P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



500 Pak Sikhs to visit Khadoor Sahib
Permission to ‘symbolic yatra’ unlikely
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Khadoor Sahib, April 8
A jatha of 500 Pakistani Sikhs is likely to participate in the ‘Khalsa Chetna March’ to be taken out to mark the 500th birth centenary celebrations of Guru Angad Dev. The march will culminate here on April 16. The SGPC would make all necessary arrangements for their board and lodging in its newly built Serai at Amritsar.

The Pakistan Government has, however, shown reluctance in allowing the symbolic ‘Khalsa Chetna March’ which was to commence from Gurdwara Kartarpur on April 14 .

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta , secretary SGPC, today had a telephonic conversation with Mr Izhar-ul-Hassan, Additional Secretary, Pakistan Evacuee Property Trust Board (PEPTB), which looks after the affairs of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee. Mr Hassan told him that it would be difficult to make arrangements for such a procession due to certain unavoidable reasons .

However, Mr Calcutta asked Mr Hassan that government of Pakistan must accept this genuine demand as Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib (Pakistan) was less than three kilometers from Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur district in India) .

Earlier, the Indian Government had taken up the matter with Pakistan on the request of SGPC for making arrangements for the ‘symbolic procession’. The procession is proposed to reach Batala via Gurdwara Achal Sahib and Chowk Mehta on April 15 and it would reach Khadoor Sahib on April 16 . According to Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, SGPC, the second ‘Khalsa Chetna March’ would commence from Serai Naga (Matte Ki Serai) in Muktsar district on April 15 and would pass through different historical towns of the state before reaching Khadoor Sahib on April 16 .

A jatha of 5,000 Sikh youths under the patronage of Gurmat Gyan Missionary College, Ludhiana, would reach this historical town on April 11 on two wheelers for taking the pledge not to consume liquor or drugs. According to Dr Raghbir Singh Bains , in charge multimedia centre, this unique march would be led by Mr Inderjit Singh Rana of Ludhiana.

Baba Sewa Singh told TNS that lakhs of devotees from all over the world were expected to visit Khadoor Sahib, which was sanctified with the visit of eight Sikh gurus. He said all arrangements had been made to cope with the great rush of devotees.


SGPC to celebrate Sikh Turban Day on Baisakhi eve
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 8
The SGPC today gave a call to celebrate the eve of Baisakhi as Sikh Turban Day.

In a press release issued here today the SGPC urged the every Sikh to wear a turban on the eve of Baisakhi to bring awareness of the Sikh identity in the world, besides promoting religious and cultural values of Sikhism and to support turban wearing Sikhs facing problems in France.


Pak girl allowed to go back home
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, April 8
A 16-year-old Pakistani girl, who had crossed the border in a fit of rage without knowing the legal implications, will now be able to rejoin her parents back home after a year with the orders of a local court. The court has passed orders to deport her immediately.

The orders were pronounced by the Principal Magistrate, Juvenile Board, Mr Arun Vir Vashishta (Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ludhiana) and another member of the board Ms Ruby Fernandez.

Farha Masih, a minor girl of Kotli Bore Khan, Tehsil Noorkot, Narwala district in Pakistan, had crossed the border following a minor quarrel with her mother in February last year. She had entered India from Gurdaspur where she was apprehended by BSF personnel.

When the security officials quizzed her, she said she had an altercation with her mother and she decided to go away from her and crossed the border. As she had entered India without having any passport and legal documents, she was booked at Kalanaur police station on February 5, 2003, following a complaint from Mr Atweer Sharma, an official of the BSF under Section 3/34 of the Indian Passport Act and 14 of the Foreign Act.

Then she was produced before the court and sent to the Children Home during the trial. Ultimately, the case was put up before the Juvenile Board at Ludhiana, as the girl was minor. After filing of the challan by the police, the Juvenile Board served on her a notice for the offence of entering India without any passport.

Innocent Farha admitted her mistake, which was an offence. She said she belonged to a poor family in Pakistan and had no one to look after her in India as she did not have any relative or friends. It was only in a fit of rage that she had decided to cross the border and was finally arrested. She had prayed for leniency and urged the court to pass orders to return her to her native place.

Showing gesture of goodwill, Mr Vashishta observed, “Her submissions are ostensibly true and she being a 16-year-old girl it would be in her welfare and interest if she is simply ordered to be deported to her native place through Pakistan High Commission/ Embassy by making special efforts in this regard, as she has already remained in custody for a time which is more than sufficient sentence in the present case”.

Mr Vashishta directed the Superintendent of Nari Niketan, Jalandhar, to take necessary steps for the deportation of girl without any delay as soon as she receives the copy of orders. This would also be ensured that in Pakistan she should be handed over to her parents after locating them at the given address.


Pak national shot dead at Ajnala
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 8
An unidentified Pakistani national was shot dead while he was trying to sneak into Indian territory in the Ajnala sector here yesterday.

A case under Sections 3/34/20 of the Indian Passport Act and 14 of the foreign Act has been registered by the Ajnala police under the Majitha police district here today.

Mr Arvinder Singh, Assistant Commandant, 108 Battalion, BSF, in his complaint alleged that the unidentified Pak national attempted to cross over-India. He was challenged and asked to stop by BSF jawans. However, he tried to fled, taking the advantage of darkness. The jawans opened fire in which he died.


Goodwill replaces aggression at Wagah

Wagah (Amritsar), April 8
In tune with the thaw in Indo-Pak relations, the BSF at the Wagah border has shunned its age old practice of displaying aggressive postures at the Pakistani Rangers during the daily sunset parade.

“The aggressive postures during the gate closing ceremony as part of the age old practice are no more on the Indian side.

Now we are quite hopeful that shortly both BSF and Pakistani Rangers at the Wagah border will be friendly”, BSF DIG Hemant Prohit told PTI.

Though the Pakistani side is expected to reciprocate by this month-end as per the decision taken at a meeting between the BSF and the Rangers in Lahore last week, the change in the overall atmosphere at the border check-point was evident from last evening as the usual anti-Indian and anti-Pakistani slogans were not heard.

The aggression was replaced by hundreds of schoolgirls on the Pakistan side waving red roses at the Indian crowd and the gesture returned by Christian Nuns in white dresses on the Indian side.

“Pakistan may take a little time more to stop the show of aggression. But certainly they will reciprocate”, he hoped.

The aggressive had postures followed since ages in the presence of a large crowds were intended to infuse hatred on both sides during the times of enmity, Mr Prohit said.

Official sources told PTI earlier that the two forces had started “re-orienting” their personnel involved in the decades-old ritualistic exercise.

The decision to amend the style was taken at a top-level meeting of the BSF and the Pakistani Rangers at Lahore last week after the Indian side made a proposal in this regard keeping in view the improving relations between the two neighbours, they said.

Under the agreement, the “objectionable gestures” in the parade would be removed so that the other side was not offended, they said, adding that “the aim was to make it more dignified so that the spirit behind the drill is fulfilled”. — PTI


ADGP refuses to conduct probe
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Punjab’s Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) R.K. Gupta has reportedly refused to look into an election-related complaint against ADGP (State Armed Forces) D.R. Bhatti.

The complaint was reportedly referred to ADGP Gupta by the election cell of the Punjab Police. Acting on the complaint, Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer had initially sought comments from the Home Department and the Punjab Police.

When contacted, ADGP Gupta — in charge of security — refused to comment on the issue. But sources in the police headquarters confirmed that the ADGP had referred the complaint back to Punjab’s Director-General of Police (DGP) A.A. Siddiqui. The DGP could not be contacted for his comments as he was “out of station”. ADGP Bhatti was also not available.

The sources in the DGP’s office, meanwhile, added that the complaint would soon be marked to another officer for looking into the matter. They added that ADGP Gupta had reportedly expressed his unwillingness to inquire into the matter as ADGP Bhatti had allegedly refused to cooperate with him during a previous inquiry of similar nature.

The complainants, sources in the police headquarters asserted, had expressed apprehension that ADGP Bhatti might try to help the members of a political party during the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections scheduled to be held in the state on May 10.

Giving details of the complaint, sources said the complainants were of the opinion that the ADGP — with as many as 20 battalions under him — had the capacity of influencing the voters in favour of a political party. The complainants had added that ADGP Bhatti should as such be posted out during the elections, the sources added.

A senior police officer, on the condition of anonymity, added that a complaint was received against ADGP Bhatti during the previous election also. At that time Mr Bhatti was posted as Inspector-General of Police and was directed to be shifted.

The officer added that the authorities were also preparing a reply to another complaint forwarded by the members of a social organisation — Resurgence India. They were seeking the removal of non-cadre officers from cadre posts in the state during the elections in the interest of fair elections. They added that such posting were in violation of the relevant rules.


Leaders stay away from Cong poll meeting
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
If the turn-out at a meeting of Vice-Presidents, General Secretaries, Secretaries, Organising Secretaries, All-India Congress Committee (AICC) members and executive committee members of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) at Congress Bhavan here today was any indication, all is not well with the party.

Of the 120-odd invitees , less than 20 per cent showed up for the meeting which was presided over by the PPCC chief, M H.S. Hanspal. The meeting had been convened to work out strategy and plan for electioneering and campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls.

“It was not only thin attendance but even those who attended the meeting were critical of the haphazard manner in which organisational matters in general and election preparedness were being handled in the Punjab Congress,” said an office-bearer of the PPCC.

Some of the participants were critical of the manner in which the party treated some senior members, including members of the last Lok Sabha. They said the number of senior leaders quitting the party was alarmingly high this time. Only yesterday, a senior Vice-President of the District Congress Committee of Ferozepore, Mr Bhullar, had joined the Shiromani Akali Dal.

“Since Doaba is a stronghold of the Congress in Punjab politics, the party has suffered a major setback as two members of the last Lok Sabha — Mr Balbir Singh (Jalandhar) and Mr Charanjit Singh Channi (Hoshiarpur) — have left the party to join the Akali Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party. They were forced to quit because of denial of party ticket to them.

“Of the 27 Vidhan Sabha seats in the Doaba region, 17 are with the Congress,” they held maintaining that defections from the party were not a healthy sign. They were also critical of the state leadership for not inviting the office-bearers and executive members to a meeting which was attended by only members of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP). Later, after protests, district Presidents were also asked to join the deliberations.

Arguments were given that in Punjab, the High Command had put up four women candidates — Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, Mrs Karn Brar, Mrs Santosh Chaudhary and Mrs Preneet Kaur — and a youth leader — Mr Manish Tewari — for the Lok Sabha elections without activating the frontal Mahila Congress and Youth Congress cells in the state.

Further, there was strong resentment in the party over continued apathy towards long standing party workers and leaders from the Majha and Doab regions.

Some of the members even criticised the PPCC for not holding any meeting. “It is perhaps the second meeting I have attended in the past 21 months,” remarked one member.

Interestingly, only a handful of Organising Secretaries and Secretaries attended today’s meeting as most of the AICC members and executive members stayed away.

The members rued certain appointments, including that of the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress chief, Mr Raminder Awla. A delegation of the Youth Congress leaders, which met the PPCC chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, today, was asked to meet the Party High Command in New Delhi tomorrow.

Sources revealed that the High Command was considering appointing a 10 or 11-member ad hoc committee to run the affairs of the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress Committee till the Lok Sabha elections are over. Till then, all new appointments made in this frontal organisation would be held in abeyance.

It may be mentioned that Mr Oscar Fernandes, Secretary, AICC, was asked to look into the complaints made by the Youth Congress leaders against Mr Raminder Singh Awla, the new PPYC chief.

Not satisfied with the explanations given, the AICC had asked the PPCC for a report besides recommendation of names of eminent youth leaders for inclusion in the ad hoc panel.


Vajpayee to visit Punjab after April 26

Hoshiarpur, April 8
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will visit Punjab on his election campaign for SAD-BJP candidates for the third time after April 26, the last date of withdrawal of nominations.

Making this announcement at Hariana town last night, BJP state president Avinash Rai Khanna, also party candidate from here, said Mr Vajpayee would address an election rally at Hoshiarpur.

Mr Vajpayee addressed his first Punjab rally on March 18 at Patiala in support of SAD candidate Kanwaljit Singh.

He addressed his second rally at Amritsar on March 26 after receiving Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani on the conclusion of the first leg of the his “Bharat Uday Yatra”. — UNI


Tribune Impact
Love plug from UK for hole in the heart
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 8
Today was a routine morning for Mr Hardyal Singh, a city councillor in Derby in the United Kingdom. While scanning The Tribune on the Net, he read a report about a boy with a hole in his heart who needed urgent medical attention, on page 4 of Chandigarh Tribune. This tugged at his heart.

“I immediately decided to pay the balance amount needed for the operation”, said Mr Hardyal Singh, while talking to this reporter from the UK. He said he would contact the Escorts hospital in Amritsar and take details of the total amount required for the operation.

Mr Hardyal Singh, who is also a social worker, is actively involved in the Guru Nanak Mission Hospital Trust at Dahan Kaleran near Banga. He said the trust was also running two nursing colleges and a senior secondary school.

Earlier, Ms Daljeet Kaur Sadana, in whose house Krishan’s mother works as a maid, and her neighbour, Ms Raminder Kaur Bhullar had asked their friends and acquaintances to pool in money to collect Rs 1.70 lakh required for the operation. They had succeeded in collecting Rs 70,000.

According to them, once money is pledged to the hospital, Krishan would be admitted as an emergency case. They said the Escorts Hospital Medical Superintendent, Dr H.P.S Pannu, had promised to admit the boy once the money was pledged even if it took some time for it to reach them.


NRI among two killed in mishap

Moga, April 8
Two persons, including an NRI, were killed and one person was injured when the car in which they were travelling collided with a road roller near Landheke village on Moga-Amritsar road last night, the police said today.

The accident victims included Purdaman Singh and Gursharan Singh, an NRI, both natives of Keryana village near Dharamkot.

They were on way to their village from Moga when the accident took place, the police added. — PTI


Tur claims support of Mann, Ramoowalia
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 8
Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, rebel SAD candidate said here today that he had called a meeting of workers of all like-minded parties — the SAD (A), the Lok Bhalai Party, the SAD (Ravi Inder Singh) and other dissident SAD workers on Friday here. The meeting, he said would be addressed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president SAD (A), Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia (Lok Bhalai Party), Mr Ravi Inder Singh, Mr Prem Singh Lalpura, former MLA and some other leaders.

Mr Tur was Member of Parliament (MP) of the SAD in the 12th and 13th Lok Sabha. Earlier, his father Mr Mohan Singh Tur then president of the SAD represented this seat in the 6th Lok Sabha, later the seat was represented by his elder brother Mr Lehna Singh Tur in the seventh Lok Sabha. Mr Tur has been denied ticket this time. He his decided to contest as an independent candidate with the support of the “like-minded” parties.


Youth Congress leader joins SAD
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, April 8
The SAD and BJP got a shot in the arm as Naresh Setia, a former general secretary of Youth Congress Committee Punjab, along with hundreds of supporters joined the SAD in the presence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and a galaxy of SAD-BJP leaders yesterday at his residence here.

Mr Setia was a staunch supporter of Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, MLA, Fazilka, and parliamentary secretary, Punjab. Mr Badal the SAD-BJP candidate from Ferozepore and outgoing MP Zora Singh Mann, Gurdas Singh Badal, former MP Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Surjit Kumar Jyani both former ministers had come here specially for the purpose.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Badal said the Congress had earlier rejected Ms Sonia Gandhi as a candidate for Prime Minister’s post but now it had changed its stand proving that the party had morally accepted its defeat.

Later, while addressing a press conference Mr Badal said he was personally against personal muddling advertisements by political parties so the SAD had to give a fitting reply. Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, a former minister said the people of Punjab were fed up of the policies of Congress Government and that the party had lost the right to seek votes from rural and urban areas.

Mr Gurjinder Singh Grewal, general secretary of district Akali Dal; Mr Gurjant Singh Chimnewal, propaganda secretary; Mr Ramesh Verma, municipal councillor, BJP; Mr Tajinder Singh Namdhari, member, Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee, Ferozepore; Mr Mohinder Pratap Dhingra, district general secretary, BJP; Mr Rakesh Dhuria, president, BJP, Fazilka; Mr Teja Singh Kathpal, general secretary, president, SAD, Fazilka; Mr Sandeep Gilhotra, Mr Prem Kularia, sarpanch, Khui Khera village Mr Prem Valecha former president, Municipal Council, Jalalabad, were also present on the occasion.


Bahujan Morcha releases names of 6 candidates
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 8
The Bahujan Mukti Morcha, consisting of the Samta Samaj Party and the Lok Jan Shakti Party, today released a list of six candidates, for Punjab.

Addressing a press conference here today, state president of the Samta Samaj Party Darshan Lal Jethumazara and state president of the Lok Jan Shakti party Mr Amar Singh Mehmi said former MP Harbhajan Lakha would contest from Phillaur (reserved) constituency while Mr Rajinder Singh Tita would be the party candidate from Amritsar.

Master Gurbachan Singh would be fielded from Patiala and Dr Anup Singh from Ferozepore. Besides, Mr Nirmal Singh Rajeana (Faridkot) and Mr Varinder Bharti (Gurdaspur) would be the party candidates.

They further said the morcha would support the Pasla faction of the CPM in Sangrur and Bathinda. We will release the names of candidates for Tarn Taran, Hoshiarpur, Ropar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana soon, Mr Jethumazara said.


Sikh body woos Bhindranwale’s son
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 8
The Sikh parliamentary board, which was formed on February 1, is wooing Bhai Isher Singh, son of late Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha election from Faridkot against Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.

According to Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, secretary-general of the newly formed Panthic body, a meeting had been convened in Chandigarh on April 12. Mr Mann said the board was contemplating fielding detained militant leaders like Daljit Singh Bittu, Sukhi-Kukki and certain family members of slain militant leaders.


Cong indulging in partisan politics,
claims BJP leader
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 8
The BJP today lashed out at the Congress for using divide-and-rule politics, which it had been doing for the past 50 years to rule the country .

The vice-president of the state unit of the BJP, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, said here today that while the Congress was portraying a secular face to the voters, it was indulging in partisan politics by deriving political mileage out of the Ram Tirath Temple incident. She said it was time for the people to know the real face of the ruling party in the state.

She said while corruption in government departments had reached an all-time high, all segments of society were reeling under the unreasonable policies of the government. She gave a call to the public to expose the real face of the Congress.


Punjab akademi awards for Atmajit, Barkat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
Cinematographer turned director Manmohan Singh, Sufi singer Barkat Sidhu, Punjabi dramatist Dr Atmajit and bhangra dancer master Harbhajan have been selected for this year’s prestigious Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi awards.

Announcing the awards here today, the akademi officials also made it clear that from this year onwards awards would be initiated in five areas, in addition to the original categories of dance, music and drama. Cinema and classical dance have been added to the list to cover a wider range of artistes.

Following poor response to nominations in the classical singing category, the akademi officials have written to luminaries in the field, asking for their recommendations so that the slot for the award winner in this section is filled. The responses will be awaited till April 20.

Meanwhile, this year’s awards were declared with expert recommendations coming from members of the advisory committee constituted especially for the purpose. This committee included playwright Sardar Gursharan Singh, Shamsher Sandhu, Devinder Daman, Jatinder Brar, Bhag Singh and Jaswant Bhamra.

The awards, comprising Rs 31,000, a citation and a shawl, will be given away at a special function to be organised in Chandigarh next month.


Bir Devinder for action against PUDA officials
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 8
The Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, has asked the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, to take disciplinary action and suspend PUDA officials concerned for the poor condition of parks in the town.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who is also the Kharar MLA, said in letters to the minister and the secretary of the department yesteday, that the first visited parks and green belts on November 17 last year, accompanied by the Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, the Chief Engineer, PUDA, the Executive Engineer, PUDA, and other officials. In view of the poor upkeep of the parks, he had advised PUDA officials to remove the shortcomings, which were noticed during the visit. Despite this PUDA officials had failed to bring about any improvement in the condition of parks during the past more than four months.

The Deputy Speaker said that he had again inspected the parks on March 31 this year. But to his dismay the condition of the parks had worsened since his earlier visit. There was no provision of water for watering plants and the grass. Even the outlets provided for drinking water had not been connected to any water source.

He said that Mr Pritam Singh, SDO, PUDA, who was looking after the parks was not from the horticulture wing. He did not even know the names of different varieties of plants. The mango belt had been neglected and there was no provision for watering these fully grown trees which were in full bloom. Termites were also having a field day.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said in the letters that the entrance of the parks in Sectors 70 and 71 was in a shambles. No senior official had ever visited these parks and there was no comprehensive plan for the upkeep of these green belts. He urged the minister to take immediate disciplinary action and suspend the Executive Engineer, the SDO and the JE concerned for dereliction of duties, followed by a charge sheet.


Residents protest against MC demolition drive
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 8
Some unauthorised buildings, including a temple being constructed by a social and religious organisation in the Bhupindra Mill area situated in the heart of the town, were pulled down by bulldozers pressed into service by Municipal Corporation authorities.

As the demolition exercise being carried out under the supervision of Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr D.K. Tiwari, was going on hundreds of persons assembled at the spot and started raising slogans against the state government and tried to stop the demolition process.

The policemen on duty used force to disperse the mob, which was trying to stop the demolition of unauthorised buildings. The police also put up barricades on the Amrik Singh Road.

Residents of Bhupindra Mill and nearby localities, members of Mahadev Amarnath Sewa Samiti, who were constructing the temple blocked traffic for about an hour when the municipal corporation authorities did not stop the demolition of illegal structure. They also took out a protest march in the city and burnt the effigy of municipal corporation authorities at Sadbhavna Chowk.

The residents even approached the local MLA, Mr Surinder Singla, to get the demolition process stalled. However, the municipal corporation authorities refused to give in to pressure and continued the operation, which went on for about four hours.

Mr Ashok Garg, president of the samiti, alleged that they had deposited the fee for getting the site plan of the temple sanctioned but the municipal corporation authorities had not given the sanction for reasons best known to them. He alleged that the corporation authorities had carried out selective demolitions in the city. He said a protest rally would be held in Bathinda against the state government as it had hurt the religious sentiments of a particular community.

Former Akali minister Chiranji Lal Garg, who reached the spot, alleged that the Congress Government was terrorising people. He said Capt Amarinder Singh would have to pay a price for the atrocities being committed by him on innocent people.

Mr Tiwari, when contacted, said only unauthorised buildings had been demolished. He added that a criminal case had already been registered against three persons by PUDA for developing an unauthorised colony in the Bhupindra Mill area and these buildings had been constructed there illegally. He added that owners of these buildings had been asked time and again not to raise unauthorised structures but without any success.

He said some people were constructing a showroom in the name of a temple and the municipal corporation authorities had not demolished any religious place. He said today’s action was taken after completing all formalities.


Dalits seek share in ‘shamlat’ land
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 8
A deputation of the Kirti Mazdoor Union, Punjab, led by Mr Hari Ram, state secretary of the union, submitted a representation to Additional Deputy Commissioner N.S. Walia here, demanding ‘due share’ from the shamlat (common land) of Cheema village in Barnala tehsil for Dalits and ban on the construction of a place of worship on the shamlat for being used by the Dalits the past several years.

Mr Iqbal Singh, district president of the union, alleged that without taking the Dalits into confidence, the Panchayat of Cheema village had given the shamlat, to a community for a gaushala where a religious place was now being built.

The union also wanted the administration to give possession to the Dalits of over 100 residential plots earmarked for them in the village two decades ago.

Mr N.S. Walia, ADC, Sangrur, said he had forwarded the representation of the union to the Barnala SDM for an inquiry into the matter and to resolve the issue.


Lawyers to protest against police inaction
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 8
Members of the District Bar Association have decided to stage a dharna in front of the office of SSP in Court complex on Friday to protest against the alleged inaction of police. The police had allegedly delayed the arrest of those involved in a theft in the house of Mr Harjit Singh Sandhu, an advocate in the New Model Town Mohalla.

The decision to stage the dharna was taken at a meeting of the bar association held today under the presidentship of Mr Ashok Kumar Sabharwal, president of the association.

In a press note issued by Amrik Singh Sandhey, general secretary of the association, members expressed resentment over the inaction of the police in not arresting the culprits and alleged that action was not being taken due to political pressure exerted by local Congress MLA Rana Gurjit Singh as the culprits had links with him.

The miscreants had entered the house of Mr Sandhu while he and his family members were away to Amritsar for kar seva, cash and ornaments worth over Rs 50,000 were stolen after the thieves broke open safe in an almirah. A case under Sections 360 and 454, IPC had been registered in this connection on March 29, 2004.

Mr Sandhu alleged that the culprits had been identified but the police was not taking any action against them.


Surrogate ads unhealthy: survey
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 8
The surrogate advertisement campaign launched by different political parties through newspapers in respect of Lok Sabha elections was not a healthy sign in a democracy.

This view emerged following a survey conducted by students of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of Guru Nanak Dev University’s Regional Campus here.

The survey was conducted among 200 respondents from all sections of society in the city. Seventy per cent of the respondents felt that such advertisements were full of negative contents and suffered individual’s, reputation was not a healthy trend for democracy.

Eightytwo per cent of the respondents, however, admitted that such a campaign would not affect their voting for a particular candidate.

Eighteen per cent people said that these advertisements would certainly affect the choice of a candidate or the party.


2 plays staged on Punjabi day
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 8
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) staged two Punjabi plays I.C. Nanda’s ‘Suhag’ and Punjabi adaptation of Asha Verma’s ‘Aatm Hatya Di Dukaan’ at Central State Library here today.

Both plays were directed by Mr Pran Sabharwal and Mrs Sunita Sabharwal. The plays were staged in celebration of the 90th World Punjabi Theatre Day. The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr Manvesh Singh Sidhu, was the chief guest.

The performers included Davinder Kaur, Suneel Chauhan, Dharminder Singh Sandhu, Harpal Singh, Amarvir Sidhu, Jaspreet Kaur, Nimmi and Ravinder Kaur.


Thermal plant staff hold protest
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 8
Members of the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant Employees Federation yesterday held a rally in front of the gate of the power plant to warn the authorities concerned that if they were not given generation allowance, two units of the thermal plant could be shut down.

In a press note issued here, Mr Kuldip Singh, president of the federation, said that at present only two units out of the total four units of local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant were producing power while the other two were under repair. He added that if the authorities concerned failed to pay generation allowance to the employees, the remaining units could be shut down by them any time.


General opens technology centre
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 8
Lieut-Gen O.P. Nandrajog, GOC, 10 Corps, inaugurated a technology centre at Suratgarh district yesterday.

In a press note issued here today the army authorities said the centre would give its officers and jawans the knowledge of the latest technology. A brochure was also released by the GOC.


IAF station holds medical camp
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 8
As part of welfare measures for nearby villages, the station medicare centre, Air Force Station, Bhisiana, organised a medical camp for the villagers.

In an official press note the Air Force authorities said over 500 patients attended the camp and medicines, were given free of cost.


Irregularity in salary: youths demand action
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 8
The All-India Youth Organisation demanded action against erring persons who had withdrawn more than Rs 20 lakh against vacant posts of eight Medical Officer in Government Medical College here.

In letters written to the Chief Minister, the Vigilance Bureau and others, Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind, president of the organisation, said the irregularity was unearthed in December last year. However, no action has been taken against them.


Dalit body to hold protest today
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 8
The All-India Confederation of Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and Scheduled Tribes Organisations, Punjab, will organise a march here tomorrow to protest against the failure of the state government to implement its accepted demands.

In a press note issued here today, the press secretary of the confederation, Mr Harbinder Pal, said the state government was pursuing anti-Dalit policies.

He said the withdrawal of facility of free treatment at government hospitals and dispensaries and shagun scheme and the hike in fees at school and college level were examples wherein the state government had hit the Dalit community hard.


High Court
Order stayed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 8
Giving a breather to two serving and a retired IAS officer and a Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner in a case in which they were given three months’ sentence recently by the District Judge, Sangrur, the High Court on Thursday stayed the operation of the order of the District Judge.

Taking up the petitions filed by Mr Sudhir Mittal, presently Joint Secretary, Government of India, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, presently Secretary, Technical Education, Punjab, Mr C.L. Bains, State Election Commissioner, Punjab and Mr G.S. Randhawa, Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Patiala), Mr Justice Ajay Mittal also summoned the record relating to the case.

It may be recalled that the District Judge, Sangrur, Mr Jagrup Singh, had last month ordered Mr Bains, Mr Mittal, Mr Sidhu and Mr G.S. Randhawa to surrender within 15 days of detention in a civil prison for three months. The four were found guilty of willfully disobeying the orders of the District Judge.

The petitioner, former Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner J.S. Thind, had moved a petition alleging that his suspension as Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner on July 14, 1998, was stayed by the District Judge but the then Financial Commissioner, Commissioner and Additional Commissioner, Taxation, had disobeyed the order and Mr G.S. Randhawa had taken over the charge held by him. The District Judge had passed interim orders on August 12, 1998, on Mr Thind’s petition in which he had claimed that no suspension orders were served on him.

Notice to PUDA

Taking up a petition filed by Sarghi Kala Kender, Mohali, through its President, Mr Sanjeevan Singh, a Division Bench of the High Court issued notice to PUDA for July 25.

In its petition, the kender has challenged the cancellation of the letter of intent issued by PUDA on February 26, 2002, offering a two-kanal plot to the kender of a cultural complex.

It claimed that despite having deposited the first installment of Rs 3.23 lakh within the specified time, PUDA ordered reconsideration of the petitioner’s case. On September 5, 2003, PUDA cancelled the letter of intent issued to the kender.


Six officers found absent
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 8
The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, has directed all officers of the district to ensure their round-the-clock presence at the headquarters in view of the forthcoming elections.

In a surprise checking of attendance of officers today, six officers, including the District Social Security Officer, Mr Raj Kumar, the Executive Engineer, Panchayati Raj, Mr Satish Chawla, the Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Ropar, Mr Ranbir Singh, the CDPO, Ms Darshan Kaur, the Executive Officer, Ropar Improvement Trust, Mr Prem Pal, and the Executive Officer, Public Health, Mr J.K. Gupta, were found absent from the district headquarters without prior permission of the authorities concerned.


Homoeopathy council retires official
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8
The Council of Homoeopathic System of Medicine, Punjab, has decided to compulsorily retire from service a former Registrar, Mr Sunil Gautam, in public interest.

Announcing this here today, Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu, Chairman of the council, said the step had been taken on the basis of the report of an inquiry into the charges of irregularities and misuse of official position against him.


Murder case against doctor
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 8
The Sirhind police has registered a case of murder against Dr Mahesh, of Mahesh Hospital in Sirhind in Fatehgarh Sahib district, on charge of causing the death of a patient due to negligence, who was admitted to the hospital last evening.

According to an FIR, which was registered at the instance of victim’s brother Ram Singh, the patient was admitted after he complained of severe headache.

The FIR said the patient was administered glucose and given some injections. Within two hours, his condition deteriorated. The report stated that the doctor could not be located for guidance, following which the patient died. The victim’s relatives were asked to take the body to their house but they chose to take it to the Civil Hospital in Fatehgarh Sahib.

There they were told to take the body to the Forensic Science Department of the Rajindra Hospital. Dr D.S. Dhullar and Dr Harpreet Singh, performed the post-mortem examination on the body.


1 kg opium seized, 4 held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 8
Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, yesterday said four persons had been arrested for being in possession of 1kg opium.

He said on a tip-off, the police laid a naka on the Bhagu road and signalled a vehicle to stop for checking. However, the four occupants of the vehicle tried to flee from the spot but were arrested by the police party.

He said 500 grams each of opium was seized from Sarvan Kumar, a resident of Panni village and Sudagar Singh, a resident of Oda village. The other two occupants of the vehicle were also arrested.

During interrogation, the accused admitted that they had been bringing in opium at Rs 10,000 per kg and the same was being sold in the district and surrounding areas for Rs 21,000 per kg. This consignment was to be sold to agriculturists, who had been using various intoxicating agents during the harvest.

The SSP said Mr Ajay Maluja, SP (D), led the team. The four arrested had been identified as Sarvan Kumar, Sudagar Singh, Radhey Shyam and Sohan Lal. A case under Sections 18 of the NDPS Act had been registered.


Woman murdered, ornaments looted
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 8
Panic spread among city residents as two unidentified robbers strangulated an old woman to death after looting valuables from her Krishna Nagar residence here late last night.

According to the police, the victim, identified as Raj Rani (72), had been residing at her Krishna Nagar residence for the past some years while her grandson Anil used to visit her in the evenings. The incident came into light when Anil reached the house late last night and found the main door wide open. As soon as he entered the house, two unidentified persons came out, who, being questioned by Anil, revealed that they were enquiring to have rented accommodation.

When Anil entered the main room, he found Raj Rani lying on the floor in an unconscious condition while her hands were tied. He raised the alarm. Subsequently, neighbourers assembled in the house. Raj Rani was later found dead by a local doctor, who was residing in a nearby house. The robbers decamped with gold ornaments. A case was registered while raids were being conducted to nab the accused.


Gang of cheats busted, 2 arrested

Jalandhar, April 8
The district police today busted a gang of cheats involved in selling doctored gold with the arrest of two of the four gang members.

Mr Rakesh Kaushal, SP City-II stated here today that the gang was active in the area and had duped a number of persons in this connection. The police party conducted a raid at Wariana village and arrested the two.

They have been identified as Sushil Kumar and Vijay Verma and a search led to the recovery of 105 bits of gold-plated silver weighing 460 gm, he added.

During preliminary interrogation they revealed that they had brought the doctored gold from Delhi and were passing it off as gold.

A case under Section 420, IPC, has been registered. — PTI


35 kg of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 8
The police seized 35 kg of poppy husk from Bhukhri village, near here, and arrested one person in this connection today.

According to the police, Lakhbir Singh, alias Lakha, a resident of Khanpur village, was arrested under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

In another case the police seized six boxes of liquor which were being smuggled into Punjab from Chandigarh. Munna and Maindin, residents of Section 53, Chandigarh, were arrested in this connection.


2 booked for selling spurious engine oil
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 8
Satnam Singh and Harpreet Singh, residents of the focal point area, were booked by the Sultanwind police here today for allegedly selling spurious engine oil in the market. A case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered against them.

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