P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Race among Punjab MPs for Cabinet berth
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
Who will represent Punjab in the Union Cabinet? A debate has started among political circles on the issue.

The Congress performed badly as its only two candidates have been elected in Punjab. All senior Congress leaders have failed to make to the Lok Sabha. Among the defeated leaders are, Mr R.L. Bhatia, Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Mrs Santosh Chaudhary, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar.

Mrs Preneet Kaur, wife of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has been elected second time and another Congress leader, Rana Gurjit Singh, has been elected to the Lok Sabha from the state for the first time.

Besides, there are Mr Manohar Singh Gill, Mr Ashwani Kumar, Mr Dharampal Sabharwal, who represent Punjab in the Rajya Sabha. Three slots of the Rajya Sabha members from Punjab will be due for filling shortly. Out of these three, two will go to the Congress and one to the Shiromani Akali Dal.

It is almost certain that one Sikh Congress leader will be in the Union Cabinet as has been the practice for long. One can guess that Dr Manmohan Singh, former Finance Minister, will be the automatic choice for the same slot this time also. He is one of the most trusted confidants of Mrs Sonia Gandhi. But Dr Manmohan Singh is not considered a Union minister from Punjab. He is taken on the basis of his personal merit.

Informed sources say that among the frontrunners for the Union Cabinet berth is Mr Manohar Singh Gill, former Chief Election Commissioner of India. Mrs Preneet Kaur is also in the race. Mr Ashwani Kumar, another member of the Rajya Sabha from the state is also a contender for a slot in the Cabinet, it is learnt.

A strong tussle among these leaders for the Cabinet berth is expected for certain reasons. Mr Gill is close to Mrs Gandhi. He has been making various political strategies for her in the past. He had sprung a big surprise on Capt Amarinder Singh by securing the party ticket for the Rajya Sabha directly from Mrs Gandhi. In fact, Mr Gill’s choice had stunned the top guns of the ruling party in Punjab.

Mrs Preneet Kaur, too, has good personal rapport with Mrs Gandhi. Both Capt Amarinder Singh and Mrs Preneet Kaur were frequent visitors to Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s house when Mr Rajiv Gandhi was alive.

Besides, Capt Amarinder Singh and Mrs Preneet Kaur have family relations with Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, the CPM supremo, who has been playing a big role in making Mrs Gandhi Prime Minister. Obviously, he will be having a decisive say in the picking up of the Cabinet. Moreover, Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, Media Adviser to the Chief Minister, has very close relations with Mr Surjeet. In the light of these factors, Mrs Preneet Kaur will be a strong contender for a berth in the Cabinet.

Mr Ashwani Kumar, who is a party spokesman, is also considered close to Mrs Gandhi. He has been defending Mrs Gandhi on the issue of her foreign origin for long. Whether his this effort will pay or not remains to be seen. He is from the Hindu community. Another member of the Rajya Sabha from the state is Mr Dharmpal Sabharwal. He belongs to the reserve category and considered close to Mrs Ambika Soni. In Punjab, the percentage of the Dalit population is the highest in the country. Obviously, all these factors will be examined by the party high command while giving representation to Punjab in the Cabinet.


‘SAD may file petition against Preneet’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 15
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president, today said that his party might file a petition with the Election Commission against Ms Preneet Kaur, who had allegedly won from the Patiala parliamentary constituency on the basis of “bogus votes” and booth capturing.

Talking to a section of the press here today, Mr Badal said the government of Capt Amarinder Singh would fall under its own weight which was clear from the anti-incumbency factor. He also sought the resignation of Capt Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister following Congress drubbing in the elections.

Mr Badal thanked the voters of Punjab who had voted for the SAD-BJP candidates despite “intimidation” by bureaucrats and police pressure. He alleged that a number of baseless cases had been registered against Akali workers, including Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Ropar: People of the state have rejected the proxy Akali Dals formed to help the Congress. The mandate of the people has made it clear that there is one real SAD in the state and that is headed by me, Mr Parkash Singh Badal SAD president, said while talking to newspersons here today.

He was here to take part in the proceedings of a case registered against him by the Punjab Vigilance.

Mr Badal said in his own assembly constituency, Morinda, the candidate supported by Mr Ravi Inder Singh, president of the New Akali Dal, polled only 4,700 votes. Similarly, the rebel Akali Dal candidate, Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, supported by splinter Akali Dals polled just 15,000 votes.

He alleged that the Chief Minister had turned the loan of Rs 9 crore given by the state to Mr Ravi Inder Singh for his proposed tractor unit at Mohali into equity.

Turning the loan into equity meant waiving the loan. “How can the loan of Rs 9 crore given to Ravi Inder Singh be turned into equity when the unit for which it was taken has no capital assets. Even the plot given for setting up of the unit has been forfeited due to the non-payment of instalments, he asked.

He said elected MPs of the SAD would go to the Golden Temple tomorrow to pay their obeisance.

A committee had been formed to find leaders who had indulged in anti-party activities, he said.

Asked about the reasons of the defeat of the NDA government, Mr Badal said wrong alliances led to its fall. Certain policies like the disinvestment of profit-making units was also one of the reasons, he said.

Asked about the appointment of the new SGPC president, Mr Badal said the decision would be taken only after the SGPC elections.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, in a separate press conference, alleged that sweeping mandate to the SAD was actually a rejection of the autocratic rule of Capt Amarinder Singh by the people of the state.

The Youth Akali Dal had performed well and in future also, both in the SGPC and the assembly elections, the party would give at least 25 per cent seats to the youth, he said.


SAD observers to meet tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has called a meeting of the party observers at Gurdwara Manji Sahib, Alamgir, near Ludhiana, on May 17 to discuss the issue of organisational elections. The party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will preside over the meeting, according to a statement issued by the SAD secretary, Mr Daljeet Singh Cheema.

It is expected that Mr Badal may announce the dates for electing the various office-bearers of the party at the district and state levels at the meeting. The SAD’s organisational elections are due to be held for long. These have been postponed for one reason or other.


United Akalis fashion Libra’s victory
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 15
As the slogan ‘‘Tohra teri soch te pehra diyange thok ke’’ ranted the air during the victory procession of SAD candidate and now MP-elect Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra from the Ropar Lok Sabha constituency, the cause of his comfortable victory were not far to see.

All said and done, it was ultimately the united force of Badal's Shiromani Akali Dal and Gurcharan Singh Tohra's Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) that led to Libra' victory.

A comparative analysis of the 1999 Lok Sabha elections and these elections shows that even when the united SAD candidate this time got less votes than what the SAD candidate and the SHSAD candidate put together had got in 1999, the unity factor was too strong for Mr. Dullo to surpass. This led to his defeat despite the fact that he got just about 12000 votes less this time than 1999 when he had emerged victorious in the face of a torn Akali Dal.

In the 1999 elections, the SAD candidate Satwinder Kaur and the SHSAD candidate Balbir Kaur together bagged 367623 votes while this time Mr Libra got 347361 votes, a good 20000 votes less.

Mr Dullo of the Congress, on the other hand, had in 1999 got 326651 votes while this time he got 313994 votes. About 12000 votes less this time. But the margin of over 30000 votes with which Mr Dullo lost to Mr Libra points to the presence of another factor that came into play in these elections. ‘‘It is the BSP factor.’’ said Mr Dullo, who attributed his defeat squarely to the Congress's failure to woo Dalits. ‘‘The BSP candidate, Mr Maan Singh Manhera has over 75000 votes while my margin with Mr Libra is about 34000. The BSP has clearly eaten into my vote bank. We have failed to pay the Dalits their due,’’ he said, adding that there was no Congress infighting in his constituency that could have led to his defeat.

Congress infighting may not have led to Dullo's defeat here but the failure of the Congress MLAs of the constituency, who have been in business for over two years now, to strengthen the party's position certainly had a big role to play in the people choosing SAD over the Congress. Even at Khanna where Mr Dullo's wife is the Congress MLA, Mr Dullo barely managed to get a paltry 1280 votes more than Mr Libra.

From the segment- wise results it is clear that only one MLA out of the seven Congress MLAs leading the various segments in this constituency will be given pat on his back from the party leadership. Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, MLA, Morinda, has ensured that Dullo gets over 8000 votes more than Mr Libra in his assembly constituency.


Cong defeat in Punjab a wake-up call, says Bir Devinder
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 15
The results of the Parliament elections are a wake-up call for the Punjab Government. It is not the time for mud-slinging and accusing each other of defeat in the states rather it is time for serious self-introspection to know what went wrong for the Congress and why people have taken a U-turn within two years. This was stated here yesterday by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker. He had come to preside over the World Red Cross Day, celebrated by the District Red Cross Society.

He said still nothing had been lost, we have a lot of time to review our policies, programme, behaviour and conduct. We must restructure our priorities and usher in an era of development, and the programme and policies should be translated into reality so that benefit reaches the grassroots level.

He urged both warring factions of the Congress in the state to stop infighting, which had already cost too much and had taken a heavy toll on the state. We all are really ashamed that we have not been able to contribute MPs when a secular alliance, led by the Congress, is being formed at the Centre. There can’t be anything more disgusting and disappointing for the Congressmen in the state. He said it was time for co-operation and not infighting.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh refused to comment on the controversy over his involvement in controlling the affairs of the IET Bhaddal institution.

Reacting to the demand of Mr Badal that Capt Amarinder Singh should resign on moral grounds, he said it was unfortunate that those who were talking about morality had never followed it at their time. He concluded with “Devil has no right to quote scriptures”.


Orders reserved in Badal case
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 15
The issues of jurisdiction and the prior sanction from the competent authority were today contested in the corruption case against Mr Prakash Singh Badal.

As the proceeding began in the court of the Special Judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel, counsel of Mr Badal led by Mr HS Mattewal moved an application. They presented the recent judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in the corruption case registered by the Punjab Vigilance against the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

The defense counsel maintained that the case against Mr Badal was identical to that of Mrs Bhattal in terms of sanction from the competent authority. In the case against Ms Bhattal sanction from competent authority was not obtained by the Punjab Vigilance under Section 197 of the CrPC and Section 19 (1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Supreme Court has granted a stay on the proceeding in the Bhattal case till the matter of prior sanction is adjudicated.

In the case registered against Mr Badal, prior sanction under Section 197 of the CrPC has not been taken. Only sanction under Section 19 of the Prevention of the Corruption Act has been taken from the Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha who is not the competent authority. Since Mr Badal was a Cabinet minister and Leader of Opposition, both sanctions should have been taken from the Governor before registering a case against him, they said.

In the case of Mr Sukhbir Badal, no sanction has been taken from any competent authority before filing a case against him. Since Mr Sukhbir Badal was a public servant as Member of the Rajya Sabha at the time the case was filed against him, prior sanction should have been taken from the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha before registering a case against him.

However, the prosecution in its arguments on the issue quoting the Supreme Court judgment in the R.S. Nayak Vs A.R. Antulay case maintained that no sanction was required to prosecute both Mr Prakash Singh Badal and Mr Sukhbir Badal.

The charges against Mr Badal pertain to the period in which he was Chief Minister. Since now he has ceased to be Chief Minister, no sanction was required to prosecute him. Since there were no charges against Mr Badal with regard to the abuse of position as Leader of the Opposition, no sanction was required, they argued.

In the case of Mr Sukhbir Badal also, the charges filed against him were of corruption allegedly committed during the period when he was not a Member of the Rajya Sabha.

The Judge reserved his judgement over both issues of jurisdiction and sanction on the next date of hearing in case fixed on May 29.


Where did Brar go wrong?
Chander Parkash & Anirudh Gupta
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, May 15
What went wrong with Mr Jagmeet Brar, known as “Awaz-e-Punjab”, in Ferozepore where he lost to SAD-BJP alliance candidate, Zora Singh Mann? Why the firebrand Congress leader who emerged as a high-profile winner in the 1999 parliamentary elections by defeating Mr Sukhbir Badal, former Union Minister, from the prestigious Faridkot parliamentary constituency, lose to the SAD-BJP candidate this time?

Did the move to shift from the Faridkot constituency to the Ferozepore constituency, proved counter-productive for Mr Brar or has his acceptance among people started decimating over the past few years?

These questions are doing the rounds in the Congress rank and file in the Malwa region. Congressmen of the Faridkot Lok Sabha seat also got a rude shock when the Congress candidates on eight assembly segments out of a total of nine assembly segments falling in Muktsar, Faridkot and Moga districts (parts of the Faridkot parliamentary constituency) lost to the SAD-BJP candidates in the last assembly elections despite the fact that this constituency was represented by Mr Brar.

Congress leaders feel that the late announcement of the candidature of Mr Brar from the Ferozepore seat, the “outsider” tag, internal bickering within the party and opposition to his candidature by a section of the local leadership, led to his defeat from this seat which is considered to be a Congress citadel.

Mr Brar was defeated by Mr Zora Singh Mann, who has made a hat-trick by winning the Lok Sabha elections in 1998, 1999 and 2004, by a margin of over 11,000 votes.

“The factor which has contributed in the defeat of Mr Brar is his decision to shift from Faridkot to Ferozepore in these elections. This sent a message to people that if he can disown the people of Faridkot who returned him to the Lok Sabha twice, how could he serve the people of Ferozepore”, a Congress leader pointed out, adding that Mr Mann cashed in on this factor in his campaign.

The Congress leaders said a large section of party leaders had been afraid of the increasing stature of Mr Brar. Perhaps, this was the reason that no senior Congress leader, other than Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Balram Jakhar, came for his campaign.

Large scale defection by the Congress leaders, including those who wielded considerable influence, of this constituency also worsened the situation even though many of his “personal supporters” from Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar, Moga and Mansa fanned out in the entire constituency to campaign for him.

It is learnt that Mr Brar conveyed the reasons for his defeat to Capt Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh yesterday and then left for New Delhi to meet party high command leaders in this regard.


SGPC poll: tough task ahead for SAD
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 15
Riding on the popularity wave after the results of the elections, the SAD, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has asked its leaders to pull up their socks for the SGPC general election scheduled to be held before July 11.

However, it will be difficult for the SAD to face the onslaught by the rival Panthic factions which are chalking out a strategy to settle scores on the religious turf. A spokesperson for the rival Panthic factions claimed that in the absence of Gurcharan Singh Tohra, it would be difficult for the SAD to face them during the election.

The Badal group will have to face many questions, especially on the denigration of Sikh institutions. Though a number of complaints have been filed against the SAD leadership, including Mr Badal and his wife, for violating Sikh traditions, they were never listed for discussion at Akal Takht meetings. The picture of Ms Surinder Kaur Badal with Ashutosh Maharaj evoked no response from the Takht. The pictures of Mr Badal, wearing a “mukat” and participating in havan, were also circulated among the masses through various Panthic organisations.

The rival factions would highlight the “partisan” role of the clergy that had been hounded by controversies. The clergy was accused of taking bribe and the allegations levelled by the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat led to a clash in the SGPC complex.

The SAD will have to answer why Bhai Ranjit Singh and Giani Puran Singh were removed as Jathedars of Akal Takht. Prof Manjit Sigh was also removed unceremoniously as Jathedar of Kesgarh Sahib. However, no action was taken against Jathedar Vedanti when serious allegations were levelled against him. The SGPC had also failed to address several Panthic issues. It had failed to take any step regarding baptised Sikh women participating in the cleansing of the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple.


Put off SGPC poll, says Akali group
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 15
Accusing the Shiromani Akali Dal of making entries of non-Sikh voters in the electoral rolls of the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) has advocated for postponement of forthcoming SGPC poll and for revision of electoral rolls.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Jaswant Singh Maan, president, All-India Shiromani Akali Dal, the senior vice-president, Mr Bharpur Singh Balbir and the vice-president Mr Talib Singh Sandhu, said that in connivance with the RSS and the BJP leadership, the SAD had been able to secure entry of non-Sikhs in the SGPC electoral rolls.

They also alleged that due to intervention of the Union Home Ministry, names of a large number of Sikh voters had not been entered into rolls.


Punjab board Class VIII results today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 15
The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) will declare the Class VIII examination results tomorrow. According to the information given by the board today, 74.45 per cent of the regular candidates and 66.67 per cent of the private candidates who appeared in the examination have passed.

While the result gazette will be available for the public at the board’s textbook sales depots at various district and tehsil headquarters from 4 pm on May 17, the booksellers can collect the gazettes from textbook sales depots at the various district headquarters only. The school principals or their authorised representatives can collect cuttings of the their respective institutions from the textbook sales depots from where they collected the roll numbers from 5pm on May 17. Result cuttings of schools based in Dera Bassi, Kharar and Mohali can be collected from the textbook sales counter in Phase VIII, Mohali.

According to a press note issued by the board here today, detailed results will be available from May 17 midnight on websites www.indiaresult.com, www.schoolnetindia.com, www.iflsets.com and also through SMS services of various mobile telephone service operators.

As many as 3,53,761 regular candidates and 1,11,247 private candidates had appeared in the middle examination of the PSEB.


Cop suspended for doing his duty
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, May 15
The in charge of the Model Town police post was suspended late last night as he had dared to arrest a local Youth Congress leader.

Even as the euphoria of Ms Preneet Kaur's victory has yet to die down, local police officers, it seems, have gone into overdrive to please the newly elected MP and all her blues eyed boys.

This was in evidence when the Patiala's Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mr A.S. Rai placed in charge of the Model Town police post, Mr Ajay Sharma, under suspension. The fault of Mr Sharma was that late on Friday night, he picked up a former president of the District Youth Congress, Mr Sharanjit Singh Jogipur, from his house located near Motibagh Gurdwara and docked him at the Model Town police post. Sources say Mr Sharma picked up the Congress leaders in connection with a criminal case registered against some unidentified persons who had allegedly used a car bearing the registration of Mr Jogipur's car.

Top police officials are trying to wash their hands off the incident. A senior officer said Mr Ajay Sharma was suspended for "not checking and verifying the complaint against the Congressman properly."

A few days earlier, Mr Jogipur and his friends were allegedly involved in a brawl with some persons near Leela Bhavan Chowk. Those assaulted and their supporters got a case registered at the Civil Lines police station in which they had mentioned the registration number of a Fiat Uno car said to be used by the Congressman.

Tracing the number of the car, a police party landed at the Congress leader’s house on the day of counting of votes. Things turned out to be hot for Mr Ajay Sharma as Mr Jogipur pulled political strings from the CM's residence and finally had the harried police official suspended.

So influential seemed to be the local leader that the SHO of the Civil Lines police station, Mr Balwinder escorted Mr Jogipur back to his house.

This is for the second time that police officials in this politically sensitive district have to face the ire of local middle-level Congress leaders. On an earlier occasion, the in charge of the Model Town police post, Mr Rajesh Snehi, was given the marching orders for allegedly misbehaving with a local municipal councillor. He is at present posted at Sangrur.

Mr Jogipur is also preparing to file a defamation case against Mr Ajay Sharma.


She came all the way from Bulgaria to get 7 kg tumour removed
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, May 15
Life became difficult for the 42-year-old Bulgarian national Rosista Georgana (Puri) when doctors in her country, after detecting her disease, politely refused to treat her by saying that surgery would be life threatening. The reason: she had developed a 7-kg fibroid tumour in the uterus.

Mr Devinder Puri, her husband, an NRI who hails from Moga, decided to try his luck for the last time and brought her to Ludhiana for treatment. She not only got rid of her disease but also is ready to go back to Bulgaria and meet her daughters after recovering at Iqbal Nursing Home here.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Puri said that for his wife’s life he was willing to pay any amount, provided doctors gave him some sort of assurance that she could be operated upon. “I consulted doctors in Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Greece, but they said that she would not survive. After coming here, I realised that doctors were not only polite and considerate but also sympathetic. Dr Iqbal Ahuja and Dr M.S. Chawla said that they were ready to take the risk. And they have saved her life,” said Mr Puri.

Mr Puri said that many people preferred to get treatment in India because of various reasons. In countries like Bulgaria, the USA or the UK, the test reports came very late and the cost of treatment was much higher.

“I have come here from Bulgaria and nobody is accompanying me, but I am very comfortable. Rosista speaks to her daughters every day and they are happy that we would be joining them very soon,” said Mr Puri.

It is pertinent to mention here that city hospitals are getting many NRI patients these days.

Dr Ahuja said, “I have not removed such a big (7 kg) fibroid tumour from any patient during my 34 years of medical profession. It was a very risky operation. Rosista’s HB was just 4 gm and she was given six units of blood. It feels great to see the lost smile back on one’s face.”

The doctor claimed that Rosista would be discharged within two-three days and she would be leading a normal life.


Rs 112 cr spent on modernising ITBP
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 15
“Jawans will be able to provide instant information from board outposts to the higher authorities through computers,” Mr Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, Director-General, ITBP, said here today. A sum of Rs 112 crore had been spent to modernise the ITBP in the last two years, he said.

Mr Agarwal was here to attend the attestation and passing out parade of 14 Sub-Inspector and 214 constables of the ITBP.

Speaking on the occasion, he said in a five-year modernisation plan, the Central Government had sanctioned Rs 180 crore for the force. Out of this Rs 112 crore had been spent on the purchase of weapons, surveillance equipment and night vision devices. Two battalions of the force had been trained in disaster management.

To give medical facilities to the families of jawans, the force had signed an MoU with 28 hospitals in Delhi. In addition to this, 80 acres in Greater Noida and 11 acres in Dehra Dun had been purchased to construct houses for them.

He presented prizes to best personnel, including SI Hari Singh, SI Vivek Kumar Pandey, SI Satvir Aryan, and Lalit Mohan (best trainee).

Among constables of batch no 170, Rajesh Kumar was adjudged overall best, Tirlok Zinta best in PT, Jatinder Singh in weapon and Gayarsi Lal in drill.

In batch no 171, Anil Kumar was chosen the overall best, Vijender Kumar best in PT, Ajay Kumar in weapon and Sunil Rawat in drill.


Custodial death: SHO transferred

Gurdaspur, May 15
The district administration has ordered the transfer of SHO Kulwant Singh who was accused of custodial death by agitated residents of Kalanaur.

Hundreds of residents had yesterday laid a siege to the police station, demanding registration of a murder case against the SHO on the charge of custodial killing a resident of the town.

The dharna was lifted late last night following an assurance by the police that the entire episode would be probed.

It was alleged by Surinder Kaur that her husband Harjit Singh, 40, was picked from home in her presence on May 4 for investigations to the mini bus theft case.

She said three days later, she along with her brother saw her husband in “bad shape” lying on the floor in the police lock-up, adding that she later learnt about her husband’s death in Government Guru Nanak Hospital, Amritsar.

The body of the victim was cremated today.

Meanwhile, SP (Headquarters) Darshan Singh Dhindsa has assured the residents that action would be taken against the SHO if he was found guilty during the probe. — UNI


23 hurt as bus hits tree
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 15
As many as 23 pilgrims were injured today near Dobur ji village, near here, when a private bus collided with a tree by the roadside. Two of the injured are in a serious condition and have been shifted to CMC, Ludhiana.

The injured include eight women. The bus was coming from Ludhiana, bringing participants of the two-day special conference of All-India Sri Sukhmani Sahib Seva Society to be organised at Sri Manji Sahib Diwan Hall, Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar.

Mr Aram Singh Chawala, head of the two-bus jatha, told this correspondent that the accident occurred due to the negligence of the driver, Balwinder Singh. He left the site soon after the mishap.

The injured have been identified as Dalip Singh (75), Harbans Singh (76), Ajit Singh (45), Inder Singh (50), Ravinder Singh (60), Pritam Singh (60), Ram Singh (70), Manpreet Singh (12), Gurmail Singh (58), Harjit Singh (65), Charanjit Singh (70), Joginder Singh (68), Daljit Singh (30), Probhjot Singh (12), Kamaljit Singh (36), Harbhajan Kaur (66), Simran Kaur (60), Surjit Kaur (50), Gurmeet Kaur (50), Rajwinder Kaur (34), Nirmal Kaur (50), Kuldeep Kaur (50) and Gurdeep Kaur (50).

They are all residents of Ludhiana. Workers of some local religious bodies helped the victims. The local civil administration helped shift the injured to Ludhiana.

The local city police also reached the spot for rescue operations.


Pak group wants to revive performing arts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 15
Pakistani puppet and theatre artistes along with the Springdale Educational Society are planning to revive the traditional performing arts for cementing the cultural bond between the two neighbours.

The famous Pakistani actor, director and founder of the Rafi Peer theatre group, Mr Usmaan Peerzada, who along with eight member team arrived from Lahore yesterday said his main concern was to bridge the gap between the two nations.

Mr Peerzada said although puppetry, live performances in folk fance and sons forms originated in India but the dominance of television, soap operas and family dramas had almost dealt a deadly blow and allowed them to go into oblivion. He said the present generation must try an to revive the art of mime, puppet, theatre, folk songs and dance through modern and contemporary presentations which would help revive these arts once again.

Lashing out against the present TV melodramas which had caused immense damage to live performing arts, Mr Peerzada said these serials needlessly get extension for commercial purpose. He had already created more than 2,500 puppets for a large number of plays with 100 TV shows as director and designing.

Faizaan’s fascination for lights since the past two decades has now given him a house hold name as a lighting designer. He has designed stage and lights for several programmes in Pakistan including festivals and several installations for events abroad.

Mr Peerzada said they had been keenly watching Indian parliamentary elections and were impressed by the enthusiasm amongst, the voters. Expressing disappointment over the ouster of Mr Vajpayee he hoped that the new government would continue to give due importance to Indo-Pakistan relations which were now on the path of recovery.

The theatre group arrived here on the invitation of the Spring Dale Educational Society to participate in the Indo-Pakistan visual arts festival. They would perform puppet show and interact with their Indian counterparts to explore the possibility of collaboration in the fields of theatre; music, art, films and other related activities during their four-day stay here.

The team includes Mr Usmaan Peerzada, Saadaan Peerzada, Faizaan Peerzada, Imraan Peezada, Alena Peerzada, Yamina Peerzada, Tasneem Peerzada and Shoib-ur-Rehman.

Mr Peerzada said the group plans to make a documentary on Golden Temple which would cover all aspects of Sikh religion to be shown on Pakistani TV channels during their stay in Amritsar.


SGPC forms panels for celebrations
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 15
The SGPC has constituted a 17-member Advisory Committee to chalk out and coordinate programmes for the 400th year of the first installation of the holy Guru Granth Sahib on September 1.

The first meeting of this committee has been convened at the SGPC Secretariat here on May 18.

According to a press note issued by the acting president, Jathedar Alvinderpal Singh Pakoke, the members of the committee are Mr Kewal Singh Badal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Dr Kharak Singh, Mr Jasbir Singh Khalsa of Khanna, Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, Principal Harjit Singh, Principal Ram Singh Ludhiana, Dr Khem Singh, former VC of PAU, Giani Gurdit Singh, Dr Jaswant Singh Neki, of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee, Prof Jaspal Singh Delhi, Mr Jagdish Singh Amritsar, Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, Dr Mohinder Singh Delhi, Dr Balwant Singh Dhillon and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta. Mr Dalmegh Singh will be member-cum-secretary of the committee.

The SGPC has also constituted a nine-member Souvenir Committee to bring out a souvenir to mark this historic occasion. Dr Gurbhagat Singh, Dr Jaswant Singh Neki, Dr Prithipal Singh Kapoor, Dr Kharak Singh, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Dr Harnam Singh Ji Shaan, Dr Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon, Bhai Jasbir Singh Khalsa Khanna Wale and Mr Harbir Singh Bhanwer have been nominated members of this committee.


Labourer’s body disposed of sans post-mortem
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 15
Despite a demand by leaders of the Punjab Nirman Mazdoor Union for a post-mortem of the body of a Bihari labourer, Jatinder Sahni, the owners of a plywood factory of Bassi Kaso allegedly disposed it of on Thursday night. Sahni died allegedly due to electrocution while he was working in the factory at 3 pm on Thursday.

This was stated in a press note by Mr Ganga Prashad, president of the union, here yesterday. He said on receiving the news about the death of Sahni, he along with Mr Makhlesh Kumar, Mr Ramdeen and Mr Janmi Prashad, all leaders of the union, reached the factory. They requested the owners of the factory to send the body for a post-mortem to ascertain the real cause of the death.

Mr Bhanu Aggarwal and Mr Sonu Aggarwal, owners of the factory, agreed to their request. They sent them to the local Civil Hospital on the pretext that they would soon reach there with the body.

Mr Parshad said they waited at the Hospital for a long time last evening, but the factory owners did not come and instead of getting done the post-mortem, they disposed it of in the night.

He said Sahni was working in the factory for the past three years. The union leaders demanded legal action against the factory owners and registration of a case against them. Mr Prashad said information about the incident had been sent to the Director-General of the Punjab police, the SSP, Hoshiarpur, the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, Punjab, and the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


Abducted boy, ransom amount recovered
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 15
The school student kidnap drama of Bada Pind village came to an end today with the police recovering Prateek Sharma, Class VII student of a convent school near Goraya, and the ransom amount of Rs 8 lakh, with the arrest of three persons, who had taken Prateek hostage at their place in Phagwara.

Prateek was allegedly kidnapped at around 3 p.m. from Bada Pind near Rurka Khurd village on Friday while he was returning home from school along with some of his friends. The two scooter-borne youth, who had allegedly kidnapped Prateek, told him that his mother was seriously ill and was in hospital. An unsuspecting Prateek accompanied them. Later, the alleged abductors rang up Pawan Sharma, father of Prateek, demanding a ransom of Rs 10 lakh for his release. The deal was, however, struck at Rs 8 lakh which was paid to the abductors. The parents of Prateek, however, were directed not to inform anyone about the incident.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, said the conspiracy was hatched by one Charanjit alias Bobby, a music shop owner and DJ arranger of Phagwara, his assistant Vijay Kumar and Paramjit alias Pamma, a resident of Bada Pind village and a former deed writer, who gave feedback about Prateek to his accomplices. He said Prateek was taken to Phagwara, from where he was recovered along with the ransom amount of Rs 8 lakh. He said all the three accused had been arrested this evening.


AMIE engineers seek promotions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The AMIE Degree Holder Engineers Association has urged the Punjab Irrigation Department to promote all those junior engineers who have passed the AMIE, as Subdivisional Engineers.

Mr S.N. Bansal, general secretary of the association, in a statement issue here today, urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to issue directions to the authorities concerned for ordering the promotions. He said that a large number of posts of SDE were vacant in the department. The issue of the promotions of AMIE degree holders had been kept pending by the department for the past several months, he added.

He said that the department wanted to promote ineligible junior engineers against vacant posts by violating various court judgements. He said that as per the rulings given by various courts, the promotions could only be made from amongst the eligible engineers on the basis of rules framed in 1941. He said that under the rules, the AMIE qualified engineers were eligible for promotion against the 45 per cent quota for promotions from within the department.

The association said that it had brought the matter to the notice of the Chief Secretary and other authorities concerned. “We want that justice should be done to us on this issue at the earliest,” he added.


Police Science Congress from May 24

Jalandhar, May 15
To discuss and find solutions about the problems and difficulties being faced by the police in different states, a three-day 35th All- India Police Science Congress would begin here from May 24.

“As many as 60 representatives from the police departments of different states and para military forces will attend the congress and read their papers on different subjects”, said Ms Shashi Prabha, Commandant of 75th Btn of PAP Jalandhar and media in charge of the congress.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would inaugurate the congress and the Director of Intelligence Bureau (IB) would be the chief guest on the closing ceremony on May 26, she revealed.

This would be the second time that the Punjab had been given an opportunity to conduct the congress by Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), she said, adding apart from the problems and solutions, some innovative ideas were also expected from the outcome of the congress. — PTI


Ammunition destroyed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 15
A bomb disposal squad from Jalandhar today destroyed one anti-tank mine, two anti-personnel mines, two stick bombs, 16 numbers of HE-36 hand grenades and thousands of live cartridges in an open space here. The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sangrur, Mr Varinder Aggarwal, was also present.

The above mentioned ammunition had been seized by the district police in most of the cases from the militants between 1988 and 1992. This ammunition was case property in many cases, which had already been decided by the courts.


Five get 7-year jail in corruption case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
A Public Welfare Department employee, along with four other accused, have been sentenced to seven years' rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case by Faridkot's Special Court.

According to information released by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in Chandigarh, the accused employee — working as a clerk — was booked, along with other accused, at Kotwali police station in Faridkot under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and different sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The accused had allegedly connived with each other to embezzle by "making bogus entries of `biltis' of some tankers". In the process, they had allegedly caused huge loss to the state exchequer.

Giving details of the case, a spokesman of the bureau, here said the authorities had launched a "concerted drive to eradicate corruption from among the public servants in every sphere of the state".

For the purpose, the Vigilance Bureau officers were regularly following up all cases, registered by the Vigilance Bureau, under trial in courts all over the state to ensure that the suspects did not escape judicial punishment.


3 arrested in connection with Kharar firing
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 15
Three persons have been arrested by the police in a case of firing in which a SAD worker was shot at and injured on the day of elections at Dabali village.

The arrested persons are Gurnam Singh, alias, Gama, a resident of Dabali village, Mukhtiar Singh and Gurcharan Singh, alias Bittu, both residents of Phool Khurd village. The 12 bore gun and the scooter used for committing the crime had also been recovered by the police. Both items belonged to Mukhtiar Singh.

According to a press note issued on behalf of the Ropar SSP, the firing incident had nothing to do with the elections. The reason behind the incident was an old enmity. After interrogation, Gurnam Singh confessed of having used his old friends — Mukhtiar Singh and Gurcharan Singh — to eliminate Mr Pritpal Singh as the latter was pursuing a murder case registered against him in Fatehgarh Sahib district.

The SSP said that during investigation, the police got to know that Mukhtiar Singh earlier had a terrorist background and was booked under the Arms Act, TDA (P) Act and a case of theft during 1990 at the Morinda police station.

The two other persons — Mr Charan Singh and Mr Pushpinder Singh — named in the FIR have been found to be innocent.

Mr Pritpal Singh had been shot at and seriously injured by two scooter-borne persons while he was distributing poll slips near a polling station at Dabali village. Mr Pritpal Singh was taken to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The SSP said that even though the crime took place on the day of the elections and that, too, near a polling station, it had nothing to do the elections. The day of polling was chosen only to divert attention. He said that there was no disturbance at the polling booth after the incident. In fact, it had registered a higher than an average turnout of voters.


Killers behead youth, escape with head
Tribune News Service

Kartarpur (Jalandhar), May 15
Some unidentified killers allegedly beheaded a youth last night with sharp-edged weapons and then threw his body in fields near Civil Hospital here. They then escaped alongwith his head.

The incident came to light early this morning when a resident went to fields and noticed that a body, sans head, was lying in fields amidst a lot of blood. The DSP (rural), Mr Rajinder Singh, reached the spot, along with a police party and a dog squad, to investigate.

Though the police had been unable to identify the dead body so far, but some police officers investigating into the matter, suspected that the youth might be a 25-year-old unmarried resident of Talwan village, who was working here with a furniture shop. He was last seen at about 9 p.m. on Friday night. They also did not rule out the possibility of an illicit relationship as a motive behind the crime.

“We have not been able to trace the head so far, but, we are sure we will solve the crime within hours. We are working on various leads,” said Mr Rajinder Singh. He said special police parties had been dispatched to trace killers and to find the head of the victim. Enquiries were also being made to identify the deceased.


Police inaction alleged
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 15
Even after a week of registration of criminal case, against three persons for allegedly beating up a couple and molesting woman on the intervening night of May 8 and 9, the Civil Line police had allegedly failed to arrest them.

Ms Jatinder Kaur, a teacher in a private school and a resident of Ranjit Avenue, had lodged a complaint with SSP Kultar Singh alleging that Surinder Singh, a resident of Ranjit Avenue, Sukhpal Bir Singh and Kanwarbir Singh, both residents of Gumtala, had forcibly entered her house after breaking the doors and beat her up and molested her on the night of the incident. She alleged the accused had also thrashed her husband and daughter.

She alleged that the accused, who were relatives of her husband, wanted to take the possession of her house forcibly. They had earlier tried to take the possession but had failed to do so. She alleged even after so many days the police were not arresting the accused who were roaming freely and threatening to kidnap her daughter.


Teacher caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 15
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has arrested Ms Veena Bansal, Headmistress, Arya Model High School, Raman Mandi, for accepting a bribe of Rs 500 from a student, who was seeking his school-leaving certificate.

Sources said the Vigilance team arrested Ms Bansal yesterday when she allegedly accepted Rs 500 from Mr Vikram Singh, a resident of village Pakka Kalan. The sources said the student had gone to the school to get his school-leaving certificate after passing his matric examination.

The sources said the student paid Rs 110 as certificate fee and Rs 500 were demanded from him as bribe by Ms Bansal. Perturbed over this, the parents of the student contacted the Vigilance Bureau authorities to lodge a complaint against the teacher.

Mr Zora Singh Brar led the Vigilance team which arrested the Headmistress red-handed. A case has been registered.

Meanwhile, a section of teachers’ union activists said that the police was making an issue out of nothing and claimed that the school authorities had to collect funds to run their institutes. Collection of funds for the betterment of the schools was a routine practice, they claimed.


4 held for stealing electric wires
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 15
The police has arrested four members of a five member gang of thieves, who were allegedly involved in stealing electric wires belonging to different state government agencies.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said the four members of the gang were arrested on a tip-off of Mr Ravinder Singh, a resident of the city, on May 12.

He said the accused for the past two years used to steal the electric wires and sell them off to junk dealers. They had minted Rs 5 lakh in this illegal business.

He added that three out of four had been identified as Bagga Singh, Uggar Singh and Visakha Singh.

The electric wires worth Rs 60,000, which the accused had sold to two junk dealers Jyoti and Pali, had been also recovered.

He said a criminal case had been registered against them.


Robbers take away ledger
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 15
Two armed robbers took away account books of a trader, Mr Yogesh, at the Gali Gaggrian Wali last night. They also shot at the trader but he escaped.

Mr Yogesh said he had parked his car outside his house when the robbers took away a bag containing books from his car.

No case has been registered yet. He had informed the police but it reached the spot in the morning, he said.


Rs 1 cr heroin recovered on Indo-Pak border

Attari (Amritsar), May 15
The BSF has recovered 1 kg heroin, worth Rs 1 crore in the international market.

The packet of contraband was recovered by the BSF across the fencing on the Indo-Pak border at Dowekey village, senior BSF officer posted at Attari sector confirmed.

He said the contraband was recovered today morning when the troop of BSF was coming back after performing the joint patrolling exercise in their respective territories with there Pakistan Rangers on zero line. — PTI


Servant beaten to death
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 15
Manjit Singh (22), a servant with a shop was allegedly beaten to death by Inderjot Singh, alias Vicky, owner of the shop here today. The police has registered a case under Section 302 IPC against Vicky and another servant of the shop Angrej Singh. Mr Gurkirpal Singh, SSP, told this correspondent that the owner with the help of another servant Angrej Singh beat up Manjit Singh and he died on the spot. The owner of the shop alleged that Manjit Singh had stolen some money from the shop.


Fake currency racket unearthed

Hoshiarpur, May 15
The police today unearthed a racket of manufacturing and selling fake Indian currency with the arrest of four men along with 50 counterfeit notes of Rs 500 denomination and the computer equipment used for making it.

The SSP, Mr Lok Nath Angra, said Jatinder Singh, who headed the gang, and his three accomplices, Bhupinder Singh, Surinder Singh and Onkar Singh, were arrested during a raid conducted at Jatinder’s house in Manga village last night.

Besides the computer and its accessories, including eight CDs, the fake currency and two bundles of white papers were also seized, he added. — UNI


‘Fire courses job oriented’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 15
The Fire Ignorance Research and Education Society (FIRES), a Nagpur-based NGO, has held a guidance camp on opportunities in the fire brigade service sector in this city.

Mr Nilesh Ukunde, president of the NGO, in a statement issued here today said the fire services field offered many employment and career advancement opportunities. He said awareness about the field was low in this region.

The field offered various courses with minimum educational qualifications starting from higher secondary, diploma or graduation. He said all high rise buildings, factories, industries, ports, refineries and steel or cement plants were in need of qualified fire-fighting personnel.

Apart from fire-fighting, the students could opt for joining designing and installation of fire fighting equipment, fire detection and fire protection systems.

The camp would continue till May 16 at a local study centre, he added.


BBK DAV College students excel
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 15
Students of BBK DAV College for Women secured three merit positions out of seven declared by Guru Nanak Dev University in B.Com-I (professional examination). Hina Sachdeva, Suruchi Gupta and Priyanka Sharma stood third, fifth and seventh, respectively.

Ritasha Khanna secured the second position in B.Com (III) examination. Five students of the college came on the merit list in the B.Com (II) examination.

This was stated in a press note of the college yesterday.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |