L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Hectic, chaotic day in city as campaigning ends
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

A labourer carries a loudspeaker on the concluding day of the election campaign
Last adieu: A labourer carries a loudspeaker on the concluding day of the election campaign in Ludhiana on Saturday. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Ludhiana, may 8
Campaigning for the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections came to a close today with the Congress, the Akali-BJP alliance, the Lok Bhalai Party and other independent MLAs organising impressive shows. With many VIPs descending on the city today, it was a hectic and chaotic day in Ludhiana.

While the Akali-BJP alliance candidate, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, could not have expected anything better, with the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, addressing his last campaign rally, the Congress candidate, Mr Manish Tiwari, also tried to put up an impressive show with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, himself leading a road show through different parts of the city.

And not to be left behind, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia of the Lok Bhalai Party, accompanied by popular Punjabi singer Harbhajan Mann also went around the city in an open jeep making a final appeal to the voters to get him elected. Some Independent candidates also organised road shows to impress upon the people to vote for them.

Accompanied by the Shiromani Akali Dal supremo and former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Vajpayee addressed an impressive rally on the Chandigarh road which was attended by thousands of people. Making a passionate appeal to the voters to give him another chance, he listed the achievements of his government in providing a good governance to the country.

In his usual style he made the audience laugh and cheer with him. He ridiculed the Opposition for trying to cobble out a majority out of nothing and also the mad race for the post of the Prime Minister. He praised the Punjabis for nationalism.

In order to counter the Prime Minister’s rally, the Congress organised a road show which was led by no less a person than the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, himself. The cavalcade of cars passed through different areas of the city where people greeted and cheered the Chief Minister and Mr Tiwari. The Chief Minister was stopped at several places where people shook hands with him and promised to send Mr Tiwari to Parliament with a massive lead.

Mr Ramoowalia, who had organised a high-pitched campaign all through, was accompanied by pop singer Harbhajan Mann. Standing in an open Gypsy he moved from place to place making a personal appeal to the voters.

The Bahujan Samaj Party candidate, Mr Rabinder Singh Sohal, Independent candidates Dr Janardhan Singh from Bihar and Dr Satnam Singh also tried to organise impressive shows to influence the voters.

With the outdoor campaigning having ended, the candidates have now started door-to-door campaigning.



CM’s road show leads to traffic blues
Tribune News Service

Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, waves to the crowd during a road show in Ludhiana on Saturday. Mr Manish Tiwari, candidate of the Congress
Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, waves to the crowd during a road show in Ludhiana on Saturday. Mr Manish Tiwari, candidate of the Congress, is also seen in the picture. — Tribune photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Ludhiana, May 8
Roads in the city were blocked today as the traffic had either been stopped or diverted due to the road show of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in support of party candidate from the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, Mr Munish Tiwari.

The road show of the Chief Minister, apparently organised at the eleventh hour, was aimed at countering the impact of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to the city where he addressed a massive public meeting in support of Akali-BJP alliance candidate, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon.

To ensure that the road show of the Chief Minister went off smoothly, the route through which the Chief Minister’s cavalcade was to pass, was sealed and secured much in advance. People remained struck for hours at various places. They were allowed to move only after the completion of the road show.

While roads in the interior of the city remained jammed for hours, those in the Civil Lines area remained deserted. Since the Chief Minister, along with the Rashtriya Janata Dal President, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, was scheduled to address a press conference at a hotel at Bhaiwala Chowk, no vehicle was allowed to move towards the Ferozepore road.

For several hours, it looked as if curfew had been imposed on the city. Even the pedestrian movement was restricted. This was more so as a number of people tried to reach the venue of the press conference to have a glimpse of the politician from Bihar.

Traffic police officials said they had an arduous task to perform. With so many VIPs in the city, besides handling traffic on the one hand, they had to face public wrath on the other hand. Traffic policemen were faced with protests and frowns from angry drivers who were made to travel at least 10 km more to cover a distance of less than 1 km. 



Laloo’s visit that wasn’t
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 8
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav failed to keep his date with Ludhiana, much to the disappointment of local Congress candidate Munish Tiwari. On the other hand, the Akali-BJP leaders alleged the Congress had deliberately created a hype about the visit of Mr Yadav, although there was no such programme.

The Akali-BJP leaders alleged that in order to sabotage the Prime Minister’s rally, the Congress leaders had announced that Mr Laloo Yadav would be addressing a public meeting at Sherpur Chowk only 1 km away from the venue of the Prime Minister’s rally. Mr Yadav was scheduled to address a press conference at 1 pm along with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who was also in the town.

Around 2 pm, the Chief Minster arrived at the venue and announced that Mr Yadav was late and would directly reach the rally venue. By that time, the word spread that Mr Yadav could not come as he was awaiting the decision of the Election Commission of India on the demand for countermanding the elections in Chhapra.



Poll hits work in govt offices
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 8
Work at the mini-secretariat, which houses the office of the Deputy Commissioner along with other government offices, has virtually come to a halt due to the Lok Sabha poll on Monday.

When this correspondent visited the place yesterday, the place did not present a hectic look as usual. The only activity that was noticeable was the movement of government cars coming in and out of the mini-secretariat.

Work at the local Municipal Corporation located near the Mata Rani chowk has also been affected as a large number of its employees have been deputed on election duty. Similarly, the Police Department has also deputed staff on election duty. Even the officers manning the prosecution cell housed in new courts complex have been put on election duty. With the result that the office, which is manned round-the-clock, has been locked . It would open only on Tuesday.

Even complainants visiting various police stations in the city are being told to come on Tuesday. Most of the city police was today busy making arrangements for Mr. Vajpayee’s visit tomorrow.



Dullo flays NDA policies
Our Correspondent

Amloh, May 8
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, a Congress candidate from the Ropar parliamentary constituency, has accused the NDA government at the Centre of discriminating against the Congress-ruled states in allocation of aid for development works.

Mr Dullo was speaking at an election meeting at Salana village, 5 km from here, recently. “It is the habit of the SAD leadership to cry hoarse over discrimination against the panth when it is out of power,” he said. Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, MLA, appreciated the policies of the state government. 



14 hurt in group clash at village
Jupinderjit Singh and Mahesh Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chhapar, May 8
A minor dispute between two brothers, Jarnail Singh and Dilip Singh, over a sewage drain led to two incidents of violence in this village and left 14 persons injured, besides causing tension among workers of different political parties here today.

A group belonging to Dilip Singh and carrying identity cards of a prominent political party, allegedly attacked the office of the Shiromani Akali Dal(Badal) to beat supporters of Jarnail Singh.

The attackers were later chased by a mob, comprising mostly villagers, which caught them near Daleej village and gave them a good thrashing. The Latala police, under the Jagraon police district, has booked these 12 persons under various sections. They have been arrested.

The dispute between the brothers took place in the morning when the two had a bitter argument over the issue of a sewage drain. The police was called, which directed both parties to maintain peace and reach the Latala police post in the afternoon for hearing.

Both brothers called in their supporters to prepare for the meeting at the police post. Two persons, Kuldip Singh Kippa and Tehal Singh, supporters of Jarnail Singh, were sitting in the SAD(Badal) election office in the village, when they were attacked by 12 persons of the opposite group.

The attackers were brandishing swords and rods and came in a Tata Sumo. They badly injured Tehal Singh, who is now battling for life in a hospital in Ludhiana. Kuldip Singh was also severely beaten up.

The villagers, however, gathered quickly and forced the attackers to flee. A mob followed the speeding Tata Sumo, which went off track and went into agricultural fields in Daleej village, where the mob overpowered them and beat them up. They were handed over to the police. The persons were badly injured and given treatment in a local hospital.

SSP Jagraon H.S. Bhullar said the incident took place because of a personal dispute and was not poll-related violence. He added that he had deployed additional force in the village.

The attackers booked by the police have been identified as Devinder Singh, Nonni (son of Dilip Singh), Devinder Singh alias Binder, Gurinder Singh, Sukhbir Singh, Jagmohan Singh, alias Gollu , Amrik Singh Laddi, Gurtej Singh, Gurcharan Singh Channi, Daljit Singh Deepa, Harpreet Singh Boparai, Amninder Singh Hassanpur and Parminder Singh Bassian. 



2 bogies of goods train derailed
Our Correspondent

Khanna, May 8
Two bogies of a goods train were derailed here early morning. A pointsman and a guard were suspended on charges of negligence of duty by higher officials of the Railways, who reached here to look into the matter.

According to the Station Superintendent, Mr Nathi Lal Namesh, at about 2.45 a.m., the goods train was to be shifted to mainline from the loopline but the pointsman failed to change the track and two bogies of the train were derailed. The higher officials of the railways were informed about the incident.



Assaulted complainant booked for eve-teasing
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, May 8
It reads like a hackneyed Bollywood plot.
A man is beaten in his house and injured. He goes to hospital, gets himself medically examined. A number of injuries are recorded. Then he goes to the police station to get his statement recorded and a case registered against the perpetrators of the crime.

But lo and behold! Instead of registering a case against the assaulters, the police, totally ignoring the medical report, registers a case against him on the complaint of the alleged assaulters!

Mr Sarabjit Singh, who lives in street number 25 of Gobindsar Mohalla in New Shimla Puri, has approached the SSP , Ludhiana and the Punjab Human Rights Commission at Chandigarh after undergoing the harrowing experience at the hands of the Shimla Puri police.

Mr. Sarabjit Singh has stated that on April 18 last while he was sitting in his house, one Paras Janeja, who lives in street number 23 of the same locality, entered his house along with some other persons, beat him up and hit him with a sharp-edged weapon, resulting in some injuries to him. When he raised an alarm and a neighbour rushed to his rescue, the assaulters fled from the scene. The reason for the assaulters’ grudge was that his father had urged the assaulters a number of times to give up their aggressive behaviour, for which they were well known in the locality, added the complainant.

Mr Sarabjit Singh was rushed to the Civil Hospital where doctors recorded four injuries on his body , one of which was stated to have been caused by a sharp-edged weapon on his chest.

For proof, he has attached copies of the medical report with his applications.

The complainant has further stated that since the accused were tenants of a retired DSP , Mr. Sarup Singh, the retired police officer helped the assaulters by asking the police to register a false case against him under Sections 294,323,341,506 and 34 of the IPC. The complainant also stated that a son of Mr Sarup Singh was serving as gunman with the DTO, Ludhiana

When Mr Sarabjit Singh visited the Shimla Puri police station along with the injury certificate issued by the doctors of the Civil Hospital and expressed his desire to get his statement recorded, no heed was paid to his request.

He was in for a surprise as the very next day, he was hauled up from his house by the cops and taken to the police station and forced to sign some blank papers under duress. At the police station, he was reportedly implicated in a false case of eve-teasing vide FIR number 82, dated April 19 and released on bail after the councillor of the area and some other citizens reached the police station to seek an explanation for his detention. His father, mother and brother were also detained at the police station for the whole day.

In the end, the complainant had urged the SSP and the PHRC to get a case registered against the assaulters under Sections 452, 307, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

The fact that the injuries on the body of the complainant were recorded at the Civil Hospital on April 18 and that the eve-teasing case against him was registered against him the next day is enough to indicate a definite bias on part of the Shimla Puri police, it was stated.


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