Tuesday, February 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Manpreet Badal, SAD men stage dharna
Demand withdrawal of cases against activists
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Gidderbaha, February 18
In an unprecedented move, which could have far-reaching political implications, thousands of workers of the SAD and BJP led by Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, and Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, MLA, staged a dharna in front of the office of the SDM for “implicating” Mr Gurpal Singh Gora, member, SGPC, and others in a false criminal case “under pressure from a section of Congress leaders”.

Mr Gora, Mr Charanjit Singh and Mr Rachhpal Singh were booked by the local police authorities under Section 307 of the IPC for their alleged involvement in poll violence. Firearms were also used.

Fear gripped this town on February 13 afternoon when the polling was on after violence broke out at several places. People remained indoors instead of exercising their franchise. When Congress workers began to agitate over the fact that the police authorities were deliberately avoiding registration of a criminal case against the accused, a case against Mr Gora and others was registered.

Mr Zora Singh Mann and Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, who addressed the rally in front of the office of the SDM before submitting a memorandum, alleged that false cases had been registered against certain persons, and if the police authorities failed to withdraw the same, the stir would be intensified.

Mr Badal alleged Congress workers had indulged in violence and beaten up SAD and BJP workers. He said the police would have to withdraw “false” cases. He said he was confident that people of this Assembly segment had cast their vote in favour of the SAD-BJP candidates as crores of rupees had been pumped into every nook and corner of the area in the past five years for its development.

He pointed out that Congress leaders and their supporters were a frustrated lot as they knew he was going to be elected MLA for the third time in succession. This was the main reason Congress workers were trying to implicate Akali workers in false cases.

Mr Mann said the SAD-BJP workers would not tolerate police highhandedness.

This is the second instance when the SAD-BJP alliance candidate has resorted to a dharna to press the concerned police authorities to withdraw cases against party functionaries and workers.

On February 14, hundreds of SAD workers led by Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, Chairman, Milkfed, Punjab, and the party’s candidate from the Joga Assembly segment, staged a dharna in front of the Ballianwali police station to protest against the implication of his brother-in-law, Mr Himmat Singh, in an NDPS case.

Today’s dharna in this hometown of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is the second of its kind in the Malwa region, a traditional stronghold of the Akalis.

Almost a complete bandh for about four hours followed by a rally was held in the town by Congress workers and citizens led by party candidate, Raghubir Singh and former Chairman, Punseed, Mr Ashok Dheer, on February 15 in protest against the failure of the local police to arrest Akali workers against whom a case had been registered on February 13 under Section 307, IPC.


Amarinder pulls strings to head CLP
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 18
Six days ahead of the Assembly poll results due to be declared on February 24, the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Capt Amarinder Singh, has started an exercise to ensure his election as the head of the Congress Legislature Party( CLP).

Informed sources said here today that Capt Amarinder Singh had invited all party candidates, who contested the recently held assembly elections, to a dinner at his Moti Bag palace in Patiala on February 22.

The dinner meeting would be followed by another such meeting to be held here on February 24. For Chandigarh dinner party, all party MLAs would be invited, sources added. On February 24, result of all constituencies would be out by afternoon.

Optimistic of getting a majority, the Congress is contemplating of holding the oath-taking ceremony at Yadvindra Public School( YPS) stadium where mostly state-level functions like Republic and Independence days functions are normally held. Sources said already a blue print for such a proposal had been prepared. Capt Amarinder Singh, according to information available, has left for Delhi to meet and thank Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President, All-India Congress Committee, for campaigning in the state.

It is significant to mention here that Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, a former Chief Minister, and Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, a senior leader, has already declared that they are in the race for the chief ministership. Earlier, the name of Mrs Ambika Soni has also figured in this connection but she has already denied that she was in the race.

Both Capt Amarinder Singh and Mrs Bhattal camps have drawn up their strategies to achieve target.


Overseas Congress invites Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 18
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President, Capt. Amarinder Singh, has accepted the invitation of the Overseas Congress — North America, Canada — extended by the Chief Adviser and spokesperson of the Congress, Mr Paramjit Singh Johal, who called on him at Patiala today. He was accompanied by Mr Gursharan Sidhu, President, Overseas Youth Congress.

Briefing Capt. Amarinder Singh of the activities of the Congress, Mr Johal said a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce would be arranged for Capt. Amarinder Singh to interact with the NRIs in Toronto.

Capt. Amarinder Singh praised the Overseas Congress for its efforts to fight back extremist elements in Canada in the larger interest of India and promised to visit at the earliest.


Exit poll sends SAD, BJP men into flurry
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 18
The setback predicted for the SAD-BJP combine in the exit poll for the Vidhan Sabha elections has sent the workers of both parties into a flurry.

Hence many of the councillors belonging to the ruling combine are at pains to pay extra attention to their respective wards and members to fight the anti-incumbency wave.

BJP councillors and senior party functionaries are holding daily meetings, sometimes even twice a day, to make overall and in-depth assessment of overall development activity in the past five years. At least 31 wards in the municipal corporation here are with the ruling combine of the total 60. The ruling party fears that the poll results are likely to have a bearing on corporation election results.

The current scenario of proposals for re-demarcation of wards in ratio to its population, increase in the total number of wards from 60 to 65 or 68 and de-reservation of some wards have created utter confusion in the rank and file of the ruling party.

Fear of certain prominent councillors crossing over to the Congress camp have added to their worries.

The matter of de-reservation of certain wards and reservation to be imposed on others have especially landed the women councillors in an unenviable position. Among the 18 women in SAD and BJP, majority of them feel that their male counterparts are eyeing the ticket from their wards, some of which(wards) are likely to lose the reserved category.

However refuting the fears Dr Renu Goel (BJP), councillor, says that women councillors who have met the development targets and thereby gained the confidence in their wards need not worry as the party cannot ignore their work irrespective of the ward reservation on male/female grounds.

However, the Opposition begs to differ, pointing out that during this tenure the illegal building and haphazard growth of the city too has been unprecedented, leading to extreme traffic flow problems and parking space crunch.

Mr Sunil Datti, (Congress) leader of Opposition in the House, said the corporation’s poll were likely to be announced within a month of the results of the Vidhan Sabha elections. He claimed that many of the councillors from the ruling party were sending feelers to them to be inducted in the Congress.

Mr Ajaypal Singh Meerakote, sitting SAD MLA, who was refused party ticket in the current elections and had revolted was, however, guarded in his comment, saying that all vital decisions pertaining to fielding candidates and other options would be taken by a sub-committee to be formed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal after the Vidhan Sabha results were declared.


SGPC education board on anvil
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 18
The SGPC chief, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, has said the Sikh Education Board will be constituted in a couple of days for streamlining educational institutions being run by the SGPC.

Having an advisory but independent role, the board will have Sikh scholars and educationists on it Professor Badungar told newsmen here today. The proposal was likely to be cleared at the SGPC executive meeting to be held in Amritsar of February 20, he disclosed. The SGPC runs several schools, colleges and engineering and medical institutions. Updating of education would be among the major thrusts of the new budget likely to be adopted in the third week of March, he said. He scoffed at suggestions in a section of the press that 64 SGPC members of the Badal group were waiting to switch over to the Tohra faction.

On sending a Sikh jatha to Pakistan on Baisakhi in April, Professor Badungar said that if tension between India and Pakistan continued and there was no rail or road service, then the jatha won’t be sent. But if the situation became normal, the jatha would be sent, he declared. Opposed the PSGPC. he demanded the handing over of control of Sikh shrines in Pakistan to SGPC as per the Nehru-Tara Singh pact. “We can’t brook an ISI chief controlling Sikh gurdwaras in Pakistan,” he asserted.

On voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs, he said the provisions of the 1925 Sikh Gurdwara Act would be honoured in this regard.

He declared that the new SGPC Budget would lay stress on rebuilding Sikh Reference Library that was destroyed in the 1984 Operation Bluestar.

Professor Badungar declared that a second Sikh jagriti lehar a kind of Sikh renaissance on the pattern of the Singh Sabha movement, would be launched for ushering in social reforms by curbing and combating the menace of drugs, dowry and female foeticide. The proposal would be cleared by the SGPC Dharam Parchar Committee at Chandigarh on February 21, he disclosed.

On the resignation of Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar of Damdama Sahib Takht, Professor Badungar said he would place it before the executive on February 20.


Defence panel visits border areas
Tribune Reporters

Fazilka, February 18
Members of the Parliamentary Defence Committee, including its chairman, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, and Mr Mahesh Sharma, Mr Raghubir Kaushal, Mr Jaswant Yadav and Mr Nihal Chand Meghwal, all MPs, accompanied by senior civil and Army officers, visited border villages in the Fazilka sector where landmines were laid after the December 13 attack on Parliament and he subsequent rise in tension on the Indo-Pak border. The committee members heard problems of villagers during their tour.

Although Mr Khurana, on visit to Fazilka during the election campaign last week, had said that the committee would visit the area to study local problems, hundreds of residents, including sarpanches, were not allowed to meet committee members by the local administration. Only about 24 selected persons were allowed to interact with the delegation.

Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, a former MLA from Fazilka, Mr Surinder Kumar Ahuja, Mr Rajinder Singh and Mr Davinder Singh Sawansukha, Sarpanch of Chananwala village, Mr Mohinder Partap Dhingra, president, Municipal Council, Fazilka, Mr Des Raj Kamboj, president, block Congress committee (rural), and Mr Satish Dhingra, secretary, Punjab Beopar Mandal, apprised the committee members of the problems faced by farmers and other residents of about 54 villages where landmines had been laid.

They also demanded compensation and waiver of the interest on agricultural loan and postponement of payment of instalments of the loan. They demanded compensation of Rs 15,000 per acre on wheat and paddy, Rs 26,000 for sugarcane, Rs 30,000 per acre for other remunerative crops like sarson, Indian ber, amla, Rs 35,000 for gauva and Rs 50,000 for citrus fruit. They also sought Rs 80 as daily-wage compensation for labourers.

Dr Rinwa said due to supply of water to defence areas, the villages of Roopnagar, Bareka, Muradwala and Sivana had been deprived of irrigational water. He said farmers of these villages should also be paid compensation. The Deputy Commissioner assured that a special girdawari would be done to assess the loss.

Mr Khurana said a decision with regard to compensation and grant would be taken after a meeting of civil and Army officers. He said the pending payment of sugarcane to farmers would be released within two days. He said he would again visit the area on March 3 to ensure prompt release of the compensation.

Some residents of border villages of Sriganganagar district, led by Mr Radhey Shayam, MLA, met the committee members and apprised them of their problems.

FEROZEPORE: The committee members on Monday visited the frontier areas along the zero line of the Indo-Pak border in the Hussiniwala sector to take stock of the relief and rehabilitation measures undertaken by the administration for residents of border villages. The committee also made an assessment of the damage caused to crops due to the laying of mines in the fields by the Army.


Two in race for VC’s post
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 18
The three-yearly drama has already started in Punjabi University with knives being drawn out against present Vice-Chancellor and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) nominee, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, and intense lobbying starting among academicians aligned with the Congress to get nominated to the top post.

Dr Ahluwalia, who was appointed three years ago due to his proximity to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is slated to end his three-year term in May. With bookies and exit polls putting their money on the Congress as the party likely to return to power in the state, academicians linked with the Congress as well as those who were critical of Dr Ahluwalia’s style of functioning are making a bid for the top post.

Interestingly even the Vice-Chancellor, who played a major role in the celebration of the tercentenary of the Khalsa and of the 200th anniversary of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, is also trying to come back by criticising the organisations like the RSS and accusing these of being responsible for fomenting trouble on the varsity campus. By doing this, the Vice-Chancellor is trying to dissociate himself from the BJP and make himself acceptable to the Congress.

Sources said though two names are doing the rounds, several other prominent academicians could be in the race. Prof G.B. Singh, former Head of Department of Geography, and Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, who is a former Dean, Colleges of the University, and has been fighting a no-holds-barred battle against the present Vice-Chancellor, are said to be in the race.

The sources said Prof G.B. Singh had been in constant touch with PPCC President Amarinder Singh and Patiala MP Preneet Kaur regarding academic activities taking place in the university and that he had also been active in getting intellectuals to support Ms Preneet Kaur during the last Lok Sabha elections. They said as regards Dr Dhillon, he was relying on the stand he had stuck to during the past three years against the present Vice-Chancellor. Dr Dhillon spearheads an organisation by the name of the Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) and has been in the forefront in the agitation against the style of functioning of the Vice-Chancellor. He also has channels in the Congress which he is trying to use to his advantage.

University teachers, however, feel a dark horse can easily emerge in the days to come as prominent academicians have not thrown their hat in the ring as the election results are still awaited. Most teachers favour an outsider being appointed to the top post so that the university atmosphere is improved. During the tenure of the former Vice-Chancellor, Dr Joginder Singh Puar, a section of teachers had complained that they were being victimised. Similarly, under the present dispensation, those who had complained of victimisation earlier, were ruling the roost. The teachers feel that the Vice-Chancellor should be completely impartial if academic atmosphere was to be maintained on the campus. A prominent scholar said a search committee could be instituted to select the next Vice-Chancellor comprising a university and government nominee besides a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to ensure that the right candidate was selected for the job.


Minister’s son booked
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, February 18
An FIR against Sanjay Tandon, son of Local Bodies Minister Balramji Dass Tandon and Akali-BJP combine candidate from the Samana constituency, as the main accused along with a few others was registered at the Rajpura city police station here on Saturday.

He along with Rinku, Joga, Satta and other BJP workers has been booked by the Rajpura police under Sections 341, 452, 352, 427, 506, 148 and 149, IPC, on the complaint of Mr Surinder Dutt of Gobind Colony, Rajpura. They have been booked for intimidation, abuse, carrying arms, unlawfully entering premises and threatening to kill Tarun Khurana, son of Congress candidate from Rajpura. Raj Khurana and Surinder dutt who is known to be close to the Congress leader.

Surinder Dutt, who also has an FIR registered against him, has alleged that Sanjay Tandon and other workers who were brandishing arms entered the Congress camp at ITI chowk in Rajpura and threatened to kill Tarun Khurana and Surinder Dutt.

On other hand, it has been alleged by Kanwar Jagdeep Singh, president, BJP (Rural) District Amritsar, in his FIR against Surinder Dutt and others that he was sitting at 22, Dashmesh Colony, Rajpura, where Sanjay Tandon was staying during the elections when Sanjay Tandon came running in followed by Surinder Dutt who was carrying a revolver and threatening to kill him. He also claims that one of the co-accused also tried to stab him. Dutt and others have been booked under Sections 342, 323, 452 and 34 IPC.

Meanwhile, the SSP, Patiala, Mr P.S. Umranangal, denied reports that Mr Balramji Dass Tandon was also named as co-accused in the FIR and said there were minor clashes between the two party workers on the polling day but no one was injured. He said that SPD force had reached the site and separated the two factions. He also stated that an inquiry had been initiated in the case under the supervision of city SP Gautam Cheema.


Kidnapped girl’s parents sore with cops
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 18
Mr Hari Nath and his wife Perm Bai, labourers living in a slum locality of this town, have been running from pillar to post in search of their four-year-old daughter Rajni, for the past many months who was allegedly kidnapped.

Rajni was allegedly kidnapped on November 24, 2001, from a slum area of the city. When her parents went to lodge an FIR in this regard, police officials allegedly wrote down their own version in the FIR and did nothing to search the missing girl at all or arrest the accused.

The parents of the girl while talking to mediapersons here today accused the police officials of being hand in glove with the kidnappers. They said that they went to the Civil Lines police station to lodge their complaint on the day their daughter went missing, they were told that their complaint had been lodged. But when the police failed to search their daughter and arrest the accused, they suspected a nexus of police officials and kidnappers.

They alleged that the prime suspect, Bhaiya Lal, a resident of Raigarh district, had come to stay at the residence of Piare Lal who was their neighbour. The accused had developed friendship with the children of the locality. When they went out to earn their daily bread on November 24, the accused allegedly tried to kidnap four children of the locality. While three kids managed to escape from the net of the accused Rajni, being the youngest, failed to do so.

Dr Vineeta Gupta, general secretary, Insaaf International, who has taken up the case with the police authorities while talking to mediapersons pointed out that while the parents of the girl had named the suspects in their version, the FIR registered by the police did not mentioned their names. The FIR states that the parents of the missing girl neither named any suspect nor feared any kidnapping, but they had said that the girl went missing while playing.

She further accused the police authorities of not registering the FIR on the day of the incident (November 24, 2001) when the parents of Rajni had approached the police. It was lodged on December 10, 2001, which showed that the police was hand in glove with the culprits.

Demanding a probe into the incident, she alleged that a deliberate delay in the registration of the FIR, recording of false statements by the police and keeping the complainants in the dark about the contents of the FIR were a strong indication of the nexus of police authorities and the child kidnapping gangs.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, if need arose, the investigation into this case would be handed over to the CIA.


Contract labourers fear retrenchment
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 18
Apprehending retrenchment, contract labourers of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) have threatened agitation. Panic among the nearly 1,500 contract labourers has been triggered by a circular of the PSEB in which the thermal plant authorities have been directed to reduce expenditure by 10 per cent. The contract labourers here fear that the plant management may reduce their strength on the pretext of decreasing expenditure.

The union of contract labourers working in the plant for decades has been demanding the regularisation of their jobs.

Union leaders here allege that as per the Contract Labour Act, 1970, any work which continues for more than 100 days in a year has to be considered as permanent and no contract labour can be employed for these jobs. Most of the contract labourers working in the thermal plant here have been doing jobs of a permanent nature, like loading and unloading of coal and small mechanical jobs, for decades.

They are being exploited in violation of the Act as a contract labourer is paid just about Rs 2000 per month vis-a-vis about Rs 5,500 paid to a regular labourer doing the same job, they allege.

The petition seeking regularisation of the contract labourers’ services is pending before the Supreme Court.

The contract labourers now allege that the management was planning to retrench them before the vacation of the stay orders.

The General Manager of GGSSTP, Mr Mahindroo, however, said the apprehension of the contract labourers as unfounded.


DCC expels office-bearers for 6 years
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 18
A number of office-bearers of the District Congress Committee (DCC) including four general secretaries, have been expelled from the party for six years as they had worked against the official party candidate from here, Mr Surinder Singla.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the disciplinary committee of the DCC held here today under the presidentship of Dr Bhagat Singh Dhaliwal, district President. A sub-committee was formed during the meeting to take the decision regarding the office-bearers who had campaigned against the party candidates in other constituencies in the district. The committee would take a decision after getting reports from the candidates contesting in the constituencies concerned.

The office-bearers expelled today included Mr Joginder Pal, treasurer, Ms Paramjeet Kaur Brar, MC, Dr Gurbakash Singh, Mr Mohan Lal Jogi and Mr Sanjeev Kumar, all General Secretaries, Mr Naranjan Lal Mishra, Vice-President city unit), Ms Veerpal Kaur, President (local women cell), Ms Babita Aggarwal, Vice-President, city unit, Ms Gurdeep Kaur, Vice-President (women wing), Mr Gulab Mahant and Mr Shivji Ram, both municipal councillors, Dr Satpal Bhateja and Mr Balwinder Singh.


Mann opposes voting right to Sehajdharis
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 18
Akali Dal (Amritsar) President and senior Panthic Morcha leader Simranjit Singh Mann today opposed voting right to Sehajdhari Sikhs in the SGPC poll, saying that this would dilute the Sikh cause.

Defending the constitution of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (PSGPC), he said, “It was laudable that an Islamic country had given recognition to minorities.

He flayed the termination of rail and bus services between India and Pakistan.

Talking to reporters here, he said the Panthic Morcha would win far more seats than the two given to it by exit poll. PTI


Residents thirst for water
J.S. Malhotra

Jalandhar, February 18
The acute shortage of drinking water in Garha and adjoining localities here has thrown the life of more than 3,000 residents out of gear for the past one and a half months.

Though residents have been complaining about the unavailability of drinking water to the authorities concerned, Municipal Corporation officials have failed to solve the problem.

The residents, particularly women, are being forced to cover a distance of 2 km to fetch water from the nearby localities. The cremation of a resident of Garha locality, Harbans Lal, who died 15 days ago, had to be delayed for about two hours since there was no water to wash his body.

During a visit to the locality today, many residents mistook this correspondent for an MC official and started hurling queries about the restoration of water supply. About 200 women came out of their houses and started explaining that they were facing problems for the past one and a half months.

They complained that two tubewell operators of the MC were most of the times found absent from duty. “These tubewell operators never pay any heed to our problems. Most of the times they are found in a drunken state. We have complained about them to senior MC officials, but no action has been taken. They should be transferred”, Krishna, a housewife, demanded.

Hari Chand Walia (70) said though they had made several representations to the MC authorities for the restoration of drinking water supply, but the latter had even failed to provide water tankers in the locality as a temporary measure.

The general secretary of the Garha Sudhar Committee, Mr Om Parkash, alleged that they were facing discrimination at the hands of MC officials since most of the residents belonged to weaker sections of society.

“The height of indifference towards us can be gauged from the fact that the supply of drinking water in the locality was earlier only for two hours as against 12 hours per day in other localities. So much so that no senior official has visited the area,” he added.

Interestingly, there was no boundary wall around the tubewell and the overhead water reservoir tank and the place was virtually being used as garbage dump.

According to official sources, two tubewells installed in the locality have been non-functional due to technical faults for the past month.

When contacted, the MC Commissioner, Mr Sameer Kumar, admitted that there was a shortage of drinking water in Garha locality and said he had instructed the officials concerned to restore water supply in the area at the earliest.


Indians unaware of culture’
Harwinder Dhillon

Amritsar, February 18
“Our countrymen remain largely unaware of the value of our rich culture and traditions, including folk dances, whereas foreigners take a deep interest in knowing, following, appreciating, imitating and learning the originality of the dances,” remarked an outstanding “serikella chhau” (Oriya) dancer Shashadhar Acharya who was here to conduct a theatre workshop organised by the Sangeet Natak Academy in collaboration with Guru Nanak Dev University.

Sharing his experience of a trip to Singapore, he said he was impressed by residents there who showed keen interest in the dance that had little meaning for them but still they expressed a desire to learn it.

He inherited the tradition from his father Guru Linga Acharya and received training from Gurtu Natas Lehar B.B. Pattanayak Padamshree, S.N. Singh Deo, Guru Kedarnath Sahoo and Guru Bikram Kumbhkar.

This dancer has given both solo and group performances in several national and international dance festival. He has been teaching at National School of Drama for the past 10 years and at the Sriram Centre for Art and Culture, New Delhi.

He said the evolution of the dance was closely related to “parikhanda” (pari-shield+khanda-sword). All movements originated from this martial stance which determined the dynamics of movements and treatment of space. In the evolutionary process of performance modes, the martial movements underwent another phase of stylisation and aesthetic refinement.

Comparing the dance with classical dances, Acharya pointed out that the body attitude and the whole dynamics of movement in “chhau”, especially the upward thrust, leg extensions and dancer’s relationship to space, were different from that in the classical dances, which were earth-bound and gravity oriented.

The elaborated Acharya that the mask was the most striking feature of the dance style. The facial expressions (vachikabhinaya) were absent and eliminated the speech thus a quarter scope for expression through mind and body language was created. These masks were made of clay, reinforced with cloth, artistically moulded and painted in different colours according to the sentiments. The flat and neutral flasks had been especially conceived keeping movements in view. During the course of the programme, the masks acquired a whole range of expressions with every turn, tilt of the neck and twist of the body.

Talking to this correspondent, he said the originality of the old traditional arts had to be kept alive to let youngsters gain authentic knowledge about these.


SGPC suspends holy visits to Pak

Phagwara, February 18
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) will not conduct pilgrimage to Pakistan, because of tension along the Indo-Pakistan border, SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar said today.

He told mediapersons here that holy visits to Pakistan, home to a number of historic gurdwaras, could be made only when relations between the two countries eased and regular transport resumed.

Also, Mr Badungar said the Sikh historical library would now be rebuilt and efforts and negotiations were on with the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister for the restoration of historical books impounded by the Army during operation Bluestar.

An SGPC executive meeting would be held on February 20 in Amritsar, he added. UNI


Doctors threaten indefinite strike
Our Correspondent

Moga, February 18
Doctors in the state have threatened to go on an indefinite strike if the government failed to take necessary action against the anti-social elements who reportedly entered the doctors’ room carrying arms and obstructed them from performing duties at the instance of a candidate of a political party from Dharamkot constituency a few days ago.

The doctors of the Moga Civil Hospital had yesterday also struck work for three hours in this regard.

The doctors also gave a memorandum to the state government


Frequent power cuts irk residents
Our Correspondent

Moga, February 18
Although the state government had assured industrialists that there would be no power shortage, regular power cuts are imposed here. The power cuts have adversely affected the industry.

Farmers, who have been facing an acute water shortage due to the absence of rain, said if the power situation was uncomfortable in winter, it would be worse in summer.

They urged the PSEB to make arrangements for uninterrupted power supply.


2 cable office staffers beaten up
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 18
Local cable operators are at loggerhead with one another. The AVS cable office here was allegedly trespassed by four police personnel and some persons from the Siti Cable network here late last night.

Mr Subhash Bhandari, Managing Director, and Mr Deep Makkar, Public Relations Officer of the network, at a press conference here today alleged that four policemen came to their office premises around 11.30 pm followed by some persons from Siti Cable and beat two AVS employees, Sudhir and Raju. They left after cutting the telephone wires of the office.

He claimed this was the second attempt of trespass and hooliganism in their premises by the local Citi Cable. On October 21, last year, about 25 persons allegedly forced their way into their premises and stole 13 TV channel cards.


4 die as school bus hits scooter
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 18
Four youngsters, including a school girl, were crushed to death, and at least six students were injured when a school bus hit a scooter and overturned on the outskirts of Balachaur township in Nawanshahr district this afternoon.

The incident occurred when a bus belonging to MBG Public School, Pojewal, Balachaur, hit a scooter, resulting in the death of the three scooterists, identified as Jaswinder Singh and his brother Balkar Singh, both residents of Rurki village, and their cousin Sukhdip Singh.

After hitting the scooter, the bus driver lost control of the vehicle and it overturned, causing the death of Kailash Kumari, a student of the school. Six more girl students received injuries.

The bus driver, Ashok Kumar, a resident of Chuharpur village, near Pojewal, managed to escape after the incident. The injured were admitted to Balachaur Civil Hospital. Two students who were seriously injured were shifted to Nawanshahr Civil Hospital.

Mr Manohar Singh, Sub-Inspector at Balachaur police station, said a case had been registered.


Villager’s death case takes new turn
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, February 18
The case of the death of Bheema, a resident of Chaunta village under Dinanagar police station, allegedly due to police torture here on February 3, took a new turn when the police registered a case against relatives of the deceased and others on a complaint lodged by Anju Bala of the village. She had alleged in the complaint that on the Daswan ceremony of Bheema, his kin and supporters attacked her house, causing a damage of about Rs 40,000.

The police has registered a case under Sections 452, 436, 380, 356, 341, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC against Jaswant Rai, father of the deceased, Kanso, his mother, Sushma, his sister, Pawan and Sarwan, his brothers, Dinanagar Shiv Sena president Vaneet, Pappa, a former Sarpanch of Chaunta village, Puran Singh Kewal, Raghubir, Rattan Chand, Gulab Singh and Kewal Singh, all residents of the village.

Jaswant Rai, talking to this correspondent today, alleged that they were being implicated in a false case. He said these could be pressure tactics applied against them keeping in view the investigation into a case registered against four police officials on February 3 in connection with Bheema’s death.

It may be mentioned that Bheema died at the local Civil Hospital, allegedly due to police torture, on February 3.


Couple commit suicide
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 18
Nachhattar Singh (35) and his wife Karamjit Kaur (34), residents of Ina Bajwa village near Sherpur, allegedly committed suicide yesterday. The Sherpur police said this afternoon the couple committed suicide by consuming celphos tablets due to a family dispute over a piece of property.

The police said it had registered a case against the father and brother of Nachhattar Singh.


Miscreants attack house: 4 injured
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 18
Four persons, including two women, were injured when about 10 unidentified persons barged into the house of Mohinder Singh on the Bhullarai road lastnight, attacked them and fled away with golden ear-rings of a woman.

The assailants were armed with lathis. Those injured include Mrs Nirmal Kaur, Mrs Charanjit Kaur and Mr Jaswinder Singh.

The police has registered a case under Section 459 of the IPC.


Bank looted

Moga, February 18
Unidentified miscreants looted a branch of a Central Cooperative Bank at Takhanvadh village in Moga district last night, the police said here today.
The miscreants entered the strong room of the bank and broke it safe and decamped with Rs 2.52 lakh. The matter came to the notice of bank employees this morning when they turned up for duty. The services of sniffer dogs were taken to trace the culprits. PTI


Punjabi varsity to  host youth fest
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 18
Punjabi University will host the Inter-zonal Youth Festival, to be held from February 20 to 22. More than 600 artists from four zones are expected to participate in this three-day festival.

Giving this information, Dean of Human Resource Development, Mr Daljit Singh, said on the opening day, competitions in folk-dance, bhangra, and gidda would be held, which in the evening session competitions in the categories of classical dance, painting, cartooning and collage making would be held.

Competitions of shabad recital, singing, ballad singing, poetry recital, elocution and classical dance will be held on February 21.

Drama competition, group skit, group mime, mimicry and fancy dress would be held on February 22.

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