L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Newly-wed dupes husband, in-laws
Decamps with jewellery, shagun amount
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
In probably the first case of its kind registered here, a newly-wed woman duped her husband and in-laws and decamped with jewellery and ‘shagun’ amount given to her by her in-laws and relatives.

This has come as a double blow for the family as it had paid Rs 20,000 to the woman’s sister for the marriage. The woman seemed to have planned everything in advance as she kept her face covered during the entire ceremony.

The woman, Jaspal Kaur, also called Bholi, belonged to Shimla Puri. She was married to Baldev Singh of Cheema village in Gurdaspur district on July 8.

After a couple of days, she was brought home by her foster sister on the pretext of attending the marriage of a relative.

That was the last time, the woman was seen. Her sister claimed the girl was not with her and she had no relation with her.

Facing a major social embarrassment, the man approached the Ludhiana police on December 8. Following an investigation by SSP Narinderpal Singh, a case was registered by the police today. The SSP said normally it was the bridegroom and his relatives who were accused of gobbling up dowry and jewellery, but he was shocked to find that a woman had done the same.

He said initially he did not believe the allegation but when the police wanted the girl’s pictures for investigation, it could not find even a single photograph in hundreds of photographs clicked at the time of marriage that showed girl’s face. He said the woman have duped others also.

According to the FIR, the woman disappeared with gold ornaments worth Rs 30,000 after some days of marriage. A case has been registered against the woman, her sister and brother-in-law under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC.

The match was struck after the intervention of the bride’s sister, Darshana, and her husband, Santokh Singh, both residents of Shimlapuri. Santokh Singh had allegedly told Baldev Singh that Bholi belonged to a very poor family and her sister needed Rs 20,000 for performing the ceremony. Baldev Singh allegedly paid the amount and the marriage took place.

After marriage, Bholi returned to Ludhiana to attend a relative’s marriage, but disappeared. On August 1, Baldev Singh went to Darshana’s house to enquire about her wife. He was told that they did not know anything about her whereabouts. Darshana allegedly said that Bholi had left the house many days ago.

Police sources said it was difficult to nab the woman as there was not even a single photograph of her.

The SSP said relatives of the bridegroom were feeling proud of the girl at the time of the marriage as she was not lifting her head. They considered her to be a shy woman of good virtues, but learnt months later that she was a cheat who had taken them for a ride.

The woman’s sister claimed that Bholi had never came to her. She also denied the charge that she took Rs 20,000 from the bridegroom.


VB books 2 cops on charge of extortion
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau has booked the in charge of Dhandari police post and a Head Constable posted there on the charges of illegally confining a person and extortion under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The accused had kept a migrant labourer in illegal custody at the police post for almost a week.

The Vigilance Bureau has sought the help of the district police in arresting the two accused cops. In a letter written today to the district SSP Narinderpal Singh, Vigilance Bureau SSP Naunihal Singh has urged the police administration to hand over the accused cops, ASI Surjit Singh and Head Constable Darbara Singh, as soon as they are found. Both the cops were absconding since Tuesday night.

The Vigilance team had rescued the labourer, Sanjeevan, on late Tuesday night from the clutches of the accused. He was allegedly forced to pay a few thousand rupees to the accused but was still not released. He was beaten up also.

The case registered last evening at the Vigilance police station here stated that ASI Surjit Singh, in charge the police post, and Head Constable Darbara Singh have been found guilty of the charges in a raid conducted by a Vigilance team and have been booked under Sections 384, 342, 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Mr Naunihal Singh told Ludhiana Tribune today that they had received a complaint from a relative of the victim that the two policemen were demanding money for the victim's release. He said when a Vigilance team raided the Dhandari police post, the allegation was found to be true. He said the accused cops had demanded Rs 3000 for the man's release.

He said the Vigilance team had raided several places but could not find the two accused. Police sources disclosed that another ASI was working as the in charge of the police post and the district police was yet to appoint some person.

The accused are also yet to be suspended. Sources close to the accused revealed that the ASI was putting all the blame on the Head Constable, saying he was unaware of his activities. The Head Constable was defending himself on the plea that the man was a suspect and it was a usual exercise for the police to question suspects.

Interestingly, this was the first ever raid by the Vigilance Bureau in a police station in the district regarding the case of an illegally confined person. Vigilance sources disclosed that it was definitely a case of corruption as the accused were demanding money from the alleged victims and his relatives.


Probe sought in land allotment to liquor baron
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called for a CBI inquiry into the allotment of 50 acres of prime land to liquor baron Ponty Chadha in Mohali at throwaway prices. A former president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and member of the state executive of the party, Mr Sukhminder Pal Singh Grewal, said the government exchequer would suffer a loss of 1,000 crore as a result of the deal.

He termed the ‘scandalous’ deal as one of the biggest ‘loot’ in the history of Punjab and a betrayal of the people of the state. Charging the Chief Minister's secretariat with being directly responsible for the shady deal, he said in the first place there was no justification for allotting of such a big chunk of land to a liquor baron at a low price of Rs 40 lakh per acre. Moreover, granting permission to the allottee for commercial exploitation of the land, meant for industrial purpose, was absolutely uncalled for.

The BJP functionary said concessions allowed in the package deal to the liquor baron like total exemption from entertainment tax for 10 years, exemption from stamp duty and lowering minimum investment limit from Rs 20 crore to Rs 10 crore smacked of favouritism and underhand transactions.

He said the way public funds were being squandered away was a matter of concern.

Since the role of the Chief Minister himself was under a cloud, an independent inquiry by the CBI was called for to bring out the real truth, he added.


CM supporters call off rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
A rally proposed to be organised here today by the leaders loyal to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to express their solidarity with him was called off at the last moments for the reasons best known to the organisers. The rally was to start from Model Town area and after passing through various places was to conclude at the Clock Tower.

The main organisers of the rally included former District Congress Committee (DCC) units urban and rural, presidents, Mr K.K. Bawa and Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, the City Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, and the senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Pawan Dewan.

The rally was aimed at providing an affront to the dissident leaders of Ludhiana district. It is pertinent to mention that Ludhiana district has maximum dissidents. Out of eight Congress legislators, seven are dissidents. The rally was aimed at negating the impact of the dissidents in the district and creating a feeling among the workers that Ludhiana still supported the Chief Minister.

However, the organisers of the rally reportedly received directions from senior leaders advising them to call it off. This, was done to avoid any confrontation. A senior Congress leader said, it was thought that as instead of creating consensus, it could have led to confrontation and harmed the party reputation at a crucial stage.

Some loyalists of the Chief Minister were even planning to march to the residence of the Minister for Higher Education, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, who is at the forefront of the dissident campaign. This obviously could have caused bad blood and further complicated the matters. Moreover, this would in no way have gone in favour of the Chief Minister, he added.

The leadership issue was to be settled by the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and “we had nothing to do on the issue”, he added.


Local units explore Chinese option
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 25
Local industrialists have started exploring the option of getting their goods manufactured and fabricated in China. A number of leading manufacturers from Ludhiana are learnt to have made several visits to various Chinese cities in this regard.

Owing to the rising infrastructure, investment and other input costs, the manufacturers here are finding it difficult to retain profitable market. Moreover, with the opening up of the markets in the post World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime after April, 2004, the local manufacturers will be at a loss in the face of stiff competition from Chinese manufacturers. The local manufacturers are now mulling the option to get their goods manufactured in China.

According to Mr Aneesh Dhawan, a leading exporter and the managing partner of Gitane Exports, much against the general impression that Chinese goods were cheaper than local goods, he found that the cost of goods there was as much as in India. He said the so-called ‘cheap goods’ available in China were not of standard quality. Mr Dhawan, who returned recently from a visit to various Chinese cities, said Indian manufacturers could produce goods of that standard at lower prices than those available in China. But these goods would not have any durability and acceptability.

“Even in China”, he said, “if you want to get quality products, you have to be prepared to pay a handsome price.” He said instead of getting things made in China, it would be better to get these manufactured here. In China a business-friendly culture had emerged, but it was not so in India, he added. He said if China lacked in anything, it was in communication as most Chinese could not speak or understand English.

He said there were several local manufacturers who were mulling the option of getting their goods manufactured in China. “These people already have a widespread network of retailers. They will simply import products from China and supply these to retailers. This may affect the domestic industry in terms of employment and working of ancillary and raw material supplying units. The process has already started and this happens to be a beginning only,” he added.


Man drugged in train, expires
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
A migrant, who was found in an unconscious state in a train coming from Delhi and was rushed to the Civil Hospital here yesterday by the railway police, breathed his last later in the day.

A relative of the deceased, who was also travelling with him along with his grandson, is still unconscious and is under treatment.

However, his grandson, Sonu (7), was safe as he was already asleep when the duo was drugged.

According to the police, while ‘Shahi Ram’ was tattooed on the arm of the deceased, his name was still to be confirmed. Sonu has told the police that his father and mother work at a brick-kiln in Sarabha Nagar.

A police party has been sent to that place to bring some relatives for confirming the identity of the deceased and the surviving man, who has been initially identified as Beg Raj. The victims hailed from Muzzafar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh.

The incident has once again brought into focus the impunity with which such gangs are operating in trains and at railway stations and looting passengers after drugging them.


Santas, stars, bells and lights all over city
Our Correspondent

A man dressed as Santa mingles with people in Chaura Bazaar in Ludhiana
Santa All the Way: A man dressed as Santa mingles with people in Chaura Bazaar in Ludhiana on Thursday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, December 25
Christmas was celebrated at Ek Prayas (Institute for Children with Special Needs) on December 24, 2004. The Christmas tree was decorated with stars and bells. Colourful buntings’ were prepared by the children. Principal N. Mannan welcomed Dr Sandeep Puri, Medical Superintendent, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. Guests of honour were Mrs Sheela Jain, Mr Miru Kalia, Mr Vijay Maini, Mr Prem Gupta and Dr B.P. Mishra.

Children merrily danced to the tunes of Christmas songs. They presented a prayer song and a captivating action song. ‘In panchion ko delhkar jage hein ye arman’. All present were touched to see the performance of the special children. Dr Sandeep Puri appreciated the dedicated work done by the faculty and management of Ek Prayas. He promised all the needed help and guidance from Dayanad Medical College and Hospital.

GMT Senior Public School

Christmas was celebrated with fun and fervour in the premises of G M T Senior Secondary Public School on Dec 25. The tiny-tots presented a fabulous show on the life of Jesus Christ and Mother ‘Mary’. Few students dressed up as Santa Claus and distributed sweets. The environment echoed with the dance performance of the tiny-tots on the jingles and Christmas carols. Director K.S. Thind conveyed best wishes to all the students and staff members and stressed upon the moral and ethical values of life. Principal Heema Jassal said that one must have faith in the Almighty and one should always walk on the path of truthfulness and inculcate the habit of brotherhood. The function ended with the distribution of sweets among the students.

Everest Playway School

X-mas was celebrated at Everest Playway and Nursery School, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Park, Ludhiana, today with great enthusiasm. The school was decorated with Christmas Tree, stars and bells. The tiny-tots came in colourful dresses. Children performed the duties of Santa Claus and distributed cookies, pastries, cakes and sweets among the children. The students also danced on the tune of ‘ Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell’ and ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ and ‘ Happy New Year’.

The fancy dress competition for nursery and KG students was also organised. On this occasion Mrs Poonam Sharma, Principal, gave away the presents among the students. Mr S.K. Sharma, Manager, Everest Educational Society (Regd), also graced the occasion and blessed the students.


Braving the chill under fog-filled sky
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
Chandu, a tramp, collects waste papers, cardboard boxes, and other waste material and sells these for two square meals. Homeless, he used to sleep in one of the corridors of the markets of the city. But the police chases him out and now he sleeps out in the open. Chandu and thousands like him are defenseless against the extreme cold and have to sleep out in the open.

They have no other choice but to sleep in the open under the fog-filled sky. They have migrated from states like Bihar, Orissa and UP looking for jobs. But in spite of their best efforts, they have not been able to find permanent jobs.

Titu, Kamal, Raghu, all from Bihar, are losing their energy facing harsh weather conditions. All young men unable to find a job, have no option but to face the horrible weather. They say,” There are no night shelters for people like us. The police drives us away from railway platforms and market places. Where shall we keep our meagre bedding? We have to find a place to answer the call of nature. During night, we light up a bon fire of waste material to keep ourself warm. Even the stray dogs come closer to us and we let them be with us as they give us their warmth.”

People talk of power cuts, cold weather, change in school timings but no one talks of these homeless people. “Why does the government have to spend money on useless things? Why can’t they build night shelters for such people. But who cares. The NGO’s too are not bothered. They can spend a lot of money on making arches for various processions, but will not do anything for homeless and people who are living under trying conditions,” lamented Prof Zafar, a professor. 


‘Mutual trust key to communal harmony’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
The Congress legislator, Mr Surinder Dawar, has said that mutual trust, love for fellow human beings and tolerance was the key to communal harmony and peaceful coexistence.

He was addressing a prayer meeting to mark Christmas at Kalvery Church here today. Congress councillors Mr Sanjeev Talwar and Mr Rakesh Parashar were also present on the occasion.

Mr Dawar said Christianity, like all other religions, preached equality and brotherhood of the mankind. “People of all religions should observe all religious festivals together to strengthen the communal fibre and to inculcate a sense of belonging to society irrespective of religion, community, caste and creed.”

The area councillor Mr Talwar offered his Christmas greetings to the people and lauded the role of the Maseehi Sewa Society for the elaborate celebrations.

Pastor Ram Lal, in his address to the devotees, emphasised the significance of the festival in the context of the life of Jesus Christ. Prayers were offered by those present on the occasion which was followed by a langar, organised by members of the Maseehi Sewa Society and the Pastor Committee.

Among others, Mr Rajinder Lal, Mr Johnson Gill, Mr Ramesh Kumar, Mr Avtar Maseeh, Mr I.S. Chahal, Mr Robert, Mr Raman Gill, Mr Surinder, Mr Samul, Mr Parminder Kittu, Mr David Maseeh and Mr Kanwaljit Bobby also attended the function.


Widow gets her daughter back after 3 months
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 25
Mamta, a widow, was united with her three-year-old daughter after three months. The girl had allegedly been kidnapped by the “second wife” of her assassinated husband. The police helped find her daughter after a court at Malerkotla issued warrants for the search of the house of the accused at a village in Uttar Pradesh.

Mamta (30), a resident of Ward No. 2, Jagera road had alleged that her only daughter had been kidnapped by Sardari, the ‘second wife’ of her assassinated husband, Narinder Kumar, in the month of September while she was not at home. She said, “While I was at Chhapar Mela, selling bangles, Sardari forcibly took Neha with her to Barot in Baghpat district (UP). Persistent efforts by me for more than two months bore no fruit as the police expressed its inability to enter someone’s house, especially when it was in some other state.

Ultimately, Mamta knocked at the door of a court at Malerkotla, where Mr H.J.S. Tiwana, SDM, (Judicial), issued search warrants under Section 97 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Head Constable Darshan Singh Longowalia and Constable Harmesh Lal were deputed to conduct a raid at the house of Sardari in Uttar Pradesh.

Appreciating the role of the police, she said,”Had the local police and the UP police not coordinated and acted promptly, the accused could have killed my daughter, who is a legal heir to the property of my husband.” She said Neha was recovered by the police from the house of Sardari and produced before the Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate on December 18.

Mamta said, “I was only 10 years old when I was married to Vinod, name of whose village I do not remember now. I do not remember if I ever lived with Vinod. I was made to marry Narinder, my sister’s husband, 10 years later. When my sister, Sardari, did not tolerate our living together, we shifted here to live peacefully, three years ago.”

Narinder was called by Sardari to his native village, where he was reportedly made to dispose of a part of his property. “I was later told by some villagers that my husband had been assassinated by some of his neighbours at Barot and his mutilated body was found in the fields. Sardari, who is my sister also, had stated before the police that I had died much before Narinder’s murder. Although I produced the evidence of my being alive, I had not been paid any compensation, whereas Sardari had already received Rs 75,000.” Mamta alleged that Sardari had kidnapped Neha to claim her share in compensation and property inherited from Narinder Kumar. She still apprehends threat to her and her daughter’s life.


‘Foeticide a heinous crime’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 25
“Foeticide is not only a heinous act against humanity but a serious crime punishable by law. Though the government has made laws against it, the practice continues. The society NGOs and women have to be very vocal against this inhuman act”. This was said here yesterday by Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder at a cultural evening organised.

Addressing 200 NSS volunteers from 15 different states who have come to participate in a week-long national integration camp at the Master Tara Singh College for Women from December 21, he expressed great concern over the skewed male-female ratio. He said this is unnatural and would cause serious imbalance in society with grave repercussions.

Mr Bir Devinder said that the parents should not distinguish between boys and girls in this century as girls have proved that they can do things as ably as the boys. The parents should give the best education to girls so that they can bring in a social change by changing the mindset of society.

Students from different states presented cultural items of their states. Dressed in colourful costumes, girls presented different hues and flavours of rich cultural heritage of India. It was a unique opportunity for the students to know various dances of other states and details about dresses and adornments of other states.

Mr Bir Devinder said that such camps help to inculcate the feeling of patriotism and oneness among the young people. Famous comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi, had girls in splits with his jokes.

Also present on the occasion were Mr Swaran Singh, president of the college Trust, Mr Prem Chand, SDM, and Mr Gursewak, Tehsildar.


Woman robbed in house

Ludhiana, December 25
Two unidentified persons robbed a woman in Guru Gobind Singh Nagar here after forcibly entering her house. The youths had knocked on the door first saying they were collecting money for a religious function.

The woman, Malti Thapar, was alone in the house when the incident took place. She tried to resist them but was beaten up and forced to hand over Rs 6000. The youths were wearing monkey caps and could not be recognised. TNS

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