P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Panel to make rules on jathedars
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 21
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has constituted a 21-member Religious Advisory Board (RAB), which would frame rules for the appointment and removal of Sikh high priests. The board would also scrutinise the complaints being received by Akal Takht before they are taken up by the Sikh clergy.

Though the SGPC has announced that Akal Takht is competent to take suo motu notice of any matter concerning the Sikh Panth, some intellectuals feel that this is an attempt to dilute the authority of the Sikh clergy.

Mr Calcutta, however, claimed that the RAB had been constituted on the directives of the Akal Takht Jathedar and the decision was taken unanimously at a Dharm Parchar Committee (DPC) meeting held at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib recently.

However, Sikh intellectual Gurcharanjit Singh Lamba said the rules for the appointment and removal of jathedars had already been framed by the seven-member Justice K.S. Tiwana Committee during the stint of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar. While the new board had certain controversial members, the Justice Tiwana committee comprised of only legal experts. Mr Lamba demanded that the SGPC should first clarify what had happened to the recommendations of the Tiwana committee.

Without mentioning the controversy over the Dasam Granth or other religious matters, Mr Calcutta said the RAB would take up all pending issues.

The members of the board are Bhai Jasbir Singh Khalsa Khannewale, Bhai Joginder Singh Talwara of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Mr Kanwarpal Singh, a leader of Dal Khalsa, Dr Gurbax Singh (USA), Dr Darshan Singh Bains, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Dr Kharak Singh, Principal Ram Singh, Dr Santokh Singh Bhopal, Mr Kewal Singh Mumbai, Jathedar Inderpal Singh Khalsa, Mr Khajan Singh Calcutta, Dr Bikram Singh (Patiala), Baba Surajpal Singh, Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, Mr Gurbax Singh of the UK, Dr Kuldip Singh Tulida (USA), Dr Balkar Singh and Dr Inderjit Kaur (wife of Bhai Harbhajan Singh Yogi).

Mr Calcutta said the committee would be competent to initiate talks with other Panthic organisations to resolve various Panthic matters. It would send its recommendations to the DPC and the SGPC.

He said the RAB could take up the case of sending a rare bir of Guru Granth Sahib to foreign country allegedly at the behest of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht. He clarified that Mr Prithipal Singh Sandhu, a close relative of Jathedar Vedanti, was no more a personal assistant to him and had been assisting him only in his personal capacity.


Hanspal evasive on right to vote for Sehajdharis
Our Correspondent

Phagwara October 21
Punjab Congress President H.S. Hanspal today skirted the issue of the removal of the names of all Sehajdhari Sikhs from the voters lists for general elections to the SGPC. Mr Hanspal said here that he was yet to study the report about it. I would comment upon the issue only after studying it, he said. Press reports today said that the Union Government had decided to remove the names of Sehajdhari Sikhs.

Addressing newsmen in the residence of Mr S.P. Sethi, MD, Fine Switchgears here, Mr Hanspal opposed the demand of bringing the office of the CM under the preview of the Lok Pal. When his attention was drawn to the demand about it being made by the Akalis. Mr Hanspal asserted that the institution of the Lok Pal would continue to be as such as it was earlier.

He alleged that SAD President and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was rattled by popularity of the Congress government. Mr Badal out of nervousness was raising the bogey of the so-called excesses of the government, continued Mr Hanspal.

He reiterated that the crusade against corruption and effective governance in Punjab would lead to Congress victory of all 13 Lok Sabha seats of state and the lone seat of UT Chandigarh in the parliamentary polls.

He denied having hurt the sentiments of the followers of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur or of the family members of the victim of Mahilpur rape case. If anybody felt that his sentiments had been hurt, he had no hesitation in expressing regrets, declared Mr Hanspal. He made this comment when his attention was drawn to the call given by Punjab BSP General Secretary M.P. Singh Goraya to the Ramgarhia community for boycotting Mr Hanspal for not helping the members of Ramgarhia community Mr Manjit Singh whose daughter Ms Ram Tirath Kaur was raped and murdered on June 21 at Mahilpur in Hoshiarpur district.

Mr Hanspal declared that he had rung up the DIG in this case and had sympathies with the family of the victim. He asserted that he did not believe in casteism.

He said that he had high regards for Baba Banda Singh Bahadur who was a ‘Guru ka Sikh’. However, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur had various names like Madho Das, Lashman Dev and was named Gurbax Singh after being baptised, he continued. In case his remarks on the usage of word “Singh” with Baba Banda Singh Bahadur had hurt sentiments of anybody, he regretted it, he remarked.

When asked whether the Congress party would have poll alliance with any like-minded party in Punjab in the Lok Sabha polls Mr Hanspal said that it was for party high command to decide. He also refused to comment upon the adverse remarks of Congress leader Umrao Singh about Overseas Congress. The Overseas Congress existed in the UK and I was getting full cooperation from it, he claimed. He denied any difference with the CM.


SGPC presents siropa to Chohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 21
The SGPC honorary secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, today presented a siropa (robe of honour) to Khalistan ideologue Jagjit Singh Chohan and four of his associates at the Shiromani committee’s information office here. Dr Chohan was here to launch a march to commemorate the death anniversary of Darshan Singh Pheruman, who died after 74 days of fast for the sake of Punjabi Suba. This march will conclude in Chandigarh on October 27.

Earlier, Dr Chohan and his associates performed ardas at Akal Takht, holding a portrait of Pheruman.

Talking to mediapersons, Dr Chohan announced that his Khalsa Raj Party would open a Khalistan administrative services centre at his ancestral place Tanda in Hoshiapur, thereby giving clear indications that his party would continue to pursue the ideology of a separate Sikh state.


Second tourist plane lands at Raja Sansi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 21
Within five days, second chartered direct flight from UK’s Monarch Airlines landed with 166 passengers British nationals and Punjabi NRIs landed at Amritsar’s Raja Sansi international airport here today. However, Boeing 757 aeroplane got delayed by two hours due to non-clearance at Pakistan airbase.

Earlier a flight, sponsored Peo UK started weekly tourist flights from October 16.

Mr C.L. Bains, Chief Election Commissioner, Punjab, was the chief guest on the occasion. Mr Satnam Singh, head of chartered division speaking at a press conference here today said that the direct flight would save time and cause no inconvenience to the NRI Punjabi passengers who first go to Delhi and then to their native places. With this airline the Indians especially NRIs from Punjab would come to the holy city and then after visiting the Golden Temple they could go to their places.

Mr Satnam Singh said the flights have been started keeping in mind the rich Punjabi culture and to promote tourism in Punjab. He said that the flights would benefit the second and third generation of Punjabis settled in England and were keen to visit Punjab. He said at present the flight had British crew, but Indian crew knowing Punjabi and Hindi languages, would be recruited soon.

The Air Monarch will run weekly tourist chartered flight from England via Bahrain. The airline had been flooded with booking from the Indians settled in the UK to visit their homeland during forthcoming festival season.

He said the tariff had been kept low, inclusive of return airfare between the UK (east Midlands Airport) and Amritsar, featuring seven-night stay for £ 499 (adults) and £ 449 (child), for 14 nights £ 519 (adults) and £ 469 (child) while for 21 nights £ 539 (adults) and £ 489 (child) and for 28 nights £ 569 (adults) and £ 519 (child). The tariff also includes UK air passenger duty, airport passenger service charges, airport security taxes etc.


Punjab Food Secretary to take up foodgrain
claims with Centre
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Union Food Ministry continues to dodge the Punjab Government and its procurement agencies over the issue of settling claims worth Rs 4,300 crore regarding the procurement of foodgrain for the Central pool for the past some years.

Sources said today that of the claims worth Rs 4,300 crore lodged by the state government, the Union Government had accepted claims worth Rs 1,000 crore while the remaining claims remained to be sorted out. The issue of claims has been hanging fire for the past several years. A detailed representation was submitted to the Union Food Ministry by the state government recently.

A Joint Secretary of the Union Food Ministry visited here a few days ago to sort out the matter regarding the claims with the state government. He agreed in connection with the claims worth Rs 1,000 crore put up before him by the state government. Regarding the other claims, he did not agree with the stance taken by the government, it is learnt.

Among the claims are interest liabilities worth Rs 1560.58 crore on wheat stocks held by the state government and its procuring agencies, reimbursement of actual establishment and administrative cost on foodgrains worth Rs 493 crore, realisation of difference in interest amount worth Rs 385 crore between the simple interest allowed by the Union Government and charged by banks on a quarterly compound basis on wheat, besides gunny bag cost, custom milled charges etc worth Rs 343 crore and reimbursement of infrastructure development cess worth Rs 250 crore.

The sources said the state government had urged the Union Government to settle the pending issues at the earliest. “ Punjab should not be punished for procuring the foodgrains for the Central pool”. This is what actually has been conveyed to the Union Government by the state.

The state’s Principal Secretary for Food Supplies, Mr B.R. Bajaj, would leave for New Delhi tomorrow to hold a meeting with the authorities concerned in this connection.

Mr Bajaj was also to meet the Union Finance Secretary to take up the issue regarding the payment of Rs 2,200 crore by the state government to the consortium of banks from which the state procurement agencies had been taking money for procuring the foodgrains. The Punjab Government was ready to pay this amount to the financial institutions concerned but it wanted that the Union Government should give it the loan for the purpose.

The sources said Mr Bajaj would tell the Union Government that the state government was prepared to pay 20 per cent of the amount but for clearing the remaining amount, the Union Government should give a loan which would be returned to the Centre in the next eight to 10 years.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to hand over the inquiry of Karnesh Kumar Sharma, Deputy Director of the Food and Supplies Department, who was suspended yesterday, to an IAS officer. “ Either the Director Food and Supplies Department or a Special Secretary of the department would hold the inquiry”, said a senior officer of the department.


Efforts to acquire Udham Singh’s gun from Britain
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 21
Indians might be able to see the gun, certain books and personal belongings like kurta-pyjama of Shaheed Udham Singh soon as serious efforts are being made by the Punjab government and the Birmingham-based Shaheed Udham Singh Welfare Trust in this direction. The famous gun of Shaheed Udham Singh and other items listed in “Challenge to imperial hegemony” are currently in possession of New Scotland Yard, Broadway London and the New Scotland Museum.

While the Punjab government is all set to take up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs so that the matter can be pursued with the UK government, the Shaheed Udham Singh Welfare Trust (Birmingham) has already urged the British Home Office (BHO) to return the gun, with which Shaheed Udham Singh shot dead General O’Dyer on March 13, 1940, at Caxton Hall, so that it could be paced at Jallianwala Bagh or any other place to be decided by the Government of India. “The BHO has asked the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to consider our request. It is still under consideration.,” said Mr Avtaar Singh Johal, a Trustee of the Shaheed Udham Singh Trust in his letter to Ms Harsimrat Kaur, Principal Secretary, Freedom Fighters Welfare Department. The trust, however, was aghast that despite its communication to the Indian High Commission in London, the BHO was not approached officially by either the Ministry or External Affairs or the PMO.

When contacted, Ms Harsimrat Kaur, who also held a meeting with the trust officials and Mr Gurmeet, Secretary of the cultural wing of the local Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall committee, last week, said the matter was being vigorously pursued by the Punjab government. The trust has also taken up the matter with the family of Mr Shiv Singh Johal, who is said to be a relative of Shaheed Udham Singh and was handed over some of personal belongings of the martyr after he was hanged in the Pentonville prison on July 31, 1940.


SPOs may get salary before Divali
Police martyrs remembered
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 21
Mr A.A. Siddiqui, Director-General of the Punjab police, today said efforts were being made to ensure the release of salaries of about 6000 SPOs before Divali. These SPOs have not received their salaries for the past three months.

Mr Siddiqui, who was talking to reporters after presiding over the state-level Police Commemoration Day Function at the PAP Complex here, indicated that the delay in the release of the salaries was due to certain problems at the end of the civil administration.

Mr Siddiqui denied there was any threat to the security of the state in view of the Divali festival. “Though there is no threat, we are keeping watch on the situation,” he added.

The DGP indicated that the police officials who were promoted for having fought terrorism with exemplary courage were not likely to be demoted and that a team led by the IG (Litigation) was assisting them in their court cases.

Paying tributes to the police martyrs, Mr Siddiqui said only those nations survived who remembered their martyrs. He observed that the Punjab police jawans were always ready to make the supreme sacrifice whenever needed. “This is evident from the 2217 officers and jawans who laid down their lives while fighting terrorism in the state,” he added.

Earlier, Mr Siddiqui laid a wreath at the Police Martyrs Memorial at the PAP complex. Mr D.R. Bhatti, ADGP (PAP), Mr Mohammed Izhar Alam, ADGP (Admn.), Mr J.P. Virdi, IG (Zonal), Mr Dinkar Gupta, DIG (Jalandhar range), Mr S.K. Sharma, IG (Border), and Mr Harpreet Sidhu, SSP, also attended the ceremony.

PHILLAUR: The Police Commemoration Day was observed at the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy here on Tuesday.

The day is observed in accordance with the decision taken at a conference of Inspectors-General of Police held in 1960.

October 21 is observed as Police Commemoration Day throughout the country each year in memory of policemen killed on duty on this day in 1959 in an ambush by the Chinese at Hot Springs, Ladakh.

At the police academy ceremony, names of the personnel killed in the line of duty during the past year were read out as a mark of respect. A contingent from the Himachal Police Service presented the ceremonial salute to the martyrs. Dr G .S. Aujla, Director of the academy, led the trainees and staff members in paying homage.

Wreaths were laid on the Martyrs Memorial by Dr Aujla, DIG P.S. Sidhu, Deputy Directors S.S. Chauhan, G.S. Sandhu and Kamal Kumar.

HOSHIARPUR: To pay homage to paramilitary and police personnel who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, Commemoration Day parades were organised at the local police ground and the Police Recruits Training Centre, Jahan Khelan, 8 km from here, on Tuesday. Mr Gurpreet Deo, SSP, Hoshiarpur, and Mr Ranbir Singh Khatra, PRTC Commandant, paid tributes to the martyrs on the occasion.

Kin of 84 police martyrs of the district were honoured, apart from 20 police officers and constables for excellent service.

BARNALA: Glowing tributes were paid to martyrs here in the Police Lines Complex on Tuesday to mark the police Commemoration Day.

Policemen of the Barnala police district held a parade to salute the valiant cops.

AMRITSAR: In memory of SPOs and home guards killed in the fight against militancy, function was organised here on Tuesday.

SSP Shashi Prabha, while paying tributes to 130 Punjab police SPOs and homeguards, exhorted the police and the families of martyrs to join the drive against drug dealers and addiction just as they had fought militancy.

SANGRUR: Tributes were paid to police martyrs at a function organised at the Police Lines here on Tuesday. On the occasion, Mr A.S. Rai, local SSP, asked the police personnel to serve the public as friends.


Cops remembered
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, October 21
The district and police administration today paid tributes to police martyrs at a function held here. Mr Anurag Aggrawal, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Ishwar Singh, district police chief, lauded the role of the police.

The said the maximum possible help would be given to the families of the martyrs.

Thirty-seven families of police martyrs of Bathinda were honoured at the function.

MANSA: Police martyrs were remembered at the Police Lines here. A contingent of policemen headed by Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sardulgarh, paid tributes to the martyrs. Mr Hartej Singh Sekhon, Superintendent of Police (Headquarters), read the names of martyrs. Mr Satish Kumar Asthana, SSP, was present on the occasion.


Tohra to take up Sikh Chair issue with Canadian PM
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 21
The SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, will take up the issue of setting up of a Sikh Chair at the University of British Columbia in Canada when the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Joseph Jean Chretian, will visit the Golden Temple on October 25.

In order to promote better understanding of Sikhism in Canada, the Sikh community in 1985, under the Federation of Sikh Societies, had established a Sikh Chair at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The objective was to initiate, maintain and promote instructions and research on undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas of Punjabi language and literature, Sikhism and its doctrine, religious practices and philosophy, Sikh history and other areas of Sikh studies.

The financial resources for this Chair came from the Sikh community as well as multi-cultural department of Canada. Mr Tohra will present a memorandum to the visiting Canadian Prime Minister requesting him to take up the issue with the University authorities.


Open Hussainiwala border, says Mann
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore , October 21
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) yesterday organised a rally at Hussainiwala near the Indo-Pakistan border and exhorted the governments of India and Pakistan to open the Hussainiwala border for trade and transit. The border was closed in the aftermath of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan conflict.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP and President of the party, told the gathering that the closure of the Hussainiwala border had caused huge losses to farmers of Punjab.

He said if the border was opened for trade and transit, it would not only benefit the farmers but the entire economy of the region would get a boost. Besides, people residing in the border areas would get job opportunities.

A former MP, Mr Dhian Singh Mand, said the SAD (Amritsar) would soon start a massive public movement to persuade both governments to open the Hussainiwala border.


India, Pak should change mindsets: MP
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 21
Governments of India and Pakistan should change mindsets instead of changing geographical positions, says Mr Abdul Rashid Shahid, an MP from Baramula, and a member of four-member delegation of Indian Chapter of Association of Peoples of Asia which enters Pakistan via Wagah, near here today.

Before leaving for Wagah, Mr Shahid said the governments of two countries should try to find a solution to major problems of both countries such as poverty, unemployment and illiteracy.


IT raids on three jewellery shops
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 21
Income tax sleuths today conducted raids on three jewellery shops in the city besides a sweets shop in Bahadurgarh and recovered unaccounted money in the process.

According to sources, the raids were conducted on the premises of Walaiti Ram Madan Lal Jewellers at Darshani Gate, Vijay Kumar Jewellers in the Air-Conditioned Market and Guru Nanak Jewellers near B-Tank. The sources said the raids were in process till late evening and that some unaccounted money had been recovered. However, details of recoveries made were not known.

The sources said an Income Tax Department team earlier in the day raided the premises of a sweets shop in Bahadurgarh and recovered around Rs 10 lakh in cash.


5 killed, 9 hurt in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 21
Five persons were killed and nine were injured in separate road accidents in the district last evening, the police said.

According to the police, Balwinder Kumar, Sarpanch of Meerapur of Kapurthala district, and Sukhdev Singh of Phagwara died on the spot when a truck hit their scooters near Mehtiana last evening. Ten-year-old Sonu, son of deceased Balwinder Kumar and Ramandeep of Meerapur were wounded seriously and were admitted to the local Civil Hospital. All were going back to their house on scooters after attending a marriage at Neetpur near Mahilpur.

Manjit Kaur, wife of Kulwant Singh of Gobindpur, died near Nangal Shaheedan in another accident.

Baldev Singh of Argowal succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital. He, along with four other persons were wounded when a tyre of sand-loaded truck in which they were travelling burst and it rammed into a tree.

In another accident Nachhattar Singh of Gambowal and Nishan Singh of Darapur were injured when their four-wheeler struck into a truck near Sikri. Both were admitted to the local Civil Hospital from where they were referred to Jalandhar.

Subedar Rulda Singh of Ibrahimpur also died on the spot when he fell down from his scooter at Prempur village.


National award for social worker
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 21
Mrs Raj Gupta, a retired lecturer and social worker who was conferred with the state award about seven years ago, has been honoured with the Indira Gandhi National NSS Award for her services in the field of AIDS awareness and social service by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Mrs Gupta, who remained programme officer in the NSS wing of the local SSD Girls College for many years, was selected for this award from among candidates of 176 universities in the country. Five more programme offices of NSS units of various educational institutions were honoured with the award along with her.

Mrs Gupta, who has made a mark in the social service field and has earned the reputation of a relentless crusader against the social evil, was given the award by the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Mr Vikram Verma.

Over the years, Mrs Gupta has become synonymous with the AIDS awareness campaign in the region and through her efforts, spanning nearly three decades, she has trained many AIDS awareness and NSS volunteers.


PACL workers gherao GM
Our Correspondent

Nangal, October 21
Employees of Punjab Alkalis and Chemicals (PACL) gheraoed the General Manager of the company, Mr Rawat, today to protest against the non-payment of Divali bonus.

The workers, led by union leaders R.K. Dewedi and Rajan Puri gheraoed the vehicle of the General Manager as he was coming out of the plant.

The gherao was lifted on the intervention of the local police and the Naib Tehsildar, who assured a meeting of the workers with the factory management tomorrow.

In recent years the PACL workers were paid a bonus of 20 per cent of the basic pay. Owing to loss, this year the management did not announce any bonus.

However, PACL workers claimed that the production in company was “excellent”, and they were responsible only for production.


No headway in shooting incident
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, October 21
The police has failed to make any headway in the shooting incident in which Rajinder Singh, a resident of Punsar village, was shot at on the Dera Bassi-Mukandpur link road in the Bir Dandrala area on Saturday morning. The unidentified assailants had also snatched a red Caliber motor cycle (HR-4A-3801) from him and fired shots at his legs before speeding away from the spot.

Mr Balwinder Singh Brar, DSP, claimed that the police had launched a search operation to round up the suspects on the basis of the statement of the victim.

He added that police parties had been sent to suspected hideouts of the assailants in Haryana and parts of Punjab.


Pension before Divali sought
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 21
Members of the local Government Pensioners Welfare Association has demanded the disbursement of pension and salary to the Punjab Government pensioners and employees, respectively for October before Divali.

Mr Vinay Kumar, D.E.O. (retd) and a patron of the association, said payment of pensions and salaries to the government pensioners and employees before Divali would enable pensioners employees to celebrate the festival in a better manner.


Punjab given 2 weeks to file reply in cops’ case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted the state of Punjab two weeks’ time to file a reply on a petition filed by 26 head constables seeking directions for the reversion of Assistant Sub-Inspectors working on adhoc basis to make place for them.

Taking up the case, a Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta, also fixed November 20 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

The petition assumes significance as 868 employees, including 350 sportspersons, are likely to be affected by the outcome of the case.

Claiming to have passed “intermediate school course”, head constable Kuldip Singh and others had earlier contended that they had so far not been promoted though vacancies were being filled through ad hoc promotions.

The petitioners had added that ad hoc appointments were being made at the cost of qualified persons awaiting their promotion.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioners had earlier submitted that a Division Bench of the High Court had directed the state to comply with the provisions of the Punjab Police Rules.

The judges had added that exemption from passing the courses should not exceed 10 per cent as provided under the rules.

The judges had further ruled that ad hoc promotees had no right to cling to the posts and, if required, they be reverted to make place for regular promotees.

Giving details, the petitioners had asserted that as per the details available with them, the Punjab Armed Police authorities were making ad hoc appointments.

They were also exempting ineligible persons from undergoing promotional courses against the rules after ignoring the eligible persons.


Bar threatens agitation
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 21
Members of the District Bar Association, Mansa, today resolved to go on indefinite strike against the registration of a ‘false’ case against one of their members, Mr Jagtar Singh Dhaliwal, advocate, by the Muktsar city police under Sections 452, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

According to a spokesman of the Bar, Mr Dhaliwal was counsel of Parma Devi, a local resident, in a complaint under Section 376 of the IPC filed by her in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mansa, alleging that her minor daughter Manisha Rani had been raped by Surinder Bansal of Muktsar.

The complaint was later withdrawn by the complainant. Now the FIR registered by the Muktsar city police counter case registered against the accused in the rape case, he added.


Man sentenced to death in double-murder case
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 21
Mr Harbans Lal, District and Sessions Judge Hoshiarpur, has sentenced Kulwinder Singh, son of Santosh Singh of Sujon village, to death for killing two women of the same village.

According to an FIR, Sarabjit Singh of Sujon, had filed a complaint with the Garhshanker Police Station on August 4, 2002, in which he had stated that Kulwinder Singh entered in their house with malafide intention at about 2.30 p.m. on the same day.

He then tried to molest his sister Hardip Kaur while she was sleeping. When the girl raised an alarm his grandmother who was in the adjoining room, came to her rescue. But Kulwinder Singh assaulted the old woman with an axe and she died on the spot. When Hardip Kaur resisted, Kulwinder Singh strangulated her neck also with her dupatta due to which she died. After the murders Kulwinder Singh had escaped from the scene.


Film director in custody till Nov 3
Our Correspondent

Kharar , October 21
Hawayein film’s director, Nirabhjeet Singh alias Nikky was today remanded in judicial custody till November 3 in a court here. He was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau in connection with an FIR No 15 June 24 this year registered against former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and others.

The court also remanded three other accused Darshan Singh, Pavitter Singh and Sukmander Singh in judicial custody till November 3. They were also arrested in connection with the same case.


PSEB announces VDS for farmers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 21
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to reintroduce the voluntary disclosure scheme for regularisation of load in the agricultural sector.

A press note said today that this was being done on the persistent demand of farmers. The scheme will remain valid till December 31 this year.

The agricultural power consumers who have connections under any category, whether general or priority, will have to deposit Rs 4,000 per BHP for all types of motors for unauthorised loads, irrespective of the type of pumpset installed. Agricultural connection deposits will be charged at the rate of Rs 200 per BHP.

No load surcharge will be levied on the agricultural power consumers during the validity of the scheme. Augmentation of the lines and transformers wherever required will be done by the PSEB at its cost.


Efforts on to get seed potato released
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 21
The Vigilance Bureau has initiated efforts to release seed potato lying in a sealed cold storage owned by Mr Anil Kumar, son of Mr Harbans Lal, at Rampura Phul. Mr Anil Kumar had disappeared with the stock register after his father was arrested in a corruption case. Hundreds of farmers of the Rampura belt, who have taken up potato cultivation in a big way, have been making efforts to get back the seed potato stored by them in the cold storage owned by Mr Anil Kumar.

Nearly 500 growers have been visiting various offices and a section of ruling politicians to get seed potato released. They have also met Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda Range.

Mr Grewal said legal opinion was being sought on the issue. He said efforts were afoot to get authorisation from Mr Harbans Lal for releasing the seed potato. Mr Grewal pointed out that only the cold storage was case property in a case registered against Mr Harbans Lal and not the seed potato.


Panel to suggest correctives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
The Punjab Police today constituted a five-member committee under the ADGP (Administration) to provide more promotional avenues in the wireless wing.

The committee has been asked to work out a scheme to bring officials working in the wireless wing on a par with those in the general executive line. It has been asked to submit its report within 15 days.

The committee has been directed to give its recommendations with regard to holding some test on the pattern of B-1 test for the promotion of a wireless constable as a Head Constable; holding some other test or prescribe courses for further promotions. The committee is also required to frame rules for regulating the services of directly appointed DSPs (Wireless) for their promotion or for their amalgamation in the general Punjab Police Services. Earlier, Mr Sanjiv Gupta, IG (Headquarters), had examined the issue of merging DSPs (Wireless) with those in the general cadre.

Sources disclose that with the 3100-member wing having its own line of promotions, there is acute stagnation as there was only one post of SP. In many cases, those recruited as DSPs may have to retire in the same rank. The post of SP was once upgraded to a DIG but it was abolished upon his retirement. In fact, the second post of SP in the wing has also been lying vacant.

Mr Gupta had pointed out the differences in the promotion system of the two cadres. While promotions in the general cadre were governed by the police rules, those in the wireless wing were based on seniority-cum-merit.

The educational qualifications for appointment in both cadres are different. Mr Gupta had recommended that a committee should be set up to suggest measures to work out the merger of the wireless and general wings.


New IAF station chief takes over

Bhisiana (Bathinda), October 21
Group Captain S. Sukhmar took over command of Air Force Station Bhisiana here from Group Captain Arup Raha transferred to Air Force Academy Hyderabad.

Group Captain S. Sukhmar was commissioned in the IAF on December 29, 1976. He is a fighter pilot and also a test pilot. He has flown 4000 hours on more than 30 types of aircraft. Before taking over at Bhisiana, he was the Chief Test Pilot at Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment at Bangalore. — TNS


Rs 8.10 lakh looted at gunpoint
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 21
Armed robbers today looted Rs 8.10 lakh at gunpoint from a shop in the local grain market today.

Police sources said two young men entered the shop of Krishan Kumar Aggarwal, a commission agent, in the grain market at 11 am today. The owner of the shop, his son Dinesh, his nephew, Ramit, and two others were sitting in the shop at the time.

According to the complainant, one of the men brandished a pistol and asked all the men except the owner and his son to go into adjoining room. Following this one of the men picked up Rs 7.50 lakh lying on the table in the shop. This money had been withdrawn from the nearby Oriental Bank of Commerce a shortwhile ago, the complaint said.

The men also asked Mr Agarwal to open the safe and took away around Rs 60,000 from it. It said the men had come on Yamaha Crux motor cycle. Superintendent of Police (City) Kuldeep Singh said ‘nakas’ had been put up in the district.


Suicide by couple
Our Correspondent

Phagwara , October 21
A couple, reportedly afflicted with AIDS, today committed suicide at nearby Narur village. They were identified as Satwinder Singh alias Bura and his wife Kuldip Kaur alias Parwati.

It was learnt tonight that Bura (40) was a truck driver. They were married for the past 15 years but issueless. Bura’s mother Parsin Kaur told this all to the Rawalpindi police which confirmed it. 


Cop held, illegal weapons seized
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 21
The Jandiala police has arrested Rajkumar, a resident of Gurdaspur and a constable posted in the Majitha police district allegedly for possessing and smuggling of illegal weapons here late last evening. A case has been registered under Section 25/54/59 of the Arms Act.

The police has seized two pistols of .12 bore along with three cartridges and a revolver of .32 bore with six cartridges.


Punjab to fill teachers’ vacancies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 21
With the Centre having released the first instalment of Rs 64 crore as part of the Rs 200 crore approved annual work plan (2003-04) under the ‘Sarv Sikhia Abhiyan’ and Punjab contributing its own share of Rs 17 crore, money is set to be disbursed to all districts in the next week or so.

The Punjab Minister of Education, Mr Khushal Behl, said today that 33 per cent of Rs 81 crore would be used for civil works in the schools to provide basic infrastructure.

Mr Behl said “rationalisation’’ of the deployment of some 5,000 secondary and elementary teachers had been completed to fill vacancies in rural and backward districts. There were schools with more teachers and less students or vice versa or schools without teachers.

There were schools housed in private, rented or dilapidated buildings. There was non-availability of furniture. Also, the dropout rate of students was high and so was absenteeism of teachers. Rural divide has also cast a dark shadow over the quality of education.

There were over 32 lakh school-going students from class VI to XII, with boys outnumbering girls. The strength of teachers was over 12 lakh.

Mr Behl said the departmental promotion committees had met and secondary and primary teachers’ lists had been drawn up to fill vacancies.

Teaching of English

Even though the Congress Government recently introduced English from class I, its teaching was all oral, Mr Behl said. The formal textbook teaching started from class III.

Mr Behl pointed out that learning English from class I put psychological pressure on children. He skirted the issue when pointed out that private schools taught English from class I.


Action against teachers recommended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 21
Mr B. Sarkar, Commissioner, Faridkot division, who conducted a surprise visit in various schools of city, today directed the District Education Officer, elementary (DEO), to take disciplinary action against teachers of Government Primary School, Nahianwala, who despite being present in the school, were not taking their classes after the recess period.

Expressing displeasure over the insanitary conditions in various parts of the city, Mr Sarkar directed the Executive Officer, Municipal Corporation, Bathinda, Mr Kamal Kant to make arrangements for lifting of garbage from the different dumping points daily. He said that from the prevailing conditions, it was clear the garbage had not been lifted for days together.

When Mr Sarkar visited the Government Primary School, Nahianwala, today he found that most of Lal the teachers were sitting together and not taking their respective classes.

He said that as per the number of students in the school, it was found that three teachers were surplus there. He immediately directed the DEO, elementary, to make arrangements for transfer of three surplus teachers to other schools, where teachers were required apart from taking disciplinary action against the teachers bunking classes.

In the Government Primary School, Mohalla Guru Nanak Pura, also he found three teachers were surplus and directed the DEO, elementary to make arrangements for their transfers. Similarly, after finding two teachers surplus in the Government Primary School, Gill Patti, he directed the DEO, elementary, to transfer them. 


Pak homoeopaths for Indian courses
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 21
Pakistani homoeopathy doctors have sought permission to pursue post-graduate and doctoral courses in homoeopathy in India. In Pakistan, only diploma courses are available.

This was stated by Dr Sheikh Azhar Intesar, president of the Pakistan chapter of the Asian Homoeopathic Medical League.

He was talking to medipersons at the Wagah joining check post before crossing over to Pakistan today as the leader of a 21-member delegation of homoeopathy doctors who had come to attend the 14th International Homoeopathic Congress in Delhi on October 15.


Varsity constitutes panel to probe student’s suicide
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 21
The Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr S.P. Singh, today constituted a high-level subcommittee headed by Dr Jairoop Singh, Dean, Academic Affairs, to probe in to the allegations that Saurav Mahajan, a final-year student of law department, was forced to commit suicide when ‘baseless’ allegations of stealing a mobile phone of a son of SP (Tarn Taran) were levelled against him.

The committee would submit its report at the earliest. However, sources close to the deceased, alleged that the university and the police may try to save the wards of two police officials involved in the case. On the other hand, the students have threatened to launch an agitation if justice was not given to the family of Saurav.


Kulwinder wins mehndi contest
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 21
At the 10-day National Service Scheme (NSS) camp being held at SSD Girl’s College, a mehndi competition, besides competitions in poster-making, painting, dance, poetry etc were organised yesterday. The results of various competitions are as follows:-

Mehndi competition-Kulwinder, 1, Ruchkia, 2 and Veerpal 3.

Paper reading- Sarveen Brar, 1, Gurpreet Kaur, 2 and Gagandeep 3.

Poetry recitation- Vishey, 1, Archana, 2 and Sarveen Brar 3.

Painting- Harjinder, 1, Anita, 2 and Gurpreet Kaur 3.

Singing (solo)- Sunita, 1, Amarjeet, 2 and Gagandeep 3. Dance (solo)- Sunita, 1, Mandeep Kaur and Amarjeet Kaur (joint winners at second place) and Gurinder Kaur 3.


50 ex-PCS officers clear exam
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 21
Most of the former officers of the 1998 batch, who reappeared for the PCS main examination after their entire batch was dismissed from service following allegations of mass-scale bungling in the conduct of the examination, have passed the main examination whose result was declared yesterday.

Sources said around 70 old candidates had appeared in the PCS main examination. The sources said more than 50 out of those 70 candidates had cleared the main examination.

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