Tuesday, August 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Village tense after attack on Dalits
Cops roughed up as accused resist arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
A police party from the Latala post that had gone to Bhaini Arora village yesterday to arrest four persons accused of beating up two Dalits was allegedly roughed up by some relatives of the accused. A Head Constable received minor injuries and his uniform was torn.

The beating up of the Dalits on Saturday had caused tension in the village.

A quick action by the police and civil administration has prevented the situation from turning an ugly. The village panchayat has also passed a resolution calling for communal harmony and peace in the village.

The attack on the Dalits is now being attributed to rivalry between two groups, though the groups being of Jats and Dalits, caste rivalry seems to be more of a reason.

The accused were all Jats. The police party that was attacked was led by Sub-Inspector Sawinder Singh, head of the Latala post. The police has arrested the attackers — Harpal Singh and Jasbir Singh alias ‘Seera’ — and charged them under Sections 186, 332, 353, 294 and 34 of the IPC for abusing, obstructing and injuring a government servant.

The police has also claimed to have identified the persons who had attacked the Dalits — Darbara Singh and Bharpur Singh — and left them seriously injured.

These men — Inderjit Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Sukhpreet Singh and Raj Kumar have been charged under sections 365, 324, 323 and 34 of the IPC.

At civil hospital here today, Mr Bhaur Singh, former sarpanch and elder brother of the injured Dalits, said the accused were anti-social elements and he had taken action against them during his tenure as sarpanch, that had ended with the last panchayat elections.

He said the accused were trying to divide the village on communal lines.

Tension prevailed in the village because of the attack on the Dalits. Mr Mukhwinder Singh Chhina, Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, said he had sent a team to take stock of the situation.

The team had found that the attack had been based on rivalry and there was communal harmony in the village.



Medical college gets legal notice
Patients made research tools
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, August 4
Serious allegations have been levelled against Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) faculty members and students of cheating patients, for the purpose of thesis work required for post-graduate examination, for which the patients have been forced to buy medicines and undergo various expensive tests from their own pockets.

Some of these medicines given to the patients are meant only for experimentation. Even as unaware patients are not complaining of their being turned into guinea-pigs, the matter is being widely debated among faculty after the issue was highlighted by some of the city residents in a legal notice served on the DMCH management last month.

The allegations are that the students doing their thesis, were conducting experiments and innocent patients were being victimised. The details of some of these experiments include, study of prognostic value of troponin-t, CPK-MB levels and ECG parameters in patients of unstable angina. (referred by an MD doctor in 2002). By estimating troponin-T and CPK-MB, patient was not benefited at all because they do not have any role in the management of the patient’s disease but the patient had to pay from his own pocket for these research tests.

In another case, role of high resolution CT in evaluation of diffuse lung disease was referred. There is no role of CT scanning in the management of diffuse lung disease and CT scan was done on these patients just for academic purposes and patients had to pay exorbitantly.

Mr Amrit Nagpal, Secretary Managing Society, DMCH when contacted refused to comment saying “I am not a culprit and I will not answer your questions”. However, he confirmed that the matter was subjudice. Earlier, the DMCH management had been maintaining that it was unaware of any such legal notice.

The DMCH Principal, Dr S.C.Ahuja, when contacted, said the allegations were absolutely baseless. He said the common man could not understand the scientific intricacies.

Other examples include that of evaluation of inter linking -6 in ascetic fluid of patients with cirrhosis with bacterial peritonitis (doctor in medicine in 2002) was to be done whereas there is no therapeutic value of inter lenkin-6 in cirrhosis of liver. Doctors, who do not wish to be identified say no standard medicine textbook is recommending the test. This is one of the most costly test. It was ordered just for academic purpose and the patient paid for the cost of the test.

The role of dobutamine stress echocardiography versus treadmill test in directing latent coronary artery disease in patients (1998). The patients were subjected to two expensive tests for latent coronary artery disease while this could be diagnosed only with careful history of patient or ECG at appropriate time or treadmill test. The patients were subjected to expensive and risky tests merely for the academic purpose.



Post-convention, fissures appear in DCC
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
Fissures have appeared in the District Congress Committee (DCC) in the aftermath of the state level panchayat convention held here yesterday. The convention was jointly organised by the rural and urban units of the DCC. While organisers maintain that the convention was a success, given the participation of delegates, some of them blame the rivals within the party for the chaos and confusion.

Eversince Mr Jagmohan Sharma took over as president of the DCC (Urban), a section of the party started distancing itself from him. Mr Sharma belongs to the trading community and has been associated with the Beopar Mandal for over two decades.

Considered to be close to former Chief Minister and Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Sharma’s elevation to the post of the DCC(U) president was not taken well by the official group.

Though Mr Jagmohan Sharma has often reiterated his faith in the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh, this has not endeared him to the ‘official’ group. Even during the run-up to the appointment of new DCC presidents, the official group rallied behind Mr K.K. Bawa. This group consisted of Mr Dawer, Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, Mr Amarjit Singh Tika, Mr Rajinder Basant and Mr Pawan Dewan.

Minister for Higher Education, Harnam Dass Johar and Minister of State for Jails Milkiat Singh Dakha opposed Mr Bawa as he had opposed their inclusion in the ministry. But they did not have any preference they only wanted Mr Bawa’s removal. In the process, the Minister of State for Stationery and Printing, Mr Rakesh Pandey, otherwise known for his pro Bhattal leanings, maintained neutral.

Mr Dawer, who is a former DCC(U) president and an influential member of the official group, has his own reasons for differences with Mr Sharma. Mr Sharma was an aspirant for the Ludhiana East Assembly segment. But Mr Dawer got the mandate and he won. Mr Sharma had filed nomination papers as an Independent candidate. It was only after Capt Amarinder Singh visited here, he withdrew in favour of Mr Dawer. However, after the appointment of Mr Sharma as the DCC president, Mr Dawer has started seeing a potential rival in him (Mr Sharma) in his own Assembly segment.

Yesterday there was little harmony among the organisers of the convention. The differences reportedly cropped up in the morning. There was an altercation between the rural unit president, Mr Harmohinder and his urban counterpart Mr Jagmohan Sharma.

Mr Harmohinder objected to Mr Sharma trying to project himself as the sole organiser of the convention. Mr Avtar Singh Brar, vice-president of the Pradesh Congress Committee, intervened and diffused the situation.



New academic session at PAU 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 4
The Punjab Agricultural University campus was once again abuzz with activity here today as hundreds of students got themselves registered for the new academic session.

Registration of students, freshers as well as old, started at 9 am. Students were seen standing in long queues outside the Thapar Hall for procuring registration cards. After this, the students moved to their respective colleges where they were given timetables and titles of various course works. Then they got signatures of the teaching staff and the Dean or his nominee. These cards were then deposited with the academic branch of the Registrar’s office. Long queues were visible here also.

Admissions to the College of Agriculture were being held in the Pal Auditorium. Students were also being enrolled in NSS and NCC. The registration for the College of Agricultural Engineering was held in Jacob Hall.

Students said it had been a very hectic day for them as the process was very complicated. While old students were well aware of the system and were used to it, freshers seemed to be somewhat nonplussed.

A group of girls seeking admission to the postgraduate courses in the College of Basic Sciences said it was very difficult for them to search for different teachers as many of them were not available in their rooms. They, however, were quite satisfied with the working of the staff in the Registrar’s office. They said the staff were very cooperative and their forms were accepted even during the lunch break. The scene at the College of Home Science seemed relatively dull as just 13 freshers had come for BSc (Home Science) registration.

The Department of Home Science Extension that had been shifted to the College of Agriculture had just two students sent by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) for registration. None of the six open seats could be filled.

The scene at the Centre of Communication, Languages and Culture, also seemed morose as the master’s course in journalism had been scrapped. No fresh admissions were to take place and just a few second-year students had turned up for registration.



Mentally challenged dies unattended
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Pakhowal (Ludhiana), August 4
The directions of the Supreme Court to states to care for the mentally challenged notwithstanding, a mentally challenged died unattended and uncared for at the age of 14, whose last rites were performed in this village today.

Despite the fact that the former Deputy Commissioner had ordered a survey of the mentally challenged, no help reached this “lesser mortal” who was found dead in the village. Barring a few cases when the administration rescued four such persons from an ashram near Laddowal and admitted them to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, nothing had been done for them.

The post-mortem report of the body is yet to come. The Raikot police handed over the body to village panchayat for last rites. Police sources said it was a natural death. Villagers, however, said he probably died of dehydration.

The 14-year-old boy, whose name was not known to anyone in the village, was abandoned by a year ago. “Baula”, as he was addressed by villagers, was found dead last afternoon near Halwara Chowk.

His body was seen by some shopkeepers and the matter was reported to the sarpanch of the village, who called the police. Investigations had revealed that the boy was a Muslim so the village sarpanch asked the Muslims of Malerkotla to perform his last rites as per their religion.

His death has angered villagers of Pakhowal. “Do we value life? He is one of the many whose case has come to light. He lived a dog’s life. Even his family abandoned him”, said an anguished villager.

Mr Gurnam Singh, husband of village Sarpanch, Manjit Kaur, said they were not aware that any survey of the mentally challenged was undertaken by the district administration. They said the boy was fed by villagers. Clothes were also given to him. Certain persons were assigned to bathe him.



BKU wants even softer farm loans
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) has hailed the decision of the government to lower the interest on farm loans.
Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and Mr M.S. Qadian, president and general secretary, respectively, of the outfit, said the interest rate should be brought down to 4 per cent so that the farmers could easily repay their loans.

The government should also allow easy instalments over a longer period for the repayment.

They said the government should not act on the report on the economic survey that recommended freezing the prices of agricultural produce. Freezing would not be a step in the right direction, since the cost of farm inputs had increased over the years, while the prices had not been commensurate. Farming was fast becoming an unviable proposition, they alleged.

The leaders said they were mobilising support from across the state to get the long-pending demands of farmers accepted.

The party would soon hold flag marches and apprise farm labourers of their rights.

A state-level party meeting would be held on August 10 to take stock of the situation and, in case the government did not accept its demands, the party would hold a state-level rally in Chandigarh on September 12.



Private participation in plantation drive 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 4
The Municipal Corporation has chalked out a plan to seek private participation in the ongoing plantation campaign in the city.
Educational institutions, government departments, trade and commercial bodies and non-government organisations have been asked to join hands with the civic body in the sapling plantation drive.

The maintenance of the plants would also be entrusted to private parties.

A proposal to be put before the general house of the MC in the next meeting provides for private firms, individuals, corporate houses, NGOs and advertising agents to provide tree guards for the saplings being planted all over the city and to maintain these for a period of three years on ‘build, operate and transfer’ (BOT) basis.

The MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, said in lieu of these services provided by the private participants, they would be entitled to put up their advertising messages on plates of size 9 inches by 4 inches on all sides of the tree guards. The scheme, while encouraging private participation in sapling plantation and making the city clean and green, would also result in massive financial saving to the MC in purchase of tree guards and maintenance of plants.

A public notice inviting offers from private parties for providing tree guards and maintenance of plants would be issued immediately after getting approval from the MC general house in the next couple of days.

The civic body, Mr Sharma added, had taken up the task of plantation of saplings in greenbelts, medians on all major roads, entry points to the city, roundabouts and slipways.

The city residents were also being motivated to plant more and more plants so that the green cover of the city could be replenished and an attempt could be made towards combating alarming level of environmental pollution in the city.



Buddha Dal begins anti-drug campaign
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
The Shiromani Akali Buddha Dal has started a campaign against drug abuse and to awaken the masses against the danger posed by self -styled sants and the mushrooming of deras in the state.

Addressing a district-level meeting here yesterday, Jathedar Kulbir Singh Khalsa, said it was unfortunate that the people were turning their back on religion and were becoming apostate. This has been going on for a long time and it was the need of the hour to put a stop to this menace which is getting out of hand.

He said intoxicants were freely available across the state and youths were consuming them to beat the unemployment blues. The state has miserably failed to provide employment avenues to the educated youth. The condition of the rural were even more deplorable. The land holdings were dwindling and there was no alternative for them. In the absence of awareness, the much touted diversification remains only on paper.

The jathedar said the mushrooming of deras in the state was one aspect which threatens to ruin the social and moral fabric of the state. Ironically, nothing has been done to counter the self-styled babas who are taking the people for a ride. The Gurus are being denigrated and gurbani distorted to lure the masses on the path of apostasy. The dharam prachar by the SGPC has remained ineffective and this is borne out by the fact that a majority of the rural and urban youth sport unshorn hair and flaunt their apostate status, he pointed out.

Mr Khalsa said they were not against deras but were for regulating them. A mechanism was needed to keep a tab on their activities and in the case of any irregularities they would be closed down. Any-body with some working knowledge of the scriptures and a gift of the gab could sway the masses into their fold paving the road for their exploitation.

He added that they had divided the district into various zones and duties had been assigned to their office-bearers. An appraisal meeting would be held after a fortnight to take stock of the situation and chalk out a further course of action.

Among those who attended the meeting at Gurdwara Pheruman included Jathedars Ran Sigh, Surjit Singh, Pritam Singh, Pala Singh and Raj Singh. 



Epidemic threat in colony
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
While the rest of the city is already in the grip of water-borne diseases, inhabitants of New Ashok Nagar ‘B’ are sore over a choked sewerage connection that has filled the streets with sewage.

The fear is that a water-borne disease may soon break out with the drinking water getting contaminated. The dirty water all around is proving to be a breeding ground for the vectors of various diseases.

Complaints have been lodged with the SDO concerned of the Municipal Corporation a number of times, but to no avail. The sewerage connection given recently has been faulty ever since its release. On the condition of anonymity, many persons of the area said the streets where the sewerage pipes had been laid were yet to be paved. Rain eroded the loose sand on the streets and the sewer cracked.



Delegation to visit Pakistan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 4
An 11-member delegation of Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood, Punjab, will visit Pakistan in the last week of September to pay obeisance at famous gurdwaras there and also visit the native villages of Master Tara Singh, Prof Mohan Singh and K.S. Duggal to collect photographs which would be incorporated in Dhan-Pothohar Kosh to be released on Baisakhi next year.

A resolution to this effect was passed at the executive body meeting of the brotherhood here yesterday, which was presided over by Mr N.S. Nanda, president.

Mr Nanda condoled the death of Bhisham Sahni, eminent novelist, who passed away recently. He belonged to the Dhan-Pothohar community.



Police inaction alleged
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
The wife of Lachman Dass, who was recently killed near his house in Jammu Colony when he had tried to intervene in a fight and local residents sat on a dharna outside the Mini Secretariat and submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police demanding action against the accused.

Ms Asha Rani, wife of Lachman Dass in the memorandum alleged that his husband was injured by Surinder Singh and his son Joginder Singh. Lachman Dass had died while on the way to hospital. She alleged that although a case was registered against the two, they were roaming freely in the area and threatening her and her sons of dire consequences.

She further alleged that the two persons were always armed with weapons and were constantly threatening them but the police had failed to stop them. She requested the Deputy Commissioner to get her justice.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, marked the case to the SSP, asking him to look into the case.



Nagar kirtan by ISKCON
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 4
The local chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) took out a nagar kirtan in connection with the forthcoming rath yatra of Lord Jagannath in the city last evening.

The nagar kirtan started from Tulsi Das Dharamshala and passed through Haridev Mandir, Mochpura Bazar, Subhani Building and Iqbal Ganj areas before culminating at the historic Sanglanwala Shivala.

Earlier in the day, a special Sunday satsang session was held at the under-construction ISKCON temple at Sterling Tower, Civil Lines. The session was presided over by Bhakti Vinod Dass from Chandigarh.

A kirtan was also held on the occasion in which Vicky Saluja sang Hare Krishna mahamantra. It was followed by a bhandara.

Fifty-six types of ‘bhog’ were offered to Lord Jagannath on the occasion, said Mr Rajesh Garg, a spokesman for the temple management.



DGP urged to check use of intoxicants
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 4
Welcoming the appointment of Mr A.A. Siddiqui as DGP, Punjab, the Bharti Kisan Union today urged him to wage a relentless war against the use of intoxicants in rural Punjab.

The union general secretary (finance), Mr Puran Singh Shahkot, and the general secretary (press), Mr Bhupinder Singh, said though poppy was not grown in the state, the use of poppy husk was rampant. The union leaders said intoxicants were being sold in connivance with “corrupt” police officers and strict action was the need of the hour.

They hailed the appointment of Mr Jai Singh Gill as Chief Secretary of Punjab. Describing Mr Gill as an upright officer, the union leaders urged him to get the assets of senior government officials probed.



Husband, mother-in-law booked for demanding dowry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 4
On the statement of Ms Harpreet Kaur, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, the Sarabha Nagar police yesterday registered a case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC against her husband Harpreet Singh and mother-in-law Amrit Kaur, residents of Shivaji Nagar. The woman had stated in her complaint that she was married on October 1, 2000 and after that her husband and the mother-in-law were harassing her for more dowry. No arrest has been made so far.

Woman hurt in attack: The Sadar police registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 506,148 and 149 of the IPC yesterday on the statement of Ms Raj Rani, a resident of Bonkar Dogran village, against Vijay Kumar, Dwaraka Dass, Surinder Kumar, Piaro and Gurbhajani, residents of the same village. The woman had alleged that the accused forcibly entered her house on Saturday and attacked her. She was injured in the attack and the accused also threatened her before leaving, added the complainant.

The Sarabha Nagar police registered a case under Sections 323, 324, 506, 427 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Joginder Singh, a resident of Threekay village, against Dimple, Daljeet Singh and Karamjit Singh, residents of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar. The complainant had alleged that the accused had beat him up on Saturday. The accused also threatened him, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.

Poppy husk seized: The sadar police yesterday arrested Swaran Singh, a resident of Nurpur Bet village, in Ludhiana district, and seized 3 kg of poppy husk from his possession. The police said the accused, who was intercepted in Laddowal village while carrying the contraband, was booked under Sections 15,61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Liquor seized: The sadar police arrested Vipan Kumar, a resident of New Shiv Puri, yesterday from Fatehgarh village and seized 46 bottles of IMFL from his possession. The accused was booked under the Excise Act.

Stolen: The Civil Lines police has registered a case of theft on the statement of Mr Anurag Gupta, a resident of Model Town, against unknown person (s) who stole his Mahindra Scorpio bearing a temporary registration number PB-10AJ (T) 9956 vehicle from outside the Municipal Corporation Swimming Pool on Sunday evening.

Six shops burgled: As many as six shops were burgled in Doraha late last night and a cash of Rs 5,000 was reportedly stolen.

The burglars broke shutters of six shops dealing in cloth, hardware, kiryana, battery repair and a general store and broke the safe of the shops and decamped with the cash.



Bid to rape

Ludhiana, August 4
A man attempted to rape a minor on the premises of a government school at Goindwal village, near Raikot, yesterday.
The case came to light today when the police registered a complaint and arrested Harjit Singh of Phul village in Bathinda district. He was visiting a relative’s house in the village.

According to an FIR lodged against the accused, the incident occurred at about 6.30 a.m. when a safai karamchari was sweeping the floor. He forced her into a room but she was rescued by her mother who raised the alarm. He was later arrested. TNS


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