Saturday, September 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bhattal apprised CM of her visit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Punjab Agriculture Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, met the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on September 3 and apprised him of her impending visit and also discussed relevant issues with him, a spokesman for the Punjab Government said here today.

Reacting to a news report, the spokesman said in a telephonic message from Canada, Mrs Bhattal maintained that she had sought permission from the Chief Minister on September 3.

“The Chief Minister was kind enough to direct senior officers of the government to get the necessary clearances from the Union Government expedited,” the spokesman quoting Mrs Bhattal said, maintaining that even before the finalisation of her tour programme, she had informal discussions with the Chief Minister on August 31 about her visit.

Mrs Bhattal said that she met Mrs Sonia Gandhi and discussed various issues of party and state interest with her before leaving for Canada. She reiterated that she was a disciplined soldier of the party and always worked for its betterment.


Search for Bhunder’s ‘agents’ ordered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 6
The intelligence wing of the Punjab police has been asked to find out those police officials, including those who are presently working with the Vigilance Bureau wing, who might have leaked the information about the raids to former Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, Balwinder Singh Bhunder.

The Punjab Government has sounded an undeclared red alert for the arrest of Mr Bhunder, who has been eluding the same after the registration of a case.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that though the case was registered late on September 3, Mr Bhunder came to know about his probable arrest while he was attending the bhog ceremony of comrade Joga at Joga village.

After getting the information he left the venue at once despite the fact that some of the speakers, including Congress MP Jagmeet Singh Brar, was yet to address the gathering at the bhog ceremony. Mr Bhunder left in a white Ambasdor car bearing the registration number of Bathinda district.

Mr Harbant Singh Datewas, MLA, Budhlada, accompanied him in his car.

Information gathered by TNS from the state police authorities revealed that it had identified three police officials who were suspected to be involved in the leaking of information to Mr Bhunder as they were considered “very close” to him. These police officials enjoyed plum postings with active patronage of Mr Bhunder.

Meanwhile, the Vigilance Bureau teams are continuing its raids at various places in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.


Akali workers stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 6
Akali workers staged a dharna today in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner to protest against the “false” implication of Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, general secretary, SAD, and a close confidant of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, in a criminal case. They threatened to launch an agitation to express their protest against the implication of Mr Bhunder in a “false” case. They accused the state government of indulging in vendetta politics against Opposition leaders. They demanded the cancellation of the “false” case against Mr Bhunder.

Among others who addressed the gathering were Mr Harbant Singh Datewas, MLA, Budhlada, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Aulakh, former MLA, Mr Chatin Singh Samaoh, former MP, and Dr Lakhwinder Singh Moosa, president, District Youth Akali Dal.


Notice to govt on Langah’s bail plea
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 6
The Sessions Court here today issued notice to the Punjab Government for September 10 on the bail application of Sucha Singh Langah, former Punjab Public Works Minister and senior Akali leader, in a case registered against him by the Vigilance Bureau under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and 13 (1) (a) (c) (d) (e) read with 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.


5 cases filed against PPSC candidates
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 6
Taking action against tainted candidates who had paid money to bag jobs through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), the state Vigilance Bureau today registered five cases against different categories of candidates at the vigilance police station here today.

Reliable sources here said candidates had been divided into different categories with those successful in getting into the PCS (Executive), PCS (Judicial) and PCS (Allied) through nominations besides getting appointed as deputy superintendents of police and block development and panchayat officers (BDPOs) through underhand means being targeted in separate FIRs.

The sources said no FIR had been registered by name against any candidate. The Vigilance Department has decided to first target those candidates whose names had been revealed by approvers Randhir Singh Dheera and Prem Sagar. The sources said the Vigilance Department would also take other candidates in the ambit of the cases if their complicity in getting selected through dubious means was proved.

The FIRs are likely to be presented to a Patiala magistrate tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, no Vigilance officer was willing for a reaction on FIRs . The sources said the cases had been registered after a high-level meeting was held in Chandigarh under the Chairmanship of the Chief Director, Vigilance A P

Pandey and was attended by IG Vigilance Chander Shekhar and DIG Vigilance B K Uppal. The cases have been registered under Sections 8 and 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and 120 (b) IPC here after the matter was okayed at the meeting.


Formalities to sack 39 PCS officers completed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Punjab Government has almost completed all formalities to sack 39 PCS (Judicial) officers, selected by the PPSC during the tenure of Mr Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu, as its Chairman.

Informed sources said the Personnel Department had been dealing with this case and it was expected to be cleared by the Chief Secretary either on coming Monday or day after.

“We have no choice except to remove them as per the recommendations of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. So, their cases have been processed for removal”, said a government spokesman.

The Punjab and Haryana had recommended the termination from service of 39 PCS (Judicial) officers and 18 others awaiting posting orders in the third week of August.

Earlier, the high court authorities had withdrawn work from these officers in the first week of August. The sources said the recommendation for removal of these officers was made on August 12 during a full court meeting attended by Chief Justice, Arun B. Saharya and other Judges of the high court.

The sources said though the case for removal was being processed by the Personnel Department but the order of termination of the services of these officers would be issued by the Department of Home, Law and Justice. The file had been sent to the Chief Secretary by the Personnel Department.

“It was necessary to examine all legal points before issuing the final order of termination. That is why the case has been examined at the Personnel Department level”, said the sources.


SAD to oppose power tariff on agriculture sector
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
SAD President, Parkash Singh Badal today described the Punjab Government’s reported decision to go ahead with the imposition of power tariff on the farm sector as “a Himalayan blunder “and said his party would strongly oppose the government’s move taken on the pretext of implementing the recommendations of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission. “The government must immediately abandon its plans in this direction or be prepared to face a prolonged agitation by the people of Punjab,” he said.

Mr Badal also described Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s climbdown on two grievances of the employees as “too little too late” and warned that the government would have to dismantle its machinery of injustice against the employees or face the people’s wrath.

In a statement Mr Badal reiterated the SAD’s stand that any attempt to burden the already beleagured peasantry in the state with a crippling load of electricity bills for tubewells would be resisted at all levels.

Mr Badal said the SAD-BJP Government’s decision to provide free electricity to the farm sector was based on sound economic calculations and was neither a sentimental gesture nor a political master-stroke. It was based on the time-tested economic factors like the input-output ratio of a fiscal decision. “The decision was not a sop, as is sometimes made out, but was an incentive to the most significant segment of economic activity in the state. It was also a calculated attempt to relieve this crucial section of the devastating impact of a rise in the prices of agricultural inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides, diesel, quality seeds and farm labour etc,” the statement said.

The former Chief Minister asked Captain Amarinder Singh to focus on the alternative policies of revenue generation in order to raise the requisite resources to fund the incentive to the farm sector. “The government, according to our reckoning, has a number of easy options available to it and it must exercise those rather than pushing the farmers into a dark and dangerous future.”


Farmers’ bodies to launch agitation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Reacting strongly against the levying of power tariff on the agricultural sector today by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, various organisations have threatened to launch an agitation.

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, BKU leader, said his organisation would hold a meeting on September 15 to announce an agitation. He said farmers were already facing a crisis because of the drought and they could not afford to pay power bills for tubewells.

He said the government should have assured more subsidy to the PSEB to spare the farming sector. “I would say that all farmer organisations should launch a united agitation,” he added.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, president of the other faction of the BKU, said his organisation would also examine this issue at a meeting soon. “Our organisation was opposed to the tariff on the farming sector and would try to get it waived”, he added.

Mr Pishora Singh Sidhupur, president of the BKU( Ekta) said his organisation would not pay the power bills and start an agitation in Chandigarh in this connection from September 24.

A coalition of five farmers organisations have also expressed similar views.


Kidneys donated for love or money?
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 6
The typical affidavit of a donor who is not related to the recipient (patient who needs a kidney) reads, “My parents are expired. I am unmarried and alone. No blood relation alive. I have been living with family of the patient for the last 8-10 years. Donating kidney on humanitarian ground and due to love and affection”.

The donor has to certify that donation of the kidney would not directly or indirectly materially benefit him.

The practice has been going on since the enactment of the Transplantation of Human Organs Bill 1994 which allows the unrelated persons to donate their organs.

The question arises if a poor domestic servant can come forward to donate his organ in the name of love and affection or humanitarian grounds, why relatives fail to help their own people?

Though there could be some genuine donors, most of them (donors) sell their organs for monetary benefits.

Dr O.P. Mahajan, Principal, Government Medical College who is also chairman of the authorisation committee which scrutinises applications for voluntary donors and recipients (for Amritsar and Jalandhar), said the committee ensured that only genuine donors came forward. He, however, admitted that more than 95 per cent of the donors were not related to the patients.

Interestingly, in the wake of organ selling racket unearthed by an undercover journalist of England, two members of the authorisation committee have gone on leave and the Civil Surgeon has asked the Principal to postpone the meeting. While the patients in dire need of the kidneys are sore over the postponement of the meeting, Dr Ramesh Dogra, Minister Health and Medical Education, has given the green signal to him (Dr Mahajan) for holding the meeting on Tuesday.

All 25 donors who approached Dr Mahajan today were shown as domestic servants who had been living with their masters for the past seven to eight years.

In 1999, the Principal of the medical college had written to the state government not to allow unrelated donors as some unscrupulous persons who work as middlemen exploit the loopholes of the Human Organ Act.

Meanwhile, the patients in need of the kidneys said that it would be an injustice to them if the government decided to stop unrelated persons from donating organs the government cannot let people die,” said most of them who assembled in the office of the medical college Principal.


Rice scam: police moves court
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 6
The district police today moved court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Surinder Mohan Garg, to cancel the FIR registered on June 18 regarding the export category rice diversion scam.

The district police moved an application along with the cancellation report in the court after it was directed to do so by the crime wing of the Punjab police. The crime wing took over the investigations into the multi-crore scam from the SP (city), Mr Milabh Kishore.

Police sources said on August 24 the crime wing sent a teleprinter massage to the local police authorities stating that after investigations the FIR registered against the export firm, Sharp Menthol India Limited, a section of rice mill owners, employees of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), owners of trucks and transporters, had been cancelled.

After the alleged scam involving the diversion of the export earmarked rice to the local markets through an alleged nexus among exporters, rice mill owners, transporters and employees of the FCI was unearthed, a case under Sections 406, 409, 420 and 120-B of the IPC along with other sections of relevant Acts was registered.

Ever since the police launched investigations into the case, it came under pressure to cancel the FIR. Even the FCI authorities allegedly tried to hush up the matter.

Whenever, mediapersons tried to know the details of the case, the police remained tight-lipped. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had sought the report on the scam from the police when he visited Talwandi Sabo in connection with the inauguration of a water treatment plant about two months ago.

Mr Ishwar Singh, district police chief, while confirming that the FIR had been cancelled and an application in this connection moved in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, refused to divulge grounds on which the FIR had been cancelled.

However, information gathered by TNS revealed that the crime branch had cancelled the FIR by holding that there had been a breach of contractural responsibilities between the FCI and the firm. The FCI had encashed the bank guarantee submitted by the firm and thus neither the FCI nor the firm had committed any criminal act.

After the scam came to light and a news item in this connection appeared in the columns of The Tribune that the FCI authorities imposed a ban on the road movement of the export category rice. After a few days the ban was lifted without any valid reasons.

The police had impounded at least 36 trucks loaded with the export category rice and which were meant for transportation to Delhi from the local godown of the FCI. These trucks were impounded when the rice was being unloaded on the premises of various rice mills situated in the district.

After a case was registered various rice mill owners started approaching ruling politicians. They allegedly succeeded in getting the investigation into the case transferred to the crime wing of the Punjab Police.

The FIR was cancelled though the police raided the local godown of the FCI and premises of various rice mills on a tip-off. The raids were conducted under the supervision of a SP rank officer and the raiding parties were accompanied by Executive Magistrates.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP and President of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), has said he would raise the issue in Parliament and would press for a CBI probe into it.


Govt part of problem: Singla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
“The government has no business to interfere in the lives of people as it is the most corrupt institution and is restrictive, besides being a problem,” Mr Surinder Singla, business guru who holds the post of a Cabinet Minister’s rank in the Punjab Government, said.

Speaking during the P. N. Haksar series of seminar-cum-discussions on “Challenges of globalisation”, organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), he said the past 10 years had been wasted in not boosting the economy of the state.

Mr Singla said the government was looking for a Rs 2000 crore to Rs 3,000 crore investment from the Central Government to encourage farmers to diversify crops along with retaining the minimum support price mechanism.

Reacting to questions on liberalisation, he said every student in government schools in Punjab cost the government Rs 550 while the best of private Chandigarh schools only cost Rs 485, despite the quality of education being better in the private sector.

Delivering the keynote lecture, Chief Managing Director of the Bank of Baroda, P.S. Shenoy, said creating wealth through a higher rate of growth was required.

The discussion was locked in a major question whether wealth would create jobs or jobs would ensure wealth.

The discussion chaired by journalist, V.G. Verghese stressed the need for the distribution of wealth in terms of creating more jobs, transferring purchasing power better quality of life and social safety.

In another session, noted historian Bipin Chandra said despite being a die-hard advocate of secularism, Gandhi and national leadership failed to fight communalism as an ideology and even failed to understand it.

He said Gandhi had been misunderstood in terms of his definition of religion which always meant dharma (moral and ethical values).

Some others debated the failures of Gandhi. The Chairman of the session and of the Indian Council of Social Sciences Research, Prof V.R. Panchmukhi, stressed the need of finding strategies to rid the world of hatred.


Harpreet, Kamaljit ‘were engaged’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 6
Two witnesses in the Harpreet murder case today testified that Harpreet Kaur daughter of former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Bibi Jagir Kaur, met Kamaljit Singh, who claims to be father of her child, in a Chandigarh guest house on a few occasions and they engaged to be married in a Chandigarh motel on September 6, 1999.

Testifying in the court of the Additional Sessions Judge here, Chandigarh based Janata Guest House owner Vikram Wadhwa today claimed that Kamaljit Singh stayed in his guest house from November 23, 1999 to December 7 the same year. He said during this period a girl used to come to meet Kamaljit on a few occasions in a Contessa car and that the girl also met Kamaljit’s parents in the guest house.

The witness said when he asked Kamaljit about the girl, he was told that she was his fiance. When shown a photograph of Harpreet in the court, he identified her as the girl who used to come to meet Kamaljit in his guest house.

Another witness who testified in the case today was Kusum, a friend of Kamaljit’s sister. Kusum stated before the court she was a close friend of Kamaljit’s sister Paramjit and had studied with her in HMV College at Jalandhar. She said Paramjit disclosed to her that her brother was having an affair with Harpreet Kaur, daughter of Bibi Jagir Kaur.

She said she also had talked to Harpreet on the telephone when she had accompanied Paramjit when she had gone to a relative’s house in Alampur village. Kusum said she met Harpreet once at Begowal also and that Harpreet used to insist that Kamaljit’s sisters call her “bhabhi”. She said she had also received a telephone call that Kamaljit and Harpreet were being engaged in Chandigarh on September 9, 1999.

Kusum said she had gone to Oasis motel in Chandigarh to attend the engagement ceremony. She said while Kamaljit’s parents and relatives were present on the spot, Harpreet was accompanied to the motel by her sister Daisy. She claimed that Kamaljit applied ‘sindoor’ on Harpreet’s forehead at the ceremony and that his mother performed the “chuda chadai” ceremony on the occasion. She claimed that Kamaljit’s mother had given ‘shagun’ of Rs 1000 to Harpreet who also had given ‘shagun’ of Rs 1000 to Kamaljit’s brother Simranjit Singh when he performed the “God Bathai” ceremony. She said photographs had been taken on the occasion and that a video cassette of the entire ceremony had also been prepared.


Bid to cover up Dalits’ boycott
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 6
Is the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, aware that there is social boycott of Dalits in his home district ?

The Patiala district administration has been making efforts that the Chief Minister should not know about it by conducting two sham inquiries and pronouncing twice that no social boycott of Dalits ever occurred anywhere in the district.

The fact is that Dalits were socially boycotted in his pocket borough for days together and that Dalit families are even now being targeted by farmers who want to take revenge on them for complaining against them under the Bonded Labour Act.

The administration is desperate to deny that any social boycott of Dalits ever took place at Moondkhera village and has deliberately not even enquired into the boycott during both inquiries, content to take the word of landlords of the village who decided on the boycott and a written statement of one Dalit labourer who is employed by one of the landlords.

In fact, the statement of this Dalit labourer was used by Subdivisional Magistrate Manjit Singh Narang to come to the conclusion that no Dalit was being boycotted when reports of social boycott of Dalits on the direction of the panchayat of this village were first published in the press. The SDM, who had conducted an inquiry into the case in his office instead of going to the village, also took the statement of the landlords who came to his court that day to arrive at his conclusion.

The SDM conducted the inquiry today itself despite a request by representatives of Dalits that the affected labourers, who had fled the village claiming that unfair debt had been thrust on them by the farmers, could not come immediately due to paucity of time and lack of any convenience. The Tribune team, which was the news service present at the spot, saw the SDM disregarding this written request. Following this the SDM took a written statement from the farmers present on the spot claiming that there had been no boycott and that 15 Dalits had left the village to avoid paying huge debts accruing to them as well as a Dalit labourer employed by them. He did not care to record the statement of Babu Singh, the father of one of the affected labourers, who attested to the boycott as well as unfair way of calculation of debt.

The SDM did not try to investigate whether any boycott of Dalits had taken place in the village despite reports that lists of the 15 labourers had been distributed to shopkeepers, flour-mill owners as well as milkmen to ensure they were denied provisions and that one shopkeeper had even been fined Rs 2,000 for selling 2 kg of sugar to one of the labourers. The SDM’s only advice to the landlords was “the administration will not tolerate any social boycott’’. However, the official statement following the inquiry said, “Reports of social boycott are unfounded and baseless and the matter is only of non-payment of accumulated dues to farmers because of which the labourers have left the village’’.

When The Tribune pointed out the next day quoting farmers that a social boycott was in place even as the SDM was conducting his inquiry on the issue, the district administration dispatched a senior team consisting of the Additional Deputy Commissioner, SDM and the Superintendent of Police (City) to the village. The team chose to seat itself on chairs at one spot in the village and asked both parties to come to the spot to present their views. Here too none of the team members even raised the issue whether a social boycott of Dalits had taken place at the instigation of the village panchayat. Here too the administration listened to the views of the farmers as well as the Dalit labourers working on their fields at present. No team member tried to go out to the homes of the affected Dalit families who did not come out to participate in the inquiry nor did any team member ask that the affected families be also involved in the inquiry before any final decision was taken. In this case also a lone Dalit who claimed that a social boycott had occurred and that Dalits were still being persecuted was ignored and later statements of only farmer representatives were taken.

The Tribune team, which was present at the village yesterday also, spoke to other Dalit families who did not come out to meet the team fearing the wrath of the landlords. Many of the members of the affected families, including Darshan Singh and Kala disclosed that they had been denied provisions. Chakki owner Nahar Singh’s wife told TNS that they had been directed by the landlords not to give any flour to the families of the labourers who had fled the village.

Meanwhile, some of the Dalit labourers and their families today submitted an application to Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh claiming the boycott still continued besides alleging that officers associated with both the enquiries conducted by the district administration did not elicit their statements on the issue.


Bardhan’s call to defeat fascist forces

Sangrur, September 6
National General Secretary of the CPI A.B. Bardhan today urged the Left parties to come on a common platform to eliminate starvation, sufferings of the common man, unemployment, drought and poverty.

Inaugurating the 18th state conference of the Punjab Communist Party of India (CPI) here, he emphasised the need to mobilise the peasantry, labour and youth for a struggle against the fascist forces in the guise of the Sang Parivar following the path shown by Marxism-Leninism for a revolution in the country.

He stressed the need to wage a war against the communal forces that bent upon destabilising the unity and integrity of the country.

He added the election was a part of the struggle. However, much needed to be done for the complete struggle.

Mr Bardhan also emphasised the need for a third front with an understanding with other like-minded parties at the national and the regional levels for an alternative to the BJP and the Congress.

Lashing out at some regional parties supporting the NDA government at the Centre including the Shiromani Akali Dal and the TDP led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chander Babu Naidu, Mr Bardhan said they had ignored principles for political gains.

Coming down heavily on the BJP, Mr Bardhan charged it with outdoing the Congress in corruption. UNI


Effigy of Speaker burnt
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 6
Members of the Joint Action Committee, representing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Bahujan Samaj Morcha today burnt an effigy of the Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Dr Kewal Krishan at Ambedkar Chowk here today for his failure to apologise for making alleged defamatory remarks against Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar recently.

The protesters led by the president of the state BJP SC Morcha, Mr Vijay Sampla reached Dr Ambedkar chowk and burnt the effigy of Dr Kewal Krishan. They alleged that the alleged remarks of the Speaker against Dr Ambedkar had hurt sentiments of the people and he should tender an unconditional apology. They threatened to “gherao” the Speaker at public functions and block traffic in different parts of the state, if Dr Kewal Krishan did not apologise.


CM urged to probe assets of leaders

Phagwara, September 6
Punjab BJP’s firebrand leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla has urged Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to direct a high-level probe into the assets of all elected representatives with retrospective effect from 1980.

Addressing a series of election meetings in support of her party candidates for the civic elections here yesterday, Mrs Chawla criticised the Punjab Government’s decision of sending government employees for election duties in Jammu and Kashmir.

She condemned the Congress government’s anti-employee policies.

Capt Amarinder Singh, she said, should also give an affidavit for honesty and transparency of his ministerial colleagues and other Congressmen. She, however, offered her full cooperation in the anti-corruption drive of the Amarinder Singh government, provided it was impartial and honest.

The Chief Minister, she said, should give up the politics of vendetta.

Former BJP ministers Tikshan Sood, Swarna Ram and several other BJP leaders also addressed the election rallies. UNI


Gastroenteritis outbreak: 25 hospitalised
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 6
Gastroenteritis seems to have acquired an epidemic dimension in Dhobiana Basti of this town as at least its 25 inhabitants were hospitalised this evening in the local civil hospital after they complained of severe vomiting and loose motions.

Though the civil hospital authorities have sent special medical teams on the spot to take steps to check the spread of gastroenteritis, so the reasons of its outbreak could not be known. The patients, who reported in the civil hospital here, said they started vomiting and running temperature after they took food and drank water which was being supplied to their area.

The condition of those who had been admitted to the civil hospital was stated to be stable. The hospital authorities, which is providing free treatment to them, had been constantly monitoring their condition.

Out of 27 patients, who reported in the hospital here, two were discharged after giving treatment. Out of remaining 25 patients, six were children and five were women.

The sources said as per preliminary reports the patients had been exposed to contaminated food and water. They were suffering from loose motion, vomiting, dehydration and were running mild fever. An ambulance had been pressed into service to transport the people affected from the gastroenteritis to the hospital. Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, along with other medical specialists also visited the locality.

Those who had been admitted to the civil hospital for treatment include Meena, Ajjul, Kohinoor, Sajana, Aliki, Jamsher, Tanjil, Fabir, Rehman, Rafik, Ram Bai, Rajana, Ameena, Moneynoor, Altab Hussain, Abdar Hussain, Amikot, Neelo, Bablu, Amelia, Noorjan, Norjool, Babli and Sajida.

The civil hospital sources said water samples had been taken from the locality.


KMC seeks KPS Gill’s excommunication
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 6
The Khalsa Mission Committee today urged the Jathedar Akal Takht to “excommunicate” Mr KPS Gill, a former Punjab Police chief for being responsible for the killing of a number of innocent youths in false ‘encounters’ during militancy in the state.

After performing ‘Ardas’ at Akal Takht for Bhai Jaswant Singh Khalra, a Human Rights activist and 25,000 ‘unidentified’ persons killed by the police, the KMC demanded Amnesty International team should be allowed to visit the affected areas for an on the spot survey of the police excesses.

The KMC urged Jathedar Akal Takht to convene ‘sarbat Khalsa’ so that pressure could be put on the government to release the Sikh youths languishing in various jails of the country without trial.

UNI adds: The memorandum also called upon the temporal seat to set up the ‘Shaheed Parivar Fund’ to help rehabilitate the families which had lost their kin during terrorism.

The KMC activists, who submitted the memorandum, were led by Ms Parmjit Kaur, wife of Jaswant Singh Khalra. The mission is named after Jaswant Singh because it was, he who first had brought to the public notice the disappearance of hundreds of Sikh Youths in Punjab, alleging their bodies were either thrown into water channel or cremated surreptitiously by the police after killing them in fake encounters. The CBI, in its findings, had confirmed such disposal of the bodies after the Supreme Court entrusted the task to the CBI. The Apex court later handed over the case to the National Human Rights Commission.

Mr Jaswant Singh Khalra himself had disappeared during the investigation. The Punjab Police alleged he had fled its custody, while his supporters claimed that he was killed in a fake encounter and his body disposed of.


Scholars flay ‘pirated’ edition
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 6
The second edition of B-40 Janamsakhi Guru Baba Nanak Paintings, published by Guru Nanak Dev University after more than a decade, has created an unsavoury situation with scholars dubbing the same as ‘pirated’. Names of several scholars have been dropped from the second edition, published during the time of the previous Vice-Chancellor.

Dr J.S. Rahi, a retired professor and a former National Lecturer, expressing concern over the publication of the second edition, said: “It is reprehensible and academically unethical on the part of Guru Nanak Dev University to bring out the second edition of the book as a pirate edition of the first published during the vice-chancellorship of the late Dr S.S. Bal, a renowned historian”.

He said it was commendable that the names of the then Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor P.S. Kapur had also been deleted from the acknowledgement. In the process, the editor, Dr S.S. Hans, had been robbed of the opportunity to revise the second edition, much to the disappointment of the scholarly world.

“The year of the publication, number of copies published and the names of the printing press is mandatory on the copyright page,” Dr Rahi explained. But the university had ‘dishonestly’ avoided mentioning these.

In a letter to the Vice-Chancellor, the editor of the book, Dr Hans has said that the book was published by the university in 1987. The new edition had been published without mentioning it was the second edition.

Surprisingly, the name of the printing press has not been given. The deletion of the mandatory information from the second edition gives the impression of it being a ‘pirated edition’, he has said.


Miranpur choe to be dug up
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 6
Punjab Finance Minister Lal Singh today disclosed that a 30 km long stretch of the Miranpur choe situated in Dakala constituency would be dug up at a cost of Rs 1.04 crore to save the adjoining area from the fury of floods.

Addressing a meeting of senior district officials at the Red Cross Bhavan here, the minister said the work would be completed on a war footing by involving the people of the area. He also directed the drainage department to dig up the Tangri river besides stressing the need of strenghtening its bandhs.

The minister also announced that the Bhunerheri sub station would be started soon and that grids would be constructed at both Dakala and Bhankar villages. He said with the construction of these grid stations the power situation in the constituency would improve tremendously.

He also directed the Public Works Department to broaden the Sanaur phirnee and the Ror - Gharam road besides repairing the Budhanpur - Khanktan, Pathanmajra - Jalalabad, Sanaur - Asarpur, Sanaur - Sarkapra and Patiala - Dakala roads immediately. He also disclosed that lights would be provided on the Patiala - Sanaur road stretch in view of the great volume of traffic on it during all hours.

Swami Ravi Shankar gets warm welcome
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 6
Swami Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living, was given a warm welcome by the district administration and the local unit of the Art of Living during his visit to Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib this evening.

Swami Ravi Shankar has come to pay obeisance to the two Sahibjadas of Guru Gobind Singh who were bricked alive here. He was received by Dr Harbans Lal, Minister for Forests, and Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, along with thousands of his followers. Swami Ravi Shankar is visiting Punjab for the first time and he was accompanied by Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta. He was received at the Shambhu border by his followers and was brought from there in a big procession to Mandi Gobindgarh town.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, the swami said that he was very excited and feeling happy to visit Punjab, the land of martyrs and Gurus. He said that Punjab had always remained on the forefront in every field of life and wished that the state should continue to be more progressive and peaceful. He said that he was very impressed by the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev who gave the message of communal harmony. He said one should live tension-free if he wanted to enjoy life.

He said that the mission of his visit to the state was to inspire the Punjabis to work for society and live unitedly and peacefully. He urged the people to come to the satsang and teaching classes to learn the Art of Living.

The swami also paid obeisance at Roza Sharief and later in the evening he organised satsang at Mandi Gobindgarh town where thousands of his followers attended the programme. The swami was presented with a ''siropa'' at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib.


Children died due to "parents’ negligence"
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 6
Civil Surgeon Surinderjit Kaur has denied reports that the deaths of five children at Munnan village, near Kot-Ise-Khan, in the past one month were due to an epidemic in the village. She said the children died for want of proper treatment due to parental negligence.

Medical investigations have revealed that five children who died in the past one month were suffering from fever and enlargement of lymph glands. Instead of going for proper medical treatment the parents went to spiritualists. The delay in treatment led to serious complications leading to deaths. She did not rule out the possibility of ordinary fever turning into typhoid due to lack of treatment. She ruled out that it was an epidemic.


Sarpanch killed in road mishap

Faridkot, September 6
Harvinder Singh Bhola (42), Sarpanch of Talwandi Mallian village, was killed in a road accident, near Phagwara last night, police sources said here today.

Bhola died when his Gypsy hit a road divider. The family members of the deceased said the body would be cremated tomorrow. UNI


Ex-Cong MLA dead
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 6
A former Congress MLA, Mr Sikander Singh (72), died after a brief illness, yesterday at a private nursing home. Mr Sikander Singh was elected MLA from Sri Hargobindpur in Gurdaspur district in 1967. He started his political career with the Akali Dal and was elected to the SGPC for two terms during 1956 to 1966. Later, he also remained the general secretary of the District Congress Committee.

A number of leaders from various political parties mourned the death of the veteran leader.


Parkash Utsav
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 6
The 398th “Parkash Utsav” (function to mark installation ceremony) of Guru Granth Sahib will be held at Sri Harmandir Sahib tomorrow (September 7). Mr Ajaib Singh, manager, Golden Temple, in a press note here stated today that ‘bhog’ would be performed on September 7.


Martyr cremated
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 6
Naik Mewa Singh who was killed in cross-firing between Indian and Pakistani troops in Kupwala on September 2 was cremated in his native village of Rorugarh, 25 km from here yesterday.


IMA hails board’s steps on quacks
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 6
Indian Medical Association (IMA), Punjab has hailed the decision taken by the Punjab Board of Ayurvedic and Unani System of Medicine to rescind the registration of all those medical practitioners who have got registered in other states but are practising in Punjab.

In a press note issued here today, Dr Kuldip Singh, President elect, IMA, Punjab said these medical practitioners constitute a major chunk of the commonly called registered medical practitioners who get themselves clandestinely registered.


Screening of old-age pension cases ordered
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 6
The Punjab Government has ordered the screening of all pension cases submitted to the department from March, 2000, onwards. The government was seriously considering to book fake pensioners who were causing huge loss to the state exchequer.

Addressing a press conference here today, the Punjab Welfare Minister, Chaudhary Santokh Singh, revealed that during the preliminary investigation, it was found that lakhs of fake old-age pensioners, had been enrolled by violating norms during the SAD-BJP regime.

“We have ordered the screening of about four lakh applications. The committees comprising tehsildars and block development and panchayat officers headed by the deputy commissioners concerned have already been constituted, which would submit their report within two months,” the minister said adding that the process of screening would start on September 15.

“We have about nine lakh old-age pensioners who are drawing pension under the Social Security Scheme. The payment of pension for the first quarter of 2002-2003 will remain suspended till the completion of the screening process,” he said.

Concerned over the misuse of funds by higher officials of the department in the past, the minister informed that District Social Security Officer Upinderjit Kaur was suspended yesterday for committing irregularities with regard to Rs 86 lakh during her posting at Patiala. The government has ordered the registration of a criminal case against her.

Chaudhary Santokh Singh said keeping in view large-scale misutilisation of funds a comprehensive plan was being prepared to check malpractice.

Earlier, speaking at a state-level nutrition function held at Red Cross Bhavan, the minister said non-governmental organisations should come forward to lend a helping hand to the government to improve the living standards of people, particularly those residing in rural areas and slums.

Others who spoke on the occasion included the Director, Social Security Women and Child Development Department, Mr Som Parkash, and the ADC, Mr Raj Kamal Choudhary.


Sugar scam: increments of 10 MC men cut
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, September 6
Even as the MC Commissioner talks of re-examination of the inquiry into the multi-crore international scam if any complaint against the involvement of officials of the corporation is brought to his notice, 10 employees found guilty have been punished with a cut in one annual increment each.

The involvement of many senior officials of the corporation is alleged. They have managed to go scotfree in the scam involving octroi evasion of crores of rupees by the MC. The imported sugar had allegedly facilitated former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharief to pocket nearly $ 10 million from the export.

The scam came to light in November 1999 when Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president of the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, made allegations about the sugar from Pakistan worth crores being dumped into India.

Massive evasion of octroi and custom duty from February 1998 to August 1999 (Kargil conflict started in May 1999) was reported. Allegations of the connivance of municipal authorities were made.


Boy killed in attack on family
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Sherpur Pucca, September 6
A gang of Kale Kachhewale today struck this tiny village of Hoshiarpur district. They killed a teenaged boy Pardip (14) and left his mother Rachna Devi seriously injured in the wee hours today.

The gang members barged into her house and let loose terror on the family members by beating them with iron rods, swords, and lathis for about two hours till most of them fell unconscious. A few members managed to save themselves by concealing themselves under beds.

According to Joga Singh, the father of the deceased, the gangsters entered the house around 3.30 am after climbing a wall in the backyard. As soon as the attackers, numbering between six and eight, entered the house they started beating the inmates and paid no heed to their pleas that they should spare them and take anything from the house.

Interestingly, no loss of cash or jewellery was reported. Before fleeing under cover of darkness, the attackers took away a trunk full of clothes and a few documents.

“I won’t be able to forget the unfortunate night of terror which snatched my son. They pounced upon him and attacked mercilessly with iron rods as he came forward to save other family members. They kept attacking him till he fell unconscious in a pool of blood. The same was the case with his mother, who tried to raise the alarm,” said an inconsolable Joga Singh, adding that the hue and cry raised by them proved futile as nobody from the neighbourhood came to their rescue.

No senior police officer was available for comments.

The police suspects the attackers be migrant labourers.

Pardip and his mother was shifted to the Haryana Civil Hospital, from where they were referred to the Civil Hospital Hoshiarpur, where Pardip was declared dead. The condition of his mother is stable.


Robbers kill 1, loot jewellery
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 6
Bakhshish Singh (60) of Tirath Nagar in Verka was killed and three members of the family including two women, were seriously injured when a gang of thieves attacked their house here in the wee hours of today.

According to reports, about 10 persons equipped with iron rods and sticks entered the house of Paramjit Kaur by jumping over the wall and attacked Bakhshish Singh and other family members who were sleeping at that time. Bakshish Singh was hit on the head.

They then attacked Paramjit Kaur (owner) of the house and tenants Girdhari Lal and his wife Kuldeep Kaur, whose condition is said to be critical, and looted jewellery and cash. The two children, Rimple Kumar (8) and Anchal (6), were locked in a room. Rimple Kumar was able to break open the door and called the neighbours, who admitted the injured to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital where Bakhshish Singh succumbed to his head injury.

According to police sources, the gang also tried to loot another house in the area but failed.


2 Punsup inspectors held, remanded
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 6
The Vigilance Bureau today arrested two inspectors of Punsup on charges of duping the procurement agency of Rs 1.94 crore.

According to sources in the Vigilance Bureau, an FIR was registered under Sections 409, 420 and 120 (B) of the IPC against Mr Daljit Singh and Mr Surinder Nath Saini, Inspectors of PUNSUP, posted here on February 23, 2002 at Ferozepore, following a departmental inquiry referred to the Vigilance Bureau for action. Since then the two Inspectors had been eluding arrest.

The Inspectors were found guilty of duping the procurement agency of Rs 1.94 crore by illegally selling paddy stored at the Kundan Rice Mills in 2001-2002, Moga Mr Prem Sagar, who owns the rice mill, has been equally framed in the scam but has so far eluded arrest.

Another case of embezzlement was registered against Mr Sagar at Sadar police station, Moga for duping Markfed of Rs 1.18 crore by selling stocks of paddy lying at his rice mill in 1999-2000. Police sources said that an FIR under Sections 406 and 408 of the IPC was registered against him. Now, he was said to be on bail in this case.

The accused were today produced in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Mr J. K. Mattu. They have been remanded to judicial custody till September 20. The hearing on their bail application has been fixed for tomorrow.


Father attacks son, daughter-in-law
Tribune News Service

Chuge (Bathinda), September 6
Harwinder Singh and his wife, who were allegedly shot at by Harnek Singh, father of Harwinder Singh, this morning are battling for life in hospital.

Police sources said Harwinder Singh, who had suffered bullet injuries in the stomach, had been shifted to the CMC. Ludhiana. His wife, Paramjit Kaur, who had been hit in the knee, was undergoing treatment at the Civil Hospital here.

Following a family dispute, Harnek Singh fired at his son and his wife with a .12 bore double-barrel led gun, the sources said.

He was arrested and a case under Section 307 of the IPC Section 27 of the Arms Act registered against him.


Acting principal held, released on bail
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 6
The Morinda police today arrested Sajjan Singh Bath, acting Principal of the Government Senior Secondary School at Boormajra village, in connection with a case registered against him yesterday under Sections 354 and 506 of the IPC for allegedly making an attempt to outrage the modesty of a girl student of his school and threatening her.

He had been released on bail as the offence was bailable, said the police.

In a complaint made to the police yesterday, Mr Swaran Singh of the Boormajra village had alleged that some days ago Sajjan Singh called her daughter, a student of plus two, to his office, caught her by the arm and dragged her with bad intention. The girl resisted and came out of the office after getting herself freed. The acting Principal had allegedly also threatened the girl not to tell about the incident to anyone, otherwise she would have to face dire consequences.


Cops nab escapee prisoner
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 6
The police authorities today caught Karamjit Singh, a narcotic smuggler, within 48 hours after he escaped from police custody on September 4 while he was being taken to Civil Hospital from the local Central Jail for treatment.

In a press note issued here today, the SSP said a police party led by Mr Jagmohan Singh DSP (R) caught Karamjit Singh while he was travelling on the main road near the Harraipur triangle in this district on a scooter.


ETT students hold protest rallies
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 6
Students of the District Institute of Education Research and Training (DIET), who have been boycotting their classes since August 26 today took out a rally in protest against the new education policy of the state government.

Mr Swaranjit Singh, state treasurer of the DIET Students Welfare Association, while addressing the activists, said the new education policy of the state government to impose a new condition, in the middle of the course, forcing the students to undergo a two-year compulsory internship was against their rights. He alleged that the government was shirking away from its duty to provide education to all and was initiating moves to privatise government schools or start contract system in school education and administration.

Mr Swaranjit Singh alleged that on the one hand the government had been giving admissions to those who had crossed 32 years of age in teacher training courses like ETT and B.Ed while on the other hand, the maximum age for recruitment of teachers was being reduced to 32. He said this would mean that such students studying in these courses would not be eligible for the job.

He alleged the government was considering increasing the minimum marks limit to 55 per cent in plus two as eligibility for a government job even as the eligibility for admission to an ETT course stood at 50 per cent. He said all those students of the ETT course would be rendered ineligible for the government job who had secured less than 55 per cent marks.

Many student leaders addressed the students and took out a rally holding placards and raising slogans against the Chief Minister and the Education Minister.

MANSA: Students of the District Institute of Education Research and Training (DIET), Budhlada, in the district held a protest rally against the new education policy.

Mr Gurjant Singh, a student leader, said more than, 6,000 students of the Elementary Teachers Training (ETT) course and thousands of others who aspired to get admission to the course would be affected by the decision. He said the policy to introduce two years’ internship and increase the minimum marks’ condition from 50 per cent to 55 per cent would adversely affect the fate of students.

Mr Avtar Singh, district president, DIET Students Welfare Association, said the policy had been drafted after manipulating the education policy of 1986. He further alleged that while the ETT teachers could teach up to Class VIII, they were being given classes only up to the third standard.

Students of DIET, Malout, also continued to boycott the classes.

Mr Ravinder Kumar, district president, DIET Students Welfare Association, said the government was thinking of handing over government schools on contract basis to the village panchayats or even private parties.


Sehajdharis oppose admission notice
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
The Sehajdhari Sikh Federation has taken exception to the admission notice of the Dashmesh Institute of Research and Dental Sciences, Faridkot, for trying to create “communal hatred among the Sikh fraternity” by debarring the non-amritdhari Sikh students from getting admission to the institute.

A letter has been sent to the Vice-Chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences, Faridkot, and its copies sent to the Punjab Governor, who is also the Chancellor of the University, the secretary, Dental Council of India, secretary, University Grants Commission and secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab.

The president of the federation, Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu, pointed out that the admission notice published in some newspapers states that ‘patit’ Sikhs (who do not wear turban or grow beard) should not apply for the admission to the institute as per the resolution of their society dated July 20, 1996.

The federation observed, “This is a clear case of nepotism which will create communal hatred and factionalism. This type of action by the management will provoke to create a minority within a minority”.

He pointed out, “There is no such reservation or bar in any of the norms of the University Grants Commission or the Baba Farid University of Health (Medical) Sciences or the Dental Council of India.”

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