P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



BSP plays spoilsport for Cong
Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Bahujan Samaj Party has played a spoilsport for the Congress in a number of Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. If the Congress had an electoral tie-up with the BSP, it would have certainly performed far better. The Congress would have won the seats such as Jalandhar and Patiala with a bigger margin.

The Congress had started negotiation with the BSP for alliance before the issuance of notification for elections. But it did not materialise in absence of any alliance of the party with the BSP at the national level.

The SAD candidate, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, has won from the Ropar constituency with a margin of only 26653 votes defeating Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Congress nominee. However, in this constituency, the BSP candidate, Mr Mann Singh Manhera, has secured over 78,000 votes. Poor sections of society, which traditionally vote for the Congress, this time preferred Mr Manhera. The Congress would have won this seat, if it had an alliance with the BSP.

The SAD candidate, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, has won from the Phillaur seat defeating the Congress candidate, Mrs Santosh Chowdhary, with a margin of 9,8884 votes. However, the BSP candidate, Mr Pawan Kumar Tinnu, got 1,57,637 votes in this constituency. Together, the BSP and the Congress would have won this seat with a big margin.

Mr Arvind Khanna lost to Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, by a margin of 27277 votes. The BSP candidate, who had even announced his retirement from the contest well before the polling day, got 38215 votes. If the Congress had an alliance with the BSP, it would have won this seat also. Same is true in case of Ferozepore where, Mr Jagmeet Brar, lost with a margin of 11,000 votes. The BSP candidate in this constituency has got over one lakh votes.

In fact, the BSP, though did not win any seat, has performed excellently. It has retained its cadre intact. It has made it presence felt especially to the Congress, who has been claiming the support of dalits in a big way in the state. In Bathinda, the BSP candidate got over 31,000 votes without any campaigning. And same is true in case of Faridkot where the BSP candidate got over 45,000 votes. If the BSP had a tie-up with the SAD, it would have won all the seats, including Patiala and Jalandhar. In Hoshiarpur, the BSP got 1,56,270 votes, while the BJP candidate won by 1,04,371 votes. The CPM candidate supported by the Congress got 1,85,40 votes.

Meanwhile, most of the Congress senior ministers have performed well in their respective Assembly segments. The Congress candidate in the Jalandhar Lok Sabha constituency, Mr Gurjit Singh Rana, remained ahead of his SAD rival in all Assembly segments.

The Congress was ahead in the Assembly segments represented by ministers such as Mr Lal Singh, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Raghu Nath Sahai Puri, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Mr Avtar Henry, Mr Jagmohan Kang, Chowdhary Jagjit Singh.

However, Mr Vinod Khanna, a BJP candidate, got a big lead over his Congress rival in the Gurdaspur constituency represented by Mr Khushal Bahl, Education Minister. In Qadian, Mr Navjot Sidhu, BJP candidate led over the Congress candidate. This segment is represented by Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa in the state Assembly.

The SAD candidate also led in the Phagwara segment represented by the Congress Minister, Mr Joginder Singh Mann. Details of results of other segments represented by ministers were not available till the filing of the report.

Capt Amarinder Singh had fixed a parameter before the polling that only those ministers would be retained in the Council of Ministers, who ensure the win of Congress candidates in their respective Assembly segments.


Kanshi Ram’s statement doctored, says mother
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 14
Ms Bishan Kaur, mother of the BSP supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, today once again alleged that Ms Mayawati was keeping her son in captivity.

In a press note issued here today she alleged that the recent statement issued by Mr Kanshi Ram that his brothers were selfish was doctored by Ms Mayawati.

Mr Kanshi Ram has lost his senses after suffering from brain stroke. When the entire family went to meet him in Batra Hospital, New Delhi, on April 24, he expressed the desire to go home with them.

However, henchmen of Ms Mayawati, maintaining a 24-hour vigil around Mr Kanshi Ram, informed her about the move.

She abused the family members and later offered them anything in lieu of keeping away from the ailing Mr Kanshi Ram.

However, his brothers refused all allurements offered by Ms Mayawati. They instead told her that they were just concerned about the welfare of their brother.

Mr Kanshi Ram’s mother also appealed to his supporters to free him from the alleged captivity of Ms Mayawati.

A few days ago brothers of Mr Kanshi Ram, Mr Harbans Singh and Mr Dilbagh Singh, had also levelled similar allegations against Ms Mayawati.

Mr Kanshi Ram in a press statement issued from Delhi had, however, termed his brothers as selfish.


It’s victory of people, says Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, May 14
Mr Sukhbir Badal, SAD-BJP alliance candidate from this prestigious parliamentary constituency, who has secured victory over his nearest rival, Ms Karan Brar, joint candidate of the Congress, the CPI and the CPM, in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections has created history in many ways.

By polling 1,36,078 votes he has become the only candidate in Punjab having 13 parliamentary constituencies, to win the seat with such a huge margin.

The other two candidates who have won their respective Lok Sabha seats with a margin of over one lakh votes were Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu from Amritsar (1,11,716 votes) and Mr Avinash Rai Khana from Hoshiarpur (1,04,371 votes.)

Not only this, Mr Badal has also created a history by defeating both daughter and daughter-in-law of a former Congress Chief Minister, Mr H.S. Brar. Mr Badal defeated Ms Bubli Brar, daughter of Mr Brar in 1996 and Ms Karan Brar in this Lok Sabha election.

Mr Badal has managed to take lead from all nine Assembly segments falling in this parliamentary constituency comprising Muktsar, Faridkot and Moga districts.

In 1999 Lok Sabha elections when Mr Badal tasted defeat at the hands of Mr Jagmeet Brar with a slender margin of 5,184 and in 1998 Lok Sabha elections when Mr Badal managed to score victory over Mr Jagmeet Brar by a margin of 34,959 votes, he trailed behind the Congress candidates in all four Assembly segments despite the fact that his father Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was the Chief Minister of Punjab. Muktsar is their home district.

Mr Sukhbir Badal trailed behind the Congress candidate in all four Assembly segments of Muktsar district in 1998 Lok Sabha elections despite the fact that in 1997 general Assembly elections, SAD candidates won from the same segments.

Mr Badal, who remained member of Lok Sabha twice and member of Rajya Sabha once, managed to secure a lead of about 15,000 votes over Ms Brar from the Muktsar Assembly segment alone despite the fact that Muktsar is her home town. Mr Badal has also got significant lead in Gidderbaha, Malout and Lambi Assembly segments over Ms Brar. These four Assembly segments witness record polling in Punjab on May 10.

Mr Badal while describing the victory of SAD-BJP alliance candidates in Punjab as a victory of people said results of the Lok Sabha proved that Capt Amarinder Singh’s rule people faced all sorts of atrocities at the hands of ruling politicians and were terrorised.


Victory due to voters’ wisdom, says Libra
Chitleen K. Sethi

Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 14
The MP-elect from the Ropar parliamentary constituency, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra of the Shiromani Akali Dal, today attributed his victory to the wisdom of the people of his constituency and the personality of the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra. A staunch Tohra loyalist, Mr Libra yesterday wrested the seat from Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo of the Congress. Mr Libra, who got 44 per cent of the votes polled, defeated Mr Dullo, his nearest rival, by 33,637 votes.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Libra said he would work for the development of his constituency and his priority would be to create employment opportunities for the youth. ‘‘The people of my constituency have placed overwhelming faith in me and I intend to thank them with twice the work. A lot needs to be done for the Dalits and for the improvement of infrastructure in the Ropar constituency,’’ said a poised Mr Libra.

Mr Dullo, on the other hand, attributed his defeat to the BSP factor, pointing out that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had eaten into his vote bank. The BSP candidate, Mr Maan Singh Manhera who got 9.9 per cent of the total votes, said he was happy with his performance, considering as this was the first time the BSP had fought elections on its own in the state.

Mr Libra got 3,47,631 votes out of the 7,90,261 valid votes while Mr Dullo got 3,13,994 votes. Mr Manhera garnered 78,191 votes and Mr Bhag Singh Surtapur of SAD (Amritsar) secured 27,393 votes. Among Independent candidates, only Mr Surjan Singh Rahi, supported by Akali Dal rebel Ravi Inder Singh, was able to save his deposit, securing 15,197 votes. Mr Lehmbar Das of the BGTD got 1,889 votes, Mr Sawinder Singh 2,650 and Mr Sucha Singh 3,276.

Mr Libra polled more votes than Mr Dullo in seven of the nine Assembly segments. The highest margin, of 12,461 votes in favour of Mr Libra, was registered in the Samrala Assembly segment. Here Mr Manhera managed over 7,500 votes. In Chamkaur Sahib, Mr Libra got 10,028 votes more than Mr Dullo and Mr Manhera secured over 5,000 votes. In Sirhind, Mr Libra got 9,026 votes more than Mr Dullo. In Nabha and Amloh, Mr Libra led with a margin of over 4,000 votes in each Assembly segment.


Amarinder has tough tasks ahead
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Punjab Congress will have difficult time explaining to the party high command why it had performed poorly in the Lok Sabha elections.

Knives are already out between Capt Amarinder Singh and his Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who had a wordy dual in the media yesterday.

This is one aspect of the troubled days ahead. The other aspect is how soon will the Congress return to the secretariat routine and provide good governance.

Moreover, the Congress has to prepare itself for three by-elections necessitated by the victory of three sitting MLAs, one each of the Congress, the BJP and the SAD (Badal). These three are Rana Gurjeet Singh (Jalandhar), Mr Avinash Rai Khanna (Hoshiarpur) and Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala (Tarn Taran).

Besides, the Chief Minister has also has to review the financial situation and prepare the Budget for 2004-05. Also a waiting attention of the Chief Minister is the Plan Resource Committee Report by Dr S.S. Johl, Vice-Chairman of the State Planning Board.

For economic sustenance, the Chief Minister will have to avoid falling into the trap of populism. But he has already hinted at the intended brand of populism at Patiala yesterday. He had picked up agriculture, social sector and dissensions as the major cause of the Congress rout.

Capt Amarinder Singh said not giving free power and irrigation water had cost the Congress dear as farmers constituted the main vote-bank. He referred to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajashekhar promising similar sops to farmers there.

Given the financial situation, one doubts if Capt Amarinder Singh can reverse his decisions. Not that he has not done so in the past. But the Plan Resource Committee report is explicit on free power and water.

“Free or subsidised electricity being provided to the farmers has more ills than cures. Assured, efficient and adequate supply of electricity is in the larger interests of farmers, as against cheaper, unreliable and inadequate supply. The financial health of the Punjab State Electricity Board will not permit giving free or subsidised electricity to any sector in the years to come unless the cost of providing electricity on subsidized rates is offset by reimbursing the same to the PSEB. The government should gradually stop providing subsidized electricity to all sectors....”

The World Bank has taken similar views in its concept paper on the Punjab economy and in its agriculture policy review paper.

The second point Capt Amarinder Singh mentioned pertained to flip-flop on pensions and money under the ‘Ashirwad scheme. Had the state’s finances not been in the pit, he believed the poll outcome would have been different.

Any deviation from the reforms path for political survival or populism would further devastate the state’s economy and block future growth and development as international funding agencies would withdraw their hand. As the state has an agriculture-rooted economy, this sector has to be paid attention because it influences its gross domestic product. Higher capital investment is needed in this sector. Politics can wait but not good governance.


Amarinder must quit, says Avinash
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 14
The electorate of Punjab has given a clear verdict against the Congress government for its non-performance in every field and anti-people policies. Keeping this in view, the Amarinder Singh government should resign. This was stated by Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president of the Punjab BJP unit while talking to mediapersons soon after winning from the Hoshiarpur Parliamentary constituency here yesterday.

He said that landslide victory of BJP-SAD in Punjab was due to the overall performance of the NDA government in the country. He thanked the electorate of Punjab, particularly of the Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha seat, for providing a clear verdict to BJP and SAD candidates.

Replying to a question, he said Hoshiarpur district remained backward even after 58 years of Independence of the country. There was a basic need to provide irrigation and drinking water supply in Kandi and Bet areas of the district. He would make every effort to get completed the second phase of Kandi canal from Hoshiarpur to Balachaur. A majority of the children of both these areas were forced to do labour work. On account of un-employment, many youths had become addicts. He would try to solve both these problems on priority.

He would also persuade the Railway authorities to make rail link on the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara, Hoshiarpur-Tanda and Hoshiarpur-Saila Khurd section. He would also get opened some professional colleges like medical, engineering and law in the district.


Gupta asks Cong leaders to desist from mud-slinging
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 14
Mr S.K. Gupta, Chairman, local Improvement Trust and close associate of former President Giani Zail Singh, has urged senior party leaders, including the PPCC President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, to desist from mud-slinging.

They should rather sit together and ponder on the weakness which had caused the debacle to the party in the recent Lok Sabha poll in Punjab.

Mr Gupta said most of its stalwarts had lost the elections and if such activities continued it could prove to be harmful for the party in the coming days.

In a press statement issued here today he requested the senior party leaders to find out the reasons which had forced the urban and Dalits voters to vote against the Congress in the Lok Sabha poll. Even farmers who were provided best facilities during two-and-half year rule of the Congress had voted against the party which was another matter of concern.

While hailing the people for giving the verdict in favour of Congress and its allies at the national level, Mr Gupta has sought the intervention of the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, in strengthening the hands of the state Chief Minister to weed out the corruption from the state.


Cong panel on Punjab results

Chandigarh, May 14
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today constituted a five-member committee, headed by senior Congress leader Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, to go “into the issues thrown up during the elections”.

Irrigation Minister Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Education Minister Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Minister of State for Social Security Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Minister of State for Rural Development and Panchayats Jasjit Singh Randhawa are the other members of the committee. — TNS


Harping on SAD rebounds on Mann
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 14
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) who had made a record of sorts in the Akali politics by polling the second largest number of votes in the country (5,27,707) during 1989 Lok Sabha elections, is a sad man today. In 1989 he had defeated the Congress candidate, Mr Ajit Singh Mann, who had secured 47,290 votes .

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann had made history when he was languishing in the Bhagalpur jail. However, despite the landslide victory and the faith expressed in him by Sikh voters, he did not enter the Lok Sabha on the ‘kirpan’ issue. Later, he realised his folly and entered Parliament without the ‘kirpan’ after winning the Parliamentary elections.

Neither Mr Simranjit Singh Mann nor any candidate of the party or the candidates supported by his party could win the Lok Sabha elections this time. The outgoing MP from Sangrur ranked third this time while the Congress candidate Mr Arvind Khanna trailed second. Earlier, the lone MLA of the SAD (A), Mr Ajitinder Singh Mofar, had joined the Congress. The performance of the SAD(A) was dismal during the previous Assembly elections too. So much so that the party’s general secretary Bhai Ram Singh had withdrawn from the Assembly poll last time on the pretext of ill health which had given rise to many speculations.

The Sikh masses virtually rejected the SAD (A) candidates on the ground that they were speaking more against the SAD leadership than the Congress during electioneering.


CPI to ponder on reasons  for defeat
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 14
The CPI will discuss on May 25 and 26 reasons for the defeat of its only candidate, Ms Kushal Bhora from this constituency at the hands of the SAD-BJP candidate, Ms Paramjit Kaur Gulshan.

The CPI will also discuss why secular parties, including the Congress and the CPM, lost 11 seats out of the 13 seats in Punjab.

Dr Joginder Dyal, state secretary of the CPI, said the party leadership would find out the reasons why people had alienated themselves from the state ruling set-up.

He said the main reason for worry was the fact that in the 2002 general assembly election the margin of votes secured by the Congress-CPI alliance candidates and the SAD-BJP alliance candidates was around 1.25 lakh while it had gone up to more than 7 lakh in these elections.

The state CPI leadership had sent SOS to the high command during electioneering when it found that several Congressmen were not working for the campaign of Ms Bhora. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was also informed about the activities of such Congressmen.

Ms Bhora took a lead of about 1,871 votes over Ms Gulshan in the Mansa assembly segment while in all other assembly segments, she trailed behind Ms Gulshan.

In the Talwandi Sabo segment, where Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, Markfed, Chairman, managed her campaign, she suffered the least damage and trailed behind by only 762 votes.

In the Bathinda segment, she lost by 811 votes despite the fact that Mr Surinder Singla, Congress MLA, won this seat by a margin of more than 14,000 votes in the last elections. In all other segments, she suffered heavy damage.


How women fared in elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Punjab is yet to not only empower its women political aspirants but also to correct its skewed sex ratios. Out of the 13 successful candidates, there would be two women in the 14th Lok Sabha, Ms Preneet Kaur and Ms Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, representing two arch political rivals, Congress and SAD, respectively. Both parties will be long remembered for their fierce sleaze campaigns.

There were 10 women among the 142 candidates in the just-concluded elections. Of these 10, four were fielded by the Congress, two were Independent, two by the Bharatiya Gaon Taj Dal and one each by the SAD and the CPI. No woman candidate was fielded by the BJP and the SAD (Amritsar).

Of the four Congress candidates, three lost. Ms Santosh Chowdhary (Phillaur-SC) polled 2,25,628 votes, Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder (Gurdaspur) 3,62,629 and Ms Karan Brar (Faridkot) polled 340,649 votes.

Of the 10 women candidates, the maximum were in Patiala — four, including the winner, Ms Preneet Kaur who polled 4,09,917 votes. While, the BGTD's Ms Ranjit Kaur polled 933 votes, the two Independents, Ms Krishna Dhari polled 1,585 votes, Ms Binder Kaur, 2,535.

The two key women contestants in Bathinda (SC) were the SAD's Ms Paramjit Kaur Gulshan and Ms Kaushalya Chaman (CPI). While Ms Gulshan polled 3,23,394 votes, Ms Chaman got 2,60,752.

There were 13 women contestants in the general election,1999. Among them were three of the Congress, Ms Bhinder, Ms Preneet Kaur and Ms Santosh Chowdhary. Ms Bhinder had lost the election. She had polled 3,13,868 votes. Ms Preneet Kaur had got 3,60,125 votes and Ms Chowdhary 2,63,540 votes.

In 1999, the SAD had fielded two women candidates, Ms Prabhjot Kaur from Jalandhar and Ms Satwinder Kaur from Ropar (SC). The late Gurcharan Singh Tohra's Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal had also fielded two women, Ms Paramjit Kaur Khalra in Tarn Taran and Ms Balbir Kaur in Ropar (SC). The two were rivals to official SAD candidates. They both lost. The Bahujan Samaj Party (Ambedkar) had fielded a woman candidate from Amritsar, Ms Amarjit Kaur, who too lost.

There were five Independent women candidates, as well — Ms Amro Bibi and Gurdip Kaur (Ferozepore), Ms Harbans Kaur (Ludhiana) and Ms Elizabeth and Ms Amarjit Kaur (Gurdaspur).


I stuck to my principles, says Naresh Gujral
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 14
Accepting the people’s verdict gracefully, Mr Naresh Gujral, the SAD-BJP candidate from the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency who lost to the Congress candidate, Rana Gurjit Singh, today thanked lakhs of voters who reposed faith in him and his party.

Mr Gujral said he took pride in the fact that he did not in any way compromise on his principles and kept his family’s tradition of clean politics and observing morality in public life.


3 Assembly seats fall vacant
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 14
The Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party will have face the voters again in Punjab soon in byelections of three Assembly constituencies — Kapurthala, Ajnala and Hoshiarpur as Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh, (Congress), Hoshiarpur MLA Avinash Khanna (BJP), and Ajnala MLA Rattan Singh Ajnala (SAD) are now elected Lok Sabha members from Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Tarn Taran Lok Sabha seats. These Assembly seats will become vacant when these elected Lok Sabha members take oaths.


Denial of voting right an offence, says BJP

Amritsar, May 14
The BJP has said the denial of voting was a serious breach of fundamental right and therefore an offence.

In a press note issued here today, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, the vice-president of the state BJP, said an inquiry should be instituted into the issue of voters’ names missing from lists.

She said there should be a proper system to prepare voter lists and make prompt additions or corrections to these.


S.S. Virk may stay on
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The tug-of-war between the Centre and the Punjab government — over the issue of allowing IPS officer S.S. Virk to stay in the state — is likely to end soon. Though there is nothing official about it, sources in Punjab Home Department claim that the officer is likely to get an extension.

Senior Home Department officials are maintaining strict silence over the issue, but sources say that the Congress — expected to take the reins of power at the Center — is likely to accept Punjab government's request. The officer was not available for comments.

Just over a month ago, the Union Home Ministry had terminated the inter-cadre deputation of the 1970-batch officer. The battle between the Centre and the state over the issue of his deputation had taken a "curious turn" after the Ministry had written directly to Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Virk.

In their order sent through speed post to Mr Virk, the authorities had asked him to report back for duty to the Government of Maharastra without delay. The sources had claimed that a Joint Secretary had asked ADGP Virk to join the duty in his parent cadre of Maharastra not later than April 30, failing which the Ministry would initiated action against him under All India Service (D&A) Rules of 1969. It was added that the officer would be deemed to have been released by the Punjab government.

The order had further added that the state government in November 2001 had assured the Ministry about ADGP Virk's release immediately after the completion of election process in the state, but nothing was done in this regard.

The Punjab government, on the other hand, had shot a letter to the Ministry for extending the deputation. Even the state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had written a letter in this regard.

The move was considered significant as the officer — posted as Intelligence Chief in state police — was likely to succeed Mr A.A. Siddiqqui as Punjab's Director-General of Police (DGP).


SGPC poll: all-party meeting on May 21
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 14
The Chief Gurdwara Election Commission (CGEC) has convened an all-party Panthic organisations’ meeting on May 21 in Chandigarh to discuss issues relating to the July 11 general election of the SGPC. Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, has emphasised the need of fielding ‘clean’ Panthic candidates.

The ticket for the SGPC election is normally given by the SAD chief . Though the Congress party is not contesting the SGPC elections directly, it many try to defeat the SAD (Badal) candidates by proxy through certain Panthic organisations.

Mr Dilmeg Singh , Secretary, SGPC, confirmed that he had received a letter from Mr Gurdev Singh , Secretary, CGEC, about convening of an all party meeting .

The SGPC election assumes significance in Sikh politics as it is the appointing authority of Sikh high priests also.

Meanwhile , Jathedar Vedanti has appealed to the leaders of various Panthic organisations to field true Panthic candidates so that clean administration and clear direction to the Sikh Panth could be given.

He asked them not to indulge in any anti-Panthic activity including distribution of drugs or liquor to woo the voters during the elections.

He said the meeting of the Sikh high priests would also take more measures to streamline the electioneering.

He said before allocating ticket the parties concerned must ensure that all supporters of the probable candidate would follow the ‘Panthic “maryada” in true spirit .

Earlier, the SGPC Secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, had stated that the Shiromani Committee would ask the SAD not to give party ticket to anybody whose family members were ‘patit’ (apostate).

Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan , a former Secretary of the SGPC and secretary Sikh Watch Group, said all candidates who wanted ticket for the election must give an undertaking to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, about their Panthic background and religious commitments.

Meanwhile, the CGEC has said those Sikhs who could not become voters for the forthcoming general election could still submit applications to the Returning Officer of their constituency in this regard. They could also approach the Deputy Commissioner concerned for enrolling them as voters, the commission added.


People lay siege to police station
Demand murder case against SHO

Gurdaspur, May 14
Hundreds of residents of Kalanaur today laid a siege to the police station in the border town, demanding registration of a case of murder against SHO Kulwant Singh on the charge of killing a resident of the city in custody.

The dharna, which began today morning, was continuing when the last report was received today evening.

Surinder Kaur alleged that her husband Harjit Singh (40) was picked from home in her presence on May 4 for investigation in the case of theft of a mini bus in the town on April 27 as told her by the police. She said three days later, she along with her brother saw her husband in “bad shape” lying on the floor in police lock-up of the station, adding she learnt yesterday he had died in Government Guru Nanak Hospital at Amritsar. The body of Harjit Singh, after post-mortem and video-filming on the order of the Deputy Commissioner, is lying in the police station at Kalanaur but kin of the deceased have refused to take its possession until the SHO was arrested on murder charge.

SP (Headquarters) Darshan Singh Dhindsa, camping at the dharna site, said Harjit along with Satnam Singh of Warihla Khurd were arrested on May 11 after the recovery of the bus. He said both the accused were produced in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate here the same day and were sent in judicial custody till May 15. The police officer said on May 12, Harjit fell sick in the jail and was referred to the local Civil Hospital where he was diagnosed to be suffering from “high sugar and uric acid” in his blood. On doctor’s recommendation, Harjit Singh was sent to the Amritsar hospital where he died yesterday, the SP said, adding the post-mortem was done there and his viscera had been sent to a government lab for forensic examination. He said Satnam is still in jail. — UNI


Directions to check spread of diarrhoea
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 14
Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, has directed the District Public Health Department to segregate the drinking water supply of Sukhchainpura, Himmatpura and Ambedkar Basti at Jaito town in the district to detect the reason behind the spread of diarrhoea in these areas. He said effective measures should also be initiated to repair three of the seven filters at waterworks.

Directions were also issued to the Executive Engineer in charge of rural water supply to augment the drinking water supply to the three adjoining villages — Surghoori, Kasam Bhatti and Chand Bhan— which were also affected by the disease.

The Deputy Commissioner ordered Mr Mahesh Sharma, the Executive Officer of the Nagar Council, to take adequate steps for the proper cleanliness of the town and asked senior officials of the Health Department to take samples of the wheat and wheatflour being supplied by the flour mills and the government fair-price shops.

Earlier, he presided over a meeting of senior officials of various departments convened here today to review the situation. Mr Lal said 15 medical teams were working in the affected areas to provide medicines to the patients and check the spread of the disease.

Five persons have died and more than 600 taken ill following the spread of the disease in the district.


Retreat ceremony at cross purposes with peace moves
Our Correspondent

Joint Check Post, Hussainiwala, May 14
Notwithstanding the ongoing peace process, the retreat ceremony of the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers at the Indo-Pakistan Joint Checkpost, Hussainiwala, continues to be mutually hostile. Though officials of the BSF at the Sector Headquarters here claim that the hostile gestures which the BSF personnel used to exhibit have been toned down considerably, a visit to the checkpost reveals that the BSF sentinels and Pakistani Rangers continue to adopt intimidating postures.

The BSF officials allege that though their jawans have toned down their aggressive behaviour during the ceremonial drill, the Pakistani Rangers have not reciprocated. The BSF officials said during a four-day conclave held in Lahore between the BSF and the Pakistani Rangers. last month, Pakistani officials had agreed in principle to avoid hostile gesture during the retreat drill but the Pakistani Rangers had not given up their belligerent attitude.

The BSF officials said the aggressive postures displayed during the ceremony were well-rehearsed and a part of the drill, but the kind of hatred these evoked did not seem conducive in the backdrop of the confidence-building measures initiated by the two countries.


Dalit woman dies after illegal abortion
Police initiates action against doctor, staff
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 14
Karamjit Kaur, a Dalit woman of Mehna village in Muktsar district, died in the local Civil Hospital late last evening. An unregistered medical practitioner of Lambi town had allegedly carried out an illegal abortion on her on May 10.

The Muktsar district police initiated legal action against the doctor and his staff members after the local unit of the Dalit Sena intervened into the matter.

Mr Goda Singh, the husband of the deceased, said his wife went to the clinic at Lambi.

He alleged that at the clinic, the doctor and his staff members carried out an illegal abortion on his wife. When the condition of his wife deteriorated, he shifted her to the local Civil Hospital. Yesterday, she died.

He also alleged that the police first tried to hush up the matter by taking action under Section 174 of the Cr PC in connection with the death of his wife under abnormal circumstances. He said after that, he approached the SSP, Bathinda, and the Dalit Sena for justice. Following this, the police recorded his statement.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the unregistered medical practitioner, who had carried out the illegal abortion, is absconding.


Woman locked in bank strongroom
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 14
In an alleged case of negligence of bank employees, a housewife, Mandeep Kaur, was accidentally locked in the strongroom of Bank of Punjab, Guru Nanak Dev University branch, for more than an hour.

She approached the Consumer Redressal Forum today alleging of negligence and demanding Rs 5 lakh as compensation for mental torture and agony due to the incident. Bank manager Harkamal Singh, when contacted, refused to comment.

According to Mandeep, she went to operate her locker in the bank at noon on May 8. If she had not been located she would have remained in the locker room for the next two days as Saturday (the day of the incident) was a half day and the next two days were holidays.

She said without checking that a person was operating the locker, the door of the strongroom was locked. She shouted and knocked on the heavy metal door for help but nobody heard her. Later her husband came looking for her and saw her vehicle outside the bank. Only then did the employees realised their folly and opened the strongroom.


Red Cross honours 25 for social service
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 14
The District Red Cross Society today celebrated World Red Cross Day as Bhai Kanhaiya Divas at the Bachat Bhavan. Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, presided over the function.

On the occasion 25 persons who have contributed for society in different fields, including blood donors who had made more than 50 donations, were honoured. The Deputy Speaker also released the third issue of Yuva Chetna, a magazine being brought out by the hospital welfare section of the District Red Cross Society.

Those honoured include Mr Hukam Chand Bansal for his contribution in the field of education, Mr Kanhaiya Lal for social service, Mr Nirmal Singh Ghuman for running Red Cross School, Dr G. K. Shally and Ms Rajwant Kaur for social work.

Mr Shiv Kumar Malhotra, Dr Mohinder Singhal, Mr Ajay Kumar Malhotra, Mr Kamal Gupta, Mr Kulbhushan Malhotra, Mr Surinder Dhiman, Mr Lakhbir Singh Bajwa, Dr Surinder Khullar, Mr Tarlok Gupta, Mr Baldev Krishan Jindal, Mr Ashok Gautam, Mr Paramjit Sandhu, Prof C. B. Sharma, Mr Sushil Singla, Mr Bharat Sharma, Dr Sushil Mittal, Dr Sashi Aggarwal, Ms Saneh Lata Jindal, Ms Meena Jindal for donating blood and Dr K. C. Goyal for health services.


Sextuplets born, all die
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 14
In a bizarre incident, a Dalit woman, Ms Baljit Kaur, wife of Mr Jaswinder Singh, a resident of Lahragaga village, today gave birth to six babies (four boys and two girls) at a private hospital at Lahragaga, about 40 km from here. However, all six babies died after 15 minutes of their birth.

Talking to TNS over the phone this evening, Dr Mohinder Pal, owner of Mohindra Hospital, said the deliveries were conducted by Dr Meenu Mittal in three hours. He said the woman wax six-month pregnant and her haemoglobin was 6 gm per cent. After the deliveries, the woman felt normal, he added. 


High Court
Jagir Kaur’s bail
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 14
Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar on Friday adjourned a petition seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail to former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur.

Earlier, a Bench headed by Mr Chief Justice B.K. Roy had ordered that the petition be heard by another Bench.

The petition filed by Kanwaljit Singh, the person who claims to have married the deceased daughter of Bibi Jagir Kaur, has sought the cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to Bibi Jagir Kaur on the ground that she was trying to intimidate the witnesses.

In his petition, Mr Singh has alleged that Bibi Jagir Kaur, who had been granted bail in the case relating to the death of her daughter in 2000, has been using her power to make the witnesses change their stand.

The death of Bibi Jagir Kaur’s daughter had snowballed into a controversy. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigating into the case on the complaint of Mr Kanwaljit Singh.


Punjab police stations to keep track of eunuchs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Punjab police has directed all police stations in the state to update and maintain complete track record of eunuch groups so that inhuman incidents to convert normal males into one of them could be avoided.

“Every police station should have a complete record of eunuch groups and their area of control. The police should gather intelligence about the new members joining the group,” Punjab police chief A.A. Siddiqui said here today.

Mr Siddiqui said some instances of cutting male genitals of children by some eunuch groups had come to notice in the state. “To stop such inhuman acts is a great challenge to the state police and also it is our moral duty to stop such crimes,” Mr Siddiqui said. He added that a few persons had died due to excessive bleeding during such barbaric act and their bodies were disposed off by Mahants (eunuch group heads) in remote areas for fear of legal action.

According to Siddiqui, all victims revealed that female hormone injections were given to them so that they may look like women.

He said that a few persons and their families had committed suicide due to shame.


2 killed, 6 hurt in attack on farmhouse
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 14
Two persons, including a woman, were killed and six others including children, seriously injured when several unidentified persons attacked a family living in a farmhouse here last night.

Those killed have been identified as Sukhpreet Kaur, wife of Resham Singh, a resident of Dhani village near Chatiwind Canal, and their servant Hari Ram from Bihar, while those injured are Gurdial Singh, Resham Singh and his two children Manjinder Singh (11) and Gurmeet Kaur (13), besides Ajay Kumar and Sukhjinder Singh, both servants.

According to information, the accused attacked the house when the family was asleep. They first hurled bricks on two servants, including Hari Ram sleeping outside the house and entered it after breaking the outside wall. Hari Ram died on spot while the other servant was seriously injured in the attack. They attacked the other sleeping members of the family with bricks. Dilbagh Singh, another son of Gurdial Singh, who was sleeping on the rooftop fired at the culprit who fled away under the cover of darkness. The police reached the spot and the injured were rushed to a hospital. Sukhpreet Kaur died here today.

A police official said the investigation and a case under section 302, 460, 458, 459 of the IPC has been registered at Sultanwind police station.


Patwari arrested
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 14
Officials of the Vigilance Bureau arrested a patwari who was caught red-handed while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 500 from a resident of Chadiala village here this evening.

The vigilance team, which was headed by a DSP, raided the patwar khana and caught Mr Karam Singh, patwari of the area falling under Chadiala village, allegedly accepting the bribe amount from Mr Nacchatar Singh.

Two government officials — a doctor from the Mohali Civil Hospital and a senior assistant working in the Mohali tehsil office—were present as witnesses to the act. It is learnt that Mr Nacchatar Singh had complained to the vigilance officials that the patwari was allegedly demanding a bribe for releasing a “farad” in connection with his land.


Commission agent booked
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 14
A commission agent of the township has been booked on charges of criminal breach of trust and cheating by the police here today.

According to the police the commission agent, Mr Arun Kumar, owed lakhs of rupee’s to Mr Jarnail Singh, a resident of Sillh village, near here. Mr Jarnail Singh, used to sell his produce to the commission agent. A dispute in this regard had been going on for the past many years.


Wife of former Congress councillor attacked
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 14
In a post-poll violence wife of a former Congress councillor was allegedly attacked by a youth with a sharp edged weapon in broad daylight. She was going to her home after offering prayers at a temple at Bhagat Singh Colony here today.

A case under Sections 307, 323, 324, 452 of the IPC has been registered against Suresh Malhotra of the same locality. According to the police, Janak Rani, wife of a former Congress councillor, Mr Kasturi Lal, was returning home when Suresh Malhotra allegedly signalled her to stop and started abusing her on the pretext that her husband worked against the interests of a candidate, whom, he (accused) was supporting. Later, he attacked Janak Rani with sharp edged weapon, inflicting injuries on her arm. Though neighbourers tried to overpower Suresh, but he managed to escape. The police was conducting raids to nab the accused.


7 kg of charas seized, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 14
The police seized 7 kg of charas from a truck which was coming from Jammu and Kashmir at Sujanpur yesterday.

Prabhu Masih of Sujanpur and Sat Pal of Lamini were arrested for possessing charas.

An FIR under the NDPS Act has been registered.


College trust chief alleges intimidation
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 14
The infighting among trustees of the Institute of Engineering (IET) Bhaddal, got murkier today with the Chairperson of the trust, Ms Kulwinder Kaur, alleging that Mr Gora Kang, brother of Minister of Animal Husbandry Jagmohan Singh Kang, and Chairman of Ropar Central Cooperative Bank, was intimidating her.

Addressing a press conference, she alleged that Mr Gora Kang had threatened her against making Mr Bir Devinder, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, a member of the trust. He was also egging on other trustees of the college to create trouble, she said.

Mr Bir Devinder was made member of the trust on the request of all trustees because he had extended help to the college after the death of Gurcharan Singh, former chairman of the trust.

Earlier, a trustee of the college, Jaspal Singh, had alleged that Mr Bir Devinder was trying to take control of the college.

She said the college had been given autonomy by the trust. It was run by the principal or the governing body that comprised nominees of the All-India Council of Technical Education (AITUC), besides the Chairperson and the principal.

Asked about the allegation regarding the induction of the IG Patiala Range, Mr Rajinder Singh, as a member of the trust, she said there was no such move.

Mr Gora Kang, when contacted, denied having threatened her. “She is like a sister to me. I had just advised her to be wary of Mr Bir Devinder, he alleged.

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