P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal warns rebels
List of SAD candidates within two days
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, March 3
Mr Parkash Singh Badal former state Chief Minister and SAD Chief has flayed Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, a former minister, for raising hue and cry due to denial of party ticket to him for the Ferozepore Lok Sabha seat. Mr Zira was not even a primary member of the SAD and there was no question of giving him the ticket stated Mr Badal.

The SAD chief who had arrived here today to offer condolences to Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, Chairman, Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission on the death of his mother last week was talking to mediapersons. He said stern action would be taken against the party functionaries who byepassed the party norms in the election.

Praising the role of the Youth Akali Dal in mobilising the party programmes and policies at the grassroots level. Mr Badal clarified that Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon had been given the party ticket from Ludhiana under the youth quota. Expressing confidence to win all 13 parliamentary seats, the, the former Chief Minister said the party would some start district level rallies to mobilise party workers. He disclosed that due to busy schedule no central leader from the NDA alliance would attend the political conference of the party being organised at Anandpur Sahib on the eve of Hola Mohalla. Mr Badal alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr S.K. Sinha, Mr A.P. Pandey and Mr B.I.S. Chahal had “flouted” all democratic norms for their political gains.

Meanwhile, SAD has convened a meeting of its Political Affairs Committee at Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana, on March 6 to discuss various political issues particularly related with the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab. This was stated by former state Chief Minister and party chief Mr Parkash Singh Badal at a press conference at the residence of Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, Chairman, Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, here today.

ABOHAR: Mr Parkash Singh Badal has said the list of party candidates for Lok Sabha elections might be released within the next two days.

He was answering queries of mediapersons after addressing anti-repression rally at Bahavwala village near here this evening. When asked whether the SAD had given green signal to sitting MP Zora Singh Mann for contesting the election for the third term from Ferozepore constituency, Mr Badal said he was forced to announce the candidature of Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa from Sangrur but won’t break the discipline by announcing any other name. Please wait for formal decision of the political affairs committee and the parliamentary board, he said. Only two days earlier his brother Gurdas Singh Badal, former MP and political adviser, had said here that Mr Mann would be the party candidate again.

Earlier, Mr Badal started his speech with Sat Sri Akal and Jai Shri Ram sensing that half of the gathering was unturbaned at the rally held at the focal point of the village.

He did not rule out the possibility of an alliance with the BSP but said the adjustment of seats with the BJP was his top priority.

Reiterating that the SAD had never accepted Eradi Commission Report on the SYL and added if voted to power again in the state, we would safeguard interest of the state as water belonged to Punjab only, no other could stake genuine claim on it.

Mr Badal arrived at 2.15 p.m. at Sukhmani Chowk here with 13 vehicles and reached Bahavwala nearly four hours late. He was received by SAD and BJP workers on his arrival. The imported vehicle, in which the former Chief Minister, was travelling was driven by his nephew and SAD MLA Manpreet Singh Badal.


Sonia inexperienced to govern, says Badal
Our Correspondent

Sunam, March 3
Mrs Sonia Gandhi, president of the AICC, is acceptable to the nation as a daughter-in-law, but not as Prime Minister of the country. Besides this, Mrs Gandhi is no match for Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee experience to govern nation like India is concerned”, said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), at an “anti-repression” rally of the party, held at the new Grain Market here today. This rally virtually turned into a poll rally in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Badal called upon the electorate to give a serious thought to choose between two options as the nation could not afford to make experiments with inexperienced people at the helm of the affairs.

Mr Badal said that as the Congress had suffered a defeat in the Assembly elections in three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh, recently, so it had backtracked its proposal of projecting Mrs Sonia Gandhi as the Prime Minister for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. He alleged Mrs Gandhi had no knowledge of India’s culture, heritage and issues pertaining to the public.

Mr Badal also criticised the previous Congress governments at the Centre of giving a step-motherly treatment to Punjab by snatching its natural resources, like river waters, Punjabi speaking areas and its Capital. He also lashed out at the Amarinder Government saying it was a government run by a cotaerie of four persons.

Mr Gurcharan Tohra , SGPC chief, exhorted the people to uproot the “rajwarashahi” from the state for setting up a public oriented government as the present government was being run on the royal lines. He also emphasised ending differences in the SAD. He also called upon the people to teach a lesson to Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, through “ballot” for committing atrocities on Punjabis.

Mr Tohra advised the partymen to remain disciplined over selection of the candidates, and justified Mr Badal’s decision of showing the door to Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, a former MP from Tarn Taran.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, predicted the victory of all 13 SAD-BJP candidates in the state and claimed there was a strong wave in the state in favour of SAD-BJP alliance.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, SAD candidate for Patiala Lok Sabha Constituency, asked the voters to vote for SAD-BJP alliance candidates.

Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, former SGPC chief, said that sitting Congress MPs in the dissolved Lok Sabha, were feeling embarrassed to contest the current Lok Sabha elections. Even, Ms Preneet Kaur, wife of Capt Amarinder Singh and former MP from Patiala, wished to enter Parliament through the Rajya Sabha this time, but dissident Congress leaders had forced her into the poll arena.

Among others who also spoke included Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, MLA, Mr Nirmal Singh, Shatrana MLA, and Mr Gobind Singh.


Badal blasts CM on Raninder probe panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal said here today that the refusal of the Punjab Government to assign the terms of reference to the one-man commission set up to probe the alleged billion-dollar money laundering operations of Raninder Singh, son of the Chief Minister, had knocked the bottom out of the anti-corruption circus conducted by Capt Amarinder Singh. “It is strange that the Chief Minister should betray signs of lack of faith even in the commission he had himself set up to pre-empt a probe by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI),” said Mr Badal.

He asked the Chief Minister to come clean on the latest controversy to hit his government. Mr Badal made it clear that the Raninder scam would figure prominently in the campaign for the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll. He reiterated his charge that relatives and aides and advisors of the Chief Minister were actually functioning like a” mafia” spearheading a widespread network of corruption under his direct patronage.

They would all be made to face the law after the Akali returned to power. Mr Badal asked the Chief Minister to make public the reasons as to why his handpicked one-man commission had failed to start functioning months after it had been tasked to probe the charge of money laundering.

Mr Badal was reacting to a media report that the one-man commission of inquiry was yet to start working and had, in fact, not even been given its terms of reference.

Chandumajra meets Badal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 3
Senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader Prem Singh Chandumajra today met with party President Parkash Singh Badal along with his supporters and pleaded to review the party’s decision to field Capt Kanwaljit Singh from Patiala parliamentary constituency.

Mr Chandumajra, while talking with the TNS, said the meeting was held at the Sangrur Circuit House this evening. He said a 100-member committee, consisting of people from the constituency, conveyed its sentiments to Mr Badal and demanded that justice be done to him.

The party leader claimed that Mr Badal listened to the committee members for more than one and half hours following which he assured that he would make a decision on the issue in a few days.

Mr Chandumajra said keeping in view this assurance, he had decided to wait for the party President’s decision before making any move regarding the Lok Sabha election.


BSP’s poll alliance decision in 3 or 4 days
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 3
Bahujan Samaj Party leader Ms Mayawati said today that the BSP would “choose” only that political party for poll alliance which, would “practically” ensure the transfer of its votes to the BSP and a decision on alliance might be announced by the party within three or four days after reports from different state units.

On the health of BSP chief Kanshi Ram, Ms Mayavati, said that Mr Kanshi Ram was in a serious state and “he would take some time to recover from his illness, despite, best medical aid being provided to him by her”. Lashing out at the BSP cadre in Punjab for “not sending” even a single MLA to the state Assembly, Ms Mayawati, said party’s dismal performance in last Assembly elections had “shocked” Mr Kanshi Ram so much that it virtually “led to his brain stroke”.

Addressing “Maharally” at Dr Ambedkar Park in Buta Mandi, Ms Mayawati, who was flanked by BSP’s state unit president Avtaar Singh Karimpuri, General Secretary Pawan Tinu, former MP Satnam Kainth, and Narinder Kashyap, in charge of Punjab affairs and senior leader Harbhajan Lakha, Ms Mayawati said a decision on poll alliance would be taken after receiving reports from different state units. It was likely to take another three or four days.

“70 per cent of reports have come and we are waiting for the remaining 30 per cent reports. Our main criterion for the selection of an alliance partner this time would be to make it sure the other party is capable of transferring its votes to us in an effective manner to seats to be contested by us. We are not going to take any risk on this said Ms Mayawati asserting that the BSP was going to stage a come back in UP. “We won’t take any decision in haste. All parties are intending to go along with the BSP because our vote is fully transferable in case of an alliance and seat-sharing,” said Ms Mayawati.

Referring the Taj Corridor case, Ms Mayawati, said that she did not fear going to jail for the sake of the “Bahujan Samaj”. “I was apprehending the misuse of the government machinery by the BJP to harm me, but, still, I decided not to sell the interests of the Bahujan Samaj. The CBI was used to tarnish my image,” said Ms Mayawati. Exhorting people to vote for the BSP, Ms Mayawati said it was the “master key” to political power, which, could solve all problems of the Dalits and the Bahujan Samaj.

“While Dr Ambedkar had learnt this from the Kohlapur King Chattarparti Sahu Ji, who had arranged for 50 per cent reservation for the Bahujan Samaj, Mr Kanshi Ram had learnt it from Dr Ambedkar and other Bahujan Samaj philosophers. I learnt it from Kanshi Ram and all great men. You capture power and all of your problems including their root cause, “Manuwaad”, would come to an end. In UP, our government set different commissions for up uplift of the Bahujan Samaj and provided land and homes to 10 lakh people,” said Ms Mayawati.

Alleging that the “Bahujan Samaj” people were being subjected to discrimination in Punjab, Ms Mayawati, targeted the Congress led Punjab government, and bureaucrats and held these “Manuwadi” forces responsible for the “Talhan problem”. Though all people of the village had contributed for the gurdwara, but, when it came to managing it, Dalits were denied share by upper caste Sikhs. Instead of delivering justice the Congress government sided with “Manuwadi” people. When Dalits came to lodge protest, they were again subjected to atrocities, leading to injuries to some and death of ‘some’ of them,” said Ms Mayawati.

On the Kanshi Ram’s health and speculations on it, Ms Mayawati said efforts were on for his early recovery. “Some mischievous people are spreading rumours canards that he is not being sent to the US for treatment, I must tell you that we have already spent Rs 50 lakh on his treatment and we are ready for more. Money is no problem. If the US-based doctors give it in writing that Kanshi Ram would be able to recover after treatment, we, are ready to send him to the US. But we have come to know that there was no treatment available for brain stroke, which Kanshi Ram had on December 15,” she said.


Mann opposes Advani’s proposed visit to Punjab
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 3
Announcing the stand of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) on the issue of religious fanaticism, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the party today said that his party did not believe in religious fanaticism as it was damaging to the country and society. He said the attack on Harmandar Sahib by the late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, in 1984 and the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 allegedly by the BJP were the outcomes of religious fanaticism.

Mr Mann was addressing an election rally at the Kaula Park market here today in which a large number of people participated. Prominent among others who were present at the rally included Dr Jagjit Singh Chauhan, President of the Khalsa Raj Party, Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retd), human rights activists, Mr Paramjit Singh Barnala, Mr Charan Singh Lohara, both general secretaries of the SAD (A), Mr Jagdhir Singh Katron, member SGPC, Chaudhary Bashir Mohammad, working committee member of the SAD(A), and Mr Talib Singh Sandhu, former MLA.

Mr Mann also urged the gathering to oppose the “Bharat Uday Yatra” on March 26 at Amritsar to be taken out by Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister. He said Mr Advani was a “religious fanatic”and such fanatics should not be allowed to enter into Punjab. He also raised slogans like “Advani go back”.

He asked the people to raise slogans to counter the “feel good” slogan of the BJP. Mr Mann said his party would feel good only when all demands of Punjab were fulfilled and he party emerged victorious in the poll.

Mr Mann, who is the SAD (A) candidate from the Sangrur parliamentary constituency, claimed that his party would inflict a crushing defeat on the candidates of the SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress at many places in the general election.

He also said the SAD(A) had to win six or seven Lok Sabha seats to raise its voice effectively in parliament for getting Punjab demands accepted.

Mr Mann also listed his achievements during his tenure as the MP from Sangrur in the recently dissolved Lok Sabha. He promised the gathering that if he won this time also, he would make the constituency a centre of education. He also criticised the previous SAD-BJP government and the Amarinder government on various counts.

Mr Mann lashed out at Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the SAD, by saying that the latter had given up the Akali agenda, including the Anandpur Sahib Resolution.

Dr Jagjit Singh Chauhan, President of the Khalsa Raj Party, extended full support to Mr Mann and his party’s other candidates on behalf of the Panthic Parliamentary Board. Justice Bains termed the Congress, the SAD, and the BJP as “enemies” of Punjab.

Mr Surinder Goyal “Babbi” press secretary of the SAD (A) read out some resolutions, including eradication of corruption and continuation of cow protection. The resolutions were adopted by the gathering by raising hands.

Among others who spoke included Mr Bhag Singh Surtapur, SAD(A) candidate from Ropar constituency, Mr Jagdhir Singh Katron, Prof Jagmohan Singh, the Mr Charan Singh Lohara and Mr Paramjit Singh Barnala, all general secretaries of the party, and Mr Talib Singh Sandhu, former MLA.


Samta Samaj Party to contest all 13 seats

Jalandhar, March 3
The Samta Samaj Party, formed by some pro-Ambedkar leaders and a few former dissident BSP leaders one and a half years ago, has decided to contest all Lok Sabha seats from Punjab.

The state president of the party, Mr Darshan Lal Jethumajra, said a meeting of the party state executive had taken a decision to this effect. Mr Jethumajra also announced the names of three candidates, Mr Gurbachan Singh from Patiala, Mr Atar Singh from Ropar and Mr Tita from Amritsar.

He said the names of the remaining 10 candidates would be announced soon.

Mr Jethumajra alleged that the BSP was ignoring the Dalits and negotiating with other political parties which was not in the interest of this downtrodden class. — UNI


Ravi Inder names candidates for Amritsar, Ropar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Mr Ravi Inder Singh, President of the Akali Dal, today announced the party candidates for the Amritsar and Ropar Lok Sabha constituencies.

While Mr Mohan Singh Mattian would contest from Amritsar, Mr Surjan Singh Rahi, an advocate from Malerkotla, would be the party nominee for the Ropar (reserve) seat.

The party has also decided to extend support to Mr Tirlochan Singh Tur, who would contest the election from Tarn Taran as an Independent candidate.

He made it clear that his party had nothing to do with the Panthic Parliamentary Board, which had announced its candidates for certain seats unilaterally.


Dal seeks special grants for Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 3
The Rashtriya Raksha Dal (RRD), a political party of ex-servicemen, has decried the political exploitation of holy city in the run up to polls. In a statement here today Col JS, Bal president, who has fielded eight candidates for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, said Amritsar had become just a place to gain political mileage. He contended that the announcement of the rath yatra by the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr LK Advani, here was yet another example of its misuse for the polls. He demanded special Central grants for the development of the city.

The dal stated that on many previous occasions such as starting of the Lahore- Delhi bus, the BJP’s annual session here, the RSS rally and now the Lahore-Amritsar interchange, the city had been in limelight.

While Lahore had developed so much but the holy city had slowly lost its glory due to the apathy of the Indian government even though these two cities were merely 62 kms apart.

“The local industry here has been shifted out due to better opportunities offered by neighbouring states, while the international airport and four laning of highway remains incomplete, the popular demand for Lahore-Amritsar bus and an international railway station here for Samjhauta Express were both rejected for the city, no visa center or any special status had been given to the city”, he added.


PPCC secy Lalka joins SAD
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 3
Mr Makhan Lal Lalka, secretary PPCC, along with his supporters, on Monday resigned from the Congress and joined the SAD Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president, SGPC, inducted him in to the SAD after presenting a siropa at a function held at Mata Guru Niwas. Later Mr Lalka and his supporters attended a meeting of the district unit of the SAD.

Before joining the SAD Mr Lalka and his supporters organised a protest march in front of Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib and burnt the flag of the Congress. They also raised slogans against the Chief Minister, state party president H.S. Hanspal and the Congress.

Later, Jathedar Tohra presided over a meeting of the executive committee of the SGPC. The SGPC executive made Mr Dilmegh Singh permanent secretary. Earlier, he was the acting secretary.


Govt to fix quota for sale of beer
Auction of liquor shops from today
Tribune Correspondents

Jalandhar, March 3
To encourage the sale of beer in the state, which had witnessed a sharp fall because of its high price tag, the state government, has decided to introduce beer quota system, wherein, one crore bulk litres of beer would be sold throughout the state during the next financial year.

Talking to reporters here this evening, the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab, Mr D.P. Reddy revealed that the department, for the first time in its history, had decided to fix quota for the sale of beer, wherein it was made mandatory for successful liquor contractors from all over the state to sell one crore bulk litres of beer in the next financial year.

“The decision is taken while considering the sharp decline in sale of beer due to high price tag at liquor shops during 2003-2004. We are interested in encouraging the sale of beer and other ready-to-serve beverages like wine in the state. This will surely bring down the sale price of beer to a maximum extent as liquor contractors will have to generate extra demand for beer,” Mr Reddy added.

Regarding the policy of the state government to allow the sale of beer and wine at departmental stores, Mr Reddy revealed that they would issue licences to five departmental stores at each district headquarters for the sale of beer and wine. “We will charge Rs 25,000 as licence fee from the aspirants while applications will be invited in April. Subsequently, district-level committees will be constituted to scruitinise the claims of the applicants while considering the location of the store and its probability to sell more beer and wine. The stores will be able to sell ready to serve beverages by May end,” he added.

LUDHIANA: At one time, Bathinda used to be the wettest district of Punjab but for the past 10 years, Ludhiana has emerged as the biggest consumer of liquor.

As the official auction of liquor shops starts tomorrow in Jalandhar, the annual quota of country-made liquor for Punjab has been fixed at 460,00,000 proof litres. Out of this the quota of the district is more than 75 lakh proof litres. The total quota of IMFL for the state is 2 crore proof litres and the quota of Ludhiana district is more than 50 lakh proof litres.

A tussle has been going on between the local liquor traders and the liquor king Ponty Chadha for the past three years to get control over the liquor trade in Ludhiana in particular and the Punjab state in general. This time local traders have approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court urging it to give directions to the state government to check the monopoly over the liquor trade. The Punjab Government in its new excise policy decided to have cartels of liquor traders worth Rs 15 crore each but traders apprehend that the government would not stick to this decision as the liquor lobby has strong political clout.

The auction of liquor shops starts tomorrow. The auction for liquor shops of Jalandhar, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur district will be held at Jalandhar. On March 5 auction for Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib shops would be held. On March 7, the auction for shops of Amritsar, Kapurthala and Gurdaspur districts would be held at Amritsar. The auction for Ludhiana district shops would be held on March 8 at Ludhiana, Ferozepore, Muktsar and Moga at Ferozepore on March 9. Faridkot, Bathinda and Mansa at Bathinda on March 11 and Sangrur on March 12, respectively.


Panthic board against Tur’s expulsion
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 3
The Panthic Parliamentary Board, a conglomerate of splintered Panthic outfits, today declared to field its own candidates and   support the like-minded candidates in the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll.

Declaring this at a press conference here, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, secretary general of the board said Ms Rashpal   Kaur Bains and Ms Rajinder Kaur Bulara were likely its candidates from Hoshiarpur and Faridkot, respectively. The board would support Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD(A) president from Sangrur, Mr Sarabjit Singh Khalsa from Bathinda and Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, the expelled sitting MP, from   Tarn Taran Lok Sabha seats, said Mr Mann.  “We would also contest from South and West Delhi”, he said. “We do not endorse expulsions of Mr Tur and other Akali protesters,” he said.

“I met here today dissident leaders of the BSP, including Mr Harbhajan Lakha, a former MP, and   Darshan Singh Jethumajra and they are likely to come into the fold of the board for forming a third front” claimed Mr Mann.

He accused Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD General Secretary, of selling out the interest of the state by attending the Jhajjar   rally where the INLD President, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, had raised the issue of completion of the SYL Canal.

SANGRUR: Dr Jagjit Singh Chauhan, president of Khalsa Raj Party (KRP), today claimed that demands of Punjab could be only fulfilled with the establishment of the Khalsa raj. He said he still favoured setting up of a Khalsa raj, in which Hindus and Sikhs would have equal share and rights as Sikhs had origined from Hindus.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Dr Chauhan said that there would be no place for violence in the proposed Khalsa raj. Besides there would be a complete unity among Sikhs and Hindus. He also claimed that the Khalsa raj would be a sovereign and independent state and would consist of present Punjab and other Punjabi speaking areas.

Dr Chauhan also said that the Panthic Parliamentary Board ( PPB) would announce its candidates for the Hoshiarpur and Tarn Taran Lok Sabha Constituencies tomorrow at Chandigarh. He said the PPB had already declared its candidates, Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala from Jalandhar and Mr Talib Singh Sandhu from Ludhiana. He also stated that he and Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retd) had come here today to meet Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD (A) chief, and talk to him about other candidates of the PPB. He said the PPB would campaign in the state for the SAD (A) candidates.

Dr Chauhan also said the PPB had two aims, firstly Panthic unity, and secondly, eradication of Badal school of thought for overall progress of the state. He also condemned Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra for patchup with Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He also expressed hope that the Akali Dal (Ravi Inder) would remain with the PPB and efforts were on to keep Mr Ravi Inder Singh with the PPB to win Lok Sabha poll.


A convict yearns for freedom
Amardeep Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
On February 26 at 9 pm, a 43-year-old Sikh of medium-build, stepped out of Delhi’s Tihar Jail having earned a 14-day reprieve after 17 years of imprisonment to see his ailing mother, afflicted with cancer.

He was Ranjit Singh Gill, sentenced to life imprisonment in the Lalit Maken assassination case. Son of Dr. Khem Singh Gill, former Vice-Chancellor, PAU, Ranjit spent almost 14 years in prison in the USA.

Recalling his stay in the American jail, Ranjit said: “After our arrest in New Jersey in 1987, we were shifted to downtown Manhattan and were lodged in the 13-storeyed Manhattan Correction Centre. The unit, Nine South, close to the WTC, is meant to lodge prisoners for short durations. But we were kept there for over 10 years and did not get to see the sky. It was a jail within a jail. The bare, white concrete walls, and 8x10 feet cells tend to suck hope out from an individual. Mental isolation, which we were subjected to, was worse than physical torture. We were deprived of natural light and the air, too, was re-circulated. As a result we had skin eruptions. However, I shared my joys and sorrows with Sukhwinder, who was also lodged there.” “At times I was shaky. But I followed a daily routine of prayer and maintained my fitness. I also secured a 16-week Personal Trainer diploma in New York during my imprisonment.”

The legal battle fought in American courts was perhaps the longest running trial for extradition which attracted worldwide attention. The US government appointed a special prosecutor, Judy Russell, to pursue the extradition proceedings. “What was really shocking was that Russell went out of the way to portray us as bad characters. She claimed before the presiding judge that she had received death threats from us in case we were extradited to India.

Subsequently, during hearings we were taken to court in handcuffs and shackles. Sharpshooters were deployed on adjacent buildings and our convoy at times comprised 17 vehicles. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation later discovered that Russell was herself involved in the dirty trick and was found carrying self-addressed envelopes and letters containing threats to other judges. When she was arrested, she pleaded guilty. Her licence was revoked and she never came back to the bar.”

“However, by that time we had made up our mind to go back to India. We volunteered for extradition. All along I wished to come back to Punjab as a free man. Had we wanted, we could have sued for defamation. We could also have sought asylum. But my parents were getting old and I was running out of resources. I requested the judge of the Federal Court to reverse the order and allow my extradition.”

And then the day to go back home arrived. A CBI official took us into custody. We were treated well although the Indian officials expressed surprise over our decision to return. We landed at Mumbai’s Sahar International Airport. Then we got separated. While Sukhwinder was flown to Udaipur in handcuffs and was lodged in jail there until his acquittal last year, I was taken to Delhi for trial and was lodged in Tihar Jail.”

Ranjit Singh Gill’s case is a classic example of an impressionable mind going astray under unfortunate circumstances. “Violence can never be the means to achieve an end,” he says. Years of detention have mellowed him. “My aim is to become a better human being and I never give up on hope,” he concludes while referring to Sandra Bullock’s struggle against odds in ‘Hope Floats’. He also appreciates the ruling of the Delhi High Court which says “A convict is not a criminal” and looks forward to leading a life of freedom and dignity.


From ‘Kaali Aandhi’ to ‘Kitne Pakistan’, Kamleshwar sticks to culture
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 3
From “Kaali Aandhi”, on which the film “Aandhi” was based, to his recent publication “Kitne Pakistan”, which asks how many divisions a civilisation can sustain, Kamleshwar has stood fast to his values — writing on issues which concern his culture and deriving strength from it.

Here to participate in a seminar on “The Writings of Yashpal” at Punjabi University, Kamleshwar calls for the need for upholding the democratic values and cultural synthesis of the Indian culture even as he claims the concept of “Hindu rashtravaad” is most responsible for damaging the Indian culture.

“Hindu culture is part of the Bharatiya culture and there is a need to understand this”, says the writer, who has worked as Editor of Dainik Bhaskar and also received the Sahit Akademi Award this year, during an interview to The Tribune. He says an effort was being made presently to institutionalise Hinduism so that “fatwas” could be given in the name of the religion. He said diversity of the religion was being crushed and those fighting against this trend were fighting the second Mahabharata.

Speaking about his novel “Kitne Pakistan”, which has been translated into six Indian languages since it was first released in 2000 and has seen six editions, Kamleshwar said he wanted to give a message of peace and halt the future divisions of civilisations worldwide. I want the message to go to people of both India and Pakistan and told my Pak printer to change the title to “Kitne Hindustan” for the Pak edition as the title is a metaphor for the message to go across.

Kamleshwar said while progressive Hindi writers in the country were writing on the concept of co-existence of civilisation, other praiseworthy trend which had emerged in the field of Hindi writing was the upsurge in Dalit literature as well as women emancipation. He said Dalit literature had contributed to changing traditional asthetics in society. Hindi literature focussing on women as individuals was calling for a complete change on how women were perceived traditionally in society. The writer said women must have the right to decide about their body, motherhood and how they wanted to bring up and sustain their family.

When questioned why Hindi was read less, Kamleshwar said the immediate future of the young in the country had changed. It had become a necessity to learn English because of its emergence as a global language. However, people should realise what they lost in the process. Giving his own example, the writer said he came to know about Prem Chand when he joined a post-graduate course in Hindi. “Before that I had done graduation in science because it was natural for everyone to study towards taking a degree in engineering”. He had also worked as a mechanical apprentice at Jamalpur Railway Institute before his love for Hindi literature made him tread a different path.

Kamleshwar said there was a misunderstanding among people that Hindi language did not contain superior writing. He said publishers were also responsible for propagating this myth by saying it was difficult to sell literature in Hindi. “I ask them why they do not close shop and get into some other business”. He claimed people were reading Hindi literature because it answered their immediate questions.


Appointment of Youth Cong chief decried
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 3
Local youth Congress activists today criticised the appointment of Mr Ravinder Singh Amla as president of the Punjab Youth Congress and appealed to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Pradesh Congress president H.S. Hanspal to “rectify” the mistake in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Dissolved youth wing state general secretary Bhupinder Singh Bhinda said today that the newly appointed state Youth Congress president was unknown even to party men who were surprised at the selection at a time when the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) youth wing was being strengthened.

Mr Bhinda and others, including district Youth Congress vice-president Tejinder Singh Billa, said Mr Amla had been appointed president of the state Youth Congress despite the fact that his name was not even on the panel sent to the high command by the state Congress. He said the party could have appointed anyone from the panel, which included Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, Kuldeep Bhullar, Gurkirat Singh Kotli and Amardeep Singh Cheema.

The Congress activists said they would meet the Chief Minister and the state Congress president, besides conveying their sentiments to the party high command.


Two sets of rules for poachers?
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Two newly appointed enthusiastic wildlife wardens who caught a Subdivisional Magistrate poaching in Naroor forest on February 29 must be wondering about different sets of rules applicable for shooters of national bird and other Schedule I fauna of the State.

There is a widespread resentment among wildlife enthusiasts over alleged moves to “hush up” the case by projecting it as a case of personal rivalry or political vendetta.

A couple of years ago when cine star Salman Khan was hauled up for killing a black buck — also a Schedule I animal — he could not get bail for a couple of weeks.

But in this case, when the Wildlife wardens, Gunraj Singh Saini and Sukhdeep Singh Bajwa, caught Subdivisional Magistrate of Pathankot Puneet Goel with the “shikar” in his black Mahindra jeep, he was enlarged on bail in less than 12 hours of his detention.

The offence this time, killing the protected national bird, was far more serious than killing a black buck.

The Pathankot case throws up a number of issues, including the total neglect of wildlife in the State. Poachers, reports suggest, have been active not only in Hoshiarpur but also in Gurdaspur and other areas.

The game enthusiasts swear over dwindling wildlife in the state.

In this case, both Gunraj and Sukhdeep were appointed Honorary Wildlife Wardens on February 13, just 16 days before they had their first major “catch”.

And it was virtually a whole nights chase for a suspect black Mahindra jeep that kept them on their toes till they spotted the vehicle with the “kill” — a peacock, a pea hen and four partridges — stacked on the back seat.

Though they were under tremendous pressure to let their “catch” with his “kill” go, they did not relent and made all recoveries, including the weapon used and the vehicle used in poaching.

Sources reveal that an attempt was made to take away the weapon but alert wildlife wardens reportedly foiled the attempt.

Though the District Forest Officer, Mr R.R. Kakkar, a Punjab Forest Service (PFS-II) officer, also arrived at the spot, senior officers of the district administration of both Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur, too, were quick to arrive at the spot.

Since it was a Sunday, the Subdivisional Magistrate and his accomplices were produced before the Duty Magistrate at his residence late in the evening where the bail was granted.

Since the offence under which the “poachers” were charged were non-bailable, no notice was served on the State to oppose the bail as is normally done in such serious violation of wildlife preservation cases.

The wildlife enthusiast maintain that “shikar”, including trapping, snaring and shotting, is rampant in the State, Partridges have almost vanished and sambhars are becoming extinct. On the other hand, wildlife in Haryana, they point out, because of proper protection, has been flourishing and safe.

One of the reasons given for neglect of wildlife has been making the Chief Wildlife Warden toothless and powerless while the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests wields all the powers.

Since the forest officials have been busy in implementing various forestry projects, including those funded by the Japanese government, they were not able to devote time to wildlife.

Though some nakas and check barriers were enacted to check poaching but in the absence of any enforcement and strict vigil, nakas alone cannot check poaching.

Interestingly, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, an enthusiastic environmentalist and conservationist himself, heads the State Wildlife Advisory Board but because of his pre-occupations cannot devote much time to this important aspect of forestry and wildlife.

There is no secret of known hunters’ dens in various forests of the State. Bureaucrats, technocrats and some affluent families of the State are known for their poaching activities.

Instead of checking poaching, 30-odd members of the wildlife staff are working for the Forest Department in violation of the orders of the Chief Minister himself.


Child development officer found involved in school kits scam
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, March 3
Mr Sanjay Popli, Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Ferozepore, has recommended legal and departmental action against Ms Taro Bai, Child Development Project Officer (CDPO), Jalandhar, for her alleged involvement in the pre-school hits scam, which had come to light in September 2003.

Apart from recommending legal and departmental action against Ms Taro Bai, Mr Popli, who conducted a magisterial inquiry into this scam, in his report submitted to the District Magistrate, also recommended that a special audit of grants given and used by the officers where Ms Taro Bai had been posted earlier should also be carried out.

The scam pertaining to the pre-school kits, meant for distribution among poor students, had come to light when during a surprise checking carried out by Mr Popli on September 12, 2003, it was found that kits, which were given to CDPO, Jalandhar, under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), were lying in the office. The same were shown distributed to the employees concerned in the office record. Mr Popli was posted as SDM, Jalandhar, when the scam came to light. After finding irregularities in the distribution of pre-school kits, the office of CDPO had been sealed and a magisterial probe was started.

Mr Popli pointed out that after the scam came to light, the CDPO tried to tamper with the record by pressurising her subordinates to make entries in the official record in connection with the distribution of kits in back dates.

He added that the subordinates, who were pressurised, has submitted their affidavits alleging that they were pressurised to do the same by Ms Taro Bai.

He added that Ms Taro Bai even tried to mislead him while he was conducting the inquiry by giving wrong information.

He said the inquiry had revealed Ms Taro Bai had been found guilty of bungling the government property with malafied intention, tampering with the official record, causing financial loss to the state government and misusing her official position.


PSHRC seeks report from Sangrur SSP
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh March 3
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has sought a report from the IG, Police (Litigation), and the SSP, Sangrur, on a complaint lodged by a resident of Malerkotla that he and his family was being harassed by the police at the behest of the family of a girl who, he claimed, was the wife of his brother.

Mr Bhupinder Kumar, who appeared before the commission in person here today, alleged in his complaint that his brother, Okesh, had married a girl of Malerkotla according to the Arya Samaj rites in Chandigarh on November 15, 2002. The girl and the boy, he said, were major when the marriage was performed at Arya Samaj Mandir, Sector 7, in the presence of witnesses. A marriage certificate was also issued by the temple authorities. Several photographs were also taken at that time.

The couple decided to disclose their marriage at an appropriate time to the two families. When Okesh came to know that the girl’s parents wanted to marry her to someone else, he obtained a temporary injunction from a local civil court on February 19 against the marriage. The next date of hearing has been fixed on March 11.

Bhupinder alleged that a false criminal case was registered against him and his relatives by the Malerkotla police under Sections 363, 366, 367, 420, 467, 468, 469, 474, 506, 120-B, IPC, on February 18. He alleged that the police had been raiding his house almost everyday. He also alleged that his uncle, Raj Kumar, had been in illegal custody of the police for the past five days.

Taking notice of the complaint, Justice R.L. Anand, a member of the commission, sought a report from the police. The case will now come up for further hearing on June 4.


Protesting residents cane-charged, SHO transferred
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 3
The high handedness of the police today came to the fore when a group of Punjab Police commandoes resorted to cane charge without any provocation on residents of the local Adarsh Nagar and adjoining localities. The residents were demanding removal of barricades from the Chick Chick chowk crossing here.

The SHO of Division No 8 Ravinder Sharma, was transferred to the Police Lines while two commandoes—Mukhtiar Singh and Gurmail Singh— were suspended for their alleged involvement in unprovoked cane charge on residents and some journalists of local dailies, who had gone there to cover the incident.

Hundreds of residents assembled near the Chick Chick chowk here this afternoon and removed the barricades to press for easy links with the nearby colonies on the other side of the road. Though the police commandoes and the district police personnel were presented in heavy strength there, but none of them earlier resisted the moves of the agitating residents.

Later, the police again put up barricades on the crossing causing resentment among protesters. They tried to remove the barricades again but, the police instead of pacifying them started canecharging to disperse them. The lathi wielding policemen were seen chasing the residents.

Mr Rakesh Kaushal, SP, confirmed that preliminary it was found that police officials concerned unnecessarily used force to disperse the residents. “We have transferred SHO division no. 8 Ravinder Sharma to the Police Lines while two commandoes have been suspended, “He said, adding that four erring commandoes were yet to be identified.


Old Ravians arrive from Lahore
Tribune Reporters

Wagah, March 3
Leading cine stars, including Dev Anand, Kamini Kaushal, have been invited to participate in the 140th foundation day of the famous Government College, Lahore. This was revealed by the 11-member delegation of Old Ravians who crossed over to India here today.

The leader of Old Ravians, Prof Khalid Manzoor Butt said a large number of their alumni were settled in India and it should be a great re-union during the celebrations in Lahore on March 20. He said they had personally come to invite the old students a majority of whom had settled in Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh.

Dr Farhad Mahmud, former Head of the History Department of the college, and an alumni felt that history had been distorted in both the countries which need to be corrected Dr Mahmud who specialises in ancient history said it required thorough research to bring out the genuine facts so that the study of history should become comprehensive.

He said they would also urge Mr Zaffarulla Khan Jamali, Prime Minister of Pakistan to allow free flow of students and teachers for regular exchange Mr Jamali would be the chief guest in the coming annual convocation of Government College, Lahore.

Dr Mahmud said under the SAARC agreement, a people-to-people contact should be encouraged to establish permanent peace in the region. He said that if students from other countries come to India and Pakistan for higher education then why can not Pakistani students could come for higher education to India and vice-versa, he asked.

He said SAARC must facilitate easy travel without any restrictions for the young generation. He said there was a tremendous enthusiasm among the people, especially among Punjabis, to visit each other countries.

Other members of delegation include Mr Shameem Ahmad, Mr Shahid Parvez and his wife Ms Shahid Parvej, Prof Masood Raza, Ms Nabeela Kiani, Mr Abdul Rauf, Mr Mazhar Hameed, Dr Qais Aslam and Dr Farhan Ebadat. The delegation after paying obeisance at Golden Temple left for Dera Beas enroute to Chandigarh.

The delegation was warmly welcomed by members of the Old Ravians Government College Lahore Old Students Association, Chandigarh, which included Mr G.S. Dhillon, secretary of association, Mr J.S. Bawa, former IPS officer, Mr H.S. Randhawa and Mr Sewa Singh.


Punjabi artistes to perform ‘Luna’ in Lahore
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 3
For the first time after Partition, Punjabi artistes from India would present a Punjabi play ‘Luna’ in Lahore (Pakistan) on the occasion of Women’s Day. The play would be performed from March 7 to 13.

Giving this information Mr Jaswant Singh Jass, vice-president of ‘Manch-Rangmanch’ theatre group said Ms Madeeha Gohar, organiser of Pakistan theatre group ‘Ajoka’ that had presented the highly acclaimed play ‘Bullah’ in various parts of country recently, had invited them to perform the play. He said the artistes of the theatre group, under the presidentship of theatre artiste Kewal Singh Dhaliwal would perform ‘Luna’, which was written by famous Punjabi poet and writer Shiv Kumar Batalvi.

The artistes who would act in the play, include Mr Kewal Singh Dhaliwal, Ms Jatinder Kaur, Mr Jaswant Singh Jass, Pawandeep, Sukhi Pawar, Arvinder Kaur Dhaliwal, Rajinder Nagi, Anita Devgan, Rupneet Kaur, Rajwinder Raja, Gurjot Sodhi, Krantipal, Bikramjit Lucky, Gurpreet and Kanwaljit. The artistes would reach Pakistan on March 6.


Hola Mohalla mela begins, pilgrims start arriving
Lalit Mohan

Anandpur Sahib (Ropar), March 3
Pilgrims from all parts of the state have been coming to Kiratpur Sahib and Anandpur Sahib to pay obeisance at religious places, including Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib for six-day Hola Mohalla celebrations that began here yesterday.

Pilgrims, coming in trucks, trailers and buses are paying obeisance at Patalpuri Sahib, Anandgarh Sahib gurdwaras besides Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib. All gurdwaras have been decorated with colourful lights and other decorations.

People are setting up camps in open spaces and deras in an around Anandpur Sahib. Langars have been organised in Anandpur Sahib and along roads leading to the town. Stalls of fun games are set up and businessmen are doing a brisk business.

Tents are also being pitched for conferences of political parties to be organised on March 6. Political conference of the SAD would be held in the ground below Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib. Conferences of the SAD (A) and the Congress would be held adjoining the sarovar and near the Khalsa College, respectively.

All streetlights have been made functional especially for the mela days. The district administration has made arrangements for maintaining law and order during the mela. Deputy Commissioner Ropar, Ms Seema Jain said that civil and police control rooms had been set up for the help of pilgrims.

The civil control room telephone number 232015 would function round the clock under the supervision of the Anandpur Sahib SDM who is the mela officer. The police control telephone numbers are 230488 and 230490. Pilgrims in case of any health problem can contact the health authorities at telephone number 232193.

The district Red Cross has set up 32 first-aid posts of which 22 were within the mela area and 10 on the roads leading to Anandpur Sahib. Besides 13 temporary dispensaries and six ambulances have also been kept for 24-hour duty for emergency service. The mela area has been divided into 10 sectors. Each sector would be under the charge of a duty of magistrate and gazetted police officer. As many as 12 SPs, 37 DSPs, 64 inspectors and 303 other police officials have been put on law and order duty in the mela, the Deputy Commissioner said.

JALANDHAR: The Shiromani Akali Dal will organise a conference at Anandpur Sahib on March 6.

In a press statement here today, secretary of the SAD (Badal) Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said that the conference would be attended by senior party leaders including president and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra.


FCI staff serve strike notice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The FCI’s Executive Staff Union and other bodies affiliated to it have served notice on the management for an agitation from March 19 in support of their demands.

Mr Megh Raj, Regional Secretary of the union, said today the management was issuing show-cause notices, charge sheets and imposing heavy penalties on field employees without taking into consideration difficulties faced by them in managing food-grains stocks.

He alleged that field employees were taken to task even on minor issues while top officials directly associated with the supervision and transportation of the stock were spared.

Hundreds of category IV posts created under the career progression scheme had not been filled yet. There were several other demands in the charter of demands submitted to the management. Employees would start dharnas and demonstrations on March 19 at various places.


Move to withdraw minority status irks SGPC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 3
The reported move by the state government to withdraw ‘minority status’ from the SGPC-run educational institutes has come as a rude shock to the Shiromani committee.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, SGPC, has alleged that Health Secretary of the state government wanted to harm the interest of the SGPC by writing against the minority status granted to SGPC’s educational institutes.

Meanwhile, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta had a telephonic conversation with state’s Health Minister and asked him to safe-guard the interests of SGPC by maintaining a status quo of ‘minority quota’. Representatives of the SGPC are likely to meet with the chief minister on maintaining status quo of minority quota.


Tension over shifting of Guru Granth Sahib
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 3
Tension arose when a move to shift Shri Guru Granth Sahib from a gurdwara near Basanwali Chungi to another gurdwara was scuttled by some persons here today.

As the move turned violent, some received minor injuries.

The shifting of Shri Guru Granth Sahib was not allowed on the ground that it would hurt the religious sentiments of the people.

It is learnt that the land, in which the gurdwara was located, had been allegedly sold off by some shareholders to a coloniser. As other shareholders had not been taken into confidence a dispute had arisen. As the gurdwara was creating a hurdle in the developmental activity of the coloniser, there was a plan to shift it to one side of the area after carrying out the construction.

The shareholders who had not been taken into confidence before selling the land opposed the move of shifting Shri Guru Granth Sahib to another gurdwara.

The police has been deployed in the site to keep the situation under control.


NGO holds training programme for women
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 3
Industrial Services International, an NGO, today organised a skilled-based Entrepreneurship Development Programme at Baran village (Patiala district) and Jakhwali village (Fatehgarh Sahib district) here.

As many as 30 women were given training in tailoring and embroidery and soft toys making during the programme. Besides this, a free tailoring and embroidery centre for women and girls living below the poverty line is also being run by the organisation . The basic objective of organisation is to make them economically independent and self sufficient.

Speaking on the occasion secretary of the society K.K Chaudhary said these programmes were part of the ongoing efforts of Industrial Services International towards promoting self employment. He added that during these programme an effort was made to motivate the women to start their own ventures.


Protest by rehriwalas
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 3
Nearly 400 migrants (Purbias) today protested against the alleged beating up of a rehriwala by a shopkeeper in the market dominated by migrants near the JCT Railway Overbridge, the shopkeeper alleged that it was the rehriwallah who had thrashed his employee.

The migrants gathered there and tension started bending. The shopkeepers alleged that the rehriwalas parked rehris in the area meant for parking. DSP Jaspal Singh intervened and a compromise was effected between the parties.


Function put off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The state-level second annual awards function scheduled to be held at Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, on March 5 has been postponed in view of the model code of conduct in force in the state due to the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The function was being organised by the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries to honour officers for excellence in their respective fields, a statement issued here said.


DTO’s office set afire
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 3
Some miscreants set ablaze the office of the District Transport Officer by sprinkling kerosene oil early this morning. It was noticed by passersby who informed the municipal fire brigade.

After struggling for aboat half an hour, fire brigade tenders controlled the fire. According to official sources, no damage was caused to the office record. The police has registered a case in this connection.


Granthi’s portrait unveiled

Amritsar, March 3
The portraits of Giani Partap Singh, first head granthi of Gurdwara Nankana Sahib (Pakistan) and Bhai Rajinder Singh “Chalda Vaheer”, who had propagated Sikhism in more than 40 countries, were installed in the Central Sikh Museum in the Golden Temple complex, by Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, General Secretary, SGPC, here today.

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Bhai Kulwant Singh, Bibi Baljit Kaur from UK and Bhai Manmohan Singh from Germany were also present. — TNS


EC urged to ban Advani’s yatra

Phagwara, March 3
A former AICC Secretary and sitting MP from Phillaur Ms Santosh Chowdhary, today alleged that the proposed rath yatra of Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, would communalise and vitiate atmosphere in the country.

The Election Commission should ban the so called Bharat uday yatra, she urged. — OC

Sikh scholar’s widow dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Mrs Jaspal Kaur, wife of late Sikh scholar Satbir Singh, died at Patiala yesterday.

Since her daughter from New Zealand could not arrive, Jaspal’s body is being kept in the Rajendra Hospital. Her two other daughters had already arrived in Patiala for the last rites.

According to Mr Charanjit Singh, a relative of the family, the cremation will take place tomorrow at 11 a.m.

Mrs Jaspal Kaur leaves behind three daughters and a son.



High Court
Hearing in CM case on March 10
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today fixed March 10 as the next date of hearing on a petition challenging Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s election from the Patiala Assembly constituency.

Petitioner Harkirat Singh — a voter from Patiala — had earlier alleged that the Captain had used the services of Class I gazetted officer Bharat Inder Singh Chahal. The documentary evidence, appended along with the petition, proved his role beyond any shadow of doubt. Moreover, he had spent more than the prescribed limit during the elections.

Anticipatory bail cancelled

Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has cancelled anticipatory bail granted to a Ludhiana resident after he went abroad without permission in violation of a condition imposed by the court.

The resident had initially applied for bail as he was apprehending arrest in a case registered against his brother on a complaint filed by his wife. She had alleged that her husband had gone abroad within a month of their marriage. 
The court, while granting bail to the petitioner, had directed him against leaving the country without permission. But the petitioner too went abroad.


DC suspends 2 readers for dereliction of duty
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 3
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr. S.K. Ahluwalia, has suspended the readers of the SDM and the tehsildar and recommended the suspension of a court clerk of Municipal Council, Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, on the charge of dereliction of duty. All these officials allegedly connived with the persons who encroached on municipal land near Bachat Bhavan, valued at more than Rs 50 Lakh.

Talking to The Tribune, the Deputy Commissioner said during his public darbar, a complainant submitted an application that Labh Singh, Jaswant Singh and Chanan Singh, all residents of Sirhind, had encroached upon more than three kanals of municipal land opposite the District Administrative Complex. In his complaint, he also alleged that earlier the council had filed a case to get back the possession of the land but the matter was hushed up. Acting on his complaint, the Deputy Commissioner marked an inquiry to the SDM. In his report, Mr Darshan Singh, SDM, mentioned that the council had filed a case against these persons and the, then, SDM had decided the case in their favour. The council appealed in the court of the District Magistrate. The then DM Mr Vikas Partap, marked the case back to the SDM and directed both parties to approach the latter. But the then reader of the SDM, Krishan Lal, allegedly in connivance with the encroachers, sent the case file to the reader of the tehsildar. The reader of tehsildar, Mr Mohinder Singh, sat on the file for more than two years and the case remained unattended. It was also mentioned in the report that the court clerk of the council had joined hands with them and had not brought it to the notice of higher officials.

As per the recommendation of the SDM, the Deputy Commissioner directed the council to initiate immediate action to take possession of the land. He has also sought a report from the council regarding all other such cases so that action could be initiated to get back possession of council property.


Four hurt in clash
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 3
Business rivalry among two shopkeepers of the local Punj Peer area today turned into a clash, which rendered four persons injured, while causing panic among the residents following firing of shots in the air by one of shopkeepers.

According to the police, Vipan Kumar and Surinder Anand had recently opened a shop of ply and hardware at the Punj Peer area here, which reportedly affected the business of a neighbouring shop J.P. Hardware and Jagat Hardware.

The police said that there had been minor incidents of arguments among these shopkeepers in the past.

The situation took a bad turn this afternoon, when owners of Jagat Hardware allegedly attacked Vipan and Surinder and beaten them up. Sensing threat to his life, Vipan fired shots in the air to disperse the attackers, thus, causing panic among the shopkeepers and the local residents.

Vipan and his father Surinder Anand received minor injuries in the clash.

The police reached the spot and rounded up both the parties. Meanwhile, Vipan alleged that a mob of 30 persons attacked their shop without any provocation and beat him up mercilessly.

The injured were admitted to local Civil Hospital. They were identified as Darshan Singh, and Bhupinder Singh. A case has been registered.


Three killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, March 3
Three persons were killed and four others were seriously injured when a van in which they were travelling collided with a tipper coming from the opposite, direction near chhatwal village about 10 km from here.

The deceased have been identified as Sudha Rani, Asha Rani and Hari Chand, while the injured have been identified as Sarishta Devi, Ram Krishan, Vicky and Naseeb Singh, driver of the van, all residents of Sharifchak, village.

According to eye witnesses, the accident took place at about 11 a.m. when the van (No. PB-6-B-4565), which was coming from Pathankot side, collided with the tipper (No. HP-38-6105).

Naseeb Singh and Ram Krishan have been referred to a hospital in Amritsar, the other injured are reported to be out of danger and are admitted in the local civil hospital.

The police has registered a case and impounded the vehicles.

The driver of the tipper is reported to be absconding.


Boy arrested for harassing girl
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 3
A youth, who had been harassing a girl of a nearby village, was unmasked with the Helpline of the Patiala Police. He was later taken in police custody.

The Superintendent of Police (Headquarters), Mr L. K. Yadav, said a girl from a village, near here, complained to the police that she was being constantly harassed by a boy who had been making anonymous calls at her residence. On advise of the Helpline staff, she warned the boy that she would approach the police if he kept on harassing her.

Mr Yadav said when the boy did not pay heed to the warning, the girl approached the Helpline again where she was told that she should fix a meeting with the boy. Accordingly, the girl made the request. The boy told her that he would meet her in the AC Market, near Adalat Bazar, in the city. When the girl asked the boy how she would recognise him, he said he would carry a red rose in his hand.

The boy reached the AC market, along with a few friends. As soon as the girl approached him, he started making vulgar gestures whereupon the police swooped upon the boy and held him. Commotion was created when shopkeepers of the AC market started beating up the boy. the family of the girl was also present at the spot. He was taken away from the spot by Sub-Inspector Kanwalpal Singh of the Helpline.


Father, son booked for duping students
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 3
Jagwinder Singh and his son Gurinder Singh, alias Sunny, local cable operators of the Shakti Nagar area, have been booked on charges of duping students on the pretext of getting them admitted to foreign universities and colleges.

Mr Jaspal Singh, a resident of Gobind Nagar, today alleged that the accused was threatening him and his family members to withdraw the case against them.

The duo were booked under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC at the ‘C’ Division police station on February 27. Mr Jaspal Singh alleged that the accused had taken Rs 1.5 lakh from him in December, 2002 for getting him admitted to a college in the UK. He said the accused neither sent him abroad nor returned his money.


One killed, 3 hurt in mishap

Bathinda, March 3
One person Sukhdev Singh died on the spot while three persons seriously injured when a truck loaded with cement bags rammed into the oil tanker in which they were travelling near the Lehra Mohabbat thermal plant on Bathinda-Rampura road late last night. Though the police was informed about the accident, no ambulance from its Bhucho Kalanhigh-Tech traffic post, reached at the spot to take the injured to the hospital.

When the residents of the nearby villages went the high-tech traffic post for the ambulance, the past was found locked from outside. The injured were later shifted to the Rampura Hospital in the trucks.

Balbir Singh, driver of truck, was arrested. — TNS


Son-in-law poisoned to death
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 3
The in-laws of Vinod Kumar allegedly poisoned him to death here late last evening. The police arrested all accused and registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC at Islamabad police station here today.

According to reports, Sushil Kumar, father-in-law of the deceased, his wife Sunita and son Pawan allegedly forcibly took him to their house and beat him up brutally. They allegedly administered some poisonous substance to him. Family members of Vinod brought matter before the police. He was admitted to a Civil Hospital where he died. The police has reportedly arrested the accused persons.

According to police, a family dispute was going between the two families. The wife of the deceased had filed a suit against him under the Dowry Act.


Computer education must for BA students: Boparai
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 3
Dr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, said today that computer education would be made a compulsory subject for BA course from the next academic session.

He said the university authorities had taken this decision to make the course job oriented.

Dr Boparai, who was here to preside over a two-day national-leval seminar on “New perspective in Punjabi research and teaching” organised by the regional centre of Punjabi University, said the university had also decided to set up an advanced centre for technical development of Punjab cell at the cost of Rs 65 lakh. Punjabi NRIs would also contribute to this project, he added.

Apart from it, the university would also create its website. He said the university, which would organise World Punjabi Conference next month, had invited vice-chancellors of six universities of Pakistan for initiating the cultural exchange programme.

He said a dictionary of Punjabi would be released by the university every year. To a question, he said only the Department of Education could take action against those teachers and lecturers who had been minting money by indulging in tuition business.

Dr Boparai said the university had decided to introduce MBA and MCA courses in the local regional centre shortly. The Municipal Corporation authorities had been approached for a piece of land to expand the premises of the centre.

Later, Padamshri and Jnanpeeth Award winner Prof Gurdial Singh spoke on the occasion.


Students of engg colleges hold rally, dharna
Our Correspondent

Ropar, March 3
Students of the engineering colleges affiliated with Punjab Technical University (PTU) today organised a rally and a dharna here to protest against the non-implementation of the 24-credit system. About 200 students of the IET, Bhaddal Rayat Engineering College, Sukhmani Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Tangori Engineering College, Mohali, gathered at the local old bus stand this morning.

They organised a procession that, after it passed through the town, ended at the Mini Secretariat here. The students sat in dharna in the secretariat and raised slogans against the PTU authorities.

Mr Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal, state secretary of the Students Federation of India (SFI), while addressing those sitting in dharna alleged that by not implementing the 24- credit system for the 2001 batch engineering students the PTU was wasting one academic year of about 1,426 students.

He further criticised the Punjab Government and the Jalandhar police for a lathi charge on the students holding a peaceful protest outside the PTU complex to press for the acceptance of their demands. Students of the PTU would once again hold a protest in front of the PTU complex at Jalandhar on March 6 in which students from all college affiliated with the technical university would participate, he said.

Mr Hardaljeet Singh Sandhu, another student leader, alleged that under present system, the PTU was fleecing the students. During the past seven years, six PTU vice-chancellors had been shifted. Most of them had been removed on charges of mismanagement and corruption.

Till date, the PTU had been functioning from a rented premises and there had been no on-campus courses. The PTU had just become a platform for politicians and private entrepreneurs to make money. None of the authorities of the university was concerned about the welfare of the students who had been spending lakhs on getting education from 40 private engineering colleges.

Later, the students also presented a memorandum of their demands to the SDM, Ropar.

NAWANSHAHR: Students of Rayat Engineering College, Rail Majra on the Nawanshahr-Ropar road and of IITT Engineering College, Pojewal, on the Garhshankar-Anandpur Sahib road in the district observed strike. They held rallies, blocked the traffic and burnt an effigy of Mr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, PTU, Jalandhar, to express their solidarity with the agitating PTU students and to protest against the alleged anti-students policies.

The students are demanding the implementation of 24-credit system to ensure proper checking of answersheets and timely declaration of results. The students warned that they would intensify their stir if their demands were not accepted soon.


19 engg colleges take part in technical fest
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, March 3
Dr H.P. Sinha, Programme Director and Executive Secretary of the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE), New Delhi, has underlined the need for setting up more technical institutes in public and private sector to meet the challenges of advanced technology. He said our country had a ratio of only 5.8 per cent technicians in different fields as compared to over 40 per cent in Japan. Sincere efforts should be made to impart qualitative education. Dr Sinha had come here to chair “Scintilla 2004”, a technical fest organised by the Adesh Institute of Engineering and Technology. More than 400 delegates from 19 engineering colleges took part in the function organised at the institute complex in Machakikalan (Faridkot) village, about 10 km from here.

He also laid stress on inculcating and consolidating the entreprenure culture by interacting with the industries institute. However, he made it clear that this achievement could not be made without changing the lifestyle, and could be only done with the full cooperation of countrymen. More seminars, conventions and such technical fests should be organised. He disclosed that the ISTE would hold a three-day national convention of the heads of over 1200 technical colleges which were registered with the society at Netaji Subhash Institute, Dwarka at New Delhi in the last week of December and a two-day national convention of the students from October 30 this year in this regard. Hailing the recent decision of the Supreme Court for reducing the fee structure of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, he said such institute should become more responsive follow the way of resource sharing for the development of society. Later, presiding over the function, Mr Sinha appealed to the students to make it mandatory for attending such fests which would give them a chance to explore their knowledge.


IGNOU starting course on displacement
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
Issues related to displacement, resettlement and rehabilitation of people due to big development projects have been a cause of concern for policy planners. Accordingly, study of such themes has been increasingly in demand. Indira Gandhi National Open University’s regional centre at Khanna is presently in active pursuit to sensitise the students to take up the 6-month post graduate certificate in displacement, resettlement and rehabilitation.

According to Dr Umesh Chandra Pandey, Regional Director, IGNOU, Punjab and Chandigarh, this programme is a proactive initiative of the World Bank and IGNOU for building the skills of resettlement and rehabilitation officers, field staff, desk staff and technical experts in participatory methods of managing the concerns and issues of displacement and working for satisfactory resettlement and rehabilitation of those displaced by the projects.

The programme offers an opportunity to learn skills for implementing the resettlement and rehabilitation plan that is people-friendly. The course is expected to equip not only the scholars in the universities with professional input but also provide professionals like architects and engineers with specific learning in reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Dr Pandey says the programme is available through the Internet as well as print mode and is open for anybody who has completed his graduation.


Stop appointing non-academic persons as VCs: FEAR
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 3
The Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) has urged the University Grants Commission (UGC) to inculcate academic qualifications with experience in educational institutions for the post of the Vice-Chancellor in ‘The Model Act for universities of 21st century in India’ as done in other academic posts of the varsity here today.

Speaking on the occasion the president of the forum, Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, said this would check the ‘unfortunate trend’ of appointing bureaucrats and retired military men.

He added that the non-academic appointees either make universities revenue earning agencies or purely law and order institutions which effect the academic growth of teachers as well as students.

The members of the forum further stated that every post had been prescribed with some basic qualifications and experience except the post of Vice-Chancellor.


Menon for greater industry-academia interaction
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
Eminent scientist Prof M.G.K. Menon has emphasised the need for greater interaction between the industry and the academia to ensure better self-reliance in the country. He observed that it was necessary to bring the science and research out of the laboratories into the practical field.

Delivering a keynote address on “The approach to self-reliance in the context of ongoing technological transformations”, organised by the Ludhiana Management Association here last evening, Professor Menon maintained that science had to evolve into technology. Quoting the example of the success of Silicon Valley, the eminent scientist revealed that it was the efforts and the research work of Stanford University coupled with entrepreneurial spirit of the people which scripted the great success story.

He said by self-reliance he did not mean developing an “isolationist” tendency. He pointed out that “India has a history, tradition and culture of absorbing the very best and giving away the very best... we have welcomed ideas and exported them and our culture is based on total absorption”.

Emphasising the need for transforming science into technology, he pointed out that it took the flying machine created by the Wright Brothers some time to develop into an aeroplane that could fly non-stop for hours and hours without any break.

He said: “We must remember that the world is not a level-playing field. It is highly competitive and characterised by confrontation and domination. As a result, there is no alternative to self-reliance.”

“Since Independence, India has been totally open to ideas from outside, including technologies and collaborations for industrial production. We have built a sound base over the years particularly in scientific, technological, agricultural and industrial capabilities”, he said.


Students interact with police
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 3
The district police in collaboration with social organisation National Science Research Institute organised an interaction with students of various schools at MG College grounds here yesterday. Hundreds of students participated in the interaction and made a number of queries regarding the working of the police, handling of weapons, traffic rules, arrest of criminals and terrorist activities etc. Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, and Mr Grewal, DSP(H), answered the queries of the students.

Mr Shiv Kumar said the interaction had been arranged to remove various apprehensions in the mind of the students about the police. He said such camps help in creating awareness among the youth about criminals, police working and ways to cooperate with the police. He said that students have a clean mind and whatever is taught to them, they keep it in mind forever. He said that there is no need to be afraid of the police, as it is for their protection and help. The police without the cooperation of people can not trace, detect or arrest criminals and anti-social elements, so it is their moral duty to help and inform the police about any untoward incident in their areas. The SSP said more such camps would be organised in other parts of the district to strengthen the police-public relations.

On this occasion, different workshops were conducted on traffic rules, police rules, working of judiciary, maintenance of law and order and handling of weapons. The students were given various types of weapons and the police instructors gave them information to handle these weapons. Later, the students were taken on a round to the police station and told about different police ranks and the SHOs working.


Students want ban on loudspeakers
Tribune News Service

Bhikhi (Mansa), March 3
Students and residents of this town have alleged that no action has been taken on a complaint which they lodged with the Deputy Commissioner about the nuisance caused by use of loud speakers during odd hours.

Ms Rajni Jindal and many other students in a press note issued here today said authorities had not intervened to put a stop on the use of loudspeakers by the religious places and marriage parties. She said examination were going on for almost all classes and the students were worst affected.

She alleged that almost all places of worships in the town had been playing loudspeakers on high volumes. A section of religious places played their loudspeakers at 4 am and that continued late in the evening.


Non-teaching staff seek promotion
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 3
The newly elected president of the Non-Teaching Union of Punjabi University, Mr Navdeep Singh, today demanded that new channels should be opened for the promotion of field staff, library staff and C class employees of the university.

General secretary of the union Harichand Mehndiratta said the union would make efforts to maintain the dignity of the university. He added that the newly elected office-bearers of the union would take steps for the welfare of the employees.

Vice-president of union Hardev Singh, secretaries Sharanjeet Singh, Gurjeet Singh Sidhu and Jasbir Kaur also spoke on the occasion.

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