C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


One month after, where is Hawara?
Cops clueless, but think he may be planning a terrorist attack
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
One month after Hawara disappeared into thin air, after tunneling his way out of Burail jail here on January 21, the police has no clue as to his whereabouts. What they have instead are leads which indicate that a terrorist strike engineered by him may be a possibility.

Jagtar Singh Hawara is the main accused in the Beant Singh assassination case. The terrorist strike on the then Chief Minister of Punjab was carried out with daring impunity in the Secretariat building in Chandigarh on August 31, 1995. Hawara was the main operational man of the Babbar Khalsa International and the assassination was largely carried out under his directions and control. He was arrested in 1998 and was in Burail Jail till he escaped with three others.

Chandigarh police officials washed their hands off the investigations within days of the escape claiming that Hawara was "out of their territorial jurisdiction" and "chase" of the escapees was Punjab Police's headache.

Punjab officials claim that most of the arrests of the accomplices of the jailbreakers were their handiwork and the Chandigarh Police role has been 'lackadasical' with regard to vital clues that could have been sourced from its jurisdiction. Seventeen persons have so far been arrested.

Interrogation of the suspects and intelligence collated by the police indicate that while Hawara was in Burail, he created a network of 43 operatives in Punjab and elsewhere. The network's aim was to bring the almost dead militant organisation back to life and revive militancy. The plan was hatched and executed thanks entirely to the 'facilities' provided to him by the Burail jail staff.

He had ready access to phone lines and visitors and any other infrastructure that he may require to not only make good his escape, but also put a terror network in place. The Punjab police is yet to ascertain whether he had been able to integrate the network after his escape to carry out terror strikes.

Police officials claim that even if the 43 operatives are not in place, merely 10 persons are sufficient to carry out a strike. At the height of militancy in Punjab, dreaded terrorist bodies operated effectively with just 10 to 12 members

Though a frightening picture has emerged in the wake of Hawara's escape, the Chandigarh Police is yet to piece together minute -to-minute detail of Hawara's escape on the fateful night. As a result, clues that could have been picked up indicating the direction of escape may have been lost forever. Moreover, by ignoring intelligence and official reports on Hawara's activities in jail and outside it has succeeded in sowing the seeds of a possible revival of terrorism.

The Chandigarh Police really has no idea where Hawara may be. The Punjab Police thinks that he may have escaped to Nepal, Pakistan or even Germany! The Union Minister of State for Home, Mr I.D. Swamy, had asserted 10 days back that Hawara was in the country and had, thereby, raised the fear that he might strike in order to thumb his nose at the government.

That Hawara had built his plan well is evident from the fact that the jailbreak was a four-layered plan that functioned on a need-to-know basis. He received money from abroad and allegedly used jail authorities, inmates and former militants in the escape.

The Chandigarh Police thinks that the plan was 'meticulous' and appreciatively relate how he had left 'no clues behind.'

Meanwhile, a manhunt involving police from several states is on. The Punjab Police has almost screened every former militant and those with criminal record to minimise the possibility of their aligning with the militant leader.

Intelligence agencies have come across information that the Babbar Khalsa International has acquired technology to assemble bombs through a mix of chemicals.The chemicals can be compressed into shaving kits and can be carried on board flights. They said domestic flights are at a risk at the moment.

Looking for a needle in a haystack

Gaurav Yadav Questioning of hundreds of people, including the 17 arrested in the jailbreak, has not yielded much information on Hawara's whereabouts. Visits of Punjab and Chandigarh Police to Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Delhi have also not yielded any result.

While the Chandigarh Police claims to have built a water-tight case against the arrested jail officials and other arrested persons, including Narain Singh Chaura and Baljit Kaur, the report of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory is likely to take another 10 days.

The forensic laboratory was asked to determine how the tunnel was dug, with what tools, in how much time and how the loose earth was disposed of.

The work on confirmation of the existence of a second tunnel is yet to start.

Snail’s pace: 6 sittings in 20 days

R.S. Gupta The three-member committee inquiring into the lapses that led to the jailbreak has concentrated mostly on the negligence of the jail administration and has sought documents from it apart from getting the interrogation statements of the arrested persons.

The committee headed by former Delhi Police Commissioner R.S. Gupta, at its six sittings during almost 20 of its existence, has put on record evidence indicating "gross violation" of the Punjab Jail Manual. The committee has recorded statements of 12 warders apart. Its invitation to the public to come forward with information has drawn a blank.



Punia gets clean chit in jailbreak case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Chandigarh police today questioned Ms Neelam Punia in whose name one of the SIM cards was used in Jagtar Singh Hawara's jailbreak conspiracy.

She was later given a clean chit by the police after she informed that she could not get her card re-charged and it may have been re-issued to somebody else.

The police verified her statement before giving her a clean chit. Ms Punia belongs to Jhajjhar.

The card was bought from Sector 20 by the people involved in the operation to help Hawara escape.

Meanwhile, the local police called five distributors of Airtel's SIM cards. There was a ruckus in Mohali when one of the dealers, Mr M.L. Verma owner of Delux Watch and Radio Centre, was called by the police to provide details of the SIM cards issued from his shop.

Indira Enterprises, J.S. Enterprises and representatives of Airtel were also called to provide similar information.


Police beats up lawyer at PU, apologises
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
Six police and home guard personnel last night allegedly thrashed a lawyer, son of a senior IAS officer of Haryana, in full public view in the university.

The lawyer Rohit Sharma, said the police personnel hit him with a baton in the head, legs, back and left shoulder when he was trying to gain entry into the Jhankar - 2004 cultural festival from the VIP gate.

Mr Sharma, son of Financial Commissioner K. C. Sharma, said he had five VIP passes. He said the police person at the gate tried to stop him from entering from the gate and held him by the collar of his shirt. Mr Sharma said he asked the policeman to behave but they hit him with a wireless set and was joined by colleagues in the brutality.

Mr Sharma got himself medically examined in the Sector 16 Government General Hospital it was confirmed that he had injury marks.

Mr Sharma claimed there was no provocation for an attack on him. He said he could identify the attackers and knew names of a few. Embarrassed senior officers and police personnel later approached the lawyer and apologised.


NCR-type plan for city needed: E.F.N. Ribeiro
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

E.F.N. RibeiroChandigarh, February 21
As the development in and around Chandigarh is mostly unplanned, uncontrolled and unregulated, it is imperative to implement the concept plan — Chandigarh Inter-state Metropolitan Region-2021 (CISMer), available with the Chandigarh Administration. This will require resuscitation of the defunct Co-ordination Committee of which Punjab, Haryana and the Centre are members.

Since doorstep development by Punjab and Haryana cannot be undone, nor can further expansion and economic activities be stopped, the periphery control area should be developed in a planned manner.

These are the views of Mr E.F.N. Ribeiro, who was commissioned by the Chandigarh Administration to submit a concept plan for the future growth and development of Chandigarh as a region. The idea to develop Chandigarh on the pattern of the National Capital Region plan was brainchild of a former Adviser, Mr Jagdish Sagar. It was given form by Mr Ribeiro. ‘’Only planned and designed creations can enable this oasis amidst urban chaos in neighbouring states — Chandigarh — to preserve for posterity its ambience and image of a global city’’, said Mr Riberio, an architect and urban planner.

He studied at the University of Manchester in the UK. Since 1962, when he returned to India, he has been actively involved in many urban developmental projects. He has held important posts, including that of the Chief Planner, Town and Country Planning, Government of India, Director, School of Planning and Architecture, and Executive Director, INTECH. He has also worked in the United Nations Centre for Human Settlement. At present, he is Director Association of Urban Management and Development Authorities. He was in town for a talk at a seminar on ‘Chandigarh — Continuity and Change’ at DAV College here today.

Incidentally, he is younger brother of a former Director-General of the Punjab Police, Mr J.F. Ribeiro.

In an interview, Mr Riberio said the Chandigarh Inter-state Capital Region was created in 1984, incorporating the Union Territory (UT), Chandigarh Urban Complex (CUC) outside UT, 16 km radius periphery Control Area outside CUC and portions beyond 16 km radius in Punjab and Haryana. This area measures 2,431 sq km. Based on this sequence, the concept plan suggested implementation in six phases.

The proposed integrated regional frame-work ensures ‘’win-win’’ situation in key generators of economic momentum. The concept plan stretches from Dera Bassi to Kalka, covering 12 small towns in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Since Chandigarh has established and emerged as a metropolitan magnet with national and international linkages, it would be appropriate that besides the Chandigarh Administration, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh networked for the integrated development of the region. This would be cost-effective, improve quality of life, step up social and economic services and activities with the Centre playing a proactive role through the Coordination Committee. Development sans political state interests should be the thumb-rule of future sustainable development, he observes.

Mr Ribeiro says, ‘’This will require strict monitoring and control of infrastructure projects from industrial to commercial to residential, international airport, double-track railway and road links, hotels, proper land use etc. Such integrated and coordinated development would accelerate investment and attract entrepreneurs”.


Retain city’s character while planning, say experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
A comprehensive plan to make the city adaptable to its changing needs while ensuring that it retains its character envisioned by Le Corbousier was stressed by Mr E.F.N. Ribeiro, former chief planner of the Government of India and Chairman of the architecture branch, All-India Council of Technical Education.

He was speaking at a seminar on “Chandigarh--Continuity and Change” organised by the Association of British Scholars at DAV College, Sector 10, here today.

Mr Ribeiro pointed out that while planning and designing complemented each other when phase I of the city comprising Sector 1 to 30 was made. He added that designing went amiss when the second phase of the city, Sector 31 to 47 was planned. He added that while phase I was designed for 1.5 lakh persons, it would be saturated with 3 lakh persons by 2021.

“India will grow to a population of 1.57 billion by 2051 and will overtake China. India will witness change in population ratio in rural and urban areas. We need to create spatial place for socio-economic development if we want the city to live”, he said.

Mr Ribeiro mentioned that against 1,800 urban centres in 1901, India had increased to 3,500 centres in 2001.

The other speakers maintained that a regional planning approach was vital since the country was developing and moving forward.

The senior town planer of Punjab Urban development Authority, Mr K. K. Kaul, introduced the speakers while the presidential remarks were by the ABS president, Mr D.V. Bhatia.

The UT Finance Secretary, Mr Karan A Singh, said passion was needed to preserve the city.

The Chief Town Planner HUDA, Mr Sanjay Verma, and a former Chief Town Planner, Punjab, Mr H.S. Bhogal, said enforcement in the periphery was poor, leading to haphazard development.

A visiting professor at the Chandigarh College of Architecture, Mr J.J. Khurana, said the city centre and its piazza, most buildings designed by Jean Pierre, Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew should be preserved along with the Capitol Complex buildings designed by Corbusier.


Abandoned by family, adopted by surgeon
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
When there are instances of parents wanting their child born with-cleft lip and palate deformity to die, the love and dedication with which Dr Ian Jackson raised two-year-old David, abandoned by his family at Peru, South America, is a story of triumph of will power.

Dr Jackson, a renowned name in the field of craniofacial surgery, is Director, Institute of Plastic Surgery, Michigan, USA. He is in the city to attend the 3rd Annual Conference of Indian Society of Cleft Lip, Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies being held at the PGI.

Though 30,000 children are born with cleft lip and palate deformity in India every year, parents live with the guilt that their child has been cursed because of their sins. “Though the level of awareness has improved to a great extent, even today some parents feel the child has been born with a deformed face because of their sins, which is totally incorrect,” says Dr R.K. Sharma, Additional Professor and Head, Plastic Surgery, PGI.

Not every child born with cleft lip and other craniofacial deformity is lucky to get the love, care and devotion which little David received from Dr Jackson, who performed a series of surgeries on him to give an identity to the boy, shunned and abandoned by his parents. It was during a charity mission to Peru that little David was brought to Dr Jackson, who adopted him.

The story of little David, growing up into a young man, has been documented by the BBC and a book called “David — The Little Boy” has been by Mrs Marjorie Jackson, wife of Dr Jackson. Today, David is in his early twenties and a computer professional.

“There are instances in parts of South India where new-borns with cleft lip or other craniofacial deformities are fed cactus milk or rice with bran so that the family does not have to face mental trauma of rearing up a child who they believe will be forced to live like a recluse,” said Dr Sam. C. Bose, a plastic surgeon from Madurai.

He said even though such deformities could be rectified close to near normal, at times parents wanted to get rid of the child, who they felt would be a liability. A child born with cleft lip and palate deformity would require to undergo at least four surgeries, right from the age of two till he is in his late teens, and as such the care, affection and responsibility of the parents is crucial in treatment.

Almost 25 such surgeries are being performed at the PGI every year. Since it is a complicated surgery involving a team comprising plastic surgeon, orthodontist, neurosurgeon and an ENT specialist , there are barely a handful of institutes in India offering this facility.


Raghav, Jessica are Rose Prince, Princess
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
Cherubic faces were the centre of attraction on the second day of the Festival of Gardens at Zakir Rose Garden, today.

Competitions like rose quiz contest were also held today, while cultural items and cultural troupes from Assam, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Punjab, enthralled the visitors with their scintillating performances. The stalls set up all along the Jan Marg — ranging from educational institutions, cellular phone companies, beauty products, health foods, nutrients for the garden — also attracted visitors.

Artistes of the Theatre Arts, Chandigarh, presented three famous street plays — Screen Test, Sharat Ka Bira, and Toyya — which were primarily satires on the present day social scenarios.

But it was undoubtedly the Rose Prince and Rose Princess competition that stole the show. As many as 222 entries for the Rose Prince show, and 206 for the Rose Princess show were received.

Results of Rose Prince Show

1 to 1½ years: first: Raghav Manchanda, son of Mr Dinesh Manchanda, second: Rishi Sharma, son of Mr Munish Sharma; third: Ekom P. Saidha, son of Mr Sunit Saidha.

1½ to 2 years: first: Pukhraj Singh, son of Mr Bhupinder Singh, second: Prakhar, son of Major Vinay Mohan, third: Udayveer Singh, son of Mr Varinder Singh.

2 to 3 years: first: Ikjot Singh, son of Mr Harvinder Pal Singh, second: Aadil Anand, son of Mr Arjun Anand, third: Hardik Gogna, son of Mr Rakesh Gogna.

Results of Rose Princess Show

1 to 1½ years: first: Jessica Bansal, daughter of Mr Sandeep Bansal, second: Arshia Dhar, daughter of Mr Sanjeev Dhar, third: Bhanvi Grover, daughter of Mr Vikash Grover. 1½ to 2 years: first: Keerat Kaur Riar, daughter of Mr Bhagwant Singh Riar, second: Jasmin Sikka, daughter of Mr Anil Kumar Sikka, third: Garima Singh, daughter of Dr Paramjit Singh.

2 to 3 years: first: Esha Singh, daughter of Mr Gagandeep Singh, second: Eshpreet Sobti, daughter of Mr Sukhbir Singh Sobti, third: Aarushi Sharma, daughter of Mr Varinder Sharma.

Results of Rose Quiz

Schools: First: Aman Preet Singh, Arun Kalia; Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35; second: Inderjeet Singh, Saurabh Trehan; Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19; third: Harpreet Singh, Harpreet Kaur; Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46-D.

Colleges: First: Monika Verma, Rimmy; Government College of Education-20; second: Manu Sharma, Alok Kumar; DAV College-10; third: Pooja Bharti, Meenakshi Tiwari; MCM DAV College, 36.


Senior citizens’ convention
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 21
A colourful programme was presented by tiny tots of Saupin’s School in Sector 32 here during an all-India convention of senior citizens “Milan” at the local Government Museum and Art Gallery. There are 8.2 crore senior citizens in the country. The figure is expected to reach 10 crore by 2013. It was likely to further increase to 32.6 crore by 2050.

The hour-long programme ended with the presentation of a cheque for Rs 10,000 by Saupin’s Community service to chairman of the Senior Citizens Federation, Major-Gen JS Bhullar.

Earlier during the programme, a skit highlighting the dignity of labour was presented. A lively dance to the beats of a patriotic song “Mere Desh Ki Dharti”,
was also performed by children in the nine to 11 age group.


Poll Pot
Traders to field Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Commercial Tenants Association, a body of city traders, yesterday announced that its President, Mr Arvind Jain, would contest the coming Lok Sabha poll.

At a meeting, the association said the failure of political parties on all issues had forced the traders to fight for their cause. Asked why would traders or their families vote for him, Mr Jain said they were fed-up with the BJP and the Congress.

No MP from either of the parties had done anything for the traders. He denied suggestions that he had been fielded by some political party to cut into the votes of traders, saying: “I am known as a trader and party alignments do not matter.”

The meeting was attended by several traders from across the city. Mr Jain had run a long-protest against the rent act notification.

BJP padyatra

The local unit of the BJP today organised a “padyatra” as part of “Atal Sandesh yatra” in Mani Majra. BJP workers distributed handbills in every house. The President of the BJP, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, said the entire world praised the statemanship of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. Mr Jain claimed there was a pro-Vajpayee wave in the country. Earlier, the party’s Mahila wing held a meeting.


‘Chardi kala bal march’ held
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 21
A “Chardi kala bal march”, dedicated to the 300th martyrdom of sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, was flagged off for Chamkaur Sahib from the Punjab School Education Board here today.

A large number of children, including 21 visually impaired and 21 deaf children, took part. The march was organised by the National Society for the Child Artists.

Students of Sant Isher Singh Senior Secondary School presented a “vaar” and visually impaired children presented a shabad.

Mr R.L. Kalsia, Director, Local Government, Punjab, who flagged off the march, said the sacrifice made by the sahibzadas had no comparison in the world.

Mr Ajit Salani, chairman of the society, said the march would reach Chamkaur Sahib where the participants would be welcomed by a large number of children.

He said this year he planned to produce a serial by the name of “Bal Khalsa”.


Entrepreneurial programme ends
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 21
The Special Technical Entrepreneurship Development Programme for employees of National Fertilizer Limited (NFL), Nangal, and HMT, Pinjore, who had opted for voluntary retirement from these public sector units following disinvestment, concluded at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) here yesterday.

The programme was sponsored by the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India, under the special scheme of counselling, retraining and redeployment of Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) for entrepreneurial development of VRS employees.


Bansal pooh poohs UT claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
Mr Pawan Bansal today ridiculed the explanation given by the Chandigarh Administration on allowing sale of leasehold property in commercial areas.

The step of the Administration was contrary to the professed objective of the government to liberalise economy, Mr Bansal said.

He was amused at the argument “the city has to meet its expenditure from the income generated by the sale of property”.


A clarification

Apropos the news item “Verma opens Festival of Gardens”, published in the columns of Chandigarh Tribune, dated February 21, 2004, it has been mentioned that there was a cultural performance by students of Ajit Karam Singh International Public School. However, the cultural performance was by students of Aanchal International School, Sector 35- A.

TNS replies:- The newspaper had been informed about the name of Ajit Karam Singh International School through a press note issued by the Director, Public Relations, Chandigarh Administration.


Mohali youth held in hit-and-run case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Sector 3 police today arrested Asmit Singh (20) in connection with a collision between a car and a scooter yesterday in which a woman and her son were killed near the Kaimbwala turn.

Asmit Singh runs a computer firm from his house in Phase VII of Mohali. The red-coloured Ford Escort, involved in the accident, was found deserted near the Burail barrier.

Asmit Singh is a son of a former Executive Engineer of Punjab.


Gang of thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Sector 3 police today claimed to have busted a gang of thieves involved in cases of theft with the arrest of Shaileder, alias Tinu, and recovery of a stolen scooter.

The scooter (PB 10 F 7874) was stolen recently by Tinu from Sector 9. Tinu’s two other accomplices are on the run.

The three used to survey the area on a rickshaw and marked a deserted house, the police said.

The three had committed thefts in Hallo Majra, Mani Majra Modern Housing Complex, Ram Darbar, Mani Majra Gurdwara, Sector 17, Colony No. 5, Sector 10, Panchkula.


Theft in Sec 38 house

Chandigarh, February 21
A Sector 38 resident, Hemant Arora, lost valuables as thieves decamped with Rs 19,500 in cash and jewellery worth Rs 85,000 from his house while he was away to the hospital attending on his pregnant wife.

The robbery came to light on February 15, when the family returned from the hospital.

The thieves probably gained access to the house from the rear, according to a neighbour, who said a woman had been seen on the roof of the house during their absence.

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