L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bauria gangs busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Crime, especially dacoities and ruthless killings, was a family tradition for them and they ruined families to continue with the generation-old “business”.

A network of five gangs, run by Bauria tribesmen for whom crime continues to be the main family vocation, was busted by the police. The gangs were reportedly headed by persons closely related to one another. They operated in different states.

The police succeeded in arresting 14 members of the Jagdish and Arjun gangs more than a month ago and has now busted the entire network of the gangs and their sub-groups, one of which has been identified as responsible for most of the robbery and dacoity incidents in Ludhiana and Jagraon police districts.

Addressing a press conference this afternoon, SSP Narinderpal Singh said the police had nabbed two key members of the gang and had identified 19 others. The Ludhiana police had sought the help of the Rajasthan police to nab these persons, who were said to be hiding in that state.

The police had identified the gang members as responsible for as many as 150 dacoities, highway robberies and murders in the North. Of these, 115 were of Punjab alone. The sensational Rajjowal dacoity in which two persons were killed was also allegedly the handiwork of this gang, the SSP said.

The gangsters arrested today were Harchandi and Rajesh, alias Fanddi. The latter was said to be the brain behind the gangs. He was a nephew of Jagdish, who was the leader of the main gang. These two were also related to each other.

The SSP said the majority of the crimes in Ludhiana had been solved with the arrest of these gangsters. He said with the lead provided by the gang members arrested earlier, the police had busted the gangs. ‘‘The key thing is that the gangs were headed by Bauria tribesmen, who are closely related. At the end of the day, the lootings were generally shared,’’ he said.

The victims of these gangs had themselves identified the accused and there was no room for doubt, he said. The main crimes admitted to by the accused were robbery of a farmhouse in Dasuha, taking away of a truck from the same place and another from Sirhind, Rajjowal village and other places.



Dowry victim ends life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
‘‘Papa, take me home,’’ are the words that continue to haunt the man who lost his daughter after she was allegedly harassed by her in-laws for more dowry. The alleged ‘‘torture’’ and ‘‘inhuman’’ behaviour meted out to her forced her to choose death.

A last hope for amicable settlement to save the marriage of his daughter forced Mr Joginder Bansal to let his daughter live like a caged bird, with no contact with her parents and family for three months. But when he finally took her home, it was too late. She was already under acute mental depression and finally committed suicide on October 28 by hanging herself from a ceiling fan.

This is the tragic tale of 24-year-old Chandni, a graduate in commerce with honours in mathematics who was married to a local businessman, Gaurav Aggarwal, in February 2002 by her Calcutta-based father, who is also a businessman. Now he is in the city for the past many days to bring the guilty to book.

The shattered father is running from pillar to post but alleges that the Calcutta police is not issuing arrest warrants against the accused though they have been booked under Section 498-A of the IPC. He met the SSP, Ludhiana, Mr Narinderpal Singh today and demanded action against the accused.

‘‘She always passed her examinations with distinction and Calcutta University had offered her scholarship for further studies after her excellent performance in graduation. But we wanted her to get married and settle down and as suggested by a family friend we got her engaged to this boy,’’ says Mr Bansal.

Right after the engagement, Chandni’s in-laws allegedly started demanding household things in the wedding. ‘‘I gave her everything except a car and her in-laws had been demanding a luxury car. They used to tell her that she was ugly and was not fit to be married in their family. They even told her that a girl’s parents were giving them two petrol stations in dowry and they were regretting marrying their son to her. She was tortured physically and mentally and denied her fundamental rights. We were banned from calling her up or to meet her as we were accused of undue interference in their family,’’ alleges her father.

‘‘Now I want to appeal to fathers of girls that they should not buckle under any pressure and take immediate steps to save the future of their daughters. They should not repeat what I did. Our daughters can live a life of dignity outside the wedlock also,’’ he adds.

Chandni had got into depression after some months of her marriage.

Chandni was allegedly kept in isolation by her in-laws for three months. She was neither supposed to visit any of her relatives nor was she allowed to make or receive calls. ‘‘My son came to see her from Bangalore at her in-law’s house here and went back to tell me that she was in a bad shape. I brought her back within a week but it was too late for her. She killed herself.’’

Another educated girl became the victim of greed for dowry and as her consultant psychologist, Smita Singh, had written in her obit, ‘‘Chandni was a beautiful, intelligent, sensitive girl who was abused to the extent that she felt death was better than the life she had.’’



SAD, BJP plan joint rally on December 1
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) are learnt to be jointly planning a show of strength at Ropar on December 1, when SAD president and former Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal appears in a court in response to the summons issued after the Vigilance Bureau filed a challan against him on corruption charges. The SAD and the BJP have asked their cadres to reach Ropar on the said date.

On the other hand, the local administration is learnt to be keeping a close watch. So far, the police and the administration, are not taking any preventive measures in this regard. It is learnt that the district authorities have been asked to exercise utmost restraint as any action on the part of the administration and the police might spark protests.

Leaders of the two parties are holding secret meetings and asking the workers to ensure that they reach Ropar to express their solidarity with their leader.

Justifying the move, senior Akali leader and former minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal said: “The Shiromani Akali Dal has full faith in the judiciary. However, the sentiments of the workers are prompting them to reach Ropar to express their solidarity with their leader.”

“Obviously, courts cannot be influenced and neither can the SAD think like that as the party believes in a strong and independent judiciary, but at the same time, we cannot curb the aspirations of the party workers who want to be with their leader on that day,” he added.

The administration is likely to take some preventive measures to ensure that not many people manage to reach Ropar. A senior official disclosed that the administration had no interests except to maintain law and order.

The SAD-BJP sources revealed that the alliance was likely to put up a “good show” on December 1. An Akali leader asserted that no matter what “repressive measures” the administration takes, it would not be able to check the massive rush of party supporters.



UK computers for Punjab schools
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 27
The students from government schools of the state will soon get 300 computers from the UK. The computers, along with several hi-tech accessories, have already been shipped to Mumbai and will soon reach the Dhandari dry port here.

The unique gift has been dispatched with the efforts of Mr Ashok Kalia, a former Mayor in Derby, currently working as a councillor there.

He has arranged for some old computers from private companies in Derby and then sought for an approval from Dr V.K. Singh, Special Secretary-cum-Director-General, School Education, Punjab. After getting the approval, he even got an approval for tax-free import of the goods in India.

As per his written communication to Dr V.K. Singh, Mr Kalia has dispatched 300 computer systems, 67 printers, three laptops, two CD writers, three scanners, a modem and other accessories, including speakers. He has said he was arranging for such equipment to the country for the second time, without levying any charges for the same.

Earlier, the Punjab Government had tied up with the NIIT and since the tie-up broke almost a year back, the company took away all the systems it had provided to the schools. The government authorities have been planning new schemes of introducing computer education at nominal charges since then but no plans have been executed from that time onwards. As a result, the students have been doing without
computer education for the past almost one year.

Confirming the dispatch of computers from the UK, Ms Sudesh Bajaj, Deputy District Education Officer (Secondary), said the computers would reach the Government Senior Secondary School for Girls, Bharat Nagar, in almost a week’s time. She said these would be safely kept in a few rooms in the school. Technical experts would then check these for any errors and if they are found in good condition then meetings would be held in Chandigarh for their distribution to various schools of the state.

She said even though there had been no directions of the sort but there were chances that the computers would go to only those schools that had set up computer rooms under the NIIT scheme. She further added that the schools would get computer education at very minimal charges.

Mr R.S. Bains, district in charge of vocational education, said the Punjab School Education Board had prepared a syllabus for computer education and once the computers were installed, the teachers would be appointed on a contract basis, the courses would begin.

He said computer education would be started as an optional course to begin with.

However, there still is no clarity as to when the new scheme would be started and as per what plan. But Mr Kalia has said in his letter that he would visit Punjab in February to overview the delivery and installation of equipment in schools.



Deadline for autorickshaw stickers extended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
The District Transport Office has decided to give another week’s time to receive applications for issuing stickers to autorickshaws, which were plying with required documents. Mr M. S. Sandhu District Transport Officer, said that now the autorickshaw owners would be allowed to submit their applications from December1 to 5. Earlier they were asked to apply for stickers from November 17 to 21 along with the necessary documents.

The autorickshaws bearing the stickers would be considered having complete documents and would not be stopped during routine check. He said that around 4000 applications had been received and while 2500 had been issued so far.

After verification, the stickers would be issued to those, who had complete documents. He said after the stipulated time lapsed, the auto rickshaw owners who did not have the stickers would be challaned. 



CPI holds rally against economic policies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 27
Activists of the Communist Party of India (CPI) organised a protest march from Chattar Singh Park to Mini-secretariat here and held a rally against the economic polices being pursued by the state and Union governments under the influence of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Hundreds of party workers, carrying red flags and placards, denouncing the government policies and raising solgans, participated in the rally.

Party members, including veteran party leader Bharat Parkash, district secretary Kartar Singh Bowani, assistant secretary Arun Mitra and city secretary Om Parkash Mehta, reiterated the party’s stand that the developed nations had changed GATT into WTO with an ulterior motive of strengthening their economic hold over the developing countries.

The CPI leaders took exception to the WTO provision for the removal of quantitative restrictions which would enable the developed countries to dump their goods in the poor nations in an unrestricted manner. The detrimental effects of these policies on the domestic industry were already being felt, they said, adding that with the process already set in motion for withdrawal of restriction on more items in the coming year, the overall impact would be disastrous.

Sounding a note of caution on the adverse effects on patent and intellectual property rights as well as on agriculture, the party activists said the task of getting their work patented for the developing countries had become difficult.

“The employment scenario has become bleaker. Consequent upon preconditions of the WTO regime, the workers are facing mass retrenchment, salaries are being slashed, labour laws are being amended in favour of the employers and right to trade unions is being denied. The women workers are worst sufferers as their basic right to maternity leave and other benefits are being curtailed,” they added.

Attacking the policy of privatisation, the speakers deplored the selling of public sector undertakings and other national assets to multinational companies and corporate giants. The government had turned its back to its social obligations like health and education, which were being converted into profit-making ventures, they said, adding that both health care and education were going out of reach of the common people.



‘Jail chalo’ stir to focus on amnesty
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 27
The Lok Bhalai Party, headed by former Union Minister, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, will launch a ‘jail chalo’ agitation in Jalandhar on December 18 instead of Chandigarh to focus on several burning problems like unemployment, general amnesty to around 20,000 Punjabi youths settled abroad, increasing incidents of fraud by travel agents on the pretext of sending abroad and ditched NRI brides, facing the people of Punjab.

In a statement here today, Mr Ramoowalia claimed that party documents on providing effective solution to these issues had been prepared which would be released to the public at the launch of the agitation in Jalandhar.

He said it was shameful that self-styled travel agents were challenging the might of the government machinery be defrauding the youth under the garb of sending them to foreign countries. A large number of unemployed youth, who had fallen victims to the fraudulent travel agents, were languishing in jails in several countries, while the perpetrators of the crime were roaming free. Similarly, the menace of NRI grooms leaving their Punjabi wives in the lurch also needed to be tackled effectively.

The former Union Minister, while making a strong plea for granting general amnesty to around 20,000 blacklisted Punjabis, who have settled in different countries, observed that the basic reasons for their flight from the country were economic.

He said the government could obtain sworn allegiance to the country from such persons, if desirable, but there was no justification in not granting them general amnesty and forbidding them to return to their homeland.



Bank staff protest against reforms
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 27
Responding to a call given by the All-India Bank Employees Association, the local unit of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation organised a dharna at the Vishwakarma chowk here against financial sector reforms. Employees from several banks also held a demonstration during lunch hour.

Agitating trade union activists cautioned the government against the move to reduce government equity from the minimum of 51 per cent in public sector banks and threatened to resort to agitation if the government went ahead with the decision.

Mr Sudesh Kumar, Chairman, of the federation, said over 75 per cent of the deposits in the banking industry belonged to the public that was affected by the reduction in rates of interest.

However, the lending rates to the corporate sector had been slashed from 16-19 to nearly 6 per cent but the rate of advances to the agriculture sector and rural credit had hardly come down from around 12 per cent. He emphasised the need for significant increase in the rate of interest on small saving deposits and reduction in the rate of interest on agricultural loans and rural credit.

The district secretary of the federation, Mr Naresh Gaur said the employees were opposed to the decision of the Government to allow FDI up to 74 per cent in Indian banks which would lead to the handing over of national resources to foreign capital.

The governments decision to waive the restriction right of voting up to 10 per cent for foreign equity also came in for criticism.

Mr Gaur said the scheme of buy back of high-yielding securities and replacing them with low-yielding securities, being mooted by the government was an attempt to write off the non-performing assets of banks with public money because the profit so booked would not be taxable and would be utilised towards this purpose.

He said it was a matter of regret that despite the one-time settlement, compromise proposals, write offs, debt recovery tribunals, Securitisation Act and high provisioning the NPAs were increasing. The relevant legislations should be strengthened to cover the attachment of personal properties of defaulters.

"While the bad loans in the banks are increasing, the figures are camouflaged by reducing the NPAs through debt restructuring and re-schedulements," he said.



2 killed in road mishaps, cases registered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 27
The Salem Tabri police yesterday registered a case under sections 279,338 and 304-A of the IPC on a statement of Mr Girdhari Lal, a resident of Lajpat Nagar on Noorwala Road, against Karam Singh, a resident of Chowinda Rehana village in Hoshiarpur district. The complainant had stated that the accused had rammed his tractor into Satish Kumar, a resident of district Una, at Shivpuri chowk on Wednesday morning, due to which he was killed on the spot.

Another case under sections 279,338 and 304-A of the IPC was registered at the same police station on a statement of Mr Pawan Kumar Sharma, who works in a hosiery near the Jalandhar bypass, against an unidentified driver of a truck which hit Manjit Singh, Dharminder Singh, Bakshish Singh and the complainant near the Greenland School on the GT Road on Wednesday afternoon. While Manjit Singh died at the spot, other persons were injured.

Booked for firing: The Civil Lines police yesterday registered a case under section 336 of the IPC against Vishal Kataria, a resident of Kucha No. 16 of Field Ganj. The police said today that the accused had fired in the air at Samrat Palace on Wednesday. The accused was later arrested and bailed out.

Stolen: The Civil Lines police registered a case under Section 381 of the IPC on a statement of Mr. T.L.Sood, a resident of Sandeep Nagar behind Gulmohar Hotel, against his servant Jogi Bahadur. The complainant had stated that the servant had absconded after stealing cash and gold ornaments from a cupboard after breaking open the lock on the intervening night of November 25 and 26.

Injured: The Shimla Puri police yesterday registered a case under sections 279 and 338 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Kamaljit Singh, a resident of Bachittar Nagar opposite Guru Nanak Engineering College, against Sushil Kumar, who lives on Benjamin Road in the city. The complainant had stated that the accused had rammed his motorcycle into him and injured him on the evening of November 22 on Pahwa Road.

Liquor seized: The Model Town police yesterday arrested Buta Singh, a resident of Thakarwal village, seized 10 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession and booked him under the Excise Act.

Charas seized: Prahlad Yadav, a migrant hailing from Betia district, was arrested last evening from Jagir Pur village near here and 2 kg of charas was seized from his possession. A case under sections 20,61 and 85 of the NDPS Act was registered against him at the Jodhewal police station.

Porno CDs seized: The Division No. 6 police yesterday registered a case under Section 292 of the IPC and various sections of the Copyright Act against Pushpinder Singh, alias Rimpy, who runs a video shop near the Shingar cinema house. The police said today that 25 pornographic CDs and 440 duplicate CDS were seized from the accused after a raid was conducted on the shop yesterday.

Dowry demand alleged: The Division No. 8 police yesterday registered a case under sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on a statement of Ms Saneh Thakur, a resident of Kitchlu Nagar, against her husband Anil Kumar Verma, father-in-law B.D.Verma, mother-in-law Durga Devi and sister-in-law Anita Kumari, residents of Jalandhar Cantt. The complainant had stated that after her marriage on February 18 last, the accused had been harassing her and demanding more dowry.

Breach of trust case: The Jodhewal police yesterday registered a case under Section 406 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ajinder Kaushal, who lives near a Panjab and Sind Bank branch in the locality, against Mehtab Singh, who lives on Rahon Road. The complainant said the accused had committed a breach of trust.

Assaulted: The Jodhewal police registered a case under sections 452,427,323,506 and 34 of the IPC on a statement of Mr Rikal Kumar, a resident of New Shivaji Nagar, against Jagjit Singh, alias Bittu, and Laddi, residents of Satowal Dheri. The complainant had alleged that the accused entered his shop on the night of November 24 and damaged some goods. The accused also beat him up and threatened him, added the complainant.

Liquor seized: The Model Town police yesterday arrested Rajvir Singh, a resident of Guru Nanak Colony, from Phase II of Urban Estate, Dugri, and seized eight bottles of countrymade liquor from his possession last night. He has been booked under the Excise Act.

Drugs seized: ASI Devinder Singh, in charge of Lohabaddi police post, claimed to have recovered 117 injections of morphine, 90 injections of benorvin and 300 tablets of phenotil from Mukesh Kumar alias Pagria of Jeea P S Jawalaji at present residing in street No 4 Chander Ludhiana, during a nakabandi on the Pakhowal Rajgarh Road. The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 22,61, 85 of the NDPS Act.


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