L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


2 killed, 5 hurt in factory boiler blast
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
Two workers were killed and five injured, four of them seriously, when a steam boiler in a rice polish oil factory in Mandiani village, near Mullanpur Dakha, burst in the wee hours today.

The labourers were working around 2 am today in Modi Solvex Factory when a DOC steam tank burst, killing two of them on the spot.

The injured were rushed to the DMC Hospital at Ludhiana where they were stated to be stable till the filing of this report. One of them was discharged in the afternoon.

The dead have been identified as Manoj and Surjit.

The injured include Krishnarth, Rehmat Ali, Bindeshwari, Sunil and Rangu.

Interestingly, while the Mullanpur Dakha police has registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPC for accidental death by falling of the boiler on two workers, the villagers said they had heard a blast in the morning.

Residents of Mandiani village said they heard a loud blast in the factory in the morning and rushed to the spot only to find that the injured were being rushed to hospital. The bodies were sent for a post-mortem.

No official of the factory was available for comment. The workers present in the factory also refused to divulge any details.

Villagers said rice polish oil is manufactured in the factory and there are around 15 steam boilers in it. They said that it was shifted from Barewal village after protests from the villagers there as it caused a lot of air pollution. After that, it was set up in Mandiani village.

They said that even they did not want the factory in their village as it released pungent gases and the ash produced after burning of rice husk was causing respiratory problems to the residents.

Mr Jasbir Singh, member of the panchayat, demanded the shifting of the factory. He said that the oil was prepared after boiling various strong chemicals and the result was a strong smell that caused respiratory, skin and eye ailments.

He added that the villagers had complained to the authorities concerned against the factory but to no avail.

Mr Jagtar Singh, a stud farm owner, said the villagers were feeling miserable due to the factory. He said that it was only due to party-politics that the factory was allowed to be set up there.

“The villagers do not unite as far as the matter of factory is concerned. Therefore, it continues to be here.”



Rusticated student throws acid on teacher
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
In a bone-chilling incident, a Class X student, his father and two other accomplices allegedly threw acid on the face of a schoolteacher here, holding him responsible for the school’s decision of throwing out the student from the institution on disciplinary grounds.

The victim, 50-year-old Tarlok Singh, music teacher with Nankana Sahib Public School near Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, suffered more than 50 per cent burns in the incident and is oscillating between life and death at DMC hospital, here. The left side of his body from head to toe was badly burnt because of the jugful of acid thrown on him. The left ear was completely damaged.

The incident took place late on Saturday outside the man’s house in Bachittar Nagar near the school but came to light today only, when the victim gained some consciousness and revealed the incident. In his statement to the police, he has named the accused as the student, Gurpreet Singh, his father Baljit Singh and two other unknown accomplices who had covered their faces.

The police is learnt to have nabbed Baljit Singh besides booking the four accused in an attempt-to-murder case. Sub-Inspector Rajesh Kumar, in charge of the Maraudo police chowki, while confirming the case said the police was making raids to arrest the other three.

The police said the accused student was not allowed to sit for the annual exam because of his long absence from school. The student held the teacher responsible for the school action as he had a tiff with him a few days ago.

Agitated teachers of the school boycotted classes in protest against the incident. They also staged a dharna outside the school, demanding security for the teachers who were "risking their lives to educate the children."

Ms Gurdarshan Kaur Deol, wife of the victim who is also a teacher in the same school, said the glorious teacher-student relationship had suffered a blow with the act of the student.

Narrating her nightmarish experience, she said at about 8.20 p.m. on Saturday, her husband went out to answer a knock at the main gate. She heard his shrieks minutes later and saw four persons running away.

In his statement to the police, the teacher disclosed that the persons at the door were the accused. They had a jug in their hand. When he came closer, they threw the jug on him and he was badly burnt.

SI Rajesh Kumar said the teacher had slapped the student for teasing a girl. The slap had caused some swelling on an ear of the student, whose father reported the matter to the Maraudo police few days ago. The teacher had offered an apology, stressing that he only wanted that the student should not repeat the "indecent behaviour" again and might have hit him hard. The police official said the matter was buried there only.

However, later, the school refused the student permission to sit for the annual exam on the ground that he was absent for most of the time in this session. The student held the music teacher responsible for this act and decided to teach him a lesson.



DCC chief’s shop burgled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
Unidentified burglars broke into the shop of the District Congress Committee (Urban) chief, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, in the Industrial Area-A here last night and decamped with cash worth Rs 10,000. In another such incident, an amount of Rs 65,000 was also stolen from Deepali Paints in the Focal Point area.

The burglary at Vishal Electricals owned by the DCC chief was detected in the morning today after he opened the shop. While no door was broken, the cash box was opened and the cash lying in it was missing.

The burglars had tried to break the locks open but they did not succeed. So they had entered inside the shop through the exhaust fan vent. The police has registered a case under Section 379, IPC.

Mr Sharma said that they had closed the shop on Saturday evening and yesterday being a Sunday the shop was closed. He said that he had kept a currency wad of Rs 10,000 in his cash box after considering the spate of burglaries in the area.

He said that it had become a common practice in the Industrial Area that the shops were broken into and the cash left in the shop was stolen. He added that just within last one month as many as 8 to 10 burglaries have been reported in the area where the modus-operandi of the burglars was similar. They had either entered inside through the exhaust fan vents or through the upper gates of the shops.

Mr Sharma also said that the shopkeepers were purposely leaving some cash in the shops as the burglars were known to damage the shops in absence of any cash. He said that he had very expensive material in his shop so he could not take any risks. ‘‘So I leave this much cash happily inside the shop.’’ He said that such burglaries took place only on the week-ends.

The DCC chief said that he did not suspect any of his servant as they were trustworthy and it was the handiwork of a gang only. He demanded patrolling of the area on the plea that the Focal Point area was deserted after 10 p.m. and there was nobody on the roads and the thieves had a field day.

Narrating another incident, Mr Sharma said that one of his friends, Mr Pardeep Kumar, owner of Deepali Paints in Focal Point area had come to his shop in the morning after listening about the burglary in his shop. After Mr Pardeep left Mr Sharma’s shop and went to his own shop, he was shocked to find that his cash box was broken and cash worth Rs 65,000 was missing.



4 labourers drugged, looted in train
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 1
Four migrant labourers travelling from Amritsar in Jan Sewak Express were allegedly drugged and looted by some unidentified miscreants this afternoon. The Railway Police was informed about the unconscious labourers by other co-passengers. As the train reached Ludhiana city, an ambulance was immediately arranged and they were taken to Civil Hospital in an unconscious state.

Ram Shankar, one of the victims after gaining consciousness said they were travelling with some persons who became friendly with them and offered them tea and biscuits near Beas.

“Once I had that tea, I do not know what happened after that. I found myself here at the Civil Hospital. We were going to our village in Uttar Pradesh and the persons looted all our belongings and cash”, he said.

The other passengers, according to the attending doctors, were still unconscious. The doctor said the passengers were given eatables laced with some poisonous substance. The condition of the other patients was still serious, but out of danger.

Such incidents involving labourers travelling in trains were reported frequently. In a recent case an elderly NRI had died and his family remained unconscious after eating sweets from befriended fellow passengers.

The Railway Police has registered a case. However, no arrests have yet been made.



AIDS infected jail inmate fights it alone
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
While the world is spreading the message of taking special care of the HIV patients on World Aids Day today, a 27-year-old youth is fighting it all alone while confined in a jail here.

The youth, an undertrial in a murder case, is living in an isolated cell in the Central Jail, where nobody is allowed to go near him for fear of catching the disease. This prison within the large prison, housing nearly 2500 inmates, has been his dwelling place for the past seven months.

Although the jail authorities have arranged his treatment from the PGI Chandigarh, the youth is left to console or motivate himself to fight the disease as no social agency or counselling organisation has come forward to his help. Awaiting the verdict of a local court regarding his case, the youth is left to himself to brood over how he got the dreadful disease, which can take his life much before the court decides his case.

The day has no special meaning for him. He spent it in a routine way, sources disclosed. Neither was any special programme organised nor did any visitor come to meet him. Jail sources said it the tendency of society was to consider an accused as a criminal even if the charges are yet to be proved. He is looked down upon.

Rules forbid any journalist from meeting him. Sources said the youth was bitter with life. He can understand the apathy of the society for considering him a criminal but cries that he was also a victim in the sense of being an AIDS patient. His family members visit him occasionally.

A resident of a village near Jodhan on the Ludhiana-Pakhowal road, the youth learnt about the nightmarish infection when he was behind bars only. It was on February 17, this year that a blood examination report of the victim revealed that he was HIV-infected. The police had got the examination done at the time of his arrest.

A seven-day medical examination-cum-treatment camp organised at the initiative of the jail officials and the local Health Department had also singled out the patient for special care. This, however, eludes him in the absence of any clear policy about managing the AIDS patient.

Interestingly, the youth has been kept in isolation as per the jail manual which says that patients of contagious diseases be kept isolated. However, that modern theories recommend that an AIDS patient can live with healthy persons as it spreads only after unprotected sex, blood transfusion or sharing of needles.

"Rules are rules,” said Jail Superintendent Swaran Singh, who was personally supervising his treatment and had made special arrangements for it with the PGI doctors. He said he was personally ensuring that the youth got the services allowed within the rules.



City remains tense, but peaceful
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
It was a tense day for the city with Akali workers preparing themselves to face any eventuality arising out of the arrest of the party President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and party general secretary, Mr Sukhbir Badal. But the vigilant city police foiled all plans of the party workers to ferment trouble, ensuring that the day-long events passed off peacefully.

The city was virtually turned into a cantonment with barricades being put up all over he place. The roads going towards Ropar were especially kept under tight vigil to ensure that none of the Akali supporters could leave the city for Ropar.

While, most prominent Akali leaders had already left the city a day or two earlier, the third rung leaders who were still in the city were arrested today and yesterday night. They were produced before the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Ludhiana, who has remanded them the judicial custody till Tuesday.

The city police witnessed some anxious moments when nearly over 70 Akali leaders gathered outside the local jail thinking that the Badals would be brought to Ludhiana. But when they learnt that both Mr Parkash Singh and Mr Sukhbir Badal had been taken to Patiala jail, the tension in the area eased.

Nakas were visible in most city roads, including highways, where SHOs concerned were personally diverting and scanning traffic to ensure that the least amount of supporters could reach Ropar, where both the father and son duo appeared before the Special Judge, Mr S.K. Goel.

The city leaders who were remanded in custody for one day included Mr Harpal Singh Kohli, Mr Kirpal Singh Sandhu, Mr Arjun Singh Cheema and Mr Manmohan Singh Pappu, besides others.

There was a lot of anxiety among the city residents with the news of Mr Badal’s arrest spreading like wild fire. Many elderly people, women and children preferred to remain indoors to avoid being caught in a unsavoury situation. Though, there were some rumours about Akali workers clashing with the police, but soon these were scotched.

At places the Akali workers raised anti-Congress and pro-Badal slogans, but they were persuaded by the police personnel to disperse. The police was very candid in their message to the Akali workers “disperse or face arrest”, most preferred to slip away.

The district administration has said that the day passed off peacefully without any incident of violence reported from any part of the city.



Martyrdom day of Bhai Matti Dass observed
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 1
The martyrdom day of Bhai Matti Dass, Bhai Satti Dass and Bhai Dial Dass was observed at the local Durga Mandir by Sri Brahamin Sabha, Samrala, here today, according to Mr Behari Lal Saddi, president of the sabha.

Mr Saddi said the day was observed with great respect and solemnity. A hawan was performed in the beginning for world peace in the presence of Mr Charan Dass Shastri, president of the Brahamin Sabha, Punjab, and Mr Devi Dayal Shastri, chief patron of the sabha, who presided over the function.

On the occasion, Dr Gurdev Singh Pandohal read out his research paper about the martyrdom of the disciple of Guru Tegh Bahadur known as “Hind Di Chadar.”

Mr Devi Dayal Prasher, president of the sabha, Fatehgarh Sahib district, Mr Ram Rattan, Mr Kulwant Tarak, Mr Mehar Singh Hira, Advocate Surinder Vashishat, Mr Lal Singh Dil, Mr Prem Sagar Sharma, Mr Kulbhushan Sharma, Mr Sudesh Sharma and others paid their tributes to the martyrs.

On the occasion pullovers were distributed to the needy girl students. The sabha also honoured Mr Charan Dass Shastri, Mr Devi Dayal Shastri, Dr G S Pandohal, Mr Devi Dayal Prasher, Mr Maheshwar Dutt Attre, Mr Sudesh Sharma, Mr Kulwant Rai Sharma and Mr Rana Avtar Shukla with saropas.

A preeti bhoj was also organised and Mr Tarsem Kumar Sharma conducted the stage.



Frontier Mail fire: Rly staff honoured
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
Hair-raising raising memories of the Frontier Mail fire tragedy that took place on May 15 this year, at a village near Ludhiana, in which around 34 persons were killed, haunted the 11 Railway employees today, who were awarded for the commendable services during the rescue work.

The heroes were awarded with a citation and a cash price by Mr Ajay Shukla, Chief Safety Officer, at a function organised in the Railway Guest House here today. While recounting the horrendous day when they had tried to save hundreds of persons, the awardees had mixed feelings of pride and grief.

They were happy that they were being recognised for doing commendable work and at the same time were feeling sad for the lives that were lost in the tragedy. Those awarded include Mr N.S. Mann, Safety Manager, Mr Nar Singh, Senior DEM, Ferozepore, and Mr Ram Prasad, SCM, who were awarded a cash prize of Rs 3,000 each and a citation.

Mr P. Yadav, guard, Mr Tirath Ram, driver, Mr Ramesh Kumar, Assistant DSI, Mr H.V. Bhanot, TI, Mr Ashok Kumar, SM, Mr Amrik SIngh, SE, Mr Puran Chand, fitter, and Mr Sita Ram, fitter, were awarded a cash prize of Rs 5,000 each.

Recounting his experiences Mr Mann said that it was a tragic day of his life when he saw the suffering humanity. He said that he was assigned the duty to taking the fire engines along and douse the fire. “I reached the spot at 4.25 a.m. It was a terrible scene when cries of people who were trapped in the mangled remains were reverberating in the open fields.”

“I had a Rs 3,000 in my pocket and I distributed it among the victims who needed money to go back to their destinations or hospitals. I arranged for the breakfast of people stranded on the train,” he added.

Mr Yadav, while recalling his experiences, said that after witnessing so much pain around, he could not sleep for many days. “Its only after so many months that I could wash those days off my memory to some extent.

I wish destiny had not done this with so many innocent people who lost their relatives in the fire.”

Mr Tirath Ram, who had helped rescue many people said that he saw death so closely that it brought many changes in his life.



Horses divided on caste basis!
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 1
It is shocking but true that even the horses brought for sale at the famous animal fair organised at Sonpur in Bihar recently were classified into various castes like brahmins, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras. This was stated by the local Pashu Sewa Samiti in a press statement issued here.

The members of the samiti regretted that for the sake of money, even horses were divided into castes.

They said people of low castes were reeling under the effects of casteism. They asked how could the mute animals fight against this injustice.

The horses were divided into different castes on the basis of their structure. White horses with broad foreheads were classified as brahmins, whereas big-chested, long-eared, brown horses were kshatriyas. The thin-legged, long-necked copper-coloured horses were categorised as vaishyas and black horses were shudras.



Veterinary teachers bring laurels
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
Teachers of the Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology, Punjab Agricultural University, have won two gold medals and the best research paper award at the 27th annual congress of the Indian Society for Veterinary Surgery and national symposium held at GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pant Nagar recently.

The research paper titled, “Comparative evaluation of diazepam and midazolam as preanaesthetic to thiopentone sodium anesthesia in buffaloes” by Dr J.S. Cheema and Dr S.S. Singh won the gold medal in the anaesthesiology section. Dr Cheema, who is serving as a teaching fellow in the department, presented this paper in the conference.

The research paper titled “Use of static intramedullary interlocking nailing for repair of comminuted/segmental femoral diaphysal fracturers in four dogs” by Dr M. Raghunath and Dr S.S. Singh won the gold medal in the orthopaedic surgery section. Dr S.S. Singh, Professor and Head, presented this paper in the conference.

Dr Cheema also won the best research paper award during the conference. Dr Simrat Sagar Singh was nominated fellow of the Indian Society for Veterinary Surgery. The medals will be presented at the next annual congress of the society.



Truck carrying relief material flagged off
Our Correspondent

Amloh, December 1
A truck loaded with eatables, kits, woollens, shoes and readymade garments was flagged off on Saturday evening for Jalandhar, from where it will join the fleet of relief trucks being sent for people of draught-hit areas in Rajasthan, said Mr Monohar Lal Verma, general secretary, Manav Bhalai Manch, here today.

Mr Parshotam Dass Mittal, Mr Ramesh Gupta, Mr Tara Chand and Mr Tejwant Singh made substantial contributions.


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