Saturday, February 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Students booked for sexual harassment
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Finally taking action against the 16 accused in the sexual harassment case of a women lecturer of Government College for Boys, the local police today registered a case against all 16 following an inquiry by a senior police officer that indicted them.

The case was registered on the statement of a women lecturer under sections 294, 509 and 201, IPC, here today. The inquiry conducted by DSP R.K. Bakshi had indicted all 16 boys for allegedly mouthing utterances to 'insult the modesty of a woman', singing obscene songs and tampering with evidence.

The inquiry report was submitted by the DSP to the district police chief yesterday, who had directed the local police to register a case against the 16 students.

The case of sexual harassment of a women lecturer allegedly at the hands of her students had sent shock waves in the College two month ago. The teacher had alleged that 16 boys of her class had drawn obscene caricatures and a graffiti on the classroom blackboard aimed at her.

The inquiry by the DSP, besides indicting these boys , had indicted the Principal for tampering with evidence. The DSP had suggested departmental action against the principal also.

The case witnessed a couple of inquiries. The first inquiry was conducted by the management of the college itself and the second by DSP R.K. Bakshi. The Women Commission had also directed the Ludhiana police to conduct an inquiry into the case. as Mr Bakshi was already on the job, the matter was entrusted with him .

Interestingly, the inquiry by the college management had gone against the victim. Mr K B S Sodhi, former president, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, had then complained to the Women Commission. the commission had directed the local police that a senior officer should be asked to conduct the inquiry, keeping in mind the sensitivity of the situation and seriousness of the allegations.

The young lecturer had alleged that the 16 boys had misbehaved with her. But the college authorities, instead of taking action against the accused students, changed the section of the teacher and she was also humiliated and pressurised to take back the complaint.

The teacher had resigned in protest. The college management reportedly stated in its defence that the matter was blown out of proportion by the teacher. It maintained that the students had apologised to her in writing but she wanted stronger punishment.

Further, action was not possible as the allegations had not been substantiated, the management members had stated.

Mr Sodhi had in his complaint to the commission stated that instead of taking a strict stand against the incidence of sexual harassment, the authorities were trying to 'hide' it.

He had quoted the resignation letter of the lecturer to prove his point, ‘‘ I am resigning in protest against the partial attitude of the college authorities. I cannot work in a place where it is considered the birthright of a male student to indulge in obscenity whenever and wherever he pleases’’. 



Victim recounts nightmare

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the teacher said that she was happy as the justice seemed to have finally been meted out to her. Although ,she said, her fight had not ended yet as she wanted  the accused to be taught a lesson as per the law of the land.

Anguished at the ‘‘insensitive handling of the case by her college authorities’’, she said she had learnt it the hard way that observing a day as International Women's Day or talking about women empowerment did not ensure empowerment .

She alleged that the college authorities even levelled allegations against her that she used to receive numerous mobile phones during her class and stated many things about her moral character. 



Teachers flay action 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Even as the victim of a sexual harassment case at Government College of Boys expressed happiness after the police booked the 16 accused, members of the Punjab Government College Teachers' Association of the college condemned the police action, alleging that ‘‘the police failed to live up to its professional acumen’.’

A meeting of the executive of the association was called today after the police action. The president of the association, Mr K.K. Goel, in a statement issued to the press, said ‘‘all members were surprised that the police department did not single out the real culprit from amongst the 16 suspected students.’’

Stating that the association had kept silence due to its faith in the professional capability of the police, it said, ‘''now we all fell pained because they have not lived up to their professional acumen.’’

The academicians also said that the members felt that the college authorities had done sufficient to settle the issue to the satisfaction of the complainant through a five -members committee consisting of senior women lecturers and no attempt was made to hush up the matter.

They termed the matter of destroying evidence after the case was handed over to the police as 'wrong and baseless'.

They demanded that the government constitute an inquiry to identify the real culprit and ‘‘restore the dignity of the temple of learning.’’



Fake currency: coop bank director held
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, January 31
The police has arrested a director of a cooperative bank who had evaded arrest on January 1 when his car was intercepted by a police party in Hoshiarpur district and three youths were nabbed with counterfeit currency notes.

Ms Gurpreet Deo, SSP, Hoshiarpur, said Kuldeep Singh Kuthala, director of a rural cooperative bank, was nabbed by the police near the Hoshiarpur bus stand. Mr Upinderjit Singh Ghuman, SP (Detective), who is investigating a case registered in connection with the printing of counterfeit currency at a computer centre in Kup Da Tota, near here, had received information that the accused would reach Hoshiarpur to present himself before a court. A police party nabbed him when he was getting off a bus.

The SSP said Surinder Shinda of Baurhai, a close relative of Paramjit Kuthala came in contact with Avtar Singh of Sham Chaurati, Narinder Singh of Mohadipur and Sohan Singh of Mansurpur Wadala. These youths, who had been caught in connection with a bank dacoity, were printing currency notes. Surinder Shinda, Harjinder Jinda and Gurdeep Singh started printing counterfeit currency at a computer centre which they had set up. Kuldeep Kuthala was allegedly supposed to help in the circulation of the fake currency by way of payment of loans.

The police had seized fake currency notes worth Rs 1,500 of Rs 500 and Rs 100 denomination in addition to the fake currency worth Rs 5 lakh already seized.

The accused told the police that fake currency worth Rs 2.5 lakh was burnt by his family when the three co-accused had been caught. He had asked his mother to do so on telephone, he added.



Rustic charm bowls over foreign students
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Barsal (Jagraon), January 31
The rustic charm of this small and sleepy hamlet bowled over eight students from Michigan State University, USA, who are guests of the Home Science Department of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

In India for 12 weeks as a part of their practical training in their respective fields before completing their postgraduation, they will tour various parts of the state and will also pay a visit to the Golden Temple. The lively and curious group comprises Barbara Smith (engineering), Meghan Arriyo (international relations), Kimberly Vander Weert (community relations), Molly Townsend (anthropology), Laura (art education), Emily Sims (criminal justice and psychology), Jean Simons (acrobatics and puppet making) and Katie Forman- Cook (psychology).

The comments during their over three-hour stay at the village varied from: “Oh, I have never seen so may buffaloes at one place in my life,” “Its terribly exciting”, and “the people are so friendly”, to queries on crops, land, labourers and why some people were poor while the others were well-off. They also evinced keen interest in the preparation of “sarson ka saag and makki di roti.”

Although they were aware of the problems of pollution, traffic, population, poverty, unemployment and brain-drain, they wondered why the government did not do anything about these.

While they were excited to be in India, they made comparisons about how things were back home and why this country faced so many problems. Although the stereotypes — courtesy books, videos and films — were hardly seen in the rural countryside, the complex caste equations and the hierarchy in the village set-up were among the major points raised by some of the visitors.

The village was abuzz with activity as residents started making a beeline to have a glimpse of the “mems”.

The womenfolk shared their experiences with them despite the language barrier.

Girl students of the PAU who were given a chance to interact with the group, were more interested in knowing about the limits of their freedom. They asked them at what age could they have boyfriends and when did their parents allow them to go on a date.



Blast in car disrupts traffic
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
A major traffic jam occurred at the Ferozepore road opposite Verka Milk Plant this evening when a blast took place in a Black Cielo car.
The vehicle caught fire but the driver managed to escape just in time. he escaped with minor injuries.

A bomb disposal squad and fire-fighters rushed to the site. The fire was brought under control by the fire brigade staff.

The police said the blast took place in the bonnet of the car and the cause of the explosion was being ascertained.



Municipal workers elect body
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 31
At its emergency meeting here, the Municipal Karamchari Dal (MKD) led by Mr Vijay Danav condemned the state government for refusing to recruit the next of the kin of employees who died in service.

The body also criticised the government for continuing with the ban on fresh recruitment and pursuing the policy of privatisation “that had led to the sacking of a large number of employees in various government departments”.

Mr Danav announced the dissolution of the body’s central committee and various wings. The Municipal Karamchari Dal elected the following office-bearers for a two-year term: Chief Patron — Mr Sukhbir Badal, MP; Patrons — Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, former Speaker Punjab Assembly, Mr Ashwani Sahota, state convener of the Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj, Choudhry Yash Pal, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, president of the All-India Youth Akali Dal; Chairman — Mr Vijay Danav; Vice-Chairmen — Mr Tarsem Lal, Mr Hartej Singh; President — Mr Lachman Dravid, Senior Vice-Presidents — Mr Mohan Vir Chauhan, Mr Surinder Atwal; Vice-Presidents — Mr Madan Lal Bhumbak, Mr Mohan Singh, Mr Prem Chand Kadiara, Mr Raj Singh; Secretary General — Mr Gurnam Singh; General Secretaries — Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Jaswinder Singh; Secretaries — Mr Jawahar Lal, Mr Ravi Kant, Mr Jiwan Sharma, Mr Arun Bawa; Joint Secretaries — Mr Ramesh Kumar, Mr Bhupinder Pal Singh, Mr Pardeep Kumar Jhanji; office secretary — Mr Ashok Kumar Sajjan, Mr Kamal Raj Bains; Cashier — Mr Raj Kumar Lala and legal advisers — Mr Ajay Chopra, Mr Narinder Adya.

The following were elected the office-bearers of various wings of the MKD: the Municipal Safai Karamchari Dal — Mr Madan Lal Bhumbak — President; Mr Surinder Bunty — Vice-President; Mr Kamal Kumar Bains — General Secretary; the Municipal Sanitary Supervisor Dal — Mr Dev Raj Asur — President; Mr Ram Sarup Manchanda — General Secretary; the Municipal Electrical Workers Dal — Mr Sudesh Kumar — President; Mr Jiwan Sharma — General Secretary; the Municipal Fourth Class Workers Dal — Mr Jawahar Lal — President; Mr Surinder Kumar and Mr Jasvir Kumar — General Secretaries; the Municipal Driver Karamchari Dal — Mr Manohar Lal Ghai — President; Mr Hari Krishan Dheru and Mr Vijay Batra — General Secretaries; the Municipal Sewermen Karamchari Dal — Mr Ashok Kumar — President; and Mr Sudhir Kumar and Mr Mehak Singh — General Secretaries.



Uttaranchal seeks investment from Punjab
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
The Uttaranchal Governor, Mr Sudarshan Agarwal, has invited Punjab to set up industrial units in the hill state by offering them red tape-free environment and other facilities. The Uttaranchal Government is already in touch with some top industrial houses of the state. Mr Agarwal was talking to reporters on his first visit to his hometown after becoming the Governor. He was accorded a guard of honour and was honoured by the Ludhiana Bar Association of which he was a member in 1955.

Mr Agarwal said Uttaranchal had been provided a 10-year tax bonanza which would be passed on to the industrial houses that chose to set up ventures in the state. He said that he had also taken up with the Central Government the issue of a financial package for Uttaranchal on the pattern followed for the North-East and Himachal etc. He said Uttaranchal had not received any financial grant in the last finance commission report as the state came into existence later.

In an effort to develop the state, several educational institutions had been invited to set up institutes there. The government had also approached institutes in Manipal. “Students from 60 countries study in Manipal”, he said, adding that the Institute of Chartered Financial Accounting of India (ICFAI) had already expressed its desire to establish base in the state.

Uttaranchal, he said, was also exploring its full potential in tourism. “Not only religious tourism, we are going to provide opportunities for recreation too,” he said. The world’s highest ski resort at Auli was being developed for the purpose.

He said the state had tremendous potential in the field of power generation. Nearly 4000 MW of power could be generated and private power generation companies were being encouraged to set up base in the state, he said.

The Governor said it was not certain whether Dehra Dun would remain the capital of the state. He also ruled out insecurity being suffered by Punjabis in Uttaranchal, saying that they were safe and there was no cause for concern. “My directive to officials in Uttaranchal is clear, provide a corruption-free government, as I consider corruption as gross violation of human rights,” he said.

On his arrival, Mr Agarwal said he was feeling nostalgic and “I wished his parents were alive to share his achievement.” His eldest sister, Mrs Ravi Bhushan, welcomed him.

Mr Agarwal graduated from Government College, Ludhiana, before pursuing law at Jalandhar. Hailing from a family of lawyers and taxation consultants, he joined the Ludhiana Bar Association in 1955. He got selected as Civil Judge and served at Amritsar, Kulu and Delhi. He remained associated with the Law Commission and retired as the Secretary-General of the Rajya Sabha. He said he had collected Rs 6 crore for a blood bank project in Delhi which was inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister L.K Advani in March last year. 



DBA honours Uttaranchal Governor
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 31
The Uttaranchal Governor, Mr Sudershan Aggarwal, was honoured by the District Bar Association at an impressive function organised in the Ludhiana Club here today. He was a member of the Bar Association of Ludhiana in 1955.

On this occasion, Mr Aggarwal honoured Mr Harpreet Sandhu, Assistant Advocate General of Punjab, and Mr B.B.S. Sobti, Additional Advocate General of Punjab. Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, Bar president, Mr T.P.S. Dhaliwal, Bar secretary, Mr B.P. Singh Gill and Mr Sandeep Kapur welcomed the governor.

The District and Sessions Judge, Mr Baldev Singh, Mr J.S. Chauhan, Civil Judge Senior Division, Ludhiana, the Additional Sessions Judges Mr S.K. Aggarwal, Mr H.S. Madan, Mr Inderjit Kaushik and Mr Jaspal Bhatia, and Judicial Magistrates Mr Ashok Kapoor, Mr Balwinder Kumar and Mr D.P. Singla were also present on this occasion.



Staff allege non-payment of wages
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 31
At least 600 workers of Punjab Woolcombers allege non-payment of salaries from October 2002 as a result of which their family members were virtually starving. In order to press upon the management for early payment of arrears, the workers will hold a demonstration in the city.

Addressing a general body meeting of Punjab Woolcombers Employees and Workers Union, Mr Jagdev Singh, president and Mr Manjit Singh, general secretary, charged the management of the company with high-handedness and victimisation for the past more than three years. Not only the salaries of the workers had not been unpaid for past four months, the management had also failed to deposit the Employees’ Provident Fund from October, 1999.

Trade union activists lamented that repeated representations to the Labour Commissioner, Punjab, and the Assistant Labour Commissioner, Ludhiana, had fallen on deaf ears.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jagdish Chand, general secretary, Lal Jhanda Punjab Bhatha Mazdoor Union (CITU), urged the Labour Department and the state government to impress upon the management to clear arrears of workers without any delay. Mr Jatinder Pal, district secretary, Council of India Trade Unions (CITU), threatened to launch a mass agitation if “injustice” with the workers continued. 



Rs 1 lakh stolen from gurdwara
Tribune News Service

A sevadar points at the rope by which thieves entered the gurdwara
A sevadar points at the rope by which thieves entered the gurdwara on Thursday night. — Photo Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 31
Rs 1 lakh were allegedly stolen from Gurdwara Gaughat Patshahi Pehli in the police station division no 3 last night.
The theft came to light today when Dalip Singh, a watchman of the gurdwara, found the back door open whereas the front door was locked from inside. Two cash collection boxes were found broken. Some swords were also found missing, one of which was later found by the police from a field, about 200 metres, away.

A case has been registered. Police sources said they suspected some insider behind the act as the cash boxes were opened at the beginning of every month. The cash boxes were opened by the representatives of the SGPC.

Dalip Singh said he had locked the doors at 10:30 p.m. and the crime must have been committed after midnight as the people around the place were generally awake late at night.



4 booked for trespass
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 31
The Sadar police has registered a case against four persons under the Arms Act and other Sections for forcibly entering the house of Avtar Singh, a resident of Ghurala village and a sugarcane supervisor, posted at Nahar Sugar Mill, Amloh.

According to information, an employee of Bharpur Singh, a resident of Bir Kishan Singh, went to the sugar mill to sell sugarcane where Avtar Singh imposed a cut.

On January 29, Bharpur Singh, along with Bikramjit, Manprit and another person, came to the house of Avtar Singh at about 10 p.m. They knocked at the door. When the inmates opened the door they said the police wanted to search the house. After entering the house, they allegedly started abusing the family members. Bikramjit Singh took out his. 315 bore rifle. However, when Malkit Singh of Faizgarh village reached the spot, they all fled away.

TRACTOR STOLEN: A tractor was stolen from a brick-kiln near Chawa village, on Thursday. A case under Section 379 has been registered. OC



Bank honours VSM awardee
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
The Dugri Road branch of the State Bank of India organised a function where a defence pensioner Dr (Brig) V.P. Dhand was honoured for receiving Vishisht Sewa Medal on Republic Day this year.

Mr R.R. Sharma, Chief Manager of the bank’s Zonal Office (Punjab), Mr Hari Sharan Sharma (Deputy Manager), Mr G.S. Sagar (Deputy Manager), Mr O.N. Bhalla (Assistant Manager), Mr Satnam Singh secretary of the State Bank of India Staff Association, Mr Sukhwinder Bajaj, Dr Shiv Gupta, president of the United Nations Youth Organisation (Punjab), Mr B.R. Heera, branch manager, Mr Sanjeev Malhotra, general secretary of the Dugri Road Shopkeepers Association and many others garlanded Dr (Brig) V.P. Dhand and appreciated his service. He was the Head of the Department of Medicine, Senior Adviser and Consultant in Medicine and the Commandant in Command Hospital Kolkata, the Armed Forces Medical College of Pune, Army Hospital in Delhi Cantonment and Base Hospital in Tezpur and Jammu.

The branch manager and the Chief Manager (Zonal Office) congratulated Dr (Brig) Dhand and talked about the bank’s various schemes for pensioners.

He also said the bank had a massive distribution network of more than 12,000 branches throughout India and it gave special attention to old-age pensioners.

The bank plans to install more than 40 ATMs in Ludhiana and the all-India networking is to be completed by the end of this year.

Dr Dhand said the bank had been giving a good service to defence personnel and their families.


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