in two trucks for a politician. The narcotics was to be used in the election to woo voters.

Though the district police chief , Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, said efforts were on to recover the .38 bore pistol from the accused, a section of ruling party politicians had been trying to hush up the case by pressuring the authorities concerned. Dr Jain while denying any pressure said another accused, Palli, a resident of Nandgarh village of the district, to whom Sandeep Kumar had handed over the weapon, was still at large.

Another inter-state smuggler of narcotics and arms, Lavar Kumar, alias Bachhi, who was involved in more than 13 cases, including some cases relating to the murderous attacks on people, was arrested by the Sirsa police after an episode on him was shown on ‘India’s Most Wanted’ by the district police authorities. 


Smuggling bid in party jeep
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 2
The Nangal police today thwarted smuggling of Khair wood (Acacia Cateachu) under the guise of electioneering, with the arrest of Ravi Kant, resident of Daroli village. The police sources said on a tip-off they stopped a Mahindra jeep displaying flags of a national party near Daroli village.

On being stopped, the six passengers tried to flee, however, the cops arrested Ravi Kant. Three quintals of wood was recovered from the jeep.

Later, Ravi Kant gave the names of his associates to the police.


Private college staff rally on Feb 6
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 2
A rally would be organised in the city on February 6 by teachers, members of management and principals of various private colleges of the region as part of statewide Save Higher Education agitation to show resentment towards the politics of the government.

Such rallies would be held at 10 district headquarters simultaneously in Punjab and Chandigarh as per the decision of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union, Non-Teaching Unions of private colleges and unions of college managements and principals.

Mr Y.R. Handa, convener of the state unit of the DAV Colleges Coordination Committee said at a meeting of the union here today that the participation of the students would also be sought as the government’s policy would also affect them. He said after the implementation of the new policy higher education would become costly and out of the reach of the poor students.

He said the government was planning to withdraw grants-in-aid provided to private colleges.


Book of Punjabi ghazals released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
A book of Punjabi ghazals, “Dard Supney te Ghazal”, written by a Punjabi poet, Dr Harnek Singh Komal, a senior lecturer in Punjabi at DAV College, Bathinda, was released by a critic, Prof Brahm Jagdish Singh, at a function organised by the Literary Circle at DAV Public School, Malout, yesterday.

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