P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Ban poll surveys, says Badal
SAD manifesto in first week of April
Tribune News Service

Bhagta Bhai Ka (Bathinda), March 28
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) manifesto committee will discuss and approve the SAD manifesto for the coming Parliamentary elections on April 2.

In reply to a query of mediapersons, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the SAD, said here today that the manifesto of the party would be released in the first week of April.

Mr Badal also demanded that surveys on poll should be banned as these surveys did not reflect the true picture of the voters’ minds. The surveys were being conducted by private agencies and the private TV channels and they had their own business interests. He said this had already been proved as a TV channel had given the Congress 90 seats and only 20 seats to the SAD in its survey during the 2002 Assembly elections in Punjab.

Mr Badal also disclosed that he would meet the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India on April 6 to ensure free and fair elections in Punjab. He said he would ask the CEC to post permanent election observers in Punjab to avoid rigging and use of “unfair means” in the elections by the Congress. He said these observers should be in Punjab till the entire election process completed.

Mr Badal also held the Congress responsible for getting advertisements published against him in various newspapers. Otherwise the man behind these advertisements had no sufficient sources to get it published by spending lakhs of rupees. He said he would not move to the court in this regard as he had already filed a defamation case against Mr Amarinder Singh.

Mr Badal also demanded deployment of Central forces in Punjab during the elections by saying that Capt Amarinder Singh had posted top police officers as police chiefs of various districts in the state before the implementation of code of conduct. He said there were several police officers in Punjab who were openly siding with the Congress.

Mr Badal also stated that Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann were close relatives and both talked in such a manner which benefited each other.

Mr Badal also said Capt Amarinder Singh was “betraying” Punjabis on the issue of Bathinda refinery. He said he had “sabotaged” this project though sufficient work for the setting up of refinery had already seen completed, which included construction of crude oil tanks, roads, office buildings and canals.

With regard to tussle between Mr Sikandar Singh Maluka, SAD Bathinda district chief, and Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, MLA from Rampura Phul, Mr Badal described it as a “family affair”, which would be sorted out soon.


Maluka stays away from SAD rally
Tribune News Service

Bhagta Bahi Ka (Bathinda), March 28
Rampura Phul MLA Gurpreet Singh Kangar today organised a rally in this area in favour of Ms Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate, from Bathinda (Reserve) Constituency. Many men and women participated in the rally.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, Mr Tota Singh, MLA from Moga, Mr Gurdas Singh Badal, former MP; Mr Sukh Singh Nannu, BJP MLA from Ferozepur; Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, former Punjab Minister; Mr Manpreet Singh Badal (Gidderbaha), Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi (Raikot), Mr Malkeet Singh Keetu (Barnala), Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa (Sunam) and Khushaldeep Singh Dhillon (Faridkot), all SAD MLAs also participated in the rally.

Mr Sikandar Singh Maluka, former Minister Bathinda district President of the SAD along with his supporters was not there though. About the absence of Mr Maluka from the rally Mr Badal could not give a satisfactory reply.

Sources said earlier, Mr Maluka organised a rally at Bhai Rupa village a fortnight ago in favour of Mr Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, but he did not invite Mr Gurpreet Singh to it.

Leaders, including Mr Gurdas Singh Badal and Mr Malkeet Singh Keetu congratulated Mr Kangar on organising such a rally. Mr Kangar as an independent and rebel SAD candidate from Rampur Phul defeated Mr Sikandar Singh Maluka, SAD candidate.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal urged people to vote for Ms Gulshan. He also criticised the SAD (Mann) and the Congress and termed Mr Vajpayee as an “apostle of peace”.

Mr Manpreet Singh Badal and Mr Tota Singh urged the Akali leaders to sink differences for the victory of SAD and the BJP candidates.

Mr Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, Mr Gurpreet Kangar, Mr Ranjit Singh Talwar Mr Chiranji Lal Garg and Mr Gurdas Singh Badal were among the speakers.


Rahul, Priyanka to campaign in state
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 28
All-India Youth Congress general secretary Jagat Singh said on Friday that Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi would address rallies organised by the party youth wing in Punjab during the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Talking to TNS at a rally organised at Kohinoor Classic as part of the election campaign of his aunt Preneet Kaur, the youth leader said the entire youth wing of the party had been galvanised after the party’s decision to field Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi from constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. He said the youth wing of the party would also organise rallies in Punjab which would be addressed by them. He, however, said the programme in this regard was still in the process of being finalised.

Jagat Singh said the All-India Youth Congress had urged party President Sonia Gandhi to field youth in 20 per cent of the total seats for the election. He said he was confident that youth leaders would be able to get at least 10 per cent of the total seats.

Meanwhile, the Congress candidate from Patiala, Mrs Preneet Kaur, accepted the challenge thrown by the Akali candidate, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, regarding her performance in Parliament. She said false allegations were being made that she did not speak in Parliament. She said she had taken up the issue of river waters and even boycotted Parliament proceedings to ensure Punjab water was not given to Haryana.

Mrs Preneet Kaur, while taking on the Akalis on the issue of seva of the Panth, said the Akalis could not become the Panth unto themselves. “My husband has made several sacrifices for the sake of the community, including resigning from the Punjab Cabinet after Operation Bluestar”.


Punjab police to nab 9 Haryana cops
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 28
As the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Chaman Dass Gupta, has rejected the anticipatory bail applications of nine police officials of Haryana, including a DSP (GRP), Railway, Haryana, for allegedly kidnapping Dalit Youth, Harbans Singh from his native village Dadwan in this district and torturing him, the Gurdaspur police is likely to send a team to arrest the policemen.

The district police chief, Mr Narinder Bhargav, said here today that action would be taken against the accused Haryana Police personnel as per law following the rejection of their bail applications.

Mr Harbans Singh, a resident of this border district, who has been fighting a lone battle since his alleged kidnapping in November, 1999, against the nine Haryana Police personnel has also written to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the DGP, Punjab Mr A.A. Siddiqui, for directing the Gurdaspur police to immediately send a police party to Haryana to arrest the accused.

He has also written to the DGP, Haryana, to place all accused under suspension as their bail applications had been rejected.

Mr Harbans Singh had alleged that he was bundled into a jeep from his village. Dadwan on November 29, 1999 by the police personnel who later booked him for possessing fake currency notes. These notes were, however, later found to be genuine as per a Reserve Bank of India report. He was tortured by the Panipat police. The policemen forced him to tell about the machine where these fake currency notes were being published. Later, an FIR was registered against Haryana Police officials under Sections 395, 365, 506, 148, 149 and 120B of the IPC at Dhariwal police station following a directive of the Additional Director-General (Vigilance).

The name of the police officials whose bail applications have been rejected by the Additional Sessions Judge, included Rajinder Singh, DSP (GRP), Railway Ambala, Ram Niwas, an Assistant Sub Inspector (Panipat), Rajbir Singh, Head Constable, Reader to Inspector police, Panipat, Rajbir Singh, another Head Constable posted at police station Panipat, Raj Singh, Constable Sumesh Kumar and three others.

Mr Harbans Singh claimed that he and his friend Jasbir Singh had gone to Samalkha in Panipat district with Rs 7.33 lakh to strike a deal for a plot on November 1999. The deal was struck for Rs 9.33 lakh and Mr Harbans Singh had to come back to his village to arrange for the rest of the amount leaving Rs 7.33 lakh with his friend at Panipat. However, when he was returning after arranging Rs 2 lakh, he was kidnapped by Haryana police personnel from his native village in Punjab.


26 Pak lawyers arrive in India
Our Correspondent

Wagah, March 28
The 26-member lawyers delegation that arrived here today did not say anything on legal matters relating either to their home country or India.

Mohammed Akhtar Tarar, Additional Advocate-General leading the delegation declined to comment about Pakistan’s legal framework. Refusing to answer queries about “pressures or challenges” in the Pakistan legal system or on the Indian legal provisions, they however, said they would be meeting Indian legal luminaries during their week-long stay. The delegation arrived on the invitation of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and was received by Mr Tarun Vir Vashist, Deputy Advocate-General, Punjab, SDM II Pardeep Sabarwal and G.S. Batra and Sandeep Jain both assistant advocates-General of the state.

Mr Hasnat Ahmed, a member of the delegation refused to comment on the setting up of a state human rights commission in Pakistan on the pattern of such commissions in India.

Hailing efforts of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharaff they contended that both leaders were paving the way for peace in the region. “The public on both sides was keen on peace and must make every effort to enhance it further by interacting on several levels. The time has come to fulfil dreams of a better and progressive tomorrow”, they chorused. Owing to delay in permission from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the Pakistan lawyers arrived nearly three hours late. They would be visiting Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Malerkotla.

Meanwhile a six-member delegation of World Punjabi Conference members arrived here at 3 pm from Pakistan. Led by its chairman Chaudhary Faqar Jamal the members included Mian Jamal Faud, ex-federal Secretary Pakistan, Qamar Z Gill convener of the Chamber of Commerce, Riaz Cheema a Punjabi scholar from Sweden Aizaz Aslam Coordinating secretary, World Punjabi Conference and Imzan Sadiq. Chaudhary Jamal, while appreciating personal visit of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said more efforts should be made to propagate Punjabi which took a back seat in recent years due to increasing western influence. The delegation said both Punjabs being from the same cultural and lingual background could not remain separated for long. Both Punjabs shared common geographical heritage and should try to forge joint ventures in development, they added. The delegation on a week-long visit was received by Dr A.S. Paul, Dr Manmohan Singh coordinators of the Punjabi Conference and Punjabi professors from Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Meanwhile a 12-member troupe of Nepali weightlifters led by Tilak Raut in blue dresses waved joyfully while leaving for Pakistan for the South Asian Federation (SAF) games.


Running from pillar to post for promised land
Tribune News Service

War veterans seek pension

Indian veterans of the Second World War on Sunday demanded grant of pension to all those who served in the Armed Forces in the pre-independence era regardless of the length of service.

At a meeting held here they said that veterans who were already receiving pension should be paid equivalent to what is being doled out to freedom fighters. Presently, freedom fighters are being paid Rs 4,500 per month. For those not receiving any pension, the necessary provisions be made, they added. They also sought that all categories of pre-independence pensioners as well as non-pensioners should be brought at par with freedom fighters and they or their widows be granted similar benefits. Most of the veterans, who served with the British Indian Army are now over 80 and are suffering from some ailment or disability. In this context, the veterans demanded that free medical treatment as well as canteen facilities be extended to them as is being done in the case of ex-servicemen and their dependents.

Reservation of posts in government service as well as reservation of seats in educational institutes for academic and professional courses for grandchildren of these veterans was also mooted.

Chandigarh, March 28
Twentyseven years after a resident of Banur (Patiala), Balwant Kaur, lost her husband during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, she is still running from pillar to post to get possession of land promised to her by the Punjab Government.

Her husband, Havildar Kehar Singh of 9 Sikh, was killed in combat on December 9, 1971, in the Leepa valley in Jammu and Kashmir. After the war, she was allotted 10 acres of land at Churwal village near Ludhiana.

The land, being along a river bed was unusable and she refused to accept it and instead requested that the authorities allot her land near her village which can be cultivated. Finally, in 1997, the state government allotted her 10 acres, which was under the possession of some villagers. Balwant Kaur has since been trying unsuccessfully to get the land vacated. The land is being cultivated by some local villagers.

Her case has now been taken up by the Ex-servicemen’s Grievances Cell, Mohali, which wrote last week to the Punjab Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary, Director of the Sainik Welfare, Army Headquarters and the Army Wives Welfare Association, Western Command, seeking assistance in the matter.

“The Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, was repeatedly approached, but the dealing staff has been creating hurdles,” the cell’s president, Lieut-Col S.S. Sohi (retd) said. “Even the case file has been lost by the dealing clerk,” he added. The clerk concerned has reportedly been suspended for his negligence after 40 files in his possession were found missing.

The file was first reported missing in August, 2000, but was produced in a Ludhiana court on February 7, 2002 and March 5, 2002, but an FIR lodged with the police on February 17, 2002, again showed the file to be lost. Finally, in September last year, the Deputy Commissioner ordered that the file be reconstructed. The Chief Minister, during his meeting with Deputy Commissioners here a few months ago, ordered immediate action when the case was brought to his knowledge.

The Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner forwarded the case to the Punjab Civil Secretariat for permission to open a new file. “There has hardly been any progress in the case since,” Colonel Sohi said. “Nor has the government made any move to inquire or fix responsibility for delay in the case and unauthorised possession of the land,” he added.


Traders decry Railway’s parcel policy
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, March 28
The local traders are up in arms against the rationalising of parcel policy by the Northern Railways. The Northern Railways vide its circular dated March 5, 2004 has stopped the booking and carriage of parcels involving unloading and reloading of parcels during transit except in Mail/ Express trains where the halt is for more than five minutes or more. According to the circular the facility has been withdrawn keeping in view huge accumulations of parcel at railway stations causing inconvenience to passengers, maintenance of punctuality of trains and reduction in transit time of the parcel. However, the booking and carriage of parcels would be allowed for the station where a particular train terminates.

Mr Subhash Kumar, an electronic dealer of the town, said he used to parcel goods from Delhi by Ferozepore bound passenger trains to Jalalabad but as per the new policy the reloading of the goods for Jalalabad at Ferozepore station has been stopped. Now he has to bring the goods by road, either from Ferozepore or directly from Delhi. He said in both ways the cost of transportation had doubled.

In a press note issued here, Mr Surinder Kathpal, president of the District Beopar Mandal, stated the new policy might not effect the railway economy but would adversely effect the small time traders of those small towns and villages, where no other means of transportation were viable. He said as the town was not a terminal station of any train the carriage of goods by rail had become impossible. He said these traders had to depend on road transport, which was very costly.


One rank one pension sought
Our Correspondents

Jalandhar, March 28
The Punjab chapter of the Indian Services league has urged the Central Government to implement “one rank one pension” scheme to honour its commitment in this regard.

Lt Col S.S. Ghuman (retd), state senior vice-president of the league, in a press note issued here yesterday, said though the Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, had announced about the implementation of “one rank one pension” scheme about five years ago, but nothing was done in this regard so far.

The league demanded to abolish the condition of 33 years of service to get full pension.

Batala: Resentment prevails among members of the Ex-servicemen Association, Punjab, against the Central Government for not conceding to their demand of “one rank one pension”.

Subedar Major (retd) Mr Manmohan Singh and Col (retd) Mr A.S. Khehra, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Ex-servicemen Association, Punjab, a unit of the All-India Ex-servicemen Association, told mediapersons here today that their demand for one rank one pension had not been conceded by the central Government till now.

They said the members of their association would cast their votes in favour of those political parties which would include their demand in their election manifestos.


2 women killed, 7 hurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, March 28
Two married women were killed while seven others, including two children injured in an accident on a link road between Kamalwala village and Katehra village, 20 km from here today afternoon.

According to details nine persons were travelling in a jeep (JKN-9593) driven by Mr Kahna Ram resident of Jankidas Wala village of Sriganganagar (Rajasthan) district.

The jeep overtook a minibus near Kamalwala village and the driver lost control of the vehicle and it rammed into a tree. The jeep skidded and resulted in the death of Chhinder Kaur (25) resident of Subakhera village (Haryana) and Indri Bai (24) of Kamalwala village of Fazilka subdivision on spot.

The injured, including driver Kahna Ram, have been identified as Vinod Kumar (23) resident of Jankidas Wala village, Jagdish Ram (25) resident of Raghunthpura, Manohar Lal (30) resident of Rajanwali village, Dalip Kumar (25) resident of Kamalwala village, Rakesh Kumar son of Chhinder Kaur and two-year-old son of deceased Indira Bai.

According to doctors attending on the patients the victims had multiple injuries. Since the condition of Mr Vinod Kumar was serious he was being referred to Ludhiana. Only one woman occupant Guddi Bai sister of deceased Chhinder Kaur escaped unhurt.


IPS association officials take charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The newly elected president and general secretary of the IPS Association, Punjab, Mr Mohammed Izhar Alam and Mr Rajinder Singh, have taken charge. The association, in its meeting held here yesterday, deliberated on police reforms in the light of a public interest litigation pending in the High Court. The members were of the view that non-cadre officers should not be posted on cadre posts and vice-versa.


Condition of Tohra stable
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 28
SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s condition was stable today.

According to a press release issued by the SGPC, Mr Tohra was fully conscious, could speak and recognise. He was also taking tea and juice.

According to doctors his heart beat was also stabilising.


Rakesh Gupta elected chief of Bar body 
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 28
Mr Rakesh Gupta was elected as president of the District Bar Association while Mr Ravindra Nath Kaushal was elected for the post of vice-president at the annual election of the association held here yesterday.

As many as four posts of office-bearers have been won by the Billing group whereas two were won by the Gupta group. For the post of executive members six posts were won by the latter’s camp while four were won by the Billing group.

Mr Rakesh Gupta defeated Mr Balbir Singh Billing by 282 votes while for the post of secretary, Mr G.S Rai beat Mr Vinay Vatrana by a margin of 248 votes. Mr Ravinder Nath Kaushal, who beat Mr Manoj Soin won the post of the vice president by 10 votes. Mr Bikramjit Singh Bhullar won the post of joint secretary with 328 votes while his rival Gupta Group polled 301 votes.

The post of treasurer was secured by Mr Harmeet Singh Tiwana who downed Mr B.S. Cheema by 54 votes.


Additional Advocate-General Dhillon quits
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, March 28
The Additional Advocate-General, Punjab, Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, today resigned from his post to actively campaign for Ms Preneet Kaur.

Mr Dhillon is an active Congress worker and was an aspirant for MLA ticket from the Banur Assembly constituency during the last elections.

While talking to The Tribune, Mr Dhillon said he would campaign for Ms Preneet Kaur to ensure her victory in the ensuing elections.


3 travel agents booked for cheating

Phagwara, March 28
The police has registered a case against three travel agents, including a couple, for cheating four persons of rupees 28.3 lakh, it was learnt here on Friday evening. The travel agents are Sukhwinder Singh of Khera village, Balbir Pal of Panchkula and his wife Asha Dhadia. These persons allegedly promised Harwinder Singh of Kanganiwal village, Satnam Ram and Sukhdev Singh of Heewa village and Jaswant Rai of Khera village to send them abroad. They were made to cough up Rs 5.80 lakh, Rs 7 lakh, Rs 7 lakh, Rs 8.50 lakh respectively. They were neither sent abroad nor their money was returned to them. — OC


Fake currency seized
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 28
The police here has arrested three persons and recovered fake Indian currency worth Rs 6.27 lakh from their possession.

Mr Gurkirpal Singh, SSP at a press conference yesterday said the police at a naka in the Bhikhiwind area saw three persons coming on two motor-cycles and were signalled to stop. The police recovered Rs 6.27 lakh fake Indian currency of Rs 500 notes each. They have been identified as Davinder Singh alias Daddu of Narli village and his two brother-in-laws Charanjit Singh and Amritpal Singh sons of Major Singh residents of Bakipur village. They confessed that Hardeep Singh of Jalandhar was the brain behind the crime the SSP said.

The SSP added that they also smuggled smack in the area. He said that a case under Sections 411, 414, 480A, 480B, 489C of the IPC and 21, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act had been registered against the accused at Bhikhiwind police station.


Two women robbed of jewellery

Phagwara, March 28
Two unidentified men robbed two women of gold ornaments worth over Rs 90,000 in a Subhash Nagar locality here last evening.

According to the police, the two women, Promila Rani and Neelam, were returning from a religious place, when the robbers asked them to hand over their jewellery to them.

The robbers sped away along with gold ornaments on a scooter, the police said.


Seminar on making India economic power

Jalandhar, March 28
“Technology should be developed by the experts who are fully acquainted with the culture of the country.” This was opinioned by Dr S.K. Salwan, VC, PTU, during the inaugural session of a two-day seminar on “Transforming India into global economic power” organised by the All-India Council of Technical Education at the CT Institute of Management and Information Technology here yesterday. — OC

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