C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Pak actresses cast a spell over Punjabi conference
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
You can't afford to miss them, not even in a crowd. Brightly dressed for the World Punjabi Conference, legendary Pakistani actresses Bahar Begum and Panna Sulaiman added much needed glamour to the largely serious ambience.

Stars of yesteryears, they still retain a lot of their gleam. Happy with the media attention they garnered today, the two friends spoke at length about their celluloid connection, and also their associations with India.

Panna Sulaiman holds the listener's interest better. Vocal, confident and India-loving, she establishes an instant rapport by mentioning Pandit Birju Maharaj. A disciple of the legendary Kathak guru, Panna is among the few Pakistani women who laboured to assimilate Indian forms of art. Also trained in Bharatnatyam and Manipuri, she took up Kathak as her vocation. Recalling her hey days, Panna says, "most of the roles I took up were dance oriented. My art gave me a world of fame. I have now established an art group by my name. I choreograph sequences on classical and mystical themes like the poetry of Sufi saints, Bulle Shah and Waris Shah."

A leading lady of about 52 films, Panns is now complacent with character roles. Flaunting her Patiala connection she says, "I was also trained under the famous Ustad Ghulam Hussain of Patiala. He was the most revered guru of his times, so revered that he was roped in by Maharaja of Patiala to train the women in his harem. My connection with Patiala is even stronger as I am the daughter of Sardar Khaliludin Khan, who was the Education Minister in the regime of erstwhile Maharaja of Patiala."

Fond of Bollywood, especially Dilip Kumar and Sanjeev Kumar, Panna rues that Pakistani artistes are not respected in India as Indian atistes are in Pakistan. Bahar Begum, the most sought after leading lady of the past, shares the same view, "our films are not accepted in India. This is ironic especially because we almost devour Indian films in Pakistan. The flourishing piracy industry explains the obsession."

Having worked in 560 films as a heroine and character artiste, Bahar Begum says, "it is a fact that the Indian film industry has a bigger base than ours. You have a market overseas but we have a limited market. That also explains why our films don't have so much of sales outside Pakistan. But I am proud of our industry and I wish Indian and Pakistan film makers collaborate extensively to produce classics. I am aware of "Pind di Kudi", one of such joint ventures. I am eagerly looking forward to more ventures so that I can be a part of those."


Spate of suicides
Unbearable illness
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, May 29
Fed up with a prolonged illness, A 22-year-old youth of Sector 15 today ended his life. Vipin Kumar, who was alone in his house, in Sector 15, was found hanging with a ceiling fan by his neighbours. They took him to the PGI, where he was declared brought dead.

Vipin Kumar was unemployed and had reportedly been depressed because of his prolonged illness. Vipin had very frequent fits and was taking treatment from a local hospital.

He allegedly attempted suicide when his other family members had left home during the day. However, the neighbours came to know about his suicide attempt early and tried to save him. He had kept the door of his room open while attempting the suicide.

The police handed over the body to his family members after a post-mortem.

Death of mother leads to step

Panchkula: An 18-year-old youth hailing from Bihar committed suicide by hanging himself with a ceiling fan in Haripur village this morning after he came to know about the death of his mother at his native place.

According to the police, the youth, Anil Kumar, was staying with his brother in Haripur village for the past over one-and-a-half month and took the extreme step in absence of other family members.

Anil came to know about the death of his mother after he gave a call to his home in Bihar. He went to a STD booth to make a call to Bihar when his brother and the sister-in-law were not at home.

His sister-in-law found the body hanging with the ceiling fan after she returned home from market. Subsequently, neighbours assembled and the police was called. The body was handed over to the family after a post-mortem examination at General Hospital, Sector 6, this evening.

Failed love affair proves fatal

Mohali: Nitin, alias Goldy, a 23-year-old resident of Phase V, here allegedly committed suicide last night by consuming a poisonous substance. According to police sources, Nitin was facing stress relating to a love affair. He had allegedly broken up with his girlfriend recently.

Nitin was working with a computer company in Chandigarh. He was found in a critical condition at his residence last evening after which he was rushed to the PGI where he died. His body was handed over to his mother after a post-mortem today.


166 helmetless women booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Chandigarh Traffic Police today booked 166 women for riding two-wheelers without helmets on the third day of the campaign.

A team of around 20 police personnel stood were posted at Sectors 18 and 19 traffic signal point. The team was led by Inspectors Shivraj Sidhu and Ishwar Mann. Two women officers were also in the team.

The police today also booked women whose name had a suffix of Kaur.

The police has clarified that only turbaned Amritdhari girls were exempt from wearing helmets.


Murder accused in police net after 6 years
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Gangster Totaís lieutenant Rakesh Kumar, alias Bittu, alias Kala, lands in police net six years after the sensational murder of two children in which two of his co-accused had been ordered to be hanged.

This came to the notice of the police today when it confirmed from the Punjab police as to what his status in the murder case was.

Rakesh Kumar became a proclaimed offender in the case and eluded arrest for six years, while two of his co-accused were sentenced to death by a Patiala court.

Rakesh Kumar had allegedly been involved in the murder of five family members of the Madans in Sector 16, Chandigarh, in 1989.

Sources said Rakesh Kumar was more dreaded than Tota but he accepted the subordination of a scheming Tota who emerged leader of the gang. Rakesh Kumar is known as a criminal who commits daring crimes under otherís leadership. He likes women as his gang leader Tota does.

Rakesh Kumar allegedly killed the two children and attempted to murder their mother Baljit Kaur in a car in 1998. The woman, wife of his then gang leader Kulbir Singh, survived the attempt. Rakesh Kumar wanted to kill them at the behest of Kulbir Singh as the latter suspected that his wife was infidel. One of the co-accused in this case facing gallows is Kulbir Singh.

Kulbir Singh allegedly assigned the job of elimination of his family to Rajesh Kumar after he found out that Rakesh had allegedly killed five persons of a family.

Rakesh Kumar had earlier worked with the family he eliminated for a long time, but killed them for money.

He has seven murder and one attempt to murder cases against him.

Rakesh Kumar tried the same trick before the robbery of a gas agency owner. His recent live-in partner Madhu Bala had been working with the gas agency for eight years before he looted the agency owner.

Madhu Bala was a sister of Rakesh Kumarís wife. Rakesh Kumar, like Tota, developed relations with Madhu Bala. He eloped with her eight months back. Madhu Bala is said to be pregnant from Rakesh Kumar and had been part of his robbery attempts.


Land-grab case: 2 booked
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, May 29
The Patiala police has booked two persons, including a former kanoongo, for changing the girdawari of a prime piece of land located along the Chandigarh-Zirakpur-Panchkula road in Dhakauli village. A case of cheating and criminal conspiracy has been registered against them at the Dera Bassi police station.

The duo ó Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Chunni village near Fatehgarh Sahib, and Pritpal Singh, a former kanoongo of Dera Bassi, ó have been booked under Sections 429, 167 and 120-B of the IPC for their involvement in the case.

However, the police has not made any arrest in this regard. The accused have been evading arrest since last evening.

After investigations of the case registered on a complaint of Mr Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Nabha village near Zirakpur, Mr Pritpal Singh Virk, SP (Operations), Patiala, found that Gurcharan Singh, in connivance with Pritpal Singh, had managed to change the girdawari of the land, measuring 2 bighas and 8 biswas, comprising khasra No. 328/1 in Dhakauli village, illegally.

In the complaint, Mr Harbhajan Singh had alleged that Mr Kamaldeep Singh, a resident of Dhakauli village, had encroached upon the land which he had purchased from Gurcharan Singh.

It may be recalled that the circle revenue officer (CRO), Mr Sanjeev Bansal, had corrected the girdawari of the land after The Tribune team highlighted the role of the police-politician land mafia in grabbing the government land.

Over 24 armed henchmen of the land mafia had also attacked The Tribune team on March 22 night.

The girdawari was changed in the favour of the state government. The CRO also asked the sub-divisional officer of the Drainage Department, Punjab, to look after the land for avoiding any type of encroachment on it.

Mr Bansal, CRO-cum-Tehsildar of Dera Bassi, during inquiries revealed that the girdawari of the land was illegally transferred to the name of Mr Gurcharan Singh on March 30, 1993. He also found that the land was actually acquired by the government for the Drainage Department till 1993.


Couple held for abetting nephew to rape minor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
A couple had allegedly prompted their nephew to rape a minor girl after he kidnapped her from Bapu Dham in Ludhiana.

This came to the notice of Chandigarh Police after the arrest of the couple from Bapu Dham in Ludhiana today fallowing months of efforts by Sector 26 Police Station.

The police had been looking for the couple since March 2004 when the girl reported to the police that the 45-year-old Sushil Kumar and his 25-year-old wife Beant Kaur forcibly kept her and Rajinder in a room promopted Rajinder to rape her.

The girl said that the uncle and the aunt of the boy joined them at the Sukhna Lake on February 28 when she was kidnapped. The girl told the police that Rajinder kidnapped her from her house and reached the lake. After sometime, the relative couple of the boy also reached the lake. The couple gave the girl Rs 4,000 saying Rajinder would marry her and asked them to run away.

Rajinder was arrested on March 7, 2004, and the girl was freed from his detention. On the statement of the girl and her medical examination, the rape charge was added against them. They had earlier been booked for kidnapping the minor girl.

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