Friday, April 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Tension brews after couple’s elopement
Jodhan police detains two; villagers upset at questioning
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

(Nangal Khurd) Ludhiana, April 25
While the Punjab Police is adopting community policing in the state as part of its drive to add human approach to solving cases, the Jodhan police in the Jagraon police district continues to follow the age-old police technique of picking up and illegally detaining persons close to wanted persons in a case of in order to nab the alleged culprit.

Tension prevails in this village due to the police act and aligning of village groups in favour or opposition of the two families whose wards have allegedly eloped recently. Political interference, especially of some Congress leaders is allegedly aggravating the matter.

A father and son duo in particular and several other residents of this village are facing the brunt of such high handedness at the hands of the police in a case of alleged elopement of an adult couple of the village about 10 days ago. Two persons were detained illegally at the Jodhan police post for over two days for their mere fault that they happened to be close to the missing man. A large number of other villagers are also facing police harassment and have been threatened in order to extract information from them about the whereabouts of the couple.

The alleged love-story of the couple is reminiscent of the infamous unnatural death of a young girl of Rurka village, who had eloped with a man belonging to the same village to marry him against the wishes of her parents violating the aged-old custom of ban on marriages between residents of the same village.

In this case the two, Simrat (21) and Bhushan (24) not their real names) — too belonged to the same village and Ramdasia clan due to which the marriage between them was impossible according to the village customs.

The trouble started when the girl went to Mandi Ahmedgarh on April 15 to attend computer classes in a private institution and did not return. Her parents and a group of villagers supporting them claimed that she had gone to Mumbai with Bhushan as both had an affair. They reported the matter to the police but as both of them were adults, the Jodhan police could not register any case.

However, throwing the rules to the winds, the Jodhan police picked up another youth Piara Singh alias Gunny and his father Mohan Singh on Monday and kept them in illegal detention at the Jodhan police station. Their crime was that Piara Singh was a close friend of Bhushan, and had received some telephone calls from him. Following its age-old practice the police said the youth should bring the couple to the village or he would have to face imprisonment.

It was only today that the two illegally detained persons were released but that too after the intervention of some influential elders and queries by mediapersons. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune from his residence, the badly shaken youth Piara Singh was unable to control his tears ,‘‘What was our fault’’?, he asks. ‘‘I don’t deny I know Bhushan and I had given telephone numbers to the girl’s parents and the police yet me and my father were kept in illegal police custody for two days’’.

He said he was being threatened by the girl’s parents and the police that they would beat him to death if he did not bring the couple here. ‘‘I was all the time telling them that I only had telephone numbers and the police could easily trace them in Mumbai’’ the youth said. He added that he was also being pressurised to bear the expenses of visit to Mumbai but he had not agree to it.

The youth’s father, Mohan Singh, was also in depression, ‘‘The respect I had earned all my life has been demolished in one go. How can they do this to me. Is there no law in this country to protect us’’ ? he asked. The parents of the missing youth are also facing similar problems.

A Ludhiana Tribune team reached the Jodhan police post minutes after the two detained persons were released. Mr Amar Singh Grewal in-charge of the police post, however, outrightly denied that the two had been detained there. ‘‘We had only called them for questioning and nothing else’’ he said. When asked why the police was taking such action when the two missing persons were adult and could decide on their own about their relationship, the police officer said it was because of this that they had not registered any case so far.

When some supporters of the girl’s family were quizzed, they said they had not told the police to pick up and beat the youth or his father. The family had only aired its suspicion that the two might be knowing the whereabouts of the eloped couple. 



Macabre killing: child sodomised; two arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
The 8-year-old child, Sanju, found dead yesterday morning was sodomised before being done to death by four youths, two of whom were arrested today late evening.

Following protests by hundreds of residents, primarily migrant labourers, the police solved the case within 40 hours of the recovery of the body.

The four accused youths had cleverly joined frenzied mob yesterday on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road for over six hours, torched a private and a police gypsy besides damaging several vehicles.

SSP Harpreet Singh Sidhu said that the four suspects had been identified as Sugreev, Guddu, Pammi and Shamma. The main accused was Sugreev, a relative of the child, who has confessed to the police that he used to sodomise the child and on that day the three other persons joined him.

Mr Sidhu said Sugreev lived close to the family of Mr Amarjit, a tailor, who was the father of the victim. He took the child out in the morning and sodomised him one after the other.

The child was seriously injured in the process. The suspects then killed him by repeatedly hitting bricks on his head. They fled from the site of the crime and later joined the parents and agitated residents.

A police team including SP (D) Shiv Kumar, DSP Snehdeep Sharma and CIA in charge Mukhwinder Singh along with some other investigating the crime followed several theories including tantrik killing, personal rivalry.



Police arrests 20 for violence
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
Mr Inderjit Singh, SHO, Vardhman police station, where a minor child, Sanju, was found murdered yesterday, was shifted to Police Lines this evening. He was accused of inaction at the time of protest in the area.

According to information, the police has arrested 20 persons, including two women, on charges of rioting, attempt to murder, damaging government property, beating up people and blocking traffic for several hours.

The arrested persons included a political leader, P.D. Yadav, Babby Kumar, Babby Dhandal, Raju, Ram Niwas Pehalwan, Bhushan, Mukul, Subash, Rajbir Singh and Parminder Singh.

Police sources said they were arrested on the basis of identification on the spot and through a video film.

Meanwhile, the police has deployed additional force near the colony and the Vardhman police station.

The sources said an inquiry into the allegation of police inaction and the causes behind the escalation of tension had been started by the SP (Headquarters), Mr Pramod Ban.

Enquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the ugly situation could have been avoided had the police at the Vardhman police station handled the agitated parents well, when they visited the station.



Hailstorm damages wheat crop
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Gujjarwal (Ludhiana), April 25
Heavy downpour and hailstorm that lashed the region today afternoon damaged the standing and harvested wheat crop of the farmers. The condition was worse at grain markets in the area where water collected due to low plinth level. Farmers rued their ill-luck as several of them had lost their crop in fire and now another form of nature's fury had caused further harm.

A survey of villages, during and after the hailstorm, by a team of Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the farmers of villages, including Jodhan, Dango, Shahpur, Pakhowal, Leeran, Dhalian, Tusse, Nangal, Sarabha and Rajgarh were the worst affected due to the hailstorm. While farmers in Gujjarwal village suffered maximum damage where more than 300 acres of wheat had still not been harvested. Wheat crop worth lakhs was suspected to have been lost. Farmers hoping to save the crop by drying it in the sun were worried about the increase in moisture content. The produce that had already been brought to the mandis was also washed away while the rest was being saved. In various mandis like Pakhowal, Sarabha, Gujjarwal and Narangwal the condition was beyond description. In Pakhowal mandi alone where the damage was visibly maximum due to it being a kutchi mandi the employees of market committees and farmers were busy in saving the remaining produce.

Due to the low plinth level in the mandi rain water had collected due to which gunny bags filled with wheat were completely soaked.

The work of draining the collected water was being carried out manually as well as mechanically. Some farmers were seen carrying their produce home in tractor-trailers. Mr Jaswant Singh, a farmer, ruing the lack of proper infrastructure in the mandis said every year the government promises that the farhs of mandis would be brick laid and plinth levels would be raised but nothing happens. ‘‘I have spent my life here but nothing has changed. I have to take my produce back home as it would take another week to get it dried.’’

Another farmer, Mr Baldev Singh of Dango village, said he had brought his produce in the mandi yesterday but due to the rain 20 per cent of it was damaged as 1 per cent had already been washed and the rest would be discarded by the officials of procurement agencies.

Surprisingly the hailstorm was experienced in villages, including Pakhowal, Dango, Shahpur, Leeran, Gujjarwal, Tusse, Bhaini Arora, Sarabha and Rajgarh only while in other neighbouring villages there were no reports of hailstorm. The villagers said the size of a hailstone was more than 4 cm. The area experienced the hailstorm for more than an hour. The standing wheat crop which was yet to be harvested was the worst hit due to hailstorm as the ripe grains had fallen from the ears thereby causing the maximum damage. Besides the other crops like barseem had also been damaged. The farmers said they would have to re-plant their paddy nurseries as these had also been damaged.

They also said it was because of the persisting heat during the past many days that the hailstone had melted otherwise the damage would have been much more. According to Mr Jagjit Singh Hara, a progressive farmer of Kanganwal village, the farmers were all set to face problems in selling their wheat. He said due to the rains the lustre of grains and keeping quality would be affected. 



Confusing Clock Tower traffic diversions
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
There is still confusion among auto-rickshaw drivers and commuters here on the Municipal Corporation ban on the plying of autorickshaws on Damoria Bridge and the Chand Cinema GT Road to reach Clock Tower.

The ban had been imposed a few days ago to avoid traffic congestion on the stretch from the railway station to the Chand Cinema GT Road in view of the work on elevated road. However, a large number of auto-rickshaw users still don’t know whether they have to get down at Damoria Bridge or Chand Cinema and walk from there to Clock Tower or not. Three-wheeler is the preferred mode to reach into the old city area.

On April 21, some of the auto-rickshaw owners unions had protested against the decision and given a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, in this regard. The unionists had even alleged that the traffic police allowed three-wheelers of a certain area to be driven on these roads. The DC had assured them of a quick action.

Traffic policemen have not been enforcing the diversion plan in full, but now, the police says that the matter has been sorted out. The Superintendent of Police (Traffic), Mr Gurdial Singh, said: “At a meeting of the MC officials and auto-rickshaw unionists, it was decided that five auto-rickshaws from each side would be allowed to use Damoria Bridge and Chand Cinema approach roads to Clock Tower.”

“Now, it is for the unionists to decide which 10 auto-rickshaws, to run on the roads. No other such vehicle will be allowed to use the approach roads to Clock Tower. There may be some persons who are not aware of the diversion plan, but when the plan is enforced in full, they, too, will come to know. Commuters and auto-rickshaw drivers will have to bear with the police for some time as long as the work on elevated road was in progress,” he said.



Prospects of contestants affected
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 25
With uncertainty over the rotation of wards, reserved for women, in the municipal elections, scheduled to be held next month, coming to an end and the state government deciding in favour of the statutory provision, poll prospects of several key contestants in the city have been adversely affected.

The axe of rotation would fall upon the city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, of the SAD-B (Ward No 41), group leader of SAD-B Councillors, Mr Harcharan Singh Gohalwadia (Ward No 26), group leader of Congress, Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia (Ward No 47), and group leader of BJP councillors, Mr Pran Bhatia (Ward No 59), since their wards would become reserved for women.

The others who would have to give in to women contenders from their respective wards include 11 councillors from the Congress, 4 from SAD-B, one Independent supported by the BJP, 3 independents and the lone BSP councillor. Similarly, prominent among the women councillors falling victim to the rotation system is the Deputy Mayor, Mrs Santosh Aneja (Ward No 70), as her ward would now become open.

Barring one or two exceptions, the women councillors in the present house of the Municipal Corporation were not much upset over the rotation coming in effect and their wards becoming general. The reason behind their strange reaction was cited to be that their menfolk (husbands or sons) were even otherwise carrying out most of the official works and acting as ‘de facto’ councillors, who would now get a chance to contest themselves and taste power in real sense.

Some of the prominent contenders, including the Mayor, Mr Grewal, and Mr Pran Bhatia, who would not be able to contest from the wards, they were representing now, remarked that rotation was a statutory stipulation and had to be accepted. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Grewal observed that he was loyal soldier of the party and would scrupulously abide by the directive of the party leadership. “I will contest from some other ward if asked by the party or my wife may enter the fray from the ward represented presently by me.”

The speculation to the effect that civic polls might have to be put off due to the rotation of wards reserved for women were unfounded and without any basis, according to civic officials. A senior officer of the MC told Ludhiana Tribune that to give effect to rotation, the state government had to merely issue a notification which might come in a day or so. “This is not a time consuming process and only the city wards out of the existing ones have to be notified as being reserved for women candidates.”



DCC instructions for ticket-hopefuls
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
The District Youth Congress (DYC) and district unit of the Punjab Congress Committee (DCC) have directed the aspirants who want to contest the forthcoming municipal corporation (MC) to submit their application forms again. In meeting of DCC and DYC held here today, it was decided to change certain conditions for applying for the tickets.

The DCC president, Mr K.K. Bawa, in a press note stated, “those who have applied for the party tickets for MC election have to enclose a photocopy of draft deposited earlier with the fresh application and only three sets of application form would be acceptable.” He further said, “due to the shortage of time, the application should be submitted during fixed working hours.”

Now the new applicant could deposit the cash or draft both with their application form. 



Eco-friendly kids show the way
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 25
Sonu, aged 15 years, used to get disgusted every time he saw a dump of rubbish in Power Colony where he resides. During the break after his examination, he mobilised other children aged between 5 and 15 years to clean up the dump. Everyone agreed enthusiastically and the cleansing work started. Despite their initial resistance, parents contributed Rs 100 towards buying required implements.

They worked 6 hours for a week and devoted 5 hours after the school opened. After an effort of few weeks, the ground was cleaned up. For the beautification of the ground Neelam Kapoor of Technocare Nursery stepped in to assist the kids by helping them prepare landscape. The children were invited to the nursery near Badewal in the morning today.

After touring the nursery for around 45 minutes, the students were given details about permanent, annual and aquatic plants by the production manager of the nursery, Ms Ritu Dhir. She talked about seedling, potting, pinching and pruning of plants.

They were taught about the importance of soil, sun and manure and each child was given a packet of composite manure.

The children who had participated in this novel project are: Jaisingh, Vivek, Harpreet, Brahmpreet, Harjot, Harveer Preet, Manpreet, Kirat, Amrit, Nimesha, Shalin, Yashika, Lovleen, Dolly, Jaikaur, Chintan, Ramandeep and Baldeep all of Power Colony. After their garden starts flourishing, these children would form a core group and empower other children to clean up their surroundings. The children were helped by the members of Sambhav 2010, an NGO that dreams to clean up the environs of the city by the year 2010. 



Excelling as a portraitist

Master painters made classical portraits. Writers transformed human faces through sketches as pen portraits. Photography took over and with modern facility the art went further. As a young writer, Charles Dickens wrote captivating accounts and dramatic stories of certain characters. The feature was titled ‘Sketches by Boz’. A mixture of facts and fiction delighted the readers and popularised sketch as prose-genre. The art of cartooning shares its basics with sketch-making, satire and psychology. Subtlety of expression and significance of message are fundamental. The arrival here of pen portrait created a literary event in modern Indian languages. In Urdu, S.H. Manto broke new ground. In Punjabi, Balwant Gargi holds a record, difficult to equal.

Back home, T.P.S. Sandhu is doing the nearly impossible photographic feat of presenting the exterior and interior of his subjects simultaneously. It is a journey uphill with heavy load and without much Oxygen. Also it a study from face to the mind. It is a combination of facial photography and the reflection of mind. This is the theme of Sandhu’s portraits. Thus, his portraiture is both historic and history making. In good old day the Sehgals from Jalandhar started their studio here (Dr Labhu Ram). Ace-photographer Khanna established the Khanna Studio. Portraits of Maharajas and Nawabs adorned the walls. Sandhu arrives to break fresh ground. He modestly started and selectively continues. He clicks in the present with an eye on future. As I can see, a wing of museum as Galley of Portraits will carry legacy of photography in the Metro of ours. Are we ready for it?

A few historic glimpses may be shared with the readers. One for the busiest film-personalities, Ramanand Sagar, is at once an enigma. His placid exterior. With a turbulently creative and restlessly imaginative interior. Sandhu caught the two poles. The film-genius, with half a century of experience as director and producer, was amazed at the city-based lensman. His plane revving for a take-off, Ramanand Sagar held his briefcase on an improvised table and wrote: “Your camera looks more inside than outside. A great achievement. Congratulations! May Lord Krishna Bless You.” This happened on April 17, 1997. He orally added: “All my life I have been seeing others through the camera, you have shown me myself, Sandhu Bhai!” A year after, on May 15, 1998 international economist, Dr S.S. Johl, wrote after seeing his portrait: “Photo looks better than what I am. It is the art of Tejpartap Singh.” New York-based attorney at laws, Alyas R. Bhatti, tersely writes: “I have travelled through 50 countries in four continents and have photographed countless persons and places. I swear I could not see beyond the surface,” and significantly infers: “You, my dear, have shown me myself as seen by your magic eye.” Only such a magic eye materialises a portrait. Portrait is not just photography, it is internal videography that surfaces through ripples at face, especially eyes. Prof M.C. Sharma, eminent alumnus of Government College, Lahore, and a prominent academician of Government College, Ludhiana, recorded on June 29, 1998: “Salute to master lensman (T.P.S.) whose click creates visual reality reflective of the soul of his theme driven by his ceaseless pursuit of perfection.” Prof Sharma can legitimately claim the credit of contributing thousands of brilliant students as alumni. They salute him. Such is his magic, he salutes Sandhu for his art. Hindi poet, Balkavi Bairagi, MP, noted tribal leader of Madhya Pradesh, burst into a poem as he responded to his portrait despite din and dirt of Ludhiana Railway Station, on September 9, 1998. Legendary scholar and academician, Prof Pritam Singh, after seeing his portrait commented on December 25, 1998, “I avoided being photographed. After seeing Sandhu’s art I am driven to revise my attitude. It is good to be photographed.”

Ali Sardar Jafri had a child-like innocence as well as the vision of the knowledgeable. The Jnanpeeth awardee and a personal friend of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Sardar Jafri praised Sandhu. Sardar Jafri kept his portrait as a souvenir from Ludhiana. Remember, it formed the background of interviews regarding historic Bus-journey to Lahore? The whole world saw it. Such is the magic of the portrait of Ali Sardar Jafri who wrote appreciative letters. Sandhu is collecting portraits of notables from all fields, such as science (Dr G.S. Khush), medicines (Dr L.S. Chawla), ghazal singing (Jagjit Singh and Parvez Mehdi), sports (Pargat Singh), Saraswati Samman awardee (Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana), diplomats (B.S. Singh, I.F.S.), lensman (Raghbir Rai), painters (Mehar Singh, Jarnail Singh), devotional singers (Bhai Lal), etc, etc. M.S. Cheema



Conserve water, appeals Kalsia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
The Municipal Corporation is planning to improve the water supply in the city. Besides boosting the supply to certain localities, facing scarcity of water, focus will remain on steps for water conservation.

According to the Municipal Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia, in order to educate the residents against wastage of water, the MC will observe ‘water leakage detection week’ till April 30.

In an appeal to the residents, social groups and NGOs, he urged them to report about any leakage or wastage of water personally or by telephone to officials of the O and M Cell of the civic body.

The officials included Mr Subhash Chander Dua, Superintending Engineer (phone Nos. 745560 and 321868); Mr S.K. Verma, Superintending Engineer, Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (phone No. 449285); Mr Narain Dass, Executive Engineer, Zone-A, (phone No. 749120); Mr A.K. Gupta, Executive Engineer (phone No. 307653); Mr I.P.S. Aujla, Assistant Engineer, Zone C (phone No. 539282); and Mr V.P. Singh, Executive Engineer, Zone D (phone No. 445289).

The Commissioner further pointed out that a large quantity of water was wasted due to Tullu pumps. Besides, minimum water should be used for washing cars and scooters and other vehicles. Irrigation to kitchen gardens and lawns should also be done at night.



Release DA instalment’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
The Government Pensioners Association has urged the state government to release the additional DA instalment at the rate of four per cent that had become payable to the state government pensioners with effect from January, 2002.

Mr Yash Pal Ghai, its additional general secretary, said in a press note here today that the Punjab Government had already sanctioned the instalment for its staff, which has raised the quantum of the allowance from 45 per cent to 49 per cent. However, the pensioners had been left out. It had caused widespread resentment among them. He said the association had also urged the Chief Minister in this regard.



Bomb hoax
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
A bomb hoax in two showrooms of Dada Motors, automobile dealers, kept the police and over 300 employees of the company in a state of alarm for about seven hours here today. An unidentified person told an employee of the company on telephone that he had planted a bomb in one of the showrooms.

Mr Saroj Dada, an owner of the company, said the caller had given no reason for planting the bomb. Over 300 workers at the two places rushed out immediately. The police rushed there with sniffer dogs and an anti-sabotage squad. Firefighters were also called. However, the search proved futile.



Power cut
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, April 25
A power cut of eight hours’ duration in the PSEB Sub-Division Machhiwara will be observed on Friday. This was stated by Mr Mandip Singh, AEE, Machhiwara. He further stated that the cut would be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.



Youth abducted, beaten up
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
A youth, who was abducted from outside the railway station on Tuesday night and beaten up by abductors and thrown near Kheri Jhameri village, has been admitted to the Civil Hospital in a critical condition. According to information, Pardeep Singh (18), a resident of Akash Nagar, who works as a booking agent for a private transport company, was on duty when three boys travelling in a car came to him. After luring him with a proposal to buy four tickets for Jammu, the youths asked Pardeep to fetch a bottle of liquor from the nearby shop.

The car-borne youth allegedly dragged the boy inside the car and allegedly forced him to drink in the moving car. On reaching a brick-kiln, near Kheri Jhameri village, abductors took out the belt of Pardeep and beat him up with that. He was spotted by villagers on Wednesday morning. The police has registered a case.

Charas seized: The Model Town police has arrested Gian Singh, a resident of Dugri village, for possessing 500 grams of charas. The accused has been arrested from Model Town Extension.

Case registered: The Division No. 4 police station has registered a case under Section 447 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ravinder Kumar, a resident of New Kartar Puri, against Swaran Singh and one of his friends. The complainant alleged that the accused had forcibly taken possession of a godown belonging to him.

Dowry case: The Division No. 4 police station has registered a case of harassment for more dowry under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on the statement of Ms Divya, a resident of Mohalla Fatehgarh, against her in-laws namely Gurdip Singh, Balwinder Kaur and Kuldeep Kaur, all residents of Shimla Puri. The complainant alleged that the accused tortured her and demanded more dowry.

Beaten up: The Kotwali police station, on the statement of Mr Chander Bhakat, a resident of Durga Puri, has registered a case of beating under Sections 452, 324, 323 and 34 of the IPC against Deepak Kumar, his father, Adarsh Kumar, and others. The complainant alleged that the accused entered his shop on Tuesday and started hitting him with an iron rod.

The Division No.2 police station has registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Naval Beri, a resident of the Club road, against Ajay Beri, Ajit Beri and others. The complainant alleged that the accused beat him up on Tuesday.


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