Saturday, July 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dera chief held on rape charge
Outraged followers, area residents thrash Sant 
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Sant Shamsher Singh JagheraLudhiana, July 18
Sant Shamsher Singh Jaghera, who heads a dera near Dugri Bridge here, was allegedly caught red-handed by some of his followers and area residents while raping the wife of a sevadar of the dera around 2 a.m. today.

Outraged at the dera chief who is also the president of International Sant Samaj and is managing the Gurdwara Mastuana Sahib in the dera, his followers and area residents gave him a thrashing before handing him over to the police in a naked condition.

The Sant Kambliwale sect, headquartered in Patiala, with which the accused was affiliated has announced that it has nothing to do with the man who has brought a blot to their name.

Baba Nachhattar Singh Kambliwale who came to the dera in the morning told the Ludhiana Tribune that the accused had committed a heinous crime and had been thrown out of the sect.

The Model Town police has booked the accused on a charge of raping the woman. The incident has vindicated the stand taken by the area residents who have been agitating against dera chief for the past more than a year. The accused was in the centre of a controversy over his alleged illicit relationship with some women last year also. The area residents had complained to the police, but not much was done for want of evidence.

The victim woman is a mother of a 2-year-old child. She and her husband have been living in the dera for the past two months. She is, in fact, the only woman living in the dera.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, the victim said she had some doubts about the character of the accused but other followers said the suspicion was baseless. She said she had in fact complained to the accused a week ago about the activities of some of his male followers whom she had seen with some women.

She said last night her husband who worked as a driver with the dera was away on some duty. The accused called her late at night to give him water to drink. She alleged that when she came to his room, he raped her. She said she could not raise the alarm as the sant had almost left her unconscious with some blows across her face. The accused had also gagged her.

She alleged that she raised a hue and cry and managed to free herself. Her husband had also returned by then. He and other followers then pulled the naked accused out of the room. He was given a thrashing.

Some residents of Model Town Extension Block, Punjab Street also woke and reached the spot. Some residents including Mr Gurpreet Singh and Mr G.S. Midda, president and general secretary respectively, of the Democratic Sikh Morcha, Mr Joginder Singh Khalsa and Mr Balwant Singh, told the Ludhiana Tribune that they saw the accused in a naked condition when he was being beaten by dera followers. Residents of the area also joined in when they saw the pathetic condition of the woman.

The residents have demanded the shifting of the dera as it was mired in controversies earlier also. Mr Midda said the control of the dera and gurdwara should be given to a non-controversial Sikh religious organisation.

The accused, Shamsher Singh Jaghera, however, denied the allegations in a brief talk with the Ludhiana Tribune. He said the allegations were part of a controversy hatched by his rivals to defame him.

A large number of outraged persons, some of them followers of the accused, got together in the District Courts complex and raised slogans against him. The police had to present him in the court under heavy security to avert any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Mr Jasbir Singh, has remanded the accused to judicial custody till July 30. The accused reiterated his stand in the court that he was being falsely implicated in the case. He said this was a fourth attempt by his enemies to tarnish his image. He claimed that the main motive of his rivals was to grab the control of the dera and gurdwara.



State-level swearing-in functions flayed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has expressed anguish over the misuse of government machinery in holding state-level swearing-in ceremonies of newly elected sarpanches and panches at Jalandhar, Bathinda and Patiala.

Mr Kuldip Singh, secretary of the MCPI, said such functions were not only unnecessary but also caused inconvenience to the sarpanches and the panches, besides the public. These functions were nothing but a wastage of time, energy and resources of the government and belie the claim of austerity and rationality in using the valuable resources of the state, he said. The sarpanches and the panches should have been sworn in at their respective blocks and the present government was no better than the previous government in this regard, he added.

He said the party condemned the decision of the Cabinet in raising sale tax on petrol, which would add to the burden on the middle class. We urge the Punjab Government to withdraw the hike, he added.

Mr Kuldip Singh said the unit was opposed to an exorbitant hike in the fees and other expenses in higher education. This, he said, would rob brilliant students of an opportunity to pursue higher education. This step is also contrary to the spirit of Indian Constitution, wherein the people of the country had been assured of the right to education. The people showed come together to compel the government to withdraw this arbitrary fee hike and increase in other expenses, he said.

The party expressed its concern over the poor condition of power in the state. Despite sufficient rain and adequate water level in dams, the PSEB was resorting to power cuts at odd hours of the day. The party urged the PSEB to regularise power supply to the people, especially those villages which had paid extra money to the PSEB under the 24 hours power supply scheme.



B.Sc (home science) loses sheen
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, July 18
Once considered to be the most coveted undergraduate degree programme by young girls of Punjab, B.Sc (home science) has registered just 12 students in Punjab Agricultural University for the current session.

With changing preferences among the students, the College of Home Science has been registering lower number of students to the course year after year. But this time, there has been an exceptionally low admission to the course and the college is now planning to advertise for the course once again so that it remains viable. While the college had received 42 applications, 35 were considered eligible, 14 appeared for counselling and 12 have finally paid the fee to get themselves registered.

Of the total 40 seats in the college, 34 are in open category and six are reserved for the students sent by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). While last year 33 seats were filled in the open category, none was filled through the ICAR. In the session, 2001-02, 27 seats were occupied by Punjab students and two were sent by the council. Three years down the line, there were 33 students in open category and none was filled through the ICAR.

It is indicated from the above figures that admission from Punjab had more or less been stable for the last three years, but this time the number is less than half the total number of seats. Also, there seems to be a little hope from the ICAR as there have hardly been any admission to the course through it for the past few years.

With the falling demand, the college has also been reducing the total number of seats. Earlier, there were 80 seats, then these were reduced to 60 and now the number is 40 for the past three years.

One of the reasons behind low demand for the course is that the college is following 10+2+4 system and the students feel that four years time is a long way to graduation. The girls also do not want to confine themselves to home and are now preferring professional courses. They also seem to be following the shortest possible path to job and with graduation in home science, the number of jobs is limited as employers now demand either some specialisation or postgraduation in fields such as dietetics, fashion designing and management in day care centre.

Keeping in view such changing trends, the college had even revised the curriculum and study pattern of the course for the current session but still there has been no impact on admissions. Laying emphasis on specialised training to enable the passout graduate students to become successful entrepreneurs, more elective courses in food and nutrition, clothing and textile, family resource management, special education for disabled kids and management of day care centres were introduced.

While earlier, it was a 3+1 pattern in which the students were taught core subjects for the first three years and elective subjects only for the final year. But from the next session, the college would follow 2+2 pattern in which the students would be taught core subjects for the first two years and elective subjects for the last two years.

To give more exposure to the students on practical work, internship period for the students has also been prolonged. While earlier the duration for internship in various types of industrial and corporate units was limited to eight weeks, now the students would have to take this training for a period of three to six months.

Giving this detail about the new pattern of syllabus, Dr S.K. Mann, Dean of the college, said even though the admission to the course was over, she was being approached by one or two students for joining the course every day. On their demand, she said the college would once again advertise for admission and try to fill all its vacant 22 seats.



CBI begins probe on assault on ex-MC official
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The CBI formally began investigations into the case of a murderous assault on Mr Kewal Krishan Jindal, a former acting chief of the municipal committee, Malerkotla. The case was handed over to the premier agency following orders of the Punjab and Haryana High court on May 20.

It may be recalled that The Tribune had highlighted the story in August on the simmering row between two factions of Malerkotla councillors which came into the open on August 28 with the alleged “murderous assault by the sitting MLA and her IPS husband “ on Mr Jindal, who had remained admitted to the local Christian Medical College here for many days following the assault. He was attacked and “ left for the dead” by some armed assailants in broad daylight on August 28 outside the council hall while a heavy contingent of police remained mute spectators.

Mr Jindal told TNS that a team of four officials led by an Inspector from Chandigarh had questioned him at his residence. The officials revealed that they had been in the town for the past few days and had been making preliminary enquiries. “They recorded my statement in which I repeated the chain of events and named the four accused - Shakeel, Dara, Shakeel and Yasin. All of them are bad characters and have many police cases against them. I also named the local MLA and her police officer husband since the attack was carried out at their behest, he alleged.

He said his stand had been “vindicated and that this was necessary to curb the lawlessness” which had been let loose in Malerkotla by the MLA and her police officer husband. “We had been regularly demanding his transfer from the district but to no avail. The government should at least now pay heed in wake of the CBI inquiry and transfer the officer to another place other than the range which comprises the constituency of his wife. It is a big blot on the image of not only the police department but also the ruling regime.”

He said he had stood up for his convictions and had paid the price. “But I did not give up and knocked at the doors of the court which has ordered the enquiry. My family had been traumatised and terrorised by the attack on me and we were so demoralised that no one really moved out of the house. Now we are feeling relieved and happy that the rule of law still runs in the country and that such errant officers can also be brought to book,” he pointed out.

Recounting the fateful day of the attack, he said “SDM Pardeep Kumar Sabharwal had illegally convened a meeting to elect the president of the MC. He - along with other councillors - objected to the same and asked him to record their protest in the proceedings which were brushed aside by the SDM. The MLA too refused to intervene in the matter,” he added.



3 cops suspended for graft
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The Khanna police has suspended three cops, including an inspector, a sub-Inspector and a Head Constable posted at Payal police station, on corruption charges. They have been accused of taking bribe from the villagers to release a man caught under the anti-narcotics Act by the police.

Inspector Devinder Singh, who was posted as SHO of Payal police station, SI Gurcharan Singh and a munshi have been suspended and sent to the Police Lines in Khanna with immediate effect.

Mr Narinder Pal Singh, SSP, Ludhiana and Khanna (dual charge), said besides suspension orders, a departmental inquiry has also been initiated against the accused. He said the panchayat of Ghawaddi village had informed him about the corruption charge. On verification, the allegations were found to be true.

Sources disclosed that the accused had arrested a resident of Ghawaddi following allegations of poppy husk smuggling.

The police claimed to have seized 1 kg of poppy husk from the accused. However, when the village panchayat led by Sarpanch Paramjit Singh Pammi took up the matter with the police, the accused told them to pay Rs 5,000 bribe to save the villager.

The matter was taken up with a Congress leader of the area who complained to the SSP. On verification, the panchayat submitted affidavits regarding the allegation. Police inquiries also indicted the accused officials.

Mr Narinder Pal Singh said there was clear evidence against the accused. He said he has given directions to the force that anyone found indulging in corruption or misuse of authority would be given immediate and stringent punishment.



Another theft at McDonald’s
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 18
Another theft has been reported at the parking lot of McDonald’s, a highway restaurant near Doraha.
Mr Devinder Singh who was coming on his car from Khanna towards Phillaur stopped at McDonald’s yesterday. He parked his car outside and went in to have a breakfast. When he returned to his car, he found one of his bags containing 5 passports, 5 air tickets and a camera missing.

He has lodged a complaint with the Doraha police which has started investigation in the case.

This is the third incident of theft reported in the past two months at this highway restaurant. A similar theft was reported 10 days back by Dinesh Raj Battu, Regional Receivable Manager of ‘Cholamandalam’. He had complained that his laptop, voter identity card, Pan card, ATM and credit cards were missing from the car when he returned after just 10 minutes from the restaurant.

A similar case was reported in which the complainant had been robbed of gold jewellery and a CD player worth Rs 80,000, while he was in side the restaurant. 



I-cards for Koom Kalan voters from July 22
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Final round of photography to issue photo identity cards to all voters in Koom Kalan constituency would be carried out from July 22 to July 25 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Mr Manjit Singh Brar, AETC and presiding officer for the constituency, informed that the correction in the existing voter identity cards would also be done during this period. Moreover, the voter card would be made according to the voter list of 2003.

He appealed the voters to get their identity cards prepared during this final round, as in future the votes could be cast only with the photo identity cards and the government had decided to except voter identity cards as the identification document for various official works. Following are the areas where people would be photographed during this period.

Following are the areas where people would be photographed — July 22: Boothgarh, Mangli, Mangli Khas, Hawas, Gounsgarh, Kariana, Mattewara Raur, Baunkar Gujjran, Machhian Kalan, Chaunta, Jhugian Bega, Doaba, Mianai, Baliawal, Kalas Kalan, Ghumana, Jonewal, Daulatwal, Chakki, Manewal, Udhewal Kalan, Sensowal and Panj Gurian.

July 23: Jassowal, Milkwal, Jodhwal, Dhanur, Chandowal, Barsal Kallan, Kotla Bet, Machhiwara Khas, Serpur, Chhourian, Garhi Sainian, Behlolpur, Chuharpur, Fatehgarh Bet, Shatabgarh, Hasanpur, Chak Lohat, Kiri Afgana, Bassi Gujran, Samashpur, Raipur Raian, Ramgarh, Nanowal, Kakrala Kallan, Kakrala khurd, Kotla, Barma, Herian, Todarpur, Khirnia, Sihala, Bondli, Taprian, Muskabad, Sahjomajra.

July 24: Rattipur, Powat, Nurpur, Kaunkey, Hedon Bet, Chaklli Adal, Garhi bet, Lathowal kalan, Lubangarh, Machhiwara, Machhiwara BDPO Office, Harion Kallan, Balion, Poonia, Barthala, Ranwan, Iraq, Garhi Tarkhana, Gurugarh, Bhaman Kalan, Harian, Rajoor, Sherian, Uppal, Panjeta, Koom Kalan, Bhagpur, Ghumait, Gaddowal, Dhanansoo, Buddewal, Phaharuwal, Bhukari Kalan, Khassi Kalan.

July 25: Bhamia Kalan, Sahibiana, Bholapur, Ramgarh, Jandiali, Kohara, Heeran, Raian, Partapgarh, Bhainiala, Kot Gangurai, Katani Kalan, Chhandran, Panglian, Barwala, Kanech, Bilga, Bheromuna and Majara. 



Kolkata meeting to focus on city MC working
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
A national-level workshop on ‘Good governance practices in India’, being organised by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) on July 18 and 19 under the Kolkata Environmental Improvement Project will discuss ‘water for all’ scheme in detail.

The workshop would be attended by senior government officials and other urban managers, who have championed good urban practices in their respective institutions. The Principal Secretary, Local Government, Punjab, Mr A.K. Dubey, and Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, have also been invited to attend the workshop.

On the implementation of the “water for all” scheme, the municipal corporation has become the first civic body in the country to provide potable water to the entire population, residing in the approved areas and the scheme had already received wide reference from different municipal corporations and other social organisations working for improvement in the civic services.

A communication from Mr D. Som, Commissioner of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, received here said water for all and community mobilisation schemes, evolved and implemented by the MC in Ludhiana shall be the main topic of the first session of the workshop to be held on July 18.

Giving this information, the MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, said before proceeding to Kolkata that a large number of social bodies, NGOs as well as the Planning Commission of India had already placed on record their appreciation for the exemplary civic governance in this city and effective measures initiated to improve the standard and delivery of civic services. “The water for all scheme was completed in a record time of five months to ensure supply of chlorinated water through out the year to the city population.”

The other notable measures taken by the MC included introduction of financial management, which resulted into discharge of old liabilities of around Rs 17 crore and turned the once cash strapped body into a cash surplus body. It was also on record that the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), in its survey carried out during the year 2002 - 03 on the road network system in big towns of the country, had identified Ludhiana among the 10 big cities where the road network was found adequate and proper. “The city also had the distinction of being the first major town in Punjab where a bio-medical waste treatment plant, conforming to the standards laid down by the Union Government, had been set up towards improving the environment of the city.

The agenda of the meet would veer round issues like improvement in delivery of civic services, health and sanitation, efficiency in collection of local taxes. computerisation in civic governance and pooled banking.



Fraud in sale deed detected
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The District Administration has detected a fraud in the execution of sale deed of a plot in Rurka village allegedly committed by a resident impersonating himself as the owner of the plot.

The Deputy Commissioner has recommended to the SSP, Ludhiana to register a criminal case against the accused, Nambardar, the witness and the purchasers.

According to Mr Anurag Verma, DC, the accused Bachan Singh had executed a sale deed of a plot measuring 11 marla, khasra number 46/114/3, 14/4 on May 14 this year by impersonating as Bachan Singh, who claimed to be the adopted son of Mr Hamir Singh, the real owner of the plot in the office of Naib Tehsildar-cum-Joint Sub-Registrar, Mullanpur, to Harbans Singh and Jarnail Singh of Rurka village. However, he is the son of Phuman Singh.

Mr Jora Singh Nambardar had identified the accused and Mr Tirlok Singh of the same village was a witness to the sale deed, which was made after a photograph with the Naib Tehsildar-cum-Joint Sub-Registrar. The ownership was changed through mutation number 4338 in the revenue record.

On getting the information of the fraud, the real owner Bachan Singh had submitted a complaint that his plot has been sold through fraud by Bachan Singh.

Mr Verma said Mr Mukesh Kumar, Naib Tehsildar-cum-Joint Registrar conducted the inquiry during which the accused admitted committing the fraud by impersonating as the adopted son of Hamir Singh.

The inquiry held Bachan Singh guilty of committing a fraud by presenting himself as the real owner of the property. He has also been photographed with the Sub-Registrar and other witnesses at the time of execution of sale deed, which was pasted to the deed papers.

The Naib Tehsildar mentioned that during the inquiry Mr Harbhajan Singh Sarabha Nambardar and Nirbhai Singh, Rurka village member of panchayat had also identified the picture of Bachan Singh, who was not the real owner of the plot from the group photograph pasted on the sale deed.

The Naib Tehsildar in the inquiry has recommended criminal action against Bachan Singh, Jora Singh Nambardar of Rurka village, Tirlok Singh and buyers of the plot, Harbans Singh and Jarnail Singh.



Fulfil vows, Maha Sabha tells administration
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
More than a year after the Maha Sabha, Ludhiana, a social organisation, had helped the local Improvement Trust remove encroachers from Sunet village and the latter had promised it that a stadium and a library would be set up on the place, the Maha Sabha is yet to see its dream project see the light of the day.

Led by Col Jagdish Singh Brar (retd) President, and Mr Jaswant Zirakh, general secretary, the sabha had demanded from the district administration that a library and a stadium should be set up in the area for the welfare of the local residents. The then Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, had agreed to the demands of the sabha and had forwarded the case to the LIT.

Talking to TNS here today, Colonel Brar (retd) said despite the various reminders to the administration, nothing had been done in the direction so far. He added that many youths of the area were falling prey to drugs and the sabha felt that if they had some recreational activities, their energy would be utilised in a better way. So they had wanted the library and stadium.

He feared that a major chunk of the land, which was worth crores of rupees, would be lost to the encroachers if it was not utilised properly.

Meanwhile, the sabha has hailed the decision of the state government to appoint Mr Ashok Singh Garcha as Chairman of the Improvement Trust. Stating that Mr Garcha was a very upright and educated person, the sabha said that he would contribute a lot to the Chief Minister’s campaign against corruption. The sabha called upon the state government to appoint only honest persons as trustees and members.



Encroachments galore in Samrala
Our Correspondent

Samrala, July 18
There is no road, bazaar or street which is not encroached upon in Samrala town. Shopkeepers fruits and vegetable sellers, rehriwalas, all have encroached upon the government land. Rehriwalas stand on both sides of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road creating hurdles for the flow of traffic.

Many shopkeepers have also rented the public place on the roadside to rehriwalas. Many influential persons have built pucca sheds before their shops on the Machhiwara road. Interestingly, the Civil Hospital has also encroached about 30 feet area on the Machhiwara road.

In Dabbi bazaar, almost all shopkeepers have spread their goods on the road. Many persons, who have built their new houses or shops, have erected the steps on the public place and other owners have used the road and raised it which hinders the traffic. Similar is the case on the Khanna road, Behlolpur road and the Chawa road where meat-sellers have installed wooden khokhas.



Municipal property demolished
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 18
The Municipal council authorities have reported two incidents of demolition of municipal properties and theft of their rubble. Local police and Latala police have confirmed having received the complaints against unidentified culprits.

Informed sources reveal that some unidentified persons demolished the boundary wall of solid waste disposal chamber situated near Latala village. The council had hired a piece of land measuring two acres around two years ago.

According to a complaint lodged by Mr Hardip Singh, Executive Officer, some unidentified culprits demolished the boundary wall and took away the rubble.

In another incident some unidentified persons have been accused of demolishing, public toilets situated at the local Bhagat Singh Chowk. Interestingly, in this case also the EO has reported the matter to the local police but he has cited the demolition of toilets as a part of development plan. Sources at the local police and Latala police have confirmed the receipt of complaints but investigations are yet to be completed.



Why discrimination against us, ask Sehajdhari Sikhs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The decision of the Centre to deprive Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) elections is allegedly a deep-rooted conspiracy by the RSS to drive a wedge between the already fragmented minority community, besides denying representation to more than 80 per cent of the Sikhs in the world, claims Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu, national president of the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation. The federation will challenge the decision before the Supreme Court soon.

Talking to TNS on this “thorny” issue, which is threatening to snowball into a major controversy, he said it is unfortunate that the present Sikh leadership has not spared any opportunity to casually fiddle with a serious and emotive issue of the Sehajdhari Sikhs. Of the total population of the community in the world, more than 80 per cent are not Amritdhari (baptised) Sikhs. It is all about not slackening control over vast funds available with cash-rich gurdwaras which are allegedly siphoned off to wage political battles, he alleged.

He said it is unfortunate that the present Sikh leadership has not spared any opportunity to casually fiddle with a serious and emotive issue of the Sehajdhari Sikhs. Of the total population of the community in the world, more than 80 per cent are not Amritdhari (baptised) Sikhs. It is all about not slackening control over vast funds available with cash-rich gurdwaras, which are allegedly siphoned off to wage political battles, he alleged.

Sehajdharis, he reasoned, were the nursery of Sikhism since the eroding social and moral values today underline the fact that Sehajdharis should be encouraged to come to the Khalsa fold over a period of time and not pushed out into the cold, as was being done presently. The move was aimed at creating a minority within a minority and the Akalis were more than willing to carry out the designs of the RSS, he added.

The controversy is all the more unsavoury since the federation feels that the definition of Sehajdhari as provided in the Sikh Gurdwara Act does not leave any ambiguity and has stood the test of time for almost half a century. That the Sehajdharis have posed no problem for the august body of the Sikhs is also borne out from the fact that even a stalwart like Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who remained SGPC chief for a record 21 years, and is now again poised to take over the reins of the committee, did not feel the necessity to initiate a move to divest the Sehajdharis of their voting rights during his long tenure. Even Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, a former SGPC chief was returned to the committee in 1996 from Raikot on the strength of votes cast by the Sehajdharis , he pointed out.

Dr Ranu said: “Parliament, too, in its wisdom in 1959 deemed it appropriate to include us within the definition of the voters enabling us to elect the true representatives of the Sikh masses when the gurdwaras under PEPSU were brought under the control of the SGPC. This was done since Parliament appreciated that the bulk of the Sikh community - including the Sehajdharis - were good believers in Sikh tenets,” he opined.

He said the term Sehajdhari finds mention in the Mahan Kosh of eminent Sikh historian Bhai Kahan Singh of Nabha, who defines Sehajdharis as “a part of the Sikhs, who are followers of the 10 Sikh Gurus and do not recognise any other binding authority in religion, are non-baptised and do not undergo the initiation by the Khande ka Pahul and do not stick to the five Ks.”

He added that it was a matter of concern that a venerated figure like the Jathedar of the Akal Takht chose to meet the PM some time back and impress upon him that “the voting rights of the Sehajdharis is a major cause for concern for all the Sikhs as per Sikh tenets and there is no room for allowing them to manage any Sikh shrines. Owing to some political compulsions, they were given the rights in 1959 though there was no such provision in the original Gurdwara Act of 1925 and that this anamoly continues till today,” he revealed.

“All this is contrary to facts since the issue of management of shrines has been addressed and stands protected in terms of the provision of Section 45 (clause 6) of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, as amended in 1959, where under the qualification the right to contest for a post has been confined only to Amritdhari Sikhs and all other categories have been excluded to maintain purity of the management,” he pointed out.

Dr Ranu said the review committee set up the SGPC and headed by Justice Tiwana had made no mention of ‘Sehajdharis’ which meant that their right to vote as enshrined in the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, had been snatched. It was further alleged that the review panel had been set up by SGPC to give narrowest possible meaning to the word ‘Sikh’ with an view to disfranchise the large masses of non-baptised (Sehajdharis) who constitute almost 80 per cent of the Sikh population, he alleged.

It is ironical that the SGPC is making strenuous efforts to narrow down the electoral base by ousting a majority of voters but has no qualms about accepting huge donations from Sikhs other than Amritdharis. The funds so collected are purposefully used for activities other an religion and the welfare of the masses, he added.

Commenting on the level of Sikh leadership today, he said: “It is better to leave some things unsaid. It is shameful when leaders continue to cling to power despite being held guilty of crimes like murder, dowry deaths, smuggling and consuming narcotics, besides apostasy and alcoholism,” he added.



Police thanks good Samaritans
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
Mr Ashok Jain was pleasantly surprised when he got a call from the police yesterday, thanking him and his family for informing it about the accident that had taken place in front of their house on July 15. The caller said their timely information had helped the accident victim to survive.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Jain said,” When I heard that a police officer wanted to speak to me. I was apprehensive. But it was a pleasant surprise when the voice on the other end thanked us for informing the police about the accident on the Rani Jhansi road, just opposite our house, at 11.30 pm on July 15. Generally, the people are wary of helping an accident victim, fearing harassment from the police. But now good Samaritans can help, for the police actually appreciates such acts. It is a wonderful change in the attitude of the police. Thanking the people is a good gesture and will help the police become more friendly.

Mr Jain and his son Anuj, who had called up the police control room, are happy with the changing face of the police and say the police too seeks the cooperation of the people.

According to Mr Jain, Anuj, after hearing a loud bang had rushed out and found that an injured man was lying on the road. He recognised him as the owner of Krishna Medical Store.

The man was on a scooter with his wife and two children and the vehicle collided with a rickshaw. The family called the police control room immediately and Anuj decided to take the injured man in his car. The police too arrived in the meantime. The injured man was put in a van and the police escorted the van to the hospital.



Decomposed body found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The highly decomposed body of a 55-year-old farmer was found in his house in Baddowal village, today evening. The police said it seemed that some persons had murdered the farmer more than two months ago and then dumped the body here.

The man, identified as Shamsher Singh, was missing since March 24. The body was discovered when villagers found a pungent smell emanating from a room. The murderers had reportedly put some material on the body so that it did not smell. The police said the material, which appeared to be lime powder, worked for more than two months.

The man seemed to have been strangulated to death as a rope was found tied around his neck.

According to the police, the suspicion of murder was on former servants of the victim, who have been missing since March. The house of the victim was also found burgled. The police said the man had sold off some land just before he went missing.

The deceased was not on good terms with his family members, who lived next door. Some Nepalese servants worked in his farms. The police is also working on the theory of the involvement of some relatives.

The 80-year-old mother of the deceased identified the body, though it was highly decomposed. A post-mortem examination would be conducted tomorrow to ascertain the exact cause of death.



Gang of robbers busted
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, July 18
The local police claims to have busted a gang of robbers, responsible for a number of thefts and robberies in and around the town, from Uchi Mangali village near here last night.

A police team, including Mr Gurbaj Singh, SHO, Sahnewal police station, ASI Mohan Singh, ASI Mahavir Singh, ASI Jarnail Singh and SI Manjit Singh, raided a food factory at Uchi Mangali village on a tip-off and arrested five miscreants who were planning a robbery at the factory at night. A large number of arms and ammunition were seized from their custody.

Those arrested from the spot included Manmohan Deep Singh, son of Dharam Pal Singh of Doraha, Anil Kumar, son of Rattan Kumar of Muzaffar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, Kamaljit Singh, alias Kukko, son of Dilip Singh of Doraha, Lajja Ram, son of Devi Ram of Mahal Preet Nagar, Himachal Pradesh, and Karamjit Singh, son of Rajinder Singh of Mangali (Nichi) village. Besides sharp-edged weapons, two .12 bore pistols, one .315 bore pistol, several catridges, knives and rods, etc have been recovered from the custody of the accused.

The five were presented in the court today. The police expects to solve many cases of robbery with their arrest.



Ex-pilot, wife held in dowry case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The Sarabha Nagar police has arrested a former Air Force pilot and his wife from Noida near Delhi on a charge of harassing their city-based daughter-in-law for dowry.

Surinder Vij and his wife Kiran Vij were arrested from Delhi today morning and brought them here in the evening. The team had arrested them on the basis of an arrest warrant issued against the accused by a city court regarding an FIR registered against them in Sarabha Nagar Police Station on July 14 last.

The police, however, could not arrest the main accused Amit Vij, who is serving as a fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force and is at present posted at Adampur. The accused have been charged with mentally and physically harassing their daughter-in-law Ritu Vij, who lived with her parents in Sarabha Nagar, Block-B, here.

On the basis of her complaint, the police had registered a case. She had alleged that her in-laws used to beat her frequently for forcing her to bring more dowry. 



Increase in yarn exports expected
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
After the abolition of quota regime in 2004, the Indian synthetic exports are likely to register a four-fold increase. Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Rakesh Mehra, Chairman of the Synthetic and Rayon Textile Export Promotion Council, said most of the exports, about 90 per cent, were going to the no- quota countries which had not fixed any quota for the imports. However, the major export markets included the USA and England, which are still continuing with a strict quota regime.

He said America was the greatest consumer of the synthetic fibre and yarn. He disclosed that in America, there was 60 per cent consumption of the synthetic yarn against only 30 per cent in India. He said in India also the consumption was increasing. This, he pointed out, reduces dependence on cotton.

Mr Mehra was here to attend a workshop on central excise rules which was organised by the Synthetic and Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council here today. It was, among others, attended by the Commissioner, Central Excise Ludhiana, Mr H.K. Mittal, Mr V. Laxmi Kumar and executive director in the council and a number of local industrialists.

The question-answer session proved to be more informative and interactive with Mr Mittal fielding questions about Central excise rules from the industrialists. He denied that there was any harassment from the department.

After the government introduced Central excise rules and brought the textile industry in it, a large number of medium and small exporters, including merchant exporters, had come under the purview of Central excise rules. These exporters are now required to obtain registration, pay duty and file monthly return.



Booklet on cycle safety standards
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
Mr S.K. Sandhu, Secretary, Industry and Commerce, released a booklet “A Comparative Reference — Bicycle Safety Standards Specifications” at the 37th governing council meeting of the R and D Centre for Bicycle and Sewing Machine here recently.

The booklet contains a comparison of bicycle and bicycle parts safety standards with equivalent international standards viz ISO, DIN, JIS, Federal Register and BS. The compiled information will assist the exporters and manufacturers of bicycle and bicycle parts to understand and implement the required standards improving upon the quality of their products.

Mr Sandhu also released a special purpose tube butting machine designed and developed by the R and D Centre, Tushar Engineers. Mr Vinay Kamal Jain received the machine and handed over cheque towards the payment of the machine to Mr Sandhu.

Mr Sandhu said more research projects should be undertaken jointly with the industry for their dissemination to the end-user industry. The governing council members comprising major manufacturers and exporters of bicycle and bicycle parts lauded the achievements of the centre.



Banks take defaulters to task
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Armed with the Bank Securitisation Act, 2002, for making recoveries from various wilful defaulters, several banks have started tightening their noose around defaulters. Continuing with the campaign against the wilful defaulters, the Punjab National Bank today took possession of the property of M/s Sehgal Health Care Agencies.

A spokesman of the bank disclosed that the defaulting party had a liability of over Rs 7 lakh which was pending for some time. The officials of the Haibowal Kallan branch office of the PNB today sealed the premises of the defaulters. The defaulters had also been served notices and all legal formalities and procedures were adopted and exhausted before the bank took possession.

The bank sources said that after the implementation of the Bank Securitisation Act, 2002, and possession of several properties, many defaulters were coming forward for settlement of their accounts. The sources maintained that the bank was hopeful to reduce the amount of non-performing accounts (NPAs) significantly as the bank was now able to exert due pressure on wilful defaulters to recover the dues.

It was learnt that the bank has issued notices to several defaulters and various formalities were being completed before the bank could take possession of their properties. The officials said that the bank will not let off any wilful defaulter and each one of them would be firmly dealt according to the law.

The spokesman said that the date for settling the NPA accounts up to Rs 10 crore has been extended by the RBI to September 30, 2003. All such borrowers have been asked to approach the bank by that date for settlement of their accounts according to the RBI guidelines.

However, there has been resentment in certain sections against the “pick and choose” policy of the bank to seize the properties of the defaulters mortgaged to the bank. Although the bank claimed to have taken possession of the properties of several defaulters, there is a general feeling that it is only the small fish which are being caught while the big defaulters with a liability of crores of rupees were being let off.


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