L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Love affair ends in tragedy
Harassed by relatives, youth commits suicide
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
A young farmer of Gurditpura village, near Payal, committed suicide last night after struggling for several months with his relatives for the acceptance of his inter-caste marriage with a girl from Doraha.

The youth, Gurpreet Singh, 26, shot himself in the head with a .12 bore gun late last night. He was allegedly in an inebriated condition and committed the act in front of his wife, Amandeep Kaur. The couple were living together since December last year, claiming they had got married in a gurdwara. However, relatives refused to acknowledge the marriage. It was not registered.

The Payal police has booked Gurpreet’s stepmother, Jeet Kaur, and Roop Singh, a sarpanch of Chankoyian village, under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the IPC. The case has been registered on a complaint of the man’s wife, Amandeep Kaur.

Payal SHO Paramjit Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that Amandeep had alleged that Roop Singh and Jeet Kaur made her husband drink heavily and kept irritating him over marriage. According to her statement, Jeet Kaur was the deceased’s real mother’s sister and was married to his father, who died long ago.

According to family sources, the couple fell in love early last year and despite opposition to their marriage from their parents and relatives went ahead and tied the knot in a gurdwara. Both were Sikh, but the boy was a Jat whereas the girl belonged to a non-Jat caste.

Mohinder Singh, father of the girl, and other relatives who were against the match had even lodged an FIR against the youth at Payal police station in December last year. They had accused the youth of kidnapping the girl.

Accused Roop Singh was a regular visitor to their house. Last night, he had drinks with the youth and he and the stepmother harassed the youth over his marriage.

It has been alleged in the FIR that when the youth threatened to commit suicide, Jeet Kaur, who was also in an agitated mood, gave him the cartridges. At this, the youth went on to shoot himself.



Teachers told to return question papers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
Following the announcement regarding the postponement of the examinations of Class X and plus two by the Punjab School Education Board, the District Education Department today directed centre superintendents to return the packets of question papers.

Teachers who had been deputed as superintendents queued up at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar, to return the question papers.

While board officials and District Education Officers have been blaming the superintendents for the paper leak as they were in the possession of the question papers at least 10 days prior to the examination, several teachers have pointed out a lapse on the part of the board. Mr Teja Singh, president of the Punjab Aided School Association, said the teachers had been performing their duty diligently and they should not be blamed without any concrete evidence.

Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, Director, Academic Affairs, International Human Rights Organisation, in a statement today condemned the inefficiency and negligence of the board. He sought a probe into the matter.

Mr Avinash Chander Sethi, District Education Officer (Secondary), said no inquiry had started yet as he had received no directions from the higher authorities. However, prior to the news pertaining to the paper cancellation yesterday, the District Education Department officials had been directed to visit various examination centres of the district on a random basis and check the seals on the bundles of the political science paper. Five groups led by Mr Sethi, Ms Sudesh Bajaj, Deputy DEO (Secondary), and school principals went to about 30 schools but no evidence of tampering could be found.

The teams had gone to Bharatiya Vidya Mandir, Nauhria Mal Jain Senior Secondary School, Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School and Baba Isher Singh Public School, besides schools at Mullanpur, Dakha and Hassanpur, but the seals were found intact. 



Ludhianvis queue up for Pak visa
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana March 19
Hundreds of Ludhianvis today had a tough time to procure visa for Pakistan in order to see the fourth one-day cricket match between India and Pakistan on March 21. Cricket fans who returned from Amritsar after getting the visa said more than half of the applicants belonged to Ludhiana. Some of them returned disappointed as only a limited number of visas were issued by the Pakistan High Commission.

Mr Pappi Saluja, a businessman, said there was a rush at the temporary visa centre opened by the Pakistan High Commission at Amritsar. He said people had queued up the centre since morning. People had come from far-off places like Gujarat, Kerala and West Bengal.

Mr Bikramjit Singh said when he reached the visa centre at around 11 am, he was told that the application forms had run out. He said there was over a hundred applicants waiting at the centre for the forms. The visa forms would be issued tomorrow.

He said there was confusion as reports spread that the Pakistan High Commission was to issue only a limited number of visas and it would not be issuing any more visas for the March 21 match.

Against the earlier announcement that the visas will be issued from March 17 to March 24, the visas will be issued only for two days.



Cop transferred for abetting suicide 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 19
Sub-inspector Rashpal Singh, former SHO of the Dehlon police station who had been booked with two others for allegedly forcing Harsewak Singh to commit suicide, has been transferred to Ropar police district. The other accused have been sent in judicial remand.

Sources said Rashpal Singh, Sarabjit Kaur and Gurbhai Singh had been booked on the charge of abetting the suicide of Harsewak Singh. The police had registered the case on the complaint of Manjit Kaur, wife of the deceased, and under the directions of Mr H.S. Bhullar, SSP, Jagraon.

Mr Gurmukh Singh Cheema, DSP (D), who had been deputed to investigate the case, said Rashpal Singh had been transferred to Ropar police district. Preliminary investigation had revealed that Sarabjit Kaur whose husband was in the Army, allegedly had illicit relations with Harsewak Singh who had been introduced to her through Gurbhai Singh, a close relative of hers.

On February 14, she went to the house of Harsewak Singh when he was alone. However, there was an ugly scene when his wife Manjit Kaur returned home. A case was later registered against Harsewak Singh under sections 324, 294 and 323,IPC.

To make a stronger counter case for effecting a compromise, Harsewak Singh allegedly chopped off his finger.

Mr Cheema said the parties reached a written agreement on March 6 and had promised to submit affidavits in this connection. On March 8, however, Harsewak Singh allegedly consumed poison and died at a private hospital in Ludhiana.

In her complaint Manjit Kaur had stated that Sarabjit Kaur, Gurbhai Singh and the SHO had caused emotional stress to Harsewak Singh which prompted him to consume poison. 



Hero Cycle workers hold protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Workers of the Hero Group of Companies today staged a demonstration against the alleged high-handedness of the management. They were seeking the withdrawal of chargesheet against some of the employees and revocation of suspension orders.

The employees gathered at Chhattersingh Park and raised slogans against the management.

The leaders alleged that the management had adopted a dictatorial approach towards the workers and were resorting to unfair labour practices. They said the management had suspended four of their colleagues and issued chargesheet against 20 others as they had participated in a demonstration at Chandigarh.

The strike affected the working in the Hero Group of Companies. The management is learnt to have clarified that it will not succumb to “blackmail”.

Meanwhile, the Moulder and Steel Workers Union also staged a dharna against the alleged anti-labour attitude of various managements. It also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, demanding strict implementation of labour laws and action against all those who were resorting to unfair practices.



SAD-BJP candidate tours villages
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The campaigning of SAD-BJP candidate Sharanjit Singh Dhillon continued in the rural belt of the constituency today. He toured several villages and was weighed against coins at many places.

Addressing various meetings, he said the Congress had failed on all fronts. He said development had come to a standstill and scams had become the norm.

Later in the evening, he addressed election rallies at Humbran, Mullanpur, Barewal and Dabba villages. He asked the people to compare the five-year rule of the NDA government at the Centre with the 45 years of Congress rule. He said people all over India were experiencing the feel-good factor.

At Bhamman Kalan, Mr Avtar Singh Mangat, Mr Piara Singh Mangat and Mr Shingara Singh Mangat presented a purse containing Rs 1 lakh to Mr Dhillon. Mr Avtar Singh Mangat, a former vice- president, Government Teachers Union, said retired government employees would work for the success of Mr Dhillon. Others present on the occasion included Mr Balwinder Singh Mangat, Mr Shamsher Singh Mangat, Mr Darshan Singh Gill, Mr Jaswinder Balliewal, Mr Rajinder Singh Sandhu, Bawa Grewal and Mr Surjit Singh Mangat of Machhiwara.

Mr Dhillon also met members of the local Bar Council. A majority of the Bar members assured him of full support in the elections.



SAD meetings held
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 19
A meeting of Akali workers of Khanna circle was organised at Gurdwara Kalgidhar today. The meeting was presided over by Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, SAD candidate for Ropar constituency seat.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra said Mr Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC chief Gurcharn Singh Tohra would address the rally being organised on March 27 near bus stand. He appealed to the workers to attend the rally and listen to the views of their leaders.

The meeting was also addressed by Mr Arunvir Singh Khatra and Mr Major Singh Pallah besides others.

Another meeting of the urban unit of the SAD was organised yesterday by Mr Bachan Singh Cheema, ex-MLA, Mr Gurcharn Singh Raikhy, president, city unit of the SAD, Mr Iqbal Singh, vice-president of the Ludhiana (rural) unit of the SAD, Mr Ranvir Singh Khatra, Mr Lakhvir Singh, Mr Rajinder Jit Singh, Mr Mahenderpal Jassal, Mr Hans Raj Sood, district president, BJP, and Mr Sarv Deep Singh Kalirao, president Khanna unit of the BJP, attended the meeting.



BJP has communal agenda, says Cong leader
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Former Congress minister and Rajya Sabha member, Mr Dharam Pal Sabharwal said today that communalism posed a greater threat to the country than any external threat. He warned that the BJP was pursuing a communal agenda through the NDA and had overlooked development.

Mr Sabharwal, who served as a minister during Beant Singh’s regime, observed that communalism was seeking to damage the social fabric of the country.

The Congress leader claimed that people of the country were disillusioned with the NDA as it had proved to be a “non-development alliance”. He said Ms Sonia Gandhi had provided good leadership to the party.

Replying to a question on Mr MS Gill’s nomination to the Rajya Sabha, he said the Congress was a democratic party and everybody had the right to speak. At the same time, he said, “We should respect the orders of the high command”.



Applications for NRI lambardars invited
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma has invited applications for the appointment of additional NRI lambardars (headmen) in those villages which have more than 20 NRI families.

He said the Punjab Government had amended the Punjab Land Revenue Rules and made a provision for the appointment of NRI lambardars. The lambardars would be expected to protect the interest of NRIs in these villages. With this a long pending demand of the NRIs had been fulfilled.

Mr Verma said the NRI families would be determined by the Department of NRIs Affairs from time to time. He further informed that the NRI headman would be additional to the present lambardars working in the village to assist the patwari in safeguarding the interest and rights of the NRI families of the village and no remuneration would be given to the headman.

Referring to the conditions for the appointment, the Deputy Commissioner said NRIs should be respected.

Regarding the main duties of these NRI lambardars, Mr Verma said these included authenticating the pedigree table of NRIs along with their address abroad, assisting the patwari in preparation, maintenance and updation of record of rights of the NRIs and any other duty assigned by the state government by a specific order.

The Deputy Commissioner asked the NRI families to take maximum advantage of this amendment to rules and come forward with good proposals so that the appointments could be made after completing all required formalities.



The end of a song
Harish Dhillon

SHE always addressed me as ‘Sir’ – even a week ago when I went to see her in hospital. As a result I always thought of her still as a student in my English class and never as a woman with a husband and a grown up son, a brilliant son who she was inordinately proud of. Unlike other doting mothers she never made him the subject of her conservation but the way her face lit up at the mere mention of his name left no doubt that he was the center of her life.

She came to work for me when I was Principal at YPS, Patiala. She had left all her schoolgirl awkwardness behind and grown into a beautiful young lady who carried herself with dignity and grace. As was to be expected, she proved to be a sincere and diligent teacher who got on well both with her students and their parents. Though looking back now I suspect she brought an extra intensity to her job because I was her boss and she had to be very sure that I would always be proud of her.

She was one of the most caring and generous people I have known and she brought a special quality of gentleness to every role she played – a wife, a daughter, a sister, a mother, a teacher, a housewife and a friend. She never had a harsh or critical work to say of anyone.

Ours was a special relationship. In hundreds of ways she would look out for me. If there was something material that she felt I needed she would find a quiet, unobtrusive way of giving it to me. If I was feeling down and out she would, without making it obvious, organise a small get-together where I would gradually be drawn out of my gloom and sadness.

Once my children had flown to roost I found myself thrown more and more on my own resources and very limited and ineffectual these resources proved to be. With the very strong intuitive strength that she had Nita stepped in again. The evenings that I spent in her home have now glided and melded into each other in my memory and I can only remember one long stretch of time of warmth, togetherness, of laughter and stories about Sanawar, of the kindness and compassion of someone who did not want me to feel alone.

I moved back to Sanawar but there was no abating of her concern. Almost every week there would be a call to ask if all was well with me. People coming to Sanawar from Patiala always bore a gift from Nita and she would always make it a point to spend time with me when she came to meet her parents in Kasauli. She was truly fond of me. She was aware of all my shortcomings, of all the mistakes that I had made over the years but she remained always non-judgmental in her affection, unswerving in her loyalty. She could brook no element of criticism as far as I was concerned.

What was this relationship? Was it that of a teacher and a student? Of a father and a daughter? Of two sincere friends? I do not know – I can find no name for it. I only known that in all the years that I knew Nita, a soft sweet song sang in my heart that in me sings no more.



Youths left in the lurch in Hong Kong
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 19
The lure of money attracted Dr Bhullar of Batala to Hong Mong. But even after 30 months of his landing there, he spends his nights in a graveyard area near a gurdwara, lest he is caught by the Hong Kong police.

Inderjit, another youth from Sirsa in Haryana, and his two friends trusted a ragi, who promised greener pastures in Malayasia by getting them valid work permits, but deserted them at a gurdwara in the Vansaie area of Hong Kong. On pouring nights, he waits for sunrise, sitting along the walls of the graveyard.

While Kaka of Kote Isse Khan shuttled daily between Hong Kong and China to evade arrest, a Moga youth landed in jail along with a Pakistani national, whom he was carrying in an attache case.

This is a glimpse of the plight of hundreds of such middle-class Indians, who, hosing for a better life in Europe, end up being cheated by agents, who take them to Hong Kong for transit, but desert them there to hide in graveyard. The management of the only gurdwara in the city expresses its inability to accommodate them for long.

The plight of these youths was narrated to this correspondent by Dr Harjinder Paul Singh Walia, Reader in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University, Patiala, after a foreign tour sponsored by the university.

There are 33 such youths stranded at Gurdwara Khalsa Dewan Temple in the Vanchie area of Hong Kong for the past three years, Dr Walia said.

“After being duped by agents, these youths have been playing hide and seek with the authorities there. As they have already exhausted their financial resources in India, they are hesitant to return as they do not want to be a burden on their families,” Dr Walia added.

Most of these youths had gone on visitor’s visa and were promised entry into European countries. they had paid up to 2.5 lakh rupees to the agents.

“Now that the management of the gurdwara, having provided them shelter for three years, has shown its inability to accommodate them further, these youths are hiding in the graveyard area adjoining the gurdwara. Even on the nights that it rains, they take shelter along the walls,” Dr Walia said.

These youths have also been exploited by employers in Hong Kong as local organisations do not employ them due to strict laws there. Anyone employing unauthorised persons can face heavy fines.



When it comes to tilling soil, she is no less
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana , March 19
Ms Ravinder Kaur left a teaching job at a government institution in Chandigarh to take up farming in Fazilka in 1990. Ms Ravinder Kaur who is managing her 60-acre farm all by herself, was in the city to attend a seminar on public hearing of women on problems regarding food, water, seed and agriculture held on March 17.

She said she took to farming in 1990 even though she knew nothing about it. Difficult family circumstances forced her husband and her to take up farming. Her husband died after a protracted illness and she was left to take charge of the farm.

She said she faced hostility from male farmers. “Since I am well- educated, I keep abreast of the latest technological advances and use the techniques to my advantage. I use organic manure as I know the harmful effects of chemicals. I get good price for my yield which does not go well with the other farmers. I have learnt to market the produce but earlier I was often cheated by middlemen, she said.”

She said the work was tough as it depended on weather. “My main problem is that people have not been able to take my success story well. I do things differently. For instance, I grow multi-crops to maintain the soil balance. I take up multi-farming. I sow wheat , cotton and even have orchids,” she said.

She faced a number of problems in contract farming, adding that big companies under the policies of the World Trade Organisation “were destroying our right to resources. The MNCs have manipulated the genetic structure of seeds and are distributing these widely, besides pressuring farmers to adopt new technologies. I tell the farmers to stand united against these companies as genetically modified seeds pose risks and the farmers with small land holdings are at a disadvantage.”

She said she was trying to grow lemon grass and sow small-term crops to improve the returns. 



Three elected unopposed in Sutlej Club poll
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
Mr Raju Sharma, Mr Sanjiv Dhanda and Mr Ravinder Verma were unanimously elected vice-president, cultural secretary and joint secretary, respectively, of the Sutlej Club here last evening. These members were declared elected unopposed by the returning officer after those opposing them tendered their withdrawal to the 10-member committee constituted for the purpose.

The elections for other posts, including secretary-general, will be held on March 28 as the 10-member committee, after two rounds of meetings, failed to come up with a unanimous resolution for other posts.



Ex-PCS officer booked for calumny
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
A retired PCS officer was today booked for allegedly making objectionable remarks against a particular community in his book “Jaanbaaz Raakha”, a Punjabi version of his original book in English “The Gallant Defender” in which he had written about Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala.

The Kotwali police today registered a case under Section 505, IPC, against Mr A.R. Darshi, the retired PCS officer, for allegedly publishing “false statements or rumours with an intent to create enmity, hatred or ill will among different classes”.

The police action follows a complaint by a Dalit leader, Mr Sudesh Gahru, president of the Akhil Safai Mazdoor Congress. Mr Gahru had complained to the SSP that the Valmikis were shown to have indulged in rioting during 1984 genocide after they were allegedly brought by some members of other community. Interestingly the controversy had erupted after around 20 years of publishing the book, which was first published in 1985.

In his complaint, Mr Gahru had mentioned page No. 86 of the book, “Jaanbaaz Raakha”, in which Mr Darshi, now a local resident, had written that “People belonging to weaker sections of society especially Valmikis were brought by some Hindu leaders and who indulged in rioting in Ludhiana on February 8, 1984. They had asked Sikh shopkeepers to close their shops failing which they were stoned.”

The writer has also made a point that “he was mentioning the truth in the book as he was posted as Chief Magistrate in the city at that time.” His words angered the members of Scheduled Castes and they had been protesting against the publication of the book for past many days. Led by Mr Gharu, they had complained to the district police chief, who had referred the case to the DA, Legal. Finally the case was registered here today.

Mr Darshi, however, maintained that he had no intention of hurting the sentiments of the Valmiki community through any reference in the said book.

Mr Darshi said he had written the book originally in English under the title of ‘The Gallant Defender’ in 1985, which was later translated into Punjabi by Prof Kulbir Singh with the title “Jaanbaaz Raakha”.

He further said he himself belonged to the Dalit community and when it was brought to his notice that the Punjabi translation of the book contained the term ‘Valmiki’, he immediately instructed the publishers to remove that word and the instruction was complied with. The new editions of the book, available in the market at present, did not contain the word ‘Valmiki’ or any reference, whatsoever, to any particular community.

Mr Darshi claimed that the December 2003 edition of the book had been made available to the district administration in support of his contention.



Safety for industrial workers stressed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
The safety of all workers is of utmost importance for industrial prosperity. The issues of safety and occupational health must be integrated into the policies of all organisations. The implementation of a well-defined and practicable Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) policy always boosts employees’ morale and ultimately leads to enhanced productivity.

These views were expressed by Mr Piyush Sharma, Joint Director, Second National Commission on Labour, at a workshop organised on “Occupational Health and Safety: Workplace Risk Assessment and Management” here today.

Dr T.V.Rangarao, Director (Medical), Central Labour Institute, Mumbai, gave an overview of the concepts of occupational health and safety. Dr T.K.Joshi, Project Director, COEH, and an expert on industrial hygiene, emphasised that application of occupational health and safety would ultimately lead to greater profitability. Observing safety in each and every task in daily life was very important because there was nothing more precious than human life. Ms Ingrid Christensen, a specialist from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), emphasised that safe work environment was one of the basic human rights.


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