Tuesday, February 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Meerut police: Good night, sleep tight!
Prem Pal Singh

Meerut, February 24
The SHOs of the city seem to while away nights on bed instead of being on patrol. Even the sole ‘night officer on duty’ makes himself scarce in several police stations. This is the position when the incidents of dacoity and theft have increased during the month, especially on the outskirts of the city.

In some thanas, only a homeguard was found, while the condition of the police posts was pitiable. Even the guards posted at the house of the highest police officer, Inspector General of Police, Meerut zone, were not found alert enough.

These chinks in the armour of policemen were detected during a ‘zonal’ checking of police alertness at night.

A circle officer (CO) conducted the checking and submitted his report to the Senior Superintendent of Police with some serious remarks against the truant police officials. Panic prevailed in the police department over this report.

While the SSP Mukul Goel said that the guilty would be punished, he admitted that this type of checking was just a formality earlier.

According to the CO’s report, a guard on duty at the residence of IG police was found sleeping, wrapped up in a blanket. An electric heater was switched on nearby. The quarter guard was also found elsewhere.

The CO warned them. The guards were simply unaware of their positions. They were at their wits’ end when asked where they would take their positions if attacked. The CO found that the reserve inspector, guard commander and the SI had no control over the guards.

The CO then headed towards Civil Line police station where he found only one homeguard. Even the night officer was absent. When the CO asked about him, a constable on duty said that the officer was on patrol, but he could not find the officer’s location on walkie-talkie.

The Co also checked the Medical and Kotwali PS and found night officers missing. The worst at the police post of Sector-9 of Nauchandi PS. All the rooms of the post were well lit and open. The cops had made their beds also. The CO remained there for more than half an hour and searched for the constables and the SI nearby, but found nobody.

The CO entered it in the logbook of control room. He then checked the police post at Bijli Bamber on Hapur Road. There too, the policemen were absent.

The CO ordered against recording their arrival without his permission. The constables remained absent till 5.30 pm on Sunday. Meanwhile, the SSP Mukul Goel said that action would be taken against the guilty.


Life term for killer of Makens
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 24
A city court today sentenced an accused charged with the murder of Congress MP Lalit Maken and his wife to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000.

Additional Session Judge R.K. Jain sentenced accused Ranjit Singh Gill, alias Kukki, to imprisonment for life and a fine of Rs 5,000 under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and to 10 years imprisonment and a Rs 5,000 fine under Section 307 of the IPC.

Gill was held guilty for the murder of Maken and his wife Geetanjali, daughter of former President Shankar Dayal Sharma, and another person Bal Kishan in their Kirti Nagar residence on July 31, 1985.

One more person Suresh Malik was injured in the firing. Four others, Sukhdev Singh, alias Sukha, Sukhwinder Singh, Daljeet Singh and Harjinder Singh, alias Jinda, were also accused in the case.

The heavily armed accused had entered the residence of Mr Maken in broad daylight and shot dead Lalit Maken, his wife Geetanjali and Bal Kishan.

Subsequently, Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh were executed in 1992 for the assassination of General A. S. Vaidya while Sukhwinder Singh was killed in an encounter with security forces.

The other accused, Daljeet Singh was acquitted in the case for want of evidence.

Gill, who had fled to the US, was brought back in 2000 by a team of the Delhi Police and the CBI.

The chargesheet stated that the accused were motivated by a book which allegedly spoke of Maken’s involvement in anti-Sikh riots in 1984.

The court also imposed on Gill a fine of Rs 5,000 each for the offence under Section 302 and 307 of IPC.

However, the court said the life sentence and the 10-year rigorous imprisonment would run concurrently.

The court on Saturday had convicted Gill of the murder of the Makens finding him guilty under Section 302 and Section 307 of the IPC.


Police winking at rape cases in Ghaziabad
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, February 24
Rapists seem to be having a field day in Ghaziabad and nearby villages with the police looking the other way. In Morti village under the Sihani Gate police station, three masked criminals abducted a middle-aged widow from the house of Ram Prakash Tyagi at gunpoint and gangraped her in an abandoned room in the same locality on Saturday night.

When the victim resisted their attempts, she was assaulted and badly injured. But she managed to unmask them in the scuffle and recognise two of them as Bobby and Ram Kishan of the same area. After rape, the assailants fled the spot. The badly bruised and semiconscious woman somehow reached her house in the morning.

Though the neighbours informed the police about the incident, they took their sweet time and arrived in the area after several hours. Even after coming, they did not reportedly bother to send the victim for medical examination. SP City Gyaneshwar Tiwari merely said that the police had registered a case under Sections 376 and 511 of the IPC.

The woman alleged that the police had not taken the matter seriously. However, SO of Sihani gate police station C. P. Singh said that “the police have not arrested the accused as the matter appears to be suspicious”. He did not elaborate.

The woman has been rushed to a private hospital on Meerut Road by the neighbours. Her husband, a security guard, had reportedly died a year ago.

In Pooja Colony of Loni on February 14, a youth who had raped a three-year-old girl child was nabbed by the local residents, beaten up thoroughly and handed over to the police.

According to sources, Shakil’s three-year-old daughter was playing in front of her house on February 14 when she was taken by one Kadir to an unoccupied house. He was noticed by a young girl standing on the roof of an adjacent house. She was alerted by the cries of the child. At this, Kadir fled the spot.

Alleging that the police were trying to hush up the matter, colony residents along with Mukhya Gujjar had walked in a procession to the police post and held a demonstration there.

In Garh area’s Khilwai village, another three-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in a field by a youth a week ago. The Garh police have failed to trace the youth till now while the child is battling for life in MMG Hospital. The doctors have confirmed that she had been raped.


Man poses as JeM member to extort money
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 24
The Delhi Police Special Cell today claimed to have arrested a person who claimed himself to be a member of a terrorist outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and had extorted money from a Mumbai businessman.

The accused, Ashish Kumar alias Prashant Kumar alias Rinku (25), resident of Beerganj, Nepal, was arrested from a hotel in Paharganj from where he had been making calls to businessmen. Ashish had reportedly called up one Mumbai-based businessman Shiv Kumar Aggarwal and told him that he belonged to the JeM and was responsible for the bomb blasts in Vile Parle in Mumbai. He further told him that he had a list of some businessmen from whom he had to extort money and Shiv Kumar had to pay Rs 10 lakh to him. Ashish threatened him of dire consequences if he failed to give the money.

The Special Cell sleuths later traced the calls to a PCO in Paharganj in Delhi. Meanwhile, the extortionist had also directed Shiv Kumar to deposit Rs 50,000 in the Standard Chartered Bank in Delhi and the account was later found to be that of a businessman in Lajpat Nagar.

The businessman told the police that he had acquainted with Ashish while he was on a trip to Kathmandu. Since someone owed Ashish money from Mumbai, and he himself did not have any account in Delhi, his account number was used to deposit Rs 25,000. The money was later withdrawn from the bank and given to Ashish.

The sleuths later zeroed in on a hotel in Paharganj and nabbed Ashish. During interrogation, the accused told the police that he was an employee of Shiv Kumar when he owned a departmental store in Kathmandu. When Shiv Kumar shifted his base to Mumbai, Ashish had visited Shiv Kumar and stayed with him. Since he was jobless, he decided to make an extortion call to get some money.


Couple crying for justice
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Sohna (Gurgaon), February 24
Ramwati (name changed) and her husband, residents of Uleta village, near here, have been going through hell for the last two years. The couple and their family members have been virtually living in a self-imposed exile because of shame and their inability to fight the ‘corrupt and unjust system’.

Ramwati had gone to her parental home on the occasion of ‘Bhaiya Duj’ in Dhateer village in Faridabad district about two years ago.

She was riding pillion on a two-wheeler with her husband while coming back to her matrimonial house in Uleta. It was late in the evening. They were on Sohna-Palwal Road when about half a dozen persons, some of them armed with lathis, attacked their vehicle and injured her husband near Mindkola village. When the couple fell on the road, the hoodlums dragged them to a nearby field of standing sugarcane crops.

The couple had a nightmarish experience in the field. The husband was beaten up and his limbs trussed up for showing defiance. Subsequently, Ramwati was subjected to gangrape in front of her husband. They allegedly took away the jewellery and cash found on the body of the victims and left the scene after threatening to kill them if they revealed the incident to anyone.

The couples were admitted to a government hospital in Sohna and the medical examination confirmed the rape. They reported the incident first to the Sarpanch of Uleta. A ‘panchayat’ of sarpanches of about eight nearby villages was held. Six persons allegedly involved in the crime were identified. The accused also admitted to the panchayat about their involvement in the crime. Five of the persons were from Silani village while one of them was a resident of Janauli in Palwal, falling in Faridabad district.

The sarpanches then took up the matter with the police station, Sohna, recommending action against the culprits named. On the basis of a complaint of Ramwati, a criminal case was registered under Sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (causing hurt), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 341 (wrongful restraint). Three of the youths were arrested and sent in judicial custody.

The police started investigating the case. An IPS officer was in charge of the police station, Sohna. However, the then Inspector General of Police, Gurgaon Range, Mr R. S. Dalal, referred the complaint against the accused of Janauli to the DSP Palwal. This was in violation of rules against natural justice. The area police where the crime occurred are better equipped to probe the incident. Besides, when a police team headed by an IPS officer has given its finding, it is unprofessional to get any point of the case probed by a junior officer of the rank of the DSP.

Ironically, the Palwal police gave a clean chit to the accused. Consequently, he was let off from the loop of investigation and trial in the court. Three others in judicial custody were also let off after a while. Only three of the six accused were arrested. It is said that two powerful leaders of the ruling INLD of Gurgaon district and one from Faridabad district are trying to shield the three accused. Frustrated at the alleged negative approach of the police in the case, Ramwati’s husband has taken the issue to the court.


Mewana civic employees, advocates come to blows
Our Correspondent

Meerut, February 24
There was considerable tension in Mewana here today following Sunday’s incident in which a woman advocate allegedly slapped the chairman of the Mewana Town Area Committee on the court premises. The incident followed the demolition drive by the Town Area Committee employees against encroachments by advocates on the court premises.

The elected presidents of local bodies of Meerut and Saharanpur division converged in Mewana, beat up several advocates and stopped water supply and sanitation works in the town. They later sat on dharna, threw garbage in the chambers of several advocates and set their furniture on fire. Both the parties filed FIRs against each other in the Mawana police station.

The drama started when some Town Area Committee employees reached the court and started demolishing encroachments like tin shades made by advocates in front of their chambers. There were heated exchanges between the advocates and the employees. The employees alleged that the advocates manhandled them. Both the parties reached the police station and the arguments continued there too.

As the chairman of the Mewana Town Area Committee and others were returning from the police station, they again confronted some advocates on the way.

Meanwhile, a woman advocate allegedly slapped the chairman. After that, infuriated local body members and employees stopped all amenities in the town and sat on a dharna. A conference of the elected presidents of the local bodies was held here today. Sayyad Safuddin Irfan, state vice-president of the General Union of the local bodies, addressed the conference and alleged that the state government is discriminating against the local bodies. He said that even seven years after the 74th amendment of the Constitution had been passed, the state government was yet to implement the Act. He said that the state government was usurping the powers of the local bodies through government orders (GOs).


Sihi villagers up in arms
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 24
Demolition of about two dozen houses in nearby Sihi village, allegedly built on land of Haryana Urban Development authority (HUDA), could not be taken up today due to protests and intervention of some political persons.

It is reported that the authorities had been prepared to raze the encroachments in the village, but about 200 people gathered at the site and opposed the drive, stating that they had all the valid documents.

A former MLA and a member of the Municipal Corporation, Faridabad (MCF) also appeared on the scene and supported the villagers.

They asked the HUDA officials to wait till they talk to the Deputy Commissioner. But it is reported that the protestors failed to reach the office of the DC who had asked them to come at about 4 pm.

The HUDA officials had issued notices to the owners of about 30 houses of Sihi village earlier that their constructions had been illegal.

The villagers claimed that they had purchased the land way back in 1960’s from gram panchayat and had allotment letters.

Tarsem Singh opposes move to demolish gurdwara

New Delhi: The chairman of the Dharam Parchar Committee, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Mr Tarsem Singh, has expressed displeasure over the government’s decision to demolish Gurdwara Guru Sangat Sabha, Baht Biradari in Guru Nanak Nagar.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Tarsem Singh reminded the government that the land for the same had been purchased in 1960s and the gurdwara constructed thereafter. He reiterated that the Dharam Parchar Committee would not allow the government to demolish the gurdwara.

Mr Tarsem Singh went on to add that the government should concentrate on removing the unauthorised temples that had been built on the footpaths in the area. He added that the government’s decision of removing the gurdwara had caused tension in the area.

Hoping for the government to withdraw their orders, Mr Tarsem Singh said that Guru Nanak preached unity in diversity and the demolition would only lead to worsening the situation. TNS


Ten yrs’ old, but amenities still missing in Kaushambi
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, February 24
Kaushambi is one of those colonies on the Delhi-Ghaziabad border in which blocks of flats have been built by the Ghaziabad Development Authority with good layout and sufficient open spaces, but the colony lacks infrastructure and basic facilities.

Built about a decade ago Kaushambi’s residents are still deprived of basic amenities and the allottees are forced to live without water, power, sanitation and cleanliness.

The GDA has, in all, built 10 towers of 14 storeys each and eight towers of 10 storeys in Kaushambi. Virtually touching the national Capital, the colony greets the visitors with heaps of garbage and roads in utter state of disrepair which abound in potholes.

To add to the residents’ discomfort, streetlights have been almost non-existent for a very long time, which not only makes movement after dark risky but also encourages crime in the area. The deep potholes on roads become muddy pools during the rainy season. Many residents have stumbled and sustained injuries in the dark.

Tushar, a resident of Shiv Tower, alleges the GDA has made no arrangements worth the name for keeping the colony neat, clean and hygienic with the result that the boundary wall of the colony has gradually become a dumping ground for garbage. At the time of selling the flats, the GDA had promised all facilities to the people who had found the open spaces quite inviting. But since the GDA has failed to provide basic amenities even after a decade many residents are thinking of shifting to some good colonies.


Oil economy may give way to hydrogen economy in the years to come
by Dr. K.K. Paul

The recent fluctuations in the prices of oil, fuelled to a large extent by the war scare, have once again sharpened the focus on the energy question. The fist serious attempt to address the problem was made by Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, in the late sixties and early seventies when in the wake of the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and the subsequent action by OPEC crude prices had sky-rocketed. According to Teller, a real energy problem existed in the industrialised democracies and even more critically in the developing economies even 25 years ago.

This resulted in US President Carter setting up several task forces on energy in 1977. The result is universal application of new norms, fuel-efficient automobiles and the thrust on exploring alternate and efficient sources of energy. While looking for alternate sources, one has to be always conscious of the cost of storage and transmission.

It is for this reason that several of the natural sources of energy, though full of promise, could not be harnessed in a cost-effective and a convenient manner.

Japan with no oil resources of its own has now achieved an automotive breakthrough with successful testing of a commercially available hydrogen powered vehicle. They have been using advance fuel cells to generate power through hydrogen, the only emission being pure water. The problem of producing hydrogen in a safe manner, and on a large scale, however, remains. Electrolysis of water for production of hydrogen is energy intensive and has been found impractical on a commercial scale.

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, have been able to demonstrate that hydrogen can be produced from sugars and alcohol at temperatures of about 2500C through a platinum based catalyst. With the abundance of naturally produced sugar this has come about as a revolutionary finding. According to them, if the hydrogen so produced were fed to a fuel cell operating even at a 50 per cent efficiency, the rate of hydrogen production could generate about 1 KW of power per reactor volume.

The process has also been tested with hydrogen generation from waste biomass like wheat straw, wood waste and other cheap and rich carbohydrate sources. The only costly item in the whole process being the platinum - alumina catalyst, which helps in the break up of the carbon-hydrogen bond in the sugars and helps in trapping the free hydrogen. To facilitate safe transportation, attempt is also being made to dissolve hydrogen in solids.

Realising the potential of the process and hydrogen in particular, President Bush has earlier this year allocated over a billion dollars for hydrogen fuel initiative. The years to come may, as such, see the transformation of an oil economy into a hydrogen economy.

Filmfare Awards

The flavour of the season continues to be cricket, but the media having ensured the law of diminishing returns, a small diversion may be in order.

DEVDAS BOTHFor more than a generation, the image of the tragic romantic hero has remained synonymous with Dilip Kumar as Devdas, who went on to win Filmfare’s Best Actor Award (his third) in 1956. While this year, Shah Rukh Khan has done a repeat as far as the award is concerned but it is the image of a pining Dilip Kumar with a perfect dialogue delivery slowly dissolving away which may still dominate and remain everlasting. Very few of us would have seen Saigal’s Devdas, but according to film folkore, he performed only after downing at least two large ones, and to date remains immortalised. Alas! Those days there were no awards but then he did not need any, as public adulation was his biggest award.

The Filmfare awards, instituted in 1953, used to be eagerly awaited, but now with commercialisation of TV and several groups launching their own awards some sheen has definitely come off them. Nevertheless, it may be useful for the readers to know that in their long history, the four majors (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Director) going to the same film has happened only thrice – “Guide” (1966) “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” (1999) and now “Devdas” (2003). The paradox of awards is such that one of the most successful Hindi films, “Sholay” (1975), failed to get a single major Filmfare award. On the other hand, Bimal Roy’s “Madhumati” continued to top the list for almost 40 years, having won eight awards in 1958.

(Dr K. K. Paul is Special Commissioner, Administration, Delhi Police)


Mobile bomb detection squads launched
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 24
In the wake of increasing threats from militant groups, the Government of NCT of Delhi today launched mobile bomb detection and disposal squads to meet any eventuality in case of an emergency.

Flagging off the new teams, Lieutenant Governor Vijai Kapoor said this was an “appropriate response” to a “particular threat”. “Though the police were alert and responsive, certain specific threats emanating recently from various quarters have led to the initiation of this move,” he said.

Commissioner of Police R. S. Gupta laid the foundation for a Metro police station at Shastri Park. “Essential facilities have been provided, including a separate duty officer’s room, and guest rooms have been constructed to avoid crowding and chaos,” Mr Gupta said.

“The Delhi Metro is an important property and there should be no compromise about its security given the terrorist threat perception to it,” Mr Kapoor said.

Assuring full cooperation to the police, Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) E. Sreedharan said separate barracks were being constructed for policemen. These would be ready within a month.


Workshop for Delhi cops in forensic science
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 24
After training officials of the Directorate of Health of Government of NCT of Delhi, Maulana Azad Medical College is conducting a workshop for Delhi Police personnel to acquaint them with the advancements in forensic science so that medico-legal cases can be disposed of after proper investigation.

Health Minister A. K. Walia on Monday inaugurated the workshop that has been organised by the Department of Forensic Medicine of Maulana Azad Medical College. A hundred-odd Delhi Police personnel are taking part in the two-day programme that is the first of its kind anywhere in the country.

The minister said the workshop was aimed at sensitising the police towards their medico-legal duties and making them aware of the latest developments in criminology and forensic medicine. On the occasion, he underlined the need for better co-ordination among police and judiciary.

The minister said Guru Gobind Singh Hospital in Raghubir Nagar and Rao Tula Ram Hospital in Jaffarpur would soon begin conducting post-mortem examination. The facility is currently available in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital, GTB Hospital, DDU Hospital, Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital, Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital and Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital. Commissioner of Police R. S. Gupta presided over the function. Principal Secretary (Health) S. P. Aggarwal was the guest of honour. Mr Gupta said the workshop would not only equip the police personnel with knowledge but also help remove doubts, if any, that they had in respect of investigation of medico-legal cases.


North Delhi gets new tourist spot
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 24
Thanks to the Sant Nirankari Mission, a new tourist spot has come up in North Delhi at Burari Road, near Sant Nirankari Colony. Better known as Nirankari Sarovar compound, it offers a pollution-free, picturesque and peaceful place where visitors, particularly families, would like to spend their leisure time and enjoy spiritual fragrance as well.

The place, already marked by lush green grassy grounds surrounded by lines of rare varieties of plants and trees, including flower plants, received today a modern cafeteria and a beautiful sales counter for Nirankari literature. It was inaugurated by the Head of the Mission, His Holiness Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj. Besides, his holy mother Nirankari Rajmata Kulwant Kaur Ji and his gracious spouse Pujya Mata Sawinder Ji, a large number of senior functionaries and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

While Nirankari devotees have already been visiting the place in large numbers for their devotional fervour towards the Sant Nirankari Sarovar, the place is now expected to attract other visitors as well. Arrangements have already been made for continuous devotional songs with soft music across the complex.


‘Physically challenged children deserve more attention’
Nalini Ranjan

For 40-year-old Renu Goyal, life is all about helping others and she is so devoted to her passion of social service. Those who have seen her work over the years claim that she is endowed with a versatile personality. Be it social work, music, dance, literature or glamour world, she has excelled in all. As the founder president of the Sur Snehi Kala Manch, she is credited with bringing music into the lives of many physically challenged children of East Delhi. The manch devotes all its efforts in teaching dance and music to the quadriplegic children.

Originally from Dehra Dun, Mrs Goyal has been associated with a large number of voluntary social organisations. She is the chairperson of educational and environmental sub-committees of Inner Wheel Club, executive member of Pratidhi, a police project, and executive member of All India Mahila Dakshata Samiti. She was also the convenor of All India Mahila Dakshata Samiti and special police officer attached with the police headquarters.

In her earlier days, she figured on the cover pages of many a glossy magazine. To add to all this, she is also a poet to be reckoned with. She has rendered her service for many years to the leprosy patients of Mother Teresa Rehabilitation Centre near Seemapuri. Through her organisation, Sur Snehi Kala Manch, she has infused a new ray of hope into the lives of many physically challenged children of East Delhi area. In a conversation with the NCR Tribune, she travelled down memory lane.

How did it all happen?

Basically, I am from Dehra Dun. My family was very cultured. My father was a very popular social worker in that area. His popularity was so deep that the local people used to advise him to contest the elections. But he never followed their advice. He had the opinion that joining politics was not imperative to serve the society better. Under his able guidance, I learned the basics of social service.

I did my post-graduation in Economics from University of Garhwal and ‘Prabhakar’ in vocal from Allahabad-based Parayag Sangeet Samiti. In my college days, I was very active in social work, like National Service Scheme (NSS).

Under the NSS, I had to travel the country for serving leprosy patients. The leprosy patients were dubbed as untouchables. There is no denying the fact that they were the most neglected people of the society. And I witnessed it in many places across the country.

For my work in this field, the university had awarded me as the best cadet, which gave me an immense boost. Since then, there has been no looking back.

What are the main activities of Sur Snehi Kala Manch?

After working with many organisations for years, I feel that physically challenged children should deserve more than the normal children. In the name of bringing them back into the mainstream of life, only cosmetic works are being done.

Like other normal children, they also want to sing, dance and paint. They may have a natural flair for it and their natural talent should be nurtured.

Keeping this in mind, I started this organisation in 1994. Our organisation is credited with providing the stage to many physically challenged children.

One such girl, Sushila Chauhan, is right now a very popular stage singer. This Geeta Colony-based quadriplegic girl was neglected at her home. And there are many like her.

How is your organisation run?

With the inception of this organisation, it is being run from our own house at Dayanand Vihar in East Delhi. After convincing the family members of the physically disabled children, we train them in the fields they have a natural flair, be it singing, dancing, painting or any other cultural field. Regretfully, there are very few social service organisations in our country working for physically challenged children.

We charge nothing from these children. After training them, we give them the opportunity to showcase their talent. They display their talents in stage shows, organised by our organisation.

Apart from these physically challenged and orphans, we also admit normal children to our centre.

Some of them have made a good name in this field. To name a few, 15-year-old Harsh Deep Kaur is a well-known figure in the Punjabi albums. Recently, she sang some hit songs like ‘Sajna mai hari’ in Hindi film ‘Aapko pahle bhi kabhi dekha hai’. She is also famous for imitating the popular playback singer Reshama.

Ten-year-old Charu Mehandiratta has already appeared in the cultural tele-shows, like ‘Super Star Mukabala’ and ‘Boogie-Woogie’. Recently she was crowned with Ms Shimla title.

What types of difficulties you face while handling these children?

These children are more sensitive than normal children. So they need more affection and care. While handling them, we try to convince them that they can do everything like normal children. However, in some cases their family members dampen their spirit.

What are the other activities that your organisation is engaged in?

Recently, we introduced free legal counselling for the people in distress, under the banner of our organisation. We think that these people also need this type of support.

In the absence of awareness and money, they are not capable of getting legal advice. Keeping this in view, we have started this new feature.

You have spent a long time with leprosy patients. Could you share some experiences?

Working with leprosy patients was not easy. Despite family opposition, we served these people for many years. Most of the time, I spent at Seemapuri-based Mother Teresa Centre. And nobody was ready to touch these people in that centre. The government had to deploy nurses to look after them.

Apart from these down-to-earth works, you have been constantly associated with the glamour world.

So far, my two audio and video albums have been released. One is a religious type and another is romantic in nature. Some of the songs of both the albums have been written and sung by me.

We have produced a telefilm, ‘Kaal’, for Doordarshan. I have acted in four serials for Doordarshan. We have organised many cultural shows for various organisations.

Have you received any award in this field?

I have received many awards in vocal and classical, playing keyboard and harmonium. The Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, had given an award in 1997 for best presentation of a cultural show.

The Delhi Police awarded me with best special police officer in 1999.

For my involvement with the Inner Wheel Club, I won many awards like best projects, special award for blood donation, award for best service rendered for the girl child, best service rendered for leprosy patients etc.


Some changes in DDA flats allowed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 24
In a bid to cover up the loss of time of three years, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation would be completing the phase I of the project in seven years instead of 10 years, Minister of State for Urban Development Pon Radhakrishnan said in reply to a written question. He said the DMRC had compressed the implementation period to seven years and the work on the first phase was lagging behind about six months only due to this compression.

The minister told the Rajya Sabha that the building byelaws had not been modified by the DDA. However, the government had permitted certain alterations. These included fixing a door in the back or front courtyards, converting window into an almirah subject to the availability of light and ventilation, shifting of water storage tank, covering of open terrace with sloping roof up to nine feet with lightweight material and construction of bathroom and WC in the rear courtyard subject to conditions.

Minister of Tourism and Culture Jagmohan told the House that the Archaeological Survey of India had taken up the excavation of a part of the Siri Fort wall with a view to expose its architectural features in detail. The minister denied that any excavation had been undertaken in the past.

Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare A. Raja told the Rajya Sabha that according to the AIIMS, the number of people suffering from heart diseases was increasing. Recent surveys of coronary artery disease showed a figure of nearly 10 per cent though there were great variations.

The government is considering a proposal to corporatise the Delhi Milk Scheme, Minister of State for Agriculture, Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav said.


19 injured as bus overturns
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 24
At least 19 people were injured, three of them seriously, when a bus carrying a marriage party overturned near Savitri Cinema in South Delhi late last night.

The bus, which had a capacity of 50 people, was returning from a wedding party from Rakesh Nagar village near Okhla to Sayyed village in Paschim Vihar, the police said.

As the bus approached near the cinema, it hit a road divider and overturned, injuring at least 19 people, three of them seriously, the police said.

The injured have been admitted to the AIIMS, they said. The driver of the bus, Chunni (27), had been arrested for negligent and rash driving, they added.

NDMC wins 63 prizes in Garden Fest

The Horticulture Department of the New Delhi Municipal Commission won 63 prizes in the 16th Garden Tourism Festival organised by the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC) at the Garden of Five Senses.

The three-day festival saw the participation of 11 organisations besides a number of hotels. The NDMC won 25 first prizes and 24 second prizes in various categories like hanging baskets, bonsai challenge trophy, bulbous plants, flower decorations and western style decorations.


Groom found dead in bushes
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 24
The police have found the body of a youth, identified as Satish of Juan village, from the bushes behind the under-construction building of police quarters on Sunday.

He was to get married on Thursday. It is suspected to be a case of murder as there were injury marks on his head. After the post-mortem examination, the body was handed over to his parents. According to his parents, he had gone to distribute marriage cards five days ago and had been missing since then.

Student stabbed by youths

An 18-year-old student of local CRA College has been shifted to PGIMS, Rohtak with serious injuries after he was stabbed by some youths on Sunday. The student, Sandeep, is a resident of Rithala village. One of the assailants has been identified as Sandeep alias Kalu of the same village. An old enmity is stated to be the reason behind the attack. No arrest has been made so far, though a case under various sections has been registered in the City police station.

173 cases settled

New Delhi: Lok Adalats were organised on the premises of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University to settle cases related to motor accidents, insurance claims, matrimony and bank recovery. As many as 173 cases were solved in the Lok Adalats held here today. These adalats were organised as part of the International Conference on Lok Adalat as a Mechanism of Alternate Dispute Resolution held from February 20 to February 23, which was attended by foreign delegates. TNS

Child killed in wall collapse

New Delhi: Raju (7) was killed and Munna (8) injured under the debris of a wall collapsed in Khajuri Khas in North-East district today. The injured was admitted to a nearby hospital where doctors on duty stated that the victim was in a serious condition. The victims were taken out from the debris by the local residents. The cause of the wall collapse is being investigated by police.

DTTDC office catches fire

Property worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed in the morning today when a fire reduced several computers and office records into ashes in the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation at Moolchand in South Delhi. The third floor office of DTTDC caught fire around 7.30 am following a short circuit in the office. The office had about 150 computers and several important office documents were destroyed, said an official in DTTDC. TNS


Four vehicle thieves nabbed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 24
With the arrest of four vehicle thieves, the North-East district police today claimed to have worked out 13 cases of motor vehicle theft and recovered 12 vehicles.

The accused — Nasir (28), Humanyu (37), both residents of Amroha, Anis (22), a resident of Mohalla Bara Dari, and Jahid (26), a resident of Civil Lines — used to sell stolen vehicles in different parts of Delhi and UP.

The accused told the police that they lifted the vehicles from Gokalpuri, Mandawali, Civil Lines, Lahori Gate, New Friends Colony, DBG Road, Bara Hindu Rao and Kirti Nagar.

They told the police that they were in possession of duplicate keys and used to try them on vehicles in parking lots and on roads.

Held for stabbing two

One person was arrested by the North-West district police for allegedly stabbing two persons and robbing them of Rs 24,000 in Sultanpuri on February 17. One of them died in the hospital.

The two persons, Ram Niwas and Mahavir Prashad, residents of Alwar and Hanuman Garh respectively in Rajasthan, were admitted in Sanjay Gandhi Hospital but Ram Niwas died later.

On the complaint of the victims’ relatives, the police apprehended one Gomiya, a resident of B-block in Sultanpuri. During interrogation, he told the police that his associates spotted the two victims in a marriage party with huge cash and decided to rob them. Efforts were being made to trace the remaining accused who were involved in the crime.

1 kg heroin seized

In another case, the North-West district police have arrested Rajbir Singh alias Kallu (22), a resident of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, and recovered 1 kg of fine quality heroin worth Rs 1 crore in the international market.

The accused was nabbed from the Sultanpuri area. During interrogation, he said that he had brought the consignment from one Brahm Pal from Bareilly, to be supplied in Zeeshan, Nangloi and Sultanpuri in Delhi.

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