P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



BJP ex-chief Sodhi in Congress fold
Tribune news service

Amritsar, April 23
Giving a boost to the election campaign of the Congress in Amritsar , former state BJP chief Daya Singh Sodhi and former MLA Ranjit Singh today joined the Congress in the presence of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and PPCC chief H.S. Hanspal here today.

Though Mr Sodhi claimed that he had joined the party without any precondition, the Chief Minister promised to adjust him by giving him an honourable position on the basis of his ‘seniority’. After paying obeisance at Golden Temple and Akal Takht, Mr Sodhi would launch the campaign in favour of Mr R.L. Bhatia tomorrow. Certain senior officers of the district administration helped in arranging the press conference in violation of the model code of conduct.

Capt Amarinder Singh evaded a direct question as to why Mr Om Parkash Soni, local MLA and Chairman of Punjab Agro, was not campaigning for Mr Bhatia. He claimed that Mr Soni would start campaigning in the coming days and there was no question of taking any action against him. Mr Soni, who had joined the Congress as associate member, had been at loggerheads with Mr Bhatia for a long time.

Mr Sodhi dubbed the RSS and the BJP as parties of dictators which had shunned their ideology. He alleged that the present leadership of RSS and the BJP was ‘worst’ and devoid of direction and ideology.

Mr Sodhi said he was not a turncoat and had left the party after facing humiliation. He said the party’s rank and file had been upset when Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu was given the ticket from Amritsar. He alleged that Mr Sidhu was not familiar with the lanes and mohallas of Amritsar.

Mr Sodhi absolved the Congress of the responsibility for Operation Bluestar. He said everybody knew who was responsible for it.


Resignations rattle BJP, SAD
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The SAD-BJP combine has become a bit nervous as two of its senior leaders — Mr Daya Singh Sodhi and Mr Charanjit Singh Walia — have joined hands with the ruling Congress Party in Punjab. In fact, the two major jolts to the combine in the form of resignation by Mr Walia and Mr Sodhi in the past 48 hours have rattled the top echelons of the combine.

Mr Walia, a former Akali MP, has been a trade union leader all his life. He has good influence in Patiala belt and also in other parts of the state. Earlier also, Mr Walia has been very close to Capt Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister. In fact, after quitting the SAD in 1997, Capt Amarinder Singh had campaigned in 1997 for Mr Walia, who had contested as an Independent candidate in Dakala constituency against Mr Harmel Singh Tohra.

Mr Sodhi, a former President of the Punjab unit of the BJP and a former MP, has good influence in Amritsar city. Obviously, the BJP has paid a heavy price by denying Mr Sodhi the party ticket for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.

Top leaders of the Punjab BJP have taken up the matter with the party high command, including the BJP President, Mr Venkaiah Naidu and National General Secretary, Mr Sanjay Joshi.

Bibi Gurcharan Kaur, Senior Vice-President of the Punjab unit of the BJP said that the quitting of the party by Mr Sodhi was a most unfortunate development.

Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, General Secretary of the Punjab BJP, said he was in touch with the party high command and apprising it about the latest political developments in the state.

Commenting on the quitting of Mr Walia, a senior Akali leader said that the party’s problems in Patiala were multiplying. Earlier, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra had openly expressed his anguish for not being given the party ticket for the Patiala constituency.

On the other hand the Congress has started presenting a united face. All its top leaders, who have been fighting among themselves a few months ago, were together yesterday when Mrs Preneet Kaur, party candidate, filed her nomination papers at Patiala.


Chandumajra attends Kanwaljit’s rally
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 23
Senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and former Patiala MP Prem Singh Chandumajra was present at the rally organised here today as a prelude to the filing of nomination papers by its Patiala candidate Kanwaljit Singh.

Mr Chandumajra had earlier virtually revolted against the party when he was ignored for the Patiala ticket. He had been keeping away from Capt Kanwaljit Singh’s campaign till now and there was speculation that his supporters were siding with the Congress.

Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s widow Joginder Kaur was not present. Her message was read by her son-in-law Harmel Singh Tohra. Blessing the candidature of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, it said it was the late leader’s last desire that the Congress be routed in these elections.

Mr Chandumajra said he had received two telephone calls from SAD President Parkash Singh Badal, asking him to attend the rally.

He said apparently Mr Badal was confused about his stand after the switching over of loyalties by former SAD MP Charanjit Singh Walia to the Congress yesterday.

He admitted that he had been disappointed he was overlooked for the party ticket from Patiala. “Asking for the party ticket is a right, but there is no question of going against the party”, he added.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh maintained that his fight against Ms Preneet Kaur was not only a political one. He said he was fighting for the rights of farmers, government employees, businessmen and Dalits.

Capt Kanwaljit claimed that the Congress government had not provided any employment to the people of the state. He said the Patiala constituency, which was industrially backward, had not seen any new industry.


Kanwaljit declares his, wife’s assets
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 23
The SAD candidate from Patiala and former state Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, filed an affidavit today before the Deputy Commissioner and Returning Officer, Mr Tejveer Singh, in which he gave details of his assets and those of his wife, Ms Sarabjit Kaur, his covering candidate.

According to details, Capt Kanwaljit Singh stated that he was an income tax payee and had Rs 73,000 in cash while his wife had Rs 47,000.

His deposits in various banks and financial institutions were Rs 40,313 (SBI, Civil Secretariat, Chandigarh), Rs 26,261 (SBoP, High Court branch, Chandigarh) and Rs 33,127 (HUF account, HDFC Bank, Chandigarh).

His wife had Rs 1.39 lakh as fixed deposit receipts in SBoP, Sector 22 branch, Chandigarh, while her other deposits were Rs 89,003 (PSB, Chandigarh), Rs 48,961 (UBI, Chandigarh), Rs 70,000 (PNB, Chandigarh) and Rs 27,000 (Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, Chandigarh).

While Capt Kanwaljit Singh did not have any bonds, his wife had invested Rs 1.20 lakh in Birla mutual bonds.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said he owned a 1983-model Ambassador car, valued at Rs 20,000, and a 2000-model Nexia car, worth Rs 1.20 lakh. He also had 10 gram gold while his wife possessed 890 gram gold worth Rs 5.25 lakh.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said he owned ancestral land in Salana Jeonsinghwala village, valued at Rs 5 lakh, and a plot worth Rs 52.20 lakh, is in his native village Kishanpura in Dera Bassi tehsil. His wife owned agricultural land at Kishanpura village, with its value pegged at Rs 21.60 lakh.

The SAD candidate said he and his wife owned a one-third share, worth Rs 41.82 lakh each, in a flat in AP Khel Gaon Marg in New Delhi. Among other properties in his name were SCO 3031, Sector 8, Chandigarh, and Shop No. 25, Grain Market, Amloh. He pegged the value of his Sector 9 house in Chandigarh at Rs 20 lakh.



Kanwaljit betrayed Banur: Preneet
Tribune News Service

Lalru, April 23
Mrs Preneet Kaur, Congress candidate for the Patiala seat, today accused the Badal government of doing nothing to develop the Banur area, part of the Patiala parliamentary constituency, despite ruling the state for five years.

Addressing an election rally here, Mrs Preneet Kaur said Banur was represented by Capt Kanwaljit Singh of SAD who was also the Finance Minister in the Punjab Government. But he had failed to get anything done for the area. This was the betrayal of the confidence reposed in him by the people of Banur. She said it was because of the wrong policies of the SAD that more and more people were quitting that party and joining the Congress.

She promised to get special projects, including provision of drinking water, drainage system, medical facilities and veterinary hospital for the area.



Badal woos urban voters
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 23
The Shiromani Akali Dal supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has started visiting urban areas in Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar, Moga, Ferozepore and Faridkot districts to campaign for SAD-BJP candidates.

Mr Badal addressed 10 election meetings indifferent residential areas of the town yesterday.

While addressing a late night election meeting at Model Town, Mr Badal pointed out, “Anjaan driver gaddi da pahle maur te hi accident kar dinda hai ate jaankar driver sawarian nu manjil te laike janda hai”. (A person who does not know how to drive causes an accident at the first road bend while a good driver takes the passengers to their respective destinations”. He was talking in context of the Prime Minister.

He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to do anything except harassing the people. The Chief Minister had also failed to bring funds from the Centre, he added.

Interestingly, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, former Akali minister, was not allowed to address the gathering despite the fact that the function was organised in the locality he lives in.


BSP to take revenge on BJP, says Mayawati
Tribune Reporters

Phagwara, April 23
BSP president Mayawati declared at an election rally here today that on coming to power, she would teach the BJP a lesson and take revenge on it for implicating her in the Taj corridor case.

Scotching rumours that the BSP could enter into a post-poll alliance with the BJP, she said how she could shake hand with a party that had ordered
CBI search of her house
at a time when BSP founder Kanshi Ram was struggling for life and when four states were going to elections.

She counted her achievements as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. She called upon the gathering to vote for Mr Pawan Kumar Tinu and Mr Devi Dass Nahar, BSP candidates from Phillaur and Jalandhar. She claimed that the base of the BSP had widened, while that of other political parties had narrowed down. She also had a dig at the road shows of Ms Sonia Gandhi and the rath yatra of Mr L.K. Advani. However, she did not say anything about Akalis.

She said the BSP was going it alone in the Lok Sabha poll not to benefit or harm anybody, but for its own benefit. “The BSP has fielded 325 Lok Sabha candidates in the country,” she said.

She denied that the BSP was casteist. Had it been so the BSP would not have given tickets to the upper caste candidates”, she said.

Mr Narinder Kashayap, BSP in charge (Punjab), Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, state convener, and Mr Pawan Kumar Tinu and Mr Devi Dass Nahar, BSP candidates from Phillaur and Jalandhar, respectively, also addressed the gathering.

AMRITSAR: Ms Mayawati today tried to woo minorities by giving call for a ‘natural alliance’, comprising other backward classes (OBCs), Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), besides other minorities, for enabling the BSP to emerge stronger and ensure the uplift of Dalits.

She was addressing a joint rally in support of candidates from Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur constituencies.

She said Dalits and other lower caste people could improve their economic and social condition only by acquiring political power and, therefore, they should channelise their energy to achieve this target.

HOSHIARPUR: Ms Mayawati also addressed a rally in support of BSP candidate Charanjit Singh Channi at Roshan Ground here. She alleged the BJP was trying to pressurise her through the CBI to get some political benefit in the Lok Sabha poll. She said she was not a coward and feared none. BJP had tried to implicate her in false Taj corridor case, but nothing was found against her.

Referring to her three-time regime in Uttar Pradesh, she said her government had provided employment to more than 50,000 Dalit youths. She said thousands of posts under the reservation quota were lying vacant under the Centre and the state governments. If the BSP became a shareholder in power, it would try its level best to get all these vacant posts filled, she added.

Ms Charanjit Singh Channi also addressed the gathering.


80 file nominations on last day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
On the last day of filing nominations, 80 candidates furnished their papers for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections from Punjab. The total number of candidates has now risen to 212. The scrutiny of papers will take place on April 24 and the last date of candidature withdrawal is April 26.

According to sources in the office of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Mr Kewal Krishan filed his nomination as an independent candidate from Gurdaspur, along with Mr Balkar of Shiv Sena Hindustani.

Mr Sanjeev Kumar of Democratic Congress Party filed his papers from Amritsar, along with Independent candidates Ramesh Talwar and Satpal. The other candidates include Raj kumar of the Indian National Congress (INC), Baldev Raj of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and JS Bal of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal (RRD).

Mr Babu Ram filed his papers as an independent candidate from Tarn Taran. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate Naresh Gujral again filed his nominations from Jalandhar, along with Mr Jiya Lal of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Mr Vinay Jallandhari of Shiv Sena Hindustani, Mr Vijay Kumar of Democratic Bharatiya Samaj Party, Mr Balkar Singh of Bharatiya Gaon Taj Dal party and Mr Rana Gurjit of INC. Independent candidate Kuldip Singh also filed his papers.

Ms Santosh Chaudhary and Ms Namita Chaudhary of INC filed their nomination papers from Phillaur, along with Mr Ram Lal of BSP, Mr Jagir Singh of Bharatiya Gaon Taj Dal Party and Mr Inder Iqbal Singh of SAD.

Mr Charanjit Singh of BSP filed his papers from Hoshiarpur, along with Ms Harjinder Kaur of SAD. Independent candidate Kuldip Rai also filed his papers from the constituency.

Independent candidates Surinder Singh, Daljit Kaur, Surjan Singh, Sucha Singh and Jarnail Singh filed their nomination papers from Ropar, along with Mr Lambar Dass of Bharatiya Gaon Taj Dal and Mr Bhag Singh of SAD.

Independent candidates Darshan Singh, Harbans Singh, Jarnail Singh, Gopal Krishan and Kanwaljit Singh filed their papers from Patiala, along with BSP candidates Hargopal Singh and Darbara Singh. The other candidates included Ranjit Kaur of Bharatiya Gaon Taj Dal, Gurbachan Singh of Samata Samaj Party, Mr Harnek Singh of New India Congress and SAD candidate Sarabjit Kaur. Capt Kanwaljit Singh filed two sets of papers as Independent and SAD candidate.

Independent candidates Daljinder Singh, Satnam Singh and Balwant Singh filed their papers from Ludhiana, along with Mr Balwant Singh and Mr Jagjit Singh of Lok Bhalai Party. Mr Sadho Singh of Samajwadi Party also filed his papers.

Independent candidates Daljeet Singh Malli, Mit Singh, Mohamad Samsadh, Baljinder Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Gurpreet filed their nominations from Sangrur.

SAD candidates Sarabjit Singh, Nripjit Kaur and Paramjit Kaur filed their nominations from Bathinda. The Independent candidates included Jasvir Singh, Kuljar Singh, Hari Singh and Mohinder Singh. Mr Gurnam Singh and Mr Karam Singh of BSP also filed their papers.

Independent candidates Gurpreet Singh, Siba Khan, Hardev Kaur, Sukhbir Singh Brar and Bishan Dass filed their nomination papers from Faridkot. The other candidates were Karan Brar and Karamjit Singh of INC, along with Pritam Singh of Republican Party of India, Rashterwadi party Ashok Sethi and Sant Ram of BSP.

Mr Jagmeet Singh and Mr Ripjit Singh of INC filed their papers from Ferozepore. The independent candidates include Sajwar Singh, Paramjit Singh and Ajay Daniel. Mr Muthra Dass of Proutist Sarv Samaj also filed his papers.


Beant Singh case accused misses poll bus
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
An alleged assassin of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, who is presently in Burail Jail here, wanted to file his nomination for the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency. He could not however, become a candidate, as he failed to complete the formalities by 3 p.m today when the filing of nominations ended.

Navjot Singh is one of the accused in the assassination of Beant Singh. Three of his co-accused, including Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora, had escaped from Burail Jail three months ago.

Sources in the electoral office said Navjot Singh had been allowed to file the nomination even while in jail. He was asked to send the duly filled form to the returning officer. Navjot Singh is booked under Section 268 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and as such he cannot be taken out of the jail.

It is learnt that Mr Tarlok Singh, father of Navjot Singh, took the nomination form from the office of the returning officer yesterday morning. Navjot’s lawyer, Mr N.S. Minhas, says Mr Tarlok Singh reached the jail around 12: 15 p.m. but the authorities kept the forms with them, saying Navjot could not go out of the jail and present himself before the returning officer. The jail authorities asked his father to seek permission.

Mr Minhas alleged that Navjot was “stopped” from filing his nomination. The officials could have allowed it in time. “The orders of the returning officer, allowing filing of nominations in the jail, were faxed to the jail authorities, and to us, after the time had elapsed,” Mr Minhas alleged.

The election authorities saying the fax was sent in time, deny this. Navjot decided to contest the poll at the last minute.

His lawyer and supporters should have known that the procedure in this case will be longer than normal and they should have started their work in advance, say the authorities.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the father of Navjot and his lawyer went to the office of the returning officer today. Sources in the electoral office said the forms never came back.


Channi, 2 others file nomination papers
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 23
Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, accompanied by Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri, state BSP president, Mr Bhagwan Singh and Mr Partap Inder Singh Phoolka, general secretaries of the state BSP, filed his nomination as BSP candidate from Hoshiarpur here today. After filing papers, Mr Channi took out a procession through the town to Roshan Ground, where a rally was organised.

Mr Harjinder Kumar accompanied by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, filed his nomination as Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate. Mr Kuldip Rai filed his papers as Shiv Sena candidate. With this, the number of candidates increased to 11 today.

In his affidavit, Mr Channi mentioned that he had Rs 80,000 in cash, Rs 9,39,870 in bank deposits and Rs 4,97,013 in provident fund and his wife had Rs 50,000 in cash, Rs 2,06,708 in bank deposits and Rs 18,500 in provident fund. He had UTI MEPUS of Rs 21,262, shares of various companies with Rs 74,06,500 and share application money of Rs 87,00,000. His wife had shares worth Rs 14,74,600 and share application money of Rs 2,30,000. He and his wife had LIC policies of Rs 2 lakh each.

He added that he had 11 trucks worth Rs 41,40,000 and a tractor trolley worth Rs 2.50 lakh. He had gold jewellery weighing 112.75 tola and silver weighing 8500 gram. His wife had gold jewellery weighing 157.30 tola and silver weighing 150 gram. He had capital investment of Rs 1,31,68,967 in various firms. His wife had capital investment of Rs 33,12,118 in various firms. He had silver utensils and coins etc of Rs 1 lakh, a share in Norther Carrier Private Limited for Rs 2.83 lakh, bank balance of Rs 5,812, Rs 95,000, as cash in hand and ornaments and jewellery worth Rs 32 lakh. He had agricultural land measuring 159 kanal having a current market value of Rs 80,00,000 and non-agricultural land measuring 24 marla and 20 marla having a current market value of Rs 23 lakh. He had commercial and residential buildings in Kolkata, New Delhi, Jalandhar and Shimla worth Rs 2,26,65,000. Mr Channi stated that he had residences at Jalandhar and in his wife’s name at New Delhi, with a current market value of Rs 2,16,91,000. He was a student of Bishop Cotton School in Shimla and did Senior Cambridge from Cambridge University in 1959.


Jagmeet Brar files papers as workers break furniture
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 23
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the allotment of party ticket to leaders allegedly involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots would have no bearing on the election result in Punjab as the Sikhs were intelligent enough to understand these matters. He was addressing a public rally at the historic Gurdwara Saragarhi in support of the Congress candidate from Ferozepore parliamentary constituency, Mr Jagmeet Brar.

Mr Brar escorted by party leaders today filed his nomination papers in the office of the returning officer, Mr Ranjit Singh. The overenthusiastic Congress workers even broke the doors and tables of the meeting hall in the DC office.

Calling the opinion poll as farce, the Chief Minister said Congress would grab all 13 Lok Sabha seats from Punjab. He further said Ms Sonia Gandhi would address public rallies at Doaba, Majha and Malwa belts on May 3. He added that all those officers who were being transferred on the directions of the Election Commission would be posted back to their place of postings after the Lok Sabha poll.

Mr H.S. Hanspal, PPCC, President, in his address said if voted to power their party would provide facilities to border area residents. Meanwhile, two senior BSP leaders Lal Singh Sulhani and Pooran Bhatti joined the Congress today along with their supporters.

Choudhary, Gujral file papers again
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 23
Mr Naresh Gujral, SAD nominee from Jalandhar, and Ms Santosh Choudhary, Congress nominee from Phillaur, filed fresh sets of papers with the district returning officer here today. On the last day of filing nominations, seven candidates filed papers from Jalandhar and six from Phillaur.

Mr Naresh Gujral and Mr Vijay Hans, Democratic Bhartiya Samaj Party nominee, submitted fresh sets of papers from Jalandhar. Others who filed papers were Mr Kuldip Singh (Independent), Mr Jia Lal as covering candidate for BSP candidate Devi Dass Nahar, Mr Vinay Jalandhari (Shiv Sena) and Mr Balkar Singh (Independent).

From Phillaur, Ms Santosh Choudhary and her daughter Namrata Choudhary (covering candidate) filed fresh sets of nomination papers. Others who filed papers were Mr Ram Lal, covering candidate for BSP nominee Pawan Tinoo, Mr Jagir Singh (Independent) and Mr Inder Iqbal Singh, covering candidate for SAD nominee Charanjit Singh Atwal.


7 more enter poll fray in Ropar
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 23
On the last day of filing nominations, seven candidates — the SAD (A) nominee, five Independents and one covering candidate — filed papers from Ropar today.

The first to file nomination today was SAD (A) nominee Bagh Singh. He was accompanied, among others, by the son Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Mr Mann Singh Mann. According to the affidavits filed along with the nomination papers, Mr Bagh Singh had no education qualification and owned assets worth about Rs 50 lakh.

The BSP candidate from the constituency, Mr Maan Singh, filed the affidavits regarding his assets before the returning officer. In contrast to the candidates of other parties who had assets worth crores, the BSP candidate, as per the affidavit, did not have a single penny. He declared he had just a Qualis worth Rs 5 lakh that was pledged to the BSP. The wife of the BSP candidate had a house worth Rs 15 lakh in her name.

The five Independents who filed their nomination papers today were Mr Sucha Singh Mador, Mr Savinder Singh Gulshan, Mr Lamba Das, Mr Surjan Singh Rahi, who was supported by the Akali Dal led by Mr Ravi Inder Singh, and Mr Jarnail Singh.

Mr Sucha Singh Mador, a resident of Mador village in Fatehgarh Sashib district, said the sole purpose of his contesting the elections was to ensure the defeat of the Congress nominee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo. 


Six more file papers from Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 23
On the last day of filing nominations, former minister Dr Baldev Raj Chawla filed his nomination as covering candidate for Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu of the BJP.

Others who filed papers today were Mr Harbans Lal (Samajwadi Party), Mr Sanjiv Kumar (Democratic Congress Party), Mr Ramesh Talwar (Ind), Mr Satpal Singh (Ind) and Mr J.S. Bal (Rashtriya Raksha Dal), raising the number of nominations to 17.

The number of nominations from Tarn Taran constituency rose to 12, with the filing of nomination by Mr Babu Ram (Ind).

The returning officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner took serious note of the violation of the model code of conduct by pasting of posters and putting up of banners and flags on a large scale last night.

This was done on the main chowks and roads, including Kichloo crossing, Circuit House crossing, Ajnala Road crossing, Rajasansi airport road and City Centre by the Bahujan Samaj Party.

He stated that the act was undertaken without the permission of the municipal corporation authorities and owners of private property.

A notice was issued by the returning officer to the district president of the BSP to file a reply by April 24 citing explanations for the violation. The returning officer warned him that in the event of the reply being unsatisfactory, strict action would be initiated against the party under Sections 425, 426, 427 and 433 of the IPC and Section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

He also asked the BSP party to get all posters, banners and flags removed.

Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu went on a campaigning tour. Addressing students of DAV College, he promised to endeavour to bring hi-tech education to the city through a national-level institute and assured them that while outsourcing of information technology and service sector jobs from the USA and Europe could not be curtailed, India was all set to become a technological giant.

He said cricket had provided him the skills to face various challenges in life. He also campaigned in Majitha, Kathunanagal, Verka and Chawindadevi and addressed corner meetings.


Karan Brar files papers, assets’ details
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 23
Despite the last-minute cancellation of the visit of the Punjab Chief Minister and PPCC President H.S. Hanspal here, senior Congress leaders and party workers from all nine Assembly constituencies of Faridkot, Moga and Muktsar districts accompanied Mrs Karan Brar, daughter-in-law of former Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar, during her filing of nomination papers here today.

In her two-page affidavits on her assets along with the nomination papers to Mr Hussan Lal, district returning officer, Mrs Brar disclosed that she had Rs 75,000 in cash, Rs 50,000 in bank, jewellery worth Rs 30 lakh, 18 acres in UP and other property amounting to Rs 30 lakh. Her husband’s total assets were about Rs 1.5 crore, she added. Earlier, she was brought to the office of the district returning officer in a procession.

Later talking to mediapersons at the residence of Mr Avtar Singh Brar, she promised to make efforts for the eradication of waterlogging and corruption.


12 in fray for Bathinda seat
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 23
With the process of filing of nominations for the Punjab Lok Sabha seats getting over today, as many as 12 candidates are in fray for the Bathinda (reserve) seat.

According to the information provided by the district election authorities, 15 candidates — 12 main candidates and three covering candidates — have filed nominations.

Mr Sarabjeet Singh, SAD (A), has took Mr Bhagwant Singh as his covering candidate.

Ms Paramjit Kaur, SAD (B), has taken Ms Nripjit Kaur, as her covering candidates. Similarly Mr Gurnam Singh, BSP candidate, has taken Mr Karam Singh as his covering candidate.

Interestingly, Mr Mohinder Singh, an independent candidate, has also been allotted the election symbol of the BSP (elephant). His name figured at number 15 in the list released by the authorities today.

Seven independent candidates — Mr Sham Lal, Mr Hair Singh, Mr Gurpreet Singh, Mr Gulzar Singh, Mr Jasvir Singh, Mr Bhagwant Singh (son of Mr Kartar Singh) and Mr Mohinder Singh — have also filed their nominations from the constituency.


Most-wanted terrorist’s village set to register record turnout
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Panjwarh (Tarn Taran) , April 23
There was a time when nobody ventured out to cast his vote during the general election (of February 1992) in the native village of Parmjit Singh Panjwarh, a self-styled chief of the Khalistan Commando Force, whose name figured among India’s 20 most wanted terrorists after an attack on Parliament.

Out of about 2,000 voters, only a former Lok Sabha Speaker and his wife, who had specially come from New Delhi to exercise their franchise, had cast their votes that year. At least 24 hard-core militants, including slain KCF chief Sukha Sipahi, also belonged to this village.

However, the villagers, especially the family members of Parmjit Singh Panjwarh, who has taken refuge in Pakistan, have now made up their mind to take active part in electioneering after wheat harvesting. This is a clear indication that the family has expressed full faith in the country’s democratic process by denouncing the cult of violence.

Sarbjit Singh, elder brother of Parmjit Singh Panjwarh, said despite being busy in wheat harvesting, his family, including his father Kashmir Singh, had been taking keen interest in electioneering. He, however, said the family would vote and support Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, who is contesting as a candidate of the SAD (Ravi Inder Singh).

Similar is the position of Manochahal — the native village of Gurbachan Singh Manochahal, a slain chief of the Bhindranwala Tiger Force, who was killed in a police encounter. This non-descript village of Majha region is likely to witness heavy turn out at the time of polling. The near and dear ones of the slain militant have been showing keen interest in electioneering.

As most of the farmers of these villages are still busy in harvesting wheat, the electioneering is likely to pick up in the coming days. The campaigning in these villages is a low-key affair as yet.

Many villagers of the area frankly speak about their political preferences. Mr Ranjot Singh, a panch of Chhotta Rattan Singh village, said he would vote for the SAD-BJP candidate as the alliance had done a lot for the farmers by providing free electricity and giving other benefits. However, Mr Joginder Singh, a resident of the same village, said he would vote for the Congress candidate though the state government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to come to their rescue after coming into power.

People may have liking for different political parties, but it is clear that this border constituency will witness hot electioneering in the areas where a call of the SAD to boycott elections had evoked a strong response in 1992.


EC wants Punjab to shift Bathinda DSP
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
In less than a month before the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission of India (EC) has reportedly asked the Punjab government to shift Bathinda’s Deputy Superintendent of Police Kant Singh. He was posted with the Vigilance Bureau. In another election related development, Patiala’s Inspector-General of Police Rajinder Singh today proceeded on leave.

The sources in the Punjab Home Department disclosed that the orders recommending the DSP’s transfer were received by the authorities here this afternoon. They added that his shifting orders were likely to be issued by the authorities concerned within a day or so.

Going into the background of the matter, the sources revealed that action was recommended against the DSP by the EC following election-related complaints by members of a political party. The complainants had reportedly expressed apprehension that the DSP would favour a rival party, the sources claimed.

Punjab’s Additional Director General of Police (Operations) Shashi Kant — in charge of the election cell — was not available for comments. The DSP, when contacted over the phone, expressed ignorance about the shifting orders and the complaint against him.

He, however, denied allegations of favouring any political party during the elections. “I have nothing to do with any political party or the elections,” he asserted. “I have been performing my duties diligently.”

Though the authorities refused to give details of Mr Rajinder Singh’s leave application, the sources revealed that the IGP had proceeded on three weeks leave.

The EC on Thursday had recommended the IGP’s transfer following complaints against him. Giving details, Deputy Election Commission A.N. Jha had revealed that the officer was being transferred from the post as he had failed to discharge his duty in a free and fair manner.

The sources added that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), in a complaint before the Election Commission, had alleged that the IGP was acting in a partisan manner.

They had further alleged that the IGP was a key person in the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh. He was also involved in the investigation of disproportionate assets case against Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family.

They also disclosed that the Commission has written to the state government for sending a panel of officers for posting at Patiala. It would be sent within a day or so, the sources asserted.


Observers review poll arrangements
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 23
District Returning Officer Ashok Gupta yesterday at a meeting of poll officials, including special poll observers, here yesterday, discussed poll arrangements.

All officials were told to ensure that the candidates should hold rallies after getting permission from the poll official concerned. Mr Yadavendra Datta Bankata, and Mr Tarun Kapur, poll observers (General) for Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat told officials even loudspeakers could not be used without permission. Mr Rajesh Tuteja, poll observer (Expenditure) stressed that candidates be told to maintain record of daily expenses which would be checked after every three days.

The officials were instructed to make it sure that liquor shops were closed on the polling and counting days and no candidate should serve liquor to voters.

Senior officials of the constituency, who attended the meeting, include Mr Rakesh Verma, DC Kapurthala and Mr GPS Bhullar, SSP, Jalandhar.


Observers seek report on SAD rally in Faridkot

Moga, April 23
The Election Commission observers for the Faridkot Lok Sabha constituency in Punjab have taken notice of a huge motorcade and holding of an election rally in front of the mini-secretariat here by SAD General Secretary and party candidate Sukhbir Singh Badal along with his father Parkash Singh Badal, leading to a traffic jam.

The three Observers — V.N. Garg, V.K. Singh and Kumar Sanjay — directed the Returning Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner Hussan Lal to submit his report along with the video film of the whole affair.

The Faridkot District Congress Committee has also videofilmed the whole affair and moved the Election Commission, alleging violation of the Model Code of conduct by the Akali leaders. — UNI


Returning officer orders impounding of 41 vehicles
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 23
The returning officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate, Faridkot, has asked the SSPs of Moga, Muktsar and Faridkot districts to impound 41 vehicles following the violation of the Model Code of Conduct during a procession taken out by M Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD general secretary, on the eve of filing of nomination papers here on April 21.

In a press note issued here today, the returning officer said he was informed by one of the observers that a convoy of vehicles of Mr Badal’s supporters was seen coming towards the office of the returning officer, thus violating the Model Code of Conduct.

The assistant returning officer-cum-Faridkot SDM was asked to probe the matter, who later confirmed that there was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.


Rivals assault Youth Cong chief
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 23
The ongoing tussle over the presidentship of the District Youth Congress (DYC) took an ugly turn today when the newly appointed DYC chief, Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Sethi, was beaten up by his rivals in front of the Congress Bhavan here.

The incident took place in the afternoon. A function was being held in the Congress Bhavan in support of the party nominee, Mr Rana Gurjit Singh.

Mr Sethi was informed by someone that one of his friends wanted to see him outside the Bhavan. As soon as he came out, a group of about 12 unidentified youths attacked him and beat him up. He fell on the road and was kicked several times in the abdomen. His cloths were torn and his turban also came off. He, however, managed to escape from the clutches of the attackers.

The incident led to a panic among the party workers and leaders inside the Bhavan. There remained a complete chaos for about 10 minutes and party activists were seen rushing outside the bhavan.

Though the attackers were yet to be identified, sources said the attack was pre-planned. “It was an attempt by rival Youth Congress leaders, who were demanding removal of Mr Sethi from the post, to disrupt the function,” they said.

A delegation of the Youth Congress leaders, led by former DYC chief Rajinder Raja, had met in charge, Punjab Congress Affairs, Ms Mohsina Kidwai, during her last visit to the city to seek removal of Mr Sethi. The issue has now snowballed into a big controversy as Mr Raja is reportedly being supported by a local Congress minister in his move to take over the reins of the youth Congress.

The district police chief, Mr G.P.S.Bhullar, however, said no complaint about the incident had been received so far.


Arvind, Sukhbir hid facts on assets: Mann
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 23
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD candidate from Faridkot, and Mr Arvind Khanna, Congress candidate from Sangrur, have concealed facts regarding their assets from the Election Commission and the commission should order an inquiry into the facts declared by them in the affidavits filed along with their papers.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Akali Dal (Amritsar) President, alleged this while talking to mediapersons here today. He was here to address a rally in favour of his party candidate from Ropar, Mr Bagh Singh Surtapur.

Mr Mann said it was surprising that Mr Badal owned just an old tractor worth Rs 1 lakh while he always travelled in Mercedes Benz cars. He said Mr Khanna, who had been listed by Forbes magazine among the 10 richest Indians, had declared property worth just a few crores though his limousines were worth crores. Since the candidates had concealed facts, the Election Commission should order an inquiry and reject the papers of the candidates found guilty, Mr Mann said.

Mr Mann criticised SAD President Parkash Singh Badal for extending support to the BJP candidate from Hoshiarpur, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna. He alleged that Mr Khanna and member of his family had distributed sweets when Indira Gandhi ordered an attack on Golden Temple.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh, leader of another Akali Dal group, while talking mediapersons here later, demanded an inquiry into the sources through which Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal had acquired assets worth crores declared by him along with his papers. Mr Badal had never worked in an organisation and had not done business from which he could have earned crores, Mr Ravi Inder Singh said, adding that Orbit Resorts, in which Mr Badal had invested, was yet to yield profits.


CM misleading people on loan waiver, says Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 23
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, yesterday said that Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, was “misleading” the people of Punjab by saying that the Union Government had not waived the loan, of crores, advanced to the Punjab Government as special term loan in 1985-1993 to curb militancy.

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, Mr Dhindsa said Capt Amarinder Singh was issuing such statements due to Lok Sabha elections.

He also stated that former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral had already made it clear that entire loan had been waived by the Centre.

Mr Dhindsa said the letter shown to the Press by Capt Amarinder Singh stating that the Union Government had granted a moratorium from 2000 upto 2005 on the repayment of the principal amount and the interest, was an old one.

Mr Dhindsa said district unit of the SAD was united House and all groups of the SAD were present at the rally.

He said Mr Baldev Singh Mann, Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, Mr Parkash Chand Garg, Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachi and others were present at the rally at the time of filing nomination by him. 


Ubboke to support Dr Ajnala
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 23
Mr Major Singh Ubboke the former SAD MP has decided to support Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala SAD candidate for here.

Mr Ubboke addressing a gathering on the opening of election office of Dr Ajanala yesterday here declared support official SAD candidate from here. Mr Ubboke added that he had suggested to Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur rebel SAD candidate, from this seat not to revolt against the party but get justice by remaining in the party.

Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Mr Harmit Singh Sandhu, Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike, Mr Manjit Singh (all MLA’s), and Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke acting SGPC chief were among the speakers.

The SAD leaders criticised the style of functioning of the state government. Mr Anil Kumar Joshi BJP leader, too declared to support to the SAD candidate from here.


Political parties seek panels for enforcing code
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 23
A section of representatives of different political parties has urged the Deputy Commissioner-cum-returning officer to constitute committees at grassroots level to ensure the implementation of the model code of conduct.

In a press note issued here today, the District Public Relations Officer (DPRO), Bathinda, said the demand was raised by the representatives of various political parties at a meeting held by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, here late last evening. All three observers Sudhir Parshad, Manoj Kumar Srivastva and G.S. Heera and SSPs, Bathinda and Mansa districts also attended the meeting. The Deputy Commissioner of Mansa, Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhry, was also present.

Mr Heera pointed out that as per code of conduct each candidate could spend Rs 25 lakh on election activities. He added that each candidate would have to register daily expenses with the expenditure observer.

Mr Sinha pointed out that only three vehicles could be used for campaigning.

He said all candidates would be given training for using electronic voting machine.


Shiv Sena to back BJP candidates
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 23
The Shiv Sena will support BJP candidates from Punjab. Stating this here today, Mr Ravinder Arora, president of the Shiv Sena’s state unit, and Mr Satish Jain, prospective nominee from Gurdaspur, said at a press conference that following the directions of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, the state unit of the party had decided not to field any candidate from the state.

Mr Arora said following the directive, Mr Jain did not file his nomination. He was set to file his papers today.

Welcoming the decision, BJP candidate and Union Minister of State for External Affairs Vinod Khanna extended his gratitude to Mr Thackeray and Shiv Sena President Uday Thackeray.


Boycott poll, appeals human rights group
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 23
The Punjab Human Rights Committee, a non-government organisation, today appealed to voters to boycott the Lok Sabha elections to protest against the unannounced and unscheduled power cuts and inadequate water supply in the town for the past many days.

Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, general secretary of the committee, in a press note issued here, said though all candidates had been promising paradise to voters, none of them had uttered a word in connection with the difficulties being faced by the residents on account of power cuts and shortage of potable water.

He alleged that the moment elections were over, almost all candidates used to forget the promises made to the people during the elections. He added that some promises were beyond the capacity of the Prime Minister to fulfil.

He said no elected representative had raised his voice against the menace of stray animals, which had been destroying crops and causing road accidents. He added that no representative had spoken in connection with the ‘road scandal’ in the town.

He pointed out that most candidates had been trying to fool the people in the name of their fathers, husbands and relatives. He said due to these reasons, the committee had issued an appeal to the voters to boycott the elections.


Poll days dry days

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 23
To ensure free, fair and peaceful Parliamentary elections on May 10 and 13 have been declared dry days. 

On these days all liquor shops in the district would remain closed. Besides this the sale and storage of liquor has been banned in hotels, restaurants, clubs, pubs and ahatas in the district. OC


News Analysis
How people view Parliament elections
by P.P.S. Gill

Chandigarh, April 23
This is one parliamentary election which is “ideology neutral” and in which no political party has any “meaningful agenda”. This election has come at a time when people in Punjab have lost hope and are circumspect if any political party will or can deliver goods or play an effective role in New Delhi to rejuvenate the state’s economy.

If the people in the state are fed up with the uncouth behaviour of the police, problems that beset agriculture and industry are serious and solutions complicated.

If the present election is different from the assembly election of 2002 and parliament election of 1999, the people are indifferent to the election. If the 2002 election had corruption as its theme, the 1999 election saw the evolution of a new political coalition system in New Delhi.

Coming two years after the state assembly elections of 2002, there is nothing to cheer about the performance of the present government that would be of electoral advantage to the ruling Congress. Equally pertinent is the question if the Opposition, the SAD-BJP combine will succeed in converting the prevailing “hopelessness” into votes.

This is the general perception of political observers, including Prof Harish Puri, former Professor of Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

During interaction with a cross-section of voters in different constituencies in Majha, Doaba and Malwa, it was observed that all-India poll factors at play contributed only in a small measure to make the voters “feel good” in Punjab. Their suffering was much more than, perhaps, the politicians realised, remarked Prof Puri.

Interestingly, what eventually enables a voter to vote is the “availability and accessibility” of the candidate, when faced with police-related needs and problems or at the time of social occasions, marriage or death. Whether the candidate would be of help in getting a job for an idle son or daughter also matters to a voter, so does the consideration, if the elected person would stand besides him, when it comes to dealing with the spoil systems at the cutting edge of the administration, particularly at the local thana or tehsil level.

A changing perception noted during the tour of constituencies was that political analyists and voters felt that the old concept of “vote bank” was gradually disappearing. No clear cut picture could be formed as to how a particular brand of vote bank would act or react in a given situation. Yet, politicians vie with each other to seek help of cast and community leaders.

It seems that needs of the people are frugal. All they ask for is “affordable, quality service in education and health delivery system, pothole-free roads, safe drinking water, stable electricity supply sans outages and unscheduled power cuts, proper civic amenities, sewerage system and hygienic disposal of garbage.”


We were made to dance at parties, say girl students
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 23
Giving a new twist to the Indian Medical Institute and Charitable Hospital case, 13 of its girl students, who had left the institute in February in protest against their alleged harassment at the hands of its director and the Principal, today alleged the district police had been a mute spectators to the whole show and that it not only failed to provide justice to them, but also to register a case against those running the college.

Meanwhile, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, said the ongoing probe into the case by DSP Charanjit Singh would be assigned over to an officer of the rank of an SP. The girls said after they came to know that the institute was not registered with any university, they were no harassed but, also subjected to physical advances by the sons of the director. They even made them dance in their private parties and functions. They alleged that despite complaint to the SSP on February 20 and the subsequent orders for a probe by DSP Charanjit Singh, nothing had moved ahead.

“They have failed to even register a case against the college heads. During all this period, the DSP has been asking the college management to return our certificates, but even that has not materialised so far,” said Mandip Kaur, who has been a student of the general nursing and midwifery course at the institute. Mandip Kaur, a resident of Maloya in Chandigarh, said girls felt frightened as the people running the college were very influential.

Now we have no other alternative, but to speak out everything, Mandip said. Apart from their money, the college officials were not even returning their original certificates and personal belongings, she alleged.”

Two sons of the director Mr Kulbhushan Jain, have been forcing us to dance at their parties, mostly during polio camp days. At hostel, about 12 girls were forced to live in a small room,” said Harpreet. “We had taken admission in the college after reading an advertisement in the newspapers. Later, we found that the college was not affiliated or registered with any university or government institution. It has no hospital either,” she said.

A married student from Batala and her sobbing mother said they were too poor to bear the loss of Rs 58,000 which they had paid to the college as fees.”

Mr Kulbhushan Jain, Director and his sons could not be contacted for comments despite repeated efforts. The persons who picked up the phone at two different numbers mentioned at the front page of the institute prospectus, said neither Mr Jain nor his sons were available.

Mr Manav Jain, Principal, had, however, earlier refuted the allegations and asserted that their college was registered with the Andhra Pradesh Nursing Council, affliated to the Indian Nursing Council.

Mr Gurpreet Bhullar, SSP, however, said the ongoing probe would be transferred from the DSP to an officer of the rank of an SP. “I will personally supervise the case and ensure justice to the girls,” said Mr Bhullar.


Ammo depot shifting in spotlight again
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, April 23
Residents here are facing eviction, as notices have been issued by the Army authorities to those living within the 1000 yard radius of the Mamun ammunition depot. The issue has generated a lot of political heat, particularly when the parliamentary elections are only a fortnight away. Both Congress and the BJP is trying to derive as much political mileage out of it as possible.

The Mamun ammunition depot is one of the largest ones and caters to the needs of the Northern Command.

The Army authorities, which woke up quite late to the problem, issued the notices, asking the residents to raze their houses. The notices were issued under the Works of Defence Act, 1903. This has shocked people who have invested crores of rupees in the construction of their houses.

The depot when it was set up was outside the town.

But with the town expansion it has come within the town area, thus posing a threat to the local population.

However, Congress candidate from the Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency, Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder does not seem to agree. She said, “I do not favour the shifting out of the depot. It concerns the defence of the country. We cannot compromise our security”. At least those living already there should not be made to vacate, she observed.

A former minister and senior party leader, Master Mohan Lal, said, BJP would resolve the issue through consensus which would be within the legal framework and acceptable to both the defence authorities and the public.


Farmers told to put up black flags
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The Movement Against State Repression (MASR), a non-government body of Punjab, has urged farmers to put up black flags in their villages and the rooftop of their houses during the run-up to the parliamentary elections in the state in order to draw the attention of the government to their “pitiable plight”.

Talking to mediapersons here today, the MSR convener, Mr Inderjit Singh Jaijee and Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) chief, Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retd), said that growing rural debt was making farming an unremunerative proposition for farmers, forcing them to commit suicides in increasing numbers. Mr Jaijee claimed in two blocks of Lehra and Andana alone in Sangrur district of Punjab, nearly 200 suicides by farmers had been reported since March 31, 2001. Suicides had also been reported from the comparatively better off regions of Majha and Doaba.

Mr Jaijee and Justice Bains had been asking the Punjab Government to undertake a state-wide investigation into the suicide cases to understand the magnitude of the problem and take remedial measures. But so far there had no response from the government. Hence, the move to put up black flags by the villagers to force the government to sit up and take notice. These flags they said, would continue to be displayed even after the parliamentary elections.

They said that on account of the adequate monsoon of 2003, Punjab had seen a slight fall in suicide cases over recent months.

But it would be wrong to now turn away from the underlying problems in the belief that one good monsoon solved all the problems. Policies cannot be pinned on vagaries of weather.

They expressed the apprehension that a fall of up to 25 per cent in the yield of wheat crop due to the sudden rise in temperature in March and April in Punjab would lead to an increase in rural indebtedness and a spurt in the number of suicides by farmers. Mr Jaijee said that he had already written to the President of India drawing his attention to the plight of the farmers and calling for immediate remedial measures.


Protest against alleged police inaction
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 23
Members of the Kisan Mazdoor Mulazim Sangharsh Committee today took out a march to the Sadar police station here to express resentment over failure to arrest those who allegedly poisoned a woman to death on March 28. The police has so far arrested her husband only.

The members said Chanderkala, daughter of Prithvir Raj, of Raipura village, had been married to Om Parkash of Sherewala village. She used to complain about her in-laws maltreating her for insuffient dowry. Chanderkala was allegedly poisoned to death on March 28. Five persons had been named in the FIR.


Setback to efforts to pacify Divan factions
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 23
The efforts of Akal Takht to bring truce between the two warring groups of the Chief Khalsa Divan suffered a major setback when at least 50 members of the divan decided to lodge a strong protest with the Jathedar , Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, for the alleged injustice done by giving more representation to the ‘ankhi group’.

An emergency meeting held under the chairmanship of Giani Mohinder Singh , former SGPC secretary and general secretary of Sri Guru Singh Sabha criticised the Jathedar, Akal Takht, for ignoring the recommendations of the five-member committee, including two retired justices.

The meeting warned that interference by a senior functionary of the SGPC, who was working behind the scene, won’t be tolerated.


Earth Day observed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 23
The Amritsar chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) observed Earth Day by planting saplings at Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1 here yesterday.

Mr Harkamaljit Singh said in a press note that Dr Sukhdev Singh, state convener, INTACH, Mr Vasanta Raj Kumar, Divisional Forest officer and Dr A.K. Upadhaya, Principal of the school, jointly inaugurated the sapling plantation campaign.

Dr Sukhdev Singh said the trust would strengthen ‘heritage clubs’ in schools. It was also planning to establish a herbal garden in the botanical garden of the school, he added. Mr Vasant assured help to the trust in planting saplings. 


Senior citizen sits on dharna
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 23
Mr Lovinder Sood, 71, of Sirhind town sat on a dharna in front of the Municipal Council office here today.

Mr Sood said that he had been forced to sit on dharna as the council authorities had failed to direct a contractor to start the pavement work in his area. The pavements were dug out by the council contractor two months ago. He said heaps of sand and the stone crusher had caused many accidents. 

He said the council Executive Officer, Mr Balwinder Singh, had misbehaved with him. However, Mr Singh denied the charge. He said that he would continue with the dharna on Monday onwards from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


3 killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 23
Three persons — Chaturbuj Joshi (42), Pankaj Bhandari (33) and Pritpal Singh Singh (42) — residents of Amritsar, died on the spot and Sarabjit Singh (24) was injured when their Maruti car rammed into a tree near Thathiala Dhahan village on the Nawanshahr-Chandigarh road around 6.15 a.m. today. The injured was admitted to a hospital here.


Vidhan Sabha prorogued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The sixth session of the twelfth Punjab Vidhan Sabha, which was adjourned sine die at the conclusion of its sitting on March 16, has been prorogued by an order of the Governor, says a press release.


Scheduled water supply timings sought
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 23
The Democratic Citizens Forum has urged the Deputy Commissioner of Ferozepore to issue an administrative order for ensuring properly scheduled supply of drinking water to 1.25 lakh citizens here.

In a memorandum faxed to the Deputy Commissioner and the Chief Secretary, of Punjab today, the forum said scarcity of water in canals had hit consumers in urban and rural areas. No timings were fixed by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) for making potable water available to the residents because the Executive Engineer of (neither) the Irrigation Department nor the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) had bothered to coordinate in closing the canals and suspending electricity supply without notice.

The memorandum added that the PSEB must ensure the supply of electricity for 20 hours a day to ensure supply of drinking water by the PWSSB by rotation to different localities at fixed timings. There should be no change in the schedule without notice to the consumers. As some of the water reservoirs in the old waterworks had been damaged due to seepage, the Executive Engineer (Irrigation) should be directed to give sufficient time to the SDO of the PWSSB to fill all tanks before suspending supply.


Registration of migratory labourers ordered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 23
Mr K.A.P. Sinha, District Magistrate said today that as some migratory labourers working here had been indulging in criminal activities in this area, their employers would have to get them registered with the police.

Mr Sinha, in his orders pronounced under Section 144 CrPC, said all industrialists or the employers of the migratory labourers would not give employment to such labourers, who had not been registered with the nearest police station.

He said the employers would have to give the names and residential addresses of such labourers.

These orders would remain in force till June 19, 2004.


Man held for father’s murder
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 23
The district police yesterday claimed to have solved a blind murder case with the arrest of a son of the victim.

The police said a case under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC was registered on March 20 last on the complaint of Harbhajan Singh, who stated that the body of his brother Sadhu Singh bearing injuries inflicted with sharp-edged weapons, was recovered from fields in Madala Chana village.

During the course of investigation, the needle of suspicion pointed towards Gurbhej Singh, a son of the deceased, and questioning of the suspect led to the revelation that he had murdered his father, who had been spending the money earned from selling property on liquor, and had thrown the body in the fields.

During preliminary interrogation, he revealed that his father was an alcoholic and had been selling his land to buy liquor.

He added that on the evening of March 19, when Sadhu Singh went towards the fields, he followed his father and killed him with an axe.


3 Delhi residents killed in Kharar

Kharar (Punjab), April 23
Three members of a family of New Delhi were killed and five of them injured when their Maruti van had a head-on collision with a truck near Chanalon village, 8 km from here today on the National Highway No 21.

The police said that the deceased, including a five-month old girl, and the injured persons in the Maruti van were travelling from New Delhi to Garcha village in Nawanshahar district for attending a marriage.

Kamal Kumar of Sector 6, Pushp Vihar, New Delhi, who was driving the van, Sukhdev Singh and Harpreet Kaur of Street No 5, Safdarjang Road Enclave, New Delhi, who were sitting on the front seat, were killed on-the-spot, the police said.

Harinder Kaur and Harjit Kaur, sustained serious injuries and were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, in a critical condition. Pardeep Singh, Prabhjit Singh and Bakhshish Singh, sustained minor injuries and were discharged after first-aid from Kurali Civil Hospital (they all were members of a New Delhi family), and Kala Singh of Garcha village, sustained injuries. They were being treated at Kurali Civil Hospital.

The accident took place at around 3 pm when a truck, loaded with bricks and heading towards Kharar, collided head-on with the Maruti van, coming from the opposite direction.

The van was badly damaged in the collision, said sources at Kurali police station. A case under Sections 279, 337, 338, 427 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code had been registered against ‘unknown’ truck driver at Kurali police station. However, the accused driver escaped after leaving behind the truck. — PTI 


ETO arrested for graft

Gurdaspur, April 23
Batala’s Excise and Taxation Officer (ET0) Parveen Kumar was today arrested for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 15,000 in his office from Ashok Kumar, whose brick-kiln, situated outside Batala town, had been raided by the ETO in July, last year.

Punjab Vigilance Bureau sleuths, led by DSP Bakhshish Singh, laid the trap when Ashok Kumar told them that he had struck a deal for Rs 15,000 with the ETO as against Rs 25,000 demanded by him to get back his accounts book seized during the raid. — UNI


GND varsity professor gets Rs 1 cr project
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 23
A project worth over Rs 1 crore for conducting research ongenes responsible for causing inherited eye diseases has been granted to Prof Jai Rup Singh, coordinator, of the Centre of Genetic Disorders, Guru Nanak Dev University, under a multi-centric project, jointly funded by the government of India and Germany.

Under the “Indo-German cooperation on inherited eye diseases: identification of diseased genes and modifying factors” project, sanctioned by the Department of Biotechnology, Union Ministry of Science and Technology, the research would be carried out at three centres in India.

These include the Centre for Genetic Disorders, Guru Nanak Dev University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education and the Dr ALM PG Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chennai.

Two German centres — the Institute for Human Genetics, Humboldt University, Berlin, and the GSF Research Centre Institute of Developmental Genetics, Neuherberg — would also be involved in the project.

Out of the total cost, Rs 78.11 lakh will be contributed by India. Apart from this, the research at the Centre for Genetic Disorders will be supported by Germany by giving 15,000 Euros annually.

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