Wednesday, October 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Handicapped youth roughed up aboard 
Shatabdi Express
Mother, son accuse retired IPS officer
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Mr Gagan Chabbra, who was allegedly manhandled by a retired IPS officer aboard the Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express
Mr Gagan Chabbra, who was allegedly manhandled by a retired IPS officer aboard the Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express, at a press conference in Ludhiana on Tuesday.— A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, October 22
“My handicapped son was pushed on the floor and brutally kicked and abused by a person and the assault continued till the co-passengers intervened. As if this was not enough, the person kept making threatening gestures till Ludhiana and instead of apologising for his unprovoked act, has got a case filed against us at Jalandhar,” says a shocked Kanchan Chhabra whose son — Gagan — was assaulted on the New Delhi — Amritsar Shatabdi Express on October 5.

She has demanded an unconditional apology from the alleged accused, former Superintendent of Police Anoop Singh Minhas currently residing at Jalandhar and the registration of a case against him for assaulting her 27-year-old son who is handicapped and walks with the help of sticks.

Narrating the incident to The Tribune here today, she said they boarded the train and requested the accused to shift to an adjoining seat since Gagan was not well and had to use the toilet time and again. He acceded the request and sat on another seat. But as the train left Delhi, he started abusing us for telling a lie about my son being a child and unwell. Then, in a fit of anger he pushed Gagan down from the seat and started kicking him. I pleaded in vain and he continued assaulting him but further harm was averted with the intervention of co-passengers,” she alleged.

Continuing further, she said “after this episode, he started making threatening gestures and warned us that he would teach us a lesson. Rattled by their experience, I borrowed a mobile phone from a passenger and called up my husband, Vijay Chhabra, in Ludhiana and narrated the whole incident to him. He advised me to stay calm and reported the matter to the GRP police post here.”

“When the train stopped here, a police party was waiting for us and an ASI accosted the passenger who then revealed his identity as SP Minhas. He refused to apologise for the incident and the policemen too took his side and instead of detaining him allowed him to travel onward, she added.

“My husband filed a written complaint on the spot but no case was filed. Instead, we were shocked when a GRP officer arrived yesterday to record our statements in a case filed by Mr Minhas at Jalandhar. He said we should reportedly apologise for our conduct with the accused since we had the audacity to have him intercepted at Ludhiana,” she revealed.

Taking up the issue, Mr D S Chawla, president of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturing Association, said “ we will start an agitation if a case was not registered within a week. Mr Vijay Chhabra is our member but since the issue pertains to an assault by a former police officer on a handicapped person and a woman, we will take the matter to its logical end. The act becomes more deplorable since it had been committed by a person who had sworn to uphold the law at all times,” he added.

The president of the local Bar Association, Mr Harish Dhanda, was also present on the occasion.



No competition to classical music: Pt Jasraj
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
“Indian classical music is like a river and pop music its tributary which can never affect the river”, said Pt Jasraj at a press conference arranged by the Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam prior to his performance. He said classical music was like an “amritdhara” and fortunate were those who got a chance to listen to it. He said: “God falls in love with some people while creating them and he turns them into musicians”.

Stating that there was no competition to classical music, he said four schools were being run in the USA and Canada and one in Mumbai under his guidance.

Actually, people ask him whether they can start a school in his name and he obliges by sending a good student of his and promises to visit the school for 10 to 15 days in a year.

His daughter, Durga Jasraj, said she had been blessed by her father, but had carved her own path. She was the first one to start “Antakshri”, but soon realised that her personal growth had stopped. At present she is producing and directing a serial, “Utsav”, for the international audience. It has four star anchors — Pt Jasraj, Zakir Hussain, Pt Shiv Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurassia. She is also working on a music archive.

To a question whether there would be “no Pt Jasraj after him”, he said: “When we were young there were great singers like Onkar Nath Thakur and Bade Gulam Ali Khan and we thought it was a golden era; surely there will be greater singers after our generation is gone” .

Pt Jasraj is endowed with a rich, soulful and sonorous voice which traverses effortlessly over three-and-a-half octaves. Panditji’s vocalising is characterised by a harmonious blend of classic and opulent elements, projecting traditional music as an intense spiritual expression. This gives his music a very sublime emotional quality, touching the soul of the listener. He has been guided in this by his spiritual guru, the late Maharana Jaiwant Singhji of Anand, another doyen of the Mewati Gharana.

Perfect diction, clarity in “sur”, beautiful tune, command in all aspects of “laya”, choice of composition and interplay of notes with the words to evoke the desired mood and feeling are the highlights of Pt Jasraj’s music. This sensitivity together with the pure classical approach has given his singing a lyrical quality, which is the quintessence of the Mewati style of singing.



2 more Garcha supporters held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Two more Garcha supporters have been arrested by the Dehlon police in connection with the Kulwant Kaur kidnapping and land grab case even as a massive manhunt to arrest four more accused has been launched.

The police had arrested two persons, close to Akali MLA Jagdish Singh Garcha yesterday in a case registered in August on the intervention of the Punjab Human Rights Commission. While at that time there were seven accused in the case, later more persons were identified as accused. However only the, husband of Kulwant Kaur was arrested.

Police sources said Gurdeep Singh and Paramjit Kaur were arrested last night while raids were being conducted to arrest four more persons. The sources disclosed the names of only two of the four wanted persons. They were Pragat Singh and Mohan Singh.

The family led by a woman, Kulwant Kaur, was harassed by the accused including her husband, who wanted her to name all her property in his name and discard her old and ailing father. The incident, widely reported in the media, took place in April last year, about one-and-a-half year ago but no action was taken by the police. The family was alleging that the accused were supporters of the Garcha family, who exerted immense pressure on the police in the area.

The case, on the directions of the PHRC was registered in August but these two persons could not be arrested. Kulwant Kaur claimed here today that whenever they approached the police, they cited the pressure of the Garchas. However, the arrest of the Akali leader has swiftly changed the equations much to the delight of the family.

Kulwant Kaur, the complainant woman was married to Darshan Singh of Rattan Palo village for some years but started living separately early last year accusing him of trying to grab her land. She was allegedly kept in illegal confinement for over two weeks by her husband and others in April last year. Ex-MLA Tarsem Singh Jodhan, who supported the woman’s cause was also gheraoed and illegally detained for several hours in Rattan Palo village last year. All this was allegedly done with the help of the Akali MLA.

The case under sections 365, 467, 468, 471 and 384 IPC was registered against her husband Darshan Singh, Sohan Singh, Mohan Singh, Pargat Singh, Jeet Singh of Bondli village, and Jagtar Singh, Shingara Singh of Rattan Palon village. Of these Darshan Singh was the only person to be arrested.

The case had hogged media limelight because of the Akali MLA on taking the side of the accused and the support to the complainant by political rival Tarsem Singh Jodhan.



Family foils robbery attempt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Three women along with a male member of a family foiled a day-light robbery attempt by an armed man in a house in Kitchlu Nagar today afternoon. Showing remarkable poise, the members of Aneja family held their nerves even when the alleged robber fired some shots at them and almost bit off the finger of one of the women in order to escape from their clutches.

The assailant has been identified as Dinesh Kumar, a Sahnewal-based tobacco trader. A country-made pistol along with some live cartridges have been seized from him. He has been booked for robbery and under relevant Sections of the Arms Act.

Suman Aneja, who was injured in the incident, was admitted to a local hospital. The robber had come in a Maruti car, which he had parked outside the house. A bag containing ropes has been seized from him. The police has also found a used cartridge from the scene of the crime.

Police sources said the accused, during preliminary questioning, revealed that it was his first crime. He had suffered huge losses in business and wanted to make money. The police was verifying the facts and his claimed antecedents.

Two constables on motor cycle no. 26 of the PCR squad came to the rescue of the family as they responded to the SOS call by the family in minutes and handed over the man to the Division No. 8 police.

The incident took place at around 12.30 pm at HNo. 13-B in Kitchlu Nagar on the Joginderpal Pandey Memorial road. When Ludhiana Tribune team reached the house at around 1.15 pm, the house at around 1.15 pm, the family was still in the state of shock. Sapna Aneja, the daughter-in-law of Badev Raj Aneja, who owns a number of shops in Chaurra Bazar, said the alleged robber forced into their drawing room through the main door and ordered them to move into one room.

At that time, Sapna Aneja, her 9-month-old son, mother-in-law Suman Aneja and another woman relative were in the house. Terrified at the attack, they tried to raise the alarm. But the man allegedly threatened to kill the baby. Rajnish Aneja, Sapna’s brother-in-law, who had just entered the house, however surprised the assailant by pouncing upon him from his behind.

He managed to overpower the robber and push him to a corner of the bedroom. During the duel, the robber fired a shot but missed the target. The three women also joined Rajnish and grappled him. The robber caught hold of the hand of one of the women and bit it. However, he failed to escape from their grip.

Meanwhile, one of the three women rushed outside the house and raised the alarm. Neighbours converged on the scene and were followed by policemen of the PCR.

Sapna Aneja said residents of the area later recognised the man as they had seen him wandering in the area for the past many days.

The robber was armed with a revolver, a black bag carrying small pieces of cloth and some ropes. The car used by the robber has also been impounded by the police. 



Honouring martyr after 37 years
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Thirtyseven years after Capt Ravinder Singh of Latala village attained martyrdom while fighting the Pakistan army, the Punjab Government has accepted the demand of the mother of the martyr and the villagers by naming the Senior Secondary School, Latala, after him.

This is the second good news within a few weeks for the woman, Surinder Kaur. After a long wait of over eight months, officers of 18th Cavalry Regiment have acceded to her request of unveiling the statue of her son at Latala on October 26.

The day will be an important occasion not only for the martyr’s family but also for ex-servicemen of the regiment.

The day is set to revive nostalgic moments about the regiment’s exploits in the Sialkot area of Pakistan. It had captured the area from Pakistan but had to withdraw after orders from the government.

The woman had got the statue constructed in January this year. But she kept it covered, saying only officers of the 18th Cavalry Regiment, and not any politician, should unveil it. She had covered the statue in protest since then waiting for the regiment officials.

Surinder Kaur, who lives in the Civil Lines area here, is a happy woman now. She said though the government had decided her case a couple of months ago she was intimated recently.

She is all thanks to the Congress government saying it was only recently that the Punjab Government took up the initiative of naming the school after her son.

She had proudly preserved letters from the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and President S. Radhakrishnan consoling her on her son’s death. They had also promised her suitable compensation, which took all these years.

Surinder Kaur has only one wish left now. The state government had also promised her 10 acres of land, which is yet to be fulfilled.

Talking to TNS here yesterday, she said she had approached the authorities but no positive outcome has come up so far.

Deputy Director, District Sainik Welfare Board and Wing Commander M.S. Randhawa (retd), said the naming of the school after the martyr was delayed because earlier there was no such policy of the government. He said the process of giving the promised piece of land to the martyr’s family was under way.

Meanwhile, hectic activity is on in Latala village these days to welcome the regiment. The school has been spruced up and a new gate with the name of the martyr has been painted on it.

The Tribune had highlighted the plight of the woman and the sorry state of the statue a number of times.

Captain Ravinder Singh was born on December 5, 1942, and got selected in the Army, when he was studying in B.Sc II.

He was soon posted in Jammu and Kashmir during the Indo-Pak war in 1965 and achieved martyrdom while fighting the enemy. 




THE BALANCING ACT: A naat displays balancing skills by holding a man atop a bamboo at Punjabi Bhavan during Mohan Singh Mela in Ludhiana. — IV

Reputed journalist Mark Tully, who served the BBC quite for some time as its Delhi correspondent, once remarked that the Congress is always in a state of civil war. And this holds uniformly true for every place in the country and Punjab is no exception. Although for the time being there is a semblance of unity in the Pradesh Congress that has percolated to the District Congress as well, only in recent past the rival leaders will not mind fighting each other in public. Only last year, when the Congress organised a massive rally here, some Congress leaders like Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Mr Surinder Dawer and Mr Rakesh Pandey fought each other in public. But for a welcome change Mr Ghalib and Mr Pandey, who is now the minister in the Punjab government shared the dais at a fashion show yesterday. It was a pleasant experience to hear both Mr Ghalib and Mr Pandey addressing each other ‘samman jog’ (respectable) brother. Only if they really mean it.

Shobha yatras

With Ram Navami falling early this month and Valmiki Jayanti following it, there has been a spate of shobha yatras taken out in various parts of the city in October so far. With factionalism hitting the religious organisations in recent times, there are several shobha yatras by different factions to mark the same occasion. This time too, while those owing allegiance to the Akali Dal or rather Mr Parkash Singh Badal, organised a function at Daresi grounds in connection with the Valmiki Jayanti celebrations, Valmiki leaders owing allegiance to the Congress organised a function near Miller Ganj. Similarly, shobha yatras were also taken out separately.

The trend of shobha yatras in October would last till the 26th when the much-waited, ISKCON-sponsored rath yatra of Lord Jagannath takes place in the city. According to the organisers, the rath yatra this time would break all previous records in terms of participation and the preparations. Indeed, there is widespread enthusiasm among the Krishna devotees in particular and the public in general all of whom are eagerly looking forward to the occasion.

Fodder for Rajasthan

The district administration is trying its best to send as much fodder for the drought-affected areas of Rajasthan as possible. Besides green fodder, patwaris have been asked to mobilise as much paddy straw as possible for the “fodder-specials to Rajasthan”. Since farmers are resorting to a full-scale burning of the paddy straw to save themselves the trouble of watering their fields to weed out the stubble without realising the damage to the environment, the district administration is just trying to convince the farmers that instead of wasting the paddy straw by burning, it was better to donate the same for the hungry cattle of Rajasthan’s drought-hit areas.

‘Grating’ the occasion

The invitation card and a covering letter sent by Model Town Welfare Council for a function to felicitate the City Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill and Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Mr S.K. Sharma, provided much ‘food’ for thought. It said the function was being organised to ‘facilitate’ the Mayor and the Commissioner and further that many eminent persons have consented to ‘grate’ the occasion.

“Fair” obsession

A beggar woman, the other day, was asking for alms from a shopkeeper of general store. When the shopkeeper never showed any inclination of giving money, the beggar woman said, “If you don’t want to give me money, give me a small tube of Fair and Lovely cream”. The shopkeeper was stunned. And why do you need it? “To become fair , what else”, said the beggar woman. The generous shopowner too did not disappoint her and answered her request with a sachet.

Pizzas on carts

Pizzas of Italian origin have tickled the palates of people from all classes. Those who can afford it, order expensive pizzas from known ‘pizza makers’. For those who relish pizzas and can’t spend too much money, the mobile carts carrying small battery-operated ovens sell sell a slice of pizzas at quite affordable rates. These persons know which locality to visit on which days, and their fresh pizzas sell like hot cakes That goes to show that one needs some ingenuity to become an entrepreneur.

Fearful cops

The police cops posted outside the residence of former minister, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, during the vigilance raids recently, had a difficult time in hiding their faces from the photo journalists. They were seen requesting all of them not to click their pictures as it was against their code of conduct. But when one of the journalists argued that he knew that there was no bar on them to be photographed, one of the cops spilled the beans and said, ‘‘Today he is being arrested and tomorrow he would become a minister. Then how would he justify our side of story. ?’’

Garcha’s importance

When vigilance raid was going on inside the premises of Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha and his brother, the police party was not allowing anybody to leave or enter the house. One of the male family members had to leave the house to hand over the keys of his office to the vigilance team where the vigilance was conducting raids but the cops posted outside were not allowing him to go. Surprised at the cops’ move the family member could not resist himself but said,‘‘Tusi tan local hi ho. Tusi tan ghat to ghat lihaaz karo.’’(You guys are posted locally, atleast you should take care.) The cops were taken for a back for a minute.

Musical fire crackers

Though Divali is about two weeks away, one can hear the din of fire-crackers in the residential localities as children have already begun amusing themselves with a bang. For that matter, lovers of fire-crackers are looking forward to a boisterous Divali this time in the wake of reports that imported fire-crackers would be making an appearance in the market for the first time. Musical fire-crackers, which have been unheard of so far, are definitely going to be the latest Divali craze this time for the young and the not-so-young alike. Otherwise too, the festival of lights would witness the use of a large number of imported items this year, including the all-pervasive candles.




Smart tax evaders give dept the slip
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Even as the Sales Tax Department has stepped up vigil against tax evaders, sales tax and octroi duty evasion amounting to an annual revenue loss of lakhs to the public exchequer is going on unabated in the outer end of the city’s railway station.

‘‘Smart’’ tax evaders have found ways to hoodwink tax officials. They have started booking and taking delivery of parcels containing goods from railway stations in small villages near the city. Moreover, they are following the old tested methods of evading tax by throwing parcels from trains outside the railway station only.

As tax evasion has become difficult due to the setting up of a check- post outside the railway station, the tax evaders have evolved such methods. Although the Taxation Department and the octroi collection wing of the municipal corporation claim that they have conducted raids to check the menace, besides imposing huge fines on persons found evading taxes, yet the practice goes on uncontrolled, causing revenue loss to the departments concerned.

TNS investigations have revealed that booking clerks posted at small railway stations near the city have suddenly started getting extra work. For instance, the railway station at Gill village has suddenly become significant for traders who are going all the way to Gill to get their parcels delivered or booked. The reason is the absence of sales tax squad.

Officials of the Sales Tax Department state that as the hosiery season gets under way they have to step up vigil at these otherwise insignificant stations.

Another practice giving the officials a tough time is that of parcels being downloaded on the outer end of the railway station. One can visit the Ludhiana-Delhi rail tracks near Vishvakarma Chowk any time in the day, especially during early morning hours to witness the simple but dangerous modus operandi.

Any train coming from the Ambala side invariably slows down or stops completely on the outer area of the boundary of the city’s railway station. A number of persons either jump from the train with packets and boxes full of industrial and consumer goods or throw the packets only.

Immediately, some other persons also descend on the scene, lift the thrown packets and run away. The packets they pick up contain goods liable to be sold or used after paying taxes to the Taxation Department , octroi to the municipal corporation and freight charges to the Railways. All this is conveniently avoided.

With blatant violation of norms, one cannot rule out connivance of employees of the departments concerned. According to sources, the regular practice raises a few pertinent questions. First, why do trains either slow down or halt invariably on the outer end of the station? Second, if there is some reason to do so then what are sleuths of the Taxation Department or the raiding staff of the municipal corporation or for that matter officials of the Railways doing to curb the menace ?

Railway sources said the department took action against staff causing unnecessary halt of trains outside the station. The sources, however, conceded that only a regular check on employees could stop this practice.

They revealed that it was difficult to check the practice as the halting of the trains could be checked, but no action could be taken if the trains enter the station at a slow speed.

Officials of the Excise and Taxation Department said the department had initiated action to check the practice, but not much success had been achieved. They say that the practice of throwing parcels stops when officials are present there, but restarts in their absence.

Incidentally, apart from the loss of revenue a number of accidents occur at the place of illegal downloading of goods. Residents around the tracks say that a number of persons who come to lift the goods or jump off the train are at times injured in the process. A few deaths have also been reported.



Privatisation of streetlights may go
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
With the term of the annual contract for the maintenance of streetlights by private contractors in the city coming to an end on September 30, the Municipal Corporation appears to be in two minds on continuing with the privatisation scheme as it had not yielded the desired results. This was one reason, according to sources in the civic body, that the contract with different parties for the maintenance of streetlights had not been renewed, nor were fresh bids invited.

The MC was spending a whopping Rs 2.4 crore per annum on the maintenance of streetlight system in the city which had been entrusted to private contractors in accordance with a policy decision taken by the state government. Sources in the MC pointed out that the performance of most of the contractors during the two-year period had left much to be desired. In addition, the privatisation of the maintenance work proved to be much too expensive in terms of results and shoddy work by the contractors.

Claiming that the working of streetlights in different parts of the city, including on main roads as well as streets and mohallas, during the past three weeks after the contract expired, was not as bad as had been projected, a senior MC official told Ludhiana Tribune that in the course of daily inspection, conducted on October 17, it was found that out of a total 15842 street light points in streets and residential areas, only 872 (5.5 per cent) were not working. Similarly, just 81 (2.2 per cent) of the 3,641 points on main roads in the city were non-functional.

While the MC top brass was yet to take a final decision on the fate of privatisation, the general feeling among senior officials was that the MC staff in the electrical wing could do the job (of maintenance) equally well if not better than the private contractors and at much less cost. Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that during the current month, the MC had incurred an expenditure of around Rs 2 lakh on maintenance and an indent of nearly Rs 5 lakh had been placed for the purchase of supplies and equipment for the coming month. Sources pointed out that propaganda about poor working of streetlights appeared to be motivated by a section of affected contractors and a few councillors, who had their fingers in the pie and were desperate that the maintenance work should remain with the private contractors.

Commenting on failure of streetlights in certain localities during the past couple of days, an official of the electricity wing of the MC disclosed that the PSEB staff had disconnected some points which were unauthorised and not connected to streetlight main line of power supply. Moreover, during power failure, the streetlights also go off since there was no separate feeder or hotline for these points.

Asked if the MC staff could cope with the enormity of proper maintenance of the street lights in the city if the privatisation was given a go by, the official asserted that if the performance during the past three weeks was any indication, the job could be done in a reasonably good manner. 



YC activists burn effigy of VHP leaders
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
In retaliation to highly objectionable utterances by certain leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) against the All India Congress Committee President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, activists of District Youth Congress (Urban) today held a demonstration at Congress Bhavan and also burnt an effigy of religious fundamentalists.

Addressing party workers, the DYC chief Mr Parminder Mehta called upon the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to put some sense in the minds of VHP functionaries failing which the YC and its parent body would give a befitting reply to the BJP as well as its front organisations. He alleged that the ruling BJP at the Centre, in fact, had promoted these religious fundamentalist bodies for its political benefits

Mr Mehta alleged that following its dismal performance in the Assembly elections in various states, the BJP was feeling frustrated and was out to play the Hindu card. “However, people in the country have seen through the game plan of the BJP and will not let them rouse communal passions to draw political mileage.”

He said it was at the behest of senior BJP leaders at the Centre that the self-styled VHP activists had dared speak against Ms Sonia Gandhi. But in doing so, they had themselves been exposed while the Congress, under the leadership of Ms Gandhi was going from strength to strength. The DYC chief apprehended that the communal and fanatic bodies might pose a serious threat to the secular fibre of the country if immediate and effective measures were not taken to check their activities.

Prominent among others present at this occasion were Mr Balbir Billa, Mr Sidharth Gupta, Mr Arun Bedi, Mr Kewal Arora, Mr Lucky Kapoor, Mr Nek Chand, Mr Nirmal Virk, Mr Kuldip Kumar, Mr Sri Pal, Mr Ashok Arora, Mr B.S. Thakur, Mr Harpreet Bunty, Mr Manpreet Singh, Mr Sher Singh, Mr Chander Shekhar, Mr Janak Raj, Ms Usha Rani, Ms Lakshmi Devi, Ms Gurdeep Kaur, Ms Bimla Devi and Ms Baldev Kaur.



Mission that heals through faith
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
For Lovejot Singh Sodhi, it was all darkness ahead. The youth in his twenties was suffering from retinitis pigmentosa (night blindness), a progressive disease which can lead to permanent blindness. But for the Sarab Rog Ka Aukhad Naam Mission (SRKANM), he would not be able to see today. After he came in contact with the mission, the growth of the disease was not only arrested, but it started getting cured. Today, Lovejot says, he is feeling 75 per cent better, a fact certified by doctors also. This looks like a miracle, but it is true.

There are hundreds others like Lovejot, who have been getting treated at the mission camps. The mission was started by Mr Hardial Singh, a retired IAS officer way back in 1983. He attributes the concept to “Gurbani” which says, “sarab rog ka aukhad nam” (that divine name heals every disease). He has named his mission after it. The mission has so far organised hundreds of free camps, providing cure to thousands of patients across the country and abroad, including the UK and the USA.

Mr Hardial Singh says it was only after successful personal experience that he founded the mission for the benefit of thousands of people who cannot either afford the treatment or are afflicted by some incurable diseases. Mr Hardial Singh was the Health Secretary of Punjab. Despite all means, he was not able to find the cure for different diseases. He said he tried all sorts of treatments, like alopathic, alyurvedic or homoeopathic, but could not get cured.

Finally, he tried the divine name and that worked wonders. He was completely cured and today he is in his normal health and helping hundreds others. He is supported by other volunteers who include doctors, professors, and teachers.

According to Dr Balwant Singh, a practising physician, who conducts various camps of the mission, the divine name has worked wonders for thousands of patients. Citing several instances, he said a patient, Amar Singh, had stomach cancer. After he came in contact with the mission, he survived for five more years. Dr Balwant Singh disclosed that the success rate at the mission camps was over 90 per cent.

There is no cumbersome procedure involved. It is simple recitation of seven hymns. Recitation of hymns leads to cultivation of faith which ultimately heals the person. Several patients narrated their experiences at a programme organised by the mission here yesterday.

The mission has branches in Patiala, Moga, Fardikot, Muktsar, Jalandhar, Delhi and other parts of the country. 



Ban firecrackers, says residents’ body
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
Calling for a ban on firecrackers during the festive season and on other occasions like marriages as well as strict enforcement of regulations on the use of loudspeakers in marriage palaces in the city, the Ludhiana Welfare Society has urged the administration and the people to launch a concerted campaign against the menace of noise pollution.

Addressing a meeting of the society here yesterday, its president, Mr Manjit Singh Matharoo, said the use of firecrackers in thickly populated city localities and around marriage palaces posed a serious fire hazard and many a precious life and property had been lost due to fire caused by firecrackers in the past.

Besides, the use of firecrackers and loudspeakers till late hours in the marriage palaces and other public places all over the city in gross violation of the regulations had given rise to noise pollution of the worst kind, thereby disturbing public peace.

According to Mr Matharoo, the noise pollution created by blaring loudspeakers and music systems beyond the permitted hours caused disturbance to students, senior citizens especially sick persons, who lived in the vicinity of marriage palaces. Indiscriminate use of firecrackers by marriage parties added to the woes of city residents.



Designer bangles for Karva Chauth
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
Designer bangles are in great demand, especially with Karva Chauth being round the corner. The costumes and accessories of the movie ‘Devdas’ seem to have fired the imagination of manufacturers, with most of them churning out bangles worn by Paro and Chandermukhi in the film.

The bangles are available in amazing colours, styles and sizes to suit the tastes of one and all. Traditionally, red bangles were only worn by married women, but with the changing times, even girls sport these to match their snazzy outfits. Among women, bangles studded with stones (kundan work) are popular, while bangles called “dil hai tumhara” find great favour with girls. The price of the bangles with kundan work on glass or plastic in deep colours ranges between Rs 150 and Rs 200. However, “dil hai tumhara” bangles are comparatively cheaper.

Bangles with small “ghungroos” and “kangans” are also available. The sets can be changed to match the different shades of the ensemble women want to wear on Karva Chauth. Jaipuri bangles with stones and small mirror work also find favour with both girls and women.

Other hit bangles are metallic bangles with intriguing names like “World War, Nagina and Yes Boss”. These bangles are cheaper than glass and plastic bangles. Shopkeepers selling these bangles are having a rip-roaring sale.

Similarly, Ramola Sikand, one of the characters in the serial “Kahin Kisi Roz” has popularised long “bindis” which cover the entire forehead.



Muslims observe ‘shab-e-barat’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
“Shab-e-barat”, a prelude to the month of Ramadan, on the 14th of the month of “Shaban” according to the Hijri calendar, was celebrated with much religious fervour by Muslims in the city here last night.

Thousands of Muslims donning white caps thronged the various mosques in the city to offer special prayers during the day and throughout the night as well. Earthen lamps were lit at the mosques, “mazaars” or memorials. Graveyards too were lighted up and the air was heavy with the fragrance of burning incense sticks. Prayers were offered for the peace of the departed souls.

Since the night is significant from the point of view of meditation, several devout Muslims spent the night in mosques offering special “namaaz”, A special function, “Jalsa Seerat-e-Nabi”, was held at the Sunni Jama Masjid at Sunet. Among the prominent personalities present on the occasion were the Imam, Maulana Farookh Alam Razvi, Abdur Rashid, Mohammad Salim, Abdul Salam, Mohammad Raza, Ghulam Mohammad, Maulana Hamid Raza and Imtiaz Ahmed.

Maulana Afzal Hussain from Kishen Ganj, who was the guest of honour at the function, delivered a discourse on Seerat-e-Nabi. Maulana Farooq, in his address, said “shab-e-barat” was the heralder of all benign things God can possibly bestow on mankind. He said fortunate were those who got an opportunity to pray during this night. At the end of the function, collective prayers for world peace were offered by the gathering.

At Ahmedgarh too, where there is sizeable Muslim population, “shab-e-barat was observed with great enthusiasm. Muslims thronged the grave-yard near the Dehlij village at night and lit up “chirags” and incense sticks and offered prayers. The main mosque in the town also witnessed hectic activity since early morning with people coming in to offer special prayers on the occasion.



Migrant missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Mystery shrouds the disappearance of Ramesh Kumar, a migrant, who has been missing from his residence in BRS Nagar since Dasehra. He had left his home in the morning that day with his friends and never returned. He was last seen by them on the festival night in a mela in Haibowal.

The Haibowal police has launched a massive search to trace the missing rickshawpuller. The police rounded up some persons yesterday with whom he was seen last. The suspects were being questioned.



Indefinite strike by Bar members

Samrala, October 22
Members of the local Bar Association have started an indefinite strike in support of their demand and an emergency meeting was held here today in this regard under the presidentship of Mr Anil Gupta. OC



130 kg of poppy husk seized
Our Corresponden

Ludhiana, October 22
The local CIA and Anti-Gunda staff during a nakabandhi at Ratowal canal bridge arrested Anil Kumar alias Lovely, a resident of Lahorian Jagraon Mohalla, while riding a scooter without a number place and seized from his possession 70 kg of poppy husk from a gunny bag that he was carrying. A case under sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has registered.

In another incident, the CIA staff arrested Sanjiv Kumar of Charakhian Jagraon Chowk in the Kothe Rahlan area and seized 35 kg of poppy husk from his possession. The Dehlon police also arrested Mohinder Singh of Bhuta from the same village and seized 25 kg of poppy husk. The accused have been booked Under Sections 15, 16 and 85 of the of NDPS Act.

Robbery bid: Shiv Kumar, Kala, Jaswant Singh, Mandeep Singh and Kamal Kumar were arrested under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC on charge of planning to loot a liquor shop near Bhadewal village.

Mr Gurdeep Singh, SHO, Payal police station, along with the party arrested them and seized sharp-edged weapons from their possession.

Car recovered: The local police on Monday recovered a Honda City car, according to the chowki in charge, Mr Karnail Singh. The car was stolen from Jalandhar on October 18. Asrudin was arrested in this connection. A case has been registered under Section 411, IPC.

Liquor seized: The Payal police seized 12 bottles of illicit liquor from the possession of Nirmal Singh of Kaddon village on Monday. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

Case registered: A case under Sections 457, 511 and 506 of the IPC has been registered at the Payal police station on the complaint of Gurmail Singh of Jargari village. He alleged that Gurnam Singh of the same village came to his house on Monday to steal something.

The complainant arrested him and handed him to the police.

Two booked:
Mr Avtar Singh of Gaddowal village has complained that his brothers — Hardev Singh and Nachhattar Singh — forcibly cut down the sugarcane crop and ploughed the land without his permission. He had bought the field on lease from them for a year. A case has been registered at the Sahnewal police station under Sections 379, 447, 427 and 34 of the IPC.



Ex-sarpanch shot dead
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, October 22
Gurcharan Singh, a former sarpanch of Nathu Bhaini village falling under Koom Kalan police station, was shot dead last night near Doaba Bhaini village. According to information, he was on way to his house on the tractor when he was shot at. The police recovered his body this morning. A case has been registered.



168 bottles of liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
The Jagraon police during a raid at Hans Kalan village arrested Darshan Singh, son of Bachan Singh, and Darshan Singh, son of Sajjan Singh, and seized from them 168 bottles of liquor. A case has been and registered against them.



Impressive display of fabrics at OPS meet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
It was a dazzling presentation of various outfits at the inauguration of the three-day Oswal Premium Suitings (OPS) dealers’ and customers’ meet. Top models of the region presented various dresses created from the fabric manufactured by OPS. The collections presented included for both men and women, young and old.

Earlier, briefing reporters the directors of the OPS said Oswal Fabrics, which has been in the market for over two decades, has made certain changes in the manufacturing and processing of the fabric. They disclosed that the brand products are now made on most modern Sulzer Weaving Machines, which are the latest in this segment.

Others present on the occasion, included the Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, Mr Rakesh Pandey, the local MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib; the District Congress Committee Ludhiana (rural) president, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran; the CMD of the OSP, Mr K.L. Jain; and the directors Mr Ajinder Kansal, Mr H K Puni, Mr Mohinder Goyal, Mr Rakesh Jain and Mr R.D. Khanna.


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