Saturday, October 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Court summons cops in custodial death case
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, October 3
Ms Anshul Berry, Civil Judge, Junior Division, has issued summons to the Punjab Government, Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, Sub-Inspector Gurbachan Singh, in charge of Jodhan police chowki, and four other policemen in a case filed by a widow seeking damages of Rs 12 lakh on account of alleged “custodial death” of her husband.

The court has issued summons for November 11 through its secretary. Head Constable Hardeep Singh, constables Harmesh Kumar and Albel Singh, and SPO Bharat Singh, besides others, have also been directed to appear in person or through pleader.

Seeking compensation, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur of New Shimlapuri had alleged in the petition that her husband Charanjit Singh was done to death by policemen after being given severe beating and subjected to torture while in custody. She had further alleged that the chowki in charge and other accused had tied a rope around the neck of her husband and killed him intentionally.

Narrating the sequence of events, she had claimed that on January 12, 2002 at around 6 pm, officials of the Jodhan police post had taken her husband away from their house along with Chamkaur Singh of Ludhiana. At the time of the arrest, she along with her father-in-law was present at the house. The policemen had stated that they had arrested Charanjit Singh in a case under Sections 379 (theft) and 411 of the IPC.

While in custody, the policemen resorted to maltreatment, gave him severe beating and ultimately murdered him. On January 14, the police got a post-mortem examination done on the body of the deceased from the Civil Hospital, Sudhar, in which the cause of death was ascertained as “asphyxia” (death due to strangulation), added the complainant.

“The father of the deceased had raised objections at the time of the post-mortem examination and even approached higher police officials and other authorities for registration of a case against the guilty, but to no avail. Marks of injuries were found on various parts of the body of the deceased. I also visited various administrative officials, but no action was taken,” the wife of deceased added.

A criminal complaint was also filed against the then in charge of Jodhan police post and his colleagues under Sections 323, 341, 302 and 34 of the IPC, which is still pending before the Illaqa Magistrate, Jagraon, as per the copy of petition.

The aggrieved widow had submitted that her husband was the only earning hand of the family. It may be recalled that few days after the death of Charanjit Singh under mysterious circumstances, her wife had alleged in a press conference that the police was not even providing them with a copy of the FIR registered against the deceased. At that time, she had also demanded compensation on account of untimely death of her husband allegedly at the hands of persons belonging to the law enforcement agency.

However, it is learnt that after a hue and cry by the near and dear ones, a magisterial inquiry was ordered, which was conducted by the then SDM, Raikot. In the inquiry report, the policemen were exonerated from the charges levelled against them.


PSEB workers flay privatisation move
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 3
The Workers Federation (INTUC) of the Punjab State Electricity Board has flayed the decision of the government to privatise the board and has appealed to the authorities to discuss the problems with the employees so that ways of pulling the board out of the red could be finalised.

Mr Swarn Singh, president of the outfit, said during the past few months the employees had worked with great zeal to reduce the losses of Rs 1,860 crore, which were the result of certain populist and financially unsound measures of the previous government. Now the deficit was around Rs 200 crore at present, he claimed.

He said the present loss would come to an end by March 31, 2004, and the PSEB would be in the pink of health. “In view of this, it seems that certain vested interests are bent on destroying the board which has rendered yeoman’s service to the state. The bureaucracy is planning to convert the PSEB into different corporations and by doing this it will be going a great disservice to the people of Punjab,” he said.

The union leader further added that the employees would not tolerate the policy of compulsory retirement to reduce work force. This move would be opposed at every front, he added.

The federation also expressed its solidarity with the farmers who are fighting for their rights. He condemned the police lathicharge on farmers and registration of cases against them. He requested the government to initiate a dialogue and accept the genuine demands of the farmers.

Others who addressed the meeting included Mr B.K. Bhagi, Mr Pawan Singh Wadehra (Patiala), Mr Lal Chand (Mansa), Mr Balbir Singh Brar (Bathinda), Mr Shashi Paul Rana (Hoshiarpur), Mr Parminder Singh Chadha, Mr Kaur Chand and Mr Premraj Tiwari.


PU senators differ over assessment issue
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, October 3
There is a marked difference in the opinion of local senators of Panjab University over the assessment issue that is likely to be taken up during their forthcoming meeting scheduled on October 12 at Chandigarh.

While some of them opine that 5 per cent weightage in final assessment must be given to attendance so as to ensure regularity among the students, others feel that such kind of an incentive would rather be misused by the college authorities to show good result of their students.

The second proposal, also pertaining to final assessment, too, has evoked a mixed response from the senators here. There is a move that the weightage of house tests be increased in the annual score. For the past two years, the total weightage has been 10 per cent, 4 per cent for the September test and 6 per cent for the December test. But as per the latest move, the weightage is likely to be increased to 15 per cent, 5 per cent on the basis of the September test and 10 per cent on the basis of the December test.

While some senators view that in case a decision is taken in this regard, the students would be more serious towards their house tests and be regular throughout the year. But there is another group that believes that internal examination and checking would lead to distortion of results. Teachers would give more marks to their favourite students, debarring equally deserving students from their rightful dues.

Expressing his views, Mr Tarsem Bahia, Principal of A.S. College at Khanna and a senator, said that instead of penalising the students for short attendance, they should be encouraged for their regularity. He said that 75 per cent attendance was a must for all students but those having 75 to 80 per cent attendance would be given one extra mark in the subject. Similarly, one extra mark would be given for every slab of 5 per cent of attendance so that students with 95 per cent to cent per cent attendance get full five marks. He also added that increasing the weightage of house tests would give more fillip to the students preparing constantly for the final examination.

In contrast to his views, Mr Mukesh Arora, lecturer at SCD Government College, said that the existing rule on attendance were already quite stringent as no student with less than 75 per cent attendance could appear for the final examination. He said that giving weightage to attendance weightage to attendance would lead to encouraging "proxies" and foul play on part of the college authorities for increasing the grand total of their students.

He said the weightage of house tests should also not be increased as such examinations were held internally, which are not well conducted and well marked in many private colleges.

Endorsing his opinion, Mr Satish Sharma, lecturer of Arya College and a senator, said that the new proposal would not be workable.

He said that few years ago, the PU had decided to give 10 per cent weightage to internal examination, but the idea was later condemned, criticised and discarded.

He said it was high time that the examination system should be completely overhauled, syllabus be changed and classroom teaching be made more effective and interesting so that students themselves feel drawn towards studies.


Second dengue death reported
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
Sudershan Kumar, a 60-year-old male patient from Batala, who was admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) with dengue-like symptoms, died on September 30. A resident of house No. 232, Tibba Bazar, Batala, Sudershan Lal was admitted to the hospital in a serious condition on September 30. With this, Dengue has claimed two lives so far. Another patient 25-year-old Pankaj Sharma, a resident of Harikartar colony, had died in Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) a few days back.

More than 10 fresh cases of dengue from different districts of the state have been reported at the DMCH in the last 24 hours. With these admissions, a total of 137 cases of dengue have been reported in the hospital till date. Ninty seven out of the total number are suspected cases of dengue, while 40 of which have been confirmed positive. Sixty four patients have been discharged and 72 are still in the hospital.


Transport workers hold rally
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
Members of the Punjab Government Transport Workers Union, Jagraon branch, held a gate rally here today in protest against the corrupt practices in the department.

The agitators have demanded a vigilance inquiry against the Deputy Director, Mr Amarjit Singh, for his involvement in various corrupt practices and have sought his arrest. The leaders claimed that he got himself appointed as Chief Store Purchase Officer due to his close links with the state Transport Minister, despite the fact that the post was meant for a technical officer. They also demanded the transfer of Mr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu back on the said post.

The union leaders charged Mr Amarjit Singh with purchasing inferior quality spareparts for the buses and have urged all employees to join them in a protest rally to be held at Jalandhar on October 8.

The protestors warned the government against compulsory retiring the employees and demanded the purchase of a fleet of new buses by spending Rs 20 crore kept reserved for the purposes. They warned of a prolonged struggle if their demands were not met.

Those who addressed the gathering included Mr Baljinder Singh, State vice president of AITUC, Mr Amrik Singh, depot president, Mr Swaran Singh, general secretary and Mr Harbans Singh vice president.


Who cares for traffic signals?
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, October 3
Kaddon chowk of Doraha is rated as an accident-prone area as a large number of accidents resulting in fatal injuries have taken place at the chowks. The reason being that it is a quadrivial point with reads branching to Doraha, Payal, Khanna and Ludhiana.

After repeated requests and frequent reminders, the administration gave nod to the installation of traffic lights at the place and the task was accomplished several months back.

However, the traffic lights have in no way helped in lowering the rate of accidents at the place, as these are rarely obeyed by the commuters. For them every signal seems to signify “don’t look, just go”. As a result, the threat of accidents has increased manifold.

According to first aid post employees: “We are kept busy dealing with accident cases round the clock. Out of these the majority are reported from Kaddon chowk. What motorists don’t realise is the fact that they cause havoc in the lives of others by not obeying the traffic signals.”

The residents of the area however blame it on the absence of traffic personnel at the chowk. The traffic signals are bound to be obeyed even if one of them is regularly on duty. “Many precious lives can be saved and many accidents averted if the traffic police is deployed at the chowk,” they added.

Mr Darshan Singh, Doraha police in charge, when contacted said: “I will contact the SP (Headquarters) on the issue and get it ascertained that two traffic constables are employed on duty on regular basis so that tragedies can be averted and inconvenience caused to passerbys and residents is avoided.”


9-yr-old boy needs aid for surgery
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
Madan Kumar, a 9-year-old boy, is struggling for life at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH).

The boy, who works as a labourer in a biscuit factory near Chaura Bazaar, got unconscious suddenly and fell from the stairs of the factory while on work. He was brought to hospital on August 19, where he was immediately referred to the casualty word. He was diagnosed to be suffering from blunt trauma abdomen with liver and spleen injury.

According to Dr V.P. Singh, Head of Department, Paediatric Surgery, CMCH, and the treating doctor, “Madan’s condition is critical and he needs immediate surgery. There is continuous bleeding in his gall bladder and he is vomiting blood and passing out blood through stool. Because of the excessive bleeding, Madan’s haemoglobin is also becoming less day by day. So far we have given him six blood transfusions but he would be requiring more units of blood during surgery. The treatment cost has already mounted to about Rs 25,000 and surgery expenses would be another Rs 50,000.

The sad part is that child’s parents are not traceable and no relative of his is willing to take up the responsibility. They are not giving consent for surgery either and his condition has worsened. Although, we have decided to go ahead with surgery, we require some financial assistance also.”

All those who wish to help Madan can contact the Department of Paediatric Surgery, CMCH, Ludhiana. All payments should be made in favour of Christian Medical College and Hospital with ‘Treatment of Madan’ written at the back of cheques etc.


Lok Bhalai Party to mobilise workers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 3
The Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) is gearing up to mobilise its workers and the people for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections in the state. The party has declared that it will contest six Lok Sabha seats in the state.

According to Mr Gurmel Singh Gill, a spokesperson of the party, senior leaders will constitute parties of workers which will go from village to village to tell people about the policies and ideology of the party.

They will also distribute copies of the party constitution and manifesto and urge people to cast votes for a complete change in the political equation in the state.

“The district chiefs have been asked to compile lists of workers and potential supporters and present them at the party head office in the coming days so that party chief and former Union Minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia can plan his tour schedule within 24 hours. He can also call people and access the ground situation personally,” he added.

The district-wise schedule for the meetings will be: Patiala: October 4; Fatehgarh Sahib: October 5; Sangrur: October 6; Ludhiana: October 7; Jalandhar: October 8; Nawanshahr: October 9; Hoshiarpur: October 10; Mansa: October 11; Bathinda: October 12; Amritsar: October 13; Gurdaspur: October 14; Ropar: October 15; Moga: October 16; Faridkot: October 17; Ferozepore and Muktsar: October 18; Kapurthala: October 19.


Postal employees hold demonstration
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
Postal and Railway Mail Service (RMS) employees, agitating against the non-payment of bonus, today held a demonstration at the Head Post Office and Central Post Office, denouncing the government for delay in the grant of bonus.

Addressing the protesting employees, Mr C.L. Verma, Divisional Secretary of the All India Postal Employees Union and district convener of the Joint Action Committee, said that the general secretaries of both unions of postal workers were sitting on a chain fast at the office of the Director-General of Department Posts in New Delhi since October 1.

The government, he added, had deliberately delayed the announcement for the payment of bonus, which as a matter of routine, was paid before Durga Puja. Mr Verma and other speakers threatened that the employees would be forced to intensify the stir and might even go on strike if the government failed to concede their demand for bonus.

Mr Ramesh Kakkar, divisional secretary, Postmen Union, Mr Roshan Lal, branch secretary, Postmen Union, Mr J.S. Dua, vice-president, Group C Union, Mr Major Singh and Mr Mewa Singh also addressed the rally.

The functionaries of all local unions of postal employees have also sent a telegram to the Union Communications Minister, protesting against the non-payment of productivity-linked bonus to postal employees before Durga Puja.


Residents, MC refute each other’s claim
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 3
A public street in New Maya Nagar locality, near Taj Factory in Haibowal, which has been “out of bounds” for people for more than two years now, has become a bone of contention between the area residents and officials of the Municipal Corporation. The residents maintained that they had made repeated representations to the civic body for the removal of debris, which has been obstructing movement from the street, while the MC denied having received any such formal request.

In support of the claim that the residents did ask the civic body to remove debris from the street with the offer that they were even prepared to bear the expenses. Mr Rattan Chand Sharma, president, New Maya Nagar Sanitation Committee, produced a photocopy to Ludhiana Tribune of a registered (acknowledgement due) letter sent to the MC Commissioner. According to the signed postal receipt, the letter was received in the office of the Commissioner on September 10, 2003.

According to Mr Sharma, a building being constructed in violation of the building bylaws, was demolished by the Municipal Corporation way back in 2001 but the debris was not removed and most of the street, till now, remained blocked, forcing the residents to take a detour to reach the main road. The residents, added Mr Sharma, had taken up the matter with the MC authorities a number of times without achieving any positive response.

Sources in the MC, while maintaining that once an unlawful construction was demolished, said removing the debris and clearing the site was the responsibility of the owner of the building. In the event of the builder failing to do so, the MC could proceed to clear the site at the cost of the builder under Section 246 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act.


Police action against farmers condemned
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
The Republican Party of India (RPI) has condemned the police action against agitating farmers at Bhai Bakhtaur in Bathinda district and has called for a judicial probe into the lathicharge by the police.

The state chief of the party, Mr Ratti Ram said in a statement here today that unruly police personnel had not only mercilessly beaten up the protesting farmers but other bystanders also. Even farmers working in their fields also got the taste of police brutality. He said the incident was a slur on the face of the Congress and Ms Sonia Gandhi should realise that the ruling party would have to pay a very heavy price for such repressive measures.

Several trade unions, including the Moulder and Steel Workers Union, Hosiery Workers Union, Lok Sangharsh Committee and Mazdoor Union, in a joint statement here today, have strongly reacted to the use of force by the police on agitating workers in Bathinda district in which several farmers had sustained serious injuries. The trade union activists said to add insult to the injury, the police had implicated leaders of the farmers’ agitation in false cases and put them behind bars.

“The way the ruling Congress has dealt with the peacefully agitating farmers has more than proved that the governments in the state and the Centre were pursuing anti-farmer policies and in the pursuit of the policies of privatisation, the government will not hesitate to use even bullets against the masses.” The trade union functionaries observed that the government had turned a volte face from welfare schemes, free power and water to farmers, pensions and public distribution system, as subsidies were being scrapped and government departments were being entrusted in private hands.

The union, while expressing complete solidarity with the farmers’ agitation, said that it was directed against the WTO and “anti-people” policies of the state government and the Centre.


Suresh Chandra nominated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 3
The Punjab Governor has nominated eminent educationist and author Principal Suresh Chandra Vatsyayan to the academic council of the Punjab School Education Board.

Others nominated are Padamshree Gurdial Singh from Faridkot and Mr Mohinder Singh Virdi from Jalandhar.


Man alleges kidnapping
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
The Sarabha Nagar police yesterday registered a case under Sections 365, 427, 323,506, 279 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rahul Setia, a resident of Aggar Nagar South, against Livtar Bajaj, a resident of Sarabha Nagar. The complainant had alleged that the accused had kidnapped him on the morning of October 1. No arrest has been made so far.

Dowry demand alleged

The Division No. 3 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on the statement of Ms Mona, who lives near Vishwakarma Mandir at Nim Wala chowk, against her husband Manav Ghulati, Mina Rani, Tammana Ghulati and Atul Ghulati. The woman had alleged that ever since her marriage on February 9, 2002, the accused had been subjecting her to mental and physical harassment and demanding dowry.

Fraud alleged

On the statement of the District Education Officer, the Civil Lines police has registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC against Jagdeep Singh, a resident of Sudhar village, Daljit Kaur, a resident of Mallah village, Surinder Singh, a resident of Shastri Nagar, Manjeet Kaur, a resident of Manjit Nagar, Harvinder Singh, a resident of Ludhiana, Kawaljit Singh, a resident of Leela Megh Singh village, and Joginder Kaur, a resident of Nanupur village. The complainant had alleged that the accused had managed to get a job in the Education Department on the basis of forged certificates.

Another case of alleged fraud was registered under Section 420 of the IPC at the same police station on the statement of Mr Sukhwant Singh, a resident of Adarsh Nagar in Taran Taran, against Nitin Syal and Kiran Syal, both residents of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar. The complainant had alleged that he had paid Rs 1.10 lakh to the accused on the understanding that they would send him abroad. But the accused neither sent him abroad nor returned his money.

Cases of assault

The division No. 4 police has registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ajay Kumar, a resident of Shiv Puri, against Rinku, a resident of the same locality and another person accompanying him. The complainant had alleged that the accused had intercepted him in Gandhi Nagar on Wednesday morning, beaten him up and threatened him.

The Salem Tabri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 451, 427, 323 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ashok Kumar, a resident of Mohalla Peeru Banda, against Sohan Lal, Harmesh Lal, Madhu and Maya, all residents of the same locality. The complainant had alleged that the accused had, who forced their way into his house on the morning of October 1, beaten him up and injured him.

House burgled

The Sarabha Nagar police yesterday registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, against unknown person(s) who burgled his house and decamped with one inverter, one gas cylinder, a camera and some important bank documents on Wednesday.

Gamblers held

The Division No. 3 police yesterday arrested Pawan Kumar, a resident of Hargobind Nagar, Satish Kumar, a resident of Nim wala chowk, Kuldeep Singh, alias Sony, Varinder Pal and Soni, all residents of the same area. The police said the accused were gambling and a sum of Rs 13,000 along with a deck of playing cards was recovered from their possession. The accused have been booked under the Gambling Act.

Liquor seized

The Salem Tabri police yesterday arrested Jaspal Singh, who originally belongs to Hamirpur district in Himachal Pradesh, and recovered eight bottles of country-made liquor from his possession. He has been booked under the Excise Act.

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