Wednesday, December 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Doctor, former police Inspector booked
10-yr-old death case of suspected terrorist
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 24
Almost 10 years after a suspected terrorist of Gurreh village in Jagraon police district died under mysterious circumstances at DMC Hospital here within four days of his release from illegal confinement of the police, the Jagraon police today booked a retired Inspector of the Punjab police and a doctor for allegedly causing the youth's death.

The case registered on the directions of the Additional Director-General of Police (Crime), Punjab, who conducted an inquiry on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, is unique in which a doctor has been booked for negligence in giving treatment to the tortured youth, leading to his death.

Investigations in scores of such cases have either been done or are on, but it is probably for the first time that a doctor has also been held responsible for the death of a suspected terrorist.

The case pertains to the death of Sukhdarshan Singh, alias Sukha, a resident of Gurreh village. The case has been registered against retired Inspector Ajit Singh, the then in charge of the CIA wing, Jagraon, and Dr Harish Luthra of Sant Nursing Home. Both have been booked under Sections 304, 323, 340 and 34 of the IPC.

Another interesting feature of the case is the marathon FIR. It consists of 24 pages and about 40 persons were examined. The number of pages is likely to increase as the ADGP has directed the Jagraon SSP, Mr M.S. Chhina, to depute the SP (D) for investigating the role played by the other members of the then CIA staff, Jagraon.

The inquiry has, however, not found any evidence against the other accused in the case. It has absolved Mr Swaran Singh, then SSP, Jagraon, DSP Swaran Singh and Sub-Inspector Bhag Singh of the charges of illegal confinement and torture of the deceased youth. Both DSP Swaran Singh and Sub-Inspector Bhag Singh have already expired.

Specifying the allegations against Inspector Ajit Singh and Dr Luthra, the inquiry report mentions that though the deceased youth's father, Harcharan Singh, had in his delayed petition to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1997 accused the police officials of torturing his son to death, the inquiry only establishes that he was illegally confined and tortured, but the death was caused due to the negligence of the doctor. The doctor has been accused of causing delay in referring the injured youth to a better hospital in time and concealing before the inquiry officer the exact number of days for which the youth remained under his treatment.

The inquiry has also taken to task the family members of the deceased youth on why they delayed the filing of the petition for five years. The family members, including father Harcharan Singh, his wife and daughter contended before the inquiry officer that they had lodged complaints to the then DIG, Ludhiana, and the DGP, Punjab, but no action was taken.

The inquiry report details several complex issues and contradictory statements made by the witnesses of both the complainant and the accused party, apart from some independent witnesses as well as the doctors from the DMCH and the Civil Surgeon office, Ludhiana. Sukha was allegedly picked up from his residence in Gurreh village on December 29 by a police party led by Inspector Ajit Singh. He was then allegedly tortured in police custody and some of the family members claimed to have had heard his cries also while they were locked up in an adjoining room.

The youth was released on the evening of December 31 but could barely walk. He was admitted to the hospital of Dr Luthra and shifted to DMC hospital on January 4 where he died. The doctor, however, stated that the youth was brought to his hospital on January 3 evening and he referred him to the DMCH, Ludhiana, the next day.

The inquiry report said the doctor delayed the shifting of the victim and should have taken the help of a nephrologist or referred the patient to him.



Admn issues notices to marriage palaces
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 24
The controversy over the alleged illegal construction of marriage palaces along the Ferozepore road, inside the 1000-yd radius of the Field Ammunition Depot (FAD) Badhowal, near here, has once again assumed the centre-stage with the district administration issuing fresh notices to three marriage palace owners.

The administration has issued notices after finding out that the owners of these marriage palaces were slowly and gradually reconstructing some parts of the already demolished palaces despite the stay orders of the Supreme Court. The administration took the action only after the FAD authorities complained to them about the construction of some houses and marriage palaces.

Confirming the development, Mr Rahul Bhandari, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), said they had issued notices to the owners. He said the administration would go all out to make sure that the Supreme Court’s stay orders be followed in letter and in spirit. He added that 15-day notice has been issued to the owners and demolitions would be carried out if action was not taken.

The FAD authorities had also complained to the police regarding the construction of houses within 1000m radius of the ammo depot. The district administration sources said the move to shift the Army depot was already in the cold storage.

Earlier, in June, 2001, the district administration, under the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, had demolished four marriage palaces. The palace owners had approached the Supreme Court also and further demolitions have been stayed since. The High Court had ordered the demolition of all the structures, including the marriage palaces and about 4000 houses falling within the 1000 yard radius of the FAD.

The matter was currently pending in the Supreme Court of India which has ordered that status quo be maintained. While a number of marriage palaces fall within the 1000 yard radius, only four were demolished in June, 2001. The others, including the residential houses were served with the notices for demolition. However, before these notice could be followed up, some marriage palace owners got their operation stayed and the stay continues till date.



Indian gets patent for wonder drug
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 24
Dr B.S. Aulakh, a Ludhiana-based scientist, has got the patent for a wonder drug, which when administered to mammals ensures the birth of females only. The drug is expected to revolutionise the milk production in the country.

Dr Aulakh’s patent was cleared by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Geneva, in June.

According to Dr Aulakh, the drug is in the form of an oral medicine, which when administered to a female animal at the time of mating, produces female offsprings only. He claimed that the drug had proved 100 per cent successful in dairy animals like cows and buffaloes and for this reason had been patented by the WIPO.

The drug formula has already been protected in India and Dr Aulakh plans to get it protected in the USA and Europe also. The drug has already started attracting international attention. The Central Data Register of International Patents organisation, Frankfurt, Germany, has offered to enroll Dr Aulakh as its member. It has also been acknowledged by the Union Minister for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, who praised Dr Aulakh for this achievement.

Emphasising on the importance of the drug, Dr Aulakh said in breeding cattle 50 per cent offsprings produced were males, usually wasted as they cannot produce offsprings. Moreover, in today’s technology-driven world oxen and male buffaloes cannot even be used for tilling of land.

Administration of this drug would lead to procreation of female animals, which would lead to massive increase in the milk production. He said the drug would also help in an increase in meat and wool production, besides improving the exotic breeds of horses and dogs.

After the WIPO clearance, the drug formula is protected in 115 countries which are members of the International Patent Cooperation Treaty. However, the patent has to be followed individually in each country which requires huge funding. Initial estimates put the international market of the drug around Rs 1000 crore.

Narrating his experiences, Dr Aulakh said, getting an international patent was not an easy job and getting a pharmaceutical patents was even more difficult. He had applied for the international patent in December 2000 and got it in June, this year, after completing many formalities. He observed that like other countries, India also needed to make a powerful patent law as without proper protection and respect of research and intellectual property, an atmosphere of scientific research cannot be created.



Protest rally against helmet directive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 24
Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal, including women, staged a march outside the Mini Secretariat here today to protest against the challaning of Sikh women by the local traffic police for not wearing a helmet.

Led by Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, president, SAD (Urban), the activists gathered at Bharat Nagar Chowk and started moving towards the Mini Secretariat while raising slogans against the directive and traffic police drive to challan the women. They were, however, stopped by the cops when they were trying to enter the Mini Secretariat premises.

The activists forced their entry inside and handed over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner urging him to direct the traffic police against challaning women. Stating that the wearing a helmet by Sikh women was against the Sikh tenets and principles, the activists said that the state government was interfering in their religious affairs. They said that interference in the religious practices would not be tolerated at any cost.

Quoting the example of some countries where wearing a helmet was not necessary for a Sikh, the activists demanded that the government should exempt the Sikh women from doing so and at the same time warned of dire consequences if the decision was not taken soon.



WHILE the political tremors over the outcome of the Gujarat elections were felt across the country, for the Congress leaders of the state they seemed to be too intense. Ironically not many Congress leaders were prepared to admit that they had been to Gujarat for campaigning or anything else. It was quite against the initial euphoria and excitement among them when they left for Gujarat. Each one of them was sanguine about claiming to have visited Gujarat for campaigning for the Congress. However, most of them made a quiet return. Particularly when the results came in, everybody offered one excuse or the other saying he could not go to Gujarat although he had intended and announced to go there.

All of a sudden our Congress leaders seemed embarrassingly apologetic about the Gujarat outcome. Not exclusively for the reasons of the Congress debacle, but for the special Punjab chapter that was attached to the Gujarat congress campaign for which no less a person than the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had to address a special press conference.

Cool delight

Arrival of winter has delighted the hosiery and knitwear industry here. Due to climactic changes, seasons, particularly the winter, seem to have lost their duration and definition. Earlier, winters would start by late November, but now it is quite late. But whenever winter announces its arrival, it does not only bring coldness, but also some joy with it. The very idea of a cool cloudy sky brings with it the feeling of warmth while sitting around a bonfire, having 'rewris' and roasted peanuts and idling away time. (See picture)

Undelivered bouquets

Pomp and show, if not sycophancy, seem to have become integral to our political culture. No wonder leaders of all political parties, without a single exception, accord too much status to the senior leaders that they start considering them to be demigods. Recently, the president of the All India Mahila Congress, Ms Alka Lamba, was expected to come to Ludhiana. A number of senior Congress leaders, including the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib and the District Congress Committee (rural) president, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, along with several party workers, arrived at the Railway Station to accord 'rousing reception' to the 'senior leader' However, much to their embarrassment and disappointment, Ms Lamba refused to get down at Ludhiana saying she was scheduled to go to Jalandhar. The leaders had to cut a sorry figure and return disappointed with flowers and bouquets undelivered.

Making presence felt

While too much hype is being created about the issue of making wearing of helmet mandatory for women and with some sections of society opposing it on religious grounds, there are several others who feel that the issue should not be given such colour as it mainly concerns the security of women. Protests are being organised against the Punjab and Haryana High Court order on the issue. A number of women have been staging demonstration against the order. These women include some elderly ones also. Driven by curiosity, a colleague asked an elderly woman, who was participating in a demonstration, whether she really drives a two-wheeler. She retorted, “Haziri te lagni chai di (you should make your presence felt)."

New Year blues

With the New Year only a week away, people have started mailing greeting cards to each other. Some business houses have already started distributing diaries and calendars. While a few years ago, people would consider it a favour to get a calendar or a diary, now their abundance seems to have created monotony. In the current publicity-driven world, indiscriminate and widespread publication of diaries and calendars seems to be a good, convenient and cheap medium of publicity. There is no longer any craze for these items. But businessmen go on pushing through these gifts to all willing and unwilling recipients. It really makes one feel as how much paper might be getting wasted as a huge number of the diaries and calendars remain unutilised.


School and college functions seem to have lost their relevance. On Independence Day, almost every school held fancy dress contests and we had a spate of tiny tots dressed as Bhagat Singh and Nehru. For Dussehra, the students dressed up as popular mythological figures. Now that it is Christmas time, almost every school will have Santa Claus. Parents keep spending money on fancy dresses. Could schools stop being repetitive and usher in a change of theme and introduce originality?

Divide and rule

One was really startled to read 'divide and rule' written in block letters on the windshield of a car. One wondered why the car owner had got written the policy adopted by the Britishers when they ruled India? What did the owner want to convey? Was he advocating its use after finding it useful? Whatever may be the case, such cryptic messages are disturbing?

Strong Indian females

Who says women are weak? Visit any marriage function in the city, even when it is being held outdoors. Men are all dressed up in suits, but women can be seen wearing sleeveless dresses and backless 'cholis'. To acknowledge winters, an expensive shawl is thrown casually on a shoulder. Looking at the women, who brave the cold to be dressed in height of fashion, who can say women are the weaker sex?



Federation for probe into PSEB purchases
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 24
The Employees Federation of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has demanded a CBI inquiry into all the large-scale purchases made during the past decade so that the officers, who allegedly placed orders for equipment at exorbitant rates, could be punished and the money recovered from them.

This was the consensus among those who attended a meeting of the federation chaired by the chief, Mr Surinder Singh, here today. He said the government had been blaming free power to the agriculture sector for the losses suffered by the board but this has been exposed by the over 95 per cent bill realisation from farmers by the board. Another reason was the low tariff which too had been hiked recently. Then what was ailing the board? he questioned.

The members alleged that the wrong policies and purchases made over the years were responsible for the mess the board finds itself in. Why is the board management punishing thousands of employees — with imminent privatisation — who had always worked for the betterment of their organisation. The officers have failed and not vice versa, they alleged.

Mr Surinder Singh alleged that again the senior officers were to blame for the rampant power theft indulged in by major industrial houses of the state. What is being witnessed now is the cumulative effect of the malpractises, he pointed out.

The federation has appealed to all like-minded unions to come together on one platform to counter the privatisation moves which was not in their and the people’s interests.



Gosain demands President’s rule in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 24
Bhartiya Janata Party leader and former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly Sat Pal Gosain, who was recently booked on the charges of burning the effigy of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, said he would not be cowed down by the “vindictive and repressive action of the government and would continue to fight against injustice”.

Reacting to the action against its functionaries, the district unit of the BJP today served an ultimatum to the government for withdrawal of criminal cases against Mr Gosain and other activists within a week, failing which the party would launch a mass movement in the state.

Mr Gosain said the Congress government had let loose a reign of terror in the state and launched a blatant campaign of witch hunting against its political opponents. He called upon the Union Government to dismiss the Congress government in Punjab and put the state under the President’s rule to ensure restoration of democratic norms and fundamental rights.

He alleged that a baseless criminal case had been registered against him and some of his supporters at the instance of Capt Amarinder Singh because he had raised the issue of ‘conduct’ of some cabinet colleagues of the Chief Minister during their recent visit to Gujarat during the election campaign. “The Chief Minister has retaliated by giving a clean chit to the ministers and implicating me and BJP activists in criminal cases on trumped-up charges.” He asserted he would carry on his struggle in a peaceful and democratic manner.

District chief of the BJP Harbans Lal Sethi, while addressing a news conference here, charged the government with attempts to scuttle the fundamental right of political parties to express their dissent against the policies of the government. He said during the SAD-BJP regime, the Congress and its front organisations had staged dharnas against the state government and the Centre. Congress activists had also burnt the effigy of Prime Minister and held a demonstration after the victory of the BJP in Gujarat elections, he said.

“The government is adopting double standards. While turning a blind eye towards protests organised by the ruling party against the NDA government at Centre, the Congress government in Punjab is behaving in a repressive and vindictive manner against the Opposition,” he said. Senior party leader Lala Lajpat Rai, Member of Rajya Sabha, and other party functionaries were also present on the occasion.

In a separate statement, Mr Ravinder Arora, co-chairman and spokesperson of the Shiv Sena, Punjab, condemned the action of the government in slapping criminal charges upon Mr Gosain and other BJP functionaries, saying that it was an attack on democratic traditions.

He said that in a democratic set up, each person had freedom of expression. “The extreme retaliatory step taken by the government displays its frustration and political insolvency.” 


Docs resent booking of colleague
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 24
Resentment prevails among city doctors against the registration of a “false” case against one of their colleagues by the city police.

Dr Rajesh Sharma, secretary of the IMA, Dr Gursharan Singh, president of the IMA, and Dr Dinesh Trehan in a joint statement said today that the police had registered a case against a city doctor under Sections 327 and 418 without even seeking an expert opinion.

“The father of a girl, who had burn wounds and was treated by a city doctor, lodged a complaint with the police against the alleged negligence on the part of the doctor. The patient had big wounds on thighs and the surgeon performed a skin-grafting on them. Unfortunately the graft was rejected by the body. Such a rejection of a graft can happen with anyone but that does not mean that the graft was rejected because of the doctor’s negligence”, said Dr Gursharan Singh.

Dr Ashok Gupta, one of the senior plastic surgeons in the city and the Head of Department of Plastic Surgery in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) says, “In wounds involving a large areas of skin loss there is no option with the treating doctor than to graft the wounds as skin is the best form of dressing. However the uptake of the graft depends on various factors many of which are beyond human control. The uptake of the graft can vary from as much as 80 per cent in ideal conditions to even total rejection.

This does not amount to negligence on the part of the doctor who has performed the surgery in good faith. It is unfortunate that now a days all mishaps are attributed to the negligence on the part of the doctor and they are subjected to pressure tactics, coercion and harassment by patients and their attendants but if continued, it will harm the patient-doctor relationship and the ultimate sufferer will be the patients.”

The doctors said this trend of blaming the doctors for any complications occurring during or after treatment by the patients and their relatives was a very disturbing trend and had affected the doctor-patient relationship adversely, besides contributing to a lot of resentment and frustration among the medical community.

The doctors have requested the district administration and the police to be wary of such unscrupulous elements and to refrain from booking doctors without any consulting experts.

The IMA had made a grievances committee comprising of senior doctors of the city for this purpose, which was not even consulted in this case.



Children celebrate Christmas
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 24
A Christmas party was organised by the Strawberry Club at Basant Resorts here today. Ms Shivani Arora and Ms Shikha Lamba of the club said that the party was attended by children of the two to 10 years age group. The theme of the party was Santa Claus coming to town. The events of the occasion were judged by Ms Neeta Khanna, counsellor, Sacred Heart Convent School.

The kids decorated a Christmas tree and sung various Christmas carols. They also lit candles.

Shree and Manik were given prizes for the best individual performance. Raisin, Navya and Raima were adjudged Christmas Queens. Gursirjan was “the best Christmas tree”. Harjas and Yukra got prizes for the best Christmas wish put forward by them to Santa Claus. The four-year-old Harjas asked Santa for a Mercedes Benz car and Yukta wanted a little brother from Santa. Mridul and Govind were adjudged the best carol singers. Reyank, Rahil, Rahat and Shree got prizes for the best attire.

Meanwhile, Christmas was celebrated with joy and adoration at Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar. The teachers and students thanked the Lord for the beauty and gift of life. The school was tastefully decorated with balloons, flowers, Christmas bells, twinkling starts, holly and mistletoe. The crib in the church rose like a shining star inviting and embracing all who came to see it with the Lord’s eternal love and blessings.

There was gusto and enthusiasm among all present. The carols and songs filled all hearts with peace and happiness. A special programme was organised to sing in praise of the creator. Tiny tots of the KG section danced in gay abandon and the students of Class I presented a play on the birth of Lord Jesus bringing forth good tidings from heaven. The visit of Santa Claus was a thrilling experience for the young ones. The Principal, Sister Sobel distributed chocolates among the students



Inebriated man kills wife
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 24
The Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case under Section 304-B of the IPC in connection with the murder of a woman, allegedly by her husband, in Mahatma Gandhi Colony on Sunday night.

According to information, the victim, Sarabjit Kaur, had got married to Sahib Singh about two years ago. Sahib Singh, who was unemployed for the past many months, allegedly used to demand money and assault his wife. On the fateful night, he allegedly assaulted his wife in an inebriated condition, following which she died.

According to the statement of Ms Rachhpal Kaur, mother of the deceased, some neighbours called her up in Jalandhar. When she reached Ludhiana, she found her daughter dead, after which she informed the police.

Robbed at gunpoint

Rajinder Kumar, an accountant employed in a mineral water unit at Jandiali village, was robbed of Rs 75,000 at the gunpoint by two unidentified persons, near Sahnewal yesterday.

According to information, he was going on a scooter to deposit the cash in a bank. When he reached the main road, he was attacked by one of the robbers. When he tried to speed away, the second robber hit him, following which he fell on the ground. The robbers then took out a pistol and snatched the bag containing the cash from him.

Abduction alleged

The Division No. 4 police has registered a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC on a statement of Om Parkash, a resident of Street No. 6 in Basant Nagar, against Chand Lal, a migrant from Uttar Pradesh. The complainant alleged that the accused had abducted his 17-year-old daughter.

Shop burgled

The Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case of theft on a statement of Arun Kumar Soni. He said that burglars broke the wall of his karyana shop on the Shiv Puri road on Sunday night and decamped with Rs 45,000 and about 1200 gm gold ornaments. A dog squad was pressed into service, but without any positive results.

The police also registered a case of theft of a pair of shoes from a shoe store on the Metro road on Monday. According to information, a youth came to the shop and asked for shoes. After the shop owner showed him a number of shoes, he picked up a pair, priced at Rs 995, and put them on. But before the shopkeeper could stop him, the youth ran out of the store and sped away on his motor cycle, leaving behind his helmet.

Youth succumbs to burns

Jagjit Singh (22), a resident of Samrala, who was admitted to the CMC Hospital on December 5 after he had sustained burns while cooking, succumbed to injuries yesterday. His body was handed over to his relatives after an autopsy.

A Plus Two student, Mohinder Singh (16), a resident of Dugri, was admitted to the Civil Hospital yesterday after he sustained burn injuries while making tea on a gas stove. According to information, the accident took place because of a leaking gas pipe.


The Koom Kalan police has registered a case under Sections 447, 427 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Gurmit Kaur, a resident of Hadiwal village, against Balwinder Singh and Gurmukh Singh, residents of Rahon, Makhan Singh and Surjit Singh, residents of Dheerianpur village, Gurmel Singh, a resident of Malkalma village, Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Rattna village, Bakhshish Singh, Kashmir Singh and Gurbachan Singh Nihang. She alleged that the accused forcibly took the possession of her plot and threatened to kill her.

Beaten up

The Jodhewal police has registered a case under Sections 452, 506, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Kapil Dev, a resident of New Lajpat Nagar, against Rajesh, Pappu, his brother Dogra, his wife and an unknown person. The complainant alleged that the accused forcibly barged into his house and assaulted him.

Another case, under Sections 323, 342 and 506 of the IPC, was registered on a statement of Mohan Singh, a resident of Garewal Colony, against Surinder Singh, a resident of New Subhash Nagar. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him on the way and assaulted him.

Liquor seized

ASI Ravinderjit Singh, in charge of the Kaunke Kalan police post, arrested Chamkaur Singh of Mallah village and seized 24 bottles of country liquor from his possession. A case under Sections 61/1/14 of the Punjab Excise Act has been registered. In another incident, Rakesh Kumar of Agwar Ladhai, Jagraon, was arrested and 12 bottles of IMFL seized from his possession. In the third incident, ASI Surjit Singh arrested Jarnail Singh of Gagra village and seized 9 litres of illicit liquor from his possession. Cases have been registered against them under the Punjab Excise Act.



Cash, jewellery stolen
Our Correspondent

Amloh, December 24
Cash worth Rs 15,000 and about 150 gm of jewellery was stolen from the house of Mr Surjan Singh Mehmi, Manager of the State Bank of Patiala and posted in Ludhiana district. A team of forensic experts from Patiala has taken the finger prints of almirah and other items on Tuesday.

As stated by Ms Nachhattar Kaur, wife of Mr Mehmi, who is posted as teacher in Government Girls Senior Secondary School here, had gone to school on Monday after locking her house when she came back she found the lock broken. The police has registered a case.

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