Monday, November 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Two injured in blast
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
Two persons were injured in a powerful blast outside the railway station here today. The blast took place in the cycle parking area opposite the parcel booking office. The injured were rushed to hospital. Senior officials of the Railways led by the Area Traffic Manager, Mr Kuldeep Singh, reached the spot to supervise relief operations.

Eyewitnesses said the blast took place at around 4.30 p.m. “It was a deafening sound and all of us were shocked”, said Chander Kumar, who was passing by the place.

The blast reportedly took place in quarter number T 15, belonging to Pyasa Ram a Railways employee. He is learnt to have sub-let the quarter to two other persons. Both were sitting in the quarter when the blast took place. They were admitted to the local Civil Hospital, where their condition was stated to be critical. The roof of the quarter was damaged in the blast.

A team of police officials and bomb disposal squad also reached the spot. However, no major splinters were found at the site till the filing of this report. Police officials were tight-lipped about the details. However, they did not rule out any sabotage in the incident. A police official said it apparently looked to be a cracker blast only. “But it is difficult to say anything with certainty at this stage”.

The deafening sound of the blast was heard in far-off places like Raj Guru Nagar, which is several kilometres away from the railway station. Frantic inquiries were made across the city by many people, fearing some massive bomb blast.

However, the rail traffic was not affected as the blast took place outside the railway station. Mr Kuldeep Singh said investigations had started and senior railway officials had been intimated about the incident.

While two persons had been injured, it was not possible to say whether they were employees of the Railways.



Police inquiry exonerates councillor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
Municipal Councillor Satpal Puri, who was in the thick of a controversy for the past few months involving him and the Vishwa Guru Ravi Dass Mission over the possession and ownership of a religious-place-cum-dharamshala at Santokh Nagar, has been acquitted in a police inquiry of the charge of hurting the religious sentiments of a minority community.

Taking up the petition of the mission activists, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had directed the Ludhiana police last month to arrest the councillor and furnish a report in the case within a week.

The commission had also directed the police to depute an officer of the rank of an SP to investigate the case. However, the inquiry found no evidence to substantiate the charge. Heaving a sigh of relief following the orders, Mr Puri said justice had been done.

He had been denying the allegations. He told Ludhiana Tribune that the complainant party was misusing certain clauses in the SC-ST Act-1989 and had levelled false allegations against him. In an earlier press statement, Mr Puri had claimed that he was the aggrieved party in the case. He was assaulted in full public view at the Shimla Puri police station by the mission activists.

The controversy surrounded a religious place at Santokh Nagar. Mr Puri had been claiming that the building and the land belonged to public. He had requested the Guru Ravi Dass Sewa Sadan Society to give them a piece of land on the premises to install a tubewell. He was, however, abused and threatened with dire consequences, she added.

Mr Puri said when he along with other residents of the area lodged a complaint with the police, some members of the mission came there and manhandled him and his son. This happened in the presence of the police but no action was taken against the guilty persons, he added.

However, Mr Jaswant Kataria and Mr Shiv Ram Saroya, chairman and president of the Mission, respectively claimed that the property in question was a religious place and the councillor wanted to grab it in the garb of installing a tubewell there.

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had upheld the complaint of the mission activists. In a letter to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana, Mr Tanzin Wangyal, Director of the commission observed that the police was adopting delaying tactics, in the case. Even after a lapse of over two weeks, the police did not arrest the accused, who had allegedly passed derogatory remarks against a Dalit. It had ordered to depute a police officer of the rank of an SP to investigate the case.



Industrialist shot dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 3
A local industrialist and the owner of Suman Cycles Rakesh Goyal was shot dead by miscreants outside his factory on the GT Road late last night. The assailants fled after firing at him. They also took away a bag carrying about Rs 2 lakh from him.

According to the information available Rakesh Gupta was coming out of the factory after distributing salary and bonus among his employees. Outside the factory some unidentified persons tried to snatch his bag. As he resisted them they fired at him.

Although he raised the alarm, the miscreants shot at him and took away his bag. He reportedly died on the way to hospital. Hearing the alarm and gunshots Mr Goyal’s son and other workers came out of the factory. However, the assailants escaped.

He was rushed to Christian Medical College and Hospital, but he died in way to hospital. The police from Focal Point police station rushed to the spot. However, they have not been able to get any clue, Mr Gupta was alone at the time he was shot at.

The police has registered a case and started investigation. No arrest has been made so far.

The incident has sent shock waves among the business and industrial community.

Meanwhile various business, social and political organisations have condemned the incident and demanded the arrest of culprits. Expressing concern over the incident they said people had started feeling insecure.

The president of the United Cycle and Parts Association, Mr D.S. Chawla, condemning the incident expressed sympathies with the bereaved family. He demanded that the culprits be brought to book immediately so that confidence of industrialists was restored.



Buildings sealed over violations
Tribune News Service

Officials of the MC seal a shop as part of a drive to remove encroachments and enforce building and land use bylaws
Officials of the MC seal a shop as part of a drive to remove encroachments and enforce building and land use bylaws in Ludhiana on Saturday. — IV

Ludhiana, November 3
To cleanse the city of encroachments, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today sealed several buildings. These buildings were ‘violating’ various building and land use laws and bylaws. Some prominent buildings, including a hotel belonging to a senior Akali leader, was among the sealed buildings.

Senior officials of the Municipal Corporation said that all these buildings had been served notices much in advance asking them to modify their buildings, remove encroachments of their own and ensure the building and land use laws and bylaws. The owners of these buildings have been asked to ensure their proper use within a specific period of time failing which the corporation will take further action.

Different teams of MC officials accompanied by a heavy posse of policemen conducted operations in different areas of the city, including the Malhar Road, Haibowal and Miller Ganj area. The officials disclosed that this was the first phase of a massive drive aimed at getting rid of encroachments in the city and ensuring proper land use.


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