Wednesday, January 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



‘Kidney donated voluntarily’
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Mr Suresh Kumar Sharma, an employee of the Telecommunications Department of Haryana police, who has been accused of having robbed a Ludhiana youth last year of his kidney at gunpoint, today stoutly refuted the charge and asserted that the kidney had been donated to him by the youth voluntarily.

In a talk with TNS, Mr Sharma said an FIR registered against him by the Amritsar police earlier this month in this connection was ‘‘false and concocted’’. Mr Sharma also produced an affidavit, purportedly signed by the donor, Bagicha Singh alias Raju, as well as a video cassette showing the donor as declaring that he had donated his kidney to Mr Sharma voluntarily. He also produced a copy of the voters' list to show that Raju was not a minor as claimed by the police.

Giving details, Mr Sharma said he came to know about the loss of his kidneys due to chronic high blood pressure in December, 2001. The doctors at the PGI told him that he would either have to have a kidney transplant or carry on dialysis for the rest of his life. They also told him that for transplant, a kidney donor was required who should be his blood relation if he wanted to get transplanted at the PGI. ‘‘Since the blood group of none of my family members matched with that of mine, I was left with the option of dialysis only’’, said Mr Sharma.

But the dialysis had its own side effects. His weight was reduced by 30 kg within three months. He became very weak and was virtually bed ridden. He also became a patient of Hepatitis C with all the attendant problems.

He decided to get himself checked at Batra Hospital at Delhi. The doctors there suggested to him to get a kidney transplanted as soon as possible in view of his deteriorating health. He saw a ray of hope when he came to know that transplants were conducted routinely at Jalandhar and Amritsar.

His first requirement was a donor. "So I gave an advertisement in a Jalandhar newspaper dated May 9, 2002. There was a big response but finally, a boy named Raju contacted me on May 27, 2002. He told me that he was an orphan and his parents had died in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi. He offered to donate his kidney to me and demanded that in return, I would have to keep him as a family member with me. I and my family had no hesitation to his proposal, so we agreed.

"Then this boy told us that there are some legal formalities also required to get the transplant done from any hospital at Jalandhar or Amritsar. When we asked him as to how he knew all this, he told us that before offering his kidney to me, he had approached a family of Mukerian town for kidney donation whose one member had a chronic renal failure and required urgent transplantation. He stayed with them for a month or so under the name of Gurjant Singh. He had undergone all the kidney related tests and was admitted to a kidney hospital in Amritsar for the operation but unfortunately the patient died before the transplant could be carried out. Then this boy left them and started searching for a new kidney patient. That was when he came across the advertisement given by me in the newspaper and contacted me".

Mr Sharma said that Bagicha Singh alias Raju stayed with his family for several months. Raju got almost all the paper work done for the kidney transplant and was also interviewed by the Authorisation Committee at Amritsar during which he stated that he was donating his kidney voluntarily without any pressure or greed. Finally, the operation was carried out at New Ruby Hospital, Jalandhar, on June 18, 2002, and both of them were discharged on June 28. By God's grace, the operation was successful.

Raju stayed with his family at Chandigarh for a few days. Then he went to Amritsar and used to ring them up regularly. 


Kidney donors, recipients allege police harassment
Jupinderjit Singh and Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, January 28
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the kidney sale racket in the state was allegedly harassing also those who had taken kidney from their servants.

The Tribune team met four such families in Ludhiana. Suffering from post-surgery complications, allegedly due to negligence of doctors, the kidney donors and recipients were aghast following harassment by the police. They alleged that the police was forcing them to give tutored statements suiting it and harassing them regularly by summoning them to various police stations.

“Death would have been better” says an annoyed kidney recipient. He has been taking medicines worth Rs 1000 daily allegedly because the doctors, who had operated upon him had not matched tests and was now summoned every other day by a Hoshiarpur-based police officer.

Mr Jagat Jain (name changed on request), (45) a businessman here said that it was very difficult to survive in such a society. He underwent kidney transplant from a noted hospital in Jalandhar a year ago but due to alleged doctor’s negligence, he has not been able to lead normal life. He said,” I would say that I wasted Rs 1,57,000 on my operation. Now, I am getting treatment from Dayanand Medical Hospital and the PGI Chandigarh. I have been told that the donor’s tissues did not match with my tissues so I got infection. But tell me my fault. These things are to be monitored by the doctors only. For making money, they conducted the operation”.

Mr Jain also said that when he was on the operating table, his family members were told to deposit Rs 14000 immediately. They had no choice but to shell out the amount. He was called by the Hoshiarpur Police recently. “I was asked about the donor, the clearance certificate etc. There were so many other patients, who were called for investigations. All were complaining against police harassment”, complained Mr Jain.

Ms Sunita Bala (28) complained that they were residents of Bihar. “My husband is a government servant. I was operated on six months back. I am not feeling well, there is one or the other problem every time, but I do not blame anyone for that. I am scared because we have been told that the police is harassing the kidney recipients. Whatever little resources we had in Bihar, were all exhausted for the transplant. We cannot bear police harassment so we are very scared, though my case was genuine, but who will argue with the police?”, she asked.

Another 46-year-old local resident, who got a kidney transplanted, died a few months back. On the condition of anonymity she said, “My husband got the renal transplant six months ago, but he died due to many complications. He was diabetic and had high blood pressure. He could not respond to transplant and died”.


CM alive to promise on Badal’s assets
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 28
Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, has ruled out a judicial probe into the episode of Punjab bureaucrat Mukul Joshi and the wife of Punjab Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra.

Talking to reporters at the PWD Rest House here on Sunday, the Chief Minister said already a senior IAS officer, had been told to probe the incident and report in a fortnight.

On Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s arrest, the Chief Minister said he had not forgotten his promise, made during Assembly elections to the people of Punjab, that he would expose Rs 3500 crore property of Mr Badal allegedly made by “unfair means”.

On the kidney sale scam, the Chief Minister said cases had been registered at Majitha and Tarn Tarn during the SAD-BJP regime, however both times the cases and been withdrawn. He said Dr Sareen had admitted to the police that he had given money to political persons for this.


Terminated panchayat secys to ‘expose’ Punjab Govt
Our Correspondent

Una, January 28
Mr Gurjeewan Singh Brar, President and Mr Varinder Sharma, Legal Advisor of the Nav Niyukta Barkhast Panchayat Secretary Union (Punjab) addressing reporters in a rest house today said that the Punjab Government’s action to terminating the services of 909 panchayat secretaries had forced the union to expose the Congress rule in Punjab. They said if they did not get justice before Himachal Vidhan Sabha polls they would campaign against the Congress party in Himachal along with family members.

The union president said that the Punjab Government had decided to privatise 29 corporations and government undertakings declaring 29000 employees surplus and forcing them to seek voluntary retirement or face termination. The Punjab Government led by Capt Amarinder Singh after assuming power terminated the services of 909 panchayat secretaries while keeping the services of 470 panchayat secretaries intact who were appointed during the regime of Late Sardar Beant Singh, former CM of Punjab who were appointed on 89-day basis but were allowed to continue in service by the SAD-BJP government. Now 909 terminated panchayat secretaries have been directed to appear for written test and for interviews these 470 panchayat secretaries appointed on 89-day basis have been directed to appear in interviews only. He said that 470 panchayat secretaries were appointed without any tests whereas 909 panchayat secretaries who cleared the written as well as interview tests by competent authority are being asked by the present Punjab Government to appear in written tests and interviews which is illegal and uncalled for.

The press conference was attended by District NGO President Vinod Sharma and other office-bearers of District NGO Federation Una who assured to extend support to the cause of 909 terminated panchayat secretaries of Punjab. Later terminated panchayat secretaries marched in procession and raised slogans against the Punjab Congress party and the Punjab CM and addressed a rally in Una town.


Badal kept mum on Ahluwalia’s ‘misconduct’?
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 28
The Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) yesterday claimed that “unsavoury activities” of former Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, which were similar to the Panchkula episode, had been reported to the then Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, by a Cabinet colleague in the presence of other ministers, including the then Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

The forum president, Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, asked Mr Badal to explain why he had remained silent on such activities of his appointee even though he had condemned similar activities recently. The forum was reacting to a recent statement by Mr Badal on the Panchkula episode. Dr Dhillon said Mr Badal had called the action of the government on the issue “too little, too late” but had apparently forgotten that he had not taken any action against Dr Ahluwalia.

Dr Dhillon said “misdeeds” of Dr Ahluwalia had been reported to Mr Badal not only by teachers of the university but also by a cabinet colleague during a visit to Nabha. He said during this visit, Mr Badal’s Cabinet colleague gave details of a “misdeed” of Dr Ahluwalia in the presence of other ministers, including Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

The forum president said instead of taking corrective steps, Mr Badal had maintained a “sceptical silence” over the activities of the former Vice-Chancellor.

The forum made it clear that it held no brief for the “delayed action” of the Punjab government regarding the Panchkula episode. The forum said the task of submitting a report on the episode should have been entrusted to an independent agency and not to another IAS officer who was retiring shortly.


Badal to take up refinery issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal today swung into action to save the Guru Gobind Singh Refinery at Bathinda. He spoke to leaders of the NDA and others who matter in Delhi to garner their support to salvage the prestigious project for Punjab.

Mr Badal will rush to Delhi immediately after his party’s meeting at Alamgir Sahib tomorrow afternoon. He would meet the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister over the next couple of days to impress upon them the need to ensure smooth and timely completion of the prestigious project. He would also call on the Union Minister for disinvestment, Mr Arun Shourie, in this connection.

Mr Badal was credited with the view that any attempt to jettison the project in the name of disinvestment would be an unmitigated economic disaster for the state and will have major socio-political implications for the region.

In a statement, he said the previous SAD-BJP government had to contend against severest possible odds, including fighting the vested interests of big industrial houses in order to clinch the project for the state.

Mr Badal also took the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to task for failing to take up the issue with the Centre inspite of clear communications from the Union Government to the state government for making out and sending a case for protecting the refinery. If the state government had pursued the issue vigourously, the question of including the refinery in the disinvestment process would never have begun, as is clear from the records available with the state and the Centre Government. He accused the Chief Minister of deliberately going slow on the project simply because it had been brought here by the SAD-BJP government.


Consolidation Dept closed down
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The Consolidation Department, which actually laid the foundation of the Green Revolution in Punjab, has ceased to exist from this month. The decision to wind up the department has been approved by the Council of Ministers, according to authoritative sources. It had been functioning since 1948.

The Consolidation Department was an offshoot of the Revenue Department. Employees of the Consolidation Department had been adjusted in other wings of the Revenue Department.

Though consolidation of land holdings was taken up the first time in the thirties under the Cooperative Societies Act and later under the Punjab Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1936, actual consolidation of land holdings was made under the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act, 1948. In fact, by enacting this law, the consolidation of land holdings was made compulsory. It was done under the new Act in 12628 villages.

The consolidation of land holdings was completed by the seventies. But because of lingering land disputes pertaining to consolidation, the department continued to function.

Official sources said the department had been closed down as further consolidation of holdings was not possible. 


CBI probes 4 -year-old murder case
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, January 28
A two-member CBI team is investigating the murder of Naresh Mahajan, Manager of the Oriental Bank of Commerce, committed more than fours years ago here. The murder hit the headlines for allegedly being a case of ‘parallel banking’ with the involvement of some top persons.

The issue even rocked Parliament at least twice, when it was raised by MPs Suraj Pal Patel of the BJP and Gurdass Dass Gupta of the CPI.

The CBI sleuths, Mr S.R. Singh and Mr Surinder Kumar, arrived here from Chandigarh on January 23 and recorded several statements regarding the murder.

Family members of the deceased had pursued the case and alleged connivance and corruption at high levels to scuttle the case. They even met the then Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, who wrote to then Director-General Police, Mr Sarabjit Singh, directing him not to shift the inquiry to the Crime Branch.

Despite arrest warrants issued by Mr Jatinder Kumar Jain, (SP) handling the case earlier, against Onkar Nath Sharma, alias Master Omi, former MC councillor Inderjit Sharma, Kawaljit Singh K.K. Bhan and Ravi Dhawan, nobody has been arrested till date. No follow-up also done.

The CBI was entrusted the inquiry after the case changed hands nearly 13 times, including thrice from CBI SPs and from different investigating officers of the ranks of SP and DSP, after the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered the case to be handed over to the CBI on July 11, 2001.

The case is at present assigned to Mr R.S. Patti, SP, CBI.


President’s Police Medal for eight
Tribune News Service

Left to right (top row) R. C. Sethi, H. S. Randhawa, Gurdev Singh and Gurdarshan Singh and (bottom row) Ajit Singh, Paramjeet Singh Sarao, P. M. Das and Dinkar Gupta.

Chandigarh, January 28
Eight officers of the Punjab police have been awarded the President’s Police Medal for meritorious or distinguished service on the occasion of Republic Day.

Mr P.M. Das, IG India Reserve Battalion, Patiala; and Mr R.C. Sethi, SP in Chief Minister’s security have been given the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service.

Mr Sethi becomes one of the highest decorated officers of the Punjab police as he is already a recipient of the Police Medal for meritorious service in 1988 and the Police Medal for gallantry in 1989. In 2001, he was given the National Award for welfare of persons with disabilities as he had his left leg blown off in a bomb blast in 1991 while he was accompanying the Punjab DGP.

Those who have been awarded the President’s Police medal for meritorious service are Mr Dinkar Gupta, DIG, Counter-Intelligence; Mr H.S. Randhawa, DIG, Intelligence; Mr Paramjit Singh Sarao, SSP Khanna; Inspector Ajit Singh of the wireless wing, Inspector Gurdev Singh of the intelligence wing and Sub-Inspector Gurdarshan Singh, head clerk in the Patiala district police office.


Giani Kewal Singh granted bail
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 28
Giani Kewal Singh, former Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, was today granted bail in the dowry death case by Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Surinder Mohan after the recording of the statement of Mr Amarjit Singh complainant in this case and a brother of the victim was completed.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the lower court here to grant bail to Giani Kewal Singh after the statement of the complainant in the dowry death case registered against him, was recorded. His cross-examination could not be done on that day and for it the Additional Sessions Judge had fixed January 28, 2003.

Giani Kewal Singh was allowed bail on the condition that he would furnish personal bond of Rs 25000 and with two sureties of equal amount. Giani Kewal Singh was lodged in the central jail here.


RSS Shaurya Samaroh today
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 28
Attempts at re-writing of the history of the holocaust of 1947, ‘Partition days — the fiery saga of RSS’, has already raised controversy. It has brought many new facets of the ‘heroic, inspiring and self-sacrificing’ role played by Sangh Swayamsevaks for protecting the Golden Temple twice from the ‘Muslim Jehadis’ just before Partition of the country to the fore, for the first time.

The first ‘1947 Shaurya Samriti Samaroh’ being organised here tomorrow will honour 600 veterans or their family members who had played “commendable role” in saving Hindus and Sikhs from the clutches of ‘Muslim goons’, apart from protecting the Darbar Sahib. RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan will hand over mementos and citations to veteran swayamsevaks at a function here. The decision on the function has generated controversy with radical Sikhs seeking a ban on the function, the district administration has made elaborate security arrangements as a preventive measure.

Mr Devinder Gupta, secretary, RSS, for North India said it was for the first time that such a function was being held to honour the veterans of 1947. He said it was necessitated to infuse a spirit of nationalism as separatist forces had spread tentacles in corners of the country.

State RSS chief Brij Bhushan Bedi a classmate of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said that the veterans of Partition had many stories to narrate, which were unparalleled in the history. He said this was the perennially inspiring history, written in ‘blood of brave, patriotic swayamsevaks’ played to protect our brethren from the ‘butchers’. Mr Bedi who is also among those who is being honoured tomorrow recounted the service of RSS men rendered ‘towards the humanity’ in glowing terms during the holocaust of Partition. He said he was student of plus one at Karachi when radical Muslims had created panic among the RSS activists few months after the Partition. Mr Bedi said that the Muslims had cracked down on RSS workers which forced many members of the minorities to migrate to India. Being young RSS activist he had served the refugees day and night.

One Mr Mulak Raj Khanna, who hails from Meerut who stayed in Pakistan in guise of a Muslim even after Partition and received injuries during attacks by Muslim fundamentalists, claimed that he was instrumental in saving the lives of many innocent Hindus and Sikhs. Mr Khanna who is a family friend of Mr I.K. Gujral, a former Prime Minister, said that he had served the refugees day and night without caring for his life. To a question, Mr Khanna said that he was extremely happy that the RSS had identified those who had made ‘supreme sacrifices’ for their brethren during Partition.

Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Santokh Singh and many veterans of Partition who are also being honoured for their role played during Partition for saving Hindus have also many stories to narrate on the terrible times.

The RSS took pains to dig out the ‘terrible days’ when Swayamsevaks ‘saved’ Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) twice in the month of March 1947 from the troops of Muslim national guards who began to advance towards the gurdwara from three sides. The Partition days the fiery saga of RSS reads that “the Muslim attackers were confident that there would be no resistance from Hindus, that they would be meek spectators. This time their target was well-known Krishna textile market and sacred Darbar Sahib. They wanted to demolish the Darbar Sahib like Ahmed Shah Abdali did. The way to the Golden Temple was through Krishna market, so the mob headed for the market for their next victory. But there was surprise in store for them. The moment they (Muslims) reached the Chowk Favarah they were fiercely attacked from all sides with lathis, swords, spears, knives and bombs, the attackers ran away.”


Raksha Dal too flays RSS on function
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 28
Col J.S. Bal (retd), an eyewitness to Partition and president of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal a party of retired Army personnel and officers today castigated the RSS for holding a function to honour RSS people or their family members who played commendable role in saving thousands of Hindus from the clutches of ‘Muslim goons’ during Partition.

Col Bal said that the move was aimed at reviving painful memories and hatred amongst various communities. He added the choice of selection Amritsar as venue was “baffling” as it was a border city which bore the brunt of Partition and wars with Pakistan and militancy.

Amritsar, a place of Gurus, rishis and munies should be associated with peace, harmony, spirituality, brotherhood and awakening of human spirit.

Col Bal says, as a five-year-old child after reaching Amritsar from ‘Kasur’ in Pakistan and later travelling by bus to Khalra carrying bodies atop their clothes too were soaked in blood, was a traumatic and all cursed politicians and religious leaders of all hues for the holocaust. 


RSS pursuing ‘Hindu rashtra’ agenda: Dang
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 28
Charging the RSS with pursuing an agenda of “Hindu rashtra” as against cultural nationalism, veteran CPI leader Satya Pal Dang said the RSS’s real agenda was clear from its recent announcement of honouring 600 persons who had played a commendable role in saving Hindus.

He said the RSS had further made its intention clear by declaring steps to infuse nationalism in youth.


Ex-Registrar’s plea against Boparai
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 28
In an unprecedented step, former Punjabi University Registrar Karamjit Singh Sidhu has in an appeal to the University Chancellor and Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R Jacob (retd), claimed that he had been removed from his office by the Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai, in violation of the university’s statutes in favour of a close relative.

According to a copy of the appeal sent to the Chancellor, Dr Sidhu has claimed that no written notice was served to him by the Syndicate before removing him from the post of Registrar on December 20 last which was necessary according to university regulations. He also urged the Chancellor to rescind the order of the Vice-Chancellor through which he was removed and that he be reinstated as Registrar.

Dr Sidhu has submitted the order of the Vice-Chancellor in this regard to the Chancellor. The order states that Dr Param Bakshish Singh has been appointed Registrar of the university and that the present incumbent - Dr Sidhu - has been repatriated to the Department of Defence Studies.

The former Registrar has stated that the university Syndicate had in a meeting in March, 2000, authorised the Vice-Chancellor to find a suitable candidate to be appointed as Registrar. He said following this he was appointed to the post in May,2002 subject to the approval of the Syndicate. He pleaded that his appointment had been fixed for a period of one year or till regular selection was made for the post, whichever was earlier.

The Professor has also made a point that no “speaking order” was issued by the Vice-Chancellor while removing him from his post. When contacted by TNS on the issue, he said he only came to know about his removal when Dr Param Bakshish Singh got his appointment order at 6 pm. He said he had been appointed by the Syndicate which alone had the authority to remove him. The former Registrar said the Vice-Chancellor could use his emergency powers to remove the Registrar “in anticipation of the approval of the Syndicate” but that there must be sufficient reason to do so. Stating that such actions could not be taken to satisfy “whims and fancies”, Dr Sidhu claimed that no reason was specified while removing him from the post and the issue of his ouster was not put up before the Syndicate.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai, said he did not have any knowledge of the appeal. He said he would be in a position to comment on the matter only when it was forwarded to him by the Chancellor.

Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) President, Dr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, when contacted said the appeal was a “litmus test” for the ‘’judicious mind” of the Chancellor. He said Dr Sidhu had been “unceremoniously and illegally” removed from the office of Registrar against all norms and statutory stipulations in this regard. 


Home Guard volunteers not paid salaries
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, January 28
More than 1,200 volunteers belonging to the Punjab Home Guards and Civil Defence, who have been deployed at various strategic locations for the protection of important installations and survelliance of mine fields, are braving the inclement weather in the absence of proper writer gear provided by the department.

Apart from the proper winter clothing, the volunteers have not been paid salaries for the past couple of months.

According to information, in all, 1,243 volunteers have been deployed in Khemkaran and Ferozepore sectors along the Indo-Pakistan international border for manning important installations. Although, the Army has started reverting to its peace-time locations, the volunteers are still stationed at these places for more than a year now. Volunteers feel that they are discharging duties at par with the other paramilitary forces and the police; however, their emoluments are far too meager as compared to them. Homeguard volunteers further alleged that their equipment was outdated and obsolete.

They are also demanding forward area allowance, the case for which has reportedly been forwarded by the Army authorities to the DGP-cum-Commandant General, Home Guards, and the Director General, Civil Defence, but nothing has been done so far.


Permission not required for 10 kva generators
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 28
The PSEB today announced that consumers using generators up to 10 kva were exempted from seeking mandatory permission from the board.

In a press statement issued here, the Superintending Engineer, Mr U.C. Saroa, said keeping in view the demand of the consumers, it was decided to allow use of generators up to 10 kva capacity without seeking any permission from the board authorities. Besides, the consumers, using DG sets of above 10 kva capacity would have to pay 5 per cent of the capacity of set, as running charges, he added.

The Volunteer Disclosure Scheme (VDS) for the regularisation of loads for agricultural purposes had been extended up to March 31. Officials concerned had been instructed to ensure shifting of power meters at the entrance of every non-residential consumer within two months.

The authorities here had decided to allot single-point connection to all residential colonies of government employees. The board would provide these connections to PAP Complex, Police Lines, BSF Complex, CRPF Complex, PSEB Colony. Mr Saroa said the bills of single point connections would be issued in the name of the SDO concerned and it would be his duty to collect the payment from the consumers.


Commute’ Bhullar’s death sentence
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Kothe Surjeet Pura (Bathinda), January 28
A series of prayers have been started in this village and surrounding villages of the district to convert the death sentence awarded to Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar by the Delhi High Court and confirmed by the Supreme Court in the 1993 Delhi bomb blast case to life imprisonment.

While Ms Jagir Kaur, a close kin of Bhullar, has started akhand path in (Devinder’s) house, another akhand path has been started in Chotta Zafarnama Gurdwara Sahib at Dyalpura Bhaike village. A number of residents of this and surrounding villages have also been praying.

With each passing day Bhullar has been drawing sympathy from a major section of society as most of the people have been hoping that their prayers will be answered positively by the Almighty. The residents are likely to send the resolution passed in connection with the conversion of his death sentence to life imprisonment to the President. A pall of gloom has descended in this village and neighbouring village, Dyalpura Bhaike.

Mr Mukhtiar Singh, a cousin of Bhullar, who also faced repeated police torture, said a mercy petition had been filed before the President. He hoped that something positive would come out. Bhullar is presently lodged in the Tihar Jail, New Delhi. A large number of Sikh organisations and opinion makers have started extending support to his cause.

Bhullar, who was a graduate in electrical engineering from Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana was held guilty for triggering bomb blast near the office of Indian Youth Congress in New Delhi in 1993. The blast claimed nine lives and injured 30 persons, including the then President of the IYC, Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta. His involvement was also suspected in other well-planned bomb blasts, including the attack on the then SSP, Chandigarh, Mr Sumedh Singh Saini.

Bhullar had also served as teacher in different technical colleges of Punjab. He had managed to escape to Germany in December, 1994, after his father disappeared while in the police custody. The police started harassing his family members, including his wife. His application for political asylum was rejected in 1995 and he was deported to India. Though the immigration authorities sent him to India, a German court overruled the decision of the lower court in connection with declining political asylum to him when he came back to India. On being handed over to the police by airline staff, he was arrested and since then he has been languishing in the jail. 


Villagers get back de-mined fields
Ashok Sethi and Pawan Kumar

Burj (Ajnala), January 28
The Army authorities which had undertaken the arduous task of de-mining operation in the Ajnala sector handed over large chunks of cultivable fields to the owners in the border village of Burj today.

The government had taken the decision to reduce military build-up in November last year, and had issued instructions for undertaking de-mining the fields under the supervision of the Army on the Indo-Pak border.

Colonel Girish Gogia, Commanding Officer, 19 Madras Regiment, who was responsible for the de-mining operations in the area, handed over the cleared fields to the villagers at a formal function.

The lands had remained under mines for the past over 13 months when the Army build-up was ordered by the government after the December 13 attack on Parliament by terrorists.

Echoing the sentiments of the dismayed farmers who had suffered heavy losses due to the laying of mines in their fields, Col Gogoia said the Army authorities had taken up their plea for compensation for the loss of three crops. He said the authorities had written to the Defence Ministry about compensation for the remaining three crops.

According to the Army sources, the de-mining operation in the remaining parts of the border belt would take at least four to five months.

Colonel accuses IT lawyer of fraud
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 28
A former Army officer has claimed that an Income Tax lawyer, whom he had befriended, had in connivance with officials of HDFC, Leela Bhavan branch, defrauded him of lakhs of rupees. The police has registered a criminal case against the Income Tax lawyer and HDFC officials in this regard.

Former Army officer, Lt-Col Bishan Dass, in a press conference here today claimed that one Manoj Singla and his father, K.C. Singla, had defrauded him of lakhs of rupees in league with HDFC Bank officials. He said Manoj had committed a number of irregularities. These Colonel Dass said included writing his own address in the account opening form which resulted in all communication from the bank, including fixed deposit receipts, being sent to the house of Manoj.

Colonel Dass also alleged that Manoj got redemption of Prudential - ICICI Bonds by forging the signatures of the complainant. He also accused Manoj of fraudulently getting or forging the signatures of the complainant on redemption applications and getting the money thus received deposited in his own account. Giving an example, he said, Manoj fraudulently got 12 IDBI bonds redeemed and changed the bank account of the complainant in which the redemption amount was deposited.

The former Army officer also said that Manoj got many cheques encashed or transferred to his own account instead of depositing them in accounts or investing with the ICICI. He also charged Manoj with colluding with HDFC Bank officials by getting one Fixed Deposit of Rs 25,000 encashed on February 28, 2001. He said the accused also in connivance with bank officials opened one account in his name at Mohali in which also Manoj gave his own address of 4, Dhaliwal Colony, instead of the complainant’s real address, 21, Dhaliwal Colony.

Besides, several transactions covering HDFC Bank, Colonel Dass also alleged that Manoj and Bank officials of the HDFC and the ICICI changed his address to 21, Dhaliwal Colony, following which a De Mat account with the same address was opened at the ICICI Service Centre, Patiala.

Though, Manoj was not available for comment, his father when contacted by TNS, refuted all allegations of the complainant. He claimed the complainant had given the wrong address due to some family problem. He claimed that all activities of his son were done in good faith and that no financial loss had incurred to the complainant. He said when the complaint was brought to his notice, he had welcomed arbitration but Colonel Dass had not been able to prove the allegations. He disputed the allegation that his son had forged the Army officer’s signature.

Former Bank Manager of the Leela Bhavan branch of HDFC, Rajinder Babbar, against whom a criminal case has also been registered, when contacted claimed that any client could give an address on which he desired to correspond with the bank. He said Colonel Dass had used cheque books of the bank for two years before complaining about the wrong address. Mr Babbar said an inhouse inquiry had been conducted by HDFC and it had come to light that all cheques and account opening forms had been signed by Colonel Dass.


Undertrial flees, 2 cops suspended
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 28
Even as an undertrial Ravinder Singh, who was being taken to the PGI, Chandigarh, for eye treatment under police guard, fled near the bus stand here, the two policemen accompanying him have been placed under suspension for showing complacency.

Mr H.S. Chabba, Jail Superintendent, said the undertrial was referred to the PGI by the board of directors as per the orders of the court. He was undergoing treatment at the PGI as he could not be treated properly at Amritsar.


IMA demand on ayurvedic docs flayed
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 28
Dr Naresh Saggar, general secretary of the All-India Integrated Medical Association, Punjab, has criticised the state unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for its demand to bar ayurvedic doctors from practising modern medicine by implementing a decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In a statement here, Dr Saggar alleged that the IMA had tried to manipulate Sub-Section 15 (2) B of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. He claimed that neither the Supreme Court judgement (Mukhtiar Chand vs Punjab State) nor the High Court verdict (Tarsem Singh vs State of Punjab) were against the ayurvedic doctors of Punjab.

Dr Saggar said the IMA was trying to manipulate the High Court’s judgement. Regarding the judgement dated October 24, 2002, he said Mr Braham Dutt, Mr Tarsem Singh and Mr Sudarshan Kumar, who were practising in the district, were booked by the district health authorities for practising the modern system of medicine. They filed a writ petition against the decision in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court, in its judgement, observed that according to a judgement of the Supreme Court in the case Mukhtiar Chand vs Punjab State, it was stated that a person who was not listed on the State Medical Register within the meaning of the 1956 Act, could not practice the modern system of medicine.

He said all ayurvedic doctors were duly registered and hence were eligible to practise in the state.


PSEB employees block traffic
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 28
Thousand of employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today staged a dharna in front of its headquarters in protest against the proposed privatisation move. The dharna caused widespread traffic jams in the city because the Mall Road remained cut off for hours together.

Dharna was jointly organised by the PSEB Employees’ Struggle Committee, Employees Federation, PSEB, Bijli Mulazim Front, Punjab Rajya Bijli Mazdoor Sangh, PSEB Employees Federation (Walia group) and the Workers Federation (INTUC).

The PSEB Employee’s Struggle Committee convenor, Mr Amarjit Sodhi, disclosed that all important employee associations had decided to start an agitation on the issue of proposed dismantling and privatisation of the board after the failure in arriving at a consensus with its management during a meeting held on February 27. Mr Sodhi said dismantling and privatisation of the board would result in a steep hike in power tariff which in fact had been amply proved during similar exercises conducted in Orissa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

The employee associations also said that they would organise strike on February 4 in case their demands were not met.


Dalits protest police inaction
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 28
Hundreds of Dalits of Talhan village and adjoining areas yesterday staged a dharna outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner here in protest against the failure of the police to take action against those involved in showing disrespect to Guru Ravidass during elections to the management committee of Gurdwara Shaheedan about 10 days ago.

They raised slogans against the police and demanded that the guilty should be arrested immediately. Mr Channan Ram, addressing the gathering, said the police officials who were delaying action against the accused should be suspended, failing which they would further intensify their agitation.


Transfer sought
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 28
Mr Amrik Singh Mararhi, a Dalit Congress leader, yesterday demanded the transfer of an Assistant Sub-Inspector and the in charge, police chowki, Faizpura, for allegedly Dalit labourers and masons near the Ratan Singh chowk, according to a press note issued here yesterday.


Farmers to get drought relief
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 28
The Punjab Government will pay compensation of Rs 20 per quintal to the farmers who sold their paddy from October 1 to November 30, 2002, in markets of the district. Mr Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, Deputy Commissioner Hoshiarpur, disclosed them here today. He said that relief of Rs 3, 91, 63, 122/- was being given to the farmers as drought compensation. He said the amount had been sent to all Block Development and Panchayat Officers who would distribute it among the farmers of their areas. 


Pirated CDs seized, 3 held
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 28
In raids conducted at various cassette shops across the district, the police has arrested Subhash Chanderpal, Mohinder Chand and Lavdeep Arora and booked Kamal Jain, Harish Kumar and Manoj Kumar on the charges of selling pirated CDs.

The SSP, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, told newspersons here today that the police had seized 600 pirated CDs of T-series and 210 pirated CDs of other companies and four porno CDs from Subash Chanderpal and Mohinder Chand. Another 560 pirated CDs of T-series, 206 pirated CDs of other companies and 5 porno CDs were seized from Lavdeep.

A case under Sections 420 and 292-A of the IPC and Sections 51, 52 of the Copy Right Act, 1957, has been registered.


PCCTU to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 28
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union has decided to intensify stir PCCTU general secretary V.K. Tewari stated this here today.

Meanwhile, the PCCTU, announced to hold a rally and demonstration in the constituency of the CM at Patiala on March 5 and had given a “Patiala chal0” call to its 6000 teachers of 170 colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh.

The PCCTU will hold a protest dharna outside CM’s residence at Patiala on February 4, university area rallies/ marches on February 12 (GND varsity) Jalandhar, February 19 (Punjabi University) at Patiala and February 26 (Punjab Agricultural University) at Ludhiana. Protests are to press the government to honour its poll promises for keeping grant at 95 per cent and giving pension-cum-gratuity as the cut in grants had resulted in huge backlog of salaries to staff in several colleges.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that union leaders, Prof G.S. Kahlon and Prof V.K. Sharma, talked to the CM yesterday during his Amritsar visit but no discussion could take place.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |