Saturday, March 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Near total bandh in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
A near total bandh was observed in the city on the call of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

Baring a few skirmishes at three places, no major incident of violence was reported from any part of the city. The SSP, Mr Hapreet Singh Sidhu, and other senior officers personally monitored the situation and diffused tempers at several places.

A tension-ridden district administration heaved a sigh of relief in the evening after the day passed off peacefully. Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, said: “All preventive measures had been taken and the police and Duty Magistrates had been deployed in most parts of the city. The SSP was personally camping in front Jama Masjid. All routes to the mosque had been sealed.”

Some of the agitators tried to disrupt the Friday prayers. However, the police prevented them from doing so as they were dispersed much ahead of the mosque. The police remained deployed there all through the day and the prayers were offered in normal course. The Shahi Imam of the masjid, Maualan Habib-u-Rehman Ludhianvi, and the president of the Indian Muslim Council, Punjab unit, appreciated the efforts of the administration. They expressed gratitude to all residents of Ludhiana who exercised restraint despite all provocations.

Though, initially the bandh call received a lukewarm response, but around mid-day owners of shops and other business establishments pulled down shutters as VHP activists marched in procession through various parts of the city raising slogans against the killing of innocent passengers.

Residents witnessed some anxious moments when VHP activists marched towards a mosque in Islam Ganj to disrupt the prayers. But the police blocked all routes preventing them from going near the mosque.

Despite restraint, the police had to resort to a mild lathi charge at Rajguru Nagar, Field Gunj and Industrial area to disperse mob trying to force people to pull down shutters. It was in the early morning that a mob began forcibly closing down shops at Rajguru Nagar and the police had to intervene. Miscreants fled when the police chased them.

Again at Field Gunj, some miscreants beat up a person while he was on way to a local mosque. Some passersby rescued him. A tea shop and a flower shop were looted in the Shiv Puri and Field Gunj area, respectively. Timely action also prevented a mob from attacking some open shops in Ghumar Mandi.

Mr Sidhu, while confirming that the bandh was peaceful, said some force was also rushed to the Shivpuri area in the afternoon when a mob attacked some rehri owners and overturned the rehris. According to eyewitnesses, the mob was raising slogans in protest against the attack.

Senior police officers were seen camping in the Field Gunj area. No one received any serious injury in the minor skirmishes that took place at different places in the city.

The police rounded up several anti-social elements last night, according to senior police officials. The police has made it clear to all that anyone found indulging in such activity would be booked immediately.

A minor incident was also reported from Kidwai Nagar, where a religious leader suffered minor injuries after some miscreants pelted stones on him. He alleged that the people who attacked him belonged to the BJP and he had identified them.

Amloh: A bandh was observed here on Friday to express sympathy with those killed at the Godhra railway station.

A ‘shok sabha’ was organised at Aggarwal Dharamshala where two minutes silence was observed in memory of the departed souls. Mr Ranvir Gupta, president, VHP, Amloh unit, Mr Rajpal Garg, president, BJP, Amloh unit, Mr Mangat Arora, general secretary, block Congress, Mr Manjit Dalla of the PCO Association, Mr Baljit Singh of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), Mr Pardeep Garg of the RSS, Mr Roshan Lal and Mr Siri Ram Dang of the Sanatan Dharam Sabha, among others, condemned the incident.

Mandi Gobindgarh: Business establishments remained closed here on Friday in protest against the killings. The bandh call was given by the state unit of the VHP.

Mr Suresh Jain, Mr Mukesh Jindal, Mr Chaman Lal, Mr K.C. Jindal, Mr Ashok Sofat, Mr Sandeep Sharma, Mr Balwinder Verma, Mr Bhupinder Verma, Mr Jagmeet Singh Sahota, Dr Sakinder Singh and Mr Ravish Gupta condemned the incident.

Jagraon: All commercial, religious and educational institutions remained closed till noon on Friday. Members of the Bar Association also boycotted court working.

Doraha: A complete bandh was observed here on Friday. A condolence meeting was organised in which Mr S.P. Verma of the Arhtiya Association, Mr Krishan Lal Gupta, Mr Bant Singh Daburjee, Chairman, Buddhewal Mills, Mr Sudarshan Kumar Pappu, president, Nagar Council, Mr Gurmit Singh, a former Political Secretary, Mr Rasik Bihari, Mr Bhupinder Singh Oberoi, Mr Muni Lal Bansal and Mr Onkar Aggarwal, among others, participated.



SHO suspended for dereliction of duty
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
The district police authorities today put under suspension, Sub-Inspector and SHO Model Town Balraj Singh on the charges of dereliction of duty and disobeying orders in the investigation related to the infamous Jawadi murder case. There were also some unconfirmed reports that some corruption charges had also been levelled against the cop for ‘favouring’the accused party in the case.

Confirming the orders, SSP Harpreet Singh Sidhu said DSP (Sarabha Nagar) Parambir Singh Parmar had found the police officer to be guilty of dereliction of duty in the murder case and he had approved the orders.

He said the main reason for the suspension was that the cop did not carry out investigation in the case himself as per the orders and had passed the same to a junior officer. He said the SHO had been sent to the lines.

The SHO was told to investigate the Jawadi murder case in which an NRI Manjit Singh had allegedly murdered a youth, Gurcharan Singh a couple of weeks ago.

The accused had later surrendered to the police and had confessed that he had murdered him to avenge his involvement in the elopement of his (the accused's) sister with some other youth. The couple had later got married. The accused had returned from Canada recently.

According to sources the SI had allegedly tried to help the accused in the case and some money had also changed hands. Sources said when the deal was leaked, money was allegedly returned.

The suspended cop Balraj Singh, however, denied the allegations. He said he had not taken any money and could direct his junior officer to do the investigation who he claimed was working under his supervision.

He said he would be meeting the senior officers and would explain his position.



Doctor booked for girl’s death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
The infamous illegal abortion trade in the city has consumed another life. An Ayurvedic doctor of Abdullahpur Basti, claiming to have a legal degree from a Varanasi college, has been booked by the Model Town police on the charge of causing death due to negligence of a 15-year-old girl, on whom the accused had performed an abortion operation.

The operation was performed yesterday but the girl's condition deteriorated rapidly and she died in a hospital today morning.

According to a complaint lodged with the Model Town police station on the statement of the girl's father , the unmarried girl had complained of headache and was taken to the doctor Daljit Kaur, who runs a clinic in Abdullahpur Basti. The accused said the girl was pregnant. She then allegedly charged a hefty amount from the parents to perform the illegal abortion. However, the girls condition worsened and she breathed her last in a city hospital today morning.

The girl’s parents, however, maintained that the girl was not pregnant. They said the doctor might have fooled them to make money. The body has been sent for post-mortem examination.

However, it could not be confirmed whether the doctor was qualified enough to perform such an operation. The police said it was verifying the degrees of the doctor.

With the death of the girl the trade of illegal abortions being performed on minor girls in the city has come to light. Many a times the reports of this trade have been received by the media but no concrete steps have been taken by the administration in this regard so far. 



Muslim bodies flay attack
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 1
The Indian Muslim Council, Punjab, and the Ludhiana Welfare Society have condemned the attack on the Sabarmati Express in Gujarat in which 58 persons were killed.

In a press note issue here today, Mr Ateeq-ur-Rehman, president of the council, said the culprits should be severely punished. He said the extremists have no religion and they know only how to shed blood of innocent people. He said the aim of the killers was to create communal tension. He further said the Babri Masjid dispute must be settled mutually through talks or referred to the Supreme Court with an understanding that the verdict of the court would be acceptable to everyone.

Mr Ateeq said the attack on passengers was part of a well-contrived conspiracy with the aim of creating communal flare-ups. He appealed to both Hindus and Muslims to observe restraint.

The society also appealed to the people to maintain their calm in order to defeat the designs of communal elements, which were bent upon creating communal tension in the country.

The Muslim Aman Society, Punjab, held a meeting here today to condemn the killings and demand compensation for the families of the victims.

The meeting, which was presided over by its president, Mr Mohammad Nasim Ansari, resolved to ask the Central Government to grant a compensation of Rs 15 lakh each to the bereaved families. It also called upon the government to trace the culprits on a priority basis and punish them. Addressing the meeting, he said the need of the hour was to observe restraint and maintain communal harmony.

Others who attended the meeting included Ms Manjit Kaur, vice-president of the society’s women wing, Ms Kamlesh Rani, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, Mr Shamsher Alam, Mr Feroze Alam, Mr Darshan Ahuja, Mr Satish Kumar and Mr Sohan Singh Jassal.



Fire destroys spinning mill
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 1
A fire broke out in Northern Cot Spin Mill Limited on the Jagraon-Ludhiana road, 4 km from here. A loss of nearly Rs 1 crore worth of machinery, raw material, finished goods etc. has been reported.

According to Mr Surinder Kumar, MD, an electric motor had developed a fault yesterday and was replaced by their mechanic. Thereafter, the fire broke out due to short circuit and engulfed the mill. 



Class VIII paper outside syllabus
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 1
Students of Class VIII who appeared for the written test on ‘Computer Education’ today said at least half of the question paper set by the Punjab School Education Board was outside syllabus.

The students and teachers said while the board authorities had stated that no questions would be set from ‘Programming techniques’, ‘Control statements’, ‘Library functioning’ and ‘String manipulators’, questions with the weightage of 30 marks out of the total 50 marks were set from the topics. The students have demanded that the board authorities should give grace marks in wake of the discrepancy.



Tense day passes off peacefully
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
Notwithstanding the brave face put up by the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Maulana Habib-u-Rehman Ludhianvi, and his brother and Punjab president of the Indian Muslim Council, Maulana Atiq-u-Rehman, it was a tense day here, but it passed off peacefully.

Attendance at Jama Masjid was relatively low. According to rough estimates, about two lakh Muslims live in Ludhiana. Some angry supporters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad tried to prevent Muslims from offering their Friday prayers, but senior leaders of different religious communities and parties were camping in front of the mosque along with officials of the district administration and the police. The Maulana said the poor attendance was not due to any fear, but because most Muslims had gone to their native places on account of Id.



Railway road occupied by taxi operators
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, March 1
The Railway Road, which winds up from the local railway station to Gandhi chowk, and is the main arterial road of the town, has been literally hijacked by taxi-stand operators in connivance with the Railway authorities concerned.

About five years ago, a taxi-stand had come up along the road near the railway octroi post. The stand became an instant success as taxis parked earlier outside the railway station also joined it. But as the taxi business flourished , more space was required to accommodate the entrants. A deal was reportedly struck between the taxi unions and the local railway authorities and a two-feet high wall was erected right across the road to make it out of bounds for other vehicles. The wall has succeeded in making the whole stretch of the road from the railway station to the octroi post as an exclusive area for the two taxi-stands located there. Only pedestrians are making use of this stretch these days.

As a result of this wall across the road, residents of the town are being put to great hardships. As all rickshaws and other vehicles carrying passengers from the railway station to the town, instead of taking to the railway road, have now to either pass through the Chaura Bazar or the Grain market. This has further resulted in increasing the traffic congestion in these areas.

Residents of the town in general criticise the President of the local Municipal Committee in particular and the Municipal councillors of the town in general for the inconvenience. The land might belong to the railways but it had no right to literally close the road to the town residents, they say. 



Three injured in group clash
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 1
Three persons, including a three-year-old child, were injured in a dispute between two families in Bhatra mohalla of Amarpura locality here on Wednesday night.

According to information, two brothers in the locality, had a tiff with Sewak, another resident in their neighbourhood. Soon both the families started hurling bricks and stones on reach other. As a result of which a three-year-old girl, Pooja, daughter of Mr Puran Singh, was injured. Two of her teeth were broken as a brick hit the child in the face. An old man and a woman were also injured in the brick-batting. However, the situation was brought under control after intervention by the police.

Arrest of accused demanded: A shopkeeper of municipal corporation market near the Dholewal Chowk has approached the DGP, Punjab, to get those accused arrested against whom a case was registered at division number six police station on his complaint on February 20 last.

Mr Parshottam Lal, 61, had stated in his complaint that on the evening of February 20, when his neighbour shopkeeper Amrik Singh and two of his friends were having liquor in the market verandah, they entered his shop and started beating him. When his sons tried to intervene and rescue him, the accused beat them also. He stated that he was beaten quite severely. He was later admitted to a hospital. The accused also damaged some goods in his shop. Mr Parshottam Lal said that in view of the police inaction, the accused had become bolder and put an iron chain along side his shop to cause inconvenience to him and harm his business interests. The accused and his co-accused were threatening him to agree to a compromise failing which they would ‘kill’ him.

Fraud alleged: The division number three police has registered a case of alleged fraud on a complaint of Mr Som Parkash Malhotra, a resident of Madhopuri, against Raj Kumar, owner of a hosiery unit in the Wate Ganj area. The complainant had alleged that the accused had given him a bank cheque for Rs 1 lakh in lieu of the goods purchased from him by the accused. But when the cheque was presented, it was dishonoured by the bank concerned. No arrest has been made so far.

One held under Copyright Act: On a complaint of Mr Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Muradpura mohalla, the division number two police on Wednesday arrested Surinder Pal, a resident of Jind in Haryana, and booked him under the Copyright Act of 1957. The accused, according to the complaint, was allegedly selling fake cassettes in violation of the Copyright Act.

Beaten up: The Jodhewal police has registered a case of beating under various sections of the IPC on a statement of Mr Lehmbar Singh, a resident of Guru Arjun Dev Colony, Jagirpur, Jodhewal, against Jog Raj, Rohit Kumar and Soma. The complainant had alleged that the accused had beaten him up severely as a result of which he was badly injured. The accused escaped after beating him up.

Intruders beat up housewife: The Civil Lines police has registered a case under Sections 354,452,323,341,506 and 34 of the IPC, on a statement of Ms Krishna Virk, a resident of Sham Singh Road, against two unknown youths who intruded into her house and beat her up. The complainant had stated to the police that one of the boys was riding a motor cycle while the other was driving a Maruti Zen. She was injured in the attack. The accused, who managed to flee, later used abusive language on the telephone.

Injured: The Model Town police has registered a case under Sections 279,337,338 and 427 of the IPC on a statement by Mr Raghubir Singh, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, against Rajdip Walia, a resident of Vishwakarma Colony. The complainant, who has been admitted to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, had alleged that the accused, while he was driving a car, rammed the vehicle into him and injured him.

Liquor seized: The division number four police, on Wednesday arrested Sonu Verma, a resident of New Shakti Nagar, Jodhewal, and seized a large quantity of illicit liquor from his possession. The accused has been booked under the Excise Act.



7 booked for attempt to murder
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 1
The local police has registered a case against Raja, a resident of Jatpura village; Maghar Singh, former sarpanch of Lamme village, Iqbal Singh, Darshan Singh, Midda Singh, Ravinder Singh, alias Honey all residents of Lamme village under Sections 307, 323, 336, 506, 427, 148, 149 of the IPC on the statement of Amandip Singh of the village.

According to the complainant the accused armed with weapons and .12 bore gun came to his house in order teach them a lesson for the victory in the recent Assembly elections. They injured the complainant and another person Harnek Singh. Other persons also caused injuries whereas Maghar Singh former sarpanch also fired a shot from his rifle.



Cycle industry stops production
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 1
Hundreds of bicycle and bicycle part units here protested today against the imposition of 4 per cent excise duty by shutting down their production. In a press conference, called by eighteen associations of the industry, the industry representatives urged the government to take back its decision otherwise they would be forced to intensify their agitation.

Mr Onkar Singh Pahwa, president, All India Cycle Manufacturers Association, said, “The decision would affect Rs 3000 crore industry, and the price-sensitive demand would shrink by 25-30 per cent next year. The SSI units have a share of about Rs 550 crore and exports are to the tune of Rs 1000 crore, so the government would not earn more than Rs 50-60 crore from this duty, which would prove a havoc for us.”

Mr D.S. Chawla, president, United Bicycle and Bicycle Parts Manufacturers’ Association, said, “The units would not be able to absorb 4 per cent duty and deal with cumbersome procedures of the Excise Department.”

Mr Satish Dhanda, vice-president, Engineering Export Promotion Council, claimed, “Due to our continuous cost-cutting through cluster approach, the Chinese firms have not been able to enter domestic market, but after this duty, we would not be able to stop them.”

He added that a delegation would meet the Finance Minister and Prime Minister to ask them to take back the decision.



42 furnace units go on strike
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 1
Owners of 42 units of induction furnace went on an indefinite strike this morning, affecting 15,000 families of workers.

The decision to go on the strike was taken at a meeting chaired by Mr Mohinder Gupta, president, Mandi Gobindgarh Induction Furnace Association. Among others who present were Mr Raj Bansal, Mr Kuldeep Goel and Mr Hukam Chand Bansal, all office-bearers of the association.


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