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Protest in city against screening of ‘Girlfriend’
Posters torn; security outside cinema halls
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
The district administration today posted security at two cinema halls, Society and Manju, where the controversial film ‘Girlfriend’ is being screened following protests against the movie by local activists of the self-proclaimed ‘morality police’ comprising members of Shiv Sena and Hindu Surakhsa Samiti organisations.

The protesters also staged demonstrations at National Highway No. 1, Clock Tower Chowk, apart from some other places in the city. The posters of the movie were damaged or torn away. They have given an ultimatum to the district administration to immediately stop the screening of the film or more protests would follow.

The cinema hall owners were in no mood to buckle under the pressure of the protestors. Bhupinder Singh, owner of the Society cinema, where the movie is being screened since Friday, said the shows will continue as schedule, “Who are these people when the Censor Board has cleared the film?” he asked. The owners of the Manju cinema could not be contacted.

The demonstrators were criticising the movie alleging that the lesbian relationship shown in it was highly damaging to the sentiments of the people and was against the country’s culture.

The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Suraksha Samiti was leading the agitation against the screening of the film. Activists of the organisation tore away the posters of the film and staged demonstrations at various places of the city.

The demonstrations were peaceful today but Mr Rajiv Tandon, district president of the organisation warned that they would stage stronger protests if the screening of the film was not stopped immediately.

He said some film producers were playing with the emotions and desires of people by exploiting ‘harmful’ relationships like lesbianism. He said such relationship might be acceptable in western society but the Indian culture has never accepted it.

He called for a social boycott of the film producers, director and the star cast. He has urged the Deputy Commissioner to form a board of eminent citizens for banning screening of such films in the city.

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) has also criticised the screening of the movie. Mr Neeraj Verma, President, Punjab Unit of the organisation, said in a press release that they will not allow the movie to be screened at any cost.

Mr Verma said such movies pollute the Indian culture and should not be made. He warned the district administration to stop the screening of the movie otherwise the organisation will use force to do so.



DC orders removal of posters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, has given 48 hours to the owners of two cinema halls of the city- Society and Manju- to remove obscene posters of the controversial movie ‘Girlfriend’ from the city.

Mr Verma told Ludhiana Tribune that he had issued orders last month against the pasting of obscene posters and had given the directions under the same orders to the cinema owners. Mr Verma said he could only take action against those pasting posters outside the premises of the cinema halls.

He said if any organisation wants to stop the screening of the film they would have to approach the Punjab Government or the Central Government. Mr Verma also warned organisations protesting against the film that he would not tolerate any law and order problem in the city.



INA veteran’s endless wait for pension
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
A year after the Punjab State Women Commission had directed the district administration to provide monthly pension to an INA veteran, Ms Sarjeet Kaur, who fought for the country’s freedom along with her husband six decades ago, she is yet to get it.

The INA veteran of Bhaini Roran village saw a ray of hope after the commission directed the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, on June 20, last year, to evaluate her case and find out why she was not being given any pension all these years. Despite visiting the office of the Deputy Commissioner several times during the past one year, her file is still making rounds of various offices in the mini secretariat. She claimed that officials had told her that her file had been lost and it would take time to locate it.

‘‘Earlier they were saying that due to elections my work had been delayed. Later, they said my file had been misplaced. I do not understand what to do.’’ said Ms Sarjeet Kaur. She added that INA veterans, who had identified her in front of the authorities, were very old persons and were not in a position to visit offices time and again.

‘‘When they had to come to identify me in winters, their children did not allow them. Their concern is genuine. If something happens to them on the way who is responsible," she questioned.

Ms Sarjeet Kaur has been fighting for the recognition of her husband’s contribution to the country’s Independence. Her husband Hazoora Singh Chahal, had died long ago, unsung and unrecognised. Not only the nation but the majority of residents of this sleepy hamlet are also unaware of this INA veteran who was living amidst them since Independence.

Hazoora Singh Chahal, who was with Netaji Subash Chander Bose at Singapore from 1944 to 1945, and his wife Ms Sarjeet Kaur not only sacrificed their youth but also a member of their family for the sake of the country. She claims she had to throw her newborn baby in Singapore as she could not bear sufferings of the starving infant. Substantiating her claims, she also showed the picture of her baby, bearing the stamp of a studio in Singapore.

According to documents produced by Ms Sarjeet Kaur, Hazoora Singh Chahal had joined the Indian National Army on February 23, 1944. He worked as a Havildar with 1/8 Guerrilla, First Battalion, A.Coy no. 34451. His area of operation was Ipoh Perak, Malaya and Captain Bhaskar C.Com of Maharashtra was his Commander under whom he had served.

Documents also said he was imprisoned for seven months in various jails at Ipoh and Bidda Dari camps in Singapore. He had to surrender in November 1945 to the British Army. He had also furnished this information to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, after the Deputy Secretary asked him to do so through a letter no. 27L/11997/74, addressed to him in 1974.

His correspondence with the various governments, including Punjab and Central, continued for more than 40 years but he did not get any pension or economic relief which was provided to members of the INA. He did not get a pension even after another INA veteran, Lt Kirpal Singh, INA, 2/8, Guerrilla Regiment, declared under oath that Hazoora Chahal Singh was imprisoned in Ipoh with him for several months. The fight to get pension ended after he died but soon his wife started the correspondence. She is still waiting for the day when her husband’s struggle for the freedom of India would be recognised and she would be given the pension.



Trader sues BSNL for using son’s photo
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 15
Accusing Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) of using some photographs of his minor son for publicity purposes without his consent, a local businessman has claimed a compensation of Rs 10 lakh from the telecom PSU in a case filed before a local court.

Ms Anshul Berry, Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), has issued summons to the Chairman of BSNL Mr Prithipal Singh and the Union Government through its Secretary, Telecommunication.

In the petition, Mr Rajesh Aggarwal of Aggar Nagar locality in the city has alleged that two photographs of his son, Sharav (9) were used on a coloured booklet circulated for the publicity of the countrywide cellullar services of BSNL.

Mr Aggarwal claimed that he had sent the photographs to various advertising agencies with the request that if they needed these or the child in person for modelling, advertising or for acting purposes, they might contact him. But neither BSNL nor any advertising agency approached him to get the permission for using the photograph of his son.

Blaming BSNL for using the photograph without any consent or authority, the complainant has termed the act “illegal.” He added that despite serving legal notice upon the BSNL Chairman and Secretary Telecommunication, the authorities concerned did not reply. The case will come up for hearing on August 12.



Brave woman to be honoured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
The district administration today announced a bravery award for Sushma Wadera (65) for showing exemplary courage in getting two alleged robbers arrested and thwarting a robbery attempt at her house in Agar Nagar yesterday.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, announced that she would be honoured by the government on the Independence Day function in Ludhiana.

The Deputy Commissioner today enquired about the health and treatment being given to her in the hospital from her husband, Mr S.R. Wadera and conveyed his appreciation for the exemplary act and courage shown by Mrs Wadera. Mr Verma also wished her speedy recovery.

Meanwhile, the Sarabha Nagar police today claimed to have recovered 20 gram of smack Ram Singh, alias Raju. He was caught yesterday along with his accomplice Gaurav Sharma.



Sehajdharis’ voting right: hearing put off till July
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
The case regarding the voting right of Sehajdhari Sikhs in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), filed by the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation (SSF) in the Supreme Court, has been adjourned till the first week of July. The court was of the opinion that they first consider the outcome of the case pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which is fixed for hearing on July I.

Dr P.S. Ranu, national president of the federation, said that they pleaded that their outfit is a political party registered by the Election Commission and is a socio-religious body of Sehajdharis but the Centre has disenfranchised them by a notification dated 8-10-2003, U/s 73 of the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966. This has been challenged by his party as it was issued in clear violation of Article 26 of the Constitution, namely freedom to manage religious affairs. The impugned notification has excluded Sehajdhari Sikhs from participating in the elections of the SGPC.

He said the Central government, while exercising powers U/s 72 of the Reorganisation Act, cannot amend the provisions of the Sikh Gurudwara Act by a simple notification which is a Central Act. As such neither Parliament nor the state legislature can pass any law infringing their rights under Article 26 of the Constitution.

The petitioners’ prayer was that as they had challenged the notification in time in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the next date of hearing was fixed for 19-7-2004, whereas the election process was initiated from June 1 onwards, where the voting is to be held on 11-7-2004, and results are to be declared on 15-7-2004.

The federation had moved the HC with a prayer to stay the operation of notification dated 8-10-2003, otherwise their case may become infructuous. As a result, the case was taken up by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, where a Vacation Bench of Mr Rajiv Bhalla and Mr. Surya Kant issued notices to the respondents passing an order that the petitioner had filed the writ petition well before the start of election process and that the election process shall be subject to the outcome of the writ petition.

He said now it depends on the Punjab and Haryana High Court to decide the fate of more than 8 lakh Sehajdhari Sikh voters in the SGPC elections, who have been voting since 1944, for more than 60 years.



Ludhiana police reprimanded
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 15
The top brass of the Punjab police is understood to have reprimanded the Ludhiana police for its failure to check the rising number of robberies and snatching in the city in the recent past and has directed it to take preventive steps and restore the confidence of people.

A senior officer of the Punjab police told this reporter that the Ludhiana district police officials had been told to intensify campaign against anti-social elements and also work out the robberies.

Ludhiana has witnessed a number of robberies and snatching incidents in the past few weeks. A sum of Rs 6.75 lakh was snatched from two persons when they were going to their factory after withdrawing the money from a bank in the focal point area at gun point. Similarly a robbery had taken place on the Mall road when a sum of Rs 1.70 lakh was looted by some car-borne robbers. In another robbery a sum of Rs 2 lakh was looted from Punjab State Electricity Board officer, Katani Kalan, in the district. A trader of Mandi Gobindgarh was also deprived of Rs 6 lakh on Gill Road.

Following directions from the top brass the police has intensified patrolling and checking of the vehicles in the town.



Jail inmates protest 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
Undertrials, who were produced in Jagraon courts today alleged that they were not allowed to drink water although they had to wait for their appearance in courts for hours together. The agitated undertrials also protested against the attitude of the police team accompanying them in the transit jail.

They raised slogans against the cops and Home Guards accompanying them. As many as 60 undertrials were brought by an escort police party from the local Central Jail. The undertrials said whenever they asked for water they were either told to keep shut or were beaten up with canes.

Those accompanying the undertrials included Mr Hardev Singh, ASI, Mr Rajinder Pal Singh, Head Constable, and Mr Raminder Singh, constable. The jail inmates said they boarded the bus at 11.30 am today and reached Jagraon at 1.30 pm but they were not allowed to drink water throughout their journey.

Many inmates, including Harjit Singh, Mangal Singh, Gurdip Singh, Harmit Singh and Jagtar Singh alleged that they were even cane-charged by Home Guard jawans when they asked for water after reaching Jagraon. 



Shed collapses in fire
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 15
A spinning machine shed of Kohinoor Woolen Mill, located in Industrial Area-A, collapsed following a major fire that broke out in the wee hours today. The cause of the fire is being ascertained.

According to one of the owners of the mill, the fire, which occurred around 4.45 am, was doused by Fire Brigade tenders after a struggle of about three hours but not before one of the sheds, housing spinning machines, collapsed to the ground. However, there was no loss of life.



Man booked for assaulting shopkeeper

Ludhiana, June 15
On a statement of Mr Gurpreet Singh, who runs a cloth shop in HE Colony, Jamalpur, the Focal Point police yesterday registered a case under Sections 452,323,324,506 and 34 of the IPC against Sharanjit Singh of the Urban Estate in the Focal Point area and Inderjit Singh, of Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar.

The shopkeeper had alleged that the accused came to his shop, beat him up and also threatened him. No one has been arrested so far.

Assaulted: The Haibowal police on the statement of Mr Balbir Singh of Jassian village registered a case under Section 325 of the IPC against Gurdeep Singh of Churpur village near Haibowal Kalan yesterday.

The complainant had stated that the accused had beaten him up outside his farm at Churpur village on June 7 due to an on-going land dispute between them. No arrest has been made so far.

Injured: On the statement of Mr Surjit Singh of Janta Nagar the Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 279,337 and 427 of the IPC against Sukhdev Singh, a truck driver, who hails from Bikaner district in Rajasthan.

The complainant had stated that the accused, who was driving a truck, had hit his Tempo near Baddowal village on the Ferozepore Road as a result of which he got injured and his vehicle was also damaged. The accused fled away from the spot, the complainant added.

Arrested: The Haibowal police has arrested Ram Singh of Maya Nagar and booked him under Section 283 of the IPC. The police said the accused had jammed the traffic by parking his three-wheeler on the road in front of Fauji market in Haibowal.

Gamblers held: The Haibowal police yesterday arrested Gobind of Kehar Singh Nagar and Mahesh of Vehra Jasbir Singh on the Jassian Road and booked them under the Gambling Act.

The police said today that the accused were gambling at public place and a sum of Rs 450 and a deck of playing cards were seized from their possession.

The Division No. 7 police on Sunday arrested Manohar Lal, Baljit Kumar and Inderjit Singh of Baba Jiwan Singh Nagar on the Tajpur Road for gambling at public place on the Tajpur Road.

In another case of gambling registered at the Division No.7 police station, those arrested have been identified as Suridner Singh, Rakesh Kumar and Makhan Singh ,all residents of Baba Jiwan Singh Nagar. The police said the accused were found gambling in a front of dairy complex on the Tajpur Road. A sum of Rs 915 was recovered from their possession.

Bookies held: The Sahnewal police yesterday arrested Parminder Kumar of Purana Bazar in the city and booked him under the Gambling Act.

The police said today that the accused was booking 'darra' and 'satta' bets at a public place near the Kohara Road and a sum of Rs 1,600 was recovered from his possession. The accused was later released on bail.

Sabu Din, a migrant from Bihar, was also booked under the same charge by the Sahnewal police yesterday. A sum of Rs 1,830 was recovered from his possession. He was also released on bail.

The Division No. 7 police has arrested Rakesh Kumar of Hargobind Nagar on the charge of satta. An amount of Rs 580 was recovered from his possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered against him. He was later released on bail, the police said.

Hooch seized: The Division No. 2 police yesterday arrested Sanjiv Kumar of street No. 2 of Ram Nagar on the Tibba Road and recovered 11 bottles of hooch from his possession. He had been booked under the excise Act.

Knife seized: The Salem Tabri police yesterday arrested Amit Kumar of Lassara village near Phillaur and recovered a kamanidar knife from his possession. He had been booked under the Arms Act. The police said today that the accused was nabbed near the Jalandhar bypass while loitering around in a suspicious manner.



Man booked for raping minor
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 15
A 15-year-old girl of Abubal village was allegedly raped while her parents were away. The Sudhar police has registered a case under Sections 376, 452 and 506 of the IPC. The complainant, Sukhdev Singh, who is a labourer, said after the death of his elder brother Dilbagh Singh, he married his wife Malkit Kaur, who had a daughter of about 15 years.

While Sukhdev and his wife Malkit Kaur were away for job about four months ago, they left their daughter at home. In their absence, Jagtar Singh, alias Jogi, son of Sadhu Singh, allegedly entered their house after scaling a wall and raped the girl. He threatened her with dire consequences if she disclosed this to anyone. The complainant alleged that following this, the girl became pregnant.

Stamp paper shortage: There is a shortage of non-judicial stamp papers of small denominations at the tehsil complex of Jagraon. The residents are either forced to buy stamp papers of higher denomination or have to pay a premium.



2 of cow sellers’ gang held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
The district police has arrested two members of a gang allegedly involved in selling cows to slaughter houses in other parts of the state.
The accused identified as Mansa Singh and his son Gurdial Singh of Sholla village were arrested today by the Sadar police and booked under various Sections. The accused, arrested from Ghawaddi village, had purchased a few cows from the village for selling them to certain agents of different slaughter houses in other parts of the state.



Cable mafia fleecing us: operators 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 15
The All-Cable Operators Welfare Association and the Cable TV Operators Welfare Association today charged the cable mafia with holding the operators to ransom and fleecing them under various pretexts.

At a joint meeting of both associations, Mr Gurmukh Singh Khalsa of Amritsar, who was later elected president of the newly set up state level body of cable operators, attributed the mysterious death of Balwinder Singh Bunty, a cable operator, and suicide by yet another operator in Sunam, to harassment by major cable network companies, who had monopolised the pay channels. “The cable operators are being forced by these networks to dance to their tunes failing which they are denied signal of pay channels,” he added.

He said two major companies had formed a cartel in major towns of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar where cable operators were being exploited. The operators were made to pay at the rates demanded by the companies or face disruption of the signal. The cable networks were recovering hefty amounts as monthly subscription from operators against beaming signal of pay channels whereas the satellite channels were being paid only a faction of the money thus collected. He called for an independent and thorough inquiry into the dubious dealings of the cable network companies to bring out the truth.

Dr Kuldip Singh, president of the local unit of the association, lamented that the operators were paying crores of rupees as income tax, service tax and other levies to the government without getting any facility or security in return.


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