P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab ignored in interim Budget: Mann
Tribune Reporters

Jalandhar, February 3
President of the SAD (Amritsar) and MP Simranjit Singh Mann today criticised the BJP government at the Centre for ignoring interests of Punjab while presenting interim Budget in the Lok Sabha.

In a press statement here today, Mr Mann alleged that though farmers in border district of Punjab, including Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore had been facing hardships and loss due to movement of the BSF and the Army and for fencing of border with Pakistan, but the central government had ignored them by not announcing long-awaited relief for them.

“On the other hand, the government has doled out funds for Gujarat and Rajasthan, presently ruled by the BJP, which is highly deplorable. We strongly condemn this step-motherly treatment”. He said, accusing the SAD (Badal) of playing the role of mute spectator while holding the status of a coalition partner in the NDA government.

Besides the Union Finance Minister has announced to set up six new medical institutes while upgrading the status of six others in the country barring Punjab. He criticised Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal for his failure to get any special project launched in the state. “In fact, the Punjab MPs fail to express any interest during the vote on account presentation in the Lok Sabha”, he added.

SHIMLA: Mr Virbhadra Singh, Himachal Chief Minister, termed the interim Budget presented by Union Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh, as disappointing and against the interests of common man.

He said that Himachal had been ignored while announcing new projects like hospitals, medical colleges, farm insurance schemes and other similar proposals. He said that state had been ignored in the Railway Budget also presented recently.

Senior BJP leader Ganesh Dut hailed the Budget and said that the Kisan pass book scheme would benefit farmers and the merger of 50 per cent Dearness Allowance in the basic salary would provide relief to central government employees.


Mann presents memorandum on turban issue
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 3
SAD (A) President and MP Simranjit Singh Mann submitted a two-page memorandum to Mr Dominique Dedvilletin, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of France, on January 29 on the turban issue during his visit to Paris.

Copies of the memorandum were released here this afternoon at a press conference by Dr Harjinder Jakhu, General Secretary of the SAD (A). Mr Mann cited several religious, historical, cultural, social and legal examples to defend the case of Sikhs in France wearing turbans.

The memorandum reminded the minister of the ties of Sikhs with France and of turbaned Sikh soldiers fighting for French liberation during the World Wars. The turban was an integral part of the dress code for a Sikh, pleaded the memorandum.

It quoted French historian Odon Vallet to support the turban case. The memorandum stated, “Though we have approached your government as the collective will of the entire Sikh nation around the globe, we are handicapped in the sense that we cannot put up our case to you through our government because we are a nation, but we have no state”.


Gang working against me, alleges Daler
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 3
A new angle has been added to the human trafficking case registered against pop singer Daler Mehndi, with the singer claiming that the use of one advocate by both complainants in the case as well as former Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal and DSP Rajinderpal Singh Anand indicates that a gang has been working against him. Daler was exempted from personal appearance in the case by a local court today.

Mr Umranangal had used the services of a local advocate to file a defamation suit against a national daily and the same advocate was approached to file a defamation suit against Daler on behalf of Mr Anand. The advocate is also representing four complainants who are most active and forceful in their allegations against Daler.

Daler said the manner in which he had been framed in the case and the manner in which the earlier police officers of the Patiala police and the complainants had moved in tandem indicated that a gang was at work against him. Asked what he was going to do about the issue, he said this would depend on the outcome of the discharge proceedings filed by the Patiala police. The district police had recently filed an application, pleading he be discharged in the case as there was no evidence against him.

The singer said he was ready to forgive the former Patiala police officers against whom he had filed a complaint, accusing them of demanding money from him. He said if the gang stopped working against him and repented for their actions, he would not persist in recording his statement in the case to the Patiala Deputy Inspector-General of Police. The pop singer had taken time till February 15 to record his statement in this case to DIG Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota.

Talking later in the chamber of his advocate Brijinder Singh Sodhi, Daler said exemption from personal appearance in the case would facilitate his hosting of more shows as there was an element of uncertainty on this account. Daler said he had faced a loss of Rs 5 crore in the last few months as many scheduled as well as proposed programmes had been cancelled. Proposed shows to be held abroad were also cancelled, he added. Mr Sodhi said in case Daler wanted to go abroad in the near future, the court would be moved to facilitate the visit.

The singer also vented his ire at Punjab singers, when asked why many of them had not come forward in his support. Most of them were cowards and sycophant, he alleged. “They know that they have to remain in Punjab only, due to which they have not come out in support of me”, he added. The singer said a feeling of jealousy also existed because he did not line up to do free shows for VIPs. He said there was no need for anyone to feel competition from him. “I take Rs 13 lakh for one show and Rs 5 lakh more has to be doled out by the organisers for the installation of the sound system. On the other hand, no Punjab singer gets more than Rs 2.5 lakh for one show”, he added.

The singer was earlier exempted from personal appearance in the case by ACJM P.S. Dhanoa. The judge accepted a reply-cum-protest application filed by the complainants in the case and fixed the next hearing of the case for February 9.


Health insurance scheme for farmers soon
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Department of Cooperation, Punjab, will soon launch a comprehensive health insurance scheme for over 10 lakh farming families in the state. It will enable them to avail of quality medical treatment free of cost up to Rs 2 lakh in the listed hospitals and reputed health institutions. By paying an annual premium of just Rs 200 to Rs 250 through cooperative societies they would get health insurance cover worth Rs 2 lakh besides free accidental cover.

Mr K.S. Pannu, Additional Registrar (General), Cooperative Societies, claimed the scheme could be announced formally after the Lok Sabha elections.

It will enable the farmers and their family members to get indoor medical treatment for various diseases like heart, kidney failure, joint operations and head injuries without any payment.

He said due to increasing number of heart failure, accident cases and other diseases, the cost of medical treatment in the state had gone up manifold for an average rural family during the past few years. But they did not have access to adequate medical treatment resulting in deaths in most of the cases.

Elaborating the proposed scheme, he said, “we have proposed to set up a corpus fund in which the members of agriculture cooperative societies, milk cooperatives, cane growers’ societies and other cooperative societies in rural Punjab will make annual contribution. The NRIs, the Punjab Mandi Board and other state agencies would be convinced to make contribution to this corpus fund. A third party administrator certified by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority will be appointed to administer the day to day claims of the insurance companies.”

He disclosed that the department had already held discussions with the New India Insurance Company and some other health institutions like Escorts and Fortis to work out the modalities of the scheme.

One of the views among the department was in favour of handing over the whole fund to the general insurance company so that it can directly deal with the farmers.

But, he said, “Due to administrative and financial costs, the Insurance companies are not finding it attractive to directly handle the scheme. Further, they are demanding annual premium up to Rs 400 per member to implement the scheme. With the involvement of cooperative societies and donations from NRIs and government grants, we are sure to bring down the premium costs up from Rs 200 to Rs 250 per member.”

Mr Alok Shekhar, Additional Registrar (Administration), Cooperative Societies, added that Punjab would be the first state to implement this scheme through cooperative societies. He said, “We are also negotiating with the insurance companies to offer personal accident insurance cover amounting to Rs 1 lakh to compensate the members in case of death, permanent disablement and accidents.”

He said once implemented the scheme would encourage premier health institutions to open their branches in rural Punjab, besides improving the general health facilities in the state.


Probe against former BJP ministers soon, says CM
Our Correspondent

Chamkaur Sahib (Ropar), February 3
The Punjab Government would soon initiate investigation into the alleged corruption charges levelled against the former BJP ministers in the Badal’s government. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said this while talking to newsmen here today.

While responding to a query from newsmen the Chief Minister said corruption committed by ministers in the SAD/BJP alliance government would be the main agenda of the Congress in the forth coming Lok Sabha elections.

To the charges levelled by his confident the Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Mr K.P.S. Rana, that his media adviser Mr B.I.S. Chahal lobbied for saving the former BJP minister from corruption charges, the Chief Minister said nobody involved in corruption would be allowed to go scott free.

The Chief Minister was here to inaugurate the three-day multi-speciality health camp organised at Anaj Mandi at Chamkaur Sahib. On his arrival he laid the foundation stone for the over all development of Chamkaur Sahib in view of the tercentenary celebrations of the martyrdom of the Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Jhujhar Singh. On the occasion he announced the formation of the Chamkaur Sahib Development Board and said the funds would be provided for developing the area.

At the camp the Chief Minister dedicated a fleet of 15 Maruti vans converted into ambulances to the NGO’s for highway patrolling. The vans were procured at a cost of Rs 44.5 lakh by the grant issued by the Ropar MP, Mr Shamsher Singh Dulo. The vans would be used for highway patrolling and providing immediate relief to the accident victims of the highways. While five of the donated vans would be deployed in Ropar the rest would be sent to other parts of the state. The maintenance and operation of the vans was being handed over to the NGOs. While speaking on the occasion the Chief Minister said Rs 260 crore had been released to the PSEB for providing 24 hour power supply in all 12,700 villages of the state. Besides Rs 930 crore had also been arranged from NABARD for providing clean drinking water to all in the state.

The Chief Minister also claimed that by March 31, 20,002 km long roads would be repaired in the state. The industrial projects worth Rs 6,000 crore had been cleared by the government. This would help tackle the growing unemployment problem in the state.

On the occasion the Chief Minister distributed cheques for Rs 67 lakh for 125 panchayats of the Chamkaur Sahib area.


Sangrur seat most sought after
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
For leaders of various political parties, Sangrur has become a most sought after constituency. Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a senior Akali leader, has already started campaign in the constituency.

But Mr Dhindsa is facing opposition from Mr Surjit Singh Barnala’s family, which is also staking claim to the seat. The family’s supporters have sought the party ticket for Mr Barnala, thus spoiling the show for a while for Mr Dhindsa.

However, SAD sources say that Mr Barnala’s family is playing a tactical game. They say the family’s strategy seems to be that in case, the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, denied ticket to Mr Barnala, the family would then ask him (Mr Badal) to accommodate a member of the family in the Rajya Sabha, for which the election is to be held in April. Sources say that Mrs Surjit Kaur Barnala was keen to be a member of the Rajya Sabha. Mr Barnala, who is the Governor of Andhra Pradesh, has already been suitably accommodated. And his son, Mr Gaganjit Singh, is a party MLA from Dhuri.

As Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), will also contest from Sangrur, there will be a division in Akali votes. Last time, Mr Mann had won from Sangrur defeating Mr Dhindsa. Which is why Mr Dhindsa can not afford opposition from Mr Barnala’s family in Sangrur constituency. Knowing it well, the Barnala family has started playing its political cards well in advance by needling Mr Dhindsa .

As far as the Congress is concerned, there is a lot of confusion about its putting up candidate for this seat. There are reports that the Congress might leave this seat for the CPM in case party’s alliance with the Left parties at national level is worked out. Mr Chand Singh Chopra, who has contested from this seat earlier as a CPM candidate, has returned to the CPM fold a few days ago. He had earlier quit the CPM to join hands with a breakaway group led by Mr Mangat Ram Pasla.

There at least three Congressmen, who are vying for party ticket from Sangrur. Mr Ram Pal Daipai, General Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), is keen to contest from Sangrur. He has conveyed his aspirations to the party high command in this regard. Sources say that the Congress will be at an advantage if it puts up Mr Daipai from Sangrur. He will be the only Hindu candidate among Sikh contestants of various parties. In such circumstances, he will be able to garner maximum number of Hindu votes.

Mr Hardeep Goyal, secretary of the PPCC from Barnala, is also trying hard to secure party ticket. Mr Goyal had contested in 1985 from Barnala constituency against Mr Barnala and had made the contest tough for the latter. Mr Goyal had then secured 24,500 votes, the highest percentage secured by any candidate from Barnala in decades. As Mr Goyal, if given ticket, will also be the only Hindu candidate from a major political party in the contest, it will go a long way to help him secure Hindu votes in all main towns.

Mr Kewal Dhillon, an industrialist and vice-president of the Congress, is also running around to secure party ticket. His village-Tallewal which is near Barnala, falls in the constituency. His supporters say that Mr Dhillon has all the resources to give a tough fight to Akali candidates. As he belongs to the Jat-Sikh community, he can give a tough contest to Akali candidates in rural areas.

Meanwhile, sources say that Capt Kanwaljit Singh is also assessing situation in Patiala constituency from where he is willing to be a SAD nominee. Capt Kanwaljit Singh has started contacting his supporters in various pockets of the constituency, it is learnt. Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, who earlier represented this constituency in the Lok Sabha, is another strong contender for the ticket. The Congress is expected to renominate, Mrs Parneet Kaur, wife of Capt Amarinder Singh, from this constituency. Sources say that the meeting of the SAD’s political affairs committee is expected to be held this week to shortlist candidates for various constituencies. For certain seats, it has already finalised the names, it is learnt.


DIG’s office may shift from Faridkot to city
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 3
The Punjab Police is contemplating on changing the locations of offices of various senior functionaries of the police for better management.

To begin with move is to create a post of Inspector General (Zonal) at Ferozepore or by abolishing the post of Inspector General (Border range), Amritsar. Apart from it has also initiated the process of shifting the office of Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Faridkot range at Bathinda city.

Official sources said that Punjab Police authorities had been thinking to change locations of various offices. Police authorities view that offices of some functionaries at the central point of the area administered would make administration easy.

Sources added the Punjab Police had started looking for premises for DIG’s office in Bathinda town with headquarter at Faridkot. The DIG’s office would be shifted to this town from Faridkot on finding the premises.

The shifting of DIG’s office from Faridkot to Bathinda will not put extra burden on the exchequer. The office will come at central place of Faridkot Range, making it easy for residents of Mansa and Bathinda districts to approach it,” pointed out Mr Paramjit Singh Sarao, DIG, Faridkot.

Sources said that Faridkot, which was divisional headquarter of Faridkot Range comprising Bathinda, Mansa and Faridkot districts, was once a Tehsil of Bathinda district, which came into existence in 1948. On August 7, 1972, the Faridkot Tehsil of then Bathinda district was accorded the status of a district. Eight years ago, the Faridkot district was also accorded the status of division when Mr Harcharan Singh Brar was the Chief Minister. A Police Range was also set up in Faridkot town.

Sources said that proposal to create Inspector General (IG), Zonal at Ferozepore or Faridkot was also being considered. Also proposal to upgrade two police posts including civil lines area police post, and Canal colony police post, area of Bathinda town as police stations as the existing police kotwali of Bathinda town was burdened with many criminal cases.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, Bathinda, confirmed the fact that a proposal had been floated to upgrade two police posts to two police stations, said that it would help check crime.


Gujral's son hints at joining SAD
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 3
The stage is all set for a high profile contest at Jalandhar parliamentary seat, otherwise known for favouring Congress candidates in the past, as Mr Naresh Gujral, a son of former Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, today hinted at joining the party led by a former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, soon.

Mr Naresh Gujral, who reached here last night on a two-day tour, reportedly attended a meeting with local industrialists, who assured their full support, if he chose to contest elections from here. After this, Mr Gujral went to meet the senior Akali leader and former Chairman of Jalandhar Improvement Trust, Mr Sarabjit Singh Makkar, at his residence this afternoon. Hundreds of senior Akali activists thronged Mr Makkar's residence to offer their support to junior Gujral, who is also the Chairman of the local Nari Niketan Trust.

Though Mr Gujral remained evasive to media queries about his joining the SAD (B) by Sunday, but he was seen openly telling the Akali workers to be prepared for the coming Lok Sabha elections, which he was reportedly going to contest on SAD’s symbol.

He also met the Editors of the local dailies while terming these as courtesy calls. When asked to clarify whether he would contest as an Akali candidate, Mr Gujral maintained that it was too early to comment on the issue. When contacted, Mr Makkar revealed that they had already sent their recommendations to the party high command to allocate party ticket to Mr Gujral.

Sources close to Gujral family, however, confirmed that Mr Badal had recently discussed the issue with Mr Inder Kumar Gujral and it was now matter of days, when Mr Badal would announce the candidature of Naresh Gujral for Jalandhar seat.

The sitting Congress MP, Mr Balbir Singh, who won the last elections by defeating his nearest rival and Akali candidate Ms Prabhjot Kaur by a margin of more than 33,000 votes, was also hopeful of getting the party ticket for the second time.


Unified AISSF to contest elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Various factions of the All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) today announced their decision to float a political party and put up candidates in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing a joint press conference here, federation leaders Sarbjit Singh Sohal and Bhagwan Singh alleged that Akali leader Parkash Singh Badal had made the AISSF boycott the elections in 1992. This was a big mistake, they added.

In 1997, the Akali faction led by Mr Badal had fought the election, but no one was even asked, they said.

Now equal distance would be maintained from the Congress and the BJP and the leaders of the federation were capable of good governance, they claimed.

A joint statement issued by them also bore the signatures of Mr Atinder Pal Singh and Mr Harvinder Singh Khalsa.

They said Mr Harminder Singh Gill from Tarn Taran, Mr Karnail Singh Peer Mohammed from Ferozepore and any other federation leader from Amritsar could contest the elections. The federation was in touch with these leaders.

Akali leaders never made any effort to bring various factions of the federation on a common platform, the AISSF leaders alleged. Therefore, the federation had now decided to take on the Akali leaders.

They claimed that unity had been achieved to a great extent among the various factions. The federation leaders had chalked out a common minimum programme. The leaders of Damdami Taksal had also assured support, they claimed.

They also spoke of the plans they had to commemorate 300 years of martyrdom of Sahibzadas, 400 years of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib in the Golden Temple and the 500th anniversary of Guru Angad Dev.


SGPC secy may be removed today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is likely to terminate the services of Mr Harbeant Singh, its suspended secretary tomorrow, it was reliably learnt here today.

Earlier, the executive committee of the SGPC which met at Anandpur Sahib recently had decided to terminate his (Harbeant Singh’s) services. Mr Harbeant Singh was accused of getting job in the SGPC on the basis of a fake certificate. The three-member sub-committee, comprising three senior SGPC ‘advocate’ members had indicted Mr Harbeant Singh for furnishing a fake certificate. However, he had failed to provide the original certificate of matriculation. He was also fined Rupees 25,000 by the SGPC executive committee.


5 die in bus-jeep collision
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 3
Five occupants of a jeep were killed and three others injured when a private bus hit the vehicle outside a sugarcane factory on the Hanumangarh road yesterday.

Sources said nine persons were returning to Sampatnagar village after attending a marriage ceremony in a village of Sirsa district in the evening. Their jeep (HR 09 A 3311) was reportedly hit by a private bus (RJ 31 P 0404) outside the sugarcane factory near Manaksar village on the Sangria- Hanumangarh road. The collision was so severe that the jeep was badly mangled and the bodies of five passengers were beyond recognition. The head of jeep’s driver, Kaka Singh Mazhabi, was cut into three pieces. He was 28.

Others who died on the spot were identified as Jagdish Chander (35), Surender Kumar, son of Bhagirath (23), Hans Raj (30) and Subhash Chander (29), all from the Jat community. 

Those injured included Shiv Kumar (27), Munish Kumar (16) and Surender Kumar, son of Sadhu Ram (26). The condition of Shiv Kumar was stated to be critical by the doctors of Government Hospital, Sangria. The driver of the bus escaped leaving the vehicle on the spot. The police seized the bus and registered a case under Sections 304 A, 279  and 337 of the IPC.

All victims were today cremated after a post- mortem by the relatives in the villages bordering Abohar subdivision.


5 victims of train mishap cremated
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 3
Out of the five persons killed in the rail accident here yesterday, four were cremated amid heart-rending scenes.

While one-and-half-year-old girl, Isha, was buried , her father Vikas Agnihotri, aged 30, and mother Monica, aged 28, were cremated today at the local Banga Road. All were residents of Mehligate Panjmandiri Mohalla of Phagwara.

The 18-year-old rickshawpuller, Rajan Kumar, from Bihar was cremated last evening. Punjab Social Welfare Minister Joginder Singh Mann and Malkiat Singh Ragbotra, president, local Nagar Council, attended the cremation. The youth, who lived at the Palahi road, had come to Punjab about six months ago and was due to be married soon. The retired school teacher Mr Hardip Singh, aged 65, of Satnampura, was not cremated as some relatives of the victim were yet to reach.

Meanwhile, the gateman Balwant Singh had been arrested under Section 304 of the IPC and 175 of the Railway Act. Mr Surinder Mittal, District Vice-President BJP, paid Rs 5 lakh each as compensation for the next of the kins of those killed.


Ex-minister’s grandson dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 3
Devinder Kumar, alias Ishwar (38), a grandson of former Punjab Minister late Bhagwan Dass (Jaito wale), was killed on the spot while five others were injured when the Qualis, in which they were travelling, collided head on with a military vehicle near Mastuana Sahib, 5 km from here today. The occupants of the Qualis were going to Karnal from Jaito.

Out of the five injured persons, three have been referred to Dayanand Medical College-cum-Hospital, Ludhiana, while remaining two namely Faqir Chand, driver of the Qualis, and Sandeep Kumar are undergoing treatment at the local Civil Hospital.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279, 304-A, 337, 338 and 427 of the IPC in this regard.


Release arrears, demand pensioners
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 3
The Punjab State Recognised and Government Aided School Pensioners Association, Bathinda, today accused the state government of discriminating with those teachers, who had retired from government-aided schools regarding payment of allowances.

Mr B.K. Kaura its district secretary, stated in a press note here today that the pensioners were being denied various facilities, which the retirees of the government schools were getting. He pointed out that the state government had decided to pay their arrears in 1996, into six yearly instalments, but so far only two instalments were given.

He demanded immediate release of arrears. The other demands of the association included the grant of medical allowances.


Release of temple design creates controversy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 3
The release of a picture of model of a temple to be constructed in the premises of the ancient Ram Tirath Temple has courted controversy. The picture was released by Mr Om Parkash Gabbar, Deputy Mayor, who is also head of the Bhagwan Balmiki Ashram Dhuna Sahib Association at a press conference here today.

However, both the chairman and member of the Ram Tirath Development Trust, formed by the government, were in the dark about the said release.

Mr Sardool Singh, Minister for Excise and Taxation, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, member, chairman and member, Temple Development Trust, were attending a meeting with Chief Minister at Chandigarh. Talking to The Tribune, both expressed ignorance about the release of picture design today.

Mr Raminder Singh added that the Deputy Mayor was not even a member of the development trust and was therefore, not authorised to release the design, which was created by the Chief Architect, Punjab.

Meanwhile, Mr Gabbar alleged that Rs 25 lakh donated by a former Congress Chief Minister, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, had been misappropriated by the district administration and routed for other works.

He said the development trust had, at present, received Rs 1 crore from the Chief Minister for the new temple to be built on a budget of Rs 7 crore in two years.

The Deputy Mayor announced the desilting of the sarovar of the Ram Tirath shrine on February 8 and informed that Mr Sardool Singh would inaugurate the kar seva.


Demonstration by truck operators
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 3
Truck operators representing various truck unions of the district today demonstrated in front of the residence of local MLA, Arvind Khanna, and held a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here in protest against alleged forced ousting of local truck union from the truck union complex and sacrilege units taking possession of the land by the administration some days ago.

Hundreds of truck owners and drivers, led by Mr Balwinder Singh Kherri, President of the local Truck Union, marched in protest carrying black flags through the town.

They also raised slogans against the MLA and the Deputy Commissioner for the demolition of the truck union’s office and a place of worship.

The rally was addressed among others by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Punjab Finance Minister; Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, former Punjab Minister; Mr Parkash Chand Garg, working committee member of the SAD; Mr Malkeet Singh Keetu, MLA; Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the BJP; Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, MLA from Sherpur; Mr Sher Singh Bhinder, a Kisan Union leader; Mr Balwinder Singh Kherri, local truck union President, and Comrade Mukhtiar Singh.

MLA Arvind Khanna and the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner refuted allegations, of truck operators on sacrilege. Mr Khanna had stated that the holy book had been taken from the truck union’s complex with reverence. Mr Khanna had also stated that the union had encroached on Municipal Council’s land, worth more than Rs 1 crore, which had been got vacated.


Protest against water tariff hike
Our Correspondent

Nangal (Ropar), February 3
Residents of Nangal today protested against hike in water and sewerage charges effected by the Punjab government.

Hundreds of residents loyal to the Jan Kalyan Sangarsh Committee, the Shivalik Avenue Welfare Committee and INTUC today started rally from the Sector 2 market of Naya Nangal. Raising slogans against the Punjab government the protesters sat on dharna in front of the Nangal Municipal Council office.

The matter was resolved when the Council president assured that a resolution seeking withdrawal of hike in water and sewerage charges in Nangal town would be sent to the government soon.

The protesters also criticised the Council for misusing funds. The Council authorities were ignoring the real problems of the town they alleged.


Institute directed to admit student
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Allowing a petition filed by a Chandigarh-based Scheduled Caste candidate, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed Dr B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology at Jalandhar to admit the student to first year of Bachelor of Technology.

In a written statement, the respondents had earlier contended that the petitioner was not treated eligible for admission against the Chandigarh and Delhi quota because he was Scheduled Caste of Punjab.

After hearing the arguments and going through the documents, the Bench ruled: “A perusal of a notification shows that Sirkiband was notified Scheduled Caste in Union Territory of Chandigarh. The certificate issued by a Sub Divisional Magistrate shows that at the relevant time the petitioner’s family was living in an Industrial Area house.... The mere fact that his family originally hails from Khanna in which Sirkiband was notified as Scheduled Caste, cannot be made a ground for denying admission to the petitioner against the seat reserved for Scheduled Caste of Chandigarh”.

Pronouncing the orders, the Bench, headed by Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, also directed the institute to “complete the formalities necessary for admission of the petitioner to the engineering course against seat reserved for Scheduled Caste of Chandigarh and Delhi”.

The Judges also directed the petitioner to present his papers after reporting to the Principal on February 5.

Recruitment case

Acting on a petition seeking the quashing of a letter recruiting a Punjab minister’s son as an inspector, a Division Bench of the high court on Tuesday February 5 as the next date of hearing in the case.

In his petition taken up by the Bench, headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, against Excise and Taxation Minister Sardool Singh, the state of Punjab, the Director General of Police and another respondent, petitioner Surjit Singh of Hassanpur village in Patiala district had also sought directions for restraining Inspector Tejinder Pal Singh from functioning.

Claiming to be “committed to the cause of social service”, the petitioner had earlier contended that highly placed persons, including politicians and senior officers, were using undue influence to grab for their wards the benefits meant for the dependents of terrorist affected families.

He had added that the even the Secretary, Relief and Rehabilitation, had also confirmed that the appointment of Tejinder Pal Singh was not “correct”.

Notice issued

On a petition filed by the Director of Physical Education with a school in Ropar district claiming regularisation of service with effect from October 1, 1980, a Division Bench of the high court, headed by Mr Justice J.S. Khehar, has issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab and other respondents. The case will now come up for further hearing on February 23.


MD of private company held in fraud case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 3
The district police has nabbed Suresh Agarwal, Managing Director, Kanwar Vijay Food Private Limited, Surat (Gujarat), for allegedly defrauding Ajay Kumar of Jackshan Laboratories, M/s Subh Lazmi Enterprises. He has been remanded in police custody till February 11.

Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, in a press conference here today revealed that Suresh Agarwal had defrauded a large number of persons of Rs 2.70 crore.

Giving details the SSP said the accused gave advertisements in newspapers for hiring an agency for selling their products Dandi Salt and Friendly Washing powder. They had advertised that persons who furnishes Rs 15 to 35 lakhs in advance would be made stockists.

The complainant Ajay Kumar gave Rs 10 lakh in advance to the accused. However, they did not provide him with the products. After inordinate delay he approached the accused in Surat who gave a cheque for Rs 10 lakh which bounced. When he again approached them they threatened him with dire consequence.

The SSP said further investigation in the case were on and other accused would soon be arrested.

The police has registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 460, 471 of the IPC against the accused and five accomplices namely J.P. Agarwal, Nitin Agarwal, C.L. Choudhry, Anju Agarwal and M. Choudhry at Kotwali police station.

Meanwhile, the SSP said seven proclaimed offenders were nabbed in the month of January and six gangs busted. He said 30 persons were arrested in looting and snatching cases.


Eunuch, 3 others held in murder case
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 3
The district police today succeeded in solving a murder case with the arrest of four persons, including an eunuch.

The district police chief, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, stated here today that Ram Lubhaya of Rurkan Kalan village in Goraya developed contacts with an eunuch named Shinder Mahant of Nakodar more than a year ago. He started living with Shinder though he used to regularly visit his village.

He further said that Shinder castrated Ram Lubhaya in September last year to make him an eunuch. One day, Ashok a companion of Shinder, caught hold of Ram Lubhaya and sodomised him. Subsequently, Ram complained to Shinder, who refused to take any action against Ashok. On this, Ram threatened to report the matter to the police.

Sensing trouble, Shinder, his brother Tarlok Nath and Arsal hatched a conspiracy to murder Ram. According to the plan, the four took Ram to a secluded place near Una in Himachal Pradesh in an Indica car. After this, Ashok and Tarlok strangulated and killed Ram Lubhaya using a piece of cloth. The body was thrown down a hill into a gorge.

The incident came to light when Ram Lubhaya failed to visit his ancestral place. His borther Amarjit Singh inquired about Ram from Shinder, who told that Ram Lubhaya had succumbed to his injuries after being castrated to make him an eunuch. Amarjit got suspicious and reported the matter to the police.

The police arrested all four accused, who confessed to having committed the murder. The police also recovered the car and medical instruments which had been used to castrate Ram Lubhaya. A case has been registered under Sections 302/201/377/326/120-B/34 of the IPC. A special police party has been sent to Himachal Pradesh to recover the body of the victim.


15-yr-old raped
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 3
A 15-year-old student of class X was allegedly raped by truck driver and a shopkeeper.

According to an FIR lodged with Garhshanker police the girl a resident of Bhawanipur village, had gone to a karyana shop of Manjit Singh for purchasing domestic goods on January 22. The shopkeeper Manjit Singh told her that his wife wanted to meet her in the house. As soon as she entered the house Manjit Singh closed the gate. Major Singh, a truck driver, was already sitting inside Manjit Singh’s house. Both, Manjit Singh and Major Singh raped her. Later, Major Singh took her towards Garhshanker in his truck. On way to Garhshanker he again raped her. Before leaving her at Garhshanker, Major Singh threatened her not to tell about this incident to anyone, failing which she and her family would face dire consequences. The girl later told about the incident to her father.

The Garhshanker police yesterday registered a case under Sections 363, 366, 376, 34 of IPC. No one has been arrested so far in this connection.


Man booked for will tampering
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 3
A criminal case has been registered against Jeet Singh, former Reader of a Mansa court, in the city police station for his alleged involvement in tampering with a document annexed in the file of a litigant, Ms Chitan Kaur, who had filed a civil suit in the Mansa court in connection with a property dispute about seven years ago.

Offical sources said the case against Jeet Singh, now practicising as lawyer at Phul court in the district after leaving his job, was registered after he was found guilty in an inquiry conducted by a judicial officer of Mansa. The case was registered on the complaint of the District and Sessions Judge, Mr Lakhbir Singh.

The sources added that a will annexed in the suit file of Ms Chitan Kaur was carrying her thumb impression and the other party to the suit was contesting that the thumb impression was not hers. To make the claim of other party to the suit genuine, Jeet Singh had got the thumb impression of the other litigant on the thumb impression of Ms Chitan Kaur.

On the complaint lodged by Ms Chitan Kaur, an inquiry was conducted and a writing expert was pressed into service. It was found that a new thumb impression had been put on the existing thumb impression on that document. It was also found that it was allegedly done by Jeet Singh.


Scholarship scheme in Guru’s name
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
To commemorate the 500th Parkash Utsav of Guru Angad Dev this year, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today announced the institution of a merit scholarship scheme in his name for students belonging to the economically weaker sections. The scheme envisages annual scholarships of Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 to each Dalit student who passes classes X and XII, respectively, with 60 per cent or more marks.

Presiding over an advisory committee meeting to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Parkash Utsav of Guru Angad Dev (April 14), 400th year of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib in the Golden Temple, Amritsar (September) and the 300th year of the martyrdom of Sahibzadas (December), the Chief Minister said the state government had also decided to institute bravery awards for children for showing exemplary courage as a tribute to the younger Sahibzadas for their unprecedented bravery.

Akali and SGPC leaders stayed away from the meeting. They had been invited for the deliberations and should have come, the Chief Minister later told mediapersons. They would also be invited for the next meeting, to be held on February 20, when sub-committees would be formed to draw up the future programmes for the commemoration of these historic events, he added.

Capt Amarinder Singh also approved the holding of a commemorative prayer coinciding with the time when the Sahibzadas were bricked alive by sounding a siren and observing a three-minute silence in memory of the youngest martyrs in the history of mankind. As a mark of respect, the programme would be telecast/broadcast live throughout the world on that day.

The National Minorities Commission Chairman, Mr Tarlochan Singh, suggested that the state government should restrict its role to the developmental aspects pertaining to the celebrations and the religious activities should rest within the domain of the SGPC.

He suggested that pillars with the inscription of Sri Japu Ji Sahib and Mool Mantar should be erected at the Indo-Pak border to propagate Sikhism as enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib. A delegation of American Sikhs, followers of Harbhajan Singh Yogi, said these occasions should be solemnly observed with utmost simplicity, devotion and dedication so that the message of Sikhism could be disseminated to the masses.

Among others, who spoke were Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Bir Devinder Singh; a former President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna; Sikh scholars, Dr Kirpal Singh and Dr Gurtej Singh; Dr Kharak Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; the Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, Dr Kehar Singh; Dr Harnam Singh Shan; Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala and Dr Gursewak Singh.


Education Minister’s effigy burnt

Moga, February 3
About 3000 unemployed elementary teachers from Moga, Ferozepore and Jagraon police districts today blocked traffic at the Moga-Subedar Joginder Singh Chowk here for about half an hour and later burnt an effigy of Punjab Education Minister Khushal Behal.

The rally was held in response to a call given by the state unit of the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union. They were protesting against the policy of recruitment of teachers on a contract basis, demanding filling of teachers’ vacancies on a regular basis and declaration of results for 2000-2002 sessions of elementary teachers.

The rally was addressed among others by the state body president of the union Jaswinder Singh Sidhu and Ferozepore unit president Nirmal.

Bathinda: Activists of the Berojgaar Elementary Teachers Union today burnt an effigy of the Punjab Government in protest against the delay in the declaration of their fourth semester results.

The protesting students, belonging to the 2000-2002 batch, alleged that the result of their final semester exam was not being declared despite the fact that it had been compiled. The students said that their exams were held about four months ago and now the government had advertised 2010 vacancies of ETT teachers.

They demanded that their results should be announced immediately, enabling them to apply for the newly advertised vacancies. Mr Gurwinder Singh Kangar, spokesman for the union, said that it was shameful that the Congress government was recruiting teachers on a contract basis. — UNI, OC

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