P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



’84 riots were pre-planned: Badal
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The former Punjab Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has termed the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as a pre-planned massacre organised by politicians for political gain. Addressing a mammoth gathering of riot victims here at Dugri late last night, Mr Badal said Sikhs had to suffer the oppression from several foreign invaders in the past, but in 1984 their own Indian brothers indulged in riots against them.

Specifically pointing out at Congress leaders for perpetuating atrocities on Sikhs, he said many generations of Sikhs to come would not forget 1984. Unfortunately, today some Sikhs were conveniently trying to overlook the atrocities and mingling with the Congress for narrow political interests. The annual function where Mr Badal was speaking was organised by the Danga Peedit Association.

Mr Badal said killers of innocent Sikhs were still moving about freely despite the fact that the government in the country was fully aware about the role of these people in 1984.

Mr Mahesinder Singh Grewal, General Secretary of the Akali Dal, said the report given by Justice Tarakunde on the anti-Sikh riots should be converted into an FIR and the accused tried according to the law of the land for the sake of justice. He said Parliament should pay homage to all those who had died during the riots that had rocked the entire nation.

Earlier, while talking to newsmen, Mr Badal disclosed his party’s electoral plans by saying that his party would jointly contest the Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh elections with the BJP, while in Rajasthan it would go alone. He also disclosed that the party’s organisational elections up to the district level would be completed over the next two months.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, former SGPC President, and Mr Shakti Kumar Sharma, Vice-President, Punjab BJP.


Police remand of Badal’s aide extended

Kharar, November 2
A local court today extended the police remand of SAD general secretary’s close aide Gurpinder Singh Grewal, who was arrested on October 31 by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) in a case of corruption, accumulation of disproportionate assets, cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy registered against SAD MLA from Joga Jagdeep Singh Nakai, till November 4.

Duty Magistrate B.K. Bhatia directed to produce the Chandigarh-based accused before a local court on Tuesday. Besides ordering to get the accused medically examined, the court allowed an application moved by the VB seeking search warrants for three different places in New Delhi, including a temporary residence of Grewal.

While pronouncing the orders in an open court, the Magistrate directed the VB official concerned to take the accused to New Delhi for conducting the searches.

Grewal was arrested from New Delhi in the wee hours on Friday and produced before the court today after expiry of his two-day police remand.

Public Prosecutor Jatinderjit Singh Punn, accompanied by VB DSP Banarsi Das, today sought seven-day extension in police remand of the accused for verifying the relevant records, ascertaining the details of his sources of income, bank accounts, credit and ATM cards besides taking him along to New Delhi for conducting searches of suspected places, where the relevant records were lying.

The prosecution submitted that during custodial interrogation, Grewal had confessed that during the Badal regime, he had got Pritpal Singh Grewal and his wife Balraj Kaur Grewal nominated as PCS officers through Nakai after accepting huge bribe. However, Grewal did not disclose as to which Akali leader did Nakai forward the bribe money for getting the job done. UNI


Letter on fee hike kicks up row
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
A letter written by Mr N.S. Rattan as Punjab Principal Secretary, Higher Education, who has since retired, on the hike in the fee and funds in colleges to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development against Panjab University, Chandigarh, has kicked up a row.

The letter, blaming the university authorities for engineering a "hue and cry" over the enhancement of fee and funds, suggests "effective" steps to bring about financial discipline and transparency in its working.

The Panjab University Senate is livid at this action of the state government. This letter is now on the agenda of the Consultative Committee of the university, which is to meet in New Delhi on November 14. Cognizance of this letter was also taken at the October 28 meeting of the Senate sub-committee, which had unanimously resolved to effect 20 per cent hike in college admission and tuition fees.

Several members, including Mr Pawan Bansal, MP, have expressed their displeasure at the letter. They say the senate was constituted under an Act of Parliament and is a statutory body. Only the HRD Ministry can reject a senate decision.

Senator Charanjit Chawla says it is for the state government to implement the decisions of the senate with regard to academic issues, fee structure and giving of grants under the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966. The government cannot dictate on fee and funds. Also, the contents of the letter are "factually incorrect and untrue," particularly in respect of B.Ed students and budgeting of funds.

In fact, there is more to the issue than the letter itself.

What, perhaps, irked Mr Rattan, say certain senators, was the senate's rejection of the Punjab Government notification (May 13, 2002) on the enhancement of fee on July 6. The same day, it also rejected the July 2 notification of the Chandigarh Administration on fee enhancement. That notification continues to be operative. Students are agitating for the notification to be withdrawn.

While Punjabi University, Patiala, and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, adopted the government-tailored fee structure, Panjab University constituted, first, a committee of syndics and then of senators to prescribe the fee. The university also decided in principle in 1999 to effect a 10 per cent hike every year.

Smitten by this action of the university, the government, in the face of resistance from several quarters, was forced to withdraw the May 13 notification on July 22 this year. The letter by Mr Rattan is seen as a fallout of this action of the university.

It is ironical that at present two sets of fee structure are being followed by the colleges affiliated to the university—101 colleges in Punjab and 21 in Chandigarh.

Mr Bansal told the Tribune News Service yesterday that he would soon meet the Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, to impress upon him to withdraw the July 2 notification and also bring to his notice the senate decision of July 6 that rejected it.

Prof Chawla pointed out that had the Punjab Government notification of May 13 been accepted, an undergraduate student today would have been paying an admission fee of Rs 750 per annum, whereas following the senate committee's recommendation of October 28, the same student is paying Rs 198.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, said he had repeatedly told the syndicate and senate that he could not afford confrontation with the government on the fee hike and that the May 1 notification be accepted. He confirmed that the letter was on the agenda of the forthcoming meeting of the Consultative Committee. He was preparing a suitable reply to the letter.


Encroachments galore on govt land
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 2
As many as 11,321 properties of different government bodies and departments have been encroached upon by unscrupulous elements in Jalandhar district and the local Municipal Corporation and the Improvement Trust top all of these bodies with the maximum number of encroachments on their land.

Interestingly, none of the departments, except the Punjab State Electricity Board has allegedly prepared the property register in a proper manner.

A survey conducted by the district administration has made startling revelations about the state of encroachments on government properties, belonging to different departments such as PUDA, the Forest Department, the Improvement Trust, the Municipal Corporation, the Panchayat Department, Tehsils (Jalandhar-1&2), Bist Doab Division, Jalandhar Drainage Division and Road and Bridge Division of the PWD (B&R).

According to the list prepared by the administration, the maximum number of properties (3231) of the Municipal Corporation were encroached upon by unscrupulous elements, followed by Improvement Trust and the Tehsil Jalandhar-I, of which 1,786 and 2,977 properties have been usurped. The number of encroachments on lands of other departments is as follows. Tehsil Jalandhar-II (2411), the Panchayat Department (268), the Forest Department (150), PUDA (39), the Road and Bridge Division, PWD-B&R (275), and the Bist Doab Division (111).

Disturbed over such a large number of encroachments on government land, Mr Ashok Gupta, has directed all government department heads to maintain a proper register having all details of their respective properties such as account of properties, dates of ownership, transfer mutation with present status whether a particular property was encroached upon or free of any encroachment, name and address of encroacher and action taken for the removal of encroachments.

Mr Gupta also warned officials that stern action would be taken in case connivance of any official with encroachers was established. He said all officers had been asked to file court cases under the Public Premises Act as a legal measure to remove encroachments in case it was not done earlier and to follow up cases which had already been filed in different courts.

According to Mr Gupta the position of encroachments would be reviewed every month in future.


Teams deputed to arrest Daler
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 2
The Patiala police today deputed four teams to arrest pop star Daler Mehndi in the human trafficking case following the expiry of the interim bail secured by the singer from the Delhi High Court.

Police sources said the four teams led by Inspector-level officers had been despatched to New Delhi. The sources said while two teams had been despatched to two farm houses on the outskirts of New Delhi, one team was likely to raid his house and the other his office.

Meanwhile, Daler’s lawyer Anand Parkash denied allegations that the pop star was absconding. He said the police had Daler’s address as well as the addresses of his sureties. He said Daler was unwell and was taking rest due to which he could not be available on the phone to everyone. Mr Parkash maintained that Daler would be produced when he recovered, adding that the singer could be produced on November 4, the date when his application for regular bail in the case would be taken up in Patiala.


Punjab BJP workers fan out in Rajasthan dists
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 2
Even as Central leaders of the BJP are yet to formally launch a campaign in Rajasthan for the coming Assembly elections, party workers of Punjab have started fanning out in Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts.

Though the BJP leadership is yet to announce candidates for the 200 Assembly seats in Rajasthan, the workers have started an informal campaign for the elections slated for December 4.

BJP leaders of Bathinda, Mansa, Faridkot, Muktsar, Ferozepore and Faridkot districts have been given the task to make contacts with residents of these two Rajasthan districts, who originally hailed from Punjab, particularly from the Malwa belt, in this regard.

Mr Mohit Gupta and Mr Narinder Mittal, president, of the district unit of the BJP, and president, of the BJP Bathinda Mandal unit, respectively, held a meeting with the party leaders of the Rajasthan districts yesterday at Hanumangarh.

They said the requirements of the local leadership of those areas would be conveyed to Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, former president of the Punjab BJP, and Bibi Gurcharan Kaur, MP, who was the supervisor of the election campaign in these district.

They said each Assembly segment, including Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh, Sangria, Kesrisinghpura and Shirikaranpura, that had been given to the Punjab BJP workers, 200 workers would be put on the job and would work for 20 days in every Assembly segment.

They said the residents of Punjab have links with Punjabis in Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts had been playing a crucial role in the elections.

Another meeting would be held on November 6 at Hanumangarh and the workers would be assigned village, ward and booth-wise duties. Mrs Luxmi Kant Chawla, former BJP MLA, would also be invited for the campaign.


8-year struggle, yet no justice
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, November 2
Mr Mohinder Singh, 71, whose son was allegedly killed by the Punjab police in a fake encounter about nine years ago, is running from pillar to post to get justice. He has sought intervention of the CBI Director in New Delhi as well as the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, alleging that the investigating agency (CBI) had caused delay despite court directions.

"My son Jugraj Singh was 27 when he was picked up by the Mohali police on January 14, 1995, along with his Maruti van. I informed the police, but it refused to registered an FIR. I sent a telegram to the then Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on January 16, 1995, which was treated as writ petition and notice was issued to the Mohali police," said the father of the deceased while talking to The Tribune.

Thereafter, the Mohali police filed an affidavit in the court stating that Jugraj Singh had been neither arrested nor was he wanted in any case. He had also not been kidnapped or killed by it in any encounter.

"Later I moved a petition in the high court giving details of the incident. Acting on that, the court ordered a CBI inquiry and directed it to submit its report within three months. The CBI submitted its report on August 16, 1996, wherein it held that Jugraj Singh was killed in an encounter by the Punjab police along with another person in Majitha", Mr Mohinder Singh narrated.

On February 27, 1998, the CBI filed its report to the Special Judge, CBI, Patiala, recommending closure of the case. Thereafter, Mr Mohinder Singh moved a protest petition against the CBI report, seeking fresh investigation.

He produced 10 witnesses to prove that his son had been picked up by the Punjab police. On this, the court of the Special Judge, Patiala, rejected the CBI report and ordered further investigation on April 9, 2003. The court directed the CBI to file its report within three months. He alleged the investigating agency sought adjournments to delay the disposal of the case.

"I have lost everything. My son Jugraj was killed by the Punjab police in a fake encounter in 1995. A year later, I lost my elder son in an accident. The only companion in my struggle, my wife, died last year," lamented Mr Mohinder Singh while narrating his tale.

He said he had become a victim of the system. "I worked as a senior technical officer in the Punjab Assembly, so I knew several politicians and officials, but that was to no avail. After getting cold shoulder from everyone, I submitted a complaint to the CBI Director on October 29 and to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 20."


Expansion of Cabinet ruled out
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 2
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh today ruled out expansion of the Cabinet in the near future. Whenever the expansion took place it would be after consulting the party President Mrs Sonia Gandhi, he added.

He was here to attend the marriage of a daughter of MP Santosh Chowdhary. Commenting upon the issue of “kabootars” (illegal human cargo) and involvement of pop singer Daler Mehndi in it, Capt Amarinder Singh quipped that those involved in the racket would be put behind bars.


BJP to stand by Akalis

Amritsar, November 2
The Punjab state BJP chief, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, has said the state party unit would fully support the Shiromani Akali Dal in case their leader was arrested.

Talking to newsmen here yesterday, Mr Khanna said that he had directed the party leaders at the district level to prepare a list of cases being registered against BJP and Akali workers. — OC


Defence Dept wants beneficiaries to return land money
Bharat Bhushan Dogra

PATHANKOT: Land measuring 1000 acres notified to be acquired by the Department of Defence for military installations has become a bone of contention for landlords and residents of Karoli village of this subdivision.

The notification authorising the Defence Department to acquire the land was made in 1991. The DoD paid Rs 2.37 crore in advance to the landlords as compensation which amounted to 80 per cent of the total compensation but some residents approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court against their eviction.

Meanwhile, the DoD dropped the scheme and the government denotified the acquisition of land in 1994 and directed the beneficiaries to deposit back the compensation. The beneficiaries were also issued notices to return the amount but the poor villagers failed to respond to the notices and the matter did not gain momentum.

Now fresh notices have been issued for the recovery of the amount under Sections 69/70 of the Land Revenue Act which empowers the authorities to detain and even arrest the defaulters. They have been asked to deposit the principal amount along with interest for the past eight to 10 years.

In order to get the interest incurred on the principal amount, one of the beneficiaries, Onkar Mahajan, filed a petition in the high court, seeking relief from paying interest and penal interest incurred on the amount paid to him about 8 years ago.

The double Bench of the high court comprising Mr Justice V.K. Bali and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh had directed the aggrieved party to deposit the principal amount by next month.

Most of the landlords and villagers have appealed to the Union Government to take a lenient view as the amount received by them had been spent on domestic and social needs.

Echha Devi, sarpanch of Karoli village, said most of the villagers were not in a position to return the money. She said the government should waive the interest and the principal should also be realised in easy instalments.

Gurdit Singh, a 75 years old man, said if the department had completed the acquisition in 1991 itself, the villagers would not have to face the consequences after about 10 years. He said he had spent the money on the marriage of his children and was not in a position to return the amount.

Vimla Devi demanded the valuation of the land according to the present market value.

Vishwas Guleria demanded the constitution of a joint committee of civil and military administration with some members from the beneficiaries to sort out the problem.

Sukhwant, an official of the Special Land Acquisition Collector’s office said the office had been directed to effect the recovery of Rs 2.37 crore from the beneficiaries. She claimed that Rs 32 lakh had been realised and notices had been issued to some more persons.


Upper-Bari Doab case probe hampered
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, November 2
The investigation into multi-crore upper-Bari Doab case is going on at a snail pace due to the non-availability of technical experts.

The Sadar police here on July 4 this year registered an FIR against certain officials following a report of the Adviser (Irrigation) to the Chief Minister, Punjab.

According to the report, the existing capacity of the channels of the project were not adequate to carry the discharge of revised water allowances.

It (report) says the project for re-modelling the channels of the UBD system to meet the revised water allowances of the (post) Ranjit Sagar Dam stage was drawn up in the year 1998. The project was sanctioned by the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India from January 2001, onward, of the total cost 67 per cent was to be borne by the Government of India and 33 per cent by the Punjab government. The total cost of the project was estimated as Rs 178.80 crore at 1998 cost index.

The then officials concerned spent Rs 120 crore within 33 months against two stipulated 48 months. The amount was reportedly spent in haphazard manner which affected irrigation to the field as envisaged in the project. Not only this, financial irregularities were detected to favour a particular contractor.

However, Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SP, Headquarters, Gurdaspur, said technical experts were being involved to speed up the investigation.


Mann flays Centre for ‘discourtesy’ to Canadian PM
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 2
The SAD (Amritsar) president, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, has flayed the Central Government for deliberately showing discourtesy during the recent Punjab visit of the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Jean Chretien.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Mr Mann said the Central Government had humiliated the Sikh community and insulted the Canadian Prime Minister by not following the proper protocol reserved for a head of government.

Mr Mann said he had already written to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, protesting against the breach of protocol during the day-long visit of the Canadian Prime Minister on October 26 to Amritsar and Chandigarh. He said the government had failed to provide a government aircraft and did not send a Cabinet minister to accompany the Canadian Premier. He felt the Central Government must give a proper clarification in this regard.


I-G asked to probe land-grab by Punjab cop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
Taking cognizance of a complaint of harassment, extortion and land grabbing by a Punjab Police Sub-Inspector by an Amritsar resident, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has issued directions that a case be registered and the Inspector-General of Police (Litigation) should look into the matter personally.

The PSHRC has directed that a report in this connection should be submitted before February 4 next year.

In her complaint filed on October 17, Darshan Kaur, a resident of Patahpur village near Amritsar, alleged harassment, humiliation and threats at the hands of the Sub-Inspector in charge of the police post near the Golden Temple. She also alleged that the Sub-Inspector had forced her to sign a will in favour of his daughter, who is married to her son.

The complainant, who used to live along with her sons at a house in J.D. Senior Public School run by her, stated that the Sud-Inspector used to send armed policemen to the school, to threaten and intimidate her and her sons.

Four cops were later stationed in the school premises permanently, she added.

Consequently, they were forced to leave their house in the school. The complainant alleged that some policemen and relatives of the Sub-Inspector had occupied their house, ransacked cupboards and usurped some property.


Move to revert irrigation staff
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 2
The Punjab State Electricity Board has initiated a move to revert the staff of the Irrigation Department maintaining the Anandpur Sahib and the Mukerian hydel canals. The data regarding the staff has been sought by the board.

Sources said with the motive to reduce its staff strength and lobbying of junior engineers, who see promotion opportunities once the irrigation staff was shifted, the PSEB had been urging the department to call back its employees deputed for the maintenance of the canals under the control of the board since long. However, recently under the directive of the Punjab Government to call back all employees on deputation, the Irrigation Department wrote a routine letter to the board to send back its employees. The letter provided the board authorities an opportunity to get rid of the irrigation wing employees.

The sources said in 1993 when the canals were transferred to the PSEB, as per the agreement, it was decided that while the board staff would run the hydel projects, the maintenance of the canals would remain with the irrigation employees. However, if now the irrigation staff was shifted from the canals, the onus of maintaining the canals would shift to civil engineers of the board, who hardly had any experience of maintenance of the canals.


Society honours martyrs’ kin, soldiers
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, November 2
The local Jai Jawan Welfare Society organised a function at the auditorium of Sainik School here last night to honour wounded soldiers, families of martyrs and those soldiers who had been awarded Paramvir chakras and other medals and chakras.

Lieut-Gen (retd) Surjit Singh Sanghra, Chairman, Punjab Public Service Commission, PVSM, and Lieut-Gen (retd) Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, were the guests of honour.

Mr Ajit Singh, Public Relations Officer of Netaji Subhash Chander Bose and Lieut Col Ajit Singh, brother of Lieut Karamjit Singh, winner of Victoria Cross also participated in the function.

The society honoured the parents of Captain Vikram Batra and Lieut Manoj Kumar Pandey, who won Paramvir chakra, posthumously.

The other soldiers honoured on this occasion were Brig Sukhjit Singh, Maj Balwan Singh, both winners of Mahavir chakras, Hony Capt Rattan Singh, Naib Subedar Mohinder Singh, Capt Sachin Nimbalkar, Capt Anmol Kalia (posthumous), Sepoy Kabal Singh (posthumous), Sepoy Gurdeep Singh (posthumous) all winners of Vir chakra.

Maj SJS Randhawa, Kirti chakra (posthumous), Maj Raman Dada (posthumous), Maj Rohit Sharma, Sepoy Balwant Singh and Capt Harjinderpaul Singh Dhammi all winners of Kirti and Shaurya chakras were also honoured.

Brig MPS Bajwa, Brig KJS Oberoi, Col K.S. Kanwal, L/Naik Paramjit Singh, Sena Medal (posthumous), winners of Sena Medal and Yudh Sena Medals were also honoured.

The wounded soldiers who were honoured on this occasion are Sepoy Manga Singh, Dalip Singh, Makhan Singh, Gulzari Ram, Amarjit Singh, Darshan Singh, Karamveer Singh, Shakti Singh and Kishan Kumar.


Rice millers’ plea to govt
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 2
The urban and rural units of the Patiala Rice Millers Association have alleged that the state procuring agencies have violated the policy of the state government in storing paddy among the rice millers for custom milling at Patiala Centre.

The presidents of the urban and rural units, Mr Sanjiv Goyal and Mr Surinder Kumar Sangha, respectively, in a joint statement here said as per the policy of the state government, the paddy stocks of the current crop were to be stored equally among the rice millers. The association alleged the norms were not adopted by the Patiala centre due to which resentment prevailed in the milling trade.

The association has appealed to the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the MP, Ms Parneet Kaur, to intervene and ensure the equitable distribution of paddy among rice millers of the local centre.


Unemployed linemen call off stir
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 2
The agitating unemployed linemen today decided to call off their agitation and fast unto death continuing for the past 45 days before the office of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) on being offered juice by the Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board.

The unemployed linemen stated that they had been forced to take recourse to agitation to highlight their genuine concerns to the PSEB and the state government. They added that their agitation should not be misunderstood as a pressure tactic to secure jobs in the PSEB. They further stated that they were grateful to Mr Sant Ram Singla for taking up their cause with the board and the government.

In a statement, Mr Singla said he had discussed the linemen’s case with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and had also arranged a meeting of the leaders of the linemen’s Association with the Chief Minister here on Saturday. The Chief Minister had said that the government was aware of the problems being faced by the 30 lakh unemployed youth of the state. He added that the government was trying its best to clear the financial mess which had been ‘’inherited’’ from the previous government.

Mr Singla stated that all institutions, including the PSEB, must have a clear policy of small but regular intake to keep the organisation dynamic and to infuse fresh blood from time to time. Meanwhile, the agitating linemen expressed the hope that their grievances would be expeditiously addressed by the government and the PSEB.


Writer’s death mourned
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 2
Various writers of the state organised a meeting to mourn the death of Prem Prakash Singh (77), renowned litterateur, here recently.

Prem Prakash Singh, has contributed a lot in the field of Punjabi and Hindi literature. He was deep into reading and writing. He had acquired in-depth knowledge in the field of Hindi, Punjabi and Sanskrit languages.

Prem Prakash Singh had also done PhD in Guru Granth Sahib. Besides, he had also written life histories of Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Nanak.

He was also member of the Text Book Board of Punjabi Language Department, Khasla College, Amritsar, and Punjabi University, Patiala. He was also a founder member of the Punjabi Literature Academy, Ludhiana.


Six hurt in clash over land
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 2
Six persons belonging to two different castes were injured in a clash at Mallomajra village, a few kilometres from the city, on the Sangrur road today.

Sources said the clash occurred at 11 am today when a family from a weaker section of society ploughed some land claiming that it belonged to them.

This was objected to by a family of landlords which claimed that the Dalit family was ploughing a village road which was adjacent to their land. Both parties attacked each other with farm implements and sharp-edged weapons.

While two members of the landlords family, Jaskaran Singh and Daljit Kaur, were injured, the other four who were also injured are Bhagwan Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lal Singh and Sukhwinder Singh. All of them have been admitted to Government Rajindra Hospital here. Bhagwan Singh has been severely injured in the clash.


Encouraging uninhibited expression is his motto
Gurvinder Kaur

PATIALA: At times a little inspiration from the right source entirely change the course of a life. The bubbly enthusiasm and exuberance of a little girl, Anu Dhillon, inspired art educator Manmeet Singh with the vision of an uninhibited environment for children where they could express themselves freely through their painting without bothering about the judgement pronounced upon their works by grown-ups.

This in turn led to the formation of the International Child Art Connoisseurs Foundation (ICAEF), a forum that promotes a children art movement in various Asian countries in a big way. Not only does the forum facilitate the exchange of child art exhibitions with other Asian countries, it also ensures that paintings of children from all parts of the world are exhibited in galleries in USA and Europe.

Manmeet Shubh Prem Singh who is also known as the ‘eccentric art sir’ has recently retired from Yadavindra Public School in the city where he was art educator for nearly three decades. A group of art educationists decided to form a platform to promote child art through voluntary help Manmeet was inspired by one of his pupils to form the ICAEF and he adopted one of her drawings as its emblem.

Under Manmeet’s guidance a unique annual art exchange programme was initiated at YPS in 1987 whereby Yadavindrians and their counterparts from Somers Public School, USA, broke new ground by having cultural exchange. Since then hundreds of students belonging to both the schools have formed a bond of friendship. The Hartford Courant, one of the oldest newspapers of Amrica, published an account of this international exchange along with photographs of the paintings exchanged by the students. The exchange continues till date and even today Yadavindrian works of art adorn the walls of Somers school.

Manmeet organised many art carnivals in school on the theme of art for art’s sake and students were encouraged to express their dreams or visions or in fact anything about which they felt strongly. The carnivals became a meeting ground for both the students and the parents as the latter were invited at the event and interacted freely with the children. No judgement was passed on the paintings and none were adjudged the best. However, the event managed to provide the parents an insight into their wards’ minds.

In 2001-2002, Manmeet was bestowed the Service above Self Award by the Rotary International. The award is deemed to be the highest Service Rotary Award for exemplary service to society and for upholding rotary ideals. After obtaining a degree in fine arts and crafts from Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan, followed by a B.Ed in Art Education from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, Manmeet taught for a short stint at Sainik School Goalpara, Assam, before joining YPS at Patiala.


Breach in Narwana canal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 2
Wheat on 100 acres was destroyed when a breach occurred in the Narwana branch canal at Shahpur village in the district early today morning.

According to sources, the breach was discovered early today morning by one Balbir Singh of Baghaura village following which announcements were made in gurdwaras along the villages. People from nearby villages reached the site and tried to plug the breach.

Drainage Department officials reached the spot later and a crane was put into service to plug the breach. 


Tohra heading to USA for treatment

Amritsar, November 2
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Gurcharan Singh Tohra is likely to go to the USA on November 25 for treatment of his heart, according to SGPC sources here yesterday.

The sources said Mr Tohra will leave the country after the elections of the SGPC scheduled for November 20. Mr Tohra had also underwent bypass surgery this year. — UNI


Pakhoke to head jatha to Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 2
Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, senior vice-president, SGPC, has been selected by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra to head the Sikh jatha scheduled to leave for Pakistan on November 5 on the occasion of birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. This was stated by Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary, SPGC. The jatha will return on November 15.


Mass marriage solemnised
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, November 2
Marriages of 19 poor couples belonging to economically weaker sections were solemnised here today at a function organised by the local Citizen Council and presided over by Mr Gurinder Singh Rataul, Secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Mr Avtar Singh Taneja, president of the council, said that Mr Rataul gave an amount of Rs 50,000 to the council on behalf of the Majha Cultural and Sports Society, Canada. Daily use articles were given to the newly-wed couples by the council.


80-ft statue of Hanuman unveiled
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 2
An 80-foot-high statue of lord Hanuman was inaugurated at the Ram Tirath temple, about 20 km from here, today by Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president of the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena.

The statue that was built at the cost of about Rs 9 lakh over a period of 14 months by a team of 40 artisans from Orissa, was constructed under the aegis of Mata Lal Devi Mandir at the entrance of the temple which is believed to be the birthplace of the sons of lord Ram.

An 80-foot-high statue of lord Hanuman, which was unveiled at the Ram Tirath temple in Amritsar on Sunday . — Photo by Sawinder Singh

An 80-foot-high statue of lord Hanuman


One dies of dengue

Jalandhar, November 2
One youth died of dengue fever in the city, official sources said here today. Tarun Chug (20) of Basti Gujjan was admitted to hospital with high fever on October 31 and his blood samples tested positive for dengue, hospital sources said.

The youth was shifted to a hospital in Ludhiana where within two hours he died.

Civil Surgeon Kiranjit Kumar said a special medical team had been constituted to monitor the situation. Private hospitals and nursing homes had been asked to report about such patients to the local Civil Hospital. — PTI


Cases being delayed for want of addresses
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 2
Hundreds of industrial dispute cases are piling up in the Regional Labour Court here due to the alleged failure of factory workers and labourers in furnishing their addresses and other documents within the stipulated time.

There are around 2,000 industrial dispute cases pending in the court, which deals with industrial disputes originating in the Doaba region. More than 90 per cent of such cases were being delayed for the want of permanent or temporary addresses of factory workers, whose cases were referred to the court by the Punjab Labour Department, said sources in the court.

Investigations revealed that in more than 90 per cent cases, factory workers do not mention their permanent or temporary addresses. They just mention the address of trade union they belong to as their contact address. This causes problems for the court, particularly in case of migrant labourers who leave for their native states after being fired from jobs. Due to the practice, the aggrieved factory worker as well as the court become solely dependent on the trade union concerned. Moreover, after being referred to the court by the Labour Department, many factory workers did not file their statement of claim within the stipulated period of 15 days.

“In some cases, the mandatory Form-F (authority letter of a labourer or factory worker) is submitted after a gap of 10 months, though according to norms, such documents should be submitted within 15 days of the reference of a case to the court by the Labour Department,” said an official.

“Usually, we don’t have any contact with the labourer or factory worker even after his case is referred to us as the prescribed forms come without their permanent or temporary addresses,” said Mr Kuldip Singh, the Presiding Officer of the Labour Court. He said a majority of factory workers did not come to the court after lunch hours.

In some cases, factory workers and even factory owners not only fail to submit evidence within the three opportunities, but also don’t file affidavit in evidence within stipulated period, which sometimes leads to a situation where the court has no alternative but to dispose of cases without any benefit to them” Mr Kuldip Singh said, adding: “They would greatly benefit if they fulfil the documentary requirements within time and this would also help curb the delay in the disposal of cases.”


Pak national shot at
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 2
A Pakistani national, Mohammad Rasiq was shot at when he tried to cross over to India, at Amar Chowki about 15 km from here, last evening.

According to a complaint lodged by the company commander of the BSF, Mohammad Rasiq of Jhang district in Pakistan was trying to infiltrate into Indian territory. BSF jawans challenged him and tried to stop him. However, he tried to flee. The troops then shot at him. He has been admitted to the Civil Hospital at Tarn Taran. A case under Sections 3, 34 and 20 of the Indian Passport Act has been registered.


Travel agent, mother booked
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 2
The police has booked a travel agent Ashish Aggarwal and his mother for allegedly taking Rs 10 lakh from Sudarshan Pal Singh of Bhole village on the pretext of sending him abroad.

The SSP today said that Sudarshan Pal, an employee with the PSEB, in his complaint said when he asked for a refund, the accused refused to do so. The SSP had deputed the DSP, Dera Baba Nanak, to hold an inquiry into the matter. A case under Section 420, IPC, has been registered against the accused who are reportedly absconding.


LIC cashier held for theft

Amritsar, November 2
A Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) cashier was arrested today for allegedly stealing Rs 4.89 lakh from the Albert Road branch of the LIC here on October 31.

Briefing media persons, the SSP said the cash had been recovered from the residence of the accused. All locks had been opened and not broken. The accused had worn socks on his hands and feet while carrying out the theft, the police said.

He would be produced in court tomorrow. — UNI


37 teachers honoured
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 2
Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman, Punjab School Education Board, while addressing a function here this afternoon, urged the teachers to teach the students with a missionary zeal.

Dr Singh was addressing the gathering at the 25th annual function of the Teachers Home Management, Welfare and Educational Trust. He said teaching could not be compared to a business and even in case of jobs this was a field only fit for people with the missionary zeal. He said the standards of teaching in the government schools were improving. He added that the number of students making it to the state medical colleges after passing their qualifying exams from the education board had been increasing over the past few years.

Mr Jagmohan Kaushal, chairman of the trust, lamented the fact that zeal and the spirit of reforms had been diminishing in the teachers. He said that materialistic attitude had been creeping into the society and the teachers were not immune to it. He said that successive governments had failed to pay attention to education and alleged that political parties had been cashing in on the illiteracy of the innocent people.

Mr Kaushal said that the modern system of education had produced brilliant and intelligent persons but had failed to give the society fine human beings. He pointed out that even the invitation cards distributed by the trust read, “Pad Lay Sare Ilm, Insaniyat Hi Degreean De Witch Likhauni Reh Gayi” (We have all the education and degrees, humanity finds no place in the same). He said that teachers should do some introspection before pointing a finger at the government. He condemned the privatisation of educational institutes and steep hike in fee by the government.

The trust felicitated 37 teachers, who retired this year, for their services at various government schools. Mr Raghubir Chand Sharma, sports teacher, Government School, Multania, Mr Gurcharan Singh, teacher, Government School, Mirjeana, were also honoured.

Dr Kehar Singh and Mr Kaushal also gave away certificates and cash prizes to 38 wards of government schoolteachers, who had scored good marks in board exams conducted by the education board. Ms Tanveer Kaur, who had won national award for her achievements in kabaddi, was also honoured by the trust.

Later, Dr Singh interacted with a section of teachers and shared his views on education, current and emerging scenario. He invited suggestions from the teachers regarding curriculum and other issues. He assured them that the syllabus books published by the board would be supplied on time during the next academic year

Mr Gurnam Singh, president and Mr Birbal Dass, treasurer of the trust, also addressed the gathering. Six employees of the trust were also honoured. Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, local MP and Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, failed to attend the function.


UK students given farewell
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 2
Eight students from Pries Thorpe School, Leeds, in England visited Sahibzada Ajit Singh Academy here. The students falling in the age group of 16 to 18 years visited their twin school, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Academy, as part of a cultural exchange programme.

The academy authorities on Friday evening accorded a farewell to the visiting students. The Deputy Commissioner here, Ms Seema Jain, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The students, while talking to reporters, said they were impressed with the diversified culture of India and the warm hospitality they received in Punjab. Since their arrival in the country on October 17, the group visited historical places in Delhi and Agra. They were fascinated by the Taj Mahal at Agra and the Red Fort and Qutub Minar at Delhi. In Punjab, they visited the Golden Temple and Takht Shri Kesgarh Sahib.

The teachers accompanying the students expressed surprise at the quantum of syllabus in schools of India. The syllabus in Indian schools was much more elaborate as compared to the schools in England. The teachers also appreciated the infrastructure available at Sahibzada Ajit Singh Academy.


Students begin relay fast
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 2
Students of the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Longowal, began relay fast on the campus last night.

They want the scrapping of the rule of Punjab Technical University under which no Bachelor of Engineering student who has a reappear in the first semester, can get admission to the fifth semester.

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