Thursday, July 17, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Couple waylaid, citizens thwart bid to whisk away woman
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
In a rare instance of Delhiites shedding their traditional apathy, a group of residents of Sector 6, Dwarka, last night came to the rescue of a woman who was being abducted by two men in a van. The residents managed to save the woman and at the same time helped the police trace the two suspects by dutifully noting the registration number of the vehicle.

According to the police, the incident occurred late last night when Lalit Kashyap, an architect, and his wife were driving from Dwarka to Palam Vihar. A van overtook them and forced Lalit to halt in front of Sector 6 at around 11.50 pm. The two occupants of the van, subsequently identified as Harjeet and Deepak, got down and allegedly pulled Lalit out of the car after assaulting him and tried to drive away with the car and the woman.

In a state of shock, the couple started screaming for help at the top of their voices, which attracted the attention of some residents who rushed to the aid of the beleaguered couple.

When the two suspects saw a group of people rushing towards them, they aborted their attempt, jumped into the van and sped away. However, the alert residents noted down the registration number of the van. The police, for once, responded with alacrity. Armed with the registration number and a detailed description of the van, the police swung into action and nabbed the suspects within a couple of hours.

The police said that this was perhaps the first attempt by the two suspects who have no previous criminal record. Both of them are residents of Raj Nagar Palam Colony near the area where the incident occurred. They are still being interrogated.

Senior police officers said it was heartening to note that some residents had fulfilled their social obligation and referred to the incident as an exemplary case of police – citizen cooperation. “If this trend continues, the job of the police would become much easier and it would be more difficult for criminals to operate”, remarked a senior police officer.


Let Sonia spell out stand on statehood, says Khurana
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
Delhi Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Madan Lal Khurana says the Union Ministry of Law is ready with the Bill on statehood for the NCT of Delhi. The Bill will be placed before the Union Cabinet before it is introduced in Parliament.

“But for that to happen,” Mr Khurana told mediapersons today, “the Indian National Congress (INC) president Sonia Gandhi will have to spell out her party’s stand on the State of the NCT of Delhi under Article 371 of the Constitution.” Mr Khurana’s “pre-condition” for the introduction of the Bill came in response to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s statement yesterday. Ms Dikshit had said “full” statehood was a misnomer and that the “Pondicherry” model would be apt. Mr Khurana said the Chief Minister had changed her stand to accommodate the interests of her party’s leadership. “She had been demanding full statehood, but yesterday she suddenly proposed a Pondicherry-type model where the police would be a concurrent subject.”

While Ms Dikshit maintains that land (read Delhi Development Authority; and Planning) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi should come to vest in the Government of the NCT of Delhi, Mr Khurana wants land and law and order (read Delhi Police.) Mr Khurana claims the Chief Minister had forwarded a proposal for full statehood to Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani but now that ‘she thinks the passage of the Bill may benefit the BJP in the Assembly elections and has changed her stand.”

Joining issue with Ms Dikshit for criticising the office of the Lieutenant-Governor, Mr Khurana said there was no need for a Lieutenant-Governor at all. “We need to have a full statehood. The Chief minister should be the only authority,” he told reporters. The DPCC reacted to Mr Khurana’s assertions with the usual contempt. Sources in the DPCC said the Chief Minister was quoted as saying that nomenclature need not be a bone of contention and that she had not changed her stand at all.

The DPCC hit out at the Delhi Pradesh BJP by demanding that the Union Government make one thousand-odd colonies legal by recognising the right of life of the people living in them. DPCC president Prem Singh reminded the Centre of the resolution passed in the Assembly.


MDU official challenges move to scrap posts
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, July 16
Mr Ishwar Singh Sharma, Deputy Chief Security Officer with Maharshi Dayanand University, has challenged the process initiated by the university to abolish the posts of Controller, Security, Chief Security Officer and Deputy Chief Security Officer in a court here today. The recommendations to abolish these posts have been included in the agenda of the 167th meeting of the Executive Council of the university scheduled for July 21. The court has issued notice of motion to the defendants returnable on July 18. The plaintiff is under suspension. He has already separately challenged this in the court.

Mr Sharma has alleged the Vice-Chancellor, Maj-Gen Bhim Singh Suhag (retd), has become vengeful against him for personal reasons and at the instance of defendant no 5, who is a close relative of the Vice-Chancellor, is trying to abolish the post against which he is working. The defendants, he further alleged, were trying to abolish the post in consequence of a report of a committee which was headed by Mr Jai Kishan Sharma, then Pro vice Chancellor. The committee had held its meeting on September 27, 2002. This committee was constituted just to get rid of the plaintiff since the recommendations adversely affected his employment conditions.

Mr Sharma said the report of the committee would be placed in the meeting of the Executive Council slated for July 21. The meeting, he said, had been scheduled in a mala fide manner since at least two persons from the university teaching departments were poised to join the Executive Council on July 23 and these members may have raised a hue and cry over the illegal activities of the defendants.

Just to avoid these two new members, the meeting of the Executive Council had been fixed for July 21 to secretly pass a resolution abolishing the post of the plaintiff and appoint him to the post of Senior Storekeeper. In the same meeting, the Chief Security Officer (defendant no 5) was going to be rewarded with the post of Director, Youth Welfare, against all legal norms and ethics of administration since he (defendant no 5) was a close relative of the Vice-Chancellor, he said in his petition.

Mr Sharma said the Vice-Chancellor had no authority to constitute the committee which held its meeting on September 27 last. Also, the members of the said committee were neither competent nor qualified to discuss and consider the matter referred to them. The recommendations of the committee without conducting work audit were arbitrary and contrary to settled principles of administration.

The report of the committee was biased and mala fide and intended solely to harm his rights, interests and career.

Though apparently the committee considered restructuring and downsizing of staff of at least six departments, but the recommendations were made regarding the security office. He said the post against which he was presently working was equivalent to that of Superintendent but he was being appointed to a lower post of Senior Storekeeper, which had been lying vacant for the past 27 years. The action of the university would close all doors of promotion to the plaintiff. The university or any of its authorities had no power under the Maharshi Dayanand University Act to change the posts or designation of confirmed and regular employees to their detriment, he said.


These hapless kids study under God’s umbrella 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 16
Believe it or not but a government primary school of Idgah Colony has been functioning in a public street since July 1 as there is no building from which the school can operate.

According to a report, the teachers of this school have forced the students to sit in the open in the street for studies as the authorities concerned have so far failed to provide any building for the school and make any alternative arrangement for shifting it to the covered area. This has caused much resentment among the students and the parents.

Inquiries made by this correspondent have revealed the state government had opened this school in 1993 for the students belonging to the minority community. The school had functioned in a house till 1997 when it was got vacated by the owner of this house because of fear of occupation by the government.

Thereafter, it had functioned in the public streets again for sometime till it was shifted to a godown of the Sonepat Cooperative Marketing Society. The godown contains only two rooms and classes were held in these rooms which caused hardships to both the students and the teachers.

In a bid to get the godown vacated, the officials of the samiti used to lock it in March and April every year but on the intervention of the district authorities the samiti allowed the school to function in it. Finally, they threw the furniture and other goods of the school from the godown on May 19 and locked it. However, on account of summer vacation, the furniture and the goods were kept in a private house till July 1when the school reopened and started functioning in a public street. Since then, the authorities concerned have failed to shift the school to another building. There are 150 students who are studying there.


DU Day I
Days of good old ragging over?
Smriti Kak
Tribune News Service

There was a huge traffic jam outside Delhi University North campus on the first day of the session on Wednesday.
There was a huge traffic jam outside Delhi University North campus on the first day of the session on Wednesday. — Tribune Photo Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, July 16
It was low-key ragging as Delhi University began its new academic session here today. There were hardly any couples tying the nuptial knot, no awkward boys chasing girls with flowers, and certainly no indecent proposals. Across the campus, under the watchful gaze of the anti-ragging squads, the vocal prowess of a few was being tested as was the IQ of others. Though colleges had taken stringent steps to ensure that ragging is kept to a minimum bearable level, some students were nonetheless “caught” ragging.

Students being put through light-hearted fun on the first day of the new academic session at Delhi University on Wednesday.
RAG GAG: Students being put through light-hearted fun on the first day of the new academic session at Delhi University on Wednesday. — Tribune Photo Mukesh Aggarwal

In Kirori Mal College, despite the entry being restricted to students, two boys from the School of Correspondence were caught creating trouble. “These students were caught in the compound ragging new students”, said the Principal, Dr Bhim Sen Singh. The students were reprimanded and let off. “We do not want to take them to the police but action will be taken. They have been given a warning”, he added.

Interestingly, it was the students who seemed to “miss the fun”. “It is bad to rag, but a general round of introduction with the seniors is not harmful. It is a way to get to know your seniors and besides it can lead to developing friendships”, said Neha, a second year student at Miranda House.

While one could only catch a glimpse of a few students singing bawdy numbers most others were happy introducing themselves in “chaste Hindi” and “reciting numbers backwards”.

“The ragging here has been a low-key affair. We have been strictly advised to avoid ragging. Those caught will have their identity cards seized apart from strict action being taken against them”, said a student of Hindu College, who, despite being on the anti-ragging squad, was “looking forward to the excitement to die down,” to allow them to “acquaint themselves with the juniors”.

Canteens and college backyards were the hot spots for the “interaction” between the seniors and the newcomers. In St Stephens, the canteen provided the ground for a “catwalk” as also a stint in “addressing the public” while standing on chairs.

While most colleges claim to have informed the students about the revised timetables and the 25 per cent internal assessment, students were largely unaware. “We just saw on the notice board that we will have classes from 9 am till 4.20 pm, but we are not sure about the assessment bit”, said Payal, a student of Kirori Mal College.

“Students will have to maintain the 65 per cent mandatory attendance, but those who have above 90 per cent attendance will be given five marks in the final score. Besides, there will be marks given on the basis of the performance in the mid-term exams”, pointed out Dr Bhim Singh.

He went on to add, “With the internal assessment requirement things will really improve, teachers will have to be more regular and even the principals will have to take four classes per week”.


Cops & handloom lobby shielding illegal settlers
Tribune News Service

Panipat, July 16
Warnings from intelligence agencies regarding disruptive activities of illegal Bangladeshis notwithstanding, thousands of illegal immigrants continue to work in the handloom city.

In fact, the local police continue to turn a blind eye to their presence. The lackadaisical attitude can be gauged from the fact that nine months after the launch of Operation Talaash, the police are yet to nab a single Bangladeshi.

On October 7 last year the police had arrested 21 illegal immigrants from a factory here. Following media criticism that the police were not registering the illegal immigrants under the Foreigner Registration Act, the police had launched Operation Talaash with much fanfare. Under the operation, SHOs and DSPs were asked to verify the records of thousands of handloom factories which employ settlers. But like all other official campaigns this one, too, lost its momentum.

It is alleged that the operation was called off following pressure from the powerful handloom lobby. Sources reveal that the presence of illegal immigrants is a major money-spinner for the police with industrialists employing the Bangladeshis becoming the proverbial milch cow.

Intelligence agencies do keep their headquarters informed of the presence of the illegal immigrants. However, they cannot prosecute the settlers or their employers.

Employing Bangladeshis has certain inherent advantages. Since the labour is cheaper, the exporters prefer it. Being aliens they can be shown the door any time without recourse to notice, a top exporter told NCR Tribune on the condition of anonymity.

On the other hand, flushing out illegal immigrants is not easy. Since Bangladeshis resemble their West Bengal counterparts, it is difficult to identify them. Nor does the police have the staff for this purpose.

Handloom manufacturers, on their part, contend that they can hardly report the presence of Bangladeshis in their factories to the police since the labourers is supplied by the contractors.

However, in private, they concede that Panipat’s exports, which touched Rs 1,400 crore last year, will suffer if all illegal settlers are deported. They claim the Bangladeshis are a peaceful community looking for greener pastures.


Rebel DSGMC leader withdraws election orders
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
The recent attempt by the united Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to wrest control of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) received a setback as one of its rebel leaders suddenly withdrew his election orders which were aimed at ousting the present president, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, who has so far refused to merge his outfit with the dal.

DSGMC sources said the senior DSGMC vice-president Shams her Singh Sandhu last evening withdrew his orders for electing a new executive on July 24, which he had passed last month while officiating in the absence of committee president Paramjit Singh Sarna whose one-year-term expires on that date. Mr Sarna had maintained that the orders issued at that time had no legal sanction even as the rebels dared him to challenge the same in the courts.

DSGMC president Sarna, who swept last year’s DSGMC general election with the blessings of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, has refused to merge his faction with the SAD after the patch-up between former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Mr Sarna and his supporters have said they will merge with the united Akali Dal only if Mr Tohra asks them to do so in writing.

While Mr Sarna is considered close to the Congress, SAD is allied with the BJP and some observers see these attempts as a fight to garner the votes of the sizeable Sikh population in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

The sudden withdrawal of orders has come as a reprieve for Mr Sarna whose support base had shrunk after the shock election announcement by Mr Sandhu. His move at that time had received support from a large number of SAD leaders, including Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.

Highly placed DSGMC sources said the turnaround in the Sikh politics here came when the DSGMC chief rushed to a Mehrauli shrine leader to seek his intervention in a bid to defuse the crisis.

The head of the shrine, Baba Virsa Singh of Gobind Sadan here, reportedly said the elections should be held only when there is a clear unanimity.

Mr Sarna, who had fiercely criticised his predecessors for jumping the election schedule of the DSGMC, sought a month-and-a-half to hold elections with unanimity, the source added. However, SAD’s Delhi unit chief Avtar Singh Hit and Mr Sarna’s predecessor regretted that putting off elections would encourage horsetrading. 


Heroin worth Rs 11 cr seized; two held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
The Delhi Police Narcotics Branch today claimed to have seized 11 kilograms of fine quality heroin and arrested two persons in different cases. The international value of the heroin is Rs 11 crore, according to police.

The police which received a tip-off that a drug peddler has been involved in the supply of huge quantity of drugs in Delhi, constituted a team under the supervision of SHO (Narcotics), Satyaprakash Kaushik.

As there was information that the peddler would be coming near the Punjab and Sindh Bank in the vicinity of Golcha cinema to meet his contact, the team spotted one person at around 9 pm with a suitcase.

The sleuths already waiting for him, swung into action and overpowered him. The police later found that he was in possession of 10 kilograms of heroin in the suitcase. He was later identified as Ibrahim Sheikh (36), hailing from Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh and was in Delhi to supply drugs.

During interrogation, he told the police that he has been in the business for the last seven years and since his father used to cultivate opium, he eventually landed in the business. He used to supply in Fatehpuri, Jama Masjid and Nizamuddin areas in Delhi.

During his frequent visits to supply drugs in Delhi, he took sufficient precautions to evade the police. He also used to stay at hotels during his trips. During this visit, he stayed in a guest house at Fatehpuri.

The Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime), Mr P Kamaraj, said that since the accused had disclosed to the police that he used to receive the drugs in Madhya Pradesh, the police teams would be sent to identify his associates and local contacts there.

In Delhi, he also procures chemicals from Tilak Marg for selling them to the manufacturers of heroin in Mandsaur and Neemach.

In another case on July 13, the Narcotics branch has arrested one Mohammad Hussain (48), resident of Lal Kuan and seized one kilogram of heroin worth Rs 1 crore in the international market.


Clear outstanding bills for regular power supply: HVPVN
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 16
The Haryana Vidyut Prasaran and Vitaran Nigam has asked the people to clear their outstanding electricity bills if they want uninterrupted power supply in the state.

Addressing a rural gathering at Chatia Aulia village, about 15 km from here on Monday, Mr Bhup Singh Rathi, Chairman, HVPVN said the Nigam was purchasing bulk quantity of power at higher rates from other states so as to supply it at subsidised rates. This, he said, put a great financial burden on the Nigam every month. If the people failed to clear the arrears, the power supply could not be improved in the state.

He disclosed that a sum of Rs 1,450 crore was outstanding against the consumers including Rs 900 crore due from those in the rural areas.

Urging the consumers, particularly those in rural areas to clear their outstanding bills, he said that lack of funds is hampering the purchases of electricity transformers and other equipment.

Mr Rathi also disclosed that staff shortage (of 12,000 employees) was also causing problems for the consumers.

The HVPVN, he said, has now decided to recruit at least 6,000 personnel to meet the power crisis in the state.

Mr Rathi claimed that the power supply situation was better in Haryana as compared to the other states. The HVPVN, he said, was supplying as many as 650 lakh units every day to the consumers which was the highest in the state.

Referring to the power crisis in the state, Mr Rathi disclosed that due to technical faults, there was a loss of at least 25 per cent of power, in addition to 25 per cent which was being lost on account of thefts.

The HVPVN, he said, was taking steps to check the cases of power thefts and penalise the erring consumers.

Earlier, Mr Rathi listened to the complaints of the rural consumers in around 20 villages and assured them that the power crisis will end within a week.


BSNL phones catch a cold in rain-hit Faridabad
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 16
It takes only the rains to open one’s eyes to the difference between government and private phone service. While the phone connections given by the government-owned BSNL ‘caught cold’ one after another as the heavens opened, private landline phones in this industrial township somehow have attained immunity.

It is reported that hundreds of phones of the BSNL have become non-functional in various parts of the town in the past about 10 days, when the rains hit the area for the first time in the season. While the exact number of defective connections are not known, it is estimated that at least 10 to 15 per cent of the phones have been affected directly or indirectly. Although some BSNL phones are working, there has been a constant disturbance in the line. And on occasions, the users fail to hear what the person on the other end is saying despite speaking loudly.

The BSNL has about 1.31 lakh connections in the district. Of these, a majority are in the urban areas. The department has been trying to reduce overhead cables in urban pockets. However, the rains and waterlogging have caused snags in the lines in several areas, especially in the low-lying ones.

It is learnt that about 1,000 phone connections have gone out of order in the Tigaon area alone. Similar complaints have come in from both rural and urban areas.

Mr Shailender Singh, a journalist residing at Daultabad village in Sector 16-A, said his phone had been out of order for at least six days. “I tried to speak to several senior officials, but all my attempts went in vain. Finally, I had to contact the General Manager to get the fault rectified,” he added.

On the other hand, an owner of a chemist shop in old Faridabad, who has phone connections of both the BSNL and a private company, claimed that in the past few days, he has been using the private phone. If one picks up the BSNL phone, there is a constant buzz in the line. He added that the private phone is working well despite the rains. He never had to book any complaint since the installation of this phone.

While the BSNL authorities have announced several measures in the past to improve its services, it seems that the quality of underground cables laid by the department is well below the standard. The BSNL has offered to provide new connections within 48 hours and an additional phone on a payment of Rs 50 only to old subscribers. But what is the use if the existing ones are not working, ask subscribers.


Power employees hold ‘darbars’ to be in a good light
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 16
The employees of the state electricity department, known as ‘Bijli Vitran Nigam’, have adopted a novel way to improve their image and put pressure on the authorities, charged with privatising the services and dumping the interests of the staff.

The All Haryana Power Corporation Workers Union (AHPCWU), representing over 20,000 employees of the Nigam, has started holding its own ‘darbars’ (direct contact programme) on the pattern of the ones held by the state government and district officials to listen to the grievances of consumers.

Through this way, the union feels that the label of ‘inefficiency’ and ‘corruption’ pinned on the employees would be jettisoned and the officials could get to know that the staff were equally concerned about improving the functioning of the department. Moreover, it would be known that the ongoing privatisation of the wings of the power department was not in the interest of either the employees or the consumers, the union surmises.

The district unit of the AHPCWU held its first ‘darbar’ here on Monday and claimed to have solved as many as 34 out of

total 37 complaints received. Of the complaints entertained, about 12 of them had been of wrong billing and wrong reading of meters. About 16 people reported that they had not received the bills on time.

The AHPCWU spokesman, Mr Subhash Lamba, said that it was part of the programme launched by the union to improve its relations with the consumers.

He said it had been a normal practice on the part of senior officials to blame inefficiency or wrong decision on Class III and Class IV employees.

Claiming that corruption begins in the top echelons and percolates down to the lower staff, he said it was wrong to say that only the linemen or clerks were corrupt or inefficient and they were responsible for any mess in the department.

He said the majority of the employees were doing their duties properly and following the directions of their seniors.

He said that the state government and the top authorities had been carrying on privatisation and handing over various duties to contractors without realising the damage caused to the employees and the consumers.

He said the work of transmission and distribution of power was a basic amenity and the changes brought by the state government would result in the overall collapse of the system in near future, as he alleged that the ultimate motive behind privatisation was to benefit some persons close to the influential persons. He charged that the equipment including electronic meters that had been purchased during the years had been defective and demanded that all purchases be probed by an independent agency.

Alleging that while all was done to tarnish the image of government staff and benefit the persons close to power, the union said that the experiments of privatisation of power had failed so far.


No DAP stocks in co-op godowns; sowing suffers
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 16
There has been no supply of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) in the co-operative godowns in villages for the past one week, forcing the farmers to buy it from the open market at higher rates. This is happening when paddy sowing is in full swing after the monsoon rains last week.

The Co-operative Department has opened mini godowns in the villages to supply agriculture inputs like fertlizers, seeds, pesticides, insecticides etc at government rates to the farmers at their doorstep. Most of the supplies are made against loans, which are termed as crop loans.

The DAP is a very essential input and is applied just before sowing. However, Hafed authorities have not ensured the supplies for the last one week, according to reports from villages. And the farmers have no other option than to buy it from private traders, reportedly at higher rates.

They have to pay in cash to these traders. The poor farmers cannot afford to do so as they depend entirely on crop loans, which are a half-yearly exercise and conducted through the mini-banks of the Central Co-operative Bank in Sonepat.

The district general secretary of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, Mr Braham Singh Dahiya, has blamed the Hafed authorities for this situation. He alleged that despite the government directions to arrange sufficient stock of fertilizers before the onset of monsoon, the Hafed authorities had neglected these and the entire stock available in the district had exhausted a week ago.

A large number of farmers have reportedly delayed the sowing of paddy due to the shortage of DAP and the matter has been brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner for immediate action.


CPM blames Irrigation Dept for flooding of fields
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 16
The district committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has expressed its concern over the failure of the Irrigation Department officials to pump out canal water from the fields of Hullaheri, Chitana and Khizarpur Majra villages, leading to the ruining of standing crops. They have also urged the state government to grant compensation at the rate of Rs 25,000 per acre to the affected farmers immediately.

In a press release issued here today, the party pointed out that the breach occurred in the Delhi Branch of the Western Yamuna Canal (WYC) was caused by the negligence of the Irrigation Department authorities, as an outlet was so weak that it failed to withstand the flow in the canal.

The party also stated that several thousand acres of land were submerged with the canal water and the standing crops, including paddy, jowar and guwar were damaged. This had also resulted in flood-like conditions in the villages. It demanded immediate steps to drain out water from the fields.


Desh Bandhu Gupta: Too illustrious a son to be forgotten in hometown
Rakesh Bhardwaj

Panipat, July 16
Panipat is proud of being the birthplace of fighters, poets, war heroes and freedom fighters. One of the gems from here was Maulana Altaf Hussain Hali. Another was Desh Bandhu Gupta. He became famous in Haryana but also all over India. The only problem is that not many people here know that he belonged to Panipat, then a sub-tehsil of Karnal.

He was a strong candidate for the Chief Minister’s post during the first Delhi Assembly but fate willed otherwise; he was killed in an air crash in 1951.A road and a college in Delhi is named after him but his own town does not have anything to show that it remembers its illustrious son even after 53 years of his death.

He was born on June 14, 1901 in the house of prominent Urdu poet and president of several Arya Samaj educational institutions Lala Shadi Ram. He was called Rati Ram. His early education was completed in a madrasa in Panipat. For higher studies, he joined St Stephen’s College, Delhi, and came in contact with freedom fighters and revolutionary leaders like Lala Hardayal and National Muslim League leader Asaf Ali.

Besides notching up first positions in studies, he took active part in social activities in the college and excelled in them too. He became a member of the Arya Samaj in Chawri Bazar in Delhi and undertook several welfare activities. During the arrival of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak in Delhi, Rati Ram left no stone unturned to make the programme a success. During the Roulette Act agitation on March 30, 1919, 14 persons were killed and hundreds injured in police firing. Rati Ram was the person at the age of 18 who donated blood and also motivated others to do the same in that crisis situation.

When Swami Shradhanand desired to have a “samarak” in the name of “Roulette Act martyrs”, Rati Ram went to each house in each lane of the town and collected donations for purchasing the Pataudi house building for the purpose.

On the call of the Mahatma to maintain communal amity, the women wing of the Delhi Pradesh Congress called upon Rati Ram to speak on Hindu-Muslim unity as the chief guest. During his speech, he spoke against the British Government in highly “objectionable” words and was banned from making speeches anywhere in Delhi. He went back to Karnal district to serve the people of that area on the suggestion by Lala Lajpat Rai.

Rati Ram along with local leaders visited Karnal and Panipat. Wherever he went in Panipat town to publicise the policies of Mahatma Gandhi, the people welcomed him with flowers.

He returned to Delhi and joined the Tilak school of politics founded by Lala Lajpat Rai. Rati Ram would always say that win political battles, arms of truthfulness and morality were required. He was a confidant of Lala Lajpat Rai who entrusted him with the job of editing ‘Vandemataram’.

In all his speeches, Rati Ram called upon the people to uplift Dalits and to remove untouchability. On January 5, 1922, Rati Ram was appointed publicity secretary, as he followed the directives of superiors in making the Delhi visit of Prince of Wales on November 17 a total failure. On successfully completing this assignment and due to his other social works, Rati Ram was re-named “Desh Bandhu“ by Swami Shradhanand.

Ehen Gandhiji suspended the non-cooperation movement due to the Chora-Chori tragedy Desh Bandhu was released from jail. He left Panipat and settled in Delhi. He continued his contact with Panipat. He used to visit Panipat for attending programmes and in association with local leader Lala Khem Chand, he moved among the public to maintain unity among Hindus and Muslims.

People here used to remember his services during the riots between Hindus and Muslims in 1923, 1926 and 1936. Every time, Desh Bandhu would appeared on the scene and bring about amity between the two communities.

Desh Bandhu was the first to start the independence movement of Haryana, which was a part of Punjab. This movement was blessed by the Mahatma and had received recognition from Haryana politicians. Haryana was carved out of Punjab on November 1, 1966, 15 years after his death.

In 1942, Desh Bandhu and his wife took active part in the Quit India movement. He became the editor of Urdu ‘Tej’ newspaper published from Delhi. The paper was started by Swami Shradhanand. After Swamiji’s death on December 23, 1926, Desh Bandhu controlled the newspaper till his death.

Desh Bandhu always stood for a free and independent press and he opposed every Bill, which curtailed the freedom of the press. In 1951, Desh Bandhu had to attend a convention in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and his seat was not confirmed. But by chance, Shri Dev Das Gandhi dropped his plan to fly due to some work in Delhi and Desh Bandhu was accommodated. The plane crashed in air near the Calcutta airport, killing all passengers.

The Deputy Commissioner has promised that he would do his best to set up some sort of a memorial to this illustrious son of Panipat. The Citizen Council of Panipat, in a letter to the Chief Minister of Haryana, has sought his approval to such an arrangement as well as installation of a statue here.


Seven panches resign to protest against ‘lack of development’ 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 16
At least seven out of 11 panches of Garhi Sisana village gram panchayat have submitted their resignations to the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Kharkhauda in the district in protest against the ‘failure’ of the state government to carry out the development works in the villages.

According to a report, the panches include Mr Ram Kumar, Mr Sat Narain, Mr Krishan, Ms Parmeshwari, Ms Santosh, Mr Mukesh and Ms Ram Rati.

Power crisis

Sonepat city and its adjoining areas continue to be in the grip of severe power crisis. According to a report, power breakdowns, low voltage and unannounced load-shedding have become a routine in the last few months.

To make matters worse, the authorities as well as the subordinate staff of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) are tight-lipped about the erratic power supply in the region.

The areas fed by the essential feeder including Mohalla Kalan, Ram Bazar and Faiz Bazar remained powerless for three hours, causing inconvenience to thousands of residents living in this area.

According to the residents, repeated complaints made to the officials concerned in this regard have failed to solve the problem.

Meanwhile, at least a dozen villages of this district have remained powerless for the past 11 days after a major fault developed in the 33 KV power sub-station at Farmana village.

The affected villages include Farmana, Jasrana, Nizampur Majra, Ridhao, Mauzam Nagar, Salimsar Majr, Mahipur, Tihar Malik, Guhna, Pinana and Bohla.

Many residents complained that the water supply has also been paralysed in the absence of adequate power supply.

Tubewells and other electric machines have been lying idle and there has been an acute shortage of fodder for the milch and other animals.

The residents also alleged that the UHBVN officials have so far failed to rectify the fault in the 33 KV sub-station, which falls under the jurisdiction of Gohana sub-division and the supply is being made available from Rohtak.

Probe demanded

Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, MP and the vice-president of the Haryana BJP has expressed concern over the diversion of rationed commodities in the black market by the owners of some fair price shops with the connivance of certain officials of the Food and Supplies Department in the city and elsewhere. Mr Sangwan demanded a high-level probe into the racket and stern action against the corrupt depot holders and the officials of the department.

Speaking to the mediapersons here today, he alleged that the families living below the poverty line (BPL) had been denied their quota of subsidised ration and the officials of the Food and Supplies Department had failed to take action against the erring depot holders.

He alleged that the BPL families were being given ‘atta’ at the rate of Rs 5.65 per kg instead of wheat, the rate of which has been fixed at Rs 4.65 per kg.

He demanded that the government should distribute wheat among such families as was being distributed in other districts of the state.

Meanwhile, the Food and Supplies Department has cancelled the licences of three fair price shops after the detection of serious irregularities in the distribution of rationed commodities in Sonepat district.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwan Singh, told mediapersons here today that the department had also ordered the suspension of the supply of rationed commodities to five other fair price shops on similar ground.

The department, he said, had also issued notices to nine other fair price shops asking them to explain why their licences should not be cancelled for irregularities and malpractices in the distribution of rationed commodities. He claimed that the department had taken a series of measures to streamline the public distribution system (PDS) in this district.

The officials of the department, he said, had checked 13 petrol pumps, eight LPG agencies and two brick kilns last month.


NCR Briefs
250 houses demolished in Ekta Nagar
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 16
About 250 houses in Ekta Nagar, located in Sector 27-A, were razed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) today. The colony, existed for almost 10 years, had allegedly been built on HUDA land. The residents, who had been served notices under Section 18(1) of the HUDA Act, had vacated their dwellings by the time the bulldozers started their work. The residents claimed that they had ration cards and legal power connections for the dwellings.

Executive Council meet

Rohtak: Seven candidates contesting for the Executive Council and the University Court of the Maharshi Dayanand University have demanded the postponement of the meeting of the Executive Council slated for July 21 till the completion of the election process. The elections to two seats of the Executive Council and two seats of the University Court are scheduled for July 23 and the vice-chancellor has convened a meeting of the Executive Council on July 21.

The signatories to the memorandum were Dr Vijaya Joshi, Dr S. K. Arora, Mr H. S. Ratnoo, Bhagat Singh, Dr B. P. Singh, Dr N. K. Rattan and Nikhlesh Yadav. OC

One killed in road mishap

Sonepat: One person was killed and another injured when a canter hit a truck on G T Road near Haldana border about 25 km from here last evening.

According to a report, the victim was identified as Mr Siri Krishan Dass (50) of Jagadhari and the injured as Baldev, a canter driver. The canter full of mangoes was on its way to Azadpur Mandi of Delhi. The police have registered the case.

Dowry demons

Jhajjar: Two sisters married in the same family were thrown out by their husbands and in-laws for not fulfilling their dowry demands in Bahadurgarh town.

The police said today that Nirmala, resident of Bank Colony, Bahadurgarh lodged a complaint with the police that she along with her sister Neelam were married off to Mukesh and Kuldeep, sons of Harbhajan Singh, respectively in Jatwara Mohalla in 1998.

She complained that as their parents were unable to fulfil the demands for more dowry, the in-laws sent them to their parental house.

The women cell of the police started investigation after registering the case.


Records of civic bodies being digitalised
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
Chairman of the Standing Committee, MCD, Ram Babu Sharma, inaugurated a citizen service bureau at the zonal office building at Najafgarh. Citizens will be provided various civic services through Internet by computers installed at the bureau. Speaking on the occasion on Tuesday, he said that the MCD was committed to providing transparent municipal administration to the people of Delhi.

The corporation has set up a new information and technology department with a view to modernising civic services. It has entered into an agreement with the Electronic Corporation of India to set up dynamic web-site. All the records of the civic bodies are being digitalised, he said.

SGSC for resignation of senior Akali leaders

Shiromani Gurudwara Sewadar Committee today set forth a demand for the resignation of senior Akali leaders including Prakash Singh Badal, Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Simranjeet Singh Mann to pave way for youngsters. The Committee president Tehal Singh said that these leaders must retire from politics to allow the youngsters to take over. Asking the youngsters to come forward to the cause of the community, the members said that the veterans were “too obsolete to lead the Sangh through the current stage of crisis”.

CBSE engineering entrance examination

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will conduct the next All India Engineering Entrance Examination on May 9, 2004. In a statement issued here today, the CBSE said the examination would be conducted in a single day at centres across the country for admission to Engineering, Pharmacy and Architecture courses.

The detailed schedule will be notified in due course of time.

Jagmohan visits Lajpat Nagar

The Union Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mr Jagmohan, visited Lajpat Nagar and took a round of the area along with Municipal Councillor Savita Gupta today. Mrs Savita Gupta raised the issue of delay in the reconstruction of damaged wall by the MCD along barsati nallah, starting from LSR to Police Colony in Lajpat Nagar-III. Mr Jagmohan assured her that funds would be sanctioned and work would be executed on time. 


Affidavit racket smashed 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
With the arrest of five persons, the North-East district police today claimed to have busted a fake affidavit racket. The police have recovered rubber stamps of SDMs of Model Town, Civil Lines, Paharganj, Daryaganj and HQ-4 along with fake affidavits and photocopies from their possession.

Based on a tip-off, the police sent a decoy customer and struck a deal with two persons, identified as Rajesh Kumar and Jai Parkash for preparing fake affidavits of Rs 250.

The customer was asked to collect the affidavits from the SDM court, Seelampur on July 15.

The police arrested Jai Parkash (24), resident of Shahdara; Rakesh Kumar (28), resident of Johripur; Sanjay alias Vijay (29), resident of Shahdara; Anil Kumar (40), resident of Old Seelampur and Mahesh Chand (43), resident of Ajit Nagar.

In another case, the North-East district police claimed to have solved a blind murder case with the arrest of four persons.

On July 11, the police received a call that one person was found stabbed in his abdomen and the backside near New Bridge Pradhan Gali. Later, the person was declared brought dead upon reaching GTB Hospital.

The deceased was later identified as one Ramanjore (52), resident of Karawal Nagar, a caretaker of Digambar Jain Temple in Durgapuri. During interrogation, the accused confessed to their crimes and told the police that they had committed the crime for looting his bicycle.


Three held for travelling on fake visas
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
Sleuths of immigration arrested three persons from the IGI Airport who were travelling on fake visas and passport. They were identified as Satnam Singh of Jalandhar, Joginder Singh of Hoshiarpur and Mukesh Kumar of Seeker in Rajasthan. Satnam and Joginbder were going to Canada on fake visas while Mukesh was going to Germany on the passport issued in the name of one Jagdish Prasad. He had pasted his photograph on the passport, police said.

Boy crushed to death

Tilak Marg Police today arrested the driver of a DTC bus on the charge of rash and negligent driving. A 12-year-old unidentified boy who was riding a pillion on a cycle was crushed to death under the wheels of the bus. The erring bus was carrying the students of Cambridge School. The victim was going to the India Gate from Subramaniam Bharati Marg. As they turned towards the India Gate, the bus hit their vehicle and the victim came under the wheels, the police said.

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