Sunday, December 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Selective demolitions by district administration?
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 30
Even as the state government claims of acting tough on the encroachers in Kulliewal land scam there are instances that the demolitions undertaken on the land were selective and action taken against some ‘influential owners’ was stopped for reasons other than merit. In this regard, land allegedly belonging to a former Union Home Minister was allegedly spared of the action.

The district administration had started the demolition drive on November 16. It had claimed of having demolished at least 100 illegal constructions. It had already booked 40 persons, mostly property dealers, in a scandal worth crores of rupees.

A visit to the area and a perusal of the records was enough to make one believe that the demolition was selective and the ‘nami’ and ‘benami’ properties occupied by some influential persons in the area were spared in the drive.

An agricultural piece of land which was in the possession of a relative of a former Union Minister was not completely ploughed and left midway. While a part of it had been ploughed, crop was still standing in the other parts, raising a question mark about the authenticity of the demolition drive of the administration. The demolition drive included razing down of foundations, constructed illegally on plots as well as ploughing of crops sown in the plots.

Interestingly, while the officials in the administration denied any such delay in the demolition, residents of the area named the former Union Home Minister openly and alleged that the drive was stopped mid-way only when the tractors had started ploughing his fields only.

They further alleged that many acres of land was sold off by the relative of the minister, who was also a government employee, to some private person but no action was taken against him while the poor people had to bear the brunt of the situation.

Residents of the New Puneet Nagar, who had to face the demolition, accused the administration of leaving the properties occupied by some influential people and demolishing the houses of poor people who were cheated by some property dealers and some employees in the Revenue Department.

They also alleged that the bulldozers razed around 20 structures only on November 16 while it had announced that it would be demolishing at least 100 such structures but the squad never came back after that day.

The residents said that while the poor people, who had paid with their life-time earnings, to buy plots in the area, had to loose their property, while such influential people had their way and were even spared by the administration.

With the name of a former Union Minister coming in the land scam, there were some other officials also whose names had started doing rounds for allegedly owning some ‘benami’ property and even selling the land through some property dealers who had already been booked by the police in the same case.

Sources in the department and even the residents of the area named these officials, including an IAS and a PCS officer in the land scam case. The name of a woman Home Guard was also appearing in the inquiry. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, was not available for his comments despite repeated attempts.

Meanwhile, panic continued to grip the residents of the area who had constructed their houses years ago and were not facing demolition at this juncture as their case would be decided at the level of the state government. They alleged that at the time of buying the land, whenever they used to inquire from some Revenue officials about the authenticity of the seller, the officials used to give their nod for the deal stating that the land really belonged to seller. The residents said that they had even named the officials to the officials conducting an inquiry into the scandal.



IG begins inquiry against DGP’s kin
Tribune News Service.

Ludhiana, November 30
The Inspector-General of Police (Crime), Mr Chander Shekhar, today afternoon conducted an on-the-spot verification in the controversial case of alleged grabbing of 1.75-acre stretch of land at Barrewal and Awana villages, near here, by DSP (Samrala) Gurtej Singh Aulakh, son-in-law of the DGP, Punjab, Mr M.S. Bhullar.

Mr Shekhar also studied the revenue records of the disputed land. A kanungo and a patwari of the district Revenue Department were also told to be present on the spot to study the revenue records regarding the land. The alleged victim, Manohar Singh, was also present there. His statement and statements of some other persons, associated with the case or those who had witnessed the alleged grabbing of land, were recorded.

Revenue records were specifically brought to the spot as it was being alleged that the land-grabbers, after forcibly getting the sale deed in their favour, had encroached upon an additional 1,500 sq yrd of land.

Sources said the police officer took note of the barbed wire put around the alleged encroached land and the flower pots, which were brought by the alleged grabbers while they forcibly occupied the piece of land. Some kiosks were also seen at that place. The kiosks, interestingly, had advertisements of beer and liquor painted on the inner side. A rate list of the main liquor brands was also there. According to Manohar Singh, the kiosks were brought up by the alleged land-grabbers.

This was the first visit to the controversial land by Mr Shekhar as the IG (Crime). The inquiry was started by his predecessor, IG S.K. Sharma, who had also visited the spot once. The case had been hogging limelight since January 2, 2001, when the alleged land-grabbing incident took place.

Manohar Singh claimed that the land belonged to him and his two brothers, Balbir Singh and Surjit Singh. They had given a power of attorney to Ramandeep Singh, son of Manohar Singh.

Ramandeep Singh was allegedly kidnapped by the accused and kept in Rajasthan for some days where he was pressurised to execute sale deed of the land in favour of the accused. However, despite being beaten up severely, he reportedly did not give in.

Manohar Singh claimed his son was then falsely implicated by the Rajasthan Police in a case of opium smuggling. Thereafter, the accused allegedly succeeded in getting the sale deed executed in favour of some relatives of the accused DSP. Ramandeep was arrested under the NDPS Act and is presently on bail.

Although the alleged land grabbing incident took place in January, the case against DSP Aulakh was registered in October only. Acting on a petition filed by the victim, the High Court had directed the Ludhiana SSP to inquire and act appropriately. Mr H.S. Sidhu, SSP, Ludhiana, had conducted the inquiry and ordered registration of a case against DSP Aulakh. A case was thus registered at the Division No. 5 police station in October last year.

However, later the victim party again went to the court airing their dissatisfaction over the police action after the registration of the case. DSP Aulakh was all this while denying his role in the case and claimed that the allegations were totally false. The High Court was again approached by both parties and an inquiry was marked to the IG (Crime) in the case.



4 m infected with HIV in India: report
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 30
It is a well established fact that the scourge of AIDS is alarming the country. According to a report by UNAIDS, more than 4 million people in India are infected with HIV. At this time, $ 10 crore (about Rs 500 crore) of donation announced by Bill Gates to the Government of India for the prevention and control of AIDS, is indeed a respite.

The latest survey shows that more than 40 million people in the world have been infected by HIV. Approximately 5 million people (worldwide) contracted with AIDS in 2002. More than 3 million people died of AIDS (worldwide in 2002). Dr Deepinder Singh of Lord Mahavira Homoeopathic College said it was unfortunate that most of the HIV infected patients fell in the age group of 25 to 35 years, who were either the bread-winners or their spouses.

The most common route of transmission of HIV among Indians is through heterosexual/homosexual contact with infected partner, because of widespread prostitution and flesh trade in India. According to UNAIDS, about 90 per cent of the total reported AIDS cases occur in the sexually active and economically productive 15 to 44 age groups. Men account for 79 per cent of HIV infections in India.

It is also learnt that over 95 per cent of AIDS deaths occur in the developing world.

India has the largest number of AIDS orphans of any country in the world, standing at 1.2 million in 2001, and predicted to rise to 2 million in five years and 2.7 million in 10 years. The HIV infection in India is currently concentrated among poor, marginalised groups, including commercial sex workers, truck drivers and migrant labourers.

In 2001, the HIV infection rate went above one per cent in six states. The states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Manipur account for 75 per cent of the country’s estimated HIV cases. Mumbai and Manipur have recorded 20 to 49 per cent bed occupancy by HIV people in certain hospitals.

The symptoms of the disease include persistent cough for more than one month, generalised swollen lymph nodes, persistent night sweats, weight loss greater than 10 per cent of body weight in one month, chronic diarrhoea for over one month or prolonged fever.

A concrete plan and a lot of strenuous efforts should be made to educate the masses about its prevention and symptoms. Contrary to general perception and myths, sex education should be imparted to children at the high school level. Dr Deepinder said AIDS did not spread by hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing cups and vessels, coughing and sneezing, mosquito or insect bites and food and water.



AIDS awareness and counselling cell at CMC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 30
An AIDS awareness and counselling cell was inaugurated at the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here today by Mr Surinder Dawar, MLA.

Dr Rajeev Kapoor, Deputy Medical Superintendent, said in a press note that Mr Dawar congratulated and appreciated the efforts put in by the hospital and assured full support for promoting AIDS awareness in the district.

The keynote address entitled ‘AIDS, current scenario with special reference to AIDS clinics in the country’ was delivered by Dr Surjit Singh, Professor of Internal Medicine, PGI, Chandigarh. Dr S.N. Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, also spoke on the occasion. The lecture was attended by students, nurses and faculty of different institutions of Ludhiana.

“As AIDS spreads its tentacles throughout the world, various agencies, government and NGOs, are coming forward to spread awareness about AIDS,” said Dr Jasbir Dhanoa, Head of the Department of Medicine, CMCH. She said the new cell would have a physician, paediatrician, microbiologist, dentist, gynaecologist, dermatologist and a counsellor.

Dr John Abraham, Medical Superintendent, CMCH, said about 38.6 million adults were suffering from AIDS in the world. According to available figures, about 3.97 million persons were infected with AIDS virus and 40,708 are active carriers in India.

This special clinic would offer free HIV testing, post-test counselling (confidentiality will be maintained). The clinic would be like any other speciality clinic in the hospital where patients would be counselled, treated and followed up according to set protocols. Attempts were being made to get subsidised drugs for poor patients. The aim of the cell would be to break the social stigma, offer counselling, treat and support patients so that they could live with dignity, said Dr Kapoor.



Seminar on AIDS organised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 30
The NSS unit of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, organized a seminar on AIDS awareness here today. Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, chairman of the management committee of the college, inaugurated the seminar.

He also released a book “Female foeticide: a crime” written by Dr N.S. Bawa, president, IMA, Sirhind, and Dr. O.P.S. Kande, president, IMA, Punjab. Mr Tohra appreciated the role of Dr Bawa in spreading awareness of AIDS in Fatehgarh Sahib district and praised his book, which was written to make people aware of this evil. He quoted examples from various religions that every religion educates people not to indulge in immoral activities, which can ruin their life and character.

Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, former Chairman of Punsup, said students must follow rich spiritual values of Sikh religion and shun drugs and other intoxicants. Later, Mr Tohra inaugurated an exhibition on AIDS which was organised by Dr N.S. Bawa named as “Wanted free world from AIDS”. In this exhibition, charts and posters were displayed showing causes of AIDS and their prevention.

A section of this exhibition was devoted to the evil of female foeticide. Free literature on AIDS awareness was also distributed among the participants. Dr N.S. Bawa in his address said AIDS awareness was must for every citizen. Three major symptoms of AIDS were fever for long time, loss in weight and stomach disorder for long time, he said. Society instead of hating AIDS patients must cooperate with them to fight this disease, he added.

The college principal, Dr D.S. Hira, said students must become aware of this disease and try to communicate the message to the masses. Prof B.S. Bhullar, in charge, NSS, who coordinated the seminar administered the oath to the participants that they will never indulge in immoral activities and will never take any sort of drug.

The College Training and Placement officer, Mr I.P.S. Gill, Dr Arjan Singh, Prof B.S. Brar, Prof Gurpal Singh, Prof R.S. Uppal and former minister Randheer Singh Cheema also spoke on the occasion.



Youths beat up 5 of family
Tribune News Service

Parminder SinghLudhiana, November 30
A Model Town-based family was allegedly beaten up mercilessly by four drunken youths late last night.

Parminder Singh along with his wife and three children, was returning home from a hotel when he saw four youths near the Durgi road, standing near a car on the road and blocking the way. When Parminder Singh urged them to get aside, they forced him out of the car and started beating him up mercilessly.

Not only this, Parminder Singh was forced to sign a compromise paper there and then. Later, he went to the Civil Hospital and was admitted there. The Model Town police has registered a case against, Matty, one of the identified assailants and three others. No arrest has been made so far.



‘Let no rapist go scot-free’ 
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, November 30
The debate over the issue of awarding death penalty to rapists has gathered momentum in the city. Most of the people feel that the current laws to deal with the crime are inadequate and there is an immediate need to formulate a legislation to deal with such cases more effectively.

Ms Sunil Aggarwal, president of the district Red Cross Society, and officials of several other city-based women organisations were of the view that death penalty for rape was not the solution. “I personally feel that law enforcement should be there. A rapist should not be spared. If he has committed the crime, he should be punished severely so that he dare not even to think of committing such a crime again,” maintained Ms Aggarwal.

Mr Arunpal Singh, SP (Headquarters), said death penalty was not the ultimate answer despite being the severest of punishments. He said majority of the countries were against death sentence and it was granted only in the rarest of rare cases. “The government has introduced such rules that a victim cannot be cross-examined. The conviction rate is very low in such cases, consequently many culprits go scot-free. But we should keep in mind that a person can also be falsely implicated in such cases for money or to set some personal scores. I feel that instead of awarding death sentence to the guilty, government should stress on law enforcement,” he added.

Ms Ritu Aneja, a college student, said death penalty was not the right answer. She said, “No doubt the number of such cases is on the rise, but there are chances that innocent persons are falsely implicated in such cases and if this happens an innocent person may even lose his life,” she said. The law should be made foolproof so that the guilty could not escape, while no innocent was implicated falsely, she said.

A city-based psychiatrist, Dr Rajiv Gupta, however, favoured death penalty for rapists. “In our country, out of the reported rape cases, 92 per cent culprits are acquitted and only eight per cent get punished. There are hundreds of cases, which are not even reported. Rape is a heinous crime against women and it is increasing day by day. Recently, a woman was raped by her own students in Agra. How can you pardon such people? The culprits know that they will get bail and will be acquitted ultimately because of the weak law enforcement. But it is a traumatic experience for a rape victim. Our society, instead of sympathising with the victim, raises many questions. She becomes an easy target for others, too. If the guilty are given death sentence, the crime against women will definitely decrease,” he opined.

Ms Pappo Abnash Singh, a social activist and member of the Association for Social Health in India (ASHI), said we were not the citizens of middle-east countries. “Our culture is altogether different. Death penalty for a rapist is not the right answer. We should punish the culprit in a more torturing manner, but not with death sentence. We should ensure that the guilty does not get bail and is punished severely. We should safeguard our girls and educate people against such heinous crimes,” she maintained.



Punjab staff demand release of DA
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 30
More than seven lakh employees of the Punjab Government, various boards and corporations are agitated over the inordinate delay in the release of DA installment, due from July this year. The Union Government, Chandigarh Administration and some other state governments had already released DA installments to their employees.

Mr Yash Pal Ghai, additional general secretary, Punjab Government Pensioners Association, said in a statement here today that the government had failed to honour the announcement by the Finance Minister that DA installment would be released soon. Interestingly, the Punjab cadre IAS and IPS officers had already received the enhanced DA while others were still clamouring for the same.

He observed that failure of the government to release DA would be a blatant deviation from the Central pattern being followed by the state government for the past 30 years in the matter of granting dearness allowance to neutralise the price rise. “The government must realise that DA is not a charity but a compensation for price rise.”

The association has also sent a memorandum to Ms Sonia Gandhi, President, All India Congress Committee, urging her to direct the Congress government in Punjab to release the DA installment without any further delay.



Services of Baba Jaswant lauded
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 30
“It is not about making a patriotic statement, we actually feel passionately about being able to serve our homeland and make a potential contribution towards conceptual, infrastructure and technological improvisations in various spheres. There’s a lot that can be achieved with active role and participation of non-resident Indians, provided the government policies and laws are more flexible and favourable towards the noble cause being taken up.” These were the views of Mr Daljeet Singh, an Electrical Chartered Engineer from London University who migrated to the UK way back in 1965. He along with as many as 300 NRIs from all over the world — the UK, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Dubai, Spain and many other countries had come here to attend the annual gurmut samagam at Gurdwara Nanaksar, Samrala Chowk, and the annual function of the Baba Jaswant Singh Trust — a registered charitable trust established with the avowed objective of human welfare and extension of healthcare and educational facilities.

“It has been Babaji’s motivation and his teachings that brought many a wayward youth back to the cultural and religious fold. His initiative and contributions to the healthcare and educational cause of the poor and the needy irrespective of caste and creed, has been a source of inspiration for us, said Mr Daljeet Singh. Baba Jaswant Dental College, Super Speciality Hospital and Research Institute was a commendable example of a public welfare project made possible without any government support and commercial considerations. The government must support such non-profitable ventures initiated by religious-social organisations, he added.

Another architect couple from London attending the samagam, Mr Baldev Singh and his Japanese wife Haruko, had also been actively involved in various health/ educational projects promoted by the Trust. According to them, the dedication and determination of Baba Ji towards the noble cause inspired us to be persistent in our efforts despite all odds. And this persistence had yielded positive response not only from non-resident Indians but non-Indians also. This passion and enthusiasm for welfare had brought Will Kallaway, a media relation person from Kallaway Ltd, London (a communication consultancy), to the city.

Some of the other NRIs (Mr Bhajan Singh Sher Gill from Canada, Ms Manjit Kaur Sahota from England, Mr Bhullar from Dubai, Mr Jarnail Singh Flora from England) were appreciative of the Punjab Government’s initiative to establish a special wing for NRIs .

They felt that stringent laws (even with regard to monetary investment for charity projects) and lack of encouragement from the government led to demotivation and obstructed constructive participation by the NRIs. 



Cop apologises, claims youth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 30
An official of Sarabha Nagar Police Station today apologised to Tanvir Singh, a local youth, for allegedly beating him up here on Thursday evening.

Speaking to the Tribune today, Tanvir Singh, a son of a doctor and resident of Rajguru Nagar, claimed that an official of the police station telephoned him this morning and apologised for his unreasonable behaviour.

Tanvir had, in his written complaint, alleged that he was slapped continuously by the policeman on Thursday when he was going to buy some goods from a shop in Sarabha Nagar. He had stated that the policeman, who was riding a police Gypsy (No-PB-10R-0997), had asked him the reason for his presence outside the shop before beating him up. The youth had also complained to Mr Arun Pal Singh, SP(Traffic).



Man crushed under train
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 30
In yet another accident at the infamous ‘Khooni Pathak’ at Rajguru Nagar-Thrike village unmanned railway crossing, an unidentified man was runover by a train and killed today.

The accident took place around 5.45 p.m. Sources said the dead could not be identified as the body was headless and badly mutilated. Sources added that it was yet to be discovered how the accident occurred. The accident took place exactly at the same spot, where seven persons were killed and 11 others injured in a collision between a train and a mini truck on Thursday.



Martyr remembered
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 30
Death anniversary of Capt Bhag Singh Thind, a Freedom Fighter, was observed near Malak Road here. Captain Thind belonged to Malak village. He joined the Indian Army’s Sikh Regiment in 1939 and his regiment was deputed to Malaysia, where they were attacked by Japanese which ultimately resulted in the beginning of Second World War.

The Captain suffered serious injuries but fought bravely due to which the British Government decorated him with India Distinguished Service Medal and allotted 25 acres of land with special rank.

After participating in different wars Capt B. S. Thind retired from the Army and started social work and died on December 16,2001. He was president of the Freedom Fighter Association from 1973 to 2001. 



City resident beaten up by lawyer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 30
Mr Pawan Gupta, a resident of Aggar Nagar, was allegedly beaten up and kept in confinement at Gobindgarh on Thursday by a city-based lawyer and his accomplices when he had gone to the town to see his wife.

Mr Gupta has approached the SSP with a request to book the accused. In his complaint, Mr Gupta has stated that he had been married on February 17,1991, with a girl living in Mulana village. In May 1997, after the death of his mother, his wife started living with his father. Both of them also started treating him badly which further strained his relations with his wife. Later in March 1999, his wife abandoned his home and also took away her son after some days. In January 2000, his father also married another woman whom he divorced after about one year. Mr Gupta maintained that during this period, his wife had kept in constant touch with her father-in-law. His father sold off his residence in Professor Colony in November 2001 for Rs 15 lakh out of which he gave him only Rs 2 lakh and left for an undisclosed place.

Mr Pawan Gupta further stated that he came to know about the whereabouts of his wife on October 17 when someone informed him that his wife was teaching in a school at Gobindgarh and living with his father. When he reached the school on November 28, four persons reached there in a car and forcibly took him away in the vehicle. One of these persons was a city-based lawyer, he said. The accused beat him up in the car for several hours before dropping him on the outskirts of the city on Thursday night, he added.

Suicide bid: Meena Rani, 22, wife of an alcoholic, set herself on fire in her EWS Colony house on Friday. She has been admitted to the Civil Hospital in a serious condition. Her husband Murti Ram reportedly used to beat her up frequently and extract money from her for his drinking habit.

Poppy husk seized: The Civil Lines police arrested Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Dehlon, and seized one kg of poppy husk from his possession on Thursday. He has been booked under Sections 15,61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Murder weapon found: The Haibowal police on Friday claimed to have found the murder weapon used in the killing of Satnam Singh after interrogation of Surjit Singh, a resident of Dharamkot village in Moga district, who is one of the accused in the case. The police said that it recovered a desi .12 bore pistol and one live cartridge for the same and registered a case under Sections 25,54 and 49 of the Arms Act.

Fraud alleged: The Focal Point police has registered a case of fraud under Section 408 of the IPC against Pardip Kaushik, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, on a complaint of Mr Surinder Singh, a resident of Focal Point and employer of the accused. The complainant had alleged that the accused, who has been employed as a salesman, usually went out of the state for collecting payment from various parties. He had been sent on a tour of Meerut and Ghaziabad from where he had collected payment amounting to Rs 3.5 lakh. But so far, the accused had neither contacted him nor deposited the collected payment with the cashier. The accused by his conduct had committed a fraud on the complainant, he added.


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