Saturday, July 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Solve mystery of missing man: DMCH faculty
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
The faculty of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) has demanded that a complaint should be lodged with the court, which should direct the authorities to produce the body of the electrician, who had died allegedly due to police firing during the scuffle on July 13, otherwise the whereabouts of the body as well as the events on that day should be investigated by an independent agency.

“We will certainly get back to work but only when the hospital begins to function smoothly. There is a need to create a proper atmosphere so that each employee feels secure not only within the hospital premises but also within the confines of their homes”, said the faculty members of DMCH here today at a meeting. The meeting was held to take stock of the situation.

More than 150 doctors attended today’s meeting. They expressed concern over the fact that while the hospital management and the administration were sympathetic towards an injured policeman and were visiting him, no one from both the sides had bothered to visit the harassed, battered and distraught employees in jail.

The doctors said there was only one precondition to come back to work- the arrested employees should be released immediately . The doctors said police raids were still continuing to victimise innocent employees and their relatives in the localities in the vicinity of DMCH.

The management had given a call today asking the employees to resume work at the hospital but even the employees who had previously not been on strike, did not report for duty today.

A senior member of the faculty asked, "How expensive can the jaw of a DSP be? Does it amount equal to the lives and careers of 28 innocent persons, who were being punished without any reason? Has anyone in the management as much as thought of going and visiting the employees in jail, just like they have visited the hospitalised DSP?”

The faculty felt that some of the issues were being brushed aside and that a white paper should be issued regarding the running of the Heart Centre.

The faculty had an interaction with Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, president of the District Bar Association. The legal opinion sought by faculty indicated that the events that occurred on July 13 could not amount to an act of crime. Whatever happened that day, happened due to mob tendency. The atmosphere was charged and a small provocation by either the police or the hospital administration could have led to these happenings. With respect to Section 307, which was enforced against the employees, the legal experts clarified that the state had the power to change or even waive the clause. The general body was examining legal opinions to secure the release of the employees.



Incentive for CMC employees
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
Employees of Christian Medical College and Hospital have expressed happiness over the announcement made by the authorities concerned to provide incentives to all.

According to sources, employees working in Group I, II and III will be getting incentive of Rs 300 to Rs 750 according to their status. The sources said the incentive had been announced for July and August.

Dr T.M. Jaison, Acting Director, CMCH, admitted that the management had held several meetings and discussed the issue of giving an increase salary. “Since hospital is doing a good job these days and has incurred benefits, we have decided to give a salary rise to employees and faculty in July”, said Dr Jaison. This decision has been taken last week.

Some faculty members, on condition of anonymity, said these days all employees, faculty members, interns and residents had to put a lot of effort due to employees’ unrest at the DMCH.

“There is a great rush of patients in the hospital. The departments which had low occupancy earlier are crowded with patients. This additional salary is absolutely ad hoc due to rush of patients”, maintained the doctor.

Dr Jaison admitted that there had been an increase in number of patients in the hospital but said the crowd was manageable. “Everybody is putting extra efforts for that. We are able to manage and provide proper care to all patients. And to appreciate their work and efforts, we have announced these incentives”, he said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the hospital admitted that there had been up to 15 per cent increase in the number of patients after Saturday’s violence at the DMCH.



MC employees serve notice for strike
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
Crying foul over the arrest of Mr Jasdev Singh Sekhon, a building inspector and a sewadar, Mr Sarbjit Singh Grewal, by the Vigilance Bureau of police from Zone C office of the Municipal Corporation at Gill Road here today, the civic employees have served a notice for a day’s strike on Monday which might be extended indefinitely if the high-handedness of vigilance police continued in this manner.

Several representatives of MC employees’ unions and safai workers met the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, in his office and informed him that going by the circumstantial evidence and eyewitness accounts it could be concluded that the building inspector and the sewadar were framed by the police officials at the instance of a councillor, belonging to Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann).

The trade union activists, Mr Sunil Sharma, Mr Devi Sahay Tandon, Mr Tarlochan Singh Lochi, Mr Surinder Dhamija and Mr Vijay Danaw among them, said that the entire work force of the civic body, including the staff deployed at zonal offices, would get together at the main office on Monday morning to observe strike for the day. Depending on the response of the government and the civic administration, the strike might continue further. Mr Gill assured the representatives of the employees that the matter would be taken up with the government at the appropriate level and there would be no injustice towards anybody.

If the sources in the MC office were to be believed, the sequence of events preceding the arrest of the civic employees, created many doubts. According to eyewitnesses, a team of Vigilance Bureau, having caught hold of the sewadar from outside the office, descended at the MC Zonal Office and asked about the accused building inspector. Once having Sekhon in their grip, the police officials ordered everybody out of the room and even slapped one of the employees in the intervening period. One of the colleagues of the arrested employees alleged in his written statement that certain plain clothed persons, claiming to be vigilance bureau officials had threatened Sekhon and others with a revolver.

Thereafter, the police is said to have bolted the room from inside and cries of the accused inspector for help were heard outside before the door was opened and the Vigilance Bureau officials announced that the accused was caught red handed while taking a bribe of Rs 7,000, the sources claimed. 



‘We were forced to work 20 hours a day’
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
Punjab may be one of the most prosperous states in the country, but bonded labour, even after 55 years of Independence, is still a reality in the countryside. As per estimates there are more than five lakh labourers in the state.

Activists of the Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan, a local NGO engaged in rescuing them and getting justice for such persons in the state, said each year scores of persons and their families were rescued from the clutches of big landlords, who pay them a pittance, force them to work long hours and treat them as virtual prisoners in their farmhouses. Any dissent invites swift retribution in terms of torture and mental harassment. In many cases, even the families are forced to work in the household.

One such victim is a 33-year-old Dalit, Atma Singh, who escaped from the clutches of his employer, Kitta Singh of Nanaksar Basti village in Faridkot district and took refuge with the organisation.

Narrating his tale of woes, Atma Singh said he had taken a loan of Rs 17,000, but did not know that he would be enslaved and have to work as a bonded labourer at the farm. “I belong to a very poor family of Hassan Bhati village, near Faridkot, and had to take a debt for some family problems. The interest rate is five per cent and the condition was that I will have to work as a ‘siri’ (agricultural labourer) with him. I was forced to shift my family to his farm so that my wife and children would also do odd chores in the house”, he added.

“The landlord fixed my salary at Rs 18,000 per annum, while that of my wife at Rs 500 per month. But actually we were paid only Rs 500 per month and forced to work 20 hours a day. In case we did not work, we were fined Rs 100 per day and it was deducted from our salary or added to the debt”, he revealed.

“Some days back I suffered some burn injuries while sprinkling pesticide. I could not work and was told that I could rest only for two days. On the third day, I was forcibly taken to fields and asked to commence work. When I resisted, I was beaten up and abused”, he recounted.

“Somehow I managed to escape from the village. I came here and narrated my tale of woes. I called up my employer to know the fate of my family members, but the farmhouse owner allegedly threatened me with dire consequences if I did not return. Despite repeated telephone calls, I was not allowed to talk to my family members who are in captivity”, he added.

Mr Dinesh Bharati, general secretary of the front, said this was not an isolated incidence. He said: “Even today, the practice of hiring bonded labourers continues. If someone wants to leave, an exorbitant interest rate is charged indebting the person. Unable to raise that kind of money to repay the debt, the family ends up working as bonded labourers”, he added.

In the state, more than one lakh such workers alone are employed in factories and brick-kilns. According to a recent Supreme Court ruling, any person getting less than the minimum wages against his will should be considered as a bonded labourer. 



Two MC men caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
The local Vigilance Bureau today morning raided Zone-C Gill Road office of Municipal Corporation and caught a building inspector and his peon red-handed while accepting bribe from a Shimla Puri resident.

Building Inspector Jasdev Singh Sekhon and his peon Sarbjit Singh were caught with the sum. They have been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The action however sparked off protests by the MC staff. The staff struck work and raised slogans against the raid, calling it motivated and aimed at implicating the two MC employees.

Sensing trouble from the protesters, the district police deployed two reserve battalions, one each at the MC office and the Vigilance office, near District Courts.

According to DSP (Vigilance) Simarjit Singh, the bureau had set up a trap after receiving a complaint from Mr Ravi Sharma, an employee of the factory owner whose building was under construction in Shimla Puri. They had complained that the building inspector was harassing them and demanding Rs 14,000.

They later struck a deal, which was finalised at a payment of Rs 7,000. The bureau was informed of the day and time of handing over the money. The building inspector allegedly operated through his peon.

Bureau officials said when they raided the office, the peon had pocketed the amount, which was later recovered from him. Dr Ramesh Chabra and Dr Rattan Joshi were the witnesses to the incident.



Tangri set to surface again
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
The state unit of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackery) today asserted that the raids on the local Gur Mandi were “politically motivated” to frame Shiv Sena (Rashtravadi) chief Jagdish Tangri and his son Sunil Tangri and that the stage is set for the “homecoming” of someone who “contributed a lot to the cause of Hindus during the dark era of militancy in Punjab.”

It may be recalled that the father and son duo are wanted by the police in connection with cases for attempt to murder, breach of peace, manufacturing petrol bombs during the raids to crack down on the allegedly pirated CDs operation being patronised by him in the mandi.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Swami Pushpinder Swarup and Mr Ravinder Arora, patron and general secretary, told mediapersons that all the charges against them had been drummed up and that the cops had planted evidence, including pornographic material, to tarnish their image among the masses.

Admitting that the illegal CDs operation had its nerve-centre in the mandi, they clarified that the Tangris had nothing to do with it. If the police has evidence against the pirators, action must be initiated against the wrong doer but this issue should not have been used to settle political scores, they added.

When pointed out that Tangri headed an independent outfit and had nothing to do with their organisation, they said they have political differences but the contribution of Jagdish Tangri for the larger Hindu cause during militancy was too recent to be ignored, they added.

They sidetracked queries on the issue of two local Congress MLAs exerting pressure on the local administration for a “compromise”, but maintained that many people are beholden to him and could be doing their bit to help someone they admired and respected. There is nothing wrong with it and Jagdish Tangri will appear before the people in the coming days, they asserted.

Meanwhile, sources said the two MLAs have been doing their utmost to “settle” this issue with the administration by arriving at a “face saving measure for both parties.”



Reinstate employee, demands HIEF
Tribune News Service

Members of the Handicapped Institution Employees Federation sit on a dharna at the VRTC
Members of the Handicapped Institution Employees Federation sit on a dharna at the VRTC in Ludhiana on Friday. 

Ludhiana, July 19
The dharna by the Handicapped Institution Employees Federation (HIEF) continued for the fourth day today with employees demanding the reinstatement of sacked Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre (VRTC) employee, Mr Dharampal Singh.

Accusing the management of foul play, leaders of HIEF led by Mr Bhag Chand, Raj Karan Pandey, Jaspal Singh and Mr Parkash Sharma said the management had not given any financial control to any employee, so no employee could misuse any funds.

The federation employees said the office administration was looked after by the administrator’s wife, while his other family members had charge of other areas of administration. They said while the administrator’s brother-in-law’s wife was the office secretary, the administrator’s brother-in-law was the mess and building in charge, while the administrator’s son-in-law was ICI in charge

The HIEF has been demanding the immediate reinstatement of the sacked employee, Dharampal Singh.



4 booked under Dowry Act
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 19
The Sudhar police on the statement of Harmandev Kaur of Abuwal has registered a case under Sections 406, 498, 506, 120D, IPC, against her husband Gursharanjit Singh, his brother Charanjit Singh and middleman Sukhdev Singh and Gurprit Kaur of Model Gram. According to the complainant, ever since her marriage in August 92, Gursharanjit Singh and his brother had been harassing her for bringing inadequate dowry and for giving birth to two daughters. Her husband also had illicit relations with Gurprit Kaur, wife of Mohan Bir Singh of Pakhowal Road. The accused had also been compelling her to sign some blank pieces of paper, she alleged.

108 kg of poppy husk seized: The Sidhwan Bet police, while patrolling the area of Kulgehna area, arrested Subash alias Bitto and seized 55 kg of poppy husk from his possession. In another incident the police arrested Chiman Singh alias Chimni in Abuwal area and seized 53 kg of poppy husk. Separate case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act have been registered.

Man beaten up:
A case under Sections 326, 427, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC has been registered at Payal police station on Thursday evening on the complaint of Sumanpreet Singh against some residents of Balmik Mohalla who allegedly beat him up due to some personal dispute. No arrests have been made by the police.

Booked for stealing wheat: The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC against Hari Singh, Amarjit Singh, Beant Singh, Harbans Singh, Jagdev Singh, Bhajan Singh, Avtar Singh, Gurmukh Singh and Jeet Singh, all residents of Ghaloti village, for stealing wheat from the fields of Balwant Singh of the same village.

Man attacked: One person was injured and his Maruti Zen was damaged in an assault by some persons at Nizampur, near Payal.

Sarbjit Singh of Nizampur village in a complaint has stated that he was attacked by Paramjit Singh Pamma, Piti and Gurpreet Singh Kalia while he was on going to his village on Tuesday night.

A case under Sections 341, 379, 427, 323 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.

Trucker booked: The driver of a truck has been booked by the Sahnewal police on a complaint by Nirmal Singh. The truck had hit and injured his brother who was riding a moped. No one has been arrested so far.

Eve-teaser booked:
The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 294, 509, 323 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Sunita Devi, a resident of South City, Haibowal, against Ram Bahadur, a resident of the same locality. The woman had alleged that the accused had teased her daughter, Radha Kumari, and threatened her.

Ashram inmates abducted: The Sadar police yesterday registered a case under sections 363 and 366 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Jaswant Singh, a resident of Ashram at Laddowal, against unknown persons for allegedly kidnapping two minor girls — Reeta (9) and Pinki (11) — from the ashram presmises on July 16.

Fraud alleged: The division number 2 police yesterday registered a case of alleged fraud under sections 379, 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rajesh Chander, against Mansar Singh, a resident of Shimla Puri. The complainant had alleged that the accused had forged his signatures on cheques belonging to him and withdrawn cash from the bank concerned. No arrest has been made so far.

Chain-snatching cases: On the complaint of Ms Sonia, a resident of Gobindpura, the division number 7 police yesterday registered a case under Section 356 of the IPC against an unknown person.

The complainant had stated that while she was going on a rickshaw from Karimpura Bazar to her home on Thursday, the person accosted her near Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran and escaped after snatching her 40 gm gold chain and mangal sutra. No arrest has been made so far.

The division number 7 has registered a case of chain-snatching under sections 382 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sawinder Singh, a resident of Urban Estate, Sonu, a resident of Narain Nagar.

The complainant had alleged that while he was going along with his friend Satwinder Singh on Thursday afternoon , the accused had snatched his gold chain and fled the spot .

Cases of beating: The division number 5 police yesterday registered a case of  beating under sections 344, 323 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Amir Kumar Gupta, a resident of Chander Nagar, against Rakesh, Jassu and Davinder, all residents of Mata Rani Mandir Chowk. The accused were arrested and bailed out, the police said today.

The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 323, 324, 341 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Roshan Lal, a resident Shakti Nagar, Salem Tabri, against four unknown persons. It was alleged that the accused had stopped the complainant on the road and beaten him up . No arrest has been made so far.

On the statement of Ms Viplesh Kumari, a resident of Shakti Nagar, the Jodhewal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 341 and 323 of the IPC, against Manohar Kamal Jain of the same locality. The woman had alleged that the accused ad beaten her up on the road. No arrest has been made so far.

Liquor seized:
The Sahnewal police claims to have seized 12,600 ml of liquor from Surinder Kumar of Ghawaddi village at a police naka near Ramgarh, yesterday.

In another case, Jatinder Kumar of Katani village was arrested with 8 bottles of illicit liquor at a naka near Bhaini Sahib village . A case under Sections 61,1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.



Man found dead
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, July 19
The body of Jagwiner Singh Jaggu, a resident of Monnabad village, near here, was found hanging form a tree near railway tracks here.

According to sources, the man was a drug-addict and had sold 3 bighas of land, which had been given to him by one of his relatives.

The Railway Police has handed over the body to relatives of the deceased.


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