Sunday, July 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Jaghera’s supporters threaten woman, family
Say rape charge false
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
Tension prevailed at the dera of Sant Jaghera on Dugri road here since this morning following the activities of the followers and opposers of the controversial sant, who was caught yesterday by the district police on charges of raping a woman in the dera on Thursday night.

Heavy police force was deployed at the place to prevent any untoward incident. While the residents of the Model Town Extension Area initiated efforts to take over the control of the gurdwara in the dera, the relatives of the accused sant supported by residents of his native village Jaghera gathered there in large numbers in his support.

These persons led by a brother of the accused allegedly openly threatened the victim woman and her family with dire consequences for making the complaint. The woman and her husband have complained to the police in this regard.

The supporters maintained that the allegations were false and were part of a conspiracy hatched by his detractors to take control over his property. The residents of the area have called a meeting tomorrow to take steps regarding the control of a gurdwara in the dera.

Besides the tension over the possession of the dera land, the focus of interest centered around the political links and the identity of the VVIP followers of the accused.

Tribune inquiries have revealed that the political leaders of both Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal were frequenting his dera for the last several years and taking his help in garnering votes in return of favours like saving him in hour of need. Some of these including serving Congress legislatures also.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president SAD (Amritsar), came on record in accusing former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and former Governor Lt Gen (retd.) B.K.N. Chibber, as the one who had frequented his dera.

Talking to TNS here today Mr Mann said there was definitely some political pressure over the police in the case. Though the police had arrested the accused and registered an FIR promptly, the accused was allowed to go in judicial custody. Mr Mann alleged that the police did not seek police remand sincerely and helped the accused.

He said the accused should have been interrogated and his links with politicians and bureaucrats should have been exposed. He alleged that there were some espionage overtones in the activities of the accused.

Mr Mann has urged Chief Minister, Capt. Amrinder Singh, to order a high-level probe into the matter. Mr Charan Singh Lohara, Gen secretary (SAD-Amritsar), led a delegation of the party to the dera. He said the party will conduct its own inquiry into the matter to find out the truth.

The International Sikh Dharam Parchar Manch has also condemned the incident and demanded a high-level probe into the matter. Mr Gurdeep Singh Leel president of the organisation, said the SGPC was sitting over a report regarding a similar incident in a place of worship in Ludhiana last year.

Mahesh Sharma adds from Jaghera (Mnadi Ahmedgarh): Coming to the aid of Sant Shamsher Singh Jaghera, president of International Sant Samaj and chief of a dera near Dugri bridge at Ludhiana, who was allegedly caught red-handed by some of his followers and area residents while raping the wife of a sewadar, the villagers of Jaghera have refused to accept that he had raped the woman.

Stating that the sant was being ‘‘falsely implicated’’ in the case as a part of a ‘‘high-level conspiracy’’, the villagers outrightly refused to believe that he could rape a woman. Calling him a man of principles, who had gained spiritual experiences over the years, the villagers said that they were shocked to see that ‘‘his rivals had acted in such a manner and implicated him.’’

An uneasy calm greeted a Tribune team that visited his village today. The commonly visited places, which used to be crowded on other days, were deserted today. Residents even hesitated to show the sant’s house to the team.

Mr Gobinder Singh, a school teacher, when asked about the antecedents of the accused, said that he knew very little about Sant Samsher Singh. He, however, led the team to the sant’s house. There was no family member present except the sant’s mother, Bhagwan Kaur, who alleged that his son had been trapped by a gang of land grabbers.

She said: “Sheri, as we used to call him, had been inclined toward spiritualism since his childhood. When he was still in his third standard he started collecting ‘Dali’ for Gurdwara Manji Sahib, Jaghera. Since then he had been absorbed in saintly missions which helped him rise to a saint of international fame,” she quipped.

The elderly woman told Ludhiana Tribune that Sant Samsher Singh was one of his six sons, one of whom had been murdered two years ago. Contrary to the allegations that Sant had brought riches to his family, Ms Bhagwan Kaur said that he had no love for materialistic life and had never brought even a single penny home. Though he had visited America, Canada and England many times, he never brought a single gift for family back home. His brothers never expected anything from him.”

Mr Malkiat Singh, former sarpanch and brother of the accused, alleged that the couple who claimed to be victim had staged a dharna to grab the dera which had been entrusted to his brother by chief of the Sant Kambliwale sect, headquartered in Patiala. Dr Ranjit Singh, another Congress leader of the village, also alleged that sant had been trapped to get the dera vacated.

Other sources in the village who did not want to be identified said that accused had been practicing ayurvedic system of medicine at his village during eighties.

He got recognition as a sant during the era of extremism. He was one of those who continued prefixing ‘sant’ despite threats by extremist outfits. When he formed his own organisation in the name of All India Sant Samaj, his statements used to be highlighted by media persons widely.

This smoothed his path to the offices of high rank officials and politicians. His visits to foreign countries, including Canada, America and England, helped him metamorphose his organisation to International Sant Samaj. Sources reveal that he had been entrusted the responsibility of the present Dera Jandali and Gurdwara Manji Sahib, Nanaksar.



When law enforcers become law breakers
Kanchan Vasdev 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
The very officers of the civil and police administration, who are entrusted with enforcing norms, are flouting these with impunity in their own government allotted houses by altering the constructions and raising illegal structures in the government colony in Rakh Bagh.

Despite the fact that the allotment order issued to the allottees clearly states that they cannot construct or demolish anything in the house, the government officials, who have been allotted the government houses in Rakh Bagh area, are continuing to do so in gross violation of the norms.

Condition number 5 in the allotment order clearly mentions that ‘‘the allottee shall not make any alteration or addition in the house and would not cut the standing tree or plant.’’

Almost all the police officers residing in the area have constructed a small room outside their main gates for the security guards, which has not been provided in the master plan of the house. Public Works Department (PWD) officials said that none of them have ever sought the permission of the provincial division of the department, which was responsible for the upkeep of the houses.

A Tribune survey of Rakh Bagh revealed a lot of violations of the norms, including the construction of car sheds, servant quarters and security guard shelters outside the houses. Interestingly in the A- block of the colony, all the houses in a row barring one have extended the area of the backyard by removing the existing wall and constructing a fresh by occupying an area of at least four to five feet. To cap it all iron gates have been put up in the walls also.

In house number 61 of A-block, which has been allotted recently, fresh construction of a wall is going on. The house has been allotted to an Excise and Taxation Officer. When a Tribune team reached the spot of construction, the father of the ETO said that they were actually repairing the house, which was in need of repairs badly. He added that when all his neighbours had already covered this much area, there was no stopping for him also.

A house allotted to a professor living in the area has a shed with cement sheets for parking of a car. A DSP of Vigilance Bureau has servant quarters, which were seemingly not constructed originally. But these have been whitewashed in the original colour of the houses.

Another police officer has a shelter for security guards outside his house and his neighbours complained that their car could not enter their gate due to his construction. Many residents said that they were doing constructions and repairs by shelling out money from their own pockets as the PWD officials had refused to get the repairs done owing to the paucity of funds.

Mr Rampal Singh, Executive Engineer, Provincial Division, PWD (B&R) said that there were norms that the allottees of the houses could not do any alteration in the houses. He said that constructing sheds, servant quarters and even shelter for security-men amounted to alteration and it was illegal.

He added that he was aware of such constructions but had not received any complaint as yet. Stating that action can be taken against the flouters, Mr Rampal Singh said that no such action has been initiated against any such allottee so far. So such practices were going on unabated.



Women’s gang activities also led to death
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
The activities of highway robbers’ gang of four women, who waylaid commuters on highways, did not cause loss of property only but allegedly led to the tragic death of one of their victims of Rurka village also, besides causing a plethora of troubles for three of the deceased’s friends, who were accused of murdering him.

Interrogation of three arrested gang members by the Division No. 7 police here has stumbled upon unravelling the mystery surrounding the death of Baldev Singh, a youth of Rurka village, whose body was found in a well near Ghungrana village on June 19. His three friends, Bahadur Singh of Dharamkot, Gurinder Singh of Kalkh and another unidentified one were found lying unconscious near the well in agricultural fields.

They remained in a hospital for several days but their troubles had only started. The relatives of the deceased youth and residents of Rurka village suspected their involvement in the mysterious death of Baldev Singh.

The gang members Usha, Ranjana and Paramjit Kaur revealed that they had duped four youths in Ghungrana village also. On verification it was found that the youths were the same, whose case had become a mystery for the police. Bahadur Singh and Gurinder Singh also recognised the girl in the presence of the investigating officer, Sub-Inspector Randhir Singh, here today.

The girls had taken lift in a car in which the four youths were travelling near the village on June 19. The youths and the girls consumed liquor in an agricultural field behind Mehtaab Palace in Ahmedgarh. The girls allegedly mixed some intoxicant in the liquor. Three of the youths were found unconscious next morning in fields in the nearby Ghungrana village while the body of the fourth one was found in a well.

Police sources said it was not clear if the youth fell accidentally or was thrown in the well by the girls. The investigation in this respect was yet to be completed but the evidence gathered so far suggested it as an accident only.

By cracking the case, the local police has lent a helping hand to the Jagraon police that was investigating the case of the youths. Ghungrana village falls in the jurisdiction of Dehlon police in the Jagraon police district. The police was at its wits end in unravelling the mystery as no definite cause of the death of the man or unconsciousness of the others was established.

It was suspecting that the four youths, who had consumed spurious or high quantity of liquor distributed by candidates in the panchayat elections, or the three surviving persons, had murdered the fourth one. The residents of Rurka village spearheaded the campaign against the three youths saying they murdered Baldev Singh. The police had to face the ire of the villagers as they accused it of improper investigation into the matter.

The victim youths had not made any statement of the presence of the girls with them on that fateful night. It was only after reading the news about the criminal activities of such a gang of women in Ludhiana Tribune that the youths realised what could have happened with them.

Sources said the gang members had duped several people and the Division No. 7 police here was receiving calls from several victims who did not report the matter to the police. Most of these were afraid of earning a bad name for themselves by disclosing that they had given lift to some girls and were duped in such a manner.

Police sources said the fourth gang member Jasbir Kaur was also likely to be arrested soon. Sources said further interrogation of the women was likely to bring out more interesting facts about their activities.



‘De facto’ councillors ruling the roost
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 19
The civic administration is facing a piquant situation. The officers in the Municipal Corporation, at all levels, not only have to deal with the elected representatives of the people but have to keep in good humour the husbands, sons, brothers-in-laws and in some cases distant relatives of some 20 plus women councillors.

The incident involving the scuffle between husband of one of the women councillors and an SDO in the civil wing of the MC here on Wednesday in fact is not a solitary incident but it is the manifestation of a deep-rooted malady which is a direct result of increasing and rather uncalled for interference of the kin of the women councillors in the working of the civic body.

Barring a few exceptions, most of the women councillors, revealed well placed sources in the MC, are only seen in the general house meetings, which in any case, their husbands or other close family members cannot attend due to legal restrictions. All other works, related to the respective wards of the women councillors, including pushing the files to different departments, getting new estimates sanctioned, overseeing the call for tenders and dealing with the contractors to whom the works are assigned, are carried out by kin of the women councillors.

Commenting on the situation, a senior MC official remarked that husbands or other close relatives of the women councillors were a privileged lot. “They are practically enjoying all the rights without an iota of responsibility. The close relatives of elected representatives are not accountable but nor do they have the mandate to interfere in the civic affairs.” The prevailing practice not only did not have any legal sanctity but it was also affecting the very credibility of women councillors, who had left everything to their kin.

According to a seasoned councillor, many among the women councillors were first timers and on the top of it they had joined civic politics for the sole reason that their respective wards were reserved for women.

The male contenders for the posts. therefore, had no choice but to field their womenfolk in the electoral battle. Further, if deliberations in the general house meeting of the civic body held so far are any indication quite a few women councillors have communication problems as well which makes them play second fiddle.

If some of the MC contractors were to be believed, the ‘de facto’ councillors were in the habit of intimidating them and dictating terms for execution of works in the wards represented by their wives or mothers. “Our problems are multiplied in such situations because we have to deal with the councillor and her kin at the same time.”



An example of selfless service
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
Setting an example of selfless service, the city councillor from Ward No 70 Mr Sushil Thapar Raju, has taken a token salary of Re 1 per month and has donated the rest of his monthly allowance for one year to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

In a simple but impressive function at the Chief Minister’s residence at Patiala, Mr Thapar presented a bank draft of Rs 35,988 to Maharani Parneet Kaur, MP and wife of Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab. Speaking at this occasion, the councillor said that he had responded to the call given by the party leadership to curtail expenditure and create enough resources for development works.

Appreciating the noble gesture of Mr Thapar, the Maharani observed that soldiers of the Congress party were always prepared for public service without any expectation for gains or rewards.

She expressed confidence that other public representatives would also follow the example of the party councillor so that adequate funds at the disposal of the Chief Minister could come in handy for the needy people and those in distress.



Nostalgic Lahore days

Prof M.C. SharmaTHE passing away of Bhisham Sahni made his fans and readers sad. If Partition is a water shed in history, Tamas is a land-mark in literature capsuling an ethos. Bhisham Sahni (born 1915) was 88 when he breathed his last. It is impossible to discover any senior of his Lahore days. About a score of ‘old boys’ of Government College, Lahore, may possibly be residing in the metro including suburban towns. An alumnus of that institution is called a Ravian, the Ravi being the name of its college magazine. The Sutlej of Government College, Ludhiana, is relatively, a cousin of the Ravi.

Being a Ravian lends identity a pride. Fortunately, we have among us an epitome of scholarship as well as of modesty in the person of Professor M.C. Sharma. (born 1917).

“I am a simple Ravian; Bhisham Sahni ranks higher, a double Ravian”, adds Prof Sharma, who was his junior by two years. Professor Sharma is a witness to the making of the glorious chapters of the city’s premier seat of higher learning. He contributed to the making of scores of civil and defence officers, scholars, writers. Professor Sharma is more rational than sentimental when he reflects,” Family is the foundation stone of a society. Its head should think best, do best and get done best.” He is beholden to his father, Pandit Nath Ram Shastri, who hailed from Jalandhar and dutifully served as teacher in the Government High Schools of Multan. The elder panditji named his son Multani Chand to respect the soil of the land of service. Shree Nath Ram, despite odds of economic means, sent his sons all the way to Lahore. Multani Chand Sharma making it to the prestigious Government College. M.C. Sharma joined in 1933 and got Master’s in English in 1939 . His icons are his teachers. He retains excellent memory of those six years, recalls the glorious years. Bows humbly to the Principals, Col. H L O Garret, IES (retired in 1936), followed by Dr H B Dunnicliff, IES . He remembers some interesting details about Principal, Dr G Mathai (1937) and paints Principal G D Sondhi (1939) in excellent colours. It is about A S Bokhari Mr Sharma is at his best admiring his wit and wisdom, aesthetic sense and dramatic qualities.

Who else would narrate intimate details of academic icons of yesteryear? Prof M C Sharma takes more pride in being the pupil of teachers of eminence than as a teacher of pupils of prominence. Among his teachers he includes the all time greats Profs. A S Bokhari, Sirajud-Din, I M Varma, Harish Kathpalia, Dr Kitchlu, Abdul Hamid besides Vidya Chandra and B D Chhabra.

Mr Sharma recollects the presence of well-known contemporary college mates, class fellows and juniors. They include all time legends of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, besides O P Mehra, Olympian Iqtdar Ali Shah, popularly known as Dara. Hitler appreciated Dhyan Chand and Dara at Berlin Olympics (1936). Sharma recalls intimate events. Says good word about fellow Jalandhari, Ashwani Kumar, I.P. He recalls Prem Bhatia, his senior as cricketer and speaker.

Punjab Premier Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan Tiwana’s son Shakaukat Hayat, Nawab Brothers- Mahmood Ali and Mazhar Ali were notables. Interestingly, he recollected, Mahmood married Satnam Kaur, daughter of noted Punjabi humorist and poet, S S Charan Singh Shaheed. She became Mrs S. Mahmood, Mazhar Ali edited the Pakistan Times once done by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Prof M. C. Sharma recollects Bhisham Sahni joining leftists in the company of fellow students such as Karm Singh Gill (former VC, GND University, Amritsar).

M.S. Cheema



Monsoon, the season of home-made pickles
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, July 19
The standard breakfast of many Punjabis is paranthas and mango pickle. Rains have brought a variety of raw mangoes to be used for making pickles and delicious sweet and sour chutneys. Seasons come and go but mango pickle has not lost its appeal though raw mangoes are selling more expensive at Rs 30 to Rs 35 as compared to ripe mangoes that sell for Rs 20 onwards.

The good part of making pickles of lime and mangoes is that it provides jobs to many. Many cottage industries are set up which are busy preparing mango and lime pickle. Since mango pickle is a must in Punjabi household, and the working ladies are busy, they buy pickles from their acquaintances who have set up small enterprise at home wherein they make pickle to order.

Lemonade, home-made masalas and pickles made by Ms Manju Rastogi have become popular as she uses her own masalas. She started preparing these things on request. She says,” Actually, whether it is a housewife or a working lady , they want quality product. Assured of cleanliness and good quality ingredients, they place orders to me.”

Ramkhilwan, who is cutting mangoes at Ghumar Mandi, from UP, says,” Raw mangoes are a blessing for us. Every season our families come down. While we cut mangoes, our wives are employed at grocery stores to clean the masalas required for pickles and pounding them. People have become quite conscious of the quality which is good for us as we get seasonal employment. Atleast food for two months is assured.”

In all the vegetable markets, mango cutters are sitting with their simple instruments ‘dataris’. The instrument does not cost much but yields good income to many unemployed people. Many people have started making pickles as a cottage industry to cope up with the ever-growing demands of home-made pickles.



BKU hails cut in interest rate on farm loans
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) while welcoming the cut in rate of interest on farm loans of upto Rs 50,000 to 9 per cent has urged the government to further reduce the rate of interest to a realistic 4 per cent to save the debt-ridden farmers.

Reacting favourably to the government decision, BKU president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said in a statement here today that the union had been repeatedly maintaining that the farming community was not in a position to repay the loans granted at a hefty rate of interest of around 16 per cent and over the period the debt burden of farmers had been mounting with adverse impact on the farm economy.

He said it was ridiculous that the commercial banks offered ‘cheap’ loans at an interest rate of 8 to 10 per cent for housing and purchase of luxury vehicles while the farmers, who were instrumental to meet the food grain demand of the country, were made to pay at almost double the rate for crop loans. A reasonable rate of interest, at not more than 4 per cent, would go along way to give the much needed relief to the farmers and at the same time drastically improve the repayment capacity of the borrowers, Mr Lakhowal added.

The BKU chief reiterated the demand for rejecting the recommendation of the Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission for freezing prices of agricultural produce. The policy of freezing farm prices and denial of remunerative prices to the producers would prove fatal for the nation. He alleged that even otherwise the government had been pursuing the policy of denying justified increase in the minimum support price of agricultural produce for the last three years and the demand for linking MSP to the wholesale price index was being ignored.

Mr Lakhowal called upon the government to immediately announce support price for the forthcoming crops on the basis of price index which worked out to be Rs 759 per quintal for paddy, Rs 2,860 per quintal for pulses and oil seeds and Rs 3,250 per quintal for cotton. He also demanded that arrears of sugarcane crop for the last year be immediately paid to the growers. Attacking the government for hollow claims on the policy of crop diversification, he said huge funds were being spent for futile propaganda in this direction while the farmers who had opted out of traditional wheat paddy rotation and had gone for alternate crops like sugarcane were yet to receive payments for their produce.

He further said all arrangements were in place for the proposed state-level delegate session at Ananadpur Sahib on July 24 and 25, which would deliberate upon the problems of the agricultural community and the political situation in the state, among other things.



Vaastu can bring positive results
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
"Vishvakarma, the greatest architect who built a magnificent palace for the Pandavas was the one who gave us the Vaastu Shastra. Till, the time we Indians followed Vaastu Shastra and constructed our cities and houses according to its rules,we prospered. The British made us discard Vaastu Shastra and our downslide started, " feels 24-year-old Vaastu consultant , Mr Mohit Sharma. Mr Sharma, who is based in Ludhiana, keeps travelling to Chandigarh and Delhi to offer his services, to his clients.

Mr Sharma has been practising Vaastu shastra from the age of 14 years and now at 24, he has 10 years' experience behind him. He said," I sat by the side of my grandfather at the age of 14 and absorbed the knowledge of Vaastu and astrology like a sponge from him. I want to assure the people that vaastu really helps ."

Mr Sharma said some tips could help people overcome obstacles being faced by them. He said people's health improved dramatically and they experienced positive results in their financial life, too, when they changed the direction of their head from the west side to the east while sleeping. " Just by placing the head in the right direction ensures better sleep," says Mr Sharma.

He suggests that people should build their temples in the north-east while they should place heavy machinery in the south-west for positive results.

The laughing Buddha should not be bought but gifted."If one leaves the house after cleaning the Buddha and rubbing the stomach of the Buddha, one is bound to have a good day where things with happen after one's desires. It should be so placed that it faces the east."

Another piece of advice, he gives is to place brown metallic Ganesha on either side of the entrance to a house as Lord Ganesha sees to it that no obstruction enters the house. He says following the principles of Vaastu will bring improvement. "Vaastu is just like homoeopathic medicine . It will work gradually without any side effects provided people have faith in what they are doing."



Demand to regularise daily wagers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
The National Organisation of Government Employees (NOGE) has demanded regularisation of daily wagers.

Mr K.R.Tripathi, president, and Dr Shiv Gupta, general secretary of the NOGE, respectively, in a press statement today said a delegation of the Punjab State Civil Supplies Class IV Employees Congress had submitted their charter of demands to several leaders recently.

The members of the delegation said their demands included regularisation of the daily wagers, payment of arrears of wages from 1996 to the senior employees regularised as compared to the junior employees, fixed duty hours, maintenance of attendance and stock registers, etc. Mr Tripathi said apart from these, in case of deaths of employees, appointments should be made on compassionate grounds and compensation should be paid to the working daily wagers who suffer injuries while on duty. Basic amenities such as drinking water, electricity, etc must be provided to chowkidars on duty at godowns during nights. They also stressed that rampant corruption must be eliminated at higher level of supervisory and inspectorate staff, etc and labour laws should be strictly implemented.

The delegation included Mr Surinder Makkar, Mr Surinder Kumar, Mr Shiv Charan Singh, Mr Hans Raj and other office-bearers from Jalalabad, Fazilka, Abohar, Faridkot, Moga, Muktsar, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana.


Roll back CSD price hike: ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
The Ex-Servicemen Welfare Society, Ludhiana, has condemned the Punjab Government for imposing sale tax on military CSDs. The society has demanded immediate roll back of the hiked rates.

An emergency meeting of the organisation unanimously condemned the decision to impose sale tax on CSD (Canteen Stores Department) items. The decision is repressive and derogatory as far as welfare of large community of ex-servicemen in the state of Punjab is concerned.

Col R.S. Sohi (retd), president, while addressing the members stated that the Congress, during its poll promises, assured ex-servicemen that their welfare will be accorded due priority. He further stated that U-turn from declared promises will be opposed and call was given to all the organisations of ex-servicemen to fight such repressive measures unitedly.

Lt Col J.S. Garcha (retd), general secretary, addressed the meeting and declared that the attitude of the Punjab Government was unfortunate as far as welfare of ex-servicemen community was concerned. It was unanimously felt that ex-servicemen while in service courageously and fearlessly defended the nation and will also not hesitate to oppose and fight anti-welfare attitude’ of any ruling party.

Col Harbaksh Singh (retd), vice-president, made an appeal to Capt Amarinder singh, CM (who is himself an ex-serviceman), to reconsider and review the decision of the Government to impose sale tax on CSD items.



Maid withdraws complaint against police
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
The alleged torture and harassment case of a 25-year-old maid of Khanna took a new turn yesterday when the alleged victim withdrew her complaint.

The woman, Baby, had alleged on Thursday in Khanna that she was harassed and beaten up by the Khanna city police for the past three days. She had fell unconscious in the police station on Thursday evening and was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Khanna, on Thursday night.

She and her family members had then alleged that the police was harassing them unnecessarily in a robbery case of Rs 4.7 lakh that occurred in a house in Bank Colony last week.

The woman, however, took everyone by surprise by giving in writing to the police that she was withdrawing the allegations and not making any allegation against the police.

Doctors at the Civil Hospital, Khanna, who had a bitter argument with journalists over the case on Thursday night, also withdrew their complaint against the journalists.



In-laws booked for demanding dowry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
The Division No 2 police registered a case under Sections 406, 498-A and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Rekha Rani, a resident of Gobind Pura in Miller Ganj, against her husband Sanjiv Kumar, father-in-law Prem Dass and mother-in-law Raj Rani. The woman had alleged that the accused subjected her to mental and physical torture and demanded dowry from her. No arrest has been made so far.

The Division No 7 police registered a case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on the statement of Ms Suman, a resident of Mani Majra now living in Guru Arjan Dev Nagar, Ludhiana, against her husband Shiv Kumar, Channe Lal and Rani, residents of Khanna. The woman had alleged that the accused were subjecting her to mental and physical torture and demanding more dowry. No arrest has been made so far.

Frauds alleged
The Division No 8 police yesterday registered a case of fraud under Section 406 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Gurdeep Singh, a resident of Mohalla Rajinder Nagar near the Civil Hospital, against Natish Bajaj, a resident of Shivaji Nagar in UP. The complainant had alleged that the accused , who was an employee in his business firm near Kailash cinema , had collected a payment of Rs 57,594 from one firm, another of Rs 6,399 from another firm and did not deposit the same with him. In addition to these sums, the accused had also taken Rs 34,000 from him and also his Hero Honda motorcycle, before running away. No arrest has been made so far.

The Model Town police yesterday registered a case under Sections 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Bhajan Kaur, a resident of Haibowal Khurd, against Rajiv Kumar, a resident of Rishi Nagar in Haibowal Khurd, and seven other unknown persons. The woman had alleged that the accused prepared forged documents of her plot and took illegal possession of the same on the basis of forged documents. No arrest has been made so far.

On a tip-off, the Focal Point police yesterday registered a case under Sections 406, 420, 411 and 120-B of the IPC against Sarabjit Singh, a resident of Samana now living on the premises of Punjabi University, Patiala, Manjeet Singh, Jit Singh, Channa, residents of Samrodi village near Samana. The police said it had got a tip-off that the accused had stolen some machinery from Bhawanigarh in Sangrur district and hidden the same in Sherpur Khurd. No arrest has been made so far.

The Division No 6 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Manmohan Singh, a resident of Industrial Area A, against Santokh Singh and Kamaljit Singh, residents of Sector 39, Urban Estate, Chandigarh Road. The complainant had alleged that he had given a room to the accused on rent. But the accused prepared forged papers of his property and tried to sell the room to another person. When he confronted the accused with the information, the accused threatened him on Friday. No arrest has been made so far.

Girl kidnapped
The Koom Kalan police yesterday registered a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Shinder Pal Singh, a resident of Gahi Bhaini village, against Malkit Singh, a resident of Ghumait village. The complainant had alleged that the accused had kidnapped his daughter Harpreet Kaur on the morning of July 15 and took her to an undisclosed place. No arrest has been made so far.

Theft cases
The Shimlapuri police registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Balav Chaturvedi, a resident of the Kwality road in Shimlapuri, against an unknown person who stole his scooter from near the Matharu Chowk on July 14. No arrest has been made so far.

The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Surinder Singh, a resident of Kitchlu Nagar, against an unknown person who stole his Bajaj scooter from Haibowal Kalan on July 14. No arrest has been made so far.

The Salem Tabri police yesterday registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Manjeet Kaur, a resident of Hazoori Bagh Colony in Bhattian village, now living in Mochpura Bazar, against unknown person(s) who stole her Bajaj Chetak scooter from in front of Green Land School on the evening of July 16. No arrest has been made so far.

Car snatched
The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 392, 341, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act on the statement of Mr Sheetal Puri, a resident of Gurdev Nagar, against Vijay Kalia , his son Gaurav Kalia, Manjeet Singh, Rajinder Singh and another unknown person accompanying them. The complainant had alleged that the accused stopped him at Rajpura chowk and snatched Santro car he was driving at gunpoint. When he tried to resist, the accused threatened him and fired in the air. After he raised an alarm, the accused made good their escape in the car on the night of Friday. No arrest has been made so far.

Eve-teaser booked
On the statement of Ms Gurmeet Kaur, a resident of Tajpur Bet village, the Division No 7 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 294 and 506 of the IPC against Ram Kumar, a resident of the Tajpur road. The woman had alleged that the accused had teased her daughter Harpreet Kaur on the road, addressed her in foul language and also threatened her on Friday evening.

Killed in mishap
The Division No 6 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Parsu Ram, a resident of SAS Nagar, against a driver of a vehicle who allegedly hit Chander Bhan, a migrant from UP, and fled the scene the scene of the accident on July 17. Chander Bhan died on the spot. No arrest has been made so far.

Poppy husk seized
The Sadar police yesterday arrested Gurmeet Singh, a resident of Khunjarwal village falling under the Mullanpur Dakha police station in Ludhiana district and seized 500 gm of poppy husk from his possession which the accused was carrying in the truck being driven by him. The accused has been booked under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.



City to get modern vegetable market soon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
A modern and scientifically developed fruit and vegetable market is coming up in Ludhiana. Spread over an area of 54 acres, according to Mr Sant Ram Singla, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, the market will be completed within six months. It is being completed at a cost of Rs 60 crore.

Announcing this here today, Mr Singla said the first phase had almost been completed and Rs 7.35 crore had been spent on it. There will be 343 premises, which include 289 shop-cum-flats and 54 booths. The market will have a bank, post office, rest house, a restaurant, weigh bridge, cold storage and spacious parking space.

Referring to various projects of the Mandi Board, the Chairman said his priority would be reconstruction and repair of the link roads. He said in Punjab the Mandi Board has taken up the responsibility of the construction of 42,000 km of road length. He pointed out that the roads are to be repaired after every six years of their construction. These link roads had been constructed way back in 1996, but were never repaired by the previous government. He said the repair of these link roads cost about Rs 210.54 crore. These link roads will be repaired by March 31, 2004. In addition, Rs 40 crore would be spent on patch-work of various roads.

Special arrangements are being made in the markets for grading of agriculture products for which machines have been imported from the United States. He said the sampling of cotton has been a great success and similar grading equipment would be introduced for other food grains and oil seeds. He announced that to speed up the cleaning process, power cleaners have been introduced in mandis. Similarly, stitching machines have been introduced in 90 markets to stitch foodgrain bags.

The Chairman also announced that the concept of Apni Mandi, where the middlemen and commission agents were sought to be eliminated, was being reviewed. He said it would not be allowed and it would be the farmers who will get the benefit from the Apni Mandi.

Replying to a question on the corruption in Mandi Board, the Chairman admitted that there might be some corrupt officials also. He observed, “No place is free from corruption, nor all places are full of corruption”. He said the corrupt officials in Mandi Board were being identified and brought to the book.



Beopar Mandal up in arms against exim form
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 19
Reacting sharply to the government decision to introduce exim form in the state from September 1, the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal (PPBM) has threatened with a mass agitation if attempts were made to implement the ‘ill conceived’ decision.

Addressing a meeting of the mandal here, its district president Kasturi Lal Mittal, general secretary Mohinder Pal Aggarwal, state unit general secretary Sunil Mehra and other speakers charged that even earlier the government had tried to give effect to this ‘arbitrary and repressive’ measure through backdoor but in the face of stiff resistance from the traders, the move was dropped. “If the government wants to confront the trading community through such undesirable legislations, we are prepared for a trial of strength,” asserted the speakers.

The beopar mandal functionaries wondered at the renewed attempt to introduce exim form when around 20 computerised check barriers of the Excise and Taxation Department were already functional in the state with additional provisions of form 24-A for all goods entering or leaving the state of Punjab. Mr Mohinder Aggarwal alleged that the officials of the Excise and Taxation Department were out to harass the traders and steps to introduce exim form were a part of this exercise.

Lashing at the Congress government headed by Captain Amarinder Singh for adopting double standards, the speakers observed that on one side the government claimed to be sympathetic to the trade and industry while on the other hand, such detrimental and ruinous decisions as introduction of exim form were being taken at the advice of bureaucracy.

The leaders of trading community called upon the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr H.S. Hanspal, Minister of State Rakesh Pandey and local legislator Surinder Dawar to intervene and take up the issue with the government to reconsider the matter of introduction of exim form, which was bound to adversely affect the trade and industry in the state and have far reaching repercussions on state economy as a whole.



City-Chandigarh AC bus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 19
The long pending demand of the people of the city to have an air-conditioned bus service between Ludhiana and Chandigarh has been met at last with Libra Tour and Travel Private Limited getting the permission for operating a bus between Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

A spokesman for the company said the bus would ply daily between Chandigarh and Ludhiana. While it will leave from Ludhiana for Chandigarh at 8.30 a.m. from Chandigarh it will leave for Ludhiana at 4 p.m.


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