Monday, August 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Family hires private eye for murder probe
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
In a first instance of its kind in this district, parents of a murdered woman in Model Town here have hired a team of private detectives from Kolkata to conduct a parallel investigation into the murder.

The woman, Amarjit Kaur, was murdered on the night of June 27 in her house. The local police has interrogated about seven persons so far but no breakthrough has been achieved.

Sources informed Ludhiana Tribune that the parents of the deceased woman were settled in Kolkata (West Bengal) and owned huge property. They were not happy with the police investigation here and hired their own detectives to find out the murderer. They had doubts about the activities of some close relatives of their daughter and had put the detectives on the job of gathering evidence.

Sources said the hiring of detectives was a common practice in South India, metropolis and West Bengal but was rare in Punjab.

The Punjab Police has so far been co-operating with the detectives. However an officer, while referring to the detectives, said: “They keep on roaming here and there and have got nothing.”

The case has become a prestige issue for the local police. There were reports featuring in the media stating that the police was slow in its investigation. The presence of detectives has added a sense of competition.

The local police was, however, miffed with media reports over the case. The officer said the reports into any development in the case were hampering the investigation.

The police has interrogated the woman’s husband, a washerman living near the house and a neighbour but nothing concrete has come out so far.

Amarjit Kaur (40) was watching the television when assailant(s) came and slit her throat open. She died within seconds.

She was the wife of a retired Bank Manager, Mr Harpal Singh. She was alone at the house at the time of the murder, which took place between 8.45 pm and 10 pm. The couple lived in a rented apartment. Her husband spotted the body at around 10 pm when he returned home.

Police sources said personal enmity was the apparent motive behind the killing. It ruled out robbery as a motive, since no valuable item was missing from the house. Around Rs 3 lakh in cash were lying in a locker in the house at time of the crime.

The police had questioned some friends and relatives to establish some lead but in vain. According to a statement of her husband to the police, they lived alone in the house.

He said he usually came late to the house. He said when he came home on the night of the murder, he found the door open and saw his wife dead on the sofa with blood splattered all over her clothes.

The post-mortem examination report conducted on the deceased’s body confirmed death due to slitting of throat.



DMCH awaits govt response to SC verdict
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 17
While the Punjab Government and the SGPC are heading for a confrontation over the issue of admission to MBBS and BDS courses at the Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences and Dental Institute, Amritsar, the management of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, is waiting for the state government to act on the latest judgement of the Supreme Court delivered on August 14.

The Minister for Medical Education and Research, Punjab, Chaudhary Santokh Singh, said the state government was examining the judgement. He said he would be meeting his officers tomorrow to review the situation.

He, however, maintained that the admissions to the medical and dental colleges had been completed in the state and there was not much possibility of any change in the same. Even the admission to other streams like homoeopathy and ayurved had been completed, he added.

Regarding refusal of the SGPC-run medical and dental colleges to admit students after counselling at the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, he said the government had advised both institutes to admit students according to the notification dated July 25. He said Principals of both institutes had met him and assured him that they would admit the selected students, but they had not done so.

He said the government would take action if they did not admit the students.

He maintained the SGPC instead of charging exorbitant fee should run the institutes as charitable institutions and provide free medical and dental education to students.

He said parents of the students selected for admission to the MBBS and dental colleges run by the SGPC at Amritsar had met him and told him about the refusal of the authorities to admit their wards.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, chief secretary, SGPC, said on phone that the government could not force them to admit students as they had completed the admission process by the time the government issued the second notification on July 25. He said the latest judgement of the Supreme Court had vindicated their stand.

He said the government was unnecessarily following the path of confrontation with the SGPC. The SGPC had floated a trust to run the two institutes and had spent more than Rs 100 crore on the buildings and for creating necessary infrastructure.

He said the ‘communal’ bureaucracy of the state government was jealous of the status of the institutes as the institutes of the Sikh minority. Mr Manjit Singh said the state government wanted to close down these institutes and the Chief Minister had already hinted at ending the special status awarded to the institutes.

He said they were ready to admit students according to the prospectus issued by them before July 25.

The SGPC-run institutes are having a dispute with the state government over the fixation of tuition fee and the NRI-quota. The Punjab Government had abolished the NRI seats and fixed 15 per cent quota as the management quota for the private medical colleges. The two institutes have already admitted general category and NRI-quota students and charged the fee fixed before July 25 notification. The state government had fixed a fee of Rs 1.50 lakh per students per year for the MBBS course, while the management of the Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences had fixed the same at Rs 2.14 lakh. The NRI fee was fixed at $ 32,000 (US) per student. The management had refused to admit 21 students to the MBBS course selected through counselling at the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

The management of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, is looking towards the state government as to what action the latter would take on the judgement of the Supreme Court.

Mr Amrit Nagpal, secretary of the management committee, said they could not do anything unless the wrong done by the state government was undone. He maintained that the DMCH management was right when it fixed its own fee structure and the NRI quota after the original judgement of the Supreme Court delivered on October 31, 2002. The latest judgment of the apex court had proved us right, he claimed.

He said they would not like to have any confrontation with the state government. “We would also wait for the High Court decision on certain petitions filed by the students,” he said.

The management of the DMCH has filled 52 seats out of a total of 70 seats for the MBBS course after the counselling at the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences. The management has not admitted any student under the NRI quota. All 52 students have paid fee at the rate of Rs 1.5 lakh, as fixed by the state government. The management had fixed the tuition fee at a rate of Rs 4 lakh per student and for the NRI students $ 32,000 (US) for the course.

A number of students who had applied for admission under the NRI quota have filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the abolition of NRI quota. The Baba Farid University of Health Sciences had issued 30 eligibility certificates under the NRI category........after charging Rs 12,000 per student. The university has not withdrawn these certificates so far. The third private medical college, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, has been functioning normally and there is no dispute with the state government this year.



Villagers seek restoration of land to panchayat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Even as the residents of Jagirpur village near here have knocked at various doors over the panchayati land encroachment controversy that has been confronting the village for the past several years, no permanent solution has been found so far.

The villagers have been alleging that a piece of 55 acres of land, which was allotted to the gram panchayat in 1973 under the Indira Vikas Yojna, has been grabbed by some persons who have even tried to sell it further. They claim that the land is worth crores.

They claim that various inquiries have been initiated into the case by respective administrations, but nothing fruitful has come out as the land grabbers are allegedly influential people.

The Bharati Bhalai Morcha has also been running from pillar to post to get the land vacated, but to no avail. According to the morcha officials, the land, having mutation number 729 and 730 as per the revenue records (dated July 24, 1984), belongs to the panchayat of Jagirpur village and some people have occupied it illegally. They further alleged that the local administration was not doing anything to get it vacated and hand over to the original owner.

The president of the morcha, Mr Tarsem Singh, said the fight between the village panchayat and the occupants had been on for the past more than 10 years. He said the morcha had approached the former Chief Minister and the Rural Development and Panchayat Minister over the issue, but nothing was done. He said they had also written to the Prime Minister and demanded an independent inquiry into the case, but to no avail.

He said the former government had a number of times claimed that the land would be handed over to the panchayat, but no action was taken by it or the local administration. He demanded that the land should be restored to the panchayat.

He said whenever the matter was highlighted by the morcha its members were falsely implicated in one criminal case or the other. He said the morcha would not rest till the land was freed of the encroachment and restored to the village panchayat. He demanded that an inquiry should be initiated as soon as possible and justice should be meted out to the village panchayat.



Temple with rare wood idols
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, August 17
The first ISKCON temple, which was inaugurated on August 12 at Sterling Towers, near the Kailash chowk, in the Civil Lines area here is a unique one so far as the idols installed therein are concerned.

Contrary to popular belief that idols of gods and goddesses in Hindu temples are either made of white marble, black granite or precious or semi-precious metals, the idols of Lord Krishna, Subhadra and Balram are made of a rare wood.

Mr Rajesh Garg, who is in charge of the temple, told Ludhiana Tribune the story behind the concept of wooden idols. The wood for the idols has to come from any part of Orissa which is found by a search party headed by a ‘mahapatra’ and 16 ‘brahmins’. Before embarking on the mission to find the divine tree, the party spends two days in Jagannath Vallabh garden praying. The party is guided by the dream had by the head priest of Jagannath temple.

The party may come across a number of Daru trees but the one to be used in making the idols has to conform to certain specifications. It is very imperative that the particular tree must have three other tree in its proximity. These three trees are those of Bel, Varun and Sehad. The leaves of Bel are used in the worship of Lord Shiva; Varun tree is famous for working as a shield against serpents and is said to possess the power of destroying pride and anger; and Sehad tree, which is a rare tree, is said to possess the power of destroying vanity.

Further, Daru tree has to be surrounded by mountains on three sides. At the same time, a colony of ants, one ‘Shivalya’, a cremation ground, a point joining three roads, a ‘sarovar’ and a running river should also exist close to the divine tree.

The particular tree must be black and there should be four branches sprouting from the main trunk of the tree. The tree should be free from any disease or damage caused by lightning. The tree must not be hosting a guest plant or a bird nest. Moreover, to defend the holy tree, there should be a snake living in a hole close to it. Besides all these specifications, four signs of Lord Vishnu — conch, ‘chakra’, ‘gada’ and lotus — should be clearly discernible on the bark of the tree. Only from this tree can an idol of Lord Jagannath be made.

For the idol of Baldev, Daru tree of white colour is selected with seven branches shooting from the main trunk. And for making the idol of Subhadra, the colour of Daru tree has to be yellow with five branches sprouting from the main trunk.

After a tree is selected for cutting, the chief ‘mahapatra’ touches the tree with a small axe, which is made of gold. Then his deputy touches the tree with a small silver axe. Then the head of the ‘Maharan’ family touches the tree with an axe made of iron after which the tree is cut with an ordinary axe. During the cutting, 108 different names of Lord Narsinghdev are chanted.

After the cutting ceremony, the wood is loaded on a special four-wheeler, which is hand-drawn all the way to Puri by the head priest and devotees. In 1996, when such a tree was cut last, the special vehicle was hand-drawn for more than 80 km.

Mr Garg further said experienced sculptors, assisted by a large number of their disciples, were selected to make the idols. These sculptors follow a rigorous schedule for 21 days while they are making the idols. They have to remain confined to their workshop during the day and do not take any food or enjoy a nap while at work.



Chemical discharge irks residents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Residents of Jhandewali Gali, near here, are having a tough time due to choking of sewerage in the area. The condition has been worsened by some dyeing units present in the street that have been discharging their chemical waste into the sewerage.

Dirty water accumulates in the streets, which emanates foul smell. Fumes appear on the surface of the water during the day.

Some industrialists, who have their godowns in the area, have complained that if the level rose a little higher their goods stored in the godowns would be destroyed. Workers in the factories claimed that they had suffered burn injuries on their feet.

They claimed that they had asked the dyeing unit owners to check the toxic discharge but were told that the waste was being treated as per the rules of the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

A visit to the area revealed dirty water accumulated in the street.



Akalis to support NDA govt, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Former chief minister and SAD president Parkash Singh Badal today said Akali MPs would support the NDA government and vote against the no-confidence motion being brought by the Congress.

Mr Badal was in the city in to attend a social function and later on interacted with mediapersons. He said the motion would be defeated and would not serve any purpose. It has been brought about by the Congress to deflect the attention of the people from the shortcomings and troubles of the party.

Reacting to a query on the continued boycott of the Defence Minister, he said the matter has been blown out of proportion and the continuous impasse had resulted in the loss of precious time which could have been used to conduct useful business in the house. The boycott is totally irrelevant, he pointed out.



Janamashtami celebrations 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 17
A fancy dress contest for children would be held at Shri Gyan Sthal Mandir, Subhani Building, on August 19, as part of the Janamashtami celebrations, said Mr Naresh Goyal, a spokesman of the temple management.

In a press note released here today, Mr Goyal said the temple management would be organising the function from 7 pm to 12 midnight in which a ‘Rass Lila’ would also be held. He said the children who would take part in the fancy dress competition would be given prizes and mementoes.

On August 20, the temple management, in collaboration with K.K. Computer Centre and students and teachers of various hobby courses being run by the temple management, would organise a religious-cum-cultural programme under the supervision of Mr Chandan Mishra. Mr Mishra would be assisted by Mr Rahul Sidana, Ms Sunanda Dogra, Ms Pooja Syal, Ms Lalita Aggarwal, Mr Harmit Bedi and Mr Sonu Bajaj.

A birthday cake dedicated to Lord Krishna would also be cut on the occasion. Among the prominent persons who would attend the function, would be Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, Mr Surinder Dawar, MLA, Mr Kesho Ram Vij.



MC employee suffers electric shock
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
A 30-year-old man suffered serious injuries when he fell from a roof after suffering an electric shock today. He was putting banners in the Khalsa College for Women in view of the visit of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to the city tomorrow.

Albela, a gardener at Rose Garden, had perched atop the roof of the college with a flag in his hand.

His officer told him to raise the flag. When he did so the flag touched a high-tension wire. He suffered a shock, lost his balance and he fell on the ground.

He received injuries on his skull. Doctors attending to him said he did not have a head injury. He had gained consciousness later in the evening.

His 10-year-old son, who was attending on him in a hospital, said Albela was a government employee with the MC. He was called by his officers on duty, although it was Sunday.



MLA plants saplings
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 17
As part of the sapling plantation drive launched by the local Municipal Council, the MLA Malerkotla, Ms Razia Sultana, and her husband, Mr Mohammad Mustafa, IG, Government Railway Police, planted saplings in the town.

Mr Rajnish Sharma Guddo, president of the council, presided over the function organised at Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School.

Addressing the gathering, the MLA said more than 2,400 saplings had been planted in the town. Ms Priyanka Sharma, Principal, thanked the gathering.

Earlier, saplings were planted on the campuses of MGMN Senior Secondary School, Hind Hospital and town hall.'



Garg chief of Ramlila panel

Ludhiana, August 17
The general body meeting of the Urban Estate Ramlila Dussehra Committee, Dugri, was held here yesterday under the presidentship of Mr Raj Garg.

The general body elected its new office-bearers. Those elected are: president — Mr Raj Garg; general secretary — Dr Shiv Gupta; senior vice-president — Mr Jagan Nath Singla; vice-presidents — Mr Lakhwinder Singh and Mr Rajinder Gupta; joint secretaries — Mr Hardeep Singh Dhillon and Mr Raman Goyal; assistant secretaries — Mr Neeraj Sharma and Mr Sanjeev Kumar; organising secretary — Mr Anil Gupta; propaganda secretaries — Mr Madan Mohan Saini and Mr Arun Mangal; auditor — Mr Sushil Singal; convener — Mr Navin Sharma; advocate (legal adviser) — Mr Kirpal Singh Kalra; shobha yatra in charge — Mr Kidar Nath Kalia and Pt Sadhu Ram Sharma.

The executive committee members are: Mr S.R. Dhingra, Mr V.K. Nanchahal, Mr Lalit Walia, Mr R.S. Lamba, Mr M.P. Singh, Dr Ajay Shahi, Mr Ajay Goyal, Mr Shivkant Gupta, Mr Vijay Bansal, Mr Parminder Singh, Mr Bhushan Lal, Mr Kuldeep Pawalewal.

The patrons of the Dussehra Committee are: Mr B.R. Kaushal, Mr Des Raj Garg, Mr Dev Dutt Sharma and Mr Ravi Kant Gupta. OC



One held with opium
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 17
The Sahnewal police yesterday arrested Sarka Singh, a resident of Kot Gangu Rai village, and seized 50 gm of contraband opium from his possession. The police said today that the accused, who was intercepted by a police party near Ramgarh culvert, has been booked under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Abetment to suicide: The Division No 2 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 306 and 542 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Deepak, a resident of Model Colony, Jodhewal, against Gurnam Kaur and Sukhdev Singh, residents of Kidwai Nagar in Amar Pura. The complainant had alleged that he had been married with Jyoti, a resident of Amar Pura. The complainant further stated that when he went to the house of the accused, they threatened him and forcibly married off his wife with another person driving him to take the extreme step of setting himself on fire. No arrest has been made so far.

Forgery accused held: The Division No 6 police registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 379 and 411 of the IPC against Hansi Arora, a resident of HIG Flats, Jamalpur. The police said the accused, who had stolen an Indica car (PB-10AN-6794), was arrested and the car has been recovered from his possession. The accused had also prepared a forged registration of the stolen car on August 16, added the police.

Assaulted: The Shimla Puri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 452, 506, 295 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mohammad Nasid, a resident of New Janta Nagar, against Pappu and Jeet, residents of Janata Nagar, Deepak, a resident of Shiv Puri, Satish Kumar, a resident of Lohara village, and Lal Singh, a resident of New Janta Nagar. The complainant had alleged that the accused came to his house on Saturday, beat up his wife and also threatened her. The accused also allegedly cast aspersion on his caste, added the complainant.

House burgled: The Jodhewal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 451 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Gulshan Kumar, a resident of Mohalla Kirpal Nagar, against unknown person(s) who allegedly broke open the lock of his house on the intervening night of August 15 and 16 and decamped with gold ornaments and other valuables. He suffered a loss of Rs 3 lakh, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.

One held: The Division No 6 police arrested Sanchan Taneja, a resident of Dhokan Mohalla and booked him under the Gambling Act yesterday. The police said the accused was openly booking ‘darra’ and ‘satta’ bets on the road in the locality. The accused was later bailed out, added the police.



Rajasthanis dominate traditional footwear business
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Over a period of five decades in the post-Partition era, Ludhiana has come up well with its varied diversities, like cultural, religious, lingual and regional. It has turned out to be a miniature India with people from all regions having settled down here. And each community has specialised in one trade or the other.

There are about 30,000 people of Rajasthani origin living in the city and most of them are into the traditional footwear business. They manufacture traditional ‘juttis’ and chappals. Although subscribing to the cottage industry, everything from manufacturing to the sales is being done from the house only. It is the entire family that gets involved in the business. There are some leading businessmen and industrialists also. However, their number is very few.

According to Mr Subash Rajasthani, one of the few literate persons of the community, they had come along with the Maharaja of Patiala. Most of the Rajasthani people have come from Shekhawati region in Rajasthan. The Vice-President of India, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, also belongs to the same region.

Mr Rajasthani said one of the scions of the Patiala dynasty was married to a Rajasthani princess. She reportedly got a good number of designer ‘juttis’ along with the dowry. The ‘juttis’ were liked by most people in the Patiala family. The father of the princess then sent seven families of cobblers to Patiala. As the Rajasthani ‘jutti’ became popular in Punjab, more and more people from this community came and settled down here before Partition. However, most of them went to Lahore and the famous Mochi Darwaza area was inhabited by Rajasthani people over there.

After Partition, the Rajasthani people migrated to this part of the country. Most of them are settled in Ludhiana while quite a number of them are settled in other parts of the state. Some of them even in Hisar, Sirsa, Jind and other cities of Haryana. In Ludhiana most of them are settled in Mochpura area, which was dominated by Muslim cobblers before Partition. Interestingly, they continue to speak in their own Shekhawati dialect and also retain their distinct culture.

Although a Rajasthani ‘jutti’ sells for as much as Rs 300 to Rs 400 per pair, yet most of the families manufacturing these ‘juttis’ remain underprivileged. Since more than 90 per cent community is illiterate, they are not able to market their products properly. With the result it is the middlemen who get the maximum benefit.

However, there are people like Mr Subash Rajasthani and Mr Joginder Kumar, who try to market products of their own. They earn good margins also. But not all of them are aware like Mr Rajasthani and Mr Kumar. Because members of the Rajasthani community do not prefer to send their wards to school. Instead, they are made to learn the trade and work within the family and they keep on continuing the family tradition.

While the Rajasthanis are predominantly in shoe business, there are others like Marwari families who have established themselves as successful entrepreneurs in the city. Like Mr Gopi Kothari, who came here in early 1970s from Kuchaman village in Naguar district of Rajasthan. He worked his way to the top. Today he is one of the main manufacturers of the auto parts, supplying the same to some top brands like Hero Honda. There are others who are into the construction business also. The marble trade is also dominated by the Rajasthani community.

Mr Kothari maintains that the secret of the success of these people is their hardwork. He pointed out that no matter to what class the people belong, be they small-scale manufacturers or the big industrialists, they are exceptionally laborious. “Whatever they do, they do it with sincerity and commitment”, he said.



Bank honours customers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
The Model Town branch of the Bank of India has honoured 30 customers.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr M.K. Pareek, Assistant General Manager, and Mr D. Ganguly, Chief Manager, exhorted the customers to take advantage of the various schemes such as the educational loans and housing loans. The customers were also apprised of the bank’s multi-branch banking scheme. This facility would enable a customer sitting in Ludhiana to operate his accounts in Mumbai and New Delhi and transfer of funds from one centre to another would be effected in a matter of minutes.

Car model launched: Honda Siel Cars India Ltd has launched Honda CR-V. The features of the model are real time four- wheel drive, ABS breaking system enriched with electronic break force distribution, SRS air bags and a CD player.


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