P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Congress Baisakhi conference a damp squib
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, April 14
As prominent Congress leaders, including Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his Cabinet colleagues, gave the occasion a miss, the party put up a poor show as its conference organised on the occasion of Baisakhi here today.

The response of the audience, mobilised for today’s conference, was also lukeworm, especially to the election oriented speeches of various leaders, including that by Mr H.S. Hanspal, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

Though the conference was organised by former MLA of this Assembly segment and Chairman, Markfed, Punjab, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, a section of leaders of the CPI, including its state secretary, Dr Joginder Dyal, sought votes for Ms Kushal Bhora, the Congress-CPI alliance candidate from Bathinda (reserve) constituency for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Ms Bhora also spoke on the occasion about her poll agenda.

The audience, who remained sitting in the “pandal” to enjoy the performance of a folk singer, only listened to Mr Jassi and Mr Jasbir Singh, Chairman, Punjab Agro Industrial Corporation (PAIC), patiently and started leaving the pandal when Mr Hanspal started his speech and by the time Dr Dyal started his speech half of the pandal was empty.

Mr Hanspal, while making an oblique reference to SAD led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said some of the “so-called well wishers of Sikh Panth” had been using the same for their political gains. He added that Akalis had always been deriving political mileage by mixing religion with politics.

He alleged that both Mr Badal and the late president of (SGPC), Gurcharan Singh Tohra had parted company after differences over the utilisation of Rs 100 crore given by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the tercentenary celebration of the creation of the Khalsa Panth but had joined hands again after Rs 100 crore were finished.

Mr Hanspal, who laid stress on the issues pertaining to Sikh Panth in his speech, pointed out that the forthcoming elections would witness a direct contest between the secular and communal forces. He cautioned the people that the country would disintegrate like Russia if the NDA come to power again.

The conference ended within two hours and when the top leadership of other parties were yet to address their respective conferences.


CM, Badal chips of the same block, says Mann
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, April 14
Speaking at a rally organised on the occasion of Baisakhi today Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (Amritsar) accused the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh as well as the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, of neglecting the economic and other interests of Punjab for their personal gains.

However, Mr Badal, while addressing his party rally, called upon the people to ensure the defeat of the Congress in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Gaining confidence by the turnout at the party’s rally, Mr Mann, while dubbing both Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Badal, as chips of the same block promised that his party’s candidates would work relentlessly for the betterment of all sections of society. He alleged that the BJP-led NDA Government had only given poverty to the people and added that the hollowness of its “India Shining” claim could be judged from the fact that as many as 22 women had lost their lives just to get a “sari” worth Rs 100 in Lucknow.

He said the three Lok Sabha seats in Punjab from where BJP candidates would contest should have been given to Sikh candidates by SAD. He alleged that Mr Badal had betrayed Sikhs in order to grab power.

He asked if the border with Pakistan could be opened for cricket then why could the same not be opened for the Sikhs who wanted to pay obeisance at historical gurdwaras in that country?

The President of SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, along with other senior party leaders at the party’s conference at Talwandi Sabo on Wednesday.
The President of SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, along with other senior party leaders at the party’s conference at Talwandi Sabo on Wednesday.

Mr Badal, while addressing the party rally at the Bhai Dal Singh Diwan Hall in the complex of Takht Damdama Sahib, alleged that the Congress governments at the Centre and in Punjab had led to poverty and unemployment in the country whereas the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had brought glory to the country by stabilising its economy and improving its relations with various countries, including Pakistan.

While accusing Capt Amarinder Singh’s government of scuttling the Punjab Oil Refinery Project. Mr Badal alleged that in 1984, the Congress Government at the Centre had attacked the Golden Temple and engineered anti-Sikh riots in various parts of the country.

While accusing the Congress of having no agenda other than committing atrocities on innocent people, he said SAD manifesto would be released within a week or so.

In a brief press conference organised after the rally, he said the party was yet to take decision regarding extending support to INLD or BJP candidate from Chandigarh Parliamentary constituency.

Those, who attended the rally, included former Akali ministers, MLAs and other senior leaders, including Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal. Rallies were also organised by BSP, General Samaj Party (GSP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (International) on the occasion.


Dal Khalsa to support Mann, Wadala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
In less than a month before the Lok Sabha elections, the Dal Khalsa today declared support for Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President Simranjit Singh Mann, besides senior Akali leader Kuldeep Singh Wadala and Sarabjit Singh Maloya. They are contesting the elections from Sangrur, Jalandhar and Bathinda, respectively.

The Dal Khalsa also sought “Panth Rattan” for Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale killed at Amritsar during Operation Blue Star. They also demanded the construction of a memorial at Amritsar in the memory of all those killed in the operation.

Describing the Congress and BJP policies as “dangerous”, the members further declared that they would be organising a “freedom march” for “educating the masses” in this regard.

Addressing a press conference at a Sector 35 hotel, Dal’s Working President Kawar Pal Singh Bittu asserted that the march would start on April 29 from Akal Takht at Amritsar and would culminate at Takht Damdama Sahib on May 5.


SAD (D), SAD merger on April 16
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 14
Putting an end to his seven-year battle with the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Akali leader Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala is all set to merge his SAD (Democratic) with the SAD (Badal) on April 16.

Mr Wadala had parted company with Mr Badal just before the Assembly elections of 1997 following differences with Mr Badal and his family.


SKD raises ‘Khalistan’ issue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 14
Wassan Singh Zaffarwal of the Khalistan Commando Force and Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, a ‘Khalistan’ ideologue, had merely encashed on the sacrifices of Sikh youths, spokespersons for the newly formed Shiromani Khalsa Dal (SKD) said at a press conference here today. They charged them of being non-serious leaders and heaped praises on Paramjit Singh Panjwar, a militant leader who was on the 20 most-wanted list.

The SKD is headed by undertrial Daljit Singh Bittu who is an accused in a Ludhiana bank dacoity and attempt to murder case at the Nabha jail.


Thousands take holy dip at Anandpur Sahib
Lalit Mohan

Anandpur Sahib (Ropar), April 14
Thousands took a dip in the holy sarovar of Takht Shri Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib today on the occasion of Baisakhi. People from all parts of the state came in trolleys, trucks motor cycles and buses to take part in the Baisakhi celebrations here.

The Baisakhi celebrations at Anandpur Sahib, besides being an occasion for farmers to thank God for the good crop also have a special significance as on this day the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh had baptized the ‘Panj Piaras’.

A special drive was launched today at Takht Shri Keshgarh Sahib and other gurdwaras in and around Anandpur Sahib to baptize pilgrims.

The social organisations chose the occasion to spread awareness about drug abuse and other social evils among the people. Leaflets and booklets carrying messages against drug abuse were distributed among the people by volunteers. Health camps were also organised by voluntary organisations.

A Gurmat Samagam was organised by the SGPC here today in which Jathedar of the Takht Shri Keshgarh Sahib Giani Tarlochan Singh and the general secretary of the SGPC, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, addressed the audience.

However, some comments against Hinduism and Islam made by Mr Bhaur in his address during the samagam came in for sharp criticism from the local leaders. The local press club has given a call for the boycott of Mr Bhaur till he clarifies his stand on the controversial comments.

Mr Bhaur in his address, that was telecast live by the ETC channel, had made objectionable comments against certain traditions of Hindus and Muslims.

Giani Tarlochan Singh, however, declined to comment on the controversial comments by saying that only Mr Bhaur could give clarification.

Langars were organised by the deras today. The gurdwaras and bazaars were decorated and kirtans and dhadhi darbars were also organised at gurdwaras. Thousands of pilgrims also visited the adjoining shrine of Naina Devi shrine.

PHAGWARA (OC): Baisakhi mela was held at the local Sukhchaina Sahib Gurdwara today. Thousands of devotees took part in the congregation and had a holy dip in the sacred sarovar on the occasion of the Khalsa Panth’s birth anniversary celebrated as per the Nanakshahi calendar. Divan, kirtan, katha and langar marked the festival.

Meanwhile, special langar of “ras” (sugarcane juice) was organised at four places on Phagwara-Garhshanker road for the pilgrims on way to Anandpur Sahib.


BSP gives ticket to non-Dalits
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Rising above casteism, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has tried to accommodate candidates of almost major communities while allocating the party ticket for the Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. In other words, it is no more party of Dalits as is usually perceived.

Obviously, the BSP has attempted to enhance its political reach in Punjab by doing so. Earlier, a similar experiment was made by the BSP in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh also. In Uttar Pradesh it has already established itself as one of the important political entities.

The BSP has no electoral tie-up with any party in Punjab. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had approached it for a tie-up but the matter did not clinch. The ruling Congress was desperate for an electoral alliance with the BSP in Punjab, but the All-India Congress Committee( AICC ) ruled that either the alliance should be in all states or in no State.

The BSP has a strong base among Dalits, especially in the Doaba belt, besides certain parts of Malwa such as Ferozepore district. Dalit population in Punjab 
is 32 per cent-perhaps the highest in the country. And by widening its political ambit, the BSP can emerge as a powerful political organisation in the state.

The BSP has put up Mr Mangat Ram Bansal in Sangrur. He belongs to the Bania (trader) community. Bansals (Aggarwals) have a dominating presence in all important towns of the Sangrur constituency. That is why the BSP has chosen the candidate from the Aggarwal community in Sangrur.

Springing a major surprise, the BSP has roped in Mr Charanjit Singh Channi as candidate for the Hoshiarpur constituency. Mr Channi belongs to the Saini community which has a strong presence in the Hoshiarpur belt. The community otherwise is also well-off and politically active. This community has the tendency to vote for the candidate of its own community. Mr Channi was earlier elected on the Congress ticket from Hoshiarpur. But as this time the Congress left the Hoshiarpur seat for the CPM, Mr Channi opted for the BSP ticket after quitting the Congress. The BSP has a solid vote bank in the Hoshiarpur constituency which was once represented by its chief, Mr Kanshi Ram, in the Lok Sabha. And with the joining of Mr Channi, the BSP has been strengthened in the area.

In the Ludhiana constituency, the BSP has given the ticket to Mr Ravinder Singh Sohal, who belongs to the powerful Ramgarhia community there. In fact, Ramgarhias dominate the industrial scene of Ludhiana city. And in Amritsar, the BSP has made Mr Ram Saran, a Pandit, its candidate. The BSP has played its political cards well both in Amritsar and Ludhiana cities as far as allocation of the party ticket is concerned.

For the Gurdaspur constituency, the BSP has opted for Mr Brij Mohan Julka, who belongs to the Kashatir community. Main occupation of this community is agriculture in Gurdaspur district. In fact, this community dominates most part of the Gurdaspur belt, especially its Pathankot stretch. At least two ministers in Capt Amarinder Singh’s Council of ministers from Gurdaspur district belong to this community. Even the BJP candidate, Mr Vinod Khanna, a film star, is also from this community.

In Ferozepore, the BSP has put up Mr Mohan Singh Phalianwala, who belongs to the Rai-Sikh community, that is settled all along the border. Mr Mohan Singh was earlier elected to Lok Sabha when the BSP had entered in alliance with the SAD a few years ago.

In Patiala, the BSP has chosen Mr H.C. Paul, who belongs to the Kashyap community. Its candidates in other constituencies are Mr Man Singh Manhera from Ropar, Mr Pawan Kumar Tinnu from Phillaur, Mr Devi Dass Nahar from Jalandhar, Prof Gurnam Singh from Bathinda, Mr Sant Ram Mallian from Faridkot and Mr Rawel Singh from Tarn Taran. They are mainly Dalit candidates.


Congress to use property details against Badal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 14
Asserting that the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, does not have the courage to face him in a debate, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today indicated that the state Congress would use the details of the property of Mr Badal, gathered by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, in its election campaign.

The Chief Minister also paid a visit to Punjab Technical Education Minister Mohinder Singh Kaypee, who has earlier been considered close to Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and veteran Congress leader Umrao Singh at their houses. This was in an apparent bid to woo these two leaders and take them along in the election campaign, particularly in Jalandhar, where Congress candidate Rana Gurjit Singh is reportedly facing problems for lack of unity among local party leaders.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who was in the city to attend a function in connection with B.R. Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, was accompanied by Punjab ministers Avtaar Henry, Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Jagjit Singh and Santokh Singh; Congress candidate from Jalandhar Rana Gurjit Singh; Mr Manoj Arora, Mr Anil Datta and Mr Manjinder Chaudhary, PPCC secretaries; and Mr Kanwaljit Lalli, Parliamentary Secretary.

Referring to a reported comment of Mr Badal that he (the CM) was much junior to him and thus he did not want to join a debate with him, the Chief Minister said that Mr Badal was running away from a debate. “I am ready for a debate with Mr Badal over any issue from politics to economy,” he added.

The Chief Minister said though the Congress campaign had not taken off so far, it was likely to start after the withdrawal of papers by candidates. The Congress was planning to use the details of the property of Mr Badal and his family, gathered by the Vigilance Bureau, in its campaign. Asked if it would be fair to do this, Capt Amarinder Singh said, “Yes, it would be fair because it was the Congress that had provided most of the details to the bureau”.

Asked about the fate of the police officers who were transferred in the wake of the directions given by the Election Commission, the Chief Minister said, “We will go by the directions of the commission and once the elections are over, I will bring these officers back to their earlier positions. One SSP who was probing the Badal case was shifted following a complaint by the SAD, while a DIG was shifted as he is a witness in the case”.

On the dissidence in the party’s Ludhiana unit over the nomination of Mr Manish Tiwari, Capt Amarinder Singh denied there was any problem and said all leaders were campaigning for Mr Tiwari. “Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib has already met me and he would not leave the party. I wonder what was the reason for Mr Balbir Singh (former Jalandhar MP) leaving the party when he himself had written to the AICC chief that he did not intend to contest from Jalandhar,” he said while making an appeal to all Congress leaders who had left the party to return and work for the party in the elections.

Taking about his ultimatum to the Centre for lifting the sugar stock from Punjab, he said his threat had worked and the Centre had increased the quota for Punjab from two to three lakh quintals.


Sultana Begum seeks forgiveness
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, April 14
Tears rolled down the cheeks of Sultana Begum as she offered Ardas at Akal Takht this evening as her act of repentance for the atrocities committed on Sikh Gurus by tyrant Mugal Emperors.

Sultana Begum, great grand daughter-in-law of the last Mugal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, who is living a life of penury on the pavements of Kolkata, said she wanted to repent when she learnt that her great Mugal kings had unleashed torture on Sikh Gurus and their disciples during the most traumatic rule of Aurangzeb in the 17th century.

Appearing at Akal Takht she tried to meet Akal Takht Jathedar who was not present at his secretariat. When contacted the PA to Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, Mr Jasbir Singh, said the Akal Takht would accept her plea only after she provided complete proof in writing of her family being the direct descendent of Mugal kings along with the consent of family members. The Akal Takht will look into her appeal and it would decide after proper consultations at an appropriate time to take up her case for seeking forgiveness.

Unable to manage two square meals for her five daughters and one son, the Begum said it had dawned on her 15 years ago, after she had visited a museum in Kolkata where she saw the pictures of Mughal tyrants torturing Sikh gurus and others. She realised that her present state was the result of the sins committed by the ancestors of her husband Mirza Mohammad Bedar Bakht who died 24 years ago. She added that in the last 10 years she had been planning to visit all Sikh gurdwaras particularly Golden Temple and Sheesh Ganj Gurdwara in New Delhi to seek atonement for the sins committed by the Mughal rulers.

Accompanied by her grand daughter and foster brother of Parbant Singh Mehari she arrived here yesterday to formally offer Ardas so that her present state of sorrows could end. Talking to newsmen she said after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple she felt relieved.

Begum Sultana said after the death of her husband it was most difficult to bring up her children. The West Bengal government came to her help and offered a small flat and a shelter for her family. But some anti-social elements in that area did not allow her to take possession. At present she was running a small tea stall on the pavement of Kolkata.

She will be going to Delhi tonight for paying obeisance at the historic Sheesh Ganj Gurdwara before returning to Kolkata. She planned to come back here to give proof of her ancestor to the Akal Takht Jathedar soon.


Confusion continues on reauction of liquor vends
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Even as confusion regarding the reauction of liquor vends in Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr districts continues to prevail due to different interpretations of a Supreme Court order, the Punjab Government has allowed the existing licencees to continue for another 20 days or till any other decision.

Confirming the information, sources in the Punjab Government revealed that Mr D.P. Reddy — Excise and Taxation Commissioner, exercising the power of Financial Commissioner — has issued an order to this effect.

Mr Reddy, sources claimed, has reportedly extended the liquor licences from April 10 for 20 days or till any other decision arrived at by the government keeping in view the implication of the court orders. Mr Reddy could not be contacted for his comments despite repeated attempts.

The sources added that the period of extension, according to the order, would be in slabs of 10 days. The licencees would have to pay a proportionate licence fee of 10 days in advance before the commencement of each slab. The rates of duties, fees and other charges, applicable for 2004-05, would be payable by the licencees.

They asserted that the orders were passed after taking the opinion of Punjab’s Advocate-General (AG) Harbhagwan Singh. The sources claimed that the AG had advised the government against reauctioning the vends in pursuance of the orders passed by the Supreme Court.

The interim arrangements by the High Court regarding the extension of licences, were required to be extended till the final decision or any other order by the apex court, the AG had reportedly stated.

It may be recalled that a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on March 31 had directed the setting aside of liquor vends auction in the three districts. The Bench had also allowed the existing licencees to continue till April 10 or till the date of reauction, whichever was earlier, on payment of existing fee.

Taking up a special level to appeal filed by the state of Punjab, the Supreme Court on April 2 had directed that the interim arrangement made by the High Court on March 31 shall continue until further orders.

Soon after the orders were pronounced, senior Punjab Government officers had asserted that the licencees were allowed to continue “till further orders by the Supreme Court”. On the other hand, several liquor contractors had claimed that the existing licencees were allowed to continue only till April 10.

Counsel for the petitioner Mohan Jain, on the other hand, had claimed that the authorities were deliberately misinterpreting the order. He had stated that the Supreme Court had refused to modify the order. The difference in opinion had led to confusion.


Nagar kirtan starts from Indo-Pak border
Rashmi Talwar

Devotees throng, Guru Angad
Dev’s village

Muktsar, April 14
Thousands of devotees thronged Sarai Naga village in this district, the birthplace of Guru Angad Dev, in connection with his birth anniversary celebrations today.

The celebrations will continue up to April 18.

The pilgrims took a holy dip in the sarovar of the historic Gurdwara Janam Asthan Guru Angad Devji.

The devotees also participated in the kar sewa of a gate being constructed by the SGPC on the Muktsar-Kotkapura road at an estimated cost of Rs 20 lakh. — UNI

Amritsar, April 14
A grand “nagar kirtan “ started from the dhussi bandh near historic Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara, about 3 km after the barbed wire fencing located on the Indo-Pak border. A symbolic ardas was held at the bandh before starting the nagar kirtan .

A flower-bedecked palanquin with an ornate canopy carrying the Guru Granth Sahib led by the Panj Piaras started with traditional ‘jakaras’ on the commencement of 500th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Angad Dev today. The ardas was held by the Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti. Head Granthi Giani Puran Singh also participated from here.

A diwan was tastefully decorated at the local historic gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Dera Baba Nanak.

While addressing newspersons Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Secretary, SGPC, said the Sikhs dearly wanted the nagar kirtan to start from the historic Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara. However despite lengthy communication between the SGPC and the Pakistan government for providing a corridor to Sikhs to the historic gurdwara the Pakistan Government backed out at the last moment. He reiterated the demand for starting a special bus service from Amritsar to Sikh pilgrimage gurdwaras in Pakistan. Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakoke, officiating SGPC President, and others were present on the occasion.

The 500 Pakistani Sikhs who arrived here to go to Khadoor Sahib for the celebrations yesterday were unable to participate in the commencement of the nagar kirtan today.

Meanwhile, the Banii of Guru Angad Dev, 63 ‘shalokas’ sung by 16 eminent ragis in prescribed ragas, were recorded by the SGPC in collaboration with T-series company. A set of these audio cassettes, CDs and VCD of banii were released last evening at a simple function to mark the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev.

The first copy of the set was presented to Baba Sewa Singh Ji Khadur Sahib. The set also contains message by Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, which the late President of SGPC recorded on March 25 just before ‘kar seva’ of Golden Temple sarovar a few days before his death.


‘Sins’ of husband haunt Preneet
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 14
The "sins" of her husband seem to have come to visit Preneet Kaur, wife of state Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. She is recontesting the Patiala parliamentary seat on Congress ticket. Preneet, who won the seat last time due to a fractured Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as well as her ‘social’ image, is now facing dissidence from her own party men who have been sidelined in her husband’s regime.

She is facing a revolt from party’s Rajpura candidate Raj Khurana. He has asked the people to take “revenge” for the manner in which they were treated by Preneet’s loyalists in the elections to the Municipal Council. Party legislator Raj Khurana has been ignored by the ruling party for the past two years and it is District Rural Congress president Hardial Singh Kamboj, a staunch loyalist of Preneet Kaur, whose writ runs in the Assembly segment.

Kamboj is behind the move to sideline Mr Khurana in the Assembly segment by first not offering any ticket to the latter’s nominees for the Municipal Council and then “ensuring” that Khurana’s nominees were defeated by Congress candidates put up by him. Official Congress candidates had won only after a heavy bout of beating and suppression in the town which only served to antagonise Congress supporters in the “Bahawalpur” community to which Khurana belongs. The Congress leader indicated it was payback time at a recent public function when he asked town folk in the presence of Mrs Preneet Kaur to take revenge for the treatment meted out to them.

Mr Khurana appears to have cast his lot with Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal who is also yet to start campaigning for the candidature of Mrs Preneet Kaur. The Deputy Chief Minister has upped the ante in her Assembly segment of Lehra Ghagga which is a part of the Patiala parliamentary constituency, by indicating that she would only campaign for the Congress candidate if asked to do so.

Trouble is also brewing in the Ghanaur Assembly segment whose legislator — Public Health Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa — was a key dissident, demanding the removal of Capt Amarinder Singh as leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP).

The party’s position does not look good in Ghanaur because of the parting of ways between Zila Parishad vice-chairman Madal Lal and Mr Randhawa. When Mr Randhawa raised the banner of revolt against the Chief Minister, the Zila Parishad vice-chairman had parted with him and sided with the Chief Minister’s camp. Now Madan Lal wants to be the key campaigner for the party in the constituency and it is to be seen how this development affects the candidature of Preneet Kaur.

The Congress candidate also does not have a fine-tuned set-up in the Samana Assembly segment from where former Minister Brahm Mohindra had lost the last elections. While Brahm Mohindra is in hibernation, the seat was being looked after by Preneet Kaur’s brother-in-law Raja Malwinder Singh who has not been able to devote time to the Assembly segment.


NDA stalling Ghaggar project, says Preneet
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 14
The Congress nominee from this parliamentary constituency, Ms Preneet Kaur has accused the NDA government of stalling the Ghaggar project. She said due to her personal initiative she was able to get the Rs 148-crore project cleared.

She said the NDA government had appointed three MPs from Punjab and 22 from other states to discuss and deliberate on the project. She alleged that constant absenteeism by NDA MPs delayed the project. A sum of Rs 33 crore had already been sanctioned and Rs 65 crore were in the pipeline for the completion of the project.

On the anti-farmer stance taken by the Akali-BJP combine in Parliament on the river water issue she alleged that not a single MP from this combine spoke in Parliament on protecting the river water of the state. She said 80 per cent of the population of the state was dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. While the prices of pesticide and diesel had doubled, there had been no hike in the minimum procurement price of the agriculture produce.

Campaigning in Lehragaga Assembly segment represented by Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Ms Preneet Kaur appealed to the farmers to deliberate on the performance of five years of the Akali-BJP combine and two years of the Congress in the state. Highlighting the achievements made by the state government, she said during the Congress regime appropriate arrangements were made for smooth procurement. In addition to this, 10-hour power supply had been provided to the farmers for the smooth sowing for their paddy last summer.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Lal Singh who was accompanying her in the campaign said the Congress would continue its anti-corruption drive in the state. He appealed to the voters to think before casting their vote.


‘Ignored’ Cong men flex their muscles
Jangveer Singh
Tribune New Service

Patiala, April 14
While the campaign of Congress candidate and state Chief Minister’s wife Preneet Kaur is hotting up, many Congress workers are flexing their muscles. These include those who feel that they have been ignored in the past. Many such workers and leaders are being coaxed to toe the party line and work towards ensuring a comfortable lead for the party candidate.

In the last Assembly election, the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has won the seat by a margin of more than 30,000 votes. Though this margin does not seem attainable now with a much stronger Akali candidate in the form of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, having a big lead from the Patiala segment is important for the political fortunes of Preneet Kaur.

Congress workers seem to have left behind their earlier deference which was reserved for members of the royal family. Many of them are being assertive and asking the Congress candidate’s poll managers why their works had not been attended to during the last four years and especially during the last two years when the Congress took over the reins of the state.

Mrs Preneet Kaur’s daughter-in-law, Ms Jai Inder, faced the wrath of workers during a meeting held in the New Moti Bagh Palace. Workers belonging to Block number one complained that they had faced difficulties in approaching the Congress candidate. The workers also complained that “new” Congressmen were having an upper hand and old party workers were being ignored. Mrs Jai Inder placated the workers by telling them that their grievances would be looked into and also conveyed the same to Mrs Preneet Kaur.

A few Congress leaders are also trying to gain importance in the present set-up. They are conveying their anger to the party and then ensuring rapproachment through the personal offices of the Congress candidate. This is taking up a lot of time of the Congress candidate who also has to cater to the rural constituencies where the SAD has a strong presence.

There are also few workers and leaders who feel that the time for rapproachment has passed. These include Mrs Krishna Dahri, a former President of the Mahila Congress, who has announced her candidature as an Independent candidate. Mrs Dahri had been forcefully putting up her case for a post in the government. She had also raised slogans at a meeting in the presence of the state Chief Minister to make her point. However, with the party not being able to adjust her due to the large scale appointments already made from the city, she has now decided to contest as an Independent candidate.

Mrs Preneet Kaur on her part is resorting to a personalised campaign to ensure that the groupism in the city Congress does not affect her. She is telling Congress workers that more adjustments can be made in the “family” and that at this juncture they should highlight the development work done in the constituency besides ensuring a high voter turnout through a coordinated effort.


SAD, BSP leaders welcome Jagmeet
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 14
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will visit Ferozepore on April 23, when the Congress candidate, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, files his nomination papers. Mr Brar said a large number of party workers and well-wishers would join the procession that would start from Hari Ke Pattan.

Ms Jaswinder Kaur a SAD member of the Panchayat Samiti, Ms Saroj Rani a BSP leader, and a large members of village panchayat and sarpanches yesterday welcomed Mr Brar. They said non-performance of the SAD candidate, Mr Zora Singh Mann, during his six-year term as an MP and alleged atrocities prompted them to support Mr Brar without formally quitting their respective political affiliations.

Lambasting Mr Gurdas Singh Badal, brother of SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal for launching counter-allegations on him, Mr Brar said: “The Badals should have dared to give a clarification on my allegations against Mr Mann. All that I said was based on the record of the Lok Sabha and authenticated information gathered from sources, but what Mr Gurdas Singh Badal observed about my amassing benami property was completely factitious, baseless and unfounded.”

While agreeing that the mud-slinging in the print media by both major political parties polluted environment. Mr Brar said the core issues had been cornered. He said no one was concerned that 30 lakh youth faced unemployment, victims of border villages had not been properly compensated against loss due to landmines and border districts were denied special status.

At his rural meetings, Mr Brar praised a former Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr Bal Ram Jakhar, for launching a World Bank project for lining of water courses and canals in 1972-77 to bring more area under irrigation.

Mr Brar assured that his top priority as an MP would be to restore the glory of the area in cotton farming by assuring canal water at the tail end. Mr Parkash Singh Bhatti, MLA, Balluana, Mr Des Raj Kamboj, president, Block Congress Committee, Mr Nirmal Bishnoi a former president of the Block Congress Committee, and Mr Sukhpal Singh Brar, state secretary, youth Congress, also addressed meetings.


Two ministers pull up Mayor
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 14
Two senior Punjab ministers, Mr Avtaar Henry and Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, pulled up the Mayor, Mr Surinder Mahey, for not waiting for them before initiating a meeting in which nine Independent councillors joined the Congress in the presence of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

The meeting went on without local MLAs, including Mr Raj Kumar Gupta and Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, being present.

Both ministers are believed to have expressed their dissatisfaction over the functioning of the Mayor during their separate meetings with the Chief Minister at Mr Kaypee’s house.

Mr Mahey said the meeting began after a long wait for the two ministers and the MLAs. “Actually, the Chief Minister’s helicopter had to leave at 3 pm and he was in a hurry,” he said. He claimed that nine Independent councillors had joined the Congress and two other Independent councillors, Mr Gulwant Singh Walaiti and Mr Kamaljit Deputy, would support the party from outside.

Mr Kaypee said protocol was given a go-by.


Disciplinary action against Khurana
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, April 14
Mr H.S. Hanspal, president, PPCC, today said he had written to Mr Nasib Singh Gill, Chairman, Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC) of the party, to take action against Mr Raj Khurana, Congress MLA from Rajpura, for his alleged anti-party activities.

Mr Khurana has allegedly urged the people to ensure the defeat of Ms Preneet Kaur from Patiala constituency while addressing a social function in a village in Rajpura Assembly segment recently.

Mr Hanspal, while talking to mediapersons, pointed out that he had also warned the party’s rank and file that anyone going against the party’s interests would not be spared.

He said that Ms Sonia Gandhi, President, AICC, would address three election rallies, one each in Majha, Doaba and Malwa regions of Punjab, in the first week of May.

He added that the state Congress had not drafted its own poll agenda and had adopted the agenda, which had been prepared by the AICC for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.


Redress Khurana's grievance, says Attari
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Mr Parminder Singh Attari, general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said today that the leadership should not take any extreme step against Mr Raj Kumar Khurana, MLA from Rajpura, or any other party leader. He said that the party should contact Mr Khurana and others leaders to redress their grievances, if there are any, to make them support the Congress candidate in the elections.

He said that the party leadership should create the atmosphere that the Lok Sabha elections in the state should be contested unitedly.


Poaching case: warden gets threatening calls
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The poaching case involving SDM, Pathankot, Mr Puneet Goyal, is getting murkier by the day with the wildlife wardens responsible for the apprehension of the SDM alleging foul play by the authorities.

Being stalked by those who want the case to be dropped, one of the two wildlife wardens is apprehending danger to his life. He received about 10 threatening calls between March 5 and April 15. The worse, he says, is that the police authorities in Hoshiarpur have not responded to his official communication regarding threats to his life. Nor has any security cover been provided to him.

Speaking to The Tribune, Mr. Gunraj Singh, Honorary Wildlife Warden for Hoshiarpur, said he was finding it difficult to discharge his duty due to disturbing phone calls at odd hours. In his letter to SSP, Hoshiarpur, on March 16 and again on April 8, Mr. Gunraj has referred to SDM, Pathankot, who has not been transferred despite serious charges of poaching against him. Mr. Gunraj has also stated that he fears the SDM, emboldened by grant of bail in a non bailable offence, may try to hush up the case.

He told The Tribune, “With every passing day the seriousness of the threats is increasing. I received the first call on March 5, a few days after we caught the SDM red handed with the dead peacock and partridges under Garhdiwal Forest Range on February 29. I kept taking the matter lightly till March 12, the day I was away to Dehradun. I learnt some goons in a black jeep stopped near my farm at Hoshiarpur village, abused me and fired 10 shots from their guns. Another call came on April 4. I got a caller ID installed, told the police the number from where the call was made.”

Mr Gunraj has informed Hoshiarpur police authorities on the gravity of the matter. He has, reportedly, sent two official communications to SSP, Hoshiarpur, informing him about threats to his life. While the first letter was written on March 16, the second was sent on April 8. SSP, Hoshiarpur, however, says he has received no such mail. “They may be in transit. However, the fact that Mr. Gunraj, despite being posted in Hoshiarpur, chose to send letters instead of meeting the police about the matter reflects its seriousness,” he said.

Mr Gunraj, meanwhile, says he sought meetings with the SSP, who declined to meet him. Another problem stems from “unfair” detention of Mr. Gunraj’s licensed weapon by the Hoshiarpur police. He says, “I even wrote to the SHO, police station Hariana in Hoshiarpur, stating that the SDM has been nursing a grudge against me and he wants to falsely implicate me. On February 29, SHO, Garhshankar took away my licensed gun, though I have full authority to carry it for personal protection in my capacity as a public servant. Despite reminders to the police, the weapon was not restored to me. My gun was with them. They could have fabricated me. They still can.” Mr Gunraj has even brought this matter to the DGP, Punjab’s notice.

Still awaiting security cover from the Hoshiarpur police, Mr. Gunraj, says, “I have sent letters to Punjab Chief Minister’s Secretary and Chief Secretary, Punjab, informing them about my problem. Let us see how long they take to act.” Meanwhile, the poaching case is pending in the court for filing of chargesheet against the SDM.


CM’s security makes common man suffer
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 14
Residents of the city had to face problems as the police virtually converted some parts of the city into a high security zone in view of the visit of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to the city today.

Heavy deployment of the police force was witnessed on the GT Road, Bhagwan Mahavir Marg, Guru Nanak Mission Chowk, Masand Chowk, Model Town, Lajpat Nagar, Wadala Road and Green Model Town areas, which, were virtually rendered inaccessible for hours together even for the residents of the areas.

People were not allowed to move towards the Model Town market, beyond the Masand Chowk, Green Model Town Chowk and the Cool Road sides, where traffic police officials were deputed in large numbers in view of the CM’s visit to the residence of Punjab Minister Mohinder Singh Kaypee.

Similarly, the movement of vehicular traffic was restricted for some time on the Wadala road and Lajpat Nagar for the visit of the Chief Minister to the residence of veteran congress leader Umrao Singh and to facilitate his participation in a programme in Lajpat Nagar, respectively.

“We were not allowed to move towards the Model Town market and the policemen deployed at Masand Chowk simply refused to allow us saying they were only following orders from the top,” said Balbir, a resident of Cheema Nagar locality. Similarly, a Hoshiarpur-based family alleged that policemen made them park their vehicle on one side for about half an hour on the Bhagwan Mahavir Marg on the plea that they could proceed further only after the Chief Minister’s cavalcade passed through the route. “In addition to suffering in the scorching heat, we also had to cancel an important appointment,” said the woman.


Local docs make city proud
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 14
Two Patiala-based doctors, Dr Gurpreet Singh Battu and Dr Harinder Pal Singh, have been invited to present three scientific papers at the World Congress of Anaesthesiologist (WCA 2004), being held in Paris from April 18 to 24.

Dr Battu, who is running a clinic, has been awarded the Young Researcher Award by the president of the WCA 2004. The award is sponsored by Germany-based Draeger Medical. Dr Battu has developed a cost-effective technique for incubating high anterior larynx. Dr Harinder Pal Singh a noted anaesthesiologist, has helped in the growth and evolution of the field in the private sector.

Both these doctors have been working together for the past 10 years and have presented research papers at various conferences.


Shiv Sena leader wants security restored
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 14
Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, President, All-India Hindu Shiv Sena yesterday urged Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee to restore his security which allegedly was withdrawn by the State Government.

In a letter to the Prime Minister which was released to the Press yesterday, Mr Billa said he had been receiving threats from terrorists on the telephone and with the escape of killers of former Chief Minister Beant Singh from Burail jail, threat to his life had increased. He alleged the state government had withdrawn his licence which was provided by the orders of the central government.

He alleged the government of India had granted him arms’ licence but the state government had misplaced the file. He also alleged the Ministry of Home government of India had provided him bullet-proof jacket for emergency which the state government had withdrawn.


Youth hostels’ delegation leaves for Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 14
A 30-member delegation of the Youth Hostels association yesterday departed for Pakistan to promote brotherhood irrespective of race, nationality, colour, religion, sex, class or political opinion.

The delegation headed by Prof Krishan Chand has members from all over the country and from all walks of life especially from educational background. Prof Chand told reporters that the Youth Hostels Association of India was a voluntary organisation affiliated to the International Youth Hostels Federation.

He said last year the federation signed a memorandum of understanding with UNESCO for promoting peace and international understanding to strengthen the international youth hostels concept. He said the Youth Hostels Association of India in collaboration with the Pakistan youth hostels association was organising a youth leaders exchange programme between the two associations.


CM pays tributes to Ambedkar
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 14
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his senior Cabinet colleagues today paid tributes to Dr B.R. Ambedkar during a state-level function on his 113th birth anniversary here.

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister said Dr Ambedkar had struggled hard to ensure the uplift of down-trodden sections of society.

Others, who were present during the function include The Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Choudhary Jagjit Singh, Mr Avtar Henry, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Choudhary Santokh Singh, all ministers, Ms Gurkanawal Kaur, Mr Raj Kumar Gupta and Mr Rana Gurjit Singh, all MLAs, and Mr Tajinder Singh Bittu, Chairman of the Jalandhar Improvement Trust.

Amritsar: A function was held at Guru Nanak Dev University in connection with the birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar here today.

Besides the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, Dr G.K. Sabharwal, ADC, Mr R.C. Jaswal, Chief Engineer (border zone), PSEB, Dr Jasbir Singh Sabar, Dr Rattan Singh and Mr Sohan Lal Amrohi presented their views on the life and philosophy of Dr Ambedkar.


Medical camp in Ambedkar’s memory
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 14
A district-level function to celebrate the birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar was organised at Bassi Pathana town today. A blood donation camp and free medical check-up camp was organised by the Dr B.R. Ambedkar Welfare Club, Bassi Pathana, in collaboration with the District Youth Congress. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the camp, while Vaid Hari Krishan, president, District Congress Committee, presided over the function.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Ahluwalia, said Dr Ambedkar was a great visionary and had prepared our Constitution, which was secular in form and widely appreciated all over the world. He said we should follow foot steps of our great leaders and gurus.

He said by organising the camp, the members of the club had given a true gift to the dynamic leader. He said by indulging in social service, one could get mental peace and strengthen national integration and communal harmony. He said in the present era of commercialisation, one had no time to think about oneself. In such circumstances, those who spare time for social service were true human beings and must be respected by every section of society. He encouraged the youth to donate blood and announced that if any social organisation or club wanted to arrange a free medical check-up camp in the district, medicines and services of trained doctors would be provided by the District Red Cross Society and the Hospital Welfare Section free of cost.

Vaid Hari Krishan, in his address, lauded the efforts of the members of the club as well as of the DYC in organising the camp. He said it was the need of the hour to involve the youth in every programme of development and utilise their energy in a positive manner.

Mr Piara Lal, chairman, and Mr Sohan Lal, president, of the Dr B.R. Ambedkar Welfare Club, highlighted the activities of the club and assured that it would continue to work for the welfare of the every section of society, particularly the downtrodden.

Mr Ravinder Singh Sondha, president, district Youth Congress, said his party would continue to undertake social service activities and also launch campaign against drugs, social evils and female foeticide.

On this occasion, more than 50 poor students were given school bags and books by the club. A team of doctors, led by Dr Balwinder Singh from the Civil Hospital, Fatehgarh Sahib, was present at the camp. More than 100 units were donated to the hospital.


Ambedkar’s birth anniversary celebrated
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 14
The 113th birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar was celebrated with great enthusiasm at a Dalit dharamshala in Mundi Kharar, near here, today.

The function was organised by the Dr Ambedkar Bhalai Manch. Prof Bhajan Kaur of the Law Department, Panjab University, Chandigarh, was the chief guest.

Speaking on the occasion she said in order to save democracy in the country it was necessary to move on the path shown by Dr Ambedkar.

Dr Kirpal Singh, president of the manch, said in a democratic country it was essential that everybody got equal rights to prosper.

The SC/ST cell of the Punjab Youth Congress also organised a function in connection with the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar at Khanpur village today.


Ambedkar was a visionary, say experts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 14
A function was held at Guru Nanak Dev University in connection with the birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar here today.

Besides the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, Dr G.K. Sabharwal, ADC, Mr R.C. Jaswal, Chief Engineer (border zone), PSEB, Dr Jasbir Singh Sabar, Dr Rattan Singh and Mr Sohan Lal Amrohi presented their views on the life and philosophy of Dr Ambedkar.


DSP among 5 hurt in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 14
DSP Phagwara, Jaspal Singh was among five persons who were injured when the vehicle in which they were travelling met with an accident and overturned near Baghapurana last night. They were on their way to Bathinda. The wife, son and daughter of the DSP and the driver of the vehicle also sustained minor injuries. Jaspal Singh and the other injured were first hospitalised at Baghapurana but were discharged after treatment.


2 killed, 13 hurt in accidents
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 14
Two persons were killed and 13 pilgrims bound for Khadoor Sahib injured in separate accidents today.

The driver of a three-wheeler, Chintamani, was crushed to death near Kirpalpur Colony on the Phagwara-Jandiala road when the vehicle was hit by a private bus. He was a migrant and an employee of a gas agency. A 55-year-old person was run over by a train, near here, in another accident.

Meanwhile, 13 pilgrims were injured when their tractor-trailer was hit by a bus, causing it to overturn near Sapror village on the GT road.


One killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 14
One person was killed in an accident near Daon village last night.

According to the police, Darshan Dass, died on the spot when he was hit by a car near the Chawla petrol station on the highway. The victim was employed at the petrol station.

A case has been registered against the car driver, Mohan Lal, a resident of Kharar, under Sections 279 and 304A of the IPC.


DC’s office staff to hold gate rally
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 14
The Bathinda district unit of the Punjab State District Office Ministerial Services Union will hold an agitation tomorrow in protest against the deployment of Class-III employees on telephone operator duty at the camp office by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K.A.P. Sinha.

Mr Vijay Kumar Goyal, president of the union, in a press note here today said union members would observe a pen-down strike tomorrow and would wear black badges against Mr Sinha’s orders.


Early summer may not affect wheat yield
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Early onset of summer may not affect the total yield of wheat in Punjab this year. The procuring agencies are all to set procure a record 90-95 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and the process is likely to be completed by the third week of April.

According to government sources, various mandis in the state where procurement was on have recorded the arrival of nearly 50 lakh metric tonnes of wheat till today as against 2.86 lakh metric tonnes last year. Due to a hotter March this year, the arrival of wheat in the mandis not only started two weeks in advance, but it will also finish earlier than previous years.

As per available figures, Patiala still maintains its pre-eminent position when it comes to the production of wheat, with over 10 lakh metric tonnes already having arrived in mandis in the district. It is followed by Ludhiana (6.5 lakh MT) and Ferozepore (6.2 lakh MT).

Already, about 50 per cent of the expected arrival has come to the mandis. Earlier, they would be busy taking their produce to the mandis till the first week of May.

Experts say while production of wheat has not been hit due to the high temperature, the quality of the crop is certainly going to be poor due to pre-mature ripening. In certain belts, particularly in Malwa, which comprises Bathinda, etc, the wheat is stated to have shrivelled due to the excessive heat. Against expected 45 quintals per hectare the yield according to the Punjab Agriculture Department would be between 42-43 quintals per hectare. The yield last year was 42 quintals per hectare.

Climate was good till the end of February, but relatively high temperatures in March led to ripening of wheat crop well before time. But, experts say, the production is likely to be the same as it was last year.


3 teenagers booked for raping minor
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 14
Three teenagers identified as Rinku, Gurpreet Singh and Nikka, all residents of Kathunangal under Majitha police district, have been booked by police for allegedly raping a minor on April 12.

However, a case was registered today under Sections 376, 506 of the IPC at Kathunanagal police station after a complaint was lodged by the victim. Mr Jarnail Singh, SHO of the police station, said medical tests had been conducted and reports had been sent to Patiala for examination. He, however, denied any arrest so far.

The victim had alleged in the statement that her neighbour Rinku had raped her when she had gone to their house on Tuesday. She said suspect muffled her face and took her to a haveli forcibly. She alleged that the other two suspects also raped her the next day.


Two injured in attack at Kharar
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 14
Two persons were injured when they were allegedly attacked by youths near the Civil Hospital here last night. The injured persons, Mr Paramvir Singh and Mr Balraj Singh, were taken to the hospital.

According to the police, Mr Paramvir Singh and Mr Balraj Singh, were coming back around 11 p.m. from a mela organised by the Municipal Council in connection with Baisakhi. Their neighbour, Mr Shiv Kumar, was also with them. When they reached near the hospital, which fell on the way, they saw some youths standing there allegedly armed with a sword, a hockey stick and metal rods.

It is alleged that Harmandeep and Navjeet Singh, two youths, attacked Mr Paramvir Singh with hockey stick and a sword. When Mr Balraj Singh and Mr Shiv Kumar tried to intervene, Mr Balraj Singh was also allegedly beaten up and injured. However, it is not clear why these two persons had been attacked. It is alleged that there were some more boys accompanying Harmandeep Singh and Navjeet Singh, but they could not be identified. The police has registered a case.


Row over employee’s re-appointment
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 14
The re-appointment of an ad hoc employee of Guru Nanak Dev University, who was allegedly involved in the opening of fire on a student on the varsity premises during examination, has raised many an eyebrow.

Though the re-appointment of the junior technician in the Department of Pharmaceutical Science was reportedly opposed by the Registrar, the authorities allegedly agreed to accommodate him under political pressure. At least two FIRs are pending against him in different cases.

The university authorities did not listen to the advice of the department concerned that the employee could neither be re-appointed nor given an extension as the qualification for the post had been upgraded. With a view to adjusting him, the university formed a committee comprising the Registrar, the Dean Students Welfare and the security officer. Though initially the Registrar had reportedly declined to sign the paper recommending the re-appointment, he had to relent later.

Mr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, said the adjustment of the employee was made subject to the decision of the court. He said the employee would be shunted out if the court verdict went against him.

The report of the high level committee admitted that the employee was placed under suspension after he was found involved in a clash on the campus. In the normal course, an ad hoc employee is sacked from service in case of criminal activities.

The Head of the Department was reportedly pressured to give a positive report about the employee.

The inquiry committee has recommended that the employee should be directed to furnish affidavits that his services would automatically be terminated if he is indicted by the court. He has also been directed to furnish an affidavit, stating that his services would be immediately terminated if he was found involved in criminal activities.

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