Monday, July 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


‘Robber’ turns mob fury on police
Tribune News Service

Mr Naunihal Singh, Superintendent of Police (City-II), tries to pacify an agitated mob
Mr Naunihal Singh, Superintendent of Police (City-II), tries to pacify an agitated mob in Ghadiani Kalan village on Sunday.—  Photo Pradeep Tewari

Ghadiani Kalan (Ludhiana), July 21
There was tension in Ghadiani Kalan and its surrounding villages for over seven hours today after the villagers caught a “robber” who told the mob that his gang had been working in connivance with the police and sharing the booty with it. Villagers kept the Ludhiana-Rahon road blocked as long as the tension remained.

The angry villagers roughed up a constable when he allegedly slapped a boy. Last week, robbers had murdered a woman, Narinder Kaur, in Gaunsgarh village near here. The mob included over 1,000 persons who had had enough of robberies and “police inaction” in the past few weeks. Gurnam Singh, the man caught, remained in the mob’s custody for these seven hours, as villagers would hand him over to a senior police official only. Villagers accused the police at Mattewara and the other posts of inaction, non-cooperation and being hand-in-glove with robbers.

The mob’s anger grew with every hour that the police took in reaching here. The man had been caught at about 4.30 am and the first police official reached the village at 7 am. Newsmen were there by 6 am.

The mob dispersed at about noon when Mr Naunihal Singh, Superintendent of Police (City-II), took away the man. Before this, he tried for long to pacify the mob that wanted immediate registration of a case against the accused and an Assistant Sub Inspector, besides an apology from a constable who had allegedly slapped a boy.

The police said it was verifying the antecedents of the accused, who was behaving in an eccentric manner. After giving the mob his “confession”, he started blubbering. Tempers were high since early today after the man told the mob that his gang of seven had committed the Gaunsgarh robbery and murder. With the crime still fresh in the public memory, the angry mob could have killed the man, had it not been for some village elders.

The situation worsened when an ASI of the Punjab police reached the village and Gurnam yelled at him, saying: “Now, you will beat me in front of these persons, but it was you who sent the gang here. The police is with us; and, while we used to take the cash from the booty, it used to take the other valuables.”

At this, the mob turned its anger towards the ASI who made good his escape and returned only after senior police officials had arrived here. Ms Gurdev Kaur Khalsa, president of the Machhiwara unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party Mahila Morcha, who lives in the nearby Boothgarh village, told everyone that Mr Palwinder Singh, a farmer, had been the first one to spot the man when he had been trying to hide in some bushes. After the alarm was raised, villagers on a ‘thikri pehra’ reached the fields and caught the man after a short chase.

The accused repeated his allegations for newsmen before his behaviour changed.



Another DMCH employee goes missing
Action committee to observe July 24 as 'black day'
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
While mystery over the disappearance of Gian Chand, an employee of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, who had gone missing after the DMCH imbroglio on July 13, remains unsolved, the report of another missing employee has shaken the city.

The disappearance came to light today when the family of a security guard, Sukhdev Singh, lodged a complaint with the Dakha police stating that her husband had left the house on July 13 and had not arrived till date. This is the second case that stares the district police in its face, contesting its claim that nobody was killed in the police firing that day. Intriguingly, Gian Chand who was beaten up by the police is still missing.

The city hospitals show no record of Gian Chand who had received injuries after the police had swung into action that day. The pictures of Gian Chand, when he was being cornered by the police on the hospital premises, were clicked and carried extensively by the media.

While everybody was on the look out of Gian Chand including the media as well as the unionists of the DMCH, neither Gian Chand nor his body was found anywhere in the city.

Ms Balbir Kaur, wife of Sukhdev Singh, in her complaint to the police said that he had been working in the hospital for the past 12 years and was coming back home everyday. She claimed that he left his Pamali village at around 7 am but never came back. She said that she checked with her relatives also, but he was not found anywhere.

Sukhdev Singh's brother, Mr Darbara Singh, who was present in a dharna outside the DMCH today, said that his brother was missing since then only. He said that they had written to the police, the district administration and the management of the DMCH, but they have not been able to provide any clue about him. The DMCH Employees Union has also asked the police and the management to provide the whereabouts of Sukhdev Singh.

Meanwhile various unions active in Ludhiana district had organise a dharna outside the DMCH to express their solidarity with the hospital employees who, according to them, "were treated in a most inhumane manner". A joint action committee to fight for the employees was constituted and Mr D.P. Maur, president of the PAU Employees Union, was elected chairman. The action committee decided to observe July 24 as ''black day'' in the city to protest against the treatment meted out to the agitating employees. 



Hospital-union standoff continues 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
The Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) seems unlikely to start functioning with the faculty sticking to its demand that it will join duty only after all the detained employees are released by the police. The faculty members reiterated their demand to the president of the DMC Managing Society, Mr Brij Mohan Lall Munjal, at a meeting with him here today.

According to Dr N.S. Khaira, a delegation of the doctors met the president in order to find a way out of the impasse. However, he maintained that the faculty was firm in its stand that it will not be possible for them to resume their work unless all the employees are released. Dr Khaira claimed the president assured them that all the legal options would be explored to ensure that innocent people were bailed out.

Dr Khaira disclosed that they had contacted their lawyer and were preparing a case to be filed in an appropriate form to seek redressal of the human rights violations committed by the police and the administration.

The doctor clarified that the situation was as fluid as ever and there were no chances of the faculty joining duty from tomorrow. "But we are trying to put our heads together and find a solution acceptable to all so that the institution resumes functioning as early as possible", Dr Khaira said. But there was no concrete proposal from the management or the president of the society as to how the employees would be released and the issue resolved, he added. He quoted the president having said that they had only the assurances that nobody would be victimised or harassed. 



Bring back normalcy: MP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
Lala Lajpat Rai, MP and a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said here today that the state government was indifferent to the problem in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. He also said the parties concerned should exercise restraint.

The MP said the closure of the hospital had affected thousands of persons. “The crisis should be resolved without any ego clash. The state government has ignored the issue, though the DMCH is not a small institution. The noble purpose with which it was established should not be defeated,” he said. The BJP leader said the administration and the police should become a part of the solution and not the problem.

He said, if normalcy returned to the DMCH, it would be in the interest of patients.



Industry concerned over power situation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
With power situation worsening in the state, the industry is the worst hit. Various industrial associations, including the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association have voiced their concern over the acute power shortage which has also led to the massive downfall in industrial production.

According to Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the CICU, the recent decision of the Punjab State Electricity Board to enhance the peak-load hour restrictions from 3 to 9 hours for large supply consumers had shaken the industry in Punjab.

They said there were already unscheduled power cuts and breakdowns for four to five hours every day. Coupled with these the peak-hour load restrictions the industrial units would be forced to run their units for one shift only and that too with erratic power supply, which would hit the production in large scale.

Expressing similar concern the president of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association, Mr V P Chopra, said that the power situation was getting worse every day and the power cuts were driving all commercial sectors, particularly the industry, were being driven to desperation.

He said whether it was due to the late arrival of monsoon, an all-time low water level in the Ranjit Sagar Dam, financial crunch in the Punjab State Electricity Board coupled with its inefficiency, it was the harshest phase the people, particularly the industry had faced.

Both Mr Pardhan and Mr Chopra apprehended that the shortage of power to industry would lead to the fall in production of steel. He said that the steel prices had already gone up and after the shortage in production the prices might go up further which would spell doom for the industry. Most of the industrialists were worried as they felt that they would not be able to meet the supply deadlines which could even lead to cancellation of orders or rise in input costs.



Gangster found murdered

Ludhiana, July 21
A gangster, who was also a convict in an attempt to murder case, was found dead in mysterious circumstances in his rented apartment in street No. 10, Janakpuri, today morning.

The deceased, identified as Ashok Kumar, alias Ashoki, was found clubbed to death in his room. His body was spotted by Mr Swaran Singh who had come there to meet another tenant. The police said it suspect that someone had killed him due to gang rivalry or some enmity.


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