Saturday, March 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


VC in spot over remarks against minority 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, is in the thick of a controversy following his alleged remarks against a minority community while inaugurating the PAU Youth Festival here on Wednesday. While resentment prevails among members of the minority community over the remarks, the state unit of the Indian Muslim Council has decided to take up the matter with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, besides demanding an unconditional apology from the VC.

According to witnesses, the VC had on Wednesday not only passed derogatory remarks against the minority community, but had also narrated some personal experiences of his young days, which embarrassed some in the audience. A number of PAU faculty member speaking on the condition of anonymity confirmed the incident. Others belonging to the said community admitted that they were hurt.

Mr Atiq ur Rehman, president, Indian Muslim Council, is quite upset at the remarks and said it was very unfortunate that the VC rediculed the Muslim method of worship while addressing a large gathering. He said the council would have ignored the remarks if they had not come from a person occupying such a high post. He said the council had decided not to take any action on its own and would meet the Chief Minister shortly to demand a strict action or even removal of the Vice-Chancellor. He said Dr Aulakh should also tender an unconditional apology about his remarks.

When contacted through Dr S S Gill, Additional Director, Communication Centre, PAU, the Vice-Chancellor said he had not made any derogatory remarks against the minority community and had only quoted couplets of Guru Nanak Dev and some Sufi saints about the proper way of worshipping. He said he never meant to annoy anyone or show disrespect to any religion. He said it was unfortunate that his remarks were being misinterpreted.

A PAU faculty member belonging to the minority community, who was present on the occasion admitted he and his brethren were hurt not at the remarks, but at the manner in which they were made. He said the Vice-Chancellor quoting Guru Nanak Dev commented on the Muslim method of worship. He said the choice of words was objectionable. He added whatever the VC said had been said by Sikh and Sufi saints as well. He stressed there was nothing wrong, but perhaps the place of saying such things was not proper.

A number of other faculty members have also criticised the VC’s remarks over his approval of the growing permissiveness on the campus. Faculty members said they were quite agitated, but the conduct rules did not allow them to air their resentment. They said the VC not only aired his approval, but said he enjoyed the scene of a couple huddled in a corner. The VC had said this while talking about the changed times.

However, an official of the Communication department stressed, “The VC has not given them any permission and his remarks should be understood as a reflection on the changing times.”



They don’t believe they’re free
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
It is like a rebirth for Khem Chand and his family, who have spent four years in the captivity of a brick-kiln owner as bonded labourers. The seven members of the family were released after a local social-work organisation approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard.

Five children of this Rajasthani family are still unable to believe that they are now free. “For four long years, we begged Pandit Parkash, owner of the brick kiln in Chinni Dhola village outside Dinanagar town in Gurdaspur district, to let us go. However, he said he would lodge a complaint with the police and accuse us of stealing if we left without his permission”, Khem Chand, who belongs to Bara Gaon in Jhunjnoo district of Rajasthan, said here today.

Even when the mother of Khem Chand died last year, the family was not allowed to go for performing her last rites. Having suffered enough, Khem Chand escaped and approached the Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan (DDVA), a voluntary organization working for the liberation of bonded labourers in the state.

A habeas corpus writ was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, following which, on court orders, a warrant officer got the family released.

Ms Veena Sharma, who is the rehabilitation head of the Volunteers for Social Justice, said the family urgently needed medical help. She said: “The brick-kiln owner used to give the family a meagre Rs 300 per for a week’s work.” “We could barely manage to eat to sustain ourselves,” said Sompati, wife of Khem Chand.

The family said thumb impressions of each member had been taken on several blank papers and receipts for several thousand rupees, though they had been paid only a few hundred rupees. They had no money to buy clothes in the past four years. The couple and their children, including a marriageable daughter, survived on borrowed clothes.

The other brick-kiln labourers are paid Rs 62 for every 1,000 bricks that they bake. However, the family of Khem Chand used to get only Rs 300 for every 4,000 bricks that they baked.

According to Mr Jai Singh, president of DDVA, no brick-kiln in the state has been registered under the Inter-State Migrant Workers Act of 1979. This Act prevents the exploitation of labourers.

However, in the absence of any regulation, children and workers are exploited in brick-kilns all over the state. The DDVA now plans to lodge a complaint to invoke the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act of 1980. It plans to get a Rs 20,000 compensation for each child that has worked in a brick-kiln and another Rs 5,000 from the state government for establishing a corpus fund for the education of such children.



Anti-eveteasing staff for city: DIG’s gift to women
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
Giving a sort of a gift to women on the International Women’s day, the Ludhiana Police Range DIG Rohit Chowdhry, today announced a number of plans and measures to bring down the crime rate against the fairer sex in the region besides providing them better platforms to air their grievances or seek justice. Not restricted to merely providing benefits of women only, the DIG announced that the region would see a mobile police station, the first of its kind in the state.

Outlining a number of schemes, the DIG also announced that the police would be required to give a time limit to the complainants on taking certain action. The work table would then be displayed at each police post and station.

Addressing a press conference here today, the DIG, announced that women cells in the four police districts of Ludhiana, Khanna, Jagraon and Ropar, will have a specialised staff and clear-cut policies to deal with cases of crimes against women. A special anti-eveteasing squad would be a major part of the women cell, dealing specifically with the said issue. He said women police officers would be appointed at select places especially outside educational institutions, where eveteasing had become a chronic problem.

Releasing a blue-print of a number of policies aimed at reducing crime as well as making policing more people-oreinted, the DIG said he had drafted some plans and had directed the SSP’s to implement them as per local needs and situations. Among the major schemes announced by him, an exciting one was the introduction of mobile police stations in the region. The mobile police stations would visit a scheduled place every week, so that people living far away from the police station of the area would have access to the police. The mobile police stations would also solve disputes on the spot.

He said due to the notification problem, the women cell cannot be converted into a police station, but apart from registering FIRs, women cells would do all the work done by a police station. He said the women cell’s activities would not only be counselling, but punitive and corrective in nature.

The DIG announced that a ‘Work Chart’ scheme is also being introduced in the range under which each police personnel and officer would be required to fill the works done by him in a month. He said this would help the officers in understanding the person’s potential. He added that due verification of the work chart completed would also be done.

The DIG cautioned that the public should not expect immediate implementation of all the schemes as they would be taken up gradually. He said a lot would also depend on the needs of a particular region and the implementing officers. He said he would continue to take keen interest in the implementation of the schemes.

Continuing with outlining the schemes further, he said wherever facilities were available, computerised monitoring of investigation as well as other police work would be feeded. Another major scheme announced by the DIG included the setting up of advisory committees and police youth clubs in the region. The committees, formed with equal representation to all sections of the society, would meet periodically to help the police in policing.

Making a special mention of the necessity of accessibility of police officers, the DIG said all gazetted officers would be required to announce their availability outside their offices.



DYC holds rally against communal violence
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
Activists of the District Youth Congress, led by its president Mr Parminder Mehta, today took out a peace march in the city to pay homage to victims of communal riots in Gujarat and elsewhere and later held a rally around the statue of the Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, near the Municipal Corporation headquarters to condemn the senseless killing of innocent persons at the hands of miscreants and communal and fundamental elements.

The DYC functionaries, carrying banners and placards, in condemnation of communal forces, marched from the Congress office on the Old GT Road towards the MC headquarters and squatted around the statue of Mahatma Gandhi for almost two hours while singing ‘bhajans’ and religious songs all through. Some of the banners carried by the protesters said ‘Bapu ji hum sharminda hain, desh mein Nathu Ram Godse ki vichardhara abhi bhi zinda hai (Bapu, we are ashamed. The ideology of Nathu Ram Godse is still alive in the country).

Among others Mr Sarbjit Singh Bunty, Mr Abbas Mohammed, Mr Naseer Ahmed, Mr Raj Kumar Kashyap, Mr Shamsher Singh, Mr G.S. Arora, Mr Sabhajit Pandey, Mr Ashok Arora, Mr Bawa Bindra, Mr Surjit Kaushal, Mr Sant Singh, Mr Rajesh Rajja, Mr Balbir Singh Billa, Mr H.S. Thukral , Mr Anil Sharma, Mr Nek Chand, Mr Balbir Chand, Mr Nazeer Ashraf, Mr Jasbir Gill, mr Inderjit Makkar, Mr Nirmal Virk, Ms Shashi Sood, Mr Amarjit Singh and Mr Ravinder Singh were also present at the occasion.

Holding the BJP-led state government in Gujarat and the Union Government, headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, directly responsible for fomenting communal tension, the DYC chief, Mr Mehta, observed that the BJP leadership was resorting to exploiting the Ayodhya issue to draw political mileage and to check its dwindling popularity all over the country.

That the communal riots were politically motivated and patronised was quite obvious from the fact that in the Congress ruled states, the communal and fundamental elements were dealt with firmly while in Gujarat, where a BJP government was in the saddle, the law and order completely broke down and it was only after the Congress party mounted pressure that the Army was called in to deal with the alarming situation, remarked Mr Mehta.

The DYC president sounded a note of caution to the party functionaries, saying the BJP, having licked dust in the recently held assembly elections, was trying to create communal tension. While the new Congress government and the police would not let the evil designs of BJP succeed, the YC workers should also remain alert to deal with any eventuality and give a befitting reply to such nefarious conspiracies.



Now it’s Zila Shikayat Nivaran Manch
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
With the exit of the SAD-BJP coalition and a new Congress government led by Captain Amarinder Singh taking over the reins, the district-level weekly ‘sangat darshan’ programme has been given a new name of ‘Zila Shikayat Nivaran Manch’ (district complaints redressal forum) by the new Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, who assumed office earlier this week.

Mr Aggarwal, during the session of manch, convened at the mini secretariat here on Thursday, settled quite a few complaints on the spot while some others were referred to the officials concerned for time bound disposal.

The Deputy Commissioner issued directions to the officials of the Municipal Corporation to streamline the billing system of water supply and sewerage. Responding to a complaint by a city resident that he had been slapped with a sewerage and water supply bill on commercial rates against purely domestic use of services, an official of the MC admitted that the computerised billing system needed further improvement and the bill of the complainant would be rectified.

On a complaint of inordinate delay in providing necessary equipment for a new power connection by Mr Ajmer Singh, a resident of Katani Kalan, Punjab State Electricity Board officials said that the model code of conduct, in force for the assembly elections, had caused the delay in making stores available. A resident of village Partap Singh Wala lodged a complaint that residents of the village were facing a lot of problems due to industrial units coming up around the area. Pleas made with the Punjab Pollution Control Board had also remained unresponsive. The Deputy Commissioner asked the officials concerned to deal with the complaint within two weeks and submit a compliance report.

Dealing with a complaint by Mr Shingara Singh from Pakhowal village that as a result of raising the level of passage, the drainage of water from his house had been disrupted, and despite a drain having been provided, the water keeps accumulating outside the house, the Block Development and Panchayat Officer directed to settle the complaint.

The Deputy Commissioner urged the district officials to give top priority to the redressal of public complaints and evolve a time bound disposal system for public grievances.

Mr A.K. Sinha, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Dev), and Ms Anita Darshi, Assistant Commissioner (Grievances), were also present.



‘Progressive women not accepted’
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, March 8
On the eve of International Women’s Day, two sports stars, Suman Sharma, the first women basketball player to get Arjuna Award for excellence in the game and international star Aparna Ghosh, who still feel that there is little respect for progressive women in the country. Both are here these days to attend the 52nd Senior National Basketball Championship underway at Guru Nanak Stadium, and think that there is hardly any change in the cynical attitude towards women in this country, especially for women sportspersons.

Suman Sharma who had started her career in 1975 and excelled in the game for more than two decades, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, says that only faces and names have changed but people do not approve of girls playing. She feels that women sportspersons still have to struggle and contest for her due in the society. According to her observation, sportswomen still have to make a lot of efforts, to make their presence felt in all fields.

Aparna Ghosh, who represented the country for more than one decade feels that people respect women as mothers, sisters, daughters and wives, but not as progressive women. She thinks that this attitude still prevails and it would take a lot of time to change this norm. After retiring last year, I still do not find many people around me who respect me as an achiever.

Aparna says the mentality of parents has not changed much, only the lower middle class segment of society encourages girls to play because they know that a ‘sports stamp’ would enable these girls to get admission to some good professional course or to get a government job. But when both purposes are not served after devoting a couple of years to the game they withdraw their support.

They say that the key to the success of a women is appropriate planning, hard work and dedication. Aparna says that there are a lot of well-known and experienced women basketball players in the country, but few have had the chance to hold high positions in any state or national sports organisation. She says that in the Basketball Federation of India, only the post of vice-president, is for a woman and till date men have been holding all other posts. 



Boy falls into manhole
Our Correspondent

You’re invited: Open manholes in Karnail Singh Nagar are inviting disaster and (right) a victim, eight-year-old Vinayak Khosla. Photos Rajesh Bhambi
You’re invited: Open manholes in Karnail Singh Nagar are inviting disaster and (right) a victim, eight-year-old Vinayak Khosla. Photos Rajesh Bhambi

Ludhiana, March 8
An eight-year-old boy, Vinayak Khosla, who had to appear for his third standard annual science examination, here on Friday could not do so as his left arm was broken when he fell into an open manhole. The credit for this unfortunate incident goes to those authorities concerned under whose supervision the construction work of manholes is underway in Karnail Singh Nagar area, as there were no cautionary red flags or boards bearing the standard remark ‘Men at Work’.

Day before yesterday, Vinayak came home after taking the annual social science test. After some time, he sought special permission from his grandfather, retired Brigadier S.N. Khosla to go out to play as these were examination days.

After sometime, Brigadier Khosla’s servant reported that the boy had fallen into an open manhole. The whole family rushed to the spot and took the boy out from the manhole. He was taken to the nearest hospital for treatment.

During the treatment of the boy in the hospital, family members were shocked to know that the left arm of the boy had been broken now he could not appear in the remaining tests of the annual examination.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Brigadier S.N. Khosla said, “Vinayak is a brilliant child and gets more than 85 per cent marks in every subject and we do not want the boy to lose one year. However, the Principal of DAV School, where Vinayak studies, has agreed to take the remaining tests orally”.

There may be more such case if cautionary measures were not taken by the concerned authorities. There is a probability that one could avoid an untoward incident in during the day but at night these could not be spotted with naked eyes in the dark and it would difficult to avert tragedy for commuters at night. Residents of the area, do not complain word about the problem, as it might delay development work in the area and especially near their home.



Bindiya is Basant Queen
Our Correspondent

A participant gives final touches to her flower arrangement in
A participant gives final touches to her flower arrangement in
Ludhiana on Friday. —IV 

Ludhiana, March 8
Ms Bindiya was chosen Basant Queen while Ms Parmeshwar Kalra was the runners-up at the Basant Queen contest, organised by Venus Ladies club here today at Malhotra Palace.

A dry and fresh flower arrangements show was also held on this occasion. Over 25 participants took part in the competition. Ms Pooja came first while Ms Bindiya and Ms Parmeshwar Kalra were given second and third prizes, respectively. The judges on the occasion were Ms Bharti and Ms Sandhu.

The new office-bearers were also elected. Ms Devinder Basant was the new president and Ms Kavita was chosen the new secretary of Venus Ladies club.



Youth falls from roof, dies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
Om Parkash, a 22-year-old youth died after falling from the rooftop of his house in Sherpur on Wednesday night. His body has been handed over to the family after a postmortem.

According to information, the youth was fixing a cable wire at around 10 pm on the rooftop of his house when he slipped and fell on a ‘rehri’ parked in the street. He was immediately rushed to the ESI Hospital with serious chest injuries where he breathed his last a couple of hours later.

Dacoity case: The Division No. 4 police has claimed to have solved a case of dacoity which was in Fatehgarh mohalla about a couple of months ago. A couple of youth had allegedly looted ornaments, cash and a camera after taking Ms Anju Thapar and her children hostages at gun point.

A case was registered against unidentified accused under Section 392 of the IPC on January 6 on the complaint of the housewife. One of the accused, Charanjit, was arrested from his residence in Karabara on Thursday while his accomplice, Ashok Kumar, a resident of Nanak Nagar, was still eluding the police. The police has also claimed to have recovered a camera and some ornaments that had been taken away by the accused.

Woman injured: The Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case of assault on the complaint of Ms Rajni, a resident of Gill Kakka village, against Kamaljit Kaur, Kukku and Bittu, residents of the same village. The complainant alleged that she had asked the accused to divert the flow of dirty water from their house to the premises of a nearby temple on Wednesday, but the accused got infurialed and attacked her. However, no arrest has been made so far.

Body found: The Model Town police, on a tip-off, recovered the body of a baby girl from the dry bed of Sidhwan canal near the Dugri bridge here on Thursday and sent it for a postmortem. The body was noticed by Mr Pavittar Singh, a resident of Narangwal village

3 booked: The Koom Kalan police has registered a case on the statement of Mr Balwinder Pal, a resident of Beliwal village, against Shivtar, Baldev and Sukhdev of the same village. The complainant had alleged on Wednesday that the accused tried to take forcible possession of a house which was sold to him by them a few days ago.

Man attacked: Mr Mohinder Singh, a resident of Bhamian village, who was allegedly attacked with swords and injured by a couple of his neighbours on Wednesday, has been admitted to the Civil Hospital in a critical condition. The Division No. 7 police has registered a case in this connection but the accused are reported to be absconding.

Neighbours injure man: Mr Keemti Lal, a resident of Shiv Puri, was allegedly injured with sharp-edged weapons by some of his neighbours on Wednesday. The injured who has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, alleged that because of an old enmity, his neighbours invited him to their house on some pretext and attacked him.

Forgery alleged: The Sadar police has registered a case of alleged forgery under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC, on the complaint of Mr Darshan Singh, a resident of Soda village, against Nirbhai Singh and Harmel Kaur, residents of Malaud village, Harvinder Singh, a resident of Bishanpura village, Raj Kumar and Karnail Singh, both residents of Rajpura, Paramjit Singh, a resident of Sherpur Bet village, and Kewal Singh, a panchayat member of Sudhar village. The complainant had alleged that the accused, on the basis of forged documents, succeeded in getting his 190-yard plot registered in their names. No arrest has been made so far.

Dowry cases: The Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case of harassment for dowry on the complaint of Ms Lakhwinder Kaur, a resident of Gagandeep Colony, against her husband Sukhwinder Singh and some other members of her in-laws family, all residents of mohalla Hargobind Nagar. The complainant had alleged that ever since her marriage, her in-laws had been harassing her and demanding more dowry.

The Shimla Puri police has registered a similar case on the complaint of Ms Rajni Bala, a resident of Daba Colony, against Sneh Lata, Neeru and her husband Rinkle Nanda, all residents of Delhi. The complainant had alleged that she had been married in 1999 and her in-laws had been torturing her mentally and physically for dowry.

Booked for fraud: The police arrested Joginder Singh of Patti Gujjran, Bassian, and Pritam Singh of Buttan village at Raikot under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC. According to allegation they conspired with Surjit Kaur, Devinder Kaur and Gurminder Kaur and prepared a false agreement of the property of Mohinder Singh situated at Bassian village. They have also been accused of having prepared a fake will.

Arrested for assault: The Sidhwan Bet police has arrested Amarjit Singh, alias Billa, of Kot Maan village in a case registered under Sections 323, 324, 354 and 452 of the IPC. According to the FIR, Amarjit Singh, his wife, Karamjit Kaur, and their son, Gurpreet Singh, had assaulted Jagtar Singh and his wife Baljit Kaur.

Cyclist killed: A cyclist, Ajaib Singh a resident of Kothe Fatehdin, was hit by a scooter (PB-25-A-8486) near Sherpur Chowk. The scooter was driven by Binder Singh of Nanaksar. Ajaib Singh sustained multiple injuries and was referred to the CMC, Ludhiana, by the local Civil Hospital, where he succumbed to injuries. The police has registered a case under Sections 279, 304-A, and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Jaspal Singh, an eyewitness.

Fraud alleged: A fraud worth Rs 40 lakh has been alleged against Parmod Kumar and Sanjeev Kumar Gupta of Focal Point, Ludhiana.

According to the complainant, Mr J.L. Mehta, these two took Rs 40 lakh as loan to buy machinery from Punjab Finance Cooperation, Ludhiana, on August 23, 2001. The machinery was reportedly bought and sold on their own but the loan amount was never returned. The case has been registered against the alleged accused under Sections 420, 406 and 420 of IPC on the directions of the SSP.

Liquor seized: Head constable Pritpal Singh seized 20 bottles of illicit liquor from Somer Kumar of Tajpur Road, Ludhiana, against whom a case has been registered under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.


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