Monday, September 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Victim’s parents disappear
Tribune News Service

Accused Vasudeva being produced in a court in Ludhiana on Sunday
Accused Vasudeva being produced in a court in Ludhiana on Sunday.

Govardhan and Guliya, parents of the accused
Govardhan and Guliya, parents of the accused.

Ludhiana, September 1
In a new twist to the alleged begging racket in the region, parents of the victim, Aman, who live in Kirpal Nagar area of this city, have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

They were last seen on August 22 by some relatives after amputation of a foot of their son, Aman, on August 28 at far away Chowki Mann railway station near Jagraon. Since then all efforts of their relatives to track them down have proved futile. Only a maternal grandmother of the victim came to his aid and is presently taking care of him at Jagraon Civil Hospital.

While Aman’s parents have yet not visited their badly injured son despite media reports, the old and physically-challenged parents of the accused Vasudeva, have been searching for their ‘nincompoop’ son. It was only today afternoon that they learnt the fate of their son. The old couple, who beg at the railway station here, live on a footpath outside the railway station.

Vinod Kumar, real maternal Uncle of the victim, Aman, runs a chana bhatura shop near Ghanta Ghar (clock tower). He said Aman lived a life in penury with his parents. His father Bachan Singh and mother Neelam Rani, along with three other children, lived in Kirpal Nagar. The father was a drunkard and used to beat his children and wife frequently. ‘‘I had met them on August 22 to meet my sister, Neelam, on Raksha Bandhan day. Aman was not in the house and my sister told me he had run away some weeks ago after his father had beaten him up’’.

However, after learning about the incident from media reports, he went to their house to take them to Jagraon but the house was locked.

‘‘I inquired from neighbours but no one knew where they had disappeared. In all probability they disappeared after learning the incident but I am not sure about this,’’ he told Ludhiana Tribune. He suspected that the boy’s father might be fearing some trouble as the boy ran away from home after he was beaten by the father.

Their house in Kirpal Nagar was locked. Neighbours said the family had suddenly disappeared. SHO Darshan Singh, Railway Police Station, said the police was also searching about their whereabouts. He said only the parents could tell if Aman was really kidnapped or had gone away with the man on his own. He said that the 10-year-old victim was already in bad company and was in the habit of drinking, smoking and also chewed tobacco.

The parents of the accused, are physically-challenged. Father Govardhan and mother Guliya, had little clue about the whereabouts of their son. ‘‘ We are searching for him since the past two weeks. We heard from someone today morning that our son was in trouble but we did not know what the trouble was’’. The old couple was trying to collect some belongings damaged in last night’s rain.

Sleuths of the railway police in civil dress had met the parents last evening and inquired about their son but they had no clue then.

They disclosed that they had two sons. One plied a rickshaw in Bihar and the other Vasudeva was with them in the city. ‘‘ I have been advising him to work as a labourer instead of begging. He started scrap collection work but left soon. I don’t know what he was doing.’’ The accused, Vasudeva was married and had a daughter also. However, his wife had left him six months ago, as he was not earning anything, the parents disclosed.

They, however, confirmed that their son had brought a small boy who had lived with them here for few days before they both disappeared. On being asked about the alleged begging racket, the parents said, ‘‘ See our condition. If our son was running such a racket, he must be making some money but then would we be living in such poverty? If nothing else, we could have at least some roof or shelter on our heads. ’’



Two-day remand for accused

The Duty Magistrate, Mr R K Sharma today remanded, Vasudeva, an accused in the begging racket, in two-day police custody. He was produced in the court by the Government Railway Police Ludhiana this afternoon.

The Railway Police demanded more time for remand on the plea that the allegations against the accused were grave and they wanted to know details about the existence of a begging racket.

Meanwhile, doctors at the Civil Hospital, Jagraon, were yet to conduct the medical examination of the victim, Aman. He had alleged that he was sodomised also. The Railway police said the examination was expected to be conducted tomorrow.



Cake cut as Krishna arrives
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 1
Janmashtami was celebrated with religious fervour in various temples here and around close to midnight yesterday and the hectic activity continued till early today. The day began with offerings and prayers. Janmashtami was celebrated with a modern touch in Shri Gyan Sthal Mandir near Subhani Building Chowk, where a cake, with “Happy Birthday to Lord Krishna” written on it, was cut.

Tableaus based on the life of Lord Krishna were on display and devotees waited eagerly for rocking the cradle of baby Krishna. The second phase of ‘kar sewa’ in Shri Radha Govind Mandir of Shri Govind Gaudham on the Humbran road began in the morning and thousands of devotees took part in it. Lala Lajpat Rai, Member of the Rajya Sabha, was the chief guest on the occasion, who also inaugurated the voluntary service.

Students of Gupta Model School, led by the school Principal, Ms Simmi Gupta, also took part in the ‘kar sewa’. The Hare Krishna Mahotsav Committee had decorated the site with 108 flags. The ‘kar sewaks’ had been chanting the Hare Krishna mantra like a crowd possessed during the voluntary service. A large number of devotees also donated bricks for building the temple.

The Radha Madhav Sankirtan Mandal Sewak Siddh Peeth organised a ‘kirtan sabha’. A ‘parbhat pheri’ was taken out from Shri Vishwanath Temple in Jamalpur, in which, several tableaus on the life of the Lord were on display. Vaishno Devi Temple at the Division Number Three Chowk saw such a huge rush of devotees that a TV screen had to be installed for their benefit. The ancient Sanglan Wala Shivala also wore a festive and crowded look.

Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, inaugurated a tableau exhibition on scenes from the life of Lord Krishna, in Shri Krishna Mandir of Model Town. Mr Harnam Dass Johar, an MLA, was among those who performed the ‘aarti’ on the occasion.

Shri Sarawvyapi Mahila Sankirtan Mandli presented bhajan in praise of the Lord in Shri Prem Mandir of Tilak Nagar. A special function was organised in Kusht Ashram of Islam Ganj early in the day, which was attended by eminent persons of the city. Huge donations were given to the ‘ashram’ inmates. Later, a ‘kirtan sabha’ was held.

The other temples of the city where Janmashtami was celebrated with fervour included Shri Ved Mandir of Daresi Grounds, Shri Vishnu Temple, Ved Niketan Dham of Bajwa Nagar, Shri Hanuman Mandir of Naulakha Colony, Shri Shiv Shakti Mandir of Kidwai Nagar, Shri Prem Kutia and Shakti Ashram of Tilak Nagar, Shri Shiv Mandir and Shri Vaishno Mandir of Hathiwala in Islam Ganj, Shri Durga Mata Mandir of Civil Lines, Maa Jwalamukhi Temple near Fountain Chowk, Shri Sanatan Dharam Mandir of Jawahar Nagar, Shri Krishna Mandir of Shastri Nagar, Swami Vivekanand Vridh Ashram of Model Town Extension, Shri Raghunath Mandir of Aggar Nagar, Shri Sapt Siddh Chintpurni Mandir of Haibowal, Shri Radha Krishan Mandir of Tagore Nagar, Shri Haridev Mandir of Bagh Wali Gali, Ilaichi Giri Mandir of Kucha Lallu Mall, Gopal Mandir of Janakpuri, Sadashiv Mandir of Salem Tabri, Shri Jai Durga Mandir of Rishi Nagar and Talaab Mandir.

Cultural programmes were organised in several schools of the city to mark the occasion. The Saraswati Ladies Club of Ludhiana held the celebrations in Spring Dale Public School.

At Phillaur, Janmashtami was celebrated in Pathshala Mandir, Devi Mandir, Nath Wala Mandir, Sheetla Mata Mandir and several Shiva temples. At Ahmedgarh, sweetwater vends had been put up along roads leading to various temples of the town. The temples remained crowded till midnight. There was a huge crowd in Hanuman Mandir, Laxmi Narayan Mandir, Shiva Temple and Vishwakarma Mandir.

Long queues of devotees were seen outside temples at Khanna, where children dressed up like Lord Krishna had been holding the stage. Legends associated with the Lord were portrayed in plays. An artificial mountain created in Devi Dwala Mandir was a big draw.



Mysterious disease in buffaloes remains unidentified
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 1
Experts from the district Veterinary Department today visited villages near Samrala where some buffaloes had died due to a ‘mysterious’ disease. The cause of mortality, however, could not be ascertained as reports of the blood and fodder samples were yet to be received.

Three buffaloes of Mr Bachittar Singh and one belonging to Mr Sher Singh, farmers of Rajewal and Kullewal villages, respectively, had died of constipation during the past two days.

Reports of some animals perishing in Bhattian village have also been received.

Veterinarians, who visited these villages, on condition of anonymity, said the deaths could be due to some sort of chemical toxicity in green fodder. However, till the final report nothing could be ascertained, they said

The local veterinarians have asked experts from the Diagnostic Lab of Animal Husbandry Department in Jalandhar to identify the disease.

The experts are expected to visit the villages tomorrow to collect blood samples of ‘normal’ animals and the fodder that was being fed to them. A veterinarian said that Mr Bachittar Singh's buffaloes could have possibly died due to oxalate, cyanide or nitrate poisoning and the source of these toxins could be anything, including charri, bajra, oats, barseem and sugarcane. He advised the farmers to stop giving their cattle these types of feed.

He, however, ruled out any kind of poisoning in Mr Sher Singh's buffalo who, he said “could have died of drenching” as the farmer had made it drink oil which had suffocated the animal by making way to the lungs.

He said the buffalo had been suffering from constipation for the past many days.

Interestingly, the farmers whose animals perished are not cooperating with the veterinarians.

While Mr Bachittar Singh told mediapersons that his buffaloes died due to constipation, he told the veterinarians that his cattle had perished due to some other ailment.

Interestingly, he refused to tell the name of the private practitioner who had treated the animal.

Mr Sher Singh told “Ludhiana Tribune” that his buffalo had stopped taking feed some days ago and was not passing stools. The doctor had prescribed a mixture of mustard and turpentine oil, but the buffalo died just 5 minutes after drinking the oil, he said.

Mr Bachittar Singh said his buffaloes were also suffering from constipation and the doctor attending to them had given an injection of methylene blue instructing him them not to feed them charri.

Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, general secretary of the BKU, said cattle in many villages were passing loose stools after they being fed on green fodder.

The experts have advised farmers to stop feeding their animals green fodder immediately as the buffaloes could have died due to nitrate poisoning.

They said that if the cattle was suffering from symptoms like respiratory insufficiency, rapid and weak pulse, frequent urination, diarrhoea and colic followed by trembling, coma and convulsions, farmers should immediately consult a specialist as a delay in treatment could cause death.



Rationalists dare baba to prove claim
Mahesh Sharma

Ahmedgarh, September 1
The Taraksheel Society of Punjab has challenged the claim of a self-proclaimed saint of Shaheed Sukhdev Singh Nagar here that he can treat all ailments by giving amulets and ash to patients. The society will hold a stage in front of his dera on September 4, where it will give him Rs 1 lakh if he proves his claims in public.

Doctor Jaswinder Kalakh, president of the local unit of the society, said the body had received complaints against this baba, after which, it had warned him. Mr Ranbir Singh, a neighbour of the baba, has accused him of threatening all neighbours not to complain against him.

Dr Jaswinder Singh said Charanjit, who had now become Baba Charanjit Singh, once had a rented house and used to harass its owner. Then, he purchased a plot near Gandhi School here and started holding congregations of Shiva devotees. Persons of all age groups and religions still attend these congregations (called ‘chowkis’) on Sundays, where the baba gives them ash and amulets for “ridding them of ailments and problems”.

Baba’s disciples openly seek huge donations for the ‘bhandara’ of Lord Shiva. The gathering creates a traffic bottleneck; and if anyone objects to wrong parking of vehicles, baba’s musclemen beat up him or her. Persons of shady character visit this baba late in the evening.

The complainant has said that there is a threat to his life and property from the baba’s musclemen, who had reportedly beaten up his father, 75-year-old Bohri Singh, a vendor. The matter was reported to the police, but some locals got the issue resolved after the baba gave him a written apology in public.

After making its preliminary investigations, the society decided to challenge the baba. The baba said he had treated hundreds of chronic patients with his “divine powers” acquired by virtue of his faith in Lord Shiva. When this reporter visited baba, he had been telling a man called Nirbhai Singh that his property dispute would soon be settled if he attended ‘chowki’ for five Sundays.



Children enthral at dance competition
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 1
As many as 100 contestants participated in the individual dance competition organised by the Love Dale Club at Students’ Home, PAU today. Mrs Bhullar, incharge of cultural activities at DAV Public School, and Mr Suresh, classical dance teacher from Sacred Heart Convent School, were the judges. Mr Arora, Managing Director of Win Cable was the guest of honour at the function.

Children danced on popular Bollywood numbers like “Bole chudiyan,” “Sharara-sharara, “Mere yaar Ki shadi hai,” besides “Amritsar de papad,” “Nikamma,” “Brazil” and others. The competition was divided in three groups according to the age of the participants.

Mr Anurag Aggarwal , Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana, and his wife were also present. The results of the competition are as follows: Group I (4-5years) — Madhur Seerat and Tanvi Jain (first), Siksha and Nehmat (second), Tanvi Jain and Amulaya (third) and Parnika, Ayush, Aastha and Sanav (consolation prizes); and Group II (5-7 years) — Anukirat and Anugeet (first) and Anmol, Sonia Behl (second), Abhinav and Shriya (third), Mansi Sahiba, Aftab and Gunisha (consolation prizes); Group III (7-10 years) — Ripu Behal and Bandhul (first), Tammna, Anushruti and Ehsaas (second), Mohit, Bhavya and Smriti (third) and Somay, Simranpret and Saloni Jain (consolation prizes.)



BJP’s questionnaire for CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 1
The BJP has released a list of 10 questions addressed to the Punjab Chief Minister on various issues seeking his reply which will mirror the functioning if his six-month-old government.

The list was released by the co- convenor of the BJP media cell Harminder Malik and starts with the volatile SYL issue. He has asked that why is the Chief Minister not able to counter the strong statements of his counterpart in Haryana. “Why is the government yet to file a review petition in the Supreme court?”, he questioned.

The second one pertains to the celebration of the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. “Will the government now also organise functions on the anniversaries of Sant Fateh Singh, Master Tara Singh and Darshan Singh Pheruman.”

The BJP has also questioned the expenses incurred on the foreign tour of the Chief Minister when he claims that the exchequer is bankrupt and the Chief Minister is yet to clarify about the nature of the funding agency about which no one knows.

Similarly, questions have also been raised on the witch hunt launched by the Congress where opponents are being targetted and thrown behind bars. In the regime no one has been spared. Industrialists who had installed generators are being asked to pay charges. Comments have also been directed at the contributions of B R Ambedkar, he added.

Mr Malik said the farmers were reeling under drought and the government had done nothing to assuage their miseries. Their loans have not been waived off or rescheduled. Also there is no talk of bonus for paddy or when the procurement season is going to commence.

The government has targetted employees and the anti-corruption drive has been one sided and is nothing but hounding of political opponents. Besides this, the Chief Minister should look further than Badal, Badli and Badla if the economy of the state is to be brought back on the rails , he added.



Amarinder launches plantation drive
Tribune News Service

Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, plants a sapling
Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, plants a sapling at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar in Ludhiana on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, September 1
The Punjab Government has chalked out a comprehensive plan to launch massive afforestation drive in the state. Two crore saplings will be planted in the state on government and private land in the current year under this plan.

The programme was launched here yesterday by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who planted a teak sapling at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar in connection with the 53rd Vanamahotsava which was dedicated to the memory of former Chief Minister Beant Singh.

On this occasion Ms Mohsinha Kidwai, general secretary of the AICC, Mr Moti Lal Vohra, treasurer, Mr H.S. Hanspal, president of the PPCC, Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Local Bodies Minister, Punjab, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, Punjab, Dr Harbans Lal, State Minister for Forest, Punjab, and a large number of other ministers and leaders also planted saplings on the occasion. The Forest Department distributed around 1,000 saplings to the people for plantation.

Dr Harbans Lal said the government had decided to make it compulsory to bring at least 10 per cent of the panchayat land in every village under the forestry scheme with an aim to enhance green cover in rural areas. He said in Payal area alone, to which Mr Beant Singh had been representing for a long time, one lakh trees would be planted during this season.

He said the Forest Department was persuading panchayats to put up maximum forestry with a promise that returns would be given to the panchayats. He said the department had undertaken plantation on the government land, including along the roads, in the educational and other state government institutions.

Mr Jarnail Singh, Divisional Forest Officer, said the department had sufficient saplings available with it and 4 lakh saplings would be planted in Ludhiana district alone, out of which 2.5 lakh had already been planted.



Municipal workers threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 1
The Municipal Workers Union has threatened to launch an agitation if the Punjab Government did not reverse its recent decision of not employing a member of a worker’s family after his death. Mr Ram Jatan Pal, general secretary of the union, said here today in a press release that a decision to this effect had been taken at a meeting of the union which was presided over by Mr Gajraj Prajapati.



Threading a needle 384 times
Asha Ahuja

The needle that has been threaded 384 times by Pawan Kailey
The needle that has been threaded 384 times by Pawan Kailey.

Ludhiana, September 1
Pawan Kumar Kailey, a tailor of Gorayan, has many unique creations to his credit. This time he has succeeded in cutting of a 13” x 13” piece of cloth in such a manner that when opened, its strips can go around a truck and even over a 5’-5” man standing atop it. These strips do not required to be tied up.

The idea came to him while he was cutting a cloth one day. It took many hours of trials before he could succeed in his mission. Earlier, he had threaded a needle 384 times thereby surpassing the record of another person who had threaded the needle 112 times.

He says, “It was very time consuming and required a lot of concentration. Generally people blink 40 to 45 times in a minute, but while threading the needle, I did not blink for about 10 minutes. Later, I mounted the needle with the threads spread out on the face of a clock.”



Businessman booked
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, September 1
Raj Kumar a local businessman, has been booked under Section 420, 467 and 471 of the IPC for allegedly defrauding Ms Sarvansi.

The complainant alleged that she used to give Rs 500 per month for depositing in her account with the local branch of PNB. The accused deposited only 19 instalments and kept 10 instalments worth Rs 5000 with him.


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