Friday, November 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SHSAD jatha leaves to ‘free’ SGPC members
Chander Parkash and Jaswinder Paul Singh

Talwandi Sabo, November 7
A “bandhi chhor” jatha of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) comprising members from Bathinda, Sangrur, Mansa, Faridkot and Muktsar districts today left for Balasar village in Sirsa district of Haryana, to get a section of SGPC members freed from “captivity in a farm house” of the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

About 100 SHSAD activists including office-bearers of different district units assembled at the Takht Damdama Sahib and performed ardas for their success in securing the release of the SGPC members. The members of “bandhi chhor” jatha came out of the Takht Damdama Sahib raising slogans ‘Bole so Nihal” and entered Balasar- bound cars.

Members of the jatha said that they would make any sacrifice for releasing the captive SGPC members. They said that it was for the first time in the Sikh history that the Shiromani Committee members had been “hijacked” by Mr Badal to install his own man as the president of the SGPC for which the election would be held on November 12 at Amritsar.

Mr Jaswant Singh, a former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly and general secretary of the SHSAD, said that due to the captivity of the SGPC members the working of many gurdwaras had been affected. He said that the golaks (offering boxes) of gurdwaras could not be opened in absence of the respective SGPC members. He said that the educational institutions run under the guidance of SGPC members also could not work properly in their absence.

Mr Ishatpal Singh Khialiwala, district president of the party, said that as per the programme of the party high command the activists of party belonging to the area would go to Balasar village while those from other districts would go to Nada Sahib so that the SGPC members could be “freed”.

He said that due to the stay of certain SGPC members at Balasar and Nada Sahib in Haryana, the meetings that generally precede the election of SGPC president would not be held.

Mr Toga Singh, general secretary of the party, said that they would give a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner of Sirsa to seek his help in freeing the SGPC members. He said that a copy of that memorandum would also be sent to the President, Prime Minister, Chairman, Minority Commission, chairmen, National and state human rights commission, Chief Justice of India, Governors and Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana.

Meanwhile, Punjab Police personnel in mufti had been deployed in Haryana and Himachal Pardesh to pick up members of the SGPC around the suspected places of the captivity.


Reach Amritsar on poll eve: Badal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 7
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Parkash Singh Badal today appealed to party workers to reach Amritsar on November 11, on the eve of SGPC elections to thwart any attempts by the Congress government to interfere in the election process.

Addressing a large gathering at Rakhra village, near here, on the occasion of the sixth death anniversary of Subedar Kartar Singh Dhaliwal, father of Samana legislator Surjit Singh Rakhra, Mr Badal appealed Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal president Gurcharan Singh Tohra not to back Congress Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

He said the SAD expected thousands of workers to congregate at Amritsar, adding that the people themselves would ensure that the elections were conducted in a fair manner.

The former Chief Minister said 100 members of the SGPC, including 25 women, had taken shelter outside the state “to escape” police repression. He said not a single member was being kept against his or her will by the party.

He also disclosed that the seven-member committee of SGPC persons which was supporting the government as it constituted of persons who were afraid they might be implicated in cases of corruption. He said one of the members, Dhian Singh Chamri, had already left the group and was now with the SAD.

Union Fertiliser Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa alleged that never in the state had political opponents being persecuted so much.

He said the government was supporting the Tohra group in the SGPC elections and was using the police set-up for the purpose.

Mr Rakhra highlighted the welfare measures taken by a trust formed by the family in the name of his late father. 


No curbs” on SGPC members’ movement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Reacting sharply to the reports that the government would prevent SGPC members, who are likely to break the law and cause disruption, from entering the Golden Temple complex on November 12 during the presidential election, Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh clarified today that all members would enjoy full freedom of movement before and during the electoral process.

He said the government would ensure that all SGPC members were accorded due honour and respect as members of the apex sikh gurdwara body.

While reiterating that the SGPC elections were an internal matter of the apex religious body, Capt Amarinder Singh, however, assured all concerned that his government would fulfil its constitutional obligation of maintaining law and order during the election process.

He emphasises tat “ no outside elements will be allowed to create mischief and disrupt the presidential poll.”

On the other hand, there are reports that the SAD has started mobilising its activists in the countryside to march to Amritsar in hundreds on the election day to prevent the government from resorting to any foul play.

There are reports that pro-Badal SGPC members would be taken to Amritsar in a big procession accompanied by a team of mediaperson from Delhi, Chandigarh and Jalandhar.


Ban MLAs, MPs from poll’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 7
A former Jathedar of Akal Takht, Prof Darshan Singh Ragi, today advocated separating of “miri-piri” (spiritual — temporal) in Sikhism. Sikhism, he alleged, was being misused by political leaders for the past some time.

Prof Darshan Singh, who was the Jathedar of Akal Takht during the peak of militancy in Punjab in 1986-1987, said politics had “contaminated” Sikhism and hence the two should be segregated to save the Panth.

Flanked by leaders of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, Prof Darshan Singh said at a press conference here today that all MLAs and MPs should be “banned” from contesting the SGPC elections. Bibi Jagir Kaur was an MLA when she became SGPC chief.

He said despite opposition to his stand on segregating religion from politics, he would pursue his goal unfailingly for elevation of the Panth which was being denigrated in the worst possible manner during SGPC elections.

He proposed that during the ensuing elections, no person other than the SGPC members, should be allowed near the venue.

None of the members should be allowed to carry cell phones, cameras, pagers or arms to the venue to avoid any chance of being dictated in his decisions by political or vested interests.

The former Akal Takht Jathedar proposed that Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, should issue an edict to stop speeches by politicians to the Sikh congregation during “parkash” in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib.

He said it became the Jathedar’s responsibility to maintain the sanctity of Sikhism to the best of his ability.

To a query whether it was time for introspection in Sikh religion, Prof Darshan Singh said introspection of any kind needed an environment which was above suspicion.

He favoured the proposed all-India Sikh gurdwara Act which could bring Takht Hazoor Sahib and Takht Patna Sahib into one fold, but lamented that political monopolisation had created hurdles in the way of the proposal’s acceptance.


Notices to Chautala, Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Acting on a habeas corpus petition alleging the detention of SGPC members in Haryana due to impending elections for choosing the office-bearers, Mr Justice Hemant Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices to the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, the state Advocate-General, besides Punjab’s former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Taking up the petition filed by Ms Balbir Kaur — wife of the SGPC member, Mr Harpinderbir Singh — seeking the release of her husband from the alleged custody of the respondents, Mr Justice Gupta also fixed November 11 as the next date of hearing in the case.

In her petition, Ms Balbir Kaur had earlier alleged that Mr Badal, though not an SGPC member, wanted to install “a person of his choice as the president” by using “fair and foul means”. As such he had taken some SGPC members out of Punjab on one pretext or the other and was detaining them against their wishes with the help of official machinery belonging to Haryana.

Giving details, her counsel had submitted that the members were being detained at a farm house in Balasar village in Sirsa district, besides another farm house belonging to Mr Chautala’s brother in Lambi village near Dabwali.


SGPC poll: AISSF to deploy activists
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 7
The All-India Sikh Student Federation (Gill) has decided to deploy its activists in the SGPC complex during the annual executive election of the SGPC scheduled for November 12 so that members could cast their votes in a free and fair manner.

Talking to the press here today, Mr Harminder Singh Gill, president of the AISSF and confidant of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, said that decision to mobilise the activists was taken in wake of the apprehension that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of SAD, could foment violence.

Mr Gill also demanded the excommunication of Mr Sucha Singh Langah, former Akali Minister, from the Sikh Panth for violating Sikh tenets by organising 501 paths of ‘Ramayana’.


Security tightened
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, November 7
The DGP Punjab, Mr M.S. Bhullar, today said an additional police force would be deployed at Amritsar on November 12 to ensure a smooth and peaceful SGPC poll.

Talking to mediapersons after chairing a meeting of Ludhiana range SSPs today, Mr Bhullar said there was no truth in allegations of police high-handedness and government interference in the SGPC elections.

AMRITSAR: Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, District Magistrate, in his first order after assuming office here today banned the carrying of firearms, ammunition and sharp-edged indigenous weapons in view of the SGPC elections till November 30 as a precautionary measure.

All defence forces, including paramilitary, the Army and police, have been exempted from the ban imposed under Section 144, IPC.


SHSAD’s ‘politics of communalism’ flayed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 7
Representatives of various trade, educational, social and labour organisations today alleged that the Sarv Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) had been indulging into politics of communalism to install its own man as President of the SGPC.

They alleged that the SHSAD’s communal approach was revealed by its condemnation of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for attending a function related with the Hindu religion.

Senior SAD leader Chiranji Lal Garg told TNS here today that a meeting of representatives of various trade, educational, social and labour organisations was held in this town last evening in this connection.


Visa not refused to me: Bhattal
Take action, demands Singla
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Meanwhile, the move to demand action against Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal , both at the government and party levels, has started.

Sources reveal that Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman of the High-Powered Finance Committee, has in a letter to the Chief Minister demanded that action should be taken against Mrs Bhattal as allegations levelled against her by US Embassy officials are “very serious”.

In case there is any truth in the allegation of her fraudulent indulgence in the case, she cannot continue to be in the Council of Ministers. A serious view must be taken of such involvement, Mr Singla is said to have written in his letter.

Mr Singla has also demanded that the PPCC President should set up an inquiry committee to find out whether there is any prima facie in the allegation of non-utilisation of discretionary grants, as was alleged in the criminal case pending before a Bathinda court. The previous SAD-BJP Government charged her. But the facts must come out. Action must be initiated against her both at the party and government levels in case any of the allegations is found to be true, Mr Singla is believed to have said. The sources reveal that he even talked to the Chief Minister on the subject this morning.

Chandigarh, November 7
“I have neither been denied a visa by the US Embassy nor am I involved in any ‘kabootar business’, as alleged by certain conspirators and my detractors in the party,” says Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, maintaining that after joining the present government, she never even applied for a visa to the USA.

There are certain vested interests who are trying to create a wedge between me and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. They have launched a concerted campaign against me. There is no truth whatsoever in the US Embassy case. I do not know who this person is. I can say on record that none of the persons whoever accompanied me abroad stayed back in violation of the conditions of the visas granted to them.

“I recently went to Canada and was granted a visa immediately. There is no question of my or any of my men getting involved in the human smuggling business. I decry all such attempts to defame me,” she told The Tribune, maintaining that if need be, she would not hesitate to take up the matter with the party high command for action against those who were behind this defamation campaign against her.

“I have talked to the Chief Minister and apprised him of the tirade launched against me. In fact I have also spoken to the Chief Minister about the raids being conducted on those given contracts for repair, maintenance and new roads in rural areas.”

I am the Minister of the Department of Agriculture and Mandi Board is its wing. But neither the police nor the Vigilance Bureau ever brought to my notice any case pertaining to raids being conducted on those given contracts for roads. I was stunned when I got telephone calls from the family members of one of the contractors, maintaining that his whereabouts were not known after he was taken in custody by the police.

“For me, the people given the contracts by the Mandi Board are respectable and honest. Unfortunately, one of the persons belonging to Patiala, who was blacklisted earlier, was not given any new contract though he tried to build pressure on me. Other two contractors were allotted work,” says Mrs Bhattal, claiming that she had briefed the Chief Minister about the whole thing.

Yesterday after the Cabinet meeting, she accompanied the Chief Minister to the Chandigarh Club for flagging off foodgrain supplies to drought-hit areas of Rajasthan. Later in the evening, she also reportedly met some senior party functionaries, including Mrs Ambika Soni, who had come here in connection with the wedding of a son of the Political Secretary of the Chief Minister, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi.

Mrs Bhattal later reportedly accompanied Mrs Ambika Soni to the union Capital.


Amarinder to unfold new plans
Congress CMs’ meeting at Mount Abu
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The two-day meeting of the Congress Chief Ministers’ Council at Mount Abu beginning tomorrow will focus more on governance and less on politics though, the forthcoming Gujarat poll will induce political discussion as well.

This meeting is a sequel to the Guwahati conclave held on April 12 and 13. The agenda for tomorrow’s meeting is both a review of the decisions taken in Guwahati and the presentation of reports on achievements by the Chief Ministers to Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, left for Mount Abu today carrying a 136-page dossier — “Resurgent Punjab”. It recapitulates the Guwahati “resolves” and lists “achievements” of his nascent government in specified areas of governance. These are home affairs and justice, social security, school education, health and family welfare, finance, information technology, rural development/panchyats, local government, power, PWD (B and R and public health), agriculture/animal husbandry, co-operation and industry/commerce.

At the Guwahati conference, Capt Amarinder Singh was a fresher. Now, he has something to show to Madam what he has achieved in the past eight months and also unfold plans to reconstruct Punjab despite financial constraints.

The Captain’s report card shows an increase in IPC cases under general crime, as also good policing/detection under local and special laws. It also admits to a “slight” increase in kidnapping (344-368) and rape cases (190-210) and also registration of 86 cases against police personnel under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1987.

If the report promises “transparent” governance, it also mentions the registration of 157 cases by the Vigilance Bureau (March, 2002-October 15, 2002), including 96 trap cases, 10 cases of disproportionate assets and 51 other criminal cases. The Vigilance Bureau has also registered 112 inquires on the basis of 3,208 complaints. The report card lists the names of Akali ministers and others now in the vigilance net.

The report card focus is on proposed devolution of powers to panchayati raj institutions, establishing village/town peoples’ committees to run and operate social and economic services/ projects, recasting of district planning committees, re-framing of the Co-operative Act, enacting the Punjab Self-Supporting Co-operative Societies Bill, 2002, and setting up of lok adalats (for compromise on settlement of co-operative loans) to reduce debt burden of farmers and reduce the incidence of debt-related suicides amongst them. This scheme is likely to be launched on November 14.

Capt Amarinder Singh has radical proposals on health and family welfare. Besides the delegation of powers and responsibilities to the people (panchayats etc.) on health/ medicare, the government proposed to encourage private participation by handing over district hospitals to known private medical institutions. The conditions for such “partnership” have been framed.

On information technology, the state has big plans, including enactment of a right to information Act, so that citizens have access to administration.

The report card opens a window to the government thinking on agriculture, crop diversification, ill-effects of huge stock-pile of food grains, procurement and minimum support price. It also reveals government mind on financial restructuring, power reforms, private sector participation in power and exploring canals for mini micro-hydel projects, restructuring technical education/ industrial training and new concepts in industry and commerce.

Capt Amarinder Singh’s report reveals proposed special economic and export zones and gives details of three special projects under the centre’s cluster scheme: steel and rolling cluster at Gobindgarh, machinetools cluster at Batala and bicycle and bicycle parts cluster at Ludhiana.


A clarification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Apropos of the news item "When Johl put in his papers" on November 7, the Financial Commissioner (Development), Mr P. K. Verma, has said that he received the Johl committee report on July 29 and the case was finally disposed of by him on August 8. "The report, therefore, remained with me for only nine days", he adds.

The fact is that the report had not reached the quarters concerned in New Delhi till recently. The question is where was the report held up then once it passed into the hands of bureaucrats from the Chief Minister?


BJP chief’s rally now on Nov 13
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 7
Bharatiya Janata Party national president Venkaiah Naidu has advanced visit of Punjab from November 14 to November 13.

Stating this, Punjab BJP organisational general secretary Avinash Jaiswal told this correspondent here today, that since the BJP high command had summoned a high-level “Consultative Committee” meeting on November 14 in New Delhi for finalise the strategy of Gujarat elections, Mr Naidu would address the BJP rally in connection with the “Gaon chalo abhiyan” at Tarn Taran on November 13.

The party president would reach Amritsar by the Frontier Mail, address newmen and then proceed to Tarn Taran to address the rally.


Poll roll revision extended
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, November 7
The Punjab State Election Commission today extended the date of disposal of claims, objections and printing of supplements from November 8 to November 22 and final publication of electoral rolls from November 12 to November 29 for the forthcoming elections to the local bodies.

According to a copy of the orders received here, it was brought to the notice of the commission that the claims and objections could not be disposed of in time on account of holidays. Therefore, the dates had been extended to review the electoral rolls.


Hundreds taken ill in Tarn Taran area
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 7
Hundreds of residents on the Tarn Taran road have taken ill due to consumption of water supplied by the Municipal Corporation over the past two months.

Residents of Guru Arjun Dev Nagar, Kot Mit Singh, Ishwar Nagar, Ramgarhia Colony, Baba Deep Singh Nagar, Dashmesh Nagar and other adjoining areas are suffering from jaundice and other water borne diseases.

Four members of Joginder Singh’s family have taken ill. He is ill for the past two weeks.

A number of people in the area hold bad condition of sanitation and sewerage blockages responsible for contamination in the water supply. Handpump water in areas across the Tarn Taran road is clean.

Mr Lovinder Singh, Principal of a school in the area, said everyday nearly 40 children absent from the school because of illness. He alleged even after complaining to the SDO concerned no action had been taken by the corporation. He said even after boiling twice foul odour doesn’t leave the water.

Mr Kirpal Singh Additional Commissioner, MC, said he had marked an inquiry to the superintending engineer in this regard today.

Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind, president, All India Youth Association, in a representation to the MC Commissioner, Civil Surgeon and Mayor has urged immediate steps to check the spread of an epidemic in the area.


Official given challan copies
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 7
The court of Special Judge here today supplied the remaining copies of documents of the challan to Mr J.P. Singla, Deputy Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, Punjab, who is an accused in a case registered against Nirmal Singh Kahlon, former Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Punjab, on June 14 by the Vigilance Bureau at SAS Nagar in connection with a recruitment scam in the department and other charges.

The court today supplied some copies of documents to Mr J.P. Singla when he pleaded that he had not received all relevant copies of documents of the challan at the previous hearing.

So on his demand, the court provided him the remaining copies of documents of the challan.

The Special Judge fixed November 25 as next date of hearing in the case.


Tota gets copy of challan papers
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 7
The court of Special Judge here today supplied copies of documents of the challan to Mr Tota Singh, former Punjab Education Minister and senior Akali leader, in a case registered against him by the Vigilance Bureau on June 14 at SAS Nagar under Sections 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The challan was presented against Mr Tota Singh on October 26 in the court of Sessions Judge here who later entrusted it to the Special Judge for further proceedings.

Mr Tota Singh was arrested on June 14 for allegedly committing “irregularities” in the recruitment of clerks in the Punjab School Education Board, recruitment of science and ETT teachers in the Education Department and indulging in corruption during the SAD-BJP regime. Mr Tota Singh is on regular bail.

The Special Judge, Mr A.S. Kathuria, today fixed November 23 as the next date of hearing for arguments on charges against Mr Tota Singh.


Notice on MLA’s plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Mr Justice Hemant Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued a notice for November 11 on a petition filed by Punjab MLA Ranjit Singh Brahmpura for the grant of anticipatory bail or else seven days’ notice in case a first information report (FIR) was registered against him.

Seeking the grant of bail, the MLA had expressed apprehension that he would be implicated in a case as the government wanted to tarnish his image due to political reasons. The MLA had said the government had adopted a revengeful attitude towards its opponents and members of the Akali Dal in order to arrest them in false cases.

Going into the background of the case, his counsel, in an earlier petition, had added that the tactics were being used against the petitioner for demoralising the supporters of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) so as to help the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal during the forthcoming elections to SGPC’s executive committee.


Commonwealth award for Punjab youth
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Sarbpreet Singh has won the Commonwealth Youth Programme( CYP) Asia Award for excellence in youth work for the year 2001-2002.

Son of a teacher couple, Sarbpreet had his initial education at Government school in PAU, Ludhiana, and later in Khalsa and Government Colleges, Ludhiana. He did postgraduation in public administration from Kurukshetra University. The award will be conferred on Sarbpreet Singh on November 20 at Singapore. The award ceremony will be followed by a two-day regional follow-up meeting of the national youth council. The Commonwealth Secretariat has officially intimated Sarbpreet Singh about his selection for the award.

Sarbpreet Singh has won a number of awards at the national level. But it is one of the rarest awards conferred on youth for their performance in work related especially to the amelioration of the sufferings of the underprivileged and downtrodden. He is perhaps the first youth from Punjab to get this award.

Employed in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha as a research assistant, Sarbpreet got his first international recognition through the NCC in 1990 when he was presented with a Duke of Edinborough Award for doing excellent work in blood donation, tree plantation and education of poor children. In 1994, the National Youth Award was bestowed upon him by the Central Government. He was given the National Integration and Unity Award the same year by Mrs Sonia Gandhi on behalf of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

Having donated blood 40 times Sarbpreet Singh has organised several national integration camps, youth leadership camps and has gone around in various parts of the country covering 25,000 Kms on bicycle to campaign against drugs and other social evils among youth. He has now floated an NGO-Global village which will work for human resource development among youth.


Panchayat directory released
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 7
Due to the continuous felling of trees and increase in the means of transportation, the menace of pollution has increased manifold, which has not only affected human lives but also disturbed ecological balance, said Dr Harbans Lal, Minister for Forest, here today. He was addressing a function at Sirhind after releasing “Panchayat Directory-2002”, which bears variety of information regarding panchayats in the district. He lauded the efforts of Jaswant Singh, a journalist, for bringing out the directory.

He called upon social organisations to come forward for the cause and make the state a “green state”. He said the forest department had introduced a new central nursery scheme in every division of the state under which a full-fledged nursery would be developed and tress of all varieties would be made available to the public at nominal charges. He said to make tree plantation more popular and to ensure the involvement of social organisations and people in the movement, division-level forest advisory committees as well as district-level environment protection committees were being formed. He said people from every walk of life would be enrolled as members of the committees.

The minister added that the forest department had constituted an encroachment removal committee to remove encroachments on the government land and the department had evicted more than 15,000 hectare of land in the state.

Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, former MLA, Mr Didar Singh Bhatti, SAD leader, Dr Sikandar Singh, president DCC, Mr Naresh Sharma, Mr Sadhu Ram, Mr Varinder Takyar, Mr R.N.Sharma and Mr Vaid Hari Krishan, all Congress leaders, also addressed the gathering.


Analyse literary trend in Punjabi context’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 7
Noted Punjabi scholar Dr Satinder Noor said here today that recent trends in literature had been derived from western and capitalist countries and that there was a need to ponder over these thoughts in the context of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat.

Speaking at the concluding function of the two-day national seminar on ‘Literature in recent perspective’, Dr Noor said criticism tendency in literature was necessary if it was to flourish.

Earlier, Dr Usha Bendre, fellow of Indian University of Advanced Studies, in her research paper highlighted the journey of the novel from a small village in Punjab to America. Dr Sharanpal Singh of Punjabi University presented a profile of metaphor in the past structural mode and compared it with Devidasan’s thesis.

Eminent Punjabi critic Dr Kesar Singh Kesar from Panjab University, Chandigarh, stressed the need for acquiring more factual information regarding the development of Dalit literature.

Others who participated in the seminar included Dr Chaman Lal, Head of the Hindi Department, Dr Maan Singh Dhindsa, Dr Jagjit Singh Kairon, Dr Tarlok Singh Anand and Dr S.S. Khaira of Guru Nanak Dev University and Dr Nahar Singh from Panjab University. Dr B.S. Khaira, Head of the Department of Correspondence Courses, presented the vote of thanks.


Villagers allege police harassment
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, November 7
A few residents of the Chak Mauj Din Wala (Surghuri) village in Jalalabad tehsil have alleged that the local police is harassing them by implicating them in false criminal cases at the behest of Mr Hans Raj Joshan, local Congress MLA.

In a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner yesterday, Mr Guljar Singh, member of the village panchayat, has alleged that the Jalalabad police is harassing a few residents of his village namely Gurdeep Singh, Desa Singh, Gurnek Singh, Hansa Singh, Jangir Singh and Pritam Singh by registering fake criminal cases against them.

He said there was a dispute regarding “khal” between them and another party of the village, the matter of which was pending in a judicial court. But the opposite party by manipulating with the local MLA of the ruling party had managed to secure the support of the local police to harass them. “They have also injured Lakshmi Bai, mother of Hansa Singh, presently admitted to the civil hospital, Jalalabad, but the police has refused to register a case against the culprits under the pressure of the local MLA”, Mr Guljar Singh said.

Earlier, the aggrieved party contacted the SSP, Ferozepore, and filed a complaint but so far nothing has been done in this regard. Instead, in the meantime, a few more cases have been registered against the complaints at city police station and sadar police station, Jalalabad.


Rally against govt policies
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 7
Leaders of the Punjab Istri Sabha, Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha and the Sarb Bharat Naujawan Sabha today condemned the anti-people policies of the Punjab Government.

The sabhas held a rally in the city to show resentment against such policies, which according to them are responsible for the problems of the residents of the state. The leaders said the problems of people in general and those belonging to the weaker sections in particular increased after the formation of the Congress government in the state.

While addressing the rally, Ms Sahiban Farooki, general secretary of the Bharati Mahila Quami Federation, said the communalism was a threat to the unity and integrity of nation. She said that the BJP was spreading communalism for getting political mileage.

She said their federation would make all efforts for the defeat of the BJP in the Assembly elections in Gujarat. She said though their federation did not have solid base in Gujarat but they would help the other parties so that the BJP could not form government in Gujarat.

She said the economic policies of the BJP were to favour the multinational companies and not the domestic companies. She said the unemployment had increased manifold in the country.


Journalism or infiltration bid?
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 7
Two motor cycle-borne Pakistani nationals were arrested by Border Security Force jawans as they crossed the international border, near Havailian BoP, 30 km from here yesterday evening.

They have been identified as Asif Ali (17), a resident of Lahore and Rao Iqram (24), a resident of Multan, the identity cards recovered from their possession revealed that they were working with an urdu daily “Khabren” published from Lahore.


Punjab staff hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 7
Activists of the Punjab Raj Mulazam Dal led by Mr Dal Singh Sandhu, state president of the dal, today staged a dharna here against the Punjab Government.

They raised slogans against the government and criticised it for its alleged “anti-employee” policies. They warned that if the government did not accept the demands of the employees, they would intensify the struggle.


Residents hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 7
Agitating residents of the Garha locality today staged a dharna outside the police station No 7 in protest against the failure of the police to arrest the persons involved in hooliganism and beating up of some residents of the locality on the Divali night.


2 killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 7
Two persons were killed in a head-on collision between an oil tanker and a car near Dyalpur village on the Jalandhar-Amritsar road here today. The victims were coming to Beas from Jalandhar in their car. While, Rasdev Singh Jayaswal of Una district and Ramnath Gupta of Mubarakpur died on the spot, Kamla wife of Rasdev Singh received wounds and was admitted to the Dera Beas hospital.

The driver of the oil tanker Satnam Singh has been arrested.


Farmers asked not to pay power bills
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Six farmer organisations, which met here today, have given a call to farmers “not to pay power bills” of tubewells. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Mr Maghar Singh Kulrian, president of the Kisan Vikas Front.

In the a next phase of their agitation, farmer leaders have decided to held gatherings of farmers at the subdivisional headquarters and various sugar mills from November 13 to 20. A rally will be held here on November 20. A march will be held covering the entire state from December 1 to 10.

Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, a spokesman of the organisations, said the Congress Government had given a crushing blow to the farming community in the state. Besides increasing the domestic power bills and also imposing power tariff on the agricultural sector, the state government had not yet revised the minimum support price for sugarcane. Even last year’s sugarcane dues had not been cleared by sugar mill managements.

Among those who attended the meeting were Mr Bhupinder Sambar, Mr Ranbir Singh Dhillon, Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Nirbhai Singh, Mr Pishora Singh Sidhupur, Mr Gurmit Singh Dittupur, Mr Kulwant Singh Sandhu and Mr Raghbir Singh.


Dharna by employees’ federation
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 7
The Punjab State Services Federation, the Punjab State Electricity Board Employees Federation and the Punjab Kirti Dal led by former MP Charanjit Singh Walia held a divisional-level protest outside the office of the Commissioner here today in which hundreds of government employees and workers from the district of Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana, Ropar and Sangrur and Chandigarh participated.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Walia condemned the anti-worker decisions of the state government. He said what to talk of fulfilling the election manifesto of the Congress promising scales of pay and 15 per cent house rent allowance for Patiala-based employees, the government had frozen their daily allowance and leave travel concession.

He said the federation demanded that the demands of the employees as to promotional scales, release of DA instalment in cash on the central pattern and house rent allowance should be met immediately. Mr Walia said, besides this, all work-charged employees should be regularised, the ban on recruitments lifted and privatisation of banks should be stopped.

The federation leader said in case these demands were not accepted immediately, the federation would be constrained to hold a divisional-level protest at Faridkot on November 14, besides a dharna on November 22 at Jalandhar. He said a dharna would also be held at Chandigarh during the Budget session of the state assembly in March.


2 SPs shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The Punjab Government today cancelled the transfer orders of four SP-level officers and transferred two others.

Mr Pritpal Singh and Mr Surinderpal Singh Parmar have been asked to continue at their earlier places of posting in Fatehgarh Sahib and Chandigarh, respectively. Likewise, Mr Shamsher Jang Bahadur and Mr Surinder Kumar Kalia have been asked to continue at Ladda Kothi and Amritsar, respectively.

Mr Tejinder Singh has been shifted to Gurdaspur as SP (Detective) while Mr Darshan Singh has been posted as SP in the Vigilance Bureau at Chandigarh.


Upgrade security at ministers’ houses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The Punjab Government has directed the police to provide more security to the ministers at their official and private residences, an official spokesman said here today. This step had been taken in view of inadequate security at their residences.

The DGP and the ADGP (Security) had been asked to strengthen security and depute more guards within three days.


Two murder cases solved
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, November 7
The district police claims to have solved two murder cases and has arrested the culprits.

The district police chief, Mr Major Singh Dhillon, in a press note issued here today said that Prem Kumar, a resident of Kot Bhai, was murdered on November 9, 2000, and his body was dumped at an abandoned place. The deceased was murdered by Surinder Singh and Baljinder Singh and they had confessed to the crime. Mr Dhillon claimed that the accused had identified the place of murder and the site where they had dumped the body of the deceased before the village panchayat. While Surinder Singh belonged to Karai Wala village, Baljinder Singh belonged to Kot Bhai village.

Mr Dhillon said a .315 bore pistol with three cartridges and a .12 bore pistol with two cartriges were seized from the accused. Separate cases under Section 25-A, IPC, had been registered in this connection, he added.

In another incident, Kashmira Singh and his accomplice Piara Singh had murdered Randhira Singh of Jhumba village at Bathinda. The accused had fled on a scooter belonging to the deceased but were arrested later. A .315 bore pistol, with which the deceased was shot, has also been seized. Four members of the gang are yet to be arrested and many incidents of looting liquor vends have been traced to the gang, the SSP said.


Murder case solved; 2 held
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, November 7
The police today claimed to have solved a blind murder case involving the killing of a motor cycle driver who was travelling from Rajpura to Ambala. Two persons have been in this connection.

Disclosing this here today, the Patiala District Police chief, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, said the police had arrested two persons, Sadhu Singh and Tarsem Singh, on a tip-off that they were responsible for murdering Bhanu Parkash Shukla, a resident of Amba in Bihar, on March 2.

Mr Umranangal said interrogation of the accused by the DSP, Rajpura, Mr Pritpal Singh Thind, had made it possible for the police to recover the body of the victim from a deserted area near here yesterday. He said the third accused, Parveen Sharma, was still absconding. Motor cycle of the victim was also with him.

The SSP said the three accused, who were residents of Chalheri, Akar and Sarkapra villages near here, had murdered Shukla with the intention of robbing him of any valuables being carried by him besides taking away his motor cycle.


Cop held for looting
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 7
The Majitha police arrested two persons, including a police constable, for allegedly attempting to loot a house at Majitha today.

According to an FIR, the accused in covered faces barged into the house of Balbeer Singh, a resident of Kohali village, when he was watching television. Balbeer Singh in the FIR stated that Inderjit Singh along with Narinder Singh of Boge Kalan village, both equipped with sharp-edged weapons, threatened to kill all the family members if they did not surrender their belongings to them.

He said after hearing the noise his brother Sucha Singh, who lived nearby, and people of the village reached the place. They caught the suspects who were later handed over to the police.

Later, it was found that Inderjit Singh was a constable at C-division police station in Amritsar here. A case has been registered at Lopoke police station under Sections 440 and 458 of the IPC.


Teenager gang- raped
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 7
A case of gang rape of a teenaged girl of Alera village in the Talwara police station area was reported yesterday.

According to police sources, some persons raped a 13-year-old girl while she was going to meet her brother on the occasion of the Bhai-Dooj yesterday. A couple found the girl unconscious in bushes. The parents of the girl were informed, who took her to the BBMB Hospital, Talwara. She was later referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.


NCP: stop shifting of B.Ed College
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 7
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) today urged the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, to take steps to stop the shifting of Punjabi University College of Education (B.Ed College) from this town to Talwandi Sabo.

In a letter to the Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, the general secretary of the Punjab unit of the NCP, Mr Amritpal Singh Brar, pointed out that the college was established here on the demand of people of the area. He said land was given by the local Municipal Council exclusively for opening the B.Ed College. The Punjab Government also gave Rs 25 lakh for the purpose. Mr Brar alleged that there was a move by vested interests to set up a separate governing body of the B.Ed College to capture its control.

He said as the college was an integrated part of the Punjab University Regional Centre, Bathinda, and was set up with the approval of the Academic Council and Syndicate of Punjabi University, there was no need to form a separate governing body.

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