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Murdered boy’s kin allege harassment by police 
Jupinderjit Singh &
Ravi Inder Singh Makkar

Relatives of Kuldip Singh, whose brother, Hardeep Singh, was found murdered, help him to walk at Chaunta village in Ludhiana district
Relatives of Kuldip Singh, whose brother, Hardeep Singh, was found murdered, help him to walk at Chaunta village in Ludhiana district. — Photo by IV

Chaunta, January 12
Struggling to come to terms with the abduction and murder of 13-year-old Hardeep Singh of this village, his family is also trying to cope with the poor mental and physical health of his elder brother and another relative, who were allegedly kept in illegal confinement by the police and beaten up on the suspicion of killing the boy. The youths were released on the intervention of senior Congress minister Jagmohan Kang.

Kuldip Singh, elder brother of the deceased, spent over a week in police custody. Alleging police harassment, his relatives said he was barely able to walk. His cousin brother also allegedly received similar treatment from the police.

Mr Ram Singh, SHO of the Koom Kalan police station, told Ludhiana Tribune that the youths were picked up as the police suspected a property angle behind the boy’s abduction on December 18. He denied that the youths were beaten up and kept in illegal custody. He visited the victim’s house this morning and informed the family that the police had zeroed in on the murderers and the victim’s brother was innocent.

The SHO said the identity of the murderers would be disclosed in two days. He said the motive for the abduction was not ransom and a family member could prove to be the mastermind behind the murder.

Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, MLA of the Kum Kalan constituency and Chief Whip, Shiromani Akali Dal, has demanded a fair probe into the matter. He said it was very unfortunate that one boy of the family has lost his life while another had allegedly suffered in police custody.

He has appealed to senior police officers to do justice in the case and extended all possible help to the family.

Narrating the sequence of events, Kuldip Singh, Baljit Kaur, the victim’s aunt, and another relative, Sukhdeep Kaur, said Hardeep was taken away by two unknown persons who came to the house claiming that Kuldip was injured in an accident on December 18. Hardeep went with them but never returned.

Next morning, the family received a phone call that the boy had been kidnapped. A ransom of Rs 4 lakh was demanded. The call was received by Kuldip Singh and Ranjit Singh. The kidnappers said the bag containing the money should be kept in the bathroom of a school near the village.

The family members said they could not arrange the money in such a short time and the kidnappers should call in the afternoon. However, no phone call came after that.

Two days ago, the mutilated body of the youth was found from a field near the village. Parts of legs and arms had been eaten by animals. The police said it seemed that the animals had dragged the body to that place. 



Slaughterhouse lies non-functional
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 12
Beware! Before you feast on seemingly-fresh meat don’t ignore the fact that the animal may not have been slaughtered in hygienic conditions.
The modern slaughterhouse in the Haibowal area being run by the local municipal corporation has been lying non-functional for months and the meat is being sold to the residents unchecked and slaughtered in unhygienic conditions. As the slaughterhouse remains closed, illegal butcheries are having a field day.

This despite the fact that the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has already directed the local municipal corporation authorities to check the slaughtering of animals in open butcheries.

While the slaughterhouse has been lying dysfunctional, on an average 800 animals are slaughtered in the city everyday. These are sold for everyday consumption.

The callousness of corporation can be gauged from the fact that while the slaughterhouse lies non-functional, the corporation had, in its reply to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, said it had constructed an ultra-modern slaughterhouse in the Haibowal dairy complex. Any animal brought for slaughter there was first a medical examination of the animal by the veterinary surgeon and after it was declared medically fit, only then the slaughtering was permitted. The Tribune has a copy of the reply submitted by the corporation in this regard.

The animals are butchered in the illegal slaughterhouses mushrooming in the city. According to sources, there are around 700 butcheries in the city. This has affected the working of the slaughterhouse of corporation, which was constructed a few years ago.

On visiting the slaughterhouse of the corporation in Haibowal dairy complex today, it was locked and there was no official present except some Class IV employees.

Some employees told the Tribune that the last slaughtering took place here around two months ago. Now the animals were not brought so there was no scheduled time for the Medical Officer, Health Wing of the corporation and Veterinary Officer who were assigned the duty of checking the animal as well as meat for any possibility of disease.

The employees said the meat shop owners preferred slaughtering the animals themselves as they had to pay Rs 5 per animal to the corporation for slaughter. Moreover, they were not sure if the number of animals slaughtered in the morning would be sold by the evening or not

In the absence of any check on illegal slaughtering, city residents were being exposed to dangerous diseases.

As per provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 notified in the Government Gazette on March 26, 2001, the rules forbid the slaughter of animals, except in licensed slaughterhouses. No animal, which is pregnant, or has offspring less than three months old or is under the age of three months or not certified by a veterinary doctor, should be slaughtered. Animals meant for slaughter would be sent to lairage for resting at least 24 hours after the veterinary examination. The rules framed under the Act, also regulate the conditions in the slaughterhouses and employees, engaged for this work.

Unfortunately, none of the rules is followed posing a health risk to the residents as these slaughterhouses are breeding grounds for flies and rodents and help in increasing stray dog population and spreading diseases like cholera, gastroenteritis, tuberculosis and rabies.

According to Dr Sandeep Jain, president of the local chapter of the PFA, most of the animals are sick and under heavy stress and kept in unhygienic conditions. The meat obtained from these unhealthy animals, birds and fish is also not fit for the consumption of human beings.

The PFA has already filed a complaint with the PHRC in this regard. But there has been no improvement on this front. Dr G.S. Grewal, Medical Officer, Municipal Corporation and Dr Jaswant Singh, Veterinary Officer, were not available for comments despite repeated attempts.



Lohri celebrated with fervour
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 12
Lohri-the festival of 'Dulha-Bhatti' was celebrated in traditional colours at Love Dale, Sarabha Nagar, here recently. The staff and students of Love Dale participated in the festival with 'dhol-dhamaka'. The club resounded with traditional lohri folk songs in the memory of the legendary 'dulha-bhattiwala'. All members danced to the tunes of dholak while narrating the Punjabi boliyan like 'bari barsi khatan gaya', 'pinda vichon pind suneenda' etc. The camp fire was lit which dispelled the remaining traces of cold. All the members sang 'chak deo phatte' at the end of the function.

Students of Guru Nanak International Public School, Gujarkhan Campus celebrated lohri in a traditional way. They enjoyed themselves by eating reori, gachhak and groundnuts. The Headmistress, Mrs C.Paul, narrated to them the story of 'Dullha Bhatti' and the director Mrs P.Kahlon and Mrs B.Gulhati blessed the children.

Meanwhile, the District Health Department has spread the message that this festival of 'dulha-bhatti' should not be celebrated by the families when some baby boy is born, rather the birth of a girl should also be celebrated. Dr S.N.Tiwari, in his message to the masses said both son and daughter were equal without whom society can not move.

Dr Tiwari said that sex determination and abortion of a female foetus was unethical. The district administration was keenly observing on the matter and the guilty would be severely punished.

The festival of lohri was also celebrated by the tiny-tots of Pearls Nursery School. The traditional folkways were practiced by the young ones. They were all dressed up in bright colours with kites and dor in their hands. The toddlers were told the importance of this special day. Mr Grewal inaugurated the function by flying a kite. The traditional way of burning lohri, made the celebrations warm. The function concluded by making tiny-tots danced to various Punjabi tunes.

The management, staff and students of Gupta Model School celebrated the festival in true colours here today. The students were distributed nuts, reoris and gachhak on this occasion. The Principal of the school elaborated the importance of festival, one of the favourite festivals of Punjabis. Boliyan and tappe were also presented during the celebrations.

Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, also celebrated the lohri festival on the college premises. The function was presided over by the president, Mr Gurbir Singh. The Principal, Dr Mrs Charanjit Mahal congratulated the staff members and students as the institution has been accredited for a period of five years by NAAC with B++ grade.

Ms Baldev Tiwana, Head Department of Postgraduate Punjabi Department pointed out in her lecture about the traditional values of lohri, as it marks the beginning of a new era. All got together in the ground and lit a bon-fire, which was followed by a gala function by the students. Giddha, Bhand, fancy-dress, group songs and other solo items were the main attraction on this occasion.

Members of Gayatri ladies club celebrated lohri here today. The members were specially dressed for the occasion and sang various Punjabi songs. The enthusiastic members presented giddha and recited poems during the celebrations.

Lohri marks the culmination of winter and is celebrated on the 13th day of January in the month of Magh, a day before Makar Sangranti. Lohri celebrates fertility and the spark of life. People gather around the bon-fires, share sweets, throw puffed rice and popcorns into the flames, sing popular songs and exchange greetings. The prasad comprises of five main things-tils, gachhak, gur, moongphali and popcorn.

Students of Swiss International Public School celebrated the festival here today.The premises was decorated beautifully with flowers, colourful drapery depicting the vibrancy of the festival. The students came dressed in traditional attires which rendered liveliness to the atmosphere. The celebrations began with lighting of the bonfire. The importance of festival was explained to the students. The prasad was distributed to the children and they had a wonderful time seeing their teachers pour til, gur etc in the fire.

Roshni- an NGO celebrated the Lohri of newly born girls in village Jassian. Traditionally Lohri is celebrated for boys only which is a symbol of gender discrimination in our society.

On this occasion all the girls born in the last one year in village Jassian and their families were the focus of attention in the celebrations by Roshni. Lohri was celebrated in a traditional manner in the presence of the village folk with dance and music. The girl children received blankets and shagun from Roshni. Gachak and Lohri sweets were shared by Roshni members and the village people. The organization also plans to celebrate Lohri for the girl child every year with community participation.

According to President Roshni, Dr D J Singh, "Celebration of Lohri for boys only is a stigma on the face of our society because this justifies gender discrimination. If we advocate equality let us begin by celebrating Lohri for the girl-child also."

Dr A K Kala, Vice-President Roshni said," The gender ratio in children below 6 years is worst in Punjab especially in Malwa belt where it is 746. It is extremely important that in addition to the administrative and legal measures, social education and sensitising the public is undertaken."

According to Dr (Mrs) Ravinder Kala, Secretary General Roshni,"By celebrating Lohri of the girl-child we are sending a message to the society that the birth of a girl is as enriching for the parent as the boy. Parents are happy at the birth of a male child because he'll take care of them in old age. However, the girls and women are by nature more compassionate and caring, so educating them and empowering them would make them better care-takers of parents in old age".

The village Sarpanch Mr Major Singh, "The villagers are overjoyed to celebrate this new type of Lohri. They have seen the Lohri celebration of girls for the first time in their lives". He also appreciated the efforts of Roshni and added that Roshni was working in the village and providing counselling for the victims of domestic violence and free treatment of drug-addiction.

Lohri was celebrated at Cutes Nursery school, Sarabha Nagar with great fervour. Children had come in their traditional dresses wearing phulkari suits and boys in kurta pajama suits. The Principal Mrs Rekhi told them about the importance of Lohri which is celebrated in Punjab . Rewaries, Gachhak- Bhuga and peanuts were distributed among the children . The kids sang song like ' Sunder Mundria Ho.' 



BJP holds poll meeting
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 12
The BJP unit of Fatehgarh Sahib organised a meeting at Ram Bhavan here yesterday to prepare for the coming Lok Sabha elections. The meeting was presided over by its district chief, Mr Dharampal, which was addressed by Swami Sohan Lal, Mr Ran Singh Kalsi, state executive member, and Vipin Chander Pal.

It was pointed out at the meeting that a big workers' meeting would be organised on January 18, which would be addressed by state BJP chief, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna. It was made clear that the BJP-Akali Dal alliance was intact and the alliance would win all 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state along with Chandigarh. Ward-wise committees would be formed for the preparations of the elections.

Mr Dharampal said the corruption issue highlighted by Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, had failed in the state in the light of utterances of Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, his Cabinet colleague, who has levelled corruption charges against his government and against his son. 



Be ready for struggle, farmers urged
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 12
The Bharti Kisan Union has appealed to the farmers to be prepared for a long struggle to get their problems solved and participate in dharnas to be organised all over the state. The final programme would be announced at a conference to be organised at the Maghi Mela at Muktsar tomorrow.

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, president and general secretary, respectively, of the state unit of the party, said the government had turned a deaf ear towards their demands and was not even willing for a dialogue. The prices of foodgrains were unrealistic and not linked to the price index, they alleged. The situation was so bad that farmers were committing suicides due to debt.

They pointed out that the government had hiked the prices of diesel five times during the previous year and there had been a 15 to 20 per cent increase in the cost of farm equipment. In this light, the increase of Rs 10 in the price of wheat was a cruel joke on the farmers, they said. The price of wheat should be Rs 988, sugarcane Rs 143 and pulses Rs 2,860 per quintal as per the price index, they demanded.

Mr Lakhowal said they had also urged the PSEB authorities to ensure 12 hours of uninterrupted power supply to the farmers. The board should also release all pending tubewell connections by March 31 or they would be forced to gherao power stations.

Referring to the injustice to sugarcane growers, he said the Centre should revise the MSP to save them and promote the planting of sugarcane in the state. The pending dues amounting to Rs 90 crore should also be cleared at the earliest and the government should make it mandatory for all dues to be cleared by the mills within 15 days.

The union also urged the government to curb the menace of stray animals which was ruining the crops of the farmers.



Fun time at LMA family fete 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 12
It was fun and frolic all the way for youngsters, adults and senior citizens on the sprawling green lawns of Kothari Resorts yesterday as the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) celebrated its annual get- together function, “Family fun fete”.

More than 1,500 members of the LMA, including entrepreneurs, management professionals, academicians and bankers, took part in the fete. No stiff business suits were there. No neckties could be seen. The stern business-like tone of hard-core businessmen of the city was replaced with laughter and cheers.

Treasure hunt, one-minute games, film games, ad games and crazy quizzes kept the members’ mood upbeat all the time. Teenagers danced to bhangra beats and Western pop music, making the environment all the more electrifying. Children were in their element. They competed in the spoon race, chaati race, one-legged race, sack race and many other fun games.

Games like the forbidden apple, threading the needle, belan race, and the game of lipsticks attracted a lot of couples. Magic stunts by Yusuf Bhai, who came from Delhi, also won the hearts of one and all. Men and children enjoyed “patang baazi” while women gave them their support.

Mr V K Goyal, general secretary, Ludhiana Management Association, appreciated the efforts of Mr Vijay Munjal, chairman of the organising committee.

Mr Mahesh Munjal, senior vice- president, LMA and Mr Anil Kumar, vice-president, LMA, thanked all members of the association who came forward with enthusiasm and dynamism to make this event a memorable one.

Mr Manjit Singh, president, LMA, and Mr Vijay Munjal, chairman, annual get-together committee, said, “The objective of this annual family get-together function is to provide a well-deserved break to members from the hustle and bustle of their hyper-competitive and fast-paced lives.”



Seminar on self-help groups
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 12
A seminar on the working on self-help groups (SHGs) of Amloh sub-division will be organised on January 15 at Ram Bhavan Dharamshala to involve more and more women in different trades of self-employment schemes. Assistant General Manager of Nabard, representatives of various banks and members of SHGs will participate in the seminar .

Talking to the mediapersons here yesterday, Mr. Satish Kumar Child Development and Project Officer (CDPO), Amloh, said the experiment of the setting up of SHGs had received overwhelming response from women in villages. Out of 138 such groups formed last year, 55 groups had been advanced bank loans of Rs 16,64,000 for self-employment schemes. The profits of the groups had crossed Rs 10 lakh mark, with 100 per cent recovery of the bank loans. Around 1500 women had been able to draw benefits from this scheme, Mr Kumar maintained.

To make the scheme more effective and purposeful an organisation, “Initiative for Self-Help Association” (ISHA), of these groups had been formed, the specialised persons of the same trade in different groups would be able to make bulk purchase of raw material across the groups and take the bulk produce to the markets. It will help reduce the inputs and provide proper chance of marketing of the produce.

A centre to provide training to CDPOs, workers of the department from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh in small- scale industries had been functioning at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.



National Youth Day observed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 12
The Rameshwar Welfare Trust today observed National Youth Day here with the help of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Swami Vivekanand was remembered on the occasion. His birth anniversary is observed as National Youth Day. A seminar was also organised by the trust for the development of youth.

Mr Amit Khurana , Swami Anand Geet, Mr Kishan Lal Sastri, Mr Rajesh Kapoor and Mr Jagjit Singh spoke. Nearly 500 boys and girls participated.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Vidya Mandir celebrated Swami Vivekanand Jyanti on the premises of BVM, Kitchlu Nagar, here recently. in which a paper-reading contest washeld.

The results of the contest were: Class IX: Ishan first and Siman Preet second; Class VIII: Heena first and Shishir second; Class VII: Jayshree first and Ratinderjeet second; Class VI: Chanakya Veer Singh first, Jyoti and Sidhant second and Megha third; Class V: Rimanjeet Kaur first, Karan Gogna second and Dipika third; Class IV: Bhakti first, Gaurav second and Jasmine third; and Class III: Riya Gupta first, Agam Bhandari second and Rishab third.



Woman killed

Khanna, January 12
A woman died in a road accident on the GT Road here on Monday. Rajinder Kaur and her husband Ranjit Singh were going to Gobindgarh on their scooter. When they reached near a bus shelter, a truck hit their scooter which over turned and rammed into a bus standing at the shelter.

Rajinder Kaur died on the spot. The truck driver tried to flee but a passerby caught hold of him after a chasing him near Markfed Vanaspati Mill. He was handed over to the police. OC



Industry hails relief package
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 12
In a major development fulfilling the long-pending demand of the trade and industry in the state, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh has announced the withdrawal of exim forms in the state. The announcement was made by the Chief Minister, while presiding over a meeting of industrialists of the city at Chandigarh today.

Briefing reporters here today after returning from Chandigarh, Mr P.D. Sharma, president Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, disclosed that several other measures were also announced by the Chief Minister which would go a long way in ameliorating the plight of industry in the state in general and Ludhiana in particular.

He revealed that the steel furnace industry was likely to get power at concessional rates for night use. Industry had urged the Chief Minister to reduce tariff for steel furnace industry and rolling mills to bring down the prices of steel as more than 50 per cent steel in industry was produced locally.

Among others measures announced by the Chief Minister include the raising of sales tax assessment and summary assessment from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 75 lakh, reduction of arrears on waste and sewerage of municipal corporation from 18 and 9 per cent, respectively, to 50 per cent. The Chief Minister also announced that for allocation proper place to the electroplating industry 30 acres of land will soon be identified near Ludhiana.

Sharing the concern of the industrialists on the rising steel prices, Chief Minister assured the industry that he will seek the time from the Prime Minister to discuss the issue along with the representatives of the industry. He also suggested that the programme for having dharna at Delhi against steel prices may be postponed in view of meeting with the Prime Minister.

The Chief Minister has also disclosed that he had raised the issue of heavy concessions on central excise and income tax granted to three Hindi-speaking states would also be taken up with the Prime Minister who had assured him that Punjab will also get help as it happened to be a border state.

Referring to the abolition of octroi, the Chief Minister pointed out, the matter was pending with the High Court and as per the directions of the court alternative sources of revenue have to be evolved. He disclosed that the committee headed by senior official of the rank of Chief Secretary was likely to submit the report on alternative source of revenue.

Prominent among those present at today's meeting included the Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Higher Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President, Mr HS Hanspal, MP, Ms Parneet Kaur, local MLA, Mr Surinder Dawer, DCC president, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, industrialists like Mr KK Seth, Mr GL Pahwa, Mr Varinder Kapoor, Mr Ajit Singh Kular and Mr M.S. Bhogal. The industrialists expressed their gratitude to the Chief Minister and hoped that the industry will flourish in the state in a friendly atmosphere.


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