Tuesday, December 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cong leader detained 
Let go on minister’s intervention
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
The detention of Mr Ashwani Sharma, secretary, Pradesh Congress Committee, has caused resentment among party workers here, who claim that this has been made at the behest of a senior party leader and legislator. Mr Sharma was detained last night by Basti Jodhewal police on the charges of fraud and cheating. It took a lot of efforts for the Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, Mr Rakesh Pandey, to get him released.

Sources said Mr Sharma was taken away by the Jodhewal police on the basis of a complaint filed by a hosiery unit. The complaint was filed yesterday and the police swung into action at once. Mr Sharma pleaded innocence and alleged that the case was motivated. As news of his arrest spread in the city, his supporters approached Mr Pandey, seeking his intervention.

Initially, the police was reportedly reluctant to release Mr Sharma, despite Mr Pandey giving them a personal assurance. After failing to convince the Jodhewal police, Mr Pandey had to approach the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana. Only after the SSP intervened was Mr Sharma set free, late in the night.

It was learnt that an FIR registered against Mr Sharma by the Jalandhar police had been quashed about seven months ago after the case was investigated and nothing found against him. But a hosiery unit, which is still facing the charges of cheating, reportedly at the behest of a local legislator, got another FIR registered against him.

Mr Sharma, who commands considerable influence in his area, was taken away by the SHO of Basti Jodhewal in his jeep on the pretext of getting jackets. Later, he was told that he had been arrested. As news of his arrest spread, people gheraoed the police station. Meanwhile, Mr Sharma was whisked away by the CIA staff. The people rushed to the CIA office.

By that time, Mr Pandey had been informed about his detention. He drove to the CIA office where he was not allowed to meet Mr Sharma. Mr Waryam Singh reportedly whisked away Mr Sharma to some unknown destination in the presence of Mr Pandey. Left with no option, Mr Pandey went to the SSP’s residence, who reportedly assured him that Mr Sharma would reach home soon. It was only around midnight that Mr Sharma reached home.

Mr Sharma had been allotted ward no 60 in the last Municipal Corporation elections.

However, he was later denied the ticket and the same was allotted to Mr Kala Jain, reportedly at the behest of a legislator.

This was followed by acrimonious exchange of words between Mr Sharma and the legislator.

The Senior Vice-President of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, has condemned his arrest and alleged that this was sheer intimidation.

He regretted that this was happening in the regime of the Congress government and urged the Chief Minister to take serious note of the matter.



Road named after martyr in neglect
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Issewal, December 30
While glowing tributes were paid to 1971 Indo-Pak war martyr and ParamVir Chakra winner Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon at the Sekhon Memorial function held at Mullanpur yesterday by several leaders of the Congress and the SAD, no one has paid attention to the completion of the Ludhiana-Issewal canal road stretch named after the martyr.

The only Air Force officer to be awarded the nation’s highest gallantry medal Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon belonged to Issewal village, situated about 20 km from Ludhiana towards Hambran. His great feat inspired several youngsters from the village to join the defence services. Many of them won medals and sacrificed their life for the nation to earn the epithet ‘village of martyrs’ for Issewal.

But the politicians have only made promises to commemorate the services of the martyr. Every year speeches dotted with reverential adjectives are showered in his memory by the politicians on Vijay Divas and birth and martyrdom ceremony of the war-hero, but the road seems to have been conveniently forgotten.

The 10-km long road begins from Verka Milk plant canal bridge, leading along side the canal ends at Issewal village. A board depicting the name of the road — Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon Memorial road — is displayed at the beginning of the road.

The board, however, has been eaten by junk. Only a small part of the board is visible. Posters of private companies have been pasted on it in stark violation of the Defacement of Property Act.

The road has been metalled up to few kilometres only. That, too, is bumpy and full of potholes. After a few kilometres it is completely kuchha.

Residents of the village are upset at the deplorable condition of the road as well as its non-completion. “It is a pity that a road named after the martyr is in such a condition,” says Mr Sukhpal Singh, a villager.

He says the village had taken up the issue with the former Akali government as well as the present Congress government in the state. “But we have only received a cold-shoulder response”. He says politicians come and go and make only hollow assurances.

It was on May 23, 1999, that former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Mandi Board Chairman Mal Singh Ghuman had laid the foundation stone of the road. It was promised then that the road would be completed within few months. But almost three-and-a-half years had passed and the road still remained incomplete. “The villagers feel hurt. Just imagine what we are showing to the visitors. Whenever there is any function, especially regarding the martyr, we find it hard to answer people’s query regarding the sorry state of the road,” Mr Sukhpal Singh says.

A PWD official, preferring anonymity, said there were no funds for the road, “We have forwarded the letters to the seniors but because of paucity of funds, the road could not be completed,” he said.

The official informed that the small stretch of metalled road could be constructed because of the funds provided by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. The road was constructed up to the MC limits only. He said it could be repaired only when the MC provided funds for it. He added that repair work was being done regularly.



Rights panel to couple’s rescue 
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has come to the rescue of a couple which was being allegedly harassed by the district police. The commission has directed the city police not to arrest any person regarding the case without a notice of at least one week.

The couple — a Focal Point based girl and a Ropar boy — belonging to different castes had complained to the commission that the police was chasing them. The two had allegedly eloped and married each other of their own volition. While a case of abduction of the girl was registered against the boy, some of his close relatives were also allegedly framed in false cases.

The PSHRC proceedings have also questioned the validity of the FIR, as the girl has stated on record before the commission that she had eloped and married the boy on her own and all charges against the boy and his family members were false.

The case is in fact unique in which the girl has maintained before the commission that she had married the boy of her own volition. It has been noted in such cases that the girl often changes her statement before the police, a court of law or the PSHRC after eloping with a boy and living with him for few weeks also.

The boy then faces charges of kidnapping and rape. Several of these were jailed also.

The PSHRC has also directed the city police to act as per the law strictly in accordance within the limits of the law. The Ludhiana SSP has been directed to furnish an action taken report within six weeks.

The couple — Amit and Sulekha(names changed on request — had approached the PSHRC through a human rights activist, Charanjit Singh Bakshi, regarding their “undue physical and mental harassment.”

Mr Bakshi stated before the commission that the couple was major. The two were in love and wanted to marry but the girl’s parents were unwilling.

Both of them eloped and got married at a gurdwara on December 12. The girl’s family was quite upset at the development and lodged a complaint with the Focal Point police that their daughter had been abducted by Amit.

A case under Sections 363, 366, 506, 379 and 120-B of the IPC was registered against Amit. Additional charges were also levelled. It was alleged that the boy’s sister had stolen Rs 7000 and some gold articles of the girl.

Amit’s family has contested the charges. They say that allegations were false and only aimed at harassing them. The complainants request that SSP, Ludhiana, be directed to cancel the FIR, which had only been registered to harass the complainants.

The girl has also appeared before the commission and made a statement on the solemn affirmation, which is to the same effect as is the complaint and also stated that she is on the family way and, therefore, suffering from physical agony due to the threats being given to them by her parents. She also gave a written and sworn statement that she had married Amit willingly.

The PSHRC has registered the complaint as a case under the Provisions of the protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.



Nothing changed, except regime
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
It proved to be quite an uneventful year for Ludhiana. Except for the change of regime, with all four assembly seats of the city and the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation going to the Congress, nothing significant happened in Ludhiana this year.
Although the new regime had raised great hopes and expectations, yet there was not much to relish.

Things remained unchanged. Politically it was quite a gainful year for the Congress in Ludhiana. It swept all the four assembly seats in the city, besides also winning the elections to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. For the first time since the corporation was formed, the Congress was able to appoint its mayor.

Against the good performance of the Congress, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal had to face one setback after another. the alliance faced the worst -ever defeat in the assembly poll. it was followed by the defeat in the corporation and other local bodies elections.

As if the defeats were not enough, SAD workers and leaders had to face the brunt of the police also. Former Ministers Gurdev Singh Badal and Jagdish Singh Garcha were arrested for corruption and both continue to remain in judicial custody. Akali workers and leaders have literally been on the run .

To add to the woes of the Akalis, a Akali leader and senior vice- president of the party, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, deserted the party at a crucial time- the SGPC elections.

At the industrial and economic front, the situation remained dismal. Hosiery and cycles being the mainstay of industry in Ludhiana, the entire economy revolves round these two sectors.

While the cycle industry has been facing the onslaught from China, the hosiery industry is in more trouble with the imported goods finding more acceptability.

Most of the hosiery manufacturers, including some leading brands, had to resort to heavy discounts on sales to clear stocks.



Dalits up in arms 
Ravi Inder Makkar

Machhiwara, December 30
Mass agitation is reported to have started against the Machhiwara police for forcibly evicting the Dalit families of Pawat village at 8 km from here. It is alleged that the police has not only dispossessed them of land they have held for the past 50 years, but also implicated the Dalits in false cases of theft.

A meeting of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union was held under the presidentship of Mr Darvara Singh at Ravidass Dharamshala in Powat today. Addressing the meeting, general secretary of Samrala sub division, Ranjit Singh condemned the high-handedness of the Machhiwara police for implicating the Dalits in false theft cases since they had raised their voice against the police.

He said apart false cases of theft against nine persons, 15 others had been released on bail under sections 107 and 151. He appealed to Captain Amarinder Singh , Chief Minister of Punjab to order a probe into the role of senior police officials in the matter.

A five-members committee had been formed to lead an agitation (stir ) against the police.

The committee to be led by Mr Hari Singh, includes Mr Harpreet Singh (vice-president ), Mr Mewa Singh (joint-secretary) and Mr Ramji Dass (cashier ). The committee has decided to hold a protest march in Machhiwara on January 2. Leaders of the union, Mr Ranjit Singh Machhiwara and Mr Paul Singh Powat have requested public welfare organisations to help poor workers by joining the stir.

When the local SHO was contacted in this regard, he said the police had been directed by the district administration to get the land vacated.



Social worker honoured
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, December 30
Naamanigar Publications and Welfare Society, Machhiwara, organised a bonanza of cultural programme ‘Khush-Aamdeed, 2003’ at the local Community Centre. On the occasion, the society honoured three prominent social workers of the town. Mr Rabinder Nath Luthra, retired Principal Hardial Singh and Mr Anil Sood, President, Nagar Council, Machhiwara, for their valuable contribution in different fields.

They were given ‘Bhagat Puran Singh Memorial Award’, ‘Machhiwara Rattan’ and ‘Machhiware Di Shan’ awards, respectively.

Mr Parmjit Singh Sarao, SSP, Khanna, was the chief guest. Mr Jaspaul Singh Jassi, SDM, Samrala, presided.

Addressing the audience, he hailed the Naamanigar Publications and Welfare Society for the noble cause of starting a free sewing training centre.

President of the society Jaswinder Singh Sachdeva welcomed all guests and made them aware of the aims and objectives of the society. On the occasion, famous Punjabi singer Gurbakhash Shonky regaled the guests with “Har hath nun milan wala jar nahin hunda” and “Paranda”. Another famous Punjabi singer Meet Malkeet entertained the audience with “Najaran chon, mein valen ho jungi valia terian dukhan di mari.”

Among other dignataries present were former Chairman of the Ludhiana Central Co-Operative Bank, Mr Tejinder Singh Kooner, Block Congress president Surinder Kundra, former president of the Arhti Association Shakti Anand, the Executive Officer of the Nagar Council, Mr Tejinder Singh, accountant of the Nagar Council, Mr Sukh Sagar Singh, Vice-President of the Youth Congress, Punjab, Mr Kasturi Lal Mintu, chairman of the Press Club of Samrala, Mr Sant Parkash Kalra, Punjab Today’s reporter Ram Gopal Sofat, senior Akali leader Jagmohan Singh Takkar, BJP councillor Ashok Sood, senior Akali Leader Kewal Singh Kadon, Vice-President of the Nagar Council Manjit Kumari, councillor Dharampaul Singh, councillor Mangat Rai, president of the Lions Club here Satwinder Mohan Singh, convener of the Crime Prevention Bureau, Dr Parveen Goyal, and Mr J.P. Singh Makkar, vice-president of PNB Employees Union.



Canadian minister visits alma mater
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
It was a journey down memory lane as Dr Gulzar Singh Cheema, Minister for Mental Health, British Columbia, Canada, visited his alma mater, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, from where he had passed his MBBS in 1977 and also did his internship and house jobs in the department of paediatrics and psychiatry.

On his arrival this morning at the Old DMC campus, he and his wife, Ms Harinder Cheema, were given a warm welcome by the management, faculty and staff of the DMCH. It was an emotional moment for Dr Cheema as he took a round of the entire campus and refreshed his memories of college days with his batchmate, Dr B.S. Shah of the Department of Pathology at DMCH, and his teachers.

Mr B.M. Munjal, chairman, managing society, DMCH, Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Mr Balraj Kumar, Mr Sarish Sanwalka, members, managing society, Dr S.C. Ahuja, Principal, DMCH, Dr L.S. Chawla and Dr S.B. Khurana, former Principals of the DMCH, Mr Narinder Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Dr Sandeep Puri, Medical Superintendent, and Dr Rajoo Singh Chhina, Medical Superintendent, also graced the occasion with their presence.

Dr Cheema also visited the new DMCH campus and the Hero DMCH Heart Institute. He was full praise for the facilities at HDHI and the level of technology. He said that it can be compared with the best in the world. He also visited the hostel room of DMCH Boys Hostel where he had stayed during his college days.

In the afternoon, a function was also organised in his honour, which was attended by the faculty members and medical students. Dr Ahuja introduced the chief guest to the audience. He said in 1954, Dr Cheema was born in Baryar village, a remote village of Gurdaspur, and in 1977 he completed his MBBS from the DMCH and also did his internship and house job.

He was appointed Minister of State for Mental Health in the Government of British Columbia on June 5, 2001. Before his election to the British Columbia Legislative Assembly, Dr Cheema was a family doctor in Surrey. He has practised medicine in rural Manitoba and in Winnipeg, and was a medical instructor in Punjab before going to Canada in 1979. 



RPI activists hold protest

Ludhiana, December 30
Activists of the Republican Party of India today held a demonstration in front of the MC headquarters here to press their demand for providing free water supply and sewerage facility to the city population and to chalk out a programme for speedy development of slum areas in the city.

Addressing the party activists, its state president, Mr Ratti Ram, called upon the government to complete the backlog of recruitment of the Dalits in the local bodies and asked that a committee be set up for this purpose. OC



Kelkar report flayed

Ludhiana, December 30
At a meeting held here yesterday, the Government Pensioners Association and senior citizens flayed the Kelkar report.

Mr Yash Paul Ghai, its additional general secretary, said the members debated all aspects of the report at length and termed these as harsh and unfortunate for the senior citizens, pensioners and the salaried class. They said that the report, if implemented, would adversely affect nearly one crore pensioners across the country. OC



CBI probe sought into ministers’ conduct

Ludhiana, December 30
The former Deputy Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, Mr Sat Pal Gosain, has urged Union Home Minister Lal Krishan Advani to order a CBI inquiry into the misconduct of certain ministers in the Congress Government in Punjab during their visit to Gujarat, what has come to be termed as ‘sex scandal’. Mr Gosain maintained that the main culprits of the episode, whether ministers or certain influential persons in the Chief Minister’s office, needed to be exposed and punished for bringing a bad name to the state of Punjab for their ulterior motives. “Even if the news of the so called sex scandal was fabricated at the instance of highly-placed political functionaries, the people have a right to know the truth”. OC



Minor girl elopes with married man
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 30
A 28-year-old married man, running a music-recording business in Preet Nagar, has allegedly eloped with a minor girl, who was living near his shop.
The parents of the girl informed the police only after failing to trace them on their own. The Shimla Puri police, which has registered a case, is interrogating man’s family members.

One arrested: The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Tarsem Singh, a resident of Randhir Singh Nagar, against Sukhjinder Singh, a resident of Shaheed Kartar Singh Nagar. The complainant had alleged that the accused abducted his 14-year-old daughter on Saturday. The police later claimed to have solved the case with the arrest of Sukhjinder Singh and the recovery of the girl, who was got medically examined at the Civil Hospital before she was handed over to the parents.

Case registered: On the complaint of Varinder, a minor boy, the Haibowal police has registered a case of sodomy against Vicky Parshad, who hails from Gorakhpur district in UP. The complainant had alleged that the accused came to his room on Saturday and forcibly sodomised him. The accused has been arrested.

Three women injured: The Shimla Puri police, on the complaint of Ms Mithilesh Devi, a resident of Tower Colony, has registered a case of beating against Pappu, Rajpal and three others. The woman had alleged that the accused forced their way into her house, beat her up and threatened her. No arrest has been made so far.

The Division No. 4 police has registered a case of beating on the statement of Mr Ashok Kumar, a resident of Chhawni Mohalla, against Ashoka and Hira of the same locality. The complainant had alleged that the accused, who were carrying sharp-edged weapons, attacked his house and injured his mother and wife.

On the complaint of Mr Harish Jain, a resident of Nirankari Colony in Sunder Nagar, the Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case of beating against Mohinder Singh. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted his son on the road, beat him up and threatened him.

Another case of beating was registered at the same police station on the statement of Mr Narinder Singh, a resident of Kailash Nagar, against Mintu, who runs a TV centre on the main road of the locality, his father and his brother-in-law. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him on the way, beat him up and threatened him.

The Focal Point police, on the statement of Mr Tarlochan Singh, a resident of Jamalpur, has registered a case of beating against Harpreet Singh, Bunty, Goldy and Chucha. The complainant had alleged that the accuse forced their way into his house and indulged in indiscriminate beating of family members as a result of which his brother Jaswant Singh was injured. The accused escaped after the attack.

Two injured: The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case against an unknown car driver on the statement of Mr Gurprit Singh, a resident of Defence Colony in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, who alleged that the car driver rammed his vehicle into his scooter while he was on his way home on Saturday.

The Focal Point police has registered a similar case on the statement of Mr Prem Singh, a resident of Kabir Nagar, against bus driver Kulwinder Singh. The complainant had alleged that due to the carelessness on the part of the bus driver, he got injured at the Giaspura chowk on Saturday.

Man dead: An unidentified man, who got one of legs amputated after falling under a running train at the local railway station on December 16, succumbed to his injuries at the Civil Hospital on Saturday night, according to the railway police.

Eve-teasing case: The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case under Sections 294 and 509 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Chanan Singh, a retired police officer living in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, against P.P. Singh. The complainant had alleged that the accused teased his daughter-in-law.

The Division No. 2 police has registered a similar case against Nandi Muni, Raj Kumar and Raju.

Poppy husk seized: The Civil Lines police has arrested Sukhraj Kaur, a resident of Barnala, from the general bus stand and seized 5 kg of poppy husk from her possession. The woman has been booked under the NDPS Act.

Thefts: The Jodhewal police has registered a case of theft on the statement of Mr Rajinder Kumar, a resident of the Dr Hira Singh road, against Akramdin, Naseebu, Mohammad Farooq and Anwar Ali, all residents of Kakka village. The complainant had alleged that the accused broken the wall of a school and stolen an electric meter from there. The accused had also damaged doors of the school and cut away a tree from there.

And the Shimla Puri police has registered a case of theft on the statement of Mr Manjit Singh, Director, Raghbir Cycle Private Limited, unknown burglars who allegedly took away documents, ceiling fans and a tubelight from the factory on Saturday.

Gambling case: The Division No. 3 police has arrested Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Tilak Nagar, and booked him under the Gambling Act. A sum of Rs 3,015 was seized from his possession.

Seven booked for begging: The Division No. 2 police has arrested seven persons and booked them under the Punjab Prevention of Begging Act. The arrested person have been identified as Rubi, Suresh, Shyam Sunder, Shriram, Surinder and Arun.

Illicit liquor seized: Mr Swaran Singh, ASI CI Staff, Jagraon while on a patrol duty near railway crossing at Gagra village arrested Hakam Singh of the same village and seized 7.1 lt of illicit liquor from him. A case has been registered under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Punjab Excise Act.



Missing girl untraced
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
The mystery surrounding the disappearance of 8-year-old Divya Dhamija remains unsolved as no clue has been found about her even 15 days after her disappearance from Lajpat Rai Nagar.

Divya had gone missing on December 15 evening from her grandparents house in Lajpat Nagar area. She was last seen by some friends playing in the street. All other children playing with her went home. But Divya never reached home.

Even as the New Year is approaching and the entire city is going crazy to welcome the New Year in style, a pall of gloom continues to engulf Lala Lajpat Rai Nagar in the absence of any good news about the girl.

Her grandmother, Ms Kailash Dhamija, said that they had received certain calls following which the family members had gone to various places to find the missing girl but to no avail. She said that even the police was clueless about her whereabouts.

She said that the family did not suspect anyone. Stating that Divya was a very smart girl, Ms Dhamija said that she could not have lost her way. She remembered all the phone numbers, including his father’s mobile number.

She said that Divya was playing with her friends outside her house. She was seen last at around 7.30 pm on Sunday when she had come to her house to have water. When she did not return they searched her all around but to no avail.

They lodged a complaint with the police the next morning.



Couple drugged, looted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
A middle-aged couple was found drugged and looted in a train at local railway station early this morning. They were returning to the city from New Delhi. Near Rohtak, two youths became friendly and gave them a drug-laced tea. The couple fell unconscious and was looted of Rs 3000 besides precious jewellery.

The couple identified as a trader Mohan Lal and his wife Brinda Devi were the residents of Barnala. They had gone to New Delhi to see-off a relative at the airport. They returned by train and had planned to take a bus to Barnala from here. However, the couple was found unconscious in a train by passengers today. They were handed over to the Railway police.


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