Sunday, September 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Pro-VC to meet Chancellor
Punjabi University Provost resigns
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
The Punjabi University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr R.N. Pal, who has earlier been accused of siding with agitating student leaders, today said he would meet the university Chancellor and Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, to apprise him of the situation on the campus.

Dr R.N. Pal said he had been keeping silent on the affairs of the university for the past six months, but the situation now demanded that he met the Chancellor to seek his guidance.

The Pro-VC said he was doing this because he was the second constitutional head of the university. The Pro-VC had sought an appointment.

Meanwhile, the university Provost, Dr H.S. Bhatti, resigned from his post today. He said he was doing so because student leaders had started a campaign to defame him despite knowing how he had fought for the dignity and honour of a girl student Saru Rana, during the tenure of a former Vice-Chancellor.

Dr Bhatti said the student leaders seemed to have joined hands with persons who had earlier been patronised by former VC Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia. These persons were now accusing him of harassing girl students.

The Professor said he wanted to raise some issues after his resignation. He said after the failure of talks with student leaders, they had neither submitted any demand to the administration nor pressed for further negotiations. He said: “The leaders had through their irresponsible actions exposed a large number of girl students to personal risk for three nights.”

Senior teacher and university spokesman Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu also issued a separate press note to say that the protesting students were trying to drag his name into an unseemly controversy concerning roughing up of some girl students. He said he wanted to clarify that while going to the Public Relations Office on the campus two days ago, a commotion on the road had made intervene and request the students creating the noise to disperse." Distorted and false stories about the incident are being cooked up,” he said.


Punjabi varsity impasse to be resolved: CM
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has expressed confidence that the impasse in Punjabi University following the university authorities’ failure to revoke the suspension of student leaders because they are not ready to proffer a written “apology” for their “misconduct” will be resolved in a day or two.

Talking to The Tribune over the telephone last night, the Chief Minister said the government understood that a rapprochement between the varsity authorities and the students was the only solution to the present crisis. He said the current impasse had to be broken and that would be done in a day or two.

The Chief Minister also indicated that the government would make varsity Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai realise the need to break the impasse. He said he had not talked to the Vice-Chancellor on the issue, but was given to understand that a high-powered committee had been formed by the varsity to tackle the situation arising out of the agitation launched by the students against the fee hike.

Capt Amarinder Singh also claimed that a section of the Press had wrongly quoted him as saying he would not remove the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor as he was an appointee of his government and that he (Chief Minister) would support the latter to the hilt. The Chief Minister said when he had gone to inquire about the health of Bathinda legislator Surinder Singla at the Patiala Heart Institute, a few newsmen had approached him outside the hospital.

He said he had told the newspersons that the agitating students must understand that discipline had to be maintained in the university.

Meanwhile, the Punjabi University Students Confederation, which is spearheading the current agitation, said though it was continuously receiving feelers from various persons, no negotiations had been conducted with any party. The confederation denied that Mr S.K. Sinha, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, had held any dialogue with the body. It also said no person had officially contacted the confederation for any talks. Student leader Sandeep Singh said the confederation was clear that it would hold talks with government nominees openly. He said the confederation had been “betrayed” earlier as it held secret dialogue with government nominees. “Any dialogue now will have to be held in an open manner”, the leader added.

The Akali Dal formed under the leadership of Mr Raviinder Singh today castigated the Punjabi University authorities for not treating the agitating students as their “own children” and demanded a peaceful solution to the crisis.


Amarinder issued fresh summons in defamation case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 20
A local court today issued fresh summons against the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, in a defamation case filed against him by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, following non-service of summons issued upon him earlier by the court. Capt Amarinder Singh has been summoned on October 9 by the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L Mohal. Mr Badal, being complainant, appeared in the court.

Meanwhile, Mr Badal’s son who is the general secretary of SAD, Mr Sukhbir Badal, also appeared in the same court in another defamation case filed against Capt Amarinder Singh by him.

Claiming that bailable warrants would be issued against Capt Amarinder Singh, counsel for Mr Badal argued that Capt Amarinder Singh was aware of the fact through the media that a local court had issued summons against him earlier. But he did not appeared in the court.

Counsel for Mr Badal pleaded that summons against Capt Amarinder Singh would be served through the UT SSP as the security deputed at the residence of the CM did not allow the court employees to serve the summons to him. But the court rejected the appeal and issued fresh summons through normal court process.

Both the Badals accompanied by a large number of party supporters reached the District Courts in the morning. As soon as they reached near the entrance gate of the court, their supporters started raising slogans in favour of the party. Security personnel present at the gate stopped the party workers and allowed only some of them to accompany Mr Badal to the court.

Due to the high profile case, the security had been steeped up in the court complex.

Mr Badal has alleged in a criminal complaint that Capt Amarinder Singh had been spreading and publishing false information about his assets and properties for the past one year and had been persisting with the same after becoming Chief Minister. Mr Badal had filed a case against Capt Amarinder Singh on August 12 last year.

Mr Badal alleged in the complaint that Capt Amarinder Singh immediately after assuming office had launched a vicious campaign to defame and intimidate SAD workers and leaders. Mr Badal further claimed that Capt Amarinder Singh, had defamed him through letters and advertisements issued in the media prior to his taking over as assets worth Rs 35,000 crore, including assets in Australia, the USA, Switzerland, Delhi and Jodhpur.


Sarna refuses to toe Badal’s line
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
As the scene of the Akali politics has shifted to Delhi for a while because of the annual elections to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (DSGPC), the political tussle between the Badal and Sarna factions has become bitter.

Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, President of the DSGPC, who has always stood with the SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, has refused to have political ties with Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal. Mr Sarna is adamant on maintaining the separate identity of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Delhi, (SADD), headed by him. He set up the SADD in February 1999.

Mr Tohra offered Mr Sarna another term as President of the DSGPC, the election for which will be held on September 24 and also presidentship of the Delhi unit of the SAD ( Badal) in lieu of winding up of the SADD. However, Mr Sarna declined Mr Tohra’s offer. “Whenever Mr Tohra has faced political crisis, I unflinchingly supported him. But I am unable to digest the proposal of merging my party with that of Mr Badal who has been levelling all sort of allegations against those who supported Mr Tohra a few months ago,” said Mr Sarna.

Almost all senior leaders of the SAD have camped at Delhi for the DSGPC elections. “They have come to Delhi like an invading army to defeat my faction. But I am prepared for the battle”, said Mr Sarna, who was elected President in 1995 and 1999 also. “ I will not contest for the next term but my party would contest and win the elections,” he said. There are 51 members of the DSGPC.

He had very hard things to say about leaders like Mr Badal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta. Mr Calcutta has been fielded by Mr Tohra as the main player to weaken Mr Sarna’s group in Delhi.

Senior Akali leaders from Punjab were resorting to all sort of means to win the DSGPC elections. “They should stay back in Punjab and not pollute the Delhi’s Sikh politics,” said Mr Sarna. “Mr Tohra was not trying to understand that Mr Badal was playing a very clever game in Delhi. Mr Badal is trying to settle political scores with us, because we opposed him in the last DSGPC elections, by using Mr Calcutta and other supporters of Mr Tohra,” Mr Sarna added.


Sack Dhindsa, says Sarna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Delhi, and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (DSGPC), Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, has sought the removal of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa from the Union Cabinet.

Mr Sarna said that a deputation of his party would meet the President soon to submit a memorandum against Mr Dhindsa and seek his removal. Levelling serious allegations, Mr Sarna said today that Mr Dhindsa had made his official residence as a camp office of the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

“Mr Dhindsa has been using his influence as minister to wean DSGPC members from my party”, Mr Sarna alleged.

“If Mr Dhindsa wants to take part in the DSGPC elections, he should resign as minister and jump into the election arena”, said Mr Sarna.


Police transfers after Vidhan Sabha session
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Appointment of Station House Officers from a “carefully screened list”, creation of new cells, including economic offences cells and anti-drug cells at police headquarters and a major administrative reshuffle at the top level immediately after the fifth session of the present Vidhan Sabha are among several steps taken to give the Punjab police a new look.

Though changes at the top level are necessitated because of the appointment in the country’s seniormost IPS officer, Mr Sarabjit Singh, as the new Director-General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), a central police organisation (CPO), other changes at the middle and lower levels have been planned to give it a “clean and people-friendly look”.

At present, Mr Sarabjit Singh is Director-General, Civil Defence and Home Guards. This position may now go to one of the three other officers holding the rank of DGP — Mr Jarnail Singh Chahal, Mr A.P. Bhatnagar and Mr S.K. Verma . Mr Chahal, who perhaps is the second seniormost police officer in the country, incidentally is currently without pay . His attachment with a non-functional office of the Punjab Lok Pal is without financial sanction and against an ex-cadre post.

There may be other changes also as some of the senior ADGPs are expected to be reshuffled.

The reshuffle, scheduled earlier, was postponed as a team of 23 police officers from the state had gone to England to participate in an Indo-British police conference.

Talking to The Tribune, the Director-General of Police, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, says that a standing order on the appointment of Station House Officers has already been circulated. Transfers of the SHOs will now be on inter-district, inter-range and even inter-zone levels, thus bringing to an end the practice of keeping middle and lower rung NGOs confined to one police district only.

Meanwhile, the Punjab police has decided to set-up economic offences and anti-drug cells under the Inspector-General at police headquarters here to monitor economic offences and drug related crimes in the state. Similar squads would be set up at the Range level.

Mr Siddiqui, who reviewed law and order situation at a senior officers’ conference here today, also wanted comments of police officers on new instructions as well as “good policing” competitions which are being introduced in the state.

He disclosed that a standing order on separation of detection of crime and law and order duties had been finalised and would be shortly circulated for implementation. He directed that issues like domestic violence and crime trends should be studied in depth and concrete recommendations should be made. A research and development cell under an Additional DGP, Training has been created.

The district police chiefs have been directed to streamline working at police stations. Police station record has to be updated and case property properly preserved. The DGP emphasised the importance of training of subordinate police officers at the district level. For this purpose special courses would be run at the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur. He asked the SSPs to streamline the procedure for posting of MHCs. Mr Siddiqui further directed them to withdraw the security of those persons who had not been approved for security by the security wing.

A decision was also taken to undertake intensive checking to find out the vehicles plying on roads with unauthorised black films, red lights and fake number plates. He further directed the SSPs to be very strict in cases of complaints of corruption and moral turpitude against police officials.

Mr Siddiqui said that a proposal for uplinking police stations with subdivisions and further connectivity with district and ultimately with the state police headquarters had been submitted for grant of funds under modernisation .He was hopeful of getting requisite hardware and software for the purpose.


Kashish flies high on wings of melody
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The best place to find 14-year-old Kashish Mittal is the musically-kept home of his guru, Pandit Yashpaul, whose mastery over the nuances of the Agra gharana of classical music is well known. Having absorbed the finest elements from his guru’s treasurehouse of classical music, the young Patiala boy recently emerged victorious in the All-India solo classical vocal contest held at Gwalior as part of the Indian Public Schools Conference.

Organised during the cultural festival in which participants from over 45 public schools from India participated, the solo classical vocal category had the best talent contesting for the coveted title, which finally came to Kashish. The contest was hosted by Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya and the Scindia School, Fort Gwalior.

As you converse with the Patiala boy, details about his past accomplishments begin to surface. Already a regular at the Harbhallabh Sangeet Sammellan, Kashish won the first prize in the junior classical vocal recital contest held during the concert in Jalandhar last year. A year earlier, he had stood second in the same category. Besides, he recently also won the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s national scholarship for music.

All these credits, however, don’t seem to fluster Kashish, who kept itching to get back to rehearsal, even as we sought a deeper conversation with him. It was only after his guru’s permission that he began talking at length. After beginning his music training as an 8-year-old under Prof Harvinder, Head of the Department of Music, Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh, Kashish felt the need to come under the tutelage of Pt Yashpaul. Based as he is at Patiala, where he studies in Class X at YPS, Kashish visits Chandigarh every weekend to seek training from his guru. Informs Pt Yashpaul, “Kashish has shown promising results within a year. Because he does not live here, I teach him music for about 10 hours during the weekend, when he stays with me at my residence.”

About the preparation for the All-India Public School music contest held between September 7 and 10 at Gwalior, Kashish said, “I was supposed to learn the raga for every quarter of the day. We had no clue about the time of the contest. Since the Indian ragas are set to time, one has to sing the raga, according to the time of the day. Finally I got to sing an afternoon raga.”

Pt Yashpaul’s composition in raga Brindabani sarang gave Kashish a winning edge over other contestants, who chose simpler compositions. During the contest, Kashish presented two compositions — one by Pt Yashpaul and another by maestro Ustad Fayyaz Khan. He said, “Guruji had taught me subtle nuances of the bandish. As I sang, I was able to innovate and create within the structure of the raga.”

Interested in pursuing the non-medical course at school, Kashish remembers how his father Jagdish Mittal, posted now as DIG, Punjab Armed Police, coaxed him into learning classical music. “Once I started learning music, I knew I wanted to practice it all my life.” Ask Pt Yashpaul how he went about guiding the boy to victory and he says, “I just implanted the seed of music in his heart. Then I awakened his creative skills. Finally I inspired that awakening. The results are for all to see.”


BSP threatens stir if Mayawati arrested
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 20
Terming the CBI charges against former UP Chief Minister Mayawati, regarding alleged irregularities in the Rs 175-crore Taj Heritage Corridor project, as politically motivated, the BSP today threatened to launch a nationwide agitation if she was arrested in this case.

“We have no faith in the CBI as it is working under the influence of the Central Government led by the BJP, which wants to falsely implicate Ms Mayawati in the case to take revenge from the latter for not supporting the BJP on the temple issue and rather preferred to resign from the post of the Chief Ministership” alleged Mr Narender Kashyap, in charge of party’s affairs in five states, including Punjab, threatening to launch a nationwide agitation if any action was taken against the party leader.

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the CBI to register criminal cases against Ms Mayawati, former UP Environment Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui and six top central and state bureaucrats for the alleged irregularities in the Taj Heritage Corridor project.

The BJP wanted to undermine the image of Ms Mayawati as she proved to be as one of the honest and hardworking Chief Ministers of the UP during her stint, he said alleging that now both the BJP and the Samajwadi Party were indulging in a political conspiracy to malign the BSP.

Regarding the recent charges levelled against Ms Mayawati and her family for possessing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income, Mr Kashyap termed these as baseless. Revealing the party’s strategy, he said it had decided to form the Bahujan volunteer force in the state and Mr Paramjit Gosal and Bibi Balwinder Kaur had been appointed as convener and assistant convener, respectively, of the force. The force would conduct rallies, dharnas and agitations in the state.


Ravi Inder flays Badal, Tohra

Patiala, September 20
Mr Ravi Inder Singh, a former Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, today flayed the policies of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

The newly formed Akali Dal, headed by Mr Ravi Inder Singh, held its first rally at the Rajpura road colony grounds here. Explaining the ideology behind the formation of the party, Mr Ravi Inder Singh said the new Akali Dal would emulate ideals, adopted in 1920 by the Akali Dal.

Claiming that the party’s main objective was to serve the people of the state and help them achieve basic rights, Mr Ravi Inder Singh said that he was opposed to Mr Badal and Mr Tohra. OC


Rights panel for action against cop
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 20
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has directed the SSP Tarn Taran to take action against ASI Swaran Singh who had allegedly occupied the house of Pushpinder Kaur, a widow and resident of Patti in the Tarn Taran area.

Pushpinder Kaur had alleged that the ASI had threatened to kill her when she tried to construct a wall and gate on a plot belonging to her adjacent to the house.

The PSHRC asked the complainant to meet the SSP. She said the accused, who claimed to be an SHO and sometimes an Inspector, had been staying in her house for the past over four years. She said he had now started to claim that he was the owner of the house.

When contacted over phone, Swaran Singh refuted the allegations. He said higher police officials had conducted inquiries in this regard.


Women protest against ‘satta’ operators
Our Correspondent

Nangal, September 20
Women of the town took to the streets this evening to protest against the rising menace of ‘satta’ and sale of psychotropic drugs in the area.

Nearly 100 women carrying placards started their march from the main market here and passed through lanes raising slogans against the local authorities for their failure to check the aforementioned illegal activities in the area. The women later told this correspondent that the rise in ‘satta’ and other gambling activities in the town was adversely affecting the income of the poor families.

The ‘satta’ stalls have started operating openly in the guise of single-digit lottery outlets in the town. The daily-wage earners and other men, generally from poor families, can be seen openly thronging these ‘satta’ stalls for gambling. Thousands lose their daily earnings to the unscrupulous ‘satta’ operators due to which their families were suffering.

However, despite the fact that ‘satta’ operations are continuing openly in the area and everybody in the town knows about these, the police is not taking any action against the culprits, Ms Kamala Devi, an affected woman said.

If the police still failed to take action against the persons carrying out ‘satta’ activities in the town, the women would forcibly close the outlets at which such activities were being held.

The women also protested against the unabated sale of psychotropic drugs in the area. These drugs were available at almost all the chemist shops. The youth, frustrated due to unemployment, are increasingly falling a prey to chemist who wants to make a fast buck by selling psychotropic drugs to them illegally.

Certain chemists in the area have become so bold owing to the failure of the administration to take action against them that they have themselves started changing the prescriptions of the doctors to sell certain brands of medicines. The women also threatened to move against the chemists themselves if the administration failed to do so.


Candles lighted to spread preachings of Baba Farid
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 20
Nearly 300 members of various Government Organisations, the Baba Farid Memorial Society and students of Diet institution led by Mr Inderjit Singh Khalsa chairman, Baba Farid Committee and Gurdwara Godri Sahib Society Faridkot visited Hussainiwala border near Ferozepore last evening and lighted candles as a message of peace and harmony across the border in connection with the nine-day Aagman purab celebrations of the Sufi Saint Baba Sheikh Farid being organised by the District Cultural Society, Baba Farid Committee and District administration from September 15 here. Participants were also carried banners in English and Urdu conveying the message of maintaining brotherhood and amity among people of both India and Pakistan as preached by the Sufi Saint.

Mr Khalsa appealed to governments of both the countries to allow jathas to visit Pakpatton and Faridkot on the eve of Aagman Purb of Sufi Saint in Pakistan and India. He assured to provide all facilities free of cost to Muslim brethern during their visit to Faridkot. To mark the occasion a Hass Ras Kavi darbar was held here yesterday in which TV artists like Balwinder Vicky known as Chacha Raunqi Ram, Bhajanwali and Santo, Nehla and Dehla, Kazi Tanveer, Pt Suresh Neeraj and Arvind besides Amarjit Singh and Lachhman Bhana (Bhands) entertained the audience with songs and acting. They criticised politicians for making mockery of democracy for personal gains. They also expressed concern over conditions in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education Punjab was the chief guest at the function.


Baba Farid anticipated Bhakti movement
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 20
A seminar organised by the All-India Baba Farid Memorial Society here today on the life and teachings of Sufi Saint Baba Sheikh Farid in connection with his nine-day ‘aagman purb’ celebrations being organised jointly by the Tilla Baba Farid Management Committee, the district Cultural Society and the local district administration laid stress on inculcating moral values, universal brotherhood and self-realisation among the countrymen to strengthen democracy in the country.

Dr Kuljit Shelly, head of the Punjabi Department of Delhi University, Dr Barkat Ali, head of the Urdu and Persian Department, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar and Dr Devinder Singh from Jammu University, spoke on the life and philosophy of Baba Farid. In his presidential address, Mr Sant Ram Singla, Chairman, Mandi Board, Punjab, said the teachings of the Sufi saint taught us to eradicate ego.

Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab, chief guest, also spoke.


Villagers burn minister’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Nurpurbedi (Ropar), September 20
Villagers here today held a rally and burned an effigy of the state Minister for Grievances, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, to protest against the alleged efforts of the minister to get two local leaders, Mr Vijay Kumar Puri, district general secretary of the BJP, and Mr Ashwani Kumar, booked in a false case.

The protesters, which included a former Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Punjab, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, a former state Minister for Education, Mr Tara Singh Ladal, and the local SGPC member, Mr Jarnail Singh Aulakh, initially held a rally at the local Hanuman Mandir. Later the protesters moved to the local police station in the form of a rally.

The protesters alleged that Mr Sharma was nursing a grievance against Mr Puri and Mr Ashwani Kumar as they had defeated the Congress in the panchayat elections in his home village. Yesterday, some policemen visited Mr Puri and Mr Ashwani Kumar and told them that they would have to arrest them under pressure from the minister.

Today, opposition leaders asked the police authorities on which ground the local leaders were being arrested.

The local SHO informed the protesters that the two leaders were just called for questioning on the complaint of the chowkidar of the village that they had threatened him. There was no move to arrest them, he maintained.

The opposition leaders however, alleged that the police was harassing the local opposition leaders at the behest of Mr Sharma.

Mr Sharma, however, said the charges of the protesters were baseless.


1.14 lakh bogus pensioners detected
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 20
The Punjab Govt. has detected 1.14 lakh bogus pensioners who have been availing pension under the old age, handicapped and widows categories for the past many years after submitting the documents, particularly during the SAD-BJP rule in the state.

Official teams are still visiting door to door in both rural and urban areas to detect more such cases to streamline the process, said Mr Som Parkash, Director, Social Security, Pensions and Women and Child Development, Punjab, while talking to this correspondent here on Thursday.

The Director, who had come here to preside over a district-level food and nutrition function launched by the Union Govt. at the national level, said to bring in more efficiency, accuracy and regularity in the identification of pension cases and distribution of pension, the state govt. was planning to devolve powers to the gram panchayats in the near future. A high-powered state committee was already working to finalise the process to implement it.


CM presented book on Shastri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
A delegation of the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress (PPYC) today called upon the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and presented him a book on former Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, which has been authored by his daughter-in-law, Ms Vibha Shastri.

The Chief Minister was briefed about the contents of the book and the life history, social, political and economic achievements of the former Prime Minister by the PPYC general secretary, Mr Gagandeep Singh Wasu, and the president of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Social Forum, Mr Sushil Malhotra.

The Chief Minister said the PPYC must take up the cause of the poor and the downtrodden who needed institutional support.


Bandh against police inaction
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, September 20
A complete bandh was observed here today against the alleged failure of the police to catch those who killed a chemist, Pawan Kumar, on the night of August 29 after looting cash from his shop. The bandh was called by the Punjab Beopar Mandal and various social and religious organisations of the town.

A protest march was also taken out and later thousands of traders and social workers sat in a dharna on the GT road near the Market Committee office disrupting traffic on the Fazilka-Ferozepore road for at least three hours. Before this, a massive rally was organised at Janta Bhavan which was attended by leaders of various trade bodies and political organisations.

The speakers at the rally expressed concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the town and criticised the police and the local administration for not offering any condolences to the bereaved family.

Later, representatives of various organisations met Mr Manish Chawla, SP (D), Ferozepore.


RPF celebrates raising day
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 20
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) celebrated its 19th raising day at the Railway Stadium here today. The chief guest, Mr H.C. Punia, DRM, took salute from an impressive march past led by parade commander, Mr S.K. Arjun.

While addressing the jawans of the RPF, Mr Punia said due to meritorious services the RPF Ferozepore Division had won the Gallantry Award for the past two years consecutively. He promised that all problems of the RPF jawans would be redressed on priority and new barracks would be established for them. He lauded the services and efforts of the jawans to ensure smooth and effective functioning of the Railways.


Order to demolish ex-Mayor’s construction
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
The state government has directed the local Municipal Corporation to demolish an “unauthorised” construction belonging to a former Mayor near the Gagan cinema house here.

Mr A.K. Dubey, Secretary Local Bodies Department, has asked the corporation to seek the help of the District Magistrate for getting the “illegal” construction demolished in presence of the police.

It has also been decided to chargesheet three more officials of the local corporation who allowed the construction adjoining the cinema site. It is reliably learnt that Mr Tarlok Singh and Mr Suresh Raj, both Assistant Town Planners, and Mr Harinder Singh, SDO, may be chargesheeted.

Earlier, Mr Dubey had placed Mr Hemant Batra, Municipal Town Planner, Mr I.P.S. Randhawa, Assistant Town Planner, and Mr Arvind Mahajan, Building Inspector, under suspension for alleged dereliction of their duty.

The inquiry was conducted by the Chief Vigilance Officer, Mr A.K. Kansal, who recommended that a major penalty be slapped on the officials. Earlier, the fact-finding report of the Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, had indicted many senior officials of the corporation in this regard.

According to sources, the Chief Vigilance Officer visited the site of “illegal construction” before filing his report. The inquiry officer found that by changing the land-use of the TP scheme, 56 (Gagan (Cinema site), some houses had come up. Though the “illegal construction” was detected well in time following a complaint lodged by a Municipal Councillor, yet the officials did not take prompt action.


Nanera appointed PPCC Secretary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Mr Avtar Singh Nanera of Nabha has been appointed Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

He was president of the Patiala (Rural) Youth Congress and general secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress during militancy days.


Panchayat officer suspended
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 20
The Director Panchayats has suspended the District Panchayats Development Officer (DDPO), Mr Jaswant Singh, for dereliction of duty. Highly-placed sources said the reason behind the suspension was his failure to attend a meeting held by the Director yesterday.

The district administration had also send reports regarding his absence from the district headquarters without permission. The sarpanch of Sarthali village near Nurpurbedi, in an affidavit submitted to the State Minister for Grievances, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, had alleged that he had charged Rs 5,000 from them for solving the drainage problem of the village.


SDOs meet Punjab Mandi Board chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
A deputation of the Punjab Mandi Board Subdivisional Officers Association met the Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board regarding their long-pending demands on Thursday.

The general secretary of the association, Mr Vinod Prasher, in a press note claimed that the chairman had agreed to accept some of their demands. These include placement of some designate subdivisional officers of the board in category-A, reducing the probation period of promoted SDOs from two years to one year and allowing the SDOs to pass hand receipt worth Rs 1,000.


Doctor robbed near police chief’s house
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 20
A daring dacoity behind the house of the district police chief rocked the Civil Lines area here last evening.

Three armed men who said they were members of the Babbar Khalsa looted cash and jewellery from the clinic-cum-residence of leading dermatologist Dr Rakesh Bharti. Two persons posing as patients walked into his clinic at about 7.30 pm, while one guarded the main gate. He recognised one of them as one Sharma who had been taking medicine from him.

One of them took a pistol and said that he belonged to the Babbar Khalsa. Dr Bharti was later blindfolded and taken to his room where the men asked his wife to hand over the jewellery and cash. They locked Dr Bharti and his wife in the store and took away the valuables. Before fleeing, they snapped all telephone connections and took away his mobile phone and car keys.

The couple was released after half an hour by his neighbours. The Superintendent of Police (city headquarters), Dr S.K. Kalia, got the area cordoned off and circulated the sketches of the armed men all over the city. No arrest has been made so far, but a case has been registered.


Youths assault woman
Our correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 20
Tension prevails at Bachhohi village of this district over the alleged teasing of a girl and assault on a woman yesterday.

According to police sources, the girl was forcibly pulled out of a bus by four youths and teased. A case under Sections 354, 341, and 506, IPC has been registered against them.

In another incident, a youth of Bachhohi village and his brother-in-law assaulted Gurmej Kaur of the same village with a reaper when she asked them not to graze buffaloes in her field. A case has been registered.

Mr Opinderjit Singh Ghuman, SP (D) said there was no tension in the village and the situation was under control.


Dera mahant found murdered

Moga, September 20
Baba Budh Dass, head of the Dera Smadhan near Gurdwara Mastan Singh was found murdered today.

The police received a call this morning that a body lay at Dharamkot.

The Superintendent Police, Mr Harjit Singh Pannu, reached Dharamkot and visited the samadhi of the Baba.

He found the body to be that of the Mahant of the Dera. The 75-year-old mahant had been killed with sharp-edged weapons. His body was sent to the Moga civil hospital for a post-mortem examination. — PTI


Traders observe bandh
Our Correspondent

Nabha, September 17
Life came to standstill as traders and shopkeepers observed a bandh against “high-handedness” of octroi contractors in the city.

Tension prevailed here in the morning as hundreds of shopkeepers thronged Chowk Devindewala the business hub of the city, raising slogans against the octroi contractors and the local administration. They were joined by office-bearers of the District Traders Association. They moved in a procession in all bazars and held a rally at the local sabzi mandi and Patiala Gate.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Surinder Bawa, president, and Mr Gurcharan Singh Kapoor, secretary Vyapar Mandal, Nabha, said they were forced to take to the streets and hold dharnas and rallies as the “atrocities” of contractors and their employees were increasing day by day. While demanding registration of cases against those who manhandled a shoe seller, they asked for security for the traders in the city.

The SHO, Mr William Jeji told this correspondent that a case against Manjit Singh and Manpreet Singh, employees of octroi contractors’ employees, had been registered.

Talking to mediapersons, an octroi contractor, Mr Gurcharan Singh, said he had full respect for the trading community and seeked its cooperation in octroi collection.

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