Friday, March 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Senior RAW official dies in lift crash
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 20
A former Indian diplomatic staffer to Pakistan and senior officer of the country’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Vipin Handa was killed in a freak accident at the agency’s headquarters in the CGO Complex in South Delhi here this afternoon when his lift suddenly collapsed.

The accident occurred at 1210 hours when he was reportedly going to attend a meeting along with three other officers. Initial reports suggested that while the other officers stepped out of the lift, Handa got trapped inside the elevator which suddenly hurtled to the ground floor.

The reports said that soon afterwards, the sound of a crash was heard and officials rushed to the ground floor where Handa, an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, was found lying in a battered condition. He was extricated by forcing the doors of the lift open and rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

Handa was among the four Indian staffers in Pakistan who were expelled by Islamabad in a tit-for-tit action on January 23 this year.

The ill-fated CGO building has been sealed and an in-house inquiry has begun into the collapse of the lift.

The accident has raised questions about the maintenance of lifts in government buildings. While there was no official version, sources claimed that the lifts were inspected regularly. The staff responsible for the maintenance of lifts in the CGO building are being questioned.

The death of Handa, a very popular officer, has sent shock waves through the external intelligence agency.

The police said that a case of causing death by negligence had been registered and efforts were being made to ascertain the facts. Further investigations are on. A report of the incident has also been submitted to the Cabinet secretariat which is the administrative ministry of the agency.


Stray bullet hits child

NOIDA: The two-day festival of colours also brought out the seamy side of the revelry. A two-year-old child was shot dead accidentally during a quarrel between two brothers on Tuesday in Noida. Incidentally, the two real brothers were married to real sisters. They had a good reason to sulk this Holi: their wives had gone to their parental home. As an argument developed among the two of them, Mukesh, who was drunk, took out a revolver and fired at his brother Naresh.

One of the bullets hit two-year-old Yashwant, son of one Mohinder, who was playing on the terrace. Seeing Yashwant bleeding profusely, Mukesh reportedly fled from the spot. By the time the neighbours took the child to the hospital, he succumbed to his injuries. The police arrived and took the body into custody. OC


Naseeruddin Shah: Not always self-indulgent
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 20
Enacting the role of a blind man in ‘Sparsh’ was not half as difficult as the thought of being really blind. This thought continued to nag Naseeruddin Shah when he played a visually challenged character in the movie. It is this urge to do something for the not-so-privileged that continues to permeate Naseeruddin’s works. Shah is in the Capital with his famed production `Aapa Ke Naam’, a play written by famous Urdu writer Ismat Chugtai; it features Shah, his wife Ratna and daughter Heeba and will be staged at the FICCI Auditorium on March 24 for AADI (Action for Ability Development and Inclusion). AADI is celebrating 25 years of its work in the field of disability and development.

During his interaction with the media persons here today, Shah admitted candidly that film actors were overpaid and the privileged class can actually contribute more towards the society than it actually does. Said the actor, moved by the plight of the disabled, “As actors we do not contribute much to the society.

I myself was always in search of something which is not self-indulgent, and sharing myself with these kids is only a small effort from my side”. The “over-privileged,” as he puts it, are lacking somewhere, “which is why we shy away from such situations”.

Lauding the efforts of the AADI, he said: “It is very easy to be motivated by personal tragedy but the real credit should go to those who are dedicated and self-motivated — their passion is absolutely phenomenal”. Again, he feels more attached and content with theatre than films. ‘‘In the last three years, I have practically devoted full time to theatre and have been more prolific than ever before, bringing out three productions in a year”.

When asked if he would act in commercial cinema again, the answer was a prompt: “Not for money alone”. 


Anti-demolition rally

FARIDABAD: BJP activists will stage a demonstration on March 22 in protest against the demolition drive and the alleged lathi charge on senior party leaders here recently. The party has also decided to burn an effigy of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala on the same day. This decision was taken at a meeting of the party here today, which was attended by national general secretary of the BJP. TNS


Railway station crying out for attention
Rakesh Bhardwaj

Panipat, March 20
Even as the local railway station is crying out for attention, the higher authorities, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the Government Railway Police (GRP) appear to be indifferent. The “unauthorised” market functioning in the railway circulating area has led to chaos and traffic jam at the railway station.

Even though the station has been adopted by the Delhi Division of Northern Railway to be converted into a “model station”, there is an absence of basic facilities for rail passengers here, an employee of the railway station alleged. The toilet facility at the Panipat Railway Station is in poor condition, and passengers are forced to ease themselves on and around the platforms. The railway toilets on platform number one is found always choked and most of the time they are without proper lighting, said one agitated passenger. Even though smoking is prohibited on railway platforms, the people, including the police personnel hardly care for such instructions.

Being an industrial town, traders approach the railway staff for immediate movement of their consignments “on consideration”. The collections from the sale of tickets is Rs.20.05 crore yearly, whereas the collection from goods booking, including those from the Panipat Refinery, Thermal Power Station and National Fertilisers Limited, was around Rs 192 crores for the year 2002-2003 (upto March 15).

Most of the water taps at the station are either defective or are used for purposes other than those for which they are meant. The seating capacity at the platforms is inadequate and there is no waiting hall for passengers of the second class. Second class passengers, who normally come early to catch the trains, have to sit in the open if their trains are delayed. The public telephones (Yellow boxes) installed a year ago, are either out of order or rendered in-operational by the STD/PCO operators, and the rail passengers are forced at the mercy of STD/PCO operators, who often hike their charges. Even though a number of representations have been made to the railway authorities, little has been done to solve these basic problems existing at the Panipat Railway Station.

Textiles Manufacturers to meet FM

The newly formed “sangarsh samiti” of Handloom Textiles Manufacturers Association has decided to meet the Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, on March 24 and request him to withdraw of Excise duty imposed on handloom products in the recently announced Union Budget.

Moreover, the association is also disturbed over the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT) system on handloom products, which would be a major burden, particularly on the small-scale units. With the announcement of 14 per cent Excise duty on handloom products in the Union Budget, and the decision of the Haryana Government to impose VAT from April 1, the industry leaders feel that the industry would be throttled. Their memorandum to the Minister of State for Home, Mr. I.D.Swami, has been returned to the association without any fruitful results.

“It is a fact that more than 18 to 20 per cent of the total handloom products in the country are manufactured in Panipat town alone,” stated the president of the Handloom Association, Mr Ashok Banga. With around Rs 2,500 to Rs 3000 crore turnover per month, the representatives of the industry had met the Minister of State for Home, Mr I.D.Swami and requested him to intervene on their behalf.

Mr Swami had assured the industrialists that he would take up the matter with the concerned authorities.


BJYM to undertake 12-day yatra
Our Correspondent 

Rohtak, March 20
The Haryana unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) will organise a 12-day ‘Yuva Chetna Yatra’, which would start from Palwal on March 26 and culminate at Ambala on April 6.

In a statement here today, Mr Pradeep Jain, secretary and spokesman of the state unit, said the party activists would cover this 1,100-km long journey by road, using nearly 500 vehicles, including scooters and motorcycles. He said the ‘yatra’ would be inaugurated by Mr G. Kishan Reddy, national president of the BJYM, while state president Subhash Barala and other party activists would accompany the yatra.

Mr Pradeep Jain said several important issues pertaining to the youth, including education, employment, sports and hygiene, would be discussed during the yatra. Besides, efforts would be made to develop leadership traits among the youth and groom them for their participation in the issues of national interest, he said.

The achievements of the Vajpayee-led NDA Government would also be highlighted during the yatra, he added. Mr Rattan Lal Kataria, MP and president of the Haryana BJP, would perform the concluding ceremony.


Doctor killed in mishap

REWARI: Dr Anil Sachdeva, a noted radiologist and sinologist of the town and proprietor of local Manohar Diagnostic Centre and Sanjeevani Hospital, died in a road accident here on Tuesday.

He along with his family and other relatives was returning home from a hotel in the afternoon. He received a call on his cellular phone. While attending the call, he lost control of the wheel of the Tata Safari and rammed into a truck parked on the National Highway 8 near Kasaula Chowk, 8 km from here.

Dr Sachdeva, whose condition grew critical on account of multiple injuries, was rushed to a private hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. OC


DSIDC employee robbed of Rs 2.5 lakh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 20
Two armed persons today robbed Rs 2.5 lakh from an employee of the DSIDC in Alaknanada in South district. They also shot at the constable who was escorting the employee.

The incident occurred around 2.30 pm. The employee was intercepted by two youths on a two-wheeler, who snatched his bag. When the constable resisted their attempt, the youths fired at him and ran away with the booty. The constable, Dinesh, was taken to Batra Hospital where is reported to be out of danger.

Suicide pact

Bheem Singh (20) and Sita (28), wife of Chander Bahadur, who works as a gardener in Kapshera, reportedly committed suicide in a vacant room in Bijwasan today. Bheem Singh’s body was found hanging from a ceiling fan while Sita had consumed poison.

A suicide note recovered from the spot mentioned that both had an affair and took the extreme step as they were unable to marry. Sita and her husband were Bheem’s tenants in Bijwasan.

25 hurt in clashes

Sonepat: At least 25 persons, including a woman, were injured in clashes among Holi revellers in different parts of the district yesterday. According to a report, 16 persons were rushed to the local civil hospital. Of them, seven persons were discharged after being administered first aid. The police are still investigating into the cases.

According to another report, three persons, Vir Singh, Jai Singh and Krishan Singh, were injured in clashes in Baroli, Mohana and Pinana villages of the district. All the injured persons were immediately hospitalised and they are stated to be out of danger. OC


Ex-armyman pumps bullets into three during scuffle
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, March 20
A retired armyman shot dead three persons, including his real brother, during a scuffle that broke out following a quarrel between their children at the nearby Sanghi village last evening. The other two victims were also said to be real brothers. The police arrested the assailant, Rajender, with the help of the villagers.

According to information, children of the families of Hukam Chand and Jage Ram quarrelled over something on Wednesday evening. The dispute soon turned into a violent scuffle and the elders of both the families came out of their houses with sticks and ‘jellis’.

Meanwhile, Rajender took out his licensed gun and reached the rooftop of his house at around 7 pm. He reportedly opened fire indiscriminately on the members of the other party. Krishan, real brother of the assailant, died on the spot while Sri Ram and Surajmal, sons of Mr Hukam Chand, succumbed to their injuries at the PGIMS.

It is learnt that the assailant continued firing even after three persons, including his real brother, fell to the ground in a pool of blood. He fired five rounds. He was overpowered by village sarpanch Richhpal Singh after the former exhausted his stock of bullets. Several persons, including a woman, sustained injuries in the incident and were admitted to the PGIMS. All the victims were cremated after post-mortem examinations today.


Woman burnt to death for dowry

JHAJJAR: A woman was allegedly burnt to death by her husband and in-laws in Nilothi village of the district, the police said here today. The police informed that Baljit of Mandothi village lodged a complaint with the district police that his daughter was burnt by her husband and other family members. He reported that he was informed on the night on March 15 that his daughter, Poonam, was admitted to the medical college hospital in Rohtak with burn injuries. When he reached the hospital, his daughter told him that her in-laws had burnt her after sprinkling kerosene oil on her. OC


Hunt for eight armed men
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 20
The police have launched a hunt for eight armed miscreants who had reportedly snatched Rs 50,000 in cash near Chitana village, about 9 km from here recently.

According to a report, Mr Randhir Singh, a resident of Mahra village, was returning home along with his two associates, Rajinder and Jai Bhagwan, with an amount of Rs 50,000.

They were waylaid by a group of armed miscreants when they reached near a canal bridge of Chitana village.

Rajinder sustained head injuries when the miscreants assaulted him with weapons. Thereafter, they snatched the cash bag and fled.

The injured person was immediately hospitalised and is stated to be out of danger. The injured person and his associates have identified three of the alleged assailants and the police have registered cases against them. The incident has caused a panic among the residents of the village.

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