Friday, February 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Tension in village over burning of election flags, banners
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Tusse, February 7
With electioneering in Punjab getting intense with each passing day, it is also getting bitter at some places witnessing close or multi-cornered fight among different candidates. Tusse village 25 km from here is engulfed in such a tension for the past two days, as rival parties have begun burning flags and banners of opposite candidates.

Residents of the village, are being sandwiched in the fight. They can neither stop anyone from putting up posters, flags or banners on their houses fearing immediate or later reprisal nor can they dare to stop anyone from burning these. However, when one party burns or tears the banners or flags to pieces, people living near the place are threatened and taken to task by the victim party.

Last night, some unidentified persons came in large numbers and removed banners and flags of one particular party. They went around the village and threatened people with dire consequences if they allowed putting up banners of the party. After removing the banners, the group collected these at the village community centre and burnt these. The terror of the assailants kept villagers awake all night.

A visit to the village revealed that it was second such night in succession for them. On Tuesday night also, workers and rowdy elements canvassing for a candidate descended on the village in large number and burnt a number of flags and banners.

The villagers had informed the police on both occasions. Though heavy policeforce arrived at the village to defuse tension, on both occasion, it was conspicuous by its absence at the crucial time.

Police sources said that SSP Balkar Singh Sidhu had sent DSP Harbans Lal to inquire into the incidents. However, no case has been registered so far, as according to the police, no villager was willing to give a statement against anyone.

Tension prevailed in the village today as well, when a Ludhiana Tribune team visited it. A number of villagers said they were terror- stricken and were apprehensive about more violence in the village. They said that they had requested the police and the district administration to arrange for their proper security.

While Mr Balkar Singh Sidhu was not available for comments as he was on duty in some other police district, a police official said that the police could not provide a 24-hour vigil as there was pressure of VIP duty and election rallies. He said the para-military forces had not arrived so far and the police presence might improve after that.

Tusse village comes under the Raikot constituency, where Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi, son of former SGPC president Jagdev Singh Talwandi, is contesting elections with the Congress candidate Harmohinder Singh his main rival.

The area has become sensitive due to such incidents. Meanwhile, the Election Commission has ordered the removal of DSP Raikot as well as SHO Raikot.


Roll numbers on ration cards!
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, February 7
While most students of government, aided and affiliated schools have received roll numbers for Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) examinations, hundreds of private city candidates have been left in lurch.

These students had been waiting for their roll-number cards to arrive at their addresses, but now, some of them have got letters that they should visit the board office at SAS Nagar with ration cards (proof of residence) to get their roll numbers.

With just 10 days left for the examinations to begin, private candidates say that the board officials are trying to harass them. Class VIII students will take theory examinations from February 18 and, on the same day, students of Classes X and XII will take their practicals tests. Without roll-number cards, students said, they wouldn’t even know where their examination centres were.

Usha Rani, a private candidate for the Class XII examination, said she had received a board letter yesterday that demanded her proof of residence. She said she had been a private candidate earlier too, but had never faced such a situation. She said the board should not have informed candidates at such short notice. Anil Shukla, another private candidate, said he was worried that he would not get his roll number because he did not have a ration card.

Other students like him who have approached the SAS Nagar office said they had to stand for hours together to get their roll numbers, even after wasting a lot of time in commuting. Besides, a number of students also said their centres were far away from their houses. Sonia, who lives near Old Sabzi Mandi, said she had been given a centre in Shimla Puri, about 12 km from her house. She said she would not be able to reach on time there on her bicycle and would have to hire a taxi for this.

Even owners of private schools have lamented harrasment by the board authorities. Head of a Tajpur Road private school said the board should have sent roll numbers on the school address and all students would have got the roll numbers together. He said, in present system, the situation remained tense till all students confirmed receiving the roll numbers.

Moreover, the school head said all 30 Class X examinations candidates for the school had been given different examination centres. He said, while some students had been sent to Haibowal, others were being sent to Jamalpur or far off places. He said, had there been one centre for all students, the school could have sent them there by bus everyday. He said the board had done it because it believed that private candidates cheated in examinations.


Few bank upon the ATMs
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Banks that had launched the ATM service with fanfare are intrigued by the poor customer response to it here, so far. These machines had been installed to cut down transaction costs and provide customers with additional benefit. However, the banks are incurring huge losses on the maintenance and operation of these machines.

These modern machines have failed to click here so far, say bankers, perhaps, due to a lack of required facilities and customer awareness, besides improper location of the ATMs.

Most customers are not even aware of the eligibility criteria for becoming an ATM-card holder, so they withdraw cash directly from the branch. Further, the ATMS in public-sector banks have not been put on-line, which limits their use.

Mr Karnail Singh, Chief Manager General Banking in the zonal office of the SBI, says that, though the bank has installed three ATMs in the city and issued more than 23,000 cards, only a few customers are using this facility. He says, “Customers are not fully aware of the facility. One can use the ATM card to withdraw cash at any time — day or night. On an average, only about 20 customers visit the ATM centres to withdraw cash.” The bank has installed the ATMs in Sarabha Nagar, the PAU complex and Civil Lines.

Some customers don’t use the facility due to security concerns. They say that, in many cases, the bank has even sent the ATM code in mail without the ATM card, which poses a risk of the card’s misuse. However the bank management says that it has issued 23,611 ATMs cards, so far, but only 19,141 customers have turned up to get the codes, as they give these only in the branch after a proper verification. They say that codes have never been sent in ordinary mail.

Ms Ramaninderjit Kaur, one of the customers, however, says, “I have received the code in mail, with a letter that I am one of the lucky customers who are being given ATM cards that will follow soon. I was shocked, because, if this code and the card fall in wrong hands, I may suffer a huge financial loss, then, who’ll be responsible for that.”

Mr Vishal Vashist, Assistant Manager of the ICICI Bank, says that the bank has installed eight ATMs in the city, but some industrialists are misusing the facility. Some of them are using three-four ATMs of family members to withdraw cash simultaneously for their units.

Punjab National Bank, considered to be the most techno-savvy among public-sector banks, has also installed 10 ATMs in the state and issued about 4,000 cards to its customers.

Earlier, the bank planned to install 25 ATMs in the state by March 31, but it has, now, revised its targets due to the poor response to the service. Mr P.N. Khurana, GM of the bank in zonal office, says, “Since customers have not come forward to use this facility, we are giving the ATM cards to all customers who withdraw their salaries or pensions from our banks. Every ATM machine costs Rs 5 lakh, and there should be at least 500 transactions per day to make it economically viable, compared to only 20-30 transactions at present. The bank is going to put all the ATMs in the state on-line to connect these with a countrywide network by March 31. Then, customers will be able to withdraw cash from anywhere in India. The ATMs in Chandigarh are already on-line.

Customers say that private institutions like the ICICI Bank and the HDFC Bank, where the ATMs are already on-line, give better facilities than public-sector banks. The withdrawal limit was also higher in comparison here.


Jago’ to warn Dalits against selling of votes for liquor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
When the ruling alliance and the opposition parties are trying to woo the illiterate and poor voters of the depressed classes by providing them free liquor and drugs, an NGO here has decided to organise from today mass meetings in Dalit bastis by organising traditional “Jago” to warn them against the sale of their votes.

The Vishwa Guru Ravidass Mission, an NGO patronised by Mr Harinder Singh Khalsa, member, of the National Commission for SC and ST, and various NRIs and advocates have decided to take this step after the death of two persons after consuming illicit liquor allegedly provided by the political parties in the district. The first of the “Jagos” was organised through the main bazars of the city to various Dalit bastis.

Addressing small meetings, Mr Shiv Ram Saroay, president, and Mr Jaswant Kataria, organiser, of this innovative awareness programme, said,‘‘ The ‘Jago’ will educate the Dalit samaj and other innocent people about their exploitation by the political parties. The parties, which have ignored the education and general welfare of the Dalits are now trying to purchase their votes through drugs. We would not allow this to happen.’’

The spokesman of the mission explained that there were lakhs of families in the state which are unable to manage two times meals properly. The children of these families were deprived of education due to high costs of education but had any government at any time given a thought about the pitiable plight of these children. Had any step ever was taken for their education to enable them to earn their livelihood after getting their qualification. There are no proper arrangement for the welfare and these poor people have been suffering with one disease or another.

The mission demanded a ban on liquor and other intoxicants during elections. It has asked the Election Commission to impose a ban on drugs during election period. During the meetings, the speakers asked the voters not to sell their votes for liquor or other small benefits.

Dr Amarjeet and Master Gurmeet, general secretary, and vice-president of the mission, respectively, asked them to vote only for educated and honest candidates without considering party affiliations. The other leaders never bother for them and only come to them before the election.

Mr Saroay disclosed that the “Jago” would be organised in all parts of the state from tomorrow. It will make efforts to awake the people against their exploitation and about their right of vote and decision to elect a right person who may take up their problem in the assembly.

Among others, Mr Gurdev Chand, Mr Mohan Lal Heera, Prof Paramjeet, Mr Nasseb Chand Seeba, Mr Gurmeet Singh, Mr Malkiat Singh Janagal, Mr Dhanna Ram, Mr Manjeet Raju, Mr Gurmel Sandhu, Mr Bhupinder Pal and Mr Balbir Kumar addressed small meetings.


Violations galore on hoisting of Tricolour
Flag code awareness amiss
Kanchan Vasdav
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Dakha, Ludhiana, February 7
Close on the heels of the hoisting of the National Flag with a black wheel in Jaipur, a similar violation along with disrespect of the Tricolour on other counts has come to light in Ludhiana district.

While the Supreme court directions regarding the folding of the flag before the sunset is a common violation in the city, with a hospital on the Mall Road topping the chart, the most glaring violation is being committed by officials of the FCI godown in Mullanpur Dakha.

The Tricolour hoisted on the Republic Day on this building has never been folded in the evening notwithstanding the directions that the flag can only be flown from sunrise to sunset. The flag also carries a black wheel instead of the navy blue one. Interestingly, sources said that the flag was locally manufactured and had not been bought from a Khadi shop, which are the only outlets authorised to sell the flags.

To add to the insult, the wheel has only nine spokes, much less than the required 24. The ratio of length and width is also incorrect. It should be 3:2, but in this case the width is more than the length.

“We hoisted the National Flag on the Republic Day”, said a Class IV employee with the FCI godown, distinguishing the flag from the rows of the Congress party’s flags put up near the godown gate along with some flags of different unions. “It is there ever since the Republic Day” he added.

A hospital on the Mall Road is also violating the norms of hoisting of National Flag. A National Flag hoisted on the top of the hospital building is not folded in the evening. Similar is the case with some houses and markets.

Officials at the FCI godown in Mullanpur Dakha were not available for comments. Only Class IV employees were present there. When asked about the disrespect to the National Flag, they said they don’t know the rules, “Officials know them”, a godown guard said.

The disrespect to the National Flag can prove to be a problem for these institutions as they can be severely penalised under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.


Violations under observers’ nose
Tribune News Service

Latala, February 7
The model code of conduct is being violated right under the nose of election observers in the Qila Raipur Assembly segment.

Supporters of the Technical Education Minister, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, who is contesting this seat, have come up with posters accusing the Congress for being responsible for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and demolishing Akal Takhat during Operation Bluestar. The posters that have sprung up overnight carry an appeal to the voters to reject the Congress and vote for the SAD-BJP nominee.

As the posters are openly pasted on vehicles of Akali supporters, it seems obvious that the offenders are either ignorant of the code or are violating it with impunity. The code prohibits such activities.

According to the code, “No party or candidate shall indulge in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.”

It prohibits political parties and candidate to refrain from ‘criticism of all aspects of private life’ of a candidate. “There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes”, says the code.

The posters which have been got printed by the Danga Peerat Society, Punjab, does exactly the opposite of what is directed by the code. There is a direct appeal to the voters to reject the Congress and vote for the SAD-BJP alliance.

Residents of this constituency are sore over the issue. Mr Kuldip Singh of Latala village said, “This is an attempt to raise communal feelings for electoral gains.” The Congress has lodged a protest against the move with the Election Commission.


MC demolishes unauthorised structures
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation demolished eight unauthorised structures in Shekhowal village falling in Ward No 66. Mr Satpal Puri, Congress councillor, alleged that since the village was supporting the Congress, the corporation officials were trying to create terror among the people so that they did not vote for the party.

Shekhowal falls in Ludhiana-North. Mr Puri alleged that the owners of the shops demolished by the corporation officials were misled by some officials of the corporation. He claimed that the owners had approached the authorities on several occasions to get the plans of the structure approved. However, they were allowed to construct the complex.

Criticising the demolition, Mr Puri alleged that the demolitions were carried out under a perfect plan to create terror among the Congress supporters. He claimed that the entire Shekhowal village was going to vote for the Congress as they had decided to teach a lesson to the ruling alliance.

The shops were reportedly constructed by Jagmohan Singh and Virender Singh, who had come from Canada to settle down here. The demolished shops included a provision store. Mr Puri alleged that the corporation officials did not allow the shopkeeper to take out the goods.


Women bring decency to campaigning
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Ms Neelam Dawer, wife of the Congress candidate from Ludhiana East, Mr Surinder Dawer, is helping her husband take on the BJP candidate and Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Mr Satpal Gosain. She is among the many women who are campaigning actively for their husbands this time.

Ms Dawer began the campaign with her friends and women activists of the party. Now, more women have joined the campaign.

Ludhiana East is an urban constituency of mainly old city, with narrow lanes, Ms Dawer has tried to cover a maximum area, seeking women’s votes. She says that, as the Congress has a woman chief and the party has allotted a maximum number of tickets to women, women will vote for the party.

Ms Neelam Kapoor, sister of Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, Independent candidate from Ludhiana West, is campaigning for her brother and son with her mother. The mother-daughter team recently organised an all-women rally for Mr Dhanda, where women assured him of their support.

The family of the Congress candidate Mr Harnam Dass Johar is also actively participating in his election campaign. It is the women in the family that are doing the most running around. They approach their family friends and relatives, networking with everyone in the constituency.

The participation of women in the campaigning has added some colour and decency to the show, says Ms Dawer. She also says, “Women neither level any baseless allegations against each other nor stoop low to criticise others.”


SAD has no right to seek votes’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 7
In response to a call given by the Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising the managements’ federation, principals’ federation, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) and Non-teaching Employees Union, a protest rally was organised here today.

Condemning the anti-education policies of the SAD-BJP government, members marched from GGN Khalsa College towards the office of the Deputy Commissioner after passing through various streets and bazaars.

Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, president, PCCTU, urged the rallyists to extend their support to only those parties that had promised fulfillment of their demands in the Assembly elections. He said the SAD had failed to fulfill the assurances given in their election manifesto of 1997. He said such parties had no right to ask for votes again.

Lambasting the SAD-BJP government for their total neglect of higher education during five-year regime, Principal Tarsem Bahia of AS College, Khanna, condemned the cut of 95 per cent grant-in-aid scheme, which would jeopardise the survival of non-government colleges. The steep hike in fee and funds would make higher education unaffordable for the students from lower middle class, he said.

Mr Charan Singh Sarabha of the Government School Teachers Union and Prof Jaipal Singh, president, Government College Teachers Association, supported the demands of the PCCTU. Others who addressed the rally included Prof Kuldip Singh, president of the district council, Prof Parminder Singh, secretary of the district council, Mr Harnam Dass Johar and Mr Harish Dhanda, both candidates of the elections, Mr Rajiv Bhasin, vice-president, Non-Teaching Employees Union, and Prof V.K. Bhardwaj, executive committee member of the PCCTU.


Dhanda promises quality education
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 7
Promising quality and affordable education for every section of society, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, Independent candidate from the Ludhiana West constituency and president of the Ludhiana Bar Association, organised an election rally for students, teachers and educational workers at Embassy Palace, here today.

Mr Dhanda assured them that efforts would be made to end the menace of hefty donations at the time of admission in schools and colleges. He blamed the government for drastic reduction in budgetary allocation to education.

Expressing his concern over problems of private college teachers, Mr Dhanda pledged to oppose any cut in 95 per cent grant to aided colleges. He assured government grants for all private unaided colleges. He also spoke against the expansion of substandard technical education institutes by Punjab Technical University and other universities.

Besides, he also said he was committed for getting more funds for Punjab Agricultural University and getting the demands of teaching and non-teaching employees fulfilled. He also talked about the plans to solve the problems of drinking water, health care, transport and streetlighting. Senior citizens would get facilities of government mobile dispensary at their doorstep, he said.

While supporting the candidate, Prof Santokh Singh Aujla, convener, Save Education Committee, said Mr Dhanda was committed for the public cause and clean politics. Among others who addressed the rally were Dr S.S. Johl, an economist, Dr M.A. Zahir, Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, PAU, Ms Manjit Sodhia, a former Principal, Government College for Women, and Ms Paramjit Bindra, a former Principal, Khalsa Girls High School.


Keen contest likely in Ludhiana-Rural
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Ludhiana-Rural is the biggest assembly segment in Punjab with about 3.5 lakh voters. Currently represented by Mr Hira Singh Gabria, the constituency is likely to witness a keen contest as this time the Congress has field Mr Milkait Singh Birmi, a former minister and influential leader of the area. The Shiromani Akali Dal has fielded a former MP, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, from here, while the Congress rebel, Mr Gurmail Pahalwan, is contesting on the Bahujan Samaj Party ticket.

The composition of the electorate is complex with no particular community having a majority. Although in the last assembly election, Mr Gabria had polled over 90,000 votes here, this time the situation is entirely different. At that time, Mr Gabria was the candidate of the SAD. Since he is now with the Panthic Morcha, the SAD has fielded Mr Aliwal.

If the figures of previous parliamentary elections held in 1999 are any indication, the division of votes between the Panthic Morcha will help the Congress. Despite a massive wave in favour of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee after the Kargil conflict, the Congress candidate from Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, established a massive lead of about 27,000 votes from this segment over Mr Aliwal who was at that time contesting the parliamentary seat. Mr Aliwal polled 36,632 votes, while Mr Gurdarshan Singh Grewal of the Sarb Hind Akali Dal, now a constituent of the Panthic Morcha, polled 17,082 votes.

In the absence of any wave in favour of any political party, it is the Congress candidate, Mr Birmi, who will have an edge over his rivals. Even the common perception among the people here is that had the Panthic Morcha and the SAD fought the elections together, their candidate might have been able to win the seat. Although the Panthic Morcha candidate, Mr Gabria, is well known in the area yet he may not be able to cash in on his image since the party he represents has not a bright future.

Ultimately the contest might prove to be between Mr Birmi and Mr Aliwal only. Mr Aliwal is also faced with several problems. Some the SAD workers are not coming forth with open support. Significantly, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, President of the Youth Akali Dal, has maintained a distance from the campaigning. Although he has made a symbolic presence at some party meetings in the area, yet his stand is too pronounced against Mr Aliwal to make any impact on the voters.

While all the three main contestants Mr Birmi, Mr Aliwal and Mr Gabria are making strong claims about winning the seat, the voters in the area are keeping their fingers crossed, although they feel that the division in Akali votes might help the Congress candidate at the end. But that is too early to say. All the three candidates, besides others, are having a tough time daily, given the number of voters and the area spread so haphazardly.


Bhai Ranjit Singh flays Badal
Our Correspondent

Amloh, February 7
Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former jathedar of Akal Takhat, addressed an election rally in support of Panthic Morcha candidate Randhir Singh Rakhra at Bhadson village, near here, yesterday.

He accused Mr Parkash Singh Badal of spreading hatred among Hindus and Sikhs to gain political power. He said Mr Badal sheltered terrorists and had planned to install Wasan Singh Zafarwal as jathedar of Akal Takhat, but failed in his design due to strong opposition of Sikh community. He further alleged that Mr Badal had used Akal Takhat for political gains. He was also critical of Mr Sucha Singh Langah.

Mr Gian Singh Moongo, chairman Marketing Committee, Bhadson, Mr Jagdev Singh Dhindsa, general secretary, Youth Akali Dal (A), Mr Harnek Singh Diwana, Panthic Morcha candidate from Amloh, Mr Randhir Singh Rakhra, Panthic Morcha candidate from Nabha, and Mr Randhir Singh Dhindsa also addressed the gathering.


Govinda to canvass

Film star Govinda will canvass for the Congress candidates in Ludhiana. A rally will be organised in Daresi Grounds on February 10, according to party sources. TNS


A feeling of mini-India

THE spirit of India is its real identity. Its long history lends to it a rare complexity. It is simultaneously simple and complex. Very few understand her real strength. Many of our historians, planners and politicians miss it. An average Indian is gifted with a robust common sense. He is patriotic. He can survive despite poverty and rise against all odds. Punjab is index of India. It is a representative of Indian history.

If historically Punjab is index of the sub-continent, currently Ludhiana is taking the form of a mini-India. The city is 3.5-million strong on human count. The composition of its citizens is becoming varied and complex. It is relevant to state that the Municipal Corporation has four councillors hailing from UP and Bihar.

Go to Sherpur area . Watch an endless cycle-caravan moving to factories in the Focal Point and industrial areas nearby. Make a videofilm. Screen it in your home. Send for some friends from the Majha or Doaba area to identify the region. They will say after a brief thought: UP, Eastern one — Gonda, Rai Bareli, Sultanpur, Partapgarh! Watch the evening crowds near Jamalpur, Dhandari, Kanganwal, Samrala Chowk, Basti Jodhewal, etc. Go to study the faces, dresses, professions and languages spoken. You will spot a big chunk of “Poorbis” having among them a good deal of bidi-smokers and betel chewers. Roads, streets and walls are sprayed with liberal jets of paan-spittals. It reminds one of Kanpur, Lucknow, Ballia, Allahabad and some areas from Bihar to Jharkhand.

Visit the apni mandi make-shift market. Two Indias are clearly visible: the sellers — mostly migrants; purchasers — mostly original Ludhianavis living in close-by middle-class localities. Try this experiment in Urban Estate (Dugri), B.R.S. Nagar, Sarabha Nagar, Canal Bridge, Haibowal, etc.

For a casual study, make a list of persons with servants and helpers in homes, shops, offices etc. Most of them bear the surname Bahadur. They come from Uttranchal and Garhwal areas. There are statue-sellers, moorti-kalakars. They are Rajasthani craftsmen. Gaudy turbans and bright cotton saris distinguish Rajasthani men and women. They look clean despite dust. They are simple and hardy. Banjaras sell wares.

Associated with hosiery, one finds Tibetans, Ladakhis and Kashmiris, tribals of Lahaul-Spiti, besides inhabitants of Kulu and higher Simla hills. Some settle here for economic reasons despite unbearable heat of May and June. Madhopuri Brahmpuri, Purana Bazar, Nikka Mal Chowk look unusual in winter. Believers in the two-nation theory should know that the metro and suburbs have an upwards of 3 lakh Muslims. The number of mosques is a pointer. The Friday prayers provide the index.

Punjab survives despite communal politics and avoidable divides. The Kalvery Church is the second oldest in the entire region. The church near Fountain Crossing in the Civil Lines is 120-year-old. Christians are living here since 1810. Isa Nagri, CMC&H area, besides Habib Road, Benjamin Road and Shivaji Nagar have sizeable population. S. Mukherjee (Textile Committee) founded the Bengali Society and Library. Durga Puja is an annual feature. Maharashtrians celebrate the Ganesh Chaturthi. Shouts of Ganapati Bappa Morriya are heard. Moorti Visarjan carries colourful scenes accompanied by rituals. The Oriyas have their cultural body. The Tamils and Andhras enjoy their seasonal and cultural festivities. Dandiya Nritya of Gujarat is presented here.

We find technically-qualified people from all states — from Kerala to Delhi to Gujarat to Manipur. The Convent Schools are mostly run by the Catholic Syrian Christians from Kerala. Try to get seats booked on trains during long vacations/festival seasons, you will immediately notice the ever-expanding non-Punjabi population of Ludhiana. In the countryside, non-Punjabis are visible in agriculture, dairying, brick-kiln industry, etc. The second-generation speaks Punjabi also, a new trend!

M.S. Cheema



Two get life term in murder case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 7
Rajinder Singh (28), owner of Dashmesh Electronics, Raikot, and his servant, Mohammad Yasin (23), have been sentenced to undergo life imprisonment on the charge of killing commission agent Mohinder Kumar (24) of Raikot on November 8, 1997.

Mr B.S. Mehndiretta, Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, has also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 each on the accused persons. The judge has ordered that out of the fine amount, Rs 15,000 shall be paid as compensation to the family of the deceased.

The accused were booked under Sections 302, 201 and 34, IPC, on the statement of Jaswinder Kumar, brother of the deceased.

The complainant had told the police that Mohinder Kumar went to the shop of Rajinder Singh for recovering Rs 15,000 on the evening of November 8, 1997. But when his brother did not return, he went to the shop of the accused where his servant, Mohammad Yasin, was also present. They were talking with Mohinder in rough language. ''When we asked Mohinder to leave the place, he said that he will return after settling the dispute.'' But he never turned back.

Later when the shop of Rajinder Singh was opened, blood stains were found on the floor and even the chappal's of the deceased were found there, according to the prosecution.

Thereafter, the police arrested the accused persons and recovered the body of the deceased from a pond near Mohalla Ajitsar. The police also traced the 'dah', the weapon used for murdering Mohinder Kumar.

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