P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Don’t foment trouble in Punjab, CM tells Chautala
Cabinet expansion after December 9

Tribune News Service


  • The “open darbar” held by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, reminded one of the days of Mr Parkash Singh Badal former Chief Minister. Only selected 58 complaints were entertained in the open darbar that was held probably for the first time in the border city here today.

  • Somnath Bhagat, convener, cooperative society, wanting to present a memorandum on one-time settlement alleged that his name was deleted even after days of submitting of an application.

  • As many as three to four complaints came against the Civil Surgeon, Dr Yashpal Singla.

  • A tiff ensued between a mediaperson and the chairperson of the Improvement Trust in which the Chairperson, Ms Ratna, accused the mediaperson of being a “black mailer”.

Amritsar, December 3
The Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, today warned his Haryana counterpart against fomenting any trouble in Punjab after the arrest of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Sukhbir Badal.

Talking to the press here today, Capt Amarinder Singh said the state government had taken a serious note of the burning of three buses in Killianwali (Muktsar district) at the behest of the Haryana Chief Minister. He said the Punjab Government won’t let it happen again. He alleged that the bus belonging to the Badal family was spared by the “miscreants”.

“Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal is forgetting that bringing a case against the Badal was a part of poll manifesto of the party” said the Chief Minister when faced with a query of Ms Bhattal accusing him of not taking her into confidence regarding the case against the Badals.

The Chief Minister said he as a Chief Minister was duty-bound to implement to poll manifesto. “We need not interact on a day-to-day basis for that”, he retorted. The Chief Minister Ms Bhattal’s query would be taken up at the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) session, but said he would not demand any disciplinary action against her.

Mocking at the proposed “Zabar ke virudh lok lehar” dharna to be staged by 101 Akalis outside Central Jail, Patiala, and a morcha on December 8, announced at the PAC meeting of SAD yesterday, he said “I have heard of many morchas and dharnas but this one is more of a ‘bharashtachar (corruption) morcha’

Giving broad hints to expand his 20-month-old Ministry, Capt Amarinder Singh today promised to give berths to women and Scheduled Castes, members of the minorities besides MLAs from unrepresented areas. He said the expansion would take place after December 9.

Capt Amarinder Singh said the consultations with the PPCC and the party high command were on and the decision to include new faces would be taken soon. He said there was no dissention in the party and alleged that the BJP government was trying to destabilise the Congress governments by spreading baseless rumours that there was discontentment in the rank and file of the party. He said the Congress was totally united and would win the forthcoming parliamentary elections unitedly.

Talking about the DGP, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, Capt Amarinder Singh said he had brought him especially from the North-East to head the police and he being a true former Army officer nobody could question his loyalty. Commenting on the transfer of DSPs, the Chief Minister said that it was his prerogative.

The Chief Minister defended the preventive arrests of Akalis in view of the preparation of langar for more than 35,000 persons in Ropar prior to appearance of Mr Badal in a special court there.

On the economic front, he said the state was encouraging those who wished to promote industry in the state. “The fact that more and more industrialists were now approaching the state” is a positive indication of the state potential. The Chief Minister said the state had sent the dossier of the Golden Temple for recognition as world heritage site and was sure of its approval.

On the arrest of Neelam Rani, a Congress Mahila Morcha leader in the flesh trade racket, he said the party had expelled her and the police would do its duty in the case.


Akali memo to Governor today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Akali MLAs, who met briefly at the official residence of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here this evening, have decided to submit a memorandum against “state repression” on Akali leaders and workers to the Punjab Governor, Justice O. P. Verma, tomorrow.

The memorandum will have a brief account of the cases registered against Akali leaders by the Amarinder Government in the past over one year. There will be a special mention of the case registered against Mr Parkash Singh Badal and other members of his family. The main emphasis will be to highlight alleged “repression” on Akali leaders and workers.

Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, a spokesman of the SAD, told The Tribune that the MLAs would meet again tomorrow to sign the memorandum and later proceed to Raj Bhavan. He said SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra would lead the MLAs to Raj Bhavan.

Mr Manpreet Singh, who drove from Ropar, briefed the MLAs about today’s political developments in Delhi, Patiala and elsewhere.


Court frames charges against Punjab CM
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 3
A local court today framed charges against the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, in a defamation case filed against him by his predecessor, Parkash Singh Badal, accusing him of spreading and publishing false reports about his assets and properties.

While framing charges, the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate(CJM), Mr C.L Mohal, served a notice on Capt Amarinder Singh, who was present in the witness box.

The CJM, Mr Mohal, said in the notice that the material published by Capt Amarinder Singh in various newspapers intended to be read or was visible representation intending to harm or would harm the reputation of Badal and thereby he committed an offence punishable under Section 500 of the IPC and within the court cognizance. “And I hereby direct that you(Capt) be tried by me (CJM) for the said offence, the CJM further added. Capt Amarinder Singh did not plead guilty and claimed trial of the case. After hearing the Captain, the CJM adjourned the case for evidence to January 31.

Meanwhile, Capt’s counsel also filed a reply on the application moved by Badal that he was falsely implicated by Captain in the corruption cases. In his reply, Capt’s counsel stated that the plea moved by Badal was wholly irrelevant, devoid of substance and unwarranted. There was no scope under the law for such an application being entertained at the present stage. The CJM has fixed January 31, for arguments.

Mr Badal had filed the case alleging that immediately after assuming office, Capt Amarinder Singh, had launched a vicious campaign to defame him through letters and advertisements issued in the media.

There was huge crowd of Congress supporters outside the district court since morning. In order to maintain law and order, a large number of UT police personnel as well as Punjab commandoes were deployed inside and outside the court premises. Capt Amarinder Singh along with his few Cabinet ministers and MLAs reached the court well before time. As soon as he entered the court premises, his supporters started raising slogans. But the supporters were not allowed to enter the court. The Akali supporters were not seen there as the former Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, had been exempted from personal appearance by the CJM, as Badal was lodged in the Patiala jail. After attending the court proceeding while coming out of the court, Capt Amarinder Singh appealed to his supporters that there was no need to visit the court, and asked them not to raise slogans in order to maintain the law and order. Capt remained in the court till 10.17 a.m.


Badal enjoys jail food
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 3
Mr Parkash Singh Badal is maintaining old routine in the jail here. The Akali leader today started early with “paath”, yogic exercises and breakfast of “missi roti” and tea.

Sources said that the Akali leader got up at 5 am and after abolutions recited Sikh morning prayer and then did yoga. They said though the jail manual allows only two meals a day, Mr Badal was served ‘missi roti’ with sugarless tea following a doctor’s advice.

Sources said Mr Badal was not allowed to meet anybody today. He read newspapers and watched television. The television set was provided to him today.

The sources said Mr Badal also walked in the walled compound near the enclosed verandah which has a tree under which he can rest also. Today afternoon Mr Badal partook of “daal and sabji” with “chapattis” prepared under supervision.

Today none was allowed to meet them. The father and the son are not allowed to interact with other jail inmates. Jail authorities also provided a television set to Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal. Sukhbir too had access to newspapers.

Health of both leaders is being monitored by two doctors in the Central Jail. Mr Badal is taking B Complex and a few other vitamins. He has been provided with a high chair in the bathroom. He was provided with hot water for bathing.

“He told me that he had slept well on the first day of his detention”, Mr Badungar said who met him yesterday.


Party was taken into confidence: Amarinder
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, December 3
“Former Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, was number one on the hit list of the Congress following corruption allegations against him, besides others, including a former PPSC Chairman, Ravi Sidhu. I have taken the bull by the horns by initiating action against the corrupt persons,” said the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, today while denying the allegations levelled against him by Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Mrs Bhattal had alleged that the Chief Minister had not consulted her and other Cabinet ministers before taking action against the Badals.

Giving details outside the District Courts in Chandigarh after attending the hearing of a case filed against him by Mr Badal, the Chief Minister said that every thing was mentioned in the Congress manifesto and it had been made clear that anyone who would be involved in corruption would not be spared, if the party came to power.

The Chief Minister was backed by the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Mr H.S. Hanspal, who was also present.

“Moreover, I had discussed everything with other ministers and party workers. I had taken Cabinet ministers into confidence. It’s not possible for me to discuss the day-to-day development with everyone. Mrs Bhattal has been given due importance just as other Cabinet ministers,” the Chief Minister explained.

“The Congress party has decided to finish corruption in Punjab. The government will not hesitate to take action against any person whosoever it may be”, further added Capt Amarinder Singh, when he was asked about the allegations levelled against his government by Mrs Bhattal that she had been falsely implicated in the corruption case by the government.

Ruling out any threat to Congress party from Badal and the President of SGPC, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the Chief Minister said that Badal had become ineffective now, the Congress had no reason to worry about their unity. All other parties, except the Shiromani Alaki Dal, had appreciated my efforts against the corrupt politicians. After registration of a case of corruption against the Badals, I have received thousands of calls welcoming my action.

Capt Amarinder Singh also denied that there were different factions in the Congress. He added the Congress party was united and the party would fight together against corruption.


Notice on meetings with Badals in jail
sparks protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 3
Central Jail authorities here today put up a notice reducing “meeting days” for visitors wishing to call on Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir to two days a week which sparked ‘dharna’ by SAD leaders and workers outside the jail.

The jail authorities put up a notice at 11.30 am today outside jail’s main entrance notifying that persons wanting to meet the Badals would be allowed to do so only on Tuesday and Friday. Akali leaders, including Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who had collected in front of the jail, took notice of it and protested against it by sitting in ‘dharna’ in front of the jail entrance for half an hour. The police diverted traffic from in front of the jail due to this.

Mr Tohra told reporters that Akali workers on Friday on December 5 would meet Mr Badal despite the notice. He said the SAD would also march to the jail from Dukhniwaran gurdwara and the first march would be on December 9.

Senior Akali leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said a delegation of the party would meet Governor O.P. Verma tomorrow and apprise him of the “mental harassment” being inflicted on both the SAD President and Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Akali activists had started coming to the Central Jail since 10 a.m. and a few activists said they had also got their names noted officially so that they could be allowed to meet Mr Badal. They said they were surprised to see the notice at 11.30 a.m. informing that meetings would now be allowed only on Tuesdays and Fridays.

A number of Akali leaders, who could not meet Mr Badal yesterday, had to return disappointed even today. Akali leaders including MP Zora Singh Mann, Janmeja Singh Sekhon and Surjit Singh Rakhra, who could not meet Mr Badal yesterday because the jail authorities stopped meetings afternoon, could not do so even today. Other leaders who had come to meet Mr Badal included party PAC member Surjan Singh Thekedar, Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, Upinderjit Kaur, Raghbir Singh, Rajinder Singh Mehta and Virsa Singh Valtoha.


SAD’s Dec 8 rally: police to play ‘spoilsport’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 3
Even as various entry and exit points of Haryana bordering Bathinda, Muktsar and Ferozepore districts of this region have been sealed following the burning of buses in Malout and Killianwali towns of Muktsar district yesterday, the police has been raiding the premises of various prominent leaders of the SAD to nab them for preventing them to attend the rally being held at Patiala on December 8 on the occasion of birthday of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Apart from sealing the entry and exit points of Punjab and Haryana border, the police authorities had sounded a general alert to prevent the happening of any untoward incident in this region as tension in various pockets had been building up ever since Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son Mr Sukhbir Badal had been put behind bars in a corruption case registered against them.

Though senior police officials are tightlipped and not willing to disclose the instruction given to them by the higher police authorities for dealing with the situation and to prevent the SAD activists from reaching at Patiala on December 8, information revealed that quick reaction teams (QRTs) of policemen, equipped with vehicles and electronic gadgets of communication, had been constituted to accomplish the task. In some areas, the mobile traffic units had been dismantled and these policemen were being used at special nakas.

A senior police official said “Effective surveillance is being kept on the anti-social elements and they can be arrested if it is found that they can create disturbance in law and order situation. Apart from it, special patrolling has been launched, particularly in the Akali dominated pockets of this region.”

Special nakas had been laid on Ferozepore-Sirsa highway at various points, at Seeto Guno village, Killianwali town and the Bathinda-Dabwali road as it was suspected that some miscreants from Haryana could foment trouble in those areas of Punjab, which were having close proximity to Haryana.

Another senior officer said, “We are running short of force and left with no other option to maintain the law and order situation with bare minimum force. All the commando battalions, IRB and PAP battalions of the Punjab Police are presently deployed in those states where the Assembly elections have been held on December 1.” He added that when these forces would be back and deployed in these districts only then the situation could be handled effectively.


We will get justice, says Tohra
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 3
Blaming Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh for trying to project the case against the Badals as a battle between the Akalis and the judiciary for his political survival, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) President Gurcharan Singh Tohra today claimed that they had high regard for the judiciary. He added that the days of the Congress government were "numbered". Talking to The Tribune soon after the adjournment of the case against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal, Mr Tohra asserted they had full faith in the judiciary. "We will get justice from the courts, no doubt about it," he said.

Mr Tohra claimed that they had always fought for the independence of judiciary. Giving details, he said, "The Akalis were the first ones to raise the issue of freeing judiciary from the executive. We are the champions of the movement in the country," he declared.

In reply to a query regarding the reaction of the masses to the filing of the challan against the Badals, Mr Tohra said, "the Chief Minister's attempt of isolating Badals has boomranged". "Earlier also, Congress had only a few Sikh supporters in the state. Now they too are drifting away from the party. Moreover, the people have now realised that the Akali Dal, under the Badals, had done a lot for the state", he added.

He said, "There was overall development when Mr Parkash Singh Badal was the Chief Minister. New job avenues were created and people were offered better facilities as the Akalis, instead of hunting for one political rival or the other, struggled for the rights of the Punjabis".


Akali Dal to give befitting reply, says Kanwaljit
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 3
The Shiromani Akali Dal will give a befitting reply to the “repressive and undemocratic” attitude of the Capt Amarinder Singh’s government. The party will continue its campaign till justice is given to its leaders and public. This was stated by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former State Finance Minister, and a senior SAD (B) leader while addressing a press conference at the residence of Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa, district unit President of SAD here today.

He alleged that the Capt Amarinder Singh’s government had failed miserably on all fronts. Development activities had come to a standstill, salaries to government employees were not being paid regularly. Almost all benefits which were given by the SAD-BJP government to various sections of society, including farmers, Dalits and traders had been discontinued. Octroi and entry tax had been reimposed. Exim form was causing a great inconvenience to traders. To save its skin for its utter failure on all front, the Congress Government had started implicating Akali leaders, including its president Parkash Singh Badal in false cases of corruption.


Offices of Chief Khalsa Diwan locked
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3
In a swift action, the SDM, Mr Bhupinder Singh, today locked the offices of the Chief Khalsa Diwan, the oldest Sikh institution. The SDM has been appointed as Administrator by the District Magistrate though there is no such provision in the constitution of the Diwan.

This is for the first time in the 100 years history of the Chief Khalsa Diwan that an administrator had been appointed for conducting elections. The SDM will remain in control of the affairs for two months so that election to the Diwan could be held in a smooth way.

Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, honorary secretary of the Diwan termed the move of the district administration as “state terrorism” which amounted to “direct interference” in the affairs of Sikhs.

Meanwhile, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, has summoned both the warring groups of the Chief Khalsa diwan in Akal Takht Secretariat tomorrow. The five-member committee is likely to listen to both the groups for bringing about a rapprochement.

In his order, the District Magistrate has evoked Section 144 CrPC in wake of the apprehension of law and order situation for appointing the Administrator.

Earlier, a major coup was staged yesterday when the group opposing the present ruling faction declared the revocation of major decisions announced by the outgoing executive during its previous meeting. The new interim committee was announced at the general body meeting held at Ludhiana, headed by Dr Dharmvir Singh Jolly who in his first order revoked the expulsion of 284 members of the total 500 members of the Chief Khalsa Diwan.

The split came to fore when the Chief Khalsa Diwan was celebrating 100 years of its inception. Mr Charnjit Singh Chadda, one of the leader of the rival group said, though he did not welcome the intervention by the district administration but there was no option left due to the increasing “misdeeds” by the outgoing executive. He said though there was no provision for appointing administrator but the unwarranted situation was created due to the factional fighting.


People walk the past in Amritsar
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3
Something extremely fascinating marked the opening of the Heritage Festival in the walled city of Amritsar this morning. While most part of the city prepared to welcome the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who later graced the main celebrations at Ram Bagh this afternoon, those in the walled city reinvented Amritsar during the one-and-a-half-hour-long “heritage walk”, a concept employed extensively for tourism promotion in most western countries.

Introduced in Punjab for the first time, the heritage walk marked a fascinating opening to the festival at 7 a.m. today. Under the close guidance of Debashish Nayak, a renowned heritage architect, who has introduced the concept of heritage walk in 15 Indian cities, including Kolkata and Ahmedabad, Amritsar’s people today connected with their glorious past. The route that the walk took was as fascinating as the concept itself. It led about 300 people including administration officials, schoolteachers and children to the magnificent walled city buildings, that spell history, as it happened. The walk, conceived by Debashish for INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art, Culture and Heritage) served as a catalyst in linking people to their city. Along with Mr Sukhdev Singh, Punjab convener for INTACH, Debashish worked on the route for quite some time before deciding on the two spectacular points where the walk would start and end. As Debashish said, “People are so much a part of the city’s growth that they stop paying attention to it. City becomes their habit. Amritsar has an amazing heritage potential, but much needs to be done till most of it is restored. Many grand buildings are crying for attention.

The walk proceeded from Baba Atal, a magnificent nine-storey octagonal building of a gurdwara, built in the memory of Guru Hargobind Singh’s son Atal Rai. The foundation of the gurdwara was laid in 1722 and it was complete in 1835. Inspired by awe, people admitted that they knew nothing of this legacy, just as they knew little about the fact that Amritsar had many akharas, the residential religious schools where the sages and other students of theology used to stay during their visit to Amritsar. The walk progressed towards Qila Ahluwalia. The Qila complex has, surprisingly, withstood tremendous commercialisation pressures.

Among other interesting sites located along the route Guru ka Mahal, the residence of Guru Arjan Dev, besides Guru ka Bazaar, the market that developed around Guru ka Mahal. Taksal, the place where money was minted during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who featured in the heritage walk, which will continue for all the days of the festival, that ends on December 7.

The walk that truly showcases Amritsar’s heritage may well become a regular feature, given the fact that INTACH mustered 300 walkers this morning. Significant to note is the intervention level achieved by INTACH in the area of heritage conservation in Amritsar. There are about 300 heritage clubs in various city schools.


Wadalis, Jagjit cast a spell
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3
For once a controversy failed to mar the spirit of celebrations in the Heritage Festival which was formally kicked off from the historic Ram Bagh area this afternoon. Only about a week back, there was this whole furore over local talent being left underrepresented in cultural shows scheduled to be held during the festival. To tide over this problem, the Punjab Government along with its partner in cultural restoration, INTACH (Indian Natinal Trust for Art, Culture and Heritage) organised a full-fledged prelude to the heritage festival at Ram Bagh yesterday.

The news has it that folk artiste Gurmeet Bawa, along with a large number of local performers made yesterday’s celebrations at Ram Bagh worthwhile by making a cultural presentation for full four hours. The State Minister for Culture and Tourism, mr Ashwani Sekhri, who had earlier objected to lack of local representation in the festival, yesterday presided over the mini heritage festival, which assumed complete shape today, with the Wadalis and Jagjit Singh weaving a melodic spell all around the Khalsa College precenets.

While inaugurating the colourful heritage procession from Ram Bagh this afternoon, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the chief guest for the day, virtually thrilled the audience by disclosing that his counterpart in Pakistani Punjab had recently sent across a communique to him, voicing his keen interest in the revival of cultural relations across borders. While affirming his commitment to promotion of heritage in Punjab, the Chief Minister said tourism promotion would remain his top priority, besides preservation of art, culture and heritage in the state. Interestingly, the CM also made a passing reference to the need to revive the glory of musical gharanas of Punjab. Most of his address was about tapping the heritage potential of Amritsar to attract tourists, including NRIs. Referring to the city’s history, the CM also mentioned that the state government had already sent a proposal to UNESCO to declare the Golden Temple as the World Heritage Site. The CM later also touched upon the effort, which the state government was making to develop a Punjab gurdwara tourist circuit beginning from Anandpur Sahib via Fatehgarh Saheb, Patiala, Mastuana, Damdama Sahib to the Golden Temple.

As for the festivity, it rolled from Ram Bagh, where the CM flagged of the heritage procession, which was to cover 2 km before halting at Khalsa College. The procession featured all folk traditions of Punjab, including gatka, bhangra and giddha. The evening belonged exclusively to maestros. While Puran Chand and Pyare Lal Wadali, who were earlier seen during the Kapurthala heritage festival, regaled the audience with their mystic sufi music, Jagjit Singh entered the hearts of people by singing in Punjabi. as he played with melodies, the charm of the language and its soothing stood bared for all to feel and enjoy.


Guru Granth Sahib ‘model for harmony’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3
The message of oneness of God and universal brotherhood of mankind of Guru Granth Sahib serves as a model for harmony and world peace. It reaches inter-faith dialogue and spiritual elevation of living beings. Its message of love and peace continues to inspire the generations. These observations were made by Mr O.P. Verma, Governor, Punjab, in his presidential address at the inaugural session of the third International Conference on Guru Granth Sahib and Inter-faith Understanding to World Peace at Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

The conference is being organised by the Department of Guru Nanak Studies of the university in collaboration with the Academy of Guru Granth Studies, Texas, USA. Justice Mota Singh of England delivered the keynote address while Bhai Habans Lal, Chairman of the academy, gave special lecture on Guru Granth Sahib.

Mr Verma said Guru Granth Sahib also reflects composite culture of this region from the praxis of universal brotherhood. Its essence revolves around humanism and religious tolerance. It also remains beacon of hope amidst the socio-economic inequalities of the world, he added.

Justice Mota Singh in his keynote address said the fundamental need of the world was spiritual reawakening, a recovery of faith. Mankind’s highest destiny is to become more humane, more spiritual and more capable of sympathetic understanding. The greatest danger facing humanity after the collapse of secular ideologies is religion fuelled nationalism, the cloak of sanctity over the politics of hate. Sikhism seems to knit entire mankind into one universal brotherhood. He said a new orientation was required to build a unity out of divisions out of rivalries and this requires radical change of outlook.

Bhai Harbans Lal in his special lecture on “World Peace Based Upon Guru Granth Message of One Spirit One World” regretted that the world today failed to see Granth as meant for all on account of the failures and selfishness of the present-day keepers and caretakers of the scriptures.

Earlier, Dr Balwant Singh Dhillon, Director, coordinator of this International Conference, said more than 100 scholars from India and abroad were participating in this conference. Giving outlines of the conference. He also announced the inauguration of annual journal on Perspectives on Guru Granth Sahib.

Dr Satinder Singh, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the university, Dr Gurbaksh Singh Gill, USA, Dr Mukul Raj Mehta, Banaras, Dr N. Muthumohan, Madurai, Dr Davinder Singh Chahal, Canada, Dr Kashmir Singh, Bhai Baldeep Singh, Dr Rai Jasbir Singh, Dr J. Abdalla, USA, Dr Harnam Singh Shan, Dr Jagbir Singh, Dr Gurnam Kaur, Dr Jaswinder Kaur Dhillon presented papers in the afternoon sessions on the various aspects of Guru Granth Sahib.


Docs struggle to save HIV positive
mother, daughter
Tribune News Service

A medical specialist of Bathinda civil hospital attends on an AIDS patient Shinder Kaur, while her daughter is playing
A medical specialist of Bathinda civil hospital attends on an AIDS patient Shinder Kaur, while her daughter is playing with toys on Wednesday. — Tribune Photo by Kulbir Beera

Bathinda, December 3
Doctors at the Civil Hospital here have been treating a 30-year-old widow Harbans Kaur, (name changed) who has been found HIV positive. She had been admitted in the trauma ward yesterday as she had been suffering from loose motions and vomiting.

Harbans Kaur’s three-year-old daughter, Neena, has also been found HIV positive.

“Our medical specialists have doing their best to save the life of Harbans Kaur and I hope that we will be able to soon discharge her from the hospital hale and hearty shortly,” said Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon.

Harbans Kaur’s husband Mahinder Singh, who was a truck driver, had died in a road accident near Rohtak (Haryana) about a year ago. After the death of her husband, she was thrown out of her in-laws’ house in Bhagibander village.

To earn a living Harbans Kaur then started cleaning utensils in various houses of this town.

Harbans Kaur, who had been suffering from various diseases, was getting treatment from various private medical practitioners. Her health started deteriorating after she failed to respond to treatment.

She had been keeping confined herself to her room since the past three days as she had become very weak.

Volunteers of a local social organisation took her to the Civil Hospital for treatment yesterday. Harbans Kaur and her daughter were found HIV positive today.

The president of the social organisation send various volunteers of the organisation would provide assistance required for the treatment of Harbans Kaur and her daughter besides other things.


CM to visit Pak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3
Favouring strong economic and cultural ties between two Punjabs (Indian and Pakistani), Capt Amarinder Singh said he was looking forward to visit Lahore for initiating process to resume the old commercial relations.

Capt Amarinder Singh said he had already received an invitation from his Pakistani counterpart and had requested him to visit India first.


Indian PoWs’ families wait in vain
Anirudh Gupta

FEROZEPORE: Every time, both the Indian and Pakistani Governments embark on some confidence-building measures like the recent ceasefire across the LoC in Kashmir, a new hope kindles amidst the families of the 56 Indian PoWs languishing in Pakistani jails since 1971. Although, it’s been almost 33 years now, still the kith and kin of these Indian defence persons who went missing ever since the Indo-Pakistan conflict of 1971, are optimistic that they would see their loved ones once again. Many a time both the governments have exchanged prisoners as part of the CBM but there has been no word about the fate of these prisoners from either side.

Whenever, any delegation or Sikh jatha visits Pakistan, the families of these PoWs look forward to getting some good news. Some of their family members even reach Wagah with a hope that their ward may be one of those released by Pakistan, but they only go back disillusioned. Some of them can be seen showing the photographs of their relatives to the released prisoners to ascertain whether they had seen them in any Pakistani jail?

Though, the Pakistani Government has never admitted that any Indian defence officer is in its custody and has not included any such name of PoWs in the list of Indian prisoners but there are facts which substantiate the claim of the relatives of the Indian defence officers rotting in Pakistan jails since 1971.

Lt-Col S.S. Sohi, president, Ex-Servicemen Grievance Cell, Mohali, said Major Jaskaran Singh Malik of 8 Rajputana Rifles was still alive in Kot Lakhpal Jail, Lahore. He said that some members of the Sikh jatha, which visited Pakistan during Baisakhi this year, had disclosed to Mr Jasjit Singh (Major Malik’s father) in Dehradun about his illness in Lahore. Major Malik had faced a tough resistance due to intense fire while crossing the last 100 yards of a thick minefield in Leepa valley of J&K on the night of 7/8 December 1971, when he along with his company (8 Raj Rif) had attacked PoK, remembers Lt. Col Sohi (3 Bihar) who was watching all this in supporting role. While he was reporting this to his HQ, Major Malik was overpowered and was seen being taken to Pak brigade HQ blindfolded.

Pakistan never declared him a PoW so the Indian Army also declared him dead in action on December 8, 1971. After a few years, media reports started trickling in to the parents to Major Malik, who approached various authorities but in vain.

Similarly, a former Indian spy to Pakistan, Mr Mohan Lal Bhaskar, who was battered and tortured for several years in Pakistani jails, while ridiculing the Pakistani claim that there were no Indian PoWs in Pakistan asserted that 50 to 60 PoWs were still languishing in Pakistani jails. He said that in 1974, Major Ayaz Sipra, an instructor in Defence College, Aptabad, and Col Asif Shaffi, CO, 2 Punjab Regiment of Pakistan, who were jailed in the fort of Attock in connection with the Bhutto conspiracy, had told Bhaskar, who was also jailed with them that they had met one Gill (Wing Cdr. Gill) of Indian Air Force and Singh (Capt. Giriraj Singh) of the Indian Army, the fact which Bhaskar has stated under oath on affidavit.

In 1975, Major Ashok Suri had managed to send a letter from Karachi Jail to his father in which he wrote that about 20 other Indian officers were in Pakistani jails.

In 1988, a book written by a British woman, Victoria Schoffield, titled “Bhutto trial and execution” carried a reference to Indian PoWs being lodged at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Pakistan close to where Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was kept in solitary confinement.

All these years, relatives of these 56 missing Indian defence personnel are moving from pillar to post to secure the release of their loved ones but the Government of Pakistan has always denied holding any Indian PoWs. In 1983, a delegation of the relatives of six missing Indian PoWs was sent to Pakistan to identify them among the Indian detainees but the Pakistani authorities refused to show all the detainees in their custody.

Information reveals that a Pakistani newspaper, the “Sunday Observer”, dated December 5, 1971, wrote that five Indian pilots had been captured alive, one of them being Flt-Lt Tombay (“Tambay”). The “Time” magazine issue of December 27, 1971, carried a picture of Indian soldiers behind bars in Pakistan, including one identified as Major A.K. Ghosh.

Refuting the Pakistan’s claim about not having any PoW in their custody, he revealed that many of them have lost their sanity after years of torture and confinement. Salim Mohammed said there were at least 15 to 20 prisoners in Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, and about 10 to 15 in Quetta Jail, Baluchistan. Salim was released on May 18 this year.

The matter has now been raised a number of times in Indian Parliament, reminders have been made to the United Nations and the International Red Cross Society but nothing has moved. The relatives of these Indian missing defence personnel have again appealed to both, the Indian and Pakistani authorities to release these Indian PoWs and honour the Vienna convention.


Welfare society requires funds
Monica Ahluwalia

Patiala, December 3
The Society for Welfare of Handicapped requires funds to upgrade the institution. The aim is to make the institute modern, sophisticated and high-tech.

The society which was established in 1967, is running a school for the deaf and dumb for the and Blind in the Kishan Singh Kamboj building since then.

Earlier the building was given free of rent by the Kishan Singh Kamboj Charitable Trust in 1967 for 10 years.

These two institutions were pioneers in this field in north India as there were no such facilities available at that time.

The society recently upgraded the school for the deaf and dumb up to Class VIII. Earlier, the school was up to Class V. The institution provides education to nearly 70 deaf and dumb children, of whom 52 are staying in the school hostel.

Besides, the institution caters to around 20 blind students, all permanently staying in the school-cum-home.

Both school provide education, books, stationery, uniform and, medicines free of cost.

Both schools have been recognised by the state government. The monthly expenditure of the schools is about Rs 50,000, which is mostly met by funds and grants given by the local residents.

The deaf and dumb children are also given vocational training. They are taught speech therapy, art and craft , candle-making and tailoring. The society organises an exhibition of products prepared by these children on Divali.

This year, the sale of the products prepared by these children fetched Rs 1,07,000.

The Secretary of the society Col Karaminder Singh (retd), informed that the blind children were taught Braille language, music, caning of furniture and typing.

Capt Mohinder Singh, an executive member of the society, said they were planning to provide computer education to these children, but it was not immediately possible due to the lack of funds and infrastructural facilities. He added that the present accommodation was not adequate and there are no separate hostel facilities for the deaf and the dumb and blind, although their psychological and physical needs were quite different.


Ex-cops to be involved in social panels
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 3
Retired police personnel will be given due respect in all offices and police stations in the district. They will also be involved in committees to be formed in collaboration with social organisations for social welfare and social causes, said Mr Shiv Kumar, Senior Superintendent of Police, here today.

He said the presence of retired police personnel in these committees would bring efficiency and commitment social causes. He said the retired police personnel could play a vital role in the eradication of social evils such as female foeticide, drug addiction and dowry.

He said all the DSPs had been directed to induct the retired police personnel in various committees formed at the subdivisional and district levels. He said all sort of assistance would be ensured to retired police personnel and all necessary steps would be taken to provide leisure living after retirement.


Reflectors screwed on trolleys to mark
Disabled Day
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 3
The World Disabled Day was observed by a local society not only by distributing mandatory tricycles and hearing aids but also by taking steps to reduce accidents which leave thousands handicapped for life.

The society organised a drive under which metal reflectors were screwed on the frames of more than 250 trolleys, three-wheelers and ''rehris" to ensure that they could be easily seen in the night. Additional Deputy Commissioner Shivdular Singh Dhillon, who inaugurated the drive, personally screwed the reflectors on a trolley near the office of the District Handicapped Rehabilitation Centre here.

Speaking at a seminar, which was organised to mark the occasion, Mr Dhillon said in the winter months, a number of accidents took place because drivers could not see the rear ends of trolleys and three-wheelers .

He said in cities people faced a similar problem with "rehris" due to poor visibility conditions or fog. He lauded the Patiala Welfare Society, which conducted the drive to screw reflectors on these vehicles, for taking concrete steps to reduce the rate of accidents in the city.

Society president Vijay Kumar Goel, while speaking on the occasion, said the society would also launch an awareness drive in schools and colleges because it was necessary to teach students about road safety.

He said the knowledge of traffic rules could avert a number of accidents, saying that camps would also be held in this regard.

Noted orthopaedician Dr R.L. Mittal said a survey had revealed that around one-tenth of all handicapped persons were those who had become handicapped as a result of road accidents.

District Handicapped Rehabilitiation Centre In Charge Dr Pritpal Singh, gave details of various central schemes under which the handicapped could avail facilities.


IB verification for Sikh priests waived
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3
Conceding the long-standing demand of Sikh community, the Government of India has decided to issue visas to Sikh preachers, ragis, granthis and SGPC members employees and waive the Intelligence Bureau verification.

This has been informed by Mr L.C. Goyal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, in a communication to Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman National Commission for Minorities. The letter stated that the existing verification system for this category had discontinued from November 1 this year.


Police post set up at bus stand
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, December 3
To intensify the security arrangements in the district after buses were burnt at Malout and Killianwali, a police post was set up at the local bus stand.

Mr R.S. Khatra, SSP, in a press note issued here today, said the local bus stand had been catering to the inter state bus service from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh and to make foolproof security arrangements, it was the need of the hour. He added that the police post would help in providing security to the commuters besides looking after the security arrangements of some residential areas surrounding the bus stand.

He said some Akali workers were behind the burning of buses and efforts were on to nab the culprits.


Plea of Shamsher’s wife dismissed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 3
A local court today dismissed the application filed by Balwinder Kaur, wife of Shamsher Mehndi, an accused in the human trafficking case registered by the Patiala police, demanding recall of the order under which the proceedings had been started to get her declared a proclaimed offender. Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate P.S. Dhanoa dismissed the application today. Ms Balwinder Kaur in a petition to the court had claimed that the Patiala police wanted to declare her a proclaimed offender without any cogent reason.

She claimed that she was not an accused in the case and that the documents had been forged to procure her arrest warrants in the case.

Ms Balwinder Kaur had also claimed that it was on the basis of these documents that proceedings had been started to get her declared a proclaimed offender. She had also claimed that she was suffering from a life threatening brain ailment besides stating that the Patiala police had not conducted any raid before initiating the proceedings to get her declared a proclaimed offender.


CM orders transfer of Civil Surgeon
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 3
Succumbing to pressure from Congress workers, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, gave instructions for the transfer of the Civil Surgeon, Dr Yashpal Singla. The order came following complaints against him by some Congress leaders in an open darbar held by the Chief Minister today.

Dr Yashpal, however, said he was only stamping out corrupt elements from the Health Department and the order for his transfer amounted to succumbing to political pressure. A controversy had arisen over his “misbehaviour” with a driver and a woman doctor alleging molestation attempt.

Meanwhile, Dr H.S. Mahal, president, district SMOs association, welcomed the transfer order and said the Civil Surgeon’s behaviour with other doctors had been questionable.


Murder accused escapes from police custody
Tribune News Service

Kharar, December 3
After being arrested in a case involving the killing of a woman in a Kharar village in October, the accused has reportedly escaped from police custody when he was admitted to the local Civil Hospital. The police has booked a Sub-Inspector Surjeet Singh among three cops, who was posted as in-charge of Gharuan village police post.

The other two cops were head constable Shangara Singh and constable Amrik Singh. These cops, and the accused, Rama Nand of Machhiwara in Ludhiana, have been booked under sections 223, 224, 120-B of the IPC at Kharar police station.


Teachers’ threat to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 3
A deputation of teachers of private colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh led by Dr V.K. Sharma, finance secretary, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union, today met the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, regarding their demands at circuit house here.

However, not satisfied with the assurances of the Chief Minister the deputation threatened to intensify their struggle. The union will organise protest rally and a demonstration at Patiala on December 5. Dr Sharma said seven office-bearers of the PCCTU would offer arrest in front of the residence of Capt Amarinder Singh. He said teachers of private colleges would also observe “education bandh” on December 6 and 8 throughout Punjab and Chandigarh.

The deputation urged the Chief Minister to withdraw 10 per cent cut in annual grant to the colleges under 95 per cent deficit grant-in-aid scheme, implementation of pension and gratuity as per the executive order December 18, 1996, and retention of plus one and plus two classes in colleges. Dr Sharma said teachers of at least 125 private colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh were not getting their salaries for the past few months.


Protest by staff of private colleges on Dec 5
Our Correspondent

Barnala, December 3
Private college teachers in Punjab will proceed on casual leave en masse on December 5 and stage a demonstration in Patiala, the Assembly constituency of Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister. Office-bearers of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) will court arrest at Patiala to express resentment of private college teachers against the “indifferent” attitude of the government towards their grievances.

Prof S.S. Hundal and Dr V.K. Tewari, president and general Secretary, respectively, said that the Congress government instead of upholding the sanctity of poll promises, had reduced grant-in-aid to private colleges from 95 per cent to just 56 per cent and issued a “fraudulent” notification on pension-gratuity rules.

Prof Hundal and Dr Tewari revealed that PCCTU Executive Committee which met at DAV, College, Malout, on Sunday had resolved to implement PCCTU call of total education bandh, mass casual leave and protest rally by seven office-bearers of PCCTU on December 5 at Patiala.

The PCCTU had been demanding rural area allowance to teachers serving in private rural colleges, parity were DPEs and librarians, bringing all colleges under the 95 per cent grant-in-aid scheme and retention of plus two-classes in colleges.

The leaders said a steering committee had been formed to run the “movement” in case of arrest of all PCCTU office-bearers on December 5.


250 engineers attend workshop
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 3
The Institution of Engineers, Punjab and Chandigarh, organised a workshop cum exhibition for power utilities on the premises of the Technical Training Institute of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) here today.

At least 250 engineers from various disciplines of the PSEB attended the workshop. The main aim of the exhibition was to exhibit the equipment being used for the first time in the PSEB for the upgradation of the system. The Engineer-in -Chief , Mr P.D. Dua was the chief guest.

Mr Dua stressed the need for utilisation of better technology in the power sector to meet the growing commitments and challenges for engineers. Schneider Electric India Pvt Ltd displayed SF 6 Compact battery-free package substation and SF 6 Ringmains outdoor compact substation.

Another display of the company was Fault Passage Indicator for overhead lines and cables, which was useful in indicating faults in faulty zone of a feeder which could be easily patrolled instead of the whole feeder. This would help in decreasing the outage time of the feeder with more reliability of the system with lesser manpower.

An 11-KV pole-mounted autoclosure could be provided in between on a feeder, which closed automatically once the fault disappeared. In case the fault persisted, the signal through mobile system was automatically transmitted to the substation, intimating alout the faulty section of the feeder.

In addition to this, Ashida Pvt Ltd exhibited numeric multifunctional relays of various types used in a substation and for SCADA system for substation. Mr Rajiv Tosyhniwal of Tosyhniwal Industries Pvt Ltd displayed thermal infra-red imager, non-contact radiation thermometer for flame temperature, hot spot detection, oxygen gas, analyser. The honorary secretary of IEI, Mr Jotinder Singh, proposed the vote of thanks to the participants.


Governor lays stone of varsity block
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 3
Mr O.P. Verma, Governor, Punjab laid the foundation stone of Guru Nanak Dev University’s architectural block which is said to cost Rs 1.2 crore on the varsity campus here today.

The UGC had already sanctioned Rs 70 lakh for the project to be completed in a year, on 3000 square metres. The block would house studio-cum-classrooms, computer laboratory, workshops, audiovisual sections, testing laboratory and museum for building material and an art room.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |