Saturday, September 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Students announce ‘chakka jam’ on September 26
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, September 19
The Punjabi University Students Confederation, which is heading the ongoing students’ agitation, today announced that it would enforce a ‘chakka jam’ in the state on September 26.

The confederation said it would observe a “protest week” from September 22 to 26 during which rallies and demonstrations would be held across the state to make the people aware of the demands of the students. It also announced that a meeting would be held here on September 21 during which the confederation would invite various organisations to support its agitation.

The confederation also welcomed the intention of the state government to resolve the crisis, saying it would, however, stick to its earlier stand and abide by the terms of the agreement finalised earlier by the government nominee, Mr Birdevinder Singh. It said the students would agree to hold a fresh round of negotiations with the government in case the government took back the cases it had registered against some student leaders. A delegation of the confederation would call upon state Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, to apprise him of the situation and demand his intervention.

The students also released a list of demands which, they said, needed to be fulfilled to solve the problem. These include withdrawal of “false” cases registered against student leaders, revocation of their suspension from the university, a complete rollback in the fee hike and provision of proper facilities to students, including the students of the Bachelors in Physiotherapy degree course.

Meanwhile, the Youth Akali Dal today held a meeting at the Dukhniwaran Gurdwara which was presided over by its President Sharanjit Singh Dhillon. Mr Dhillon alleged that the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, was responsible for the current situation in the university. He appealed to the state Governor, Justice Verma, who is also the Chancellor of the university to remove Mr Boparai from his post.

Mr Dhillon said the party would also raise the issue of the manner in which repression had been let loose on students of the university in the coming session of the Vidhan Sabha. A former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who had also attended the meeting, claimed that false cases had been registered against party youth activists who were trying to proceed to Punjabi University to express their solidarity with the striking students.

Meanwhile, despite a common meeting held here yesterday by the TUF and the UTF, the two opposing factions of Punjabi University teachers, to find a solution to the ongoing imbroglio on the campus, no further headway could be made today due to the cropping up of differences between the two organisations.

A meeting between representatives of the United Teachers Front and the Teachers United Front could not take place as slated because the teaching fraternity could not agree on a common agenda to be placed before the Vice-Chancellor. According to sources, representatives of the TUF called off the meeting when it was learnt that the UTF convener, Dr R.K. Saigal, would not be present at today's meeting. The sources say the core issue which divides the teachers at present is while the UTF wants to take up the case of two teachers along with that of the students, the TUF wants to remain focused on broader issues.

According to the sources, the TUF wishes to discuss broader issues, including a decision on the minimum ethical standards to be followed by the teachers. This, they say, is aimed at restricting both groups from pursuing personal agendas of teachers aligned with both groups. However, a common feeling prevalent between both the factions is that the teaching community as a whole has suffered because of factionalism and that only a few teachers have been able to gain from the rift.

SANGRUR: The state unit of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) and the district unit of the Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR), Punjab, on Friday strongly condemned the lathi-charge by the police on the agitating students at Patiala, on Thursday.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Amarjit Raju and Mr Sanjiv Mintoo, state president and state secretary, respectively, of the PRSU, not only condemned the lathi charge on the agitating students at Patiala on Thursday by the police, but also warned the government that lok lehars (public movements) could not be crushed by using force. They said the voice of the Punjabi University students had now become the voice of the entire Punjab. They said the students would emerge victorious finally.

In another press note, Mr Hardev Rathi, district secretary of the AFDR, while condemning lathi charge on the students at Patiala, demanded stern action against all those police officers who had allegedly committed excesses on the students.

SAS NAGAR: Students of Government College burnt an effigy of the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University here on Friday in protest against the indifferent attitude of the authorities.

They said the government had assured to roll back the fee hike and if the assurance was not fulfilled students would be compelled to block the roads. They demanded the release of students who had been rounded up and take strict action against the Vice-Chancellor.


Probe lathi charge on students, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today demanded a high-level inquiry into the police lathi charge on students of colleges and Punjabi University at Patiala. Mr Badal said that manhandling of students and of mediapersons was an outcome of arrogance of the university authorities and the Punjab Government.

The All India Sikh Students Federation’s president, Mr Karnail Singh Pirmohammad, has also extended support to student agitation.

Meanwhile, Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the state unit of the CPI, said that the CPI would observe September 20 as a ‘day of solidarity’ with students who had been struggling against the growing undemocratic and authoritarian attitude of the state government.

He said that the Vice-Chancellor of the Punjabi University, Mr S.S. Boparai, should be removed. All cases registered against students should be withdrawn, guilty police officials involved in lathi charge should be punished and fee hike should be withdrawn. Mr Badal had also sought the roll-back in fee hike.

Meanwhile, the All-India Shiromani Youth Akali Dal has supported the genuine demands of agitating students of Punjabi University.

In a memorandum submitted today to the Punjab Governor and Chancellor of the University, Justice O.P Verma, it urged him to replace the Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai, by an academician.

The Vice-Chancellor should publicly apologise for making derogatory statements against the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his party.

The Youth Akali Dal also sought a rollback of the feehike effected recently.

Meanwhile, Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) politburo member Prem Singh Bhangu and state secretary, Kuldip Singh in a joint statement today condemned the lathi charge on agitating students of Punjabi University.

Blaming the state government for the deteriorating law and order situation on the varsity campus, they demanded the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.


CM not served summons in defamation case by Badal
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, September 19
A local court has failed to serve summons on the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in a criminal case of defamation filed against him by a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. This has receded chances of personal appearance by Capt Amarinder Singh in the case, coming up for hearing tomorrow.

The Chief Minister had been directed to appear in person in the court of the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L Mohal, acting on the complaint filed by Mr Badal, accusing the Chief Minister of spreading and publishing false reports about his assets and properties.

Confirming this, Mr H.S Awasthi, a senior counsel for Capt Amarinder Singh, informed Chandigarh Tribune that as summons had not been served, Capt Amarinder would not be appearing in the court in the defamation case filed against him.

An official of the summoning branch of the District Court also confirmed that the summons issued against Capt Amarinder Singh were not served.

Mr Badal, being the complainant in the case, is scheduled to appear in the case tomorrow. His son and SAD General Secretary, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, will also appear in another case of defamation against Capt Amarinder Singh for cross examination, tomorrow.

Alleging that Capt Amarinder had been spreading and publishing false information about his assets and properties for the past one year, Mr Badal had filed the case on August 12, last year.

In the complaint, Mr Badal had prayed that the present complaint under Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC be entertained for adjudication and Capt Amarinder Singh punished in accordance with law.

Mr Badal alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh, immediately after assuming office, had launched a campaign to defame and intimidate SAD workers and leaders. He claimed that Capt Amarinder Singh had defamed him through letters and advertisements in the media, before taking over his property worth Rs 3500 crore, including assets in Australia, USA, Switzerland, Delhi and Jodhpur.

Mr Badal alleged that even during the Assembly elections campaign, Capt Amarinder Singh, as the President of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee(PPCC), with the active connivance of the All-India Congress Committee( AICC), particularly its President, got a number of false misleading and defamatory posters and advertisements published in newspapers.


Notice to Punjab in case against Badals
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 19
Mrs Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, Judicial Magistrate, today issued a notice to the Punjab Government for September 26 on applications moved by Mr Kanwaljit Singh Sidhu, an NRI, and Mr Krishan Kumar, a Personal Assistant to Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, for the cancellation of warrants of arrest issued by the court on August 21 and dropping the proclamation proceedings issued under Sections 82/83 of the Cr PC on September 2 in connection with an FIR registered on June 24 under various Sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act at SAS Nagar by the Vigilance Bureau against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a former Chief Minister of Punjab, and his family members.

Mr Sidhu had written that the FIR was a result of political manoeuvring and reflected the level to which a political opponent could stop for political gains.

The FIR had been registered on a complaint by Mr Balwant Singh, Director of the Punjab Land Reclamation and Development Corporation. The complainant is a son of a former PPCC member, Mr Sukhdev Singh. He had written that he was not related to Mr Badal in any manner and was an NRI without any connection with his working and affairs.

He said the FIR was totally silent regarding when, where and how Mr Badal or his family members had indulged in corrupt practices. He said he had been living in London since long and the state machinery had directed its political vendetta against Wimpy International Limited and the applicant who was the Managing Director of the company.

There was a complete break down of constitutional machinery in the state and the right to life and the personal liberty of the applicants had been violated as he was being arrested in the violation of the procedure established by law, he alleged.

Similarly, Mr Krishan Kumar had written that he was merely a personal assistant to Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and had no connection with personal and political affairs of the Badal family.



Three candidates vying for Punjab BJP chief’s post
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The top leadership is trying hard to ensure unanimous election of the President of the Punjab BJP on September 28 to replace Mr Brij Lal Rinwa. The process of electing Presidents of the district units is currently on and will be completed before September 28.

Three candidates are vying for the post — Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, Mr Rajinder Bhandari and Mr Avinash Rai Khanna. Earlier, the names of Mr Manoranjan Kalia and Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, both former ministers, also figured in the race, but the party high command ruled that no former minister or MLA would fill the slot.

Mr Rajinder Bhandari, a hardcore RSS man, is being supported by a powerful section of the state unit of the RSS. Sources said one senior RSS activist had been sounding the newly elected district office-bearers of the BJP to support Mr Bhandari. However, certain senior BJP leaders are reluctant as Mr Bhandari is a junior leader.

Mr Harjit Singh Grewal also has the support of a section of the RSS and BJP leaders. But certain former BJP ministers are not happy with Mr Grewal. Though not confirmed, SAD President Parkash Singh Badal, who has an alliance with the BJP at the state and national levels, has also not approached BJP move to project a Sikh as President of the state BJP.

The SAD feels that the expansion of the BJP base among Sikhs in rural areas by projecting Mr Grewal as the state unit President will adversely affect the Akali party in the countryside. Mr Grewal’s candidature is also being supported by certain Delhi-based BJP leaders, who feel it would be advisable to put Mr Grewal in the saddle as the party President to expand the party’s base in rural areas.

Mr Avinash Rai Khanna is a sitting BJP MLA from Garhshankar. He can emerge winner in the absence of a consensus on the name of Mr Bhandari or Mr Grewal. There are reports that different factions in the state BJP may ultimately agree to elect Mr Khanna unanimously. Sources said Mr Ram Pyare Pandey, organising secretary of the Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh zone of the party, has been deputed to work for unanimous election of the President of the state BJP. This has been made clear by Mr Om Parkash Kohli, who is supervising the organisational election process of the BJP at the national level, that there will be unanimous election of the Punjab unit President.


Reconduct probe into murder case, orders rights panel
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has castigated a police officer of Moga district who did not initiate investigations to solve the gruesome murder of an industrialist of Kot Kapura, whose mutilated and charred body was recovered by the police from a field near the Moga bypass on December 10, 2002.

Taking note of the seriousness of the allegations levelled against the police by the family of the deceased, the commission directed that the investigations into the case be reconducted by an officer not below the rank of a DIG.

The commission further asked the ADGP, Internal Vigilance Cell (IVC), to look into the matter and consider taking appropriate action against the guilty officer, SI Bhola Singh, the then SHO of Mehna police station, for dereliction of duty in investigating the case.

The PSHRC, however, rejected the demand of the family members of the deceased for a CBI enquiry into the murder case which, they alleged, was not being investigated vigorously to shield a police officer, then posted at Dharamkot.

Mr Gagan Singh, a son of the deceased, said the commission had taken a serious note of the matter since the report of the ADGP, Crime, who had investigated the case earlier, had questioned the way of investigation.

The commission in its order pointed out that the ADGP, IVC, to whom the matter had been referred for investigation, had in his report mentioned that according to the inquiry report of Mr Joginder Singh, DSP, IVC, the investigating officer, SI Bhola Singh, SHO, Mehna police station, did not take the desired steps for solving the case. Exploiting this lapse, the accused managed to secure bail.

Mr Gagan Singh had alleged that the policemen were shielding a certain police officer whom they suspected to be behind the murder. The main accused in the case, Darshan Singh Gasha, was detained by the police twice but was let off both times on account of insufficient evidence, he pointed out.


Cats’ face wrath of police officials
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 19
Police cats (informers) who helped the security forces during militancy are now being ‘harassed’ by the police itself.

But for the vital tip offs provided by these informers the police could not have succeeded in curbing terrorism in Punjab.

It was in the eighties that twin brothers Satwinder Singh Tommy and Parwinder Singh Rommy, the latter was killed by militants in revenge offered themselves to act as ‘police cats’. They first got Santokh Singh, alias Kala and Bhinda — both top terrorists arrested by the police. Later Kala and Bhinda agreed to work as counter-insurgents if they were not killed by the police in ‘fake encounters’. With the active help of the police Kala alone gunned down as many as 98 top militants before he was himself killed along with his wife in the late eighties. After his killing the police did not take care of his children and the aged mother. They have now shifted from Amritsar.

Tommy claimed that on the tip offs provided by him, the police had killed a number of militants, including Gurbhej Singh Bheja, alias Bagga Singh a self-styled lieutenant general of the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF), Harpal Singh Gaggrewal, Harpal Singh Mohanpur Waring (Tarn Taran), both area commanders of the same outfit, Billa, Sain, Lali Tunda, Kala, Jagjit Singh Jajji (who had engineered bomb blast in OCM Mill), Mangi Nihang, Nikkri, Dr Manihala, Narinder Singh Nindi, Bua Singh, Dilsher Singh Shera, alias Manjit Singh Lali and Bhai Ujjal Singh Baghpurwale of the Babbar Khalsa. However, senior police officers, including SSP Amritsar, Mr Kultar Singh, dubbed Tommy as ‘anti-social’ who had been resorting to extortion and torturing of innocent persons. He said Tommy wanted to pre-empt police action as a criminal case had been registered against him in the Vijay Nagar, police chowki.

Interestingly, Tommy who was picked up by the police from a local restaurant on September 3, minutes before the press conference, today visited The Tribune office to prove his credentials as a ‘police cat’. To substantiate his claims, he brought a number of his photographs posed with the senior police officials (mostly senior IPS officers). He was set free by the police after destroying most of his pictures clicked with the senior police officers.

Tommy and his brother Hardip Singh Banti are so terrified that they want to settle outside Punjab. Interestingly, Mr Swarn Singh, SHO, Vijay Nagar police chowki, while talking to Tommy admitted that the case registered against him was “false’ and his name was being deleted from the FIR.


Mirroring the changing face of Punjabi theatre
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Years ago when Kewal Dhaliwal broke fresh grounds in Punjabi theatre by staging his intellectual productions on poets Paash and Shiv Kumar Batalvi in rural Punjab, some people conveniently dismissed him as “naive and euphoric”. Most apprehensions stemmed from the presumed “inability” of villagefolk who were considered too ignorant to understand literature.

A decade down the lane, this young director from Amritsar has proved everyone wrong by using his medium for awakening and entertainment. The most relevant detail about Kewal Dhaliwal is that he has already made a play on Amrita Pritam’s poignant tale, “Pinjar”, which caught the attention of tinsel town eight years after it was staged by him in rural Punjab. Also, well before the media began highlighting the plight of women bought from other states, Kewal Dhaliwal had immortalised the issue in his play titled, “Kadesan”, based on a real-life Bihari woman whom Kewal knew from childhood.

Practising “rural theatre”, Kewal employs the techniques learnt at the National School of Drama to create productions for rural masses who have long been ignored as “illiterates”. Not only has he taken over 100 productions to villages across Punjab he has also recruited villagers in his theatre group called Manch Rangmanch floated in 1992 to promote Punjabi theatre and take it to the interiors.

In Chandigarh to stage his Hindi play, “Saiyaan Bhaye Kotwaal”, Kewal, a contemporary of actors Ashutosh Rana, Asish Vidyarthi and Nirmal Pandey, reasoned why he did not take the Bollywood road: “As a youngsters, I worked with Gursharan Singh, who is famous for reflecting social reality on stage. I learnt to respect Punjab’s traditions. There was, however, one grudge that Punjabi theatre was not rated high on the national scale.”

Determined to reverse the trend, Kewal joined the NSD in 1989. When he came out loaded with knowledge of the latest techniques and world theatre, he knew what he wanted from art. Putting offers to join films behind him, Kewal returned to Punjab and floated Manch Rangmanch. Kewal said, “We have produced over 150 plays, which we have staged everywhere from Canada, the USA and England to the most interior Punjab villages.”

In a decade of its existence, Manch Rangmanch has created theatre an all possible themes — from novel adaptations to poetry, dance dramas and film scripts. The most challenging of Kewal’s plays have been those on the poetry of Paash, Batalvi and Surjit Pattar. Interestingly, he has staged film scripts, the most acclaimed being Kaifi Azmi’s “Heer Ranjha.” He has also created plays on the life and teachings of the Sikh Gurus.

Handling a vast canvas is easy for Kewal, who began his mission by targetting village children by holding workshops. He says, “Many village kids trained in my workshops are now members of my group. They have helped me discover rural Punjab all over again.” Honoured with the Shiromani Natakkar award of the Punjab Government in 1998, besides the Sapt Rishi award, Safdar Hashmi award and Balraj Sahni award, Kewal Dhaliwal is busy mirroring the changing face of Punjabi theatre which, he feels, is as rich as Bengal theatre.

“Our only problem is lack of representation in akademies at the national level. There is no one to voice our aspirations or witness our traditions. I hope times will change for Punjabi theatre.”


Drama fest to celebrate Farid’s Aagman Purab ends
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 19
A four-day-drama festival which was organised by the District Cultural Society on the eve of the nine-day Aagman Purab celebrations of Baba Sheikh Farid from September 15 concluded here last evening. As many as 100 artistes from various parts of the state participated in the festival. Most of the plays laid stress on the eradication of social evils like population explosion, unemployment, and illiteracy from society. They also cautioned people against fundamentalist forces. Usnu Kahin, Miti te Maya and Samay da Sach presented by the troupes of Satya Rang Manch (Ahmedgarh) Dev Lok Manch (Jaito) and Creative Eye Theatre (Thikriwala) got the first, the second and the third positions, respectively.

Mr Rajinder Raja and Mr Tejinder were awarded the first and the second prize for giving best direction in their plays Usnu Kahin and Zindgi Mot Di, respectively. Mr Rajinder Raja and Mr Anil Dabra were selected for the first two positions as best actors. The best actress award went to Kanchan and Paramjit Kaur. Amarjit Singh was adjudged the best child artiste. Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab, gave away the prizes.


Powermen hold protest march
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 19
Hundreds of powermen today held a march in the town in protest against the accord reached between the PSEB management and different employees’ organisations on July 7. 

The protesters were led by the Jamhoori Sangarashsheel Front who organised a rally at the local Gandhi Park and later marched in the bazars of the town to lodge their protest.




Order reserved on poll petition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Mr Justice Amar Dutt of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved order on a petition seeking directions for setting aside the election of a former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, from the Bholath assembly constituency.

In his petition, the Congress candidate, Mr Sukhpal Singh, had earlier alleged adoption of corrupt practices in the election. He had further alleged that Bibi Jagir Kaur had got the help of police and other officers for furtherance of her prospects.

In a reply submitted before the High Court, Bibi Jagir Kaur had claimed that the allegations against her in the petition were “totally vague”. Denying the allegations regarding her taking the assistance of Kapurthala’s former Deputy Commissioner, she had claimed that Mr Vivek Aggarwal was transferred out of the constituency eight days before she filed her nomination papers.

Her counsel had also denied the allegations regarding money being spent in excess of the prescribed limit by Bibi Jagir Kaur during the election. He had added that the allegations were based on presumptions.

DGP’s letter

After a letter written by Director-General of Police, Punjab, was produced during the hearing of a petition for a “comprehensive inquiry by an independent agency into the embezzlement of approximately Rs 2.58 crore” in the purchase of wireless sets, a Division Bench of the High Court observed that it was for the government to see how the letter leaked.

The letter was earlier placed before the court by counsel for the petitioners, Mr Ashok Chaudhary and Mr R.K. Kwatra. In the letter, the DGP had reportedly expressed opinion that the matter may be handed over to an independent agency. After going through the letter, the Bench, headed by the Chief Justice, Mr B.K. Roy, observed that it was a confidential document.

The petitioners had earlier submitted that “out of the purchase price of Rs 2.77 crore, equipment worth Rs 18.5 lakh only was purchased by an Additional Director-General of Police and two other respondents without the constitution of a purchase committee”.

They had added that the purchases were made “without technical evaluation of the wireless equipment from a fraudulent company already blacklisted”. This, they asserted, “was endangering not only the national security but also undermining the integrity of the complete police force”.

Affidavit sought

Taking up a petition filed against the state of Haryana and other respondents by an ex-sarpanch of Firozpur Rajput village in Faridabad district seeking restrain on “illegal” excavation and quarry operations in the area, a Division Bench of the High Court asked a contractor to file an affidavit that he would pay compensation for any loss.

In his petition, ex-sarpanch Bishan Singh had earlier contended that the action was dangerous to the health of the villagers. In fact, the work could not be carried out at all at the cost of the villagers, he had added.

Giving details, the petitioner had asserted that the mining operation was being carried out by the contractor despite a ban on mining. He had added that the villagers were threatened with implication in false cases if they raised their voice against excavation or filed representations in the matter.


Meetings removing Romana illegal: Judge
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 19
The confrontation between Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, president of the management committee of Takht Patna Sahib, and Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Patna Sahib, took a new turn when the District and Sessions Judge-cum custodian of the takht declared the meetings convened by supporters of the Jathedar at Patna Sahib on July 27 and September 14 removing Mr Romana from the presidentship of the committee as illegal.

Mr Romana, who got a copy of the judgement of September 16 here today, said the court in its decision had clearly mentioned that the general secretary, Mr Mohinderpal Singh Dhillon, of the Takht Patna Sahib Prabandhak Committee, who held both the meetings and also chaired those, had no right to hold any meeting without the consultation with the president of the committee.

The custodian also directed Mr Dhillon to reconsider the issue with the consent of the senior office-bearers of the committee and submit a report to him.


Punjab defers posting of 8 promoted SMOs
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 19
The Punjab Government has withheld the posting of eight Senior Medical Officers (SMOs) promoted as Deputy Directors as their promotion has been challenged by the directly recruited SMOs who were senior to them. Four of the promoted SMOs were junior to the direct recruits.

Dr S.K. Bansal, Dr Dharampal, Dr H.S. Gill, Dr H.P.S. Sandhu, Dr Hardev Singh, Dr Jujhar Singh, Dr Yashpal Singla and Dr Nirpal Singh were promoted Deputy Directors on the recommendations of the Departmental Promotional Committee (DPC) which held its meeting on April 7. Since Dr Ashok Nayyar, Dr Ravi Kant, Dr Ranbir Singh, Dr Rakesh Kumar and Dr Ardaman Singh were appointed on the recommendations of the PPSC, they were senior to the departmentally promoted SMOs in terms of the Punjab Civil Medical (State service class — I) Rules, 1972. As a consequence the direct recruits (selected through the PPSC) have claimed promotion as Deputy Directors.

Director, Health Services, in a tentative seniority list prepared by him had also shown the above five directly recruited SMOs senior to Dr Hardev Singh, Dr Jujhar Singh, Dr Yashpal Singla and Dr Nirpal Singh, since promoted. A meeting of the DPC was called on May 12, 2003, to consider the issue. However, the same was postponed. Meanwhile the Principal Secretary, Health, Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, was replaced by Mr D.S. Jaspal. Probably the whole case was not explained to the new Health Secretary.

The five directly recruited SMOs have challenged the promotion of the four doctors junior to them through a civil writ petition filed by M/s Sanjiv Bansal and Ravinder Rana, advocates in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The notice of motion has been issued to the state government.

Sources in the Health Department revealed that the seniority of PCMS — I was being reviewed. The posting of the promoted SMOs has been kept in abeyance to avoid legal complications.


Local bodies officials suspended
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 19
The Local Bodies Department today suspended Mr Hemant Batra, Municipal Town Planner (Amritsar), Mr IPS Randhawa, Assistant Town Planner (now posted in Ludhiana) and Mr Arvind Mahajan, Building Inspector for allegedly allowing ‘unauthorised’ construction by a former Mayor.

Earlier, the Chief Vigilance Officer, Mr A.K. Kansal, and Mr Rajinder Rai, Vigilance Officer of the department had held the MTP, ATP and Building Inspector ‘guilty’ of dereliction of duty.


ASP shifted

Abohar, September 19
ASP Rakesh Aggarwal has been shifted to police control room, Chandigarh. He will be replaced by Mr Narender Pal Singh DSP (CID). Mr Balwinder Singh Bajwa SHO city police station, has been transferred to the Police Lines.

Mr Jagroop Singh SHO Khuiyansarwer, has taken over as in charge, city police station here. Mr Sunil Jakhar, MLA, had recently met Capt Amarinder Singh, at Chandigarh to apprise him of the deteriorating law and order situation. — OC


Three booked for raping minor
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 19
Ranjeet Singh and two women, Rani and Nikki, residents of Balluana village near here, have been booked under Sections 376 and 34 of the IPC in connection with the alleged rape of minor girl.

The women have been booked for allegedly helping Ranjeet Singh in committing the crime.

The victim had, in a complaint made to Mr Jaskiran Singh, SDM, alleged that she had gone to the fields to get grass for cattle. Her parents had gone to another village for labour. The family was under threat not to report the matter to the police. They dared to approach the local police and the Civil Hospital authorities, after a week of the incident. As they were not ready to help the victim, she narrated her story to the SDM. Under his directions, the girl was medically examined at the hospital and the Sadar police registered a case today.

Meanwhile, a married woman from Odiyan village alleged that she was kidnapped by three persons in a car and raped at a deserted place. She was admitted to the Civil Hospital Fazilka.


Rights panel order bypassed, Vice-Principal reinstated
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 19
Despite dismissal of the review petition by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), Dr Vibhakar Sharma, Vice-Principal of Sri Laxmi Narayan Ayurvedic College, has been reinstated by the college management. Dr Vibhakar has been facing charges of sexual harassment.

Despite copies of the order upholding Dr Vibhakar’s “removal from service” as per the dismissal of the review petition orders sent to the Registrar, Baba Farid University, Faridkot, and president of the managing committee of the college, he was reinstated yesterday.

Dr Vibhakar has not only joined his department, but is also the officiating principal of the college. Mr Santosh Gupta, president of the management committee, said the matter was being dealt by the secretary, Mr O.P. Aggarwal.

Mr Ram Parkash Chopra, patron of the college management, denied knowledge about the reinstatment since he was out of station. Dr Vibhakar said he had joined the college after a meeting of the college management in this regard. He said he had been wronged and would take legal recourse if required to challenge the order of the PSHRC. The review petition had taken the plea that the complainant had misled the commission.

The PSHRC held that “no review of the order is really called for”. It observed “ that the applicant stood already removed from service vide order dated August 26 passed by the managing committee of the college. As such, the application dated August 26 has become virtually redundant and the issue is hereby dismissed”. 

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