Tuesday, September 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Report names politician, sarpanch in Buta Mandi violence case
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The magisterial inquiry report into the death of Vijay Kumar Kala in the violence that rocked Jalandhar’s Buta Mandi on the night intervening June 5 and 6, is now available with the Department of Home Affairs. The violence had occurred in the wake of the Talhan happenings.

The report has named a politician and a sarpanch for inciting the mob to indulge in violence during their speeches in Talhan. They had, says the report, threatened to set the whole city of Jalandhar on fire to demonstrate the strength of the Dalits and avenge the atrocities on them.

The police, says the report, fired in the air in self-defence when two of its cops were taken captive by the mob that had pelted the police with all types of missiles, including petrol bombs. The mob even fired shots. No one had given written or oral orders for firing to the police.

Sources say the report was based on recorded statements of police officers, 17 witnesses, who were injured in that violence, report of the forensic experts, the post-mortem report of Vijay Kumar and the FIRs registered in various police stations.

Talhan’s dark shadow would have eclipsed Punjab politics for ever but for the deft handling of the situation by the Jalandhar district administration acting firmly and effectively on orders from the Chief Minister and hammering out a mutual agreement between Jats and Dalits.

Incidentally, most such caste incidents have taken place in Jalandhar, which has a high concentration (44 per cent) of the scheduled caste population.

In fact, the Scheduled Castes constitute over 28 per cent of the state population and more than half of them live below the poverty line. The Scheduled Castes Component plan, however, constitutes 7 per cent to 8 per cent of the total Plan funds of the state. This imbalance is one of the factors responsible for incidents of social tensions in villages. At least five incidents have taken place in Jalandhar alone since March. It was, however, Talhan that hit the headlines and should now serve as a wake-up call.

Besides Talhan, the district administration had quietly doused the passions in Puandran, where caste politics flared over the installation of a tubewell, a Rs 30 lakh Nabard project, on a piece of land on which Dalits used to “dump waste”.

Then there was Ghumaria, where a tussle brewed over a religious place, where there was neither a gurdwara nor a temple but a “Sati mata asthan”.

Take Rurka Kalan, where followers of the Adharmi sect wanted to forcibly occupy 54 marlas. The agreement worked out by the administration allowed the construction of a dharmshala by the Adharmis and Balmikis. Similarly, a dispute over conducting religious ceremonies in Sahibteli Mazar, Noormahal, was also amicably resolved.

The rural social matrix and village social and economic bonds should not be allowed to be shredded by any political, caste, community aspects. Jats and Dalits have lived cheek by jowl for decades. And Punjab politics has been of a different type, always with a discernible streak of religion.

The official reports on Jalandhar incidents show that no political party evinced interest to douse rural caste disquiet. Instead, some even tried to stoke the flames of caste politics.


Home Ministry trying to patronise corruption,
says Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Kotla (Ropar), September 29
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today vented his ire against the Union Minister of State for Home, Mr ID Swami. Reacting to the statement of Mr Swami daring the Punjab Government to arrest Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Capt Amarinder Singh said the Union Home Ministry was trying to provide patronage to corruption.

The Punjab Government had stated many a time that it would not make a hero out of Mr Badal by arresting him. An investigation was being done into the corruption cases against him and charges regarding these would be framed in the court. Only the court would order Mr Badal’s arrest if the charges against him were found to be substantial.

Had the Punjab Government decided to harass the leaders of Opposition, it could have behaved with them the way Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha behaved with a former Chief Minister, Mr Karunanidhi.

However, the Union Minister of State for Home had been issuing irresponsible statements regarding a case under investigation lowering the esteem of the chair he was occupying. Mr Swami should keep in mind that great leaders like Sardar Patel once occupied the chair he was now occupying. He should maintain the dignity of his office by not making irresponsible statements in favour of persons facing corruption charges, Capt Amarinder Singh said.

So peeved was Capt Amarinder Singh with Mr Swami that he said that he was not afraid of that ‘chhota mota’ minister whom he did not even recognise.

The Chief Minister was here today to attend a programme organised by the All-Himachal Truck Operators Association.

When asked about the list of properties of Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang released by the SAD, Capt Amarinder Singh, while giving a clean chit to the minister, said there was nothing substantial in the list. Mr Kang had already replied satisfactorily to the Lok Pal about similar charges levelled against him earlier. Desperate at the corruption charges against them, the SAD and the BJP were trying to bring up decades old irrelevant cases against his Cabinet, he said.

Meanwhile, the All-Himachal Truck Operators Association presented its charter of demands to the Chief Minister. They demanded that the counter signature fee from the Himachal truck operators in Punjab should be charged on a five-year basis; the goods tax should be charged on a quarterly basis; the overload tax should be charged beyond 10 MT at the rate of Rs 1,000 per month; the payload of the trucks should be increased; and the harassment of truck operators at the hands of the Transport Department officials should be stopped.

Capt Amarinder Singh announced that the first two demands of the Himachal truck operators, i.e. the charging of counter-signature fee and overload tax had been met and a notification regarding these would be issued soon. The rest of the demands would also be considered sympathetically.

The president of the All-Himachal Truck Operators Association, Mr Ram Dass Thakur, presented a cheque of Rs 11 lakh to Capt Amarinder Singh as contribution to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

On the demand of the truck operators and the minister, Ramesh Dutt Sharma, Capt Amarinder Singh announced the early completion of the Bunga Sahib bridge over the Sutlej.

Earlier the Chief Minister paid obeisance at Takht Kesgarh Sahib. He was presented a siropa by the Head Granthi, Sukhwinder Singh.

The Minister for Animal Husbandry and Sports, Punjab, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, the district president of Congress, Mr Amarjit Saini and the Chairman of the Improvement Trust, Ropar, Mr Ram Prakash Bali were among those present at today’s function.


SDM, 2 others booked on charges of forgery
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Baba Bakala (Amritsar), September 29
The Majitha police today booked Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia, SDM, Baba Bakala, and two others on charges of forgery.

The case has been registered on an inquiry report, prepared by the DSP, Mr Lakha Singh for allegedly duping a widow of a home guard who was killed by terrorist in 1990.

As per an FIR registered at police station Beas, the case was registered on the basis of a complaint lodged by Narinder Kaur, who alleged that out of a total payment of Rs 2.96 lakhs which she had received on account of the arrears of family pension, Jagir Kaur had taken Rs 1.16 lakhs.

While the SDM had been booked under Section 120-B of IPC, Ms Jagir Kaur and her husband Raj Kumar were booked under Section 420. However, Ms Shashi Prabha, SSP, Majitha, said that after the preliminary inquiry, the SP (D), had been directed to re-investigate the case.

Mr Sandhawalia said that a ‘baseless case’ had been made out against him as the payment of the arrears was made through a cheque to Narinder Kaur, widow of Bakshish Singh, on the recommendations of two SSPs (Gurdaspur and Majitha and the DC Jalandhar). He said the FIR lodged by the Beas police clearly mentioned that neither Narinder Kaur nor Jagir Kaur or her husband had accused him or any of his official for taking bribe in this case. Moreover, bank officials had also recorded their statements with the investigating officer that Narinder Kaur herself had taken the payment from the bank.

However, the investigating officer in his report said ‘as per secret information’ the money (Rs 1.16 lakh) was given as bribe to get the case of Narinder Kaur cleared.

Though the SSP Majitha said that the case was registered after getting the legal opinion from the District Attorny, yet Mr Sandhawalia said that the police had not taken his seniors, including the Deputy Commissioner, into confidence before lodging an FIR.

The SSP said that though Jagir Kaur, who had taken Rs 1.16 lakh out of total payment of Rs 2.96 lakh (due to Narinder Kaur), had not given any written confession that she had given any bribe to the SDM, or his subordinates but she (Jagir Kaur) had admitted verbally that ‘bribe’ was given.


Smuggling of drugs in Central Jail
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 29
The local Central jail inmates serving sentence under the Narcotics Act seem to have continued to do their business in jail, with the authorities today apprehending one such inmate while he was in the process of smuggling in 1000 capsules which are used as intoxicants by addicts after they were handed over to him during the official visiting hours by an outsider.

This is the second haul of capsules by the jail authorities within a period of few days. Earlier only September 26 the authorities had seized 190 capsules from inside the jail compound. However, today's seizure indicates that the racket is well set and that a large number of intoxicants and drugs are finding their way into the jail.

According to sources, today’s seizure took place when a pillow being taken into his barrack by one Talwinder Singh after the official visiting hours was checked. The sources said more than 1,000 capsules used as an intoxicants were found from the pillow after it was ripped open by the jail staff. The jail authorities have got a case registered under the NDPS Act against Talwinder and one Balwinder Singh, his friend, who had handed over the pillow to him during the visiting hours. Talwinder is already undergoing a 10-year imprisonment under the NDPS Act.

Earlier on September 26, the jail authorities had seized 190 capsules from one Dhanna Singh in the complex. According to the sources, Dhanna Singh, who is presently an undertrial under the NDPS Act, had got the capsules in the jail complex not for his own consumption but to sell them to other inmates. The sources said the capsules were being sold for as much as Rs 5 to Rs 10 per capsule according to the economic condition of the buyers.

The jail authorities had seized 200 gms of opium from one of the cells earlier this year. The drug was found in an iron "angithi" in the cell but it was disowned by all the inmates of the cell. Even till now the authorities have not been able to fix responsibility for the incident.

Jail Superintendent Jagjit Singh when contacted said the recent seizures were the result of stricter checking being done in the jail complex. He said there had been some cases of inmates getting drugs during the visiting hours and that stricter checks were being done in this regard. The authorities have also made a committee amongst the inmates themselves to stop this practice.

The sources said though the authorities had seized the capsules before they could enter the barracks today, the pillow carrying the capsules should not have been allowed to get into the meeting area. They said according to norms, all eatables and other things being got by those visiting the inmates are checked before the visitors are allowed to get into the meeting area. They said besides this all the inmates were checked at three different places before they re-entered their barracks after the visiting hours.

The sources said this indicated that a few of the jail officials could also be behind the continued presence of drugs in the jail complex. Last year the jail authorities had suspended two officials on charges of taking capsules which could be used as intoxicants into the jail complex.


Heavy rain damages paddy, cotton crops
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Deon (Bathinda), September 29
Paddy and cotton crops in thousands of acres have been damaged after various pockets of Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar and Ferozepore districts were lashed by heavy rain, accompanied by strong winds, late last night. Besides, the paddy and cotton crops were flattened by hailstorms which lashed this region also.

In most pockets of these four districts, the heavy rain accompanied by strong winds has left behind a picture of destruction as most of the farmers, who were hoping to generate hard cash after unloading their produce in the markets have been finding their hopes dashed to ground and are now busy in retrieving something from the flattened ripened crops. Apart from it, more than a dozen head of cattle have perished in the Gidderbaha area of Muktsar district due to squall that hit the region late last night.

Says Labh Singh, nambardar of the village, “God has been very unkind this season as paddy and cotton crops in 28 acres of land have been completely destroyed. I have spent lakhs of rupees on these crops so far. It is a big loss and I have been finding it difficult to get out of this mess.”

Most of the farmers have already spent lakhs of rupees on their paddy and cotton crops and now they are spending more money to retrieve something out of the flattened crops. A round of the affected areas revealed that the standing paddy and cotton crops in thousands of acres have been damaged. Moreover, cotton-picking and paddy harvesting operations have come to a halt.

Says another farmer of Muktsar, Harpal Singh, “Not only the paddy and cotton crops have been flattened by the rain, the fodder plants have also been damaged. The rain has had a cascading effect on the crops in this region.”

In most of the fields, the entire paddy and cotton crops had been flattened. Hundreds of trees and electric poles were also uprooted. The outer walls of some residential dwellings have also collapsed.

Agriculture officials said it was too early to comment on the magnitude of the loss caused to the paddy and cotton crops. They pointed out that so far it could only be said that the loss would be severe and it would make an adverse impact on the finances of those farmers whose fields had been virtually destroyed.

The officials had started making an assessment of the loss of the crops. So far, no special girdawri of the crop loss has been ordered by any government official.

The affected farmers, while expressing resentment over the fact that no official of any government agency had contacted them despite the fact that the rain had been hitting the region for the past two days to see their plight, demanded that they should be given adequate compensation so that they could meet their liabilities.


Farmers to block traffic today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Talks between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and representatives of various farmers organisations failed to resolve the deadlock on the problems of the peasantry during a meeting called by the former at Punjab Bhavan this evening. As a result, farmers owing allegiance to eight organisations have decided to go ahead with their planned programme of rail and 'rasta roko' programme all over the state for three hours tomorrow.

Thousands of farmers will come on the streets, as part of the agitation to protest against the indifference of the Centre and the state government towards their demands. The main demands, which were not resolved during the meeting were an increase in the minimum support price ( MSP) of paddy and other kharif crops, fixing the price of sugarcane, potatoes and milk and payment of Rs 30 per quintal as bonus on paddy 2001. In fact the Chief Minister did not pay any heed to the promises made to them in the election manifesto regarding restoration of free power and water to the farming sector, waiving the loans pending against farmers, who for various reasons did not get remunerative prices for their crops.

The Chief Minister also agreed to release Rs 42 crore of the total Rs 126 crore due to the farmers as sugarcane arrears saying the balance amount would also be released in the month of October. This was one of the main demands of the farmers.

The meeting was attended by 11 farmers organisations. Of these three namely BKU (Pakhowal), BKU (Rajewal) and the Punjab Kisan Sabha, however, did not give their reaction to today’s meeting.

However, the Chief Minister has agreed to withdraw the 4.4 per cent Sales Tax on pesticides and insecticides, stop collecting water charges from farmers who did not use water for irrigation purposes. He assured them that a notification with regard to 67(A) of the Cooperative Act would be issued shortly. The farmers organisations were not satisfied with these meagre rollbacks, as the burden of these had been put on the farmers by the present government.

Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, state President of the All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha told mediapersons after the meeting that the state government was trying to hoodwink the farmers organisations on the issue of their long pending demands regarding procurement and MSP of paddy by passing the buck of the same on the Centre. The Chief Minister has so far not even withdrawn the false cases registered against farmers leaders in the previous agitation. They condemned the CM for stating that most of the demands of the farmers had been met whereas he had not even conceded those demands which had no financial implications on the state.

The participating organisations in the chakka jam tomorrow will be BKU (Ekta), Kirti Kisan Union, All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha, Punjab Kisan Sabha, Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, Khetibari Kisan Vikas Front, BKU-Ekta (Ugrahan) and Kisan Sangharsh Committee.

Later, the President of the BKU (Ekta), Mr Pishora Singh Sidhupur, warned the government that if their demands were not met, they would be forced to intensify their agitation.


Protesting farmers disrupt road, rail traffic
Tribune Reporters

Goraya, September 29
To protest against the “anti-farmer” policies being pursued by the Central and the state governments, hundreds of farmers staged a dharna at the level crossing here and forced the Malwa Express to come to an unscheduled halt this afternoon.

Meanwhile, a large number of farmers also organised road blockages at Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, Dasuya, Nakodar, Garhshankar, Sultanpur Lodhi, Kapurthala and Adampur township between 12 noon and 3 p.m.

Addressing the agitating farmers here this afternoon, Mr Lehambar Singh Taggar, general secretary of the Punjab Kisan Sabha which had given a call for “rail and rasta roko”, alleged that the BJP-led Central Government and the Congress government of Punjab were damaging the agriculture of Punjab by following the directions of the WTO. He said an example of this was the delay in the purchase of paddy by the government agencies this time. “Farmers’ paddy crop is lying in mandis as the government agencies have not come forward to purchase it. The farmers are being exploited by private traders who are having a field day in the absence of government agencies,” said Mr Taggar.

Addressing farmers at Nakodar, Mr Paramjit Gandhri of the Punjab State Subordinate Services Federation (PSSF) said the state government had adopted policies which were against the interests of the farmers and the employees. He said the state government should do something concrete to give relief to these two major classes.

SANGRUR: On a call given by six farmers’ organisations, the district unit of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, led by Mr Bant Singh Namol, district president of the sabha, on Monday held a protest march here and sat in dharna at the “lightanwala” chowk near the local main bus stand, blocking the vehicular traffic to the town.

PHILLAUR: Hundreds of farmers belonging to the a Bharatiya Kisan Union held a rally and blocked road and rail traffic during a two-hour dharna at the Ludhiana-Phagwara rail section near the level crossing at Goraya in Phillaur subdivision on Monday.

PHAGWARA: Hundreds of passengers, including children and women, remained stranded on Monday as the 4650 Dn Amritsar-Delhi Flying Mail was stopped at the local railway station for about one hour. Railway sources said, the railway authorities stopped the Flying Mail here due to a ‘rail roko’ call given by six farmers’ bodies and call for a rally at Goraya and Phillaur. NAWANSHAHR: As part of their state-wide stir, activists of the district unit of the Punjab Kisan Sabha blocked traffic here on Monday at Chandigarh Chowk for two hours to protest against the “anti-farmer” policies of the Central as well as the state governments. Mr Balbir Singh Jadla, state vice-president, Punjab Kisan Sabha, while addressing the protesters criticised the state government for withdrawing the facility of free power from farmers, for not making arrangements for starting government purchase of paddy, non-release of sugarcane arrears to the farmers and the move to privatise the Punjab State Electricity Board.

He threatened to intensify the stir if the government did not mend its policies. Mr Gurnam Singh Khandupur, district president, Punjab Kisan Sabha, Mr Rakesh Nayyar, state vice-president, DYFI, Mr Bishan Jhinger, district president, CITU, Mr Paramjit Singh of the PSEB Employees Union also addressed the dharna, among others.


Public helps cops capture looter
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 29
With the cooperation of the public, the district police overpowered Gurpreet Singh Sonu who along with his companion had allegedly looted two Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employees by throwing acid here today. They were coming out of a bank after withdrawing the salary of employees of the PSEB Sultanwind sub-division amounting to about Rs 6 lakh. Gurpreet Singh Sonu, a resident of Rajasansi, was arrested by an assistant sub-inspector of the traffic police while his other companion escaped.

Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, said the accused standing outside the State Bank of Patiala branch in the Katra Jaimal Singh area, threw acid on the two PSEB employees, Mr Sohan Singh, sub-divisional clerk, and Mr Sudesh Kumar, assistant lineman, as soon as they came out and were starting their scooter.

The accused fled after snatching the bag containing the money from the injured employees. The shopkeepers and people ran after the two. Gurpreet Singh who was armed with a long knife and had the money, entered a mosque in Hall Gate and locked himself in a room after seeing people following them. However, the other accused dodged the public and escaped into the narrow lanes of the walled city.

Meanwhile, Kuldip Singh, ASI (Traffic), who was standing near the area also came to the spot. Along with some people, he broke open the door and captured the accused who was threatening to kill with the knife. He was soon overpowered by the public.


SAD (A) seeks reopening of trade route with Pak
Our Correspondent

Wagah (Amritsar), September 29
Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and farmer organisations of the party today staged a dharna at the Indo-Pak joint checkpost demanding resumption of trade with Pakistan from Wagah border in Amritsar and Hussainiwala border in Ferozepore.

The activists presented a memorandum in this connection to the administration to be forwarded to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee. They also faxed a copy of the memorandum to the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi to be forwarded to Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr Zafarulla Khan Jamali. The SAD (A) said India and Pakistan should honour the WTO agreement which called for free trade routes between countries.

Mr Satnam Singh Behru, president of the kisan wing of the party, and many senior party functionaries decried the apathy of the government towards the border farmers who had time and against suffered due to the fluctuating relations between the two countries in term of their existence, properties, farm produce, milch animals and other sources of income.

They stated that if the government could not rescue the farmers by giving them subsidies, suitable compensation, cheaper agricultural inputs, the opening of the trade routes could bring prosperity to the farmers and give a boost to the export potential of the agricultural sector in the border areas. They said potatoes, onions, wheat, rice, sugar could be exported to enable the farmers to earn handsome profits.

Mr Behru also decried the planting of mines which was against the Ottawa Treaty, 1997, signed by both the countries, he said, and demanded immediate compensation for the victims of mine blasts and farmers whose crops had been destroyed or fields delimited. He said his party favoured a visa-free reciprocal entry with Pakistan as in the case of Nepal.


Sheesh Mahal—a crowning glory
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

THE Sheesh Mahal in Patiala is part of the Motibagh Palace complex which now houses the National Institute of Sports and can easily be called the crowning glory of the Patiala dynasty.

The Sheesh Mahal was constructed at the rear of the Motibagh Palace and has a huge tank with two towers on both sides of ‘Lakshman Jhula’ which takes one across to the Banasar Ghar, which earlier housed the National History Gallery.

The Sheesh Mahal in the building comprises a long room with a small longitudinal antechamber, occupied a place of pride. This was because the longitudinal room was laid with convex and coloured mirrors amidst miniature paintings. The main room along with this was covered with paintings of Kangra and Rajasthani style. The ceiling was painted with floral designs, besides wood carvings.

Today the room known as the Sheesh Mahal is a shadow of its former self. The glass has oxidised and is presently exudes a deep green shadow. Due to earlier dampness in the roof, part of the mirror work has been spoiled beyond redemption. The room along with the Sheesh Mahal has suffered more, specially the paintings below the roof. Many of the paintings have been completely destroyed due to continuous seepage of water. The roof of the room has been completely redone with geometrical designs in bright colours.

A visit to the Sheesh Mahal is an exhilarating experience due to the fact that it has been converted into a museum. The entrance to the first floor, which houses the museum, is through a narrow dim lit staircase. The passage to the museum has sculptures mainly from Dholbaha and a few other sites on both sides. The narrow passage leads to a broader one with the miniature painting gallery on one side and the chandelier room and adjoining Tibetan pottery and manuscripts room on the other.

The miniature paintings belong mostly to the 19th century with the themes being based on ‘Geet Gobinda’ of Jaya Deva’s poetry. There are also paintings from the Kangra school which depict Krishan Lila in varied aspects and also paintings from the Rajasthani school. The objects of Tibetan art include sculptures in metal, ivory carvings of Punjab, royal wooden- carved furniture and a large number of Burmese and Kashmiri carved objects. One can also see portraits of rulers of Patiala adorning the walls of the museum hall. Rare manuscripts include Jain manuscripts with the most valuable among them being Gulistan Bostan by Sheikh Sadi of Shiraz.

The top floor of the Sheesh Mahal has been converted into a gallery housing traditional Punjabi cultural items like a ‘gadda’ (wooden wheeled cart), clothes, utensils and locks. Traditional motifs drawn on mud walls are also on display in this gallery.

All along the empty tank in the front of the Sheesh Mahal upturned canons greet visitors. The wooden carriages of the canons had long been eaten away by termites and presently they are either on one wheel or without any wheel at all. The erstwhile Banasar Ghar which can be accessed by crossing over the ‘Lakshman Jhula’ has been handed over to the North Zone Cultural Centre and is now used to hold exhibitions. A sculpture park is also situated alongside the park which has metal sculptures of various kings and queens of England on display. These have withstood time, probably the only artifacts to do so in the complex.


Ex-servicemen hold rally
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 29
The Sangrur block unit of the Indian Ex-Services League (Punjab and Chandigarh) today organised a rally at the War Heroes Stadium here in support of its demands. The rally was also attended by leaders of the SAD and the BJP.

The demands of the ex-servicemen include the implementation of the one rank, one pension scheme at the earliest, free medical facilities, payment of full family pension, representation to ex-servicemen on committees constituted by the government and separate quota in government jobs for wards of ex-servicemen. They also demanded the shifting of the statue of Maharaja Agrasen from the local Vijay Chowk (Barra Chowk). They urged the administration not to change the name of Vijay Chowk.

The ex-servicemen were addressed, among others, by Col Partap Singh Phulka (retd), general secretary of the BJP Sainik Bhalai Cell, Punjab; Mr Satwant Singh Punia, district chief of the BJP and Mr Nanak Chand Kalra.


Traders shut shops in protest
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 29
A controversy has arisen between the 20 shopkeepers and the manager of the local Darbar Sahib, Mr Arjan Singh, on whose complaint the local city police has registered a case under Section 342, 506, 148, 149, IPC, against five shopkeepers for allegedly beating and detaining the manager yesterday.

Mohinder Singh Prince, former president of the local Citizens Council, Mr Daljit Singh and representative of the shopkeepers, said in a press conference today here that the registration of the case against the shopkeepers was based on a one-sided view.

The 20 shopkeepers observed bandh today and decided to continue with it till they were given justice.

The five booked by the police are Saiwinder Pal Singh, Bittu, Gurdial Singh, Jagtar Singh.

However, Mr Arjan Singh said he was beaten up by the accused and was confined for no fault of his. On the other hand, the shopkeepers alleged that the manager had made threatening calls to them.


Aanganwari staff hold rally
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 29
Hundreds of aanganwari employees affiliated to the Aanganwari Mulazim Union, Punjab, who held a rally here today, warned the Punjab Government of an indefinite dharna if their demands were not met. In the evening, the protesters marched towards the Matka Chowk from the rally venue and submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister.

Addressing an impressive rally of aanganwari employees opposite the Punjab Social Welfare Department’s office in Sector 34, Ms Hargobind Kaur and Ms Gurjeet Kaur, president and general secretary of the union, demanded that decision to put aanganwari centres under the panchayati raj institutions should be taken withdrawn. Speakers demanded a minimum honorarium of Rs 2,500 and Rs 1,500 for aanganwari workers and helpers, respectively.


24 lakh spent on development of Dakala
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 29
The Minister for Finance and Planning, Mr Lal Singh, said today that Rs 24 lakh were being spent for the overall development of Dakala and villages adjoining it.

Addressing a gathering on the premises of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Stadium, Dakala, on the occasion of 26th Annual Sports Meet held here, he said the state government had started special programmes to preserve and encourage the traditional sports of Punjab.

He added that since the Congress government had taken over the players of Punjab had performed well at the national and international level. He also announced a grant of Rs 51,000 to the club.

The ADC (Development), Mr Jaswant Singh Brar, Member Zila Parishad Haresh Goel, president of the club Harjinder Singh Dhariwala and Darshan Singh were also present on the occasion.


Pak boys seek early release
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 29
All eight Pakistani boys have appealed to the Government of Pakistan to get them back to their country soon so that they could celebrate Divali and Id with their parents.

They regretted that though the Indian Government had freed them from all charges on compassionate grounds a week ago, the delay on the part of their own government had shocked them.

The boys have been languishing in the juvenile jail here under various charges for the past about one year.


16 resolutions passed at MC meeting
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 29
Members exchanged heated words and levelled allegations against each other at a meeting of the municipal council held here today under the presidentship of Mr Charanjit Singh.

However, except for two resolutions regarding 114 kanal 18 marla land situated on the Kharar-Chandigarh road, the possession of which was taken over by the municipal council, remaining 16 resolutions were passed unanimously. Meanwhile, eight members, including Mr Charanjit Singh, president, and senior vice president, Mr Ram Murti, have written to the Director, Local Bodies, Punjab, levelling allegations against Mr Roshan Lal that he misbehaved at the meeting. They have demanded that he should be suspended under the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911.


Man commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 29
The alleged torture by the wife, the mother-in-law and the father-in-law a 25-year old youth, Mohan Lal, son of Mr Gurbachan Singh of Bassi Bahian, has reportedly compelled him to commit suicide. It is learnt that Mohan Lal was married to Gurmit Kaur, daughter of Mr Harbans Singh of the local Mohalla Subhash Nagar, about one and a half years ago. His wife, mother-in-law and father-in-law allegedly used to compel him to leave his parents and join their family to which he did not agree. Later it drove him to commit suicide.

The local Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 306 and 34, IPC.


4 caught stealing power cable
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 29
The Crime Intelligence Branch of the Divisional Railway on a tip-off laid a trap and arrested four persons allegedly involved in several cases of theft of electricity supply cable used by the Railways. Mr Rattan Chand, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, said a special team led by Inspector D.J. Singh caught the gang of four red-handed with unlawful possession of 170 metres of 50-mm 11 kv high tension cable.

The accused — Neetu, Mirru, Ranno and Kallu — are residents of the Gol Bagh area and used to sell the stolen cables to the local junk dealers. Inspector D.J. Singh said the accused had been handed over at RPF post.


Admission to BDS, MBBS courses today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Punjab Government has implemented the recent order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court restoring the non-resident Indian ( NRI) quota in medical and dental colleges in the state. The admissions to MBBS and BDS courses will be made at SGGS Medical College, Faridkot, tomorrow.

In a press statement issued today, Secretary, Medical Education and Research, has stated that there are a total of 30 NRI seats in government medical colleges and as many as 24 students will have to be shifted from medical colleges/courses to accommodate the NRI candidates. As a result, 22 students, who were lower in merit in the medical colleges and students of government Dental College and students admitted against the government quota in MBBS and BDS courses in DMC, Ludhiana, and SGRD Medical and Dental College will be affected. Hence, admission to BDS course stands cancelled and fresh counselling will be held tomorrow. The students have been asked to report at SGGS Medical College, Faridkot, at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the students, who stand a chance for admission but have not appeared for counselling earlier, and those who are likely to be shifted to other colleges to accommodate the NRI candidates , will be rejected if they do not appear and exercise fresh option or report for interview tomorrow. They have been asked to reach Faridkot to exercise their option for new colleges and courses.


Students stir against police atrocity
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 29
Students of ITI Ropar, today observed strike to protest against the alleged beating up of leaders of the SFI by the SHO (City), Ropar, on Saturday. Reports of strike in ITI Nangal, Government College Bela and Khalsa College Anandpur Sahib were also received.

In a press note issued here today SFI leaders threatened to intensify their agitation if the district administration failed to take action against the guilty SHO.

The Ropar police allegedly picked and beat up student leaders owing alliance to the SFI on Saturday while they were trying to set up a unit of their organisation in the local college.

The state president of the SFI, Mr Harmandeep Singh, had alleged that initially SHO, Ropar, forcefully stopped the students from participating in the meeting of their organisation. Later, when a delegation of SFI activists, including Surjit Singh, Parminder Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Harmandeep Singh, was moving towards the residence of the Ropar SSP to complain against the police atrocity, they were picked up and taken to Maharaja Ranjit Singh Park and beaten up mercilessly. The activists were also threatened and told to leave the area.

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