Monday, October 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SP responsible for farmers’ torture, says morcha
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 5
“Apart from Government Railway Police (GRP) officials, the Mansa SP (D), Mr Lakhwinder Singh and the Talwandi Sabo DSP, Mr Aushutosh, played a tyrannical role and ordered policemen to let loose a reign of terror against farmers during the October 1 farmers’ rally at Bhai Bakhtaur village in Bathinda district during which one farmer was killed,” said a report prepared by a fact-finding committee, set up by the Punjab Lok Morcha, which probed the killing of a farmer and subsequent alleged ‘torture’ of farmers by the police and the GRP.

“The GRP and Punjab police officials worked as per their ‘pre-planned conspiracy’, beat up the farmers without any provocation and damaged their belongings and their vehicles,” said the report, adding that the main target of policemen, indulging in cane-charging the farmers, was BKU (Ekta) leader Sukhdev Singh Kokri, for whose protection a group of 10 men and women had formed a human chain around him.

“When male and female agitators were taking Mr Kokri to a safe place, police officials picked him up when the human chain around him broke due to traffic congestion and coming of a ‘peter rehra’ in the scene and bundled him in a vehicle.

When the policemen were taking him to a police vehicle the farmer leader was attacked by DSP Aushutosh with a stick which led to breaking of some bones in one of his leg. He was not admitted to a hospital for three hours,” said the report, which was claimed to be prepared on the basis of account by a number of eye-witnesses.

“Another farmer which became the target of ire of Mr Lakhwinder Singh, SP (D) Mansa, was Ram Singh of Bhaini Bagha. The SP had been annoyed with him since that farmer had been a front runner in all farmers’ agitations in the area. At the directions of the SP and the DSP, policemen and commandos thrashed him twice with sticks. Sticks were used particularly on his feet. After his beating the DSP had also enquired from his men whether they had done enough ‘sewa’ of the farmer in a ‘proper’ manner or not. Labh Singh Bhagsar, another farmer, was also subjected to similar torture by policemen who had even resorted to damage vehicles and other belongings of farmers,” alleged Mr Amolak Singh, general secretary of the Lok Morcha Punjab.

While appreciating the role of the Bathinda SSP for his intervention which led to release of detained activists of the Lok Morcha, Punjab Students Union (Randhawa) and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, the report also alleged that the police was still conducting raids on farmers’ houses in Charat Singh Wala village on the ‘directions’ of the Talwandi Sabo MLA.

Apart from Lachman Singh Sewewala and Jagmel Singh, a woman morcha activist Pushplata, was also maltreated by police officials who did not spare students who were providing help to injured farmers in the hospital. The police had also conducted raids at the residence of farmer Teja Singh, whose ribs were broken during the clash, at the instance of the Talwandi Sabo MLA, alleged the Morcha president, Mr Narinder Jit.


CPI to hold bhog of Gurdev Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 5
The CPI leadership of Punjab while pleading to fight against the repressive politics of the state government decided to hold the bhog ceremony of Gurdev Singh, who died after being hit by a goods train while sitting on dharna at the Bhai Bakhtaur railway level-crossing on September 30, in a befitting manner.

“We will cross all obstacles which will created by the state Congress government to prevent the people and activists of various political parties from attending the bhog ceremony. Some will have to fight against the state government’s repression and will do so,” declared Dr Joginder Dyal, secretary, Punjab unit of the CPI, while talking to TNS today.

Dr Dyal said he had come to know that the state government had decided not to allow the people and activists of all political parties except the Congress to attend the bhog ceremony of Gurdev Singh, which would be held on October 10.

He said the CPI leadership would reach Bathinda on October 7 and a strategy would be chalked out to tackle the state government’s obstacles, which were expected to be created by it on the day of bhog ceremony. He added that the Congress leadership and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should know that movement could not be crushed by the repression.

Rejecting the magisterial probe ordered by the district magistrate into the incident pertaining to the death of Gurdev Singh and lathicharge on the activists of the BKU after they allegedly attacked the policemen with stones, Dr Dyal said would such a probe make sense when the probe was being conducted by the same official, who had ordered the police to resort to lathicharge.

When asked how the CPI leadership was making allegations against the Congress government for its repression when one of its leaders was responsible for bringing a compromise between the district administration and a section of farmers’ organisation after the death of Gurdev Singh, Dr Dyal said the action of one of the party leaders did not dilute the stand of whole party.

Expressing his displeasure over the absence of the CPI, MP from Bathinda, Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, from the scene so far, he said he had talked to the National Secretary of the party to make Mr Bhora available to the residents of Maur Charat Singhwala, village to which deceased Gurdev Singh belonged, to listen the grivances of its residents.

He alleged that the Congress MP, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, who visited the bereaved family yesterday, had been shedding crocodile tears over the death of Gurdev Singh. If Mr Brar was serious about the plight of Gurdev Singh’s family then why was he not coming out openly in the support of agitating farmers.


Lakhowal for probe into Bakhtaur case

Moga, October 5
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) President, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, today outrightly rejected the magisterial probe ordered by the Bathinda Deputy Commissioner into the incident pertaining to the death of a farmer by being hit by a goods train while sitting on dharna on the Bhai Bakhtaur level crossing in Bathinda on September 30.

In a statement issued here, Mr Lakhowal demanded that the Punjab Government should order a judicial probe into the incident and also the circumstances which led to the police lathicharge on the farmers while they were staging a dharna on the level crossing.

He criticised the police for allegedly not allowing even the family members to cremate the body of Gurdev Singh and described it as most unfortunate.

Mr Lakhowal also appealed to the state government to press upon the Railway Ministry to help compensate the farmers' family.

He urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to direct the Bathinda district administration to withdraw the cases registered against the farmers.

Gurdev Singh was killed and four others were injured when they were hit by a goods train on September 30 while participating in a statewide agitation in support of the demands of the farmers. 


SAD to observe Punjab bandh if Badal arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 5
Union Chemical and Fertilizer Minister and senior SAD leader, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, today said that the party would immobilise entire Punjab in case the Vigilance Bureau arrested the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his family members.

“The party workers will observe a Punjab bandh and will not allow even any bird to move if Mr Badal or his family members were arrested by the Vigilance Bureau. The Congress government of Punjab led by Capt. Amarinder Singh has been using its power against its political opponents,” said Mr Dhindsa while addressing a press conference after setting the effigy of Lord Ravana on fire at MSD School here to celebrate Dasehra.

He said if any court issued orders to Mr Badal or his family members. the party would deal with the situation as per the law. He added that the BJP-led NDA government had also been keeping a watch on Punjab situation.

He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh was trying to put Mr Badal and his kin behind the bars as he (Capt. Amarinder Singh) had failed to prove the allegations levelled by him that Mr Badal had acquired assets worth Rs 3500 crore through illegal means.

Regarding the death of Gurdev Singh in farmers agitation and subsequently lathi charge resorted to by the police on the activists of farmers unions, Mr Dhindsa pointed out that the SAD would not remain a mute spectator to such happenings in Punjab and would take stock of the situation at the meeting of a party’s Political Affairs Committee to be held on Chandigarh on October 10.


SAD to launch stir if Badal is held
Our Correspondent

Ropar, October 5
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will launch morchas if the Congress government tries to arrest party chief Parkash Singh Badal. This was declared by Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Gurcharan Singh Tohra while talking to mediapersons at Chamkaur Sahib today.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh had been levelling baseless charges against Mr Badal.


Drive against corruption directionless, says SAD (A)
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, October 5
Dr Harjinder Jakhu, general secretary, SAD (Amritsar), yesterday, ridiculed former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for filing a petition before the National Human Rights Commission against the alleged misuse of power by Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister Punjab. He reminded Mr Badal that all categories of government jobs were put on sale during his chiefministership and 182 custodial deaths took place during the SAD-BJP regime, he said.

Mr Jakhu also criticised Capt Amarinder Singh for his ‘directionless anti-corruption drive’. The people were yet to experience any relief from corruption, he said adding that Capt Amarinder Singh had been delaying the arrest of Mr Badal as he seemed to be under pressure from the Congress High Command.

Mr Jakhu said that the recent election for the post of president of the DSGMC had made it clear that the Badal-Tohra combine no longer remained a force. The SAD (Amritsar), he said, would give a call to Sikhs to free the SGPC from the clutches of Badal-Tohra combine, which had ‘degenerated Sikh maryada’.


Amarinder going Beant way, says Mann
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 5
There is a police “raj” and “danda raj” in Punjab and the government of Capt Amarinder Singh was following the footsteps of Beant Singh and Mr Parkash Singh Badal. This was stated here today by SAD (A) President Simranjit Singh Mann who took strong exception to the reported statement of the Kapurthala SSP that no traffic constable weilded any “danda” and that allegations of Mr Mann were baseless and unfounded. The SSP had made this statement in connection with Mr Mann’s assertions that he (Mr Mann) was humiliated by Kulwinder Singh, a traffic constable, who had hit his vehicle with a “danda” at the Chahal Nagar Red Light Chowk on the GT road, Phagwara, when he was on his way back from Amritsar to his native village Quila Sardar Harnam Singh Tallanian last evening.

Meanwhile, media here remained on tenterhooks as Mr Mann kept on leaving and returning to the local city police station and the entire drama ended after 10.10 pm last night. Mr Mann had first left the police station at 7.30 pm after being told that no case had been registered against the staff and that senior police official had expressed regrets over the incident. However, Harmanbir Singh Gill, SSP, after seeing off Mr Mann told newsmen that a case had been registered against the driver, two gunmen and a party activist of Mr Mann and that nobody had expressed any regrets.

On learning about it Mr Mann, who was sitting in the office of party General Secretary Harjinder Jakhu at Goraya, 10 km from here, again rushed to the city police station at 8.15 pm and insisted that he should also be arrested under those very Sections of the IPC that had been slapped on his staff. He told newsmen, who had again rushed to police station, that he had been kept in dark about the registration of the case against his driver Hardip Singh, gunmen Sukhwant Singh and Balwinder Singh and party activist Rajinder Singh Fauji. However, the SP told Mr Mann that he could not be arrested as the cop had not lodged any complaint against him.

Again, after sitting for about two hours at the police station, Mr Mann narrated a graphic account of the events that had taken place between 4.45 and 8.15 pm last night to the police. He even accused Mr Gill of telling party General Secretary Anoop Singh Minhas in his presence that “Jattan dey putt supney wich wi mafi nahin mangdey” (sons of Jats wont tender apology even in a dream”) and that he (Mr Gill was from a “rajey pujjey parivar” from a well-off family). Mr Gill had said that when Mr Minhas, also a retired police officer, had commented that as a senior police officer like Mr Gill should have apologised for the misbehaviour of the constable to save the situation from taking an ugly turn. However, Mr Gill denied using any objectionable remarks against Mr Mann.

Mr Mann handed over his statement to the police and left only when police did not oblige. Mr Mann spent five hours in the police station insisting vainly that he should also be arrested if a case was to be registered against his staff. Media cooled their heels during the police-politician see-saw and legal repartees and verbal fireworks about lawbook, IPC, CrPC between a former IPS officer like Mr Mann and Mr Gill.

The police has registered a case under Sections 342, 353, 186 of the IPC against the staff of Mr Mann and a party leader who had bundled the cop into his vehicle, on the charges of wrongful confinement, assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duties and later bailed them out.


Sammelan challenge to Takht, says Calcutta
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 5
Dubbing the proposed ‘World Sikh Sammelan’ as ‘anti-Panthic’ the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today decided to take up the issue in the Dharm Prachar Committee and executive committee meeting, scheduled to be held at Fatehgarh Sahib on October 10.

Meanwhile, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Chief Secretary, SGPC (honorary), held a meeting with Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, to discuss this topic even as Akal Takht Secretariat and SGPC offices were flooded with letters from all over the world opposing the ‘World Sikh Sammelan’ scheduled to be held at Chandigarh on October 26. Mr Calcutta said that it was a matter of concern that certain Sikh leaders, who considered themselves to be an authority on Sikhism, had openly challenged the age-old institution of Akal Takht and its ‘Hukmnama’. Mr Calcutta said that such a development amounted to divide the Sikh masses.

Mr Calcutta said that if the organisers of the proposed ‘Sikh Sammelan’ went ahead with the function, it would be considered as a direct challenge to the ‘sovereignty’ of Akal Takht. He said the SGPC and its Dharm Prachar Committee may recommend to the Jathedar to declare the organisers as ‘tankhiya’ (guilty of religious misconduct).

The SGPC alleged that the proposed sammelan was being held by certain anti-Panthic forces which was clear from the agenda given to the press. Mr Calcutta said that no Sikh could tolerate any challenge to Akal Takht.

Akal Takht had already convened an emergency meeting of Sikh clergy here on October 8 to discuss the proposed Sikh Sammelan. Akal Takht sources had already made it clear that the organisers of the proposed conference would have to face the music as it was being held after the excommunication of Mr Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana from the Sikh Panth. The Sikh Students Federation had also announced that ‘come what may’ the proposed Sikh Sammelan would not be allowed to be held.


Fake currency racket busted, four held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 5
The district police yesterday busted a fake currency racket with the help of public here.

The police has arrested four persons in this regard and seized fake currency notes worth Rs 9,500 from them. Those arrested have been identified as Devinder Singh, a resident of Narli Kalan village, Gurlal Singh of Pahuwind village, Kuldip Singh of Friends Colony and Baljit Singh of Milap Colony here. A case has been registered under Sections 489-C, 120-B of the IPC and 22-61-85 of the NDPS Act.

According to an information, the accused on the pretext of buying something went to various shops inside the Hall Gate area and changed the fake notes of Rs 500 one by one. On finding the currency note fake some shopkeepers ran after the accused. Kuldip Singh, ASI, who was on duty also ran after the accused. Vishwamitter Singh, SI, who was patrolling the area nabbed Devinder Singh and his accomplices near Sahara Hotel and recovered 19 fake Rs 500 notes along with 15 gram of smack.

On being interrogated the accused revealed that they used to get these fake currency notes and narcotics from Nepal where it came from Pakistan.


Ravana goes up in smoke

Patiala, October 5
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, set aflame the effigy Of Ravana amidst tight security arrangement at the Vir Hakikat Rai park in Rajpura colony here this evening.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were the local MP, Mrs Preneet Kaur, Mayor Vishnu Sharma, improvement Trust Chairman KK Sharma, district PPC chief Ved Parkash Gupta and a host of local Congress leaders. The former minister, Mr Brahm Mohindera, was conspicuous by his absence.

While addressing a nearly 4000 strong gathering Capt Amarinder Singh said concerted efforts should be made to eradicate social evils prevalent in modern day society. Keeping his speech short, the Chief Minister said the government was making all out efforts to make people aware of the ills of such evils. However, he maintained that cooperation of the people and other voluntary social organisations was necessary to educate the youth about the social evils.

AMRITSAR: The Dasehra festival was celebrated with fervour at the Dasehra ground and various other places in the district here.

BATALA: Dasehra was celebrated here with enthusiasm at Chitti Ground on Sunday.

FARIDKOT: Dasehra was celebrated with fervour and enthusiasm here. People visited the mela organised by the Dasehra committee at the local Nehru stadium. Many senior district officers, including Mr Sanjiv Kalra, DIG, Police Range, Faridkot, and Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, were also present on the occasion. Artistes presented various types of cultural and other shows. A shobha yatra was also taken out through the main streets of the town, which ended at the Dasehra festival ground.

HOSHIARPUR: Dasehra was celebrated with enthusiasm here as thousands of people gathered at the Ram Lila ground to witness the burning of the effigies of Ravana and Kumbhkarn.

PHAGWARA: People celebrated Dasehra by burning effigies and bursting crackers at several places, including Hadiabad sub-town, Arorianwala Talab, New Market, Dharamkot, and JCT Mill.

Punjab Social Welfare Minister Joginder Singh Mann gave Rs 50,000 to the Hadiabad organising committee on the occasion. Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, SP, himself supervised the security arrangements.


Dasehra celebrated in ‘Galat Malat’ style
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 5
Comedy king Bhagwant Mann and his troupe, Galat Malat Manch, celebrated Dasehra in their own style by comparing corruption with the mythological figure of Ravana and burning his effigy at the Baradari Gardens, here today.

The selection of the venue by the comedian was interesting as he decided to burn the effigies right in front of the office of former Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission Ravi Sidhu, whom Bhagwant Mann referred to as the highest symbol of corruption in the country.

Also burnt on the occasion were effigies of Kumbhkaran and Meghnad, who were compared to unemployment and poverty, respectively. Yet another interesting aspect was that no crackers were used as Bhagwant termed them as “completely wasteful expenditure”.

Later addressing mediapersons, Bhagwant said no government looked beyond five years of its rule due to which the people were the main sufferers.


Rama inaugurates overbridge
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 5
An artiste, who played the role of Lord Rama in Ram Lila organised by the New Friends Ekta Dramatic Club in the Paras Ram Nagar area here today inaugurated the newly constructed railway overbridge connecting the trans-railway colonies with the main city.

The bridge, completed a few months ago, was waiting for a VIP for its formal inauguration. Before inaugurating the bridge, residents of trans-railway colonies performed puja.


‘Lakshman’ faints
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, October 5
A piquant situation arose during the staging of the ‘Ram Lila’ here last night when the artists playing the role of Lakshman fainted on stage. After the viewers left around 2 am, the unconscious artists was brought down from the stage. After his face was sprinkled and body massaged, he regained consciousness.

In the scene, Meghnad used the ‘shaktibaan’ against Lakshman, following which the latter lost consciousness. Many cures were employed, but to no avail. It was only after the viewers had left that efforts to make the artists regain consciousness bore fruit.


SGPC secy told to appear before medical board
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 5
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today directed its secretary, Mr Harbeant Singh, to appear before the three-member medical board before sanctioning his two-month leave.

Mr Harbeant Singh, facing the charge of getting the job on the basis of a fake matriculation certificate, had refused to appear before the inquiry committee, comprising Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Mr Partap Singh and Mr Jagjit Singh, executive members, due to his precarious health condition. The inquiry committee would meet here again on October 8 to inquire the allegations and in case Mr Harbeant Singh failed to appear before the inquiry committee, stringent action could be taken against him.

Dr H.S. Gill, Medical Superintendent, said the medical board, comprising Dr Adarsh Kumar, Dr B.B. Goel and Dr Harjinder Singh, would hold a meeting in the Department of Cardiology at 11 a.m. and would give its report immediately. Mr Harbeant Singh had alleged that the two government-run hospitals had discharged him under pressure though he was suffering from acute problems of urology and cardiology.

Sources in the SGPC said a criminal case could be registered against the SGPC secretary if he failed to produce any proof that he had obtained the job on the basis of a genuine certificate. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, chief secretary (honorary), said it was a serious matter and Mr Harbeant Singh should cooperate with the inquiry committee.


Centre to set up panel for disabled
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 5
Mr Satyanarayan Jatiya, Union Minister for Social Welfare and Empowerment, said today that the Central Government was geared up to set up a national commission to deal with problems being faced by handicapped people in the country with a more comprehensive approach.

The minister also announced that the opening of as many as 100 social justice centres in the country was in the offing and five of such centres would be opened in Punjab.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Jatiya said the national commission for the handicapped persons would be set up with an objective to redress the grievances and problems being faced by them. “The outline of the role of the proposed commission has already been chalked out and we are giving final touches to the process of its setting up,” said Mr Jatiya, adding that the commission would be headed by a Chairman and comprise nine members.

He said the top priority would be given to the redress of grievances of the handicapped persons as they were an important part of society and were capable of contributing to the development of the country.

Mr Jatiya said the social justice centres would be set up for the welfare of people at grassroots level, particularly those belonging to the backward classes. He, however, said the Punjab Government had not written to the ministry for the opening up of such centres in the state so far.

Commenting on the reported clean chit by the National Commission for SC and STs to some police officials in the Talhan case, Mr Jatiya said the commission was not the final authority and all it could do was to recommend a case. He said he would take up the matter with the commission Chairman, Mr Vijoy Sonkar Shastry, and try to know whether the clean chit had been given to police officials.


Shiv Sena to hoist Tricolour in Srinagar

Phagwara, October 5
The Shiv Sena (Hindustan) yesterday announced plans to send a ‘Balidani Jatha’ (sacrificial squad) of its activists to Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Republic Day next year and hoist the Tricolour and saffron flag there with a view to challenge the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad militants in the valley.

The 51-member ‘jatha’ in the form of a ‘Rath Yatra’ would pass through various parts of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir before reaching Srinagar, party President Pawan Gupta told reporters here.

The squad would hoist the national Tricolour and a saffron flag with ‘Aum’ inscribed on it, symbolising Hindutva, at the Lal Chowk on Republic Day, he said, adding “We would go prepared and burn symbolic effigies of the two terrorists outfits to send them a strong message.”

He said the move was aimed at asserting “Hindu dignity and determination of nationalist forces.” — PTI 


Beant Singh complex in state of mess
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 5
The Beant Singh Shopping Complex, which was built more than a decade ago by the Improvement Trust, is at present in a state of neglect as the building has not yet been transferred to the Municipal Corporation.

The building currently houses IT-related institutes, banks, showrooms and a management college. The trust after constructing only the ground and first floors sold the shops to various offices. The building has four floors and 70 per cent of the shops are still lying vacant. Perhaps this is the reason why the trust has still not transferred the building to the Municipal Corporation.

Since the building is not under the corporation, no permanent sweepers have been recruited for its maintenance. Showroom owners say they themselves have to recruit someone to get the area around their showrooms and stairs swept clean. Besides the lack of cleanliness, showroom owners say they do not get water supply from the Municipal Corporation. They have got their own motors fixed to cater to their needs. They add that in case of a sewerage blockage they themselves have to fetch someone to get it removed.

The shopkeepers demand an immediate transfer of the building to the MC. They further state that an elevator installed in the building is lying non-functional.

Though the Improvement Trust has made public toilets in the shopping complex, these have been lying locked ever since these were constructed. Compounding the woes of the shopkeeper is the Sunday market, which has become a source of nuisance not only for them but also for residents. Iron poles are dug on Saturday to install tents, causing damage to the road in front of the complex.

When contacted, the Mayor Vishnu Sharma said usually buildings built by the Improvement Trust are transferred to the MC within three years of their completion. He said formalities for the transfer of the building had been made but the transfer was still to be effected. Regarding the Sunday market issue, he said the corporation was studying the situation and would try to find a permanent solution.


Dog bites many, panic in Verka
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 5
Panic prevailed in Verka situated on the Batala road as a rabid dog reportedly bit several people, including a 10-year-old girl and animals, today.

The victims were immediately taken to various hospitals and clinics. Angry over the incidents, people ran after stray dogs carrying revolvers, guns and lathis. The children were not allowed to come out of their houses.

According to sources, a rabid dog today bit a girl, Shiwani (10), who was playing in front of her house, Mr Ranjit Singh Rana, a buffaloes seller, Ms Manjit Kaur, who had gone to a gurdwara in the area, besides a Canadian immigrant, Ms Gian Kaur, who had come a few days back. The dog bit Mr Ranjit Singh Rana in his back. It also bit two buffaloes and a calf of Mr Pargat Singh. It also bit many dogs.

Mr Malkeet Singh, local unit secretary of the CPM, said waste thrown by nursing homes and slaughterhouses on the Hadraoudi road near Verka was responsible for such incidents. He alleged that private nursing homes carelessly throw bio wastes, which were eaten by the stray animals. He said these stray animals had spread panic among people and they fear coming out of their houses. 


Phone service in a mess
Our Correspondent

Nabha, October 5
Resentment prevails among residents of the town over poor telephone services. They said that when they contacted phone authorities, they were told to make complaints on the computerised number 198, but the computer failed to register the complaint. A PCO owner said that there were frequent quarrels with customers. He added that a call to number 198 was non-metering but the meter gets started if someone tried to register his complaint and the complaint centre of the town was at Gobindgarh which leads to delay.

A senior official of the department said that he had asked the technical staff to check number 198 after every hour and a complaint register was also placed at the main gate of the complaint centre. He added if any PCO holder found charging for dialing 198 from the customer, his licence would be cancelled.


Rs 14.11 lakh given for rural water supply
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, October 5
Mr Parkash Singh, local MLA, distributed cheques for Rs 14.11 lakh to Begumpur, Jadla, Bhan Mazara, Lodhipur, Ghakewal and Pallian Kalan villages for providing drinking water facility here yesterday.

While talking to mediapersons, the MLA said he had been making efforts to arrange funds on a priority basis for providing basic civic amenities like drinking water, sewerage, roads, etc. A sum of Rs 7 crore had been got sanctioned for providing drinking water facility in the rural areas.

The extension and augmentation of the sewerage and water supply scheme for providing sewerage and water supply facilities to every nook and cranny in the town at a cost Rs 7.74 crore was currently underway, he added.

Mr Parkash Singh said sewerage and water supply pipes were being laid in the New Teachers Colony and Satgur Nagar. Besides, the project had been redesigned to remove hindrances in the way of the implementation of the scheme in about a dozen outer colonies developed on the Rahon road, the Chandigarh road and the Barnala road. The work of setting up two new tubewells at Pathakan Mohalla and Shivalik Enclave and laying of water supply and sewerage pipes would be started soon, the MLA added.

Mr Lalit Mohan Pathak (Ballu), president, Municipal Council, said the colonywise estimates had been approved by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board authorities to fulfil the long-cherished dream of the residents of the outer colonies to have sewerage and water supply facilities.


Book of Punjabi ghazals released
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 5
Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, released Gazal Changer, a book of Punjabi ghazals, written by Kirpal Singh Preshan at a function in Bachat Bhavan here. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ahluwalia said that the poetry of Preshan is full of human values and high thoughts. The musical element present in his works makes the poetry melodious and close to heart. He said that the poetry of Kirpal embraces all issues concerning society in a beautiful manner.

Mr B. Chandra Shekhar, SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib and Mr M.P. Arora, ADC, congratulated Kirpal on the release of his book. Famour prose writer in Punjabi Narinder Singh Kapoor said that Kirpal has a long experience of life and his poetry covers all facets of life. Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha said that the poetry of Kirpal has a spontaneous flow of feeling and he is full of powerful thoughts. Dr D.S. Hira, Principal, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, said that good writers act as lighthouses to society. Dr Harchand Singh Sirhindi said that Kirpal is a writer with full commitment and dedication towards the cause of writing.


Lathicharge on linemen flayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The state president of the BJP and the leader of the party in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, today condemned the lathicharge on the Unemployed Linemen’s Union outside the residence of the Chief Minister in support of their demands.

Criticising the Amarinder Singh government for its failure on all fronts, Mr Khanna said the management of the affairs of the state had been handed over to the bureaucracy and people were at the mercy of the police, ever since he took charge.

Media reports on police excesses were a testimony to this.


1 pilgrim killed as truck overturns

Amritsar, October 5
One person was killed and 25 others injured when a truck carrying a group of Sikh pilgrims overturned after losing balance on blind turn at Chabbal village, 20 km from here today, the police said.

The ill-fated truck was carrying the pilgrims who were going back to district Ferozepore after paying obeisance at Gurdwara Bir Baba Budha Sahib at Chabbal.

They said all injured were shifted to a nearby hospital where their condition was stated to be out of danger.

Meanwhile, the dead has been identified as Balbir Singh of Ferozepore and the body has been handed over to his family members after the autopsy. — PTI 


Insecticide dealers made to compensate farmers
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 5
The Agriculture Department Punjab yesterday persuaded insecticides sellers to pay compensation to the farmers who had alleged that their cotton crop was damaged due to use of “sub standard” insecticides. Sources said Mr Subhash Chander and Mr Atma Ram of Jandwala Hanvanta village, Mr Ramrakh Godara of Rajanwali and Mr Lakhwinder Singh of Malookpura village were given compensation ranging from Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 yesterday. A senior official of the department who decided the cases on the spot also ordered an inquiry against a dealer.


Shocked at rape of daughter, man commits suicide

Phagwara, October 5
Shocked over the rape of his minor daughter by his cousin, a man committed suicide by jumping before a train at the Kherra railway crossing here in the early hours today.

Vijay Kumar's cousin Des Raj had adopted the former's minor daughter two years ago and had been raping her after drugging her. When the girl got pregnant, Des Raj and his cousin took her to a midwife and made her abort the foetus.

A villager, on the condition of anonymity, said unable to face this social stigma, Vijay Kumar (50) committed suicide. The body of the victim was handed over to his family members after conducting a postmortem examination. The body was later cremated. — UNI


3 booked for raping minor
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, October 5
The Sadar police has booked three youths of Kalasanghian village on the charge of raping a minor girl of the same village.

On May 9 Gurwinder Singh Gindi, Malwinder Singh and Raju called the girl in a shop of a deed writer in the village and allegedly gang raped her. The matter was reported to the police, however, no action has been taken as talk about compromise was going on.

On the intervention of Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP, the Sadar police has registered a case under Section 376 of the IPC against the three youths who are absconding.


Flesh trade racket busted

Jalandhar, October 5
A flesh trade racket has been busted with the arrest of four alleged prostitutes, including its kingpin, the police said today. On a tip off that Baljeet Kaur of Jandusingha village was allegedly running a flesh trade racket, a trap was laid and a constable along with two civilians talked to her on the mobile, district police chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu said here. Baljeet invited the three decoys to her place in the Kukki Dhab locality on the outskirts of the city last night.

As soon as the deal was struck, a police party raided the kingpin’s residence and arrested four women for allegedly indulging in immoral activities. A case under the prevention of Immoral Traffic Act has been registered. — PTI


Retired DFO arrested
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 5
On the instructions of Mr Lok Nath, SSP (Vigilance Bureau), Jalandhar, the bureau today arrested retired Divisional Forest Officer Sardara Singh, Garshanker, under the Prevention of Corruption Act for amassing disproportionate assets beyond known source of his income.

Mr Harbhajan Sarup, DSP, said an inquiry was constituted against Sardara Singh in 1997 following various complaints against him. It was found in the initial inquiry that Sardara Singh earned Rs 4,76,507 through his salary during 1993 to 1998 of his service, whereas he spent Rs 13,78,378 in that period.

The DSP said Sardara Singh would be produced in the court of the Duty Magistrate today.


Teachers to cease work if not paid
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 5
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union today served an ultimatum on the government that it would give a cease work call in all 172 non-government colleges if the grant for the second quarter was not released and disbursed next week.

Dr V.K. Tewari, general secretary of the union, rued that the current festival month was not so festive for college teachers as out of the 172 colleges, salaries in 120 colleges, mostly in rural areas, had not been paid for between one and eight months.

The sanction for the release of about Rs 14 crore for salaries was given by the Finance Department on September 10, but the amount had not been released by the Treasury Officer, he alleged.

As per an earlier decision of the union, teachers in Punjabi University areas would cease work after two periods on October 7 and hold rallies in Patiala, Bathinda, Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mansa and Ropar districts to demand the fulfilment of poll promises of the Amarinder Singh government. It had promised grants-in-aid and pension-cum-gratuity, added Dr Tewari.


Our Correspondent

Nabha, October 5
Mr Shafi Mohammad Mungo, State Vice- President of the School Teachers’ Association Punjab, said that the following had been elected office-bearers of Patiala unit of the association. President—Mr Amarjit Singh Vinayak; General Secretary—Mr Narinderjit Singh Raoni; Senior Vice- Presidents—Mr Nirbhai Singh Darauli and Mr Raghuvir Singh Bagrian; Vice-Presidents—Mr Amarjit Singh Nainkalan, Mr Harvinder Singh Gajipur, Mr Yashpal Singh Sundran and Mr Vijay Kumar Hardaspur; Press Secretaries—Mr Inderpal Singh Kohli, Mr Darshan Singh Gajipur and Mr Jagpal Singh Bhore; Propaganda Secretaries— Mr Baldev Singh Sohi and Mr Dharam Pal Kaushal; Organizing Secretaries— Mr Shamsher Singh Patran and Mr Rajinder Singh Dhangera; Finance Secretary—Mr Manjit Singh Sanour; Secretary— Mr Nachhatar Singh Kheribarna, Malkit Singh Asarpur and Inderjit Sharma, Auditor.


DAV students top in group song contest
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 5
Students of R.B. DAV Senior Secondary School stood first while students of S.S.D. Girls College, Bathinda, got the second position in the junior section of national group song competition organised by the Bharat Vikas Parishad here today.

According to a press release issued by the Bharat Vikas Parishad, students of Rajindra College and S.S.D. Girls College, Bathinda, stood first and second, respectively, in the senior section of the competition.

Mr Satish Kalra, Regional Manager, Punjab National Bank, distributed prizes among the winners.


Traders threaten to observe bandh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 5
In a significant move which could have far reaching impact on the on-going agitation by farmers’ organisations, representatives of the Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal today while alleging that a handful of farmers from different kisan unions were blackmailing traders and the administration today threatened to launch an agitation in case the authorities concerned failed to check their illegal activities.

Representatives of the Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal and the Bathinda Beopar Mandal also held out a threat that if legal action was not taken against those farmers who had been blackmailing traders and civil and police administration, the traders would observe a complete bandh in Bathinda and Mansa districts shortly.

In a joint press release here today, Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, president, Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal and Mr Kasturi Lal, president, Bathinda Beopar Mandal, alleged that farmers started blackmailing the traders and commission agents whenever any farmer committed suicide due to various reasons.

They pointed out that kisan union representatives pressurised the authorities concerned to register a criminal case against Mr Pawan Kumar, a commission agent of Maur Mandi, for forcing a farmer of Gurusar village to commit suicide despite the fact that farmer committed suicide for some domestic reasons. This false case should be withdrawn immediately, they demanded.

They added that certain activists were harassing the district civil and police administration for the death of Gurdev Singh, a farmer who died while sitting on a dharna on the Bhai Bakhtaur railway crossing after being hit by a goods train.

They added that kisan union activists were trying to create a wedge between farmers and the commission agents for their vested interests. They threatened that if the illegal activities of farmers were not checked by the authorities concerned, the traders and commissioner agents would adopt a path of agitation.

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