Thursday, February 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Development to be poll plank: Rajnath Singh
Our Correspondent

ANANDPUR SAHIB: Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was playing the politics of “character assassination”. Initially he tried to defame SAD president, Parkash Singh Badal by levelling baseless allegations. Now he is trying to follow similar method in the case of Himachal Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal.

Mr Rajnath Singh, former Chief Minister of UP and general secretary of the BJP stated this at a press conference at PSEB Rest House here on Wednesday. He was here before leaving for Himachal for poll campaigning.

Giving a clean chit to Himachal Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal, Mr Rajnath Singh said that he (CM) had acquired wealth through legal business and the Punjab Chief Minister was levelling unsubstantiated charge against Mr Dhumal due to Assembly elections in the state. If Capt Amarinder Singh really had some proof on illegal wealth of Mr Dhumal, he should have proceeded against him before the elections.

Cautioning Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Rajnath Singh said that he had started a new precedent of political victimisation in Punjab. The BJP would contest elections in Himachal on the issue of development and the performance of the Union state governments rather on character assassination, he said.

Mr Rajnath Singh alleged that the Congress was responsible for all major scandals in the country. On the charges of corruption against BJP leaders and its alliance partners he said that the BJP was the first party to remove the party President after charges of corruption were levelled against him after the Tehelka expose. It was the only party which asked its Defence Minister to step down till he was cleared of the charge.


Lalli gets letter to explain conduct
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 12
Even as the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is silent over the recent outburst of the Congress MLA from Adampur, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Lalli, for flaying the former’s style of functioning, the Punjab Congress chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, today issued a letter to Mr Lalli, asking him to explain his conduct for openly accusing the government of sidelining the MLAs belonging to the ruling party.

Mr Hanspal said in the letter that he (Lalli) had criticised the Punjab Government for not initiating development works in his constituency during the past about one year, at a public function in Jallowal village on Monday. “Keeping in view the nature of allegations levelled against Capt Amarinder Singh by you, kindly explain your conduct as a party MLA,” the letter said.

Adopting a middle-path strategy to resolve the issue and to save the ruling party from further embarrassment, Mr Hanspal, it is learnt, tried to persuade Mr Lalli by asking him not to flare up the matter further in the media during his meeting with the latter at Chandigarh on Tuesday. The letter was seen as an attempt to snub anti-Amarinder forces in the party even as a group of 10 Congress MLAs, who felt ignored by the Chief Minister, held a closed-door meeting at Chandigarh yesterday to express their solidarity with Mr Lalli.

When contacted, Mr Hanspal said that a letter was issued to Lalli asking the latter to explain his conduct. “Lalli should not go to the press and it is not proper on part of a Congress MLA to air his grievances publicly. He should have discussed the matter at party fora. Mr Hanspal did not disclose whether the party would initiate any disciplinary action against the MLA. Interestingly, the letter did not specify the time limit during which Lalli was asked to submit his reply.

According to highly-placed sources in the Punjab Congress, the silence maintained by Capt Amarinder Singh for the past three days over the statement of his party MLA against him was a clear signal that the Punjab Congress was trying to resolve the issue amicably. “The Chief Minister, though disturbed over his open criticism, has asked Mr Hanspal to go slow on the issue and try to control dissident activities in the party using middle-path strategy,” sources added.

Mr Lalli, who reached Adampur this morning, admitted that a notice was issued to him by the Punjab Congress chief. “I will consult my supporters in the constituency before submitting a reply to the party in this regard. In fact, I had only raised grievances of people of the Adampur constituency as it is difficult to face public in the present circumstances,” Mr Lalli said.

Meanwhile, in a state statement issued here, Adampur-based Congress leaders, including Block Samiti chairman and vice-chairman, Mr Shital Singh, and Ms Balbir Kaur, respectively, Block Congress president, Mr Kulwant Singh, urged the state Congress leadership to withdraw the notice issued to Mr Lalli, who according to them, had only raised voice for the cause of people.


Review SIT working in kidney scam: Dang
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 12
“Despite evidence against magistrates who attested false affidavits in the infamous kidney scandal, the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court still does not seem to have been informed of it,” said Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader in a statement here today.

He said the kidney trade could not have flourished for so long without the connivance of politicians, police, advocates and magistrates. He said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should review the working of the SIT in view of doubts being expressed about one of its members. The Chief Minister should order investigation as to whether government officials, suspected to be involved in the scam have assets disproportionate to their known sources of income. “Since the Prevention of Corruption Act is not applicable to private doctors, help in cases of suspected doctors could be sought from the Income Tax Department.” He urged the media that under no circumstances should attention be deflected from the scandal, which is an issue of ethics.

He said the public has the right to know about the progress regarding the cases and action proposed thereof against politicians and others.


Saini, Suresh appear before SIT
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 12
Mr Pardip Saini, legal adviser to Kakkar Hospital, and Mr Suresh Kumar, a police inspector and recipient of a kidney, today appeared before the special investigation team (SIT) in connection with the infamous kidney scam.

Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had stayed the arrest of Mr Saini and Mr Suresh Kumar till February 25. However, Dr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, whose arrest was also stayed by the court, did not join the investigations.


Bandh against burglaries in town
Tribune News Service

Goniana (Bathinda), February 12
Hundreds of residents of the town today observed a near total bandh and blocked traffic on the Bathinda-Pathankot highway to lodge their protest against burglaries in four shops last night, and the alleged misbehaviour of a police official when the affected shopkeepers and some residents went to police station to lodge their complaints in this connection.

The residents came on the Bathinda-Pathankot highway in the morning and blocked traffic, demanding suspension of two police officials. They added that the jam would continue till the police authorities met their demands. The agitators were raising slogans against the police and the Punjab Government.

Mr Ishwar Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police, said SHO Balwinder Singh was transferred not due to this episode but for other reasons. He added that one person, suspected to be involved in the burglaries, had been taken into custody. Due to the jam, vehicular movement was diverted to link roads.

The residents alleged that a senior police official of the local police had remarked that shopkeepers had deliberately broken locks of their shops to claim compensation from insurance companies by lodging complaints in connection with the thefts.

They also alleged that one Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) had taken a television set to his home after recovering the same in a theft case. They added that in the past, a number of thefts and burglaries at shops, located near the bus stand and near the police station, had been reported but the police had failed to take any action. They said they were forced to down their shutters and resort to traffic jam to express their concern regarding the deteriorating law and order situation.

When the munshi of the police station, Mr Iqbal Singh, was contacted, he said cases were registered whenever a complaint was lodged in the police station.

The four shops in which burglaries were reported belonged to M/s Om Parkash Kundan Lal, M/s Ashok Kumar Vijay Kumar, M/s Gaurav Bansal Munshi Ram and M/s Parshottam Lal Sandhu Ram.

Meanwhile, police officials were approaching prominent figures of the town to persuade the residents, who had blocked traffic, to withdraw their agitation. The SHO, Mr Balwinder Singh, could not be contacted as he was neither at the police station nor on the spot where the residents had blocked traffic.

Mr Jagmohan Singh, DSP (R), who was camping in the police station, when contacted, said the SHO, Mr Balwinder Singh, had been questioning the watchmen, who were on night duty in the areas where the burglaries were committed. He denied that the SHO had misbehaved with anyone. He said the allegations levelled against the ASI would be verified, and if these were found to be true, action would be taken against him.


SAD (A) celebrates Bhindranwale’s anniversary
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 12
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) SAD (A) today celebrated birth anniversary of militants leader Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale here.

Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, a former “Khalistan” ideologue, urged leaders of different Sikh organisations to demand “Khalistan”.

Addressing the gathering Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President SAD (A), deserted Sant Jarnail Singh as a great martyr of the 20th century.

He termed Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD President and former Chief Minister, Punjab and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president Sarb Hind Shorimani Akali Dal, as traitors to the Sikhs. Sikhs as “they had conspired with Indira Gandhi to attack the Golden Temple”. He alleged that they made the Sikhs “slaves of Hindu fundamentalists”. He said they engineered rejection of the 1973 Anandpur Sahib resolution by organising an Akali conclave at Moga. He declared that his party rejects the Moga conclave resolutions and stood for the Anandpur Sahib resolution. He said the Sikhs were a separate nation and have separate identity and had a separate identity. He said Devinder pal Singh Bhullar had been given death though no witness had appeared against him.

A delegation of his party would call on the President of India on February 20 to get his death sentenced condoned.

He termed the recent “rasta roko” agitation of Mr Badal as a flop and said Sikhs had rejected him. He did nothing except looked after his own interests. He alleged he corrupted SGPC members and failed to get any of the demands like SYL canal issue, Punjabi-speaking areas, recruitment of Sikh youths, opening of Wagah border, release of Sikh youths in jails and punishment to 1984 culprits fulfilled from the Centre. He claimed he (Badal) had no faith in Sikhs and people of the state and shifted to Haryana and trusted “Haryanavi Hindus” more.

He urged the Sikhs to elect true Sikhs as SGPC members in the coming elections. He also announced a ‘rasta roko’ agitation from March 1 in support of farmers’ demands.

Mr Mann said that the Press was biased and “ignored Sikh martyrs”. He declared “anti Sikh” media would not be tolerated and allowed to operate from the state.

Mr Kanwalpal Singh Bittu of the Dal Khalsa urged the Sikhs to think whether wishes of the Sant had been fulfilled. He said “we should take the pledge to fulfil his wishes and follow his teachings”.

Mr Dhian Singh Mand former MP, Mr Iman Singh Mann, Mr Charnjit Singh Loharan, representative of the Damdami Taksal also spoke.


Missing girl case: CBI probe sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Mystery continues to surround the disappearance of a Mansa district resident’s minor daughter. Even after a lapse of six months, the police has failed to trace her. Apprehending murder or forced prostitution, besides the existence of human trafficking racket, her father Jangir Singh has now moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to the state of Punjab and Mansa’s Senior Superintendent of Police for handing over the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation “so that the true facts may come to light”.

Taking up the petition, the High Court has issued notice of motion to the respondents. The case will now come up for further hearing on February 18. In his petition, farmer Jangir Singh of Lohgarh claimed that the family went to sleep on August 31 last year, but found 16-year-old Arshdeep missing from her cot in the morning. All attempt to trace her proved futile.

He added that a first information report was registered after the matter was reported to the police on September 23 last year under Sections 363, 366 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. Accused in the case were also arrested, but the police failed to recover the alleged victim.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted on his behalf that the accused were members of a gang involved in selling village girls for flesh trade. Chances were that the girl had been sold off, or might have been killed.

He added that the petitioner had even contacted the Senior Superintendent of Police and had prayed for his daughter’s recovery. An application was also submitted, but the SSP expressed his inability after stating that the accused were related to influential leaders of the ruling party and could not be interrogated for recovering the petitioner’s daughter.

Counsel concluded that challan had been submitted showing that the police was favouring the accused. The involvement of the respondents and the Mansa police in the racket of kidnapping and selling girls was also evident, counsel concluded.

Written tests

Punjab’s Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh on Wednesday stated before the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the written tests for panchayat secretaries would not commence on February 23.

Appearing before the Court, he added that the next date for holding the tests had not been fixed. Earlier during the proceedings, two weeks’ time was also sough by the state. Taking up the petitions in this regard filed by panchayat secretaries sought to be terminated by the Punjab Government, the Court fixed March 5 as the next date of hearing in the case.

The secretaries, in their petition, had earlier alleged that action was being initiated against them in a mala fide manner due to political vendetta. Claiming to have been appointed by the previous government in October 2001, Raminder Singh of Ferozepore and six others, in one such petition, had added that the government had proceeded against them by issuing a blanket order without giving them an opportunity of hearing.

Seeking the quashing of an order dated December 10 vide which the services of a total of 909 secretaries were sought to be terminated, the petitioners had added that the same was illegal and arbitrary.


Dept ready to implement order
Felling of trees in Mirzapur forest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
The Punjab Forest Department said today that while it was ready to implement the government order authorising Mr Lachhman Singh, a well known forest contractor and former MP, to fell certain types of trees in Mirzapur’s private forest, it continued to differ with him over the interpretation of the subsequent ‘‘extension’’ granted to him in the felling period.

An official spokesman of the department said that that the order issued vide memo no. 39/82/2000-FtIII/18991 dated 5.12.2002 authorised Mr Lachhman Singh to fell the following categories of trees: “a) All dead, dry and diseased khair trees due to fire and otherwise; b) All fungus eaten trees which are likely to be all together useless; c) Khair trees marked for felling in 2000-01 but which could not be felled may kindly be allowed to be felled, if the marking numbers have become invisible or doubtful they may be renewed; d) Khair trees standing in that area which has not been marked at all in 2000-1 may also be allowed. He may be allowed extension in felling period up to 15.4,2003 and removal of cut material up to 31.5.2003”.

The spokesman said that “we have no objection to this and Mr Lachhman Singh is welcome to fell the trees covered by this order. Incidentally, all the trees marked under this order have already been felled and carried away and no areas remains unmarked. However, a subsequent communication from the government, extending the period in Mirzapur forest for khair and other trees up to 15.4.2003 and removal of cut material up to 31.5.3003 was tantamount to a new order because it says that all the green standing khair trees above 60 cm girth may also be marked freshly for felling from Mirzapur forest and uprooting of dead and dry and fungus eaten trees may also be allowed to prevent spreading of disease in the forest. Therefore, a reference to the Centre will be required’’.

This is, however, hotly disputed by Mr Lachhman Singh who says that the government communication had clearly stated that it was ‘‘in continuation of this department letter no 39/82/2000-Ft.III/18991-92 dated 5.12.2002 . Hence, it could not be termed as a new, independent order and must be implemented by the department,’’ he said.

Mr Lachhman Singh said that the communication was just a ‘‘clarification’’ of the earlier order and by no stretch of imagination could be termed as an independent, new order. He failed to understand why the department was raising such a hue and cry.

Mr Lachhman Singh said that he and his family members owned most of Mirzapur forest because they had purchased it from the villagers of the area way back in 1986. And to avoid any further dispute or legal hurdle, he filed a suit against all the villagers and got a decree and permanent injunction against them. He and his relations were now one of the largest owners of the forest. “After a long pending dispute, I reached a settlement with the villagers under which I paid about Rs 4 crore to the share holders. I have also won all the civil suits filed by me against the share holders or the suits filed by share holders against me’’.

He applied to the government of Punjab for extension of period in February, 2002 for extending its felling period up to April 15, 2003. The Punjab Government regarded his request as genuine and bona fide and extended the felling period up to 15.4.2003 on 15.12.2002.


Govt ‘encouraging’ hawkish forces
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 12
Mr Pawan Gupta, president, Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), Punjab, today alleged that the government of Capt Amarinder Singh was propping up hawkish and separatist forces in the state to break the monopoly of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a former Chief Minister and Akali Dal President.

The present government in the state is doing exactly the same thing which the then Congress government had done by propping up Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the protagonist of Khalistan, he said in a chat with newsmen here. He alleged that while Hindus, were being treated as second-rate citizens by the Amarinder Singh government, extremist parties, represented by Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, Kuldip Singh Wadala and Simranjit Singh Mann, were being patronised by the government just to marginalise Mr Badal.

Mr Gupta regretted that while persons like the RSS chief KS Sudershan who talked of integrating country were being threatened by POTA in Punjab, those who preached disintegration and funded projects in the name of the creator of Pakistan were being encouraged.

He was referring to the naming of a library after M.A. Jinnah at Malerkotla and the Rs 1 lakh grant reportedly given to it by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann.

He said the Shiv Sena would hold a chetna rally at Chandigarh on February 25 against these policies of the Punjab Government.


SAD meeting on Feb 15
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, February 12
A meeting of the SAD executive, members of the Political Affairs Committee, members of the SGPC, party MLAs, MPs, and presidents of district units of the Shiromani Akali Dal ( SAD) will be held at Gurdwara Aalmghir, near Ludhiana, on February 15.

Mr Iqbal Singh Tiwana, secretary of the party, said the meeting had been called by the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to announce the next programme against the Capt Amarinder Singh government in the state.


Hindus, Sikhs greet Muslims 
Tribune Reporters

Malerkotla, February 12
More than one lakh Muslims offered namaz and greeted one another on the occasion of Id-ul-Zuha here today. Maulana Hashim Shah Shabib, Shahi Imam of the local Jama Masjid, led the namaz at the Idgah.

Mr Pardeep Kumar Sabharwal, SDM, addressing a gathering, extended greetings and good wishes to the people on the occasion.

Mufti-e-Punjab Fazal-ur Rehman Hilal Usmani extended greetings and good wishes to the people on the occasion. He said this unique festival symbolised love, sacrifice and trust, strengthened our faith in unity, harmony and tolerance, and inspired us to work for the well-being of mankind.

A large number of Sikhs and Hindus greeted their Muslim brethren on the occasion and also visited the houses of their Muslim friends to convey Id greetings.

Namaz was also offered by Muslims in various mosques of the town and adjoining villages like Ahmedgarh, Amargarh, Sandour, Sherpur, Bhaini and Saroud.

BATHINDA: Id was celebrated here with traditional gaiety and fervour.

A large number of Muslims gathered at the Idgah Sharif to offer namaz and greeted one another on the occasion. The prayers were read out by Mohammad Ramzan, Imam of Kikkar Bazar Masjid. Many prominent Muslims of the city here present.

Mr Suleman Khan, president, Muslim Human Welfare Society, said devotees were offered langar. Hindus and Sikhs also greeted their Muslim brethren on the occasion.

PHAGWARA: Id was celebrated here by Muslims of the area with fervour. They assembled at Idgah on the local Palahi road and at masjids of the area to offer namaz. Syed Nazir Ahmed, president, Anjumane Dawtey Muslimeen, addressed a congregation. Local MLA Joginder Singh Mann greeted Muslims on the occasion.


Pak sends sweets on Id
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 12
Even as the relations between India and Pakistan are at a low, the tradition of gifting sweets to each other on festivals continues.

The Pakistan Rangers today gifted a basket of sweets to the Border Security Force on the occasion of Id-ul-Zuha here. Mr Mohammed Sharief, second-in-command of the Pakistan Rangers, handed over the basket to Mr D.K. Sharma, Commanding Officer, BSF, and Mr Ishall, Joint Director, Wagah joint check-post. 


Sikh panel to approach NCM
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 12
The joint action committee (JAC) of several Sikh religious and political organisations today decided to approach the National Commission for Minorities following the registration of a case against some members of the managing committee of Gurdwara Shaheedan at Talhan village, near here, on the complaint of Dalits.

The district police, following receipt of a complaint from Chanan Ram Pal of Talhan village, had registered a case against 22 persons, including members of gurdwara committee under Sections 295-A, 148 and 149 of the IPC, Sections 3, 9, 10 and 14 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities act and Section 4 of the Protection of Civil Rights Act.

During an emergency meeting held on the gurdwara premises here, the JAC, comprising representatives of the Khalsa Mission Council, the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, the managing committee of Gurdwara Shaheedan and the SAD, it was decided to submit a memorandum of demands to the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, Mr Tarlochan Singh, next week.

A spokesman for the JAC said a delegation would meet Mr Tarlochan Singh in Delhi next week and seek his intervention in matter.

The meeting criticised the police for allegedly showing undue haste while registering a criminal case against Jats even as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was yet to disclose the findings of its two-member team, which conducted an on-the-spot inquiry into the matter last week.

The meeting took note of the unnecessary propaganda unleashed against Jats by some “unscrupulous” elements.

The JAC denied that Jats of Talhan village had ever given a call to socially boycott Dalits. Dalits, following a cash with the police and Jats after elections to the managing committee of Gurdwara Shaheedan on January 14, had alleged that Jats had announced to boycott them.


NCM cell to attend to Kashmiris’ problems
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 12
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has decided to form a cell in New Delhi to attend to problems of Kashmiris.

Talking to The Tribune on telephone, Mr Tarlochan Singh, chairman of the NCM said that the commission would attend to problems of Kashmiris on priority. He said the commission would also arrange meetings of Kashmiri leaders with senior leaders of the Centre Government. He said members of the commission had already held meetings with Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Kashmiris who have been facing problems due to terrorism would be discussed on day-to-day basis for a permanent solution to their problems. The NCM would create more cells to attend to problems of other minorities, he added.


Avoid witch-hunt, CM tells VB
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today urged the Vigilance Bureau to refrain from witch-hunting and avoid settling personal scores. Addressing a meeting of officers of the bureau, he said that they should not personalise the issues brought to their notice and use restraint.

He told them not to be complacent while dealing with corruption.


Maharaja’s dream forgotten
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 12
Once projected to rival the boulevards of New Delhi, the Bhupindra Nagar in city may be a shadow of its former self, but appears to be galling is that the creator of the “Nagar” as well as that of modern Patiala - Maharaja Bhupinder Singh - does not seem to be getting his due during a time when the city is getting ready to showcase itself at a Heritage Festival scheduled to start from February 14.

The stone laid by “Farzand-e-Khas Daulat-e-Inglishia Mansur Zaman Amir-ul-Umra, Maharaj Dhiraj Rajeshwar Siri Maharaja Rajgan Bhupinder Singh Mohindar Bahadur’’ (as stated on the stone) to mark the foundation of Bhupinder Nagar today lies forgotten and forlorn in front of the Model Town police post.

Saplings of peepal trees have grown in between massive cracks of the bricks holding the stone together. One part of the brick edifice has crumbled. The foundation stone itself has become loose on one side. Parthenium has grown all around the foundation stone making it almost invisible.

There is general ignorance about the stone itself in the city with few of the present generation knowing that the late Maharaja himself had laid the foundation stone of Bhupindra Nagar. However, for the old timers, the foundation stone is a reminder of an era when the nagar epitomised planned and luxurious living according to European trends. It is these people who feel the foundation stone represents heritage of the city and should be given due importance in the Heritage Festival.

Brig. G.S. Sekhon (retd) while talking to TNS said Bhupindra Nagar was planned by the late Maharaja on the pattern of residences laid out by Lutyen in Delhi, incorporating the need for open spaces as well as living in the lap of nature amidst greenery and orchards. He said plots were cut up adjoining three roads laid out one after the other ahead of Railway Crossing Number 22. He said four acre plots each were cut out for most of the occupants. The army officer said most of the houses had mango orchards on the premises with few also having guava orchards and the orchards were irrigated with the help of canal water.

Brig Sekhon said most of the original plot owners in the area had retained only part of their land with the major part being sold off resulting in formation of various small colonies in the area. He said a few of the original houses still remained like that of Raja Ram Partap Singh which presently housed the Academy of Sikh Religion and Culture, the house of Raja Birender Singh as well as an old house which presently housed the office complex of Blossoms School.

Shamminder Singh, another old timer, said though the original character of Bhupindra Nagar had undergone a sea change in the post-independence era, the vision of Maharaja Bhupindra Singh as a town planner could still be seen from a study of the mini township visualised by him. He said the fact that the late Maharaja had conceptualised broad roads in an era of few automobiles which were still serving the city besides careful planning of trees and greenery needed to be studied in depth.


AITUC, INTUC hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 12
AITUC, INTUC and the BMS besides other labour and teachers organisations held a dharna in front of the labour office here today. These organisations were protesting against the non-release of funds under the child labour project. Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, secretary of the Punjab state committee of AITUC, in his address said that under the child labour project, a number of schools were opened in Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. He alleged that for the past one year, the government had not provided funds under this project. As a result, the project was on the verge of failure, he added.


Anti-tank bomb’s shell found
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 12
A shell of an anti-tank bomb was found this morning from the Sirhind canal, passing through this town, by a child who was playing on its bank.

Police sources said when the child found a bomb like object, the people standing nearby informed the police. By the time a police reached the spot, the boy, who had found the bomb-like object, had run away after throwing the object into the canal again.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said the bomb-like object was an empty shell of HE-73 MM anti-tank ammunition being used by the Indian Army. He added that the Army authorities had been informed about the incident and their help was being taken to trace the origin of the shell.

The SSP said a case would be registered in this connection, adding that an empty shell might have been thrown into the canal by a junk dealer.

The sources said the shell had been handed over to the Army authorities by the police.


Sewer bursts, road damaged
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 12
A sewer in the busy Katra Jaimal Singh area burst and damaged the road late last night. No one was, however, injured. Scaling of manholes with road mix was reported to be the cause of the incident.

A major tragedy was averted as most of the shops in the area were closing at the time of the incident. A storm water sewer is being constructed in the area. According to Ganesham, an eyewitness who owns a paan shop in the area, someone threw a lighted cigarette but just beneath his shop. Suddenly a rumbling sound was heard and garbage and gases spewed out as shopkeepers ran for their safety.

While corporation officials refused to admit their fault in choking the sewerage, workers carrying out repairs on the site confirmed that the incident had taken place due to covering of the manholes.

Mr Kirpal Singh, Additional Commissioner, said the corporation was investigating the incident and action would be taken after fixing responsibility for gross negligence.


Community policing in 8 dists started

Moga, February 12
The Punjab Government has introduced community policing on the pattern of the one in Western countries in eight districts of the state to bring police force closer to people.

The districts include Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Moga, Bathinda, Patiala and Amritsar. This was stated here by Mr A A Siddiqui, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), yesterday while presiding over the meeting of the Senior Superintendents of Police of those districts where this community policing system was introduced.

He asked district police chief’s to bring transparency in police working for early disposal of complaints. PTI


CPI against Iraq war
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
The Punjab unit of the CPI today called upon the people to raise their voice against US plans to attack Iraq. Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the unit, said today that the American President was trying to push the entire world to war.

He said that the UN should play an active role to stop him from creating war hysteria in world by making statements loaded with aggression and hate.


Couple held for embezzlement
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, February 12
The police here today arrested Parmod Kumar and his wife Priya Sharma, managing director and director, respectively, of Van Raksha Plantation and Resorts Limited, a finance company, under Sections 406, 420 and 120-B of the IPC for fraudulently collecting large sums of money in the name of the company.

Dr R.N. Dhoke, Senior Superintendent of Police, in a press note, said the couple had allegedly pocketed an estimated amount of Rs 2 crore without returning any amount to depositors. He said that earlier, the couple had obtained anticipatory bail in a fraud case involving Rs 72 lakh. The case was registered against them on April 24, 2002, under Sections 420, 408, 120-B and 201 of the IPC. Dr Dhoke said the company had opened its first branch at Kapurthala and in 1997 later opened three branches at Mukerian and Adampur.


2 duped of Rs 10 lakh
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 12
The Majitha police has booked Rajesh Agarwal, a resident of Atma Nagar, Ludhiana, for allegedly duping Avtar Singh and his friend Gurinderjit Singh, both residents of Mudal village, for Rs 10 lakh.

In a complaint lodged at the Jandiala police station in Majitha, it was alleged that the suspect on the pretext of sending them abroad, had taken Rs 10 lakh from them. However, he failed to keep his promise. When they demanded their money back, he refused.

Meanwhile, the Amritsar police has booked four members of a Delhi-based family for allegedly demanding dowry. Paramjit Kaur, a resident of the Bazar Railway colony, was married to Simrath Bhatti of Janakpuri in Delhi last year.

In her complaint, she alleged that Simrath, along with his relatives Gian Parkash Bhatti, Rahul Bhatti and his wife Rajkumari, used to harass and beat her up for more dowry even as her family had given Rs 2 lakh just a few months after the marriage. 


Gang selling fake degrees busted
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, February 12
The police has busted a gang of cheats engaged in supplying fake M.A., B.A. degrees, 10+2 and matriculation certificates of the Punjab School Education Board, fake registration certificate of vehicles and fake driving licences.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, talking to newsmen here today, said Vijay Kumar, a resident of Rulia Ram Colony here, had been arrested in this connection and his accomplice Surjit Singh, a resident of Babri, 5 km from here, was missing.

The accused was arrested by a police naka party at Kalyanpur on receiving a tip-off. On search, several fake degrees of M.A., B.A. II, six fake registration certificates of vehicles and 11 fake driving licences were seized by the police. A stamp of the DTO, Amritsar, and 72 alphabets used for making stamps were also seized.

The SSP said the accused mostly sold academic degrees and certificates to persons who wanted to go abroad.

During preliminary interrogation, the accused confessed to having sold degrees and certificates at the rate of Rs 10,000 per degree/certificate. The accused had been charging Rs 1,000 for issuing fake registration certificates for vehicles and Rs 500 for issuing a fake licence.


Held for posing as journalist
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 12
The police has arrested a person who posing as a journalist duped people by promising to get them jobs. Sarabjit Singh of Bhalojala village in Amritsar district used to swindle people by promising to get them jobs through his ‘links’. He boasted of connections with ministers, politicians and officials of different department , as he was a press reporter.

He was said to be active in the area for the past many years, but used to shift house in the area. Even the address in the FIR registered against him in 2000 for duping people here was of a place in the Amritsar district.

Sources added the police believed that he had shifted to his native place in Amritsar after swindling some people in the area. To hide identity he worked as a driver with a taxi operator in the city. As the police came to know his present address in Shant Nagar area, and nabbed him this morning.

Mr Ishwar Singh SSP, confirmed the arrest of Sarabjit Singh and his having cheated a number of people of the area.

A case was registered against him under Section 420 of the IPC in 2000 on the complaint of Mithu Singh, Gopal Krishan and Bhupinder Kumar. Sarabjit Singh had cheated them of Rs 70,000.

Sarabjit Singh’s arrest became possible following police campaign against those who misused the name of the press, added the SSP. This was the second arrest in a fortnight of those who fake as journalists. Some days ago a vehicle on which ‘Press’was written was impounded by the police from which eight bags of poppy husk were seized.


8 students hurt in group clash
Our Correspondent

Sunam, February 12
Eight students were injured when a clash took place between students of the local ITI and the local SUS College at the bus stands here last evening.

Amarjeet Singh Raju, state president, Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU), in a press note here today alleged that Boghar Singh, a student of ITI, accompanied by his supporters, attacked Bahal Singh, district president, PRSU, and other students of SUS College with sharp-edged weapons. The timely intervention by persons averted bloodshed, he added.

Amarjeet Singh Raju further said after the incident a deputation of students met Mr Parminder Singh Gill, SDM, Sunam, who marked inquiries to the local SHO and the Principal of the ITI, in this regard.

The PRSU leader demanded the arrest of the guilty persons and the registration of a criminal case against them.


Watchman helps nab 2 of gang
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, February 12
The alertness of a watchman at the local Punsup godown led to the arrest of two members of a gang indulging in the theft of bags of wheat stored there.

Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, Muktsar, said on the intervening night of February 6 and February 7, about 10 persons descended on the Punsup godown and made a hole in its wall. On hearing some sounds, the watchman, Mr Maha Singh raised the alarm.

When the suspects tried to overpower Mr Maha Singh, he fired a shot from his gun and injured one of them. Later, the police was informed and it managed to arrest two members of the gang within a few days.

Those arrested are Tari and Bakki, both residents of Goniana Mandi in Bathinda district. A case has been registered.


Man, girl commit suicide?
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 12
The bodies of a man and a girl were found lying on a blanket near the tubewell of Mr Bhim Singh at Bajrawar village this morning. Both bodies had bullet marks on their foreheads. The man was identified as Jasbir Singh, son of Mr Kashmira Singh of Bajrawar village, and the girl as Jaspreet Kaur, daughter of Mr Sukhwinder Singh of Lehli Kalan.

Jasbir Singh, aged about 32 was married and had five children while Jaspreet Kaur, aged about 17-18 years, was a student of plus two. A suicide note found near the bodies revealed that the two had committed suicide of their own will.


4 held for murder, vehicles’ theft
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, February 12
The police has arrested four persons allegedly for murders and theft of vehicles in Punjab, Haryana a and Delhi.

Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, here identified the arrested as Naresh Kumar Gori of Himachal, Raj Kumar of Abohar and Rinku and Sunil of Sriganganagar. A car, stolen from Sriganganagar, one .32-bore revolver and one .315-bore gun with six cartridges were recovered from them.

They were arrested from near Danewala village in this district, added the SSP. He said all accused came out recently from different jails on bail in different criminal cases registered against them at various places in Punjab and other states.

A case under Section 411 of the IPC had been registered against at police station, Malout, he said.


Man, son held on rape charge
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 12
The Verowal police has arrested Karamjit Singh and his father Darshan Singh of Verowal Bawwian village for allegedly raping a teenager of the same village. They have been arrested under Sections 376, 506 and 34 of the IPC.

In her complaint, the victim alleged that she had gone to the fields when Karamjit Singh came and raped her. Later, his father also came and raped her.

The victim had to move court to get the case registered.


Punjab board Class X exams from March 5
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 12
Class X students appearing in the Punjab School Education Board Matriculation examinations will have their first examination on March 5 starting with English. The Optional Subject (Language and Pre-vocational) examination will be on March 6, Punjabi A or Punjab History and Culture on March 7, Maths on March 10, Health Science (open school) on March 11, Punjabi B or Punjab History and Culture on March 12, Health and Physical Education on March 13, Home Science (common with open school) on March 14, Hindi or Urdu on March 15, Science on March 17, Social Education on March 20 and Agriculture on March 21.

For the deaf and dumb students, cutting and stitching examination will be held on March 10 in lieu of maths, Home Science on March 14 and Drawing and Painting on March 21.

For blind students, Music vocal examination will be held on March 10, Music Instrumental on March 17 and Music (tabla) on March 21.


City school boy wins laurels for making energy model
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 12
Rupinder Singh class X pupil of Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, of the city has won second prize in the Indian Science Congress held recently. Lauding Rupinder Singh at the annual function of the school here yesterday principal B S Baath, said that pupils of the school were good in studies and sports, Mr Baath said that Balwinder Kaur (IX) did well in the national-level competitions held by the CBSE. She won gold medal.

Rupinder Singh, who represented NCERT, at the 90th Indian Science Congress, with his model of ‘tidal wave energy system’, won second prize. His model, prepared with help of teachers, was one of the six projects selected from Punjab for the National Science Exhibition, organised by the NCERT, held at Hyderabad. After selection from Hyderabad, the model became eligible for participation in the ISC.

The model converts kinetic energy of water moving up and down with waves into mechanical energy, which further gets converted into potential energy. The potential energy finally is converted into electricity and is a low-cost energy production system. Rupinder claimed that it was environment friendly concept.

He said that in the children’s section on nearly 206 students from all over the country participated and the Prime Minister and President APJ Abdul Kalam visited the exhibition. He said of these 200 entries, the top 10 were given cash award of Rs 10,000 and his Rupinder was adjudged second. He hoped the model could be selected international competitions. School students presented a cultural programme and Mr Baath read out the annual report.


Gurmat sangeet made ‘optional’
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 12
The Faculty of Arts and Culture of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and Punjabi University, Patiala, have virtually made the study of Gurmat sangeet optional at the undergraduate level in the state following a decision in this regard at a meeting held here yesterday.

According to information, the meeting, which was presided over by the Dean, Arts and Culture, Punjabi University, Dr Navindra Behl, decided to allow the study of music of other regions as well as Gurmat sangeet in one of the four parts of the music course at the undergraduate level. The meeting was held as part of the exercise to ensure uniformity in syllabi of all three universities at the undergraduate level.

This virtually means that a student can take the undergraduate examination without answering any question on Gurmat sangeet.

Earlier, Gurmat sangeet comprised one of the four parts of the course. This meant a student had to compulsorily answer questions on Gurmat sangeet during his examination and also study the subject.

Sources disclosed that some members of the faculty opposed any move to dilute Gurmat sangeet in the course curriculum. Dr Navindra Behl said music of other regions was also included in the part containing Gurmat sangeet, adding that there appeared to be no threat to Gurmat sangeet as students of the state would be definitely inclined to study Gurmat sangeet.

She said there was a demand in the meeting that regional aspirations must be kept in mind and that Gurmat sangeet was a part of the musical tradition of the state. She said a decision on the matter had, however, been taken unanimously.

Meanwhile, Guru Nanak Dev University Vice-Chancellor S.P. Singh said he had nominated a teacher and would take a report on the subject from him.

He, however, said if there was any change in the basic character of teaching of Gurmat sangeet or in the paper setting with regard to the subject, he would take up the matter with the coordination committee of Vice-Chancellors which would finalise the issue.

Dr S.P. Singh said all universities in the state should be committed to teaching Gurmat sangeet. He said, “We can pursuade the members of the Faculty of Arts and Culture of the three universities to reconsider any changes made on the subject”.

Other members of the faculty who had opposed the move, while talking to TNS, said Gurmat sangeet was an age-old tradition of the state which should not be ignored. They said teaching of this medium had resulted in giving purity to rendition of kirtan and shabads in Punjabi, besides enriching the music traditions of the state.

This point was also highlighted by the Forum for Educational Action and Reform of Punjabi University. Its president, Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, said the forum was concerned at the dilution of cultural content in music by a particular lobby. He said the Punjabi University authorities should not treat the issue lightly as it could have ramifications at all levels. 

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