Sunday, October 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



VB turns down Sukhbir’s plea
Tells him to appear on October 6
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
While Rajya Sabha member, Sukhbir Badal has asked the Punjab Vigilance Bureau to visit his official residence at Delhi for his questioning, the bureau has retorted in a letter that he was an accused and cannot make choices and dictate terms as regards the place of questioning.

Taking a tough stance, the bureau, while rejecting his plea for the second time, has once again reiterated its stand of asking him to present himself before the Economic Offences Wing ( EOW) office here on October 6 at 11 am. Confirming this a senior official of the bureau said the notice seeing Sukhbir’s presence at the EOW office on October 6 had been despatched through a courier as well as a DSP had been deputed to go and serve the notice upon him personally at his official residence in New Delhi.

Mr Sukhbir Badal, after reading the media reports, had in a letter written to the SP (Vigilance), EOW, stated that since he was a member of the Rajya Sabha and residing at 12 Safdarjung Road, New Delhi, bureau officials could question him there and that they should intimate him the date and time so that he could make himself available there.

It is further mentioned that the said communique was being sent in accordance with the legal advice and the recent Delhi High Court judgment in the Wimpy’s \case, wherein it was held that any interrogation of the Wimpy’s employees would be carried out either at the residence of the employees or at the nearest police station. He had earlier expressed his inability to come before the bureau on October 3 and would instead make himself available along with his father, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on October 8.

While turning down Mr Sukhbir’s request, senior officials of the bureau maintain that Delhi was only his temporary residence, for he also has residences at Badal village and in Chandigarh. Further, since Parliament is not in session, it does not warrant the visit of the bureau team to Delhi for questioning purposes. The judgement in the Wimpy International case is valid when the accused have to be interrogated following their arrest in a particular case and not for mere questioning for the purpose of investigations, they add.

Meanwhile, the vigilance sleuths are busy unearthing more benami properties of the Badal family, both within the country and abroad. Sources disclose that they are likely to come out with startling information vital to this case on the basis of some information gathered from the associates of the Badal family. Since most of the properties of the Badals are in the name of either Sukhbir or his mother, Surinder Kaur, questioning them on their properties in India and abroad and seeing their accounts of hawala transactions is very vital for investigations, a senior officer says. The bureau has ruled out questioning Sukhbir along with his father at their Sector 2 official residence on October 8 since each of them was to be questioned separately. . The same could be videographed.

A fresh notice has also been sent to former Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal’s wife, Ms Surinder Kaur, at Badal village to intimate the date, time and place of appointment. She has not responded to the notice sent to her earlier. Since their son-in-law, Mr Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, is out of country, the notice sent to him has not been received. His daughter, Praneet, has also not received the same. Infact, their Sector 5 house has been found locked by the messengers who were sent to deliver the notices. The vigilance officers are determined to locate them and hand them over these notices seeking their appearance in the investigations in the corruption case before the challan is presented in the special court at Ropar later this month.


Badal calls PAC meeting on October 10
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has convened an emergency meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of his party on October 10. It will be held at 11.00 am at his residence here to discuss measures to oppose the government’s “tyarrnical oppression” of the Amarinder government against the farmers.

In a statement here, Mr Badal said Capt Amarinder Singh had been emboldened in his repressive ways by the continuing “bloody” measures adopted by his police against the farmers. The Chief Minister should have ordered a high-level judicial probe into “police high-handedness”.

“But the fact is that the Chief Minister believes in dealing with every dissenting voice through the blind use of official force at his command. He is known to have patted the guilty officers on the back for sending ‘strong’ government signal to the farmers.”

Mr Badal reminded Capt Amarinder Singh that the farmers had been demanding nothing more than the fulfillment of promises which he had made to them during the election campaign of February, 2002. “Perhaps, he believes that the farmers did not support his party during that elections and is wreaking vengeance to settle old scores. This is a tragic streak in a ruler, especially in a democratic society”.

Mr Badal said the Chief Minister’s approach was “repressive”. The police action against the farmers was just one instance of his style of governance. But this could, unfortunately, be the beginning of a long confrontation. Mr Badal said the ongoing struggle of the farmers had exposed the anti-farmer face of the Congress.

The Akali leader scoffed at the statement of some Congress leaders which said that the police had resorted to a lathicharge against the farmers at his (Mr Badal’s) behest.

“If even Amarinder’s police has started taking orders from me, he had better step down without delay”. In a serious note Mr Badal said the “falsehood” of the Congress propaganda had reached its peak in such ‘mad statements.

“They better ask their Chief Minister to tend to the problems of the farmers as also to those of other sections of society than issuing such maverick statements. But asking their leaders to be responsive to the people is one area where the Congressmen are not only utterly powerless, but also spineless”.


Fear of police keeps mourners away from Gurdev’s house
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Maur Charat Singhwala (Bathinda), October 4
The terror unleashed by men in uniform has allegedly affected the mourning over the death of an elderly farmer, Gurdev Singh, who died when a goods train hit him while he was sitting in dharna at Bhai Bakhtaur level crossing on September 30 during the ‘rail and rasta roko’ agitation of various farmer organisations. Gurdev Singh’s kin and people known to his family have been avoiding to visit his house to express their sympathies with the bereaved family due to the fear of the police.

“When Raja Amarinder Singh is a son of a Jat, why is his police committing repression on the residents of this village. Why are people not being allowed to mourn the death of Gurdev Singh who has sacrificed his life for the farmers’ cause and why are the people not being allowed to irrigate their fields,” asked Mr Surjeet Singh, nephew of the deceased, Gurdev Singh, with tears rolling down his cheeks when Congress MP Jagmeet Brar went to his house to express his sympathies to the bereaved family. “We are not being treated as human beings,” Mr Surjeet Singh said.

“I was not allowed to see my uncle when he was under treatment at the Civil Hospital, Bathinda, in the ICU after he suffered multiple injuries after being hit by the train. Now the police is not allowing us to perform the last rites of Gurdev Singh as per our religious norms,” he alleged.

“First our near and dear ones were beaten up at the Civil Hospital, Bathinda, when they went there to take the body of Gurdev Singh, who was the head of his family. Then our kin were not allowed to join the cremation of Gurdev Singh and, later, other ceremonies. Now the policemen have been pressurising us not to allow any member of any farmer organisations to enter our house,” alleged Capt Harjeet Singh (retd), son-in-law of Gurdev Singh.

A few mourners, who were sitting in the house of Gurdev Singh while the women and children were wailing, alleged that they had not faced such a situation even during the hey days of militancy. Policemen had been roaming in the village in large numbers for the past many days. They were not allowing the farmers to irrigate their fields.

The mourners said they were apprehending that they would be caught before the antim ardas of Gurdev Singh was held. Some of the residents of the village, who were injured during the lathi charge by the police, were still in hiding and were not coming out for their treatment as they had been apprehending that they would be arrested and would be harassed.

The villagers alleged that they had become aliens in their own country as the policemen had been treating them as criminals after the death of Gurdev Singh who had been killed while protecting the interests of the poor peasantry.

The villagers urged Mr Brar to ensure that there was no interference by the authorities in the last rites of Gurdev Singh. They demanded that Gurdev Singh should be treated as a martyr and his kin should be given compensation according to the laid down norms for the martyrs.

Mr Brar said he would convey their demands to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in clear terms and apprise him of the situation.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, while denying the allegations levelled by the family members of Gurdev Singh, said there was no policemen in the village. The policemen were neither stopping anybody from visiting Gurdev Singh’s house nor stopping anyone from irrigating his fields. The policemen urged the sarpanch of the village to admit Teja Singh, a resident of the village, to the hospital when he was injured when activists of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) attacked policemen and the police resorted to a mild lathi charge to keep the situation under control at the Civil Hospital, Bathinda. He added that if any mischievous elements tried to crate trouble, the police would deal with the same according to the law.

On the other hand, an inquiry committee of the BJP, led by Mr Mohit Gupta, district president, and Mr Narinder Mittal, mandal president, Bathinda, visited the village today. These leaders alleged that officials of the Punjab Government had been creating terror among the residents of the village to not allow anyone to attend the bhog ceremony of Gurdev Singh. They added that they would submit a report to the Governor, Punjab.

Meanwhile, a section of traders and farmers of this region, while talking to TNS, pointed out that a handful of anti-social elements were trying to create trouble between the farmers and the administration. They added that the farmers, who were sitting in dharna at Bhai Bakhtaur level crossing on October 1, put the pilgrims of Maiser Khana Mela to a lot of inconvenience. They demanded that uniform laws should be applicable to all sections of society.

Meanwhile, Mr Brar, while demanding that a judicial probe should held into the incidents related to the death of Gurdev Singh and the police lathi charge on the activists of farmers’ organisations at Bhai Bakhtaur level crossing on October 1, said he would talk to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in this connection today.

Mr Brar, while addressing a press conference at Bathinda after visiting the Maur Charat Singhwala village to which the deceased farmer, Gurdev Singh, belonged, said the authorities concerned could have handled the situation tactfully and avoided lathi charge on the farmers.

Describing Gurdev Singh as a martyr, Mr Brar said the Congress leadership should not forget the fact that the party came to power in Punjab by raising issues pertaining to farmers’ interests.

Mr Brar later visited various villages of the Gidderbaha Assembly segment where cotton and paddy crops suffered heavy damage due to heavy rain accompanied by the hailstorms.


Farmers’ body decries police lathicharge
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 4
The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) Punjab condemned police lathi charge and killing of a farmer. Gurdev Singh, State President of the BKS, Mr Ram Kishan Thakur, Secretary, Mr Swarn Singh, Organising Secretary, Mr Janak Raj Mahajan, Joint Secretary, in a joint press statement stated that the organisation had decided to extend support to the kisan organisations and demands of the farmers.

They said that lathi charge on farmers had exposed the undemocratic attitude of the state government. They also said that the BKS had directed its district units to participate in the agitation.

They also disclosed that Punjab ministers in the villages would be boycotted. They alleged that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh was giving distorted facts that the state government has nothing to do with the demands of the farmers. These demands only related to the Central government. It was not based on the facts. The Chief Minister should announce which demands of the farmers had been accepted by the State government. They demanded an increase in the minimum support price of paddy. They said the government should invite all Kisan organisations including the BKS for a roundtable meeting to discuss demands of farmers.


Sikhs want bigger jathas to Pak
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Various Sikh organisations have urged the Union Government to allow bigger Sikh jathas to Pakistan on the occasion of the coming birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

In separate representations addressed to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani, they have said since a large number of delegations of lawyers, intellectuals, journalists, parliamentarians, businessmen, and students had exchanged visits, there was no reason that the size of Sikh jathas to Pakistan to celebrate their religious functions be limited to 50 members.

“We want that a big jatha of 5,000 Sikhs drawn from various states should be allowed to go to Pakistan for the coming birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev on November 8,” said Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president of the Vishav Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society.

“Guru Nanak was an apostle of peace as one of his followers was a Muslim and the other a Hindu. Further, most of our historic gurdwaras, related to the founder of our religion, are located in Pakistan,” he said.

“In spite of an agreement that Sikhs would be allowed to visit their historic shrines on important days, curbs and restrictions on them were uncalled for, especially when the Pakistan Government had offered to open the Kartarpur corridor for regular visits to gurdwaras. But this has remained on paper alone,” Mr Bhullar said.

He said Sikhs from non-Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) states, too, wanted to visit Sikh shrines in Pakistan. As such, they should also be allowed to join jathas to Pakistan on the occasion of Sikh religious festivals.


Protests mark shooting of ‘Bride and Prejudice’
Aishwarya shoots in ‘old house’ amid security
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, October 4
Protests marked the first day of shooting by Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai on the sets of Indo-British production “Bride and Prejudice” here today.

Activists of the Bajrang Dal and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) burnt the effigy and shouted slogans against film director Gurinder Chadda in the busy Hall Bazaar area, protesting against the shooting here. They alleged that the film would exhibit “improper and vulgar” scenes that were against Indian and Punjabi cultural values and would adversely affect the perception of the Holy City the world over.

Mr Rakesh Madaan, state activist of the dal, gave a memorandum to the Amritsar Deputy Commissioner demanding a halt to the shooting of the film. They also demanded that the Censor Board of India should ban the movie.

Meanwhile, the shooting started early around 6 a.m. amid tight security here. The approach roads and connecting lanes, to the old house whose exteriors were used in the shooting were sealed off by the film unit, private security and a strong posse of Punjab policemen stationed there.

According to reports, residents of the neighbouring houses were given special passes “provided they did not let any outsider in their house, especially mediapersons”. However, lack of adequate information via media led to high curiosity levels. Many of owners’ relatives slept overnight in the nearby house to get a glimpse of Aishwarya Rai in the early morning shoot.

According to reports the scene shot today was of “Bakshi family” in the film that had fallen on bad days. Actors Anupam Kher, Namrata Shirodkar and Nadira Babbar also figured in today’s scenes. Parvesh Sahni, Production and PR in charge, said Aishwarya shot only for about an hour after which she retired.

Many parents were seen waiting patiently for hours at the shooting site with their talented children’s portfolios for a screen test to figure in a miniscule role in the international movie.

Mr Sanjay Galhotra, owner of MK Hotel where the entire film unit is staying, said the hotel had refused all bookings till October 7. He said a part of the catering of the food was being done by Raddison Hotel of Jalandhar for the film unit that includes British and Indian actors.


Federation vows not to allow Sikh conference
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 4
The Sikh Students Federation today announced that it won’t allow the supporters of excommunicated Sikh Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana to hold the proposed World Sikh Conference in Chandigarh on October 26.

The matter started with the excommunication of the Canada-based cop-turned-Sikh scholar, Mr Gurbax Singh from the Sikh Panth by the Sikh clergy a few months ago. Following this, the supporters of Mr Gurbax Singh, including Mr Gurtej Singh and Mr Joginder Singh, openly challenged the institution of “Jathedar”. The Sikh scholars of this school of thought alleged that there was no provision for the installation of Jathedar as per the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Gurcharn Singh Grewal, the president of the federation, alleged that the proposed conference was a direct challenge to the authority of Akal Takht. He said to spread awareness among Sikh masses on the issue, the federation would organise a seminar on October 14 at Bhai Gurdas Hall here.

The general secretary of the federation, Prof Sarchand Singh, said a six-member committee had been formed to meet all Sikh organisations and the Akal Takht Jathedar in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Sikh clergy has convened a meeting on October 8 at Akal Takht secretariat here to discuss various issues, including the proposed Sikh conference.

According to a spokesman of Akal Takht, the Sikh high priests may take action against the organisers of the proposed conference. The proposed meeting may discuss the case filed by Mr Mohinder Singh Romana against the Jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib. Apart from this, the case of alleged elimination of Bhai Gurdev Singh Kaunke, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht, may also come up.


Lions Club team crosses over to Pak
Our Correspondent

Wagah (Amritsar), October 4
“Expenditure on the treatment of as many as 100 Pakistani children will be borne by the international association of Lions Clubs” Mr Ashok Mehta, international vice-president of the club, announced today while crossing over to Pakistan at the Indo-Pak joint checkpost here today.

He said the Pakistan chapter of Lions Club International sent special recommendations for these hapless children who would be given medical treatment in Indian hospitals of repute.

An eight member delegation of the international association of Lions Clubs, headed by Mr Mehta, crossed over to Pakistan to foster a spirit of understanding among the people of two countries.

The delegation is visiting Pakistan on an invitation extended by Mr Nilofer Bakhtiar, advisor to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Governor of Lions Club, Pakistan, to attend a conference organised by Lions Club International, Pakistan, at Islamabad from October 5.

While talking to mediapersons, Mr Mehta said social relations needed to be established between the two countries; only then political relations could develop.

Mr Mehta said, “Social organisations should come forward to bridge the gap between two countries in a short span. He said 99 per cent people of both countries desired peace and were against war.

The international president of the Lions Club said the delegation would meet the Pakistan President and discuss about relaxing visa conditions between the two countries. He said they would also discuss the existing visa problems.

Mr Mukesh Goel, secretary, Lions Club International, said they would also discuss the possibilities of exchange of education programmes between the two countries. The others in delegation were Ms Nisha Goel, Mr Tejpal Singh, Mr Rajesh Upadhaye, Mr Kamal Krishan, Mr Kailash Kumar and Mr Deepak Talwar.


Social Front’s ultimatum to Badal on pigeon scam
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 4
The Socialist Front Punjab has given an ultimatum to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Former Punjab Chief Minister to come clean on pigeon scam up to November, 2003, failing which the front will expose SAD (B) and SGPC officials involved in this scandal.

In a press note here yesterday Mr Balwant Singh Khera, former President, Punjab Janta Dal and Chairman Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, said that the front has approached dramatist Gursharan Singh (Bhai Manna Singh) for writing script and dramatizing this human trafficking case. The first play would be staged at Garshanker where Mr Balbir Singh Changiara, so, called International Sikh Missionary and General Secretary of the SAD (B) North America belonged who allegedly was the chief conspirator of this scam. Then performances would be staged in different big cities and finally it would be staged in Badal’s village.

He said that the Front, had decided to hold a conference at Jalandhar in November, 2003, for popularizing the concept of Sampuran Kranti. Mr Rajinder Sachar, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court would preside over the conference. He disclosed that the front had issued a questionnaire to Mr Badal regarding this issue. He had been asked to explain that why he had not taken action against the culprits who were the functionaries of the SAD (B) and why he did not release of the report received from the Khalsa Diwan Society Vancouver (Canada)? Why he had not reacted to the protest letter of Mr Harbans Singh Dhaliwal. Federal Minister of Canada on whose recommendation the visas were issued? Did he not announce as Chief Minister that an inquiry would be conducted and criminals would be punished? Why he had not handed over this Human Trafficking case done under the religious garb to the CBI?

Mr Khera disclosed that the Intelligence Bureau of India had sent a report to the Government of India with a copy to the Punjab Government before this incident. Mr Khera alleged that the Home Minister L.K. Advani and Mr P.S. Badal were trying to hide this international racket because both the political parties i.e. the BJP and the SAD (B) are partners in the NDA Government.


BJP for judicial probe into police firing

Jalandhar, October 4
While rejecting the magisterial inquiry report into the killing of Vijay Kumar, a Dalit youth, in police firing at Buta Mandi here on June 5, the Punjab unit of the BJP today demanded that the Punjab Government should order a judicial probe to unmask the faces of senior police officials who were allegedly responsible for unprovoked firing on agitating Dalits.

Talking to reporters here, Punjab BJP chief Avinash Khanna alleged that the magisterial inquiry into firing incident was merely an eyewash to protect the senior administrative and police officials who had failed to discharge their official duties to protect law and order in Jalandhar.

“The state government should appoint a sitting High Court Judge to conduct an impartial inquiry so as to expose the guilty police officials. Official sources maintained that the report had named senior BSP and BJP leaders of Jalandhar for inciting the mob to indulge in violence during their speeches in Talhan on June 5. — PTI


MP pulls up Public Health Dept officers
Our Correspondent

Ropar, October 4
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, MP and chairman of the district Vigilance and Management Committee for Centre-sponsored schemes, has pulled up officers of the Public Health Department for not taking into confidence elected representatives while planning to implement rural water supply schemes.

At a meeting of the committee held yesterday, Mr Dullo said he would write to the Chief Secretary, Punjab, against the officers who were not taking elected representatives into confidence while spending funds provided under Centre-sponsored schemes.

The officers informed the MP about the practical problems they were facing while implementing some government schemes. They said in certain government schemes, like the Samporan Gramin Rozgar Yojana, half of the labour has to be paid in cash while the other half in the form of foodgrains. They said in Punjab, none of the labourers liked to take foodgrains as labour. Moreover, the quality of foodgrains being supplied under the schemes was also poor.

The MP assured to take up the matter with the union minister concerned.

Another aspect that came to the fore at the meeting was that the state government was not providing its share in same centre-sponsored schemes. The officers informed the committee that the government had not provided even a single penny as its share in Indra Awas Yojana and the Swarn Jayanti Swai Rozgar Yojana.

The meeting was also attended by Deputy Commissioner Seema Jain, chairman of the Zila Parishad, Ms Kuldeep Kaur, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) Gurpreet Singh Garcha and a former chairman of the Zila Parishad, Mr Rattan Singh Dher.


Registration body for all systems of medicine demanded
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 4
The Association for Scientific Research in Homoeopathy (ASRH) asked the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to dissolve all medical councils, namely the Homoeopathy Council, the Ayurvedic Council, the Nursing Council, the Pharmacy Council, and the Punjab Medical Council immediately. Instead, the Punjab Government should set up one registration council for the medical practitioners of all systems of medicine, affiliated to the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, to reduce expenses incurred on these councils every year, it added.

Talking to TNS here today, Dr A.S. Mann, secretary of the ASRH, said the Punjab Government should set up the registration council on the campus of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences at Faridkot as it could serve the purpose of registration of medical practitioners of all systems of medicine. The aforementioned five councils had nothing to do with medical education, including examinations and development works in the medical institutions of different systems of medicine, he added.

Dr Mann said in these circumstances, these five councils were an unnecessary burden on the state exchequer and against the policy of the Punjab Government which had been adopting austerity measures to end the financial crisis in the state. So, it was the need of the hour to dissolve all such councils and form one centralised council to register the medical practitioners. This work could be done easily by a small number of ministerial staff and the medical fraternity, he added.

Dr Mann claimed that at present the office of the Homoeopathy Council at Chandigarh had one Registrar, one Superinten-dent, six clerks, two peons besides a team of 11 members and a Chairman. This involved an expenditure of about Rs 35 lakh per annum. The same kind of set up was in place in the case of the medical councils of other systems of medicine, he added.


PCL to be revamped
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 4
Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, a senior Congress leader and newly-appointed Chairman of Punjab Communication Limited (PCL) today said PCL would be revamped to make it stand on its own feet in the competitive world.

Mr Sidhu, who was accompanied by Congress MP, Mr Jagmeet Brar, while talking to mediapersons, pointed out that a team of PCL officials would be sent abroad to study the necessary changes that could be brought about in its functioning to enable it to face global competition in the field of communication.

He said PCL, which was set up in 1982 at the cost of Rs 75 lakh and now had become a company of worth Rs 180 crore, had been contributing immensely in the field of communication. At present, the PCL had a strength of 815 employees, including 413 professionals. When asked whether he would allow the disinvestment of PCL as planned by the Punjab Government, he said he would urge the authorities concerned to drop the idea.


Seminar on Guru Angad begins
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 4
On the first day of the two-day seminar dedicated to the 500th birth anniversary celebrations of the second Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji, organised today, papers were read by four Sikh scholars on the life of the Guru and that of the township the Khadoor Sahib.

The seminar was conducted by Baba Daljit Singh Khalsa, founder of the Guru Nanak Sikh Mission of America, and was assisted by Baba Seva Singh, Head of the Khadoor Sahib Kaar Seva Sect.

The seminar was presided over by the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti. Mr H.S. Hanspal president, PPCC, was among those who addressed the seminar.

Dr Sawarnjit Kaur Grewal, Dr Kirpal Singh, Dr Jodh Singh and Dr Harnam Singh Shan read papers on the occasion.

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti stressed the need to organise such seminars to preach sikhism at the grassroots level.

Mr Hanspal, on behalf of the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the government had sanctioned a bus stand and sports academy for Khadoor Sahib.

Baba Daljit Singh demanded that Khadoor Sahib be given the status similar to vatican City. He also demanded to rename the road after Guru Angad Dev Ji. The scholars were awarded on the occasion.


Repair work on ‘samadh’ begins
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 4
The repair work on the “samadh” of Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia started on war footing here today. The kar seva began in the presence of Baba Jagtar Singh, a member of Sultan-ul-Qaum Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Memorial Society, Punjab.

Situated on the premises of Gurdwara Baba Atal Sahib in the Golden Temple Complex, the dilapidated condition of the “samadh” was first highlighted by The Tribune.

a boundary wall will be constructed around the “samadh”, besides a hall near the structure. Mr Kulbir Singh Ahluwalia the general secretary of the society said the society would observe the death anniversary of the Sultan-ul-Qaum by holding an akhand path at his “samadh”. The bhog of the akand path and kirtan will be held on October 19.

Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, born on May 13, 1718, was a leader of the Sikh community.

He was acclaimed as the supreme leader of the Khalsa Panth after death of Nawab Kapur Singh Faizullapuria.


Mann threatens stir on SYL issue
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 4
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the SAD (Amritsar), today threatened to launch an agitation against the Central Government with regard to the completion of the SYL canal. Talking to newspersons here today, he said the state did not have extra water for any other state.

He said his party had lost faith in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Committee after it vacated a stay, allowing Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta to function as the chief secretary of the SGPC.

Coming heavily on Mr Parkash Singh Badal for taking up “personal matters” with the National Human Rights Commission, he said Mr Badal had never taken up issues pertaining to the Sikh panth with the commission.


Musharraf's effigy burnt
Tribune Reporters

Jalandhar, October 4
Activists of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) burnt the effigy of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Pakistan's national flag at the municipal corporation chowk here today.

The activists raised anti-Pakistan slogans, accusing it of abetting cross-border terrorism.

Mr Balwinder Singh Kaka, state president of the AIATF, said Pakistan was the hub of terrorism and India should severe ties with it.

Mr Yogesh Dewan, general secretary of the organisation, said recent intelligence reports had proved that Pakistan was the epicentre of terrorism.

AMRITSAR: The district unit of All-India Anti-Terrorist Front on Saturday burnt the effigy of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and held a protest march against terrorism.

Mr Mahinder Singh Sidhu, state general secretary of the front, criticised Musharraf and Pakistan's continuous support to terrorism.


Demand to declare rabies a notified disease
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 4
The association for Prevention and Control of Rabies in India (APCRI) urged the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare to declare rabies a ”notifiable” disease.

Dr Ashok Goel, secretary general of the association, who returned from Kathmandu after a three-day international conference on rabies demanded this at a seminar. He said this should be granted following an urgent need to adopt newer strategies to control streetdog population. He decided concerted efforts to create awareness amongst children who were most susceptible to dog bites. In a press note released here yesterday he stated that the Who sponsored national multi centric rabies survey conducted by the APCRI in the interim report found that India alone accounts for 33 per cent deaths due to rabies.

The final report would be submitted to the WHO and the Government of India in 2004. Dr Goel urged the Union Government to launch a rabies control programme in India.


Outbreak of dengue feared
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 4
The fear of dengue and other water-borne diseases looms large in the city and suburbs but the Municipal Corporation and the Health Department here are alleged to be not taking preventive measures.

Mr SS Sharma, a social activist in a letter to the Deputy Commissioner here has blamed the government departments for inadequate measures to prevent the outbreak of these diseases. He stated that no steps had been taken to check fruit selling cut fruit even and even fogging machines were not being used to rid the stagnant water areas of mosquitoes. 


Furniture worth lakhs destroyed
Our Correspondent

Nabha, October 4
Furniture worth lakhs of rupees was destroyed in two separate incidents of fire in the town. Fire broke out in a furniture house on Cinema Road at about 2.30 am. Local people tried to control it but it engulfed the whole building within minutes. The SHO, Kotwali, rang up the fire brigade authorities at Patiala. Fire engines reached the place at 4.15 am. The firemen struggled for two hours to control the fire but the top floor of the shop got destroyed completely.

Residents of the town have been demanding a fire station in the town for the past many years. The town has an LPG plant and 75 rice shellers. In the case of fire incidents, the town has to depend on Patiala, Sangrur or Gobindgarh for fire-extinguishing operations. All these towns are located 30-40 km from Nabha, so precious time is lost in calling fire brigades to the town.


Scholar Diwan Singh dead
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 4
Distinguished Punjabi scholar and former Head of the School of Punjabi Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr Diwan Singh died this morning. He was 83 years old and is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters.

Dr Diwan Singh was a popular writer of the Punjabi literary world who had written 36 books, including four on poetry. He had guided 16 Ph.D scholars. Dr Diwan Singh started his career as lecturer from Khalsa College and superannuated as Professor and Head of the School of Punjabi Studies.


Sena sets up poll panel
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 4
The Shiv Sena (Hindustan) has set up a poll study panel headed by its general secretary Pawan Sharma, according to sena's president Pawan Gupta.

Mr Gupta said Mr Bal Thackeray was "just a Mumbai-based leader and did not represent the Hindus."

Meanwhile, a meeting of the sena held here today decided to take out a "rath yatra" from Patiala to Srinagar in January next year. 


Film on ’84 riots screened
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 4
“Sir Diye Parja Bache”, a documentary on the 1984 riots and sacrifice made by Guru Teg Bahadur, was screened for mediapersons here today.

Satnam Chana is the producer-director of the film and it has been directed by Vishal Darlie.

The film depicted the country’s secular fabric was in peril and how the Guru sacrificed his life for people without any consideration of caste, creed and religion.


Flag march held in city
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 4
A large contingent of the Punjab police led by the SP (City), Mr Nilabh Kishore, took out a flag march in the city this evening to prevent any untoward incident on Dasehra and Divali festivals.

Police sources said patrolling had been intensified and vigil was being kept on suspicious elements.


Farmers urged to sow oilseeds, cotton
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 4
Dr Ajmer Singh, Director, Agriculture Department, Punjab, while addressing an agriculture training camp held here yesterday, stressed the need of crop diversification. He said due to the continuous sowing of paddy and wheat, the water level had gone down and 84 of the 136 blocks in the state were facing acute water shortage. He appealed to the farmers to sow oilseeds, cotton, barley and pulses. He said Punjab was the fist state to introduce contract farming and under this scheme, 1.65 lakh acres of land had come under cultivation.

Dr Singh said this year, state government had arranged 2.5 lakh quintals of wheat seeds, of which 82,000 quintals would be supplied to farmers with Rs 200 per quintal as subsidy. He claimed that this year, 31.75 lakh hectares of land had been brought under wheat, 50,000 hectares under barley, 30,000 hectares under gram and 95,000 hectares under oilseeds cultivation. He said all arrangements for supplying gypsum to farmers had been made and they would get gypsum before the next crop on 25 per cent subsidy.

Addressing the camp, Mr Raj Kamal Chowdhary, Deputy Commissioner, exhorted the farmers to adopt agro-based industries like dairy farming, fisheries and piggeries. He advised the farmers to bring dry stocks of paddy for sale so that they did not have to face any difficulty to sell their produce.


Kisan Mela tomorrow

Chandigarh, October 4
A Kisan Mela will be held at Rakhra, 15 km from Patiala, on October 6, under the aegis of the Punjab Young Farmers’ Association. The participating members will be given the foundation seeds of the IARI’s most successful varieties of wheat like HD 2687, HD 2733 and HD 2643. All these varieties are high-yielding.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will inaugurate the festival and international wheat expert and Director, Indian Agricultural Institute, New Delhi, will deliver the key-note address.


Man pushes father-in-law into canal, showers bullets

Moga, October 4
Upset over his father-in-law’s decision to give away his property to his daughter, a man pushed him into a canal and later showered bullets on him injuring him critically in Muktsar district, the police said today.

Karamjit Singh pushed his father-in-law Karnail Singh into the Rajasthan canal near Thandewala village and when the latter tried to swim to safety, he sprayed bullets on him yesterday.

Mr Karnail Singh, who was staying with his daughter at Ransinghwala after his wife’s death, had recently sold off his ancestral property and given the entire money to his daughter.

An upset Karamjit took him in his car along with another person on some pretext and after a heated argument, threw him into the Rajasthan canal feeder.

Later, both Karamjit and his accomplice escaped from the spot. On hearing gun shots, local villagers reached the site, pulled out Karnail from the canal and took him to a hospital in Muktsar. — PTI


Chemist murder case solved
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, October 4
The local police claims to have solved the murder case of a chemist, Pawan Kumar, who was killed at his shop before being looted on August 28.

Two of the three accused involved in the crime have been arrested.

Mr Parveen Kumar Sinha, SSP Ferozepore, in a press conference organised at the local DSP office, said the police had arrested two persons, Shingara Singh, alias Simran alias Shingari, of Islamabad near Fazilka and Satnam Singh of Chak Mahanta Wali under police station Sadar Guruharsahai in connection with the incident, while their third accomplice Mangal Singh was still at large.

The SSP said Satnam Singh and Shingara Singh met at Alwa jail where both were undergoing imprisonment. He said Shingara Singh was already facing charges in at least 18 criminal cases.

The motor cycle used in the crime belonged to Satnam Singh. It has been seized by the police, apart from one .315-bore revolver and a cartridge.

Meanwhile, the police also claimed to have busted a gang of criminals involved in a robbery at Ghubaya village, 10 km from here, with the arrest of four members of the gang.


Gang of cheats busted
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, October 4
The police has busted a gang of cheats who allegedly purchased trucks from the state of Himachal Pradesh and sold them with forged registration numbers and chassis numbers.

A police press note today identified the accused as Satnam Singh of Daulatpur and Kamal Chadda of Pathankot who have been arrested. Their accomplice Parmjit Singh of Pathankot has absconded.

The Pathankot police, on specific information, laid a naka at Nawanpul Chakki near Pathankot and intercepted the accused, who have confessed the crime during interrogation.

A case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 34, IPC, has been registered against them.

In another case, the Pathankot police arrested Ashok Kumar of Jammu for his alleged involvement in the sale of intoxicating capsules to young students and drivers at the rate of Rs 7 per capsule. The police seized 485 gram intoxicating powder and 920 empty capsules from his possession.

A case under Sections 21, 22, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against the accused.


Youths attacked with swords
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 4
Two youths were attacked and injured in broad daylight by a group of youths at the Mota Singh market here today. Some youths were waiting in the market and attacked Kuljit Singh of Model Town when he came to the market along with his friend Sarbjit to return a loan of Rs 2000 to another youth. However, instead of taking the amount, the youth and his friends allegedly attacked them with swords, causing them serious injuries. They also smashed their car.

Kuljit Singh, who was admitted to hospital, said he had gone to return the amount as someone from Ludhiana had threatened and directed him to do so.

Suresh, belonging to the other group who was also injured in the clash, said instead of returning the loan, the two youths had attacked them.


Policeman shoots self
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 4
Rala Singh, a special police officer (SPO) posted at the CIA staff office at Bahadur Singhwala village, near Dhuri, today allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself with a rifle.

According to a police spokesman, Rala Singh allegedly committed suicide due to some domestic problems. The police has initiated proceedings under Section 174, CrPC.


New transfer policy for Punjab teachers

Moga, October 4
The Punjab Education Department has finalised a new transfer policy for teachers as part of its two-tier programme to improve education and achieve universalisation of elementary education in the state by 2010.

The state Education Department has also finalised the transfer of teachers by decentralising the earlier policy which will be introduced from the next academic year, state Education Minister Khushal Behl said here today.

Under the new decentralised transfer policy, the District Education Officer will be empowered to transfer teachers within the district, the Circle Education Officer within his circle and the DPI (schools) will be authorised to transfer teachers out of the district and the circle, he said.

He said during the current year, no mass transfers of teachers were effected except shifting of 4,500 teachers as per the needs of the respective schools and, in remote areas, the schools were provided adequate staff so that education in the rural as well as the remote areas did not suffer. — PTI


Global meet at Pbi varsity
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 4
In order to discuss and to throw light on the aspects of cytology and genetics, an international conference on “Emerging Trends in Plant Chromosome Research” is being held from October 8 to 11, 2003 at the Department of Botany, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Convened by Prof M.K. Sidhu, Head of Department, the conference will be inaugurated by Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor of the university, at 10.30 am at the Science Auditorium.

As many as 113 research papers have been received from all over the world and nearly 100 participants are expected to attend this conference. Prof G.M. Reddy from Hyderabad will deliver the keynote address, while Prof E.N. Muratova from Russia will preside over the inaugural function.

According to a press note, researches in cytology and genetics have attracted the attention of scientists all over the world. Cladistics methodology has provided secure basis for making molecular comparisons. Such studies have contributed to the better understanding of the evolution of different floras of India as well as of the world. As a result of this data on chromosome numbers, existing population variability and application of such knowledge in collaboration with biotechnological researches have been helpful in improvement of crop plants, fruit trees, ornamental and forest trees, etc.


Ban vulgar programmes, urge students

Moga, October 4
The All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) has taken exception to the vulgarity on television channels, saying that such types of programmes were a threat to the country’s cultural heritage.

“Programmes like “The Grind” on MTV and the lingerie shows on fashion channel FTV are objectionable and the Censor Board should take action against the relay of such capsules,” AISSF president Karnail Singh Pir Mohammad said in a statement here.

“The Censor Board is sleeping, while vulgarity has reached households through the medium of some Indian films as well,” he said.

Stating that there was heavy bombardment of the western culture on the Indian heritage, the AISSF leader said it was the duty of law-makers at the Centre to come out with a strategy to preserve culture. — UNI


Punjab Vision-2000’ seminar on Oct 27
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
A seminar, “Punjab Vision 2020’’, which was to be held on October 6 at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, has been postponed. It was being organised by the Young Legislators’ Forum, Punjab.

Giving this information here today, the convener of the forum, Mr Ashwani Sekhri, and the co-convener, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, and Mr Avinash Khanna said the seminar would now be inaugurated on October 27 by the Governor, Justice O.P. Verma (retd).

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